formed at Munich, June 21, 1868, under the direction of von Bülow. [App. p.716 "Add that it was first given in England, under Richter, at Drury Lane, May 30, 1882."]
[ G. ]
MEL, Rinaldo del, 'Gentilhuomo Fiamengo,' and distinguished composer of the 16th century. The date and town of his birth are not known, but his nationality is assured, not only by the above title, which appears on more than one of his works, but by his own words, 'la natione nostra Fiammengo.' He is not to be confused with Gaudio Mell, a name which Adami, Liberati, and Martini give to Palestrina's master Goudimel. Having served Sebastian, King of Portugal, and his successor, Cardinal don Henriquez as Chapelmaster, he arrived in Rome in 1580. This change in his career may be accounted for by the annexation of Portugal to Spain in that year. If Philip II. was unwilling to keep up a useless retinue in Lisbon, he would certainly make no exception in favour of 'Flemish gentlemen,' who indeed were never to his liking. Why Mel turned his steps to Rome we know not. Once there, however, he presented himself without loss of time to Palestrina, but soon found himself out of his depth on musical subjects, and confessed that Rinaldo's questions could not keep pace with Pierluigi's answers. So the ex-Chapelmaster set himself down to school tasks again, ambitious to become a worthy disciple of that Roman school which he declared was the greatest in Europe. His diploma was soon obtained, for his publications began in 1582, and between that year and 1595 he published 5 books of motets and 15 books of madrigals, besides contributing to various collections which carried his name from Rome to Venice, Nuremberg, Antwerp, and Munich.
Up to 1590 he probably lived chiefly in Rome, though we find him at Liége in 1587, where some of his family were in the service of Ernest, Duke of Bavaria. Part of the time he is said to have been chamber-musician to Gabriel Paleotto, archbishop of Bologna, who had himself some knowledge of music. When the diocese of Sabina was placed under Paleotto's charge in 1591 he founded a college, improved the cathedral at Magliano, and made many changes in the internal government. The appointment of a new Chapelmaster agrees well enough with these facts, and it is in the year 1591 that we hear of Mel's appointment to the cathedral and the new college. He dates from Calvi, a little town near Magliano, March 20, 1593, and from Magliano itself, 1595. From this time his publications cease, and we have no further record of him. He is said to have been already well advanced in life when he left Portugal, and by this time was probably an old man. So we may assume that the end of his life was near, and that he did not long survive Palestrina.
Mel's works are at present difficult to obtain. The British Museum does little more than record his name, and in the Fétis Library at Brussels, such a rich treasure house, he is quite unknown. The only work in modern notation is a Litany in the 'Musica Divina,' Ann. II, vol. 3 (Ratisbon, 1869). [App. p.716 "Correct the last sentence by a reference to the Catalogue of the Motett Society's publications [see additions below, under Motett Society], where an anthem adapted by Dr. Aldrich to the words 'O praise the Lord,' from a work of Mel's, is found in vol. iii. p. 128."]
[ J. R. S.-B. ]
MELISMA (Gr. Μέλισμα, a Song). Any kind of Air, or Melody, as opposed to Recitative, or other music of a purely declamatory character. Thus, Mendelssohn employs the term in order to distinguish the Mediation and Ending of a Gregorian Tone from the Dominant, or Reciting Note. Other writers sometimes use it (less correctly) in the sense of Fioritura, or even Cadenza.
A work by Thomas Ravenscroft, entitled 'Melismata; Musical Phansies fitting the Court, citie, and country humours' (London, 1611), is much prized by collectors.
[ W. S. R. ]
MELL, Davis; familiarly called Davie Mell. An eminent Violinist and Clockmaker, resident in London, about the middle of the 17th century, and honourably mentioned by Aubrey and Anthony á Wood. In the year 1657, he visited Oxford, where, as we learn from Wood's Diary, 'Peter Pett, Will. Bull, Ken. Digby, and others of Allsoules, as also A. W. did give him a very handsome entertainment in the Taverne cal'd "The Salutation" in S. Marie's Parish … The Company did look upon Mr. Mell to have a prodigious hand on the Violin, & they thought that no person, as all in London did, could goe beyond him. But, when Tho. Baltzar, an Outlander, came to Oxon. in the next yeare, they had other thoughts of Mr. Mell, who, tho he play'd farr sweeter than Baltzar, yet Baltzar's hand was more quick, & could run it insensibly to the end of the Fingerboard.' [See Baltzar, Thomas.]
Aubrey tells a curious story of a child of Mell's, who was cured of a crooked back by the touch of a dead hand.
[ W. S. R. ]
MELLON, Alfred, born in Birmingham [App. p.716 "London"], 1820, became a violinist in the opera and other orchestras, and afterwards leader of the ballet at the Royal Italian Opera, Covent Garden. He was next director of the music at the Haymarket and Adelphi theatres, and subsequently conductor of the Pyne and Harrison English Opera Company, who in 1859 produced his opera, 'Victorine,' at Covent Garden; he was conductor of the Musical Society, and of the Promenade Concerts which for several seasons were given under his name at Covent Garden. In Sept. 1865 he was chosen conductor of the Liverpool Philharmonic Society. He married Miss Woolgar, the well known actress. He died March 27, 1867.
[ W. H. H. ]
MELODISTS' CLUB, THE. A society at one time of much promise, founded in 1825, by ad-
- 'Osservazioni per ben regolare Capella ponttf. (Roma 1711). (Brit. Mus. C. 20 c.)
- Lettera in risposta ad una del Sig. Pers. (Brit. Mus. 556 c. 8.)
- 'Giudicio di Apollo.' bound up with 3rd vol. of Martini's 'Storia della Musica.' (Brit. Mus. 557 eq.)
- Baini is responsible for this story. See 'Memorie di Palestrina.'
- Madrigali á 6 (Anvers 1588). See also Fétis, Biographie, under 'Melle, Renaut de.'
- See Fantuzzi, 'Notizie delli Scrittori Bolognesi' (Bologna 1788).
- See dedication of 'Liber 5me motectorum' (Venice 1595).
- A 'quinto' part of the 2nd book of Madrigals (á 6), the only book of Mel's in the library, gives the title 'Gentilhuomo F.,' and contains the dedication to Cardinal Minucci. which speaks of 'la natione nostra Fiammengo,' and bears the date 'Calvi. March 20, 1593.'
- See his letter to Zelter, dated Rome, June 16, 1851.
- 'Miscellanies,' under the article 'Miranda.'