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In France it is quite otherwise, and even the Germans write long time passed for models in all Europe, and which even Italy there in altogether a different style. In the French opera, as borrowed of him. But soon the Italians got the start of him: it is now constituted, there is an evident striving to appear they began to sing, while the French went on psalmodizing, for characteristic, to heighten effect by all means known or possible. which we cannot reasonably reproach them. In music they Much display, which frequently resembles the mere glitter of were yet a people in its childhood ; they wanted historical antegold tinsel ; a lavish expenditure of passages and bravura pieces, cedents; they possessed neither composers nor singers; and for surpassing even the Italian ; an activity of instruments which the little knowledge that was infused among them they were goes even beyond the Germans ; male parts written in a vocal indebted to foreigners, whose debtors they have remained to our register enough to make physicians shudder: song-parts of an day for the sum-total of the advances, which have made their expression in the highest degree French, half chivalric, half lyric-dramatic school illustrious in noble or serious operas. It Gascoigne ; a rhythm, which moves or runs in even pace with was the fortune of this school to be born in the lap of barbarism, the country itself; a charlatanism in modulations from one key and to remain there for a long time through the want of native to another; a multitude of dramatic and very beautiful effects, talents. When the Italians took that splendid upward flight, little depth, almost no originality that is what I have dis- which placed them so high in melodic composition and in the art covered in reading* through the works of the most celebrated of singing, while it removed them more and more from the conopera writers of our time.
ditions of the drama, the French were not able to follow them. In Italy the national physiognomy, which from of old has mir- | As an ingenious people, however, they made a virtue of necesrored itself most manifestly in the opera, lies in dilettantism, in sity, and found a glory in wounding the ear from principle; out the passion itself for music. As born musicians, connoisseurs in all of variety and thirst for distinctions of all kinds, they honoured that concerns execution, neither better nor worse judges of com- with the name of national music the newly-revived Florentine position than the great mass of the public elsewhere, indifferent song-speech, which the Italians had long since given up, and to the dramatic development, but, on the other hand, as dis- which, moreover, was no music. But while the French natutinguished orecchianti (possessors of a musical ear), the Italians ralized among them this intolerable reciting manner, they closed desire nothing of an opera but euphony, with a strong dose of a no less loyal compact with the rational principle, which had noise (which they loved less at one time), fluent roulades, a called the same into life. The idea of the founders of the lyricpleasant tickling of the senses, an intoxicating thrill, a volup drama could not become lost in the land of a Corneille and a tuous warmth. With them the inusic conforms to the climate. Racine, as it did in Italy. Cast upon the then so-classic French The people of the north, as we know, loved to warm themselves ground, it lay long buried as a precious seed ; at last it sprung ly their glowing sun; and, if to-day they cannot leave their homes up, and the harvest turned out all the fairer for the long time to seek it, they try to supply this want by the glow of their music. they had to wait for it.
From our remarks it follows, that of the four modes of indicat I am firmly convinced that the hearers of the old French ing the local origin of an opera-all of which can be and are opera looked for nothing in it but dramatic excitements and the pledges of success with native audiences—there is not one, which, dance ; for, we cannot too often repeat it, the Florentine in the judgment of a foreign and impartial connoisseur, really psalmodising, or, what is scarcely better, the recitative of Lulli 'enotes a fault, an imperfection, or, indeed, a negative in music. and Rameau could never have inspired much interest in any one And yet most of the operas—we maintain, all of them-come as music. It pleased in France as a sort of strengthening of the themselves under some one of these categories. Moreover, there effect. Here they were accustomed to the shockingly false is no branch of art in which tastes and opinions are so different screech of the singer; the ear was as yet so uncultivated, that as in dramatic music; and there is none which has had so much no one was offended by it; and hence this very scream, this to suffer from the times. There is only one opera which rises | urlo Francese (French howl) was received only as the exalted above all influences of time and local relations, and at an im expression of the passions. That musical enjoyment, which the measurable height rules the remotest and most splendid regions audiences sought not in the dramatic music, but which one of unmixed psychology. This no nation can claim as its ex- cannot quite dispense with in the opera, they found in airs, clusive property. The text is Italian, the subject Spanish, the which were danced to, in which there is always some rhythm composer German; for one must choose some language wherein and some melody, that is to say, something true and answering to write a theatrical piece, the action must occur in some place, to the hearer's power of comprehension. Hence ballets and and the musician must be born somewhere. But, as regards the divertissements were always inseparable from musical tragedy. score, the approbation of the world-which agrees in recognizing Even to-day they hold fast to these, while the friends of music it as the first masterpiece of the lyric stage, and a half-century, would gladly dispense with such auxiliaries. which seems only to have enhanced every one of its beauties-- The principle of lyric-dramatic truth prevailed thus from the lias settled, that it is neither exclusively German, nor Italian, outset in the grand opera : but foreigners never suspected it, Spanish, Russian, nor French. It is universal!
since it was applied in alınost as bad a manner as in the time of All my readers have named this opera, and while they named Giovanni Bardi. Foreigners, who understood something of it, they will have understood why I touched upon a subject | music, did not comprehend this exhibition ; they heard nothing which does not for a moment interrupt the thread of our histo but a long, monotonous jeremiad without melody or rhythm, in rical consideration, because it is essentially connected with which it was impossible to distinguish the recitatives from the the goal to which I am tending. We shall now see what fatearioso, and which was rendered still more intolerable by an awaited the opera in France.
earsplitting execution, and gothic droning, laughable embellishThe difference in its fate among the Italians and the French ments, and bleating cadences. The natives, upon whom the js fully explained by the difference of the two peoples. The thing made quite a different and a purely dramatic impression, first were the most musical people in Europe ; the second the declared, with a contemptuous smile, that strangers were not up best versed in literature of any in the seventeenth century. to the level of their opera. This fundamental distinction must have reversed the mutual This state of things brought about, as we have already relations between the three classes of producers, co-operating in remarked, relation and consequences wholly the reverse of those the production of an opera, and have led each of the two nations | which marked the development of the musical drama with the to results diametrically opposite.
Italians. The poet, from whom the public expected its chief When the musical drama was introduced into France under | enjoyment, and who reaped glory from a well elaborated opera Cardinal Mazarin, there was as yet no French music. What | text as well as from a good tragedy, kept even pace with the Lulli had till then composed, was in about the same genre | composer, if he did not even get before him ; the composer, in which Peri and Caccini had written, to whom Lulli was for whom the choice of the poem or the kind of verse superior only in his overtures and his dance airs, which for a was the most indifferent matter in the world, since his music
| adapted itself equally well, that is to say, equally badly, * Did M. Qulibicheff never hear the Freuch operas Guillaume Tell, to every kind, could not seriously fall out with the author of the La Muette de Portici, or Les Huguenots ?-ED, M.W.
words. Still less so with the singers. These possessed in the highest degree what was necessary to execute all that was not
GIACOMO MEYERBEER. song; and since no one thought of offering them such, they took up a score with the same docility or the same indifference
Tue visit of the renowned composer of the Huguenots to London has with which the composer took up the poem. What cared they
naturally suggested that a brief notice of his life and works would not, whether the notes were put together so-and-so ? Their art
at the present moment, be unacceptable to our readers. We have, there
fore, taken, as a groundwork—the memoir of Meyerbeer in the limited itself to the taking points of the French song: to the
Biographie Universelle des Musiciens of M. Fétis, and shall make such portamento, the amoroso, the trillo, &c.; and these tricks were
| additions as we may find necessary hereafter, the work of the learned employed throughout, as well as the scream. Thus, in France,
Belgian encyclopedist having been published in 1841. poets, musicians, and singers, lived in sweetest harmony, one
Giacomo Meyerbeer was born at Berlin, in 1794, of a wealthy and in their interests, their means, their end. The order in which honourable family, the members of which had cultivated with success we have named them, marked the degree of their respective the arts and sciences. William, the second brother of Giacomo, consequence. With the Italians the relation was precisely the is reckoned among the best nstronomers of Germany, and has made reverse, and transformed the poet into a hod-carrier, the maestro himself known in the scientific world by a map of the moon which into a slave, and the singers into despots. Hence á contrasted obtained the astronomical prize at the Academy of Sciences at Berlin. and striking result in the history of the lyric theatre with these | | Michael, another brother of the celebrated composer, who died in the two nations. In Italy an opera never outlived the accidental flower of his age, was considered one of the most promising poets in assemblage of the singers for whom it was written ; it lasted | all Germany. His tragedies, Paria and Struensée, gained wherever just one stagione, or theatrical " season.” In France whole
they were played the most flattering applause. generations of singers succeeded one another in the poems of
As early as his fourth year the musical intelligence of Giacomo Quinault and the music of Lulli. It required no less a man
| manifested itself by signs not to be mistaken. Catcbing up the tunes than Gluck, to consign to the final repose of the grave this
played by the street organs, he transferred them to the piano, and played
accompaniments with his left hand. Astonished to see so fortunate musical mummy, which had held possession of the throne of
a disposition in a child so young, his father determined to neglect the grand opera since its foundation.
nothing to cultivate his abilities, and accordingly laid the basis of his In the middle of the eighteenth century, however, a troop of
musical education by confiding him to the care of Herr Lanska, an comic-opera singers brought into France the taste for the true
excellent pianist, and pupil of Clementi, who, to the rational principles inusic, which needs only to present itself to make proselytes | of mechanism inculcated in the school of that master, united the rare at once; the men of sense, as Mozart used to express it, talent of being able to impart the knowledge he possessed to others. the real friends of music, felt at once that this was the Young Meyerbeer made such rapid progress in his studies, that when enjoyment which they had vainly sought in the national only six years old he already figured conspicuously in the amateur opera; but such men were at that time rare in the land, concerts at Berlin; where three years later he was counted among the and their enthusiasm, which with the French is always in most accomplished pianists. The Gazette Musicale of Leipsic, in separable from the spirit of propagandism, had to encounter a notice of two concerts in the theatre, at which Meyerbeer performed fearful opposition. The good patriots, who had no ears, made (on the 17th November, 1803, and the 2nd of January, 1804), says that it a duty to drive back the invasion of the foreign music; the
he gare very remarkable evidence of mechanical power and elegance of grand opera caballed; the comic-opera singers were sent away.
style. Abbé Vogler, an organist and theorist, then well-known Their stay in France, nevertheless, bore its fruits. Young
in all Germany, heard him at this period. Surprised at the originality musicians of talent, Philidor, Monsigny, and Grétry, sought in
which he observed in the improvisation of the child, he foretold that their comic operas to imitate the style of the Serva padrona,
he would one day be a great musician. Some time afterwards, Clewhich had so enchanted the amateurs in the Italian theatre. ! filled him with so much interest, that, despite his constitutional aver
menti visited Berlin, and the performances of the youthful Meyerbeer These happy attempts, which gradually accustomed the French / zion to
achsion for teaching, he gave him instructions during the whole of his cars to true music, feeble as they were, prepared the arrival of sojourn in the capital of Prussia. Gluck, whom musical tragedy awaited ere she stepped into the Before he was ten years of age, and although he had never received place of the false idol, which had represented her for more than | lessons in harmony, Meyerbeer had already composed many morceaux a century and a half.
for the voice and the piano, without any other guide than his own (To be continued.)
instinct. Friends, whose judgments were to be relied upon, discovered in the boy the germs of a fine talent, and his parents decided on placing
him under a master for composition. Their choice fell upon Bernard THE LATE AMATEUR PANTOMIME.—On Wednesday evening Anselm Weber, pupil of Vogler, and the chef d'orchestre of the Berlin last a most complete and elegant despatch-box was presented by Opera. An enthusiastic admirer of Gluck, passionately fond of the grand the members of the committee of the Amateur Pantomime to musical declamation of this artist, and thoroughly versed in the draMr. W. P. Hale, who had acted as secretary in the proceedings matic style, Bernard Weber was able to afford his pupil useful counsels in connected with the amateur performance at Drury Lane. This the æsthetic appliances of art; but, being a feeble harmonist, and not proelegant cadeau was presented by Mr. Charles Taylor to Mr.
foundly versed in counterpoint and fugue, it was out of his power to guide Hale in a most kind and expressive manner, and Mr. Hale, in a
him safely through these difficult studies, so that the young scholar was few words, “ endeavoured” (however vainly and inexpressively)
compelled for some time to wander far on the sea of speculation in his "to testify the sense he entertained of so kind and unlooked for
endeavour to instruct himself. One day Meyerbeer carried a fugue to a testimonial of any services which he might have rendered
his master, who, very much astonished, proclaimed it a chef-d'ouvre, most readily" (on his part)“ in the cause of charity.”
and sent it to the Abbé Vogler in the hopes of obtaining for Meyerbeer,
We can only say, that we hope Mr. Hale may long live to use the despatch
on the strength of it, the opinion and advice of that curiously conbox, and to fill it with State papers as a person high in office.
ceited pedant, who deceived everyone but Mozart. The answer, waited PORTRAIT OF LINDLEY THE VIOLONCELLIST.-A portrait of the
for with impatience, was a long time coming. At last a voluminous
packet arrived which was opened with intense eagerness. But, in lieu late eminent violoncellist is now being exhibited at Mr.
of tbe expected praises, they found a sort of practical treatise on fugue, Walesby's Private Gallery of Art, Waterloo Place. The likeness written in the hand of Abbé Vogler, and divided into three parte. In is good, and the picture altogether well-painted.
the first, the rules for the formation of this kind of music were exposed HORNSEY CHORAL SOCIETY.-(From a Correspondent.)– The first in a succinct manner. The second, entitled The Fugue of the Scholar, concert of this society took place on Tuesday last. Mr. Charles Con- contained the composition of Meyerbeer, analysed in all its parts; the ingsby, the organist of Hornsey Church, and founder of the society, result of the examination showing that it was by no means correct. officiated as conductor. The programme consisted of two parts, the The third, The Fugue of the Master, contained a fugue by Vogler first of which was devoted exclusively to sacred music. In the himself upou the subject and counter-subjects of Meyerbeer. This also course of the evening Mr. Coningsby performed on the piano a prelude was analysed bar by bar, with the reasons which had induced Vogler to and fugue of J.S. Bach, a rondo by Weber, and Beethoven's sonata adopt such a form and no other. pathétique, The chief feature of the concert was, of course, the vocal Full of enthusiasm, Meyerbeer commenced writing a fugue in eight portion of the programme, which, considering the brief existence of the parts, based upon the principles of the Abbé Vogler, to whom he sent society, was executed in a highly creditable munner, and much to the it when finished. This new attempt was not treated in the same man. satisfaction of the musical inhabitants of Hornsey.
| ner by the pedant. “A splendid future lies before you,”-he wrote to Meyerbeer,"Come and live near me. Hasten to Darmstadt; I will operas of Nocolini, Farinelli, Pavesi, and others, which were then reproreceive you as my son, and teach you to drink deep at the source of sented at Munich and Vienna, contained but little to please an ear anal musical intelligence."
an intelligence accustomed to the German notions of art. The young The young musician never rested until he obtained leave from his composer, however, listened to the advice of Salieri, and full of parents to profit by this invitation. Meyerbeer was fifteen when he condence, departet for Venice, where ho arrived during the became the pupil of Vogler, who then enjoyed an unaccountable repu- height of the success of Tancredi, the best example, perhaps, of Rossini's tation, and had founded a school of composition, in which, among first manner. This opera transported Meyerbeer with admiraothers, Winter had been instructed. Among the pupils, when Meyer- tion; and the Italian music, whicli hitherto had filled him with an beer joined the school, were Carl Maria von Weber and Gaensbacher, invincible repugnanca, now became the object of his predilection. subsequently chapel-master of St. Stephen's, at Vienna.
From this moment his style underwent a complete transforination, and,
(To be continued).
CONVERSATIONS WITH FELIX MENDELSSOHN.*
I NEVER possessed a good memory. Whenever I read, hearil qualities in which his riral excelled him. To attain this end he shut
or thought anything that struck me as worthy of being rememhimself up for six months, prosecuting his studies with great perse
bered, I was obliged to enter it as quickly as possible in my verance and energy. After which he made his debut and created an
journal, and, as I had a great deal to enter, to do so in the impression the recollection of which is not yet efficed. Moscheles, the
fewest words. I now regret this brevity very much, since I have celebrated composer and pianist, who was then at Vienna, was frequently
looked over the notes of my conversations with Mendelssohn, heard to say, that if Meyerbeer would direct his talents to public per- for the purpose of making some of them public. I find the formances, few pianists would hare been able to compete with him. general purport but not the particular expression. The deceased But views of a different nature occupied the thoughts of our hero. master, however, not only thought very exactly, but possessel This is the place to mention a strange idea which had got into his head the power of expressing his thoughts with precision, and often at the time (1813). The extraordinary success which the originality of succeeded in hitting the right nail on the head in a very summary his ideas and the novelty of their treatment had obtained, persuaded him manner. The reader will, therefore, not receive Mendelssohn's into the belief that other pianists were anxious to deprive him of them, thoughts in his words, but, unfortunately, only in mine. I am and so, to escape the imaginary danger, he decided upon deterring the
not aware whether any one ean boast of having had long converpublication of his pianoforte works. Pre-occupied subsequently with
sations with Mendelssohn, but, as far as my knowledge of him his composition for the theatre, Meyerbeer ceased to appear in public
goes, he was not fond of them. In fact, smatterers and fine talkers as a solo performer, and eren neglected the pianoforte; so much so that he ended by forgetting the greatest part of his compositions for
tried in vain to engage his attention. He either escaped from the instrument, not having committed them to paper, and thus they
| them by delicate turps, or, if they wished to detain him against were lost to the art.
his will, broke drily off. Many an unamiable judgment on his The éclat which attended Meyerbeer's performances as a pianist
works arose very probably from such refusals on his part to in Vienna was the cause of his being entrusted, at the age of
enter into conversation. People said that he was proud, and nineteen, with the composition of a comic opera for the Court | revenged themselves by attacks in the papers. Theatre, entitled Alcimeleck; ou, les deux Califés. Italian music, at I always liked speaking about our art with practical musicians that time, was alone in favour wit! M. de Metternich and the nobility ; better than with anyone else. Mere art-philosophers, even though and the music of Alcimeleck being written in a style entirely different, they may be the most acute thinkers, cannot say a word on many like that of La Fille de Jephté, it was recived with much indifference, points connected with the subject, either because they know and the result was again unfavourable to the fume of the composer. nothing about them, or have not themselves any experience of Salieri, who greatly esteemeil the young musician, consoled him by the them. That Mendelssohn had meditated earnestly on his art, no assurance that, in spite of the singular form of his subjects, he was not oue doubts. This fact was apparent in every opinion he uttered wanting in the happiest melodic invention, and that, not having studied
concerning it. But he generally enunciated the results of his the mechanism of the human voice sulliciently, he wrote badly for the
meditations in a few words, without entering into any especial singer. The Italian maestro further advised him to go to Italy and
reasons. A proposal was once made that, in addition to directing learn the art of writing for the voice, predicting success upon which his
the Gewandhaus Concerts at Leipsic, he should deliver lectures future as an operatic composer depended. Italian music, however, had but small attraction for Meyerbeer. The
on music to the University. His answer was : “He did not think he possessed the necessary capability." He refused. He
knew very well that he was perfectly capable, but he did not feel * Nothing but his genius saved Mererbeer from being utterly ruined by Vogler. -ED. M. W.]
* By the author of Fliegende Blätter für Musik, Leipsic, 1853.
inclined. He preferred composing to lecturing. But, however “The deuce! And pray,” enquired Mendelssohn, smiling, this may be, I'flatter myself that I was one of those with whom what was this opinion ?" he was fond of conversing upon art. The conversations between “He possesses talent,'” I replied, " . but will never strike out us which I now publish, do not, it is true, appear in exactly | any new path,'” their original form. What, in some cases, is here given con- ' "Hem! And did that frighten you ?” he asked. tinuously, I was obliged to catch up at very distant moments of “ Certainly," I replied. “I found that everything I composed the conversation.
not only did not excel the best that was already written, but did As we were walking together on one occasion, we happened to not even come up to it by a good deal. I now, it is true, speak about “school," and the contempt with which people now endeavoured to rise; I determined to write, from the first to (i. e. then) began to speak of it, as a drag on genius.
the last idea, in a particularly original manner, and with the “This opinion” said Mendelssohn, bursting out, “ is an insult most unexpected beauty. But my imagination would not both to reason and experience! What signification do such per furnish what I demanded. It did not present me with a single sons attach to the word 'school ? Let a man possess the very thought that satisfied my he:zvy demands, or should have struck greatest musical genius-can he compose without a knowledge me as a pilgrim in a new path, and so the pen fell from my hand, of the accords and the laws for their connection? Can he form and I gave up the task.” a piece of music, without having studied the laws of form ? Can “Yes-yes," said Mendelssohn, “I know what you mean. he harmonize with instrumental accompaniments, without pos When you begin a composition you have a very grand idea of sessing a knowledge of instruments or a varied experience of what you are about-and what you are determined-to produce. their inexhaustible combinations ? And is not all this school ?"" The thoughts, for which you commence searching, are, in your
"Perhaps," interrupted I, “they do not allude, when designating dark presentiment of them, all far more beautiful than when 'school' a drag, to the technical facts that you adduce, but rather they afterwards stand out upon paper. I once experienced a to the æsthetical nonsense, which does not advance the artist, but similar feeling, but I soon recovered myself. If we were only actually confuses him by its opposite demands, and may certainly to adopt those thoughts which completely come up to our wishes, lame his powers of creation.”
we should produce either nothing at all, or merely very little. “No, no !" continued Mendelssohn. “They mean this same From this motive I have even frequently thrown on one side and technical 'school.' I could name persons who afterwards sought not finished works which I had begun." in secret the thing they formerly despised, because they remarked “That proves nothing, however," I replied. “All artists have that, with their genius, they only produced stupid trash.
left torsos behind them, in consequence of perceiving they had “ Again, in an aesthetic point of view-can anyone, without | made a mistake.” knowing what does, in music, produce anything beautiful ? Why “That may be,” replied Mendelssohn. “Such unfinished do I alter a passage ? Because it does not please me. Why does | works used to depress me very much, and render me very timid it not please me ? Because it sins against some æsthetical law, about commencing another. I regretted the time that I had which I have learnt from the study of the best models. If I did spent in vain. I was not, therefore, long in coming to a decision not know this law, I should not perceive the defect, but consider -I have made myself a solemn promise never to abandon a the passage a good passage. Name me only one really great work once commenced, but, on the contrary, to finish every one, master, not in music alone but in any other art, who has not most however it may turn out. If it does not prove a work of art in diligently gone through the school,' both technically and ästhe the higher acceptation of the expression, it is, at any rate, an tically speaking. When we have to lament the deficiencies in exercise in shaping and rendering ideas. This is the reason any celebrated artist, as is sometimes the case, what do we say ? why I have composed so many things which have never been He wants technical knowledge, or he is deficient in a perfectly printed, and which never shall be.” certain insight into art-in a word, he is deficient in school. It “Yes, yes," I replied, “I could certainly produce a great many would never enter the head of any painter, sculptor, or architect works like those of the last kind, but those which would appear to regard school' as an obstacle-a drag on genius. How comes to me as successful, and as striking out a new path, would it then that so many musicians entertain this stupid idea ?” be wanting. Again, it is not everyone who can work as you do,
“ You must confess, however," I replied, “ that many an artist without troubling himself as to whether what he is engaged on is completely master of school,' and yet does not create any will bring him in anything or not. A person like myself, on important work of art, while many, who are very deficient in it, whose pen the existence of his family mostly depends, commits a produce great things."
sin if he writes a single stroke without the hope of recompense. “Ay, that is true,” answered Mendelssohn, “school cannot It is laudable to sacrifice one's self as an artist, but it is wrong to make talent, and, therefore, is of no use to him who does not make a family suffer for it." possess the latter ; but to make me believe that a man “Granted-unreservedly,'' exclaimed Mendelssohn eagerly, without school' can produce anything reasonable you “if a man renounces artisticity from a deliberate conviction of the must give me proofs, for I myself know none. A man may insufficiency of his artistic skill. Your reason for not writing, display talent, without possessing 'school, but do not let | however, simply because you cannot strike out a new path, ishim think of ever producing a true work of art. What with all respect—not reasonable. What is the real meaning of il pity,' people say, 'that such and such an artist has this phrase? To open a way that no one has ever trod before studied so little,' or 'possesses so little real insight into art. you ? In the first place, it is indispensable that this new way How much more important his works would have been, had he should conduct to much more beautiful and charming regions of only learnt more.' Persons whose talent has, from want of study, art than those with which we are already acquainted. never come to anything, invented this phrase to console theni- Everyone is capable of siinply cutting out a new road, selves for the reproaches of their own conscience, and other provided he can handle a shovel and use his legs. But, in every idlers adopted it after them.”
higher acceptation of the phrase, I deny point blank that there are any new paths, because there are no more new provinces of
art. They were all discovered long since. New paths! What “How does it happen,” Mendelssohn asked me on a subse-a mischievous demon is this notion for every artist who delivers quent occasion, “that you have become still as a composer ? It himself up to it! No artist has ever really entered upon a new strikes me that, for some years past, you have not published path. At the very best, he only did his work an almost imperanything. That is a great mistake, as I have already told you. ceptible shade better than his predecessor. Who is to open Your power of production can scarcely have been exhausted as these new paths ? Only the greatest geniuses, I suppose! But yet, I should say ?"
tell me, now-did Beethoven open a new road totally different "Perhaps not," I replied. “ But the wish for production is. A from that followed by Mozart? Do Beethoven's symphonies single opinion in a critical journal has frightened me, I believe, I pursue completely new paths ? I say that they do not. I can't for ever, from composing, because, unfortunately, it struck me perceive between Beethoven's first symphony and Mozart's last as just."
any superiority in the way of unusual artistic worth or extraor
dinary effect. The former pleases me, and the latter pleases me. charming and a very clever piece, and may be practised hard with grea If I hear Beethoven's in D major to-day, I feel happy; and if, to- advantage; for, although it well deserves the trouble, it is by no means morrow I hear that of Mozart in C major, with the fugue at the easy to play. end, I feel happy, too. I do not think of any new path, when I hear No. 2 ("The Isis Waltzes"). The difference between these waltzes Beethoven, nor does he remind me of one. What an opera of Mr. Borrow and those of Srauss, Lanner, and Jullien, lies in the is Fidelio! I do not pretend that every thought in it pleases fact of the former being very unrhythmical, while the latter are essenme completely, but I should like to know what other opera cantially rhythmical. Mr. Borrow seems to have no apprehension at all produce a deeper effect or more charming artistic enjoyment. indeed of that pointed species of rhythm and measure which imparts Can you find a single piece in it with which Beethoven struck the principal charm to dance music, and without which it cannot be out a new path ? I cannot. I see in the score, and hear every easily danced to. where in the performance, Cherubini's dramatic style of melody. Mr. Gerald Stanley's “Merry Legs" (No. 3) has rhythm, if it has It is true Beethoven did not copy it servilely, but it was always nothing else; but the "octaves" (page 3, lines 1 and 2, bars 2) are floating before him as his most favourite model.”
more Scotch than agreeable. On the whole, we have heard some worse "And Beethoven's last period,” I enquired, “his last quar “Schottisches”but a great many better. tets—his ninth symphony-his mass? Here there can be no
No. 4 (“The Happy Return'') is brilliant enough, but it is not at all comparison either between him and Mozart, or any other artist,
origiaal, neither is it well written-the octaves between bass and treble before or after ?”
in lines four and five of the last page, among other examples, to wit. “That may be true in a certain sense,” continued
The new theme, in the minor key, at page 5, is very dreary, and Mendelssohn, warmly. “His forms are broader, his style is should be expunged. The best part of the whole is the variation in more polyphonous and artificial, the thoughts, as a rule, triplets (page 2–3)—which, nevertheless, is as old as the hills, and as more gloomy and melancholy, even when intended to be stale as possible. merry, the instrumentation more full-he has gone a little
The " Three Romances” (No. 5) by Mr. Edmund Chipp (dedicated, further on the old road, but he has not opened a new one.
by the way, to Mrs. Anderson-tempora mutantur et nos mutamur, etc.) Now let us be frank-whither has he conducted us to really though trifles, are such trifles as none but a well educated musician, more beautiful regions? Do we, as artists, experience delight of and one of sentiment, too, could write. The absorbing influence of an absolutely higher order, on hearing the ninth symphony, than Mendelssohn-whose genius seems to be a lamp, by the light of which on hearing most of his others ? As far as I am concerned, I our cleverest and most thoughtful musicians will persist in (or perhaps frankly say: I do not! If I hear it, I pass a happy hour, but the cannot help) composing-is manifest here, as in a hundred other things symphony in C minor affords one quite as great delight-my of the kind. The diatonic harmony of Bach has also exercised an pleasure at hearing the former being, perhaps, really not evident influence upon Mr. Chipp. Originality, therefore, is not one of quite so undisturbed and pure as it is when listening to the
the qualities to be recognised in these little pieces. But, on the other latter."
hand, they are so finished (the two last especially, in B flat and E flat(To be continued.)
gems, in company of which the first is scarcely worthy to be found) that no connoisseur who once takes them up will lay them aside in
a hurry. Except the want of originality alluded to, Mr. Chipp can REVIEWS.
only be accused of one fault--that is, judging him from these Romances. He shows a tendency to obscure his melody, and torture its rhythmical
cadence, in order to suit the harmony in which he clothes it, and wbich 1. “THE HAYMAKERS,” Caprice Pastorale. Mrs. Joseph Robinson.
has evidently more fascination for him than the pure fonntain whence 2. “THE ISIS WALTZES.” *W. Barrow,
all tune must flow. This is a frequent mistake of the imitators of 3. “MERRY LEGS," New Schottische. Gerald Stanley.
Mendelssohn, one of whose great charms was the easy and natural flow 4. “THE HAPPY RETURN POLKA.” M. J, T.
of his themes, which, however he might adorn and enrich, he never “THREE ROMANCES.” E. T. Chipp.
lost sight of, or muffled up. “ MÉLODIE.” William George Cusins.
Mr. Chipp must strive to resist the temptations of the glittering “La Rose," Impromptu. J. Ascher.
jack-a-lantern that wiles young composers to their destruction. Lett * 8. “SOUVENIR DE Ŭ ENISE," Caprice. A. Schloesser.
him study the vocal music of Mozart and Rossini. What would he 9. “L’ECLAIR,” Second Mazurka. A. Schloesser.
think of a costumier who should so dress up a beautiful woman that 10. “LA ROMANZA,” “LA NAPOLITANA," Deux Morceaux Carac
neither her shape nor her face could be seen? Meadelssohn univertéristiques. Francesco.
sally avoided this pernicious error ; but, strange to say, his imitators „ 11. "GERALDINE,” Mazurka. Thomas Baker.
are always falling into it. Can they see nothing in the greatest modern The reputation but lately acquired by Mrs. Joseph Robinson in master but his manner?, London, as a . pianist (at the seventh meeting of the Musical Union),
Except the return to the first keys and theme (page 3, line 2, bars 2 and 3), will suffice to draw the attention of critics to her compositions, which,
we can find nothing to remark in the “ Mélodie” of Jr. Cusins (No. 6) although very few of them are published, are, we understand, sufficiently
dedicated to Mrs. Anderson. We hare some idex, moreover, of having numerous. The specimen before us (No. 1) is a favourable example
seen the same "point" elsewhere (in one of Mr. Sterndale Bennett's of the lady's talent, and shows that she can write as well as play.
pieces ?); but as we are not sure, we give Mr. Cusins the benefit of the The Haymakers may soem a fantastic title, but we can assure our readers
doubt. The general character of the “Mélodie” may be described as the that the poetical idea is happily suggested by the music. The Caprice
insipid-pretty—a compound very often applicable to modern music. Pastorale consists of a single movement, presto scherzando-a sort of moto perpetuo, with short intervals of repose- of which kind Mendels
No. 7 (“La Rose") --- without any pretensions to importance, is a sohn and Sterndale Bennett have produced several examples. The
sparkling little trifle à la valse, which is likely to find admirers. There: first and principal theme, in A minor, etc., is rather a rapid figure in semi- | is nothing new in it to describe. quavers tban a defined subject; but it is developed at length, and gives I No. 8 (" Souvenir de Venise") is a kind of rambling air de ballet, the dominant colouring to the piece. The second theme--a pretty with two or three uninteresting subjects, tossed, as it were in a blanket, pastoral melody, just such as Steibelt might have imagined--which first from one key to another, until he whole comes to a dreary climax. Is appears in A and then in F, forms the only point of relief to the con
this all Herr Schloesser has to tell us about Venice, in the language at tinual flow of semi-quavers. (Here, we suppose, the “Haymakers' re- music? If so, he has been the re tv little purpose ; or, ut any rart fresh themselves with a draught of beer or cider.) The whole terminates he is but a very so-so composer, and nothing of a poet. with a coda of three pages, which, except that it is in A minor, is
No. 9 (“L'Éclair"). A brilli: int and dashing mazurka, will especially entirely independent of the rest.
please young ladies who are fon d of sliding along the keys with em, The faults of this piece are chiefly of construction. The second theme please young ladies who are
finger, since it is in the key of ( ! major, and there are plenty of openi would have been better first in F, and then in A, instead of vice versa. The coda should, in some way, have referred, or been brought back, to
scales, glissando. The episode, i n F and other keys, is somewhat didil ; the original subject; and a little more variety might have been given to
but take it for all in all Herr Schloesser is more at home in the bus ita the left hand, in the way of passages springing out of the principal / room than among the "stones os ! Venice.” theme; since, as it stands, the right hand monopolises all the running No. 10, (“La Napolitana”), (" La Romana" has not come to hand) traits of semi-quavers. Never mind : for all this, The Haymakers is a is a laboured and lengthy movement, à la Tarentella, with notin spor