George Grove.

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

. (page 50 of 194)
Online LibraryGeorge GroveA dictionary of music and musicians (A.D. 1450-1889) by eminent writers, English and foreign : with illustrations and woodcuts (Volume 4) → online text (page 50 of 194)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook


' Le Pre aux Clercs,' ' Le Prison d'Edimbourg,'
♦Le Chalet,' 'Robin des Bois' ('DerFreischtitz'),
'Le Cheval de Bronze,' 'Act(^on,' and 'L'Eclair.'
On the direction of all these popular works he
bestowed a care, zeal, and attention to nuances
beyond all praise.

On resigning the Opera Comique, Valentino
settled at Chantilly, but was soon offered the
direction of the popular Concerts of classical
music. Fascinated by the idea of rivalling the
Concerts of the Conservatoire, and spreading
the taste for high-class instrumental music, he
courageously put liimself at the head of the enter-
prise. The spot selected was the hall at 251 Rue
St. Honore, where Musard had given masked balls
and concerts of dance-music, and which was now
destined to hear the classical masterpieces inter-
preted by a first-rate orchestra of 85 players — and
all for 2 francs ! But the public was not ripe
for classical music, and preferred the I franc
nights and dance-music, under a less eminent
conductor. The ' Concerts Valentino,' started in
Oct. I S3 7, came to an end in April 1S41, but
the name of their founder remained attached to



VALLERIA.

the hall where so many schemes of amusement
have failed since then.

Valentino then retired to Versailles, and lived
in obscurity for 24 years. He was indeed asked
in 1846 to return to the Opera, but declined
He had married again, and the last few years
of his life were passed in the midst of his family
and a few intimate friends. He died at Versailles
Jan. 28, 1865, in his 78th year. [G.C.]

VALERIANO, Cavaliere Valeriano PEL-
LEGRINI, commonly called; avery distinguished
musico, attached to the Court of the Elector
Palatine, about 1712. In that year he visited
London, replacing Nicolini, who left in June
Valeriano, who had a counter-tenor voice of
great beauty, 'created' the principal parts in
' Pastor Fido,' produced Nov. 21, and in 'Teseo,*
first performed Jan. 10, 171 3. He sang also the
chief role in ' Ernelinda,' and drew the highest
salary of the season (about £650). His engage
ment terminated, Valeriano left England, and
did not return here again. [J. M.}

VALLACE, GUGLIELMO. A new libretto
to Rossini's ' Guillaume Tell,' written for the
production of that opera in Milan, at the Scala.
Theatre, Dec. 26, 1S36. [G.^

VALLERIA, Alwina. Miss Alwina Valle-
ria Lohmann was born Oct. 12, 1848, at Balti-
more, XT.S.A, studied at the Royal Academy
of Music, London, the piano, with Mr. W. H
Holmes, and singing, as second study, with
Mr. Wall worth, and in 1869 gained the West-
moreland Scholarship ; received further instruc-
tion in singing from Arditi, and on June 2, 1871,
made her first appearance in public, after which
she was prompt!}'' engaged for Italian opera at
St. Petersburg, where she made her first appear-
ance on the stage Oct. 23 of the same year, as
Linda di Chamouni. Her next engagements
were in Germany and at La Scala, Milan. SheT
was afterwards engaged at Her Majesty's
Opera, Drury Lane, for two seasons, and made
her first appearance May 3, 1873, ^^ Marta.
From 1877-78 she was engaged in Italian
opera at the same house, and in 1879-82 at
Covent Garden, undertaking with readiness |
and capacity a large number of parts, whethei ^
principal or subordinate — viz. Inez ('L'Afri- '
caine'), Leonora ('Trovatore'), Adalgi.sa, Donnp
Elvira, Susanna, Blonde (' II Seraglio'), andMi-i
chaela on the production in England of ' Carmen •
(June 22, 1878). For the seasons 1882 and 18851
she sang in Engli.sh opera under Carl Rosa in th(^
'Flying Dutchman' and 'Tannhauser '; and 01
April 9, 1883, was much praised for her spiritec p
performance of Colomba, on the productior jli
of Mackenzie's opera. She sang in oratori< '
for the first time on Dec. 26, 18S2, at Manches |
ter, in the 'Messiah,' and has since been ver^ :
successful both in the Handel and Leeds Festi
vals of 18S3. Mme. Valleria has also sung sue
cessfully in opera and concerts in America am
elsewhere. Her voice extends from Bb belov
the line to D in alt, is of considerable flexibility
fair power and volume, and pleasant quality. Sh It



VALLERIA.

moreover an admirable actress. On Aug. 23,
77, she married Mr. R. H. P. Hutchinson, of
usband's Bosworth, near Rugby. [A.C.]

VALVE (Fr. Piston; Germ. Venlil). Aeon-
Vance applied to brass instruments with cupped
juthpieces for increasing their powers of per-
rmance. It may be described as a second tube
bypath on one side of the main bore, into which
e column of air may be diverted at will by a
)vement of the fingers ; the original path being
tomatically restored on their removal. The
le channels are obviously always longer than
e simple passage, and therefore act by length-
ing the tube, and lowering the note produced
• a definite quantity. This quantity is ap-
aximately a tone for the first valve; a semi-
le for the second; a tone and a half for the
trd. Here the mechanism usually ends ; but a
irth valve is often added, especially in baritone,
ss, and contrabass instruments, which lowers
3 pitch about two tones and a-half. Cornets
ve indeed been made with as many as six valves,
t they have not received general acceptation.
It is difficult to identify the original inventor
this ingenious contrivance. A rude form of
Ive may occasionally be seen on old Trombones,
which four parallel sliding tubes are actuated

a lever for each set, giving the instrument
3 appearance of a rank of organ pipes or of a
,ndean reed. The earliest definite facts are
o patents of John Shaw; the first taken out

1824; the second, which he calls a 'rotary'
' swivel ' action, in 1838. The mechanism was
ich improved and simplified by Sax of Paris.
The two principal models now in use are the
3ton and the Rotatory valve. The former is
)st used in this country and in France; the
iter in Germany. The Rotatory valve is
(iply a 'fourway stopcock turning in a cylin-
ical case in the plane of the instrument, two
its four ways forming part of the main chan-
l, the other two. on its rotating through a
adrant of the circle, admitting the air to the
path.' This gives great freedom of execution,
6 is far more expensive and liable to deiange-
mt than the Piston valve. This, as its name
plies, is a brass cylindrical piston moving
tight, vertically, in a long cylindrical case. Ic
pressed down by means of a short rod ending in
jutton for the finger at its upper end, and flies
ck to its original place under the influence of a
lical spring acting on its lower extremity. On
3 sides of the case four passages abut; two
m the main tube, two from the bypath. The
Ive itself is perforated obliquely by correspond-
J holes, which give the open note when it is
the top, the depressed note when it is at the
ttom of its stroke. In the Rotatory valve these
[es describe an arc of the circle ; in the Piston
jy have a rectilinear vertical traverse.
Whichever form be used, it is intended to serve
least three purposes :

1. To complete the scale.

2. To transpose the key.

5. To remedy false notes or imperfecb intona-
n.



VALVE.



215



In four-valve instruments the first two of these
requirements are combined, in order to bridge
over the long gap of an octave which exists be-
tween the fundamental note and its first upper
partial : for example, the depression of pitch
by 2 1 tones places a Bb instrument practically
in the F below, and thus founds the whole scale
on a new key-note, in which the three other
valves produce fresh changes of interval.
_ The third requirement has been applied prac-
tically by Mr. Bassett to the trumpet, and his very
valuable improvement is described under that
heading. [Tkdmpet.]

The depressions and changes of pitch produced
by each valve have been above named as ap-
proximate only. This fact constitutes the great
objection to the system. For an instrument
like the French Horn, which varies in length ac-
cording to key from twelve to twenty-six feet, it
is clear that a corresponding change must be
made in the valve-slides, by which they remain
aliquot parts of the main tube. This adjust-
ment can be effected at the beginning of a com-
position by the player; but in sudden changes,
either of crook, key, or of enharmonic nature, it
is quite impracticable. In instruments, more-
over, of large compass, like the Euphonium, the
valve length is totally different according as the
passage played lies in tlie lower or the higher
register; still more so if the fourth valve has
lowered the whole pitch of the instrument as
above described.

In the French Horn, indeed, from the close-
ness of the harmonics to one another in the part
of its scale chiefly used, two valves are sufiicient,
depressing the note a semitone and a tone re-
spectively. • A far better device for this instru-
ment was, however, patented by the late Mr.
Ford, and may be seen in the Patent Museum ;
but nowhere else, having been relegated, like so
many other improvements, to the limbo of dis-
use. In this the piston arrangement, though
working on the Rotatory method named above,
actuates two short Trombone slides introduced
into the main tube, and entirely does away with
fixed bypaths. The player therefore has the
power, as in the Trombone, of producing any
note by ear, in correct intonation.

An equally ingenious if not quite so perfect a
correction of the error inherent in this construc-
tion has been devised by Mr. Blaikley, of Messrs.
Boosey's, under the name of Compensating Pis-
tons, and is best given nearly in his own words.

In the ordinary arrangement the first valve lowers
the pitch one tone; the second half a tone; and the
third a tone and a half; hut as the length of the instru-
ment should be, speaking roughly, in inverse proportion
to the number of vibrations of the required notes, the
desired result is not exactly obtained when two or three
valves are used in combination. Thus, in an instru-
ment in the key of C, the first valve lowers the pitch to
W, the third valve lowers it to A9. For the low G the
first valve is used in combination with the third, but its
tubing is tuned to give the interval from C to Bb, and as
the instrument when the third valve is down is vir-
tually in Ah, the tubing of the first valve is not suffi-
ciently long to flatten the pitch a true tone from A to
G-. This defect is intensified when all three valves are
used together to produce B? and (i\ A numerical
illustration may make this more clear: Let the first



216



VALVE.



▼alve tubing be one-eighth the length of the instru-
ment, anil the third valve tubin.Q; one-fifth, the length of
the instrument being unity ; one-fifth added thereto will
lengthen it in the right proportion to lower its pitch a
minor tliird— i.e. irom C to Ah. To produce G, we should
be able to lower the instrument one tone from A;, but
the first valve will increase the length only one-eighth
of unity, and not one-eighth {oi l+i\ G will therefore
be somewliat sliarp.

Thus far with reference to instruments with three
valves, but the defect is aggravated in those with four.
Any actual lengthening of the valve slides by mechanism
connected witli the valve is practically inadmissible, as
the lightness and rapidity of action of the valve would
be thereby interfered with, but in the compensating pis-
tons a lengthening of the valve slides is brought about
as follows. Tlie tubing connected with the third valve
is passed through the first and second in such a way
that when the tliird is pressed down, the vibrating
column of air passes through passages in the first and
second, in addition to the tvsro passages in the thii-d, as
in the common arrangement ; and for the purpose of
bringing additional tubing into action in connection
with the first and second valves, as required for correct
intonation (when they are either or both used in com-
bination witli the third), two air passages are added to
each of these valves, and in connection with each pair ■
of passages a loop or circuit of tube of the required I
length, wliicli is added to the effective length of the j
instrument only when the third valve is used in con-
nection witli the others. Such additional tubing com- j
nensates for the lowering of the pitch due to pressing
down the third valve. No extra moving parts are intro-
duced, and the established fingering is preserved.

The writer has examined the sj'stem, and finds
it to work with ease, and to add only a few ounces
to the weight of the instrument. [W.H.S.]

VAMPYE, DER. Opera in 4 acts ; words
by C. G. Hiiser, music by Marschner. Produced
at Leipzig March 28, 1828 ; in London, at the
Theatre lioyal English Opera House, in 3 acts,
Aug. 25, 1829. [G.]

VAN BREE, JoHANN Bernhaed, son of
a musician, born at Amsterdam, Jan. 29, [801.
He was taught chiefly by his father, and first
came before the public as a player of the violin,
on which he was much renowned in Holland.
In 1 8 29 he was appointed conductor of the Felix
Meritis Society of Amsterdam, and held the
))ost with great distinction till his death Feb. 14,
1857. Van Bree was an industrious composer,
and left behind him a mass of works in all the
regular departments of music. In England he
is known to Choral Societies by three masses for
men's voices, and a cantata for St. Cecilia's Day,
all published by Novellos. Van Bree was the
founder (1840) of the Cecilien-Vereen of Am-
sterdam, which he conducted till his death, and
was also head of the music school of the Society
for the encouragement of music (Maatschapjj
tot bevordering der Toonkunst). [G.]

VAN DEN EEDEN, Gilles, Beethoven's
first instructor in music. Of his birth and death
nothing seems to be known, but he was doubt-
less son or nephew of Heinrich van den Eede,
who in 1695 was Hofmusicusto the then Elector
of Cologne. In 1722 the name occurs again as a
vocalist, but the first certain mention of Gilles is
in 1728, when he represents to the Elector that
he has been employed as organist for a year
and a half without pay, ou which 100 gulden is
allotted him, increased, on his further petition
(July 5, 1729), to 200 gulden.^ He thus entered

1 Thayer, i. 10, 17, 21, The name is spelt Vaadeneet, and Van dea Eede.



VANDER STRAETEN.

the Elector's service before Beethoven's grand-
father. [See vol. i. p. 162 6]. In 1780 we fine
him as teacher to the little Ludwig : when th(
teaching began or of what it consisted beyonc
the organ is not known. There is reason t(
believe however that Beethoven had no instructo;
in composition before Neefe. He often spoki
of his old teacher, with many stories which hav
not been preserved.^ In 1784 Van den Eeden';
name has vanished from the lists. [G.

VANDER STRAETEN, Edmond, distin
guished Belgian musician, and writer on music
and author of ' La Musique aux Pays-Bas,' ■■
work still in progress and destined to be a monu
ment of erudition and research — was born a
Oudenarde in Flanders, Dec. 3, 1826. He wa
educated for the law, first at Alost, and afterward
in the University of Ghent. On his return t
Oudenarde, he continued the cultivation of hi
taste for music, in combination with numismatic
and archreology, the last-named pursuit powerfull
influencing the determination of his career. ^Vhil
in his native town he organised and directed pei
formances of excerpts firom operatic works, and i
1849 himself set to milsic a three-act drama, ei
titled ' Le Proscrit.' At this early age he bega
that research in the rich musical archives of h:
native country which he has since given to tb
public in his literary works. M. Vander Stra(
ten next became secretary to Fetis, who wa
then Director of the Brussels Conservatoiri
at the same time continuing his studies in hai
mony aud counterpoint, the latter under F^ti:
with whom he entered into active collaboratioi
in cataloguing the historical section of the Royi
Library and contributing numerous articles 1^
Fetis's biographical dictionary. He thus sper
fourteen years in preparation for his own histor
cal productions. During this time he acted ;
musical critic to ' Le Nord,' ' L'Echo du Pari
ment,' and 'L'iltoile Beige,' and wrote, as well,
various reviews. Although adoring the southei
genius of Rossini, he never ceased to advoca
the claims of Weber, and also of Wagner, as 1
operas came out.

The first volume of ' La Musique aux Pay
Bas ' appeared in 1867, and marks the period
his entire devotion to the publication of h
archieological discoveries. He had formed £
importiint library of materials for the music
history of the Low Countries, and had also cc
lected musical instruments bearing upon h
studies, including his beautiful Jean Rucke
clavecin of 1627, figured in his third volume.

The Belgian Government now charged M. Va
der Sti-aeten with artistic and scientific missioi
which involved his visiting Germany, Ital
Fiance, and Spain. He visited Weimar in 187
for the model representations of Wagner's opart
and his reports are alike distinguished by aesth
tic sentiment and clearness of analytical visio
He has been appointed quite recently by t
government, in concert with the Academic Royal
on the committee for the publication of ancie

2 Thayer i. lU : Scliindlcr (1st ed.) p. 19.



VANDER STRAETEK

Belgian compositions, and it is confided to him
;o collect the materials for this noble undertaking.
Che question of the birthplace of the 15th-century
iomposer Tinctoeis, which had been claimed for
S^iveUes in Brabant, aroused a violent contro-
versy. M. Vander Straeten is, however, admitted
;o be victorious, having adduced proofs that place
ihe locality in West Flanders, and form an im-
jortant chapter of his fourth volume.

He is an honorary or corresponding member of
iwelve musical or archseological societies. His
nost important published works (to 1885) are —
La Musique aux Pays-Bas avant le XIX® sifecle,'
] vols. (1867-1885); 'Le Theatre Villageois en
Flandre,' 2 vols. (1874 and 1S80); 'Les Musicians
leerlandais en Italie' (1882); 'Les Musiciens
N^eerlandais en Espagne ' (first part, 18S5). A
3omplete bibliography of his works to 1S77 is
ippended to an interesting biographical notice,
written by M. Charles Meerens, and published
It Rome. [A.J.H.]

VANINI. [See BoscHi.]

VARIANTE is the usual expression in Ger-
nany for varying versions or readings of a piece
)f music. Thus in the principal editions of
Bach's instrumental works, besides the adopted
;ext of a piece, other copies containing various
jhanges are printed in an appendix, and en-
iitled Varianten. [G.]

VARIATIONS. In the days when modern
nusic was struggling in the earliest stages of its
ievelopment, when most of the forms of art
which are familiar in the present day were either
unknown or in their crudest state of infancy,
jomposers who aimed at making works of any
jize laboured under great disadvantages. They
were as fully conscious as composers are now
3f the necessity of some system of structure or
principle of art to unify the whole of each work,
and to carry on the interest from moment to
moment; but as they had not discovered any
Form which could extend for more than a few
phrases or periods, their only means of making
uhe music last any length of time was to repeat,
and to disguise the repetition and give it fresh
interest by artistic devices.

In choral music they took some old familiar
piece of plainsong, or a good secular tune, put
it into very long notes, and gave it to one of
the voices to sing; and then made something
ostensibly new upon this basis by winding round
it ingenious and elaborate counterpoint for all
the other voices. The movement lasted as long
as the tune served, and for other movements — if
the work happened to be a mass, or work neces-
sarily divided into separate pieces — they either
took a new tune and treated it in the same way,
or repeated the former one, and sometimes sang
it backwards for variety, with new turns of
counterpoint each time.

Similarly, in instrumental music, as soon as
their art was enough advanced to produce good,
clear, and complete dance-tunes and songs, they
extended the musical performance by repeating
the tunes, with such other touches of fresh



VARIATIONS.



217



interest as could be obtained by grace-notes and
ornamental passages, and runs inserted in the
bass or other parts. In this way the attention
of composers came to be very much drawn to the
art of varying a given theme, and presenting it
in new lights ; and they carried it to a remark-
ably advanced stage when scarcely any of the
other modern forms of art had passed the period
of incubation.

In choral music the art was limited to the
practice of using a given tune as the central
thread to hold the whole work together ; and it
almost died out when maturer principles of
structiure were discovered ; but in instrumental
music it has held its own ever since, and not
only plays a part of great importance in the
most modem sonatas and symphonies, but has
given rise to a special form which has been a
great favourite with all the greatest masters,
and is known by the name of Vaiiations.

The early masters had different ways of apply-
ing the device. One which appears to have been a
favourite, was to write only one variation at a time,
and to extend the piece by joining a fresh theme
to the end of each variation, so that a series of
themes and single variations alternated through-
out. In order to make the members of the series
hang together, the variations to the different
themes were often made in similar style ; while
the successive themes supplied some little con-
trast by bringing different successions of har-
mony into prominence. There are several pieces
constructed in this fashion by Byrd and Bull
and Orlando Gibbons, who were among the ear-
liest composers of instrumental music in modern
Europe ; and they consist chiefly of sets of
Pavans, or Galiards, or neat little tunes like
Bull's 'Jewel.' Many are interesting for in-
genuity and originality of character, but the
form in this shape never rose to any high pitch
of artistic excellence. Another form, which will
be noticed more fully later on, was to repeat
incessantly a short clause of bass progression,
with new figures and new turns of counterpoint
over it each time ; and another, more closely
allied to the modern order of Variations, was
a piece constructed upon a theme like Sellenger's
Round, which did not come to a complete end,
but stopped on the Dominant harmony and so
leturned upon itself; by which means a con-
tinuous flow of successive versions of the theme
was obtained, ending with a Coda.

These early masters also produced examples of a
far more mature form of regular theme and varia-
tions, not unlike thoroughly modem works of the
kind ; in which they showed at once a very wide
comprehension of the various principles upon
which variations can be constructed, and an
excellent perception of the more difficult art of
varying the styles of the respective members of
the series so as to make them set off one another,
as well as serve towards the balance and pro-
portion of the whole set.

Two of the works which illustrate best the
different sides of the question at this early date
are Byrd's variations to the secular tune known



218



VARIATIONS.



as 'The Cannan's Whistle' and Bull's set called
* Les Buffons.' These two represent respectively
two of the most important principles upon which
variations are made, since the first series is almost
entirely melodic, and the second structural ; that
is, each variation in the first series is connected
with the theme mainly through the melody,
whereas in the second the succession of the har-
monies is the chief bond of connection ; both
themes are well adapted to illustrate these prin-
ciples, the tune of the first having plenty of
definite character, and the harmonies of the
second being planned on such broad and simple
lines as are most likely to remain in the memory.
Byrd's series consists of eight variations, in
all of which, except the last, the melody is brought
very prominently forward ; a difierent character
being given to each variation by the figures
introduced to accompany it. The way in which
the various styles succeed one another is very
happy. The first is smooth and full, and the
second rugged and forcible ; the third quiet and
plaintive, and the fourth lively and rhythmic ;
and so on in similar alternation to the last, which
is appropriately made massive and full, and is
the only one which is based exclusively on the
harmonies, and ignores the tune. The two fol-
lowing examples give the opening bars of tlie



Online LibraryGeorge GroveA dictionary of music and musicians (A.D. 1450-1889) by eminent writers, English and foreign : with illustrations and woodcuts (Volume 4) → online text (page 50 of 194)