Page:A Dictionary of Music and Musicians vol 1.djvu/481

From Wikisource
Jump to: navigation, search
This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.
DULCIMER.
469
DUODRAMA.

dulcimer in South Kensington Museum of the 17th century and a modern Georgian santir; and refers to the use by the translators of the English Bible of the word 'dulcimer' as well as of the names of other instruments common in the Elizabethan epoch, to represent Hebrew musical instruments about which we have no sure knowledge. Pantaloon Hebenstreit of Eisleben, a distinguished violin-player, became about 1697 a virtuoso upon the dulcimer, which he quadrupled in dimensions and had constructed as a double hackbrett with two soundboards, each with its scale of strings on the one side overspun catgut, on the other, wire. There were 185 strings in all, costing 100 thalers a year to keep in order. With this powerful chromatic instrument, demanding herculean force to play, Hebenstreit travelled to Paris in 1705, where Louis XIV baptised it with his name, Pantaleon. Kühnau (in Mattheson's 'Critica Musica,' Dec. 8, 1717) praises the instrument and its prerogative over harpsichords and clavichords in the properties it possessed of piano and forte. It was this, according to Schroter's account, that led him to ponder over a keyed instrument to do the like, and to his notion of a pianoforte. [See Cembalo, Harpsichord, Pianoforte, Psaltery, Schroeter.]

[ A. J. H. ]

Page 469 (A Dictionary of Music and Musicians-Volume 1).jpg

DULCKEN, Madame Louise, a great pianoforte-player, younger sister of Ferdinand David, born at Hamburg, March 20 [App. p.619 "March 29"], 1811. She was the pupil of Grund, and made her appearance in public at Hamburg as early as her 10th year. In 1823 she played at Berlin, and in 25 with her brother at Leipzig, always with the greatest success. In 1828 she married, and left Germany for London, where she resided for the rest of her life. Her first public appearance here was at one of Mr. Ella's soirees in 1829. At the Philharmonic she played a concerto of Herz's on March 1, 1830, and thenceforward was one of the most prominent features in the music of London. She was an executive pianist of the first order, with remarkable brilliancy of finger. Her intelligence and general capability were very great. She spoke four languages, and was au fait in the literature of Germany, France, Italy, and England. In teaching she was extraordinarily successful, and for her time no teacher could boast so large a number of pupils, at the head of whom was Queen Victoria. In fact she overtasked her strength, and died after a short and severe illness April 12, 1850.

[ G. ]

DUNI, Egidio Romoaldo, the founder of opéra comique in France; born at Matera, Naples, Feb. 9, 1709; brought up from his 10th year under Durante at the Conservatory dei poveri di Gesu Cristo at Naples. His life was a varied one. At Rome he competed with Pergolesi, and his opera of 'Nerone' was successful, while Pergolesi's 'Olimpiade' was damned. This shows how early and how strong was Duni's gift of melody; for 'Olimpiade' is Pergolesi's capo d'opera. A political mission to Vienna gave him the chance of producing his music there. Returning to Naples he wrote 'Artaserse' for San Carlo, with great applause. He then visited Venice, Paris, and London. In London his health failed, and he was driven to Holland to consult the great Boerhaave. Boerhaave cured him, but in returning to Naples he was attacked by brigands, and the fright undid all that the physician had done, and made him a permanent invalid. In 1755 he was called to Parma, as music master to the Duke's daughter. The court was French, and here at last Duni found his place in life. His first attempt was on Favart's 'Ninette à la Cour,' and it was thoroughly successful. France was evidently his field. To Paris in 1757 he went, and made his début in 'Le Peintre amoureux'; and there he remained till his death, which took place June 11, 1775, after he had delighted the public with 18 [1]pieces, full of gaiety and tune. Those in fact are his characteristics. His orchestration is poor, he is often weak in dramatic expression, but he is always charming and always melodious. His pen was taken up by Monsigny, and the Opéra Comique was established.

[ G. ]

DUODRAMA. A kind of melodrama, of which Mozart speaks with enthusiasm and at some length in letters to his father from Mannheim and Kaisersheim in the end of 1778. The name would indicate a piece for two performers; and those which he heard—Bendas 'Medea' and 'Ariadne auf Naxos'—and that which he contemplated writing himself—'Semiranis'—appear to have been pieces in which spoken dialogue was accompanied by the orchestra, as in Mendelssohn's 'Midsummer Night's Dream' and other pieces, and those called 'Melodram.' 'Not a note is sung,' says he, 'only spoken; in fact it is a recitative with instruments, only the actor speaks instead of singing' (Letter 120). There is no trace of 'Semiramis' having been composed, but Mozart acted on the idea in 'Zaide' (1780),

  1. See the list in Fétis.