Page:A Dictionary of Music and Musicians vol 2.djvu/91

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KYRIE.
79
LABLACHE.

attribute has never hitherto been reached, in its highest perfection, in the presence of instrumental accompaniment.

II. The Response, 'Lord have mercy upon us, and incline our hearts to keep this law'; sung, in the Service of the Church of England, after the recitation of the Ten Commandments.

As the custom of reciting the Commandments during the Communion Service is of later date than the First Prayer Book of King Edward the Sixth, this Response is not found in Merbecke's 'Booke of Common Praier Noted,' which was first published in 1550: in Plain Song Services, therefore, it is usually sung to the simple melody given, by Merbecke, to the older form of Kyrie used in the Mass. The manner of its treatment by the earlier composers of the polyphonic School was extremely simple, and dignified: indeed, some of these Responses, as set by Tallis, (in the Dorian Mode,) Bird, Farrant, Gibbons, and other old English writers, are perfect little gems of artistic beauty. With such examples—and many excellent ones, of later date—within their reach, it is strange that Cathedral Organists should ever have countenanced the pernicious custom of 'adapting' the words of the Kyrie to music which—however good in itself—was never intended to be sung to them. Not very long ago, the opening bars of a Chaconne, by Jomelli, were heard in almost every Church in which the Responses were chaunted: while, within the last few years, no Kyrie has been so popular as one 'adapted' to a passage occurring in 'Elijah,' and generally associated with a distribution of the voice parts which Mendelssohn would have condemned as utterly barbarous.

[ W. S. R. ]


L.


LA, the syllable used in solmisation for the sixth note in the scale, possibly derived by Guido from the sixth line of the well-known hymn to S. John—'Labii reatum.' It is used by the French and Italians as a synonym for A (the sixth note of the scale of C)—'Sinfonie en la de Beethoven,' and they speak of the second string of the violin as 'corde en la.' 'La bémol' is A flat.

The number of vibrations per second for the A in the treble stave is—Paris diapason 435, London Philharmonic pitch 454. The A proposed by the Society of Arts, and actually in use (1879) at H.M. Opera, 444 (eq. temp.)

[ G. ]

LABITZKY, Josef, a well-known dance composer, born July 4, 1802, at Schönfeld, Eger, was grounded in music by Veit of Petschau; in 1820 began the world as first violin in the band at Marienbad, and in 1821 removed to a similar position at Carlsbad. He then formed an orchestra of his own, and made tournées in South Germany. Feeling his deficiencies, he took a course of composition under Winter, in Munich, and in 1827 published his first dances there. In 1835 he settled at Carlsbad as director of the band, making journeys from Petersburg on the one hand, to London on the other, and becoming every day more famous. He resides at Carlsbad, and has associated his son August with him as director. His second son, Wilhelm, an excellent violin player, is settled at Toronto, Canada, and his daughter is a favourite singer at Frankfort. Labitzky's dances are full of rhythm and spirit. Among his waltzes, the 'Sirenen,' 'Grenzboten,' 'Aurora,' 'Carlsbader,' and 'Lichtensteiner,' are good. In galops he fairly rivals Lanner and Strauss, though he has not the poetry of those two composers. [App. p.694 "add date of death, Aug. 19, 1881."]

[ F. G. ]

LABLACHE, Luigi, was born at Naples, Dec. 5, 1794. His mother was Irish, and his father, Nicolas Lablache, a merchant of Marseilles, had quitted that place in 1791 in consequence of the Revolution. But another Revolution, in 1799, overwhelmed him with ruin in his new country, and he died of chagrin. His family was, however, protected by Joseph Buonaparte, and the young Luigi was placed in the Conservatorio della Pietà de' Turchini, afterwards called San Sebastiano. He was now twelve years old. Gentilli taught him the elements of music, and Valesi instructed him in singing; while, at the same time, he studied the violin and violoncello under other masters. His progress was not at first remarkable, for he was wanting in application and regularity; but his aptitude was soon discovered by a singular incident. One day a contrebassist was wanted for the orchestra of S. Onofrio. Marcello-Perrino, who taught young Lablache the cello, said to him, 'You play the cello very well: you can easily learn the double bass!' The boy had a dislike for that instrument, in spite of which he got the gamut of the double bass written out for him on a Tuesday, and on the following Friday executed his part with perfect accuracy. There is no doubt, in fact, that, had he not been so splendidly endowed as a singer, he might have been equally brilliant as a virtuoso on any other instrument that he chose (Escudier). At this period his boy's voice was a beautiful contralto, the last thing that he did with which was to sing, as it was just breaking, the solos in the Requiem of Mozart on the death of Haydn in 1809. He was then 15, and his efforts to sing to the end of the work left him at last without power to produce a sound. Before many months were passed, however, he became possessed of a magnificent bass, which gradually increased in volume until, at the age of 20, it was the finest of the kind which can be remembered, with a compass of two octaves, from E♭ below to E♭ above the bass stave.

Continually dominated by the desire to appeal