Page:A Dictionary of Music and Musicians vol 1.djvu/605
GEWANDHAUS CONCERTS. 593
The credit of this change is due to Burgermeister Karl Wilhelm Müller, who has a right to be considered as the founder of the institution in its present form. He and eleven of his friends constituted themselves a board of directors, appointed J. A. Hiller as conductor, and opened a subscription list for 24 concerts. The first concert in the new rooms took place on Sept. 29, 1781; the first regular subscription concert on Nov. 25. At present there are 20 winter-concerts and 2 benefit-concerts, one for the orchestra pension-fund, the other for the poor. The programmes are miscellaneous orchestral pieces, instrumental and vocal solos, and choruses. Since 1809 eight soirées devoted to chamber-music have also been given. The orchestra now numbers about 70 performers; Karl Reinecke is the conductor; and there are 12 directors. The most brilliant period of the Gewandhaus Concerts was during Mendelssohn's conductorship.
The names of the conductors are as follows:—Johann Friedrich Doles (1743–44); Johann Adam Hiller (1763–85); Johann Gottfried Schicht (1785–1810); Johann Philipp Christian Schulz (1810–27); Christian August Pohlenz (1827–35); Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy (1835–43); Ferdinand Hiller (1843–44); Niels W. Gade (1844–48); Julius Rietz (1848–60); Karl Reinecke (1860).
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GHEYN, VAN DEN. A Flemish family of bell founders, who originally belonged to the town of Malines, and afterwards spread to Saint Trond, Tirlemont, Nivelles, and Louvain. Their names are found on bells in the chimes of Malines and Louvain with various dates ranging from 1516 to 1757, that of the second great bell of the church of St. Rombaud at Malines. The present representative of the house is André Louis van Aerschot, ainé, Rue de Namur, Louvain.
The ornament of the family, Matthias van den Gheyn, son of André Francois, was born April 7, 1721, at Tirlemont, removed to Louvain, was appointed organist of the church of St. Peter 1741, and on July 1, 1745, became by public competition carilloneur to the town of Louvain, which two posts he retained till his death, June 32, 1785. As carilloneur his duties were to play on all market days, fête days, and other public occasions, to keep the chimes in tune and to set fresh tunes for hours and half-hours on the drum of the carillon, whenever so required by the authorities; for this the salary was 100 'pattacons' a year. For private festivities extra fees were paid. His habit was, in addition to his regular duties, to extemporise on the carillon for half an hour every Sunday. Matthias married Feb. 24, 1745, and had seventeen children, one of whom, Josse Thomas (born 1752), succeeded him as organist after his death.Chev. van Elewyck, from whose pamphlet ('Matthias van den Gheyn,' Louvain, Peeters, 1862) the foregoing account has been condensed. has collected 51 compositions by Matthias. Of these three were printed—'Fondements de la basse continue,' etc. (Louvain, Wyberechts); '12 petites senates pour l'orgue ou le clavecin et violon' in continuation of the foregoing; 'Six Divertiments pour clavecin' (London, Welcker, Gerrard-street, Soho). The rest remained in MS. during his lifetime; they consist of a second treatise on harmony and composition, Preludes and Fugues for the organ, Sonatas for Clavecin, and Airs, Rondos, Marches, Menuets, Fugues for 3 and 4 parts, etc. for the carillons. Dr. Elewyck has published a volume selected from these (Schott, 1863), forming vol. i. of his 'Anciens Clavecinistes Flamandes.'
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GIARDINI, Felice de, an eminent violinist, was born at Turin in 1716. He entered the choir of Milan Cathedral as a boy, and became a pupil of Paladini in singing, composition, and the harpsichord. He afterwards returned to Turin, and studied the violin under Somis. He was still very young when he entered the opera-band at Rome, and soon afterwards that of S. Carlo at Naples. In possession of a brilliant execution, he appears to have been fond of displaying it by interpolating in the accompaniments of the airs all sorts of runs, shakes, and cadenzas, and thereby eliciting the applause of the house. Of this habit, however, he was cured in an emphatic manner. During the performance of an opera of Jomelli's, the composer came into the orchestra and seated himself close to young Giardini. Giardini, ambitious to give the maestro a proof of his cleverness, introduced into the ritornell of a pathetic air a brilliant cadenza of great length, at the end of which Jomelli rewarded him with a sound box on the ear. Giardini in after years was fond of relating this incident, and used to add that he never had a better lesson in his life. He certainly proved himself not only an eminent virtuoso, but an equally good leader and conductor.
From Naples he started for a tour through Germany and thence to London. The date of his first public appearance here is variously given. According to Burney it took place in 1750, at a concert of Cuzzoni's. His success was immense, and Burney affirms that no artist, Garrick alone excepted, was ever so much applauded as Giardini. His powerful yet mellow tone, the brilliancy and boldness of his execution, the spirited and expressive style in which he played the grand works of Tartini, as well as his own lighter but pleasing compositions, created a perfect furore, and he became at once the declared favourite of the London public. We may form an idea of the peculiarity of his style from the fact that when De Bériot came to England, the old musicians, who still remembered Giardini, were greatly struck by the similarity of De Bériot's style to his. After Festing's death in 1752, Giardini took the place of leader at the
- See an interesting account in the chapter on Carillons, in 'Music and Morals' by Rev. H. E. Hawels (Strahan, 1871).