Page:A Dictionary of Music and Musicians vol 1.djvu/234

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Gasparini, and of Argante in Handel's 'Rinaldo.' However, he preferred an engagement at the opera in Hamburg, where he obtained a most brilliant success, as also at Leipzig and Brunswick. 'During a visit at Dantzig, he played the organ in the principal church; and, after a short prelude, gave forth the full force of his stupendous voice in a solo. A sudden noise in the church interrupted both the singer and the service: the wife of one of the chief magistrates, terrified by the tremendous tones, was safely delivered of a son. Her husband, a martyr to the gout, was no sooner informed of the event, than he found himself instantly cured. Hearing the name of the artist to whom he owed this double debt and happiness, he invited Bendler to meet a distinguished company at the christening feast, when he placed on his plate a sum of 300 ducats, thanking him at the same time for the service he had rendered him, both as physician and accoucheur.' This extraordinary singer died in 1724.

[ J. M. ]

BENEDETTI, an Italian singer at the Opera in London, 1720. He is mentioned in a witty letter by Sir John Edgar in Steele's journal, 'The Theatre,' from Tuesday March 8 to Saturday March 12, 1720, as an instance of the touchiness of some artists. 'He set forth in the recitative tone, the nearest approach to ordinary speech, that he had never acted anything in any other opera below the character of a sovereign, and now he was to be appointed to be captain of a guard.'

His portrait was engraved by Vertue, and is mentioned by Walpole, 'Catalogue of Engravers,' p. 221. There is a proof impression in the British Museum. It was painted by Beluzzi. Benedetti is represented in a cloak, turned to the right, oval in a frame, 8vo. It is rare.

[ J. M. ]

BENEDICITE, or the 'Song of the Three Children,' is the canticle which is used in the Anglican service after the first lesson in the morning, alternatively with the Te Deum, at the option of the minister. It is taken from the Greek continuation of Daniel, chap. iii., and is of very ancient use in the Church service, being mentioned in St. Benedict's 'Regula,' and by Amalarius as used at matins. It was also prescribed by Athanasius. The ancient Spanish and Gallican churches appointed it to come between the lessons, and in the ancient English offices it was one of several psalms with which Lauds began. It was retained by Cranmer in his 'English Liturgy' of 1549, and appointed to be used instead of the Te Deum in Lent; but this injunction was afterwards removed, and it became optional to use it at any time of the year.

In 'the Book of Common Prayer noted' which was published in 1550, the chant given for it by Marbeck is the same as that in the Sarum Breviary, but simplified, in accordance with Cranmer's wish that 'the note that shall be made thereunto, would not be full of notes, but as near as may be for every syllable a note, so that it may be sung distinctly and devoutly.'

This canticle is more fitted for a chant than any other musical form, because the second half of each verse is the same throughout. Purcell set it in his double service in B flat, but garbled the words by making the burden 'Praise him,' etc. only recur occasionally.

BENEDICT, Sir Julius, born at Stuttgart, Nov. 27, 1804. Sir Julius is one of the most eminent of the numerous foreign musicians who have settled in England since Handel's time. Aa composer, performer, and teacher of music, he has now held an exceptionally high position in this country for upwards of forty years. After studying under Hummel, at Weimar—during which he saw Beethoven (March 8, 1827)—he was, in his 17th year, presented by the illustrious pianist to Weber, who received him into his house, and from the beginning of 1821 until the end of 1824, treated him, in Sir Julius's own words, 'not only as a pupil, but as a son.' At the age of nineteen young Benedict was, on Weber's recommendation, appointed to conduct a series of operatic performances at Vienna. [App. p.543 "Add that in early life he studied with J. C. L. Abeille, and that his appointment at Vienna was that of conductor at the Kärnthnerthor Theatre, which he held from 1823 to 1825."] A few years afterwards we find him as chef d'orchestre at the San Carlo at Naples, where he produced his first opera, 'Giacinta ed Ernesto'—a work which seems to have been too German for the Neapolitan taste. On the other hand, 'I Portoghesi in Goa,' which Benedict composed in 1830 for Stuttgart, may have been found too Italian for the Germans; since, unsuccessful in the city for which it was specially written, it was warmly received by the operatic public of Naples. The youthful maestro, who showed himself a German among the Italians, and an Italian among the Germans, went in 1835 to Paris, at that time the head-quarters of Rossini and Meyerbeer, a frequent place of rendezvous for Donizetti and Bellini, and the home of Auber, Hérold, and Adolphe Adam, of Halévy, Berlioz, and Félicien David. At Paris Benedict made the acquaintance of Malibran, who suggested his visiting London; and from 1835 until now we have had Weber's favourite pupil residing permanently among us. In 1836 Benedict was appointed to the musical direction of the Opera Buffa, started by the late John Mitchell at the Lyceum Theatre. Here he brought out with success a little work called 'Un Anno ed un Giorno,' originally given in 1836 at Naples. In 1838 he produced his first English opera, 'The Gypsy's Warning'—known in the present day to those who are not acquainted with it as a whole by the very dramatic air for the bass voice, 'Rage thou angry storm.' Benedict was engaged at Drury Lane Theatre as orchestral conductor throughout that period of Mr. Bunn's management, during which Balfe's most successful operas ('The Bohemian Girl,' 'The Daughter of St. Mark,' 'The Enchantress,' 'The Bondman,' etc.) were brought out. To this period too belong Sir Julius Benedict's finest operas, 'The Brides of Venice' and 'The Crusaders,' both produced at Drury Lane under the composer's immediate direction. In 1850 Benedict accompanied Jenny Lind to the United States, and directed the whole [App. p.543 "most"] of the concerts given by the 'Swedish