Page:A Dictionary of Music and Musicians vol 1.djvu/430

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418
CROCE.
CRISTOFORI.

given him a room in the Uffizi, probably near the old theatre, in the vicinity of the foundry and workshops of the cabinet-makers. He imagines the Prince suggesting the idea of the pianoforte and taking great interest in the gradual embodiment of the idea thus carried out under his own eyes.

Maffei gives an engraving of Cristofori's action or hammer mechanism of 1711. It shows the key with intermediate lever, and the hopper, the thrust of which against a notch in the butt of the hammer jerks the latter upwards to the string. The instant return of the hopper to its perpendicular position is secured by a spring; thus the escapement or controlled rebound of the hammer is without doubt the invention of Cristofori. The fall of the intermediate lever governs an under-damper, but there is no check to graduate the fall of the hammer in relation to the force exercised to raise it. For this however we have only to wait a very few years. There is in the possession of the Signora Ernesta Mocenni Martelli in Florence a grand pianoforte made by Cristofori in 1720, the namepiece 'Bartholomaeus de Christoforis Patavinus Inventor faciebat Florentiæ mdccxx.' being the guarantee for its origin and age. Puliti had two exact drawings made of the action, one with the key at rest and the other when pressed down, and has described each detail with the greatest care. The hammer is heavier than that represented in 1711, the intermediate lever is differently poised and the damper raised by the key when in movement now acts above instead of under the strings. Finally there is the check completing the machine.

What doubts have not found their solution by the discovery of this interesting instrument, which was exhibited at the Cristofori Festival at Florence in May 1876? The story of it begins about sixty years since when Signor Fabio Mocenni, the father of the present owner, obtained it of a pianoforte-tuner at Siena in exchange for wine. Its anterior history is not known, but Puliti offers suggestive information in the fact of Violante Beatrice di Baviera—the widow of Cristofori's master and protector Prince Ferdinand—having lived at Siena at different times, particularly when her nephew was studying at the Sienese University in 1721. [App. p.601 adds "that a second instrument by Cristofori was exhibited at the Festival of 1876, and at the Trocadéro, Paris, 1878, by the Signori Krauss of Florence. The date of it is 1726; the action is the same as in that belonging to the Signora Martelli, but with the advantage of possessing the original light hammers. The touch is good and very facile."]

But if it were only a harpsichord turned by the addition of hammers to a pianoforte? The careful examination of Puliti is the authority that all its parts were constructed at one time, and the word 'Inventor' appended to Cristofori's name would not have been applied to a simple harpsichord or spinet. It is a bichord instrument, compass from D to F, exceeding four octaves.

Cristofori died in 1731 [App. p.601 "Jan. 27"] at the advanced age of eighty. His reputation had already extended into Germany, for Mattheson had published the translation by König of Maffei's article in the 2nd volume of his 'Critica Musica' (Hamburg 1722–25), and Walther, in his 'Musikalisches Lexicon' (Leipsic 1732), article 'Pianoforte,' treating of the invention, attributes it exclusively to Cristofori.

On May 7, 1876, a stone was placed in the cloisters of Santa Croce at Florence bearing the following inscription—

A Bartolomeo Cristofori

Cembalaro da Padova
che
in Firenze nel MDCCXI
inventò
il Clavicembalo col Piano e Forte
il Comitativo Fiorentino
Coadiuvanti Italiani e Stranieri

pose questa Memoria.

[ A. J. H. ]

CRIVELLI, Gaetano, an excellent tenor of the old school, born at Bergamo in 1774. He made his first appearance when very young; and married at the age of 19. In 1793 he was at Brescia, where he was admired for his fine voice and large manner of phrasing. He was engaged to sing at Naples in 1795, where he remained several years, profiting greatly by the opportunities of hearing the best singers, and by the advice of good masters, especially of Aprile. From thence he went to Rome, Venice, and at last to Milan, where he sang at La Scala with Banti, Marchesi, and Binaghi, in the carnival of 1805. In 1811 he succeeded Garcia at the Italian Opera in Paris, where he produced a great effect in the 'Pirro' of Paisiello, in which he first appeared. His superb voice, excellent method, and nobly expressive style of acting, combined to make him a most valuable acquisition to the stage. He remained there until Feb. 1817. He then came to London, and helped to make that a brilliant season at the opera. He had, according to Lord Mount-Edgcumbe, 'a sonorous mellow voice, and a really good method of singing, but he was reckoned dull, met with no applause, and staid only one year.' In 1819 and 20 he sang with success at La Scala in Milan; but in the latter year signs of decay were apparent in his voice, which became more evident when he appeared in that town in Lent, 1823. In 25, at Velluti's suggestion, Ebers sent for him to take part in 'Teobaldo ed Isolina'; but the opera was not performed. For six years he presented the painful spectacle of a worn-out singer before the public of small provincial towns. In 1829 he sang, perhaps for the last time, at Florence; and died at Brescia July 10, 1836.

[ J. M. ]

CROCE, Giovanni dalla, a learned, original composer, was born about 1560 at Chioggia. He was a pupil of Zarlino, by whom he was placed in the choir of San Marco. In 1603 he succeeded Donato as Maestro at that cathedral, and still held the post when he died in 1609 [App. p.601 "August"]. He was also in priest's orders, and in this capacity was attached to the church of Santa Maria Formosa. His publications chiefly consist of a long list of Madrigals, Motets, Psalms, and other pieces in the ordinary musical forms of his epoch, and, with the exception of one curious volume, they are hardly worth enumeration. This is intituled, 'Triacca Musicale, nella quale vi sono diversi capricci a 4, 5, 6, and 7 voci, nuovamente com-