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MUSIC AND THEATRES IN PARIS.
July 11, I860.
Nothing of any commanding interest has occurred in the operatic world. At the Grand Opera, Les Huguenots has been revived for M. Ureart, the Belgian tenor of whom I wrote a short time since. He still maintains the favourable impression he created in William Tell, and people seem to think he will be permanently engaged. By the way, the "normal diapason " now established at the Grand Opera does not work over well, and is especially obnoxious to the bass singers. The " Pif-paf," for instance, is, with the new pitch, in some parts beyond the range of any but the most exceptional voices. The character of the music is also considerably modified by the change, and in some instances, as for example, the air of the "Couvre Feu," loses not a little of its original colour.
The manager of the Opera-Comique has done a famous stroke of business for his establishment by the engagement of M. Roger, whose return to the scene of his early triumphs will no doubt be hailed with delight by the frequenters of this house. The round of characters he created here with such marked success, await his touch to revive with all their original freshness and charm, and after the Midsummer glories of the Grand Opera, which some say he had better never have struggled for, he will glide calmly and gently into a sort of "latter spring." Mad. Fauro (the wife of Faure now engaged at your Royal Italian Opera) and Mad. Ugalde are also re-engaged, but the presence of these ladies is too familiar, and their talents have been too exhaustively reconnoitred by the audiences of the Opera-Comique, to cause the announcement to be received with much enthusiasm. Mad. Ugalde has already re-appeared in Galathee, and it is just to say that her reception was in the highest degree flattering. Mad. Faure will not make her re-entree till next week, in Boieldieu's Petit Chaperon Rouge.
M. A. Dumas' (senior) new comedy, of which I gave you some account, L'Encers dune Conspiration, produced at the Vaudeville, has been withdrawn for the present, and three little comedies in one act by way of small change have been substituted. The first is Le Tresor de Blaise, by M. Eugene Muller, a young author who has already distinguished himself. The subject is pastoral, not however of the conventional style of the Opera-Comique, but a real and genuine picture of rustic life. The second is entitled Toute Sexue, and is by MM. Tlouvier and J. Adenis; and the third La Femme doit suivre son mari. They are both pleasant little pieces and well acted.
A grand military spectacle, called Le Bataillon de la Moselle, and distributed into thirteen tableaux (significant subject! ominous number !) has just been produced at the Theatre-Imperial du Cirque. The vicissitudes of the band of republican heroes who fought in rags and wooden shoes under old Morcau was a good subject to flatter the patriotism and military ardour of the nation, and the time for such a production is artfully chosen when their Imperial chief is casting greedy glances towards the Rhenish frontier. The matter is not however very skilfully treated, and is encumbered with some haeknied plot in which a number of the exiled French nobility at Coblentz take part. The constant alternation from the tumult of battle to tedious conversations in gilded saloons is anything but artistic, and produces a most monotonous effect. Neither has much pains been taken in getting up the spectacle, in which old properties and costumes are worked up with sublime indifference to their adaptation to the subject or period. The enemy conquered at Valny, for instance, appears in the Austrian uniform. Nevertheless, the effect of the ragged soldiery in wooden clogs, "purshuing of their shindies, upon jMoselle shore" is very picturesque and inspiriting. Whether it will make the people in love with a Rhenish expedition is another matter.
At the Gaito there has been produced a new drain?, in five acts, after the fashion of the Bohemiens de Paris. It is entitled La Petite Pologne, which is the designation of a locality inhabited by a population of petty hawkers, itinerant vendors, rag pickers, kennel rakers, and all who pursue those nameless avocations in the public street which form the social stratum immediately above absolute mendicity. Instead of making this mode of life, as in the first-named piece, however, the training-school of crime, the authors of the new drama attribute to the inhabitants of La
Petite Polognc the candour, simplicity, and virtue of the golden age. The picture may not be drawn with photographic fidelity to nature, but at any rate it is not sickening and repulsive, as are the representations of low life sometimes produced by those who pique themselves on their realism, and as much good is no doubt done by seeing what these poor creatures might be, as what they really are. The story which is unwound in this locality, and amidst this phase of society, is a common-place-enough affair, in which there is a convict killed in the first act^ and that convict's son, an amiable youth, extending a protecting arm over an innocent little flower girl, the daughter of one of his father's victims.
Among the small items of intelligence interesting to your musical readers, 1 may mention the engagement of M. Nilmann, the German tenor, for a short period, at the Gi'and Opera. He is engaged expressly to sing in the Tannhauser of Richard Wagner. Mile. Tedesco will return to the Opera in September, and make her first appearance in Le Prophite. She is afterwards to play Olympia in Jfcrculanum. I hear also that Meyerbeer is expected to arrive in Paris very shortly.
One or two letters which I have received from Italian correspondents enable me to furnish you with a few scraps of news as to what is going on at the principal theatres in the land of song. At Genoa there have been several performances for the benefit of the Fund in support of the Sicilian Insurrection. The last deserves especial notice as being signalised by the appearance of the celebrated Signor Tamburini. He sang the cavatiua from La Sonnambula, the duo in II Barbiire, and the air of Miwmetlo. His reception was enthusiastic; the applause which greeted him being no less addressed to the patriotic Italian citizen than to the celebrated singer. His vocalisation was marvellous, and took all by surprise, for the ear is no longer accustomed to such a deluge of' trills and runs as was poured forth from the singer's throat with the most perfect ease. After the first efl'ects of astonishment had subsided, bursts of applause followed one upon the other, and positively overwhelmed the last representative of the old florid school of Italian singing. Tamburini did not, however, exhaust the appreciative power of the audience, who in turn awarded to Signor Agrone and to Signora Parodi, and to all the other artists and dilettanti, who contributed their services on the occasion, their due meed of applause. Signor Bottesini has been engaged at La Scala, in Milan, where he is to produce his opera L'Assedio di Firenza, and Mad. Fiorentini is engaged to play the principal part. The San Carlo, at Naples, is not in a very satisfactory condition. / Foscari, lately produced there with Guicciardi, met with a cool reception from the inferiority of the execution, and a few days after Don Pasquale encountered a complete fiasco.
The sisters Ferni have been giving a concert at Parma, where their admirable talents have been duly appreciated. The programme for the autumnal season at the Opera of Bologna contains the names of the following artists : — Mesds. Borghi-Mamo and Luigia Gavetti-Regiani, and MM. Lodovico Graziani, Antonio Morelli, Mario Ghidi. M. Rota is the ballet master, and the principal danseuse Mile. Adelina Plunkett. Signor Beneventano, the barytone, is engaged for the approaching season at Trieste. A propos of Italian singers, there is a paragraph in a French theatrical paper announcing the return to Paris of Mr. Lumley from a voyage of discovery in the Italian peninsula. The object of his search has been an artist of that peculiar transcendent class sucli as, according to the journalist, he has a special patent for unearthing and bringing to light. The amiable ex-manager is, in the complaisant imagination of the writer, represented as periodically taking dips in the Iladriatic of Italian lyrical art, and after a period of breathless suspense and fear lest he should never be seen or heard of again, triumphantly emerging with a pearl of price such as Cleopatra would not disdain to dissolve and drink off as in that draft of early purl recorded in history. This feat he has again accomplished; but the journalist, and perhaps the diver also (for diver's reasons) mysteriously say mum as to the name of the newly-discovered treasure who is to keep up the succession of prodigies of which Jenny Lind and Piccolomini have been such bright links. I have no reason, however, for concealing the fact that the newly fished-up virtuosa is Mile. Galetti.
Mile. Kenneth, whom your theatrical readers will better identify as the daughter of " little Kenneth," erst the proprietor of the well-known "little shop" at the corner of Bow Street, where many dramatic wits and theatrical stars were once wont to lounge and exchange the newest coinage of the mint of mirth and fancy, has just returned from a successful engagement in Spain, notably at Madrid, where she sang with Tamberlik, and at Barcelona. Mile. Kenneth has been trained in the traditions of the old Italian school of grand opera; her vocalisation is excellent, and she possesses the power of dramatic expression.
I hear from Pesth that the Italian Opera has commenced there. Norma, with Mile. Lagrua as the Druid priestess, has produced quite a sensation. This lady is described as remarkably beautiful, and as possessing a voice of pure and rich quality, with a sympathetic character quite thrilling in its effect. Her presence is noble and graceful, and exactly suited to the heroines of the lyrical drama; and both by her acting and broad grand style of vocalising, exercises an extraordinary power over her audience. How is it neither Paris nor London have hitherto had the benefit of this artist's vaunted ability? How has she escaped Lumley the pearl-fisher? did he dive not deep enough, or too deep?
The Imperial Theatre of St. Petersburg has secured Signor Graziani, the barytone, for two years, commencing next season. The contract was only signed last Thursday. Mad. Rita Bemardi Fabricca, the wife of the Maestro Fabricca, an admirable singer, and moreover a very pretty person, is also engaged at St. Petersburg, for the third time. She is now in London, having left Paris a short time since. Mile. Lotti della Santa has just passed through Paris on her way back from London to her country house in the environs of Milan. There is some talk of Mad. Miolnn-Carvalho taking an engagement at the Royal Lisbon Theatre. Signor Fabricca's visit to London gives some colour to this rumour, as he is charged with organising the operatic troupe for the San Carlos at Lisbon.
I have the melancholy intelligence to record of the death of the pianist and composer, Goria. It is reported that he has not left any money behind him. This is strange, for it is known that large sums were made by his compositions. One publisher confessed to realising 3000 francs a year by one piece alone, and his nocturne and etude in E flat produced a profit of 30,000 francs— that is to say, the publishers! Sic vos non vobis! oh luckless herd of scribblers, whether musical or literary.
MUSIC IN RUSSIA.
There was a certain Mongik named Ivan. Without consulting Ivan's inclination, his master placed him in the Conservatory, where the professors, according to custom, first taught him to "sol-fa." When he was considered sufficiently advanced in that branch of art, it was unanimously decided that, as there was a want of clarinet-players, he should study the clarinet, and he was consequently admitted into a special class. The hour fixed for the first lesson having arrived, he took his place among his comrades, all drawn up after the military fashion, like troops without their arms, their heels close together, their toes well turned out, and their thumbs touching the seams of their trousers. Ivan remained perfectly motionless, but his comrades stepped out, one after the other, from the ranks, to practise upon their clarinets, from which there issued a host of notes out of tunc. The second lesson went off in exactly the same manner.
"What is the reason, enquired the Professor, "that you do not try like the rest?"
"Because they have not given me a clarinet," replied Ivan.
That same evening the Professor wrote to the proper authority, explaining the posture of affairs, and requesting the funds necessary for the acquisition of the coveted object. The funds were granted, but as in Russia the control exercised over the national expenditure is illusory, the result was that the money, having to pass from hand to hand, was lost on the road, and Ivan waited a very long time in the predicament already described. At last, one day, after the hours devoted to study, he said to his Professor —
"Is it not soon coming?"
"I have asked for it and am expecting it every day."
Ivan had, consequently, no clarinet during the eight years he stopped at the Conservatory. When his period of study had thus expired, and his certificate been obtained, he was immediately admitted, by right, into a theatre, as second-clarinet player. He had his place assigned him in the orchestra, where he found a stool, some music, and a desk, but not the slightest signs of an instrument. Under these circumstances, he went up to his conductor, and said,
"Where is it?"
"Where is what?"
"Why, the clarinet."
"That is no business of mine. They ought to have provided you with one."
Thus, every evening, Ivan seated himself on his stool, before his desk, and turned over the leaves of his part, though he never played a note. At the conclusion of the performance he packed up his things and retired, like those around him, wiping his forehead. At the expiration of six years of punctuality, according to the prescribed rules, he was raised to the rank of first clarinet, and for eight more continued to perform his new duties with all the zeal of assiduity, that is to say, without missing one performance, coming early and leaving late. Some curious amateurs used to remark, however, that this instrumentalist invariably forgot to bring his instrument. At last, the period for his retirement arrived. It was found, by reference to the books, that he had always done his duty punctually, without ever having subjected himself to a fine, and so his pension was fixed at 900 roubles a-year, a sum which he has received up to the present day. It is not necessary to test the truth of the foregoing, but we wish to defend the conduct of a country, which for ages has made enormous sacrifices for artists, without caring about their origin, and thus endeavouring to improve the natural taste for music.
In Russia, every one sings. The singing of the Russian infantry is especially deserving of notice. In each company, a selection is made of the soldiers possessing the greatest natural aptitude. These men are charged with the task of forming the choruses. When the commander of a battalion perceives his troops are exhausted, after a long march, he orders the singers to place themselves at the head of the column and strike up their national airs. Directly they hear them, the troops forget fatigue, hunger, and thirst. In instrumental music the Russians have obtained results equally worthy of notice. One evening, in 1751, Marshal Narischkin, Grand Intendant of Woods and Forests, after having been out hunting since the morning, was seated at the foot of a rock, listening to the uniform sounds the hunters produced from their brass horns. Near him was the first horn- player in the Imperial service, J. A. Maresch, born in Bohemia, in 1719.
"What are you thinking about?" inquired the Marshal, observing his companion's absent air.
"I was thinking," replied Maresch, "that, if I chose, I could vary those intonations."
"Try," said the Marshal.
The next day, Maresch gave orders for thirty-seven horns of different sizes, comprising a range of three octaves. He entrusted these instruments to certain musicians whom he caused to rehearse on them for a long time, far from any habitation, so that he might be sure of the result, previously to letting them perform in public. When he thought his musicians sufficiently advanced, he solicited permission for them to play before the Court. His prayer was granted, and the Ismailow hunting lodge, near Moscow, was placed at his disposal for the experiment. At the appointed time, the audience enjoyed an extraordinary treat. The horns,^ perfectly tuned, were so arranged as to furnish, like the pipes of an organ, all the notes necessary for executing any piece with accompaniment. One performer played C, the next D, and so on, their precision being such that all the sounds seemed to proceed from one instrument. The performance was both characteristic and vigorous, and the inventor had not to wait long for reward. Since that time, this branch of the art has made great progress. Tubes twelve feet long have been made for the lowest notes, while others of only a few inches have been manufactured for the highest. There are some chapels, which, instead of an orgjan, possess an orchestra of this description. The effect is very striking. The performers, drawn up in line, await the moment for playing their particular note, their principal merit consisting in exerting the exact degree of power necessary, so as to produce the effect of only one artist's playing. The system has been adopted for certain choruses. All this, we are perfectly aware, is not art, but we must conclude from it that the Russians are well organised in a musical sense. Their conservatories turn out some remarkable musicians every year. These musicians are subject to the same rules and receive the same instruction as our own. Our methods are also theirs. As for their professors, they are recruited from all parte, provided they possess that grand certificate of merit which Europe assigns to its favourites.
As early as the reign of the Empress Elizabeth, regular choirs executed complicated airs with precision. The musicians of the Imperial Chapsl, comprising fifteen sopranos, thirteen contraltos, fourteen tenors, and twelve basses, excited the admiration of all who heard them. Russia was, however, deficient in composers, but instead of being jealous of more favoured nations than herself, she spent her gold by handfuls for the purpose of procuring the services of the greatest masters. At the period in question, Galuppi resided at Venice. He was offered a salary of 4000 roubles, magnificent apartments, and an imperial carriage. Thus solicited, he went to St. Petersburg, where, shortly afterwards, he produced Didone abbandonata, which brought him in a thousand ducats. Duke Charles Ulric, of IIolstein-Gottorp, had just arrived with his German chamber musicians. Peter the Great regularly attended his concerts, and even took lessons on the violoncello from one of the performers who pleased him, and whom he presented with a snuff-box mounted with brilliants.
The Empress Anne sent at a great expense for Francois Araja, a highly-esteemed Neapolitan dramatic composer. Araja produced Abijazare Semiramide, and subsequently, for Elizabeth's coronation, La Clemenza di Tito, by Hasse, as well as La Russia afflita e riconsolata,'& dialogue set to music by Dominic Dall' Oglio. t or a considerable period he brought out every year some work of bis own. For the fetes given in celebration of the peace with Sweden, he produced Bellerefonte, and, in obedience to the desire of the Empress to have something in Russian, he set actively to work, in collaboration with Sumarkoff, who supplied the book, and was soon enabled to bring out Cephalus and Procris, with the principal national singers, Belgradiski, Gawrila, Marzenkowitz, and Giariluska, as its interpreters. After composing his last lyrical drama for the marriage of the Grand Duke, Peter Federowitz, he set out, loaded with roubles and honours, for Bologna. On entering his native town, he was accosted by two strangers, who, not being able to deprive him of his honours, hoped to rob him, at least, of his roubles. One of them, falling round his neck, said, u Ah! good day, Araja." The other employed the same tactics; and when the composer remarked, "I do not recollect you," they both replied, as if vexed, " Confound it, it appears that a residence in Russia cools the memory as well as the heart. We are Marctto and Palfieri." Araja fancying he was in the presence of old friends, offered them his hand with a smile. Hereupon the two confederates, easing him of the casket, which he was carrying carefully in his arms, fostered, as they went along, his mistake. On turning the corner of a very crowded street, Araja wns about to reply to those who had been speaking to him a few minutes previously, when he perceived they had taken to flight. He gave information of the robbery, for the casket contained a large sum, but he never succeeded in discovering the two thieves. Fortunately, some time afterwards, he received from Russia a sum equal to that of which he had been robbed.
The new theatre at Moscow held five thousand spectators. Ranpach, a German composer, had taken the place left vacant by Araja. The Grand-Duke, afterwards Czar, Peter Federowitz, who was passionately fond of music, contributed greatly to its advancement. He took his place among his performers as first violin.
One manager had just introduced to the public a new company of singers. He produced the first opera buffo, with immense success. Another company, which followed his, brought French
comic operas, also, into favour. A taste for music was penetrating more and more among the masses. The art soon acquired great popularity after the representation of Manfredini's Olympiade. Italian interludes, with Russian and French comedies, alternated with operas. Starger, of Vienna, conducted the concerts, at which the works of Holzabauer, Stagenseil, Banda, Gluck, Gasmann, &c. were performed. The first attempts of Pae'siello had created a sensation throughout Italy. Modena had summoned him to write La Madama mrwrisia, Demetrio, and Artascrse. Parma was indebted to him for Le Virtuose ridicole, II Negligente, and / Baqui di Abano. Venice had applauded II Ciarlone, L'Amore in Ballo, and La Pescatrice. Rome, then the dispenser of fame, had proclaimed his genius after the representation of 11 Marihese di Tulipano, the translation of which, twenty years afterwards, formed the beginning of the reputation acquired by Martin as a singer. Naples had just paid its homage to the Idolo Cinesc, plaved, by special favour, at the Court theatre, inside the palace itself. Le due Contesse and La Disfatta di Dario had given the finishing touch to the composer's brilliant reputation; and the time had come for Russia to secure him. Advantageous offers were made successively from Vienna, London, and St. Petersburg. Pae'siello accepted the offers from the last. He hud 9,000 rubles, which then represented the sum of about 30,000 francs. Never had an artist obtained such terms. During the eight years of his stay in Russia, he composed La Servu Padrona, II Matritnonio inespettato, II Barbiire di Siviglia, I Filosofi imaginari, La Finta amante, written expressly for the interview of Catherine with Joseph II., II Mondo delta Luna, La Ninetta, Lucinda ed Artemidoro, Alcide al Bivio, and Achille in Sciro, without counting cantatas for Prince Potemkin, farces for Prince Orloff, and pianoforte pieces for the Grand-Duchess Maria Federowna. At Warsaw ne composed his oratorio, Le Passione, on the poem of Metastasio, for King Poniatowski. Presents poured in on him from all sides.
From-1785 to 1801, Sarti was musical director at the Russian Court. One of his first works at St. Petersburg, was a psalm in the language of the country, in which he hit upon the ingenious notion of adding to the principal band a second band of Russian horns. Subsequently, he composed a Te Denm, on the capture of Ocsakow, introducing among the instruments those famous cannons which still exist, and endeavouring to give to the concerted pieces a character of savage grandeur. His Armide e liinaldo was enthusiastically received. Sarti considered himself secure from every attack. The great caressed him, and inferior persons never approached him but with the greatest respect. In this state of things he engaged a Portuguese lady for the part of Amida. Mad. Todi, for such was her name, met with so encouraging a reception, even on the night of her first appearance, that the Empress made her a present of a diamond necklace, aud an intimacy soon sprang up between the two. Mad. Todi, however, took advantage of her influence to injure the composer, to whom she owed her position. She spoke so strongly and so effectually against him, that the Empress dismissed him. Sarti complained to Potemkin, whom he had succeeded in securing as his patron. As a recompense for his reverse, Potemkin gave him a certain village in Ukraine, famous tor the number of its inhabitants with fine voices. In this village, Sarti laid the foundation of a school of singing, of which he wns appointed director, with the title of lieutenant-major in the Imperial army. Potemkin died in 1791. Sarti then returned to St. Petersburg, and justified his conduct to the Empress, who presented him with fifteen thousand roubles, as a recompense for an accusation which she owned was unmerited. She restored him to his position, with a large salary, and gave him apartments in her own palace. She charged him, moreover, with the task of establishing a Conservatory of Music, at Katarinaslow, on the model of the schools in Italy. When his pupils had made some progress, Catherine II. showed her gratitude for one who had endowed her country with such an institution by raising him to the first rank of nobility, and bestowing on him considerable estates.
Sarti invented an instrument capable of determining the number of vibrations produced by a sound in one second. His remarkable labours in acoustics procured his admission to the Academy of Science at St. Petersburg. According to Fctis, "this machine, founded upon an experiment previously made by Sauveur, consisted of two closed organ pipes, five feet long, one of which had a moveable plug, a monocord, and a second-pendulum. When, according to a graduated scale, the plug of the one pipe was driven in, so as to raise the intonation, a beat, resulting from the dissonance, and allowing the vibrations to be counted, was established between the two pipes. The monocord served to find the required intonation on the pipe and the moveable plug, and by the second-pendulum the time in which the vibrations were produced was known. It was by this process that the author succeed in discovering the number of 436 vibrations in the A of the diapason of the St. Petersburg orchestra.
In 1802, Haydn's Creation was performed at the St. Petersburg theatre. Mozart, Gretry, Beethoven, and Boieldieu obtained, respectively, their share of roubles and admiration.
We now enter upon the period of our contemporaries. As wc all know, the Emperor Nicholas made great sacrifices for musicians. He sent for singers from all points of the compass. On the evening of their first appearance the Emperor used familiarly to offer his hand to the artists behind the scenes. The nobility did not fail to follow their sovereign's example. As the Emperor gave largely, the nobility gave enormously. The most celebrated instrumentalists gain their reputation in Paris and London, but their fortune in Russia. Every one is acquainted with the story of the singer who was under the necessity of accepting a portrait of herself drawn by a boyard. The drawing was not worth a doit, the frame was a somewhat rude wooden one, and the glass was not free from blemishes, which disfigured it. But — at the back, to prevent the dust from getting under the glass, there were pasted two bank notes, each for a hundred thousand francs.
Thus we perceive that if Russia has not yet sent her composers into the lists to contend with those of other nations, she, at least, does what she can to encourage all persons of talent, without any false spirit of nationality. Music is her favourite source of enjoyment. She has her conservatories properly organised, her various theatres, her choruses, of irreproachable correctness, and splendid voices everywhere, just as Italy has; while, to continue the Impulse given by past ages, she sows a great deal of gold to reap a moderate harvest.
MADAME CLARA NOVELLO.
We all remember the political disturbances that convulsed Europe in 1848 ; we have all had more or less opportunity of personally observing how every class of society, from the crown to the foot — from kings and emperors and the Pope himself to lazzaroni and chartists — was affected by them. Art was not uninfluenced, nor those who minister to its progress, by these terrible social detractions, and Mad. Novello, like her co-labourer in the cause of beauty, Mad. Sontag, experienced (heir effects to such an extent as induced her to retrace her steps from the honoured retirement of the privacy in which she had been living to the equally honourable activity of her public career. She re-appeared in Italy, Germany, Spain, and England, renewing everywhere her former success, and refreshing the memory which had never faded of her former merit. Her powers were in every respect improved by the maturity which her few years of absence from her profession had wrought upon her physical and moral nature, and all Europe has acknowledged her voice to surpass every other in power, purity, and brightness.
Mad. Novello is now about to secede, for a second time, from the exercise of her artistic functions, and her retirement from the public will now be positively final, as the circumstances of the noble house of which marriage has made her a member, having withstood the shock of the most recent and greatest troubles in Italy, aro no longer dependent on tho vicissitudes of political fortune, and could even her affairs be again involved in the troubles of the time, she has bound herself under a heavy penalty never to sing again in public after her coming farewell.
Mad. Novello is best known in tho south of Europo as a dramatic singer,— best in tho north for her excellence in the concert-room,—best here, her native home, for her interpretation of tho works of tho great sacred masters j but, were it not for her all-surpassing reputation in this highest branch of her art, tho admiration she has won in England alone on the stage and in the concert room would be sufficient to prove her one of the most distinguished vocalists that have ever sung our language. The speciality of English vocal music consists in our ballads, which require certain peculiarities in the singer, and these of a refined,
poetical, and truly exalted character that have scarcely, if ever, been displayed hy foreigners; our English pride, then, in our English song, stress must not bo unmindful of her interpretation of such ditties as "John Anderson," "Auld Robin Gray," and " The beating of my own heart," which last she was tho first person who sung?
To give due resplendency to the setting of this sun of song, a part? comprising the most attractive and most various talent of tho day is engaged to accompany her on her farewell tour, and serve as clouds to catch and reflect the golden glory of her brightness. We are fortunately able to enumerate the purposed partners of her last adieu, and we cannot more appropriately nor more interestingly conclude this sccount of her career than by giving the names of those who are to share the lustre of its close.
The cloud of first importance may bo regarded as an electric cloud, in respect of its overpowering force, and of tho brilliancy and the rapidity which are equally associated with our ideas of it. Wo need bnt to name Herr Leopold do Meyer, the thunder-and-lightning characteristics of whose pianism have been proved and acknowledged throughout both hemispheres, to establish the verity of our metaphor. Albeit his thunder, though it astounds, never shocks us,—his lightning, though it dazzles, never consumes. An esteemed cotemporary,—whose fiat, whether it condemn an emperor, approve a prizefighter, oppose a ministry, or applaud a pianist, is revered as an oracle no less at the antipodes than hero,—has recently asserted the following judgment on this artist, "The instrumental selection comprised a grand jantasia for pianoforte alone, composed and performed by Herr Leopold do Meyer, pianist to the Emperor of Austria, and in his particular walk the most extraordinary'manipulator'now before the public. This gentleman combines a force and vigour of hand which few have equalled with a delicate lightness nf touch and liquid softness of tone that have never been surpassed. He brings these opposite qualities into play with marvellous address, blending or alternating them as tho humour seizes him, and with such consistency that while the ear is always satisfied tho taste is never offended. M. de Meyer's _/aaro*io-playinir, moreover—like his music - is quite as original as it is astonishing. He has a vein exclusively his own, and is indebted to no other source than that of his invention, whether for ideas or for the method of handling them. Making no pretence to be an exponent of what is c onventionally termed tho ' classical' school, he does not provoke criticism by an imperfect conception and execution of acknowledged masterpieces, no moves within tho sphere most congenial to his artistic nature, and he docs wisely, for in that sphere ho stands aloof from competition. It is not intended by this to insinuate that M. de Meyer would fail if he ventured on higher and more intellectual ground ; but at the same time, as sincere apprcciators of his really exceptional talent, we should counsel him to leave the 'great masters' (and especially the 'old masters') to themselves; for, in order to ride comfortably over their domain, he would have to invent a new and peculiar bridle to restrain his Pegasus within bounds." Herr Leopold dc Meyer has not played in the English provinces since 1845, and thus, since his reputation has been constantly on the increase, his novelty will be no less an attraction throughout the tour than his talent.
A rain cloud of acheqnercd April in respect of its tears interwoven with smiles, may be considered the favourite interpretress of gaiety and pathos, Miss Eyles, who, when Mad. Novello had stamped success upon "The beating of my own heart" as a soprano song, sang it a third lower, as a contralto, and was encored in it at every concert during a far-spread tour which lasted for ten weeks, and so universally proved her infallible power of pleasing the very various tastes that distinguish the different districts through which she passed.
We may regard as fleecy clouds the congregated members of the London Glee and Madrigal Union, each adding a share of besutyto the scene, and all combining in a general effect of harmonious softness; to wit, Miss J. Wells, a rising soprano, rising in esteem as much as in voice and in merit; Mr. Baxter, an alto, who docs all that can be done to render his happily rare register of voice effective ; Mr. W. Cummings, a tenor, who has been as successful in singing alone as in blending his voice with those of his companions; Mr. Lawler, a bass, whoso broad declamatory style and fine sonorous voice have been too often heard to advantage at tho concerts of our most important institutions to need any bush to recommend them; and Mr. Land, the organiser of the Union, who may therefore be regarded as the fatherland of the party — whose sweetness of voice and mildness of manner prove him to be a Land flowing with milk and honey,—whose proverbial punctuality makes every one rejoice when he is a Land of promise,—who, were there a peerage of pianoforte accompanists, might well be created a Land lord. —whose merits make those who engage him well off when they become Land owners,—whose certainty is such that he nullifies tho idea of the geological phenomenon of a Land slip,—who bears so urbanely the blame due to others, that he may bo not inaptly called a Land-scape of his friends,—whose cver-emiling aspect teaches us to regard him as a personification of the "Happy Land" celebrated in Dr. Rimbault's ballad,—and whom, having all those qualifications, wo nmy bo well satisfied to regard as onr own native Land,
It is high time, however, to descend from the clouds, and contemplate the stern reality of Mad. Novello's departure. The country folks will not entirely have the advantage of us Londoners in hearing the last of this favorite vocalist,- for it appears that tho swan song of her professional life will be uttered hero in town, or at furthest at Sydenham, which, as has been proved at the Handel festivals, is accessible to tens of thousands at a time who wish to hear her. Let us hope, too, that before her last adieu, the Sacred Harmonic Society may have the benefit of her singing, at least once, in Messiah, in Elijah, and in Mendelssohn's Hymn of Praise—the unique beauty of her voice is in no instance heard to such infinite advantage as in the brief solo that sublimely heralds the words and the musical subject of the groat chorus in this last-named work, " The night is departing," and it is only if we can preserve in our memory tho gleaming brightness with which she sings this phrase, that we shall be able to avoid supposing the watchman's warning is fulfilled in her retirement; "The morning will come, but the night will come also."
THE LATE MR. DRECHSLER.
(From tiie Edinburgh "Daily Courant," June 30.) The announcement of the death of this talented musician calls for more than an ordinary expression of regret, in which we shall have tho sympathy of many readers, to whom the event was equally sad and unexpected. During late years, partly from ill health, and partly from a retiring and sensitive disposition, which made him shrink from display, Mr. Drechsler seldom appeared in public, and we daresay many of the younger generation are ignorant of tho loss which Edinburgh and the musical world have to deplore. There must, however, be a large circle who retain the liveliest recollections of musical attainments, unfortunately too seldom exhibited, but which, once witnessed, could not be forgotten. We have been favoured with some particulars of Mr. Drcchslcr's early life, which we gladly incorporate with those that came within our own knowledge.
Louis Drechsler was a native of Dessau, where he received his chief musical education under Frederick Schneider. In the summer of 1841, when eighteen years of age, Drechsler came to Edinburgh with our townsman Mr. Adam Hamilton (his fellow-pupil under Schneider, and afterwards his brolher-in-law), and produced an immense sensation by his violoncello playing. In 1843 he went to London, and in 1845 to Paris, where he cultivated the acquaintance of Franchomme, with whom he became a great favourite. In 1846, while in London, Mr. Drechsler received a command to play at Buckingham Palace before Her Majesty, who, after the concert, conversed with him in his native tongue, and high'y complimented him on his performance. From this time he made frequent visits to London, France, and Germany, playing and singing with great success at Vienna, Dresden, Berlin, Munich, Paris, and his native town.
In 1848, with a view to perfect himself both as a singer and a teacher of singing, Mr. Drechsler commenced studying under the first masters of France and Italy, and lastly under Sig. Manuel Garcia in London, whose system of instruction he adopted. At the institution of the "Society of Musical Amateurs" in this city he was nominated to the office of conductor, at which he continued to labour with unwearied zeal, until the meetings of the Society were discontinued. We cannot refrain from mentioning, as a fact strongly illustrative of Mr. Drechsler's character, that he declined to receive any remuneration for his services, being ever willing to advance the cause of music, without regard to personal advantage, and conceiving that he would thereby preserve greater independence of position. Music was to him an art to be loved and cultivated for its own sake, not a trade at which to seek subsistence or aggrandisement As a violoncello player he was unsurpassed, at least as regards purity and sweetness of tone, combined with intense feeling, and an expression almost vocal Ho was scarcely less remarkable for his pianoforte playing. His power of extemporising both on the pianoforte and on the organ was such as to afford the greatest delight to the few who were fortunate enough to hear him, while his musical knowledge enabled him to read from score with facility. As a teacher of singing (to which he latterly devoted his time), Mr. Drechsler was able and conscientious, following the true Italian method of forming correct and pure tones before allowing the pnpil to attempt songs and mechanical difficulties. He was generous and charitable, in the most unostentatious way. Many young professionals, and even amateurs with musical aspirations, received gratuitous instruction and kind sympathy
from him, unknown to any besides. In this city of musical sets, and rival interests, it is not unlikely that some may think our notice too much based on the principle of nil de mortuis nisi bonum; to them we would say, perhaps you only knew the surface, perhaps we knew what was beneath. Although for some time past in failing health, Mr. Drechsler's immediate decease was unexpected. We trust wo aro not lifting too far the veil of private life, when we add, that his end was calm and peaceful, and that, although sudden, it was not too sudden for him who was taken away.
fetter to tty (Btixtax.
Sir,—The English press has rendered the Orpheonistes of Franco a signal service. Its co-operation in their pacific mission has been most sympathetic and unreserved. Thanks to its powerful influence, and especially to its oarly exercise, our purely artistic demonstration acquired a significance calculated to produce the happiest results on the friendly relations of the two peoples, and I am proud to take this opportunity of expressing, in the name of the Orpheonistes of France, our profound gratitude for its kind, its invaluable aid. Our deep sense of the obligations we are under for the sympathy which has greeted and encouraged us has, however, been subjected to a very trying ordeal, in consequence of the treatment which some of us have received at the hands of certain parties. I will confine my narrative to my own case, leaving the public to qualify the conduct of the two individuals of whom, I think, I have a right to complain.
I have, perhaps, no right to complain if the proprietor of tho El Dorado Booms, Leicester Square, compelled mo to pay for a repast for 1500 persons, at the rate of Is. 6d. a head, although only half that number partook of the very modest cheer provided for them. I made a bargain beforehand, and it turned out a very bad one for me. Upon the same principle, I presume, it would not be fair of me take exception to the yet dearer hospitality sold to the members of the French press by the proprietor of the Arundel Hotel, Arundel Street, Strand, and for whose entertainment I made myself responsible. It is true I agreed for fifteen persons, and only eleven came; that the price embraced board and lodging j and that the majority of tho party wore unable to take their meals at the hotel. The loss was mine; the gain was tho landlord's. I imagine he has far more reason to be satisfied than I am with tho result of our arrangement. Understand me, therefore, that I do not complain of having been kept to my bargain. But I do complain that these individuals took—as you shall judge—most unfair advantage of me, and did not treat me with that degree of consideration I had a right to expect in the difficult and delicate position in which I was placed.
Though an obscure individual, it was my great privilege, on tho occasion of the Orpheonist Festival, to represent some 200,000 of my countrymen associates in the great work of the Orpheon. Any engagements I made on their behalf were sacred. If I did not fulfil them to the hour some slight indulgence might have been extended to mo without any excessive stretch of generosity. It fell out that, owing to my presence being unexpectedly required elsewhere at the time I had appointed for the settlement of claims I had never disputed, suspicion took the place of confidence in the minds of the parties in question, who forthwith made me unpleasantly familiar with the sharpest of sharp practice under English law ; and this without any kind of warning. Not only was the debt thus considerably increased by heavy costs, but Mr. Williams, the proprietor of the Arundel Hotel, actually went the length of incarcerating me in a lock-up house on Saturday, although I had offered to discharge his claim at the very moment my personal liberty was placed under restraint. Surely, Sir, a few hours' delay in the payment of Mr. Williams's by no means moderate account did not merit the infliction of such an indignity. Mr. Williams's proceeding is the more ungracious, because he had not even furnished me with the particulars of his bill, and I am ignorant of them to this hour. I havo paid him, it is true, but under protest.
Happily, Sir, if on the one hand it has been my misfortune to fall in with one or two cases of this kind, it affords me sincere pleasure, on the other hand, to record that in most of the establishments in London, the Orpheonistes have been treated with true British frankness and fairness. Madame Granara, of the Hotel de l'Europe, has been especially conj siderate. Her house has been open to us at all hours, and was placed at our disposal from the first with the best grace and the greatest possible courtesy.
The press, generally, has shown ns so much kindness, that I feel I may confidently solicit the favour of your publishing this episode of our