Page:A Dictionary of Music and Musicians vol 1.djvu/284

From Wikisource
Jump to: navigation, search
This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.
272
BREITKOPF & HARTEL
BRAVURA.

courage of the artist. Thus 'Let the bright Seraphim' (Samson), 'Gli angui d'inferno' (Flauto magico), and 'Non piu mesta' (Cenerentola) are bravura songs, requiring a compass and a power of execution out of the common.

The notion of effect for effect's sake is perhaps involved in the term. Beethoven therefore can never be said to have written bravura pieces, though many of his pieces require the greatest skill and are extremely brilliant.

'Con bravura' and 'Allegro di bravura' are eimilarly used to denote fire and brilliancy.

[ G. ]

BREATH. Various signs are used in vocal music to indicate the places for taking breath, they are usually ’ * / ”. The management of the breath is of the greatest importance in singing, as by it a good tone is formed. The two essentials are (1) the power of controlling the quantity and force of air as it is expired; (2) the power of directing the vibrating column of air. By too great pressure of breath the form of the waves of sound most favourable to a good tone is disturbed, while too little pressure deprives the tone of strength. A certain quantity of breath will produce a tone in perfection, and any increase or diminution of that quantity will result in loss of quality or power. The old Italian masters of singing made the management of the breath a matter of primary consideration; they required their scholars in practising their exercises to do so piano, and to breathe at first as in speaking; the places for doing this were carefully and distinctly marked; if it were found that the pupil emitted his breath with too great a pressure or too rapidly, so as to crowd or impair the sound, he was taught to hold it back, and only when he had acquired a knowledge of and a feeling for pure tone was he permitted to attempt to take larger breaths, and shown how to gradually increase the breathing capacity of his lungs. The breath is the basis of a full rich tone in singing, and on the management of its vibrating column of air depends the great charm and beauty of vocalisation, no less than the power of successfully executing phrasing, according to the dictates of a poetical and intelligent mind.

[ W. H. C. ]

BREITKOPF & HÄRTEL. On Jan. 27, 1869, this renowned firm of music-publishers in Leipsic celebrated the 150th anniversary of its existence. Its foundation was laid in 1719, when Bernhardt Christoph Breitkopf, member of a mining family of the Hartz, born at Clausthal March 2, 1695, set up a printing press at Leipsic. His first publication was a Hebrew Bible, quickly followed by a number of theological and historical works, in which Breitkopf's friendly relations to the poet Gottsched were of much use to him. In 1732 a printing office was built with the sign of 'zum goldnen Bär,' which in 1765 was increased by the addition of the 'silberne Bär.'

In 1745 Breitkopf gave up the printing business to his only son, and in 1765 the firm became B. C. Breitkopf & Son. On March 26, 1777 the old man died, aged 83. He had raised himself from a common printer to be the head of the first printing establishment in Germany, and he also had the happiness, which Gottsched had predicted, of seeing himself eclipsed by his son. The son, Johann Gottlob Immanuel, born Nov. 23, 1719, devoted himself with ardour, while a lad, to the acquirement of learning, leaving professional knowledge till later. His acquirements in literature were developed by intercourse with such scholars as Lessing and Winkelmann. He laboured to improve the practice of printing, and with that view wrote several papers. By the introduction of separate movable music type he produced, as early as 1750, a revolution in the music trade. In 1756 the first fruits of his innovations appeared in the shape of a splendid edition of an opera in full score, and in 3 vols., entitled 'II trionfo della fedeltà, dramma per musica di E. T. P. A.' (the initials of Ermelinda Talia Pastorella Arcada, a name assumed for the occasion by Antonia Amalia Walburga, Princess of Saxony). After this, Breitkopf published a long series of important compositions by C. P. E. Bach, Graun, Hiller, Leopold Mozart, etc. He had hardly begun to realise the results of his invention in the music trade when his energy found a new channel. During the Seven Years War (1756–63) he had organised on a large scale a warehouse of German, English, French, and Italian music, both MS. and printed, and had started a special trade in music, through the publication of systematic descriptive catalogues referring to his stock, and embracing the whole field of musical literature. Between 1760 and 80 he issued catalogues of printed music, both theoretical and practical, in six parts; of MS. music in four parts; and a third (especially important for the history of music)—a thematic catalogue of MS. music only, in 5 parts, with 16 supplements (1762–87). His activity was absolutely unceasing. In 1770 he founded a manufactory of playing cards (which he sold in 1782), a coloured paper manufactory, a bookselling business in Dresden and another in Bautzen. He died Jan. 29, 1794, honoured as the reformer of the music trade, and secure of a place in the history of the art of printing. His portrait is extremely interesting. The well-formed head, the speaking eye, the intelligent features, show intellectual power and strong will. Immanuel had two sons, who learned the printer's craft from their father. Bernhard Theodor (born 1749), was musician enough to compose some pretty music to Goethe's 'Jugendlieder' in 1769. He went in 1777 to Russia, and founded a printing office and bookselling business in Petersburg—was teacher in an institution for the education of girls, and died at a great age as Russian 'Staats-Rath.' His second son, Christoph Gottlob (born 1750), remained with his father. He was an amiable dilettante, to whom the burden of his vast business was intolerable; after carrying it on therefore for a year he gave it up to his friend G. C. Härtel, at the same time making him his heir. He died much lamented in 1800,