Page:A Dictionary of Music and Musicians vol 4.djvu/168

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152

��TOSTT.

��sold well that he disposed of the copyright for the insignificant sum of 20 each. Sigr. Sgambati, the well-known composer, and leader of the new musical school in Rome, was among the first to recognise Tosti's talent, and in order to give his friend a fair start in the fashionable and artistic world, he assisted him to give a concert at the ' Sala Dante/ the St. James's Hall of Rome, where he achieved a great success, singing several of his own compositions, and a ballad purposely written for him by Sgambati, * Eravi un vecchio sene.' The Queen of Italy, then Princess Margherita di Savoja, honoured the concert with her presence, and showed her appreciation by immediately ap- pointing him as her teacher of singing. Shortly afterwards he was entrusted with the care of the Musical Archives of the Italian Court. It was in 1875 that M. Tosti first visited London, where he was well received in the best circles, both as an artist and as a man. Since then he has paid a yearly visit to the English capital, and in 1880 was called in as teacher of singing to the Royal Family of England.

M. Tosti has written Italian, French, and English songs : and though the Italian outnumber by far both the English and French, his popularity rests mainly on his English ballads. The wind and tide of fashion are fully in his favour, yet it would be unsafe to determine what place he will ultimately hold amongst song composers. What can even now be said of him is that he has an elegajit, simple and facile inspiration, a style of his own, a genuine Italian flow of melody, and great skill in finding the most appropriate and never-failing effects for drawing-room songs. He is still in the full strength of intellectual power and life, and each new composition shows a higher artistic aim and a nobler and more vigor- ous expression of thought than the last. There is therefore good ground to hope that his future works may win for him from critics of all nations the high estimation in which he is now held by English and Italian amateurs.

He has published, up to the end of 1883, 35 songs, in addition to 4 Vocal Albums, and 15 duets, ' Canti Popolari Abruzzesi.' Of his songs the most popular in London are 'For ever,' 'Good- bye,' 'Mother,' 'At Vespers,' ' Amore,' ' Aprile,' 4 Vorrei morire,' and That Day.' [G.M.]

TOSTO. Piu TOSTO * (plutdC) is an expression occasionally used by Beethoven, as in the second of the Sonatas for PF. and cello (op. 5) ' Allegro molto, piu tosto presto ' ; or the second of the three Sonatas for PF. and violin (op. 12) 'Andante, piu tosto Allegretto.' The meaning in these cases is ' Allegro molto, or rather presto,' and ' Andante, or rather Allegretto.' It has the same force with 'quasi' 'Andante quasi Alle- gretto' (op. 9, no. 2.) i.e. 'Andante, as if Alle- gretto.' [G.]

TOUCH (Ger. AnscJilag). This term is used to express the manner in which the keys of the

1 'Rather than the Madonna del Granduca shall leave Florence,' said Cavour/l'iuiorfo mifaeciofare la yuerru.' (Timei of June 12. 1884 P. 80.)

��TOUCH.

pianoforte or organ are struck or pressed by the fingers. It is a subject of the greatest importance, since it is only by means of a good touch that a satisfactory musical effect can be produced. Touch on a keyed instrument is therefore analogous to a good production of the voice on the part of a singer, or to good bowing on that of a violinist.

I. Pianoforte. To the student of the pianoforte, cultivation of touch is not less necessary than the acquirement of rapidity of finger, since the manner in which the keys are struck exercises a very considerable influence on the quality of the sounds produced, and therefore on the effect of the whole passage. A really good touch implies absolute equality of the fingers and a perfect control over all possible gradations of tone, together with the power of producing different qualities of sound at the same time, as in the playing of fugues, and polyphonic music generally. In fact all the higher qualities of pianoforte technique, such as crispness, delicacy, expression, sonority, etc., depend entirely upon touch.

Generally speaking, pianoforte music demands two distinct kinds of touch, the one adapted for the performance of brilliant passages, the other for sustained melodies. These two kinds are in many respects opposed to each other, the first requiring the fingers to be considerably raised above the keys, which are then struck with firmness and rapidity, while in the other the keys are closely pressed, not struck, with more or less of weight according to the amount of tone desired. This quality of percussion in brilliant passages is to some extent a characteristic of modern piano- forte-playing, the great players of former times having certainly used it far more sparingly than at present. Thus Hummel (Pianoforte School) says that the fingers must not be lifted too high from the keys ; and going back to the time of Bach, we read that he moved only the end joint of the fingers, drawing them gently inwards 'as if taking up coin from a table.' [See vol. ii. p. 736 &.] But the action of the clavichords, and after them of the Viennese pianos, was extremely light, the slightest pressure producing a sound, and there is no doubt that the increase of percussion has become necessary in order to overcome the greater resistance offered by the modern keyboard, a resistance caused by the greater size of the instru- ments, and consequent weight of the hammers, which had increased in the lowest octave of Broadwood pianos from 2 oz. in 1817 to 4 oz. in 1874, an< l which, although now somewhat less, being in 1884, 3 oz., is still considerably in excess of the key-weights of the earliest pianos.

It seems possible that the great improvement manifested by modern pianofortes in the direction of sonority and sustaining power may have given rise to a certain danger that the cultivation of the second kind of touch, that which has for its object the production of beautiful tone in cantabile, may be neglected. This, if it were so, would be very much to be regretted. The very .fact that the pianoforte is at its best unable to sustain tone equably, renders the acquirement of a 'singing' touch at once the more arduous and the more

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