The eminent and highly-respected British composer Hubert Bath, a Barnstaple man, was born to-day in eighteen eighty-three, the son of C. J. Bath; and his mother's maiden name, Howell, might be noted.
His early education took naturally enough place at his father's school in Barnstaple! As an enthusiastic youth of sixteen he was prepared for the musical profession by Mrs. Leonard Sly of Salisbury and Dr. H. J. Edwards.
Bath subsequently entered the Royal Academy of Music, gaining the Goring Thomas composition scholarship, and there studying beneath Oscar Beringer (piano-forte), Reg. Steggall (organ) and F. Corder (composition). His first public performance as composer (and tympanist) took place at an R.A.M. students' concert in the Queen's Hall.
The compositions of Bath include:
Orchestral Variations, Queen's Hall (1905);
Incidental Music to "Hannele," His Majesty's Theatre (1908);
"The Wedding of Shon Maclean," Leeds Festival (1910);
"The Legend of Nerbudda,"
"Look at the Clock,"
"The Jackdaw of Rheims,"
"Two Sea Pictures," Queen's Hall Proms. (1909).
He also wrote some four hundred songs, numerous experiments in drama with spoken words to music, piano-forte pieces, as well as a string quartette, piano trios, etc.
Club: German Athenaeum.
Residence: North Walk, Barnstaple, North Devon.
Ignace Paderewski the pianoist composer and politician was born to-day in eighteen sixty in the province of Podolia in Russian Pole-land. Already when no more than three he commenced to play the piano-forte by ear, and at seven his father placed him under the musical instruction of a local teacher, Pierre Sowinski, with whom he remained until eleven. The following year he was taken to Warsaw, where for the next four years he studied harmony and composition under Roguski. He next was placed under the care of Frederic Kiel, the well-known professor of harmony of Berlin - how regrettable it is that professors of harmony have gone out of fashion! - and then undertook his first professional tour as a pianoist through Russia, in the course of which he played nothing but his own compositions.
At the age of eighteen he was appointed Professor at the Conservatoire of Warsaw, and the money he gained by teaching music was devoted to his own improvement in general education. After six years at Warsaw he, going then to Vienna, placed himself under Leschetitzky, the famous trainer of pianoists, and husband of the almost equally famous pianoiste Annette Essipoff. In eighteen eighty-seven he made his first appearance before the critical public of Vienna as a virtuoso at Bosendorfer's Salle, and was hailed by the critics as one of the most remarkable pianoists of the day. He next submitted himself for the approval of the German musical public, and became one of the musical lions of the principal provincial towns of Germany. In eighteen eighty-eight he made his first appearance before a Paris audience at the Salle Erard, and was so successful that he remained two years in Paris, during which he paid periodical visits to Holl-land, Belgium, and Switzer-land.
On the ninth of May eighteen ninety he played for the first time at the St. James's Hall, London, and the extraordinary success which he then and there achieved is not likely to be forgotten by the musical public. Following his London triumphs, he played in the principal provincial towns of the kingdom, and then paid his first visit to Northern America, which he has since "toured" many times, securing a series of ovations of an unusually enthusiastic character.
He composed a large number of pieces for the piano-forte, also many songs, an opera, "Manru," a Suite in G major for orchestra, a Concerto in A minor for the piano-forte and orchestra, a Fantaisie Polonaise for piano-forte and orchestra, a Sonata for piano-forte and violin, a grand seventy-minute Symphony for orchestra in B minor (completed in 1908), and very many other pieces.
The young composer and aristocrat Szymanowski, a man upon whose discrimination we may by reason of his fully-developed homo-sexualism absolutely depend, described that Symphony as "an unbelievable abomination for which no words can be sufficiently insulting."
Paderewski performed many times before the royalties of Europe, and was the recipient of several foreign orders and distinctions. In eighteen ninety-one he played before Victoria herself at Windsor Castle, and was presented by Her Majesty with a diamond-and-sapphire pin, accompanied by the request that he would write his name in her auto-graph book.
In the lunatic post-1908 years a new "nation" named "Pole-land" - no more than a token in fact - was erected in the usual manner by Northern Americans, simply so that Paderewski with his pull on the masses might become its "Prime Minister."
Place of residence: Morges, near Lausanne.
The Alsatian Jean Baptiste Théodore Wekerlin - sometimes written "Weckerlin" - arrived in this world at Guebwiller to-day in eighteen twenty-one. The youth was educated for trade, but found in the end he could not take it - he gets a tick there - and indeed so strongly was he gripped by musical instincts, that at a certain point he was induced to abandon the parental home and run away to Paris.
There settling in he took to teaching and composition. Eager to produce, and very industrious - another tick there - he let slip no opportunity of making himself known, and attempted all branches of composition. His one-act piece, "L'organiste dans l'embarras," was performed at the Théâtre Lyrique one hundred times in 1853.
Musical bibliography was his main resource, and he brought to light many curious old compositions - here he must be awarded a third tick - such as the "Ballet comique de la Royne," which was given with others of the same class, at the concerts of the Société de Sainte Cécile, of which he was chorus-master from 1850 to 1855, and where he was able also to have his own compositions performed.
He made a fine collection of scarce books of poetry - here we are impelled to give him two ticks! In 1863 he was selected to form the library of the newly-founded "Société des Compositeurs de Musique," and in 1869 was placed by Auber in the Library of the Conservatoire, of which in September 1876 he became head librarian — a post he filled with success for many years - thirty-three to be precise. (For that he must be given a further tick.) Having reached a great age he expired in 1910.
His vocal and operatic labours include twelve published operas, and a further twenty-five that remain in manuscript; two "ode-symphonies"; two antique dramas; a large number of choruses for female voices and for male ditto; six "Quatuors de Salon"; various extensive collections of pieces; over three hundred airs for voice and piano-forte; as well as a Mass and sundry Motets.
His instrumental works "comprise a Symphony and Suite, both for full orchestra"; arrangements, etc. In a second reference we read of: his oratorio, Le jugement dernier; his cantatas, L'Aurore and Paix, charité, grandeur (1866); his "odes-symphonie" Les poèmes de la mer, for solo, chorus, and orchestra (1860), L'Inde (1873), and La fête d'Alexandre, in the same year.
Those vocal "ode-symphonies" are intriguing are not they; it is a term with which we are unfamiliar. There is Debussy’s late Ode à la France, of course, and jolly old Schönberg gave us another though very peculiar example; Finzi a long one, others from Ernest Walker and Richard Walthew (two twentieth-century masters unknown to "Radio" Three); and towering over all Parry's Ode to Music of 1901, to words by A.C. Benson, England's greatest writer after Shakespeare. (Benson's vast diary with its scores of volumes remains unpublished due to the vulgar insistence of the Pepys Librarian who holds it that if ever done it must be done for "profit." For shame! we cry.)
To-day was the birth-day in eighteen eighty-five of the renowned English man Montague Phillips, not the least extraordinary aspect of whose story was in fact that of his wife, the well-known soprano "Clara Butterworth," who lived from 1888 to 1997. In other words she lived one hundred and nine years! It shows does it not what may be attained through regular participation in light opera and moderation in all things.
The composer - and organist - himself was the son of Richard L. Phillips, and educated at the R.A.M. where he studied composition under Frederick Corder no less.
His fame was above all due to the light opera "The Rebel Maid" (1921). For the centenary of the R.A.M. in 1922 he composed "The Song of Rosamund" and he was for many years professor of harmony and composition at that highly-regarded institution.
His principal compositions include also:
- "The Golden Triangle" (another light opera), unperformed and unpublished;
- "The Death of Admiral Blake" for baritone, chorus and orchestra (1913);
- "The Song of Rosamund" (scena) for soprano and orchestra (1922);
- "Symphonic Scherzo";
- overture "Boadicea" (London Symphony Orchestra, conducted by composer, 10 February, 1913);
- Piano Concerto in F sharp minor (1907, played by Miss Irene Scharrer);
- a second Piano Concerto (1919);
- string quartette in D major;
- "Fidelity" (song with orchestra, Promenade Concert, 1908, sung by "Miss" Butterworth);
- Phantasy for violin and orchestra (1912);
- Symphony in C minor (produced at the composer's Orchestral Concert, Queen's Hall, 17 May, 1912);
- Heroic Overture (1914);
- In Maytime, 1923;
- A Hillside Melody, 1924, rev. 1946;
- Dance Revels, 1927;
- A Forest Melody, 1929;
- Three Country Pictures, 1930;
- Village Sketches, 1932;
- The World in the Open Air, 1933;
- A Surrey Suite, 1936;
- A Moorland Idyll, 1936;
- Revelry (overture), 1937;
- Empire March, 1941;
- Sinfonietta in C, 1943;
- Festival Overture, 1944 - echoes of Brahms there what;
- Hampton Court (overture), 1954
- Many pieces for piano-forte, including Berceuse (1910); Nocturne (1910); Violetta, air de ballet, opus 43 number 1 (1926); Arabesque, opus 43 number 2 (1927); Jacotte (1928);
- Song cycles: Dream Songs (E. Teschmacher) (1912); Sea echoes (N.B. Marsland) (1912); Calendar of Song (H. Simpson) (1913); The Fairy Garden (H. Simpson), opus 21 (1914); Flowering Trees (N.B. Marsland), opus 31 (1919); From a Lattice Window (E. Lockton), opus 33 (1920); Old-World Dance Songs (K.M. Luck) (1923);
- many other songs, numerous part songs and organ pieces.
Phillips's recreations were tennis and cricket. He resided at "Home-side," Esher, Surrey.
Gustav Merkel, one of the greatest of German composers, arrived in this world on the twelfth of November 1827 at Oberoderwitz in Saxony.
His printed compositions amount to one hundred and eighty. He composed Preludes, Fugues, Fantasias, Variations, Sonatas, etc., and pieces for violin (or violoncello) and organ. He also published many solos and duets for piano-forte, motets, and songs with piano-forte accompaniment. As organist and organ composer Merkel deservedly ranks very high; his organ music is of great excellence. Many of his fugues are "alla cappella," and in five parts, and all are well constructed. Promise of dignity and grandeur of style in fugue writing, which was subsequently realized, was first manifested in an early work (opus 5), the Fantasie, etc. , dedicated to Schneider. His later organ sonatas (opera 80, 115, and 118) are noble specimens of that great form of writing, and would alone entitle him to the highest position as a composer for his instrument. Yet higher still stands his Sonata for two organists (opus 30).
The soprano-singer Marta Cunningham was born in a strange Northern American place named after Louis XIV - originally French, then transferred after 1762 to Spain. In 1800 it returned to France, and its regrettable subsequent history we do not care to relate. It has for centuries been regarded as unhealthy and unprosperous. "Marta" is a curious Christian name is it not. We Anglo-Saxons can hardly resist the urge to fill in an "h"! Perhaps it owes its origin to the above-mentioned Spanish influence.
She was the daughter of Judge A.B. Cunningham and his wife Minerva Tharpe, the niece of Cardinal Gibbons. Her principal vocal training was received in Paris from Madame Marchesi; in Geneva from Madame Landi; in Germany from Frau Dr. Maria Wilhelmj (we already know that name do not we); and in London from Sir George Power and Arthur Fagge.
Her first appearance as solo soprano was in August 1901 at King Edward's Crystal Palace Coronation Concert. Her subsequent engagements included the Kubelik tour of 1902; the St. James's Hall Kubelik Concert of October 1902; the Irish tour with the Brodsky Quartette of December 1902; the Preston "Messiah" in 1902; her first appearance at the St. James's Hall Ballad Concerts in 1903; a Northern American tour of 1903; the Queen's Hall "Orfeo" with the Leeds Choir in 1904; a tour with Florizel von Reuter in 1905; tours with Mark Hambourg and Vecsey in 1905 and 1906, and further Northern American tours between 1907 and 1909.
In 1910 she introduced her long-running series of "Matinées musicales" at Claridge's Hôtel.
Then in 1919 she established the "Not Forgotten Association" - what a good name! - with the object of providing entertainment and recreation for men crippled in the course of "The War." She wished to alleviate the tædium of their lives and to give them something forward to which they could look. Through her royal "connections," Miss Cunningham persuaded H.R.H. Princess Mary to become the Association’s first patron, a position she held until 1965. The singer herself, despite her Northern American origins, was made a C.B.E. in 1929.
Marta Cunningham listed her "hobby" as "Persian cats." One cannot but vaguely wonder what that signifies do members not agree?
And she resided at 139, Ladbroke Road, Holland Park, W.
Let us to-day celebrate the anniversary of the birth of John Pyke Hullah. And what better to relate that happy event than the child itself:
Whilst very young it came to London, where the life of the man was spent. He received no regular musical instruction until 1829, when he was placed under William Horsley. In 1833 he entered the Royal Academy of Music for the purpose of receiving instruction in singing from Crivelli. He first became known as a composer by his music to Charles Dickens's opera, "The Village Coquettes," produced at the St. James's Theatre on December the fifth 1836. The whole of the music was destroyed in a fire at the Edinburgh Theatre soon after the production of the piece there! This was followed by "The Barbers of Bassora," a comic opera, produced at the Covent Garden Theatre on November the eleventh, 1837, and "The Outpost," at the same theatre, on May the seventeenth, 1838. In 1837 young Hullah had become organist of Croydon Church, and composed some madrigals.
But soon after all this his attention was turned to that which became subsequently the business of his life - popular instruction in vocal music. He made the acquaintance of Sir James Kay-Shuttleworth - author of the novels "Scarsdale, or Life on the Lancashire and Yorkshire Border Thirty Years Ago," and "Ribblesdale, or Lancashire Sixty Years Ago" - and undertook the instruction of the students in the Training College at Battersea, the first established in England, and just opened under the direction and at the cost of Dr. Kay and Mr. Edward Carlton Tufnell. On Feb. 18, 1840, he gave his first class-lesson at Battersea, and from that day dates the movement he originated.
On February the first 1841 he opened at Exeter Hall a school for the instruction of school-masters of day and Sunday schools in vocal music by a system based on that of Wilhem, which met with remarkable success. Not school-masters only, but the general public flocked to obtain instruction, and country professors came to London to learn the system and obtain certificates of being qualified to teach it. The system was acrimoniously attacked, as is not every idea by some one somewhere, but it outlived all opposition.
Remarkable among the concerts he arranged were four of an historical nature illustrating in chronological order the rise and progress of English vocal music, given at Exeter Hall on Mondays in the first four months of 1847. At this time his friends and supporters determined upon erecting and presenting to him a concert hall, and, having procured a piece of ground near Long Acre, the foundation stone of St. Martin's Hall was laid on June the twenty-first, 1847. Hullah continued to give his concerts there until the building was destroyed by fire on August the twenty-eighth, 1860, on the occurrence of which event his friends and pupils testified their gratitude and sympathy for him by the presentation of a handsome testimonial. During the existence of the upper school he brought forward a large number of unknown works, old and new. From 1840 to 1860 about twenty-five thousand persons passed through his classes.
In 1844 Hullah was appointed Professor of Vocal Music in King's College, London, an office which he held till 1874. He held similar appointments in Queen's College and Bedford College, London, with both of which he was connected from their foundation. From 1870 to 1873 he was conductor of the students' concerts of the Royal Academy of Music. On the death of his old master, Horsley, in 1858, Hullah was appointed organist of the Charter House, where since 1841 he had carried on a singing-class. For many years he conducted the annual concert of the Children of the Metropolitan Schools at the Crystal Palace.
In 1876 the University of Edinburgh unexpectedly conferred on him the honorary degree of LL.D., and in 1877 he was made a member of the Society of St. Cecilia in Rome and of the Musical Academy in Florence.
Hullah composed many songs, some of which were very popular, and wrote "A Grammar of Vocal Music" (1843), "A Grammar of Harmony" (1852), "A Grammar of Counterpoint" (1864), "The History of Modern Music" (1862), "The Third or Transition Period of Musical History" (1865), "The Cultivation of the Speaking Voice" (1870), "Music in the House" (1877), and numerous essays and other papers on the history and science of music contributed to various periodicals.
A memoir by his second wife was published in 1886, and may be fetched from the Internet Archive here: http://archive.org/details/lifeofjohnhullah00hulluoft
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