Page:A Dictionary of Music and Musicians vol 3.djvu/152

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140

��ROBINSON.

��Besquialtera, and other noisy stops, degrading the instrument, and instead of the full and noble harmony with which it was designed to gratify the ear, tickling it with mere airs in two parts, in fact solos for a flute and a bass.' On Sept. 30, 1727, Robinson was appointed to succeed Dr. Croft as organist of Westminster Abbey. He had an extensive practice as a teacher of the harpsichord, and will be long remembered in the English Church by his double chant in Eb. He died April 30, 1762, and was buried, May 13, in the north aisle of Westminster Abbey. He married, Sept. 6, 17*6, Ann, youngest daughter of William Turner, Mus. Doc. She was a singer, and appeared at the King's Theatre in 1720 in Domenico Scarlatti's opera 'Narcissus,' being de- scribed as ' Mrs. Turner-Robinson ' to distinguish her from Anastasia Robinson, who sang in the same opera. She died Jan. 5, and was buried Jan. 8, 1741, in the west cloister of Westminster Abbey. Robinson had a daughter, who was a contralto singer and the original representative of Daniel in Handel's oratorio ' Belshazzar,' 1745, and also sang in others of his oratorios. [W.H.H.]

ROBINSON, JOSEPH, was the youngest of four brothers, born and resident in Dublin. Their father Francis was an eminent professor of music, and in 1810 was mainly instrumental in founding 'the Sons of Handel,' probably the earliest society established there for the execution of large works. His son Francis, Mus. Doc., had a tenor voice of great beauty and sympathetic quality ; was a vicar-choral of the two Dublin Cathedrals ; and, at the Musical Festival in Westminster Abbey, in June 1834, sang a prin- cipal part. Another son, William, had a deep bass of exceptional volume ; while John, the organist of both Cathedrals and of Trinity Col- lege, had a tenor ranging to the high D. The four brothers formed an admirable vocal quartet, and were the first to make known the German Part-songs then rarely heard either in England or Ireland.

JOSEPH ROBINSON born in Aug. 1816 was & chorister of St. Patrick's at the early age of eight, and afterwards a member of all the choirs, where his fine delivery of recitative was always a striking feature. He also played in the orchestra of the Dublin Philharmonic. But it is as a conductor that his reputation is best established. In 1834 he founded the 'Antient Society,' of which he was conductor for 29 years, and which ceased to exist soon after his resigna- tion. It commenced its meetings in a private house, then took a large room, now the Royal Irish Academy of Antiquities, and in 1843 had made such progress that it purchased and re- modelled the building since known as the 'Antient Concert Rooms.' Many of the standard works of the old masters were produced, but those of modern genius were not excluded. Thus Mendelssohn's ' Elijah ' was performed in 1 847, the year after its first production at Birmingham. The ' Hymn of Praise,' ' The Sons of Art,' and ' St. Paul ' were all given at early dates. The society was not large ; rather a choir than a chorus ; but it was the first

��ROBINSON.

to teach the Dublin public what beauty could be developed in the execution of a work, by attention to the conductor's baton, with every gradation of effect. Amongst the last things written by Mendelssohn was the instrumentation of his 'Hear my Prayer' (originally composed for voices and organ only), expressly for Mr. Robinson to produce at the ' Antients.' It did not reach him till after the composer's death. [See MENDELSSOHN, vol. ii. 2836.) In 1837 he became conductor of the ' University Choral So- ciety/ founded by the students. At one of its concerts the music of 'Antigone' was given for the first time out of Germany. He continued to conduct the Society for 10 years, and it still flourishes under Sir Robert Stewart.

In 1849 a y un g pianiste, Miss FANNY ABTHUK (born Sept. 1831), arrived in Dublin from Southampton, and made her first successful appearance there Feb. 19, 1849. Mr. Robinson and she were married July 17 following, and she continued for 30 years to be an extraordinary favourite. Her first appearance in London was at the Musical Union, June 26, 1855, when she played Beethoven's Sonata in F (op. 24), with Ernst, and received the praises of Meyerbeer ; also at the New Philharmonic, where she played Mendelssohn's Concerto in D. In 1852, at the opening of the Cork Exhibition, Mr. Robinson conducted the music, which was on a large scale, and included a new cantata by Sir Robert Stewart. In 1853, an International Exhibi- tion was opened in Dublin ; there he assembled 1000 performers, the largest band and chorus yet brought together in Ireland, and produced a fine effect.

In 1856 efforts were made to revive the 'Irish Academy of Music,' founded in 1848, but languishing for want of funds and pupils. Mr. and Mrs. Robinson joined as Professors, and created Vocal and Pianoforte Schools of great excellence. Nearly all the Irish artists, in both lines, who appeared during their time, owed both training and success to their teaching ; and when, after 20 years, Mr. Robinson resigned, the In- stitution was one of importance and stability.

In 1859, f r *^ e Handel Centenary, he gave the 'Messiah,' with Jenny Lind and Belletti among the principals. The net receipts amounted to 900, an unprecedented sum in Dublin. In 1865 the large Exhibition Palace was opened by the Prince of Wales, and Mr. Robinson con- ducted the performance with a band and chorus of 700.

After the cessation of the 'Antients,' there was no society to attempt systematically the worthy production of great works. To remedy this a chorus was trained by Mr. Robinson, and estab- lished in 1876 as the 'Dublin Musical Society.' It gives three concerts each year, with 300 per- formers. It produces great choral works, new and old, is attracting a regular audience, and is steadily educating the public to a higher tone. Some time since, the members presented Mr. Robinson with an address and a purse of 100 sovereigns. The purse was returned by him with

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