Page:A Dictionary of Music and Musicians vol 4.djvu/123

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THOMSON.

relation to Moore, raised in the article on IRISH Music. True, the completed volumes of Thom- son's ' Irish Melodies ' are dated 1814 ; but they were completed long before, except as to the instrumental accompaniments. Messrs. Power engaged Moore to write songs for their rival publication in 1806, at which time the poet was only known in Edinburgh as a young writer of indecent and satiric effusions. (See ' Edinburgh Keview' of July 1806.)

Til. As to the instrumental accompaniments, Thomson's plan was as new and original as it was bold. Besides the pianoforte accompani- ment each song was to have a prelude and coda, and parts ad libitum throughout for violin, or flute, and violoncello, the composition to be entrusted to none but the first composers.

In the years 1 791-3, PI eyel stood next to Haydn and Mozart ; they in Vienna, he at that time much in London. Thomson engaged PI eyel for the work, but he soon ceased to write, and Thomson was compelled to seek another composer. Mo- zart was dead ; Haydn seemed to occupy too lofty a position ; and Kozeluch of Vienna was engaged. But the appearance of Napier's Collec- tion of Scotch Songs with pianoforte accompani- ments, written by Haydn during his first visit to London, showed Thomson that the greatest living composer did not disdain this kind of work. Thomson applied to him ; and Haydn worked for him until about 1806. The star of Beethoven had now risen, and he did not disdain to continue the work. But he, too, died before Thomson's work was completed, and Bishop and George Hogarth made up the sixth volume of Scotch songs (1841).

The following list exhibits each composer's share in the work :

SCOTCH SONQS.

Vol. I. originally all by Pleyel.

Vol. II. Kozeluch (?). In the second edition of these (1803) Thomson substi- tuted arrangements by Haydn for several which were ' less happily executed than the rest.'

Vols. in., IV. all by Haydn.

Vol. V. (Pref. dated June 1,1818) Haydn . . 4

��THOMSON.

��107

��Vol. VI. (dated Sept. 1841)

��Beethoven

Haydn . . Beethoven Kozeluch . Hogarth . Bishop . .

��WELSH MELODIES.

The Preface is dated May, 1809.

Vol. I. Kozeluch ..... 10

Haydn ...... 20

Vol. n. Kozeluch ..... 15

Haydn ...... 17

Kozeluch and Haydn 1

��Vol. III. Haydn . ,

Beethoven .... 26

��30

��As a means of extending the knowledge of the Scotch melodies, Thomson, at the beginning of his intercourse with Pleyel and Kozeluch, ordered sonatas based upon such airs. Both composed

��works of this kind; but how many does not appear. It is evident from a letter of Beethoven to Thomson (Nov. 1, 1806) that besides arrange- ments of melodies, the latter had requested trios, quintets, and sonatas on Scotch themes from him also. Beethoven's price for compositions, which could only sell in Great Britain and Ireland, was such as could not be acceded to, and none were written. About 1818-20 he wrote varia- tions on a dozen Scotch melodies, which Thomson published, but which never paid the cost of printing either in Great Britain or Germany. At the lowest estimate Beethoven received for his share in Thomson's publications not less than 550- George Hogarth, who married Thomson's daughter, told the writer that the Scotch songs only paid their cost.

In the winter of 1 860-61 there appeared in Germany a selection of these songs from Bee- thoven's MSS., edited by Franz Espagne, in the preface to which he writes : ' The songs printed in Thomson's collection are, both as to text and music, not only incorrectly printed, but wilfully altered and abridged.' These groundless charges were made honestly, but with a most plentiful lack of knowledge. They need not be discussed here, as they were amply met and completely refuted in the Vienna 'Deutsche Musikzeitung' of Nov. 23 and Dec. 28, 1861. All Beethoven's Scotch and Irish songs are contained in Breit- kopf 's complete edition of his works, Series 24, Nos. 257-260. [A.W.T.]

THOMSON, JOHN, first Professor of Music at Edinburgh University, was the son of an eminent clergyman, and was born at Ednam, Kelso, Oct. 28, 1805. His father afterwards became minister of St. George's Church, Edin- burgh. He made the acquaintance of Mendels- sohn during the visit of the latter to Edinburgh in the summer of 1829,' and showed him much attention, which Mendelssohn requited by a warm letter of introduction to his family in Berlin, in which he says of Thomson 1 'he is very fond of music ; I know a pretty trio of his composition and some local pieces which please me very well ' (ganz gut gefallen). During his visit to Germany he studied at Leipzig, kept up his friendship with Mendelssohn, and made the intimate acquaintance of Schumann, Mo- scheles, and other musicians, and of Schnyder von Wartensee, whose pupil he became. In 1839 he was elected the first Keid Professor at Edin- burgh, a result which was doubtless not unin- fluenced by the warm testimonials from his Leipzig friends which he submitted. He gave the first Keid Concert on Feb. 12, 1841, and the book of words contains analytical remarks by him on the principal pieces probably the first instance of such a thing. Thomson died May 6, 1841, deeply lamented. He wrote three operas or dramatic pieces, 'Hermann, or the Broken Spear,' ' The House of Aspen,' and The Shadow on the Wall.' The last two were brought out at the Royal English Opera (Lyceum), on

i He spells the name Thompson, but It must surely be the sam* man. See ' Die Famllie Mendelssohn,' 1. 243.

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