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Tempest, Julia in The Rivals, &c. But not finding herself brought sufficiently bebore the public, after remaining two seasons

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LA BELLE ASSEMBLÉE;

For DECEMBER, 1818.

A New and Improved Series.

BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCHES OF ILLUSTRIOUS AND

DISTINGUISHED CHARACTERS.

Number One Hundred and Seventeen.

MRS. WEST.

MRS. WILLIAM WEST, the subject of || at Covent-Garden, she quitted that Theatre these memoirs, is a native of the city of and entered into an engagement with the Bath; in which place her father, Mr. late Mr. H. Siddons, and appeared at EdinCooke, is a highly respected tradesman. burgh, Nov. 10, 1814, as Juliet, where she She was born March 22, 1794. And in received the most unprecedented approbathe year 1810, she was solicited to appear tion, and which character she repeated on the stage of the Theatre Royal, Bath, more than twelve nights in the course of for the benefit of her uncle, Mr. James the season. Cooke, who was at that time a member of the company. She consented, and made her first début as Miss Hardcastle, in Goldsmith's comedy of She Stoops to Conquer. She again made a second essay for the benefit of her relation, the season following, in Emily Tempest. This effort, like the former, was crowned with complete success. In the summer of 1811 she accepted an engagement with the late Mr. Watson, of the Cheltenham and Gloucester Theatres; where, after remaining one season, so great was the progress she made in her profes-engaged by Mr. S. Kemble, and appeared

sion, that through the interest of Mr. and Mrs. C. Kemble, she obtained an engagement at Covent Garden; and made her début before a London audience, September 1811, as Desdemona.

at Drury-Lane Theatre, Sept. 17th, in Desdemona. She has since performed Belvidera, Juliet, Lady Townly, Lady Macbeth, Imogene, and Hermione, in The Distressed Mother.

Her success was highly flattering; she afterwards performed Miranda, in The Tempest, Julia in The Rivals, &c. But not finding herself brought sufficiently before the public, after remaining two seasons

In this city she was married to Mr. West of the same Theatre, who, when a child, performed the juvenile characters at the Theatres Royal, Drury-Lane and Haymarket. During the summer of 1815, they received proposals from the proprietors of the Bath and Bristol Theatres, where they for three seasons met with the warmest marks of approbation in their different casts of characters (Mr. West's line of acting is simple lads and country boys).

In the summer of 1818, Mrs. West was

Previous to the marriage of Mrs. West, she was always accompanied in her professional excursions by her mother; and her private character has been ever highly and justly appreciated.

ORIGINAL COMMUNICATIONS.

A BRIEF HISTORY OF MUSIC.
(Continued from page 197.)

In the reign of Charles 1. the Psalms || cheerful: had he lived at a later age his were paraphrased by Mr. George Sandys, genius would, no doubt, have expanded in an ancestor of Lord Sandys, and better ver- works of invention, elegance, and taste. sified than they ever were before, or have But the harmony in old tunes, especially been since; they were set by Henry Lawes, for keyed instruments, was then crowded whose melodies were much inferior to the into what the fingers could possibly grasp, poetry, which deserved better: they were and all the rapid divisions of time they set in three parts by him and his brother could execute. Indeed the melodies of all to very florid counterpoint. the rest of Europe had no other model than the chants of the church till the cultivation of the musical drama.

nce that time the parochial tunes have been so firmly established that it would be difficult to prevail on the whole nation to admit new melodies, by whomsoever composed. Some of our diligent orgauists, however, compose, and prevail on the congregation to have new tunes, both to the old and new version.

In the time of Elizabeth, though choral music had been cultivated by several able harmonists before Tallis and Bird, yet few of those compositions, anterior to those two masters, have been preserved. Tallis was Bird's master, and one of the greatest masters in Europe during the sixteenth cen tury. He was born in the early part of the reign of Henry VIII.: he was organist of that monarch's royal chapel, as he was of that of Edward VI., Queen Mary, and Queen Elizabeth. In the reign, however, of Heury and his daughter Mary, when the Roman Catholic religion prevailed, the organ was usually played by monks.

The melody of the cathedral service was first adjusted to English words by Marbeck, but it was Tallis that enriched it with harmony: this harmony is admirable. This venerable musician died in November, 1585, and was buried in the old parish church of Greenwich, in Kent: but the old church having been pulled down in the year 1720, no memorial remains of any illustrious character interred there before that period.

Bird, that admirable scholar of Tallis, shewed a superiority of composition to every other competitor both in texture and design his melodies were lively, and are, even at this time, regarded as airy and

:

In the Monthly Miscellany of one of our numbers, we gave a description of Queen Elizabeth's Virginal Book. There is another manuscript collection of Bird's compositions now in existence, which is ́ Lady Nevil's Music Book. It is a thick quarto,' very splendidly bound and gilt, with the family arms beautifully emblazoned and illuminated on the first page, and the initials H. N. at the lowest left hand corner. The music is well written in large bold characters, with great neatness, on fourstaved paper, of six lines, by Jo. Baldwine,' a singing man of Windsor, and a celebrated copyist in Queen Elizabeth's time. The notes, both white and black, are of the lozenge form. Lady Nevil was Bird's scholar, and he composed several pieces expressly for her Ladyship.

It will be some gratification, no doubt,
to the curious reader, who reflects that
those royal fingers are now mouldered into
dust which formerly touched the keys of
harmony, often played over the following
celebrated airs with infinite skill, a few of
which we now present to our fair readers,
as they stand in the Virginal Book of the
ouce renowned Elizabeth:-The March

before the Battel; The Hunt's upp; Will
you walk the woods soe wylde; The May-
den's Songe, composed in 1590; Have with
you to Walsingham; The Carman's Whistle;
Hugh Ashton's Grounde; and Sellinger's
Rounde.

Morley, another celebrated musician, composed the music to the burial service, as it still continues to be sung at West

1

Instrumental music had made but a small progress towards that perfection to which it has since arrived. The lute and the virginal were the only two instruments for which any tolerable music had, as yet, been composed. The violin was but little known, for, indeed, many of the English The English were not at first taught to were ignorant both of its form and name. admire Italian music by the sweetness of Viols of different kinds, with six strings, the language to which it was set, but by and fretted like the guitar, were admitted Italian madrigals, literally translated into into chamber concerts; at those that were English, adjusted to original music, and public their sound was too feeble. We published by N. Youge, 1588. The editor may easily judge of the poor state of music was an Italian merchant, who having op- in Henry VIII.'s time, in the year 1530, portunities of obtaining from his corres- when Holinshed informs us of a masque pondents the newest and best compositions being given at Cardinal Wolsey's palace, from the Continent, had them frequently where the King was entertaiued with a performed at his house for the entertain- concert of drums and fifes. This music ment of his musical friends. These being was, however, soft compared with that of chiefly selected from the works of Pales- his daughter Elizabeth, who used, accordtrina, Luca Marenzio, and other celebrateding to Henxner, to be regaled during dinmasters ou the Continent, gave birth to that passion for madrigals which afterwards became so prevalent.

minster Abbey on solemn occasions; he was the first who composed the burial service music after the reformation: it is grand and pleasing, and causes the words to be well expressed. The sentence, "He fleeth as it were a shadow," is exquisitely

fine.

Lyric poetry was in a wretched state in England at the time these madrigals were translated; and making allowance for that, these sonnets were really tolerably executed, even before Spencer or Shakespeare. The Italians, themselves, had but little rhythm or melody in their music; but still their poetry, having been longer cultivated, was far superior to ours: their traits of melody were better marked and more airy. The following is a specimen of a very favourite madrigal, called The Nightingale: "But my poore hart with sorrowes over swelling, Through bondage vyle, binding my freedom short,

Choral compositions, madrigals, and songs in that style, always of many parts, formed the only vocal music in favour in the time of Elizabeth. The art of singing only consisted in keeping tune and time: taste, rhythm, accent, and grace, were not to be

"No pleasure takes in these his sports excel- found. The music was grounded on church

"

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music, where the innovations of taste would' offend; therefore the modulations of the sixteenth century, though they had a fine and solemn effect in the church music of that time, are not accommodated to the modern student, as the most agreeable keys in music are precluded. In our cathedral service some of the words are uttered too rapidly, while others are protracted to an unreasonable length; there is a certain degree of simplicity in choral music that is requisite to render it the voice of devotion, which seems to demand a full, clear, and articulate pronunciation of the different words.

ling,

"Nor of his song receiveth no comfort."

In 1597, Youge published a second collection of madrigals, and the following Bacchanalian soug is not devoid of wit and húmoar:

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"The wine that I so deerly got,

"Sweetly sipping, my eyes hath bleared; "And the more I am bar'd the pot,

"The more to drink my thirst is steered. "But since my heart is cheered, "Mangre ill fuck and spiteful slanders, "Mine eyes shall not be my commanders; "For I maintain, and ever shall, "Better the windows bide the dangers, "Than to spoil both house and all."

ner with twelve trumpets, and two kettledrums; which, together with fifes, cornets, and side-drums, made the hall ring for half an hour together.

*ཙྪཱ

The lute, of which the shape and sound' are now scarcely known, was the favourite instrument for two centuries. Congreve celebrates the playing of Mrs. Arabella Hunt on this instrument; and Sir Thomas Wyatt left us a Sonnet to his Lute, which we published among our Fugitive Poetry, in a preceding Number.

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