Page:A Dictionary of Music and Musicians vol 3.djvu/167

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RONCONI.

��Paris, with such success that he was engaged there for several subsequent seasons, and at one time was manager of the theatre, and was also engaged at Vienna, Pesth, Madrid (where he was manager), Barcelona and Naples. He reappeared in England April 13, 1847, at Covent Garden, as Enrico, and also played Figaro (Barbiere), May 8, De Chevreuse on the production in England of 'Maria di Rohan,' and the Doge on the production of Verdi's ' I due Foscari,' June 19, in which 'by his dignity and force he saved the opera . . . from utter condemnation* (Chorley). ' There are few instances of a voice so limited in compass (hardly exceeding an octave), so inferior in quality, so weak, so

habitually out of tune The low stature,

the features, unmarked and commonplace when silent, promising nothing to an audience, yet which could express a dignity of bearing, a tragic passion not to be exceeded, or an exu- berance of the wildest, quaintest, most whimsical,

most spontaneous comedy These things

we have seen, and have forgotten personal insigni- ficance, vocal power beyond mediocrity, every disqualification, in the spell of strong, real sensi- bility' (Ib.). There have been few such examples of terrible courtly tragedy as ' Signor Ronconi's Chevreuse the polished demeanour of his earlier scenes giving a fearful force of contrast to the latter ones . . . . ' (Ib.) He sang at the Italian Opera every season until 1866 inclusive ex- cepting 1855 an d 62, in all the great comic operas, as Don Juan, Leporello, Masetto, Na- bucco, Faust (Spohr), Rigoletto, Lord Allcash (Fra Diavolo), Dandolo (Zampa), Barberino (Stradella), and Crispino (Crispino e la Comare), etc. In the last six parts he was the original interpreter at the Italian Opera, and in many of these, such as Rigoletto, the Lord, Figaro, and the Podesta (La Gazza) of Rossini, and those of Donizetti he remained a favourite. Of his classical parts, his Don Juan alone was a dis- appointment. He afterwards went to America, and remained there some time, well received. He returned to Europe in 1874, and was ap- pointed a teacher of singing at the Conservatorio at Madrid, which post he still holds. Some years previously he founded a school of singing at Granada. 1

SEBASTIANO, the other son, also a baritone, born May 1814, at Venice, received instruction from his father and the elder Romani, and made his first appearance in 1836, at Teatro Pantera, Lucca, as Torquato Tasso, in which part through- out his career he made one of his greatest successes. He enjoyed considerable popularity in his own country, at Vienna, and in Spain, Portugal, and America, as an able artist in the same line of parts as his brother unlike him in personal appearance, being a tall thin man, but like him in the capability of his face for great variety of expression. He appeared in England in 1860 at Her Majesty's, and was fairly well received as Rigoletto (in which he made his delbut, May 1 2th),

��RONDO.

��155

��I

��i Not Cordova, as according to FStIt.

��Masetto, and Griletto (Prova d'un Opera Seria). He retired from public life after a career of 35 years, and is at the present time a teacher of singing at Milan. 8 [A.C.]

RONDEAU. The French name for a short poem of six or eight lines, containing but two rhymes, and so contrived that the open- ing and closing lines were identical, thus form- ing as it were a circle or round. The name has come to be used in music for a movement constructed on a somewhat corresponding plan. [See RONDO.] [G.]

RONDO (Fr. Eondeau). A piece of music having one principal subject, to which a return is always made after the introduction of other matter, so as to give a symmetrical or rounded form to the whole.

From the simplicity and obviousness of this idea it will be readily understood that the Rondo- form was the earliest and most frequent definite mould for musical construction. For a full tracing of this point see FORM [i. 541, 552]. In fact the First Movement and the Rondo are the two principal types of Form, modifications of the Rondo serving as the skeleton for nearly every piece or song now written. Dr. Marx ('Allge- meine Musiklehre') distinguishes five forms of Rondo, but his description is involved, and, in the absence of any acknowledged authority for these distinctions, scarcely justifiable.

Starting with a principal subject of definite form and length, the first idea naturally was to preserve this unchanged in key or form through the piece. Hence a decided melody of eight or sixteen bars was chosen, ending with a full close in the tonic. After a rambling excursion through several keys and with no particular object, the principal subject was regained and an agreeable sense of contrast attained. Later on there grew out of the free section a second subject in a re- lated key, and still later a third, which allowed the second to be repeated in the tonic. This- variety closely resembles the first-movement form, the third subject taking the place of the development of subjects, which is rare in * Rondo. The chief difference lies in the return to the first subject immediately after the second. which is the invariable characteristic of the Rondo. The first of these classes is the Rondo from Couperin to Haydn, the second and third that of Mozart and Beethoven. The fully deve- loped Rondo-form of Beethoven and the modern composers may be thus tabulated :

��In the case of a Rondo in a minor key, the second subject would naturally be in the relative major instead of in the dominant.

One example perhaps the clearest as well as the best known in all music will suffice to make this plan understood by the untechnical reader. Taking the Rondo of Beethoven's

J We are Indebted to him and Mr. J. C. Griffith for much of the. above information with regard to his family.

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