(b London, 27 Feb 1662; d London, 26 Dec 1705). English soprano. Hawkins mentions that ‘she was unfortunate in her marriage: nevertheless she lived irreproachably, and maintained the character of a modest and virtuous woman’. In fact, her ‘marriage’ was to another woman (Amy Poulter, already legally married but disguised as a man under the name of James Howard) and took place on 12 September 1680 at St Marylebone Church, London. Whether she was deceived, or had connived at the liaison, cannot be determined, though it was she who petitioned for annulment after apparently cohabiting for about six months.
She may have been the Mrs Hunt who took the part of an African woman in Crowne’s masque Calisto, performed at court in 1675. She was a favourite of both Queen Mary and Queen Anne (to whom, as Princess, she had given singing lessons). Hawkins tells the well-known anecdote:
The Queen [Mary] having a mind one afternoon to be entertained with music, sent to Mr. Gostling … and Mrs. Arabella Hunt, who had a very fine voice, and an admirable hand on the lute, with the request to attend her; they obeyed her commands; Mr. Gostling and Mrs. Hunt sang several compositions of Purcell, who accompanied them on the harpsichord; at length the queen beginning to grow tired, asked Mrs. Hunt if she could not sing the old Scots ballad ‘Cold and Raw’, Mrs. Hunt answered yes, and sang it to her Lute.
Purcell, ‘not a little nettled at the queen’s preference of a vulgar ballad to his music’, later used the tune as a bass to one of the songs in Love’s goddess sure was blind, written for the queen’s birthday in 1692. Congreve wrote an ode On Mrs Arabella Hunt singing, and other verses on her death. Kneller painted her portrait, but it cannot now be identified. There is much contemporary evidence for the beauty of her voice, but she does not appear to have sung on the public stage. In her will, proved on 6 February 1706, she is described as of the parish of St Martin-in-the-Fields.
P. Crawford and S. Mendelson: ‘Sexual Identities in Early Modern England: the Marriage of Two Women in 1680’, Gender and History, vii (1995), 362–77
Hunt, Jerry (Edward)
(b Waco, TX, 30 Nov 1943; d Canton, TX, 27 Nov 1993). American composer and performer. He studied the piano and composition at the University of North Texas (1960–61) and worked as a pianist up to 1969, performing in concerts of contemporary American and European music. Many of these concerts featured premières of works that are now considered standard repertory. His own composition was sponsored by such groups as the National Center for Experiments in Television, the Rockefeller Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts and the Foundation for Contemporary Performance Art. A commission from the Scottish Arts Council and the British Computing Society resulted in Haramand Plane: Parallel/Regenerative (1973) in which aural and visual images relate and interact.
After 1978 Hunt's main work was a series of interrelated electronic, mechanical and social theatrical events. Telephone transmission of electronic signals provided the impetus behind his series Quaquaversal Transmission (1973–83), a collaborative work with the Merce Cunningham Dance Company and a separate bilateral interactive satellite electronic performance (Washington DC–Austin, TX). (Field): CYRA (1983–4) also emphasized the interactive nature of an electronic system, but its performance in 1985 involved larger forces: the Brooklyn Philharmonic SO, conducted by Lukas Foss.
His last works included collaborations with the performance artist Karen Finley (New York), the visual and conceptual artist Maria Blondeel (Belgium), the performer and composer James Fulkerson (Netherlands), the visual and sound artist Paul Panhuysen (Netherlands) and the composer and software designer Joel Ryan (Netherlands). Always searching for new technologies to use or manipulate, Hunt was working on an interactive optical disc performance series at the time of his death.
Helix 1–8, variable inst(s), 1961–71; Sur John Dee, 0–11 pfmrs, 1963; Haramand Plane, elec series [audio/video generation], 1972–86; Quaquaversal Transmission, interactive performance descriptor, 1973–83; Cantegral Segment(s), variable insts [groups, solos, elec, mechanical], nos.1–3, 1973, nos.4–17, 1976, nos.18–26, 1977–8, no.27, 1993; Procession, audio/video, 1974; Kelley: (Drape), gesture, 1975; Pounding, perc/gesture, 1977/80; Volta (kernel), 1v/gesture/live elec, 1977; Transform (stream), 1v/perc, 1977; Lattice, kbd/perc, 1978; Phalba (stream), variable configuration, 1979; Volta (converge 1 & 2), 1v, 1980; Phalba: Ground (extractive: converge 1 & 2), perc, 1980; CANA (overlay): Converge, 1v, 1981; Ground: Field (still-core set), performance descriptor, 1981; Ground: Field (transform de chelly), pfmrs [multiples of 5], 1981–2 [with ROTA, 1984]
CANA (overlay): burst-core, gesture/artefacts/perc, 1983; Birome (ZONE): Cube, installation [mannequin, audio/video], 1983; Tango, pf, 1983; (Field): CYRA, orch, 1983–4; Volta (Birome), 1v, gesture, perc, audio/video, 1984; Bitom (stream), transactional exercise, 1984; DIOM, transactional exercise with perc, 1985; Phalba (converge), variable insts, 1985; GROUND, performance system, 1985; Tango, ens/accdn, 1985; Transform (stream): pounding (reflex), elec, 1985; Pastos (fixture), system alteration, 1985; deAbano (translation), system alteration, 1985; Fluud, system of translation derivatives, 1985; Birome (zone): Plane, performance translation/variable insts, 1985–6; Mask (Window) [ ]: SOYGA (DIOM), transactional exercise, 1986; Trapani (stream) a & b, (a): pf, (b): perc/1v, 1990; Ground (Birome): Plane, retrieval system, 1990; Chimanzzi (Olun): core, pfmrs (in pairs), 1991; Lattice (stream): ordinal, variable insts, 1991; Bitom (rota): fixture, gesture/objects, 1991; Bitom (stream): link, variable inst(s) (in pairs), 1991; Bitom (fixture); topogram, stationary performer as inst [elec alteration], 1992; Transform (stream): monopole, variable insts, 1992; CANA (bed): overlay, interactive installation, 1992; Bitom (stream): couple, pf/trbn/perc, 1992; Birome (stream): link 1 & 2, elec, 1993; Chimanzzi: link, variable inst(s) (in pairs), 1993
J. Hunt: Talk(slice):duplex, oodiscs bp 5091 (1990) [disc notes]
‘… [L]ooking to the long shores’: Writings, Reminiscences and Ideas of and about Jerry Hunt (n.p., 1994)
M. Schell: ‘Unlikely Persona: Jerry Hunt (1943–1993)’, Musicworks, no.65 (1996), 18–23
STEPHEN HOUSEWRIGHT, ROD STASICK