'L' Artaserse' (Venice, 1746) 'L'Adriano' (Rome, 1750), 'Tito Manlio,' and 'Creso' (London, 1756 and 1758). His church music includes seven Masses, two Kyries, and several Litanies to the Virgin, preserved in manuscript in Naples, Rome, Vienna, and the Conservatoire in Paris. The style of his composition somewhat resembles that of Jomelli.
[ M. C. C. ]
ABRAMS, The Misses Harriet, Theodosia, and Eliza, were three sisters, vocalists. Harriet, the eldest, was a pupil of Dr. Arne, and first appeared in public at Drury Lane theatre, in her master's musical piece, 'May Day,' on Oct. 28, 1775. She and her sister Theodosia sang at the opening of the Concert of Ancient Music in 1776. Harriet possessed a soprano, and Theodosia a contralto voice of excellent quality. The youngest sister, Eliza, was accustomed to join with her sisters in the pieces which were sung at the Ladies' Catch and Glee Concerts. The elder two sang at the Commemoration of Handel, in Westminster Abbey, in 1784, and at the principal London concerts for several years afterwards, when they retired into private life. They both attained to an advanced age; Theodosia (then Mrs. Garrow) was living in 1834. Harriet Abrams composed several pleasing songs, two of which, 'The Orphan's Prayer' and 'Crazy Jane,' aided by the expressive singing of her sister, Theodosia, became very popular. She published, in 1787 'A Collection of Songs,' and 'A Collection of Scotch Songs harmonized for three voices,' besides other pieces at later dates.
[ W. H. H. ]
ABT, Franz, born at Eilenburg in Prussian Saxony, Dec. 22, 1819. His father was a clergyman, and Franz, though destined to the same profession, received a sound musical education, and was allowed to pursue both objects at the Thomas-School and University of Leipsic. On his father's death he relinquished the church as a profession and adopted music entirely. His first residence was at Zürich (1841), where he acted as capellmeister, occupying himself more especially with men's voices, both as composer and conductor of several societies. In 1852 he entered the staff of the Hof-theater at Brunswick, where since 1855 he has filled the post of leading capellmeister. [App. p.517 "he died at Wiesbaden, Mar. 31, 1885"]
Abt is well known by his numerous songs for one or more voices, which betray an easy fluency of invention, couched in pleasing popular forms, but without pretence to depth or individuality. Many of his songs, as for instance 'When the swallows,' were at one time universally sung, and have obtained a more or less permanent place in the popular repertory. Abt is a member of a group of composers, embracing his contemporaries Truhn, Kücken, Gumbert, and others, who stand aloof from the main course taken by the German Lied as it left the hands of Schubert, Schumann, and Franz,—which aims at the true and living expression of inward emotion. In reference to this the composers in question are somewhat in the background; but it cannot be denied that in many dilettante circles Abt is a prime favourite for his elegance and easy intelligibility. His greatest successes in Germany and Switzerland have been obtained in part-songs for men's voices, an overgrown branch of composition unfortunately devoted to the pursuit of the mere superficial enjoyment of sweet sounds, and to a great extent identified with his name.
The list of Abt's compositions is enormous, and contains more than 400 works, consisting chiefly of 'Lieder' of the most various kinds for one, two, or three solo voices, as well as for chorus, both female and mixed, and, as already mentioned, especially for men's voices. Of the solo 'Lieder,' a collection of the less-known ones has been published by Peters under the title of 'Abt-Album.' The part-songs are to be found in many collections. In the early part of his life Abt composed much for the pianoforte, chiefly pieces of light salon character. These have never had the same popularity with his vocal works, and are now virtually forgotten.
[ A. M. ]
ABYNGDON, Henry. An English ecclesiastic and musician. He succeeded John Bernard as subcentor of Wells on Nov. 24, 1447, and held that post till his death on Sept. 1, 1497, when he was succeeded by Robert Wydewe. (Beckynton's and Oliver King's registers at Wells.) In addition to the succentorship at Wells Abyngdon held the office of 'Master of the Song' of the Chapel Royal in London, to which he was appointed in May 1465 at an annual salary of forty marks, confirmed to him by a subsequent Act of Parliament in 1473–4. (Rimbault, 'Cheque-book of Chapel Royal,' p. 4.) He was also made Master of St. Catherine's Hospital, Bristol, in 1478. (Collinson, ii. 283.) Two Latin epitaphs on Abyngdon by Sir Thomas More have been preserved (Cayley's 'Life of More,' i. 317), of which the English epitaph quoted by Rimbault from Stonyhurst is an adaptation. In these he himself is styled 'nobilis,' and his office in London 'cantor,' and he is said to have been pre-eminent both as a singer and an organist:—
'Millibus in mille cantor fuit optimus ille,
Praeter et haec ista fuit optimus orgaquenista.'
More's friendship is evidence of Abyngdon's ability and goodness, but the acquaintance can only have been slight, as More was but seventeen when Abyngdon died. None of his works are known.
[ G. ]
ACADEMIE DE MUSIQUE. This institution, which, following the frequently changed political conditions of France since 1791, has been called in turn Royale, Nationale, and Impériale, has already entered its third century. In 1669 royal letters patent were granted by Louis XIV to the Abbé Perrin, Robert Cambert, and the Marquis de Sourdéac, for the establishment of an Académie wherein to present in public 'operas and dramas with music, and in French verse,' after the manner of those of Italy, for the space of twelve years. Nearly a century prior