Page:A Dictionary of Music and Musicians vol 1.djvu/159

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Leopold Mozart considered it one of the loveliest of instruments; and when we hear that Haydn for a considerable time tried hard to learn to play it, we must regret its being now so entirely neglected.

C. F. Pohl, in his Biography of Haydn (Berlin, 1875), gives us the following notices concerning the baryton.

1. Makers:—M. Feldlen (1656), H. Kramer (1714), D. A. Stadlmann (1732), J. Stadlmann (1750), all of Vienna; Joachim Tielke at Hamburg (1686), maker of the fine specimen in the S. Kensington Museum, from which our cut is taken; and Andreas Stainer, of Absom in the Tyrol (1660).

2. Performers:—M. A. Berti, Vienna (1721–1740); Signor Farrant, London (1744); Abell, London (1759–87). Anton Kraft, Karl Franz and Andreas Lidl, members of Prince Esterhazy's private band under Haydn (Lidl played in concerts in England in 1776); Friedel, member of the royal band at Berlin at the end of the last and beginning of the present century. Fauner (1794) and V. Hauschka (1795-1823) are named as accomplished amateur-performers.

3. Composers:—Niemecz, L. Tomasini and A. Kraft of Esterhaz, Wenzl Pichl, Ferd. Paër, Weigl and Eybler, all of Vienna; and last, but not least, Haydn. Pohl enumerates no less than 175 compositions of Haydn's for the instrument; viz. 6 Duets for two barytons, 12 Sonatas for baryton and violoncello, 12 Divertimenti for two barytons and bass, 125 Divertimenti for baryton, viola and violoncello; 17 so-called Cassations; 3 Concertos for baryton with accompaniment of two violins and bass.

[ P. D. ]

BARYTON (Ital. Baryton; Fr. Basse-Taille, Concordant). The male voice intermediate to the bass and the tenor. The compound βαρύοτονος signifies 'of heavy timbre,'—in this instance, in relation to the tenor. It is therefore a misnomer; for, however close their approximation in compass, the quality of what is now understood by the baryton voice unmistakeably marks it as a high bass, not a low tenor. The recognition of this important fact is manifest in the works of the majority of modern composers. One instance out of many will suffice. The principal part in Mendelssohn's oratorio 'Elijah' ranges from the C in the bass stave to the F above it, very rarely descending below the former note. Sung, as it might be with perfect—or too much—ease, by a low tenor, it would obviously lose all its dignity and breadth. Since the production of Mozart's 'Nozze di Figaro' and 'Don Giovanni' the baryton voice has found much favour with composers, and been cultivated with unprecedented success. Innumerable principal parts have been written for it; and not to speak of artists of this class still before the public, the names of Bartleman in England, of Ambrogetti in Italy, and of Martin in France, are historical. [ Bass ].

[ J. H. ]

BASEVI, Abramo, [App. p.532 "date of birth Dec. 29, 1818; date of death Dec. 1885"], a learned Florentine musician, founder and proprietor of the musical periodical 'Armonia' and of its continuation 'Boccherini,' and one of the originators of the Società del Quartetto,' which has done much to introduce German music into Italy. Basevi is the composer of two operas, 'Romilda ed Ezzelino,' produced at the Teatro Alfieri in March 1840, and 'Enrico Odoardo' at the Pergola in 1847; the author of theoretical works on music, of a treatise 'Sulla divinazione,' and a 'Studio delle opere di G. Verdi, 1859.'

[ F. G. ]

BASILI, or BASILY, Domenico Andrea, chapel-master at Loreto in the middle of last century. He died in 1775. Santini's collection contained works by him; and a set of twenty-four studies of his for the clavier, entitled 'Musica universale,' etc. was printed by Alessandri of Venice, and is not without merit. His son Francesco was born in 1766, and on the death of his father the boy was sent to Rome and became a scholar of Jannaconi. While still young he was made chapel-master at Foligno. His first appearance in opera was at Milan, in 'La bella incognita,' when he was twenty-two. For Rome he wrote 'La Locandiera' (1789); for Florence 'Achille nell' assedio di Troja' (1798) and the 'Ritorno d'Ulysse' (1799), and for Venice 'Antigono.' Later he became chapel-master at Macerata, and wrote a large number of comic operas for Venice, not all equally successful. He then made a rich marriage, which enabled him to give up work, but the marriage turned out unhappy, and after a separation, in 1816, he returned to his former post at Loreto. For the San Carlo at Naples Basili composed an oratorio, 'Sansone,' in which Lablache sang the chief part. A requiem which he had written for Jannaconi was performed on March 23, 1816, at the Apostles' Church in Rome. In 1827 he was appointed director of the Conservatorio at Milan, where it was his fortune to refuse admission to Verdi. In August 1837 he was called to Rome to take the place of chapel-master at St. Peter's, vacant by the death of Fioravanti, and remained there till his own death on March 25, 1850. While at Rome he was made very unhappy by his inability with the means at his disposal to perform the great masterpieces of old Italian church music. If supported in his wish a great revival might have been accomplished, but with Basili the last hope of a resurrection of Italian church music has perished, a doom which neither Rossini nor Verdi—whose style the rigid Basili would hardly have approved—have done much to avert. In addition to many operas, besides those already named, and much church music, Basili composed symphonies in the style of Haydn, one of which used often to be played at Brussels under Fétis' conducting, and always with great applause.

[ F. G. ]

BASS. (Ger. Bass; Fr. Basse; Ital. Basso.) The lower or grave part of the musical system, as contradistinguished from the treble, which is the high or acute part. The limits of the two