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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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nand of the bow unsurpassed. An astonishing
.taccato — in up and down bow— w^as a speciality
>f his ; and in addition he had a tone of such
jreadth and power as is not generally found with
Prench violinists. His style of playing ( Vortrag)
vas characteristically French. He was fond of
strong dramatic accents and contrasts, and, ge-
jerally speaking, his style was better adapted
;o his own compositions and those of other
French composers than to the works of the
preat classical masters. At the same time it
should be said that he gained some of his greatest
successes in the Concertos of Beethoven and
Mendelssohn, and was by no means unsuccisss-
ful as a quartet-player, even in Germany.

As a composer for the violin he has had a
wider success than almost any one since Spohr ;
ind the fact that not a few of his works, though
written more than forty years ago, are still stock-
pieces of the repertoires of all French and not
a. few German violinists, shows such vitality as
to lift him out of the rank of composers of
merely ephemeral productions of the virtuoso
genre. It must be granted that their value is



very unequal. While some of his Concertos
contain really fine ideas worked out with
great skill, he has also published many show-
pieces which are not free from vulgarity.

While De Beriot, with his somewhat flimsy
workmanship but undeniable charm of senti-
mental melody, has often been compared to Bel-
lini and Donizetti, Vieuxtemps might not impro-
perly be called the Me\erbeer among composers
for the violin. He appears to share the good
and the bad qualities of that great opera-writer.
On the one hand, no lack of invention, beauty of
melody, extremely clever calculation of effect;
and on the other, a somewhat bombastic and
theatrical pathos, and occasional lapses into tri-
viality. Vieuxtemps shares ako with Meyerbeer
the fate of being generally underrated in Ger-
many and overrated in France, wliere Mej-erbeer
is not unfrequently placed on the same level
with Beethoven, and where Vieuxtemps, after
playing his E major Concerto in Paris for the
fiist time is said to have been invited to write a
Grand Opera — an offer which he wisely declined.

The best-known of his works are the Concertos,
no. I, in E (op. 10) ; no. 2, in Fjf minor (op. 19);
no. 3, in A (op. 25) ; no. 4, in D minor (op. 31) ;
no. 5, in A minor (op. 37) ; no. 6, in G (op. 47) ;
the Fantaisie Caprice, and Ballade et Polonaise.
He also published a Sonata for piano and
violin, 3 Cadenzas for Beethoven's Violin Con-
certo, and a large number of concert-pieces,
many of which are long since obsolete. [P.D.]

VIGANO, Salvatore. A famous dancer, and
composer both of the action and the music of
ballets, who will have a longer reputation than
is otherwise his due, owing to his connec-
tion with Beethoven. He was born at Naples
March 29, 1769, and died at Milan (the native
town of his father) Aug. 10, 1821. He began
his career at Rome in female parts, women being
then forbidden the stage there. We next find
him at Madrid — where he married Maria Medina-,
a famous dancer — Bordeaux, London, and Venice.
At Venice he brought out an opera, ' Eaoul, sire
de Crequi,' both words and music his own.
Thence he came to Vienna, where he and his
wife made their debut. May 13, 1793. He then
travelled in Germany, and returned to Vienna
in 1799. Here he attracted the notice of the
Empress, and the result was his ballet of The
Men of Prometheus, ' Gli Uomini di Prometeo,'
or ' Die Geschopfe des Prometheus ' (music by
Beethoven), the subject of which is said to
have been suggested by Haydn's 'Creation'
(Schopfung), then in its first fame. The piece
is called an heroic allegorical ballet, in two acts.
It was produced at the Court Theatre, March
28, 1801, and the two 'creations' were danced
by Viganb and Mile. Cassentini, his wife being
then ^jass^e. It had a remarkable run, being
performed sixteen times in 1801, and thirteen
times in 1802. Viganb was evidently a man of
great ability, and made a real reputation for his
abandonment of the old artificial Italian style of
ballet in favour of a ' closer imitation of nature.'
Tea ballets of his are mentioned in the 'Allge*



264



VIGANO.



raeine musikalische Zeitung,' and no doubt these
are not all that he composed. How solid was
his success may be judged from a passage in one
of the letters of Henri Beyle (Stendhal) : ' Vigan6
has been immensely prosperous ; 4000 francs are
the usual income of a ballet composer, but he
has had 44,000 for the year 18 19 alone.'

Vigan5 seems to have given his name to a
kind of Minuet in 4-4 time ; at least, if we may
so interpret the title of a set of 12 Variations on
a Minuet 'k la Vigano,' which Beethoven pub-
lished in Feb. 1796,

The minuet was certainly danced, for the
names of the dancers are given, "^ and is as cer-
tainly in Common time : — •
Allegretto. ' ■




It is worth noting that Beethoven has put the
concluding variation and coda into triple time : —
Alleqro. • ■ ^ .

-4 — 1^ . T i» — ^




The new form does not appear to have taken
root. Beethoven wrote a Scherzo in duple time
in his Sonata, op. 31, no. 3, and a Trio in the
same in the 9th Symphony ; and Mendelssohn a
Scherzo in 2-4 in his Scotch Symphony ; but a
Minuet proper would seem to be essentially in
triple time.

There is a life of Viganb — ' Commentarii della
vita,' etc., by Carlo Kitorni, 8vo., Milan, 1838;
and much information on him and on the Ballet
of Prometheus (from which the above is chiefly
compiled) is given by Thayer in his 'Beethoven,'
vol. ii. 124-126 and 380-384. [G.]

VILBACK,' Alphonse Charles Eenaud
DE, born June 3, 1829, at Montpellier. He en-
tered the Paris Conservatoire in 1842, and in
1844 took the first organ-prize, and the Prix de
Rome at the same time as Victor Masse. The
favourite pupil of Haldvy, and remarkably indus-
trious, he first became known as a composer of
pianoforte pieces, more brilliant than original,
but, like all young prize-winners on their return
from Italy, he aspired to the stage. It was not
however, till Sept. 4, 1857, that he produced hia
first work, ' Au clair de la Lune,' a pretty oper-

1 The title of the original edition Cglven In the Wiener Zeitung of
Feb. 27. 1796) runs as follows : ■ XII VariazionI per il clavicembalo o
I'lano-Forte (lor harpsichord or piano) Sul Menuetto ballato dalla
Sigra. Venturinl e Slgr. Chech! nel Ballo delle Nozze disturbate, del
Slgr. Lulgl van Beethoven no. 3. In Vienna presso Artaria e Co'mp.'
The Ballet was compostd by J. J. Haibl. and produced at the Court
Theatre. May 18. 1795.

i.T^J'''' '' probably the French spelling of the German name
Wllbach Mendelssohn, writing to his sister (Nov. 16, 1830), speaks
of ordering a set of studs from Paris ' d hx Sack:



VILLANELLA.

etta in one act ('Bouffes Parisiens '), followed
closely by his last ' Don Almanzor' (Th^iUre
Lyrique, April 1 6, 1858). He found his true
vocation as organist of Saint Eugene (1855 to
1 871), where he rivalled Lefebure-VV^ly in im-
provisation, and equalled him in execution.
Unfortunately he became a mere music-pub-
lisher's hack, and amateur pianists are familiar
with his mosaiques, fantaisies, etc., for two and
four hands, with such titles as 'Beautes de TO-
p^ra,' etc. This journey-work did not even pay,
and it was in something like poverty that he died
at Brussels, March 19, 1884. So brilliant and
agreeable a talker deserved a better fate. He
became nearly blind, but to the last retained his
charming manner and his ability as a musician.
The library of the Conservatoire contains the
MSS. of his cantata ' Le Een^gat de Tangier '
and a ' Messe Solennelle' (Aug. 1847). He has
also left printed scores of .several orchestrnl
works, 'Pompadour gavotte,' 'Chanson Cypriote,'
'Marche Serbe,' etc. [G.C.]

VILLANELLA (Ital., a country girl). An
unaccompanied Part-Song, of light rustic char-
acter, sharing, in about equal proportions, the
characteristics of the Canzonetta, and the Balletta.
The looseness of the style is forcibly described by ]
Morley, who, in Part III. of his 'Introduction
to Practicall Musicke,' speaks of it thus — ' The
last degree of grauity (if they have any at all)
is given to the villancUe, or country songs, which
are made only for the ditties sake : for, so they
be aptly set to expresse the nature of the ditty,
the composer, (though he were neuer so excellent)
will not stick to take many perfect cords of one
kind together, for, iu this kind, they think it no
fault (as being a kind of keeping decorum) to
make a clownish musick to a clownish matter :
and though many times the ditty be fine enough,
yet because it carrieth that r\a,meVillanella, they
take those disallowances as being good enough
for a plow and cart.'

This severe criticism of the old master is, how-
ever, applicable only to Villanelle of the very
lowest order. The productions of Kapsperger' —
whose attempts in this direction were very nu-
merous — and of other Composers wanting the
delicate touch necessary for the successful mani-
pulation of a style so light and airy, are certainly
not free from reproach. But the Villanelle of
Pomponio Nenna.StefanoFelis.and other Masters
of the Neapolitan School,* differ but little from
the charming Canzonetti, the Canzone alia Napo-
litana, and the Balletti, for which they .are so
justly celebrated, and maybe fairly classed among
the most delightful productions of the lighter
kind that the earlier half of the 17th century has
bequeathetl to us. Among the lighter Madrigals
of Luca Marenzio — such as 'Vezzos' augelli,'
quoted in vol. ii. p. 190 — there are many which

3 JOHANN HiERONTMua Kapspergeb. a prolific compcser and
skilled musician, flourished at Venice and el.sewhere In Italy in the
earlier half of the 17th century ; is mentioned with great euloginm
by Kircher (Musurgia) ; and left a mass of works both for voices and
Instruments behind him, of which a list is given by Ft5ti9.

•• The Stadtbibllothek at Munich contains a large number of these
works, by Giovanni de Antiquis. and fourteen other Neapolitan com-
posers ; printed at Venice in 1574, in 2 very rare Tois. obi. 8vo.



VILLANELLA.

hibit almost all the more prominent character-
ics of the Villanella, in their most lefined form :
d the greater number of the Canzone of Gio-
,nni Feretti, and the Balletti of Gastoldi — to
lich M or ley is generally believed to have been
debted for the iirst suggestion of his own still
ore charming Ballets — differ from true Villa-
ille only in name. The same may be said of
ore than one of the best known and best
loved of Morley's own compositions in the
me style. — The best example of a modem Villa-
:11a is Sir Julius Benedict's well-known ' Blest
I the home.' i [W.S.R.]

VILLAROSA, IL Marchese di. The au-
or of a Dictionary of Neapolitan musicians,
.titled, ' Memorie dei compositori di musica del
egno di Napoli, raccolte dal Maxchese di Villa-
sa. Napoli 1840' — indispensable to aU stu-
mts of Italian musical history. He was also
e author of a work on Pergolesi (2nd ed.,
aples, 1843), and to Lim is due the first cer-
in knowledge of the place and date of the
rth of that great composer, so prematurely
moved. [See vol. ii. 686 6.] [G.]

VILLOTEAU, Gdillaume Andre, well-
lown French writer on music, born Sept. 6,
'59, at Belleme (Dept. de I'Orne). After the
lath of his father, he was put, at four years of
:e, into the maitrise of the Cathedral of Le
'ans, and afterwards into the town school,
ider the Fathers of the Oratory. He declined,
(wever, to enter a seminary, and roamed about
Dm town to town seeking engagements as a
urch-chorister. In despair for a living, he at
Qgth (like Coleridge) enlisted as a dragoon, but
is totally unfitted for a military life, and re-
rned to the maitrise of Le Mans, which he
lortly exchanged for that of the Cathedral of
I Rochelle. He ultimately went up for three
sars to the Sorbonne, and obtained a place in
e choir of Notre Dame, but the outbreak of
e Revolution brought this employment to an
:d, and in 1 792 he entered the chorus of the
p^ra, and remained there till offered a place
musician among the savants who accompanied
apoleon on his expedition to Egypt.
This musical mission opened to him a congenial
here for his very considerable abilities. Having
udied on the spot ancient music, both Egyptian
id Oriental, he returned to Paris, and continued
8 researches in the public libraries. As a mem-
!r of the Institut de I'Egypte, he was anxious,
ifore taking part in the great work which that
•dy was commissioned by Government to draw
), to publish a ' M^moire sur la possibilite et
itilite d'une theorie exacte des principes
iturels de la musique' (Paris, 1809, 88 pp. 8vo),
liich he had read before the Societe libre des
iences et des Arts. This was followed by
lecherches surl'analogie de la Musique avec les
rta qui ont pour objet I'imitation du langage'
bid. 1807, 2 vols. 8vo), in which he developed

In the article on Sumer is icumen in, we promised to give any
ther information which might reach us. under the head of VILLA-
ILK. We regret to say that no discovery lilcely to throw any new
tit upon the subject has as yet been made.



YILLOTEAU.



265



some of his favourite ideas. It is in four parts :
(i) The relations of the art of music to language
and morals; (2) The part played by music in
ancient times, and the causes which led to the
loss of its former power over civilised and un-
civilised peoples ; (3) The condition of mu.sic in
Europe since the days of Guido d'Arezzo, the
necessary acquirements for a complete musician,
and new and original observations on the nature,
origin, and object of music ; (4) A continuation
of the former, and an attempt to prove that
music is an imitative and not an arbitrary art,
that it has always been essentially traditional, and
that by it were preserved intact for many cen-
turies all human attainments — law, science, and
the arts, This huge book, with all its tedious-
ness, purposeless digressions, and false philo-
sophy, is crammed full of learning, and contains
ideas which at that date were new and original.^

Villoteau's fame rests not on this book, but on
his share in 'La Description de I'Egypte,'
the magnificent work in 20 vols; folio (11 being
plates), which took 17 years to publish (1809-
1826), and which reflected so much credit on
Conte and Jomard the distinguished secretaries
of the commission. The musical portions are :
(i) On the present condition of music in Egypt ;
researches and observations historical and de-
scriptive made in the country (240 pp. October,
1812); (2) A description, historical, technical,
and literary of musical instruments in use among
the Orientals (170 pp., 181.^, with three plates
engraved by Dechamel) ; (3) A dissertation on
the different kinds of musical instruments to be
seen on the ancient monuments of Egypt, and on
the names given them in their own language by
the first inhabitants of the country (26 pp.) ; (4)
The music of ancient Egypt (70 pp., 1816).

Now that Egypt and the East are familiar
ground, it is easy to refute some of Villoteau's
hypotheses, or to prove him wrong on minor
points ; but recollecting how little was known
before him of the subjects he treated with so
much learning and care, we may realise how
much we owe to his patience and penetration.
As a student, and unversed in matters of busi-
ness, Villoteau made no profit either out of
his position or his labours. Three-parts ruined
by a notary, whom he had commissioned to buy
him a property in Touraine, he had to leave
Paris for Tours, where he owned a small house.
Here he lived on his own slender resources, and
on certain small sums allowed him by government
for a French translation of Meibom's ' Antiquae
musicse auctores VII' (1652'!, which however
was never published. The MS., now in the
library of the Conservatoire, is in three columns,
the original Greek, and translations into Latin and
French, all in Villoteau's hand. The Greek
seems correct, but is difficult to read from its
having neither stops nor accents.

I According to F^tis, its success was so small that the publisher
exported or destroyed all the unsold copies, a fact which would
account for its present scarcity, but as the copyright was Villoteau's
own property, and it had been entered at Galland's. it is difficult to
believe a story so much to the discredit of a respectable bookseller
like Benouard.



266



VILLOTEAU.



During his last years, Villoteau wrote a
' Traite de Phon^th(5sic,' now lost, which was
not approved by the Institut de France, and
consequently not published. He died at Tours,
April 27, 1839, ^S^'i nearly So. [G.C]

VINCI, Leonardo, born 1690 at Strongoli
in Calabria, and educated with Pergolesi and
Porpoia, in the Conservatorio de' Poveri di Gesh
Cristo at Naples, under Gaetano Greco. Of his
life but little is known. He appears to have
begun his career in 1719 with two comic pieces
in Neapolitan dialect, which were followed by
26 operas of various characters and dimensions.
Of these, 'Ifigenia en Tauride' (Venice, 17.5),
'Astianatte' (Naples, 1725), 'Didone abban-
donata' (Rome, 1726), and 'Alessandro nelF
Indie' (Rome, 1729), had the greatest success.
' Didone ' established his fame. His last was
'Artaserse' (Naples, 1732). In 1728 he was
received into the congregation of the Rosario
at Formiello, for whom he composed two Orato-
rios, a Kyrie, two Masses k 5, and some Motets.
He was poisoned by the relative of a Roman
lady with whom he had a liaison, and died in
1732. His operas, says Burney (iv. 400-537, etc.),
form an era in dramatic music by the direct
simplicity and emotion which he threw into the
natural clear and dramatic strains of his airs, and
by the expressive character of the accompani-
ments, especially those of the obbligato recitatives.
He left a great number of cantatas for i and 2
voices, with bass or strings. These are quoted by
Florimo ('Cenno Storico' p. 2.:;o-234), from wliom
the above facts are chiefly derived. A collection
of his airs was published by Walsh of London,
and highly prized, 'Vo solcando,' from 'Arta-
serse,' was sung everywhere by musicians and
aniateurs alike. [G.]

VINGT-QUATRE VIOLONS. No reader
of French * M^moires ' of the 1 7th century can
be ignorant of the part played by ballets at
the courts of Henri IV., Louis XIII., and Louis
XIV. The ballet combined the pleasures of
music, dancing, and the play, gave great oppor-
tunities for magnificent display, and was for
nearly a century the favourite diversion of
princes and grands seigneurs, thus preparing
the way for opera. The passion for ballets de
cour and dancing led to the formation of a
special band of violinists, who, under Louis
XIII, bore the name of the 'band of 24 violins
of the King's chamber.' Its members, no longer
mere mencstriei-s [seeRoi des Violons, iii. 145],
became musiciens en charge, with a prospect of
being eventually admitted to the Chapelle du Roi.
Their functions were to play for the dancing at all
the court-balls, as well as to perform airs, minuets,
and rigadoons, in the King's antichamber, during
his lever and public dinner, on New Year's Day,
May r, the King's fete-day, and on his return
from the war, or from Fontainebleau.

No complete list of ' the 24 violins ' who
enlivened the court of the melancholy Louis
XIII. has yet been made, but some of their airs
may be seen in the MS. collection of Philidor
dine— one of the precious possessions of the Con-



VINNING.

servatoire library. [See vol. ii. p. 703 a.] The
composers names are Michel Henri, Constantin,
Dunianoir, Robert Verdi^, Mazuel, Le Page,
Verpre, de La Pieire, de La Vallez, and Lazarin,
all, we conjecture, among the 24. The violin-
ists occasionally acted in the ballets, as in the
'Ballet des doubles Femmes' (1625), when they
walked in backwards, dressed as old women with
masks at the back of their heads, so as to look
as if they were playing behind their backs. This
had a great success, and was revived by Taglioni
(the father) in the masked ball in Auber's ' Gus-
tave III,' in 1833.

In Louis XIV's reign the band of 24 violins
was called the ' grande bande,' and on Duma-
noir's appointment as Roi des Violons, the King
made him conductor, with the title of ' 2«;me vio-
lon de la Chambre.' Tiie post however was sup-
pressed at the same time with that of the Roi des
m(^nestriers (May 22, 1697). The ' grande bande,'
again called ' the 24 violins,' continued to exist till
1 761, when Louis XV. dissolved it by decree
(Aug. 22). During the rage for French fiishions in
music which obtained in Charles II.'s reign, the
' 24 violons ' were imitated here, in the ' King's
nmsic,' and became the ' four-and-twenty fiddlers
all of a row' of the nursery rhyme. Meantime
a dangerous rival had sprung up in its own home.
In 1 655 Lully obtained the direction of a party of
16 violins, called the 'petite bande.' As violinist,
leader, and composer he soon eclipsed his rival,
and his brilliant career is well known. The modest
position of conductor of a few musicians, whose:
duty was simply, like that of the ' grande bande,'
to play at the King's levers, dinners, and balls, i
satisfied him at first, but only because it brought
him in contact with the nobility, and furthered
his chance of becoming * Surintendant de la
Musique ' to Louis XIV. This point once
gained, nothing further was heard of the ' petite
bande,' and by the beginning of the next reign
it bad wholly disappeared.

The 24 violins remained, but as time went on
they became old-fashioned and distasteful to the
courtiers. Accordingly, as fast as their places fell
vacant they were filled by musicians from the
Chapelle du Roi, and thus the band became inde-
pendent of the community of St. Julian. After
1761 the only persons privileged to play sym-
phonies in the King's apartments were the musi-
cians of his ' chamber ' and ' chapel.' [G.C]

VINNING, LoDiSA, born probably at Newton
Abbot, DeTon. She appeared in public when a
child, from 1840 to 42, under the title of the 'In-
fant Sappho,' as a singer and harpist at the Ade-
laide Gallery, Polytechnic, and elsewhere. She
afterwards received instruction in singing from
Frank Mori, and on Dec. 12, 1856, was brought
prominently into notice by taking the soprano
part in the 2nd and 3rd parts of the 'Messiah' at
the Sacred Harmonic Society's Concert, at a mo-
ment's notice, and 'with credit to herself,' in place
of the singer engaged, who became suddenly indis-
posed during the performance. Miss Vinning
afterwards sang at the Crystal Palace, the Wor-
cester Festival, 1857, the Monday Popular Con-



VINNING.

Berts (1861), and elsewhere, until her marriage
with Mr. J.S.C. Heywood, in or about 1865. At
tier concert, on July 5, i860, Mme. Montigny-
Reiuaury made her first a^jpearance in Eng-
land, [A.C.]

VIOL (Ital. Viola ; Fr. Viole). The gensrlc
name of the family of bowed instrumentd which
succeeded the mediaeval Fiddle and preceded the
Violin. The Viol was invented in the 15th cen-
iury, and passed out of general use in the i8th.
[t differs from the violin in having deeper ribs,
md a flat back, which is sloped off at the top, and
was strengthened internally by cross-bars and
I broad centrepiece, on which the sound-post
rests. The shoulders curve upwards, joining the
neck at a tangent, instead of at right angles, as
^n tlie violin. The neck is broad and thin, the
lumber of strings being five, six, or seven ; the
jeg-box is usually surmounted by a carved head,
rhe soundholes are usually of the C pattern.
"See Soundholes.] The Viol was made in four
principal sizes — Treble or Discant, Tenor (Viola
la Braccio), Bass (Viola da Gamba), and Double
Bass (Violone) : the last is still in use, the dou-
ble bass of the violin pattern never having found
general favour. The Viols are tuned by fourths
md thirds, instead of fifths. Their tone is rather
)enetrating than powerful, and decidedly inferior
n quality and flexibility to that of the violin,
vhich accounts for their disappearance before
he latter instrument. [See Violin.] [E.J.P.]

VIOLA, (i) The Italian name of the Viol.
2) The usual name for tlie Tenok Violin. (The
kcceut is on the second syllable.) [E.J. P.]

VIOLA BASTARDA. TheBassViol, or Viola
la Gamba, mounted with sympathetic strings like
he Viola d' Amore. It afterwards developed into
he Barytone. [See Barytone.] [E.J. P.]

VIOLA D' AMORE. A Tenor Viol with
ympathetic strings. It usually has seven stopped



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