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Saint Cecilia's Hall in the Niddry Wynd
Chapter IV The Players and the Singers in St. Cecilia's Hall


I. The Orchestra

The Professional Players.

Quite the greatest amount of detailed information about the performers and singers in the hall in the Niddry Wynd is from the pen of old George Thomson, the collector of the Melodies of Scotland, and a man intimately connected with the history of music in Scotland during the first three decades of this century.

He evidently wrote his recollections of the St. Cecilia concerts for the chapter dealing with that subject in Chambers’s Traditions of Edinburgh, in which are to be found at least the names of many of the performers, singers, pieces played, and songs sung, as well as the names of those who comprised the audience, during the years in which Thomson played the violin in that long-forgotten orchestra. He is described by his contemporaries as ‘ an accomplished violinist.’

It is just possible that to-day, at the close of the century, we may have forgotten the great debt we owe to George Thomson for having collected, purified, edited, and adapted tunes to our Scots songs; for having laboured away at harmonising the tunes with the help of the great Germans—Beethoven, Haydn, Weber, Pleyel, Kozeluch, and Hummel; for having written and written again to composer and poet until these unbusinesslike geniuses were brought to complete their tasks and fulfil their promises. It is one thing for Genius to scatter her treasures broadcast, almost always without method, often with a touch of madness; but it means careful hard work and a respect for duty to recover these gems from amidst piles of old papers, the backs of letters or an occasional banknote, and, laboriously arranging them, fit them for public delectation.

George Thomson was a most indispensable person in our aesthetic history, the self-appointed honorary secretary to the Scottish Muses. Thomson is to us not only one of the most interesting, but one of the strongest, links with our artistic past. Born in 1757 at Limekilns in Fife, he became at seventeen years old a clerk in the office of a Writer to the Signet, and some four or five years later, through the influence of no less well-known a literary celebrity than Home, the reverend author of Douglas, was appointed junior clerk to the Board of Trustees for Manufacturers for Scotland.

Wisely deciding not to allow ambition to make his life a time of fretful change and striving, he remained senior clerk to the Board throughout the whole of what some might call a totally uneventful professional career, yet one whose very placidity enabled Thomson to live, as it were, a parallel life full of artistic incident and interest.

‘Having studied the violin, :t was ir>y custom,’ he writes in a kind of autobiography, ‘ after the hours of business to con over our Scottish melodies, and to devour the choruses of Handel’s oratorios, in which, when performed at St. Cecilia’s Hall, I generally took a part along with a few other gentlemen,—Mr. Alexander Wight, one of the most eminent counsel at the bar, Mr. Gilbert Innes of Stow, Mr. John Russel, W.S., Mr. John Hutton, etc., it being then not uncommon for grave amateurs to assist at the Cecilia Concerts, one of the most interesting and liberal musical institutions that ever existed in Scotland or indeed in any country. I had so much delight in singing those matchless choruses and in practising the violin quartettes of I’leyel and Haydn, that it was with joy

I hailed the hour when, like the young amateur in the good old Scotch song, “ I could hie me hame to my Cremona ” and enjoy Haydn’s admirable fancies.’ Here we have the true asstheticism, the love of the beautiful because it is beautiful, and for no other reason. We know how from 1792 to 1796, the year of Burns’s death, Thomson was in constant correspondence with the poet about the 1 magnum opus ’ for which Burns supplied in all one hundred and twenty songs, many of them original, others revisions and purifications. Such was one of the amateur violinists of the St. Cecilia orchestra, a man who has gone down to posterity as the friend and correspondent of Robert Burns, but a man who is also to be remembered as having wedded German harmony to Scottish pathos and who by his energy and perseverance in the cause of national art has deserved for all time coming the undying gratitude of each succeeding generation of Scotsmen.

Of Scottish songs Thomson published the following volumes:—

Volume I. Songs the airs of ^hich were all harmonised by Pleyel.
Volume II. Songs the airs of which were all harmonised by Kozeluch.
Volumes III. Songs the airs of which were all harmonised by Haydn.
Volume V. Four airs harmonised by Haydn, twenty-six by Beethoven.
Volume VI. Contained fifty two songs, twelve of which were harmonised by Haydn, thirteen by Beethoven, one by Kozeluch, twenty-one by Hogarth, and five by Sir Henry Bishop. The first volume was published in 1793 and the sixth volume in 1841.

George Thomson died at Leith on February 18th, 1851, in his ninety-fourth year, but was buried in Kensal Green cemetery, London, where his wife had been laid ten years before.

Following Thomson’s narrative, we read :—

‘In the instrumental department we had Signor Puppo from Rome, or Naples, as leader and violin concerto player.’

Giuseppe (or Joseph) Puppo was born at Lucca in 1749, and died in a hospital at Naples in 1827. Receiving his early musical education in Naples, and having studied the violin under Tartini, he made rapid progress and soon showed himself a brilliant performer. Thomson says of him—‘Puppo charmed all hearers.’ Like so many musicians, he had a chequered and wandering career, for between 1775 and 1784 he visited France, Spain, Portugal, England, Scotland, and Ireland, and was everywhere in great request as an accompanist, but never remained very long in one place, till he settled in Paris about 1789. Puppo may be described as an eccentric, dissatisfied man, evidently with great talents, but little power of effective self-direction. He appears to have been as long in Edinburgh as in any other place that he visited, for he was leader at St. Cecilia’s from January 1778 to August 1782. He did not come to Edinburgh alone: ‘Mrs. Puppo’ came with him, and apparently also some relative— probably a brother of the name of Stefano, who advertises in the Edinburgh Evening Courant of June 24th, 1778, that he teaches languages at new lodgings in James’s Court.

In July 1778 Signor and Signora Puppo were lodging in New Street, Canongate; earlier in the year they had been in lodgings ‘facing the City Guard.’ In March of the same year they have a curiously worded advertisement in the Courant to the effect that ‘Mr. Puppo,’ having been indisposed, is now ready to teach singing or playing on the harpsichord, and that ‘Mrs. Tuppo,’ newly returned from London, where she had received lessons from Sacchini, is prepared to go to the country one day in the week. On July 24th, at a benefit concert for ‘ Mr. Fischer ’ in St. Cecilia’s, Mrs. Puppo sang, and her husband and Schetky were instrumentalists.

In the Edinburgh Evening Courant of February 28th, 1778, a benefit concert for Mr. Puppo on March 2nd is advertised, ‘when it is hoped he will 'receive the countenance from the public which his own merit besides his being first fiddle in the concert entitles him to.’

In February 1779, at a benefit concert for Schetky, a large gathering of professionals is recorded: ‘ Mrs. Melmoth, Mrs. Puppo, and Signor and Signora Corri ’ are all to sing, while Schetky, Reinagle, Clarke, and Puppo are to play.

On April 21st, in the same year, Puppo, Reinagle, and Corri take the leading instrumental parts at a concert after the play in the Theatre Royal.

On July 12th, Puppo announces that during the ‘race week' he will give three morning concerts, at which, among other things, the overture was to be one of Lord Kelly’s; Mrs. Corri was to sing ‘The soldier tired of war’s alarms,5 Mrs. Puppo, ‘For the lack of gold she’s left me’; while Puppo and Reinagle were to play a ‘ duetto on tenor and violin,’ Schetky a solo concerto on his ’cello, and Corri a rondo. Each concert 3s. 6d. to non-subscribers, i.e. to those not members of the Musical Society. It would seem as though at one time Puppo had not been ‘going down,’ as we would say, with the public, for the following appears on February 27th, 1779‘The Governors and Directors very earnestly recommend Mr. Puppo, whose concert is fixed for Tuesday, 9th March, to the countenance of the subscribers and of such ladies and gentlemen as frequent the weekly concert. The company may be assured that Mr. Puppo will do everything in his power to render the entertainment agreeable. Tickets 3s. each.’

In August, Mrs. Puppo announces that having gone to Musselburgh—no doubt for the holidays—she is to be found at Mrs. Christy’s at Fisherrow, and is prepared to teach singing to ladies.

Puppo seems to have borne, by an almost inevitable pun, the nickname of ‘Puppy,’ as is seen below his portrait reproduced by the kind permission of Mr. Marr, to whose collection of musical curiosities the original belongs.

Puppo published very little music, and that was wholly instrumental. Though he died in a state of destitution and in a hospital to which he had been sent by the English musician, Professor Edward Taylor, Puppo might at one time have been called rich when he acted as chef if orchestre at the Theatre Frangais in 1799.

He is credited with saying smart things, only one of which has come down to us, Boccherini is the wife of Haydn.’

Thomson continues his list of performer? thus:— ‘Mr. Schetky from Germany, the principal violoncellist and a fine concerto player.’

Herr Schetky (or Schetki) has no niche in the temple of fame as arranged in Grove’s Dictionary cf Musicians, and any details of his life which exist are much scattered through out-of-the-way sources.

Johann Georg Christoff Schetky was born at Hesse-Darmstadt in the year 1740, and died in Edinburgh, 29th November 1824, in the eighty fourth year of his age.

His fourth son, John Christian, born in Ainslie’s Close, Edinburgh, nth August 1778, became marine painter in ordinary to George iv. and to her Majesty Queen Victoria. His life is written by his daughter —the granddaughter, therefore, of the old St. Cecilia Hall musician.

Young Schetky, like young Walter Scott, only once saw and was spoken to by Robert Burns in Edinburgh. Schetky the elder was dining with William Nicol and Allan Masterton, both High School masters, in the former’s house, where Burns too was a guest. John and Charles Schetky, returning from a long day’s truant-playing, passed the window, when they were espied by their father and master respectively. In the midst of the scolding, Nicol and Schetky were pushed right and left of the window by a burly, good-humoured countryman who threw the boys some 'bawbees for bannocks,’ and told them to run off and be in time for the school next morning. The big man was Robert Burns, and thus young Schetky saw them all, the three famous characters in

‘Willie brewed a peck o’ maut,
And Rob and Allan cam to see.’

The facts in this life of J. C. Schetky must be taken as authoritative. The date of his arrival in Edinburgh in company with his younger brother Karl is there given as February 14th, 1773.

This statement as to the date cannot be verified from the contemporary Edinburgh newspapers.

In the Edinburgh Evening Courant of February 29th, 1772, there is the following intimation in two lines of the half column :—

‘Yesterday arrived here Signor Schetki, principal violoncello to the Musical Society.

This would make the date February 28th, 1772, a year earlier than the date given in the work before us, so that we must take it Schetky’s granddaughter is here in error.

Schetky himself, twenty-six years after he came to Edinburgh, might well be excused if his recollection of the exact day of the month on which he arrived was not perfectly accurate. In the Edinburgh Evening Courant of January 17th, 1798, he inserts the following announcement: ‘ Mr. Schetky most respectfully informs his friends and the public that his concert (at Theatre

Royal) is fixed for the 9th of February next. Mr. Schetky begs leave to mention here that on the same day twenty-six years past he arrived in Edinburgh, since which time he has been honoured with the most generous patronage, and humbly hopes no part of his conduct has forfeited the same.’ Tickets 3s. each at the music-shops and at his house in Foulis’s Close. To begin at 7 p.m.

The father of J. G. C. Schetky was Louis Schetky,1 secretary to the reigning Landgraf of Hesse-Darmstadt, a man whose duties were manifold, including everything from paying the household troops to playing at the court concerts. The family of Louis was large, and J. G. C. Schetky, the eldest, was intended for the profession of law, with which object he was sent to study in that faculty at the old university of the quaint little South German town of Jena.

It has not infrequently happened that many who have been sent to the study of law have had very little taste for it, and in a few cases they have providentially managed to break away from its dry-as-dust thraldom and indulge their natural aptitude for something else.

The ‘something else’ in the case of Schetky was music, a not altogether inexplicable tendency when we remember that ‘his father before him’ was musical.

He soon became celebrated as a composer arid ’celloist, and, while holding an appointment at the court ot Hesse-Darmstadt, travelled for two years through Italy and France.

Amongst other royal persons he visited Stanislaus, the dethroned King of Poland, then residing at Luneville. He was here presented with the usual gold snuff-box, and advised to go on to Piombikres and call on the two younger daughters of Louis Quinze of France, Mesdames Victoire and Adelaide.

Herr Schetky, acting on this excellent advice, found the Princesses playing the one on the harpsichord and the other on the violin.

Instead of hurrying off from Plomoieres, Schetky remained some little time, and wrote an air with variations for the Princesses, which they requested him later on to arrange as a duet for their harpsichord and violin.

On returning to Darmstadt, he and four other members of the court orchestra moved to Frankfort to form part of the imperial orchestra during the cereir.onies in connection with the coronation of Joseph, King of the Romans, in the course of which he attracted royal notice by the excellence of his performance of a violoncello concerto of his own composition.

After the death of his patron, the Landgraf of Hesse, he commenced a journey to London via Flanders, where, at Lisle, he met Bremner—then the first music-publisher in London,—who had been commissioned by the musical world of Scotland to engage a first violoncellist for the St. Cecilia concerts in Edinburgh.

His last surviving daughter thus writes of her father’s ‘ retirement ’ to Edinburgh :—

‘Was it not strange that after being flattered and admiied at foreign courts, and meeting with so much prosperity everywhere, he should at last settle down in a small place such as Edinburgh then was, in the remote country of Scotland ! But I have sometimes imagined that this country then must have been more like an old Continental city than in its present state of progress. There were all the nobility of the country assembled from their ancient fastnesses in the noith, the Courts of Law, the University, the little exiled court of France at Holy rood, where my father often appeared, those splendid St. Cecilia concerts (the audience composed exclusively of the aristocracy), combining so much talent; add to this the easy access a well-educated and accomplished foreigner found to the best society—these things must, I think, have combined to make him like the place.’

J. G. C. Schetky’s first friend in Edinburgh was not unnaturally the Hungarian, Joseph Reinagle, who had already been some time in Edinburgh when Schetky arrived, and whose daughter, his eldest, Maria Anna Theresa, we are not very surprised to hear Schetky married in 1774.

The ceremony took place in the old Episcopal Chapel in the Cowgate, now St. Patrick’s. They set up house in Ainslie’s Close, but a few years later removed to Foulis’s Close, High Street, where eleven of their children were born, all of whom were baptized m the old chapel just mentioned: of these children seven grew up.

In the Edinburgh Directory of to-day may still be found South Foulis Close, but it is not probable that the house in which the Schetkys lived for twenty-one years could be identified : it was very dilapidated in 1863, and since that date two strong spirits, of destruction and reconstruction respectively, have been abroad in the High Street.

In February 1769, Schetky states in the Edinburgh Evening Courant that his lodgings are in ‘MiIn’s Court.’ The old Dictionary of Musicians 1 thus disposes of ‘ J. G. C. Schetky, an excellent violoncellist, in the service of the Prince of Hesse-Darmstadt in 1772. Previously to the year 1780, he had published in London and at the Hague five operas of instrumental music. He has also left at his death many manuscript compositions for his instrument. He died at Edinburgh in 1773.’

The ‘died’ here must be a printer’s error for ‘arrived.’

We are able, through the kindness of Mr. James G. Ferguson, to publish for the first time the entry of the interment of this, in his day, most important musician, who spent forty-nine years of his life in Edinburgh.

Extracted from the Records of Burials in the Canon-gate Burying-ground, by James G. Ferguson, Recorder of City Burying-grounds.

1824.—Schetky. Mr. John George Christopher Schetky, native of Darmstadt, Upper Rhine ; for many years Professor of Music in Edinburgh, died 29th ult:1 interred in the west side six feet north-west of Sharp’s ground, and four feet south-west of Langley’s stone. . . . Old age.’

We may now trace Schetky here and there through Old Edinburgh. In the first place, we find him reported by Burns to have been drinking with him, and to have composed a tune for one of his songs. The allusion occurs in a postscript to a Clarinda letter, dated ‘ Thursday morning 24th January’ (1788), and runs thus:—

Evening, 9 o'clock.—I am here absolutely unfit to finish my letter, pretty hearty after a bowl which has been constantly plied since dinner till this moment. I have been with Mr. Schetky the musician, and he has set it finely. I have no distinct ideas of anything, but that I have drunk your health twice to night, and that you are all my soul holds dear in this world.’

The I it ’ of which Schetky was the musical father was that lovely song of Burns’s, ‘ Clarinda, mistress of my soul,’ than which surely no sadder lament was ever penned:—

f Clarinda, mistress of my soul,
The measured time is run!
The wretch beneath the dreary pole
So marks his latest sun.
We part—but by those precious drops
That fill thy lovely eyes,
No other light shall guide my steps
Till thy bright beams arise.
She, the fair sun of all her sex,
Has blest my glorious day:
And shall a glimmering planet fix
My worship to its ray? ’

The poet at this time contemplated an early departure from Edinburgh.

Schetky, some believe, composed another Scots tune, the newer air to ‘Mary’s Dream’; for Stenhouse in his Lyric Poetry and Music of Scotland1 thus writes :—The second set of the air to Lowe’s song is, I believe, the composition of my friend Mr. Schetky, the celebrated violoncello player in Edinburgh.’

The evening of the hard drinking in the old Lawn-market house was not the first occasion on which Burns and Schetky had been in the same room together, for, according to the well-known picture by Stewart Watson of the interior of St. John’s Chapel, Canongate, on the evening of the ‘ Inauguration of Robert Burns as Poet-Laureate of the Canongate Kilwinning Lodge No. 2, 1787,’ J. G. C. Schetky is there, and with his ’cello, too. He was, in fact, ‘Brother Schetky' of this Lodge of Freemasons, and is the figure to the extreme right, and the highest of the group against the organ. That old organ is still in the hall of the Canongate Kilwinning Lodge—indeed, the old hall is very much as Burns and Schetky last saw it: it teems with Old Edinburgh memories.

From a small and now very rare book entitled A Winter with Robert Burns} which is virtually an account of each of the persons represented in this important picture of Edinburgh Freemasons, we feel justified in quoting the little that is said of this musician :—‘ No. 35, J. G. C. Schetky, Music Teacher, Fowles’ Close, Fountain Well.

But allegretto forte gay
Harmonious flows.—Burns.

Schetky, a distinguished musician, was the father of the eminent sketcher and marine painter to George iv. He was by birth a German, and came to Edinburgh about the middle of last century. He was at this period employed in the St. Cecilia Hall, where the weekly concerts during the winter months were attended by all the rank, beauty, and fashion of Edinburgh. He composed the March of the Defensive Band, which Mr. Crosbie, W.S. (the first master of that lodge), commanded. It is needless to remark that it was not Burns who \\ rote to it:

“Colonel Crosbie takes the field,
To France and Spain he will not yield,
But still maintains his high command
At the head of the Noble Defensive Band.”

Schetky’s howff was Hoggs tavern, where he constituted the Boar Club, each Bore contributing a halfpenny to the Pig, and Mr. Aldridge, a brother-musician, being perpetual Grand Grunter of the Sty. Burns got Schetky to compose an air to his “Clarinda, mistress of my soul.”

‘He is represented in the picture with his instrument, the violoncello, on which ho excelled in concertos.’ Schetky was evidently very much at home in ‘Auld Reekie,’ with whose facility for deep and frequent potations his Teutonic soul would be in full sympathy. He was one of the original members of the ‘ Boar Club,’ founded in 1787—one of those many eccentric, convivial ‘clubs’ of Old Edinburgh. They were all, in truth, societies for drinking: one differed from another merely in the particular excuse alleged for the drinking. The Boar’s Club place of meeting was, of course, in a tavern—Daniel Hogg’s, in Shakespeare Square; and Schetky was 'deputy-grand-boar,’ whatever that meant. The name of the club had of course reference to ‘mine host’s.’

‘Brother Schetky’ had a warlike spirit on behalf of the land of his adoption, for he composed a march for the Royal Edinburgh Volunteers, the company to which he belonged.

On yet one more historic occasion does the ubiquitous Schetky appear, viz., at the laying of the foundation-stone of the present buildings of the University of Edinburgh, when he led a band of singers who, in the procession, walked between the students and the various Lodges of Freemasons represented.

The stone was laid with full Masonic honours on the 16th September 1789, by the Right Hon. Lord Napier of Merchistoun, Grand Master-Mason of Scot land; so that if Schetky’s ghost were ever to reappear in the ‘ Quad,’ and were to overhear an inaccurate tourist assigning a wrong date to the classic fabric, he could say with Edie Ochiltree, ‘I mind the biggin’ o’t.’ The notices of Schetky and his concerts— benefits and otherwise—in old Edinburgh newspapers are quite too numerous to mention, which is not remarkable, considering the long time he lived in Edinburgh.

But Edinburgh actually very nearly missed possessing Schetky altogether, for it is said that, on arriving at Ramsay’s Inn near the Cowgate Port, he was so poorly impressed with the city, had his ears so loudly assailed by her cries, and his nose by her odours, that he almost determined to be off. Probably his thirst detained him.

Next on Thomson’s list we have—

‘Joseph Reinagle, a clever violoncello and viola player.’ Reinagle does not obtain elaborate treatment in the pages of Grove, from which we learn that he was born at Portsmouth, but the date neither of his birth (1762) nor his death (1836) is given. Reinagle was of Austrian descent; his father, Joseph Reinagle, having served in the Hungarian army under the Empress Maria Theresa, and having come to Scotland with the ‘Old Pretender’ in 1715.

Old Reinagle had intended his son to enter the navy, possibly for no other reason than that he was born at Portsmouth; ‘but,’ says the Dictionary of Musicians ‘that idea being abandoned, he was removed to Edinburgh.’ We are sure Edinburgh benefited by the move, but it is by no means apparent why the only alternative, after abandoning the idea of entering the navy, was to enter Edinburgh.

Joseph Reinagle, senior, it seems, obtained through the influence of Lord Kelly the post of ‘Trumpeter to the King.’ Through the courtesy of the Queen’s and Lord Treasurer’s Remembrancer a search made in the records of the Exchequer Office has revealed the fact that, as reckoned from the time at which his salary began, Joseph Reinagle was appointed to be trumpeter on 21st May 1762. Joseph Reinagle, junior, was made to study under parental guidance the French horn and trumpet. It was not long before Joseph appeared in public as concerto player on both these instruments, but, upon medical advice, gave them up and began to study the violoncello with Schetky as his teacher. Owing to his brother Hugh’s growing fame as a ‘celloist, Joseph relinquished his instrument, and proceeded under Aragoni and Pinto to master the viola. It would also appear that Reinagle studied the harpsichord, for at a concert in April 1770 for ‘Mr. and Mrs. Taylor,’ a ‘sonata on the harpsichord by Mr. Reinagle, a scholar of Mr. Taylor’s,’ is announced.

In course of time ‘he was appointed,’ says the old Dictionary, 1 leader of the concerts at the theatre in Edinburgh.’ To arrive at the truth we must delete the words ‘at the theatre’: the concert in Edinburgh alluded to is that at St. Cecilia’s.

His brother Hugh having died at Lisbon, Joseph felt free to resume the ’cello, which was thenceforth his instrument to the time of his death He, too, has left his name scattered throughout the Edinburgh newspapers of his time.

In February 1779 he plays his ’cello at a benefit concert of Schetky’s; on 6th April, at St. Cecilia’s, he and M'Glashan have a joint benefit: in the same month he and l’uppo play at more than one concert ‘between two acts of the Play ’ at the ‘Theatre Royal’; and there is no doubt that Reinagle helped his friend Puppo with his venture of those ‘ morning concerts ’ in 1779.    .

In 1779, Reinagle was living at the foot of Blackfriars’ Wynd; in 1785, at Morrison’s Close, scale stairs.

We next hear of him playing in concertos with Cramer and others in London, after two years’ sojourn in Dublin, where he had gone in 1785, on the invitation of Lord Westmoreland, the Lord Lieutenant.

He returned to London and played at Salomon’s concerts as principal ceiloist during the time that Haydn conducted them. Haydn was in London in 1790, and again in 1794.

By 1821 Reinagle had gone to Oxford, for he writes to Nathaniel Gow from there. He had been well received in the old city some years previously when he went to play at the Oxford concerts, and on the advice of Lord Abingdon he settled there, where he died in 1836.

Reinagle published five works, and left behind him a quantity of mss.—overtures, trios and duets for violins and pianoforte. One of his works is A Treatise on the Violoncello. Joseph Reinagle, senior, .married a Scotswoman—Annie Laurie—and their daughter, Maria Anna Theresa, Mrs. J. G. C. Schetky, is thus described by her daughter:—

‘My mother was a highly accomplished artist in both painting and music, having a splendid voice. She painted in various styles, but miniature-painting was her forte. How excellent she was in all respects, a perfect lady in manner and goodness and piety— such a wife and mother in devotedness, and so beloved and respected! I was never so happy as by her side.’

J. Cm C. Schetky thus married the daughter of Joseph Reinagle the elder, and sister of Joseph Reinagle the younger.

Thomson’s list proceeds :—

‘Mr. Barnard, a very elegant violinist.’ Mr. Barnard is, we fear, almost unknown to posthumous fame, whatever he might have been to contemporary. Mr. Barnard is mentioned in a concert given in St. Cecilia’s on December 8th, 1779, for at a benefit on behalf of Mrs. Marchetti ‘a clarinet concerto by Mr. Barnard’ is announced.

Thomson continues :—‘ The most accomplished violin-player I ever heard, Paganini only excepted—I mean Giornovicki, who possessed in a most extraordinary degree the various requisites of his beautiful art; execution particularly brilliant and finely articulated as possible, a tone of the richest and most exquisite quality, expression of the utmost delicacy, grace, and tenderness, and an animation that commanded your most intense and eager attention. Paganini did not appear in Edinburgh till thirty years after the hall was closed’ (it was closed in 1800: Paganini played in Edinburgh in 1831).  ‘There, as well as at private parties, I heard GiornovicKi often, and always with no less delight than I listened to Paganini. Both, if I may use the expression, threw their whole hearts and souls into their Cremonas, bows, and fingers.’ This is indeed high praise; but one who heard Paganini, the acknowledged king of violinists, ought to have been able to judge. We have known one person who heard Paganini play—an old lady who died in 1897, aged eighty-one; as a girl she had heard Paganini in the Music Hall in George Street.

Giovanni Marie Giornovichj, as he is known to have signed his name, but sometimes styled in England John M. Giornovicki, Jarnowick, or even Jornelli, was born at Palermo in 1745, and died at St. Petersburg in 1804. A pupil both in ‘ music and morals ’ of the somewhat famous and rather notorious Lolli, Giornovicki made his debut in Paris in 1770, where, having played a concerto of his master’s which did not ‘take,’ he substituted for it ‘a thing of his own composing ’ which did.

Domenico Dragonetti, one of the greatest doublebass players of his day, is said to have declared of Giornovicki that his violin-playing was the most elegant and graceful he had ever heard previously to Paganini’s, but that perhaps it lacked power. George Hogarth writes of his performance thus:—‘Jarnowick was but a slender musician. His concertos are agreeable and brilliant, but destitute of profundity and grandeur. His performance was graceful and elegant, and his tone was pure.’

Hogarth, an Edinburgh man, presumably heard Giornovicki during his Edinburgh visit, which was not earlier than 1796 nor later than that.

The latter date is fixed rather curiously thus : there is in the possession of Mr. John Glen a copy of ‘Mr. Jarnovichi’s Reel,’ published by Gow and Shepherd, 41 North Bridge Street. This firm removed to Princes Street in 1801. We have heard Mr. Glen play the opening bars of the reel, sufficient to show that this Italian had very successfully imitated the Scottish style of dance music.

On May 4th, 1791, Giornovicki gave his first London concert—then as now a great event in the musical life of any professional. Gifted as this Sicilian was, he was both insolent and conceited, and as a natural result was for ever offending and quarrelling with people. On one occasion it is related that he so far forgot himself as to strike the Chevalier St. George, himself both a violinist and a swordsman, whereupon the Prince, instead of challenging him, merely said, ‘I have too much regard for his musical talent to fight him.’ More serious was a quarrel with J. P. Cramer, which resulted in Giornovicki being called out to a duel. We do not know how it ended, but Giornovicki is said to have been a good swordsman. His death in St. Petersburg took place quite suddenly in 1804.

From Parke’s Musical Memoirs} which cover the interval from 1784 to 1830, we glean some further but merely gossipy information about this musician. W. T. Parke, who was for forty years principal oboist to the Theatre Royal, Covent Garden, under date March 12th, 1793, writes thus of a performance in the ‘new Theatre Royal, Drury Lane'. At the end of the second act, a concerto was performed on the violin by 1 London, 1830.

Mr. Jarnovicki. Jarnovicki displayed a fine round and sweet tone; his execution was brilliant, and his style natural and pleasing. His concerto, though difficult, was full of melody, and he played it with great ease. He was generally and vehemently applauded.’

Further on1 we read:—‘His Royal Highness the Duke of York gave a grand concert of instrumental music at York House, Piccadilly, at which their Majesties and the Princesses were present. . . . Jarnovicki was to have played a concerto on the violin, by desire of her Majesty, who had never heard him perform, but on coming into the room just before the music commenced, and perceiving Salomon there (to whom he bore a violent hatred), Jarnovicki vented his spleen by leaving the house immediately. This insolent foreigner, who suffered professional jealousy to supersede the respect due to the Queen of a great nation, deserved punishment for his presumption.’ Jarnovicki once wanted to call a coach in Tottenham Court Road, and although he had been in London for several years (since 1789), he could not summon up enough English to direct the driver to his house. At last he exclaimed, ‘ Malbrouk s’en va-t-en guerre,’ which enabled the bystanders to guess that he meant Marlborough Street.2

Parke gives us a few details about this man. that musical Hotspur, died at St. Petersburg in the year 1804, of apoplexy. He was an accomplished violin player, and his music is melodious and pleasing. He was not, however, a profound musician, as he merely wrote the subjects and solo parts of his concertos, and employed an abler theorist than himself to harmonise them. Jarnovicki was highly patronised while in England, but his violent disposition disgusted most of his supporters.’ Parke tells us that George iv., when Prince of Wales, learned the violoncello under John Crosdill, and that at the Prince’s musical parties Jarnovicki was sometimes present.

The next performer we shall notice isanother name not to be found in Grove. He appears to have succeeded Puppo in 1783, Puppo having resigned in the previous year, as leader and first violin in the St. Cecilia’s orchestra, which post he held till the concerts were given up.

In Kay’s Portraits, on the. plate for page 293, we have a portrait of this man along with four others: Stabilini’s is the right upper one of the set. The letter press says of it:—‘ A capital resemblance of an Italian musician, Hieronymo Stabilini, who was a native of Rome and came to Edinburgh about the year 1778. The musical talents of Stabilini were much admired, and although, unlike the modern Orpheus, Paganini, he could not “discourse sweet airs” from a single piece of catgut, his performances on the four pieces were generally admired.’ The date of Stabilini's arrival in Edinburgh was 1783, although it was not until the following year that his name appeared on a St. Cecilia concert programme.

It appears that Stabilini, who was no horseman, was unfortunate enough to injure his ‘bow arm’ on one occasion at Leith races, after which accident it was remarked that he never played quite so well as before.

George Thomson evidently did not think quite so highly of Stabilini’s technique as the writer in Kay's Portraits, for he says of him:—‘He had a good round tone, though to my apprehension he did not exceed mediocrity as a performer.’

Stabilini figures in Stewart Watson’s picture, ‘ The Inauguration of Robert Burns as Poet-Laureate of the Lodge Canongate Kilwinning No. 2.’ He is the second figure from the extreme left in front of the organ, as will be seen from the port’on of the picture reproduced on page 139. To quote again from A Winter •with Burns, we find the following slight notice of ‘No. 27, Signor Stabilini, North Bridge.

‘To give them music was his charge.—-BURNS.

Signor Stabilini, an Italian, was a celebrated player on the violin, and during this winter was giving weekly concerts in Edinburgh of vocal and instrumental music in conjunction with Signors Urbani, Torrigiani, Corri, and others. Turns writes more than once in reierence to his attendance at those concerts:—“ The members of the lodge, on account of the prevalent predilection for music, induced the attendance and services of the first professional talent which the city could command.”’ It will be noticed that the line from Burns given above was the one intended in ‘Tam o' Shanter’ to apply to the devil,—there are those who would not disapprove of the extension of the application.

Stabilini was a member of the Royal Edinburgh Volunteers, his name appearing not far from Schetky’s in a printed roll of the corps. Mr. John Glen has a copy of this exceedingly rare book.

Stabilini was no blind admirer of Corelli, for it is recorded that on being asked at supper, after a concert at which certain of that composer’s trios had been much applauded, what sort of music they had been having, he replied:

‘A piece av toarky for a hungree bellee Is moatch supeerior to Corelli.’

Stabilini was, to put it mildly, a bun vivant-, Chambers describes him as ‘ broken down by dissipa tion.’ The following is told of him in Kay's Portraits:

Stabilini was particularly intimate with Corri, a countryman of his own and teacher of eminence, who built the music-rooms called the Adelphi Theatre at the head of Broughton Street. One evening he and Corri had sat down for a convivial time, having provided themselves with Scotch whisky in place of the light wines of their own country, with the result that evening became night and night the “small hours” before either was aware of it. At last Stabilini rose, and opening a shutter exclaimed, “Corri, Corri, begar, it’s to-morrow! From this we see that to-morrow comes only to those who don’t know day from night.

Stabilini has left many traces of himself in contemporary periodical literature.

On February 17th, 1785, Stabilini had a benefit concert in St. Cecilia’s Hall; in June he played the first violin at a concert of Mr. Aitkin’s in Dunn’s Assembly Rooms, and in July in the same place he and Corri gave a joint concert.

In Stark’s Picture of Edinburgh1 we have the following account of Stabilini’s arrival in Edinburgh: ‘After Puppo had withdrawn himself from the weekly concerts, the Directors were at no small pains to get a proper person to supply his place as the leader of the orchestra. At this time a young performer of promising celebrity as a violin .player appeared at Rome, 1800.

The Directors resolved to invite him to settle in the Scottish capital. The offer was accepted, and Signor Stabilini arrived at Edinburgh in the year 1783. The performer made his first essay in such a style as to gain unqualified approbation, and he was declared not unworthy to succeed his celebrated predecessor. But Signor Stabilini, though a respectable performer, probably from the want of rivalship in his department, has never advanced beyond the limits to which his talents had already arrived. He, however, still continues a favourite with the public, and though better performers sometimes visit the metropolis, he is still to be considered as the first resident violin player in Edinburgh.’

This is qualified praise, but it is interesting as having been written while the subject of it was still alive. In 1787 Stabilini’s house was in 6 Shakespeare Square. In 1790 Stabilini was living in a house at the north side of St. James’s Square; six years later in North St. James’s Street. In the year 1790 he and Schetky produced at the Theatre Royal ‘ a superb pantomimic spectacle’: Schetky wrote the music, Stabilini conducted.

This musician is said to have been a great favourite of Mr. Skene of Skene. He died at Edinburgh, and was buried in the graveyard of St. Cuthbert’s or the ‘West Kirk.’ The tombstone may be seen to this day, built into the old wall that skirts the ground on the right of the pith leading from the main or west entrance. The stone is surmounted by a lyre, below which is written ‘ Muta Jacet,’ and it bears the following inscription:—‘Memorise Hieronymi Stabilini; amici moerentes posuerunt. Romse natus; Edinte ob' ;; Mens. Jul. mdcccxv. ALtat liv.’

By the kindness of Mr. Ferguson of the Record Office (City Chambers, Edinburgh), we are able to give the entry of the interment of Stabilini’s remains :—

‘July 1815.—West Kirk. Mortality Ledger. Stabelino, 16th, Greitoni Stabelino from Rose Street. On shoulders. An Italiarc Musician ; lys 6 ft. N. Glespie’s2 trough stone. Age 53. Dropsy.’

We can picture the scene so well: the poor foreign musician dying of dropsy in his humble lodgings in Rose Street—so emphatically even at that time a ‘back street,’ whichever way you take it—and then carried out ‘feet foremost,’ as the saying is, on the shoulders of one or two friends, presumably his late boon-companions, to be laid in that historic old churchyard, and then—forgotten. Fifty-three years separate ‘Romse natus’ from ‘Edinse obiit.’

The Scots Magazine for 1815 contains the following in its obituary:—

‘13th July 1815.—At Edinburgh, Gerolamo Stabilini, a native of Rome, for twenty-three years past well-known as the leader of the Edinburgh Concerts. This performer’s execution as well as his expression, particularly as an adagio player on the violin, have been seldom equalled, and his loss will long be remembered with regret by the admirers of music in this metropolis.’

The following occurs in Stenhouse’s Lyric Poetry and Music of Scotland, 1853, as a note on the song,

I'll aye ca’ in by yon town ’:— The fine old air called “I’ll gang nae mair to yon town,” which was the first line of an old ballad. . . . The tune appears in Oswald’s Caledonian Pocket Companion. . . . This air was introduced as a rondo with variations in a violin concerto composed by the late Mr. Giralamo Stabilini, and performed by him at Edinburgh with great applause.’

The editor of ‘ Paterson’s Edition ’ of the Poems of Robert Burns is responsible for the following:—‘ It may interest some readers to be told that the air was a marked favourite of King George iv.’ (The air alluded to is ‘I’ll gang nae mair to yon town.’)

1 Signor Girolamo Stabilini introduced it as a rondo with variations in a violin concerto which was performed between the play Rob Roy and the after-piece on the occasion of his Majesty attending the Theatre of Edinburgh in 1822, and it was observed that the King drummed with his fingers to the music while sitting in his box.’

Dalzell,1 speaking of violins made by Guarnerius, says : ‘ Stradivarius had been long the maker in highest repute, but now Joseph Guarnerius begins to rival him, and some even gave his instruments the preference. One of superior quality, the workmanship of this latter artist, made in 1732, was brought from Rome in 1783 or 1784 by Girolamo Stabilini, the last leader of the Gentlemen’s Concert in St. Cecilia’s Hall which subsisted long in the northern metropolis.’

Wilhelm Cramer, or the ‘elder Cramer,’ was born at Manheim about 1730 (some give 1745), and died in London in 1805 (some give 1799). He was the father of a much better known man, Johann Baptist Cramer, but both were excellent violinists. It is with the elder Cramer that we are concerned in the history of St. Cecilia’s, although he was accompanied on his first visit to Edinburgh by his son Johann,‘even then a wonderful pianist.’ Later, we are told, their assistance was anxiously sought for in every orchestra of importance throughout the kingdom.’

Just as Reinagle had hospitably received Schetky as a stranger from Germany, so we are told did the Schetkys in their turn entertain the Cramers on their musical tour through England and Scotland.

‘When John (i.e. J. C. Schetky) was about six years old (1784 or 1785) . . . Mr. and Mrs. Cramer came from Germany, bringing their son John (afterwards the celebrated composer and even at that time a wonderful pianist), on a musical tour through England and Scotland; and on reaching Edinburgh were received by my grandfather with his accustomed hospitality.’ J. B. Cramer was indeed one of the indispensable conditions of the success of a fashionable concert in London between 1790 and 1830: he was great as a violinist and great as a conductor both at concert, opera, and oratorio. He had thee three of all the houses of the aristocratic patrons of music, including the Prince Regent’s.

The father had, however, no mean career: in 1784 and in 1787 he led the violins at the Handel Festival in Westminster Abbey. Thomson writes of a visit of his to Edinburgh :—

‘When the celebrated leader, the elder Cramer, visited St. Cecilia’s Hall and played a charming spirited overture of Haydn’s, an old amateur next to whom I was seated, asked me: “ Whose music is that now?” “Haydn’s, sir,” said I. “Poor newfangled stuff! ” he replied. “ I hope I shall never hear it again.” ’

The Edinburgh Evening Courant of July 30th, 1785, has the following interesting paragraph:—‘ At the oratorio of “ Samson ” last night at St. Cecilia’s Hall, Mr. Cramer, the leader at the commemoration of Handel, conducted the orchestra with his usual ability.’ . . . ‘Young Mr. Cramer on the pianoforte was most deservedly admired.’ Tenducci sang at this concert. ‘Mr. Cramer’s benefit on Tuesday next’ is a further announcement: this alludes to a concert which was announced on August ist, 1785, to be postponed on account of an appearance of Mrs. Siddons at the Theatre Royal. This brings the time and the manner of the time vividly before us : ‘mutual accommodation was the excellent plan adopted here,—it was also a most wise one, for it was not to be expected that Cramer would have had many at St. Cecilia’s on the same night that Siddons was declaiming in Shakespeare Square.

Franz or Francois Cramer was the second son of Wilhelm Cramer; he was born at Schwetzingen, near Manheiin, in 1772. He also was a famous ‘leader of the band’ in London.

Thomson’s list concludes with ‘ Stephen Clarke, an excellent organist and harpsichord player, and twelve or fifteen violins, basses, flutes, violas, horns, and clarionets, with extra performers often from London.’ ‘From London’—quite as in our own day: London is called in when anything very special is wanted.

Stephen Clarke, however, represented in excellent style the native school of composers, and was concerned in no insignificant way in furnishing airs for the various collections of Scots songs for which Burns wrote so much. He was most serviceable to Burns and his collectors, not only in composing airs, but in ‘ taking down ’ tunes while they were being sung or whistled.

Clarke was a teacher of music in Edinburgh, and also organist to the 'Episcopal Chapel in the Cowgate,’ Old St. Paul’s in South Gray’s Close, now St. Patrick’s Roman Catholic Church. In 1785 he was living in Gosford’s Close, Lawnmarket. Clarke died in Edinburgh, August 6th, 1797, and was succeeded by his son William, who harmonised some of his fathers tunes for Johnson’s Musical Museum, but was very much less talented.

The origin of the tune, ‘Ca’ the yowes to the knowres,’ is interesting. Burns says:—‘I am flattered at your adopting “Ca’ the yowes to the knowes,” as it was owing to me that it ever saw the light. About seven years ago I was well acquainted with a worthy little fellow' of a clergyman, a Mr. Clunie, who sang it charmingly then, and, at my request, Mr. Clarke took it down from his singing.’

Again, as to ‘ Ye banks and braes o’ bonnie Doon ’ he writes:—‘ This air, I think, might find a place among your hundred. . . . Do you know the history of the air? It is curious enough. A good many years ago, Mr. James Miller, writer in your good town, a gentleman whom possibly you know, was in company with our friend Clarke, and, talking of Scottish music, Miller expressed an ardent ambition to be able to compose a Scots air. Mr. Clarke, partly by way of joke, told him to keep to the black keys of the harpsichord, and preserve some kind of rhythm, and he would infalibly compose a Scots air. Certain it is that in a few days Mr. Miller produced tne rudiments of an air which Mr. Clarke with some touches and corrections fashioned into the tune in question. . . . This account which I have just given you, Mr. Clarke informed me of several years ago.’

‘Mr. Clarke’ is frequently mentioned in the Burns-Thomson letters. Thus in the seventh (7 th April 1793) Burns writes :—‘ “ Craigieburn Wood,” in the opinion of Mr. Clarke, is one of our sweetest Scottish songs. He is quite an enthusiast about it; and I would take his taste for Scottish music against the taste of most connoisseurs.’

Again in letter xiii. (September 1793), writing of the ‘Scots wha hae’air, he says:—‘Clarke's set of the tune, with his bass, you will find in the Museum; though I am afraid that the air is not what will entitle it to a place in your elegant selection.’

Again Burns writes of Clarke, ‘ You know his taste is a standard.’ In letters xvii., xviii., xx., and xxv. this musician is further mentioned.

Clarke ‘took down’ the tune put to Burns’s song, ‘What will I do gin my hoggie die’ from an old woman’s singing it while spinning outside her cottage in a hamlet of Liddesdale. In the same way he preserved the air to an old ballad, ‘Our guidman came hame at e'en,’ while it was being sung by an old man of the name of Geikie, a barber in the Candlemaker Row in Edinburgh.

Clarke composed several Scottish tunes. Stenhouse in his Lyric Poetry and Music of Scotland, writes:— ‘In the Museum, the ballad of “William and Margaret” by Mr. Hallet is adapted to a beautiful slow melody which was composed by the late Mr. Stephen Clarke of Edinburgh, organist.’

Again,4 speaking of the anonymous song, ‘Chanticleer wi’ noisy whistle,’ he says :—‘ The words are adapted to a fine melody which was composed by the late Mr. Stephen Clarke.’

Once more, it appears that Clarke composed the tune for Burns’s patriotic song, ‘Does haughty Gaul invasion threat?’ written in 1795. The song with Clarke’s music was distributed amongst the Dumfries Volunteers, the corps of which Burns was a member. Burns calls it his ‘Volunteer Ballad,’ and says:—‘Our friend Clarke has indeed done well. I have not met with anything that has pleased me so much.’

Burns relied very much on Clarke’s critical judgment: having written the song, ‘Here’s to thy health, my bonnie lass,’ for Johnson’s Museum, he submits two tunes for it, asking Clarke to adopt whichever he likes best.

It is always interesting to know a man’s favourite tune—especially a composer’s. Clarke's was the tune, ‘The Braes of Balquhidder.’ Clarke wrote below the song set to it—‘ And I’ll kiss thee yet ’—‘ I am charmed with this song almost as much as the lover is with “Bonnie Peggy Alison.”—S. C.’

It was to gratify Stephen Clarke that Burns wrote the very pretty song, ‘ Phillis the Queen o’ the Fair.’ The heroine of it had a name in itself almost enough to annihilate the very first strivings towards articulation of the most fervent poetical spirit that ever burned in a male breast—Miss Philadelphia MacMurdo.

In the painting of Burns’s installation as poet laureate of the Canungate Kilwinning Lodge, No. 33 in the musician group is named ‘ Samuel Clarke,  ‘ Quite a martial tune ’ (Mr. John Glen).

organist of Cowgate Chapel.’ This is clearly a mistake for Stephen Clarke, who was, as we have seen, a contemporary of Burns and also organist of the Cowgate Chapel.

In 1790 Clarke was living at 6 Canal Street.

The Professional Orchestra Proper.

After so great a lapse of time it is a matter of considerable difficulty to discover the names of the men who made up the ‘ rank and file ’ of that old St. Cecilia Orchestra ; but the first Directory of Edinburgh ever published ought to prove something more than a broken reed.

It was published in 1774, and the following is a complete list of musicians and music-sellers wh;ch appeared in it:—

‘Robert Bremner, music shop at the Cross.
John Clark, Organist, Blackfriars’ Wynd.
Robert Hutton, Musician, Kennedy’s Close.
Robert M'Intosh, Musician, Sk'nner’s Close.
John MTherson, Musician, Bell's Wynd.
Neil Stewart, music shop, Parliament Close.
John Smiton (Smeaton), Musician, Henderson’s Land.
George Cooper, Music-master, back of the Exchange.
John Grewar, Musician, entry to Gavinloch’s Land.’

These were the musicians known to be living in Edinburgh in 1774 : not one is entered as a teacher of singing; the majority of them we may therefore conclude were instrumentalists who earned their daily bread by playing for it, and if so, we seem fully justified in believing that in the list before us we have the names of the very men who formed the nucleus of the orchestra in this old place twelve years after the hall was built.

Two things strike us as very interesting when we scan this list: first, that all these men lived within a few hundred yards of the Niddry Wynd; and in the second place, that the number of professional musicians in 1774 is surprisingly large, both absolutely, and especially relatively to the numbers of members of other professions in Edinburgh.

The large number in 1774 is still more striking when compared with the list of musicians in 1805, four or five years after the hall was closed.

It is as follows, from the Edinburgh Directory of 1805:—

'G. Stabilini, 1 North St. James’s Street.
Urbani and Liston, Music-sellers, 10 Princes Street.
N. Corri, Music-seller, Concert Rooms, Leith Walk.
William Clark, Music teacher, 6 James Street.’

No concert—no orchestra. Of these not one is entered as a ‘musician’; Urbani, Liston, and Corri appear as music-sellers; Stabilini and William Clark we know were instrumentalists—they are but two.

This corresponds exactly with what we know about the dead state of music, and indeed of all art, at this time in Edinburgh : we cannot but feel the sharpness of the contrast with its very vital state thirty years earlier, when the St. Cecilia concerts v*ere in full swing.

The century had opened gloomily: the political stability of Europe was being threatened by the insane ambition of one man, through whom this country was being drained of money, and thrown into a state of acute depression which affected all departments of life, but, naturally, more especially the departments of Art.

The Professional Vocalists.

By far the greatest of the professional singers who ever sang at St. Cecilia’s was Gitjsto Ferdinando Tenducci. He was born in the town of Sienna about 1736, and died early in this century somewhere in Italy. From the place of his birth, he was sometimes known in his own country as ‘ Senesino.’ He had been trained in singing by Ferdinando Bertoni, a celebrated Italian singing-master. In 1758, Tenducci came over to London, where his magnificent voice almost at once won for h'm critical recognition. He supplanted a singer Guadagni, and became the hugely paid, fashionable idol of the hour. His first public appearance was in a piece called Attalio, but it was not until he had sung in the opera Giro riconosciuto, which was performed in the beginning of 1759, that his first-rate talents were fully perceived. In 1764 he met Mozart in London, and in 1784 and 1791 sang in the Handel Festivals. Previously he had ‘ made a hit,’ singing in I)r. Arne’s Artaxerxes, and shortly afterwards accompanied Arne upon a tour to Scotland and Ireland, which brought him back to London in 1765. He paid several visits to Edinburgh, staying occasionally, according to some accounts, with the noble family of Hopetoun, whom Thomson describes as his ‘patrons,’ and on these occasions always gave one or two concerts in the Niddry Wynd.

Thomson describes these as causing quite a 'sensation ’ amongst the local musicians, and continues ‘I considered it a jubilee year whenever Tenducci arrived, as no singer I ever heard sang with more expressive simplicity, or was more efficient, whether he sang the classical songs of Metastasio, or those of Arne’s Artaxerxes, or the simple melodies of Scotland. To the latter he gave such an intensity of interest by his impassioned manner and by his clear enunciation of the words, as equally surprised and delighted us.

I never can forget the pathos and touching effect of his “Gilderoy,” “Lochaber no more,” “The Braes of Ballenden,” “I’ll never leave thee,” “Roslin Castle.”

These, with the “Verdi prati” of Handel, “Fair Aurora” from Arne’s Artaxerxes, and Gluck’s “Che faro,” were above all praise.’

So high was Tenducci’s art, his morals could not approach it: he was extravagant and dissipated, and in 1776 had to leave England in debt. He returned, however, and published a Treatise oti Singing and the Ranleigh Songs, which he had composed. In 1778 he again met Mozart, this time in Paris, when the great master composed a song for him that has been lost.

In the recently published Life of Robert Fergusson by the late Dr. Alexander Grosart, there occurs a most interesting mention of this eminent singer:—‘More suggestive still—as it was my privilege first to publish —Tenducci became his (i.e. Fergusson’s) friend—that Tenducci who first directed the attention of George Thomson to the Scottish melodies, and so indirectly became the originator of his great work.’ . . .  It is to be here recorded that to the opera Artaxerxes, which was produced in 1769 with many attractions in the Theatre Royal, Edinburgh, Fergusson contributed three songs.’ It appears to have been Fergusson’s words to the airs ‘Braes of Ballenden,’ 'Roslin Castle,’ and ‘Lochaber no more,’ that Tenducci sang. Grosart speaks of Tenducci’s friendship for Fergusson as being an established thing in 1769, and says that long after Fergusson’s death in 1774 the great singer could not speak of the ill-fated young poet without weeping. Grosart further mentions Madame Tenducci, and he says that she also sang in the production of Artaxerxes mentioned above.

The following is the title of the publication containing the songs of Fergusson :—

‘Artaxerxes, an English Opera, as it is performed at the Theatre Royal, Edinburgh. The music composed by Tho. Aug. Arne, Mus. Doc., with the addition of three favourite Scots airs. The words by Mr. R. Fergusson. Edin. : printed by Martin & Wotnerspoon. 1769. Duodecimo.’

The performers were:—Artaxerxes, Mr. Ross; Artabanes, Mr. Phillips; Arbaces, Mr. Tenducci;

Rime ties, Mrs. Woodman; Mandane, -  ;

Seniera, Miss lirown.

The actress whose name is left blank was Madame Tenducci. The part of Mandane was written by Arne expressly tor his celebrated pupil Miss Brent, who became Mrs. Thomas Pinto.

But Tenducci resided on several occasions in Edinburgh, and practised his profession as a teacher of singing. In Kay’s Portraits1 we have a very interesting side-light upon the genial Italian’s life in this city. The subject of the sketch is ‘Mr. John Campbell,’ who in 1775 became the precentor of the Canongate Parish Church, and of whom the writer says:—‘John Campbell, . . . along with his brother Alexander, . . . became a pupil of the celebrated Tenducci, a fashionable teacher who remained in Edinburgh for some time. . . . The charge for each lesson was half a guinea, but the Italian exhibited a degree of considerate partiality for the musical brothers by affording them instructions at half-price.’ Both the brothers Campbell were present, according to Stewart Watson’s picture, on the evening of Burns’s installation as poet-laureate to the Freemasons’ Lodge, an occasion to which we have so frequently alluded.

Tenducci must have been possessed of that order of kind-heartedness which expresses itself in outward acts involving some considerable amount of personal trouble. He was anxious, before he left Edinburgh, to see his friend Campbell of the Canongate earning a larger income, and thereby justified in going the length of establishing a Mrs. Campbell. He accordingly induced the worthy precentor to sit to Allan the painter for his portrait, which Tenducci had engraved and below it had written, ‘C—p—11, P—n—r, C—g—e C—h.’ This, as a ‘ Circular.’he despatched to most of the well-known people in town, the Duchess of Gordon, Lady Wallace, the Earl of Hopetoun, and Sir John Halket, among others. Tenducci left Edinburgh without ever telling Campbell what he had done, the result being that the astonished precentor of the Canongate received a number of letters requesting his ‘professional services.’

The writer adds in a footnote:—‘Tenducci was an unrivalled singer of old Scottish songs, such as “Flowers of the Forest,” “Waly, waly, gin love be bonny,” “The Lass o’ Patie’s Mill,” “The Braes o’ Bellendean,” “Water parted from the sea,” “One day I heard Mary say,” “An thou wert my ain thing.”’ O’Keefe in his Recollections says:—‘About the year 1766 I saw Tenducci in Dublin as “Arbaces” in Artaxerxes, which I had seen in London on its first coming out at Covent Garden in 1762. His singing “Water parted” was the great attraction, as were the airs he sang as the first spirit in Comus. At his benefits there he had thirty, forty, and fifty guineas for a single ticket. The frolicsome Dublin boys used to sing about the streets to the old tune of “Over the hills and far away” :—

“Tenducci was a piper’s son
And he was in love when he ^as young,
And all the tunes that he could play
Was “Water parted from the say” .

In 1784 I knew Tenducci in London, when he set to music Captain Jeph son’s Campaign.

Seeing that Dr. Arne and Tenducci travelled together in 1765 in Scotland and Ireland, we may assume it for a certainty that when in Edinburgh with the great vocalist, Dr. Arne would be present at a St. Cecilia concert, if not as conductor of some things from his own Artaxerxes, then surely as an honoured guest.

Tenducci turns up once more in quite another situation, for ‘ when Smollett was confined in the King’s Bench Prison (1758-59) for libel upon Admiral Knowles,’ says Chambers in the Traditions, ‘he formed an intimacy with the celebrated Tenducci.’ The vocalist had been imprisoned for debt, but Smollett took pity upon him to the very practical extent of paying his debts, and so procuring his release. Years afterwards Tenducci was singing in an Edinburgh drawing-room, and when some one told him that a lady present was a relative of his benefactor, the grateful Italian, at once advancing before her, seized her hands and covered them with kisses in a manner so wholly un-Scottish, that the good lady was not a littie embarrassed in presence of a roomful of people ignorant of the cause of it all. It is extremely probable that during Smollett’s visit to Edinburgh in 1766 he would attend a concert or two at St. Cecilia’s, the place which his devoted protege could, even alone, have made famous.

Stenhouse, writing in Johnson’s Scuts Musical Museum, quotes Charles Kirkpatrick Sharpe on Tenducci thus:—

‘Ferdinando Tenducci.—This was, as far as I know, the only very celebrated Italian singer who ever visited Scotland. His arrival is thus announced in the Edinburgh Evening Courant, Monday, May 16, 1758.2 “Last night arrived here from Ireland, Mr. Tenducci, the celebrated singer.”

‘Along with him he brought his wife, whom he had married in Ireland : she also sang in public, but with a very indifferent voice, as I have been told by those who heard it. Her extraordinary platonic passion ended in an elopement with a gallant, and in a divorce which makes a figure in the trials for adultery, etc. Tenducci was a very handsome man; she a pretty, modest-looking girl. He taught music while in Edinburgh; and published a folio volume of his own compositions of which this is the title—“A collection of lessons for the Harp sichord or Piano and forte composed by Ferdinando Tenducci: Dedicated to the Right Honourable Lady Hope: Printed for the author, and to be got at his lodgings opposite Lord Milton’s, Canongate; at Mrs. Phin’s, and Richard Carmichael, engraver, back of the guard, and at R. Bremner’s music shop.” Minuets are mingled with sonatas, but only two have the names of ladies prefixed—Ladies Hope and Cunningham (Miss Myrton of Gogar). Lady Cunningham’s minuet with variations is extremely beautiful.—(C. K. S.)’

Between May 1768 and 1785, Tenducci was heard a good many times in Edinburgh both on the concert platform and on the operatic stage. His engagements are advertised in the Edinburgh Evening Courant, the first after his arrival bearing date May 21st, 1768:— ‘(By particular desire of several persons of distinction) on Wednesday, the 25th May 1768, Mr. Tenducci will give a concert of vocal and instrumental music at St. Cecilia’s Hall, Niddry’s Wynd. Particulars of the entertainment will be expressed in the bills of the day. Tickets, price two shillings and sixpence, to be had at Balfour’s coffee-house and at Mr. Tenducci’s lodgings at Mrs. Reynold’s in Miln’s Square. To begin at six o’clock precisely.’

In the same paper on May 28th, 1768, the following appears:—‘Mr. Tenducci set out this day for Ireland, but is engaged to return against the 28th of June when a concert is fixed for him,’ after which the above-given details as to tickets, etc., are repeated.

The exact date in June of the great singer’s return does not appear; but the issue of June 13th, 1768, contains the announcement of a concert in terms identical with the above, except that Tenducci’s lodging is changed. ‘ Tickets may be had at Balfour’s coffeehouse and at Mr. Tcnducci’s house opposite to Lord Milton’s lodgings, Canongate’ (the famous Milton House).

On June 20 and 27 this announcement is repeated, with the additional information that ‘ Particulars of the entertainment will1 be expressed with handbills which will be given at the door the evening of the concert.’

The next announcement bears out what we know of Tenducci’s practical kindness :—

'July 20t/i, 1768.—For the benefit of Mr. Olivieri (who is in a very bad state of health), on Wednesday next the 27th, will be performed a grand concert of vocal and instrumental music under the direction of Mr. Tenducci. . . . Mr. Tenducci acquaints that all the professors of music will not only perform on that night, but exert their utmost interest for a brother professor in distress who is not capable to wait on anybody.’

Tenducci at this time had ‘come to stay’—a long time for him; for on August 6th, 1768, anether announcement is made to the effect that ‘Mr. Tenducci begs leave to inform the public that he intends to teach singing, and will attend ladies and gentlemen at their own houses,’ his address being still in the Canongate opposite ‘ Lord Milton’s lodgings.’

In the issue of the Edinburgh Evening Courant for December 5th, 1768, the following occurs:—‘Mr. Tenducci's Concert is fixed for to-morrows night, being the 13th inst.’; and on December 21st we have : ‘ By order of the Governors and Directors of the Musical Society, Mr. Tenducci’s second concert is fixed for Tuesday, 28th of February 1769.’ Tickets were 2s. 6d.

Early in January of the next year we find Tenducci singing in a ‘ serious opera,’ the Royal Shepherd, at the Canongate Theatre, and March 8th was a benefit night for him in this same piece. He had thus been fairly busy with concert and operatic singing in addition to his private teaching, but he had contrived to publish on April 17th, 1769, the work described above by C. K. Sharpe.

By June 7th, 1769, he is back to the locality which he first patronised, Mylne’s Square, where tickets for a ‘concert in St. Cecilia’s Hall on Wednesday 21st, at which a new seranata will be performed, are to be got of Mr. Tenducci at his house in Miln’s Square, first door up the scale stairs, back court.’

Mrs. Tenducci, ‘who performs only on that occasion,’ sustained one of the vocal parts, assisted by her husband, Miss Alphez, and Mr. Taylor.

About the middle of July 1769, Tenducci was unwell, and Artaxerxes was substituted at the theatre for some other opera in which he was to have sung. At the end of the month he had a benefit performance of Artaxerxes; and again on August 5 th it was performed,

Tenducci taking the part of ‘Arbaces.’ The Tenduccis probably remained in Edinburgh until the following year, for on January 8th, 1770, ‘Mrs. Tenducci’s concert of vocal and instrumental music at St. Cecilia’s Hall’ on the 23rd of the month is advertised: address for tickets still Mylne’s Square, back court.

In August 1779, Tenducci again appears in Edinburgh, lodging at Ann Street, New Town, but without his wife, and advertises that on 3rd September, by permission of the Governors and Directors of the Musical Society, there will be a benefit concert in St. Cecilia’s for him and Signora Marchetti. On November 24th of this year Tenducci takes his benefit, and himself to Mrs. Stewart’s, third door in Gavinloch’s Land. Lawnniarket. In December 1779 he sings Scots songs at Mrs. Marchetti’s concert, Mrs. Marchetti having Puppo to play a violin obligato to her singing. ‘ Tickets are to be had of Mrs. Marchetti at Mrs. Stewart’s, Gavinloch’s Land, Lawnmarket.’ Oh! Mr. Tenducci, Mr. Tenducci, Oh!

In the Caledonian Mercury of August 6, 1785, Tenducci announces that on the 10th, at a benefit concert in St. Cecilia’s Hall, he will present his patrons ‘with a beautiful engraving by Mr. Bertalozzi, after a design of the celebrated Cipriani.’ We infer that this is an engraving of Tenducci himself: the notice goes on politely to suggest that it should not be thrown away at the door. Tenducci was at this time living at 8 Princes Street.

There is an allusion to Tenducci in a very quaint appendix to Arnot’s History, entitled ‘A Dissertation on the Scottish Mustek.’ ‘ We sometimes find a foreign master who, with a genius for the pathetick and a knowledge of the subject and words, has afforded very high pleasure ir a Scots song. Who could hear with insensibility or without being moved in the greatest degree, Tenducci sing “I’ll never leave thee,” or “The Braes of Ballendine”?’

Robert Bremner, incidentally mentioned by Sharpe, was what we would nowadays call an ‘agent ’ for musicians. Born in Scotland about 1720, he had been a pupil of Geminiani’s and taught singing in Edinburgh, besides establishing himself in business as a musical publisher in premises opposite the head of Blackfriars’ Wynd in the High Street.

He published, amongst other works, Thoughts on the Performance of Concert Music, inspired, no doubt, by his experience as agent for the Edinburgh Musical Society. About 1761 he went to London, but continued to make important engagements for the old Edinburgh Society, Schetky being one whom he sent down. He also published Tfie Rudiments of Music, with Psalmody (1756); A Collection of Scots Reels-, A Collection of Scots Songs.

Bremner died at Kensington Gore in May 1789. ‘Miss Poole, Mr. Smeaton, Mr. Gilson, and Mr. Urbani were also,’ wrote Thomson, ‘for a time singers at the hall, chiefly of English and Scottish songs.’

The ‘ Mr. Urbani of this sentence was a Signor Pietro Urbani, who was born in Milan in 1749, and died in South Cumberland Street, Dublin, in 1816, according to one account ‘ in extreme poverty.’

The obituary of the Scots Magazine for 1816 thus notices his death :—‘ Died lately in South Cumberland Street, Dublin, aged 67, after a painful and tedious illness, which he bore with resignation, Peter Urbani, professor of music, a native of Milan in Italy, where he obtained the degree of Doctor of Music. The celebrated Rontzini and Urbani were the only remaining two of that great school of science. They finished their studies nearly about the same time, quitted their native home together, and arrived in London. After some years Rontzini went to Bath, Urbani to Edinburgh, where he resided for many years with distinguished eclat. He has left an aged widow behind, a foreigner, now deprived of everything, even the means of subsistence.’

Urbani seems to have come to Edinburgh about 1784 and to have resided there for some considerable time, probably until well on into the first decade of the present century, when he removed to Dublin. In 1785 Urbani was lodging in two different places, in April at Mrs. Alexander’s, First Turnpike, head of St. Mary’s Wynd, and in July ‘head of Warriston’s Close, Luckcnbooths,’ but in 1796 his address is ‘foot of Carrubber’s Close.’ In 1792 he was living in Carrubber’s Close on the north side of the High Street. Urbani, besides singing as soloist at the St. Cecilia concerts, undoubtedly taught music and singing in Edinburgh, hence the designation ‘Professor of Music’; and was moreover a well-known character in the convivial and artistic life of Edinburgh —two departments thereof that were never very far separated from each other.

Urbani seems to have been decidedly popular while in Edinburgh, and for several years prosperous, until he embarked on a very unsuccessful undertaking thus described in the Lyric Poetry and Music of Scotland:— ‘In 1802 he and the late Mr. Sybold, the composer and harp-player, engaged a numerous and respectable band of vocal and instrumental performers from various parts of the kingdom, that the inhabitants of Edinburgh and Glasgow might be gratified with hearing some of the best oratorios of Handel, etc. This concern, though deserving of encouragement, did not succeed, and the affairs of both contractors ^ere ruined. Sybold died that spring of a broken heart, and poor Urbani, after struggling with his misfortunes for some time in Edinburgh, was at length induced to settle in Ireland.’

The old Dictionary of Musicians says of Urbani:— ‘His taste in arranging Scotch music, and even in composing imitations of it, was highly considered at Edinburgh, where he published several volumes of Scotch melodies with new accompaniments, and some of his own airs intermixed. One of his most admired songs in the Scotch style is “The Red Rose,” given in the Vocal Anthology

As a matter of fact, Urbani must have been very industrious during his time in Edinburgh, for he published between 1792 and 1804 six volumes of Scots songs, the full title of which is : ‘A Selection of Scots Songs harmonised and improved with simple and adapted graces. Most respectfully dedicated to the Right Honourable (Elizabeth Dalrymple) the Countess of Balcarres, by Peter Urbani, professor of music. Book 'Entered at Stationers’ Hall; Price twelve shillings.’

Book II. is dedicated to the Lady Catherine Douglas, daughter of the Earl of Selkirk.

Book III. is dedicated to the Hon. Lady Carnegie. Edinburgh, printed and sold by Urbani and Liston, 10 Princes Street.

Book IV. is dedicated to the Right Hon. Lady Lucy Ramsay.

Books V. and VI., published together as ‘A select collection of original Scotch airs with verses, the most part of which were written by the celebrated Robert Burns,’ were dedicated to the Duchess of Bedford.

Of Urbani’s songs it has been remarked : ‘Urbani’s selection is remarkable in three respects—the novelty and kind of instruments used in the accompaniments; the filling up of the pianoforte harmony; and the use for the first time of introductory and concluding symphonies to the melodies.’

Urbani also published in Edinburgh ‘A further selection of Scotch tunes, properly arranged as duettos for two German flutes or two violins, by F. Urbani. Book i., Price 5s. . . . Printed and sold by Urbani and Liston ’ (Princes Street).

The notice to the old Scottish tune, ‘Thou art gane awa’ ’ (new set), in Lyric Poetry and Music runs thus :— ‘This is the same air with the embellishments introduced by the late Mr. P. Urbani in singing the song at the concerts in Edinburgh. This gentleman published at Edinburgh in two folio volumes “A select collection of original Scottish airs for the voice, with introductory and concluding symphonies and accompaniments for the pianoforte, violin, and violoncello”—a work of great merit. In the preface he informs us that, having been struck with the elegant simplicity of the original Scots melodies, he applied himself for several years in attending to the manner of the best Scottish singers, and having attached himself to that which was generally allowed to be the best, he flattered himself that he had acquired the true national taste. He sung during a period of four years the Scots airs in the concerts of the Harmonical Society of Edinburgh, and for three years in the concerts in Glasgow. In both places he received such marks of universal applause as convinced him that his method of singing was approved by the best judges.’

Urbani is described as an excellent singer, and his knowledge of counterpoint is said to have been masterly and profound.

The tune, ‘O can ye sew cushions?’ was a great favourite of Urbani’s, and he gave it a new accompaniment in his collection of songs.

Urbani, though unknown to Grove, was not unknown to Burns—indeed, Burns and he seem to have been very good friends. Urbani’s name comes to be associated with the birth of two of the finest of Scottish songs, the one that magnificent ode, ‘Bruce to his troops on the eve of the Battle of Bannockburn,’ the other that sweetest and saddest of all songs, ‘Ye banks and braes o’ bonnie Doon.’

The circumstances attending the composition of the former are very well known, but they are so interesting that they warrant repetition a propos of our musician Urbani.

Burns and his friend Mr. Syme had been paying a visit to the Earl of Selkirk at Mary’s Isle in July 1793, and Mr. Syme thus writes of a musical evening at his lordship’s:—‘Urbani, the Italian, sung us many Scottish songs accompanied with instrumental music. The two young ladies of Selkirk sung also. We had the old song of “Lord Gregory,” which I asked for, to have an opportunity of calling on Burns to recite his ballad to that tune; he did recite it,’ etc. etc.

On the 30th of July, Mr. Syme and our bard set out on horseback from the hospitable mansion of Mr. Gordon of Kenmore for Gatehouse, a village in the stewartry of Kirkcudbright. ‘I took him,’ says Mr. Syme, ‘ by the moor road, where savage and desolate regions extended wide around. The sky was sympathetic with the wretchedness of the soil, and it became lowering and dark. The hollow winds sighed, the lightnings gleamed, the thunder rolled. The poet enjoyed the awful scene. He spoke not a word, but seemed rapt in meditation. . . . What do you think he was about ? He was charging the English Army along with Bruce at Bannockburn. He was engaged in the same manner on our ride home from St. Mary’s Isle, and I did not disturb him. Next day (2nd August 1793) he produced me the following “Address of Bruce to his Troops,” and gave me a copy for Dalzell.’

Burns, writing to Thomson the next month (Sept. 1793) and sending him a copy of the poem, says in allusion to the old Scottish air, ‘Hey tutti taitie,’ which he, in accordance with an old tradition, believed to have been Bruce’s ‘march’ at Bannockburn, that, as played by Fraser on his hautboy, it often brought tears to his eyes.

In a postscript to the letter he says:—‘I showed the air to Urbani, who was highly pleased with it, and begged me to make soft verses for it, but I had no idea of giving myself any trouble on the subject, till the accidental recollection of that glorious struggle for freedom, associated with the glowing ideas of some other struggles of the same nature, not quite so ancient,1 roused my rhyming mania.’

We all know the rest of the story—how Thomson, disapproving of the tune Burns alluded to, desired him to lengthen the incisive final line of each verse to suit a tune ‘Lewie Gordon,’ which he thought more dignified. Burns in his great condescension actually complied with this fiat of bad judgment, and the mutilated version was published. After some years, however, Thomson was reconciled to the original tune in connection with which everybody knows the song.

Urbani is once again mentioned in a letter to Thomson (September 1793), in which also Burns makes direct allusion to the St. Cecilia’s concert. .    .“Toddlin’ hame”: Urbani mentioned an idea uf his which has long been mine, that this air is highly susceptible of pathos; accordingly you will soon hear him, at your concert, try it to a song of mine in theMuseum, “Ye banks and braes o’ bonnie I)oon.”’ Here we are behind the scenes, as it were, in the manufacturing of a Scottish song. An old Scottish air is to be tried by an Italian musician for the first time in public at a forthcoming St. Cecilia’s concert, to verses of Burns written years before. All the world knows that exquisite wedding of Scottish pathos in music to Scottish pathos in verse, ‘Ye banks and braes,’ but all the world does not know that it was first sung in 1793 by a now long-forgotten Italian, at one of the weekly concerts in the dreary old Niddry Wynd off the High Street of Edinburgh.

Urbani while in Dublin had two operas of his performed, II Fornace and II Trionfo di Cltlia.

It will be noticed that Urbani’s collection of Scottish songs clashed as to date with Thomson's, and accordingly we are not surprised to find that he and Thomson were by no means good friends. Thomson expresses himself as to Urbani as follows:—‘... an Italian here who has published a water-gruel collection of these songs, and would see me at the devil on account of my collection’ (1800).

Musicians, however, confess that Urbani’s harmonising and accompan'ments were very good indeed. Burns, no judge of singing beyond what every one feels about good or bad voire-product'op., thus writes of Urbani to Thomson (1783):—‘He is, votre nous, a narrow, conceited creature, but he sings so delightfully that whatever he introduces to your concert must have immediate celebrity.’ In the same letter Burns admits that Urbani ‘looks with rather an evil eye’ on the collection: it was another case of I two of a trade seldom agree.’ The ‘ narrow, conceited creature ’ could on occasion be bold enough: he once sang a comic song!—vidt the Caledonian Mercury, March 14th, 1785.

From Urbani we are led on to the name ‘Corri.’ Thomson’s words are:—‘ Signor and Signora Domenico Corri from Rome; he with a falsetto voice which he managed with much skill and taste; the signora with a fine, full-toned, flexible soprano voice.’ The family of Corri was a large one: various members of it appeared in, disappeared from, and reappeared in Edinburgh musical annals ;unto the third and fourth generation.’

Domenico Corri was born at Rome on the 4th of October 1746, and died at Hampstead, London, in July 1825, as appears from the obituary of the Scots Magazine for that month :—‘ Suddenly, at Hampstead, Mr. D. Corri, well known as composer and teacher of eminence for the last fifty years in London and Edinburgh.’

The following facts are from an autobiography which he prefixed to The Singers Preceptor, or CorrPs Treatise on Vocal Music} The son of a confectioner in a religious house, the Cardinal Portocaro nearly persuaded young Corri to study for the priesthood; but his musical aptitude early asserting itself, he found himself in Naples, a pupil of Porpora. In the house of this prince of singing masters—himself a pupil of Scarlatti and the world-renowned master of Mingotti and Farinelli—Corri boarded for five years (1763-1767), and chiefly owed his introduction into the best English society at Rome to the fame of Porpora and the estimation in which that great singer was held by a section of our nobility.

Here Corri was patronised by the Duke of Leeds, the Duke of Dorset, and the celebrated Dr. Burney. Through these persons Corri was introduced to Prince Charles Edward and his brother Cardinal York. The Prince was at this time living in a strictly private fashion, and Corri spent many an evening with him, the prince playing the ’cello, Corri the harpsichord.

Following Corri’s own narrative, we read :—‘ About this time (1780) the Musical Society at Edinburgh, wanting a singer and conductor for their concerts, wrote to l’Abbe Grant at Rome, desiring him to obtain for them, if possible, either of the two persons mentioned by Dr. Burney. At the arrival of this letter, l’Abbe Grant found these two persons, namely Miss Bacchelli and myself, united in marriage. This circumstance being no impediment to the proposal from Edinburgh, ... he immediately concluded for us an engagement for three years at Edinburgh, with a handsome provision for our journey. We accordingly left Italy about three months after, and arrived at Edinburgh, August 1781.’

In Dr. Burney’s State of Music in Italy there is a curious account of a ruse practised on Miss Bacchelli in order to allow a number of English gentlemen to hear her sing. Miss Bacchelli, a celebrated amateur singer, was so jealously guarded by her father that he would not allow any of the men to be introduced to her, so that even the learned and respectable Dr. Burney himself was for a time deprived of the pleasure of hearing La Bacchelli, or the Miniatrice, sing. The Duke of Dorset and Dr. Burney having got to know a favourite walk of Miss Bacchelli and her father, contrived on one occasion to have an orchestra ready in the neighbourhood, and actually managed tu persuade the ‘ stern parent ’ to allow his daughter to sing. This she did, to the immense admiration of the Duke and the Doctor. Corri continues :—

‘The second year of our Edinburgh engagement, proposals were made to me from London by Mr. Yates to compose for the Opera House, and by Messrs. Bach and Abel to Mrs. Corri to sing at the first opening of the Hanover Square Rooms. These proposals we were enabled to accept, through the kind indulgence of the Directors of the Edinburgh Society. After this season in London we again returned to Edinburgh, which engagement we continued for eighteen years.’ During that time Corri practically lived alternately in Edinburgh and London.

Dr. Burney writes1 under date Rome, September 2nd, 1770:—‘The day after my arrival at his Grace the Duke of Dorset’s, I heard Signor Celestini (Celestino?), the principal violin here, who is a very neat and expressive performer. He was ably seconded by Signor Corri, who is an ingenious composer and sings in very good taste.’

Corn’s memory as to the date of his arrival in Edinburgh is not to be trusted. He gives it as 1781: as a matter of fact, he performed or sang at almost every second concert given in Edinburgh during 1779. As early as February 1779, ‘Signor and Signora'.

Corri’ sang at a benefit of Schetky’s in St. Cecilia’s Hall.

On March 25th, Corri had a benefit at the Theatre Royal, and his Wives Revenged had already been played.

On April 3rd, the Edinburgh Evening Coicrant announces a concert at the Theatre Royal, at which ‘Mr. Corri will play a new-invented instrument by Dr. Walker, called the Celestino, being the only one n this country.’

In April 1779, Corri had a prolonged quarrel with a Mrs. Melmoth over the remuneration due her for singing at the theatre.

At two concerts at least, both in St. Cecilia’s, Corri performed in July 1779 ; one of these was his benefit. At this time he was living at Abbeyhill.

It would be tedious to follow Corri’s movements during the long time that he figures in Edinburgh musical circles; but taking the year 1785, we find 1 Mr. and Mrs. Corri ’ as busy as ever. They sing at a concert of Clarke’s on July 25th, 1785, and at a concert on March 15th of that year not only is ‘ Master Corri’ announced to sing, but Signor N. Corri (Natali) plays in a trio—mandoline, guitar, and ’cello—by Signors Stabilini, N. Corri, and Schetky.

Corri’s ‘Ode,’ as he called it, ‘for four voices, of “Margaret and William,”’ was given in St. Cecilia’s on 10th February 1783. at a concert which was to have been Signora Corri’s benefit, but postponed on account of that lady being ‘ indisposed.’

By this time the firm of Corri and Sutherland had been established. In 179c, Mr. Corri’s address is given as Rose Court; in 1799 it was 10 St. Andrew Square; but Mrs. Corri’s and Natali’s is Shakespeare Square.

It appears that Corri was present in the musicians’ group on the famous evening at St. John's Chapel, Canongate, and that his head was painted in Stewart Watson’s picture of the scene. In the photogravure of the painting reproduced for MacKenzie’s History of the Lodge Canongate Kilwinning, there is no face to be seen in the corner in which Corri should be, and where he is described as being in A Winter with Burns. Corri is not indicated in any key to the picture, but in our photographic reproduction from the engraving of the painting, his face, though not very distinct, can be made out. In A Winter with Burnsthe following is found in the letterpress (but not key) description of the figures in the painting :—

‘Behind the Italian fiddler an extra head may be seen in the picture, raised to obtain a glimpse of the ceremony. This is Signor Corri, an Italian composer, teacher, and dealer in music. He built the rooms appropriated to musical, theatrical, and equestrian entertainments, which went by the name of Corri’s Rooms, afterwards Known as the Caledonian and as the Adelphi Theatre, Broughton Street. He took into partnership in the music business Mr. Henderson. Corri latterly became bankrupt. During the week of Burns’s arrival in Edinburgh he was advertising the arrival of ladies’ portable harpsichords, suitable for carrying in a post-chaise.’

Domenico or ‘Old Corri ’ composed and published a good deal, although little of it nowadays is- ever mentioned. His opera Alessandro nelf Indie did not, even in its own day, attract much attention when given in London in 1774; his musical extravaganza, The Wives Revenged, was produced in 1778 at the Theatre Royal, Edinburgh. He also composed an opera, The Travellers. In 1788 he published three volumes of English songs, and in 1797 entered into partnership with Dussek of the musical publishing-house, but Corri was at no time very successful financially. He wrote much for English, French, and Italian songs, which Dussek and he published.

His brother, who arrived in Edinburgh in 1790, was Natali Corri—‘Young Corri’ of Edinburgh records. Domenico’s children included :—

Montague Corri, second son, born at Edinburgh, 1784, resided successively in Newcastle, Manchester, and Liverpool. He died in London, September 19th, 1849.

Haydn Corri, third son, born Edinburgh, 1785; died Dublin, February 1860.

Antonio Corri (in America in 1824).

A daughter, born in Edinburgh in 1775, who became:

(1) Mrs. J. F. Dussek; and

(2) Mrs. John Aldis Moralt.

In Edinburgh annals the name Corri is best known in connection with rooms—‘Corri’s Rooms’—just as the husband of a very famous lady is known as Mrs. So-and-so’s husband. These rooms stood at the head of Broughton Street, on the site of the present Theatre Royal. The history of this Theatre Royal, as well as that of the ‘ Old Theatre Royal,’ opened at the end of the North Bridge, in Shakespeare Square (on the site of the present General Post Office), is told with a wealth of detail by J. C. Dibdin in his Annals of the Edinburgh Stage.

The history of Corri’s Rooms may be said to begin with a building known as ‘ Stephen Kemble’s Circus,’ opened on January 21st, 1793, Sheridan’s Rivals. Natali Corri, about 1794, took over this so-called circus (for it was only a hall), and arranged in it a series of concerts and other entertainments- -a venture that proved eminently unsuccessful. Although this was so, Natali Corri transformed the rooms structurally into a theatre, but with no better luck when performances came to be given in it. The fact is, Edinburgh was far too small and too poor a place to sustain at one and the same time the patronage of the old-established theatre in Shakespeare Square as well as Corri’s Rooms, not to speak of a third seduction, card-parties and conccrts, got up by Urbani in the Assembly Rooms in George Street.

Poor Corri, bitterly disappointed and laden with debt, seems to have been unfortunate in all he. touched, and is reported to have once said, ‘If I became a baker the people would give up using bread.’ It would appear that this story about Natali Corri owes its publicity to the pen of no less a man than Sir Walter Scott. He is writing in 1828 on the subject of the success of his opus magnum .—‘ I trust it will answer, yet who can warrant the continuance of popularity? Old Nattali Corri, who entered into man) projects and could never set the sails of a windmill to catch the aura popularis, used to say he believed that were he to turn baker, it would put bread out of fashion. I have had the better luck to dress my sails to every wind, and so blow on, good wind, and spin round whirligig.’ After which J. G. Lockhart remarks : ‘ The Corri here alluded tu was an unfortunate adventurer, who, among many other wild schemes, tried to set up an Italian opera at Edinburgh.’

In Corri’s Edinburgh, public amusements were not considered necessaries of life as they are in ours; indeed, the theatre-goers of Edinburgh, until comparatively recent years, formed a very small fraction of the inhabitants, and were considered by the non playgoing majority to be very frivolous and barely respectable people.

Corri’s Rooms changed hands, but not name, when in 1809 Henry Siddons fitted them up at an expense of ^4000 as a theatre, where performances were given at intervals for the next two seasons. This is the phase of it to which Sir Walter Scott aliudes in a letter written from Ashestief, August 15th, 1809, to Joanna Baillie:—‘. . . The theatre will, I think, be quite a bijou. We supped in it as Corri's Rooms on the night of the memorable Oxonian Ball.’

In 1816 the Rooms were used for a fete given to the 78th Highlanders, or‘Ross-shire Buffs,’just returned from the campaign which Waterloo had so satisfactorily ended. The decorations were, for Edinburgh in 1816, on a very elaborate scale: hundreds of lamps, interspersed among festoons of the 42nd tartan, heraldic shields, and trophies of all kinds from the field of the ‘king-making victory,’ blazed down upon the youth, beauty, and fashion of Edinburgh. Scenery, too, was not wanting, for a landscape, which included a painting of Edinburgh Castle, occupied the stage. At eleven o’clock in walked Neil Gow with his band of violins, and the ball began. The evening with the 78th in Corri’s Rooms was long a milestone in the mental journey of many an Edinburgh belle.

At last the name was changed, and about 1820 Corri’s Rooms became (in name only) the majestic ‘ Pantheon.’ How it became the ‘ Caledonian Theatre ’ in 1823; then the ‘Adelphi Theatre,’burned down in 1853; then the ‘Queen’s Theatre and Opera House,’ burned down in 1865; then how it was rebuilt as the Theatre Royal, burned down in 1875, again rebuilt the following year, and, we fancy, once more burned down and rebuilt—it is not our purpose to relate in detail.

The name of Corri died hard in the Edinburgh annals : we keep on hearing of Patrick and Henry Corri, nephews of Natali, as well as of Kathleen Corri. Natali or Natale Corri died at Wiesbaden in 1822, aged fifty-seven, heavily in debt, and his elder daughter Frances (the younger was named Rosalie) would have been arrested, had not our good friend, old George Thomson, who had been security at the bank for her father, taken such steps as prevented this extreme measure being carried out. Thomson became in this way interested in the various changes and ultimate sale of the property known as ‘ Corri’s Rooms.’

In Parke’s Musical Memoirs 1 we have mention made of Domenico Corri’s The Travellers, or Musics Fascination, which was produced for the first time on 22nd January 1806, at Drury Lane Theatre.

This work professed to portray the kinds of music characteristic of the ‘four quarters of the world.’ At the time it was considered a very clever piece of composition.

In the same collection of musical anecdotes we find two allusions to ‘Signora Corri’:—‘1818. The Oratorios at Covent Garden Theatre began on Friday the 16th of February, with a grand selection in which Signora Corri, Miss Stephens, and Mr. Braham sang with effect.’

Again:—‘The vocal concert . . . commenced at Hanover Square on the 6th March. The singers were Madame Foaor, Signora Corri . . .’ 

With the names of Miss Poole and Cornforth Gilson we may close our list of the professional singers and players of old St. Cecilia’s. To the present generation this lady, either under her maiden name or her married one, Mrs. Dickons, is equally unknown, yet in her day she achieved considerable fame, as may be gathered from the tone of the notice of her in the old Biographical Dictionary already alluded to.

Besides possessing a fine voice, Miss Poole had abnormally early developed musical powers, for at the age of six she could play Handel’s overtures and fugues on the pianoforte. She was born in London in 1770, was a pupil of Ranzzini at Bath, and made her first public appearance in the Messiah on the 19th February 1790, in the ‘Covent (larden Oratorios.’

Miss Poole made her operatic debut in an opera of Shield’s, The Woodman, at Covent Garden on 26th February 1791, where she appeared as ‘Emily,’ and was greatly praised both for her acting and singing. ‘ Religion seemed to breathe through every note,’ said a contemporary with reference to her ‘sublimity’ in oratorio.

Miss Poole travelled in Scotland and in Ireland in the closing years of last century, apparently between 1794 and 1797, for in the latter year she was back in London singing in the Messiah. It was in the course of this tour that the English nightingale visited the Niddry Wynd.

In Dublin, in the Crow Street Theatre, she sang as ‘ Clara ’ in The Duenna, and was exceedingly well received. In 1816 she was engaged as prima donna at Madame Catalani’s theatre in Paris; from that city she went on to Italy, where in Venice she received an ovation, and was by general vote proclaimed ‘Socia Onoraria del Istituto Filarmonico.’

On October 12th, 1818, Mrs. Dickons made her first appearance after her Continental tour, when she sang ‘ Rosina ’ in Rossini’s Barber of Seville. Her style had matured, and she delighted every one. Parke the oboist, who knew her, includes her amongst the ‘greatest singers England has produced, and whom I ever heard,’ while he elsewhere says that he wrote a number of songs ' for that great singer Mrs. Dickons,’ to be sung at Covent Garden, Drury Lane, at the Hanover Square concerts, and in the Dublin Theatre. She died in 1833.

The professional vocalist Mr. Gilson seems to have resided in Edinburgh for a number of years, to have sung at many of the concerts, and to have taught singing in that city.

The date of Gilson’s coming to Edinburgh is apparently fixed by the fact that about 1753 the Town Council passed an act ‘for improving the church music in this city,’ whereby the office of ‘ Master of Music’ was created. The Musical Society w'ere to examine candidates as to their fitness for the post, the result of their examination being that ‘ Comforth Gilson from Durham ’ was elected.

Gilson, as early as 1759, published Lessons on the Practice of Singing, and in 1769 ‘Twelve Songs for the Voice and Harpsichord, composed by Cornforth Gilson, Edinburgh. Printed for and sold at Mr. Gilson’s lodgings. Folio.’ This is probably the only case on record of a book being ‘printed for ’ a man’s ‘lodgings,’ —Gilson’s, in 1770, were in Skinner’s Close.

Gilson gave many concerts, and participated in many more, both before and after the building of St. Cecilia’s Hall. In the Edinburgh Evening Courant of December 17th, 1768, a concert of his own is announced in St. Cecilia’s Hall on the 20th of the month, and on January 4th, 1769, he is announced to sing in a pretty elaborate concert in which Tenducci and Madame Doria were taking part.

The following musicians belong to the St. Cecilian epoch (1762 to 1800), and the list contains most of the names of such as have not elsewhere been dealt with. Those evidently foreigners are :—

Signor Arrigoni (opposite the British Linen Office, Canongate).

Signor Bianchi (not Francesco Bianchi who taught Sir Henry Bishop).

Signor and Signora Doria (in March 17 6 5 in Chambers’s Close; in December in Tweeddale’s Close; in March 1769, Morocco’s Land, Canongate).

Signor Luciani (in 1770 at Mrs. MTherson’s, Lawn-murket).

‘Mrs.’ Marchetti (in 1779 in Gavinloch’s Land, Lawnmarket).

Mr. Martini Olivieri.

Signor Panelle (here in 1785 from Venice).

Signor Pescatore (in March 1765 in Skinner's Close).

Thomas Pinto.

Signor Torrigiani (in Edinburgh in February 17X7,— ‘his first appearance in this kingdom’).

‘Mr. Teckiinburgh (in 1768 and 1770 at Mr.Aitken’s, grocer, opposite Blackfriars' Wynd).

‘Mr.’ Scheniman.

Signor Sozzie (in Edinburgh in February 1790).

Signora Sultani (in Edinburgh in March 1787).

Mr. Vogel (a French emigrant who, in July 1796, gave a concert).

Of the rpst, the following are presumably British :—

Mr. Aitkun (long in Edinburgh; in 1765 in the Anchor Close, in 1796 in Gosfords Close, Lawnmarket; in 1796 he had a benefit concert in St. John's Chapel, Canongate).

Miss Alphez.

Miss Alsie.

Miss Barnet.

Miss Brent (later Mrs. Thomas Pinto).

Mrs. Collett.

Mr. Coobe.

Mr. Dow (in 1765 in Blackfriars’Wynd).

Mr. Fischer (Gavinloch’s Close).

Mr. Frank (in 1769 in Niddry’s Wynd).

Mr. Fyfe(in 1765 in Clamshell Turnpike. lie played on musical glasses).

Mr. Hutton (in 1768 in Old Assembly Close, in 1769 in Kennedy’s Close).

Mr. Holland.

Mr. Meredith.

Mr. Muschet.

Mr. Rakeman (‘master musician,’ Royal Welsh Fusileers).

Mr. Sippe (master of band of 56th Regiment, in Edinburgh in 1787).

Mr. Sheener.

Mr. Smeaton (Smieton), (first fore-stair below head of Blackfriars’ Wynd).

Mrs. Stuart (gave a concert in 1790).

Mr. and Mrs. Taylor.

Mr. Thomson (in 1770 Bailie Fyfe’s Close, in 1796 Old Assembly Close).

The Amateur Players and Singers.

It appears that both in the orchestra and the chorus of the St. Cecilia concerts, Edinburgh amateurs took a very prominent part. The names of but few of these gentlemen have come down to us, but on Thomson’s authority we can at least mention the Earl of Kelly, Gilbert Innes of Stow and 24 St. Andrew Square,

Alexander Wight, advocate, John Russell, W.S., John Hutton, paper-maker, and of course the redoubtable George Thomson himself.

As to George Thomson, he appears not only to have played the violin, but to have sung in the chorus. Innes, Wight, Russell, and Hutton also were prominent amateur members of the chorus.

As amateur musicians we shall be probably quite safe in including Hugh Dalrymple, Lord Drummore, and that Earl of Hopetoun who was the patron of Tenducci; but whether these noblemen ever played an instrument in St. Cecilia’s Hall we have no evidence. Lord Drummore seems to have been held in high esteem by the ‘ Musical Society * of which he was the Governor, for on his death in 1755, ‘the Society,’ says Grant, ‘performed a grand concert in honour of his memory, when the numerous company were all dressed in the deepest mourning.’ The announcement for this is in the Caledonian Mercury of June 24th, 1755 :— 'The Directors of the Musical Society have appointed a Funeral Concert in Mary’s Chapel on Friday the 27 th instant, on the death of the Honourable Lord Drum-more, their Governor. No member can have more than two ladies’ Tickets. NB.—The general meeting of the Society is adjourned till Wednesday the 2nd of July at 3 p.m.’ We make further reference to this ‘Funeral Concert’ at page 206.

Thomas Alexander Erskine, sixth Earl of Kelly, was born 1st September 1732, and died at Brussels 9th October 1781, in the fifty-first year of his age. Lord Kelly was an enthusiastic musician, of whom Dr. Burney wrote that he was possessed of more musical science than any man he had ever known. His mother was Janet Pitcairn, a daughter of the well-known wit, poet, and physician, Dr. Archibald Pitcairn, and from her he probably inherited his artistic bias. His musical taste was early developed, so that, as soon as he could, he went over to Manheim to study composition and violin playing under the elder Stainitz, which he did to so much purpose that on his return to Scotland he was accounted the most proficient theoretical musician and instrumentalist of his time. He composed with astonishing rapidity, and preferably for wind instruments, but was quite careless about collecting and publishing his works, amongst which are an overture, the ‘Maid of the Mill’ (1761), and symphonies which were produced at Ranelagh and Vauxhall. His lordship is also credited with having composed songs, but in all probability much that he wrote is lost. He is known to have composed six overtures, and to have conducted one of them upon a certain occasion in St. Cecilia’s Hall: symphonies, too, were amongst his productions.

The eccentric antiquary, Charles Kirkpatrick Sharpe of Hoddam, did something to keep Lord Kelly’s memory green, for he edited ‘Minuets and Sungs now for the first time published with an introductory note by C. K. Sharpe, Edinburgh, 1839.’ Nevertheless, there exists a work published in 1774 or 1775 entitled, ‘ The Favourite Minuets performed at the Fete-Champetre given by Lord Stanley at the Oaks, and composed by the Right Honourable the Earl of Kelly. Price two shillings. London: printed and sold by William Napier, the corner of Lancaster Court, Strand.’

Robert Bremner, in 1761, took out a royal licence for the sole publishing of Lord'Kelly’s compositions : from Bremner’s press was issued a collection of Six Overtures by Lord Kelly.

Vigour, loudness, and rapidity characterise Lord Kelly’s style. Some authorities think that his lordship wrote the words of the song, 1 Kelso Races.’

Lord Kelly succeeded in 1756, and was never married.

It was after the death of Lord Kelly that the Musical Society performed one of their famous 'Funeral Concerts,’ 21st December 1781—of course held in St. Cecilia’s Hall.

Mr. Robert A. Marr, C.A., in The Rise of Choral Sochiks in Scotland} has recorded some earlier ‘Funeral Concerts’ given in the same place—one on 19th December 1766 for the well-known Lord Provost of Edinburgh, Sir George Drummond, who was also Depute-Governor of the Musical Society; and one on 22nd November 1771 for Sir Robert Murray, Bart., a director, and for William Douglas, the treasurer.


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