Abbildungen der Seite

perforreo,” whiempted by from that wh

performed in lich succeededluck in his fathen reigned in

dramatic music, different from that which then reigned in Italy, was attempted by Gluck in his famous opera of “ Orfeo,” which succeeded so well, that it was soon after performed in other parts of Europe, particularly at Parma and Paris, Bologna, Naples, and in 1770 at London. In 1769 he produced " Alceste," a second opera on the reformed plan, which received even more applause than the first; and in 1771 “ Paride ed Helena ;" but in 1774, his arrival at Paris produced a remarkable era in the annals of French music, by his conforming to the genius of the French language, and flattering the ancient national taste. All his operas proved excellent preparations for a better style of composition than the French had been used to; as the recitative was more rapid, and the airs more marked, than in Lulli and Rameau ; there were likewise more energy, fire, and variety of movement, in his airs in general, and infinitely more force and effect in his expression of all the violent passions. His music was so truly dramatic, that the airs and scenes, which had the greatest effect on the stage, were cold, or rude, in a concert. The situation, context, and interest, gradually excited in the audience, gave them their force and energy.' He seemed indeed so much the national musician of France, that since the best days of Rameau, no dramatic composer had excited so much enthusiasm, or had his pieces so frequently performed, each of them two or three hundred times. The French, who feel very enthusiastically whatever music they like, heard with great rapture the operas of Gluck, wbich even the enemies of his genre allowed to have great merit of a certain kind; but though there is much real genius and intrinsic worth in the dramatic compositions of this master, the congeniality of his style with that of their old national favourites, Lulli and Rameau, was no small merit with the friends of that music. The almost universal cry at Paris was now, that he had recovered the drainatic music of the ancient Greeks; that there was no other worth hearing; that he was the only musician in Europe who knew how to express the passions : these and other encomiums were uttered and published in the journals and newspapers of Paris, accompanied with constant and conCtemptuous censures of Italian music, when Piccini arrived,. and all the friends of Italian music, of Rousseau's doctrines, and of the plan, if not the language, of Metastasio's dramas, enlisted in his service. A furious war broke out at

[ocr errors]

Paris; and these disputes, says Dr. Burney, of musical critics, and rival artists throughout the kingdom, seem to us to have soured and diminished the pleasure arising from music in proportion as the art has advanced to perfection. When every phrase or passage in a musical composition is to be analysed and dissected during performance, all delight and enthusiasm vanish, and the whole becomes a piece of cold mechanism.

The chevalier Gluck, after returning to Vienna from Paris, and being rendered incapable of writing by a paralytic stroke in 1784, only lingered in a debilitated state till the autumn of 1787, when he died at the age of seventythree. Gluck had great merit as a bold, daring, nervous composer; and as such, in his French operas, he was unrivalled. But he was not so universal as to be exclusively admired and praised at the expence of all other composers ancient and modern. His style was peculiarly convenient to France, where there were no good singers, and where no good singing was expected or understood by the public in general; and where the poetry was set up against music, without allowing equality, or even an opportunity of mani. festing her most captivating vocal powers.'

GLYCAS (MICHAEL), was one of the Byzantine historians, but biographers are not agreed as to the period when he lived. Some years ago, professor Walchius published in the Gottingen Transactions an inquiry into this subject, but was obliged to confess that he could arrive at no probable conclusion, Some place Glycas in the twelfth, and some in the fifteenth century. No ancient record or writer mentions even his name, and all that is known of him has been gleaned from his works. It appears that he was a native of Constantinople; but passed a great part of his life in Sicily. Some baye thought he was a monk, but this is uncertain, nor do we know whether he lived in public life, or in retirement. His letters, however, show that he was a grammarian, and was acquainted with theology, history sacred and profane, and other branches of knowledge; and such was his reputation that he was frequently consulted by monks, bishops, and the most celebrated doctors of his time. His “ Annals,” by which only he is now known), contain an account of the patriarchs, kings, and emperors, and, in a word, a sort of history of the

i Rees's Cyclopædia, by Dr. Burney.



world as far as the emperor Alexis Comnenus, who died in 1118, including many remarks on divinity, philosophy, physic, astronomy, &c. Leunclavius first translated this work into Latin, and the whole was published by father Labbe, Paris, 1660, fol. Some of his letters have been published in the “ Deliciæ eruditorum,” Florence, 1736, and other collections. ?

GMELIN (JOHN GEORGE), a physician and eminent botanist, was born at Tubingen August 12, 1709. He was distinguished by his diligence and early attainments at the school and university of Tubingen, and in 1727, took the degree of doctor of physic, and went to Petersburgh, where, in 1729, he was elected one of the members of the academy, and in 1731 was appointed professor of chemistry and natural history. In 1733 he was selected for the department of natural history, in a commission formed by the Russian government, for the purpose of exploring the boundaries of Siberia; and set out on the 19th of August, with G. F. Muller, and Louis de l'Isle de la Croyere, and a party of twenty-eight persons, consisting of draughtsmen, miners, hunters, land surveyors, and twelve soldiers, with a serjeant and drummer. On his return to Petersburgh in 1743, he resumed the offices which he had before illed. In the year 1749 he entered upon a new professorship, to which he had been appointed, while on a visit to Tubingen, but died of a fever in May, 1755. He published, « Flora Siberica, seu Historia Plantarum Siberiæ," Petersburgh, 1747, 1749, in four parts, 4to, with plates: and, in German, “ Travels through Siberia between the years 1733 and 1743," Gottingen, 1751, 1752, in four parts, 8vo, with plates. · GMELIN (SAMUEL GOTTLIEB), nephew to the preceding, was born at Tubingen in 1743 ; where he was educated, and took his medical degree in 1763. He gave early proofs of genius, and during his travels in France and Holland distinguished himself so much by his knowledge of natural history, that he was appointed professor in the academy of sciences at Petersburgh. Like his uncle, he spent several years in travelling through the distant provinces of the Russian empire, for the purposes of scientific investigation, but ultimately with a less fortunate result. He commenced his travels in June 1768, and having tra

i Moreri. Saxii Onomast. ? Dict. Hist.- Rees's Cyclopædia.

? Dict

[ocr errors]

ested by April 1770uthern

versed the provinces of Moscow, Voronetz, New Russia, Azof, Casan, and Astracan, he visited, in 1770 and 1771, the different harbours of the Caspian; and examined with peculiar attention those parts of the Persian provinces which border upon that sea, of which he has given a circumstantial account in his travels. Actuated by a zeal for extending his observations, he attempted to pass through the western provinces of Persia, which were in a state of perpetual warfare, and infested by numerous banditti. Upon this expedition he quitted, in April 1772, Einzillee, a small trading place in Ghilan, upon the southern shore of the Caspian; and, on account of many difficulties and dangers, did not, until Dec. 2, 1773, reach Sallian, a town situated upon the mouth of the river Koor. Thence he proceeded to Baku and Cuba, in the province of Shirvan, where he met with a friendly reception from Ali Feth Khan, the sovereign of that district. After he had been joined by twenty Uralian Cossacs, and when he was only four days journey from the Russian fortress Kislar, he and his companions were, on Feb. 5, 1774, arrested by order of Usmei Khan, a petty Tartar prince, through whose territories he was obliged to pass. Usmei urged as a pretence for this arrest, that, thirty years before, several families had escaped from his dominions, and had found an asylum in the Russian territories ; adding, that Gmelin should not be released until these families were restored. As all arguing was in vain with this savage, Gmelin was removed from prison to prison, and at length, wearied out with confinement and harsh usage, expired July 27, at Achmet-Kent, a village of Mount Caucasus. Some of his papers had been sent to Kislar during his confinement, and the others were not without great difficulty rescued from the hands of the barbarians. The empress Catherine, would have rescued him by force, but this was rendered impossible at that time, by the rebellion of Pugatchef. She, however, expressed her regret and esteem for Gmelin by giving a gratification to his widow, of one year's pay of the salary she had assigned to her husband during his travels, amounting to 1600 rubles.

His works are: 1. “ Historia Fucorum,” Petersburgh, in 1768, 4to.; a subject to which botanists had paid little attention before him. 2. “ Travels through Russia, for the purpose of exploring the three kingdoms of nature," three parts of which were published in his life-time. ' A fourth

was edited after the author's death, by professor Pallas. 3. “ Journey from Astracan to Czarizyn :" and also a “ Second Persian Journey," 1772-74; ibid. 1786. Pallas prefixed Gmelin's Life to the fourth part of his travels.'

GMELIN (JOHN FREDERICK), of the same family, although what relation to the preceding is not mentioned, was born at Tubingen in 1748. He was the author of several performances on vegetable physiology, and the classification of plants; and likewise published numerous works on the materia medica, and chemistry, minerálogy, and every part of natural history. One of the most celebrated is his edition of the “ System of Nature of Linnæus." He, however, is said to have introduced great disorder into the science, by multiplying the species. He was also the author of a “ History of Chemistry,” forming a part of the history of arts and sciences undertaken by the professors of Gottingen. The world is indebted to him for the discovery of several excellent dyes, extracted from vegetable and mineral substances. He died in 1805.

GOAD (JOHN), an eminent classical teacher, the son of John Goad, of Bishopsgate-street, was born there Feb. 15, 1615. He was educated at Merchant Taylors' school, and elected thence a scholar of St. John's college, Oxford, in 1632. He afterwards received his master's degree, became fellow of his college, and took orders. In 1643 he was made vicar of St. Giles's, Oxford, and continued to perform his parochial duties, although at the risk of his life, during the siege of the city by the parliamentary forces. In June 1646 he was presented by the university to the vicarage of Yarnton, and the year following was created B. D. When the loyalists were turned out by the parliamentary commissioners, Mr. Goad shared their fate; and although Dr. Cheynel, who was one of the parliamentary visitors, gave him an invitation to return to his college, he refused it upon the terms offered. Yet he appears to have been so far connived at, as to be able to keep his living at Yarnton until the restoration. He also taught at Tunbridge school until July 1661, when he was made head inaster of Merchant Taylors' school. Over this seminary he presided for nearly twenty years, with great success and approbation, and trained for the college many 1 Dict. Hist.-Coxe's Travels in Russia.--Tooke's View of the Russian Empire. 2 Dict, Hist,

« ZurückWeiter »