Page:A Dictionary of Music and Musicians vol 1.djvu/298

From Wikisource
Jump to: navigation, search
This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.

Charles the Bold, Duke of Burgundy, and continued in that position till the death of that prince (Jan. 5, 1477), when he retired to a country life till his death about 1480.

Kiesewetter, in his 'Essay on the Music of the Netherlands,' has printed three four-part chansons from the 'Canti Cento Cinquanta' (Petrucci, Venice, 1503) which show a decided progress on the music of Dufay's period (1380–1450). Some masses of Busnois' are preserved in the library of the pontifical chapel, and other compositions, chiefly for the church, in a MS. in the royal library at Brussels. Many of his chansons are in a MS. brought to light of late years in the library at Dijon.

BUTLER, Tomas Hamly, son of John Butler, professor of music, was born in London in 1762. He received his early musical education as a chorister of the Chapel Royal under Dr. Nares. On the breaking of his voice he was sent to Italy to study composition under Piccini, where he remained three years. On his return to England he was engaged by Sheridan to compose for Drury Lane Theatre. Differences however arising, he quitted England at the expiration of his engagement and settled in Edinburgh, where he established himself as a teacher, and where he died in 1823. Butler composed the music for 'The Widow of Delphi,' a musical comedy by Richard Cumberland, 1780, besides many pieces for the pianoforte.

[ W. H. H. ]

BUXTEHUDE, Dietrich, a celebrated organist and composer, born 1637 at Helsingör, Denmark, where his father Johann was organist of the Olai-church. The father died Jan. 22, 1674, in his 72nd year. It is not known whether the son received his thorough musical education from his father or not. In April 1668 he obtained the post of organist at the Marien-Kirche of Lübeck—one of the best and most lucrative in Germany—where his admirable playing and promising abilities excited much attention. Here his energy and skill at once found their proper field. Not content with discharging his duties at the organ, he conceived the idea of instituting great musical performances in connection with the church services, and in 1673 started the 'Abendmusiken,' or evening performances, on which Lübeck peculiarly prided itself. They took place annually, on the five Sundays before Christmas, beginning between four and five o'clock, after the afternoon service, and consisted of concerted pieces of sacred music for orchestra and chorus—the former improved and the latter formed by Buxtehude—and organ performances. In such efforts Buxtehude was well seconded by his fellow citizens. The musical evenings continued throughout the 18th century, and even into the 19th. Further particulars by them are given by Spitta in his 'Life of J. S. Bach' (i. 253, from Möller's 'Cimbria Litterata,' and Conrad von Höveln's 'Beglücktern und geschmücktem Lübeck'); Matheson also mentions them in his 'Volkommene Kapellmeister.' The best testimony to Buxtehude's greatness is contained in the fact of Sebastian Bach having made a journey of fifty miles on foot that he might become personally acquainted with the Lübeck concerts. In fact Buxtehude became the great musical centre for the North of Europe, and the young musicians flocked around him. Amongst these was Nicolas Bruhns, who excelled Buxtehude himself both in composition and in organ-playing.

Buxtehude ended his active and deservedly famous life May 9, 1707. His strength lay in his free organ compositions (i. e. pieces not founded on chorals), and generally in instrumental music, pure and simple, and not based on a poetical idea. These, though now antiquated, are remarkable as the earliest assertion of the principle of pure instrumental music, which was afterwards so fully developed by Bach. In treatment of chorales on the organ Buxtehude was not equal to the school of Pachelbel; but to judge him from one side only would be unfair. A list of his published works, corrected from Gerber, is given by Spitta ('J. S. Bach,' i. 258, note). These include the 'Abendmusiken' from 1678–87, and occasional pieces, many of them published at Lübeck during his lifetime.

Earlier instrumental compositions Spitta was not able to discover; Matheson also complained that of Buxtehude's clavier pieces, in which his principal strength lay, few if any existed. A collection of seven 'Claviersuiten' mentioned by Matheson (Volk. Kapellmeister, 130), 'in which the nature and character of the planets are agreeably expressed,' exists probably only in MS. In later times fourteen 'Choral-Bearbeitungen' were edited by Dehn (Peters). Commer ('Musica Sacra,' i. No. 8), G. W. Korner, Busby (Hist, of Music), and A. G. Ritter ('Kunst des Orgelspiels'), have also published separate pieces of his.

[ C. F. P. ]

BYRD, William (or as his name is sometimes spelt, Byrde or Bird), is supposed to have been a son of Thomas Byrd, a gentleman of Edward the Sixth's Chapel. The precise date of his birth is unknown, but the fact of his having been senior chorister of St. Paul's Cathedral in 1554, would fix it at about 1538 (see a petition for the restoration of certain obits and benefactions which had been seized under the Act for the Suppression of Colleges and Hospitals, in Dugdale's St. Paul's, ed. Ellis). Wood tells us that he studied music under Thomas Tallis. In 1563 (according to the same authority) he was appointed Organist of Lincoln, which post he held till 1569. Upon the death of Robert Parsons, in that year, he succeeded him as Gentleman of the Chapel Royal. In 1575 he is styled 'Organist' (Cantiones Sacrae), but as no provision for that office then existed in the chapel, the title was only complimentary. Byrd is thought to have derived considerable pecuniary advantages from a patent granted to him and his master, Tallis, for the exclusive privilege of printing music and vending music paper (Ames, Typ. Antiq. 536).

Byrd's printed works (under this patent) are as follows:—(1) Cantiones quae ab argumento