Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Galliard, John Ernest

GALLIARD, JOHN ERNEST (1687?–1749), musical composer, was the son of a hairdresser at Zell, where he was born about 1687. The name and the father's trade support Walther's statement (Mus. Lex.) that he was of French extraction. His first teacher in music was one Marschall; he afterwards learnt composition from Farinelli, the director of concerts at Hanover (uncle to the celebrated sopranist), and Steffani. The evidence for this rests upon a printed catalogue of music in Steffani's possession, in which is entered 'Mr. Galliard's first lessons for composition under the tuition of Sig. Farinelli and Abbate Steffani, at the age of fifteen or sixteen, in 1702' (Hawkins). He adopted the oboe as his instrument, and wrote in 1704 a sonata for oboe and two bassoons, on the manuscript of which is the following note in his own handwriting: 'Jaij fait cet air a Hannover, que Jaij Joué a la Serenade de Monsieur Farinelli ce 22me Juin, 1704' (ib.) He is said to have come to England in 1706, and to have been appointed chamber musician to Prince George of Denmark. Hawkins says that it was on the death of Draghi that Galliard received the sinecure appointment of organist at Somerset House, but it is probable that Draghi [q. v.] left the country long before Galliard's arrival. In the early part of his residence in England he composed various 'occasional' anthems, &c., for thanksgivings after victories; a Te Deum and Jubilate, and three anthems, 'I will magnify thee, O Lord,' 'O Lord God of Hosts,' and 'I am well pleased,' are mentioned. His connection with the stage, which lasted till 1736, began in 1712, with his setting of Hughes's opera 'Calypso and Telemachus,' performed at the Queen's Theatre in the Haymarket. This work, sung by somewhat inferior singers, survived only five representations. Nicolini was on the point of leaving England at the time, and was not cast for a part in it; he encouraged and applauded it, and for this is praised in the 'Spectator' of 14 June 1712 (No. 405). Its failure was partly due to the serious character of its sentiments (Burney), and partly to the schemes of the friends of Italian opera (Hawkins). It was afterwards revived with considerable success. In the following year he played in the orchestra of the Queen's Theatre, having an oboe solo in the accompaniment of the last air of the first act of Handel's 'Teseo.' From 1717 onwards he was constantly employed by Rich to provide music for the pantomimes, &c., that were given at Covent Garden and Lincoln's Inn Fields. His 'Pan and Syrinx,' to words by Lewis Theobald, was performed at the latter theatre in 1717. The list of works written for Rich is as follows: 'Jupiter and Europa,' and 'The Necromancer, or Harlequin Dr. Faustus,' pantomimes, 1723; 'Harlequin Sorcerer, with the Loves of Pluto and Proserpine,' pantomime, 1725; 'Apollo and Daphne; or the Burgomaster tricked,' pantomime, 1726; 'The Rape of Proserpine' (farce by Theobald), 1727; 'Circe' (also by Theobald); and 'The Royal Chace; or Merlin's Cave,' 1736. Music to Lee's 'Œdipus' was written, but not printed; the manuscript was in the library of the Academy of Ancient Music. 'The Royal Chace' contained the song 'With early Horn,' by the singing of which Beard won immense popularity. Galliard's other works comprise six English cantatas, set to words by J. Hughes, Congreve, and Prior; a sonata for flute, published at Amsterdam as op. 1; six sonatas for bassoon, or violoncello, and six for flute or violin. In 1728 he wrote a two-part setting, in the style of his master Steffani, of the Morning Hymn of Adam and Eve, from 'Paradise Lost.' This was improved by Dr. Cooke, by the addition of orchestral parts and the rearrangement of certain numbers as choruses, and was published in this form in 1773. In his later years Galliard led a retired life. In 1742 he brought out a translation of Pier Francesco Tosi's 'Opinioni di Cantori Antichi e Moderni,' under the title of 'Observations on the Florid Song; or Sentiments on the Ancient and Modern Singers.' From the similarity of certain turns of expression, &c., with those employed by the anonymous translator (1709) of Abbé Raguenet's 'Parallèle,' Hawkins conjectured that translation to be by Galliard. 'The interest attaching to the discovery of the translator's identity is on account of a very outspoken 'Critical Discourse upon Operas in England,' &c., printed at the end of the translation. Burney points out that it would hardly be possible for Galliard to have obtained so thorough a command of English by this time. On the other hand the fearlessness of the criticism would seem to imply that the author was new to the ways of London musicians, and the question can hardly be considered as settled either way. In 1745 Galliard had a benefit performance at Lincoln's Inn Fields Theatre, at which was performed his music to the Duke of Buckingham's 'Julius Caesar,' and a composition for twenty-four bassoons and four double basses. Hawkins says that music by Galliard to the same author's 'Brutus' was also performed at this concert; but in the Rev. J. Buncombe's 'Letters by Several Eminent Persons,' &c., 1773, ii. 63, it is stated that 'Brutus' was written not by Galliard, but by Buononcini. His last appearance as an oboist was probably, according to Burney, in 1722, on the occasion of his benefit, when he accompanied Mrs. Barbier in a song. He died early in 1749, and his collection of music was sold by auction soon afterwards. At the time of his death he was engaged upon an opera, 'Oreste e Pilade.' He was a prominent member of the Academy of Vocal Music (see Add. MS. 11732).

[Hawkins's Hist. ed. 1853, pp. 805, 828, &c.; Burney's Hist. iv. 639; Grove's Dict. i. 578; Fétis's Biographie Univ. des Musiciens; Companion to the Playhouse, 1764, vol. ii.; Walther's Musicalisches Lexikon; works in Brit. Mus. Cat., &c.]

J. A. F. M.