Page:A Dictionary of Music and Musicians vol 2.djvu/509

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OLIPHANT.

Society,' and in 1836 'A Short Account of Mad- rigals.' In 1837 he published an 8vo volume entitled ' La Musa Madrigalesca,' a collection of the words of nearly 400 madrigals, with remarks and annotations. He wrote an English version of Beethoven's ' Fidelio,' and English words to several songs, and edited Tallis's ' Service and Responses.' In his latter years he was President of the Madrigal Society. He died March 9, 1873. [W.H.H.]

OLYMPIE. Trage'die lyrique, in 3 acts, imitated from Voltaire by Dieulafoy and Briffaut (and others) ; music by Spontini. Produced at the Acade"mie Royale Dec. 22, 1819. At Berlin, in German(E. J.A.Hoffmann), May 14, 1821. [G.]

ONSLOW, GEOBGE, born at Clermont-Ferrand (Puy-de-Ddme) July 27, 1784, was a grandson of the first Lord Onslow, and descended through his mother, a de Bourdeilles, from the family of Brant6me. Although eventually a prolific com- poser, he showed as a child no special love for music, and the lessons he took on the piano from Hullmandel, Dussek, and Cramer, during a stay of some years in London, developed nothing be- yond manual dexterity. Having returned to France, and settled in a province more famous for its scenery than for its opportunities of artis- tic relaxation, he associated with some amateurs who played chamber-music, and was thus in- duced first to study the cello, and then to com- pose works modelled after those which gave so much pleasure to himself and his friends. The analytical faculty, properly used, reveals to its possessor many secrets, but it neither supersedes lessons from an experienced teacher, nor can in any case supply genius. Thus Onslow, even after he had composed a considerable amount of cham- ber-music, felt the necessity for further instruction before attempting dramatic composition, and ap- plied to Reicha, who was an able master so far as grammar went, but incapable of transmitting to his pupil that sacred fire which he did not pos- sess himself. Onslow therefore proved as cold on the stage as he had done in the concert- room, and his three ope'ras-comiques, 'L' Alcalde dela Vega' (Aug. 10,1824), 'Le Colporteur' (Nov. 22,1827), and 'Le Due de Guise' (Sept. 8, 1837), after securing successive ' succe's d'estime/ disappeared, leaving the overture to "The ColporteuV which till lately was to be heard in concert rooms, as their only representative. His three published sym- phonies, though performed several times by the Socie'te' des Concerts du Conservatoire, are also forgotten. A musician of respectable attainments and indefatigable industry, an accomplished gentleman, and moreover a man of fortune, he had no difficulty in finding either editors or appre- ciative friends, as was proved by his election in 1842 to succeed Cherubini at the Institut. Such an appointment must have been gratifying to those musicians who believe with Buffon that ' genius is nothing more than a great power of patience.' With the above reservations it must be admitted that Onslow, by the number of his works, and the elegant style of his best passages, merited the reputation he enjoyed during hia life-

VOL. II. PT. IO.

��OPERA.

��497

��time. He died at Clermont on Oct. 3, 1853, leav- ing 34 quintets and 36 quartets for strings, 6 trios for P.F., violin and cello ; a sextuor (op. 30) for P.F., flute, clarinet, horn, bassoon and contra- basso, or P.F., a violins, viola, cello, and contra- basso ; a nonetto (op. 77) for violin, viola, cello, contrabasso, flute, oboe, clarinet, bassoon, and horn, which he also arranged (op. 77 bis) as a sextuor for P.F., flute, clarinet, horn, bassoon and contrabasso, or for P.F., 2 violins, viola, cello, and contrabasso ; a septet (op. 79) for P.F., flute, oboe, clarinet, horn, bassoon, and contrabasso ; sonatas and duos for P.F. and violin, or cello ; sonatas for P.F., 4 hands, and many pieces for P.F. solo. His quintets are undoubtedly his best works, and contain much charming music. No. 1 5, called ' Le Quintette de la balle,' describes his emotions the pain, the irregular beating of his pulse, and his gratitude on his recovery consequent on an accident that happened to him at a wolf-hunt, where a spent ball hit him in the face, rendering him some- what deaf in one ear for the rest of his life. His earlier quintets were written for 2 celli, but at a certain performance in England the 2nd cello failed to arrive, and it was proposed that Dragonetti should play the part on his double- bass. Onslow positively refused, saying the ef- fect would be dreadful. However, after waiting gome time, he was obliged to consent, and after a few bars was delighted with the effect. After this he wrote them for cello and double-bass, and the preceding ones were then re-arranged in that way under his own inspection by Goufi'e", the accomplished double-bass of the Paris Opera. HaleVy pronounced his eulogium at the Institut, and printed it in hia 'Souvenirs et Portraits.' D'Ortigue collected materials for his biography, but only published an abstract of them in the Me"nestrer (1863-64, p. 113). Fe"tis drew his information from these two sources, to which the reader is referred for further detail. [G. C.]

OPERA (Ital. Opera, abbrev. of Opera in Musica, a 'Musical Work,' Dramma per la Musica; Fr. Optra; Germ. Oper, Singspiel). A Drama, either Tragic or Comic, sung, through- out, with appropriate Scenery and Acting, to the Accompaniment of a full Orchestra.

It may seem strange to speak of the Opera as one of the oldest institutions in existence ; yet, our search for its origin leads us back to a time long antecedent to the beginning of the Christian ^Era ; and he who would read the story of its infancy aright, must collect its details from the History of Antient Greece : for it is as old as the Drama itself. It was nurtured at Athens, in that glorious Theatre, the acoustic properties of which have never yet been rivalled. Its earliest libret- tists were ^Eschylus and Sophocles ; and its earliest Orchestra, a band of Lyres and Flutes. There is no doubt about this. It is quite certain that not only were the Choruses of the ' Agamem- non 'and the 'Antigone' sung to the grandest music that could be produced at the time they were written, but also that every word of the Dialogue was musically declaimed. Musical Kk

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