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Questions & Answers

A Subscriber.—“La Fileuse,” by Raff, means literally “The Spinning Girl.” The composition is of the type of “Spinning Songs,” with a murmuring accompaniment which may be considered to suggest the whir of the wheel. In Raff’s “Fileuse” and in Mendelssohn’s so-called “Spinning Song,” the murmuring accompaniment is in the right hand; in Liszt’s transcription of the “Spinning Song” from “The Flying Dutchman” the accompaniment is chiefly suggested by the left hand.

O. V. W.—1. Mr. A. R. Parsons, in his edition of Liszt’s “Gondoliera”, says that the chords in the last few measures represent bells. I do not know that he had the composer’s authority for this statement.

2.—The sub-theme or second theme in the first movement of Beethoven’s “Pathetique Sonata,” appears in the Exposition or “Chapter I,” as you call it, in E flat minor; in the Recapitulation or Chapter III” in F minor. The normal relation in sonata-movements in minor keys, is that the first appearance of the second theme should be in the relative major, the second appearance in the major of the key in which the movement stands. But a good deal of liberty is taken in this respect, as you will find if you look at Beethoven’s sonatas in minor keys. The only object is to preserve symmetry; if this is done any departure from the rules is justifiable. Since Beethoven the relations in key between the second theme and the first have become much less rigid. For example, in Brahms’ third Symphony, in F major, the second theme of the first movement appears first in A major (instead of C major), and later in D major (instead of F major), and yet Brahms has not in any of his symphonies surpassed this movement for clearness and symmetry.

E. F. S.—1. In “the turn with the sharp on C” that you quote, the sharp does not refer to the note C. A sharp under a turn refers always to the note below that on which the turn is made. In this case the notes of the turn are a, g, f sharp and g. If the sharp had not been there the notes would have been a, g, f natural and g.

2. The passage that you quote in 4-4 time with quarter notes staccato with a slur connecting each two, are what is known as portamento, a clinging, half-legato, half-staccato touch. The second note is not tied. A note cannot be both staccato and tied.

Consuelo.—Various extension exercises have been published; the most notable are those by Isidor Philipp, which can be secured of the publisher of The Etude. For the most part extension exercises should, however, be employed most sparingly. It is difficult to secure a lasting extension without straining joints and tendons. The exercises by Pischna and Brahms, also the “Exercises for the Independence of the Fingers,” by I. Philipp, contain enough material for all extension that is wise. The time spent in attempting to improve the stretch would better be spent in acquiring elasticity, and certainty in attacking notes. This will prove far more helpful. Whatever extension exercises are practiced, great precaution must be taken not to overdo.

3. The sketches you request follow: Porpora, composer and singing teacher, born in Naples, 1686. Educated at the Conservatory Santa Marie di Loreta. He wrote operas, masses, oratorios, etc. He established a singing-school which was famous. He was of restless disposition, lived for some time at Venice, Vienna and Dresden. At the latter place he taught singing and composition to the Electoral Princess. In 1720 he went to London to establish an opera house in rivalry to Handel. This attempt was a failure. This was partially redeemed by his engagement of the great Farinelli (see below). Later he became director of a school of music at Venice, and ultimately returned to Naples, where he became chapel master of the cathedral and director of the Conservatory of San Onofrio. His most celebrated pupils were Farinelli and Caffarelli. He died about 1766, the exact date is uncertain. Thirty-three operas, twelve cantatas, sonatas for violin in the bass, fugues for harpsichord, solfeggi are included in his works, but he was one of the greatest teachers of singing that ever lived. His secrets in this direction died with him.

Holtzbauer, Ignaz, an almost forgotten composer, was born at Vienna in 1711, a pupil of Fux, the author of the Gradus. A director of music at Vienna, in 1745, capellmeister to various princes, he composed various operas, ‘Il Figlio de-lle Selve,” “Günther in Schwarzburg,” etc., church and instrumental music, now all forgotten. Mozart praised a mass by him, and also an opera. He died at Mannheim, in 1783.

Buononcini, Giovanni Battista, born at Modena, 1660. A pupil of his father and Colonna, at one time court composer at Vienna. In 1720 he received a call to London, where he became the rival of Handel, and divided society as to the opinion of the relative values of his music and Handel’s. While in London, he wrote at least seven operas. He finally fell from favor, and went to France, living for the remainder of his life in Vienna and Venice. Of his works are mentioned 22 operas, 4 masses, 5 oratorios, cantatas, duets, etc. Some of his music was fine, but it suffered irretrievably by comparison with Handel.

Farinelli, one of the greatest singers that ever lived, and almost without equal among the male “soprani.” Born in Naples in 1705; a pupil of Porpora, with whom he studied many years. His debut was made in Metastasio’s “Angelica e Medorp.” He traveled all over Europe meeting with the greatest success, loaded with honors and riches, including valuable jewels and presents. He visited London with Porpora and excited the greatest admiration there. He is said to have had an income of $25,000 for three years in London, a prodigious amount for those times. He visited France and Spain, in which latter place he remained in the service of Philip V for ten years at a salary of 50,000 francs a year. He passed the remainder of his life, twenty years, near Bologna. He died in 1782 in the seventy-eighth year of his age.

Hasse, Johann Adolph, a once popular dramatic composer, born in 1699 at Hamburg. At an early age he obtained successive engagements as singer at the Hamburg and at the Brunswick opera houses. At this latter place he produced an opera which showed great facility but also great deficiency in training. To remedy this he went to Naples, where he became a pupil of Porpora. He soon left him for Alessandro Scarlatti. A successful opera, “Sesostrate,” performed at Naples, made him widely known. He went to Venice as teacher. It was here that he met the celebrated singer Faustina Bordoni who became his wife. In 1731 Hasse became capellmeister and opera-director at Dresden. Here he was successful, owing to his merits as a composer, and on account of his wife’s brilliant qualities as a singer. He made a short trip to London where his opera “Artaserse” was well received. Hasse was prosperous until after the siege of Dresden in 1760, when the King of Saxony could not afford the luxury of a Capellmeister and an opera. Hasse and his wife were pensioned off, and retired to Vienna. Here he wrote operas, with the poet Metastasio. His last, opera “Ruggiero” was produced at Milan in 1774. After passing the remainder of his life at Venice, Hasse died there in 1783. A composer intensely popular in his life-time, his work have been speedily forgotten.

Faustina Bordoni, later Madame Hasse, was born at Venice, of a noble family, in 1700. Her first teacher was Gasparini. In 1716 she made her debut in opera, and made instantly a great reputation. In 1719 she repeated her success; in 1722, she extended her fame in Naples and Florence. Two years later she was engaged at a high salary at the Court Theatre in Vienna. In 1726, she appeared at London in Handel’s “Alessandro,” engaged at a salary of $10,000. Two years later she married the composer Hasse. After living for many years in Dresden and Vienna, she died at last in Venice in 1783.

Bordoni, the family name of Faustina Bordoni who became Madame Hasse. Italian singers (women) were usually spoken of by their last names.

Cuzzoni, Francesca, a singer born at Parma, according to one historian, at Modena, according to another, about 1700. Received her first instruction from Lanzi, a noted teacher of the time. She made her debut in opera at Venice in 1719 where she sang with Faustina Bordoni. After singing in various Italian cities she came to England, where she married Sandoni, a harpsichord teacher and composer Her first appearance in London was in Handel’s opera “Otho.” For six years she appeared in opera after opera, winning fresh triumphs. After Faustina Bordoni came also to England the rivalry between her and Cuzzoni became so violent that at last the latter was virtually dismissed to restore peace. She went to Vienna and Venice. She also made two more visits to London, the last in 1750 when her voice was gone. She went to Holland, where she passed years in prison for debt. These she paid by concerts, and at last returned to Bologna where she died in 1770.

Corilla is not mentioned in the musical dictionaries.

Caffarelli, Gaetano, born near Naples in 1703, one of the most celebrated of the male soprani. He studied for years under Porpora. In 1724 he made his debut in Rome and obtained a triumph at once. For four years he sang all over Italy, returning to Rome. He then traveled again after two years, arriving at London in 1737. Here he sang in two operas of Handel. He was not as successful as he had hoped, and returned to Italy, where his triumphs were greater if possible than before. In 1740 he went to Venice at the highest salary hitherto paid. In 1750 he sang at Paris. At the age of 65 he was still singing, and had made a fortune. He purchased a dukedom and built a palace at Santo Dorato where he died in 1785.

Le Porporino, and La Porporina, refer respectively to the son and daughter of Porpora, the Italian way of expressing the child Porpora in the masculine and feminine form.

According to Larousse’s Dictionaire “Consuelo” the singer is an imaginary character. “Titus” was an opera—“The Pardon of Titus,” the words by Metastasio, the poet, music composed by Hasse in 1737. Several composers wrote music for this same text and among them, Gluck in 1751. and Mozart in 1791. Mozart’s opera is the only one that has lived.

The following works contain sketches of singers: Clayton, “Queens of Song,” Edwards, “The Prima Donna,” Lahee, “Famous Singers.” Grove’s Dictionary. See article on singing and the sketches of singers mentioned in the article.

E. F. T.—Among the younger American composers who have written effective piano pieces are Henry K. Hadley, and Howard Brockway. By the latter, a “Valse Lente,” from the “Sylvan Suite,” and an “Andante Tranquillo” are especially to be recommended.

J. T. L.—The cornet in D flat and the clarinet in B flat have their parts written a whole tone higher than they sound. For the cornet in A and the clarinet in A, the parts must be written a minor third higher than they are intended to sound. The clarinets in D and E flat, hitherto employed only in military bands are now used by Richard Strauss, Mahler and others of the modern German school, in the orchestra. Their parts sound a whole tonee and a minor third respectively higher than written.

Teacher.—The sharp or flat sometimes following, or placed above the sign for a trill, denotes that the trill must employ the sharp or flat (as the case may be) of the note above that on which the trill is made. It is a detail which adds to the precision of execution. For the trill with a sharp beneath it, see above these columns.

A Student.Beethoven’s Concerto in C, entitled No. I, is really the second, while No. 2, in D flat (sic), op. 19, is the first. The confusion arose from the fact that the one in C was published first.

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