Page:A Dictionary of Music and Musicians vol 4.djvu/146

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



��showy improvisation. Giovanni Gabrieli (i557~ 1613) and Claudio Merulo (1533-1604) were the first writers of any importance who used this form, the Toccatas of the latter being scarcely so brilliant as those of the former, though more elaborate. Frescobaldi, Luigi Rossi, and Scherer developed the idea and sometimes altered the character of the movement, using chords freely and even contrapuntal passages. It was Bach however who raised the Toccata far beyond all previous and later writers. The Toccatas to his Fugues for Clavecin are in some cases a chain of short movements of markedly different tempi and styles. The fourth of those in the Peters Volume of 'Toccatas and Fugues' is the only one which answers to the description given above, the others being almost overtures. That to the G minor Fugue in No. 211 of the same edition is very extended. His organ Toccatas are very grand, one of the finest being that in F on this subject 1

��the semiquaver figure of which is treated at great length alternately by the two hands in thirds and sixths over a pedal bass, and then by the pedals alone. Another in C (Dorffel, 830) is equally brilliant. Bach sometimes begins and ends with rapid cadenza-like passages in very short notes divided between the two hands, as in the well-known Toccata in D minor, with its fugue, which Tausig has arranged as a piano solo. 2

Probably from the fact of its faint individuality the Toccata has in later times had but a flickering vitality, and has found scant favour with com- posers of the first rank. A collection of six Toccatas for piano published by Mr. Pauer has resuscitated as prominent specimens one by F. Pollini (not the famous one of his 32) in G, and others by Czerny, Onslow, Clementi, etc. That by Pollini is of the form and character of a Bourre'e, and the others would be better named Etudes in double notes, having all definite sub- jects and construction. The same may be said of Schumann's Toccata in C (op. 7), which is a capital study for practice, and is in sonata form. Contemporary musicians have given us two or three specimens of real Toccatas worth mention, prominent among them being that in G minor by Rheinberger, which is a free fugue of great boldness and power. The same composer has used the diminutive term TOCOATINA for one of a set of short pieces; and another instance of the use of this term is the Toccatina in Eb by Henselt, a short but very showy and difficult piece. Dupont has published a little PF. piece entitled TOOCATELLA. Toccatas by Walter Mac- farren and A. H. Jackson may close our list of modern pieces bearing that name. [See TOUCH ; TUCKET.] [F.C.]

1 (DOrffel's Cat. 816). In the old editions of thl. Schumann hat pointed out a hoi t of errors. See ' Gesammelte Schrtften,' I v. 69.

2 Both these in D and F are entitled * Praeludlum (Toccata). Three Toccatas in F with a fugue, in D minor, and In E with two fugues are printed in vol. 15 of the Bacbgesellschaft edition.


TODI, LUIZA EOSA DE AQUIAB, known as Madame Todi, from her husband Francesco Saverio Todi, was a famous mezzo-soprano singer, and was born at Setubal, Jan. 9, 1753. She received her musical education from David Perez, at Lisbon. When, in her seventeenth year, she first appeared in public, she at once attracted notice by the beautiful, though somewhat veiled, quality of her voice. She made her d&mi in London in 1777, in Pai- siello's ' Due Contesse/ but was not success- ful. Her voice and style were unsuited to comic opera, which, from that time, she aban- doned. At Madrid, in the same year, her per- formance of Paisiello's ' Olimpiade ' won warm admiration, but her European fame dates from 1778, when her singing at Paris and Versailles created a lasting sensation. She returned for one year to Lisbon, but in 1781 was at Paris again. In 1782 she engaged herself for several years to the Berlin Opera, at a yearly salary of 2000 thalers. But the Prussian public thought her affected and over-French in manner, and at the end of a year she gave up her engagement and returned to Paris, where she always found an enthusiastic welcome. Madame Mara was also in Paris, and the two queens of song appeared together at the Concert Spirituel. The public was divided into 'Maratistes' and 'Todistes/ and party spirit ran as high as between the 'Gluckistes ' and ' Piccinnistes,' or the adherents of Cuzzoni and Faustina. The well-known retort shows that the contest was not conducted with- out wit: 'Laquelle etoit la meilleure ? C'est Mara. C'est bien Todi (bient6t dit).'

Mara excelled in bravwra, but Todi would seem to have been the more pathetic. Their rivalry gave rise to the following stanza

Todi, par sa voix touchante, De doux pleura mouille mes yeux; Mara, plus vive, plus briilante, M'^tonne, me transporte aux cieux. L'une ravit et 1'autre enchante, Mais celle qui platt le mieux Eat toujours celle qui chante.

Todi returned to Berlin in 1 783, where she sang the part of Cleofide in 'Lucio Papirio.' The king wished her to remain, but she had already signed an engagement for St. Petersburg. There her performance of Sarti's 'Armida' was an immense success. She was overwhelmed with presents and favours by the Empress Catherine, between whom and the prima donna there sprang up a strange intimacy. Todi acquired over Catherine an almost unbounded influence, which she abused by her injustice to Sarti, the imperial Chapelmaster, whom she disliked. Seeing that she was undermining his position at court, Sarti revenged himself by bringing Mar- ches! to St. Petersburg, whose wonderful vocal powers diverted some part of the public admira- tion from Todi. Todi retorted by procuring Sard's dismissal. This ugly episode apart, she is asserted to have been amiable and generous.

Meanwhile the king of Prussia was tempting her back to Berlin, and, as the Russian climate was telling on her voice, she, in 1 786, accepted his offers,

�� �