Page:A Dictionary of Music and Musicians vol 4.djvu/461
Vaet ; and the frequent custom of designating musicians by their Christian name alone, has made it difficult to discriminate De Wert's pro- ductions from those of other * Jachets,' ' Jaquets,' or ' Jacques ' of his time, particularly of Jacques Brumel, Jacques de Buus, and Jacques Berchem. 1 The last-named has been plausibly identified with him, and M. Vander Straeten has found himself reduced to distinguishing an elder and a younger De Wert. 2 The biographical mater- ials, however, which this writer has for the first time brought together, appear not incompatible with their reference to a single person. On this supposition, De Wert was born in the Low Countries in the second quarter of the i6th century, and went as a child to Italy, where he was received into the choir of Maria de Cardona, Marchesa della Padulla. Afterwards he passed into the service of Count Alfonso of Norellara, not (as has been stated) of the Duke of Ferrara; and published in 1558 a volume of madrigals which appears to have excited so much attention, that a couple of years later he could be reckoned by Guicciardini among the famous musicians of the day. About 1568 he removed to the court of the Duke of Mantua ; but his life was soon embittered by the mis- conduct of his wife. 3 He seems to have turned for help to the Duke of Ferrara, the magnificent Alfonso II., and to have formed a sort of un- official connection with his court, then at the height of its splendour, which lasted beyond the immediate purpose of his resort thither. His musical attainments rendered him extremely serviceable on state occasions, his special feat in composition being a 'Concerto Maggiore' for 57 singers; and so late as 1586* the epistle dedicatory to his eighth book of madrigals re- cords his intimate attachment to the court of Ferrara, whether in actual service or not is doubtful, since it seems clear that all the while he remained connected with Mantua. 5 His visits to Ferrara involved him in an intrigue, as it turned out, with one of the court ladies, the poetess Tarquinia Molza : her relations re- fused her marriage, and she was induced to withdraw into privacy. She went to live with her mother at Mantua, where she died in 1617 ; but it does not appear that she ever resumed her intimacy with the musician. De Wert, however, was still resident in the town, as we learn from the 'Canzonette Villanelle,' which he published at Venice in 1589, and dedicated to Leonora, Duchess of Mantua. The tenth and last volume of his madrigals is dated Venice, Sept. 10, 1591, about which year his death may be presumed to have happened.
The ten books of madrigals 6 which he pub- lished at Venice between 1558 and 1591, and
i See Vander Straeten, ' La Musique aux Fays-Bas,' i. 175 ; vl. 102, 3.
a Ibid. vol. vl. 329-348.
s His letter to the duke on the subject (March 22, 1570), which Is printed by M. Vander Straeten, vl. 334-336, is full of a characteristic interest.
4 FtStis (2nd ed.) viil. 454 a.
6 The seventh book of De Wert's Madrigals bears date Mantua, April 10, 1581. and is dedicated to Margaret, Duchess of Mantua i F5tis, p. 454 a.
< See Fetis.aud Eitner, v. s.
��which were several times reprinted by Gardano, contain evidently the best of De Wert's work. They are mostly written for 5 voices, but in the sixth and ninth volumes we meet with pieces for 6 or even 7. His other compositions include only the Canzonette already mentioned, and a number of motets which were principally pub- lished by Gerolamo Scoto at Venice. Luca Marenzio, 7 it should be added, is said to have been at one time his pupil. [R.L.P.]
WESLEY, CHARLES, son of the Rev. Charles Wesley and nephew of the celebrated Rev. John Wesley, was born at Bristol, Dec. n, 1757. His musical instinct displayed itself in early infancy, and at two years and three-quarters old he could play ' a tune on the harpsichord readily and in just time,' and 'always put a true bass to it.' He was taken to London, and Beard offered to get him admitted as a child of the Chapel-Royal, but his father declined it, having then no intention of educating him as a musi- cian. He was also introduced to Stanley and Worgan, who expressed themselves very strongly as to his abilities. After receiving instruction from Kelway and others he embraced music as his profession, and became an excellent per- former on both organ and harpsichord. He held at various times the appointment of organ- ist at Surrey Chapel, South Street Chapel, Wei- beck Chapel, Chelsea Hospital and St. Mary- lebone Church. Having attained to a certain degree of excellence as a performer he made no further progress. He composed a set of 'Six Concertos for the Organ or Harpsichord, Op. i,' a set of Eight Songs, 1784, some anthems (one printed in Page's 'Harmonia Sacra'), music for ' Caractacus,' a drama, and other pieces. He died May 23, 1834.
His younger brother, SAMUEL, born Feb. 24, 1 766 (the anniversary of the birth of Handel), although also a precocious performer, did not develop his faculties quite so early, for he was three years old before he played a tune, and did not attempt to put a bass to one until he had learned his notes. He proved to be, notwith- standing, the more gifted of the two brothers. From his cradle he had the advantage of hear- ing his brother's performances upon the organ, to which, perhaps, his superiority might be partly ascribed. Before he was five years old he learned to read words by poring over Handel's oratorio, ' Samson,' and soon afterwards learned, without instruction, to write. When between six and seven years of age he was taught to play by note by Williams, a young organist of Bristol. Before then he had composed some parts of an oratorio, ' Ruth,' which he completed and penned down when about eight years old, and which was highly commended by Dr. Boyce. About the same time he learned to play the violin, of which he became a master, but his chief delight was in the organ. He was now introduced into company as a prodigy, and ex- cited general admiration. In 1777 he published
T Vander Straeten, vl. 102, 3.