Page:A Dictionary of Music and Musicians vol 2.djvu/179

From Wikisource
Jump to: navigation, search
This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.
LORTZING.
167
LOTTI.

'Czaar und Zimmermann.' Both were successful, and the latter was at once performed all over Germany. His next few works however fell flat, and it was not till 1842 that his 'Wildschütz,' arranged from Kotzebue's comedy, again aroused the public. He then gave up acting, and in 1844 was appointed Capellmeister of the theatre, a post for which he was unfitted both by his easy disposition and his defective education, and which he resigned in the following year. He next produced 'Undine' (1845 [App. p.705 "1846"]) with success at Hamburg and Leipzig, and 'Der Waffenschmidt' (1846) at Vienna, where he was for a short time Capellmeister at the theatre 'an der Wien.' In 1849 the success of his 'Rolandsknappen' at Leipzig, again procured him the offer of the Capellmeistership, but to his disappointment the negotiations fell through, and Rietz was appointed. His life was now a hard one; he travelled from place to place with his numerous family, earning a precarious existence now as an actor, now by conducting his own operas; enduring at the same time the mortification of having his later operas rejected by all the more important theatres. In 1850 he obtained the conductorship at the Friedrich-Wilhelmstadt theatre in Berlin, where he had only farces and vaudevilles to direct; but he was completely worn out, and died on the 21st of Jan. 1852 [App. p.705 "1851"]. The public discovered its neglect too late, honoured his remains with a solemn funeral procession, and raised a subscription which placed his family above want. He left an opera, 'Regina,' several overtures, incidental music for various plays, Lieder, and part songs, all unpublished. His operas are still stock-pieces at the comic theatres in Germany, and 'Undine' is frequently performed, although romantic subjects were not his forte. 'Czaar und Zimmermann' was produced as 'Peter the Shipwright,' at the Gaiety theatre, London, as lately as April 17 [App. p.705 "April 15"], 1871.

As a composer Lortzing is remarkable for naturalness. Instead of straining after a depth and subtlety beyond his powers, he wisely aims at expressing natural and healthy sentiments by means of graceful and pleasing music, and his keen sense of humour enables him to give an interest to commonplace situations. He was never able to free himself entirely from a slight amateurishness in the technical part of his work, but his compositions, though not belonging to the highest branch of art, are good of their kind, and in spite of an occasional tendency to farcical exaggeration, are sound and artistic music.

[ A. M. ]

LOTTI, Antonio, eminent composer, son of Matteo Lotti, a Venetian, Capellmeister to the then Catholic Court of [1]Hanover; born probably in 1667, and possibly in Venice, since he styles himself 'Veneto' on the title-page of his book, of Madrigals (1705), and his brother Francesco was lawyer to the Procuratori, a post tenable only by a native. At any rate, his early years were passed in Venice, and before he was 16 he produced an opera, 'Il Giustino,' to words by a nobleman, Nicolo Beregani. His master was Legrenzi, then Maestro di capella to the Doge. Lotti entered the Doge's chapel as a boy; in 1687 joined the 'Confraternità musicale di Santa Cecilia'; was appointed, May 30, 1689, 'cantore di contra alto,' with a salary of 100 ducats; and Aug. 6, 1690, became deputy organist, with an addition of 30 ducats. On May 31, 1692, the Procuratori of St. Mark's unanimously elected him organist in place of Pollarolo, appointed vice maestro di capella. As second organist he composed a book of Masses, for which he received 100 ducats July 22, 1698. On Aug. 17, 1704, he succeeded Spada as first organist, and retained the post forty years, receiving permission in 1732 to employ as substitute his pupil Saratelli, who eventually succeeded him. In 1733 the Maestro di capella, Antonio Biffi, died, and an eager competition for the vacant post ensued. Lotti's chief rivals were Pollarolo and Porpora, and at the first election, March 8, 1733 (the dates throughout are from State documents), he obtained 6 votes out of 12. A majority being necessary, the matter remained in suspense, and meantime Lotti was authorised to call himself Maestro di capella. Porpora retired before the second election (April 2, 1736), but his place was taken by a scarcely less formidable competitor, Giovanni Porta. Lotti however received 9 votes, and thus obtained the post, with its salary of 400 ducats and an official residence. In the interim he composed his celebrated 'Miserere,' which superseded that of his master Legrenzi, and has been performed in St. Mark's on Maundy Thursday ever since. This was followed by a number of masses, hymns, and psalms, with organ accompaniment only, although his predecessors had employed the orchestra. He also composed 17 operas (for list see Fétis), produced with success between the years 1693 and 1717, at the theatres of S. Angelo, S. Cassiano, S. Giovann' Crisostomo, and SS. Giovanni e Paolo. Some of these having attracted the attention of the Crown Prince of Saxony during his stay in Venice (1712), he engaged Lotti to visit Dresden, with a company of singers, including Boschi and Personelli, both members of the chapel, and his own wife, a Bolognese singer named Santa Stella. The joint salary of husband and wife was fixed at 2,100 'doppii' (about £1600). The party set out on September 5, 1717, having obtained special leave of absence from the Procuratori of St. Mark's—'per farvi un opera.' In Dresden Lotti composed 'Giove ed Argo,' 'Ascanio, ovvero gl' odi delusi del Sangue,' and 'Teofane' with Pallavicini; intermezzi, and various other pieces, including church works, among which may be specified the 8-part 'Crucifixus' occurring in a 'Credo' for 5 voices and instruments. The Procuratori gave him one extension of leave, but in 1719 he was compelled to return or vacate his post; and accordingly left Dresden in October in a travelling-carriage, which he ever after

  1. Through the kindness of Mr. Kestner of Hanover I am able to say that no documents as to music or musicians at the Court of Hanover in the 17th century are now to be found there. The Register of the Catholic Church at Hanover contains, under Nov. 5, 1672, an entry of the baptism of Hieronymus Dominicus, son of Matthias de Lottis and Marina de Papirlnis, and under Nov. 9, 1673, of that of a daughter of Matteo de Lotti. The Register was begun in May 1671, so that it does not so far back enough for our purpose.

    [ G. ]