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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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the leading violinist at Vienna, and enjoys a
special reputation for quartet-playing; Leopold
AuEK (born 1845), pupil of Dont, juu., and per-
former of the first rank, and others. Leopold
Jansa (1796-1875) deserves to be specially men-
tioned as the teacher of the most eminent lady-
violinist of the present day, Wilma Normann-
Neruda (born 1840). Madame Neruda, pos-
sessing a highly-finished technique, is not
merely a brilliant soloist, but a thorough musi-
cian, versed in the whole range of musical
literature, and an admirable quartet-player. It
is, no doubt, largely owing to her immense success
and popularity that of late years violin-playing
has been much taken up by ladies, but, if we
except Teresina Tua, with but transient success.
Lady amateur violinists in London, as in Boston
and New York, at the present tin^.e are counted
by hundreds.

The school of Prague— started by F. W. Pixis
(17S6-1842), a pupil of Franzl at Mannheim, and
of Viotti — has produced several violinists of note :
J. "W. Kalliwoda (i 801-1 866), M. Mildner
(1812-1865), who succeeded Pixis as Professor
of the Violin at the Prague Conservatoire, and
Ferdinand Laub (1832-1874), a violinist of the
very first rank.

It remains to mention a few violinists of emi-
nence who do not stand in any direct connexion


with the established schools of violin-playinj
Franz Clement (1780-1842), who was a mi
sician and player of remarkable genius, deservt
specially to be remembered as the first who playe
in public, and for whom, in fact, was writtei
the Concerto of Concertos, the original MS. (
which bears this inscription : ' Concerto pa
Clemenza pour Clement, primo Violino e Dire
tore al theatre di Vienna, Dal L. v. Bthvn. 1806
C. J. LiPiNSKi (1790-1S61) was mainly sel
taught, an excellent, solid, and brilliant playei
though not exercising, either as composer (
teacher, much influence on violin-playing gene
ally. Beenhard Molique(iSo3-iS69), althoug
a pupil of Rovelli's at Munich, must be called
follower of Spohr. His concertos take a high ran
in violin-literature, and although they cannc
rival Spohr s in spontaneity of ideas, they shov
as it were, a further development of that ma
ter's violin-style and technique. During h
long residence in England, Molique formed
number of pupils, the best known of whom
Caruodus. Ole Bull^ (1S10-18S0), a play
of great originality, not free from charlatanisi
was entirely self-taught, and has not inappr
priately been described as a Northern P.aganii
He belongs to no school, and has exercisi
no influence on the style of violin-playing
the period.

England has produced but few violin-iilaye
of eminence, and violin-playing has, as a rui
been represented in this country by foreignei
Thus we find Geminiani, Giardini, Wilhel
Cramer, Salomon, Viotti, Mori, Sainton, Strai
Normann Neruda, as the leading resident violi
ists in London, while there is hardly an emine
player during the last hundred years who has n
visited the country.

The earliest English violin-player of no
was Davis IMell, whom Hawkins calls t'
great rival of the German Baltzar. [See vol.
p. 133.] John Banister (about 1640-170
was leader of the band of Charles II., in si
cession to Baltzar. Matthew Duboueg (170
1767) was a pupil of Geminiani, and appes
to have been a clever player. His pupil, Joi
Clegg (died about 1742), was a brilliant v
tuoso. J. Abraham Fisher (bom 1744) w
a player of much talent, who travelled a gre
deal on the continent, but appears to have be
much of a charlatan. Thomas Linlet (175*
1778) studied under Nardini at Florence, b
died young. George A. P. Bridgetower (177
184-), though not born in England, made 1
studies in London, and must have been a plaj
of considerable powers, to judge from the ft
that Beethoven played with him the Kreuta
Sonata for the first time in public. TnoM
Pinto (died about 1780) and George F. PiM
(1786-1806) were born in London of Portuguf
paients. Both were clever violinists. Amo
modern j^layers, the most eminent are Hen:
Blagrove (1811-1S72), a pupil of Spohr, a
the brothers Alfred (1837-1S76) and Hen:
Holmes (born 1S39). The last-named, n(

1 Sfc EULL, OLE, iu Appendix.


ef Professor of the Violin at the Royal Col-
e of Music in London, is a thoroughly artistic
yer, who more especially excels in quartet-

rhere can be no doubt that the number of
)d violin -players is very much greater at the
jsent time than it ever was before. Striking
ginality and genius are probably as rare as
)r, but the improvement which has taken
ce in the rank and file during the last forty
irs is truly astonishing. While formerly
in the most famous orchestras contained but
ew who could make any claim to be soloists,
ivadays the great majority are thoroughly
ined .artistic players. One of the best-known
chers of modern times used to declare that
) same concertos which during the first half of
s century were considered the ne plus ultra of
ficulty, and were attempted in public by per-
ps a very few of the most famous virtuosos — he
(d specially to adduce Lipinski's ' Concerto
Utaire ' — are now as a matter of course
died and fairly mastered by the average stu-
it at any Conservatoire. It is obvious how much
hestral performances must have gained by
3 general spread of executive skill, and we

I safely assume that at no period of musical
tory has orchestral music been so generally

II executed as at the present day.

At the same time we cannot speak of a
idem violin-technique and a modern develop-
nt of such technique as we speak of it in
erence to piano-playing. The development
the technique in any instrument, as a matter
course goes along with the perfecting of its
ichanical structure. Now in the case of the
tnoforte this gradual perfecting of the me-
^nism has continued up to the present time,
lus the technique of Mozart probably stands
the same relation to the technique of Liszt
an old Vienna clavicembalo to a modern
oadwood. In the case of the violin it is
t so. For more than three hundred years
3 violin has undergone no structural alteration
latever, and no important change in the prin-
)le3 of execution has taken place since the
ys of Corelli. The advance made in master-
l difficulties since the early days of violin-
lying is more apparent than real. There nre
t few points of modern technique which one
another of the old masters had not already
iempted (Locatelli, Lolli, Bach, etc.), and it
owing only to the more complicated nature
modem music (not to speak of the morbid
idency towards exaggeration in every respect)
at the execution of great difficulties is more
:en demanded. It is only in reference to
owing' that we can speak of a modern de-
lopment, and that for the very good reason
at the modem flexible bow attained its pre-
nt form but very gradually at the end of last
atury. In the ait of bowing we do find, as in
mo-playing, a modern development which
lows the gradual perfecting of the instrument.
!>UUTE, of Paris, made the modern bow what it
and the violinists of his time were not slow



to avail themselves of its immense advantages.
Hence resulted a rapid progress in the art of
bowing, which culminated in Paganini, and
there reached a point of perfection which is not
likely to be surpassed. [P-^-]

VIOLONCELLO— 1 e. the little Violone—
commonly Cello. For the place of this instru-
ment in the V^iolin family see vol. i. 580; iv.
268,269,281. II. The name is given to an organ
stop of 8 ft. pitch, usually to be found in the
Pedal organ, but occasionally in the Great also.
It may be found both with open and closed
pipes. There is alwnys, as its name implies,
some attempt to give the string quality. [W.Pa.]

manufacture of the Bass Violin or Violoncello
followed closely on the invention of the Tenor
and Treble Violins, nearly a century elapsed
before the Violoncello took its proper rank in
the family of stringed instruments. This is due
to the fact that the six-stringed Viola da gamba,
the established chamber and orchestral bass of
the 17th century, was a very popular instru-
ment, and more easily handled than the Violon-
cello, though inferior to it in power and quality
of tone. [See Gamba.] The larger and more
thickly strung Violoncello was at first employed
to strengthen the bass part in vocal music, par-
ticularly in the music of the church. It was in
Italy that the instrument first took a higher posi-
tion. The stepping-stone appears to have been
the continuous basses which formed the usual
accompaniment to solos for the Violin. The
ringing tones of the Violin demanded a more
powerful accompaniment than the Viola da,
gamba could give ; and with many Violin solos
of the latter part of the century we find bass
parts of some difficulty, which were played on
the Violoncello by accompanists who made this
dejiartment of music a special study. Corelli is
said to have had a Violoncello accompaniment
to his solo performances, though his basso con-
tinue is obviously written in the first instance
for the Viola da gamba : but it is not until
after the death of Corelli that we liear of the
first solo violoncello player. This was one
Franciscello (i 713-1740), of whom little is
known except that he played solos in the prin-
cipal European capitals. The name of Vandini
has also come down to lis ;is the violoncello
accompanist of the solos of Tartini. These two
players rank as the fathers of the Violoncello,
and it may be assumed that it was from its-
association v.'ith the Violin as a bass that the
Violoncello itself became a model instrument,
and that the methods of violin phiying came to
be applied to it.

Among the earliest compositions for the Vio-
loncello may be mentioned the sonatas of Anto-
niotti of Milan, an Amsterdam edition of which
is dated 1736, and of Lanzetti, violoncellist to
the King of Sardinia (1730-1750). According
to M. Vidal' we trace in these masters the first
decided recognition of the capacities of the

I Les Instruments i, Archet, torn. i. p. 327.




instrument. The left hand stops an octave and
a half i^upper E) on the first strins:, necessitating
the use of the thumb, which is the special cha-
racteristic of the higher positions of the Violon-
cello. Canavasso and Ferrari, two other Italian
Cello players, appeared in Paris between 1 750
and 1760. There already lived in Paris a
player whose name stands by tradition at the
head of the French school. This was the famous
Berteau, who died in 1756. None of Berteau's
compositions are known to exist, except a well-
known study printed in Duport's ' Essai,' and a
sonata in Breval's ' Methode ' ; but he is always
recognised as the first of the French school of
violoncello-players. Cupis, Tilliere, the two Jan-
sons, and the elder Duport were among his pupils.
Among the classical composers, Handel and Bach
first employed the instrument in its wider range ;
it is only necessary to mention the famous six
solos of the latter, while well-known instances of
its use by the former ai-e the obligato parts to
* O Liberty ' (Judas), ' What passion cannot
music raise ' (St. Cecilia's Day), and ' But !
sad virgin ' (L'AUegro). Pepusch's ' Alexis '
was for long a favourite. With the creation of
the stringed quartet the Violoncello gained the
greater prominence which is exemplified in the
chamber music of Haydn and Boccheriiii. The
latter master was himself a solo cellist of con-
siderable ability ; he played at the Concert
Spirituel in Paris in 1 76S. Gluck is said to have
been a cellist, but no predilection for the instru-
ment appears in his works.

The true method of violoncello-playing was
first worked out by the younger Duport, and
laid down in his famous ' E.tsai sur le Doigte du
Violoncelle, et sur la Conduite de I'archet.'
Duport, who was born in 1749, made his debut
at the Concert Spirituel in the same year in
which Boccherini performed (i 768) ; the ' Essai '
was published some years later. Before Duport
much confusion liad existed in fingering and
bowing the instrument ; many players, it ap-
pears, endeavoured to get over the difficulties of
the scales by fingering tlie Violoncello like the
Violin, i.e. stopping whole tones with successive
fingers, thus throwing the hand into a false posi-
tion, and losing that aplomb which is indis-
pensable alike to certainty of fingering and
solidity of tone. Duport, recurring to the prac-
tice of the old Viola da gamba players, laid
down the principle that the true fingering was
by semitones, only the first and second fingers
being as a rule allowed to stretch a whole tone
where necessary ; and he overcame the inherent
difiBculties of the scales by dividing the positions
into four so-called ' Fractions,' and by adopting
.1 methodical system of shifting, the violin fin"-
gering being only retained in the higher ' thumb'
positions, where the fingering is similar to the
first position of the Violin, the thumb acting as
a moveable_ nut. The ' Essai ' of Duport formed
an epoch in violoncello-playing. Among his
pupils was Frederick William, King of Prussia,
to whom Mozart dedicated the three famous
quartets in F major, Bb major, and D major, in i

which the Violoncello occupies so prominent a
place ; while Beethoven's two first Violoncelh
sonatas (op. 5) were dedicated to Duport him-
self. The compliment of Voltaire to Duport.
who visited him when at Geneva on a musica'
tour, aptly illustrates the change which wa;
taking place in the treatment of the instrument
'Monsieur,' he is reported to have said, ' vou;
me faites croire aux miracles : vous savez fairti
d'un bceuf un rossignol ! ' In Geimany Beni-
hard Romberg and Stiastny, contemporaries o
Duport, worked upon his method, while Levas
seur, Lamare, Norblin, Platel, Baudiot and others
represented the school in France. The Italiani
were slower in the cultivation of the Violoncello
and Burney in his Tour remarks that the Italiar
players retained the underhand grasp of the bow
while elsewhere the overhand grasp, founded 01
that of the violin, was generally adopted. Sirici
the time of Duport, the tendency of players ani
composers has been to make the VioloncelI»
moi'e and more a Bass Violin, i.e. to assimilati
its ti-eatment more and more closely to that o
the treble instrument. The most accomplishec
players even perform (an octave lower in pitchy
on it solo violin pieces of great difficulty, th(
'Trillo del diavolo' and 'Carnaval de Venise
not excepted. Merk, Franchomme, Kurnmer,
and Dotzauer ranked among the best bravun
players of their times, but the greatest maste
of all the effects producible on the Violoncelfc
was undoubtedly the late M. Servais (died 1866)
under whose large and vigorous hand, says ,•
critic, the Violoncello vibrated with the facility
of a kit : the staccato in single notes, in thirds
in octaves, all over the fingerboard, even ti
the most acute tones, came out with iireproach
able purity; there was never a hesitation
a doubtful note. He was an innovator ii
every sense of the word : never, before him
had the Violoncello yielded such effects. Hi
compositions will remain as one of the mos
marvellous monuments of the instrumental ar
of our time.^ Servais may well be called th'?
Paganini of the Violoncello. The Englislij
players who have left the greatest name arii
Crossbill and Lindlet. Among living player^
the name of Signer Piatti should be mentionei
as a master in all styles, equally admirable i'
the severest classical music and in the brillian
technical effects which are embodied in some
his own compositions. GKifTZJiACHER, Davidofi
the Hausmanns, and our own Edward Howeli
must also be named.

At present players use thinner strings thai
formerly : and the use of the thumb positions i
more restricted, the rule being to employ ordi
nary stopping wherever practicable. The objec
tion to the thumb positions is that the quasiope)
notes, being stopped sideways, are necessaril
weak and unequal. For solo performance th|
tenor register of the Violoncello, i.e. the iirsi
and second strings, each employed in its lowes |
octave, is the best portion of the instrument li
the ponderous notes of the lowest string are ex ■ '

1 Vidal. Instruments i Archet, torn. i. p. S71. '■ f



dingly effective in legato and tenuto passages,
e Cello affords less scope than the Violin for
playing skill in bowing, the bow being shorter
n that of the Violin, though the instrument
;lf is very much larger : while the bowing is
some extent reversed, because in the Violin
I bow points in the downward direction of
i scales, i. e. towards the lowest string> w"hile
the Cello, which is held in a reversed posi-
n, the bow points in the upward direction,
?ards the highest string. The rule of the
. Viola da ganiba players, however — to bow
ictly the reverse way to the Violin, i.e. to
auience the bar with an up-bow — is not appli-
)le to the Cello.

rhe principal Methods for the Violoncello are
(se by B. Koniberg, Kummer, Dotzauer, Lee,
1 Piatti. The Studies of Stiastny, Griitz-
cher, and Lee, are usually recommended,
rhaps the best known among special writers

the instrument is Goltermaun, who wrote
,ny sonatas, and concertos with alternative
ihestral or pianoforte accompaniment, as well
a very large number of lighter solos. Many
his works possess considerable musical as well
technical interest. Besides Goltermann, there
y be mentioned Popper, a living violoncellist
good repute, Dunkler, and Signor Piatti, who,
iides being the author of several original com-
iitions, has rendered good service to the musical
rid by his admirable editions, with pianoforte
iompaniments, of the Sonatas of Marcello and
ccherini. The principal classical compositions

the Violoncello and Piano are Beethoven's
ur Sonatas, Hunimel's Sonata, Sterndale Ben-
it's Sonata, Schumann's Concerto and ' Stiicke

Volkston,' Molique's Concerto in D, op. 45.
indelssohn's predilection for the Cello is well
own. His orchestral works abound in melo-
lus and effective solos for the instrument
llegros of Italian and Scotch Symphonies,
jeresstiUe Overture, etc.), and in addition his
Qatas in Bb and D, and his Air with Varia-
ns in D, all for Cello and Piano, are among
5 finest works in the repertoire of the cellist,
le obbligato ])art to the air * Be thou faithful
to death' (St. Paul), is a masterpiece in its
id which will probably never be surpassed,
is a pity that his intention of writing a Con-
■to for Cello and Orchestra was frustrated by
I death, as it would undoubtedly have been
ine and effective composition, which, with all

merits, Schumann's Concerto fails to be.
36 vol. ii. p. 2S5 a.] Onslow's Sonatas are
eemed by some amateurs of the instrument,
me effective duets for two Violoncellos have
2n written by Dotzauer, Gross, Kummer, Lee,
otti, and Offenbach. The Violin and Violon-
lo concertante duets of the Bohi-ers, the Rom-
fgs, and Leonard and Servais, are brilliant
rks, suitable for advanced performers : the
s ambitious duets for Violin and Violoncello

Hoffmeister, Hoffmann, and Keicha should
be mentioned. [E.J.P.]

VIOLONE (i. e. Double-bass). An organ stop
i6 ft. pitch, with optn pipes of smaller scale



than those of the Open Diapason. Generally
in the Pedal organ. [W.Pa.]

VIOLONS DU EOY. [See Vikgt-quatee

ViOLONS, p. 266.]

VIOTTI, Giovanni Battista, celebrated
violin-player and composer for the violin, was
born March 23, 1753, at Fontanetto, a village in
Piedmont. His first nmsical instruction he got
from his father, a blacksmith, and from an itine-
rant musician of the name of Giovannini. In
1766 a bishop, who had been struck by the
cleverness of the boy's performance, sent him
to Turin, where Prince Pozzo de la Cisterna
placed him under Pugnani. He soon developed
into a fine player and entered the Royal band. In
1780 he left Turin, and travelled with Pugnani
through Germany to Poland and Russia, meeting
with great success, especially at St. Petersburg,
and winning the favour of the Empress Catherine,
who endeavoured to attach him to her court.
But Viotti did not remain long in Russia, and
proceeded with Pugnani to London, where his
success was so great as completely to throw
every other violinist into the shade. From Lon-
don he went to Paris, and there parted from
Pugnani, who returned to Italy. He made his
first appearance at the Concert Spirituel in 1782,
and was at once acknowledged to be the greatest
living violinist. He happened to be less success-
ful on one occasion, while in the next concert a
very inferior player earned a great success. This
is said to have disgusted him so much that he
altogether ceased to play in public. In 1783 he
visited his native town and bought some property
for his father. Returned to Paris, he occupied
himself with teaching and composing, giving
at his residence regular private performances,
and playing his concertos as he finished them
with the accompaniment of his pupils. After
some time he accepted the leadership of the
orchestra at private concerts which had been
established by the Princes Conti, Soubise, and
other members of the aristocracy. He also fre-
quently played at the Royal Court, but kept to
his resolve not to appear in public. In 17S8 he
was induced to undertake the artistic manage-
ment of the Italian Opera, a licence for which
had been granted to the Queen's hairdresser
Leonard. He succeeded in bringing together a
brilliant company of singers, and also secured
Cherubini's services as composer. From 17S9 to
1792 the Italian Opera gave performances in the
Tuileries, but on the return of the Court from
Versailles to Paris, had to be transferred to the
Theatre Feydeau. On the outbreak of the re-
volution however the enterprise quickly col-
lapsed, and Viotti, having lost almost everything
he possessed, went to Loudon. Hero he renewed
his former successes — a)>pearing frequently at
Salomon's concerts in Hanover Square Rooms
and in the di'awing-rooms of the aristocracy.
London soon filled with refugee French noble-
men. Owing probably to the circumstance that
he had had some personal dealings with the Due
d'Orleans (Philippe ilgalit^) Viotti fell under



suspicion, and was advised to leave England,
He went to Hamburg:, and for some time lived in
complete retirement in the neighbourhood of that
town. It was there that he composed a number
of his famous violin duets. Fetis and Wasielew-
eki are both mistaken in stating that he remained
in Germany until 1795, as we find his name on
the London concert programmes early in 1794,
and in the winter of 1794 he was acting ma-
nager of the Italian Opera at the King's Theatre.'
At the same time he played frequently in Salo-
mon's concerts, and acted as leader in Haydn's
Benefit Concerts in 1794 and 1795. He was
also director of the great Opera Concerts in 1 795,
for which he brought together a band containing
the most eminent players in London, and de-
clared to be imprecedented in brilliancy of
eifect. Financially however these and similar
enterprises proved to be anything but successes,
and as his old aversion to playing in public grew
more and more upon him, he retired entirely
from public life, and with the remnants of his
fortune embarked in trade, entering as a partner
in a wine merchant's firm. In 1802 he once
more visited Paris. Although firmly resolved
not to play in public, he could not resist the
persuasion of his numerous old admirers, and
after a lapse of twenty years appeared once
more at the Conservatoire, showing, by the
masterly performance of one of his later con-
•certos, that his execution had lost none of its
former perfection, while as a composer he had
greatly advanced in maturity of ideas, style,
and workmanship. After a few months he re-
turned to his business in London. Viotti went
to Paris once more in 1819, and undertook the
post of director of the Opera, at that period in
a state of utter decadence. His administration
did not restore prosperity, and in 1822 he was
pensioned off. He returned to London, and died
there March 10, 1S24.

Viotti was one of the greatest violinists of all
ages, and the last great representative of the
classical Italian school. He retained in his style
of playing and composing the dignified simplicity
and noble pathos of the great masters of that
school, treating his instrument above all as a
singing voice, and keeping strictly within its na-

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 70 of 194)