Page:A Dictionary of Music and Musicians vol 1.djvu/599

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GEIGEN-PRINCIPAL.
587
GEMINIANI.

1851. The stop was subsequently adopted by the English organ-builder, Mr. Lewis, who has made several excellent specimens of it.

[ E. J. H. ]

GELINEK, Joseph, secular priest, composer of variations for pianoforte, born Dec. 3, 1758, at Selcz in Bohemia, where his father was schoolmaster. He was well-grounded in music at home, and on going to Prague to complete his philosophical studies took lessons from Segert in composition and organ-playing. In 1783 he became a divinity student at the General-Seminar, the orchestra of which at that time executed standard works so well as to elicit praise from Mozart himself when in Prague. Mozart also applauded Gelinek's pianoforte playing, and encouraged him to persevere. In 1786 he was ordained priest, and became domestic chaplain and pianoforte teacher to Prince Joseph Kinsky, who settled an income upon him for life, and took him to Vienna, where he studied with Albrechtsberger. He then accompanied Prince Poniatowsky to Rome, with the view to obtain further instruction, but illness obliged him to return to Vienna. There he became the favourite pianoforte teacher of the nobility, and was liberally paid. In 1795 he entered Prince Esterhazy's household as chaplain and music master, and remained there till his death, which took place in Vienna April 13, 1825. For Gelinek's relations with Beethoven see p. 168a; and Czerny in Pohl's ' Jahresbericht des Conservatoriums in Wien,' 1869–70.

Gelinek composed with ease and rapidity; both he and his publishers made large profits from his works, the variations in the fashionable style of the day especially having a ready sale. Of these alone there is a thematic catalogue (Offenbach, Andre) containing 98, with spaces for more. The monotony which was one of their weak points is well hit in Weber's epigram:—

  'An den berühmten Variationen-Schmidt Gelinek.

   Kein Thema in der Welt Terschonte dein Genie,
   Das simpelste allein—Dich selbst—variirst Du nie.'


Although at that time the rage, they are shallow and superficial; and like his fantasias, rondos, marches, dance-music and arrangements, his few sonatas, songs, etc. are all now forgotten. Notwithstanding considerable losses, Gelinek left 42,000 gulden (about £4000) among his poor relations.

[ C. F. P. ]

GEMINIANI, Francesco, an eminent violin-player and composer, was born at Lucca in 1680. His first teacher on the violin was Carlo Ambrogio Lonati, surnamed 'il Gobbo,' at Milan. He afterwards studied under Corelli at Rome, and is said to have had instruction in composition from Alessandro Scarlatti. Geminiani must be considered one of the foremost representatives of the school of Corelli, however different, owing to the peculiarity of his character and talent, he proved himself to be as a performer and composer from his great master. While classical beauty and imperturbable dignity were the main characteristics of Corelli's style, Geminiani's unbounded vivacity of temperament shewed itself in his performances, which contemporary critics invariably describe as eccentric. Tartini is said to have spoken of him as 'il furibundo Geminiani.' This easily accounts for the fact that, however great his success as a Solo-player, he failed as a leader and conductor, from want of the necessary calmness and control. Burney relates, on the authority of Barbella, that he lost the post of leader of the opera-band at Naples because 'none of the performers were able to follow him in his tempo rubato and other unexpected accelerations and relaxations of measure,' and that 'after this discovery he was never trusted with a better part than tenor during his residence in that city.'

In 1714 he came to England, and quickly gained a great reputation as a virtuoso, although he appears to have but rarely played in public, and to have supported himself by teaching and playing in the houses of the nobility. When invited to play at a court-concert, he only consented under the condition that Handel should accompany him. If nevertheless he failed to gain an established and secure position in life, this again is attributable to the peculiarity and eccentricity of his character, which did not allow him to make the best of his opportunities or to pursue any definite plan of life. While he made but rare use of his really great talent as a performer, he spent much time in writing theoretical works of but doubtful value. He also indulged in a foolish passion for dealing in pictures, without, we are assured, having much knowledge of the subject. This at one time involved him in difficulties and brought him even into prison, from which he was only extricated by Lord Essex, his friend and pupil. This same nobleman procured for him the post of conductor of the Viceroy's band at Dublin. It is supposed that Horace Walpole objected to this appointment on account of Geminiani being a Roman Catholic. At all events it was not Geminiani, but Dubourg, his pupil, who went to Dublin.

In 1748 he made a journey to Paris, where he remained till 1755. Nothing however is known about his doings there, except that he brought out a new edition of his Solo-Sonatas. From Paris he returned to London, and he died in 1761 [App. p.646 "on Sept. 24, 1762 ('Gent. Mag.')"] at Dublin, where he was visiting Dubourg.

Geminiani and Veracini (see that name), coming at about the same time to England, found the art of violin-playing in every respect in its infancy. Corelli's Solos were considered to afford almost insurmountable difficulties of execution. Now Geminiani not only played these, but in his own compositions shows considerable progress in the technique of the violin, by freely employing the shift, and by frequent use of double-stops. Burney naïvely enough assures his readers that some of Geminiani's Sonatas were too difficult to be played by any one. His published compositions—Sonatas and Concertos for the violin—show him to have been a clever musician, but, with all his impetuosity, wanting in originality and individuality. His slow movements are more modern in feeling than most of Corelli's, bearing a certain likeness to Tartini's style, though without ever