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alternately delineated with a sublimity of which only Handel possessed the secret, and succeed each other without intermission, so as to form an uninterrupted chain of descriptive pieces altogether unparalleled. The brief pause allowed by Mr. Costa between each two of the choruses, though unauthorised by the score, was by no means unadvisablc. It allowed the singers to attack one after another with all the more spirit; and certainly we have never heard anything to approach the precision, force, and grandeur of their delivery. We cannot enter into a detailed account of the execution of each successive piece; nor is it necessary, where such general excellence was shown. Chorus after chorus was heard with delight and applauded with fervour; and so unanimous was the demand for a repetition of "He gave them hailstones," that Mr. Costa had no alternative but to comply. As an example of unfailing intonation, " He sent a thick darkness" has never been excelled in our remembrance. The choruses in the second part—the Song of Moses, recapitulating the miracles described in the first—although more intricate and difficult in many instances, were equally well given. "The horse and his rider," with which the song of thanksgiving begins and ends, and "Thy right hand, O Lord," its rival in vigour and brilliancy, produced an effect that may be described as "electric,"' while even those most elaborate and recondite pieces," With the blast of Thy nostrils," and " The people shall hear and be afraid," which seldom escape censure, inasmuch as they are seldom irreproachably rendered, were as nearly as possible faultless. In short, the choral performance of yesterday was the triumph of the festival.
It is no easy task for solo singers to produce a marked sensation in the oratorio of Israel in Egypt. Though he has not dispensed with them altogether, Handel has awarded them but few opportunities for distinction. The lengthy duet for bass voices — " The Lord is a man of war,"—is, however, so dramatic that it almost universally wins applause; and this was the case now, thanks to the forcible declamation of Sig. Belletti and Mr. Weiss. Mad. Sainton, besides the air we have mentioned, gave "Thou shalt bring them in" in the purest and most classical style, and (with Mr. Sims Reeves) "Thou in Thy mercy "— a somewhat ineffective duet, as well as it could possibly be sung. Mile. Titiens had only one favourable chance for display — namely, the solos of Miriam the Prophetess, which precede the final chorus, "Sing to the Lord." This she gave with splendid energy. Her only air, "Thou didst blow with Thy wind" (with its quaint "ground bass" in the accompaniment), was sung with unexceptionable taste and warmly applauded; and, indeed, had Mr. Costa been disposed, he might have accepted the demonstration of the audience as an "encore." In the duet, "The Lord is my strength," Mlle. Titiens was supported with ability by Mad. Budersdorff, a practised musician, as all our musical readers are aware. The solo, however, which bore away the palm from the rest, and in the impression it created rivalled the most successful of the choruses, was "The enemy said, I will pursue." At the festivals of 1857 and 1859, this wonderfully spirited and characteristic air — allotted on both occasions to Mr. Sims Reeves—-produced a sensation that is even now remembered. In Israel in Egypt Handel — inmost of his great works so prodigal — has only granted one opportunity to the solo-tenor; and, for this reason, the great singers, from the elder Braham downwards, have by no means affected the oratorio. Mr. Reeves, however, more reverentially appreciating Handel, has, by his energetic and dramatic reading of " The enemy said," raised the tenor part in Israel to an importance scarcely inferior to that attributed to The Messiah, Samson, and Judas Maccabeus. Finely as he has delivered this air on previous occasions, he perhaps never sang it so magnificently as yesterday. The "encore" that followed was so spontaneous and unanimous that to repeat the air was no more than an act of deference to the audience, who, after the second performance, burst out into loud, enthusiastic, and long-continued cheers, in which the whole army of singers and players in the orchestra heartily joined.
After the oratorio, the National Anthom was given in such a manner as to constitute a worthy climax to a musical festival altogether without parallel. Mr. Costa then retired from the orchestra amid loud and general plaudits.
The Handel Triennial Festival may now be regarded as an established fact. The experience of three gigantic meetings has done its work. The first (1857) was an interesting experiment; the second (1859) a remarkable advance; the third (1862) a brilliant success. The first might almost as well have been in the open air; the second was aided by some ingenious expedients, with a view to the concentration of sound; the third will bo remembered, not merely as the first celebration of the Handel Triennial Festival, but as the first trial of the now thoroughly completed " Handel Orchestra." That still something remains to be
done — something that shall make the effect less dependent upon the position of the auditor, less variable, in short, as heard from different parts of the transept and galleries — must be admitted, even by those who with praiseworthy ambition and indefatigable zeal have progressed so far towards the imaginary goal of perfection. That science, properly directed, can remedy all that is deficient we conscientiously believe; and that the spirit to compass and effect the desired improvements will not be wanting may be looked upon as certain. "If no more, why so much?" says Lord Grizzle to the ghost of King Arthur. A similar interrogatory, put by the musical public to the Crystal Palace Company
— or rather to the Sacred Harmonic Society and the enterprising Mr. Bowley, who, in fairness, may be said not merely to have suggested, but to have carried out the Handel Festival — would probably elicit a more vigorous reply than that vouchsafed by the kingly spectre to his garrulous and inquisitive courtier. "Wait and see," would be Mr. Rowley's answer. The solution, however, will be satisfactorily given in 1865, at the second anniversary of the Handel Triennial Festival.
Meanwhile we cannot in justice withhold our tribute of hearty praise from the really extraordinary achievements of the past week. Never was vast undertaking so admirably organised. The 4,000 singers and players seemed to get in and out of their places, day after day, at the rehearsal and at the three successive performances, as if by magic. We wonder if any among the thousands attracted on each occasion asked themselves how and by what means such a formidable host of executants ever came together? — how, with such military discipline, they were at a given moment marshalled in regular order within an enclosed space?
— how, in obedience to the signal from a solitary conductor's stick (even though that conductor was Mr. Costa) they instantaneously and simultaneously shouted "God save the Queen " as though they had been shouting it in concert from time immemorial? Upwards of 120 towns, and among them thirty-two cathedral or collegiate cities, sent delegates to the Handel-Festival Orchestra, which, both in its vocal and instrumental departments, was the largest and most splendid ever assembled. Had their united performance been merely tolerable, there would have been sufficient cause for surprise; that it was, for the most part, admirable, trenches on the marvellous. So unprecedented an undertaking— at least, during the time of its early probation — merits exemption from petty fault-finding. Once established as a periodical affair, it must, of course, run the gauntlet of animadversion, and accept praise or blame as it may be honestly administered, like any other speculation appealing to public support This conviction has hitherto influenced us in speaking of the Handel Festival. That we could have pointed out many positive defects, and many comparative shortcomings, may be readily imagined; but whether, under the circumstances, such minute criticism of detail would have been of the slightest use to anybody, we may be permitted to doubt. Enough that the general effect was wholly unexampled; that the performances of the Messiah and Israel in Egypt, allowing for drawbacks more or less inevitable, were the grandest and noblest on record; and that the second day's selection was one of the most richly varied and interesting ever made—calculated, moreover, in an eminent degree and with convincing eloquence to set forth that versatility, that adaptability of his genius to the felicitous illustration of all sorts of subjects, which entitles Handel to be regarded as " the Shakespeare of Music." The marked improvement in the choral singing of masses, to which not only the exertions of the Sacred Harmonic Society, forming the nucleus of the so-called "Metropolitan Contingent" at home, but tho periodical practices, commencing as far back as 1859, of 6o many choral bodies throughout the country, have been instrumental—may, in a very great measure, be attributed to the Handel Festival, a laudable desire to play a creditable part in which has prevailed on every side. If the same spirit of emulation is kept up, the same unremitting diligence exerted, the results between this and the next celebration of the Triennial Festival—not only with reference to the colossal exhibitions in the now successfully completed Handel Orchestra, nor to the public performances of the Sacred Harmonic Society, but to choral singing in every part of the kingdom—are incalculable. Music, and more especially choral music, now claims so influential a share in the moral and intellectual training of the middle and lower classes of this country, that the question of its being good or bad is one of considerable import, and can no longer be viewed with indifference. Whatever tends to its healthy progress has an indisputable right to encouragement; and that the triennial gatherings in the Crystal Palace, under the sanction of a name not only worldfamous, but revered by every community in every part of England—if only on account of the improving social intercourse to which the requisite preparations for each successive meeting must necessarily lead —are likely to be of inestimable advantage can hardly be doubted. For this reason we wish well to the Handel Festival, and offer our
I hearty congratulations to those who have conducted it so ably, and so much to the general satisfaction, whether as regards the arrangements of the orchestra or the comfort and convenience of the public. Did space permit, we would willingly, in bearing testimony to the spirit and indefatigability of Mr. Bowley (General Manager), the admirable discipline enforced by Mr. Costa, the extreme courtesy of Mr. Grove (Secretary) and other functionaries of the Crystal Palace, mention, one by one, the names of gentlemen (including many members of the Sacred Harmonic Society) who, in various official departments, have shown no less ability, and who, towards the public and the representatives of the press, have exercised no less undeviating civility than the chief directors of the Festival. As it is they must accept this general acknowledgement. Into the pecuniary results of the week we refrain from entering. An official statement is in preparation, and no doubt will be published and circulated as soon as completed.
JOHN THOMAS'S WELSH MELODIES.'
A Good collection of the voeal melodies of Wales has hitherto been a desideratum; a surprising circumstance, considering the antiquity and beauty of the music of the Principality, and the love and pride with which it is regarded by all classes of the Welsh people. The music of England, Scotland, and Ireland has occupied the attention of learned antiquaries as well as skilful musicians, who have assiduously collected the popular strains of those countries, investigated their history, scrutinised their genuineness, and placed them before the public in their best and purest forms. Little or nothing of this kind has been done for the music of Wales. Some collections of it have been made, but, till now, not one by a person competent to the task. In the best of them the melodies are inaccurately given; many are admitted that are entirely spurious; they have been vamped up and furnished with harmonies and accompaniments by musicians ignorant of their character, and united to modern poetry at variance with their true expression. Hence it is that we in England know almost as little of the music as of the language of the "ancient Britons." A Welsh melody is seldom heard among us; and the few that we know we have learned from hearing them sung on the stage. "For example," says the preface of the work before us, "the graceful Llwyn Onn (the Ash Grove) appears in a mutilated form as 'Cease your funning' in Gay's Beggar's Opera; while the bold and warlike strain, Y Gddlys (the Camp), has suffered the degradation of being wedded to Tom Durfey's cloggrel song, 'Of noble race was Shenkin,' introduced into the Richmond Heiress." Such being the case, a work like the present will be heartily welcomed by all who love the national music, not of Wales only, but of the British Isles. As the antique melodies of the Principality become better known, it will be found that they rival in beauty and expression those of England, Scotland, and Ireland, while they are strongly marked with a character of their own. One of their peculiar features is the regularity of their structure, and their conformity to the established laws of the art. The Welsh are the most ancient race in Britain, and their music is doubtless of corresponding antiquity; but the generality of Welsh airs seem the work of yesterday, compared with the wild and rude tunes of Scotland and Ireland, which are in] reality much more modern. This must arise from the immemorial possession by the Welsh of an instrument with a complete scale and capable of the combinations of harmony. The Welsh sang to the harp as early as the twelfth century; and this species of accompaniment must have modified the construction of the melodies.
The collection before us is a most elegantly got-up publication in two folio volumes. It is edited by Mr. John Thomas, whose name, as a general musician, an adept in the music of the Principality of which he is a native, and a performer on the Welsh national instrument, the harp, is a complete guarantee for his fulfilment of this duty. In the poetical department, the editor has for his coadjutors Mr. John Jones (Talhaiarn), a poet who has a renown throughout Wales similar to that of Burns in Scotland and Moore in Ireland, and Mr. Thomas Oliphant, the accomplished honorary secretary of the Madrigal Society of London, of whose talents and entertainments we have had many occasions to speak. Each melody is united to Welsh and English verses; the former by Mr. Jones, the latter by Mr. Oliphant. Of the Welsh poetry we cannot judge, but we understand that it is worthy of the author's high reputation among his fellow-countrymen. Mr. Oliphant is generally known as one of the most elegant lyrical poets of the day. In Mr. Thomas's preface it is said: —"In regard to the adaptation of the words, it will be observed that, in all cases, the name by which each melody has been long known is taken as the ground-work on which the Welsh and English poets have framed their fanciful ditties, in keeping with the spirit of the music. Those names are generally so
* Addison, Hollier_& Lucas.
suggestive as to make it a matter of wonder that the idea had not already been acted upon." Mr. Oliphant's English version, we are given to understand, is by no mean3 a literal translation of the Welsh poetry, but rather a paraphrase, whenever the idiom of the two languages wonld permit, of Talhaiarn's original conceptions, many of which are very beautiful. In other instances he has followed his own ideas, founded, as before mentioned, on the nrimes of the songs. His verses arc full of imagination and feeling, and most delicately fitted to the rhythm and character of the music ; and so scrupulously careful has he been to preserve the melodies unaltered, that he has not even taken the very slight liberty of occasionally splitting a note into two for the admission of a word. The collection consists of twenty-four melodies— twelve in each volume. Each melody is printed with the Welsh and English words, first for a single voice, and then harmonised in four parts. For this process the melodies of Wales are much better fitted than those of Scotland and Ireland, owing (as we have already said) to their regular construction and conformity to the established rules of composition. Mr. Thomas has furnished them with accompaniments for the harp or pianoforte, and harmonised them as four-part songs, with masterly skill, and a thorough perception of their national character. The collection includes almost all the airs (and their number is very small) that are familiar to the English public — "The ash grove," "The rising of the lark," "All through the night" (generally known as " Poor Mary Anno "), "The march of the men of Harlech," "The rising of the sun," " Lady Owen's delight," &c, together with several stated to be taken from the collection of a lady in Wales, which have been selected on account of their antiquity and beauty. The work is truly an anthology — a bouquet of the fairest flowers of Cambrian melody and song.—Daily News.
Mil. BENEDICTS CONCERT. The morning concert par excellence of the season is usually that of Mr. Benedict; and no wonder, taking into consideration the many attractions it invariably presents. This year the programme was even richer than ordinary, and St. James's Hall (on Monday) was crowded to the doors by the elite of the fashionable world. Anything like a detailed account of so enormous an entertainment is out of the question. The selection—while good in every respect, and so skilfully arranged with a view to contrast that each successive piece seemed rather to whet the appetite than pall upon it — must, to sober amateurs, have appeared almost " interminable." When we left — at 6 o'clock p.m.— there were still three pieces to come — viz., a duet by Donizetti, for Mile. Georgi and Mr. Santley; Mendelssohn's " O hills and vales " (part-song) ; and Mozart's overture to Figaro; and as the concert began precisely at 2, more than four hours of vocal and instrumental music must have been administered to the great majority ot the audience — in other words, to between 1,500 and 1,600 amateurs. A "bird's-eye view " of the whole concert is therefore all that can be attempted.
The first piece was the grand overture composed by Meyerbeer for the opening of the International Exhibition; to which succeeded the "Inauguration Ode" of our Poet Laureate and Cambridge Musical Professor — " Uplift a thousand voices, full nnd sweet." Both these fine compositions were admirably given, under the direction of Mr. Alfred Mellon — for whom Mr. Benedict had provided a first-class band, together with the excellent chorus of the Vocal Association — some 200 strong. M. Meyerbeer's overture laboured under the disadvantage of being played while a vast number of the audience were in quest of their seats; but Professor Sterndale Bennett's Ode was listened to with comparatively undisturbed attention, ^aeh, however, was admired and applauded according to [its deserts. About two hours later there was an equally effective performance of Sig. Verdi's Cantata, written for the same memorable occasion, but, as all the world is aware (without precisely being able to explain the reason), not produced ; and, shortly after, the Exhibition overture of M. Aubcr, the most brilliant and French of brilliant French musicians, was given in a no less satisfactory manner. In the Cantata Mile. Titiens declaimed flic solos — which, thoagh originally intended for Sig. Tamberlik, are so well suited to her voice —■ with the soul and energy that "electrified" the public at Her Majesty's Theatre, when Sig. Verdi himself was present This and M. Auber's overture (which concert-givers persist in denominating " Grand March") were also conducted by Mr. Alfred Mellon. Thus we had the whole of the International Exhibition music — a concert in itself, as one might have thought, and enough to satisfy ever so ardent a "fanatico." But Mr. Benedict's patrons are worse than fanatics — they are downright cormorants.
Not inferior in interest to the pieec3 we ha\o named were several specimens of Mr. Benedict's own talent as a comr«>»er, the introduction of which afforded unanimous satisfaction ^Somo of these were extracts from his operas. The Gipty's Warning, by which he was first made known to the British public, furnished two examples — " Scenes of my youth" (ballad), and "Rage, thou angry storm" (scena), which last has kept possession of the concert-room for upwards of twenty years, and has every chance of keeping it for twenty more. This was intrusted to Mr. Weiss ; and the ballad (as graceful as the scena is spirited) to Miss Parepa, the harp obbligato being in charge of Mr. John Thomas — the Welsh Orpheus. From The Crusaders (produced at Drury Lane Theatre, under Mr. Bunn's management, in 1846) were taken the sparkling final duo (with chorus) allotted to a pair of syrens no less seductive than Mile. Titiens and Miss Louisa Pyne; the ballad, "Thine, only thine !" — once so popular and still attractive, which was lucky in being confided to the care of Mad. Guerrabella; and the musicianly quintet, intrusted to Mile. Titiens, MM. Bettini, Reichardt, Santley, and Weiss. The Brides of Venice (an opera preceding The Crusaders by two or three years in tho order of production) supplied tho duettino, "Like the storm now passed away" (Miss Parepa and Mad. Lemaire), and "By the sad sea waves" (Mile. Georgi — harp obbligato, Mr. Aptommas, the Welsh Apollo); a genuine and expressive ballad, bringing with it memories of one of the most gorgeous of contralto voices — that of Mrs. Alfred Shaw. Last, not least (and earlier in the programme), The Lily of Killarney was taxed for a still more ample contribution. From this charming opera four "numbers " were gathered—the serenade duet (" The moon has raised her lamp above"); the ballads "I'm alone" (Eily) and "Eily Mavourneen" (Hardress); and the recitative and slow movement, "The Colleen Bawn," from Danny's scena, in the scene of the water-cave. How well these beautiful extracts fared may be understood when it is stated that Miss Louisa Pyne represented Eily, Mr. Santley Danny Mann, and Mr. Sims Reeves Hardress. To the operatic selections (all performed under the direction of the composer) were added specimens from Mr. Benedict's part-songs, "Invocation to sleep," the tuneful character of which has anything but a soporific tendency ; and " Old May-Day." The last, to words from Beaumont and Fletcher, was heard for the first time, but — if what is genial and pure deserves to live — assuredly not for the last. The singers were the choir of the Vocal Association, under the direction of the composer himself. Further, Mr. Benedict came forward not merely as composer, but as an executant of instrumental music,— first in the Andante and Scherzo from a sonata in E minor, for pianoforte and violin — interesting enough to cause general regret that the first and doubtless most important movement should have been omitted ; and secondly in two attractive little duos — Berceuse and Monferina — for piano and violoncello, so well balanced that they might have formed component portions of a single work. Mr. Benedict of course played the pianoforte part in each, his associate in the violin sonata being Herr Joachim, and in the violoncello duets Sig. Piatti — undisputed kings of their respective instruments. To conclude the versatile concertgiver was associated with M. Ascher, in a showy fantasia for two pianos, on themes from Rossini's Guillaume Tell, prepared by M. Ascher expressly for the occasion, and brilliantly executed.
Our readers, even the most musical, will involuntarily exclaim at this point, "Surely this is all." Not so; we have yet to take account (as briefly as possible) of many performances too sterling to be passed in silence. For instance, there were a couple of trios for men's voices, both capital in their way — ■ Pensa e guarda," from Meyerbeer's Margherita aVAnjou, and the (at a long concert) inevitable " Pappataci," from Rossini's Italiana in Algeri — the first (for basses) undertaken by MM Santley, Belletti, and Gassier, the last by MM. Bettini, Belletti, and Zucchini. Then there were three duets, all of the richest flavour — two by Miles. Carlotta and Barbara Marchlsio, viz., " Giorno d'orrore" (Semiramide), and "Le Gitane" (the Gipsies), written expressly for the clever sisters by Rossini; and one from the same composer's delicious Soirfes Musicaies, " Mira la bianca luna," set down for Mile. Trebelli and Sig. Bettini. Then a string of solos, to which Sig, Giuglini contributed " M' appari tutt' amor " (Martha) ; Mile. Titiens, "Tho last rose of summer; Miss Parepa, " My long hair is braided," from Mr. Wallace's Amber Witch; Mile. Trebelli, "II segreto per csser felice," from Lucrezia Borgia (a much more vigorous antidote to the "spleen" than "Away with melancholy")! Fraulein Liebhart (from Vienna — of whose distinguished talent as a singer of "national airs" wc spoke some time ago), the quaint serenade of Proch, called "Morgen-Fensterln," which she gave in tho genuine Austrian dialect; Mad. Lemaire, n romanza from one of Sig. Verdi's operas; Herr Reichardt, the graceful ballad, "Young and artless maiden," from Mr. Howard Glover's Once too Often; Mile. Gilliess — a young English (or Scottish) singer from the Paris Conservatoire and Theatre Lyrique, with a very agreeable voice and considerable promise — an air from Les Dragons dc Villars; and lastly (at last !) the tenor song from La Favorite (" Ange si pur "), as expressively sung as anything that came
before or after it, although the instrument this time was the horn instead of the voice — which will astonish none of our musical readers when it is added that tho player was M. Vivier. Besides the orchestral conductors, Messrs. Benedict and Mellon, a regiment of pianoforte accompanyists, including Messrs. Lindsay Sloper, W. Ganz, F. Berger, Randegger, Harold Thomas, E. and Lake, had tasks assigned to them in this lavish feast of harmony—the most lavish, perhaps, ever provided even by Mr. Benedict, a prodigal among musical Amphitryons.
While tho dazzling feats of M. Thalberg are week after week crowding the concert rooms in Hanover Square, M. Charles Halle's " recitals" of Beethoven's pianoforte sonatas are attracting another kind of audience to St. James s Hall. M.Halle already approaches the termination of the arduous and honourable task he has this year for the second time imposed upon himself—only two more "recitals" (comprising the last six sonatas) remaining to be given. At the fifth, he wisely discarded the sonatinas, Op. 49, which are merely bagatelles, substituting the beautiful Andante in F, originally intended for the Grand Sonata dedicated to Count Waldstein, but rejected by the not easily satisfied composer, for the short introductory adagio which now takes its place, and the Thirty-two Variations on an Original Theme in C minor—one of the most strikingly "original" inspirations of Beethoven. At the sixth recital, on Saturday, which was more numerously attended than any of the others, the programme comprised the magnificent Sonata in F minor, Op. 57, which Cranz, the Hamburg music publisher (not Beethoven, who hated fantastic and affected titles), christened Sonata Apassionata. How M. Halle performs this great work it is needless to relate; but it may bo readily understood that on such an occasion he took more than ordinary pains. Still more welcome, nevertheless, because so seldom heard, were the Ops. 64, 78, and 79. The first (in F) has occasionally been promised at the Monday Popular Concerts, the director of which admirable entertainments is hardly open to the charge of being wanting in eclecticism; but, for reasons unexplained, it has invariably been postponed. Why, we are at a loss to guess, inasmuch as, though one of the shortest, it is one of the most decidedly effective of all the thirty-two sonatas. The second (in F sharp), as romantic and beautiful as the other is vigorous, has, we presume, been left in abeyance chiefly on account of the difficult key (six sharps) in which It is set. It used to be a great favourite some years ago with the patrons of Mad. Arabella Goddard's soirees, where the latest and most recondite of Beethoven's sonatas first came into vogue; and no wonder, for, while demanding rare perfection both of mechanism and 6tyle in its performance, when these are at hand it cannot fail to delight a really musical assembly, notwithstanding its tranquil and unobtrusive character. The third (in G)
of a less elaborate cast than cither of its companions — but for its boldly independent form might have been one of the earliest efforts of the composer, who was fluent and masterly even before he had attained absolute individuality, and who may be said to have first equalled Mozart and then thrown off his allegiance. Op. 79 has been styled " The Queen of Sonatinas"—sonatina being the name for a short and easy sonata; but endless sonatas on the largest scale exist which are unable to boast of half its invention or a tenth part of its beauties. These three comparatively unfamiliar pieces invested the sixth "recital" with an attraction apart, and, played in M. Halld's most careful manner (his execution of Op. 54 was a model of finished excellence), were listened to with intense gratification* The last two "recitals " (July 4th and 11th) comprise tho whole of the latest sonatas, and will naturally, on that account alone, be the most interesting of the scries.
The introduction of a vocal piece between each two sonatas is an agreeable relief. The singer on Saturday was Mis3 Banks, who in Dussek's extremely popular canzonet, " Name the glad day" (one of the valuable " revivals" for which the musical world has to thank the Monday Popular Concerts), and Mr. Henry Smart's graceful song, " Dawn, gentle flower," maintained her rising and well-earned reputation. Mr. Harold Thomas was the accompanyist.
The Handel Festival.—Each of the following one hundred and twenty-two places furnishes its contingent to the Handel Festival Orchestra:—Aberdare, Aberdeen, Armagh, Aylesbury, Balmoral, Barnet, Bamsley, Bath, Beeston, Belfast, Blnglcy, Birkenshaw, Birmingham, Bolton, Bradford, Bristol, Bromley, Bromsgrove, Brussels, Burgh, Cambridge, Canterbury, Carshalton, Cashel, Chatham, Chester, Chichester, Choilton-on-Mcdloek, Clayton, Clecklicatoii, Clifton, Cork, Coventry, Croydon, Derby, Dereham, Dewsbury, Dorking, Dublin, Durham, Eccleshill, Edinburgh, Ely, Eton, Exeter, Furnham, Frome, Genoa, Glasgow, Gloucester, Guiselcy, Uailsham, Halifax, liuworth, Heckmondwike, Hereford, Hertford, Hudderefield, Hull, Hyde, Ingatcstone, Kcigliley, Kilkenny, Lee, Leeds, Leicester, Limerick, Lincoln, Liverpool, Llandaff.Lockwood, Maidenhead, Manchester, Manningham, MerthyrTydvil,Newcnstle-on-Tyne, Norwich, Nottingham, Ormskirk, Otley, Ovenden, Oxford, Peterborough, Petersfield, Poole, Preston, Plymouth, Reading, Rickmansworth, Bipon, Rochester, Romsey, Roughway, Salford, Salisbury, Saltaire, Sevenoaks, Sheffield, Sherborne, Shields, Skipton, Southampton, Southwell, Stockport, Stoke-upon-Trent, Stratford-on-Avon, Sunderland, Sutton, Tottenham, Tunbridge Wells, Wakefield, Wantage, Wells, Wimborne, Winchester, Windsor, Wolverhampton, Woodford, Woollaton, Woolwich, Worcester, and York. Of these 32 are cathedral or collegiate towns.
Royal Horticui.tuhai, Society.—The council of this Society, yielding to the frequently expressed wishes of many of the Fellows, resolved to repeat the experiment (tried a short time, since with such great success) of the performance of choral music by the band of the Royal Artillery, in the Conservatory, at South Kensington. The. public as well as the Fellows had thus an opportunity of judging how well some of our soldiers can and do employ their leisure hours.
ST. JAMES'S HALL.
MONDAY POPULAR CONCERTS.
LONDON: SATURDAY, JULY 5, 1 8 6 2.
Jj THE LAST MONDAY POPULAR CONCERT OF THE
ON MONDAY EVENING, July 7, 1862, the DIRECTOR'S BENEFIT, being the ONE HUNDREDTH CONCERT since the commencement of the Seriei in February, 1859. The Programme lelected from the Worki of all the great Masters.
Part I Quartet, in E flat, Op. 44. for two Violins Viola, and Violoncello, MM.
Joachim, Wirnrr. Schreurs, and Ptatti (Mendelssohn); Song, "A bird tat on an alder bough," Mf*» Bamw (Spohr); Song, " The Wanderer," Mr. Weiss (Schubert); Bonntn. in A, for Violoncello solo, with Pianoforte Accompaniment, Sig. Piatti (Bee* cherinl); Song, u Dalla sua pace," Mr. Sims Rkevrs (Mozart); Harpsichord Lessons, Mr. Charles Halle (Scarlatti).
Part II Elegit, for Violin solo, with Pianoforte Accompaniment (repeated by
feneral desire), Herr Joachim (Ernst): Songs, " The Savoyard." 11 The Kiss," Mr. Sims Reeves (Beethoven); Canxonet, The Mermaid's song," Miss Banks (Haydn); Sonata, in A major, dedicated to Krcutxcr, for Pianoforte and Violin, Mr. Charlks Halle and Herr Joachim (Beethoven).
"Conductor: Mr. Benedict.
Notice.—It is respectfully suggested that such persons as are not desirous of remaining till the end of the performance can leave either before the commencement of the last instrumental piece, or between any two of the movements, so that those who wish to hear the whole may do so without Interruption.
Between then last vocal piece and the Sonata for Pianoforte and Violin, an interval of Five Minutes will be allowed. The Concert will finish before Half-pa it Ten o'clock.
Sofa Stalls, As.; Balcony. 8s.; Admission, Is. Tickets to be had of Mr. Austin, at the Hall, 28 Piccadilly; Chappell & Co., 50 New Bond Street, and all the Principal Muslc&ellers.
R. CHARLES HALLE'S LAST BEETHOVEN
RECITAL, on Friday Afternoon next, July 11, at St. Jamet'i Hall. The Programme will include the Sonatas Ops. 109 (in E), 110 (in A flat), and 111 (In C minor)—the 32nd and last Sonata of Beethoven.
Accompanvist: Mr. Harold Thomas. Sofa Stalls. IN. 6d.; Balcony, 7s.; Unreserved Seats, 3s. Tickets at Chappell ft Co.'', so New Bond Street; Cramer & Co.'s, 201 Regent Street: and at Austin's, 28 Piccadilly.
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THE year 1862 is remarkable, among other things, for the introduction on the Italian stage of two English singers in first-rate characters. The history of the Italian Opera in England, we believe, presents nothing parallel to this. English artists have sometimes trod the Italian boards on emergencies, or frequently in second-rate parts, as many may recall to mind; and English tenors have more than once played " first business," as it is called, at her Majesty's Theatre and the Royal Italian Opera—Braham and Sims Reeves, to wit; but the fact of an English prima donna and an English barytone occupying the highest position in an Italian operatic troupe is altogether unprecedented. In speaking of Italian Opera we, of course, allude solely to Her Majesty's Theatre and the Royal Italian Opera, and take into no account the occasional performances of Italian Opera at Drury Lane and elsewhere, otherwise our position would be untenable. Every visitor to the Italian Opera is aware that Miss Louisa Pyne did not appear for the first time on the Italian stage in London when she played Zerlina in Don Giovanni last week at Her Majesty's Theatre. Some years since she performed, for a few nights, at the Royal Italian Opera, the character of the Queen of Night in the Zauberflote, which few singers could attempt, the music being written so high, and Miss Pyne was engaged for that part only, to replace Mile. Anna Zerr. That such an artist as our English prima donna should for so many years have been overlooked by our Italian managers is surprising, when the difficulty of finding good singers is taken into consideration. How many parts there are in the Italian repertory which would suit Miss Pyne's talent we need not point out. Now that Mile. Kellog, of whom the greatest anticipations were held out, is prevented coming to England this season by a severe domestic calamity, may we not expect that Miss Pyne will take her place, and that the Nozze di Figaro, which formed so conspicuous a feature of the prospectus, will not be withdrawn for want of a representative of Susanna? Moreover our admirable English vocalist might, for once, descend from her curule chair—if it would be descending — and consent to play Adalgisa in Norma — the production of which with Mile. Titiens the subscribers and the public are anxiously awaiting—and show, in reality, how the music should be sung. It has been almost invariably the custom with directors of Italian operas to assign the part of Adalgisa to a second-rate artist. This is a mistake, and not at all what the composer intended. Adalgisa is a subordinate but by no means a second-rate part, and has seldom been properly represented in this country. The fact of Miss Louisa Pyne undertaking the character of the young priestess would invest the performance of Bellini's opera with a new interest.
The engagement of Mr. Santley at the Italian Opera we have spoken of before. It seems indeed to have been an absolute necessity. Italian barytones and basses grow scarcer every day, and the French and German theatres now almost entirely supply the operas with singers of that class. Among these our English barytone may well take his rank as one of the most distinguished; and therefore the wonder is, not that he should be engaged as first barytone at the Italian Opera, but that he should have been ignored so long.
It is gratifying to our artistic vanity to find that two of our native singers occupy the highest position on the Italian stage. It is a proof that national talent is more prized than formerly, and may have its uses in encouraging young candidates for vocal honours to keep within the vision of their hopes the prospect of so bright a goal, and in stimulating them to labour for its attainment. The young ladies and gentlemen of the Royal Academy of Music, who devote their minds and energies to vocal accomplishment, have now R new spur to urge them onwards in the race for high honours. Let us trust the facts will not be lost upon them, but may be hoarded up for useful meditation in moments of fear or despondency. What has once happened may happen again. If there is but one English Opera, and that rendered exclusive by force of circumstances, let them not forget that there are two Italian Operas, whose doors are not closed against English singers. Thus they have two futures to look forward to, which should act as a double spell on their artistic efforts.
ONE of our ablest and most learned Teutonic contemporaries* has lately been discussing the subject of retrograde motion in fugue,—what we in England call giving the theme "by reversion," and the Germans "Krebsgang," or crab's walk; and which, as crabs walk not backwards, is hardly so good as ours. Retrogression is better than either, because more directly suggestive. A so-called (or as we shall call it) retrogressive imitation by one of the greatest masters of modern times has been discovered and frequently quoted. After the so-called developing-movement, with the repetition of the theme on the first fiddle, accompanied by the mysterious "piano" of the trumpets and kettle-drums, simultaneously with the introduction of all the wind instruments., the last movement of Mozart's great symphony in C major (Jupiter) offers an example of a retrogressive imitation in the basses :—
Dehn, in his Theory of Counterpoint, sees in this passage "a very beautiful and ingenious" application of this kind of imitation; while Lobe, on the other band, declares, not altogether wrongly, that it is useless, because unappreciated, founding his opinion especially on the fact that the first two notes of the retrogression appear to be an imitation of the first two notes of the theme. Both these celebrated professors and theoreticians seem to think that there can be no doubt of Mozart's intention to produce a retrogression. But against this conclusion there are well-founded objections.
In the first place: Had Mozart really wished to produce his effect by "retrogression," or to introduce the latter, he would, for the sake of attaining the greatest amount of clearness, have isolated as much as possible the parts in which it is written, and not, by covering them with ingenious instrumentation which absorbs so much of the attention, have helped to conceal the art he was employing; nay, he would, most probably, have introduced the imitation again,-and that, too, immediately,—as he has done, shortly afterwards, with the close treatment of the theme, and in the course of the work with several other artistic figures.
In the second place: If we examine the first introduction
* The Niederrheinische Musikzeitung.
of the theme at the beginning of the composition, we shall find that the bass, which is here confided partly to the second violin, and partly to the tenor, violoncello, and double-bass, contains the retrogression as early as from the third to the sixth bar:—
and—as no one can here fancy the composer had any such intention in view, it being much more certainly the harmonic requirements of the passage which produces this accidental and subordinate figure—that the supposed retrogression, at the beginning of the so-called reprise, is nothing more than the harmony adopted all along, but scored in another way, so as to take us by surprise. Such a treatment was, however, required by the impossibility of again allowing the theme, after it had been handled, in the first and second parts, with a profusion of musical beauties, to reappear in its primary bareness.
In the third place: The accidental nature of this retrogression is evidenced by the incidental and unobtrusive introduction of a far stricter one in the tenor part, from the ninth to the twelfth bar of the second part (development) :—
as well as by the fact that this stricter imitation is contained also in the passage under consideration, but entrusted to the single first bassoon, while the whole orchestra is busy,—the less strict imitation being executed by the bass, violoncello, tenor, and second bassoon. We here see displayed Mozart's well-known partiality for a powerful bass — a partiality which he would probably, for the sake of greater precision, have sacrificed to an intentional retrogression. ,
In the fourth place: Opposed to any intention on the part of the composer is the small value of the theme for retrogressive imitation, as proved by the fault already mentioned and remarked by Lobe. This is increased by the fact that both halves of the retrogression are perfectly similar to both halves of the theme, and that only the intervening step between both, ascending in the theme, is fashioned as a retrogression on descending. The retrogression might, in consequence, easily seem only a simple free imitation.
If anyone should urge, in objection to these views, the indisputable existence of a retrogression, and the tie added by the master, or, perhaps, be inclined to cite the mysterious and solemn sound of the passage as indicative of some hidden wonder, there is still an explanation left. "Perhaps," suggests "L. B." of the Niederrheinische Musikzeitung — after coming to a particular passage, in the manner above described— Mozart, like ourselves, discovered the accidental retrogression, and was not sorry, although with no great cause for exultation at finding the contrapuntal monster chained to his triumphal "car."]
Mercadante.—From the Continental papers we learn that this eminent composer, now greatly advanced in years, has suffered total loss of sight from an operation performed on him recently for disease of the eyes.