MORELLI, Giovanni, a basso with a voice of much power, compass, sweetness, and flexibility. He first appeared in London in Paisiello's 'Schiavi per Amore,' with Storace and Sestini, and Morigi, who had long been the first buffo caricato, but now became second to Morelli. The latter was a very good actor, but, having been running-footman to Lord Cowper at Florence, he was probably not much of a musician. He continued for many years in great favour, and sang at the Opera from time to time till he had scarcely a note left; but he was always received kindly as an old and deserving favourite.
He sang the bass part in the 'Serva Padrona,' with Banti, so successfully that the performance was repeated by Royal command; and he was actually singing with Catalani and Miss Stephens (her first appearance) at the Pantheon, when that house was rebuilt. He sang in the Commemoration of Handel in 1787, with Mara and Rubinelli.
[ J. M. ]
MORENDO, 'dying,' is used to indicate the gradual 'decrescendo' at the end of a cadence. Its meaning is well given by Shakspeare in the words, 'That strain again! it had a dying fall.' It is used by Beethoven in the Trio, op. 1, no. 3, at the end of the fourth variation in the slow movement, and in the Quartet, op. 74, also at the end of the slow movement. As a rule, it is only used for the end of the movement or in a cadence, but in the Quartet, op. 18, no. 7, slow movement, and in the 9th Symphony, slow movement, it is not confined to the end, but occurs in imperfect cadences, to give the effect of a full close. It thus differs from smorzando, as the latter can be used at any time in the movement. Chopin generally used smorzando. Both these words are almost exclusively used in slow movements.
[ J. A. F. M. ]
MORI, Nicolas, an Italian by family, born in London in 1793, was a pupil of Viotti, and not only became an excellent solo violinist, but from his enthusiasm, industry, and judgment, occupied a very prominent position in the music of London and England generally from about 1812 till his death. He played in the second concert of the Philharmonic Society in 1814, and from 1816 was for many years one of the leaders of the Philharmonic band and first violin at the Lenten oratorios, the provincial festivals, and the majority of concerts of any importance. 'His bow-arm was bold, free, and commanding, his tone full and firm, and his execution remarkable.' In addition to his profession he started a music business in Bond Street, in conjunction with Lavenu, and amongst other music published the second book of Mendelssohn's Songs without Words, and his P.F. Concerto in G minor. He died June 18, 1839, leaving a son, Frank (died Aug. 2, 1873), who was well known in London for many years as a promising musician. His cantata Fridolin was performed several times with success; and an operetta, the 'River-sprite,' to words by G. Linley, was produced at Covent Garden, Feb. 9, 1865.
[ G. ]
MORIANI, Napoleone, was born at Florence about 1806 [App. p.719 "March 10, 1808"]. He came of a good family, received a liberal education, and studied the law for some time, intending to embrace it as his profession. Seduced, however, by the applause which his beautiful tenor voice obtained for him in society, he changed his intentions, and attempted the operatic career at Pavia in 1833, with success. After singing in the principal Italian cities, he returned to Florence in 1839, and in the following year was recognised both there and at Milan, and Trieste, as the first living tenor of Italy. In 1841 he visited Vienna, where he was appointed 'Virtuoso di Camera' by the Emperor. In 1844 and 1845 he sang in London. He came with a real Italian reputation, but he came too late in his own career, and too early for a public that had not yet forgotten what Italian tenors had been. Besides, Mario was already there, firmly established, and not easily to be displaced from his position. 'Moriani's must have been a superb and richly- strong voice, with tones full of expression as well as force' (Chorley). But either he was led away by bad taste or fashion into drawling and bawling, or he had never been thoroughly trained. Any way, he pleased little here. Still he sang with success at Lisbon, Madrid, and Barcelona, in 1846, and was decorated by the Queen of Spain with the Order of Isabella. He sang at Milan, in the autumn of 1847, but his voice was gone, and he soon afterwards retired from the stage, and died March 1878 [App. p.719 "March 4"]. Mendelssohn more than once speaks of him as 'my favourite tenor, Moriani.'
[ J. M. ]
MORICHELLI, Anna BOSELLO, was born at Reggio in 1760. Being endowed by nature with a pure and flexible voice, she was instructed by Guadagui, one of the best sopranists of the day. She made her début at Parma in 1779 with great éclat. After singing at Venice and Milan, she appeared at Vienna in 1781–2, and with difficulty obtained leave from the Emperor to return and fulfil an engagement at Turin. She continued to sing at the chief theatres of Italy, until Viotti engaged her for the Théâtre de Monsieur, at Paris, in 1790, where she remained during the years 1791–2. Here she was very highly appreciated, even by such good judges as Garat, and with this reputation she came to London in 1792, with Banti. Lorenzo d'Aponte, the poet of the London Opera-House, gives a severe description of these two singers in his Memoirs: he calls them 'equals in vice, passions, and dishonesty,' though differing in the methods by which they sought to accomplish their designs. To musical amateurs, such as Lord Mount-Edgcumbe, the Morichelli seemed far below her rival; 'She was, they said, a much better musician. So she might be, but never could have been half so delightful a singer, and she was now past her prime; her voice was not true, her taste spoiled by a long residence at Paris,… and her manner and acting were affected. In short, she did not please generally, though there was a strong party for her; and after her second season she went away, leaving behind her, in every print-shop, her portrait, with the flattering but false inscription, "Parti, mà vide che adorata partiva."'