Page:A Dictionary of Music and Musicians vol 4.djvu/281

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VILLANELLA.

exhibit almost all the more prominent character- istics of the Villanella. in their most refined form : and the greater number of the Canzone of Gio- vanni Feretti, and the Balletti of Gastoldi to which Morley is generally believed to have been indebted for the first suggestion of his own still more charming Ballets differ from true Villa- nelle only in name. The same may be said of more than one of the best known and best beloved of Morley's own compositions in the same style. The best example of a modern Villa- nella is Sir Julius Benedict's well-known ' Blest be the home. 11 [W.S.R.]

VILLAROSA, IL MARCHESB DI. The au- thor of a Dictionary of Neapolitan musicians, entitled, Memorie dei compositor! di musica del Kegno di Napoli, raccolte dal Maxchese di Villa- rosa. Napoli 1840' indispensable to all stu- dents of Italian musical history. He was also the author of a work on Pergolesi (2nd ed., Naples, 1843), and to him is due the first cer- tain knowledge of the place and date of the birth of that great composer, so prematurely removed. [See vol. ii. 686 &.] [G.]

VILLOTEAU, GUILLAUME ANDR, well- known French writer on music, born Sept. 6, 1759, at Belleme (Dept. .de 1'Orne). After the death of his father, he was put, at four years of age, into the maitrise of the Cathedral of Le Mans, and afterwards into the town school, under the Fathers of the Oratory. He declined, however, to enter a seminary, and roamed about from town to town seeking engagements as a church-chorister. In despair for a living, he at length (like Coleridge) enlisted as a dragoon, but was totally unfitted for a military life, and re- turned to the maitrise of Le Mans, which he shortly exchanged for that of the Cathedral of La Rochelle. He ultimately went up for three years to the Sorbonne, and obtained a place in the choir of Notre Dame, but the outbreak of the Revolution brought this employment to an end, and in 1792 he entered the chorus of the Opera, and remained there till offered a place as musician among the savants who accompanied Napoleon on his expedition to Egypt.

(This musical mission opened to him a congenial sphere for his very considerable abilities. Having studied on the spot ancient music, both Egyptian and Oriental, he returned to Paris, and continued his researches in the public libraries. As a mem- ber of the Institut de 1'Egypte, he was anxious, before taking part in the great work which that body was commissioned by Government to draw up, to publish a ' Me"tnoire sur la possibility et 1'utilit^ d'une theorie exacte des principes naturels de la musique' (Paris, 1809, 88pp. 8vo), which he had read before the Societe litre des Sciences et des Arts. This was followed by ' Recherches sur 1' analogic de la Musique avec les Arts qui ont pour objet 1'imitation du langage ' (Ibid. 1807, 2 vols. 8vo), in which he developed

i In the article on SDMEB is ICUMEN IN. we promised to give any farther information which might reach us, under the head of VILLA- NELLA. We regret to say that no discovery likely to throw any new light upon the subject has as yet been made.

��VILLOTEAU.

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��some of his favourite ideas. It is in four parts : (i ) The relations of the art of music to language and morals; (2) The part played by music in ancient times, and the causes which led to the loss of its former power over civilised and un- civilised peoples ; (3) The condition of music in Europe since the days of Guido d'Arezzo, the necessary acquirements for a complete musician, and new and original observations on the nature, origin, and object of music ; (4) A continuation of the former, and an attempt to prove that music is an imitative and not an arbitrary art, that it has always been essentially traditional, and that by it were preserved intact for many cen- turies all human attainments law, science, and the arts, This huge book, with all its tedious- ness, purposeless digressions, and false philo- sophy, is crammed full of learning, and contains ideas which at that date were new and original.'* 1

Villoteau's fame rests not on this book, but on his share in 'La Description de 1'Egypte,' the magnificent work in 20 vols. folio (n being plates), which took 17 years to publish (1809- 1826), and which reflected so much credit on Conte and Jomard the distinguished secretaries of the commission. The musical portions are : (i) On the present condition of music in Egypt ; researches and observations historical and de- scriptive made in the country (240 pp. October, 1812); (2) A description, historical, technical, and literary of musical instruments in use among the Orientals (170 pp., 1813, with three plates engraved by Dechamel) ; (3) A dissertation on the different kinds of musical instruments to be seen on the ancient monuments of Egypt, and on the names given them in their own language by the first inhabitants of the country (26 pp.) ; (4) The music of ancient Egypt (70 pp., 1816).

Now that Egypt and the East are familiar ground, it is easy to refute some of Villoteau's hypotheses, or to prove him wrong on minor points ; but recollecting how little was known before him of the subjects he treated with so much learning and care, we may realise how much we owe to his patience and penetration. As a student, and unversed in matters of busi- ness, Villoteau made no profit either out of his position or his labours. Three-parts ruined by a notary, whom he had commissioned to buy him a property in Touraine, he had to leave Paris for Tours, where he owned a small house. Here he lived on his own slender resources, and on certain small sums allowed him by government for a French translation of Meibom's ' Antiquae musicae auctores VII' (1652), which however was never published. The MS., now in the library of the Conservatoire, is in three columns, the original Greek, and translations into Latin and French, all in Villoteau's hand. The Greek seems correct, but is difficult to read from its having neither stops nor accents.

a According to Fdtis, its success was so small that the publisher exported or destroyed all the unsold copies, a fact which would account for its present scarcity, but as the copyright was Villoteau'i own property, and it had been entered at Galland's, it is difficult to believe a story so much to the discredit of a respectable bookseller like Benouard.

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