Page:A Dictionary of Music and Musicians vol 2.djvu/70

From Wikisource
Jump to: navigation, search
This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.
58
KINSKY.
KING'S BAND OF MUSIC.

violins, 6 lutes, 4 viols, 1 harp, and 15 'musicians for the lute and voice,' exclusive of trumpeters, drummers, and fifers, Nicholas Laniere being master of the band; and in 1641 his band included 14 violins, 19 wind instruments, and 25 'musicians for the waytes,' besides a serjeant trumpeter and 18 trumpeters. Charles II. in 1660 established, in imitation of Louis XIV. a band of 24 performers on violins, tenors and basses, popularly known as the 'four and twenty fiddlers.' This band not only played while the king was at meals, but was even introduced into the royal chapel, anthems being composed with symphonies and ritornels between the vocal movements expressly for them. After the death of Charles the band was kept up, but somewhat changed in its composition; it no longer consisted exclusively of stringed instruments, but some of its members performed on wind instruments. It is now constituted so as to meet the requirements of modern music, and consists of thirty members. Formerly, besides its ordinary duties it was employed, together with the gentlemen and children of the Chapel Royal, in the performance of the odes annually composed for the king's birth-day and New Year's day; but since the discontinuance of the production of such odes, its duties have been reduced to attendance on royal weddings and baptisms, and other state occasions. The following is the succession of the 'Masters of the Musick':—Davis Mell and George Hudson, 1660; Thomas Baltzar, 1661 (?); John Banister, 1663; Thomas Purcell, 1672; Dr. Nicholas Staggins, 1682; John Eccles, 1705; Dr. Maurice Greene, 1735 (?); Dr. William Boyce, 1755; John Stanley, 1779; Sir William Parsons, 1786; William Shield, 1817; Christian Kramer, 1829; François Cramer, 1834; George Frederick Anderson, 1848; William George Cusins, 1870. Robert Cambert and Louis Grabut are sometimes said to have held the office of Master of the Musick, but this is doubtful.

[ W. H. H. ]

KING'S THEATRE, THE. In the early part of the 18th century, Sir John Vanbrugh, the architect and dramatist, proposed to the performers at Lincoln's Inn Fields Theatre to build them a new and splendid theatre in the Haymarket, and, his offer being accepted, he raised a subscription of £30,000 in sums of £100 each, in return for which every subscriber was to have a free admission for life. The undertaking was greatly promoted by the Kit-Cat Club, and the first stone of the building, which was wholly from the designs of Vanbrugh, was laid in 1704 with great solemnity by the beautiful Countess of Sunderland (daughter of the great Duke of Marlborough), known as 'The little Whig.' Congreve, the dramatist, was associated with Vanbrugh in the management, and the theatre was opened on April 9, 1705, under the name of 'The Queen's Theatre,' which name was changed on the accession of George I. in 1714 to 'King's Theatre,' by which it continued to be called until the death of William IV. in 1837, since which it has been styled 'Her Majesty's Theatre,' the reason for not resuming the name 'Queen's Theatre' being that the theatre in Tottenham Street at the time bore that appellation. Vanbrugh's erection, although internally a splendid and imposing structure, was totally unfitted for its purpose, owing to the reverberations being so great as to make the spoken dialogue almost unintelligible, and to necessitate extensive alterations in order to prevent them. In the course of a few years the house became the established home of Italian opera. In it the greater part of Handel's operas and nearly all his early oratorios were first performed. On the evening of June 17, 1789, the building was burned to the ground. It was rebuilt in 1790 from designs by Michael Novosielski, the lyre-shaped plan being then first adopted in England. When completed it was refused a licence for dramatic representations, but a magistrates' licence being obtained it was opened with a concert and ballet on March 26, 1791. [See p. 710a [App. p.690 "add vol. i. to reference".] A regular licence was however soon afterwards granted. The interior of the theatre was the largest in England; there were five tiers of boxes, exclusive of slips, and it was capable of containing nearly 3300 persons. It was admirably adapted for conveying sound. On the east side was a large and handsome concert-room, 95 feet long, 46 feet broad, and 35 feet high, on a level with the principal tier of boxes. About 1817 an important alteration was made in the exterior of the theatre by the erection of the colonnades on the north, south, and east sides, and the formation of the western arcade. The northern colonnade has since been removed. (There is a good description of the pit, including the famous 'Fops' alley' in Lumley's 'Reminiscences,' chap, vii.) The theatre was again destroyed by fire on Friday night, Dec. 6, 1867. It was rebuilt by April 1869, but not opened until 1875, and then not for operatic performances, but for the exhibition of the preaching and singing of Messrs. Moody and Sankey, who occupied it for about three months, after which it remained closed until April 28, 1877, when it was re-opened as an opera house. No theatre, perhaps, has been under the management of so many different persons—Swiney, Collier, Aaron Hill, Heidegger, Handel, the Earl of Middlesex, Signora Venisci, Crawford, Yates, Gordon, Hon. J. Hobart, Brookes, O'Reilly, Le Texier, Sir John Gallini, Tranchard, Taylor, Goold, Waters, Ebers, Benelli, Laporte, Monck Mason, Lumley, E. T. Smith, and Mapleson, have by turns directed its affairs. To attempt only to name the compositions produced there, and the eminent artists who have been their exponents, would extend this notice to an unreasonable length; it would be, in fact, almost to write a history of the Italian opera in England.

[ W. H. H. ]

KINSKY, Prince Ferdinand Johann Nepomuk Joseph, of Wchinitz and Tettau in Bohemia, was born in the palace belonging to the family at Vienna, December 4, 1781, and was a boy of eleven when Beethoven came thither. His father, Prince Joseph, was one