ASHWELL, Thomas, a cathedral musician in the middle of the 16th century, who adhered to the Romish faith, and some of whose motets still remain amongst the MSS. in the Music School at Oxford.
ASIOLI, Bonifacio, born at Correggio, April 30, 1769 [App. p.524 "August"]; began to study at five years of age. Before eight he had written several masses, and a concerto for pianoforte. At ten he went to study at Parma under Morigi. After a journey to Venice, where he enjoyed his first public success, he was made maestro di capella at his native town. By eighteen he had composed five masses, twenty-four pieces for the church and the theatre, and a number of instrumental pieces. In 1787 he changed his residence to Turin, where he remained nine years, composing five cantatas and instrumental music. In 1796 he accompanied the Duchess Gherardini to Venice, and remained there till 1799, when he removed to Milan, and in 1810 to Paris. There he continued in the service of the empress Marie Louise till July 1813. On the fall of the empire Asioli returned to Correggio, and died there May 26, 1832 [App. p.524 "May 18"]. Besides his compositions he published a 'Trattato d'armonia e d'accompagnamento;' a book of dialogues on the same; 'Osservazioni sul temperamento, etc.; and 'Disinganno' on the same. His principal work is 'Il Maestro di composizione.' All these works are written with accuracy and a clear and brilliant style. Asioli's biography was written by Coli, a priest of Correggio, under the title of 'Vita di B. Asioli,' etc. (Milan: Ricordi, 1834). [App. p.524 "See also vol. ii. p.329 a."]
[ F. G. ]
ASOLA, or ASULA, Giovanni Matteo, born at Verona in the latter half of the 16th century; priest and composer of church music and madrigals. He was one of the first to use figured basses. In 1592 he joined other composers in dedicating a collection of Psalms to Palestrina.
ASPULL, George, born in 1814 [App. p.524 "June 1813 at Manchester"], at a very early age manifested an extraordinary capacity as a pianoforte player. At eight years of age, notwithstanding that the smallness of his hands was such that he could not reach an octave, so as to press down the two keys simultaneously without great difficulty, and then only with the right hand, he had attained such proficiency as to be able to perform the most difficult compositions of Kalkbrenner, Moscheles, Hummel, and Czerny, besides the concertos of Handel, and the fugues of Bach and Scarlatti, in a manner almost approaching the excellence of the best professors. He also sang with considerable taste. As he grew older, his improvement was such as to lead to the expectation that he would eventually take a place amongst the most distinguished pianists. These hopes were, however, disappointed, by his death from a pulmonary disease, at the age of eighteen. He died Aug. 20, 1832, at Leamington, and was buried two days afterwards at Nottingham. Aspull left several manuscript compositions for the pianoforte, which were subsequently published, with his portrait prefixed, under the title of 'George Aspull's posthumous Works for the Pianoforte.' [App. p.524 "he first appeared at a concert in Jan. 1822. In the following year he played to Clementi in London, and on Feb. 20, 1824, before George IV. at Windsor. He played Weber's Concertstück for the first time in England at a concert at Brighton. After a visit to Paris in April 1825 he undertook a number of concert tours throughout Great Britain and Ireland. It was at Clementi's funeral that Aspull caught the cold which eventually ended in his death on Aug. 19. (Dict. of Nat. Biog.)"]
ASSAI (Ital.), 'Very'; e.g. 'Allegro assai,' very fast; 'Animate assai,' with great animation; 'Maestoso assai,' with much majesty, etc.
ASSMAYER, Ignaz, born at Salzburg, Feb. 11, 1790: in 1808 organist of St. Peter's in that city, where he wrote his oratorio 'Die Sündfluth' (the Deluge), and his cantata 'Worte der Weihe.' In 1815 he removed to Vienna; in 1824 became organist to the Scotch church; in 1825 Imperial organist; in 1838 vice, and in 1846 chief, Kapellmeister to the court. He died Aug. 31, 1862. His principal oratorios—'Das Gelübde' (the Vow); 'Saul und David,' and 'Saul's Tod'—were frequently performed by the 'Tonkünstler-Societät,' of which Assmayer was conductor for fifteen years. Besides these larger works he composed fifteen masses, two requiems, a Te Deum, and various smaller church pieces, as well as nearly sixty secular compositions. These last are all published. His music is correct and fluent, but wanting in invention and force.
[ C. F. P. ]
ASTON, Hugh, was an organist and church composer in the time of Henry VIII. A 'Te Deum' for five voices and a motet for six voices composed by him are preserved in the Music School at Oxford.
ASTORGA, Emanuele Baron d', born at Palermo in 1681 (Fétis pretends to give the day of his birth). He began the serious business of life by witnessing the execution of his father, the Marchese Capece da Roffrano, who was captain of a mercenary troop, and perished on the scaffold along with several Sicilian nobles after an unsuccessful émeute against the power of Spain. In the agony of this terrible occasion his mother actually died, and the child himself fainted away. After a time the orphan attracted the notice of the Princess Ursini, maid of honour to the wife of Philip V, who placed him in the convent of Astorga in Spain. In this asylum it was that he completed the musical education which there is reason to believe he had commenced under Francesco Scarlatti at Palermo. He quitted it after a few years, and on his entrance into the world obtained, through the influence of his patroness, the title of Baron d' Astorga. In 1704 he was sent on a diplomatic mission to the court of Parma. There he soon became a favourite for his music's sake and for his personal gifts, for he was a handsome man, composed with ease and ability, and sang with extraordinary finish and feeling his own graceful and original melodies. It is not otherwise than consonant with a character of which we have only slight though suggestive glimpses, to hear that on the termination of his mission he still lingered at the court of Parma, forgetful of his Spanish ties, and fettered by a secret love affair with his pupil Elisabetta Farnese, the niece of the reigning duke. Nor is it surprising that his entertainer should soon have found means to transfer so dangerous an ornament of his palace to some distant capital. Accordingly we find Astorga dismissed, early in