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—says M. Fe"tis—" Satanella, a romantic opera in three acts, obtained a brilliant success, and is regarded in England as the composer's best work."
The early career of Balph in Italy, whether as singer or composer, would appear, according to M. Fetis, to have been in no respect luckier than his career at home and across the Manche. Three Italian operas, given successfully at Palermo, Florence, and Milan, in the last of which, Enrico IV., Mile. Roser (afterwards Mad. Balfe) appeared, must have been heard, if we read aright, with indifference. Enrico IV. was condemned for the "numberless reminiscences " remarked by the public. As a singer Balph was especially unfortunate, his debut (as Signor Balti) at the Italian Opera in Paris (1825) being a failure, in consequence of a barytone voice "mat timbre'e," inexperience of the stage, and his association with "excellent singers" in the same opera (// Barbiere); nor does ho ever seem to have redeemed this mishap. Enfin he was fairly driven out of Italy. "At the Fenice ( Venice), Balph had the unhappy idea of mutilating the Crociato of Meyerbeer, by introducing pieces of his own composition, and others of Rossini and Donizetti." (Wo should have termed this amplifying), "The indignation of Italy against this act of barbarism obliged Balph to quit the country."
To which (if true) Mr. Bunn (and the English public) are indebted for The Siege of Rochelle, and a long list of operas, almost every one of which, in spite of M. Fetis, were successful and deservedly successful. We had always looked upon Balfe as one of the luckiest of composers, and contemplated his career as one of uninterrupted sunshine and prosperity. But M. F6tis has opened our eyes to the truth. There was never at any period so 2<«lucky a composer, or one whoso successive efforts have been received so coldly and rewarded so miserably. Poor Balfe—or "Balph!"
To end with the beginning. M. Fetis informs us that Balph's first instructors were his father and Horn*; whereas all the world (except M. Fetis) knows that Bandmaster Meadows taught him the rudiments of music, and then placed him under Hicky (or Hickie) of Wexford. True Balph was subsequently articled to Horn for seven years, and ultimately studied with O'Rourke (Rooke), of whose best opera, Amilie, M. Fetis makes him out the composer. And all these blunders in a book of reference! Have we been reading a suppositious Biographie ?—a Fetisius Hypobolimants? In that case we must proffer the foregoing remarks as our Confutatio Fabula Burdonum. Truly M. Fetis would be a wonderful bibliograph, if (as some one wrote, with less justice, of Joseph Scaliger) "U avoil Pesprit autant pose comme il Va bizarre." To conclude, every English amateur will protest against the article "Balfe," or "Balph," in the Biographie Universelle des Musiciens, as a tissue of misrepresentations in the form of a libel.
PETIPACE OF WlNCIIELSEA.
SOME weeks since we protested against an injustice done to the memory of Hoffmann, whose music is generally ridiculed, in the words of a celebrated French critic, as de la musique de litterateur; the fact being that Hoffmann was a professional musician, orchestral conductor, and composer before he wrote any of those tales by which he is now chiefly and indeed almost exclusively known. However, we have shown our readers an article by Weber in which
* Composer of "Cherry ripe," &c
the composer of Der Freischiitz expresses with enthusiasm his approbation of Hoffmann's Undine, and if it delighted him, surely it cannot mutter much, as far as Hoffmann's reputation is concerned, who is dissatisfied with it. There is another writer, greater than Hoffmann, whose musical pretensions are never questioned in the present day, thou»h numbers of his contemporaries refused to admit them, not on the ground that the music he gave to the public was worthless, but on the very simple plea that it was the composition of another person. We allude to Jean Jacques Rousseau, the author and accredited composer of Le Devin du Village; the Rousseau of the Confessions, who reproaches himself so bitterly with having stolen a ribhon, passes complacently over a hundred acts of meanness committed by him, and ends by declaring that any one who may come to the conclusion that he, Rousseau, is un maUionnite homme, is himself "a man to be smothered" (un homme a, etouffer).
Le Devin du Village is undoubtedly the work of Jeaii Jacques Rousseau, as far as the libretto is concerned, but it can be shown on better evidence, even than that on which the charge of ribbon-stealing rests (for which we have only Rousseau's own word), that the music was the production of Granet, a composer residing at Lyons.
One day in the year 1751, Pierre\Rousseau, called Eousseau of Toulouse, to distinguish him from the numerous other Rousseaus living in Paris, and known as the director of the Journal Encyclopedique, received a parcel containing a quantity of manuscript music, which, on examination, turned out to be the score of an opera. It was accompanied by a letter, addressed like the parcel itself, to M. Rousseau, homme de httres, demeurant a, Paris," in which a person signing himself Granet, and writing from Lyons, expressed ahopethat his music would be found worthy of the illustrious author's words, that ho had given appropriate expression to the tender sentiments of Colette and Colin, &c. Pierre Rousseau, though a Journalist, understood music. He knew that Granet's letter was intended for Jean Jacques, and that he ought to return it with the music to the post office, hut the score of the Devin du Milage, from the little he had seen of it, interested him, and he not only kept it until he h&d made himself familiar with it from beginning to end, but even showed it to a friend, M. de Bellisscnt, one of the conservators of the Royal Library, and a man of great musical acquirements. As soon as Pierre Rousseau and De Bellisscnt had quite finished with the Devin du Village, they sent it back to the post oflice, whence it was forwarded to its true destination.
Jean Jacques had been expecting Granet's music, and, on receiving the opera in a complete form, took it to La Vanpaliere the farmer-general, and offered it to him, directly onndirectly, as a suitable piece for Mad. de Pompadour's theatre at Versailles, where several operettas had already been produced. La Vaupaliere was anxious to maintain himself m the good graces of the favourite, and purchased for her entertainment the right of representing the Devin du Vilkqe. This handsome present cost tho gallant financier the sum of six thousand francs. However, the opera was performed,was wonderfully successful, and was afterwards produced at the Academie, when Rousseau received four thousand francs more—Bo at least say some authorities who derive their information from the books of the theatre—though, according to Rousseau's own statement in tho Confessions, the Opera sent him only fifty louts, which he declares he never asked for, but which ho does not pretend to have returned.
Rousseau "confesses," with studied detail, how the music of each piece in the Devin du Village occurred to him; how he at one time thought of burning the whole affair (a conceit by the way which has since been rendered commonplace by amateur authors in their prefaces); how his friends succeeded in persuading him to do nothing of the kind ; and how, at last, he wrote the drama, and sketched ont the whole of the music in six days, so that, when ho arrived with his work in Paris, he had nothing to add but the recitative and the "remplissage "—by which we suppose he means the orchestral parts. In the next page he tells us that he would have given anything in the world if he could only have had the Devin du Village, performed for himself alone, and have listened to it with closed doors as Lulli is reported to have listened to his Armide, executed for his sole gratification. This egotistical pleasure niight, perhaps, have been enjoyed by Rousseau if he had really composed the music himself, for when the Academie produced his second Devin du Village, of which the music was undoubtedly his own, the public positively refused to listen to it, and hissed it until it was withdrawn. If the director had persisted in representing the piece the theatre would doubtless have been deserted.
But to return to the original score which, as Rousseau himself informs us, wanted nothing, when he arrived in Paris, except what he calls the "remplissage" and the recitative. Ho had intended, he says, to have Le Devin performed at the Opera, but M. de Oury, the intondant of the Menus Plaisirs, was determined it should first be brought out at the Court. A duel was very nearly taking place between the two directors, when it was at last decided by Rousseau himself that Fontainebleau, Mad. de Pompadour (and La Vaupaliere), should have the preference. Whether Granet had omitted to write recitative or not, it is a remarkable fact that recitative was wanted when the piece came to be rehearsed, and that Rousseau allowed J&iotte the singer to supply it. This he mentions himself, as also that he was not present at any of the rehearsals—for it is at rehearsals above all that a sham composer runs the chanco of being detected. It is an easy thing for any man to say that he has composed an opera, but it may be difficult for him to correct a very simple error made by the copyist in transcribing the parts. However, Roussean admits that he did not attend rehearsals and that he did not compose the recitative, which the singers required forthwith, and which had to be written almost beneath their eyes.
But what was Granet doing in the meanwhile? it will be asked. In the meanwhile Granet had died. And Pierre Rousseau and his friend M. de Bcllissent? Rousseau of Toulouse, supported by the Conservator of the Royal Library, accused Jean Jacques openly of fraud in the columns of the Journal Encyclopedique. These accusations were repeated on all sides, until at last Rousseau undertook to reply to them by composing new music to the Devin du Village.- This new music the Opera refused to perform, and with some reason, for it appears (as the reader has seen) to have been detestable. It was not executed until after Rousseau's death, and at the special request of his widow, when, in the words of Grimm, "all the new airs were hooted without the slightest regard for the memory of the author."
It is this utter failure of the second edition of the Devin du Village which convinces us more than anything else that the first was not from the hand of Rousseau. But let us not say that he was "tin malhonnete homme." Probably
the conscientious anthor of the Contrat Social adopted the children of others by way of compensation for having sent his own to the " Enfants TrouveV
(From the Morning Post.)
Sept. 21—Of the new oratorio of Abraham, which is to be performed this morning for the first time, we shall not be able to speak in detail until to-morrow, as the morning concerts hero terminate almost simultaneously with the starting of the train that carries our despatch; but having heard a rehearsal of Abraham, we are now in a position to offer some general remarks upon the work which may not perhaps be unacceptable. Firstly, Abraham is the work of a highly educated musician, one brought up in a thoroughly good school, surrounded by the best influences, and perfectly acquainted with the greatest models. All that intelligent study, observation, and experience can confer, Herr Molique possesses completely. A master of harmony, counterpoint, form, and instrumentation, ho, at least, enters upon the glorious field where artists contend for immortality, armed at all points, and ready for all emergencies that human skill can meet. It must be further observed that Ilerr Molique is not only a learned man, but also scrupulously conscientious j one who always does his best, who is incapable)of making]any concession to the *' popular " tasto of the day, and with whom, therefore, the dignity of art is safe. The value of an artist like Herr Molique at this really critical period of art can scarcely be over-estimated. Musical conservatives of ability were never mora wanted than at the present moment, when in Germany a movement which threatens tho very existence of music as an independent art is rapidly progressing, and in Italy all purity of style and loftiness of purpose are as rapidly 'giving way before mere sensuousncss and socalled brilliancy of effect. The state in which Beethoven left musical art was a very dangerous one. The later works of that most extraordinary genius, though betokening exhaustlcss imagination, and revealing to us a new world of music, also exhibited a certain irregularity of form. The boundless imagination of the true Shakspeare of music could'not be imitated, although it might be emulated. Another Beethoven might possibly arise, but there could be no successful follower of that wondrous master. The only characteristic of his later stylo that his would-be disciples have attempted to imitate (though none of them have understood it) is the irrogularity of form of which wo havo spoken. This, the consequence of an imagination [teeming with novel ideas, and a command of artistic means emanating from immense experience, that enabled him instantly to give the happiest expression to any idea whatever (powers which, in his waywardness, he perhaps sometimes abused), has been falsely regarded as the cause of his superlative greatness, and a justification for such wild, licentious theories as strike at the very root of musical art. But fortunately, soon after the death of Beethoven, there arose another very great man, who, fully understanding the situation, knew how to become master of it, and put a salutary curb upon the downward course of Phoebus's chariot. A man who bad drunk deeply at the Pierian spring, who had completely infused into himself the spirit which animated Bach and Handel, a man whose sympathy was with order and regularity, whose mind was of the most classic character, but who could place his own stamp upon all lie touched, and animate old forms with a new soul. That man's name was Mendelssohn. To him, then, the lovers of genuine art, the true musical conservatives, looked as to the living depository of their most sacred traditions—the most perfect illustration of their fundamental theory, that the great principles of musical art (like those of every other) are immutable, and eternally productive. As Mendelssohn was gifted with the power of expressing all that the most enlightened lovers of musical art had long thought of and hoped for, he naturally became the head and representative of a great and important movement. It is therefore not at all astonishing that Mendelssohn should havo had numerous disciples. A safer model, so far as modern art is concerned, there could not possibly be. He has influenced the musical minds of the present generation far more than any contemporary composer. His vast merits have won the homage of all earnest students, and the great success of his works has stimulated them to follow in his footsteps. That the influence of Mendelssohn should not be felt by an artist of kindred spirit like Molique, that the mind of the author of Elijah should exercise no power over the thoughts or feelings of a classic musician of the present day in the composition of an oratorio, is scarcely to be expected.
* • * * » *
September 22.—From what we have already observed with respect to Herr Molique's new oratorio of Abraham, produced here yesterday morning, it may be readily inferred that the work belongs to the school of Mendelssohn; and in adding that Herr Moliqne has occasionally followed the illustrious author of Elijah more closely than is consistent with perfect independence of mind, we state at once the greatest, if not the only, reproach to which the music of Abraham is open.
The following are the incidents which Herr Molique has selected for his oratorio:—The departure of Abraham and his family into the land of Canaan; The separation of Lot and Abraham; The captivity of Lot and his rescue; The casting forth of Hagar; and The intended sacrifice of Isaac. These, with appropriate commentaries, reflections, or prayers, in the form of choruses, concerted pieces, or solos, constitute the oratorio, which, though but slightly dramatic in character, is nevertheless sufficiently connected and continuous to make a satisfactory whole, whilst abundantly affording opportunities for the exercise of the musician's art.
The first thing we find to admire in Herr Molique's work is its wellsustained elevation of style. From the first note to the last it is dignified and chaste, whatever may be the passion or emotion the composer was called upon to express. Tho next thing is the masterly facture of the entire score, of which it might truly be said that not a note, or the position of a note, could be changed without mischief to the whole. Every sound has its purpose, and undeniable reasons could bo given for its existence. Anything more clear, rich, or resonant than the voicing and instrumentation, it were difficult indeed to imagine; and very few, if any, masters of the present day could writo such scientific and pure double counterpoint, imitations, and fugues, as we discover in Herr Molique's oratorio.
To follow so long and elaborate a work through all its details would be tedious and unnecessary. We shall therefore content ourselves with A selection of certain pieces for special remark, and commence with No. 3, an aria in G major, "Lead me, O Lord," sung by Abraham upon receiving the Divine command to depart into the land of Canaan. This has a flowing, continuous, and eminently vocal melody, full of beauty and expression. The orchestration is of the simplest; one flute, two clarinets, one bassoon, two violas, and violoncellos and double basses being the only instruments employed, and yet the effect is extraordinarily full and rich. One of tho violoncellos is treated as a solo instrument ; and the manner in which this is made to blend with or support the voice, and impart life and movement to the accompaniment, commands particular admiration. This is, indeed, from first to last a lovely song.
No. 8, "Let there be no strife," is another air for Abraham of a totally different character, but not less charming. Thus, in the key of F major, Abraham appeals lovingly to his brother, praying that there may bo no dissension between them. With a lively and affectionate melody is united what we may term a caressing accompaniment, which contributes materially to the expression of that state of feeling in which Abraham is supposed to be. Here, too, Herr Molique exhibits the same economy with respect to means to which we have already alluded. One flute, two oboes (tho first of which plays a very prominent part), two bassoons, two horns, and the so-called "string quartet" make up his orchestra.
No. 9, "Who walketh nprightly," an air in A minor, for the tenor voice, evidences still moro strikingly Herr Molique's power of making a great effect with a few instruments; for here he uses but one flute, one oboe, two horns, and the string quartet. This air is unquestionably one of the most delightful and original pieces in the oratorio. The accompaniments present the very perfection of part-writing, and although very rich in so-called " figures," the voice part stands out always clearly, and commands all the attention due to it.
No. 15, " Hear our prayer," a chorus in A major for female voices only, is richly and beautifully harmonised, and also illustrates very happily that command over the resources of fugal imitation which so rarely appears in the works of composers of the present day.
No. 17, in E flat, is one of the most spirited and melodious marches ever written, and we expect soon to hear of its being played by every military band in England. Here Herr Moliqne employs tho full orchestra, but he uses it discreetly, and although there is immense brilliancy and force in the "tuttis," they are never noisy or bombastic.
In No. 19, "Praise ye the Lord," a magnificent chorus in F mnjor, Herr Molique has put forth all his strength. The counterpoint, clear, vigorous, full of variety, and eminently vocal, is throughout of the purest and best kind; and the fugue commencing with the tenors on the words "His right hand and His holy arm," is such as nothing less than an eminent master could write. This piece brings the first part grandly to a close.
No. 22, " Let all those rejoice," a trio in E flat major for alto, tenor, and bass, is one of the finest specimens of genuine three-part counter
point with which we arc acquainted. There is scarcely anv accomrani mcnt at all to it, and the rich fulness of effect produced 'by the ?oiecs only in every bar is really surprising to those acquainted with the pecu liar difficulties of this style of writing. "Let all those rejoice "was repeated by desire.
No. 27, "And the Lord stretched forth His hand against them," a chorus in B minor, also claims our enthusiastic praise. Full of ficrr vigour and exciting passion, it quite takes the feelings by storm, and there is deep poetry in the sudden transition to the slow moTcmeut on the words "The first-born of death have devoured their strength," with which the chorus unexpectedly terminates. All this belongs to the very highest order of art.
No. 29, " Cast out this bondwoman and her son," a duet in A minor, in which Sarah demands of Abraham the expulsion of Hagar, is another gem, admirable for dramatic expression as for its strictly musical beauties.
No. 32, "Commit thy way unto the Lord," a chorus in F major, in which the composer has used nothing but common chords, though simple and primitive in character, is likewise a masterpiece in its way. This was also redemanded.
In No. 35, "Great is the Lord," a chorus in D major, Herr Molique's command over tho resources of imitative counterpoint and fugue, no less than his eminence as an orchestral writer, is again triumpaantlj displayed.
No. 38, "Pour out thy heart before the Lord," a very lovely tenor song in A flat, and No. 42, a duet in E major, in which Abraham and Isaac rejoice together at their deliverance from the terrible ordeal through which they have passed, may also be reckoned among the best things in the oratorio.
In No. 44 (the last piece), " Great and marvellous arc Thy works, Lord God Almighty," a chorus in C major, as in the other choruses we have mentioned, and also in No. 1, "Blessed is the man who trnsteth in the Lord " (which we should have mentioned before), Herr Molique's science and lofty musical feeling are again strikingly exhibited.
(To be continued.)
$ttitx to % Mot.
Dear Sih,—It was not without some pleasure that I found myself, in your number for Sept. 8th, the subject of a detailed musical review; because your remarks, although not flattering to the works reviewed (three songs), were written without partiality, and were free from what has been my fate on so many former occasions — personal attack. If I venture now on a course ot direct contradiction to all you say,—if I proceed to justify each w of the points which you designate "faults,"—it is not without first acknowledging the trouble and pains you have bestowed on that review, nor without thanking you for the kindness with which you counsel me to "reconsider other points."
In the first place, speaking of my " Song of the Survivor," you say that "a transition to A flat (the key of the song being G) in the opening symphony, which being madenothingofsubscquentl.fi is (to say the least) superfluous." I say, in defence, is it true that anything in composition is "superfluous " simply because it is not subsequently made use of? Have we not hundreds of instances in which, either to suit the text, or to express some particular feeling or meaning, a transition is used which neither the suhsequent text, nor the progress of the composition, will allow to he repeated? And lastly, if, for the sake of" roundness of form, * unity of plan, a repetition of the symphony be made (as I tsv done, page 3, line 4), is it not sufficient to give the whole " figure and rhythm, without actually reproducing the same harmonic* ■'
Your second objection is to "a false relation" (page 1,fi* j bar 3) in the same song, between G natural in the first chord (6, 3 on F) and G5 in the next (6, 5, 3 on Gf)." The harmony in question is this,—
the best authors in which similar progressions of harmony occur. But I will cite no less and no more remote an authority than Mr. G. A. Macfarren, in his new book on "The Rudiments of Harmony," in which (page 12, sect. 21), in the chapter on "False relations," he states distinctly,—"False relation does not exist between two successive chords when the 3rd of the first chord is the root of the second chord." And he illustrates this by an example in the very key in which my "false relation" occurs; thus:—
On these three points, then, I claim to be in the right, and cannot accept your remarks as a "correction."
On the fourth point (your last objection), in reference to my song, " Still waters run deepest," I have firstly to complain that you have not done me justice in transcribing the passage you quote; a reference to the passage, as it stands in my song (page 2, line I, bar 3), will show that you have misquoted the left hand. Secondly, I urge that the point in question is one upon which there may be a difference of opinion, and which ought to be considered " a matterof taste," not a fault. As you quote the passage, however, it is made to appear wrong beyond doubt, from the fact that the B flat in the left hand appears as a pedal-note, and changes to a different bass when not in concord with the harmony. As / have it, it stands thus : —
and, as the G on which Fit resolves is required for the melody, it is a matter of taste not to ant icipate the sound of it, and to keep the Fit unresolved until then. Had I been scoring such a passage I should certainly have put the resolution, G, at the commencement of the bar (in the harmony). It would have been a G of a different tone-colour (i. e. some other instrument) to that G which occurs afterwards in the melody. But on the piano, where we have no such distinctions of colour of tone, it is, I think, quite justifiable to allow the melody to act as harmonic resolution; and in this case it is not only allowable, but, I think, rather elegant not to have the G sounded until the melody does so. At any rate this should remain an open question (as, indeed, should many other things) until some law shall have been laid down, and "accepted" by musicians in general, for all points of "taste" or "school." AU ears are not constituted alike; all ears are not equally susceptible of distinguishing the melodic part from the accompanying harmony; nor have they all the same power of retaining the impression of a dissonant harmony, until something " satisfactory" occurs in the melody removing such impression.
Are not all the rules at present accepted in Harmony and Composition the result of " what sounds well, and what does not f" Does not everything we are told to do, and all we are prohibited from doing, emanate from one uniform desire to sound well? If, then, all that sounds well is right, may we not lay down another fundamental law, and .'say — only "that" is wrong which sounds bad f I think we do make this law in practice, and in our everyday-judgment of new music. The only question raised, but not answered, being — What "does" sound well? So long as we are as far from a settlement of that question as we are at present, it must remain one in which education of the ear, quickness of apprehension, sympathy, taste, fancy, love of novel effects, and a nameless variety of other influences will ever preponderate.
If, then, in looking over new compositions, all of which are earnestly conceived and carefully compiled, we come to points of objection, which are evidently not the work of chance or neglect, Dut of intention and purpose,— is it right at once to condemn them as "wrong" simply because they differ from our own idea of what is "right?"
I can scarcely hope that this long refutation will find its way into your columns, for which it is designed; but, should you be generous enough to insert it, I feel sure some of the points discussed will not be without interest to some of your readers, while you will be making an " amende honorable " to
Your very obedient servant,
36 Thurloe Square, Brompton, Sept. 22, 1860.
; MUSIC IN BRUSSELS.*
Brussels possesses a conservatory of music, a royal opera house, a large number of excellent performers on all the principal instruments, a pianoforte in nearly every house, and yet it cannot boast of anything like the musical activity to be found in German towns of far le3s importance.
Church music is, as a general [rule, badly organised, both in Brussels and throughout Belgium; money is wanting to do anything distinguished by the slightest artistic value in this branch of composition. There is no deficiency of good elements for the purpose, and the new organs from the factories of Merklin-Schiitze and Company are calculated to give a very satisfactory impetus to the cause, but nothing is done in the quarter where the greatest patronage might naturally be expected.
The theatres have had their periods of success and depression. The Theatre Royal has ^md some good artists during the past year, but the monotony of its repertory has kept people away. As the repertory can, in accordance with the prevailing taste, be renewed only by means of operas which have been successful in Paris, the difficulty of renewing it consists, in the first place, in the fact that there is scarcely any novelty worth anything produced in Paris itself; and, in the second place, in the fact that what is strikingly new requires very great artistic resources, and
• From the Niederrheinische Musih-Zeitung.
a frightful outlay for the mise-en-scene. In Paris, the Grand Opera can satify its ever-changing population of some hundred thousand -visitors with its old operas d grand spectacle; but in Brussels, the audience that pays its money to the 'theatre is constantly the same, and requires something new for what it expends.
Meyerbeer's Pardon ae Ploermel has been the only lucky hit for the management during the past theatrical year. Mile. Boulard, whom the Parisians could not appreciate, proved a great attraction. She has turned out an admirable artist, for true talent, when supported by practice and success, soon attains artistic maturity.
Under the above circumstances, Merelli's Italian Operatic Company was most welcome to all lovers of music. It played in the Theatre du Cirque, a very dirty house, but one exceedingly well adapted for sound. The band was something execrable, and the chorus simply ridiculous. The two combined would have reduced their excellent conductor, Orsini, to despair, supposing such a thing were at all possible in the case of the conductor of a strolling Italian company, who can adapt himself to everything, and has been subjected to every ordeal. In spite of all obstacles and shortcomings, however, some of the performances, for instance that of Don Pasquule with Donizetti's charming music, reminded us, by the merit of some of the artists, as well as the southern warmth and liveliness of the whole representation, of the good times of Italian singing, and afforded a real treat.
By the repetition of his Paris Concerts, Richard Wagner has produced a sensation here also, a fact that was inevitable, considering how the public are so satiated, as I have before mentioned, by the eternal monotony in musical matters. For a considerable length of time, his concerts were the sole topic of discussion in all the local papers, as well as in all the coffeehouses and other places of public resort. The majority of the patrons of music here have left the Future to decide on the real value of Wagner's compositions, although they are convinced the composer is very anxious that his works should be appreciated by the Present.
Good orchestral music is to be heard only at the concerts of the Conservatory, under the direction of M. Fetis. The band has made considerable progress during the past year.
M. Fetis does not, however, confine himself merely to classical masterpieces; so little does he exclude the productions of his contemporaries, that he performs even unpublished overtures and symphonies. It cannot, of course, be asserted that he is invariably lucky in his selection. During the last series of concerts we heard an overture to Shakespeare's Macbeth, by M. de Ilartog, a Dutch composer, who resides in Paris, and composes for his own pleasure — and that of his friends also — and has already published several works. The composition of characteristic overtures to tragedies is something peculiar; the only models of this kind of writing, Beethoven's overtures to Coriolanus and Egmont, stand too high to be equalled by the efforts of mere talent, and what have we, now-a-days, among composers but talent at the very most?
Herr Meyenne, one of Fetis' newest pupils, may also, by the way, lay claim to the possession of this quality. He has now come forward, although somewhat tardily, with an unpublished symphony. It was successful, as was likewise, and perhaps more deservedly, a symphony by Samuel, which contains a great deal of originality.
There was a remarkable performance, at the last concert of the Conservatory, of the finale to the second act of Le Nozze di Figaro. Irritated at the mutilation of this magnificent piece of composition at the Theatre Lyrique inlParis, Fetis determined to let the public of Brussels — that is to say, the "small Parisian" public—hear what was the real effect of it when played as Mozart wrote it, and he succeeded completely in carrying out his intention.
Crystal Palace.—The first of the two farewell performances of Mad. Clara Novello, announced to take place at the Crystal Palace, previous to her final retirement from public life, came off on Wednesday, and attracted a large audience, the number of visitors approximating to thirteen thousand. At half-crown prices of admission so great a crowd at this period of the year proved the immense popularity of the singer, or, at all events, an almost universal desire to hear her for the last time. The performance consisted of the Creation, Mad. Novello—who, by the way, sang
the music of Eve in the third part, usually allotted to a second soprano—having for her coadjutors Mr. Wilbye Cooper and Mr. 'R eiss. The band and chorus together numbered about two thousand five hundred, a powerful force, doubtless, but by no means too powerful to create an effect in the central transept of tie Crystal Palace. Mr. II. Blagrovc was at the head of the instruments, and the regiment under his command was a capital effective working body. The chorus consisted of the Vocal Association, with draughts from the Sacred Harmonic Society and other choral institutions. The whole was placed under the direction of Mr. Benedict, so that nothing was wanting to insure a first-rate performance. The general execution was for the most part irreproachable, but Haydn's drawing-room oratorio failed to produce any marked sensation. Even the choruses, "The heavens are telling," and " Achieved is the glorious work," which almost invariably strike an audience as with a hammer, passed off with the faintest possible applause. The solos alone created anything like enthusiasm; and indeed the highest amount of excitement was justified in the case of Mad. Novello, whose singing of "With verdure clad," and " On mighty pens," was literally transcendent "To hear Mad. Novello sing 'With verdure clad,'" as a fluent reporter of the Worcester Festival in a daily contemporary expressed himself, "was worth a long journey and much treasure." More exquisite, refined, and finished singing we never listened to. Mr. Wilbye Cooper was warmly applauded for his careful reading of " In native worth;" and Mr. Weiss, in the two bass airs, "Boiling in foaming billows" and "Now Heav'n in fullest glory shone," displayed his fine voice and manly style to eminent advantage. To-day the Messiah will be given for the second farewell performance of Mad. Clara Novello, who will be assisted in the solo vocal department by Mad. Sainton-Dolby, Messrs. Wilbye Cooper, Santley, and Webs.
Mb. John Brougham— the popular Irish comedian, formerly belonging to the Covent Garden company under Mad. Vestris, and to the Olympic under the same manageress—commences an engagement at the Haymarket Theatre on Monday, Octobers, in an original three-act comedy, writen by himself.
Manchester—Mad. Jtjllien's Concert At The Feei-trade Hall.—On Saturday last, the public of Manchester had an opportunity of hearing, for the last time, we believe, the fine band which, under the magical influences of M. Jullien, for so long > time delighted the ears of the English public. Prince George Galitzin (who assumed the conductorship) could not feel other than satisfied at the weleome bestowed upon him and the compositions of which he is the author, one of which, the "Surprise" Polka, was given with such startling and emphatic precision as to secure for it the honour of an encore, as hearty as could be desired. The solo singers were Miss Poole, Miss Dyer, and Mr. Henry Haigh—old favourites in Manchester—all of whom well sustained their reputation. During the evening, the choir, which has been trained by Mr. D. W. Banks, gave two illustrations ot sacred art which were new to Manchester—a Russiaa chorus, very graceful in its movements, by Bortniansky, and a more weighty composition by Prince George Galitzin, " Sancta Mans. Amongst the pleasant performances by the choir of the Saturdiy Evening Concerts on this occasion was one we cannot OTerloof. At the commencement of the evening, Mr. Dixon, a member of the choir, appeared before the audience, and on behalf of the doit presented Mr. Banks with an ivory Mton, bearing the fbllowuig inscription :—" Presented to D. W. Banks, Esq., by the members of the choir of the Saturday Evening Concerts, as a testimonial of their respect and esteem. — Manchester, September 15, 1*0. The baton was a beautiful example of workmanship, from the establishment of Messrs. Ollivant and Botsford. The concert for this (Saturday) evening will, we may remark, be of unusual interest, and will bring before the public of Manchester not one only, but many of the most eminent artists in Europe.—Jfow**7, Weekly Times.
Partant Pour, La Syrte.—It is a well-known fact that the words of the above sons, which during the last few years has enjoyed a new career of publicity, were set to music by v!"W Hortense. It is not, however, so generally known, perhaps, t&»