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A dictionary of music and musicians (A.D. 1450-1889) by eminent writers, English and foreign : with illustrations and woodcuts (Volume 4) online

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below Tenor C, and even now attempts are
sometimes made to reduce the cost of an organ
by limiting the downward compass of the Swell ;
but in all instruments with any pretension to
completeness the Swell manual is made to CC,
coextensive with the Great and Choir. [See
Organ, vol. ii. p. 596, etc. ; also 604.] [J.S.]

SWERT, DE, Jules. An eminent violon-
cellist, born Aug. 16, 1843, at Lou vain, where
his father was Capellmeister at the Cathedr.d.
He was grounded in the cello and in music by
his father, and afterwards took lessons from
Servais in preparation for the Brussels Conscr-


vatoire. After gaining the first prize there, at
15, he went to Paris, made the acquaintance of
Rossini, and was much npplauded. He then
began a lengthened tour through Belgium, Hol-
land, Denmark, Sweden, South Germany, Switzer-
land, etc., in which his programmes embraced
both classical and modern pieces. Two, on which
he gained great fame, were cello arrangements
of the violin concertos of Beethoven and Men-
delssohn. In 1865 he took a post as leader at
Diisseldorf, then in the Court band at Weimar,
and next at Berlin. He did not however retain
the last of these long, but gave it up for concert
tours, which have since occupied him. In the
intervals of these he has resided at Wiesbaden
and Leipzig. His first opera, ' Die Albigenser,'
was produced at Wiesbaden in 1878, with much
success. A second, 'Die Grafen von Hammer-
stein,' is announced for publication. De Swert
has a Primer for the Cello in preparation for
Messrs. NoveUo. He visited England in the
spring of 1875, and appeared at the Crystal
Palace on April 24. [G.]

SWIETEN, Gottfried, Baron VAN. A
musical amateur of great importance, who resided
at Vienna at the end of last century and beginning
of this one. The ftmily was Flemish, and Gott-
fried's father, Gerhard,^ returned from Leyden to
Vienna in 1745, and became Maria Theresa's
favourite physician. Gottfried was born in 1734,
and was brought up to diplomacy, but his studies
were much disturbed by his love of music, and
in 1769 he committed himself so far as to com-
pose several of the songs in Favart's ' Eosifere de
Salency ' for its public production at Paris. In
1 77 1 he was made ambassador to the Court of
Prussia, where the music was entirely under the
influence of Frederick the Great, conservative
and classical. This suited Van Swieten. Handel,
the Bachs, and Haydn were his favourite masters ;
in 1774 he commissioned C. P. E. Bach to wi-ite
six symphonies for orchestra. He returned to
Vienna in 1778 ; succeeded his father as Prefect
of the Public Library, and in 1781 was appointed
President of the Education Commission. He
became a kind of musical autocrat in Vienna,
and in some respects his influence was very
good. He encouraged the music which he ap-
proved ; had regular Sunday-morning meetings
tor classical music, as well as performances of
the great choral works of Bach, Handel, and
Hasse, etc. ; employed Mozart to add accompani-
ments to Handel's ' Acis,' ' Messiah,' ' St. Ce-
cilia,' and 'Alexander's Feast,' and Starzer to do
the same for 'Judas'; translated the words of
the • Creation ' and the ' Seasons ' into German
for Haydn ; and himself aiTanged Handel's 'Atha-
liah ' and ' Choice of Hercules.' He supplied
Haydn now and then with a few ducats, and gave
him a travelling-carriage for his second journey
to England.* In his relation to these great
artists he seems never to have forgotten the
superiority of his rank to theirs ; but this was
the manner of the time. Van Swieten patron-

1 Evidentlj not a very wse person. See Carlyle's 'Friedrich.'
2k. xxi. cb. S. • Grlesuger, Biog. 2<ut. C6.



ised Beethoven also [see vol. i. p. 176a] ; but
such condescension would not be at all to Bee-
thoven's taste, and it is not surprising that we
hear very little of it. His first Symphony is,
however, dedicated to Van Swieten. He was
the founder of the ' Musikalischen Gesellschaft,'
or Musical Society, consisting of 25 members of
the highest aristocracy, with the avowed object
of creating a taste for good music — a forerunner
of the 'Gesellschaft der Musikfreunde,' founded
in 1808.

Van Swieten died at Vienna March 29, 1803.
His music has not survived him, but it would be
interesting to hear one of the six symphonies
which, in Haydn's words,' were ' as stiff as him-
self.' [G.]

SWINNERTON HEAP, Charles, was born
at Birmingham in 1847, ^^^^ educated at the
Grammar School of that town. Displaying at a
very early age an aptitude for music, on leaving
school he was articled to Dr. Monk at York,
where he remained for two years. In 1865 lie
gained the Mendelssohn Scholarship, and was
sent to Leipzig for two-and-a-half years, studying
under Moscheles and Eeinecke. On his return
he became a pupil of Mr. Best at Liverpool, and
since 1868 has devoted himself to professional
duties in Birmingham, at the classical concerts
of which town he has constantly appeared as a
pianist, and in which district he is widely known
as a conductor. In 1870 he wrote an exercise
for the Cambridge Degree of Mus. Bac, which
produced so favourable an impression upon the
Professor of Music (Sir Sterndale Bennett) that
he offered to accept the work (the 1st part of an
oratorio 'The Captivity') as an exercise for the
Mus. Doc. degree. Mr. Swinnerton Heap ac-
cordingly set the 3rd Psalm for the Mus. Bac.
exercise, and in the following year proceeded to
the degree of Mus. Doc. His principal works
are a pianoforte trio (performed at Leipzig), a
sonata for clarinet and piano, a quintet for
pianoforte and wind instruments, two overtures
(one produced at the Birmingham Festival of
1879 and afterwards played at the Crystal Palace
Concerts), a ' Salvum fac Eegem' (performed
at Leipzig), a short cantata, 'The Voice of
Spring,' and numerous anthems, songs, and organ
pieces" [W.B.S.]

SWINY, Owen, frequently called Mac Swiny,
'a gentleman born in * Ireland.' In a letter,'
dated Oct. 5, 1706, and addressed to Colley
Cibber, whom he calls in turn 'puppy,' 'his
Angel' (twice), 'his Dear,' and finally 'Unbe-
liever,' — this singular person describes how Eich
had sent for him from his ' Quarters in the North,*
and how ' he was at a great charge in coming
to town, and it cost him a great deal of money
last winter,' and 'he served him night and day,
nay, all night and all day, for nine months.'
He had 'quitted his post in the army' on the
faith of promises that, in return for managing
' the playhouse in the Haymarkett' under Eich,

s Rriesinger. Biog. Not. CT.
t III ibe writer's possessiou.

♦ Biogr. Dram.



he was to have ' lOo Guineas per annum Salary,
a place at Court, and the Devil and all.' This
was the somewhat inauspicious beginning of
Swiny's theatrical career. Having come up to
London, as described, in 1705, he soon found
that Rich intended notliing seriously for his ad-
vantage ; and he announces (in the same letter)
that, fn consequence of the general discontent of
the actors with Eich, and although Eich might
have had the house for £3 or £3 los. a day, he
(Swiny) had taken a lease for seven years at
£5 a day, and meant to begin in a few days.

In 1 707 we find him in partnership with Wilks,
Dogget, and Gibber in the King's Theatre, having
taken the lease from Vanbrugh, and very soon
quaiTelling with them and petitioning the Lord
Chamberlain's interference in his favour. He
was mixed up in most of the quarrels and intrigues
of the time.

In May, 1709, Swiny engnged the famous
Nicolini for three years, that great singer having
recently made a most successful debut in London.
Before the completion of this term, however,
Swiny appears to have ' absented himself from
his creditors ' and become bankrupt.

After this, he lived for some years in Italy ;
but, on his return to England, a place in the
Custom-house was found for him, and he was
appointed Keeper of the King's Mews. While
in Italy, with Lord Boyne and Walpole, he
wrote to Colman (July 12, 1730) from Bologna,
on the subject of engaging singers for the Opera,
then in the hands of Handel. Swiny died October
2, 1754, leaving his fortune to Mrs. WoflBngton.
He was the author of several dramatic pieces,
viz. 'The Quacks, or Love's the Physician'
(1705); 'Camilla' (1706); ' Pyrrhus and Deme-
trius*' (1709); and 'The Quacks, or Love's the
Physician,' an altered version of the first piece.

Two years before his death, a fine portrait of
Swiny, after Van Loo, was scraped in mezzotint
by J. Faber, junr. It represents him, in black
velvet, holding in his hand a book, of which the
title seems to be ' Don Quixote.' [J.M.]

SYLPHIDE, LA. One of the most famous
ballets on record : in 2 acts ; libretto by A. Nour-
rit the singer, music by Schneitzhoffer. Pro-
duced at the Grand Opera, Paris, March 12,
1832. The part of La Sylphide was danced by
Mdlle. Taglioni, and was one of her greatest
parts, both in Paris and in London, where the
piece was brought out at Covent Garden Theatre,
for her benefit, July 26, 1832. Thackeray has
embalmed it in ' Pendennis ' (chap, xxxviii.) [G.]
SYLVANA, accurately Silvana. Weber's
3rd opera, composed at Stuttgart, 18 10, and
produced at Frankfort, Sept. 16, 1810. [See

' Ballet- pantomime ' in 2 acts and 3 tableaux ;
libretto by Barbier, music by DeUbes. Produced
at the Grand Op6ra,, Paris, June 14, 1876. [G.]
S YMPHONIQUES, ETUDES, i. e. Symphonic
Studies. The name of a theme and set of varia-
tions in C Jf minor by Eobert Schumann, forming


op. 13. The work is dedicated to W. Stemdale
Bennett, and Mr. Spitta has pointed out that the
theme contains a reference to him, inasmuch as
it is identical with a part of the romance in
Marschner's 'Templer und Judin,' 'Du stolzes
England freue dich,' in which this country is
calfed on to rejoice in her famous men. [See
vol. iii. p. 410 a.] The first edition was pubhshed
by Haslinger in 1837, as ' Florestan und Eusebius,
zwijlf Etirden (Etudes Symphoniques).' Those i
published after that date are entitled ' Etudes en .
forme de Variations,' and have been materially)
altered. [^-3 1

is, Symphonic Poems. A title employed by Liszt,
for twelve pieces of orchestral music of cha-|
racteristic, i. e. descriptive, kind, and of various,
dates— one feature of which is that the move
ments are not divided, but lead into each othe
without interruption.

1. Ce qu'on entend sur la mon-


2. Tasso. lamento e Trionfo.

3. Les Prtludes.

4. Orpheus.

5. Prometheus.

6. Mazeppa.

7. Festkiangs.

8. H^roide funfebre.

9. Hungaria.

10. Hamlet.

11. Hunnenschlacht (Battle wit

the Huns).

12. Ideale

Of these the following have been performed a
Mr. Baches annual concerts : — no. 3, May at
1871 and twice besides; no. 4, Nov. 27, 73
no.2,Nov. 27,73;no.6,Feb. 27,77,andFeb.2

79 Nos 6, II, and 12 have also been playe
at 'the Crystal Palace (Dec. 9. 76 ; May 17, 75
Apr. 16, 81 respectively) ; and nos. 2, 9 at^tt
Pliilhannonic (June 9, 1873; Feb. 23, i
respectively). ^ ^

St. Saens has adopted the title ' Pofemes syr
phoniques ' for 4 pieces : —

1. Le Kouet dOmphale. I 3. Danse macabre

2. Phaeton. I *• I^ Jeunesse d Hercule. ^Q

SYMPHONY (Sinfonia, Sinfonie, Sy
phonie). The terms used in connection with a:}
branch of art are commonly very vague and i)
definite in the early stages of its history, and si
applied without much discrimination to differej
things. In course of time men consequenll
find1,hemselves in difficulties, and try, as far
their opportunities go, to limit the definition
the terms, and to confine them at least to thu
which are not obviously antagonistic. In the ei
however, the process of sifting is rather guided
chance and external circumstances than det
mined by the meaning which theorists see to t
the proper one ; and the result is that the fil
meaning adopted by the world in general is i^
quently not only distinct from that which >
original employers of the word intended, _
also in doubtful conformity with its derivati
In the case of the word ' Symphony,' as w
' Sonata,' the meaning now accepted happ
to be in very good accordance with its deri
tion, but it "is considerably removed from |b
meaning which was originally attached to je
word. It seems to have been used at first i"
very general and comprehensive way, to exp
any portions of music or passages whatever wl h
were thrown into relief as purely instrume U


in works in which the chief interest was centred
upon the voice or voices. Thus, in the operas,
cantatas, and masses of the early part of the
17th century, the voices had the most important
part of the work to do, and the instruments' chief
business was to supply simple forms of harmony
as accompaniment. If there were any little por-
tions which the instruments played without the
voices, these were indiscriminately called Sym-
phonies ; and under the same head were included
such more particular forms as Overtures and
Ritornelli. The first experimentalists in harmonic
music generally dispensed with such independent
instrumental passages altogether. For instance,
most if not all of the cantatas of Cesti and Rossi '■
are devoid of either instrumental introduction or
ritomel ; and the same appears to have been the
case with many of the operas of that time. There
were however a few independent little instru-
mental movements even in the earliest operas.
Peri's ' Euridice,' which stands almost at the head
of the list (having been performed at Florence in
1600, as part of the festival in connection with
the marriage of Henry IV of France and Mary
de' Medici), contains a ' Sinfonia ' for three ilutes,
which has a definite form of its own and is very
characteristic of the time. The use of short in-
strumental passages, such as dances and intro-
ductions and ritornels, when once fairly begun,
increased rapidly, Monteverde, who foUowedclose
upon Peri, made some use of them, and as the
century grew older, they became a more and more
important element in dramatic works, especially
operas. The indiscriminate use of the word ' sym-
phony,' to denote the passages of introduction
to airs and recitatives, etc., lasted for a very long
while, and got so far stereotyped in common
usage that it was even applied to the instru-
mental portions of airs, etc., when played by
a single performer. As an example may be
quoted the following passage from a letter of
Mozart's — 'Sie (meaning Strinasacchi) spielt
keine Note ohne Empfindung ; sogar bei den
Sinfonien spielte sie alles mit Expression,' etc.^
With regard to this use of the term, it is not
necessary to do more than point out the natural
course by which the meaning began to be re-
stricted. Lulli, Alessandro Scarlatti, and other
gi-eat composers of operas in the 1 7tli century,
extended the appendages of airs to proportions
relatively considerable, but there was a limit
beyond which such dependent passages could
not go. The independent instrumental portions,
on the other hand, such as overtures or toc-
catas, or groups of ballet tunes, were in different
circumstances, and could be expanded to a very
much greater extent ; and as they grew in im-
portance the name ' Symphony' came by degrees
to have a more special significance. The small
instrumental appendages to the various airs and
so forth were still symphonies in a general sense,
but the Symphony par excellence was the in-
troductory movement ; and the more it grew in

> MSS. in the Christ Church Library, Oxford.
2 She does not play a note without feeling, and even in the Sym-
phonies played all with expression.



importance the more distinctive was this ap-
plication of the term.

The earliest steps in the development of this
portion of the opera are chiefly important as
attempts to establish some broad principle of
form; which for some time amounted to little
more than the balance of short divisions, of slow
and quick movement alternately. Lulli is credited
with the invention of one form, which came ulti-
mately to be known as the ' Ouverture k la ma-
nifere Fran9aise.' The principles of this form, as
generally understood, amounted to no more than
the succession of a slow solid movement to begin
with, followed by a quicker movement in a
lighter style, and another slow movement, not
so grave in character as the first, to conclude
with. Lulli himself was not rigidly consistent
in the adoption of this form. In some cases, as
in 'Persee,' 'Tliesee,' and * Bell^rophon,' there
are two divisions only — the characteristic grave
opening movement, and a short free fugal quick
movement. 'Proserpine,' 'Phaeton,' 'Alceste,'
and the Ballet piece, ' Le Triomphe de I'amour,'
are characteristic examples of the complete
model. These have a grave opening, which is
repeated, and then the livelier central move-
ment, which is followed by a division marked
' lentement ' ; and the last two divisions are
repeated in full together. A few examples are
occasionally to be met with by less famous
composers than Lulli, which show how far the
adoption of this form of overture or symphony
became general in a short time. An opera
called 'Venus and Adonis,' by Desmarests, of
which there is a copy in the Library of the
Royal College of Music, has the overture in
this form. 'Amadis de Grfece,' by Des Touches,
has the same, as far as can be judged from
the character of the divisions ; ' Albion and
Albanius,' by Grabu, which was licensed for pub-
lication in England by Roger Lestrange in 1687,
has clearly the same, and looks like an imitation
direct from Lulli ; and the ' Venus and Adonis'
by Dr. John Blow, yet again the same. So the
model must have been extensively appreciated.
The most important composer, however, who fol-
lowed Lulli in this matter, was Alessandro Scar-
latti, who certainly varied and improved on the
model both as regards the style and the form.
In his opera of ' Flavio Cuniberto'^ for instance,
the ' Sinfonia avanti 1' Opera ' begins with a divi-
sion marked grave, wliich is mainly based on
simple canonical imitations, but has also broad
expanses of contrasting keys. The style, for the
time, is noble and rich, and very superior to
LuUi's. The second division is a lively allegro,
and the last a moderately quick minuet in 6-8
time. The 'Sinfonia* to his serenata 'Venere,
Adone, Amore,' similarly has a Largo to begin
with, a Presto in the middle, and a movement,
not defined by a tempo, but clearly of moderate
quickness, to end with. This form of ' Sinfonia '
survived for a long while, and was expanded at
times by a succession of dance movements, for
which also Lulli supplied examples, and Handel

3 MS. la Christ Church Library.



at a later time more familiar types ; but for the
history of the modern symphony, a form which
was distinguished from the other as the ' Italian
Overture," ultimately became of much greater

This form appears in principle to be the exact
opposite of the French Overture : it was similarly
divided into three movements, but the first and
last were quick and the central one slow. Who
the originator of this form was it seems now
impossible to decide; it certainly came into
vogue very soon after the French Overture, and
quickly supplanted it to a great extent. Certain
details in its structure wei-e better defined than
in the earlier form, and the balance and dis-
tribution of characteristic features were alike
freer and more comprehensive. The first al-
legro was generally in a square time and of
Bolid character ; the central movement aimed at
expressiveness, and the last was a quick move-
ment of relatively light character, generally in
some combination of three feet. The history
of its early development seems to be wrapped in
obscurity, but from the moment of its appear-
ance it has the traits of the modern orchestral
symphony, and composers very soon obtained
a remarkable degree of mastery over the form.
Ft must have first come into definite acceptance
about the end of the 17th or the beginning
of the iSth century; and by the middle of the
latter it had become almost a matter of course.
Ojjeras, and similar works by the most con-
spicuous composers of this time, in very great
numbers, have the same form of overture. For
instance, the two distinct versions of ' La Cle-
menza di Tito ' by Hasse, ' Catone in Utica ' by
Leonardo Vinci (1728), the ' Hypermnestra,'
'Artaserse,'andothersof Perez, Piccini's'Didone,'
Jomelli's 'Betulia liberata,' Sacchini's ' (Edipus,'
Galuppi's ' II mondo alia reversa' — produced the
year before Haydn wrote his first symphony —
and Adam Hiller's 'Lisuart und Dariolette,'
' Die Liebe auf dem Lande,' ' Der Krieg,' etc.
And if a more conclusive proof of the general
acceptance of the form were required, it would
be found in the fact that Mozart adopted it
in his boyish operas, ' La finta semplice ' and
'Lucio Silla.' With the general adoption of
the form came also a careful development of
the internal structure of each separate move-
ment, and also a gradual improvement both in
the combination and treatment of the instru-
ments employed. Lulli and Alessandro Scarlatti
were for the most part satisfied with strings,
which the former used crudely enough, but the
latter with a good deal of perception of tone
and appropriateness of style; sometimes with
the addition of wind instruments. Early in the
eighteenth century several wind instruments,
Buch as oboes, bassoons, horns, trumpets, and
flutes, were added, though not often all toijether;
and they served, for the most part, chiefly to
strengthen the strings and give contrasting de-
grees of full sound rather than contrasts of colour
and tone. Equally important was the rapid im-
provement which took place simultaneously in


internal structure ; and in this case the develop-
ment followed that of certain other departments
of musical form. In fact the progress of the
' Sinfonia avanti I'Opera ' in this respect was
chiefly parallel to the development of the Clavier
Sonata, which at this time was beginning to at-
tain to clearness of outline, and a certain maturity
of style. It will not be necessary here to repeat
what has elsewhere been discussed from different
points of view in the articles on FoRJr, So-
nata, and Suite ; but it is important to realise
that in point of time the form of this ' Sinfonia
avanti I'Opera ' did not lag behind in definition
of outline and mastery of treatment ; and it
might be difiicult to decide in which form
(whether orchestral or clavier) the important
detail first presents itself of defining the first and
second principal sections by subjects decisively
distinct. A marked improvement in various
respects appears about the time when the
symphony first began to be generally played
apart from the opera ; and the reasons for this
are obvious. In the first place, as long as
it was merely the appendage to a drama, less
stress was laid upon it ; and, what is more
to the point, it is recorded that audiences were
not by any means particularly attentive to the
instrumental portion of the work. The descrip-
tion given of the behaviour of the public at
some of the most important theatres in Europe
in the middle of the eighteenth century, seems
to correspond to the descriptions which are
given of the audience at the Italian Operas in
England in the latter half of the nineteenth.
Burney, in the account of his tour, refers to
this more than once. In the first volume he
says, ' The music at tlie theatres in Italy seems
but an excuse for people to assemble together,
their attention being chiefly placed on play
and conversation, even during the performance
of a serious opera.' In another place he de-
scribes the card tables, and the way in which
the ' people of quality ' reserved their attention
for a favourite air or two, or the performance
of a favourite singer. The rest, including the
overture, they did not regard as of much con-
sequence, and hence the composers had but
little inducement to put out the best of their
powers. It may have been partly on this ac-
count that they took very little pains to connect
these overtures or symphonies with the opera,
either by character or feature. They allowed
it to become almost a settled principle that
they should be independent in matter ; and con-
sequently there was very little difficulty in ac-
cepting them as independent instrumental pieces.
It naturally followed as it did later with an-

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