Beethoven uses 'Meno mosso e moderato' in the Fugue for strings in B♭, op. 133, and 'Assai meno presto'—'very much less quick'—in the Trio of Symphony No. 7. It occurs frequently in Chopin's Polonaises, etc., and the Scherzo, op. 39. Schumann uses 'Poco meno mosso,' with its German equivalent 'Etwas langsamer,' in Kreisleriana, Nos. 2 and 3. When the former time is resumed, the direction is Tempo primo.
[ J. A. F. M. ]
MENTER, Joseph, a celebrated violoncellist, born at Teysbach, in Bavaria, January 18, 1808. His first instrument was the violin, but before long he transferred his attention to the violoncello, which he studied under P. Moralt at Munich. In 1829 he took an engagement in the orchestra of the Prince of HohenzollernHeckingen, but in 1833 became a member of the Royal Opera band at Munich. With the exception of various artistic tours in Germany, Austria, Holland, Belgium and England, he remained at Munich till his death, in April 1856.
[ T. P. H. ]
MERBECKE, John, lay clerk and afterwards organist of St. George's Chapel, Windsor, was about 1544 arrested, together with three other inhabitants of the town, on a charge of heresy, i.e. favouring the principles of the Reformation. Their papers were seized, and notes on the Bible and an English Concordance in the handwriting of Merbecke were found, and he was moreover charged with having copied an epistle of Calvin against the Mass. He and his three fellows were tried and condemned to the stake, but, whilst the sentence was immediately carried into execution against the others, Merbecke, owing to the favour of Gardiner, Bishop of Winchester, and the interposition of Sir Humphrey Foster, one of the Commissioners, obtained a pardon. He indulged his opinions in secret until the death of Henry VIII, but afterwards avowed them, and in 1550 published his Concordance, and also the work by which he is best known, 'The Boke of Common Praier noted,' being an adaptation of the plain chant of the earlier rituals to the first liturgy of Edward VI. Merbecke escaped the Marian persecution and afterwards published 'The Lives of Holy Saincts,' etc., 1574; 'A Book of Notes and Common Places,' etc., and 'The Ripping up of the Pope's Fardel,' 1581; 'A Dialogue between Youth and Age,' and other works. He died about 1585. His 'Booke of Common praier noted,' was beautifully reprinted in facsimile by Whittingham for Pickering in 1844; an edition by Rimbault was issued in 1845, and a reprint was included in vol. ii. of Dr. Jebb's 'Choral Responses and Litanies,' 1857. A hymn for 3 voices by Merbecke is given in Hawkins's History, and portions of a mass for 5 voices by him, 'Per anna justitiæ,' are contained in vol. vi. of Burney's Musical Extracts (Add. MS. 11,586, Brit. Mus.) [App. p.717 "in 1550 he took the degree of Mus. D. at Oxford."]
[ W. H. H. ]
MERCADANTE, Saverio, born in 1797 [App. p.717 "Correct the date of birth, as the certificate of his baptism bears the date Sept. 17, 1795 (Paloschi)"] at Altamura near Bari, entered at 12 the Collegio di San Sebastiano at Naples, of which Zingarelli was chief, and where he learnt the flute and violin, and became leader in the orchestra. For some unknown reason (the account given by Fétis is absurd) he was suddenly dismissed, and to gain a living attempted composing for the stage. His first work, a cantata for the Teatro del Fondo (1818) was followed by another, 'L'Apoteosi d'Ercole,' produced at San Carlo (1819) with extraordinary success. In the same year he produced his first opera buffa, 'Violenza e costanza,' and after this came several 'opere serie,' of which 'Elisa e Claudio' (Milan 1822 [App. p.717 "1821"]) was the most successful. From this period Mercadante steadily maintained his reputation, and the verdict of Italy in his favour was endorsed by Vienna in 1824. He passed the years 1827 and 28 in Madrid, 29 in Cadiz, and in 31 returned to Naples. In 1833 he became Generali's successor as maestro di capella at the cathedral of Novara. In 1836 he composed and superintended the production of 'I Briganti' in Paris. His next fine opera was 'Il Giuramento' (Milan 1837). In the opera buffa 'I due illustri rivali' [App. p.717 "1838"] he changed his style, marking the accents strongly with the brass instruments. In this respect he set an example which has unfortunately been widely followed, for the Flügel-horn seems to be the favourite instrument of Italian composers of the present day. In 1840 he became director of the Conservatorio of Naples. He was a member of the Institut de France. Though he lost an eye at Novara, he continued to compose by dictation; but he became totally blind in 1862, and died at Naples on Dec. 13 [App. p.717 "Dec. 17"], 1870.
[ F. G. ]
MERCURE DE FRANCE. This title embraces a series of periodical publications difficult to verify completely, but of so much interest to the history of the arts, that we will endeavour with the aid of the catalogue of the Bibliothèque nationale, to give a list of them. The first newspaper published in France was called the 'Mercure Français.' Originally started in 1605, it was continued in 1635 by Théophraste Renaudot, a physician and founder of the 'Gazette de France' (1631); it dropped in 1644, but was revived in 1672 as the 'Mercure Galant,' by a prolific but mediocre writer named Donneau de Vizé. After the first 6 volumes (1672 to 74) it ceased for two years, but in 1677 was resumed by de Vizé, and published in 10 volumes with the title 'Nouveau Mercure Galant.' It first became of real importance in 1678, when it was issued in monthly volumes 12mo at 3 francs, with a kind of quarterly supplement, called from 1678 to 85 'Extraordinaires du Mercure,' and from 1688 to 92 'Affaires du Temps.' From May 1714 to Oct. 1716, 33 volumes of the 'Nouveau Mercure Galant' came out, including three of 'Relations.' The 54 volumes from 1717 to May 1721 are called 'Le Nouveau Mercure,' and the 36 volumes from June 1721 to December 1723, simply 'Le Mercure.' In 1724 the monthly review founded by de Vizé became 'Le Mercure de France, dedié au Roi,' and 977 volumes appeared with this celebrated title. On Dec. 17, 1791, it resumed its original title of 'Le Mercure Français,' and 51 volumes came out between that date and the year VII of the Republic, but