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Title: Symphonies and Their Meaning; Third Series, Modern Symphonies
Author: Goepp, Philip H., 1864-1936
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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      parts of the musical scores referred to in the text.






Criticism of contemporary art is really a kind of prophecy. For the
appreciation of the classical past is an act of present perception, not
a mere memory of popular verdicts. The classics live only because they
still express the vital feeling of to-day. The new art must do
more,--must speak for the morrow. And as the poet is a kind of seer, the
true critic is his prophetic herald.

It is with due humility that we approach a view of the work of our own
time, with a dim feeling that our best will be a mere conjecture. But we
shall the more cheerfully return to our resolution that our chief
business is a positive appreciation. Where we cannot praise, we can
generally be silent. Certain truths concerning contemporary art seem
firmly grounded in the recorded past. The new Messiah never came with
instant wide acclaim. Many false prophets flashed brilliantly on the
horizon to fall as suddenly as they rose. In a refracted view we see the
figures of the great projected in too large dimension upon their day.
And precisely opposite we fail to glimpse the ephemeral lights obscuring
the truly great. The lesson seems never to be learned; indeed it can, of
course, never be learned. For that would imply an eternal paradox that
the present generation must always distrust its own judgment.

Who could possibly imagine in Schubert's time the sway he holds to-day.
Our minds reel to think that by a mere accident were recovered the
Passion of Bach and the symphonies of Schubert. Or must we prayerfully
believe that a Providence will make the best prevail? And, by the way,
the serious nature of this appreciation appears when we see how it was
ever by the greatest of his time that the future master was heralded.

The symphony of the present age has perhaps fallen somewhat in estate.
It was natural that it should rush to a high perfection in the halcyon
days of its growth. It is easy to make mournful predictions of
decadence. The truth is the symphony is a great form of art, like a
temple or a tragedy. Like them it has had, it will have its special eras
of great expression. Like them it will stay as a mode of utterance for
new communities and epochs with varying nationality, or better still,
with vanishing nationalism.

The tragedy was not exhausted with Sophocles, nor with Shakespeare nor
with Goethe. So the symphony has its fallow periods and it may have a
new resurgence under new climes. We are ever impatient to shelve a great
form, like vain women afraid of the fashion. It is part of our constant
rage for novelty. The shallower artist ever tinkered with new
devices,--to some effects, in truth. Such is the empiric course of art
that what is born of vanity may be crowned with highest inspiration.

The national element will fill a large part of our survey. It marks a
strange trait of our own age that this revival of the national idea
falls in the very time when other barriers are broken. Ancient folk-song
grew like the flower on the battle-field of races. But here is an
anxious striving for a special dialect in music. Each nation must have
its proper school; composers are strictly labelled, each one obedient to
his national manner. This state of art can be but of the day. Indeed,
the fairest promise of a greater future lies in the morrow's blending of
these various elements in the land where each citizen has a mixed
inheritance from the older nations.

In the bewildering midst of active spirits comes the irresistible
impulse to a somewhat partisan warfare. The critic, if he could view
himself from some empyraean perch, remote in time and place, might smile
at his own vehemence. In the clash of aims he must, after all, take
sides, for it is the tendency that is momentous; and he will be excited
to greater heat the stronger the prophet that he deems false. When the
strife is over, when currents are finally settled, we may take a more
contented joy in the impersonal art that remains.

The choice from the mass of brilliant vital endeavor is a new burden and
a source almost of dismay. Why should we omit so melodious a work as
Moskowski's _Jeanne d'Arc_,--full of perhaps too facile charm? It was,
of course, impossible to treat all the wonderful music of the Glazounows
and the Kallinikows. And there is the limpid beauty of the Bohemian
_Suk_, or the heroic vigor of a _Volbach_. We should like to have
mentioned _Robert Volkmann_ as a later Romanticist; and _Gade_ has ever
seemed a true poet of the Scandinavian symphony.

Of the modern French we are loth to omit the symphonies of _Chausson_
and of _Dukas_. In our own America it is a still harder problem. There
is the masterly writing of a _Foote_; the older _Paine_ has never been
fully valued in the mad race for novelty. It would have been a joy to
include a symphony of rare charm by _Martinus van Gelder_.

A critical work on modern art cannot hope to bestow a crown of laurels
among living masters; it must be content with a view of active
tendencies. The greatest classic has often come into the world amid
least expectation. A critic in the year 1850 must need have omitted the
Unfinished Symphony, which was then buried in a long oblivion.

The present author prefers to treat the main modern lines, considering
the special work mainly as example. After all, throughout the realm of
art the idea is greater than the poet, the whole art more than the
artist,--though the particular enshrinement in enduring design may
reflect a rare personality.


NOTE: Especial thanks are owed to the Philadelphia Orchestra for a free
use of its library, and to Messrs. G. Schirmer Company for a like


CHAPTER I.--The Symphony during the Nineteenth Century

CHAPTER II.--Berlioz and Liszt

CHAPTER III.--Berlioz. "Romeo and Juliet." Dramatic Symphony

CHAPTER IV.--A Symphony to Dante's "Divina Commedia"

CHAPTER V.--The Symphonic Poems of Liszt
  "Les Préludes"
  "Battle of the Huns"

CHAPTER VI.--The Symphonic Poems of Saint-Saëns
  "Danse Macabre"
  "The Youth of Hercules"
  "Omphale's Spinning Wheel"

CHAPTER VII.--César Franck
  Symphony in D minor

CHAPTER VIII.--D'Indy and the Followers of Franck
  D'Indy's Second Symphony

CHAPTER IX.--Débussy and the Innovators
  "The Sea"--Débussy
  "The Sorcerer's Apprentice"--Dukas

CHAPTER X.--Tschaikowsky
  Fourth Symphony
  "Manfred" Symphony
  Fifth Symphony

CHAPTER XI.--The Neo-Russians
  Balakirew. Symphony in C
    "Antar" Symphony
    "Schérézade." Symphonic Suite
  Rachmaninow. Symphony in E minor

CHAPTER XII.--Sibelius. A Finnish Symphony

CHAPTER XIII.--Bohemian Symphonies
  Smetana. Symphonic Poem: "The Moldau River"
  Dvôrák. Symphony: "From the New World"

CHAPTER XIV.--The Earlier Bruckner
  Second Symphony
  Fourth (Romantic) Symphony
  Fifth Symphony

CHAPTER XV.--The Later Bruckner
  Ninth Symphony

CHAPTER XVI.--Hugo Wolff
  "Penthesilea." Symphonic Poem

  Fifth Symphony

CHAPTER XVIII.--Richard Strauss. Symphonic Poems
  "Death and Transfiguration"
  "Don Juan"
  "Till Eulenspiegel's Merry Pranks"
  "Sinfonia Domestica"

CHAPTER XIX.--Italian Symphonies
  Sgambati. Symphony in D major
  Martucci. Symphony in D minor

CHAPTER XX.--Edward Elgar. An English Symphony

CHAPTER XXI.--Symphonies in America
  Henry Hadley. Symphony No. 3
  Gustav Strube. Symphony in D minor
  Chadwick. Suite Symphonique
  Loeffler. "The Devil's Round." Symphonic Poem





After the long dominance of German masters of the musical art, a
reaction could not fail to come with the restless tendencies of other
nations, who, having learned the lesson, were yet jealous of foreign
models and eager to utter their own message. The later nineteenth
century was thus the age of refraction of the classic tradition among
the various racial groups that sprang up with the rise of the national
idea. We can see a kind of beginning in the Napoleonic destruction of
feudal dynasties. German authority in music at the beginning of the
century was as absolute as Roman rule in the age of Augustus. But the
seed was carried by teachers to the various centres of Europe. And, with
all the joy we have in the new burst of a nation's song, there is no
doubt that it is ever best uttered when it is grounded on the lines of
classic art. Here is a paramount reason for the strength of the modern
Russian school. With this semi-political cause in mind it is less
difficult to grasp the paradox that with all the growth of
intercommunication the music of Europe moves in more detached grooves
to-day than two centuries ago. The suite in the time of Bach is a
special type and proof of a blended breadth and unity of musical thought
in the various nations of Europe of the seventeenth century. In the
quaint series of dances of the different peoples, with a certain
international quality, one sees a direct effect of the Thirty Years'
War,--the beneficent side of those ill winds and cruel blasts, when all
kinds of nations were jostling on a common battle-ground. And as the
folk-dances sprang from the various corners of Europe, so different
nations nursed the artistic growth of the form. Each would treat the
dances of the other in its own way, and here is the significance of
Bach's separate suites,--English, French and German.

Nationalism seems thus a prevailing element in the music of to-day, and
we may perceive two kinds, one spontaneous and full of charm, the other
a result of conscious effort, sophisticated in spirit and in detail. It
may as well be said that there was no compelling call for a separate
French school in the nineteenth century as a national utterance. It
sprang from a political rather than an artistic motive; it was the itch
of jealous pride that sharply stressed the difference of musical style
on the two sides of the Rhine. The very influence of German music was
needed by the French rather than a bizarre invention of national traits.
The broader art of a Saint-Saëns here shines in contrast with the
brilliant conceits of his younger compatriots, though it cannot be
denied that the latter are grounded in classic counterpoint. With other
nations the impulse was more natural: the racial song of the
Scandinavians, Czechs and other Slavs craved a deliverance as much as
the German in the time of Schubert. In France, where music had long
flourished, there was no stream of suppressed folk-song.

But the symphony must in the natural course have suffered from the very
fulness of its own triumph. We know the Romantic reaction of Schumann,
uttered in smaller cyclic forms; in Berlioz is almost a complete
abandonment of pure music, devoid of special description. Liszt was one
of the mighty figures of the century, with all the external qualities of
a master-genius, shaking the stage of Europe with the weight of his
personality, and, besides, endowed with a creative power that was not
understood in his day. With him the restless tendency resulted in a new
form intended to displace the symphony: the symphonic poem, in a single,
varied movement, and always on a definite poetic subject. Here was at
once a relief and a recess from the classic rigor. Away with sonata form
and all the odious code of rules! In the story of the title will lie all
the outline of the music.

Yet in this rebellious age--and here is the significance of the
form--the symphony did not languish, but blossomed to new and varied
flower. Liszt turned back to the symphony from his new-fangled device
for his two greatest works. It has, indeed, been charged that the
symphony was accepted by the Romantic masters in the spirit of a
challenge. Mendelssohn and even Schumann are not entirely free from such
a suspicion. Nevertheless it remains true that all of them confided to
the symphony their fairest inspiration. About the middle of the century,
at the high point of anti-classical revolt, a wonderful group of
symphonies, by Berlioz, Mendelssohn, Schumann, and Liszt, were presented
to the world. With the younger Brahms on a returning wave of
neo-classicism the form became again distinctively a personal choice.
Finally, in the spontaneous utterance of a national spirit on broad
lines, as in the later Russian and Finnish examples, with the various
phases of surging resolution, of lyric contemplation and of rollicking
humor, the symphony has its best sanction in modern times.

To return to the historical view, the course of the symphony during the
century cannot be adequately scanned without a glance at the music-drama
of Richard Wagner. Until the middle of the century, symphony and opera
had moved entirely in separate channels. At most the overture was
affected, in temper and detail, by the career of the nobler form.

The restless iconoclasm of a Liszt was now united, in a close personal
and poetic league, with the new ideas of Wagner's later drama. Both men
adopted the symbolic motif as their main melodic means; with both mere
iteration took the place of development; a brilliant and lurid
color-scheme (of orchestration) served to hide the weakness of intrinsic
content; a vehement and hysteric manner cast into temporary shade the
classic mood of tranquil depth in which alone man's greatest thought is

But a still larger view of the whole temper of art in Europe of the
later century is needed. We wander here beyond the fine distinctions of
musical forms. A new wave of feeling had come over the world that
violently affected all processes of thought. And strangely, it was
strongest in the land where the great heights of poetry and music had
just been reached. Where the high aim of a Beethoven and a Goethe had
been proclaimed, arose a Wagner to preach the gospel of brute fate and
nature, where love was the involuntary sequence of mechanical device and
ended in inevitable death, all overthrowing the heroic idea that teems
throughout the classic scores, crowned in a greatest symphony in praise
of "Joy."

Such was the intrinsic content of a "Tristan and Isolde" and the whole
"Nibelungen-Ring," and it was uttered with a sensuous wealth of sound
and a passionate strain of melody that (without special greatness of its
own) dazzled and charmed the world in the dramatic setting of mediaeval
legend. The new harmonic style of Wagner, there is good reason to
suppose, was in reality first conceived by Liszt, whose larger works,
written about the middle of the century, have but lately come to
light.[A] In correspondence with this moral mutiny was the complete
revolt from classic art-tradition: melody (at least in theory), the
vital quality of musical form and the true process of a coherent thread,
were cast to the winds with earlier poetic ideals.

[Footnote A: The "Dante" Symphony of Liszt was written between 1847 and
1855; the "Faust" Symphony between 1854 and 1857. Wagner finished the
text of _Tristan und Isolde_ in 1857; the music was not completed until
1859. In 1863 was published the libretto of the _Nibelungen-Ring_. In
1864 Wagner was invited by King Ludwig of Bavaria to complete the work
in Munich.]

If it were ever true that a single personality could change an opposite
course of thought, it must be held that Richard Wagner, in his own
striking and decadent career, comes nearest to such a type. But he was
clearly prompted and reinforced in his philosophy by other men and
tendencies of his time. The realism of a Schopenhauer, which Wagner
frankly adopted without its full significance (where primal will finds a
redemption in euthanasia), led by a natural course of thought to
Nietzsche's dreams of an overman, who tramples on his kind.

In itself this philosophy had been more of a passing phase (even as
Schopenhauer is lost in the chain of ethical sages) but for its strange
coincidence with the Wagnerian music. The accident of this alliance gave
it an overwhelming power in Germany, where it soon threatened to corrupt
all the arts, banishing idealism from the land of its special
haunts.[A] The ultimate weakness of the Wagnerian philosophy is that it
finds in fatalism an excuse for the surrender of heroic virtue,--not in
the spirit of a tragic truth, but in a glorification of the senses; just
as in Wagner's final work, the ascetic, sinless type becomes a figure
almost of ridicule, devoid of human reality. It is significant that with
the revival of a sound art, fraught with resolute aspiration, is
imminent a return to an idealistic system of philosophy.

[Footnote A: In literature this movement is most marked, as may be seen
by contrasting the tone of Goethe with that of Sudermann; by noting the
decadence from the stories of a Chamisseau and Immermann to those of a
Gottfried Keller; from the novels of Freytag to the latest of Frenssen
and Arthur Schnitzler; from the poems of Heine to those of Hoffmansthal,
author of the text of Strauss' later operas.

Or, contrast merely the two typical dramas of love, Goethe's "Faust" and
Wagner's "Tristan and Isolde."]

In the musical art even of Germany the triumph was never complete. The
famous feud of Brahms and Wagner partisans marked the alignment of the
classical and radical traditions. Throughout the second half of the
century the banner of a true musical process was upheld; the personal
meeting of the youthful Brahms with the declining Schumann is
wonderfully significant, viewed as a symbol of this passing of the
classic mantle. And the symphonies of Gustav Mahler seem an assurance of
present tendencies. The influence of Bach, revived early in the century,
grew steadily as a latent leaven.

Nevertheless in the prevailing taste and temper of present German
music, in the spirit of the most popular works, as those of Richard
Strauss (who seems to have sold his poetic birthright), the aftermath of
this wave is felt, and not least in the acclaim of the barren symphonies
of a Bruckner. It is well known that Bruckner, who paid a personal
homage to Wagner, became a political figure in the partisan dispute,
when he was put forth as the antagonist of Brahms in the symphony. His
present vogue is due to this association and to his frank adoption of
Wagner idiom in his later works, as well as, more generally, to the
lowered taste in Germany.

In all this division of musical dialect, in the shattering of the
classic tower among the diverse tongues of many peoples, what is to be
the harvest? The full symbol of a Babel does not hold for the tonal art.
Music is, in its nature, a single language for the world, as its
alphabet rests on ideal elements. It has no national limits, like prose
or poetry; its home is the whole world; its idiom the blended song of
all nations.

In such a view there is less hope in the older than in the newer world.
No single, limited song of one nation can in the future achieve a second
climax of the art. It is by the actual mingling of them all that the
fairest flower and fruit must come. The very absence of one prevailing
native song, held a reproach to America, is in reality her strength; for
hers is the common heritage of all strains of song. And it may be her
destiny to lead in the glorious merging of them all.



The path of progress of an art has little to do with mere chronology.
For here in early days are bold spirits whose influence is not felt
until a whole generation has passed of a former tradition. Nor are these
patient pioneers always the best-inspired prophets; the mere fate of
slow recognition does not imply a highest genius. A radical innovation
may provoke a just and natural resistance. Again, a gradual yielding is
not always due to the pure force of truth. Strange and oblique ideas may
slowly win a triumph that is not wholly merited and may not prove

To fully grapple with this mystery, we may still hold to the faith that
final victory comes only to pure truth, and yet we may find that
imperfect truth will often achieve a slow and late acceptance. The
victory may then be viewed in either of two ways: the whole spirit of
the age yields to the brilliant allurement, or there is an overweighing
balance of true beauty that deserves the prize of permanence. Of such a
kind were two principal composers of the symphony: Franz Liszt and
Hector Berlioz. Long after they had wrought their greatest works, others
had come and gone in truer line with the first masters, until it seemed
these radical spirits had been quite rejected.

Besides the masters of their own day, Schumann and Mendelssohn, a group
of minor poets, like Raff and Goetz, appeared, and at last Brahms, the
latest great builder of the symphony, all following and crowning the
classical tradition.

The slow reception of the larger works of Liszt strangely agrees with
the startling resemblance of their manner to the Russian style that
captivated a much later age. It seemed as if the spirit of the Hungarian
was suddenly revived in a new national group. His humor wonderfully
suited the restless and sensational temper of an age that began after
his death.

The very harmonies and passionate manner that influence modern audiences
evoked a dull indifference in their own day.[A] They roused the first
acclaim when presented in the more popular form of the music-drama. It
may well be questioned whether Liszt was not the fountain source of the
characteristic harmonies of Wagner's later opera.

[Footnote A: Compare the similarity of the themes of the Faust Symphony
of Liszt and of the _Pathétique_ of Tschaikowsky in the last chapter of
vol. ii, "Symphonies and Their Meaning."]

Historically considered, that is in their relation to other music
preceding and following them, the symphonies of Liszt have striking
interest. They are in boldest departure from all other symphonies, save
possibly those of Berlioz, and they were prophetic in a degree only
apparent a half-century later. If the quality of being ahead of his time
be proof, instead of a symptom, of genius, then Liszt was in the first
rank of masters. The use of significant motif is in both of his
symphonies. But almost all the traits that startled and moved the world
in Tschaikowsky's symphonies are revealed in this far earlier music: the
tempestuous rage of what might be called an hysterical school, and the
same poignant beauty of the lyric episodes; the sheer contrast, half
trick, half natural, of fierce clangor and dulcet harmonies, all painted
with the broad strokes of the orchestral palette. Doubly striking it is
how Liszt foreshadowed his later followers and how he has really
overshadowed them; not one, down to the most modern tone-painters, has
equalled him in depth and breadth of design, in the original power of
his tonal symbols. It seems that Liszt will endure as the master-spirit
in this reactionary phase of the symphony.

Berlioz is another figure of a bold innovator, whose career seemed a
series of failures, yet whose music will not down. His art was centred
less upon the old essentials, of characteristic melody and soul-stirring
harmonies, than upon the magic strokes of new instrumental grouping,--a
graphic rather than a pure musical purpose. And so he is the father not
only of the modern orchestra, but of the fashion of the day that revels
in new sensations of startling effects, that are spent in portraying the
events of a story.

Berlioz was the first of a line of _virtuosi_ of the orchestra, a
pioneer in the art of weaving significant strains,--significant, that
is, apart from the music. He was seized with the passion of making a
pictured design with his orchestral colors. Music, it seems, did not
exist for Berlioz except for the telling of a story. His symphony is
often rather opera. A symphony, he forgot, is not a musical drama
without the scenery. This is just what is not a symphony. It is not the
literal story, but the pure musical utterance. Thus Berlioz's "Romeo and
Juliet" symphony is in its design more the literal story than is
Shakespeare's play. And yet there is ever a serious nobility, a heroic
reach in the art of Berlioz, where he stands almost alone among the
composers of his race. Here, probably, more than in his pictured
stories, lies the secret of his endurance. He was, other than his
followers, ever an idealist. And so, when we are on the point of
condemning him as a scene-painter, we suddenly come upon a stretch of
pure musical beauty, that flowed from the unconscious rapture of true
poet. As the bee sucks, so may we cull the stray beauty and the more
intimate meaning, despite and aside from this outer intent.




In the sub-title we see the growing impulse towards graphic music. A
"dramatic symphony" is not promising. For, if music is the most
subjective expression of the arts, why should its highest form be used
to dramatize a drama? Without the aid of scene and actors, that were
needed by the original poet, the artisan in absolute tones attempts his
own theatric rendering. Clearly this symphony is one of those works of
art which within an incongruous form (like certain ancient pictures)
affords episodes of imperishable beauty.

Passing by the dramatic episodes that are strung on the thread of the
story, we dwell, according to our wont, on the stretches where a pure
musical utterance rises to a lofty height of pathos or of rarest

In the first scene of the Second Part is the clear intent of a direct
tonal expression, and there is a sustained thread of sincere sentiment.
The passion of Romeo shines in the purity rather than in the intensity
of feeling. The scene has a delicate series of moods, with subtle
melodic touches and dramatic surprises of chord and color. The whole
seems a reflection of Romeo's humor, the personal (_Allegro_) theme
being the symbol as it roams throughout the various phases,--the sadness
of solitude, the feverish thrill of the ball. Into the first phrase of
straying violins wanders the personal motive, sadly meditative.

[Music: _Allegro._
(Choir of wood, with sustained chords of strings)]

Sweeter dreams now woo the muser, warming into passion, pulsing with a
more eager throb of desire, in changed tone and pace. Suddenly in a new
quarter amid a quick strum of dance the main motive hurries along. The
gay sounds vanish, ominous almost in the distance. The sadness of the
lover now sings unrestrained in expressive melody (of oboe), in long
swinging pace, while far away rumbles the beat of festive drum.

The song rises in surging curves, but dies away among the quick festal
sounds, where the personal motive is still supreme, chasing its own
ardent antics, and plunges headlong into the swirl of dance.

II Penseroso (in his personal rôle) has glided into a buoyant,
rollicking Allegro with joyous answer. Anon the outer revel breaks in
with shock almost of terror. And now in climax of joy, through the
festal strum across the never-ceasing thread of transformed meditation
resound in slowest, broadest swing the

[Music: _Larghetto espressivo_
(Ob. with fl. and cl. and arpeggic cellos)]

warm tones of the love-song in triumph of bliss.[A] As the song dies
away, the festal sounds fade. Grim meditation returns in double
figure,--the slower, heavier pace below. Its shadows are all about as in
a fugue of fears, flitting still to the tune of the dance and anon
yielding before the gaiety. But through the returning festal ring the
fateful motive is still straying in the bass. In the concluding revel
the hue of meditation is not entirely banned.

[Footnote A: In unison of the wind. Berlioz has here noted in the score
"_Réunion des deux Thémes, du Larghetto et de L'Allegro_," the second
and first of our cited phrases.]

The Shakespearian love-drama thus far seems to be celebrated in the
manner of a French romance. After all, the treatment remains scenic in
the main; the feeling is diluted, as it were, not intensified by the

The stillness of night and the shimmering moonlight are in the delicate
harmonies of (_Allegretto_) strings. A lusty song of departing revellers
breaks upon the scene. The former distant sounds of feast are now near
and clear in actual words.

[Music: _Adagio_
(Muted strings)
(_Pizz._ basses an 8ve. lower)]

There is an intimate charm, a true glamor of love-idyll about the
Adagio. On more eager pulse rises a languorous strain of horn and
cellos. The flow

[Music: (Horn and cellos with murmuring strings)]

of its passionate phrase reaches the climax of prologue where, the type
and essence of the story, it plays about the lovers' first meeting. As
lower strings hum the burden of desire, higher wood add touches of
ecstasy, the melting violins sing the wooing song, and all break into an
overwhelming rapture, as though transfigured in the brightness of its
own vehemence, in midst of a trembling mystery.

The restless spirit starts (_allegro agitato_) in fearsome agitation on
quick nervous throb of melody; below, violas sing a soothing answer;
there is a clear dialogue of wistful lovers.

Instead of the classic form of several verses led by one dominant melody
to varied paths and views, here almost in reverse we seem to fall from a
broader lyric mood to a single note of sad yearning that

[Music: (Fl. with Eng. horn an 8ve. below)
(Muted violins with sustained lower strings)]

grows out of the several strains. Upon such a motive a new melody sings.
The delicate bliss of early love is all about, and in the lingering
close the timid ecstasies of wooing phrase. But this is a mere prelude
to the more highly stressed, vehement song of love that follows on the
same yearning motive. Here is the crowning, summing phase of the whole
poem, without a return to earlier melody save that, by significant
touch, it ends in the same expressive turn as the former languorous

The first melody does not reappear, is thus a kind of background of the
scene. The whole is a dramatic lyric that moves from broader tune to a
reiterated note of sad desire, driven to a splendid height of crowned
bliss. The turbulence of early love is there; pure ardor in flaming
tongues of ecstasy; the quick turn of mood and the note of omen of the
original poem: the violence of early love and the fate that hangs over.

Berlioz has drawn the subject of his Scherzo from Mercutio's speech in
Scene 4 of the First Act of Shakespeare's tragedy. He has entitled it
"Queen Mab, or the Fairy of Dreams," and clearly intends to portray the
airy flight of Mab and her fairies. But we must doubt whether this, the
musical gem of the symphony, has a plan that is purely graphic,--rather
does it seem to soar beyond those concrete limits to an utterance of the
sense of dreams themselves in the spirit of Mercutio's conclusion:

          "... I talk of dreams
    Which are the children of an idle brain,
    Begot of nothing but vain fantasy;
    Which is as thin of substance as the air;"

And we may add, as elusive for the enchanted mind to hold are these
pranks and brilliant parade of tonal sprites. It stands one of the
masterpieces of program-music, in equal balance of pure beauty with the
graphic plan.

Imps they are, these flitting figures, almost insects with a
personality. In pace there is a division, where the first dazzling
speed is simply the fairy rhythm (halted anon by speaking pauses or
silences), and the second, a kind of idyll or romance in miniature. It
is all a drama of fairy actors, in a dreamland of softest tone. The main
figure leads its troop on gossamer thread of varied journey.

[Music: (Violins) _Prestissimo_]

Almost frightening in the quickest, pulsing motion is the sudden
stillness, as the weird poising of trembling sprites. Best of all is the
resonant beauty of the second melody in enchanting surprise of tone.

[Music: (Strings without basses)]

Anon, as in a varied dance, the skipping, mincing step is followed by a
gentle swaying; or the figures all run together down the line to start
the first dance again, or the divided groups have different motions, or
one shouts a sudden answer to the other.

Much slower now is the main song (in flute and English horn) beneath an
ariel harmony (of overtones), while a quicker trip begins below of the
same figure. And in the midst is a strange concert of low dancing
strings with highest tones of harp,--strange mating of flitting sprites.

We are suddenly back in the first, skipping dance, ever faster and
brighter in dazzling group of lesser figures. And here is the golden
note of fairy-land,--the horn in soft cheery hunter's lay, answered by
echoing voices. For a moment the call is tipped with touch of sadness,
then rings out brightly in a new quarter. Beautiful it sings between the
quick phrases, with a certain shock of change, and there is the terror
of a sudden low rumbling and the thrill of new murmuring sounds with
soft beat of drum that hails the gathering fairies. There is a sudden
clarion burst of the whole chorus, with clash of drum and clang of
brass, and sudden pause, then faintest echoes of higher voices.

A new figure now dances a joyous measure to the tinkling of harp and the
sparkling strokes of high

[Music: (Harp in higher 8ve.)
(Clarinet with chord of horns)

cymbals and long blown tone of horns. The very essence it is of fairy
life. And so the joy is not unmixed with just a touch of awe. Amidst the
whole tintinnabulation is a soft resonant echo of horns below, like an
image in a lake. The air hangs heavy with dim romance until the sudden
return to first fairy verse in sounds almost human. Once more come the
frightening pauses.

The end is in a great crash of sweet sound--a glad awakening to day and
to reality.




The "Divina Commedia" may be said in a broad view to belong to the great
design by which Christian teaching was brought into relation with
earlier pagan lore. The subject commands all the interest of the epics
of Virgil and of Milton. It must be called the greatest Christian poem
of all times, and the breadth of its appeal and of its art specially
attest the age in which it was written, when classic pagan poetry broke
upon the world like a great treasure-trove.

The subject was an ideal one in Dante's time,--a theme convincing and
contenting to all the world, and, besides, akin to the essence of pagan
poetry. The poet was needed to celebrate all the phases of its meaning
and beauty. This is true of all flashes of evolutionary truth. As in the
ancient epics, an idea once real to the world may be enshrined in a
design of immortal art.

To-day we are perhaps in too agnostic a state to be absorbed by such a
contemplation. The subject in a narrower sense is true at most to those
who will to cherish the solace of a salvation which they have not fully
apprehended. And so the Liszt symphony of the nineteenth century is not
a complete reflection of the Dante poem of the fourteenth. It becomes
for the devout believer almost a kind of church-liturgy,--a Mass by the
Abbé Liszt.

Rare qualities there undoubtedly are in the music: a reality of passion;
a certain simplicity of plan; the sensuous beauty of melodic and
harmonic touches. But a greatness in the whole musical expression that
may approach the grandeur of the poem, could only come in a suggestion
of symbolic truth; and here the composer seems to fail by a too close
clinging to ecclesiastic ritual. Yet in the agony of remorse, rising
from hopeless woe to a chastened worship of the light, is a strain of
inner truth that will leave the work for a long time a hold on human

Novel is the writing of words in the score, as if they are to be sung by
the instruments,--all sheer aside from the original purpose of the form.
Page after page has its precise text; we hear the shrieks of the damned,
the dread inscription of the infernal portals; the sad lament of lovers;
the final song of praise of the redeemed. A kind of picture-book music
has our symphony become. The _leit-motif_ has crept into the high form
of absolute tones to make it as definite and dramatic as any opera.


The legend of the portal is proclaimed at the outset in a rising phrase
(of the low brass and strings)

[Music: (Doubled in two lower 8ves.)
(3 trombones and tuba: violas, cellos and brass)]

    _Per me si va nella cit-ta do-lente;
    Per me si va nell'eterno dolore;_

and in still higher chant--

    _Per me si va tra la perduta gente._

Then, in antiphonal blast of horns and trumpets sounds the fatal doom in
grim monotone (in descending harmony of trembling strings):

[Music: (Chant in octaves of trumpets and horns)
La-scia-te ogni spe-ran- - -za.
(Brass, wood and _tremolo_ strings)]

    _Lasciate ogni speranza mi ch' entrate!_[A]

[Footnote A:

    "Through me the way is to the city dolent;
    Through me the way is to eternal dole;
    Through me the way among the people lost.
    All hope abandon, ye who enter in!"

--_From Longfellow's translation._]

A tumult on a sigh (from the first phrase) rises again and again in
gusts. In a violent paroxysm we hear the doom of the monotone in lowest
horns. The fateful phrases are ringing about, while pervading all is
the hope-destroying blast of the brass. But the storm-centre is the
sighing motive which now enters on a quicker spur of passionate stride
(_Allegro frenetico, quasi doppio movimento_). In its winding

[Music: _Alla breve_
_Allegro frenetico (quasi doppio movimento)_
(Theme in violins and cellos)
(Woodwind and violas)]

sequences it sings a new song in more regular pace. The tempest grows
wilder and more masterful, still following the lines of the song, rising
to towering height. And now in the strains, slow and faster, sounds the
sigh above and below, all in a madrigal of woe. The whole is surmounted
by a big descending phrase, articulate almost in its grim dogma, as it
runs into the line of the first legend in full tumult of gloom. It is
followed by the doom slowly proclaimed in thundering tones of the brass,
in midst of a tempest of surging harmonies. Only it is all more fully
and poignantly stressed than before, with long, resonant echoes of the
stentorian tones of lowest brass.

Suddenly we are in the dulcet mood (_Quasi Andante, ma sempre un poco
mosso_) 'mid light waving strings and rich swirling harp, and soothing
tones of flutes and muted horns. Then, as all other voices are hushed,
the clarinet sings a strain that ends in lowest notes of expressive
grief (_Recit., espressivo dolente_)--where we can almost hear the
words. It is answered by a sweet plaint of other wood, in

[Music: _Quasi Andante, ma sempre un poco mosso_
_dolce teneremente_
(Clarinets and bassoons)]

questioning accents, followed by the returning waves of strings and
harp, and another phrase of the lament; and now to the pulsing chords of
the harp the mellow English horn does sing (at least in the score) the
words,--the central text of all:

[Music: _Poco agitato_
(English horn, with arpeggic flow of harp)
Nes-sun mag-gior do-lo-re che ri-cor-dar-si del tem-po fe-li-ce.[A]]

[Footnote A: "There is no greater sorrow than to be mindful of the happy
time in misery."--_From Longfellow's translation._]

Other voices join the leader. As the lower reed start the refrain, the
higher enter in pursuit, and then the two groups sing a melodic chase.
But the whole phrase is a mere foil to the pure melody of the former
plaint that now returns in lower strings. And all so far is as a herald
to the passage of intimate sentiment (_Andante amoroso_) that lies a
lyric gem in the heart of the symphony. The melting strain is stressed
in tenderness by the languor of harmonies, the delicate design of
elusive rhythm and the appealing whisper of harp and two
violins,--tipped by the touch of mellow wood.

[Music: _Andante amoroso. (Tempo rubato)_
_dolce con intimo sentimento_
(Melody in first violins; arpeggios of harp and violas;
lower woodwind and strings)]

With the rising passion, as the refrain spreads in wider sequences, the
choirs of wood and strings are drawn into the song, one group answering
the other in a true love duet.

The last cadence falls into the old sigh as the dread oracle sounds once
more the knell of hope. Swirling strings bring us to a new scene of the
world of shades. In the furious, frenetic pace of yore (_Tempo primo,
Allegro, alla breve_) there is a new sullen note, a dull martial trip
of drums with demonic growls (in the lowest wood). The sigh is there,
but perverted in humor. A chorus of blasphemous mockery is stressed by
strident accents of lower wood and strings.[A]

[Footnote A: We are again assisted by the interpreting words in the

Gradually we fall into the former frenzied song, amid the demon
cacchinations, until we have plunged back into the nightmare of groans.
Instead of the big descending phrase we sink into lower depths of gloom,
wilder than ever, on the first tripping motive. As the sighing strain
resounds below in the midst of a chorus of demon shrieks, there enters
the chant of inexorable fate. Mockery yields to a tinge of pathos, a
sense almost of majestic resignation, an apotheosis of grief.


A state of tranquillity, almost of bliss, is in the opening primal
harmonies (of harp and strings and

[Music: _Andante con moto quasi Allegretto. Tranquillo assai_
(Oboe _molto espressivo_)
_Sempre piano e legato_
(Full arpeggic harp and muted strings)]

soft horns). Indeed, what else could be the mood of relief from the
horrors of hell? And lo! the reed strikes a pure limpid song echoed in
turn by other voices, beneath a rich spray of heavenly harmonies.

This all recurs in higher shift of tone. A wistful phrase (_piu lento_,
in low strings) seems to breathe

[Music: _Un poco meno mosso_
(English horn, clarinets, bassoons, French horn)]

a spoken sob. Then, as in voices of a hymn, chants a more formal liturgy
of plaint where the phrase is almost lost in the lowest voice. It is all
but articulate, with a sense of the old sigh; but it is in a calmer
spirit, though anon bursting with passionate grief (_lagrimoso_).

[Music: _Lamentoso_ (In fugue of muted strings)]

And now in the same vein, of the same fibre, a fugue begins of lament,
first in muted strings.

It is the line of sad expressive recitative that heralded the plaint and
the love-scene. There is here the full charm of fugue: a rhythmic
quality of single theme, the choir of concerted dirge in independent
and interdependent paths, and with every note of integral melody. There
is the beauty of pure tonal architecture blended with the personal
significance of the human (and divine) tragedy.

The fugue begins in muted strings, like plaintive human voices, though
wood and brass here and there light up the phrases. Now the full bass of
horns and wood strikes the descending course of theme, while higher
strings and wood soar in rising stress of (sighing) grief.

[Music: (In double higher 8ves.)
_With lower 8ves._
(Strings, with enforcing and answering wind)]

A hymnal verse of the theme enters in the wood answered by impetuous
strings on a coursing phrase. The antiphonal song rises with eager
stress of themal attack. A quieter elegy leads to another burst, the
motive above, the insistent sigh below. The climax of fugue returns to
the heroic main plaint below, with sighing answers above, all the voices
of wood and brass enforcing the strings.

Then the fugue turns to a transfigured phase; the theme rings triumphant
retorts in golden horns and in a masterful unison of the wood; the wild
answer runs joyfully in lower strings, while the higher are strumming
like celestial harps. The whole is transformed to a big song of praise
ever in higher harmonies. The theme flows on in ever varying thread,
amidst the acclaiming tumult.

But the heavenly heights are not reached by a single leap. Once more we
sink to sombre depths not of the old rejection, but of a chastened,
wistful wonderment. The former plaintive chant returns, in slower,
contained pace, broken by phrases of mourning recitative, with the old
sigh. And a former brief strain of simple aspiration is supported by
angelic harps. In gentle ascent we are wafted to the acclaim of heavenly
(treble) voices in the _Magnificat_. A wonderful utterance, throughout
the scene of Purgatory, there is of a chastened, almost spiritual grief
for the sin that cannot be undone, though it is not past pardon.

The bold design of the final Praise of the Almighty was evidently
conceived in the main as a service. An actual depiction, or a direct
expression (such as is attempted in the prologue of Boito's Mefistofele)
was thereby avoided. The Holy of Holies is screened from view by a
priestly ceremony,--by the mask of conventional religion. Else we must
take the composer's personal conception of such a climax as that of an
orthodox Churchman. And then the whole work, with all its pathos and
humanity, falls to the level of liturgy.

The words of invisible angel-chorus are those of the blessed maid
trusting in God her savior, on a theme for which we are prepared by
preluding choirs of harps, wood and strings. It is sung on an ancient
Church tone that in its height approaches the mode of secular song. With
all the power of broad rhythm, and fulness of harmony and volume, the
feeling is of conventional worship. With all the purity of shimmering
harmonies the form is ecclesiastical in its main lines and depends upon
liturgic symbols for its effect and upon the faith of the listener for
its appeal.

At the end of the hymn, on the entering _Hosanna!_ and _Hallelujah!_ we
catch the sacred symbol (of seven tones) in the path of the two vocal
parts, the lower descending, the higher ascending as on heavenly scale.
In the second, optional ending the figure is completed, as the bass
descends through the seven whole tones and the treble (of voices and
instruments) rises as before to end in overpowering _Hallelujah!_ The
style is close knit with the earlier music. A pervading motive is the
former brief phrase of aspiration; upon it the angelic groups seem to
wing their flight between verses of praise. By a wonderful touch the
sigh, that appeared inverted in the plaintive chant of the _Purgatorio_,
is finally glorified as the motive of the bass to the words of



Liszt was clearly a follower of Berlioz in the abandon to a pictorial
aim, in the revolt from pure musical form, and in the mastery of
orchestral color. If we feel in almost all his works a charming
translation of story in the tones, we also miss the higher empyraean of
pure fancy, unlimited by halting labels. It is a descent into pleasant,
rich pastures from the cosmic view of the lofty mountain. Yet it must be
yielded that Liszt's program-music was of the higher kind that dwells in
symbols rather than in concrete details. It was a graphic plan of
symbolization that led Liszt to choose the subjects of his symphonic
poems (such as the "Préludes" and the "Ideals") and to prefer the poetic
scheme of Hugo's "Mazeppa" to the finer verse of a Byron. Though not
without literal touches, Liszt perceived that his subjects must have a
symbolic quality.

Nevertheless this pictorial style led to a revolution in the very nature
of musical creation and to a new form which was seemingly intended to
usurp the place of the symphony. It is clear that the symphonic poem is
in very essence opposed to the symphony. The genius of the symphony lies
in the overwhelming breadth and intensity of its expression without the
aid of words. Vainly decried by a later age of shallower perception, it
achieved this Promethean stroke by the very magic of the design. At one
bound thus arose in the youngest art a form higher than any other of
human device,--higher than the epic, the drama, or the cathedral.

Bowing to an impatient demand for verbal meaning, Liszt invented the
Symphonic Poem, in which the classic cogency yielded to the loose thread
of a musical sketch in one movement, slavishly following the sequence of
some literary subject. He abandoned sheer tonal fancy, surrendering the
magic potency of pure music, fully expressive within its own design far
beyond the literal scheme.[A]

[Footnote A: Mendelssohn with perfect insight once declared,--"Notes
have as definite a meaning as words, perhaps even a more definite one."]

The symphonic poems of Liszt, in so far as his intent was in destructive
reaction to the classic process, were precisely in line with the drama
of Wagner. The common revolt completely failed. The higher, the real
music is ever of that pure tonal design where the fancy is not leashed
to some external scheme. Liszt himself grew to perceive the inadequacy
of the new device when he returned to the symphony for his greatest
orchestral expression, though even here he never escaped from the thrall
of a literal subject.

And strangely, in point of actual music, we cannot fail to find an
emptier, a more grandiose manner in all these symphonic poems than in
the two symphonies. It seems as if an unconscious sense of the greater
nobility of the classic medium drove Liszt to a far higher inspiration
in his melodic themes.

Yet we cannot deny the brilliant, dazzling strokes, and the luscious
harmonies. It was all a new manner, and alone the novelty is welcome,
not to speak of the broad sweep of facile melody, and the sparkling


This work has a preface by the composer, who refers in a footnote to the
"_Méditations poétiques_" of Lamartine.

"What else is our life than a series of preludes to that unknown song of
which the first solemn note is struck by death? Love is the morning glow
of every heart; but in what human career have not the first ecstasies of
bliss been broken by the storm, whose cruel breath destroys fond
illusions, and blasts the sacred shrine with the bolt of lightning. And
what soul, sorely wounded, does not, emerging from the tempest, seek to
indulge its memories in the calm of country life? Nevertheless, man will
not resign himself for long to the soothing charm of quiet nature, and
when the trumpet sounds the signal of alarm, he runs to the perilous
post, whatever be the cause that calls him to the ranks of war,--that he
may find in combat the full consciousness of himself and the command of
all his powers."

How far is the music literally graphic? We cannot look for the "unknown
song" in definite sounds. That would defeat, not describe, its
character. But the first solemn notes, are not these the solemn rising
phrase that reappears in varying rhythm and pace all about the beginning
and, indeed, the whole course

[Music: _Andante_
(Strings, doubled in two lower 8ves.)]

of the music. Just these three notes abound in the mystic first
"prelude," and they are the core of the great swinging tune of the
Andante maestoso, the beginning and main pulse of the unknown song.

[Music: _Andante maestoso_
(Basses of strings, wood and brass, doubled below; arpeggic
harmonies in upper strings; sustained higher wood)]

Now (_dolce cantando_) is a softer guise of the phrase. For death and
birth, the two portals, are like

[Music: (Strings, with arpeggic violins)
_dolce cantando_
(_Pizz._ basses)]

elements. Even here the former separate motive sounds, and so in the
further turn of the song (_espressivo dolente_) on new thread.

The melody that sings (_espressivo ma tranquillo_) may well stand for
"love, the glow of dawn in every heart." Before the storm, both great
motives (of love and death) sound together very beautifully, as in

[Music: _espress. ma tranquillo_
(Horns and lower strings, with arpeggic harp and violins)]

Tennyson's poem. The storm that blasts the romance begins with the same
fateful phrase. It is all about, even inverted, and at the crisis it
sings with the fervor of full-blown song. At the lull the soft guise
reappears, faintly, like a sweet memory.

The Allegretto pastorale is clear from the preface. After we are lulled,
soothed, caressed and all but entranced by these new impersonal sounds,
then, as if the sovereign for whom all else were preparing, the song of
love seeks its recapitulated verse. Indeed here is the real full song.
Is it that in the memory lies the reality, or at least the realization?

Out of the dream of love rouses the sudden alarm of brass (_Allegro
marziale animato_), with a new war-tune fashioned of the former soft
disguised motive. The air of fate still hangs heavy over all. In
spirited retorts the martial madrigal proceeds, but it is not all mere
war and courage. Through the clash of strife break in the former songs,
the love-theme in triumph and the first expressive strain in tempestuous
joy. Last of all the fateful original motto rings once more in serene,
contained majesty.

On the whole, even with so well-defined a program, and with a full play
of memory, we cannot be quite sure of a fixed association of the motive.
It is better to view the melodic episodes as subjective phases, arising
from the tenor of the poem.


Liszt's "Tasso" is probably the earliest celebration, in pure tonal
form, of the plot of man's suffering and redemption, that has been so
much followed that it may be called the type of the modern symphony.[A]
In this direct influence the "Tasso" poem has been the most striking of
all of Liszt's creations.

[Footnote A: We may mention such other works of Liszt as "Mazeppa" and
the "Faust" Symphony; the third symphony of Saint-Saëns; Strauss' tone
poem "Death and Transfiguration"; Volbach's symphony, besides other
symphonies such as a work by Carl Pohlig. We may count here, too, the
Heldenlied by Dvôrák, and Strauss' Heldenleben (see Vol. II).]

The following preface of the composer accompanies the score:

     "In the year 1849 the one hundredth anniversary of Goethe's birth
     was celebrated throughout Germany; the theatre in Weimar, where we
     were at the time, marked the 28th of August by a performance of

     "The tragic fate of the unfortunate bard served as a text for the
     two greatest poets produced by Germany and England in the last
     century: Goethe and Byron. Upon Goethe was bestowed the most
     brilliant of mortal careers; while Byron's advantages of birth and
     of fortune were balanced by keenest suffering. We must confess that
     when bidden, in 1849, to write an overture for Goethe's drama, we
     were more immediately inspired by Byron's reverential pity for the
     shades of the great man, which he invoked, than by the work of the
     German poet. Nevertheless Byron, in his picture of Tasso in prison,
     was unable to add to the remembrance of his poignant grief, so
     nobly and eloquently uttered in his 'Lament,' the thought of the
     'Triumph' that a tardy justice gave to the chivalrous author of
     'Jerusalem Delivered.' We have sought to mark this dual idea in the
     very title of our work, and we should be glad to have succeeded in
     pointing this great contrast,--the genius who was misjudged during
     his life, surrounded, after death, with a halo that destroyed his
     enemies. Tasso loved and suffered at Ferrara; he was avenged at
     Rome; his glory still lives in the folk-songs of Venice. These
     three elements are inseparable from his immortal memory. To
     represent them in music, we first called up his august spirit as he
     still haunts the waters of Venice. Then we beheld his proud and
     melancholy figure as he passed through the festivals of Ferrara
     where he had produced his master-works. Finally we followed him to
     Rome, the eternal city, that offered him the crown and glorified in
     him the martyr and the poet.

     "_Lamento e Trionfo_: Such are the opposite poles of the destiny
     of poets, of whom it has been justly said that if their lives are
     sometimes burdened with a curse, a blessing is never wanting over
     their grave. For the sake not merely of authority, but the
     distinction of historical truth, we put our idea into realistic
     form in taking for the theme of our musical poem the motive with
     which we have heard the gondoliers of Venice sing over the waters
     the lines of Tasso, and utter them three centuries after the poet:

    "'Canto l'armi pietose e'l Capitano
    Che'l gran Sepolcro liberò di Christo!'

     "The motive is in itself plaintive; it has a sustained sigh, a
     monotone of grief. But the gondoliers give it a special quality by
     prolonging certain tones--as when distant rays of brilliant light
     are reflected on the waves. This song had deeply impressed us long
     ago. It was impossible to treat of Tasso without taking, as it
     were, as text for our thoughts, this homage rendered by the nation
     to the genius whose love and loyalty were ill merited by the court
     of Ferrara. The Venetian melody breathes so sharp a melancholy,
     such hopeless sadness, that it suffices in itself to reveal the
     secret of Tasso's grief. It lent itself, like the poet's
     imagination, to the world's brilliant illusions, to the smooth and
     false coquetry of those smiles that brought the dreadful
     catastrophe in their train, for which there seemed to be no
     compensation in this world. And yet upon the Capitol the poet was
     clothed with a mantle of purer and more brilliant purple than that
     of Alphonse."

With the help of the composer's plot, the intent of the music becomes
clear, to the dot almost of the note. The whole poem is an exposition of
the one sovereign melody, where we may feel a kindred trait of Hungarian
song, above all in the cadences, that must have stirred Liszt's patriot
heart. Nay,--beginning as it does with melancholy stress of the phrase
of cadence and the straying into full rhythmitic exultation, it seems
(in strange guise) another

[Music: _Adagio mesto_
(With rhythmic harp and horns)]

of Liszt's Hungarian rhapsodies,--that were, perhaps, the greatest of
all he achieved, where his unpremeditated frenzy revelled in purest
folk-rhythm and tune. The natural division of the Hungarian dance, with
the sad _Lassu_ and the glad _Friss_, is here clear in order and
recurrence. The Magyar seems to the manner born in both parts of the

[Footnote A: A common Oriental element in Hungarian and Venetian music
has been observed. See Kretschmar's note to Liszt's "Tasso" (Breitkopf &

In the accents of the motive of cadence (_Lento_) we feel the secret
grief of the hero, that turns _Allegro strepitoso_, in quicker pace to
fierce revolt.

In full tragic majesty the noble theme enters, in panoply of woe. In the
further flow, as in the beginning, is a brief chromatic strain and a
sigh of descending tone that do not lie in the obvious song, that are
drawn by the subjective poet from the latent fibre. Here is the modern
Liszt, of rapture and anguish, in manner and in mood that proved so
potent a model with a later generation.[A]

[Footnote A: See note in the final chapter of Volume II.]

The verse ends in a prolonged threnody, then turns to a firm, serenely
grave burst of the song in major, _Meno Adagio_, with just a hint of
martial grandeur. For once, or the nonce, we seem to see the hero-poet
acclaimed. In a middle episode the motive of the cadence sings
expressively with delicate harmonies, rising to full-blown exaltation.
We may see here an actual brief celebration, such as Tasso did receive
on entering Ferrara.

And here is a sudden fanciful turn. A festive dance strikes a tuneful
trip,--a menuet it surely is, with all the ancient festal charm, vibrant
with tune and spring, though still we do not escape the source of the
first pervading theme. Out of the midst of the dance sings slyly an
enchanting phrase, much like a secret love-romance. Now to the light
continuing dance is joined a strange companion,--the heroic melody in
its earlier majestic pace. Is it the poet in serious meditation at the
feast apart from the joyous abandon, or do we see him laurel-crowned, a
centre of the festival, while the gay dancers flit about him in homage?

More and more brilliant grows the scene, though ever with the dominant
grave figure. With sudden stroke as of fatal blast returns the earlier
fierce burst of revolt, rising to agitation of the former lament,
blending both moods and motives, and ending with a broader stress of the
first tragic motto.

Now, _Allegro con brio_, with herald calls of the brass and fanfare of
running strings (drawn from the personal theme), in bright major the
whole song bursts forth in brilliant gladness. At the height the
exaltation finds vent in a peal of simple melody. The "triumph" follows
in broadest, royal pace of the main song in the wind, while the strings
are madly coursing and the basses reiterate the transformed motive of
the cadence. The end is a revel of jubilation.


The Mazeppa music is based upon Victor Hugo's poem, in turn founded upon
Byron's verse, with an added stirring touch of allegory.

The verses of Hugo first tell how the victim is tied to the fiery
steed, how--

    "He turns in the toils like a serpent in madness,
    And ... his tormentors have feasted in gladness
        Upon his despair.

           *       *       *       *       *

    "They fly.--Empty space is behind and before them

           *       *       *       *       *

    "The horse, neither bridle nor bit on him feeling,
    Flies ever; red drops o'er the victim are stealing:
        His whole body bleeds.
    Alas! to the wild horses foaming and champing
    That followed with mane erect, neighing and stamping,
        A crow-flight succeeds.
    The raven, the horn'd owl with eyes round and hollow,
    The osprey and eagle from battle-field follow,
        Though daylight alarm.

           *       *       *       *       *

    "Then after three days of this course wild and frantic,
    Through rivers of ice, plains and forests gigantic,
        The horse sinks and dies;

           *       *       *       *       *

    "Yet mark! That poor sufferer, gasping and moaning,
    To-morrow the Cossacks of Ukraine atoning,
        Will hail as their King;

           *       *       *       *       *

    "To royal Mazeppa the hordes Asiatic
    Will show their devotion in fervor ecstatic,
        And low to earth bow."

In his splendid epilogue the poet likens the hero to the mortal on whom
the god has set his mark. He sees himself bound living to the fatal
course of genius, the fiery steed.

    "Away from the world--from all real existence
    He is borne upwards, despite his resistance
        On feet of steel.
    He is taken o'er deserts, o'er mountains in legions,
    Grey-hoary, thro' oceans, and into the regions
        Far over the clouds;
    A thousand base spirits his progress unshaken
    Arouses, press round him and stare as they waken,
        In insolent crowds

           *       *       *       *       *

    "He cries out with terror, in agony grasping,
    Yet ever the mane of his Pegasus clasping,
        They heavenward spring;
    Each leap that he takes with fresh woe is attended;
    He totters--falls lifeless--the struggle is ended--
        And rises as King!"[A]

[Footnote A: The English verses are taken for the most part from the
translation of F. Corder.]

The original _Allegro agitato_ in broad 6/4 time (aptly suggestive of
the unbridled motion) grows

[Music: (In brass and strings with lower 8ve.)
(With constant clattering higher strings and
chord of low wind on the middle beat)]

more rapid into an _alla breve_ pace (in two beats), with dazzling maze
of lesser rhythms. Throughout the work a song of primeval strain
prevails. Here and there a tinge of foreshadowing pain appears, as the
song sounds on high, _espressivo dolente_. But the fervor and fury of
movement is undiminished. The brief touch of pathos soon merges in the
general heroic mood. Later, the whole motion ceases, "the horse sinks
and dies," and now an interlude sings a pure plaint (in the strain of
the main motive). Then, _Allegro_, the martial note clangs in stirring
trumpet and breaks into formal song of war, _Allegro marziale_.

[Music: (Brass and strings)
_Allegro marziale_
(With lower 8ve.)]

In the wake of this song, with a relentless trip and tramp of warrior
hordes, is the real clash and jingle of the battle, where the sparkling
thrill of strings and the saucy counter theme are strong elements in the
stirring beauty.

There is a touch here of the old Goth, or rather the Hun, nearer akin to
the composer's race.

At the height rings out the main tune of yore, transformed in triumphant

The musical design embraces various phases. First is the clear rhythmic
sense of the ride. We think of other instances like Schubert's
"Erl-King" or the ghostly ride in Raff's "Lenore" Symphony.

The degree of vivid description must vary, not only with the composer,
but with the hearer. The greatest masters have yielded to the variety of
the actual graphic touch. And, too, there are always interpreters who
find it, even if it was never intended. Thus it is common to hear at the
very beginning of the "Mazeppa" music the cry that goes up as starts the

We are of course entitled, if we prefer, to feel the poetry rather than
the picture. Finally it is probably true that such a poetic design is
not marred merely because there is here or there a trick of
onomatopoeia; if it is permitted in poetry, why not in music? It may be
no more than a spur to the fancy, a quick conjuring of the association.


Liszt's symphonic poem, "Hunnenschlacht," one of the last of his works
in this form, completed in 1857, was directly inspired by the picture of
the German painter, Wilhelm Kaulbach, which represents the legend of the
aerial battle between the spirits of the Romans and Huns who had fallen
outside of the walls of Rome.[A]

[Footnote A: A description of the picture is cited by Lawrence Gilman in
his book, "Stories of Symphonic Music," as follows:

"According to a legend, the combatants were so exasperated that the
slain rose during the night and fought in the air. Rome, which is seen
in the background, is said to have been the scene of this event. Above,
borne on a shield, is Attila, with a scourge in his hand; opposite him
Theodoric, King of the Visigoths. The foreground is a battle-field,
strewn with corpses, which are seen to be gradually reviving, rising up
and rallying, while among them wander wailing and lamenting women."]

The evidence of the composer's intent is embodied in a letter written in
1857 to the wife of the painter, which accompanied the manuscript of an
arrangement of the music for two pianos. In the letter Liszt speaks of
"the meteoric and solar light which I have borrowed from the painting,
and which at the Finale I have formed into one whole by the gradual
working up of the Catholic _choral_ 'Crux fidelis,' and the meteoric
sparks blended therewith." He continues: "As I have already intimated to
Kaulbach, in Munich, I was led by the musical demands of the material to
give proportionately more place to the solar light of Christianity,
personified in the Catholic _choral_ ... than appears to be the case in
the glorious painting, in order to win and pregnantly represent the
conclusion of the Victory of the Cross, with which I both as a Catholic
and as a man could not dispense."

The work begins _tempestuoso_ (_allegro non troppo_), with a nervous
theme over soft rolling drums and

[Music: _Tempestuoso. Allegro non troppo_
(Bassoons with _tremolo_ cellos and roll of kettle-drums)]

trembling low strings, that is taken up as in fugue by successive groups
and carried to a height where enters a fierce call of the horns. The
cries of battle spread with increasing din and gathering speed. At the
first climax the whole motion has a new energy, as the strings in
feverish chase attack the quickened motive with violent stress. Later,
though the motion has not lessened, the theme has returned to a
semblance of its former pace, and again the cries of battle (in brass
and wood) sound across its path.

[Music: (Strings, _tremolo_, doubled above)

In the hush of the storm the full-blown call to arms is heard in lowest,
funereal tones. Of a sudden, though the speed is the same, the pace
changes with a certain terror as of a cavalry attack. Presently amid the
clattering tramp sounds the big hymn,--in the ancient rhythm that moves
strangely out of the rut of even time.[A]

[Footnote A: Quoted on the following page.]

A single line of the hymn is followed by a refrain of the battle-call,
and by the charge of horse that brings back the hymn, in high pitch of
trumpets. And so recur the former phases of battle,--really of threat
and preparation. For now begins the serious fray in one long gathering
of speed and power. The first theme here grows to full melodic song,
with extended answer, led by strepitous band of lower reed over a heavy
clatter of strings. We are in a

[Music: (Trombones with lower 8ve)

maze of furious charges and cries, till the shrill trumpet and the
stentorian trombone strike the full call in antiphonal song. The tempest
increases with a renewed charge of the strings, and now the more distant
calls have a slower sweep. Later the battle song is in the
basses,--again in clashing basses and trebles; nearer strike the broad
sweeping calls.

Suddenly over the hushed motion in soothing harmonies sings the hymn in
pious choir of all the brass. Then the gathering speed and volume is
merged in a majestic tread as of ordered array (_Maestoso assai;
Andante_); a brief spirited prelude of martial motives is answered by
the soft religious strains of the organ on the line of the hymn:

    "Crux fidelis, inter omnes
    Arbor una nobilis,
    Nulla silva talem profert
    Fronde, flore, germine.
    Dulce lignum, dulces clavos,
    Dulce pondus sustinet."[A]

[Footnote A:

    Faithful cross, among the trees
    Thou the noblest of them all!
    Forest ne'er doth grow a like
    In leaf, in flower or in seed.
    Blessed wood and blessed nails,
    Blessed burden that it bears!]

As in solemn liturgy come the answering phrases of the organ and the big
chorus in martial tread. As the hymn winds its further course, violins
entwine about the harmonies. The last line ends in expressive strain and
warm line of new major tone,--echoed in interluding organ and violins.

Suddenly a strict, solemn tread, with sharp stress of violins, brings a
new song of the _choral_. Strings alone play here "with pious
expression"; gradually reeds add support and ornament. A lingering
phrase ascends on celestial harmonies. With a stern shock the plain hymn
strikes in the reed, against a rapid course of strings, with fateful
tread. In interlude sound the battle-cries of yore. Again the hymn ends
in the expressive cadence, though now it grows to a height of power.

Here a former figure (the first motive of the battle) reappears in a
new guise of bright major,[A] in full, spirited stride, and leads once
more to a blast of the hymn, with organ and all, the air in unison of
trumpets and all the wood. The expressive cadence merges into a last
fanfare of battle, followed by a strain of hymns and with reverberating
Amens, where the organ predominates and holds long after all other
sounds have ceased.

[Footnote A: In the whole tonality we may see the "meteoric and solar
light" of which the composer speaks in the letter quoted above.]



There is something charming and even ideal in a complete versatility,
quite apart from the depth of the separate poems, where there is a
never-failing touch of grace and of distinction. The Philip Sydneys are
quite as important as the Miltons, perhaps they are as great. Some poets
seem to achieve an expression in a certain cyclic or sporadic career of
their fancy, touching on this or that form, illuminating with an elusive
light the various corners of the garden. Their individual expression
lies in the _ensemble_ of these touches, rather than in a single
profound revelation.

A symptom of the eminence of Saint-Saëns in the history of French music
lies in his attitude towards the art as a whole, especially of the
German masters,--the absence of national bias in his perceptions. He was
foremost in revealing to his countrymen the greatness of Bach, Beethoven
and Schumann. Without their influence the present high state of French
music can hardly be conceived.

It is part of a broad and versatile mastery that it is difficult to
analyze. Thus it is not easy to find salient traits in the art of M.
Saint-Saëns. We are apt to think mainly of the distinguished beauty of
his harmonies, until we remember his subtle counterpoint, or in turn
the brilliancy of his orchestration. The one trait that he has above his
contemporaries is an inbred refinement and restraint,--a thorough-going
workmanship. If he does not share a certain overwrought emotionalism
that is much affected nowadays, there is here no limitation--rather a
distinction. Aside from the general charm of his art, Saint-Saëns found
in the symphonic poem his one special form, so that it seemed Liszt had
created it less for himself than for his French successor. A fine
reserve of poetic temper saved him from hysterical excess. He never lost
the music in the story, disdaining the mere rude graphic stroke; in his
dramatic symbols a musical charm is ever commingled. And a like poise
helped him to a right plot and point in his descriptions. So his
symphonic poems must ever be enjoyed mainly for the music, with perhaps
a revery upon the poetic story. With a less brilliant vein of melody,
though they are not so Promethean in reach as those of Liszt, they are
more complete in the musical and in the narrative effect.


Challenged for a choice among the works of the versatile composer, we
should hit upon the _Danse Macabre_ as the most original, profound and
essentially beautiful of all. It is free from certain lacks that one
feels in other works, with all their charm,--a shallowness and almost
frivolity; a facility of theme approaching the commonplace.

There is here an eccentric quality of humor, a daemonic conceit that
reach the height of other classic expression of the supernatural.

The music is founded upon certain lines of a poem of _Henri Calais_
(under a like title), that may be given as follows:

          Zig-a-zig, zig-a-zig-a-zig,
    Death knocks on the tomb with rhythmic heel.
          Zig-a-zig, zig-a-zig-zig,
    Death fiddles at midnight a ghostly reel.

    The winter wind whistles, dark is the night;
      Dull groans behind the lindens grow loud;
    Back and forth fly the skeletons white,
      Running and leaping each under his shroud.
    Zig-a-zig-a-zig, how it makes you quake,
    As you hear the bones of the dancers shake.

           *       *       *       *       *

    But hist! all at once they vanish away,
    The cock has hailed the dawn of day.

The magic midnight strokes sound clear and sharp. In eager chords of
tuned pitch the fiddling ghost summons the dancing groups, where the
single fife is soon followed by demon violins.

Broadly sings now the descending tune half-way between a wail and a
laugh. And ever in interlude is the skipping, mincing step,--here of
reeds answered by solo violin with a light clank of cymbals. Answering
the summoning fifes, the unison troop of fiddlers dance the main step
to bright strokes of triangle, then the main ghostly violin trips in
with choir of wind. And broadly again sweeps the song between tears and

[Music: _In waltz rhythm_
(Harp, with sustained bass note of strings)]

smiles. Or Death fiddles the first strain of reel for the tumultuous
answer of chorus.

Now they build a busy, bustling fugue (of the descending song) and at
the serious moment suddenly

[Music: (Solo violin)
(_Pizz._ strings)]

they skip away in new frolicsome, all but joyous, tune: a shadowy
counterfeit of gladness, where the sob hangs on the edge of the smile.
As if it could no longer be contained, now pours the full passionate
grief of the broad descending strain. Death fiddles his mournful chant
to echoing, expressive wind. On the abandon of grief follows the revel
of grim humor in pranks of mocking demons. All the strains are mingled
in the ghostly bacchanale. The descending song is answered in opposite
melody. A chorus of laughter follows the tripping dance. The summoning
chords, acclaimed by chorus, grow to appealing song in a brief lull. At
the height, to the united skipping dance of overpowering chorus the
brass blows the full verse of descending song. The rest is a mad storm
of carousing till ... out of the whirling darkness sudden starts the
sharp, sheer call of prosaic day, in high, shrill reed. On a minishing
sound of rolling drum and trembling strings, sings a brief line of
wistful rhapsody of the departing spirit before the last whisking steps.


On a separate page between title and score is a "_Notice_,"--an epitome
of the story of Phaeton, as follows:

"Phaeton has been permitted to drive the chariot of the Sun, his father,
through the heavens. But his unskilful hands frighten the steeds. The
flaming chariot, thrown out of its course, approaches the terrestrial
regions. The whole universe is on the verge of ruin when Jupiter strikes
the imprudent Phaeton with his thunderbolt."

There is a solemn sense at first (_Maestoso_), a mid-air poise of the
harmony, a quick spring of resolution and--on through the heavens. At
the outset and always is the pervading musical charm. In the beginning
is the enchantment of mere motion in lightest prancing strings and harp
with slowly ascending curve. In farther journey comes a spring of the
higher wood and soon a firm note of horns and a blast of trumpets on a
chirruping call, till the whole panoply of solar brilliance is
shimmering. Now with the continuing pulse (of saltant strings) rings a

[Music: _Allegro animato_
_Marcato_ (Trumpets and trombones)]

regnant air in the brass. A (canon) chase of echoing voices merely adds
an entrancing bewilderment, then yields to other symbols and visions.

Still rises the thread of pulsing strings to higher empyraean and then
floats forth in golden horns, as we hang in the heavens, a melody
tenderly solemn, as of pent delight, or perhaps of a more fatal hue,
with the solar orb encircled by his satellites.

Still on to a higher pole spins the dizzy path; then at the top of the
song, it turns in slow descending curve. Almost to Avernus seems the
gliding fall when the first melody rings anew. But there is now an
anxious sense that dims the joy of motion and in the

[Music: (With trembling of violins in high B flat)

returning first motive jars the buoyant spring. Through the maze of
fugue with tinge of terror presses the fatuous chase, when--crash comes
the shock of higher power. There is a pause of motion in the din and a
downward flight as of lifeless figure.

Now seems the soul of the sweet melody to sing, in purest dirge, without
the shimmer of attendant motion save a ghostly shadow of the joyous


The "Legend" is printed in the score as follows:

"Fable tells us that upon entering into life Hercules saw the two paths
open before him: of pleasure and of virtue.

"Insensible to the seductions of Nymphs and Bacchantes, the hero devotes
himself to the career of struggle and combat, at the end of which he
glimpses across the flames of the funeral pyre the reward of

We can let our fancy play about the score and wonderfully hit an
intention of the poet. Yet that is often rather a self-flattery than a
real perception. In the small touches we may lose the greater beauty.
Here, after all, is the justification of the music. If the graphic
picture is added, a little, only, is gained. The main virtue of it lies
in our better grasp of the musical design.

In the muted strings, straying dreamily in pairs, is a vague line of the
motto,--a foreshadowing of the heroic idea, as are the soft calls of the
wind with wooing harp a first vision of delight.

[Music: _Allegro moderato_

Now begins the main song in sturdy course of unmuted strings. The wood
soon join in the rehearsing. But it is not all easy deciphering. The
song wanders in gently agitated strings while the horns hold a solemn
phrase that but faintly resembles the motto.[A] Lesser phrases play
about the bigger in rising flight of aspiration, crowned at the height
with a ray of glad light.

[Footnote A: It is well to resist the vain search for a transnotation of
the story. And here we see a virtue of Saint-Saëns himself, a national
trait of poise that saved him from losing the music in the picture. His
symphonic poems must be enjoyed in a kind of musical revery upon the
poetic subject. He disdained the rude graphic stroke, and used dramatic
means only where a musical charm was commingled.]

As the dream sinks slowly away, the stern motto is buried in quick
flashes of the tempting call. These are mere visions; now comes the
scene itself of temptation.

To ripples of harp the reed sings enchantingly in swaying rhythm; other
groups in new surprise of

[Music: (Flutes, oboe, clarinets and harp)]

scene usurp the melody with the languishing answer, until one Siren
breaks into an impassioned burst, while her sisters hold the dance.

Straight upon her vanished echoes shrieks the shrill pipe of war, with
trembling drum. We hear a yearning sigh of the Siren strain before it is
swept away in the tide and tumult of strife. Beneath the whirl and
motion, the flash and crash of arms, we have glimpses of the heroic

Here is a strange lay in the fierce chorus of battle-cries: the Siren
song in bright insistence, changed to the rushing pace of war.

The scene ends in a crash. Loud sings a solemn phrase; do we catch an
edge of wistful regret? Now returns the sturdy course of the main
heroic melody; only it is slower (_Andante sostenuto_), and the high
stress of cadence is solemnly impassioned.

As if to atone for the slower pace, the theme strikes into a lively
fugue, with trembling strings (_Allegro animato_).

There is an air of achievement in the relentless progress and the
insistent recurrence of the masterful motive. An episode there is of
mere striving and straining, before the theme resumes its vehement
attack, followed by lusty echoes all about as of an army of heroes.
There is the breath of battle in the rumbling basses and the shaking,
quivering brass.

At last the plain song resounds in simple lines of ringing brass, led by
the high bugle.[A]

[Footnote A: Saint-Saëns employs besides the usual 4 horns, 2 trumpets,
3 trombones and tuba, a small bugle (in B-flat) and 2 cornets.]

Yet the struggle, the inner combat, is not over. At the very moment of
triumph sings on high over purling harp the mastering strain of Sirens,
is buried beneath martial clash and emerges with its enchantment. But
here the virile mood and motive gains the victory and strides on to
final scene.

We remember how Hercules built and ascended his own funeral pyre. In
midst of quivering strings, with dashing harp and shrieking wood, a roll
of drum and a clang of brass sounds the solemn chant of the trombone,
descending in relentless steps. As the lowest is reached, there comes a
spring of freedom in the pulsing figures, like the winging of a spirit,
and a final acclaim in a brief line of the legend.


Between title and score is this _Notice_:

"The subject of this symphonic poem is feminine witchery, the triumphant
struggle of weakness. The spinning wheel is a mere pretext, chosen from
the point of view of rhythm and the general atmosphere of the piece.

"Those persons who might be interested in a study of the details of the
picture, will see ... the hero groaning in the toils which he cannot
break, and ... Omphale mocking the vain efforts of Hercules."

The versions of the story differ slightly. After the fulfilment of his
twelve labors Hercules is ordered by the oracle to a period of three
years' service to expiate the killing of the son of King Eurytus in a
fit of madness. Hermes placed him in the household of Omphale, queen of
Lydia, widow of Tmolus. Hercules is degraded to female drudgery, is
clothed in soft raiment and set to spin wool, while the queen assumes
the lion skin and club.

In another version he was sold as slave to Omphale, who restored him to
freedom. Their passion was mutual. The story has a likeness to a similar
episode of Achilles.

The spinning-wheel begins _Andante_ in muted strings alternating with
flutes and gradually hurries into a lively motion. Here the horn accents
the spinning, while another thread (of higher wood) runs through the
graceful woof. A chain of alluring harmonies preludes the ensnaring
song, mainly of woodwind above the humming strings, with soft dotting of
the harmony by the horns. The violins, to be sure, often enforce the

[Music: _Andantino_
(Fl. and muted violins)
(Strings, muted)]

In the second verse, with fuller chorus, the harp adds its touches to
the harmony of the horns, with lightest tap of tonal drum. Later a
single note of the trumpet is answered by a silvery laugh in the wood.
Between the verses proceeds the luscious chain of harmonies, as with the
turning of the wheel.

Now with the heavily expressive tones of low, unmuted strings and the
sonorous basses of reed and brass (together with a low roll of drum and
soft clash of cymbals) an heroic air sings in low strings and brass, to
meet at each period a shower of notes from the harp. The song grows
intense with the

[Music: (Wood and _trem._ violins doubled above)
_espress. e pesante_
(Cellos, basses, bassoons and trombone, doubled below)]

added clang of trumpets and roll of drums,--only to succumb to the more
eager attack of the siren chorus. At last the full effort of strength
battling vainly with weakness reaches a single heroic height and sinks
away with dull throbs.

In soothing answer falls the caressing song of the high reed in the
phrase of the heroic strain, lightly, quickly and, it seems, mockingly
aimed. In gently railing triumph returns the pretty song of the wheel,
with a new buoyant spring. Drums and martial brass yield to the laughing
flutes, the cooing horns and the soft rippling harp with murmuring
strings, to return like captives in the train at the height of the



The new French school of symphony that broke upon the world in the
latter part of the nineteenth century had its pioneer and true leader in
César Franck.[A] It was he who gave it a stamp and a tradition.

[Footnote A: If language and association, as against the place of birth,
may define nationality, we have in César Franck another worthy
expression of French art in the symphony. He was born at Liège in 1822;
he died in 1890.]

The novelty of his style, together with the lateness of his acclaim (of
which it was the probable cause), have marked him as more modern than
others who were born long after him.

The works of Franck, in other lines of oratorio and chamber music, show
a clear personality, quite apart from a prevailing modern spirit. A
certain charm of settled melancholy seems to inhere in his wonted style.
A mystic is Franck in his dominant moods, with a special sense and power
for subtle harmonic process, ever groping in a spiritual discontent with
defined tonality.

A glance at the detail of his art discloses Franck as one of the main
harmonists of his age, with Wagner and Grieg. Only, his harmonic manner
was blended if not balanced by a stronger, sounder counterpoint than
either of the others. But with all the originality of his style we
cannot escape a sense of the stereotype, that indeed inheres in all
music that depends mainly on an harmonic process. His harmonic ideas,
that often seem inconsequential, in the main merely surprise rather than
move or please. The enharmonic principle is almost too predominant,--an
element that ought never to be more than occasional. For it is founded
not upon ideal, natural harmony, but upon a conventional compromise, an
expedient compelled by the limitation of instruments. This over-stress
appears far stronger in the music of Franck's followers, above all in
their frequent use of the whole tone "scale" which can have no other
_rationale_ than a violent extension of the enharmonic principle.[A]
With a certain quality of kaleidoscope, there is besides (in the
harmonic manner of César Franck) an infinitesimal kind of progress in
smallest steps. It is a dangerous form of ingenuity, to which the
French are perhaps most prone,--an originality mainly in details.

[Footnote A: Absolute harmony would count many more than the semitones
of which our music takes cognizance. For purpose of convenience on the
keyboard the semitonal raising of one note is merged in the lowering of
the next higher degree in the scale. However charming for occasional
surprise may be such a substitution, a continuous, pervading use cannot
but destroy the essential beauty of harmony and the clear sense of
tonality; moreover it is mechanical in process, devoid of poetic fancy,
purely chaotic in effect. There is ever a danger of confusing the novel
in art with new beauty.]

And yet we must praise in the French master a wonderful workmanship and
a profound sincerity of sentiment. He shows probably the highest point
to which a style that is mainly harmonic may rise. But when he employs
his broader mastery of tonal architecture, he attains a rare height of
lofty feeling, with reaches of true dramatic passion.

The effect, to be sure, of his special manner is somewhat to dilute the
temper of his art, and to depress the humor. It is thus that the
pervading melancholy almost compels the absence of a "slow movement" in
his symphony. And so we feel in all his larger works for instruments a
suddenness of recoil in the Finale.

One can see in Franck, in analogy with his German contemporaries, an
etherealized kind of "Tristan and Isolde,"--a "Paolo and Francesca" in a
world of shades. Compared with his followers the quality of stereotype
in Franck is merely general; there is no excessive use of one device.

A baffling element in viewing the art of Franck is his remoteness of
spirit, the strangeness of his temper. He lacked the joyous spring that
is a dominant note in the classic period. Nor on the other hand did his
music breathe the pessimism and naturalism that came with the last
rebound of Romantic reaction. Rather was his vein one of high spiritual
absorption--not so much in recoil, as merely apart from the world in a
kind of pious seclusion. Perhaps his main point of view was the
church-organ. He seems a religious prophet in a non-religious age. With
his immediate disciples he was a leader in the manner of his art, rather
than in the temper of his poetry.


The scoring shows a sign of modern feeling in the prominence of the
brasses. With all contrast of spirit, the analogy of Franck with the
Liszt-Wagner school and manner is frequently suggestive.

The main novelty of outer detail is the plan of merely three movements.
Nor is there a return to the original form, without the Scherzo. To
judge from the headings, the "slow" movement is absent. In truth, by way
of cursory preamble, the chronic vein of César Franck is so ingrainedly
reflective that there never can be with him an absence of the meditative
phrase. Rather must there be a vehement rousing of his muse from a state
of mystic adoration to rhythmic energy and cheer.[A]

[Footnote A: The key of the work is given by the composer as D minor.
The first movement alone is in the nominal key. The second (in B flat)
is in the submediant, the last in the tonic major. The old manner in
church music, that Bach often used, of closing a minor tonality with a
major chord, was probably due to a regard for the mood of the
congregation. An extension of this tradition is frequent in a long coda
in the major. But this is quite different in kind from a plan where all
of the last movement is in insistent major. We know that it is quite
possible to begin a work at some distance from the main key, leading to
it by tortuous path of modulation; though there is no reason why we may
not question the composer's own inscription, the controlling point is
really the whole tonal scheme. Here the key of the second movement is
built on a design in minor,--would have less reason in the major. For it
rests on a degree that does not exist in the tonic major. To be sure,
Beethoven did invent the change to a lowered submediant in a succeeding
movement. And, of course, the final turn to the tonic major is virtually
as great a license.]

_Lento_ in basses of the strings a strain sounds like a basic motive,
answered with harmonies in the wood. In further strings lies the full
tenor of quiet reflection, with sombre color of tonal scheme. Motives
are less controlling probably in Franck than in any other
symphonist,--less so, at any rate, than his one

[Music: _Lento_]

special mood and manner. Yet nowhere is the strict figural plot more
faithful in detail than with César Franck.

The theme has an entirely new ring and answer when it enters Allegro
after the Lento prelude. The further course of the tune here is in
eccentric, resolute stride in the descending scale. Our new answer is
much evident in the bass. The Allegro seems a mere irruption; for the
Lento prelude reappears in full solemnity. Indeed, with all the title
and pace, this seems very like the virtual "slow" movement. A mood of
rapt, almost melancholy absorption prevails, with rare flashes of joyous
utterance, where the Allegro enters as if to break the thrall of
meditation. A very striking inversion of the theme now appears. The
gradual growth of phrases in melodious instalments is a trait of Franck
(as it is of Richard Strauss). The rough motto at each turn has a new

[Music: _Allegro non troppo_

phase and frequently is transfigured to a fresh tune. So out of the
first chance counter-figures somehow spring beautiful melodies, where we
feel the fitness and the relevance though we have not heard them before.
It is a quality that Franck shares with Brahms, so that in a
mathematical spirit we might care to deduce all the figures from the
first phrase. This themal manner is quite analogous to the harmonic
style of Franck,--a kaleidoscope of gradual steps, a slow procession of
pale hues of tone that with strange aptness reflect the dim religious
light of mystic musing.

More and more expressive are the stages of the first figures until we
have a duet _molto cantabile_ in the strings. Much of the charm of the
movement lies in the balance of the new rhythms, the eccentric and the
flowing. By some subtle path there grows a song

[Music: _Allegro. Molto cantabile_]

in big tones of unison, wood and strings and trumpets, that is the real
hymnal refrain of the movement. Between this note almost of exultation
and all shades of pious dreaming the mood is constantly shifting.

[Music: _Allegro_]

Another phrase rises also to a triumphant height (the clear reverse of
the former tuneful melody) that comes now like a big _envoi_ of assuring

Though the whole movement is evenly balanced between Allegro and
Penseroso (so far as pace is concerned), the mood of reflection really
finds full vent; it has no reason for a further special expression.

Simple as the Allegretto appears in its suggestion of halting dance, the
intent in the episodes is of the subtlest. The slow trip of strings and
harp is soon given a new meaning with the melody of English horn.
Throughout we are somehow divided between pure dance and a more
thoughtful muse. In the first departure to an episode in major, seems to
sing the essence of the former melody in gently murmuring strings, where
later the whole chorus are drawn in. The song moves on clear thread and
wing right out of the mood of the dance-tune; but the very charm lies in
the mere outer change of guise. And so the second episode is still far
from all likeness with the first dance beyond a least sense of the old
trip that does appear here and there. It is all clearly a true scheme of
variations, the main theme disguised beyond outer semblance, yet
faithfully present throughout in the essential rhythm and harmony.

In the Finale, _Allegro non troppo_, we are really clear, at the outset,
of the toils of musing melancholy.

[Music: _Allegro non troppo_
_Dolce cantabile_]

After big bursts of chords, a tune rolls pleasantly along, _dolce
cantabile_, in basses of wood and strings. Expressive after-phrases
abound, all in the same jolly mood, until the whole band break
boisterously on the simple song, with a new sonorous phrase of basses.
Then, in sudden remove, sounds the purest bit of melody of all the
symphony, in gentlest tones

[Music: _Dolce cantabile_
(In the brass)]

of brass (trumpet, trombone and tuba). But, though in complete recoil
from the rhythmic energy of Allegro theme, it is even farther from the
reflective mood than the latter. It shows, in this very contrast, the
absence of the true lyric in the meditative vein, frequent with César
Franck. The burst of melody blossoms ever fairer. In its later musing
the tune browses in the bass. A waving phrase grows in the violins,
which continues with strange evenness through the entrance of new song
where we are surprised by the strange fitness of the Allegretto melody.
And the second phase of the latter follows as if it belonged here. So,
almost listless, without a hair of rhythmic change (_les temps ont
toujours la même valeur_), the Finale theme sings again most softly in
the strings. It has, to be sure, lost all of its color, without the
original throb of accompanying sounds. The phase of the movement is a
shadowy procession of former ideas, united in the dreamy haze that
enshrouds them. The stir that now begins is not of the first pale hue of
thought, rather the vein of big discussion, brewing a storm that breaks
finally in full blast on the gentle melody (of the brass) transfigured
in ringing triumph, in all the course of the song. Nor is the succeeding
phase the mystic habit of our poet; it is a mere farther digestion of
the meat of the melody that leads once more to a height of climax whence
we return to first course of themes, tuneful afterphrase and all, with
the old happy motion. The counterpoint here is the mere joyous ringing
of many strains all about.

Against all rules comes a new chorusing paean on the theme of
Allegretto, led by stentorian basses, together with an enchanting
after-strain, which we might have remarked before. And still another
quarter, long hushed, is heard anew, as a voice sounds a faint reminder
of the hymn of the first Allegro. Indeed, the combining strains before
the close seem sprung all of one parental idea. The motto of the
beginning sings in fittest answer to the latest phrases. The very maze
of the concert forbids our turning to their first origin. The end is in
joyous chanting of the Finale melody.



Perhaps the noblest essay in symphonic music of the followers of Franck
is the second symphony of Vincent D'Indy.[A] His vein is indeed
throughout nearest akin of all the disciples to the serious muse of the

[Footnote A: Vincent d'Indy was born in Paris on March 27, 1852.]

Though D'Indy is surpassed in a certain poetic originality by some of
his compatriot contemporaries, there is in this symphony a breadth of
design and detail, a clear melodic quality and a sustained lofty feeling
that seem to mark it the typical French symphony of its time. The
strength of the work lies in a unity that is not merely of figure and
outline. If we must measure a symphony mainly by the slow movement, we
cannot avoid, with all the languorous beauty, a certain conventionality
of mood, stressed with an exotic use of the appoggiatura, while in the
Scherzo is a refined savagery of modern cacophony.

The directions are all in French; we are reminded of Schumann's
departure from the Italian fashion.

Each movement, save the third, has its prelude: a gathering of threads
before the new story. The first notes of basses, together with the
answer on high, sound a prophetic legend of the whole.

The harmonic lucubrations are profoundly subtle. Indeed the very nature
of the first phrase is of dim

[Music: _Extrêmémént Lent._ (Woodwind)
(Strings and harps)]

groping; it ends in a climax of the answer and merges into the main song
of the Allegro (_très vif_) in horns, with rapid trip of strings.

[Music: _Très vif_ (Horns)

Throughout (from a technical view) is a fine mastery of the device of
ornamental notes, and secondary harmonies; there is also a certain
modern sense of chords and their relations. Together with an infinite
brilliance of these resources there is not only no weakness in cogency
of form, but there is a rare unity of design. The movements are bound
together, at least in themal relation, as strictly as in any symphony.
While the first phrase of the Allegro theme may hark back to the answer
of original motto, the second is the main thread of narrative.

[Music: (Flutes, oboes and clarinets)
_Sempre staccato_]

Again and again is the climax rung on the first high note of the theme.
Then, in lieu of cadence, out of a bright dissonance the quick notes
dance upward in sturdy pace, the answer of the Allegro in sharp
disguise. And then from the height descends a refreshing spray of
subtlest discords, ending in another masterful burst of new harmony.

The dainty, dazzling play is stopped by a rough thud of basses and a
fierce clang of chords. In the sharp blare of brass on the ascending
phrase is almost lost the original motto in lowest basses. It is now
heard in gradually quickened speed, while the rising phrase runs more
timidly. At last the quickened motto sinks gently into lulling motion,
_un peu plus modéré_. Above, in strings and horns, the melody haunts us
with a dim sense that takes us to the first languishing answer of the
original legend. And the whole is strong-knit; for the very Allegro
theme began in resolute mood of a like figure. A counter-strain rises to
meet the main phrase. The whole episode is an intertwining of song in
the vein of the first answer of motto.

The quick rising notes suddenly return with snatches of the main motive,
the chain of echoing phrases runs a gamut of moods, fitful, anxious,
soothed, until the bright upward trip begins anew, with the enchanting
burst of chord and descending harmonies. A climactic height is stressed
by a rough meeting of opposing groups, in hostile tone and movement,
ending in a trill of flutes and a reëntry of the episode.

In the returning Allegro the thread is still the same, though richer in
color and texture. Again there is the plunge into dark abyss, with
shriek of harp, and the ominous theme in the depths. The slow ascending
phrase here has a full song and sway. The end is in spirited duet of two
quick motives.

The second movement, _modérément lent_, begins in revery on the answer
of original motive, and the stately pathos of the theme, in horns,
clarinets and violas, with rhythmic strings, grows naturally out of the

_Plus animé_, in subtle change of pace (from 6/4 to 3/2), the episode
begins with eccentric stride of harps (and added woodwind), that serves
as a kind of

[Music: _Modérément Lent._
(Melody in horns, clarinets and violas)
(Acc'd in strings)]

accompanying figure and foil for the sweeping song of the real second
melody (in oboe solo, succeeded by the clarinet).

[Music: (Oboe solo)
_Très espress._
(Acc't in bassoons, horns, harps and basses)]

In the clash of themes and harmonies of the climax, the very limits of
modern license seem to be invoked. Later the three themes are entwined
in a passage of masterly counterpoint.

There is a touch of ancient harmony in the delicate tune of third
movement, which has the virtue of endless weaving. It is sung by solo
violin, mainly supported by a choir of lower strings.

A final conclusive line is given by the solo flute. Besides the constant
course of varying tune, there is a power of ever changing harmony that
seems to lie in some themes.

[Music: _Modéré_
(Viola solo)
_Très simplement_]

One can hardly call it all a Scherzo. It is rather an idyll after the
pathos of the Andante. Or, from another view, reversing the usual order,
we may find the quality of traditional Trio in the first melody and a
bacchanale of wild humor in the middle. For, out

[Music: _Très animé_
(Woodwind and strings)]

of a chance phrase of horns grows of all the symphony the boldest
harmonic phrase (repeated through ten bars). Above rings a barbarous
cry, in defiance of common time and rhythm.

Suddenly we are surprised by the sound of the martial stride of the
second theme of the Andante which moves on the sea of rough harmony as
on a native element. One whim follows another. The same motion is all
there, but as if in shadow, in softest sound, and without the jar of
discord; then comes the fiercest clash of all, and now a gayest dance of
the first tune, _assez vif_, in triple rhythm, various figures having
their _pas seul_. A second episode returns, brilliant in high pace but
purged of the former war of sounds. At the end is the song of the first
tune, with new pranks and sallies.

The beginning of the Finale is all in a musing review of past thoughts.
The shadow of the last tune lingers, in slower pace; the ominous dirge
of first motto sounds below; the soothing melody of the Andante sings a
verse. In solemn fugue the original motto is reared from its timid
phrase to masterful utterance, with splendid stride. Or

[Music: _Modéré et solennel_
(Cellos and basses)]

rather the theme is blended of the first two phrases, merging their
opposite characters in the new mood of resolution. The strings prepare
for the sonorous entrance of woodwind and horns. One of the greatest
fugal episodes of symphonies, it is yet a mere prelude to the real
movement, where the light theme is drawn from a phrase of latest
cadence. And the dim hue of minor which began the symphony, and all
overspread the prelude, at last yields to the clear major. There is
something of the struggle of shadow and light of the great third
symphony of Brahms.

The continuous round of the theme, in its unstable pace (of 5/4), has a
strange power of motion, the feeling

[Music: (Ob.)

of old passacaglia. To be sure, it is the mere herald and companion of
the crowning tune, in solo of the reeds.

From the special view of structure, there is no symphony, modern or
classic, with such an overpowering combination and resolution of
integral themes in one movement. So almost constant is the derivation of
ideas, that one feels they must be all related. Thus, the late rush of
rhythm, in the Finale, is broken by a quiet verse where with enchanting
subtlety we are carried back somewhere to the idyll of third movement.

Above, rises another melody, and from its simple outline grows a fervor
and pathos that, aside from the basic themes of the whole work, strike
the main feeling of the Finale.

[Music: _Un peu moins vite_]

The martial trip from the Andante joins later in the return of the
whirling rhythm. At last the motto strikes on high, but the appealing
counter-melody is not easily hushed.

[Music: (Ob.)
(Cellos with _tremolo_ violins)]

It breaks out later in a verse of exalted beauty and passion. The
struggle of the two ideas reminds us of the Fifth Symphony. At last the
gloom of the fateful motto is relieved by the return of the original
answer, and we seem to see a new source of latest ideas, so that we
wonder whether all the melodies are but guises of the motto and answer,
which now at the close, sing in united tones a hymn of peace and bliss.



At intervals during the course of the art have appeared the innovators
and pioneers,--rebels against the accepted manner and idiom. The mystery
is that while they seem necessary to progress they seldom create
enduring works. The shadowy lines may begin somewhere among the Huebalds
and other early adventurers. One of the most striking figures is Peri,
who boldly, almost impiously, abandoned the contrapuntal style, the only
one sanctioned by tradition, and set the dramatic parts in informal
musical prose with a mere strumming of instruments.

It is not easy to see the precise need of such reaction. The radical
cause is probably a kind of inertia in all things human, by which the
accepted is thought the only way. Rules spring up that are never wholly
true; at best they are shifts to guide the student, inadequate
conclusions from past art. The essence of an art can never be put in
formulas. Else we should be content with the verbal form. The best
excuse for the rule is that it is meant to guard the element of truth in
art from meretricious pretence.

And, we must not forget, Art progresses by slow degrees; much that is
right in one age could not come in an earlier, before the intervening

The masters, when they had won their spurs, were ever restive under
rules.[A] Yet they underwent the strictest discipline, gaining early the
secret of expression; for the best purpose of rules is liberation, not
restraint. On the other hand they were, in the main, essentially
conservative. Sebastian Bach clung to the older manner, disdaining the
secular sonata for which his son was breaking the ground.

[Footnote A: Some of the chance sayings of Mozart (recently edited by
Kerst-Elberfeld) betray much contempt for academic study: "Learning from
books is of no account. Here, here, and here (pointing to ear, head, and
heart) is your school." On the subject of librettists "with their
professional tricks," he says: "If we composers were equally faithful to
our own rules (which were good enough when men knew no better), we
should turn out just as poor a quality in our music as they in their
librettos." Yet, elsewhere, he admits: "No one has spent so much pains
on the study of composition as myself. There is hardly a famous master
in music whom I have not read through diligently and often."]

The master feels the full worth of what has been achieved; else he has
not mastered. He merely gives a crowning touch of poetic message, while
the lighter mind is busy with tinkering of newer forms. For the highest
reaches of an art, the poet must first have grasped all that has gone
before. He will not rebel before he knows the spirit of the law, nor
spend himself on novelty for its own sake.

The line between the Master and the Radical may often seem vague. For,
the former has his Promethean strokes, all unpremeditated, compelled by
the inner sequence,--as when Beethoven strikes the prophetic drum in the
grim Scherzo of the Fifth Symphony; or in the Eroica when the horn
sounds sheer ahead, out of line with the sustaining chorus; or when Bach
leaps to his harmonic heights in organ fantasy and toccata; or Mozart
sings his exquisite clashes in the G Minor Symphony.

As the true poet begins by absorption of the art that he finds, his
early utterance will be imitative. His ultimate goal is not the
strikingly new but the eternally true. It is a question less of men than
of a point of view.

It seems sometimes that in art as in politics two parties are needed,
one balancing the weaknesses of the other. As certain epochs are
overburdened by the spirit of a past poet, so others are marred by the
opposite excess, by a kind of neo-mania. The latter comes naturally as
reaction from the former. Between them the poet holds the balance of
clear vision.

When Peri overthrew the trammels of counterpoint, in a dream of Hellenic
revival of drama, he could not hope to write a master-work. Destructive
rebellion cannot be blended with constructive beauty. An antidote is of
necessity not nourishment. Others may follow the path-breaker and slowly
reclaim the best of old tradition from the new soil. The strange part of
this rebellion is that it is always marked by the quality of stereotype
which it seeks to avoid. This is an invariable symptom. It cannot be
otherwise; for the rejection of existing art leaves too few resources.
Moreover, the pioneer has his eye too exclusively upon the mere manner.

A wholesome reaction there may be against excess. When Gluck dared to
move the hearts of his hearers instead of tickling their ears, he
achieved his purpose by positive beauty, without actual loss. In this
sense every work of art is a work of revolution. So Wagner, especially
in his earlier dramas,[A] by sheer sincerity and poetic directness,
corrected a frivolous tradition of opera. But when he grew destructive
of melody and form, by theory and practice, he sank to the rôle of
innovator, with pervading trait of stereotype, in the main merely adding
to the lesser resources of the art. His later works, though they contain
episodes of overwhelming beauty, cannot have a place among the permanent
classics, alone by reason of their excessive reiteration.

[Footnote A: The "Flying Dutchman," "Lohengrin" and "Tannhäuser" seemed
destined to survive Wagner's later works.]

One of the most charming instances of this iconoclasm is the music of
Claude Débussy.[A] In a way we are reminded of the first flash of
Wagner's later manner: the same vagueness of tonality, though with a
different complexion and temper. Like the German, Débussy has his own
novel use of instruments. He is also a rebel against episodic melody.
Only, with Wagner the stand was more of theory than of practice. His
lyric inspiration was here too strong; otherwise with Débussy. Each
article of rebellion is more highly stressed in the French leader, save
as to organic form, where the latter is far the stronger. And finally
the element of mannerism cannot be gainsaid in either composer.[B]

[Footnote A: Born in 1862.]

[Footnote B: Some recurring traits Wagner and Débussy have in common,
such as the climactic chord of the ninth. The melodic appoggiatura is as
frequent in the earlier German as the augmented chord of the fifth in
the later Frenchman.]

Among the special traits of Débussy's harmonic manner is a mingling with
the main chord of the third below. There is a building downward, as it
were. The harmony, complete as it stands, seeks a lower foundation so
that the plain tower (as it looked at first) is at the end a lofty
minaret. It is striking that a classic figure in French music should
have stood, in the early eighteenth century, a champion of this idea, to
be sure only in the domain of theory. There is a touch of romance in the
fate of a pioneer, rejected for his doctrine in one age, taken up in the
art of two centuries later.[A]

[Footnote A: Rameau, when the cyclopaedic spirit was first stirring and
musical art was sounding for a scientific basis, insisted on the element
of the third below, implying a tonic chord of 6, 5, 3. Here he was
opposed by Fétis, Fux and other theoretic authority; judgment was
definitively rendered against him by contemporary opinion and prevailing
tradition. It cannot be said that the modern French practice has
justified Rameau's theory, since with all the charm of the enriched
chord, there is ever a begging of the question of the ultimate root.]

A purely scientific basis must be shunned in any direct approach of the
art whether critical or creative,--alone for the fatal allurement of a
separate research. The truth is that a spirit of fantastic experiment,
started by the mystic manner of a César Franck, sought a sanction in the
phenomena of acoustics. So it is likely that the enharmonic process of
Franck led to the strained use of the whole-tone scale (of which we have
spoken above) by a further departure from tonality.[A] And yet, in all
truth, there can be no doubt of the delight of these flashes of the
modern French poet,--a delicate charm as beguiling as the bolder, warmer
harmonies of the earlier German. Instead of the broad exultation of
Wagner there is in Débussy the subtle, insinuating dissonance. Nor is
the French composer wanting in audacious strokes. Once for all he stood
the emancipator of the art from the stern rule of individual vocal
procedure. He cut the Gordian knot of harmonic pedagogy by the mere
weapon of poetic elision. He simply omitted the obvious link by a
license ancient in poetry and even in prose. He devised in his harmonies
the paradox, that is the essence of art, that the necessary step somehow
becomes unnecessary. Though Wagner plunges without ceremony into his
languorous chords, he carefully resolves their further course. Débussy
has them tumbling in headlong descent like sportive leviathans in his
sea of sound. Moreover he has broken these fetters of a small punctilio
without losing the sense of a true harmonic sequence. Nay, by the very
riotous revel of upper harmonies he has stressed the more clearly the
path of the fundamental tone. When he enters the higher sanctuary of
pure concerted voices, he is fully aware of the fine rigor of its rites.
And finally his mischievous abandon never leads him to do violence to
the profoundest element of the art, of organic design.[B]

[Footnote A: As the lower overtones, discovered by a later science,
clearly confirm the tonal system of the major scale, slowly evolved in
the career of the art,--so the upper overtones are said to justify the
whole-tone process. At best this is a case of the devil quoting
scripture. The main recurring overtones, which are lower and audible,
are all in support of a clear prevailing tonality.]

[Footnote B: In the drama Débussy avoids the question of form by
treating the music as mere scenic background. Wagner, in his later
works, attempted the impossible of combining a tonal with the dramatic
plot. In both composers, to carry on the comparison beyond the technical
phase, is a certain reaching for the primeval, in feeling as in
tonality. Here they are part of a larger movement of their age. The
subjects of their dramas are chosen from the same period of mediaeval
legend, strongly surcharged in both composers with a spirit of fatalism
where tragedy and love are indissolubly blended.]


_I.--From Dawn to Noon on the Sea._ In awesome quiet of unsoothing
sounds we feel, over a dual elemental motion, a quick fillip as of
sudden lapping wave, while a shadowy air rises slowly in hollow
intervals. Midst trembling whispers descending (like the soughing
wind), a strange note, as of distant trumpet, strikes in gentle
insistence--out of the other rhythm--and blows a wailing phrase. The
trembling whisper has sunk to lowest depths. Still continues the lapping
of waves--all sounds of unhuman nature.

[Music: (Muted trumpet, with Eng. horns in lower 8ve.)
_Very slowly_
(Cellos with basses in lower 8ve.)]

On quicker spur the shadowy motive flits faster here and there in a slow
swelling din of whispering, to the insistent plash of wave. Suddenly the
sense of desolation yields to soothing play of waters--a _berceuse_ of
the sea--and now a song sings softly (in horn), though strangely jarring
on the murmuring lullaby. The soothing cheer is anon broken by a shift
of new tone. There is a fluctuation of pleasant and strange sounds; a
dulcet air on rapturous harmony is hushed by unfriendly plash of chord.

Back again in the quieter play of rhythm the strange, sweet song (of
horns) returns.

In a ravishing climax of gentle chorus of quick plashing waves and
swirling breeze the song sings on and the trumpet blows its line of tune
to a ringing phrase of the clarinet.

[Music: (Strings and horns)
_ad lib. faster_]

When this has died down, the lapping waves, as in concert, strike in
full chord that spreads a hue of warmth, as of the first peep of sun. It
is indeed as though the waves rose towards the sun with a glow of

In the wake of the first stirring shock is a host of soft cheering
sounds of bustling day, like a choir of birds or bells. The eager
madrigal leads to a final blast (with acclaiming chorus of big rocking
waves), echoed in golden notes of the horns. One slight touch has
heightened the hue to warmest cheer; but once do we feel the full glow
of risen sun.

The chilling shadows return, as the wistful air of hushed trumpet
sounds again. We hover between flashes of warming sun, until the waves
have abated; in soothing stillness the romantic horn[A] sings a lay of

[Footnote A: English horn.]

Now to friendly purling of playful wavelets, the sea moves in shifting
harmonies. In sudden climax the motion of the waves fills all the brass
in triumphant paean, in the gleam of high noon.

_II.--Play of the Waves._ There is a poetic background as for the play
of legend. We seem to be watching the sea from a window in the castle of
_Pelléas_. For there is a touch of dim romance in a phrase of the

The movement of waves is clear, and the unconscious concert of
sea-sounds, the deeper pulse of ocean (in the horns), the flowing
ripples, the sharp dash of lighter surf (in the Glockenspiel), all with
a constant tremor, an instability of element (in trembling strings). We
cannot help feeling the illusion of scene in the impersonal play of
natural sounds. Anon will come a shock of exquisite sweetness that must
have something of human. And then follows a resonant clash with spray of
colliding seas.

Here the story of the waves begins, and there are clearly two roles.

To light lapping and cradling of waters the wood sings the simple lay,
while strings discourse in quicker, higher phrase. The parts are
reversed. A shower of chilling wave (in gliding harps) breaks the

[Music: _Con anima_
(Highest and lowest figure in strings.
Middle voices in octaves of wood)]

Now golden tones (of horns) sound a mystic tale of one of the former
figures. The scene shimmers

[Music: (With rhythmic harps and strings)
(Eng. horn) _espressivo_

in sparkling, glinting waters (with harp and trilling wood and strings).
But against the soothing background the story (of English horn) has a
chill, ominous strain.

With the returning main song comes the passionate crisis, and we are
back in the mere plash and play of impersonal waves.

On dancing ripples, a nixie is laughing to echoing horns and lures us
back to the story.

[Music: (Strings with lower 8ve.)
(Cl.) _grazioso_ (Horns)]

Later, it seems, two mermaids sing in twining duet. In a warm hue of
light the horns sound a weird tale. It is taken up by teasing chorus of
lighter voices. In the growing volume sounds a clear, almost martial
call of the brass.

In a new shade of scene we recover the lost burden of song; the original
figures appear (in the slower air of trembling strings and the quicker
play of reed, harp and bells), and wander through ever new, moving
phases. A shower of chords (in strings and shaking brass) brings back
the ominous melody, amidst a chorus of light chatter, but firmly resting
on a warm background of harmony. And the strain roves on generous path
and rises out of all its gloom to a burst of profound cheer.

[Music: (1st violins with lower 8ve.)
(2d violins; percussion with cellos below)
(Harp with violas)
(Flutes with higher 8ve.)
(See page 104, line 11.)]

As in all fairy tales, the scene quickly vanishes. On dancing rays and
ripples is the laughing nixie; but suddenly breaks the first song of the
main figures. A climactic phrase of trumpets ends with a burst of all
the chorus on stirring harmony, where in diminishing strokes of bells
long rings the melodic note.

The teasing motive of the nixie returns while the trumpet sounds a
shadowy echo of its phrase, again to dying peal of bells. A chorus of
eerie voices sing the mocking air, and again sounds the refrain of
trumpet as in rebuke. On a tumult of teasing cries flashes a delivering
burst of brilliant light, and we are back in the first scene of the
story. Only the main figure is absent. And there is in the eager tension
of pace a quivering between joy and doubt. Then, in answer to the
lighter phrase of the other, is the returning figure with a new song now
of blended longing and content that soars into higher flights until a
mighty chorus repeats the strain that rises to triumphant height of joy
and transforms the mocking motive to the same mood.

But it is all a play of the waves. And we are left once more to the
impersonal scene where yet the fragrance of legend hovers over the dying

_III.--Dialogue of the Wind and the Sea._ Tumultuous is the humor of the
beginning; early sounds the stroke of wave of the first hour of the sea.
The muted trumpet blows a strain (to trembling strings) that takes us
back to the first (quoted) tune of the symphony in the wistful mood of
dawn. For a symphony it proves to be in the unity of themes and thought.
Now unmuted and unrestrained in conflict of crashing chords, the trumpet
blows again the motto of the roving sea. In various figures is the
pelagic motion, in continuous coursing strings, in the sweeping phrase
of the woodwind, or in the original wave-motion of the horns, now

The main burden is a plaint

[Music: (Woodwind in lower octaves
and touches of horns)
(_Animato_) _poco rit._
(Strings in higher and lower octaves)]

(in the wood) against the insistent surge (of strings), on a haunting
motive as of farewell or eventide, with much stress of pathos. It is
sung in sustained duet against a constant churning figure of the sea,
and it is varied by a dulcet strain that grows out of the wave-motive.

Indeed, the whole movement is complementary of the first, the obverse as
it were. The themes are of the same text; the hue and mood have changed
from the spring of dawn to the sadness of dusk. The symbol of noontide
peace reappears with minor tinge, at the hush of eve. The climactic
motive of the sea acclaiming the rising sun is there, but reversed.

The sea too has the same tempestuous motion (indeed, the plaintive song
is mainly of the wind), unrestrained by the sadder mood. At the
passionate climax, where the higher figure sinks toward the rising
lower, it is as if the Wind kissed the Sea.

The concluding scene begins as in the first movement, save with greater
extension of expressive melody. And the poignant note has a long song
against a continuous rippling (of harps).

More elemental figures crowd the scene; the first melody (of trumpet)
has a full verse, and the dulcet phrase (of wave-motive).

Toward the end the plaintive song has an ever-growing chorus of
acclaiming voices. In the fever of united coursing motion the phrase
loses the touch of sadness until in eager, spirited pace, as of
galloping steeds, it ends with a shout of victory.


Chief among the companions of Claude Débussy in his adventures is Paul
Dukas.[A] Though he lags somewhat in bold flights of harmonies, he shows
a clearer vein of melody and rhythm, and he has an advantage in a
greater freedom from the rut of repeated device.

[Footnote A: Born in 1865.]

It is somehow in the smaller forms that the French composer finds the
trenchant utterance of his fancy. A Scherzo, after the ballad of Goethe,
"The Sorcerer's Apprentice," tells the famous story of the boy who in
his master's absence compels the spirit in the broom to fetch the
water; but he cannot say the magic word to stop the flood, although he
cleaves the demon-broom in two.

After the title-page of the score is printed a prose version (by Henri
Blaze) of Goethe's ballad, "Der Zauberlehrling."

Of several translations the following, by Bowring, seems the best:


    I am now,--what joy to hear it!--
      Of the old magician rid;
    And henceforth shall ev'ry spirit
      Do whatever by me is bid:
        I have watch'd with rigor
          All he used to do,
        And will now with vigor
          Work my wonders, too.

            Wander, wander
            Onward lightly,
            So that rightly
            Flow the torrent,
          And with teeming waters yonder
          In the bath discharge its current!

    And now come, thou well-worn broom,
      And thy wretched form bestir;
    Thou hast ever served as groom,
      So fulfil my pleasure, sir!
        On two legs now stand
          With a head on top;
        Water pail in hand,
          Haste and do not stop!

            Wander, wander
            Onward lightly,
            So that rightly
            Flow the torrent,
          And with teeming waters yonder
          In the bath discharge its current!

    See! he's running to the shore,
      And has now attained the pool,
    And with lightning speed once more
      Comes here, with his bucket full!
        Back he then repairs;
          See how swells the tide!
        How each pail he bears
          Straightway is supplied!

            Stop, for lo!
            All the measure
            Of thy treasure
            Now is right!
          Ah, I see it! woe, oh, woe!
          I forget the word of might.

    Ah, the word whose sound can straight
      Make him what he was before!
    Ah, he runs with nimble gait!
      Would thou wert a broom once more!
        Streams renew'd forever
          Quickly bringeth he;
        River after river
          Rusheth on poor me!

            Now no longer
            Can I bear him,
            I will snare him,
            Knavish sprite!
          Ah, my terror waxes stronger!
          What a look! what fearful sight!

    Oh, thou villain child of hell!
      Shall the house through thee be drown'd?
    Floods I see that widely swell,
      O'er the threshold gaining ground.
        Wilt thou not obey,
          O thou broom accurs'd!
        Be thou still, I pray,
          As thou wert at first!

            Will enough
            Never please thee?
            I will seize thee,
            Hold thee fast,
          And thy nimble wood so tough
          With my sharp axe split at last.

    See, once more he hastens back!
      Now, O Cobold, thou shalt catch it!
    I will rush upon his track;
      Crashing on him falls my hatchet.
        Bravely done, indeed!
          See, he's cleft in twain!
        Now from care I'm freed,
          And can breathe again.

            Woe oh, woe!
            Both the parts,
            Quick as darts,
            Stand on end,
          Servants of my dreaded foe!
          O ye gods, protection send!

    And they run! and wetter still
      Grow the steps and grows the hall.
      Lord and master, hear me call!
    Ever seems the flood to fill.

        Ah, he's coming! see,
          Great is my dismay!
        Spirits raised by me
          Vainly would I lay!

            "To the side
            Of the room
            Hasten, broom,
            As of old!
          Spirits I have ne'er untied
          Save to act as they are told."

In paragraphs are clearly pointed the episodes: the boy's delight at
finding himself alone to conjure the spirits; the invocation to the
water, recurring later as refrain (which in the French is not addressed
to the spirit); then the insistent summons of the spirit in the broom;
the latter's obedient course to the river and his oft-repeated fetching
of the water; the boy's call to him to stop,--he has forgotten the
formula; his terror over the impending flood; he threatens in his
anguish to destroy the broom; he calls once more to stop; the repeated
threat; he cleaves the spirit in two and rejoices; he despairs as two
spirits are now adding to the flood; he invokes the master who returns;
the master dismisses the broom to the corner.

There is the touch of magic in the first harmonics of strings, and the
sense of sorcery is always sustained in the strange harmonies.[A]

[Footnote A: The flageolet tones of the strings seem wonderfully
designed in their ghostly sound for such an aerial touch. Dukas uses
them later in divided violins, violas and cellos, having thus a triad of
harmonics doubled in the octave.

The remaining instruments are: Piccolo, 2 flutes, 2 oboes, 2 clarinets,
bass-clarinet, 3 bassoons, contra-bassoon (or contra-bass sarrusophon);
4 horns, 2 trumpets (often muted); 2 cornets-à-pistons; 3 trombones; 3
kettle-drums; harp; glockenspiel; big drum, cymbals and triangle.]

After a mystic descent of eerie chords, a melodious cooing phrase begins
in higher wood, echoed from one voice to the other, while the
spirit-notes are still sounding.

Suddenly dashes a stream of descending spray, met by another ascending;
in the midst the first phrase is rapidly sounded (in muted trumpet). As
suddenly the first solemn moment has returned, the phrase has grown in
melody, while uncanny harmonies prevail. Amidst a new feverish rush a
call rings

[Music: (Wood and _pizz._ strings)
(Horns and trumpets)]

loud and oft (in trumpets and horns) ending in an insistent, furious
summons. The silence that ensues is as speaking (or in its way as
deafening) as were the calls.

After what seems like the grating of ancient joints, set in reluctant
motion, the whole tune of the first wooing phrase moves in steady gait,
in comic bassoons, to the tripping of strings, further and fuller
extended as other voices join. The beginning phrase of chords recurs as
answer. Ever the lumbering trip continues, with strange turn of harmony
and color, followed ever by the weird answer. A fuller apparition comes
with the loud, though muffled tones of the trumpets. The original tune
grows in new turns and folds of melody, daintily tipped with the ring of
bells over the light tones of the wood. The brilliant

[Music: _Vivace_
(Melody in 3 bassoons)
(Acc't in _pizz._ strings)]

harp completes the chorus of hurrying voices. Now with full power and
swing the main notes ring in sturdy brass, while all around is a rushing
and swirling (of harps and bells and wood and strings). And still more
furious grows the flight, led by the unison violins.

A mischievous mood of impish frolic gives a new turn of saucy gait. In
the jovial answer, chorussed in simple song, seems a revel of all the
spirits of rivers and streams.

At the top of a big extended period the trumpet sends a shrill defiant

But it is not merely in power and speed,--more in an infinite variety of
color, and whim of tune and rhythmic harmony, that is expressed the
full gamut of disporting spirits. Later, at fastest speed of tripping
harp and wood, the brass ring out that first, insistent summons, beneath
the same eerie harmonies--and the uncanny descending chords answer as
before. But alas! the summons will not work the other way. Despite the
forbidding command and all the other exorcising the race goes madly on.

And now, if we are intent on the story, we may see the rising rage of
the apprentice and at last the fatal stroke that seemingly hems and
almost quells the flood. But not quite! Slowly (as at first) the hinges
start in motion. And now, new horror! Where there was one, there are now
two ghostly figures scurrying to redoubled disaster. Again and again the
stern call rings out, answered by the wildest tumult of all. The shouts
for the master's aid seem to turn to shrieks of despair. At last a
mighty call overmasters and stills the storm. Nothing is heard but the
first fitful phrases; now they seem mere echoes, instead of
forewarnings. We cannot fail to see the fine parallel, how the masterful
command is effective as was the similar call at the beginning.

Significantly brief is the ending, at once of the story and of the
music. In the brevity lies the point of the plot: in the curt dismissal
of the humbled spirit, at the height of his revel, to his place as broom
in the corner. Wistful almost is the slow vanishing until the last
chords come like the breaking of a fairy trance.



The Byron of music is Tschaikowsky for a certain alluring melancholy and
an almost uncanny flow and sparkle. His own personal vein deepened the
morbid tinge of his national humor.

We cannot ignore the inheritance from Liszt, both spiritual and musical.
More and more does the Hungarian loom up as an overmastering influence
of his own and a succeeding age. It seems as if Liszt, not Wagner, was
the musical prophet who struck the rock of modern pessimism, from which
flowed a stream of ravishing art. The national current in Tschaikowsky's
music was less potent than with his younger compatriots; or at least it
lay farther beneath the surface.

For nationalism in music has two very different bearings. The concrete
elements of folk-song, rhythm and scale, as they are more apparent, are
far less important. The true significance lies in the motive of an
unexpressed national idea that presses irresistibly towards fulfilment.
Here is the main secret of the Russian achievement in modern music,--as
of other nations like the Finnish. It is the cause that counts. Though
Russian song has less striking traits than Hungarian or Spanish, it has
blossomed in a far richer harvest of noble works of art.

Facile, fluent, full of color, Tschaikowsky seems equipped less for
subjective than for lyric and dramatic utterance, as in his "Romeo and
Juliet" overture. In the "Manfred" Symphony we may see the most fitting
employment of his talent. Nor is it unlikely that the special
correspondence of treatment and subject may cause this symphony to
survive the others, may leave it long a rival of Schumann's "Manfred"

With Tschaikowsky feeling is always highly stressed, never in a certain
natural poise. He quite lacks the noble restraint of the masters who, in
their symphonic lyrics, wonderfully suggest the still waters that run

Feeling with Tschaikowsky was frenzy, violent passion, so that with all
abandon there is a touch of the mechanical in his method. Emotion as the
content of highest art must be of greater depth and more quiet flow. And
it is part or a counterpart of an hysterical manner that it reacts to a
cold and impassive mood,--such as we feel in the Andante of the Fourth

The final quality for symphonic art is, after all, less the chance flash
of inspiration than a big view, a broad sympathy, a deep well of feeling
that comes only with great character.

Nay, there is a kind of peril in the symphony for the poet of uncertain
balance from the betrayal of his own temper despite his formal plan.
Through all the triumph of a climax as in the first movement of the
Fourth Symphony, we may feel a subliminal sadness that proves how subtle
is the expression in music of the subjective mood. There is revealed not
the feeling the poet is conscious of, but, below this, his present self,
and in the whole series of his works, his own personal mettle. What the
poet tries to say is very different from what he does say. In a
symphony, as in many a frolic, the tinge of latent melancholy will


Reverting to a great and fascinating question as to the content of art,
we may wonder whether this is not the real tragic symphony of
Tschaikowsky, in the true heroic sense, in a view where the highest
tragedy is not measured by the wildest lament. There may be a stronger
sounding of lower depths with a firmer touch (with less of a conscious
kind of abandon),--whence the recoil to serene cheer will be the

There is surely a magnificent aspiration in the first Allegro, a
profound knell of destiny and a rare ring of triumph. Underlying all is
the legend of trumpets, _Andante sostenuto_ (3/4), with a dim touch

[Music: _Andante sostenuto_
(Horns and bassoons doubled in 8va.)]

of tragedy. Opposite in feeling is the descending motive of strings,
_Moderato con anima_ (9/8). First gently expressive, it soon rises in
passion (the original

[Music: _Moderato con anima_
_in movimento di valse_
(Strings and one horn, the melody doubled below)]

motto always sounding) to a climax whence an ascending motive, in lowest
basses, entering in manner of fugue, holds a significant balance with
the former. Each in turn rears a climax for the other's

[Music: (Horns doubled below)
(Cellos and bassoons)]

entrance; the first, lamenting, leads to the soothing hope of the second
that, in the very passion of its refrain, loses assurance and ends in a
tragic burst.

Suddenly a very new kind of solace appears _Dolce grazioso_, in a
phrase of the clarinet that leads to a duet of wood and _cantabile_
strings, impersonal almost in the sweetness of its flowing song.

[Music: _Moderato assai_
(Oboe doubled in flute)

In such an episode we have a new Tschaikowsky,--no longer the subjective
poet, but the painter with a certain Oriental luxuriance and grace. It
is interesting to study the secret of this effect. The preluding strain
lowers the tension of the storm of feeling and brings us to the attitude
of the mere observer. The "movement of waltz" now has a new meaning, as
of an apparition in gently gliding dance. The step is just sustained in
leisurely strings. Above is the simple melodic trip of clarinet, where a
final run is echoed throughout the voices of the wood; a slower moving
strain in low cellos suggests the real song that presently begins, while
high in the wood the lighter tune continues. The ripples still keep
spreading throughout the voices, at the end of a line. The tunes then
change places, the slower singing above.

With all the beauty, there is the sense of shadowy picture,--a certain
complete absence of passion. Now the lower phrase appears in two
companion voices (of strings), a hymnal kind of duet,--_ben sostenuto
il tempo precedente_. Here, very softly in the same timid pace, enters a
chorus, on high, of the old sighing motive. Each melody breaks upon the
other and

[Music: _Bel sostenuto il tempo (moderato)_
(Woodwind doubled above)

ceases, with equal abruptness. There is no blending, in the constant
alternation, until the earlier (lamenting) motive conquers and rises to
a new height where a culminating chorale sounds a big triumph, while the
sighing phrase merely spurs a new verse of assurance.

[Music: (Strings and flutes)
(Doubled above and below)]

A completing touch lies in the answering phrase of the chorale, where
the answer of original motto is transformed into a masterful ring of
cheer and confidence.

As is the way with symphonies, it must all be sung and striven over
again to make doubly sure. Only there is never the same depth of lament
after the triumph. In a later verse is an augmented song of the answer
of trumpet legend, in duet of thirds, in slow, serene pace, while the
old lament sounds below in tranquil echoes and united strains. Before
the end, _molto piu vivace_, the answer rings in new joyous rhythm.

Somewhat the reverse of the first movement, in the second the emotional
phase grows slowly from the naïve melody of the beginning. Against the
main melody that begins in oboe solo (with _pizzicato_ strings),
_semplice ma grazioso_, plays later a rising

[Music: _Andantino in modo di canzone_
(Clarinet with lower 8ve.)
(Bassoons, with _pizz._ basses)]

counter-theme that may recall an older strain. The second melody, in
Greek mode, still does not depart

[Music: (Strings, wood and horns)]

from the naïve mood, or lack of mood. A certain modern trait is in this
work, when the feeling vents and wastes itself and yields to an
impassive recoil, more coldly impersonal than the severest classic.

A sigh at the end of the second theme is a first faint reminder of the
original lament. Of it is fashioned the third theme. A succeeding climax

[Music: _Piu mosso_
(Clarinet doubled below in bassoons)

brings back the subjective hue of the earlier symphony. A counter-theme,
of the text of the second melody of Allegro,--now one above, now the
other--is a final stroke. Even the shaking of the trumpet figure is
there at the height, in all the brass. Yet as a whole the first melody
prevails, with abundant variation of runs in the wood against the song
of the strings.

The Scherzo seems a masterly bit of humor, impish, if you will, yet on
the verge always of tenderness. The first part is never-failing in the
flash and sparkle of its play, all in _pizzicato_ strings, with a
wonderful daemonic quality of the mere instrumental effect. Somewhat
suddenly the oboe holds a long note and

[Music: _Pizzicato ostinato_
_Scherzo Allegro_
(_Pizzicato sempre_)]

then, with the bassoons, has a tune that is almost sentimental. But
presently the clarinets make mocking

[Music: (Oboes and bassoons)]

retorts. Here, in striking scene, all the brass (but the tuba) very
softly blow the first melody with eccentric halts, in just half the old
pace except when they take us by surprise. The clarinet breaks in with
the sentimental tune in faster time while the brass all the while are
playing as before. There are all kinds of pranks, often at the same
time. The piccolo, in highest treble, inverts the second melody, in
impertinent drollery. The brass has still newer surprises. Perhaps the
best of the fooling is where strings below and woodwind above share the
melody between them, each taking two notes at a time.

The first of the Finale is pure fanfare, as if to let loose the steeds
of war; still it recurs as leading idea. There is a kind of sonorous
terror, increased by the insistent, regular notes of the brass, the
spirited pace of the motive of strings,--the barbaric ring we often hear
in Slav music. At the height

[Music: _Allegro con fuoco_
(Wood doubled above and below)
(_Pizz._ strings)]

the savage yields to a more human vein of joyousness, though at the end
it rushes the more wildly into a

[Music: _Tutti_
(Doubled above and below)]

series of shrieks of trebles with tramping of basses. The real battle
begins almost with a lull, the mere sound of the second tune in the
reeds with light strum of strings and triangle. As the theme is
redoubled (in thirds of the wood), the sweep of strings of the first
motive is added, with chords of horns. A rising figure is now opposed to
the descent of the second melody, with shaking of woodwind that brings
back the old trumpet legend. Here the storm grows apace, with increasing
tumult of entering hostile strains, the main song now ringing in low

In various versions and changes we seem to see earlier themes briefly
reappearing. Indeed there is a striking kinship of themes throughout,
not so much in outline as in the air and mood of the tunes. This seems
to be proven by actual outer resemblance when the motives are developed.
Here in a quiet spot--though the battle has clearly not ceased--is the
answer of old trumpet motto, that pervaded the first Allegro. There is a
strong feeling of the Scherzo here in the _pizzicato_ answers of
strings. The second theme of the Andante is recalled, too, in the
strokes of the second of the Finale. In the thick of the fray is a
wonderful maze of versions of the theme, diminished and augmented at the
same time with the original pace. Yet it is all a clear flow of melody
and rich harmony. The four beats of quarter notes, in the lengthened
theme, come as high point like the figure of the leader in battle. A
later play of changes is like the sport of the Scherzo. This insensibly
leads to the figure of the fanfare, whence the earlier song returns
with the great joyous march.

The final height of climax is distinguished by a stentorian, fugal blast
of the theme in the bass, the higher breaking in on the lower, while
other voices are raging on the quicker phrases. It is brought to a
dramatic halt by the original prelude of trumpet legend, in all its
fulness. Though the march-song recurs, the close is in the ruder humor
of the main themes.


Schumann and Tschaikowsky are the two most eminent composers who gave
tonal utterance to the sombre romance of Byron's dramatic poem.[A] It is
interesting to remember that Byron expressly demanded the assistance of
music for the work. If we wish to catch the exact effect that is sought
in the original conception, Schumann's setting is the nearest approach.
It is still debated whether a scenic representation is more impressive,
or a simple reading, reinforced by the music.

[Footnote A: Prefixed are the familiar lines:

    "There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio,
    Than are dreamt of in your philosophy."]

Tschaikowsky's setting is a "symphony in four pictures, or scenes (_en
quatre tableaux_), after Byron's dramatic poem." In the general design
and spirit there is much of the feeling of Berlioz's "Fantastic"
Symphony, though the manner of the music shows no resemblance whatever.
There is much more likeness to Liszt's "Faust" Symphony, in that the
pervading recurrence of themes suggests symbolic labels. Moreover, in
the very character of many of the motives, there is here a striking line
of descent.

_Lento lugubre_, the first scene or picture, begins with a theme in
basses of reeds:

[Music: _Lento lugubre_

with later _pizzicato_ figure of low strings.

An answering strain is one of the most important of all the melodies:


On these, a bold conflict and climax is reared. If we care to indulge in
the bad habit of calling names, we might see "Proud Ambition" in the
first motives, intertwined with sounds of sombre discontent. The pace
grows _animando_,--_piu mosso_; _moderato molto_. Suddenly Andante sings
a new, expressive song, with a dulcet cheer of its own, rising to
passionate periods and a final height whence, _Andante con duolo_, a
loudest chorus of high wood and strings, heralded and accompanied by
martial tremolo of low wood, horns, basses, and drums, sound the fateful
chant that concludes the first scene, and, toward the close of the work,
sums the main idea.

[Music: (Strings and flutes)
(Basses, wood and horns)
(Same continuing rhythm)]

The apparition of the Witch of the Alps is pictured in daintiest,
sparkling play of strings and wood, with constant recurrence of mobile
figures above and below. It seems as if the image of the fountain is
fittest and most tempting for mirroring in music. Perhaps the most
beautiful, the most haunting, of all the "Manfred" music of Schumann is
this same scene of the Witch of the Alps.

Here, with Tschaikowsky, hardly a single note of brass intrudes on this
_perpetuum mobile_ of light, plashing spray until, later, strains that
hark back to the first scene cloud the clear brilliancy of the cascade.
Now the play of the waters is lost in the new vision, and a limpid song
glides in the violins, with big rhythmic chords of harps, is taken up in
clarinets, and carried on by violins in new melodic verse, _con
tenerezza e molto espressione_. Then the whole chorus sing the tune in
gentle volume. As it dies away, the music of the falling waters plash as
before. The returning song has phases of varying sadness and passion. At
the most vehement height,--and here, if we choose, we may see the stern
order to retire,--the fatal chant is shrieked by full chorus in almost
unison fierceness.

Gradually the innocent play of the waters is heard again, though a
gloomy pall hangs over. The chant sounds once more before the end.

The third, "Pastoral," scene we are most free to enjoy in its pure
musical beauty, with least need of definite dramatic correspondences. It
seems at first as if no notes of gloom are allowed to intrude, as if the
picture of happy simplicity stands as a foil to the tragedy of the
solitary dreamer; for an early climax gives a mere sense of the awe of
Alpine nature.

Still, as we look and listen closer, we cannot escape so easily, in
spite of the descriptive title. Indeed, the whole work seems, in its
relation to the poem upon which it is based, a very elusive play in a
double kind of symbolism. At first it is all a clear subjective
utterance of the hero's woes and hopes and fears, without definite
touches of external things. Yet, right in the second scene the torrent
is clear almost to the eye, and the events pass before us with sharp
distinctness. Tending, then, to look on the third as purest pastoral,
we are struck in the midst by an ominous strain from one of the earliest
moments of the work, the answer of the first theme of all. Here notes of
horns ring a monotone; presently a church-bell adds a higher note. The
peaceful pastoral airs then return, like the sun after a fleeting storm.

The whole of this third scene of Tschaikowsky's agrees with no special
one in Byron's poem, unless we go back to the second of the first act,
where Manfred, in a morning hour, alone upon the cliffs, views the
mountains of the Jungfrau before he makes a foiled attempt to spring
into the abyss. By a direction of the poet, in the midst of the
monologue, "the shepherd's pipe in the distance is heard," and Manfred
muses on "the natural music of the mountain reed."

The last scene of the music begins with Byron's fourth of Act II and
passes over all the incidents of the third act that precede the hero's
death, such as the two interviews with the Abbot and the glorious
invocation to the sun.

From Tschaikowsky's title, we must look for the awful gloom of the
cavernous hall of Arimanes, Byron's "Prince of Earth and Air." The gray
figure from most ancient myth is not less real to us than Mefistofeles
in "Faust." At least we clearly feel the human daring that feared not to
pry into forbidden mysteries and refused the solace of unthinking faith.
And it becomes again a question whether the composer had in mind this
subjective attitude of the hero or the actual figures and abode of the
spirits and their king. It is hard to escape the latter view, from the
general tenor, the clear-cut outline of the tunes, of which the
principal is like a stern chant:

[Music: (Wood, strings and horns)]

The most important of the later answers lies largely in the basses.

[Music: (Low wood)
(Rhythmic chords in strings)]

There is, on the whole, rather an effect of gloomy splendor (the
external view) than of meditation; a sense of visible massing than of
passionate crisis, though there is not wanting a stirring motion and
life in the picture. This is to speak of the first part, _Allegro con

The gloomy dance dies away. _Lento_ is a soft fugal chant on elemental
theme; there is all the solemnity of cathedral service; after the
low-chanted phrase follows a tremendous blare of the brass. The
repeated chant is followed by one of the earliest, characteristic themes
of the first scene. And so, if we care to follow the graphic touch, we
may see here the intrusion of Manfred, at the most solemn moment of the
fearful revel.

As Manfred, in Byron's poem, enters undaunted, refusing to kneel, the
first of the earlier phases rings out in fierce _fortissimo_. A further
conflict appears later, when the opening theme of the work sounds with
interruptions of the first chant of the spirits.

A dulcet plaint follows, _Adagio_, in muted strings, answered by a note
of horn and a chord of harp.

[Music: _Adagio_
(Muted strings answered by horn and harp)]

It all harks back to the gentler strains of the first movement. In the
ethereal _glissando_ of harps we see the spirit of Astarte rise to give
the fatal message. The full pathos and passion of the _lento_ episode of
first scene is heard in brief, vivid touches, and is followed by the
same ominous blast with ring of horn, as in the first picture.

A note of deliverance shines clear in the final phrase of joined
orchestra and organ, clearer perhaps than in Manfred's farewell line in
the play: "Old man! 'tis not so difficult to die." To be sure, Schumann
spreads the same solace o'er the close of his setting, with the Requiem.
The sombre splendor of romance is throughout, with just a touch of
turgid. In the poignant ecstasy of grief we feel vividly the
foreshadowing example of Liszt, in his "Dante" and "Faust" Symphonies.


With all the unfailing flow of lesser melodies where the charm is often
greatest of all, and the main themes of each movement with a chain of
derived phrases, one melody prevails and reappears throughout. The
fluency is more striking here than elsewhere in Tschaikowsky. All the
external sources,--all the glory of material art seem at his command. We
are reminded of a certain great temptation to which all men are subject
and some fall,--however reluctantly. Throughout there is a vein of
daemonic. The second (Allegro) melody grows to a high point of
pathos,--nay, anguish, followed later by buoyant, strepitant, dancing
delight, with the melting answer, in the latest melody. The daemon is
half external fate--in the Greek sense, half individual temper. The end
is almost sullen; but the charm is never failing; at the last is the
ever springing rhythm.

[Music: _Andante_
_pesante e tenuto sempre_
(Low strings)]

The march rhythm of the opening Andante is carried suddenly into a quick
trip, _Allegro con anima_ (6/8), where the main theme of the first
movement now begins, freely extended as in a full song of verses. New
accompanying figures are added, contrasting phrases or counter-melodies,
to the theme.

[Music: _Allegro con anima_
Solo clarinet (doubled below with solo bassoon.)

One expressive line plays against the wilder rhythm of the theme, with
as full a song in its own mood as the other. A new rhythmic motive, of
great charm, _un pocchetino piu animato_, is answered by a bit of the
theme. Out of it all grows, in a clear

[Music: _Molto espr._

welded chain, another episode, where the old rhythm is a mere gentle
spur to the new plaint,--_molto piu tranquillo, molto cantabile ed

[Music: _Molto piu tranquillo_
_Molto cantabile ed espr._]

To be sure, the climax has all of the old pace and life, and every voice
of the chorus at the loudest. In the answering and echoing of the
various phrases, rhythmic and melodic, is the charm of the discussion
that follows. Later the three melodies come again in the former order,
and the big climax of the plaintive episode precedes the end, where the
main theme dies down to a whisper.

_Andante cantabile, con alcuna licenza._ After preluding chords in
lowest strings a solo horn begins a

[Music: _Andante cantabile, con alcuna licenza_
_dolce con molto espr._

languishing song, _dolce con molto espressione_. It is a wonderful
elegy, a yearning without hope, a swan-song of desire, sadder almost
than the frank despair of the Finale of the _Pathétique_
symphony,--pulsing with passion, gorgeous with a hectic glow of
expressive beauty, moving too with a noble grace. Though there is a foil
of lighter humor, this is overwhelmed in the fateful gloom of the
returning main motto.

The abounding beauty with all its allurement lacks the solace that the
masters have led us to seek in the heart of a symphony. The clarinet
presently twines a phrase about the tune until a new answer sounds in
the oboe, that now sings in answering and chasing duet with the horn.
The phrase of oboe proves to be the main song, in full extended
periods, reaching a climax with all the voices.

[Music: _Con moto_
(Solo oboe)
_dolce espr._]

Well defined is the middle episode in minor reared on a new theme of the
clarinet with an almost fugal polyphony that departs from the main lyric

[Music: _Moderato con anima_
(Solo clar.)

At the height all the voices fall into a united chorus on the original
motto of the symphony. The first melodies of the Andante now return with
big sweep and power, and quicker phrases from the episode. The motto
reappears in a final climax, in the trombones, before the hushed close.

We must not infer too readily a racial trait from the temper of the
individual composer. There is here an error that we fall into frequently
in the music of such men as Grieg and Tschaikowsky. The prevailing mood
of the Pathetic Symphony is in large measure personal. Some of the more
recent Russian symphonies are charged with buoyant joyousness. And,
indeed, the burden of sadness clearly distinguishes the last symphony of
Tschaikowsky from its two predecessors, the Fourth and the Fifth.

The tune of the _valse_, _Allegro moderato_, is first played by the
violins, _dolce con grazia_, with accompanying strings, horns and
bassoon. In the second part, with some loss of the lilt of dance, is a
subtle design--with a running phrase in _spiccato_ strings against a
slower upward glide of bassoons. The duet winds on a kind of _crescendo_
of modulations. Later

[Music: (_Spiccato_)

the themes are inverted, and the second is redoubled in speed. The whole
merges naturally into the first waltz, with a richer suite of adorning
figures. The dance does not end without a soft reminder (in low
woodwind) of the original sombre phrase.

Almost for the first time a waltz has entered the shrine of the
symphony. And yet perhaps this dance has all the more a place there. It
came on impulse (the way to visit a sanctuary), not by ancient custom.
But with all its fine variety, it is a simple waltz with all the
careless grace,--nothing more, with no hidden or graphic meaning (as in
Berlioz's Fantastic Symphony).

The middle episode, though it lacks the dancing trip, is in the one
continuing mood,--like a dream of youthful joys with just a dimming hint
of grim reality in the returning motto.

In the Finale the main legend of the symphony is transformed and
transfigured in a new, serener mood, and is brought to a full melodic
bloom. Indeed, here is the idealization of the original motto. _Andante
maestoso_ it begins in the tonic major. When the theme ceases, the brass
blow the rhythm on a monotone, midst an ascending _obligato of strings_.

[Music: (Brass and lower woodwind)
(See page 139, line 1.)]

In answer comes a new phrase of chorale. Later the chorale is sounded
by the full band, with intermediate beats of rhythmic march.

Once more there is a well-marked episode, with a full share of melodic
discussion, of clashing themes, of dramatic struggle. First in the tonic
minor a theme rises from the last casual cadence in resonant march,
_Allegro vivace_. Then follows a duet, almost

[Music: _Allegro vivace_
(Strings and low wood)
(Trill of kettle drums)]

a harsh grating of an eccentric figure above against

[Music: (Solo oboe)
(Low wood)
(_Pizz._ cellos)]

the smoother course of the latest Allegro motive. The themes are
inverted. Presently out of the din rises a charming canon on the
prevailing smoother phrase, that soars to a full sweep of song. A new

[Music: (Violins)
(Basses 8va.) (Low strings)]

hymnal melody comes as a final word. Though the main motto returns in
big chorus, in full extension, in redoubled pace and wild abandon, still
the latest melody seems to contend for the last say. Or, rather,

[Music: (Woodwind doubled above and below)
(See page 141, line 2.)]

it is a foil, in its simple flow, to the revel of the motto, now grown
into a sonorous, joyous march. And we seem to see how most of the other
melodies,--the minor episode, the expressive duet--have sprung from bits
of the main text.

To return for another view,--the Finale begins in a mood that if not
joyous, is religious. Out of the cadence of the hymn dances the Allegro
tune almost saucily. Nor has this charming trip the ring of gladness,
though it grows to great momentum. As a whole there is no doubt of the
assurance, after the earlier fitful gloom, and with the resignation an
almost militant spirit of piety.

In the dulcet canon, an exquisite gem, bliss and sadness seem
intermingled; and then follows the crowning song, broad of pace,
blending the smaller rhythms in ecstatic surmounting of gloom. In
further verse it doubles its sweet burden in overlapping voices, while
far below still moves the rapid trip.

But the motto will return, in major to be sure, and tempered in mercy.
And the whole hymn dominates, with mere interludes of tripping motion,
breaking at the height into double pace of concluding strain. Before
falling back into the thrall of the legend the furious race rushes
eagerly into the deepest note of bliss, where in sonorous bass rolls the
broad, tranquil song. And though the revel must languish, yet we attend
the refrain of all the melodies in crowning rapture. Then at last, in
stern minor, sounds the motto, still with the continuing motion, in a
loud and long chant.

In blended conclusion of the contending moods comes a final verse of the
legend in major, with full accoutrement of sounds and lesser rhythm, in
majestic pace. And there is a following frolic with a verse of the
serene song. The end is in the first Allegro theme of the symphony, in
transfigured major tone.

We must be clear at least of the poet's intent. In the Fifth Symphony
Tschaikowsky sang a brave song of struggle with Fate.



For some mystic reason nowhere in modern music is the symphony so
justified as in Russia. Elsewhere it survives by the vitality of its
tradition. In France we have seen a series of works distinguished rather
by consummate refinement than by strength of intrinsic content. In
Germany since the masterpieces of Brahms we glean little besides the
learnedly facile scores of a Bruckner, with a maximum of workmanship and
a minimum of sturdy feeling,--or a group of "heroic" symphonies all cast
in the same plot of final transfiguration. The one hopeful sign is the
revival of a true counterpoint in the works of Mahler.

Some national song, like the Bohemian, lends itself awkwardly to the
larger forms. The native vein is inadequate to the outer mould, that
shrinks and dwindles into formal utterance. It may be a question of the
quantity of a racial message and of its intensity after long
suppression. Here, if we cared to enlarge in a political disquisition,
we might account for the symphony of Russians and Finns, and of its
absence in Scandinavia. The material elements, abundant rhythm, rich
color, individual and varied folk-song, are only the means by which the
national temper is expressed. Secondly, it must be noted as a kind of
paradox, the power of the symphony as a national utterance is increased
by a mastery of the earlier classics. With all that we hear of the
narrow nationalism of the Neo-Russians, we cannot deny them the breadth
that comes from a close touch with the masters. Mozart is an element in
their music almost as strong as their own folk-song. Here, it may be,
the bigger burden of a greater national message unconsciously seeks the
larger means of expression. And it becomes clear that the sharper and
narrower the national school, the less complete is its utterance, the
more it defeats its ultimate purpose.

The broad equipment of the new Russian group is seen at the outset in
the works of its founder, Balakirew. And thus the difference between
them and Tschaikowsky lay mainly in the formulated aim.[A]

[Footnote A: In the choice of subjects there was a like breadth.
Balakirew was inspired by "King Lear," as was Tschaikowsky. And amid a
wealth of Slavic legend and of kindred Oriental lore, he would turn to
the rhythms of distant Spain for a poetic theme.]

The national idea, so eminent in modern music, is not everywhere equally
justified. And here, as in an object-lesson, we see the true merits of
the problem. While one nation spontaneously utters its cry, another,
like a cock on the barnyard, starts a movement in mere idle vanity, in
sheer self-glorification.

In itself there is nothing divine in a national idea that needs to be
enshrined in art. Deliberate segregation is equally vain, whether it be
national or social. A true racial celebration must above all be
spontaneous. Even then it can have no sanction in art, unless it utter a
primal motive of resistance to suppression, the elemental pulse of life
itself. There is somehow a divine dignity about the lowest in human
rank, whether racial or individual. The oppressed of a nation stands a
universal type, his wrongs are the wrongs of all, and so his lament has
a world-wide appeal. And in truth from the lowest class rises ever the
rich spring of folk-song of which all the art is reared, whence comes
the paradox that the peasant furnishes the song for the delight of his
oppressors, while they boast of it as their own. Just in so far as man
is devoid of human sympathy, is he narrow and barren in his song. Music
is mere feeling, the fulness of human experience, not in the hedonic
sense of modern tendencies, but of pure joys and profound sorrows that
spring from elemental relations, of man to man, of mate to mate.

Here lies the nobility of the common people and of its song; the
national phase is a mere incident of political conditions. The war of
races is no alembic for beauty of art. If there were no national lines,
there would still be folk-song,--merely without sharp distinction. The
future of music lies less in the differentiation of human song, than in
its blending.

Thus we may rejoice in the musical utterance of a race like the Russian,
groaning and struggling through ages against autocracy for the dignity
of man himself,--and in a less degree for the Bohemian, seeking to hold
its heritage against enforced submergence. But we cannot take so
seriously the proud self-isolation of other independent nations.


[Footnote A: Mili Alexeivich Balakirew was born at Nizhni-Novgorod in
1836; he died at St. Petersburg in 1911. He is regarded as the founder
of the Neo-Russian School.]

The national idea shines throughout, apart from the "Russian Theme" that
forms the main text of the Finale. One may see the whole symphony
leading up to the national celebration.

As in the opening phrase (in solemn _Largo_) with

[Music: (Lower reed, with strings in three 8ves.)

its answer are proclaimed the subjects that presently

[Music: (Flute and strings)]

appear in rapid pace, so the whole movement must be taken as a big
prologue, forecasting rather than realizing. There is a dearth of
melodic stress and balance; so little do the subjects differ that they
are in essence merely obverse in outline.

Mystic harmonies and mutations of the motto lead to a quicker guise
(_Allegro vivo_). Independently of themes, the rough edge of tonality
and the vigorous primitive rhythms are expressive of the Slav feeling.
Withal there is a subtlety of harmonic manner that could come only
through the grasp of the classics common to all nations. Augmentation
and diminution of theme abound, together with the full fugal manner. A
warm, racial color is felt in the prodigal use of lower reeds.[A]

[Footnote A: Besides the English horn and four bassoons there are four
clarinets,--double the traditional number.]

In all the variety of quick and slower melodies a single phrase of five
notes, the opening of the symphony, pervades. In all kinds of humor it
sings, martial, solemn, soothing, meditative, or sprightly. Poetic in
high degree is this subtle metamorphosis, so that the symphony in the
first movement seems to prove the art rather than the national spirit of
the Neo-Russians.

Of the original answer is wrought all the balance and foil of second
theme, and like the first it reaches a climactic height. But the first
is the sovereign figure of the story. It enters into the pattern of
every new phase, it seems the text of which all the melodies are
fashioned, or a sacred symbol that must be all-pervading. In a broader
pace (_Alla breve_) is a mystic discussion of the legend, as of dogma,
ending in big pontifical blast of the answering theme.

The whole movement is strangely frugal of joyous abandon. Instead of
rolling, revelling melody there is stern proclamation, as of oracle, in
the solemn pauses. The rhythm is purposely hemmed and broken. Restraint
is everywhere. Almost the only continuous thread is of the meditative

A single dulcet lyric verse (of the motto) is soon

[Music: (Cellos with _tremolo_ of lower strings)]

banished by a sudden lively, eccentric phrase that has an air of forced
gaiety, with interplay of mystic symbols. At last, on a farther height,
comes the first


joyous abandon (in a new mask of the motto), recurring anon as recess
from sombre brooding.

Here the second subject has a free song,--in gentle chase of pairs of
voices (of woodwind and muted strings and harp) and grows to alluring
melody. As

[Music: (Lower reed, with _tremolo_ of lower strings)]

from a dream the eccentric trip awakens us, on ever higher wing. At the
top in slower swing of chords horn and reeds chant the antiphonal
legend, and in growing rapture, joined by the strings, rush once more
into the jubilant revel, the chanting legend still sounding anon in
sonorous bass.

The climax of feeling is uttered in a fiery burst of all the brass in
the former dulcet refrain from the motto. In full sweep of gathering
host it flows in unhindered song. Somehow by a slight turn, the tune is
transformed into the alluring melody of the second theme. When the
former returns, we feel that both strains are singing as part of a
single song and that the two subjects are blended and reconciled in
rapture of content.

A new mystic play of the quicker motto, answered by the second theme,
leads to an overpowering blast of the motto in slowest notes of brass
and reed, ending in a final fanfare.

All lightness is the Scherzo, though we cannot escape a Russian vein of
minor even in the dance. A rapid melody has a kind of perpetual motion
in the strings, with mimicking echoes in the wood. But the strange part
is how the natural accompanying voice below (in the bassoon) makes a
haunting melody of

[Music: _Vivo_
(Violins doubled below in violas)
(_Pizz._ cellos)]

its own,--especially when they fly away to the major. As we suspected,
the lower proves really the principal song as it winds on in the
languorous English horn or in the higher reed. Still the returning dance
has now the whole stage in a long romp with strange peasant thud of the
brass on the second beat. Then the song rejoins the dance, just as in
answering glee, later in united chorus.

A quieter song (that might have been called the Trio) has still a
clinging flavor of the soil,--as of a folk-ballad, that is not lost with
the later madrigal nor with the tripping figure that runs along.

Strangely, after the full returning dance, an epilogue

[Music: (Trio) _Poco meno mosso_

of the ballad appears over a drone, as of bagpipe, through all the
harmony of the madrigal. Strangest of all is the playful last refrain in
the high piccolo over the constant soft strumming strings.

The Andante, in pure lyric mood, is heavily charged with a certain
Oriental languor. The clarinet

[Music: (Clarinet)
(Strings with harp)]

leads the song, to rich strum of harp and strings, with its note of
sensuous melancholy. Other, more external signs there are of Eastern
melody, as in the graceful curl of quicker notes. Intermediate strains
between the verses seem gently to rouse the slumbering feeling,--still
more when they play between the lines of the song. The passion that is
lulled in the languor of main melody, is somehow uttered in the later
episode,--still more in the dual song of both

[Music: (Violins doubled below)
(Horns and bassoons doubled above in wood)
(Strings and horns)]

melodies,--though it quickly drops before a strange coquetry of other
strains. Yet the climax of the main song is reached when the lighter
phrase rings fervently in the high brass. Here the lyric beauty is
stressed in a richer luxuriance of rhythmic setting. Once more sings the
passionate tune; then in midst of the last verse of the main song is a
quick alarm of rushing harp. The languorous dream is broken; there is an
air of new expectancy. Instead of a close is a mere pause on a passing
harmony at the portals of the high festival.

With a clear martial stress the "Russian Theme" is sounded (in low
strings), to the full a national

[Music: _Allegro moderato_
Finale _Thème Russe_
(Cellos with basses in lower 8ve.)]

tune of northern race. Enriched with prodigal harmony and play of lesser
themes it flows merrily on, yet always with a stern pace, breaking out
at last in a blare of warlike brass.

Nor does the martial spirit droop in the second tune, though the
melodies are in sheer contrast. In faster rhythm, the second is more
festal so that the first returning has a tinge almost of terror. An

[Music: (Cl't)

after-strain of the second has a slightest descent to reflective
feeling, from which there is a new rebound

[Music: (Cellos)
(Strings and harp with sustained chord of horns)]

to the buoyant (festal) melody.

Here in grim refrains, in dim depths of basses (with hollow notes of
horns) the national tune has a free fantasy until it is joined by the
second in a loud burst in the minor.

Now the latter sings in constant alternation with the answering strain,
then descends in turn into the depths of sombre musing. There follows a
big, resonant dual climax (the main theme in lower brass), with an edge
of grim defiance. In the lull we seem to catch a brief mystic play of
the first motto of the symphony (in the horns) before the last joyous
song of both melodies,--all with a power of intricate design and a
dazzling brilliancy of harmony, in proud national celebration.

A last romp is in polacca step on the tune of the Russian Theme.


[Footnote A: Nicholas Rimsky-Korsakow, Russian, 1844-1908.]

The title-page tells us that "the subject is taken from an Arabian tale
of Sennkowsky." Opposite the beginning of the score is a summary of the
story, in Russian and in French, as follows:

     I.--Awful is the view of the desert of Sham; mighty in their
     desolation are the ruins of Palmyra, the city razed by the spirits
     of darkness. But Antar, the man of the desert, braves them, and
     dwells serenely in the midst of the scenes of destruction. Antar
     has forever forsaken the company of mankind. He has sworn eternal
     hatred on account of the evil they returned him for the good which
     he intended.

     Suddenly a charming, graceful gazelle appears. Antar starts to
     pursue it. But a great noise seems pulsing through the heavens, and
     the light of day is veiled by a dense shadow. It is a giant bird
     that is giving chase to the gazelle.

     Antar straightway changes his intent, and attacks the monster,
     which gives a piercing cry and flies away. The gazelle disappears
     at the same time, and Antar, left alone in the midst of ruins, soon
     goes to sleep while meditating on the event that has happened.

     He sees himself transported to a splendid palace, where a multitude
     of slaves hasten to serve him and to charm his ear with their song.
     It is the abode of the Queen of Palmyra,--the fairy Gul-nazar. The
     gazelle that he has saved from the talons of the spirit of darkness
     is none other than the fairy herself. In gratitude Gul-nazar
     promises Antar the three great joys of life, and, when he assents
     to the proffered gift, the vision vanishes and he awakes amid the
     surrounding ruins.

     II.--The first joy granted by the Queen of Palmyra to Antar are the
     delights of vengeance.

     III.--The second joy--the delights of power.

     IV.--Antar has returned to the fallen remains of Palmyra. The third
     and last gift granted by the fairy to Antar is the joy of true
     love. Antar begs the fairy to take away his life as soon as she
     perceives the least estrangement on his side, and she promises to
     do his desire.

     After a long time of mutual bliss the fairy perceives, one day,
     that Antar is absent in spirit and is gazing into the distance.
     Straightway, divining the reason, she passionately embraces him.
     The fire of her love enflames Antar, and his heart is consumed

     Their lips meet in a last kiss and Antar dies in the arms of the

The phases of the story are clear in the chain of musical scenes, of the
movements themselves and within them. In the opening Largo that recurs
in this movement between the visions and happenings, a melody appears
(in violas) that moves in all the

[Music: (Violas) _Largo_

acts of the tragedy. It is clearly the Antar motive,--here amidst ruin
and desolation.

The fairy theme is also unmistakable, that first plays in the flute,
against soft horns, _Allegro giocoso_,

[Music: (Flute) _Allegro giocoso_
(Horns) (Harp)]

and is lost in the onrushing attack, _furioso_, of a strain that begins
in murmuring of muted strings.

Other phrases are merely graphic or incidental. But the Antar motive is
throughout the central moving figure.

The scene of the desert returns at the end of the movement.

In the second (_Allegro_, rising to _Molto allegro_, returning
_allargando_) the Antar motive is seldom absent. The ending is in long
notes of solo oboe and first violins. There is no trace of the fairy
queen throughout the movement.

The third movement has phases of mighty action (as in the beginning,
_Allegro risoluto alla Marcia_), of delicate charm, and even of humor.
The Antar melody plays in the clangor of big climax in sonorous tones of
the low brass, against a quick martial phrase of trumpets and horns.
Again there is in this movement no sign of the fairy queen.

In the fourth movement, after a prelude, _Allegretto vivace_, with light
trip of high flutes, a melody, of actual Arab origin, sings _Andante
amoroso_ in the

[Music: (Arabian melody)
_Andante amoroso_
(Eng. horn)

English horn, and continues almost to the end, broken only by the
dialogue of the lover themes. At the close a last strain of the Antar
melody is followed by the fairy phrase and soft vanishing chord of harp
and strings.


Prefixed to the score is a "program," in Russian and French: "The Sultan
Schahriar, convinced of the infidelity of women, had sworn to put to
death each of his wives after the first night. But the Sultana
Schérézade saved her life by entertaining him with the stories which she
told him during a thousand and one nights. Overcome by curiosity, the
Sultan put off from day to day the death of his wife, and at last
entirely renounced his bloody vow.

"Many wonders were told to Schahriar by the Sultana Schérézade. For the
stories the Sultana borrowed the verses of poets and the words of
popular romances, and she fitted the tales and adventures one within the

"I. The Sea and the Vessel of Sindbad.

"II. The Tale of the Prince Kalender.

"III. The Young Prince and the Young Princess.

"IV. Feast at Bagdad. The Sea. The Vessel is Wrecked on a Rock on which
is Mounted a Warrior of Brass. Conclusion."

With all the special titles the whole cannot be regarded as close
description. It is in no sense narrative music. The titles are not in
clear order of events, and, moreover, they are quite vague.

In the first number we have the sea and merely the vessel, not the
voyages, of Sindbad. Then the story of the Prince Kalender cannot be
distinguished among the three tales of the royal mendicants. The young
prince and the young princess,--there are many of them in these Arabian
fairy tales, though we can guess at the particular one. Finally, in the
last number, the title mentions an event from the story of the third
Prince Kalender, where the vessel (not of Sindbad) is wrecked upon a
rock surmounted by a warrior of brass. The Feast of Bagdad has no
special place in any one of the stories.

The truth is, it is all a mirroring in tones of the charm and essence of
these epic gems of the East. It is not like the modern interlinear
description, although it might be played during a reading on account of
the general agreement of the color and spirit of the music. But there is
the sense and feeling of the story, _das Märchen_, and the romance of
adventure. The brilliancy of harmony, the eccentricity and gaiety of
rhythm seem symbolic and, in a subtle way, descriptive. As in the
subject, the stories themselves, there is a luxuriant imagery, but no
sign of the element of reflection or even of emotion.

_I._--The opening motive, in big, broad rhythm, is clearly the Sea. Some
have called it the Sindbad motive. But in essence these are not very
different. The Sea is here the very feeling and type of adventure,--nay,
Adventure itself. It is a necessary part of fairy stories. Here it
begins and ends with its rocking theme, ever moving onward. It comes in
the story of the Prince Kalender.

The second of the main phrases is evidently the motive of the fairy tale
itself, the feeling of "once upon a time," the idea of story, that leads
us to the events themselves. It is a mere strumming of chords of the
harp, with a vague line, lacking rhythm, as of musical prose. For rhythm
is the type of event, of happenings, of the adventure itself. So the
formless phrase is the introduction, the narrator, _Märchen_ in an
Oriental dress as Schérézade.

The first number passes for the most part in a rocking of the motive of
the sea, in various moods and movements: _Largo e maestoso, Allegro non
troppo,--tranquillo_. At one time even the theme of the story sings to
the swaying of the sea.[A]

[Footnote A: We remember how Sindbad was tempted after each fortunate
escape from terrible dangers to embark once more, and how he tells the
story of the seven voyages on seven successive days, amid luxury and

_II._--In the tale of the Prince Kalender Schérézade, of course, begins
the story as usual. But the main thread is in itself another interwoven
tale,--_Andantino Capriccioso, quasi recitando_, with a solo in the
bassoon _dolce e espressivo_,--later _poco piu mosso_, in violins.[A]
There is most of happenings here. A very strident phrase that plays in
the brass _Allegro molto_, may be some hobgoblin, or rather an evil
jinn, that holds the princess captive and wrecks the hero's vessel. The
sea, too, plays a tempestuous part at the same time with the impish
mischief of the jinn.

[Footnote A: In the old version the word "Calender" is used; in the new
translation by Lane we read of "The Three Royal Mendicants." In certain
ancient editions they are called "Karendelees,"--i.e., "miserable
beggars." Each of the three had lost an eye in the course of his
misfortunes. The story (of the Third Kalender) begins with the wreck of
the prince's vessel on the mountain of loadstone and the feat of the
prince, who shoots the brazen horseman on top of the mountain and so
breaks the charm. But there is a long chain of wonders and of troubles,
of evil enchantments and of fateful happenings.]

_III._--The third number is the idyll,--both of the stories and of the
music. Here we are nearest to a touch of sentiment,--apart from the mere
drama of haps and mishaps.[A] But there are all kinds of special
events. There is no prelude of the narrator. The idyll begins
straightway, _Andantino quasi allegretto_, winds through all kinds of
scenes and storms, then sings again _dolce e cantabile_. Here, at last,
the Schérézade phrase is heard on the violin solo, to chords of the
harp; but presently it is lost in the concluding strains of the love

[Footnote A: The story, if any particular one is in the mind of the
composer, is probably that of the Prince Kamar-ez-Zemán and the Princess
Budoor. In the quality of the romance it approaches the legends of a
later age of chivalry. In the main it is the long quest and the final
meeting of a prince and a princess, living in distant kingdoms. Through
the magic of genii they have seen each other once and have exchanged
rings. The rest of the story is a long search one for the other. There
are good and evil spirits, long journeys by land and sea, and great
perils. It is an Arab story of the proverbial course of true love.]

_IV._--The last number begins with the motive of the sea, like the
first, but _Allegro molto_, again followed by the phrase of the story
teller. The sea returns _Allegro molto e frenetico_ in full force, and
likewise the vague motive of the story in a cadenza of violin solo. Then
_Vivo_ comes the dance, the pomp and gaiety of the Festival, with
tripping tambourine and strings and the song first in the flutes.[A]
Presently a reminder of the sea intrudes,--_con forza_ in lower wood and
strings. But other familiar figures flit by,--the evil jinn and the
love-idyll. Indeed the latter has a full verse,--in the midst of the

[Footnote A: We may think of the revels of Sindbad before the returning
thirst for adventure.]

Right out of the festival, rather in full festal array, we seem to
plunge into the broad movement of the surging sea, _Allegro non troppo e
maestoso_, straight on to the fateful event. There are no sighs and
tears. Placidly the waves play softly about. And _dolce e capriccioso_
the siren Schérézade once more reappears to conclude the tale.


[Footnote A: Sergei Rachmaninow, born in 1873.]

_I._--The symphony begins with the sombre temper of modern Russian art;
at the outset it seems to throb with inmost feeling, uttered in subtlest

The slow solemn prelude _(Largo)_ opens with the

[Music: _Largo_

chief phrase of the work in lowest strings to ominous chords, and treats
it with passionate stress until the main pace of Allegro.

[Music: _Espr_. (Violins)
(Wood and horns)]

But the germ of prevailing legend lies deeper. The work is one of the
few symphonies where the whole is reared on a smallest significant
phrase. The first strain (of basses) is indeed the essence of the
following melody and in turn of the main Allegro theme. But, to probe
still further, we cannot help feeling an ultimate, briefest motive of
single ascending tone against intrinsic obstacle, wonderfully expressed
in the harmony, with a mingled sense of resolution and regret. And of
like moment is the reverse descending tone. Both of these symbols
reappear throughout the symphony, separate or blended in larger melody,
as principal or accompanying figures. Aside from this closer view that
makes clear the tissue of themal discussion, the first phrase is the
main melodic motto, that is instantly echoed in violins with piquant
harmony. In the intricate path of deep musing we feel the mantle of a
Schumann who had himself a kind of heritage from Bach. And thus we come
to see the national spirit best and most articulate through the medium
of ancient art.

The main Allegro melody not so much grows out of the Largo prelude, as
it is of the same fibre and

[Music: _Allegro moderato_
4 times
_molto expr._ (Violins)
(Wood with _tremolo_ strings)
(Strings with clarinets and bassoons)]

identity. The violins sing here against a stately march of harmonies.
Such is the fine coherence that the mere heralding rhythm is wrought of
the first chords of the Largo, with their descending stress. And the
expressive melody is of the same essence as the original sighing motto,
save with a shift of accent that gives a new fillip of motion. In this
movement at least we see the type of real symphony, that throbs and
sings and holds us in the thrall of its spirit and song.

Moments there are here of light and joy, quickly drooping to the darker
mood. Following the free flight of main melody is a skein of quicker
figures, on aspirant pulse, answered by broad, tragic descent in minor

Milder, more tranquil sings now the second melody, a striking embodiment
of the sense of striving ascent. Chanted in higher reeds, it is

[Music: (Oboes and clarinets)
(Violins) (Oboes and clar'ts)
(Horns) (Bassoons)
(_Pizz._ strings)]

followed and accompanied by an expressive answer in the strings. On the
wing of this song we rise to a height where begins the path of a brief
nervous motive (of the first notes of the symphony) that with the
descending tone abounds in various guise. As a bold glance at the sun is
punished by a sight of solar figures all about, so we feel throughout
the tonal story the presence of these symbols. An epilogue of wistful
song leads to the repeated melodies.

The main figure of the plot that follows is the first melody, now in
slow, graceful notes, now in feverish pace, though the brief (second)
motive moves constantly here and there. A darkest descent follows into
an Avernus of deep brooding on the legend, with an ascending path of the
brief, nervous phrase and a reverse fall, that finally wears out its own
despair and ends in a sombre verse of the prelude, with new shades of
melancholy, then plunges into an overwhelming burst on the sighing
phrase. Thence the path of brooding begins anew; but it is now
ascendant, on the dual pulse of the poignant motto and the brief,
nervous motive. The whole current of passion is thus uttered in the
prelude strain that at the outset was pregnant with feeling. At the
crisis it is answered or rather interwoven with a guise of the second
theme, in hurried pace, chanted by stentorian brass and wood in
hallooing chorus that reaches a high exultation. To be sure the Russian
at his gladdest seems tinged with sense of fate. So from the single
burst we droop again. But the gloom is pierced by brilliant
shafts,--herald calls (of brass and wood) that raise the mood of the
returning main melody, and in their continuous refrain add a buoyant
stimulus. And the verse of quicker figures has a new fire and ferment.
All absent is the former descent of minor tones. Instead, in solemn hush
of tempest, without the poignant touch, the tranquil second melody
returns with dulcet answer of strings. A loveliest verse is of this
further song where, in a dual chase of tune, the melody moves in
contained rapture. In the cadence is a transfigured phase of the
ascending tone, mingled with the retiring melody, all woven to a
soothing cadence.

But the struggle is not over, nor is redemption near. The dulcet phrases
sink once more to sombre depth where there is a final, slow-gathering
burst of passion on the motto, with a conclusive ring almost of fierce

_II._--The second movement, _Allegro molto_, is a complete change from
introspection and passion to an

[Music: _Allegro molto_
(Insistent strum of strings)

abandon as of primitive dance. Strings stir the feet; the horns blow the
first motive of the savage tune; the upper wood fall in with a dashing
jingle,--like a stroke of cymbals across the hostile harmonies.

Whether a recurring idiom is merely personal or belongs to the special
work is difficult to tell. In reality it matters little. Here the
strange rising tone is the same as in the former (second) melody. In
the rude vigor of harmonies the primitive idea is splendidly stressed.

Right in the answer is a guise of short, nervous phrase, that gets a new
touch of bizarre by a leap of the seventh from below. In this figure
that moves throughout the symphony we see an outward symbol of an inner
connection.--Bells soon lend a festive ring to the main tune.

In quieter pace comes a tranquil song of lower voices with a companion
melody above,--all in serene major. Though it grew naturally out of the

[Music: _Molto cantabile_]

dance, the tune has a contrasting charm of idyll and, too, harks back to
the former lyric strains that followed the second melody. When the dance
returns, there is instead of discussion a mere extension of main motive
in full chorus.

But here in the midst the balance is more than restored. From the dance
that ceases abruptly we go straight to school or rather cloister. On our
recurring nervous phrase a fugue is rung with all pomp and ceremony
(_meno mosso_); and of the dance there are mere faint echoing memories,
when the

[Music: _Meno mosso_
(Oboe) _molto marcato_
(Violins) staccato]

fugal text seems for a moment to weave itself into the first tune.

Instead, comes into the midst of sermon a hymnal chant, blown gently by
the brass, while other stray

[Music: _Leggiero_]

voices run lightly on the thread of fugue. There is, indeed, a playful
suggestion of the dance somehow in the air. A final tempest of the
fugue[A] brings us back to the full verse of dance and the following
melodies. But before the end sounds a broad hymnal line in the brass
with a dim thread of the fugue, and the figures steal away in solemn

[Footnote A: It is of the first two notes of the symphony that the fugal
theme is made. For though it is longer in the strings, the brief motion
is ever accented in the wood. Thus relentless is the themal coherence.
If we care to look closer we see how the (following) chant is a slower
form of the fugal theme, while the bass is in the line of the
dance-tune. In the chant in turn we cannot escape a reminder, if not a
likeness, of the second theme of the first movement.]

_III._--The Adagio has one principal burden, first borne by
violins,--that rises from the germ of earlier

[Music: _Adagio_
(Strings with added harmony in bassoons and horns)]

lyric strains. Then the clarinet joins in a quiet madrigal of tender
phrases. We are tempted to find here an influence from a western
fashion, a taint of polythemal virtuosity, in this mystic maze of many
strains harking from all corners of the work, without a gain over an
earlier Russian simplicity. Even the Slavic symphony seems to have
fallen into a state of artificial cunning, where all manners of greater

[Music: (Solo clarinet)
(Divided strings) _dolce_]

or lesser motives are packed close in a tangled mass.

It cannot be said that a true significance is achieved in proportion to
the number of concerting themes. We might dilate on the sheer inability
of the hearer to grasp a clear outline in such a multiple plot.

There is somehow a false kind of polyphony, a too great facility of
spurious counterpoint, that differs subtly though sharply from the true
art where the number entails no loss of individual quality; where the
separate melodies move by a divine fitness that measures the perfect
conception of the multiple idea; where there is no thought of a later
padding to give a shimmer of profound art. It is here that the symphony
is in danger from an exotic style that had its origin in German

From this point the Rachmaninow symphony languishes in the fountain of
its fresh inspiration, seems consciously constructed with calculating

There is, after all, no virtue in itself in mere themal
interrelation,--in particular of lesser phrases. One cogent theme may
well prevail as text of the whole. As the recurring motives are
multiplied, they must lose individual moment. The listener's grasp
becomes more difficult, until there is at best a mystic maze, a sweet
chaos, without a clear melodic thought. It cannot be maintained that the
perception of the modern audience has kept pace with the complexity of
scores. Yet there is no gainsaying an alluring beauty of these waves of
sound rising to fervent height in the main melody that is expressive of
a modern wistfulness.

But at the close is a fierce outbreak of the first motto, with a
defiance of regret, in faster, reckless pace, brief, but suddenly
recurring. Exquisite is this

[Music: (Ob.) _cantabile_
(Strings, wood and horns)]

cooing of voices in mournful bits of the motto, with a timid upper
phrase in the descending tone.

On we go in the piling of Ossa on Pelion, where the motto and even the
Scherzo dance lend their text. Yet all is fraught with sentient beauty
as, rising in Titanic climb, it plunges into an overwhelming cry in the
Adagio melody. Throughout, the ascending and descending tones, close
interwoven, give a blended hue of arduous striving and regret.

After a pause follow a series of refrains of solo voices in the melody,
with muted strings, with mingled strains of the motto. In the bass is an
undulation that recalls the second theme of former movement. And the
clarinet returns with its mystic madrigal of melody; now the Adagio
theme enters and gives it point and meaning. In one more burst it sings
in big and little in the same alluring harmony, whence it dies down to
soothing close in brilliant gamut as of sinking sun.

_IV.--Allegro vivace._ Throwing aside the clinging

[Music: _Allegro vivace_
_Molto marcato_
(Strings, wood and horns with reinforced harmonies)]

fragments of fugue in the prelude we rush into a gaiety long sustained.
Almost strident is the ruthless merriment; we are inclined to fear that
the literal coherence of theme is greater than the inner connection of
mood. At last the romp hushes to a whisper of drum, with strange patter
of former dance. And following and accompanying it is a new hymnal (or
is it martial) line, as it were the reverse of the other

[Music: (Reeds and horns)
(Strings with the quicker dance phrase of 2d movement)]

chant. The gay figures flit timidly back,--a struggle 'twixt pleasure
and fate,--but soon regain control.

If we cared to interpret, we might find in the Finale a realized
aspiration. The truth is the humors of the themal phrases, as of the
movements, jar: they are on varying planes. The coarser vein of the last
is no solace to the noble grief of the foregoing.

Again the change or series of moods is not clearly defined. They seem a
parade of visions. The hymn may be viewed as a guise of the former chant
of the Scherzo, with the dance-trip in lowest bass.

Straight from the rush and romp we plunge anew into a trance of sweet
memories. The lyric vein here binds together earlier strains, whose
kinship had not appeared. They seemed less significant, hidden as
subsidiary ideas. If we care to look back we find a germ of phrase in
the first Prelude, and then the answer of the second (Allegro) theme of
first movement. There was, too, the sweep of dual melody following the
rude dance of Scherzo. Above all is here the essence and spirit of the
central Adagio melody of the symphony.

The answering strain is of high beauty, with a melting sense of
farewell. From the sad ecstasy is a

[Music: (Strings with higher and lower 8ve.)
(Wood and horns in 8ves.)
(Basses of strings and reeds)]

descent to mystic musing, where abound the symbols of rising and falling
tones. More and more moving is the climactic melody of regret with a
blended song in large and little. Most naturally it sinks into a full
verse of the Adagio tune--whence instantly is aroused a new battle of

While the dance capers below, above is the sobbing phrase from the heart
of the Adagio. The trip falls into the pace of hymnal march. The shadows
of many figures return. Here is the big descending scale in tragic minor
from the first movement. Large it looms, in bass and treble. Answering
it is a figure of sustained thirds that recalls the former second
(Allegro) melody. And still the trip of dance goes on.

Sharpest and strongest of all these memories is the big sigh of sombre
harmonies from the first Largo prelude, answered by the original legend.
And the dance still goes tripping on and the tones rumble in descent.

The dance has vanished; no sound but the drone of dull, falling tones,
that multiply like the spirits of the sorcerer apprentice, in large form
and small, with the big rumbling in a quick patter as of scurrying mice.

Suddenly a new spirit enters with gathering volume and warmer harmony.
As out of a dream we gradually emerge, at the end with a shock of
welcome to light and day, as we awake to the returning glad dance. And
here is a new entrancing counter-tune above that crowns the joy.

Once again the skip falls into the ominous descent with the phantom of
Scherzo dance in basses. Now returns the strange hymnal line of march
and the other anxious hue.

But quickly they are transformed into the tempest of gaiety in full
parade. When a new burst is preparing, we see the sighing figure all
changed to opposite mood. The grim tune of Scherzo dance enters
mysteriously in big and little and slowly takes on a softened hue,
losing the savage tinge.

After the returning dance, the farewell melody sings from full throat.
Before the ending revel we may feel a glorified guise of the sombre
legend of the symphony.



[Footnote A: Symphony No. 1, in E minor, by Jan Sibelius, born in 1865.]

We must expect that the music of newer nations will be national. It goes
without saying; for the music comes fresh from the soil; it is not the
result of long refined culture. There is the strain and burst of a
burden of racial feeling to utter itself in the most pliant and eloquent
of all the languages of emotion. It is the first and noblest sentiment
of every nation conscious of its own worth, and it has its counterpart
in the individual. Before the utterance has been found by a people,
before it has felt this sense of its own quality, no other message can
come. So the most glorious period in the history of every country (even
in the eyes of other nations) is the struggle for independence, whether
successful or not.

All on a new plane is this northernmost symphony, with a crooning note
almost of savage, and sudden, fitful bursts from languorous to fiery
mood. The harmony, the turn of tune have a national quality, delicious
and original, though the Oriental tinge appears, as in Slav and Magyar
music, both in bold and in melancholy humor. Though full of strange and
warm colors, the harmonic scheme is simple; rather is the work a tissue
of lyric rhapsody than the close-woven plot of tonal epic. A certain
trace of revery does find a vent in the traditional art of contrary
melodies. But a constant singing in pairs is less art than ancient
folk-manner, like primal music in the love or dance songs of savages.

The symphony begins with a quiet rhapsody of solo clarinet in wistful
minor, clear without chords, though there is a straying into major.
There is no accompaniment save a soft roll of drum, and that soon dies

[Music: _Andante, ma non troppo_

The rhapsody seems too vague for melody; yet there are motives, one in
chief, winding to a pause; here is a new appealing phrase; the ending is
in a


return to the first. Over the whole symphony is cast the hue of this
rhapsody, both in mood and in the literal tone.

All opposite, with sudden spring of buoyant strings, strikes the
Allegro tune ending in a quick, dancing trip. The first voice is
immediately pursued by another

[Music: _Allegro energico_
(2d violins)
_Piu forte_
(Violins with higher 8ve.)
(Cellos with higher 8ve. in violas)]

in similar phase, like a gentler shadow, and soon rises to a passionate
chord that is the main idiom of the movement.

[Music: (Strings, wood and horns)]

A second theme in clear-marked tones of reed and horns, as of stern
chant, is taken up in higher wood and grows to graceful melody in
flowing strings.

[Music: _marcato_]

There is a series of flights to an ever higher perch of harmony until
the first Allegro motive rings out in fullest chorus, again with the
companion tune and the cadence of poignant dissonance.

A new episode comes with shimmering of harp and strings, where rare and
dainty is the sense of primal

[Music: _marcato_
(Strings with chord of harp)]

harmony that lends a pervading charm to the symphony. Here the high
wood has a song in constant thirds, right from the heart of the
rhapsody, all bedecked as melody with a new rhythm and answer. Soon this
simple lay is woven in a skein of pairs of voices, meeting or diverging.
But quickly we are back in the trance of lyric song, over palpitating
strings, with the refrain very like the former companion phrase that
somehow leads or grows to a

[Music: _Tranquillo_
(Oboe, with other wood)
(Strings with higher E)]

rhythmic verse of the first strain of the rhapsody. Here begins a long
mystic phase of straying voices (of the wood) in the crossing figures of
the song, in continuous fantasy that somehow has merged into the line of
second Allegro theme, winging towards a brilliant height where the
strings ring out the strain amid sharp cries of the brass in startling
hues of harmony and electric calls from the first rhapsody.

From out the maze and turmoil the shadowy melody rises in appealing
beauty like heavenly vision and lo! is but a guise of the first strain
of rhapsody. It rises amid flashes of fiery brass in bewildering blare
of main theme, then sinks again to the depth of brooding, though the
revery of the appealing phrase has a climactic height of its own, with
the strange, palpitating harmonies.

In a new meditation on bits of the first Allegro theme sounds suddenly a
fitful burst of the second, that presently emerges in triumphant,
sovereign song. Again, on a series of flights the main theme is reached
and leaps once more to impassioned height.

But this is followed by a still greater climax of moving pathos whence
we descend once more to lyric meditation (over trembling strings).
Follows a final tempest and climax of the phrase of second theme.

The movement thus ends, not in joyous exultation, but in a fierce
triumph of sombre minor.

The Andante is purest folk-melody, and it is strange how we know this,
though we do not know the special theme. We cannot decry the
race-element as a rich fount of melody. While older nations strive and
strain, it pours forth by some mystery in prodigal flow with less
tutored peoples who are singing their first big song to the world. Only,
the ultimate goal for each racial inspiration must be a greater
universal celebration.

The lyric mood is regnant here, in a melody that, springing from distant
soil, speaks straight to every heart, above all with the concluding
refrain. It is of the purest vein, of the primal fount, deeper than mere
racial turn or trait. Moreover, with a whole coronet of gems of modern
harmony, it has a broad swing and curve that gives the soothing sense of

[Music: _Andante ma non troppo lento_
(Muted violins)
(Sustained horns and basses with lower 8ve.; constant stroke of harp)

it bears a burden of elemental, all-contenting emotion. In the main, the
whole movement is one lyric flight. But there come the moods of musing
and rhapsodic rapture. In a brief fugal vein is a mystic harking back to
the earlier prelude. In these lesser phrases are the foil or
counter-figures for the bursts of the melody.

It is the first motive of the main tune that is the refrain in ever
higher and more fervent exclamation, or in close pressing chase of
voices. Then follows a melting episode,--some golden piece of the melody
in plaintive cellos, 'neath tremulous wood or delicate choirs of

But there is a second tune, hardly less moving, in dulcet group of
horns amid shimmering strings and harp, with a light bucolic answer in
playful reed.

[Music: _Molto tranquillo_
_dolce_ (Horns)
(With arpeggic harp)]

And it has a glowing climax, too, with fiery trumpet, and dashing
strings and clashing wood.

Gorgeous in the warm depth of horns sound now the returning tones of the
first noble melody, with playful trill of the wood, in antiphonal song
of trumpets and strings. And there are revels of new turns of the tune
(where the stirring harmony seems the best of all) that will rise to a
frenzy of tintinnabulation. A quicker counter-theme lends life and
motion to all this play and plot.

A big, solemn stride of the middle strain (of main melody) precedes the
last returning verse, with all the tender pathos of the beginning.

The Scherzo is wild race-feeling let loose--national music that has not
yet found a melody. Significantly the drums begin the tune, to a dancing
strain of _pizzicato_ strings. The tune is so elemental that the

[Music: _Allegro_
(_Pizz._ cellos double above in violas)]

drums can really play it; the answer is equally rude,--an arpeggic
motive of strings against quick runs of the higher wood. Out of it grows
a tinge of tune with a fresh spring of dance,--whence returns the first
savage motive. This is suddenly changed to the guise of a fugal theme,
with new close, that starts a maze of disputation.

Right from the full fire of the rough dance, sad-stressed chords plunge
into a moving plaint with much sweetness of melody and higher
counter-melody. Then returns again the original wild rhythm.

[Music: _Lento ma non troppo_]

In the last movement the composer confesses the "Fantasy" in the title.
It begins with a broad sweep of the returning rhapsody, the prologue of
the symphony, though without the former conclusion. Now it sings in a
strong unison of the strings _largamente ed appassionato_, and with
clang of chord in lower brass. The appealing middle phrase is all
disguised in strum as of dance. The various strains sing freely in
thirds, with sharp punctuating chords. Throughout is a balance of the
pungent vigor of harmonies with dulcet melody.

In sudden rapid pace the strumming figure dances in the lower reed, then
yields to the play (in the strings) of a lively (almost comic) tune of a
strong national tinge,--a kind that seems native to northern countries
and is not unlike a strain that crept into

[Music: _Allegro molto_]

American song. A tempest of pranks is suddenly halted before the
entrance of a broad melody, with underlying harmonies of latent passion.
The feeling of fantasy is in the further flow, with free singing chords
of harp. But ever between the lines creeps in the strumming phrase, from
the first prelude, returned to its earlier mood.

[Music: _Andante assai_
(Violins) _cantabile ed espressivo_
(_Tremolo_ cellos, with lower C in basses)]

With baffling mystery anon come other appealing phrases from the
beginning, that show the whole to be the woof almost of a single figure,
or at least to lie within the poetic scope of the prologue. A fugal
revel of the comic phrase with the quick strum as counter-theme ends in
a new carnival,--here a dashing march, there a mad chase of strident
harmonies. Now sings the full romance and passion of the melody through
the whole gamut from pathos to rapture. It ends with poignant stress of
the essence of the song, with sheerest grating of straining harmonies.
In the midst, too, is again the mystic symbol from the heart of the
prelude. Then with a springing recoil comes a last jubilation, though
still in the prevailing minor, with a final coursing of the quick theme.

The whole is a broad alternation of moods, of wild abandon and of tender
feeling,--the natural dual quality of primal music. So, at least in the
Finale, this is a Finnish fantasy, on the very lines of other national



In the music of modern Bohemia is one of the most vital utterances of
the folk-spirit. The critic may not force a correspondence of politics
and art to support his theory. Yet a cause may here be found as in
Russia and Finland. (Poland and Hungary had their earlier song). There
is a sincerity, an unpremeditated quality in Bohemian music that is not
found among its western neighbors. The spirit is its own best proof,
without a conscious stress of a national note. Indeed, Bohemian music is
striking, not at all in a separate tonal character, like Hungarian, but
rather in a subtle emotional intensity, which again differs from the
wild abandon of the Magyars. An expression it must be of a national
feeling that has for ages been struggling against absorption. Since
ancient times Bohemia has been part of a Teutonic empire. The story of
its purely native kings is not much more than legendary. Nor has it
shared the harder fate of other small nations; for the Teuton rule at
least respected its separate unity.

But the long association with the German people has nearly worn away the
racial signs and hall-marks of its folk-song. A Bohemian tune thus has a
taste much like the native German. Yet a quality of its own lies in the
emotional vitality, shown in a school of national drama and, of late, in
symphony. It is not necessary to seek in this modern culmination a
correspondence with an impending danger of political suppression. Art
does not follow history with so instant a reflection.

The intensity of this national feeling appears when Smetana himself, the
minstrel of the people, is charged at home with yielding to the foreign
influence. Here again is the hardship of the true national poet who
feels that for the best utterance of his message he needs the grounding
upon a broader art; here is the narrow Chauvinism that has confined the
music of many lands within the primitive forms.

Two types we have in Bohemian music of later times: one, Smetana, of
pure national celebration; a second, Dvôrák, who with a profound
absorption of the German masters, never escaped the thrall of the
folk-element and theme.


[Footnote A: Friedrich Smetana, 1824-1884, foremost among Bohemian
dramatic composers, wrote a cycle of symphonic poems under the general
title "My Country." Of these the present work is the second.]

Simplicity is uppermost in these scores; yet the true essence is almost
hidden to the mere reader. With all primitive quality they are more
difficult than many a classic symphony. The latent charm of folk humor
and sentiment depends more on tradition and sympathy than on notation.

The naïvely graphic impulse (that we find throughout the choral works of
Bach) that merely starts a chance themal line, as here of the first
branch of the Moldau, does not disturb the emotional expression. And
while the feeling is sustained, the art is there, not to stifle but to
utter and set free the native spring of song.

It must be yielded that the design is not profound; it smacks of the
village fair rather than of grand tragedy. Song is ever supreme, and
with all abundance of contrapuntal art does not become sophisticated.
The charm is not of complexity, but of a more child-like, sensuous kind.

It must all be approached in a different way from other symphonic music.
The minstrel is not even the peasant in court costume, as Dvôrák once
was called. He is the peasant in his own village dress, resplendent with
color and proud of his rank.

We cannot enjoy the music with furrowed brow. It is a case where music
touches Mother Earth and rejuvenates herself. Like fairy lore and
proverbs, its virtue lies in some other element than profound design.
For any form of song or verse that enshrines the spirit of a people and
is tried in the forge of ages of tradition, lives on more surely than
the fairest art of individual poet.

The stream is the great figure, rising from small sources in playful
flutes, with light spray of harp and

[Music: _Allegro commodo non agitato_
(Flute with chord of _pizz._ strings)]

strings. The first brook is joined by another (in clarinets) from a new
direction. Soon grows the number and the rustle of confluent waters. The
motion of the strings is wavelike, of a broader flow, though underneath
we scan the several lesser currents. Above floats now the simple, happy
song, that expands

[Music: _dolce_
(Reeds and horns with waving strings and stroke of triangle)]

with the stream and at last reaches a glad, sunny major.

Still to the sound of flowing waters comes the forest hunt, with all the
sport of trumpets and other brass.

It is descriptive music, tonal painting if you will; but the color is
local or national. The strokes are not so much of events or scenes as of
a popular humor and character, which we must feel with small stress of
each event. The blowing of trumpets, the purling of streams, the swaying
of trees, in primal figures, all breathe the spirit of Bohemia.

The hunt dies away; emerging from the forest the jolly sounds greet us
of a peasant wedding. The

[Music: _Tempo moderato_
(Reeds and strings)]

parade reaches the church in high festivity and slowly vanishes to
tinkling bells.

Night has fallen; in shifted scene the stream is sparkling in the
moonlight still to the quiet sweet harmonies. But this is all background
for a dance of nymphs, while a dulcet, sustained song sounds through the
night. At last, to the golden horns a faintest harmony is added of
deeper brass. Still very softly, the brass strike a quicker phrase and
we seem to hear the hushed chorus of hunt with the call of trumpets, as
the other brass lead in a new verse that grows lustier with the livelier
song and dance, till--with a flash we are alone with the running stream
with which the dance of nymphs has somehow merged.

On it goes, in happy, ever more masterful course, a symbol of the
nation's career, surging in bright major and for a moment quieting
before the mighty Rapids of St. Johann. Here the song of the stream is
nearly lost in the rush of eddies and the strife of big currents, with
the high leaps of dashing spray,--ever recurring like unceasing battle
with a towering clash at the height of the tempest. At last all meet in
overpowering united torrent, suddenly to hush before the stream, at the
broadest, rushes majestically along in hymnal song of exalted harmonies
and triumphant melody, with joyous after-strains.

As the pilgrim to his Mecca, so the waters are wafted into the climactic
motive of the Hradschin, the chant of the holy citadel. The rest is a
long jubilation

[Music: _Motiv Vyserad_
(Full orchestra, with rapid figures in the strings)]

on quicker beats of the chant, amid the plash of waters and the shaking
of martial brass. Strangely, as the other sounds die away, the melody of
the stream emerges clear and strong, then vanishes in the distance
before the jubilant Amen.

In the general view we must feel a wonderful contrast here with the
sophomoric state of the contemporary art in other lands where the
folk-song has lost its savor,--where the natural soil is exhausted and
elegant castles are built in the air of empty fantasy, or on the sands
of a vain national pride.


[Footnote A: Anton Dvôrák, 1841-1904.]

It is a much-discussed question how far Dvôrák's American symphony is
based on characteristic folk-song. Here are included other questions: to
what extent the themes are based on an African type, and whether negro
music is fairly American folk-song. Many, perhaps most people, will
answer with a general negative. But it seems to be true that many of us
do not really know the true negro song,--have quite a wrong idea of it.

To be sure, all argument aside, it is a mistake to think that folk-song
gets its virtue purely from a distinctive national quality,--because it
is Hungarian, Scandinavian, or Slavonic. If all the national modes and
rhythms of the world were merged in one republic, there would still be a
folk-song of the true type and value. There is a subtle charm and
strength in the spontaneous simplicity, all aside from racial color. It
is here that, like Antaeus, the musician touches Mother Earth and renews
his strength. So, when Dvôrák suddenly shifts in the midst of his New
World fantasy into a touch of Bohemian song, there is no real loss. It
is all relevant in the broad sense of folk feeling, that does not look
too closely at geographical bounds. It is here that music, of all arts,
leads to a true state of equal sympathy, regardless of national
prejudice. What, therefore, distinguishes Dvôrák's symphony may not be
mere negro melody, or even American song, but a genuine folk-feeling, in
the widest meaning.

In one way, Dvôrák's work reminds us of Mendelssohn's Scotch Symphony:
both exploit foreign national melody in great poetic forms. One could
write a Scotch symphony in two ways: one, in Mendelssohn's, the other
would be to tell of the outer impression in the terms of your own
folk-song. That is clearly the way Mendelssohn wrote most of the Italian
Symphony,--which stands on a higher plane than the Scotch. For folk-song
is the natural language of its own people. It is interesting to see the
exact type that each theme represents; but it is not so important as to
catch the distinction, the virtue of folk-song _per se_ and the purely
natural utterance of one's own. Of course, every one writes always in
his folk-tones. On the other hand, one may explore one's own special
treasures of native themes, as Dvôrák himself did so splendidly in his
Slavic Dances and in his Legends. So one must, after all, take this
grateful, fragrant work as an idea of what American composers might do
in full earnest. Dvôrák is of all later masters the most eminent
folk-musician. He shows greatest sympathy, freedom and delight in
revelling among the simple tones and rhythms of popular utterance,
rearing on them, all in poetic spontaneity, a structure of high art.
Without strain or show, Dvôrák stood perhaps the most genuine of late
composers, with a firm foot on the soil of native melody, yet with the
balance and restraint and the clear vision of the trained master.[A]

[Footnote A: The whole subject of American and negro folk-song is new
and unexplored. There are races of the blacks living on the outer reefs
and islands of the Carolinas, with not more than thirty whites in a
population of six thousand, where "spirituals" and other musical rites
are held which none but negroes may attend. The truest African mode and
rhythm would seem to be preserved here; to tell the truth, there is
great danger of their loss unless they are soon recorded.]

In a certain view, it would seem that by the fate of servitude the
American negro has become the element in our own national life that
alone produces true folk-song,--that corresponds to the peasant and serf
of Europe, the class that must find in song the refuge and solace for
its loss of material joys. So Dvôrák perhaps is right, with a far seeing
eye, when he singles the song of the despised race as the national type.

Another consideration fits here. It has been suggested that the
imitative sense of the negro has led him to absorb elements of other
song. It is very difficult to separate original African elements of song
from those that may thus have been borrowed. At any rate, there is no
disparagement of the negro's musical genius in this theory. On the
contrary, it would be almost impossible to imagine a musical people that
would resist the softer tones of surrounding and intermingling races.
We know, to be sure, that Stephen Foster, the author of "The Old Folks
at Home," "Massa's in the Cold, Cold Ground," and other famous ballads,
was a Northerner, though his mother came from the South. We hear, too,
that he studied negro music eagerly. It is not at all inconceivable,
however, Foster's song may have been devoid of negro elements, that the
colored race absorbed, wittingly or unwittingly, something of the vein
into their plaints or lullabies,--that, indeed, Foster's songs may have
been a true type that stirred their own imitation. From all points of
view,--the condition of slavery, the trait of assimilation and the
strong gift of musical expression may have conspired to give the negro a
position and equipment which would entitle his tunes to stand as the
real folk-song of America.

The eccentric accent seems to have struck the composer strongly. And
here is a strange similarity with Hungarian song,--though there is, of
course, no kinship of race whatever between Bohemians and Magyars. One
might be persuaded to find here simply an ebullition of rhythmic
impulse,--the desire for a special fillip that starts and suggests a
stronger energy of motion than the usual conventional pace. At any rate,
the symphony begins with just such strong, nervous phrases that soon
gather big force. Hidden is the germ of the first, undoubtedly the chief
theme of the whole work.

It is more and more remarkable how a search will show the true
foundation of almost all of Dvôrák's themes. Not that one of them is
actually borrowed, or lacks an original, independent reason for being.

Whether by imitation or not, the pentatonic scale of the Scotch is an
intimate part of negro song. This avoidance of the seventh or leading
tone is seen throughout the symphony as well as in the traditional
jubilee tunes. It may be that this trait was merely confirmed in the
African by foreign musical influence. For it seems that the
leading-note, the urgent need for the ascending half-tone in closing,
belongs originally to the minstrelsy of the Teuton and of central
Europe, that resisted and conquered the sterner modes of the early
Church. Ruder nations here agreed with Catholic ritual in preferring the
larger interval of the whole tone. But in the quaint jump of the third
the Church had no part, clinging closely to a diatonic process.

The five-toned scale is indeed so widespread that it cannot be fastened
on any one race or even family of nations. The Scotch have it; it is
characteristic of the Chinese and of the American Indian. But,
independently of the basic mode or scale, negro songs show here and
there a strange feeling for a savage kind of lowering of this last note.
The pentatonic scale simply omits it, as well as the fourth step. But
the African will now and then rudely and forcibly lower it by a
half-tone. In the minor it is more natural; for it can then be thought
of as the fifth of the relative major. Moreover, it is familiar to us in
the Church chant. This effect we have in the beginning of the Scherzo.
Many of us do not know the true African manner, here. But in the major
it is much more barbarous. And it is almost a pity that Dvôrák did not
strike it beyond an occasional touch (as in the second quoted melody). A
fine example is "Roll, Jordan Roll," in E flat (that opens, by the way,
much like Dvôrák's first theme), where the beginning of the second line
rings out on a savage D flat, out of all key to Caucasian ears.

We soon see stealing out of the beginning _Adagio_ an eccentric pace in
motion of the bass, that leads to the burst of main subject, _Allegro
molto_, with a certain

[Music: _Allegro molto_
_Pizz._ (Strings)
(Clarinets doubled below in bassoons)

ragged rhythm that we Americans cannot disclaim as a nation. The working
up is spirited, and presently out of the answer grows a charming jingle
that somehow strikes home.

[Music: (Violins, with harmony in lower strings)]

It begins in the minor and has a strange, barbaric touch of cadence.
Many would acknowledge it at most as a touch of Indian mode. Yet it is
another phase of the lowered seventh. And if we care to search, we find
quite a prototype in a song like "Didn't My Lord Deliver Daniel." Soon
the phrase has a more familiar ring as it turns into a friendly major.
But the real second theme comes in a solo tune on the flute, in the

[Music: (Solo flute)

with a gait something like the first.[A] Less and less we can resist the
genuine negro quality of these melodies, and, at the same time, their
beauty and the value of the tonal treasure-house in our midst.

[Footnote A: Again it is interesting to compare here the jubilee song,
"Oh! Redeemed," in the collection of "Jubilee and Plantation Songs," of
the Oliver Ditson Company.]

The whole of the first Allegro is thus woven of three melodious and
characteristic themes in very clear sonata-form. The second, Largo,
movement is a lyric of moving pathos, with a central melody that may not
have striking traits of strict African song, and yet belongs to the type
closely associated with the negro vein of plaint or love-song. The

[Music: _Largo_
(English horn solo)]

turns that lead to periods of excitement and climaxes of rapid motion,
are absent in the main melody. But

[Music: (Oboe and clarinets)
(Basses _pizz._ with _tremolo_ figures in violins)]

they appear in the episode that intervenes. Even here, in the midst, is
a new contrast of a minor lament that has a strong racial trait in the
sudden swing to major and, as quickly, back to the drearier mode. This
is followed by a rhapsody or succession of rapid, primitive phrases,
that leads to a crisis where, of a sudden, three themes sing at once,
the two of the previous Allegro and the main melody of the Largo, in
distorted pace with full chorus. This excitement is as suddenly lulled
and soothed by the return of the original moving song.

The Scherzo starts in a quick three-beat strum on the chord we have
pointed to as a true model trait of negro music, with the lowered
leading-note. The

[Music: _molto vivace_ (Fl. and oboes)
(Strings) (Cl't.)]

theme, discussed in close stress of imitation, seems merely to mark the
rapid swing in the drone of strange harmony. But what is really a sort
of Trio (_poco sostenuto_) is another sudden, grateful change to major,
perfectly true to life, so to speak, in this turn of mode and in the
simple lines of the tune. The lyric mood all but suppresses the dance,
the melody sounding like a new verse of the Largo. The trip has always
lingered, but not too much for the delicious change when it returns to
carry us off our feet.

The Scherzo now steals in again, quite a piece, it seems, with the Trio.
As the rising volume nears a crisis, the earliest theme (from the first
Allegro) is heard in the basses. In the hushed discourse of Scherzo
theme that follows, the old melody still intrudes. In mockery of one of
its turns comes an enchanting bit of tune, as naïve an utterance as any,
much like a children's dancing song. And it returns later with still new
enchantment of rhythm. But the whole is too full of folk-melody to trace
out, yet is, in its very fibre, true to the idea of an epic of the

Presently the whole Scherzo and Trio are rehearsed; but now instead of
the phase of latest melodies is a close where the oldest theme (of
Allegro) is sung in lusty blasts of the horns and wood, with answers of
the Scherzo motive.

In the last movement, _Allegro con fuoco_, appears early a new kind of
march tune that, without special

[Music: _Allegro con fuoco_
(Horns and trumpets with full orchestra)]

trick of rhythm, has the harsh note of lowered leading-note (in the
minor, to be sure) in very true keeping with negro song. The march is
carried on, with flowing answer, to a high pitch of varied splendor and
tonal power. The second theme is utterly opposed in a certain pathetic
rhapsody. Yet it rises, at the close, to a fervent burst in rapid
motion. We

[Music: (Solo clarinets)
(_tremolo_ strings)]

may expect in the Finale an orgy of folk-tune and dance, and we are not
disappointed. There is, too, a quick rise and fall of mood, that is a
mark of the negro as well as of the Hungarian. By a sudden doubling, we
are in the midst of a true "hoe-down," in jolliest jingle, with that
naïve iteration, true to life; it comes out clearest when the tune of
the bass (that sounds like a rapid "Three Blind Mice") is

[Music: (Strings, wood and brass)
(See page 205, line 9.)]

put in the treble. A pure idealized negro dance-frolic is here. It is
hard to follow all the pranks; lightly as the latest phrase descends in
extending melody, a rude blast of the march intrudes in discordant
humor. A new jingle of dance comes with a redoubled pace of bits of the
march. As this dies down to dimmest bass, the old song from the Largo
rings high in the wood. Strangest of all, in a fierce shout of the whole
chorus sounds twice this same pathetic strain. Later comes a redoubled
speed of the march in the woodwind, above a slower in low strings. Now
the original theme of all has a noisy say. Presently the sad second
melody has a full verse. Once more the Largo lullaby sings its strain
in the minor. In the close the original Allegro theme has a literal,
vigorous dispute with the march-phrase for the last word of all.

The work does less to exploit American music than to show a certain
community in all true folk-song. Nor is this to deny a strain peculiar
to the new world. It seems a poet of distant land at the same time and
in the same tones uttered his longing for his own country and expressed
the pathos and the romance of the new. Dvôrák, like all true workers,
did more than he thought: he taught Americans not so much the power of a
song of their own, as their right of heritage in all folk-music. And
this is based not merely on an actual physical inheritance from the
various older races.

If the matter, in Dvôrák's symphony, is of American negro-song, the
manner is Bohemian. A stranger-poet may light more clearly upon the
traits of a foreign lore. But his celebration will be more conscious if
he endeavor to cling throughout to the special dialect. A true national
expression will come from the particular soil and will be unconscious of
its own idiom.

The permanent hold that Dvôrák's symphony has gained is due to an
intrinsic merit of art and sincere sentiment; it has little to do with
the nominal title or purpose.



[Footnote A: Anton Bruckner, born at Annsfelden, Austria, 1828; died in
Vienna in 1896.]

Whatever be the final answer of the mooted question of the greatness of
Bruckner's symphonies, there is no doubt that he had his full share of
technical profundity, and a striking mastery of the melodious weaving of
a maze of concordant strains. The question inevitably arises with
Bruckner as to the value of the world's judgments on its contemporary
poets. There can be no doubt that the _furore_ of the musical public
tends to settle on one or two favorites with a concentration of praise
that ignores the work of others, though it be of a finer grain. Thus
Schubert's greatest--his one completed--symphony was never acclaimed
until ten years after his death. Even his songs somehow brought more
glory to the singer than to the composer. Bach's oratorios lay buried
for a full century. On the other hand, names great in their day are
utterly lost from the horizon. It is hard to conceive the _éclat_ of a
Buononcini or a Monteverde,--whose works were once preëminent. There are
elements in art, of special, sensational effect, that make a peculiar
appeal in their time, and are incompatible with true and permanent
greatness. One is tempted to say, the more sudden and vehement the
success, the less it will endure. But it would not be true. Such an
axiom would condemn an opera like "Don Giovanni," an oratorio like the
"Creation," a symphony like Beethoven's Seventh. There is a wonderful
difference, an immeasurable gulf between the good and the bad in art;
yet the apparent line is of the subtlest. Most street songs may be poor;
but some are undoubtedly beautiful in a very high sense. It is a problem
of mystic fascination, this question of the value of contemporary art.
It makes its appeal to the subjective view of each listener. No rule
applies. Every one will perceive in proportion to his capacity, no one
beyond it. So, a profound work may easily fail of response, as many
works in the various arts have done in the past, because the average
calibre of the audience is too shallow, while it may deeply stir an
intelligent few. Not the least strange part of it all is the fact that
there can, of necessity, be no decision in the lifetime of the poet.
Whether it is possible for obscure Miltons never to find their meed of
acclaim, is a question that we should all prefer to answer in the
negative. There is a certain shudder in thinking of such a chance; it
seems a little akin to the danger of being buried alive.

The question of Bruckner's place can hardly be said to be settled,
although he has left nine symphonies. He certainly shows a freedom, ease
and mastery in the symphonic manner, a limpid flow of melody and a sure
control in the interweaving of his themes, so that, in the final
verdict, the stress may come mainly on the value of the subjects, in
themselves. He is fond of dual themes, where the point lies in neither
of two motives, but in the interplay of both; we see it somewhat
extended in Richard Strauss, who uses it, however, in a very different
spirit. The one evident and perhaps fatal lack is of intrinsic beauty of
the melodic ideas, and further, an absence of the strain of pathos that
sings from the heart of a true symphony. While we are mainly impressed
by the workmanship, there is no denying a special charm of constant
tuneful flow. At times this complexity is almost marvellous in the clear
simplicity of the concerted whole,--in one view, the main trait or trick
of symphonic writing. It is easy to pick out the leading themes as they
appear in official order. But it is not so clear which of them
constitute the true text. The multiplicity of tunes and motives is

Of the Wagner influence with which Bruckner is said to be charged,
little is perceptible in his second symphony. On the contrary, a strong
academic tradition pervades. The themes are peculiarly symphonic.
Moreover they show so strikingly the dual quality that one might say, as
a man may see double, Bruckner sang double. Processes of augmenting and
inverting abound, together with the themal song in the bass. Yet there
is not the sense of overloaded learning. There is everywhere a clear and
melodious polyphony.

But with all masterly architecture, even enchanting changes of harmony
and a prodigal play of melody, the vacuity of poetic ideas must preclude
a permanent appeal. Bruckner is here the schoolmaster: his symphony is a
splendid skeleton, an object lesson for the future poet.

In the FOURTH (ROMANTIC) SYMPHONY the main light plays throughout on the
wind. The text is a call of horns, that begins the work. It is a

[Music: _In tranquil motion_
(Horns, _espressivo_)

of wood-notes, where the forest-horn is sovereign,--awakening a widening
world of echoes, with a murmuring maze of lesser notes. One has again
the feeling that in the quiet interweaving of a tapestry of strains lies
the individual quality of the composer,--that the _forte_ blasts, the
stride of big unison figures are but the interlude.

In the Andante the charm is less of tune than of the delicate changing
shades of the harmony and of the colors of tone. We are ever surprised
in the gentlest way by a turn of chord or by the mere entrance of a horn
among the whispering strings. The shock of a soft modulation may be as
sudden as of the loud, sudden blare. But we cannot somehow be consoled
for the want of a heart-felt melody.

The Scherzo is a kind of hunting-piece, full of the sparkle, the color
and romance of bugles and horns,--a spirited fanfare broken by hushed
phrases of strings or wood, or an elf-like mystic dance on the softened
call of trumpets. The Trio sings apart, between the gay revels, in soft
voices and slower pace, like a simple ballad.

The Finale is conceived in mystical retrospect, beginning in vein of
prologue: over mysterious murmuring strings, long sustained notes of the
reed and horn in octave descent are mingled with a soft carillon of
horns and trumpets in the call of the Scherzo. In broad swing a free
fantasy rises to a loud refrain (in the brass) of the first motive of
the symphony.

In slower pace and hush of sound sings a madrigal of tender phrases. A
pair of melodies recall like figures of the first Allegro. Indeed, a
chain of dulcet strains seems to rise from the past.

The fine themal relevance may be pursued in infinite degree, to no end
but sheer bewilderment. The truth is that a modern vanity for subtle
connection, a purest pedantry, is here evident, and has become a baneful
tradition in the modern symphony. It is an utter confusion of the letter
with the spirit. Once for all, a themal coherence of symphony must lie
in the main lines, not in a maze of unsignificant figures.

Marked is a sharp alternation of mood, tempestuous and tender, of
Florestan and Eusebius. The lyric phase yields to the former heroic
fantasy and then returns in soothing solace into a prevailing motive
that harks back to the second of the beginning movement. The fantasy,
vague of melody, comes

[Music: (Wood and horns)

(in more than one sense) as relief from the small tracery. It is just to
remember a like oscillation in the first Allegro.

When the prologue recurs, the phrases are in ascent, instead of descent
of octaves. A climactic verse of the main dulcet melody breaks out in
resonant choir of brass and is followed by a soft rhapsody on the
several strains that hark back to the beginning. From the halting pace
the lyric episode rises in flight of continuous song to enchanting lilt.
Now in the big heroic fantasy sing the first slow phrases as to the
manner born and as naturally break into a paean of the full motive,
mingled with strains of the original legend of the symphony, that flows
on to broad hymnal cadence.

In mystic musing we reach a solemn stillness where the prologue phrase
is slowly drawn out into a profoundly moving hymn. Here we must feel is
Meister Bruckner's true poetic abode rather than in the passion and
ecstasy of romance into which he was vainly lured.[A]

[Footnote A: Bruckner's Fifth Symphony (in B flat) is a typical example
of closest correlation of themes that are devoid of intrinsic melody.

An introduction supplies in the bass of a hymnal line the main theme of
the Allegro by inversion as well as the germ of the first subject of the
Adagio. Throughout, as in the Romantic Symphony, the relation between
the first and the last movement is subtle. A closing, jagged phrase
reappears as the first theme of the Finale.

The Adagio and Scherzo are built upon the same figure of bass. The theme
of the Trio is acclaimed by a German annotator as the reverse of the
first motive of the symphony.

In the prelude of the Finale, much as in the Ninth of Beethoven, are
passed in review the main themes of the earlier movements. Each one is
answered by an eccentric phrase that had its origin in the first
movement and is now extended to a fugal theme.

The climactic figure is a new hymnal line that moves as central theme of
an imposing double fugue.]



In Bruckner's later works appears the unique instance of a discipline
grounded in the best traditions, united to a deft use of ephemeral
devices. The basic cause of modern mannerism, mainly in harmonic
effects, lies in a want of formal mastery; an impatience of thorough
technic; a craving for quick sensation. With Bruckner it was the
opposite weakness of original ideas, an organic lack of poetic
individuality. It is this the one charge that cannot be brought home to
the earlier German group of reaction against the classic idea.

There is melody, almost abundant, in Wagner and Liszt and their German
contemporaries. Indeed it was an age of lyricists. The fault was that
they failed to recognize their lyric limitation, lengthening and padding
their motives abnormally to fit a form that was too large. Hence the
symphony of Liszt, with barren stretches, and the impossible plan of the
later music-drama. The truest form of such a period was the song, as it
blossomed in the works of a Franz.

Nor has this grandiose tendency even yet spent its course. A saving
element was the fashioning of a new form, by Liszt himself,--the
Symphonic Poem,--far inferior to the symphony, but more adequate to the
special poetic intent.

Whatever be the truth of personal gossip, there is no doubt that
Bruckner lent himself and his art to a championing of the reactionary
cause in the form that was intrinsically at odds with its spirit. Hence
in later works of Bruckner these strange episodes of borrowed romance,
abruptly stopped by a firm counterpoint of excellent quality,--indeed
far the best of his writing. For, if a man have little ideas, at least
his good workmanship will count for something.

In truth, one of the strangest types is presented in Bruckner,--a pedant
who by persistent ingenuity simulates a master-work almost to
perfection. By so much as genius is not an infinite capacity for pains,
by so much is Bruckner's Ninth not a true symphony. Sometimes, under the
glamor of his art, we are half persuaded that mere persistence may
transmute pedantry into poetry.

It seems almost as if the Wagnerians chose their champion in the
symphony with a kind of suppressed contempt for learning, associating
mere intellectuality with true mastery, pointing to an example of
greatest skill and least inspiration as if to say: "Here is your
symphonist if you must have one." And it is difficult to avoid a
suspicion that his very partisans were laughing up their sleeve at their
adopted champion.

We might say all these things, and perhaps we have gone too far in
suggesting them. After all we have no business with aught but the music
of Bruckner, whatever may have been his musical politics, his vanity,
his ill judgment, or even his deliberate partisanship against his
betters. But the ideas themselves are unsubstantial; on shadowy
foundation they give an illusion by modern touches of harmony and rhythm
that are not novel in themselves. The melodic idea is usually divided in
two, as by a clever juggler. There is really no one thought, but a
plenty of small ones to hide the greater absence.

We have merely to compare this artificial manner with the poetic reaches
of Brahms to understand the insolence of extreme Wagnerians and the
indignation of a Hanslick. As against the pedantry of Bruckner the style
of Strauss is almost welcome in its frank pursuit of effects which are
at least grateful in themselves. Strauss makes hardly a pretence at
having melodic ideas. They serve but as pawns or puppets for his
harmonic and orchestral _mise-en-scène_. He is like a play-wright
constructing his plot around a scenic design.

Just a little common sense is needed,--an unpremeditated attitude. Thus
the familiar grouping, "_Bach_, _Beethoven_ and _Brahms_" is at least
not unnatural. Think of the absurdity of "_Bach_, _Beethoven_ and

[Footnote A: A festival was held in Munich in the summer of 1911, in
celebration of "Bach, Beethoven and Bruckner."]

The truth is, the Bruckner cult is a striking symptom of a certain
decadence in German music; an incapacity to tell the sincere quality of
feeling in the dense, brilliant growth of technical virtuosity. In the
worship at the Bayreuth shrine, somehow reinforced by a modern national
self-importance, has been lost a heed for all but a certain vein of
exotic romanticism, long ago run to riotous seed, a blending of hedonism
and fatalism. No other poetic message gets a hearing and the former may
be rung in endless repetition and reminiscence, provided, to be sure, it
be framed with brilliant cunning of workmanship.

Here we feel driven defiantly to enounce the truth: that the highest
art, even in a narrow sense, comes only with a true poetic message. Of
this Bruckner is a proof; for, if any man by pure knowledge could make a
symphony, it was he. But, with almost superhuman skill, there is
something wanting in the inner connection, where the main ideas are
weak, forced or borrowed. It is only the true poetic rapture that
ensures the continuous absorption that drives in perfect sequence to
irresistible conclusion.


_I.--Solenne._ Solemn mystery is the mood, amid trembling strings on
hollow unison, before the eight

[Music: _Misterioso_
(Eight horns with _tremolo_ strings on D in three octaves)]

horns strike a phrase in the minor chord that in higher echoes breaks
into a strange harmony and descends into a turn of melodic cadence. In
answer is another chain of brief phrases, each beginning

[Music: (1st violins)
(Lower reeds with strings _tremolo_ in all but basses)]

with a note above the chord (the common mark and manner of the later
school of harmonists[A]) and a new ascent on a literal ladder of
subtlest progress, while hollow intervals are intermingled in the pinch
of close harmonies. The bewildering maze here begins of multitudinous
design, enriched with modern devices.

[Footnote A: See Vol. II, note, page 104.]

A clash of all the instruments acclaims the climax before the unison
stroke of fullest chorus on the solemn note of the beginning. A favorite
device of Bruckner, a measured tread of _pizzicato_ strings with
interspersed themal motives, precedes the romantic episode. Throughout
the movement is this alternation of liturgic chorale with tender melody.

[Music: _Molto tranquillo_
(Strings) _espressivo_
(Oboes and horns)]

Bruckner's pristine polyphonic manner ever appears in the double strain
of melodies, where each complements, though not completes the other.
However multiple the plan, we cannot feel more than the quality of
_unusual_ in the motives themselves, of some interval of ascent or
descent. Yet as the melody grows to larger utterance, the fulness of
polyphonic art brings a beauty of tender sentiment, rising to a moving
climax, where the horns lead the song in the heart of the madrigal
chorus, and the strings alone sing the expressive answer.

[Music: (Violins doubled in 8ve.)
(Strings, woods and horns)]

A third phrase now appears, where lies the main poetry of the movement.
Gentle swaying calls of

[Music: _Tranquillo_ (Wood and violins)
(4 horns in 8ve.)
(Strings with bassoons)]

soft horns and wood, echoed and answered in close pursuit, lead to a
mood of placid, elemental rhythm, with something of "Rheingold," of
"Ossian" ballad, of the lapping waves of Cherubini's "Anacreon." In the
midst the horns blow a line of sonorous melody, where the cadence has a
breath of primal legend. On the song runs, ever mid the elemental
motion, to a resonant height and dies away as before. The intimate,
romantic melody now returns, but it is rocked on the continuing pelagic
pulse; indeed, we hear anon a faint phrase of the legend, in distant
trumpet, till we reach a joint rhapsody of both moods; and in the never
resting motion, mid vanishing echoes, we dream of some romance of the

Against descending harmonies return the hollow, sombre phrases of the
beginning, with the full cadence of chorale in the brass; and beyond,
the whole prelude has a full, extended verse. In the alternation of
solemn and sweet episode returns the tender melody, with pretty
inversions, rising again to an ardent height. The renewed clash of
acclaiming chorus ushers again the awful phrase of unison (now in octave
descent), in towering majesty. But now it rises in the ever increasing
vehemence where the final blast is lit up with a flash of serene

This motive, of simple octave call, indeed pervades the earlier symphony
in big and little. And now, above a steady, sombre melodic tread of
strings it rises in a fray of eager retorts, transfigured in wonderful
harmony again and again to a brilliant height, pausing on a ringing
refrain, in sombre hue of overpowering blast.

A soft interlude of halting and diminishing strings leads to the
romantic melody as it first appeared, where the multiple song again
deepens and ennobles the theme. It passes straight into the waving,
elemental motion, where again the hallowed horn utters its sibyl phrase,
again rising to resonant height. And again merges the intimate song with
the continuing pulse of the sea, while the trumpet softly sounds the
legend and a still greater height of rhapsody.

Dull brooding chords bring a sombre play of the awing phrase, over a
faint rocking motion, clashing in bold harmony, while the horns surge in
broader melody. The climactic clash ends in a last verse of the opening
phrase, as of primal, religious chant.

_II.--Scherzo._ In the dazzling pace of bright clashing harmonies, the
perfect answers of falling and rising phrases, we are again before the
semblance, at

[Music: _Vivace_
(Flute with _pizz._ violins)
(_Pizz._ strings)]

least, of a great poetic idea. To be sure there is a touch of stereotype
in the chords and even in the pinch and clash of hostile motives. And
there is not the distinctive melody,--final stamp and test of the shaft
of inspiration. Yet in the enchantment of motion, sound and form, it
seems mean-spirited to cavil at a want of something greater. One stands
bewildered before such art and stunned of all judgment.

A delight of delicate gambols follows the first brilliant dance of main
motive. Amid a rougher trip of unison sounds the sonorous brass, and to
softest jarring murmur of strings a pretty jingle of reed,

[Music: _grazioso_
(_Pizz._ strings with soft chord of wind and rhythmic bassoon)]

with later a slower counter-song, almost a madrigal of pastoral answers,
till we are back in the ruder original dance. The gay cycle leads to a
height of rough volume (where the mystic brass sound in the midst) and a
revel of echoing chase.

In sudden hush of changed tone on fastest fairy trip, strings and wood
play to magic harmonies. In calming motion the violins sing a quieter
song, ever

[Music: _Piu tranquillo_
(Oboes with sustained strings)]

echoed by the reed. Though there is no gripping force of themal idea,
the melodies are all of grateful charm, and in the perfect round of
rhythmic design we may well be content. The original dance recurs with a
full fine orgy of hostile euphony.

_III.--Adagio._ _Feierlich,--awesome_ indeed are these first sounds, and
we are struck by the originality

[Music: _Molto lento (Solenne)_
(Violins, G string)
(Strings with choir of tubas, later of trombones and contrabass-tuba)]

of Bruckner's technic. After all we must give the benefit at least of
the doubt. And there is after this deeply impressive _introit_ a
gorgeous Promethean

[Music: (Woodwind and low brass with _tremolo_ strings)
(3 trumpets)
(4 horns)]

spring of up-leaping harmonies. The whole has certainly more of concrete
beauty than many of the labored attempts of the present day.

The prelude dies down with an exquisite touch of precious
dissonance,--whether it came from the heart or from the workshop. The
strange and tragic part is that with so much art and talent there should
not be the strong individual idea,--the flash of new tonal figure that
stands fearless upon its own feet. All this pretty machinery seems
wasted upon the framing and presenting, at the moment of expectation, of
the shadows of another poet's ideas or of mere platitudes.

In the midst of the broad sweeping theme with a

[Music: (Strings, with cl't and oboe)
_Very broadly_
(G string)]

promise of deep utterance is a phrase of horns with the precise accent
and agony of a _Tristan_. The very semblance of whole motives seems to
be taken from the warp and woof of Wagnerian drama. And thus the whole
symphony is degraded, in its gorgeous capacity, to the reëchoed rhapsody
of exotic romanticism. It is all little touches, no big thoughts,--a
mosaic of a symphony.

[Music: (Horns)]

And so the second theme[A] is almost too heavily laden with fine detail
for its own strength, though

[Music: (Violins, reeds and horns)
_Poco piu lento_
(_Pizz._ of lower strings)]

it ends with a gracefully delicate answer. The main melody soon recurs
and sings with a stress of warm feeling in the cellos, echoed by glowing
strains of the horns. Romantic harmonies bring back the solemn air of
the prelude with a new counter melody, in precise opposite figure, as
though inverted in a mirror, and again the dim moving chords that seem
less of Bruckner than of legendary drama. In big accoutrement the double
theme moves with double answers, ever with the sharp pinch of harmonies
and heroic mien. Gentlest retorts of the motives sing with fairy
clearness (in horns and reeds), rising to tender, expressive dialogue.
With growing spirit they ascend once more to the triumphant clash of
empyraean chords, that may suffice for justifying beauty.

[Footnote A: We have spoken of a prelude, first and second theme; they
might have been more strictly numbered first, second and third theme.]

Instead of the first, the second melody follows with its delicate grace.
After a pause recurs the phrase that harks from mediaeval romance, now
in a stirring ascent of close chasing voices. The answer, perfect in its
timid halting descent, exquisite in accent and in the changing hues of
its periods, is robbed of true effect by its direct reflection of
Wagnerian ecstasies.

As if in recoil, a firm hymnal phrase sounds in the strings, ending in a
more intimate cadence. Another chain of rarest fairy clashes, on the
motive of the prelude, leads to the central verse, the song of the first
main melody in the midst of soft treading strings, and again descends
the fitting answer of poignant accent.

And now, for once forgetting all origin and clinging sense of
reminiscence, we may revel in the rich romance, the fathoms of mystic
harmony, as the main song sings and rings from the depths of dim legend
in lowest brass, amidst a soft humming chorus, in constant shift of
fairy tone.

A flight of ascending chords brings the big exaltation of the first
prophetic phrase, ever answered by exultant ring of trumpet, ending in
sudden awing pause. An eerie train of echoes from the verse of prelude
leads to a loveliest last song of the poignant answer of main song, over
murmuring strings. It

[Music: (_Tremolo_ violins with lower 8ve.)

is carried on by the mystic choir of sombre brass in shifting steps of
enchanting harmony and dies away in tenderest lingering accents.[A]

[Footnote A: In place of the uncompleted Finale, Bruckner is said to
have directed that his "_Te Deum_" be added to the other movements.]




[Footnote A: Hugo Wolff, born in 1860, died in 1903.]

[Footnote B: After the like-named tragedy of Heinrich von Kleist.]

An entirely opposite type of composer, Hugo Wolff, shows the real
strength of modern German music in a lyric vein, sincere, direct and
fervent. His longest work for instruments has throughout the charm of
natural rhythm and melody, with subtle shading of the harmony. Though
there is no want of contrapuntal design, the workmanship never obtrudes.
It is a model of the right use of symbolic motives in frequent
recurrence and subtle variation.

In another instrumental piece, the "Italian Serenade," all kinds of
daring suspenses and gentle clashes and surprises of harmonic scene give
a fragrance of dissonant euphony, where a clear melody ever rules.
"Penthesilea," with a climactic passion and a sheer contrast of tempest
and tenderness, uttered with all the mastery of modern devices, has a
pervading thrall of pure musical beauty. We are tempted to hail in Wolff
a true poet in an age of pedants and false prophets.


[Footnote A: German, 1776-1811.]

As Wolff's work is admittedly modelled on Kleist's tragedy, little known
to the English world, it is important to view the main lines of this
poem, which has provoked so divergent a criticism in Germany.

On the whole, the tragedy seems to be one of those daring, even profane
assaults on elemental questions by ways that are untrodden if not
forbidden. It is a wonderful type of Romanticist poetry in the bold
choice of subject and in the intense vigor and beauty of the verse.
Coming with a shock upon the classic days of German poetry, it met with
a stern rebuke from the great Goethe. But a century later we must surely
halt in following the lead of so severe a censor. The beauty of diction
alone seems a surety of a sound content,--as when Penthesilea exclaims:

    "A hero man can be--a Titan--in distress,
    But like a god is he when rapt in blessedness."

An almost convincing symbolism has been suggested of the latent meaning
of the poem by a modern critic,[A]--a symbolism that seems wonderfully
reflected in Wolff's music. The charge of perverted passion can be based
only on certain lines, and these are spoken within the period of madness
that has overcome the heroine. This brings us to the final point which
may suggest the main basic fault in the poem, considered as art. At
least it is certainly a question whether pure madness can ever be a
fitting subject in the hero of a tragedy. Ophelia is an episode;
Hamlet's madness has never been finally determined. Though the Erinnys
hunted Orestes in more than one play, yet no single Fury could, after
all, be the heroine of tragedy. Penthesilea became in the crisis a pure
Fury, and though she may find here her own defense, the play may not
benefit by the same plea. On the other hand, the madness is less a
reality than an impression of the Amazons who cannot understand the
heroine's conflicting feelings. There is no one moment in the play when
the hearer's sympathy for the heroine is destroyed by a clear sense of
her insanity.

[Footnote A: Kuno Francke. See the notes of Philip Hale in the programme
book of the Boston Symphony Orchestra of April 3-4, 1908.]

For another word on the point of symbolism, it must be remembered that
the whole plot is one of supernatural legend where somehow human acts
and motives need not conform to conventional rule, and where symbolic
meaning, as common reality disappears, is mainly eminent. It is in this
same spirit that the leading virtues of the race, of war or of peace,
are typified by feminine figures.

The Tragedy is not divided into acts; it has merely four and twenty
scenes--upon the battle-field of Troy. The characters are Penthesilea,
Queen of the Amazons; her chief leaders, Prothoe, Meroe and Asteria, and
the high priestess of Diana. Of the Greeks there are Achilles, Odysseus,
Diomede and Antilochus. Much of the fighting and other action is not
seen, but is reported either by messengers or by present witnesses of a
distant scene.

The play begins with the battle raging between Greeks and Amazons.
Penthesilea with her hosts amazes the Greeks by attacking equally the
Trojans, her reputed allies. She mows down the ranks of the Trojans, and
yet refuses all proffers of the Greeks.

Thus early we have the direct, uncompromising spirit,--a kind of
feminine Prometheus. The first picture of the heroine is of a Minerva in
full array, stony of gaze and of expression until--she sees Achilles.
Here early comes the conflict of two elemental passions. Penthesilea
recoils from the spell and dashes again into her ambiguous warfare. For
once Greeks and Trojans are forced to fight in common defence.

    "The raging Queen with blows of thunder struck
    As she would cleave the whole race of the Greeks
    Down to its roots....

           *       *       *       *       *

    "More of the captives did she take
    Than she did leave us eyes to count the list,
    Or arms to set them free again.

           *       *       *       *       *

    "Often it seemed as if a special hate
    Against Achilles did possess her breast.

           *       *       *       *       *

    "Yet in a later moment, when
    His life was given straight into her hands,
    Smiling she gave it back, as though a present;
    His headlong course to Hades she did stay."

In midst of the dual battle between Achilles and the Queen, a Trojan
prince comes storming and strikes a treacherous blow against the armor
of the Greek.

    "The Queen is stricken pale; for a brief moment
    Her arms hang helpless by her sides; and then,
    Shaking her locks about her flaming cheeks,
    Dashes her sword like lightning in his throat,
    And sends him rolling to Achilles' feet."

The Greek leaders resolve to retreat from the futile fight and to call
Achilles from the mingled chase of love and war.

Achilles is now reported taken by the Amazons. The battle is vividly
depicted: Achilles caught on a high ledge with his war-chariot; the
Amazon Queen storming the height from below. The full scene is witnessed
from the stage,--Penthesilea pursuing almost alone; Achilles suddenly
dodges; the Queen as quickly halts and rears her horse; the Amazons fall
in a mingled heap; Achilles escapes, though wounded. But he refuses to
follow his companions to the camp; he swears to bring home the Queen
wooed in the bloody strife of her own seeking.

Penthesilea recoils with like vehemence from the entreaties of her
maids, intent upon the further battle, resolved to overcome the hero or
to die. She forbids the Festival of Roses until she has vanquished
Achilles. In her rage she banishes her favorite Prothoe from her
presence, but in a quick revulsion takes her back.

In the next scene the high priestess and the little Amazon maids prepare
the Feast, which Penthesilea had ordered in her confident attack upon
the fleeing Greeks. One of the Rose-maidens recounts the passing scene
of the Queen's amazing action. The indignant priestess sends her command
to the Queen to return to the celebration. Though all the royal suite
fling themselves in her path, Penthesilea advances to the dual

[Footnote A: The law of the Amazons commanded them to wage war as told
them by the oracle of Mars. The prisoners were brought to the Feast of
Roses and wedded by their captors. After a certain time they were sent
back to their homes. All male children of the tribe were put to death.]

In a renewal of her personal contest, regardless of the common cause,
and in her special quest of a chosen husband, Penthesilea has broken the
sacred law.

The flight now follows of the Amazon hosts. When the two combatants meet
in the shock of lances, the Queen falls in the dust; her pallor is
reflected in Achilles' face. Leaping from his horse, he bends o'er her,
calls her by names, and woos life back into her frame. Her faithful
maids, whom she has forbidden to harm Achilles, lead her away. And here
begins the seeming madness of the Queen when she confesses her love. For
a moment she yields to her people's demands, but the sight of the
rose-wreaths kindles her rage anew. Prothoe defends her in these lines:

    "Of life the highest blessing she attempted.
    Grazing she almost grasped. Her hands now fail her
    For any other lesser goal to reach."

In the last part of the scene the Queen falls more and deeper into
madness. It is only in a too literal spirit that one will find an
oblique meaning,--by too great readiness to discover it. In reality
there seems to be an intense conflict of opposite emotions in the
heroine: the pure woman's love, without sense of self; and the wild
overpowering greed of achievement. Between these grinding stones she
wears her heart away. A false interpretation of decadent theme comes
from regarding the two emotions as mingled, instead of alternating in a

Achilles advances, having flung away his armor. Prothoe persuades him to
leave the Queen, when she awakes, in the delusion that she has conquered
and that he is the captive. Thus when she beholds the hero, she breaks
forth into the supreme moment of exaltation and of frenzied triumph. The
main love scene follows:

Penthesilea tells Achilles the whole story of the Amazons, the conquest
of the original tribe, the rising of the wives of the murdered warriors
against the conquerors; the destruction of the right breast (_A-mazon_);
the dedication of the "brides of Mars" to war and love in one. In
seeking out Achilles the Queen has broken the law. But here again
appears the double symbolic idea: Achilles meant to the heroine not love
alone, but the overwhelming conquest, the great achievement of her life.

The first feeling of Penthesilea, when disillusioned, is of revulsive
anger at a kind of betrayal. The Amazons recover ground in a wild desire
to save their Queen, and they do rescue her, after a parting scene of
the lovers. But Penthesilea curses the triumph that snatches her away;
the high priestess rebukes her, sets her free of her royal duties, to
follow her love if she will. The Queen is driven from one mood to
another, of devoted love, burning ambition and mortal despair.

Achilles now sends a challenge to Penthesilea, knowing the Amazon
conditions. Against all entreaty the Queen accepts, not in her former
spirit, but in the frenzy of desperate endeavor, in the reawakened rage
of her ambition, spurred and pricked by the words of the priestess.

The full scene of madness follows. She calls for her dogs and elephants,
and the full accoutrement of battle. Amidst the terror of her own
warriors, the rolling of thunder, she implores the gods' help to crush
the Greek. In a final touch of frenzy she aims a dart at her faithful

The battle begins, Achilles in fullest confidence in Penthesilea's love,
unfrightened by the wild army of dogs and elephants. The scene, told by
the present on-lookers, is heightened by the cries of horror and dismay
of the Amazons themselves.

Achilles falls; Penthesilea, a living Fury, dashes upon him with her
dogs in an insane orgy of blood. The Queen in the culminating scene is
greeted by the curses of the high priestess. Prothoe masters her horror
and turns back to soothe the Queen. Penthesilea, unmindful of what has
passed, moves once more through the whole gamut of her torturing
emotions, and is almost calmed when she spies the bier with the hero's
body. The last blow falls when upon her questions she learns the full
truth of her deed. The words she utters (that have been cited by the
hostile critics) may well be taken as the ravings of hopeless remorse,
with a symbolic play of words. She dies, as she proclaims, by the knife
of her own anguish.

The last lines of Prothoe are a kind of epilogue:

    "She sank because too proud and strong she flourished.
    The half-decayèd oak withstands the tempest;
    The vigorous tree is headlong dashed to earth
    Because the storm has struck into its crown."[A]

[Footnote A: Translations, when not otherwise credited, are by the

The opening scene--"Lively, vehement: Departure of the Amazons for
Troy"--begins impetuous and hefty with big strokes of the throbbing

[Music: (_Tutti_ with higher 8ves.)
(Piccolo in 8ve.)
(Bass in 8ve.)]

the majestic rhythm coursing below, lashed by a quicker phrase above.
Suddenly trumpets sound, somewhat more slowly, a clarion call answered
by a choir of other trumpets and horns in enchanting retort of changing
harmonies. Ever a fresh color of

[Music: (Flutes and oboes)
(Answering groups of brass)
(Lower strings _pizz._)]

tone sounds in the call of the brass, as if here or yonder on the
battle-field. Sometimes it is almost too sweetly chanting for fierce
war. But presently it turns to a wilder mood and breaks in galloping
pace into a true chorus of song with clear cadence.

[Music: (Flutes with reeds in lower 8ve.)
(Violins with upper 8ve.)
(Lower strings and brass with lower 8ve.)]

The joyful tinge is quickly lost in the sombre hue of another phase of
war-song that has a touch of funeral trip (though it is all in 3/4

[Music: (Muted strings)
(Horns and bassoons)]

A melody in the minor plays first in a choir of horns and bassoons,
later in united strings, accompanied by soft rolls of drums and a touch
of the lowest brass. Harp and higher woodwind are added, but the volume
is never transcendent save in a single burst when it is quickly hushed
to the first ominous whisper. Out of this sombre song flows a romance of
tender sentiment, _tranquillo_ in strings, followed by the wood. The
crossing threads of expressive melody

[Music: _Tranquillo_
(In the midst enters a strain of solo horn)]

rise in instant renewal of stress and agitation. The joy of battle has
returned, but it seems that the passion of love burns in midst of the
glow of battle, each in its separate struggle, and both together in one
fatal strife. The sombre melody returns in full career, dying down to a

[Footnote A: In a somewhat literal commentary attributed to Dr. Richard
Batka, the Amazons here, "having reached their destination, go into
night-encampment--as represented by the subdued roll of the
kettle-drums, with which the movement concludes."]

_Molto sostenuto_, in changed rhythm of three slow beats, comes
"Penthesilea's Dream of the Feast of Roses." Over a thick cluster of
harmonies in harp and strings the higher wood sing a new song in long
drawn lyric notes with ravishing turns of tonal color,--a

[Music: _Molto sostenuto_
(Flutes, oboes and clarinets)
(Rapid arpeggic figures of harps and muted strings)]

dual song and in many groups of two. The tranquil current of the dream
is gradually disturbed; the main burden is dimmed in hue and in mood.
Faster, more fitful is the flow of melody, with hostile intruding motive
below; it dashes at last into the tragic phase--Combats; Passions;
Madness; Destruction--in very rapid tempo of 2/2 rhythm.

In broad, masterful pace, big contrary figures sweep up and down,
cadencing in almost joyous chant, gliding, indeed, into a pure hymn, as
of triumph (that harks back to the chorussing song in the beginning).

Throughout the poem the musical symbols as well as the motives of
passion are closely intertwined. Thus the identity of the impetuous
phrase of the very beginning is clear with the blissful theme of the
Dream of the Feast of Roses. Here, at the end of the chorussing verse is
a play or a strife of phrases where we cannot escape a symbolic intent.
To _tremolo_ of violas the cellos hold a tenor of descending melody over
a rude rumbling phrase of the basses of wood and strings, while the oboe
sings in the treble an expressive answer of ascending notes. A conflict

[Music: (_Molto vivace_)
(cello _molto espressivo_)
(Basses and bassoons with upper 8ve.)
(Oboe) _espressivo_]

evident, of love and ambition, of savage and of gentle passion, of chaos
and of beauty. At the height, the lowest brass intrude a brutal note of
triumph of the descending theme. To the victory of Pride succeeds a
crisis of passionate yearning. But at the very height is a plunge into
the fit of madness, the fatal descending phrase (in trombones) is ever
followed by furious pelting spurts in the distorted main theme.

At last the paroxysm abates, throbbing ever slower, merging into the
tender song of the Dream that now rises to the one great burst of
love-passion. But it ends in a wild rage that turns right into the
war-song of the beginning. And this is much fuller of incident than
before. Violins now ring an hostile motive (the former rumbling phrase
of basses) from the midst of the plot against the main theme in
trumpets. Instead of the former pageantry, here is the pure frenzy of
actual war. The trumpet melodies resound amidst the din of present
battle. Instead of the other gentler episodes, here is a more furious
raving of the mad Queen (in the hurried main motive), where we seem to
see the literal dogs of war let loose and spurred on,--each paroxysm
rising to a higher shock.

Great is the vehemence of speed and sound as the dull doom of
destruction drones in the basses against a grim perversion of the
yearning theme above, that overwhelms the scene with a final shriek.

Slowly the dream of love breathes again, rises to a fervent burst, then
yields to the fateful chant and ends in a whisper of farewell.



[Footnote A: Gustav Mahler, 1860-1911.]

In Mahler the most significant sign is a return to a true counterpoint,
as against a mere overlading of themes, that began in Wagner and still
persists in Strauss,--an artificial kind of structure that is never
conceived as a whole.

While we see in Mahler much of the duophonic manner of his teacher,
Bruckner, in the work of the younger man the barren art is crowned with
the true fire of a sentient poet. So, if Bruckner had little to say, he
showed the way to others. And Mahler, if he did not quite emerge from
the mantle of Beethoven, is a link towards a still greater future. The
form and the technic still seem, as with most modern symphonies, too
great for the message. It is another phase of orchestral virtuosity, of
intellectual strain, but with more of poetic energy than in the
symphonies of the French or other Germans.

In other forms we see this happy reaction towards ancient art, as in the
organ music of a Reger. But in the Finale of Mahler's Fifth Symphony
there is a true serenity, a new phase of symphony, without the climactic
stress of traditional triumph, yet none the less joyous in essence.

We cannot help rejoicing that in a sincere and poetic design of
symphony is blended a splendid renaissance of pure counterpoint, that
shines clear above the modern spurious pretence. The Finale of Mahler's
Fifth Symphony is one of the most inspired conceptions of counterpoint
in all music. In it is realized the full dream of a revival of the art
in all its glorious estate.


  I.--1. _Funeral March._
      2. _In stormy motion (with greatest vehemence)._
 II.--3. _Scherzo (with vigor,--not too fast)._
III.--4. _Adagietto (very slowly)._
      5. _Rondo-Finale (allegro)._

Mahler's Fifth Symphony, whatever be its intrinsic merit, that can be
decided only by time and wear, undoubtedly marks a high point of
orchestral splendor, in the regard of length and of the complexity of
resources. By the latter is meant not so much the actual list of
instruments as the pervading and accumulating use of thematic

[Footnote A: The symphony is probably the longest instrumental work that
had appeared at the time of its production in 1904. The list of
instruments comprises 4 flutes, 3 oboes, 3 clarinets, 2 bassoons,
contra-bassoon, 6 horns, 4 trumpets, 3 trombones, tuba, kettle-drums,
cymbals, bass-drum, snare-drum, triangle, glockenspiel, gong, harp and

Compared with D'Indy's Second Symphony, the Fifth of Mahler has a larger
body of brass as well as of woodwind.]

The plan of movements is very original and in a way, two-fold. There are
three great divisions, of which the first comprises a Funeral March,
and an untitled Allegro in vehement motion. The second division has
merely the single movement, Scherzo. In the third are an Adagietto and a
Rondo Finale.

_I.--1. Funeral March._--A call of trumpet, of heroic air and tread, is
answered by strident chords ending in a sonorous motive of horns that
leads to the funeral trip, of low brass. The mournful song of the
principal melody appears presently in the strings, then returns to the
funeral trip and to the strident chords. The first trumpet motive now
sounds with this clanging phrase and soon the original call abounds in
other brass. The deep descending notes of the horns recur and the full
song of the funeral melody much extended, growing into a duet of cellos
and high woodwind,

[Music: (Strings, bassoons and clarinets)]

and further into hymnal song on a new motive.

[Music: (Wood, horns and strings)
(Bass notes in lowest wood and strings)]

So the various melodies recur with new mood and manner. Suddenly, in
fierce abandon, a martial tramp of the full band resounds, in gloomy

[Music: _Suddenly faster. Impassioned_
(Rapid descending figure in violins)
(Tuba and strings)]

the violins in rapid rage of wailing figure: the trumpet strikes the
firm note of heroic plaint.

Wild grief breaks out on all sides, the strings singing in passionate
answer to the trumpet, the high wood carrying on the rapid motion. At
the height of the storm the woodwind gain control with measured rhythm
of choral melody. Or perhaps the real height is the expressive double
strain, in gentle pace, of the strings, and the wood descending from on

[Music: (Woodwind doubled below)
(Strings doubled above)
(Brass and strings)]

The duet is carried on in wilder mood by most of the voices.

A return to the solemn pace comes by imperceptible change, the softer
hues of grief merging with the fiercer cries. Now various strains sound
together,--the main funeral melody in the woodwind.

In the close recurs the full flow of funeral song, with the hymnal
harmonies. In the refrain of the stormy duet the sting of passion is
gone; the whole plaint dies away amid the fading echoes of the trumpet

_I.--2._ The second movement, the real first Allegro, is again clearly
in two parts. Only, the relative paces are exactly reversed from the
first movement. In tempestuous motion, with greatest vehemence, a
rushing motive of the basses is stopped by a chord of brass and
strings,--the chord itself reverberating to the lower rhythm.

[Music: _In stirring motion. With greatest vehemence_
(Brass and strings)
(Bass of wood and string)

Throughout the whole symphony is the dual theme, each part spurring the
other. Here presently are phrases in conflicting motion, countermarching
in a stormy maze. It is all, too, like noisy preparation,--a manoeuvring
of forces before the battle. Three distinct figures there are before a
blast of horn in slower notes, answered by shrill call in highest wood.
There enters a regular, rhythmic gait and a clearer tune, suggested by
the call.

[Music: (Horns, oboes and 1st violins, G string)
(Strings and wood)
(Tuba and strings)
(Second violins)]

In the brilliant medley there is ever a new figure we had not perceived.
So when the tune has been told, trumpets and horns begin with what seems
almost the main air, and the former voices sound like mere heralds.
Finally the deep trombones and tuba enter with a sonorous call. Yet the
first rapid trip of all has the main legend.

As the quicker figures gradually retire, a change of pace appears, to
the tramp of funeral. Yet the initial and incident strains are of the
former text. Out of it weaves the new, slower melody:

[Music: _Much slower_ (in the tempo of the former funeral march)
(Flutes and clarinets)
_molto cantando_]

Throughout, the old shrill call sounds in soft lament. Hardly like a
tune, a discourse rather, it winds along, growing and changing naïvely
ever to a new phrase. And the soft calls about seem part of the melody.
An expressive line rising in the clarinet harks back to one of the later
strains of the funeral march.

The second melody or answer (in low octaves of strings) is a scant
disguise of the lower tune in the stormy duet of the first movement. Yet
all the strains move in the gentle, soothing pace and mood until
suddenly awakened to the first vehement rhythm.

Before the slower verse returns is a long plaint of cellos to softest
roll of drums. The gentle calls that usher in the melody have a
significant turn, upwards instead of down. All the figures of the solemn
episode appear more clearly.

On the spur of the hurrying main motive of trumpets the first pace is
once more regained.

A surprise of plot is before us. In sudden recurrence of funeral march
the hymnal song of the first movement is heard. As suddenly, we are
plunged into the first joyful scene of the symphony. Here it is most
striking how the call of lament has become triumphant, as it seems
without a change of note. And still more wonderful,--the same melody
that first uttered a storm of grief, then a gentle sadness, now has a
firm exultant ring. To be sure, it is all done with the magic trip of
bass,--as a hymn may be a perfect dance.

Before the close we hear the first fanfare of trumpet from the opening
symphony, that has the ring of a motto of the whole. At the very end is
a transfigured entrance,--very slowly and softly, to a celestial touch
of harp, of the first descending figure of the movement.

_II.--3. Scherzo._ Jovial in high degree, the Scherzo begins with the
thematic complexity of modern fashion. In dance tune of three beats
horns lead off with a jolly call; strings strike dancing chords; the
lower wind play a rollicking answer, but together with the horns, both
strains continuing in dancing duet. Still the saucy call of horns seems
the main text, though no single tune reigns alone.

[Music: (Horns)
_Scherzo. With vigor, not too fast_
(Strings and flutes)
(Clarinets and basses)]

The violins now play above the horns; then the cellos join and there is
a three-part song of independent tunes, all in the dance. So far in
separate voices it is now taken up by full chorus, though still the
basses sing one way, trebles another, and the middle horns a third. And
now the high trumpet strikes a phrase of its own. But they are all in
dancing swing, of the fibre of the first jolly motive.

A new episode is started by a quicker _obligato_ of violins, in
neighboring minor, that plays about a fugue of the woodwind on an
incisive theme where the cadence has a strange taste of bitter sweet
harmony in the modern Gallic manner.

[Music: (Clarinets)
(Bass of brass and wood)]

Horns and violins now pursue their former duet, but in the changed hue
of minor where the old concords are quaintly perverted. But this is only
to give a merrier ring to the bright madrigal that follows in sweetly
clashing higher wood, with the trip still in the violins. Thence the
horns and violins break again into the duet in the original key. Here
the theme is wittily inverted in the bass, while other strings sing
another version above.

So the jolly dance and the quaint fugue alternate; a recurring phrase is
carried to a kind of dispute, with opposite directions above and below
and much augmented motion in the strings.

In the dance so far, in "three time," is ever the vigorous stamp on the
third beat, typical of the German peasant "_Ländler_." Here of a sudden
is a change as great as possible within the continuing dance of three
steps. "More tranquil" in pace, in soft strings, without a trace of the
_Ländler_ stamp, is a pure waltz in pretty imitation of tuneful theme.

[Music: _More gently_ (G string) (D string)
acc't _pizzicato_]

And so the return to the vigorous rough dance is the more refreshing.
The merry mood yields to a darker temper. "Wild" the strings rush in
angry fugue on their rapid phrase; the quaint theme is torn to shreds,
recalling the fierce tempest of earlier symphony.

But the first sad note of the Scherzo is in the recitative of horn,
after the lull. A phrase of quiet reflection, with which the horn
concludes the episode as with an "_envoi_," is now constantly rung; it
is wrought from the eerie tempest; like refined metal the melody is
finally poured; out of its guise is the theme now of mournful dance.

"Shyly" the tune of the waltz answers in softest oboe. In all kinds of
verses it is sung, in expressive duet of lower wood, of the brass, then
of high reeds; in solo trumpet with counter-tune of oboe, finally in
high flutes. Here we see curiously, as the first themes reappear, a
likeness with the original trumpet-call of the symphony. In this guise
of the first dance-theme the movements are bound together. The _envoi_
phrase is here evident throughout.

At this mystic stage, to pure dance trip of low strings the waltz
reënters very softly in constant growing motion, soon attaining the old
pace and a new fulness of sound. A fresh spur is given by a wild motion
of strings, as in the fugal episode; a new height of tempest is reached
where again the distorted shreds of first dance appear, with phrases of
the second. From it like sunshine from the clouds breaks quickly the
original merry trip of dance.

The full cycle of main Scherzo returns with all stress of storm and
tragedy. But so fierce is the tempest that we wonder how the glad mood
can prevail. And the sad _envoi_ returns and will not be shaken off.
The sharp clash of fugue is rung again and again, as if the cup must be
drained to the drop. Indeed, the serious later strain does prevail, all
but the final blare of the saucy call of brass.[A]

[Footnote A: In the Scherzo are chimes, accenting the tune of the dance,
and even castanets, besides triangle and other percussion. The second
movement employs the harp and triangle.]

_III.--4. Adagietto._[A] "Very slowly" first violins carry the
expressive song that is repeated by the violas.

[Footnote A: The Adagietto is scored simply for harp and strings; nor
are the latter unusually divided.]

[Music: _Adagietto_
(Strings and harp)]

A climax is reached by all the violins in unison. A new glow, with
quicker motion, is in the episode, where the violins are sharply
answered by the violas, rising to a dramatic height and dying away in a
vein of rare lyric utterance.

It is all indeed a pure lyric in tones.

_III.--5. Rondo-Finale._ The whole has the dainty, light-treading humor
that does not die of its own vehemence. Somewhat as in the Ninth
Symphony of Beethoven,--tyrant of classical traditions, the themes
appear right in the beginning as if on muster-roll, each in separate,
unattended song. A last chance cadence passes down the line of voices
and settles into a comfortable rhythm as prevailing theme, running in
melodious extension, and merging after a

[Music: (Clarinets, horns and bassoons) (Flutes and oboes)
_Allegro commodo_]

hearty conclusion in the jovially garrulous fugue.

Here the counter-theme proves to be one of the initial tunes and takes a
leading rôle until another charming strain appears on high,--a pure
nursery rhyme crowning the learned fugue. Even this is a guise of one
of the original motives in the mazing medley, where it seems we could
trace the ancestry of each if we could linger and if it really mattered.
And yet there is a rare charm in these subtle turns; it is the secret
relevance that counts the most.

The fugue reaches a sturdy height with one of the first themes in lusty
horns, and suddenly falls into a pleasant jingle, prattling away in the
train of important figures, the kind that is pertinent with no outer

[Music: _Grazioso_
(Strings, bassoons and horns)]

Everywhere, to be sure, the little rhythmic cadence appears; the whole
sounds almost like the old children's canon on "Three Blind Mice";
indeed the themal inversion is here the main tune. Then in the bass the
phrase sounds twice as slow as in the horns. There are capers and
horseplay; a sudden shift of tone; a false alarm of fugue; suddenly we
are back in the first placid verse of the rhythmic motive.

Here is a new augmentation in resonant horns and middle strings, and the
melodious extension. A former motive that rings out in high reed, seems
to have the function of concluding each episode.

A new stretch of fugue appears with new counter-theme, that begins in
long-blown notes of horns. It really is no longer a fugue; it has lapsed
into mere smooth-rolling motion underneath a verse of primal tune. And
presently another variant of graceful episode brings a delicious
lilt,--_tender, but expressive_.

[Music: _Grazioso_

With all the subtle design there is no sense of the lamp, in the gentle
murmur of quicker figure or melodious flow of upper theme. Moving is the
lyric power and sweetness of this multiple song. As to themal
relation,--one feels like regarding it all as inspired madrigal, where
the maze and medley is the thing, where the tunes are not meant to be
distinguished. It becomes an abandoned orgy of clearest counterpoint.
Throughout is a blending of fugue and of children's romp, anon with the
tenderness of lullaby and even the glow of love-song. A brief mystic
verse, with slow descending strain in the high wood, preludes the
returning gambol of running strings, where the maze of fugue or canon
is in the higher flowing song, with opposite course of answering tune,
and a height of jolly revel, where the bright trumpet pours out the
usual concluding phrase. The rhythmic episode, in whimsical change, here
sings with surprise of lusty volume. So the merry round goes on to a big
resonant _Amen_ of final acclaim, where the little phrase steals out as
naturally as in the beginning.

Then in quicker pace it sounds again all about, big and little, and
ends, after a touch of modern Gallic scale, in opposing runs, with a
last light, saucy fling.

Mahler, we feel again, realizes all the craving that Bruckner breeds for
a kernel of feeling in the shell of counterpoint. Though we cannot deny
a rude breach of ancient rule and mode, there is in Mahler a genuine,
original, individual quality of polyphonic art that marks a new stage
since the first in Bach and a second in Beethoven. It is this bold revel
in the neglected sanctuary of the art that is most inspiriting for the
future. And as in all true poetry, this overleaping audacity of design
is a mere expression of simplest gaiety.



[Footnote A: Born in 1864.]

Much may be wisely written on the right limits of music as a depicting
art. The distinction is well drawn between actual delineation, of figure
or event, and the mere suggestion of a mood. It is no doubt a fine line,
and fortunately; for the critic must beware of mere negative philosophy,
lest what he says cannot be done, be refuted in the very doing. If
Lessing had lived a little later, he might have extended the principles
of his "Laocöon" beyond poetry and sculpture into the field of music.
Difficult and ungrateful as is the task of the critical philosopher, it
must be performed. There is every reason here as elsewhere why men
should see and think clearly.

It is perhaps well that audiences should cling to the simple verdict of
beauty, that they should not be led astray by the vanity of finding an
answer; else the composer is tempted to create mere riddles. So we may
decline to find precise pictures, and content ourselves with the music.
The search is really time wasted; it is like a man digging in vain for
gold and missing the sunshine above.

Strauss may have his special meanings. But the beauty of the work is
for us all-important. We may expect him to mark his scenes. We may not
care to crack that kind of a nut.[A] It is really not good eating.
Rather must we be satisfied with the pure beauty of the fruit, without a
further hidden kernel. There is no doubt, however, of the ingenuity of
these realistic touches. It is interesting, here, to contrast Strauss
with Berlioz, who told his stories largely by extra-musical means, such
as the funeral trip, the knell of bells, the shepherd's reed. Strauss at
this point joins with the Liszt-Wagner group in the use of symbolic
motives. Some of his themes have an effect of tonal word-painting. The
roguish laugh of Eulenspiegel is unmistakable.

[Footnote A: Strauss remarked that in _Till Eulenspiegel_ he had given
the critics a hard nut to crack.]

It is in the harmonic rather than the melodic field that the fancy of
Strauss soars the freest. It is here that his music bears an individual
stamp of beauty. Playing in and out among the edges of the main harmony
with a multitude of ornamental phrases, he gains a new shimmer of
brilliancy. Aside from instrumental coloring, where he seems to outshine
all others in dazzling richness and startling contrasts, he adds to the
lustre by a deft playing in the overtones of his harmonies, casting the
whole in warmest hue.

If we imagine the same riotous license in the realm of tonal
noise,--cacophony, that is, where the aim is not to enchant, but to
frighten, bewilder, or amaze; to give some special foil to sudden
beauty; or, last of all, for graphic touch of story, we have another
striking element of Strauss's art. The anticipation of a Beethoven in
the drum of the Scherzo of the Fifth Symphony, or the rhythmic whims of
a Schumann in his Romantic piano pieces suggest the path of much of this
license. Again, as passing notes may run without heed of harmony, since
ancient days, so long sequences of other figures may hold their moving
organ-point against clashing changes of tonality.

Apart from all this is the modern "counterpoint," where, if it is quite
the real thing, Strauss has outdone the boldest dreams of ancient school
men. But with the lack of cogent form, and the multitude of small
motives it seems a different kind of art. We must get into the
view-point of romantic web of infinite threads, shimmering or jarring in
infinite antagonism (of delayed harmony). By the same process comes
always the tremendous accumulation towards the end. As the end and
essence of the theme seems a graphic quality rather than intrinsic
melody, so the main pith and point of the music lies in the weight and
power of these final climaxes.


It may be well to gather a few general impressions before we attempt the
study of a work radical in its departure from the usual lines of tonal

There can be no doubt of the need of vigilance if we are to catch the
relevance of all the strains. To be sure, perhaps this perception is
meant to be subconscious. In any case the consciousness would seem to
ensure a full enjoyment.

It is all based on the motif of the Wagner drama and of the Liszt
symphonies, and it is carried to quite as fine a point. Only here we
have no accompanying words to betray the label of the theme. But in the
quick flight of themes, how are we to catch the subtle meaning? The
interrelation seems as close as we care to look, until we are in danger
of seeing no woods for the trees.

Again the danger of preconception is of the greatest. We may get our
mind all on the meaning and all off the music. The clear fact is the
themes do have a way of entering with an air of significance which they
challenge us to find. The greatest difficulty is to distinguish the
themes that grow out of each other, as a rose throws off its early
petals, from those that have a mere chance similarity. Even this
likeness may have its own intended meaning, or it may be all beside the
mark. But we may lose not merely the musical, but even the dramatic
sequence in too close a poring over themal derivation. On the other hand
we may defy the composer himself and take simply what he gives, as if on
first performance, before the commentators have had a chance to breed.
And this may please him best in the end.

We must always attend more to the mood than to themal detail as
everywhere in real music, after all. Moments of delight and triumph we
know there are in this work. But they are mere instants. For it is all
the feverish dream of death. There can be no earlier rest. Snatches they
are of fancy, of illusion, as, says the priest in Oedipus, is all of

It may be worth while, too, to see how pairs of themes ever occur in
Strauss, the second in answer, almost in protest, to the first. (It is
not unlike the pleading in the Fifth Symphony of the second theme with
the sense of doom in the first.) So we seem to find a motive of fate,
and one of wondering, and striving; a theme of beauty and one of
passion,--if we cared to tread on such a dangerous, tempting ground.
Again, we may find whole groups of phrases expressive of one idea, as of
beauty, and another of anxious pursuit. Thus we escape too literal a
themal association.

Trying a glimpse from the score pure and simple, we find a poem,
opposite the first page, that is said to have been written after the
first production. So, reluctantly, we must wait for the mere
reinforcement of its evidence.

_Largo_, in uncertain key, begins the throb of irregular rhythm (in
strings) that Bach and Chopin and Wagner have taught us to associate
with suffering. The first figure is a gloomy descent of pairs of chords,
with a hopeless cry above (in the flutes). In the recurrence, the turn
of chord is at last upward. A warmer hue of waving sounds (of harps) is
poured about, and a gentle vision appears on high, shadowed quickly by
a theme of fearful wondering. The chords return as at first. A new
series of descending tones

[Music: (Flute an 8ve. higher) (Oboe)
(Harp with arpeggio groups of six to the quarter)]

intrude, with a sterner sense of omen, and yield to a full melodic
utterance of longing (again with the

[Music: (Solo violin muted)
(Harp with arpeggio groups of six to the quarter)]

soothing play of harp), and in the midst a fresh theme of wistful fear.
For a moment there is a brief glimpse of the former vision. Now the
song, less of longing than of pure bliss, sings free and clear its
descending lay in solo violin, though an answering phrase (in the horns)
of upward striving soon rises from below. The vision now appears again,
the wondering monitor close beside. The melancholy chords return to dim
the beauty. As the descending theme recedes, the rising motive sings a
fuller course on high with a new note of eager, anxious fear.

All these themes are of utmost pertinence in this evident prologue of
the story. Or at least the germs of all the leading melodies are here.

In sudden turn of mood to high agitation, a stress of wild desire rings
out above in pairs of sharp ascending chords, while below the wondering
theme rises in growing tumult. A whirling storm of the two phrases ends
in united burst like hymn of battle, on the line of the wondering theme,
but infused with

[Music: _Alla breve_
(Bass doubled below)]

resistless energy. Now sings a new discourse of warring phrases that
are dimly traced to the phase of the blissful melody, above the theme of
upward striving.

[Music: (Theme in woodwind)
(Answer in basses)]

They wing an eager course, undaunted by the harsh intruding chords. Into
the midst presses the forceful martial theme. All four elements are
clearly evident. The latest gains control, the other voices for the
nonce merely trembling in obedient rhythm. But a new phase of the
wistful motive appears, masterful but not o'ermastering, fiercely
pressing upwards,--and a slower of the changed phrase of blissful song.
The former attains a height of sturdy ascending stride.

In spite of the ominous stress of chords that grow louder with the
increasing storm, something of assurance comes with the ascending
stride. More and more this seems the dominant idea.

A new paroxysm of the warring themes rises to the first great climax
where the old symbol of wondering and striving attains a brief moment
of assured ecstatic triumph.

In a new scene (_meno mosso_), to murmuring strings (where the theme of
striving can possibly be caught) the blissful melody sings in full song,
undisturbed save by the former figure that rises as if to grasp,--sings
later, too, in close sequence of voices. After a short intervening
verse--_leicht bewegt_--where the first vision appears for a moment, the
song is resumed, still in a kind of shadowy chase of slow flitting
voices, _senza espressione_. The rising, eager phrase is disguised in
dancing pace, and grows to a graceful turn of tune. An end comes, _poco
agitato_, with rude intrusion of the hymnal march in harsh contrast of
rough discord; the note of anxious fear, too, strikes in again. But
suddenly, _etwas breiter_, a new joyous mood frightens away the birds of
evil omen.

Right in the midst of happenings, we must be warned against too close a
view of individual theme. We must not forget that it is on the
contrasted pairs and again the separate groups of phrases, where all
have a certain common modal purpose, that lies the main burden of the
story. Still if we must be curious for fine derivation, we may see in
the new tune of exultant chorus the late graceful turn that now,
reversing, ends in the former rising phrase. Against it sings the first
line of blissful theme. And the first tune of graceful beauty also finds
a place. But they all make one single blended song, full of glad bursts
and cadences.

Hardly dimmed in mood, it turns suddenly into a phase of languorous
passion, in rich setting of pulsing harp, where now the later figures,
all but the blissful theme, vanish before an ardent song of the
wondering phrase. The motive of passionate desire rises and falls, and
soars in a path of "endless melody," returning on its own line of
flight, playing as if with its shadow, catching its own echo in the
ecstasy of chase. And every verse ends with a new stress of the
insistent upward stride, that grows ever in force and closes with big
reverberating blasts. The theme of the vision joins almost in rough
guise of utmost speed, and the rude marching song breaks in; somehow,
though they add to the maze, they do not dispel the joy. The ruling
phase of passion now rumbles fiercely in lowest depths. The theme of
beauty rings in clarion wind and strings, and now the whole strife ends
in clearest, overwhelming hymn of triumphant gladness, all in the
strides of the old wondering, striving phrase.


The whole battle here is won. Though former moments are fought through
again (and new melodies grow out of the old plaint), the triumphant
shout is near and returns (ever from a fresh tonal quarter) to chase
away the doubt and fear. All the former phrases sing anew, merging the
tale of their strife in the recurring verse of united paean. The song at
last dies away, breaking like setting sun into glinting rays of
celestial hue, that pale away into dullest murmur.

Still one returning paroxysm, of wild striving for eluding bliss, and
then comes the close. From lowest depths shadowy tones sing herald
phrases against dim, distorted figures of the theme of beauty,--that
lead to a soft song of the triumphant hymn, _tranquillo_, in gentlest
whisper, but with all the sense of gladness and ever bolder straying of
the enchanting dream. After a final climax the song ends in slow
vanishing echoes.

The poet Ritter is said to have added, after the production of the
music, the poem printed on the score, of which the following is a rather
literal translation:

    In the miserable chamber,
    Dim with flick'ring candlelight,
    Lies a man on bed of sickness.
    Fiercely but a moment past
    Did he wage with Death the battle;
    Worn he sinks back into sleep.
    Save the clock's persistent ticking
    Not a sound invades the room,
    Where the gruesome quiet warns us
    Of the neighborhood of Death.
    O'er the pale, distended features
    Plays a melancholy smile.
    Is he dreaming at life's border
    Of his childhood golden days?

    But a paltry shrift of sleep
    Death begrudges to his victim.
    Cruelly he wakes and shakes him,
    And the fight begins anew,--
    Throb of life and power of death,
    And the horror of the struggle.
    Neither wins the victory.
    Once again the stillness reigns.

    Worn of battle, he relapses
    Sleepless, as in fevered trance.
    Now he sees before him passing
    Of his life each single scene:
    First the glow of childhood dawn,
    Bright in purest innocence,
    Then the bolder play of youth
    Trying new discovered powers,
    Till he joins the strife of men,
    Burning with an eager passion
    For the high rewards of life.--
    To present in greater beauty
    What his inner eye beholds,
    This is all his highest purpose
    That has guided his career.

    Cold and scornful does the world
    Pile the barriers to his striving.
    Is he near his final goal,
    Comes a thund'rous "Halt!" to meet him.
    "Make the barrier a stepping,
    Ever higher keep your path."
    Thus he presses on and urges,
    Never ceasing from his aim.--
    What he ever sought of yore
    With his spirit's deepeth longing,
    Now he seeks in sweat of death,
    Seeks--alas! and finds it never.
    Though he grasps it clearer now,
    Though it grows in living form,
    He can never all achieve it,
    Nor create it in his thought.
    Then the final blow is sounded
    From the hammer-stroke of Death,
    Breaks the earthly frame asunder,
    Seals the eye with final night.
    But a mighty host of sounds
    Greet him from the space of heaven
    With the song he sought below:
    Man redeemed,--the world transfigured.


A score or more of lines from Lenau's poem of the same title stand as
the subject of the music.

    O magic realm, illimited, eternal,
    Of gloried woman,--loveliness supernal!
    Fain would I, in the storm of stressful bliss,
    Expire upon the last one's lingering kiss!
      Through every realm, O friend, would wing my flight,
    Wherever Beauty blooms, kneel down to each,
      And, if for one brief moment, win delight!

           *       *       *       *       *

    I flee from surfeit and from rapture's cloy,
    Keep fresh for Beauty service and employ,
    Grieving the One, that All I may enjoy.

    My lady's charm to-day hath breath of spring,
    To-morrow may the air of dungeon bring.
      When with the new love won I sweetly wander,
    No bliss is ours upfurbish'd and regilded;
      A different love has This to That one yonder,--
    Not up from ruins be my temple builded.
      Yea Love life is, and ever must be now,
    Cannot be changed or turned in new direction;
    It must expire--here find a resurrection;
      And, if 'tis real, it nothing knows of rue!
    Each Beauty in the world is sole, unique;
    So must the love be that would Beauty seek!
    So long as Youth lives on with pulse afire,
    Out to the chase! To victories new aspire!

           *       *       *       *       *

    It was a wond'rous lovely storm that drove me:
    Now it is o'er; and calm all round, above me;
      Sheer dead is every wish; all hopes o'ershrouded,--
    It was perhaps a flash from heaven descended,
    Whose deadly stroke left me with powers ended,
      And all the world, so bright before, o'erclouded;
    Yet perchance not! Exhausted is the fuel;
    And on the hearth the cold is fiercely cruel.[A]

[Footnote A: Translation by John P. Jackson.]

In the question of the composer's intent, of general plan and of
concrete detail, it is well to see that the quotation from Lenau's poem
is twice broken by lines of omission; that there are thus three
principal divisions. It cannot be wise to follow a certain kind of
interpretation[A] which is based upon the plot of Mozart's opera. The
spirit of Strauss's music is clearly a purely subjective conception,
where the symbolic figure of fickle desire moves through scenes of
enchantment to a climax of--barren despair.

[Footnote A: In a complex commentary William Mauke finds Zerlina, Anna
and "The Countess" in the music.]

To some extent Strauss clearly follows the separate parts of his
quotation. Fervent desire, sudden indifference are not to be mistaken.

The various love scenes may be filled with special characters without
great harm, save that the mind is diverted from a higher poetic view to
a mere concrete play of events. The very quality of the pure musical
treatment thus loses nobility and significance. Moreover the only
thematic elements in the design are the various "motives" of the hero.

_Allegro molto con brio_ begins the impetuous main theme in dashing

[Music: _Allegro molto con brio_
(Unison strings)
(Doubled in higher 8ve.)]

whimsical play

[Music: (Woodwind doubled in higher 8ve.)]

and masterful career.

[Music: (Doubled in higher 8ve.)]

The various phases are mingled in spirited song; only the very beginning
seems reserved as a special symbol of a turn in the chase, of the sudden
flame of desire that is kindled anew.

In the midst of a fresh burst of the main phrase are gentle strains of
plaint (_flebile_). And now a tenderly sad motive in the wood sings
against the marching phrase, amidst a spray of light, dancing chords.
Another song of the main theme is spent in a vanishing tremolo of
strings and harp, and buried in a rich chord whence rises a new song
(_molto espressivo_) or rather a duet, the first of the longer

The main melody is begun in clarinet and horn and instantly followed (as
in canon) by violins. The climax of this impassioned scene is a titanic
chord of minor, breaking the spell; the end is in a distorted strain of
the melody, followed by a listless refrain of the (original) impetuous
motive (_senza espressione_).

The main theme breaks forth anew, in the spirit of the beginning. It
yields suddenly before the next episode, a languorous song of lower
strings (_molto appassionato_), strangely broken into by sighing phrases
in the high wood (_flebile_). After further interruption, the love song
is crowned by a broad flowing melody (_sehr getragen und
ausdrucksvoll_)--the main lyric utterance of all. It has a full length
of extended song, proportioned to its distinguished beauty. The dual
quality is very clear throughout the scene. Much of the song is on a
kindred phrase of the lyric melody sung by the clarinet with dulcet
chain of chords of harp.

Here strikes a climactic tune in forte unison of the four horns (_molto
espressivo e marcato_). It is the clear utterance of a new mood of the
hero,--a purely

[Music: (Four horns in unison) (Full orchestra)]

subjective phase. With a firm tread, though charged with pathos, it
seems what we might venture to call a symbol of renunciation. It is
broken in upon by a strange version of the great love song, _agitato_ in
oboes, losing all its queenly pace. As though in final answer comes
again the ruthless phrase of horns, followed now by the original theme.
_Rapidamente_ in full force of strings comes the coursing strain of
impetuous desire. The old and the new themes of the hero are now in
stirring encounter, and the latter seems to prevail.

The mood all turns to humor and merrymaking. In gay dancing trip serious
subjects are treated jokingly (the great melody of the horns is
mockingly sung by the harp),--in fits and gusts. At the height the
(first) tempestuous motive once more dashes upwards and yields to a
revel of the (second) whimsical phrase. A sense of fated renunciation
seems to pervade the play of feelings of the hero. In the lull, when the
paroxysm is spent, the various figures of his past romances pass in
shadowy review; the first tearful strain, the melody of the first of the
longer episodes,--the main lyric song (_agitato_).

In the last big flaming forth of the hero's passion victory is once more
with the theme of renunciation,--or shall we say of grim denial where
there is no choice.

Strauss does not defy tradition (or providence) by ending his poem with
a triumph. A final elemental burst of passion stops abruptly before a
long pause. The end is in dismal, dying harmonies,--a mere dull sigh of
emptiness, a void of joy and even of the solace of poignant grief.


_In the Manner of Ancient Rogues--In Rondo Form_

Hardly another subject could have been more happy for the revelling in
brilliant pranks and conceits of a modern vein of composition. And in
the elusive humor of the subject is not the least charm and fitness.
Too much stress has been laid on the graphic purpose. There is always a
tendency to construe too literally. While we must be in full sympathy
with the poetic story, there is small need to look for each precise
event. We are tempted to go further, almost in defiance, and say that
music need not be definite, even despite the composer's intent. In other
words, if the tonal poet designs and has in mind a group of graphic
figures, he may nevertheless achieve a work where the real value and
beauty lie in a certain interlinear humor and poetry,--where the labels
can in some degree be disregarded.

Indeed, it is this very abstract charm of music that finds in such a
subject its fullest fitness. If we care to know the pranks exactly, why
not turn to the text? Yet, reading the book, in a way, destroys the
spell. Better imagine the ideal rogue, whimsical, spritely, all of the
people too. But in the music is the real Till. The fine poetry of
ancient humor is all there, distilled from the dregs of folk-lore that
have to us lost their true essence. There is in the music a daemonic
quality, inherent in the subject, that somehow vanishes with the
concrete tale. So we might say the tonal picture is a faithful likeness
precisely in so far as it does not tell the facts of the story.

Indeed, in this mass of vulgar stories we cannot help wondering at the
reason for their endurance through the centuries, until we feel
something of the spirit of the people in all its phases. A true mirror
it was of stupidity and injustice, presented by a sprite of owlish
wisdom, sporting, teasing and punishing[A] all about. It is a kind of
popular satire, with a strong personal element of a human Puck, or an
impish Robin Hood, with all the fairy restlessness, mocking at human rut
and empty custom.

[Footnote A: On leaving the scene of some special mischief, Till would
draw a chalk picture of an owl on the door, and write below, _Hic fuit_.
The edition of 1519 has a woodcut of an owl resting on a mirror, that
was carved in stone, the story goes, over Till's grave.]

It is perhaps in the multitude of the stories, paradoxical though it
seem, that lies the strength. In the number of them (ninety-two
"histories" there are) is an element of universality. It is like the
broom: one straw does not make, nor does the loss of one destroy it;
somewhere in the mass lies the quality of broom.

In a way Till is the Ulysses of German folk-lore, the hero of trickery,
a kind of _Reinecke Fuchs_ in real life. But he is of the soil as none
of the others. A satyr, in a double sense, is Till; only he is pure
Teuton, of the latter middle ages.

He is every sort of tradesman, from tailor to doctor. Many of the
stories, perhaps the best, are not stories at all, but merely clever
sayings. In most of the tricks there is a Roland for an Oliver. Till
stops at no estate; parsons are his favorite victims. He is, on the
whole, in favor with the people, though he played havoc with entire
villages. Once he was condemned to death by the Lübeck council. But
even here it was his enemies, whom he had defrauded, that sought
revenge. The others excused the tricks and applauded his escape. Even in
death the scandal and mischief do not cease.

The directions in Strauss' music are new in their kind and dignity. They
belong quite specially to this new vein of tonal painting. In a double
function, they not merely guide the player, but the listener as well.
The humor is of utmost essence; the humor is the thing, not the play,
nor the story of each of the pranks, in turn, of our jolly rogue. And
the humor lies much in these words of the composer, that give the lilt
of motion and betray a sense of the intended meaning.

[Music: _Gemächlich_]

The tune, sung at the outset _gemächlich_ (comfortably), is presumably
the rogue _motif_, first in pure innocence of mood. But quickly comes
another, quite opposed in rhythm, that soon hurries into highest speed.
These are not the "subjects" of old tradition.

[Music: (Horn)]

And first we are almost inclined to take the "Rondo form" as a new
roguish prank. But we may find a form where the subjects are independent
of the basic themes that weave in and out unfettered by rule--where the
subjects are rather new grouping of the fundamental symbols.[A]

[Footnote A: It is like the Finale of Brahms' Fourth Symphony, where an
older form (of _passacaglia_) is reared together with a later, one
within the other.]

After a pause in the furious course of the second theme, a quick piping
phrase sounds _lustig_ (merrily) in the clarinet, answered by a chord of

[Music: _Molto allegro_

token. But slowly do we trace the laughing phrase to the first theme.

And here is a new whim. Though still in full tilt, the touch of demon is
gone in a kind of ursine clog of the basses. Merely jaunty and clownish
it would be but for the mischievous scream (of high flute) at the end.
And now begins a rage of pranks, where the main phrase is the rogue's
laugh, rising in brilliant gamut of outer pitch and inner mood.

At times the humor is in the spirit of a Jean Paul, playing between
rough fun and sadness in a fine spectrum of moods. The lighter motive
dances harmlessly about the more serious, intimate second phrase. There
is almost the sense of lullaby before the sudden plunge to wildest
chaos, the only portent being a constant trembling of low strings. All
Bedlam is let loose, where the rogue's shriek is heard through a
confused cackling and a medley of voices here and there on the running
phrase (that ever ends the second theme). The sound of a big rattle is
added to the scene,--where perhaps the whole village is in an uproar
over some wholesale trick of the rogue.

And what are we to say to this simplest swing of folk-song that steals
in naïvely to enchanting strum of rhythm. We may speculate about the
Till as the

[Music: (_Gemächlich_)]

people saw him, while elsewhere we have the personal view. The
folk-tunes may not have a special dramatic rôle. Out of the text of
folk-song, to be sure, all the strains are woven. Here and there we
have the collective voice. If we have watched keenly, we have heard how
the tune, simply though it begins, has later all the line of Till's
personal phrase. Even in the bass it is, too. Of the same fibre is this
demon mockery and the thread of folk legend.

We cannot pretend to follow all the literal whims. And it is part of the
very design that we are ever surprised by new tricks, as by this saucy
trip of dancing phrase. The purely human touches are clear, and almost
moving in contrast with the impish humor.

An earlier puzzle is of the second theme. As the composer has refused to
help us, he will not quarrel if we find our own construction. A possible
clue there is. As the story proceeds, aside from the mere abounding fun
and poetry, the more serious theme prevails. Things are happening. And
there come the tell-tale directions. _Liebeglühend_, aflame with love, a
melody now sings in urgent pace, ending with

[Music: _Liebeglühend_]

a strange descending note. Presently in quieter mood, _ruhiger_, it
gains a new grace, merely to dash again, _wütend_, into a fiercer rage
than before. Before long we cannot escape in all this newer melody a
mere slower outline of the second theme. A guess then, such as the
composer invites us to make, is this: It is not exactly a Jekyll and
Hyde, but not altogether different. Here (in the second theme, of horn)
is Till himself,--not the rogue, but the man in his likes and loves and
suffering. The rogue is another, a demon that possesses him to tease
mankind, to tease himself out of his happiness. During the passionate
episode the rogue is banned, save for a grimace now and then, until the
climax, when all in disguise of long passionate notes of resonant bass
the demon theme has full control. But for once it is in earnest, in dead
earnest, we might say. And the ominous chord has a supreme moment, in
the shadow of the fulfilment.

A new note sounds in solemn legend of lowest wood, sadly beautiful, with
a touch of funeral pace.[A]

[Footnote A: Strauss told the writer that this was the march of the
jurymen,--"_der Marsch der Schöffen_." Reproached for killing Till, he
admitted that he had taken a license with the story and added: "In the
epilogue,--there he lives."]

The impish laugh still keeps intruding. But throughout the scene it is
the Till motive, not the rogue, that fits the stride of the death-march.
To be sure the rogue anon laughs bravely. But the other figure is in
full view.

[Music: (Lowest woodwind)]

The sombre legend is, indeed, in a separate phase, its beauty now
distorted in a feverish chase of voices on the main phrase. It is all a
second climax, of a certain note of terror,--of fate. In the midst is a
dash of the rogue's heartiest laugh, amid the echoes of the fearful
chord, while the growing roar of the mob can be heard below. Once again
it rings out undaunted, and then to the sauciest of folk-tunes,
_leichtfertig_, Till dances gaily and jauntily. Presently, in a mystic
passage, _schnell und schattenhaft_

[Music: _Leichtfertig_
(Strings reinforced by clarinets and horns)]

(like fleeting shadow) a phantom of the rogue's figure passes
stealthily across the horizon.

_Etwas gemächlicher_, a graceful duet weaves prettily out of the Till
motive, while the other roars very gently in chastened tones of softest


The first course of themes now all recurs, though some of the roguery is
softened and soon trips into purest folk-dance. And yet it is all built
of the rascal theme. It might (for another idle guess) be a general
rejoicing. Besides the tuneful dance, the personal phrase is laughing
and chuckling in between.

The rejoicing has a big climax in the first folk-song of all, that now
returns in full blast of horns against a united dance of strings and
wood. After a roll of drum loud clanging strokes sound threatening
(_drohend_) in low bass and strings, to which the rascal pipes his theme
indifferently (_gleichgültig_). The third time, his answer has a
simulated sound (_entstellt_). Finally, on the insistent thud comes a
piteous phrase (_kläglich_) in running thirds. The dread chords at last
vanish, in the strings. It is very like an actual, physical end. There
is no doubt that the composer here intends the death of Till, in face of
the tradition.

Follows the epilogue, where in the comfortable swing of the beginning
the first melody is extended in full beauty and significance. All the
pleasantry of the rogue is here, and at the end a last fierce burst of
the demon laugh.


The work followed a series of tone-poems where the graphic aim is shown
far beyond the dreams even of a Berlioz. It may be said that Strauss,
strong evidence to the contrary, does not mean more than a suggestion of
the mood,--that he plays in the humor and poetry of his subject rather
than depicts the full story. It is certainly better to hold to this view
as long as possible. The frightening penalty of the game of exact
meanings is that if there is one here, there must be another there and
everywhere. There is no blinking the signs of some sort of plot in our
domestic symphony, with figures and situations. The best way is to lay
them before the hearer and leave him to his own reception.

In the usual sense, there are no separate movements. Though "Scherzo" is
printed after the first appearance of the three main figures, and later
"Adagio" and "Finale," the interplay and recurrence of initial themes is
too constant for the traditional division. It is all a close-woven drama
in one act, with rapidly changing scenes. Really more important than the
conventional Italian names are such headings as "Wiegenlied"
(Cradle-song), and above all, the numerous directions. Here is an almost
conclusive proof of definite intent. To be sure, even a figure on canvas
is not the man himself. Indeed, as music approaches graphic realism, it
is strange how painting goes the other way. Or rather, starting from
opposite points, the two arts are nearing each other. As modern painting
tends to give the feeling of a subject, the subjective impression rather
than the literal outline, we can conceive even in latest musical realism
the "atmosphere" as the principal aim. In other words, we may view
Strauss as a sort of modern impressionist tone-painter, and so get the
best view of his pictures.

Indeed, cacophony is alone a most suggestive subject. In the first place
the term is always relative, never absolute,--relative in the historic
period of the composition, or relative as to the purpose. One can hardly
say that any combination of notes is unusable. Most striking it is how
the same group of notes makes hideous waste in one case, and a true
tonal logic in another. Again, what was impossible in Mozart's time, may
be commonplace to-day.

You cannot stamp cacophony as a mere whim of modern decadence. Beethoven
made the noblest use of it and suffered misunderstanding. Bach has it in
his scores with profound effect. And then the license of one age begets
a greater in the next. It is so in poetry, though in far less degree.
For, in music, the actual tones are the integral elements of the art.
They are the idea itself; in poetry the words merely suggest it.

A final element, independent of the notes themselves, is the official
numbering of themes. Strauss indicates a first, second and third theme,
obviously of the symphony, not of a single movement. The whole attitude
of the composer, while it does not compel, must strongly suggest some
sort of guess of intending meaning.[A]

[Footnote A: At the first production, in New York, in obedience to the
composer's wish, no descriptive notes were printed. When the symphony
was played, likewise under the composer's direction, in Berlin in
December, 1904, a brief note in the program-book mentions the three
groups of themes, the husband's, the wife's and the child's, in the
first movement. The other movements are thus entitled:

II.--_Scherzo._ Parents' happiness. Childish play. Cradle-song (the
clock strikes seven in the evening).

III.--_Adagio._ Creation and contemplation. Love scene. Dreams and cares
(the clock strikes seven in the morning).

IV.--_Finale._ Awakening and merry dispute (double fugue). Joyous

The "first theme" in "comfortable" pace, gliding

[Music: 1st Theme
(Cellos and fagots)
(Cellos, bassoons and horns)]

into a "dreamy" phrase, begins the symphony. Presently

[Music: _Peevishly_

a "peevish" cry breaks in, in sudden altered key; then on a second,
soothing tonal change, a strain sings "ardently" in upward wing to a
bold climax and down to gentler cadence, the "peevish" cry still
breaking in. The trumpet has a short cheery

[Music: _With fire_

call (_lustig_), followed by a brisk, rousing run in wood and strings
(_frisch_). A return of the "comfortable" phrase is quickly overpowered
by the "second theme," in very lively manner (_sehr lebhaft_), with an
answering phrase, _grazioso_, and light trills above.

[Music: 2d Theme _With great spirit_
(Strings, wood, horns and harps)

The incidental phrases are thus opposed to the main humor of each theme.
The serene first melody has "peevish" interruptions; the assertive
second yields to graceful blandishments. A little later a strain appears
_gefühlvoll_, "full of feeling," (that plays a frequent part), but the
main (second) theme breaks in "angrily." Soon a storm is brewing; at the
height the same motive is sung insistently. In the lull, the first
phrase of all sings gaily (_lustig_), and then serenely (_gemächlich_)
in tuneful tenor. Various

[Music: (Largely in strings)]

parts of the first theme are now blended in mutual discourse.

Amidst trembling strings the oboe d'amore plays the "third theme." "Very
tenderly," "quietly," the

[Music: 3d Theme _Quietly_ (Strings)
(Oboe d'Amore)]

second gives soothing answer, and the third sings a full melodious

Here a loud jangling noise tokens important arrivals. Fierce, hearty
pulling of the door-bell excites the parents, especially the mother, who
is quite in hysterics. The father takes it decidedly more calmly. The
visitors presently appear in full view, so to speak; for "the aunts," in
the trumpets, exclaim: "Just like Papa," and the uncles, in the
trombones, cry: "Just like Mama" (_ganz die Mama_). There can be no
questioning; it is all written in the book.

It is at least not hazardous to guess the three figures in the domestic
symphony. Now in jolly Scherzo (_munter_) begin the tricks and sport of
babyhood. There is of course but one theme, with mere comments

[Music: _Gaily. Scherzo_
(Oboe d'Amore)

of parental phrases in varying accents of affection. Another noisy scene
mars all the peace; father and child have a strong disagreement; the
latter is "defiant"; the paternal authority is enforced. Bed-time comes
with the stroke of seven, a cradle-song (Wiegenlied) (where the child's
theme hums faintly below). Then, "slowly and very quietly" sings the
"dreamy" phrase of the first theme, where

[Music: _Rather slowly_ (Cradle song) (Clarinets singing)
(Oboe d'Amore)

the answer, in sweeping descent, gives one of the principal elements of
the later plot. It ends in a moving bit of tune, "very quietly and
expressively" (_sehr ruhig und innig_).

Adagio, a slow rising strain plays in the softer

[Music: _Very quietly and expressively_

wood-notes of flute, oboe d'amore, English horn, and the lower
clarinets; below sings gently the second theme, quite transformed in
feeling. Those upper notes, with a touch of impassioned yearning, are
not new to our ears. That very rising phrase (the "dreamy" motive), if
we strain our memory, was at first below the more vehement (second)
figure. So

[Music: _Adagio_]

now the whole themal group is reversed outwardly and in the inner
feeling. Indeed, in other places crops out a like expressive symbol, and
especially in the phrase, marked _gefühlvoll_, that followed the second
theme in the beginning. All these motives here find a big concerted song
in quiet motion, the true lyric spot of the symphony.

Out of it emerges a full climax, bigger and broader now, of the first
motive. At another stage the second has the lead; but at the height is a
splendid verse of the maternal song. At the end the quiet, blissful tune
sings again "_sehr innig_."

_Appassionato_ re-enters the second figure. Mingled in its song are the
latest tune and an earlier expressive phrase _(gefühlvoll)_. The storm
that here ensues is not of dramatic play of opposition. There are no
"angry" indications. It is the full blossoming in richest madrigal of
all the themes of tenderness and passion in an aureole of glowing
harmonies. The morning comes with the stroke of seven and the awakening
cry of the child.

The Finale begins in lively pace (_sehr lebhaft_) with

[Music: (Double Fugue) 1st theme
(Four Bassoons)

a double fugue, where it is not difficult to see in the first theme a
fragment of the "baby" motive. The second is a remarkably assertive
little phrase from the cadence of the second theme (quoted above). The
son is clearly the hero, mainly in sportive humor, although he is not
free from parental interference. The maze and rigor of the fugue do not
prevent a frequent appearance of all the other themes, and even of the
full melodies, of which the fugal motives are built. At the climax of
the fugue, in the height of speed and noise, something very delightful
is happening, some furious romp, perhaps, of father and son, the mother
smiling on the game. At the close a new melody that we might trace, if
we cared, in earlier origin, has a full verse "quietly and simply"
(_ruhig und einfach_) in wood and horns, giving the crown

[Music: _Quietly and simply_ (Woodwind and horns)
(With sustained chord of cellos)]

and seal to the whole. The rest is a final happy refrain of all the
strains, where the husband's themes are clearly dominant.



The present estate of music in Italy is an instance of the danger of
prophecy in the broad realm of art. Wise words are daily heard on the
rise and fall of a nation in art, or of a form like the symphony, as
though a matter of certain fate, in strict analogy to the life of man.

Italy was so long regnant in music that she seems even yet its chosen
land. We have quite forgotten how she herself learned at the feet of the
masters from the distant North. For music is, after all, the art of the
North; the solace for winter's desolation; an utterance of feeling
without the model of a visible Nature.

And yet, with a prodigal stream of native melody and an ancient passion
of religious rapture, Italy achieved masterpieces in the opposite fields
of the Mass and of Opera. But for the more abstract plane of pure tonal
forms it has somehow been supposed that she had neither a power nor a
desire for expression. An Italian symphony seems almost an anomaly,--as
strange a product as was once a German opera.

The blunt truth of actual events is that to-day a renascence has begun,
not merely in melodic and dramatic lines; there is a new blending of the
racial gift of song with a power of profound design.[A] Despite all
historical philosophy, here is a new gushing forth from ancient fount,
of which the world may rejoice and be refreshed.

[Footnote A: In the field of the _Lied_ the later group of Italians,
such as Sinigaglia and Bossi, show a melodic spontaneity and a breadth
of lyric treatment that we miss in the songs of modern French composers.

In his Overture "_Le Baruffe Chiozzote_" (The Disputes of the People of
Chiozza) Sinigaglia has woven a charming piece with lightest touch of
masterly art; a delicate humor of melody plays amid a wealth of
counterpoint that is all free of a sense of learning.]

such unpremeditated ease that it seems all to the manner born. It may be
a new evidence that to-day national lines, at least in art, are
vanishing; before long the national quality will be imperceptible and
indeed irrelevant.

[Footnote A: Born in 1843.]

To be sure we see here an Italian touch in the simple artless stream of
tune, the warm resonance, the buoyant spring of rhythm. The first
movement stands out in the symphony with a subtler design than all the
rest, though it does not lack the ringing note of jubilation.

The Andante is a pure lyric somewhat new in design and in feeling. It
shows, too, an interesting contrast of opposite kinds of slower
melody,--the one dark-hued and legend-like, from which the poet wings
his flight to a hymnal rhapsody on a clear choral theme, with a rich
setting of arpeggic harmonies. A strange halting or limping rhythm is
continued throughout the former subject. In the big climax the feeling
is strong of some great chant or rite, of vespers or Magnificat. Against
convention the ending returns to the mood of sad legend.

The Scherzo is a sparkling chain of dancing tunes of which the third, of
more intimate hue, somehow harks back to the second theme of the first

A Trio, a dulcet, tender song of the wood, precedes the return of the
Scherzo that ends with the speaking cadence from the first Allegro.

A Serenata must be regarded as a kind of Intermezzo, in the Cantilena
manner, with an accompanying rhythm suggesting an ancient Spanish dance.
It stands as a foil between the gaiety of the Scherzo and the jubilation
of the Finale.

The Finale is one festive idyll, full of ringing tune and almost bucolic
lilt of dance. It reaches one of those happy jingles that we are glad to
hear the composer singing to his heart's content.


[Footnote A: Giuseppe Martucci, 1856-1911.]

The very naturalness, the limpid flow of the melodic thought seem to
resist analysis of the design. The listener's perception must be as
naïve and spontaneous as was the original conception.

There is, on the one hand, no mere adoption of a classical schedule of
form, nor, on the other, the over-subtle workmanship of modern schools.
Fresh and resolute begins the virile theme with a main charm in the
motion itself. It lies not in a tune here or there, but in a dual play
of responsive phrases at the start, and then a continuous flow of
further melody on the fillip of the original rhythm, indefinable of
outline in a joyous chanting of bass and treble.

A first height reached, an expressive line in the following lull rises
in the cellos, that is the essence of the contrasting idea, followed
straightway by a brief phrase of the kind, like some turns of peasant
song, that we can hear contentedly without ceasing.

[Music: (Cellos)
(Lower reed, horns and strings)]

Again, as at the beginning, such a wealth of melodies sing together that
not even the composer could know which he intended in chief. We merely
feel, instead of the incisive ring of the first group, a quieter power
of soothing beauty. Yet, heralded by a prelude of sweet strains, the
expressive line now enters like a queenly figure over a new rhythmic
motion, and flows on through delighting glimpses of new harmony to a
striking climax.

[Music: (Flute and oboe, doubled below in clarinet)

The story, now that the characters have appeared, continues in the main
with the second browsing in soft lower strings, while the first (in its
later phase) sings above in the wood transformed in mildness, though for
a nonce the first motive strikes with decisive vigor. Later is a new
heroic mood of minor, quickly softened when the companion melody
appears. A chapter of more sombre hue follows, all with the lilt and
pace of romantic ballad. At last the main hero returns as at the
beginning, only in more splendid panoply, and rides on 'mid clattering
suite to passionate triumph. And then, with quieter charm, sings again
the second figure, with the delighting strains again and again
rehearsed, matching the other with the power of sweetness.

One special idyll there is of carolling soft horn and clarinet, where a
kind of lullaby flows like a distilled essence from the gentler play--of
the heroic tune, before its last big verse, with a mighty flow of

[Music: _dolce e tranquillo_
(Horn) (Two horns)

sequence, and splendidly here the second figure crowns the pageant. At
the passionate height, over long ringing chord, the latter sings a
sonorous line in lengthened notes of the wood and horns. The first
climax is here, in big coursing strains, then it slowly lulls, with a
new verse of the idyll, to a final hush.

The second movement is a brief lyric with one main melody, sung at first
by a solo cello amidst a weaving of muted strings; later it is taken up
by the first violins. The solo cello returns for a further song in duet
with the violins, where the violas, too, entwine their melody, or the
cello is joined by the violins.

Now the chief melody returns for a richer and varied setting with horns
and woodwind. At last the first violins, paired in octave with the
cello, sing the full melody in a madrigal of lesser strains.

An epilogue answers the prologue of the beginning.

Equally brief is the true Scherzo, though merely entitled Allegretto,--a
dainty frolic without the heavy brass, an indefinable conceit of airy
fantasy, with here and there a line of sober melody peeping between the
mischievous pranks. There is no contrasting Trio in the middle; but just
before the end comes a quiet pace as of mock-gravity, before a final

A preluding fantasy begins in the mood of the early Allegro; a wistful
melody of the clarinet plays more slowly between cryptic reminders of
the first theme of the symphony. In sudden _Allegro risoluto_ over
rumbling bass of strings, a mystic call of horns, harking far back,
spreads its echoing ripples all about till it rises in united tones,
with a clear, descending answer, much like the original first motive.
The latter now continues in the bass in large and smaller pace beneath a
new tuneful treble of violins, while the call still roams a free course
in the wind. Oft repeated is this resonation in paired harmonies, the
lower phrase like an "obstinate bass."

Leaving the fantasy, the voices sing in simple choral lines a hymnal
song in triumphal pace, with firm cadence and answer, ending at length
in the descending

[Music: _Allegro risoluto_
(Strings, with added wood and horns)]

phrase. The full song is repeated, from the entrance of the latter, as
though to stress the two main melodies. The marching chorus halts
briefly when the clarinet begins again a mystic verse on the strain of
the call, where the descending phrase is intermingled in the horns and

There is a new horizon here. We can no longer speak with
half-condescension of Italian simplicity, though another kind of primal
feeling is mingled in a breadth of symphonic vein. We feel that our
Italian poet has cast loose his leading strings and is revealing new
glimpses through the classic form.

Against a free course of quicker figures rises in the horns the simple
melodic call, with answer and counter-tunes in separate discussion. Here
comes storming in a strident line of the inverted melody in the bassoon,
quarrelling with the original motive in the clarinet. Then a group sing
the song in dancing trip, descending against the stern rising theme of
violas; or one choir follows on the heels of another. Now into the play
intrudes the second melody, likewise in serried chase of imitation.

The two themes seem to be battling for dominance, and the former wins,
shouting its primal tune in brass and wood, while the second sinks to a
rude clattering rhythm in the bass. But out of the clash, where the
descending phrase recurs in the basses, the second melody emerges in
full sonorous song. Suddenly at the top of the verse rings out in
stentorian brass the first theme of all the symphony to the opening
chord of the Finale, just as it rang at the climax in the beginning.

A gentle duet of violins and clarinet seems to bring back the second
melody of the first movement, and somehow, in the softer mood, shows a
likeness with the second of the Finale. For a last surprise, the former
idyll (of the first Allegro) returns and clearly proves the original
guise of our latest main melody. As though to assure its own identity as
prevailing motto, it has a special celebration in the final joyous



[Footnote A: Symphony in A flat. Edward Elgar, born in 1857.]

There is a rare nobility in the simple melody, the vein of primal hymn,
that marks the invocation,--in solemn wood against stately stride of

[Music: (_Andante nobilmente e semplice_)
(Basses of strings, _staccato_)]

lower strings. A true ancient charm is in the tune, with a fervor at the
high point and a lilt almost of lullaby,--till the whole chorus begins
anew as though the song of marching hosts. Solemnity is the essence
here, not of artificial ceremony nor of rhymeless chant,--rather of
prehistoric hymn.

In passionate recoil is the upward storming song (Allegro) where a group
of horns aid the surging crest of strings and wood,--a resistless motion
of massed melody. Most thrilling after the first climax is the sonorous,
vibrant stroke of the bass in the

[Music: _Allegro appassionato_
(Strings, wood and horns)
(See page 308, line 10.)]

recurring melody. As it proceeds, a new line of bold tune is stirred
above, till the song ends at the highest in a few ringing, challenging
leaps of chord,--ends or, rather merges in a relentless, concluding
descent. Here, in a striking phrase of double

[Music: (Violins and clarinets in succession)
(Strings, the upper 3d doubled in higher reed)]

song, is a touch of plaint that, hushing, heralds the coming gentle
figure. We are sunk in a sweet romance, still of ancientest lore, with a
sense of lost bliss in the wistful cadence. Or do these entrancing
strains lead merely to the broader melody that moves with queenly tread
(of descending violins) above a soft murmuring of lower figures? It is
taken up

[Music: (Violins)
(Harp and wood doubled above)]

in a lower voice and rises to a height of inner throb rather than of
outer stress. The song departs as it came, through the tearful plaint of
double phrase. Bolder accents merge suddenly into the former impassioned
song. Here is the real sting of warrior call, with shaking brass and
rolling drum, in lengthened swing against other faster sounds,--a revel
of heroics, that at the end breaks afresh into the regular song.

Yet it is all more than mere battle-music. For here is a new passionate
vehemence, with loudest force of vibrant brass, of those dulcet strains
that preceded the queenly melody. An epic it is, at the least, of
ancient flavor, and the sweeter romance here rises to a tempest more
overpowering than martial tumult.

It is in the harking back to primal lore that we seem to feel true
passion at its best and purest, as somehow all truth of legend, proverb
and fable has come from those misty ages of the earth. The drooping
harmonies merge in the returning swing of the first solemn hymn,--a mere
line that is broken by a new tender appeal, that, rising to a moving

[Music: (Strings)

yields to the former plaint (of throbbing thirds).

A longer elegy sings, with a fine poignancy, bold and new in the very
delicacy of texture, in the sharp impinging of these gentlest sounds. In
the depths of the dirge suddenly, though quietly, sounds the herald
melody high in the wood, with ever firmer cheer, soon in golden horns,
at last in impassioned strings, followed by the wistful motive.

A phase here begins as of dull foreboding, with a new figure stalking in
the depths and, above, a brief sigh in the wind. In the growing stress
these figures sing from opposite quarters, the sobbing phrase below,
when suddenly the queenly melody stills the tumult. It is answered by a
dim, slow line of the ominous motive. Quicker echoes of the earlier
despond still flit here and there, with gleams of joyous light. The
plaintive (dual) song returns and too the tender appeal, which with its
sweetness at last wakens the buoyant spirit of the virile theme.

And so pass again the earlier phases of resolution with the masterful
conclusion; the tearful accents; the brief verse of romance, and the
sweep of queenly figure, rising again to almost exultation. But here,
instead of tears and recoil, is the brief sigh over sombre harmonies,
rising insistent in growing volume that somehow conquers its own mood. A
return of the virile motive is followed at the height by the throbbing
dual song with vehement stress of grief, falling to lowest echoes.

Here begins the epilogue with the original solemn hymn. Only it is now
entwined with shreds and memories of romance, flowing tranquilly on
through gusts of passion. And there is the dull sob with the sudden
gleam of joyous light. But the hymn returns like a sombre solace of
oblivion,--though there is a final strain of the wistful romance, ending
in sad harmony.

_II.--Allegro molto._ The Scherzo (as we may venture to call it) begins
with a breath of new harmony, or is it a blended magic of rhythm, tune
and chord? Far more than merely bizarre, it calls up a vision of Celtic
warriors, the wild, free spirit of Northern races. The rushing jig or
reel is halted

[Music: _Allegro molto_
(Strings with kettle-drum)]

anon by longer notes in a drop of the tune and instantly returns to the
quicker run. Below plays a kind of drum-roll of rumbling strings. Other
revelling pranks appear, of skipping wood, rushing harp and dancing
strings, till at last sounds a clearer tune, a restrained war-march with
touch of terror in the soft subdued chords, suddenly growing to

[Music: (Violas and clarinets)
(Wood, basses and strings)]

volume as it sounds all about, in treble and in bass.

At last the war-song rings in full triumphant blast, where trumpets and
the shrill fife lead, and the lower brass, with cymbals and drums (big
and little) mark the march. Then to the returning pranks the tune roars
in low basses and reeds, and at last a big conclusive phrase descends
from the height to meet the rising figure of the basses.

Now the reel dances in furious tumult (instead of the first whisper) and
dies down through the slower cadence.

An entirely new scene is here. To a blended tinkle of harp, reeds and
high strings sounds a delicate air, quick and light, yet with a tinge of
plaint that may be a part of all Celtic song. It were rude to spoil

[Music: (Woodwind, with a triplet pulse of harp and rhythmic strings)]

its fine fragrance with some rough title of meaning; nor do we feel a
strong sense of romance, rather a whim of Northern fantasy.

Over a single note of bass sings a new strain of elegy, taken up by
other voices, varying with the

[Music: (Clarinets)]

tinkling air. Suddenly in rushes the first reel, softly as at first; but
over it sings still the new sad tune, then yields to the wild whims and
pranks that lead to the war-song in resonant chorus, joined at the
height by the reel below. They change places, the tune ringing in the
bass. In the martial tumult the tinkling air is likewise infected with
saucy vigor, but suddenly retires abashed into its shell of fairy sound,
and over it sings the elegy in various choirs. The tinkling melody falls
suddenly into a new flow of moving song, rising to pure lyric fervor.
The soft air has somehow the main say, has reached the high point, has
touched the heart of the movement. Expressively it slowly sinks away
amid echoing phrases and yields to the duet of elegy and the first reel.
But a new spirit has appeared. The sting of war-song is gone. And here
is the reel in slow reluctant pace. After another verse of the fairy
tune, the jig plays still slower, while above sings a new melody. Still
slower the jig has fallen almost to funeral pace, has grown to a new
song of its own, though, to be sure, brief reminders of the first dance
jingle softly here and there. And now the (hushed) shadow of the
war-song in quite slower gait strides in lowest basses and passes
quietly straight into the Adagio.

[Music: (Strings with lower reeds and horns)

_III._--Assured peace is in the simple sincere melody, rising to a glow
of passion. But--is this a jest of our poet? Or rather now we see why
there was no halt at the end of the Scherzo. For the soothing melody is
in the very notes of the impish reel,--is the same tune.[A] Suddenly
hushing, the song hangs on high over delicate minor harmonies.

[Footnote A: There seems to be shown in this feat at once the
versatility of music as well as the musician in expressing opposite
moods by the same theme. The author does not feel bound to trace all
such analogies, as in the too close pursuit we may lose the forest in
the jungle.]

In exquisite hues an intimate dialogue ensues, almost too personal for
the epic vein, a discourse or madrigal of finest fibre that breaks (like
rays of setting sun) into a melting cadence of regret. We are doubly
thrilled in harking back to the sweet, wistful romance, the strain of
the first movement.

[Music: (Harp, wood and strings)]

Across the gauzy play, horns and wood blow a slow phrase, like a motto
of Fate in the sombre harmony, with one ardent burst of pleading.

In clearer articulation sings a dual song, still softly o'ercast with
sweet sadness, ever richer in the harmonies of multiple strings, tipped
with the light mood,--and again the wistful cadence. Siren figures of
entrancing grace that move amid the other melody, bring enchantment that
has no cheer, nor escape the insistent sighing phrase. Once more come
the ominous call and the passionate plea, then assurance with the
returning main melody in renewed fervor. Phases of dual melody end again
with the wistful cadence. The tranquil close is like one sustained fatal
farewell, where the fairy figures but stress the sad burden.

_IV._--The beginning is in lowest depths (Largo). First is the stalking
figure of earliest movement, from the moment of despond. It is answered
by a steadily striding theme, almost martial, save for the

[Music: _Lento_
(_Pizz._ cellos with _stacc._ bassoons)]

slowness of pace. Not unlike the hymn of the first prologue in line of
tune, it bears a mood of dark resignation that breaks presently into the
touching plea of the wistful cadence.

The whole is a reflective prologue to the Finale: a deep meditation from
which the song may roll forth on new spring. The hymn has suddenly
entered with a subtly new guise; for the moment it seems part of the
poignant sigh; it is as yet submerged in a flood of gloom and regret;
and the former phrases still stride and stalk below. In a wild climax of
gloom we hear the former sob, earlier companion of the stalking figure.

Hymnal strains return,--flashes of heavenly light in the depths of hell,
and one passionate sigh of the melting cadence.

_Allegro_,--we are carried hack to the resolute vigor of the earlier
symphony, lacking the full fiery charm, but ever striving and stirring,
like Titans rearing mountain piles, not without the cheer of toil
itself. At the height comes a burst of the erst yearning cadence, but
there is a new masterful accent; the wistful edge does not return till
the echoing phrases sink away in the depths.

A new melody starts soaring on the same wing of

[Music: (Strings and clarinets)
(_Staccato_ strings _con 8ve._)]

blended striving and yearning of which all this song is fraught. In its
broader sweep and brighter cheer it is like the queenly melody of the
first movement.

The Titan toil stirs strongly below the soft cadence; the full, fierce
ardor mounts heavenward. Phases now alternate of insistent rearing on
the strenuous motive and of fateful submission in the marching strain,
that is massed in higher and bigger chorus. As gathers the stress of
climax, the brass blowing a defiant blast, the very vehemence brings a
new resolution that is uttered in the returning strenuous phrase.

Again rises the towering pile. At the thickest the high horns blow loud
a slow, speaking legend,--the farewell motive, it seems, from the end of
Adagio, fierce energy struggling with fatal regret gnawing at the heart.

Gripping is the appeal of the sharp cry almost of anguish into which the
toiling energy is suddenly resolved. Again the fateful march enters, now
in heroic fugue of brass and opposite motion of strings and reed,--all
overwhelmed with wild recurring pangs of regret.

And so "double, double, toil and trouble," on goes the fugue and follows
the arduous climb (into the sad motto in the horns), each relieving the
other, till both yield again to the heart-breaking cry.

The cheerier melody here re-enters and raises the mood for the nonce.
Soon it falls amid dim harmonies. Far in the depths now growls the dull
tread, answered by perverted line of the hymn.

A mystic verse sounds over pious chords of harp in the tune of the
march, which is sung by antiphonal choirs of strings,--later with fuller
celestial chorus, almost in rapture of heavenly resignation. Only it is
not final; for once again returns the full struggle of the beginning,
with the farewell-legend, and in highest passion the phrase of regret
rung again and again--till it is soothed by the tranquil melody. The
relentless stride of march too reaches a new height, and one last,
moving plaint. When the fast chasing cries are in closest tangle,
suddenly the hymn pours out its benediction, while the cries have
changed to angelic acclaim. Here is the transfigured song in full
climactic verse that fulfils the promise of the beginning. A touch of
human (or earthly joy) is added in an exultant strain of the sweeping
melody that unites with the hymn at the close.



When we come to a view of modern music in symphonic design, written in
America, we are puzzled by a new phase of the element of nationalism.
For here are schools and styles as different as of far corners of
Europe. Yet they can be called nothing else than American, if they must
have a national name. In the northern centre whence a model orchestra
has long shed a beneficent influence far afield, the touch of new French
conceits has colored some of the ablest works. Elsewhere we have cited a
symphony more in line with classical tradition.[A]

[Footnote A: A symphony by Wm. W. Gilchrist. Vol. II, Appendix.]

Perhaps most typical is a symphony of Hadley where one feels, with other
modern tradition, the mantle of the lamented MacDowell, of whom it may
be said that he was first to find in higher reaches of the musical art
an utterance of a purely national temper.


[Footnote A: Opus 60, Henry Hadley, American, born 1871.]

With virile swing the majestic melody strides in the strings, attended
by trooping chords of wood and brass, all in the minor, in triple
rhythm. In

[Music: _Moderato e maestoso_
(Harp and wind)
(All the trebles)
(Strings with lower 8ve.)]

the bass is a frequent retort to the themal phrase. For a moment a
dulcet line steals in, quickly broken by the returning martial stride of
stentorian horns, and of the main theme in full chords. Strange, though,
how a softer, romantic humor is soon spread over the very discussion of
the martial theme, so that it seems the rough, vigorous march is but the
shell for the kernel of tender romance,--the pageant that precedes the
queenly figure. And presently, _piu tranquillo_, comes the fervent lyric
song that may indeed be the chief theme in poetic import, if not in
outer rank. After a moving verse in the strings,

[Music: _Piu tranquillo_
(_Pizz._ basses _8va._) (Added woodwind)]

with an expressive strain in some voice of the woodwind or a ripple of
the harp, it is sung in tense chorus of lower wood and horns,--soon
joined by all the voices but the martial brass, ending with a soft echo
of the strings.

Now in full majesty the stern stride of first theme is resumed, in
faster insistence,--no longer the mere tune, but a spirited extension
and discussion, with retorts between the various choirs. Here the
melodious march is suddenly felt in the bass (beneath our feet, as it
were) of lowest brass and strings, while the noisy bustle continues
above; then, changing places, the theme is above, the active motion

Long continues the spirited clatter as of warlike march till again
returns the melting mood of the companion melody, now sung by the
expressive horn, with murmuring strings. And there are enchanting
flashes of tonal light as the song passes to higher choirs. The lyric
theme wings its rapturous course to a blissful height, where an
intrusion of the main motive but halts for the moment the returning
tender verse.

When the first vigorous phrase returns in full career, there is somehow
a greater warmth, and the dulcet after-strain is transfigured in a glow
greater almost than of the lyric song that now follows with no less
response of beauty. In the final spirited blending of both melodies the
trumpets sound a quicker pace of the main motive.

In the Andante (_tranquillo_) the sweet tinkle of church-bells with
soft chanting horns quickly defines the scene. Two voices of the
strings, to the

[Music: (Bells and harp in continuous repetition)
_Andante tranquillo_
_Espress._ (Cellos)
(Strings, with added choir of lower reeds)]

continuing hum of the bells, are singing a responsive song that rises in
fervor as the horns and later the woodwind join the strings. Anon will
sound the simple tune of the bells with soft harmonies, like echoes of
the song,--or even the chant without the chimes.

In more eager motion,--out of the normal measure of bells and hymn,
breaks a new song in minor with a touch of passion, rising to a burst of
ardor. But it passes, sinking away before a new phase,--a bucolic

[Music: _Poco piu mosso_
(Clar'ts & horns)

fantasy of trilling shepherd's reed (in changed, even pace), supported
by strumming strings. The sacred calm and later passion have yielded to
a dolorous plaint, like the dirge of the Magyar plains. Suddenly the
former fervor returns with strains of the second melody amidst urging
motion (in the triple pace) and startling rushes of harp-strings. At the
height, trumpets blare forth the first melody, transformed from its
earlier softness, while the second presses on in higher wood and
strings; the trombones relieve the trumpets, with a still larger chorus
in the romantic song; in final exaltation, the basses of brass and
strings sound the first melody, while the second still courses in treble

Of a sudden, after a lull, falls again the tinkle of sacred chimes, with
a verse each of the two main melodies.

The Scherzo begins with a Saltarello humor, as of airy faun, with a
skipping theme ever accompanied by a lower running phrase and a prancing
trip of

[Music: _Allegro con leggerezza, ben sostenuto_
(_Pizz._ strings)

strings, with a refrain, too, of chirruping woodwind. Later the skipping
phrase gains a melodic cadence. But the main mood is a revel of gambols
and pranks of rhythm and harmony on the first phase.

In the middle is a sudden shift of major tone and intimate humor, to a
slower pace. With still a semblance of dance, a pensive melody sings in
the cellos; the graceful cadence is rehearsed in a choir

[Music: _Poco meno mosso_

of woodwind, and the song is taken up by the whole chorus. As a pretty
counter-tune grows above, the melody sings below, with a blending of
lyric feeling and the charm of dance. At a climactic height the horns,
with clumsy grace, blare forth the main lilting phrase.

The song now wings along with quicker tripping counter-tunes that slowly
lure the first skipping tune back into the play after a prelude of high
festivity. New pranks appear,--as of dancing strings against a stride of
loud, muted horns. Then the second (pensive) melody returns, now above
the running counter-tune. At last, in faster gait, to the coursing of
quicker figures, the (second) melody rings out in choir of brass in
twice slower, stately pace. But the accompanying bustle is merely
heightened until all four horns are striking together the lyric song. At
the end is a final revel of the first dancing tune.

The Finale, which bears the unusual mark _Allegro con giubilio_, begins
with a big festive march that may seem to have an added flavor of old
English merrymaking. But as in the other cantos of the poem there

[Music: _Allegro con giubilio_
(Basses in 8ve.)]

is here, too, an opposite figure and feeling. And the more joyous the
gaiety, the more sweetly wistful is the recoil. Nay there is in this
very expressive strain, beautifully woven in strings, harp, woodwind and
horns, a vein of regret that grows rather than lessens, whenever the
melody appears alone. It is like the memory, in the midst of festival,
of some blissful moment lost forever.

Indeed, the next phase seems very like a disordered chase of stray
memories; for here a line of martial air is displaced by a pensive
strain which in

[Music: (Cello and harp with harmony of wood, horns and strings)
_Piu tranquillo_
_Molto espress._]

turn yields to the quick, active tune that leads to a height of

But here is a bewildering figure on the scene: Lustily the four horns
(helped by the strings) blow in slow notes against the continuing motive
an expressive melody. Slowly it breaks upon our ears as the wistful air
that followed the chimes of Sunday bells. It has a stern, almost sombre
guise, until it suddenly glows in transfigured light, as of a choir of
celestial brass.

Slowly we are borne to the less exalted pitch of the first festive
march, and here follows, as at first, the expressive melody where each
hearer may find his own shade of sadness. It does seem to reach a true
passion of regret, with poignant sweet sighs.

At length the sadness is overcome and there is a new animation as
separate voices enter in fugal manner in the line of the march. Now the
festive tune holds sway in lower pace in the basses; but then rings on
high in answer--the wistful melody again and again, in doubled and twice
redoubled pace.

When we hear the _penseroso_ melody once more at the end, we may feel
with the poet a state of resigned cheer.

A remarkable work that shows the influence of modern French harmony
rather than its actual traits, is a SYMPHONY BY GUSTAV STRUBE.[A] It is
difficult to resist the sense of a strain for bizarre harmony, of a
touch of preciosity. The real business of these harmonies is for
incidental pranks, with an after-touch that confesses the jest, or
softens it to a lyric utterance. It cannot be denied that the moving
moments in this work come precisely in the release of the strain of
dissonance, as in the returning melody of the Adagio. Only we may feel
we have been waiting too long. The desert was perhaps too long for the
oasis. _Est modus in rebus_: the poet seems niggardly with his melody;
he may weary us with too long waiting, with too little staying comfort.
He does not escape the modern way of symbolic, infinitesimal melody, so
small that it must, of course, reappear. It is a little like the
wonderful arguments from ciphers hidden in poetry.

[Footnote A: Of Boston,--born in Germany in 1867.]

It cannot he denied that the smallness of phrase does suggest a
smallness of idea. The plan of magic motive will not hold _ad
infinitesimum_. As the turn of the triplet, in the first movement,
twists into a semblance of the Allegro theme, we feel like wondering
with the old Philistine:

    ... "How all this difference can be
    'Twixt tweedle-dum and tweedle-dee!"

But there is the redeeming vein of lyric melody with a bold fantasy of
mischievous humor and a true climax of a clear poetic design. One reason
seems sometimes alone to justify this new license, this new French
revolution: the deliverance from a stupid slavery of rules,--if we would
only get the spirit of them without the inadequate letter. Better, of
course, the rules than a fatal chaos. But there is here in the bold
flight of these harmonies, soaring as though on some hidden straight
path, a truly Promethean utterance.

It is significant, in the problem of future music, that of the
symphonies based upon recent French ideas, the most subtly conceived and
designed should have been written in America.

_I._--In pale tint of harmony sways the impersonal phrase that begins
with a descending tone. We may

[Music: _Andante_ (Melody in flute and violas)
(Cellos with basses in lower 8ve.)]

remember[A] how first with the symphony came a clear sense of tonal
residence. It was like the age in painting when figures no longer hung
in the gray air, when they were given a resting-place, with trees and a

[Footnote A: See Vol. I, Chapter I.]

Here we find just the opposite flight from clear tonality, as if
painting took to a Japanese manner, sans aught of locality. Where an
easy half-step leads gently somewhere, a whole tone sings instead.
Nothing obvious may stand.

It marks, in its reaction, the excessive stress of tonality and of
simple colors of harmony. The basic sense of residence is not abandoned;
there is merely a bolder search for new tints, a farther straying from
the landmarks.

Soon our timid tune is joined by a more expressive line that rises in
ardent reaches to a sudden tumult, with a fiery strain of trumpets where
we catch a glimpse of the triplet figure. After a dulcet lullaby

[Music: (Flute with _tremolo_ of high strings)
(New melody in ob. and violas)
(Cellos with sustained lower B of basses)]

of the first air, the second flows in faster pace (_Allegro commodo_) as
the real text, ever with new blossoming variants that sing together in a
madrigal of tuneful voices, where the descending note still has a part
in a smooth, gliding pace of violins.

In gayer mood comes a verse of the inverted (Allegro) tune, with other
melodic guises hovering about. When the theme descends to the bass, the
original Andante phrase sings in the trumpet, and there is a chain of
entering voices, in growing agitation, in the main legend with the
quicker sprites dancing about. At the height, after the stirring song
of trumpets, we feel a passionate strife of resolve and regret; and
immediately after, the descending tone is echoed everywhere.

A balancing (second) theme now appears, in tranquil

[Music: (Horn)
_Allegro dolce_
(Violas & cellos)
(Sustained harmony in violins, bassoons and flute)]

flow, but pressing on, at the end, in steady ascent as to Parnassian
summit. Later comes a new rejoinder in livelier mood, till it is lost in
a big, moving verse of the Andante song. But pert retorts from the
latest new tune again fill the air, then yield in attendance upon the
returning Allegro theme. Of subtle art is the woof of derived phrases. A
companion melody, that seems fraught of the text of the second subject,
sings with rising passion, while the lower brass blow lustily in
eccentric rhythm of the Allegro phrase and at the height share in the
dual triumph.

We feel a kinship of mood rather than of theme, a coherence that we
fear to relate to definite figures, though the descending symbol is
clear against the ascending. An idyllic dialogue, with the continuing
guise of the Allegro phrase turns to a gayer revel in the original pace,
with a brilliant blare of trumpets.

The free use of themes is shown in the opposite moods of the triplet
phrase, of sadness, as in Andante, or buoyant, in Allegro. Here are both
in close transition as the various verses return from the beginning,
entwined about the first strain of the Andante, gliding through the
descending tone into the second soothing song with the Parnassian

A full verse of the first Andante melody sings at the heart of the plot,
followed by the strange daemonic play that keeps the mood within bounds.
Indeed, it returns once more as at first, then springs into liveliest
trip and rises to an Olympian height, with a final revel of the triplet

_II._--With a foreshadowing drop of tone begins the prelude, not unlike
the first notes of the symphony,

[Music: _Adagio, ma non troppo_
(_espressivo_ Clar.)
(Clar'ts and bassoons)]

answered with a brief phrase. On the descending motive the main melody
is woven.

Tenderly they play together, the melody with the main burden, the
lighter prelude phrase in graceful accompaniment. But now the latter
sings in turn a serious verse, rises to a stormy height, the horns
proclaiming the passionate plea amid a tumultuous accord of the other
figures, and sinks in subdued temper. In a broader pace begins a new
line, though on the thread of the descending motive, and with the
entering phrase of the prelude winds to a climax of passion. The true
episode, of refuge and solace from the stress of tempest, is in a song
of the trumpet through a shimmering gauze of strings with glinting harp,
to a soft murmuring in the reeds.

[Music: _Animando_ (Violins)
(_Trem._ violins doubled above in oboes)
(Cellos with sustained lower B of basses)
Main melody in trumpets]

In a new shade of tone it is echoed by the horn, then in a fervent close
it is blended with a guise of the prelude phrase, that now heralds the
main melody, in a duet of clarinet and violins. At last in the home
tone the horn sings amid the sweet tracery the parting verse, and all
about sounds the trist symbol of the first (descending) motive.

_III._--The Scherzo is in one view a mad revel of demon pranks in a new
field of harmonies. Inconsequential though they may seem, there is a
real coherence, and, too, a subtle connection with the whole design.

To be sure, with the vagueness of tune that belongs to a school of
harmonic exploits a certain mutual relation of themes is a kind of
incident. The less defined the phrases, the easier it is to make them

Undoubted likeness there is between the main elfin figure and the first
phrase of the symphony.

[Music: (Oboes, with lower 8ve. and higher 8ve. of piccolo)
_Allegro vivace_

The triplet is itself a kind of password throughout. With this multiple
similarity is a lack of the inner bond of outer contrast.

The mood of demon humor finds a native medium in the tricks of new
Gallic harmony. Early in the prelude we hear the descending tone, a
streak of sadness in the mirth. Answering the first burst is a strange
stroke of humor in the horn, and as if in

[Music: (_Tremolo_ 1st violins)
(1st horn) (Clarinets doubled above in strings)]

serious balance, a smooth gliding phrase in the wood. Now the first
figure grows more articulate, romping and galloping into an ecstasy of
fun. A certain spirit of Till Eulenspiegel hovers about.

Out of the maze blows a new line in muted trumpets, that begins with the
inverted triplet figure, and in spite of the surrounding bedlam rises
almost into a tune. At the height the strange jest of the horns reigns

From the mad gambols of the first figure comes a relief in sparkling
calls of the brass and stirring retorts in pure ringing harmonies. In
the next episode is a fall into a lyric mood as the latest figure glides
into even pace, singing amid gentlest pranks. Most tuneful of all
sounds is the answer in dulcet trumpet while, above, the first theme
intrudes softly.

The heart of the idyll comes in a song of the clarinet

[Music: (Cl. _espressivo_)
(_Pizz._ strings with higher 8ve. of upper voice)
(Wood and horn and strings) (Clar. and bassoons)]

against strange, murmuring strings, ever with a soft answer of the lower

New invading sprites do not hem the flight of the melody. But at the
height a redoubled pace turns the mood back to revelling mirth with
broken bits of the horn tune. Indeed the crisis comes with a new rage of
this symbol of mad abandon, in demonic strife with the fervent song that
finally prevails.

The first theme returns with a new companion in the highest wood. A
fresh strain of serious melody is now woven about the former dulcet
melody of trumpet in a stretch of delicate poesy, of mingled mirth and
tenderness.--The harmonies have something of the infinitesimal sounds
that only insects hear. With all virtuous recoil, here we must confess
is a masterpiece of cacophonic art, a new world of tones hitherto
unconceived, tinkling and murmuring with the eerie charm of the
forest.--In the return of the first prelude is a touch of the descending
tone. From the final revelling tempest comes a sudden awakening. In
strange moving harmony sings slowly the descending symbol, as if
confessing the unsuccessful flight from regret. Timidly the vanquished
sprites scurry away.

_IV._--The first notes of the Finale blend and bring back the main
motives. First is the descending tone, but firm and resolute, with the
following triplet in

[Music: _Allegro energico_ (Higher figure in strings & wood)
(Wood, horns and lower strings) (Strings and wood)]

inversion of the Scherzo theme.

It is all in triumphant spirit. From the start the mood reigns, the art
for once is quite subordinate. Resonant and compelling is the motive of
horns and trumpets, new in temper, though harking back to the earlier
text, in its cogent ending. Splendid is

[Music: (Strings)
(Wood & strings doubled below)
(Horns and trumpets)]

the soaring flight through flashes of new chords. There is, we must
yield, something Promethean, of new and true beauty, in the bold path of
harmonies that the French are teaching us after a long age of slavish

The harking back is here better than in most modern symphonies with
their pedantic subtleties: in the resurgence of joyous mood, symbolized
by the inversion of phrase, as when the prankish elfin theme rises in
serious aspiration.

Out of these inspiriting reaches sings a new melody in canon of strings
(though it may relate to some shadowy memory), while in the bass rolls
the former ending phrase; then they romp in jovial turn of rhythm.

[Music: (Oboes, doubled below in bassoons) (Strings, doubled below)
(Horns) (_Pizz._ cello doubled below)]

A vague and insignificant similarity of themes is a fault of the work
and of the style, ever in high disdain of vernacular harmony, refreshing
to be sure, in its saucy audacity, and anon enchanting with a ring of
new, fiery chord. As the sonorous theme sings in muted brass, picking
strings mockingly play quicker fragments, infecting the rest with
frivolous retorts, and then a heart-felt song pours forth, where the
accompanying cries have softened their mirth. Back they skip to a joyous
trip with at last pure ringing harmonies.

At the fervent pitch a blast of trumpets rises in challenging phrase, in
incisive clash of chord, with the early sense of Parnassian ascent. At
the end of this brave fanfare we hear a soft plea of the descending tone
that prompts a song of true lyric melody, with the continuing gentlest
touch of regret, all to a sweetly bewildering turn of pace. So tense

[Music: (Continuing organ pt. of violins) (Fl. & clar. _dolce_)
(Melody in ob. _dolce_)

and subtle an expression would utterly convert us to the whole harmonic
plan, were it not that just here, in these moving moments, we feel a
return to clearer tonality. But it is a joy to testify to so devoted a
work of art.

With the last notes of melody a new frisking tune plays in sauciest
clashes of chord, with an enchanting stretch of ringing brass. A long
merriment ensues in the jovial trip, where the former theme of horns has
a rising cadence; or the tripping tune sings in united chorus and again
through its variants. After a noisy height the dulcet melody (from the
descending tone) sings in linked sweetness. In the later tumult we rub
our eyes to see a jovial theme of the bass take on the lines of the
wistful melody. Finally, in majestic tread amid general joyous clatter
the brass blow the gentle song in mellowed tones of richest harmony.


[Footnote A: George W. Chadwick, American, born in 1854.]

With a rush of harp and higher strings the Suite begins on ardent wing
in exultant song of trumpets (with horns, bassoons and cellos) to quick
palpitating violins that in its higher flight is given over to upper
reeds and violas. It is answered by gracefully drooping melody of
strings and harps topped by the oboes, that lightly descends from the
heights with a cadence long delayed, like the circling flight of a great
bird before he alights. Straightway begins a more pensive turn of phrase
(of clarinet and lower strings) in distant tonal scene where now the
former (descending) answer sings timidly in alternating groups. The
pensive melody returns for a greater reach, blending with the original
theme (in all the basses) in a glowing duet of two moods as well as
melodies, rising to sudden brilliant height, pressing on to a full
return of the first exultant melody with long, lingering, circling

The listener on first hearing may be warned to have a sharp ear for all
kinds of disguises of the stirring theme and in a less degree, of the
second subject. What seems a new air in a tranquil spot, with strum of
harp,--and new it is as expression,--is our main melody in a kind of
inversion. And so a new tissue of song continues, all of the original
fibre, calming more and more from the first fierce glow. A tuneful
march-like strain now plays gently in the horns while the (inverted)
expressive air still sounds above.

[Music: (Oboe with 8ve. flute) (Oboe)
(Horns) _Calmato ed espressivo assai_]

When all has quieted to dim echoing answers between horn and reed, a
final strain bursts forth (like the nightingale's voice in the
surrounding stillness) in full stress of its plaint. And so, in most
natural course, grows and flows the main balancing melody that now
pours out its burden in slower, broader pace, in joint choirs of wood
and strings.

[Music: _Meno mosso e largamente_
(Woodwind above, strings below)
(_pizz._ basses)]

It is the kind of lyric spot where the full stream of warm feeling seems
set free after the storm of the first onset. In answer is a timid,
almost halting strain in four parts of the wood, echoed in strings. A
new agitation now stirs the joint choirs (with touches of brass), and
anon comes a poignant line of the inverted (main) theme. It drives in
rising stress under the spurring summons of trumpets and horns to a
celebration of the transfigured second melody, with triumphant cadence.
Nor does the big impulse halt here. The trumpets sound on midst a
spirited duet of inverted and original motives until the highest point
is reached, where, to quicker calls of the brass, in broadest pace the
main subject strikes its inverted tune in the trebles, while the bass
rolls its majestic length in a companion melody; trombones, too, are
blaring forth the call of the second theme.

Brief interludes of lesser agitation bring a second chorus on the
reunited melodies in a new tonal quarter.

In mystic echoing groups on the former descending answer of main theme
the mood deepens in darkening scene. Here moves in slow strides of
lowest brass a shadowy line of the second melody answered by a poignant
phrase of the first. Striking again and again in higher perches the dual
song reaches a climax of feeling in overpowering burst of fullest brass.
In masterful stride, still with a burden of sadness, it has a solacing
tinge as it ends in a chord with pulsing harp, that twice repeated leads
back to the stirring first song of main theme.

Thence the whole course is clear in the rehearsal of former melodies.
Only the pensive air has lost its melancholy. Here is again the lyric of
warm-hued horns with plaintive higher phrase, and the full romance of
second melody with its timid answer, where the nervous trip rouses
slowly the final exultation. Yet there is one more descent into the
depths where the main melody browses in dim searching. Slowly it wings
its flight upwards until it is greeted by a bright burst of the second
melody in a chorus of united brass. And this is but a prelude to the
last joint song, with the inverted theme above. A fanfare of trumpets on
the second motive ends the movement.

The Romanze is pure song in three verses where we cannot avoid a touch
of Scottish, with the little acclaiming phrases. The theme is given to
the saxophone (or cello) with obligato of clarinet and violas; the bass
is in bassoons and _pizzicato_ of lower strings. One feels a special
gratitude to the composer who will write in these days a clear, simple,
original and beautiful melody.

The first interlude is a fantasy, almost a variant on the theme in a
minor melody of the wood, with a twittering phrase of violins. Later the
strings take up the theme in pure _cantilena_ in a turn to the
major,--all in expressive song that rises to a fervent height. Though it
grows out of the main theme, yet the change is clear in a return to the
subject, now in true variation, where the saxophone has the longer notes
and the clarinet and oboe sing in concert.

There follows a pure interlude, vague in motive, full of dainty touches.
The oboe has a kind of _arioso_ phrase with trilling of flutes and
clarinets, answered in trumpets and harp.

Later the first violins (on the G string) sing the main air with the

A double character has the third movement as the title shows, though in
a broadest sense it could all be taken as a Humoreske.

With a jaunty lilt of skipping strings the lower reeds strike the
capricious tune, where the full chorus soon falls in. The answering
melody, with more of sentiment, though always in graceful swing with
tricksy attendant figures, has a longer song. Not least charm has the
concluding tune that leads back to the whole melodious series.
Throughout are certain chirping notes that form the external connection
with the Humoreske that begins with strident theme (_molto robusto_) of
low strings, the whole chorus, xylophon and all, clattering about, the
high wood echoing like a band of giant crickets,--all in whimsical,
varying pace. The humor grows more graceful when the first melody of the
Intermezzo is lightly touched. The strange figure returns (in roughest
strings and clarinet) somewhat in ancient manner of imitation. Later the
chirruping answer recurs. Diminishing trills are echoed between the

Slowly the scene grows stranger. Suddenly in eerie harmonies of newest
French or oldest Tartar, here are the tricks and traits where meet the
extremes of latest Romantic and primeval barbarian. In this motley
cloak sounds the typical Yankee tune, first piping in piccolo, then
grunting in tuba. Here is Uncle Sam disporting himself merrily in
foreign garb and scene, quite as if at home. If we wished, we might see
a political satire as well as musical.

After a climax of the clownish mood we return to the Intermezzo

The Finale begins in the buoyant spirit of the beginning and seems again
to have a touch of Scotch in the jaunty answer. The whole subject is a
group of phrases rather than a single melody.

Preluding runs lead to the simple descending line of treble with
opposite of basses, answered by the jovial phrase. In the farther course
the first theme prevails, answered with an ascending brief motive of
long notes in irregular ascent. Here follows a freer flow of the jolly
lilting tune, blending with the sterner descending lines.

Balancing this group is an expressive melody of different sentiment. In
its answer we have again the weird touch of neo-barbarism in a strain of
the reed, with dancing overtones of violins and harp, and strumming
chords on lower strings. Or is there a hint of ancient Highland in the
drone of alternating horns and bassoons?

Its brief verse is answered by a fervent conclusive line where soon the
old lilting refrain appears with new tricks and a big celebration of its
own and then of the whole madrigal of martial melody. It simmers down
with whims and turns of the skipping phrase into the quiet
(_tranquillo_) episode in the midst of the other stress.

[Music: (With lower 8ve.)
(With _pizz._ quarter notes in basses and strings)]

The heart of the song is in the horns, with an upper air in the wood,
while low strings guard a gentle rhythm. A brief strain in the wind in
ardent temper is followed by another in the strings, and still a third
in joint strings and wood. (Again we must rejoice in the achievement of
true, simple, sincere melody.) The final glowing height is reached in
all the choirs together,--final that is before the brass is added with
a broader pace, that leads to the moving climax. As the horns had
preluding chords to the whole song, so a single horn sings a kind of
epilogue amid harmony of strings and other horns. Slowly a more vigorous
pulse is stirred, in an interlude of retorting trumpets.

Suddenly in the full energy of the beginning the whole main subject
sounds again, with the jolly lilt dancing through all its measures,
which are none too many. The foil of gentle melody returns with its
answer of eerie tune and harmonies. It seems as if the poet, after his
rude jest, wanted, half in amends, half on pure impulse, to utter a
strain of true fancy in the strange new idiom.

A new, grateful sound has again the big conclusive phrase that merges
into more pranks of the jaunty tune in the biggest revel of all, so that
we suspect the jolly jester is the real hero and the majestic figures
are, after all, mere background. And yet here follows the most tenderly
moving verse, all unexpected, of the quiet episode.

The end is a pure romp, _molto vivace_, mainly on the skipping phrase.
To be sure the stately figures after a festive height march in big,
lengthened pace; but so does the jolly tune, as though in mockery. He
breaks into his old rattling pace (in the Glockenspiel) when all the
figures appear together,--the big ones changing places just before the
end, where the main theme has the last say, now in the bass, amidst the
final festivities.


_(The Devil's Round)_

(After a poem by M. Rollinat. Symphonic poem for Orchestra and Organ)

[Footnote A: Charles Martin Loeffler, born in Alsace in 1861.]

Few pieces of program music are so closely associated with the subject
as this tone picture of the Devil's Round. The translation of M.
Rollinat's "Villanelle," printed in the score is as follows:[A]

     Hell's a-burning, burning, burning. Chuckling in clear staccato,
     the Devil prowling, runs about.

     He watches, advances, retreats like zig-zag lightning; Hell's
     a-burning, burning, burning.

     In dive and cell, underground and in the air, the Devil, prowling,
     runs about.

     Now he is flower, dragon-fly, woman, black-cat, green snake; Hell's
     a-burning, burning, burning.

     And now, with pointed moustache, scented with vetiver, the Devil,
     prowling, runs about.

     Wherever mankind swarms, without rest, summer and winter, Hell's
     a-burning, burning, burning.

     From alcove to hall, and on the railways, the Devil, prowling, runs

     He is Mr. Seen-at-Night, who saunters with staring eyes. Hell's
     a-burning, burning, burning.

     There floating as a bubble, here squirming as a worm, the Devil,
     prowling, runs about.

     He's grand seigneur, tough, student, teacher. Hell's a-burning,
     burning, burning.

     He inoculates each soul with his bitter whispering: the Devil,
     prowling, runs about.

     He promises, bargains, stipulates in gentle or proud tones. Hell's
     a-burning, burning, burning.

     Mocking pitilessly the unfortunate whom he destroys, the Devil,
     prowling, runs about.

     He makes goodness ridiculous and the old man futile. Hell's
     a-burning, burning, burning.

     At the home of the priest or sceptic, whose soul or body he wishes,
     the Devil, prowling, runs about.

     Beware of him to whom he toadies, and whom he calls "my dear sir."
     Hell's a-burning, burning, burning.

     Friend of the tarantula, darkness, the odd number, the Devil,
     prowling, runs about.

     --My clock strikes midnight. If I should go to see Lucifer?--Hell's
     a-burning, burning, burning; the Devil, prowling, runs about.

[Footnote A: A few translated verses may give an idea of the original

    Hell's a-burning, burning, burning.
    Cackling in his impish play,
    Here and there the Devil's turning,

    Forward here and back again,
    Zig-zag as the lightning's ray,
    While the fires burn amain.

    In the church and in the cell
    In the caves, in open day,
    Ever prowls the fiend of hell.

But in the original the first and last lines of the first verse are used
as refrains in the succeeding verses, recurring alternately as the last
line. In the final verse they are united.--The prose translation is by
Philip Hale.]

In the maze of this modern setting of demon antics (not unlike, in
conceit, the capers of Till Eulenspiegel), with an eloquent use of new
French strokes of harmony, one must be eager to seize upon definite
figures. In the beginning is a brief wandering or flickering motive in
furious pace of harp and strings, ending ever in a shriek of the high
wood. Answering

[Music: _Presto (il piu possibile)_
(Strings with rhythmic chords in the tonic)
(With opposite descending chords)]

is a descending phrase mainly in the brass, that ends in a rapid jingle.

[Music: (Brass with quicker figures in strings and wood)]

There are various lesser motives, such as a minor scale of ascending
thirds, and a group of crossing figures that seem a guise of the first
motive. To be sure the picture lies less in the separate figures than in
the mingled color and bustle. Special in its humor is a soft gliding or
creeping phrase of three voices against a constant trip of cellos.

After a climax of the first motive a frolicking theme begins (in English
horn and violas). If we were forced to guess, we could see here the
dandy devil, with pointed mustachios, frisking about. It is probably
another guise of the second motive which presently appears in the bass.
A little later, _dolce amabile_ in a madrigal of wood and strings, we
may see the gentlemanly devil, the gallant. With a crash of chord and a
roll of cymbals re-enters the first motive, to flickering harmonies of
violins, harp and flutes, taken up by succeeding voices, all in the
whole-tone scale. Hurrying to a clamorous height, the pace glides into a
_Movimento di Valzer_, in massed volume, with the frolicking figure in
festive array.

To softest tapping of lowest strings and drums, a shadow of the second
figure passes here and there, with a flash of harp. Soon, in returning
merriment, it is coursing in unison strings (against an opposite motion
in the wood).

At the height of revel, as the strings are holding a trembling chord, a
sprightly Gallic tune of the street pipes in the reed, with intermittent
flash of the harp, and, to be sure, an unfamiliar tang of harmonies and
strange perversions of the tune.[A] In the midst is the original
flickering figure. As the whole chorus is singing the tune at the
loudest, the brass breaks into another traditional air of the
Revolutionary Song of 1789.[B] While the trip is still ringing in the
strings, a lusty chorus breaks into the song[C] "La Carmagnole," against
a blast of the horns in a guise of the first motive.

[Footnote A: "A la villette," a popular song of the Boulevard. Mr.
Philip Hale, who may have been specially inspired, associates the song
with the word "crapule," "tough," as he connects the following
revolutionary songs, in contrapuntal use, with the word "magister,"
"teacher,"--the idea of the pedagogue in music. It may be less remote to
find in these popular airs merely symbols or graphic touches of the
swarming groups among which the Devil plies his trade.]

[Footnote B: The famous "Ca ira."]

[Footnote C: In the wealth of interesting detail furnished by Mr. Hale
is the following: "The Carmagnole was first danced in Paris about the
liberty-tree, and there was then no bloody suggestion.... The word
'_Carmagnole_' is found in English and Scottish literature as a nickname
for a soldier in the French Revolutionary army, and the term was applied
by Burns to the Devil as the author of ruin, 'that curst carmagnole,
auld Satan.'"]

Grim guises of the main figures (in inverted profile) are skulking about
to uncanny harmonies. A revel of new pranks dies down to chords of muted
horns, amid flashing runs of the harp, with a long roll of drums. Here
_Grave_ in solemn pace, violas and bassoon strike an ecclesiastical
incantation, answered by the organ. Presently a Gregorian plain chant
begins solemnly in the strings aided by the organ while a guise of the
second profane motive intrudes. Suddenly in quick pace against a fugal
tread of lower voices, a light skipping figure dances in the high wood.
And now loud trumpets are saucily blowing the chant to the quick step,
echoed by the wood. And we catch the wicked song of the street (in the
English horn) against a legend of hell in lower voices.[A]

[Footnote A: The religious phrases are naturally related to the "priest
or sceptic." In the rapid, skipping rhythm, Mr. Hale finds the
tarentella suggested by the "friend of the tarantula."]

In still livelier pace the reeds sound the street song against a trip of
strings, luring the other voices into a furious chorus. All at once, the
harp and violins strike the midnight hour to a chord of horns, while a
single impish figure dances here or there. To trembling strings and
flashing harp the high reed pipes again the song of the Boulevard,
echoed by low bassoons.

In rapidest swing the original main motives now sing a joint verse in a
kind of _reprise_, with the wild shriek at the end of the line, to a
final crashing height. The end comes with dashes of the harp, betwixt
pausing chords in the high wood, with a final stifled note.

*** End of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Symphonies and Their Meaning; Third Series, Modern Symphonies" ***

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