(fl 1678–98). English amateur composer and poet. A nephew of Sir Christopher Wren, he was described in 1698 as ‘Mr Fishbourn, an Inns of Court Gentleman’. He was commissioned ensign in Sir Henry Goodricke’s regiment in 1678 – the same regiment as the composer Simon Pack – and served in Flanders in that year. His literary productions include the text of the St Cecilia’s Day ode Welcome to all the pleasures set by Purcell in 1683. Eight songs by Fishburn were published in Playford’s Choice Ayres and Songs (RISM 16843/R1989 in MLE, A5a/b) and later reprinted in Wit and Mirth, iii (1707), Songs Compleat, Pleasant and Divertive, v (1719) and other similar collections (see SpinkES). They are by no means without merit and include an interesting multi-sectional setting of Beneath a dark and melancholy grove, which begins rather like Purcell’s, though the words deviate after the opening lines. Its date of publication (1684) reflects the period of Fishburn’s collaboration with Purcell on Welcome to all the pleasures.
Fisher, Alfred (Joel)
(b Boston, 30 June 1942). Canadian composer and pianist of American birth. He studied at Boston University (BMus) and Michigan State University (MMus; PhD), and has taught at the University of Western Ontario, Acadia University, the University of Alberta (chair, 1986–9) and Queen's University, where he was director 1990–97. His compositional style has been described as post-Schoenbergian, employing a chromaticism controlled both by a limited number of pitch class sets and a sense of tonal hierarchy (Lewis, 1993). Many of his works are confessional. His fascination with the Canadian North has resulted in compositions such as Cry Wolf (1977), after a Cree Indian legend. In 1980 he began to explore themes from Jewish culture and history in works such as Morning: Peniel (1980), Zakhor: Remember (1983) and Small Worlds (1984). Several of these interests come together in Six Fantasy Pieces (1982), in which the technical exploration of the potential of an interval-class set introduced in the opening movement is combined with personal elements suggested by such titles as ‘Reminiscences of Turandot’ and ‘There is my People Sleeping’, a movement inspired by a book by Sarain Stump, an Amerindian artist and poet, and built around an old Jewish folk tune. He has also written about the role of the composer in late 20th-century music and culture.
Stage: Wanderers (cabaret op), 1984
Vocal: Lamentation Canticle, S, SATB, 1969 (J.W. Goethe); Cry Wolf (after Cree Indian legend), Ct/T, fl, va, vc, 1977; The Owl at Dusk (Yiddish poetry), S, fl, vc, pf, perc, 1978; 3 Mountain Songs (H. Hesse, M. Arnold, R. Kipling), S, fl, 1979; Ps lxxxv, S, SATB, 1979; Sh’ma Ysroael [Hear, O Israel] (Bible: Deuteronomy), S, SATB, crotales, 1979; Zakhor: Remember, Bar, pf, 1983; Ancient Love (Judah ha-Levi, trans. and adapted Fisher), SATB, 1985; Kodesh (Fisher), SATB, 1992; A Heart Untainted (Lin-wu Hsien), S, pf, 1998; Dark Forest (Fisher), SATB, pf, 1998
Chbr and solo inst: 6 Aphorims, pf, 1967; 4 Movts, cl, 1978; To a Gentile Poet, 2 vc, 1978; 5 Movts, bn, vc, 1980; Credo, vc, pf, 1981; Parable and Canons, vc, pf, 1981; 6 Fantasy Pieces, pf, 1982; Sweet, fl, 1982; Small Worlds, vn, va, vc, 1984; In Darkness, vc, 1985; The Nameless Dances, vn, pf, 1987; Diary of a War Artist, nar, cl, str qt, 1989; Tour de France, sax, pf, 1990; Icon, perc ens, 2 pf, 1993; At Winter’s End (5 Sonnets), pf, 1994; Elegy ‘The Call and the Solitude’, str qt, 1995
C.Lewis: ‘Thin Partitions: Remembrance and Reflection in Alfred Fisher’s Zakhor’, Canadian University Music Review, xiii (1993), 55–70
(fl 1748–73). ?English composer and string player. He may possibly be identified with Friedrich Ernst Fischer, a musician from Hessen-Kassel at Leiden University from 1741 to 1746, where he left for The Hague. Fisher was resident in Cambridge by 1752 and active in East Anglia as a violinist and cellist between 1748 and 1773; in those capacities he is known to have played in concerts with Charles Burney, when he led the orchestra. His compositions consist of two sets each of six trio sonatas for two violins and continuo. These sonatas disclose a composer with an unusual command of both the late Baroque and the early galant styles. His op.1 (dedicated to the Musical Society at Cambridge) includes opening movements influenced by the French overture, several lively double fugues and some graceful minuet finales. The sonatas of op.2 are more assured and more forward-looking. While no.1 in G minor is in the form of a French overture (with a powerful and well-worked fugue on a chromatic subject), no.4 is close to the style of a symphony, with a vigorous, homophonic first movement and a slow movement whose emotional sighing phrases are not unlike those of the Mannheim composers. In other sonatas too this unusual emotional intensity is found (for example in the sensuous opening of no.2), coupled with a melodic gift which found particular scope in gavottes and slow minuets.
6 sonatas op.1, 2 vn, bc (London, c1753)
6 sonatas op.2, 2 vn, bc (London, c1760); nos.1 and 4, ed. R. Platt (London, 1980)
A.H.Mann: MS notebooks on East Anglian musical life, GB-Ckc, NWr