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ing humility and, in most cases at least, also by their downright naivete. The air sets out (which is extremely characteristic) in G minor. The Ritornel conrists of two fully contrasted parts of eight bars each. At first a very sustained Cantilena, full of deep seriousness, reconciling calmness and painless failh and confidence. (G).
Then a quickly stirring, enticing, rustling tumult in semiquavers, in which the Basses hurl themselves upward with all haste, but presently, as if by an irresistible power, are prcsseil back, step by step, through two full octaves into the depths again — as if the vain onsets of the "bustling world" and its gradual, shadowy collapse should be presented palpably before our eyes; for iu this part it does not come to any concrete carrying out of a melody. The Ritornel closes in B flat major and then leads quickly back to G minor. (H).
And now the voice part carries through the anterior sentence of the Aria in two clauses of some length, separated by a couple of bars, closely following, in the first clause, the Ritornel, which is represented in the accompaniment. Hence it has at first the sustained melody, which is appropriate to the " Good night," but scarcely have the words " bustling world " unchained as it were the whole troop of evil spirits, than the whole troop rocks itself into a bolder and more violent attitude, to conclude at last with a proud, victorious, exulting flourish. (J).
After three bars of interlude, in which the basses hurry downwards faster and faster, the voice boldly returns so the attack, as if it would hurl back the " bustling world " once for all; the accompaniment flies asunder in both directions with hard, odd sounds. (K ).
And, if the turmoil is not yet over, it can only assert itself in weaker echoes (D minor) ; the voice ends exultingly, with the same, nay deeper, firmer confidence of uiatory, in D minor. (L).
With the firss part of the Ritornel (in D minor) we are led now to the middle sentence: Jetzt mach ich mit dir Beschluss (" Now I make an end with thee"), &«. It consists of a connecting piece, which is woven with great skill quite gradually and imperceptibly into the concluding sentence. It begins choral-like (at a); but soon takes, with the use of the first leading motive, a freer movement (6) imitated in the accompaniment; and, with an extremely characteristic melodic turn, also borrowed from the first part, and also imitated iu the accompaniment, gains a preliminary close in C minor (e), (M.)
Here is a caesura of the middle sentence; but, as the citation indicates, the leading motive begins again at once in the accompaniment, over which the voice floats in long drawn tones, until, following the law of parallelism, it bends into that ascending turn (cited under c) to end at last in E flat major. (N.)
Particularly characteristic and graphic in this middle sentence is the singularly wavering modulation, which, as the attentive observer cannot fail to see, is seized with the same inward soaring impulse as the melody itself, and renders the idea, the image of the text most strikingly. One might say, that Bach not only interprets his text, but chisels it as it were into living, inspired toneforms!
To this part now the second clause of the anterior sentence finally attaches itself, beginning here in C minor and ending on the Tonic ; it con
tains no particular heightenings of expression, which is easily explained by the whole course of what proceeds.
If any one is seriously prejudiced with the idea, that Bach works only in the figural style; that lie has no independent melody, but treats his voice part always like an obliyalo instrument, more calculated for enncertante brilliancy than for truth and simplicity; that he, the organ virtuoso, had no practical knowledge of the vocal organ; that his airs therefore are not singable, and so on: he may learn better from the arias just described. For their melodies, like countless others, are not only very convenient for execution and of a genuine song character: but they stamp themselves as irresistibly and wonderfully upon the memory as any melody of Mozart or Handel; although it is quite trire, that the melody with Bach has never the same autonomous position, as with them. For this there are reasons, ultimately connected with Bach's certain method as above alluded to. First, the historical reason, that Bach's melody is not, like Handel's and Mozart's, based essentially upon the secular Volks lied and the like, but purely on the spiritual air, the Choral and counterpoint. In the Volkslied the melody is entirely independent, and has the distinguished rhythmical divisions. It was by the free marriage between the popular and the artificial song, that the Handel-Mozart melodies acquired such a wonderful simplicity, with all their high artistic nobleness. The Choral, on the contrary, as Bach found it, had virtually renounced all that was originally popular, all that was rhythmical; hence its melody was very relative; it was a melody of the congregation but not of the individual. But this too presupposes, on the other hand, a deep aesthetic reason, why the melody of Bach should be less autonomous than that of Handel and Mozart. With Handel and Mozart a single, definite historical individual sings an Aria in a no less definite situation. Now the melody being the primitive expression for the individual, and the harmony being only the secondary element, it is easily explained why in Handel's choruses, for example, there occur generally speaking, few peculiarly melodious elements, and why these are reserved almost entirely for the arias. And equally easily is it explained why with Bach the choruses present a richer melody, while in the Arias it is less autonomous. For the Bach Aria is never a purely individual, historical nature, but always represents, according to its text and connection, the universal human consciousness; accordingly it must go back to the most universal elements, to such as are raised above all specific national coloring; and thereby it approaches the melodic expression of a voice part in a chorus far more, than this can be the case with Handel. As the believing Christian never knows himself as a separate self-dependent entity, but always as a member of the body of Christ, so the Bach melody can never be absolutely independent, but always only an integal part in the harmonious whole. And just by this means does it acquire an independence, which is really greater than the other kind. For as it blossoms, so to speak, out of the harmonious connection of the whole, so on the other hand out of a melodious motive there unfolds itself with Bach a rich, harmonious life, such as one seeks in vain elsewhere; no doubt, then, this kind of melodv
must be more many sided, mire capable of expression, in a word more independent, even if one cannot sing each single air by heart. Therefore the objection, that Bach has no "melody," requires no further remark.
• The letter* G, H, fcc, refer to the munical illustrations which may be given with the lost number of this article Our readers meanwhile ran refer to the aria itself. (To be continued.)
Prize ron Composkrs'—If any composer in this country has one or two Symphonies ready which he desires to have performed, a chance from Vienna is offered to hitn. The Society of the Friends of Music of the Austrian Empire, in Vienna, have concluded to warrant the performance of two new Symphonies in tho first months of 18G2, and solicit us to extend the invitation to native and foreign composers in this country. Tlic conditions arc as follows:
1. The Symphonies must not have !>cen performed nor published.
2. They must be sent to the committee (Vienna, Tuchlauhen); and not arrive later than the last day of the present month.
3. The Symphonies must be sent in full score, without the name of the author, hut with a motto, and a scaled letter containing the name and address of the author, and bearing on the envelope the same motto.
3. All the Symphonies will be sent to the following five judges, who will de-ide which of them are worthy of a performance: Dr. Ambros, in Prague; Ferd. Hiller, in Cologne; Dr. Franz Liszt, in Weimar; Carl Rinnecko, in Leipzig, and Robert Volkmann, in Pesth.
4. The performance will take place early in 1862. The Symphonies to he performed remain the property of the authors. They will be denoted in the programme with the motto chosen hy the authors. Immediately after the performance, the sealed letters will opened, and tho names of the authors will he made public.
5. All the unsuccessful works will remain in the office of the Society, and it will be hereafter announced when they can be reclaimed.—Musical Review and World.
The great Italian cantatrice (now some years dead) Signora Grassini, was performing one evening in 1810, with Signor Crcscentini, at the Tuileiies, before Napoleon I., in the opera of Komeo and Juliet." At the scene in the third act, the Emperor applauded vociferously, and Talma the great tragedian, who was among the audience, wept with emotion. After the performance, Napoleon conferred the decoration of a high order on Crescentini, and sent Grassini a scrap of paper, on which was written, "Good for 20,000 livrcs—Napoleon."
"Twenty thousand !" said ono of her friends, "it is an immense amount."
"It will serve as n dowry for one of my little nieces," replied Grassini, quietly.
Many years after this, at Bologna, another of her nieces was presented to her for the first time, with a request she would do something for her. The little girl was extremely pretty, hut her friends thought her unfitted for the stage, as her voice was a feeble contralto. Grassini asked her to sing, and, when the timid voice had sounded a few notes, Grassini embraced her niece.
"Dear child," said she, "you will not want me to assist you. Those who called your voice a contralto were ignorant of mu^ic. You have one of the finest sopranos in the world, and will far exel me as a singer. Take courage, work hard; your throat will win you a shower of gold."
This young girl still lives. She has not disappointed the prediction of her aunt. Her name is Giulia Grisi.
gin sit SProab.
Since the above was written for the art world of Paris, the Conservatoire Imperial <le Musique et dc Declamation has been Awarding its prizes to the successful competitors in a series of irrund ordeals which by annual custom the pupils trained under its auspices undergo. What concerns you chiefly being any artists of promise whom this great educational establishment may may have given to the world of imnsic, I will commence with that branch. In sing ng, therefore, I will state at once that the first prizchud among the men two claimants, M Caron, a pupil of M. Lagct. and M, Morere, a pupil of M. Iievial; and among the women one only was found worthy of it, namely, Mile. Marie Ciso, a pupil of M. Rdvial. The lady named Inst, to whom was also awarded the prize for Opc'ra Comique—the trial piece having been La Part du Dialile—made a very strong impression on the judges. She is, in the first place, pretty, and elegant in her appearance and deportment. As to her vocal qualifications they arc accuracy of intonation, gracefulness of expression, and careful finish in every detail. Her voice., however, trembles in the execution of passages, as though from fatigue, and knowing critics say that the "pose" of her voice is not all that might be desired. She is a good actress, and shows good taste in her dress, which goes a long way towards prepossessing an nudiencc. But Mile. Ciso can hardly lie regarded in the light of a mere pupil, being already an artist of some experience. She is, no doubt, destined to take a prominent rank in her profession. Of the two male prize men I have named, the first, M. Caron, is a barytone verging on the tenor. He is well versed in the resources of his nrt, and sings with animation. His face is good, too, as regards expression. M. Morere is a tenor with a pleasant quality of voice, what you may call a pretty voice, sings with taste, and exhibits undoubted marks of talent. Another lady was deemed deserving of the first prize for optfra comique, besides the one I have mentioned, Mile Balbi. She appeared in a fragment of Le Cold. Her personal appearance is engaging, and her manner graceful, both in the highest degreo, which, no less than a sweet voice (" soft and low "), are excellent things in woman. The latter excellence, specially distinguished by the pect, Mile. Balbi hath; and, moreover, she sings true, with unexceptionable judgment, and her notes are of a pearly quality. As an actress sue is also fully up to the mark. The second prize for women in this department had three claimants, Mile. Heboux, who, in the part of Gertrude in the Maitre tie Chapclle, sang and player! delightfully; Mile. Rolin, who showed herself in Let Porcherons a graceful and expressivo singer, if not much of an actress; and though last, most emphatically not least, Mile. Simon, who played in the Etoile du Nord and perfectly astonished her audience by her selfpossession. She has good qualities, but betrays too much effort. The first man's prize for opc'ra comique was won in a canter by M. Capoul, the same who I have told you was engaged to appear at the Salle Favart. lie approved himself a charming actor, and has a tenor voice of clear and resonant qua! ity, and with that power of touching the feelings which the French mean when they talk of an organe tumpathique. Evidently n fine career is open to this gentleman. The second prizo man was M. Gerezer, a harytono of agreeable quality, very intelligent, with good expression, but with a good deal of hard work before him if he wishes to make the most of his abilities. So much for what was chiefly interesting in the vocal competition. Come we to the instrumental contest, merely the main results of which will suffice. The first man's prize for pianoforte playing was taken by M. Bernard, a pupil of M. Laurent, nnd G. M. Lavignac, instructed by M. Marmontel; the second man's prize was awarded to M. Emmanuel, another pupil of the master just named. Miles. Lechesne and Blanc, pupils of M. Lecouppey, and Mile. Pesehel, pupil of M. Henri Hcrz, received the first woman's prize, and Mile. Bessaignet, pupil of Mad. Karranc, and Deshoys, pupil of Mad. Coche, the socond. Violoncello: first prize, Rahaud, pupil of M. Fraiichommc; second, Lays, pupil of ditto. Violin : first prize, Willaume, pupil of M. Massart, Mile. Castellan, pupil of M. Alard, and Jacob, pupil of M. Massart; second prize, Lelong, pupil of M. Sauzaz.
Berlin.—Among the places of amnscment still open, I may mention the Fricdrich-Wilhelmstadtisches Theater, at which M. Offenbach's operas are being performed. Then, too, there is Kroll's Theaatre, where the "star " in the ascendant for the moment is a certain H«'rr Wack, who possesses a tolerMe baritone, and has been favorably received in
Auber's Ziimpn. Another of Auher's opera*, Le Servient, hns been revived at the above establishment. It was first introduced to a Berlin audience, years ngo, at the old Konigstadtisches Theatre, hut has never been performed since. The mode in which it was given the other evening was very far from perfect.—Hcrr Gustav Bock, the well known musical publisher, lately had the Knight's Cro .s of the tinier of Wasa bestowed upon him by the King of Sweden, and his Majesty of Prussia has just granted him the permission to wear it.—While visiting, a short time ago, the cometcry in which Lndwig Rellstab is buried, I saw the monument erected over h.s grave. It is six feet high, with a granite tablet, on which is the admirable medallion of the deceased, by Hngen, while beneath it is the inscription : "Laid. Heinrich Rellstab, horn the 13th April, 1799, died the 28th Novemlier, I860."
Herr Wieninwski passed through this capital on his way to St. Petersburg. Professor van Boom also, of the Academy of Music at Stockholm, was here a short time; he has now left for Holland.
Ivrea, Kear Ml LAN.—(From a veri/ enthusiastic and rare Correspondent.)—If the word triumph may he applied in affairs of the theatre without fear of ridi cule, it never was more apropos than in the present case to express the success obtained last evening by the tenor Castilani, upon the occasion of his benefit. Over and above the opera [Chi dura vince) we heard a new singer, Mile. Glenister, in the cavaiina of Lucia, and a duet from Verdi's Masniadieri. This last piece was sung by the voung lady and the beforenamed tenor. Mile. Glenister was by all the auditors judged to he "unica" in her style, and those who have heard Persiani Rssure us that the young singer is not in the least inferior to that artist, and they maintain that in point of art it would be impossible to do more—taste, execution, intonation, perfect, all you find in her; and I confess that I do not remember having heard a singer who so nearly approaches Bossio. Besides her singing she has a certain ingenuous expression which alone infuses an irresistible grace into all she does. The demonstrations in favor of Mile. Glenister were innumerable, and surpassed every limit. When she had finished her work she went to a box, in which she had scarcely appeared when the public commenced to anew to applaud her The opera went off well. Mile. Lotteri sang with more than common ability, a» did also the baritone (Fieri), nnd the buffo (Tiraboschi). The tenor (Castcllani) was clamorously applauded, and most deservedly, in all he sang. Besides the opera, Signor Castcllani sang the Romanza "spirto centil," after which he was several times recalled. The dnet from 11 Masniadieri with Mile. Glenister was also very successful, and the singers were called repeated ly before the curtain. Mile. Glenister is an English girl about eighteen years of age.
Dresden.—Hcrr Merclli has taken advantage of his sojourn here to make frequent professional trips to the surrounding towns ; thus, in Chemnitz he gavo // Barltirre, and in Magdeburg the same opera, La Cenerentola, and // Matrimonio Segreto. The person who suffers the most from this business arrangement of the worthy manager, is the star of the company, Signora Trcbelli, who is quite knocked up by the exertion. The company will give six more representations here, and then proceed to Liittich, whence, after a short stay, Signora' Trebelli will visit Vichy, whers her attendance is commanded by tho Emperor Napoleon. She then returns to Belgium, and after a short tour will arrive in Berlin on the 1st October. From Berlin she goes to Paris to fulfil her engagement there.
The Opera In Russia.—The Emperor of Russia has commissioned Tamberlik to get a superb company together—himself being superb number one. The great tenor has made a vast number of engagements, and the artists will depart for Warsaw at the close of our Italian opera season.—Brighton Gazette.
Barcelona.— The Italian opera company, at preseut here, includes Mad. Lagrange, Mad.Lustany, Signore Naudin, Viani, and Atry. The have been doing very fairly.
Breslad.—The first concert given by Herr Bilse, Capellmeister, took placo on the 4th inst. The novelties were two pieces by Herr J. Vogt. The whole affair went of very satisfactorily.
Mannheim.— The twenty-fifth anniversary of Herr Vincenz Lachner as Hofcapellmeister, was brilliantly celebrated on the 25th June. A silver laurel wreath and goblet were presented him by the members of the operatic company, the orchestra, and the chorus. In the evening all the musical societies surprised the respected composer with a sereuade.
DESCRIPTIVE LIST OF THE
LATEST MUSIC. Published by Oliver Dltnon At Co.
Vooal, with Piano Accompaniment.
Our glorious land—land of the free.
J. W. Turner. 25
Another of the patriotic effusions elicited by the strife which still rapes. The words are excellent and most happily wedded by the ready poet and musician, Mr. Turner. The compositions of this gentleman are numerous, and much appreciated by teachers for their correctness, simplicity and purity.
Blow, bugle, blow. Song. W. R. Dempster 50
Tennyson's famous Bugle Song, which eonld hare found no composer more adequate to the task of proriding a musical garment than the composer of the "Rainy day," "May Queen," and numerous other ballads which are permanently established among the best written to English words. The clarion notes of this Bugle Song will ring out far and wide and become forever coupled with Tennyson's sparkling rhymes.
Alma redemptoris. Quartet. LambillotU. 40
Another capital number of the "Salute" collection for Catholic choirs. Singing Societies who are not shy of the Latin words, would hardly find short sacred pieces of a more pleasing character.
Glory, Hallelujah and Hail to the Chief. Arranged for full Brass Band. B. C. Bond, 1,00
This Is an a rangement for bands of the celebrated war song which everybody admires so much. It Is easy of execution and new bands will find no difficulty In mastering It.
March du Vainqueur. Jaques Blumenthal. 25
Whoever knows Blumenthars fine "Marche dee Croats*" and "jiarch mllltalre"—and who has not at least heard of them—will expect something unusually fine under this title. Nor will be be disappointed. It is a noble march, full of manly joy In its remarkable melodies, and with a sombre religions strain in commemoration of the slain, for Its trio.
La Fiorentina. Fantasia cle'gante. Duvemoy. 40
One of Duvernoy's best instructive pieces for pupils of about a year's practice.
Les Filles du Ciel Waltzes. Camille Schubert. 60
A ball in Paris would be thought dull without a Q uadrllle of Ma sard's and a set of waltatw by Camille Schubert. The dancing public of Paris have voted The above set one of their special favorites. It certainly equals in brilliancy and freshness of melodies the "Dance de Seville" sets, so extensively known here
Convention Chorus Book. A collection of
No more useful book for Musicai Gatherings has
Music Bt Mail.—Music Is sent by mall, the expense being about one cent on each piece. Persons at a distance will find the conveyance a saving of time and expense In obtaining supplies. Books can also be sent at the rate of one cent per ounce. This applies to any distance under three thousand miles; beyond that It is double.
Whole No. 491. """" T.OSTON. SATURDAY, APG. 31,18 6 1. Vol. XIX. No. 22.
"Under the Cloud and through the Sea."
So moved they, when false Pharaoh's lesion pressed
Sons of old Israel, at their God's behest,
Under the cloud and through the swelling sea.
So passed they, fearless, where the parted wave,
A solemn aisle before,—behind, a gravo,—
So led he them, in desert marches grand,
On, to the borders of that Promised Land,
And Jordan raged along his rocky bod,
And Amorito speare flashed keen and fearfully:
Still tho same pathway must their footsteps tread,—
God works no otherwise. No mighty birth
No man-child among nations of the earth
Sons of the Saints who faced their Jordan-blood
Who by the Red Sea of their glorious blood
Reached to the Freedom that your blood shall save!
O Countrymen! God's day is not yet done!
He leaveth not His peoplo utterly I Count it a covenant, that He leads us on
Beneath the cloud and through the crimson Sea! —Atlantic Monthly for September.
For Dwight's Journal of Music
The Diarist in London.
MCSIC IN ENGLAND.—ARABELLA GODDARD,
SIMS KEKVF.S, AND OTHER SINGERS.
In reviewing my experience during the last few months, thus evening by evening, I am still more fully convinced of the truth of what is stated in the opening notes to tliese communications, viz,: the great excellence of musical performances in London in every respect, save that they are too costly for the many.
I have purposely omitted talking of this, that, and the other virtuoso, instrumental or vocal, and have now but a few notes to add upon this topic.
One general remark may be made, viz., that London, owing to the enormous wealth there congregated, does and can bring from all parts of the world the greatest and best musical performers. There are, it is true, cases in which virtuosos of the first order have engagements for life, which prevent them from making London their home; but hardly one can be named who has not set the seal to his or her fame, by appearing in the Hanover Square Rooms, St. James' Hall, on the stage of the Italian or German Opera, or in some other of the places devoted to the highest walks of the Art. Handel traveled to Italy 140 years ago to engage the best singers; Leopold Mozart brought his marvelous children to play in the presence of the then young George III. and
his wife; Salomon engaged Haydn and Mozart
death broke the engagement of the latter —
to compose and conduct symphonies; Spohr was
Now, under these circumstances, is it not ab-
If, then, London has had the culture arising from having the best for a hundred and fifty years, does it not stand to reason, that talent, which is either native or naturalized must be of high order if it be recognized as such by such a public? A question that answers itself.
When, therefore, we see the names of Arabella Goddard, or Charles Halle\ or Piatti, or Vieuxtemps, or Lazarus (clarinettist), or Harper (trumpeter), and the like, upon programmes as grand attractions, have we not reason to think that they must be of the first order? You have but to hear them, and you will see that they are
Five years ago Mad. Schumann's playing of Beethoven excited my sympathies more than that of any pianist, man or woman, whom I had heard; how she plays now I do not know, but for perfection of execution of the most difficult music — of Beethoven's last sonatas — I have heard nothing from any one, man or woman —not Thalberg, certainly — save, perhaps, Alexander Dreyschock —like the playing of Miss Goddard (Mrs. Davison). It all seems to be indeed but'Vay ing," difficulties seem unknown to her. She plays everything by rote, and whether it be a fantasia written expressly to show her powers, one of the last Beethoven sonatas, or a concerto, it is all one. She takes her place at the pianoforte, as quietly and calmly as if to play a waltz in private, goes through her performance without grimace or contortion of face or members, and retires as if all this were nothing. She is still young, about twenty, I believe, and to what a pitch she may develope her powers, I'm sure I have no conception. When I hear those last So
natas of Beethoven as she plays them they become as limpid and clear as those which are played to death and lie on every decent pianoforte. .
Mr. Halle seems to be the first among the resident pianists other than Miss Goddard. They arc at present the two popular favorites, the two whose names "draw." I take him to be a man of fifty, and certainly he is a marvellous performer. He plays no clap-trap music, nothing but the best, but that of all schools. We want two or three such men.
The name of fine performers is legion. I heard, however, but few of them. Young Barnet, recently returned from Germany, has made a very favorable impression; Herr Ernst Pauer, a grandson of Beethoven's friend, Madame Streichcr, stands very high; and it may be interesting to some of your readers to know that Sigismund Blumner, formerly professor of the pianoforte in Stern's Conservatorium in Berlin, has recently removed to London.
I have spoken already of the excellence of the London orchestras. That of the Philharmonic Society I did not hear, as I had come to London without a " swallow-tailed " coat, and its concerts cannot be appreciated by a man in a frock-coat, and so those without the wedding-garment are cast into the outer darkness. (I was turned away from the Italian opera one evening for the same reason.) But all those which I did hear are of the first order; and as to conductors, it will be difficult to find any anywhere beyond Costa (especially for the masses employed in oratorio), Alfred Mellon, and Sterndale Bennett.
I do not understand writing about singer). The technical language conveys little idea to my mind, and my inability to use it is freely confessed. Pity, for I should like to convey some notion at least of the tvnor singer who hasViven me more delight than any other I have ever heard anywere. Sims Reeves, of course, is meant. I came to London fresh from hearing Mario, and my first feeling at hearing Reeves was disappointment. It was in St. James' Hall, and in "Adelaide" or the "Liederkreis," I forget which. No matter, he sang it exquisitely, but the pianissimo in which he indulged (too much V) was so truly in the superlative degree as to be at times inaudible. Then I heard him in opera, and was not so much impressed as I expected. Hence I wondered somewhat, that they paid him at the Crystal Palace $500 for a song or two and made money by the operation.. There must be something extraordinary in a man, whose singing was judged to have drawn twelve thousand of the fifty thousand visitors on that day. But when I came to hear " If with all your hearts" and "Then shall the righteous" in "Elijah," "Comfort ye," and the other magnificent recitatives and airs in the " Messiah" and "Israel in Egypt," at Exeter Hall, and in the " Creation '• at the Crystal Palace, all doubt vanished. How fully can I now agree with the following sentitences in an article upon him; " Mr. Reeves has
the good fortune to possess a voice of a quality so beautiful that it may be said to be almost exceptional in its character, combining as it does the most perfect sweetness, with a power altogether unrivaled among tenors, a register of most extensive compass, and a thorough knowledge of music which enables its possessor to turn these great natural advantages to the best possible account. It is not in singing any particular class of music that Mr. Sims Reeves' speciality exists, his capability is universal; and whether in sacred, operatic, or chamber compositions, he is equally at home, standing confessedly a master in each and every style."
This man has given me the highest delight I ever experienced at the singing of a tenor, and that not so much through the marvelous beauty of the voice, one which is now full of tears, as in the "Liederkreis," tears of longing desire for the loved one; as in " Then shall the righteous" in Elijah, tears of joy and thanksgiving; as in "Comfort ye," from the Messiah, tears of sympathetic sorrow; and now rings out like a trumpet call, heroic, manly, majestic, as from his making its sweetness and power but a means to the end of adding the deepest expression to words. His command of his organ is so perfect that tones are never sacrificed to words, nor words to tones. Whatever the one be, the other is at the same time just so perfect. You understand his magnificent declamation with as much ease as the words of the clearest speaking orator. In his mouth the recitatives of Handel's oratorios become among the most beautiful compositions ever given to the voice, such vigor, such fire, not drawled out after the absurd German manner, but declaimed like a good reader, in respect to rapidity, and adding to all the sentiment which the really fine reader can infuse into the words read, all the elect of musical expression. Sims Reeves is the first person I have heard thus far in life whose recitative was absolutely free from a tendency to be either singing, chanting or talking, which was a perfect thing in its kind, and the kind beautiful. Hitherto, as a rule, I have borne with recitative, as an unavoidable evil, in the Ilandelian oratorios in Berlin, the German singers have a way of drawling and dragging it out, which gives one the earache, but Reeves and the other singers also, at Exeter Hall, though not in such perfection, make it what Handel intended, a musical dressing up of the text, which adds to it the most intense expression. "Thy rebuke hath broken his heart. He is full of heaviness. He looked for some to have pity on him, but there was no man, neither found he any to comfort him. Behold and see if there be any sorrow like unto his sorrow!" This little recitative and air, short as they both are, just thrown in as if to keep up the connection of the text, were given with a tenderness, pathos, sorrow, that seemed to weigh down the hearts of the multitude which crowded the hall at that performance of the Messiah. But how, after the short recitative (also by him) "He was cut off," rang out the triumphant song, " But thou didst not leave his soul in hell!" And what a preparation, how intense the longing it made for that wonderful climax, hardly surpassed by the Hallelujah itself, "Lift up your heads, O ye gates, and be ye lifted up, ye everlasting doors, and the King of Glory shall come in!"
Then again after the nations, "raging furi
ously together," have determined to "break the bonds asunder" of the Lord and his anointed, "he that dwelleth in heaven " recited Reeves, "shall laugh them to scorn, the Lord shall hold them in derision "; and then his voice assumed an iron hardness of quality, so to speak, and for the first time, I heard " Thou shalt break them with a rod of iron, thou shalt break them in pieces," with an effect which made the heart feel to its inmost core, how weak, feeble, mean are all the efforts of mere humanity against the Almighty. And this air, so given, justified the solemn joy, majestic triumph of the great Hallelujah chorus immediately succeeding. All the raging nations, the kings of the earth, and the rulers of peoples taking counsel together, are broken with a rod of iron and dashed in pieces like a potter's vessel; therefore, " Hallelujah, for the Lord God omnipotent reigneth, for the kingdoms of this world are become the kingdom of the Lord and of his Christ, and he shall reign forever and ever!"
I take Mr. Reeves to be some forty-five years of age, and see no reason why he should not long continue to be the greatest living oratorio singer. We cannot hope ever to hear him in America for a voyage thither could only result in a pecuniary loss to him. He is thoroughly appreciated in England, and can draw upon the liberality of the wealthy English musical public to an extent far beyond any possibility in America, unless through a Barnum process to which he would never descend. "Pity 'tis, 'tis true," for his example would do more to cultivate English singing with us than all the music lessons of all the foreigners from Quebec to New Orleans. He is a new proof of how much good singers, especially in Recitative, depends upon an appreciation of the qualities necessary in good reading. The great pains now taken (in New England especially) in our country to make good readers is, I hope, laying a foundation for expressive singing. When one can feel the accent, emphasis and cadence proper in reading a text, and has mastered it, it is pretty certain that this culture will be visible when he sings, it is almost a necessary consequence. I pray you not to call me extravagant in my eulogy of Sims Reeves until you have heard him in Exeter Hall in Handel's music. Then we may argue the point, but I do not promise to be convinced.
Mr. Santley was the principal bass at the Exeter Hall Oratorios. He has a fine singing voice, somewhat hard in character and extensive in compass. His singing seemed to lack animation, and being heard in contrast to Reeves', it was rather cold. In opera it was decidedly so. But he has many qualities of a very fine singer, and his enunciation of his words is very good.
Of the women whom I remember as having particularly struck me, of course Fraulein Titions, of Vienna, ranks first. Her singing at the Crystal Palace in the Creation was the finest specimen of soprano singing in the large, grand style I have ever heard. Her voice, of great extent of compass, and marvellous in power and purity, must have developed greatly since I heard her in Berlin some five years since. I was told that she is now studying English oratorio singing, as the highest branch of the art. But what there is to study judging from the exhibition of her powers at the Crystal Palace, one can hardly see, but then Haydn is not Handel!
In the "Black Domino" the singers who impressed me most were, the ever charming Louisa Pyne, well known in New York and Boston, who sings better than ever, and is among the best in Europe. She sang beautifully also in the " Messiah "; a very nice young soprano, Miss Thirlwall ; Mr. Henry Corri, bass, destined to become a very fine one; and Mr. Henry Hnigh, a very nice tenor indeed. This was at the Covent Garden opera.
At Her Majesty's theatre, Miss Parcpa is prima donna of the English Company; a high, pure soprano, and a fair rival of Louisa Pyne. She is a large, fine looking woman, and can —so can all these London singers, thank fortune — sing in pure tones, free from the detestable tremolo or " wiggle " so common on the continent. Mr. Santley was the first bass.
In Robin Hood the first woman's part was takby Madame Lcmmens-Sherrington, a very fine soprano indeed and a favorite singer at the principal concerts. One lady, whose name has for years been prominent in the notices of oratorio performances, I had a very strong desire to hear, from the wish to hear the alto songs of Handel given with some such perfection as that to which Reeves has attained in those written for the tenor voice. This was Miss Dolby, now Madame Sainton. Her style is superb, and the pathos with which she gave " He was despised" was admirable. But I was sadly disappointed in her voice; she had, however, but recently left a sick bed.
As a rule it is the contralto or the mezzo soprano voice which in a woman touches my feelings in the highest degree. Thus I never grew weary of the air of Fides, which d'Angri sung so continually in America; and years ago Anna Stone's " Return, O God of Hosts," in Samson, was one of the gems in the oratorio. I had hoped, therefore, some such pleasure from Mad. Sainton Dolby, as I in fact received from Reeves, but the voice was wanting. The alto which grew upon me by oft hearing so that it now remains most indelibly fixed in my memory is Madame Laura Baxter — a large, energetic person, a large, energetic voice. At first there was a something rather repellant in her singing, a certain rudeness (perhaps I may call it) strength wanting polish, a taking by storm, but it grew up on me wondrously. Her " Woe unto thee, who forsake him," in Elijah " was immensely forcible. I know no one, whom I should choose before her for the alto in the " Messiah." Excepting songstresses of world-wide reputation there are few whose names would be a greater attraction to me than that of Madame Laura Baxter, and I am am surprised that the tone of the critics in relation to her is not warmer. But they are and ought to be better judges than I am.
I have but a very imperfect remembrance of the impression made by Miss Palmer, another singer of this class, whom I only heard once and then upon my first arrival. That impression is, however, very favorable.
In thus looking over the experience of the last few months I am confirmed in the opinion that no city in the world can show so large a number of such fine native singers as London. The average excellence, even of those not named, who have sung at concerts which I have attended, is far above that of Berlin and Vienna; I would add Paris, but I heard too little there to venture a judgment.
There was a time, a great while ago, alas! when England led the world in secular music, and could even send organists to the Continent. Whether the dear old Mother country may not yet take the lead again, is not a question to be answered with a "pshaw, nonsense!" Some steps are already taken and some doubtless will be in time. The noblest foundation for high musical culture, possible, outside the constant hearing of finely performed mas3 music in the churches — which, by the way, is now not too often to be heard even in tho most Romish of countries—is familiarity with Handel's oratorios. It was that which for so many years made our small Boston the leader in music in America. This gives a standard of excellence for all the higher qualities of music and awakens or confirms the taste for that which is truly good. There is and can be no other such basis to build upon. This step has been taken in England. Everywhere choral societies are formed or are forming, and the "Messiah" and "Israel in Egypt," now published in cheap editions, are the works to tho conquering of which all strive. By slow degrees, too slow unfortunately, tho chance of hearing such music adequately performed is coming within the means of classes hitherto excluded from the higher music. Then the efforts making to simplify teaching of class singing and bringing the lower classes of society into singing schools, although some of " the systems" seem to me absurd, still all tends upward and onward. A great impulse has been given to the cause of popular music, and the effect of a cheap press is beginning to be seen in music as well as in literature.
But there is still much to do. One crying abuse ought to be rectified immediately, and that is the misapproprsation of cathedral or church funds originally bestowed for the maintainance of a musical service. Cathedral choirs in England, France, Italy, Germany were for centuries the nurseries of music, and one is surprised to see how great a number of the highest names in the art have been upon tho lists of singing boys, or belong to men whose fathers were musicians in ecclesiastical establishments. This is peculiarly the case in England. As to Germany we find musical biographical sketches beginning con tinually with the fact that the hero at the age of eight or ten years became a '• chork-nabe" (singing boy) in such a church or cloister. Now I have seen and heard a great number of complaints that the music funds of English cathedrals are diverted from their purposes save the small pittance necessary to secure the eight or twelve boys absolutely necessary for the service, and these boys are merely taught to sing their parts by rote, when the real object of the foundations was to make good musicians and cultivated men of them. (I am acquainted with a rising young musician, a theoretical teacher, who began life as a singing boy and who has promised me at some future time to relate his experience in the columns of the Journal.) If this nuisance of the music funds be so bad as has been represented, the musical public ought to agitate the subject, and compel the lazy priests and canons to make way for the singing boy.
Another object of importance not yet attained is the making of good orchestral music accessible to the poorer classes; this I have spoken of before.
Perhaps the most discouraging sign of the times (musical) is the almost utter want of a musical literature. A popular musical literature does not exist; and I am surprised continually to find books long since shelved everywln re else appealed to as authorities on matters of history and criticism pertaining to the Art. This is the weak side of the leading writers on music in the periodical press. Mr. Chorley is the exception, he keeping himself well up to the times in German and French as well as English writings on music. But this defect will not probably be remedied until there is an awakening on the part of those, who so freely spend their money for the support of the finest concerts in the world, to the value of musical knowledge as a means of higher enjoyment of music itself. The press teems with works upon painting and architecture, why not upon music? How happens it too, that nowhere in London could I find a library equal to very moderate demands on the part of one who would write upon modern German music?
But notwithstanding some drawbacks, the result of three months' observation is one very favoraMe to the condition of music in England; and as to tho interest which my own particular pursuit has excited in the minds of nearly all to whom I had occasion to apply for aid or information, it cannot be described in too warm terms. And that aid has been effectual to an extent of which I had not dreamed. To Mr. Chorley, Mr. Davison, Mr. Hogarth, Mr. Macfarren. all well-known names in our country, and to others well known there, my warmest thanks are due.
A. W. T.
A ILetter About Chopin *
My Dear Sir,—I have read with lively interest the letters which M. Barbedette has devoted to Chopin and his works. The striking points in the man and the musician are faithfully reproduced. M. Barbedette admires Chopin, and what is more, loves him. Being imbued with two such sentiments, he might be expected to perform his task well, and he has done so. His articles are sure to be appreciated by the professors of the piano and the students who habitually read the Meneslrel, in which they find some admirable instruction. It was no easy matter to analyse the music of Chopin, for every one of his works is a complex production in the composite style; the plan and outline being far from apparent. I do not mean by this to say that Chopin's works are deficient in inspiration, that his style is strained and labored, or that his nature was not true and impulsive; but that same nature of his contained so many elements I A sentiment of elegance and delicate refinement amounting to coquetry ; ingenuous frankness, full of abandon; capricious fits of gaiety and folly, accents of profound grief; an elevated and believing soul; a weakly and voluptuous temperament; a sickly sensibility; a fine and exquisite mind, are all mixed up and confounded in Chopin, forming a unity at once admirable and eccentric. This is a fact which M. Barbedette has clearly perceived, and he has introduced into his analysis a number of reflections very remarkable for their justice.
As you perceive, my dear Editor, I do not take up my pen for the purpose of criticising a criticism. Such a course would be all the less becoming in me. as I myself am a critic, and it would be easy to inflict upon me just retaliation. I wish, with your permission and that of M. Barbedette, merely to point out an omission in the latter's article; though, after all, it is not an omission, since the fact I desire to submit to your
* Translated for the London Musical World from Le MfnMrel.
notice is mentioned,—only sufficient stress is not laid upon it. M. Barbedette, when referring to Chopin, has spoken at great length of the love of one's native country. This noble sentiment has inspired him to write two noble and touching pages, which must still be in the minds of all your readers. Let us examine how far this sentiment affected Chopin. "He did not study," says M. Barbedette "to be a national musician. Like all true national poets, he sang without fixed design and without preconcerted plan, whatever his inspiration dictated most spontaneously; and thus it is that in his songs there springs up, without care and without effort, the most idealized form of national genius." A few lines further on, M. Barbedette adds: "After having become a Parisian, Chopin did not cease to keep up his relations with his native land, though absent from it. We follow the trace of this in the inumerous melodies which circulate under his name in Poland melodies which he adapted to certain patriotic songs of his country, and which he sent there as pledges that he still recollected it."
I stop at this last. The portion which I have underlined expresses an undoubted fact; as to the other, I have, I confess, some trouble in comprehending the meaning which Mr. Barbedette attaches to it.
For my part, I know (and I will proceed to tell you how I know it) that Chopin composed a number of songs, and not melodies adopted to patriotic songs, but original songs, which have become popular in Poland ; it is a singular thing, too, that his country which sings them is ignorant that he was the author, or, at least, was ignorant of it before his death. I know that, during the latter years of his life, Chopin fondly entertained the idea of collecting and publishing his songs, as well as a collection of national airs. This I can certify. Alas! his plan, like so many plans formed by men, men of genius as well as simple mortals, here below, was never realised.
M. Barbedette is well acquainted with Chopin; he is deeply versed in most of what he said and did; let him allow me to instruct him fully concerning the circumstance I have mentioned above. I was an old acquaintance of Chopin, when he took up his residence, for a lengthened period, in the Square d'Orleans, where I have lived during twenty years. We met verv frequently, and not without interchanging kindly words, as well as, sometimes, criticisms and opinions on art and artists. Chopin was too much a man of the world, and possessed too much good taste to offend the feelings of persons who had musical sympathies different from his own. He first of all established the points of contact, and then, with infinite cleverness, seasoned with a slight dash of epigram, maintained a system of reservation on the disputed points. Frequently, when you thought you had him at your mercy, he escaped from you ; he glided from your grasp, with incomparable address—nay, I will even say, grace. He was like his own music. It was necessary to know him intimately before you could appreciate him, just as, in order to ap preciate him, just as, in order to appreciate all the worth of his music, you had to make it a subject of profound study. It was no easy thing to approach the man, any more than his music. There was something of tho sensitive plant in one and in the. other. I speak according to my own impressions.
One evening, Chopin and myself in the foyer of the Italian Opera. This was somewhere in 1847 or 1818. He told me there was an empty stall in the orchestra next to his own, and advised me to take it I did so. 11 Matrimonio was being performed. I do not know why I had fancied Chopin could not like such music, because, in the first place, it was Italian, and then because it was so easy, so simple, so flowing in style, so limpid, and so natural, that it struck me as diametrically opposed to his. He, on his part, imagined that it could not please me. Judge, my dear Editor, what must have been the surprise of both of us when wo discovered that we were both enthusiastically fond of it! Our mutual suspicion greatly amused us. "Ah! what a masterpiece," said Chopin.