CIAJA, Azzolino Bernadino Della, born at Siena 1671, composer, organist, and amateur organ-builder. Besides his published works—'Salmi concertati' (Bologna 1700), 'Cantate da camera' (Lucca 1701, and Bologna 1702), 'Sonate per cembalo' (Rome 1727), he left in MS. 3 masses, 18 preludes and organ-sonatas. In 1733 Ciaja, as a Knight of St. Stephen, presented a magnificent organ to the church of that order in Pisa, still one of the finest in Italy, containing 4 manuals and 100 stops. He not only superintended its construction but personally assisted the workmen.
Legrenzio Vincenzo, born at Piacenza 1719, dramatic composer; came to London in 1748 with a company of Italian singers, and between that year and 62 produced 'Gli tre cicisbei ridicoli,' 'Adriano in Siria,' 'II trionfo di Camilla,' 'Bertoldo,' previously performed in Italy, 'Didone,' and some songs in the Pasticcio 'Tolomeo.' Burney says that 'he had fire and abilities' but no genius. His comic operas were the most successful, but 'Didone' is said to contain beautiful music. He also composed 6 trios for strings, 5 oboe concertos, Italian songs, overtures, and a mass (1758), now in the Royal Library at Berlin.
CIANCHETTINI, Veronica, sister of J. L. Dussek, born at Czaslau in Bohemia 1779, pianist and composer, studied the pianoforte under her father from infancy. In 1797 she joined her brother in London, where she married Francesco Cianchettini. She was a successful teacher, and composed two concertos and several sonatas for the pianoforte.Her son, Pio, born in London 1799, was a composer and pianist. At five years old he appeared at the Opera House as an infant prodigy. A year later he travelled with his father through Holland, Germany, and France, where he was hailed as the English Mozart. By the age of eight he had mastered the English, French, German, and Italian languages. In 1809 he performed a concerto of his own composition in London. Catalani appointed him her composer and director of her concerts, and frequently sang Italian airs which he wrote to suit her voice. He published a cantata for two voices and chorus, to words from 'Paradise Lost' said to be a fine work; music to Pope's 'Ode on Solitude'; 'Sixty Italian Notturnos' for two, three, and four voices, and other vocal pieces. He was also editor and publisher of an edition in score of symphonies and overtures of Mozart and Beethoven, and died in 1849. Susanna Maria, sister of Dr. Thomas Augustine Arne, the celebrated composer, was born Febr. 1714. She made her first public appearance in 1732, at the Haymarket Theatre, as the heroine of Lampe's opera 'Amelia,' with considerable success. In April 1734 she became the second wife of Theophilus Cibber. On Jan. 12, 1736, Mrs. Cibber made 'her first attempt as an actress' at Drury Lane Theatre in Aaron Kill's tragedy of 'Zara,' and was soon accepted as the first tragedian of her time, a position which she maintained for thirty years. Her success as an actress, did not, however, lead her to abandon her position as a vocalist; in the theatre she continued to represent Polly in 'The Beggar's Opera,' and other like parts, but it was in the orchestra, and more especially in the oratorio orchestra, that her greatest renown as a singer was achieved. The contralto songs in the 'Messiah,' and the part of Micah in 'Samson,' were composed by Handel expressly for her, and when we consider that the great composer must have regarded singing as an intellectual art, and not merely as the means of displaying fine natural gifts of voice, unaided by mental cultivation or musical skill, we may judge why he selected Mrs. Cibber as the exponent of his ideas. Her voice, according to all contemporary testimony, although small, was indescribably plaintive, and her powers of expression enabled her to impress most forcibly upon the mind of the hearer the meaning of the language to which she gave utterance. Passing by the songs in 'Messiah,' which call for the highest powers of declamation and pathetic narration, we have only to examine the part of Micah in 'Samson,' comprising songs requiring not only the expression of pathetic or devout feelings, but also brilliancy and facility of execution, to judge of Mrs. Cibber's ability. And what sterling advantages must have been derived from the combination of the powers of a great actress with those of a vocalist in the delivery of recitative! Mrs. Cibber died Jan. 30, 1766, and was buried in the cloisters of Westminster Abbey. It is said that Garrick, on hearing of her death, exclaimed, 'Then Tragedy expired with her.'
[ W. H. H. ]
CIFRA, Antonio, was born at Rome during the latter part of the 16th century, and was one of the few pupils actually taught by Palestrina during the short time that the great master associated himself with the school of Bernardino Nanini. In 1610 he was Maestro at Loreto, but in 1620 removed to San Giovanni in Laterano. Two years later he entered the service of the Archduke Charles, and in 1629 returned to Loreto, where he died. That he was an erudite and elegant musician is shown by the fact that the Padre Martini inserted an Agnus Dei of his, as a specimen of good work, in his essay on counterpoint. He himself published a large quantity of his Sacred Motets, Madrigals, and Psalms, at Rome and at Venice, of which a specific catalogue need hardly be given here. After his death Antonio Poggioli of Rome published a volume containing no less than 200 of his Motets for 2, 3, 4, 6, and 8 voices. The title-page of this book contains a portrait of him taken in the 45th year of his age. Underneath the engraving are the following exceedingly poor verses—
'Qui poteras numeris sylvas lapidesque movere,
Siccine præruptus funere, Cifra, siles?
Fallimur; extincto vivis Iætissimus ævo,
Et caneris propriis clarus ubique modis.'