Page:A Dictionary of Music and Musicians vol 1.djvu/61

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ALBERT.
49
ALBERTAZZI.

originated the peculiar character of his music, which may be described as the quintessence of all that was in the best taste in Italy and Germany. Owing to the special circumstance that Albert was both a musician and a poet and no small poet either he has been rightly called the father of the German 'Lied.' It is rare for a composer to make music to his own poetry, and since the time of Albert and his comrades in the Königsberg school, one example only is found of it—Richard Wagner. But to conclude, Albert's work in German music may be described as a pendant to the contemporary commencement of Italian opera.

[ F. G. ]

ALBERT, PRINCE. Francis Charles Augustus Albert Emmanuel, Prince Consort of Queen Victoria, second son of Ernest Duke of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld, was born at Rosenau, Coburg, Aug. 26, 1819, married Feb. 10, 1840, and died Dec. 14, 1861. Music formed a systematic part of the Prince's education (see his own 'Programme of Studies' at thirteen years of age in 'The Early Years,' etc., p. 107). At eighteen he was 'passionately fond' of it, 'had already shown considerable talent as a composer,' and was looked up to by his companions for his practical knowledge of the art (Ib. 143, 173); and there is evidence (Ib. 70) that when quite a child he took more than ordinary interest in it. When at Florence in 1839 he continued his systematic pursuit of it (Ib. 194) and had an intimate acquaintance with pieces at that date not generally known (Ib. 209-21 1).[1] His organ-playing and singing he kept up after his arrival in England (Martin's 'Life', 85, 86, Mendelssohn's letter of July 19, 1842), but his true interest in music was shown by his public action in reference to it, and the influence which from the time of his marriage to his death he steadily exerted in favour of the recognition and adoption of the best compositions.

This was shown in many ways. First, by his immediate reorganisation of the Queen's private band from a mere wind-band to a full orchestra (dating from Dec. 24, 1840), and by an immense increase and improvement in its répertoire. There is now a peculiar significance in the fact that to name only a few amongst a host of great works Schubert's great symphony in C (probably after its rejection by the Philharmonic band, when offered them by Mendelssohn in 1844), Bach's 'Matthew-Passion,' Mendelssohn's 'Athalie' and 'Œdipus,' and Wagner's 'Lohengrin,' were first performed in this country at Windsor Castle and Buckingham Palace. Secondly, by acting in his turn as director of the Ancient Concerts, and choosing, as far as the rules of the society permitted, new music in the programmes; by his choice of pieces for the annual 'command nights' at the Philharmonic, where his programmes were always of the highest class, and included first performances of Mendelssohn's 'Athalie,' Schubert's overture to 'Fierabras,' and Schumann's 'Paradise and the Peri.' Thirdly, by the support which he gave to good music when not officially connected with it: witness his keen interest in Mendelssohn's oratorios, and his presence at Exeter Hall when 'St. Paul' and 'Elijah' were performed by the Sacred Harmonic Society. There can be no doubt that, in the words of a well-known musical amateur, his example and influence had much effect on the performance of choral music in England, and on the production here of much that was of the highest class of musical art.

The Prince's delight in music was no secret to those about him. In the performances at Windsor, says Mr. Theodore Martin, from whose 'Life' (i. App. A) many of the above facts are taken, 'he found a never-failing source of delight. As every year brought a heavier strain upon his thought and energies, his pleasure in them appeared to increase. They seemed to take him into a dream-world, in which the anxieties of life were for the moment forgotten.'

Prince Albert's printed works include 'L'invocazione all' Armenia,' for solos and chorus; a morning service in C and A ; anthem, 'Out of the deep;' five collections of 'Lieder und Romanzen,' 29 in all; three canzonets, etc.

[ G. ]

ALBERTAZZI, Emma, the daughter of a music-master named Howson, was born May 1, 1814. Beginning at first with the piano, she soon quitted that instrument, to devote herself to the cultivation of her voice, which gave early promise of excellence. Her first instruction was received from Costa, and scarcely had she mastered the rudiments, when she was brought forward at a concert at the Argyll Rooms. In the next year, 1830, she was engaged at the King's Theatre in several contralto parts, such as Pippo in the 'Gazza Ladra,' and others. Soon afterwards she went to Italy with her father, and got an engagement at Piacenza. It was here that Signer Albertazzi, a lawyer, fell in love with her, and married her before she was seventeen. Celli, the composer, now taught her for about a year; after which she sang, 1832, in Generali's 'Adelina,' at the Canobbiana, and subsequently was engaged for contralto parts at La Scala. There she sang in several operas with Pasta, who gave her valuable advice. She sang next at Madrid, 1833, for two years; and in 1835 at the Italian Opera in Paris. This was the most brilliant part of her career. In 1837 she appeared in London. Madame Albertazzi had an agreeable presence, and a musical voice, not ill-trained; but these advantages were quite destroyed by her lifelessnees on the stage—a resigned and automatic indifference, which first wearied and then irritated her audiences. To the end of her career—for she afterwards sang in English Opera at Drury Lane—she remained the same, unintelligent and inanimate. Her voice now began to fail, and she went abroad again, hoping to recover it in the climate of Italy, but without success. She sang at Padua, Milan, and Trieste, and returned in 1846 to London, where she sang

  1. P. 211. for 'Nencini' read 'Nannini.'