Complete Encyclopaedia of Music/B/Bishop, Henry Rowley

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Bishop, Henry Rowley, was born in London in 1782, and early in life was placed under the musical tuition of the celebrated Francesco Bianchi. In the year 1806, he commenced the course of composition which still distinguishes him, by a part of the music of a ballet produced at the King's Theatre, under the title of "Tamerlan et Bajazet;" subsequently to which he wrote the ballet called "Narcisse et lets Graces." After the lapse of two seasons, he came forward at Drury Lane

Theatre with "Caractacus," a grand ballet of action, in which his efforts were again successful; but when, about twelve months afterwards, he made his first decided attempt as a dramatic composer, it was thwarted by circumstances of peculiar gloom and misfortune. On the 23d of February, 1809, an opera, called the "Circassian Bride," was produced at Drury Lane, with Bishop's music. On the following night, Drury Lane Theatre was burned to the ground, and the scores of the new opera were entirely consumed in the flames. This music had been received with enthusiasm by those qualified to criticize it, and there are specimens still occasionally performed, such as the duet of " I'll love thee," which amply communicate the extent of the loss. But by a calamity even of this extent, Bishop's tide of fortune was not to be turned; the proprietors of Covent Garden Theatre, seeing his merits, and knowing how to employ them, formed an engagement with him for three years, to compose and direct the music of' that establishment. He entered on this important office with the season of 1810-11.

The first piece, in consequence of this arrangement, upon which Bishop's talents were employed, was a musical drama in three acts, by Norton, selected from Scott's poem of the "Lady of the Lake," with some unimportant variations, and produced as the "Knight of Snow-down." In the music of this piece Bishop displayed a degree of talent seldom surpassed by British composers. Before the expiration of this engagement, the "Virgin of the Sun," the "Aethiop," and the "Renegade" were produced ; and the great musical picture of a storm and earthquake, with which the first of these pieces was enriched, will be long remembered. A fresh engagement for five years was now concluded ; and when we say that Bishop signalized it immediately by the "Miller and his Men," no ampler proof can be given of the indications with which it commenced. "For England, ho" a melodramatic trifle of superior pretensions, next enabled him to maintain the impression his prior works had just made ; and the annexed record of his compositions will show the magnitude of his labors during these five years.

A new engagement of Bishop at Covent Garden Theatre took place in 1818, and being made, as helot c, for a term of five years, of course expired with 1823.

In 1819, Bishop became a joint proprietor of the oratorios with Mr. Harris, and they were confided to his exclusive direction ; in 1820, a separation of interests occurred, and these splendid performances were conducted by Bishop on his own responsibility, and under his entire control. Arrangements had been made which invested him with the same degree of power for seven successive seasons ; he profited, however, by a clause in the contract to relinquish them at the end of the first, and withdrew to the continuance of' those theatrical avocations they had too sensibly interrupted.

A great public honor was paid to Bishop in the autumn of 1820, when he visited Dublin, and received the freedom of that city by the cordial and unanimous suffrage of those who presented it.

On the institution of the Philharmonic Society, Bishop was appointed one of its directors ; he has also held the same office several times since. He further belongs to the Royal Academy of Music, as a professor of harmony.

Bishop has been concerned in the production of more than seventy theatrical pieces : of this number, more than half are his own unassisted compositions. He also supplied the music of three tragedies, the Apostate," "Retribution," and "Mirandola ; - and a "Triumphal Ode," performed at the cratorios: he has published a multiplicity of single :tongs, duets, glees, he., of great merit. He arranged the first volume of the "Melodies of various Nations;" three volumes of the "National Melodies" are also furnished with his symphonies and accompaniments; and he finally stipulated with Mr. Power to superintend his publications of Irish and other classical airs.

The following is a list of Bishop's dramatic productions : -

"Tamerlan et Bajazet," (composed and selected,) grand heroic ballet, King's Theatre, 1806 ; "Narcisse et les Graces," Anacreontic ballet, do., June. 186 ; "Caractacus," grand ballet of action, Drury Lane, March, 1806 ; "Love in a Tub," ballet, do., November, 1806 ; "The Mysterious Bride," (composed and selected,) romantic drama, do.. June, 1808 ; "The Circassian Bride," opera, do., February, 1809 ; "Mora's Love," ballet, King's Theatre, June, 1809 ; "The Vintagers," musical romance, Haymarket, August, 1809 ; "'The Maniac," opera, Lyceum, March, 1810 ; "Knight o Snowdown," do., Covent Garden, February, 1811 ; "Virgin of the Sun," do. do., January, 1812 ; "The Aethiop," do. do., October, 1812 ; "Haroun Alraschid," (altered from the Aethiop,) do. do.. January, 1813 ; "The Brazen Bust," melodrama, do., May, 1813 ; "Harry le Roy," (composed and selected,) burletta, do., July, 1813 ; "The Miller and his Men," melodrama, do., October. 1813 ; "For England, ho " (with the exception of three airs,) melodramatic opera, do., December, 1813 ; "The Farmer's Wife," (with Davy, Reeve. he.,) opera, do., February, 1811 ; "The Wandering Boys," melodrama, do.. February, 1814 ; Sadak and Kalasrade," (first act of,) grand spectacle, do., April, 181-1; The Grand Alliance, (composed and selected,) allegorical spectacle, do., June, 1814 ; "Doctor Sangrado," ballet, do., September, 1814 ; " The Forest of Bondy," melodrama, do., September, 1814; "The Maid of' the Mill," additional music in opera, do., October, 1814 ; "John of Paris," (composed and selected from the French of Boieldieu,) do. do., November. 1811; "Brother and Sister," (with Mr. Reeve, musical entertainment, do.. February, 1815 ; "The Noble Outlaw," opera, do.. April, 1815 , -"Telemachus," (composed and selected,) opera, Covent Garden, June, 1815; "Magpie and the Maid," melodrama, do., September, 1815 ; "John du Bart, ' do. do., October, 1815 ; "Cymon," (overture and additional music in,) musical entertainment, do., November, 1815 ; "Comus, (additional music in,) do. do., 1815 ; "Midsummer Night's Dream," (composed and selected,) opera, do., January, 1816 ; "Guy Mannering," (with Whitaker, he., do. do., March, 1816 ; "Who wants a Wife?" melodrama, do., April, 1816 ; "Royal Nuptials,' (selected and arranged,) occasional interlude, do., November, 1816 ; "The Slave," opera, do., November, 1816 ; "Heir of Veroni," (with Whitaker,) operatic piece, do., February. 1817 ; " Humorous Lieutenant," opera, do., January, 1817 ; "The Libertine," (adapted from Mozart,) operatic piece, do., 1817 ; "Duke of Savoy," opera, do., September, 1817 ; "Father and his Children," melodrama, do., October, 1817 ; "Zuma," (with Braham,) opera, do., February, ISIS ; "Illustrious Traveller," melodrama, do., February, 1818 December and May," operatic piece, do., May, 1818 ; " Barber of Seville," (overture and additional music, and adapted from Rossini,) do. do., October, 1818 ; " The Marriage of Figaro," (composed and adapted from Mozart,) do. do., March, 1819 ; " Fortunatus," melodrama, do., April, 1819 ; " The Heart of Mid-Lothian," (composed and selected,) opera, do., April, 1819 ; "A Roland for an Oliver," music arranged for musical entertainment, do., 1819 ; " Swedish Patriotism," melodrama, do., May, 1819 ; "The Gnome King," operatic piece, do., October, 1819 "The Comely of Errors," opera, do., December, 1819 ; "The Antiquary," (composed and selected,) do. do., January, 1820 ; "Battle of Both-well Brig," (composed and selected,) musical entertainment, do., 1820 ; "Henri Quatre," opera, do., April, 1820 ; "Twelfth Night," do. do., 1820 ; " Don John," (part of the music,) do. do., 1821 ; "Two Gentlemen of Verona," do. do.. 1821 ; "Montrose," (composed and selected,) do. do., February, 1822 ; "The Law of Java," do. do., May, 1822 ; "Maid Marian," do. do., December, 1822 ; "Clan," do. do., May, 1823 ; "The Beacon of Liberty," musical romance, do., October, 1823 ; "Cortez," opera, do., November, 1823; Native Land," do. do., February, 1824.