1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Wallace, William Vincent

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WALLACE, WILLIAM VINCENT (1814-1865), British composer, was born at Waterford, Ireland, his father, of Scottish family, being a regimental bandmaster. Vincent Wallace learnt as a boy to play several instruments, and became a leading violinist in Dublin. But in 1835 he married and went off to Australia, sheep farming. A concert in Sydney revived his musical passion; and having separated from his wife, he began a roving career, which had many romantic episodes, in Australia, the South Seas, India and South America. He returned to London in 1845 and made various appearances as a pianist; and in November of that year his opera Maritana was performed at Drury Lane with great success. This was followed by Matilda of Hungary (1847), Lurline (1860), The Amber Witch (1861), Love's Triumph (1862) and The Desert Flower (1863). He also published a number of compositions for the piano, &c. Vincent Wallace was a cultivated man and an accomplished musician, whose Maritana still holds the stage, and whose work as an English operatic composer, at a period by no means encouraging to English music, has a distinct historical value. Like Balfe, he was born an Irishman, and his reputation as one of the few composers known beyond the British Isles at that time is naturally coupled with Balfe's. But he was a finer artist and a more original musician. In later years he became almost blind; and he died in poor circumstances on the 12th of October 1865, leaving a widow and two children.