Page:A Dictionary of Music and Musicians vol 1.djvu/261

From Wikisource
Jump to: navigation, search
This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.
BLAZE.
249
BLOW.

equal to 'De l'opéra en France. We name 'Chapelle musique des Rois de France' (1832); 'La Danse et les Ballets depuis Bacchus jusqu'à mademoiselle Taglioni' (1832); and the works on the Théâtres lyriques de Paris, viz. 'L'Academie impériale' (formerly 'royale'; a history of that theatre published in 1855), and 'L'opéra Italien de 1548 à 1856' (1856).

For ten years previously to 1832 Blaze was musical critic of the 'Journal des Débats,' an important literary position afterwards held by Berlioz. He also wrote numerous articles for the 'Constitutionel,' the 'Revue et Gazette Musicale,' 'Le Menestrel,' etc., partly republished in book form.

Castil-Blaze died in 1857 [App. p.549 "Dec. 11"], after a few days' illness. A life like his, spent laboriously in the bye ways of art, can hardly be called a thing sublime, but it is not without its uses and merits. The ideal truths emanating from creative genius stand in need of an intermediate stage of receptivity between their own elevation and the level of ordinary intellects. Blaze has occupied the position of an interpreter, thus indicated, not without credit. His knowledge of music and musical history was good, and his taste sound and comprehensive up to a certain point. But the wear and tear of journalistic routine could not but blunt his feeling for the subtler touches of beauty, and it would be unsafe to give implicit confidence to his opinion on questions of high art.

[ F. H. ]

BLAZE DE BURY, Baron Henri, born in 1813, the son of the foregoing, is too much like him in all essential points to require detailed notice. In literary skill he surpasses his father; in musical knowledge he is decidedly his inferior. Blaze de Bury is indeed the prototype of the accomplished littérateur of the second empire. He is able to write well on most topics, and excellently on many. His style is refined and pleasing, but his attempts at depth are strangely mingled with the flippancy of the feuilletoniste. Amongst his works on music, which alone concern us here, the most remarkable are 'La Vie de Rossini' (1854); 'Musiciens contemporains'—short essays on leading musicians, such as Weber, Mendelssohn, Verdi, and many others (1856); and 'Meyerbeer et son temps' (1865). All these are reprints of articles contributed to the 'Revue des deux Mondes' and other periodicals. Another connection of Blaze de Bury with the history of music may be seen in the following circumstance. He wrote a comedy called 'La jeunesse de Goethe,' for which Meyerbeer supplied the incidental music. The score was unpublished when the master died, and will remain so, along with other MSS., till thirty years after his decease, in accordance with his own arrangement. In 1868 Blaze de Bury attempted to set aside the portion of the will referring to the MS. in question, but the action brought against the family was unsuccessful.

[ F. H. ]

BLEWITT, Jonas, a celebrated organist in the latter half of the 18th century, author of 'A Treatise on the Organ, with explanatory Voluntaries'; 'Ten Voluntaries, or pieces for the Organ,' etc.; 'Twelve easy and familiar movements for the Organ,' etc. He died in 1805. His son, Jonathan Blewitt, was born in London in 1782, received the rudiments of his musical education from his father, and was afterwards placed under his godfather, Jonathan Battishill. At eleven years old he was appointed deputy organist to his father. After holding several appointments as organist, he left London for Haverhill, Suffolk; and subsequently became organist of Brecon, where he remained three years. On the death of his father he returned to London, with the intention of bringing out an opera he had composed for Drury Lane, but the burning of that theatre destroyed his hopes. He next went to Sheffield as organist. [App. p.549 "about 1795 he was organist of the united parishes of St. Margaret Pattens and St. Gabriel Fenchurch, also of St. Catherine Coleman, Fenchurch Street."] In 1811 he took up his abode in Ireland, in the family of Lord Cahir. He was appointed organist of St. Andrew's Church, Dublin, and composer and director of the music to the Theatre Royal in that city. The Duke of Leinster appointed him grand organist to the masonic body of Ireland, and he became the conductor of the principal concerts in Dublin. When Logier commenced his system of musical instruction in Ireland, Blewitt was the first who joined him; and being an able lecturer, and possessing sound musical knowledge, he soon procured the great majority of teaching in Dublin.

Before 1826 Blewitt was again in London, and wrote the music for a pantomime, 'The Man in the Moon, or, Harlequin Dog Star,' produced at Drury Lane with great success. In 1828 and 29 he was director of the music at Sadler's Wells, and wrote several clever works—'The Talisman of the Elements,' 'Auld Robin Gray,' 'My old woman' (adapted from Fétis), etc. He was also the composer of the operas of 'The Corsair,' 'The Magician,' 'The Island of Saints,' 'Rory O'More,' 'Mischief Making,' etc., and of a number of ballads, particularly in the Irish style, which enjoyed considerable popularity. Blewitt was a good singer, and possessed a fund of humour, qualifications which sometimes led him into questionable company. In his latter years he was connected with the Tivoli Gardens, Margate. He died September 4, 1853.

[ E. F. R. ]

BLOW, John, Mus. Doc., born at North Collingham, Nottinghamshire, in 1648 [App. p.549 "There is a strong probability that he was born in London. A MS. note of Anthony à Wood's, in his 'Athenae Oxon.' shows that Dr. Rogers told Wood that this was the case, and the registers of North Collingham in Nottinghamshire do not confirm the statement that Blow was born there"], was one of the first set of Children of the Chapel Royal on its re-establishment in 1660, his master being Captain Henry Cooke. Whilst yet a chorister he commenced composition; the words of three anthems produced by 'John Blow, one of the Children of His Majesty's Chapel,' are contained in Clifford's 'Divine Hymns and Anthems,' 1663, and an anthem with orchestral accompaniments composed by him in conjunction with Pelham Humfrey and William Turner, two of his fellow choristers, is still extant. On leaving the choir Blow became a pupil of John Hingeston, and subsequently of Dr. Christopher Gibbons. That he soon rose to great eminence is evidenced by the fact of his being chosen in