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Title: Story-Lives of Great Musicians
Author: Rowbotham, Francis Jameson
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.

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    [Illustration: BEETHOVEN.
    From photo RISCHGITZ.]



                      GREAT MUSICIANS

                         AUTHOR OF


                          NEW YORK

                      THE MEMORY OF
                FREDERICK WESTLAKE, R.A.M.


Following the plan of his previous volume of _Great Authors_, the
writer has here endeavoured to weave into more or less story form a
few of the facts and incidents in the lives of some great musicians.
It is hoped that young readers--and especially those to whom music is
a subject of study--will take a greater interest in some of the
masterpieces of composition when they have learnt something about the
composers themselves, and the circumstances under which they wrote.

The author desires to express his acknowledgments for the assistance
he has derived from the following works:

Grove's _Dictionary of Music and Musicians_; Bitter's _Life of
Sebastian Bach_ (translated by J.E. Kay-Shuttleworth); Rockstro's _Life
of George Frederick Handel_; Williams's _Handel_ in 'The Master
Musicians'; Townsend's _Haydn_ in 'The Great Musicians'; Jahn's _W.A.
Mozart_ (translated by P.D. Townsend); Schindler's _Life of Beethoven_;
Nohl's _Life of Beethoven_; von Hellborn's _Franz Schubert_ (translated
by A.D. Coleridge); Benedict's _Sketch of the Life and Works of Felix
Mendelssohn-Bartholdy_; Hensel's _The Mendelssohn Family_; Hiller's
_Mendelssohn: Letters and Recollections_; Devrient's _Recollections of
F.M. Bartholdy_ (translated by C.N. Macfarren).



BACH                                                            3

HANDEL                                                         37

HAYDN                                                          89

MOZART                                                        151

BEETHOVEN                                                     215

SCHUBERT                                                      269

MENDELSSOHN                                                   315



CUPBOARD                                                        4



SING IN THE STREETS                                            12

ONE BACH!'                                                     30

HANDEL'S BIRTHPLACE, HALLE, SAXONY                             38


HE CALLED TO THE COACHMAN TO STOP                              44

THE DUKE PRAISED HIS PERFORMANCE                               46

A RESORT TO SWORDS                                             55

TO LIMEHOUSE                                                   63

HIS SONG                                                       66

BUT NOT AT FIRST SIGHT!'                                       76


ST. STEPHEN'S CATHEDRAL, VIENNA                               101


THE TANTALISING PIGTAIL                                       109



LISSON GROVE A CENTURY AGO                                    135

HAYDN'S EYES FILLED WITH TEARS                                145

HE PAID NO HEED TO THE ENTRY OF A SERVANT                     152


PLAYED BEFORE THE COURT AT VERSAILLES                         164


UP AT THE DOOR                                                188

'THERE IS THE DOOR!'                                          199

'NOW THEN, LUDWIG, TIME FOR PRACTICE!'                        220

NOISE IN THE WORLD SOME DAY'                                  228

SEATED BEFORE AN OLD, WORN-OUT PIANO                          230

HAYDN PRAISED THE COMPOSITION HIGHLY                          233


SPECTACLED BOY                                                273

LEADER                                                        275


THEY FOUND SCHUBERT HARD AT WORK                              291

SCHUBERT FLED FROM THE ROOM                                   302


THE TUTOR'S CARRIAGE MET THEM                                 330




BEETHOVEN                                          _Frontispiece_

BACH                                                            5

HANDEL                                                         39

HAYDN                                                          91

MOZART                                                        153

SCHUBERT                                                      271

MENDELSSOHN                                                   317




'Christoph, I wish you would let me have that book of manuscript music
which you have in your cupboard--the one which contains pieces by
Pachelbel, and Frohberger, and Buxtehude, and ever so many others--you
know which I mean. I will take such care of it if you will only lend
it to me for a little while.'

Christoph was about to leave the room, but he turned sharply to his
little brother as the latter put his request.

'No, Sebastian, I will certainly not lend you the book, and I wonder
that you have the impertinence to ask me such a thing! The idea of
your thinking that you could study such masters as Buxtehude and
Frohberger--a child like you! Get on with what I have set you to
learn, and do not let me hear any more of such fancies!'

With that Christoph shut the door behind him, and Sebastian was left
to ponder sadly upon his elder brother's harshness in refusing to
accede to his simple request. The disappointment was very keen, for
little Sebastian had been longing to get possession of that precious
volume. For several days past he had spent hours in his brother's
absence gazing at its covers through the lattice doors of the
cupboard, and feasting his eyes upon the names of the musicians which
were written on the back in bold letters in Christoph's hand.

    [Illustration: '_Gazing at its covers through the lattice doors
    of the cupboard._']

What harm could there be in his _trying_ to play the works of those
masters? It seemed so unreasonable to the ten-year-old child, for he
was passionately fond of music, and exceedingly quick at learning; yet
Christoph persistently kept him to simple pieces such as he could
master without the slightest difficulty, and which, therefore,
afforded him no gratification whatever. He longed to be studying more
advanced works, and there were times when this longing seemed
insupportable--when the soul of this earnest child-musician rose in
revolt against the tyrannical treatment of his elder brother.
Christoph's lack of appreciation of Sebastian's capacity and gift for
music was, moreover, so marked as to crush the feelings of love and
respect which otherwise would have found a place in Sebastian's heart
for the brother whom the sad circumstances of his childhood had made
his guardian.

    [Illustration: BACH.
    From photo RISCHGITZ.]

Johann Sebastian Bach, as the young musician was named, was an orphan.
Ten years before the period at which our story opens--on March 21,
1685--he had first seen the light in the long, low-roofed cottage,
which is still standing in the little German town of Eisenach,
nestling at the foot of the wooded heights which form part of the
romantically beautiful district of the Thuringer Wald. It is a country
abounding in legendary lore, which, taking its birth from the recesses
of the interminable forest, and perpetuated in ballad, has for ages
found a home in the sequestered valleys lying locked between the
hills. On one of the latter, overlooking the town, stands the
Wartburg, in which Luther made his home, and where he translated the
Bible into the German tongue.

Sebastian's father, Johann Ambrosius Bach, organist of Eisenach, was
the descendant of a long race of musicians of the name who had
followed music not merely as a means of livelihood, but with the
earnest desire of furthering its artistic aims. For close upon two
hundred years before Sebastian was born the family of Bach had thus
laboured to develop and improve their art in the only direction in
which it was practised in the Germany of those days--namely, as a
fitting accompaniment to the simple, but deeply devotional, services
of the Lutheran Church. So greatly had the influence of this ancient
and closely-united family made itself felt in regard to church music
that at Erfurt, where its members had practised the art for
generations, all musicians were known as 'the Bachs,' although no Bach
had actually resided in the town for many years.

That Sebastian should have shown a fondness for music at a very early
age is not, therefore, to be wondered at; but, beyond learning the
violin from his father, he had not progressed far in his studies when,
in his tenth year, he found himself bereft of both his parents and
taken into the charge of his brother Christoph, who filled the post of
organist at the neighbouring town of Ohrdruff. Christoph, who was
fourteen years older than Sebastian, possessed nothing more than an
ordinary amount of talent for music, and in addition lacked the sense
to appreciate the gift which his little brother at once began to
display in response to his teaching. To give Sebastian lessons on the
clavier and send him to the Lyceum to learn Latin and singing and
other school subjects seemed to Christoph to comprise the full extent
of his responsibilities; but that Sebastian possessed genius which
called for sympathy and encouragement at his hands appears only to
have aroused in him a feeling of coldness and indifference, amounting
at times to stern repression.

Beneath this shadow of ill-feeling Sebastian suffered in silence, but,
fortunately, the force of his genius was too strong to be crushed, and
the spirit which was lacking in his brother's lessons he supplied for
himself. The injustice of the denial with which Christoph had met his
request for the loan of the manuscript music-book had fired him with
the determination to possess himself of the treasure at all costs, and
even the drudgery of playing over and over again pieces which he
already knew by heart appeared to him in the new light of
stepping-stones to the attainment of his cherished desire. Yet for
some time it was difficult to see how the book was to be abstracted
without his brother's knowledge.

One night, long after the other inmates of the house had retired,
Sebastian stood at the open casement of his chamber, buried in
thought. The moon was flooding the valley with her silvery light,
rendering the most distant objects clear and distinct, and throwing
into still deeper shadow the sombre hills which encompassed the town.
But the boy had no thoughts to bestow upon the music of the scene thus
spread before his eyes; his mind was absorbed by a great project which
he was resolved upon carrying out that night, and to which the
presence of the moon lent a promise of success. Perfect stillness
reigned in the house, and Sebastian, deeming that the opportune moment
had arrived for embarking upon his venture, closed the casement and
crept softly downstairs to the parlour.

The moonlight shining into the room revealed the position of every
object, and a glance sufficed to show him that the treasure he sought
was in its accustomed place, but the cupboard, of course, was locked.
He squeezed his little hands through the lattice-bars, and after much
effort managed to reach the manuscript book. To draw it towards him
required even more dexterity, but at length that was accomplished; and
then came the crowning feat--to get it through the bars. During this
time Sebastian had been tormented by fears lest his brother should
have discovered his absence from his bedroom, and nothing but his firm
determination to accomplish his purpose prevented him from quitting
the room and returning to his bed.

For a long time his efforts to pull the book through the bars were in
vain, but after trying each bar in turn he found one which was weaker
than the rest, and having brought the book to this spot, he succeeded
at last in forcing a passage for it by bending the bar, and the
coveted volume was freed from its prison!

Breathless with exertion and excitement, the child hugged his treasure
to his breast and stole back to his chamber. On gaining this haven of
safety, he listened for some time to ascertain whether his movements
had aroused the household, but finding that everything remained as
silent as before, he drew a chair to the little table before the
window, and by the light of the moon, which still streamed into the
room, he feasted his eyes upon the pages before him. Then, taking his
pen and some manuscript music-paper with which he had provided
himself, he began his task of copying out the pieces contained in the

An hour or more slipped away in this absorbing occupation, and it was
not until the moon had shifted her position, so that her rays no
longer afforded the necessary light, that Sebastian ceased to ply his
pen. Then, having hidden the book away and removed all traces of his
work, the now wearied little musician sought his pillow and fell fast

This was but the beginning of endless nights of toil pursued whilst
the house lay hushed in slumber. For six months, whenever the moon
sent her friendly rays through his casement, did Sebastian prosecute
his task, until the night arrived when he found himself at the last
page. The fear of discovery had ceased to haunt him as time went on,
and now he could only reflect with joy at the accomplishment of his
long task, and creep into bed utterly unmindful of everything
else--even of the precaution of putting his work out of sight!

    [Illustration: '_By the light of the moon he began his task._']

Alas, for poor Sebastian! he was to pay dearly for this act of
forgetfulness. As he lay sleeping--his dreams filled with the
realization of the fruits of his untiring industry--the books lying
open on the table where he had left them, and the moonbeams falling
gently on the page whereon his fingers had traced those last passages
but a few minutes before, the door opened, and a figure stole softly
into the room. It was Christoph himself, who, fancying he heard sounds
proceeding from Sebastian's chamber, had come to seek the cause. His
glance fell upon the open books. With a stride he was at the table,
bending over them. The next moment he raised his head and darted an
angry glance at the child's sleeping figure. But Sebastian only
smiled, and murmured something in his sleep, and the elder brother
turned once more to examine the writing. As he scanned the pages which
witnessed Sebastian's heart-work throughout those long months his face
hardened. There was no pity in his breast for the child who had thus
displayed his devotion to the art which he himself must have loved
after his own fashion--no sympathy for one who had spent so many hours
snatched from sleep in acquiring that which he, Christoph, had had it
in his power to bestow as a free gift--only anger and jealousy at the
thought that he had been outwitted by his little brother. With his
mouth curved into a cruel smile, Christoph seized the manuscript book
and the copy, and, taking them from the room, hid them away in a new
place where Sebastian could not possibly find them.

    [Illustration: '_Christoph seized the manuscript book and the

It was well for Sebastian that his love of music enabled him to
overcome the bitter disappointment occasioned by his brother's
cruelty, and so to continue the struggle for knowledge in the face of
such terrible odds. But there was one thing which served to comfort
him in his hour of trial, and of which Christoph was powerless to rob
him, and that was the _memory_ of the beautiful music he had copied
with such infinite pains. This in itself must have been a resource of
priceless value to him in helping him to bear with his brother's

A new life opened for Sebastian when, at the age of fifteen, he
quitted his brother's roof and, with a school-fellow from Ohrdruff,
entered the Michael Gymnasium, or Latin School, attached to the Church
of St. Michael at Lüneburg. The discovery that he possessed a
beautiful soprano voice gave him a place at once amongst those
scholars who were selected to sing the principal parts in the Church
services in return for a free education. Lüneburg possessed two
schools, attached respectively to the Churches of St. Michael and St.
John, and the rivalry between the two was so keen that when, as was
the custom during the winter months, the scholars were sent out to
sing in the streets in order to collect money for their support, the
respective routes to be traversed had to be carefully marked out so as
to prevent a collision.

Bach had not been long at St. Michael's, however, ere his wonderful
voice, which had attracted much attention at the services of the
church, began to break; but, fortunately, his knowledge of the violin
and clavier enabled him to retain his place in the school and to enjoy
the educational advantages which it offered. He was working hard at
his musical studies, spending a portion of each day in the convent
library, where the works of the best composers were to be found. But
all his thoughts and aspirations were beginning to centre themselves
upon the instrument which, before all others, had the power to stir
his musical soul to its depths. His love for the organ soon developed
into a passion which overcame every obstacle offered to its
gratification. The extremes of hunger and bodily fatigue were alike
powerless to restrain his desire to study the capacities of the organ
as these were brought forth by the ablest hands. His poverty forbade
the hope of his receiving instruction on the instrument, though later
on he gained much valuable help from his friendship with the organist
of St. John's Church at Lüneburg. In those early days, however, Bach
was almost entirely self-dependent--a penniless scholar, fortunate in
finding his services rewarded by the plainest and meagrest of fare,
yet swayed and urged forwards by a fixed determination to conquer and
attain the knowledge upon which he had set his hopes.

    [Illustration: '_During the winter months the scholars were sent
    out to sing in the streets._']

Hamburg, which in those days merited the description applied to it of
the 'Paradise of German music,' is situated at a distance of about
twenty-five English miles from Lüneburg; but when Bach was told that
the renowned Johann Adam Reinken, the 'father of German organists,'
played the organ at St. Katherine's Church in the city, he seized the
first opportunity that presented itself of tramping the whole way
thither in order to hear him. With Bach to listen was to learn; but to
enjoy this privilege he had to secrete himself in a corner of the
church where he could not be seen, for he had been warned that such
great players as Reinken resented the intrusion of strangers whilst
they were practising.

The deep joy of listening to such a master must have seemed to
Sebastian a fitting reward for his long tramp, and we may picture him
on his homeward journey, weary and footsore, but with his mind stored
with the memories of what he has heard. This visit to Hamburg was the
precursor of many others, though, of course, such expeditions could
only be undertaken when, by means of street singing, or in some other
way, he had contrived to save a few shillings to pay for food and
lodging. But he often went short of food rather than deprive himself
of a chance of hearing his beloved Reinken. On one occasion he had
yielded to the temptation of lingering at Hamburg until his funds
were almost exhausted, and he was confronted by the prospect of a long
walk with no means of satisfying his hunger until he reached the end
of his journey. Nevertheless, he set forth with a light heart, for his
stock of knowledge had been greatly enriched by the prolonged visit,
and, after all, what were five-and-twenty miles to the young musician,
possessed of limbs replete with strength and a head full of glorious

He had not proceeded many miles, however, ere the keen wind made his
want of food painfully apparent, and the music within him became
drowned by the clamourings of Nature. At this juncture he found
himself opposite a small hostelry, from the open door of which a most
savoury odour was issuing--an odour so rich in the promise of all that
he needed that it brought him to a standstill. The kitchen window was
nigh, and he could not resist the temptation of peering into the room
to ascertain what was in preparation. At that moment he heard a window
above him thrown open, and a couple of herrings' heads were tossed
into the road. Probably some benevolent guest, attracted by the
youth's starving looks, had taken this means of bestowing upon him the
remains of his repast. The herring was a favourite article of food in
Germany, and poor Bach was only too glad to avail himself of this
feeble chance of satisfying his cravings. But what was his
astonishment, upon pulling the heads to pieces, to find that each
contained a Danish ducat! The acquisition of so much wealth fairly
took his breath away, and for a moment he almost forgot that he was
famishing. On realising his good fortune, he lost no time in entering
the inn and regaling himself at the expense of his unknown benefactor.
The money did more than this, however, for it enabled him to reckon
upon another visit to Hamburg in the near future.

That distance formed no obstacle to Bach's ardent desire to obtain
knowledge is proved by the fact that he performed several journeys on
foot to Celle, which was distant some forty-five English miles to the
south of Lüneburg, in order that he might hear the band at the ducal
Court. The Duke's musicians were chiefly Frenchmen, and French
instrumental music formed the principal part of their work. There was
but little opportunity in Germany of hearing this important branch of
music, and Bach seized upon the first chance that presented itself. He
was now making rapid progress with his studies, and his friendship
with Böhm, the organist of St. John's Church at Lüneburg, was a great
incentive to him in his love for the organ.

After remaining three years at the Lüneburg school, Bach obtained a
post as violinist in the private band of Prince Johann Ernst, brother
of the reigning Duke of Saxe-Weimar. This, however, was merely to fill
up the time until he could secure an appointment in the direction in
which his affections as well as his genius were guiding him. The
opportunity for which he sought was not long in coming. A visit to the
old Thuringian town of Arnstadt, in which three members of his family
had successively filled the post of organist in past years, took him
to the new church to inspect the organ which had just been erected by
the consistory. Arnstadt, in fact, was one of the centres in which the
influence of the Bach family had made itself felt, and whence several
of its members had gone forth to other parts of the country. The
savour of the former presence of the Bachs was still fresh in the
minds of the townspeople; the consistory of the new church, moreover,
were on the look out for a thoroughly capable organist, and Bach's
request to be allowed to try the organ was, therefore, willingly

No sooner had they heard him play than they offered him the post, and,
furthermore, stated their willingness to augment the pay attached to
it by a contribution from the town funds. Bach, therefore, found
himself installed as organist with a salary of fifty florins, with, in
addition, thirty thalers for board and lodging--equivalent in all to
about eight pounds thirteen shillings of English money--a small enough
salary indeed! but one which in those days was considered to be a fair
emolument for the services of a young player. On August 14, 1703,
Bach, who was then eighteen years old, entered upon his duties, having
previously taken a 'solemn pledge of diligence and faithfulness, and
all that appertaineth to an honourable servant and organist before God
and the worshipful Corporation.'

The requirements of the post left him plenty of leisure in which to
pursue his studies and improve his playing. Up to this point he had
done very little in the shape of actual composition, his aim having
been to perfect himself in a knowledge of the requirements of the
instrument on which he had fixed his heart's choice, to which end he
had spared no diligence in studying the works of the greatest masters.
Now, however, he set about teaching himself the art of composition,
for which purpose he took a number of concertos written for the violin
by Vivaldi, and set them for the pianoforte. By this means he learnt
to grasp the connection of musical ideas and the manner in which they
should be worked out, and as this exercise implied the rewriting of
many passages in order to adapt them for the piano, he gradually
attained facility in expressing his own musical thoughts on paper
without first playing them on an instrument. Thus, without assistance
from anybody, he worked on alone, very often till far into the night,
to perfect himself in this important branch of his art.

From the outset, however, his playing at the new church excited
attention and admiration, and that it should, nevertheless, have
failed to entirely satisfy the authorities was due, not to any lack of
power, but simply to the extraordinary manner in which the services
were accompanied. The fact is that Bach had no sooner seated himself
at the organ than he straightway forgot that choir and congregation
were depending upon him, and began to indulge his fancy to such
lengths that the singing soon ceased altogether, and the people
remained mute with astonishment and admiration. Naturally, these
flights of genius were not exactly in accordance with the wishes of
the consistory, who, moreover, saw little prospect of their choir
becoming efficiently trained under the circumstances. Yet,
notwithstanding there were frequent disputes between Bach and the
elders of the church with regard to his vagaries, so marvellously were
the authorities influenced by the power and beauty of his playing that
they overlooked his faults for the sake of his genius.

That Bach must have tried their patience sorely cannot be denied. On
one occasion, being specially desirous of visiting Lübeck, in order to
hear the celebrated organist Buxtehude perform on the organ at the
Marien-Kirche during Advent, he obtained a month's leave of absence
for the purpose. Fifty miles lay between Arnstadt and the town which
formed his destination, but Bach resolutely performed the entire
journey on foot, so eager was he to profit by the playing of this
master. Once at Lübeck, he became so wrapped up in the musical
attractions of the town that he completely forgot his promise to
return to his post until reminded by his empty purse of the fact that
he could no longer prolong his stay. By this time he had gratuitously
extended his leave from one month to three! Hence it is not surprising
that on his return to Arnstadt the consistory should have expressed
serious displeasure at his neglect. On the other hand, it affords a
striking proof of the esteem in which his playing was held that the
authorities should have allowed him to retain his post in spite of all
that had happened.

It was not long before the services of the young musician were sought
by the Church authorities of several important towns, whither the fame
of his organ-playing had spread. He longed to find a wider scope
wherein to prosecute his aims for raising the standard of Church
music. Arnstadt had become too narrow for his desires, and,
consequently, when, in 1707, he was offered the post of organist of
St. Blasius', at Mühlhausen, near Eisenach, he accepted it at once.
The invitation was coupled with a request that he would name his own
salary--a compliment to his powers to which he modestly responded by
fixing the sum at that which he had lately received; but, in addition
to pay, his emolument comprised certain dues of corn, wood, and fish,
to be delivered free at his door. His post at Arnstadt was filled by
his cousin, Johann Ernst, to whom, as he was very poor, and had an
aged mother and a sick sister to support, Bach generously handed over
the last quarter's salary which was due to him on leaving.

With this improvement in his worldly prospects Bach deemed that he
might prudently marry. He had been contemplating this step since the
time, some months before, when he had incurred the displeasure of the
Arnstadt authorities by introducing a 'stranger maiden' into the
choir--a proceeding altogether contrary to rule, but one which, like
the rest of his faults, was condoned for the sake of hearing him play.
The 'stranger maiden' was no other than his cousin, Maria Barbara, the
youngest daughter of Michael Bach, of Gehren, with whom he had fallen
in love, and to whom he was married on October 17, 1707.

It was customary in those days for organists to maintain their
instruments in repair, and Bach's first duty on entering upon his new
post was to undertake some extensive alterations in the organ
committed to his charge. The completion of these repairs, however, was
left to his successor, for Bach did not retain his position at
Mühlhausen for more than a year. He was filled with a desire to raise
the standard of Church music, reverently desirous of clothing the old
services in a new dress--one which should elevate the thoughts of the
worshippers to a higher plane by giving to the words of Scripture a
fuller and more sympathetic interpretation. In this longing for
freedom from the old modes of Church music, by which, owing to the
rigid simplicity of the Lutheran services, the truths of religion were
trammelled and obscured, Bach hoped to have secured the support and
sympathy of his congregation; but he soon found that his efforts were
unappreciated. For us, who now see this longing for the first time
clearly expressed in his life, and who know what important fruits it
was destined to bear in the future, this stage in the career of
Sebastian Bach possesses a peculiar interest. In his letter to the
town council announcing his resignation he explains that he has
'always striven to make the improvement of Church music, to the honour
of God, his aim,' but that he has met with opposition such as he sees
no chance of being enabled to overcome in the future. Moreover, he
states that, 'poor as is his mode of living, he has not enough to
subsist on after paying his house-rent and other necessary expenses.'

The shortness of his means, with a wife and the near prospect of a
family to provide for, no doubt had a good deal to do with Bach's
decision to resign his post at St. Blasius' at once. He had, in fact,
already received the offer of a more important engagement. An
invitation to perform before Duke Wilhelm Ernst of Weimar early in the
year 1708 had been seized upon in the hope that it might lead to an
appointment at the Court. The hope was not disappointed, for the Duke
was so delighted with Bach's playing that he immediately offered him
the post of Court and Chamber Organist. Bach had always been on the
best of terms with the elders of St. Blasius' Church, however, and the
separation was accompanied by marks of friendliness on both sides.
Thus we see Bach acting once more on his own initiative--choosing his
path deliberately as he saw the opportunity for furthering the great
objects he had in view.

The wider scope for which he had been longing was now within his
grasp, and from the date of his appointment at Weimar he began to
compose those masterpieces for the organ which in after-years were to
help to make his name famous. Hitherto we have followed the fortunes
of Sebastian Bach as a zealous student, self-dependent, and almost
entirely self-instructed as regards his art, battling against poverty
with stolid indifference to the drawbacks and discomforts that fell to
his share, unmindful of fatigue, seeking neither praise nor reward,
but with his mind wholly set upon the accomplishment of his
life-purpose--the furtherance of his beloved art. The promise of his
childish days had been largely sown in sorrow and disappointment. He
had not been hailed as a prodigy of genius. No crowd of wondering
admirers had gathered to listen to his childish efforts, and to
prognosticate for him the favours of fame and fortune in the near
future. Not even his parents, loving him as they doubtless did, could
have done more than dared to entertain the hope that he would do
honour and credit to the musical name which he bore ere they sank into
their untimely graves, and left him to fight the battle of life alone.
No; the childhood and youth of Sebastian Bach were stages in the life
of a genius which were entirely destitute of the advantages of either
wealth or the patronage of the great, and as such they command our
interest and respect.

Henceforth we have to picture Bach as settled in his Weimar home, no
longer as a student, but as a player and composer whose fame was
gradually spreading throughout the country. So rapid had his progress
been both on the organ and the pianoforte that he was even led to
overestimate his own powers, and one day remarked somewhat boastingly
to a friend that he could play any piece, however difficult, at sight
without a mistake. The friend, disbelieving his statement, invited him
to breakfast shortly afterwards, and placed several pieces on the
pianoforte, amongst them being one which, though apparently simple,
was in reality extremely difficult. He then left the room to prepare
breakfast, and Bach, seating himself at the instrument, began to play
over the pieces. Coming to the difficult work, he struck into it very
boldly, but after proceeding a little way he came to a stop, then
tried it again from the beginning, and once more halted at the same
place. His host then appeared bringing in the breakfast, and Bach,
turning to him, exclaimed, 'You are right. One cannot play everything
at sight--it is impossible!'

In August, 1712, Zachau, the organist of the Liebfrauen-Kirche at
Halle, and Handel's old master, died, and Bach, whose knowledge and
practical skill in the matter of organ construction had now become
widely known, was asked to plan a new instrument for the church. He
accordingly made his plans, and then, induced by the thought of having
a fine organ under his control, he applied for the vacant post. The
elders of the church, having heard a sacred cantata which he composed
for the occasion performed under his direction in the following year,
were most willing to accede to his application, but Bach, fearing that
his independence would be threatened by the conditions attached to the
position, withdrew at the last moment. Nevertheless, so great was the
appreciation in which his abilities were held that when the new organ
was completed he was invited to Halle for the purpose of inspecting it
and testing its capabilities.

In 1714 Duke Wilhelm Ernst raised him to the position of
Hof-Concertmeister--a step which afforded increased scope for the
exercise of his powers. Every autumn for several years he utilised his
leave of absence by journeying to the principal towns in order to give
performances on the organ and clavier, by means of which his
reputation was greatly enhanced. It was on one of these tours that he
found himself in Dresden at a time when expectation was rife
concerning the powers of a remarkable French player who had just
arrived in the town. Jean Marchand, as the Frenchman was named, had
achieved a great reputation in his own country, where, in addition to
filling the post of organist to the King at Versailles, he was
regarded as the most fashionable music-master of the day. His
conceited and overbearing manners, however, had led to his banishment
from the French Court, and he had undertaken a tour in Italy with
triumphant success before coming to the German capital. Bach found
everybody discussing the Frenchman's wonderful playing, and it was
whispered that he had been already offered an appointment in Dresden.
The friends of Bach insisted that he should engage Marchand forthwith
in a contest in defence of the musical honour of his nation, and as
Bach was by no means indisposed to pit himself against the conceited
Frenchman, he gave his consent to the challenge being dispatched.
Marchand, for his part, showed an equal readiness to meet Bach,
foreseeing an easy victory over his antagonist. The King promised to
grace the contest with his presence, and the time and place were duly
fixed. It was agreed that the contestants were to set each other
problems to be worked out on the piano, the victory to be adjudged by
the connoisseurs who were present.

The day fixed for the trial arrived. A brilliant company assembled,
and at the appointed time Bach made his appearance; but his adversary
had not arrived. The audience awaited his coming for some time with
impatience, and at length the news was brought that Marchand had left
the city suddenly that morning! It transpired that on the previous day
Bach had been performing on the organ in one of the principal churches
of the town, and Marchand, attracted by the crowd, made his way into
the building and listened to Bach's wonderful playing. So greatly had
the music impressed him that, when he learnt who the player was, he
began to tremble for his success at the coming contest. As the time
approached his fears grew apace, and at length, without a word to
anybody concerning his intentions, he fled from the city.

The year 1717, in which the above event took place, was marked by a
further advancement in Bach's fortunes, for on his return from
Dresden he was appointed Capellmeister to the young Prince Leopold of
Anhalt-Cöthen. His new position left him abundant leisure in which to
follow the bent of his genius in regard to the composition of
instrumental music, and many of his finest works were written at this
time. His relations with the Prince were of the most cordial
character. The latter was an enthusiastic lover of music, and on his
frequent journeys to various towns in order to gratify his taste he
insisted on having Bach as his travelling companion. Thus, for several
years Bach continued to lead a life which in every respect brought him
much happiness, and added not a little to his fame. Then a great
sorrow befell him, for during one of these expeditions with the
Prince, when, owing to their movements, he was unable to receive news
from home, his wife died suddenly, and when he returned to Cöthen it
was to find the family plunged into grief, and the mother already

The close of the year 1721 saw Bach married to his second wife, Anna
Magdalena Wülkens, a daughter of the Court trumpeter at Weissenfels.
Anna Magdalena was in every way suited for the wife of a musician, for
she had a deep love for music, in addition to possessing a beautiful
voice. Moreover, as time went on, her reverence for her husband's
genius, which she used every effort to promote and encourage, did not
fail to make itself felt in influencing the musical tastes of her

Life, meanwhile, at the Court had not proceeded so happily for Bach as
heretofore, and in the year of his marriage he made a journey to
Hamburg with the object of competing for the post of organist at the
Jacobi-Kirche. His playing on this occasion excited the greatest
admiration, though, as a matter of fact, this was not the first time
he had awakened the enthusiasm of Hamburg audiences by his
performances; but the organ on which he now played was an
exceptionally fine one, and responded so perfectly to his touch as to
assist in imparting to his improvisation the character of an inspired
performance. When the trial came to an end, every one present felt
certain of the result. Not one of the competitors had approached Bach
in feeling or execution. Yet, notwithstanding the popular verdict in
his favour, the prize was snatched from him and given to
another--younger, unknown, and even insignificant man, who, however,
was enabled to offer four thousand marks for the position, whilst Bach
could only present his genius.

Nevertheless, Bach, with his characteristic indifference to fortune,
made no protest against this unfair treatment, but went quietly on
with his work at Cöthen, waiting for a fresh opportunity to present
itself. He had now become personally known to the famous and aged
organist of Hamburg, Reinken. At one of his visits he improvised on a
theme composed by the master in the latter's presence, and when he had
finished, Reinken seized him by the hand, and as he shook it exclaimed
with emotion, 'I thought that this art was dead, but I see that it
still lives in you!' This was the last meeting between Bach and the
organist from whose playing he had derived so much profit, for shortly
afterwards Reinken died at the age of ninety-nine, holding his post up
to the last.

His life at Cöthen was largely devoted to composition. His only pupils
appear to have been his wife and his sons, in whose musical education
he evinced the deepest interest, and for whose benefit he wrote many
works, including several books of studies and his famous 'Art of
Fugue.'[1] Another of his great works, the 'Wohltemperirte Klavier'
(Well-tempered Clavichord), better known in England under the title of
'The Forty-eight Preludes and Fugues,' was begun at this time. It is,
perhaps, the most popular of all Bach's works, and the idea of writing
it is said to have occurred to him whilst staying at a place where no
musical instrument of any kind was available. That he should have sat
down to write the first part of this monumental work (the second part
was not completed until twenty years later) in a place where from
sheer force of circumstances his fingers would otherwise have been
condemned to idleness is not surprising when we consider the mental
activity by which Bach's character was distinguished. He could not, in
fact, be idle. When not playing, or composing, or teaching, he would
often be found hard at work engraving his compositions on copper, or
engaged in manufacturing some kind of musical instrument--at least two
instruments are known to have been of his own inventing. The one idea
which seems to have pervaded his whole life from beginning to end was
to be of the greatest use to the greatest number of his
fellow-creatures, and it was this noble purpose which was urging him
at this time to discover a wider sphere of work. The Cöthen post,
while it gave him abundant leisure for composition, did not satisfy
his longing to be of greater use in the furtherance of his art--a
longing which can only be appreciated when we study the works which at
this period were occupying his mind. Moreover, the Prince, who had
recently married, no longer showed the same devotion to music as
heretofore--a change of feeling that necessarily produced a
corresponding slackening of the ties of friendship and interest which
had formerly existed between the Prince and his Capellmeister. The
opportunity which Bach sought came at length when, in 1723, he was
appointed cantor of the Thomas-Schule at Leipzig, and director of the
music in the Churches of St. Thomas and St. Nicholas in the town.

With this appointment Bach entered upon the final stage of his career,
for he retained the Leipzig post until his death. The story of his
connection with the Thomas-Schule is one that redounds to his honour,
for, in spite of considerable opposition at the hands of the
authorities, who failed to appreciate his genius and hampered his
activity by petty restrictions and accusations; in spite, also, of the
poverty of the material with which he was called upon to deal, he
laboured unceasingly to raise the standard of efficiency in the
scholars whose training was committed to his charge, and from whose
ranks the choirs in the two churches under his control had to be
furnished. Apart from his duties, however, those twenty-seven years of
Leipzig work and intercourse are marked out for us as comprising the
period during which he wrote and dedicated to the service of the
Church those masterpieces of undying beauty--the Passions according to
St. Matthew[2] and St. John. In these works, and in the 'High Mass in
B Minor,' which also belongs to this time, but more especially in the
first-named work, we seem to witness the crowning-point of those
generations of striving for the advancement of the art which have
indissolubly linked the name of Bach with the history of music. Bach
himself stood on the top step of the ladder: with him the vital
forces of the race exhausted themselves; and further power of
development stopped short.'

The life at Leipzig was distinguished by the simplicity which had
always been Bach's chief characteristic. That he was imbued by deeply
religious feelings is evidenced by the works to which we have just
referred; his genius, in fact, found its highest and noblest
expression in the interpretation of the spirit of the sacred writings.
Next to his art--if, indeed, they can be considered apart--came his
devotion to his family, in the training and welfare of whom he took an
absorbing interest. Outside these twin centres of attraction he hardly
ever ventured, and though his fame brought him notice, and to some
extent honour as well, his desire for retirement became stronger as
the years went on.

His modest, retiring disposition is well illustrated by an incident
which marked the latter period of his busy life. His third son, Carl
Philip Emanuel, had entered the service of Frederick the Great, and
was acting as cembalist in the royal orchestra. His Majesty, who was
exceedingly fond of music, and a considerable player on the flute, had
repeatedly expressed a wish to see Bach, and from time to time sent
messages to this effect to the old composer through the latter's son.
Bach, however, intent upon his work, for a long time ignored these
intimations of royal favour, until at length, in 1747, Carl brought to
him an imperative demand from his royal master which Bach saw that he
could not disobey without incurring the King's displeasure.
Accordingly, he set out for Potsdam with his son Friedemann. The King
was about to begin his evening music when a servant brought to him a
list of the strangers who had arrived at the castle that day.
Frederick glanced at the paper, and then turned to his musicians with
a smile. 'Gentlemen,' said he, 'old Bach has come!' and down went his
flute. Bach was immediately sent for--he had not time even to change
his travelling-dress--and with many excuses he presented himself to
the King. His Majesty received him with marked kindness and respect,
and when the courtiers smiled at the old musician's embarrassment and
his somewhat flowery speeches, Frederick frowned his disapproval. He
then conducted Bach through the palace, showing him the various points
of interest, and insisted on his trying his Silbermann pianofortes, of
which he had quite a collection. Bach extemporised on each of the
instruments, and then Frederick gave him a theme which he reproduced
as a fantasia, to the astonishment of all present. The King next
requested him to play a six-part fugue, and Bach extemporised one on a
theme selected by himself. The King, who stood behind the composer's
chair, clapped his hands with delight, and exclaimed repeatedly, 'Only
one Bach! Only one Bach!' It was a visit replete with honours for the
old master, and when he returned home he expressed his gratitude by
writing down and elaborating the piece which he had composed on the
King's theme, dedicating it to His Majesty under the title of
'Musikalisches Opfer' (Musical Offering), and sending it to Potsdam
with a letter begging its acceptance.

Late in life, and just after he had completed his great work, 'The Art
of Fugue,' Bach became totally blind--the result, no doubt, of the
heavy strain to which he had subjected his sight when, in order to
educate himself, he had copied out entire many of the works of older
masters. Nor can we overlook the fact that, when a child, his sight
must have been injured by the long, self-imposed task of copying music
by moonlight. He suffered a great deal in consequence of the drugs
which were administered in the hope of restoring his eye-sight, but,
notwithstanding, he continued to work up to the last. On the morning
of the day on which he died--July 28, 1750--he startled those about
him by suddenly regaining his sight, 'but it was the last flickering
of the expiring flame. He was allowed to see the light of this world
once more before leaving it for ever.' A few hours later he became
unconscious, and passed away in his sleep.

    [Illustration: '_The King exclaimed repeatedly, "Only one Bach!
    Only one Bach!"_']

Considered apart from his works, the life of Sebastian Bach stands out
as a noble example of untiring industry and perseverance; but we miss
the brilliancy and fire which in the case of many other great
musicians have served to render their lives so outwardly striking and
marvellous. The genius of Bach was a mighty power working unseen,
buried beneath a simple exterior. Unlike Handel, that other great
master of his time with whom he has been so often compared, Bach lived
a life of comparative retirement, never travelling beyond the confines
of his own country, making no bid for popularity, and to the last
remaining unaffected by praise or censure. All his life long he was
seeking knowledge and truth, never contenting himself with a belief in
his own unaided powers or judgment, but always showing the keenest
interest in the progress of his art as evinced by the works of other
musicians of his day. One little instance will serve, perhaps, to
bring out clearly this marked difference between these two great men:
Bach was truly desirous of making Handel's acquaintance, and tried on
several occasions to gratify this wish. On the last occasion he
travelled to Halle on learning that Handel was revisiting his
birthplace from the scene of his triumphs in London, only to find on
his arrival that his contemporary had departed for England earlier in
the day. Handel, on the other hand, is not known to have expressed the
least desire to meet the man whose fame rested upon so solid a
foundation of excellence. The one was self-centred, the other wholly
centred upon art for art's sake--yet both were great.

It is convenient to speak of Bach's life as having been divided into
three stages or periods, each marked off from the rest by the nature
of the works to which it gave birth. Thus, the Weimar period is that
to which is assigned the major portion of his organ music. The Cöthen
period, on the other hand, produced few compositions for the organ,
but was mainly devoted to instrumental chamber music; whilst to the
Leipzig period belongs the production of nearly all his finest Church

Bach was laid to rest in the churchyard of St. John's Church at
Leipzig, but neither stone nor cross exists to mark the spot. Only the
register of deaths preserved in the town library remains to tell us
that 'A man, aged sixty-seven, M. Johann Sebastian Bach, Musical
Director and Singing Master of the St. Thomas School, was carried to
his grave in the hearse, July 30, 1750.'


[1] The word 'fugue' is derived from the Latin _fugare_, 'to put to
flight,' and aptly expresses the manner in which the various parts of a
fugue, as they are successively introduced, seem to 'chase the subject,
or motive, throughout the piece.'

[2] For an account of the revival of this great work, exactly one
hundred years after its first production, see the story of


Passion Music (St. John). 1724.
Passion Music (St. Matthew), for double choir. 1729.
Passion Music (St. Luke). 1734.
Mass in B minor, 1732-1738.
4 Short Masses in F, A, G minor, and G.
      [These consist of settings of the Kyrie and Gloria only, being
       the parts sung in the Lutheran service.]
4 Sanctuses in C, D, D minor, and G.
Magnificat in D. 1723.
Funeral Ode. 1727.
Christmas Oratorio, in six sections, for performance on successive
    days. 1734.
Easter Oratorio. 1736.
191 Church Cantatas.
3 Wedding Cantatas.
6 Motets for five or eight voices.
22 Secular Cantatas.
371 Chorales for four voices, many of them taken from the
    works named above.
      [Of these compositions the Matthew Passion, the John Passion,
       the Christmas Oratorio, the Magnificat, the Motets, and 25 of
       the Church Cantatas have been printed with English words.]
The Well-Tempered Clavier (48 Preludes and Fugues).   }
    1722-1744.                                        }
Klavier-Uebung, or Clavier Practice, in four parts.   }
    1731-1742.                                        }
Musicalisches Opfer (Musical Offering). 1747.         } For clavier
The Art of Fugue. 1749.                               } alone.
Chromatic Fantasia and Fugue.                         }
6 Partitas.                                           }
6 English Suites.                                     }
6 French Suites.                                      }
3 Sonatas for clavier and flute.
6 Sonatas and 1 Suite for clavier and violin.
3 Sonatas for clavier and viol da gamba.
7 Concertos for clavier and orchestra.
1 Concerto for clavier, violin, and flute.
6 Concertos ('Brandenburg Concertos') for several instruments.
2 Concertos for violin and orchestra.
1 Concerto for 2 violins.
3 Concertos for 2 claviers.
2 Concertos for 3 claviers.
3 Sonatas and 3 Partitas for violin alone.
6 Suites for violoncello.
3 Sonatas for flute.
4 Overtures.            }
1 Symphony.             } For orchestra.
6 Sonatas.                    }
18 Preludes and Fugues.       }
3 Toccatas.                   } For organ.
113 Preludes.                 }
24 Chorales.                  }



In a garret choked with lumber of various kinds, to which the dust of
years had imparted the greyish hue of neglect and decay, a little
fair-haired boy was seated before a spinet, fingering its yellow keys
with a tenderness that betokened his fondness for the instrument. The
level rays of the setting sun streaming through the dimmed casement
lighted up the child's head with its clustering curls, as he bent over
the keyboard. The little spinet was almost dumb, and the voice which
had cheered so many lonely hours spent in its companionship was hardly
more than a whisper. Yet even so the boy loved to listen to it, for
the spinet could speak to him as no living voice could speak; its
sweet, faint sounds stirred the heart within him as nothing else in
the whole of his childish world had the power to move it, awakening
and creating fresh sounds that grew ever stronger as the hours flew by
unheeded. To him the greatest joy of existence was to steal away to
his garret next the sky and whisper his secrets to the friendly

    [Illustration: _Handel's birthplace, Halle, Saxony._]

George Frederick Handel, as the boy was named, was the son of a
surgeon of Halle, Lower Saxony, in which town the child was born on
February 23, 1685. Even before he could speak little George had shown
a remarkable fondness for music, and the only toys he cared for were
such as were capable of producing musical sounds. With this love for
music, however, the father showed no sympathy whatever; he regarded
the art with contempt, as something beneath the serious notice of one
who aspired to be a gentleman, and that his child should have
expressed an earnest desire to be taught to play only served to make
him angry. He had decided that George was to be a lawyer, and in order
that nothing should interfere with the carrying out of this intention
he refused to allow the boy to attend school, lest his fondness for
music should induce some one to teach him his notes. Poor George was
therefore compelled to stifle his longing whilst in his father's
presence, and content himself with 'making music' in the seclusion of
his own chamber. It may seem strange that Handel's mother should not
have interposed in order that her boy should be taught music, but
there is no doubt that the elderly surgeon ruled his household with a
firm hand, which not even his wife's intercession would have made him
relax. Moreover, Dorothea Handel was by nature far too gentle and
submissive to seek to turn her husband from his decision. 'Meister
Görge,' as he was styled, had been twice married. Dorothea, his second
wife, was much younger than her husband, and possessed a gentle
disposition that served to win her a place in the hearts of all who
knew her, and that little George Frederick had his mother's sympathy
in his love for music we cannot doubt.

    [Illustration: HANDEL.
    From photo RISCHGITZ.]

Handel was about five years of age when the wistful glances which he
bestowed upon other children who were more fortunate than he in being
permitted to learn music aroused the active sympathy of a kind friend,
who procured for him a dumb spinet--a small harpsichord having its
sound deadened by strips of cloth tied round the strings. The
instrument was secretly conveyed to a lumber-room in the surgeon's
house, where a corner had been cleared for its reception, and thither
would Handel delightedly repair at such times as he could do so
without attracting notice. Hour after hour would pass whilst thus
enrapt, until the shades of evening fell, or the moonbeams creeping
across the instrument aroused him from his reverie. Often when the
house was hushed in slumber the child would leave his bed, and steal
away to the garret in order to commune with his beloved art. Day after
day he laboured thus, mastering his difficulties one by one, his love
and his genius preventing him from feeling the hardest work a

For some time this secret practising continued without arousing
suspicion on the part of the other inmates of the house. One night,
however, when the child had resorted to his favourite spot, he was
suddenly missed by those below, and, as it was known that he had been
sent to bed, some fears were felt as to what could have become of him.
The servants were summoned, but could give no account of him; the
father was fetched from his study, whither he had retired, and a
search began. The alarm increased when it was ascertained that the
child was in none of the living-rooms of the house, and it was decided
that the garrets and lofts must be searched. Calling for a lantern,
the surgeon ascended the stairs leading to the lumber-room; it was
possible that the boy might have found his way thither on some
childish expedition, and there fallen asleep. Great was the father's
surprise, on reaching the top-most landing, to hear faint musical
sounds proceeding from behind the closed door. Noiselessly retracing
his steps, he summoned the rest of the household, and then, ascending
the stairs in a body, they paused outside to listen. Sure enough the
old garret was full of melodic sounds! Now near, now far off, they
seemed to the listeners to be wafted from another world; there was
something uncanny about it, and the maids gazed into each other's
faces with a scared expression, as the master softly lifted the latch,
and, having peeped into the room, beckoned silently to the rest to
follow him.

It might have been one of the angel choir itself whom these good
people of the under-world had stumbled upon unawares! 'Meister Görge,'
lifting his lantern above his head, peered forward into the darkness,
whilst the women clasped their hands in astonishment at the vision
presented to their gaze. For there, seated before the spinet, was the
white-robed figure of the child, his face half turned towards them,
and his eyes, as they caught the light of the lantern, revealing the
dreamy, rapt expression of one who is lost to every earthly

    [Illustration: '_Beckoned silently to the rest to follow him._']

This discovery does not seem to have produced any outburst of anger
on the part of the father. Possibly he was touched by the child's
devotion, or by his entreaties, and felt unwilling to deprive him of
what, after all, he could only regard in the light of an amusement. At
any rate, little Handel appears to have continued his practising
without interruption. The progress which he made with his studies,
however, made him long for an opportunity of hearing others play, and,
very naturally, of being allowed to express his musical thoughts upon
an instrument capable of responding with a fuller sound, though the
fulfilment of this latter wish was more than he dared hope for whilst
his father remained obdurate. One day, when Handel was seven years
old, his father announced his intention of paying a visit to the
castle of the Duke of Saxe-Weissenfels to see his son--a step-brother
of George Frederick--who acted as valet de chambre to the Duke. Handel
was most anxious to be allowed to accompany his father, because he had
heard that the Duke kept a great company of musicians to perform in
his chapel. But the father refused his consent, and the boy turned
away with a look of fixed determination in his eyes, which it was
well, perhaps, that the elderly surgeon did not perceive. 'I will go,'
muttered the boy to himself, as he sought the seclusion of his garret;
'I will go, even if I have to run every inch of the way!'

Handel did not know then that no fewer than forty miles lay between
his home and the ducal castle, but having formed his bold resolution
he awaited the moment when his father set forth on his journey, and
then, running behind the closed carriage, he did his best to keep pace
with it. The roads were long and muddy, and although he panted on
bravely for a long distance, the child's strength began at last to
fail, and, fearing that he would be left behind, he called to the
coachman to stop. At the sound of the boy's voice his father thrust
his head out of the window, and was about to give vent to his anger at
George's disobedience; but a glance at the poor little bedraggled
figure in the road, with its pleading face, melted the surgeon's
heart. They were at too great a distance from home to turn back, and
so Handel was lifted into the carriage and carried to Weissenfels,
where he arrived tired and footsore, but supremely happy at having won
his point.

Handel had certainly not formed too bright a picture of the musical
delights of the Duke's home. The musicians were most friendly towards
him, and, as he was by no means shy where his beloved art was
concerned, they soon became good friends. His delight was great when
he was told that he might try the beautiful organ in the chapel. The
organist stood beside him and arranged the stops, whilst the child,
with a feeling of coming joy that was almost akin to fear, placed his
fingers upon the keys. The next moment his hesitation had vanished,
and the sounds were coming in response--one minute low and deep, then
mysteriously calling to him from distant corners of the dim galleries,
like sweet angel voices which he had the power to summon by the
pressure of his fingers. In his lonely garret, fingering his spinet,
he had longed for such an opportunity as this, to be enabled to make
the great organ-pipes sing to him in whispers, or to thunder back to
him in grand, deep chords that would set the whole air vibrating with
music. And now the opportunity he craved for had come, and he could
speak his musical thoughts into this noble instrument, which had the
power to draw from the depths of his soul all that that soul
contained. Ah, Handel was glad now that he had persevered and worked
so hard at his music. He was glad, too, that he had undertaken that
long, toilsome run behind his father's carriage, for it had brought to
him the greatest joy of his life.

    [Illustration: '_He called to the coachman to stop._']

On several occasions after this the organist came to the chapel on
purpose to listen to Handel as the latter played, and he was so struck
by the boy's genius that he determined to surprise the Duke by letting
Handel play His Highness out of chapel. Accordingly, on the following
Sunday, when the service was concluded, the organist lifted Handel on
to the organ-stool, and desired him to play. If the young player had
needed courage and self-confidence, it must have been at this moment
when bidden to perform before the Duke and all his people. But he
needed neither, for he instantly forgot all else but the music which
he was burning to express, and without a moment's hesitation complied
with the organist's request.

The Duke and his friends had risen to their feet as Handel began to
play, but the former, who was a good musician himself, instantly
detected a difference in the playing, and, glancing towards the
organ-loft, he was astonished to behold the figure of a child bending
over the keys. But as he listened his astonishment became greater, for
it was no longer the child's figure that arrested his attention, but
the melody which was pouring forth from the instrument. Instead of
walking out of the chapel, the Duke remained standing where he had
risen, with his gaze riveted upon the child player, and of course the
members of the household likewise kept their places. At length, when
Handel ceased to play, the Duke turned to those about him with the
inquiry: 'Who is that child? Does anybody know his name?' As no one
present seemed to know, the organist was sent for to explain matters.
After a few words from this official the Duke commanded that Handel
should be brought before him. When the boy appeared he patted him on
the head, and praised his performance, telling him that he was sure
that he would make a good musician. At this point, however, the
organist interposed with the remark that he understood that the boy's
father had refused to let him follow up his musical studies. 'What!'
cried the Duke in astonishment, 'is it possible that he can
contemplate anything so foolish and unjust as to stifle the genius of
his own son! I cannot believe it. Who is the father? Where does he
live?' On being told that the surgeon was staying in the palace, the
Duke sent for him, and having told him how much he admired his son's
performance, he pointed out to him that he would be doing a great
wrong to the child if he persisted in placing any obstacle in the way
of his advancement. 'I need hardly say,' concluded the kindly Duke,
'that such action on your part would, in my opinion, be quite unworthy
of a member of your own honourable profession.' The father listened
with respect to what the Duke had to say, and then (though with
obvious reluctance) consented to allow the boy to pursue his studies.
'Come,' said the Duke, as he saw that his point was won, 'that is
good, and, believe me, you will never regret it.' He finally turned to
little Handel, and, patting him once more on the head, bade him work
hard at his music, and then took his leave. The child would have
thanked him, but his heart was too full for words, and tears of
gratitude started to his eyes as the kindly nobleman turned away. At
last the wish of his heart would be fulfilled. Happy was the journey
that had so happy an ending for the young musician.

    [Illustration: '_The Duke praised his performance._']

As it was now settled that Handel should devote himself to music, it
became necessary to place him with a good teacher. Friederich Zachau,
an excellent musician, and the organist of the cathedral at Halle, was
chosen to instruct the boy in composition as well as to give him
lessons on the organ, harpsichord, violin, and hautboy. Zachau was
extremely pleased with his pupil, and, perceiving his extraordinary
aptitude and genius, he did his best to bring him on. The organist
possessed a large collection of music by composers of different
countries, and he showed Handel how one nation differed from another
in its style of musical expression, or, to put it another way, how
the people of a particular country felt with regard to the art. Zachau
also taught him to compare the work of various composers, so that he
might recognise the various styles, as well as the faults and
excellencies of each. All this time, too, Handel was set work in
composition. Before long he was actually composing the regular weekly
services for the church, in addition to playing the organ whenever
Zachau desired to absent himself--yet at this time Handel could not
have been more than eight years old.

It was at the end of three years' hard work that Zachau took his pupil
by the hand, and said: 'You must now find another teacher, for I can
teach you no more.' Well and faithfully indeed had Zachau discharged
his duty toward the pupil for whom, to use his own words, he felt he
could never do enough, and grateful must Handel have been for all his
care and attention. The parting was sad for both master and pupil, but
with both the art which they loved stood before all else, and so
Handel was sent to Berlin to pursue his studies.

It is hardly to be wondered at that the people of Berlin should have
regarded as a prodigy a child of eleven who was capable of composing
music for Church services, as well as of playing the organ and
harpsichord in a masterly fashion. There were two well-known musicians
living in Berlin at the time, named Ariosti and Buononcini, to whom
Handel was of course introduced. The former received the boy very
kindly and gave him every encouragement, but Buononcini took a dislike
to him from the first, and seems to have done his best to injure the
little player's reputation. Under the pretence of testing Handel's
powers he composed a most difficult piece for the harpsichord, and,
setting it before the child, requested him to play it at sight. The
piece bristled with complications, and Buononcini confidently
anticipated that Handel would break down over its performance. To his
chagrin, however, the boy played it through with perfect ease and
correctness, and from that moment Buononcini regarded him as a serious
rival. Indeed, Handel's skill in improvising both on the organ and
pianoforte created astonishment in all who heard him, and despite
Buononcini's hostility he made many friends. The Elector himself was
so delighted with his playing that he offered him a post at Court, and
even expressed his willingness to send him to Italy to pursue his
studies. Handel's father, however, refused his consent to both
proposals; no doubt he thought that if the boy developed according to
the promise which he showed it would be necessary to keep him free
from Court engagements, since it had happened in the case of others
that great difficulty had been experienced in breaking away from such
connections. The royal patrons of music were most anxious to obtain
the services of the best musicians, and naturally were very loath to
part with them when once secured. It was therefore determined that
Handel should return to Halle, and be placed once more under the care
of his old master. As may be imagined, Zachau was delighted to receive
his pupil back again, and, with no less joy on his part, Handel set to
work with increased energy to master the science of composition.

Whilst Handel was delighting the people of Berlin with his playing, a
little boy, who was destined to become one of the greatest of
musicians, was injuring his sight by copying out by moonlight the
manuscript music which he had taken from his elder brother's cupboard,
and helping to support himself by singing in the street, and at
weddings and funerals, snatching every moment that could be spared
from such work for adding to his knowledge of composition and
playing. That little boy was Johann Sebastian Bach.

About this time Handel formed a friendship with a young student named
Telemann, who was studying law at Leipzig. Curiously enough,
Telemann's history up to this point bore a close resemblance to that
of Handel. From a child he had been passionately devoted to music, but
it was his parents' wish that he should study law, and now, in
obedience to his mother's desire, he had come to Leipzig University.
The love of music, however, was strong within him, and the meeting
with Handel seems to have fired his passion anew. Yet he resolutely
set his face against the temptation to stray from the path laid down
for him, and to strengthen his resistance he put all his manuscript
compositions in the fire--all save one, which lay forgotten in an old
desk. It happened that a friend lighted upon this solitary manuscript
by accident, and recognising its beauty showed it to the Church
authorities of Leipzig. They in turn were so delighted with it that
they immediately offered the composer the post of organist at the
Neukirche, at the same time sending him a sum of money for the
manuscript, and requesting him to compose regularly for the Church. At
this juncture Telemann abandoned the struggle against his love for the
art, and to his mother, who was supplying him with the means of
living, he wrote, saying that he could no longer hold out against what
he felt to be his true sphere of work, and mentioning that he had
already begun to receive remuneration for the compositions. At the
same time he returned the money which she had sent towards his
education, and begged her not to think too hardly of him. The fact
that his talent for music could produce money seems to have melted the
mother's heart, for she instantly wrote to her son, and not only
returned the money he had sent, but gave him her blessing into the

From this point Handel and Telemann became fast friends, and worked
together at their musical studies, and it is interesting to record
that the latter afterwards became one of the most celebrated German
composers of his day. So numerous were his compositions, in fact, that
it is told that he could not reckon them, and perhaps no other
composer ever possessed such a facility in composition, especially in
Church music. When reminded of his extraordinary talent, however, he
used to say laughingly that a good composer ought to be able to set a
placard to music.

The death of Handel's father, which took place at this period, left
his mother with very small means, and Handel at once determined that
he must work for his own living, so as not to deprive his mother of
any portion of her limited income, to which, indeed, he hoped to make
some addition ere long. But for the present, it was necessary that his
education should be completed in accordance with his father's
injunction, and so Handel continued to attend the University classes
in classics. From this time he acted as deputy organist at the
Cathedral and Castle of Halle, and a few years later, when the post
fell vacant, he was duly appointed organist, with a salary of £7 10s.
a year and free lodging. The duties were many, and included attendance
on Sundays, festivals, and extra occasions, the care of the organ, and
obedience to the priests and elders of the church. The organ was of
the old-fashioned kind, in which the bellows were worked by the feet
of the blower, who for this reason was called a 'bellows-treader'
(_Bälgentreter_). Handel was now seventeen, and longing for greater
things; but he could not expect to earn much in so small a town as
Halle, and so, in January, 1703, he said good-bye to his mother and
his old friend Zachau, and set out for Hamburg to seek his fortune.

His first engagement at Hamburg was a very small one. The Opera House
orchestra needed a _ripieno_ (supplementary violin), and Handel
accepted the post. What reason he had for letting it be understood
that he possessed only a slight skill in playing is not shown, for to
play _ripieno_ meant that he was expected simply to help out the
orchestra when additional harmonies were required, and to give support
to the solo parts. As may be imagined, this must have seemed very easy
work to Handel, nor was it long before he found an opportunity of
showing what he was capable of doing. At that time it was the custom
for the conductor to preside at the harpsichord, where, with the score
of the piece before him, he kept a check upon the players, and, where
necessary, beat the time. One day the conductor was absent through
some accidental cause, and no arrangement had been made to fill his
place. Handel thereupon without a word stepped up and took his seat at
the instrument, and conducted so ably as to excite the astonishment of
the other performers. Having thus revealed his powers, he was
thereafter permanently established in the post.

Handel had not been long in Hamburg before he made the acquaintance of
a most remarkable man named Mattheson. In addition to being an
exceedingly clever musician and composer, Mattheson was a good
linguist and a writer on a variety of musical subjects. He had formed
a resolve to write a book for every year of his life, and he
accomplished more than this, for he lived to be eighty-three years of
age, and at the time of his death he had published no fewer than
eighty-eight volumes. Despite the vanity which formed so large a part
of his character, Handel could not fail to be attracted by so
accomplished a man, and their acquaintance soon ripened into a
friendship which lasted for many years. Shortly after they became
known to each other the post of organist in the church of Lübeck fell
vacant, and Handel and his friend determined to compete for it.
Accordingly, they set out together in the coach, with the evident
intention of enjoying themselves. They had a poulterer as
fellow-traveller, who seems to have been quite of the same opinion,
and as they journeyed to Lübeck they told stories, composed 'double
fugues,' (which it is to be hoped the poulterer appreciated), and
altogether had a very merry time. On reaching their destination they
paid a round of visits to the organs and harpsichords in the town,
trying them all in succession, and it was then arranged between them
that Handel should compete only on the organ and Mattheson on the
harpsichord. Matters, however, were not destined to be carried to the
point of actual trial, for they suddenly discovered that the
successful competitor would be required to wed the daughter of the
retiring organist, and as neither musician contemplated taking so
serious a step, they promptly retreated to Hamburg without even
seeking an audience of the would-be bride!

The self-will and determination which marked the character of Handel
as a child clung to him through life, and not even the closest ties of
friendship prevented his obstinate temper from asserting itself
whenever occasion arose. Handel's temper, opposed to Mattheson's
vanity, gave rise to a quarrel between the two friends which might
have been attended by very serious consequences. Mattheson had written
an opera called 'Cleopatra,' in which he himself took the part of
Antony, and it had been his custom after the death of this character
to take his place at the harpsichord and conduct the rest of the
opera. This had been the arrangement with the former conductor, and
Mattheson did not doubt that it would be adhered to when Handel
presided at the pianoforte. But Mattheson had clearly reckoned without
his host, for when the actor-composer, having departed this life on
the stage, suddenly reappeared through the orchestra door and walked
up to Handel's side with the request that the latter would yield his
place to him, he was met by a flat refusal on the part of the
conductor in possession. Possibly Handel may have been struck by the
absurdity of a personage whose decease had only a few moments before
been witnessed by the audience desiring to reassume his mortal dress
in the orchestra. Mattheson's vanity, on the other hand, was no doubt
deeply injured by his being made to look foolish, and he left the
theatre in a rage.

At the conclusion of the piece Handel found his friend awaiting him at
the entrance. An altercation took place, and it is said that Mattheson
went so far as to box Handel's ears. A public insult such as this
could only be wiped out by a resort to swords, and the belligerents at
once adjourned to the market-place, where, surrounded by a ring of
curious onlookers, they drew their weapons. After several angry
thrusts on either side, the point of Mattheson's sword actually
touched his adversary's breast, but, fortunately, was turned aside by
a large metal button which Handel wore on his coat. The consciousness
of how narrowly he had missed injuring, if not actually killing, his
friend brought Mattheson suddenly to his senses, and, the bystanders
at this juncture interposing between them, the duellists shook hands,
and thenceforth, it is said, became better friends than ever.

    [Illustration: '_A resort to swords._']

The life at Hamburg was a very busy one--full of teaching, study, and
composition. With the growth of his fame the number of his pupils
increased, and Handel was enabled not only to be independent of his
mother's help, but even to send her money from time to time. He now
began to practise a habit which remained with him always--that of
saving money whenever he could. Unlike most students of his age, he
was impressed by the fact that, in order to produce with success works
which were essentially works of art, one should be to some extent
independent. It was during these student days that he composed his
first opera, 'Almira, Queen of Castile,' which was produced in Hamburg
on January 8, 1705. Its success induced him to follow it up with
others, and then, in the following year, he set out for Italy. It was
a journey he had been looking forward to during these years of hard
work--ever since the time, in fact, when the Elector's offer had been
refused by his father. Now he could go with the feeling that he was a
composer of some note, confident that his works would at least obtain
a hearing from the Italians. But this tour was not undertaken with the
idea of making a holiday: it was to be a time of hard, continuous work
as regards both operas and sacred music, by which his fame as a
composer was to be greatly enhanced.

At Florence, where he stayed for some time, he composed the opera
'Rodrigo,' which was received with great applause. The Grand Duke was
so delighted with it that he presented Handel on the first performance
with fifty pounds and a service of plate. At Venice he brought out
another opera, 'Agrippina,' the success of which was even greater than
any previously produced. The audience were most enthusiastic, rising
from their seats and waving their arms, whilst cries of 'Viva il caro
Sassone!' (Long live the dear Saxon) resounded through the house. That
a German composer should thus have taken Italian audiences by storm is
an indication of the power which Handel wielded through his music,
especially when we consider the rivalry which existed between the two
countries in regard to the art. At the same time it must be remembered
that the works of Handel which were performed in Italy were composed
under Italian skies, after close study of the productions and methods
of the masters of Italian opera, and when the composer himself was
imbued with what he had observed of the tastes and customs of the
people. The quality of his works, however, must have served to
convince the Italians of the strength which the sister country was
capable of putting forth in support of her claim to be regarded as a
home of musical art.

Whilst on this tour Handel was present at a masked ball when
Scarlatti, the celebrated Italian performer, aroused great applause by
his playing on the harpsichord. Handel, whose identity was unknown to
both Scarlatti and the audience, was next invited to play, and excited
so much astonishment by his performance that Scarlatti, who had been
listening intently, exclaimed aloud, 'It is either the famous Saxon
himself, or the devil!' Later on, at Rome, the two performers competed
in a friendly manner on the organ and pianoforte, and though it was
undecided as to which should have the palm for the latter instrument,
Scarlatti himself admitted Handel's superiority on the organ, and ever
afterwards, when people praised him for his playing, he would tell
them how Handel played, and at the same time cross himself in token of
his great reverence for his gifted rival.

In Rome itself Handel's interest was deeply aroused, and he returned
for a second visit to the city in 1709. It was here that he composed
and produced his first oratorio, the 'Resurrection,' which added to
his fame as a writer of sacred music. During this second visit he
witnessed the arrival of the Pifferari, a band of shepherd-fifers, who
each year left their flocks on the Calabrian hills, and journeyed to
Rome to celebrate the birth of Christ by singing and playing an
ancient chant in memory of the shepherds of Bethlehem. Handel must
have retained this simple melody in his mind, for many years later he
introduced a version of it into his great oratorio, the 'Messiah,'
where, under the title of the 'Pastoral Symphony,' it accompanies the
scene of 'the shepherds abiding in the field.'

The following year Handel returned to Germany, and went to Hanover,
where he was most kindly received by the Elector (afterwards King
George I. of England). The post of Capellmeister, with a salary of
about £300, was offered and accepted, but Handel had a further favour
to prefer. He had for long cherished a desire to visit England,
whither the noise of his fame had already extended, and whence he had
received many pressing invitations. His request for leave of absence
for this purpose was at once granted by his royal master, but ere
Handel could turn his steps to these shores a stronger claim upon him
remained to be satisfied: this was to visit his mother and his old
master, Zachau. We may imagine the meeting--the mother proud of her
son, Zachau equally proud of his pupil. How glad the hearts of both
must have been to welcome back one who had so abundantly justified
their confidence in his powers! Short as the time had been, the young
musician had accomplished a great work for his country, for his
compositions had sufficed to show the Italians the height to which the
music of Germany had risen. It now remained for him to bring the
English under his subjection, and of his success in this direction he
had little fear. When the autumn came Handel took leave of his dear
ones, and, with the sorrow of parting tempered by joyful
anticipations, he set sail for England.

Italian opera had of late become the fashion in the musical world of
London, but so much dissatisfaction had been aroused by the manner in
which it was produced that it needed all the genius and power of such
a master as Handel had shown himself to be to restore it to popular
favour. We have, therefore, to think of Handel coming to London, with
the fame of his Italian tour clinging to him, to a people longing for
music which they could appreciate. That fame had paved the way for a
cordial reception; he must next show them what he could do. In the
February following his arrival Handel produced his opera 'Rinaldo' at
the Queen's Theatre in the Haymarket, having expended just a fortnight
in composing and completing it! The opera was a triumphant success.
For fifteen nights in succession (a long run in those days) the house
was crowded with an enthusiastic audience, and the charming airs which
were first uttered within the walls of the Haymarket Theatre were
afterwards wafted to the furthest corners of the three kingdoms. Even
to-day, when many of us hear for the first time the airs 'Lascia ch'io
pianga' and 'Cara sposa,' we seem to fall at once under the spell of
their charm; and can we not imagine the effect which these beautiful
songs produced upon the Londoners of nearly two centuries ago, as they
were voiced by the great singer Nicolini? We have mentioned but two of
the airs which have ever remained popular, but the opera abounded in
graceful melodies that could not fail to captivate the ear of a people
who had been languishing for the sunshine.

It is interesting to recall the manner in which the opera was put upon
the stage in those days. Every effort seems to have been made to
render the scenes as realistic as possible, though occasionally this
straining after effect was carried to an excess that excited ridicule.
Thus, in the scene for Act II of 'Rinaldo,' representing the garden of
Armida, the stage was filled with living birds, which were let loose
from cages. As the opera was produced in the winter months, the only
birds available were sparrows--a fact which gave rise to sarcastic
comments in the papers. The practice, however, might have been justly
condemned on account of its cruelty.

Handel was now firmly established in the favour of English
music-lovers. They had expected great things of him, and they were
not disappointed. There was a body of true musicians in London at that
time to whom the presence of the composer must have given special
delight. Regular concerts, where amateur musicians could meet for the
purpose of playing and hearing the best music, were unknown, and it
was left to the enterprising zeal of one humble individual to
originate the idea of the regular weekly concerts in London which
later on became so widely known and appreciated. In a small shop near
Clerkenwell Green lived a small-coal dealer named Thomas Britton. In
those days 'small-coal,' or charcoal, was extensively used amongst the
poorer classes, and regularly each morning Britton would shoulder his
large sack of the fuel and go his round through the streets, disposing
of his burden in pennyworths to the inhabitants. When the round was
finished he returned home, changed his clothes, forgot that he was a
small-coal man, and became a musician. Nor were there wanting many
belonging to far higher stations in life who were ready to testify to
the deep love for the art which distinguished the small-coal dealer.
In a long, low-pitched room above the shop, which had originally
formed part of a stable, Britton had collected a large number of
musical instruments of various kinds, as well as the scores of some of
the best music of the day. To this humble apartment would repair
numbers of amateur and professional musicians belonging to all ranks
of society, from the highest to the lowest. No one paid for admission,
and the sole qualification expected of the visitor was that he or she
should be a lover of the art. Thus, at the weekly gatherings in the
small-coal man's loft, might have been seen peers of the realm, poets
and artists, singers and performers, both known and unknown, mingling
freely together, drinking coffee provided by the host at one penny
per dish, and settling themselves down to enjoy the best chamber music
of the day. Handel was not long in finding his way thither, and he
became a regular attendant, always presiding at the harpsichord. The
fame of Britton's assemblies grew apace, and led eventually to the
establishment of regular weekly chamber concerts in London.

This first visit to England seems to have implanted in Handel a
sincere affection for the country and its people, and although he
returned to Hanover and took up his duties again at Court, he felt
convinced that London was the centre in which his genius could have
its fullest play. It was not long, therefore, before he obtained fresh
leave of absence to visit England, giving in return a promise to
present himself at his post within a 'reasonable' time. How he carried
out this promise we shall see from what follows. London was only too
glad to see him again, and his acquaintances became more numerous than
ever. Lord Burlington invited him to stay at his seat, Burlington
House (now the Royal Academy), in Piccadilly, where the only duty
expected of him in return for the comforts of a luxurious home and the
society of the great was that he should conduct the Earl's chamber
concerts. It is difficult to realise that Burlington House stood then
in the midst of fields, whilst Piccadilly itself was considered to be
so far from town that surprise was felt that Lord Burlington should
have removed himself to such a distance from the centre of life and
fashion. The loneliness of Piccadilly at that period may be surmised
from the fact that it was not safe to traverse the thoroughfare after
nightfall unless protected by an escort strong enough to repell the
attacks of highwaymen who haunted the neighbourhood.

The time passed so quickly amidst the pleasures of society and the
unceasing devotion to composition that Handel himself probably failed
to realise that he was gratuitously extending his leave of absence
beyond all 'reasonable' bounds. His fame had made great progress all
this while, and when the wars in Flanders at length came to an end
with the signing of the peace of Utrecht, he was called upon to
compose the _Te Deum_ and _Jubilate_, which were performed at the
Thanksgiving Service held at St. Paul's, and attended by the Queen in
state. To signalise this great event, as well as to mark the royal
favour in which the composer was held, Queen Anne awarded Handel a
life pension of £200. It is small wonder, then, that he should have
been slow to sever, even for a time, his connection with the world of
London. Amongst his numerous acquaintance of this time was a certain
Dr. Greene, a musician of some ability, but more perseverance, whose
attentions to the composer were so persistent as to partake of the
nature of persecution. Handel was never the man to cultivate an
acquaintance for which he had no liking, and it was a part of his
character to make no effort to conceal his dislikes either for persons
or things. When, therefore, Dr. Greene sent him a manuscript anthem of
his own to look over, Handel put it on one side and forgot it. Some
time afterwards Dr. Greene went to take coffee with the great man, and
having waited vainly for some reference to his manuscript until his
patience was exhausted, he burst out with: 'Well, Mr. Handel, and what
do you think of my anthem?' 'Your antum?' cried Handel in his broken
English. 'Ah, yes, I do recollect, I did tink dat it vanted air,'
'_Air!_' exclaimed the astonished and indignant composer. 'Yes, air,'
responded Handel, 'and so I did hang it out of de vindow.'

    [Illustration: '_A grand procession of decorated barges from
    Whitehall to Limehouse._']

The death of the Queen must have awakened Handel with a shock to a
sense of his neglect of duty, for the Elector of Hanover thereupon
came to England as her successor. That King George would be likely to
receive Handel with favour was out of the question, notwithstanding
the monarch's love of music and the fame which had grown about his
Capellmeister's name. The offence lay far too deep for that, and
Handel realised that he must employ some special means of grace to
secure his master's pardon. The opportunity he sought for came ere
long. A royal entertainment on the Thames was arranged, in which there
was to be a grand procession of decorated barges from Whitehall to
Limehouse. An orchestra was provided, and Handel was requested by the
Lord Chamberlain to compose the music for the fête, in the hope that
by so doing he might pave the way towards a reconciliation. Handel
acquiesced, and the result was the series of pieces which have since
been known as the 'Water Music,' The King was so delighted with the
performance that he had it repeated, and, learning that Handel was
conducting it in person, he sent for him, and not only granted him a
full pardon, but conferred upon him an additional pension of £200. Nor
did the royal favour stop here, for he was shortly afterwards
appointed music-master to the daughters of the Prince of Wales at a
salary of £200 a year. Handel was thus raised to a position of
independence, for as the original grant from Queen Anne continued in
force he enjoyed a total income of £600 a year, a sum which in those
days was equivalent to a considerable fortune.

It was not long after this that Handel was appointed chapel-master to
the Duke of Chandos, at the latter's palace of Cannons, near Edgware.
The post up till then had been held by a certain Dr. Pepusch, but he
resigned at once in favour of Handel. Anything more princely in style
than Cannons could hardly be imagined; its size and magnificence were
the talk of the country for miles around, whilst the fabulous riches
of its owner and his luxuriousness of living earned for him the title
of 'The Grand Duke,' The palace itself has long since disappeared, but
the chapel originally attached to it has been preserved, and now forms
the parish church of Whitchurch, or Little Stanmore. The interior is
furnished and decorated after the fashion of the Italian churches, but
it is not on account of its structural beauty that the church has
become the object of interest to thousands of pilgrims who annually
make their way to the village of Edgware; it is the knowledge that it
was here that Handel composed his first English oratorio, 'Esther,' as
well as numerous anthems and other minor works. The manuscript score
of this fine work--which is but rarely heard now--is to be seen in the
Royal Collection of Handel manuscripts at Buckingham Palace, though a
portion of it is missing. No one who finds his way to the church of
Little Stanmore should fail to notice the organ, for it is the
instrument used by Handel from 1718 to 1721, and on which he played
the organ parts of 'Esther,' when the oratorio was performed for the
first time in the Duke's chapel. With the lavishness that was his
chief characteristic the Duke handed to the composer on this occasion
£1,000, but in so doing he may have been actuated by a sincere desire
to add to Handel's independence. Those were very happy and busy years
which Handel passed at Cannons. Amongst the numerous compositions for
the harpsichord belonging to this period is the suite of pieces which
includes the air, with variations, popularly known as 'The Harmonious
Blacksmith,' The origin of this title has for long been a matter of
discussion; it is quite certain that Handel himself did not so name
the piece, for the manuscript bears the title only of 'Air et
Doubles,' nor was it ever known by any other name during the
composer's lifetime. Yet there are few of us, perhaps, who willingly
reject as fable the story which for many years after Handel's death
was believed to have given a true account of its origin. According to
this story Handel was one day walking to Cannons through the village
of Edgware, when he was overtaken by a heavy shower of rain, and
sought shelter within the smithy. The blacksmith was singing at his
work, and the strokes of his hammer on the anvil kept time to his
song. Handel, it is said, was so struck both by the air and its
accompaniment that on reaching home he wrote down the tune with a set
of variations upon it. Assuming this story to have no foundation in
fact, no satisfactory explanation has been forthcoming to account for
the origin of the title, and when, in 1835, the story was
investigated, it was claimed that both anvil and hammer had been
traced as having passed through several hands. The blacksmith's name
was said to have been Powell, and the anvil is described as bearing a
capital P, and, further, that 'when struck with the hammer it gives,
first, the note B, but immediately afterwards sounds E. These notes
correspond very nearly with the B-flat and E-flat of our present
concert pitch, and therefore coincide very closely with the E-natural
and B-natural of Handel's times,'[3] Again, with regard to the air
itself, the contention that Handel took it from another composer has
never been proved, and there is 'absolutely nothing to show that it is
not the work of Handel.'[4]

    [Illustration: '_The strokes of his hammer on the anvil kept
    time to his song._']

It is difficult for us to imagine the road leading from the Marble
Arch (then called Tyburn) to Edgware as being infested by highwaymen.
This fact, like that regarding the condition of Piccadilly, serves to
show in a striking manner how circumscribed the London of those days
must have been. Handel must often have had to travel between Cannons
and London, but we do not hear of his having been robbed by the way.
The Duke, however, was attacked on more than one occasion, and he
always performed the journey with an escort of his favourite Swiss
Guards, of whom a body was kept to protect the palace.

For several years the production of opera 'after the Italian style,'
which Handel on his coming over had done so much to stimulate, had
languished for lack of funds. To many Londoners who were fond of music
the sight of the closed doors of the King's Theatre in the Haymarket
imparted a feeling of regret and loss. When, therefore, a number of
rich patrons of music met together and decided to form themselves into
a society for the purpose of reviving the opera in London, the project
was received with signs of general pleasure. The King was greatly
interested, and subscribed £1,000 to the venture. Handel was at once
engaged in the double capacity of composer and 'impressario,' the
latter duty charging him with the selection and engagement of singers.
The new society was to be called the Royal Academy of Music, but we
must not confuse this body with the Royal Academy of Music existing
at the present day, which was founded in 1822.

Handel now set out for Germany with the object of visiting Dresden,
where the Elector of Saxony was maintaining a company of the best
singers for the performance of Italian opera. On his return journey he
paid a visit to Halle, where he found his mother alive, and overjoyed
to see him, though the cheery welcome of his old master Zachau could
no longer be heard, for the old man had gone to his rest. There was
another sad note about this visit, for on the very day that Handel
left for England Sebastian Bach, filled with a longing to meet his
great contemporary, arrived at Halle, whither he had journeyed from
Cöthen, only to find that he was a few hours too late. This was the
last chance of their meeting, for when Handel paid his next visit to
Germany Bach was dead.

Early in the following year the doors of the theatre in the Haymarket
were besieged by a huge crowd, anxious to secure seats for the
performance of Handel's new opera, 'Radamisto,' which was being
produced by the Royal Academy of Music. The applause was deafening,
and the success of the opera was assured. But Handel was not to be
left to enjoy his honours in peace; an opposition party had already
arisen, who were moved to do him evil partly from envy, and partly
because he had stirred them up to resentment by his dominancy and
self-will. From Hamburg came his old enemy, Buononcini, to try his
fortune with the new society, and it was not long ere the rival
composers were engaged with a third musician, whose name is uncertain
(though some state it to have been that of Handel's friend of his
Hamburg days--Ariosti), in the composition of a new opera. It was
arranged that this work should form a kind of competition, with the
object of determining whether Handel or Buononcini was the better
composer. Thus Handel wrote the third act, and Buononcini the second,
the first act being committed to the hands of the third musician,
whose claim to be regarded as a rival was very small in comparison
with the others. When the new work, 'Muzio Scævola,' was performed
Handel's act was pronounced by the principal judges to be much
superior to that of Buononcini's; the latter's friends, however,
refused to accept a defeat, and being joined by others, the battle
waxed exceedingly hot. The newspapers took it up, and very soon
nothing else was talked about but the rival merits of the two
composers. Numerous verses were composed on either side, as well as
others which poked fun at both parties. Amongst the latter was an
epigram written by John Byrom, the Lancashire poet, which, without the
knowledge of the author, got into all the papers, and was considered
to hit off the situation more neatly than any which had gone before.
Thus it runs:

    'Some say, compar'd to Buononcini,
    That Mynheer Handel's but a Ninny;
    Others aver, that he to Handel
    Is scarcely fit to hold a Candle;
    Strange all this Difference should be,
    'Twixt Tweedle-dum and Tweedle-dee!'

That Handel showed scant consideration for those who differed from him
in regard to his works is proved by his treatment of the artists who
were engaged to perform for him. He could not be thwarted from his
bent, nor cajoled into doing anything that he disliked, whilst his
stubborn pride prevented him from yielding to any, whether great or
small. When, in 1723, his opera 'Ottone' was about to be produced, he
had engaged as prima donna the great Continental singer, Francesca
Cuzzoni. The lady does not appear to have possessed the sweetest of
tempers, and she showed her independence by not putting in an
appearance in England until the rehearsals were far advanced. This
could not have been pleasing to the composer, but when on her
presenting herself at the theatre she flatly refused to sing the aria
'Falsa Immagine' in the way Handel had written it, he burst into a
rage, and seizing her in his arms, cried: 'Madam, you are a very
she-devil, but I vill have you know dat I am Beelzebub, de prince of
devils!' with which he made as if to throw her out of the window.
Cuzzoni was so frightened by his fury that she promised to do as she
was bid. Accordingly, she sang as he directed, and made one of her
greatest successes with the song. How much the public appreciated the
singing of this gifted artist we may guess when it is told that the
directors obtained as much as five guineas for each seat when she was
advertised to sing.

Although he would brook no contradiction on the part of those who were
engaged to execute his works, Handel spared no pains to help them over
a difficulty, or to show how his music should be expressed. At times,
however, his temper took the form of the most unsparing sarcasm. One
day a singer at rehearsal protested against the manner in which Handel
was accompanying him on the harpsichord, and in a fit of anger
exclaimed: 'If you continue to accompany me in that fashion I will
jump from the platform on to the harpsichord, and smash it!' 'Vat!'
cried Handel, looking up in surprise, 'do you say you vill jump? Den I
vill advertise it at once, for people vould come to see you jump dat
vill never come to hear you sing!'

We have not space to describe the whole of the works which Handel
wrote for the Royal Academy of Music. His industry was untiring, and
the fertility of his genius was such that within a period of eight
years from the beginning of the Society's work he had composed and
produced no fewer than fourteen operas. Amongst this number was the
opera called 'Scipione,' in which is to be found a 'Triumphal March in
D,' which the Grenadier Guards claim to have been specially composed
for their regiment by Handel before its inclusion in the opera. The
Guards are very proud of their march, and the band still plays it
under the title of the 'Royal Guards March.'

During the whole of this time, however, Handel's enemies never ceased
their opposition, and, despite successes, it was soon apparent that
the rival parties were bent on destroying each other. The enormous
cost incurred in producing operatic works, added to the losses
occasioned by quarrels and dissensions amongst the singers, many of
whom deserted Handel to join his enemies, at length brought the Royal
Academy to the end of its resources. In 1727, when the society was
tottering to its fall, the rival theatre in Lincoln's Inn Fields
brought out the famous work called 'The Beggar's Opera,' written by
John Gay, which formed the first English ballad opera. Its success was
stupendous; London was taken completely by storm, and everybody was
soon singing and humming its catching airs. Fickle as the public taste
had hitherto shown itself to be in regard to musical productions, it
now became fixed on the new work, and opera in the 'Italian style' was
completely deserted. What was the secret of this wonderful success?
Simply this: a poet seized upon a number of the most entrancing airs
which the musical genius of England and Scotland had produced, many of
them belonging to ancient times, together with the favourite melodies
of the day, and he set them to words which were utterly unworthy of
the sentiment inspired by these beautiful compositions. The richest
stores of ballad music were pillaged for this degrading work; the
march in Handel's 'Rinaldo' was stolen to form a robber's chorus,
whilst the exploits of Captain Macheath and his highwaymen companions
were held up as models of daring and gallantry when performed to the
most captivating of airs. The public hailed the piece with delight;
the ladies modelled their dresses on the stage costume of 'Polly,' the
heroine, and decorated their fans with the words of her songs, and for
sixty-two nights the walls of the Lincoln's Inn Fields theatre shook
with thunders of applause from gallery, pit, and stalls. In thus
speaking of a work which not only held London captive for so long, but
was afterwards performed in every part of the kingdom, we must not
forget that its remarkable popularity was due in some measure to the
brightness of its dialogue; to its witty sayings hitting off men and
manners of the day; but, above all, to the exquisite beauty of its
melodies, which served to lay a glamour over what otherwise would have
undoubtedly been condemned as vulgar.

The success of the 'Beggar's Opera' completed the ruin of the Royal
Academy of Music, but Handel, undismayed by the failure of this great
scheme, and setting his enemies at defiance, went once more to Italy
to collect a new company of singers, for he was determined to carry on
the work himself with the fortune which his operas had brought him. On
his way home he paid a visit to Halle, where he found his aged mother
stricken by illness. She lingered until the following year (1730),
when she died at the age of eighty. For several years Handel struggled
to build up the fortunes of Italian opera in London, but the
persistent rivalry and opposition of his enemies, combined with the
decadence of musical taste on the part of the public, caused his
losses to accumulate, until, in 1737, he found himself, after repeated
failures, deeply in debt, and with his health broken down by overwork
and anxiety. The whole of his fortune of £10,000 had been swallowed up
in this disastrous enterprise, and it was a poor consolation for him
to know that his rivals failed in the same year with a loss of
£12,000. Not even at this juncture, however, would his indomitable
will submit to the force of circumstances. After a brief rest at Aix
la Chapelle, with a course of vapour baths, he returned to London
prepared to begin the battle afresh, and although he had lost to a
great extent the favour of the rich, his popularity was such that a
statue of himself was executed by public subscription, and erected in
Vauxhall Gardens, an honour which, as has been truly observed, had
been paid to no other composer during his lifetime.

It was only after several failures that Handel was at length convinced
that it was useless to attempt to re-awaken the interest of English
audiences in Italian opera, and yet, although he made no concealment
of his regret at the abandonment of a line of composition in which he
had so greatly excelled, it was with no diminished vigour or
determination that he now, at the age of fifty-five, turned his
attention to work of a serious character. And if we admit that Handel
excelled in operatic work, what shall we say of the oratorios which
formed the later creations of his genius? To many of us, perhaps, his
name is so intimately associated with the titles of his religious
works that we are almost ready to believe that all which had gone
before was merely in the nature of preparation for such noble works as
'Saul,' 'Israel in Egypt,' 'Samson,' 'Jephtha,' and, above all, the
'Messiah.' It is on the 'Messiah' alone that our space permits us to
dwell, and we will endeavour to relate the story of how this great
oratorio came to be written.

It was in 1741 that the plan of writing the 'Messiah' was formed, but
it is not known whether the subject originated with Handel himself, or
was suggested to him by a friend named Mr. Charles Jennens, a man of
great literary tastes and acquirements, who lived a retired life in
the country. It is certain, however, that Mr. Jennens selected and
wrote out the passages from the Scriptures, and sent them to Handel to
set to music, and for the care and choice exercised in this
compilation we owe to Mr. Jennens a deep debt of gratitude. Towards
the end of this year Handel received an invitation from the
Lord-Lieutenant of Ireland to visit Dublin, as the Irish people were
very desirous of hearing some of his compositions performed in their
country. Handel accepted the invitation very willingly, for he saw in
the tone in which it was conveyed an assurance of the sympathy of the
sister isle, as well as a prospect of being enabled to retrieve his
fallen fortunes. He left England at the beginning of November, having
previously sent a promise to Dublin that he would devote a portion of
the money realised by his performances to three charitable
institutions in that city. The music of the 'Messiah' must have been
actually composed before he set foot upon the ship at Chester, for at
the end of the following month we find him writing to Mr. Jennens from
Dublin, and referring to the latter's oratorio, '"Messiah," which I
set to music before I left England,'[5] Moreover, he must have had the
manuscript score with him on his voyage, though his friends in London
were ignorant of the fact; for we learn that being detained at
Chester for some days by contrary winds, he got together at his inn
several of the choir boys from the cathedral in order to try over some
of the choral passages in the work. Needless to say, the title of the
oratorio was not allowed to transpire on this occasion, but many of us
may feel curious to know whether any of these young singers felt
impressed by the beauty of the parts which it was their envied lot to
'try over' in the composer's room at the hostelry. One at least of
these trial performers must have carried away an unpleasant experience
of the great man's impetuous temper. 'Can you sing at sight?' was the
question put to each before he was asked to sing, and one broke down
lamentably at the start. 'What de devil you mean!' cried Handel,
snatching the music from his hands. 'Did not you say you could sing at
sight?' 'Yes, sir, I did,' responded the confused singer, 'but not at
_first_ sight!'

The welcome extended to Handel by the people of Dublin was a very warm
one; the performances were a great success, and then we get the first
public mention of the new oratorio. At the 'Musick Hall in Fishamble
Street, Dublin' is to be performed 'Mr. Handel's new grand Oratorio,
called the "Messiah," in which the Gentlemen of the Choirs of both
Cathedrals will assist, with some Concertos on the Organ, by Mr.
Handel.' It was further announced that the proceeds would be devoted
to two charitable institutions, and 'for the Relief of the Prisoners
in the several Gaols.' These latter were miserable persons who had
been imprisoned for debt, and whose sufferings through neglect and
poverty were such as to excite deep compassion. Four hundred pounds
was the sum realised by this performance, which took place on Monday,
April 13, 1742, and no doubt the poor prisoners felt very grateful to
the composer, who had thus put into practice the very precepts which
his sacred work inspired. So great was the success of this first
performance that a second was called for, the announcement of which
contained an earnest appeal to the ladies to leave their hoops behind
them. This singular request was obeyed, with the result that
accommodation was found for one hundred more persons than on the first

    [Illustration: '"_Did not you say you could sing at sight?_"'
    '"_Yes, sir, but not at_ first _sight!_"']

The citizens of Dublin seem to have been very loath to part with
Handel, whilst he, for his part, must have felt in the warmth of his
reception some recompense for the neglect from which he had been made
to suffer in London. The visit was therefore prolonged for many
months, and it was not until March 23, 1743, that a London audience
gathered to witness their first performance of the 'Messiah'. How is
it possible to give, in a few words, an idea of this great work? When
we hear the 'Messiah' performed we are struck by its magnificence and
beauty of expression; the language of Scripture seems to be clothed,
as it were, in a beautiful garment of music which, ever changing as
the oratorio proceeds, appears to give the fullest and most exact
expression to each portion of the sacred story. At one time the music
blazes forth like a jewelled crown when it catches the sun; at another
it soars heavenwards like the song of the lark; once again it pours
forth like the thunderous roar of a huge cataract, filling our ears
with the majesty of its volume; then, again, it sinks to the tender
moan of the wind as it sweeps through the trees; but everywhere and at
all times it seems to exactly fit the words, and to give them their
noblest expression. The oratorio opens with an overture, grand, yet
simple, and designed to prepare our minds for the story which follows.
Then we hear the words of the prophet Isaiah, 'Comfort ye my people,'
telling of the coming of the Messiah, and relating the signs by which
His approach is to be heralded--'Ev'ry valley shall be exalted,'
etc.--and leading up to the revelation, 'The people that walked in
darkness have seen a great light,' and so to the mighty outburst of
harmony--'Wonderful! Counsellor!'--with which the prophecy reaches its
culminating point. When these words are thundered forth in chorus we
seem to have suddenly presented to our eyes a picture of the Messiah
as He was revealed to the mind of the Prophet. But note attentively
what follows. With the concluding notes of that grand choral outburst
still ringing in our ears--the designation of a mighty Prince, a great
Counsellor--we find ourselves, at the ushering in of the Nativity,
not, as the words of the chorus would seem to predict, at the
welcoming scene of a great Prince in all his splendour, but in the
presence of a group of lowly shepherds tending their flocks in the
quiet fields of Judæa. How wonderfully striking is the contrast
between the grandeur of the concluding chorus and the simplicity and
quiet beauty of the scene now presented to us by the Pastoral
Symphony! It is founded upon the ancient melody which Handel had heard
the Calabrian shepherds play at Rome[6] many years before, and soon
the air is ringing with the chorus of the heavenly host, 'Glory to God
in the highest,' followed by the joyful outburst, 'Rejoice greatly.'
Then comes the revelation of what Christ shall be to His people--'He
shall feed His flock like a Shepherd,' 'His yoke is easy and His
burthen is light--' with which the first part comes to an end.

In the second part we are shown the incidents leading up to the
Passion, and our emotions are deeply stirred by the pathetic music
indicating the sufferings of our Lord. What could be more touchingly
beautiful than the air, 'He was despised and rejected of men'? in the
writing of which Handel is said to have burst into tears. Then, the
Passion past, we have the realisation of all that that sacrifice
meant, the awakening of hope, followed by the triumphal chorus, 'Lift
up your heads, O ye gates!' and after a succession of beautiful airs
and choruses we reach the culminating point of the Recognition in that
grand hymn of praise, the 'Hallelujah Chorus,' with which the second
part concludes.

Scarcely have the glorious hallelujahs of the last chorus died away
ere the beautiful strains of the air, 'I know that my Redeemer
liveth,' are ringing in our ears; from this we are led to the chorus,
'Worthy is the Lamb,' indicating the glorification of the sacrifice,
and the marvellous concluding chorus of the 'Amen,' which strikingly
portrays the unified assent of heaven and earth to the Godhead of

On the occasion of the first performance of the 'Messiah' in London,
at which the King was present, the vast audience were so impressed by
the grandeur of the music and the reverence which it inspired that
when the 'Hallelujah Chorus' began, and the words, 'For the Lord God
omnipotent reigneth,' rang out, they one and all, including the King,
sprang to their feet as if by a given signal, and stood until the last
notes of the chorus had been sounded. From that time forward it has
been the custom at performances of the oratorio to stand during the
'Hallelujah Chorus.'

No other sacred musical work has been the means of securing for the
sick and needy so much relief as that which the 'Messiah' has effected
by its frequent performances in various parts of England and on the
Continent. Handel, as we have seen, gave the proceeds of its first
performance to help the sick and miserable, and his good example has
been followed by many others. Later on his compassion was aroused by
the poor, helpless little inmates of the Foundling Hospital. We all
know the Foundling Hospital, in Guilford Street, Russell Square, but
perhaps we do not all know why it is that Handel's portrait is there
accorded the place of honour, or why the foundlings should hold the
composer's memory in such reverence. Handel did not, it is true,
establish the hospital; it was founded in 1741 by one Captain Coram,
out of the profits of a trading vessel of which he was the master. But
nine years later (in 1750) he presented the hospital with a fine
organ, and, in order to inaugurate the opening of the instrument, he
announced that he would perform upon it the music of the 'Messiah.' So
great was the demand for seats upon this occasion that it was found
necessary to repeat the performance. Handel afterwards presented a
manuscript score of the oratorio to the Foundling, and undertook to
give an annual performance of the work for the benefit of the charity.
Eleven performances under his direction were given at the Foundling
before his death, by which a sum of £6,955 was added to the hospital
funds. Nor did this good work cease with the composer's death, for we
learn that the annual performances continued to be given, and that
seventeen of these brought the total amount by which the 'Messiah'
benefited the hospital up to £10,299, a fact which of itself speaks
volumes for the appreciation in which the oratorio was held.

In connection with the gift of the 'Messiah' score to the Foundling an
amusing story is told, which serves to illustrate the imperiousness of
Handel's temper. The directors of the hospital were desirous of
retaining for themselves the exclusive right to perform the 'Messiah,'
and with this idea they sought to obtain an Act of Parliament
confirming their rights. When Handel heard of the proposal, however,
he burst out in a rage with, 'Te teufel! for what sall de Foundlings
put mein moosic in de Parliament? Te teufel! mein moosic sall not go
to de Parliament!' And it is hardly necessary to add that 'de moosic'
did not go to 'de Parliament.'

It is difficult, within the compass of this little story, to convey a
just idea of the extraordinary amount of work which Handel's life
comprised. One oratorio after another followed the 'Messiah,' none of
them entitled to rank with that great work for either loftiness of
subject or grandeur of expression, yet many containing passages of
unrivalled beauty. 'Jephtha,' which was the last oratorio he composed,
contains the magnificent recitative, 'Deeper and deeper still,' and
the beautiful song, 'Waft her, angels.' It was while writing 'Jephtha'
that Handel became blind, but, though greatly affected by this loss,
it did not daunt his courage or lessen his power of work. He was then
in his sixty-eighth year, and had lived down most of the hostility
which formerly had been so rife against him. Who, indeed, could for
long withstand so imperious a will, backed by such unquenchable
genius? With increased fame, moreover, his fortunes had built
themselves up once more, so that when he died he left £20,000 to be
disposed of by his executors.

The range of Handel's compositions was gigantic; there was no branch
of the art which his genius did not penetrate and adorn, but it is as
a writer of choruses that his power is seen at its best. 'No one,'
writes Mr. Julian Marshall, in his biography of the composer, 'before
or since has so well understood how to extract from a body of voices
such grand results by such artfully simple means as those he used.' No
master, we may add, has given us music which expresses with greater
clearness, beauty, or force the passages of Scripture it is intended
to illumine than that which is to be found in the choral parts of
Handel's oratorios. Handel was the greatest master of counterpoint the
world has ever seen, and this power enabled him to give musical
expression to written words with an ease and fluency which can only be
described as marvellous. Yet it is not its marvellous character which
strikes us when we hear his work for the first time so much as its
oneness with the subject it portrays; we feel that it is like some
grand painting, in which colour and form are so charmingly blended as
to make a perfect and indivisible whole.

It is often alleged that Handel copied from other composers, and that
such was the case there is abundant evidence to show. It must be
remembered, however, that in his day people did not attach to
originality of ideas the value which we allow to them now. Handel,
however, did more than this: he not only borrowed ideas or themes
which--to a great extent, at least--were regarded as common property,
but he actually embodied in some of his works _entire passages_ taken
from the compositions of comparatively unknown composers. For this no
justification is possible; nor, on the other hand, can it be urged
that Handel stole other men's brains because he lacked power to use
his own. The only thing that it seems possible to say by way of
explaining a practice which must be condemned as dishonest is that
Handel in all probability did not realise his offence or view it in
the light in which we view it at the present day. Everything in his
life and character argues against the idea of his committing an action
which he held to be mean or dishonest. No man could have been more
fearlessly independent, either in thought or action, and, whatever
other faults he possessed, his character has always been regarded as
strictly honourable.

Handel was a big man, with a very commanding presence and a fiery
temper, which, as we have seen, was apt to explode at trifles. He did
not hesitate to launch the most virulent abuse at the heads of those
who ventured to talk whilst he was conducting, and at such times not
even the presence of royalty could make him restrain his anger. But
when Handel raved the Princess of Wales would turn to her friends, and
say softly, 'Hush, hush! Handel is angry.' He had a rooted dislike to
hearing his orchestra tune up in his presence, and he gave strict
orders that the performers were to get this business over before he
arrived. One night, however, when the Prince of Wales was to be
present, a wag gained access to the orchestra and secretly untuned
every instrument. When the Prince arrived and the audience were all
seated, Handel 'gave the signal to begin _con spirito_, when such a
discord arose that the enraged musician started from his seat,
overturned the double-bass, seized a kettledrum, threw it at the
leader of the orchestra, and lost his wig. He advanced bareheaded to
the front of the orchestra, but was so choked with passion that he
could not speak. Here he stood, staring and stamping, amidst general
convulsions of laughter, until the Prince presently, with much
difficulty, appeased his wrath, and prevailed on him to resume his

Handel's fondness for the pleasures of the table was one of the
weaknesses which his enemies did not fail to make the most of, and
which has given rise to more than one story. For instance, it is told
that he went into a dining-house one day and ordered 'dinner for
three.' The waiter, having received the order, disappeared, and was
absent so long that Handel lost patience, and, ringing the bell,
demanded to know why the meal was delayed. 'Sir,' replied the waiter,
'I was awaiting the arrival of the company.' 'De gompany!' cried the
famished musician, in a voice which made the glasses jingle, and
caused the waiter to start back in dismay, 'I am de gompany!'

Dr. Burney, the eminent musician and friend of Handel, has described
the composer's countenance as having been 'full of fire and dignity.'
'His general look,' continues the doctor, 'was somewhat heavy and
sour, but when he did smile it was the sun bursting out of a black
cloud. There was a sudden flash of intelligence, wit, and good humour
beaming in his countenance which I hardly ever saw in any other.' His
sense of humour was keen, and he could relish a joke--especially when
it was not directed towards himself. When visiting Dublin he was
accompanied by the celebrated violinist Dubourg, who was engaged to
play at his performances. One evening Dubourg was delighting the
audience with an extempore cadenza, and wandered so far away from the
original key that he found it no easy matter to return to it. At
length, after some moments of suspense, the shake was heard which
announced that the violinist was about to return to the theme; Handel
thereupon looked up from the harpsichord, and, in a voice loud enough
to be heard throughout the hall, exclaimed, with significant emphasis,
'Velcome _home_ again, Mr. Dubourg!'

In bringing our story of Handel's life to a close, we are tempted to
make a brief comparison between Handel and that other great master who
lived and worked at the same time--Sebastian Bach. When we compare the
two men we perceive this marked difference between them--namely, that,
while Bach evinced a complete indifference with regard to public
praise, but a very deep interest in the works of other musicians,
Handel cared a great deal for what the public thought of his works,
and was too much absorbed in his own music to give much attention to
the compositions of others. The one wrote for posterity; he published
but little, and it was only when half a century had passed since his
death that the musical world awoke to a sense of the inestimable value
which attached to the works which that life had produced. Handel, on
the other hand, studied the tastes of his own day as regards both
sacred and secular music, and devoted the whole of his life to the
supply of that demand on the part of the public which he had done so
much to create and develop.

Full as was Handel's life as regards the fulfilment of its great
object, it was in other ways extremely simple. Few things outside his
incessant round of work interested him, but he was fond of going to
the theatre, and he had a passion for attending picture sales. Of his
charity we have spoken, but we may add that he was always ready to
help those in distress, and he helped to found the Society for Aiding
Distressed Musicians. The last occasion in which he appeared in public
was at a performance of the 'Messiah' at Covent Garden, on April 6,
1759. On the 14th of the same month his death took place at the house
in Brook Street where he had resided for many years. He was buried in
Westminster Abbey, where a grand monument was later on erected to his
memory. His chief manuscripts came into the possession of King George
III., and are preserved in the musical library at Buckingham Palace.


[3] Rockstro's 'Life of G.F. Handel,' 1883.

[4] Grove's 'Dictionary of Music.'

[5] It is a fact that this stupendous work was completed in twenty-four

[6] In the manuscript score preserved at Buckingham Palace the symphony
is marked 'Pifa,' a shortening of the Italian word 'Pifferare,' to play
on the fife.


    La Resurrezione (1708); two Passions (1704 and 1716); Acis and
     Galatea (1720); Esther (1720); Deborah (1733); Athalia (1733);
     Alexander's Feast (1736); Saul (1738); Israel in Egypt (1738);
     Ode for St. Cecilia's Day (1739); L'Allegro, il Penseroso, ed
     il Moderato (1740); The Messiah (1741); Samson (1741); Joseph
     (1743); Semele (1743); Belshazzar (1744); Hercules (1744);
     Occasional Oratorio (1746); Judas Maccabæus (1746); Alexander
     Balus (1747); Joshua (1747); Solomon (1748); Susanna (1748);
     Theodora (1749); The Choice of Hercules (1750); Jephtha
     (1751); The Triumph of Time and Truth (1757).
Utrecht Te Deum and Jubilate. 1713.
12 Chandos Anthems. 1718-1720.
2 Chandos Te Deums. 1718-1720.
4 Coronation Anthems (Let thy Hand be Strengthened, My Heart is
     inditing, The King shall Rejoice, and Zadok the Priest). 1727.
Funeral Anthem (The Ways of Zion do Mourn). 1737.
Dettingen Te Deum. 1743.
40 OPERAS, mostly remembered only by a single aria. The following may
     be named:
    Almira (1705); Rodrigo (1707); Agrippina (1709); Rinaldo (1711);
     Radamisto (1720); Muzio Scævola (Act III. only--1721); Ottone
     (1722); Scipione (1726); Admeto (1726); Ezio (1732); Serse (1738).
Water Music. 1715.
17 Suites de Pièces for the clavecin.
40 Concertos for various instruments.



The Cathedral of St. Stephen, standing in the central square of
Vienna, looked grey and cheerless in the misty atmosphere of a
November evening. Evensong had just concluded, the worshippers had
dispersed, and the great square itself was silent and deserted, save
for one or two hurrying pedestrians crossing it on their homeward way.
One of these, however, formed an exception to the rest, for he seemed
to be in no hurry to leave the square. On reaching the further side he
hesitated, glanced up at the clock, and then, turning about, paced
listlessly up and down, as if uncertain whether to go or remain. Not
even the rain, which now began to fall in that silent, hopeless
fashion which predicts a thoroughly wet evening, appeared to assist
the wanderer in coming to a decision. He was a mere stripling, short
of stature, shabbily clothed, and with a keen look on his pale face
that betokened a want of food and rest.

The square was dimly lighted by lamps stationed at wide intervals, and
the shadows cast by the great building effectually concealed the form
of the youth as he entered them in the course of his restless walk.
It was evident that he was in a state of acute distress, and equally
evident that this spot held some peculiar attraction for him, for now
and again he cast a glance at the church walls, or lingered beside the
closed door which was used by the members of the choir. Presently, as
he was passing, the door opened, emitting a stream of yellow light
across the wet pavement, and a number of youths sallied forth, talking
and laughing together as they came. At the sound of the creaking
hinges the destitute boy shrank back into the shadow, as if he were
afraid of being recognised--which, indeed, was the case. Nevertheless,
on catching a glimpse of one young face, as the figure of its owner
almost brushed against him, he could not refrain from exclaiming under
his breath, 'Michael!'

So low was the tone in which the name was uttered, that, although the
chorister's face, with the light from the doorway falling upon it, was
turned for a second in the speaker's direction, the boy failed to
grasp the meaning of the sound, and hurried on with his companions;
and with a deep sigh the poor wanderer turned away.

At that moment a young man who was crossing the square from the
opposite side paused to turn up the collar of his coat. In so doing he
became aware that a pair of eyes was regarding him with a sorrowful,
appealing gaze from the depths of the shadows. In another moment he
had advanced to the youth's side and laid his hand upon his shoulder.

'Joseph! can it be you? Man, how wet you are!' The outcast shivered
under the friendly touch. 'What are you doing? Where have you been
living?' continued the questioner, drawing the youth into the light of
a lamp, and regarding his pale, tired face with astonishment.

    [Illustration: HAYDN.
    From photo RISCHGITZ.]

'Nothing--nowhere. I am starving, that is all,' was the reply.

'Starving--you! This is Reutter's handiwork,' said the other angrily.
'Have you seen your brother Michael? I met them coming out just now.
Was he not with the rest?' he added in a gentler tone, still keeping
his hand on the lad's shoulder.

'Yes, he was there; but he didn't see me,' replied the wanderer
hesitatingly, adding, 'I was afraid the others might notice my

The friend bit his lip and seemed to be meditating. At last he spoke.
'Well, see here, Joseph, we cannot stand longer in the rain; come home
with me. You know I haven't a palace to offer you, but such as it is
you are welcome to a share of it for one night at least.' And so
saying he drew Joseph's arm within his own, and, bidding him walk
fast, the pair quitted the square.

Well might honest Franz Spangler, who held no higher or more lucrative
post than that of tenor singer in the choir of St. Michael's Church,
warn his young friend not to expect the luxury of a home replete with
comforts. Indeed, anyone comparing the two young men as they threaded
the narrow streets leading to Spangler's abode would have found it no
easy matter to determine which presented the shabbier appearance;
though, having decided this point to his satisfaction, he would have
been at no trouble in estimating the sort of house to which the
chorister would be likely to introduce his friend.

Situated in the poorest quarter of the town, the house presented a
sufficiently poverty-stricken appearance to warrant the meanest
opinion being entertained with regard to Spangler's powers of
hospitality. The kind-hearted singer was, in fact, almost as poor as
the youth whom he had befriended, with the additional responsibility
entailed by a wife and child. Nevertheless, to the homeless, starving
lad who now followed his protector up the crazy stairs leading to the
garret which comprised the latter's home, the chorister seemed by
comparison prosperous and well-to-do. Was it not luxury to be invited
to seat himself beside the scanty fire burning in the stove, and to
feel its warmth slowly penetrating to his chilled bones? Was it not
luxury to one who had tramped the streets--those endless, pitiless
streets--during the past eight-and-forty hours, without food or
shelter, to taste the warm bread-and-milk which his kindly hostess had
contrived to eke out of her small stock? Finally, was it not the
height of luxury to such an one to stretch his weary limbs beside the
dying embers, and sleep the sleep which exhausted nature demanded?

The heart of Spangler might well have been touched by the distress
into which his young friend had fallen, seeing that he was already
acquainted with some of the circumstances to which his forlorn
condition was due. And life had promised so differently for poor
Joseph but a short while ago! When, some four years prior to this
meeting, he had welcomed the coming of his younger brother Michael to
the Cantorei, or choir-school of St. Stephen's, he could not have
divined that this brother would, indirectly, be the cause of his being
turned adrift into the streets. Yet such was the melancholy fact, and
as to the manner in which this was brought about we may properly
inquire while the subject of this history lies wrapped in slumber
beside the garret stove.

About fifteen leagues to the southward of Vienna, and amidst the
marshy flats bordering upon the River Leitha, lies the little village
of Rohrau, which derives its name from its situation. At the extreme
end of the long, straggling street which comprises the village
stands, close to the river banks, a low, thatched building--half
house, half cottage--with a wheelwright's shop adjoining. The house
stands back a little way from the road, with a patch of greensward
before it, on which, in the days to which our story belongs, one might
have seen a waggon or two in process of repair, and possibly have
caught a glimpse of the worthy wheelwright himself at his work.

Mathias Haydn, master wheelwright, and sexton of the little church
standing on the hill outside the village, was in the fullest sense
entitled to rank as a worthy: he was not only a deeply religious man,
but one who was looked up to and respected by every one in the village
and for many a mile around. There was an air of refinement about his
home which raised it far above the level of the homes by which it was
surrounded. A strong taste for music formed a part of Mathias's
nature, and it was shared to a great extent by his wife Maria.
Regularly each Sunday evening, when the duties of the day were
finished, he would bring out his harp, which he had learnt to play by
ear, and accompany himself in songs and hymns. He had a pleasing tenor
voice, and sang with great expression. The wife also sang well, and,
joining in with her husband on these occasions, their example soon
induced the children to add their voices to the concert.

The long winter evenings were those specially devoted to music. It was
at one of such times, when the village street was deserted, and the
keen wind was sweeping it from end to end, sporting with the snow,
lifting it in whirling clouds, and building up drifts at every corner;
whilst away on the lonely marshes the ice-bound river lay shimmering
in the frosty moonlight, and the blast soughed through the tall reeds
and grasses, that the following little scene was being enacted within
the kitchen of the wheelwright's cottage.

    [Illustration: '_He was imitating the playing of a violin._']

On the oaken settle next the stove sat a child of about five years of
age, following with the closest attention his father's performance on
the harp. In his hands were two sticks, with which he was imitating
the playing of a violin, keeping accurate time with his bow to the
rhythm of the music. The rapt expression on the boy's face was not
lost upon the father, and thoughts which more than once had occupied
Mathias's mind as he watched his child's clever imitation of the
village schoolmaster's playing of the violin were recurring with
redoubled force on this occasion. And when the boy lifted up his sweet
treble voice in unison with the rest its beauty sent a thrill through
the father's heart. His own life had been a keen disappointment with
respect to his passionate love for music--a love which had made him
yearn to know more of the art for which he had so profound a
reverence. Hence the determination that his child should have every
chance that he could afford of developing such talents as he possessed
gathered strength as he perceived the manifestations of delight on the
part of little Joseph every time the harp was produced, and as he
noted the quickness and accuracy with which the boy learnt the simple
melodies that were played to him. And as time went on these thoughts
kindled a hope in the father's breast that his little Joseph might one
day become a musician, and perhaps--who could tell?--he might even
rise to be a Capellmeister!

Joseph Haydn, the subject of our story and the centre of his father's
hopes, was born on March 31, 1732, and had attained his sixth year
when the first step towards the settlement of his future was taken by
his parents. Previous to this event Mathias had confided to his wife
the hopes which he entertained with regard to Joseph's musical career,
in the expectation that she would share them. Maria, however, did not
incline to her husband's views on the subject. She cherished a strong
desire that Joseph should eventually join the priesthood, and fancied
that she detected in the boy's reverence for sacred music a natural
leaning in that direction.

Matters were at this juncture when an unexpected visit was paid to the
cottage by a distant relative named Johann Mathias Frankh, the
schoolmaster of Hainburg, a small town about four leagues from Rohrau.
Frankh, who was himself a fair musician, happened to visit the family
at the moment when they were engaged in their evening concert, and the
sight of Joseph with his toy violin at once attracted his attention.
The purity and accuracy of the child's singing, moreover, soon
convinced the schoolmaster that he had in him the makings of a good
musician, and without knowing anything of the parents' wishes or
intentions, he immediately proposed that Joseph should be placed under
his instruction. 'If you will let Sepperl (the Austrian diminutive for
Joseph) come to me,' said he, 'I will take care that he is properly
taught. I can see that he promises well.'

Mathias gave a willing consent to the proposition, and Maria's
objections having been overruled (she kept to herself the hope that
this might, after all, prove to be but a stepping-stone to the
fulfilment of her wishes), in a very short time Joseph and his father
were seated in the waggon and jogging on their way to Hainburg.

The new world into which Joseph found himself launched had many
drawbacks, but one excellent side. His 'cousin,' as he termed Frankh,
was a strict but careful teacher, and under his care the boy not only
learned to sing well, but also acquired a good deal of knowledge
regarding the various musical instruments in use at that time. In
other respects, too, his education was looked after; and as his
quickness at learning was remarkable, and his cousin did not scruple
to employ physical force to enable his pupil to master his
difficulties, Joseph made rapid progress, despite the fact that he was
often flogged when he should have been fed. The strict discipline to
which he was subjected may not have been without its value in inducing
habits of method and order in the boy's studies; but in many ways his
life was rendered unnecessarily hard. The schoolmaster was a married
man, but his wife showed the utmost indifference towards the little
fellow who had hoped to find in her a second mother, but who found
instead that he was neglected in every way. Next to religion itself,
Mathias and Maria had instilled into their children a positive
reverence for personal cleanliness. Joseph's distress, therefore, at
finding himself bereft of a mother's care became greater day by day as
he saw the rents in his clothing passed over and the means of keeping
his body in the state to which he had been accustomed unprovided. What
this meant to a sensitive child with a rooted aversion to dirt may be
imagined; nor were his sufferings in any way reduced by the attention
which his destitute, neglected state drew upon him. Try as he might to
forget his misery in his books, he could not but be aware of the
pitying glances which were cast at him by those whom he encountered in
his walks, or who passed by as he sat reading on the step outside his
cousin's door.

Though ashamed of his appearance, Joseph was in no danger of losing
his self-respect--the love of cleanliness and order had been too
deeply implanted to be easily uprooted; moreover, his childish reason
whispered to him that the present state of things could not last for
ever, and in the meantime he bravely resolved to make the best of it.
He was receiving lessons on the clavier and violin, but the training
of his voice occupied the foremost place, and when not in school the
boy was nearly always to be found in the church, listening to the
organ or the singing. In a very short time he had made such progress
as to be admitted to the choir, where he joined his sweet young voice
in the singing of the Masses.

Already his mind was beginning to feed upon those higher branches of
music which his natural gifts enabled him to appreciate. His
reverential nature was strongly shown in regard to his music, and it
was in the church alone that he could obtain the gratification of a
sense which was surely leading him on to greater things. As the days
went by he was conscious of a yearning for something that his present
surroundings could not supply. His thoughts were constantly travelling
towards a city wherein he had centred his hopes, and where he knew he
should find his heart's desires. That city was Vienna. It was before
his eyes as he stood in the choir of Hainburg Church; it came between
him and his book as he sat in the schoolroom conning his lesson; it
was in his dreams as he slept, as it was foremost in his thoughts on
waking. But Vienna lay afar off; and looking down at his ragged
clothing, and reflecting upon the poverty that surrounded him, Joseph
wondered if it would ever be possible for him to realise his dream.

'Sepperl, come here; I want you.' It was his cousin Frankh's voice,
calling to him as he was leaving the schoolroom one morning. 'There is
to be a procession through the town next week, in honour of a
respected citizen who died yesterday. They have asked me to supply a
drummer, and I thought of you at once. Come, I will show you how to
make the stroke,' and, taking Joseph by the hand, he led him into the
yard where, having improvised a drum by turning a tub bottom
uppermost, Frankh placed a stick in the boy's hand and bade him beat
the time of a march. A few attempts sufficed to convince Frankh of his
pupil's proficiency, and Joseph was duly installed in the drummer's
place. Owing, however, to his small stature, it was found necessary to
call in the help of a schoolboy of his own height, and as this boy
happened to be a hunchback, he was enabled to carry the drums on his
back at the proper level for Joseph to beat them. The comical effect
thus produced proved too much for the gravity of many of the
bystanders, but Joseph went through his business with solemnity,
secretly deriving much pleasure from this public exhibition of his
skill, and thereafter he always retained an affection for the
instrument as well as a knowledge of how it should be played.[7]

Haydn had just completed the second year of his school life at
Hainburg, when an event happened which brought the realisation of his
dreams suddenly within his grasp. The Capellmeister of St. Stephen's
Cathedral, in Vienna, George Reutter, was paying a visit to his
friend, the pastor of Hainburg, and in the course of conversation he
mentioned that he was in want of some good voices for the cathedral
choir. 'Then I think I can find you one at least,' replied his friend;
'he is a scholar of Frankh's, the schoolmaster here, and possesses an
excellent voice. Shall we send for him?' Reutter agreed, and a message
was accordingly dispatched to Frankh.

In due course the schoolmaster appeared, leading Haydn by the hand,
and the pair were ushered into the presence of Reutter.

The Capellmeister eyed the boy kindly, and, drawing him to his knee,
said, 'Well, my little fellow, can you make a shake?'

Joseph looked up brightly. 'No, sir; but, then, no more can my cousin
Frankh here.'

Reutter laughed at this outspokenness, and then, telling Haydn to
attend to him, he proceeded to show him how the shake was to be
performed. After a few attempts Joseph succeeded in satisfying his
instructor, who praised him for his quickness. During the experiment
the boy's eyes had been fixed on a dish of cherries standing on the
pastor's table. Reutter, perceiving the longing thus silently
expressed, reached out his hand for the dish, and telling Joseph that
he had earned his reward, he emptied the contents into the boy's

Haydn was next requested to sing a portion of a Mass which he knew by
heart, and when this trial was finished the Capellmeister expressed
his willingness to take him into the Cantorei of St. Stephen's.

The boy's heart leapt within him as he heard the words. It was so
unexpected; it seemed almost too good to be true! Then suddenly the
thought of his ragged clothing swept across his mind, and the tears
started to his eyes. Surely, they would never admit such an urchin as
he to the famous choir-school! Reutter, however, did not seem to heed
his untidy state, and Haydn took heart of hope that after all this
might be remedied. In the letter which he wrote to his parents, asking
for their consent, he included an appeal for money wherewith to
purchase new clothing. Mathias had a large family to support on his
slender earnings, but he contrived to send a few florins for the
purpose, and as both parents at the same time gave a willing assent to
his leaving Hainburg, Joseph felt that every obstacle to the
fulfilment of his happiness had now been removed. The parting with his
teacher, however, was not accomplished without some regrets, for,
after all, Frankh, despite his severity, had done well by his pupil,
and that pupil was not slow in expressing his gratitude for all that
he owed to his relative's instruction.

Possibly, if Joseph could have looked across the leagues which lay
between him and the city to which he was journeying with a power of
prophetic vision that enabled him to realise a portion of the future
that awaited him, he might have experienced some degree of misgiving.
But, happily for him, no cloud arose to obscure the sunny picture
which his imagination had drawn of the life that was opening before
him. Roseate, indeed, were the hues in which his fancy had painted
that picture, and foremost of all the objects that it contained was
the famous cathedral, with its magnificent spire pointing into the
clouds, its richly-sculptured stones, its glorious nave, flanked by
noble pillars, and its lofty vaulted roof, echoing to the voices of
the choir, or reverberating to the notes of the organ, the whole
flooded by the soft light falling from the painted windows. To picture
all this from the descriptions which had been given to him was to
conjure up a vision of indescribable beauty. And then, the Cantorei
itself--had not his cousin Frankh assured him that he would be taught
singing and to play the clavier and violin by the best masters, in
addition to Latin, writing, and cyphering? Lastly, there was the life
which went on outside the cathedral and the choir-school--the life of
a city within whose walls music had established a home, wherein she
flourished as nowhere else in the wide world could she be said to

    [Illustration: _St. Stephen's Cathedral, Vienna._]

All this, and more, had the eight-year-old musician learnt from
conversation and report during his two years' sojourn at Hainburg; and
of all this was he thinking as he travelled to Vienna with a heart and
mind yearning to enter into the joys and labours of such an existence.

With what fervour he embarked upon his studies at the Cantorei, as
well as how quickly he progressed under the care of his teachers, may
be imagined. Child though he was, nothing in the shape of learning
came hard to him, and difficulties seemed to be created only in order
to be successfully overcome. Very soon came the desire to compose; but
just here the toughest obstacle of all, perhaps, presented itself--the
studies comprised no instruction in counterpoint. Still, Joseph was
not to be daunted. Seizing upon every scrap of music-paper that he
could find, he covered it with notes. 'If only the paper is nice and
full, it must be right,' he said to himself, as he bent his energies
to the task.

Reutter, however, gave him no encouragement to proceed in this
direction. 'What are you about, Haydn?' inquired the Capellmeister
one day, as he lighted upon the boy suddenly in the midst of a
composition. Joseph looked up with a flush mantling in his cheeks. 'I
am composing, sir,' he answered. 'Let me see it,' requested the
master. It was a sketch of a 'Salve Regina' for twelve voices. Reutter
glanced at the work, and then tossed it back. 'Why don't you try to
write it for _two_ voices before attempting it in twelve?' was his
only comment, uttered in a sharp tone, in which sarcasm was too
plainly apparent. Joseph blushed deeper than before. 'Oh,' he said
simply; it was all he could say, for the master's sneer had struck
home. 'And if you must try your hand at composition,' continued
Reutter in a somewhat kinder tone than before, as he observed the
tears spring to the boy's eyes, 'let me advise you to write variations
on the motets and vespers which are played in the church.' With this
parting piece of counsel he passed on, leaving poor Haydn as much in
the dark as before with regard to how he ought to proceed. 'If only he
would instruct me in counterpoint, how I would thank him!' was the
thought uppermost in Joseph's mind, as he put his despised work out of

But no instruction in the art of composition was forthcoming from
either the Capellmeister or any of the teachers, and Haydn was thrown
back upon his own resources. He possessed the talent, however, as well
as the perseverance, and of neither of these qualifications could they
dispossess him, and so, taking to heart Reutter's well-meant
admonition, he set to work afresh. His resources in the shape of
pocket-money were almost nil, yet by dint of scraping and denying
himself he managed to save sufficient to purchase two volumes, upon
the outsides of which his eyes had often feasted as the books lay
temptingly displayed upon the shelf of the second-hand bookseller.
One of these works was Fux's 'Gradus ad Parnassum' (a treatise on
composition and counterpoint), and the other Mattheson's 'Vollkommene
Capellmeister' (the Complete Chapel-master).

    [Illustration: '_He managed to save sufficient to purchase two

Precious indeed were these hardly-acquired volumes. Every moment that
could be snatched from schoolwork or choir-practice was devoted to
mastering the difficulties of the 'Gradus,' and in acquiring knowledge
concerning the high office which he had secretly set his heart upon
obtaining. There was unconscious humour in the fact that, following
upon Reutter's reproof to his over-ambitious strivings, the chorister
should have set himself to study the duties of his master's post. Yet
the temptation to smile is checked by the thought of the lonely
student giving up his play-hours to self-imposed study, battling in
grim earnest with problems that might well have turned the edge of a
determination less keen than that which was set to conquer them, and
battling thus unassisted and often, no doubt, against the craving for
food and fresh air which is inseparable from boyhood.

It would be wrong, however, to suppose that Haydn absented himself
wholly from his companions and their merry games. There was within him
a soul for play as well as for work, and there were occasions when the
spirit of mischief obtained the ascendancy. The choir was frequently
required to perform in the Royal Chapel when the Court was in
residence at Schönbrunn. The palace there had been newly erected, and
the workmen had not removed the scaffolding, a fact which was hailed
with delight by the choir-boys as affording an unlooked-for means of
relaxation. One after another climbed the poles, each striving to
outdo the rest in attaining the highest point. In vain did the Empress
Maria Theresa, who had perceived them from her windows, issue
prohibitions and threaten dire punishment to the offenders--the sport
went on unchecked. At length a moment arrived when Joseph, who had
beaten his companions by climbing to the top of the tallest pole, and
was daring them to come up to him, was detected by the Empress in the
very act. The Hofcompositor was sent for, and the figure of Haydn
rocking himself to and fro on the pole duly pointed out. 'Give that
fair-haired blockhead einen recenten Schilling' (slang for a 'good
hiding'); 'he is the ringleader of them all,' said the Empress. The
descent of Joseph from his elevated perch, and the descent of the
Hofcompositor's rod, were events which speedily followed the royal

A love of fun formed an essential part of Haydn's nature, but music
came before anything else. Even when playing with his fellow-choristers
in the cathedral square he would break away from the game at the first
sound of the organ, and enter the church to listen. His desire to
perfect himself in music was so strong that to the ordinary hours of
study and practice he voluntarily added several more each day, with the
result that he was often working sixteen or eighteen hours out of the

Five years had passed amidst these happy surroundings when Haydn awoke
one morning with the joyous thought that that day was to witness the
arrival of his younger brother Michael at the Cantorei. How eagerly he
had looked forward to this break in his life, with what zeal he had
planned how he was to assist Michael in his work, when he had smoothed
the young one's entry, helped him over his shyness, and shown him all
the delightful scenes and circumstances which his new life would
comprise. It had infused new vigour into his resolutions, and fired
him with fresh ardour for his own work, this coming of his brother to
share with him the pleasures which he had possessed for so long alone.

Joseph's unselfish and generous feelings may have helped to blind his
vision to the little cloud which, almost from the moment when
Michael's pure young treble notes first soared aloft into the
cathedral's vast recesses, had begun to shut out some of the sunshine
that had gladdened his own existence. Certain it is that he had no
inkling of the sorrow which his brother's advent was destined to bring
upon him. Michael's progress was remarkably rapid, and it was soon
apparent that Joseph's prospects were as surely declining. The voice
which hitherto had enabled him to hold the chief place in the choir
showed signs of breaking, and one after another of the solo parts
which formerly he alone had been selected to sing were assigned to the
new chorister. Joseph's failing powers were unmistakably betrayed when
he sang before the Court, and, though intended only as a joke, the
Empress's remark to Reutter that Haydn's singing had come to resemble
the crowing of a cock, sufficed to open the Capellmeister's eyes to
the fact that Joseph must be put back. Consequently, at the
celebration of St. Leopold in the presence of the Emperor and Empress,
the singing of the 'Salve Regina' fell to the lot of Michael, whose
rendering so entranced his royal hearers that they presented the young
chorister with a sum of twenty ducats.

To no one could it have been plainer than to poor Joseph himself that
the sun of his glory at St. Stephen's had set never to rise again. His
place was now virtually taken by the brother whose coming he had
welcomed, and the royal favours which heretofore had been allotted to
him were transferred to Michael for good. Mortified as he must have
felt at the slight thus accorded to him, Haydn cherished no feelings
of resentment towards the brother by whom he had been supplanted. He
had the good sense to attribute his misfortune to his failing voice
alone and to fall back upon the belief in his own powers to make his
way as a musician, which formed his one unfailing resource and comfort
during those darkening hours.

How long Haydn might have remained at the Cantorei, in spite of his
breaking voice, and the consequent lessening of his importance as a
member of the choir, cannot be told; but an incident which happened at
this period settled his future as far as St. Stephen's was concerned,
in a manner as summary as it was unexpected.

It is odd that Haydn's actual dismissal from the school must be laid
at the door of his love of fun, and that one who was so hard-working
and so wrapped up in his music should have been unable to resist the
temptation to play off a practical joke upon one of his colleagues
under the very eyes of the Capellmeister. Nevertheless, such was the
case, and a bright new pair of scissors, which had found their way
into his possession, was the means by which Joseph executed his joke,
and at the same time severed his connection with the Cantorei. It was
the fashion in those days for boys to wear pigtails, and Haydn's gaze
was one day riveted upon the movements of a pigtail belonging to the
chorister seated immediately in front of him. The pigtail was twitched
to and fro, or jerked up and down, in accordance with the movements of
its owner's head, with a vivacity which was at once fascinating and
exasperating to behold. The new scissors were being opened and closed
in Joseph's fingers--the itching to cut something was too strong to be
resisted--the tantalising pigtail was twitching under his very
nose--and the next moment, ere the owner of the scissors could realise
the crime he was committing, the once active pigtail lay as dead as
any doornail upon the floor.

The punishment meted out to Haydn for this offence was slight--a mere
caning on the hand; but the indignity and disgrace of being caned
before the whole school was not to be borne. He pleaded for
forgiveness: 'Rather than submit to such a disgrace he would leave the
school.' Reutter had for long been seeking an excuse for turning the
lad adrift; a chorister without a voice was useless to him, and here
was his chance. 'You must take your caning first, and then you shall
have your dismissal,' he said, with cruel meaning in his tone, for he
knew Haydn's spirit.

Joseph underwent the disgrace, and then, whilst the physical pain of
it yet lingered, he packed up his two precious volumes, placed the
remainder of his belongings on his brother's bed, and choking back the
rage that was almost suffocating him, he walked quickly out of the
building into the street.

       *       *       *       *       *

    [Illustration: _The tantalising pigtail._']

Having thus related the manner in which our hero was launched upon the
sea of adversity, without means of subsistence, and with no better
companion in his misery than the wrath aroused by the sense of his
harsh and unjust treatment, we must return to the point at which we
left him stretched beside the stove in Spangler's garret. At the same
time we desire to correct an impression which the reader may have
formed from the opening portion of our story that, at the moment of
his chancing upon this friend in need, Joseph was longing to return to
the comfortable quarters which he had quitted in such fiery haste.
Such an impression would be far from representing the true state of
Haydn's feelings at the time. He had, indeed, hoped to encounter
Michael--to speak a word with him, to beg of him, in fact, a crust of
bread; but his heart failed him when he saw his brother amongst his
companions, and pride stepped in as well to prevent him from exposing
his distress to so many curious eyes. Thus far he had yielded to the
promptings of hunger, but his resolution not to re-enter the school
had stood firm, in spite of the cravings of nature, in spite of his
friendless position, in spite of the long dreary vista of want which
the past eight-and-forty hours had opened to his eyes. He had acted
upon the impulse of the moment, but the bitterness of the cause which
prompted that action remained--nay, more, it was already acting like a
tonic upon a nature disciplined to look difficulties bravely in the
face. Those few hours of sound sleep put new life into his frame, and
when he awoke it was with the resolve to refrain from any further
attempt to see his brother, lest his desperate condition should
unsettle the younger one and render him unhappy. It would be a hard,
uphill fight, but he would fight it alone--not even his parents should
hear of him again unless he succeeded.

'Now, Joseph, what do you propose to do?' was the inquiry of his host,
when the morning fast had been broken by a porringer of
bread-and-milk. 'Have you made up your mind to go back to the school?
or will you send word to your people that you intend to return home?'

'I will never go back to the school,' answered Joseph firmly, 'and as
for going home, that is even further from my intentions than the
other.' And then he told his friend of the poverty which reigned at
home in consequence of the large and growing family, and the disgrace
which he should feel in casting himself as a burden upon those he
loved, especially after what had occurred. 'Sooner than do that,' he
exclaimed, 'I would rather starve in the streets. But, indeed, I
believe it will not be so bad as that; I have made up my mind to
support myself by music, and _I will never give in!_'

Now Spangler, albeit a man of humble attainments, and a being,
moreover, who had set no very high ideals before his eyes, was not, as
we have seen, destitute of the quality of sympathy, nor could he
entirely obliterate from his memory a time when he himself had been
fired by a spark of ambition, and had recognised a longing to
accomplish something great. True, the spark had been but a feeble one
at best, and the unceasing demands upon his powers to supply the bare
necessaries of life, occasioned by an early and imprudent marriage,
had done their best to crush it out of existence. Nevertheless, the
memory of that time remained, and being freshly stirred by the
contemplation of his young friend's forlorn state, it united itself
with the stronger germ of sympathy, and blossomed out into a generous
proposal that Haydn should continue to occupy a corner of his garret
until such time as he could obtain employment.

Haydn gratefully accepted the kindly offer, assuring Spangler that he
would repay his hospitality both in money and thanks. He gave this
assurance in the belief that its fulfilment could only be a question
of a short time. But many weary months, spent in fruitless
applications for employment and equally futile endeavours to secure
pupils, were destined to pass ere the first vestiges of success made
themselves apparent. Haydn was now seventeen, and possessed of the
appetite of a schoolboy; how to satisfy his natural cravings,
therefore, must have been almost as difficult a problem as that of
obtaining work. The rigours of an Austrian winter, too, added not a
little to his miseries, ill-fed and thinly clad as he was, but still
he struggled on, hopeful that the advent of spring would bring good
luck with the sunshine.

Spring came at last, and found him still without means of subsistence,
yet not without the solace of hope. Notwithstanding the uncongeniality
of his surroundings, he had found opportunities for study, and never
had his treasured volumes seemed more precious to him than during
those long winter months, when despair haunted him like a shadow from
which there seemed no means of escape. His sole earnings had been the
pence flung to him from the windows as he stood singing in the
snow-covered streets, either alone or in the company of other youths
as destitute as himself. But now spring had come; the glorious sun had
chased away the snow and the biting frost, and the poor chorister felt
its genial rays quickening the life-blood in his veins, and awakening
his cramped muscles to action. It is only the pinched and starved
human beings of this great Northern Hemisphere who really know what a
beneficent food-giver is the sun.

One morning, as Haydn stood idly wondering what he should do next, a
procession of men and women, headed by several priests, passed by,
bound for the shrine of the Virgin at Mariazell. Struck with an idea,
Haydn joined the cavalcade, and on reaching the church in which the
pilgrims were to assemble, he sought out the choirmaster, and, telling
him how and where he had been trained, begged for employment. With a
contemptuous glance at the ex-chorister's ragged clothing, however,
the master bade him begone, saying 'that he had had enough of lazy
rascals such as he coming from Vienna to seek for work.' The tears
started to the lad's eyes as he turned away. Would nobody hold out a
helping hand? He had been speculating upon this opportunity as he
trudged along the road until it seemed almost a certainty; and must
this cup, too, be dashed from his lips?

A few minutes later he perceived the choristers entering the church by
a side-door, and, emboldened by hunger, he slipped in amongst them,
donned a surplice, and took his place in the stalls. Finding himself
next to the principal soloist, he requested that he might be allowed
to share the latter's copy. The request was indignantly refused, but
Haydn, who knew the service almost by heart, resolved to await his
opportunity. When the moment arrived for the singing of the solo, he
snatched the copy from the chorister's hands, and, lifting up his
voice, sang the part with such exquisite finish and beauty of
expression as to electrify the rest of the choir and excite the
admiration of the master.

At the conclusion of the service Haydn was sent for by the
choirmaster, who, after expressing his regret for his former
abruptness, asked him to stay with them until the following day. Poor
starving Haydn was only too glad to accept the invitation, and when
the morrow arrived he was told that he might extend his stay for
several days longer. When, therefore, he finally returned to Vienna,
it was with a small sum of money jingling in his pockets and a frame
invigorated by a liberal supply of such food as it had not been his
privilege to taste since the day when he quitted the Cantorei of St.

It was the first gleam of sunshine that had crossed his path since
those happy days, and it served to dispel some of the gloomy
desperation which, during the long, dark days of winter, had laid
constant siege to his resolutions, which had, indeed, once or twice
nearly shaken them from that bed-rock of belief in his own unaided
powers which, coupled with his simple faith in God, had sustained him
and sent him forward from day to day. Often had he lain, shivering and
famished, beneath his scanty coverlet in the corner of the garret
allotted to him, watching the stars shining through the skylight above
his head, and praying, with all the earnestness of a warrior-knight of
the Middle Ages, for strength to battle with the temptation of
despair. If music--the music that raises and ennobles, that
strengthens, and uplifts the soul of man to heights which bring him
nearer and ever nearer to a true conception of God--were destined to
find a voice in Haydn's soul, that music must have owed its inception
to those midnight hours of silent communion--those struggles with
natural want--which were passed beneath the rafters of his miserable

And gradually his determination prevailed. The tide of fortune sent
some ripples of success to his feet. A few pupils were induced by the
trifling charge which he made to let him give them lessons on the
clavier; a like desire for economy probably induced others to employ
his services occasionally as violin-player at balls and other
entertainments; whilst one or two aspirants for musical honours
permitted him to undertake the revision and arrangement of their
compositions at a small fee. Such cheering signs of improved
prospects, feeble in themselves, assumed in Haydn's eyes the aspect of
rewards for which he could not be sufficiently grateful.

And then the tide of success came with something like a rush. A worthy
tradesman, named Buchholz, who loved music, and had occasionally
invited Haydn to sing and play to him after business hours, was
touched by his distress, and as a proof of his faith in the struggling
musician's honour, as well as with a desire to help him on his way, he
lent him the sum of a hundred and fifty florins, to be repaid,
without interest, when opportunity permitted.

To Haydn such a sum seemed a veritable fortune, and, indeed, it
brought with it the power of effecting great changes in his life. He
was now enabled to quit the tenement of Spangler and take a garret of
his own, or what was, in truth, a portion partitioned off from a
larger garret. As an exchange the new abode was not without its
drawbacks. Semi-darkness prevailed even at midday; there was no stove,
and as the summer had come and gone and winter was once more upon the
city its discomforts were speedily made manifest by the rain and snow,
which found their way through the broken roof. Nor were his neighbours
in the least inclined to respect his desire for quietude.
Nevertheless, in spite of these hardships, Haydn was happy--'too
happy,' as he himself put it, 'to envy the lot of Kings'; for had he
not added to his priceless treasures the first six sonatas of Emmanuel
Bach, which he lost no time in mastering? More than this, he had
become the possessor of a little clavier--a poor, worm-eaten
instrument, it is true, but one which brought much solace to him in
his loneliness.

On the third story of the house in which Haydn was living lodged an
Italian poet of some celebrity--Metastasio by name--between whom and
the friendless ex-chorister an acquaintance sprang up which resulted
in Haydn's introduction as music-teacher to the poet's favourite
pupil, Marianne Martinez. Upon the heels of this piece of good fortune
followed a second. Through Metastasio's interest Haydn became
acquainted with Nicolo Porpora, the most eminent teacher of singing
and composition of his day, who was at the time giving singing-lessons
to Marianne. But before sufficient time had elapsed for the latter
introduction to produce any definite result, Haydn had found
employment in a new and unlooked-for direction.

It was a common fashion in Vienna at that day for poor and struggling
musicians to earn a few florins by serenading personages of note in
the town; but as the number of would-be serenaders was always far in
excess of the number of celebrities who aspired to be thus honoured,
the pecuniary advantages, as a rule, were very small. It happened,
however, that Felix Kurz, the manager of one of the principal Viennese
theatres, had lately married a beautiful woman, whose charms were the
theme of conversation in fashionable circles, and it occurred to Haydn
and two of his companions to serenade the lady with music of the
former's own composing. Accordingly, the trio repaired one night to
Madame Kurz's windows and began their performance. Presently the door
opened, and the figure of Kurz appeared, enfolded in a dressing-gown.
Beckoning to Haydn, he inquired, 'Whose music is that which you were
playing just now?' 'My own,' replied the serenader. 'Indeed!'
responded Kurz, opening his eyes in surprise. 'Then just step inside,
if you please,' Haydn obeyed wonderingly, and having been first
introduced to madame, who complimented him on his performance, he was
conducted by the manager to the parlour, where refreshments were
produced for himself and his companions. 'Come and see me to-morrow,'
said Kurz to Haydn at parting. 'I think I have some work for you.'

When Haydn put in an appearance on the following day the manager at
once proceeded to business. He explained that he had just written a
comic opera, to which he had given the title of 'The Devil on Two
Sticks,' and was looking out for a musician to set it to music. He had
been struck by Haydn's serenade on the previous night, and believed
that he would do. 'Now,' he continued, 'there is a tempest scene at
sea for which appropriate music is needed. Let me hear what you would

    [Illustration: '"_Whose music is that which you were playing
    just now?_"']

Haydn seated himself at the harpsichord, but as he had never seen the
sea in his life, he felt at a loss how to begin. After trying a few
chords he mentioned his difficulty to Kurz. 'Oh, I haven't seen it,
either,' responded the manager airily; 'but I imagine it is something
like this'--and he began to throw his arms into the air as he paced up
and down. 'Picture a mountain rising, then a valley sinking; then a
second mountain, and another valley--mountains and abysses following
one another--there you are!'

In vain Haydn grappled with the subject--trying it in fifths, in
fourths, then in octaves--the excited manager meanwhile tossing his
arms about, and shouting and gesticulating. It was all to no purpose.
At length, losing all patience, Haydn cried, 'The devil take the
tempest!' at the same moment plumping his hands with a crash on to the
extreme ends of the keyboard, and then rapidly bringing them together.
'That's it, that's it! You've got it now!' cried the delighted Kurz,
springing at the astonished composer and embracing him with fervour.

From that moment all went well, and the opera was completed to the
author's satisfaction, albeit Haydn, glad as he was to receive his
reward, felt that he had little cause for self-congratulation at the
results from a musicianly point of view. The opera was duly produced,
and received with some measure of approval; but its life was no longer
than its merits deserved, and Haydn himself was not desirous of
delaying its interment, for he had higher work in view.

We must now return to his acquaintanceship with Porpora. The
singing-master had observed Haydn's skill in playing the harpsichord,
and thinking that he saw his way to turning the poor musician's
abilities to a useful purpose, he offered to employ him as
accompanist. Haydn gladly accepted the proposal, hoping that he would
thus be enabled to pick up something of the master's method. Though
ostensibly engaged to play the accompaniments of Porpora's songs when
the latter was giving his pupils their lessons, Joseph soon found that
he was regarded in no higher light than that of an ordinary
serving-man. The discovery of this fact, however, occasioned him no
dismay, nor did he exhibit the slightest repugnance at being called
upon to clean his master's shoes, brush his coat, or dress his
periwig. In vain did the sour old man hurl such epithets as 'fool,'
'blockhead,' 'dolt,' at his musical valet in return for the latter's
attempts to minister to his personal comforts. Haydn's sole object was
to be near Porpora in order that he might garner each crumb of
knowledge--each hint, however small--that the great man chanced to let
fall from his stores of learning; and the master, noting his
perseverance and also the gentleness with which he took his buffetings
and sarcasms, gradually softened towards his dependent, and, beginning
by giving him a stray piece of advice now and then, ended by answering
all his questions, and setting him right where he needed correction in
his compositions. To crown all, Porpora brought Haydn under the notice
of the nobleman in whose house he was teaching, with the result that,
when the nobleman took his family to the baths of Mannersdorf for
several months, Haydn, to his delight, was allowed to accompany the
party in the capacity of Porpora's accompanist.

This piece of good fortune proved to be the turning-point in his
career, for the eminent musicians whom he met at Mannersdorf not only
received him very kindly, but evinced the greatest interest in his
compositions, many of which were performed during this visit. His
acquaintance with one of these musicians--a well-known violinist named
Dittersdorf--ripened into friendship, and led to Haydn's receiving
violin lessons at this master's hands. Another solid advantage
accruing from his association with Porpora lay in the fact that the
nobleman himself, struck by Haydn's progress, and desirous of helping
on one who showed so great a talent for art, allotted him a pension of
six sequins (£3) a month. Haydn's action on receiving the first
instalment of this generous bounty was consistent with his desire to
maintain a neat appearance, as well as an indication of the distress
which his privations had hitherto caused him to suffer: he instantly
repaired to the nearest tailor's and purchased a suit of black.

On his return to Vienna fortune continued to smile upon him, as if
anxious to atone for her neglect in the past. One after another sought
his aid in teaching and composing, with the result that he was enabled
to raise his terms and move into decent lodgings. His struggles, if
not actually ended, had become so lightened as to leave his mind free
to pursue the higher walks of his art in comparative peace. From
another quarter, too, the hand of friendship was extended to him. He
received a summons to present himself at the house of the Countess
Thun, whose devotion to music was only equalled by her generous
patronage of those in whom she discerned the signs of genius. The
Countess had lately heard one of Haydn's clavier sonatas performed,
manuscript copies of which had, in accordance with the custom
prevailing amongst unknown composers, been sent to the houses of the
aristocracy, and, being charmed with the beauty of the work, she had
inquired the name of the composer, with the object of engaging his

It is probable that the Countess had formed a very different
conception of Haydn's appearance from his work, for she could scarcely
conceal her surprise when he was ushered into her presence. That one
so ill-dressed and--it must be confessed--so uncouth of manner could
be the composer of such charming music seemed impossible. Her face
showed this so plainly that Haydn, knowing her generous character,
ventured to relate the story of his struggles. As he proceeded with
his simple narrative, the Countess's eyes filled with tears. She was
one of the noblest of women, and her heart was touched by the
reflection that the art which she loved should demand so much
sacrifice and suffering from those whose lives were wholly given up to
its ennoblement. She had supposed that one who could write such music
must have the command of money and the influence of wealthy
patrons--yet how different were the facts! Haydn's relation ended, the
Countess assured him that thenceforth he might count upon her as his
friend and well-wisher as well as pupil, and the happy young musician,
having attempted to express his thanks, withdrew with a heart
overflowing with gratitude.

A future bright with promise had now dawned for Haydn. His works were
to be heard in the best musical circles of Vienna, and praise and
encouragement flowed in from every quarter. A wealthy music patron,
Karl von Fürnberg, who had recognised his genius, persuaded him to
compose his first quartet, and thus turned his attention to the branch
of composition in which he was later on to excel. At the instance of
this patron Haydn, in 1759, received the appointment of music-director
to a rich Bohemian nobleman named Count Ferdinand Morzin, who was an
ardent lover of music, and maintained a small orchestra at his country
seat. This was a great step in his advancement, and the year which
witnessed it is also memorable as having been that in which he
composed his first symphony.

Haydn was now twenty-six, and no longer an unknown musician. One point
with regard to his compositions had already struck many whose judgment
carried weight, and had aroused some criticism on the part of the
connoisseurs: this point was their originality. He appeared to have
marked out for himself an independent line of work, and to be
following it up with a boldness that, in the eyes of certain of his
critics, savoured of an open defiance of established rules. But the
fact was overlooked by these critics that the circumstances of Haydn's
life had thrown him back upon himself and compelled him to be
original. His knowledge of counterpoint, to the rules of which he
showed a seeming disregard, had been derived almost entirely from
self-study. Without a single helping hand to guide him, he had
mastered the formidable difficulties of his 'Gradus'; and lighted only
by his inborn genius, he had deliberately chosen the path which he
felt to be that which would conduct him to the highest levels of his
art. The independence thus gained--and which speedily showed itself in
all that he wrote--was a possession born of suffering and solitude,
though never of ignorance, and as such it represented the truest as
well as the freest expression of his musical soul. With the dawn of
brighter days he had procured and studied all the works on theory that
were to be obtained, only to find himself strengthened in his
determination to adhere to the line which those hours of lonely study
and reflection had shown him to be the right one for him to adopt.
Few, indeed, of those who had risen to be masters in music could claim
to have been less influenced by the composers of their own or a
previous day than could Joseph Haydn; and the progress of our story
will show in what manner opportunity favoured the further growth and
development of that independence which even at the present stage had
impressed its stamp upon his works.

We must first of all, however, relate what befell our hero in a very
different sphere from that in which we have hitherto followed his

Some time before the period at which our story has arrived, Haydn had
been engaged to teach the harpsichord to the two daughters of a
wig-maker named Keller. As the lessons progressed the teacher became
conscious of a growing attachment for the younger of his pupils. There
was something spiritual about the character of this maiden which
appealed strongly to his musical temperament, though probably the
loneliness of his life at the time may have added force to his longing
to possess her for his wife. His poverty, however, must have convinced
him of the hopelessness of declaring himself at the moment, and for
some time his love remained as a cherished secret, fed by the hope
which formed almost his sole resource. But now that fortune had smiled
upon him he ventured to press his cause with assurance--albeit it must
be confessed that this assurance rested on no more secure basis than a
salary of some twenty pounds a year and the prospect of an extended
teaching connection. But his hopes were doomed to disappointment, for
the maiden had in the meantime elected to take the veil, prompted so
to do, most probably, by the very same leanings which had rendered her
nature so attractive to poor Haydn.

Could he but have been content to bear with his disappointment,
seeking in his art the consolation which she had it in her power to
bestow, Haydn would have been saved much unhappiness in the future.
Most likely he would have adopted this course in the end, had his will
and his self-regard been stronger; but neither, it seems, was proof
against the blandishments of the match-making perruquier. Anxious to
secure an alliance with one who showed so much promise, Keller brought
all his powers of persuasion to bear in favour of Haydn's accepting
the hand of his eldest daughter, and, sad to relate, he succeeded.
Maria Anna was not only three years older than the man who pledged his
faith to her before the altar of St. Stephen's, but she comprised in
her nature as much of the quality of the virago as her younger sister
had exhibited of the angel. She was heartless and extravagant, prone
to outbursts of uncontrollable temper, and in every way utterly
unfitted to be the wife of a man whose fame had yet to be compassed.
Indeed, she soon showed that she had not the slightest reverence
either for her husband or his art; for all she cared, Haydn might just
as well have been a cobbler as an artist, provided he supplied her
with money to satisfy her extravagant desires.

Fortunately for Haydn, the circumstances of his life were about to
undergo an important change. Count Morzin was compelled to reduce his
establishment, and hence dismissed his band and its director. What
might otherwise have proved a great misfortune for Haydn was, however,
the means of securing for him a post which not only raised him to the
position which he had set his heart on attaining, but precluded the
possibility of his wife's living with him. Amongst those who had
visited Count Morzin's house and listened with delight to the
performance of Haydn's compositions was the then reigning Prince of
Hungary, Paul Anton Esterhazy. No sooner had the Prince been made
aware of Count Morzin's intentions than he offered Haydn the post of
second Capellmeister at his country seat of Eisenstadt. The chief
Capellmeister, whose name was Werner, was old and infirm, but the
Prince retained him in his position on account of his length of
service. To Haydn, however, was assigned the sole control of the
orchestra, as well as a free hand in regard to most of the musical

It is needless to recount the joyful feelings with which Haydn
received the news of his appointment, offering as it did the most
exceptional opportunities for prosecuting his beloved art. Not even in
his wildest dreams could he have pictured such magnificence as that
which greeted him on his arrival at the Palace of Eisenstadt. For
generations past the Esterhazys had been devotedly attached to music,
and the reigning Prince had spared neither pains nor expense to equip
his establishment with the means of performing not only the fullest
Church services, but complete operas as well. The sight of the huge
building, with its spacious halls and apartments and its troops of
servants; the enchanting grounds, decked with parterres of choicest
flowers; and the lakes and fountains scintillating in the sunshine,
must have presented to the young musician, fresh from his lodging in
the crowded city, a vision of endless beauty. The very air of the
place breathed a music of its own, as, laden with the perfumes of
countless blossoms, it was wafted into the apartments set aside for
his use. Hard work lay before him; but what work could be too hard
when performed amidst such exquisite surroundings as these, and for a
master whose unstinting generosity and fatherly care for those about
him were so widely known? From the outset Haydn realised that here he
would enjoy the freest scope for the exercise of his gifts, with the
additional advantage, for which the greatest masters might well have
envied him, of being able to give practical effect to whatever he
wrote before committing it to the judgment of the world outside.

No wonder, then, that under such favouring conditions as these
compositions poured from his pen; nor was it long ere the musicians
whom he commanded had learnt to regard him with affection, and to vie
with each other in their eagerness to fulfil his wishes.

In about a year from the date of Haydn's engagement Prince Paul Anton
died, and the event marked a further advancement in the composer's
fortunes. Prince Nicolaus, who succeeded his brother, was a passionate
lover of the arts and sciences, in addition to being one of the most
generous and warm-hearted of men. His succession implied an added
magnificence and pomp to what seemed already perfect. To Haydn he gave
an assurance of his good-will and appreciation by raising his salary
from four hundred to six hundred florins, and, later, to seven hundred
and eighty-two florins (or £78), allowed him to select additional
musicians, and at the same time gave him to understand that he should
look for an increase in the number of performances. The Prince himself
played the baryton, or viola di bardone--a stringed instrument of
sweet, resonant tone, which, like the viol da gamba, to which it bore
some resemblance, has long since ceased to be heard. As the Prince
prided himself on his playing, Haydn was required to produce endless
pieces for the instrument, and he was even at considerable pains to
acquire a knowledge of the baryton itself, thinking thereby to afford
his master pleasure. To his chagrin, however, he discovered that his
efforts in this direction were not at all appreciated by the royal
performer, who had no fancy to see himself outskilled.

In 1766 Werner died, and Haydn succeeded to the full title. He had
thus reached the summit of his boyish ambition, and could look back
with pride to those early days when he studied the 'Complete
Chapel-master' in his lonely garret, and longed for the day to come
when his father's dream might be realised. And what of the parents
whom he had left behind in the little village? How had they fared
during these long years of struggle and success? The mother died seven
years before Haydn received his appointment to the Esterhazy family,
and while he was still striving to make his way; and the pleasure
which success had brought to him must have been tinged with the regret
that she had not lived to witness it. Mathias had married again, but
he managed to find his way to Eisenstadt, where, to his pride and joy,
he heard Joseph addressed as 'Herr Capellmeister!' Thither, also, came
Michael, who had been appointed director and concertmeister to
Archbishop Sigismund of Salzburg, to spend several happy days with his
elder brother.

Haydn's fame as a composer had spread far beyond the walls of
Eisenstadt. Musicians of Leipzig, Paris, Amsterdam, and even London,
were playing his symphonies, trios, and quartets, whilst the _Wiener
Diarium_--the Austrian official gazette--for 1766 refers to him as
'the favourite of our nation,' and pays him the high compliment of
comparing him with Gellert, the most esteemed poet of the day. 'What
Gellert is to poetry Haydn is to music,' writes the critic.

Werner's death was shortly followed by an event which implied a still
greater change in Haydn's surroundings. Prince Nicolaus had been
engaged in carrying out a scheme for the rebuilding of his
shooting-box near Süttör on a scale of magnificence rivalling that of
Versailles in its palmiest days, and, the works being completed, the
Prince moved thither with the major portion of his household. No more
lonely spot or one more unhealthy in its natural state, could have
been chosen than that which formed the site of the new residence.
Standing in the middle of a salt marsh, forming the southern extremity
of the great lake called the Neusiedler-See, Esterház, as the palace
was named, was quite cut off from the outside world. The work of
draining and reclaiming the land, however, had effected such an
improvement that what in its primitive condition had been little
better than desolate swamp, resounding to the harsh cries of
wild-fowl, was now become a scene of veritable enchantment. The thick
wood which lay behind the house had been transformed into shady groves
and open glades for deer, whilst the front windows of the palace
looked upon extensive flower-gardens, with a profusion of hothouses,
summerhouses, arbours, and temples. The castle itself comprised a
hundred and sixty-two apartments, splendidly decorated, and filled
with costly collections of art. Even Eisenstadt itself paled before
the beauty and magnificence of this new palace of Aladdin which the
genie of wealth had raised on the dismal marsh.

The provision for music and acting was on a scale as elaborate as that
of the rest of the palace. A splendid theatre, designed and equipped
for the performance of operas and dramatic works, had been reared near
the castle, and beside this stood a smaller theatre, fitted up for the
marionette performances, to the perfecting of which the Prince had
devoted much attention. The orchestra was reinforced by travelling
players of eminence, whilst, in addition to singers especially engaged
from Italy, various strolling companies were invited to give their
services from time to time. It was an essential part of the scheme
that this body of musicians and actors--temporary as well as
permanent--should form one family, with Haydn as its head; but the
appellation of 'Father Haydn,' by which the Capellmeister was known to
the members of his orchestra, had its origin in an affection which
owed nothing to discipline or arrangement. 'Friend, go back to the
first _allegro_,' was the wording of a direction written by Haydn on
the cover of one of his confrère's music-books, and it may be taken as
an indication of the happy relations which existed between the chief
of orchestra and his men.

A picture of the daily life at Esterház from spring to autumn would
show a constant round of life in its fullest and gayest sense.
Visitors poured in at its hospitable gates in an unbroken stream; and
the strain upon those whose duty it was to provide amusement for the
pleasure-seekers must have been enormous. If there was abundance of
work, however, there was no lack of helpers, and thus Esterház became
a little world in itself--a centre of music and acting, as well as an
emporium of art treasures. Thither came the Empress Maria Theresa on a
visit, and Haydn seized the opportunity of reminding her of the
chastisement which she had ordered him to receive when, as a
fair-haired chorister, he had clambered up the scaffolding-poles of
the royal palace. 'Ah, well!' replied the Empress with a smile; 'you
must see yourself, my dear Haydn, that the whipping has produced good

Prince Nicolaus, though an excellent master, and one for whom Haydn
entertained a deep affection, was, nevertheless, somewhat unreasonable
in expecting his Capelle to share his devotion to Esterház as an
almost continuous residence. The visits to Vienna were getting fewer
and shorter--even the winter at Eisenstadt had been reduced to its
shortest limits--and, admitting the attractions of the new palace as a
summer residence, the musicians were pining to see their wives and
families, and to breathe once more the air of the city. In 1772 the
stay at Esterház was prolonged so far into the autumn that the
musicians became impatient. The Prince had made no announcement of
the date of his departure, and Haydn at length resolved to convey to
his royal master a delicate hint of the orchestra's desire to be set
free. He therefore announced the performance of what he called 'The
Farewell Symphony'; and when the evening arrived, sixteen performers
took their seats in the orchestra to carry out the Capellmeister's
scheme, whilst the Prince, having no suspicion of what was intended,
occupied his accustomed place. All went as usual until the last
movement was reached, when one pair of performers rose from their
chairs, extinguished their candles, and quietly left the orchestra.
The music proceeded, and a little later a second pair arose, went
through the same pantomime, and disappeared, the Prince watching their
movements with a puzzled expression that almost destroyed the gravity
of the rest of the performers. Pair after pair thus left the building,
until at last only Tomasini (the Prince's favourite violinist) and
Haydn remained. Finally, Tomasini blew out his candle, bowed to the
Prince, and retreated, and as Haydn prepared to follow his example,
the Prince's eyes were opened to their drift. Good-humouredly
regarding the whole thing in the light of a joke, he exclaimed, 'If
all go, we may as well go too!' and immediately quitting the theatre,
he gave directions for the departure of the household.

We must pass over the years which intervened between the date of the
'Farewell Symphony' (the merits of which as a musical work must not be
confused with the circumstances under which it was written), and the
year 1790, when, to his great grief, Haydn lost the master to whom he
had become so deeply attached. The Prince left Haydn a pension of one
thousand florins, on condition that he retained his post as
Capellmeister to the family. Prince Anton, however, who succeeded his
brother, had no taste for music. The Capelle was practically
disbanded, and though Haydn kept his official position, his constant
presence at the palace was no longer necessary, and he took up his
residence in Vienna.

Some three years before this event several attempts had been made by
English musicians of eminence to induce him to come to London and play
at the professional concerts, but he had resisted these offers with
one and the same excuse--he could not leave the master whom he loved.
On the last occasion Salomon, the well-known musician and
concert-director, had dispatched a publisher named Bland to Esterház
to endeavour to persuade Haydn to alter his mind. Bland was shown into
a room adjoining that in which Haydn happened to be shaving, and
whilst seated there he overheard the composer growling to himself over
the bluntness of his razors. At length Bland caught the exclamation,
'Ach! I would give my best quartet for a good razor!' and without more
ado, he rushed off to his lodgings and returned in a few minutes with
a pair of razors, which he presented to Haydn. The Capellmeister
accepted the gift with a smile, and rewarded the enterprising
publisher with a copy of his latest quartet, which, later on, was
produced in London, and has ever since been known by the title of the
'Rasirmesser' (Razor) quartet.

The death of Prince Nicolaus removed the only obstacle to Haydn's
undertaking a journey to London; consequently, when one morning he
found a visitor awaiting him at his house, who announced his business
thus: 'My name is Salomon; I have come from London to fetch you; we
will settle terms to-morrow,' Haydn regarded the matter as practically

Mozart was in Vienna at the date of Salomon's visit. Haydn had been
strongly drawn towards the young musician ever since the time, five
years before, when, after listening to one of Mozart's quartets, he
had delighted the heart of Leopold Mozart by declaring that his son
was the greatest composer he had ever heard. Mozart's affection for
Haydn was equally warm, and now, on hearing that the latter
contemplated a journey to England, he tried to persuade him against
it, urging that he was advanced in years and unacquainted with the
English language. Haydn listened to his friend's objections, and then
observed with a smile, 'No matter; I speak a language which is
understood all over the world.' 'Then,' said Mozart, grasping Haydn's
hand as he spoke, it is good-bye, for we shall never meet again!' The
words were prophetic, for only a year later Haydn in London was
stunned by the news of Mozart's death.

It was a stormy December day when Haydn and Salomon set sail from
Calais, and the passage to Dover was a long and trying one for the
travellers. Nevertheless, Haydn, taking his stand on the deck, enjoyed
his first sight of the waves, and as the spray dashed in his face he
recalled with a smile how he had attempted to write the tempest music
for the actor-manager Kurz. A long interval separated him from those
days of keen want and fierce struggle, when he strove, almost against
hope, to establish a foothold for himself in the music-loving city of
Vienna! Now he was travelling to a greater city, not as an unknown,
struggling student, but with the assurance of a welcome befitting one
whom fame had already claimed for her own.

    [Illustration: '_Haydn enjoyed his first sight of the waves._']

The night of his arrival in London was passed at Bland's music
warehouse, No. 45, High Holborn,[8] but the following day he went to
live with Salomon at the latter's lodgings, No. 18, Great Pulteney
Street, Golden Square.[9] Salomon had by no means overestimated the
warmth of the welcome which London was prepared to give to the
composer whose works were already familiar to English music-lovers.
From every quarter admiration and attentions were lavished upon him;
all the most celebrated people besought his acquaintance, and he was
invited everywhere. Yet his equanimity never deserted him. He took
everything very simply, and as if it were his due, and thoroughly
enjoyed the river parties and picnics which were arranged in his
honour. Not so, however, the lengthy dinners or evening entertainments
in town, where his ignorance of the language and customs of his hosts
made him feel less at his ease. The incessant noise of the streets was
a source of great discomfort to one who had been so long accustomed to
the silence of the country; and he positively refused to fashion
himself to the late hours of London. When, later on, he removed his
lodging to Lisson Grove, he writes in a strain of rejoicing to a
Vienna friend that he has at length found himself in the country amid
lovely scenery, where he lives as if he were in a monastery! It is
difficult for us to imagine the Lisson Grove of a century ago, when
the road stretched away through green fields and woodland spaces.

The first of Salomon's concerts was held on March 11, 1791, at the
Hanover Square Rooms. The hall was crowded, and the performance of
Haydn's 'Symphony' (Salomon, No. 2) was received with great applause;
nor would the audience remain satisfied until the _adagio_ movement
had been repeated--an event of such rare occurrence in those days as
to call for comment in the newspapers. This marked the beginning of a
most successful series of concerts, at each of which Haydn received a
great ovation. His benefit took place on May 16, and realized £350.

The Handel Commemoration Festival--the fifth and last of the
century--was held in Westminster Abbey during this visit, and it must
have been a moving sight to Haydn to observe the crowds flocking to
the Abbey early on that summer morning in order to hear the master's
greatest work. Haydn had secured a seat close to the King's box--a
position which commanded a view of the nave and the vast concourse of
listeners. Rarely had those venerable walls looked down upon such a
sea of expectant faces as that which was turned towards the distant
bank of musicians and singers when the moment drew nigh for the
performance to begin. There was reverence expressed in the hushed
silence which pervaded every nook and corner of the Abbey at that
supreme moment--a befitting reverence both for the dead composer whose
immortal work was to be celebrated, and for the sacredness of the
subject which he had chosen for illustration. As the oratorio
proceeded Haydn became more and more impressed. He had never heard the
'Messiah' performed on so grand a scale before, and when the opening
chords of the 'Hallelujah Chorus' rang through the nave and the entire
audience sprang to their feet, he burst into tears, exclaiming to
those around him, 'He is the master of us all!'

    [Illustration: '_Lisson Grove a century ago._']

The first week in July found him at Oxford, at Commemoration, whither
he had gone to receive the honorary degree of Doctor of Music. Three
grand concerts were given in his honour, the principal singers and
performers having been brought from London, and on each occasion his
compositions were greeted with great applause. He appeared at the
third concert clad in his Doctor's gown, and met with an enthusiastic
reception. It was evident, however, that he was not feeling quite at
home in his new vestment, for when the students clapped their hands
and shouted he raised the gown as high as he could, exclaiming as he
did so, 'I thank you,' whereupon the applause was redoubled. Haydn
writes to a friend that he had to walk about for three whole days clad
in this guise, and he only wishes that his Vienna friends could have
seen him.

Amidst the wealth of incident which signalised his visit two little
scenes found a cherished corner in Haydn's memory. He was invited by
the Prince of Wales to visit Oatlands Park as the guest of the Duke of
York, who was spending his honeymoon there with his young bride, the
Princess of Prussia. The seventeen-year-old bride welcomed the sight
of Haydn's kindly face and the familiar sound of the German tongue,
and in one of his letters he describes how the _liebe Kleine_ sat
beside him as he played his 'Symphony,' humming the well-known airs to
herself, and urging him to go on playing until long past midnight. The
Princess also sang and played to him, whilst the Prince of Wales
played the violoncello, their attention being entirely given to
Haydn's works. It was during this visit that the portrait by Hoppner
was painted, which hangs in the gallery at Hampton Court.

The second picture, though one of a very different kind, he himself
described as having afforded him one of the greatest pleasures of his
visit. He went to St. Paul's to witness the gathering of the charity
children at their anniversary meeting, and the sight of the children's
faces and the sound of their young voices echoing through the vast
building touched him deeply, and no doubt recalled to his mind the
singing of the choristers in St. Stephen's Cathedral in bygone days.

Frau Haydn had evidently heard reports of her husband's successes, for
she troubled him with a letter at this time, in which she related how
she had found a small house and garden in the suburbs of Vienna, which
she felt would exactly suit her requirements when she became a widow.
She therefore begged that he would send her the money--a matter of two
thousand gulden--to complete the purchase. Haydn did not comply with
this simple request, but on his return journey to Vienna he inspected
the house, approved it, and bought it for himself!

It was in passing through Bonn, on his homeward journey, that Haydn
met Beethoven, and praised the composition which the young assistant
Hof-organist submitted to him.[10] The reception accorded to the
composer on his arrival at Vienna was in every way worthy of the fame
which his London visit had added to his reputation, and every one was
anxious to hear the symphonies which had taken the Londoners by storm.

The success of this visit led to a repetition in 1794. On this
occasion Haydn was accompanied by his faithful copyist and servant,
Johann Elssler, a son of the copyist to Prince Esterhazy, to whom,
since his birth, Haydn had acted as benefactor. Elssler's attachment
to his master was coupled with the greatest veneration for his genius,
and it was even reported that at such times as he thought himself
unobserved he would stop with the censer before his master's portrait,
as if it were an altar.

Once more Haydn was to pass through a series of successes under
Salomon's direction. His symphonies formed part of all the London
programmes. His popularity reached a height that rendered him the
'lion' of the season. He was frequently invited to Buckingham Palace
to perform to the King and Queen, and he was not allowed to depart
without a pressing request on the part of her Majesty that he would
settle in England. When London went to Bath, Haydn went there too, in
company with Dr. Burney, the eminent musician, and at once became the
centre of fashion and interest.

A description of all the incidents which this second visit comprised
would extend our story to an undue length. We will therefore content
ourselves by describing a touching little incident that marked his
homeward journey in August of the following year. To Haydn's complete
surprise he was invited by Count Harrach and a party of noblemen and
gentlemen to accompany them to the Count's park, situated close to
Rohrau, where a monument and bust of himself had been erected. He was
next taken to Rohrau itself, to inspect his old home and birthplace,
which had been preserved with every mark of loving care by those who
held the composer in such high esteem.

Haydn's emotions were deeply stirred by this action on the part of his
countrymen, as well as by the sight of his dear old home. Memories of
his happy childhood crowded upon him as he stood before the door, and,
prompted by a sudden impulse, he stooped and imprinted a kiss upon the
threshold; then, bidding his friends enter the cottage, he pointed to
the settle which stood beside the stove, and told them that it was
when seated on that settle, listening to his parents' singing, that
his musical career had begun. What, after all, were the grand palaces,
in which he had passed so many years of his life, with their costly
furniture and troops of servants, compared with that dear old cottage
home in which he had dreamed his childish dreams of music, and
listened to the hammers in the workshop beating out the time as he
played on his toy violin?

During his London visits Haydn had often expressed his admiration for
the English 'God save the King,' and he regretted that his own country
had no National Anthem of its own. This thought weighed the more with
him after his return because war had broken out with France, and he
felt that the people needed a means of giving expression to their
loyalty. He accordingly wrote the song 'Gott erhalte Franz den
Kaiser,' or 'The Emperor's Hymn,' which was performed for the first
time simultaneously at the Vienna National Theatre and the principal
theatres of the country on the Emperor's birthday, February 12, 1797.
This beautiful air was always a favourite one with Haydn during the
remainder of his life.

A portrait of Haydn at this time shows a man of short, substantial
build, and a somewhat ill-proportioned frame. The face, of which the
aquiline nose, projecting under-lip, and massive jaw were strongly
marked features, was very dark, and its habitual expression was
dignified and earnest, with an inclination to sternness. The dark grey
eyes, however, shone with a benevolent light that afforded an insight
into their owner's true nature--indeed, he used to say of himself
humorously that 'anyone could see by the look of him that he was a
good-natured sort of fellow.' He always wore a wig, with side-curls
and a pigtail, and the wig partly concealed his broad forehead. His
dignified expression relaxed in conversation, but although he was not
at all averse to joking, his laughter was always moderate and
controlled. Towards children he showed a love and sympathy that never
failed to win their confidence and affection. The title of 'Papa
Haydn,' by which he was known both to young and old during his
lifetime and with which his memory has ever since been coupled, was
the natural outcome of the universal affection in which he was held by
all classes. He was the 'father' of his chapel, sympathising with them
in their difficulties, and interceding in their behalf with the Prince
whenever occasion arose. In the same way his interest went out to all
young and struggling men of talent, to whom he gave advice and help.
But the title 'Papa Haydn' may claim to possess a further significance
in its use at the present time, 'as if musicians of all countries
claimed descent from him.'

Along with his indomitable industry went a love of order and method by
which every action was ruled, every habit framed. He rose very early
to begin work, for Nature seemed sweetest to him in her waking hours;
but he would never put a pen to paper or see a visitor until he was
fully dressed; and even when old age prevented his leaving the house
he maintained the same degree of punctiliousness in regard to his
appearance. His devoutness formed an indissoluble part of his nature,
and he regarded his genius as a gift of God which he was bound to use
thankfully for the benefit of mankind and to the glory of Him who gave
it. He never wrote a score without the words 'In nomine Domini'
appearing as an inscription, whilst 'Laus Deo' came at the end.

Haydn's love of humour is brought out in many of his compositions,
notably in the 'Surprise Symphony,' where the drums come in with a
tremendous bang at the end of the _andante_ movement. He is said to
have invented this part in order to arouse the attention of the
audience and make the ladies scream. Again, in the 'Toy Symphony,' he
shows a child-like appreciation of drollery in producing genuine music
out of such toy instruments as tin whistles, jew's-harps, toy
trumpets, etc. The 'Toy Symphony' was composed at Eisenstadt, where,
having visited a village fair and purchased a number of toy
instruments, Haydn was seized with the idea of making his orchestra
play upon them--an order which upset their gravity so much that they
could hardly keep time for laughing. A little story illustrative of
his love of fun may be told here. During his second visit to London he
came in contact with a certain amateur violinist whose professed
fondness for the extreme upper notes of his instrument was such as to
incite Haydn to perpetrate a joke at his expense. He therefore wrote a
seemingly simple sonata for piano and violin, which he called 'Jacob's
Dream,' and dispatched it anonymously to the conceited violinist. The
player was charmed with the manner in which the piece began. It was
apparent that the composer thoroughly understood the instrument! As he
proceeded, however, the notes rose higher and higher, like the steps
of a ladder, and at length, seeing that there was no prospect of their
ever descending again, the perspiration broke out on his forehead,
and, flinging the music from him with disgust, he declared that the
writer knew nothing whatever of the violin!

       *       *       *       *       *

Haydn was now sixty-five, but the crowning work of his life had yet to
be achieved. Whilst in London Salomon had shown him a poem, founded
upon 'Paradise Lost,' which had been written many years before, in the
hope that Handel would have set it to music. Haydn carried the poem
home, and later on conceived the idea of writing an oratorio on the
subject. From the moment of its inception the task of composing the
'Creation,' as the new work was called, became a labour of increasing
love with Haydn. 'Never was I so pious,' he writes, 'as when composing
the "Creation." I knelt down every day and prayed God to strengthen
me for the work.' The oratorio was first publicly performed in Vienna
on March 19, 1799, and created a profound impression. Haydn himself
was almost overcome by the sensations which the occasion aroused. In a
short time the 'Creation' was heard in every principal city of Europe.
In places where no means existed for its production choral societies
were formed for this special object, so that for many years the work
took equal rank in popular favour with the 'Messiah.' As a work of
art, however, the 'Creation' differs essentially, both in character
and style, from Handel's masterpiece. We have here none of the
declamatory passages which are so prominent in the 'Messiah,' the
story of the Creation being unfolded to us in a series of wonderful
tone-pictures--strengthened where necessary by choruses, but keeping
throughout to the epic character of the poem. Many of the passages are
strikingly beautiful. Who that has heard them can ever forget the
airs, 'With Verdure Clad,' and 'In Native Worth,' or the splendid
chorus, 'The Heavens are telling the Glory of God'?

Whilst music-lovers were descanting on the beauties of the 'Creation,'
Haydn was busily composing a second oratorio founded upon Thomson's
famous poem, 'The Seasons.' The desire for work was as strong as ever,
but his health was declining, and the strain involved by so great an
undertaking proved too much for his strength. '"The Seasons" gave me
my finishing stroke,' was Haydn's often-repeated remark to his friends
after the oratorio had left his hands. But no trace of diminished
power is visible in the work itself, and the success which attended
its production was such as to place it on a level with the 'Creation.'

With these two great works the flow of composition from the master's
pen fittingly closed. Upon the subject of his life-work as a whole we
may not dwell in this brief story. The history of music has accorded
to Haydn the high position which his works entitled him to occupy, and
the feeling of gratitude for those great gifts having been vouchsafed
to us is one that has grown deeper and deeper with the passing years.
Musicians and music-lovers all the world over give expression to this
gratitude by pointing to what he has accomplished for the symphony,
the quartet, and the sonata--to mention the three branches of
composition to which his genius was specially directed. Acknowledged
on every hand as the father of instrumental music, Haydn compels our
admiration by 'his inexhaustible invention as shown in the originality
of his themes and melodies; the life and spontaneity of the ideas; the
clearness which makes his compositions as interesting to the amateur
as to the artist; the child-like cheerfulness and drollery which charm
away trouble and care.' His insistence on the importance of melody was
a marked characteristic. 'It is the air which is the charm of music,'
he once remarked to the composer Kelly, 'and it is that which is most
difficult to produce. The invention of a fine melody is a work of

The honourable peace which should have been the companion of his old
age was marred by much physical suffering, through which, however, at
intervals his genial nature forced its way like sunshine through
clouds. Nor were his declining years without the solace of numerous
friends--indeed, by none to whom his great gifts and kindly
personality had brought pleasure and instruction was the old composer
forgotten, and nothing gave him keener delight than to gather his
friends about him to talk over the chief events of his life, and to
exhibit his collection of diplomas, souvenirs, and other mementoes,
which had been presented to him by his royal and noble patrons.

Perhaps no more touching example could be given of the affectionate
esteem in which Haydn was held by all classes of music-lovers than
that afforded by the last occasion on which he appeared in public. He
had been for a long time living in retirement in the house which he
purchased on the outskirts of Vienna, but having expressed a wish to
be present at a performance of the 'Creation' at the University on
March 27, 1808, he was carried to the hall in his arm-chair. The
enthusiasm evoked by the spectacle of the aged composer being borne
into the arena was in itself a convincing proof that his popularity
had not lessened. But the emotions of the audience were more deeply
stirred when, at the passage 'And there was light,' Haydn lifted his
hand and, pointing upwards, exclaimed, 'It came from thence!' At this
point his agitation was so great that it was deemed prudent to remove
him to his home; and as the carriers lifted him up and bore him
towards the door, the people flocked about his chair to touch his hand
and bid him farewell. At the door itself the crowd was denser than
ever, and pressing through the throng came Beethoven, who, bending
over his old master, kissed him fervently on the hand and forehead. As
he passed through the exit Haydn turned to take a last look at those
who were standing and waving their farewells, and as he did so he
raised his hands as if in the act of blessing them. The next moment
the heavy portière fell, and Haydn passed for ever from the public

A year later the old musician lay stretched upon his bed listening to
the booming of the French cannon, which were bombarding the city.
Presently the crash of a ball which fell close to his house caused the
servants to utter a cry of fear, whereupon their master called out to
them, 'Children, don't be frightened. No harm can happen to you while
Haydn is by.'

One day, shortly after this event, when Vienna was in the occupation
of the French, the faithful Elssler reported that a French officer
desired to pay his respects to the composer whom France held in such
veneration. The interview was granted, and the officer, before taking
his leave, sang 'In Native Worth,' from the 'Creation,' with so much
feeling and expression that Haydn's eyes filled with tears, and he
embraced the singer with warmth and tenderness.

    [Illustration: '_Haydn's eyes filled with tears._']

The end was now very near, and Haydn awaited the dread summons with
the resignation that was born of his implicit and child-like faith in
God. On May 26, 1809, he summoned the members of his household to his
presence, and, having been carried to the piano, he played his
favourite composition, 'The Emperor's Hymn,' three times over, with
great solemnity. There was something inexpressibly touching in the
master's selection of this air, which had been inspired by his love of
country and his loyalty to his Sovereign; for none knew better than
they who now stood around his chair how deeply he had suffered by
reason of the indignities which had been offered to his country. These
faithful friends realised that this solemn expression of devotion to
his King was intended to be a personal farewell, and as the familiar
strains of their noble anthem rang through the apartment, their silent
tears gave expression to the love and reverence in which the master
was held. Five days later, as dawn hovered on the sable fringe of
night, Haydn sank to rest.

Owing to the fact that Vienna at the time of Haydn's death was in the
hands of the French, his funeral was conducted without the ostentation
by which, under happier circumstances, it would have been marked.
Nevertheless, there were many mourners, and amongst them a number of
French officers of high rank, whilst a guard of honour was formed
around the coffin by the French soldiers. A performance of Mozart's
'Requiem' was given in his honour at the Schotten-Kirche, and as the
news of his death spread abroad funeral services were held in all the
principal cities of Europe. The burial took place in the Hundsthurm
churchyard, near the suburb in which he lived; but in 1820 Prince
Esterhazy commanded the remains to be exhumed and reinterred, with
fitting ceremonial, in the upper parish church at Eisenstadt, where 'a
simple stone with a Latin inscription is inserted in the wall over the
vault, to inform the passer-by that a great man rests below.'


[7] The drums on which Haydn performed on this occasion are still
preserved in the choir of the church at Hainburg.

[8] Since included in the building of the First Avenue Hotel.

[9] The house has since been rebuilt to form the warehouse of Messrs.
Chatto and Windus.

[10] See story of Beethoven, p. 233.


    The Devil on Two Sticks. 1752 (?)
    Acis und Galatea. 1762.
    La Vera Costanza. 1776.
    Orfeo ed Euridice. 1793.
    Il Ritorno di Tobia. 1775.
      [The well-known motet 'Insanæ et vanæ curæ' is taken from this
    The Seven Words from the Cross. 1794.
    [Originally composed as a series of pieces for orchestra in 1787.]
    The Creation. 1798.
    The Seasons. 1801.
    Mass in F (Novello, No. 11). 1751 (?)
    Mass of B.V.M. in E-flat (No. 12). 1766.
    Mass of St. Nicholas in G (No. 7). 1772.
    Mass of St. John in B-flat (No. 8). 1778.
    Mass of St. Cecilia in C (No. 5). 1780.
    Mass of Mariazell in C (No. 15). 1782.
    Mass in C (No. 2). 1790.
    Mass in B-flat (No. 1). 1796.
    Imperial Mass in D (No. 3). 1798.
      [Known in Germany as the 'Nelson Mass.']
    Mass in B-flat (No. 4). 1801.
    Mass in B-flat (No. 6). 1801.
    Mass in B-flat (No. 16).
    Two other Masses not printed.
    The four Masses, No. 9 (in C), No. 10 (in C minor), No. 13 (in C),
     and No. 14 (Kyrie and Gloria only, in D), are not authentic.
Stabat Mater. 1773.
2 Te Deums.
12 Canzonets. 1790.
142 Symphonies.
      [It will be sufficient to mention the 12 'Grand' Symphonies,
       composed for Salomon's concerts, and a few others with
       distinguishing names.]
    Grand No. 1 in C. 1791-1792.
    Grand No. 2 in D. 1791.
    Grand No. 3 in G (The Surprise). 1791.
    Grand No. 4 in B-flat. 1791-1792.
    Grand No. 5 in C minor. 1791.
    Grand No. 6 in D. 1791.
    Grand No. 7 in D minor. 1795.
    Grand No. 8 in E-flat. 1795 (?)
    Grand No. 9 in B-flat. 1795.
    Grand No. 10 in E-flat. 1793.
    Grand No. 11 in D minor (The Clock). 1794.
    Grand No. 12 in G (Military). 1794.
    Symphony in C (Le Midi). 1761.
    Symphony in G (Le Soir). 1761 (?)
    Symphony in D (Le Matin). 1767 (?)
    Symphony in A (The Farewell--Letter B). 1772.
    Symphony in E minor (Trauer-symphonie--Letter I). 1772 (?)
    Symphony in D minor (Lamentations). 1772.
    Symphony in C (Maria Theresa). 1773.
    Symphony in E-flat (The Schoolmaster). 1774.
    Symphony in A (Feuer-symphonie). 1774.
    Symphony in C (Roxelane). 1777 (?)
    Symphony in D (La Chasse). 1781 (?)
    Symphony in C (L'Ours). 1784-1786.
    Symphony in G minor (La Poule). 1784-1786.
    Symphony in B-flat (La Reine de France). 1786 (?)
    Symphony in G (Letter V). 1787.
    Symphony in C (Letter R). 1788.
    Symphony in G (Letter Q--The Oxford). 1788 (?)
    Symphony in C (Toy Symphony). 1788 (?)
83 Quartets for strings.
      [The earliest were composed in 1753. The quartet including
       variations on Haydn's 'Emperor's Hymn' (Op. 76, No. 3) was
       composed in 1797.]
21 Trios for strings.
31 Trios for clavier and strings.
3 Concertos for pianoforte and orchestra. 1790.
9 Concertos for violin and orchestra.
22 Concertos for other instruments.
8 Sonatas for clavier and violin.
34 Sonatas for clavier solo.



In a small, barely-furnished apartment in the Archbishop's palace at
Salzburg, in Austria-Hungary, on a winter's morning in the year 1766,
a boy of ten years of age was seated at a table, his head resting upon
his hand and his eyes turned towards the window. Before him were
scattered a number of sheets of manuscript music-paper, several of
which were covered with notes, which his childish fingers had
patiently traced amidst a plentiful sprinkling of blots and smears.

There was something pathetic about the appearance of the motionless
little figure, with its pale face, surmounted by a profusion of brown
curls, and the fixed, earnest expression in the large dark eyes--a
pathetic seriousness that implied a depth of reflection far beyond his
years, and to which the work upon which he was engaged lent additional
significance. Thus absorbed, the child paid no heed to the entry of a
servant bearing a tray, upon which was spread a simple breakfast; and,
following the instructions which he had received, the man laid the
tray on the table and quitted the room in silence. Outside the door,
however, the old servant paused for a moment in a listening attitude,
as if to catch the chink of moving cup and platter, and thus be
assured that the child had begun his meal. But as no sound came from
within, old Hans shook his head gravely, turned the key in the lock,
and, muttering to himself, descended the stairs.

    [Illustration: '_He paid no heed to the entry of a servant._']

The old servitor was puzzled, and somewhat troubled in mind as well,
by the boy's deep abstraction. That his master the Archbishop
cherished any feelings of harshness or resentment towards the solitary
little prisoner Hans refused to believe. Indeed, the Archbishop had
confided to him that he merely desired to test the child's powers of
writing original music. But to the old man's mind such a test was far
too severe to be applied to one so young, and something in the boy's
far-away look had touched his heart and tempted him to disobey the
stringent command which he had received not to converse with the
little writer. Even now, as he was descending the stairs, he felt
almost like a criminal in leaving the boy locked in his room without a
word of comfort or encouragement, and he was half inclined to turn
back on some excuse to speak with the prisoner and inquire how he
felt. At that moment, however, the ringing of a distant bell summoned
him to his master's presence.

    [Illustration: MOZART.
    From photo RISCHGITZ.]

Archbishop Sigismund was pacing to and fro in the dining-room when his
servant entered, his forehead puckered with a frown, and his eyes
fixed on the carpet. But he at once checked himself in his walk, and,
turning to Hans, said abruptly: 'Have you taken the child his food?'
'Yes, your Grace,' was the reply. 'And--er--how did he seem--well,
eh?' 'Quite well, your Grace.' 'You are sure of that?' a trifle
anxiously. 'Perfectly sure, your Grace,' replied the old man, though
he would have liked to have added a word as to his doubts concerning
the child's happiness; but the Archbishop dismissed him with a wave of
the hand, and, turning away, seated himself at the breakfast-table.

       *       *       *       *       *

Several floors above that on which Archbishop Sigismund was eating his
breakfast the little captive sat patiently toiling at his allotted
task. In a sense the old man was right; for the test was as severe a
one as the mind of a man who was a good judge of music, and who
doubted the truth of what he had heard concerning his little captive's
astonishing genius, could well have devised. The boy was required to
set to music the first part of a sacred cantata founded upon the
'First and greatest Commandment'--'Thou shalt love the Lord thy God
with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and
with all thy strength' (Mark xii. 30). The Archbishop fully realised
the magnitude of the test, and he expected failure--he looked for the
child to break down. The time allotted for its fulfilment was one
week, at the expiration of which he would find a few boyish attempts
at composition, and nothing more.

And why was Archbishop Sigismund so desirous of testing the boy's
powers of composition? A short time before the date at which our story
opens Leopold Mozart, Vice-Capellmeister at the Archbishop's court,
had related to his master some wonderful stories of his little son
Wolfgang--how the child had astonished and delighted every one by his
playing; how, when the father carried him and his sister Marianne to
Vienna and Paris and London, they had been invited to play at the
Courts, and how little Wolfgang had been praised by the royal families
and loaded with presents; and how he had already composed some
wonderful things, including several sonatas for the pianoforte, and a
symphony--the latter when he was only eight years old.

There was no exaggeration in Leopold Mozart's description of his
child's powers, as to which, indeed, accounts from less partial
sources had already reached the Archbishop's ears. None the less,
however, was the old ecclesiastic inclined to attribute to a parent's
pardonable pride the anticipations which the father had formed with
regard to the boy's future, and more especially as those anticipations
rested upon the assumption that the child was a miraculous genius.
That Wolfgang could play remarkably well for a child of his age was
sufficient in itself to justify the extraordinary praise which he had
received; but that he was gifted to the extent of writing original
music of a sort worthy to be recorded the Archbishop may be excused
for doubting. At any rate, he resolved to settle the matter to his own
satisfaction by setting the boy to work under conditions which
precluded every chance of his being enabled to copy from the works of
other composers, and also--and this was a great point with the
Archbishop--of his being helped by his father. Leopold readily
assented to the conditions of the test proposed by his master, and so
little Wolfgang was duly installed as a close prisoner in the palace,
and supplied with music-paper, pens, and ink, and a subject on which
to write, in the manner in which we have already described.

And now we must leave him for a space weaving harmonies in his attic
chamber whilst we recount his history up to the present point.

Born on January 27, 1756, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart had attained his
third year when the father's attention was first drawn to his fondness
for music. In his little daughter Marianne, who was five years older
than Wolfgang, he had rejoiced to discover an extraordinary gift for
playing, and it was not long ere her music-lessons from her father
became a source of attraction for her little brother, who would cast
aside his toys and take his stand beside the piano as soon as he
perceived that Marianne's lesson was about to begin. There he would
remain until the lesson was finished, listening intently to everything
that was played or spoken. At other times he would amuse himself by
finding simple chords on the instrument, striking them over and over
again, and bending his head to catch the harmonies thus produced. At
length Leopold Mozart began to teach him, half in fun at first, but
very soon in earnest, for it was apparent that the child regarded the
lessons seriously.

The father could not conceal his joy at the discovery of such early
promise on the part of his little son, whose progress, indeed, was so
rapid as to call for special care to prevent his learning too fast.
Marianne had a manuscript book in which her father used to write
simple pieces for her to learn, and very soon he was entering in the
book similar pieces for Wolfgang.[11] The rapidity and ease with which
the boy mastered these tasks opened his father's eyes to the fact that
Wolfgang possessed capacities far above those of an ordinary child. In
a short time the boy began to write in the book little compositions of
his own, some of them plainly showing that his skill in composing had
forged beyond the point at which his tiny fingers had the power to
express his ideas.

One day, when Leopold Mozart had brought Herr Schachtner, the Court
trumpeter, home to dinner, they found Wolfgang busily employed with
his pen. In answer to his father's inquiry what he was doing, Wolfgang
replied that he was writing a concerto for the pianoforte. Leopold
asked to see it, but the boy was not anxious to have his work
inspected, and objected that it was not finished. 'Never mind,' said
Leopold, 'let me see it. It must be something very fine.' Taking the
paper into his hand, the father and his friend glanced at it
curiously. The sheet was bedaubed with ink-smears which almost
concealed the notes; the child had dipped his pen each time to the
bottom of the ink-bottle, so that when it reached the paper it had
dropped a huge blot. This had not disturbed him in the least, however,
for he had merely rubbed his hand over the offending blot and
proceeded with his writing.

At first sight both Leopold and his friend laughed to see the manner
in which the composer had traced the notes over the smudges, but soon
Schachtner observed the father's eyes fill with tears of delight and
wonderment as he began to follow out the theme. 'Look, Herr
Schachtner!' he cried. 'See how correct and orderly it is! Only it
could never be of any use, for it is so extraordinarily difficult that
no one in the world could play it.'

Wolfgang at this looked up quickly into his father's face. 'That is
why it is a concerto,' he explained, with flushed cheeks. 'People must
practise until they can play it perfectly. Look! This is how it goes;'
and he began to play it on the piano, but only succeeded in bringing
out sufficient to show his hearers what he meant it to be.

His ear for music was wonderfully fine, for when only seven years old
he could detect the difference of half a quarter of a tone between two
violins. It was an ear of such extreme delicacy, in fact, that
anything in the shape of rude or harsh sounds caused him positive
distress. On one occasion Schachtner, at the request of Leopold
Mozart, who imagined that Wolfgang's aversion to loud sounds was a
mere childish fancy, blew a blast upon the trumpet towards the child,
but he regretted it the next moment, for the boy nearly fainted away
at the shock.

'What took others months of practice to achieve came to him as a gift
of God,' his father used to say; and truly there seems to have been
something of the miraculous about Wolfgang's powers. His violin
lessons had hardly begun when one evening, as Leopold Mozart, Herr
Schachtner, and Herr Wentzl were about to play a set of six trios
composed by the last-named musician, Wolfgang put in a plea that he
might be allowed to play second violin! Needless to say, his request
was refused as a matter of course. The child, however, persisted, and
at length he was told that if he were careful to make no sound he
might sit beside Herr Schachtner with his violin and bow, to make
believe that he was playing.

The first trio began, but it had not proceeded far ere Schachtner's
attention was drawn to the boy at his side. He was actually playing
the part--and playing it correctly! The second violin ceased bowing in
astonishment, and allowed Wolfgang to go on alone, which he did to the
end. Schachtner and the father exchanged glances, and the former
perceived that Leopold's eyes were full of tears. After this trial the
boy was allowed to play in the remaining pieces, unaccompanied by
Schachtner. At the conclusion, emboldened by success, he volunteered
to play the first violin's part--an offer which was greeted with
laughter; but, nothing daunted, he seized his violin and began, and
although he made many mistakes, and was on the point of breaking down
several times, he persisted to the end.

With his devotion to music and all that concerned the art, Wolfgang
possessed a lovable, affectionate nature that yielded a ready
obedience to his parents' wishes. For his mother, Anna Maria, and his
sister Marianne he showed great fondness, but before either of these
he placed his father. 'Next to God comes papa,' he used to say. He
could be very merry on occasions, but a natural seriousness which
showed itself in connection with his love for music gave rise to fears
that he would not survive his childhood. Music to him was
all-absorbing--everything else had to yield to it, and nothing could
take its place. When Herr Schachtner, who had grown very fond of the
child, carried him from one room to another the march had to be
accompanied by the beating of a drum, and the only toys he cared for
were such as could make music. When musical sounds were not actually
forthcoming the rhythmical movements of his body and limbs implied
their existence beneath the surface.

The family were in poor circumstances, for Leopold Mozart had no means
beyond the salary which he received from the Court. The discovery of
his children's gifts, therefore, offered the father a strong
inducement to turn their powers to advantage, both for the supply of
the family's needs and to provide for Wolfgang and Marianne a sound
education in music. With this object he determined to travel with the
children, as Salzburg itself offered no facilities for making their
talents known. A first experiment in January, 1762, proved so
successful that in the following September they set out for Vienna
with the object of playing before the Imperial Court. Wolfgang was at
this time six years old, and Marianne eleven. At Linz, where they
stopped for several days, they gave a successful concert under the
patronage of the Governor-General of the province. Every one was
delighted with the playing of the children, and they were fortunate in
securing the presence of a young nobleman who happened to be visiting
at the Governor's house on his way to Vienna, for he was sure to carry
the news of what he had heard to the capital. From this point they
continued their journey by water as far as the monastery of Ips, where
they purposed resting for the night.

The grey old building, seated on the banks of the Danube, with the
waters of the river lapping the base of its walls, looked invitingly
restful to the travellers who sought its seclusion on that sultry
September afternoon. Three friars who formed part of the travelling
party entered the monastery at the same time, and on their retiring to
say Mass in the chapel Wolfgang contrived to slip in behind them
unperceived and to make his way into the organ-loft. Shortly
afterwards the Franciscan monks, who were entertaining a party of
guests in the refectory, were startled at hearing the organ pealing
forth from the chapel. One of the hosts left the table to ascertain
who the player could be, and, hastily returning, beckoned the company
to follow him. On reaching the chapel they paused to listen, holding
their breath, as their companion pointed to the tiny figure of a child
seated in the loft. Was it possible, they asked themselves, that a
child could produce such beautiful music? They remained standing,
rooted to the spot by the enchanting strains which poured from the
organ, until Wolfgang, happening to espy them, brought his voluntary
to a close and crept meekly down from his perch.

    [Illustration: '_They remained standing, rooted to the spot._']

Throughout the remainder of their journey to Vienna Wolfgang was the
life of the party, full of spirits and eager curiosity to learn the
name and history of everything they met. At the customs-house on the
frontier he made friends with the officials, and secured an easy pass
for the party by playing an air on his violin. Every one was charmed
with his conversation and sprightly intelligence, and, above all, with
his music.

When they reached Vienna it was to find that the fame of the
children's playing had preceded them through the reports of those who
had witnessed the performance at Linz. A Court introduction was easily
obtained, for the royal family were desirous of hearing the prodigies,
and an early day was fixed for the visit to Schönbrunn. It was
fortunate for Leopold Mozart that the Imperial family were devoted to
art. Charles VI. was an accomplished musician; his daughter, the
afterwards Empress Maria Theresa (of whom we have already heard in our
story of Haydn), had from an early age shown a fondness and talent for
music; whilst the Emperor Joseph not only sang well, but played the
harpsichord and violoncello.

A kind and gracious welcome awaited the party on their arrival at the
palace. The Emperor took to Wolfgang at once, and was so delighted
with his performance that he called him 'kleinen Hexenmeister' (little
magician), and forthwith set to work to test his powers to the
uttermost. Not only was the boy made to play difficult pieces at
sight, but he instantly complied with the Emperor's joking suggestion
that he should play with one finger. The keyboard was then covered
with a cloth, so as to conceal the notes, but Wolfgang played just as
finely as before, receiving for this crowning feat the loud applause
of the company. The children were treated with great kindness by both
the Emperor and Empress; and Wolfgang showed his affection for the
august lady by climbing into her lap and giving her a hug, just as he
might have done to his mother. The performance at Court was repeated
on several occasions, each time with greater applause; and amongst the
audience was the beautiful Marie Antoinette, who, later on, became
Queen of the French. The boy evinced a strong fancy for the Princess,
and one day, when he happened to slip on the polished floor and was
helped to his feet by the Princess's hand, he turned to her with a
grave air and said, 'You are very good, and I will marry you,' 'Why,
pray?' inquired Marie, with a smile. 'Out of gratitude, of course,'
responded Wolfgang, still more gravely.

He was not in the least shy at being called upon to perform before
personages of the highest rank, his behaviour to all being that of a
simple, unspoilt child. But when it came to the point of playing, the
serious concentration of which we have before spoken would take
possession of him, and everything else had to take a secondary place.
Not even the Emperor himself could then claim precedence of the
composer, should the latter happen to be present. 'Where is Herr
Wagenseil? Is he here?' inquired Wolfgang on one occasion, when about
to play a concerto composed by the Court musician. 'Pray let him come;
he knows something about it.' The father understood this request to be
in keeping with the boy's desire to play before a capable judge--a
condition upon which he invariably insisted whenever practicable. At
the bidding of the youthful performer Herr Wagenseil approached. 'Ah,
Herr Wagenseil!' said Mozart, turning to him, 'I am about to play one
of your concertos, and I want you to turn over for me.' The Emperor
happened to be standing next to the boy, but he smilingly made way for
the composer at once.

Needless to say, after the favours shown them at Court, the children
at once became the rage in Vienna society. Invitations poured in from
every quarter, and as for Wolfgang, all the ladies lost their hearts
to the little fellow. The visit, however, was not without alloy, for
Wolfgang contracted scarlet fever, and on recovery was shunned for
fear of infection; but, on the whole, Leopold Mozart had good reason
to be satisfied with the success of his experiment. The children were
loaded with presents, but they valued none more than those which were
bestowed by the hands of the royal family, Wolfgang's present
consisting of a violet-coloured suit, trimmed with broad gold braid,
which had been made for the Archduke Maximilian; and Marianne's of a
pretty white silk dress. A painting of Wolfgang in his gala suit,
which was executed at the time of their visit, is still preserved.

The following year Leopold Mozart undertook a longer journey, with the
object of making Paris the end of their travels, but they stopped at
various towns by the way for the purpose of giving concerts. At
Frankfort the first performance was so successful that it was decided
to give three more. An announcement in the newspaper at the time
describes Mozart as capable of naming 'all notes played at a distance,
whether singly or in chords, on the clavier, or on any other
instrument, bell, glass, or clock.' Leopold also gave out as an
additional attraction that Wolfgang would play with the keyboard
covered--a fact which shows that the Emperor's test had not been
forgotten. It was whilst they were at Frankfort that a boy of fourteen
came to one of the concerts and saw Mozart in his frizzled wig and
sword, and heard him play. That boy was Goethe the poet.

They stayed five months in Paris, played before the Court at
Versailles, and excited astonishment and enthusiasm both there and
wherever else they performed. The mother accompanied them on this
long expedition, and on New Year's Day the family were conducted to
the royal supper-room, where the Queen drew Wolfgang to her side, fed
him with sweetmeats, and conversed with him in German.

    [Illustration: '_Played before the Court at Versailles._']

From Paris they journeyed, in April, 1764, to London, finding lodgings
in Cecil Court, St. Martin's Lane. London, with its crowded, busy
thoroughfares, its thronged markets, and its discordant street-cries,
must have seemed a strange place to the little travellers after their
experience of Continental cities. In regard to music itself, also, the
contrast must have been equally striking. The English were not
reckoned to be a musical nation, however much we loved music in our
homes and in the simple services of our churches; moreover, there was
an absence of the patronage extended to the art by the rich and
powerful classes, such as one would have met with on the Continent.
Hence its cultivation was slow, and pursued under immense
disadvantages. Nevertheless, the English knew how to appreciate good
music, and London was the centre to which all the greatest performers
were attracted, because they were sure, not only of receiving the
heartiest of welcomes, but of reaping more money by their performances
as well. English liberality and English appreciation have always
secured for our country the very best that the arts could produce.

Leopold's first care on reaching London was to obtain an introduction
at Court. In this he was again fortunate, for King George III. and his
Consort were exceedingly fond of music, and it was not long before an
invitation came for the children to attend at the royal palace. King
George showed the greatest interest in Wolfgang, placing before him a
number of difficult pieces by Bach and Handel, with the request that
he would play them at sight. The manner in which the boy fulfilled
his tasks evoked the enthusiastic applause of the great company
present at the performance, and the plaudits were redoubled when,
after accompanying the Queen in a song, he selected the bass part of
one of Handel's airs and improvised a charming melody to it. The King
was so impressed with his powers that he would not let him go until he
had tried the organ, in the playing of which Wolfgang achieved a
further triumph.

June 4 was fixed for celebrating the King's birthday, and for several
days before this event the coaches had been arriving in London loaded
with passengers from all parts of the country. Leopold Mozart had
fixed the following day--June 5--as the date for his first public
concert, and as the fame of the young musicians had by this time been
noised abroad, the hall was filled to overflowing. The father was
staggered by the success of the concert. 'To think,' he wrote home the
next day, 'that we took one hundred guineas in three hours!' That so
great a sum should be willingly paid in order to hear a child of eight
perform must, indeed, have been astonishing to one who had hitherto
had no experience of English munificence. Many of the performers,
moreover, declined to take any fee for their services--a fact which
served to add to the father's gratitude and astonishment. The
advertisement of the concert described Wolfgang and Marianne as
'prodigies of Nature,' and expressed the hope that Wolfgang would meet
with success in a country which had afforded such marked appreciation
and protection to his countryman Handel.

A few weeks later Wolfgang played the harpsichord and organ at
Ranelagh Gardens, a celebrated pleasure resort of the Londoners of
those days, on behalf of a public charity, and held the delighted
attention of a huge crowd which had gathered to hear him. Not long
after this Leopold Mozart was seized with severe illness, and when he
was recovering, the family removed to Chelsea for the sake of the air
and quiet. Chelsea at that time was a riverside village, and the
lodgings of the Mozarts were in Five Fields, a name which conveys a
pleasant suggestion of the country, but, alas! it has long since lost
its ancient signification with its change to Lower Ebury Street,

    [Illustration: '_Chelsea at that time was a riverside

As the children were not allowed to play any instrument, Wolfgang
spent the time in composition, and one day he confided to Marianne
that he was composing a symphony, and begged her not to forget to
remind him to give a good part to the horns, the horn being a very
favourite instrument with him in those days. The great work was duly
completed, and the father having regained his strength, the family
returned to town. They were accorded a further gracious reception at
Court, and in token of his gratitude Leopold Mozart printed six of
Wolfgang's sonatas for harpsichord and violin, and dedicated them to
the Queen, whose acceptance of the works was accompanied by a present
of fifty guineas. At the concerts which followed the overtures were
all of Wolfgang's composing, and on one occasion the children won
great applause by the performance of a duet for four hands, written by
Wolfgang, a style of composition which was then quite new. The novelty
of the prodigies, however, had to some extent worn off, and the public
were by no means so eager to patronise their performances. Leopold
endeavoured to reawaken interest in their doings by announcing private
exhibitions of the children's skill 'every day from twelve to
three--admittance two shillings and sixpence each person,' but despite
the smallness of the fee, and the fact that it included the privilege
of testing the powers of the performers by the audience, the number of
visitors was very small.

In July, 1765, the family left London to visit the Hague, but now for
the first time heavy misfortune attended their journey. Both Wolfgang
and Marianne fell ill--the latter so dangerously as to cause Leopold
the deepest anxiety. No sooner had Marianne recovered than Wolfgang
was struck down a second time with violent fever, and it was several
weeks before he was sufficiently strong to resume his travels. During
his convalescence, however, he was so eager to pursue his studies that
he had a board laid across the bed to serve as a table on which to
compose. Their reception at the Hague was gracious and kindly, both
the Prince of Orange and his sister, Princess Caroline of
Nassau-Weilburg, showing a deep interest in their playing. After
leaving the Hague they paid a second visit to Paris, where they added
to their former triumphs, in addition to playing at many towns by the
way, and, finally, the long tour was brought to a close by the return
of the family to Salzburg in November, 1766.

Up till now we have seen Mozart chiefly in the light of a musical
prodigy, exciting delight and astonishment by the exhibition of his
marvellous powers. By those around him, however, Wolfgang was beloved
for his own sake--for the simple, affectionate boy that he was.
Notwithstanding the praise which had been lavished upon him during his
travels, he remained unspoilt, and, apart from his music, as
child-like as ever. When not engaged in actual composition, his mind,
in the course of his long journeys, had been occupied with the
creation of an imaginary kingdom, peopled entirely by children, to
which he had given the title of 'Rücken.' Of this kingdom he supposed
himself to be king, and he was never tired of planning and arranging
its buildings, drawing maps of the towns, framing the laws under which
it was to be governed, and generally providing for the comfort and
happiness of his subjects. It was all the outcome of a natural
tenderness of heart which was equally shown in his relations with
strangers and friends--a desire to place others before himself.

At times, however, he could assert himself with considerable force. On
one occasion, shortly after his return to Salzburg, a gentleman of
rank in the town called upon the family, and being desirous of
conversing with Wolfgang, was at a loss how to address him. The formal
pronoun _sie_ could hardly be used to a child; _du_, on the other
hand, implied a familiarity which might be resented by so celebrated
an artist; the gentleman, therefore, took refuge in _wir_, and thus
began: 'So _we_ have been in France and England,' '_we_ have been
introduced at Court'; '_we_ have been honoured'; when Wolfgang
interrupted him hastily. 'And yet, sir, I do not remember to have seen
you anywhere but in Salzburg!'

       *       *       *       *       *

We must now return to the point at which we left our hero in his room
in the Archbishop's palace. The little musician realises that upon his
shoulders rests the burden of justifying to the Archbishop his
father's expressed belief in his powers, and love and gratitude
whisper to him that he cannot do too much in striving to uphold the
judgment of his beloved parent. His gratitude to his father was only
what might have been looked for in one so naturally thoughtful for
others. Leopold Mozart had, indeed, made great sacrifices for his
children, and he was prepared to go to even greater lengths of
self-denial in order to procure for them a good education, and to
found a musical career for the son in whose God-sent gifts he placed
the most implicit faith. 'I offer my children to my country,' he wrote
to a friend at this time. 'If it will have none of them, that is not
my fault, and will be my country's loss.'

And so, prompted by love and gratitude, Wolfgang works on until at
last the long task is finished, and the composer lays down his pen
with a sigh of relief. 'What will the Archbishop think of the work?
Will he laugh at it, and tell the father that he is mistaken in
believing that his son can write good music? Would this week of toil
be thrown away, and the sheets be cast into the fire?'

Such are the thoughts of the child-musician as he glances anxiously
through the manuscript. 'Yet, no; it has some good points--as a
musician he is sure of that--and surely his Grace will not fail to
observe those good points.'

Mozart's fears were groundless. When the old Archbishop came to
inspect the work, his face showed the pleasure and astonishment which
he felt. Boyish the workmanship may have been, yet there was nothing
of boyishness about the music itself. Wolfgang had taken the Italian
oratorio as his model, and the result showed how completely he had
mastered its forms. Such was the verdict which the connoisseurs passed
upon the work, nor did those judges fail to call attention to its
dignity and delicacy of expression, its well-chosen harmonies, and the
flowing melodies that were a foreshadowing of the Mozart of later
years. The cantata--the two remaining parts of which were composed by
the Court musicians--was performed with great success during Lent,
1767, by the students of Salzburg University, and in the programme the
eye of the composer met the words, 'The first part of this work was
set to music by Herr Wolfgang Mozart, aged ten years.'

Wolfgang's studies had been much interrupted by travel, and now that
they were home again his father began to give him regular instruction
in counterpoint as a solid groundwork for future composition. There
were many little breaks in these studies, however, and one which
afforded Wolfgang immense delight whenever it came round was to visit
the monastery of Seeon, with the monks of which he was on a footing of
firm friendship. For one of the priests, known as Father Johannes, the
boy had a deep affection; and whenever the good man made his
appearance, Wolfgang would spring to embrace him, and, stroking his
cheeks, would sing his greeting to a little air of his own:

    [Illustration: Mein Han-serl! liebs Han-serl! liebs Han-serl!]

The monks were always teasing Wolfgang about his tune. On Father
Johannes' fête-day the boy presented him with an offertory of his own
composing, in which he introduced the little melody as a birthday
greeting. The caressing little air runs through the piece, and is
'twice interrupted by the words, "Ecce Agnus Dei, qui tollit peccata
mundi" (Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the
world), given in a quiet, serious manner that has a charming effect.'
Good Father Johannes had no need to feel ashamed of the moisture which
gathered in his eyes as he scanned this tender little offering of his
child-friend on his birthday morning.

But the visits to the old monastery were to be interrupted by a
further period of travel. Vienna was making great preparations for
celebrating the betrothal of the Archduchess Josepha, who had made
herself beloved of the people, and Leopold Mozart was desirous of
being present with his children at the festivities. Accordingly, they
set out in September, 1767, but no sooner had they arrived at the
capital than they were met by the news that the Princess had been
struck down with small-pox. A few days later the tidings of her death
spread grief and consternation throughout the city. The dread of
infection caused the nobility to flee the place, and Leopold hastened
to remove the children to Olmütz. Their efforts to escape, however,
were vain, for both children developed the disease, and for nine days
Wolfgang was quite blind. A good Samaritan, in the person of Count von
Podstatzky, Dean of Olmütz, received the family into his house, with a
noble indifference to the risk which he incurred, and treated them
with every kindness and consideration, so that with good nursing
Wolfgang and Marianne soon recovered.

It was with renewed hopes that Leopold and his children once more bent
their steps to Vienna, only, however, to meet with fresh
disappointments. The Imperial family received them very kindly, but
the public evinced little desire to attend their performances. The
Empress lived in retirement, and the Emperor was practising a rigid
economy in regard to matters of entertainment and display--an example
which was followed as a matter of course by the nobility. Moreover,
the public taste for art was at a very low ebb, the preference being
for music of the lightest description. As if these were not
sufficiently serious obstacles to contend with, the twelve-year-old
musician was subjected to marked hostility on the part of the chief
performers of the city, who not only held aloof from his performances,
but did not scruple to vent their envy by speaking disparagingly of
his powers. That his son should be thus slighted without being heard
seemed to fill Leopold's cup of bitterness to overflowing. To oppose
such a phalanx of jealous rivals was impossible, and he had made up
his mind to shake the dust of Vienna from his feet and return home,
when the arrival of a messenger from the palace turned his sorrow into

'See here, Wolfgang,' cried the delighted father, as he sought the
boy's side after the departure of the royal messenger, 'is not this a
recompense for our trials and waiting? Here are the Emperor's commands
to you to compose an opera--an opera, mark you!--for performance at
the Royal Theatre!' and Leopold gave the astonished Wolfgang a hearty
embrace, as he thrust the important missive into the boy's hand.

Wolfgang read the letter through with the seriousness which always
characterised his manner when his beloved art was mentioned, and then,
lifting his face to his father's, he threw his arms around Leopold's
neck, exclaiming as he did so, 'It shall be done, papa--the Emperor's
commands shall be obeyed!'

Fired with zeal to deserve the confidence thus reposed in his powers,
Mozart set himself to work to accomplish his gigantic task. In a short
time, with assiduous labour, he had produced no fewer than five
hundred and fifty-eight pages of music, and 'La finta Semplice,' as
the opera was called, was ready for rehearsal. In the meanwhile,
however, the envious ones had formed themselves into a cabal with the
object of hindering, and, if possible, preventing its production. All
kinds of mean and untrue things were whispered about the work, of
which not a single note had yet been seen or heard by any of these
detractors. The music was declared to be worthless, and when this
slander had been disproved by the testimony of those who were capable
judges, another sprang up to the effect that the work was the
production, not of Mozart himself, but of his father. This, too, was
swept aside only to be supplanted by a fresh outburst of jealousy.
Before long these evil reports found their way to the singers and
performers, who, from being at first loud in their praises of the
opera, began to express a disinclination to take part in the
performance, for fear of losing their reputation. Then Affligio, the
manager who had undertaken to produce the work, in like manner began
to draw back, and put off the rehearsals from time to time. Finally,
after a series of such postponements, when brought to bay by Leopold's
insistence, the manager declared that he would produce the opera if
the father desired it, but that it should not benefit the Mozarts, as
he would take care that it should be hissed off the stage. The Emperor
was powerless to interfere, as Affligio held the theatre independently
of the Court, and nothing remained to be done but to withdraw the

This was a great blow to Mozart and his father, but, though
momentarily crushed by disappointment, they comforted each other with
the hope that the work would see the light at a later period. It was
now imperative that they should return to Salzburg immediately, more
especially as Leopold had received an intimation from the Archbishop
that his salary must cease so long as he stayed away. Their
circumstances were, in fact, much straitened owing to the ill success
of their visit, and during the weary months of suspense and waiting
they had been living upon the profits of their previous travels. They
were not allowed to leave Vienna, however, without a ray of sunshine
to cheer them on their homeward journey. Wolfgang had written an
operetta, 'Bastien und Bastienne,' founded upon a burlesque of one of
Rousseau's operas, and he had the pleasure of hearing his little work
performed before a select company of connoisseurs, and of receiving
their praises. Nor would the Emperor let him depart without a further
sign of royal favour, for he was commanded to write a Mass, an
offertorium, and a trumpet concerto to celebrate the dedication of a
new chapel in the city. The occasion was an important one, for the
ceremony was graced by the presence of the Imperial Court, and it must
have been a happy moment for Wolfgang when, having conducted his
compositions, he bowed his acknowledgments of the hearty applause
which followed. With this comforting assurance of the royal regard was
brought to a close an expedition which to both father and son had been
filled with trial and disappointment.

Old Archbishop Sigismund, too, was forward in showing his sympathy
with Wolfgang on his return to Salzburg; for with a kindness which was
unexpected even at the hands of one who had already proved himself to
be a true friend, he gave orders that 'La finta Semplice' should be
performed in his palace. It was a fitting reward for the Archbishop to
bestow upon one whom he had subjected to so severe a test, and both
Mozart and his father were full of gratitude. Sigismund, moreover,
showed his appreciation of Mozart's genius by making him his
concertmeister, though no salary was attached to the appointment. As
regards the opera itself, as Mozart was shortly to write a work of a
much higher character, not much need be said; at the same time, when
we learn that the best judges of the day pronounced it to be in many
respects superior to the operas which were then in possession of the
stage, and that it pointed 'unmistakably to a glorious future for its
composer,' we may appreciate the remark with which one who was himself
a great musical judge sums up the opinion passed upon Mozart's first
opera: 'Surely, this is extraordinary praise for the work of a boy!'

Leopold Mozart was now resolved upon undertaking a journey to Italy
with a view to completing Wolfgang's musical education. At that day
Italy stood foremost in the world as the home of music. Of Italy could
it be truly said, as it could be said of no other country, that music
was native to the soil. The craving for music pervaded every class--to
prince, and peer, and peasant alike, music was as natural a possession
as the very air they breathed. It was bound up with the people's
sentiments and passions, to which it afforded the truest expression,
and it was connected to an equal degree with their surroundings and
conditions of life. Consequently, every facility existed for the
development and encouragement of the art, whilst on every hand there
was a steady demand for the best that that art could produce. Thus, as
has been well said, there came to be formed in Italy 'a sort of
musical climate, in which artists found it easy to breathe.' More
than this, it became evident to musicians of other countries, as the
years went on, that he who aspired to do great things with his art,
and to establish a reputation for himself as singer, player, or
composer, must imbibe this atmosphere--for a time, at least--and put
the finishing touches to his education under the influence of the
Italian schools of composition and execution.

In respect to musical art Germany and Italy were rivals. The music of
Germany was to a very great extent independent; but the spirit of
creation in Germany was not so universally diffused as in Italy,
being, as a matter of fact, chiefly confined to the northern
Protestant portion of the country. Again, the operas performed at the
German Courts were Italian; the music to be heard in the German
Catholic churches was written by Italian composers; whilst both
singers and performers were either drawn from, or had been educated
in, Italy. The two countries, as we have said, were rivals, and every
succeeding year witnessed the growth of this spirit in Germany; but
for long Italy held the supremacy in instrumental as well as in every
other class of music, as the result of that inborn love of music which
pervaded every grade of society throughout the country.

And so in December, 1769, Mozart, who was now thirteen years of age,
came to Italy to listen to the brightly-clad peasants singing at their
work in the sunny fields; to watch them dancing on the vine-trellised
terraces that overlooked the deep blue waters of the lakes; to witness
the wonderful processions of the priests through the narrow streets of
the towns; and, above all, to hear the grand music in the cathedrals.

Mozart's bright, happy nature was never more in evidence than on the
occasion of this journey, which he seemed to regard as having been
planned solely for pleasure. His merry jokes and light-hearted
conversation served to ingratiate him in the affections of all.
Leopold kept up a regular correspondence with those at home, but
Wolfgang never failed to add a little letter of his own, addressed
either to his mother or to Marianne, in which he joked about the
incidents of the journey, the people whom they met, or the friends
they had left behind. The letters were a mixture of German and
Italian, with an occasional bit of Salzburg _patois_ thrown in to make
Marianne laugh. But he relapsed into a serious style whenever he
referred to his playing or the performers whom they had heard in the
course of their travels.

The young musician had, indeed, no lack of work before him, for, in
addition to the regular performances which formed the chief business
of the tour, he was set difficult problems to solve at sight by the
various professors who desired to test his powers. The fame of his
playing preceded him everywhere, so that the further they penetrated
into Italy the more numerous became the demands to hear him. At
Roveredo, where it was announced that he would play the organ at St.
Thomas's Church, the crowd was so great that the monks of the
adjoining monastery had to form a circle around Mozart to keep back
the press until the steps leading to the organ-loft had been gained.
The vast audience listened spellbound to the performance, and then
refused to disperse until they had gained a glimpse of the boy-player.
At Verona, where another triumph awaited him, and where one of his
symphonies was performed, the Receiver-General ordered his portrait to
be painted, and wrote a letter to the mother full of warm praise of
her wonderful son.

On reaching Milan the chief musician of the city subjected Mozart to
the severest tests, from which he emerged victorious, and after
astonishing everybody by his playing and improvisation, he was
commissioned to write an opera for the ensuing season. It was at
Bologna, however, that he met with the most flattering reception. The
city contained many artists of the highest rank, over whom Padre
Martini, the famous composer of Church music and the first connoisseur
of the country, reigned like a king. Martini was, in fact, worshipped
by Italian lovers of the art, who deferred to his opinion in all
questions affecting music. But the Padre was very old, and had given
up attending concerts, so that every one was astonished when the
coming of Mozart brought the aged musician from his retirement to form
one of the brilliant gathering assembled at Count Pallavicini's
mansion to witness the boy's playing. It was a great compliment to
Mozart, but an even greater compliment to the country from which he
came, and Wolfgang put forth his best powers, with the result that he
earned the judge's warmly expressed commendation. Leopold was
overjoyed at Wolfgang's success, and opined that Bologna would form a
centre from which the boy's fame would spread all over Italy, an
opinion that was justified by the results. As for Martini, he took to
Wolfgang at once, insisted that he should visit him regularly whilst
they remained in Milan, and gave him fugue subjects to work out at his
lodgings. Mozart worked hard at these tasks, and the Padre expressed
himself as perfectly satisfied with the boy's knowledge of

The journey to Rome, in fact, was a succession of triumphs, which it
would require a volume by itself to attempt to describe in detail. At
Florence he was invited to play before the Court of the Archduke
Leopold, and solved, 'as easily as if he were eating a bit of bread,'
the difficult problems proposed by the Court music-director, who was
regarded as one of the best contrapuntists of the day. Here he met
Thomas Linley, a boy of about his own age, the son of the English
composer, who was studying the violin under Nardini. Linley's playing
was already exciting much attention, and as he showed great promise in
his compositions as well, people were building high hopes as to his
future. Mozart and he instantly became close friends, and when the
time came for parting neither could restrain his tears. They were
destined never to meet again, for a few years later poor Linley was
drowned through the upsetting of a boat whilst on a pleasure excursion
in Lincolnshire. Mozart never forgot the bright friendship which had
flashed into his life during those few days spent at Florence, and
many years afterwards he would refer in terms of endearment to the
young genius whose career had been thus untimely cut off.

It was Holy Week when Mozart and his father reached Rome, and the city
lay under the spell of that solemn time. The travellers at once bent
their steps to the Sistine Chapel in order to hear the celebrated
_Miserere_, written by Allegri, performed. Wolfgang had been looking
forward to this moment during the latter stages of his journey with
the deepest interest. He had heard from his father of the jealous
guarding of this wonderful work by the Romans; how it was expressly
forbidden to be performed in any other building than the Sistine; and
how the choristers were under strict injunctions not to remove their
parts of the score from the chapel. His anxiety, therefore, to hear a
work of which the fame had spread throughout the whole of Europe, had
hastened his progress to the Holy City.

It would, indeed, be difficult to imagine anything more beautiful and
impressive than the singing of this wonderful _Miserere_.[12] It is
introduced into the solemn service called 'Tenebræ' (Darkness), during
which the six tall altar candles, by which the chapel is illuminated,
are extinguished one by one, until only a single candle is left, and
this is removed to a space behind the altar. Then, in almost complete
darkness, the _Miserere_ begins. A single voice is heard singing the
beautiful antiphon, as the short piece which ushers in the _Miserere_
is called; the sweet notes die away into silence--a silence so
profound that the listener hardly dares to breathe lest he should
disturb it. Then at length the first sad notes of the Supplication are
heard, like the softest wailing of an anguished spirit; they gradually
increase in force until the whole building is ringing with the
plaintive melody in all its thrilling intensity.

The solemnity of the service and the beauty of the music left a deep
impression on the mind of the young musician who heard it for the
first time. Leopold Mozart, too, was greatly affected by what he had
heard, and when they left the chapel to seek their lodgings neither of
them spoke a word. Once within doors, however, Wolfgang asked for pen
and paper, and, sitting down there and then, he wrote out the whole of
the _Miserere_ from memory. On Good Friday, when the work was to be
performed for the second time, he took his copy with him to the
Sistine, and, concealing it in his cocked hat, he made one or two
corrections in pencil as the service proceeded. It was not long before
the news of this extraordinary feat reached the ears of the Papal
musicians, and Wolfgang received orders to perform his version in the
presence of Christoforo, the principal soprano of the Sistine, who
could not conceal his amazement at finding it correct in every

No better introduction than this was needed to secure for Mozart a
cordial welcome at the houses of the great, and during their stay in
Rome they were fêted to their hearts' content.

At Naples, which was their next stopping-place, Wolfgang played at the
Conservatorio alla Pietà before a brilliant gathering, and excited so
much astonishment that several of the audience openly declared that
his powers were derived from a ring which he wore upon his finger. 'He
wears a charm!' they cried; and when Mozart, hearing their remarks,
smilingly laid aside the supposed magic ring, and played even more
brilliantly than before, the enthusiasm was redoubled. After this the
Neapolitans vied with one another to show them honour and attention. A
carriage was provided for their use, in which they drove about amongst
the fashionable crowds on the Strada Nuova and the quay, on which
occasions Leopold wore a maroon-coloured coat of watered silk, with
sky-blue facings, and Wolfgang one of apple-green, with rose-coloured
facings and silver buttons.

We have not space, however, in which to describe all the events of
Mozart's wonderful tour, and so we may only mention how they returned
to Rome at the instance of the Pope, who not only granted Wolfgang a
private audience, but bestowed upon him the Order of the Golden Spur,
thus entitling him to be styled 'Signor Cavaliere Amadeo'; how, when
next he wrote to Marianne, he jokingly concluded his letter as
follows: 'Mademoiselle, j'ai l'honneur d'être votre très-humble
serviteur et frère, Chevalier de Mozart'; and how his portrait was
once more painted in Rome by Battoni. A still greater distinction was
conferred upon him on his arrival at Bologna, for the Accademia
Filarmonica admitted him to their ranks as 'compositore,'
notwithstanding that their statutes required that members should be at
least twenty years of age. To test his qualifications for election he
was given an antiphon to set in four parts, and locked up in a room to
fulfil his task. At the expiration of half an hour he asked to be let
out, to the astonishment of the officials, who could scarcely credit
that he had completed the work in so short a time. The composition was
then examined by the professors, who next voted upon it, and finally,
amidst clapping of hands, it was declared that Mozart had been duly

After some further intercourse with Padre Martini, who, before
leaving, presented Mozart with a testimonial, the travellers proceeded
to Milan, where Wolfgang set to work at once on the opera which he had
been commissioned to write. It was a great task, and we find him
writing to his mother and sister, begging them to pray for its
success, 'so that they may all live happily together again,'
'Mitridate,' as the work was called, was at length finished, after
three months' hard labour, some of which was devoted to fighting the
opposition emanating from both singers and rivals. The first
performance took place on December 26, 1770, and was conducted by
Wolfgang, whose appearance in the orchestra was the signal for a great
outburst of cheering, to be repeated again and again as the opera
proceeded. Then came loud cries of 'Evviva il Maestro! Evviva il
Maestrino!' in response to which Mozart gravely bowed his
acknowledgments, and at the same time bent his glance towards the spot
where his father sat with his eyes covered with his hand, in order to
hide the tears of pride and joy which filled them to overflowing.
Mingled with these feelings, however, Leopold felt a deep
thankfulness in his heart that he had been spared to watch over his
son's career, and to be a witness of his success.

'Mitridate' had indeed succeeded even beyond their utmost hopes; it
was repeated twenty times before crowded houses, and its success
brought with it the honour of election as 'Maestro di Capella' (the
Italian equivalent of the German title 'Capellmeister') by the
Accademia Filarmonica. Mozart's position was now assured, and he had
nothing more to fear from intrigues or cabals. So that when, in
August, 1771, we find him once more in Milan, he is on cordial terms
with all his fellow-artists, and hard at work composing a dramatic
serenata for the approaching marriage of the Archduke Ferdinand with
Princess Beatrice of Modena. He is working amidst a Babel of sounds,
for in the room above dwells a violinist, in the room below another,
whilst a singing-master lives next door, and an oboist opposite. But
he is not dismayed. 'It is capital for composing,' he writes to
Marianne; 'it gives one new ideas.'

The serenata, 'Ascanio in Alba'--an allegorical pastoral play--was a
great success, and Hasse, a master of opera, who had also composed a
work for the occasion, was fain to admit that he stood nowhere
compared with Mozart. 'This boy,' he exclaimed, 'will cause us all to
be forgotten.' The Empress, who had commissioned Mozart to write the
work, was so pleased with the result that, in addition to the
stipulated fee, she presented the composer with a gold watch with her
portrait set in diamonds at the back.

Our story of Mozart's life has now reached the point which marks the
beginning of a series of misfortunes and trials of a far more serious
character than those with which his earlier struggles for fame had
been associated. There was no foreshadowing of these troubles at the
moment when the travellers set out on their return journey to
Salzburg, whither they were carrying the hopes which had been built
upon their successes in Milan. Shortly after their return, however, to
their great grief the good Archbishop Sigismund died, and both Leopold
and Wolfgang realised that they had lost their best protector and
friend. The news of the appointment of Hieronymus, Count von
Colloredo, as his successor was received by the townspeople with
feelings of displeasure and even dismay, for it was well known that
the character of Hieronymus was almost entirely opposite to that which
had made Sigismund beloved by his subjects. The Mozarts, father and
son, were soon made to taste the bitterness of the change.
Appreciation for art formed no part of the new Archbishop's nature,
and he lost no opportunity of showing his contempt for those who
followed it as a profession. Notwithstanding the fame which had now
gathered about Mozart, whose latest opera, 'La finta Giardiniera,' had
been produced in Munich, at the carnival of 1775, with the greatest
success, the Archbishop persistently refused to recognise his genius,
or to grant any facilities for enabling his dependents to better their
condition of life. Once, during his master's absence in Vienna,
Leopold had gone to the capital with Wolfgang, hoping to be able to
secure some appointment at the Court which might relieve them of their
necessities, but the effort was in vain. To his wife he wrote: 'Things
will and must alter; take comfort, God will help us.' But they
returned empty-handed.

Despite the fact that monetary anxieties were daily growing more
pressing, and the aspect of affairs at the Salzburg Court remained as
hopeless as ever, Wolfgang worked at his compositions with untiring
diligence, and by the time he had attained his twenty-first year he
had accumulated a mass of music that embraced every branch of the art,
in addition to numberless carefully worked out studies of other
masters. But Hieronymus viewed his Concertmeister's industry with
disdain. Even when, by happening to be in Vienna shortly after 'La
finta Giardiniera' had taken the Viennese by storm, he had been made
the unwilling recipient of congratulations at the hands of the
nobility upon the possession of so gifted a composer, he had contrived
to evade an admission of Mozart's genius by protesting, with a
sardonic smile and outspread hands, that he knew nothing about such
matters. Even this disclaimer, however, did not prevent the Archbishop
from making use of Wolfgang's powers whenever their display could be
made to add to his own glorification. But nothing softened his
ill-nature; no degree of praise which was justly awarded either to
Mozart as a composer, or to his father for the care with which he had
conducted his son's musical training, availed to remove or even to
mitigate the deeply-rooted dislike which Hieronymus bore to father and
son. He professed to regard them both in the light of professional
beggars, and he never lost an opportunity of speaking slightingly of
Wolfgang's compositions.

It was not long before the relations with the Archbishop became
strained to breaking-point. Wolfgang was now twenty-one, with a
reputation as a composer, but with no settled future; it was clear
that nothing was to be hoped for by his remaining in Salzburg, and
Leopold therefore resolved to undertake a professional tour with his
son. For this purpose a prolonged leave of absence was necessary; but
the Archbishop met Leopold's application with a curt refusal.

Even Wolfgang's docile nature would bend no further under such
treatment, and he forthwith requested to be relieved of his duties.
The salary connected with his post of Concertmeister was trifling in
amount, and Hieronymus was fully aware of the value of the services
which he professed to estimate so lightly. But that one for whom he
had expressed contempt should thus presume to take action on his own
behalf rendered him furious. He would have nothing to do with either
father or son. 'After the Gospel, you are both free to seek your
fortunes wherever you please!' was his reply to Wolfgang's
application. This hasty decision, however, he afterwards retracted
with respect to Leopold, and the father realised that the only course
left open to him was to allow Wolfgang and his mother to travel

Arrangements were accordingly made, and early in the morning of
September 23, 1777, the carriage which was to convey the travellers
drew up at the door of Leopold's house. Now that the actual moment of
parting had arrived the father could with difficulty restrain his
emotion, and it was only when the carriage had driven off that he
remembered that he had forgotten to bestow a blessing on his dear
ones. Rushing to the window, he stretched forth his hand, to find that
he was too late--the travellers were already out of sight.

Wolfgang's spirits, however, rose as the towers of Salzburg faded into
the haze of that September morning. No sorrow of parting could stifle
the sense of freedom that was springing up in his breast; he had
escaped from a town which was intimately associated in his mind with
tyranny and oppression, to seek his fortune in a new and wider world,
where he was confident that his gifts would meet with the recognition
they deserved. Thus buoyed with hope and confidence he entered upon a
sea of difficulty and trouble.

    [Illustration: '_The carriage which was to convey the travellers
    drew up at the door._']

At Munich, where they first halted, Wolfgang endeavoured to secure an
engagement at the Elector's Court; but there was no vacancy, and
although his playing brought forth many promises of future help in
addition to applause, the prospect of obtaining immediate engagements
fell empty to the ground. 'Fine words and bravissimos pay neither the
postboy nor the host,' wrote the practical Leopold Mozart, when
Wolfgang applied to him for advice, and so mother and son went on to
Mannheim. Here, indeed, the prospects seemed to be much brighter.
Mannheim was a thoroughly musical town, and Mozart soon won both
esteem and admiration at the hands of the musicians. The Elector, Karl
Theodor, maintained an excellent orchestra, and with Cannabich, the
conductor, Wolfgang soon became great friends, giving music-lessons
to his daughter Rose. Nevertheless, albeit so gifted, and capable of
winning applause wherever he played, Mozart was constantly looking for
work that would bring in sufficient ready-money to maintain himself
and his mother, until something of a permanent nature could be found
for him. But here again disappointment followed disappointment. He was
desirous of staying the winter in Mannheim, in order to join some
friends who were leaving for Paris in the spring, but he must first
find something to do. He seized upon the opportunity of playing before
the Elector and the Electress as a possible means of securing their
children as pupils, and for some time success in this direction seemed
imminent. But his application was put off from day to day; weeks
passed over, and nothing was settled.

Amidst these hopes and delays Leopold Mozart was writing from Salzburg
urging Wolfgang to decide upon a course of action. He reminded him
that he had put his time to but little use up to the present, and that
it was becoming increasingly difficult for him to supply the money for
their maintenance. Wolfgang must give him longer notice of their
change of plans, as 'otherwise all will go wrong'; and he warns his
son to be careful lest he be stranded without money--and 'no money
meant no friends.'

There was justice in these urgings and warnings, for it was a fact
that to Wolfgang life in Mannheim had become so pleasant and
easy-going that it was time that he should be reminded of the call of
duty. In the midst of intercourse with friends, who were only too
willing to second his wishes to remain in Mannheim, Mozart was in
danger of forgetting the sacrifices which were being made for him at
home. Both father and daughter were indeed denying themselves and
working hard to keep up the supplies of money. In addition to being
heavily in debt on Wolfgang's account, Leopold had increased his
labours by giving music-lessons at a small fee, whilst Marianne was
practising all manner of shifts to make ends meet. Each fresh
disappointment which her brother's letters conveyed caused 'Nannerl's'
tears to flow with sympathy and vexation, and added to her father's

The latest letter had brought the depressing intelligence that, after
tedious delays, the Elector had decided that he could not see his way
to offering Mozart the engagement which he sought. Nothing remained to
be done, therefore, but to relinquish the idea of wintering in
Mannheim. But coupled with this announcement of failure, Wolfgang had
let drop some complaints on the subject of lesson-giving which aroused
his father to the pitch of administering a severe rebuke. Wolfgang's
protest was to the effect that so long as he was called upon to seek
work in the shape of music-lessons at small fees, the time which he
felt ought to be given to composition must suffer serious curtailment,
with the result that his progress would inevitably be hindered, if it
were not brought to an actual standstill. There was doubtless sound
sense behind this protest, for who could deny that Wolfgang's aims
were high, or that he possessed the power to accomplish great things
with his art? It is, however, easy to understand that his expressed
disinclination to give music-lessons touched his father on a tender
point. 'And so,' Leopold writes, with more bitterness than he has ever
shown before in his letters--'and so you will throw away chances of
earning money, whilst your old father has to run from house to house
for a wretched pittance in order to support himself and his daughter,
and to send the little that remains to you, instead of paying his
debts!' He begs Wolfgang to reflect whether he was not treating him
as hardly as the Archbishop himself. Then follows a remark which
refers to Mozart's proneness to place undue reliance on promises,
instead of using his own judgment. 'You have judgment,' says Leopold,
'but a trifle too much of conceit and self-love, and you are inclined
to be over-confiding, and to open your heart to every one you meet.'

However, Wolfgang's stay in Mannheim was, after all, prolonged over
the winter, through the efforts which his friends made to procure him
work; but when the spring came round, and the three musicians whom he
had promised to accompany to Paris were ready to start upon their
journey, he found an excuse for letting them go without him. Leopold
Mozart was a deeply religious man, and when he learnt from Wolfgang
that his reason for breaking off his intended journey was that his
three companions had not a particle of religion in them, he approved
his son's judgment without expressing any surprise at the tardiness of
his discovery.

But Mozart had a deeper reason, which he was not so anxious to
disclose, and which perhaps he could not, without knowing his mind
exactly at the time, have explained. Be this as it may, however,
Mozart could never have been surer of anything than that his father
would have disapproved in the strongest manner of the feelings which
were swaying him at that moment. Yet if Leopold had but read between
the lines of his son's letters he must have seen why it was that
Wolfgang was seemingly so blind to his own interests, and so forgetful
of his duty to those who loved him at home. The fact is Wolfgang was
in love. And if the vigilant eye of the kindest and tenderest father
that ever watched with unremitting care over the welfare of a gifted
son could have pierced the space that separated him from Wolfgang at
the moment when he was perusing that letter of excuse, it might have
lighted upon the following little scene which was being enacted in the
parlour of a small house in Mannheim.

A young man is seated at the harpsichord playing the accompaniment of
a song from the manuscript before him. Every now and then he lifts his
eyes from the music-sheet to let them rest upon the fair young face of
the maiden standing beside him, and that oft-repeated glance reveals
more than admiration for the singer's notes, pure and melodious as her
singing is--more than a recognition of the singer's charms, sweet
beyond question as those charms are; it reveals, in a word, the love
which is burning within the player's breast, a love as yet unspoken,
but beside which even art herself must for the time sink her

Aloysia Weber, the fifteen-year-old maiden for whom Mozart had
conceived this attachment, was the second daughter of Fridolin Weber,
a member of the Elector's band. The young composer had been attracted
first by her voice, and later by her personal beauty, and both of
these gifts had gained in power through the sympathy he felt for the
family who were in poor circumstances. He longed to be able to help
them; Aloysia's singing was of a high order, and only needed to be
heard in public to secure the approval of the connoisseurs; he had
already written a song specially for her, and she sang it as well as
he could wish. Thus he wrote to his father, in the hope of enlisting
the latter's interest in his protégé, adding that he only wished his
father could hear her sing. But he gave no indication in the letter of
those deeper feelings which animated his desire to be of use to the

The father, however, was soon to receive a communication which
startled him into a knowledge of the true state of affairs. Wolfgang
had formed a project for helping the Webers by undertaking a journey
to Italy in company with Aloysia and her father, with the object of
writing an opera in which Aloysia should appear as prima donna. Their
plans would embrace, with Leopold's sanction, a visit to Salzburg by
the way, when Wolfgang would have the pleasure of introducing the fair
singer to his parent and 'Nannerl,' by whom he was sure she would be
welcomed and beloved. Leopold was distracted by the proposal. 'What!'
he writes, in reply to Wolfgang's letter, 'are you so mad as to prefer
a vagabond life to Mannheim and fame! Away with you to Paris, and that
immediately. Take up your position among those who are really
great--_aut Cæsar aut nihil_. From Paris the name and fame of a man of
talent spreads throughout the world.' The father wisely refrained from
making any direct allusion to the subject of Mozart's attachment,
trusting to the latter's sense of what was due to one who had made
such sacrifices on his behalf. His trust was not misplaced; duty and
affection prevailed, and with a heavy heart Mozart yielded to his
father's wishes, and his love-dream came to an end. His ready
compliance brought a most affectionate letter from Leopold, in which
he assures his dear Wolfgang that he does not entertain the least
mistrust of him; on the contrary, he has perfect confidence and hope
in his filial love. His good judgment, if he will only listen to it,
will direct him how to act. As for himself, he is resigned to
separation, and he adjures Wolfgang to live the life of a good
Catholic Christian. 'Love God and fear Him,' he continues; 'pray to
Him sincerely and devoutly, and let your conduct be such that, should
I never see you again, my death-bed may be free from anxiety. From my
heart I bless you.'

The departure for Paris was now fixed, but the leave-taking with the
Webers was not accomplished without tears, for the family insisted on
regarding Wolfgang as their 'greatest benefactor.' Aloysia was
encouraged to hope for better things, for she had already been heard
in public on several occasions through Mozart's influence, and now she
was to be placed under the care of a celebrated singer named Raaff,
who had undertaken to carry on the training of her beautiful voice,
and to assist in bringing her out.

The hopes which Leopold Mozart had built upon Wolfgang's prospects of
success in Paris were not destined to be fulfilled. The enthusiasm
which he had evoked as a marvellous prodigy was not to be elicited by
his matured powers as a young man, and the influence necessary to
enforce his claims to be recognised as a composer of standing was
lacking. Three months passed away in more or less unsuccessful
endeavour, and then the mother, who had been his companion and
comforter throughout this long period of trial and travel, was struck
down by serious illness, and on July 3, 1778, she breathed her last in
her son's arms. Wolfgang's first thought in the hour of sorrow was for
his father, and he wrote to an old friend at Salzburg, begging him to
break the sad news as gently as possible. When he knew that this had
been done he himself wrote a letter to his father, full of sympathy
and affection.

Mozart now determined to leave Paris at once, and his father was the
more willing to acquiesce in this step because an offer had been made
by Archbishop Hieronymus to instal Wolfgang in the place of the Court
organist, who had just died, and to give him a salary of five hundred
florins, with permission to absent himself whenever he might be called
upon to conduct one of his own operas. The offer had also attached to
it the near prospect of being made full Capellmeister at the
Archbishop's Court. Leopold urged Wolfgang's acceptance, pointing out
that their joint income would in such case amount to one thousand
florins a year--a sum that would enable them to discharge their debts
and live in comparative comfort.

Mozart, it must be owned, viewed the prospect of a return to Salzburg
under the implied conditions with positive dismay, but he could not
withstand his father's appeal. He set out from Paris immediately,
promising himself only one indulgence before entering upon the bondage
which lay before him--and that was to take Mannheim on his homeward
journey. Arrived at Mannheim, however, he found that the Webers had
migrated to Munich, whither the Elector had already gone to take up
his new residence. After exchanging greetings with a few old friends,
therefore, he bent his steps to Munich, hoping to find consolation in
a brief renewal of the happy hours which had left so strong an
impression on his memory. But, alas! his disappointments found their
crown within the Webers' dwelling. The family, it is true, received
him as warmly as of old; but she to whom his glance was first directed
showed in her eyes nothing more than a friendly welcome, and Mozart
was quick to perceive that his hopes had here no abiding-place.
Aloysia was fickle, and her affection had so far waned as to be unable
to withstand even the test afforded by Mozart's change of dress. When
he appeared before her with black buttons sewn upon his red coat,
after the French fashion, to indicate that he was in mourning, she
resented the innovation; and, after a brief intercourse, in which she
plainly showed that she had forgotten him for whom her tears had
flowed some months before, they parted.

It was with a mind stored with invaluable experience, but with a heart
saddened and sore by disappointed love and ambition, that Mozart once
more entered the portal of his Salzburg home. If anything could have
cheered him at that moment and served to dispel the clouds which
seemed to obscure his future, it would have been the warmth of the
welcome bestowed upon him by the inmates of that home which he had
left nearly two years before filled with the brightest anticipations.
And, indeed, it was little short of triumphant, this greeting and
homage which poured in upon him from father, sister, and friends. In
_their_ eyes, at least, his successes were unshadowed by his failures;
to them he was still the Mozart, the genius amongst musicians, who was
yet to leave his mark upon the roll of fame. But, grateful as he felt
for these proofs of sincere affection and esteem, his aversion to
Salzburg and his duties at the Court remained in full force, and it
was with a new-kindled joy that he set forth once more for Munich, in
November, 1780, to complete and produce the opera which he had been
commissioned to write for the carnival of the following year.

To the realisation of these the first-fruits of his previous sojourn
at Munich Mozart was to owe the establishment of his fame as a
dramatic composer of the first rank. 'Idomeneo,' as the new opera was
called, fulfilled the high expectations which his Munich friends had
formed from the composer's powers. Its reception at the rehearsals
rendered success a certainty, and the Elector, who was present, joined
with the performers in expressing his unqualified approval. At home
the progress of the work was watched with the deepest interest. 'The
universal subject of conversation here,' writes Leopold to his son,
'is your opera.' The first performance took place on January 29, and
as the Archbishop was then staying in Vienna, Leopold and Marianne
journeyed to Munich to witness Wolfgang's triumph. It was a proud and
happy moment for all three, and the enthusiastic applause which shook
the theatre at the close of the performance must have seemed to the
old father, who stood gazing with swimming eyes at the sea of waving
hands around him, to set the seal of greatness upon his son's career.

Mozart was soon, however, to taste the bitterness of his bondage by
receiving orders from the Archbishop to attend him in Vienna. From the
moment of his arrival the arrogant ecclesiastic gave him to understand
that, except when his services were required for his master's
glorification, he would be expected to take his place amongst the
servants of the household, to dine at their table, and to receive the
like treatment and consideration. The indignities to which he was
subjected beneath the Archbishop's roof, however, did not for a time
prevent Mozart from feeling happy, for the aristocracy as a body
welcomed him with enthusiasm, and invited him to their houses to dine.
To Hieronymus, on the other hand, who was cordially detested by the
nobility, and especially by the Emperor Joseph, the fact that one of
his musicians--a mere domestic of his establishment--was made the
object of all this attention on the part of the great people of
Vienna, was in itself sufficient to rekindle the hatred which he had
always felt towards Mozart. It was a purely selfish feeling which had
induced the Archbishop to reattach Mozart to his Court; and now, when
he found that requests were flowing in from the nobility to be allowed
to hear the composer play at their own houses, where Hieronymus
himself was far from being a welcome guest, he gave full rein to his
spite, with the result that Mozart's life speedily became unbearable.

The culminating point was reached when the Emperor purposely left the
Archbishop out of the list of guests invited to his summer residence
at Laxenburg. Enraged at the slight thus offered to him, Hieronymus
before leaving Vienna sought to gratify a portion of his revenge by
turning Mozart from his doors. Mozart had just before made up his mind
to quit the Archbishop's service, for his treatment had of late become
unendurable, and there was every prospect of his being able to make a
living in Vienna. He now requested an audience for the purpose of
ascertaining his position. Hieronymus seized the occasion for
showering upon the head of his Concertmeister all the abuse which he
could summon to his aid. Calling him 'villain,' 'low wretch,' 'low
fellow of the streets,' the Archbishop declared that none of his
servants treated him so badly. 'Your Grace is dissatisfied with me,
then?' said Mozart. 'What! you dare to employ threats! Fex! there is
the door! I will have nothing more to do with such a vile wretch!'
'Nor I with, you,' was Mozart's retort, as he quitted the room.

Mozart was now virtually free from the intolerable burden under which
he had suffered, but his actual discharge was not obtained without
further indignity and insult. Leopold Mozart received the news of the
rupture with alarm, and endeavoured to induce Wolfgang to reconsider
his decision not to return to Salzburg. But even though an official
acceptance of his resignation was not then forthcoming, Mozart made a
stand for his independence. 'Do not ask it,' he wrote to his father in
reply. 'Demand of me anything but that. The very thought of it makes
me tremble with rage. I hate the Archbishop almost to frenzy!'

We must pass over the time of struggle which followed the severance of
Mozart's connection with the Archbishop, when he found himself with
only a single pupil as a visible means of support, but, fortunately,
not without friends, and come to the point when, for the second time,
he fell in love. He was lodging with his old friends the Webers.
Fridolin Weber was dead; Aloysia had married, and was well known as a
professional singer; and Madame Weber, with her two unmarried
daughters, was living, in reduced circumstances, in Vienna. Mozart's
prospects had greatly improved, for his latest opera, 'Entführung aus
dem Serail,' had brought him increased fame, both in Vienna and in
Prague, and he had secured the patronage of many distinguished
personages, in addition to that of the Emperor Joseph. Bachelorhood to
him now seemed insupportable. 'To my mind,' he says in a letter to his
father, 'a bachelor lives only half a life,' and so he had determined
to marry. The object of his choice was Constanze Weber, the third
daughter, and, despite Leopold's remonstrances, Mozart made her his
bride on August 16, 1782.

    [Illustration: "_There is the door!_"]

His marriage marked the beginning of a new era of struggle, for
Constanze, though a devoted wife, was incapable of managing a home,
and as their means were uncertain to start with, they were soon
involved in a sea of monetary troubles, from which there seemed to be
no prospect of their extricating themselves. An unpropitious note had
been struck on the very day of the wedding, when it must have appeared
to Mozart that he had committed a crime in robbing the family of one
of its members. 'As soon as we were married,' he wrote to his father,
'my wife and I both began to weep. All present, even the priest, were
touched at seeing us so moved, and wept too.'

With the friends and influence which Mozart's genius had ranged upon
his side it was hoped that a post of importance would by this time
have been found for him in Vienna. The bestowal of a Court appointment
would have relieved him of much of the drudgery of teaching and the
anxiety of tiding over periods when pupils and engagements were
scarce, but the Emperor, despite his sincere interest in all that
concerned the composer, showed a seeming disinclination to make a
proposal. Yet there could be no doubt of the appreciation in which
Mozart was held at the Court, for in a letter to his father at this
time he quotes a remark made by Prince Kaunitz to the Archduke
Maximilian on the subject of the Emperor's inaction with regard to
retaining Mozart's services: 'That men of that stamp only came into
the world once in a hundred years, and that they ought not to be
driven out of Germany, especially when, as good luck would have it,
they were already in the capital.'

Mozart was, indeed, seriously contemplating a journey to London and
Paris, and had even begun to make his preparations, but his father's
urgent appeals for patience and further effort had the effect of
postponing for the time the carrying out of his schemes. In the
meantime Mozart seized the opportunity for which he had been longing
of paying a visit to Salzburg to present Constanze to his father, and
at the same time of fulfilling a vow which he had made that, if
Constanze became his wife, he would have a Mass composed by him for
the occasion performed in her honour. It was, on the whole, a very
happy visit, and later on, when Mozart and his wife had once more
settled down in Vienna, they had the pleasure of welcoming the father
on a return visit. Leopold found his son immersed in work, and it
gladdened his heart to witness the appreciation in which his playing
and compositions were held. One never-to-be-forgotten evening they
spent together in the company of Haydn, when, after hearing several of
Mozart's quartets performed, Leopold was made the happy recipient of a
testimony to his son's greatness, which he treasured above all else
that had been spoken or written in his favour, and which came as a
fitting reward for the unremitting care and solicitude which he had
bestowed upon Mozart's welfare and training. Haydn took the old man
aside at the close of the evening, and said: 'I declare to you before
God as a man of honour that your son is the greatest composer that I
know, either personally or by reputation. He has taste, and, beyond
that, the most consummate knowledge of the art of composition.'

This pleasant time was rendered the happier by the fact that Leopold
found Wolfgang and his wife in somewhat better circumstances, and
their home brightened by the presence of a little grandson, Karl, who
clambered upon his grandfather's knee, and filled the old man's mind
with tender recollections of a little son whom he had lost before
Wolfgang's birth. But it was destined to be the last meeting between
Mozart and his father, for shortly after Leopold's return he was
seized with illness, on hearing of which Wolfgang wrote to him a
letter, in which he expressed his own views on death. 'As death,
strictly speaking, is the true end and aim of our lives, I have
accustomed myself during the last two years to so close a
contemplation of this, our best and truest friend, that he possesses
no more terrors for me--nothing but peace and consolation. And I thank
God for enabling me to discern in death the _key_ to our true
blessedness. I never lie down in bed without remembering that,
perhaps, young as I am, I may never see another day, and yet no one
who knows me can say that I am melancholy or fanciful. For this
blessing I thank God daily, and desire nothing more than to share it
with my fellow-men.'

The news of his father's death, which occurred on May 28, 1787,
reached Mozart shortly after he had accomplished one of the greatest
successes of his life. The name of his latest opera, 'Le Nozze di
Figaro,' was on every one's lips; its performances in Vienna and
Prague had been hailed with enthusiastic delight by crowded audiences;
its songs were to be heard in every street, and wandering minstrels in
the country, as they halted at the village alehouses, were compelled
to satisfy their groups of listeners with selections from its
entrancing airs. Michael Kelly, the singer and friend of Mozart, who
took part in the opera, has thus described its reception by the
orchestra and performers: 'Never was anything more complete than the
triumph of Mozart, and his "Nozze di Figaro," to which numerous
overflowing audiences bore witness. Even at the first full-band
rehearsal all present were roused to enthusiasm, and when Benucci came
to the fine passage, "Cherubino, alla vittoria, alla gloria militar,"
which he gave with stentorian lungs, the effect was electric, for the
whole of the performers on the stage, and those in the orchestra, as
if actuated by one feeling of delight, vociferated, "Bravo! bravo!
Maestro! Viva, viva, grande Mozart!" Those in the orchestra I thought
would never have ceased applauding by beating the bows of their
violins against the music-desks.' As for Mozart himself: 'I never
shall forget his little animated countenance when lighted up with the
glowing rays of genius; it is as impossible to describe it as it would
be to paint sunbeams.'

Despite the success of 'Figaro' Mozart still remained a poor
man--still was he compelled to earn a living by the hated drudgery of
teaching. 'You happy man,' he said to a young musician who was leaving
for a tour in Italy; 'as for me, I am off now to give a lesson to earn
my bread.' The desire to visit England was once more uppermost in his
mind, and when the Emperor, with a view to retaining him in Germany,
appointed him Kammer-compositor at a salary of eight hundred gulden
(about eighty pounds sterling), it must have occurred to many besides
Mozart himself that such a 'beggarly dole' but poorly represented the
value which his Majesty professed to set upon the composer's services
to art. This feeling was accentuated in Mozart when he discovered how
trivial were the requirements of his royal master in connection with
the position. 'Too much for what I produce, too little for what I
could produce,' were the bitter words which he penned on the official
return stating the amount of his salary.

The 'beggarly dole,' indeed, brought small relief to the domestic
anxieties which now more than ever oppressed Mozart and his wife. The
latter's ill-health necessitated frequent change of air, and in this
way tended to increase their embarrassments. Applications to friends
for assistance became more and more numerous. 'I am still most
unfortunate,' he writes in one of these appeals. 'Always hovering
between hope and anxiety.' Repeated attempts were made at reform.
Mozart even commenced to keep strict accounts of their expenditure,
but they came to nothing, for the want of management was always
apparent in every detail of his domestic life. Yet, despite all, the
merry side of Mozart's nature refused to succumb to the stress of
adversity; amidst his difficulties he retained the sunshine of his
boyish days, being as merry-hearted, and full of jokes, and as open as
a child. One winter day an old friend found him and his wife dancing
madly about the room; knowing Mozart's fondness for this pastime--his
favourite of all forms of amusement--the friend expressed his pleasure
at finding them so light-hearted, when Mozart, pointing to the empty
stove, explained that they were dancing in order to keep themselves
warm, as they had no money to purchase fuel. Horror-struck, the caller
darted from the house, and returned in a few minutes with his arms
laden with logs.

To some extent a natural leaning to extravagance may be held
accountable for Mozart's embarrassments, for he was extremely fond of
dress, and had a great weakness for lace and watch-chains. But if he
indulged his tastes overmuch in this particular, he was no less lavish
in regard to giving where he thought help was needed. He could never
turn a deaf ear to the appeal of a beggar, and his kindness was
frequently imposed upon; even when monetary help was not forthcoming
to meet the request of a brother-musician, he would contrive to find
time amidst the pressure of his own work to compose a concerto for the
latter's benefit. To the animal world, also, his affectionate nature
went forth in no small degree, and he became deeply attached to a
starling, which had learnt to pipe the subject of the Rondo of his
'Pianoforte Concerto in G Major.'

And if his distresses failed to diminish his joy in the very fact of
living, even less did they affect his powers of work. His father had
declared that 'procrastination was his besetting sin,' and Mozart was
certainly given to putting off the evil day as far as possible; but no
one knew better than Leopold Mozart himself how tireless was Mozart's
industry, or how boundless his powers of coping with a gigantic task
which he had set his mind to accomplish. When, in September, 1787, he
was at Prague, writing the score of 'Don Giovanni,' his favourite
resort was the vineyard belonging to his friend Duschek, situated
close to the city; here he would be seated at his work[13] whilst
conversation or skittle-playing went on around him, often quitting his
task to join in one or the other. The time was short, for the opera
was to be produced on October 29, and when the evening of the 28th
arrived it found the overture still unwritten. Nothing daunted,
however, Mozart bade his wife brew him some punch, and bring her book
of fairy-stories, and then, for hour after hour, he wrote on, whilst
Constanze read aloud to keep him awake. When sleep could no longer be
resisted he lay down for an hour or two, but when the copyist came for
the score at seven o'clock in the morning it was ready for him. His
musical memory was so marvellous that the merest scraps of notes,
jotted down whilst driving, conversing, or soothing his wife in her
pain, were sufficient to recall to mind without the slightest effort
the exact ideas which he desired to reproduce. An entire work would
thus be completed in his brain before he began to write a single note
on paper, and it was no unusual thing for him to be thinking out a
second part whilst writing down the first. 'He never composed at the
clavier,' says his wife, in speaking of his manner of work, 'but wrote
music like letters, and never tried a movement until it was finished.'

The limits of our story forbid even a mention of the compositions
which made up the life-work of Mozart; the few to which we have found
space to refer are those connected with the chief episodes of his
career. Much less can we convey an idea of his powers of
improvisation. Hours snatched from sleep would be spent at the piano,
and into the silence of the night drifted many a divine melody which
no ear but his own was destined to hear. One who lived to be eighty,
speaking of those wonderful improvisations, says: 'I still, in my old
age, seem to hear the echo of those heavenly harmonies, and I go to my
grave with the full conviction that there can never be another

It was at such times that the inspiration of true genius shone forth
in his expression. Ordinarily there was nothing distinguished about
his appearance; the head, with its profusion of fine hair, was
somewhat too large for the body, which was short and slim; the face
was pale, and the nose a rather too prominent feature; the eyes were
large, well-shaped, and shaded by long lashes and bushy eyebrows, but
the expression was absent and restless. When seated at the piano,
however, the whole countenance changed; the eye became calm and fixed,
and every movement of his muscles spoke the emotion which his playing

Even the success of 'Don Giovanni'--at the performance of which the
Prague audience greeted Mozart's appearance in the orchestra with
thunders of applause and a triple flourish of trumpets--failed to
remedy the desperate condition into which his affairs had fallen; and
when his pupil and patron, Prince Karl Lichnowsky, proposed that he
should accompany him to Berlin, Mozart gladly accepted the invitation.
The visit, however, was productive of much honour, but very little
money, and at its conclusion he wrote to his wife: 'On my return you
must be glad to have _me_, and not think about money.' The King of
Prussia received Mozart with every mark of kindness and respect, and
being himself very musical, and desirous of having the best musicians
about him, he sought Mozart's advice regarding the proficiency of his
band. 'It contains some great players,' replied Mozart; 'but if the
gentlemen would _play together_ they would make a better effect.' The
King was evidently much impressed by this remark, for before Mozart
left he offered him the post of Capellmeister, with a salary of three
thousand thalers (equal to about six hundred pounds sterling). Mozart
was deeply affected by the munificent offer, and for the moment he
hardly knew how to reply; then, reflecting how much he owed to the
Emperor Joseph for the latter's friendship and interest, he said: 'How
could I abandon my good Emperor?'

Though his loyalty had thus withstood the temptation of an offer
which, if accepted, would have ensured his liberation from the 'net of
embarrassments' in which he was so hopelessly entangled, the feeling
of resistance weakened later on, when his return to Vienna revealed no
improvement in the situation of affairs. Yielding therefore to the
advice of others, he told the Emperor of the King of Prussia's offer,
and at the same time tendered his resignation. Dismayed by this
unlooked-for resolution, the Emperor exclaimed: 'What, Mozart, do you
mean to forsake me?' The tone in which this remonstrance was uttered,
and the expression which accompanied it had their effect upon the
tender-hearted, grateful Mozart, and with emotion he answered: 'Your
Majesty, I throw myself upon your kindness--I remain.'

Thus perished the only chance which was destined to fall within
Mozart's grasp of freeing himself from his troubles, for soon
afterwards the Emperor fell ill and died, and no renewal of the Berlin
offer was forthcoming.

The coronation of the Emperor Joseph's successor, the Emperor Leopold,
took place at Frankfort, on October 9, 1790, and Mozart journeyed
thither for the occasion, having first pawned all his valuables in
order to raise the necessary funds. Whatever hopes Mozart may have
built upon the results of this tour were doomed to disappointment, for
though he visited and played at several towns on his return journey,
and was the recipient of numerous honours, his efforts produced no
permanent fruit, and the horizon remained as dark as ever. His arrival
in Vienna was timed with the departure of Haydn, whom Salomon, the
impressario, had come to carry off to London, and it was with a heart
heavy with gloomy forebodings that Mozart said good-bye to his truest

The month of July, 1791, found Mozart hard at work writing a magic
opera to help a friend who had taken a little theatre in the suburb of
Wieden. Whilst thus engaged he was visited by a stranger, 'a tall,
thin grave-looking man, dressed from head to foot in grey,' who
refused to divulge his name, but stated that his business was to
commission Mozart to compose a Requiem for a personage whose identity
must likewise remain concealed.[14] After a brief colloquy the terms
were arranged, and the mysterious stranger rose to take his leave. As
he did so he looked fixedly at Mozart, and said warningly: 'Make no
effort to discover the identity either of myself or your patron; it
will be in vain.'

Though somewhat disconcerted by the stranger's mysterious injunction,
Mozart felt all his love for Church music reawakened by the new
commission, and he set to work upon the Requiem without delay. His
labours on this composition, as well as on the magic opera, however,
were interrupted by a pressing request from the Estates of Bohemia
that he would compose an opera for the coronation of Leopold II. at
Prague. As the ceremony was fixed for September 6 no time was to be
lost, and, banishing every other thought from his mind, Mozart
prepared to set out at once for Prague. The travelling carriage was at
the door, and he was about to step into it when the mysterious
stranger suddenly appeared, and inquired after the Requiem. Startled
by the suddenness of the man's appearance, and at a loss to explain
his remissness, Mozart could only promise to fulfil the commission on
his return, and, hastily entering his carriage, he drove away.

The strain involved by his arduous labours at Prague was increased by
the indifference with which his opera, 'La Clemenza di Tito,' was
received, and Mozart returned to Vienna with spirits depressed, and
mind and body exhausted by overwork. Nevertheless, he braced himself
anew, and on September 30 the new opera, 'Die Zauberflöte' (the Magic
Flute) was produced. Though somewhat coldly received at first, the
work increased in popularity at each subsequent representation, until
its success was everything that could be desired. A friend who had a
place in the orchestra on the first performance relates that he was so
enchanted with the overture that he crept up to the chair in which
Mozart sat conducting, and, seizing the composer's hand, pressed it to
his lips. Mozart glanced kindly at him, and, extending his right hand,
gently stroked his cheek.

The Requiem was still far from finished, and to this work Mozart now
turned his attention. But it was too late; the strain and excitement
which he had undergone during the past few months had done their work,
a succession of fainting fits followed, and it was evident that the
marvellous powers which he had controlled in the past were no longer
under his command. With fast-fleeting strength came the oppressive
thought, haunting him from day to day, that he would not live to
complete the work. 'It is for myself that I am writing this Requiem,'
he said one day to Constanze, whilst his eyes filled with tears.
Vainly she endeavoured to comfort him; he declared that he felt his
end approaching, and, indeed, death--the 'best and truest
friend'--was very near him now, far nearer than they who gathered
about his bed, and sought to cheer him with the news that his freedom
from anxiety was at last to be assured by the combined action of the
nobility in securing to him an annuity--far nearer than they, or other
well-wishers, whose tardy recognition of his claims had come too late,
imagined. He who had 'always hovered between hope and anxiety' was now
hovering between life and death, soon to be released from all earthly

On the evening of December 4 they brought the score of the Requiem to
him at his request, and, propped up by pillows, he began to sing one
of the passages, in company with three of his friends. They had not
proceeded far, however, before Mozart laid the manuscript aside, and,
bursting into tears, declared that it would never be finished. A few
hours later, at one o'clock in the morning of December 5, 1791, he
passed away in sleep.

The body was removed from the house on the following day,[15] and
taken to St. Stephen's Church, where it received benediction. The
hearse, with the few mourners, then proceeded to St. Mark's
Churchyard, but before the burial-place was reached a terrific storm
of snow and rain burst overhead, and with one accord the followers
turned back, and left the hearse to proceed alone. And thus the master
of whom it was prophesied that he would cause all others to be
forgotten--he whose triumphs had caused him to be acclaimed by
thousands as 'grande Mozart'--was left to be buried by the hands of
strangers in a pauper's grave, without even a stone to mark the spot
where he was laid.

And to this day no one knows exactly which is the resting-place of
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.


[11] This manuscript book is preserved in the Mozart Museum at
Salzburg, and beneath several of the pieces may be seen the notes made
by the father at the time. For example, 'Wolfgang learnt this Minuet
and Trio in half an hour, when he was five.' or 'Wolfgang learnt this
Minuet when he was four.'

[12] 'Have mercy'--a psalm of supplication.

[13] The room and the stone table at which he worked are still shown to
visitors at the Villa Bertramka, Koschirz.

[14] It was ascertained after Mozart's death that this personage was a
certain Count Walsegg, who desired a Requiem to be performed in memory
of his wife. The messenger was his steward. The reason for secrecy was
that the Count intended to pass off the Requiem as his own composition,
and in this he actually succeeded.

[15] Mozart died of malignant typhus fever.


    Bastien und Bastienne. 1768.
    La finta Semplice. 1768.
    Mitridate, Ré di Ponto. 1770.
    Ascanio in Alba. 1771.
    La finta Giardiniera. 1774.
    Il Ré Pastore. 1775.
    Zaida. 1780.
    King Thamos. 1780.
      [The three motets, 'Splendente Te Deus,' 'Ne pulvis et cinis,'
       and 'Deus Tibi laus et honor,' are adaptations from this work.]
    Idomeneo, Ré di Creta. 1781.
    Die Entführung aus dem Serail. 1782.
    Der Schauspieldirector. 1786.
    Le Nozze di Figaro. 1786.
    Il Don Giovanni. 1787.
    Cosi fan tutte. 1790.
    Die Zauberflöte. 1791.
    La Clemenza di Tito. 1791.
15 Masses (1768-1783) and 1 Requiem (1791).
      [The masses published by Novello as No. 7 (B-flat), No. 8 (C),
       No. 9 (G), No. 12 (G), Nos. 13 and 16 (E-flat--one Mass), and
       No. 17 (C), are not considered authentic. The same may be said
       of the Requiem in D minor (No. 18). The celebrated Requiem
       (also in D minor, Novello, No. 15) was completed by Süssmayer
       after Mozart's death. The well-known Novello No. 1 (in C) and
       No. 2 (also in C) were composed in 1779 and 1776.]
4 Litanies.
2 Vespers. 1779 and 1780.
      [The 'Laudate Dominum' (in A) of the earlier setting is well
Te Deum in C. 1772.
Motet, Ave verum. 1791.
Cantata, Davidde Penitente. 1785.
41 Arias for different voices.
6 Vocal Trios and 1 Quartet.
41 Symphonies.
      [The earliest symphony was in E-flat (1764). Mention may also be
       made of three in the key of D--the Parisian (1778), the Haffner
       (1782), and the Prague (1786)--and of his three last and
       greatest--in E-flat, G minor, and C, the Jupiter--all composed
       in 1788.]
31 Divertimenti, Serenades, etc.
Masonic Dirge in C minor. 1785.
8 Quintets for strings.
1 Quintet for clarinet and strings. 1789.
26 Quartets for strings. 1770-1790.
      [The six quartets dedicated to Haydn were composed in 1782-85.]
6 Concertos for violin.
4 Concertos for horn.
1 Concerto for clarinet. 1791.
25 Concertos for pianoforte.
    [We may mention the Concerto in D (1773), in D minor (1784), that
     in G (1784), two in C (1784 and 1786), and one in C minor (1786).]
Concerto for two pianofortes in E-flat. 1780.
Concerto for three pianofortes in F. 1776.
2 Quartets for pianoforte and strings.
7 Trios for pianoforte and strings.
42 Sonatas for pianoforte and violin.
      [The sonata in B-flat, dedicated to Mlle. Strinasacchi, was
       composed in 1784.]
17 Sonatas for pianoforte solo.
5 Sonatas for pianoforte, four hands.
Rondo in A minor for pianoforte. 1787.
17 Sonatas for organ, with accompaniment.



It was a beautiful spring morning; the sun shone in a cloudless sky,
and the birds were singing blithely on the branches of the trees just
outside the window, as if inviting the child who stood within to come
out into the sunshine and be as free and happy as themselves. But he
could not respond to their call, for he was not yet half-way through
his long task. A pitiful little figure he made, mounted on a footstool
in front of the pianoforte, with his head resting wearily on his hand,
and his absent, dreamy gaze fixed upon the window. Scarcely five years
old, and yet condemned to practise endless finger-exercises until his
eyes grew dim with straining over the notes; kept a prisoner indoors,
apart from his playmates, when the sun was shining and the birds were
singing--and all because he happened to possess a great gift for
music, and because his father, realising this fact, had determined to
use the child's talents for the support of the family.

Suddenly the door of the sitting-room opened, and a stern face was
thrust inside.

'Ludwig!'--the tone was harsh and severe, and at the well-known sound
the boy awoke from his reverie--'Ludwig! what are you doing? Go on
with your exercise at once, and remember there will be no soup for you
until it is finished.'

Then the door closed again, and Ludwig turned with a sigh to his
monotonous task. Why should his life be made so much harder than that
of other children? he might have asked himself bitterly. It was not
that he disliked music--no, he loved it--but he yearned for the
brightness and sympathy which seemed to be given freely to others, and
yet were denied to him. And as he strove to master his long exercise
his eyes wandered from the music to a portrait which hung over the
piano. It represented an elderly gentleman with a kindly face, bushy
dark hair, and large dark eyes. It was a humorous face, not handsome,
yet frank and pleasant, and decidedly clever. How clearly Ludwig could
recall the bright blue coat, with its large gilt buttons, which the
artist had faithfully portrayed! As the boy's glance rested upon the
portrait the recollection of the merry times he had spent with his
grandfather was presented to his mind. Once more he heard the old
man's genial laugh, and felt the gentle pressure of his hand upon his
curls. And then his playing! How little Ludwig had listened enrapt
whilst Grandfather Ludwig charmed forth those mysterious melodies
which seemed to be locked up at other times in the silent, prim little
clavier! Those were delicious day-dreams that Grandfather Ludwig had
the power to conjure up in his grandson's mind. But two years had
passed since the kindly old musician had gone to his rest, and during
those years the surroundings of Ludwig's childhood had changed for the

The parents of Ludwig van Beethoven, as the boy was named, were
extremely poor. Johann Beethoven, the father, was a member of the
Court band of the Elector of Cologne, at Bonn, in which town Ludwig
was born on December 16, 1770. The German Princes of those days
maintained companies of musicians for the performance of Divine
service in their chapels, as well as for their private entertainment,
and such companies frequently comprised musicians of considerable
ability. Johann's position as tenor singer was but a humble one,
bringing in not more than £25 a year. The grandfather, who also
belonged to the band, first as bass singer, and later as music
director, had, on the other hand, achieved a considerable reputation,
both as performer and composer, and during his latter years his
earnings had gone far to support Johann's family, with whom he lived.
With the old man's death, however, this help ceased, and the family
means became greatly reduced.

It was, no doubt, in consequence of the privation felt at this time
that the father was induced to keep Ludwig so hard at work. Mozart as
a boy had exhibited marvellous powers, and his performances in public
at an early age were attended by success. Johann, therefore, seemed to
think that his little son would have a chance of earning money by his
forced capacities for music. That a child of such tender years should
have been regarded in the light of a bread-winner for the family
appears unreasonable and hard; and it is not to be wondered at that
Ludwig failed to understand the necessity which led to such pressure
being put upon him. In his mother, Marie Magdalena, however, he could
always find a ready sympathy and a tenderness which must have served
to counteract, to some degree, the unhappiness occasioned by the
father's severity. But not even a mother's love could make up for the
loss the child had sustained by his grandfather's death, for the
excellent qualities of head and heart which the old man had exhibited
were just those which the boy missed in his father. To Ludwig music
meant everything--or, rather, it would have meant everything, even at
that early time, had its development only been continued under the
same kindly influence.

Despite his severity and unreasonableness, however, Johann must be
credited with the determination that his boy's knowledge of music
should be as thorough as it was possible to make it with the means at
his command, and to this end he spared no pains. Moreover, in order
that Ludwig should not grow up in complete ignorance of subjects which
lay outside his art, he was sent to the public school of Bonn to pick
up what learning he could, though this chiefly comprised reading and
writing. With his schoolfellows Ludwig had little in common. They
thought him shy, because he kept to himself, and showed no desire to
join in their games. The truth was his mind was almost wholly absorbed
by music, and the consciousness that this great love had taken
possession of his soul, and was growing stronger day by day may have
made him inapt for games or boyish society, and thus may have led to
his taking refuge in his own thoughts. In the companionship of music
he could never have felt lonely, and in his walks between school hours
he found plenty to interest him. He never tired of sounding Nature for
her harmonies, and as he pursued his way through the fields and lanes
he listened to the peasants singing at their work, and then, catching
up the simple tunes, he fitted his own notes to them, so as to produce
beautiful and subtle effects of harmony. Many of those old folk-tunes
were closely connected with the history of the country to which they
belonged; they were often the musical expression of the feelings,
struggles, and passions of the people, and to Beethoven's sensitive
ear they conveyed a deeper meaning than they did to the simple
peasants who hummed or carolled them to the whirr of the
spinning-wheel, the blows of the forge-hammer, or the speeding of the

Thus, with the drudgery of unremitting toil and constant reproof, the
years passed away until Ludwig was nearly nine. Hard as the lessons of
those years had been, there could be no doubt as to the progress which
he had made. Not even the severity and harshness of his father could
lessen or abate his yearning for musical knowledge; and so it came
about that one day Johann, regarding him with an expression more akin
to pride and satisfaction than that which Ludwig was accustomed to
read in his father's face, said, 'I can teach you no more; we must see
about finding you another master.'

But how this was to be accomplished it is as difficult for us as it
must have been to Johann himself to imagine; for, so far from the
family circumstances having improved, the poverty was even more acute
than before, and such further efforts as the father may have been
induced to make to increase their comforts were negatived by his
growing addiction to drink--a fact which must of itself have caused a
further reduction in their resources. Fortunately, at this critical
period help was forthcoming in the shape of a musician boarder, who
agreed to give instruction to Ludwig in part return for his

The coming of Tobias Pfeiffer, as the new boarder was named, must have
been regarded by Ludwig with some curiosity. Would he turn out an even
harder task-master than his own father had been? This question was
soon settled by the glimpse which Tobias early gave to his pupil of
his peculiar method of imparting instruction. Johann's evenings were
now chiefly spent at some tavern resort, whither it became the custom
for Tobias to repair at a very late hour, in order that he might give
his drunken landlord a safe convoy home. By this friendly help the
erring Johann escaped falling into the hands of the police--an
eventuality which would have resulted in his losing his employment.
Having fulfilled his friendly mission, Pfeiffer would betake himself
to Ludwig's bedside, and, with a shake which soon became familiar,
would arouse the boy with, 'Now then, Ludwig, time for practice!' At
this gentle admonition the sleepy child would rise obediently, rubbing
his eyes, and master and pupil descended to the sitting-room, where
they would play together till the early hours of the morning--Pfeiffer
giving out a theme, and Beethoven extemporising upon it, and then
Ludwig in his turn giving the lead to Pfeiffer. Extemporisation would
be followed by duets, until the approach of day gave warning that it
was time to retire to bed. Such music as these two players made in
the still hours of the night was, no doubt, but rarely heard in the
district in which they lived, and on the other side of the open
window, in the early dawn of the summer morning, a small knot of
listeners frequently gathered, attracted by the unusual performance
proceeding within.

    [Illustration: '"_Now then, Ludwig, time for practice!_"']

For about a year this curious mode of instruction continued, and
during this time Ludwig's education received a stimulus in the shape
of lessons in Latin, French, Italian, and Logic, given by a man named
Zambona. This Zambona was an eccentric personage, whose peculiarities
would appear to have been well adapted to the condition of things
prevailing in the Beethoven home. He apparently considered himself
qualified to fill a variety of posts, as he had acted as innkeeper,
chamber-porter at the Court, and book-keeper, in addition to being a
teacher of languages; but his worth was proved by the fact that
Beethoven made good progress under his tuition. Hitherto Ludwig's
playing had been confined to the pianoforte and violin, but at this
point a friendly hand was held out to him by an old friend of his
grandfather, named Van den Eeden, who for many years had held the post
of organist at the Court. 'Come to me, and I will teach you the
organ,' the kindly old musician said to Ludwig, and the boy's heart
leapt with pleasure at the generous offer. No doubt Van den Eeden saw
in the young player the signs of genius such as his old friend had
exhibited in no small degree in past years, and felt drawn towards him
in consequence. A new field was thus opened to Beethoven, and when, at
the end of a year, Van den Eeden resigned on account of ill-health,
and the post was given to Christian Neefe, Ludwig was happy in the
discovery of a new friend, who not only expressed his willingness to
carry on the instruction, but was quick to recognise the boy's
extraordinary talent. At this point of our story we get our first
glimpse of the fruits of Beethoven's work at composition. The death of
a friend who had assisted the family with money gifts inspired him to
write a cantata in his honour; but though it was performed at the
funeral, no trace exists for us of this little outcome of gratitude on
Beethoven's part.

Ludwig was now ten years old, and in the winter of 1781 he made his
first essay at bread-winning for the family. The state of things at
home was wretched in the extreme, and the hopelessness of looking to
the father to retrieve the condition into which they had fallen
decided Ludwig's mother upon undertaking a tour through Holland with
the boy, in the hope that his playing at the houses of the rich might
bring in money. We may well believe that sheer necessity alone
impelled the gentle, ailing woman to such a step. Her faith in her
son's powers was evidently of a higher order than that of Johann, and
she must have seen that this exhibition of his talents at so early an
age not only implied an interruption to his studies, but also, to some
extent, a debasing of the art which she felt that he loved for its own
sake. The tour produced money--that chiefest need of the moment--and,
so far, it was a success; but Ludwig himself did not carry away any
pleasing recollections of his visit. 'The Dutch are very stingy, and I
shall take care not to trouble them again,' he afterwards remarked to
a friend; and there was no repetition of the experiment.

In the following year a notice appeared in _Cramer's Magazine_,
calling the attention of music-lovers to a young player who, though
not more than eleven years old, could play with force and finish, read
well at sight, and--most remarkable of all--play the greater part of
Bach's 'Wohltemperirte Klavier' (Well-tempered Clavier), 'a feat,'
declared the writer, 'which will be understood by the initiated.'
'This young genius,' the article went on to say, 'deserves some
assistance that he may travel. If he goes on as he has begun, he will
certainly become a second Mozart.'

The writer of this notice was Christian Neefe, and the subject of his
praise was none other than his pupil, Ludwig Beethoven. That the boy
should have mastered a work of such extraordinary difficulty as Bach's
collection of preludes and fugues may well have excited the
astonishment of his friend and teacher, whose praise was thus
deservedly given. But Neefe's confidence in his pupil's abilities was
shown in a more substantial manner during this same year. Van den
Eeden's death took place in June, and when the Court band had played
the old organist to his last resting-place Neefe received orders to
proceed with the rest of the performers to Münster, whither the
Elector had already gone. Two days before the band left Bonn Neefe
called Beethoven to his side, and told him that he was going away for
a time. 'I must have a deputy to take my place at the organ here,'
continued the organist, looking keenly into his pupil's face as he
spoke. 'Now, tell me, who do you think I ought to appoint to the

Ludwig's face was crossed by a shade of trouble. If his kind tutor was
going away, how did he know whether he would find his deputy equally
willing to teach him? But Christian Neefe was waiting for his answer,
and his eyes were shining with a kindly, half-amused light. 'I do not
know,' Ludwig began hesitatingly. But Neefe's eyes had grown serious,
and he now spoke with earnestness.

'I have thought of a deputy, Ludwig, and I think I can trust
him--yes, I am sure I may trust him. The deputy shall be yourself!'

Beethoven's surprise and delight may be imagined. But Neefe knew what
he was about, and in this preferment we may mark the first step in the
recognition of Beethoven's genius. The honour was great. To be
entrusted with the conduct of Divine service at the chapel, and to
receive the deference due to the position of organist--it must have
seemed incredible to Ludwig at first; and he was only eleven and a
half! To his mother he must first have carried the good news, and if
the father's expression had in it less of joy and thankfulness than
hers it must be attributed to the fact that no pay was attached to the
exalted position which Ludwig had obtained.

Beethoven had now practically the choice of three instruments to
select from; but his heart did not waver for long, ere it became fixed
upon the pianoforte as the fittest interpreter of his genius, and he
was true to his first love to the end. His 'Three Sonatas for the
Pianoforte,' written about this time, gives us the first record of his
published works. Evidently those terrible finger exercises were
beginning to bear fruit, for the young musician had acquired
considerable command over the instrument of his choice--indeed, his
musical life was now beginning to open itself before him, and the
longing to do great things had taken possession of his soul. There
were no more tears at being forced to work, for the greatest
incentives to work--love and ambition--were now swaying him and
impelling him onwards at a speed which nothing could check. Neefe's
confidence and praise were more than justified, and before he had
completed his thirteenth year Beethoven received his first official
appointment at the hands of the Elector. He could now sign himself
'Ludwig van Beethoven, Cembalist im Orchester,' and his duties
comprised not only the playing of the pianoforte in the orchestra, but
the conducting of the band at rehearsals. With this accession,
however, there was still the fact staring him in the face of no money
coming in. Just at this time, too, the Elector Max Friedrich died; and
it was not until a year later, when Beethoven was appointed second
organist to the Court, under the new Elector Max Franz, that he began
to receive a small salary in return for his services. Thirteen pounds
a year sounds very little for so much work and responsibility, but
Ludwig was overjoyed to think that he could back up his announcement
to his parents with so substantial a fact as the receipt of an income.
For the poverty at home was keener than ever; Johann's earnings did
not exceed £25 a year, and as his voice was steadily declining, the
outlook for the family had become exceedingly black.

The time would not appear to have been propitious for joking;
nevertheless, Beethoven sat in the organ-loft one day planning a joke.
He had just had a conversation with one of the chief singers of the
band--a tenor named Heller--and the latter had been boasting that his
knowledge of singing was so great that he could easily surmount any
difficulty as it presented itself. Beethoven inherited from his
grandfather a love of joking, and the temptation to lower the singer's
vanity was too great to be resisted. Accordingly, on the following
Sunday, whilst Heller was singing a solo to Ludwig's accompaniment,
the latter adroitly introduced a modulation of his own. Heller
unsuspectingly followed his lead, and fell into the trap devised for
him, with the result that, after attempting to keep up with the
organist, he lost himself entirely and, to the astonishment of the
congregation, came to a dead stop; and it was only when Beethoven
returned to the original key that the disconcerted singer could
proceed. Heller was naturally furious at the trick played upon him,
and lodged a complaint with the Elector. The latter, however, was too
good a musician himself to be angry at this exhibition of skill on the
part of his youngest performer, and he contented himself with
admonishing Beethoven not to attempt any more clever tricks.

There was a dream which had taken possession of young Beethoven's mind
at this time. It was constantly recurring during the hours of work,
and when he lay down to sleep in his poorly-furnished attic it was
with the hope that the dawning of a new day might bring him nearer to
its realisation. Yet for some time the dream remained only a shadowy
companion to his working thoughts, ever present, it is true, and
sometimes glowing in brighter colours that seemed to give to it the
semblance of reality--but still, only a dream. But the vision seen
afar off was to be realised at length--Beethoven was to visit Vienna!
It was the city of his dreams, the centre of his longings, this
Vienna, just as it was the centre of the musical world of Germany at
that time. A kind friend had come forward with the offer to pay his
expenses for the journey, and Ludwig knew that his dream had come

As we have seen, the dire straits into which the family had fallen had
not hindered Beethoven's pursuit of musical knowledge. His genius had
steadily asserted itself under the most adverse conditions; and now we
are to picture the young musician, at the age of seventeen, full of
fire and energy, setting out on a journey which must have been fraught
with the brightest anticipations. He was to meet in Vienna the
greatest composer of the day. Mozart--the divine Mozart--was staying
in the city, planning the production of his opera, 'Don Giovanni,'
and it had been arranged that he should receive Beethoven and put his
powers to the test.

On reaching Vienna, Ludwig made his way to Mozart's house, and with a
heart beating high with expectancy, and a face aglow with excitement,
he was ushered into the presence of the maestro. Mozart received him
kindly, but it was evident that his thoughts were preoccupied, for,
after desiring Beethoven to play, he began to turn over his papers in
a listless fashion. 'Ah!' thought Beethoven; 'he imagines that I have
merely come to play him something which I have practised for the
occasion.' Dismayed by this reflection, he took his hands from the
keyboard and, turning to Mozart, said, 'Will you give me a theme on
which to extemporise?' Aroused by his appeal, and the earnest look
which accompanied it, Mozart sat down and played a simple theme; and
then Beethoven, taking up the slender thread, improvised so
finely--allowing his feelings to flow into the music as he went
on--that a bystander could not fail to have been struck by the change
which came over Mozart's face as he listened. The abstracted look gave
place to one of pure astonishment. Then he arose from his seat, and,
stepping softly into an adjoining room, where a number of his friends
were waiting to see him, he exclaimed, 'Pay attention to this young
man, for he will make a noise in the world some day.' Beethoven,
meanwhile, played on and on, lost in the intricate melodies which he
was weaving out of the single thread, until the touch of Mozart's hand
upon his shoulder recalled him to earth to hear the master's praises
sounding in his ear.

Vanished in a moment were the memories of the trials and hardships
which he had undergone in order to perfect himself for this day of
trial, for Beethoven realised that he possessed the power of
impressing so great a judge as Mozart; and praise and encouragement
were needed at that time, when he was trying to do his best, rather
than later on, when his powers were assured. Nor was this the only
recognition which his talents received on his visit. The fame of the
young player had reached the ears of royalty itself, and he was
granted an audience of the Emperor Joseph, whose love of music had
made him desirous of hearing for himself what the Bonn performer could

    [Illustration: "_Pay attention to this young man, for he will
    make a noise in the world some day._"]

Beethoven's happiness, however, was soon to be clouded by sorrow, for
shortly after his return to Bonn his mother died--the mother to whom
he owed so much gentleness and sympathy in his childhood; she who was
always ready to forgive his outbursts of temper and impatience, and
to cheer and encourage him to further effort. How deeply he felt her
loss may be gathered from the letter which he wrote to a friend at the
time. 'She was, indeed, a kind, loving mother to me, and my best
friend. Ah! who was happier than I, when I could still utter the sweet
name of mother, and it was heard? But to whom can I now say it? Only
to the silent form resembling her, evoked by the power of
imagination.' That her death inspired some of his most beautiful
compositions we may suppose, for it is natural that his grief should
have found its best expression in music. A few months later his little
sister Margaretha died, and the sense of loneliness deepened.

And then something bright came into his life. He made the acquaintance
of a family named Breuning, comprising a widow lady and her four
children--three boys and a girl--all of about his own age. The
youngest boy and the daughter became his pupils, and a close
friendship sprang up between them. He stayed at the house for several
days at a time, joined in their excursions, and in every way was
treated as one of the family. As the Breunings were intellectual
people, their friendship was a great help to Beethoven; his whole
nature expanded in the sunshine of their society, and very soon he
found himself taking a deep interest in the literature of his
country--a subject of which he had previously been ignorant. An
affection for English authors likewise grew from this intimacy with a
family of wide tastes and acquirements--indeed, new interests and
fresh paths of pleasant intercourse were opening to him every day,
whilst the separation from the miserable surroundings of his own home
invigorated him for work. Every hour that could be spared from his
official duties or his teaching was devoted to study and composition.
Most of his composing was done in the open air; and for this purpose
he provided himself with rough sketch-books, one of which he always
carried with him, so that he might jot down in it such musical ideas
as occurred to him during his rambles through the lanes and fields.

    [Illustration: '_Seated before an old, worn-out piano._']

It was during this happy intercourse with the Breuning family that
Beethoven made the acquaintance of a generous young nobleman, with
whom he not only became on the most friendly terms, but who both
helped him and encouraged his talents. Count von Waldstein, as the
nobleman was named, called one day on Beethoven in his poor room, and
found the composer, whose works he so much admired, seated before an
old, worn-out piano, on which he was elaborating one of his
compositions. The Count said nothing at the time, but shortly
afterwards Beethoven was astonished and delighted at receiving a fine
new instrument, accompanied by a message from his friend praying his
acceptance of the gift. It went to the Count's heart to observe the
poverty-stricken conditions under which the composer worked. That he
himself should be surrounded by every luxury, whilst the gifted
musician who laboured for his enjoyment was driven to practise all
manner of shifts to maintain himself in food and clothing, seemed
intolerably unjust. Yet Waldstein knew and respected Beethoven too
well to offend his pride by offering presents of money where no
service was required in return; and so he hit upon the harmless device
of helping his poor friend under the pretence that the Elector was
making him an allowance. But though he opened his purse in another's
name, he took care to let Beethoven see into his own heart, in order
that he might there read the sympathy and affection for which,
happily, no cloak was needed.

How deeply Beethoven was moved by this friendship we may understand
when we listen to the grand sonata which, though it was not composed
until some years later, he dedicated to the Count. We want no better
title for this exquisitely beautiful work than that by which it is
known to the world--the 'Waldstein Sonata.' As the grand chords which
follow the opening bars strike the ear it seems as if Beethoven were
speaking to his friend--speaking to him out of the fullness of his
heart, out of his poverty and mean surroundings--and rising by the
strengthening influence of love to a height of eloquence and grandeur
which no spoken words could have attained.

The conditions at home, meanwhile, were growing worse. Carl and
Johann, Beethoven's two younger brothers, of whom no previous mention
has been made, were engaged, the one in studying music, and the other
as apprentice to the Court apothecary, but neither was bringing grist
to the mill. The father had sunk still deeper under the degrading
influence of drink, and his voice was almost ruined by his excesses,
so that it had become increasingly difficult to maintain for the
family even the appearance of respectability. On more than one
occasion Beethoven, in returning home at night, had encountered his
drunken father in the hands of the police, from whose custody he had
succeeded in rescuing him only after much persuasion, and it seemed as
if his discharge from the band must be merely a question of time. The
state of affairs, in fact, could no longer be concealed from the
Elector, who, knowing the circumstances with which Beethoven had to
contend, finally ordered that a portion of the father's salary should
be paid over to Ludwig, in order that the money might be properly
expended for the support of the family.

Meanwhile, at the Court itself great changes had been effected in
regard to the band. With a view to encouraging the growth of operatic
art, the Elector had established a national theatre, and Beethoven was
appointed viola player in the orchestra, in addition to retaining the
post of second organist to the chapel. The numerous performances of
operatic works by the company must have given Beethoven an insight
into what was to him a new branch of his art, from which he did not
fail to profit later on. His work in the band was not increased by the
changes which had been made, and as the Elector was frequently absent
from Bonn, he found ample leisure to pursue his studies in
composition, and to enjoy the intellectual society of his friends.
Four years thus slipped away, until the month of July, 1792, saw the
Bonn musicians preparing to receive a distinguished visitor. Haydn
was to pass through Bonn on his way to Vienna from London, where his
compositions and playing had created a sensation, and the band had
arranged a grand reception in his honour. Beethoven, of course, was
amongst the invited guests on the occasion, and he seized the
opportunity of submitting to the master a cantata which he had lately
composed. Haydn praised the composition highly, and warmly encouraged
Beethoven to go on with his studies--words which sent the young
composer back to his work with glowing cheeks and a determination to
accomplish greater things.

    [Illustration: '_Haydn praised the composition highly._']

The commendation of so renowned a master as Haydn must have gone far
towards convincing the Elector that by keeping Beethoven at Bonn he
was burying talent and cramping powers that only required a wider
scope in order to produce great works, and that, therefore, some step
should now be taken to develop his genius. It was with a heart
overflowing with joy and gratitude that Ludwig learnt that the kindly
Max Franz had decided to send him to Vienna, at his own expense, to
take lessons in strict counterpoint from Haydn. Surely this could mean
nothing less than that the days of adversity and struggling with
poverty had closed behind him for ever, and that a future bright with
hope had opened, upon which, though he might not forecast its results,
he could enter with courage and determination. He was now twenty-two,
and his compositions--published and in manuscript--had brought him
such fame and appreciation as the small German town could give to one
born and reared within its narrow sphere. Now, however, the bonds
which hitherto had fettered his genius were to be broken, and, freed
from the restraint of Court duties, he would be able to give full vent
to the powers which he was burning to express.

In November of this year he bade farewell to Bonn and his friends, and
set forth on his journey, though not, we may be sure, without regrets
at parting with such true helpers and sympathisers as Count Waldstein,
the Breunings, and the man to whom he owed so much--Christian Neefe.
With the last named he left these words of thanks: 'Thank you for the
counsel you have so often given me on my progress in my divine art.
Should I ever become a great man you will certainly have assisted in
it.' In an album provided for the purpose his musical brethren
inscribed their farewells, and Waldstein's message ran as follows:


     'You are travelling to Vienna in fulfilment of your
     long-cherished wish. The genius of Mozart is still weeping and
     bewailing the death of her favourite.[16] With the
     inexhaustible Haydn she found a refuge, but no occupation, and
     is now waiting to leave him and join herself to some one else.
     Labour assiduously, and receive Mozart's spirit from the hands
     of Haydn.

                    'Your old friend,

  '_October 29, 1792._

Little did either Beethoven or his friends imagine that he would never
set foot in Bonn again, but so it was to be. Two years later war had
broken out with France, Bonn was captured by the French Republican
army, and the Elector and his retinue were forced to fly the town.
Those two years had witnessed great strides in the march of
Beethoven's career. He had arrived in Vienna as a comparatively
unknown musician--though not, it is true, without recommendations from
Count Waldstein--but his marvellous command of the pianoforte, and,
more especially, his powers of extemporisation, had electrified his
hearers to such a degree as to secure for him a place in the front
rank of performers of the day. He was a constant visitor at the houses
of the aristocracy, with several members of whom he had become on
terms of intimacy. In the Prince and Princess Karl Lichnowsky he had
found true friends and sincere admirers, who not only welcomed him as
one of the family, but provided apartments for him in their house, and
bestowed upon him an annuity of £60. Many who had heard him play
forthwith engaged him as teacher, and on every hand his genius and
powers were the theme of the hour.

It is hardly to be wondered at that with all this praise and
patronage on the part of the wealthy aristocracy (and it is necessary
to bear in mind that in Vienna at that time the musical profession was
entirely dependent upon the patronage of the nobility), Beethoven
should have encountered considerable hostility from other members of
his profession. For a good deal of the enmity which his success
aroused he himself was no doubt to blame; he took no pains to please
or conciliate, and he showed even more independence towards the rich
and great than towards those of his own rank. The result was that only
those who could afford to overlook his faults for the sake of his
genius--and for the sake of something else which lay beneath his crust
of obstinate pride and openly expressed disregard for rank and
wealth--remained constant to him. Of his obstinacy and self-will
several instances will be given in the course of our story; but it is
necessary at this point to draw attention to the early period at which
this determined force of character began to assert itself. It is an
astonishing fact, and one that demonstrates the extraordinary power of
Beethoven's genius, that in spite of everything that could be urged
against him--his origin, rudeness of manner and speech, refusal to pay
homage to the great--even his youth and the comparative shortness of
the time during which he had been before the public--Beethoven should
have not only won a front place as a performer, but also retained the
sincere regard and respect of men and women belonging to the worthiest
as well as the highest ranks of society.

In the midst of the whirl of work and entertainment into which the
musical life of Vienna had plunged him, Beethoven was constant to
those whom he had left behind him at Bonn. He had not been absent more
than a month before he received news of his father's death. There had
been very little affection in his heart for the parent whose severity
had called forth his childish tears, and whose selfish indulgence had
increased the burden of his mother's existence, nor was Beethoven the
man to pretend what he did not feel. But with the father's death the
allowance which had been paid through Ludwig for the support of the
two sons, Carl and Johann, ceased, and this fact awoke Beethoven to
instant action. He wrote to the Elector begging that the grant might
be continued for his sake, and the request was granted. Later on we
shall see to what extent he carried his affection for at least one of
these brothers.

With the Prince and Princess Lichnowsky Beethoven shortly became, as
we have said, on terms of the greatest intimacy. All Vienna looked to
the house of Lichnowsky for patronage and help wherever art or science
was concerned, and none looked in vain. To Beethoven--young, rough,
and almost untutored in the usages of society, but with his commanding
genius and his equally remarkable personality--the Lichnowskys were
kindness itself. The Princess saw to his comforts, and arranged his
engagements in the same motherly fashion as Madame Breuning had done
after his mother's death, whilst the Prince even went so far in his
consideration for Beethoven's sensitiveness as to direct his servants
to attend to the musician's bell before answering his own. Extreme
sensibility to what he deemed indifference or neglect on the part of
his friends was undoubtedly one of Ludwig's chief weaknesses; but he
resented angrily the Prince's discovery of the fact, and to mark his
displeasure he immediately engaged a servant of his own to wait upon
him. The regularity of the household arrangements at the palace was
another matter which grated against Beethoven's love of Bohemianism;
to be forced to dress for dinner, especially at a set hour of the
day, was to him an abomination not to be suffered. The workings of his
genius were not to be regulated by the clockwork contrivances of
civilised life, and hence he first took to dining out at some tavern,
where he could be at his ease, and finally went altogether into
lodgings. But the Prince and Princess, like the good, sensible people
they were, only smiled at the vagaries of their favourite, and if his
seat at their table was henceforth but too frequently vacant, they
kept for him a warm corner in their hearts; whilst, as for Beethoven
himself, his affection for his kind friends remained as strong as

Careless as he was with regard both to dress and manners, there was no
trace of either carelessness or haste in his compositions, and he was
most insistent in having the latter performed in exact accordance with
his plans. One night, when his great work 'Leonore' was to be
rehearsed, the third bassoon failed to put in an appearance, and
Beethoven stamped about in a fury, heaping execrations upon the head
of the absent player. Prince Lobkowitz, who was present, and who was
one of Beethoven's chief patrons, laughed heartily at the composer's
outburst, and then tried to calm him by saying: 'Well, well, what does
it matter? You have the first and second bassoons safely here, surely
the third man doesn't count for much.' The rehearsal was at length
allowed to proceed, but Beethoven could not forget that his judgment
had been questioned by the Prince's mocking laughter, and as soon as
the performance had ended and the company had dispersed, he rushed
across the Platz to the gates of the Lobkowitz Palace, and shouted at
the top of his voice: 'Lobkowitzscher Esel! Lobkowitzscher Esel!'
('Ass of a Lobkowitz! Ass of a Lobkowitz!')

Beethoven's temper was of the passionate order that is apt to explode
at the slightest provocation, and when once aroused he seemed to lose
all power of self-control. As one of his greatest friends[17] has
remarked, he needed at his elbow some one who possessed the ability to
give a humorous turn to what was spoken in the heat of the moment, so
as to put them all on good terms with one another again. As it was, he
would say the unkindest things even to his greatest friends, and
afterwards bitterly regret having said them. His manners were rude and
abrupt, but his great genius, combined with the absolute simplicity
and straightforwardness of his character, won him his way everywhere.
A personality so rare as Beethoven's had a charm for those who
worshipped genius, and thus he was forgiven speeches which no one else
in his position would have dared to utter. He manifested complete
indifference with regard to what people said of him or of his
works--only when his honour was in any way impeached did he blaze
forth in his own defence. He hated deception of any kind; in both
heart and action he was as open as the day, and he was quick to resent
a suspicion of deception on the part of others. On one occasion a
hitch occurred with regard to a performance of his works, and he
suddenly suspected three of his friends of having created the obstacle
for their own ends, although they had in reality been working hard to
overcome the difficulty. He accordingly sat down and wrote to each as

     '_To Count Lichnowsky._

     'Falsehoods I despise. Visit me no more. There will be no


  '_To Herr Schindler._

  'Visit me no more until I send for you. No concert.


  '_To Herr Schuppanzigh._

  'Visit me no more. I give no concert.


Haydn and Beethoven did not get on well together; there seems to have
been something antagonistic in their natures which prevented anything
approaching to reciprocal feeling between them. Beethoven from the
first considered that he had a grievance against his master in the
fact that he did not make sufficient progress, owing to Haydn's being
so much occupied with his own work. This dissatisfaction led to his
seeking guidance in other quarters; but for about a year after his
arrival in Vienna he refrained from doing this openly, until Haydn's
departure for England gave him the opportunity of changing masters.
Thereafter he took lessons every day of the week from several of the
best musicians in the city both in playing and composition.
Albrechtsberger was the famous contrapuntist of his day, and Beethoven
derived much from his teaching; he does not appear to have impressed
his master, however, with a high opinion of his powers, for the old
man advised one of his pupils to have nothing to do with the young man
from Bonn. 'He has learnt nothing,' Albrechtsberger added, 'and will
never do anything in decent style.' This was in allusion to
Beethoven's wilfulness in persistently transgressing certain
established rules of composition. The old teacher failed to see that
Beethoven's refusal to be bound by hard-and-fast rules arose, not from
mere caprice, but from the force of a genius which would not submit to
be trammelled by any kind of artificial limitations. The wisdom of
Beethoven is, however, shown by the fact that he wrote out his
exercises with the most scrupulous care, and in exact accordance with
what were regarded as the laws of composition, for his genius, great
and original as it was, would not presume upon ignorance.

But who could resist the young player when he seated himself at the
pianoforte and began one of those wonderful improvisations about which
so much has been written, but of the effect of which we can only
faintly judge by the fact that the hearers were held spellbound until
the finish? Who amongst that audience, gathered from the best and most
critical followers and lovers of the art that Vienna contained, gave a
thought to how many rules had been broken, or were likely to be
broken, by the player, or, indeed, had room for any other thought but
one of admiration for the music which was filling their ears and
charming their senses? 'His improvisation was most brilliant and
striking,' wrote Karl Czerny, the player and composer, and pupil of
Beethoven; 'in whatever company he might chance to be he knew how to
produce such an effect upon every hearer that frequently not an eye
remained dry, while many would break out into loud sobs; for there was
something wonderful in his expression, in addition to the beauty and
originality of his ideas, and his spirited style of rendering them.'
Ferdinand Ries, another of his pupils, has declared that no other
artist that he ever heard could approach Beethoven in extemporisation.
'The wealth of ideas which forced themselves on him, the caprices to
which he surrendered himself, the variety of treatment, the
difficulties, were inexhaustible,' And it must be borne in mind that
in respect to this art Beethoven was brought into competition with
several older and undoubtedly brilliant performers of the day, who,
until he came amongst them, had swayed their respective circles of

Yet, strangely enough, the emotion aroused in his hearers seemed to
find no response in Beethoven himself. Frequently when he discovered
how deeply he had moved his audience he would burst into roars of
laughter; at other times the sight of their emotion stirred him up to
angry resentment, and he would shout, 'We artists don't want tears, we
want applause!' That a player should open his soul in his music and
then abuse his audience for their inability to suppress the feelings
which he had aroused appears strange indeed. But the caprice and
wilfulness which marked his public playing are shown equally in his
relations with people in everyday life. What may have been his true
feelings is concealed--it is only the mask which is seen; and the mask
was so constantly worn that it no doubt deceived many. Every now and
again, however, we get a glimpse of his true nature in his intercourse
with those who knew him best. Irritable to a degree, and occasionally
outrageous as his conduct appears to have been, it needed but the
touch of another's grief to draw from him the golden thread of
sympathy. On one occasion he offended the susceptibilities of the
company assembled in one of the most fashionable drawing-rooms of
Vienna by using his hostess's snuffers as a toothpick! Yet, later on,
when that household was plunged into mourning by the loss of a beloved
child, and visitors were denied, it was Beethoven to whom the bereaved
mother opened her doors, and to whom she turned for sympathy.

It is much to be regretted that the nobility of nature which was
really and truly Beethoven's attribute should have been so constantly
overshadowed and dominated by something else which, without being a
superior force, seemed by a strange perversity to be always to the
fore. Whilst, however, we would wish to give to every instance of his
goodness of heart its fullest weight, it would be useless, as well as
wrong, to endeavour to hide the fact that his conduct, even towards
those who desired to be his friends, and to whom he owed obligations
for acts of sympathy and kindness, frequently admitted of no excuse.
His anger, though sharp, was short, and left no sting behind; but his
unjust suspicions and scornful treatment of men whose confidence he
had won by his genius and force of character, were the cause of sorrow
and suffering to those whom he attacked, as well as of remorse to
himself, whereby his whole life was embittered, and his better nature
warped to ignoble ends.

The good people of Vienna must, indeed, have been somewhat at a loss
how to take the genius who had thus burst into their midst and laid
them under captivity. Attempts at conciliation were more often than
not frustrated by his variable temperament; for though none was apter
than Beethoven to take offence, there was no one quicker to resent any
effort at mediation by a third party, on whose unfortunate head it was
only too likely that the irate composer would empty the vials of his
wrath. Nevertheless, his erratic behaviour did not sensibly lessen the
circle of his admirers or diminish the popularity which his fame had
brought him. Many of the fashionable ladies of Vienna came to him for
lessons instead of requiring his attendance at their houses; but such
condescension made no difference to the man who held that mind and
character alone were the qualifications by which men and women were to
be weighed in the social balance. If, therefore, the young ladies
talked or showed inattention during their lessons, he became furious,
and would tear up the music and scatter it over the floor. His rage,
indeed, seems to have been quite ungovernable at times. On one
occasion he was playing a duet with his pupil Ries when his ear caught
some fragments of a conversation which a young nobleman was carrying
on with a lady at the further end of the room. Instantly he jumped up
from the piano in a rage, and, taking Ries's hands off the keyboard,
he bellowed, 'I play no longer for such hogs!' nor could either
apologies or entreaties induce him to resume the performance.

It was often a matter of some difficulty to get him to play,
especially when he was not in the humour. On such occasions he would
preface the performance by striking the keys with the palm of his
hand, or draw his finger along the keyboard from end to end, roaring
with laughter, and in other ways behave like a spoiled child. He would
not bear being pressed beyond a certain point. Once, it is related, he
was asked to play before strangers at the country-house of one of his
rich patrons, and flatly refused to comply; whereupon the host
jokingly threatened that, if he would not play, he should be confined
as a prisoner in the house. Beethoven on this jumped up and ran out of
the mansion, and though it was night, he walked three miles to the
next town, and thence posted to Vienna. The next day a bust of this
patron which stood on Beethoven's bookcase fell to the ground, and was
shattered to pieces![18]

His views as to the superiority of mind and character over everything
else were certainly borne out by his actions. One day, when he was
walking with the poet Goethe near Uplitz, the Imperial family were
observed to be approaching. Goethe at once stood aside and removed his
hat, at the same time plucking his friend by the sleeve, to remind
him that they were in the presence of royalty. Beethoven, however,
seemed to regard this as a fitting opportunity for illustrating his
views on the independence of art, for, shaking off the hand that
detained him, he buttoned up his coat in a determined manner, planted
his hat firmly on his head, and, folding his arms behind him, marched
straight into the ranks of the Imperial party! If Goethe felt dismayed
at his friend's lack of respect, he must have been astonished to note
the result; for the Archduke Rodolph not only made way for Beethoven
to pass, but removed his hat, whilst the Empress was the first to bow
to him.

In appearance Beethoven was short, broad, and strong-looking. His face
was not prepossessing. 'He was meanly dressed, and very ugly to look
at,' wrote a lady who knew and admired him, 'but full of nobility and
fine feeling, and highly cultivated.' It must have been difficult to
describe a face which was subject to such frequent changes of
expression, but its forcefulness must have been apparent to every
beholder. The eyes were black and bright, and they had a way of
dilating when the composer was buried in thought so as to impart to
his face an expression of being inspired. Gloomily abstracted as he
would be at times, when possessed by some absorbing train of ideas,
nothing could have been more cordial or more winning than the smile
which lighted up his face at the sight of a friend. With a mass of
dark hair surmounting a high and broad forehead, and the quick,
penetrative glance which shot from beneath the large overhanging
eyebrows, Beethoven's face must have struck the observer with a sense
of its strong individuality. Nevertheless, only a few of the portraits
have succeeded in conveying a true likeness of the man who was so
unlike every one else. His hands were hairy, and the fingers 'strong
and short, and pressed out with long practising.' He was very
particular about the position of his hands when playing, and as a rule
he kept his body quite still. When conducting, however, his movements
were constant and curious. At a _pianissimo_ passage 'he would crouch
down so as to be hidden by the desk, and then, as the _crescendo_
increased, would gradually rise, beating all the time, until at the
_fortissimo_ he would spring into the air with his arms extended, as
if wishing to float on the clouds.'[19]

It was one of the most striking of Beethoven's characteristics that he
dearly loved a joke. Ever since the time when he played off the rather
unkind joke on the singer Heller the passion for joking had grown upon
him to such an extent that evidence of its ruling force appears in
every chapter of his life. He occasionally introduced a joke into his
compositions. Thus, in the 'Pastoral Symphony,' we come across a trio
between a nightingale, a quail, and a cuckoo. Again, in other works,
such as the No. 8 Symphony, the bassoons are brought in unexpectedly,
in such a manner as to produce a humorous effect. He never missed an
opportunity of playing off a joke upon any of his friends, both in
season and out of season, and he always showed his appreciation of the
victim's discomfiture by roars of laughter. His letters are full of
puns, and he bestows uncomplimentary nicknames upon his intimates. One
day his brother Johann, who had acquired a small property in the
neighbourhood of Vienna, called upon him in his absence, and left his
card, bearing the inscription, 'Johann van Beethoven, Gutsbesitzer'
(Land proprietor). Beethoven was so tickled with the conceit of this
designation that he could not resist returning the card to his
brother with the following inscription scrawled upon the back: 'L. van
Beethoven, Hirnbesitzer' (Brain proprietor). Some of his jokes,
however, were in extremely bad taste. On one occasion a lady admirer
preferred a request for a lock of his hair as a keepsake, and he sent
her instead a wisp cut from the beard of a goat! With his inordinate
love of joking, however, he was a poor hand at bearing a joke that
told against himself. It is related that, having once been rude enough
to interrupt a player named Himmel in the midst of the latter's
improvisation by asking when he was going to begin, Himmel afterwards
wrote to him that 'the latest invention in Berlin was a lantern for
the blind'--a joke which Beethoven not only failed to see, but 'when
it was pointed out to him he was furious, and would have nothing more
to do with his correspondent.'

His carelessness in matters of dress was very noticeable. Czerny, his
pupil, has described how he found him at home on his first visit, with
his shock of black hair and his unshaven chin, and his ears stuffed
with cotton-wool, whilst his clothes seemed to be made of so rough a
material, and were so ill-fitting that he resembled nothing so much as
a Robinson Crusoe. It is related that once, when he was engaging a
servant, the man stated as a reason for leaving his last situation
that he failed to dress his master's hair to the latter's
satisfaction. 'It is no object to me to have my hair dressed,'
remarked Beethoven, as he signified his approval of the engagement. He
always described himself as 'a disorderly creature,' and he certainly
merited the designation. He was clumsy and awkward in his movements;
he could not shave without cutting himself, or handle delicate things
without breaking them; and whilst composing he invariably spilt the
ink over the pianoforte. His handwriting was so illegible as to call
forth objurgations from himself whenever he was called upon to
decipher it. 'Yesterday,' he writes to a friend, 'I took a letter
myself to the post office, and was asked where it was meant to go to;
from which I see that my writing is as often misunderstood as I am
myself,' Nevertheless, he was very fond of letter-writing, as the
collections which have been preserved abundantly testify.

The letters of great men are often valued for the opinions they
contain on persons and subjects of the day, as well as for the insight
they afford into the private thoughts and feelings of the writers.
Beethoven's letters contain no word-pictures of scenery or events; nor
do they express his views on questions or matters in which the world
at large might be supposed to take an interest. But they are none the
less valuable on that account; for they reflect the openness and
simplicity of his character, and lay bare his wishes, his hopes and
his disappointments, his joys and his sorrows--and especially his love
of fun--just as one or another of these feelings or aspirations was
uppermost at the moment.

As a teacher Beethoven exhibited none of the carelessness or
impatience that characterised his personal habits. If the rendering of
a passage was not in accordance with his own ideas of what it should
be, he insisted upon the pupil playing it over and over again until he
was satisfied. He was comparatively indifferent to the playing of
wrong notes, but failure on the part of a pupil to give the right
shade of expression, or to grasp the true character of a piece, never
failed to arouse his anger. The one, he would say, might be an
accident, but the other showed a want of knowledge, or feeling, or

Beethoven was by nature exceedingly unpunctual, and frequently kept
his pupils waiting for their lessons. Even Madame von Breuning, for
whom he had a strong affection, and who was one of the few people who
could be said to have managed him, often failed in persuading him to
be in time. 'Ah! I may not disturb him--he is in his _raptus_,' she
would exclaim despairingly, in allusion to his habit of relapsing into
gloomy reverie. And not even his dearest friend dared to intrude upon
him at such moments. His absent-mindedness was the subject of many a
joke. He often forgot to come home to dinner--a fact which, seeing
that he was a man, deserves to be recorded; and it is even said that,
on one occasion, he insisted on tendering money for a meal which he
had not ordered, under the belief that he had dined. At another time
he composed a set of variations on a Russian dance for the wife of an
officer in the Russian service--a compliment which was acknowledged by
the gift of a horse. Straightway Beethoven forgot all about the horse
until he was reminded of its existence by a long bill presented for
its keep. He persisted in shaving himself at his bedroom window,
without a blind, and exposed to the view of passers-by; and when he
discovered that this habit caused a crowd of jeering idlers to collect
in front of the house, he flew into a rage, and exchanged his lodgings
for others situated in a more retired spot, rather than discontinue
the practice. His explosive temper has furnished many amusing
anecdotes. One day his cook, who, in consideration of her master's
incurable unpunctuality, must be regarded as an aggrieved personage,
served up some eggs which were not to his taste, and he emphasised his
displeasure by throwing the entire batch at the head of the
unfortunate domestic. On another occasion a waiter who mistook his
order was rewarded by having the contents of a dish of stew poured
over his head. Even where his temper was not concerned his manners
were directly opposed to those prevailing in polite society--though,
in a large measure, this may have been due to his perfect simplicity
and his ignorance of what was expected of him. Thus, it is told that,
returning from one of his long walks in the pouring rain, he would
make straight for the sitting-room of the house in which he happened
to be staying and calmly proceed to shake the water from his hat over
the carpet and chairs, after the fashion of a retriever just emerged
from a pond, humming to himself the while some theme which had been
occupying his thoughts during his walk. One of his pleasanter habits,
to which he was greatly attached, was washing. He would pour the water
backwards and forwards over his hands with childish delight, and if,
as frequently happened, a musical idea suggested itself to him during
the operation, he became oblivious to everything else, and would
continue to send the water to and fro, spilling it in huge quantities,
until the floor resembled a miniature lake.

Beethoven would never allow that his disorderliness was anything more
than personal, always contending that he had a love of order and
neatness with regard to his surroundings and arrangements. Yet here is
a sketch of the condition of his living-room, as seen by one of his
friends: 'The most exquisite confusion reigned in his house. Books and
music were scattered in all directions; here the residue of a cold
luncheon, there some full, some half-emptied, bottles. On the desk the
hasty sketch of a new quartet; in another corner the remains of a
breakfast. On the pianoforte the scribbled hints for a noble symphony,
yet little more than in embryo; hard by a proof-sheet, waiting to be
returned; letters from friends, and on business, spread all over the
floor. Between the windows a goodly Stracchino cheese, and on one side
of it ample vestiges of a genuine Verona Salami....' If an article
were missing Beethoven would declare that he knew just where to put
his hand upon it; and then, when two or three days' search failed to
discover its whereabouts, he would storm at the servants, asseverating
that they hid his things away on purpose to annoy him. But the storm
would clear as quickly as it had gathered, and peace reign once more,
until the next occasion called it forth; and the servants knew their
master's heart too well to be angered by his reproaches.

The mention of his rambles in the rain recalls his fondness for the
open air. It was a passion which clung to him through life. As each
summer came round, during these years of unremitting toil, he would
hail with delight the moment when he could close the door of his
lodgings in the hot, stuffy city, and betake himself to some retired
spot where he could ramble about and hold communion with Nature,
secure from interruption. 'No man,' he wrote to one of his friends,
'loves the country more. Woods, trees, and rocks give the response
which man requires.... Every tree seems to say, "Holy, holy."' A
forest was to him a paradise. He would penetrate its cool depths, and,
selecting a tree which offered a seat in a forking branch close to the
ground, he would climb into it and sit there for hours, buried in
thought. It was amidst the trees of Schönbrunn that he made the first
rough notes for several of his great works. With his back planted
against the trunk of a favourite lime-tree, his legs stretched along
the big branch, and his gaze fixed upon the network of branchlets and
quivering leaves above him, he sketched the framework of the oratorio
'The Mount of Olives,' the opera 'Fidelio' (or 'Leonore,' as it was
first called), and that glorious symphony which is known by the title
of the 'Eroica.'

When not resting amidst the trees Beethoven would set off on long
walks through the fields, sketch-book[20] in hand, and humming or
roaring to himself as he went along. The rough jottings in the
sketch-books were later on developed with the utmost care, being
written out again and again, with fresh alterations and additions each
time, until every trace of crudeness had disappeared, and the finished
work stood out with such clearness and precision as to suggest that it
had been but that moment created. Nothing, indeed, has struck those
who have followed the gradual development of his work from the first
sketches which have been preserved more than the number of attempts
which mark the growth of the idea in the composer's mind, until it
assumed its final form. Yet there was no trace in the finished work of
the process of refining and elaboration through which it had passed.

Very curious was the origin of some of the suggestions which found
their way into the sketch-books. It was Beethoven's practice to keep
one of these books by his bedside, in case an idea occurred to him
during the night, and it is told that he was once aroused by the
knocking of a neighbour who had been accidentally locked out of his
house in the small hours of the morning. The irate neighbour knocked
four raps at a time, with a pause at the end of every fourth rap, and
the rhythmic regularity of the sounds not only startled Beethoven out
of his sleep, but suggested a musical idea to his mind. Up jumped the
composer, and down went the idea in his sketch-book, and the next
morning the jotting was included in one of his most striking
compositions--the 'Violin Concerto in D,' where the passage, given to
the drums, is many times repeated.

A village which formed one of his favourite resorts was Heiligenstadt,
situated about seven miles from Vienna. Here he went in the summer of
1802, after a severe illness. For some time past he had been suffering
from increasing deafness, and the malady seemed now to have reached an
acute stage, so that his country surroundings failed to exercise their
accustomed charm, and he fell into a deep melancholy. Indeed, he
appeared to have become impressed with the idea that his life-work was
ended, and that he had nothing to look forward to but the
companionship of an affliction which must sever him from the social
intercourse in which he delighted, and render his remaining years
solitary and miserable. It would be difficult to imagine a more
terrible calamity than that which had befallen Beethoven, or to
exaggerate its effects upon an over-sensitive nature such as he
possessed. As his deafness increased, his efforts to conceal the
results of the malady from those outside his own immediate circle
became more and more painfully evident. No one failed to observe how
he was affected, yet none dared to commiserate with him; and when he
discovered that his mistakes were drawing public attention to what he
was so anxious to hide, his mortification was intensified to a degree
that for the time destroyed his peace of mind and left him a prey to
melancholy. It was whilst in this state of mental and physical
depression that he penned from his village retreat the touchingly
eloquent letter which has since been called his 'will.' In this
epistle, which is addressed to 'My brothers Carl and Johann
Beethoven,' and which they are admonished to 'read and execute after
my demise,' Beethoven pleads for consideration both on account of his
irritability and his apparent lack of affection. To his misfortunes,
not to his faults, must be attributed the obstinacy, the hostility, or
the misanthropic attitude which he has shown towards those whom he
loves, and by whom he is loved in return. 'My heart and my mind,' he
says, as if in extenuation of this fancied ill-feeling, 'were from
childhood prone to the tender feelings of affection.' It is a pathetic
appeal to natures which, unfortunately for the writer, were the least
likely to echo its tenderness in their own hearts; for neither of the
brothers had ever shown him true affection. They had followed him to
Vienna to found a livelihood for themselves, and thenceforward, with
selfish zeal for their own interests, they had simply served to clog
his progress. Blinded by the nobility of his own character, however,
Beethoven now takes upon himself the entire blame for what he imagines
to be a lessening of the affection between them, and, sunk in health,
and viewing his future through the darkest of glasses, he reproaches
himself for what he could never have helped. Though his brothers are
the only persons who are actually named in this remarkable letter, no
one who reads it can doubt that Beethoven is addressing the world at
large, who will judge both himself and his works.

Towards the end of this year his health had improved, but the deafness
remained constant, and he was at length compelled to desist from
conducting his works. Shortly after this an incident occurred which
must have served to convince him of the sympathy which the public felt
for him in his affliction. His great work, the 'Choral Symphony,' was
being performed, and the composer was standing on the platform with
his back to the audience, intently following the music. As the
concluding chords died away the whole house broke out into
enthusiastic applause. Again and again the shouts rent the air, but
Beethoven stood motionless, unmoved--a pathetic figure amidst the
storm. Possibly at this moment those whose ears he had charmed by his
music realised to the full the ineffable sadness of his condition, for
a reverential hush fell suddenly on the gathering. The next moment,
however, the storm of cheers broke out afresh, for a young singer,
named Caroline Unger, who had been taking part in the symphony, went
up to the unconscious composer, and, taking his hand, turned him round
to the audience. As the glance of the deaf man lighted upon the sea of
upturned faces, and he witnessed the emotion which his work had
aroused, he was deeply moved.

    [Illustration: '_Taking his hand, turned him round to the

The 'Choral Symphony' ranks amongst the greatest of Beethoven's works,
but we should like to mention one of his smaller, though not less
famous, compositions--that which is known by the title of the
'Kreutzer Sonata for Pianoforte and Violin'--because no fitter
illustration could be found of the rapidity with which the composer
worked under pressure than is afforded by the beautiful work which he
dedicated to his friend Rodolphe Kreutzer, a violinist attached to
Count Bernadotte's suite of performers. He had undertaken the writing
of the sonata at the instance of a violinist, a mulatto named
Bridgetower, who was staying in Vienna, and it was to be jointly
performed by Bridgetower and himself. The concert was announced to
begin at 8 a.m., but when the public were hastening to the theatre in
the Augarten at that early hour of the spring morning, the music for
the pianoforte part was practically unwritten, with the exception of a
few scattered suggestions, whilst the variations, which are justly
renowned for their grace and beauty, were hurriedly written in at the
last moment, and had to be played by the violinist at sight from the
rough manuscript. The _andante_ is of unsurpassable beauty, and it was
rendered by the composer in such a manner as to excite the audience to
enthusiasm. Beethoven's powers of playing were never shown to greater
advantage than in his _andante_ movements. His execution of the
quicker parts was apt to be confused by his frequent use of the pedal,
but nothing occurred to mar or obscure the clearness and depth of
expression with which he rendered the slower movements, and it was in
these that his playing was most truly inspired.

The year 1804 is a memorable one in the life of Beethoven, for it
witnessed the completion of his grand symphony, the 'Eroica,' the
rough idea of which had been sketched amidst the woods of Schönbrunn
two years before. The suggestion of the work is said to have come from
Count Bernadotte, the French Ambassador at Vienna, with whom Beethoven
was on terms of intimacy; but the man whom it was intended to honour
by its dedication was the General whose exploits had shaken the whole
of Europe--Napoleon Buonaparte. Beethoven had been greatly attracted
by Napoleon's character. He believed in him as the one man who was
capable of making his adopted country a pattern for the world, by
establishing a Republic on the principles laid down by Plato. But his
confidence in the unselfishness of Napoleon's aims was soon to receive
a rude shock. The fair copy of the symphony, with its dedicatory
inscription, had been completed, and was on the point of being
dispatched to Paris, when suddenly the news reached Vienna that the
hero's glorious entry into the French capital had culminated in his
allowing himself to be proclaimed Emperor. In a moment Beethoven's
worship was turned into hatred and contempt. He seized the manuscript,
tore the title-page to shreds, and flung the work itself to the other
end of the room. 'He designs to become a tyrant, like the rest,' he
exclaimed, with scornful bitterness; and it was a long time before he
could even be induced to look at the music again, or to consider the
question of its publication. Eventually, however, he consented to its
appearing under a new title, the 'Sinfonia Eroica,' by which it has
since been known to the world.

It is impossible within the limits of a short story-life to give even
a brief description of the composer's chief works, or to convey more
than an idea of how much work, despite his irregular habits, Beethoven
accomplished. His untiring industry in developing the rough jottings
which formed the foundations of his compositions has been mentioned;
but without following his life from year to year we can have only a
very imperfect conception of the actual amount of labour which was
involved in bringing to perfection the long list of works that we see
appended to the biographies of the composer. When we follow the story
of his life in detail, we are struck by the fact of his unceasing
toil. Nothing seems to have checked the constant flow of composition;
yet many causes were at work to hinder it, such as ill-health,
poverty, an ill-balanced temperament, and an oversensitiveness with
regard to the petty troubles arising out of his injudicious mode of
life. 'I live only in my music,' he writes, 'and no sooner is one
thing done than the next is begun. As I am now writing, I often work
at three or four things at once.' And think what such work meant! It
has been said that it is difficult to find in Beethoven's life
anything corresponding to the extraordinary beauty and grandeur of his
creations--in other words, there seems to exist no parallel in his
life, as he lived it, to the outpourings of his musical soul. There
is, indeed, little doubt that Beethoven had but one channel through
which to express his deepest thoughts and feelings--the language of
music. Through his music he reaches our hearts; by his music we are
brought into contact with his innermost soul; and by his music alone
can we know the man Beethoven as he really was.

Yet his life was by no means devoid of noble qualities. It was in
every sense a great life, full of energy, full of power, full of a
determination which carried him through every obstacle, and enabled
him to hold his own against the attacks of his enemies. Apart,
however, from the genius that ennobled it, it was not a life which
could altogether compel admiration. The down-right simplicity and
directness of purpose which shone forth as Beethoven's chief
characteristics, and in themselves were undoubted virtues, were,
unhappily, overshadowed by faults and shortcomings of such magnitude
as to shut out much of the friendship and sympathy that he might
otherwise have enjoyed; and no one reading his life can doubt that he
stood greatly in need of such assistance.

Nevertheless, Beethoven's faults were of the head, not of the heart.
At heart he was a man capable of loving and worthy to be loved. His
simple nature was easily touched by distress, and just as easily
imposed upon by those who designed to use him for their own ends. Many
of his quarrels and dislikes were either brought about or fomented by
persons in whom he had placed a mistaken faith. This was notably the
case with regard to the quarrel with Stephen Breuning, his best and
truest friend, to whom, after a separation of years, he turned with an
appeal for pardon that did honour to his heart. The letter accompanied
a miniature of the composer, and ran as follows:

     'Beneath this portrait, dear Stephen, may all that has for so
     long gone on between us be for ever hidden. I know how I have
     torn your heart. For this the emotion that you must certainly
     have noticed in me has been sufficient punishment. My feeling
     towards you was not malice. No--I should no longer be worthy of
     your friendship; it was passionate love for you and myself; but
     I doubted you dreadfully, for people came between us who were
     unworthy of us both. My portrait has long been intended for
     you. I need not tell you that I never meant it for anyone else.
     Who could I give it to with my warmest love so well as to you,
     true, good, noble Stephen? Forgive me for distressing you. I
     have suffered myself as much as you have. It was only when I
     had you no longer with me that I first really felt how dear you
     are, and always will be, to my heart. Come to my arms once
     more, as you used to do.'

Carl, the brother in whose unworthy behalf Beethoven had taken up the
cudgels against his best friend, was dead when this touching appeal
was written, but he had bequeathed to Beethoven a solemn charge which
was destined to bring to him who undertook it in the goodness of his
heart a burden of sorrow and bitterness. Carl had died penniless, and
his boy, who bore the father's name, thenceforth became to his Uncle
Ludwig as his own son. How good, how generous and self-sacrificing
Beethoven was to his nephew is testified by all who have written of
his life. He supplied him freely with money when money was by no means
too plentiful; he strove to satisfy his every need, either fancied or
real; and he lavished upon him a great love and solicitude to the last
day of his life. But Carl showed himself to be utterly unworthy of
this affection. He treated his uncle shamefully, and instead of
endeavouring to repay his kindness by steady perseverance, he was a
disgrace to the family whose name he bore. There is, unfortunately,
only too much reason for believing that Carl's want of affection,
coupled with his dissolute habits, embittered his uncle's existence,
estranged him from his friends, and hurried on his death.

Of Beethoven's tenderness of heart numerous instances are recorded. He
devoted much of his time to arranging concerts for the benefit of the
poor and suffering, and in the midst of his popularity and the heavy
demands upon his time and strength he always found a means of helping
others. When he first came to Vienna to reside, he made the
acquaintance of a musician named Förster, from whom he received
instruction in the art of quartet writing. Beethoven never forgot this
kindly help, and long afterwards, when Förster was living in the upper
part of his house, he gave music-lessons to his friend's little
six-year-old boy. The lessons could only be given before breakfast,
and as Beethoven was an early riser, the boy had to get up in the dark
on those winter mornings and go down to the practice-room. May we not
picture for ourselves the little child seated beside the grave
composer in the dimly-lighted room, striving with chilly fingers to
find the right notes, whilst the master, bending over him, sets him
right with a tenderness which no one else is near to witness?

'I feel as if I had written scarcely more than a few notes,' were the
words used by Beethoven in writing to a friend in 1824, when he was
near the close of his full and eventful life; and they serve to show
how exhaustless was that energy which neither sorrow nor disease had
the power to repress. Still, he yearns to 'bring a few great works
into the world, and then,' he adds, 'like an old child, to end my
earthly course somewhere amongst good people.' These latter years had,
indeed, been very full ones, both of work and anxieties, and the
inroads of disease had been steadily undermining his strength. Yet the
picture which is given to us of the composer when within a few months
of his death is a vivid portrayal of the triumph of mind-force over
physical weakness. He was staying in the country, at the house of his
brother Johann, and the picture of his daily life there is drawn by
the hand of his serving-man. 'At half-past five he was up and at his
table, beating time with hands and feet, singing, humming, and
writing. At half-past seven was the family breakfast, and directly
after it he hurried out of doors, and would saunter about the fields,
calling out, waving his hands, going now very slowly, then very fast,
and then suddenly standing still and writing in a kind of pocket-book.
At half-past twelve he came into the house to dinner, and after dinner
he went to his own room till three or so; then again in the fields
till about sunset, for later than that he might not go out. At
half-past seven was supper, and then he went to his room, wrote till
ten, and so to bed.'

One more picture, and our story ends. Beethoven was lying on his
death-bed when the news was brought to him that Hummel, the musician,
with whom he had been intimate in the old Vienna days, had just
arrived in the city. Many years had elapsed since Beethoven had
severed his friendship with Hummel in a sudden fit of pique, and there
had been no attempt at reconciliation. But now, wasted by disease, and
fast sinking into his grave, there was no room in his heart for aught
but joy at the knowledge that one whom he had formerly liked was so
near him. 'Oh,' he cried, raising himself in bed when he heard the
news--'oh, if he would but call to see me!' No one seems to have
carried the message from the dying man, but it was answered. A few
days later Hummel came, and the old friends were at once in each
other's arms. Hummel, struck by the terrible signs of suffering in
Beethoven's face, broke into bitter weeping. Beethoven tried to calm
him, and, pulling from beneath his pillow a sketch of Haydn's
birthplace which he had that morning received, he cried, 'Look, my
dear Hummel, here is Haydn's birthplace! So great a man born in so
mean a cottage!'

Beethoven died on March 26, 1827, having recently completed his
fifty-sixth year. Two days before his death he received the last
Sacraments of the Church. 'As the evening closed in, at a quarter to
six, there came a sudden storm of hail and snow, covering the ground
and roofs of the Schwarzspanierplatz, and followed by a flash of
lightning and an instant clap of thunder. So great was the crash as to
rouse even the dying man. He opened his eyes, clenched his fist, and
shook it in the air above him. This lasted a few seconds, while the
hail rushed down outside, and then the hand fell, and the great
composer was no more.'[21]

On March 29, at three o'clock in the afternoon, Beethoven was laid to
rest in the Währinger Cemetery, Vienna. The funeral was a very grand
one. Twenty thousand people followed him to his grave, and soldiers
were needed to force a way for the coffin through the densely packed
mass awaiting its arrival at the cemetery gates. Amongst the mourners
was Schubert, the composer, who had visited him on his death-bed, and
who acted as one of the torch-bearers. A choir of men singers and
trombones performed and sang several of the master's compositions, as
the great procession wended its way to the graveside, and Hummel laid
three wreaths of laurel upon the coffin before it was lowered to its


[16] Mozart had died in December of the previous year.

[17] Schindler, 'Life of Beethoven.'

[18] Moscheles, in Schindler's 'Life of Beethoven.'

[19] Sir G. Grove, 'Dictionary of Music and Musicians.'

[20] One of these sketch-books, filled with his notes, is to be seen in
the Manuscript Room of the British Museum.

[21] Sir G. Grove, 'Dictionary of Music and Musicians.'


OPERA: Fidelio.
      [Produced in its original form in 1805, revised in 1806, and
       again in 1814. There are four different overtures: 'Leonore,'
       Nos. 1, 2, and 3, in C; No. 4, 'Fidelio,' in E. Published
       in 1810 as 'Leonore,' and in 1814 as 'Fidelio.']
    Mass in C, Op. 86 (performed in 1807). 1812.
    Missa Solennis in D, Op. 123. 1827.
    Cantata: The Mount of Olives, Op. 85 (performed in 1803). 1811.
    Ballet: The Men of Prometheus, Op. 43. 1801.
    Overture and Incidental Music to Goethe's 'Egmont,' Op. 84. 1810.
    Overture and Incidental Music to 'The Ruins of Athens,' Op. 113.
    Overture and Incidental Music to 'King Stephen,' Op. 117. 1812.
    No. 1 in C, Op. 21. 1800.
    No. 2 in D, Op. 36. 1803.
    No. 3 in E-flat, Op. 55. The Eroica. 1805.
    No. 4 in B-flat, Op. 60. 1807.
    No. 5 in C minor, Op. 67. 1808.
    No. 6 in F, Op. 68. The Pastoral. 1808.
    No. 7 in A, Op. 92. 1813.
    No. 8 in F, Op. 93. 1814.
    No. 9 in D minor, Op. 125. The Choral. 1824.
Wellington's Victory (Battle of Vittoria), Op. 91 (performed in 1813).
Overture to Coriolan, Op. 62 (performed in 1807). 1808.
Overture in C (Namensfeier), Op. 115 (performed in 1815). 1825.
Overture in C (Die Weihe des Hauses), Op. 124 (performed in 1822).
Septet in E-flat for strings and wind, Op. 20. 1802.
Sextet in E-flat for wind instruments, Op. 71. 1810.
Sextet in E-flat for strings and two horns, Op. 81_b_. 1810.
2 String Quintets:
    Op. 4 in E-flat. 1797.
    Op. 29 in C. 1801.
17 String Quartets:
    Op. 18, Nos. 1 to 6 (F, G, D, C minor, A, B-flat). 1801.
    Op. 59, Nos. 1 to 3 (F, E minor, C). The Rasonmoffsky. 1808.
    Op. 74, in E-flat. The Harfen-quartet. 1810.
    Op. 95, in F minor. 1816.
    Op. 127, in E-flat. 1826.
    Op. 130, in B-flat.            }
    Op. 131, in C-sharp minor.   } The Posthumous Quartets.
    Op. 132, in A minor.         } 1827.
    Op. 135, in F.               }
    Op. 133, Great Fugue in B-flat. 1827.
5 String Trios:
    Op. 3, in E-flat. 1797.
    Op. 9, Nos. 1 to 3 (G, D, C minor). 1798.
    Op. 8, in D. The Serenade Trio. 1797.
Serenade in D, for flute, violin, and viola, Op. 25. 1802.
Concerto in D, for violin and orchestra, Op. 61. 1806.
2 Romances for violin and orchestra:
    Op. 40, in G. 1803.
    Op. 50, in F. 1805.
5 Concertos for pianoforte and orchestra:
    No. 1 in C, Op. 15. 1801.
    No. 2 in B-flat, Op. 19. 1801.
    No. 3 in C minor, Op. 37. 1804.
    No. 4 in G, Op. 58. 1808.
    No. 5 in E-flat, Op. 73. The Emperor. 1811.
Choral Fantasia in C minor, Op. 80. 1811.
Quintet in E-flat, for pianoforte and wind, Op. 16. 1801.
6 Trios for pianoforte, violin, and violoncello:
    Op. 1, Nos. 1 to 3 (E-flat, G, C minor). 1795
    Op. 70, Nos. 1 and 2 (D, E-flat). 1809.
    Op. 97, Grand Trio in B-flat. 1816.
10 Sonatas for pianoforte and violin.
      [We must mention the Kreutzer Sonata in A, Op. 47. 1805.]
5 Sonatas for pianoforte and violoncello.
32 Sonatas for pianoforte alone.
    [We have only space to mention the Pathetic (in C minor, Op. 13,
     1799), the Moonlight (in C-sharp minor, Op. 27, No. 2, 1802), the
     Waldstein (in C, Op. 53, 1805), and the Farewell (in E-flat, Op.
     81_a_, 1811).]
Andante Favori in F. 1806.
23 sets of Variations.
Scena and Aria, Ah! perfido, Op. 65. 1805.
Adelaide, Op. 46. 1797.
Mignon's Song, 'Kennst du das Land?' Op. 75, No. 1. 1810.
Liederkreis (six Songs), Op. 98. 1816.
60 other Songs.

       *       *       *       *       *

For a fuller account of Beethoven's life the reader is advised to

SCHINDLER'S Life of Beethoven (translated by Moscheles). 2
vols. Colburn. 1841.

Beethoven's LETTERS (1790-1826) have been translated by Lady
Wallace. 2 vols. Longmans. 1866.



If you are ever in the city of Vienna, and bend your steps to the
district called the Lichtenthal, you will there find a thoroughfare,
running north and south, called the Nussdorfer Strasse. This is its
present name, but in former times it was known as 'Auf dem
Himmelpfortgrund'--meaning 'Off the Gate of Heaven'--the
'Himmelpfortgrund' itself being a small street branching off to the
west towards the fortifications. On the right-hand side of the
Nussdorfer Strasse, as you face the outskirts of the city, you will
come upon a house bearing the number 54 (it was formerly numbered 72),
and the curious sign of 'Zum rothen Krebsen' (the Red Crab). But your
attention will at once be drawn to another feature of the house--a
grey marble tablet fixed above the door, with the inscription 'Franz
Schubert's Geburthaus' (the house in which Franz Schubert was born),
in the centre, and on the right a lyre crowned with a star, and on the
left a laurel wreath encircling the date '31 January, 1797.'

Nothing more than this inscribed tablet will be needed to bring home
to your mind the fact that you are actually face to face with the
house in which Schubert, the composer of those beautiful songs, 'The
Erl King,' 'Hark, hark, the Lark,' and 'Sylvia,' first saw the light.
And as you stand before the home of the great song-writer your
thoughts will revert in fancy to the time when, a century ago, there
issued from that doorway the figure of a boy of eleven years of age,
clad in a suit of grey so light as to be almost white, with chubby
face, bright dark eyes, with a sparkle in them that the spectacles
which he wore could not hide, and a head of thick, curly, black hair.
That boy was Franz Schubert, setting out for his examination to be
admitted as a scholar at the Imperial Convict, as the school for
educating the choristers of the Chapel Royal in Vienna was called.

The son of Franz Schubert, a schoolmaster in the Lichtenthal district,
whose character for uprightness and honesty, in addition to his
abilities, had won him the respect and esteem of all who knew him,
little Franz had from the first shown a remarkable fondness for music.
The family were in poor circumstances, the father having sprung from a
peasant stock, and by his own industry and a natural gift for teaching
succeeded in raising himself to his present position, whilst his wife
Elizabeth, in every way a perfect helpmeet for a poor man, was
likewise of humble origin. Franz Schubert had nothing to depend upon
but his schoolmaster's pay, and the family included, besides little
Franz, three boys and a girl. Nevertheless, such encouragement as
could be given to Franz in his love for music was given heartily and
sympathetically, for there could not have been a more devoted family
than his. At the first, however, Franz showed his independence by
making friends with a joiner's apprentice, who used to take him to a
certain pianoforte warehouse in the town, where, to his joy, he was
permitted to play little tunes on one of the instruments. At home
there was only an old, worn-out piano to practise upon, but with the
aid of this and frequent visits to the warehouse the boy managed to
acquire unaided a certain groundwork in music, so that when, at the
age of seven, his father began to give him lessons on the violin he
found that Franz had already made some headway. His elder brothers,
Ignaz and Ferdinand, had been taken in hand by the father at the same
age, and Ignaz, who was twelve years older than Franz, gave his little
brother lessons on the pianoforte.

    [Illustration: SCHUBERT.
    From photo RISCHGITZ.]

It was soon clear, however, that neither Ignaz nor his father could
keep pace with Franz's abilities--the boy had himself told Ignaz that
he had no further need of his help, and could go on alone--and it was
decided to send him to the choirmaster of the parish, Michael Holzer,
to learn the violin and piano, as well as singing, the organ, and
thorough-bass. Holzer, in turn, was astonished at the boy's powers,
and assured the father that he had never had such a pupil before. 'If
I wish to teach him anything now,' he declared, 'I find that he knows
it already! I can only listen to him in amazement!'

Franz, with all his devotion to music, was a merry-hearted boy, never
so happy as when, in the play-hour, he found himself surrounded by his
schoolfellows, with whom he was first favourite. By the time he had
reached his eleventh year his voice had acquired such power and beauty
of expression as to procure him the chief soprano's place in the choir
of the parish church, where he also played the violin solos as they
occurred in the service. At home he was even then writing little
songs and pieces for the pianoforte--an early promise of what was to
follow. The family, as we have seen, were poor and hardworking, Ignaz
and Ferdinand were helping their father in the school, and it was
evident, therefore, that the talent which Franz undoubtedly possessed
must be turned to good account as soon as possible. The necessary step
to this end was to obtain his admittance to the Convict, in order that
he might be trained for the Imperial Chapel, and in the meanwhile
receive his education free in return for his services.

Accordingly, one morning in the month of October 1808, Franz, attired
in his suit of grey, presented himself for examination by the Court
Capellmeisters and singing-master. A number of boys were to be
examined at the same time, and whilst they were waiting they indulged
themselves in mirth and jokes at the expense of the short,
chubby-faced, spectacled boy clad in grey, 'Hullo, my friend,' cried
one, who towered a good foot above poor Franz's head, 'how did you
leave your father the miller?'--an allusion to Franz's appearance
which was greeted with a burst of laughter from the other boys. A
second preferred a sarcastic inquiry as to the price of flour, whilst
a third desired to know whether Franz expected to get through in such
a garb--sallies which the victim bore with open good humour, the more
so as he felt conscious of his own powers. And, indeed, the laugh was
soon turned against his mockers; for, when he came to be examined, his
singing of the trial-pieces, in addition to his skill in solving the
problems set him, so astonished his examiners that they passed him
through at once, and he was ordered to don the uniform of the imperial
choristers forthwith. With a glow of pride Franz arrayed himself in
his new dress, which, with its edgings of gold lace, he thought
dazzlingly beautiful after his despised suit of grey.

    [Illustration: '_They indulged in jokes at the expense of the
    spectacled boy._']

Franz's entry into the Convict implied a long separation from home,
but he soon found plenty to occupy his mind and claim his interest.
The school orchestra was a great feature of the new life, in which our
hero, from his home studies, was enabled at once to take a prominent
place. Practice was held daily, and the musicians bent their energies
to mastering the overtures and symphonies of Haydn and Mozart, with
the works of many of the minor masters. Even Beethoven's works were
not considered to be beyond the scope of their powers as time went on.
The work of all others which made the deepest impression on Schubert's
mind at this stage, however, was Mozart's 'G minor Symphony.' 'One can
hear the angels singing in it,' he used to say. But he revelled also
in the overtures to 'Figaro' and the 'Zauberflöte,' and, indeed, the
orchestral music to which he was now introduced opened up to his mind
a vista of never-ending delight.

On the very first day that he took his seat in the orchestra his
clever playing attracted the attention of the leader, a big fellow
named Spaun, who sat immediately in front of him. On turning round to
ascertain who it was that was bringing forth such excellent tone from
his fiddle, and, moreover, playing with such precision, Spaun
discovered it to be 'a small boy in spectacles, named Franz Schubert.'
From that moment big Spaun became little Franz's intimate friend and
counsellor. To him one day Franz, who was characteristically shy of
speaking about himself and his longings, made a blushing admission
that he had already composed a good deal. 'Indeed,' he added, as if in
extenuation, 'indeed, I cannot help it, and I should do it every day,
only I cannot afford to get music-paper.' Spaun grasped the situation
at once, and thenceforth Franz was kept supplied with all the
music-paper he required, a kindness for which he showed his gratitude
by devoting his spare time to composition. In his playing, too, he
made such rapid progress that before long he was taking the first
violin, and on occasions when Ruzicka, the conductor, was not present
he was appointed to lead the orchestra. It was observed by others
besides Ruzicka and Spaun how greatly Schubert's gifts and earnestness
influenced the rest of the players, and tended to increase and
strengthen their taste for good music. His deep sentiment for what was
greatest and best in his art had from the first separated him from his
schoolfellows, and now the magnetism of his genius and earnestness was
drawing them one after another to his side. Franz Schubert had already
become a power in the school.

Visits to the home were only to be made on Sundays and holidays, and
they were events to which he looked forward with the keenest delight.
Performances in which each member could take a share formed the chief
occupation of the family on these occasions. Perhaps Franz had brought
home a quartet of his own writing, and then the father would bring
forth his 'cello, and Ignaz and Ferdinand take first and second
violins, while Franz chose the viola, in order that he might be better
able to judge of the effect, and the work would be played through,
with criticism or approval of its merits at the conclusion. The father
would sometimes play a wrong note; at first Franz would take no
notice, but if the error were repeated he would look up with a smile,
and say gently, 'Herr Vater, something must be wrong there,' and it is
a proof of the rapid progress which he had made in music since the
days of his father's teaching that his judgment in such matters was
never questioned.

    [Illustration: '_His clever playing attracted the attention of
    the leader._']

By degrees a reverence for Beethoven's genius was making itself felt
in regard to Franz's musical studies. Not long before he joined the
school the orchestra had been invited to give a performance at
Schönbrunn, when Beethoven was present, and Franz had listened with
the deepest interest to his schoolfellows' account of their reception
by the great master. One day, when some of his songs had been sung at
a school performance, Franz turned to his friend Spaun with the
inquiry whether the latter thought it possible that he (Franz) would
ever be able to accomplish anything in the shape of composition. To
which Spaun, in surprise, answered that there could be no doubt in the
matter, since he had already done a great deal. 'Perhaps,' replied
Franz thoughtfully; 'I sometimes have dreams of that sort, but who can
do anything after Beethoven?'

With his passionate love for music dominating his thoughts and
energies, it is not surprising that Schubert should have fallen behind
in his ordinary studies. From the point of view of the authorities the
Convict represented a complete school with a strongly-developed
musical side; but for Schubert it existed merely as a means to an end,
and that end music. This fact was apparent in about a year after he
entered the school, nevertheless his popularity suffered no decrease
thereby, for his backwardness in most of the subjects in which other
boys excelled was overshadowed by his extraordinary progress in the
art which was absorbing him so entirely. And as time went on his
desire for composition increased to such an extent that his kind
friend Spaun must often have been taxed to keep pace with his demand
for music-paper. Franz had already begun with methodical care to place
the date of composition upon every piece which he wrote, and thus we
are enabled to ascertain precisely when he composed his first
pianoforte work of importance; it is a fantasia for four hands,
comprising more than twelve movements, and filling thirty-two
closely-written pages of music-paper, and it bears the date, 'April
8--May 1, 1810.' Following this came his first attempt at
song-writing, in the shape of a long piece for voice and pianoforte,
called 'Hagars Klage' (Hagar's Lament over her dying Son), which also
contains twelve movements, and is remarkable for its frequent
unconnected changes of key. Melancholy ideas were evidently uppermost
in Schubert's mind at this time in connection with music, for the
'Hagar' was followed by another piece of even more lugubrious
character, called 'Leichenfantasie' (Corpse-fantasia), a musical
setting of Schiller's grim poem beginning:

    'With a deathlike glimmer
    Stands the moon above the dying trees;
    Sighing wails the Spirit through the night;
          Mists are creeping;
          Stars are peeping
        Pale aloft like torches in a cave.'

He was now fairly launched upon composition, and during the two
succeeding years his pen was not allowed to rest, songs and
instrumental pieces being produced in rapid succession.

Despite the many acts of kindness which he received at the hands of
his friends Franz was made to feel in many ways the want of a little
pocket-money such as fell to the lot of his more fortunate
schoolfellows. He had to contend with numerous discomforts, more
especially in the winter months, when the supplies both of firing and
food were inadequate, and one dark November day we find him sitting
down, chilled and hungry, to pen the following appeal to his brother

'You know from experience that one can often enjoy a roll and an apple
or two, especially when one must wait eight hours and a half after a
poor dinner for a meagre supper. The few groschen which my father
gives me are all spent the first day, and what is one to do the rest
of the time? "Those who hope will not be confounded," says the Bible,
and I firmly believe it. Suppose, for instance, you send me a few
kreutzers monthly. You would never miss them, whilst I should shut
myself up in my cell and be quite happy. St. Matthew also says: "Let
him that hath two coats give one to the poor," In the meantime I trust
you will lend your ear to the voice crying to you incessantly to
remember your poor brother Franz, who loves and confides in you.'

But these long waits between dinner and supper, together with the
hardship of being compelled to sit for hours in a fireless
practice-room, were not destined to endure much longer for Franz. The
termination of his career at the Convict was decided upon in
consequence of his resolution to devote himself wholly to music. He
had a little circle of faithful friends in the school, every one of
whom regarded him as a genius, and who loved him also for his own
sake; they only waited for him to compose in order to perform under
his direction, and they would fain have kept him amongst them; but
they knew his longings, and they realised the impossibility of
retaining so gifted a composer within the compass of their ranks.
Schubert loved them too, and though he went out from their midst to
seek a wider field for his genius, he never forgot that he was one of
them, and as composition after composition flowed from his pen it was
brought to the Convict orchestra to be tried and approved by his
kindest and best of critics.

Apart from this determination to give himself up to music there was no
pressing reason for his leaving the school, for it was reported that
the Emperor himself, having observed Schubert's beautiful voice and
wonderful power of expression, had evinced so much interest in his
progress as to offer him a foundation scholarship in the school, on
condition that he should qualify himself for examination during the
holidays. Schubert, however, had made up his mind, and towards the end
of the year 1813 he quitted the Convict, his farewell being signalised
by the composing of his first Symphony[22] in honour of the birthday
of Dr. Lang, the musical director. A year before this event took
place, the mother, who had worked unceasingly to keep the home
together on the slender means which her husband's calling provided,
had died. Her loss was keenly felt by the family, but by none more
than by Franz himself, who realised how much he owed to the love and
care bestowed upon him in his childhood by this excellent,
hard-working mother.

Schubert was now entering upon his seventeenth year, and stood at the
entrance of a career in music which, judging from his compositions at
the Convict school, must have seemed to his friends to be full of
promise. He himself was full of fire and energy, and longing to follow
in the footsteps of the great masters whose works had inspired his
earliest efforts. But, though as yet perhaps he failed to realise it,
his genius, whatever may have been the source of its inspiration, was
surely leading him towards the path wherein his strength chiefly
lay--a path almost untrodden, and which he alone was destined to adorn
with the choicest flowers of his imagination, in order that others
might enjoy their perfume for evermore--the pathway of song. Already
those early songs to which the school musicians had accorded a
sympathetic hearing as they flowed fresh from his pen evinced to those
capable of judging far more power and individuality than did any of
his more ambitious instrumental compositions.

But, as we have said, Schubert himself probably had not realised this
great truth as yet. He stood at the threshold of a future which gave
him no insight into its possibilities, which for him at that moment
conveyed no more than a hope of fulfilment of his one burning
desire--to write, write, write. It was the pure longing of the true
musician to make mankind at large partakers of his heavenly gift. Let
us remember this of Franz Schubert, because it is absolutely true of
him, and because it helps us to understand his true nature.

Schubert's determination was put to a severe test on leaving the
Convict, for he had hardly returned home ere the dread summons for
enlistment was placed in his hands. The Continental law of
conscription admits of no distinction such as that which Nature
confers upon an individual by the gift of genius; and to escape the
danger which now threatened him, and which, by depriving him of his
liberty for several years to come, appeared to be wholly
insupportable, Schubert seized upon the only remedy which offered
itself. He at once qualified himself for becoming an assistant to his
father in the latter's school. The choice lay between two evils, and
Schubert chose the lesser; for though he cordially detested the
drudgery of teaching, it at least prevented his being called upon to
serve in the ranks, and at the same time secured to him a certain
amount of leisure for composition. Moreover, there was opportunity for
maintaining relations with his little circle of intimates at the
Convict--a privilege which Schubert could not have forgone without a
severe pang--as well as for making new friends.

It is easy to imagine the reluctance with which Schubert went about
his daily task of teaching the infant class in his father's school.
Every minute thus spent must have seemed to him an hour, and probably
the little ones, no less than their impatient teacher himself,
breathed a deep sigh of relief when the play-hour arrived. To Schubert
it meant freedom for work--real work--when he could fly to his desk,
and write down the musical thoughts which he had been burning to
express the whole morning. Impatient as he felt under the constraint
put upon him he never complained; probably the dread of the
conscription was constantly haunting him, for no fewer than three
summonses to serve reached him at this time. There were, moreover,
bright intervals in the round of scholastic work, when he could forget
that he was a schoolmaster, and throw himself heart and soul into his
art. He had lately made the acquaintance of a musical family named
Grob, residing in the Lichtenthal, comprising a mother and her son and
daughter, in whose house he was received on terms of friendship, quite
as much for himself as for his music. Therese Grob possessed a fine
soprano voice, with which she did full justice to the songs which
Schubert brought to her to sing, whilst Heinrich Grob played both the
pianoforte and the 'cello, with the result that many evenings were
passed in musical enjoyment. His circle of admirers at the Convict,
too, were always eager to welcome every new piece that he found time
to compose. Nor had he forgotten his old friend and master Holzer, the
organist and choir-master at the Lichtenthal Church, who had been the
first to acknowledge his talents. Schubert regularly attended the
church, and this fact, combined with his affection for the old
organist, led to his writing his first Mass for performance by the
church choir. The performance, on October 16, 1814, excited so much
interest that it was repeated on the 26th of the same month at the
Augustine Church. The latter occasion was one not likely to be soon
forgotten by those who were present. Franz conducted, the choir being
led by Holzer, whilst Ferdinand presided at the organ, and Therese
Grob sang the part for first solo voices. Amongst the audience was
Antonio Salieri, Court Capellmeister at Vienna, whom Beethoven had
acknowledged as his master, and who now, having praised Schubert
warmly for his work, declared that the latter should henceforth be his
pupil. Every one was delighted, and the father felt so proud and happy
that he signalised the event by presenting Franz with a five-octave
piano. To be able to rank himself with Beethoven as 'scholar of
Salieri' was indeed a high reward for Schubert, and the old man was
as good as his word, for he gave his new pupil daily lessons for a
considerable time.

    [Illustration: '_Many evenings were passed in musical

The year 1814 did not close without witnessing a striking addition to
the pile of manuscript by which the young schoolmaster-composer was
surrounded. How variously his mind was swayed during this period we may
understand from the fact that he had hardly finished the third act of a
comic opera[23] ('Des Teufels Lustschloss'--The Devil's
Pleasure-Castle) before setting to work on his 'Mass in F' which we
have just mentioned. The compositions of this year also include
seventeen songs, and one at least of these, the beautiful 'Gretchen am
Spinnrade' (Gretchen at her Spinning-wheel), we may regard as a
forerunner of the immortal songs that were to follow. And now, too, the
special circumstance which was destined to influence Schubert in
choosing the path wherein his genius found its most fitting expression
was near at hand. One afternoon in December of this year a friend took
him to call upon a poet named Johann Mayrhofer, the words of a poem by
whom Schubert had set to music a few days before. They found the poet
at his lodgings, situated in one of the darkest and gloomiest streets
of the city. The apartment contained little furniture beyond a worn-out
piano and a worm-eaten bookcase filled with well-used books, and the
general air of neglect and dilapidation was heightened by the fact that
the window was overshadowed by a huge building on the opposite side of
the narrow street. Gloomy and cheerless as it was in appearance, the
room was in keeping with the character of the man who occupied it.
Johann Mayrhofer was regarded by his acquaintance as an hypochondriac,
whose general depression of spirits entered largely into his poetical
writings. But those who knew him intimately were aware of a gentle and
tender side to his ordinarily stern nature. He was, in fact, a 'lonely,
self-contained, self-taught man'--one whose gifts conveyed to him the
ability to discern and appreciate beauty, but at the same time left him
powerless to banish from his mind the thought of evil working its
destructive influence both upon himself and his surroundings. Upon the
impressionable mind of Schubert--already attuned to sadness--the
personality of Mayrhofer exercised a special charm, and the two at once
became fast friends. The attraction, however, was perfectly mutual, for
Schubert's friendship helped to mature Mayrhofer's powers, with the
result that the one wrote in order that the other might set to music
that which was written, and to this alliance we are indebted for some
of Schubert's finest songs.

Every moment that could be snatched from the drudgery of the
schoolroom was now devoted to composition, and the year following that
in which the acquaintance with Mayrhofer began furnishes the most
remarkable testimony to Schubert's powers. In this year (1815) he
composed no fewer than a hundred and thirty-seven songs, and six
operas and melodramas, in addition to a great deal of Church and
chamber music and pieces for the pianoforte. Of the songs, twenty-nine
were written in August alone, eight of this number bearing one date,
August 15, and seven more being produced on the 19th of the same
month. A wonderful year, indeed, and our astonishment is increased
when we reflect that many of these songs, written as they were under
conditions which would seem to have precluded the possibility of their
having been matured and developed in his mind before being written
down, are deservedly placed amongst the most immortal of Schubert's
works. When, too, the extraordinary length of some of the songs is
taken into account--fifty-five pages of closely-written manuscript in
one case, twenty-two pages of print in another--one marvels how the
time could have been found for the mere mechanical process of writing
them down.

To enumerate the songs included in this long list would take up too
much space, but the story of how one great song came to be written
must be told here. Mayrhofer could claim friendship with Goethe, and
it was doubtless through Mayrhofer that Schubert's attention was first
drawn to the writings of the great German poet. One afternoon in the
winter of this year 1815, the 'old Convicter' Spaun called upon
Schubert, and found him in his room intently writing music, with a
book of poems by his side. On inquiring what it was that absorbed his
attention, Schubert looked up with a face aglow with inspiration. 'Oh,
I have come across _such_ a poem!' he exclaimed. 'Have you ever read
it? It is Goethe's "Erl King."' Without giving his friend time to
reply he turned once more to his paper, and recommenced jotting down
the notes with astonishing rapidity. Spaun sat by, wondering, but not
daring to disturb him. At length Schubert threw down his pen with a
sigh. 'It is finished,' said he, 'and now let us look it through.' It
was the first sketch of the famous song of the 'Erl King,' and when
the accompaniment had been filled in, the two friends conveyed the
manuscript to the Convict. His old friends and admirers soon formed a
group around the piano, and Schubert, sitting down, sang the song
through, and then one of the school singers sang it after him. To
Schubert's surprise--and the fact comes to us with something like a
shock--the first hearing of the 'Erl King' was received by the Convict
orchestra with some coldness. The truth is the dramatic force
embodied in the music was too strong for them--it fairly took their
breath away; it was so unlike anything that Schubert had hitherto
produced, or that they had ever heard. And when he came to the
passage, 'Mein Vater, mein Vater, jetzt fasst er mich an!' in which an
apparent disharmony discovered itself, one or two of the listeners
ventured to express their dissent, and it was necessary for Herr
Ruzicka, the professor of harmony who was present, to explain to his
pupils that the conjunction was permissible. Of the 'Erl King' our
story will have more to relate later on; in the meantime we may remark
that the rapidity of its composition leaves no room for doubt that it
was in itself as pure a piece of inspiration as any other of
Schubert's works that could be named, and, furthermore, that it
affords a striking instance of the power which he possessed of
grasping, almost at a single glance, the musical significance of a
poem which appealed strongly to the emotions.

Unquestionably, however, the monotony of his school work weighed
heavily upon his mind, and, in his own opinion, was cramping his
powers of production. The longing to be free to devote himself wholly
to his art was intensified day by day, and when, in the following
year, he learnt that a director was about to be appointed at a
newly-created Government school of music at Laibach, near Trieste, he
hastened to apply for the post. True, the salary was only £21 a year,
but the gaining of the position would mean instant freedom from his
present bondage, and to Schubert that implied almost everything. It is
evident, however, that those who recommended him for the post were by
no means convinced of his fitness for governing, for their letters
were but half-hearted, and the selection fell upon another man who, it
turned out, was also recommended by one of Schubert's supporters.

The depression resulting from his disappointment was soon to be
relieved by the agency of a new friend. A young man, named Franz von
Schober, of good family and some private means, came to Vienna with
the object of entering the University. Some time before taking this
step Franz Schober had met with several of Schubert's songs, which at
that date were being circulated in manuscript, and, lover of music as
he was, the young student had revelled in the beauties of the unknown
composer, and longed to make his acquaintance. When, therefore, he
reached Vienna he lost no time in finding his way to the Schubert home
in the Himmelpfortgrund. He found Schubert seated at his desk busily
writing, for Schober had happened upon a favourable moment when school
was over for the day. Little did the composer dream, as he heard his
visitor announced, that his deliverance from the bondage which had
become wellnigh insupportable, was so close at hand. A few minutes'
intercourse sufficed to show the two young men that their sympathies
and interests lay on a common plane. Schubert, quick to detect the
sympathy which Schober was not loath to express, felt drawn towards
his new friend, whilst Schober, for his part, as he glanced at the
piles of manuscript which occupied every available space in the small
room, evinced so deep an astonishment at the evidence of such untiring
industry that Schubert was fain to tell him in a few words how he was
placed, and of his longings for freedom. Then Schober saw his
opportunity for rendering a service which he hoped might prove as
acceptable to Schubert as it would be congenial to himself--would not
Schubert consent to live with him, at any rate, for a time? Schober
had a claim on which to found this proffer--namely, that he was
already well known to Spaun, to whose medium, indeed, was due the fact
that Schubert's songs had been first brought under his notice.
Franz's heart leapt within him at the prospect of being able to give
his whole time to his beloved music; he could not refuse a request so
modestly and tactfully conveyed, and obviously so kindly meant, and
the tears started to the eyes of both as the young men grasped each
other by the hand. It was not difficult for Schubert to obtain his
father's consent to the arrangement, for there was more than a
suspicion that the latter was not altogether satisfied with the manner
in which Franz had of late fulfilled his scholastic duties--a fact
which need occasion no surprise when his strong musical temperament is
taken into consideration.

Thus it came about that Schubert gained his release, and the two
friends took up residence together at Schober's lodgings. Schubert,
however, was not inclined to live entirely at his friend's expense,
and so, unwillingly enough, he gave a few music-lessons. But not for
long--the same unconquerable dislike to teaching in any shape or form
asserted itself, and the pupils vanished. He might easily have secured
more pupils had he so desired, for there were many friends, moving in
higher circles than his own, who were ready to assist him; but it is
just here that we get a glimpse of Schubert's true character. He had
no aspiration to mingle with those whom, in his modest, unaffected
way, he considered to be above him. He valued friendship, from
whomsoever it came, but his whole nature was opposed to turning the
advances of the rich or great to his own advantage. Unlike Beethoven,
he had no faculty for 'imposing' on the aristocracy (to borrow
Beethoven's favourite phrase for describing his own relations with
those of superior rank to himself); on the contrary, Schubert courted
no society beyond that of his own class--in which, indeed, his
affections wholly centred themselves, and in which alone his true
nature allowed itself to be revealed. It is a strong instance of this
feeling that he loved best of all the praise that came from the
members of his own family, and next that which emanated from his own
circle of friends. Nevertheless, whatever of class distinction may
have influenced Schubert in the distribution of his affections and in
the revelation of himself, no such barrier existed in the minds of
those who were drawn to his side; in a word, he was loved by all who
knew him without regard to rank, wealth, or age.

The year 1821 found Schubert, at the age of twenty-four, a composer of
more than seven years' standing, and yet almost unknown outside the
circle of his friends and acquaintance. Since the date when he went to
reside with Schober he had continued to pour forth his compositions
without intermission, and yet so far not a single work had been
printed. True, many of his songs had been sung from manuscript before
large and appreciative audiences at the musical meetings organised by
the father of Leopold Sonnleithner, one of Schubert's old
schoolfellows, and the most faithful of friends; but when the leading
Vienna publishers were asked to undertake the publication of the song
which had evoked the greatest enthusiasm when rendered by the
well-known amateur Gymnich, they shook their heads. The composer was
unknown, and with so difficult an accompaniment as that of the 'Erl
King' the sale of the song could not be great. Such was the opinion of
the publishers; but, to their honour let it be recorded, Sonnleithner
and Gymnich refused to be influenced by this adverse verdict. They
instantly resolved to print the song at their own risk, and when the
next concert took place at the Sonnleithner mansion the resolution was
announced. One hundred copies were subscribed for on the spot, and
with this substantial encouragement the engraving of the 'Erl King'
and a second song, 'Gretchen am Spinnrade,' was at once proceeded
with, the sale of these songs being undertaken by the music publishers
on commission. The enterprise was attended by so much success that its
promoters were enabled to proceed with the publication of further
songs, until, when the seventh had been reached, the publishers deemed
themselves perfectly safe in assuming the entire risk of publication,
and the eighth work appeared on May 9, 1822, as 'the property of the

A great step towards the establishment of Schubert's fame was thus
assured; but we must pause in our story to recount the means by which,
apart from the initiative taken in the matter by his faithful friends,
Schubert's recognition at the hands of the public was brought about.
On March 7, 1821, the 'Erl King' was sung by Johann Vogl, a famous
opera singer in Vienna at that time, at a public concert held under
royal patronage. The song was received with storms of applause, and
from this point the public demand for Schubert's writings commenced.
The attention of Vogl, whose intellectual gifts are said to have
outshone even his vocal attainments, had been drawn to Schubert's
songs some five years before the event just mentioned. Franz Schober,
who knew him well as a visitor at his father's house, had pressed the
singer to accompany him to his lodgings in order to be introduced to
Schubert, and Vogl had smilingly acquiesced. Schober's praises of his
newfound friend had sounded so often in Vogl's ears that the request
could not be refused. Schober was certain that the great man would be
enchanted with Schubert's writings, at which the actor-singer had only
smiled once more; he deemed it to be merely youthful enthusiasm
influenced by personal affection. On reaching the lodgings in the
Landkrongasse they had found Schubert hard at work as usual, and the
floor as well as the table strewn with sheets of music-paper. Vogl,
whose society was courted by all ranks, at once made himself at home,
and did his best by a few gay sallies to put the composer at his ease.
In this, however, he was quite unsuccessful. The fact that there was a
difference of twenty years between their respective ages, when added
to the singer's popularity, may have partly accounted for the failure;
at any rate, Schubert was overwhelmed by confusion, and had nothing to
say in his own behalf. Vogl thereupon took up several of the songs,
humming them to himself as he went along, and Schober, watching him
intently, saw his interest deepen, until at length, despite his great
experience as a singer, he was evidently impressed by what he read.
When he left he shook Schubert's hand warmly, and said: 'There is
stuff in you, but you squander your fine thoughts instead of making
the most of them.'

    [Illustration: '_They found Schubert hard at work._']

Nevertheless, Schober was right; Vogl had been deeply impressed, and
the visit marked the beginning of a close friendship. Schubert soon
learned to appreciate Vogl's sincerity and advice, and as time went on
the latter's visits became more and more frequent, until the picture
might often have been seen of Vogl singing Schubert's latest songs to
the latter's accompaniment. To the completeness of this union Schubert
himself testifies in a letter to his brother Ferdinand: 'When Vogl
sings and I accompany him we seem for the moment to be one.' Vogl, for
his part, afterwards wrote of Schubert's songs that they were 'truly
Divine inspirations, utterances of a musical _clairvoyance!_' and he
emphasised the fact, which had not hitherto been appreciated, that
'the finest poems of our greatest poets may be enhanced and even
transcended when translated into musical language'--an important
testimony to the great service which Schubert was rendering to vocal

The five years which had elapsed since the friendship with Vogl began
had been passed in the production, as we have seen, of an immense mass
of compositions covering almost every branch of the art; but as none
of these works had so far produced any money it is obvious that, for
the first two years after leaving his father's house, Schubert must
have been dependent upon the hospitality of his friends. His residence
with Schober lasted only six months, at the end of which time
Schober's brother came to reside with him, and Schubert had to give up
his room. Teaching was entirely distasteful to him, as we know; yet we
can well understand that the pressure of circumstances alone may have
compelled him to accept, in the summer of 1818, an engagement as
music-teacher in the family of Count Johann Esterhazy. The terms of
this engagement were that he should spend the summer months with the
family at their seat at Zelész, in Hungary, returning with them to
Vienna for the winter. How difficult it must have been for Schubert to
sever himself, even for a time, from the circle of which he was the
life and centre, in order to enter a family belonging to those ranks
with which he avowedly had nothing in common, may be imagined. Within
his own circle he was adored--nay, worshipped--by one and all. The
life, too, was so entirely free and unrestrained; the members
addressed each other by nicknames. Schubert had several pet names,
amongst them the 'Tyrant,' from his affectionate persecution of young
Hüttenbrenner, who in return lavished upon him the affection of a
slave for his idol. They were all boisterous, merry, life-loving
spirits, venting their feelings in howls, repartees, sham-fights, and
mock-concerts--there is even a story of their 'performing' the 'Erl
King,' with Schubert himself accompanying them on a tooth-comb! The
change from this unconventional life to the aristocratic surroundings
of Zelész was therefore immense; yet Schubert was not unhappy. The
family were musical, the comforts were undeniable, and the duties not
so heavy as to preclude his enjoying a considerable amount of leisure
for composition.

At Zelész he heard for the first time many of the national Hungarian
melodies sung or played by the gypsies, or by the servants at the
castle, and their beauty seems to have been impressed upon his memory
by the beautiful country in which he took his rambles. Later on he was
to give these airs an artistic setting in the shape of his 'First
Waltzes.' Of one of his pieces--the 'Divertissement à la
hongroise'--it is told that returning late one afternoon from a walk,
he lingered beside the open window of the kitchen, in order to listen
to the air which was being sung by the kitchen-maid within as she
leaned against the fireplace. He wrote frequent letters to his
friends--his home circle--whom he addresses as his 'dearest, fondest
friends, Spaun, Schober, Mayrhofer, and Senn--you who are everything
to me.' He entreats them to write soon: 'Every syllable of yours is
dear to me.' Nobody is overlooked or forgotten, for his messages
include 'all possible acquaintances.' As for himself, he speaks of his
happiness and good health, and tells them that he 'is composing like a
god.' As regards his duties, he describes himself as 'composer,
manager, audience, everything in one.' 'No one here,' he says in
another letter, 'cares for true art, unless it be now and then the
Countess, so I am left alone with my beloved, and have to hide her in
my room, or my piano, or my own breast. If this often makes me sad, on
the other hand it often elevates me all the more. Several songs have
lately come into existence, and I hope very successful ones.' Of his
relations with the family he says: 'The Count is a little rough; the
Countess proud, but not without heart; the young ladies good children.
I need not tell you, who know me so well, that with my natural
frankness I am good friends with everybody.'

A letter[24] of this time, written to his brother Ferdinand, affords a
pleasing insight into his frank, loving nature, as well as an instance
of his fondness for his old home. Ferdinand had sent him a Requiem of
his own composing to look over.

                                        _August 24, 1818._

     'It is half-past eleven at night, and your Requiem is ready. It
     has made me sorrowful, as you may believe, for I sang it with
     all my heart. What is wanting you can fill in, and put the
     words under the music and the signs above. And if you want much
     rehearsal you must do it yourself, without asking me in Zelész.
     Things are not going well with you; I wish you could change
     with me, so that for once you might be happy. You should find
     all your heavy burdens gone, dear brother; I heartily wish it
     could be so. My foot is asleep, and I am mad with it. If the
     fool could only write it wouldn't go to sleep!

     'Good morning, my boy, I have been asleep with my foot, and now
     go on with my letter at eight o'clock on the 25th. I have one
     request to make in answer to yours. Give my love to my dear
     parents, brothers, sisters, friends, and acquaintances,
     especially not forgetting Carl.[25] Didn't he mention me in his
     letter? As for my friends in the town, bully them, or get some
     one to bully them well, till they write to me. Tell my
     mother[26] that my linen is well looked after, and that I am
     well off, thanks to her motherly care. [After asking for some
     articles of clothing, for which he will send the money very
     soon, he proceeds.] For July, with the journey-money, I got 200
     florins [about £8].... Though I am so well and happy, and every
     one so good to me, yet I shall be immensely glad when the
     moment arrives for going to Vienna. Beloved Vienna, all that is
     dear and valuable to me is there, and nothing but the actual
     sight of it will stop my longing! Again entreating you to
     attend to all my requests, I remain, with much love to all,
     your true and sincere.

                                   'FRANZ MPIA.'

The story of Schubert's life, from the time when by the powerful aid
of his friend Vogl the musical public of Vienna were awakened to the
fact that a composer of rare quality was working in their midst
unknown, unfolds itself to us as a record of continuous struggle,
relieved by occasional success. It is true that as he became better
known the appreciation of his works spread far beyond the confines of
his native city; at the same time it must be remembered that his
poverty was extreme. As yet his works had brought him little or
nothing; add to this his native bashfulness, together with the fact
that his marvellous productive powers were animated by no desire to
push himself where, as a composer, he had every right to be; that he
was always retiring, and always modestly undervaluing everything he
produced; that even when he had finished a fine composition it was
often put aside in some receptacle and forgotten; that, in a word, he
wrote, not for the public eye, not for praise, but simply and solely
because he was impelled by the spirit within him. When we consider all
this it need not surprise us to learn that Schubert's progress in a
worldly sense was slow and halting. Again, his physical strength was
by no means adapted to bear the immense strain which this continuous
labour involved; and when we learn that his mode of living was most
irregular (when he was not staying with friends he would be living
from hand to mouth in poor lodgings by himself), and that his
sensitive overstrung nature was denied the nourishment which it so
sorely needed--a result due in part to his distresses, but partly also
to his improvidence--we can form a tolerably clear picture of the
manner in which his days were passed.

Yet if his distresses and anxieties were so many dense clouds shutting
out, for months together, the sunshine and warmth from his life, that
life itself, taken as a whole, was by no means destitute of
happiness. The musical temperament is one which cannot be cast down
for long; let the cloud-rift be ever so small, it suffices to let in a
flood of sunshine to such a nature as that which Schubert possessed.
But how much happier might his life have been if, in the absence of
the ability to manage his own affairs to better advantage, some one
had been at hand to take this responsibility off his shoulders. Alas!
not one of his friends seems to have assumed this important part,
notwithstanding the affection they professed for him. Left to himself,
no sooner had his songs attained a marketable value than, pressed by
hunger and the other necessaries of life, he consented to part with
the copyright of the first twelve of his published songs--including in
this number the 'Erl King' and the 'Wanderer'--for the sum of eight
hundred silver gulden (equal to eighty pounds sterling), and this in
face of the fact that more than eight hundred copies of the 'Erl King'
had already been sold![27]

Of his improvidence there is much that could be told; his inherent
good nature was never proof against imposition, and he gave away as
freely as he earned. Moreover, he was regarded by a certain set of his
friends as a Croesus, or, rather, as a never-failing coiner of
money, and two of these so-called friends were not ashamed to live
openly upon his easy-going, careless ways, under the pretence of
sharing the expenses of a joint lodging. The partnership, if such it
could be called where one was called upon to find the money, extended
even to articles of clothing--boots, hats, coats, cravats, etc., being
regarded as common property--whilst if one of the trio found himself
unable to pay his reckoning, it fell to the lot of the 'man of wealth'
to discharge his obligation. Needless to say, this friendly office was
cheerfully filled by Schubert for either or both of his companions.
Great was the jubilation when the composer brought back the news that
he had sold a piece of music. For the time being he was regarded by
the others as literally swimming in money, and expected to spend right
and left so long as it lasted, and then they would all go short until
the next piece of luck came along. One day, when the trio were in very
low water, Schubert and one of the others met at a small coffee-house
and surprised each other in the act of ordering coffee and biscuits,
because neither could summon from his pockets the requisite
amount--namely, eightpence halfpenny--wherewith to pay for a dinner!

But no amount of distress could check his capacity for work. Save
during the hours of sleep, his pen would seem never to have been idle;
even whilst talking to a friend who was waiting to take him for a
walk, he was jotting down at great speed one of his most beautiful
dramatic ballads, the 'Zwerg.' Another friend, Carl Umlauff, has
related how he used to go to Schubert's lodgings in the mornings, and
find him lying in bed jotting down musical ideas; at other times he
would be out of bed, clad in his dressing-gown, composing at his
standing-desk. Writing would go on till two o'clock. 'When I have done
one piece I begin the next,' was his own way of describing the
continuity of his work, and it is known that a single morning produced
no fewer than six songs. The afternoon would be devoted to
music-making at the house of a friend, or to a walk in the suburbs,
whilst the evening would be divided between a pipe at the Gasthaus
with his companions, and a visit to the theatre or the house of a
musical friend. The hours reserved for sleep were constantly being
curtailed by the encroachments of nightly pleasures, and yet he was
always ready to seize his pen and begin work directly he was awake.
The story even goes that he slept in his spectacles in order to save
the trouble and time of putting them on in the morning!

His omnivorous appetite for setting to music every poem which struck
his fancy--whether it were suited for the purpose of a song, or, what
is far more important, in any way worthy of the setting which he
proposed to give to it--was one of Schubert's most marked
characteristics. Another was the rapidity with which, having once
grasped the sense of the words, he translated them into music, and
such music, let it be remembered, as was destined in many cases to
live for ever. Like the 'Erl King,' the beautiful song the 'Wanderer'
was composed in the space of a few hours; again, with respect to the
strikingly beautiful collection of songs known as the 'Schöne
Müllerin,' the poems were lighted upon quite by accident. Schubert was
visiting a friend, and when the latter was called away he picked up a
volume of Müller's poems which was lying upon the table; he grew
interested in them, the friend delayed his return, and finally
Schubert put the book in his pocket and went home. The next morning,
when the friend called to apologise for his detention and to inquire
for the missing volume, he found that Schubert had already set several
of the poems to music. What Schumann the composer wrote of Schubert
was true: 'Everything that he touched he turned into music.' One day
in the month of July, 1826, he was returning with his friends from a
Sunday walk through the village of Währing, and, passing by a
beer-garden, he espied an acquaintance seated at one of the tables. On
joining him Schubert found he was reading a volume of Shakespeare; he
seized the book, and began turning over the pages, and then, drawing
his friends' attention to the line, 'Hark, hark, the lark,' he
exclaimed: 'Such a lovely melody has come into my head, if I had but
some music-paper!' One of his companions seized a bill-of-fare, and on
the back of it scribbled a few staves, and then, upon the spot, 'amid
the hubbub of the beer-garden, that beautiful song, so perfectly
fitting the words, so skilful and so happy in its accompaniment, came
into perfect existence.' Later on in the evening of the same day he
added to this creation two more songs from Shakespeare--the
drinking-song from 'Antony and Cleopatra,' and the well-known 'Who is
Sylvia?' In the instances just given Schubert's choice could not have
been more happily made; but this does not render it less difficult for
us to understand why in so many cases he should have elected to
immortalise by his music poems devoid of merit both in feeling and

We have seen something of Schubert's veneration for Beethoven as a
grand personality, even before the latter's music had begun to take
hold of him. At first there is no doubt that the music of Mozart had
the greatest fascination for him; there is evidence of this in
Schubert's early instrumental works, and in the following passage from
his diary, penned after he had heard one of Mozart's quintets played
in 1816: 'Gently, as if out of the distance, did the magic tones of
Mozart's music strike my ears. With what inconceivable, alternate
force and tenderness did Schlesinger's masterly playing impress it
deep, deep into my heart! Such lovely impressions remain on the soul,
there to work for good, past all power of time or circumstance. In the
darkness of this life they reveal a clear, bright, beautiful prospect,
inspiring confidence and hope. O Mozart, immortal Mozart! what
countless consolatory images of a bright better world hast thou
stamped on our souls,' Beethoven was a great personality then, but as
time went on the influence of his music grew ever stronger. So far,
however, Schubert had been content to worship his hero at a distance,
for which purpose he would haunt the restaurant at which Beethoven
usually dined. But in 1822 he published a set of Variations on a
French Air, which he dedicated to Beethoven 'as his admirer and
worshipper,' and his longing to present these in person to the
composer was so great as to overcome his natural timidity.
Accordingly, accompanied by the publisher, Diabelli, he called at
Beethoven's house; they found the composer at home, and a courteous
but somewhat formal welcome was accorded them. This in itself was bad
enough for poor Schubert, whose courage straightway forsook him; but
when Beethoven proceeded to hand to him the bundle of paper and the
carpenter's pencil which, owing to his deafness, he kept in readiness
for his visitors, Schubert's shyness prevented him writing a single
word. The production of the Variations afforded a welcome relief to
his confusion, and as Beethoven was in an uncommonly good humour the
dedication pleased him very much. The effect of the diversion,
however, was only momentary, for Beethoven, looking through the
composition, lighted upon something to which he took exception, and
forthwith proceeded to point it out to his visitor. This was the last
straw, and Schubert, losing his presence of mind altogether, fled from
the room. On reaching the street his courage returned, and too late he
thought of all that he might have said. Let us complete the anecdote
by relating that Schubert derived some consolation from the knowledge
that Beethoven not only retained the Variations, but was very pleased
with them, and often played them over with his nephew.

    [Illustration: '_Schubert fled from the room._']

It was not until five years after this event that Beethoven realised
how great a singer had been uttering his sweet notes within the span
of the city in which he lived, and then the master lay upon his
death-bed. Into his hands had been placed a collection of Schubert's
songs, some sixty in all, and as he turned them over his attention was
arrested by their beauty, and he uttered frequent expressions of
surprise and delight. But even greater was his astonishment when he
learned that there were more than five hundred of such songs extant.
'How can he have found time,' he asked, 'for the setting of such long
poems, many of them containing ten others?' (by which he meant to
convey that they were as long as ten ordinary poems). For several
days the collection occupied his attention. 'Ah, if I had had this
poem I would have set it myself!' he would exclaim. 'Truly, Schubert
has the Divine fire in him!' He made frequent references to Schubert,
expressing his regret that he had not sooner known him for the
composer he was, and prophesying a great future for him in the world
of music. Schubert himself longed to pay his respects to the master he
revered so highly, and one day, in company with his friends Anselm
Hüttenbrenner and Schindler (both of whom were well known to
Beethoven), he presented himself at the door of the sick man's
chamber. Schindler informed Beethoven of their arrival, and asked who
he would like to see first. 'Schubert may come in first,' was the
reply. Before they left, Beethoven, regarding them with a smile, said:
'You, Anselm, have my mind, but Franz has my soul.' When for the
second time Schubert found his way to the bedside of the master death
was very near, and though as they stood around the bed he made signs
to them with his hand to show that he recognised their presence, he
could not speak, and, overcome with emotion, Schubert quitted the

A little more than three weeks after the second visit Schubert was
walking as one of the torch-bearers beside the coffin of his loved
master, as the latter was borne to his last resting-place in the
Währinger cemetery. On the way back Schubert and his friends passed
through the Himmelpfortgrund, close to the old home, and, entering a
tavern, called for wine. Schubert, having filled his glass, raised it
aloft: 'I drink,' said he, 'to the memory of Beethoven.' Then once
more filling the glass, he drained it to the first of the three
friends then present, who was destined to follow the master to his

Little did Schubert dream that he was emptying his glass to his own
memory! Nor in the eyes of his friends would there seem to have been
anything in his appearance at that moment which could be taken as
foreshadowing the early closing of that eager, active life. Gazing at
him then, as he sat drinking his grim toast, the picture presented to
his companions was that of a short, stout, thick-set man of about
thirty, with a head of thick, black hair, disposed in crisp curls,
bushy eyebrows, and a pair of bright black eyes which beamed through
his spectacles. The face was round with full cheeks, the complexion
pasty, the nose short and insignificant, the lips full and protruding,
the jaw broad and strong; the hands, like the rest of the body, were
plump, and the fingers thick and short. There was nothing striking
about his general expression; but when the conversation turned upon
music, and especially if Beethoven were the topic of discussion, his
eyes would brighten at once, and the whole face light up with

As he sat in the dingy parlour of the little tavern, beaming upon his
friends, whilst the minds of all three were rapt by the solemn event
which they had just witnessed, the proximity of death within that
circle was not contemplated. Yet the story of his life shows us that
the period which had elapsed between the date of his presenting his
Variations to Beethoven and that of his first visit to the composer on
his death-bed had been full of anxieties and bitter disappointments;
and there is no doubt that the continuous struggle for existence,
coupled with the strain of unceasing work, had only too surely
undermined a constitution which could never have been robust.

One of Schubert's greatest longings was to write for the stage. The
longing was evident almost at the first, and it grew with his strength
and the consciousness of his powers as a composer. As the finger of
fame beckoned him forward it had directed his steps to the theatre as
the goal of his aspirations, and it was upon the attainment of this
object that he lavished all the later powers of his genius--only,
alas! to reap the bitter fruit of disappointment. One after another of
his operas was rejected, even, as in the case of 'Fierabras,' when at
the very point of production--the reasons assigned in each case being
either the unsuitableness of the libretto or the difficulties
presented by the music, and the door which he hoped to enter was
closed against him during his lifetime. The score of 'Fierabras'
comprised no fewer than one thousand pages, and the mournful state
into which he was thrown by its rejection may be gathered by an
extract from a letter penned just after the fate of the opera had been
sealed. He refers to himself as 'the most unfortunate, most miserable
being on earth,' and proceeds: 'Think of a man whose health can never
be restored, and who from sheer despair makes matters worse instead of
better. Think, I say, of a man whose brightest hopes have come to
nothing, to whom love and friendship are but torture, and whose
enthusiasm for the beautiful is fast vanishing, and ask yourself if
such a man is not truly unhappy.

    'My peace is gone, my heart is sore,
    Gone for ever and evermore.

This is my daily cry; for every night I go to sleep hoping never again
to wake, and every morning only brings back the torment of the day
before.... I have composed two operas for nothing.'

Thus sadly he wrote in the hour of bitterness, but happily for
Schubert, and still more fortunately for us, there were brighter days
yet in store for him, and the enthusiasm for the beautiful, which he
speaks of as 'fast vanishing,' returned in all its accustomed force.
No disappointment, however great, seemed to have the power to check
the flow of production--that is the one great point which we notice
about Schubert's life; we find him at one moment despairing, but at
the next his troubles appear to be forgotten, and he is immersed in
the writing of another song, another symphony, or another sonata, as
the case may be; but it is always work, work in the face of every
obstacle that fortune can throw in his way. 'His life is all summed up
in his music.' 'Music and music alone was to him all in all. It was
not his _principal_ mode of expression, it was his _only_ one; it
swallowed up every other. His afternoon walks, his evening amusements,
were all so many preparations for the creations of the following
morning.'[28] And so it continued until the end. The very last year of
his busy life, far from exhibiting any diminution of his powers, is
marked by the production of some of his very finest works.

It was not until the end of October, 1828, that the signs of serious
illness made themselves apparent in attacks of giddiness, accompanied
by a marked loss of strength. Schubert was at this time living with
his brother Ferdinand at the latter's house in the Neue Wieden
suburb--the house is now known as No. 6, Kettenbrücken Gasse--having
removed thither on the advice of his doctor for the sake of the fresh
air and the adjacent country. Although he rallied somewhat during the
first week of November, and was able to resume his walks and discuss
his plans for the future, the weakness increased, and on the 11th he
wrote to his friend Schober what was destined to be his last letter:


     'I am ill. I have eaten and drunk nothing for eleven days, and
     I am so tired and shaky that I can only get from the bed to the
     chair, and back. Rinna is attending me.... In this distressing
     condition be so kind as to help me to some reading. Of Cooper's
     I have read the "Last of the Mohicans," the "Spy," the "Pilot,"
     and the "Pioneers." If you have anything else of his I entreat
     you to leave it with Frau von Bogner at the Coffee-house. My
     brother, who is conscientiousness itself, will bring it to me
     in the most conscientious way. Or anything else. Your friend,


On the 14th he took to his bed, but for two days more he was able to
sit up and correct the proofs of some of the songs in the
'Winterreise.' He grew rapidly weaker, however, and by the 17th he was
quite delirious. On the evening of the next day he called Ferdinand to
his side, and, bidding him put his ear close to his mouth, he
whispered: 'Brother, what are they doing with me?' 'Dear Franz,' was
the reply, 'they are doing all they can to get you well again, and the
doctor assures us you will soon be all right, only you must do your
best to stay in bed.' For a space the sick man lay quiet, then, as the
delirium increased, his mind reverted to the same idea: 'I implore you
to put me in my own room, and not to leave me in this corner under the
earth. Don't I deserve a place above ground?' 'Dear Franz,' cried his
brother, 'be calm--trust your brother Ferdinand, whom you have always
trusted, and who loves you so dearly. You are in the room which you
always had, and lying on your own bed.' 'Ah, no,' replied the dying
composer, 'that cannot be true, for Beethoven is not here!' Thus in
his last moments his poor, wandering mind was dwelling upon the master
whom he reverenced; to be near him, even in death, was the last wish,
the last hope to which he clung!

When, later on, the doctor came, he tried to reassure the sufferer
with hopes of recovery; but Schubert gazed at him with earnestness
without speaking, and then, turning himself away, he beat the wall
with his hands, saying in slow, earnest tone: 'Here, here is my end,'
At three o'clock in the afternoon of the following day, November 19,
1828, he breathed his last. Thus passed away, in comparative youth, a
composer of whom it has been written: 'There never has been one like
him, and there never will be another.'

The funeral took place on November 21, and a large number of friends
gathered to pay their last respects to the dead composer as he lay in
his coffin, dressed in accordance with the prevailing custom, like a
hermit, with a crown of laurel about his brows. The poor old father,
still drudging as schoolmaster in the Rossau district, where he had
been labouring ever since he had left the old home in the
Himmelpfortgrund, would have buried his dear son in the cemetery near
at hand; but Ferdinand told him of Franz's last wish, and, like the
noble brother that he was, gave a sum out of his own scanty earnings
in order to defray the extra cost of removing the body to the
Währinger burial-place. Thither, accordingly, it was taken, and
committed to the ground in a grave close to that occupied by the
master he loved so well. The monument which was erected over the grave
in the following year, by the efforts of his friends and admirers,
bears the following inscription:



              BORN JAN. 31, 1797;
              DIED NOV. 19, 1828,
                 31 YEARS OLD.


[22] The Symphony in D, performed from manuscript at the Crystal
Palace, on February 5, 1881.

[23] The opera was never performed, and in 1848 the manuscript of the
second act was accidentally destroyed by a servant who used it for
lighting the fires.

[24] For the following extract from this letter the author expresses
his acknowledgments to Sir G. Grove's 'Dictionary of Music and
Musicians' (article 'Schubert'), in which the letter was for the first
time published.

[25] His brother Carl, the landscape painter.

[26] His stepmother; the father had married again soon after the first
wife's death.

[27] Of the 'Wanderer'--second only in popularity to the 'Erl
King'--the publishers are said to have realised, since the time of its
appearance up to the year 1861, the sum of 27,000 florins, or more than

[28] Sir G. Grove, 'Dictionary of Music and Musicians.'


    Des Teufels Lustschloss. Comp. 1813-1814, pub. 1888.
    Die Zwillingsbrüder. Comp. 1818-1819, pub. 1872.
    Alfonso und Estrella. Op. 69. Comp. 1821-1822, pub. 1827.
    Die Verschworenen, oder Der Häusliche Krieg. Comp. 1823, pub. 1862.
    Fierabras. Op. 76. Comp. 1823, pub. 1827.
    Rosamunde (Overture and Incidental Music). Op. 26. Comp. 1823,
     pub. 1824.
    No. 1, in F, Comp. 1814, pub. 1856.
    No. 2, in G, Comp. 1815, pub. 1846.
    No. 3, in B-flat, Op. 141. Comp. 1815, pub. 1838.
    No. 4, in C, Op. 48. Comp. 1818, pub. 1826.
    No. 5, in E-flat, Comp. 1828, pub. 1865.
    No. 6, in A-flat, Comp. 1819-1822, pub. 1876.
Deutsche Messe in F. Comp. 1826, pub. 1870.
Lazarus (cantata--unfinished). Comp. 1820, pub. 1866.
Psalm XXIII., for female voices, Op. 132. Comp. 1820, pub. 1831.
The Song of Miriam, Op. 136. Comp. 1828, pub. 1838.
    No. 1, in D, Comp. 1813.
    No. 2, in B-flat, Comp. 1814-1815.
    No. 3, in D, Comp. 1815.
    No. 4, in C minor, The Tragic. Comp. 1816, pub. 1870.
    No. 5, in B-flat, Comp. 1816, pub. 1870.
    No. 6, in C, Comp. 1818.
    No. 8, in B minor, The Unfinished. Comp. 1822, pub. 1867.
    No. 9, in C, Comp. 1828, pub. 1840.
Overture in the Italian Style in D. Comp. 1817, pub. 1872.
Overture in the Italian Style in C, Op. 170. Comp. 1817, pub. 1872.
Octet for strings and wind in F, Op. 166. Comp. 1824, pub. 1854.
Quintet for strings in C, Op. 163. Comp. 1828, pub. 1854.
Quintet for pianoforte and strings in A, Op. 114. Comp. 1819, pub. 1829.
8 Quartets for strings:
    In D. Comp. 1814, pub. 1871.
    In B-flat, Op. 168. Comp. 1814, pub. 1865.
    In G minor, Comp. 1815, pub. 1871.
    In E-flat, Op. 125, No. 1. Comp. 1824, pub. 1830.
    In E, Op. 125, No. 2. Comp. 1824, pub. 1830.
    In A minor, Op. 29. Comp. 1824, pub. 1825.
    In D minor, Comp. 1826, pub. 1831.
    In G, Op. 161. Comp. 1826, pub. 1852.
2 Trios for pianoforte and strings:
    Op. 99, in B-flat, Comp. 1827, pub. 1828.
    Op. 100, in E-flat, Comp. 1827, pub. 1828.
4 Sonatas.                                          } For
Fantasia in C, Op. 159. Comp. 1827.                 } pianoforte
Rondeau Brilliant in B minor, Op. 70. Comp. 1826.   } and violin.
2 Sonatas (in C minor and B-flat), Comp. 1814 and 1824.  }
Fantasia in F minor, Op. 103                             }
Marche Héroïque in A minor, Op. 66. Comp. 1826.          }
Marche Funèbre in C minor, Op. 55. Comp. 1825.           } For
25 Marches.                                              } pianoforte
2 Divertissements.                                       } duet.
Variations on a French Air in E minor, Op. 10.           }
    Comp. 1821, pub. 1822.                               }
2 Rondos.                                                }
10 Polonaises.                                           }
Grand Duo in C, Op. 140. Comp. 1824.                     }
Overture in F, Op. 34. Comp. 1824.                       }
10 Sonatas for pianoforte solo.
      [We must mention the Sonata in A minor, Op. 42, and that in A
       major, Op. 120, both composed in 1825.]
Fantasia in C, Op. 15. Comp. 1820.                      }
Fantasia Sonata in G, Op. 78. Comp. 1826.               }
4 Impromptus, Op. 90. Comp. 1828.                       } For
4 Impromptus, Op. 142. Comp. 1827.                      } pianoforte
6 Moments Musicals, Op. 94.                             } solo.
2 sets of Variations.                                   }
44 Part Songs for male voices.
6 Part Songs for female voices.
21 Part Songs for mixed voices.
457 Songs have been published. We may mention:
    Die Schöne Müllerin (20 songs), Op. 25. Comp. 1823.
    Die Winterreise (24 songs), Op. 89. Comp. 1827.
    Der Schwanengesang (14 songs). Comp. 1828.
And the following single Songs:
    An Sylvia, Op. 106, No. 4. Comp. 1826.
    Ave Maria (Scott's words), Op. 52, No. 6. Comp. 1825
    Der Tod und das Mädchen, Op. 7, No. 3.
    Der Wanderer, Op. 4, No. 1. Comp. 1816.
    Der Zwerg, Op. 22, No. 1. Comp. 1823.
    Die Forelle, Op. 32. Comp. 1818.
    Geheimes, Op. 14, No. 2. Comp. 1821.
    Gretchen am Spinnrade, Op. 2. Comp. 1814.
    Ständchen (Hark, hark! the Lark!). Comp. 1826.
    Erlkönig, Op. 1. Comp. 1815.

For a fuller account of Schubert's life the reader is advised to

COLERIDGE (A.D.): Life of Schubert (translation of Kreissle
von Hellborn's _Franz Schubert_). 2 vols. Longmans, 1869.



The short winter afternoon was drawing to a close, and a grey mist had
already begun to blot out the canal and the trees which were studded
along its banks, accentuating the prevailing cheerlessness and
silence, and throwing into yet stronger relief the animated scene
presented within the comfortable, well-warmed dining-room of a house
standing on the further side of the broad street which ran parallel
with the canal. A large company was gathered in this room for the
enjoyment of music and conversation, and it was evident from the
whispered remarks which passed between the guests that something out
of the common was expected at the hands of the youthful player who, in
obedience to his father's request, now advanced to take his place at
the pianoforte.

Peculiarly winning, both in manner and appearance, was the boy who
modestly seated himself at the instrument. He was about thirteen years
of age, of slight build, with a handsome face, in which strong traces
of Jewish descent were apparent. His black hair clustered thickly
above a high forehead, while the dark, lustrous eyes, with their
continuous play of expression, imparted to the face an indescribable
charm such as no degree of beauty in itself could have exercised. It
was, in a word, the sensitive face of an artist, reflecting the varying
imagery of a mind attuned to lofty and beautiful thoughts; and as such
its power and charm could be felt even by those to whom as yet his
thoughts were a sealed book. The temperament which we designate by the
term 'artistic' resembles the ocean in its varying moods, and in the
surprising swiftness with which one mood or aspect gives place to
another. Just before he was called upon to play, the boy's eyes had
been sparkling with merriment, and his spirits had so infected the rest
of the company as to cause the intervals separating the performances to
be filled with laughter and merry chatter. Yet no one watching his face
now, as his fingers swept over the keys, could have failed to be struck
by the change in its expression. Every trace of fun had vanished, and
to the sparkle of the eyes had succeeded an expression of deep
earnestness that showed how readily the mind had adapted itself to the
character of the music he was playing, and as the performance
progressed one could have read in his face every shade of feeling which
the music was intended to express. No self-consciousness marred the
spontaneity of the player's interpretation. Everything seemed to come
direct from his soul, as if that soul had found the voice by which
alone it could be heard and understood, and revelled in its freedom.
And as he played on, weaving fresh melodies out of the original theme,
ever and anon breaking through the web of harmony to recall the simple,
plaintive air with which he had begun--his face at one moment lighted
up with radiant happiness and at the next shaded with quiet
sadness--his listeners almost held their breath, fearful of losing
any portion of the music which was passing away from them, perhaps for
ever. And as he played, the shadows of the December afternoon crept
into the room, enveloping the slight figure seated at the instrument,
until his outline became lost to view, and the melody pouring forth
from beneath his fingers seemed to come from heaven itself.

    [Illustration: MENDELSSOHN.
    From photo RISCHGITZ.]

       *       *       *       *       *

To those who visited the home of Abraham Mendelssohn, the wealthy
Berlin banker, the fact that his son Felix had a remarkable genius for
music did not admit of a doubt. The capacity for learning music had
begun very early, but his wonderful gift of extemporisation, which
gave his genius wings as well as voice, had only lately revealed
itself at the time at which our story opens. Nevertheless, it had made
great strides, and opened up all sorts of possibilities with regard to
the future. And withal there was such an unaffected modesty and
simplicity about the boy, so complete an absence of anything like a
desire to show off his talents, as sufficed to disarm any tendency
towards captiousness on the part of his hearers. Felix's whole wish
was to satisfy himself as to his progress in music, and, young as he
was, he had the sense and determination to pursue his bent without
regard to the plaudits of his father's friends. Abraham Mendelssohn,
notwithstanding his business capacities, was himself a great lover of
the arts, and especially of music, in regard to which, indeed, he
showed considerable judgment. That his children should exhibit similar
tastes to his own was, therefore, to him a matter of delightful
satisfaction, for he shared with his wife Leah a deep interest in all
that affected his children's education. He watched Felix with peculiar
care, for it seemed to him that he inherited many of the traits as
well as the capacity for learning which had distinguished the
grandfather and philosopher, Moses Mendelssohn. Felix undoubtedly
possessed the bright dark eyes and the humorous temperament of his
grandfather, for he was one of the brightest and merriest of children.
The family was not a large one. Jakob Ludwig Felix (to give the
subject of our story his full names), who was born February 3, 1809,
ranked second in age, the eldest child being Fanny Cäcilie; after
Felix came Rebekka, and, lastly, little Paul. The three elder children
were born in Hamburg, where the family continued to reside until the
occupation of the town by the French soldiers in 1811 made life there
so miserable for the German inhabitants that as many families as could
contrive to do so escaped to other towns of Germany which were free
from the presence of the invading army. Amongst those who successfully
eluded the watchfulness of the French guards by resorting to disguise
was the family of Mendelssohn-Bartholdy, the head of which had
followed the example of his wife's brother in adopting the latter name
as a means of distinguishing his own from other branches of the
Mendelssohn family. With his wife and children Abraham fled to Berlin
to make his home in the house of the grandmother, situated beside the
canal in the north-east quarter of the town, to which we have been
already introduced.

No happier surroundings could have been imagined than those amidst
which Felix Mendelssohn's childhood was passed. The residence was in
the Neue Promenade, a broad, open street, bounded on one side only by
houses, and extending on the other side to the banks of the canal.
Here a wide stretch of grass-land, with a plentiful dotting of trees,
imparted a pleasant suggestion of the country, whilst the waters of
the canal reflected the blueness of the sky, or, when rippled by the
breeze, lapped the grassy banks with a murmuring sound that was half
sigh, half song. To this spot daily resorted the Mendelssohn children
in company with the occupants of other nurseries in the promenade, and
here amongst the rest might often have been seen little Felix, his
eyes sparkling with merriment, and his black curls tossed by the wind,
as, with surprising quickness of movement and ringing peals of
laughter, he joined with his sister Fanny in the excitement of the

Every encouragement was given to the development of Felix's musical
talent as soon as his fondness for the art made itself apparent. In
company with Fanny he began to receive little lessons on the
pianoforte from his mother when he was about four years old. Then came
a visit to Paris, when Abraham Mendelssohn, taking the two children
with him, placed them under the care of a teacher named Madame Bigot.
Their progress was so satisfactory--for the lady was an excellent
musician and quick to recognise the abilities of her pupils--that on
their return to Berlin it was decided to engage the services of
professional musicians to carry on the instruction in the pianoforte,
violin, and composition as a regular part of the children's education.
There was a continual round of lessons in the Mendelssohn home at this
time, for in addition to music the children were taught Greek, Latin,
drawing, and other subjects; and with so much to get through it was
necessary to begin the day's work at five o'clock. As a consequence of
this close application to study, the children used to long for Sunday
to come round, in order that they might indulge themselves a little
longer in bed. No amount of lessons, however, could detract from the
happiness of a home wherein love was the dominant note, and in which
each strove for the good of all; whilst as for Felix himself, no name
could have been more symbolical of his true nature than that by which
he was called. Nothing served to check the flow of his spirits. Both
in work and play he was thoroughly in earnest--indeed, he regarded
both in the same enjoyable light. He and Fanny were inseparables, and
very soon after he began to compose they were often to be found
laughing heartily together over Felix's attempts at improvisation upon
some incident of a comical nature which had occurred during their

Such beginnings, though small in themselves, soon led to more
ambitious attempts being made to set to music short humorous
dialogues, so as to make little operas. To write an opera, however,
was not enough--it must be performed, in order to ascertain how it
would go. This was a serious matter, and one calling for the services
of several performers--a miniature orchestra, in fact--with singers to
undertake the various parts. But Felix, as we have seen, was
thoroughly in earnest about all that he undertook, and his earnestness
enabled him to surmount even so great a difficulty as was here
presented. The appearance in his character of this love of
completeness must be noted, as, later on, it became one of his most
strongly-marked characteristics. 'If a thing is worth doing at all, it
is worth doing well,' was the saying which, even as a child,
controlled all his actions; and so Felix would have his orchestra.

Love and money combined can accomplish the apparently impossible, and
hence the orchestra was duly selected and engaged by the indulgent
father from the members of the Court Band. To his delight--yet nowise
to his embarrassment--Felix found himself in command of a company of
sedate and experienced musicians, ready to follow the lead of his
baton when it pleased him to take his place at the music-desk.
Everything was now furnished for the performance, but the sense of
completeness was not yet satisfied. There must be a better judge than
the composer himself present to pass judgment on the merits of the
piece, and so no less a person than Carl Zelter, the director of the
Berlin Singakademie, and Felix's professor for thorough-bass and
composition, was induced to undertake this delicate office, whilst a
large number of friends of the family were invited for the occasion.

This was the beginning of a long and regular series of musical parties
at the Mendelssohn house--parties to which, as time went on, it became
a privilege to be invited, at which, indeed, hardly a musician of any
note who happened to be passing through Berlin failed to put in an
appearance. The picture is before us as we write--and as it must often
have been recalled by those who frequented the house beside the
canal--of the child-musician standing on a footstool before his
music-desk, baton in hand, gravely conducting his orchestra. 'A
wonder-child indeed,' as one has described him, 'in his boy's suit,
shaking back his long curls, and looking over the heads of the
musicians like a little general; then stoutly waving his baton, and
firmly and quietly conducting his piece to the end, meanwhile noting
and listening to every little detail as it passed.'

The performance of these operettas was not accompanied by action, the
rule being for some one to read the dialogue at the piano, whilst the
chorus were seated round the dining-table. It must not be supposed
that Felix's compositions monopolised the entire time of the
orchestra; though it rarely happened that the weekly concert failed to
include one or more of his productions. At some of the performances
all four children took part--Fanny taking the pianoforte when Felix
conducted at the desk, Rebekka singing, and Paul playing the 'cello.
Zelter, who was generally averse to praising any of his pupils, and,
indeed, was regarded as a very grumpy personage, was a regular
attendant at these performances, and never failed at the finish to
speak a few words of praise or criticism. The old musician was
secretly very proud of his pupil, and despite his habitual roughness
of manner, Felix had a sincere affection for his master, as well as a
deep respect for his judgment.

Felix was by this time composing a great deal, and, though little more
than twelve years old, work of a more serious kind than the writing of
operettas had been claiming his attention. To such a degree, in fact,
had the flow of ideas and the facility of giving them expression
developed, that within the space of a twelve-month from the completion
of his twelfth year he had composed between fifty and sixty pieces,
including a trio for pianoforte and strings, containing three
movements (an ambitious work for a child!), several sonatas for the
pianoforte, some little songs, and a comedy piece in three scenes for
pianoforte and voices. Now, too, he began to collect his writings into
volumes, each piece being written out with the greatest care and in
the neatest of hands, with the date at which it was written, and any
other note which might serve to identify the work or to show how it
came to be written. Nor was this care and neatness confined to his
compositions. It soon showed itself in regard to everything which he
undertook--his letters, memoranda, sketches, and so forth--and the
strangest part of it all is that the more he wrote and the harder he
worked, the more clearly this habit of orderliness and accuracy
exhibited itself. It would seem, indeed, as if for Felix Mendelssohn
time was as truly elastic as some other busy folk would fain have it
to be.

Hand in hand with this thoroughness in regard to work went, as we have
intimated, a love of frolic and games and every species of fun that
the mind of a healthy and spirited boy could devise; and with all,
permeating all, was a lovability that won its way to every heart.
Rarely has such a perfect combination of light-heartedness and
seriousness--capacity for the hardest work and the keenest enjoyment
of life--been seen as that which burst upon the world in the person of
Felix Mendelssohn. The quickness with which he made friends, the
firmness with which he bound those friends to himself, the constancy
and affection which he lavished upon those nearest and dearest to him,
were alike extraordinary.

One day a famous composer, named Carl von Weber, was walking in Berlin
in company with his young friend and pupil, Jules Benedict, when the
pair observed a slightly-built youth of about twelve years of age,
with long, dark curls and bright, dark eyes, advancing towards them.
Suddenly the boy's keen eyes sparkled with the joy of recognition, for
Carl Weber had lately visited his father's house, and he had taken a
great liking to him at first sight; and now, without giving the
composer time to realise the fact that they had met before,
Mendelssohn, with a run and a spring, had thrown his arms about
Weber's neck, and was entreating him to accompany him home. As soon as
the astonished musician could speak he turned to his friend, and with
a comical air, half apologetic and half proud, said, 'This is Felix
Mendelssohn.' The friend held out his hand with a smile. Felix gave
him a quick glance, then seized the hand in both of his own. The
glance and the action that followed it settled the matter--Jules
Benedict and he must be friends henceforth. Weber stood by, laughing
at his young friend's enthusiasm, and Felix turned to him sharply and
once more begged that he and Benedict would favour him with their
company. But Weber shook his head. He had to attend a rehearsal--he
had come to Berlin for that purpose. 'A rehearsal!' exclaimed Felix
disappointedly, and then the next moment his eyes flashed. 'Is it the
new opera?' he asked excitedly. Weber nodded. 'Oh,' said Felix
thoughtfully; then, indicating Mr. Benedict, 'Does _he_ know all about
it?' he inquired. 'To be sure he does,' assented the composer
laughingly--'at least, if he doesn't he ought to, for he has been
bored enough with it already.' Felix passed unnoticed the last part of
Weber's speech. It was enough for him that young Benedict was familiar
with what he himself was dying to know. He therefore seized Benedict
by the arm, exclaiming, 'You will come to my father's house with me,
will you not?' There was no refusing the appeal in those eyes, and the
young man acquiesced willingly. Then Felix dragged Weber down for a
parting embrace, and, taking his new friend by the hand, as if fearful
that he might change his mind, he pulled him away.

The distance to the house was short, but Mendelssohn's impatience
could only be met by his companion's consenting to race him to the
door. On entering he retained Benedict's hand tightly in his grasp,
conducted him at once upstairs, and, bursting into the drawing-room,
where his mother was seated at her knitting, he exclaimed, 'Mamma,
mamma! Here is a gentleman, a pupil of Carl Weber's, who knows all
about the new opera, "Der Freischütz!"'

If Benedict had expected a more formal introduction to Madame
Mendelssohn he had reckoned without a knowledge of Felix's
enthusiasm. But the mother knew and understood, and the young musician
not only received a warm welcome, but found it impossible to take his
leave until he had complied with his new friend's request that he
would seat himself at the piano and play as many airs from the great
opera as he could remember at such short notice, Felix listening,
meanwhile, with rapt enjoyment.

    [Illustration: '"_Here is a gentleman who knows all about the
    new opera._"']

The acquaintance thus begun awakened a mutual regard in Mendelssohn
and Benedict, for the latter shortly afterwards paid a second visit to
the house. On this occasion he found Felix engaged in writing out some
music, and inquired what it was. 'I am finishing my new quartet for
piano and stringed instruments,' was the reply, gravely spoken, and
without the least self-consciousness. Benedict glanced at the work in
surprise. He did not know Mendelssohn yet. It was the 'First Quartet
in C Minor,' which, later on, was published as 'Opus I.' 'And now,'
said Felix, laying aside his pen, 'I will play to you to convince you
how grateful I am for your kindness in playing to us last time.' He
thereupon sat down and played with precision several of the airs from
'Der Freischütz' which Benedict had played on his previous visit. 'You
see, I have not forgotten the pleasure you gave me,' he said, with a
smile, as he rose from the piano. 'But now,' he added, as a new
thought entered his mind, 'I want you to see the garden, please.' Down
they went, and in a moment Mendelssohn had thrown off the musician's
cloak, and was a boy again. With a bound he leapt over a high hedge,
turned, and cleared it a second time, and then challenged his
companion to a race. Another moment he burst out with a song, as if
the open air had incited him to imitate the birds, and then, pointing
to a favourite tree, he ran to it and climbed it like a squirrel.

These meetings took place in the summer of 1821, a year which brought
much happiness to Felix, for ere it had drawn to a close he had found
a new friend. When the autumn came round, Zelter announced that he was
going to pay a visit of respect to his old friend and master, Goethe,
the aged poet of Weimar, and he was willing to take Felix with him.
Needless to say, Felix and his parents were equally delighted with the
proposal. The boy had so often heard Zelter speak of Goethe, whose
works, moreover, he was always quoting, that he felt he already loved
the master almost as much as Zelter did himself. Goethe's house at
Weimar was regarded as a shrine at which his countless admirers were
wont to pay homage, even though their devotion often met with no
further gratification than was to be derived from gazing at its walls
or peeping into the grounds, which were sacred to the poet's
footsteps. Hence the promise of an introduction to one who was the
object of so much hero-worship stirred the heart of Felix to its
depths, and filled his mind with reverential emotions such as few
events could have had the power to awaken in one so sensible of what
was due to a great and lofty intellect.

It was a bright November day when Zelter and his pupil set forth upon
their journey. Both were looking forward to the meeting, though with
somewhat different feelings. What Mendelssohn's feelings were we have
tried to imagine, but Zelter was nursing within himself a certain
pride and confidence in the prospect of introducing his favourite
pupil to so keen a judge as Goethe, which he would not have revealed
to that pupil for worlds. Felix's spirits, however, were so high on
this occasion that Zelter had enough to do to satisfy all his
questions without allowing his usually taciturn nature to relax under
the sunshine of the boy's enthusiasm.

On arriving at Goethe's home they found the poet walking in his
grounds. The meeting was simple and affectionate. Goethe greeted Felix
with every show of kindness, and sent the boy to bed with an
overflowing heart and a mind resolved upon cherishing the minutest
details of this happy encounter. The next day he was to play to
Goethe, and at an early hour of the morning he was sauntering in the
grounds, awaiting the poet's arrival, and feasting his eyes upon the
scenes which were the accustomed haunts of the author of 'Faust'; and
then, selecting a sunny spot, he sat down to write a long letter home,
full of description of the events of the previous day.

Nothing short of the severest of tests would satisfy Goethe of the
truth of what Zelter had privately conveyed to him regarding his
pupil's talents. Accordingly, sheet after sheet of manuscript music
was selected by the poet from his store and placed upon the
music-desk to be played by Felix at sight. The manner in which he
performed his task, the ease with which he overcame the difficulties
presented by penwork of various styles, and often far from clear,
astonished and delighted the assembled company. But their
manifestations of delight were far more pronounced when Felix, taking
one of the airs which he had just played as a theme for
extemporisation, exhibited in a most charming fashion, and with true
musicianly feeling, the capacities of the subject for varied
treatment. Still Goethe withheld his praise, and, interrupting the
applause, declared that he had a final test to propose which, he
jokingly warned Felix, would infallibly cause him to break down. Thus
speaking, the poet placed on the desk a sheet of manuscript which at
first sight was enough to strike terror and dismay into the stoutest
heart, for it seemed to consist of nothing else than scratches and
splotches of ink, interspersed with smudges. Mendelssohn glanced at
it, and then, bursting into a laugh, exclaimed: 'What writing! How can
it be possible to read such manuscript?' Suddenly he became serious,
and bent to examine the writing more closely, Goethe looked
triumphantly round at the company. 'Now, guess _who_ wrote that!' he
said. Zelter rose from his place beside the pianoforte, and, looking
over Felix's shoulder, cried out: 'Why, it is Beethoven's writing! One
can see that a mile off! He always writes as if he used a broomstick
for a pen, and then wiped his sleeve over the wet ink!'

Mendelssohn could decipher the manuscript only by degrees, having to
search the sheet to find the successive notes; but when he reached the
end he exclaimed, 'Now I will play it to you,' and this time he played
it through without a mistake. Upon this Goethe let him off, and
rewarded him with some kind words of praise. Thenceforth, until the
visit came to an end, Felix was called upon to play to the poet every
day, and the two became fast friends. The old man treated the boy as
if he were a son, laughed and joked with him, and was never so happy
as when he was near. It was altogether a delightful visit, and Goethe
would only part with Felix on the understanding that they should meet
again very soon.

The following summer brought a new happiness to Felix, for it had been
decided that the entire family should make a tour through Switzerland.
In those days a journey of such length was an undertaking of much
consequence, more especially when, as in this case, the family were
accompanied by the children's tutor and the doctor, in addition to
several servants. It was an essential part of the father's scheme of
education that his children's minds should be widened by travel, and
more particularly that they should make personal acquaintance with the
classic ground of history--advantages which wealth enabled him to
place at their command. It was with light spirits that the party set
out on their journey, Felix keenly alive to every fresh scene or
incident as it presented itself, and there were few of either that
failed to leave their stamp upon his impressionable mind. To his
insatiable curiosity must be attributed the adventure which befell him
on the very first day of their travel. They had to change carriages at
Potsdam, and when the horses had traversed three German miles of road
from that town Felix was suddenly missed, and a brief colloquy
elicited the melancholy fact that the boy had been left behind at
Potsdam. The tutor thereupon turned back in one of the carriages,
whilst the rest proceeded to the next stopping-place. In the course of
an hour he returned with the truant seated by his side, dusty and
footsore, but otherwise as fresh as when he had started. He had, it
appeared, strayed from the party at Potsdam, and returned to the
starting-place in time to see the carriages disappearing in the
distance enveloped in a cloud of dust. He began to run, but seeing
that he could not overtake them, he abated his speed, and determined
to perform the journey to Brandenburg on foot. A little peasant-girl
joined him. They broke stout walking-sticks from the trees at the
road-side, and together marched on cheerfully, conversing as they
went, until the tutor's carriage met them about a mile from the next

    [Illustration: '_The tutor's carriage met them._']

It was a most delightful tour, enjoyed by all concerned, and long to
be treasured by the young musician, to whom Interlaken, Vevey, and
Chamounix, with their mountains, lakes, glaciers, torrents, and
valleys, their sunrises and sunsets, presented a panorama of endless
enchantment. Amidst the constant demands upon the senses there was
little time for actual composition, but two songs and the beginning of
a pianoforte quartet were inspired by the sight of the Lake of Geneva
and its beautiful surroundings. Nor was the journey without the
pleasures afforded by meetings with many eminent people in the musical
world, such as the composer Spohr at Cassel, and Schelble, the
conductor of the famous Cäcilien-Verein concerts, at Frankfort. To the
latter Felix exhibited his powers by an extemporisation on Bach's
motets, which called forth the musician's astonished praise.

On the return journey a call was made at Weimar, in order that Abraham
Mendelssohn might pay his respects to the poet, and personally
acknowledge the old man's kindness to Felix. Goethe received them most
kindly, and talked much with the father on the subject of the boy's
future. Of Felix's playing he never seemed to get tired. There was a
charm about the boy's bright presence, and a soothing restfulness in
his playing which appealed to the old poet's kindlier nature in a way
that few things had the power to do. 'I am Saul, and you are my
David,' he said to Felix one day, when his temper had been ruffled by
something that had occurred. 'When I am sad and dreary, come to me and
cheer me with your music.' How much sunshine had been infused into the
old man's declining days by these brief visits Felix himself could
never have guessed, but he knew that he loved Goethe, and that his
love was returned.

Felix's progress, not only in music, but in his other studies as well,
was by leaps and bounds. Knowledge to him seemed a food for which his
appetite was insatiable, difficulties to him were but spurs to
increased effort, and the effort itself appeared to be inappreciable.
It was impossible to regard any longer as a boy one who possessed
knowledge and powers that entitled him to take rank with performers
and composers of the day. Too soon for some of those who loved him had
Mendelssohn passed from his childhood stage, landing almost at a
single bound into that of advanced youth, if not, indeed, into manhood
itself. The Swiss tour had in a measure bridged over the interval; for
when he returned it was with a taller and robuster frame, more
strongly marked features, and a new and indefinable expression that
was the result of widened experience, and, last of all, without the
beautiful curls which had helped to make the child's face what it had
been. With these changes, however, his happy boyish nature remained as
strong and as irrepressible as ever. And so we pass on to the date
when the transformation of which we have spoken found a fitting
opportunity for recognition by his friends.

It was the night of February 3, 1824, Felix's fifteenth birthday, and
the family and guests were gathered around the supper-table. Earlier
in the evening there had been a full rehearsal of his first full-grown
opera in three acts--'Die beiden Neffen, oder der Onkel aus Boston'
(The Two Nephews, or the Uncle from Boston), which had gone most
successfully, and now Zelter held up his hand as a signal that he had
something important to say. All eyes were turned to him, and the
clatter of tongues ceased in a moment. The old musician's face was
lighted up by a most unusual expression. His grumpiness had cleared
away, and a look of benevolence beamed from his eyes, in which there
was even a suspicion of moisture, as, lifting his glass on high, he

'I have a toast to propose which I make no doubt you will acquiesce
in most readily. I raise my glass to the health and happiness of my
_late_ pupil (no one failed to note the emphasis on the word 'late'),
'Felix Mendelssohn-Bartholdy!'

The toast was honoured with enthusiasm, and then Zelter, rising from
his seat, took Felix by the hand and addressed him in these words:

'From this day, dear boy, thou art no longer an apprentice, but an
independent member of the brotherhood of musicians. I proclaim you
"assistant" in the names of Mozart, Haydn, and old Father Bach!'

He then embraced Felix with much tenderness, imprinting a hearty kiss
on both his cheeks; and, the little ceremony ended, the company
toasted the proclamation of independence with great merriment,
following it up with the singing of songs by Zelter and others.

Notwithstanding that Mendelssohn had thus received his initiation into
the 'brotherhood,' and that Zelter had plainly shown that he had
nothing more to teach him, Abraham Mendelssohn still had some
lingering doubts as to the advisability of his son's choosing music as
a profession. This attitude arose quite as much from Felix's all-round
knowledge and attainments as from any particular misgivings regarding
the steadfastness of his love for music, or the continued development
of his genius in that direction. Abraham clearly perceived that Felix
had in him the makings of a man of business; he was methodical, quick,
and shrewd, and possessed that infinite capacity for taking pains
which is the accompaniment of true genius. These were qualities
pre-eminently fitting him for a successful business career, and hence
the doubtings as to whether such a rare combination of qualifications
ought to be expended in following up a branch of art that might in the
end prove fruitless of solid results. The father must be forgiven for
entertaining such doubts, unreasonable as they may seem, when regard
is paid to the absolute honesty of purpose by which his own life was
governed, and the sincerity of his affection for the members of his

There was one man who might be trusted to give an impartial opinion on
this pressing question. Cherubini, the eminent composer and musical
judge, was living in Paris, and to Cherubini it was decided to apply
forthwith for advice. Accordingly, Felix and his father journeyed to
Paris with this object, the former being fully as anxious as his
father to have the opportunity of making the acquaintance of so famous
a musician, as well as of receiving at his hands the support and
encouragement which would put an end, once and for all, to his
father's doubts. Cherubini was hardly ever known to praise, but
perhaps for this very reason his opinion was eagerly sought by young
performers and composers. Of those who went to him for advice,
however, by far the greater number were sent away with burning cheeks
and downcast eyes. This dismal fate was not reserved for Felix, for no
sooner had the great man listened to his playing of one of his own
compositions than he recognised Mendelssohn's power and genius, and,
turning to the father, he said with a smile; 'Sir, the boy is rich; he
will do well.' After some further tests Cherubini expressed himself as
perfectly satisfied with regard to Felix's future, and when father and
son returned to Berlin it was with the settled conviction on the part
of the former that thenceforward the boy's life must be devoted to

And now a great change came into the daily life of the family. The
house in the Neue Promenade was exchanged for a statelier and more
commodious mansion, No. 3, Leipziger Strasse, situated on the
outskirts of the city near the Potsdam Gate. The grounds of the new
house adjoined the old deer-park of Frederick the Great, and in
themselves were almost large enough to be styled a park. Stretches of
green turf, shaded by fine forest-trees, winding walks amidst
sweet-scented flowering shrubs, and arbours nestling in retired
corners, inviting retreats for study and meditation, comprised an
ideal spot for one who loved the surroundings of Nature. Nor was the
house itself behindhand in offering special attractions for the
purposes of study and recreation, in addition to the more solid
requirements of comfort and accommodation. The rooms were spacious and
elegant, and comprised one large apartment perfectly adapted for
musical or theatrical entertainments. But, just as there are not a few
of us who, in choosing a residence, are drawn towards the garden
before proceeding to investigate the dwelling itself, so Felix's
delight was first of all expressed with regard to the beautiful
surroundings of the new home. And there was one feature of the garden
which opened up to his mind splendid possibilities in connection with
his beloved pursuit. This was a garden-house, containing a central
hall capable of accommodating several hundred people, and furnished
with windows and glass doors opening and looking upon the lawns and
trees. The garden-house was as essentially a part of the garden as any
large summer-house could be, and yet comprised sufficient rooms to fit
it for occupation as a separate dwelling if such were necessary.

No sooner had the family established itself in the new home than the
musical and artistic gatherings were resumed on an even larger scale
than heretofore. The Sunday concerts were held in the 'Gartenhaus,'
which, on most of the other evenings of the week, was the resort of
friends, both old and young, who came to listen to the music, or to
play or act, or in other ways amuse themselves. So famous did these
gatherings become, and so completely were the mansion and its
surroundings identified with the family which occupied it, and
dispensed its open-handed hospitality, that it was impossible to
mention the Leipziger Strasse without connecting it with information
respecting the Mendelssohns. The two things, indeed, were inseparable
in everybody's mind. Thither, amongst others, came Ferdinand Hiller,
the eminent performer, who had visited Beethoven while the latter lay
on his death-bed, and whose friendship with Felix had begun at
Frankfort a short time before. Moscheles, who had worked under
Beethoven, also became a regular visitor at the house, and one of
Felix's closest friends. Moscheles had already acquired fame as a
player, and during his stay in Berlin he was induced, though not
without reluctance, to give some lessons to Mendelssohn. 'He has no
need of lessons,' he remarked, with reference to Felix's ability. 'If
he wishes to take a hint from me as to anything new to him, he can
easily do so.' Felix, however, frankly acknowledged afterwards how
much he owed to these lessons at the hands of him whose graceful,
elegant touch could not be excelled. Speaking of Moscheles' playing on
one occasion, Mendelssohn said that 'the runs dropped from his fingers
like magic.'

We must now speak of two works which were composed very soon after
Zelter's declaration of his pupil's independence. The first of these
was an Octet for stringed instruments, designed as a birthday present
for Edward Ritz, the young violinist, for whom Mendelssohn entertained
a deep affection, and whose premature death caused him much sorrow.
Felix had not completed his seventeenth year when the Octet was
written. He had already composed a great deal, but he had done nothing
so entirely fresh and original as this. Indeed, one might place one's
finger on the Octet, and, forgetting everything which he had written
before, say with emphasis and truth: 'This is Mendelssohn himself;
this is his very own.' No longer an 'apprentice,' swayed or, at least,
influenced by the masters who had gone before him, he has here given
us the first-fruits of his 'assistantship' in a work which expresses
his own musicianly feelings, and in which we get our first glimpse of
his true genius. The whole piece was intended to be played _staccato_
and _pianissimo_. It has a fleeting, spiritual, and fairy-like effect,
with 'tremolos and trills passing away with the quickness of
lightning.' The Scherzo is especially beautiful, and Mendelssohn
admitted to his sister Fanny that he had taken as his motto for this
movement a stanza from Goethe's Walpurgis-night Dream in 'Faust':

    'Floating cloud and trailing mist
      Bright'ning o'er us hover;
    Airs stir the brake, the rushes shake--
      And all their pomp is over.'

We are reminded of this in the last part, where 'the first violin
takes a flight with a feather-like lightness, and all has vanished.'

But if the Octet serves to mark a distinct stage in the development of
Mendelssohn's genius, what are we to say of the work which followed
it? Several things had paved the way for this new composition. To
begin with, Felix and Fanny made their first acquaintance with
Shakespeare in this year through the medium of a German translation,
and they fell completely under the spell of 'A Midsummer Night's
Dream.' Then the summer proved to be an exceptionally fine one, and
led to many hours being spent in the beautiful garden--in fact, there
is no doubt that the garden began it. It is not difficult to imagine
how the romantic mind of Felix was stirred by reading this delightful
fairy play amidst such charming surroundings. To read thus was to
picture in music, to give a musical setting to both scene and action,
at first indefinite, shadowy, suggestive, but as reading and thinking
progressed, growing ever stronger and more clearly defined. Thus,
stretched upon the turf, book in hand, the silence broken only by the
singing of the birds and the humming of the bees, the music of the
Overture to 'A Midsummer Night's Dream' gradually shaped itself in
Mendelssohn's mind, until what at the beginning had in itself been
little more than a dream, became a tangible creation.

When the Overture had been written down, it was frequently played by
Felix and Fanny as a duet. In this simple form Moscheles heard it for
the first time, and he was struck by the force of its beauty. The work
was elaborated and perfected by degrees, until the day arrived when it
was performed by the garden-house orchestra before a crowded audience.
So great was the reception accorded to the overture on this occasion
that in the February following Felix journeyed to Stettin to conduct
the first public performance.

When we listen to this beautiful work, we are constrained to admit
that no happier introduction to the play could have been devised; for
just as the play itself seems to demand for its environment some
lovely garden or woodland glade, so Mendelssohn's music conjures up
visions of the fairy scenes of enchantment with which the play
abounds. It is a work instinct with musicianly feeling, and its
strength is borne out by the soundness and skill displayed in its
construction. As a great musical judge[29] has said of it: 'No one
piece of music contains so many points of harmony and orchestration
that had never been written before, and yet none of them have the air
of experiment, but seem all to have been written with certainty of
their success.'

But we must not linger over this portion of our story, though we are
tempted to do so; for there can be no doubt that these years spent in
the Leipziger Strasse house, when the members of the family were all
together, each contributing his or her share to the intellectual
intercourse that went on beneath its hospitable roof, afford the
happiest pictures of Mendelssohn's young life. It was so full and
many-sided a life, hard work alternating with gymnastics, dancing,
swimming, riding, and, of course, music, each occupation pursued with
such zest and heartiness as to convey the impression at the moment of
its being the most absorbing of all.

Amidst these pleasures, however, a new project had taken hold of his
mind, one which, like many another great undertaking fraught with
far-reaching results, owed its inception to the feeling aroused by the
indifference and lack of sympathy shown by others towards what he
himself believed to be deserving of the highest praise. Two years
before, Felix's grandmother had presented him with a manuscript score
of Bach's 'Passion according to St. Matthew,' which Zelter had
permitted to be copied from the manuscript in the Singakademie. A more
devoted lover of Bach's music than Zelter could not have been found,
and the old man had infused some of this love into his pupil;
consequently, when the score of the 'Passion' was placed in
Mendelssohn's hands, he set to work to master it, and with such
earnestness had he applied himself to the study that at this point of
our story he knew the whole of it by heart.

The more he studied this great work, the more was he impressed by its
beauty and the grandeur of its conception. Could it possibly be true,
he asked himself, that throughout the length and breadth of Germany
so stupendous a work as this remained unheard, unknown? that a
creation so deathless in itself could be permitted to sleep without
even the hope of an awakening? 'Alas!' replied Zelter, when the
question was put to him--'alas! it is nearly a hundred years since old
Father Bach died, and though his name lives, as all great names must
live, the majority of those who speak of him as a master are ignorant
of the works which made him great; they have forgotten, if, indeed,
they ever heard, the sound of the master's voice!'

Here, then, in the apathy manifested in regard to Bach's greatest
works, Mendelssohn found the stimulus that was needed. If only this
state of things could be changed, if only he might be permitted to
show the way to an understanding and appreciation of these priceless
treasures! Towards this great end something, at least, might be
accomplished by the force of example. As we have seen, he knew the
'Passion' music by heart, and he now proceeded to enlist others in a
study of the work. In a short time he had got together sixteen
carefully selected voices, and had arranged for his little choir to
meet once a week at his house for practice. It was a small beginning,
but his own enthusiasm soon infected the rest, and they all grew
deeply earnest in their work--so earnest, indeed, that ere long the
yearning had seized them for a public performance. The Singakademie
maintained a splendid choir of between three hundred and four hundred
voices. If only the director could be induced to allow a trial
performance to be given under Mendelssohn's conducting! Much as he
personally desired such a consummation of their labours, however,
Felix felt convinced that he knew Zelter only too well to indulge any
hopes that he would sanction so great an undertaking. Zelter had no
faith in the idea that public support would be given to a revival of
the 'Passion,' and Felix well knew that nothing would shake him in
this opinion. But this conclusion was strongly opposed by a prominent
member of the Garden-house choir, a young actor-singer named Devrient,
who insisted that Zelter ought to be approached on the subject; and as
he himself had been a pupil of Zelter, and possessed the gift of
eloquence in no small degree, he succeeded in persuading Mendelssohn
to accompany him on a visit to the director's house.

Accordingly, the pair set forth early one morning to brave the old
giant in his den, Mendelssohn haunted by a dread of the manner in
which their proposals would be received, and Devrient, who was to be
spokesman, keeping up a bold front, and assuring his friend that they
would ultimately succeed.

They found Zelter seated at his instrument, with a sheet of
music-paper before him, a long pipe in his mouth, and enveloped in a
cloud of tobacco-smoke. In response to his gruff inquiry, what had
brought them at so early an hour, Devrient unfolded his plan by
degrees, beginning by enlarging upon their admiration for Bach's
music, with a gentle reminder to Zelter that this taste had been
acquired under his own guidance, and proceeding to dwell upon the
progress of their studies and the yearning which they all felt for a
public trial of the work, and concluding with an eloquent appeal for
assistance from the Academy itself.

Zelter listened with an outward show of patience that was as
extraordinary as it had been unlooked for, but his eyes gleamed
through the clouds of smoke with a light that foreboded a speedy
outburst of his slumbering fires. Nevertheless, when he began to
speak, it was not to condemn the young men for their presumption, but
to point out that the difficulties in performing such a work at that
time were inconceivably greater than they had supposed. In Bach's
time it was different, the Thomas School could supply what was
necessary--the double orchestra, double chorus, and so forth; but now
such things were insuperable difficulties; nothing could overcome

As he spoke he laid aside his pipe, and rising from his chair, paced
excitedly to and fro, repeating again and again: 'No, no; it is not to
be thought of; it is mad, mad, mad!' To Felix he looked the picture of
a shaggy old lion stirred up by his keeper. Still Devrient persevered.
He even ventured to say that they had considered those difficulties;
that they did not believe them to be insuperable; that they had
implicit faith in their own enthusiasm having the power to kindle the
like in others; and, finally, that with the Academy's co-operation
success must ensue.

Zelter grew more and more irritated as Devrient proceeded, and Felix,
observing the growing anger in his eye, plucked his companion by the
sleeve, and edged nearer to the door. At length the explosion came.
'That one should have the patience to listen to all this! I can tell
you that very different people have had to give up attempting this
very thing, and yet you imagine that a couple of young donkeys like
yourselves will be able to accomplish it!'

Felix by this time was at the door, feverishly beckoning to Devrient
to come away, but his friend refused to budge; he even began afresh.
He pleaded in his most telling tones that, inasmuch as it was Zelter
himself who had awakened their love for the master, the honour would
be to him quite as much as to themselves if his pupils succeeded in
bringing about this grand result, and how well-deserved and fitting a
crown this would be to his long career, this honour and testimony to
the greatness of Father Bach.

Felix opened his eyes wider in astonishment; but there could be no
mistake--the crisis had passed, and Zelter was visibly weakening; the
lion died out of his eyes, the pipe once more found its way to his
lips, and after many demurs, many arguments, much pacing up and down,
Zelter with a sigh of relief gave in. It was a noble surrender, for it
included a promise of all the help that he could give, and the young
enthusiasts quitted the lion's den triumphant.

'You are a regular rascal, an arch-Jesuit!' said Felix to his friend
as they descended the stairs.

'Anything you like for the honour of Sebastian Bach!' retorted the
other as they stepped out into the keen, wintry air.

How Mendelssohn grappled with this great work; how he threw into it
all the energy he possessed; how he mastered its every detail, and
gave it life; how, with infinite tact and patience, he made it a
living, dramatic masterpiece in the eyes of those who were to perform
it; how the rehearsals at the Academy were thronged by professionals
and amateurs desirous of realising its true nature and power; how at
length the first public performance of the 'Passion according to St.
Matthew' since the composer's death took place at the Singakademie,
with Mendelssohn conducting, on March 11, 1829, and how every ticket
was sold, and fully a thousand disappointed ones were turned away from
the doors--all this must be read elsewhere. Suffice it here to say
that this performance marked the beginning of a great revival--the
awakening throughout Germany and England of a love and appreciation of
Bach which has never since faded or diminished.

It was in connection with this work that Mendelssohn made the first
and only allusion to his Jewish descent. 'To think,' he remarked to
Devrient, with a look of triumph in his eyes as they were walking
together to the final rehearsal--'to think that it should have been
reserved for an actor and a Jew to restore this great Christian work
to the people!'

The excitement attending the performance, with its repetition on March
21, the anniversary of Bach's birth, had not subsided ere Mendelssohn
was engaged in taking leave of his dear ones prior to embarking at
Hamburg on his first visit to England. Several circumstances had
combined to render the present a favourable moment for undertaking the
journey. The Moscheleses, and another friend named Klingemann, who had
been a constant visitor at the Berlin house until called away to
occupy a London post, had assured him of a warm welcome; it was his
father's wish, shared by Zelter also, that he should travel, and he
for his own part was desirous of showing that he could support himself
by music. Abraham Mendelssohn had, indeed, designed this visit as the
first portion of a lengthened tour which would enable Felix to see
more of various countries, and assist him in choosing that which
offered the best opportunities for his life-work.

The London musical season was at its height when he arrived, but his
first letters home were chiefly occupied with descriptions of the city
itself, and how it had affected him. 'It is fearful! it is maddening!'
he writes to Fanny three days after he had settled into his Great
Portland Street lodgings.[30] 'London is the grandest and most
complicated monster on the face of the earth.... Things roll and carry
me along as in a vortex. Not in the last six months at Berlin have I
seen so many contrasts and such variety as in these three days....
Could you see me at the exquisite grand-piano which Clementi has sent
me for the whole of my stay here, by the cheerful fireside' (the open
grate fire was a novelty to one who had come from the land of closed
stoves), 'in my own four walls ... and could you see the immense
four-post bed in the next room in which I might go to sleep in the
most literal sense of the word, the many-coloured curtains and quaint
furniture, my breakfast-tea with dry toast still before me, the
servant-girl in curl-papers, who has just brought me my newly-hemmed
black necktie, and asks what further orders I have ... and could you
but see the highly respectable, fog-enveloped street, and hear the
pitiable voice with which a beggar down there pours forth his ditty
(he will soon be outscreamed by the street-sellers), and could you
picture to yourselves that from here to the City is three-quarters of
an hour's drive, and that in all the cross streets of which one has
glimpses the noise, clamour, and bustle are the same, if not greater,
and that after that one has only traversed about a quarter of London,
then you might understand how it is that I am half distracted!'

One needs to be something of an artist as well as of a poet to
appreciate London at her true worth, and Mendelssohn possessed both
qualities in no small degree; hence it is only natural that the
artistic and poetical aspects of our city should have appealed most
strongly to his sensitive nature. A few days later he writes: 'I think
the town and the streets are quite beautiful. Again I was struck with
awe when yesterday I drove in an open carriage to the City along a
different road and everywhere found the same flow of life ...
everywhere noise and smoke, everywhere the end of the streets lost in
fog. Every few moments I passed a church, or a market-place, or a
green square, or a theatre, or caught a glimpse of the Thames....
Last, not least, to see the masts from the West India Docks
stretching their heads over the housetops, and to see a harbour as big
as the Hamburg one treated like a mere pond, with sluices, and the
ships arranged not singly, but in rows, like regiments--to see all
that makes one's heart rejoice at the greatness of the world.'

The magnificence of a ball at Devonshire House reminds him of the
'Arabian Nights.' The Duke of Wellington and Sir Robert Peel were
present, and he describes the beauty of the girls dancing, the lights,
the music, the flowers, etc. 'To move among these beautiful pictures
and lovely living forms, and to wander about in all that flow of life
and universal excitement, perfectly quiet and unknown, and unnoticed
and unseen, to notice and to see--it was one of the most charming
nights I remember.' Again, of a fête held at the Marquis of
Lansdowne's, he says: 'That such magnificence could really exist in
our time I had not believed. These are not parties--they are festivals
and celebrations.'

In the mind of Mendelssohn, therefore, London struck a sympathetic
chord, and the pleasure which he felt on entering the city was
heightened by the warmth of the welcome which he received at the hands
of the musical public. His first appearance was at the Argyll Rooms,
in Regent Street, at a concert of the Philharmonic Society on May 25,
when his 'Symphony in C minor' was performed. He gives a full
description of the rehearsal and performance in his letter to Fanny:

'When I entered the Argyll Rooms for the rehearsal of my Symphony, and
found the whole orchestra assembled, and about two hundred listeners,
chiefly ladies, strangers to me, and when, first, Mozart's "Symphony
in E flat major" was rehearsed, after which my own was to follow, I
felt not exactly afraid, but nervous and excited. During the Mozart
pieces I took a little walk in Regent Street, and looked at the
people; when I returned, everything was ready and waiting for me. I
mounted the orchestra, and pulled out my white stick which I have had
made on purpose (the maker took me for an alderman, and would insist
on decorating it with a crown). The first violin, François Cramer,
showed me how the orchestra was placed--the furthest row had to get up
so that I could see them--and introduced me to them all, and we bowed
to each other; some, perhaps, laughed a little that this small fellow
with the stick should now take the place of their regular powdered and
bewigged conductor. Then it began. For the first time it went very
well and powerfully, and pleased the people much, even at rehearsal.
After each movement the whole audience and the whole orchestra
applauded (the musicians showing their approval by striking their
instruments with their bows and stamping their feet). After the finale
they made a great noise, and as I had to make them repeat it, because
it was badly played, they set up the same noise once more; the
directors came to me in the orchestra, and I had to go down and make a
great many bows. Cramer was overjoyed, and loaded me with praise and
compliments. I walked about in the orchestra, and had to shake at
least two hundred different hands. It was one of the happiest moments
within my recollection, for one half hour had transformed all those
strangers into friends and acquaintances. But the success at the
concert last night was beyond what I could ever have dreamed. It began
with the Symphony; old François Cramer led me to the piano like a
young lady, and I was received with immense applause. The Adagio was
encored; I preferred to bow my thanks and go on, for fear of tiring
the audience, but the Scherzo was so vigorously encored that I felt
obliged to repeat it, and after the finale they continued applauding,
while I was thanking the orchestra and shaking hands, and until I had
left the room.'

    [Illustration: '_The success was beyond what I could have

On another occasion, when he was to perform at a concert, he describes
how he went to the room early in order to try the piano, which was a
new one. He found the instrument locked, and dispatched a messenger
for the key. In the meantime he seated himself at another piano of
ancient aspect, and beginning to extemporise soon became lost in
reverie. The empty room, the 'old grey instrument which the fingers
of several generations may have played,' and the silence affected him
so deeply that he forgot the passing time, until he was reminded of
the approach of the concert hour by the people coming in to take their
seats. When, having first put himself into _grande toilette_--very
long, white trousers, brown silk waistcoat, black necktie, and blue
dress coat--he mounted the orchestra he felt nervous; a panic seized
him, for the hall was crowded, ladies even sitting in the orchestra
who could not get places in the room. 'But as the gay bonnets gave me
a nice reception, and applauded when I came ... and as I found the
instrument very excellent and of a light touch, I lost all my
timidity, became quite comfortable, and was highly amused to see the
bonnets agitated at every little cadenza, which to me and many critics
brought to mind the simile of the wind and the tulip-bed.'

A dinner-party followed the concert, and then he went to visit some
friends living out of town with whom he was to spend the night.
Finding no carriage to convey him, he set out to walk through the
fields in the cool of the evening. Can we not picture him crossing the
still meadows by a lonely path, meeting no one, the air redolent of
spring flowers, musical ideas floating through his mind--ideas which
there was nobody to hear, which nobody, perhaps, was ever destined to
hear, as he sang them aloud in the fading light, 'the whole sky grey,
with a purple streak on the horizon, and the thick cloud of smoke
behind him.'

Amidst the round of work and the pressure of invitations which made up
the sum of his daily life in London, the love of boyish fun, which
formed a wholesome counteraction to his serious moods, broke out every
now and then with its old accustomed force, eclipsing for the moment
the memories of stately dinner-parties and receptions. One night when
in company with two friends he was returning from what he terms 'a
highly diplomatic dinner-party' at the Prussian Ambassador's, where
they had taken their 'fill of fashionable dishes, sayings, and
doings,' they passed a very enticing sausage-shop in which some German
sausages were exposed in the window. A wave of patriotism overcame
them; they entered, and each bought a long sausage, and then the trio
turned into a quiet street to devour them, accompanying the meal with
a three-part song and shouts of laughter.

Mendelssohn's heart was easily touched by the distresses of others,
and when he learnt of the sufferings of those who had lost their all
in the floods in Silesia at this time, he set to work at once to
arrange a concert in their behalf. The 'Midsummer Night's Dream
Overture' formed one of the items of the programme--this being the
second occasion of its performance since his arrival. It was most
enthusiastically received, and, indeed, the whole concert was a great
success. The room was so besieged that no fewer than one hundred
persons were turned from the doors. Ladies who could not find seats in
the body of the hall crowded upon the orchestra, and Mendelssohn was
delighted at receiving a message from two elderly ladies, who had
strayed between the bassoons and the French horns, anxiously inquiring
'whether they were likely to hear well!' Another enthusiastic lady
esconsced herself contentedly upon a kettledrum. There could be little
doubt that the overture had secured a firm hold upon English hearts at
its first hearing. Jules Benedict, who was present on the occasion,
describes the effect upon the audience as electrical. At the end of
the first performance a friend who had taken charge of the precious
manuscript was so careless as to leave it in a hackney-coach on his
way home, and it was never recovered. 'Never mind,' said Mendelssohn,
when the loss was reported to him, 'I will write another.' And he sat
down at once and rewrote the score entirely from memory, and when the
copy was afterwards compared with the parts it was found that he had
not made a single variation.

From London, when the season came to an end, he went in company with
his friend Klingemann to Scotland, his keen sense of perception
drinking in all the variety and charm which the tour presented, and
his genius supplying a musical setting to whatever struck him as
specially beautiful. The ruined chapel attached to the old Palace of
Holyrood, seen in the twilight, with its broken altar at which Mary
received the Scottish crown, overgrown with grass and ivy, and its
mouldering, roofless pillars, with patches of bright sky between, gave
him the first inspiration for his Scotch Symphony. But it was the
Hebrides which, in their lonely grandeur and bleakness, affected him
most of all. Of Iona, with its ruins of a once magnificent cathedral,
and its graves of ancient Scottish Kings, he writes that he shall
think when in the midst of crowded assemblies of music and dancing. Of
Staffa, again, with its strange, basaltic pillars and caverns, he
says: 'A greener roar of waves surely never rushed into a stranger
cavern--its many pillars making it look like the inside of an immense
organ, black and resounding, and absolutely without purpose, and quite
alone, the wide, grey sea within and without.' How deeply the Hebrides
impressed him he shows by a few lines of music added to his letter,
which he says were suggested to him by the sight of these lonely
sister isles. Later on this very piece of music formed the opening to
his 'Overture to Fingal's Cave.'

How thoroughly music entered into his daily life and permeated his
thoughts, we may know from his habit of seating himself at the piano
in the evening, and improvising music to express what he had both
_seen_ and _felt_ throughout the day. To Mendelssohn music was a
natural language by which he could express, in the most perfect
manner, the emotions which had been aroused by reading or by the
contemplation of Nature. Thus, when he went from Scotland to North
Wales to stay with some friends named Taylor, he wrote for Susan
Taylor a piece called 'The Rivulet,' which was a representation of an
actual rivulet visited by them in their rambles. Again, Honora Taylor
had in her garden a creeping plant (the _Eccremocarpus_), bearing
little trumpet-shaped flowers, and Mendelssohn was taken with a fancy
for inventing the music which the fairies might have been supposed to
play on those tiny trumpets. The piece was called 'A Capriccio in E
minor,' and when he wrote it out he drew a branch of the plant all up
the margin of the paper. For another member of the family he wrote a
piece which was suggested by a bunch of carnations (his favourite
flower) and roses arranged in a bowl, and he put in some arpeggio
passages to remind the player of the sweet scent rising up from the

Felix had just returned to London, and was contemplating an early
departure for Berlin, when an injury to his knee, the result of a
carriage accident, compelled him to lie up for several weeks, and
hence to forego a pleasure to which he had been looking forward with
feelings of eager affection. Shortly before he left home Fanny's
engagement to William Hensel, a young painter of promise, had received
her parent's sanction, and it had been confidently expected that Felix
would return in time for the marriage. The disappointment caused by
the accident was therefore keenly felt both by himself and those at
home. Hensel was clever, and by no means a stranger to the gatherings
at the Gartenhaus; but his entry into the select and innermost circle
of the brotherhood, armed with the kind of right which his engagement
to Fanny had conferred upon him, caused him to be regarded in a new
light, and it was not until a little time had elapsed that he found
his way to their hearts by his gentle ways, assisted in no small
degree by his pencil. At first the exclusiveness of a set which had
received the title of 'The Wheel,' and which prided itself on the
freemasonry which obtained amongst its members, was somewhat chilling;
but Hensel was not easily discouraged; he took to drawing the members'
portraits as his contribution to the bonhomie of the circle, and with
such success that 'The Wheel' soon came to regard him as an
indispensable spoke, whilst the portraits multiplied until they formed
a huge collection. Fanny's marriage, moreover, did not imply any break
in the family circle, for when her brother returned to Berlin he found
that Hensel and his bride had taken up their residence in the

The grand tour had practically only begun, and was now to be resumed,
but the visit to England was exercising over Mendelssohn's mind a
strong influence which, though not unconnected with the success and
fame it had brought to him, might with more justice be ascribed to the
sympathetic appreciation and kindness which he had received at the
hands of the English. 'A prophet is not without honour, save in his
own country,' and Berlin had so far held back the encouragement that
strangers were so willing to accord him. Moreover, for one of his
artistically sensitive temperament London possessed a magnetic charm
that was lacking in Berlin. At home his very youth seemed to count
against him, but in London it was, if anything, in his favour. The
fame of his visit, however, had preceded him to Berlin, and shortly
after his return he was offered the Professorship of Music at the
University, an honour which he at once declined, feeling that its
acceptance would not only interfere with his freedom in composition,
but bind him down to an occupation which he confessed was not his
forte. This Chair had been specially created in the hope that he would
fill it, and it marks the first, though by no means the last, attempt
on the part of the Berliners to secure his services for their city.

In the May following he set forth once more on his travels, bound for
Venice, Florence, and Rome. He could not pass through Weimar, however,
without paying a visit to Goethe; it proved to be the last meeting,
and it was filled with incidents that left a deep impression on his
mind. Never had the sympathy and friendship between the two been
closer or more confidential than on this occasion. 'There is much in
my spirit that you must light up for me,' said Goethe to Felix one day
when they had been conversing together. Goethe called upon him
continually for music, but showed an indifference towards Beethoven's
works; Felix, however, insisted that he must endure some of the
master, and played to him the first movement of the 'C minor
Symphony.' Goethe listened for a few moments, and then said: 'That
does not touch one at all; it only astonishes one.' But Felix played
on, and presently, after some murmuring to himself, the poet burst out
with: 'It is very great, it is wild! It seems as though the house were
falling! What must it be with the whole orchestra!'

The tour was a long one, for several cities had to be visited before
he could cross the Swiss frontier. Each day brought its full measure
of incident and delightful sight-seeing. It was in Switzerland,
however, that Mendelssohn's passionate love for Nature was stirred to
its depths. His Alpine walks were a revelation of Nature in her most
decided moods, and one particular walk over the Wengern Alp was
destined to be long remembered. The mountain summits were glittering
in the morning air, every undulation and the face of every hill clear
and distinct. Formerly it was their height alone that had impressed
him, 'now it was their boundless extent that he particularly
felt--their huge, broad masses; the close connection of all those
enormous fortresses, which seemed to be crowding together and
stretching out their hands to each other.'

He loved all beautiful things, but he loved the sea best of all; it
seemed to him to express in its varying moods every feeling which he
himself possessed. 'When there is a storm at Chiatamene,' he wrote to
Fanny when she was visiting Italy, 'and the grey sea is foaming, think
of me.' And now as he approached Naples, and saw the sea sparkling in
the sunlit bay, he exclaims: 'To me it is the finest object in Nature!
I love it almost more than the sky. I always feel happy when I see
before me the wide expanse of waters.' Again, the ancientness of
Nature herself conveyed far more to him than any legend of antiquity
connected with the works of man; he could not feel in 'crumbling mason
work' the interest and fascination that existed for him in the
unchanged outlines of the hills, or in the fact that the waves lapped
the island which formed the refuge of Brutus, and the lichen-covered
rocks bent over them then just as they did now. These were monuments
on which no names were scribbled, no inscriptions carved, and to such
he clung.

Yet in Rome itself he found a centre of unending interest and
fascination. 'All its measureless delights lay as a free gift before
him; every day he picked out afresh some great historic object: one
day a ramble about the ruins of the ancient city, another day the
Borghese Gallery or the Capitol, or else St. Peter's or the Vatican.
So each day was one never to be forgotten, and this sort of dallying
left each impression firmer and stronger. If Venice seemed like the
gravestone of its own past, its ruinous, modern palaces and the
enduring remembrance of a bygone supremacy giving it a disquieting,
mournful impression, the past of Rome struck him as history itself;
its monuments ennobled, and made one at the same moment serious and
joyful, for there was joy in feeling how human creations may survive a
thousand years and yet possess their quickening restoring, influence.
Each day some new image of that past imprinted itself on his mind, and
then came the twilight, and the day was at an end.'

The tour was not completed until the spring of the following year
(1832), and during that interval two sad notes had been struck--the
first being the death of Edward Ritz, the young violinist, Felix's
closest friend, from whom he admitted that he had taken the model of
his delicate, musical handwriting; and the second that of Goethe. In
connection with the latter loss Felix felt deeply for Zelter, for he
knew how the old man had worshipped and leant upon the master-poet.
'Mark my words,' said Mendelssohn, when he received the sad
intelligence, 'it will not be long now before Zelter dies!' The words
were but too prophetic, for in less than two months from the day on
which they were spoken Zelter had followed the master he loved so

Before the latter event happened, however, Mendelssohn had returned to
London. His affection for the City had now become a settled part of
his nature. Even amidst the sunshine of Naples, with the glittering
sea before his eyes, he had longed for London. 'That smoky nest is
fated to be now and ever my favourite residence,' he writes; 'my heart
swells when I think of it.' Even with the love he felt for those who
were awaiting his return to the Berlin home it must have been hard for
him to tear himself away from London, where his genius and his
attractive personality found recognition at every turn. Consequently
it is not surprising that he should have found his way back to his
'smoky nest' before very long--this time accompanied by his father. It
was Abraham Mendelssohn's first visit, and it served to bring out more
clearly than ever the closeness of the bond which united them. Felix
nursed his father through an illness of three weeks' duration with a
tenderness and solicitude that called forth a touching tribute from
the patient. 'I cannot express,' writes Abraham to Leah, 'what he has
been to me, what a treasure of love, patience, endurance,
thoughtfulness, and tender care he has lavished on me; and much as I
owe him indirectly for a thousand kindnesses and attentions from
others, I owe him far more for what he has done for me himself.'

Two years later Mendelssohn was mourning the loss of this parent,
whose sudden death had cast a deep gloom over a time when everything
seemed to promise happily for the young composer. Only a month before
the sad event Felix had joined the home-party at Berlin, and the house
had once more assumed the full and complete life of its earlier days.
The merriment, the joyous laughter were as hearty and resounding as
they had been of yore, and there the father and mother had sat
watching the fun--Abraham by this time quite blind, but keenly
interested in all that was going on. Now the first definite break in
that happy circle had come, shutting out the past for ever!

The extraordinary fullness which characterised Mendelssohn's life--'he
lived years whilst others would have lived only weeks,' was the true
remark of one who knew him well--reminds us of the impracticability of
giving anything like a complete description of even its chief
incidents. The stage at which our story has arrived does not, it is
true, show him at the pinnacle of his fame as a composer, but if we
entertained any doubts as to his greatness or his popularity at this
time, we have only to imagine ourselves present at the scene which was
being enacted on a certain afternoon in May, 1836, in the music-hall
at Düsseldorf to be assured on both of these points. The long,
low-pitched room is filled with an excited and enthusiastic audience
applauding with all their might and main, for the first performance of
Mendelssohn's oratorio 'St. Paul' has just come to an end. Amidst the
roars of applause the ladies of the chorus have risen from their
seats, and, advancing to the spot where Mendelssohn stands bowing his
acknowledgments to the audience and orchestra, they shower garlands
upon him, and then to complete the display they place a crown of
flowers upon the score itself.

Some time before this event the town of Düsseldorf had claimed his
services as director of music, and a little later Leipzig had followed
suit--the latter event marking the beginning of a connection fraught
with results of the highest importance to the musical world, and of
much happiness to Mendelssohn himself. It was at this period that he
composed many of those charming part-songs, intended for performance
in the open air, that have since become such recognised favourites; of
these we need only recall 'The Hunter's Farewell' and 'The Lark' as
examples. But the time is marked for us in even clearer notes than
these, for to this era belong several of his 'Songs without
Words'--those melodies which have grown into our hearts never, we may
well believe, to be uprooted. Mendelssohn not only invented the title
'Lieder ohne Worte,' but also the style of composition itself. Sir
Julius Benedict remarks that 'at this period mechanical dexterity,
musical claptraps, skips from one part of the piano to another,
endless shakes and arpeggios, were the order of the day.' Mendelssohn,
however, would never sacrifice to the prevailing taste; his desire was
to 'restore dignity and rank to the instrument,' and he accordingly
wrote what Sir Julius aptly describes as these 'exquisite little
musical poems.'

The year of which we are speaking was productive of the deepest
happiness to Mendelssohn, for it was that of his engagement to Cécile
Jeanrenaud, the beautiful daughter of a French Protestant clergyman,
whose acquaintance he had formed whilst on a visit to Frankfort. In
the following spring they were married, and thus began for both a new
life replete with happiness. In Cécile Felix found one who, out of her
loving, gentle nature, could give him the sympathy and support that he
needed, whilst she in turn received from her husband the fullest
return that a grateful and sensitive heart, obedient to the promptings
of a love that never wavered in its steadfastness and devotion, could
bestow. No home life could have been happier, none more simple in its
give and take of affection, than that of Mendelssohn and his wife;
nothing transpired to destroy or even to obscure for a moment the halo
of romance which surrounded it from the beginning, and which rendered
it from first to last a marriage of love.

A picture of Mendelssohn at this period of his life shows us a short,
slightly-built figure, with the dark, Jewish type of face, high
forehead surmounted by thick, black, wavy hair, and dark brown eyes
full of fire and animation, which we have already described as
marking his appearance as a boy. The mouth was delicate and sensitive,
the corners frequently curved into a smile. The change of expression
in the eyes when playing, or stirred by any deep emotion, was most
striking; 'they would dilate and become nearly twice their ordinary
size, the brown pupil changing to a vivid black.' His lithe, muscular
frame showed expression in all its movements corresponding with the
actions of the mind; when he thoroughly agreed with a speaker he
nodded so vigorously as to bring the black curls down over his face;
his laughter was ringing and hearty, and merriment found added
expression in the doubling up of his body and the shaking of his hand.
His hands were small, with sensitive, tapering fingers, and when
playing the fingers acted as if endowed with separate life and
intelligence. There was no effeminacy connected with his lovable
nature; he was quick to resent meanness or deceit, or wrong-doing of
any kind. His anger was exceedingly sharp, and his manner of
expressing contempt an astonishing revelation to those who had failed
to grasp his character as a whole.

Despite his love of hard work no one more thoroughly enjoyed being
lazy when there was nothing to do. Sleep was his never-failing
resource when overtaxed--the power of compelling sound, refreshing
sleep at the moment when it was most needed was one of the most
remarkable traits of a temperament distinguished by its astonishing
activity. Yet it may be taken perhaps as a part of his orderly nature,
which in everything was governed by method. The completeness with
which he carried out every detail connected with his work or his
amusements excites our wonderment; the sense of neatness pervades the
whole--nothing is wanting. He wrote numberless letters, many of them
containing descriptions of scenery and incident such as entitle them
to rank as literary productions--yet there is not the slightest
evidence of haste or carelessness; even the writing itself is artistic
in its delicacy and finish. He received countless letters, and he
preserved them all by pasting them into scrapbooks kept for the
purpose. The same scrupulous care is observable in the writing of his
musical manuscripts, and no fewer than forty-four volumes of these
works, constructed by his own hands, are preserved in the Imperial
Library at Berlin. His talent for drawing was considerable, and his
love for the pursuit enabled him to accumulate a large collection of
finished works, in every one of which is exhibited the same
painstaking care and accuracy with regard to detail. Finally, we must
mention his devotion to his family. No more loving father could have
been found than Mendelssohn was to his children; he entered into their
games and lessons with the same eager desire to add to their
enjoyment, or to ease their labours, as he displayed towards the
greater world outside his home.

We must now hasten to record an event which was destined to stamp
Mendelssohn's career with undying fame--the completion of his oratorio
'Elijah.' This, his greatest work, owed its inspiration to a short
passage in the book he reverenced most of all. One day his friend
Hiller found him deep in the Bible. 'Listen,' he said, and then he
read in a gentle, agitated voice the passage from the First Book of
Kings, beginning with the words, 'And behold, the Lord passed by.'
'Would not that be splendid for an oratorio!' he exclaimed; and from
that moment the idea began to grow in his mind. And as it grew he saw
it in a clearer, brighter light, until, when the spring of 1846
arrived, the work was all but completed. In a letter to Jenny Lind,
the famous singer and his intimate friend, he writes: 'I am jumping
about my room for joy! If it only turns out half as good as I fancy it
is how pleased I shall be!'

    [Illustration: '"_Would not that be splendid for an

The years intervening between the inception of this great work and its
completion had brought no little anxiety and strain connected with his
arduous labours, and they had brought one deep sorrow, the loss of his
mother, whose death had been as sudden and unexpected as that of the
father. Honours had been bestowed upon him by royal hands--the King of
Prussia had personally conveyed to him his wishes that he should
assume the directorship of music in Berlin, and when Mendelssohn found
himself unable to retain the position he had begged him to reconsider
his decision; the King of Saxony had made him Capellmeister to his
Court; and last, but not least, he had received at the hands of Queen
Victoria and Prince Albert such marks of personal regard and esteem as
must have served to endear him more than ever to the country which had
been foremost in recognising the greatness of his genius.

Those years, too, had witnessed the fruits of his unceasing labours
for the advancement of his art in those centres over which his
personal influence extended. Leipzig under him had become a musical
centre to which young students and composers flocked, in order to
obtain his opinion and guidance in respect to their work, or even, in
many cases, to place themselves for a time where his methods could be
studied and his personality enjoyed at the same time. Amongst others
came William Sterndale Bennett, filled with enthusiasm, to profit by
his advice, and to find in the master a kind and generous friend. Nor
should we omit to mention, amongst the numerous offshoots of his
labours, the foundation of the Conservatorium of Music at Leipzig, a
scheme entirely due to his initiative, and which under his fostering
care developed into one of the first academies of the day. Lastly,
amidst the whirl of work he found time to carry out a project which he
had for long cherished--the erection, at the threshold of the Thomas
School at Leipzig, of a monument to the memory of Sebastian Bach.

On the morning of Wednesday, August 26, 1846, the Town Hall of
Birmingham presented a scene of unusual animation. A huge crowd was
entering its doors and taking possession of the phalanx of chairs
occupying the floor of the building. In the gallery every seat had
been taken an hour earlier, and very soon every eye was directed
towards the conductor's desk in expectation of Mendelssohn's
appearance. Eager anticipation was in the air, for this day was to
witness the first performance of 'Elijah' under the baton of the
composer, who had thus elected to submit his greatest work to the
judgment of an English audience.

'At half-past eleven o'clock,' wrote one who was present on the
occasion, 'a deafening shout from the band and chorus announced the
approach of the great composer. The reception he met with on stepping
into his place from the assembled thousands was absolutely
overwhelming, whilst the sun, emerging at that moment, seemed to
illumine the vast edifice in honour of the bright and pure being who
stood there, the idol of all beholders.' The applause which broke
forth at the end of the first part gave a sufficient indication of the
impression which the audience had formed of the work, and at the
conclusion the enthusiasm was such that the entire assembly rose to
their feet, and shouted and waved for several minutes.

It was over, and Mendelssohn's gratification at his reception was
expressed in the letter which he wrote to his brother Paul the same
evening: 'No work of mine ever went so admirably at the first
performance, or was received with such enthusiasm both by musicians
and the public as this.... I almost doubt if I can ever hear one like
it again.'

In April of the following year four performances of the 'Elijah' took
place at Exeter Hall under his conductorship, the Queen and Prince
Albert gracing the second performance with their presence. This was
destined to be his last visit to these shores, and when he departed,
after fulfilling a round of engagements which tried his strength to
its uttermost limits, it was with the haunting shadow of coming
illness. Scarcely had he rejoined his family at Frankfort than a
messenger brought the sad intelligence that his sister Fanny had died
suddenly at Berlin; the news was broken to him all too suddenly, and
with a loud shriek he fell to the ground in a swoon.

From that moment his spirits failed him; there was no rebound from the
deep depression into which he had fallen--only occasional flickerings
of his former self showed that the struggle to assert his will-power
over an ever-increasing loss of physical strength was still going on.
There were moments, indeed, when it seemed to himself, if not to those
who watched him with growing anxiety, that he was regaining his old
buoyancy--the old craving for work which nothing seemed to have the
power to destroy. But though compositions still came from his pen,
though he had not yet given up hope in himself--'You shall have plenty
of music from me; I will give you no cause to complain,' he had
remarked to an English publisher shortly before this time--it was
plain to those nearest to him that the inexorable finger of death was
pointing the way to the Valley of Shadows.

       *       *       *       *       *

The streets of Leipzig were flooded with sunshine, though November had
just entered upon its course, and though the approach of winter was
apparent in the crispness of the air. Yet a cloud overhung the town
which no degree of atmospheric brightness could dispel--a cloud of
sorrow which took its birth from the placards affixed to the street
corners, and spread its shadow over street after street, from one knot
of inquirers to another, until the brief announcement which those
placards conveyed became the common news, the common sorrow, of all.
Mendelssohn was dead. On the evening of the previous day (November 4,
1847) the master whose bright, genial spirit had endeared him to so
many hearts beyond the confines of his own circle, had passed to his
rest. The blow had fallen with terrible swiftness, and we who love
his music can only faintly realise how keenly those who knew and loved
him, and who had come within the influence of his happy nature, must
have felt the sudden break in that continuous flow of harmony which
his life presented. Sweet as summer wind across the garden, wafting
scents of choicest flowers, his life had passed over like a breath of

Without doubt his was a beautiful life--one of which, as it has been
truly said, 'there is nothing to tell that is not honourable to his
memory, and profitable to all men.' We cannot separate--we can have no
wish to separate--such a life from the genius which enriched it,
because the noble ideals which governed it throughout were embodied
and expressed in the creations of that genius, as well as in his
private conduct; rather should we be content to accept his life as it
stands--in actions, deeds, and works--as a priceless gift, an
indivisible whole.

Mendelssohn's funeral was a very imposing one. The first portion of
the ceremonies was performed at Leipzig, and was attended by crowds of
musicians and students--one of the latter bearing on a cushion the
silver crown presented to the composer by his pupils, side by side
with the Order 'Pour le Mérite' conferred upon him by the King of
Prussia. As the long procession went on its way to the Pauliner Church
the band played the 'Song without Words' in E minor, and at the close
of the service the final chorus from Bach's 'Passion' was sung by the
choir. At night the body was conveyed to Berlin for interment in the
family burial-place in the Alte Dreifaltigkeits Kirch-hof. His
resting-place, marked by a cross, is beside that of his sister Fanny,
whilst on the other side of him rests his boy Felix, who died four
years later.


[29] Sir G. Macfarren.

[30] No. 103, but since renumbered 79.


    Die beiden Neffen. 1822.
    The Wedding of Camacho, Op. 10. 1825.
    The First Walpurgis Night, Op. 60. 1831-32.
    Son and Stranger (Heimkehr), Op. 89. 1829.
    Antigone, Op. 55. 1841.
    Midsummer Night's Dream, Op. 61. 1843.
    Athalie, Op. 74. 1843-45.
    Oedipus in Colonos, Op. 93. 1845.
    Loreley (unfinished), Op. 98. 1847.
    St. Paul, Op. 36. 1836.
    Hymn of Praise (Lobgesang), Op. 52. 1840.
    Elijah, Op. 70. 1846.
    Lauda Sion, Op. 73. 1846.
    Christus (unfinished), Op. 97. 1847.
PSALMS, with orchestral accompaniment:
    Ps. 115, Not unto us, Op. 31. 1830
    Ps. 42, As the Hart pants, Op. 42. 1837.
    Ps. 95, O come, let us sing, Op. 46. 1839.
    Ps. 114, When Israel out of Egypt came, Op. 51. 1839.
    Ps. 13, Lord, how long? Op. 96. 1840-43.
    Ps. 98, Sing to the Lord, Op. 91. 1843.
Hear my Prayer. 1844.
Hymns of Praise (Festgesang). 1840.
Festgesang: To the Sons of Art, Op. 68. 1846.
Te Deum in A. 1846.
Jubilate, Magnificat, and Nunc Dimittis, Op. 69. 1847.
3 Motets for female voices and organ, Op. 39. 1830.
3 Psalms, unaccompanied, Op. 78 (Pss. 2, 43, and 22), 1844.
6 short Anthems for 8-part chorus, Op. 79.
18 Part-songs for male voices.
28 Part-songs for mixed voices.
    C minor, Op. 11. 1824.
    D minor, The Reformation, Op. 107. 1830.
    A, The Italian, Op. 90. 1833.
    A minor, The Scotch, Op. 56. 1842.
    Midsummer Night's Dream, in E, Op. 21. 1826.
    Military Band (Harmonie-musik) in C, Op. 24. 1824.
    Fingal's Cave, or Hebrides, in B minor, Op. 26. 1830
    Meerestille, in D, Op. 27. 1828.
    Melusine, in F, Op. 32. 1833.
    Ruy Blas, in C minor, Op. 95. 1839.
    The Trumpet, in C, Op. 101. 1825.
    Funeral March, in A minor, Op. 103. 1836.
    Cornelius, in D, Op. 108. 1841.
Octet in E-flat, Op. 20. 1825.
    Op. 18, in A. 1831.
    Op. 87, in B-flat. 1845.
    Op. 12, in E-flat. 1829.
    Op. 13, in A. 1827.
    Op. 44, Nos. 1, 2, and 3, in D, E minor, and E-flat 1837-38.
    Op. 80, in F minor. 1847.
Violin Concerto in E minor, Op. 64. 1844.
    Op. 25, in G minor. 1832.
    Op. 40, in D minor. 1837.
Sextet for pianoforte and strings, in D, Op. 110. 1824.
    Op. 1, in C minor. 1822.
    Op. 2, in F minor. 1823.
    Op. 3, in B minor. 1824-25.
    Op. 49, in D minor, 1839.
    Op. 66, in C minor, 1845.
Sonata for pianoforte and violin, in F minor, Op. 4. 1823.
    Op. 45, in B-flat. 1838.
    Op. 58, in D. 1843.
    Op. 6, in E. 1826.
    Op. 105, in G minor. 1820-21.
    Op. 106, in B-flat. 1827.
8 BOOKS OF SONGS WITHOUT WORDS (Lieder ohne Worte), (each
  book containing 6 pieces):
    Op. 19b. Pub. 1832.
    Op. 30.   "   1835.
    Op. 38.   "   1837.
    Op. 53.   "   1841.
    Op. 62.   "   1844.
    Op. 67.   "   1845.
    Op. 85.   "   1850.
    Op. 102.  "   1868.
3 Fantasias for pianoforte (Andante and Allegro, Capriccio, and
  Rivulet), Op, 16. 1829.
17 Variations Sérieuses, Op. 54. 1841.
3 Preludes and Fugues for organ, Op. 37. 1837.
6 Sonatas for organ, Op. 65. 1844-45.
Soprano Aria, Infelice, Op. 94. 1834.
76 Songs.



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