describes her as having lost, perhaps, a little in voice, but gained more in expression: as electrifying an audience with her 'Rule Britannia;' and as still handsome, though somewhat stout. After a time, she retired to a villa which she had bought in the neighbourhood of Florence. On the stage, she is described as having always produced an unnatural impression, owing to an invincible nervousness, which made her exaggerate the effects she wished to create. She said herself, that it was as painful to her to sing in the theatre as it was delightful to perform at a concert. She never lost her simplicity and purity of manners, nor her piety, modesty, and generosity. Her charitable deeds were innumerable, and the amount of money earned by her in concerts for such purposes alone has been estimated at 2,000,000 francs. At her residence she founded a school of singing for young girls. Catalani died of cholera at Paris, June 12, 1849.
[ J. M. ]
[ G. ]
CATCH originally meant simply a round for three or more voices (unaccompanied), written out at length as one continuous melody, and not in score. The catch was for each succeeding singer to take up or catch his part in time; this is evident not only from the manner in which they were printed, but also from the simple and innocent character of the words of the oldest catches, from which it would be impossible to elicit any ingenious cross-reading. But in course of time a new element was introduced into catches, and words were selected so constructed that it was possible, either by mis-pronunciation or by the interweaving of the words and phrases given to the different voices, to produce the most ludicrous and comical effects. The singing of catches became an art, and was accompanied by gesture, the skill with which they were sung has become a tradition, and certainly many old specimens are so difficult that they must have required considerable labour and practice to sing them perfectly. The oldest published collections containing catches were—
1. 'Pammelia: Musicke's Miscellanie, or mixed varietie of Pleasant Roundelayes and delightful Catches of 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10 parts in one. None so ordinarie as musicall, none so musicall as not to all very pleasing and acceptable. 1609.'
2. 'Deuteromelia: or second part of Musicke's Melodie, or Melodious Musick of Pleasant Roundelaies. K. H. Mirth, or Freemen's songs, and such delightful catches. 1609.'
3. 'Melismata: Musicall Phansies fitting the court, citie and countrey Humours. 1611.'
Catches were most in vogue in the reign of the dissolute Charles II, and as much of the popular literature of that period was sullied by indecency and licentiousness it is not surprising that catches were contaminated with the prevailing and fashionable vice; the more than questionable character of the words to which many of the catches of that age were allied has sufficed to ensure the banishment of a large amount of clever and learned musical contrivance. In later times Dr. William Hayes, S. Webbe, and Dr. Callcott have excelled in the composition of catches: 'Would you know my Celia's charms' by Webbe is a well-known example; 'Ah, how, Sophia,' and 'Alas cry'd Damon' by Callcott are also tolerably well known, and still occasionally performed.Dr. W. Hayes published several collections of catches, some with words by Dean Swift, and in his preface to the first set (1763) says, 'the Catch in music answers to the Epigram in poetry, where much is to be exprest within a very small compass, and unless the Turn is neat and well pointed, it is of little value.'
[ W. H. C. ]