Page:A Dictionary of Music and Musicians vol 2.djvu/368

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356

��MONSIGNY.

��at Pauquembergue near St. Omer, Oct. 17, 1729, showed a taste for music in childhood, and studied the violin with success, though not in- tended for the profession of music. His father died just as he had completed his classical educa- tion, and wishing to help his family, Monsigny went to Paris in 1 749, and obtained a clerkship ' in the Bureaux des Comptes du Clerge. Having good patrons, for his family was a noble one, | and being well-educated, refined in manners, and a skilful violinist, he was soon attached to the household of the Duke of Orleans as maitre J d'hotel, with a salary which placed him above ] want, and enabled him to provide for his younger brothers. He then resumed his musical studies, and Pergolese's ' Serva Padrona ' having inspired him with a vehement desire to compose a comic opera, he took lessons from Gianotti, who played the double-bass at the Opera and taught har- mony on Rameau's system. He was a good teacher, and his pupil made so much progress that it is said Gianotti would not have been averse to putting his own name on the score of 'Les Aveux indiserets' which Monsigny sub- mitted to him after only five months' tuition, and which at once established his fame when pro- duced at the Theatre de la Foire (Feb. 7, 1759). Encouraged by this first success he composed for the same theatre, 'Le Maitre en droit' (Feb. 13, 1760), and 'Le Cadi dupe ' (Feb. 4. 1761), which contains an animated and truly comic duet. His next opera, 'On ne s'avise jamais de tout' (Sept. 14, 1761), was the first in which he had the advantage of a libretto by Sedaine, and the last performed at the Theatre de la Foire, before it was closed at the request of the artists of the Come'die Italienne, in fear of the new com- poser's increasing reputation. After the fusion of the two companies Monsigny composed suc- cessively ' Le Roi et le Fermier,' 3 acts (Nov. 22, 1762) ; ' Rose et Colas,' i act (March 8, 1764) ; 'Aline, Reine de Golconde' 3 acts, (April. 15, 1766) ; 'L'lle sonnante,' 3 acts (Jan. 4. 1768) ; ' Le De"serteur,' 3 acts (March 6, 1 769) ; ' Le Faucon,' i act (March 19, 1772); 'La belle Arsene,' 3 acts (Aug. 14, 1775); 'Le rendez- vous bien employe",' i act (Feb. 10, 1774); and ' Felix ou 1'enfant trouve",' 3 acts (Nov. 24, 1777). After the immense success of this last work he never composed again. He had acquired a considerable fortune as steward to the Duke of Orleans, and Inspector-general of canals, but the Revolution deprived him of his employment, and of nearly all his resources. However in 1 798 the socie'taires of the Opera-Comique came to his assistance, and in recognition of his services to the theatre, allowed him an annuity of 2,400 francs (nearly 100). On the death of Piccinni two years later, he was appointed Inspector of Instruction at the Conservatoire de Musique, but he resigned in 1802, being aware that he could not adequately perform the duties of the office, from his own insufficient training. In 1813 he succeeded Gre"try at the Institut ; but it was not till 1816 that he received the Legion of Honour. He died Jan. 14, 1817, aged 88, his

��MONTE.

last years being soothed by constant testimonies of sympathy and respect.

As an artist Monsigny's greatest gift was melody. His desultory training accounts for the poverty of his instrumentation, and for the ab- sence of that ease, plasticity, and rapidity of treatment, which are the most charming attri- butes of genius. He was not prolific ; and either from fatigue, or from a dread of an encounter with Gre'try, he ceased to compose immediately after his greatest triumph ; his exquisite sensi- bility, and his instinct for dramatic truth, have however secured him a place among original and creative musicians. [G.C.]

MONTAGNANA, ANTONIO, is the name of a celebrated basso, who appeared in England in the autumn of 1731. He made his debut on the London boards in ' Poro ' (revived) ; and in January, 1732, he created the bass r&le in ' Ezio," Handel having written specially for him the famous song ' Nasce al bosco,' which is composed on a different plan from most of his other bass songs, and was clearly intended to exhibit the peculiar powers of the singer. This opera was followed by 'Sosarme,' in which Montagnana had again an air ' Fra 1'ombre e 1'orrori,' in which the depth, power, and mel- low quality of his voice, and his rare accuracy of intonation in hitting distant and difficult intervals, were displayed to full advantage. In the same year he sang in Handel's 'Acis,' a revival of ' Alessandro,' ' Flavio,' ' Coriolano,' and in 'Esther.' In 1733 Montagnana took part in 'Deborah,' 'Tolomeo,' 'Ottone,' 'Or- lando,' and 'Athaliah' (at Oxford). In 'Or- lando ' he had another very difficult song com- posed expressly for him, ' Sorge infausta,' which has remained a trial of compass and execution, since his day, for the most accomplished bassi.

In the following year, however, Montagnana seceded, with Senesino and Cuzzoni, to the Thea- tre in Lincoln' s-Inn-Fields, under the direction of Porpora ; and here he appeared in 'Onorio' by that master, and other pieces. In 1735 and 36 he was still with Porpora, singing in his ' Polifemo,' and the 'Adriano ' of Veracini. In January, 1738, he returned to his allegiance to Handel, singing in 'Faramondo' then first produced, ' La Con- quista del Velio d'Oro,' and ' Serse." After this we'hear no more of Montagnana. [J.M.}

MONTE, PHILIPPE or FILIPPO DE, and some- times PHILIPPE DE MONS, born probably in 1521 or 22, 1 traditionally at Mons, but according to Dlabacz at Mechlin. 2 As to his history we gain little by consulting old authorities, as Bois- sart, 3 Bullart, 4 Freher, 5 Sweertius* etc., and are told as much by the title-pages of Philippe's own

1 gadder's portrait, the single authority for this date, gives Phi- lippe's age as 72 In 1594.

2 'Allgem. hlstor. Kttnstler Lex. fur BOhmen.,' 4to.<Prag. 1815). Dlabacz founds his statement on a list of the Imperial chapel dated 1582. For a full discussion of the subject see Fills' Biographic, under Philippe de Mons.'

3 Boissardus, ' Icones Vlror. Illustr.,' pars S. p. 32 (1593).

< Bullart, ' Academle des Sciences,' etc., vol. 11. bk. 4. p. 299 (Bru elles 16S2).

5 Freherl, 'Theatrum vlr. clarorum (Nuremberg 1688). e Sweertius, ' Athena) Belgian,' p. 645 (Antwerp 1628).

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