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CHERUBINI. (Continued from p. 518.) Tuonon Cherubini had already achieved a wide-spread reputation at the close of the last century, the French nation was ungrateful to him, inasmuch at the Government of the Republic conferred on him only the unimportant post of an Inspector at the Conservatory, the salary he received scarcely enabling him to support his numerous family. Yet it was doubly the duty of the Republic to give him a high appointment, since it was evident that the Revolution had greatly influenced his new style, and that, in a certain sense, he had become the apostle of the new period by works in which he rejected the Traditional, pursued a freer track, and, thanks to the force of a genial imagination and a power of characterising truly human feelings and passions, embodied the new ideas in tone. But the Directory, as well as, subsequently, the head of the State, the First Consul, neglected and forgot the great composer, whom Italy, France, and Germany recognised and honoured.
We are pretty well justified in asserting, however, that Bonaparte did not forget him after all, but purposely refrained from advancing him, because he could not endure him or his music. Even as Emperor, Bonaparte was unable to suppress this prejudice, while Cherubini, in accordance with his natural disposition, did nothing to remove it. It seemed as though the mighty ruler, warlike hero, and man of iron will sometimes experienced an inward necessity of divesting himself, for a period, of everything great, and, consequently, of the impression produced by art of a grand style, for which reason he preferred lighter and more catching music, perhaps considering all excitement of the mind by means of art as unworthy a statesman and a general.
That Napoleon resented for a long period unguarded expressions and any freedom of behaviour, which he considered as evidences of want of tact, or even as something worse, and which were highly displeasing to him, is a well-known fact; and thus it may, probably, be true that his dislike of Cherubini is to be attributed to the following occurrence:—
On his return from one of his victorious campaigns in Italy, Bonaparte desired to hear at the Conservatory a march which Paisiello had composed in his honour. The work, according to report, was very mediocre. The Committee thought themselves bound to seize on this opportunity for performing a composition by Cherubini also ; and, under the impression that something warlike would best please the great general, selected a Cantata and Funeral March, which Cherubini had written on the death of General Hoche. This, it must be confessed, was a mistake. The glorification of another military celebrity as well as of himself could not be agreeable to Bonaparte, and the displeasure of the even then allpowerful ruler was very evident. After the concert he went up to Cherubini, but did not say a word about the Cantata and the Funeral March; while, on the other hand, he lauded Paisiello and Zingarclli to the skies, calling them the two greatest composers of the age. This was too much for Cherubini, who replied, " Pa'isiello, certainly I But Zingarclli !" accompanying the words with appropriate action. This brought the conversation to a close.
After the attempt to assassinate him with, the infernal machine, on the 3rd of Nivose, the First Consul received deputations from all the public bodies, &c. Among the delegates from the Conservatory was Cherubini: but he remained in the background. All at once Napoleon said, "I do not sea M. Cherubini." Cherubini stepped forward and bowed, but without uttering a word.
A few days subsequently he received an invitation to dinner at the Palace. After dinner, Napoleon strode up and down the apartment, and began talking, sometimes in French and sometimes in Italian, about music to Cherubini, who could scarcely follow him. He returned to Paisiello and Zangarelli. Cherubini differed with him, and stated his reasons for so doing. Thereupon Napoleon suddenly exclaimed, " I tell you I like Palsiello's music. It is gentle and quiet. You possess talent, but your orchestra is too loud."—"Citizen Consul," replied Cherubini, "I have written in obedience to French taste." "Your music is far too noisy and uproarious. Give me Paisiello's I It lulls one in so soft and pleasing a manner."—" I see how it is," said Cherubini; "you like music which does not disturb you when thinking of affairs of state." This answer, too, Napoleon never forgot.
In the year 1803, a new opera, Anacreon, ou fAmour fwjitif, \s-.\s, produced by Cherubini. In contained several excellent pieces, and the well-known overture, which met with universal approbation. Besides the overture, a very beautiful quartet (arranged also for male voices) and the charming finale are performed at concerts in Germany. The badness of the libretto prevented the opera from being successful. It was performed, it is true, several times, but did not take with the public. The score was, however, engraved,
The music, too, of the ballet Achilles at Scyros, already mentioned (Chap. L), and produced in 1804, was also sacrificed to its insipid subject. But a Bacchanalian piece in it, and several highly expressive numbers of the pantomime music in it, were greatly admired.
In the year 1805, Cherubini received an invitation from the management of the Imperial Opera House at Vienna to go to that capital and write an opera for the above establishment. As the terms offered were exceedingly liberal, he did not hesitate accepting them, and set out with his wife for Vienna, while his Emperor, Napoleon, was already preparing to invade Austria. Cherubini reached Vienna in July. His first efforts were devoted to the production of his opera, Lodoiska, for which he composed a new air, for Mad. Campi, and two interludes. Such is the statement of M. Fetis. According to a notice in the Allgemeine Musik-Zeitung, of the 5th August, 1805, the first work Cherubini conducted in Vienna was his Deux Journees, when he was enthusiastically received by the public, and made several alterations in the tempi; for instance, he took the allegro of the overture more slowly than it had been previously taken, " by which this difficult piece of music gained in clearness." He now proceeded to compose the opera of Faniska.
Meanwhile, the victory at Elchingen, and the capitulation at TJlm (October 7th), with its results, had brought the French to Vienna j Murat entered the capital on November 13, while Napoleon took up his head-quarters in the summer palace of Schonbrunn.
Hearing that Cherubini was in Vienna, Napoleon sent for him to Schonbrunn. The ungracious Consul became a gracious Emperor— at least, for the time being — and spake to him in a very friendly manner. "Ah, M. Cherubini," he said, "I am glad you are here. We will have a little music together. You shall direct my concerts." Several musical soirees, which Cherubini got up and conducted, really did take place, some at Schonbrunn and some in Vienna. Cherubini received a large sum for his services, but this was all. There was no talk of his obtaining an Imperial appointment in Paris.
The battle of Austerlitz and the peace of Pressburg (December 26th) brought the war to a close; and no later than eight weeks afterwards the opera of Faniska was performed for the first time, on February 25, 1806. The magnificent music excited the admiration of all competent judges, Beethoven and, as it is asserted, Haydn perfectly agreeing with the opinion of the public. It appears, however, scarcely probable that Haydn, at his then advanced age, should still have attended the theatre; but he may have seen the score. Cherubini was pronounced, by the unanimous decision of all connoisseurs, the greatest dramatic composer of his day. The opera was not, however, a great success with the masses. It experienced the same fate as Beethoven's Fidelio, which had been produced for the first time, not long previously, a week after the entrance of the French into Vienna (on December 20, 1805.)
It was then truly no time in Vienna for the triumphs of art and artists, while very different triumphs were being celebrated by the enemies of the Fatherland, and that, too, with a degree of arrogance which partly drove the inhabitants from the city, and partly terrified them so much that they never by any chance thought of frequenting the theatres. Most of the higher nobility had, at the very approach of the French, already deserted the place, and those who remained did not feel disposed to visit the opera in the company of the conquerors. Thus the audience at the representations of Fidelio consisted chiefly of the French military.
It M a very remarkable fact that two such important dramatic compositions as Beethoven's Fidelio and Cherubini's Faniska should have been written at the same time independently of one another; that both works should have been in advance of their age; that both should display a striking similarity of style, especially in the treatment of the orchestra; and that both should have suffered from the reproach of the music being too learned for the public of the period. With regard to Fidelio, we know that even the subsequent representations in Vienna did not take with the public, and that it was reserved for our own time to cause this magnificent work to be appreciated in all countries. Faniska enjoyed at first a better fate. It is true that in Vienna it was not often repeated, but it was performed at other German theatres. The writer of the present article recollects its being performed, when he was a youth, at the theatres of Dresden and Dessau. It produced a deep impression, and its merits were readily allowed by the critics, although, owing to the unsatisf'aetory libretto, it did not become firmly established in public favour. Yet the music is some of the best and most dramatic of which this style of composition can boast; and it might be well worth while — after modifying the book — to reproduce the opera on the stage, just as the same composer's Medea has been successfully revived at Frankl'ort-on-the-Maine and Munich (?).
Chcrubini remained nine months in Vienna. With regard to his relations with Beethoven, A. Schindler asserts ("Beethoven's Biography," vol. i. p. 114, et seg.) that Cherubini was always very severe in his criticisms on him; that Beethoven's behaviour under these criticisms was not invariably deserving of commendation—though Beethoven, even in the years 1841 and ]842, found a warm champion in Cherubini's wife—but that Cherubini, after having spoken of Beethoven, always concluded with the words, "Mais il (tail tovjours brusque." In this, perhaps, he may not have been altogether wrong. When Schindler adds: "What Cherubini thinks of his contemporary's muse might be gathered even from his communications concerning Fidelia, on his return, had he not unreservedly manifested, on every occasion, the slight opinion he had of it"— he is able, doubtless, to support the last assertion by his own actual experience gained in his conversations with Cherubini; but with regard to Cherubini's "communications concerning Fidelio," we have been unable to find anything in the Paris papers of the day, which papers a friend of musical history searched for us. It appears, therefore, that this assertion reposes upon verbal tradition, as the remark at p. 128 shows: "Cherubini, who was present at the earliest representations of Fidelio in 1804, and also in 1805 (it should be 1805, and also 1806), told the musicians of Paris, when speaking to them about the overture (Leonore, No. 3), that, on account of the medley of modulations in it, he was unable to recognise the original key." For this decidedly remarkable assertion, Schindler gives no authority. What reliance ought to be placed on anecdotes and statements of this kind, related of eminent composers, and propagated by mere report, Schindler himself has found out, often enough, in the case of Beethoven.
Furthermore, Schindler sltys, p. 135 — "that, after having heard Fidelio, Cherubini arrived at the conclusion that Beethoven had not devoted sufficient study to the art of singing, and, therefore, 'took the liberty' of recommending it strongly to his attention, for which purpose he sent for the Method of the Paris Conservatory, in order to make him a present of it." This is, however, an evident proof that Cherubini, who was already famous, on meeting, for the first time, a colleague in art ten years his junior, in a sphere where he himself had long been at home, treated that junior with sympathy and kindness. And it is thus that Beethoven himself must have viewed the matter, otherwise "he would not have preserved in his little library, to the last days of his existence, the book he received from Cherubini."—(" Schindler," vol. i. p. 135, note.)
Lastly, Cherubini has also been reproached with not answering the well-known letter in which Beethoven recommended his Missa solmnnis to him (" Schindler," vol. ii. p. 352, Niederrheinische Musih-Zeitung, No. 49). But Cherubini explained to Schindler, in 1841, that he never received this letter; and, as even Schindler does not assert that it was ever actually sent, while Beethoven's rough draft is still in existence, it is highly probable that Beethoven never despatched the letter.
If we calmly consider what has now been stated, and then recollect that, subsequently, when Director of the Conservatory, Cherubini assented to and favoured the performance of Beethoven's Symphonies at the Conservatory concerts, we shall find it a difficult task to suppose he despised Beethoven's music, as, unfortunately, we must admit C. M. von Weber did.
About twenty years after its first appearance, Cherubini again took in hand the opera of Fanisha. The dramatic poet, Guilbert de Pixereoourt, began a translation and adaptation of the libretto for the Opera Comique in Paris. But while Pixerecourt was engaged on the work the composer changed his mind, refused to allow him to proceed with his task, and abandoned the whole plan.
( To be continued.)
Adelina Path's "lucia Di Lammermoor."— The effect of this performance was even greater than that produced by La Sonnambula and // Barbiere. In the character of Lucia the young artist surpassed the expectations of those who had formed the most favourable opinion of her talent, after having heard her in the parts she had already sustained with such brilliant success. Qualities totally unsuspected were revealed for the first time, while those which had been applauded before came out with still greater splendour. When writing of the Sonnambula, we said that Mile. Patti gave evidence of genuine dramatic talent; but it was by a far more striking developement of this natural gift that she distinguished herself in Lucia. She entirely riveted the sympathies of the public, throughout the second act, and in the mad scene, by her plaintive penetrating accents, her touching bye-play, the truthfulness of her facial expression, and the admirable mode in which her gestures were suited to the words. Her bursts of dramatic feeling are warm, but without exaggeration. Hers is not that mimetic talent which interprets such and such a sentiment by such and such a conventional movement.
Her manner of expressing her sentiments seems to spring spontaneously from the situation. She identifies herself completely with the personage she represents: Mile. Patti exists no longer; we have only Lucia before us. In the mad scene, the audience, profoundly moved, applauded her enthusiastically. Absorbed in her part, however, she appeared not to be aware of the fact—a lesson for singers, who, acknowledging the applause in such cases, completely dispel the illusion. With the exception of two or three of those traits which we recently advised her to correct, and to which a talent like hers has no necessity to have recourse, Mile. Patti deserved no less praise for the manner in, which she sang the music of Lucia than for the intelligence with which she represented it psychologically. She made no parade of virtuosity j it was by the accent of her voice, by her expression and by the vigour and truth of her dramatic colouring, that she succeeded. Most admirably did she deliver the andante of her duet with the barytone, as likewise the pathetic phrases of the finale to the second act. In the mad scene, she succeeded in expressing, with unusual felicity, the gradations of light and shade by which the composer has sought to express the mobility of the character. Who would have recognised in so dramatic a Lucia the sly and headstrong Kosina? We are more than ever convinced, as we said the other day, that Mlle. Patti is most richly endowed by nature, and that there is a splendid future in store for her.—Indipendance Beige.
Mr. A. Sketchlet's Entertainment. — Under the title of "A Quiet Family," Mr. A. Sketchley has been giving an entertainment during the past week at the Hanover Square Rooms. Without any of the ordinary change of costume, or any auxiliary aid of scenery, he attempts to amuse an audience for nearly two hours, and, candour must confess, most thoroughly succeeds. The usual and all but stereotyped form of entertainment, which renders attendance at one a foretaste of every other joy to come, has been, either from choice or from Mr. Sketchley's native confidence in his own powers, departed from ; and he attempts to amuse his audience with the same freedom and ease, and with such an entire absence of stage aid, as would a good story teller in the social circle. Mr. Sketchley was intended by nature to amuse mankind. Just as at every wedding party there is a lugubrious personage, who takes a gloomy view of things, and who speaks of the willows over his tomb, there is an inevitable funny man, sometimes a humourist, at others a rare teller of other men's stories, a compound of both, or it may be an independent wit Something of all these three is Mr. Sketchley. His imitation of the dialect, accent, gesticulation, and manner of a French gentleman in the person of M. Leblond, was at once marked by the highest discrimination and the most refined mimetic powers. Mrs. Brown's narrative of her visit to the play was original, marked by considerable insight into character, and one of the most humorous and suggestive pieces of ingenious story-telling that could well be conceived. Of all the nameless and unnumbered graces that adorn social life, the art of story-telling is at once the most difficult and the least considered. From the clumsy narrator, with his "says he" and "says I," to the bland and gentlemanly man, who seasons your wine by the salt of his wit, and who sets the table in a roar by some sally of his imagination, or by his humour and fancy conjoined, there are many degrees of intellectual progression; but the qualities required to tell a story to perfection are many and various. As it takes much complicated machinery to make a pin, so tact, good breeding, discrimination, humour, taste, fancy, a sense of the grotesque, and of the sublime, are often all wanted to realise this small end, and complete a small story. It was on this account from Mr. Albert Smith's really diverse qualifications, sympathies, and tastes, and because he possessed the attributes and dispositions of many men—that he was so successful, and one of the most amusing entertainers we ever had. When he died, he left a blank, and it is really no prophecy to assume that Mr. Sketchley may fill it up. He has the same natural flow of humour— the same animal spirits, and altogether very similar endowments of taste, temper and manner, with some decided advantages in this last respect, to .assist him. Mrs. Jones is to the full as happily presented as Edwards, the engineer, and even more thoroughly brought out in character. Her narrative is vividly dramatic and real, and, although the present entertainment may be too slight in its incidents to run a season, we do not doubt that at no distant time, Mr. Sketchley will be recognised as one of the settled caterers of public amusement of the metropolis.
Siosor Fiorentino (late critic of the Constitutionnel, and the "De Kouzay" of the Moniteur) has accepted the editorship of the feuilleton of theatres and music in the new journal, La France, founded by M. de la Gueronntere. The celebrated critic made it a condition that this occupation should be guaranteed to him for ten years.
MOZART'S CLARINET QUINTET.
Sir,— One of your "Leaders" some time since is devoted to a dissertation on the meritB of the Quintet of Mozart for Stringed Instruments and Clarinet, Op. 108, which, exhumed from the tomb of oblivion by the directors of the Monday Popular Concerts, and its beauties revealed by a high artistic rendering at one of these entertainments at the commencement of the year, has, as you lead us to infer, become reinstated as a stock instrumental piece, to be in future constantly called into use for high class musical entertainments of this kind; Mr. Lazarus, probably, by his exquisite playing of its clarinet part, becoming specially identified therewith. The perusal of your article having recalled to my mind one or two little circumstances with which this composition is connected, has induced the present communication. Although the existence of this Quintet was, as you say, almost unknown of by the general musical public of the present day, yet to the flautist amateur I think I may say the piece is tolerably familiar, as the work was separately published some fifty years ago, uniform with Haydn's Symphonies, then reduced to Quintets, with a flute part for chamber use: i. e. soon after the improvement in the structure of the flute by the addition of keys made that instrument capable of diatonic articulation, the clarinet part being transposed into the common key, the notation of the string quartet, probably, remaining unaltered, and with the skilled flautist the pi.ee has always been a favourite one in chamber practice of this kind.
The Lnrchetm of this superb composition, too, has recently been whipped into the form of an organ piece, at the hands of Mr. Higgs, organist of Kcnnington, and which, with the melody in chief rendered by a clean and tasteful finger on the Cremona stop of a well-voiced organ (our best organ builders now aim to voice this stop imitative of the tone of the clarinet), the st'.ingcd parts being represented by a varied selection of the soft stops of the "Great" and *' Swell," forms a delicious morceau. As being apropos to the foregoing, it may be mentioned that, in a recent public performance upon the organ of the parish church of St. James's, Piccadilly, this Larghetto was selected as one of the pieces of the little "Bill of Fare," and was most manifestly received as the gem of the evening. Of this performance I herewith furnish you with a few particulars, and possibly you may think the event worth recording in the Musical World, as an example for imitation, to the creation of a moro general taste for classical music.
Annually, ever since the organ of this church (St. James's, Westminster) assumed its present formation, a select few of the parishioners and their friends have been in the habit of assembliug to hear an evening's performance upon it by Mr. Burrowes, the organist of the church. This gratifying entertainment — the decorous naturo of its conduct fully justifying the expression, notwithstanding that by some, on account of the sanctity of the place, its applicability might be demurred to—has just come off, when the following little programme was rendered, viz.:—
Introduction (extempore) j Larghetto, from instrumental quintet, clarinet principal (Mozart); "The horse and his rider" (Handel); Instrumental Symphony, from Creation (Haydn); Pastorale (Dr.Chipp); Organ Sonata, in three movements, 1. Allegro, moderato, e serioso, 2. Adagio, 3. Andante rccitativo — Allegro assai vivace (Meudclssohn); Andante, from the Jupiter Symphony (Mozart) ; Fugue (J. S. Bach); Organ Study, Clarinet and Bassoon stops (Dr.Chipp); Cum Sancto Spiritu, from 12th Mass (Mozart).
A most chaste and finished performance, which was listened to with the utmost apparent delight by all present. In respect of this programme, in its relation to a classical exposition, the organ connoisseur would probably 6ay, " more of original organ music and less of adaptations would have been in better taste." But the unmistakeable effect of the different spices of music on this particular auditory on previous occasions, influenced in some measure the choice on this. However, the selection was such as afforded the opportunity of displaying some recherche playing, as well as of exhibiting all the more striking beauties and effects that characterise this particular instrument as a work of constructive art.
Too few arc the opportunities the public have of hearing this kind of music It is true, nevertheless, that many of our London churches are furnished with organs capable of such exhibitions. The nature of the parochial Church Service proper presents no opportunity of displaying recherche organ playing, except that permitted in a last voluntary, when, however, the confusion of the congregation simultaneously departing, precludes the thing being regarded as anything but a mere "playing out," And clerical scepticism too often stands in
the way of the employment of the church's instrument on any other than the church's music, even at periods not in divine service Hence the public — yes, even the musical public — know little of the varied resources of a grand organ, or its power for giving expression, not alone to original organ music, but to the more elaborate inspirations of the great composers, which engage for their interpretation the united efforts of many performers. The occasional recurrence of such exhibitions as above adverted to, wherever there are organs adapted to the purpose, would,— whilst they gave to the parishioners a costless entertainment, rational, decorous, and elevating,— do much to popularise the music of this the grandest of all musical instruments; and be the means of inducing, among the parishioners, an interest in the quality and preservation of their church's organ, now much wanting.
I am, Sir, &c. &c.
SINGING FOR SOLDIERS.
A Good deal has been said about the evil state of Aldershott, and the ill condition of all our garrison towns. The vices rampant there are in chief degree assigned to the want of fit amusement to fill up leisure time, of which our soldiers, when in garrison, have much more than enough. We know who it is finds mischief still for idle hands to do; and doubtless soldiers are, when idle, not more proof against temptation than arc other mortal men. What then is the remedy? What wholesome recreation can be devised for the amusement of our soldiers' leisure time? Reading rooms, says one; athletic games, another; music and part-singing is the answer of a third. Well, all these hints are good, and the two first have been acted on in so many cases and with such success, that Punch may well be spared more writing in their favour. But in teaching soldiers music no great deal has yet been done, and as the practice of part-singing is a wholesome, healthy exercise, Punch most willingly will give it what encouragement he can.
Used to obey orders, and accustomed to be led, soldiers, properly instructed, would soon learn to sing together, and Punch feels sure that their so doing would soon become a pleasure to them. Learning to keep time is a pleasant way of spending it; and when men have studied harmony, there is surely the less chance of their giving vent to discord. Nothing lightens labour so well as a good song. It makes a long way short, and would therefore be invaluable to troops when on a march. Singing Mendelssohn's part-songs and similar good vocal music would be a better pastime for our soldiers when at leisure, than sitting in a pot-house bidding Sally to come up, or squalling other specimens of stupid nigger nonsense. Men whose business is to kill are often troubled to kill time; and in this respect the practice of partsinging at least would be a help to them.
With this faith in his mind, Punch would fain direct the notice of his fifty million readers to the fact that now among the thousand and one concerts which are almost daily advertised, Soldiers' Concerts are at no far distant intervals announced. In his programme the Conductor of these Concerts "begs to state," and Punch hereby accords him full permission so to do, that they are given "with a view to create a taste for good choral music in the Army, and to encourage the practice of singing on the march, and the formation of choral classes in garrisons, whereby much of the soldiers' leisure time might be usefully occupied. Held in Exeter Hall, these Concerts were by no means the least nice of the May Meetings which have this year been assembled. At the last which Punch received an invitation to attend, free admission was accorded to a couple of thousand soldiers now garrisoned in London; and this gift, to Punch's thinking, was by no means the least pleasant of the charitable donations which have this May been announced. Without disparagement of orators who plead for funds to furnish tracts to niggers who can't read, Punch must own a sneaking preference to listen to the voices that " discourse eloquent music" to the soldiers at these Concerts; and at the risk of the displeasure of all Truly Pious people, Punch will own he thinks encouragement of Music in the Army quite as laudable an object for the bumps of tho benevolent as the supplying straps and braces to nude natives of Natal, or providing moral polish for the black king of Japan.
Sacred Harmonic Society.—An extra performance of the Messiah was given last night at Exeter Hall, for the ostensible purpose of affording an opportunity to those visiting London during the International Exhibition of hearing Handel's sublime work executed in a thoroughly efficient manner—a rare thing in the provinces,;cxccpt at Festival times. The principal singers were Mile. Farepa, Mad. Laura Baxter, Mr. Wilbye Cooper, and Mr. Weiss.
THE VOCAL ASSOCIATION.
TESTIMONIAL TO JUIJS8 BENEDICT, ESQ.
At the Society's Rooms, No. 14 Newman Street, W., on Friday evening, August 8, the Ladies of the Vocal Association presented a testimonial to Mr. Benedict, "as a mark of their appreciation of his valuable services in conducting the rehearsals and performances of the Society."
The ceremonial was extremely interesting, and will, no doubt, be long remembered by all the members and friends who were present. Although the question of the testimonial was not considered until after the rehearsal of the Society on Tuesday night, August 5, the whole affair was so perfectly managed by the iailies, that it had the appearance of several weeks' organisation There were about 1,000 persons present. The Committee of Ladies occupied the platform, which was tastefully decorated with flowers, and further ornamented by the testimonial about to be presented to Mr. Benedict, which consisted of a large walnut-wood Stationary Case, a walnut-wood Ink-stand, and walnut-wood self-closing Book-slide, each very handsomely fitted, and elaborately laid with gilt mountings; supplied from the excellent firm of Parkins and Gotto, 24 and 25 Oxford Street, W. » _
The chair was occupied by John Bishop, Esq., a distinguished amateur and supporter of several of the old established glee and madrigal societies.
Mrs. R. F. Abbot, the Secretary to the Ladies' Committee, was then called on to read the address of the ladies to Mr. Benedict, which duty was performed by Mr. William Lockyer, the secretary to the society. The following is a correct copy :—
"respected Sib, — We, the members of the Vocal Association, gladly seize the present opportunity, when, for a short period, you are about bidding us farewell, to present you with a Memorial of our grateful esteem and hearty thanks for the unswerving kindness and attention which you have exhibited towards us throughout the seasons in which we have been privileged to enjoy the benefit of your valuable instructions as our conductor. It is with great pleasure we contemplate the fact that, through the merits of your numerous works and the distinguished part you have taken in arranging and conducting concerts intended to develope and refine the musical tastes of the British public, your name has been identified with all that is highest and purest in musical expression. The press only clothed in fitting language the general feeling of our best judges when it greeted you as one of the few men of genius who are bold enough to deal with society as it is, in order to succeed in giving it fresh impulses towards the good and beautiful, and to make its appreciation of the musical art what it should be. This sentiment we heartily endorse, being satisfied that time and trial will cooperate to establish its truth.
"But they who are held in honour by the world at large cannot countenance, and are altogether above listening to, expressions which will even admit of being understood as idle compliments, or as formal applause, so that it would be difficult for us to utter our thoughts upon your merits, as R whole, without seeming to tread upon forbidden ground. To us you are more than you can be to the outside world, the members of which would misunderstand us were we to speak our true feelings upon the general question. Therefore it is that we do not now address you as the author of The Brides of Venice, The Crusaders, Undine, or The Lily of Killarney, but as that Jules Benedict whom we honour as the founder and conductor of this Association, who has laboured so earnestly to teach us how best to express the thoughts of the world's greatest composers, and who, amid difficulties and discouragements, which would have daunted and deterred other men, has never failed to meet us with the same patience, good humour, and gentleness of manner, which, but too commonly are only exhibited in the hours of great success. We heartily rejoice over the fact that your absence from us will be but brief ; and it is our earnest hope that, amid the scenes, and influenced as you must be by the musical associations of Germany, you will recruit your physical constitution, so that when once more among us you will be in the enjoyment of that health and strength, which is necessary for enabling you to bring to a successful issue your various plans and works. We hope, too, that in the future our increased attention to the parts assigned to us will prove more earnestly than words can do how highly we appreciate and value your instructions.
"In conclusion, we ask you to accept the accompanying 'Writing case,'' Ink-stand,' and 'Book-easel,' as a simple but appropriate mark of our profound respect. That you may long be spared to use them is our earnest but most unselfish prayer; for, in that case, the musical treasures of England will be largely increased, the language of harmony will be
extended and improved, and individually we shall be elevated in mind, and gladdened in heart. So that as the seasons pass by, every member of this Association will have abundant cause to be proud of having been associated with its patient, generous, and earnest conductor.
"With great respect, we subscribe ourselves your most Cordial admirers,
■ Mass. R. F. Abbot, Secretary
The chairman, in an appropriate speech, presented to Mr. Benedict the testimonial which had been procured for the occasion, Mr. Benedict, on rising to return thanks, was greeted with a perfect ovation — the ladies waving their handkerchiefs and the gentlemen cheering vociferously, this continuing for some minutes. Mr. Benedict said, that of all the experience in his lifetime, he had never felt such an overflow of pleasure as at the circumstance which called them together on that evening. Anything that he could say would fall infinitely short of a true expression of his feelings ; but if a promise of fidelity and attachment to the Vocal Association were what the members required of him, he would now, in the presence of all assembled, wish them to know, and feel, that his time, talent, and services should be entirely devoted to the interest and well-being of the society. He accepted the very handsome testimonial as a pledge of his services being accepted and appreciated by the members; and consequently, while such a feeling of mutual regard and esteem existed between himself and them, there could be no apprehension or doubt about the success of their united labours. In hours of repose, as well of excitement, he should ever bear in mind the token of regard and esteem presented to him through the instrumentality of the ladies of the Vocal Association.
Sig. Giuglini (the eminent Italian tenor singer) was present on the platform, and kindly consented to sing "M'appari" from the opera of Martha, which he did in the most exquisite and perfect style imaginable.
Votes of thanks were then "put" and "carried" unanimously, and after a full inspection of the testimonial, the meeting broke up with "cheers for the ladies and Mr. Benedict." The subscriptions are still being received by Mrs. R. F. Abbot, as it is the intention to present every subscriber with a "carte de visite" portrait of Mr. Benedict, should the funds permit.
Belfast.—(From our own Correspondent.)—At Mrs. Robinson and Mr. Loveday's third and last concert of this season their room was filled to overflowing, a goodly portion of the audience being on the stairs outside. The programme contained three quartets, by Mozart, Beethoven (No. 7, dedicated to Prince Rasuraousky), and Haydn, which were executed in fine style by Messrs. Loveday, Levey, Wilkinson, and Eisner ; a trio, by Mayseder, for piano, violin, and violoncello, by Mrs. Robinson and Messrs. Loveday and Eisner; a sonata, by Dussek, for piano and violin; and a sonata, by Beethoven, for piano and violoncello ; in addition to which there were two vocal duets, sung by Mrs. Robinson and a young lady, which gave a pleasing variety to the entertainment. When we say that the audience listened throughout with attention to this long programme (too long by one third), we think no further proof is necessary to convince that there is a real taste for good music springing up amongst us, and we Jiope to see this fostered and encouraged by more frequent opportunities of hearing such performed in the same admirable style as by Mrs. Robinson, whose playing is forcible, brilliant, and Intelligent, and Mr. Loveday, who, as a violinist, has scarcely his equal out of London. The great success that has attended these concerts will of course induce the givers to let us have another series shortly ; at least we hope so, and we are quite sure they would be equally or more successful.
Beethoven's Favoubite Piano.—On Dec. 27,1817,the grand pianoforte, No. 7362 in the manufactory of John Broadwood and Sons, was sent to Beethoven at Vienna. The names of some of the most eminent resident musicians in England were inscribed on it, and, among others, those of Clementi, J. B. Cramer, F. Ries, C. Neate, and Mr. Ayrton (editor of the late "Harmonicon "). Streicher unpacked it at Vienna, and Mr. Cipriani Potter, residing in the Austrian capital, was the first to try it. Beethoven became so much attached to this instrument, that he would allow no one to play upon it, and permitted Stumpff, only as a favour, to tune it.
MORALS AND MUSIC HALLS.
(A Confidential Letter to Tom Turniptoppc, Esquire, late of Greonley
Mt Dear Tom,—You are a young man from the country, and have been little of town: I am—well) say thirty, and hare seen a good deal of it- You have come up, as you say, to "read " at Mr. Bluebagge's Chambers, and among the various papers which you will there peruse, you will of course take care to read your weekly Punch. So what I have to say now is as sure to meet your eye as would be Mr. Bates' mauley, if you put on the gloves with him.
As your memory is young, you may not have forgotten that the other night I talked to you upon the subject which the heading of this letter serves to indicate ; still I think it is as well to put in writing somewhat of the sound sense I imparted to you, for "segniiis irritant—" (you know what our friend Flaecus says), and after a good dinner and a glass or two of claret, the voice of wisdom sometimes fails to reach the ears of youth.
You were telling me that evening in sentimental confidence that you really "rather liked" your pretty cousin Jessie, and that, now she is away from town enjoying the sea air, you found your evenings at your uncle's, where you .are living, "awful slow." Were it not that the Old Buffer (I think that was how you christened him) allowed you to go out directly after dinner, and let you have a latch-key, and come in when you liked, you said you feared you might be tempted to cut your throat or swallow half a pound of prussic acid, just to pass away the time.
On this hint I spake, and asked you where you mostly went to spend " the evening," as you young men call th« hours between nine p.m. and three. Well, I was not sorry to learn that, as you are not R dancing-man, you do not much incline to visit the Casinos. But I was not so pleased to find that, forasmuch as you like singing, you now and then drop in at what are called the "Music" Halls. My dear boy, surely you can't fancy you hear music at these places. Stupid, senseless, silly, coarse and vulgar comic songs are surely not entitled to the name of Music j any more than clap-trap choruses, with every singer squalling out of time and tune, or noisy nigger melodies with bones and tainbourino kick-stanip-and-jump accompaniments. And pray, what music is there in the feats of Bounding Brothers, and gymnasts who ape gorillas, and contortionists in crinoline, and clowns who dance in clogs? These are the chief attractions at the Music Hall's just now j and what music is attempted is performed in such a din of talking tongues, and bustling boots, and jingling glasses, that scarce two notes together can ever reach the ear.
No, no, my dear boy, don't try to deceive yourself, or think to gammon me. It is not the "music," as you call it, that you go for. Nor Jilo] you attend there as a votary of Bacchus or of baccy, for the drinks are simply beastly, and you get your smoke at. home. What you go for is society, and to speak out, more particularly feminine society. You are young j you can talk; and (if the lips be pretty) you are fond . of being talked to. While Jessie was in town you were content with her society: nay, I will so far give you credit as really to believe you preferred her conversation, simple prattle as it is, to the fast jokes and coarse slang which with Music Hall frequenters pass for epigrams and wit. But now Jessie is away, you look elsewhere for consolation.
Well, well. Such is life, and such is human nature. Boys will be boys, and youth will have its fling. There were no Music Halls to go to in the days when I was young; but there were dirty dens of vice called " Theatre Saloons," and I fancy that in some respects Saloons and Music Halls were about much of a muchness. So I 'vo no mind to throw stones, or to preach a flinty sermon to you. But will you at your leisure just ask yourself the question, will your Music Hall society do you good or harm, and is not your indulgence in it just a little selfish? Is it fair to Jessie, who you think docs "care a little" for you, to seek in questionable company a solace for her absence? Will you thereby make yourself more fit for her society, and at all enhance your relish for her pure companionship? After the fast company the Music Halls afford you, may not Jessie's artless prattle appear a trifle slow, and will her ears be charmed or shocked by the slang your tongue is used to?
Oh, there really is no harm in a Music Hall 1 you say. It *s not like a Casino or a BaJ, immoral. Well, pcradventuretit is not; although in one, and that the worst, respect I own I have my doubts about it. But is it quite the place for a gentleman to go to, or even for a greengrocer, a chimneysweep, or costermonger, or " any other man " (as your nonsensical slang goes), who entertains a liking to be thought respectable? A husband has, of course, no secrets from his wife; but when by any accident he drops in at a Music Hall, do you think she always may depend upon his mentioning it? Would you like Jessie to know that you frequent such places ?— especially if she have seen the following
description of them, which was prominently printed, not^long since, in the Observer: —
"It is, however, in the disgraceful scenes enacted in the drinking 'bars and saloons attached to theso 'halls' that the greatest evils exist — nils which cannot tail of exercising a fatal Influence upon the frequenters of these places, of both senses, who, in the first instance, 'go to hear a song,' but become initial- d in vice and immorality, rendered more easy and dangerous by the seductive influences with which they urn surrounded. The more * respectable the 'hall' the more prominent is this feature. These saloons are filled by 'men about town' of all ages and conditions, with and without characters; there may be seen the young and inexperienced clerk and the heartless skittle sharp and blackleg, the patrician rout and the plebeian ' fancy man;' .... This mixed crowd of folly aivl vice keen up a continued chattering composed of obscene jests and vulgar repartees, to the great annoyance of the decent tradesman or working man, who, accompanied by his wife or sweetheart, may have visited the 'Hall' in the delusive hope of hearing some good singing, but whose ears are thus polluted with vulgarity and slang. It it this iott 01 thing that has driven, and is still driving, the respectable portion of society from these ' Halls,'and it is to provide attraction for the more ' spicy' patrons that' comic ladies' and other 'sensation performances' have been introduced. In these saloons the scenes that used to be enacted in the lobbies and taloons of .the theatres are reproduced even in a worse and more offensive form."
Now, if a tithe of this be true (and, so far as I have seen, there has been no denial of it), I think the less you go to Music Halls the better it will be for you, and the better will it be, too, for your wife —when you dre blest with one. Mind, I don't say stick at home too much in Solitude and smoke, and mope yourself to death while Jessie is away from you. But I do say, when you take your pleasure out, go, take it as an honest gentleman, and never enter places where you would (at least I hope so) blush to have her see you. At your age men can blush, and the power is so enviable that you should take care of it. Music Hall society is fatally destructive to it, for there are few worse snares to youth than the vice that tempts a man by aped and acted modesty.
So when you want to hear a song, or have a social smoke (both good things in their way, if that be not a bad one), I say go to Covent Garden and inquire your way to Evans's if you are still so verdant a-) never to have heard the name of Paddy Green. There is entertainment fit for men, not beasts; there is music in the singing; there is malt in the beer; there is an ever courteous welcome by the cheeriest of hosts, and no crinoline or coarseness is permitted to intrude.^
Trusting that my words may, when you seek amusement, tend to guide your steps aright, and wishing Jessie well and you the luck to win her,
I remain, my dear boy, yours, believe me, most sincerely,
Mozart In 1786.—The year 1786 is one of remarkable richness in the annals of Mozart's wonderfully prolific career. The great event of the composition of Le Nozte di Figaro began and ended in the month of April, followed by its production at the Imperial Opera in the course of May, was one of such excitement as would have caused any other composer to seek refreshment of his faculties in a long period of repose. Not so with this greatest of all musicians, who seems to have found refreshment in the very act of labour, and to have felt energy for a new task greater in proportion to the importance of the work from which he had just risen. Handel's rapidity appears nothing short of miraculous ; but we have, at least, time to wonder at the lightning speed of his thoughts, while investigating long periods that elapsed between the accomplishment of one of his mighty mental efforts, and the entering upon the next— investigating without being able to discover one trace of the exercise of his creative power; thus we see he would write, perhaps, two oratorios in as many months of a summer or autumn, and never compose again until the same season of a following year. Mozart, on the contrary,—scarcely rested from the fatigue of the rehearsals of his opera, and still annoyed by the vexation of its original indifferent success in Vienna,—began, already in June, to renew the indefatigable exercise of his genius, and proved his powers to be ripe for the ceaseless fresh demands he made upon them. He produced, in this and the following month, many works of great esteem ; and in August, besides the inestimable Sonata in F for pianoforte duet, he gave the present Trio and the violin Quartet in D to the world. To the same year belongs the composition of tho Symphony in D (commencing with a slow introduction), the pianoforte concerto in C minor, and the one in C major, two Trios for pianoforte and string instruments, the musical comedy of Der Schampiel Director, and a vast amount of other pieces, several of which can scarcely be deemed of minor importance, though they are less generally known. This everlasting readiness and untiring activity prove, more than volumes of anecdotes could do, our composer's natural spontaneity, and his genuine delight in the practice of his art ; and the proof is corroborated by the easy fluency of his music, for no pressure of necessity can ever force drops from a sterile imagination, and the severest power of circumstance cannot compel the brain to drudge upon a treadmill.—G. A. Maefarren.