Page:A Dictionary of Music and Musicians vol 4.djvu/749

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OAKELEY, Sir Herbert Stanley. Line 13 of article, add:—He received in 1879 the degree of Mus. D. from the University of Oxford, and in 1881 that of LL.D. from the University of Aberdeen; he was created in the same year Composer of Music to Her Majesty in Scotland. In 1886 the University of Toronto conferred on him the degree of D.C.L., and in 1887 he received the degree of Mus. D. from the University of Dublin. Line 14, for some 20 read 25, and add that 20 of the songs have been published in a 'Jubilee Album' dedicated to the Queen. Line 17, for 12 read 18. Line 18, add a Jubilee Cantata for 1887. Among the sacred compositions add a motet with orchestral accompaniment. Add that the annual festival mentioned in the third line from the end of the article, is due to Sir Herbert Oakeley. (See Reid Concerts, vol. iii. p. 101.) He has lately (1886) prepared a scheme for musical graduation at the Edinburgh University, which has been approved by the senate, and only awaits the sanction of the Chancellor and the University Court to come into effect.

OBERTAS.[1] This is described in the 'Encyklopedyja Powszechna' (Warsaw 1884) as the most popular of Polish national dances. The couples follow their leader, turning from right to left, and describing a circle or oval ring. The woman sometimes dances round her partner, and sometimes vice versâ; a song is often sung at the same time. The obertas is evidently regarded by the Poles as their national waltz, though, as will have been seen, it differs from the German waltz in several characteristics of the dance as well as in the style of the music associated with it by modern composers. Wieniawski's 'Mazurka caractéristique' for violin No. 1, bears the subtitle 'Obertas'; it is deficient in the rough, wild character, without which the dance is scarcely to be distinguished from a mazurka. Boito inintroduces the obertas into the first scene of act i. of 'Mefistofele':

<< \override Score.TimeSignature #'stencil = ##f \time 3/4 \override Score.Rest #'style = #'classical \override Score.BarNumber #'break-visibility = #'#(#f #f #f)
\new Staff { \key g \major \relative d'' { \autoBeamOff r4 r d8._"Tenors." d16 | e4 c8 a c8. c16 | b4 g8 r d'16.*2 d16 | e4 c8[ a] c8. c16 | b4 g8 r \clef bass g,8._"Basses." g16 | a4 f8 d f8. f16_"etc." } }
\new ChoirStaff <<
  \new Staff { \key g \major \relative d'' { <d g d'>2.-> | <e a c e>8->_\markup { \italic "gettate con forza." } r r4 <c e a c>8-> r | r4 <b d g>8-> r r4 | <e a c e>8-> r r4 <c e a c>8-> r | r4 <b d g>8-> r r4 | r4 <f d>8 r <a f d> r_"etc." } }
  \new Staff { \clef bass \key g \major \relative g { <g g,>4-> q-> q-> | r <g a c>8-> r r4 | <g b>8-> r r4 <g b d>8-> r | r4 <g a c>8-> r r4 | <g b>8-> r r4 <g b d>8-> r | g,2._\trill } }

Whether Boito was guilty of an anachronism in representing his 16th century Frankfort populace indulging in a national dance of Poland (to say nothing of Polish exclamations) is open to question. The Mazurka found its way into North-Germany only after August III. of Saxony ascended the throne in 1733 (Brockhaus). Had the obertas been adopted at any time by the German people, such writers as Angerstein, Czerwinski, Voss, etc, could not have ignored it in their works on the art and history of the Dance; though their neglect to include the name of a dance known only in Poland, in their enumeration of dances of all nations, is at least excusable. However, the charm of these stirring strains, no doubt suggested to Boito by his Polish mother, renders very welcome the composer's possible deviation from historic truth.

Wieniawski and Boito suggest by a drone bass in fifths the rude accompaniment of the bagpipes or other primitive combination of instruments.

Tutto vanno alia rinfusa
Sulla musica confusa
Così far la cornamusa—

writes Boito for his chorus. The wild and romping nature of this dance and music must have proved without attraction for Chopin, who has at any rate not included by name an Obertas among his Mazurkas. Nevertheless, we may recognize that in C major, op. 56, no. 2 (Vivace), as being in harmony and rhythm the nearest approach to the Obertas attempted by this fastidious and undramatic composer.

[ L. M. M. ]

OCCASIONAL ORATORIO, THE. A work of Handel, probably intended to celebrate the failure of the Jacobite rising of 1745. It consists of an overture and three parts, among which are 'O liberty,' afterwards transferred to 'Judas Maccabeus,' some of the choruses from 'Israel in Egypt' and a Coronation Anthem, introduced into Part III. The words of Part I. are in great part taken from Milton's Psalms, and many numbers appear to be written by Dr. Morell. (See pref. to the work in the Händelgesellschaft edition.) It was performed at Covent Garden on Feb. 14, 19, and 26, 1746. (Rockstro's Life of Handel.)

[ M. ]

  1. From 'Obracać,' signifying to turn round. 'Obertas' has a second meaning, confusion or perplexity. The accent lies on the second syllable.