Page:A Dictionary of Music and Musicians vol 3.djvu/488

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



��SESTINI, GIOVANNA, a singer engaged at the Italian opera in London as prima buffa in 1783- She first appeared in 'La Marchesa Giardiniera' of Anfossi. Although the quality of her voice was not agreeable (' gritty and sharp ' Lord Mount-Edgecumbe describes it), and her vocalis- ation not of the first order, her beauty, vivacity, and intelligence won for her great popularity with the public. Kelly, who heard her at Dublin in 1 787, mentions her in his Reminiscences as the best buffa of her time. She was 'first woman' for many years, then, in the decline of her voice, became second, and even after that sang at intervals at Covent Garden and the Hayinarket. She was one of those useful people who are ready at a moment's notice to take almost any part, and up to 1791 was often recalled to strengthen a weak company. She remained con- stantly in England, and died here at last, in great poverty. Her salary for her first season was 450.

One V. Sestini, possibly a relation, was ward- robe keeper at the King's Theatre in 1821, and the name of Miss Sestini, a singer, appears in some English playbills of 1839. [F.A.M.]

SETTIMETTO. Italian for a septet, or com- position for seven instruments, or in seven parts. In the earlier programmes of the Philharmonic Society, Beethoven's Septet is occasionally styled Settimetto. [G.]

SEVEN LAST WORDS, THE i. e. the seven last sentences or exclamations of Christ : (i) 'Pater dimitte illis; non enim sciunt quid faciant.' (2) 'Amen dico tibi, hodie mecum eris in paradiso.' (3) ' Mulier ecce filius tuns, et tu ecce mater tua.' (4)'Sitio.' (5) 'Deusmeus, Deus meus,utquiddereliquistime?' (6) 'Consummatum est.' (7) ' Pater in manus tuas cornmendo spiritum meum.' A composition of Haydn's dating about 1785. It was then the custom in the principal church of Cadiz to have a kind of oratorio during Passion week. 1 The church was hung with black, and a single lamp only was lighted. At noon the doors were shut. An orchestral prelude was played ; then the Bishop mounted the pulpit, read one of our Lord's last 'words,' and made an ex- hortation upon it. He then came down, and threw himself on his knees before the altar. During this there was again orchestral music. He then mounted the pulpit a second time, and pronounced the second ' word/ and a second dis- course, and so on till the last. In or about 1 785 Haydn received a request from Cadiz to com- pose orchestral pieces for this purpose, each piece to be an adagio of about 10 minutes long. This he did, substituting however (as the original parts show) for the Bishop's voice a long recita- tive for a bass in the case of eacli of the seven ' words.' In this form the work was performed at Vienna, March 26, 1787, and was published in parts by Artaria in the same year as ' 7 sonate, con un Introduzione, ed al tine un tere- inoto ' for orchestra, op. 47 ; for strings, op. 48 ;

i This was done on Good Friday 1882, at St. John's Parish Church, Worcester, England, by the incumbent, the Rev. Walter Carr.


for piano solo, op. 49. It quickly spread to other countries, was sold to Forster of London in the summer of the same year for 5 guineas, Haydn protesting, and endeavouring to obtain another 5, but with doubtful success ;'* and was announced by Longman and Broderip in The Times of Jan. i, 1788, as A set of Quartetts .... expres- sive of the Passion of Our Saviour, op. 48. 8s.' Haydn himself conducted them (whether with the recitatives or not and for full orchestra does not appear) as the middle part of a concert at the King's Theatre, Haymarket, May 30, 1791, and repeated the performance at the benefit of little Clement the violin-player. For the pay- ment for the Paris edition he waited long. At last a package arrived from the publisher con- taining a chocolate tart. After looking at it for some time in disgust he broke off a piece for his servant, when out ran a number of ducats !

The work is now known as a cantata, with words to each movement. When or by whom the words were added is not quite clear ; for the various statements the reader must be referred to Pohl's 'Joseph Haydn' (ii. 217, 2i8). 3 Pohl's conclusion appears to be that Haydn adapted to his music perhaps with Van Swieten's assist- ancewords which he met with at Passau on his way to England in 1794, except those to the Earthquake, which are from Rammler's ' Tod Jesu.' At the same time he arranged each of the ' words ' in plain harmony, and added a move- ment for wind instruments only between move- ments 4 and 5. The ' Seven Words ' were for long a favourite in Vienna both in church and concert-room. One of the last performances was at the Alt-Lerchenfeld church, when Franz Schubert's brother Anton ('Father Hermann') delivered the discourses. 4 [G.]

SEVENTH. The intervals which contain seven notes comprise some of the most important chords in music, and such as have been pecu- liarly conspicuous in musical history. They are divided mainly into three classes major sevenths, minor sevenths, and diminished sevenths ; as

��I. The major sevenths, as CB, FE, GFff, are very harsh in fact the harshest combination used in modern music except the minor second, such as BC. They are only endurable either when prepared and duly resolved, or when they result from the use of an appoggiatura or grace-note, or passing note. They occur most commonly as suspensions, resolving either up or down, while the rest of the chord is stationary, as at (a)

��or with the condensed forms of resolution, when

2 Pohl, ' Haydn In London,' p. 92.

s The Biographic Universelle states categorically that the adapt- ation was by Michael Haydn. 4 See i'ohi's ' Joseph Haydn,' II. 214, 341, etc.

�� �