Page:EB1911 - Volume 25.djvu/1003

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977
STRADIVARI—STRAFFORD, EARLS OF

cantatas and other compositions contain frequent allusions to Rome and noble Roman families. There is, however, no proof that he ever performed the oratorio S. Giovanni Battista in the Lateran. Documents in the archives at Turin relate that in 1677 he arrived there with the mistress of Alvise Contarini, with whom he had eloped from Venice. Contarini demanded that both should be given up to him, or failing that, that Stradella should not be allowed to exercise his profession until the lady had been either placed in a convent or made his legitimate wife. Stradella was protected by the regent of Savoy, the duchess Giovanni Battista de Nemours, and the Contarini family, indignant at his audacity, sent two hired assassins to Turin, by whom Stradella was wounded but not murdered. We hear of Stradella last at Genoa. An opera by him, La Forza dell' amor paterno, was given there in 1678, and his last composition, 77 Barcheggio {i.e. a " Water-Music "), was performed on the 16th of June 1 68 1 in honour of the marriage of Carlo Spinola and Paola Brignole, which was solemnized on the 6th of July of the same year. Documents in the archives at Modena inform us that in February 1682 Stradella was murdered at Genoa by three brothers of the name of Lomellini, whose sister he had seduced.

It is extremely improbable that Stradella had any great reputa- tion as a singer, since the great Italian singers of the 17 th century were almost exclusively castraii; but he may well have been a teacher of singing, and he appears to have instructed his lady pupils in Genoa on the harpsichord. He is principally important as a composer of operas and chamber-cantatas, although compared with his contemporaries his output was small. In spite of his dissolute life his command of the technique of composition was remarkable, and his gift of melodic invention almost equal to that of A. Scarlatti, who in his early years was much influenced by Stradella. His best operas are II Floridoro, also known as II Mora per amore, and II Trespolo tutore, a comic opera in three acts which worthily carried on the best traditions of Florentine and Roman comic opera in the 17th century. His church music, on which his reputation has generally been based, is of less im- portance, though the well-known oratorio S. Giovanni Battista displays the same skill in construction and orchestration (so far as the limited means at his disposal permitted) as the operas. A serenata for voices and two orchestras, Qual prodigo ch'io miri, was used by Handel as the basis of several numbers in Israel in Egypt, and was printed by Chrysander (Leipzig, 1888); the MS., however, formerly in the possession of Victor Schoelcher, from which Chrysander made his copy, has entirely disappeared. The well-known aria Pietd, signore, also sung to the words Se i ittiei sospiri, cannot possibly be a work of Stradella, and there is every reason to suppose that it was composed by Fetis, Niedermeyer or Rossini.

The finest collection of Stradella's works extant is that at the Biblioteca Estense at Modena, which contains 148 MSS., including four operas, six oratorios and several other compositions of a semi-dramatic character. A collection of cantate a voce sola was bequeathed by the Contarini family to the library of St Mark at Venice ; and some MSS. are also preserved at Naples and in Paris. Eight madrigals, three duets, and a sonata for two violins and bass will be found among the Additional MSS.,at the British Museum, five pieces among the Harleian MSS., and eight cantatas and a motet among those in the library at Christ Church, Oxford. The Fitzwilliam Museum at Cambridge possesses a large number of his chamber-cantatas and duets.

See also Heinz Hess, Die Opern Alessandro Stradellas (Leipzig, 1905), which includes the most complete catalogue yet made of Stradella's extant works; Catelani, Delle Opere di A. Stradella instenti nell' archivio musicale delta r. biblioteca palatina di Modena (Modena, 1865); and Sedley Taylor, The Indebtedness of Handel to other Composers (Cambridge, 1906).


STRADIVARI, ANTONIO (1644-1737), Italian violin-maker, is associated throughout his life with Cremona, where he brought the craft of violin-making to its highest pitch of perfection. The obscure details of his life have been thoroughly worked out in the monograph on him by W. H Hill, A. F. Hill and Alfred Hill (1902). He was still a pupil of Nicolas Amati in 1666, when he had already begun to insert his own label on violins of his making, which at first follow the smaller Amati model, froiidly constructed, with a thick yellow varnish. It was not till 1684 that he began to produce a larger model, using a deepei coloured varnish, and beautifying the instruments in various details, his " long " patterns (from 1690) representing a complete innovation in its proportions; while from 1700, after for a few years returning to an earlier style, he again broadened and other- wise improved his model. He also made some beautiful violon- cellos and violas. The most famous instruments by him are: — Violins: the " Hellier " (1679), the " Selliere " (before 1680), the " Tuscan " (1690), the " Betts " (1704), the" Ernst " (1709), " La Pucelle " (1709), the " Viotti " (1709), the " Vieuxtemps " (1710), the " Parke " (1711), the " Boissier " (1713), the "Dol- phin " (1714), the " Gillot " (1715), the " Alard," the finest of all (1715), the " Cessot " (1716), the " Messiah " (1716), the " Sasserno " (1717), the " Maurin " (1718), the "Lauterbach" (1719), the "Blunt" (1721), the " Sarasate " (1724), the "Rode" (1722), the " Deurbroucq " (1727), the " Kiesewetter " (1731), the "Habeneck" (1736), the " Muntz " (1736). Violas: the " Tuscan " (1690), two of 1696 formerly belonging to the king of Spain, the " Archinto " (1696), the " Macdonald " (1701), and the " Paganini " (1731). Violoncellos: the "Archinto" (1689), the " Tuscan " (1690), the " Aylesford " (1696), the " Cristiani " (1700), the " Servais " (1701), the " Gore-Booth" (1710), the "Duport " (1711), the "Adam" (1713), the " Batta " (1714), the " Piatti," the finest of all (1720), the " Bandiot" (1725), the " Gallay " (1725). Antonio Stradivari's sons Francesco (1671-1743) and Omobono (1679-1742) were also violin-makers, who assisted their father, together with Carlo Bergonzi, who appears to have succeeded to the possession of Antonio's stock-in-trade. The Stradivari method of violin-making created a standard for subsequent times; but what is regarded as Antonio's special advantage, now irrecoverable, was his varnish, soft in texture, shading from orange to red, the composition of which has been much debated. (See also Violin.)


STRAFFORD, EARLS OF. The first earl of Strafford was Charles I.'s friend and adviser, Thomas Wentworth (see below). When he was attainted and executed in May 1641 his honours were forfeited, but later in the year his only son, William (1626-1695), was created earl of Strafford, his father's attainder being reversed by act of parliament in 1662. William died without issue on the 16th of October 1695, when all his titles, except the barony of Raby, became extinct. His estates passed to a kinsman, Thomas Watson, afterwards Watson- Wentworth (d. 1723), a son of Anne (1629-1695), daughter of the 1st earl, and her husband Edward Watson, 2nd Baron Rockingham. In 1746 Watson- Wentworth's son, Thomas Watson- Went worth (c. 1690-1750), was created marquess of Rockingham, and when his son Charles, the 2nd marquess, died in 1782, the estates passed to his maternal nephew, William Fitzwilliam, 2nd Earl Fitzwilliam (1748-1833). His descendant, the present Earl Fitzwilliam, is the owner of Wentworth Woodhouse, near Rotherham, and the representative of the Wentworth family.

The barony of Raby passed to the 2nd earl's cousin, Thomas Wentworth (1672-1739), son and heir of Sir William Wentworth of Northgate Head, Wakefield. In early life he saw much service as a soldier in the Low Countries, and was occasionally employed on diplomatic errands. From 1711 to 1714 he was British ambassador at the Hague, and in 171 1 he was created earl of Strafford. The earl was one of the British representatives at the congress of Utrecht, and in 1715 he was impeached for his share in concluding this treaty, but the charges against him were not pressed to a conclusion. He died on the 15th of November 1739. The earldom became extinct when Frederick Thomas, the 5th earl, died in August 1799. William, the 4th earl (1722-1791), had a sister Anne, who married William

Connolly; and one of their daughters, Anne, married George Byng (d. 1789) of Wrotham Park, Middlesex. Their son, Sir John Byng (1772-1860), a distinguished soldier, was created earl of Strafford and Viscount Enfield in 1847. Having entered the army in 1793, Byng served in Flanders and commanded a brigade during the Peninsular War. He was present at Waterloo and became a field marshal in 1855. The earldom of Strafford is still held by his descendants.