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



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Field-Dodgson, Robert


(b London, 2 March 1926). New Zealand choral conductor and teacher. Taken to New Zealand in 1928, he became a chorister at Christchurch Cathedral, and studied at the University of Canterbury. He was appointed conductor of the Royal Christchurch Musical Society in 1949 and director of music at Christ's College from 1952, quickly earning a first-class reputation. In 1956 he received a state bursary to study in London with Boult. On his return to New Zealand he resumed his choral conducting, and took the RCMS Choir to the 1962 Adelaide Festival, the first overseas visit to be made by a New Zealand choir. He has worked as chorus master with distinguished visiting conductors, including Sargent, Groves, Walton, Malko and Cavdarski, prepared the first performance outside Britain of Britten’s War Requiem, and conducted works by New Zealand composers including Jenny McLeod and David Farquhar. In 1970 the Queen Elizabeth II Arts Council awarded him a travelling fellowship and from 1972 to 1978 he was chairman of the Christchurch Civic Music Council. In 1976 he was made an MBE to mark 40 years of service with the RCMS and 34 years at Christ's College. He has published The Literature of Music: a History of Style (Wellington, 1976).

FREDERICK PAGE/J.M. THOMSON


Field holler.


An extemporized form of black American song, sung by southern labourers to accompany their work. It differs from the collective work song in that it was sung solo, though early observers noted that a holler, or ‘cry’, might be echoed by other workers or passed from one to another. Though commonly associated with cotton cultivation, the field holler was also sung by levee workers, mule-skinners and field hands in rice and sugar plantations. As described by Frederick Law Olmstead in 1853 it was a ‘long, loud, musical shout, rising and falling and breaking into falsetto’, a description that would also have fitted examples recorded a century later. Some hollers are wordless, like the Field Call by Annie Grace Horn Dodson (1950, Negro Folk Music of Alabama, Folkways); others combine improvised lines concerning the singer’s thoughts, with elaborated syllables and melismas, such as the long example recorded at the Parchman Farm penitentiary in Mississippi in 1947, by ‘Bama’, of a Levee Camp Holler (1947, Negro Prison Songs, Tradition). An unidentified singer of a Camp Holler was urged on with shouts and comments by his friends, suggesting that the holler could also have a social role (1941, Negro Blues and Hollers, Library of Congress). Some street cries might be considered an urban form of holler, though they serve a different function; an example is the call of ‘The Blackberry Woman’, Dora Bliggen, in New Orleans (1954, Been Here and Gone, Folkways). It is believed that the holler is the precursor of the blues, though it may in turn have been influenced by blues recordings. No recorded examples of hollers exist from before the mid-1930s, but some blues recordings, such as Mistreatin’ Mama (1927, Black Patti) by the harmonica player Jaybird Coleman, show strong links with the field holler tradition. A white tradition of ‘hollerin’’ may be of similar age, but has been adequately researched. Since 1969 an annual ‘hollerin’’ contest has been held in Sampson County, North Carolina.

BIBLIOGRAPHY


F.L. Olmstead: A Journey in the Seaboard Slave States in the Years 1853–1854, ii (New York, 1856, 2/1904), 19–20

R.B. Brown: ‘Some Notes on the Southern “Holler”’, Journal of American Folklore, lxvii (1954), 73–7

A. Lomax: ‘Murderer’s Home’, Negro Prison Songs, Tradition 1020 (1957) [disc notes]

D. Epstein: Sinful Tunes and Spirituals (Urbana, IL, 1977), 181–3

S.F. Hendson, M. Wilson and the Rounder Collective: Hollerin’: the Ceased Music, Rounder CD 0071 (1995) [disc notes]

PAUL OLIVER


Fielding, Henry


(b Glastonbury, 22 April 1707; d Lisbon, 8 Oct 1754). English playwright, novelist and librettist. Though remembered principally as the author of the novel Tom Jones – itself the basis of a popular opéra comique by F.-A.D. Philidor, as well as works by Arnold (a pasticcio, 1769), Edward German (1907) and Stephen Oliver (1976) – he was the most prolific and successful playwright in England in the decade following the triumph of Gay’s Beggar’s Opera in 1728. He wrote serious social comedies, irregular topical burlesques and a series of lightweight ballad farces starring Kitty Clive, including Deborah (1733; lost – probably a jibe at Handel’s oratorio) and Miss Lucy in Town (1742; possibly a collaboration with Garrick). Cracks at ‘Signor Opera’ (Senesino) and ‘Fairbelly’ (Farinelli) are frequent, but two of his works are systematic satires on Italian opera. Eurydice (1737) is a lively travesty of the form, anticipating the tone of Offenbach: Eurydice does not wish to leave the delightful social whirl in Hell and engineers her return. The music is lost. In Miss Lucy the opera director Lord Middlesex is personified as Lord Bawble, while (according to Horace Walpole) Clive mimicked his mistress La Muscovita, and John Beard took off Amorevoli. Fielding was a brilliantly effective satirical critic of opera, both in musical farce and in his journalism (e.g. The True Patriot, 31 December 1745).

BIBLIOGRAPHY


GroveO [incl. list of works]

E.V. Roberts: ‘Eighteenth-Century Ballad Opera: the Contribution of Henry Fielding’, Drama Survey, i (1961–2), 77–85

E.V. Roberts: ‘Mr. Seedo’s London Career and his Work with Henry Fielding’, Philological Quarterly, xlv (1966), 179–90

L.J. Morrissey: ‘Henry Fielding and the Ballad Opera’, Eighteenth-Century Studies, iv (1970–71), 386–402

E.V. Roberts: ‘The Songs and Tunes in Henry Fielding’s Ballad Operas’, Essays on the Eighteenth-Century English Stage, ed. K. Richards and P. Thomson (London, 1972), 29–49

R.D. Hume: Henry Fielding and the London Theatre, 1728–1737 (Oxford, 1988)

M.C. and R. Battestin: Henry Fielding: a Life (London, 1989)

ROBERT D. HUME




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