CANTILENA—etymologically, a little song. This term was formerly applied to the upper or solo part of a madrigal; also to a small cantata or any short piece for one voice. At the present time the term is employed in instrumental music to denote a flowing melodious phrase of a vocal character; or, to indicate the smooth rendering of slow expressive passages. It is also sometimes used as a substitute for Cantabile.
[ A. H. W. ]
[ W. H. H. ]
CANTOR (Mediæval Lat. Primicerius; Eng. Precentor, Chanter; Fr. Chantre, Grand Chantre).
I. A title given, in Cathedral and Collegiate Churches, to the leader of the singing. In English Cathedrals, the Precentor is usually second only in dignity to the Dean; the Precentor of Sarum claiming still higher rank, as representing the entire Province of Canterbury—an honour which has long existed only in name. His seat is the first return-stall, on the north side of the Choir, facing the Altar; for which reason the north side is called Cantoris, or the Chanter's side. In some few Cathedrals in this country, the familiar term, Chanter, is still retained; and the Succentor is called the Sub-Chanter. The Latinised form, Cantor, is always used in Germany; but, in France, Chantre is frequently exchanged for Maître de Chapelle.
The duty of the Precentor is, to intone the Psalms and Canticles—at least, where Gregorian Services are used; to exercise a general supervision over the singing; to select the music; and, to take care that it is properly performed. It is from the first of these functions that he derives his title; but, in consequence of the high rank attached to the preferment, it is generally given to a beneficed Clergyman who performs its duties by deputy.
II. A name given to the Principal of a College of Church Music.
We hear of the foundation of such a College, in Rome, as early as the 4th century; but it was not until the Pontificate of S. Gregory the Great (590–604) that the Roman Scholæ Cantorum began to exercise any very serious influence upon the development of Church Music. A sketch of their subsequent history will be found in vol. iii. p. 519. Charlemagne founded Singing Schools in many parts of his dominions; and watched over them with paternal care. Every such School was governed by its own special Primicerius, or Cantor; and, as the curriculum was not confined to singing, but comprised a complete course of instruction in music, the influence of a learned Cantor was very great.In later times the number of these institutions increased rapidly; and many of the old foundations still flourish. The French Maîtrises were excellent in principle; but, as time progressed, they admitted the sæcular element, and their Chantres developed into true Maîtres de Chapelle. One of the oldest and most important foundations in Germany was that at the Abbey of Fulda. But the Cantors who have exercised the strongest influence on modern Art are those of the Thomas-Schule at Leipzig. [See vol. ii. p. 115 a, and Leipzig in Appendix.]
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CANTUS FICTUS. See Musica Ficta.
CAPOUL, Joseph Victor Amédée, born Feb. 27, 1839, at Toulouse, entered the Paris Conservatoire in '59, studied singing there under Révial, and comic opera under Mocker, and in '61 gained the first prize in the latter class. On Aug. 26 of the last-named year he made his début at the Opéra Comique as Daniel in 'Le Châlet' (Adam), and next played Tonio in 'La Fille du Régiment.' He became a great favourite there, being good-looking, with a pleasant tenor voice, somewhat spoiled by the 'vibrato'; he was a good actor in both serious and light parts, and was considered by the Parisians as the successor to Roger, though never the equal of that famous artist. He remained at that theatre until '70. Among his best parts may be mentioned Georges Brown ('La Dame Blanche'), Mergy ('Pré aux Clercs'), Raphael D'Estuniga ('La Part du Diable'), Fra Diavolo, etc., and of those he created, Eustache in 'Les Absents' (Poise), Oct. 26, '64; Horace in 'La Colombe' (Gounod), June 7, '66; the tenor part in 'La Grande Tante' (Massenet), April 3, '67; Gaston de Maillepré in 'Le Premier Jour de Bonheur' (Auber), Feb. 15, '68; the title-part in 'Vert-Vert' (Offenbach), March 10, '69. In '72–'73 he sang in Italian opera in Paris (Salle Ventadour), in '76 at the Théâtre Lyrique and Gaïté, where on Nov. 15 he played the hero on the successful production of Massés 'Paul et Virginie,' and in '78 he returned to the Salle Ventadour, where he played Romeo on the production, Oct. 12, of 'Les Amants de Verone' (Marquis D'Ivry).On June 1, 1871, M. Capoul first appeared in England at the Italian Opera, Drury Lane, as Faust, and sang there with success, and also during the season as Elvino and the Duke in 'Rigoletto.' He appeared at the same theatre every season until '75, with the exception of '74, in several characters, being especially good as Lionel ('Martha'), Wilhelm Meister ('Mignon'), and Faust. From '77 to '79 he appeared at Covent Garden with tolerable success, in spite of great exaggeration and mannerism both in singing and acting, and played for the first time Fra Diavolo, his original characters in the above