« ElőzőTovább »
occasion, we recommend M. Charles Hall6 to print in the programmes of the evening.
An amateur, who was present at the performance in the Free Trade Hall, writes as subjoined :—
"I was really very sorry not to see you on Wednesday evening nt Manchester. You would havo been highly pleased with tho whole performance. I have seldom witnessed such onthusiasm, such waving of hats and handkerchiefs, such unanimous applause and cheering. It was a sight worth a journey to Manchester, moro especially when it is considered that the demonstration in favour of the music of Gluck (so subtle and grand a master—so profoundly dramatic a genius) was made by an audience of more than 3,000 persons, an audience thnt filled the large hall from extremity to extremity. With regard to the performance itself, I can assure you it was admirable, and you would have found very little indeed to criticise. The success was so unequivocal that I nm informed it is the intention of Mr. Halle" to repeat the Bame opera, with the same performers, on the 8th of next month."
Mr. Halle" is entitled to our heartiest good wishes, as he is entitled to those of all real lovers of genuine music—music that, not only time, but the universal verdict of civilised
composed his music, was adapted by the French poet Guillard from r. poem by Goethe, who has, of course, observed the main incidents and treatment as developed by Euripides. Orestes, coming to Tauri, in Scythia, in company with Pylades, has been commanded to bear off the image of Diana; after which bo is to meet with a respite from the avenging furies of his mother. His sister, Iphigenia, carried away by Diana, from Aulis, when on tho point of being sacrificed by her father, is expiating a dream that led her to suppose Orestes dead, when a herdsman announces tho arrival and deteotion of two strangers, whom she is bound by her office to sacrifice. On meeting, a mutual discovery takes place, and tho brother and sister plot their flight. Iphigenia imposes on tho superstitious fears of Thoas, and, removing to the sea coast, they are on tho point of making their escape, when they ore surprised, and driven back by streBS of weather. Thoas is about to pursue them, but Minerva appears, and restrains him, at tho same time procuring liberty of return for tho Grecian captives, who form the chorus.
"Gluck's opera opens with an instrumental movement, depicting alternate calm and tempest, duriug which a prayer is offered up by Iphigenia and her priestesses to Diana; we have then a succession of fragmentary recitatives, interspersed with choruses for the priestesses, until Thoas appears, and expresses to Iphigenia his dread of the danger impending over himself and house. His entrance is followed by a chorus of Scythians, introductory to tho entrance of Pylades ond Orestes. A wild hurst of joy from tho Scythians, at tho prospect of being able thus to propitiate the Doity, closes the first act. Act the second opens with the display of mutual friendship between Pylades and Orestes; Orestes loading himself with reproach for having been the instrument of hurrying his friend into danger. Pylades endeavours to console him; when the fri?nds arc parted, as if for ever, by the edict of their barbarian foes. Orestes, left to himself, becomes a prey to tho avenging Furies; Iphigenia appears in time to soothe his half-maddened brain; and elicits from him, without apprising him who she really is, the destinies of her father Agamemnon's family sinoe she herself was snatched from the sacrifice at Aulis. The act closes with the lamentations of tho priestess for the sorrows of her race, and her grief at the supposed death of Orestes. In Act III., Iphigenia, interested in Orestes, hut still ignorant that he is her brother, endeavours to savo him; Orestes declines to avail himself of a rescue which Pylades cannot share, and the two refuse, each in behalf of the other, the boon held out to them by Iphigenia. The act ends by Pylades, at the earnest entreaty of Orestes, consenting to take a letter to Electra, Iphigenia's surviving sister, at Myconee. During the absence of Pylades, the preparations for tho sacrifice of Orestes are carried on. Iphigenia delays the rite; but when at last she is advancing towards Orestes with uplifted knife and faltering step, he declares himself her long-lost brother. Their mutual transports are cut short by the entrance) of Thoas, who determines, in his blind fury, to sacrifice indiscriminately both priestess and victim; but at this juncture Pylades stabs the barbarian monarch to the heart, and delivers the sister of his friend and her attendant captives from the thraldom that has Bo long oppressed them. Diana then appears, and directs the Greeks to set sail, bearing with them the statue erected to her honour in the Temple of Taurie."
Europe (in accordance with that of Gluck's own "Fatherland") has proclaimed "classical"—or, in plain language, imperishable.
When the "Classical" Series of tho Monday Popular Concerts was commenced last season at the St. James's Hall, the question naturally arose whether the epithets "classical" and "popular" could be applied with appropriateness to the same entertainment. The word "classical" is variously interpreted, and is frequently employed in a sense manifestly incorrect (as in the case of certain orchestral and chamber compositions which resemble the works of the great masters only in form); and it would be easy to prove that what ofton passes for classical music, is not at all popular. If a work is to be called " classical" merely because it is correct in form, and written in intelligent and more or less exact imitation of undeniable master-pieces; and if by " popular" is meant that alono wliich appertains to the mob, then it is evident that "popular" and "classical" aro incompatible terms. But no production of art can fairly be spoken of as classical until it has stood tho test of time, and also, we are inclined to think, of expatriation—perhaps transpatriation would be a better word. Eacine, for whom the taste, in Madame de Sevignfj's opinion, was to pass away like that for coffee, is still considered a classic in France; but while all Europe retains the use of the berry which heats but not enlivens, not one foreign nation has adopted Eacine, or any other of the French poets. Tho great comic dramatist* of France, on the other hand, is known and appreciated everywhere. "Every man who learns to read," says M. Sainte-Beuve, with almost as much truth as ingenuity, "is another reader for Moliere," and it is quite true that thousands of playgoers who have never even heard his name are familiar with jokes, scenes, and characters which are borrowed or imitated from Moliere's plays. Shakspere has passed more triumphantly than any other poet what may be called the tests of time and space; for no other writer is so much read in the present day, and while some of the greatest authors of modern Europe, from Goethe to Victor Hugo, and fro in Goethe to M. Guizot, have made his works the subject of their earnest study, his dramas are played in some form or other in tho "popular" theatres of Germany, France, Bussia, and probably many other countries.
If we turn to what is vulgarly and absurdly called "art"— as if to the exclusion of all other kinds—we find in Eaphael an example of a painter whose works seem to acquire fresh vitality with each succeeding century, which live equally in all civilised countries, and which delight all classes of men. M. Ingres, who by the consent of his own countrymen, is the greatest, or one of the two greatest painters of modern France, has dedicated his whole life to Eaphael; even the pre-Baphaelitos do not spurn him—they only wish modestly to go beforo him, which, according to them, means beyond him; the photographs from the cartoons are ordered (thanks to the enormous demand for them they cannot now be bought) by thousands at the South Kensington Museum; and there is not a more " popular" design for the picture-brooches sold in the Palais Eoyal at Paris than the world-famed "Virgin of the Chair."
The notions expressed in the above remarks, however much they may partake of the nature of truisms,