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TO THE EDITOR.
I Observe, in the first number of your very excellent work, an account of the merits of the late Mr. HARRISON as an eminent singer, wherein he is mentioned as having been “trained from his earliest years among the choristers at the Chapel Royal of England." I presume you mean the Chapel Royal of St. James's, as I do not know of any other. With regard to Mr. H. being educated in that choir, 1 believe there is a little mistake, for I have reason to think he was never admitted amongst those choristers. I beg to say I was admitted into the Chapel Royal in the year 1772, and I am positively certain in stating that Mr. H. was not in that choir, either before me, with me, or after me; indeed, a list of those who were educated in the same school for fifteen years previous to my admission now lies before me, and Mr. H.'s name does not appear
I believe I am pretty correct in stating that Mr. H. was principally, if not entirely, brought up by a Mr. Burton, (who frequently sung in the chorusses at the oratorios at Drury-lane, at that time under the joint directions of Messrs. Stanley and Linley,) conse, quently could not have been a chorister at the Chapel Royal; for, had he been one, he must have been educated under the late DR, Nares. In saying thus much of Mr. H. I trust I shall not be considered as depreciating his superior merits as a public singers his super-eminent abilities are too well known to need any further comment.
I beg to add the very great pleasure and satisfaction I have had in perusing the two numbers which bave already appeared, and trust the future numbers will afford equal pleasure,
I remain, Sir,
J. W. H.
MEMOIR OF PAISIELLO,
THE Chevalier Grov. Paisiello, yielding to the entreaties of different biographical authors, has occupied bimself in retracing the origin and the order of his labours in the exercise of his art, which he reduces to three principal epochs. He has in consequence me. thodically arranged the following account, which he addresses to M. Choron, at Paris.
G. Paisiello, son of Francois and of GrazAZIA Fogiale, was born at Tarentum on the 9th of May, 1741. His father was a veterie nary surgeon, particularly distinguished in his art, and the reputation hic bad acquired, not only in the province of Lucca but in the whole kingdom, procured bim the honour of being employed by the King of Naples, Charles the Third, during the war of Velletri. His father determined as soon as he had attained his fifth
year, that he should study till he was thirteen, with the Jesuits, who had a college at Tarentum; and, as it was the custom of these fathers to have the service for the Virgin sung in all their feasts, they remarked when their young pupil sung the hours of Matins, that he had a fine contralto voice and an excellent ear. Upon this observation, a CHEVALIER D. GIROLAMO CARDUCCI, of the same city, and who superintended the music for the Holy Week in the church of the Capuchins, endeavoured to make him sing some pieces from memory. Young Paisiello acquitted himself in such a manner that it might have been imagined he had studied music for a length of time. This was in March, 1754. The CHEVALIER CARDUCCI perceiving the promising genius of PAISIELLO, advised his father to send him to Naples, in order that he might study music, and for this purpose instantly to place him with some good chapel-master, but his parents would not consent to it, for being their only son, they could not resolve to part with him.
The reiterated entreaties of the Chevalier began at last to prevail, and they promised to give an answer, after having reflected more maturely. In short, after some time had elapsed, they determined on sending him to Naples; bis departure was fixed for the month of May following, and in the mean time he employed all bis time in learning the first elements of music, under an ecclesiastic, a secular priest, named Don Carlo Resta, of Tarentum, an excellent tenor,
who played very well on the archlute, an instrument which PAIA siello made use of during the two or three months allotted to him for acquiring the first instructions. He afterwards set out for Naples with his father, and in June, 1754, he was received into the Conservatorio of St. Onofrio, where he had the happiness of finding the celebrated Durante, master. It was under laim that he studied, and at the end of five years he became first master * among the pupils of the Conservatorio. During the next four years he composed there some masscs, psalms, motetts, oratorios, and a comic interlude, which was performed in the same Conservatorio. This interlude procured him the advantage of being employed to compose, in 1763, an opera for the theatre at Bologna
Here begins the first epoch of his works.
At the theatre of the Marsigli, at Bologna, La Pupilla, I Francesi brillanti, Il Mondo alla rovescia; at Modena, Madama L'Umorista ; at Parma, Le Virtuose ridicole, Il Sogno d'Abano; at Venice, Il Ciorlone, Le Pescatrici ; at Rome, Il Marchese Tulipano ; at Naples, La Vedova di bel genio, L'Imbroglio delle Vajasse, l'Idolo Cinese, (it was for this work that the court of Naples began the custom of having comic operas performed in the little theatre of the court); Lucio Papirio, Il furbo mal accorto, L'Olimpia, Pelee, a cantata for the marriage of Ferdinand the Fourth with Maria Caroline, of Austria ; at Ve. nice, L'Innocente fortunato ; at Milan, Sismano nel Mogolle ; at Naples, L'Arabo cortese, La luna habitata, La Cortesa dei Numi; at Rome, La Semiramide, Il Montezuma; at Naples, Le Dardane, Il Tambura ro notturno; at Venice, the same work, with changes and aligmen tations; at Milan, L'Andromeda. He composed in this city twelve quartetts, for two violins, tenor and harpsichord, for lier Royal Highñess the Archduchess Beatrice of Este, wife of Ferdinand of Austria, Duke of Milan; at Turin, Annibale in Italia, I Filosofi, I Giocatore; at Naples, La Somiglianza dei Numi, l'Astusie amorose, a mass for the dead, for two choirs, for the funeral of the Prince Royal D. Gennaro di Borbone; Gli Scherzi d'amore e di fortuna; D. Chisciole della Mangia, La Finta Maga, L'Osteria di Mere Chiara ; at Modena, Alessundro nell' Indie; at Naples, Il Duello Comico, D. Anchise Campanone, Il Mondo della Luna; at Venice, La Frescatana, La Discordia Fortunata, Il Demofoonte. At this time he was
* This is the name given in the conservatorios to the students who are also tutors.
engaged for the theatre in London, but an invitation from the Court of Russia, caused him to break his engagement; at Naples, Socrate imaginari ; at Florence, Il gran Cid, 11 finto principe ; at Rome, Le Due Contesse, La Disfarla di Dario, (it was in this opera that an air in two movements was composed for the first time; Mentre ti lascio o figlia, sung by tlie tenor Anzani, and wbich has since served as a model to all composers ; at Naples, Dal Finta il cero. at the time when this opera appeared, that the Court of Naples went for the first time to the comic theatre. In this same year, that is to say on the 28th of July, 1776, he departed for Russia, and entered the service of Catherine the Second, with an appointment of four thousand roubles. As music master to the grand Duchess he had nine hundred roubles, and his country house, which was allowed him during five or six months in the year, procured him two thousand roubles. With these and some other advantages, he had an annual income of nine thousand roubles.
SECOND EPOCH. M. Paisiello lived in Russia nine years, during which time he composed La Serva Padrona, Il matrimonio inaspellato, Il Barbiere di Siviglia, 1 Filosofi imaginari, La finta umante, (this opera was composed for Catherine's journey to Mohilow, in Poland, where she had an interview with Joseph II.) Il mondo della luna, (in one act) La Nilteti, Lucinda ed Armidoro, Alcide al Bivio, Achille in Sciro, a cantata for Prince Potemkin, and an interlude for Prince Orloff.
During his abode in this country, he composed for bis pupil, the Grand Duchess MARIA FEDEROWNA, wife of the Grand Duke Paul PETROWITZ, afterwards Empress, several sonatas and pieces for the piano, making two volumes. He also arranged a collection of rules for accompaniment on the piano forte. This small treatise was printed in Russia, and on this occasion the Empress presented him with an annual pension of nine hundred roubles. At Warsaw be composed the oratorio of La Passione, set to Metastasio's words for King Poniatowski.
At Vienna he composed for the Emperor Joseph II. the opera of King Theodore, and twelve concerted symphonies. From thence hic returned to Naples. On his arrival in this city, Ferdinand IV.
took him into his service, in quality of master of the chapel, with a salary of twelve hundred ducats He directly composed his opera Antigono. At Rome L'umore ingapuzzo, at Naples ! . groltu di Trofonio, Le Gare generose, L'Olympicule, 11 Pirro This work was the first of the serious kind in which introductions and finales were employed. It also contains a scene where the principal person executing a monologue is surprised by soldiers, who arrive to the sound of a military march, and which agrees with the song of the actor, a scene which has since served as a model to many composers
At this time M. PAISIELLO received from the King of Prussia (William,) an invitation to Berlin, but which he could not accept, being in the service of the King of Naples, (Ferdinand IV. of Bourbon.)
A short time after he gave at Naples I Zingari in fiera, and composed for the funeral of General Hoche a funeral symphony, which procured him a recompense from General Bonaparte. He afterwards gave La Phedra with some analogous ballets--Le Varie Gelosie, Calone in Utica.
He was invited to take a new engagement in Russia, but the motives which had induced him to refuse the offers of the King of Prussia, prevented him from accepting those of the court of Russia. The King of Naples commanded him to set to music Nina, () la pazza d'amore, for the little theatre of the country of the Belvidere.This opera was afterwards performed at the Florentine theatre with the addition of the quartett,
Guinone Lucina was composed for the churching of the Queen of Naples, (Caroline ct Austria.) In this cantata, an air intermixed with chorusses, was used for the first time, and which has bren since imitated by other composers. It was followed by La Zenobia di Palmira Being invited to London, where it was impossible for him to go, he sent to the theatre of that city the opera of La Locanda, which was afterwards performed at Naples, under the title of Il Fanatico in Berlina, with the addition of a quintett. He then composed a grand Te Deum, for the return of the King and Queen of Naples, from Germany, a cantata ( Dafne ed Alceo,) for the Academy dci Cavalieri; a cantata (le Retour de Persée,) for the Academy des Amis, L' Elfrida, and L’Elvira.
At Venice, I Guiochi d' Agrigento, at Naples, La Didone, L'In. ganno felice, L'Andromaca.