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 61 of 194)
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bS ceaseless. After the death of her father and
ter she lived with her mother at Brussels,
lere, in 1837, she made her first appearance as
singer, under the auspices of De Beriot. She
;erwards sang for him on a concert tour, and
1838 at the Theatre de la Renaissance in
iris, at a concert, where her powers of execution
ire brilliantly displayed in a ' Cadence du
able ' framed on the ' Trillo del Diavolo ' of
irtini. On May 9, 1839, she appeared at Her
ajesty's Theatre as Desdemona in 'Otello,'
d with genuine success, which increased at
ch performance. A certain resemblance to



VIARDOT-GARCIA.



259



her sister Malibran in voice and style won the
favour of her audience, while critics were not
wanting who discerned in her, even at that early
age, an originality and an intellectual for«e all
her own. Her powers of execution were astonish-
ing, and with the general public she was even
more successful, at that time, in the conceit-
room than on the stage. In the autumn of the
same year she was engaged for the Theatre Ly-
Fique by the impresario M. Louis Viardot, a
distinguished writer and critic, founder of the
' Revue Ind^pendante.' Here, chiefly in the
operas of Rossini, she shared in the triumphs of
Grisi, Persian!, Rubini, Tamburini, and La-
blache. With these great artists she held her
own, and though in many ways less gifted by
nature than they, her talent seemed enhanced
rather than dimmed by juxtaposition with theirs.
Her face lacked regularity of feature ; her voice,
a mezzo-soprano, but so extended by art as to
compass more than three octaves, from the bass
C to F in alt, was neither equal nor always
beautiful in tone. It had probably been over-
worked in youth : although expressive it was
thin and sometimes even harsh, but she could
turn her very deficiencies to accoimt. Her first
admirers were among the intellectual and the
cultivated. The public took longer to become
accustomed to her peculiarities, but always
ended by giving in its allegiance. For men and
women of letters, artists, etc., she had a strong
fascination. Her picturesque weirdness and
statuesque grace, her inventive power and con-
summate mastery over all the resources of her
art, nay, her very voice and face, irregular, but
full of contrast and expression — all these appealed
to the imagination, and formed an ensemble irre-
sistible in its piquancy and originality. 'The
pale, still, — one might at the first glance say
lustreless countenance, — the suave and uncon-
strained movements, the astonishing freedom
from every sort of affectation, — how transfigured
and illumined all this appears when she is car-
ried away by her genius on the current of song !'
writes George Sand ; and Liszt, ' In all that
concerns method and execution, feeling and ex-
pression, it would be hard to find a name worthy
to be mentioned with that of Malibran's sister.
In her, virtuosity serves only as a means of ex-
pressing the idea, the thought, the character of
a work or a role.'

In 1840 she married M. Viardot, who resigned
the Opera management, and accompanied her
to Italy, Spain, Germany, Russia, and England.
At Berlin, after her performance of Rahel, in
'La Juive,' one of her greatest parts, she was
serenaded by the whole orchestra. Here too
she astounded both connoisseurs and public by
volunteering at a moment's notice to sing the
part of Isabelle in ' Robert le Diable' for Fraulein
Tuczek, in addition to her own part of Alice — a
bold attempt, vindicated by its brilliant success.

She returned to Paris in 1849 for the pro-
duction of Meyerbeer's 'Proph^te.' She had
been specially chosen by the composer for Fidfes,
and to her help and suggestions he was more

S2



260



VIARDOT-GARCIA.



indebted than is generally known. She was
indeed, as Moscheles wrote, ' the life and soul of
the opera, which owed to her at least half of its
great success.' She played Fidfes more than 200
times in all the chief opera-houses in Europe,
and has so identified herself with the part that
her successors can do no more than copy her.

From 1848 to 1858 she appeared every year
in Loudon. In 1859 M. Carvalho, director of
the Theatre Lyrique, revived the ' Orph^e ' of
Gluck, which had not been heard for thirty
years. The part of Oiph^e, restored (bj' Berlioz)
from a high tenor to the contralto for which it
was written, was taken by Mme. Viardot, who
achieved in it a triumph perhaps unique.* This
revival was followed in 1861 by that of Gluck's
' Alceste' at the Opt^ra. The music of this — as
Berlioz calls it — 'wellnigh inaccessible part,' was
less suited than that of Orphde to Mme. Viardot's
voice, but it was perhaps tlie greatest of all her
achievements, and a svorthy crown to a ri^pertoire
which had included Desdemona, Cenerentola,
Eosina, Norma, Arsace, Camilla ('Orazi'),
Amina, Eomeo, Lucia, Maria di Rohan, Ni-
nette, Leonora ('Favorita'), Azucena, Doniia
Anna, Zerlina, Rahel, Iphigenie (Gluck), Alice,
Isabelle, Valentine, Fidfes, and Orph(^e.

In 1863 Mme. Viardot fixed her abode at
Baden, and has sung no more at the Opera,
though she has appeared at concerts, and was
heard in London as lately as 1870. She has
composed a great deal, and several operettas,
the books of which were written for her by
Turgeuief, were represented in her little private
theatre by her pupils and her children. One
of these, translated into German by Richard
Pohl, as *Der letzte Zauberer,' was performed in
public at Weimar, Carlsruhe, and Riga. In
1871 she was obliged, as the wife of a French-
man, to leave Germany, and since then has lived
in Paris. She has devoted much time to teach-
ing, and for some years was professor of singing
at the Conservatoire. Among her pupils may
be named Miles. Desir^e Artot, Orgeni, Mari-
anne Brandt, and Antoinette Sterling. Mme.
Viardot has published several collections of ori-
ginal songs, and vocal transcriptions of some of
Chopin's Mazurkas, made famous by her own
singing of them and by that of Jenny Lind. Her
three daughters are all clever musicians. Her
son, Padl Viardot, a pupil of Le'onard, born at
Courtavent, July 20, 1857, has appeared with
success in London and elsewhere as a violinist.
Mme. Viardot is still the centre of a distinguished
circle of friends, by whom she is as much
beloved for her virtues as admired for her genius
and her accomplishments. Not one of her least
distinctions is that to her Scliumann dedicated
his beautiful Liederkreis, op. 24.

We cannot close this brief account of a great
artist without an allusion to her well-known
collection of autographs, which among other
treasures contains the original score of 'Don

> The reader la referred to Chorley's ' Thirtj Tears' Eecollections
of the Opera • and to Berlioz's ' A tiavers chaiils." fur detaileU descrip-
tions of her wouderful perlurmaucc, which was repeated over a
hundred limes.



VICARS CHORAL.

Giovanni,' a cantata, ' Schraiicke dich,' by J. S.
Bach, Mendelssohn's 42nd Psalm, a scherzo by
Beethoven, etc. [F.A.M,]

VIBRATO, an Italian term (past participle
of, or verb adjective derived from, vihrare, to
vibrate), denoting an effect, something akin to
Tkemolo (which see), yet differing essentially
from it, used in musical performance. In vocal
music its mechanism is an alternate partial ex-
tinction and re-inforcement of a note, producing
almost its apparent re-iteration. In music for
bowed instruments it is identical with the vocal
'tremolo,' consisting of a rapid change of pitch
brought about by a quick oscillation of the hand
while the finger is stopping a note, and produc-
ing a trembling sound or thiill. It is strange
that vibrato on the bowed instrument is the*
tremolo on the voice, while the tremolo in in-
strumental music (the rapid reiteration of th<
same note by up and down bow) more nearh
resembles the vocal vibrato. It is sometime;i
lieard on the flute and cornet. When the vibrat<
is really an emotional thrill it can be highlji
effective, as also the tremolo in extreme cases i
but when, as is too often the case, it degenerateil
into a mannerism, its effect is either painful
ridiculous, or nauseous, entirely opposed to gooci
taste and common sense, and to be severely ref
prehended in all students whether of vocal 01
instrumental music. Hard and fast lines ii
matters of expression in art are difficult, if no;
almost impossible, to draw. Cultivation of taste
observance of good models, and especially th»
true and unbiassed analysis of the human feel
ings, must be the guides as to how far these tw<
means of expression are to be used. [H.C.D.'

VICARS CHORAL. ' The assistants or de
puties of the Canons or Prebendaries of (English
collegiate churches, in the discharge of thei
duties, especially, though not exclusively, thoai
performed in the choir or chancel, as distinguishet
from those belonging to the altar and pulpit.
(Hook.) The Vicars Choral answer to the novo
v'lKoi xpaXral of the early church. Original!;;
each member of the capitular body had a vica
choral or minor canon attached to his dig
nity, whose appointment only lasted during hi'
own life ; but in process of time the numbers c'
these inferior ecclesiastical corporations becam'
diminished. The difference between Mine
Canons and Vicars Choral appears to be tha
whereas for the former, only clergy are eligiblt
the latter post can be held by either laymen c;
clerics. The former term is generally found i ■
cathedrals of the new foundation, where th
lay members are termed ' lay clerks,' the nam ti
' vicars choral ' being chiefly confined to cathf j
drals of the old foundation. St. Patrick*
(Dublin) and Hereford have both Minor Canon ■
and Vicars Choral; in the former the two bodit-l
foi-m distinct corporations, in the latter they ai
united. In all cathedrals of the old found;
tion in England, in St. David's, and in t\vel\
Irish cathedrals the Vicars Choral form a di
tinct corporation, the members of which vary i
number from twelve to three: these corporatioi



VICARS CHORAL.

■e distinct from the chapter as regards property,
at in subjection to it as to the performance of
16 services. Formerly the members of these
iclesiastical colleges lived in common in coUe-
iate buildings, some of which (as at Hereford,
7el\s, and York) still exist. Tlie 42nd Canon
•ders that the Vicars Choral shall 'be urged to
le study of the Holy Scriptures, and every one
' them to have the New Testament, not only
I English, but also in Latin.' Tlie name is en-
rely confined to the Anglican church ; in Catho-

cathedrals the corresponding duties to those
' the Vicars Choral are performed by various
motion aries. (Jebb on Choral Service ; Hook's
hurch Dictionary, etc.) [W.B.S.]

VICENTINO, Nicola, was born at Vicenza

1 151 1 or 1512.^ If we are to believe the title
e gives himself in his first publication, as 'unico
iscepolo ' to Adrian Willaert,^ he had his mu-
cal education at Venice; but as the 'unico'

plainly false, we may perhaps question the
liscepolo.' He became ordained, entered the
(rvice of Ipolito of Este, cardinal of Ferrara,
id accompanied him to Rome, where he lived,
seems, for many years. In 1546 he published

volume of madrigals, with explanatory direc-
ons, written with the design of restoring the
[d scales of the Greeks. He then invented a
sculiar instrument, the 'archicembalo,' with
iveral keyboards, in order to illustrate his sys-
sm, and employed a private choir to practise it.
[e published also a theoretical work entitled
L'antica Musica ridotta alia moderna prattica '
Rome 1555). His efforts were however rewarded
'ith scant success, and he experienced much op-
osition. One contest into which he was led in
efence of his theory, and in which he was de-
jated — that, namely, with Lusitano — is famous,
'he cardinal, his patron, is said to have looked
n Vicentino's discomfiture as a personal af-
'ont; he took him back to Ferrara, and appointed
im chapel-master in his court. This post he
ppears to have held until his death. If we
lay judge by a medal struck in his honour,
rhich describes him as * perfectae musicae divi-
ionisque inventor,' he must have enjoyed a cer-
fiin amount of fame ; but there is a story that
he medal was his own device. His real eminence
iras that of a performer on the clavichord, and it
3 difficult to quarrel with the criticism of J. E.
)oni and Apostolo Zeno, who ridiculed him for
iretending to be anything more than a per-
ormer. At best his theories belong only to a
passing phase in the history of music' [R.L.P.]

VICTORINE. An opera in 3 acts ; words
ranslated from the French by E. Falconer, the
nusic by Alfred Mellon. Produced at the Eng-
ish Opera, Covent Garden, Dec. 19, 1859, [^r-]

1 The place has been incorrectly given as Rome, and the date as
513 ; but the latter is fixed to a year or two earlier by the notice in
lis • Antica Musica.' lr'o5. that he was then in his 44lh year.

2 Caffl has singular'y inverted the relation, making Vicentino
VUlaert's master: Sloria della Musica sacra nella gii Cappella
lucale di san Marco in Venezia. i. 83. 135 ; Venice, IS.'H.

' A manuscript notice furnished in 1826 by Abbate Todeschini
f Vicenza to the Gesellschaft dcr Musiltfreunde in Vienna, and now
ireserved in the library of that society, adds nothing to our know-
edge ot Vicentino's biography.



VIELLE,



261



VIDAL, a name borne in the past and present
by several French musicians and writers on mu-
sic. The earliest, B. Vidal, whose initial only is
known, died in Paris in 1 800. He was a talented
guitar-player and teacher during the last quarter
of the 18th century, and published sonatas, short
pieces, and a method for his instrument,

Jean Joseph, born at Sorfeze, 1789, a clever
violinist formed in Kreutzer's school, took the
second Grand Prix for composition in 1809,
was for 20 years in Baillot's quartet-party, con-
ducted the orchestra of the Theatre Italien from
1829 to 1832, plnyed first violin in Louis Phi-
lippe's band, and was a valued teacher. He died
in Paris, June 4, 1867.

Locis Antoine, born at Rouen July ro, 1820,
an amateur cello-player, a friend of Vuillaume,
the musical instrument maker, and an accom-
plished linguist, has lately made some mark as
a writer on music by his beautiful work on
bowed instruments, ' Les Instruments k archet,'
in three 4to. volumes, with etchings by Hille-
macher. Vol. 1.(1876) treats of musical instrument
making and makers; vol. ii. (1877) of players,
especially the virtuosi of the bow; and vol. iii.
(1878) of music printing, with biographies of
chamber-musicians, and a catalogue of works
for instruments played with the bow. M. Vidal
has been for the last few years occupied with
preparations for a similar history of pianoforte-
making.

Francois, Provencal poet, born at Aix, July
14, 1832, is the author of ' Lou Tambourin,' an
interesting work on the Tambourine of Provence,
and the Galoubet, or pipe. It is in the Provenjal
dialect, with a French translation.

Paul Antonin, bom at Toulouse, June 16,
1863, passed brilliantly through the Paris Con-
servatoire, and took successively the first Har-
mony prize in 1879, the first prize for Fugue in
1 881, and the Grand Prix de Rome in 1883. A
talented pianist, an excellent reader and accom-
panyist, Paul Vidal's technical knowledge seems
already complete, and his cantata ' Le Gladia-
teur ' is instrumented in masterly style. We hope
great things from this young composer. [G.C.]

VIELLE, originally the name of the large
primitive violin used by the French Troubadours
in the 13th century. [See Violin, p. 2746.] It
was next applied to the Hurdy-gurdy, an instru-
ment which is contemporaneous with the Trou-
badour's fiddle, being in fact in its original form
simply the latter instrument adapted for playing
with a wheel and handle, the intonation being
regulated by a clavier on the fingerboard. Early
in the last century the modern vielle or hurdy-
gurdy was cultivated as a musical instrument
of high class, ranking nearly with the lute and
bass viol, and many of the French Vielles of
that period are beautiful artistic productions.
The instrument is not altogether extinct in our
own time ; the writer remembers a performer
who visited Vichy in 1870, describing himself as
' Vielliste de sa Majesty I'Empereur,' who exe-
cuted some difficult music, chieHy operatic airs
and fantasias, on his singular instrument, with



262



VIELLE.



considerable effect. The staccato wdth the wheel
is surprisingly brilliant ; the defect of the instru-
ment for the listener is its monotony of force and
intonation, and for the player the extreme fatigue
which the rotary motion induces in the muscles
of the right arm. Even in England a clever
performer may sometimes (though rarely) be
heard about the streets. [E.J.P.]

VIEKLING. Georg. One of those solid,
cultivated musicians, who are characteristic of
Germany. He was born Sept. 15, 1S20, at
Frankenthal in the Bavarian Palatinate, where
his father was schoolmaster and organist. His
education was thoroughly well grounded with a
view to a scientific careei', and it was not till 1835,
at the G3'Mmasium at Frankfort, that his musical
tendencies asserted themselves. Without neg-
lecting his general studies he worked hard at
the piano, and afterwards at the organ under
J. C. H. Rinck of Darmstadt for two years. 1843
to 1846 were passed in systematic study under
A. B. Marx at Berlin, and in 1S47 he became
organist of the Oberkirch at Frankfurt-ou-the-
Oder, conducted the Singakademie there, and
was musically active in other ways. After
)>assing a short time at Maj'ence lie took up
his permanent residence in Berlin, and founded
the I3ach-Verein, which did much to advance the
study of the great master. For some time past
Vierling has withdrawn from active life, and his
Bach Society is now conducted by Bargiel.

His works are all in the classical style, and
embrace every department : — a Symphony, op.
33; Overtures to 'The Tempest,' 'Maria Stuart.'
' Im Friihling,' ' Hermannschlacht,' and ' Die
Hexe'; a PF. trio. op. 51 ; 'Hero and Leander'
and 'The Rape of the Sabines,' for Chorus and
Orchestra; in addition to Solo and Part-songs,
Pianoforte pieces, etc. His last work is a Roman
Pilgriras-song of the 7th century, 'O Roma
Nobilis,' for 6-part chorus a capella (op. 63). [G.]

VIEUXTEMPS, Henri, a celebrated violin-
player of our own day, born at Verviers, Bel-
gium, Feb. 17, 1820.^ His father was connected
with music, and thus the child grew up in a
favourable atmosphere. Through the kindness
of a Herr Genin he had instruction from Lecloiix,
a competent local musician, and by the time he
was six played Rode's 5th Concerto in public in
the orchestra. In the winter of 1827 he and his
father made a tour with Lecloux, in the course
of which the boy was heard by De Beriot, who
at once adopted him as his pupil, devoted him-
self to his thorough musical education, and in
1828 took him to Paris and produced him in
public. On De Beriot's departure to Italy in
I S3 1, the boy returned to Brussels, where he re-
mained for some time, studying and practising
hard, but without any guidance but his own. In
1833 his father took him on a lengthened tour
through Germany — the first of an enormous I
series — in the course of which he met Guhr, I

1 The materials for this sketch are supplied by Vieuitemps' auto-
biography published in the Guide Miuical. and translated in the
Jtutical jrorld. June 25, 1881, and following uos., by Phiiharmonic
rrogranunes. the Attg. ilunkalitehe ZettHny, and other sources. J



VIEUXTEMPS.

Spohr, Molique, and other musicians, and hean
much music, amongst the rest ' Fidelio.' Th'
journey extended as far as Munich and Vienna
where he excited surprise, not only for hi
fulness of tone, purity of intonation, and ele
gaiice of stj-le, but also for the ready way ii
which he played off a MS. piece of Mayseder
at sight (A. M. Z. 1834, p. 160). He reuiainei
in Vienna during the winter, and while ther
took lessons in counterpoint from Sechtei
There too he made the acquaintance of May
seder, Czeiny, and others. He also played Bet
thoven's Violin Concerto (at that time a novelty
at one of the Concerts Spirituels. The part
then returned northwards by Prague, Dresden
Leipsic (where Schumann welcomed him in
genial article in his ' Neue Zeitschrift '), Bei
lin, and Hamburg. In the spring of 1834 h
was in London at the same time with De Beriot
and played for the first time at the Philhai
monic on June 2.^ Here too he met Paganin
The winter of 1835 was spent in Paris, where h
made a long stay, studying composition unde
Reicha. After this he began to write. In 183
he and his father made a second visit to Vienn.
and ill 183S they took a journey to Russia, b
^yarsaw, travelling for part of the way wit
Henselt. The success was so great as to indue
another visit in the following year, when he mail
the journey by Riga, this time with Servais.
the road he made the acquaintance of Richar
Wagner. But a little later, at Narv'a, be ws
taken with a serious illness which delayed h;
arrival for some months, and lost him the wintt
season of 1 83S. The summer was spent in tb
countrj', mostly in composition — Concerto in I
Fantaisie Caprice, etc. — both which he produce
in the following winter amid the most prodigioi
enthusiasm ; which was repeated in his nativ
country when he returned, especially at tfc
Rubens Fetes in Antwerp (Aug. 1840), whei
he was decorated with the Order of Leopoli
and in Paris, where he played the Concerto
the concert of the Conservatoire, Jan. 12, 184
He then made a second visit to London, an
performed at the Philharmonic Concert of Apn
19, and at two others of the same series —
rare proof of the strong impression he mad'
The next few years were taken up in anothn
enormous Continental tour, and in a voyage 1
America in 1844. A large number of compt
sitions (ops. 6 to 19) were published after r
gaining Brussels ; but the strain of the incessai
occupation of the tour necessitated a long Ki
at Stuttgart. During this he composed his .
major Concerto (op. 25), and played it at Bru
sels in Jan. 1845. In the following autumn li
married Miss Josephine Eder, an eminent pianii
of Vienna. Shortly after this he accepted an ii
vitation to settle in St. Petersburg as Solo Violi
to the Emperor, and Professor in the Conse}
vatorium, and in Sept. 1846 quitted Westei
Europe for Russia. In 1852, however, he thre
up this strange contract and returned to his ol -
arena and his incessant wanderings, 1853 sa

3 Moscheles' "Life." i. 30* : and Philh. Programmes.



VIEUXTEMPS.



VIGAN(>.



263



he composition of his Concerto in D minor (op.
;i). 1855 was spent in Belgium, and at a pro-
)erty which he had acquired near Frankfort.
'n 1857 he again visited the United States in
ompany with Thalberg, and in the winter of
858 was once more in Paris occupied in finish-
ng his 5th Concerto in A minor (op. 37). The
lext ten years were occupied in constant tour-
ng all over Central Europe, and, somewhat later,
taly. Serious aflBiction now overtook his hither-
o prosperous course. First his father, and then
-June 29, 1868 — his beloved wife, were taken
rom him by death. To divert his mind from
he shock of these losses he engaged in another
normous tour over Europe, and that again
t^as followed, in August 1870, by a third ex-
ledition to the United States, from which he
eturned in the spring of 1871 to find Paris in
uins. This was the last of his huge tours. From
871 to 1873, on the invitation of M. Gevaerts,
pho had succeeded F^tis at the Brussels Coii-
ervatoire, he acted as teacher to the violin class
here, and as director of the Popular Concerts ;
)ut this sphere of activity was suddenly ended
)y a paralytic attack which disabled the whole
>f his left side, and by consequence made play-
ng impossible. True, he was able in time to
esume the direction of his pupils, but his career
kS a player was at an end. His passion for travel-
ing, however, remained to the last, and it was
it Mustapha-lez Alger, in Algiers, that he died
Fune 6, 18S1, leaving a 6th Concerto, in G,
ledieated to Mme. Normann-Neruda, by whom
t was first played. In 1872 "Vieuxtemps was
Jected member of the Academic Eoyale of Bel-
gium, on which occasion he read a memoir of
5tienne Jean Soubre.

Vieuxtemps was one of the greatest violin-
sts of modern times, and with De Beriot heads
he modern French school. He had all the
freat qualities of technique so chaiacteristic of
hat school. His intonation was perfect, his com-



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 61 of 194)