Home
  By Author [ A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z |  Other Symbols ]
  By Title [ A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z |  Other Symbols ]
  By Language
all Classics books content using ISYS

Download this book: [ ASCII | HTML | PDF ]

Look for this book on Amazon


We have new books nearly every day.
If you would like a news letter once a week or once a month
fill out this form and we will give you a summary of the books for that week or month by email.

Title: For Every Music Lover - A Series of Practical Essays on Music
Author: Moore, Aubertine Woodward, 1841-1929
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
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.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "For Every Music Lover - A Series of Practical Essays on Music" ***

This book is indexed by ISYS Web Indexing system to allow the reader find any word or number within the document.



[Illustration: MALIBRAN]



FOR EVERY MUSIC LOVER

A SERIES OF PRACTICAL ESSAYS ON MUSIC

BY AUBERTINE WOODWARD MOORE

AUTHOR OF "FOR MY MUSICAL FRIEND" ETC.


NEW YORK
DODGE PUBLISHING COMPANY
55 FIFTH AVENUE



Copyright, 1902, by
DODGE PUBLISHING COMPANY

PRINTED IN U. S. A.



Illustrations


1. MALIBRAN         _Frontispiece_
2. MOZART                      22
3. BRAHMS                      54
4. FRANZ LISZT                 86
5. LILLIAN NORDICA            118
6. PAGANINI                   150
7. JENNY LIND                 182
8. CORELLI                    214
9. SAINT-SAËNS                246



Contents


Preface                                                                17

    How we can approach knowledge of music. Mistaken isolation of the
    art. Those who belong to the privileged class. Music, as well as
    religion, meant for all. Business of its ministers and teachers.
    Promise of the twentieth century. Fruitage of our own free soil.
    American world-view. Purpose of volume.


The Origin and Function of Music                                       21

    Story of music affording knowledge of man's inner life. Mythology
    and legendary lore. Emerson's dualism. Music a mirror. Ruskin and
    art. Beethoven's lofty revelation. The real thing of Schopenhauer.
    Views of Carlyle, Wagner and Mazzini. Raw materials. Craving for
    sympathy in artistic type. Evolution of tone-language. French writer
    of 1835. Prince of Waldthurn, in 1690. Spencer's theory. Controversy
    and answer. Music of primeval man and early civilizations. The
    Vedas. Hebrew scriptures. Basis of scientific laws. Church ritual.
    Folk-music. Influence of crusades. Modern music architect of its own
    fortunes. Present musical vocabulary and literature. Counsel of
    Pythagoras. What Plato taught. Euripides on song. Auerbach. Martin
    Luther. Napoleon Bonaparte. Bain and Dr. Marx. Shakespeare, in
    Merchant of Venice. Wagner's unspoiled humanity. Tolstoi in art.


Blunders in Music Study                                               43

    Voice from the unseen. Perverted soul. Normal instincts. Genius and
    talent. Æsthetic tastes. Musical sound and rhythmic motion. Average
    child. Frequent blunders. Appeal to intellect. Teacher with strong
    personality. Experimenting with beginners. Legal protection. Vienna
    musician. Class instruction. French solfège. English tonic sol-fa.
    Mrs. John Spencer Curwen. Rev. John Curwen. Time a mental science.
    Musical perception of the blind. Music in public schools. Phillips
    Brooks on school song. Compulsory study. Socrates. Mirabeau.
    Schumann on brilliancy. Unrighteous mammon of technique. Soul of
    music. Neglect of ensemble work. As to accompaniments. Underlying
    principles. Hearing good music. Going abroad. Wagner's hero. A
    plumed knight wanted.


The Musical Education That Educates                                   61

    Symmetrical development. Well-rounded musician. Well-balanced
    individual. Profits proportionate to investment. Living force. What
    Goethe said. Rich harvest. Aristotle on command over mind. Music
    study many-sided. Madox-Brown on art. Mabie on beauty. Practical
    forces in shaping character, purifying taste and elevating
    standards. Master-works. Human voice as music teacher. Scientific
    methods of study. Both art and science. Mental discipline. Stephen
    A. Emory. Huxley on education.


How to Interpret Music                                                73

    College professors on criticism and interpretation. External and
    technical forms. Distrusting impressions. Trampling on God-given
    intuitions. Throb and thrill of great art. Insight requisite for
    interpretation. Living with masterpieces. Three souls of Browning.
    Dr. Corson. Every faculty alive. Vital knowledge. Musical
    imagination. Technical proficiency. Head, hand and physical forces.
    In service of lofty ideal. Musical art work. Theme. Unfolding.
    Climax. Labor of composition. Mind of genius. Elementary laws. Tonal
    language. Karl Formes and operatic aspirant. Motto of Leschetitzky.
    Marks of expression. Adolph Kullak. Hans von Bülow. Pulse of music.
    Memory. Ruskin's fatal faults.


How to Listen to Music                                                89

    Listening an art. Painting completed whole. Music passing panorama.
    Not translatable into words. To follow, even anticipate composer.
    Bach's absolute knowledge. Fire of Prometheus. Inner sanctuary of
    art. Science of acoustics. Prime elements. Dr. Marx and Helmholtz.
    Motive. Beethoven's fifth symphony. Phrase. Period. Simple melody.
    "God Save the King." Our "America." Masters of counterpoint. Bach's
    fugues. Monophony and polyphony. Classical and romantic. Heretic and
    hero. Hadow on musical laws. Form the manifestation of these. Good
    music versus ragtime. Dr. Corson on spiritual appeal.


The Piano and Piano Players                                          105

    Pythagoras and musical intervals. Pan pipes. Portable organs.
    Monochords with keys. Guido d'Arezzo. Clavier type. Virginal in
    Elizabethan age. Early clavier masters. First woman court clavier
    player. Scarlatti and Bach. True art of clavier-playing. Sonata
    form. Where Haydn gained much. Mozart and Clementi. Pianoforte and
    improvements. Viennese school. Clementi school. Giant on lofty
    heights. Oscar Bie on Beethoven. Golden age of pianoforte. Piano
    composers and virtuosi, from Weber to the present time. Teachers and
    performers often corrupters of music.


The Poetry and Leadership of Chopin                                  135

    Rubinstein on Polish patriot and tone-poet who explored harmonic
    vastness of pianoforte. Like exquisitely constructed sounding-board.
    Enriched and spiritualized the pianoforte for all time. Universal
    rather than individual experiences. National tonality. Zwyny and
    Elsner. Intimate acquaintance with Bach. Prince Charming of the
    piano. Liszt on Chopin. Raphael of music. Playing and teaching.
    Tempo rubato. Compositions. Schumann's words. Oscar Bie.


Violins and Violinists--Fact and Fable                               151

    Volker the fiddler. Nibelungen lay. Videl of days of chivalry. Bow
    fashioned like sword. Hagen of Tronje. Wilhelm Jordan, in
    "Sigfridsage." Henrietta Sontag and the coming Paganini. Wagner's
    Volker-Wilhelmj at Bayreuth. Magic fiddles and wonderworking
    fiddlers. Grimm's Fairy Tales. Norse folk-lore. English nursery
    rhymes. Crickets as fiddlers. Progenitors of violin. The violin of
    Queen Elizabeth and her age. Shakespeare in Twelfth Night. Household
    of Charles II. Butler, in Hudibras. Viola d'amore in Milwaukee, Wis.
    Brescian and Cremonese violin-makers. Early violinists. Value and
    history of some violins. Strings and bow. Violin virtuosi from
    Corelli to our day. Mad rush for technique.


Queens of Song                                                       183

    Florentine lady, Vittoria Archilei. Embryo opera of Cavalieri.
    Peri's "Eurydice." Euterpe. Marthe le Rochois and Lully's operas.
    Rival queens in London. Steele, in "Tattler." Second pair of rivals,
    Cuzzoni and Faustina. Master Handel. Germany's earliest queen of
    song. Frederick the Great and German singers. Mrs. Billington. Haydn
    and Sir Joshua Reynold's St. Cecilia. Mozart's operas introduced
    into England. Catalani. Pasta. Sontag. Schröder-Devrient and
    Goethe's "Erl King." Malibran a dazzling Meteor. Another daughter of
    Manuel del Popolo Garcia. Marchesi, Grisi and Mario. Manuel Garcia
    and the Swedish Nightingale. Other Swedish songstresses. Patti.
    Queens of song pass in review. Two Wagner interpreters. A Valkyrie's
    horse. A word for American girls.


The Opera and Its Reformers                                          213

    Evolution of drama. At the altar of Dionysus. Greek poetry and
    music. Aristotle on Greek stage-plays. Æschylus and Sophocles.
    Euripides. Words, music and scenic effect. Lenæan theatre
    exhibitions. More costly than Peloponnesian war. Roman dominion.
    Primitive Christian church. St. Augustine. Mystery, miracle,
    morality and passion plays. Strolling histriones, etc. Florence
    "Academy." Vincenzo Galilei. Monody. Polyphonic music. Emilio del
    Cavalieri. Vittorio Archilei. Music of Greeks recovered. Peri.
    Monteverde and his work. First opera house. Alessandro Scarlatti.
    Troubadours. Lully, Rameau and French opera. Purcell, Handel and
    music in England. Gluck, the regenerator. German opera. Mozart,
    Beethoven, Weber and Wagner. What came from Bach, Chopin and
    Berlioz. Rossini's melodies. Wagner's influence. Verdi, the grand
    old man.


Certain Famous Oratorios                                             235

    Neri's oratory. Dramatized versions of biblical stories. Palestrina
    and harmonies of celestial Jerusalem. Religious dramas of Roswitha.
    Laura Guidiccioni's first oratorio text. Music by Cavalieri. At
    Santa Maria della Vallicella. Orchestra behind the scene.
    Description. Carissimi, "father of oratorio and cantata."
    Alessandro Scarlatti. Another Alessandro. Dr. Parry's opinion. "San
    Giovanni Battista" and famous air. Tradition about Stradella. What
    recent writers say. Handel and the "Messiah." Bach and the "Passion
    Music." "The Creation" and Haydn. Beethoven's "Mount of Olives."
    Mendelssohn, in "St. Paul" and "Elijah." Oratorios of Liszt and
    Gounod. Next step in the evolution.


Symphony and Symphonic Poem                                          247

    That adventurous spirit, Monteverde. Charm in exploring resources of
    instrumentation. Operatic overture. Forge of genius. Dance of
    obscure origin. Craving for individual expression. Touch of
    authority by Corelli. Cardinal Ottoboni's palace. Symphony, a sonata
    for orchestra. Purcell, Scarlatti, Sammartini and the Bachs.
    Monophonic style. Contrasting movements. German critic on early
    sonata. Further explanation. Meaning of symphony. Haydn with
    Esterhazy orchestra. Father of the symphony. Mozart. Beethoven.
    Schubert. Schumann. Mendelssohn. Berlioz, the musical heretic. His
    "fixed idea" and programme music. Liszt and symphonic poem.
    Saint-Saëns. Tschaikowsky and Russian spirit. Sinding. Grieg. Gade.
    Brahms and absolute music.



Preface


We cannot gain experience by being brought into contact with the
experiences of others, nor can we know music by reading about it. Only
by taking it into our hearts and homes, by admitting it to our intimate
companionship, can we approach a knowledge of the art that has enriched
so many lives, even though it has never yet completely fulfilled its
function. At the same time, every music lover is helped to new ideas,
inspired to fresh efforts, by suggestions and statements from those who
have themselves had deep experiences in their search for the inner
sanctuary of the Temple of Art.

Musicians have been too much inclined to treat their art as something to
be exclusively appropriated by a favored class of men and women, and are
themselves greatly to blame for its mistaken isolation. True, music has
its privileged class. To this belongs the mind of creative genius that
can formulate in tones the universal passions, the eternal verities of
the soul. In it may also be numbered those gifted beings whose
interpretative powers peculiarly adapt them to spread abroad the
utterances of genius. Precisely in the same way religion has its
prophets and its ministers. Music, as well as religion, is meant for
everyone, and the business of its ministers and teachers is to convey to
all the message of its prophets.

The nineteenth century was the period of achievement. There is every
reason to believe that the twentieth century will be the period of still
nobler achievement, beyond all in the realm of the spirit. Then will
music find its most splendid opportunity, and in our own free soil it
will yield its richest fruitage. Amid the favorable conditions of
liberty it will flourish to the utmost, and will come to afford blessed
relief from the pressure of materialism. During the era we are entering
no unworthy teacher will be permitted to trifle with the unfolding
musical instincts of childhood. The study of music will take an honored
place in the curriculum of every school, academy, college and
university, as an essential factor in culture. Then music among us will
come to reflect our deepest, truest consciousness, the American
world-view.

It is with a desire to stimulate thought and incite to action that the
present volume has been prepared for every music lover. The essays
contained in it have not previously appeared in print. They are composed
to a large extent of materials used by the author in her lectures and
informal talks on music and its history. That her readers may be led to
seek further acquaintance with the divine art is her earnest wish.

Many thanks are due L. C. Page & Company, of Boston, for kind permission
to use the portrait of Corelli, from their "Famous Violinists," by Henry
C. Lahee.

AUBERTINE WOODWARD MOORE.
MADISON, WIS.



FOR EVERY MUSIC LOVER



I

The Origin and Function of Music


One of the most interesting of the many interesting stories of our
civilization is the story of Music. It affords an intimate knowledge of
the inner life of man as manifested in different epochs of the world's
history. He who has failed to follow it has failed to comprehend the
noblest phenomena of human progress.

Mythology and legendary lore abound in delightful traditions in regard
to the birth of music. The untutored philosophers of primitive humanity
and the learned philosophers of ancient civilizations alike strove to
solve the sweet, elusive mystery surrounding the art. Through the myths
and legends based on their speculations runs a suggestion of divine
origin.

The Egyptians of old saw in their sublime god, Osiris, and his ideal
spouse, Isis, the authors of music. Among the Hindus it was regarded as
a priceless gift from the great god Brahma, who was its creator and
whose peerless consort, Sarasvati, was its guardian. Poetic fancies in
these lines permeate the early literature of diverse peoples.

This is not surprising. Abundant testimony proves that the existence of
music is coeval with that of mankind; that it is based on the
modulations of the human voice and the agitations of the human muscles
and nerves caused by the infinite variations of the spiritual and
emotional sensations, needs and aspirations of humanity; that it has
grown with man's growth, developed with man's development, and that
its origin is as divine as that of man.

[Illustration: MOZART]

The inevitable dualism which Emerson found bisecting all nature appears
also in music, which is both spiritual and material. The spiritual part
of music appeals to the spiritual part of man, addressing each heart
according to the cravings and capacities of each. The material part of
music may be compared to the body in which man's spirit is housed. It is
the vehicle which conveys the message of music from soul to soul through
the medium of the human ear with its matchless harp of nerve-fibres and
its splendid sounding-board, the eardrum.

Music is the mirror which most perfectly reflects man's inner being and
the essence of all things. Ruskin saw clearly that he alone can love art
well who loves better what art mirrors. This may especially be applied
to music, which offers, as a Beethoven has said, a more lofty revelation
than all wisdom and philosophy.

Having no model in nature, being neither an imitation of any actual
object, nor a repetition of anything experienced, music stands alone
among the arts. It represents the real thing, as Schopenhauer has it,
the thing itself, not the mere semblance. Were we able to give a
thoroughly satisfactory explanation of music, he declares, we should
have the true philosophy of the universe.

"Music is a kind of inarticulate, unfathomable speech, which leads us to
the edge of the Infinite, and impels us for a moment to gaze into it,"
exclaimed Carlyle. Wagner found in music the conscious language of
feeling, that which ennobles the sensual and realizes the spiritual.
"Music is the harmonious voice of creation, an echo of the invisible
world, one note of the divine concord which the entire universe is
destined one day to sound," wrote Mazzini. Literature is rich in noble
definitions of the divine art.

From a matter of fact standpoint music consists of a vast concourse of
tones which are its raw materials and bear within themselves the
possibility of being moulded into form. Utterances and actions
illustrating these raw materials are common to all living creatures. A
dog, reiterating short barks of joy, or giving vent to prolonged howls
of distress, is actuated by an impulse similar to that of the human
infant as it uplifts its voice to express its small emotions. The sounds
uttered by primeval man as the direct expression of his emotions were
unquestionably of a like nature.

The tendency to manifest feeling by means of sound is universally
admitted, and sound, freighted with feeling, is peculiarly exciting to
human beings. The agitations of a mob may be increased by the emotional
tones of its prime movers, and we all know that the power of an orator
depends more on his skill in handling his voice than on what he says.

A craving for sympathy exists in all animate beings. It is strong in
mankind and becomes peculiarly intense in the type known as artistic.
The fulness of his own emotions compels the musician to utterance. To
strike a sympathetic chord in other sensitive breasts it becomes
necessary to devise forms of expression that may be unmistakably
intelligible.

Out of such elements the tone-language has grown, precisely as the
word-language grew out of men's early attempts to communicate facts to
one another. Its story records a slow, painstaking building up of
principles to control its raw materials; for music, as we understand it,
cannot exist without some kind of design. Vague sounds produce vague,
fleeting impressions. Definiteness in tonal relations and rhythmic plan
is requisite to produce a defined, enduring impression. In primitive
states of music rhythmic sounds were heard, defined by the pulses but
with little or no change of pitch, and sounds varying in pitch without
regularity of impulse. A high degree of intellectuality was reached
before our modern scales were evolved from long-continued attempts at
making well-balanced successions of sounds. As musical art advanced
rhythm and melodic expression became united.

The study of the origin, function and evolution of music, according to
modern scientific methods, is a matter of comparatively recent date. As
late as 1835 a French writer of the history of music expressed profound
regret that he had been unable to determine when music was invented, or
to discover the inventor's name. It was his opinion that musical man had
profited largely from the voices of the feathered tribes. He seriously
asserted that the duck had evidently furnished a model for the clarionet
and oboe, and Sir Chanticleer for the trumpet. An entire chapter of his
book he devoted to surmises concerning the "Music before the Flood." The
poor man felt himself superior to the poetic fancies of the ancients,
which at least foreshadowed the Truth, but had found no firm ground on
which to stand.

Much finer were the instincts of Capellmeister Wolfgang Kasper, Prince
of Waldthurn, whose historical treatise on Music appeared in Dresden in
1690. He boldly declared the author of music to be the good God himself,
who fashioned the air to transmit musical sounds, the ear to receive
them, the soul of man to throb with emotions demanding utterance, and
all nature to be filled with sources of inspiration. The good
Capellmeister was in close touch with the Truth.

It was in 1835, the same year that the French writer mentioned offered
his wild speculations, that Herbert Spencer, from the standpoint of a
scientist, produced his essay on the "Origin and Function of Music,"
which has proved invaluable in arousing discriminating thought in these
lines. Many years elapsed before its worth to musicians was realized.
To-day it is widely known and far-reaching in its influence.

In those inner agitations which cause muscular expansion and
contraction, and find expression in the inflections and cadences of the
voice, Herbert Spencer saw the foundations of music. He unhesitatingly
defined it as emotional speech, the language of the feelings, whose
function was to increase the sympathies and broaden the horizon of
mankind. Besides frankly placing music at the head of the fine arts, he
declared that those sensations of unexperienced felicity it arouses,
those impressions of an unknown, ideal existence it calls forth, may be
regarded as a prophecy to the fulfilment of which music is itself partly
instrumental. Our strange capacity for being affected by melody and
harmony cannot but imply that it is possible to realize the delights
they suggest. On these suppositions might be comprehended the power and
significance of music which must otherwise remain a mystery. The
progress of musical culture, he thought, could not be too much applauded
as a noble means of ministering to human welfare. Mr. Spencer's theory
has of late led to much controversy. Its author has been censured for
setting forth no explanation of the place of harmony in modern music,
and for not realizing what a musical composition is. In his last volume,
"Facts and Comments," which contains many valuable thoughts not
previously published, he declares that his critics have obviously
confounded the origin of a thing and that which originates from it.
"Here we have a striking example of the way in which an hypothesis is
made to appear untenable by representing it as being something which it
does not profess to be," he says. "I gave an account of the origin of
music, and now I am blamed because my conception of the origin of music
does not include a conception of music as fully developed. If to some
one who said that an oak comes from an acorn it were replied that he had
manifestly never seen an oak, since an acorn contains no trace of all
its complexities of form and structure, the reply would not be thought a
rational one;" but he believes it would be quite as rational as to
suppose he had not realized what a musical composition is because his
theory of the origin of music says nothing about the characteristics of
an overture or a quartet.

Of the music of primeval man we can form an estimate from the music of
still existing uncivilized races. As the vocabulary of their speech is
limited, so the notes of their music are few, but expressive gestures
and modulations of the voice supplement both. With advancing
civilization the emotions of which the human heart are capable become
more complex and demand larger means of expression. Some belief in the
healing, helpful, uplifting power of music has always prevailed. It
remains for independent, practical, modern man to present the art to the
world as a thing of law and order, whose ineffable beauty and
beneficence may reach the lives of the average man and woman.

Without the growth of the individual, music cannot grow; without freedom
of thought, neither the language of tones nor that of words can gain
full, free utterance. Freedom is essential to the life of the indwelling
spirit. Wherever the flow of thought and fancy is impeded, or the
energies of the individual held in check, there music is cramped. In
China, where conditions have crushed spiritual and intellectual liberty,
the art remains to this day in a crude rhythmical or percussion state,
although it was early honored as the gift of superior beings. The
Chinese philosopher detected a grand world music in the harmonious order
of the heavens and the earth, and wrote voluminous works on musical
theory. When it came to putting this into practice tones were combined
in a pedantic fashion.

In all ages and climes music has ministered to religion and education.
The sacred Vedas bear testimony to the high place it held in Hindu
worship and life. Proud records of stone reveal its dignified rôle in
the civilization of Egypt, where Plato stated there had existed ten
thousand years before his day music that could only have emanated from
gods or godlike men. The art was taught by the temple priests, and the
education of no young person was complete without a knowledge of it.

Egyptian musical culture impressed itself on the Greeks, and also on the
Israelites, whose tone-language gained warmth and coloring from various
Oriental sources. Hebrew scriptures abound in tributes to the worth of
music which was intimately related to the political life, mental
consciousness and national sentiment of the Children of Israel. Through
music they approached the unseen King of kings with the plaintive
outpourings of their grief-laden hearts and with their joyful hymns of
praise and thanksgiving.

From the polished Greeks we gained a basis for the scientific laws
governing our musical art. The splendid music of which we read in
ancient writings has for the most part vanished with the lives it
enriched. Relegated to the guardianship of exclusive classes its most
sacred secrets were kept from the people, and it could not possibly have
attained the expansion we know.

Music has been called the handmaiden of Christianity, but may more
appropriately be designated its loyal helpmeet. Whatever synagogue or
other melodies may have first served to voice the sentiments kindled by
the Gospel of Glad Tidings it was inevitable that the new religious
thought should seek and find new musical expression.

In shaping a ritual for general use, an accompaniment of suitable music
had to be considered. The fathers of the church constituted themselves
also the guides of music. Those forms which give symmetry and
proportion to the outward structure of the tonal art were pruned and
polished under ecclesiastical surveillance until spontaneity was
endangered. Happily in the spirit of Christianity is that which ever
proves a remedy for the mistakes of law-givers. The religion that
inculcates respect for the individual has furthered the advance of music
and of spirituality.

Beyond the confines of the church was another musical growth, springing
up by the wayside and in remote places. Folk-music it is called, and it
gives untrammeled utterance to human longings, human grief and despair,
and human wondering over the mysteries of life, death and the great
Beyond. Untutored people had always found vent in this kind of music for
pent-up feelings, and the folk-music of the Christian world, during the
Crusades, gained a new element in the fragments of Oriental melody
transplanted into its midst. In time, through the combined wisdom of
gifted composers and large-minded ecclesiastical rulers, the music of
the church and the music of the people became united, and modern music
was born.

Architecture, painting, sculpture and poetry possess practical proofs of
their past achievements and on these their present endeavors are
builded. Modern music has been compelled to be the architect of its own
fortunes. It is the one new art of our era, and, as the youngest in the
family of arts, it has but recently reached a high state of development.

During those eleven Christian centuries, from the latter part of the
fourth century, when the corner-stone for our musical system was laid,
until the wonderful exploration period of the fifteenth was well
advanced, the masters of music were absorbed in controlling the elements
of their art. Since then event has crowded upon event with rapidly
increasing ratio. During the past two centuries the progress of the art
has been like a tale in fairyland. We now possess a magnificent musical
vocabulary, a splendid musical literature, yet so accustomed are we to
grand treasure-troves we perhaps prize them no more than the meagre
stores of the past were prized.

Music is often mentioned in literature as a means of discipline,
inspiration and refreshment. We read in Homer that Achilles was
instructed in the art that he might learn to moderate his passions;
Pythagoras, father of Musical Science, counseled his disciples to
refresh themselves at the fount of music before retiring to their
couches at night in order to restore the inner harmony of their souls,
and to seek strength in the morning from the same source. Plato taught
that music is as essential to the mind as air is to the body, and that
children should be familiarized with harmonies and rhythms that they
might be more gentle, harmonious and rhythmical, consequently better
fitted for speech and action.

"Song brings of itself a cheerfulness that wakes the heart to joy,"
exclaimed Euripides, and certain it is a large measure of joy surrounds
those who live in an atmosphere of music. It has a magic wand that lifts
man beyond the petty worries of his existence. "Music is a shower-bath
of the soul," said Schopenhauer, "washing away all that is impure." Or
as Auerbach put it: "Music washes from the soul the dust of everyday
life."

Realizing the influence of music, Martin Luther sang the Reformation
into the hearts of the people with his noble chorals in which every one
might join. He called music a mistress of order and good manners, and
introduced it into the schools as a means of refinement and discipline,
in whose presence anger and all evil would depart. "A schoolmaster,"
said he, "ought to have skill in music, otherwise I would not regard
him; neither should we ordain young men to the office of preaching
unless they have been well exercised in the art, for it maketh a fine
people." It were well if teachers and ministers to-day more generally
appreciated the value of music to them and their work.

Music is an essential factor in great national movements. Every
commander knows how inspiring and comforting it is to his men. Napoleon
Bonaparte, who was not readily lifted out of himself and who complained
that music jarred his nerves, was shrewd enough to observe its effect on
marching troops, and to order the bands of different regiments to play
daily in front of hospitals to soothe and cheer the wounded. The one
tune he prized, Malbrook, he hummed as he started for his last campaign.
In the solitude of St. Helena he said: "Of all liberal arts music has
the greatest influence over the passions, and it is that to which the
legislator ought to give the most encouragement."

An art that in some form is found in the varied activities of all
people, at all times, must be the common heritage of humanity. "It does
not speak to one class but to mankind," said Robert Franz, the German
song writer. Alexander Bain called it the most available, universal and
influential of the fine arts, and Dr. Marx, the musical theorist,
thought music beneficial to the moral and spiritual estate of the
masses.

Truly indeed has it been said that its universality gives music its high
worth. Mirroring neither your inner life alone nor mine, but the
world's essence, the transfiguration of what seems real, the divine
Ideal, some spark of which glows in every bosom, each individual may
feel in it whatever he is capable of feeling. The soul's language, it
takes up the thread dropped by words and gives utterance to those
refined sentiments and holy aspirations words are inadequate to awaken
or express. Its message is borne from heart to heart, revealing to each
things unseen, according as it is prepared to receive them.

In the Merchant of Venice, Shakespeare made Lorenzo speak to Jessica of
the harmony that is in immortal souls and say that "whilst this muddy
vesture of decay doth grossly close it in we cannot hear it." To refine
this muddy vesture, to render the spirit attentive, to bring light,
sweetness, strength, harmony and beauty into daily life is the central
function of music which, from the cradle to the grave, is man's most
intimate companion.

Richard Wagner devoutly believed it would prepare the way for an
unspoiled, unfettered humanity, illumined by a perception of Truth and
Beauty and united by a bond of sympathy and love. This ideal union is
the goal at which Tolstoi aims in his "What is Art?" He defines art as a
human activity to be enjoyed by all, whose purpose is the transmission
of the most exalted feelings to which men have arisen; but the union he
proposes would have to be consummated by a leveling process. All art
that cannot without preparation reach the uncultured classes is
denounced by him. He is most bitter in his denunciation of Wagner, who
fought for a democratic art, but who wished to attain it by raising the
lowliest of his fellow-creatures to an ever loftier plane of high
thinking and feeling.

According to Tolstoi, art began to degenerate when it separated itself
from religion. There must have been dense mist before the Russian sage's
mental vision when he fancied this separation possible. Art, especially
musical art, is a vital part of religion, and cannot be put asunder from
it. Like thought, music, since the bonds of church and state have been
broken, has spread wide its pinions and soared to hitherto unsuspected
heights. All noble music is sacred.

Amid the marvelous material progress of to-day music is more needed than
ever. Unburdened by the responsibility of fact, it brings relief to the
soul from the grinding pressure of constant grappling with knowledge.
The benefits of knowledge are great, but it is also beneficial to be
uplifted, as we may be by music, from out the perplexing labyrinth of
the work-a-day world toward the realm of the Divine Ideal.

As a means of culture music is a potent factor in human civilization. It
is destined to wield even greater influence than has yet been known. It
has become the household art of to-day. As it enters more and more fully
into the heart of the home and social life it will more and more enrich
human existence and aid in ushering in the Kingdom of Heaven on Earth.

If music can do so much for mankind, why are not all musicians great and
good? Ah, my friend, that is a hard question to answer, and can only be
fairly treated by asking another equally difficult question: Why are not
all people who have enjoyed the advantages of religion wise and noble?
Consider the gigantic machinery that has been put in motion to
promulgate Christianity, and note how slow men have been to appropriate
the teachings of its founder. Slow progress furnishes no argument
against the mission either of religion or its comrade music.

In common with religion music kindles our finer sensibilities and brings
us into an atmosphere superior to that which ordinarily surrounds us. It
requires wisdom to beautify commonplace conditions with what has been
enjoyed in aërial regions. Rightly applied, music can lend itself to
this illumination. As it is better known, its advantages will be more
completely realized.



II

Blunders in Music Study


Like a voice from the Unseen, the Eternal, music speaks to the soul of
man. Its informing word being delivered in the language of the emotional
nature finds some response to its appeal in every normal human breast.
Shakespeare indicated this truth when he had his Lorenzo, in the
Merchant of Venice, say:

    _"The man that hath no music in himself,
    Nor is not moved with concord of sweet sounds,
    Is fit for treasons, stratagems and spoils;
    The motions of his spirit are dull as night,
    And his affections dark as Erebus;
    Let no such man be trusted."_

It is not the normal soul, fresh from its Creator's hands, that is fit
for such dire evils, but the soul perverted by false conditions and
surroundings. Where vice has become congenial and the impure reigns
supreme, that which rouses and expresses noble aspirations and pure
emotions can find no room. Normal instincts may also be dulled, the
inner being made, as it were, musically deaf and dumb, by a false
education which stifles and dwarfs the finer feelings, or by
circumstances which permit these to remain dormant.

The emotional natures of human beings differ as widely in kind and
degree as the intellectual and physical natures. In some people
sensibility predominates, and the irresistible activity of fancy and
feeling compels the expression in rhythmic tone combinations of ideals
grasped intuitively. Thus musical genius manifests itself. No amount of
education can bring it into being, but true culture and wise guidance
are needed to equip it for its bold flight. "Neither diligence without
genius, nor genius without education will produce anything thorough,"
as we read in Horace. Other people with marked aptitude for musical
expression have reproductive rather than creative endowments. To them
belongs talent in a greater or less degree, and they are adapted to
promulgate the message which genius formulated for mankind. Talent may
be ripened and brightened by suitable environments and fostering care.

There are besides persons led by genius or talent into other avenues
than those of the tone-world, and the great public with its diverse
grades of emotional and intellectual gifts. The cultivation of the
æsthetic tastes is profitable to all, and no agency contributes so
freely to it as music. Too many people engaged in purely scientific or
practical pursuits have failed to realize this. In those nations known
as musical, and that have become so through generations occupied with
the art, music study is placed on an equal footing with any other worthy
pursuit and no life interest is permitted to exclude musical enthusiasm.

Unless disabled by physical defects, every one displays some sense of
musical sound and rhythmic motion. It is a constant occurrence for
children, without a word of direction, to mark the time of a stirring
tune with hands, feet and swaying motions of the body. A lullaby will
almost invariably soothe a restless infant, and most children old enough
to distinguish and articulate groups of tones will make some attempt at
singing the melodies they have often heard. The average child begins
music lessons with evident pleasure.

It should be no more difficult to strengthen the musical instincts than
any other faculties. On the contrary, it too often chances that a child
whose early song efforts have been in excellent time and tune, and not
without expression, who has marched in time and beat time accurately,
will, after a period of instruction, utterly disregard sense of rhythm,
sing out of tune, play wrong notes, or fail to notice when the musical
instrument used is ever so cruelly out of tune. Uneducated people,
trusting to intuitive perceptions, promptly decide that such or such a
child, or person, has been spoiled by cultivation. This is merely a
failure to trace a result to its rightful cause, which lies not in
cultivation, but in certain blunders in music study.

These blunders begin with the preliminary course on the piano or violin,
for instance, when a child, having no previous training in the rudiments
of music, starts with one weekly lesson, and is required to practice a
prescribed period daily without supervision. To the difficulties of an
introduction to a musical instrument are added those of learning to read
notes, to locate them, to appreciate time values and much else. The
teacher, it may be, knows little of the inner life of music, still less
of child nature. Manifold perplexities arise, and faltering through
these the pupil acquires a halting use of the musical vocabulary, with
other bad habits equally hard to correct. A constant repetition of false
notes, wrong phrasing, irregular accents, faulty rhythms and a
meaningless jumble of notes dulls the outer ear and deadens the inner
tone-sense. Where there is genius, or decided talent, no obstacle can
wholly bar the way to music. Otherwise, it retreats before the
blundering approach.

Many a mother when advised to direct her child's practicing, or at least
to encourage it by her presence, has excused herself on the plea that it
would bore her to listen. If the work bores the mother it is not
surprising that the child attacks it with mind fixed on metal more
attractive and eyes seeking the clock. Occupations which are repellent
in early life leave behind them a memory calculated to render them
forever distasteful. It is therefore a grave mistake not to make music
study from the outset throb with vital interest. An appeal to the
intellect will quicken the æsthetic instincts, be they never so slender,
and almost any one will love work that engages all the faculties.

Those pupils are fortunate who come under the influence of a teacher
with strong, well-balanced personality and ripe knowledge, and are
treated as rational beings, capable of feeling, thinking and acting. Too
many music teachers learn their business by experimenting on beginners.
It has been suggested as a safeguard against their blunders, and all
ignorance, carelessness and imposture, that music might be placed under
the same legal protection accorded other important factors in social
life, and that no one be permitted to teach it without a license granted
by a competent board of judges after the applicant had passed a
successful examination, theoretical and practical. This would be well if
there was any certainty of choosing suitable persons to select the
judges.

A practical Vienna musician, H. Geisler, has recently created no little
sensation by asserting that the pianoforte, although indispensable for
the advanced artist, is worthless, even harmful, in primary training,
and that the methods used in teaching it are based on a total
misapprehension of the musical development prescribed by nature. Sensual
and intellectual perceptions must actively exist, he feels, before they
can be expressed by means of an instrument. It is a mistake to presume
that manual practice can call them into being, or to disregard the
supremacy of the tone-sense. He considers the human voice the primitive
educational instrument of music and believes the reasonable order of
musical education to be: hearing, singing, performing.

This order is to be commended, and might readily be followed if primary
instruction was given in classes, which being less expensive than
private tuition, would admit of more frequent lessons and the services
of a competent teacher. Classes afford the best opportunity for training
the ear to accuracy in pitch, the eye to steadiness in reading notes,
the mind to comprehension of key relationships, form and rhythmic
movement, and the heart to a realization of the beauty and purport of
music. In classes the stimulating effect of healthy competition may be
felt, an impulse given to writing notes, transposing phrases and
melodies, strengthening musical sentiment and refining the taste.

Both the French Solfège method and the English Tonic Sol-fa system prove
the advantage of rudimentary training in classes. Mrs. John Spencer
Curwen, wife of the president of the London Tonic Sol-fa College, and
daughter-in-law of the late Rev. John Curwen, founder of the movement it
represents, has applied to pianoforte teaching the logical principles
underlying the system, which are those accepted by modern educators as
the psychological basis of all education. From her point of view the
music lesson may be made attractive from the moment the pupil is placed
at the instrument.

Time is taught by her as a mental science, with the pulse as the central
fact. She proceeds rhythmically rather than arithmetically, making
constant appeals to that within the child which is associated with
music. As the ear is expected to verify every fact, whether of time or
pitch, she deems essential to profitable practicing the daily
supervision of some person who understands the teacher's requirements.

Many times a child who can readily explain the relative value of every
note and dot will stumble in the time movement when confronted with a
mixture of the same notes and dots. This is because no mental
connection has been established between the mechanical time sign and its
sound, which is the outgrowth of instinctive impulses. Time confusion
may also be caused by confiding too implicitly in loud and persistent
counting, instead of trusting to the intelligently guided rhythmic
pulse.

The keenness of musical perception in the blind is a subject of frequent
comment. It is due to the fact that neither outer nor inner ear is
distracted by the organ of sight, and the mind is compelled to
concentrate itself with peculiar intensity on the tone-images aroused
for its contemplation. When one of the senses is weakened or lost, the
others become strong through the requirements made on them. This shows
how much may be gained in music study by throwing responsibility on
those faculties it is desirable to develop.

There are numerous promising schemes for class work in operation in our
own country, some of them offering excellent advantages to the student.
From the music study in our public schools valuable results ought to
come in time. Thus far, unfortunately, it is too often conducted by
teachers who are themselves without trained musical ability and who
permit their pupils to shout rather than sing music of an inferior order
to the accompaniment of a piano wretchedly out of tune.

The much beloved Phillips Brooks once said: "A school song in the heart
of a child will do as much for his character as a fact in his memory, or
a principle in his intellect." Unquestionably a love for good music,
inspired during the formative period, is calculated to open unlimited
possibilities, and ours could readily be molded into a musical nation if
a firm foundation for musical knowledge and appreciation were laid in
our schools. After the rudiments were mastered, it could easily be
decided which pupils had a natural bent demanding special training.

Where music study becomes compulsory the blunder of permitting the
compulsion to be felt must be avoided. Socrates of old, in Plato's
Republic, advised making early education a sort of amusement. Those who
heed his counsel should not forget that in turning music study
altogether into play work there is danger of weakening the will. The
tottering footsteps should be guided wisely, as well as tenderly, in the
first approach to the Temple of Art, that the pupil may learn to walk,
as well as to observe and think independently. We most prize beauty that
we are able to discern for ourselves. We gain strength by intelligently
conquering our own problems and perplexities. "Nothing is impossible,"
as Mirabeau has said, "for one who can will."

The aim of music study is to know music, to gain a correct conception of
how it should sound, and so, as far as possible, to make it sound. This
aim can never be reached by the mere cultivation of technical
adroitness. Untold sacrifices are made to-day to what becomes the
unrighteous mammon of technique when the mechanical side of practice is
exalted above its interpretative aspects. Schumann deemed brilliancy of
execution only valuable when it served a higher purpose. That higher
purpose is to reach and express the soul of music. Unless enriched by
it, all mechanism is dead. It is not desirable that every one should
perform acrobatic feats on some musical instrument, or indulge in vocal
pyrotechnics, but it is desirable to extract music out of whatever
technique may be attained. Instead of racing onward with feverish haste
to ever increased technical skill at the expense of other development,
it were well for the student to pause until each composition attacked,
be it but an exercise, could be interpreted with accuracy, intelligence,
and feeling. We should then have more musicianly players and singers. We
should more often be brought under the magic spell of exquisitely shaded
tone that may make a simple little melody alive with beauty.

[Illustration: BRAHMS]

A grave blunder of our present music study is the neglect of ensemble
playing and singing. Some of the noblest music written is for
part-singing and for two or more instruments. Much profit and delight
will be the result of making its acquaintance. Four and eight hand piano
arrangements of the great overtures and symphonies, too, are valuable
and enjoyable. They prepare the way for an appreciation of an
orchestral performance of these masterpieces, and broaden the musical
horizon. Where there are several music students in a family it is a pity
for them to confine their efforts exclusively to the piano, although
every musician should have some knowledge of this household instrument.
That is a happy home whose members are united by the playing or singing
of noble concerted music.

It is an absurd error to suppose that fine soloists cannot succeed in
ensemble work, or as accompanists. Those who fail have been poorly
grounded in their art. They may give dazzling performances of works
bristling with technical difficulties, yet make a sad failure of some
slow, tender movement that calls for musicianly understanding and
delicate treatment. The truth is, the requirements for an artistic
accompanist, or for artistic concerted work, are the same as for an
artistic soloist: well directed musical aptitude, love of art, an ear
attuned to listening and large experience in sight-reading.

The music pupils' public recital contributes no little to the blunders
of the day in music study. Especially with piano pupils, the work of the
year is likely to be shaped with reference to the supreme occasion when
results attained may be exhibited in the presence of assembled parents
and friends. The popular demand being for the mastery of technique,
showy pieces are prepared whose mechanism so claims the attention that
the principles underlying both technics and interpretation are
neglected. Well-controlled hands, fingers, wrists and arms, with
excellent manipulation of the keyboard, may be admired at the recital,
but little of that effective playing is heard which finds its way to the
hearer's heart. A dead monotony will too often recall the letter that
killeth because devoid of the spirit that giveth life.

Sounding notes, even sounding them smoothly, clearly, and rapidly, is
not necessarily making music, and a succession of them without warmth
and coloring is truly as inartistic as painting without shading. If it
were more commonly realized that it is an essential part of the music
teacher's vocation to train the mind and the emotions and through them
the will and the character, there would be a higher standard for the
music pupils' recital. No one would be permitted to play, or sing in
public who could not give an artistic, as well as a technically correct
performance.

Music students should lose no opportunity to hear the best music, both
vocal and instrumental. Heard with understanding ears one good concert
is often worth a dozen lessons, yet many students know nothing in music
beyond what they have practiced themselves, or heard their
fellow-students give at rehearsals or recitals. If they attend concerts
at all, it is rather to observe some schoolmaster method in their own
particular branch than actually to enjoy music. Trying to gain a musical
education without a wide acquaintance with the literature of music is
like attempting to form literary taste without knowing the world's great
books. To bathe in the glow of the mighty masterpieces of genius
neutralizes much that is evil. In music they are the only authoritative
illustrations between notes and the ideals they represent; they form the
models and maxims by means of which we approach a knowledge of music.

In view of hearing good music, breathing a musical atmosphere and being
glorified into artists, vast numbers of American girls seek foreign
musical centres. They are apt to go without suitable equipment, mental
or musical, and with inadequate pecuniary provisions. They expect to
attain in a few months what they are doomed to discover would take years
to accomplish, and cannot fail to suffer for the blunder. Many of them
return home disappointed in their aims, and ruined in health. Many of
them are stranded in strange lands. A crusade should be started against
indiscriminate going abroad for music study, without thorough
preparation in every respect.

The fact is, a free, true, fearless hero, such as Wagner found in his
Siegfried, is needed to slay, with his invincible sword, the dragon of
sordid materialism, and awaken the slumbering bride of genuine art. A
storm-god is wanted to swing his hammer and finally dissipate the
clouds that obscure the popular vision. Some one has called for a plumed
knight at the literary tournament, with visor down, lance in hand,
booted and spurred for the fight with prevalent errors. One is equally
needed at the musical tournament.



III

The Musical Education That Educates


There is a musical education that educates, a musical education that
refines, strengthens, broadens the character and the views, that ripens
every God-given instinct and force. It arouses noble thoughts and lofty
ideals; it quickens the perceptions, opening up a world of beauty that
is closed to the unobservant; it bears its fortunate possessor into a
charmed atmosphere, where inspiring, elevating influences prevail. Its
aim is nothing short of the absolutely symmetrical development of the
spiritual, intellectual and physical being, in view of making the
well-rounded musician, the well-balanced individual.

The profits derived from a musical education are proportionate to the
investment. Careless work, an utter disregard of principles, in other
words, a mere dabbling with music, will afford but superficial results.
It is precisely the same with a haphazard pursuit of any branch of art,
science, or literature. Through music the soul of mankind may be
elevated, the secret recesses of thought and feeling stirred, and every
emotion of which the individual is capable made active. In order to
attain its full benefits it is imperative to use it as a profound living
force, not as a mere surface decoration.

"The musician ever shrouded in himself must cultivate his inmost being
that he may turn it outward," said Goethe. A true musical education
provides culture for the inmost being. It tends to enlarge the
sympathies, enrich social relations and invest daily life with gracious
dignity. Those who gain it beautify their own lives and thus become able
to make the world seem more beautiful to others. Those who are never
able to give utterance to the wealth of thought and feeling it has
aroused in their hearts and imaginations are still happy in possessing
the store. After all, our main business in art, as in life, is to
strive. Honest effort meets with its own reward, even where it does not
lead to what the world calls success.

It has been said that he who sows thoughts will reap deeds, habits,
character. The force of these words is exemplified in the proper study
of music, which results in a rich harvest of self-restraint,
self-reliance, industry, patience, perseverance, powers of observation,
retentive memory, painstaking effort, strength of mind and character. To
possess these qualities at their best abundant thought must be sown.
Merely to ring changes on the emotions will not elevate to the heights.
The musical education that educates makes of the reasoning powers a
lever that keeps the emotions in their rightful channel.

Aristotle, who dominated the world's thought for upwards of two thousand
years, attributed his acquirements to the command he had gained over
his mind. Fixedness of purpose, steady, undivided attention, mental
concentration, accuracy, alertness, keen perception and wise
discrimination are essential to achievement. This is true of giant
minds; it is equally true of average intellects. The right musical
education will conduce to these habits. Musical education without them
must inevitably be a failure.

Music study is many-sided. To make it truly educative it must be pursued
from both theoretical and practical standpoints. It should include
technical training which affords facility to express whatever a person
may have for expression; intellectual training which enables a person to
grasp the constructive laws of the art, its scope, history and
æsthetics, with all that calls into play the analytic and imaginative
faculties; and spiritual development which imparts warmth and glow to
everything. Even those who do not advance far in music study would do
well, as they proceed, to touch the art on as many sides as possible, in
view of enlarging the musical sense, sharpening the musical perception,
concentrating and multiplying the agencies by virtue of which musical
knowledge and proficiency are attained.

"Truth," said Madox-Brown, the Pre-Raphaelite, "is the means of art, its
end the quickening of the soul." Music does more than quicken the soul;
it reveals the soul, makes it conscious of itself. Springing from the
deepest and best that is implanted in man, it fertilizes the soil from
which it uprises. Both beauty and truth are essential to its welfare. As
Hamilton W. Mabie has said: "We need beauty just as truly as we need
truth, for it is as much a part of our lives. We have learned in part
the lesson of morality, but we have yet to learn the lesson of beauty."
This must be learned through the culture of the æsthetic taste, a matter
of slow growth, which should begin with the rudiments, and is best
fostered in an atmosphere saturated with good music.

Too much stress cannot be laid on the importance of hearing good music.
When it falls on listening ears it removes all desire for anything
coarse or unrefined. Constant companionship with it prepares the ear to
hear, the inner being to receive, and cannot fail to bring forth fruit.
The creations of noble minds form practical working-forces in shaping
character, purifying taste and elevating standards. A literary scholar
cannot be made of one who has not been brought into close touch with the
productions of the great masters in literature, nor an artistic painter,
or sculptor, of one who has never known a great painting or piece of
statuary. Neither can a thorough musician be made of any one who is
ignorant of the master-works of music. It is well to realize, with
Goethe, that the effect of good music is not caused by its novelty, but
strikes more deeply the more we are familiar with it.

The human voice being practically the foundation of music and the first
music teacher, every well-educated musician should be able to use it,
and should have a clear understanding of its possibilities and
limitations, no matter what his specialty may be. Composers and
performers alike will derive benefit from some dealing with the vocal
element. Vocal culture is conducive to health, and aids in gaining
command of the nerves and muscles. They who profit by it will best
understand the varied nuances of intonation, expression and coloring of
which music is capable, and will learn how to make a musical instrument
sing. Likewise vocalists should familiarize themselves with other
domains of their art, and should be able to handle some instrument, more
especially the piano or organ, that they may be brought into intimate
relations with the harmonic structure of music.

To make music study most effective the scientific methods of other
departments of learning must be applied to it. For the supreme good of
both art and science need to be brought into close fellowship. Art is
the child of feeling and imagination; science the child of reason. Art
requires the illumination of science; science the insight of art. Music
combines within itself the qualities of art and science. As a science it
is a well-ordered system of laws, and cannot be comprehended without
knowledge of these. As an art, it is its business to awaken a mood, to
express a sentiment; it is knowledge made efficient by skill--thought,
effect, taste and feeling brought into active exercise.

No art, no science, affords opportunity for more magnificent mental
discipline than music. Moreover, a careful, earnest study of the art
furnishes a stimulus to activity in other fruitful fields. Although
subordinate to life and character it contributes freely to these, and
its best results come from life that is exceeding rich, and character
that is strong, true and enlightened through broad, general culture. The
musical education that educates develops something more than mere
players and singers; it develops thinking, feeling musicians, in whom
large personalities may be recognized.

Stephen A. Emory of Boston, whose studies in harmony are widely used,
and who left behind him an influence as a teacher that is far-reaching,
divined the true secret of musical education, from the rudiments upward,
and expressed his views freely and clearly. He thought it indispensable
for the musician to make music the central point of his efforts and
equally indispensable for him to have, as supports to this, knowledge
and theories from countless sources. "It must be as a noble river," he
said of the pursuit of music; "though small and unobserved in its
source, winding at first alone its tortuous way through opposing
obstacles, yet ever broadening and deepening, fed by countless streams
on either hand till it rolls onward in a mighty sweep, at once a glory
and a blessing to the earth."

To conquer music a musician must have conquered self. As music can no
more be absolutely conquered than self, the effort to gain the mastery
over both necessitates a continual healthy, earnest striving, which
makes the individual grow in strength, grace and happiness. That
musician has been rightly trained whose every thought, mood and feeling,
every muscle and fibre, have been brought under the subjection of his
will. Professor Huxley uttered the following words that may well be
applied to a musical education:

"That man, I think, has had a liberal education, who has been so trained
in his youth that his body is the ready servant of his will and does
with ease and pleasure all the work that, as a mechanism, it is capable
of; whose intellect is a clear, cold, logic engine, with all its parts
of equal strength and in smooth working order; ready, like the steam
engine, to be turned to any kind of work, and spin the gossamers as well
as forge the anchors of the mind; whose mind is stored with knowledge of
the great and fundamental truths of nature and of the laws of her
operations, one, who, no stunted ascetic, is full of life and fire, but
whose passions are trained to come to feel, by a vigorous will, the
servant of a tender conscience; who has learned to love all beauty,
whether of nature, or of art, to hate all vileness, and to respect
others as himself."

The correctness of applying the last clause to the musician will be
questioned by those who delight in enlarging on the petty jealousies of
musicians. It will be learned in time that these foibles belong only to
petty musicians, and that no one knows better how to respect others as
himself than one who has enjoyed the privilege of the musical education
that educates.



IV

How to Interpret Music


Certain learned college professors were once heard discussing methods of
literary criticism and interpretation. They spoke of external and
technical forms, and how magnificently these were illustrated in the
world's acknowledged masterpieces of literature. Every work read or
studied, they decided, should be carefully weighed, measured and
analyzed, and should be judged solely by the maxims and laws deduced
from classical standards. The critical faculty must never be permitted
to slumber or to sleep. Above all, the literary student should beware of
trusting to impressions.

Not a word was uttered in regard to the contents of the masterpieces in
question, the special emotions, the overwhelming passions they revealed,
the mighty experiences of which they were the result. Nothing was said
about the source of a great book in the life of its author, or its value
as a record of what many minds and hearts of an entire epoch have
thought, felt and desired. The learned professors were so deeply
concerned with what they considered the demands of strict scholarship
that they lost sight of the spirit which animates every true work of
art. To them literature consisted of words, phrases, sentences, figures
of speech, classical allusions, and well-constructed forms. They
regarded it apparently as an artificial product, compounded according to
traditional and cautiously prescribed recipes.

An aged man of letters present, one who was characterized by his ripe
scholarship, his richly cultured personality, sat listening in silence
to the conversation. Suddenly he rose up, and, in vibrant tones,
exclaimed: "Where hath the soul of literature fled, its vital part? If
we are to trample upon our impressions the best that is within us will
be chilled. Of what avail is education if it does not lead to the
unfolding of our God-given intuitions? Friends, if the trend of modern
criticism be to divorce literature from life, the throb and thrill of
great art will soon cease to be felt."

The lesson conveyed by these words may with equal propriety be applied
to the field of music. Viewing certain current tendencies the cultured
musician is often moved to wonder where the soul of music has fled. The
critical faculty is keenly alive to-day, but musical criticism, shorn of
its better part, musical appreciation, can never lead to the insight
requisite for true musical interpretation. Observation and perception,
intellectual discernment and spiritual penetration are essential to gain
insight into a great musical composition until its musical ideas, the
very grade and texture of its style, are absolutely appropriated.

In his "Death in the Desert," Robert Browning tells of the three souls
that make up the soul of man: the soul which Does; the soul which Knows,
feels, thinks and wills, and the soul which Is and which constitutes
man's real self. Appreciation of music requires the utmost activity of
all three souls. The more we are, the broader our culture, the more we
think, feel and know, the more we will find in music. Dr. Hiram Corson,
commenting on Browning's words, says the rectification, or adjustment of
what Is, that which constitutes our true being, should transcend all
other aims of education. If this fact were more generally accepted and
enforced it could soon no longer be said that few persons reach maturity
without the petrifaction of some faculty of mind and heart.

Every faculty we possess needs to be keenly alive for the interpretation
of the best in music. One who is accustomed to earnest thinking, quick
observation and sympathetic penetration will see, hear and feel much
that utterly escapes those whose best faculties have been permitted to
lie dormant, or become petrified. The interpreter of music must have
vital knowledge of the inner, spiritual element of every work of art he
attempts to reproduce. His imagination must be kindled by it, and
musical imagination is infinitely more precious than musical mechanism.

It is by no means intended to underrate technical proficiency. No one
can be a satisfactory exponent of music whose technique is deficient,
however profound may be his musicianly understanding and feeling. At the
same time, with every tone, every measure, mechanically correct, a
performance may fail to move the listener, because it lacks warmth and
glow. Only they can make others feel who feel themselves, but sentiment
is apt to be confounded with sentimentality unless it is guided by a
scholarly mind. The more feeling is spiritualized with thought the
nobler it will be. Heart and head need to operate in company with
well-controlled physical forces, in order that a fine interpretation of
music may be attained. Faultless technique, in the service of a lofty
ideal, indeed ceases to be mechanical and becomes artistic.

A musical work of art originates in the deep well of the fertile
imagination of genius, and can only be drawn forth when the composer is
in that highly exalted frame of mind we call inspiration. The theme, or
musical subject, is a vital spark of the divine fire, and has flashed
unbidden into his consciousness, demanding undivided attention for its
logical development. With infinite care he molds and groups the musical
factors which are his working forces, and of which he has both an
intuitive and a practical knowledge. The manifold forms he fashions all
combine for one purpose, and lead persistently to one grand climax, from
which they may return to the repose whence they came. Unity in diversity
is the goal he sets before himself. All aglow though he is with the joy
of artistic production, he dare not permit his mind to waver from the
task in hand.

Music is not to be played with, and the labor of composition is no
trifling matter. It demands the keenest mental activity, the most
profound mental concentration. It demands consecration. The composer
thinks and works in tones, in an ideal realm, far removed from the
realities of the external world. His business is to bring his theme to
its most magnificent unfolding, treating it with absolute definiteness,
that his intention may be perfectly clear.

It is the business of the interpreter of music to be so thoroughly
acquainted with the elements of which music is composed that he can
promptly recognize the color, complexion and individual character of
every interval, chord and chord-combination, every consonance and
dissonance, every timbre and nuance, and every degree of phrasing and
rhythm. He must have so complete a mastery of his materials and working
forces that his imagination may be influenced unimpeded by the
emanations from the composer's imagination which animate the moving
forms he commands.

It is his business to respond with his whole being to the appeal of the
musical masterpiece he attempts to interpret, and so express the
emotions aroused by it from their slumbers in his own bosom that a
responsive echo may be found in the bosoms of the listeners. A most
ingeniously constructed music-box, with the presentation of a
complicated piece of music, may fail to move a heart that will be
stirred to its depths by a simple song, into which the singer's whole
soul has been thrown.

Though the mind of the inventive genius be a mystery that may not fully
be explained, its product is within the grasp of the intelligent seeker.
The æsthetic principles of musical construction rest on certain
elementary laws governing both the human organism and the phenomena of
sound, and may become familiar to any one who is capable of study. In
the same way the established canons of musical expression, observed by
the skilful artist, consciously or unconsciously, are traceable to
natural causes. Without realizing the inherent properties of music, as
well as its technical possibilities and limitations, we cannot know the
art.

The tonal language is one that is not translatable into words. It is
composed of an infinite variety of tone-forms, now sharply contrasted,
now gradually blending into one another, all logically connected, all
tending to form a perfect whole. The profusion of harmonic, melodic,
dynamic and rhythmic changes it brings forth invests it with a meaning
far beyond that of words, a musical meaning. Every masterpiece of music
clothes in tonal form some idea which originated in the composer's mind.
To the interpreter it is given to invest it with living sound.

Chords and chord combinations all have their individual characteristics.
Some cause satisfaction, for instance, others unrest. When a chord of
the dominant seventh is heard, the educated musician knows that a
solution is demanded. The unspoiled ear and taste instinctively feel
something unfinished, and are disturbed if it be not followed by a
return to the key chord. Where the faculties are dormant or petrified,
its significance will be unobserved.

The story is told of a young lady whose musical education had been
utterly hollow and false, but who, having been overwhelmed with flattery
for her voice and her singing, was deluded into a belief that she was
destined to shine as a star on the operatic stage. She consulted the
famous basso, Karl Formes, who good-naturedly had her sing for him. He
perceived at once that she possessed neither striking talent nor
adequate training.

As a supreme test he struck on the piano a chord of the dominant
seventh, and asked the young aspirant for dramatic glory what she
thought it meant. Presuming it to be incumbent upon a prospective prima
donna to have uppermost in her mind the grand passion, she replied, in a
sentimental tone, "Love!" Promptly Karl Formes sounded the solution to
the chord. "There is your answer," quoth he. "I ask a question, and it
is thought I speak of love. Go home, my good girl, and seek some other
avocation. You have a fair voice, but you are tone-deaf. You can never
make a musician."

A favorite motto of the piano teacher Leschetitzky is, "Think ten times
before you play once." If this rule were more generally observed we
should have better interpreters of music. A great composition should
completely occupy mind and heart before it is attacked by fingers or
voice. In that case it would be analyzed as to its form, its tonal
structure, its harmonic relations, its phrasing and rhythms, and its
musical intention would become luminous. The interpreter would
understand where accents and other indications of expression should
occur and why they should so occur, and would be able, in however feeble
a way, to find and reveal the true heart music that lies hidden in the
notes.

It is never too early in a course of music study to consider the
requirements of musical expression. Persistent observance of them will
inevitably quicken the artistic sense. The rules to which they have
given rise are for the most part simple and easily explained. For
obvious reasons, all musical interpretation is expected to imitate song
as closely as possible. The human voice, the primitive musical
instrument, in moments of excitement, ascends to a higher pitch,
increasing in intensity of tone as it sweeps upward. Consequently every
progression from lower to higher tones, whether played or sung, demands
a crescendo unless some plainly denoted characteristic of the music
calls for different treatment. A descending passage, as a return to
tranquillity, requires a decrescendo.

"The outpouring of a feeling toward its object, whether to the endless
heavens, or forth into the boundless world, or toward a definite,
limited goal, resembles the surging, the pressing onward of a flood,"
said the great teacher, Dr. Adolph Kullak. "Reversely, that feeling
which draws its object into itself has a more tranquillizing movement,
that especially when the possession of the object is assured, appeases
itself in equable onward flow toward the goal of a normal state of
satisfaction. The emotional life is an undulating play of up-surging and
subsidence, of pressing forward beyond temporal limitations and of
resigned yielding to temporal necessities. The crescendo and decrescendo
are the means employed in music for the portrayal of this manifestation
of emotional life."

Another important matter which may to a great extent be reduced to rule
is that of accentuation. Through it a tone-picture is invested with
animation, and a clue is given to the disposition of tonal forms.
Accents are always required to mark the entrance of a theme, a phrase or
a melody. Where there are several voices, or parts, as in a fugue, each
voice denotes its appearance with an accent. Every daring assertion
hazarded in music, as in speech, demands special emphasis. Dissonances
need to be brought out in such prominence that they may not appear to be
accidental misconceptions, and that confident expectation may be aroused
of their ultimate resolution. Accentuation must be regulated by the
claims of musical delivery. At all times too gentle an accent is without
effect, too glaring an accent is to be condemned.

Hans von Bülow strenuously advised young musicians to cultivate their
ears and strive to attain musical beauty in what is termed phrasing,
which he regarded as the real beginning of greatness in a performer.
Phrasing and time keeping are two of the prime essentials in musical
delivery, and cannot be neglected with impunity.

Time may well be called the pulse of music. Upon some occasions the
pulse beats more rapidly than others. It is incumbent on the interpreter
of music to ascertain the harmonic and other causes which determine the
tempo of a musical composition, as well as those which make slight
variations from it admissible. Among other points to be noted is the
fact that sudden transition from repose to restless activity calls for
an accelerando, while the reverse requires a rallentando.

It is absolutely imperative for one who would interpret music to
cultivate the memory. The musician who cannot play or sing without notes
is compelled to expend a large amount of mental activity on reading
these, and will find it difficult to heed the manifold requirements of
musical expression and delivery, of which a few hints have here been
given. A musical composition is never thoroughly understood until it has
been intelligently memorized. One who can play or sing without notes is
as free as a bird to soar aloft in the blue ether of musical
imagination.

[Illustration: FRANZ LISZT]

Every interpreter of music longs for appreciative listeners, and young
musicians, in especial, often lament the lack of these. It is well to
remember that the genuine musical artist is able to create an atmosphere
whose influences may compel an average audience to sympathetic
listening. A good plan for the artist is to be surrounded in fancy with
an audience having sensitively attuned ears, intellectual minds, and
warm, throbbing hearts. Music played in private before such an imaginary
audience will gain in quality, and when repeated before an actual public
will hold that public captive.

We have it from Ruskin that all fatal faults in art that might otherwise
be good arise from one or other of three things: either from the
pretence to feel what we do not; the indolence in exercise necessary to
obtain the power of expressing the Truth; or the presumptuous insistence
upon, or indulgence in, our own powers and delights, with no care or
wish that they should be useful to other people, so only they should be
admired by them.

These three fatal faults must be avoided, or conquered, by the person
who would interpret music.



V

How to Listen to Music


Listening is an art. It requires close and accurate attention, sympathy,
imagination and genuine culture. Listening to music is an art of high
degree. Many derive exquisite enjoyment from it, for music is potent and
universal in its appeal. To listen intelligently to music is an
accomplishment few have acquired.

A great painting presents itself as a completed whole before the
observer's eye. It holds on the canvas the fixed place given it by the
master from whose genius it proceeded. No intermediary force is needed
to come between it and the impression it makes on the beholder. Music,
on the contrary, must be aroused from the written, or printed page to
living tone by the hand or voice of the interpreter, and but a fragment
at a time can be made perceptible to the listener's ear. Like a
panorama, it comes and goes before the imagination, its kaleidoscopic
tints and forms now sharply contrasted, now almost imperceptibly
graduated one into the other, but all shaping themselves into a logical
union, stamped with the design of a creative mind. Properly to inspect
the successive musical images, and grasp their significance, in parts
and as a whole, demands keen mental alertness.

Many are content to listen to music for the mere sensuous impression it
creates as it wraps itself about the inner being, lulling a perturbed
spirit to rest, or awakening longing and aspiration, joy and sadness,
according to the nature of the music and the hearer's mood. Some even
take pleasure in formulating into words the sensations evoked by the ebb
and flow of the tonal waves, and fancy they are thus deriving
intellectual profit from music.

From both ways of listening helpful results may accrue, but by no means
the greatest. Music is far beyond words, and in attempting to translate
it into these we miss its musical meaning, the best that is in it. As
listeners we derive our highest æsthetic and intellectual satisfaction
from the ability to follow, even anticipate, the composer's intention,
now finding our expectations fulfilled, now being agreeably
disappointed. Failure to catch the opening phrase and preliminary
rhythms of the composition makes it impossible to appreciate the tonal
forms into which they develop. Nor may the mind linger over any one
part, if we would grasp the work as an unbroken whole. That musical
creation alone can afford the noblest delights that prompts and rewards
the act of thus closely following the composer's thought.

An instance of absolute knowledge of music appears in an anecdote told
of Johann Sebastian Bach. When he was present at the performance of a
fugue and one of his two most musical sons was with him, he would, as
soon as the theme was heard, whisper what devices and developments he
thought should be introduced. If the composer had conformed to his idea
of construction he would jog his son to call attention to the fact.
Otherwise, his exceeding modesty and reverent comprehension of the
difficulties of the art made him the most lenient of critics.

Few have reached the luminous heights this master of masters trod. Even
a well-cultivated ear and taste may often be baffled by the intricacies
of a fugue, symphony or other great work of musical art heard for the
first time. The best listener beyond the pale of genius will at times
feel as one astray in a labyrinth of beauty to which for the moment no
clue appears. A single representation will rarely suffice to reveal the
full worth of a masterpiece of music. By hearing it often, by admitting
it, or some reproduction of it, to our own fireside, we will become
familiar with its contents and learn truly to know it.

Those who are fortunate enough to have been surrounded from childhood up
by the choicest gems of the tonal language, and whose minds are of the
deceptive order, will insensibly attain a refinement of taste and
delicacy of perception no learned dissertation on music could afford. At
the same time, an acquaintance with the materials and elements of which
the art is composed and with the laws that govern them, is essential to
enable even one who has heard much to gain the complete enjoyment that
comes from understanding. Confident as we are that Prometheus captured
his fire from Heaven, we ought to learn something of its attributes
before we accept it at his hands, that we may be able to distinguish a
true spark of the divine flame from a phosphorescent will-o'-the-wisp.

The idea so largely accepted that music is an unfathomable mystery, like
all half truths has wrought much mischief, and has greatly retarded
musical progress in social life. Behind the Divine Art, as behind
Religion, lies the inscrutable mystery of Life, and in both there is a
Holy of Holies only the consecrated may enter. Before the portals of
this are reached there is a broad, fertile field for intellectual
activity that all may work to advantage, preparing the way to the inner
sanctuary.

The musician is continually confronted with fresh evidence of the
popular ignorance, even among students of music, in regard to the
outward form and inner grace of what is conceded to be the most popular
of all arts. In a roomful of professed music lovers a definition of
counterpoint was recently called for, and no one present could give an
intelligent answer. This led to a discussion of musical questions which
resulted in the disclosure that not one of the company could define
melody, harmony or rhythm, or had the slightest conception of the
meaning of the simplest component parts of the art in whose service they
were making plentiful sacrifices. Some knowledge of these things is
absolutely imperative, not alone to the student, but to one as well who
would listen intelligently to music.

Sound and motion constitute the essence of music. Its raw materials are
an infinitely rich mass of musical sounds that bear within themselves
the possibility of being molded into form. By the musical builders of
the past they have been carefully considered, mathematically
calculated, and have finally resolved themselves into a recognized
scale, composed of tones and half tones. These are the composer's
plastic resources. He shapes them precisely as the sculptor fashions the
pliable clay with which he strives to bring his ideal to realization.

All sounds are the result of atmospheric vibrations affecting the ear.
Musical sound, or tone, is produced by regular vibrations, and differs
from mere noise whose vibrations are irregular and confused. The pitch
of a musical tone rises in proportion with the rapidity of the
vibrations that produce it. Tones may be perceived by the human ear
ranging from about sixteen vibrations in a second to nearly forty
thousand, more than eleven octaves. Only about seven octaves are used in
music. The science of acoustics is full of interesting facts of this
kind, and is of profound value to any one who would gain an insight into
the structure of music. It is unfortunately much neglected.

The prime elements of music are Melody, Harmony and Rhythm. They are
perhaps as little realized as its raw materials. Melody is a well
ordered succession of musical sounds, heard one at a time, and selected
from a defined, accepted series, not taken at random from a
heterogeneous store. Harmony is a combination of well-ordered sounds
heard simultaneously, and with suitable concord, or agreement. Rhythm is
measured movement, or the periodical recurrence of accent; and signifies
symmetry and proportion.

Melody, unexhausted and inexhaustible, is the initial force, or, as Dr.
Marx has called it, the life-blood of music. Within itself it bears the
germ of harmony and rhythm. A succession of tones without harmonious and
rhythmic regulation would be felt to lack something. Melody has been
designated the golden thread running through the maze of tone, by which
the ear is guided and the heart reached. Helmholtz styled it the
essential basis of music. In a special sense, it is artistically
constructed song. The creation of an expressive melody is a sure mark of
genius.

Harmony arranges musical sounds with reference to their union, and is
regulated by artistic and æsthetic rules and requirements. It has
endless modes of transforming, inverting and intensifying its materials,
thus continually affording new means of development. All the intervals
and chords used in music had to be discovered, one by one. It often took
more than a century to bring into a general use a chord effect
introduced by some adventuresome spirit. Our scale intervals are the
slowly gained triumphs of the human mind. Modern music did not emerge
from the darkness of the past until harmony, as we know it, came into
active being.

Both melody and harmony are controlled by rhythm. It is the master force
of the musical organism. Before man was the ebb and flow of nature had
its rhythm. On this elementary rhythm, the one model music finds in
nature, the inventive mind of man has builded the wonderfully impressive
art rhythms existing in the masterpieces of music.

Melodies are made up of smaller fragments, known as motives, phrases
and periods, or sentences, all of which are judiciously repeated and
varied, and derive their individuality from the characteristics of their
intervals and rhythms.

A motive is the text of a musical composition, the theme of its
discourse. The most simple motive, with proper handling, may grow into a
majestic structure. In Beethoven's Fifth Symphony three G flats in
eighth notes, followed by an E flat in a half note, form a text, as of
Fate knocking at the door, which, when developed, leads to tremendous
conflict ending in victory. Those notes that repeat and modify the
motive and are combined under one slur constitute the phrase, which is
similar to a clause in a sentence of words. A period, or sentence, in
music, comprises a musical idea, complete in itself, though of a nature
to produce, when united with other harmonious ideas, a perfect whole.

A simple melody is usually composed of eight measures, or some number
divisible by four. There are exceptions, as in "God Save the King," our
"America," of which the first part contains six measures, the second
part eight.

Habit and instinct show us that no melody can end satisfactorily without
some cadence leading to a note belonging to the tonic or key chord. Very
often the first part of a melody will end on a note of the dominant
chord, from which a progression will arise in the second part that leads
satisfactorily to a concluding note in the tonic chord.

Counterpoint, literally point against point, is the art of so composing
music in parts that several parts move simultaneously, making harmony by
their combination. During the fifteenth, sixteenth, seventeenth and
eighteenth centuries the masters of counterpoint shaped the musical
materials in use to-day. So anxious were they to attain perfection of
form they often lost sight of the spirit which alone can give vitality
to musical utterances. The great Bach infused this into his fugues, the
highest manifestation of the contrapuntal, or polyphonic music of old.

Meanwhile the growth of the individual led to the growth of monophony
in music, in which one voice stands out prominently, with an
accompaniment of other voices. Its instrumental flower was reached in
the symphony. Melody reigns supreme in monophonic music. Both the canon
and the fugue form a commonwealth, in which all voices are rated alike.
Viewed rightly, this suits the modern democratic instinct, and there is
to-day a tendency to return to polyphonic writing. It is individuality
in union. In the hands of genius it affords the most refined kind of
harmony.

A thorough knowledge of counterpoint shows the mistake of regarding it
merely as a dull relic of a dead past. It is a living reality that, if
correctly studied, leads to a solid, dignified, flowing style, rich in
design, and independent in its individuality. Counterpoint, said a
critic in the London Musical News, shows the student how to make a
harmonic phrase like a well-shaped tree, of which every bough, twig and
leaf secures for itself the greatest independence, the fullest measure
of light and air. Composer, interpreter and listener may all profit by
a comprehension of counterpoint.

From its infancy modern music has been affected by two perpetually
warring factors, the Classical and the Romantic. The first demands
reverence for established ideals of formal beauty; the second, striking
a note of revolt, compels recognition of new ideals. As in all other
departments of art and life, progress in music comes through the
continual conflict between the conservative and the radical forces. A
position viewed as hazardous and unsuitable in one age, becomes the
accepted position of the next, and those who have been denounced as
musical heretics come to be regarded as musical heroes. Very often the
untutored public, trusting to natural instincts, will be in advance of
the learned critic in accepting some startling innovation. Old laws may
pass away, new laws may come, but the eternal verities on which all
manifestations of Truth and Beauty are based can never cease to be.

"The scientific laws of music are transitory, because they have been
tentatively constructed during the gradual development of the musical
faculty," says W. H. Hadow, in his valuable "Studies in Modern Music."
"No power in man is born at full growth; it begins in germ, and
progresses according to the particular laws that condition its nature.
Hence it requires one kind of treatment at one stage, another at
another, both being perfectly right and true in relation to their proper
period. But there are behind these special rules certain psychological
laws which seem, so far as we can understand them, to be coeval with
humanity itself; and these form the permanent code by which music is to
be judged. The reason why, in past ages, the critics have been so often
and so disastrously at fault is that they have mistaken the transitory
for the permanent, the rules of musical science for the laws of musical
philosophy."

An acquaintance with form as the manifestation of law is essential to an
intelligent hearing of music. The listener should have at least a
rudimentary knowledge of musical construction from the simplest ballad
to the most complex symphony. Having this knowledge it will be possible
to receive undisturbed the impressions music has to give, and to
distinguish the trivial and commonplace from the noble and beautiful.

The oftener good music is heard the more completely it will be
appreciated. Therefore, they listen best to music who hear the best
continually. The assertion is often heard that a person must be educated
up to an enjoyment of high class music. Certainly, one who has heard
nothing else must be educated down to an enjoyment of ragtime, with its
crude rhythms.

"We know a true poem to the extent to which our spirits respond to the
spiritual appeal it makes," says Dr. Hiram Corson. It is the same with a
true musical composition. We must take something to it, in order to
receive something from it. Beyond knowledge comes the intuitive feeling
which is enriched by knowledge. Through it we may feel the breath of
life, the spiritual appeal, which belongs to every great work of art and
which must forever remain inexplicable.



VI

The Piano and Piano Players


When Pythagoras, Father of Musical Science, some six centuries before
our era, marked and sounded musical intervals by mathematical division
on a string stretched across a board, he was unconsciously laying the
foundation for our modern pianoforte. How soon keys were added to the
monochord, as this measuring instrument was named, cannot positively be
ascertained. We may safely assume it was not slow in adopting the rude
keyboard ascribed by tradition to Pan pipes, and applied to the portable
organ of early Christian communities.

After the tenth century the development of the monochord seems to have
begun in earnest. Two or more strings of equal length are now divided
and set in motion by flat metal wedges, attached to the key levers, and
called tangents, because they touched the strings. In response to the
demand for increased range, as many as twenty keys were brought to act
on a few strings, commanding often three octaves. Guido d'Arezzo, the
famous sight-reading music teacher of the eleventh century, advised his
pupils to "exercise the hand in the use of the monochord," showing his
knowledge of the keyboard. The keyed monochord gained the name
clavichord. Its box-like case was first placed on a table, later on its
own stand, and increased in elegance. Not until the eighteenth century
was each key provided with a separate string.

No unimped triumphal progress can be claimed for the various claviers or
keyboard instruments that came into use. Dance music found in them a
congenial field, thus causing many serious-minded people to regard them
as dangerous tempters to vanity and folly. In the year 1529, Pietro
Bembo, a grave theoretician, wrote to his daughter Helena, at her
convent school: "As to your request to be allowed to learn the clavier,
I answer that you cannot yet, owing to your youth, understand that
playing is only suited for volatile, frivolous women; whereas I desire
you to be the most lovable maiden in the world. Also, it would bring you
but little pleasure or renown if you should play badly; while to play
well you would be obliged to devote ten or twelve years to practice,
without being able to think of anything else. Consider a moment whether
this would become you. If your friends wish you to play in order to give
them pleasure, tell them you do not desire to make yourself ridiculous
in their eyes, and be content with your books and your domestic
occupations."

A different view was entertained in England during Queen Elizabeth's
reign, where claviers were in vogue styled virginals, because, as an
ancient chronicle explained, "virgins do most commonly play on them."
The virginal was usually of oblong shape, often resembling a lady's
workbox. With the Virgin Queen it was a prime favorite, although not
named expressly for her as the flattering fashion of the time led many
to assume. If she actually did justice to some of the airs with
variations in the "Queen Elizabeth Virginal Book," she must indeed have
been proficient on the instrument. Quaint Dr. Charles Burney (1726-1814)
declares, in his "History of Music," that no performer of his day could
play them without at least a month's practice.

The clavier gave promise of its destined career in the Elizabethan age.
Shakespeare immortalized it, and William Byrd (1546-1623) became the
first clavier master. He and Dr. John Bull (1563-1628), says Oscar Bie,
in his great work on "The Clavier and Its Masters," "represent the two
types which run through the entire history of the clavier. Byrd was the
more intimate, delicate, spiritual intellect; Bull the untamed genius,
the brilliant executant, the less exquisitely refined artist. It is
significant that these two types stand together on the threshold of
clavier art." Bull had gained his degree at Oxford, the founding of
whose chair of music is popularly attributed to Alfred the Great.

As early as the year 1400 claviers had appeared whose strings were
plucked by quills attached to jacks at the end of the key levers. To
this group belonged the virginal, or virginals, the clavicembalo, the
harpsichord, or clavecin, and the spinet. Stops were added, as in the
organ, that varied effects might be produced, and a second keyboard was
often placed above the first. The case was either rectangular, or
followed the outlines of the harp, a progenitor of this clavier type. It
was often highly ornamented, and handsomely mounted. Each string from
the first had its due length and was tuned to its proper note.

The secular music principle of the sixteenth century that called into
active being the orchestra led also to a desire for richer musical
expression in home and social life than the fashionable lute afforded,
and the clavier advanced in favor. In France, by 1530, the dance, that
promoter of pure instrumental music, was freely transcribed for the
clavier. Little more than a century later, Jean Baptiste Lully
(1633-1687) extensively employed the instrument in the orchestration of
his operas, and wrote solo dances for it.

François Couperin (1668-1733), now well-nigh forgotten, although once
mentioned in the same breath with Molière, wrote the pioneer clavier
instruction book. In it he directs scholars how to avoid a harsh tone,
and how to form a legato style. He advises parents to select teachers on
whom implicit reliance may be placed, and teachers to keep the claviers
of beginners under lock and key that there may be no practicing without
supervision. His suggestions deserve consideration to-day.

He was the first to encourage professional clavier-playing among women.
His daughter Marguerite was the first woman appointed official court
clavier player. He composed for the clavier little picture tunes,
designed to depict sentiments, moods, phases of character and scenes
from life. He fashioned many charming turns of expression, introduced
an occasional tempo rubato, foreshadowed the intellectual element in
music and laid the corner-stone of modern piano-playing. Jean Philippe
Rameau (1683-1764) continued Couperin's work.

What is generally recognized as the first period of clavier-virtuosity
begins with the Neapolitan Domenico Scarlatti (1683-1757), and Johann
Sebastian Bach (1685-1750), the German of Germans. The style of
Scarlatti is peculiarly the product of Italian love of beautiful tone,
and what he wrote, though without depth of motive, kept well in view the
technical possibilities of the harpsichord. His "Cat's Fugue," and his
one movement sonatas still appear on concert programmes. In a collection
of thirty sonatas he explained his purpose in these words: "Amateur, or
professor, whoever thou art, seek not in these compositions for any
profound feeling. They are only a frolic of art, meant to increase thy
confidence in the clavier."

In Germany, with grand old Father Bach, the keyboard instrument was
found capable of mirroring a mighty soul. The germ of all modern musical
design lies in his clavier writings. It has been aptly said of this
master of masters that he constructed a great university of music, from
which all must graduate who would accomplish anything of value in music.
Men of genius, from Mozart to the present time, have extolled him for
the beauty of his melodies and harmonies, the expressiveness of his
modulations, the wealth, spontaneity and logical clearness of his ideas,
and the superb architecture of his productions. Students miss the soul
of Bach because of the soulless, mechanical way in which they deface his
legacy to them.

His "Twelve Little Preludes" alone contain the materials for an entire
system of music. The "Inventions," too often treated as dry-as-dust
studies, are laden with beautiful figures and devices that furnish
inspiration for all time. As indicated by their title, which signifies a
compound of appropriate expression and just disposition of the members,
they were designed to cultivate the elements of musical taste, as well
as freedom and equality of the fingers. His "Well Tempered Clavichord"
has been called the pianist's Sacred Book. Its Preludes and Fugues
illustrate every shade of human feeling, and were especially designed to
exemplify the mode of tuning known as equal temperament, introduced into
general use by Bach, and still employed by your piano tuner and mine.

Forkel, his biographer, has finely said that Bach considered the voices
of his fugues a select company of persons conversing together. Each was
allowed to speak only when there was something to say bearing on the
subject in hand. A highly characteristic motive, or theme, as
significant as the noblest "typical phrase," developing into equally
characteristic progressions and cadences, is a striking feature of the
Bach fugue. His "Suites" exalted forever the familiar dance tunes of the
German people. His wonderful "Chromatic Fantasia and Fugue" ushered the
recitative into purely instrumental music.

As a teacher he was genial, kind, encouraging and in every respect a
model. He obliged his pupils to write and understand as well as sound
the notes. In his noble modesty he never held himself aloof as superior
to others. When pupils were discouraged he reminded them how hard he had
always been compelled to work, and assured them that equal industry
would lead them to success. He gave the thumb its proper place on the
keyboard, and materially improved fingering. Tranquillity and poetic
beauty being prime essentials of his playing, he preferred to the more
brilliant harpsichord, or spinet, the clavichord, whose thrilling,
tremulous tone, owing to its construction, was exceedingly sensitive to
the player's touch. The early hammer-clavier, or pianoforte, invented in
1711, by the Italian Cristofori, who derived the hammer idea from the
dulcimer, did not attract him because of its extreme crudeness.
Nevertheless, it was destined to develop into the musical instrument
essential to the perfect interpretation of his clavier music.

His son and pupil, Philipp Emanuel Bach (1714-1788), proceeding on the
principles established by his illustrious father, prepared the way for
the modern pianist. His important theoretical work, "The True Art of
Clavier Playing," was pronounced by Haydn the school of schools for all
time. It was highly extolled by Mozart, and to it Clementi ascribed his
knowledge and skill. In his compositions he was an active agent in the
crystallization of the sonata form. From him Haydn gained much that he
later transferred to the orchestra.

Impulse to the second period of clavier virtuosity was given by Wolfgang
Amadeus Mozart (1756-1791) and Muzio Clementi (1752-1832). Mozart, who
led the Viennese school, developed the singing style of playing and the
smooth flowing legato. Leaving behind him the triumphs of his
wonder-boyhood with spinet and harpsichord, he boldly entered the public
concert-hall with the pianoforte, now greatly advanced by the
improvements of Silbermann. Mozart brought into use its special
features, showed its capacity for tone-shading and for the reflection
of sentiment, and may well be said to have launched it on its career.
Tradition declares that his hand was fashioned for clavier keys, and
that its graceful movements afforded the eye no less pleasure than the
ear. His noble technique, based on his profound study of the Bachs, was
spiritualized by his own glowing fancy. In his playing, as in his
compositions, every note was a pearl of great price. With his piano
concertos he showed how clavier and orchestra may converse earnestly
together without either having its individuality marred. The same
equilibrium is maintained in his piano and violin sonatas and his other
concerted chamber music, amid all their persuasive and eloquent
discourse. His charming four-hand and double piano pieces, written for
himself and his gifted sister Marianne, and his solo clavier sonatas
would prove his wealth of musical invention had he not written another
note.

Clementi, born in Rome, passed most of his life in London, where he
attracted many pupils. Without great creative genius, he occupied
himself chiefly with the technical problems of the pianoforte. He opened
the way for the sonority of tone and imposing diction of the modern
style. His music abounded in bold, brilliant passages of single and
double notes. He is even credited with having trilled in octaves with
one hand. Taking upon himself the management of an English piano
factory, he extended the keyboard, in 1793, to five and a half octaves.
Seven octaves were not reached until 1851. His "Gradus ad Parnassum"
became the parent of Etude literature. Carl Tausig said: "There is but
one god in technique, Bach, and Clementi is his prophet."

Losing the spirituality of a Mozart the Viennese school was destined to
degenerate into empty bravura playing. Before its downfall it produced a
Hummel, a Moscheles and a Czerny, each of whom left in their piano
studies a valuable bequest to technique. Karl Czerny (1791-1857), called
king of piano teachers, numbered among his pupils, Liszt, Doehler,
Thalberg and Jaell. The Clementi school was continued in that familiar
writer of Etudes, Johann Baptist Cramer (1771-1858), and began to show
respect for the damper pedal. Its most eminent virtuoso was John Field
(1782-1837) of Dublin.

Between these two schools stood Ludwig von Beethoven (1770-1827), a
giant on lofty heights. Every accent of his dramatic music was embodied
in his piano compositions. Tones furnished him unmistakably a language
that needed no commentary. "In him," says Oscar Bie, "there were no
tricks of technique to be admired, no mere virtuosity to praise; but he
stirred his hearers to the depths of their hearts. Amid his storm and
stress, whispering and listening, his awakening of the soul, an original
naturalism of piano-playing was recognized, side by side with the
naturalism of his creative art. Rhythm was the life of his playing." A
union of conception and technique was a high aim of Beethoven, and he
prized the latter only as it fulfilled the requirements of his idealism.
"The high development of the mechanical in pianoforte playing," he wrote
to a friend, "will end in banishing all genuine emotion from music."
His prophetic words might serve as a warning to-day.

[Illustration: LILLIAN NORDICA]

The past century has given us the golden age of the pianoforte. Advanced
knowledge of acoustics and improved methods of construction have made it
the magnificent instrument we know in concert hall and home, and to
which we now apply the more intimate name, piano. Oscar Bie calls it the
music teacher of all mankind that has become great with the growth of
modern music. As a photograph may convey to the home an excellent
conception of a master painting in some distant art gallery, so the
piano, in addition to the musical creations it has inspired, may present
to the domestic circle intelligent reproductions of mighty choral,
operatic and instrumental works. Through its medium the broad field of
musical history and literature may be surveyed in private with profit
and pleasure.

Piano composers and virtuosos rapidly increase. Carl Maria von Weber
(1786-1826) stood on the threshold of the fairyland of romance. His
scheme of a dialogue, in the opening adagio of his "Invitation to the
Dance," followed by an entrancing waltz and a grave concluding dialogue,
betokens what he might have accomplished for the piano had he lived
longer. Franz Schubert (1797-1828) and Robert Schumann (1810-1856) were
the evangelists par excellence of the new romantic school. Schubert,
closely allied in spirit to the master-builder, Beethoven, was
unsurpassed in the refinement of his musical sentiment. The melody
flooding his soul beautified his piano compositions, to which only a
delicate touch may do justice. His Impromptus and Moments Musical, small
impressionist pieces, in which isolated musical ideas are clothed in
brief artistic forms adapted to the timbre of the instrument, may well
be thought to have placed piano literature on a new basis.

The romantic temperament of Robert Schumann was nurtured on German
romantic literature and music. His impressions of nature, life and
literature he imprisoned in tones. He was a profound student of Bach, to
whom he traced "the power of combination, poetry and humor in the new
music." Infusing his own vital emotions into polyphonic forms he gave
the piano far grander tone-pictures than those of Couperin. The dreamy
fervor and the glowing fire of an impassioned nature may be felt in his
works, but also many times the lack of balance that belongs with the
malady by which he was assailed.

His love of music became early interwoven with love for Clara, the
gifted daughter and pupil of his teacher, Friedrich Wieck. To her he
dedicated his creative power. An attempt to gain flexibility by means of
a mechanical contrivance having lamed his fingers, he turned from a
pianist's career to composition and musical criticism. In becoming his
wife Clara gave him both hands in more senses than one, and they shone
together as a double star in the art firmament. Madame Schumann had
acquired a splendid foundation for her career through the wise guidance
of her father, whose pedagogic ideas every piano student might consider
with profit. Her playing was distinguished by its musicianly
intelligence and fine artistic feeling. Earnest simplicity surrounded
her public and her private life, and the element of personal display was
wholly foreign to her. She was the ideal woman, artist and teacher who
remained in active service until a short time before her death, in 1896.

Those were charmed days in Leipsic when the Schumanns and Mendelssohn
formed the centre of an enthusiastic circle of musicians, and created a
far-reaching musical atmosphere. Felix Mendelssohn (1809-1847), in his
work for the piano, adapted to drawing-room use technical devices of his
day, and in his "Songs without Words" gave a decisive short-story form
to piano literature. His playing is described as possessing an organ
firmness of touch without organ ponderosity, and having an expression
that moved deeply without intoxicating. Living in genial surroundings,
he was never forced to struggle, and although he climbed through flowery
paths, he never reached the goal he longed for until his heart broke.

Delicate, sensitive, fastidious, Frédéric Chopin (1809-1849) delivered
his musical message with persuasive eloquence through the medium of the
piano. It was his chosen comrade. With it he exchanged the most subtle
confidences. Gaining a profound knowledge of its resources he raised it
to an independent power. Polish patriotism steeped in Parisian elegance
shaped his genius, and his compositions portray the emotions of his
people in exquisitely polished tonal language. Spontaneous as was his
creative power he was most painstaking in regard to the setting of his
musical ideas and would often devote weeks to re-writing a single page
that every detail might be perfect. The best that was in him he gave to
music and to the piano. He enlarged the musical vocabulary, he
re-created and enriched technique and diction, and to him the musician
of to-day owes a debt that should never be forgotten. "He is of the race
of eagles," said his teacher, Elsner. "Let all who aspire follow him in
his flights toward regions sublime."

The man who, by his demands on the piano, induced improvements in its
manufacture that materially increased its sonority and made it
available for the modern idea, was Franz Liszt (1811-1886). He will
always be remembered as the creator of orchestral piano-playing and of
the symphonic poem. The impetuous rhythms and unfathomable mysteries of
Magyar and gipsy life surrounding him in Hungary, the land of his birth,
strongly influenced the shaping of his genius. Like the wandering
children of nature who had filled the dreams of his childhood, he became
a wanderer and marched a conqueror, radiant with triumphs, through the
musical world. Chopin, who shrank from concert-playing, once said to
him: "You are destined for it. You have the force to overwhelm, control,
compel the public."

The bewitching tones of the gipsy violinist, Bihary, had fallen on his
boyish ears "like drops of some fiery, volatile essence," stimulating
him to effort. On the threshold of manhood he was inspired to apply the
methods of Paganini to the piano. All his early realistic and
revolutionary ideas found vent in his pianistic achievements. He gained
marvelous fulness of chord power, great dynamic variety, and numerous
unexpected solutions of the tone problem. Many technical means of
expression were invented by him, and a wholly new fingering was required
for his purposes. He taught the use of a loose wrist, absolute
independence of the fingers and a new manipulation of the pedals. To
carry out his designs the third or sustaining pedal became necessary.
His highest ambition, in his own words, was "to leave to piano players
the foot-prints of attained advance." In 1839 he ventured on the first
pure piano recital ever given in the concert hall. His series of
performances in this line, covering the entire range of piano
literature, in addition to his own compositions, given entirely without
notes, led the public to expect playing by heart from all other artists.

As a great pianist, a composer of original conceptions, a magnetic
conductor, an influential teacher, an intelligent writer on musical
subjects and a devoted promoter of the interests of art, he stands out
in bold relief, one of the grand figures in the history of music. His
piano paraphrases and transcriptions are poetic re-settings of
tone-creations he had thoroughly assimilated and made his own. In his
original works, which Saint-Saëns was perhaps the first to appreciate,
students are now beginning to discover the ripe fruits of his genius.
Faithful ones among the pupils who flocked about him in classic Weimar
spread wide his influence, but also much harm was done in his name by
charlatans who, calling themselves Liszt pupils, cast broadcast the
fallacy that piano pounding was genuine pianistic power.

Large hearted, liberal minded, whole souled in his devotion to his art
and its true interests, Franz Liszt seemed wholly without personal
jealousies, and befriended and brought into public notice a large number
of artists. Hector Berlioz declared that to him belonged "the sincere
admiration of earnest minds, as well as the involuntary homage of the
envious." At the opening of the Baireuth Temple of German Art, in 1876,
Richard Wagner paid him this tribute in the midst of a joyful company:
"Here is one who first gave me faith in my work when no one knew
anything of me. But for him, my dear friend, Franz Liszt, you might not
have had a note from me to-day."

A rival of Liszt in the concert field, especially before a Parisian
public, was Sigismund Thalberg (1812-1871), who visited this country in
1855 and literally popularized the piano in America. Alfred Jaell and
Henri Herz, who had preceded him, doubtless prepared the way for his
triumphs. He and the "Creole Chopin," Louis Moreau Gottschalk, attracted
much attention by several joint appearances in our musical centres of
the time. Thalberg was a pupil of Hummel, and felt the influence of his
teacher's cold, severely classic style. He possessed a well-trained,
fascinating mechanism, with scales, chords, arpeggios and octaves that
were marvels of neatness and accuracy, and a tone that was mellow and
liquid, though lacking in warmth. His operatic transcriptions, in which
a central melody is enfolded in arabesques, chords and running passages,
have long since become antiquated, but his art of singing on the piano
and many of his original studies still remain valuable to the pianist.

When Liszt and Thalberg were in possession of the concert platform, they
occupied the attention of cartoonists as fully as Paderewski at a later
date. Liszt, his hair floating wildly, was represented as darting
through the air on wide-stretched pinions with keyboards attached--a
play on Flügel, the German for grand piano. Thalberg, owing to his
dignified repose, was caricatured as posing in a stiff, rigid manner
before a box of keys.

Rubinstein and Von Bülow offer two more contrasting personalities. Anton
Rubinstein (1830-1894) was the impressionist, the subjective artist, who
re-created every composition he played. The Russian tone-colorist he has
been called, and the warmth and glow with which he invested every nuance
can never be forgotten by those who were privileged to hear his Titanic
interpretations, over whose very blemishes was cast the glamor of the
impassioned temperament that caused them. "May Heaven forgive me for
every wrong note I have struck!" he exclaimed to a youthful admirer
after one of his concerts in this country during the season of 1872-3.
Certainly the listener under the spell of his magnetism could forgive,
almost forget. Hans von Bülow (1830-1894) was the objective artist,
whose scholarly attainments and musicianly discernment unraveled the
most tangled web of phrasing and interpretation. His Beethoven recitals,
when he was in America in 1875-6, were of especial value to piano
students. As a piano virtuoso, a teacher, a conductor and an editor of
musical works, he was a marked educational factor in music.

In his youth Johannes Brahms (1833-1897), the great apostle of modern
intellectual music, made his début before the musical world as a
brilliant and versatile pianist. Once, when about to play in public
Beethoven's magnificent Kreutzer Sonata, with Remenyi, who was the first
to recognize his genius, he discovered that the piano was half a tone
below concert pitch, and rather than spoil the effect by having the
violin tuned down, the boy of nineteen unhesitatingly transposed the
piano part which he was playing from memory into a higher key. The fire,
energy and breadth of his rendering, together with the splendid
musicianship displayed by this feat, deeply impressed the great
violinist Joachim, who was present, and who became enthusiastic in his
praise. Schumann, on making his acquaintance, proclaimed the advent of a
genius who wrote music in which the spirit of the age found its
consummation, and who, at the piano, unveiled wonders. By others he has
been called the greatest contrapuntist after Bach, the greatest
architectonist after Beethoven, the man of creative power who
assimilated the older forms and invested them with a new life entirely
his own. His piano works are a rich addition to the pianist's store, but
whoever would unveil their beautiful proportions, all aglow as they are
with sacred fire, must have taken a master's degree.

Two pupils of Liszt stand out prominently--Carl Tausig (1841-1871) and
Eugene D'Albert (1864- ----). The first was distinguished by his
extraordinary sense for style, and was thought to surpass his master in
absolute flawlessness of technique. To the second Oscar Bie attributes
the crown of piano playing in our time. Peter Iljitch Tschaikowsky
(1840-1893), the distinguished representative of the modern Russian
school, was an original, dramatic and fertile composer and wrote for the
piano some of his highly colored and very characteristic music. Edward
Grieg (1843- ----), the national tone-poet of Norway, has given the
piano some of his most delightful efforts, fresh with the breezes of the
North.

The veteran French composer, Charles Camille Saint-Saëns (1835- ----),
has won great renown as a pianist, and was one of the most precocious
children on record, having begun the study of the piano when under three
years of age. He was the teacher that knew how to develop the
individuality of the young Russian, Leopold Godowsky, who has done such
remarkable work on two continents, as a teacher and piano virtuoso.

Perhaps the most famous piano teacher of recent times is Theodore
Leschetitzky, of Vienna. His method is that of common sense, based on
keen analytical faculties, and he never trains the hand apart from the
musical sense. His most renowned pupil is Ignace Jan Paderewski, the
magnetic Pole, whose exquisite touch and tone long made him the idol of
the concert room, and who, with time, has gained in robustness, but also
in recklessness of style. Another gifted pupil of the Viennese master is
Fannie Bloomfield Zeisler, of Chicago, an artiste of rare temperament,
musical feeling and nervous power, of whom Dr. Hanslick said that her
virtuosity was stupendous, her delicacy in the finest florid work as
marvelous as her fascinating energy in the forte passages.

The great tidal wave set in motion by the piano has swept over the
civilized world, carrying with it hosts of accomplished pianists. Of
some of those who are familiar figures in our musical centres it has
been said that Teresa Carreño learned from Rubinstein the art of piano
necromancy; that Rosenthal is an amazing technician whose
interpretations lack tenderness; that De Pachmann is on terms of
intimacy with Chopin, and that Rafael Joseffy, the disciple of Tausig,
combines all that is best in the others with striking methods of his
own.

Great is the piano, splendid its literature, many its earnest students,
numerous its worthy exponents. That it is so often made a means of empty
show is not the fault of the piano, it is due to a tendency of the day
that calls for superficial glamor. Herbert Spencer was not so wrong as
some of the critics seem to think when, in his last volume, he said that
teachers of music and music performers were often corrupters of music.
Those certainly are corrupters of music who use the piano solely for
meaningless technical feats.



VII

The Poetry and Leadership of Chopin


"The piano bard, the piano rhapsodist, the piano mind, the piano soul is
Chopin," said Rubinstein. "Tragic, romantic, lyric, heroic, dramatic,
fantastic, soulful, sweet, dreamy, brilliant, grand, simple, all
possible expressions are found in his compositions and all are sung by
him on his instrument."

In these few, bold strokes one who knew him by virtue of close art and
race kinship, presents an incomparable outline sketch of the Polish
tone-poet who explored the harmonic vastness of the pianoforte and made
his own all its mystic secrets.

Born and bred on Poland's soil, son of a French father and a Polish
mother, Frédéric Chopin (1809-1849) combined within himself two natures,
each complementing the other, both uniting to form a personality not
understood by every casual observer. He is described as kind, courteous,
possessed of the most captivating grace and ease of manner, now inclined
to languorous melancholy, now scintillating with a joyous vivacity that
was contagious. His sensitive nature, like the most exquisitely
constructed sounding-board, vibrated with the despairing sadness, the
suppressed wrath, and the sublime fortitude of the brave, haughty,
unhappy people he loved, and with his own homesickness when afar from
his cherished native land.

Patriot and tone-poet in every fibre of his being, his genius inevitably
claimed as its own the soul's divinest language, pure music, unfettered
by words. The profound reserve of his nature made it peculiarly
agreeable to him to gratify the haunting demands of his lyric muse
through the medium of the one musical instrument that lends itself in
privacy to the exploitation of all the mysteries of harmony. Strong
conviction in regard to his own calling and clear perception of the
hidden powers and future mission of the piano early compelled him to
consecrate to it his unfaltering devotion. He evolved from its more
intimate domain effects in sympathy with those of the orchestra, yet
purely individual. He enriched it with new melodic, harmonic and
rhythmic devices adapted to itself alone, and endowed it with a warmth
of tone-coloring that spiritualized it for all time.

To the piano he confided all the conflicts that raged within him, all
the courage and living hope that sustained him. In giving tonal form to
the deep things of the soul, which are universal in their essence and
application, he embodied universal rather than merely individual
emotional experiences, and thus unbared what was most sacred to himself
without jarring on the innate reticence which made purely personal
confidences impossible. Although his mode of expression was peculiarly
his own, he had received a strong impulse from the popular music of
Poland. As a child he had become familiar with the folk-songs and dances
heard in the harvest-fields and at market and village festivals. They
were his earliest models; on them were builded his first themes. As Bach
glorified the melodies of the German people, so Chopin glorified those
of the Poles. The national tonality became to him a vehicle to be
freighted with his own individual conceptions.

"I should like to be to my people what Uhland was to the Germans," he
once said to a friend. He addressed himself to the heart of this people
and immortalized its joys, sorrows and caprices by the force of his
splendid art. Those who have attempted to interpret him as the
sentimental hero of minor moods, the tone-poet in whom the weakness of
despair predominates, have missed the leaping flames, the vivid
intensity and the heroic manliness permeated with genuine love of beauty
that animated him. True art softens the harshest accents of suffering by
placing superior to it some elevating idea. So in the most melancholy
strains of his music one who heeds well may detect the presence of a
lofty ideal that uplifts and strengthens the travailing soul. It has
been said of him that he had a sad heart but a joyful mind.

The two teachers of Chopin were Adalbert Zwyny, a Bohemian violinist,
who taught the piano, and Joseph Elsner, a violinist, organist and
theorist. "From Zwyny and Elsner even the greatest dunce must learn
something," he is quoted as saying. Neither of these men attempted to
hamper his free growth by rigid technical restraints. Their guidance
left him master of his own genius, at liberty to "soar like the lark
into the ethereal blue of the skies." He respected them both. A revering
affection was cherished by him for Elsner, to whom he owed his sense of
personal responsibility to his art, his habits of serious study and his
intimate acquaintance with Bach.

There is food for thought in the fact that this Prince Charming of the
piano, whose magic touch awakened the Sleeping Beauty of the instrument
of wood and wires, never had a lesson in his life from a mere piano
specialist. Liszt once said Chopin was the only pianist he ever knew
that could play the violin on the piano. If he could do so it was
because he had harkened to the voice of the violin and resolved to show
that the piano, too, could produce thrilling effects. In the same way he
had listened to the human voice, and determined that the song of his own
instrument should be heard. Those who give ear to the piano alone will
never learn the secret of calling forth its supreme eloquence.

We can see and hear this "Raphael of Music" at the piano, so many and so
eloquent have been the descriptions given of his playing. It is easy to
fancy him sweeping the ivory keys with his gossamer touch that enveloped
with ethereal beauty the most unaccustomed of his complicated chromatic
modulations. We can feel his individuality pulsating through every tone
evoked by those individualized fingers of his as they weave measures for
sylphs of dreamland, or summon to warfare heroes of the ideal world. We
are entranced by his luxuriant tone-coloring, induced to a large extent
by his original management of the pedals. We marvel at his softly
whispered, yet ever clearly distinct pianissimo, at the full, round tone
of its relative fortissimo, that was never harsh or noisy, and at all
the exquisitely graded nuances that lay between, with those time
fluctuations expressive of the ebb and flow of his poetic inner being.
No wonder Balzac maintained that if Chopin should but drum on the table
his fingers would evoke subtle-sounding music.

And what an example he has left for teachers. Delicately strung as he
was, he must often have endured tortures from the best of his pupils,
but so thoroughly was he consecrated to his art that he never faltered
in his efforts to lift those who confided in him to the aërial heights
he had found. A vivid picture of his method of teaching is given in the
lectures on "Frédéric Chopin's Works and Their Proper Interpretation,"
by the Pole, Jean Kleczynski.

The basis of this method consisted in refinement of touch, for the
attainment of which a natural, easy position of the hand was considered
by Chopin a prime requisite. He prepared each hand with infinite care
before permitting any attempt at the reproduction of musical ideas. In
order to place it to advantage he caused it to be thrown lightly on the
keyboard so that the five fingers rested on the notes E, F sharp, G
sharp, A sharp and B, and without change of position required the
practice of exercises calculated to insure independence. The pupil was
instructed to go through these exercises first staccato, effected by a
free movement of the wrist, an admirable means of counteracting
heaviness and clumsiness, then legato-staccato, then accented legato,
then pure legato, modifying the power from pp to ff, and the movement
from andante to prestissimo.

He was exceedingly particular about arpeggio work, and insisted upon the
repetition of every note and passage until all harshness and roughness
of tone were eliminated. "Is that a dog barking?" he was known to
exclaim to an unlucky pupil whose attack in the opening arpeggio of a
Clementi study lacked the desired quality. A very independent use of the
thumb was prescribed by him. He never hesitated about placing it on a
black key when convenient, and had it passed by muscle action alone in
scales and broken chords whose zealous practice in different forms of
touch, accent, rhythm and tone were demanded by him.

Individualization of the fingers was one of his strong points, and he
believed in assigning to each of them its appropriate part. "In a good
mechanism," he said, "the aim is not to play everything with an equal
sound, but to acquire beautiful quality of touch and perfect shading."
Of prime importance in his eyes was a clear, elastic, singing tone, one
whose exquisite delicacy could never be confounded with feebleness.
Every dynamic nuance he exacted of fingers that fell with freedom and
elasticity on the keys, and he knew how to augment the warmth and
richness of tone-coloring by setting in vibration sympathetic harmonics
of the principal notes through judicious employment of the damper pedal.

By precept and example he advocated frequent playing of the preludes and
fugues of Bach as a means of cultivating musical intelligence, muscular
independence and touch and tone discrimination. His musical heroes were
Bach and Mozart, for they represented to him nature, strong
individuality and poetry in music. At one time he undertook to write a
method or school of piano-playing, but never progressed beyond the
opening sentences. A message directly from him would have been
invaluable to students, and might have averted many unlucky
misapprehensions of himself and his works. Those of his contemporaries
who have harkened with rapture to his playing have declared that he
alone could adequately interpret his tone-creations, or make perfectly
intelligible his method. Pupils of his and their pupils have faithfully
endeavored to transmit to the musical world the tradition of his
individual style. The elect few have come into touch with his vision of
beauty, but it has been mercilessly misinterpreted by thousands of
ruthless aspirants to musical honors, in the schoolroom, the students'
recital and the concert hall.

Whoever plays Chopin with sledge-hammer fingers will deaden all sense of
his poetry, charm and grace. Whoever approaches him with weak
sentimentalism will miss altogether his dignity and strength. It has
been said of him that he was Woman in his tenderness and realization of
the beautiful; and Man in his energy and force of mind. The highest type
of artist and human being is thus represented. To interpret him requires
simplicity, purity of style, refined technique, poetic imagination and
genuine sentiment--not fitful, fictitious sentimentality.

In regard to the much discussed tempo rubato of Chopin many and fatal
blunders have been made. Players without number have gone stumbling over
the piano keys with a tottering, spasmodic gait, serenely fancying they
are heeding the master's design. Reckless, out-of-time playing
disfigures what is meant to express the fluctuation of thought, the
soul's agitation, the rolling of the waves of time and eternity. The
rubato, from rubare, to rob, represents a pliable movement that is
certainly as old as the Greek drama in declamation, and was employed in
intoning the Gregorian chant. The recitative of the sixteenth century
gave it prominence, and it passed into instrumental music. Indications
of it in Bach are too often neglected. Beethoven used it effectively.
Chopin appropriated it as one of his most potent auxiliaries. In playing
he emphasized the saying of Mozart: "Let your left hand be the orchestra
conductor," while his right hand balanced and swayed the melody and its
arabesques according to the natural pulsation of the emotions. "You see
that tree," exclaimed Liszt; "its leaves tremble with every breath of
the wind, but the tree remains unshaken--that is the rubato." There are
storms to which even the tree yields. To realize them, to divine the
laws which regulate the undulating, tempest-tossed rubato, requires
highly matured artistic taste and absolute musical control.

Too sensitive to enjoy playing before miscellaneous audiences whose
unsympathetic curiosity, he declared, paralyzed him, Chopin was at his
best when interpreting music in private, for a choice circle of friends
or pupils, or when absorbed in composition. It is not too much to say
for him that he ushered in a new era for his chosen instrument,
spiritualizing its timbre, liberating it from traditional orchestral and
choral effects, and elevating it to an independent power in the world of
music. Besides enriching the technique of the piano, he augmented the
materials of musical expression, contributing fresh charms to those
prime factors of music melody, harmony and rhythm. New chord extensions,
passages of double notes, arabesques and harmonic combinations were
devised by him and he so systematized the use of the pedals that the
most varied nuances could be produced by them.

In melody and general conception his tone-poems sprang spontaneously
from his glowing fancy, but they were subjected to the most severe
tests before they were permitted to go out into the world. Every
ingenious device that gave character to his exquisite cantilena, and
softened his most startling chord progressions, was evolved by the vivid
imagination of this master from hitherto hidden qualities of the
pianoforte. Without him neither it nor modern music could have been what
it is. An accentuation like the ringing of distant bells is frequently
heard in his music. To him bell tones were ever ringing, reminding him
of home, summoning him to the heights.

James Huneker, the raconteur of the Musical Courier, discussing the
compositions of Chopin, in his delightful and inspiring book, "Chopin,
the Man and His Music," calls the studies Titanic experiments; the
preludes, moods in miniature; the nocturnes, night and its melancholy
mysteries; the ballades, faery dramas; the polonaises, heroic hymns of
battle; the valses and mazurkas, dances of the soul; the scherzos, the
work of Chopin the conqueror. In the sonatas and concertos he sees the
princely Pole bravely carrying his banner amid classical currents. For
the impromptus alone he has found no name and says of them: "To write of
the four impromptus in their own key of unrestrained feeling and
pondered intention would not be as easy as recapturing the first
'careless rapture of the lark.'"

Unquestionably the poetry of Chopin is of the most exquisite lyric
character, his leadership is supreme. So original was his conception, so
finished his workmanship, so sublime his purpose, that we may well
exclaim with Schumann, "He is the boldest, proudest poetic spirit of the
time." "His greatness is his aristocracy," says Oscar Bie. "He stands
among musicians in his faultless vesture, a noble from head to foot."

[Illustration: PAGANINI]



VIII

Violins and Violinists--Fact and Fable


That fine old bard who shaped the character of Volker the Fiddler in the
Nibelungen Lay, had a glowing vision of the power of music and of the
violin. Players on the videl, or fiddle, abounded in the days of
chivalry, but Volker, glorified by genius, rises superior to his fellow
minstrels. The inspiring force of his martial strains renewed the
courage of way-worn heroes. His gentle measures, pure and melodious as a
prayer, lulled them to sorely-needed rest.

And what a wonderful bow he wielded! It was mighty and long, fashioned
like a sword, with a keen-edged outer blade, and in his good right hand
could deal a deft blow on either side. Ever ready for action was he, and
his friendship for Hagen of Tronje furnished the main elements of that
grim warrior's power. Together they were long invincible, smiting the
foe with giant strokes, accompanied by music.

The modern German poet, Wilhelm Jordan, in his Sigfridsage, clothes
Volker with the attributes of a violin king he loved, and represents him
tenderly handling the violin. His noble portrayal of a violinist
testifies no more fully to the mission of the musician than the creation
of the Nibelungen bard. In August Wilhelmj, once hailed by Henrietta
Sontag as the coming Paganini, Richard Wagner saw "Volker the Fiddler
living anew, until death a warrior true." So he wrote in a dedicatory
verse beneath a portrait of himself, presented to "Volker-Wilhelmj as a
souvenir of the first Baireuth festival."

The idea of a magic fiddle and a wonderworking fiddler was strongly
rooted in the popular imagination of many peoples, through many ages.
Typical illustrations are the Wonderful Musician of Grimm's Fairy Tales,
whose fiddling attracted man and beast, and the lad of Norse folk-lore
who won a fiddle that could make people dance to any tune he chose. In
Norway the traditional violin teacher is the cascade-haunting musical
genius Fossegrim, who, when suitably propitiated, seizes the right hand
of one that seeks his aid and moves it across the strings until blood
gushes from the finger-tips. Thenceforth the pupil becomes a master, and
can make trees leap, rivers stay their course and people bow to his
will.

Those of us who were brought up on English nursery rhymes early loved
the fiddle. Old King Cole, that merry old soul, was a prime favorite,
notwithstanding his fondness for pipe and bowl, because when he called
for them he called for his fiddlers three and their very fine fiddles.
According to Robert of Gloucester, the real King Cole, a popular monarch
of Britain in the third century, was the father of St. Helena, the
zealous friend of church music. The nursery satire of doubtful
antiquity is our sole evidence of his devotion to the art.

That John who stoutly refused to sell his fiddle in order to buy his
wife a gown placed the ideal above the material. It is to be hoped Mrs.
John enjoyed music more than gay attire. Certainly the dame who was
forced to dance without her shoe until the master found his
fiddling-stick knew the worth of the fiddler's art.

It may have been from a play on the word catgut that so many of these
ditties represent pussy in relation with the fiddle. True fiddler's
magic belonged to the cat whose fiddling made the cow jump over the
moon, the little dog laugh and the dish run away with the spoon. Rarely
accomplished too was the cat that came fiddling out of the barn with a
pair of bagpipes under her arm, singing "Fiddle cum fee, the mouse has
married the humble bee."

Scientists tell us that crickets, grasshoppers, locusts and the like are
fiddlers. Their hind legs are their fiddle-bows, and by drawing these
briskly up and down the projecting veins of their wing-covers they
produce the sounds that characterize them. Was it in imitation of these
small winged creatures that man first experimented with the friction of
bow and strings as a means of making music? Scarcely. It was the result
of similar instinct on a larger human scale.

String instruments played with a bow may be traced to a remote period
among various Oriental peoples. An example of their simplest form exists
in the ravanastron, or banjo-fiddle, supposed to have been invented by
King Ravana, who reigned in Ceylon some 5,000 years ago. It is formed of
a small cylindrical sounding-body, with a stick running through it for a
neck, a bridge, and a single string of silk, or at most two strings. Its
primitive bow was a long hairless cane rod which produced sound when
drawn across the silk. Better tone was derived from strings plucked with
fingers or plectrum, and so the rude contrivance remained long
undeveloped.

The European violin is the logical outcome of the appliance of the bow
to those progenitors of the pianoforte, the Greek monochord and lyre,
precisely as our music is the outgrowth of the diatonic scale developed
by the Greeks from those instruments. Numerous obstacles stand in the
way of defining its story, but it is known that from the ninth century
to the thirteenth bow instruments gained in importance. They divided
into two classes--the viol proper, with flat back and breast and
indented sides, to which belonged the veille, videl, or as it has been
called, guitar-fiddle, and the pear-shaped type, such as the gigue and
rebec. The latter is what Chaucer calls the rubible.

Possibly an impulse was given the fiddle by the Moorish rebab, brought
into Spain in the eighth century, but ancient Celtic bards had long
before this used a bow instrument--the chrotta or crwth, derived from
the lyre, which was introduced by the Romans in their colonizing
expeditions. As early as 560 A. D., Venantius Fortunatus, Bishop of
Poitiers, wrote to the Duke of Champagne:

    _"Let the barbarians praise thee with the harp,
    Let the British crwth sing."_

This instrument, whose name signifies bulging box, was common in
Britain, and was used in Wales until a comparatively recent period. One
of its distinguishing features was an opening in the lower part for the
admission of the fingers while playing. A fine specimen is preserved in
the South Kensington Museum, corresponding well to the following
description by a Welsh poet of the fifteenth century: "A fair coffer
with a bow, a girdle, a finger-board and a bridge; its value is a pound;
it has a frontlet formed like a wheel with the short-nosed bow across.
In its centre are the circled sounding-holes, and the bulging of its
back is somewhat like an old man, but on its breast harmony reigns, from
the sycamore melodious music is obtained. Six pegs, if we screw them,
will tighten all its chords; six advantageous strings are found, which,
in a skilful hand, produce a varied sound."

In this same museum is a curious wedge-shaped boxwood fiddle, decorated
with allegorical scenes, and dated 1578. Dr. Burney states that it has
no more tone than a violin with a sordine. It is said to have been
presented by Queen Elizabeth to the Earl of Leicester, and bears both of
their coats-of-arms in silver on the sounding-board. Besides her other
accomplishments, the Virgin Queen, we are told, was a violinist. During
her reign we find the violin mentioned among instruments accompanying
the drama and various festivities, and viols of diverse kinds were
freely used. Shakespeare, in Twelfth Night, has Sir Toby enumerate among
Sir Andrew Aguecheek's attractions skill on the viol-de-gamboys, Sir
Toby's blunder for the viola da gamba, a fashionable bass viol held
between the knees. A part was written for this instrument in Bach's St.
Matthew Passion, and a number of celebrated performers on it are
recorded in the eighteenth century. Two of these were ladies, Mrs. Sarah
Ottey and Miss Ford.

Violers and fiddlers formed an essential part of the retinue of many
monarchs in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. Charles II., of
England, had twenty-four at his court, with red bonnets and flaunting
livery, who played for him while he was dining according to the custom
he had known at the French court during his exile. Place was grudgingly
yielded to the violin by friends of the less insistent viol. Butler, in
Hudibras, styled it "a squeaking engine." Earlier writers mention "the
scolding violin," and describing the Maypole dance tell of not hearing
the "minstrelsie for the fiddling." Thus all along its course it has had
its opponents and deriders as well as its friends.

The soft-toned viol had deeply indented sides to permit a free use of
the bow, was mostly supplied with frets like a guitar, and had usually
from five to seven strings. Its different sizes corresponded with the
soprano, contralto, tenor and bass of the human voice. An extremely
interesting treble viol much in vogue in the eighteenth century was the
viola d'amore, with fourteen strings, the seven of gut and silver being
supplemented by seven sympathetic wire strings running below the
finger-board and tuned in unison with the bowstrings, vibrating
harmoniously while these are played. A remarkably well preserved
specimen of this instrument, made by Eberle of Prague, in 1733, and
superbly carved on pegbox and scroll, is in the fine private violin
collection of Mr. D. H. Carr, of Milwaukee, Wisconsin. It is one of the
few genuine viola d'amores extant. The owner says of it: "The tone is
simply wonderful, mellow, pure and strong, and of that exquisite harmony
that comes from the throne of Nature. I know of no other genuine viola
d'amore, and it compares with the modern copies I have seen as a Raphael
or a Rubens with some cheap lithograph." These modern copies are the
result of recent efforts to revive the use of this fascinating
instrument. A barytone of a kindred nature was the viola di bordone or
drone viol, so called because there was a suggestion of the buzzing of
drone-flies, or humble bees, in the tones of its sympathetic strings,
which often numbered as many as twenty-four. These violas recall the
Hardanger peasant fiddle of Norway, of unknown origin and antiquity,
whose delicate metallic under strings quaver tremulously and
mysteriously when the bow sets in motion the main strings.

At one time every family of distinction in Britain deemed a chest of
viols, consisting for the most part of two trebles, two altos, a
barytone and a bass, as indispensable to the household as the piano is
thought to-day. It was made effective in accompanying the madrigal, that
delightful flower of the Elizabethan age. Singers not always being
available for all of the difficult voice parts viols of the same compass
supplied the lack. It was but a step for masters of music to compose
pieces marked "to be sung or played," thus contributing to the forces
that were lifting instrumental music above mere accompaniment for song
or dance.

When musicians make demands musical instrument makers are ever ready to
meet them, and the viol steadily improved. One who contributed to its
progress was Gasper Duiffoprugcar (1514-1572) a luthier and mosaic
inlayer, known in the Tyrol, in Bologna, Paris and Lyons. The belief
that he originated the violin rests chiefly on the elaborately
ornamented forgeries bearing his name, the work of French imitators from
1800 to 1840. There is an etching, supposed to be a copy of a portrait
of himself carved on one of his viols with this motto: "I lived in the
wood until I was slain by the relentless axe. In life I was silent, but
in death my melody is exquisite."

The words might apply to the perfected violin, whose evolution was going
on all through that period of literary and artistic activity known as
the Renaissance. When or at whose hands it gained its present form is
unknown. The same doubt encircles its first master player. Perhaps the
earliest worthy of mention is one Baltzarini, a Piedmontese, appointed
by Catherine de Medici, in 1577, to lead the music at the French court,
and said to have started the heroic and historical ballet in France.

He is sometimes confounded with Thomas Baltzar, a violinist of Lubec,
who, in 1656 introduced the practice of shifting in London, where he
wholly eclipsed David Mell, a much admired clockmaker fiddler, although
the latter, as a contemporary stoutly averred, "played sweeter, was a
well-bred gentleman, and was not given to excessive drinking as Baltzar
was." His marvelous feat of "running his fingers to the end of the
finger-board and back again with all alacrity" caused a learned Oxford
connoisseur of music to look if he had hoofs. Notwithstanding the jovial
tastes of this German, he was appointed leader, by Charles II., of the
famous violins, and had the final honor of a burial in Westminster
Abbey.

Here reposed also in due time his successor in the royal band, John
Banister, who had been sent by the king to France for study, and who was
the first Englishman, unless the amateur Mell be counted, to distinguish
himself as a performer on the violin. He wrote music for Shakespeare's
Tempest, and was the first to attempt, in London, concerts at which the
audience paid for seats. Announcements of the initial performance,
September 30, 1672, read: "These are to give notice that at Mr.
Banister's house (now called the Musick School) over against the George
Tavern in White Friars, this present Monday will be performed musick by
excellent masters, beginning precisely at four o'clock in the afternoon
and every afternoon for the future at precisely the same hour."

Credit for shaping the first violin has been given Gasparo Bertolotti
(1542-1609), called Gasparo da Salo, from his birthplace, a suburb of
Brescia, that pearl of Lombardy so long a bone of contention among
nations. Violins were doubtless made before his time, but none are known
to-day dated earlier than his. A pretty legend tells how this skilful
viol-maker imprisoned in his first violin the golden tones of the
soprano voice of Marietta, the maiden he loved and from whom death
parted him. Her likeness, so the story runs, is preserved in the angel
face, by Benevenuto Cellini, adorning the head. The instrument thus
famed was purchased for 3,000 Neapolitan ducats by Cardinal
Aldobrandini, who presented it to the treasury at Innsprück. Here it
remained as a curiosity until the French took the city in 1809, when it
was carried to Vienna and sold to a wealthy Bohemian collector, after
whose death it came into the possession of Ole Bull.

Gasparo's pupil, Giovanni Paolo Maggini (1581-1631), improved the
principles of violin-building, and gave the world the modern viola and
violoncello. A rich viola-like quality characterizes the Maggini violin.
De Beriot used one in his concerts, and its plaintive tone was thought
well suited to his style. He refused to part with it for 20,000 francs
when Wieniawski, in 1859, wished to buy it. To-day it would command a
far higher price. It is stated on authority that not more than fifty
instruments of its make now exist, although a large number of French
imitations claim recognition.

While Gasparo was founding the so-called Brescian school, Andrea Amati
(1520-1580), a viol and rebec maker of picturesque Cremona, began to
make violins, doubtless to fill the orders of his patrons. He must have
believed the pinnacle of fame reached when King Charles IX. of France,
in 1566, commissioned him to construct twenty-four violins, twelve large
and twelve small pattern. They were kept in the Chapel Royal,
Versailles, until 1790, when they were seized by the mob in the French
Revolution, and but one of them is known to have escaped destruction.
Heron-Allen, in his work on violin making, gives a picture of it,
obtained through the courtesy of its owner, George Somers, an English
gentleman. Its tone is described as mellow and extremely beautiful, but
lacking in brilliancy.

As the Amati brothers, Antonio and Geronimo (Hieronymous) Amati
continued their father's trade, producing instruments similar to his.
The family reached its flower in Nicolo Amati (1596-1684), son of
Geronimo. He originated the "Grand Amatis," and attained a purer, more
resonant tone than his predecessors, although not always adapted to
modern concert use. One of his violins was the favorite instrument of
the French virtuoso Delphine Jean Alard (1815-1888), long violin
professor at the Paris Conservatoire. It has been described as sounding
like the melodious voice of a child heard beside the rising tide.
Another fine specimen was exhibited by Mr. J. D. Partello, in 1893, at
the World's Fair, in Chicago.

Nicolo Amati's influence was felt in his famous pupils. Foremost among
these was Antonio Stradivarius (1644-1737), whose praises have been sung
by poets, and whose life was one of unwavering service. His first
attempts were mere copies, but after he was equipped with his master's
splendid legacy of tools and wood, his originality asserted itself. His
"Golden" period was from 1700 to 1725, but he accomplished good work
until death overtook him. From his bench were sent out some seven
thousand instruments, including tenors and violoncellos. Of these
perhaps two thousand were violins.

A romance encircling this master of Cremona tells that in youth he loved
his master's daughter, but that failing to win her heart and hand, he
gave himself wholly to his work. He married, finally, a wealthy widow
whose means enabled him to pursue his avocation undisturbed by monetary
anxieties. His labors steadily increased the family property until "as
rich as Stradivarius" became a common saying in Cremona. Because of his
achievements and his personal worth, he was held in high esteem. Members
of royal families, prelates of the church, men of wealth and culture
throughout Europe, were his personal friends as well as his clients. His
handsome home, with his workshop and the roofshed where he stored his
wood, was, until recently, exhibited to visitors. To-day not a vestige
of it remains. Weary of the importunities of relic-seekers, the
Cremonese have torn it down, and have banished violins and every
reminder of them from the town.

The tone of a Stradivarius, in good condition, is round, full and
exceedingly brilliant, and displays remarkable equality as the player
passes from string to string. Dr. Joseph Joachim, owner of the famous
Buda-Pesth Strad, writes of the maker that he "seems to have given his
violins a soul that speaks and a heart that beats." The Tuscan Strad,
one of a set ordered by Marquis Ariberti for the Prince of Tuscany, in
1690, was sold two hundred years later to Mr. Brandt by a London firm
for £2,000. Lady Hallé, court violinist to Queen Alexandra, owns the
concert Strad of Ernst (1814-1865), composer of the celebrated Elegie,
and values it at $10,000. A magnificent Stradivarius violin, with an
exceedingly romantic history, belongs to Carl Gaertner, the veteran
violinist and musician of Philadelphia, and could not be purchased at
any price.

Another violin-builder from Nicolo Amati's workshop was Andrea
Guarnerius (1630-1695), whose sons, Giuseppe and Pietro, followed in his
footsteps. The family name reached its highest distinction in his
nephew, Giuseppe (Joseph) Guarnerius (1683-1745), called del Gesu,
because on his labels the initials I. H. S., surmounted by a Roman
cross, were placed after his name, indicating that he belonged to a
Jesuit society.

This Joseph of Cremona figures in story as a man of fascinating,
restless personality, who for weeks would squander time and talents and
then set to work with a zeal equalling that of Master Stradivarius.
Tradition has it that he was once imprisoned for some bit of
lawlessness, and was saved from despair by the jailor's daughter who
brought him the tools and materials required for violin-building. What
he esteemed the masterpiece of his lonely cell he presented as a
souvenir to his gentle friend.

The violin about which this legend is woven, dated 1742, was bought by
Ole Bull from the famous Tarisio collection, and is now the property of
his son, Mr. Alexander Bull. It has an unusually rich, sonorous tone and
splendid carrying powers. Similar qualities are attributed to the
Paganini Guarnerius del Gesu, 1743, known as the "Canon" and kept under
glass at the Genoa Museum. Mr. Hart, a violin authority, places highest
in this make the "King Joseph," 1737, long in the private collections of
Mr. Hawley, Hartford, Connecticut, and of Mr. Ralph Granger, Paradise
Valley, California, and recently put on the market by Lyon & Healy, of
Chicago.

An interesting Nicolo Amati pupil was Jacob Steiner (1621-1683), a
Tyrolese, who, although bearing a glittering title, "violin maker to the
Austrian Emperor," was harassed with financial perplexities and died
insane. His most noted violins were the sixteen "Elector Steiners," one
sent to each of the Electors and four to the Emperor. During his life
the average price of his violins was six florins. A century after his
death the Duke of Orleans, Louis Philippe's grandfather, paid 3,500
florins for one of them. It is also recorded that an American gentleman
on La Fayette's staff, in the Revolutionary War, exchanged for a Steiner
1,500 acres of the tract where Pittsburg now stands. Mozart's violin, in
the Mozarteum at Salzburg, is a Steiner.

Many violin-makers did good work in the past, many are achieving success
to-day. It has been confidently asserted that the violin reached its
highest possibilities in the old Brescian and Cremona days. Why should
this be the case? The same well-defined principles, based on acoustics
and other modern sciences, that have led to the steady improvement of
other musical instruments ought surely to be of some advantage to the
violin. Indeed, who knows but the day may come when the present will be
considered its golden age.

While the men of Cremona were still fashioning their models the want of
good strings was felt. This was met by Angelo Angelucci, known as the
string-maker of Naples, a man who loved music and passed much time with
violinists. Through his painstaking efforts such perfection was reached
that Tartini, who was born the same year as he, 1692, could play his
most difficult compositions two hundred times on the Angelucci strings,
whereas he was continually interrupted by the snapping of others.
Improvements in the bow, often called the tongue of the violin, are due
to the house of Tourte, in Paris, in the eighteenth century, lightness,
elasticity and spring coming to it from Francis Tourte, Jr.

Three eminent virtuosi, Corelli, Tartini and Viotti, whose united
careers spanned a period of 150 years, prepared the way for modern
methods of violin-playing. Arcangelo Corelli (1653-1713) left his home
in Fusignano, near Bologna, a young violinist, for an extended concert
tour. His gentle, sensitive disposition proving unfitted to cope with
the jealousy of Lully, chief violinist in France, and with sundry
annoyances in other lands, he returned to Italy and entered the service
of Cardinal Ottoboni in Rome. In the private apartments of the prelate
there gathered a choice company of music lovers every Monday afternoon
to hear his latest compositions. Besides his solos these comprised
groups of idealized dance tunes with harmony of mood for their bond of
union, and played by two violins, a viola, violoncello and harpsichord.
They were the parents of modern Chamber Music, the place of assemblage
furnishing the name.

Refined taste and purity of tone, we are told, distinguished the playing
of Corelli, and to him are attributed the systematization of bowing and
the introduction of chord-playing. He heads the list of musicians who
protest against talking where there is music. On one occasion when his
patron was addressing some remarks to another person, he laid down his
violin, and on being asked the reason said "he feared the music was
disturbing the conversation." This did not prevent him from being held
in the highest esteem. After his death Cardinal Ottoboni had a costly
monument erected over his grave in the Pantheon, and for many years a
solemn service, consisting of selections from his works, was performed
there on the anniversary of his funeral.

It was during a period of retirement in the monastery of Assisi that
Giuseppi Tartini (1692-1770) resolved to quit the law course in the
University of Padua and seek a career with his violin. He became a great
master of this, a composer of works still regarded as classics, and a
scientific writer on musical physics. His letter to his pupil, Signora
Maddelena Lombardini, contains invaluable advice on violin practice and
study, especially on the use of the bow, and his treatise on the
acoustic phenomenon known as "the third sound," together with his work
on musical embellishments, may at any time be read with profit.

It was after hearing the eccentric violinist Veracini that His Satanic
Majesty appeared to Tartini in a dream and played for him a violin solo
surpassing in marvelous character anything that he had ever heard or
imagined. Trying to write it down in the morning he produced his famous
"Devil's Sonata," with its double shakes and sinister laugh, a favorite
of the violinist, but to the composer ever inferior to the music of his
dreams. It is rather curious that anything of a diabolic nature should
be associated with this man of amiable and gentle disposition, whose
care of his scholars, according to Dr. Burney, was constantly paternal.
Nardini, his favorite and most famous pupil, came from Leghorn to Padua
to attend him, with filial devotion, in his last illness.

The talents of Corelli and Tartini seem to have been combined in the
Piedmontese, Giovanni Battiste Viotti (1753-1824), a man of poetic,
philanthropic mind, whose sensitive, retiring disposition unfitted him
for public life. Wherever he appeared he outshone all other performers,
yet there was constantly something occurring to wound him. At the Court
of Versailles he left the platform in disgust because the noisy entrance
of a distinguished guest interrupted his concerto. In London, after his
means had been crippled by the French Revolution, he was accused of
political intrigue.

While living in seclusion near Hamburg he composed some of his finest
works, among them six violin duets, which he prefaced with the words:
"This work is the fruit of leisure afforded me by misfortune. Some of
the pieces were dictated by trouble, others by hope." At one time he
embarked in a mercantile enterprise, in London, his transactions being
regulated by the strictest integrity, but, as was inevitable, he soon
returned to Paris and his art. After he had abandoned the concert room
one of his greatest pleasures was in improvising violin parts to the
piano performances of his friend, Madame Montegerault, to the delight
of all present. He never had more than seven or eight pupils, but his
influence has been widely felt. Many anecdotes are told of his kindness
and generosity, and it is an interesting fact that among those who
sought his advice and patronage was no less a personage than Rossini.

It must be because genius is little understood that its manifestations
have so often been attributed to evil influences. The popular mind could
only explain the achievements of the Genoese wizard of the bow, Nicolo
Paganini (1784-1840) by the belief that he had sold himself body and
soul to the devil who stood ever at his elbow when he played. When,
after a taxing concert season, the weary violinist retired to a Swiss
monastery for rest and practice amid peaceful surroundings, rumor had it
that he was imprisoned for some dark deed. To crown the delusion, his
spectre was long supposed to stalk abroad, giving fantastic performances
on the violin. It is his apparition Gilbert Parker conjures up in "The
Tall Master."

Paganini is described as a man of tall, gaunt figure, melancholy
countenance and highly wrought nervous temperament. His successors have
all profited by his development of the violin's resources, the result of
combined genius and labor. He was practically a pioneer in the effective
use of chords, arpeggio passages, octaves and tenths, double and triple
harmonics and succession of harmonics in thirds and in sixths. His long
fingers were of invaluable service to him in unusual stretches, and his
fondness for pizzicato passages may be traced to his familiarity with
the twang of his father's mandolin. He shone chiefly in his own
compositions, which were written in keys best suited to the violin.
Students will find all that he knew of his instrument and everything he
did in his Le Stregghe (The Witches), the Rondo de la Clochette, and the
Carnaval de Venise, which have been handed down precisely as he left
them in manuscript.

Signora Calcagno, who at one time dazzled Italy by the boldness and
brilliancy of her violin playing, was his pupil when she was seven
years old. The only other person who could boast having direct
instructions from him was his young fellow townsman, Camillo Ernesto
Sivori (1815-1894), who was in his day a great celebrity in European
musical centres, and who was familiar to concert-goers in this country,
especially in Boston, during the late forties and early fifties. He was
thought to produce a small but electric tone, and to play invariably in
tune. To him his master willed his Stradivarius violin, besides having
given him in life the famous Vuillaume copy of his Guarnerius, a set of
manuscript violin studies and a high artistic ideal.

A scholarly teacher and composer for the violin was the German Ludwig
Spohr (1784-1859), who was born the same year as the wizard Paganini,
and who, although having less scintillant genius than the weird Italian,
is believed to have had a more beneficent influence over violin playing
in his treatment of the instrument. He set an example of purity of style
and roundness of tone, and raised the violin concerto to its present
dignity. His violin school is a standard work.

From the beginning of the nineteenth century to the present time the
lists of excellent violinists have rapidly increased and heights of
technical skill have been reached by many that would have dazzled early
violin masters. The special tendencies of gifted leaders have divided
players into defined schools. Among noted exponents of the French school
may be mentioned Alard and his pupil Sarasate, Dancla and Sauret.
Charles August de Beriot (1802-1870) was the actual founder of the
Belgian school whose famous members include the names of Vieuxtemps,
Leonard, Wieniawski, Thomson and Ysaye. Ferdinand David (1810-1873),
first head of the violin department at the Leipsic Conservatory, gave
impulse to the German school. Among his famous pupils are Dr. Joseph
Joachim, known as one of the musical giants of the nineteenth century;
August Wilhelmj, the favorite of Wagner, and Carl Gaertner, who, with
his violin has done so much to cultivate a taste for classical music in
Philadelphia. Among the many lady violinists who have attained a high
degree of excellence are Madame Norman Neruda, now Lady Hallé, Teresina
Tua, Camilla Urso, Geraldine Morgan, Maud Powell and Leonora Jackson.

The only violinist whose memory was ever honored with public monuments
was Ole Bull (1810-1880), who has been called the Paganini of the North.
Two statues of him have been unveiled by his countrymen, one in his
native city, Bergen, Norway, and one in Minneapolis, Minnesota. These
tributes have been paid not so much to the violinist who swayed the
emotions of an audience and who could sing a melody on his instrument
into the hearts of his hearers, as to the patriot, the man who turned
the eyes of the world to his sturdy little fatherland, and who gave the
strongest impulse for everything it has accomplished in the past half
century in art and in literature. Another patriot violinist was the
Hungarian Eduard Remenyi (1830-1898), who first introduced Johannes
Brahms to Liszt, and should always be remembered as the discoverer of
Brahms.

The great demand of the day in the violin field, as in that of other
musical instruments, is for dazzling pyrotechnic feats. It has perhaps
reached its climax in the young Bohemian Jan Kubelik, whose playing has
been pronounced technically stupendous. In the mad rush for advanced
technique, the soul of music it is meant to convey is, alas, too often
forgotten.

[Illustration: JENNY LIND]



IX

Queens of Song


Our first queen of song was Vittoria Archilei, that Florentine lady of
noble birth who labored faithfully with the famous "Academy" to discover
the secret of the Greek drama. It was she who furthered the success of
the embryo operas of Emilio del Cavalieri, late in the sixteenth
century, and roused enthusiasm by her splendid interpretation for Jacopo
Peri's "Eurydice," the first opera presented to the public. She was
called "Euterpe" by her Italian contemporaries because her superb voice,
artistic skill, musical fire and intelligence fitted her to be the muse
of music. Her memory has been too little honored.

When Lully was giving opera to France he secured the co-operation of
Marthe le Rochois, a gifted student of declamation and song at the
Paris Académie Royale de Musique, for whose establishment he had
obtained letters patent in 1672. So great was his confidence in her
judgment that he consulted her in all that pertained to his work. Her
greatest public triumph was in his "Armide." This earliest French queen
of song is described as a brunette, with mediocre figure and plain face,
who had wonderful magnetism and sparkling black eyes that mirrored the
changeful sentiments of an impassioned soul. Her acting and
voice-control were pronounced remarkable. Her superior powers, unspoiled
simplicity, frankness and generosity are extolled by that quaint
historian of the opera, Dury de Noinville. On her retirement from the
stage, in 1697, the king awarded her a pension of 1,000 livres in token
of appreciation, and to this the Duc de Sully added 500 livres. She died
in Paris in the seventieth year of her age, her home having long been
the resort of eminent artists and literary people.

Katherine Tofts, who made her début in Clayton's "Arsinoe, Queen of
Cyprus," about 1702, was the first dramatic songstress of English birth,
and is described by Colley Cibber as a beautiful woman with a clear,
silvery-toned, flexible soprano. Her professional career brought her
fortune as well as fame, but was short-lived. In the height of her bloom
her reason gave way, and although judicious treatment restored it for a
time, she did not return to the stage. As the wife of Mr. Joseph Smith,
art connoisseur and collector of rare books and prints, she went to
Venice, where her husband was British Consul, and lived in much state
until, her malady returning, it became necessary to seclude her.
Wandering through the garden of her home she fancied herself the queen
of former days. Steele, in the "Tattler," attributes her disorder to her
stage habit of absorbing herself in imaginary great personages.

While Mrs. Tofts reigned in Clayton's opera, Signora Francesca Margarita
de l'Epine, a native of Tuscany, sang Italian airs before and after it.
Tall, swarthy, brusque in manner, she had a voice and a style that made
her famous. It was she who inaugurated the custom of giving farewell
concerts. Meeting with brilliant success at a performance announced as
her last appearance, "she continued," says Dr. Burney, "to sing more
last and positively last times and never left England at all." There was
a rivalry between the two queens of song, which being a novelty,
furnished gossip and laughter for all London. Hughes, that "agreeable
poet," wrote of it:

    _"Music has learned the discords of the State,
    And concerts jar with Whig and Tory hate."_

Retiring in 1722 with a fortune of ten thousand pounds, Margarita
married the learned Dr. Pepusch, who was enabled by her means to pursue
with ease his scientific studies. In his library she found Queen
Elizabeth's Virginal Book, and being a skilled harpsichordist, she so
well mastered its intricacies that people thronged to her home to hear
her play.

London was divided by another pair of rival queens of song in 1725-6.
One of these, Francesca Cuzzoni, a native of Parma, had created such a
furore on her first appearance, three years earlier, that the opera
directors who had engaged her for the season at two thousand guineas
were encouraged to charge four guineas for admission, and her costumes
were adopted by fashionable youth and beauty. Although ugly and
ill-made, she had a sweet, clear dramatic contralto with unrivalled high
notes, intonations so fixed it seemed impossible for her to sing out of
tune, and a native flexibility that left unimpeded her creative fancy.
Handel, in whose operas she sang, composed airs calculated to display
her charms, but she, confident of her supremacy, rewarded him with
conduct so capricious that, finding her at last intolerable, he sent to
Italy for the noble Venetian lady, Faustina Bordoni. She was elegant in
figure, handsome of face, had an amiable disposition, a ringing
mezzo-soprano, with a compass from B-flat to G in altissimo, and was
renowned for her brilliant execution, distinct enunciation, beautiful
shake, happy memory for embellishments and fine expression.

However pleased the directors may have been at first to have two popular
songstresses, they were soon dismayed at the fierce rivalry that sprang
up between them and was fanned to flames by Master Handel himself, who
now composed exclusively for Faustina. By increasing the salary of her
more tractable rival they finally disposed of Cuzzoni, who thenceforth
through her exaggerated demands, managed to disgust her patrons wherever
she appeared. Her reckless extravagance left her wholly destitute after
losing her voice and her husband, Signor Sandoni, a harpsichord-maker.
She passed her last years in Bologna, subsisting on a miserable pittance
earned by covering buttons.

Faustina married Adolphe Hasse, the German dramatic composer, and at
forty-seven sang before Frederick the Great, who was charmed with the
freshness of her voice. The couple lived until 1783, the one
eighty-three, the other eighty-four years of age. Dr. Burney visited
them when they were advanced in the seventies and found Faustina a
sprightly, sensible old lady, with a delightful store of reminiscences,
and her husband a communicative, rational old gentleman, quite free from
"pedantry, pride and prejudice."

Gertrude Elizabeth Mara, Germany's earliest noted queen of song, began
her public career in 1755 as a child violinist of six, traveling with
her father, Johann Schmäling, a respectable musician of Hesse-Cassel. In
London her musical gifts proved to include a phenomenal soprano voice,
which developed a compass from G to E altissimo, unrivalled portamento
di voce, pure enunciation and precise intonation. She became skilled in
harmony, theory, sight-reading and harpsichord playing. When she sang,
her glowing countenance, her supreme acting and the lights and shades of
her voice made people forget the plainness of her features and the
insignificance of her form and stature. Her rendering of Handel's airs,
especially "I Know that My Redeemer Liveth," was pronounced faultless.

Frederick the Great, who as soon expected pleasure from the neighing of
a horse as from a German songstress, vanquished on hearing her,
retained her as court singer. While in his service she became the wife
of Jean Mara, a handsome, dissipated court violoncellist, whom she loved
devotedly, but who led her a sorry life. Returning to London later she
taught singing at two guineas a lesson. Upon fear being expressed that
her price, double that of other teachers, would limit her class, she
said her pupils having her voice as a model could learn in half the time
required for those who had only the tinkling of a piano to imitate.
Though she believed singing should be taught by a singer, a tenderness
for her own experience made her insist that the best way to begin the
musical education was by having the pupil learn to play the violin. When
she heard a songstress extolled for rapid vocalization she would ask:
"Can she sing six plain notes?" This question might afford young singers
food for reflection. Madame Mara passed her declining years teaching
singing near her native place, and died at Reval, in 1833. Two years
earlier, on her eighty-third birthday, Goethe offered her a poetic
tribute.

At a London farewell concert given by Madame Mara in 1802, she was
assisted by Mrs. Elizabeth Billington, who has been ranked first among
English-born queens of song. Her pure soprano had a range of three
octaves, from A to A, with flute-like upper tones. She sang with
neatness, agility and precision, could detect the least false intonation
of instrument or voice, and was attractive in appearance. Haydn
eulogized her genius in his diary, and in the studio of Sir Joshua
Reynolds, who was painting her portrait as St. Cecilia, exclaimed: "You
have represented Mrs. Billington listening to the angels, you should
have made them listening to her." It was she who introduced Mozart's
operas into England. She only lived to be forty-eight, breaking down in
1818, from the effects of brutal treatment of her second husband, a
Frenchman, named Felissent.

Last of the eighteenth century queens of song was Angelica Catalani,
born some forty miles from Rome in 1779, destined by her father, a
local magistrate, for the cloister, and borne beyond its walls by her
magnificent voice, with its compass of three octaves, from G to G. She
is described as a tall, fair woman with a splendid presence, large blue
eyes, features of perfect symmetry and a winning smile. So great was her
natural facility she could rise with ease from the faintest sound to the
most superb crescendo, could send her tones sweeping through the air
with the most delicious undulations, imitating the swell and fall of a
bell, and could trill like a bird on each note of a chromatic passage.
She dazzled her listeners, but left the heart untouched.

Her domestic life was a happy one, and her husband, Captain de
Vallebregue, adored her, although he knew so little about music that
once when she complained that the piano was too high he had six inches
cut off its legs. Surrounded by adulation at home and abroad, her
self-conceit became inordinate, tempting her to the most absurd feats of
skill. Her excessive love of display and lack of artistic judgment and
knowledge finally led her so far astray in pitch that she lost all
prestige. After seventeen years of retirement, she died of cholera in
1849, in Paris. A few days before she was stricken with the dire
epidemic Jenny Lind sought and received her blessing.

A queen of song who profoundly impressed her age was Giuditta Pasta,
born near Milan in 1798, of Hebrew parentage. For her Bellini wrote "La
Sonnambula" and "Norma," Donizetti his "Anna Bolena," Pacini his
"Niobe," and she was the star of Rossini's leading operas of the time.
Her voice, a mezzo-soprano, at first unequal, weak, of slender range and
lacking flexibility, acquired, through her wonderful genius and industry
a range of two octaves and a half, reaching D in altissimo, together
with a sweetness, a fluency, and a chaste, expressive style. Although
below medium height, in impassioned moments she seemed to rise to
queenly stature. Both acting and singing were governed by ripe judgment,
profound sensibility and noble simplicity. She died at Lake Como in
1865.

So many queens of song have reigned from the beginning of the
nineteenth century to the present time that only a few brilliant names
may here be mentioned. Among these Henrietta Sontag was the greatest
German singer of the first half of the century. A distinguished traveler
tells of having found her when she was eight years old, in 1812, sitting
on a table, where her mother had placed her, and singing the grand aria
of the Queen of the Night from the "Magic Flute," her voice, "pure,
penetrating and of angelic tone," flowing as "unconsciously as a limpid
rill from the mountain side." At fifteen she made her regular début, and
we are told that she sang "with the volubility of a bird." During her
four years at the Conservatory of Prague she had won the prize in every
class of vocal music, piano and harmony.

Acquitting herself with ease in both German and Italian, and being
exceedingly versatile, she won equal renown in the operas of Weber,
Mozart, Rossini, and Donizetti. Paris, in special, marveled at the
little German who could give satisfaction in Grand Opera. Her voice, a
pure soprano, reached to D in alt., with upper notes like silvery
bell-tones, and its natural pliability was cultivated by taste and
incessant study. She was of medium stature, elegant form, with light
hair, fair complexion and soft, expressive blue eyes that lent an
enchantment to features that were not otherwise striking. In demeanor
she was artless, unaffected and ladylike. Romantic stories were
continually in circulation regarding suitors for her hand. As the wife
of Count Rossi, an attaché of the Sardinian legation, she retired to
private life in 1830, and passed many happy years with her husband in
various capitols of Europe. When, in 1848, owing to financial shipwreck,
she returned to the stage her voice still charmed by its exquisite
purity, spirituelle quality and supreme finish. In 1852 she came to
America and created an immense furore in the musical and fashionable
world. She died of cholera in Mexico in 1854.

Born the same year as Madame Sontag was Wilhelmine Schröder-Devrient,
one of the world's noblest interpreters of German opera and German
Lieder, although surpassed by others in vocal resources. She grew up on
the stage, and was trained by her father, Friedrich Schröder, a baritone
singer, and her mother, Sophie Schröder, known as the "Siddons of
Germany." Her dramatic soprano was capable of producing the most tender,
powerful, truthful and intensely thrilling effects, although it was not
specially tractable and was at times even harsh. It was she who by her
magnificent interpretation of Leonore, in Beethoven's "Fidelio," first
revealed the beauty of the part to the public. In Wagner's operas she
appeared as Senta, in the "Flying Dutchman"; Venus, in "Tannhäuser," and
actually created the rôle of Adriano Colonna, in "Rienzi." Goethe, who
had earlier failed to appreciate Schubert's matchless setting to his
"Erl King," when he heard Madame Schröder-Devrient sing it, exclaimed:
"Had music instead of words been my vehicle of thought, it is thus I
should have framed the legend." She died in 1860.

Full of caprice, radiating the fire of genius, wayward and playful as a
child, Maria Felicità Malibran swept like a dazzling meteor across the
musical firmament. M. Arthur Pougin thus epitomizes her story:

"Daughter of a Spaniard, born in France, married in America, died in
England, buried in Belgium. Comedienne at five, married at seventeen,
dead at twenty-eight--immortal. Beautiful, brilliant, gay as a ray of
sunlight, with frequent shadings of melancholy; heart full of warmth and
abandon; devoted to the point of sacrifice; courageous to temerity;
ardent for pleasure as for work; with a will and energy indomitable. A
singer without a peer, and a lyric tragedienne capable of exciting the
instinctive enthusiasm of the masses and the reasonable admiration of
connoisseurs. Pianist, composer, poet, she drew and painted with taste;
spoke fluently five languages; was expert in all feminine work, skilled
in sport and outdoor exercises, and possessed of a striking originality.
Such was Malibran in part, for the whole could never be expressed."

Her genius developed under the iron control of her father, Manuel del
Popolo Garcia, who compelled to submission her seemingly intractable
voice until it became sonorous, superb, a brilliant and fascinating
contralto, with a range of over three octaves, reaching E in alt. Her
own indomitable will and exceptional artistic intelligence were prime
factors in the training. In her heart-searching tones and passionate
acting her glowing soul was felt. When she was but seventeen, her
father, seeking an ideal climate, started with his family for Mexico. In
New York she contracted her unfortunate marriage with the French banker,
M. Malibran. She soon returned to Paris and the stage, and later having
obtained a divorce, married the famous violinist De Beriot, with whom
she had a brief but happy union.

Madame Malibran was said to be equally at home in any known school of
her time. Mozart and Cimarosa, Boieldieu and Rossini, Cherubini and
Bellini were all grasped with the same sympathetic comprehension. Sontag
was her rival, Pasta was yet in the height of her fame, but no contrasts
whatever dimmed the glory of Malibran. A rare personal charm added to
her artistic graces. Mr. Chorley describing her, in his recollections,
said that she was better than beautiful, insomuch as a "speaking Spanish
human countenance by Murillo is ten times more fascinating than many a
faultless face such as Guido could paint." When her death was announced,
in 1836, Ole Bull, who had known her well, exclaimed: "I cannot realize
it. A woman with a soul of fire, so highly endowed, so intense. How I
wept on seeing her as Desdemona! It is not possible she is dead."

Pauline Garcia, thirteen years younger than her remarkable sister, and
with a voice similar in quality, also did justice to her father's
rigorous discipline and became famous. She married M. Viardot, opera
director and critic, and after a brilliant career as a singer, gave long
and valuable service as a vocal teacher in Paris. She remained in the
full tide of her activity until she was long past the allotted
threescore years and ten. It is an interesting fact that Madame Mathilde
Marchesi, author of a noted vocal method, 24 books of Vocalises, a
volume of reminiscences, and other works, and once famed as a singer,
is only five years younger than Madame Viardot-Garcia, but at
seventy-six is still teaching--still shining as an authority on the art
of song. Singers seem often to have been long-lived. In truth, there is
that in music which is life-giving.

A songstress whose name will always be mentioned in the same breath with
that of the tenor Mario, who became her husband, and with whom she
toured the United States in 1854, was Giulia Grisi. She was born in
Milan in 1812, made her début at sixteen, and had an undisputed reign of
over a quarter of a century. Her voice, a pure soprano of finest
quality, brilliant and vibrating, spanned two octaves, from C to C. She
possessed the gift of beauty, and was said to unite the tragic
inspiration of Pasta with the fire and energy of Malibran. A favorite
rôle with her was that of the Druid priestess in "Norma." Her delivery
of "Casta Diva" was said to be a transcendant effort of vocalization.

Living to-day in London at the advanced age of ninety-seven is the elder
brother of Malibran and Viardot-Garcia, Manuel Garcia, the inventor of
the laryngoscope, author of the renowned "Art of Song," and teacher of
Jenny Lind. It was in 1841 that the ever-beloved Swedish Nightingale,
then twenty-one years old, sought him in Paris, with a voice worn from
over-exertion and lack of proper management. In ten months she had
gained all that master could teach her in tone production, blending of
the registers and breath-control. Her own genius, her splendid
individuality, her indefatigable perseverance, did the rest in investing
her dramatic soprano with that sympathetic timbre, that power of
expressing every phase of her artistic conception, that bird-like
quality of the upper notes, that marvelous beauty and equality of the
entire range of two octaves and three quarters (from B below the stave
to G on the fourth line), that exquisite sonority, that penetrating
pianissimo, that unrivalled messa di voce, that mastery over technique
of which so much has been written and said.

Jenny Lind was to Sweden what Ole Bull was to Norway, the inspirer of
noble achievement. The faithful interpreter of the acknowledged
masterpieces of genius in opera, oratorio and song, she also freely
poured forth in gracious waves the poetic, the rugged, and the
exquisitely polished lays of the Northland, making them known for the
first time to thousands of people. It was through her pure and noble
womanhood, quite as much as through her artistic excellence that she
swayed the public and left so deep and enduring an impression. True to
the backbone in her artistic allegiance, she believed that art, the
expression and embodiment of the spiritual principle animating it, could
not fail to elevate to a high spiritual and moral standard the genuine
artist.

She had lived thirty-five happy years with her husband, Mr. Otto
Goldschmidt, pianist, conductor and composer, who still survives her,
when death overtook her at their home on the Malvern Hills, November 2,
1887. When the end drew near, one of her daughters threw open the window
shutters to admit the morning sun. As it came streaming into the room,
Jenny Lind uplifted her voice, and it rang out firm and clear as she
sang the opening measures of Schumann's glorious "To the Sunshine." The
notes were her last. A bust of her was unveiled in Westminster Abbey in
1894.

A Swedish songstress with a powerful, well-trained voice, who before
Jenny Lind won operatic laurels in foreign lands, was Henrietta
Nissen-Saloman, also a pupil of Garcia. Later, the brilliant Swedish
soprano, Christine Nilsson, with a voice of wonderful sweetness and
beauty, reaching with ease F in alt., with the most thorough skill in
vocalization, with dramatic intuitions, expressive powers and magnetic
presence, charmed the public on two continents in such rôles as
Marguerite, Mignon, Elsa, Ophelia and Lucia. She, too, bore through the
world with her the northern songs she had learned to cherish in
childhood.

Still another delightful dramatic soprano from the land of Jenny Lind is
Sigrid Arnoldson, who has a beautiful voice, winning personality, and
pronounced musical intelligence. She is still in her prime.

When the name of Adelina Patti is mentioned, we always think of long
enduring vocal powers, many farewells and high prices. Catalani, in her
full splendor, earned about $100,000 a season. Malibran's profits for
eighty-five concerts at La Scala ran to $95,000. Jenny Lind received
$208,675 for ninety-five concerts under Barnum's management. Patti has
had as much as $8,395 for one performance, and long received a fee of
$5,000 a night. In coloratura rôles she has been pronounced the greatest
singer of her time, both in opera and concert. Her voice, noted for its
wide compass, exceeding sweetness, marvelous flexibility and perfect
equality, has been so wonderfully well cared for that even now, in her
sixtieth year, she enjoys singing, although she rarely appears in
public. Her sister, Carlotta, was also a coloratura vocalist of
exquisite technique.

Queens of song now pass in swift review before the mind's eye. We recall
Marietta Alboni, the greatest contralto of the middle of the last
century, with a voice rich, mellow, liquid, pure and endowed with
passionate tenderness, the only pupil of Rossini; Theresa Tietiens, with
her mighty dramatic soprano, whose tones were softer than velvet, and
her noble acting; Marie Piccolomini, a winning mezzo-soprano; Parepa
Rosa, with her sweet, strong voice and imposing stage presence; Pescha
Leutner, the star of 1856; Louisa Pyne, the English Sontag; Parodi,
pupil of Pasta; Etelka Gerster, whose beautiful soprano could fascinate
if it could not awe; Pauline Lucca, whose originality, artistic
temperament and intelligence placed her in the front rank of dramatic
sopranos, and many others.

Amalie Materna, dramatic soprano at the Vienna Court Theatre from 1869
to 1896, with great musical and dramatic intelligence, with a voice of
remarkable compass, volume, richness and sustaining power, vibrant with
passionate intensity, and with a noble stage presence, proved to be
Wagner's ideal Brünnhilde and introduced the rôle at Bayreuth in 1876.
She was also the creator of Kundry at the same place in 1882. She
aroused unbounded enthusiasm as Elizabeth in "Tannhäuser," and as Isolde
in "Tristan and Isolde." She is not forgotten by those who heard her in
various cities of this country.

The same may be said of Marianne Brandt, who sang the part of Kundry at
the second "Parsifal" representation at Bayreuth, having been Frau
Materna's alternate in 1882. With her superbly rich, deep-toned voice
and her splendid vocal and dramatic control she thrilled her audiences
in her Wagnerian rôles, in Beethoven's "Fidelio," and in all she
attempted, whether in opera or concert. She was a magnificent
horsewoman, and was perhaps the only Brünnhilde who was able to give
full play on the stage to her Valkyrie charger. It is told by an eye
witness that before a first appearance in a German city she was borne
furiously on the stage at rehearsal by her spirited, prancing steed, and
when she drew him up suddenly, rearing and pawing the air, near the
footlights, the members of the orchestra dropped their instruments and
fled affrighted. It was not long, however, before she succeeded in
winning their confidence, and all went well at the evening performance.

Six more radiant queens of song whose reign belongs to these modern
times must be mentioned in conclusion: Sembrich, Nordica, Calvé, Melba,
Sanderson and Eames. These are but a few of the many present day rulers
in the realms of song.

Marcella Sembrich, a coloratura soprano from Galicia, has a light,
penetrating, marvelously sweet, and exceedingly flexible voice, with an
almost perfect vocal mechanism. As one of her admirers has said, her
tones are as clear as silver bells, and there is something buoyant and
jubilant in her mode of song. With her genuine art and engaging
personality she holds her audiences entranced and, being wise enough to
keep within her special genre, she always succeeds as an actress. She is
a pupil of the Lampertis, father and son, studied the piano with Liszt,
becoming an excellent interpreter of Chopin, and is no mean violinist.

An American, born in Farmington, Me., Lillian Nordica pursued her vocal
and musical studies at the New England Conservatory, in Boston, and
after much experience in church, concert and oratorio singing, studied
for the opera in Milan, under Signor Sangiovanni. She made her operatic
début at Brescia in "Traviata," and in Paris as Marguerite, in "Faust."
Her superb, liquid soprano is pure, smooth and equal throughout its
entire large compass. She combines feeling with that artistic
understanding which regulates it, and has been pronounced one of the
most conscientious and intelligent singers of the day. An admirable
actress and extremely versatile, she has been successful in Mozart's
operas, and has won high renown in her Wagnerian rôles.

Emma Calvé, a Spaniard, possessed of all a Spaniard's fire, thrills,
bewilders, her hearers, though the more thoughtful among them wonder if
they were not moved rather by her tremendous passionate force and
powerful magnetism than by her vocal and histrionic art. Her voice is
superb, yet she often loses a vocal opportunity for dramatic effect,
often mars its beauty in the excitement that tears a passion to
tatters. Withal there is a charm to her singing that can never be
forgotten by those who have heard it. Her first triumph was won as the
interpreter of Santuzza, in "Cavalleria Rusticana," Mascagni himself
preparing her for the rôle. She next created a furore as Carmen, and
with her fascinating gestures, complete abandon, grace, and dazzling
beauty made the part one of the most original and bewitching
impersonations on the stage.

The Australian, Nellie Melba, who takes her stage name from Melbourne,
her birthplace, has been compared to Patti as a vocal technician. Her
voice is divine, but she seems powerless to animate her brilliant
singing with the warmth that glows in her eyes. As an actress she
completely veils whatever emotions she may feel, and while her marvelous
vocalization overwhelms her audiences, she meets with her greatest
triumphs in operas that make the least demands on the dramatic powers.

Massenet wrote the title rôles of his "Esclarmonde" and his "Thais" for
a California girl, Sybil Sanderson, and himself trained her for their
stage presentation. Her success was assured when she made her début in
the first-named opera at the Opera Comique, in Paris, in 1889. She has a
voice of that light, pure, flexible quality so characteristic of our
countrywomen, and is an admirable actress. She is a pupil of Madame
Marchesi.

Another distinguished pupil of the same teacher is Emma Eames, who was
born in China of New England parents, and was educated in Boston and in
Paris. Her voice too is exceedingly flexible, is fresh, pure and clear,
her intonations are correct and her personality most attractive. She has
been very successful in Wagnerian rôles, makes a superb Elsa, and, in
the "Meistersinger," an ideal Eva. During her early years on the stage
her extreme calmness amounted almost to aggravating frigidity, but with
time she has thawed. She may well be considered a conscientious artist
endowed with rare musical intuition.

There is no possession more perishable, more delicate, than the human
voice. When one considers the joy it is capable of shedding about it,
the blessings that may follow in its train, it seems sad to think of the
reckless waste caused by its neglect and mismanagement. Its life is
brief enough at best. Let it be cherished to the utmost.

In America where there are to-day more fine voices among women than in
any other country and where time and means are so freely expended on the
musical education of girls, the twentieth century should produce nobler
queens of song than the world has yet known. First, the American girl
must learn that the real things of life are more to be prized than false
semblances, and that genuine musical culture resting on a foundation
built with painstaking care and consecrated artistic zeal, is of far
higher and more enduring value than the most dazzling feats of display
which lack solid, intrinsic support.



X

The Opera and Its Reformers


The evolution of the drama is intimately associated with that of music
and both are inseparably entwined with the unfolding of the spiritual
life of the human race. Man is essentially dramatic by nature, and both
history and tradition show it to have been among his earliest instincts
to express his inner emotions by action and song.

From this tendency arose the Greek religious drama. We find it in
legendary times at the altar of Dionysus, master of the resources of
vitality, in whose train followed the Muses, actual leaders and
conductors of human existence. At seed-time and harvest festivals a rude
chorus, grouped about the altar, told the story of the god's wanderings
and adventures, in simple words, accompanied by gesture, dance and
music. This expression of thought and feeling mirrored the emotions of
the worshipers, kindled the imagination, and strengthened the innate
instinct for freedom. Gradually the narrative detaching itself from the
choral parts fell to individual singers, the acting became more and more
a distinct feature of the occasion, ever increasing dramatic quality
characterized the song, and the materials were at hand for the Greek
drama so fruitful to us in its results.

Greek poetry, in its matchless beauty, may still be enjoyed by all who
have powers of literary appreciation. Of Greek music we know little
beyond the theories which form the basis for modern musical science and
the fact that it was highly esteemed. Aristotle tells us that it was an
essential element in Greek stage plays and their greatest embellishment.
Both Æschylus and Sophocles were practical musicians and composed music
for their dramas. Euripides, less musician than poet, was at least
able to have the music for his works prepared under his direction.
Indeed, words, music and scenic effect were inseparably connected in the
Greek dramas.

[Illustration: CORELLI]

The enthusiasm these aroused is indicated by the fact that travelers
from distant lands undertook perilous journeys to attend the famous
performances at Athens, often remaining in their seats twenty-four hours
before the play began in order to secure desirable places. Fully fifty
thousand spectators could be accommodated in the Lenæan Theatre, whose
stage machinery would make ours seem like a toy model. Many of its
theatrical exhibitions cost more than the Peloponnesian War.

In Greek life, at the period of its glory, music and the drama were
esteemed elevating factors in culture. The supreme things of human
existence were pictured in them. They expressed the world-view of an
entire people. Under Roman dominion, with its corrupting slavery, they
degenerated into mere sources of diversion, and finally became
associated with evil and degrading practices.

For this reason and because at best they represented pagan ideals,
theatrical representations were discouraged by the fathers of the
primitive Christian Church. The dramatic instinct was not condemned, and
its imperative needs were appealed to in the church service, which early
set forth in symbols all that was too mysterious and awe-inspiring for
words. In order further to reach the mind through the senses, scenes
from the Scriptures were read in the churches, illustrated with living
pictures and music. Gradually the characters personated began to speak
and to move. The drama rose anew at the foot of the altar. Christian
priests were its reformers, its guardians and its actors. Designed for
the amusement as well as the instruction of the gaping multitudes, it
was necessarily a pretty crude affair. Satan was introduced as the
clown, and laughter was provoked at his discomfiture when routed, or at
the destruction of those who wilfully cast themselves into his clutches.
It is not strange that the pious and learned St. Augustine, in the
fourth century, regretted the polished dramatic performances at
Alexandria that in his youth had afforded him so much genuine enjoyment.
Among the people the church play became so popular that in the course of
time it was found necessary to erect more spacious stages in the open
air.

Thus arose the Mystery, Miracle, Morality and Passion Plays, the direct
progenitors of the Opera and the Oratorio. The descent of the Opera may
be traced also to another source, to the secular play which persisted in
the face of ecclesiastical disfavor and the ban that excluded its
players from the church sacraments.

Strolling histriones, jongleurs and minstrels passed from court to
court, appeared in castle yards, market places or village greens,
recited, acted, sang, danced and played on musical instruments. They
afforded a welcome means of communication with the outside world; they
broke up the monotony of life when events were few. As modern music
rests on the two pillars of the Gregorian chant and the folk-song, so
the opera rests on the two pillars of the religious drama and the
people's play.

During the high tide of the revival of Greek learning in Italy, late in
the sixteenth century, a group of the aspiring young nobility of
Florence, gentlemen and gentlewomen, adopting the dignified name of the
"Academy," resolved to recover the much discussed music of the Greek
drama. The place of rendezvous was the palace of Count Bardi, a member
of one of the oldest patrician families in Tuscany. Edifying discourse
and laudable exercises were indulged in by the guests, among whom were
several persons of genius and learning. The meetings were presided over
by the host, himself a poet and composer, as well as a patron of the
fine arts.

The culture of the times demanded a higher gratification for man's
dramatic cravings than either rude religious or secular plays afforded.
Other music was required to depict the emotions than that of the
contrapuntist, with its puzzling intricacies. So thought these ardent
Hellenists, and a burning zeal possessed them to mate dramatic poetry
with a music that would heighten and intensify its expression and
effect. They who seek are sure to find, even if it be not always the
object of their search. In the earnest quest of these reformers for
dramatic truth an unexpected treasure was disclosed.

Vincenzo Galilei, father of Galileo Galilei, opened the way. He was the
active champion of monody, in which a principal melody was intoned or
sung to the accompaniment of subordinate harmonies, believing that in
music designed to arouse personal feeling individualism should
predominate. The art music of the time was polyphonic, that is,
constructed by so interweaving melodies that harmonies resulted. Of
solos in our modern sense nothing was known beyond the folk-songs,
instinctive outpourings of the human heart, and these learned composers
had merely used as pegs on which to hang their counterpoint. Not content
with giving his ideas to the world in the form of a dialogue, Galilei
composed two musical monologues, between 1581 and 1590, one to the scene
of Count Ugolino, in Dante's "Inferno," and one to a passage in the
Lamentations of Jeremiah. These the chroniclers tell us he sang very
sweetly, accompanying himself on the lute. He was also a fine performer
on the viola.

A dramatic representation at a court marriage, in 1590, in which the
artificially constructed ecclesiastical music illy fitted the text
lauding the bride's loveliness, gave a new impulse to the "Academy"
efforts. Soon there was produced at court, by a company of highborn
ladies and gentlemen, two pastoral plays: "Il Satiro" and "La
Disperazione di Fileno," so set to music that they could be sung or
declaimed throughout. The author of the text was Signora Laura
Guidiccioni, of the Lucchesini family, renowned in her day for her
poetic gifts and brilliant attainments. Signor Emilio del Cavalieri was
the composer, and he triumphantly announced his music as that "of the
ancients recovered," having power to "excite grief, pity, joy and
pleasure."

These two "musical dramas," as they were called, contained the germs of
modern opera, despite their crudities of harmony and monotonous melody.
That noble songstress, Vittoria Archilei, known as "Euterpe" among her
Italian contemporaries, greatly enhanced the success of the new venture
with her superb voice, artistic skill, musical fire and splendid
intelligence. She "whose excellence in music is generally known," as we
are told, and who was able to "draw tears from her audience" at the
right moment, also aroused enthusiasm for a third work of a similar
nature by the same authors, "Il Giuco della Cieco," that appeared in
1595.

Besides being the first to tell the entire story of a play musically and
to utilize the solo, Cavalieri introduced various ornaments into vocal
music and increased the demands on instrumentation. He did not succeed,
however, in satisfying the Academicians with his attempt to grasp the
medium between speech and song, and his choruses were thought tedious
because of their employment of the intricate polyphonic style. Further
reform was desired.

This came through Jacopo Peri, maestro at the Medician court, and after
1601 at the court of Ferrara. In studying Greek dramas, as he states in
one of his writings, he became convinced that their musical expression
was that of highly colored emotional speech. Closely observing diverse
modes of utterance in daily life, he endeavored to reproduce soft,
gentle words by half-spoken, half-sung tones, sustained by an
instrumental bass, and to express excitement by extended intervals,
lively tempo and suitable distribution of dissonances in the
accompaniment. To him may be attributed the first dramatic recitative.
It appeared in his "Daphne," a "Dramma per la Musica," written to text
by the poet Rinuccini and privately performed at the Palazzo Corsi, in
1597. This was actually the first opera, although the term was not
applied to such compositions until half a century later. Several solos
were added by the court singer, Giulio Caccini, who composed a number of
songs for a single voice, "in imitation of Galilei," as a contemporary
stated, "but in a more beautiful and pleasing style." Invited three
years later to produce a similar work for the festivities attending the
marriage of Henry IV. of France with Maria di Medici, Peri wrote his
"Eurydice," and once more Signora Archilei interpreted the leading rôle,
greatly to the composer's satisfaction. It was the first opera performed
in public. The singing had a bald accompaniment of an orchestra placed
behind the scenes and consisting of a clavicembalo, or harpsichord, a
viola da gamba, a theorbo, or large lute, and a flute, the last being
used to imitate Pan-pipes in the hands of one of the characters.

Seven years afterward, for another court marriage, a musical drama was
written by a man of genius who completely broke the fetters of ancient
polyphony. This was Claudio Monteverde, then in his thirty-ninth year,
and chapel master to the Duke of Mantua. He was the first composer to
use unprepared chords of the seventh, dominant and diminished, and to
emphasize passionate situations with dissonances. He invented the
tremolo and the pizzicato, and originated the vocal duet. His keen
dramatic sense enabled him to arouse interest through contrasts,
conspicuously characteristic passages, and independent orchestral
preludes, interludes and bits of descriptive tone-painting.

His opera, "Orfeo," 1608, had an orchestra of two harpsichords, two bass
viols, two violas di gamba, ten tenor viols, two little French violins,
one harp, two large guitars, three small organs, four trombones, two
cornets, one piccolo, one clarion and three trumpets. In "Tancredi e
Clorinda," produced in Venice, in 1624, a string quartet indicated the
galloping of horses, a prototype of the "Ride of the Valkyries." Like
Abbé Liszt, he took holy orders late in life, without ceasing to
compose. At seventy-four years of age, when the fire of his genius
burned brightly as ever, he wrote his last opera "L'Incoronazione di
Poppea." It may truly be said that Monteverde was the great operatic
reformer, the Wagner, of the seventeenth century, as Gluck was of the
eighteenth.

An epoch-making event in opera history was the opening, in 1637, of the
first public opera house in commercial Venice whose wealth afforded her
citizens leisure to cultivate art. Soon popular demand led to the
erection of many Italian opera-houses. At the same time growing taste
for magnificence of stage setting and brilliant, dazzling, even
extravagant song effects, caused neglect of Academician principles. The
learned and gifted Neapolitan composer, Alessandro Scarlatti, father of
the famous harpsichordist, gave an impulse in his operas, during the
last quarter of the century, to sensuous charm and beauty of melody. He
invested recitative with classic value, enlarged the aria, and devised
the da capo which became a menace to dramatic truth.

In France, the troubadours had borne melody into the domain of
sentiment, and laid a solid foundation for musical growth. Adam de la
Hallé's pastoral, "Robin et Marion," was an actual prototype of the
opera. During the seventeenth century Corneille and Molière refined the
dramatic taste of their compatriots. Attempts to introduce Italian opera
only resulted in arousing a desire for an opera in accord with French
ideals.

This was gratified by Jean Battiste Lully, who had come to the French
court from Italy in boyhood, and had risen, in 1672, from a subordinate
position to that of chief musician. Undertaking to make reforms, he
succeeded in giving his adopted country a national opera. He established
the overture, gave recitative rhetorical force, added coloring to the
orchestra, and introduced the ballet. New life was infused into the
traditions he left when Jean Philippe Rameau, in 1733, at fifty years of
age, wrote his first opera. He was well-known as a theorist and
composer, and was the author of a harmony treatise in which were set
forth the laws of chord inversions and derivations, a stroke of genius
that hopelessly entangled him in perplexities. His instrumentation was
more highly colored, his rhythms more varied than those of his
predecessor, and his sincerity of purpose more evident. In common with
other reformers he was accused of "sacrificing the pleasures of the ear
to vain harmonic speculations." Some of his many operas were written to
works of Racine. He died in 1764, in his eighty-first year.

A century earlier the English reached the culmination of their Golden
Age of musical productiveness in Henry Purcell, known as the most
original genius England has produced. His dramatic powers were fostered
by the popular masques with their gorgeous show of color and rhythm, and
in mere boyhood he wrote music for several of them. In 1677, when only
nineteen, he produced his first opera. He attempted no reform, but his
instinct for the true relation between the accents of speech and those
of melody and recitative seems to have been unerring. Saturated with
native English melody, tingling with fertile fancy and controlled by
education, whether he wrote for stage, church, or chamber, he evinced a
freshness and vigor, a breezy picturesqueness and a wealth of rhythmic
phrases and patterns, and many new orchestral devices. In 1710, fifteen
years after his early death, the giant Handel began to dominate musical
England, flooding the stage with operas of the Italian type and finally
ushering in the reign of the oratorio. The delicate plant of English
opera never took root.

Italian influence had almost caused the decline of French opera when
Christopher Willibald Gluck turned to Paris, in 1774, as its
regenerator. In Vienna, twelve years earlier, he had already produced
his "Orfeo," whose calm, classic grandeur seemed the embodiment of the
Greek art spirit. His choice of subjects indicates the enterprise on
which he had embarked. He sought simplicity, subjugation of music to
poetic sentiment, dramatic sincerity and organic unity. His operatic
version of Racine's "Iphigènie en Aulide" called forth unbounded
enthusiasm in the French metropolis directly after his arrival, and led
to the warfare with the brilliant Italian Piccini, which was as hot as
any Wagner controversy.

The homage of all time is due this man of genius for the splendid
courage with which he attacked shams. He claimed it to be the divine
right of the dramatic composer to have his works sung precisely as he
had written them, and protested against the innovations that had been
permitted to suit the caprices and gratify the vanity of singers. It was
his idea that the Sinfonia, in other words the Overture or Prelude,
should indicate the subject and prepare the spectators for the
characters of the pieces, and that the instrumental coloring should be
adapted to the mood of the situation, thus anticipating modern
procedure. He prepared the way for the work of Cherubini, Auber, Gounod,
Thomas, Massenet, Saint-Saëns and others.

In Germany, Italian opera, early introduced, long remained fashionable.
Native dramatic tastes, once fostered by minnesingers and strolling
players, were kept alive by the "singspiel," or song-play, composed of
spoken dialogue and popular song, which furnished the actual beginnings
of German national music drama. The threshold of this was reached, the
sanctuary of its treasures unlocked, by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, who,
without thought of being a reformer, unconsciously infused German spirit
into Italian forms. It was during the last five years of his brief life,
from 1786 to 1791, that he produced his operatic masterpieces, "The
Marriage of Figaro," "Don Giovanni," and "The Magic Flute." His
marvelous musical and poetic genius, supported by profound scholarship,
led him into hitherto untried regions of expression, and to him it was
given to bring humanity on the stage, splendidly depicting the inner
being of each character in tones. Wagner said of him that he had
instinctively found dramatic truth and had cast brilliant light on the
relations of musician and poet.

Ludwig van Beethoven, the great tone-poet, guided by his profound
comprehension of the deep things of life and his active sympathies to
absolute truthfulness in delineating human passions, made the next
advance in his one opera, "Fidelio," written in 1805. Ranked, though it
is, rather as a symphony for voice and orchestra than as the musical
complement of a dramatic poem, there is nevertheless infused into some
of its chief numbers more potent dramatic expression than is found in
any previous opera. Thoroughly cosmopolitan in subject, it is
nevertheless German in that its lofty earnestness of tone offers a
protest against all shallowness and sensationalism. The entire story of
the opera is told in tones in the overture.

The next German to write overtures with a deliberate purpose to
foreshadow what followed was Carl Maria von Weber, whose greatest opera,
"Der Freischütz," appeared in 1821. The initial force of the German
romantic school, he founded his operas on romantic themes, and depicted
in tones the things of the weird, fantastic and elfish world that
kindled his imagination. He has been called the connecting link between
Mozart and Wagner, and in many of his theories he anticipated the
latter. National to the core, he embodied in his music the finest
qualities of the folk-song, and noble tone-painter that he was he
excelled his predecessors in his employment of the orchestra as a means
of dramatic characterization.

Richard Wagner was long regarded as the great iconoclast whose business
it was to destroy all that had gone before him in art, but no one ever
more profoundly reverenced Bach, Mozart, Beethoven and Weber than he.
The public was persistently informed that his compositions were beyond
ordinary comprehension, and yet designed, as they were, to picture man's
essential life, they have slowly but surely found their way to the
popular heart. It was the very essence of his musical dramatic creed
that to have blood in its veins and sincerity in its soul art must come
from the people and be addressed to the people. He chose the national
myth and hero tradition as the basis of his music-drama because of the
universality of their content and application, and because he believed
they reflected the German world-view. Himself he regarded as the
Siegfried whose mission it was to slay the dragon of sordid materialism
and awaken the slumbering bride of German art.

Bach and Chopin had anticipated him in some of his most startling chord
progressions. The motives of Bach's fugues and Beethoven's sonatas and
symphonies, and the so-called "leading motives" of the Frenchman, Hector
Berlioz, had preceded his "typical motives." Moreover, the orchestration
of Berlioz had been a precursor of his orchestral tone-coloring.
Nevertheless, everything he touched was so characteristically applied by
him as to produce new impressions, and to emphasize the idea of music as
a language. So peculiarly were music and poetry blended in the delicate
tissue of his genius that one seemed inseparable from the other. United,
he believed it to be their mission to inculcate high moral lessons of
patriotism and love.

He gave the death-blow to an opera whose sole aim is to tickle the ear.
Many an exquisite melody of Rossini and other Italian composers will
long continue to live, but their productions as wholes have mostly
ceased to be satisfying to those of us who have Teutonic blood in our
veins. The Italian opera composer who holds the highest place to-day in
the heart of the serious musician is that grand old man of music,
Giuseppe Verdi, whose genius enabled him to yield four times to the
spirit of the age, during his long career, and who in his ripe old age
endeavored to give Italy what Wagner had given the German nation.



XI

Certain Famous Oratorios


About the middle of the sixteenth century, San Filippo Neri, a zealous
Florentine priest, opened the chapel, or oratory, of his church in Rome,
for popular hours with his congregation. His main object being "to
allure young people to pious offices and to detain them from worldly
pleasure," he endeavored to make the occasions attractive as well as
edifying, and supplemented religious discourse and spiritual songs with
dramatized versions of Biblical stories provided with suitable music.
Associated with him in his labors for a good cause, was no less a
composer than that great reformer of Catholic church music, Giovanni
Pierluigi Sante da Palestrina, whose harmonies were declared by a
music-loving Pope to be those of the celestial Jerusalem. The laudable
enterprise proved successful. People flocked from all quarters to enjoy
the gratuitous entertainments, and a form of sacred musical art resulted
that derived from them its name.

Roswitha, a nun of the Gandersheim cloister, in the tenth century, made
the earliest attempt recorded to invest church plays with artistic
worth. Her six religious dramas, written in Latin for the use and
edification of her sister nuns, were published in a French setting, in
1845. It was a woman, too, Laura Guidiccioni, a brilliant member of the
Florence group of aristocratic truth-seekers in art, who wrote the text
of the first religious musical dramatic composition to which the name
oratorio became attached. It was set to music of a declamatory style by
Emilio del Cavalieri, the author's collaborator in the pastoral plays
that were really embryo operas. The title of the piece, "The
Representation of the Body and the Soul," indicates the allegorical
nature of the subject.

Its initial performance occurred at Rome, February, 1600, in the oratory
of San Filippo's church, Santa Maria della Vallicella. The composer had
died some months earlier, but his minute stage directions were
accurately observed. Behind the scenes was placed an orchestra
comprising a double lyre, a harpsichord, a large guitar and two flutes,
to which was added a violin for the leading part in the ritornels, that
is, instrumental preludes and interludes. The chorus had seats assigned
on the stage, but rose to sing, employing suitable movements and
gestures. Time, Morality, Pleasure, and other solo characters bore in
their hands musical instruments and seemed to play as they acted and
declaimed their parts, while the playing actually came from the
concealed instruments. The World, the Body and Human Life illustrated
the transitoriness of earthly affairs by flinging away the gorgeous
decorations they had worn when they appeared on the stage, and
displaying their utter poverty and wretchedness in the face of death
and dissolution. The representation ended with a ballet, danced
"sedately and reverently" to music by the chorus.

Some idea of the oratorio in its infancy may be gained from this
description. Except that the subject had a religious bearing, it
differed little from the opera. With Giacomo Carissimi, director of
music at San Apollinare, Rome, from 1628 until his death, in 1674, the
paths of the two diverged. He laid down lines that have been followed in
the oratorio ever since. Dancing and acting were excluded by him, and
the rôle of narrator introduced. His broad, simple treatment of chords
enhanced the purity and beauty of everything he wrote, and in his hand
recitative gained character, grace and musical expressiveness. Only a
small portion of his epoch-making work has been preserved, but quite
enough to make clear his title "Father of Oratorio and Cantata."

His pupil, Alessandro Scarlatti, founder of the Neapolitan school and
practically the musical dictator of Naples, from 1694 to 1725, was an
incredibly prolific composer in almost every known species of musical
form. His many improvements in vocal and instrumental music operated
greatly to the advantage of the oratorio. Possessing feeling for
orchestration to an unusual degree for his time, he grouped musical
instruments of different timbres with marked boldness and skill, and was
the first specially to orchestrate recitative. His genius and knowledge
enabled him to restore counterpoint to its rightful place, and his
oratorios show great gain in elasticity and form.

Another Alessandro, he who bore the surname Stradella and was the hero
of Flotow's opera of that name, has figured so freely in romance that it
is not easy to separate truth from fiction in accounts of his life. Dr.
Parry says of him that he had a remarkable instinct for choral effects,
even piling progressions into a climax, that his solo music aims at
definiteness of structure, that, in 1676, he used a double orchestra
whose principal instruments were violins, and that his oratorios were
specially significant, as he cultivated all the resources of that form
of art. His most celebrated composition is an oratorio, "San Giovanni
Battista," and one of the airs attached to it "Pietà Signore," a
beautiful, symmetrical, heart-searching melody, is sung to-day, although
it is by no means as well known as it deserves.

According to tradition, its tender, worshipful strains sung in the
church of the Holy Apostles, at Rome, by the composer himself, once
stayed the hand of an assassin whom jealousy had prompted to slay the
"Apollo della Musica." So Alessandro Stradella was called, because of
his great gifts as singer and composer, and his manly beauty. A jubilant
multitude surrounded him in life, and loud lamentation arose, when, at
length, he fell a victim to envy and malice. Thus the graceful legend
runs. Recent writers are trying to make us believe that the famous
"Pietà Signore" was a later interpolation in "San Giovanni Battista,"
and that it may be attributed to this or that composer, a century or
more after the death of Stradella, in 1681. Unless absolute proof be
afforded us, let us forbear from plucking this gem from his crown.

Composer of fifty operas and many other works, magnificent organist and
harpsichordist, with musical genius of a Titanic order, intellect that
was swift, sure and keen, an indomitable will, a lofty philosophy, and a
lordly personality, George Friedrich Handel, seemingly defeated by
outrageous fortune, wheeled about like some invincible general whose
business it was to win the battle and entering the field of the oratorio
gained a colossal victory. He had for some time passed the half century
milestone of his life when he scored his greatest achievements in this
line, and with magic touch transformed existing materials into the
art-form we know to-day. His "Messiah," which alone would have sufficed
to immortalize him, was produced, in one of his herculean bursts of
power, within twenty-three days, when he was well-advanced in his
fifty-seventh year. It was first given to the public, in Dublin, April
13, 1742, seven months after its completion. The enthusiasm it awakened
was repeated when it was performed later in London. Here, indeed, the
audience became so transported that at the opening of the Hallelujah
chorus every one present, led by the king, rose and remained standing, a
custom we follow to-day.

Herder calls the "Messiah" a Christian epopee, in musical sounds. It is
certainly written in the large, grand style of a noble epic, for it had
large matters to express, and its composer regarded music as a means of
addressing heart and soul. The theme is treated with reverence, delicacy
and judgment, and the leading tone is that of a mighty hymn of
rejoicing. Following an overture that is in itself a revelation, the
opening tenor recitative, "Comfort Ye, My People," has a convincing ring
that all is and will be well, mingled with infinite tenderness, and the
succeeding aria, "Every Valley," is pervaded with the freshness of earth
newly arisen amid great glory. The heart-rending desolation of
selections like the contralto air, "He was Despised," only serves to
accentuate the triumph of other portions. Throughout there is a warmth,
a contrapuntal splendor, a breadth, an elasticity, a richness of
orchestration, unknown in previous oratorio, unless in parts of some of
the master's own works. Even in the duet and choruses remodeled from his
chamber duets, there is that jubilant character that makes them blend
perfectly with the great whole.

Born and educated on German soil, steeped during his wanderer's years in
the spirit of the Italian muse, and finally nourished on the cathedral
music of England, Handel became thoroughly cosmopolitan, appropriating
what he chose from the influences that surrounded him. The English
regard him as one of their national glories, call him the "Saxon
Goliath," the "Michael Angelo of music," a "Bold Briareus with a hundred
hands," and have carved his form in enduring marble above his tomb in
Westminster Abbey. Nothing they have said can equal the tribute paid him
by the dying giant Beethoven, who pointing to Handel's works exclaimed:
"There is the truth."

Another lofty, yet wholly different personality, born also in 1685, is
found in Johann Sebastian Bach, whose Passion Oratorios, a direct
outgrowth of the Passion plays of old, furnish materials and inspiration
for all time. Handel worked in and for the public and fought his battles
in the great world. Bach was the lonely scholar who lived apart from
outside turmoil and unabashed in the presence of earthly monarchs,
reigned supreme in the tone-world. A typical Teuton, his music,
intensely earnest, highly intellectual, contains the essence of
Teutonism, and gives full, rich, copious expression to the inmost being
of humanity. The spirit of Protestant Germany is embodied in his
religious tone productions which have proved to Protestantism a tower of
strength. His service in developing the choral alone is inestimable.
Nothing that he has written, better represents the majesty and sublimity
of his style than his "Saint Matthew Passion" with its surpassing
utterances of human sorrow and infinite tenderness.

In the year 1790, when Joseph Haydn had accepted an invitation to make
a professional visit to London, his young friend, Mozart, endeavored to
dissuade him from going on account of his age, but Haydn persisted,
declaring that he was still active and strong. Eight years later, at
sixty-six years of age, he wrote his celebrated oratorio "The Creation,"
with all the vigor and sparkle of youth. The rambles of years in the
beautiful grounds of Esterhazy had attuned his soul to communion with
nature, and this work plainly shows his power of putting into tones the
secrets nature revealed to him. Blissful joyousness and child-like
naïveté are among its characteristic features.

The style of Beethoven as a composer of sacred music is reflected in his
single oratorio "Christ on the Mount of Olives," that like his single
opera stands apart, amply sufficient to prove what he was capable of
accomplishing. Mendelssohn, in his "St. Paul" and his "Elijah," embodied
a high ideal, building on his predecessors and attaining, especially in
the latter, an eclectic spirit that manifests keen discrimination. The
oratorios of Liszt, the "Christus," "St. Elizabeth" and some lesser
works, reveal high purpose and original treatment of a revelation in
tones of sacred events. In the oratorios of the Frenchman Gounod,
preeminently in his "Redemption," it is interesting to find modern
chorals based on those of the German Bach, and, in fact, as it has been
aptly said, a modernized treatment of Bach's passion form.

What may be the next step in the evolution of the oratorio it were
difficult to estimate. Whether modern efforts can ever surpass, or even
equal, the sublime productions in this field, or whether creative genius
will be turned into wholly new channels, the future alone may
determine.

[Illustration: SAINT-SAËNS]



XII

Symphony and Symphonic Poem


That adventurous spirit, Claudio Monteverde, who nearly three hundred
years ago made himself responsible for the first feeble utterances of an
orchestra that tried to say something for itself, divined the
possibilities of expression in varying combinations of tone-quality and
gave vigorous impulse to the germ of the symphony already existing in
the formless instrumental preludes and interludes of his predecessors
among opera-makers. His revelation of the charm that lies in exploring
the resources of instrumentation led to ever increasing demands on the
orchestra. The prelude developed into the operatic overture whose
business it became to prepare the spectator for what followed. That
music was capable of conveying an impression in her own tone-language
was apparent, and in due time the symphony rose majestic from the forge
of genius.

Prominent among the materials welded into it was the dance of obscure
origin. As the vocal aria was the result of the simple folk-song
combined with the intense craving of song's master molders for
individual expression, so instrumental music striving to walk alone,
without support from words, gained vital elements through the discovery
that various phases of mental disposition might be indicated by
alternating dance tunes differing in rhythm and movement, according to
Nature's own law of contrasts. That unity of purpose was essential to
the effectiveness of the diversity was instinctively discerned.

The touch of authority was given to this kind of music, during the last
two decades of the seventeenth century, by Arcangelo Corelli when he
presented in the camera, or private apartment, of Cardinal Ottoboni's
palace, in Rome, his idealized dance groups, thoroughly united by
harmony of mood, yet affording a wholly new tone-picture of this mood in
each of several movements. These compositions were usually written for
the harpsichord and perhaps three instruments of the viol order, the
master himself playing the leading melody on the violin. He called them
sonatas from sonare, to sound, a name originally applied to any piece
that was sounded by instruments, not sung by the human voice. They
prefigured the solo sonata, the entire class of chamber music named from
the place where they were performed, and the symphony which is a sonata
for the orchestra. Absolute music was set once for all on the right path
by them. They ushered in a new era of Art.

Purcell, in England, Domenico Scarlatti and Sammartini, in Italy, the
Bachs, in Germany, and others continued to fashion the sonata form. It
ceased to be a mere grouping of dances, the name suite being applied to
that, and struck out into independent excursions in the domain of
fancy. The prevailing melody of its monophonic style proved suitable to
furnish a subject for the most animated discussion. Three contrasting
movements were adopted, comprising a summons to attention, an appeal to
both intellect and emotions, and a lively reaction after excitement.

A German critic has jocosely remarked that the early writers meant the
sonata to show first what they could do, second what they could feel,
and third how glad they were to have finished. Time vastly increased its
importance. Two subjects, a melody in the tonic, another usually in the
dominant, came to set forth the exposition of the opening movement,
leading to a free development, with various episodes, and an assured
return to the original statement. The prevailing character being thus
defined, the story readily unfolds, aided by related keys, in a slow
movement and perhaps a minuet or scherzo, and gains its denouement in a
stirring finale, written in the original key. Each movement has its own
subjects, its individual development, with harmony of plan and idea for
a bond of union.

The name symphony, from sinfonia, a consonance of sounds, applied
originally to any selection played by a full band and later to
instrumental overtures, was given by Joseph Haydn to the orchestral
sonata form inaugurated by him. His thirty years of musical service to
the house of Esterhazy, with an orchestra increasing from 16 to 24
pieces to experiment on, as the solo virtuoso experiments on piano or
violin, brought him wholly under the spell of the instruments. Their
individual characteristics afforded him continually new suggestions in
regard to tone-coloring, and he rose often to audacity, for his time, in
his harmonic devices. Grace and spirit, originality of invention, joyous
abandon, a fancy controlled by a studious mind, a profusion of quaint
humor and a proper division of light and shade, combine to give the
dominant note to his music. His symphonies recall the fairy tale, with
its sparkling "once upon a time," and yet like it are not without their
mysterious shadows. In everything he has written is felt that faculty
of smiling amid grief and disappointment and pain that made Haydn, the
Father of the Symphony, exclaim in his old age, "Life is a charming
affair."

With Mozart, whose life-work began after, but ended before that of
Haydn, influencing and being influenced by the latter, the symphony
broadened in scope and grew richer in warmth of melodious expression,
definiteness of plan and completeness of form. His profoundly poetic
musical nature, with its high capacity for joy and sorrow and infinite
longing, was reflected in all that he wrote. By means of a generous
employment of free counterpoint, in other words a kind of polyphony in
which the various voices use different melodies in harmonious
combination, he gained a potent auxiliary in his cunning workmanship,
and emphasized the folly of rejecting the contrapuntal experiences, of,
for instance, a Sebastian Bach. Musical instruments, as well as musical
materials, were his servants in developing the glowing fancies of his
marvelously constructive brain. The crowning glory of his graceful
perfection of outline and detail is the noble spirit of serenity which
illumines all its beauty.

Beethoven further advanced the technique of the symphony, and proved its
power to "strike fire from the soul of man." Varying his themes while
repeating them, adding spice to his episodes and working out his entire
scheme with consummate skill, he was able to construct from a motive of
a few notes a mighty epic tone-poem. He translated into superb
orchestral pages the dreams of the human heart, the soul's longing for
liberty and all the holiest aspirations of the inner being. He discussed
in tones problems of man's life and destiny, ever displaying sublime
faith that Fate, however cruel, is powerless to crush the spiritual
being, the real individuality. His conflicts never fail to end in
triumph. Well may it be said that the ultimate purpose of a symphony of
Beethoven is to tell of those things from the deepest depths of which
events are mere shadows, and that as high feeling demands lofty
utterance his tonal forms are inevitably worthy of their contents.

Twenty-six years younger than Beethoven Schubert lived but a year after
he had passed away and died in 1828, two years later than Weber, and
felt the glow of the spirit of romanticism. From the perennial fount of
song within his breast there streamed fresh melodious strains through
his symphonies, the ninth and last of which, the C major, ranks him with
the great symphonists. Intense poetic sentiment, dreamy yet strong
musical individuality, romantic fulness of plan to embody in tones the
passionate emotions of a storm and stress period, and much originality
of orchestral treatment characterize the symphonies of Schumann. He
rises to towering heights in some passages, but in his daring
explorations through the tone-world he is often betrayed into a
vagueness of form, largely traceable perhaps to lack of early technical
discipline, as well as to lack of mental clarity. Ultra romanticism was
foreign to the nature and repulsive to the tastes of the refined,
elegant Mendelssohn, yet in spite of himself its influence crept gently
into his polished works. As a symphonist he displayed fertility in
picturesque sonorities, facility in tracing the outlines and filling in
the details of form, keen sense of balance of orchestral tone, thorough
scientific knowledge of his materials, and, as some one has said, became
all but a master in the highest sense. His overtures are unquestionably
romantic, and as their histrionic and scenic titles indicate, partake of
the nature of programme music.

This brings us to Hector Berlioz, the famous French symphonist, the
exponent par excellence of programme music, that is, music intended to
illustrate a special story. He lived from 1803 to 1869, and because of
his audacity in using new and startling tonal effects was called the
most flagrant musical heretic of the nineteenth century. He was the
first to impress on the world the idea of music as a definite language.
His recurrent themes, called "fixed ideas," prefigured Wagner's "leading
motives." His skill in combining instruments added new lustre to
orchestration. The personal style he created for himself was the result
of his studies of older masterpieces, above all those of Gluck which he
knew by heart, and of his philosophic researches. His four famous
symphonic works are: "Fantastic Symphony," "Grand Funeral and Triumphal
Symphony," "Harold in Italy" and "Romeo and Juliet." In a preface to the
first he thus explains his ideas: "The plan of a musical drama without
words, requires to be explained beforehand. The programme (which is
indispensable to the perfect comprehension of the work) ought therefore
to be considered in the light of the spoken text of an opera, serving to
lead up to the piece of music, and indicate the character and
expression."

From programme music came the symphonic poem of which Franz Liszt was
the creator. Although he found this culmination of the romantic ideal in
the field of instrumental music in his maturer years, he displayed in it
the full power of his genius. His great works in this line are a "Faust
Symphony," "Les Préludes," "Orpheus," "Prometheus," "Mazeppa" and
"Hamlet." Symphonic in form, although less restricted than the symphony,
these works are designed to give tone-pictures of the subjects
designated, or at least of the moods they awaken. "Mazeppa," for
instance, is described as depicting in a wild movement, rising to
frenzy, the death ride of the hero, a brief andante proclaims his
collapse, the following march, introduced by trumpet fanfares and
increasing to the noblest triumph, his elevation and coronation.

Camille Saint-Saëns, without doubt the most original and intellectual
modern French composer, who at sixty-seven years of age is still in the
midst of his activity, and who has made his own the spirit of the
classic composers, owes to the symphonic poem a great part of his
reputation, and has also written symphonies of great value. His
orchestration is distinguished by its clarity, power and exquisite
coloring. The orchestral music of Tschaikowsky, who died in 1893,
symphonies and symphonic poems, are saturated with the glowing Russian
spirit, are intensely dramatic, sometimes rising to tempestuous bursts
of passion that are only held in check by the composer's scholarly
control of his materials. A strong national flavor is also felt in the
work of Christian Sinding, the Norwegian, whose D minor symphony has
been styled "a piece born of the gloomy romanticism of the North."
Edward Grieg, known as the incarnation of the strong, vigorous, breezy
spirit of the land of the midnight sun, has put some of his most
characteristic work into symphonic poems and orchestral suites. The
first composer to convey a message from the North in tones to the
European world was Gade, the Dane, known as the Symphony Master of the
North, who was born in 1817 and died in 1890.

It is impossible to mention in a brief essay all the great workers in
symphonic forms. One Titanic spirit, Johannes Brahms, (1833-1897) who
succeeded in striking the dominant note of musical sublimity amid modern
unrest, is reserved for our final consideration. Of him Schumann said,
"This John is a prophet who will also write revelations," and he has
revealed to those who can read that high art is the abiding-place of
reason, that it is moreover compounded of profundity of feeling yoked
with profundity of intellectual mastery. Dr. Riemann writes of him,
"From Bach he inherited the depth, from Haydn, the humor, from Mozart,
the charm, from Beethoven, the strength, from Schubert, the intimateness
of his art. Truly a wonderfully gifted nature that was able to absorb
such a fulness of great gifts and still not lose the best of gifts--the
strong individuality which makes the master."

Wonderful is the power of instrumental music, absolute music without
words, that may convey impressions, deep and lasting, no words could
give. All hail to the memory of Johannes Brahms, who has reminded us of
its true mission and delivered a message that will ring through the
twentieth century.



[Transcriber's Note:  In the caption for the illustration featuring
Ms. Nordica, the spelling of her first name was corrected from "Lilian"
to "Lillian."]





*** End of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "For Every Music Lover - A Series of Practical Essays on Music" ***

Doctrine Publishing Corporation provides digitized public domain materials.
Public domain books belong to the public and we are merely their custodians.
This effort is time consuming and expensive, so in order to keep providing
this resource, we have taken steps to prevent abuse by commercial parties,
including placing technical restrictions on automated querying.

We also ask that you:

+ Make non-commercial use of the files We designed Doctrine Publishing
Corporation's ISYS search for use by individuals, and we request that you
use these files for personal, non-commercial purposes.

+ Refrain from automated querying Do not send automated queries of any sort
to Doctrine Publishing's system: If you are conducting research on machine
translation, optical character recognition or other areas where access to a
large amount of text is helpful, please contact us. We encourage the use of
public domain materials for these purposes and may be able to help.

+ Keep it legal -  Whatever your use, remember that you are responsible for
ensuring that what you are doing is legal. Do not assume that just because
we believe a book is in the public domain for users in the United States,
that the work is also in the public domain for users in other countries.
Whether a book is still in copyright varies from country to country, and we
can't offer guidance on whether any specific use of any specific book is
allowed. Please do not assume that a book's appearance in Doctrine Publishing
ISYS search  means it can be used in any manner anywhere in the world.
Copyright infringement liability can be quite severe.

About ISYS® Search Software
Established in 1988, ISYS Search Software is a global supplier of enterprise
search solutions for business and government.  The company's award-winning
software suite offers a broad range of search, navigation and discovery
solutions for desktop search, intranet search, SharePoint search and embedded
search applications.  ISYS has been deployed by thousands of organizations
operating in a variety of industries, including government, legal, law
enforcement, financial services, healthcare and recruitment.



Home