A Dictionary of Musicians, from the Earliest Ages to the by John S. Sainsbury

By John S. Sainsbury

The writer John Sainsbury produced this two-volume biographical dictionary of musicians in 1824. The booklet, as he recognizes on his name web page, borrows from the formerly released works of Choron and Fayolle (in French), Gerber (in German), Orloff (Russian, writing in French), and his striking English predecessors, Dr Burney and Sir John Hawkings. It incorporates a 'summary of the historical past of music', in addition to biographies and memoirs of musicians. the variety of the data supplied is titanic, together with the main vague in addition to the main recognized: fourteen pages on Mozart are through paragraphs on his spouse Constanza and at the now thoroughly forgotten B. F. Mozin, a French piano instructor and composer, whereas Beethoven is defined while nonetheless dwelling and composing, albeit stricken by means of deafness. This paintings is a mine of knowledge on musical lifestyles and perceptions of track background within the early 19th century.

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If we have so long deferred alluding to the different styles of composition, it is not from an idea that the period we are now discussing is the first in which these various styles could be distinguished. For ages past they have existed, and though, in their developements, they have exercised a reciprocal influence, yet there has always existed constitutive and characteristic distinctions between them ; but the fact is, it would have been by far too arduous a task, and would have led me into long details, to trace the origin and progress of each of these styles separately; I have therefore reserved till now, the little I intend stating on the subject, being aware that I shall find it occasionally requisite to retrace events some way back.

Gasparini; Giov. and Ant. Buononcini; the celebrated B. Marcello, who composed many much admired cantatas ; Pergolese, whose "Orpheus" is cited as a chef-d'oeuvre; Vivaldi, known by his works for the violin ; and lastly, the Baron d'Astorga, and the celebrated N. Porpora, both of whom have left collections considered perfectly classical in this style. Unhappily, we are under the necessity of making the same remark with regard to the cantata as we made respecting madrigals : it is a style of composition which has been generally abandoned and neglected for nearly two generations; so much so, that learned amateurs alone now deign to study the masterpieces in this style left us by preceding generations.

A musical tragedy is spoken of as having been performed at Rome in 1480. , when, on his return from Poland, he passed through that town, in order to take possession of the crown of France, to which he succeeded on the death of his brother Charles IX. But all these facts are too remote, and so very few vestiges of them_remain, that it is impossible to deduce any thing positive as to the state of this branch of the musical art at that HISTORY OF MUSIC, xli period,which, however, is not so very distant, being scarcely more than two hundred and fifty years.

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