Page:A Dictionary of Music and Musicians vol 1.djvu/647

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GRÜTZMACHER.
635
GUADAGNINI.

His musical faculty showed itself very early, and he was thoroughly instructed in theory by F. Schneider, and in the cello by Drechsler. In 1848 he went to Leipsic, where he at once attracted the notice of David, and in 1849, when only 17, became first cello and solo player at the Gewandhaus, and a teacher in the Conservatorium. In 60 he was called to Dresden, where he still resides as 'Kammer-Virtuos' to the King of Saxony. He has visited most of the northern capitals of Europe, and was in England in 67 and 68, playing at the Philharmonic (May 20, 1867), Musical Union, and Crystal Palace. His compositions embrace orchestral and chamber pieces, songs, etc., besides concertos and other compositions for the cello. His exercises and studies are specially valuable ('Tägliche Uebungen' and 'Technologic des Violoncellspiels,' used in the Leipsic Conservatorium). We are also indebted to him for many careful editions of standard works (Beethoven's Sonatas for Pianoforte and Cello, Romberg's Concertos, Boccherini's Sonatas, etc., etc.), and for the revival of some forgotten works of considerable interest. As a player he has an extraordinary command of difficulties, and his style is remarkable alike for vigour, point, and delicacy. As a teacher he is greatly and deservedly esteemed, and has formed a number of fine players of all the nations of Europe. Amongst them his brother Leopold, born Sept. 4, 1835, and now (78) first cello in j the Duke of Meiningen's band, is one of the most remarkable.

[ T. P. H. ]

GUADAGNI, Gaetano, one of the most famous male contralti of the last century, was born at Lodi[1] about 1725 (Fétis) or, perhaps, later. Nothing is known of his early history. In 1747 he was singing at Parma: in 48 he came, very young, to London as 'serious man' in a burletta troupe, with Pertici, Laschi, Frasi, etc. 'His voice attracted the notice of Handel, who assigned him the parts in the Messiah and Samson, which had been originally composed for Mrs. Cibber,[2] in the studying which parts,' says Burney, 'he applied to me for assistance. During his first residence in England, which was four or five years, he was more noticed in singing English than Italian. He quitted London about 1753.' A year later he sang at Paris and Versailles, after which he went to Lisbon to ing under Gizziello, and in 1755 narrowly escaped destruction during the earthquake. To Gizziello he owed much of his improvement and refinement of singing. His ideas of acting were derived much earlier from Garrick, who took as much pleasure in forming him as an actor (for 'The Fairies' of Smith), as Gizziello did afterwards in polishing his style of vocalisation. After leaving Portugal, he acquired great reputation in all the principal theatres of Italy. There he sang the part of 'Telemaco,' written for him by Gluck, who procured his engagement in 1766 at Vienna, as 'Orfeo.' Having excited both admiration and disturbance in that capital, he returned to London in 1769. ' As an actor he seems to have had no equal on any operatic stage in Europe: his figure was uncommonly elegant and noble; his countenance replete with beauty, intelligence, and dignity; and his attitudes and gestures were so full of grace and propriety, that they would have been excellent studies for a statuary. But, though his manner of singing was perfectly delicate, polished, and refined, his voice seemed, at first, to disappoint every hearer, for he had now changed it to a soprano, and extended its compass from six or seven notes to fourteen or fifteen' (Burney). The same writer gives a curious criticism of his style, too long to quote here, from which it appears that he produced his best effects by singing unaccompanied and by fining off his notes to a thread. He had strong resentments and high notions of his own importance, which made him many enemies. He sang under J. C. Bach in the Lent of 1770, and later in the same year was heard at Verona by the Electress of Saxe, who brought him to Munich, where he remained in great favour with the Elector till the death of that prince. In 1766 he sang at Potsdam before Frederick II, who gave him a handsome gold snuffbox studded with brilliants,—the finest he had ever given. In 1777 he returned to Padua. There Lord Mount-Edgcumbe heard him (1784) in a motetto, and found his voice still full and well-toned, and his style excellent. He insisted on Lord Mount-Edgcumbe going to his house, where he entertained him with fantoccini, which he exhibited on a little stage, and in which he took great delight. This writer puts his death in the next year, 1785; but Fétis fixes it much later, in 1797. He died possessed of considerable wealth, which he spent liberally and charitably.

[ J. M. ]

GUADAGNI, Signora, the sister of the above, came to London, as one of a burletta company, with Lovattini, Morigi, etc., in 1766. She appeared as 'Cecchina' in the 'Buona Figliuola,' a part which she had previously played in Italy with great applause. She sang for several seasons in the 'Viaggiatori ridicoli' (1768), and other operas. Her husband was the operatic composer, Felice Alessandri, of Rome.

[ J. M. ]

GUADAGNINI, a numerous family of Italian violin-makers, of the Cremona school, though probably originating from Piacenza. The first generation consists of Lorenzo and John-baptist: the latter seems always to have been a family name. Their exact kinship is uncertain. They worked from about 1690 to 1740. Both claimed to be pupils of Stradivarius. The violins of JohnBaptist fully justify this claim. They are finely designed, and covered with a rich dark red varnish, easily distinguishable from the glaring scarlet varnish used by the second John-Baptist, and are in all respects worthy of the Stradivarian school. John-Baptist dated from Milan, Piacenza, and Turin: he sometimes describes himself as 'Cremonensis,' sometimes as 'Placentinus.' The violins of Lorenzo are of high sterling merit, despite their divergence from the Stradi-

  1. Or Vicenza (Burney).
  2. He sang also in 'Theodora' (1750).