Page:A Dictionary of Music and Musicians vol 1.djvu/257

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BISCHOFF.
245
BISHOP.

and Beethoven, with whom he afterwards associated Mendelssohn, was so exclusive as to preclude his appreciating even Schumann, essential as he is in the development of modern music. On the other hand his influence on music in the Lower Rhine was both good and great. He was the musical centre of the energy and devotion which kept up the festivals of Cologne, Aix-la-Chapelle, and Düsseldorf, and through them acted so beneficially on the whole of Germany. With Bischoff 's death his papers came to an end, nor have they been yet replaced.

[ A. M. ]

BISHOP, Sir Henry Rowley, was born in London, Nov. 18, 1786, and learned music under Francesco Bianchi. His bias for dramatic composition soon developed itself in a remarkable degree. In 1804 he wrote the music to a little piece entitled 'Angelina,' performed at Margate, and followed it by the music to a ballet, 'Tamerlan et Bajazet,' produced at the King's Theatre in 1806. This led to his writing, in the same year, two other ballets, performed at the Opera, and also the music for two operatic pieces produced at Drury Lane Theatre. In 1809 his music to the 'Circassian Bride' was received with enthusiasm. It was performed at Drury Lane on Feb. 23, and on the following night the theatre was burnt to the ground, and the composer's score consumed in the flames. The merits of the young musician were so apparent that the proprietors of Covent Garden Theatre engaged him for three years to compose and direct the music. He entered on this important office in the season 1810–11. The first piece upon which Bishop's talents were employed, in consequence of this arrangement, was a musical drama founded upon Sir W. Scott's poem 'The Lady of the Lake,' and produced as 'The Knight of Snowdoun.' In the music Bishop displayed an amount of talent seldom surpassed by British composers. Before the expiration of the engagement, the 'Virgin of the Sun,' the 'Æthiop,' and the 'Renegade' were produced. A fresh engagement for five years was now concluded and when we say that Bishop signalised it immediately by 'The Miller and his Men,' no ampler proof can be given of the indications with which it commenced.

The Philharmonic Society was established in 1813, and Bishop was one of its original members, and took his turn as conductor. In the following year he produced portions of the opera of 'The Farmer's Wife,' the melodrama of 'The Forest of Bondy,' and other musical pieces. In this year he adapted the first of a series of foreign operas—Boieldieu's 'Jean de Paris'—which was followed in successive years by 'Don Giovanni,' 'Figaro,' 'Il Barbiere,' and 'Guillaume Tell.' A number of operatic pieces were produced in 1815, including additional music for Dr. Arne's 'Comus,' and for Michael Arne's 'Cymon.' Two of his well-known works, 'Guy Mannering' (of which Whittaker wrote a portion) and 'The Slave,' gave interest to the following year, in which also he wrote the musical interpolations in 'A Midsummer Night's Dream,' the first of a series of Shakespearian spoliations which, as Mr Macfarren remarks, 'even the beauty of some of his introduced pieces has happily not preserved upon the stage.' It is impossible in our space to go through in detail all Bishop's productions for Covent Garden; suffice it to say, that among them were 'The Law of Java,' with its universally popular 'Mynheer Vandunck'; 'Clari,' with its household melody of 'Home, sweet home'; and 'Maid Marian,' full of charming English music. In 1825 Bishop accepted an engagement under Elliston, at Drury Lane, and the opera of 'The Fall of Algiers' was the first fruit of his new appointment. 'The engagement of Weber to write 'Oberon' for Covent Garden, induced the rival management to set Bishop to work upon an opera that should oppose it; and impressed with the magnitude of the competition, he occupied more than a year in the extremely careful composition of 'Aladdin,' which was produced in 1826, some weeks after Weber's opera. It had the misfortune of being allied to an even worse constructed drama than 'Oberon,' without the elegant writing which characterises that libretto; and lacking the individuality of Bishop without having the merit of Weber, it met with no success. In 1830 Bishop was appointed musical director at Vauxhall. In this capacity he wrote several operettas, and many songs, some of which acquired great popularity, 'My pretty Jane' being perhaps the best known at the present day. In the season of 1840–1 he was engaged by Madame Vestris as musical director of Covent Garden, where he produced 'The Fortunate Isles,' to celebrate the Queen's wedding. This was his last dramatic composition.

We must now notice a few other events of Bishop's life. In 1819, in partnership with the proprietor of Covent Garden, he commenced the direction of the extraordinary performances, then miscalled Oratorios; and in the following season undertook the speculation on his own account, which he relinquished however before the commencement of another year. In the autumn of 1820, he visited Dublin, and received the freedom of that city by cordial and unanimous suffrage. In 1833 [App. p.547 "1832, as the cantata was commissioned in that year and performed in 1833"] the Philharmonic Society commissioned him to write a work for their concerts, and the sacred cantata of 'The Seventh Day' was the result. It is a clever and masterly work, but made no lasting impression, belonging as it did to a class of music entirely different from that in which he had achieved his fame. In 1839 he received his degree as Bachelor in Music at Oxford, and his exercise was performed at the triennial festival, of which he was conductor. In November 1841 he was elected to the musical professorship at Edinburgh, which he resigned in December, 1843. The distinction of knighthood was conferred upon him in 1843; and on the death of Dr. Crotch in 1848 he was appointed [App. p. 547 "on the death of Dr. Crotch in 1847 he was appointed in 1848"] to the musical chair at Oxford. On the retirement of Mr. W. Knyvett in 1840, he was for three years occasionally, and in 1843 permanently, appointed conductor of the Antient Concerts, which office he held until the discontinuance of the performances in 1848. His last composition of importance was the ode for the installation of the