Page:A Dictionary of Music and Musicians vol 1.djvu/527

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FESCA.
515
FESTING.

4 parts by Strauss, was sung at his funeral. Fesca was thoughtful, earnest, and warmhearted, with occasional traits of humour in striking contrast to his keen sensibility and lofty enthusiasm for art. He appreciated success, but steadfastly declined to sacrifice his own perceptions of the good and beautiful for popularity. Fesca's rank as a composer has been much disputed. There is a want of depth in his ideas, but his melodies are taking and his combinations effective. His quartets and quintets, without possessing the qualities of the great masters, have a grace and elegance peculiar to himself, and are eminently attractive. His symphonies are feebly instrumented, but his sacred works are of real merit. In richness of modulation he approaches Spohr. A complete edition of his quartets and quintets (20 and 5 in number) has been published in Paris (Rimbault). His son, Alexander Ernst, born at Carlsruhe May 22, 1820, died at Brunswick Feb. 22, 1849, was a pupil of Rungenhagen, Wilhelm Bach, and Taubert, and composer of trios for pianoforte, violin, and cello, and other chamber-music popular in their day. His best opera was 'Le Troubadour' (Brunswick, 1854).

[ M. C. C. ]

FESTA, Costanzo, one of the earliest composers of the Roman school, was born somewhere towards the close of the 15th century. He was elected a member of the Pontifical choir in 1517, and died April 10, 1545. He eventually became Maestro at the Vatican, and his nomination was so far singular that he was at that time the only Italian in a similar position throughout the Peninsula. His genius cannot be doubted, and Dr. Burney, who had been at the trouble of scoring a great number of his Madrigals, was astonished at the rhythm, grace, and facility of them. The Doctor calls one of Festa's Motetti, 'Quam pulchra es, anima mea,' a model of elegance, simplicity, and pure harmony, and says that 'the subjects of imitation in it are as modern, and that the parts sing as well, as if it were a production of the eighteenth century.' Festa, according to Baini, fell in his motets into a fashion too prevalent in his day, of setting distinct words to each voice. The Abbé ('Life of Palestrina,' vol. i. pp. 95–103) explains in great detail the lengths to which this absurd and undignified affectation was carried, and quotes with obvious and well merited approval a rebuke administered by the Cardinal Capranica, in the pontificate of Niccolo V, to some singer who had asked him to admire the caprice. 'Mi pare,' said the Cardinal, 'di udir una mandra di porcelli, che grugniscono a tutta forza senza profferire però un suono articolato, non che una parola.'

The principal repertories for Festa's music are the collections which flowed from the presses of Gardano and of Scotto at Venice in the middle of the 16th century, and for which the curious enquirer must be referred to the Bibliographie of Eitner. The archives of the Pontifical chapel are rich in his MSS., and a celebrated Te Deum of his is still sung by the Pontifical choir at the election of a new Pope. Burney, in his History (iii. 245, 6) prints a motet and a madrigal of Festa's; and a Te Deum and motet are given in Bock's collection (vi. 31, 40). His madrigal 'Down in a flow'ry vale' ('Quando ritrovo la mia pastorella') enjoys the distinction of being the most popular piece of this description in England.

[ E. H. P. ]

FESTING, Michael Christian, an eminent performer on, and composer for the violin, was the son of a flautist of the same names, who was a member of the orchestra of the King's Theatre in the Haymarket about 1727. Festing was at first a pupil of Richard Jones, leader of the band at Drury Lane, but subsequently studied under Geminiani. He first appeared in public about 1724. He became a member of the king's private band and first violin at an amateur association which met at the Crown and Anchor Tavern in the Strand, under the name of the Philharmonic Society. On the opening of Ranelagh Gardens in 1742 he was appointed director of the music as well as leader of the band.

Festing was one of the originators of the Society of Musicians. Being seated one day at the window of the Orange Coffee-house in the Haymarket in company with Weidemann, the flautist, and Vincent, the oboist, they observed two very intelligent looking boys driving milch asses. On inquiry they found them to be the orphans of Kytch, an eminent but imprudent German oboist, who had settled in London and then recently died, literally in the streets, from sheer want. Shocked by this discovery Festing consulted with Dr. Greene, his intimate friend, and other eminent musicians, and the result was the establishment of the Society of Musicians for the support and maintenance of decayed musicians and their families. Festing for many years performed gratuitously the duties of secretary to this institution. He died July 24, 1752. In September of that year his goods, books, and instruments were sold at his house in Warwick Street, Golden Square. He left an only son, the Rev. Michael Festing, rector of Wyke Regis, Dorset, who married the only child of his father's friend, Dr. Greene. From this union sprang many descendants to perpetuate the name of Festing, and not many years since an Hertfordshire innkeeper, bearing the names of Maurice Greene Festing, was living. Festing's compositions consist of several sets of solos for the violin; sonatas, concertos and symphonies for stringed and other instruments; part of the 3rd chapter of Habakkuk, paraphrased; Addison's Ode for St. Cecilia's day; Milton's Song on May morning; an Ode on the return of the Duke of Cumberland from Scotland in 1745; an ode 'For thee how I do mourn'; and many cantatas and songs for Ranelagh. Sir John Hawkins says that 'as a performer on the violin Festing was inferior to many of his time, but as a composer, particularly of solos for that instrument, the nature and genius whereof he perfectly understood, he had but few equals.' Festing had a brother of the name of John, an oboist and teacher of the flute, whose success in his profession was such that he