Page:A Dictionary of Music and Musicians vol 2.djvu/467

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NICOLINI.
455
NIEDERRHEINISCHE MUSIKFESTE.

following that noble example which has been set him by the greatest foreign masters in that art.' Nicolini, who took his benefit, on March 22, in 'the Music performed before the Queen on her birthday, and the famous scene in Thomyris, by Scarlatti,' left England at the end of this season, and did not return till 1714, when he appeared, June 14, 'for the last time before his voyage to Italy.'[1] He returned, however, in the following winter, for he sang in 'Rinaldo' (revived), Jan. 4, 1715, and afterwards in 'Amadigi.' According to the idea which tradition gives us of the abilities of Nicolini, his part in this latter opera must have drawn out all his powers, both as singer and actor (Burney). He took his benefit in 'Rinaldo.' In the following season (1716), Nicolini appeared in 'Lucio Vero,' 'Amadigi,' and 'Clearte'; and in 1717 he sang again in 'Rinaldo' and 'Amadigi'—his last appearances in England. We find him at Venice in a long run of 'Rinaldo' in 1718, again in 1723, singing in Leo's 'Timocrate,' and Quanz met him there in 1726, when his singing was on the decline, though his acting still commanded admiration. The date of his death ia not known.

[ J. M. ]

NICOLO. The ordinary name in France for Nicolo Isouard.

[ G. ]

NICOLSON, Richard, Mus. Bac., was on Jan. 23, 1595–6, appointed organist and instructor of the choristers of Magdalen College, Oxford. In Feb. following he graduated as Mus. Bac. He contributed a madrigal, 'Sing, shepherds all,' to 'The Triumphes of Oriana,' 1601. In 1626 he was appointed the first Professor of Music upon Heyther's foundation at Oxford. He resigned his place at Magdalen College in 1639, and died in the same year.

[ W. H. H. ]

NIEDERMEYER, Louis, born at Nyon, Lake of Geneva, April 27, 1802, studied under Moscheles and Förster in Vienna, Fioravanti in Rome, and Zingarelli in Naples, where he formed a lasting intimacy with Rossini. At Naples he produced his first opera 'Il reo per amore.' He next settled in Geneva, taught the piano, and composed melodies to Lamartine's poetry, one of which, 'Le Lac,' obtained great success, and made his name known in Paris, before his arrival there in 1823. Through Rossini's influence his one-act opera 'La Casa nel bosco' was produced at the Théâtre Italien (May 28, 1828), but its reception not satisfying him he left Paris and became music-master at a school in Brussels. Wearied of this drudgery, he returned to Paris, and published melodies distinguished for style and sentiment, and worthy of the poems by Lamartine, Victor Hugo, and Emile Deschamps, which they illustrated. The success of these songs made Niedermeyer anxious to return to the theatre, but 'Stradella' (5 acts, March 3, 1837) failed, though supported by Mlle. Falcon, Nourrit, and Levasseur. It was however revived in 1843 in 3 acts. 'Marie Stuart,' 5 acts (Dec. 6, 1844), was scarcely more successful, and would be forgotten but for its 'Adieu à la France.' Other numbers however, deserve attention. The revival of the 'Donna del Lago' having been resolved on at the Académie, Rossini summoned Niedermeyer to his residence at Bologna, and empowered him to adapt the score to a French libretto entitled 'Robert Bruce' in 3 acts (Dec. 30, 1846). The opera failed, but the introduction of the saxhorn, the eight trumpets in four different keys in the overture, and the skill with which various movements from 'Zelmira' and 'Armida' were adapted, attracted the attention of musicians. Niedermeyer's last attempt at opera was 'La Fronde' (5 acts, May 2, 1853)—a failure like its predecessors. His true vocation was sacred music. His mass with full orchestra, his 'messes basses,' motets, and anthems, pure in style, and abounding with graceful melody, are still sung. We have mentioned elsewhere his connexion with d'Ortigue in the foundation of a periodical for sacred music, intended to maintain the old traditions. [See Maitrise.] Unfortunately he knew but little of either the history or the practice of plain-song, and his 'Méthode d'accompagnement du Plain Chant' (1855), hastily compiled, was severely criticised. Niedermeyer must be ranked among the musicians whose merits are greater than their success. Some of his melodies will live, and the Ecole de Musique still known by his name (a continuation of that founded by Choron) will ensure for his sacred works an honourable place in the repertoires of the Maîtrises de France. He died in Paris, March 14, 1861.

[ G. C. ]

NIEDERRHEINISCHE MUSIKFESTE, i.e. Lower Rhenish Musical Festivals, now held in triennial turn at Whitsuntide, at either Düsseldorf, Aix-la-Chapelle, or Cologne, and from an artistic point of view perhaps the most important existing. The originator is said to have been Dr. Ludwig F. C. Bischoff, a very active musician and litterateur, who some seventy years ago assembled together the musicians in his province, and instituted a 'Thuringian Musical Festival,' which was held at Erfurt in 1811. In 1817 Johann Schornstein, music- director at Elberfeld, following the example of Bischoff, collected the musical forces of Elberfeld and Düsseldorf, and gave a performance on a large scale in the former town, thus laying the foundation of the Lower Rhenish Festivals. For the success of the Elberfeld attempt was decided enough to induce several of the most influential persons in the two towns mentioned to take the matter in hand, and to arrange two grand concerts for Whitsuntide, which should take place alternately at Elberfeld and Düsseldorf. The organisation of these concerts exacted so much labour and trouble that it was resolved to propose to a third neighbouring city to take part in them, and an offer of cooperation was made to Cologne, which at first declined the proposal. The first four festivals were therefore held at Elberfeld and Diisseldorf alternately.

From the time of the retirement of Elberfeld

  1. Daily Courant.