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to the King Apollo; and the best considerable distance in space from boundary which can be established singers, and fiddlers, and horn-blowwe islanders are bound to believe is ers, and all these sort of cattle ; else a watery wall,—not that I by any it were better that you shut your means admire a preponderance of eyes, and left all to your ears. that element in the drink of heroes. What I want to urge is that, being Oh! if the theme liketh you not-no at a convenient distance, you should, more on the subject; but this I cer- after the old Roman fashion, be entainly will remark, that the lower abled to gratify several senses at once. classes, down to a very low point in Thus, for example, I would have the social scale indeed, seem to enjoy your palate pleased, and your heart, their musical and dramatic entertain- moreover, merry with wine-your ments upon a wiser principle : they eye by the appropriate illusion of combine them with festive enjoy- men, women, and things--and your ment. And though I should not be ear by the works of genius and the disposed to patronise the materials on labours of artistic talent. If the which they jollify, yet if right good composer of the Zauberflöte were punch were substituted for gin and alive, he would agree
No beer—such punch as that which was man was more gifted by God with imbibed by the old proprietor and the power of enjoying life, and every stage-manager of Drury Lane-I thing in this beautiful world of ours, can well imagine that a critic might than Mozart. And this is the blesssit and sip with great satisfaction to ing which Ileaven confers only on its himself, and great advantage to the especial favourites. Few men ever composer and actors, from the sharp- passed through a happier or higher ening of all the faculties of his cen- existence. And we may say of Mosorial brain, and the effusion of good- zart, as Tacitus did of his valiant and nature which would swell his peri- noble son-in-law, “ Whatsoever of cardium. Oh! joking I am, but not, him we loved, whatsoever we adas you fancy, extravagantly. What mired, remains, and shall remain, in could be more delicious than sitting the minds of men, the eternity of in your box with your wine and des- ages, the fame of things." sert before you, and listening devotionally to such music as we are about
“ Brief, bright, and glorious, was his to hear-drinking your claret, or
young career.” crunching your olive, “the best aid
He was at five years old, when other to wine,” at the pauses that enthu- children are mere animals, an accomsiasm allowed you, and excitement, plished musician and composer. He which when you are sedentary is al- died at three or four-and-thirty ; ways thirsty, would suggest > You
just as he had completed his worldlaugh at the picture. Titian would
famous requiem, which the other day have made a better thing of it than
ushered Napoleon to his final resting of his “ Concert," where the people place on the banks of the Seine, all stand with their mouths open, or, amongst the French people whom he as Homer would say, with the fence loved so well. These are the words of their teeth unclosed. Believe me,
of his will. Let us hope that, the the listeners, however employed, have wish being fulfilled, he now sleeps the advantage of the picturesque in well. But for Mozart, if I did not appearance. It is not nice to see
firmly believe in the maxim inculmen and women sing, charm they cated by the Grecian sage and the never so wisely. The dignity of man Roman satirist, is certainly degraded to the eye by the exercise of the art, vocal or in
“Whom the gods love die young," strumental, delicious though it be to I should say of the composer, in the the senses and soul of the listener. language of the Frenchman, This seems harsh to say; but so it is.
“ Hélas sa brulante énergie, I quite agree with Chesterfield, and would say with him to my son, “ I
A fait sa gloire et son malheur;
Son cæur inspirait son génie ; had rather see you dead than with a
Son génie a brisé son cæur." pipe in your mouth or a fiddle under your chin." The fact is that, for full Perhaps no man living ever had a enjoyment, you ought to be at a higher musical genius, or greater
knowledge to support it. He did Pure blood to stagnate, their great for music what Pericles did for ora
hearts to fail; tory, whereof George Croly has well The blank grey was not made to blast written
But like the climes that know not snow "Full arm’d to life the portent sprung,
nor hail, Minerva from the Thunderer's brow; They were all summer. Lightning might And his the sole, the sacred hand,
assail, That waved her ægis o'er the land.” And shiver them to ashes; but to trail
A long and snake-like life of dull decay, Since Mozart's day great additions
Was not for them -- they had too little have been made to the orchestra,
clay." especially in wind instruments; great improvements have been made in the
I do well believe that no man ever instruments already in use; and men
had a higher inspiration than Mozart of exalted genius — Beethoven and
-he was the Shakspeare of music. Weber— have succeeded him, and In all his works, like the great taken their position near him, as
dramatist, he mingles tragedy and men who have achieved that renown which shall never pass away. But,
comedy, and is equally remarkable
in both for the intensity and depth with all advantages and modern aids,
of feeling. What a wonderful comnone have surpassed him in any single position is his Don Giovanni! Ilow effort; and for number and variety of
various the characters, how admircompositions, which even an age of
ably are they not depicted in his barbarism, could it ever again arrive, music! What character was ever never would permit to perish, he better sustained from first to last stands altogether unrivalled and
than that of “ our ancient friend, alone. The Fidelio and Der Freis
Don Juan," the heartless libertine; chütz are works of the very loftiest but one in whom, from his gay and character, the composers have made
dauntless courage, his graces and acthe most skilful possible use of the
complishments, we never for a moenlarged orchestral means placed at
ment lose a breathless interest! We their disposal ; but if they have
feel towards him as we do towards equalled some of Mozart's composi- the Anastasius of Hope's grand rotions, they have not excelled any one
mance. Love him we must not, pity of them; and no other opera, except
him we ought not; but we cannot these two, is for one moment to be
help admiring--ay, and enjoying him. compared to any opera of Mozart's.
How heartily one enters into the Now this speaks loudly in favour of
abandonment of his merriment in the that compound of opposites, called
banquet-scene, when he sings to the punch, which Sheridan loved, and
charms of women and wine! There Schiller sung, and the living philo
is such downright earnestness and sopher, Bertuccio di Ambrosio, con
sincerity in it. And when was seduccocts better than any breathing man,
tion ever attempted in such dulcet and not even excluding Lord Panmure,
harmonious tones as those wherein whose skill and cunning in punch
he addresses Zerlina. The serpent craft I once thought unsurpassable.
could not have whispered a much But Bertuccio is, in every sense of softer tale to Eve. How mighty, too, the word, a great man. But you ask, Mozart is in the management of his What has this to do with Mozart ?
ghost! Here he shews a genius which Why, he composed upon punch. Walter Scott and Shakspeare alone Punch was his favourite liquor; and
share with him. The ghost of Hamit is said by the dull, that it shortened
let's father, clad in complete steel, his life in the direct proportion that
revisiting the glimpses of the moon it made it merry. But I do not be
and making night hideous, is not a lieve a word of it. I should just as
whit more dread than the apparition soon believe that Byron died of the
of the commander's statue shaking gin-and-water on which he poured the earth by its ponderous steps, forth the flowing stanzas of Don
ushered in by unearthly music and Juan, and not of the rascally igno- singing in tones that seem to have rance of his physician. Of both the
come from another world, and for words of the poet were true:-
once permitted to be uttered in this. " Their faces were not made for wrinkles, Byron's Don Juan is a fine dashing theis
fellow; but the poet was unable,
though he strove, to raise him to the No, I cannot read German. Colestandard of the maestro's Don Gio- ridge translated the play of Wallen, vanni. He describes him thus :- stein ; Churchill, the introduction to “ He was a bachelor of arts, and hearts,
the two parts of the play called The
Camp of Wallenstein.* To enter into And had an air soft us Mozart's softest of the spirit of the play, you should melodies."
first read this ; and really it has been
put into English after a manner that But he never succeeds in impressing renders it quite worthy to be bound us with a sense of his will and power, up with Coleridge's version of the and at bottom unmitigated wicked- play which, as to the poetical garb
Don Juan is a pious lad, &c. - the lofty language in which high &c., though he does crack command- thoughts are dressed is superior to ments for the sake of bright eyes, the original. So I have been informHe is from first to last an English- ed ; and so, from the exquisite pass
the child of a cold clime ages which Coleridge had added, I and not a Spaniard of Seville, whose have no doubt it is. To resume, veins run lava. The Don Giovanni however; Germany has decidedly of Mozart, on the contrary, is as furnished to all times the greatest regular a hidalgo as blue blood at musical composers, without comparithe boiling point could make him i son or approach. German music is as fierce and as haughty as Satan; as superior to Italian music as the and like him, never humbling him- rich and accurate language of the old self before any creature mortal or Greeks was to the meagre Latin. immortal-except the woman he is Italian music is rarely addressed to anxious to betray. He is alienate, too, any thing higher than the senses ; from heaven, and will no more bow it wants depth, devotion, and carnestthan Manfred before the powers of ness; German music is always adhell. But the whole opera as a work dressed to the soul. I invariably of transcendent taste and genius, is feel holier and happier after having delicious most exceedingly. You listened to an opera of Mozart's or agree with me. I feel glad, Jack, Beethoven's. I feel as if, through the because you do it cordially; and I music, I had held communion with am happy to see you right when you thoughts that lay too deep for words. can give reasons of your own for the One, also, enjoys the delight of having conclusion besides those thrown be- been engaged upon a perfect work, into fore you. Hush! they are beginning every portion of which the masterto prepare for the overture to the mind has been thrown. There is no Zauberflöte. Certainly it is a splen- deficiency, as there is no predomidid band in number, and you will nance; the orchestra and the vocalists soon feel in skill, moreover. The are made to work together on terms ensemble (pardon the foreign word, of as perfect equality as the singers for I use it in the absence of any
in a duet; and both are managed, English equivalent) is perfect. The however numerous may be the band, same is true of the choruses. The the chief vocalists, and the chorus, Germans, on their stage, have an with the same consummate ease and advantage which is supreme in its with the same singleness of purpose effects — I mean their drill. It has - the same concentration to effect, failed them, however, more than once that the less learned and enthusiastic upon the battle-field. After all, the
composers of any other school could sterling qualities in the military display with respect to one singer and market, are French impetuosity and one fiddle to accompany. The great English pluck. There are but two charm of the German opera is the nations, the rest of the world can ensemble and equality in all points shew no more than populaces.
of interest between the vocal and But you are perfectly correct, instrumental melodies and concerted whatever the Germans may be as a pieces; and the conviction that the nation, they have numbered in their whole work has been wrought by ranks mighty men. Schiller I greatly the inspirations and labour of one admire as I find him in the trans- mighty mind. In Italian operas your lations of Coleridge and Churchill. present praise and pleasing recol
* Vide Fruser's Magazine, Vol. II. p. 663.
lections relate almost exclusively to Otherwise to speak, I look upon the singers - Pasta, Grisi, Tambu- Italy's operatic music (I exclude the rini, Rubini. The composer is com- church music) to be such to our paratively little thought of : you senses and our feelings as Shakknow that his aria has been wonder- speare's words might thus describe, fully embellished and improved by or well-nigh thus describe :the art of the singer, and your gra
“A violet in the youth of primy naturetitude is great in proportion to the
Forward, not permanent - sweet, not vocalist. You reflect, as the notes
lasting,come back to charm you in your The perfume and suppliance of a minute ; bed, -Oh! these are exquisite! but No more." they are Grisi's. What would they have been from any other lips? On the other hand, one might say of None know! but certainly no- the music of Germany, with Milton, thing comparable to what they that it is Were. And thenceforth, and for
such as raised ever, Grisi's Mary Magdalene face
To height of noblest temper heroes old, (as Guido loved to paint the Mag. Arming to battle ; and instead of rage dalene) is for ever associated with Deliberate valour breathed, firm and un. the air you have heard, and it usurps
moved your memory as a thing of grace With dread of death to flight or foul reand beauty in the precise mode and
treat ; form in which she executed it, and
Nor wanting power to mitigate or suage for this no other can be substituted.
With solemn touches troubled thoughts,
and chase But you think little of the composer
Anguish, and doubt, and fear, and sor. --the Rossini, Donizetti, Bellini —
row, and pain, and you dream only of snatches of
From mortal or immortal minds." the opera as sung by this or that performer; the opera, as a whole has Ay, they are going to strike up! raised in you no lofty and soul. I know no overtures which are to be searching sensations; there has been mentioned in the same category with nothing of what Aristotle styles a that of the Zauberflöte, except those purification of the passions.
of Der Freischütz and Coriolan. In a German opera, on the con- True! one can never tire of the first, trary, you commune with the spirit -it is so true, so admirable an introof the master; and, forgetting singers, duction and exposition of the whole fiddlers, and all other accessories, as story of the opera. Every thing is you would the common file of officers shewn you there as in the magic and men in a battle-field, you think mirror of the wizard : the mutterings of the whole opera with a devotional of demons and the strivings of the feeling of the composer's genius. In evil one are not made less apparent fact, the very peculiarities and faults to you than the passages of free and of the German character tend to gentle domestic life under the shadow make great musicians ---dreaminess, of the reverent and holy forest. mysticism, enthusiasm, transcendental When Weber's demons are on the speculations, intense powers of labour, scene, he seems to make the very air and aspirations scarcely earthly- murky by his weird sounds. I quite these combine in giving their great agree, likewise, with our ancestors, men the use, as none others have that there is a peculiar sanctity, as possessed it, of a language whose na- well as an instinctive superstition, tire seat is supposed to be in another about the forest, never, with all the world, and which is intelligible only imitative aid of Gothic art which is to the most finely moulded of earth's borrowed from the structures of the Creaturesthose whose minds and forest, to be attained in the temple bodies are alike attempered and at- built of men's hands. American tuned, and of whom you can say, Cooper has put this forth in all his with Dryden,
novels wherein his great character
Leather Stocking or Long Rifle (he * This is the porcelain clay of human
calls him by half-a-dozen names) --kind,
and he has done it powerAnd therefore cast into those noble fully and justly. You do not know moulds."
the other overture. Well! I believe
it is an overture by Beethoven to an should think his name must soon opera (never written) on the story swell into them.
You of Coriolanus; and, by the majesty of have not yet been able to understand Jupiter Stator, it is composed with the story? Who the deuce ever Shakspearian ability. The whole did? The writer of the villanous story of the patrician's services, pride, libretto might very well exclaim with wrath, triumphs, vengeance, pious the needy knite-grinder of George yielding, indignation, death-struggle, Canning,
and last gasp, accompanied by a faint
“ Story! Lord bless you! I have none and final tap upon a muilled drum,
to tell, sir,which leaves you in abrupt and
Only the other day --" horror-stricken silence, is told as distinctly to the reader of Sir Thomas The only being made to refer to a North's Plutarch by the sounds of point whereunto I shall turn dithe composer as by the page of the rectly,—“ the other day” being poet. Hlush!
Grandly driven back to the days of the ancient done! Encore! Encore! We have Greeks and Romans. You will rethe whole house with us!
collect the beautiful, and hearth and excellent band; with what empresse- heart-home superstition of the anment, precision, and feeling they cients which connected you with the play! Bravo again!
Now world of spirits, and infinitely raised for the opera.
What do I your heart and hopes as a child of think? I am delighted ! Never in clay. I mean that about the good my life have I (with one or two ex- and evil genius which attended and ceptions in minor singers) heard an accompanied, invisibly, man from the act of an opera more exquisitely per- first moment he was born, the one formed. And oh what delicious
persuading to good, the other to evil music! I never knew it before except — things of middle essence, called in fragments ! Ilow flowing is the genii, because they have tuition over melody given to the singers --- how us from the time we are born (geniti). delightful the sympathy of the or- The old word is geno not gigno. This chestra ! Bravo, maestro ! You principle of the existence of supernawho, as a musician, combine the in- tural suggesters of good and evil to ventive genius of Homer and the man, however, is as old as the world, scientific mind of Newton, bravo! and it is upon this the opera turns. And let us not omit to praise the Of course you have a pair of lovers. singers! That man Staudigl, who, They are despitefully used by the as I see from the bill, plays Sarastro, Queen of Night and her attendants, has one of the finest bass voices that and comforted by angels of light was ever heard--the richest, the dressed in white and spangles. But most flexible; and his style is chaste every thing except the music is trash to perfection, and his feeling to the not worth thinking of; and as we music of his great countryman is re- have the good fortune not to know a ligious and true. Every note he word of German, we shall not be sings bears upon it the imperial im- troubled by the abomination of conpress of Mozart. Surely, it is a plea- tact with any thing but the music. sure to have a faithful utterance of And the music is certainly, both as such notes as Mozart issued! The regards the solos, the concerted first woman, too, is an excellent mu- pieces, and the opera, in Mozart's very sician, and has great compass of highest style of art.'* ** Silence! voice, and no inconsiderable powers
Now that the Magic Flute as a vocal actress. Haitzinger, too, has come to its conclusion, you desire whom we knew of old in Monck to know what I think. I think, from Mason's time, has high merit, and the ineffable beauty of the music, the great skill and judgment. I like merits of the performers of all classes, Mellinger, who plays Papageno, and the genuine enthusiasm of an moreover, very much. I admire audience who have felt and enjoyed his singing for its correctness, and, if what they heard, that the German I may so say, appropriateness; and I opera has acclimated itself to this have a high opinion of his capabili- country; and that we shall never ties as an actor. He does not seem again pass a season without being to be in big letters in the bills ; but I able to hear the first of all musical