Oldalképek
PDF
ePub

private society, for the declared purpose of discussing any particular matter or business, it has invariably happened that they never can by any ingenuity be brought to approach that business, and that they invariably make it the one sole subject and ground on which they could not be rapped into the utterance of a syllable. This being the curl His concurrent experience of all mankind, it is the cautious custom of this particular public dinner, to place its business in the very front of the evening's engagements. It commits it to paper, and places it in black and white before the unhappy chairman whilst he feasts (Laughter.) It guards him with a long row of distinguished gentlemen on either hand, to keep him up to the mark, and force him to approach the tiling from which everybody knows he has a secret tendency to retreat, and there is a voice in his ear—a sonorous voioe—which, like the warning veiee of »he slave of old, reminds him in all stages of the pageant, that lie is bnt a mortal chairman, and that it is the common lot of all his race to be commanded to " speak and to die." This, ladies and gentlemen, is the one hundred and twenty-second anniversary festival of the Royal Society of Musicians. (Loud cheers.) One hundred and twenty years have passed since the casual contemplation by two gontlemen, standing at s coffee-house door, of two poor boys driving a pair of milch asset through the London streets, within half-a-mile of the place where we are now assembled, led to its establishment. These two poor boys were the sons of a deceased musician, and the two rich hearts that took pity on them were the hearts of two deceased musicians, and the noblest soul that came spontaneously to their aid was the soul of a deceased musician, known amongst the natural nobility of the art but by one "Handel" to his name—(Great cheering) —and that a very glorious one, nnd derived, as I venture to take it, directly from God. (Hear, hoar, hear.) Now, ladies and gentlemen, that "harmonious blacksmith" hammered so soundly upon the iron of bis order, while it was hot, that he struck out of it the sound of self-respect, independence, and prosperity, which are present is this society at the moment while I speak. During the remaining nineteen years of his musical lifo he wrought for it. at the forge of his art with a truth, faith, and vigour belonging only to a great nature; and when he died he left it the princely bequest of £1,000. (Loud cheers.) We now see what good seed is, and we see what good music is. One hundred and twenty-two years have gone, the ruffles and powder have gone, the lace and buckles have gone, the white-cape great coats and the huge cravats and top boots have gone; but the 'good seed is here, in the shady and flourishing tree under which we sit to-night, and the good musio i* here, ever young, and the young ears, the young Gngers, have it every new generation. (Cheers.) Ladies and gentlemen, it is my custom, when I have the honour to hold such a position as this, to offer to those amongst the company who may not be personally acquainted with the society under consideration, those recommendations in its behalf which have been most powerful with myself. Will you allow me to sum up, under a few heads, the reasons that I have for regarding with particular sympathy and respect this Royal Society of Musicians. First, because it is a real thing—(Hear, hear)—because it is, in fact, as well a* in name, a society of musicians—not a heterogeneous concourse of nondescripts and toadies, with here and there a musician smuggled in to justify the misuse of an art; but a society of professional men bound together in a love of their common art, and with the object important to their art. (Cheers.) Because these gentlemen come together, as they only usefully and independently could come together, at a benefit society—(Hear, bear)—making timely provision, if not for their own old age, distress, or infirmity, certainly for those casualitiet in the life of tbeir brethren, and for their widows, and for their orphan children. Because it not only grants money for the education and apprenticeship of those children, but afterwards preserves a parental care over them in this way, that when they bave done well in their apprenticeship, it encourages them to come back and be rewarded for having done well, and to stimulate them to continue to tread the paths of truth and duty. (Applause.) Because it ■ not an exclusive society ,but concedes to its youngest members the privileges of its oldest, and freely admits foreigners as members who are really domiciled in England as practitioners of music. Because it manages its own affairs—(Hear, hear)—and manages them in a manner to excessively unnational and unpopular that it pays only two small salaries for real services, while the governors actually pay the expenses of their own meetings out of their own pockets. (Loud applause.) Ladies and gentlemen, you have no notion what confusion would be carried into a certain litorary society if the ferocious person who now addresses you were in his own plain way to get up there, and propose the mu-icians in these respects as an example for imitation. (Laughter and cheers.) Lastly, ladies and gentlemen, I recommend this society to such of this assembly as do not know it,

because it is a society of artists who begin by putting their own shoulders to their own wheel. Every member of this body standi pledged to every other to exercise his talents gratuitously at any performance whatsoever and whensoever given in nid of the society's objects. Every member is formally and distinctly reminded on nit enrolment that he accepts the responsibility of a great work connected with the labour of his art, and to that he is understood to pledge himself thenceforth. Now these, ladies and gentlemen, are the main features of the body of professional men that pass to night the ono hundred and twenty-second milestone on the road of its life—'he main features, except one—and that is that the annual income derived from the one source, the annual subscription of its members, is not much more than a tithe of the money annually expended in the execution of itsexoellent objects. Turning over this book just now, with the words "one hundred and twenty-second night" printed on its outside, I feel in a half kind of fancy—remembering the wonderful things which music has, of course, suggested to me from my earliest childhood; I feel a kind of fancy that I might have gone back to the one hundred and twenty-second of the Great Arabian Nights, and have heard Dinarzade ■ taying, about half-an-hour before daybreak, "Sister Schehrazarie, if you are still awake, and my lord the Sultan will permit, I pray you to finish the story of—the British musicians"—(Laughter and cheers)—to which Schehrazade replied that she would willingly proceed, but that to the best of her belief, it was a story without an end—(Cheers)— because she considered that so long as mankind lived and loved, and hoped, so long music, which draws them upwards in all their varying and erring moods, could never possibly cease out of the world. (Cheers.) So the Sultan, who changed his name for the purpose for the time, girded on, not his scimitar, but a scythe, and went out, graciously resolving that the story should have its one hundred and twenty-second night, and that the brotherhood shonld live for ever. (Loud applause.) Ladies and gentlemen, these may appear to you vagrant ideas, but musio is suggestive of all fancies. You know it can give you back the dead; it can place at your side the congenial creature dear to you who never lived. You know that the blind see in it; the bedridden have hope in it j the dead hear it. We all hear it, from the sounds of the varying seasons to the beating of the waters upon which our Saviour walked. Let me, in conclusion, entreat you to listen also to one strain which will certainly be heard through all the sweet sounds of to-night, and which will be limply this—no'less, no more. The hand cannot always keep its hold upon the bow, the strings, the keys; the breath will sometimes fail. It it the inevitable result of the skilful combination of many instruments, that there must have been some players who never can hope to attain a great success or great reward, but who are nevertheless quite inseparable from, and necessary to, your delight; and so the strain will say, and, if you listento it, it will say, "I am one of those; I have been young, and Bow am old; my hand has lost its mastery; my breath has failed. Now, for the love of the much that music has done for you, do that little for me." I beg to propose to you to drink, " Prosperity to the Royal Society of Musicians."

Mr. Dickens resumed hit seat amidst loud applause from all parts of the room.

The other toasts were "The Patrons of the Society," "The Array and Navy," "Charles Dickens, Esq., President of the Day," "The Ladies who honoured the Festival with their presence," "The Chaplain and the Honorary Officers of the Society," "The Professional Ladies and Gentlemen who assisted at the Festival," and "Prosperity to the Royal Society of Female Musicians and other Musical Societies." In giving the' toast of the " Army and Navy," Mr. Dickens drew a graphic picture of the influence of music as exercised in every phase of the life of a soldier or sailor; and in proposing the health of the ladies, he created infinite merriment, by remonstrating against the separation of the sexes at the dinner table.

At.the commencement of the second part, Mr. G. F. Anderson, honorary treasurer, read a list of the donations, which is too long to insert in this place. We may, however, mention that Messrs). Broadwood and Sons gave .£50 (the seventeenth donation, making the entire sura bestowed on the charity by that eminent firm i'2050); Mr. Collard, £50; Messrs. Addison and Lucas, 10 guineas; Miss Arabella Goddard, 10 guineas; Mr. Benedict, 5 guineas; Mr. Bowley, 5 guineas; Signor Ferrari, 2 guineas j Mr. Gruneisen, 2 guineas; Mr. Metzler, jun., 5 guineas; Mr. Handel Gear, I guinea, &c, &c. The entire amount had not been made up when we left, but we have every reason to suppose it will be considerable.

MONDAY POPULAR CONCERTS.

Probably a larger audience was never assembled in St. James's Hall—which, though calculated to admit two thousand persons, was by no means sufficiently spacious to accommodate more than three-fourths of the amateurs of classical music who applied for admission at the doors—than at the eleventh concert. Many hundreds were unavoidably denied admission, and almost aa much money was "returned" as would have made an ordinarily successful evening. The programme was as follows: Pabt I.

Quintet, in A, stringed instruments and clarinet ... Mozart.

Song, 'Soft and bright" H. Smart.

Song, "I quit my pillow" (Don Quixote) Mai-farren.

Sonata, in A flat, pianoforte, " Plus Ultra." ... Dussek.

Part II.

Sonata, in E flat major, for pianoforte and clarinet Weber.

Song, *' Adelaide" Beethoien.

A Lullaby, "Golden slumbers kiss your eyes" ... 17th Century.

Quartet, in D major, Op 18... ... ... Beethoven.

Conductor—Mr. Benedict.

The Quintet of Mozart was repeated by desire. Its manifold beauties, and the faultless execution of the clarinet part by Mr. ijaznrus, were dwelt upou in appropriate terms some weeks ago, when Herr Becker took the principal violin part. Herr Molique was now at the head of the stringed instruments—as much as to say that both reading and execution were masterly. In the quartet of Beethoven (in which, as in the quintet, the other players were Herr Ries, Mr. Doyle, and Signor Piatti), Herr Molique exhibited the same artiatic qualities that have long constituted him one of the foremost "classical" violinists of the Hay.

The pianoforte sonata—Dussek's Plut Ultra, or, as the composer himself entitled it, Le Retour a Paris—is one of the most magnificent, no less than one of the most difficult, ever contribute'I to the repertory of "the universal instrument." Dussek wrote it when, after a life of unprofitable excitement and artistic vagabondage, he had settled down quietly in Paris, aa pianist and concert-master, in the residence of the famous Talleyrand, with whom he seems to have enjoyed other intimate sympathies besides those springing from a mere community of musical tastes. A piece occupying more thau forty minutes in performance may be regarded by those who are sceptical about the influence of what is denominated "high art as something beyond the endurance of an audience of considerably beyond 2,00l> persons ; but there appear to be no sceptics among the patrons of the Monday Popular Concerts. At any rate, neither the lovers of Dussek's music nor the admirers of Miss Arabella Goddard's playing could have been otherwise than satisfied with the attention bestowed on the sonata, and the hearty appreciation of the efforts of the performer, who, though she had more than once previously introduced the Pint Ultra in public, had never before essayed it in presence of so vast an assembly, and whose task became, therefore, doubly arduous, while its successful accomplishment was doubly honourable. Equally well received was the beautiful duet of Weber, for pianoforte and clarinet, in which Miss Goddard enjoyed the co-operation of that unrivalled master of his instrument, Mr. Lazarus. Every movement of this genial inspiration of the author of Der Freischiitz was heard with unequivocal deligbt.

Miss S. Cole gave the the graceful ballad of Mr. H. Smart, and the charming "Lullaby" from Mr. Wm. Chappell's Popular Mtuic of the Olden Time, with irreproachable taste; and to the plaintive romance from Mr. Macfarren's opera of Don Quixote, Mr. Sims Reeves imparted such heartfelt tenderness, that no Quiteria would have hesitated for an instant to abandon however wealthy a Camacho in answer to such an appeal. Beethoven's "Adelaida," in which Mr. Reeves was accompanied on the pianoforte by Miss Goddard, and which he never sang to greater perfection, was encored with Buch enthusiasm and unanimity that there was no alternative but no repeat it from the first note to the last. The other vocal pieces were accompanied by Mr. Benedict in that refined and artistic manner to which he has always accustomed the musical public.

At the twelfth and final performance of the first series (second season), the programme included Mendelssohn's quintet in A, Beethoven's quartet in D, Weber's pianoforte sonata in A flat, and Beethoven's rarely heard variations on "See the conquering hero comes," for pianoforte and violoncello—all " for the first time." A more rich and varied selection could not have been made; and that ample justice was awarded may be guessed from the names of the performers—Messrs. Molique, Ries, Doyle, and Piatti in the quartet, with the addition of Mr. Schreurs as second viola in the quintet, MUs Arabella Goddard in the sonata, and the same pianist, associated with Signor Piatti, in the variations, The singers were Miss Susanna Cole, Miss Fanny Rowland (who introduced, with eminent success, a very fine air from Gluck's Iphigenia in Aulide), and Mr. Sims Reeves. The ladies were encored in "Sull' aria," Mr. Sims Reeves being similarly complimented in "I arise from dreams of thee" (II. Glover), and in "Adelaida" (accompanied by Miss Goddard), the last of which composer created a furor.

The concert of Monday week (the first of the new series, the 13th of the second season), was one of the greatest possible interest. It was composed entirely of works, vocal and instrumental, of the Italian masters. The selection was as follows :— Part I.

Quintet, in A major, for two violins, viola, and two

violoncellos ... ... ... Boccherini.

Aria, "Besta in pace, idolo mio" (01' Orazi ed i

Curiazi) Cimarosa.

Eccitativo o Rondo, "Ah non sai qual pens" ... Sarti.
Scena Tragioa—Grand Sonata, in O minor, for

pianoforte alone (Didone Abbandonata) ... Clementi.

Duetto, "Cantando un" dl" ClarL_

Aria, "Com' ape ingegnoea" (Tarara) Salieri.

Quartet, in E flat (No. 5), two violins, viola, and

violoncello ...

Part II.

Grand Quartet, in E flat major, for two violins,
viola, and violoncello ...

Grand Aria, "Se il ciel mi divide" (Didone Abban-
donata) Piecini.

Capriccio (Moto Continuo), violin alone Paganini.

Aria—Almaviva—"Io sou Lindoro" (Barbiere di
Siviglia) ...

Duetto—Almaviva and Bartolo—"0 ohe umor"
(Barbiere di Siviglia) ... ...

Terzetto—Rosina, Almaviva, and Bartolo—"Ah

chi A qnesto suo foglio" (Barbiere di Siviglia) Paesiello.

Trio, in for violin, viola, and violoncello ... CorreUi.

Conduotor—Mr. Benedict.

We may at once state, that the concert was eminently successful.

The grand features were dementi's sonata and Cherubim's quartet. These created the profoundest impression. The sonata is the work of a poet as well as of a great musician, and sets at nought the idea entertained by some modern amateurs, that Clementi was a pedant Whoever heard Didone Abandonata, executed as it was magnificently and with kindred feeling by Miss Arabella Goddard, and did not feel his spirit bowed before genius, must have been hard to please indeed, or hard of hearing. The quartet of Cherubim is one of three, which, with a sonata for two organs and a pianoforte fantasia, are all he is known to have dedicated to the chamber. The quartet is a work of large proportions, written with peculiar breadth and dignity of style, increases in interest from the second movement to the end, and gradually captivates the hearer. It was superbly executed by Herr Ries, Mr. Doyle and Signor Piatti, and, like dementi's sonata, received with enthusiastic plaudits from all parts of the hall. Correlli's sonata is by no means devoid of interest, if for no other reason than that it shows the kind of instrumental music which attained popularity some century and a-half ago in England. Rossini's quartet, an amusing bagatelle, was (together with four others) written at the a e of sixteen, and published without the consent or knowledge of the master.

Herr Becker's performance of Paganini's Variations on "Nel cor piu," took everybody by surprise. That he was a first-rate quartet player all who had heard him at St. James's Hall were aware; out that he could stand his ground with the most accomplished fantasia players remained to be proved. He was recalled by the whole audience at the termination of the performance.

The selection from the Barbiere of Paesiello excited general curiosity. The tenor air (remarkably well sung, by the way, by Mr. TeDnant) was at once remembered by the old opera-goers as the late Mr. Tom Cooke's duet, "Ah! maiden fair" interpolated in place of the great air, "Ecco ridente," in Rossini's Barbiere. In those days managers and directors had little respect for masterpieces. Paesiello's (not Tom Cooke's) air, lkiwever, is eminently graceful. It must be remembered, Paesiello's Barbiere was written thirty or forty years before Rossini's. The duet (Mr. Tennant and Mr. Winn) and the trio (the same gentlemen with Miss Susanna Cole) are extremely graceful and quaint, and, no doubt, on the stage, would open a vein of comedy which they seem to want in the concert-room. Mdlle. Parepa was highly successful in Biccini's splendid scena, which Mozart might nave endorsed, and which Gluck, Piccini's great rival, has not always equalled. Allowinghigh praise to Mdlle. Parepa, Miss Susanna Cole, and Mr. Winn for their several solos—the first in the recitative and words, by Sarti; Miss Susanna Cole in Cimarosa's air; and Mr. Winn in the aria from Tarara—(admirable specimens all three)—we must close oar remarks with a word of commendation to the two ladies for the artistic manner in which they sang Clari's very difficult duet.

A " Beethoven Night was given on Monday, and attracted an immense audience. The programme couid not have been better selected:—

Part I.

Posthumous Quartet, in F major (No. 17) Beethoven.

Song, " Ave Maria," Schubert.

Air, " Deh per questo" Mozart.

Air, "La Pastorclla dell'Alpi" Kossini.

Sonata Appassionata, in F minor, Op. 67 Beethoven.

Past II. ':"

Sonata, in A major, Op. 30, for pianoforte and violin Beethoven. Songs, "Ah, how sweet it is to love!" and "On the

brow of Richmond Hill" Purcell.

Song, "A bird sat on an alder bough" ... ... Spohr.

Septet, in E flat, Op. 20 Beethoven.

Conduotor—Mr. Benedict.

The miscalled "Posthumous" Quartet, executed by Herr Becker, Herr Bies, Mr. Doyle, and Signor Piatti, created, as before, an immense effect, and the slow movement was again encored and repeated. The execution was magnificent, and Herr Becker—"the new discovery of the Monday Popular Concerts," as a morning contemporary calls him—more than ever established his claims to be considered a "genuine artist." About the sept-et, so well-known and so much endeared to all amateurs of music, we need only say, it was graudly played, the executants being Messrs. Becker, Doyle, Lazarus, C. Harper, Caisholm, Severn, and Piatti. The two sonatas exhibited Miss Arabella Goddard's talent to perfection; and in that for the piano and violin, she enjoyed the powerful co-operation of Herr Becker. A more thoroughly satisfactory performance of both works could not be given. The intensely poetical "Appassionato," (though "Appassionato" was not Beethoven's title) was listened to with breathless attention, and at the end the fair pianist was recalled and overwhelmed with applause from all parts of the hall. The sonata in a major, which betrays the influence of Mozart in every movement, more especially in the finale, afforded unqualified gratification.

The vocal music was divided between Miss Parepa and Mr. Sims Reeves. The lady was encored in Rossini's air, No. 6 of tile Soirfes Musicales, and gave Schubert's * Ave Maria," with much expression. Soohr's song would not have suffered by being taken a little faster. Mr. Sims Reeves gave the air from the Clemen.a di Tito with infinite taste and refinement. The two songs of Purcell (with accompaniment arranged by Mr. J. L. Hatton), are somewhat old-fashioned, but still interesting as coming from Purcell. Both were admirably sung by Mr. Reeves,

and the last unanimously encored. Mr. Benedict conducted all the vocal music, and especially distinguished himself in the picturesque accompaniment to the song from Tito.

A second " Italian night" will be given on Monday, with an entirely new instrumental selection, one piece excepted—the grand quartet of Cherubini in £ flat, which created so profound a sensation at the first Italian concert.

FESTIVAL OF THE FRENCH ORPHEONISTS IN LONDON.

A Grand Choral Festival will take place at the Sydenham Palace, in the course of next June. Three thousand French. Orpheonists are invited to participate in this artistic polemnity, which will be a landmark in the history of the two countries, and mark another and a glorious step on advance, taken by the human mind on the Bacred road of the fraternity of nations. During a visit I lately made to London, I settled the general arrangements of the Festival with the committee of the Sydenham Crystal Palace. The following are the principal clauses of the agreement concluded with the Company:—

"All travelling expenses will be paid for the three thousand Orpheonists, both ways, from Paris to London, and from the intermediate stations of the network of the Western lines of railroad, as well as from Dieppe to Havre, and thence to London.

"The same privilege is accorded to those Societies which come from the various points of the Northern line, from Arras and Vergnier to Calais, and thence to London.

"Those Societies, participating in the Festival, who are not situated on the line of the Northern or Western Railway, will have to pay their own travelling expenses from their respective localities, pither as lar as Paris or to some station of one of the railways just mentioned.

'"The Societies existing in that part of the country which is traversed by the Orleans line can reach the Western railway at Mans, by the branch line from Tours, without the necessity of coming to Paris.

"The Societies on the Eastern line can take the branch rail running from Rheims, and joining the Eastern to the Northern line, they will thus not have to pass through Paris. *. .

"The Societies on the Lyons line will have to come to Paris.

"The Orpheonists will remain in London for one week. They will embark on one Sunday and return the Sunday following."

The stay of a week in London is indispensable. We are to give three concerts, and it is natural to suppose that, without rehearsals, it would be impossible to carry out so grand an artistic manifestation, which is unprecedented, and, in all probability, will not be repeated. As the three concerts must be preceded by rehearsals, which take up a long time, it would be difficult, if we were to stop in London only from Monday to Thursday, for us to visit the public monuments and enjoy the repose and amusements required by such a journey. The Orpheonists of the central and southern portions of France, and of the localities beyond the range of the northern and western railways, will perceive at once that it was impossible to extend the invitation for the London Festival to the whole meridional portion of France. It is the Crystal Palace Company who have undertaken to pay all travelling expenses on the northern and western lines, as well as on board the steamers, as far as London, but we shall neglect no means to enable the Orpheonists living beyond the range of these privileged lines to participate conveniently in the solemnity. Measures have been taken for lodging and boarding the Orpheonists cheaply and well in London. The expenses under these heads will not exceed forty francs a head for the week. At the request of the Crystal Palace Committee we shall sing the following choruses, which were executed at the Paris Festival: the Septet from Les Huguenots, "Les Cimbres,et les Teutons;" "Le Psaume de Marcello;" the "VeniCreator;" "LaRetraite;" "Le DepartdesChasseurs;""Le Chant des Montaguards;" "Le Choeur des Pretres," from Les Mystires a"Isis. The other choruses which will be comprised in the programme of the grand London festival will be fixed on very shortly. The new choruses will be forwarded gratis to those Orpheonists who take part in the festival. The choruses sung in Paris will not be sent to the Societies which were present at the Palais l'lndustrie, but they will be sent gratuitously to those Societies which took no part in the Paris Festival, and which shall announce their intention of co-operating in the London Festival. The notices of co-operation must be sent in before the 10th March. They should contain the nominal list of the members of the Society, and, opposite each name, a notification to which class the member's voice belongs. It is most necessary that the promises of co-operation should be serious and definitive, since the number of executants is fixed at three thousand. Those Orpheonists who are not certain of having a week at their disposal should not enter their names. Inspections will be held in the various co-operating Societies, and members will only be definitively admitted after these inspections, which will necessarily be rigorous.

E Delaportb, President of the Choral Association of Paris.

TO CORRESPONDENTS.

H. F. A.—The letter accompanying our correspondent's private note was mislaid last week. It is now too late to possess any "interest.

A Lover or Justice.It was merely an oversight. The article on the death of Mr. H. Corri, and thai of Mr. RansforoVs concert, were borrowed from The Era. We merely rectified the statement that Mr. Corri was Dussek's nephew, the fact being that he was his brother-in-law.

Concerts For The People (Windsor).—We regret to inform our correspondent that we cannot undertake to print articles written upon what is conventionally termed "flimsy.'"

Dr. F. R.— With thanks. Next voeek.

W. N. S.— We believe the celebrated artist's Christian name is CornoCapricorno, or Cornuto, but are not sure, since it has been currently bruited that, being a Jew, the celebrated artist, properly speaking, has no Christian name; which, after all, may be <z matter of taste on the part of the celebrated artist. For a satisfactory answer to the other question of our correspondent, we cannot do better than refer our correspondent to the celebrated artist himself, who, no doubt, will answer it with extreme alacrity.

N< )TI0E.

The Musical World may be obtained direct from the Office, 28, Holies-street, by quarterly subscription of Jive shillings, payable in advance; or by order of any Newsvendor. Advertisements are received until Three o'clock on Friday Afternoon, and must be paid for when delivered. Terms :

Three lines (about thirty words) 2s. 6d.

Every additional line (ten words) ... 0s. 6d.

THE MUSICAL WOULD.

LONDON, SATURDAY, March 10th, 1860.

The Musical Campaign is about to begin, and, from symptoms that have come beneath our notice, an unusually severe spring may be anticipated. We say spring, because we do not believe the season will extend very far, if at all, into the summer, unless people persist in calling June a summer, month. Our advertising columns inform us that artists and musical professors are nocking to London from all parts pf the world, and many of them have already issued their challenges, in which, singly or supported by a certain number of friends, they offer to meet the public at morning and evening concerts. But this sort of thing will not last long, and we are told that travelling carriages may be ordered this year as early as the first days of July.

A long essay might be written on the causes that have tended to abridge the London musical season, but we will not inflict it upon our readers. We may, however, call attention to the abolition of the before-Easter period at the Italian Opera, or Operas, which managers found too great a

penance even for the last weeks in Lent, when some sort of mortification ought of course to be practised by all men People at last get tired of everything, even of losing money, and our Italian directors object now to open their theatres until there is some chance of filling them. Then, we fancy those families who visit London for fashionable purposes are really glad when their laborious pleasures are at an end; and they also retire to the country earlier in the summer than of old, because, thanks to the railways, they can come back to London at any other period of the year at less expense, and with far less inconvenience than accompanied travelling in the days of post-chaises. However, if in the year 1860 there is less time than ever for hearing music, there are certainly more musicians anxious and determined to make themselves heard, and accordingly there will be such a production of "sweet sounds" during the coming months of April, May, and June, that those who, like ourselves, have ears and must hear, run a considerable risk of getting their acoustic organs damaged. Last season there were sometimes as many as three morning concerts in one day, to say nothing of two Italian operas in the evening. This was quite as much as we could bear, but we are told that during the season that is approaching we shall have to suffer even more. All we can say is—we hope not: it is the last chord that shatters the musical critic's tympanum.

If concert givers would take our advice, we should counsel them, partly for their sake but principally for our own, not to make a point of giving their entertainments within the narrow limits of the London season. Those who can only count upon selling tickets to pupils and patrons have of course no choice, and must hold their maiinies and soirees when their pupils and patrons are within earshot, or not at all. But a really great artist can now find a large and appreciative audience at any period of the year, and many foreign vocalists and instrumentalists who at present only visit London during the great musical months, when the market is sure to be overstocked, would probably find their journeys to England far more profitable—or, at all events, less unremunerative—if they were to make their appearance among us during the winter.

If Mr. Ella, of the Musical Union, were to advertise in the month of January that "Rubinstein is coming from the banks of the Neva," the announcement would not produce the same effect which it, doubtless, would have on the perusers of the Record in the middle of May. But as Rubinstein possesses remarkable talent, the frequenters of the Monday Popular Concerts and the audiences at St. Murtin's Hall are sure to recognise it; and it would be to the interest of concert-givers to engage him, as they engage Joachim, Wieniawski, Becker, and other visitors from abroad, during what is usually considered our dull season.

Anxious to know the worst as soon as possible, we have already, by an abstruse calculation, discovered on what day the Feast of Easter (no feast, alas, to us!) will fall this year. Easter-Day, be it known, is always the first Sunday after the Full Moon which happens upon, or next after, the twentyfirst day of March; unless the full moon happens upon a Sunday, when Easter-Day is the Sunday after. But the scientific and orthodox mode of determining the occurrence of Easter for any given year is by performing certain operations with the Golden Number or Prime, and the Dominical or Sunday Letter. To find the Oolden Number or Prime for the present year, it is only necessary to add 1 to 1860, and then divide by 19 j the remainder, if any, is the Golden Number; but, if nothing remains, then 19 is the Golden Number. The Dominical Letter is not to be found quite so easily; but having ascertained, by a lengthy process, what it was, we consulted certain tables in our possession, in which the Golden Number indicates to us the day of the Paschal Full Moon, and the Dominical Letter the day next to the Full Moon on which Easter falls. From this we learned that Easter-Day falls on the 8th of April, and consequently, that April the 9th will be Easter Monday. We might perhaps, have obtained this information by the less arithmetical process of consulting an almanac, but however that may be, the London season begins on the 9th of next month, and on the 10th we shall have two Italian Operas in the evening, and doubtless innumerable concerts in the morning. We are here reminded that the 10th of April is the anniversary of certain metropolitan riots. Let us trust that we may be able to do our duty in the character of musical "special constables!"

A Strange sight met the eyes of Pantagruel, when, at a quarter before seven, P.m., he entered the large room of the "Edinburgh Castle," for there, upon the floor, extended on his back, lay Panurge, kicking and howling, and by him knelt John the waiter, vainly endeavouring to recall him to a condition of self-respect.

"He's been like this ever since eight o'clock yesterday evening," said John, mournfully, "and I have poured more glasses of brandy down his throat than he will pay for in a twelvemonth."

"What's the matter, thou infernal idiot V affectionately asked Pantagruel.

Thereujion Panurge began to shriek and kick anew with greater vigour than, ever, making such an abominable noise that even the deaf'old gentleman who was' reading the day before yesterday's paper in the further box to the left was interrupted in his studies.

"Say what is the matter, and I will pay for all the liquor thou hast gorged, and thou shalt now have, in addition, a large glass of hot brandy-and-water," said Pantagruel.

Those consoling expressions brought the upper-half of Panurge into a vertical position, while his legs remained horizontal upon the floor, so that the ingenious might have compared him to the letter L. But he did not say a word till the lively John placed in his hands a steaming tumbler, from which he took a draught so huge, that his eyes incontinently blinked with the effect thereof. Then he spake thus:—

"I have seen Nebuchadnezzar, King of Babylon, walking on all-fours and browsing on the grass of the field. I have seen Troy turned into a corn-field, and trampled upon by clodhoppers.

* ■ Ilion, Ilion,

Fatalis incettutque judex

Et mulier peregnna Tertet
In pulverem -,'"

"What do you mean 1 What do you mean 1" shrieked Pantagruel.

'"I have seen the King Uzziah usurp the priest's office; I have seen the boor Mummius insult the marvels of Greek aft; I have seen the Palladium defiled by unclean hands; I have seen immortal Csesar, dead and turned to clay, stopping a hole to keep the winds away."

"Tail of Beelzebub! doth all this rhodomontade denote anything beside the aqua vike, for which, ass as I was, I promised to pay 1" roared Pantagruel.

"I ought to have known it," screamed Panurge, wildly. "I ought to have known it. There is nothing certain in human affairs beyond their perishable quality— 'Omnes eodem cogimur; omnium Veraatur urna eeriua ootua Sors exiture et nos in sternum Exsiiium impositura eymbcB.'" "At least make thy madness methodical, accursed pedant!" bellowed Pantagruel, frantic with impatience. "True, true," said Panurge—

"Durum j sed levius fit patientia Quidquid corrigere est nefae." And then he put on a marvellously sober countenance, and greeted Pantagruel with a melancholy smile that almost moved him to tears.

"Thou mindest, master mine—a theatre—a small, pretty theatre—where the graces do flourish, and where profound wisdom is taught by philosophers who wear a comic mask J" "I were much less wise than I am, if I knew it not," said Pantagruel. "Thou referrest to that small spring-head, whence issues the broad stream of wisdom, that so greatly refreshes and invigorates the population of this enormous town."

"A spring-head, too, over which the loveliest of nymphs presides," added Panurge. "But now, master, what wouldest thou have said if thou hadst seen cats drowned in Hippocrene, and the 'Fons Bandusios splendidia vitro' sullied by the paddling of tittlebat-seeking boys? Bend thine head, master mine, and I will pour into thine ear a tale of woe, that I dare not trust myself to speak aloud."

Pantagruel bent his head and listened, and lo! his face became so long and his eyes so wide, that John, the waiter, betook himself to the bar, and swore that Pantagruel had changed himself into the giant of the Drary Lane pantomime.

"And what is the piece called f asked Pantagruel with a gasp, when Panurge had ended.

"I will not pronounce the name of ill omen," said Panurge with a shudder. "But as the Greeks termed their most ill-conditioned goddesses the Eumenides, or goodhumoured, and the unlucky or left side the euonymous, or well-reputed, so will I term the matter to which I allude the Delectable Chance." At this moment the clock of St. Clement Danes told the hour of seven, and was confirmed in its assertion by the clock of St. Mary's.

"Knowing that thou art a scurvy toper and a liar," said Pantagruel, "I will go and see with mine own eyes, whether it be as thou sayest, or whether thou hast been hatching a vile fraud, for the sake of warming thy ignoble bowels at my expense." And he stalked out of the room and down the passage, looking so awful, that John the waiter, who lingered near the door, and whose countenance is never very florid, looked whiter than the table-cloth spread in the fourth box to the right for the gent who had ordered a kidney. Also John hesitated considerably before he executed Panurge's order for another tumbler of hot brandy and water, as he knew that if Pantagruel had quarrelled with him, his means of payment would be absurdly limited. However, John hath a large heart, so, after five minutes and a-half spent in deliberation, he supplied the consoling beverage, and Panurge gratefully acknowledged the obligation by sipping the liquor slowly, and making it last till eight o'clock, amusing himself in the meanwhile by watching the image of the dial in the looking-glass over the' fire, and considering how absurd it was that time should seem to travel backwards. Also, he

« ElőzőTovább »