John Hyatt Brewer

January 18, 2008

John Hyatt Brewer was an organist and composer; born in Brooklyn, New York, on January 18th 1856. For 7 years he was boy-soprano in various churches; and he was a vocal pupil of Walter, Cutler, and Wilder. He learned pianoforte and harmony from R. Navarro, and organ-playing under Diller, Caulfield, Whitely, and Dudley Buck (he was pupil of the latter for 5 years, in organ and composition). In 1871 Brewer began his career as organist at the City Park Chapel, passing to the Church of the Messiah (for 4 years), Clinton Avenue Congregational Church (for 4 years), and finally (in 1881) to the Lafayette Avenue Presbyterian Church as organist and director, which office he held at least until 1899. He was an active member of the New York Musical Society, the New York State Music Teachers Association, the Brooklyn Institute of Arts and Sciences (he served as Secretary of the music department), Brooklyn Apollo Club (charter member and accompanist); co-founder of the American Guild of Organists. He conducted the Brooklyn Hill, Orpheus, Damrosch, and Boylston Glee Clubs, the Caecilia Ladies’ Vocal Society, and the Hoadley Amateur Orchestra. He was an instructor in voice, pianoforte, organ, and theory. His main works include: some 30 songs (sacred and secular), duets, quartets, anthems, glees, choruses and cantatas; also pieces for organ, pianoforte and strings; duos for organ and pianoforte; and a Suite for orchestra.

John Stanley

January 17, 2008

John Stanley, (actually Charles John Stanley), was born in London, England on January 17th 1713, and died there May 19th 1780. Blind from early youth, he studied under J. Reading and M. Greene, became organist in several churches, and in 1779 succeeded Boyce as Master of the Royal Hand. He enjoyed the esteem of Handel, after whose death he conducted the oratorio performances with Smith. His main works include: Oratorios Jephtha (1757), Zimri (1760), The Fall of Egypt (1774); dramatic pastoral Arcadia (for George III’s wedding); songs: Opus 1, eight solos for German flute, violin, or harpsichord; op. 4, six ditto; opus 2, six concertos for four violins, viola, ‘cello, and thorough-bass for harpsichord; op. 5-7, ten voluntaries for organ or pianoforte; and six concertos for harpsichord or organ (1760).

Ilma di Murska

January 16, 2008

Ilma di Murska was a famous dramatic soprano; born in Croatia in 1836, she died at Munich, Germany on January 16th 1889. A pupil of the Marchesis in Vienna; she made her debut at the Pergola Theater in Florence in 1862. After singing at Pest in Hungary, and Berlin, and Hamburg, in Germany, she was engaged at Vienna, Austria. Her London, England debut was on May 11th 1865, as Lucia; she also sang Linda, Amina, and Astrifiammante; and at the Philharmonic on May 29th, 1865. Up to 1873 she was repeatedly engaged at Her Majesties Theater, Covent Garden, and Drury Lane. She also sang in Paris and other Continental cities, and visited America, Australia, etc., between 1873 and 1876, returning to England again in 1879. With a voice of nearly three octaves’ compass, great in coloratura, she united brilliancy and originality of acting. Some of her other roles included: Dinorah, Isabella, Martha, Ophelia, Marguerite de Valois, Gilda, etc.

Salvatore Marchesi de Castrone (more accurately Cavaliere Salvatore de Castrone, Marchese della Rajata) was a baritone stage-singer and famous teacher. He was born at Palermo, Italy on January 15th 1822. He studied law and music together at Palermo and Milan, music under Raimondi, Lamperti, and Fontana; exiled after participation in the Revolution of 1848, he went to New York, where his stage-debut took place (in Ernani). Going to London, he studied with Garcia, was successful as a concert-singer, and married (in 1852) Mathilde Graumann, with whom he sang in opera at Berlin, Brussels, London, and Italy, and gave vocal instruction (in 1854) at the Vienna Consrvatory. After this they lived for some years in Paris; taught in the Cologne Conservatory (from 1865 to 1869), and again at Vienna from 1869 to 1881, later returning to reside in Paris. His works include: Beautiful songs on German, French, and Italian texts; “20 Vocalizzi elementari e progressivi,” and others; a Vocal Method; Italian translations of modern French and German opera-libretti, etc.

Ludwig Abel

January 14, 2008

Ludwig Abel was born in Eckartsberga, Thuringia, Germany on January 14th 1835; he died at Neu-Pasing, near Munich, Germany on August 13th 1895. A pupil of Ferdinand David, he was a member of the Gewandhaus orchestra at Leipzig, the Weimar court orchestra (1853), leader of the court orchestra at Munich (1867), teacher in and (1878) Inspector of the Royal Music-School then managed by von Bulow. In 1880, Abel was appointed royal Professor, from which position he retired on pension in 1894. A violin-virtuoso of high rank, and an excellent orchestra conductor; he wrote a good Violin Method, as well as studies, variations, etc.

Nicholas-Joseph Hullmandel

January 11, 2008

Nicholas-Joseph Hullmandel was a celebrated pianist and performer on the harmonica; born in Strassburg, Germany in 1751, he died at London, England on December 19th 1823. Nicholas-Joseph was a nephew of the famous horn-virtuoso, Rodolphe. He first studied music in the Strassburg Catholic school, and became a pupil of the “Hamburg Bach.” He went in 1775 to Milan, and in 1776 to Paris, where for ten years he was a fashionable teacher. In 1787 he made a wealthy marriage and retired, but the Revolution drove him to London, and he again gave lessons. Napoleon restored a portion of his property, and he again retired into private life. His playing and compositions had considerable influence on French art of the period. He published 12 pianoforte-trios, opus 1 and 2; 14 violin-sonatas with pianoforte, opus 3, 4, 5, 8, 10, and 11; six pianoforte-sonatas, opus 6; Divertissement, opus 7; and two sets of airs and variations for solo pianoforte, opus 9.