Oakeley, Sir Herbert (Stanley)

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Ó Súilleabháin, Mícheál

(bClonmel, Tipperary, 10 Dec 1950). Irish composer and keyboard player. He studied at the National University of Ireland, Cork (BMus 1972, MA 1973), where he was appointed to a lectureship in 1975, and completed the PhD at Queen’s University, Belfast, in 1987. In 1994 he was appointed professor at the University of Limerick, where he founded the Irish World Music Centre. Active in the academic and performance worlds, his focus in both domains has been Irish traditional music. He has written numerous popular compositions for radio, television and film, completed many arrangements of Irish folk music and made several recordings. In 1993 he founded the ensemble Hiberno-Jazz, and in 1995 wrote and presented River of Sound, a television series on Irish traditional music. A pioneer in writing for combined ensembles of Irish traditional classical musicians, which he typically directs from the keyboard. Ó Súilleabháin draws in his compositions on the musics of both orality and literacy. His concerto Oileán (‘Island’, 1989) is characterized by the deliberate avoidance of shared thematic material between the traditional and classical forces in the first and third movements, improvisation by the traditional soloist on classical motifs in a slow middle movement, and the use of tone rows derived from his theory of ‘set accented tones’ in Irish music.

Principal recording companies: Virgin, Gael-Linn


with D. O’Sullivan: Bunting’s Ancient Music of Ireland Edited from the Original Manuscripts (Cork, 1983)

The Bodhrán: a Practical Introduction (Dublin, 1984)

‘Creative Process in Irish Traditional Dance Music’, Irish Music Studies 1: Musicology in Ireland, ed. G. Gillen and H. White (Dublin, 1990)

‘Crossroads or Twin Track?: Innovation and Tradition in Irish Traditional Music’, Crosbhealach an Cheoil [The Crossroads Conference], ed. F. Valley and others (Dublin, 1999)


Oswald [Ochswald], Henrique

(b Rio de Janeiro, 14 April 1852; d Rio de Janeiro, 9 June 1931). Brazilian composer of Swiss and Italian descent. He studied in São Paulo under Gabriel Giraudon, then in Florence, where he lived for some 30 years, under Buonamici for the piano and Grazzini and Maglioni for composition. For over 15 years the imperial government made him vice-consul first at Le Havre and then at Genoa. He returned to Brazil in 1902 and was appointed director at the Instituto Nacional de Música in July 1903, but resigned three years later and taught privately. After another period in Europe he finally settled in Rio de Janeiro in 1911 as a professor of the piano at the institute, and for the last 20 years of his life he played a prominent role in Rio’s musical life. Oswald’s extensive musical production shows a strong European influence, particularly of Fauré and Debussy, and to a lesser degree, Saint-Saëns. At the same time, his works reveal his individuality, craftsmanship and refinement. These qualities are evident in such pieces as Il neige, for piano, which was awarded the first prize in an international contest run by the Paris Figaro (1902), the Piano Quintet (op.18) and the Piano Trio (op.45). Besides numerous piano and chamber music works, he also wrote for orchestra and the stage. In his later years Oswald composed mostly religious music and organ pieces.


(selective list)

most unpublished

Ops (not performed): La croce d’oro (3), 1872; Il neo (1), 1900; Le fate (2), 1902

Orch: Suite, D, 1884–7 (Florence, c1890); Pf Conc., c1888; Vn Conc., c1888; Sinfonietta, op.27, 1890; Sym., op.43, 1910; Andante e variações, pf

Chbr and solo inst: Pf Qnt, C, op.18, c1885 (Rio de Janeiro, 1937); 4 str qts; 3 pf trios incl. op.9, op.45 (Rio de Janeiro, c1910), Serrana (Milan, 1927); Sonata, vn, pf; Canto elegíaco, vn, pf (Rio de Janeiro, 1904); Sonata-fantasia, vc, pf; Fughetta, Preludio e fuga, org (Rio de Janeiro, 1930)

Pf: 6 pezzi, op.14 (Milan, c1930); Idylle, c1900; Pierrot, op.33, c1902; Il neige (Paris, 1902); Bébé s’endort; Sur la plage; Chauve souris, op.36, c1905; Variações sobre um thema de Barrozo Netto (Rio de Janeiro, ?1919); Un rêve (New York, 1922)

Choral: Messa da requiem, 4vv a cappella, ed. H. Villa Lobos (Rio de Janeiro, n.d.)


A.G. Sprovieri: ‘Henrique Oswald’, Musica d’oggi, xiii (1931), 401 only

L. Magalhães de Almeida: Henrique Oswald (Rio de Janeiro, 1952)

G. Béhague: Music in Latin America: an Introduction (Englewood Cliffs, NJ, 1979)

V. Mariz: História do música no Brasil (Rio de Janeiro, 1981, 4/1994)

J.E. Martins: Henrique Oswald, compositor romântico (diss., U. of São Paulo, 1988)

F. Borém de Oliveira: ‘Henrique Oswald: a Biography of a Forgotten Brazilian Master’, LAMR, xv (1994), 75–92


Oswald, James

(b Crail, bap. 21 March 1710; d Knebworth, Herts., 2 Jan 1769). Scottish composer, publisher, arranger and cellist. His father, John Oswald (d Berwick-upon-Tweed, bur. 2 Oct 1758), a skilled musician, was town drummer of Crail and later became leader of the town waits at Berwick-upon-Tweed; his brother Henry (b Crail, 1714) also became a professional musician. By 1734 Oswald was teaching dancing in Dunfermline. A sketchbook (Lord Balfour of Burleigh’s private collection, microfilm in GB-En) shows many features of his compositional style already in place. A set of tunes for scordatura violin (in The Caledonian Pocket Companion, x, c1760), dedicated to patrons in the Fife and Tayside area, was probably written at this time, along with the airs for violin and continuo The braes of Ballendine and Alloa House (in A Curious Collection of Scots Tunes, 1740). In 1735 he moved to Edinburgh, where his Collection of Minuets (1736) launched him as a composer and publisher; he was also kept busy as a cellist and teacher. The summit of his Edinburgh period was his Curious Collection of Scots Tunes (1740), which had an immense subscription list and included the Sonata of Scots Tunes, the fine Masonic partsong Grant me, kind Heaven and some excellent fiddle variations. In an advertisement in the Caledonian Mercury (8 May 1740) he announced that, after this book, he would set out for Italy, but instead he went to London at the end of 1741.

Oswald’s first years in London were ones of consolidation. Much of his Edinburgh work was reprinted, and he experimented with writing in the London taste (e.g. Colin’s Kisses, 1742). In 1744 he married Marion Melvill; they had four daughters and adopted a niece. A lucrative teaching practice replaced the one he had left behind in Edinburgh. In about 1745 the first two volumes of The Caledonian Pocket Companion, a cheap collection of one-line tunes suitable for flute, violin or, indeed, any other instrument, were published. This work was to be the success of Oswald’s life; it ran to 12 volumes and many reprints, and copies were still circulating long after his death. In 1747 he was granted a royal licence to print his own compositions, and set up his own publishing office and shop in St Martin’s Lane. He also moved into theatre music and started the Society of the Temple of Apollo, which was to occupy him until about 1762. The activities of the society are shrouded in mystery. Burney believed it was simply a device to enable Oswald to write theatre music at cut rates, but this does not accord with other information: the society commissioned sonatas from Giuseppe Sammartini, Oswald published sonatas by one of its members, John Reid (1756, 1762), and meetings and concerts were held at a house in Queen Square (1755, 1761).

By 1750 Oswald’s circle of patrons included the royal family. Kidson guessed that Oswald taught the royal children during the 1750s; certainly his appointment as Chamber Composer to George III on 31 January 1761, immediately on the 18-year-old’s accession to the throne, would suggest such a service. During the 1750s Oswald composed chamber music, some of it on a comparatively large scale. He printed the larger pieces under the pseudonym ‘Dottel Figlio’ (i.e. Nicolas Dôthel), the actual name of a composer and flute virtuoso living in Florence at the time. By 1764 Oswald’s wife had died, as had his patron and friend John Robinson-Lytton. He became close to Robinson-Lytton’s widow, Leonora, and having what was in effect a royal pension, he decided to sell his shop and publishing business and retire to the Robinson-Lytton country house at Knebworth; he married Leonora.

Oswald was the most prolific and successful composer of 18th-century Scotland. His outstanding gift lay in his melodies, many of which are in Lowland Scots styles. Early on, he discovered two guiding principles: that there was no such thing as a completely new tune, only recycled old ones; and that presenting one’s work as ‘traditional’ could often help its acceptability. Many of his contemporaries saw him as merely a popular entertainer, but he extended his native Lowland Scots style and became fluent in English (e.g. Handel), Italian (e.g. Corelli) and French idioms, as well as mastering the intricate constructions of Scottish Highland music. The result was neither a stylistic integration nor a random patchwork. Each of his Airs for the Spring/Summer/Autumn/Winter has a distinct style and the sequence of sonatas is carefully planned, giving an effect of calculated diversity. This is also noticeable in his italianate harmonizations of Scots tunes (e.g. in the Sonata of Scots Tunes, 1740). Oswald has been criticized for shortwinded invention: it is true that he always found it easier to write a new tune than to develop one he had already set down, but his large chamber works rise above this problem.

Oswald’s influence on later generations has been immense. He probably composed The East Neuk of Fife and The flowers of Edinburgh, two classic reel tunes of the Scots fiddle repertory, and his arranging and publishing made possible the careers of such later fiddlers as the Gows and William Marshall. Moreover, Robert Burns’s song lyrics are hardly conceivable without the tunes provided for them by the Caledonian Pocket Companion. Oswald’s song The Maid of Selma, rearranged as a glee for ATB by Joseph Corfe (1791), inspired a whole school of Ossian glees by Callcott, R.J.S. Stevens and others, Oswald’s Highland style being the model for the later composers’ visionary, non-modulating harmonic schemes.


published in London unless otherwise stated


Music in Macbeth (tragedy, W. Shakespeare), see The Caledonian Pocket Companion below

Song in The Double Disappointment (afterpiece, M. Mendez), 18 March 1746

Music in Queen Mab (pantomime), London, 1750, Comic Tunes (1751), ov. (c1770)

Music in Alfred (masque, D. Mallet), 23 Feb 1751

Music in Harlequin Ranger (pantomime), London, 1751 (1752), probably by Oswald

Music in The Genie (pantomime), London, 1752, Comic Tunes (1753), probably by Oswald

Cant. in The Old Woman’s Oratory (c1753)

Music in Fortunatus (pantomime), London, 1753, Comic Tunes (1753), probably by Oswald

Song in The Gamester (play, E. Moore), 1753 (?1754)

Song in The Reprisal


collections of Scots tunes include arrangements of traditional material

A Collection of Minuets (Edinburgh, 1736), lost, advertised in Caledonian Mercury (6 Jan 1736)

A Curious Collection of Scots Tunes (Edinburgh, 1740), incl. 2 Masons’ songs, 3vv, org, and A Sonata of Scots Tunes, 2 vn, bc; A Sonata of Scots Tunes, ed. P. Holman, Orpheus Caledonius, iii (Edinburgh, 1993)

A Collection of Musick … Vocal and Instrumental … for the use of Orpheus’s Club (Edinburgh, c1740)

Colin’s Kisses (R. Dodsley), 12 songs, S, T, bc (1742)

A Collection of Curious Scots Tunes, 2 vols. (c1742–3)

12 Songs Compos’d in the Scotch Taste (1743)

The Caledonian Pocket Companion (c1745–c1765), incl. tunes in Macbeth, London, c1744; 3 pieces ed. D. Johnson (Edinburgh, 1984); 5 tunes for scordatura vn, ed. D. Johnson, Scots on the Fiddle, ii (Edinburgh, 1991)

6 Pastoral Solos, vn, bc (c1747)

2 duets, 2 vn/fl, Apollo’s Collection, i (1750), ii (1752)

A Collection of Songs as they are Perform’d at the Publick Gardens (c1752)

6 Divertimenti’s, fl/vn, bc, op.2 (1754), pubd under pseud. Dottel Figlio, repr. (c1770) with attrib. to Oswald

[48] Airs for the Spring/Summer/Autumn/Winter [1st set], vn/fl, bc (1755; 2/1756 as Airs for the 4 Seasons, with opt. 2nd vn/fl); 12 ed. J. Barlow, Airs for the Four Seasons (London, 1983–4)

6 Sonatas, 2 vn/fl, bc, op.3 (c1755), pubd under pseud. Dothel Figlio

The Wheel Barrow, cant. (c1755)

10 Favourite Songs Sung by Miss Formantel at Ranelagh (1758)

12 Divertimentis, gui (1758)

55 Marches for the Militia, 2 tr (1759)

A Choice Collection of Scotch Tunes with Variations (Dublin, c1760)

A Collection of the Best Old Scotch and English Songs (1761)

[48] Airs for the Spring/Summer/Autumn/Winter [2nd set], vn/fl, bc (1761), lost, repr. (c1765)

12 Serenatas, 2 vn, bc (1762)

A Collection of Scot’s Tunes with Variations (c1765); 1 ed. D. Johnson (Edinburgh, 1984)

The Maid of Selma (J. Macpherson), song, S, bc, c1765, in D. Corri: A Select Collection of the Most Admired Songs (Edinburgh, c1780)

33 songs pubd singly, see BUCEM and RISM for details

Other works pubd under the names Nicholas Dothel and Dottel Figlio may be by Oswald: see BUCEM, RISM



F. Kidson: ‘James Oswald, Dr. Burney and “The Temple of Apollo”’, MA, ii (1910–11), 34–41

H.G. Farmer: History of Music in Scotland (London, 1947/R)

D. Johnson: Music and Society in Lowland Scotland in the Eighteenth Century (London, 1972), 61–2, 118–9, 127

M.A. Alburger: Scottish Fiddlers and their Music (London, 1983)

R. Fiske: Scotland in Music (Cambridge, 1983), 18–27, passim

D. Johnson: Scottish Fiddle Music in the 18th Century (Edinburgh, 1984, 2/1997), passim

S. Klima, G.Bowers and K. Grant, eds.: Memoirs of Dr. Charles Burney 1726–1769 (University of Nebraska, 1988), 86–90

J. Purser: Scotland’s Music (Edinburgh, 1992), 173–88, passim

N. Delius: ‘Nicolas Dôthel – oder ein janusköpfiger Oswald?’, Festschrift Hans-Peter Schmitz zum 75. Geburtstag, ed. A. Eichhorn (Kassel, 1992), 53–61


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