THE special attention which had been devoted to the Viola da Gamba in England during the seventeenth century was not paid, in similar measure, to the Violoncello. This instrument, like the Gamba, was introduced into musical circles in London by Italians. Ariosti, Bononcini, Cervetto, and Caporale all contributed to make it familiar in the English capital and other places. But it does not appear that Violoncello playing was taken up by English artists at first with the same alacrity as it was abroad-at all events, as a profession-and this left the field open chiefly to foreign Violoncellists, who came to England with the hope. of a rich harvest, in which, says M. Wasielewski, they were too often disappointed. The number of professional English cellists is small as compared with those of other countries, though there are a few to be mentioned who, in talent and proficiency, will bear comparison with any of the great players of their time. One of the first is
BARTHOL. JOHNSON, probably born in 1710, as he is said to have celebrated his hundredth birthday at Scarborough, October 3, 1810, when Lord Mulgrave and many distinguished persons were present in the Freemasons' Hall. During the evening the centenarian played the Bass of a Minuet on the cello, which he had composed sixty years before.
JOHN HEBDEN, who is supposed to have played the Violoncello, was probably born at the beginning of the eighteenth century, since his portrait was engraved by Faber in 1741. He is represented in this playing the Gamba. Gerber, at least, seems to have thought it worth while to mention him as a cellist, though Burney writes of a certain Hebden as playing the Bassoon at a concert in London where the best performers of the Italian opera were employed.
WILLIAM PAXTON also was a violoncellist, the composer of the well-known glee "Breathe soft, ye winds," besides other pieces.. Burney praises his "full and Sweet tone, as well as his judicious manner of accompanying the voice." He published amongst his other compositions also six Duos for two Violoncellos (Op. 1), eight Duos for Violin and Violoncello (Op. 2), six solos for Violin (Op. 3), four solos for Violin and two for the Violoncello (Op. 4), twelve easy lessons for Violoncello (Op. 6). and Six solos for Violoncello (Op. 8)., His brother Stephen also composed for the Cello.
JOHN CROSDILL, born in London in 1755, whom Gerber mentions as an extraordinarily clever Violoncellist, and Fetis as distinguished, notwithstanding the presence of Mara in England, had a high reputation in his time. He was educated in the choir of Westminster Abbey under Robinson and Cooke; on leaving the choir he studied the violoncello under his father, and is said to have had instruction from Jean Duport. He soon acquired a considerable proficiency, and in 1768 he was elected a member of the Royal Society of Musicians. Tn the following year he played at the Gloucester Festival, and was appointed first cellist, an appointment which he held until his retirement. In 1776 he was engaged as first Violoncellist at the Concerts of Ancient Music, and in 1778 as Violist of the Chapel Royal. He probably went to Paris 1778-9, and remained nine months, studying under the elder Janson. In 1782 he was appointed chamber musician to Queen Charlotte, and he also gave lessons to the Prince of Wales. About 1788 he married a lady of fortune, and retired from the practice of his profession, appearing publicly for one day only, in 1821, at the coronation of George IV. He died at Escrick, in Yorkshire, leaving a considerable fortune to his son, who, by his father's desire, presented a donation of 1,000 Pounds to the Society of Musicians.
Four other English Cellists of the second half of last century are-Hardy, Reinagle I. and II., and Gunn.
Little is known of HARDY, Henry (of Oxford), beyond the fact that about 1800 he published an instruction book with the title, "The Violoncello Preceptor, with a compleat set of Scales for fingering in the various keys," &c.
JOSEPH REINAGLE, born in 1762, at Portsmouth, was the son of a German music teacher who emigrated to England. He was originally intended for the navy, but gave it up after his first voyage. He was apprenticed then to a goldsmith in Edinburgh, but neither in this did be persevere, and his father resolved to let him be a musician. He at first chose the trumpet as his instrument, on which he acquired some skill, and entered the service of the king as trumpeter. He was obliged to give up the wind instrument on account of his health, and was then Violoncellist, Violinist, and finally Violoncellist again. For a while he was Concert Director in Edinburgh. In 1789 he went to Dublin, and in 1791 to London, where, besides obtaining a good position in the best orchestras, he was principal cello at Salomon's concerts. He finally settled at Oxford, where he died in 1836. He published, for the Violoncello, thirty Duos in four books, as Op. 2, 8, 4, and 5, as well as a School "Concise Introduction to the Art of playing the Violoncello," which went through four editions.
Reinagle's younger brother, named HUGH, born at Portsmouth in 1766, received his education from Crosdill, and was distinguished for his unwonted skill. He died while still young, at Lisbon, whither he had gone for the restoration of his failing health. Of his compositions appeared three works: two of them, Op. 1 and 2, consist of six Cello solos, and Op. 3 contains six Duets for two Violoncellos.
JOHN GUNN, said to have been born in Edinburgh about 1765, was not only a clever cellist, but also a remarkable writer on music. In the year 1790 he went to London as a cello teacher. He there published, in 1793, an instruction book for his instrument, under the title of "The Theory and practice of fingering the Violoncello, containing rules and progressive lessons for attaining the knowledge and command of the whole compass of the instrument." Fetis observes, with regard to the preface of this work, consisting of two parts, that it contains a remarkable account of the origin of the Violoncello, as well as of old and modern stringed instruments.
Gunn wrote another work, published in London in 1801, which has reference to the Violoncello. The title of it is, "Essay theoretical and practical on the application of Harmony, Thorough-bass, and Modulation to the Violoncello." Besides this he published, in 1794, a "School of the German flute," and in 1807 he brought out his most important work- viz., "An Historical Inquiry respecting the performance on the Harp in the Highlands of Scotland from the earliest times until it was discontinued about the year 1734."
In the year 1795 Gunn returned to Edinburgh to take up an advantageous post that was offered to him, and which he apparently held until his death.
The English possessed in ROBERT LINDLEY a Violoncellist of extraordinary capacity, who up to the present time has not been equalled, far less excelled, by his countrymen. He was born on March 4, 1775 (Grove gives 1776 as the date of his birth), at Rotherham, and began his musical studies when he was about five years of age, with his father, an amateur performer, who began by teaching him the violin, and, at nine years of age, the violoncello. At sixteen he had made considerable progress, and the younger Cervetto, hearing him play, undertook his gratuitous instruction, and brought him to the South of England. Even at this age he had commenced to compose for himself, and was sent for to take the place of the professor who was to have played the violoncello solo at one of the Brighton concerts, and who had been taken suddenly ill. Lindley's performance was rapturously applauded; he played Concertos at several subsequent concerts with the same result, and was then engaged for the Theatre, frequently playing before the Prince Regent.
In 1794 he succeeded Sperati at the Opera and was principal Violoncellist at all the concerts of any importance in London. In the following year began the intimacy with Dragonetti, the celebrated double-bass player, which lasted for fifty-two years. Forster quotes Chorley's remark that "Nothing could be compared with the intimacy of their mutual musical sympathy." They played together at the same desk at the Opera and every orchestral concert of any importance, and Lindley's performance of the accompaniment to Recitative from figured bass was most "elaborate and ingenious."
Concerning Lindley's playing, he was probably the greatest violoncellist of his time; he was distinguished for the beauty, richness, and extreme purity of his tone, and his great technical skill was remarkable, though probably in this and his manner of rendering he did not equal Romberg.
The story is well-known how, when Romberg, during his residence in England, heard him play, and was asked by Salomon what he thought of his performance, replied: "He is the devil." He retired in 1851, and died June 13, 1855.
His son, William, born in 1802, was also a violoncellist, and gave promise of future excellence, but nervousness and delicate health prevented his attaining to any great distinction, and he was compelled to withdraw from public appearances.
Lindley is less remarkable as a composer. He wrote four Concertos, Duets for Violin and Violoncello (Op. 5), Duos for two Violoncellos (Op. 6, 8, 10, and 27), Solos for Violoncello Op. 9), and several Variations on Airs, as well as Potpourris.
Amongst Lindley's pupils, CHARLES LUCAS, born 1808, in Salisbury, was the most remarkable. He received his first musical instruction as chorister of the Cathedral, under Arthur Thomas Corfe, after which he attended the Royal Academy of Music in London. In 1830 he was named Composer and Violoncellist to Queen Adelaide, and performed the duties of Organist at St. George's Chapel. Two years later be was entrusted with the duties of Orchestra Conductor at the Royal Academy of Music, and succeeded Cipriani Potter as Principal in 1859. He had already taken the place of his master, Lindley, as first Violoncellist of the Italian Opera. He died on March 23, 1869, in London. His successor in the Opera was the cellist, Collins.
To Lindley's contemporaries must be added Cudmore, Crouch, and Powell.
RICHARD CUDMORE, born in 1787, at Chichester, in Sussex, practised not only as cellist, but also as a violin player and pianist. The organist, Forgett, of Chichester, was his first instructor, and from him he learned the violin, acquiring such proficiency that at nine years of age he played a solo at a concert in his native town. At ten years the elder Reinagle was his master for the Cello, and a year after he appeared again at a concert and played his own compositions. He then for two years pursued his studies under Salomon's guidance, in London, when he returned to his native town, and remained there for the next nine years. The desire of giving himself up anew to the study of the Piano drove him again to London, where he subsequently appeared frequently as a Pianist. He accomplished an artistic feat of a remarkable description in Liverpool by appearing there at a concert, which he himself organised, successively as Piano, Violin, and Violoncello performer. The solos which he executed were by Kalkbrenner, Rode, and Cervetto. He was also engaged as Director of the orchestra of the "Gentlemen's Concerts," in Manchester, for some years. His diversity of talent was naturally an impediment to his distinguishing himself specially in one department.
FREDERICK WILLIAM NICHOLLS CROUCH, best known as the author of the popular air "Kathleen Mavourneen," was born on July 31, 1808, at Devizes. He studied under Bochsa and W. Hawes and at the Royal Academy, under Lindley. He played the cello at Her Majesty's Theatre, and was appointed principal cellist at Drury Lane, as well as member of Queen Adelaide's band. He went to America with Maretzek, the German composer, and has fallen into indigent circumstances "through all appearance by unavoidable misfortune." Besides numerous other compositions, "Songs of Erin," "Echoes of the Lakes," &c., he produced a "Complete Treatise on the Violoncello," Lond., 1827.
THOMAS POWELL, born in 1776, in London, early devoted himself to music, and studied, besides Violoncello playing, the piano and the harp. In 1805 he appeared with success in his native town as solo cellist, in a Concerto which he had composed. He then established himself in Dublin as a teacher of music He devoted his leisure to composition and earnest study of his instrument. His contemporaries con- sidered him equal to Romberg, though this was probably going Somewhat too far, as Powell's name was scarcely known out of England, while Romberg, by his performances, acquired a world-wide renown.
After several years' residence in Dublin, Powell took up his permanent abode in Edinburgh. His published compositions- amongst which is a "Grand Duo" for Violin and Violoncello- belong for the most part to the sphere of chamber music.
With regard to national English Violoncello playing, modern times have not been more productive than the past. Three names come before us for consideration-namely, Howell, Whitehouse, and Ould.
EDWARD HOWELL, born on February 5,1846, in London, is a pupil of the Royal Academy, and specially a pupil of Piatti's. He belongs to the Italian Opera as cellist, and since 1872 to Covent Garden Theatre. Besides this he is Musician in Ordinary to the Queen, Member of the Royal Academy of Music, and of the Philharmonic Society. He works as a teacher at the Royal College of Music and at the Guildhall School. He is for the most part at all the musical Festivals in London and in the provinces, taking an active part.
WILLIAM EDWARD WHITEHOUSE was born on May 20, 1859, in London, and received instruction at eleven years of age on the violin from Adolphe Griesbach. At thirteen be showed a decided preference for the violoncello and was placed for four years under Walter Pettit. In 1877 he was received into the Royal Academy of Music and studied under Piatti and Pezze for the violoncello and Banister for harmony. He has on various occasions gained prizes and medals, and, in 1882, was appointed Assistant-Professor, and, in the following year, Professor of the Royal Academy of Music. In 1883 he was elected Associate of the same Institution and, in 1884, member of the Royal Society of Musicians. He is also Professor of Cambridge University, of the Royal College of Music, of King's College, Lonaon, and Manchester New College of Music under Sir Charles Halle. During Piatti's absence Mr. Whitehouse has frequently taken his place at the Saturday and Monday Popular Concerts and has for some years been connected with Josef Ludwig's annual series of chamber concerts. The instrument on which Whitehouse plays is one of the finest specimens of Francisco Ruggierius.
CHARLES OULD, born at Romford, in Essex, came as quite a child to London, where he has remained ever since. Until he was sixteen years of age he practised flute playing and singing; but the wind instrument was abandoned for the Violoncello. He received his first instruction from a member of the orchestra of the Italian Opera in London. A few years later the Belgian cellist, Paque, was his master. Ould is Musician in Ordinary to Her Majesty, and also works as first Cellist at the Richter Concerts, as well as at all concerts of any importance.
SCANDINAVIA has, up to the present, only produced a very modest number of noteworthy Violoncellists, and these belong exclusively to modern times. It must, indeed, not be over looked ihat the serious encouragement of instrumental music was taken up much later in the North than in Italy, Germany, and France. Denmark set a good example to her Northern neighbours, Sweden and Norway. The middle of the last century produced a noteworthy Violin player, who belonged to the Royal band in Copenhagen. About the same period there was no lack of able Cellists. But their names did not attain to any great publicity. This was the case with
CHRISTIAN KELLERMAN. He is a native of Randers, in Jutland, and was born on January 27, 1815,. It was his father's wish that he should devote himself to commerce, but in this be was disappointed. Young Kellerman had inclinations for Art and, in order to gratify them, be went, in his fifteenth year, to Merk, in Vienna, whose pupil he was from 1880-1835. After having finished his studies be was heard with success in Vienna and visited with good result the other large cities of Austria and Hungary. In the year 1837 he gave concerts at St. Petersburg. Further tours increased his reputation and, after his return, he was summoned to be first Violoncellist in the Royal Danish orchestra. During the year 1861 he made a journey which led him into Upper Italy and then to Germany, where he remained until 1864. In Mayence he was, unfortunately, stricken with paralysis. He was, indeed, able to return again in a helpless condition to Copenhagen, but he died there two years after, on December 3, 1866. Kellerman composed a few things for his instrument, but nothing of much importance. His Successor was F. RAUCH, whose pupil, RUDINGER, filled the place of first Violoncellist in the Copenhagen Band.
FRITZ ALRERT CHRISTIAN RUDINGER was born in 1888 at Copenhagen. After he had gone through a preparatory course under Rauch, he received an appointment in the Royal Orchestra, but two years later he went to Dresden, to F. Grutzmacher, whose pupil he was for some time. Having returned home, he again filled his former place as chamber musician, from which he was transferred, in 1874, to be first Cellist. He at the same time accepted the Professorship at the Copenhagen Conservatoire and he also takes part in the regular concerts and chamber music soirees of his birthplace.
Next to Rudinger, SIEGFRIED NEBELONG must be mentioned as a Scandinavian artist. He went as a boy of five to Copenhagen, and later received his training as Cellist from Friedrich Grutzmacher, in Dresden.
The Slav States and Hungary in the 19th Century
Presented by Cello Heaven