Page:A Dictionary of Music and Musicians vol 2.djvu/367

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MONODIA.
355
MONSIGNY.


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Poor as this seems, when compared with the delightful Madrigals it was intended to supplant, it nevertheless already shews traces of a new element, destined to work one of the most sweeping revolutions known in the history of Art. In exchange for the contrapuntal glories of the Sixteenth Century, the Composers of the Seventeenth offered the graces of symmetrical form, till then unknown. The idea was not thrown away upon their successors. Before very long, symmetrical form was cultivated in association with a new system, not of counterpoint, as it is sometimes erroneously called, but of part-writing, based upon the principles of modern harmony, and eminently adapted to the requirements of instrumental music: and, thus, to such slight indications of regular phrasing, reiterated figure, and prearranged plan, as are shewn in Caccini's unpretending little Aria, we are indebted for the germ of much that delights us in the grandest creations of modern Genius. [See Form, Harmony, Opera, Oratorio.]

[ W. S. R. ]

MONOTONE (from μόνος, single, and τόνος, a note, or tone). Prayers, Psalms, Lessons, and other portions of the Divine Office, when declaimed on a single note, are said to be monotoned, or recited in Monotone. It is only when ornamented with the traditional inflections proper to certain parts of the Service, that they can be consistently described as sung. [See Accents.]

The use of Monotonic Recitation is of extreme antiquity; and was probably suggested, in the first instance, as an expedient for throwing the voice to greater distances than it could be made to reach by ordinary means.

[ W. S. R. ]

MONPOU, François Louis Hippolyte, born in Paris, Jan. 12, 1804; at 5 became a chorister at St. Germain l'Auxerrois, and at 9 was transferred to Notre Dame. In 1817 he entered as a pupil in the school founded by Choron, which he left in 1819 to be the organist at the Cathedral at Tours. For this post he proved unfit, and soon returned to Choron, who was extremely fond of him, and made him, although a bad reader, and a poor pianist, his accompagnateur (or assistant) at his Institution de Musique religieuse. Here he had the opportunity of studying the works of ancient and modern composers of all schools, while taking lessons in harmony at the same time from Porta, Chelard, and Fétis; but notwithstanding all these advantages he showed little real aptitude for music, and seemed destined to remain in obscurity. He was organist successively at St. Nicolas des Champs, St. Thomas d'Aquin, and the Sorbonne, and sacred music appeared to be his special vocation until 1828, when he published a pretty nocturne for 3 voices to Béranger's song, 'Si j'étais petit oiseau.' He was now taken up by the poets of the romantic school, and became their musical interpreter, publishing in rapid succession romances and ballads to words chiefly by Alfred de Musset and Victor Hugo. The harmony of these songs is incorrect, the rhythm rude and halting, and the arrangement wretched, but the general effect is bold and striking, and they contain much original melody. Backed as the composer was by influential friends, these qualities were sufficient to attract public attention, and ensure success. But though he was the oracle of the romanticists, Monpou found himself after the close of Choron's school without regular employment, and being a married man found it necessary to have some certain means of support. The stage seemed to offer the best chance of fortune, and though entirely unpractised in instrumentation, he unhesitatingly came forward as a composer of operas. Within a few years he produced 'Les deux Reines' (Aug. 6, 1835); 'Le Luthier de Vienne' (June 30, 1836); 'Piquillo' 3 acts (Oct. 31, 1837); 'Un Conte d'Autrefois ' (Feb. 20, 1838); 'Perugina' (Dec. 20, 1838); 'Le Planteur,' 2 acts (March 1, 1839); 'La chaste Suzanne,' 4 acts (Dec. 27, 1839); and 'La Reine Jeanne,' 3 acts (Oct. 12, 1840). These operas bear evident traces of the self-sufficient and ignorant composer of romances, the slovenly and incorrect musician, and the poor instrumentalist which we know Monpou to have been; but quite as apparent are melody, dramatic fire and instinct, and a certain happy knack. His progress was undeniable, but he never became a really good musician. Unfortunately he overworked himself, and the effort to produce with greater rapidity than his powers would justify, resulted in his premature death. Being seriously ill he was ordered to leave Paris, but he became worse, and died at Orleans Aug. 10, 1841. He left unfinished 'Lambert Simnel' (Sept. 16, 1843), completed by Adolphe Adam, and a short opéra-comique, 'L'Orfèvre,' which has never been performed.

[ G. C. ]

MONRO, Henry, born at Lincoln in 1774, was a chorister in the cathedral there, and afterwards a pupil of John James Ashley, Dussek, Dittenhofer and Domenico Corri. In 1796 he was appointed organist of St. Andrew's, Newcastle-upon-Tyne. He composed a sonata for pianoforte and violin, and a few pianoforte pieces and songs.

[ W. H. H. ]

MONSIGNY, Pierre Alexandre, whom Choron used to call the French Sacchini, born