Page:A Dictionary of Music and Musicians vol 4.djvu/253

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


the size and number of these shutters made them too heavy for control by the foot, and they are now often placed vertically and closed by a spring. The old form of Swell could only be left either quite open or completely closed: in recent years a balanced Swell has been intro- duced which allows the shutters to be left at any angle. In almost all cases the control is given to the foot of the player generally the right foot. This arrangement has had disas- trous effects upon the pedalling of many players. Several ingenious attempts have been made to enable the organist to open and close the box by other means. In the large organ built by Mr. Willis for the 1862 Exhibition, a crescendo could be made by blowing into a small pipe. This however was liable to inconvenient sudden sfor- zandos. Mr. R. H. M. Bosanquet uses a move- able back attached to the seat by a hinge. A strap fastened to this is passed over one shoulder and under the other arm of the player. When the player leans forward he pulls on the back of the seat, and this opens the Swell. The action of the back Swell and Swell Pedal are distinct, so that acting on the former may not depress the latter. [W.Pa.]

VENI CREATOR SPIRITUS. The Hymn appointed, in the Roman Breviary, to be used at Vespers on the Feast of Pentecost, when the first verse is sung kneeling :

Veni creator Spiritus Mentes tuorum visita, Imple superna gratia Quae tu creasti pectora.

It is also sung at Ordinations, and on all other occasions introducing a solemn invocation to the Holy Ghost. The Latin text is supposed to have been written about 800, and is often ascribed to Charlemagne. The English version, by Bishop Cosyn, in the Book of Common Prayer ' Come, Holy Ghost, our souls inspire ' is in Long Mea- sure, answering, so far, to the eight syllables of the original hymn, and susceptible of adapta- tion to the melody (see * Hymns Ancient and Modern,' no. 157). The second version Come, Holy Ghost, Eternal God ' being in Common Measure, is, of course, less manageable. 1

The Plain Chaunt Melody will be found in the Antiphonarium, the Vesperal, and the Di- rectorium Chori. Among polyphonic settings, the finest is that by Palestrina, in the ' Hymni totiusanni' (Rome, 1589). A beautiful move- ment from a 'Magnificat 1 by Palestrina, was adapted, many years ago, to the English version, and published by Messrs. Burns & Lambert; but is now out of print. Tallis has also written a little setting, in the form of a very simple Hymn Tune, adaptable to the English Common Measure version. [W.S.R.]

VENITE. The name familiarly given to the 95th Psalm in the Vulgate 'Venite exulte- mus Domino ' which in the Anglican Service is

The Hymn, ' Come, Thou Holy Spirit, come.' Is not ' englyshed ' from the 'Veni Creator,' but from the Sequence for Whit Sunday, Veni Sancte Spiritus,' to which, indeed, the Common Measure version bears quite as much resemblance as it does to the ' Yen! Creator ' Itself.


sung immediately before the Psalms of the day at Matins. For some time after the introduction of the English service the Venite was set to music in the same manner as the Te Deum or Jubilate. Instances of this are found in the services by Tallis, Strogers, Bevin, Byrd, Gib- bons, 8 Mundy, Parsons, and Morley, in Bar- nard's Church Music. The custom was, how- ever discontinued, and Dr. Giles, who died 1633, was probably the last composer to do it. 3 Since then the Venite has been chanted like an ordi- nary psalm, thus returning to the practice of the Roman church ; a practice which indeed must have been partly followed from the first, since in Tallis's service a chant is given for it in addition to the other setting. [G.}

VENOSA, CARLO GESUALDO, PRINCE OP, nephew of Alfonso Gesualdo, archbishop of Naples, was born about the middle of the i6th century. He became the pupil of Pomponio Nenna of Bari, and excelled both as a composer and performer on the organ, clavichord, and lute : on the last he is said to have had no equal in his day. Of his history nothing is recorded ; we only know that he was living in 1613. His compositions are contained in a single volume of madrigals published at Genoa in parts, 1585, and in score, 1613. The latter bears the following title: 'Partitura delli sei libri de' madrigali a cinque voci dell' illustrissimo et eccellentissimo principe di Venosa, D. Carlo Gesualdo.'

The prince of Venosa is mentioned by *Pietro della Valle in company with Peri and Monte- verde, as one of those who followed a new path in musical composition and as perhaps that one to whom mainly the world was indebted for the art of effective singing, ' del cantare affectuoso.' This judgment is sustained by modern examin- ation of the prince's works. Burney indeed found them almost repulsive in their irregularity of form and rhythm, and their want of conformity with the strict canons of part- writing. But it is this very irregularity which attracts more recent critics. By swift transitions of keys and bold modulation, Gesualdo produced a singularly rich effect, full of surprises and highly individual. His style is peculiarly distinguished by its pathetic vein. But it is the change of method in his pro- ductions that calls for special notice. Gesualdo, in fact, as a skilful instrumental player, was able to use his voices in a freer manner than had commonly been allowed ; and, though a brilliant contrapuntist when he chose, he preferred to work consciously on lines which brought him near to the discovery of a genuine harmonic treatment. 5 [R.L.P.]

VENTADOUR, THEATRE. Ventadour, which has given its name to a street and a lyric theatre in Paris, is a village in the Limousin, created a duchy in 1568 in behalf of Gilbert de Levis, whose descendants have since borne the name of Levis de Ventadour. The Rue Venta-

2 Reprinted by Ouseley in his ' Collection of the Sacred Compo- sitions of Orlando Gibbons.' Boyce has not given the Venite in his edition of Tallis. Byrd. or Gibbons. 3 Jebb. p. 269.

Ambros, ' Geschichte der Musik,' iv. 248 note.

See especially Ambros, Iv. 23C 248.

�� �