Faà di Bruno, Giovanni Matteo [Horatio, Orazio] 83

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English family of violin makers of Austrian origin, who worked in London during the first half of the 19th century. Bernhardt Simon Fendt (b Füssen, 11 May 1769; d London, 1832) went to Paris at an early age, where he worked for his uncle François Fent. In January 1798 he was employed in London by Thomas Dodd, with whom he remained until about 1809 and for whom – with the elder J.F. Lott – he made many fine instruments. From 1809 until 1823 he worked for John Betts. He was especially noted for his cellos and double basses, and among his pupils were his children, members of the Lott family, and J.N. Lentz. Fendt had four sons who became violin makers. The eldest, Bernard Simon Fendt (b London, 1800; d London, 6 March 1852), worked at first with his father at the Betts shop; after 1823 he set up on his own. He was an outstanding workman and is respected for his many fine imitations of the old Italian makers. In September 1832 he entered into partnership with George Purdy under the business name of Purdy and Fendt. Purdy's expertise was in promoting the firm; among various endeavours was the sponsorship of a violin performance competition, held in London in July 1839, the first such event documented in that city.

The other three sons of the elder B.S. Fendt are but little known as makers; two of them died young. Martin Fendt (b London, July 1812; d London, July 1845) worked for Arthur Betts but made very few instruments. The third son, Jacob (b London, c1815; d London, Oct 1849) studied under his older brother Bernard Simon before entering the employ of William Davis. His instruments are almost never labelled, but he is believed to have made many imitations of Guarneri violins, often recognized by a rather garish red varnish. A fourth brother, Francis, worked for Purdy and Fendt, and by 1856 was working in Liverpool. His work is virtually unknown.


W. Sandys and S.A. Forster: The History of the Violin (London, 1864)

G. Hart: The Violin: its Famous Makers and their Imitators (London, 1875, 2/1884/R)

W.M. Morris: British Violin Makers (London, 1904, 2/1920)


Fénelon, Philippe

(b Suèvres, Loir-et-Cher, 23 November 1952). French composer. Fénelon studied Bulgarian, comparative literature and linguistics at the Ecole des langues orientales, then entered Messiaen’s class at the Paris Conservatoire, where he won the composition prize in 1977. He was resident at the Casa de Velázquez in Spain (1981–3), before going to Berlin in 1988 on a grant from the Deutscher akademischer Austauschdienst. He has won a number of national and international prizes, including the Prix Stockhausen (1980), the Prix Hervé Dugardin of the SACEM (1984) and the Prix Villa Médicis Hors-les-murs (1991).

Born of a rich and individual cultural outlook, which embraces music, literature and painting, Fénelon’s work remains on the fringes of all schools, and he does not hesitate to rethink genres inherited from musical history, such as opera, quartet, concerto and madrigal. The vocal dimension of his instrumental and orchestral scores underlines their fundamentally dramaturgical – if not theatrical – intentions. Since Salammbô, Fénelon has developed a style marked by silence and purification, the drifting of an ‘almost nothing’ in which sung words become gradually more intelligible.


(selective list)

Op: Les rois (3, Fénelon, after J. Cortázar), 1988–9; Le chevalier imaginaire (3, Fénelon, after M. de Cervantes and F. Kafka), 1992; Salammbô (3, J.-Y. Masson after G. Flaubert), 1992–4

Orch: ‘Du, meine Welt!’ vc, large ens, 1979; Latitudes, cl, wind, brass, 1981; Diagonal, large ens, 1983; Saturne, vn, orch, 1987–8; Midtown, 2 tpt, wind, brass, 3 perc, 2 pf, 1994; Pf Conc., 1996

Chbr: Maipú 994, fl, cl, hn, pf, perc, vn, va, vc, 1983; Les combats nocturnes, pf, perc, 1986–7; 11 inventions, str qt, 1988; Orion (Mythology II), cl, trbn, va, hp, 1988–9; La colère d’Achille (Mytholgie I), fl, eng hn, hn, vn, 1989–90; Ulysse (Mythologie IV), fl, cl, hn, vn, vc, 1990; Str Qt no.3, 1991

Vocal: Les 3 hymnes primitifs (V. Segalen), Mez, fl, cl, b cl, hn, 2 perc, pf, 1974; Les chants du héros (R. Tagore), S, Bar, fl, va, 2 perc, 1975; Du blanc le jour son espace (J. Guglielmi), Bar, orch, 1984; Notti (Fénelon), v, db obbl, 1990; Le jardin d’hiver (J. Guglielmi, J.W. von Goethe, T. Campion), T, SATB, ob, eng hn, 2 cl, hn, 2 trbn, 2 perc, elec org, vn, vc, 1991; 18 madrigaux (R.M. Rilke), 2 S, Ct, 2 T, B, theorbo, str trio, 1995–6

Solo inst: Epilogue, pf, 1980; Hélios (Mythologie III), clvd, 1989, Omaggio (a Tiepolo), vn, 1990; Zabak, perc, 1994


Principal publishers: Amphion, Durand, Ricordi


Feng Zicun

(b Yangyuan, Hebei province, 17 June 1904; d 25 Dec 1987). Chinese dizi bamboo flute player. Adept on both the sihu four-string fiddle and dizi bamboo flute, Feng Zicun supplemented his income as a labourer by working in the evenings as a performing musician accompanying local song and dance entertainment, folksongs and stilt dances. In the early 1920s he spent four years as a musician in Baotou, Inner Mongolia, where he learnt local errentai opera music, a style he was subsequently to introduce to Hebei province.

Following the Communist victory in 1949, Feng – now a locally renowned dizi player – was appointed to a full-time post as a performing musician, joining the Central Song and Dance Troupe as dizi soloist in Beijing in 1953. In 1964 he took a teaching post at the China Conservatory of Music, also in Beijing.

Feng popularized several dizi solos, including Xi xiangfeng (‘Happy Reunion’), Wu bangzi (‘Five Clappers’) and Gua hongdeng (‘Hanging Red Lanterns’), contributing much-needed solo instrumental repertory to the new Chinese conservatory curricula in traditional instrumental performance. Feng’s style has been characterized as representative of the folk traditions of northern China. His music, much of which consists of solo adaptations of traditional folk ensemble pieces, is typically virtuosic and ebullient in style.


and other resources

Huo Wei, ed.: Feng Zicun dizi qu xuan [Selection of dizi pieces by Feng Zicun] (Beijing, [1958] 1984)

F.C. Lau: Music and musicians of the Traditional Chinese Dizi in the People’s Republic of China, (DMA diss., U. of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, 1991), 51–4, 233–6

Zhongguo yinyue cidian, xubian [Dictionary of Chinese music, supplementary vol.], YYS pubn (Beijing, 1992), 49

Shanghai yinyue chubanshe, ed.: Zhongguo zhudi mingqu huicui [Special selection of famous pieces for Chinese bamboo flute] (Shanghai, 1994), 1–19, 497–9

J.P.J. Stock: Chinese Flute Solos (London, 1994), 13–15

Special Collection of Contemporary Chinese Musicians, Wind Records CB-07 (1996)


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