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Cfct iNkal aHorftr.
LONDON: SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 27, 1862.
JEAN BAPTISTE LULLY, Or LULLI, who, though Florentine by birth, spent nearly all his life in France at the Court of Louis XIV., being at the head of that monarch's famous "four and twenty fiddlers," passed for a great composer in the days before Glttck, and Bach, and Handel. He wrote chiefly operas, ballet music, and the like, for the French king was fond of dancing, and had but a rude taste for music. Yet Lully's style is said to have been completely original in its day, " derived from no other source than the copious fountain of his own invention." Those who have inspected his scores in the library of the Conservatoire, at Paris, pronounce his style dry and psalmlike, so far as anything like melody is concerned; while, as a natural consequence of the direct and unsophisticated way in which he addressed himself to the task before him, that of setting tragedies to music, his operas do not lack dramatic truth and dignity, so much as they do the purely musical charm of melody, and so forth. This is the very thing which has been so often said of Richard Wagner's operas, which he (Richard) wishes the world to understand are only hints and preludes toward that "Art-work of the Future," in which he thinks all the Mozarts, Beethovens, Webers, Aubers, and Rossini's are to be erelong swallowed up. A German musical literateur, W. H. Riehl, in his CvlturStudien, has recently elaborated this coincidence, as follows :—
"To adopt the language of philologists, Lully is not a 'schoolauthor.' We can learn but little form from him, unless we teach ourselves from his dry harmonies how we ought not to" harmonize. On the other hand, however, no one who has not studied Lully can fully appreciate the historical greatness of Gluck. Lully is the Richard Wagner of the eighteenth century. His AUettt is, as he himself designates it, a 1 tragcdie mine en mutique,' but not an opera; it is not connected by airs, duets, concerted pieces, &c, but by continuous scenes. Lully does not sing, he simply declaims. The whole is a constant obbligaio recitative, varied by occasional melodic fragments and a few choruses. I say all this of Lully; it might be supposed, however, that I said it of Wagner. It applies to both. Only the marches introduced here and there are real music, and become popular in Lully's works—and in Wagner's. In many places, Lully is amazingly great and true in dramatic expression, just like Wagner; he then relapses into the fearful monotony of endless recited dialogue, exactly like Wagner. The choruses are simple, and bear the stamp of solemn dignity, some tunes reminding us, even in certain passages of the harmony, of the lofty church-hymns of the old Italians. The same, by
no means small praise, cannot be denied to many of Wagner's choruses Lully sacrifices musical architecture to dramatic expression; he has touches of melody but no melodies. Lully or Wagner?—We find, consequently, in Lully, a disjointed, fragmentary, restless whole, which would necessarily have produced a confused, wearying impression, if the mott refined contrasts in the scenes, and the magnificent manner in which his operas were placed on the stage—all the resources of Elysium and Erebus being (literally) called into requisition for Aluttt at least (and for Tannhauser)—had not come to the assistance of the hearer's fancy. Lully and Wagner are weak as musicians j stronger as tonepoets; but strongest of all as stage-managers.
"It was precisely this formlessness of Lully's operas which was annihilated by Gluck, while, at the same time, the endeavour to attain dramatic effect was adopted and further developed. In the form of his compositions, Oluck resembles the good old Italian musicians much more than Lully, and Wagner reminds us much more vividly of Lully than of Gluck. If our musicians would but devote a little more zeal to their historical studies, they might then perceive that, after all, it cannot be so great a step in advance to jump back, after the lapse of nearly a century, from Gluck's style, so wonderfully developed in the interval, to a form of opera corresponding to that of Lully. Out of very zeal for progress a man may become reactionary."
The Musical World of London asks: "What will our American cousins say to the foregoing?"—Why is the question asked? Has America been at all conspicuous in the admiration and adoption of the music or the principles of Wagner? Have Tannhauser and Lohengrin been crowding out Verdi and Meyerbeer in the lyrical " Academies " of New York, Philadelphia, and Boston? Do our dilettanti swear by Richard, as our island elder cousins do by Felix? Have we done any thing, in short, to make us looked upon as "Wagnerites," as marching wilfully or drifting lazily toward the "Music of the Future?" On the contrary, we have too much music of the Present to absorb us just now, which is noisier than Wagner, Verdi, Meyerbeer, and Berlioz combined. And hitherto, in our most " piping times of peace," Wagner has piped to us but little, drawing few crowds and picking up few coppers. In fact, Wagner's music, in whatever form, has, we may say, almost never been heard in this country, outside of the three cities, New York, Boston, and Philadelphia—possibly a little in such western cities as Chicago, Cincinnati, &c, where the German element abounds. His operas—which alone represent his peculiarities—have never once, to our knowledge, been performed in any American theatre, with the exception of three or four imperfect renderings of Tannhauser, a few years since, by a small German company, before an audience mostly German, in New York. The only specimens by which Wagner has become at all familar in our musical cities, are the Tannhauser Overture, and three or four orchestral arrangements, marches, &c, from that and the Lohengrin. The Tannhauser Overture has indeed considerable popularity in concert halls; it has its admirers, among our musicians a*d more cultivated amateurs; it has also in the same classes its strong dislikers. His overtures to Rienzi and the Flying Dutchman (earlier works, without much to distinguish them from other popular composers) have been heard a few times in concert rooms, but without leaving much impression. And his Faust Overture, a work sui generis, has been twice presented in Boston, at an interval of five years; but whatever points of curious interest it offered, it did not prove so appetizing as the well-known symphonies and overtures of Beethoven, Mozart, Hadyn, Mendelssohn, &c.
Well then, have the theories of Wagner been so notoriously espoused on this side of the ocean, that our English cousin looks triumphantly this way in the joy of his discovery ? His theories have been described here and discussed here in musical journals, our own included. Translations and abstracts have been made from his Oper unci Drama and other books, mainly to ascertain and to show what is the meaning of the great noise made in Europe by this Wagner, and wherein consists his claim as musical reformer. Credit has been given him for some sound ideas—generally accompanied with the observation that those ideas appeared to be essentially the same with those set forth by Gluck in his famous preface to his Alceite, and gloriously illustrated by him in that and his succeeding operas. Credit has been given Wagner for many a sharp, true, brilliant criticism upon the Opera as it is and has been, upon Weber, Auber, Rossini, Meyerbeer, and the rest; great credit as a man of talent, a thinker with ideas, a man capable of conceiving a great and comprehensive plan, whether he have the genius himself to execute it in an inspired, inspiring "Art-work" or not. He has been much criticised too, has been charged with a wilful impetuosity that would run G luck's wholesome principles into the ground, falsifying them by pushing them too far; and we have yet to know the writer or the talker (in the comparatively small musical circles within which the subject is even discussed here), who does not altogether reject Wagner's claim for the entire subordination of music to poetry, and suspect him of not being really at heart a musician, of not having properly and distinctively a musical nature, when he denies the validity or the sufficiency of what he calls pure music, or music without words, and when he declares that Beethoven uttered the last word of instrumental music, exhausting its possibilities, in the Ninth Symphony, and that his calling in of voices there with the " Joy" chorus was a confession of the despair of Symphony upon the summit of its possible attainment.
Yet there are partizans of Wagner and his music, doubtless, in America, as everywhere else, excepting Italy. But they are mostly Germans, of B later immigration. There are, naturally, among the musicians those who are fond of novelty, and who are readily interested in, perhaps run away with by experiments. Perhaps, too, these have awakened here and there among the rest of us some local, short-lived little echoes. A settled, fully committed, musical taste is hardly a thing to be expected to exist in so early a stage of musical culture as our young nation is now passing through. Is it not far better for us to maintain an open heart and mind meanwhile to all that speaks to us in Art, both old and new, Italian, German, and what not? Shall we not hear all and learn? If our concert rooms and our ears have been hospitable to Wagner's music, to such small extent as we have yet been visited therewith, is it not on the whole honourable to us, and is it not a vast deal better than that doggedly exclusive prejudice with which our English cousins shut their ears, not alone to Wagner, but to Schumann, nay, even to Schubert, and did try to shut them for some time to Chopin, while it is not so very long that they have been open to the grand old master, newest among the new, as well as fountain head of all that is esteemed classical—Sebastian Bach! And, after all, take Wagner's music, with all its faults, its want of genius if you please, or even want of music (by your definition), can you not, O elder cousin, profitably afford to him some tolerance, some hearing, when you lavish such seasons of long nights, such heaps of guineas, and such volumes of eulogy and raphsody on masters who—granting all their merits—come no nearer to the heart and nature than and .
Boston (Massachusetts), Sept., 6. J. S. Dwight.
Professor Sterndale Bennett's Inauguration Ode is about to be introduced to the musical public of Lancashire—at a concert to bo given (in aid of the Manchester Relief Fund) by Mr. R. Andrews—a numerous and effective choral body will assist.
THEY say when things come to the worst they must mend. The day is a good say, and not an unlikely. That those illicit drinking and smoking booths, which legislation ignorantly allows to be denominated "Music Halls," are beginning to totter, to exhibit symptoms of decay, are in short on their last legs, is patent to the dullest observation. Their falling into disfavour was indeed but a question of time. It was impossible it could be otherwise. What with accidents, in some instances, of a fatal nature to the acrobats, the destruction of the vocal powers to the singers—the inevitable consequence of the inhalation of smoke from bad tobacco,—the colds and catarrhs caught by the non-smoking visitors from the same cause, it was apparent that success was imperilled in many ways, and that failure was imminent. But a direr enemy to the so-called "Music Halls" has started up in the public itself, which was thought to lend them the fairest light of its countenance, and to certain legalised functionaries, who heretofore were considered but too prone to shut their eyes to all the projeojed machinations of managers against the moral health and refinement of Her Majesty's lieges. Had the respectability of other streets awakened the same fears as that of Regent Street recently, the metropolis would not now have to bewail the erection of so many art-cesspools in some of its broadest and proudest places.
The following is an official report of a meeting which was held on Saturday last, and which appeared in the Weekly Dispatch of Sunday :—
At a meeting of the representative vestry of St. Marylcbonc, held at tho Court-house, Marylebone-lane, yesterday, an animated discussion took place in reference to an alleged project for establishing an extensive Music Hall in that part of Regent-street within the limits of that parish.
The Chairman (Mr. Peter Matthews) opened the proceedings by calling attention to a notice with which he had just been served, as one of the churchwardens, to the effect that Mr. Robert Green, of 24, Mortimer-street, Regentstreet, upholsterer, thereby gave notice that he intended to apply under the provisions of the statute 25th George 11., cap. 36, at the next Michaelmas Quarter Session for the county, to be bolden at Clcrkenwell on the 9th proximo, for a license for public music to be carried on within the premises situate and being respectively No. 24, Mortimer-street, certain commodious houses, known as the Portland Bazaar, 19, Langham-place, and No. 09, Great Portland-street, Oxford-street, in the parish of Marylebono. He (the Chairman) did not ask for action on the part of the vestry for the present, as it was a question for tho inhabitants of Portland-place and-Regent-streetl but he felt it to be his duty to lay such an important notice before them, as, for ought he knew, tho premises might be ultimately turned into a casino.
Mr. Winofikld moved that a special committee of the vestry be forthwith appointed to watch this matter, as it was undoubtedly a question of importance to the ratepayers of Regent-street.
Mr. J. S. W. Herring said, in supporting the resolution, that it appeared to be the intention to establish a large public music hall in that part of Regent Street where the rents where exceedingly high, in close proximity to All Souls' Church, Langham-placo and Portland-place, which was calculated to seriously depreciate the property to an alarming extent. He feared, however, the time to oppose the license by means of a committee, as proposed in the resolution, was too short, and, therefore, he hoped it would be made known to the public through the press of what was believed to be in contemplation, that a pressure from without might be brought upon the application for the license, to induce an abandonment of such a project
Mr. Hothwelll thanked the churchwarden for bringing the subject forward, and fully concurred with Mr. Herring that the establishment of a music hall, which seemed to be the ostensible object for applying for the license, would be a great injury to the neighbourhood of Regent-street, and an annoyance to the surrounding churches. It was quite out of character to quietly allow of such an establishment in Regent-street, where even respectable trades of a certain class, such as butchers, greengrocers, &c, were strictly prohibited from being established. In fact, all London was interested in keeping up tho present respectability of that street, which Englishmen were proud of, and foreigners so much admired. If a music hall was established there, ho ventured to assert that the character of that part of Regent-street would soon be materially damaged by the removal of many highly respectable businesses of the superior class.
Mr. C. Tucker drew attention to that class of persons who infested tho eastern side of Regent-street and Portland-placo of an evening, and the wry great injury to morals which would bo caused by supplying a focus to such persons in the shape of a mnsio hall close to such a neighbourhood as Langham-place.
The Chairman said it was now too lato to appoint a committee to report, and the meeting therefore resolved to leave tho matter in the hands of the inhabitants to move in the opposition.
If the occupants of the Regent Street district exhibit the smallest amount of energy, they will, of course, smash this particular head of the Hydra, and inflict .such a blow on the monster as will make him tremble all along his huge frame, even though it extended as far as Canterbury. One of these hotbeds, established in the neighbourhood of Langham Place and the mild crescents to th« north, would threaten to demoralize all that fair and virtuous locality; and, peradventure, might in the end encroach on the spotless reputation of St. James's. Inhabitants of Regent Street, be up and stirring! Buckle on your armour, and allow not your churchwardens to lapse into parochial indifference! Your mind's health, and that of your wives, your children, and your household, is at stake. If once you permit the lava from these perstiferous volcanoes, tho mis-nomered "music halls," to Bpread over your unsullied streets and squares, the glory of your city will have departed for ever. Now is your time. Lose not one moment. The eyes of the community are at last opened to the abominations of these dens. Their novelty has passed away; their singers are choked, their jumpers are maimed, their audiences are sickened. Their hour has arrived. They say, when things come to the worst, they must mend. The say is a good say, and not an unlikely. The music halls have reached the acme of sufferances. The amelioration is assured. Either reformation or annihilation is imperative. Any change will be for the better. R.
ROYAL ENGLISH OPERA.
Sib,—Any one writing in the interest of the Royal English Opera, Covent Garden, might reply to the question whyjhe Pyne and Harrison Company now steps forward and commences business, &c, by quoting a portion of the advertisement of Mr. Mapleson, in the Times to-day:— "The Great Exhibition having brought so many distinguished visitors to town at this unusual period of the year,"—and to the question, "why the Pyne and Harrison Company now -engages Mile. Parepa, and Messrs. Sautley and Weiss, by remarking that Miss Pyne, having probably discovered the injurious effects of singing nearly every night for six months, docs not attempt to continue the practice this season—which will probably extend to a longer period; and that Mr. Santley also objecting to destroy his health by similar foolhardiness, the managers could not have done better tlian secure the services of Mile. Parepa and Mr. Weiss to play on alternate nights. It might also be remarked that Mr. Weiss was engaged in the Pyne and Harrison troupe for the first two seasons of its existence, until, in fact, Mr Santley was engaged, and further, that the latter gentleman, whoso third season it is, and Mile. Pare[», whose second season it is at Covent Garden, were introduced to the English stage by Miss Pyne and Mr. Harrison.
It must not be forgotten, however objectionable tho proceedings of the Pyne and Harrison Company have appeared in the eyes of some people, that it has effected a great deal for English Opera. Everyone knows what their good deeds have been, as. well as that up to the present season they have kept themselves before the public on their national boards, to the exclusion of any other prima donna and primo tenure competent to compete with them; but the question is, whether before a certain amount of success in a pecuniary sense has been achieved to have drawn the salaries of such artistes as Mr. Sims lleeves and Mad. Sherrington, in addition to their own, fronv the profits of the speculation, might not have-been the means of ruining themselves, as well as the eauso they profess to have in hand. If tho Pyne and Harrison management, with such a company as they have this season, for instance, continues to maintain English Opera in its present respectable position for some years to come, it will be more entitled to the admiration and gratitude of its supporters than if next year they add Mr. Sims lteeves, &c, to their corps, and with one brilliant season ruined, in the midst of its prosperous career, the cause to which they
have devoted so much energy. On the other hand, Miss Pyne and Mr. Harrison must not permit themselves to retrograde. The admirers of English Opera will not be content next season with a Signora Scrichini, and three or four baritones from the country in the place of Miss Parepa and Messrs. Santley and Weiss. It is not the personal success of Miss Pyne and Mr. Harrison that is desired, but the success of English Opera; and if the new association can succeed in establishing a permanent English Opera House, possessing all the admirable features of the present one, without the objections which have been acknowledged to characterise it, it will, no doubt, receive the greater support, and will certainly deserve the greater esteem and admiration. 20th Sept., 1862." Rows Hood.
MUSICAL EXCHANGE CLUB. To the Editor of the Mcsical Would. Sin,—I think the proposal of "Rag. A Mns." very good, respecting the establishing of the " musical Exchange Club;" it deserves tho serious consideration of all professional men who have tho welfare of Classical (». e. rational) music at heart; as his proposition is much superior to my own suggestions, I refrain from troubling you with mine at present; that there will bo nevertheless, innumerable difticultit* in the way, in order to carry out the scheme successfully, is unquestionable, as of course, so many heads, so many different minds, and to please all, especially those who have high opinions of their own merits, will be a great difficulty j however, I hope " The Musical Exchange Club" will be started ere l»ng; and if " Rag. A. Mus." would confide in "A well-wisher" to exchange his thoughts privately on the subject, without further intruding upon your valuable space, I shall have no objection to your furnishing him with my card. Thanking you for the insertion of my first letter, as I hope it will lead to some good.
I remain, yours respectfully and obliged,
Two of the oldest, if not the most remarkable buildings in Paris
(says the correspondent of the Times), are about to bo removed in consequenco of tlio new improvements,—one is the old clothesmarket of the Templo, which, it is said, is to be replaced by a handsomo bazaar; the other is the hide-market. This building, so black and so dilapidated, is all that remains of the celebrated hotel of the Duke de Bourgogne. It was there the first theatrical company was installed, which performed in Paris, and was tho foundation of the Theatre Franeaise. It was there that Pierre Gringoire, herald-at-arms to the Duke of Lorraine, in 1500, prepared for representation Le Mystere des Actes des Apetres, with music, singing, and dancing. The piece was divided into several "days," and contained 10,000 verses. Its preparation cost moro than 1,000,000 francs^ to which tho Government contributed nothing. It is remarked that the directors of Parisian theatres of the present day, who receive large allowances from the Government, boast of their liberality when they expend from 40,000f. to 60,000f. in getting up a new piece.
it is stated in an old periodical of the day, that when the Mystery was about to be performed, a public proclamation was addressed to the performers, calling on them to attend, and informing the Parisians at what hour the representation was to commence. Tlu proclamation of the first representation of the Mystery was made in the name of the King, and of the Provost of Paris, and in the presence of the four commissioners of the Chiitelet, and of several municipal officers. The playbills of the present day are very diminutive, in comparison with those of that remote period.
Subsequently, an Italian company was established in the snma building, which now serves as a hide-market. Half a century afterwards, the works of Corneille and of Racine, were represented with great splendour at the Hotel de Bourgogne.
This ancient edifice is to be entirely removed, in order to make room for the proposed extension of tho Boulevard du Princo Eug&ne.
The season of the Theatre Italien is now definitely fixed to open on Thursday next, the 2nd of October, with Norma, Madame Penco as the Priestess. Lucia will follow, with Madame Frezzolini. Flotow's Stradella will be produced early, and the new tenor Vidal, of whom nothing is known, will make his debut in Cenerentola— whence it may be inferred, he is a tenor of the-Rossinian school. "Tant mieux," no doubt everybody will exclaim. Rossini's Maometto II. is also talked of.
Signor Verdi has quitted Paris for St. Petersburg!!, to superintend the rehearsals of his new opera, for which he has been specially, engaged.
Meyerbeer has left Ems, and has betaken himself to Berlin, where his Camp of Silesia has been just given with such brilliant success. The illustrious composer is in the enjoyment of good health.
Madame Emile Olivier, wife of the deputy of the Seine, and daughter of Franz Liszt, died recently at St. Tropez, in consequence of a first confinement, which took place two months ago.
The Presse Theatrale is singular in its opinions. Its singularity would be amusing were it not that the air of authority it assumes is simply degoutant. According to the article on M. Calzado'a preamble to the Theatre Italien—which, by the way, has no superscription—Signor Dello Sedie is " le premier chanleur de Vepoque" and Mdlle. Trebelli "une nullite grosse de pre'tentions." Poor Mdlle. Trebelli! and still poorer Signor Delle Sedie! and above all, and still more to be pitied, poor British audiences that find enchantment in the lady, and "gross nullity" in the gentleman. But such secrets are not unreadable by the light of French journalistic agrcmene. According to this authority Signor Zucchini is a greater singer and actor than Tamburini or Lablacho. Moreover, he has no faith in Patti, and "instinctively distrusts English products and the taste of his neighbours in everything that touches upon art."
Rossini's Comte Org has been swamped at the Grand Opera from the indifference of the singers. The tenor, a debutante, M. Peschard, was utterly incompetent.
THEATRICALS IN VIENNA.
THERE is nothing, absolutely nothing, doing here in the way of musical novelty. Everything is going on in the hiundrum style to which we are so accustomed. Since I cannot write to you about music, therefore, I will, just to show I am still alive, give you a scrap of theatrical news, faute de mieux.
Yqu are aware that fortune has not smiled lately upon the Carltheater, and the Theater an der Wien. In fact, they have both been closed for want of support, for they were wretchedly conducted, and the public will not pay to go to a place of amusement, which, to employ an Irishism, is no longer a place of amusement. Suddenly there arose a report that the two theatres were about to be re-opened, and there was a grand preliminary flourish of trumpets about the intentions of the new managers—for the old ones had retired—and the wonders those gentlemen were resolved to carry out. In a word, everyone was led to expect a theatrical millenium. Well, the two theatres are re-opened, and aught more unpromising than tho performances of the first few nights it is impossible to imagine. I will not enter into a detailed account of the pieces enacted, as that is not calculated to interest the readers of the Musical World. Instead of this, I will give you the following laudable and pungent remarks which have appeared as a leader in your respected contemporary, the Kecensionen. "Pocas palabras," says Christopher Sly. "Leave your damnable faces and begin," observes Hamlet. I will.
"The special notices on the opening performances in the Carltheater and the Theater ar der Wien, are to be found underHhe heading of 'Theatrical Intelligence.' It is there that the writer has to describe the particular impression produced by the performances in question; to pronounce a judgment upon the pieces and the action; and to descant upon the details as well as the general result. We have here to take another view of the double event; a view which we would designate the artistic and historical view, were this proud denomination applicable to a mero Punch-andJudy exhibition; or the psychological view, if we had to do with anything like art; the moral, if we had to do with anything like moral influences.
"Let us, therefore, at once state that we here refer to the effect of the two performances only as something by which we may form an idea of the two new managements and their ultimate prospects.
"Of neither theatre shall we have much to say on this head. The one has awoke, after its compulsory summer sleep, so unchanged in appearance, that we can prophecy neither good nor evil. The other has commenced with so striking a failure, that, for the present,
a short comparison of the theatrical ' Debtor and Creditor' account will be quite sufficient to describe the actual state of affairs.
"Indeed, any person who had gone to sleep during the interregnum on the banks of the Wien, and had then, without knowing aught of the financial crisis or the change of management that had meanwhile occurred, woke up again, would not have remarked any material change. The 'iiussere Schauplatz,' or 'external scene,' as the audience part of the house is entitled in theatrical language, would have struck him as having been recently cleaned up, and supplied with a certain number of new gas lamps; on the stage, he would have observed, with satisfaction, the absence of the abominable act-drops; and, among the company, he would have been struck by a few fresh faces, especially by Herr Zimmermann, engaged to supply the place of Herr Rott, who has left. On the other hand, he would have missed the promised abolition of many causes of discomfort, such, for instance, among others, as tho fact of the seats in the pit-boxes being too low. As a rule, all that was good or bad under the old regimen still exists as ever; the 'morally-comic fairy farce,' with attempts at a splendid mise-cnscene, as a bait; Herr Haffmcr, as the theatrical writer; most of the old actors, with their well-known individual good qualities, and their shortcomings when acting together; the objectionablo length of the performance; the good-natured powers of endurance distinguishing the gallery; the weary indifferenco of the pit; the absence of a fashionable box-audience; the fitful exertions of an ill-trained clague—in fact, all the well-known, and, in part, excellent, materials, which had existed for fifteen years previously (more or less), and the art, equally well known, of employing those materials as little, and as badly as possible.
"In addition to all this, there was the speech, in blank verse, which the new manager, with the assistance of the prompter, addressed to the audience, and which, also, must be classed among those things we have frequently had before.
"Such phrases about 'having a lofty aim in view;' such cringing appeals to the 'favour,' the 'indulgence,' and the 'kindness' of the public, are really bad substitutes for not understanding the duties attendant on the task a manager has undertaken. That a person whose mind has been invigorated in the service of art speaks a different language is a self-evident fact. But even that manager who looks upon himself only as what he must partially be, namely, the tradesman who offers his varied theatrical wares to the public who are anxious to purchase them, will reflect, both as a man and a tradesman, before he begs, with abject mien, for 'kindness and indulgence.' He will welcome his customers, in a friendly and attentive manner, to his new place of business; he will politely invite them to look at the stock he has laid-iu to the best of his judgment; he will promise, by good articles and fair prices, to satisfy just requirements and reasonable wishes; and he will modestly add: 'Examine what I offer, and judge mo by what I do.' So should the most tradesmanliko of theatrical managers speak—for the tradesman, the shopkeeper, nay, even the artisan, while feeling what he owes the public, should, at the same time, feel what he owes himself. The system of lick-spittling for the favour of the public is quite as degrading, and, luckily, after all, quite as useless, as that cringing adulation which tries to propitiate despotic sovereigns, or members of the privileged classes, or any other persons endowed with power.
"What course matters will ultimately take on the banks of tho Wien, cannot, as we have previously remarked, be foretold from the undecided character of the opening performance. As yet, nothing has been gained and nothing lost. There is a great deal of good material;—is it not possible that spirit which shall give it an artistic value may yet awake? The past career of the theatre has been so varied, that we cannot say whether its long stagnation will not be suddenly terminated by some upward flight of a peculiar
kind, or by some strange experiment although the hope
that such may be the case can only grow familiar and fainter.
"Things are otherwise at the Carl theatre.—On the banks of the Wien, Herr Strampfer promised nothing; perhaps, he will do some- thing; perhaps, he will adhere to the programme which he did not promise—On the banks of the Danube, the published programme is trampled under foot every evening.
"The Carl theatre has certainly put on a cheerful, light, and clean appearance—but this is all. The 'People's theatre in the more noble acceptation of the word,' was inaugurated in a sufficiently strange fashion. Tho curtain arose, and nine tombstones filled the scene—a bad omen!—the masters of the popular stage are supposed to be buried there.—How came the name of Saphir, the prototype of passionately unscrupulous criticism, to find a place among the others ?—The 'People's Muse' indulges in a long series of lamentations; the comic dramatists (or bad likenesses of them) rise from their graves, or, rather, simply step forth from behind the tombstones, and talk a deal of confused balderdash, mixed up with hackneyed phrases, with which her ladyship, the ' People's Muse,' emphatically agrees. As far as we could make out, a new era was promised the German- Austrian popular style of dramatic writing, and a good deal said against the bad taste which demands only show, rags of canvass, horses and dogs; which 'in Treumann' always ran after what was 'foreign and strange;' 'in First' what was vulgarly comic; and which looks for political allusions in pieces written in the popular style —at least, this was the abuse in which 1 Pasmund' indulged, while 'Scbolz' inveighed against imitators, 'Nestroy' recommended us 'to be sure to go with the times,' and the poor 'People's Muse,' with compulsory enthusiasm, twaddled about 'Sonnerfels' and 'reform.'
"'then followed the first piece offered by the new manager to tho public, and intended to inaugurate the 'People's theatre, in the more noble acceptation of the word;' a miserable specimen of patchwork, stuffed full of politic loyalty, with two somewhat subdued liberal sauce. The ranks of the 'authors of Vienna,' to whom Herr Lehman offers a ' wide field for their exertions,' are headed by the most talentless among the talentle-s.—Called on by his friends, Herr Letsmann addressed the audience. 'He did not think,' he said, 'seventeen years ago, that he should appear in his present character before the Viennese public' (Perhaps he did not think so even a month ago I). 'He could not speak.' (That would not matter, if he could only manage a theatrical enterprise!) 1 he trusted the artists would perform well.' (Perhaps the worthy manager fancies that to perform well depends on the will of a bad actor ?) 1 and hoped he should always have as full a house.'
"The answer soon came. In the following evening, the house was empty,* and before the end of the performance a large poster was exhibited with the announcement: 'A fresh piece to-morrow :' The sulisequent evonings were with great difficulty filled up with one-act show-pieces, for the new lintruiant' and the new soubrette— with the odds and ends of the despised Treumann-repertory. This is certainly the consistent establishment of the ' People's Theatre in the more noble acceptation of the word,' with a vengeance!
"Thus the whole affair was a complete failure. The same public who were accustomed to consider his mediocre scenes quite as 'magnificent' as his really good ones, opened their eyes. Those good friends who had contributed so much to place the ScenicApelles upon the pedestal of false genius, left him, on this occasion, in the lurch.
"Things may, however, take a different turn; it is not one performance, or even a series of performances, which can determine the value or the fate of a management. Perhaps the starring engagement of Hcrr Fiirst, with his company, may aid the efforts of Herr Lehmann's own troupe; perhaps Merelli's Italian Opera Company, or the rope dancer, Blondel f may be the means of saving the Carl theatre, for all these 1 treats' are in store for us. But at any rate, let the management be sincere ; let it speak no more of it better tendency, a more noble aim, the cultivation of the popular style of piece, or of a 'speciality.'
"Let us hear it openly stated: Herr Lehmann has become the manager in consequence of a business arrangement; without thinking of any leading and fundamental principal of action, he has retained, in a lump, the company collected by Herr Brauer; has accepted the first pieces, already sent in, on which he laid^is hand, and now, swayed on one side, and then on the other, by a host of officious advisers, intends attempting to achieve success by all those methods, even the most objectionable, adopted by modern theatrical operators. There would be a certain geniality in a frank confession of this kind, while the fact of parading so ostentatiously,
* "Tim bills announced that: 'All boxes, fatttcuils, and stalls' were taken. They may certainly have been paid for, but the tickets were evidently never fetched away. Wo counted above ninety empty places. And how many were filled with free admissions!"
f Query: Blondin?—Pkihtek's D.
as Her Lehmann does, an artistic aim, would throw an unfavourable shadow even on the most legitimate speculation.
"But lastly, it is not sufficient to determine to speculate, speculating is B business which requires to be understood. Even here Herr Lehmann appears deficient. If he should console himself, or if others should console him, with the seductive example set by Nestroy, we answer: Nestroy understood nothing, and cared nothing about management—but there were persons in the back ground, and by his side, who knew everything connected with the business part of the concern, while Nestroy aided them most efficiently—as an actor—Herr Lehmann, however, can only paint scenes and group character. Whom has he at his side to help him ?—This is a point which renders questionable even the material success of the undertaking, were it really conducted on artistic principles."
If, on concluding this biographical sketch of a musician, who, like so many of his contemporaries in art, is more talked of .and praised than known by the present generation, wo add a few abstractions respecting his style, we do so for the purpose of declaring that we share the views enounced by Riehl, in the second series of his Musikalische Characterkbpfe (Stuttgart, 1860, p. 90), when he says: "On the production of Cherubini's last opera (Ali Baba), people in France regretted that the old master came two hundred years to late, while German musicians glanced with a holy feeling of bashfulness into the finely written score, as though they had a presentiment that the creations of such a man as Cherubim would first be neglected as unfashionable, to rise up again at the expiration of a few years as unperishable works of art."—This opinion is, truly, as yet nothing more than a wish, without any prospect for the present of its being fulfilled; still, during the last few years we have observed in Germany certain facts, calculated to inspire us with fresh hopes for its accomplishment. Among these facts we do not include simply the attempts to revive upon the stage certain of his operas, such as Medea and Les Deux Jottrne'es, which has, properly speaking, never been banished from the repertory; but we allude more especially to the remarkable circumstance that his overtures adorn more than ever the concert-programmes of almost every place in Germany, and, furthermore, that in more important concert societies, and even at German musical festivals, portions of his sacred compositions are given, when those works are not actually played in their entirety, if the reader, should he not possess the Paris scores, Iwill look at the old pianoforte arrangements of Lodoi.ika (Kiihnel, Leipsic), Faniska (A. S. Muller, Leipsic), Medea (Imbault, Paris), Elisa (in German, Breitkopf and Hartel), Les deux Journees, (Imbault, Paris), and the ballet of Achilles at Seyros (Kiihnel, Leipsic), he will find an exhaustless mine of musical precious stones. And, then, what shall we say about the Masses!
In nothing that Cherubini wrote do we come across aught that is not noble, far less upon aught that is low. The noblest feeling pervades his style. Mere sensual charm in his melodies he despises. The melodies frequently flow on in astonishing simplicity, but are mostly sustained by artistic harmonies, in the combinations of which he equals the greatest composers. The musical ideas and motives, moreover, are characterised by wonderful sharpness; nothing is vague or obscure; everything is clear, distinct, and firmly sketched in.
There can be no doubt, it is true, that Cherubini's services as the reformer of French, or modern opera, are appreciated, especially in Germany, but by no means sufficiently so, because they date from the same period as Mozart's transformation of opera, which transformation came more directly under the notice of the Germans, and, indeed, was of such overpowering geniality that naught else could interest them—at least, if they were competent judges. People still talked and wrote a great deal about Gluck, and the principles he laid down for the musical drama, but, meanwhile, they forgot that Cherubini effected just as much as Gluck, the blending of the music with the poetry, and the characteristic, representation of the dramatic situation, though with far greater richness of musical fancy, since he employed in his harmonic combinations a much richer store of instrumental resource and