Open main menu

Page:A Dictionary of Music and Musicians vol 1.djvu/95

This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.


ARIETTA. Diminutive of Aria. A short air, generally of sprightly character, and having no second part.

[ J. H. ]

ARIOSO. Literally 'airy.' Used substantively, it would seem to mean that kind of air which, partaking both of the character of air and recitative, requires rather to be said than sung. Mendelssohn's two pieces, 'But the Lord is mindful' and 'Woe unto them that forsake Him' are marked 'Arioso,' and are both of the character indicated.

[ J. H. ]

ARIOSTI, Attilio, a Dominican monk and an operatic composer; was born about the year 1660. Under a papal dispensation he gave up his ecclesiastical profession for that of music, of which he had from his youth been a regular student. His first opera was 'Dafne,' written to the words of Apostolo Zeno. It was brought out at Venice in 1686. Its success was sufficient to determine the direction of his talent, for thenceforth, with the exception of one oratorio and some cantate to be hereafter mentioned, he wrote only for the stage. In 1690 he became either private composer or Maestro di Cappella to the Electress of Brandenburg; and he remained a member of her household until 1716, when, at the invitation of the managers of the Italian opera in London, he came to England. This interval, however, he does not seem to have spent altogether at Berlin. Apparently he had paid one visit at least to Italy, and one to Austria, bringing out his 'Nabucodonosor' at Venice, his 'La più gloriosa fatica d' Ercole' at Bologna, and his 'Amor tra Nemici' at Venice. His first appearance in London was at the representation of Handel's 'Amadis,' at which he played a solo on the then little- known instrument the viole d'amour. In 1720 the directors of the opera made formal engagements for a term with Ariosti, Bononcini and Handel to write operas in turn for the theatre. It was arranged that the first to be produced, which was 'Mucius Scævola,' should be the joint work of the three authors, Ariosti writing the first act. The stipulations of this engagement were rigidly adhered to without the slightest tinge of jealousy or ill-feeling ever having marred the relations of the rival composers. But not the less was it inevitable that the genius of Handel should assert itself, and at the close of the season of 1727 Ariosti and Bononcini were honourably dismissed. Bononcini was subsequently supported by the Marlborough family, but Ariosti, finding himself without a patron, quitted England in 1728, and passed the rest of his life in an obscurity which no biographer has been able to pierce. Fétis says that on the eve of his departure from England he published a volume of Cantate by subscription, and that they realised £1000. It may be hoped that this is a fact, and that the destitution hinted at by other writers was not the absolute condition of his old age.

Ariosti wrote fifteen complete operas, of which the names and dates of publication are as follows:—'Dafne,' 1696; 'Eriphyle,' 1697; 'La Madre dei Maccabei,' 1704; 'La Festa d'Imenei,' 1700; 'Atys,' 1700; 'Nabucodonosor,' 1706; 'La più gloriosa fatica d'Ercole,' 1706; 'Amor tra Nemici, 1708; 'Ciro,' 1721; ' Coriolanus,' 1723; 'Vespasien,' 1724; 'Artaserses,' 1724; 'Dario,' 1725; 'Lucius Verus,' 1726; 'Teuzone,' 1727. To these are to be added the first act of 'Mucius Scævola'; the 'Cantate' above mentioned, published along with some lessons for the viola d'amore, 1728; and his one oratorio 'Radegonda Regina di Francia,' 1693.

[ E. H. P. ]

ARMIDE. One of Gluck's greatest operas, produced (in his sixty-fourth year) on Sept. 23, 1777, at the Académie royale. The libretto is by Quinault, the same which was set by Lulli in 1686. 'Armide' followed 'Alceste' (1776) and preceded 'Iphigenie in Tauris' (1779). Comparing it with 'Alceste.' Gluck himself says, 'The two operas are so different that you will hardly believe them to be by the same composer. … I have endeavoured to be more of the painter and the poet and less of the musician, and I confess that I should like to finish my career with this opera. … In Armide there is a delicate quality which is wanting in Alceste, for I have discovered the method of making the characters express themselves so that you will know at once whether it is Armida who is speaking or one of her followers.' The overture was originally written 27 years before for 'Telemacco.'

ARMOURER OF NANTES, THE, an opera in three acts, founded on Victor Hugo's 'Mary Tudor'; words by J. V. Bridgman, music by Balfe; produced at Covent Garden, under the Pyne and Harrison management, Feb. 12, 1863.

ARNE, Michael, the son (Burney says the natural son) of Dr. Arne, was born in 1741. He was brought on the stage at an early age by his aunt, Mrs. Cibber, who took great pains in teaching him the part of the Page in Otway's tragedy, 'The Orphan'; and his father was equally assiduous in qualifying him as a singer, and brought him out in that capacity at Marylebone Gardens in 1751. But neither acting nor singing was his vocation. At ten or eleven years of age he had acquired such skill on the harpsichord as to be able to execute, with unusual correctness and rapidity, the lessons of Handel and Scarlatti, and some years later he manifested some ability as a composer. In 'The Flow'ret, a new Collection of English Songs, by Master Arne,' is a song called 'The Highland Laddie,' which attained great popularity, and was in 1755 adapted by Linley to the words 'Ah, sure a pair were never seen,' in Sheridan's opera, 'The Duenna.' In 1763 M. Arne appeared as a dramatic composer with 'The Fairy Tale.' In 1764 he composed, in conjunction with Battishill, the music for the opera of 'Almena,' which was withdrawn after a few nights, not from want of merit in the music, but owing to the dulness of the dialogue. On Nov. 5, 1766,