Page:A Dictionary of Music and Musicians vol 1.djvu/300

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

class at the beginning of the last century. Babell's fame reached even to Germany, where some of his works were printed. He was the author of several 'Suits of the most celebrated Lessons, collected and fitted to the Harpsichord or Spinnet'; 'Twelve Solos for a Violin or Hautboy'; 'Twelve Solos for the German Flute or Hautboy'; 'Six Concertos for small Flutes and Violins,' and other works mentioned in old catalogues. He died at Canonbury Sept. 23, 1723, and was buried in the church of which he had been organist. (Hawkins, Hist.; Private Sources.)

[ E. F. R. ]

BACON, Richard Mackenzie, born at Norwich, May 1, 1776, was a musical critic of great acumen, and wrote at a time when sensible musical criticism was an uncommon thing. His father was proprietor of the 'Norwich Mercury,' which he inherited from him, and bequeathed to his son. Richard began to write for this journal at seventeen, and its editorship was the standard occupation of his whole life. He is known to musical men as the projector, editor, and chief writer of the 'Quarterly Musical Magazine and Review,' which was the first journal devoted to music in England. The first number was issued in January, 1818, and it was for some time continued, as its name implies, quarterly, but the late numbers came out irregularly, the last (completing the 10th volume) appearing in 1826 [App. p.529 "1829"]. He contributed musical notes to 'Colburn's Magazine,' and other periodicals. He issued proposals for an extensive musical dictionary, for which he is said to have collected the materials, but it was never printed. In 1828 he published 'The Elements of Vocal Science,' a work of considerable merit, the materials of which had previously appeared in the 'Musical Magazine.' He claims the merit of originating the Norwich Triennial Musical Festival, the first celebration of which was held in. 1824. He was the author of a 'Life of Pitt,' a 'Life of the Earl of Suffolk,' and of numerous political pamphlets. He died at Norwich, Nov. 2, 1844 [App. p.529 "Nov. 27"]. (Imp. Dict, of Biog.; Private Sources.)

[ E. F. R. ]

BAINI, Giuseppe, commonly known as the Abbé Baini, was born at Rome Oct. 21, 1775. He was the nephew of Lorenzo Baini, a Venetian composer who had become Maestro di Capella at the Church of the Gesù. Giuseppe received his first musical instruction at the competent hands of his uncle, and completed his studies under the well-known Jannaconi, with whom he came to be on terms of very close friendship. Shrewd, enthusiastic, studious and devout, by the time of his entry into Holy Orders he was at once an erudite theologian, an expert musician, and an accomplished literary man. His powers of assimilation and criticism were equal to his capacity for learning; and his love for antiquity and the antique forms of art was as absorbing as his taste was keen and his judgment true. Further, nature had endowed him with a beautiful bass voice which he had carefully cultivated. With such qualifications his reception into the Pontifical choir was easy, and once a member of it, his succession to the Mastership was a certainty. As composer and Maestro di Capella he was alike an exponent and a representative of the old Roman school of the 16th century. He was indeed a cinque-cento priest of the higher order born out of due time. For him the sun of music had begun to set at the close of the one period which he loved and understood. None of his musical compositions have been published, but one of them at least is famous. His 'Miserere,' composed for the Holy Week by order of Pope Pius VII, is the only one out of the hundreds that have been produced in Rome which has taken its place permanently in the services of the Pontifical Chapel side by side with the two celebrated compositions of Allegri and Baj. His first contribution to the literature of music was a pamphlet evoked by the ignorance of the directors of the Accademia Napoleone in Lucca, who in the year 1806 bestowed their annual prize upon a motet for four choirs written by Marco Santucci, as though it were a production of a new order. Baini exposed their mistake, and cited a long list of similar pieces by Antonelli, Agostini, Benevoli, Abbatini, Beretta, and a host of other composers, dating from the 16th century downwards, and including one by his own master and friend Jannaconi. His second literary work was an essay on the identity of Musical and Poetic rhythm. It was written in obedience to a request of the Comte de St. Leu, brother to the Emperor Napoleon, and it takes the form of answers to no less than sixteen questions proposed to him by the illustrious amateur. The subject was one well calculated to display the solid learning and delicate analysis of Baini, but it may be doubted whether it is not to be honoured among those efforts in which abstruseness and mysticism are unalloyed by any trace of practical result. But the masterpiece of Baini, to which and for which he was alike led by temperament and fitted by power, is his great monograph on Palestrina ('Memorie Storicocritiche,' etc., Rome 1828, 2 vols. 4to.). A more complete and satisfactory piece of work it would be difficult to conceive. It is something more and something less than a biography. For the details of the life of Palestrina are somewhat scanty, although the account of his works is absolutely exhaustive. Still, the portrait of the man, the loveable husband, father, and friend, the conscientious worker, the devoted man of genius, the pure liver, and faithful Catholic, is full and finished. Moreover any lack of view into his family interior is more than compensated by the glimpses we get of cinque-cento life and society in Rome. To snatch these from the materials to which he had access, and to reproduce without intruding them, was a task absolutely congenial to the nature and genius of Baini, and he has performed it to perfection. But the book is as valuable to the musical historian as it is to the general reader. A hundred subsidiary notices of the composers of the Italian school from the days of Goudimel to the middle of the 17th century are sown like satellites around the central figure; and it is hardly too much to