Page:A Dictionary of Music and Musicians vol 1.djvu/391

From Wikisource
Jump to: navigation, search
This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.
COLTELLINI.
379
COMIC OPERA.

she did not return to Naples till 1790. She married a French merchant named Méricofre, and retired from the stage in 1795. Her voice was a mezzo-soprano, and she excelled in the expression of sentiment. Paisiello wrote his 'Nina' for her, and on one occasion as she was singing the air 'Il mio ben quando verrà?' a lady among the audience burst into tears, crying aloud 'Si, si, lo rivedrai il tuo Lindoro.'

[ M. C. C. ]

COMBINATION PEDALS (Pédales de combinaison) are an ingenious modern French invention originating with the eminent firm of Cavaillé-Col. Instead of operating upon the draw-stops they act upon the wind-supply, and in the following manner. A great organ contains, say, twelve stops. The first four (1–4) will be placed on one sound-board; the next four (5–8) on a second; and the remaining four (9–12) on a third sound-board. Each sound-board receives its wind-supply through its own separate wind-trunk, and in that wind-trunk is a ventil which when open allows the wind to reach the sound-board, and when closed intercepts it; which ventil the organist controls by means of a pedal. The advantages of the ventil system are, first, that instead of the stops coming into use in certain fixed and invariable groups, any special combination can be first prepared on the three sound-boards, and then be brought into use or silenced at the right moment by simply the admission or exclusion of the wind. Moreover their action is absolutely noiseless, as it consists in merely opening or closing a valve, instead of shifting a number of long wooden sliders to and fro. The objection has been raised, that in the ventil system the stops no longer 'register' what is about to be heard; and the extreme case is cited that every stop in the organ may be drawn, and yet no sound respond to the touch if the ventils be closed.

[ E. J. H. ]

COME SOPRA, 'as above'; when a passage or section is repeated, to save the trouble of recomposing, reprinting, or recopying.

COMES, Juan Baptista, born in the province of Valencia about 1560; Chapel-master of the Cathedral and of the Church del Patriarca at Valencia. His compositions, said to be excellent, are to be found mainly at Valencia and in the Escurial. Eslava in his 'Lira sacra' publishes a set of Christmas Day responses for three choirs in twelve parts, which amply justify Comes' reputation in Spain.

[ M. C. C. ]

COMETTANT, Oscar, born at Bordeaux, April 18, 1819, entered the Paris Conservatoire in Nov. 1839, where he studied under Elwart and Carafa till the end of 43. He first became known as a pianist, and as the author of a number of pieces for that instrument, duets for piano and violin, as well as songs and choruses. He also came forward as a writer, and soon obtained reputation as the musical critic of the 'Siècle,' with which he is still connected (1877). Comettant has an easy, humorous, brilliant style; he is a great traveller, and has published a large number of books on various subjects which are both instructive and pleasant reading. Of his musical works, the following are among the most important:—Trois ans aux Etats-unis (Paris 1858}; La Propriété intellectuelle, etc. (Paris 1858); Histoire d'un inventeur au 19ème Siècle (Paris 1860)—a life of Adolphe Sax, and defence of his claims; Musique et Musiciens (Paris 1862)—a collection of articles originally published in the 'Siècle'; Le Danemark tel qu'il est (Paris 1865); La Musique, les Musiciens, et les Instruments de musique chez les differents peuples du monde (Paris 1869)—an important work, written on the occasion of the Exhibition of 1867; Les Musiciens, les Philosophes, et les Gaietés de la Musique en chiffres (Paris 1870)—a polemical treatise.

[ G. C. ]

COMIC OPERA. Opera has in recent times been cultivated more or less successfully by every people having any claim to be called musical. The particular branch of it which is the subject of this article, as it originated, so it has attained its highest development, among the French. In the dramas with music of the Trouvères of the 13th century we find at least the germ of 'opera comique'; and in one of them, 'Li Gieus de Robin et de Marion,' of Adam de la Hale, which has reached us intact, an example of its class of great interest, whether regarded from a literary or a musical point of view. The renascence of 'opera comique' in France dates from the latter part of the 17th century, and is attributable in great part to the decline in popularity of the style of Lully and his imitators. In his 'Parallèle des Italiens et des Français, en ce qui regarde la musique et les opera,'—the result of a visit to Naples, the school of which under Alessandro Scarlatti had already given earnest of its future supremacy—the Abbé François Raguenet first gave utterance to the extent of this decline in the year 1702. Some years prior to this publication d'Allard and Vanderberg, proprietors of 'marionette' or puppet theatres, had introduced music into their performances at the 'Foire St. Germain' with such success as to excite the jealousy of Lully, who obtained an order forbidding the performance of vocal music in the marionette theatre, and reducing the orchestra to four stringed instruments and an oboe. Moreover the entrepreneurs of the 'Comédie Française,' on whose domain the marionettes would seem considerably to have encroached, obtained another order forbidding even speech in their representations. At the instigation of two ingenious playwrights, Chaillot and Remy, the difficulty created by these orders was in some sort met by furnishing each performer with a placard on which were inscribed the words he would or should have uttered under other circumstances. These placards, of necessity large, being found to impede the action and even sight of the performers, their 'parts' were subsequently appended to the scene. The utterance, musical or other, of the songs of which these were largely made up, though forbidden to the actors were not unallowable for the audience, who, perfectly familiar with the airs to which