with & highly elaborate accompaniment, and a not always very moderate amount of fioritura. Cherubini has written many settings of it, one of which is almost as popular as his celebrated 'Ave Maria'; and Rossini has introduced it into his Messe Solennelle, in company with a Melody of ravishing beauty. Both these inspirations—for we can call them nothing less—are all that can be wished, so far as Music is concerned, but utterly unfit for their intended position, either in the Office of Benediction or the Mass.
[ W. S. R. ]
OSBORNE, George Alexander, born in 1806 [App. p.737 "Sept. 24"] at Limerick, where his father was an organist [App. p.737 "and lay-vicar"], was a self-instructed pianist until he reached the age of 18, when he determined on making music his profession and seeking instruction on the Continent. In 1825 he repaired to Belgium, and found a home in the house of the Prince de Chimay, Cherubini's friend, the well-known musical amateur, who made him acquainted with the works of the best German composers. [App. p.737 "During his residence in Brussels he taught the present king of the Netherlands, by whom he was afterwards decorated."] In 1826 he went to Paris, and studied the pianoforte under Pixis, and harmony under Fétis. He afterwards placed himself under Kalkbrenner, and soon obtained a good position among the pianists of the day, took his full share in the musical life at that time so abundant in Paris, and amongst other advantages enjoyed the privilege of an intimate acquaintance with Chopin and Berlioz. His recollections of these remarkable men he has recently communicated to the Musical Association. In 1843 Mr. Osborne settled in London, where he has for many years been one of the most esteemed and genial teachers. He composed, in conjunction with De Beriot, duos for pianoforte and violin, on themes from Rossini and Auber. His other works consist of string quartets and fantasias, rondos and variations for the pianoforte. [App. p.737 "omit the words string quartets, and add to list of works, three trios for piano and strings, a sextet for piano, flute, oboe, horn, cello, and double-bass. Of the many duets for piano and violin, thirty-three were written with De Bériot, the greater part of which are original, one was written in conjunction with Lafont, one with Artôt, and two with Ernst."] His 'Pluie des Perles,' a brilliant and charming drawing-room piece, was extraordinarily popular in its day. [App. p.737 "died Nov. 1893."]
[ W. H. H. ]
OSSIA, OPPURE, OVVERO. These words (the meaning of which is respectively 'Or it may be,' 'Or besides,' 'Or else') are used indifferently to mark a passage, generally printed above the treble or below the bass, which may be substituted for that written in the body or text of the work, being in most cases an easier version of the same kind of effect. For instance, 'ossia' is so used by Beethoven in the first movement of the Pianoforte Concerto in E♭ op. 73, 21 bars from the end. The same direction also occurs frequently in the pianoforte works of Schumann, Chopin, and Brahms. Liszt sometimes gives the easier passage in the text, and writes the more difficult one over it. These words were also used when the compass of the piano was in process of alteration; thus Moscheles sometimes adapts passages originally written for a full-sized piano, to the smaller compass, writing the passage for the smaller piano above that of the full-sized one.
The same object is attained by the words Plus facile or leichter.
[ J. A. F. M. ]
OTELLO. Opera; the libretto based on Shakespeare's play, the music by Rossini. Produced at the Fondo, Naples, in 1816 [App. p.727 "Dec. 4."]. In French at the Académie, as Othello, Sept. 2, 1844, but with very little success. In London at the King's Theatre, May 16, 1822. Desdemona was one of the great parts of both Pasta and Malibran. [App. p.727 "2. Opera in 4 acts; libretto, founded on Shakespeare, by Arrigo Boito, music by Verdi. Produced at La Scala, Milan, Feb. 5, 1887."]
[ G. ]
OSTINATO, i.e. Obstinate. 'Basso ostinato' is the Italian term for a ground bass, which recurs obstinately throughout the composition. [See Ground Bass, vol. i. 634b.] 'I shall seem to you,' says Mendelssohn, 'like a Basso ostinato, always grumbling over again, and at last becoming quite tiresome.'
[ G. ]
OTTAVINO. An octave flute. [See Piccolo.]
OTTHOBONI, the Cardinal Pietro, nephew to Pope Alexander VIII, was born in the year 1668, advanced to the Purple in 1690, and afterwards appointed Vice-Chancellor of the Holy See. He was a munificent patron of Art, and a firm friend to all great Artists, whether native or foreign. In proof of this may be cited his patronage of Corelli, and his intimacy with Domenico Scarlatti and Handel, for both of whom he entertained a sincere regard. It was indeed at his suggestion that, during Handel's short residence in Rome, these two great Musicians entered upon the memorable trial of skill, which resulted in a drawn battle upon the Harpsichord, though Scarlatti himself confessed to Handel's great superiority over him upon the Organ.
Cardinal Otthoboni is best known to the present generation of Musicians by his splendid Library. He was an enthusiastic collector of MSS.; and on the dispersion of the Library belonging to the noble house of Altaemps, he was fortunate enough to obtain possession of some priceless treasures which had remained in custody of the family ever since they were first acquired by the Duke Giovanni Angelo in the 16th century. The interest attached to these volumes is no ordinary one. Duke Giovanni Angelo Altaemps was not only the friend of Palestrina, but his pupil also. His Choir ranked next in excellence to that of the Pontifical Chapel; and Palestrina and other great Masters of the age supplied him with a vast number of original works, the greater part of which still remain unedited. Many of these works appear to be hopelessly lost: but two large volumes are still preserved in the Collegio Romano, and six in the Vatican Library. Those belonging to the College contain eight Motets for four, and nine for eight Voices, by Palestrina, all of which have lately been published for the first time by Messrs. Breitkopf & Härtel, in their complete collection. Those in the Vatican Library contain Masses and other compositions, which for the most part still remain unpublished. These last, now known as the Altaemps-Otthoboni Collection, were the volumes secured by the learned Cardinal, after whose death, in the year 1740, they were purchased and presented to the Vatican Library by
- Letter Jan. 8, 1838.
- Unless they hare fallen into the hands of the present Italian Government.