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

Formellis [Formelis], Wilhelmus [Guilelmus]

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Formellis [Formelis], Wilhelmus [Guilelmus]

(b c1541; d probably at Vienna, 4 Jan 1582). Composer and organist, possibly of Flemish birth, resident in Austria. He must have entered the Kapelle of the future Emperor Maximilian II in Vienna late in 1552 or in January 1553, since in a letter of January 1578 he requested a pension on completing 25 years' service. From 1566 various entries in the court account books show that, as well as playing the organ, he taught the instrument to Archduchess Anna (who later married Felipe II of Spain). He remained in Maximilian's service when he became emperor and then served Rudolf II; both showed their appreciation of him by several times giving him substantial grants of money. Only a few of his works have survived, all of them sacred. Five six-part motets appeared in anthologies of the 1560s (one in RISM 15643 and a total of four in 15682-4 and 15686). The latter collection also includes the eight-part occasional motet Arma manusque Dei (ed. in CMM, lxiv, 1974), written in 1566 at the time of Maximilian II's campaign against the Turks. It uses cori spezzati technique, and its asymmetrical choral groupings produce dynamic gradations of a kind then very popular at the imperial court. A few other motets by Formellis survived in manuscript, together with intabulations of chansons by Berchem and Lassus (see EitnerQ and MGG1 for details), but some of these may not now be extant.



Vander StraetenMPB, ii, v

H. Federhofer: ‘Etats de la chapelle musicale de Charles-Quint (1528) et de Maximilien (1554)’, RBM, iv (1950), 176–83

W. Pass: Musik und Musiker am Hof Maximilians II. (Tutzing, 1980)


Formentelli, Barthélémy

(b Courquetaine, Chaumes-en-Brie, 21 Jan 1939). French organ builder. He was apprenticed for seven years to Victor Gonzales’s workshop at Châtillon-sous-Bagneux, and then worked for four years at Philipe Hartman and Jean Bourgarel’s workshop in Rainant, Jura before moving to Verona, where he opened his own workshop. He finally settled in Pedemonte (near Verona) in January 1964, where in 1989 his eldest son, Michel Octave Formentelli (b 28 Dec 1970), began working as an assistant. By 1995 Barthélémy had built or restored more than 100 organs, 100 harpsichords and 40 fortepianos. Among his most important new organs are those at the conservatories at Parma (1971), Piacenza (1974) and Padua (1975), Rovereto Cathedral (1975), Meymac, Corrèze (1984), Lemmens Institute, Leuven (1990), Basilique Ste Bernadette, Lourdes (1992), St Etienne de la Cité, Périgueux (1993), and Stroppari, Vicenza (1995). His major restorations have included those carried out on two late 16th-century organs, by Claudio Merulo (Parma Conservatory, 1965) and Luca Biagi (S Giovanni in Laterano, Rome, 1988).


Formes, Karl Johann

(b Mülheim, 7 Aug 1815; d San Francisco, 15 Dec 1889). German bass. He made his début at Cologne in 1842 as Sarastro. Engaged at the Kärntnertortheater, Vienna, he created Plumkett in Flotow's Martha (1847). Forced to leave Vienna for political reasons, in 1849 he sang in London for the first time at Drury Lane. He made his Covent Garden début in 1850 as Caspar (Der Freischütz) and sang there regularly until 1868. His roles included Bertram (Robert le diable), Marcel (Les Huguenots), Leporello, Rocco and Peter the Great (L'étoile du nord). He also took part in the première of the three-act revision of Spohr's Faust (1852) and the first London performance of Berlioz's Benvenuto Cellini (1853), in which he sang the Cardinal. In 1857 he appeared at the New York Academy of Music, returning there for the next 20 years. In 1872 he took part in the première in the USA of Marschner's Der Templer und die Jüdin. After his retirement from the stage in 1878, he taught singing in San Francisco. His voice combined a solid, resonant lower register with considerable flexibility, and he was particularly admired as Caspar.

His brother Theodor (b Mülheim, 24 June 1826; d Endenich, 15 Oct 1875), a tenor, made his début in 1846 at Budapest as Edgardo (Lucia di Lammermoor). After singing in Olmütz, Vienna and Mannheim, he was engaged at the Berlin Hofoper (1851–64), where he sang the title roles in the first local performances of Tannhäuser (1856) and Lohengrin (1859). Two other brothers, Wilhelm (1831–1884) and Hubert, were also singers.


H. Rosenthal: Two Centuries of Opera at Covent Garden (London, 1958)


Formes, Theodor.

German tenor, brother of Karl Johann Formes.

Formes fixes

(Fr.: ‘fixed forms’).

Poetic forms, particularly of the 14th and 15th centuries, that directly affected the musical forms of practically all song settings of the period. For French song the main such forms are: the ballade, particularly important in the 14th century (see Ballade (i)); the rondeau, which became by far the predominant form in the 15th century (see Rondeau (i)); and the Virelai, which had something of a career in the 14th century but was then dropped until its revival in the middle of the 15th century. All three involve complex repetition patterns with a refrain and music in two main sections (see Ouvert). According to the early 15th-century Reigles de la seconde rhetorique (ed. E. Langlois, Recueil d’arts de seconde rhétorique, Paris, 1902, p.12), it was Philippe de Vitry who first used them. But all three forms can be found in one shape or another in the monophonic songs of the 13th century and earlier. Moreover, none of Vitry’s songs has been identified: the earliest coherent such repertory is in the work of Guillaume de Machaut, who composed 42 ballades, 22 rondeaux and 33 virelais. Some time very late in the 15th century all three formes fixes were abandoned by composers, though traces of their design can be heard in French music through the first half of the 16th century, and the rondeau in particular continued to be cultivated by poets.

Slightly different versions of these forms were cultivated in the song repertories of other European languages. In mid-14th-century Italian music, the madrigal is important (see Madrigal, §1) but was largely replaced by the Ballata, a form closely related to the virelai. Other forms related to the virelai include the 13th-century Spanish Cantiga, the 15th-century English Carol, the 15th- and 16th-century Spanish Canción and Villancico, and the Italian Barzelletta (see also Frottola). The German Bar form is loosely related to the ballade. All of these are sometimes called formes fixes.

See also Chanson.


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