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and Haydn—to say nothing of Dussek, a composer too often disregarded by superficial writers, in considering the history and progress of the art. But Beethoven came to the sonata with a world of new ideas; in his hands it was as fresh, and vigorous, and young, as when it first issued from the prolific brain of Haydn, who by right of this one invention enjoys the undisputed title of "Father of Instrumental Music."
The numberless and prodigious inspirations of Beethoven still filling the world with new delight and wonder, it was an impossible task for any instrumental writer immediately coming after him to take him as a model, without becoming his slavish imitator. This shows Mendelssohn and Spohr, the two original composers of instrumental music in our day, in a worthier light. What they accomplished, when it is considered how near they were to Beethoven, must be admitted to be extraordinary. In their symphonies, quartets, and other productions of the kind,* while adhering to tho plan of Haydn, which cannot be profitably neglected, they revealed new thoughts, new means of development, and entirely new styles. There is not a shadow of resemblance in the writing of either of them to those of Haydn, Mozart, or Beethoven. Spohr, the elder of tho two, may be said to have completely fulfilled his mission, while Mendelssohn, the younger, was unhappily cut off in his prime. Happily he lived t) complete the oratorio of Elijah, the greatest masterpiece of modern art. Wholly original as are the manners of these great men, they emulated their predecessors — Haydn, Mozart, and Beethoven, —in their reverent adherence to the one true form—that of The SoifsjA.
IN a general view of the history of the Opera, the central figures would be Gluck and Mozart. Before Gluck's time the operatic art was in its infancy, and since the death of Mozart no operas have been produced equal to that composer's masterpieces. Mozart must have commenced his Idomeneo, the first of his celebrated works, the very year that Gluck retired to Vienna, after giving to the Parisians his Iphigenie en Tauride; but though contemporaries in the strict sense of the word, Gluck and Mozart can scarcely be looked upon as belonging to the same musical epoch. The compositions of the former, however immortal, have at least anantiquecast; those of the latter have quite a modern air; and it must appear to the audiences of the present day that far more than twenty-three years separate Orfeo from Don Giovanni, though that is the precise interval that elapsed between the production of the opera by which Gluck, and of that by which Mozart, is best known in this country. Gluck, after a centuiy and a half of opera, so far surpassed all his predecessors that no work by a composer anterior to him is now ever performed. Lulli wrote an Armida, which was followed by Rameau's Armida, which was followed by Gluck's Armida; and Monteverde wrote an Orfeo a hundred and fifty years beforo Gluck produced the Orfeo which was played only the other night at the Royal Italian Opera. The Orfeo, then, of our existing operatic repertory takes us back through its subject to the earliest of regular Italian operas, and similarly Gluck, through his Armida, appears os the successor of Rameau* who was the successor of Lulli, who usually passes for tho founder of the opera in France—a country where it is particularly interesting to trace the progress of that entertainment, inas
* It is scarcely necessary to remind our readers that a symphony is a sonata for the orchestra—a quartet a sonata for four stringed instrument!, &c.
much as it can be observed at one establishment, which has existed continuously for two hundred years, and which, under the title of Academie Royale, Academic Nationale, and Academie lmpcriale (it has now gone by each of these names twice), has witnessed the production of more operatic masterpieces than any other theatre in any city in the world. To convince the reader of the truth of this latter assertion we need only remind him of the works written for the Academie Royale by Gluck and Piccinni (or Piccini) immediately before the Revolution, and of tho Masaniello of Auber, the William Tell of Rossini, and the Robert the Devil of Meyerbeer, given for tho first time at the said Academie within sixteen years of the termination of the Napoleonic wars. Neither Naples, nor Milan, nor Prague, nor Vienna, nor Munich, nor Dresden, nor Berlin, has individually seen the birth of so many great operatic works by different masters, though, of course, if judged by the number of great composers to whom they have given birth both Germany and Italy must bo ranked infinitely higher than France. Indeed, if wo compare France with our own country, we find, it is true, that an opera in the national language was established earlier, and an Italian Opera much earlier there than here ; but, on the other hand, the French, until Gluck's time, had never any composers, native or adopted, at all comparable to our Purcell, who produced his King Arthur as far back as 1691.
Lulli is generally said to have introduced opera into France, and, indeed, is represented in a picture, well known to opera-goers, receiving a privilege from the hands of Louis XIV. as a reward and encouragement for his services in that respect. This privilege, however, was neither deserved nor obtained in the manner supposed. Cardinal Mazarin introduced Italian Opera into Paris in 1645, when Lulli was only twelve years of age; and the first French opera, entitled Akebar, Roi de Mogol, words and music by the Abbe Mailly, was brought out tho year following in the Episcopal Palace of Carpentras, under the direction of Cardinal Bichi, Urban the Eighth's legate. Clement VII. had already appeared as a librettist, and it is said that Urban VIII. himself recommended the importation of the opera into France; so that the real father of the lyric stage in that country was certainly not a scullion but in all probability a Pope.
The second French opera was La Pastorale en musigue, words by Pcrrin, music by Cambert, which was privately represented at Issy ; and the third Pomone, also by Perrin and Cambert, which was publicly performed in Paris. Pomone was the first Freneh opera heard by the Parisian public, and it was to Perrin its author, and not to Lulli, that the patent of the Royal Academy of Music was granted. A privilege for establishing an Academy of Music had been conceded a hundred years beforo by Charles tho Ninth, to Antoine de Baif, — the word "Academie" being used as an equivalent for "Accademia," the Italian for concert. Perrin's license appears to have been a renewal, as to form, of de Baifs, and thus originated the eminently absurd title which the chief operatic theatre of Paris has retained ever since. The Academy of Music is of course an academy in the sense in which the Theatre Francais is a collego of declamation, and the Palais Royal Theatre a school of morality; but no one need seek to justify its titlo because it is known to owe its existence to a confusion of terms.
Six French operas, complete and in five acts, had been performed before Lulli, supported by Mad. do Montespan, succeeded in depriving Perrin of his "privilege," and securing it for himself—at the very moment when Perrin and Cumbert were about to bring out their Ariane, of •which the representation was stopped. The success of Lulli's intrigue drove Cambert to London, where he was received with much favor by Charles II., and appointed director of tho] court music, au office which he retained until his death.
Lulli had previously composed music for ballets, and for the songs and interludes of Moliere's comedies, but his first regular opera, produced in conjunction with Quinault— being the seventh produced on the French stage, was Cadmus and Hermione (1673).
The life of the fortunate, unscrupulous, but really talented scullion, to whom is falsely attributed the honour of having founded the opera in France, has often been narrated, and for the most part very inaccurately. Every one knows that ho arrived from Italy to enter the service of Mad. de Montpcnsier; some are aware of the offence for which he was degraded by that lady to the post of scullion, and which we can no more mention than wo can publish the original of the needlessly elaborate reply attributed to Cambronne at Waterloo*; and a few may have read that it was only through the influence of Mad. de Montespan that he was saved from a shameful and horrible death on the Place de Greve, where Lulli's accomplice was actually burned, and his ashes thrown to the winds. Tho story of Lulli's obtaining letters of nobility through the excellence of his buffoonery in the part of the Muphti in the "Bourgeois Gentilhomtne, has often been told. This was in 1670, but once a noble, and director of tho Royal Academy of Music, he showed but little disposition to contribute to the diversion of others, oven by the exercise of his legitimate art. Not only did he refuse to play the violin, but he would not even have one in his house. To evercome Lulli's repugnance in this respect, Marshal de Gramonthit upon a very ingenious plan. He used to make one of his servants play the violin in Lulli's presence, upon which the highly susceptible musician would snatch tho instrument from the varlet's hands, and restore the murdered melody to life and beauty. Then excited by the pleasure of producing music, he forgot all around him, and continued to play to the delight of the marshal.
Lulli must have had sad trouble with his orchestra, for in his time a violinist was looked upon as merely an adjunct to a dancing-master. There was a King of the Fiddles, without whose permission no catgut could bo scraped; but in selling his licenses to dancing-masters and the musicians of ball-rooms, tho ruler of the bows does not appear to have required any proof of capacity from the purchasers. Even the simple expedient of shifting was unknown to Lulli's violinists, and for years after his death to reach the C above the lino was a notable feat. Tho pit quite understood the difficulty, and when tho dreaded demanchcrncnt had to be accomplished, would indulge in sarcastic shouts of "(/are I'nt I gare I'ut!"
Strange talcs are told of tho members of Lulli's company. Dumenil, the tenor, used to steal jewellory from the soprano and contralto of the troop, and to get intoxicated with the baritone. This eccentric virtuoso is said to have drunk six bottles of champagne every night he performed, and to have improved gradually until about the fifth. Dumenil, after one of his voyages to England, which he visited several times, lost his voice. Then, seeing no reason why
* Cambronno is said to have been very much annoyed at the invention of " La gi\rde mcurt et nc so rend pas ;" and with reason,) for ,hc didn't die, and he did surrender.
he should moderate his intemperance at all, he gave himself up unrestrainedly to drinking and died.
Mile. Desmatins, the original representative of Armide, was chiefly celebrated for her love of good living, her corpulence, and her bad grammar. She it was who wrote the celebrated letter communicating to a friend the death of her child, "Notre anfan ai maure, vien de boneure, le mien ai de te voire." Mile. Desmatins took so much pleasure in representing royal personages that she assumed the (theatrical) costume and demeanour of a queeu in her own household; sat on a throne and made her attendants serve her on their knees. Another vocalist, Marthe Le Zochois, accused of grave flirtation with a bassoon, justified herself by showing a promise of marriage which the gallant instrumentalist had written on the back of an ace of spades.
The opera singers of this period were not particularly well paid, and history relates that Miles. Aubry and Verdier, being engaged for the same line of business, had to live in the same room, and sleep in the bed.
Marthe Le Zochois was fond of giving advice to her companions. "Inspire yourself with the situation," she said to Desmatins, who had to represent Medea abandoned by Jason; "fancy yourself in the poor woman's place. If you were deserted by a lover whom you adored," added Marthe, thinking, no doubt, of the bassoon, what should you do?"
"I should look out for another,'' replied the ingenuous girl.
Butbyfarthemost distinguished operatic actress of thisperiod was Mile, de Maupin,now better known througliTh^ophile Gauthier's scandalous but brilliant and vigorously written romance, than by her actual adventures and exploits, which, however, were sufficiently remarkable. Mile, de Maupin was in many respects the Lola Montes of her day, but with more beauty, more talent, more power, and more daring. When she appeared as Minerva in Lulli's Cadmus, and, taking off her helmet to the public, showed her lovely light-brown hair, which hung in luxuriant tresses over her shoulders, the audience were in ecstacies of delight. With less talent, and less powers of fascination, she would infallibly have been executed for tho numerous fatal duels in which she took part, and might even have been burnt alive for invading the sanctity of a convent at Avignon, to say nothing of her attempt to set fire to it. Perhaps it would be more correct to say that Lola Montes was the Mile. Maupin of her day; a Maupin of constitutional monarchy, and of a century which is moderate in its passions and its vices as in other things.
But what has Mile, de Maupin to do with tho 8th of September 1860? Merely this, that thinking of the Royal English Opera which is to open in October, our ideas reverted to the Royal Italian Opera which closed in August.
One of the most interestin.,' and ono of the latest works represented at the Royal Italian Opera was Gluck's Orfeo, and tho reader has already seen how tho Orfeo of Gluck takes us back to Rameau, Lulli, and the earliest days of the musical drama. We might have given this explanation beforehand. Perhaps the reader will be kind enough to accept it now?
Her Majesty's Theatre.—The English operatic performances at this establishment commence on the 8th of October with Mr. Macfarren's 1,'obin Hood — according to all accounts a masterpiece. It is now positively decided that on, the alternate nights (up to Christmas) Italian operas will be presented, Mile. Titiens (already in London) prima donna, Signor Giuglini primo tenore.
MORE 'APROPOS OF THE NORWICH FESTIVAL.
The Last Judgment.
Die Letzien Dinge (The Laxt Things), the earliest of Spohr's threo oratorios, was composed about tlio year 1825. It was first produced before an English audience at the Norwich Musical Festival, on Friday, the 24th of September, 1830, under the title of The Last Judgment, and received with the greatest possible favour. Professor Taylor, in his preface to the English edition of Spohr's second oratorio, Calvary, says : —
"I know there arc many persons who will regard the subject of this oratorio as an improper exercise for the musician's art. With every respect for an opinion conscientiously adopted and avowed, I venture to dissent from it. The arts have been tributary to the service of religion in all ages of the Jewish and Christian churches j and of these, none is more calculated to enkindle the flame of devotion, to elevate the spirit, or to touch the heart, than Music. Our immortal bard invoked the ' mixed power' of 'voice and verse,' in order to 'present to our high-raised phantasy
* 'That undisturbed long of pure concent.
Aye sung before the sapphire-coloured throne
To Him that sits thereon,
, With saintly shout and solemn jubilee.'
u If there he truth as well as poetry in this sentiment, then are the musician and the poet deserving of honour in proportion as they labour to accomplish the high and holy purposo to which it points; in proportion as they succeed in carrying the mind out of the walks of every-dny life, in order to raise it into a purer element, and breathe into it a profounder and more pious emotion.
*' There are minds over which no combination of sounds united to kindred words has the power to exercise any influence; but I think it impossible for any who aro capable of being thus moved, to hear such a composition as the present without responding to that powerful appeal which it makes, not to the senses only, but through them to the heart. The truly devotional spirit, the really grateful heart, loves to dedicate those gifts, with which its Maker has especially endowed it, to His glory. The impulse of one is to rear to His honour the stately temple ; the inward prompting of another* bids him dedicate to Hts praise tho boldest flights of poetic inspiration ; whilst a third aspires to * celebrate In glorious and lofty hymns the throne, and equipage of God's nlmightiness; what He works, and what He suffers to be wrought, with high providence in His church ; to sing victorious agonies of martyrs and saints, and the deeds and triumphs of His servants.' The last is the end here proposed. I have only to hope that its purpose will be aecom • plished, and that while it affords to the musician the conviction that the springs of his heart are perpetually gushing out afresh, and its waters ever flowing, it will servo the purpose for which it was especially designed, by awakening the devotion and cherishing the hopes of the Christian."
The May Queen.
This pastoral was produced with complete and unqualified success at the Leeds Musical Festival in September, 1838. The overture is a very beautiful composition, and this charming work displays a marvellous combination of simplicity and ingenuity. The persons represented are the Queen of England, the May Queen and her lover, and a nobleman disguised as Robin Hood. The story is simple enough. The Queen of the May, elated with her May-day dignity, teazes her faithful swain by her indifi'erence, and by her semi-encouragement of the advances of the Greenwood King. An attempted kiss on the part of the latter arouses very naturally the ire of the true lover, who proceeds to a pugilistic punishment of the oirender. A flourish of trumpets, and the Queen appears amid "pageant music." She soon arrives at the true state of matters, reproves the interloper for trifling with the affections of the May Queen, and commands the latter to wed her lover at morn The chorus is very happily introduced — first singing in praise of May, then in praise of the May Queen, afterwards in the pageant music, and finally in the concluding piece — "A blessing on the bridal — a blessing on the Queen. The first two of these are the most striking. "Wake .with a' smile" is a most exquisite piece of modern music, in the truly rural style; ',and the preservation of the tonic pedal through the harmonious device and melodic abundance is highly clever. The May-pole chorus, "With a laugh as we go round," is well constructed, and is plentifully tuneful; it is immediately followed ~by a solo from the May Queen, the chorus resuming their burden,
"Was never such a May-day," at the close of each verse. Each of the persons represented has a solo except the Queen. The lover (a tenor, of course) leads with a languishing and desponding air, "Oh 1 meadow clad in early green;" and subsequently Robin Hood has a very spirited song, "'Tis jolly to hunt in the bright moonlight;" a duet for the May Queen and her lover, "Can I not find thee a warrant for changing?" and a trio for the same persons and Robin Hood, "The hawthorn in the glade," are exceedingly beautiful. A most charming simplicity pervades every morqeau referred to, and at the same time, as before hinted, there is no lack of novelty in harmony, or ingenuity in construction. The thoroughly dramatic character of the pastoral is also deserving of especial notice. Tho dialogue is made to lead immediately into each set piece, so that the action, slight as it is, is never impeded, and interest is kept thoroughly alive. The credit of this is due to Mr. Chorley, who composed the poem. The parts will be distributed:—Tlie May Queen, Mad. Clara Novello; Queen, Miss Palmer; Lover, Mr. Sims Reeves; Robin Hood, Mr. Weiss; and no doubt will be admirably sustained.
Norwich Festival Chakities.—As a kind of appendix to the sketch of performers and performances at the festiv al, we find an account of the sums of money given by the festival committee to the following charities :—Norfolk and 'Norwich Hospital, the West Norfolk and Lynn Hospital, the Yarmouth Dispensary, the Eye Infirmary, the Blind Hospital, the Sick Poor Society, Lying-in Charity, District Visiting Society, Shipwrecked Mariner's Association, and the Jenny Lind Infirmary. The total sum received and paid over to the respective institutions is £8,270. 2s. 9d., of which i.5,568. Is. 9d. has been paid to the Norfolk and Norwich Hospital. What would have been the result had these been annual concerts, got up by private individuals, long ago urged as a substitute, may easily be imagined. The public will see from the above that a very substantial portion of the price charged for admission has found its way into the hands of the local treasurers of our benevolent societies, and thus music has lent a very effective helping hund to charity.
NEW THEATRE AT LEEDS. [we have been requested to publish the following prospectus. En.] The legitimate entertainments of the stage are recognised as an indispensable means of conveying instruction and amusement of the highest clasB, in every part of Europe where civilisation and refined tastes prevail.
In this country theatres are found in most large towns, but all experience has proved that their success depends upon respectable management, able und efficient acting, and the proper adaptation of tho buildings in which tho performances take place.
On the other hand, wherever theatres are not so managed, and are not conducted in well-selected localities, with all the means and adaptations required for displaying the beauties and powers of our best dramatic and lyric authors, experience has proved that amusements of this nature will nevertheless abound in spite of every discouragoment; hut that under such circumstances they greatly degenerate, arc found in obscure localities, are marked by a vitiated and impuro taste, and therefore cannot conduce to the successful representations of those sublime inspirations which have immortalised their authors, and which are calculated to cultivate not only a refined taste, but an elevated tone of moral sentiment.
The town of Leeds is at this moment without a theatre possessed of those agencies nnd attractions which command success.
It is^undcr the influenco of feelings of this nature that a number of influential gentlemen in Leeds have met and aro co-operating together to elovato the town in this respect to a position equal to other largo towns Jin England, by erecting a Theatre in some appropriate and ccntralji locality, capable of giving accommodation of the highest class, both to the performers and the audience.
They feel fully convinced that if such an institution were once established, it would receive such support as would enable tho management to organise and sustain a highly efficient permanent company, and to obtain frequent assistance from actors and artists of the first reputation.
In the assurance that these results will follow from a careful and iudicious selection of a site, and the erection of a new Theatre, combining all tho improvements of tho day, a committee has been appointed who have by careful inquiries and estimates satisfied themselves that such a building, with all requisite fittings, scenery, and decorations, may be provided at a cost of, at the utmost, £15,000, which sum it is proposed to raise in shares of £10 each. When the requisite amount shall have been subscribed, a meeting of the subscribers will be called with the object of making such arrangements as may be best adapted to carry the project into execution, having regard to the interests both of the public and of the shareholders.
In order to meet the general objection to joint stock companies, it is intended that the buildings and other property shall be vested by deed in trustees to be elected by the shareholders upon the same principle as the Exchange and other public buildings in Leeds. This will be a complete guarantee to the shareholders not only against any further liability or responsibility beyond the amount of their respective shares, but for the proper management and conduct of the theatre, as it is intended that the trustees thus selected shall have the sole power of selecting the manager and granting leases upon such conditions as they may think proper and advisable.
Already many gentlemen (including some of the principal inhabitants of this neighbourhood) have subscribed towards the undertaking, and thus upwards of £3500 have already been assured. It is, therefore, clear that a vigorous effort at the present moment will secure the success of the project, and will at once supply this important desideratum, and add another to those numerous public buildings which adorn our native town.
The committee therefore appeal for support to the well-tried public spirit of Leeds in the full assurance that the appeal will not be made in vain.
P. Fairbaibn, Chairman of tho Committee.
■' ''■ •' r t
Jfomgrc. ■ . • . ..>.
Baden-baden/— At Baden-Baden the performances are on a grand scale. M. Bcnazet spares no money to make his Festival attractive: and gives carta blanche to M. Berlioz ibr rehearsals; anil with such singers as Mdmes. Viardotand Miolan-Carvalho, and M. Roger, and such players as MM. Vieuxtenips and Jacquard, the result could hardly fail to be what it was, one of the most superb and interesting concerts of which we have recollection. We must speak first of the music. The first overture to Les Francs-Juges, by M. Berlioz, was new to us,— one of its writer's best works, since the melodic phrases therein are longer, and in theuj treatment are less traversed and obliterated by extraneous embroideries, than is the case with much other music from the same pen. Were this overture revised, it might be made one to rank amongst the highest works of its kind. The instrumentation is ingenious and splendid. The chorus—rSylph Dance and Dream from Faust—we have long rated to be one of the happiest inspirations of M. Berlioz: the melody is charming, and but for a bizarre outbreak towards the close, the conduct of the movement, however intricate and rich in detail, is clear; as also the Dance in accelerated tempo, which follows the chorus—so deliciously instrumented. It should be a grave lesson to all lovers of art, that one whose aspirations are obviously so noble, and whose talent has one phase so original as M. Berlioz, should, till now, have been able to reap so limited a success, and that dependent on such exceptional resources as a M. Benazet—or other despot emperor—can alone furnish. lie might have been "the musician of the future,"— as it is, we can hardly fancy his music surviving when his own energy and resolution, and the prestige which a man of intellect must always command, shall have passed away. At this remarkable concert Mad. Viardot took the crowded audience by storm in her great scenes from Orphee, executing them with incomparable expression and brilliancy. This superb music, we repeat, is as yet unheard in London: and that such an artist, in her prime, whose performance of the character is one of the most notable things of our musical century, should have been overlooked for one so unequal to the task as Mad. Czillag must be signalised as a selfinjurious piece of managerial perversity; as though the Object had been to deny Gluck a chance of entrance within our borders. Mad. Miolan-Carvalho was encored in a re-arrangement, by M. Gounod, of Bach s first Prelude, to which a vocal and an orchestral part have been added. M. Vieuxtemps is playing as splendidly as ever, but his concerto-music is intensely tiresome; shallow,
pompous, and perpetually balking expectation; music to which every remark made on M. LitolfFs compositions applies with extra' force. The chorus was excellent; the soprano voices singularly sweet and fresh. On the whole, we never attended a more interesting concert.
Wiesbaden.—This is the time of show-concerts at the German baths, somewhat presumptuously called "Festivals"—in reality, so many speculations of those who undertake to provide for the diversion of the guests, and who cater " stars" of first, second, or third magnitude, affording them such opportunities of shining as they find too rarely. Thus, at Wiesbaden the other day, a LitohT Festival gave us a fair chance of appreciating the talent of a composer who has in some measure been successful of late years in Germany, and who has received much praise from the pens of critics whose praise carries with it authority. Three movements of one pianoforte concerto, two movements of another, two movements of a violin concerto, an overture for full orchestra, and a liberal operatic- selection, arc sufficient to justify persons habituated to listen in forming some notion of what the average powers of their composer may be. After the elaborate panegyrics of which M. Litolff and his music have been the theme, the statement of such impressions as must be here offered will seem harsh, grudging, unsympathetic. But, to our thinking, he does not fill a place or a corner of his own in the world of living composers. So much as belongs to a group—call it not a school—of writers whose ambitions are very large, who have no perverse desire to be iconoclastic or irregular, but whose works, though carefully made, fall to the ground because of their ample platitude, and because their enterprise, when looked into, proves only seeming. There is no need for the moment to name those who may thus be grouped with M. Litolff" as a composer. In the allegro of the first concertosymphonique performed by him at Wiesbaden, there are so many surprises, stoppings short, languid episodes, under a false idea of expression, as entirely to destroy the character of an allegro movement, and to throw out the average listener, who desires form, be it ever so freely dressed and disguised. Some invention is to be recognised in the florid passages for the pianoforte. The orchestra is well treated; but the perpetual notion of brewing a crescendo seems to have been present to the writer, and somehow the brewagc, perpetually interrupted, becomes inevitably vapid. The second movement of this concerto, an andante religioso, is in every respect better,— an excellent andante for a modern concerto, with a melody free and flowing, if not very new,—a rich instrumentation, and a gracefully effective employment of the principal player. In the scherzo (quart, last movement ?) a pretty eightbar phrase is hunted to death,—occurring as it does some thirty times, in all manner of keys. "Whipped to death" might have been said, since among other piquancies of orchestration, the use of the violins (if our ears told right) gave reviving sprightliness to what would else have been stale and threadbare. There may possibly be a finale to this curiously elaborate composition. As a player, Ilerr Litolff has neither advanced nor receded from the position taken by him years ago, when he was in London together with Dr. Liszt. There is dash,— there is volubility, — there is an apparent determination to stoira Olympus (only the achievement is not done), — there is little charm. Meritorious, ponderous, not to be sat through a second time, — such, in brief, are our impressions of Herr LitolfTs music. To attempt to analyse, even so slightly as has been done, his own other morceaux of his programme would tempt us into tautology. There are happy effects here and there, — there is considerable cleverness, — there is a discouraging absence of idea, — there is a false notion predominant of grandeur and interest being secured by parenthesis, not continuity. A word or two more have to be said concerning this Wiesbaden Concert. The violin concerto was entrusted to a young boy (named Auer), who is a capital boy, handling his instrument without hesitation, strictly in tune, and showing that instinct for measurement of tempo which nothing can teach or regulate, but which is one of the signs of a grand and noble artist to come. Herr Formes sang the very aria from Die Zauberflbte in which he grasped as a new comer his English public; but his voice is "over and gone," — method he never possessed, — what remains being a striking presence and imposing manner. Endowments so superb as his, with passing flashes of
instinct for what is high, and true, and liberal, and poetical, have never in our experience been so mercilessly flung to the winds by their possessor as in his case. Grander natural means were rarely given to man; in saying this we only except Lablache.—(Foreign Correspondence of the "Athemeum.")
A Musical Elench.—The German admirers of Herr Wagner are considerably puzzled just now to know what to do about the consistency of the author of Oper und Drama, — the man who denounced all concession as so much claptrap, and everything that pleased the ear as blasphemy against the holiness of Art,—having^ heard that, in order to adapt his work to the Grand Opera of Paris, Herr Wagner has consented to the interpolation of a ballet, for which he has written the music. Why will those who create lay down principles in their prefaces, and recommend their noble selves by abusing their predecessors and contemporaries? When was there ever a more specious and] convincing document than Gl uck's preface to Alceste, in which repetition was denounced as among other meretricious arts to please the public at the expense of truth. Yet in this very Alceste there are as many examples of da capo quite as superfluous, save to shgw the singer per se, as in the operas by Hasse, Lampugnani, and other of the light and gay Italians whom Gluck professed to mow down. Thus, after Herr Wagner's Spartan and self-asserting diatribe, this quiet acquiescence in attempting to popularise a composition which might else offer too little to satisfy the sprightly and dance-loving public of Paris is indeed instructive, by way of warning to all theoryspinners, self-praisers and haranguers, if the rumour be correct. As historians bit by bit of the smartest controversy which has occurred in music since that betwixt Gluck and Piccini, we cannot overlook the rumour, nor the chagrin which it has caused among the sincere disciples of a prophet who is supposed to be yielding to " French influence."
St. James's Theatre.—The "summer" performances at the most western of theatres takes this week a tragic direction, in consequence of the engagement of Mr. Barry Sullivan, who has just returned from America. As on the occasion when some years ago he made his first appearance before the London public, he has chosen Hamlet for the inauguration of his career. All the qualities that have rendered his memory estimable in the minds of playgoers he retains to their full extent. He is a careful, correct, and perspicuous declaimer, turning to good account his natural advantages of voice and figure, and ho is, moreover, thoroughly versed in the routine of the part, which he has evidently studied with laudable assiduity. Though he makes no particular attempt to startle his audience, he is neither tame nor listless, and all that he does is well considered and quite to the purpose. A numerous audience witnessed his performance of Hamlet, and greeted him with a hearty welcome.
Astley's Amphitheatre.—Under the management of Mr. Batty the old equestrian theatre promises to recover its ancient popularity. Mazeppa, always attractive from time immemorial, has been revived with new scenery and appointments, and draws audiences numerous far above the average. The scenes in the circle are all of them first-rate in their kind, Mademoiselle de Berg, the chief female equestrian, being at once remarkable for her gracefulness and courage. An entirely novel feat performed by this lady is a leap through a mail coach, which occupies the place usually assigned to hoops and banners. Of course, the coach is constructed of paper, but, although its material is frail, it has the three measures proper to solidity, and the sight of it is sufficient to baulk any but the most daring artist. Generally a spirit of thorough renovation pervades Mr. Batty's management. A9tley's is so essentially a theatre of old associations that a lessee may easily bo tempted to let it rest on its traditional fume alone, without essaying to provide it with the attractions familiar at other establishments. But Mr. Batty still adheres to the principle by which he was regulated when, previous to his opening last Easter, he had the house freshly decorated in every part. His dramas are admirably put upon the stage; the personages in the ring, whether equestrian or grotesque, are all costumed in tasteful fashion, and on each succeeding night look as smart as though it was the first occasion of their appearance. Altogether there is not a cleaner, brighter, and more commodious house in London than the timehonoured edifice at the foot of Westminster Bridge. fi
$«tter its % Gfcitor.
MUSIC FOR THE AUTUMN ANTVWTNTEB.
Sir,—Everybody is delighted with the Floral Hall Concerts. They have come at a most acceptable time, aro given in a building admirably adapted for the purpose, and Mr. Alfred Mellon has exactly hit upon the kind of musical entertainment, calculated now-a-day to satisfy all. Mozart and Haydn, and Beothovon, Mendelssohn, and Rossini may safely be given as the staple of the feast, provided a fair proportion of the pieces be vocal. The next six months will be the opera season of the class who frequent promenade concerts ; — a very large proportion of the music-loving public, who either cannot afford the expensive enjoyment of Italian opera, or who will support the English from a desire to see the noble art advance amongst their countrymen. Should, not the success at the popular concerts of the music of the great masters suggest the desirability of substituting a performance occasionally of the operas of Mozart, Rossini, &c, in English in place of the interminable repetition of the native ones, which, excellent as one or two are, cannot be listened to for the 115th, 116th, and 117th times without tiring? If onr bost English singers bo employed, we can do without one Italian Opera and have a genuine National one instead. A great Italian company was named for Her Majesty's Theatre for last season—let me give not a bad English one for the noxt: to wit—Miss Louisa Pyne, Miss Parepa, and Miss A. Whitty, Mrs. Baxter and Miss Billing, Mr. Sims Reeves, Mr. Swift, and Mr. Wilbye Cooper, Mr. Santley and Mr. Weiss.
Bogging that you and Mr. E. T. Smith will take these matters into serious consideration, I subscribe myself,
Tour obedient servant,
A Voice From The Promenade.
Floral Hall, Tuesday Evening.
THE YORK ORGAN. [the following, which appeared in a musical journal upwards of twenty years ago, will be read with interest by such of our subscribers as sedulously trensurc up all that relates to the history and progress of organ building in this country. Dr. Monk himself, the present able and conscientious director of musical affairs in York Minster, may probably derive some slight gratification from its perusal. Ed.]
Hill And Othebs, r. The Dean And Chapter Op York. The written and oft-repeated testimony of the York organist, in favour of the new, instrument, closed our first notice of this trial.
The plaintiffs called Sir Robert Smirke, Mr. Gauntlett, Mr. Lincoln, and a numerous band of agents and workmen. Sir Robert Smirke, it appeared, was engaged by the Dean and Chapter to superintend the restoration of the Minster, and in that situation forwarded a plan to the plaintiffs in which was delineated the position and disposition of the organ between the double screen walls of the choir and the side aisles. Subsequently he received orders to draw out a second plan, which totally differed from his former draft: he delivered this to the plaintiffs in .Tune 1831, about fifteen months after the plaintiffs had been supplied with the other. The organ was built according to the second plan. The plaintiffs' workmen proved that during the whole of these fifteen months the work was proceeded with, and that by this alteration alone nearly the whole of the labour and material had been rendered useless. The expense was estimated at £1500 or £1600. Dr. Cockburn, the dean, is described to have been very troublesome, and the vagaries he indulged respecting the situation of the organ with the arch under it, the heights of the swell-box, the position of the 32-feet pipes, caused great additional labour and loss of time. Neither was he inclined to listen to the suggestions of Dr. Camidgc, of whom he said "the doctor fancies my cathedral to be a case for his organ." The expense of the organ was sworn to be about £6000, of which more than £2000 was incurred by alterations and delays, caused by the parties connected with the cathedral.
Mr. H. C. Lincoln, organ builder to His Majesty, proved he had carefully gone over the instrument, which was described as "a monster organ." In his opinion the machinery and construe