Oldalképek
PDF

Rock is a steadfast Bock, and minds not their buffetings, nor their ragings, no more than it does the idle winds of the popular breath, which sometimes assail it from the four quarters of the heavens—north, south, east, west—all at once, and impotently. The Rock is granite, and is protected as well by its position as by its hardness from all external assaults of man, or the elements. Mr. Anderson, we re-say, is the Rock of the Old Philharmonic Society—we would not venture to say, Rock-ahead, least we should be thought "insinuating;" besides, the term is not polite, even if it did convey a meaning.

We trust to be in a position next week to give fuller disclosures, and to supply further particulars on the recent changes and exchanges. The reasons for the retirement of Messrs. Sterndale Bennett, Lucas, and Blagrove, cannot long be kept secret. Until we are better satisfied as to what has really occurred, and hear more, we shall not dare give utterance to the idea which has crossed our mind—that "there is something rotten in the state of Denmark."

ST. MARTIN'S HALL.

Mr. Hullah commenced his season on Wednesday evening with Mendelssohn's oratorio, St. Paul, a work too much neglected by our Sacred Societies in the present day. If not an Elijah, as some imagine, St. Paul is a masterpiece, and is, moreover, full of beauties and replete with interest. Why Mr. Costa and Mr. Surman, following suit, should almost entirely shelve it, is more than we can imagine. If St. Paul is to be overlooked, it is a matter for regret that Elijah—to whose prodigious success its neglect is to be attributed—should have been composed. The oftener we hear St. Paul, the more we are impressed with its power, grandeur, and magnificence. The performance on Wednesday night, though excellent in many respects, was hardly up to the mark. The choruses of St. Paul have yet to be mastered by the members of Mr. Hullah's first upper singing class. A few more performances— better even than rehearsals, of which, indeed, judging from the general execution, there seemed to have been no want—will give the singers confidence, and restore to them that self-dependence, so well manifested on previous occasions, but which sometimes failed them on Wednesday evening last. The principal vocalists were Mad. Clara Novello, Miss Palmer, Messrs. Lockey, Henry Buckland, and Winn. The last-named gentleman is a debutante. He comes from the Northern Counties with a good reputation as a bass. His singing has not belied his fame, and we may welcome Mr. Winn as a decided acquisition to the sacred concert room. The Hall was well filled, and the audience, on the whole, were well pleased with the performance. Mr. Hullah's directing, as usual, was characterised by care and intelligence.

Panopticon.—The chief fault of Mr. Buckingham's lecture on the old Italian music consists in its being too brief, and the illustrations too few for so fertile a theme. The examples from Palestrina, Stradella, Scarlatti, Corelli, and Pergolesi were all very well and to the purpose; but why omit Leo—who is Baid, by his admirers, to have approached Handel in sublimity—and Jomelli, whose Requiem (in E flat) has been, by some, compared to Mozart's, not to speak of Clari, Leal Moreira, and many others? In the Pastorale from Corelli may be traced, according to Mr. Buckingham's theory, the germ of the well-known pastoral symphony in the Messiah—one among the innumerable instances in which Handel drew on the thoughts of his cotemporary. The selections from Cimarosa and Cherubini, besides being but indifferent specimens of the masters, belong properly to the next lecture—the Modern Italian Masters. With these exceptions, Mr. Buckingham was as amusing and instructive as ever.

Fashions A La Rachel.—The keeper of a dining house in New York announces a pudding d la Rachel, a shoemaker gaiters d la Rachel, a confectioner ices d la Rachel, and numerous barbers coiffure* after the manner of Mdlle. Rachel.

Exeter Hall.—Attention has been frequently called to the imperative want of a free and easy egress from buildings intended for public assemblies, and more particularly with regard to Exeter Hall, which, of all other buildings, should have this facility. The Builder says, "The large hall may be capable of seating 3,000 persons. It has but three points of exit, their united width being about eighteen feet. There are two tiers of offices under the large hall, so that at least fifty steps have to be descended before the street level is gained. It does not require much discrimination to perceive that a building used for large assemblages, at a considerable height from the ground, presents points of danger greatly in excess of one that is on the ground level. Two of the three staircases are very narrow, full of angles, and awkward turning points: in a time of excitement they would be dangerous. The third staircase, leading into the Strand, is wider, but it is nearly straight, with but one landing, and the danger resulting from a sudden rush down the fifty or sixty stairs composing it, may readily be noted by any one looking through the swinging doorway in the Strand." The matter has been repeatedly complained of by bodies holding meetings there, and by ourselves and others of the public press, but without effect; and, probably, nothing will be done to remedy the difficulty till an alarm of fire, or some other panic, seizing on a large assemblage of people endeavouring to escape to the street, shall be attended with fatal consquences.

Sadler's Wells.—The title of the new tragedy, Hamilton of Bothwellhaugh, at once connects the story with the assassination of the Earl of Murray, Regent of Scotland. History tells us that this event was unconnected with political designs, but the author has made it the pivot of the intrigue of a Romish priest to restore Mary Stuart to power, after the battle of Langside. Hamilton (Mr. Phelps), the assassin, being made prisoner in the action, and banished and separated from his wife by sentence of government, is persuaded by the priest, Cyril Baliol (Mr. Marston), that Murray is in love with her, and after goading Hamilton to a vain encounter with the Earl, tells him that Murray has used violence to gratify his passion; and finally that Margaret is, in consequence, dead. Frantic with his supposed wrongs, he is secreted in the house of Baliol, and shoots the Earl from the window; but no sooner is the deed done than Margaret, liaving escaped from her custodians, rushes in, to the utter confusion of Baliol and his plots; but Hamilton drops exhausted with his passions and the effects of a wound he has received in. his encounter with Murray. This tableau, which concludes the fourth act, gave expectations of an effective denouement, which, had they been realized, would have given the piece a success rarely witnessed since the triumphs of Sheridan Knowles, and Sir E. B. Lytton; but it was surely a mistake to bring the fiery Hamilton and his wife again before us, stretched on a barren moor, in their attempt to escape justice, with Baliol, their villanous and detected destroyer, standing over them as their companion and protector. The rest is made up of a few weak repentant speeches from Hamilton, and some affectionate responses from Margaret. The officers come up, Baliol is taken, and Hamilton dies of exhaustion. The interest and stirring incidents of the three middle acts would make it worth while to re-model and re-write the last. As it was, however, the piece was highly successful, and the acting, scenery, and stage appointments were of their usual excellence. Energy is Mr. Phelps's forte, and he had abundant opportunity for it. The chief responsibility, however, lay on Mr. Marston, and nothing of the kind could exceed his delineation of the close and wily priest. Miss Eburne, who has appeared in a variety of characters since her debut, is evidently possessed of quick natural impulses and a clear judgment to guide them. She must be regarded at present rather as an intelligent and promising votary of the muse, than as a highly gifted and finished artist. Her reading is always intelligible and clear, and her expression often forcible and impassioned. With youth and an expressive countenance to add to the list of her good parts, we may, we hope, congratulate Mr. Phelps and the public on this acquisition to the London stage.

Strand.—A burlesque on the utter failure at Drury Lane has been produced here, and, considering the very short time there has been to conceive, prepare, and get it up, it has met with con.7 siderable and well-merited success. The practical humour of the piece consists in the performers reversing the characters. Miss Somers and Miss Bennet have the principal male parts, while Mr. Shalders personates the heroine with his accustomed humour. The dialogue is lively and pointed, and the piece has been repeated during the week to full houses.

MUSICAL GOSSIP. Among the approaching publications of some interest is the Eli

of M Costa, which is announced to appear in January next.

An Italian version of Lea Ytprea SicUiennes will be published

early in the forthcoming year. Vincont Wallace is on his way

to England, if, indeed, he has not already arrived. He is understood to have two MS. operas in his portmanteau. A general

meeting of the members of the Philharmonic Society was held on Monday evening at the Hanover Square Rooms. Messrs. Sterndale Bennett, Lucas, and Blagrove tendered their resignation as directors, and Messrs. W. H. Holmes, Clinton, and Calkin were elected in their places. M. Sainton intends

fiving to the world his new fantasia on Rigoletto which has een listened to with so much pleasure in the provinces.

The celebrated chef-cCorcliestre Strauss has received an invitation to visit St. Petersburg on the occasion of the approaching carnival, with a promise of 2,000 roubles more for the engagement

than he has hitherto received. The Vienna papers announce

the death of Francis Ignatius von Holbein, born at Ziuzersdorf in 1799, actor, dramatic author, and director of the Vaudeville

in Germany. Many of his works were highly popular.

Private letters from the United States represent Mdlle. Rachel's expedition to be a failure. The Yankees, it seems, don't like French tragedies, don't like French acting, and don't understand French. Jules Janin is in a rage with Jonathan for not having gotiti Rachel's talent; and he tells him, without much mincing, that he is an utter barbarian, and thinks of nought but dollars.

The Piedmontese Government has granted 3,000 lire

annually for the three best Italian plays successfully represented on the boards of the Theatre-Royal at Turin. The first prize is to be 1,400, the second 1,000, and the third 600 lire. Considerable sensation has been caused in theatrical circles in Paris by the sudden and mysterious disappearance of Villars, one of the best actors of the Gymnase. On Saturday he did not arrive at the theatre, and in consequence the performances had to be chauged, and since that day he has not yet returned home, and

nobody can say what has become of him. A lady named

Madame Constantini, appeared on Wednesday evening at the National Standard Theatre, as Amina in La Sonnambula, with complete and well-deserved success. In Madame Constantini we recognise an old—though young—favourite of the public, Miss Blundell, organist of St. Andrew's Church, Liverpool, and sometime pupil of Dr. Wesley. For the last four years, by the advice of sundry vocal professors, she has been studying singing in Italy, under the best masters, and appeared lately at some of the provincial theatres. Miss Blundell, it will be remembered, gave a performance of classical music on Willis's large organ, at the Great Exhibition, in Hyde Park, in 1851, for which she received no limited praise in the journals. Madame Constantini appeared at the Marylebone Theatre on Thursday night, and again at the National Standard on Friday.

How To Get Bid Of "Rbcalls."—The custom of calling actors before the curtain was broadly satirised at the Circus in the Champs Elysfies, Paris, a few nights ago. There every rider after his retirement is called back to the ring to receive additional applause. On this occasion the servants of the Cirque appeared in the arena with rakes to smooth over the sawdust. Some English who were present, entering into the spirit of the above practice, applauded the sawdust smoothers, and, on their retirement, insisted on their re-appearance, to receive, in common with the more illustrious performers on horseback, a renewal of homage. The French portion of the audience appeared greatly tickled at this specimen of John Bull's humour.

Malaga.—The operatic season was brought to an unexpected conclusion on account of the alarm excited by the cholera. Of the operas performed, Rigoletto and II Trovatore pleased the most*

PROVINCIAL.

Halifax.Mr. Salaman's Lecture.—On Friday evening Mr. C. Salaman, assisted by Miss Milner and Mr. H. C. Cooper, gave a lecture on the "Pianoforte and its precursors," in St. George's Hall, Bradford. Mr. Salaman is an eminent composer and pianist, and by his devotion to the art has become one of the skilled in its practice, and in a knowledge of its previous history. He had with him on the platform an ancient virginal, and a harpsichord, on whioh he played several pieces to show the capabilities of the instruments, and progress of keyed and stringed instruments previous to the invention of the pianoforte in 1711, by CristofalL He then passed on to the pianoforte and its history, describing the various improvements made from time to time in its structure; combining all with anecdotes of various composers and executants, and wound up with a eulogy on the piano as a family instrument, on the cultivation of a taste for music, as tending to a better tone of moral and social happiness. His execution is masterly in the extreme, and is touch is delicate,, yet firm and precise. The performance of the "Chaconne," by Sebastian Bach, drew forth rapturous applause. Miss Milner's voice has all the softness of the contralto, with the power of the soprano, and gains in power and compass. The performance of Pacini's "Sommo Cielo" was loudly encored. The whole entertainment was more than amusing, it was instructive and intellectual, and reflected the utmost credit on all the performers. Mr. Salaman. as a lecturer, speaks clearly and distinctly. His language is chaste and elegant, and £r>ui the thorough knowledge which he possesses of his profession, all his observations are replete with interest.—Halifax Courier.

Brighton. —The Royal Pavilion Band gave a concert on Thursday evening in the Music-Room of the Pavilion, the services of the Misses Brougham and of Herr Bonn, vocalists, being secured for the occasion. The young ladies, with their usual good fortune, obtained encores in all their pieces, and Herr Bonn decided the anticipations of his hopeful admirers. The Royal Pavilion Band, which is composed entirely of wind instruments, and is at present" full of sound and fury, signifying nothing," is certainly not calculated, when heard within four walls, to " create a sensation" in its favour. When Polonius propounds to Hamlet to " walk out of the air," the philosophic Prince keenly suggests—" into my grave."—Guardian.

Kidderminster Musical Festival.—The gross receipts of the festival, including ball, amount to £»71 11*., in addition to which the following donations have been received: Lord Ward, £60; Earl Beauchamp, £U>; Right Hon. R. Lowe, MP., i.'20 ; and Messrs. Southan and Co., i,'10. The expenses are, of coarse, considerable, but it is hoped there will be a balance enabling the promoters to carry out the objects they have in view.

Liverpool.—The first of a series of cheap organ concerts was given in St. George's Hall, by Mr. T. W. Best, the organist of the hall, on Saturday afternoon. The charge of admission was sixpence. The Law Courts' Committee have not yet finally decided as to the future concerts to be given in the hall. Many of the members are of opinion that they should be free, but, from the injury inflicted on the building during the "Alma" holiday, when the public were admitted gratuitously, it has since been considered advisable that some charge should be made, however small, particularly as the receipts would be divided amongst the various local charities. A party, consisting of Mad. Anna Thillon, Mr. Augustus Braham, Mr. Henri Drayton, and lir. George Case, gave a concert in the Concert-hall, Nelson-street, on Monday, which was repeated every evening during the week.

Viterbo.—M. Meyerbeer's opera Roberto il Diavolo has been played for the first time, and created a great sensation.

Madrid.—Verdi's II Trovatore has been produced at the Royal Theatre by the Italian company, and has met with its accustomed success The parts were filled by Mesdames Garibaldi, Bassi, and Borghi-Vietti, Signori Malvezzi, Vialletti and Beneventano. The next opera was Linda di Chamouni, in which Mad. Tilli made her first appearance; the tenor was Big. Galvani. Both operas pleased the public, but the company in general does not seem to be satisfactory.

FOREIGN.

Berlin.—An important novelty worthy of notice, at the Royal Opera-house, is the production of Robert le Diable with a great portion of the scenery new, and the substitution of Herr Theodor Formes in the part of Robert, for Herr Pfister, who appeared as Bertram. The other characters were cast as usual. The concert programmes are now as plentiful as blackberries; every vacant space on the walls of the capital iB covered with them. Herren Knabe and Medorn gave their first soir6e of chamber music last Thursday, in Sommer'a rooms, which were very full. Among other pieces performed on the occasion were Beethoven's sonata in C minor, for violin and piauo, (op. 30), and trio in C minor, (op 1). The first concert of a new society, the Orcheiter- Verein, took place on Saturday, the Cth inst, under the direction of Herr Julius Stern. We are informed in their prospectus, that: "The aim of the OrchesterVerein is to produce the works of ackowledged masters, executed more rarely in Berlin than those of others, to whom, however, they are quite equal, as well as the most remarkable productions of contemporary composers, who, starting from their predecessors, have struck out a new path. The Future alone can decide whether they are working out an unaccomplished purpose, or, involved in error, wandering from the right road. It is, however, the duty of the Present to make the attempts of such men known to the world." The pieces selected, on the occasion,

Sromised well for the success of the scheme. They were lendelssohn's Hebrides overture, Beethoven's violin concerto, and several pieces from his Rains of Athens, and the first symphony (B major) of Robert Schumann. The violin concerto was played by Herr Laub, who resided for some time both in London and "Weimar. The audience was a very numerous one, and gave the most unmistakeable manifestations of its approbation of the efforts of the new society. Last, though not least, on the list, stands Herr Liebig, who has just opened his series of SoirienfUr classische Orchester-Musik, in Mader's rooms. The programme was composed of Beethoven's overture to Coriolanus, and Mendelssohn's to Ruy Bias, Mozart's symphony in D major, and Haydn's "Military Symphony." The rooms were crowded to suffocation, and not a place was to be obtained for love or money. In the course of the present month, probably on the 17th inst., a new oratorio, entitled: Das Wort des Herrn, by Herr Kiister, will ba performed, for the first time, in the Petrikirche. The text, made up of selections from the Scriptures, k from the pen of the composer himself. During the winter, the members of the Singacademie will execute three oratorios: Hiob (Job), by Herr C. Lowe, Judas Maccabceus, by Handel, and Paulus, by Mendelssohn.—Mozart's Idomeneo went off with great success at the Royal Operahouse, on the king's birthday. There was not a vacant place in the whole house, a fact due, perhaps, quite as much to the genius of the great composer as to the enthusiasm experienced for the present king of Prussia. Be that as it may, the opera was given with great spirit and the audience were profuse in their marks of approbation. Herr Pfister played Idomeneo, Madlle. Johanna Wagner, Idamante; Mad. Koster, Electra; and Mad. Herrenburger, Julia. The precision and finish of the orchestra, under the direction of Herr Taubert, were admirable, and the new scenery by Herr Gropius deserving of the highest praise. The Cologne Miinner-Gesang-Verein sang before the king at Sans-Souci, on the same date.

Co Loon E.—The studies of the pupils of the Rheinische MusiiSchi.de were resumed about a week since, under the direction of Herren Hiller, Franck, and Rheinthaler, who have returned from their vacation rambles. The operatic season opened on the 1st inst. with Lucrezia Borgia.

Danzig.—The theatre was opened for the season on the 7th inst. with Let Huguenots.

Aix-la-cuapelle.—Herr Ernst has given several concerts.

Mayence.—Great activity has been displayed by the management since the theatre was re-opened on the 1st ult., Let Huguenots, MasanieUo, Belisario, La Juive, Le Macon, TannhSuser, Omar und Zimmermann, and Robert le Diable, being among the operas already produced.

Hamburgh.—The first Philharmonic concert will take place on the 10th November, for which occasion Herr Ferdinand Laub of Berlin has promised his assistance. In the course of the second concert, which is fixed for the 8th December, one of the pieces composing the programme will be "Les Preludes," by Dr. Franz Liszt. The theatre closed last week with Rigoletto, and thus ended Herr Sachse's three months' management.

Lobeck.—The Stadttheater re-opened, on the 3rd inst, with Le Nozze di Figaro.

Pesth.—The manager of the German Opera has announced his intention of producing Fidelio, Tannhiiiteer, Les Huguenots, and Dr. Sphor's Faust, during the season just commenced.

Zurich.—Herr Richard Wagner is occupied in completing the second piece, Die Walkiire, in his " Niebelungen-Trilogie."

Munich.—The grand musical festival -on the 4th and 5th inst. was a very brilliant affair. The execution, under the direction of Herr Franz Lachner, gave general satisfaction. The number of persons taking part in the performance amounted to one thousand three hundred, of which more than nine hundred were vocalists.

Weimar.—Dr. Franz Liszt presided on the 18th inst., at a concert given by the Hof-CapeUe in Brunswick. The programme was composed of the overture to Benvenuto Cellini, by M. Hector Berlioz; a new and original pianoforte concerto, composed and executed by Mr. Henry Litolff; and Orpheus and Prometheus, "symphonic poems," by Dr. Franz Liszt, who conducted the entire performance.

Merseburo.—The inauguration of the new cathedral organ, built by Herr Frederick Cadegart, of Weissenfels, was a grand event, and one that will not soon be forgotten by the inhabitants. Hundreds streamed from every village and hamlet in the neighbourhood, to be present on the occasion. The proceedings opened with a fantasia by Herr Engel, under whose direction the concert was given. Tnis was followed by the grand fantasia and fugue in C minor, composed by Dr. Franz Liszt, and played by Winterberger, his pupil; the fugue in G minor, by Sebastian Bach; and an original fantasia composed and executed by Herr Schellenberg, of Leipsic, on the chorale, " Ein feste Burg." There were, also, several vocal pieces, in the shape of solos from Bach's Passions-Musik, and Mendelssohn's Elijah, in addition to which, Mdlle. Genast sang two songs, composed by J. W. Frank in the 17th century.

Mchlheist.—A fourth member of Herr Formes' family has at present embraced the career so successfully followed by those of that name who are such favourites in the world of music. The debutant is the youngest son. He made his first appearance at the theatre here, and possesses a fine barytone.

Hanover.—Herr Alfred Jaell, the pianist, lately gave a performance in the theatre and was most favourably received. The four pieces selected by him were of his own composition: a paraphrase on Lohengrin and TannhUuser, SZrinade Italienne, a transcription of an English song, and a Polka de bravoure.

Gera.—His Royal Highness the Duke of Saxe-Gotha has presented the gold medal of the Ernestsnischer Hausorden to Herr Tichirch, Capellmeister, as an acknowledgment of his efforts in the cause of Art.

Mannheim.—Herr Bazzini has given several concerts with great success.

Milan.—At the Cannobiana I Puritani has created a great sensation, principally owing to the singing of the tenor, Giuglini, of whom we have already had occasion to speak in terms of high praise. We are of course on our guard against Italian enthusiasm, but in this case we are inclined to the opinion that the new tenor is much above the ordinary run, and London and Parisian managers will no doubt have an eye upon him in the present scarcity of singers. In the third act he seems to have particularly distinguished himself and elicited the enthusiastic applause of the whole house. He is considered decidedly superior to Moriani, even in his best days. Since the time of Rubini, no one has created such a sensation in Italy in this third act. The critics seem to think that his singing is not so manly as it might be, and they instance his rendering of the tenor part in La Favorita. What is needed is a good mezzocarattcrc tenor, in Mario's line and, if report speak true, Sig. Giuglini is the man. The two characteristics are very seldom combined, and the same reproach was continully made to Htibim himself. Mad. Viola was also much applauded. La Sirena by Sig. Rossi is in rehearsal.

Turin.—The Carignano has inaugurated the autumnal season with Verdi's / Lomoardi. The opera was well received, although the execution was but indifferent. At Trieste, Sig. Apoloni's new opera, L'Ebreo, continues to draw good houses, and has taken a firm hold on the public. The principal singers are Mad. Cattinari, Signori Negrini and Cornago.

New York.{From Out own Correspondent.)—The great musical event of the season—at least, what was anticipated as such—has come off. Mr. Bristow's new opera, Rip van Winkle, has been produced, and achieved a genuine success, in spite of a host of grumblers—among others, your friend, The Musical Review and Gazette. Of Mr. Bristow's musical capacities,M.Jullien has given you a foretaste in his symphony played at his last Winter concerts at Co vent Garden or Drury Lane. The Symphony found favour in the eyes of the critics, and, in one journal, was lauded in the highest possible terms. The newopera was produced at Niblo's theatre, on Thursday, the 4th of October, and attracted a very large audience. Rip van Winlde is the second opera produced in this country by an American. The first was Leonora, composed by Mr. W. H. Fry, a gentleman with whom your readers cannot be entirely unacquainted. Leonora was brought out at Philadelphia by the Segum troupe, about ten years ago, when it ran for sixteen nights, and was, to all appearances, entirely successful. It has not, however, kept the stage. It was, according to the French form, a real grand opera, with the dialogues in recitative, and ballets and spectacles introduced. Mr. Fry has composed other operas, none of which have appeared. The New York Musical World states that Leonora was the first grand opera of the modern school by either an English or American composer. I know not that; but it is probable, as all the English operas have spoken dialogue.

The New York Musical World—which appears to be well informed on the subject—gives a somewhat " Yankee" reason for the expulsion of Mr. Fry's operas from the stage. "The managers of all the theatres in New York, exclaims that respectable authority, "as is well known, are in utter fear of a journal whose editor has made war on Mr. Fry and all his productions from the moment Leonora appeared. The public is sufficiently acquainted with the causes of this hostility, but is hardly aware that its exercise has, up to this time, through the acknowledged subserviency of the managers of all the theatres, deprived Mr. Fry of a hearing in New York for any of his operas; though his symphonies, through M. Jullien, who defied the wrath of the editor in question, have been frequently performed." To avoid giving you a one-sided impression of Mr. Bristow's new work, I shall send you an extract from the New York Musical World, and another from the Musical Review and Gazette—two journals, as you must be well aware, of opposite feelings, politics, and powers:—

"Mr. Bristow's musical conceptions," exclaims the Musical World, "mostly come into being from an orchestral stand-point. It is seldom that he leaves this point of view, and therefore his experience in instrumentation may be said to be as fully suggestive of melodic figures to him as the libretto itself. When he does break away from this charmed sphere, the effect upon the popular ear is more direct, and so, more easily appreciated. This seems clear from the immediate favour bestowed upon the songs, *Tlie day is done,' 'Nay, do not weep, my Alice dear,* the cavatina of the 'Vivaudiere,' and" the ballad, 'When circled round in youth's glad spring," all of which received hearty encores, because they were simple, chaste, clear and marked in rhythmical construction, free from intricate orchestral entanglements, and moreover in happy accordance with the spirit of the words. The outerworld music of the spirits of the night and daughters of the morning was so mixed up with thunder and lightning from behind the scenes and blasts of brass at our immediate right, that the intelligent appreciation of the words was well nigh lost. Some of the recitations may pernaps be shortened with good effect. We were glad to notice that tbe primal idea in the overture was the religious movement in the second act, ' God of battles! hear our prayer." This is resting the fate of the overture upon safe ground. May this wise choice and bold

treatment of a short phrase of close and strong harmony be a token of future high and severe study."

The Review and Gazette, as usual, growls, and puts no faith in the new composer.

"Mr. Bristow has," it says, "evidently done his best to profit by these opportunities; he has done as all composers of first opens are wont to do; he has given all he knew of music at once. Generally, first works of this kind show abundance of ideas, but lack in execution. Here we meet the contrary. The ideas, at least what may be called so, are not at all abundant; but the execution is first-rate, especially when we consider the difficulty of the task The principal merit of Mr. Bristow's work lies in its orchestral treatment, which is throughout fluent and full of interesting traits. The quarrelling scene between Rip and his wife, and the ballad of the latter in the second scene of the first act, illustrate our remark better than anything else in the piece. The fairy scenes at the end of the first act were, however, not as we expected them to be, after we had heard how well Mr. Bristow could command his orchestra. Here the lack of ideas was too prominent, and the fairy character observed as little as possible. Since Weber and Meyerbeer we are so accustomed to a lively representation of fairy life, that we want, at least, to be reminded of this when it lies in the task of the composer. The instrumentation sounds somewhat monotonous; it is much more symphonic than operatic. The brass mingles not skilfully enough with the wood and the strings, and modern orchestral effects in operas seem to bo altogether avoided. But what we missed more than anything else was the art of characterizing, in a musical sense. This is not dramatic music which Mr. Bristow gives us; it is rather a sort of subjective musical expansion of different matters. The joy and the grief have almost the same colouring, and certainly, in most instances, the words are rather an objection to the estimation of the merits of the composer. The part of Edward (tenor) seems to come off in this respect better than any other, and the duet between him and Alice, in the first part of the second act, has some interesting parts. But Rip Van Winkle himself, that humourous old Dutchman, lose*, by the music he has to sing, all his primitive character, and, in a musical sense, almost nothing but Dutch phlegm remains."

The principal parts were distributed as follows:—Rip VanWinkle (Mr. Stretton), Dame Van Winkle (Miss Pyne), Alice Van Winkle (Miss Louisa Pyne), Edward Gardenier (Mr. Harrison), Frederick Vilcoeus (Mr. Horncastle), Young Rip Van Winkle (Mr. Miller.) The scene lies partly among the Catskili mountains and partly on Saratoga plains. The action extends over the space of twenty years. Time of the first act, 1763; of the second act, 1777; of the third act, 1783. The libretto is founded on Washington Irving's well-known story, and there is an episode relating to the American War introduced to give the piece a national air. I cannot say much for the drama. There is loo much verbosity, and too little movement. In fact, I do not think Mr. Bristow has had a fair chance. As a first work, I think Rip Van Winkle exceedingly clever, but I am certain it would not do in England"; it wants many of the elements that conduce to popularity. Miss Louisa Pyne alone, of the singers, is entitled to high praise. She sang delightfully, and was enthusiastically applauded. Mr. Stretton, the new English basso, did not create any particular sensation. He has a strong voice, which he barks out at times in rather a strange manner. He seems, however, to be an experienced vocalist.

Mr. Bristow was called for at the end, and made a speech, in which he returned thanks. The entire scene was perfectly English—I should say, Londonian, and for a moment I fancied myself at Drury Lane after one of Bunn's "unprecedented successes," when that incomparable master of humbug came forward, and vowed to the breathlessly attentive audience, " how he never, never could forget such kindness as—etc, etc."

The Royal Academy of Music has re-opened under the sole management and direction of Mr. W. H. Paine, a gentleman with whom, on the outset, everybody appears satisfied. II Trovatore was given the first night. Mad. Lagrange —naturally enough—failed in Leonora, not having sufficient power or dramatic feeling. The second opera, Linda di Chamouni, was better suited to her, and pleased much better. In neither of the operas did the gentlemen appear to any advantage whatsoever. Mad. Castellan has not arrived. Will she do? I doubt it. The rSles of the prima donna are beyond her means. A more delightful seconda donna can hardly be heard. Bnt she will be for singing what she ought not to sing—the Grisian parts—and rejecting what she ought to accept. Your old friend, Signor Rovere, of Royal Italian Opera memory, was the Marquis in Linda, and displayed even less voice than ever, if that were possible.

OPERA AND DRAMA.

BY RICHARD WAGNER.
(Continued from page 676.)

Chapter Ii.

In every case, where, as with the Romanish nations, a rhythm founded upon prosodiacal longs and shorts in spoken verse was never attempted, and where the line was, consequently, determined solely by the number of syllables, the Anal rhyme established itself as the indispensable condition of the verse.

In this final rhyme are characterized the essential attributes of Christian melody, as the spoken remains of which we must regard it. "We shall immediately appreciate its importance if we call to mind the plain song of the Church. The melody of this kind of song is, rhythmically, entirely undetermined; it progresses, step by step, in perfectly equal bars, and rests only when the breath is exhausted, and for the purpose of obtaining a fresh supply. The division into good and bad portions of bars is an introduction of a later period; the primitive church melody knew of no such division; roots and conjunctive syllables were, for this melody, of exactly equal value; language had for it no justification, but only the power of being merged in an expression of feeling, the tenour of which was fear of the Lord, and a yearning for death. It was only when the breath was exhausted, at the end of a section of the melody, that the language of words took apart in the latter by means of the rhyme of the final syllable, and this rhyme certainly so affected the last sustained tone of the melody alone, that with the so-called feminine terminations, it was only necessary for the short complimentary syllable to rhyme, the rhyme of such a syllable being considered equivalent to a masculine final rhyme, either before or after it—a clear proof of the absence of all rhythm in snch melody and verse.

The verbal verse, separated at last, by the profane poet, from this melody, would without a final rhyme have been totally irrecognizable as verse. The number of the syllables on which the voice rested equally without distinction, and according to which alone the line was determined, could not, as the pause for breath of the song did not mark it as strikingly as in the melody when sung, separate the lines recognisably from each other, if the final rhyme did not so fix the audible moment of the separation as to compensate the wanting moment of the melody, the change of breath in the song. The final rhyme, on which, as on the separating break of- the verse, the voice rested, obtained, therefore, such importance for the spoken verse, that all the syllables of the line had only to perform the office of a preparatory attack upon the concluding syllable.

This movement towards the concluding syllable was entirely in keeping with the character of the language of the Romanish nations, which, after the most manifold admixture of foreign and worn-out component parts of speech, had developed itself in such a manner that all intelligence of the primitive roots was completely lost to the feelings. We see this most plainly in the French language, where the spoken accent nas become the direct opposite of the intonation of the root-syllables according to what must have been natural to the feelings as long as there was any connection between the intonation and the roots of the language. A Frenchman never intonates any save the concluding syllable of a word, however near the commencement the root may be in compound or lengthened words, even though the concluding syllable be merely an unessential termination. In a phrase, he crowds together the words to an equal-toned attack, becoming more and more rapid, on the concluding word, or rather on the concluding syllable, on which he rests with a strongly raised accent, even

when the syllable in question—as is generally the case—is far from being the most weighty one in the phrase, for, in direct opposition to the spoken accent, a Frenchman invariably so constructs the phrase as to crowd together its presupposing elements in the commencement, while the German for instance, transfers them to the end. We can easily explain, by the influence of the verse with a final rhyme upon every-day language, this conflict between the purport of the phrase and its expression through the instrumentality of the spoken accent. Directly every-day language prepares, in any particular state of excitement, to find vent in expression, it does so involuntarily in accordance with the character of the verse in question, the remnant of the ancient melody, while the German, nn the other hand, speaks, under similar circumstances, in alliterative rhyme; as, for instance, "Zittern und Zagen," " Schimpf und Schande."

Rut the most distinguishing feature of the final rhyme is that, without any significant connection with the phrase, it thus appears as a make-shift for the production of the verse, a makeshift which ordinary language is compelled to adopt in its expressions, if it would speak with increased emotion. Verse with a final rhyme is, as regards the ordinary expression of language, an attempt to communicate a more elevated subject in such a manner as to produce a more suitable impression upon the feelings, by causing the expression of ordinary language to convey its meaning by means different from those of every-day life. The expression of every-day life was, however, the organ of communication of the understanding to the understanding; by the instrumentality of a more elevated expression different from this one, the person communicating his sentiments wanted in a certain degree to avoid the understanding; that is to say, he wanted to address himself to that which is distinct from the understanding, namely, the feelings. He endeavoured to effect this by awakening the material organ for the reception of speech, an organ which received the communication of the understanding with completely indifferent unconsciousness, to a consciousness of its own activity, and by attempting to produce in it a purely sensual pleasure in the expression itself. Now a line concluding with a final rhyme is perfectly capable of so far exciting the sensual organ of hearing to attention, that it may, by listening for the return of the rhymed end of the section of words, feel enchained; but, by this course, it is simply excited to attention, that is to say, it falls into a state of anxious expectation, which must be fulfilled in a manner satisfactory to its power, if it is to give way to such vivid interest, and, finally, to be so fully contented, as to be capable of communicating the delicious impression it has received to the entire faculty of sensation of man. It is only when the latter's whole power of feeling is completely excited with an object communicated to it by a receiving sense, that it gains sufficient strength to expand inwardly from its full condensation in such a manner as to present the understanding with endlessly enriched and seasoned nourishment. But as the comprehension of the thing communicated is the only object kept in view, even the poetical intention finally tends to a communication to the understanding alone ; in order, however, to arrive at this completely certain understanding, the poetical intention does not presuppose it, from the commencement, at the point it wishes to attain in its communication, but would have it, to a certain extent, first procreated out of Its own comprehension, the organ of parturition of this procreation, being, so to say, man's power of feeling. The latter, however, is not inclined for parturition until it has by conception been placed in the high state of excitement in which it obtains strength to bring forth. This strength first comes, however, through necessity, and necessity through the superabundance to which what is received by the power of feeling has grown: that which overpoweringly fills a bearing organisation is what first drives it to the act of parturition, and the act of parturition the comprehension of trie poetical intention, is the communication of that intention on the part of the recipient feeling to the inward understanding, which we must regard as the end of the necessity of the parturitive feeling.

Now the word-poet—who cannot communicate his intention to the organ of hearing, which receives it in the first instance,

« ElőzőTovább »