der is heard again in the distance-but works--the second mass particularlynow in exhausted, not threatening tones— utterly incomprehensible to the most acthe wind dies away in lulling cadence, complished musicians and critics, save and then arises the Shepherd's Song of in a few isolated portions. Some have Gratitude, which seems ihe voice of na- said, that the mysteries of these compo. lure rejoicing in its freshened beauty, sitions are left for coming years to un. and which closes most fittingly, this, the ravel; but this, even with all deference greatest piece of descriptive music in ex which should be shown to great genius, istence.

may be reasonably doubted. Beethoven's The Symphonies in E flat, (the Eroica) style is now perfectly understood, and and A major, are equal exhibitions of the construction of these works has been power but in different views. The latter, thoroughly studied and comprehended, written in honor of Napoleon, and cast and still they are found to be incoherent indignantly aside, when nearly finished, rather than incomprehensible, to be upon the composer's hearing that his hero vague rather than mysterious. It is had assumed ihe crown, contains two of more than probable, that in his long conthe greatest movements he ever wrote. tinued deafness, and bis broken constituThe first Allegro is fearful in its majesty tion, we are to find the causes of these and mystery, and its expression of in stupendous anomalies in music. vincible determination, and the Adagio is His style of composition has caused unequaled as an expression of mighty some to say that his Sonatas and Symand overwhelming woe: at the close of phonies are operas in disguise. The rethis movement Beethoven bas brought mark is plausible, but is yet untrue; for from the orchestra sobs, strangely and the character of Beethoven's mind was touchingly human.

not at all dramatic. Self, as has been But of all his works, the greatest, that before remarked, was his inspiration. which is throughout most characteristic His own feelings, his own loves, his own of its author, is the Symphony in C sorrows, his own gigantic pride and conMinor. There is not a phrase in it which sciousness of power, found expression in could have been written by any other his music. When stimulated by the crecomposer; and it would be difficult, al- ations of others, as he frequently was by most impossible, for any other after hav- the works of Shakspeare, Scott, Goethe ing beard this composition to write and Schiller, it was not to their imagin. another in the same vein. And this, notings that his mind gave another form and because of the elaborateness of the work, expression, but to some new feeling for they are of marvelous and massive which had been awakened by them in simplicity, being, with the exception of him. Utterance, mere utterance, whether the opening air of the Andante and fugue heeded or not, seems to be all that be of the Trio, constructed on the notes of sought. To stamp himself upon all that the common chord; but the soul of the he produced, and to make all the world work is so completely of Beethoven's of musical art bow before him, seemed own creation, that it is not even all of 1o be his only endeavor. What wonder, those who can comprehend it who can then, that Napoleon was his hero. rightly feel its meaning. It does not ad His restlessness and discontent are mit of description like the Pastorale, not plainly visible in most of his works, parbeing descriptive itself. Beethoven being ticularly in the greatest of them. The asked what he meant by the first notes, Titanic heavings of an imprisoned but said, “ It is thus that Faie knocks at the mighty soul, which would pile Pelion on door;” and this is all the clue we have Ossa, in a vain attempt to reach that to the design of this stupendous work, which is unattainable, and which is which, when it was first performed by sought only because it is unattainable, the Philharmonic Society of London, was the feverish thirst of a diseased mind, not comprehended until after several which is but increased by that it craves, trials, so forbidding and unmeaning did and a sullen, gloomy melancholy, which the first movement seem. The Andante lacks but fixedness to become despair, of this work enjoys the reputation of be are shadowed forth with fearful effect in ing the greatest movement of the greatest some of his great works. He has been symphony ever written.

compared to Handel. True, he is of the His ninth Symphony, which has lately same class as Handel, but by no means been performed by the Philharmonic So- akin to him. Grandeur characterizes the ciety, is, with some others of his later works of both; but Handel's have the

grandeur of naked and finished simpli- grief. They contain his most characcity, Beethoven's that of unpolished teristic, and many of his first ideas. His magnificence. Both are powerful ; but slow movements are generally grave, with Handel, power is a means, with deep and sombre, and yet, with his charBeethoven an end. Both are imposing; acteristic variability, have flashes of the but the one from his unconscious majesty, fanciful, the grotesque, and the joyful. the other from his conscious might. In His allegroes have not the brilliant purity depicting the softer emotions, Handel is and steady march of Mozart's; but are tender and earnest, Beethoven fanciful richly turgid, and rush on with the awful and impassioned. His love is ungovern. and overwhelming force of a swollen able and distracting, his joy fierce and torrent. His ponderous pen has left its fitful. He is rarely placid, and never ten- heavy strokes upon all his writings. The der. Sadness he has not; but instead, same thoughtful, massive style, is appaa gloomy melancholy which pervades rent in his string quartettes, and his piano most of his writings, and appears in all. forte music, as in his symphonies and Humor he also lacks, in common with most . masses. Contrary to the ideas enterof his countrymen, but his perception tained by many, it is in his ideas themand love of the grotesque is great and selves that we must seek his power, eminently Teutonic. In all that he wrote, not in the number of instruments which he is vast, indefinite, and thoughtful. He he used to embody them. Indeed, he never seems done with his theme, or himself said that his music did not require rather it never seems done with him, for large bands, sixty performers being all it possesses him, and not be it. It that he desired, and this is found to carries him on and on with irresistible give about enough stringed instruments sweep, and when he bursts impetuously to balance a full wind band. His declaaway from it, and seems completely oc ration that, if independent as to money cupied with another idea, it recurs with matters, he would write nothing but syma suddenness which is startling. And phonies and masses, and perhaps quareven in the final crash of the orchestra, tettes, shows the appreciation he had of when the movement seems about instant his own genius ;. but the world may rely to close, and the cadence is expected, joice in obtaining his minor works, all the theme breaks out again, and it is only of which, as has been before remarked, by an irresistible dash into a prestissimo, bear the marks of his peculiar genius. that he seems able to bring the move Even his little Spirit Waltz, for the piano ment to an end. This is particularly the forte, is full of unearthliness amid all its case with the themes of the quick move- ravishing sweetness. We can see the ments of his symphonies, which are al- deaf musician sitting at his instrument, ways admirably fitted by their loftiness with his wild, mysterious eyes gazing and power for such a mode of treatment. into the space which he had peopled with He introduced a new movement into Shapes, which are all the more fearful syinphony, quartette and sonata writ- that they are partly human ; female figing-the Scherzo-invented by himself. ures, with eyes gleaming with unholy The Minuetto, for which he substituted light, and forms and faces of fearful, unthis, had too much voluptuous grace in earthly beauty; male figures, too it to be a suitable form for his ideas; he like to be Satyrs, and too fiendish to be required something which would carry men—these, mated with strange, sexless heavier weight, and his Scherzo move- Shapes, all grotesque, fantastic and bell. ments belie their name; for they cannot ish, mingle, and noiselessly and slowly be called playful, though mirthful they advance in the mysterious waltz ; now sometimes are. They have a gigantic they are close at hand, and go floating by, vivacity, a wild impetuosity, bursting fascinating with the very unearthliness forth in grotesque and fanciful forms, which makes them so repulsive, and the and then subsiding into gloom equally eager eye follows them as they sail off fitful and unrestrained.

again and are lost in the distance. It is, In these movements, he seems to de- perhaps, worthy of remark, that this light in tossing about huge masses of strangely beautiful composition is fresound, in rapid and intricate evolutions, quently spoiled by being played too fastwhich are like the skipping of a playful a common fault in the perforinance of Polyphemus; and mixed with these stu- Beethoven's music, and one of which he pendous fantasies are strains of ravishing complained. sweetness, and sometimes of touching Beethoven died of dropsy, on the 26th


of March, 1827, and was buried in the grave was covered, left it in silence just
grave-yard at Wahring. His funeral as the twilight fell upon them. During
was attended by, at least, twenty thou- the past year, a statue was raised to him
sand persons; his body was borne by in his native city, the ceremonies lasting
the eight principal singers of Vienna, and three days, and being attended by kings
attended by thirty-six torch-bearers, con and princes, who honored themselves in
sisting of poets, authors, composers and their strife to do honor to the memory of
musicians. The music which accompa- the great composer.
nied the procession, was an Equale Beethoven may be regarded as the great
written by himself—for four trombones, to epic Poet of Music, and his place is with
which was sung the Miserere. Hummel Handel, Haydn and Mozart, but not
dropped three laurel wreaths upon his above them as some have claimed.
coffin, and the mourners, waiting till the

<? Qever

direct contradiction
Rar vol & fri

[blocks in formation]

“ Those ancient towers,
Proud monuments of a stately race--are dust :
The high hearts that did beat within them-dust;
Yet lives the ambitious spirit—that erst led

To great emprize--still lives and still aspires." Not far from the extensive plains that Some question has been raised as to border the domain of Bohemia, are still the reason why the burg was named to be seen on the summit of a rock, Greifenstein. Some writers say it was so lofty as to be a landmark to the coun in allusion to the rapacious character of try round, the ruins of the once proud its ancient lords. Others, that it was so burg of Greifenstein. This was the named because a greif, or condor, had its home of the race of Schaafgottsch barons, nest on the rock where the castle was who were wealthy and powerful in the afterwards built. Others, again, who middle

ages. The castle, according to believe the condor a fabulous bird, say the chroniclers, was built in the twelfth that the first possessor's name was Greif, century ; it passed, about 1400, into the and that he, naturally, called his castle possession of the house of Schaafgottsch, after himself. The race is widely spread and was destroyed not more than sixty abroad in Germany. The arms of one years ago. This was done by order of family of that name show a white greif Count Nepomuch Gotthard, whom some upon a crimson field. In Nassausche is of his followers, finding the burg difficult a burg called Greifenstein ; the device of of access, bad persuaded that he might its owner is a sable greif, on a yellow build with the materials a new habitation shield. There is also on the Danube, at the foot of the mountain. The Count not far from Vienna, a “castle Greifen. seldom visited this spot, and thought the stein,” about which Caroline Pichler has old castle in a more decayed condition written her interesting tale of “The Velthan it really was; he, therefore, readily vet Slipper." gave his consent to a measure esteemed It is thus very probable that the ruined little less than sacrilege by the lovers of burg, first mentioned, was founded by one antiquity.

of that name. There is, however, a tra

dition current, and generally believed, though in humble garb, many a highgiving it a different origin. This may be born cavalier might have envied the noread with some interest.

ble and graceful form, and the majestic

beauty of countenance, possessed by this It was a happy time for the peasantry young man. Nature had gifted him with of Newburg, in Silesia, when their brave matchless perfections of person. His Duke, Henry I., journeyed through this mien, too, was not that of a peasant, but portion of his dominions. He was on of a free-born noble. He was noted, in his way-accompanied by his consort, fact, throughout the country, for manly Hedwig, and their children, with a nu- beauty and accomplishments. merous retinue of followers to visit his As the Duke with his train entered the burg of Lehnhaus, built by his renowned castle where they were lodged, young father, Duke Boleslaus. While he stopped Schaffhold passed thoughtfully along the to rest a day or two from the fatigues of mountain side, under the shadow of protravel, his subjects from the neighbor. jecting rocks. He had not gone far, when hood came to petition favors and redress his steps were arrested. At a few paces for various grievances; for they knew distance, a young and beautiful woman, the good will of their sovereign, and richly dressed, lay sleeping on the thought his power almost boundless. ground. Her fair cheek rested on her

Among the petitioners was an old hand; her soft, brown hair followed the herdsman, whose name was Wolfgang. waving line of her figure. So exquisite To the gracious inquiry of the Duke, re was this image of beauty, that the young specting his wants, he answered that the herdsman stood gazing at her several whole country was tormented by a con minutes, unable to remove his eyes. dor, that took the lambs from the flock, Suddenly, however, he started forward. and even maimed oxen at the plough. The He saw a serpent, of the most poisonous bird had a nest somewhere, and young kind, glide swiftly over the moss towards ones; when these were grown, children, the head of the sleeping girl. Schaffperhaps men and women, would not be hold sprang forward in time to strike the safe from their rapacity. “ Take com- reptile dead with his staff. The noise passion on us, gracious lord,” prayed the awoke the young girl; she half rose, saw herdsman : "command your soldiers to the serpent, and started up with a cry of slay the condor, and destroy its nest.” terror. The next instant she compre

Where hath the bird its eyrie?” asked hended the danger she had escaped, and the Duke.

turned a look of gratitude on him who “I know not, my lord,” replied Wolf. had saved her. gang; but well I deem it is somewhere A voice called from behind the bushes.beneath the Rahlenberg."

“ Princess Rubeta !” “I am here !" anThe Duke gave orders immediately, swered the young girl. Schafi hold now that the bird of prey should be hunted knew her rank ; she was the eldest and killed, with its young. The whole daughter of the duke. country was in motion. The knights With heavy heart he turned away, and were eager to fulfill their lord's com was out of sight when the attendants mand, and gain renown by the slaughter came to the spot. The princess walked of so destructive a foe to the herdsinen. on to the castle. No sooner was it known But the condor seemed to defy them. what had befallen her, than several pages Lambs disappeared almost hourly, and hastened to the spot. The slain reptile as if by magic. Only at rare intervals was there, but no trace could be found of could the bird be seen soaring on out the youth. spread wings, at so vast a height that no That day, before sunset, the peasantry arrow could reach it. The peasants were assembled in holiday attire, decomourned, and the baffled warriors mur rated with ribbons and flowers, to feast mured, at their want of success.

before the duke and his family. All the Meanwhile, Schaff'hold, the son of old herdsmen, except Schaffhold, were there; Wolfgang-—a youth of aspiring spirit, and the eyes of the princess sought only but little inclined, as his father oft com- him. When she found him not, she plained, to the herdsman's labor-had sighed, and tears filled her beautiful downbeen curiously watching the knights, ap- cast eyes. parently charmed with their brave apparel Schaffhold wandered in the woods for and armor, and following at a distance the rest of the evening, and returned those who were nearest the Duke. And home late at night, to think and dream

[ocr errors]


of Rubeta. With the morning resolution she had penetrated the secret of her

“She cannot be mine,” he said daughter's emotion. mournfully, “but I may at least win a “Rubeta !” she said quickly, “Rubeta ! name she will not disdain to hear !" deceive me not! Thou lovest already!”

He quitted his father's hut early; and The princess covered her blushing face his steps involuntarily turned towards the with her hands. castle where the duke's party lodged.

“ His

name !" demanded Hedwig. There was an unusual concourse before « Who has dared seek thee.” the gates. A herald came forth, mounted “ None-none !" answered Rubeta. on a white horse decorated with gay “He but saved my life.” trappings, preceded by a trumpeter, and “Ha!--the youth who struck the seraccompanied by several knights. Schaff- pent when thou wast sleeping ?” hold approached as near as possible. The “ The same." trumpet sounded; and after it ceased, the “Why—'twas but a hind-a peasant! herald made this proclamation in a loud Out on thee—froward girl !" voice

The princess lifted up her eyes.“ Was “Our gracious Duke, Henry the First, not Piastus,” she asked, "the founder sends greeting to his Christian lieges of of my father's honored race, a herdsman, the country of Neuburg; and, having too?" learned that the whole valley is plagued The Duchess frowned, and commanded by a condor, by which the property of her daughter to attend her to her aparthis liege subjects is wasted and their lives ment. placed in jeopardy, doth promise to the brave man who shall kill this evil bird, and destroy its nest, the hand of his It is needless to say that the Duke's eldest daughter-the princess Rubeta-in proclamation caused great excitement marriage."

among the knights and pages of the court. Bewildered, and trembling with new Each was eager to obtain the prize. The born hope struggling with fear, the young country was scoured by huntsmen in herdsman listened to the words of the every direction, and every forest-tree herald. When he had ended, the trumpet examined for the eyrie of the condor. again sounded, and the officer returned to Many were willing to risk their lives, for the castle. Schaffhold departed with a the sake of the beautiful princess; many few other straggling peasants, who had for the renown that was to be gained. come up to admire the military exercises “ Thou, too, my son!” said old Wolfof the knights.

gang, as he saw the youth preparing to go The young princess sate weeping in forth; "surely thou dost not dream—" her chamber. The duchess, her mother, “I have strength and courage, as well stood regarding her almost sternly, and as yon proud knights; wherefore should reproved her for her want of submission I not win?" returned the young man. to the paternal will.

Thou—a hindwa herdsman's son! “Ah, my mother!” murmured Rubeta, Go to, boy ; leave the chase to thy betters. looking up through her tears, “ you were They will chastise thee as malapert.” happy, for you gave your hand with “ Father, I fear them not. The Duke's your heart; mine must be the prize of proclamation said not—Whoever of him whom fortune favors. I must wed noble blood shall slay the spoiler. I a man whom I cannot love—if he chance will venture life for the prize; if I win to slay a bird that, after all, would soon and it be denied me—then, it is they who die of itself.”

lack nobility.” “ Thou forgettest, my daughter," said

Schaffhold went forth, with his staff the duchess more gently, “that the and axe, to hunt the bird of prey. All Duke's honor is pledged for the death of the morning he wandered in the forest. the condor, and the deliverance of his At noon, wearied, but determined not to subjects from its ravages. The man who yield to fatigue, he climbed the loftiest shall redeem thy father's word is worthy; tree he could find, that commanded a view and must be brave withal, for the enter- of an extensive region of country. The prise is one of deadly peril. Such a con- sky was blue and clear, the heat of the sort will not fail to make thee happy." sun overpowering. The landscape lay

The princess shook her head and con- glowing in the intense light. But on tinued to weep. A sudden light flashed the utmost verge of the horizon dark on the duchess; with woman's intuition clouds reposed, that were fast swelling

« ElőzőTovább »