Sir Walter Scott's rendering of the opening stanzas, at the end of 'The Lay of the Last Minstrel,' is known to every one. A very fine English paraphrase, by the Rev. W. I. Irons, B.D., beginning, 'Day of wrath, day of mourning!' is inserted, in company with the old Plain Song Melody, in the Rev. T. Helmore's 'Hymnal Noted.' Innumerable German translations are extant, of which the best-known is that beginning, 'Tag des Zorns, du Tag der Fülle.'
The old Ecclesiastical Melody is a remarkably fine one, in Modes i. and ii. (Mixed Dorian) ranging throughout the entire extent of the combined Scale, with the exception of the Octave to the Final. No record of its origin, or authorship, has been preserved; but we can scarcely doubt, that, if not composed by Thomas de Celano himself, it was adapted to his verses at the time of their completion. Fine as this Melody is, it has not been a favourite with the greatest of the Polyphonic Masters; partly, no doubt, on account of the limited number of Dioceses in which the Sequence was sung, prior to its incorporation in the Roman Missal; and, partly because it has been a widespread custom, from time immemorial, to dispense with the employment of Polyphonic Harmony, in Masses for the Dead. The 'Dies iræ' is wanting in Palestrina's 'Missa pro Defunctis,' for five Voices, printed at the end of the third edition of his First Book of Masses (Rome, 1591); and, in that by Vittoria, sung in 1603 at the Funeral of the Empress Maria, wife of Maximilian II., and printed at Madrid in 1605. It is found, however, in not a few Masses by Composers of somewhat lower rank; as, for instance, in a Missa pro Defunctis, for four Voices, by Giovanni Matteo Asola (Venice, 1586); in one for eight Voices, by Orazio Vecchi (Antwerp, 1612); in one for four Voices, by Francesco Anerio; and in one for four Voices, by Pitoni. In all these Masses, the old Ecclesiastical Melody is employed as the basis of the composition; but Pitoni has marred the design of an otherwise great work, by the introduction of alternate verses, written in a style quite unsuited to the solemnity of the text.With modern Composers the 'Dies iræ' has always been a popular subject; and more than one great master has adapted its verses to Music of a broadly imaginative, if not a distinctly dramatic character. Among the most important settings of this class, we may enumerate those by Colonna and Bassani, copies of which are to be found in the Library of the Royal College of Music; that in Mozart's Requiem, of which, whether Mozart composed it or not, we may safely say that it was written by the greatest Composer of Church Music that the School of Vienna ever produced: the two great settings by Cherubini; the first, in his Requiem in C Minor, and the second, in that in D Minor; the extraordinarily realistic settings in the Requiems of Berlioz and Verdi; and finally, the setting in Gounod's 'Mors et Vita.' For farther information concerning the poem and other musical compositions on the words, the reader is referred to a series of articles in 'The Musical Review' (Novello) for June, 1883.
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DIETSCH, Pierre Louis Philippe. See vol. iv. p. 213 a, note 1, and add that in 1863 he was dismissed from his post as conductor by M. Perrin, and that he died Feb. 20, 1865.
DIGNUM, Charles. Line 10 from end of article, for 96 read 90.DITSON, Oliver, & Co. The oldest music-publishing house in the United States now engaged in business, as well as the largest. Its headquarters are at Boston, where the senior partner has followed the business since 1823, when, at the age of 12, he entered the employ of Samuel H. Parker, a book and music seller. On reaching his majority in 1832, Ditson was taken into partnership by his employer, and the firm, Parker & Ditson, continued until 1845, when, on the retirement of Parker, the business was carried on by Ditson in his own name until 1857, when John C. Haynes was admitted a partner, and the style, Oliver Ditson & Co., was adopted. Ditson's eldest son, Charles H., was admitted in 1867, and was placed in charge of the New York branch, Charles H.
- Copyright 1889 by F. H. Jenks.