(b c1707; d 26 March 1733). English composer and violinist. The op.1 trio sonatas were published as by J.S. Humphries, and the other works as by John Humphries; however, the sonatas and the concertos have enough in common to suggest that they are by the same composer. An introductory note to the Six Solos (1726) describe them as:
the first fruits of a young Gentleman now not above 19: and as no man, tho' of much longer Study, need be asham'd to own them, 'tis hoped the ingenious Author will meet with Incouragement suitable to his merit; and at length prove, in his profession, a credit to the English nation.
Hawkins stated that Humphries was ‘a good performer on the violin’, and that:
His success in that publication encouraged him to farther attempts, and in the year 1728 he published by subscription twelve Sonatas for two violins and a bass, of a very original cast, in respect that they are in a style somewhat above that of the common popular airs and country-dance tunes, the delight of the vulgar, and greatly beneath what might be expected from the studies of a person at all acquainted with the graces and elegancies of the Italians in their compositions for instruments.
This clearly refers to the set of sonatas published in about 1733 as Six Sonatas and later as Twelve Sonatas. They were issued in several editions, including one published by Thomas Cobb (c1734), in which there is a subscription list of 94 names, including those of seven dancing-masters. The death of ‘Mr Humphreys, a master of music’ is listed in the Gentleman's Magazine of 1733 (part 1, p.158).
The two sets of concertos were issued posthumously. The op.2 set is primarily for strings, although the title-page of the first edition, published by Benjamin Cooke (i), nos.2, 5, 7, 10 and 11 may be played with oboes or flutes in place of concertino violins, and that no.12 is ‘proper for a Trumpet or French Horn’. The second set of concertos, also published by Cooke, is more specific regarding the use of wind instruments: nos.3, 6, 8 and 10 are for strings only, with the usual concertino group of two violins and cello; nos.2 and 4 include two oboes, though as part of the ripieno texture rather than as solo instruments; no.1 is for two trumpets and drums; no.12 is for one trumpet; no.7 includes a solo flute or oboe; nos.9 and 11 are for bassoon; and no.5 is for oboe and bassoon. About half of both the trio sonatas and concertos contain fugal writing, often in the form of a French overture, and sometimes with effective use of chromatic progressions. Generally the musical idiom is strongly influenced by Italian models: op.2 no.6 ends with a long pastorale in the style of Corelli's op.6 no.8, and Vivaldi is clearly the model for the bassoon concerto op.3 no.11, with its strong unison ritornellos. Phrase lengths are often uncomfortably short, but characteristic of all the music is a rhythmic energy, and the use of syncopation and repeated notes.
6 Solos, vn, bc (London, 1726)
6 Sonatas, 2 vn, bc, op.1 (London, c1733), pubd with addl 6 pieces as 12 Sonatas, 2 vn, bc, op.1 (London, 1734), some movts arr. anon., kbd, GB-CDu, Ob Tenbury
12 Concertos, 4 vn, t, vc, bc, op.2 (London, c1740)
12 Concertos, a 7, op.3 (London, 1741)
S. Sadie: British Chamber Music, 1720–1790 (diss., U. of Cambridge, 1958)
R. McGuinness and H.D. Johnstone: ‘Concert Life in England I’, Music in Britain: The Eighteenth Century, ed. H.D. Johnstone and R. Fiske (Oxford, 1990), 31–95, esp. 50
An English bowed string folk instrument, now extinct, that resembled a Rebec. The hollowed-out soundbox of the rebec was replaced by a tin canister and the four strings were of wire. Apparently it was last in use in Dorset – see William Barnes's Poems in the Dorset Dialect, 1862 – and a specimen exists in the County Museum, Dorchester. Ritson, in ‘Observations on the Ancient English Minstrels’, Ancient Songs and Ballads (1829), wrote of a man playing the humstrum in the streets of London about 1800.
The humstrum is not the same as the ‘bladder and string’ or Bumbass, a drone instrument.
FRANCIS W. GALPIN/HOWARD MAYER BROWN
(b Halberstadt, 1581; d Danzig [now Gdańsk], 1666). German publisher and bookseller. He began printing in Danzig in 1609, and soon became the principal Reformation printer in Poland, with the support of King Władysław IV. He was a specialist in historical and linguistic books, although he also published a good deal of music. Much of this comprised monophonic songbooks, printed in a single impression using a Gothic notation typeface. In 1652 he transferred his printing house to Andreas and Ernest Müllers. Hünefeld’s output includes Lutheran songbooks by Maciej Rybiński, Lobwasser, Schnitzkius, Opitz and Artomius, polyphonic songs by Hakenberger (1610) and Schnitzkius (1618) and treatises by Schnitzkius (1619) and Peter Johann Titz (1642).
M. Pelczarowa: ‘Hünefeld Andrzej’, Słownik pracowników książki polskiej [Dictionary of the Polish book trade], ed. I. Treichel (Warsaw, 1972)
Huneker, James Gibbons
(b Philadelphia, 31 Jan 1857; d New York, 9 Feb 1921). American critic and essayist. He studied the piano with Georges Mathias, Edmund Neupert and Rafael Joseffy, and taught it at the National Conservatory in New York (1888–98). As a journalist he worked on the New York dailies Recorder (1891–5) and Morning Advertiser (1895–7) and made his reputation largely as ‘The Raconteur’ columnist for the Musical Courier (1889–1902); he was also music critic for the weekly magazine Town Topics (1897–1902), and at the New York Sun was successively music critic (1900–02), drama critic (1902–4), art critic (1906–12) and general critic (1916–17). For two years, beginning in 1912, he was foreign correspondent for the New York Times, then he wrote the ‘Seven Arts’ column for Puck magazine (1914–16). Subsequently he was music critic for the Philadelphia Press (1917–18), the New York Times (1918–19) and the New York World (from 1919).
Of Huneker's books (of which there are more than 20), most consist of material reprinted from newspapers and magazines. He popularized modern European composers in America, especially Richard Strauss; his friends included G.B. Shaw, Arthur Symons and Havelock Ellis. He was an authority on piano music, and championed Chopin, Liszt and MacDowell. Chopin (1900) is probably his best book on music; his most important non-musical books were Iconoclasts (New York, 1905; drama criticism), Egoists (New York, 1909; literary criticism) and Promenades of an Impressionist (New York, 1910; art criticism). His style was original, lively and witty, though somewhat over-allusive, diffuse and (to some tastes) sensational and too obviously clever. He also edited songs by Brahms, Strauss and Tchaikovsky and piano pieces by Chopin.
Mezzotints in Modern Music (New York, 1899, 3/1905/R, 6/1922)
Chopin: the Man and his Music (New York, 1900/R)
Melomaniacs (New York, 1902/R)
Overtones: a Book of Temperaments (New York, 1904/R)
Franz Liszt (New York, 1911/R)
Old Fogy: his Musical Opinions and Grotesques (Philadelphia, 1913/R)
The Development of Piano Music (New York, 1915–16)
The Philharmonic Society of New York (New York, c1917)
Unicorns (New York, 1917/R) [articles on Brahms, Wagner and MacDowell]
Bedouins (New York, 1920)
Variations (New York, 1921)
A.T. Schwab: James Gibbons Huneker: Critic of the Seven Arts (Stanford, CA, 1963) [incl. complete list of Huneker's books, extensive bibliography and a note on sources]
ARNOLD T. SCHWAB