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scholastic artifices of counterpoint, his harmonic colouring seems to be rather the spontaneous effusion of innate musical feeling than the result of studious elaboration. The scanty notices of his earlier career mention two instructors, Don Angelo Tesei and the Padre Stanislao Mattei, of whom Rossini is said to have received lessons in the theory of music and composition. But the period of tuition certainly does not seem to have been of long duration, and considering his vivacity and habitual indolence, we suspect a little contrapuntal schooling will have gone a great way with so mercurial a pupil ; and this suspicion is by no means invalidated by his scores. They seldom exhibit any touches of contrapuntal artifice ; or if there be an occasional gleam of the kind, it is very transient; the effect of momentary inspiration, soon abandoned. There is little of scientific interlacement between the parts. One melodic part, like the outline in a picture, almost always maintains its supremacy; and all the others, from the trombone to the piccolo, merely act in support of the main idea, so as to impart to it the requisite harmonic colouring. This colouring also may be termed simple, broad, and perspicuous in the extreme ; simple as to the main object, yet by no means plain or naked. The instrumentation, we mean to assert, is never complex or confused; while maintaining its unity of aim and purpose, it at the same time is full and complete, very often luxuriantly rich, and as frequently replete with the most varied touches of elegance in manner and orna-' mental diction. In the instrumentation, as in the melody, however decorative and noisy the former may be devised, unity of impression is never lost sight of. All is perfectly luminous to every soul in the theatre, (in Italy at all events !) The box-keeper, the scene-shifter, and prim hawker of the libretto, all understand the favourite Maestro's meaning, probably, quite as well as the bald or bepowdered theorist in the front of the pit, who, with a supercilious grin perhaps, laments the palpable decline of musical taste. There surely must be something in music which every body understands and is delighted with, whatever be its lack of scientific elaboration! What do ninety-nine in a hundrednay, perhaps nine hundred and ninety-nine in a thousand frequenters of even the King's Theatre care for high-wrought artifice in the parts what for learned and abstruse modulations, what for fugues and canons ?
Not that the compositions of Rossini are at all deficient as regards modulation. On the contrary, he occasionally launches freely into the regions of harmonic transition, and even ventures upon the boldest leaps. But he never modulates needlessly, for the mere sake of modulation-an expedient most freely resorted to by those writers who labour most under a poverty of melodic ideas. When Rossini modulates, he has an object in view, generally scenic; or he modulates sometimes, as in his overtures, with a view to heighten the harmonic colouring, or to produce variety or striking force of effect. On these occasions, however, he never entangles himself in a labyrinth of unmeaning transitions ; he sees his way before him, and is not long in resuming it. The hearer, instead of being wearied by accompanying him in the temporary deviations, finds himself refreshed for the remainder of the journey.
As to fugues and canons, to which we have just now alluded incidentally, we doubt whether Rossini can be said to have ever made
either of these. " What! no canons ?" some of our readers will ex. claim, and bring in array against us“O Nume benefico;"* “ Di tanti regi;"+ " Mi manca la voce,”! &c. pointing to the very titles with which these pieces are inscribed. Any scientific discussion on this subject would be foreign to the object of our paper; but as we do not hesitate to maintain that these pieces are improperly styled canons, we feel compelled to state our reasons in a few words. Canons—if the reader will have patience with a line or two of dry definition-are vocal pieces of several parts, in which each part, falling in successively, executes the same melody, which is throughout adhered to by all the parts; these being so contrived as to act reciprocally in the way of accompaniment, as soon as two and more parts successively come into co-operation. In the Rossinian canons, each part, it is true, enters successively, and commences with the same melody; but as soon as it thus steps in, the other parts no longer pursue the primary melody, but merely discharge the ordinary functions of accompaniment, so that the primary melody is never heard but in one of the parts. The Rossinian canons, therefore, are nothing more than terzetts, or quartetts, in which each part successively begins with the same motivo. We are aware that, in scenic music, some liberties are taken with compositions of this class; but these liberties do not amount to a total departure from the essence of the canon.
For the rest, we are far from finding fault with these pseudo-canons of Rossini. Several of them are highly dramatic and impressive; much more so, we are sure, than any real canon which could have been substituted in their place. All we meant to assert was, that so far as our acquaintance with his works extends, no proper canon or fugue occurs in them. This structure requires a degree of study and application, which, if we know enough of the disposition of Rossini, he probably feels seldom inclined to exert, even supposing him to be an adept in the mystery. Nay, if he were to urge in his defence that, in dramatic music at least, the trouble is not compensated by the effect, we should be disposed to concur. Canons and fugues, however fine and clever, are, after all, a scientific sort of Dutch medley, which, from the condition of its structure, must be deficient in musical sentiment and unity of expression. Scholastic artifice is not a vehicle of the beautiful. What should we say to an occasional set of acrostic lines in the Æneid or the Odyssey ?
(To be continued.)
TRAVELLING TROUBLES, NO. II.
“Neque hic lupis mos, nec fuit leonibus.”_Hor. He was a brave man, it has been said, who first ate an oyster; and truly to an eye unprejudiced by associations with the acquired information of the palate, an oyster is, as I think I have somewhere read, any thing but “ingenui vultûs puer,”-a youth of an inviting aspect. That man also, says a great poetic authority, must have had threefold armour round his breast who first ventured in a cock-boat ; but the courage of these dare-devils was nothing to the fool-hardihood of him who first hazarded a voyage in a foreign country, and trusted bis person among those whose language was not his language. Nor does it in any respect diminish the bravery of the act, that, in this case, the “ triple brass," instead of shielding the thorax, must thickly line the recesses of the breeches-pockets. The pocket is avowedly the most vulnerable point in the microcosin,-its genuine tendon Achilles, or rather the central point of its vitality; so that it requires more true courage to look an attack on that quarter steadily in the face, than to encounter a charge of bayonets, to face the speech of an Attorney-General, or to sit out the last French tragedy done into English for the service of the Cockney Thalia. Unluckily, this same breeches-pocket is the espe, cial object of all the designs, plots, conspiracies, “ voies de fait," and “ruses de guerre,” of all manner of persons with whom John Bull comes into contact, in the course of his continental peregrinations. His jour. ney is one continued “quart d'heur de Rabelais;" and it should seem as if a misplaced instinct of patriotism led foreigners, one and all, to a detailed assault upon those riches, which the wholesale expenditure of the revolutionary war had failed to exhaust. Tradesmen of every description appear to make it a matter of conscience thus to revenge their national quarrels. There is not an hotel-keeper between Calais and Paris who does not calculate his reckoning as if Cressy and Agincourt were items in the account; and every miserable laquai de place lays it on thick, as if he had served in person at Toulouse and Waterloo. The cutting off the supplies is the cardinal point in mercantile, as in military tactics ; and there is an holy alliance of furnished-hotel-keepers, job-masters, servants, milliners, mantua-makers, tailors, ornament-venders, and jewellers, which I found, by fatal experience, more than a match for a thousand Napoleons. It is an established rule that an Englishman (whether out of compliment to his generosity, his presumed length of purse, or the shallowness of his wit, I know not,) should always pay one-third more than a native ; and there is something or other about honest John, that prevents his ever being mistaken. There is an atmosphere of Bullism that surrounds him wherever he goes; and not even Mathews himself could so disguise his manner as to pass on a Parisian shopkeeper for any thing but a true son of Britannia.
Now, in this very unequal warfare, there is nothing gives the assailants such advantage as their superiority of language. The oratory of a pretty shopwoman is the most overwbelming thing in nature. The falls of the Niagara are nothing to its dinning facundity; while the poor purchaser is tongue-tied, or at best has no rhetorical forces to bring to the field, but the halt and the lame. It is to little purpose that he may
Dec.-VOL. XXVI. NO, CVIII.
have Racine and Voltaire at his fingers' ends, that he may have cried out his schoolboy eyes over Telemaque, or expended years in conning the mysteries of “j'ai, I have; tu as, thou hast." All manner of scholastic instruction, or tasteful literature, advances not its possessor one step in the language which goes to the purchase of a china orange, or a wash ball, or enables him to settle an account of two posts and a half with a jack-booted postilion. As well might the traveller journey with a Greek lexicon, as hope to work his way through a French bazaar with the dictionary of the Academy. There is no written authority for nine-tenths of the vocabulary of the counter ; and not even astrology has so much obscure technicality, as the art of buying and selling. Meanwhile, the slightest embarrassment betrayed in the expression of your ideas, brings down on your head a surcharge of some twenty or thirty per cent. slap, like an avalanche in the month of May. An infant that had lost its nurse in Cheapside would scarcely be more helpless than a true John Bull on a shopping excursion down the Rue Vivienne. How, in God's name, is a stranger to discover that “à prix fixe" means that he is to offer the half what is asked; and that “ Je ne surfais jamais” should put him on his guard against extortion? How is an inexperienced female to know that if she wants a bonnet, she must ask for a hat (" un chapeau")? or that the natural French appellation for that capital ornament stands 'simply for a cotton nightcap? or how is she to recognise a silk handkerchief under the appellation of a “ foulard ?" I remember passing half a morning in the Marché des Fleurs, asking every one I met “avez vous de la mignonette ?” on the strength of the evident French origin of that English word; and wondering how folks could be so stupid as not to understand me. It was not till a month afterwards I learned by accident, that the French are excellent botanists, and call the plant in question by its Linnean name of Reseda. Another insuperable difficulty with our ladies was to distinguish between “sept sous,” and “seize sous ;” and accordingly they ever bought by the yard, at the highest rate. The like equivocation also attended the Frenchman's rapid enunciation of " cinque," and "cent." and always (as the political economists term it,) to the disadvantage of the consumer. I once met a brother cockney travelling by himself without one word of the language of the country; and, asking him if he were not much distressed by the deficiency, he replied, in the broadest possible London patois, “ No, d-n it, I like it! It's pure fun.” But though it may be “ pure fun " not to speak a word of French, this I know, that speaking it badly is no joke at all. Here, indeed, a little learning is a dangerous thing. It is always seducing a man into difficulties; and once out of his depth, it is money, and not cork, on which he must rely for bringing bim safely to shore.
But, as it may be concluded that every man who travels has in the language of Sir Thomas More,)“ a littel wanton money, which hym
ducement for going “ over the sea for none other erand but to se Flaunders and France, and ryde out one somer in those countrees,” this difficulty may perhaps be esteemed as light; nay, some will have it, that the sooner the money is gone, the sooner the senses are restored; and that the extortion of foreigners is a pure manifestation of good feeling, arising solely in an intense desire to send Johnny back to his
best friend, the counter. To such persons I can only reply, that “there is reason in roasting of eggs ;” and that women can spend money fast enough, without being assisted by the roguery of others. To make, however, a clear bosom of it, I may as well admit, honestly, that the fault does not lie altogether with the foreigners. It is so difficult for an Englishman to resist the temptation to a little purse-proud swaggering, a flinging about of crowns and half guineas without rhyme or reason, as much as to say “ devil take the expense,” or “ see what fine fellows we English are,” that it is eminently difficult for strangers to avoid the vulgar error of thinking all the Bull family to be made of gold, and “ en écorchant messieurs les Anglois," of justifying the matter to their conscience, as the cookmaid did by the eels, on the hypothesis that " they like it.” It is not, therefore, quite fair, after thus leading men into temptation, to turn short round on them, as I have seen folks do; and, like a Reynolds or an Oliver, upbraid them with the extortion which they have themselves provoked. It would be well, indeed, if the indiscretion stopped here; but one mischief always brings another in its train ; and the English, after a fit of extravagance, fully verifying the proverb of " a fool and his money,” are apt to be seized with very unbecoming paroxysms of parsimony, driving bargains that would disgrace an old clothesman, and practising a thousand meannesses which they would disdain at home, out of a paltry suspicion, a jealous apprehension of being the dupes of their “ natural enemies.” After all, be it remembered, excursions of pleasure are not undertaken with a view to the saving of money; and though (as Juno says in the Golden Pippin,) “cheats are provoking, ma'am,” yet the squabbling for pence and halfpence is not the most dignified thing in the world ; the pleasure of passing for an English Milor is not to be had gratis; while, to command respect, it is necessary at least to simultate the habits and manners of a gentleman.
Of all the troubles of travelling, and heaven knows they are many, there is not one falls heavier on a genuine Bull than the difficulty he finds abroad of " getting any thing be can eat.” Of all his affections, his appetite is the most unmalleable and homespun. “Colum non stomachum mutant qui trans mare currunt,” which means, in plain English, crossing the channel in a steam-boat will not give a relish for frogs and fricassees, or (to translate the Latin more poetically)
« Where'erl roam, whatever climes to see,
My heart, untravell’d, still returns tothe roast beef of Old England, plum pudding, and heavy wet. Every thing in this world is relative, and stomachs which have been long used to half-raw, half-burned cookery, like those which are accustomed to train oil, are not easily brought to make up their minds to a more wholesome and nutritious diet. In these march of intellect times, however. prejudice is very much at a discount Fashion is despotic, and folks must affect a virtue if they have it not. The carnivorous propensities (I had well nigh said cannibal,) must be placed in abeyance; and French cookery must be relished, under pain of passing for a nobody; which is worse than a swindler. There are, it must be confessed, plenty of good things in Paris, that city of Epicurism; and, the Rubicon once passed, the most ferocious stomachs may be tamed, under the civil