Here are this week’s odds and ends in my musicological readings.
Heinrich Albert (1604-1651), a German composer, gave me some great advice about continuo playing. When you’re playing continuo, it should not be like “hacking cabbage”. Good advice. I’m also planning to include more vegetable analogies in my teaching.
Domenico Alberti (1710-1740), the composer for whom the famous “bass” is named was plagarized by his former pupil Giuseppe Jozzi. Jozzi, a well known castrato, published some of Alberti’s keyboard music under his own name. Fortunately, cable television was not around or an announcer would have inevitably had to say, “Next on Fox: When castrati plagarize.” There is also an infertility joke to be made here if you so desire.
Vincenzo Albrici (1631-1696), upon becoming the organist at the Thomaskirche became converted to Protestantism. Upon becoming the musical director of St. Augustin in Prague, he converted back to Catholicism. Fortunately for him, there was not a big Christian Science congregation in Europe at the time.
Henry Aldrich (1648-1710), an English composer wrote a catch called “Good indeed the herb’s good weed” which includes conspicuous rests to allow the singers time to puff on their pipes while singing the song. Dude!
Guiseppe Aldrovandini (1672-1707), “died at the age of 34; leaving a waterfront tavern in an intoxicated condition at about 3a.m., he fell into a canal and was drowned.” Most of the composers I know can’t seem to avoid the former, so try to avoid the latter.
Young’s Composition 160 no. 5 includes the instructions “Turn a butterfly (or any number of butterflies) loose in the performance area.” This is a disturbing precedent. Presumably some student of Boulez will eventually write a piece in which every animal in the zoo is released on the stage in all permutations of verticality.
Sir Hugh Allen (1869-1946), retained his Oxford professorship until he died in 1946 “as a result of being run down by a bicycle”. Being found dead in a canal at 3 a.m. doesn’t sound quite so bad now.