BECK, Franz, born at Mannheim 1731, died at Bourdeaux 1809, violinist and composer. When quite young he took refuge in Paris from the effects of a duel, and thence removed to Bourdeaux. Here he became director of a aeries of concerts (1780), and trained many eminent musicians; among others Blanchard and Bochsa. His compositions are excellent, though comparatively few in number. They comprise 24 Symphonies (1776); a 'Stabat Mater,' performed at the Concerts Spirituels in 1783; 'Pandore,' a melodrama (1789); a 'Gloria' and 'Credo'; MS. Sonatas for Pianoforte, and Quartets for Strings.
[ M. C. C. ]
BECKER. In Russia the pianoforte-makers have been Germans. The leading Russian house at the present time owes its origin to Jacob Becker, a native of the Bavarian Palatinate, who founded it in 1841. Although pianoforte-making had early in this century been introduced in St. Petersburg, until about 1850 pianists had imported their instruments for public performance. From that time however Becker succeeded in making concert instruments, and since 1871 Mr. Paul Peterssen, the present head of the house, by adopting modern principles of framing, has made an effectual stand against this—to Russian interests—disadvantageous competition, and it has now become as much a matter of course to hear the Russian pianofortes of Becker in the concerts of Petersburg and Moscow as it is to hear the Russian language in polite society.
[ A. J. H. ]
BECKER, Carl Ferdinand, organist and professor at the Conservatorium of Leipsic, born in 1804, studied the piano, harmony, and composition, under Schicht and Schneider. Played the piano in public at fourteen years old, but afterwards paid more attention to the organ, and rose by degrees to be organist of the Nicolai-Kirche in Leipsic. On the foundation of the Conservatorium at Leipsic he was invited by Mendelssohn to join the new enterprise. The estimation which Becker enjoyed in Germany was due less to his compositions than to his productions in musical literature. Prominent amongst these are his 'Systematisch-chronologische Darstellung der musik-Literatur,' etc. (1836), with a supplement (1839), in which Becker is said to have been assisted by Anton Schmid, custos of the Hofbibliothek at Vienna. He also wrote 'Hausmusik in Deutschland in 16ten, 17ten, 18ten Jahrh.' (1840); also 'Die Tonwerke des 16ten und 17ten Jahrh.'—a catalogue of the music printed during that period (1847); and a catalogue of his own collection—'Alphabetisch und chronologisch geordnetes Verzeichniss,' etc. (Breitkopf, 1847). The collection itself, containing works of the greatest rarity, he bequeathed to the city of Leipsic at his death Oct. 26, 1877.
BECKER, Constantin Julius, born at Freiberg Feb. 3, 1811. Showed an early talent for music, which was well developed by his master Anacker. In 1835 he came to Leipsic and assisted Schumann in editing the 'Neue Zeitschrift für Musik'; but in 1843 removed to Dresden and occupied himself in teaching singing. In 1846 he returned to Oberlössnitz, and lived there in solitude till his death, Feb. 26, 1859. A symphony of his was performed with great applause at the Gewandhaus in 1843, and his opera 'Die Belagerung von Belgrad' was produced at Leipsic on May 21, 1848. But the work by which he will be remembered is his 'Männergesang-Schule,' 1845. He was the author of 'Die Neuromantiker,' a romance (1840), and of a translation of Berlioz's 'Voyage Musicale.' [App. p.533 "he died Mar. 1, 1879."]
BECKER, Dietrich, violinist and composer to the Hamburg senate towards the middle of the 17th century; one of the earliest German instrumental composers; published sonatas on chorales for violin, viol di gamba, and bass (Hamburg, 1668), as well as 'Die musikalischen Frühlingsfruchte,' consisting of pieces for instruments in four and five parts, with basso continuo.
BECKER, Jean, eminent violin-player, born at Mannheim in 1836 [App. p.533 "May 11, 1833"]. His first teacher was Kettenus, then leader of the Mannheim orchestra, and he afterwards learned from Alard in Paris. He began to perform in public when only eleven, and was still very young when he became the successor of Kettenus. In 1859 he played with great success in Paris, and thence went to London, where he appeared at the Monday Popular Concerts, and was for one season leader of the Philharmonic Concerts. After travelling for some years through most parts of Europe, he settled in 1866 at Florence, and associated himself with two Italian musicians, Mael and Chiostri, and the German violoncellist Hilpert. These artists, well known under the name of the 'Florentiner Quartett,' have earned, by their careful and spirited performances of the classical masterpieces of quartet literature, a great and well-deserved reputation in most musical centres of the continent. Becker's style as a solo-player appears to be a compromise between the severe style of the German school and the lighter and more brilliant one of the French. [App. p.533 "date of death, Oct. 10, 1884."]
[ P. D. ]
BECKWITH, John Christmas, Mus. Doc., was born Dec. 25, 1759 [App. p.533 "1750"], and studied music under Dr. Philip Hayes [App. p.533 "and Dr. William Hayes. He was appointed organist of St. Peter Mancroft's, Norwich, on Jan. 16, 1794 and succeeded Garland as organist of the cathedral in 1808. (Dict. of Nat. Biog.) He never wrote or gave his Christian name officially otherwise than 'John,' and it is believed that the name 'Christmas' was merely a playful addition made by his friends by reason of his having been born on Christmas Day. He was succeeded in both his appointments by his son, John Charles, born 1788, died Oct. 5, 1828, who in turn was succeeded by Dr. Buck"]. He succeeded Garland as organist of the cathedral and St. Peter's Mancroft, Norwich, about 1780. On July 5, 1803, he took his degrees as Mus. Bac. and Mus. Doc. at Oxford. He composed many anthems—six of them published by Clementi—and a few vocal pieces, some of which became popular. He was considered a good singing-master, and was the instructor of Thomas Vaughan. In 1808 he published a set of chants under the following title:—'The First Verse of every Psalm of David, with an Ancient or Modern Chant, in Score, adapted as much as possible to the Sentiment of each Psalm.' The preface to this work contains 'a short history of chanting,' which displays learning and research, and contains the