for some time a singer. Other compositions of his are to be found in various collections of church music published between the years 1534 and 1544 at Paris and Leyden.
[ J. R. S. B. ]
BILLINGTON, Mrs. Elizabeth, was the daughter of Carl Weichsel, a native of Freiberg in Saxony, and principal clarinet [App. p.546 "oboist"] at the King's Theatre. Her mother was for several years a favourite singer at Vauxhall Gardens and elsewhere. The date of Mrs. Billington's birth is variously stated, but it was most probably 1768. She and her brother Carl were from the earliest possible moment trained to music, and on March 10, 1774, performed on the pianoforte and violin at their mother's benefit concert at the Haymarket Theatre. Such was Miss Weichsel's progress that before she had completed her eleventh year two sets of pianoforte sonatas from her pen had been given to the world. At fourteen years old she appeared as a singer at Oxford, and at sixteen [App. p.546 "on Oct. 13, 1783"] became the wife of James Billington, a double-bass player. Immediately after their marriage they went to Dublin, where Mrs. Billington commenced her career as a stage singer in the opera of 'Orpheus and Eurydice.' On her return to London she obtained a trial engagement of twelve nights at Covent Garden, where she appeared Feb. 13, 1786, as Rosetta in 'Love in a Village.' Her success was such that the managers immediately engaged her for the remainder of the season at a large salary. She speedily attained a position at the Concert of Ancient Music, where she disputed with Mara for supremacy. [App. p.546 "With the exception of a visit to Paris at the end of her first season, where she went to study with Sacchini"] Mrs. Billington remained in England until 1794, when she went with her husband and brother to Italy. Their intention was to travel solely for amusement, but at Naples Sir William Hamilton, the English ambassador, induced Mrs. Billington and her brother to perform in private before the king, who immediately prevailed on Mrs. Billington to sing in public at the San Carlo Theatre. Accordingly in May, 1794, she made her appearance there in Francesco Bianchi's opera 'Inez di Castro,' written expressly for her. Her success was complete, but her triumph was suddenly interrupted by the melancholy death of her husband, who, as they were about to set out for the theatre for her second performance, was stricken by apoplexy, and almost immediately expired. An eruption of Mount Vesuvius occurring about the same time was by the superstitious Neapolitans attributed to permission having been given to a heretic to perform at the San Carlo, and fears were entertained for Mrs. Billington's safety. However, on renewing her performances she experienced the most favourable reception, and sung successively in operas composed for her by Paisiello, Paer, and Himmel. In 1796 she went to Venice, where, being attacked by illness, she performed only once. She and her brother next visited Rome, and all the principal places in Italy. In 1798 [App. p.546 "1799"] she married a M. Felissent, from whom however she soon separated. In 1801 she returned to England, and the managers of Drury Lane and Covent Garden competing for her services it was arranged that she should perform at each house alternately, and she accordingly appeared at Covent Garden Theatre on Oct. 3, 1801, as Mandane in Arne's ' Artaxerxes,' still retaining the name of Billington. From this time her services were in constant request at the Italian Opera, the theatres, the Concert of Ancient Music, the Vocal Concerts, the provincial festivals, etc., until 1809 [App. p.546 "1811"], when she retired from public life. During this part of her career two memorable events took place, viz. her singing with Banti in Nasolini's opera 'Merope,' and her performance in a duet with Mara on the latter's last appearance. Once afterwards Mrs. Billington quitted her retirement to perform at a concert given in Whitehall Chapel on June 28 [App. p.546 "25"], 1814, in aid of the sufferers by the war in Germany. In 1817 she was reconciled to her husband, and quitted England with him for her estate of St. Artien near Venice, where she died after a week's illness August 28, 1818. Mrs. Billington's compass was extensive (three octaves from A to A in altissimo), the upper notes being exquisitely beautiful. She excelled in passages of execution, but her powers of expression were limited. Sir Joshua Reynolds painted a fine portrait of her as St. Cecilia. (Dict. of Nat. Biog.)
[ W. H. H. ]
BILLINGTON, Thomas (who is sometimes erroneously called the husband, but was probably [App. p.547 "omit 'probably'"] the brother-in-law, of Elizabeth Billington), was a harpist, pianist, and composer in the latter part of the 18th century. He published a church service for three voices; Pope's ' Elegy to the Memory of an Unfortunate Lady'; Pope's 'Eloisa to Abelard' (partly compiled); twenty-four ballads to Shenstone's Pastorals; Prior's 'Garland'; Petrarch's 'Laura'; and 'Laura's Wedding-day,' besides other pieces. [App. p.547 "He died in Tunis in 1832"]
[ W. H. H. ]
BINCHOIS, Egidius, contemporary with Dufay and our own Dunstable in the first half of the 15th century. His reputation rests chiefly upon the honour in which his name was held by his successors, but of late years two manuscripts have been brought to light containing chansons and motets of his composition.
[ J. R. S. B. ]
BIND (Ger. Bindebogen; Fr. Liaison; Ital. Legatura). A curved line (also called tie) placed between two notes of the same degree, to denote the continuance of the sound during the value of both, instead of the repercussion of the second note. The employment of the bind is a necessity whenever a sound is required to be of a duration which cannot be expressed by any single note, as for example five or seven quavers (Ex. i), and it is also convenient, and in modern music invariably adopted, when the duration of a note extends beyond the limits of the bar (Ex. 2). This is, however, an improvement of comparatively recent date, such passages having been formerly written in the inconvenient form shown in Ex. 3.