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Bach, Johann Christian
Born in Leipzig, Germany, in 1735.
His early musical training was conducted almost entirely by his father, the famous Johann Sebastian, to whom he owed both the finish and the quality of his work. In 1754 he became organist of Milan Cathedral, in 1759 concert director in London. While by no means so great a musician as Johann Sebastian, he is well known for several operas and sacred works. He has always been called the "English Bach", to distinguish him from his brothers, who were also musicians.
He died in London, January 1, 1782
Bach, Johann Sebastian
Born in Eisenach, Saxe-Weimar, Germany, March 21, 1685
His father taught him the violin. An elder brother, the famous Johann Cristoph, assumed the boy's guardianship upon the death of his parents. Bach, becoming expert, soon aspired to advanced music, which his brother, however, refused him. On one occasion the boy, determined to obtain a book of masters, stole it from the cupboard where it was kept and copied the entire volume by moonlight, taking six months to complete the task.
After fifteen Bach entered the Michaelisschule at Luneberg, where he made a study of instrumental music, chiefly organ and pianoforte playing. After remaining three years he became a violinist in the court orchestra at Weimar, and in 1704 was made organist at Arnstadt. There his talents excited comment and he received applications from several quarters. In 1708 he was appointed court organist at Weimar, where his fame as the first organist of his time reached its height. Upon his appointment as "Hof-concertmeister" in 1714, his activities were considerably extended.
Later, in 1717, Bach was appointed kapellmeister at Kothen, by Prince Leopold of Anhalt. The easy duties of this position allowed him much time for study, so that this period of his life was extremely fertile in the production of instrumental music. In 1723 Bach was made cantor at the Thomasschule in Leipzig - a position that he retained for life - as well as organist and director of music in the Thomaskirche and the Nicolaikirche. While there he wrote his Passions and Cantatas, the "Well-tempered Clavichord", and the High Mass in B minor, which revealed the full power of his genius.
Throughout his life Bach wrote unceasingly in every form and branch of musical composition. A few of his works he engraved himself; most of them were not published until after his death. He occupies in the history of music a position of peculiar importance. To him, said Schumann, "music owes almost as great a debt as a religion owes its founder". From him the modern school of music is dated, and his compositions - particularly his great vocal and organ works - are regarded as unsurpassed in orginality and technical construction.
He died in Leipzig, July 28, 1750
Born in Bornitz (Saxony), Germany, March 26, 1763
He studied under Frech at Zeitz, paying especial attention to pianoforte music and harmony. Later, in 1785, he studied counterpoint in Leipzig, and in 1790 removed to Dresden, where he was a pupil of Naumann. In 1791 he was appointed organist at Zeitz. His compositions include operatic works - for example, "Don Silvio de Rosaiva" and "Orpheus and Eurydice"; also many songs and instrumental pieces, among the latter being quintets for the pianoforte, flute, violin, viola, and violoncello; trios, quartets, and orchestral music.
He died in Zeitz, April 10, 1840
Born in New York City in 1868.
He studied composition in Leipzig under S. Jadassohn, and pianoforte under Karl Reinecke. On the completion of his studies he made a concert tour of France, Austria, Germany, and Italy. Later he returned to New York, where he has since remained and made for himself a reputation as a teacher and composer. His "Colonial Gavotte" is one of his best known instrumental selections.
Baumann, Frederic C.
Born in Germany.
He early removed to New York. His piano studies were pursued under Beokelman and S. B. Mills, and later in Stuttgart under Leybert and Kruger. Returning to America, he took up teaching in New York, and in Newark, N. J., where he later became head of a conservatory of music. Baumann has received high commendation for his public playing, and has composed many excellent pianoforte works.
Born in Dresden, Germany, May 28, 1836
He was a pupil of Johann Schneider and at the Leipzig Conservatory and became an instructor in pianoforte method at Dresden. Among his compositions are symphonies, overtures, pianoforte concertos, and other standard works, besides much salon music for the pianoforte.
Beethoven, Ludwig van
Born in Bonn, Germany, December 16, 1770.
He was the son of Johann van Beethoven, a tenor singer in the Electoral choir. When Ludwig was but four years old his father, a man of rude temper and scant income, began to teach him music, hoping to reap early advantages from his abilities. Later he studied under Van den Eeden and Neefe, making rapid progress with violin, organ, and pianoforte. In 1784 he was appointed assistant of Neefe, the court organist, and three years later Max Franz, the Elector of Cologne, sent him to Vienna, where he greatly impressed Mozart by his proficiency in piano playing. He soon returned to his position in Bonn, where he remained for five years.
In 1792 the Elector again sent Beethoven to Vienna, where he studied with Haydn, Albrechtsberger, and Schuppanzigh. From the preoccupied Haydn he declared that he had learned nothing; Albrechtsberger appears not to have understood his requirements; and while he worked better with Schuppanzigh, the original and self willed pupil was too much addicted to his own methods to prove a tractable learner. "He preferred acquiring by his own toilsome experience what it would have been easier to accept on the authority of others. This autodidactic vein, inherent, it seems, in all artistic genius, was of immense importance in the development of Beethoven's ideas and mode of expression."
Some minor successes in drawing room music were followed by Beethoven's public appearance as a composer at Vienna in 1795. In that year he published the three trios, "Opus I", played at the house of one of his noble patrons, Prince Lichnowski. Thereafter his works appeared with comparative regularity, and his fame steadily increased. Among his compositions, comprising 138 opus numbers and some 70 unnumbered works, the following may be mentioned: The beautiful song "Adalaide" (1795); three piano sonatas (1796); "First Symphony" (1802); "Moonlight Sonata" (1802); "Second Symphony" (1802); "Prometheus" (1802); "Mount of Olives" (1802); "Kreutzer Sonata" (1803); "Eroica Symphony" (1804); "Fidelio" (1805-1806, rewritten 1814); "Fourth Symphony" (1806); "Coriolanus Overture" (1807); "Mass in C" (1807); "Fifth Symphony" (1808); "Sixth Symphony" (1808); "Seventh Symphony" (1812); "Eigth Symphony" (1812); "Battle Symphony" (1813); "Ninth Symphony" (1824). The "Ninth Symphony" has been called an "unequaled masterpiece of symphonic art". Other sonatas, the overtures, the "Missa Solemnis", the quintets, and the "marvelous quartets" should also be noted. According to the critics of our time, the influence of Beethoven in the history of music is so vast as not even yet to have been completely measured.
From about his twenty-eighth year Beethoven had difficulty of hearing, and increasing deafness made him irritable and morose; but it is regarded as wonderful that he, who could not listen to his own compositions, should have poured forth the lonely aspirations of his soul in works of unsurpassed sublimity. The story of his life, vexed with many troubles and crowned with noble achievements, is at once heroic and pitiful. His closing years were passed mainly in retirement, but his interest in his art did not cease till near the end of his days. His last words are said to have been, "I shall hear in heaven".
He died in Vienna, March 26, 1827.
de Beriot, Charles Auguste
Blumenthal, Jakob (or Jacques)
Born in Hamburg, Germany, October 4, 1829.
He studied in the Paris Conservatory of Music, and in 1848 settled in London as Pianist and teacher. The melody and grace of both his songs and instrumental compositions have won high praise. Of his salon pieces for the pianoforte, the "Two Angels" is an example.
Born in Berlin, Germany, September 11, 1844
He studied under Loeschhorn, Reissmann, and Geyer. among his works are violin music, pianoforte pieces, and numerous songs.
Boieldieu, Francis Adrien
Born is Giulianuova, Italy, June 9, 1829.
He studied singing at the Naples Conservatorio, then violoncello under Ciaudelli, harmony under Parisini, and composition under Mercadante. Braga wrote operas, symphonies, 'cello and violin works, numerous songs, and a "Metodo de Violoncello". The "Angels Serenade" is the most popular of his compositions.
Born in Hamburg, Germany, May 7, 1833
His musical educations was begun at an early age, and was carried on later under Marxsen of Altona. Several years which he spent in retirement and study at Hamburg proved fruitful in the production of works that made his reputation. He established himself at Vienna in 1862, where, making occasional tours, he afterwards chiefly resided.
Save for Richard Wagner, Brahms hold a preeminent position in modern music. He was opposed to the school of the future, of Wagner's adherents, and defended his principles on the ground of absolute music. Of his compositions, the choral works (particularly the "German Requiem"), pianoforte pieces, songs, part-songs, and chamber music are most generally admired.
He died in Vienna, April 3, 1897.
Born in Aix-la-Chapelle, Prussia, June 24, 1840
His musical education was conducted at the conservatory at Leipzig, under Moscheles. In company with his brothers, Leopold and Gerhard, he made several concert tours in which he rarely failed to draw large and enthusiastic audiences. In 1866 he was appointed instructor at Sterns' Conservatorium in Berlin, but he resigned this position in 1868 to take a similar one at the Brussels Conservatoire. Later he removed to the conservatory at St. Petersburg. Among his best known compositions are "Der Thronfolger", an operetta, twelve etudes de concert, and a considerable number of galops and waltzes.
He died in St. Petersburg, May 17, 1884.
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