Page:A Dictionary of Music and Musicians vol 1.djvu/226

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214
BELLOWS.
BELLINI.

and night, till he was obliged forcibly to leave it. The ruling passion accompanied him through his short life, and by the assiduity with which he pursued it, brought on the dysentery which closed his brilliant career, peopling his last hours with the figures of those to whom his works were so largely indebted for their success. During the moments of delirium which preceded his death, he was constantly speaking of Lablache, Tamburini and Grisi; and one of his last recognisable impressions was that he was present at a brilliant representation of his last opera at the Salle Favart.' Bellini died on Sept. 23, 1835, in the 33rd [App. p.542 "34th"] year of his age—not the greatest, but by far the youngest, of many admirable composers (as Purcell, Mozart, Schubert, Mendelssohn, Hérold) who scarcely lived to accomplish half the allotted years of man. It has been said that Donizetti, Bellini's contemporary and fellow-labourer, born four years before him, outlived him by thirteen years; yet Donizetti was not fifty-one when he died. Judge Bellini on the other hand by what another of his contemporaries did during the first twenty-eight years of his career, and his youthful energy dwindles away before that of Rossini, who was but twenty-six when he produced 'Mosè in Egitto,' and who had previously composed, among works of less fame, 'Tancredi,' 'Il Barbiere,' 'Otello,' 'La Gazza Ladra,' and 'La Cenerentola.' But even if Bellini should outlive Rossini—and in the present day 'Il Barbiere' and 'Semiramide' are the only Rossinian operas which are played as often as 'La Sonnambula' and 'Norma'—it would still be necessary to remember that Bellini was but a follower of Rossini, and a pupil in his most melodious of schools. Directly after Bellini's death, and on the very eve of his funeral, the Théâtre Italien opened for the season with 'I Puritani.' The performance must have been a sad one; and not many hours after its conclusion the artists who had taken part in it were repeating Bellini's last melodies, not to the words of the Italian libretto, but to those of the Catholic service for the dead. The general direction of the ceremony had been undertaken by Rossini, Cherubini, Paer, and Carafa; the musical department being specially entrusted to Habeneck, the distinguished conductor of the French Opera. In the Requiem Service a deep impression was produced by a 'Lacrymosa' for four voices, of which the beautiful tenor melody in the third act of 'I Puritani' formed the fitting theme. The movement was sung without accompaniment by Rubini, Ivanoff, Tamburini, and Lablache. The mass was celebrated in the Church of the Invalides, and Bellini lies buried in the cemetery of Père la Chaise. Rossini, who had done so much for his young compatriot during his life-time, undertook the duty of conveying to the father the news of his death. 'You always encouraged the object of my eternal regret in his labours,' wrote the old Bellini in reply; '… I shall never cease to remember how much you did for my son. I shall make known everywhere, in the midst of my tears, what an affectionate heart belongs to the great Rossini; and how kind, hospitable, and full of feeling are the artists of France.'

[ H. S. E. ]

BELLOC, Teresa Giorgi, [App. p.542 "Aug. 13, 1784 to May 13, 1855"] was born at Milan, of French parents, and made her first appearance in 1804 at the theatre of La Scala in that city. One of her first rôles was Paisiello's 'Nina,' in which she was so successful as to obtain an engagement at the same theatre for the following year. She sang next at Paris in the same opera, in Martini's 'Cosa Rara,' and other pieces. Thence she visited Venice, Genoa, and Milan, where she appeared in the carnival of 1807, and remained for the rest of the year. At Venice in 1813 Rossini wrote for her, Raffanelli, and F. Galli, 'L'Inganno felice,' and at Milan, in 1817, 'La Gazza Ladra.' In the latter year she appeared for the first time in London under the name of Bellocchi, and succeeded Mme. Fodor. Though a good singer and actress in comic operas, she did not please much here, owing to the coarseness of her voice and the plainness of her person. She was something like Storace, with most of her defects, but not all her excellences. She however surprised the public, towards the close of her engagement, by a capital performance of 'Tancredi,' for which nothing could be less fitted than her figure; but the music suited her voice, and her singing of it was really so good as to atone for her personal appearance. She sang here during that and the two following seasons; and in 1821 she returned to Milan, singing there throughout that year and the next spring. She remained there the whole of 1823 and during the spring of 24. In 28 she quitted the stage.

[ J. M. ]

BELLOWS. The apparatus by which the air is collected, compressed, and propelled through the several windtrunks or channels of an organ for ultimate redistribution among the pipes.

One of the matters of greatest importance in an organ is that the supply of wind shall be copious, unvarying, and continuous;—that it shall possess 'good lungs,' as Sebastian Bach used to say. Yet it is curious to note how singularly far from being in such condition were the early organs; and it is interesting to trace the steps by which, through centuries, the desired consummation was gradually, and only gradually, achieved. In the 4th century organs were blown by bellows formed like the ordinary household bellows, about five feet in length, which were 'weighted' by two men standing on the top; and as the men who performed the office of dead weight one day might be fifty pounds heavier than those who did so on the next, it is clear that the tone, speech, and power of the organ must have been subject to constant variation. In the 11th century the bellows—still of the house-hold kind—were blown by hand, and although a nearer approach to an equal wind might then with care have been to some extent secured, yet it must still have varied with the muscular power of successive blowers. The sides or folds of these primitive contrivances were made of leather—'white horse's hides,' or 'shepis skyn,' as the