Page:A Dictionary of Music and Musicians vol 3.djvu/219

From Wikisource
Jump to: navigation, search
This page needs to be proofread.


of studying medicine. He remained in Edin- burgh steadily pursuing his studies for some three years, and had made satisfactory progress until it came to the dissecting room, at which his sensitive nature revolted. Being fairly well read, a dabbler in literature, an enthusiastic admirer of art, a good amateur musician, and a keen follower of the stage, Mr. Ryan deter- mined to quit Edinburgh and try his fortune in London. Here he arrived in 1836, by chance met with Mr. J. W. Davison, and commenced an intimate friendship which lasted until dissolved by death. Mr. Ryan now entered upon his literary career in earnest, writing articles and poems for Harrison's Miscellany, etc., and pro- ducing verses for songs, original and translated, in teeming abundance. His 'Christopher among the Mountains,' in which he satirised Professor Wilson's criticism upon the last canto of ' Childe Harold,' and his parody of the ' Noctes Am- brosianae,' were among his first ambitious efforts. A set of twelve sacred songs, versified from the Old Testament and set to music by Edward Loder (D'Almaine), may also be mentioned. The Songs of Ireland ' (D'Almaine), in which, in conjunction with F. N. Crouch, new verses were fitted to old melodies, is another example of effective workmanship. In 1844 Mr. Ryan became a contributor to ' The Musical World,' and two years later sub-editor, a post which he filled as long as he lived. For years he was a contributor to the ' Morning Post,' ' Court Journal,' 'Morning Chronicle,' and other peri- odicals, writing criticisms on the drama and music, which had the merit of being trenchant, sound, and erudite. In 1849 ne wrote the



��libretto of ' Charles II.' for Mr. G. A. Macfarren. The subject was taken from a well-known comedy by Howard Payne, rendered popular at Covent Garden by Charles Kemble's acting some quarter of a century before. A short time afterwards Mr. Ryan was commissioned by M. Jullien to provide the libretto of a grand spectacular opera, on the subject of ' Peter the Great' brought out at the Royal Italian Opera on August 17, 1852, under the title of ' Pietro il Grande.' The fact of the book having been written in English, and translated into Italian (by Signor Maggioni) for the performance at Covent Garden, is a cir- cumstance rare in itself if not absolutely unique. With the late Mr. Frank Mori, Mr. Ryan col- laborated in an opera called 'Lambert Simnel,* originally intended for Mr. Sims Reeves, but destined never to see the light. Of the various other works, completed or mapped out, which he produced, nothing need be said ; the name of Des- mond Ryan will be best remembered as that of an intelligent critic, whose judgment was matured by experience and dictated by a seldom failing instinct. In 1857 he formed his first association with the 'Morning Herald,' and its satellite, the ' Standard,' and became permanently con- nected with those journals in 1862, as musical and dramatic critic. Few temperaments, how- ever, can sustain the excitement and toil de- manded in these days of newspaper activity, and after a painful and prolonged illness, Mr. Ryan quitted this life on Dec. 8, 1868, followed to the grave by the regretful memories of those who had known and esteemed his character. Des- mond Ryan was twice married, and left to mourn him a widow and eight children. [D. L. R.J

�� ��S.

��SACCHINI, ANTONIO MARIA GASPARE, born at Pozzuoli, near Naples, on July 23, 1734. This ' graceful, elegant, and judicious com- poser ' as Burney calls him, who enjoyed great contemporary fame, and was very popular in this country, was the son of poor fisherpeople who had no idea of bringing him up to any life but their own. It chanced however that Durante heard the boy sing some popular airs, and was so much struck with his voice and talent that he got him admitted into the Conservatory of San Onofrio, at Naples. Here he learned the violin from Nic- colo Forenza, and acquired a considerable mastery over the instrument, which he subsequently turned to good account in his orchestral writing. He studied singing with Gennaro Manna ; har- mony and counterpoint with Durante himself, who esteemed him highly, holding him up to his other pupils, among whom were Jommelli, Pic- cinni and Guglielmi, as their most formidable rival. Durante died in 1755, and in the follow- ing year Sacchini left the Conservatorio, but not until he had produced an Intermezzo, in two parts, ' Fra Donate,' very successfully performed by the pupils of the institution. For some years

��he supported himself by teaching singing, and writing little pieces for minor theatres, till, in 1 762, he wrote a serious opera for the Argentina theatre at Rome. This was so well received that he remained for seven years attached to the theatre as composer, writing operas not only for Rome but many other towns. Among these, ' Alessandro nelle Indie,' played at Venice in 1 768, was especially successful, and obtained for its composer, in 1 769, the directorship of the ' Ospe- daletto' school of music there. He seems to have held this office for two years only, but during that time formed some excellent pupils, among whom may be mentioned Gabrieli, Canti, and Pasquali.

In 1771 he left Venice, and proceeded by way of Munich, Stuttgart, and other German towns, to England, arriving in London in April 1772. His continental fame had preceded him to this country, and a beautiful air of his, ' Care luci,' introduced by Guarducci into the pasticcio of ' Tigrane,' as early as 1 767, had, by its popular- ity, paved the way for his music. True, a strong clique existed against the new composer, but he soon got the better of it. ' He not only

�� �