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Title: Shakespeare and Music
Author: Wilson, Christopher
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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[Transcriber's note: italicized text is indicated with _underscores_;
bolded text with +plus signs+.]



[Frontispiece: THE LATE CHRISTOPHER WILSON]



SHAKESPEARE AND MUSIC



BY

CHRISTOPHER WILSON



LONDON

"THE STAGE" OFFICE

16 YORK STREET, COVENT GARDEN, W.C. 2

1922



{v}

CONTENTS

                                                           PAGE

  CHRISTOPHER WILSON: A MEMOIR . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  vii
  INTRODUCTORY . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   xi
  ANTONY AND CLEOPATRA . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .    1
  AS YOU LIKE IT . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .    7
  THE COMEDY OF ERRORS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   10
  CORIOLANUS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   14
  CYMBELINE  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   17
  HAMLET . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   21
  KING HENRY IV. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   40
  HENRY VIII.  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   42
  JULIUS CAESAR  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   47
  KING LEAR  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   50
  MACBETH  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   54
  MEASURE FOR MEASURE  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   67
  THE MERCHANT OF VENICE . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   74
  THE MERRY WIVES OF WINDSOR . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   80
  A MIDSUMMER NIGHT'S DREAM  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   88
  MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   98
  OTHELLO  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  106
  KING RICHARD III.  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  115
  ROMEO AND JULIET . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  118
  THE TAMING OF THE SHREW  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  130
  THE TEMPEST  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  134
  TIMON OF ATHENS  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  148
  TWELFTH NIGHT  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  150
  THE TWO GENTLEMEN OF VERONA  . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  158
  THE WINTER'S TALE  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  161
  SHAKESPEARE'S SONGS  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  164
  INDEX  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  167



{vii}

CHRISTOPHER WILSON

A MEMOIR

(Reprinted, by kind permission of the Editor, from _The Musical Times_
of April 1, 1919)


When Christopher Wilson published his master-song, "Come away, Death,"
in 1901, _The Times_ said of it that it was "all that such a song
should be--fantastic, yet deeply pathetic, _and as musicianly as a work
by a Mendelssohn scholar ought to be_."  The words italicised remain
true of all that this gifted composer left us; and the pity of it is
that for various reasons, some of which will appear in the present
notice, so little of his work has been printed.

"Chris" Wilson, as he was known to hosts of friends in Bohemian
circles, was born at Melbourne, in Derbyshire, on October 7, 1874.  He
came of musical stock on both sides.  Many stories, based on undoubted
fact, are current as to the boy's proficiency on the pianoforte, even
before he reached his teens; and while at Derby School, where his
headmaster was J. R. Sterndale Bennett, a son of the composer, he
played for the eleven--a somewhat rare combination of talents.  There
was never a doubt as to young Christopher's future calling; and his
brilliant career at the Academy more than fulfilled his early promise.
He carried off no fewer than three bronze and three silver medals, and
was at the end of his third year awarded three certificates: for the
pianoforte, harmony, and sight-singing.  He also gained the Agnes
Zimmermann Prize.  Wilson received every encouragement from the
Principal, Sir Alexander Mackenzie, while his professors for harmony
and {viii} composition, pianoforte, and viola (his second subject) were
Mr Frank Davenport (his uncle), Mr Oscar Beringer, and Mr Walenn,
respectively.  No one was surprised when he capped all his previous
successes by carrying off the Mendelssohn Scholarship in 1895.  He went
abroad--as winners of the British Prix de Rome usually do--and studied
under Wüllner at Cologne, von Herzogenberg at Berlin, and Widor at
Paris.  His gifts were appreciated by his foreign teachers as they had
been at home.  The beautiful Suite for strings (since, 1901, published
by Schott) was performed at Cologne at one of the principal concerts--a
compliment that had been paid to only one young Englishman before him,
Arthur Sullivan.  Moreover, he was selected by Wüllner to "coach" a
tenor at the Opera in the part of Tristan--no small distinction.  There
can be no question that Wilson brought back to England one great
asset[1]: he had heard all the great operas over and over again, and it
was as a composer and conductor for the theatre that he was destined to
make his mark.  His sense of the stage and of atmosphere and his love
for everything relating to the theatre were remarkably keen; so his
success in this sphere was not surprising.  His gifts were quickly
recognised by Sir Frank Benson, Mr Oscar Asche, Miss Ellen Terry, Mr
and Mrs Fred Terry, Mr Otho Stuart, Mr Waller, and others; for the two
first named he acted as musical director for well over ten years.
Apart from the numerous Shakespearian productions for which he wrote
the music, his most striking successes were obtained in _Kismet, The
Pied Piper of Hamelin_, and the Greek plays.  In these latter he made
no more use of the ancient modes than Mendelssohn had done; but the
result was highly effective and true to atmosphere.  {ix} Opinions are
bound to differ as to the comparative merit of the music written for
the Shakespeare plays: on the whole, perhaps, _King Lear, Richard II.,
Antony and Cleopatra, Much Ado about Nothing, The Merchant of Venice_,
and _Measure for Measure_ mark his highest level of achievement.
Wilson was, of course, acquainted with all the traditional music, of
which he availed himself whenever he considered it suitable; the
numerous gaps he filled in with unerring taste and skill.  Future
searchers in the British Museum Catalogue may consider his output
relatively small, in spite of the fact that he died in his forty-fifth
year.  But it should be remembered that incidental music of this kind,
apart from the lyrics, mostly remains in MS.  None the less, one may
rest assured that its spirit and traditions will live on, and that much
of it will be handed on by successive conductors for the enjoyment of
future generations.

His published works include, besides those mentioned elsewhere in this
memoir, settings of "On the Ground," "Take, oh take those lips away"
(1906), and a duet, "It was a Lover and his Lass" (1907); "Rest in
Peace" (words by W. Melville, 1900); "If we may not meet" (H. Kendall,
1901); "Roses for my Lady" (Harold Begbie, 1903); "To a Nosegay" (E.
Broad, 1903); "There lived a Singer" (Swinburne, 1903); "When Roses
blush" (E. Lyall Swete, 1904); "I bring thee Roses" (F. Stayton, 1908);
"Ave Maria" for S.A.T.B. (unaccompanied--organ part for rehearsal
only--1910); three Duets and a Song from _Kismet_ (1911); and a
Novelette in D for the piano, (1903).  Of the unpublished works, the
most important are the music to a wordless play "Inconstant Pierrot"
(the _scenario_ by Sidney Dark); a second Suite for strings; a Mass; a
Pianoforte Quartet; two String Quartets; two Violin Sonatas; and a
number of lyrics (including several by Shakespeare and a fine setting
of Browning's "Prospice").  He also wrote the music for two pageants.

During the last year of his life, when his health was beginning to
fail, Wilson worked much at the British {x} Museum on a series of
papers for _The Stage_, dealing with Shakespeare and the host of
composers who have set him to music; here his knowledge and experience,
if not unrivalled, were certainly unsurpassed.  Of these articles, five
had appeared up to the time of his death: (1) and (2), Introductory and
"A Midsummer Night's Dream" (October 31 and November 7, 1918); (3) and
(4), "Macbeth" (December 5 and December 27, 1918); (5), "Romeo and
Juliet" (February 6, 1919).  The last of the series was published
eleven days before the end came suddenly--for "Chris" died of heart
failure in the early morning of February 17.  A few hours before he
fell asleep he was asked to write the music for the forthcoming
production by Miss Doris Keane of this same play of _Romeo and
Juliet_--a pathetic coincidence!

Anyone anxious to form some faint idea of "Chris" Wilson's delightful
personality, his kindness to all, his utter selflessness, his childlike
simplicity of nature, and his humour, should read the two articles on
his experiences as a conductor which he contributed to _The Stage_ in
1917.  But it is the humbler members of his orchestras who probably
know more of his goodness of heart than even his most intimate friends;
and it is their testimony he would have valued most highly.  It should
be added that he was a widely-read man, and possessed a sound knowledge
of art and of architecture.

A fine tribute to his memory was paid him by his brother Savages--among
whom he had spent so many happy hours--on the Saturday night of the
week in which he died, when Mr George Baker sang his "Come away, Death"
with an effect that will never be forgotten by those who were present.



[1] Another natural result of his stay in Germany was that his interest
in the folk-songs of that country was stimulated; and he edited for
Messrs Boosey the volume of "German Folk-Songs" in their Imperial
Edition, the English versions being by his friend Paul England (1909).
Wilson's accompaniments and harmonies to these are models of what such
things should be; and a notable feature of the collection is that it
contains a large proportion of songs that had never been translated
into English.



{xi}

INTRODUCTORY

When I first contemplated writing these articles it seemed to me to be
a very interesting, amusing, and pleasant job indeed.  I had seen a
great number of Shakespeare's plays, read some of them, and written or
conducted music for most.  All I had to do, I thought, was to jot down
a few notes of what I had heard or read, and out of them make a
readable couple of columns.  I began to make the notes, and swiftly it
dawned upon me what an enormous task I had taken on.  I found that
nearly every composer, great or small, since Shakespeare's time had
been inspired, directly or indirectly, by our poet.  True, Handel
avoided him (I can find no trace of Shakespeare in the opera _Julius
Cæsar_), and I don't suppose Bach ever heard of him; but I feel sure
that Beethoven's "Coriolan" Overture owes something to Shakespeare as
well as to von Collin, the direct author of the play.  But when the
plays began to be translated and circulated abroad, composers all over
Europe came under his extraordinary influence, and began composing
music to his plays or about characters in them.

No music to the plays by contemporary composers has survived.  Most
people associate him with Purcell, Locke, Robert Johnson, Bannister, or
Pelham Humphrey; but all these were born some years after his death,
except Johnson, whose settings of "Where the Bee Sucks" and "Full
Fathom Five" are supposed to be the original; but, as Johnson was only
twelve years old when Shakespeare died, _The Tempest_ must have been
produced without these songs, or Johnson must have been more than
usually {xii} precocious.  The _Encyclopaedia Britannica_ definitely
says that Johnson's settings are the original.

There are many theories to account for the singular absence of
contemporary musical settings of Shakespeare's lyrics: a quite possible
one being that he wrote his songs to popular tunes of the day, which
everyone knew and no one troubled to write down and print.  Many of our
great revue composers hammer out the tune first and then get some
versifier to write words to it.  Anyhow, if one is going to produce
Shakespeare's plays and only use settings composed for the original
productions, one would have very little music; and, as he was always
calling for music, both in his stage directions and from the mouths of
his characters, the performances might please the Stage Society, but
certainly would not have pleased the author.

Musically, there are many ways of producing Shakespeare's plays.  One
is the absolutely "correct" method--that is, to play _The Tempest_,
say, with the precocious Johnson's two songs only.  Another way, not so
"correct," would be to use the precocious one's two songs, and also use
contemporary music not written originally for the words, but adapted by
the producer.  Yet another way is the "broad-minded," and includes any
setting of Shakespeare's words written within a hundred years or so.
This method is still roughly described as Elizabethan, but if you
include yet another hundred years the music is called Shakespearian.
After that you get the Old English Wardour Street variety, and, later
still, the tambourin school.  To some people a liberal tambourin part
in two-four time denotes "Old English" music:

[Illustration: fragment of music]

(The same figure on the tambourin with the tinkling bells, is called
"Eastern.")

A quite good method is to use the best of all the written music and
make it into a hotch-potch.  This is really a very practical way, and
often gives good results.  Finally, {xiii} one takes the whole music
written specially for one play by one composer of any period, and does
it as written, with no addition or alteration: this is an ideal method
very rarely put into practice.  Even when commissioning a living
composer, managers try to bring in a favourite number by Arne or Horn,
and, unless the composer is a very strong or a very rich man, his
musical scheme will be broken by some well-known tune not in the least
in the style of the rest of his music.

It is difficult to persuade the average Shakespearian producer that
Shakespeare, Arne, Sir Henry Bishop, and Horn were not great friends
who used to meet daily at the Mermaid Tavern to discuss incidental
music.

CHRISTOPHER WILSON.



{1}

SHAKESPEARE AND MUSIC

ANTONY AND CLEOPATRA

There is a long list of operas under the names _Cléopâtre_ and
_Kleopatra_ in Clément et Larousse's _Dictionnaire Lyrique_, and in
Riemann's _Opernhandbuch_, but it is doubtful if a single one of them
can be said to be founded on Shakespeare's _Antony and Cleopatra_.
There seems material in it for hundreds of operas, but no one seems to
have been inspired to write them.


+Sir Henry Bishop+ has certainly written an "Epicedium," or funeral
dirge, for the end of the play, for the production at Covent Garden;
but though no author's name save Shakespeare's appears on the
title-page, I can trace no text of Shakespeare's in this "Epicedium."
It was produced in November 1813, and Grove's _Dictionary of Music and
Musicians_ does not mention it.  It was sung at the end of the play,
and is for chorus, orchestra, solo tenor and baritone.  The first and
second choruses are laments of the soldiers over Antony's death; then
the solo baritone tells the chorus not to be ashamed of shedding tears,
and the chorus sentimentalise over his bravery and generosity.  The
tenor sings of how he (Antony) was deserted by Mars and Neptune, and
tells them to bury the lovers together.  The final chorus is quite
cheerful.  Everyone seems pleased with the monument that has been
erected, and "the shout of warriors thunders o'er the tomb."  It is not
a very dignified production, and I should not have paid much attention
to it but for the fact that so little has been written musical on this
subject that I thought some of my readers might be interested by this
slight and incongruous work.

{2}

+K. H. Graun+ in 1742 composed an overture to this play which is, I
think, the earliest known work on the subject.  The only available copy
of the score is in Berlin, and, at the time of writing, rather
difficult to get at.  Graun was born in 1701, at Wahrenbrück, Saxony,
and is one of the few celebrated composers who were famous operatic
singers before they were composers.  His oratorio _The Death of Jesus_
takes the same place in Germany as Handel's _Messiah_ does here in
England.


+August Enna+, a Danish composer, wrote an opera founded on
Shakespeare's play, which was produced at the Royal Opera House,
Copenhagen, in 1894; but, with the exception of the overture, none of
it has been performed in London.  The overture was played under Sir
Henry Wood by the Queen's Hall Orchestra on July 6, 1912.  The opera
was not a success in Copenhagen, in spite of the popularity of the
composer and the natural sympathy he would receive from his
compatriots.  The critics said that he was obviously too much under the
double influence of Wagner and Verdi, and, though admiring his
prodigious technique in orchestration, gave him otherwise but faint
praise.  Enna was born May 13, 1860.  He was largely self-taught; but,
with the help of Niels Gade, won the Ancker Scholarship, a sort of
Danish "Prix de Rome," which enabled him to study in Germany and
acquire a considerable technique--a useful possession for a modern
grand-opera composer.


+Rodolphe Kreutzer+, whose violin exercises have driven thousands of
amateurs nearly to suicide, composed a "Grand Historic Ballet" on
_Antony and Cleopatra_, which was produced in Vienna, but the date is
as uncertain as the work's connection with Shakespeare's play.  It
would seem impossible to anyone who has seen or read the play not to
have been influenced by it to a certain extent, and as Kreutzer was
born in 1766 he may have seen or read some translation; but he does not
appear to have gathered {3} the slightest glimmer of the tragedy of
Antony and Cleopatra, and he was content to compose a whole series of
numbers, all equally banal, not one of them suggesting for a single
moment either of the great lovers or the surroundings.  The only
redeeming feature of a long and tedious work is that there is no
attempt at Wardour Street Egyptian music.


+Hector Berlioz+ made his third unsuccessful attempt on the Prix de
Rome with a cantata on this subject.  Though not founded on a scene or
scenes from Shakespeare's play, it was undoubtedly inspired by the
poet.  Berlioz describes the action as follows:--"The subject was,
Cleopatra after Actium; dying in convulsions, she invokes the spirit of
the Pharaohs, demanding, criminal though she be, whether she dare claim
a place beside them in their mighty tombs.  It was a magnificent theme,
and I had often pondered over Juliet's 'But if, when I am laid into the
tomb,' which is, at least in terror of approaching death, analogous to
the appeal of the Egyptian Queen."  Berlioz himself says: "I think it
deserved the prize."  And I am sure it did; but the Grand Prix was not
awarded that year, so that the composer had to wait twelve months
before winning the coveted honour.  He afterwards used the music,
unchanged, for that curious but interesting work _Lelio_.


"The Vision of Cleopatra," a "Tragic Poem for Orchestra, Soli, and
Chorus," words by Gerald Cumberland, music by +Havergal Brian+, is
inscribed to the Southport Triennial Festival, who gave it its first
performance.  Though not an actual setting of a scene or scenes from
this play, the work owes much to Shakespearian inspiration.  For
instance, though Antony and Cleopatra belong to anyone, Iris and
Charmian, who appear in this work, are essentially Shakespeare's
creations.  This "Tragic Poem" is scored for a very large orchestra,
and two choruses, one large, the other small.  In addition to the usual
full modern orchestra, there are two extra _ad lib._ horn parts, making
six, and four {4} trumpet parts.  For the sake of "Oriental colour,"
the percussion list is so unusually heavy that I must quote it:
glockenspiel, tympani, bass drum, side drum, triangle, castanets,
Indian drum, gong, large cymbals, and small cymbals--rather a healthy
lot when they all get going!  The work opens with a slave dance,
_allegro con fuoco_, and is marked double _pianissimo_.  After a few
introductory bars (twelve), the dance proper begins, still very softly
and in a curious syncopated rhythm.  According to the composer's
directions the dance grows "gradually wild and riotous," then comes a
slower passage marked "yearning," followed by a long _stringendo_
passage leading to the climax, "wild and uneven"; this presently dies
away, and Iris and Charmian have a long duet, the chorus occasionally
breaking in, telling how the "Queen is sick for Antony," and how "once
more

  Venus and Bacchus meet, and all the world
  Stands still to watch the bliss of living gods."


The music here is very difficult; the rhythm changes often, every other
bar, as does the key; the intervals are strangely unexpected, and the
singer can look for no help from the orchestra.  A passage marked "In
regal martial style" ushers in the lovers, and we have a long vivid
duet.  Cleopatra sings a lengthy mystic solo, which is followed by an
ominous chorus, at the end of which Antony seems to have died, for
Cleopatra sings a very powerful dirge for him:--

  Now all is finished, all is done,
    My world is dead;
  And he whose glory shamed the sun
    Lies shamed instead.
  These lips that frenzied him with love
    Have death bestowed.


The Finale is marked "Marche Funèbre," and is a short chorus,
dirge-like in feeling, rounding up the work effectively.  It is a very
interesting composition, difficult and most complicated, very restless
and disjointed, to most {5} ears singularly unmelodious and
unsatisfactory, yet, at the same time, full of novel effects, and to
that extent certainly worth study; but I suspect that none of it ever
got on the Southport barrel organs.


Unfortunately, I cannot get hold of +Dr Ethel Smyth's+ overture of this
name, but Mr J. A. Fuller-Maitland, in his _English Music in the
Nineteenth Century_, writes: "Ethel Smyth's genius lies in the
direction of strong and even virile work; her overture 'Antony and
Cleopatra,' given at the Crystal Palace and the London Symphony
concerts, showed that she understood all the resources of the
orchestra, and that she was no amateur."  The last six words seem
hardly necessary.  The composer has since proved her worth in her two
operas, _The Wreckers_ and _The Boatswain's Mate_.


+Schubert's+ setting of "Come, thou monarch of the vine" is not so
successful as his "Who is Sylvia?" or "Hark, the lark."  It is a
straight, robust song, mostly in unison.  There is a quite unnecessary
second verse added by one "N. N."  Other but not important settings of
these words are by William Linley, 1815, for solo boy and male chorus;
Bishop, 1837, for three male voices; and Weiss, 1863, for bass solo.


+Michael Balling's+ music for Frank Benson's production of _Antony and
Cleopatra_ contains, among other very good music, a baritone song to
these words, with male chorus.  Unfortunately, he did not write an
overture or _entr'actes_, but his Cæsar and Antony marches are full of
contrasted character, and his "Rose Procession" for the last "Gaudy
Night" is really beautiful.  Sir Henry Bishop set these words to a
S.A.T.B. quartet and full chorus, and by repeating each line several
times, and most of the words pretty often, has made quite a long and
uninteresting number out of it.


+Thomas Chilcot+ in 1745 published a setting of these {6} words for a
tenor voice.  It is a good florid song, with a running accompaniment
for strings.  The composer omits the fifth line of the lyric for some
reason I cannot understand.  Surely the poem is very short as it is.
In setting it he certainly seems to have found it so, as he repeats
several sentences.  The line he cuts makes rather a good refrain--"Cup
us till the world goes round"--and most composers make their effect
here.


+Miss Frances Allitsen+ has composed for Madame Clara Butt a "Scena";
the text chiefly from Shakespeare, the words of the aria by Thomas S.
Collier.  It is supposed to be the death scene of Cleopatra, and the
words are a sad jumble of odd lines taken from here and there.  The
music is very pretentious, and obviously not written round Cleopatra,
but round Madame Butt's exceptional voice.  The prayer to Isis and
Osiris, with its un-Shakespearian rhymes of "supplication" and
"desolation," would sound quite right with small verbal alterations in
any Methodist chapel.  The aria is vocal and to a certain extent
melodious in a "ballad concert" manner, but it is utterly lacking in
dignity.  A long recitative follows in which nearly every note has an
accent on it; Cleopatra applies the asp to a _tremolo_ accompaniment,
and finally dies, singing a series of accented high notes, as if the
asp were hurting a good deal; and a few bars of minor chords bring the
work to a close.



{7}

AS YOU LIKE IT

_As You Like It_ has not been dealt with much by musicians, though one
of them, Sir Henry Bishop, has been very hard upon it.  The earliest
known opera on the subject is by +Francesco Maria Veracini+.  It was
produced under the title of _Rosalinda_ during the composer's visit to
London in 1744.  Mr W. Barclay Squire, in his article on Shakespearian
operas, mentions three operas of this name, by Capelli, Ziani, and J.
C. Smith, but adds that they have no connection with Shakespeare's
comedy.  +Bishop's+ pasticcio opera on this subject was produced at the
Royal, Covent Garden, in 1819.  The overture is a potpourri of
so-called Shakespearian songs, simply harmonised and roughly hung
together.  The first number is a duet for Rosalind and Celia, "Whilst
inconstant fortune smiled," words freely adapted from _The Passionate
Pilgrim_.  There is nothing much to say about it: it seems quite
innocuous, but very dull.  Rosalind's song, which she sings after
having fallen in love with Orlando, is a setting of the 148th Sonnet,
minus the two last lines.  It is again quite dull.  Celia has a long
and depressing aria in praise of friendship, the words taken from the
123rd Sonnet.  After these numbers it is quite refreshing to come
across a cheerful male-voice hunting glee--"Even as the sun" is the
title--the words being taken from _Venus and Adonis_.  There are the
usual horn effects, _fortissimo_ chorus effects, and _pianissimo_
echoes, all the old tricks, but put together by a good old hand,
Bishop.  Dr Arne's setting of "Under the greenwood tree" follows for
Amiens, and a beautiful setting it is.  Touchstone, in this version, is
a tenor (somehow I never fancied him as a tenor), and sings a bright
little {8} song, "Fair was my love," from _The Passionate Pilgrim_.
This is followed by a trio for Rosalind, Celia, and Touchstone,
beginning "Crabbed age and youth," the words again taken from _The
Passionate Pilgrim_ (what a useful poem it is to pasticcio opera
composers!).  This trio is a very simple one.  The first verse consists
of alternate phrases by the three singers, who then all sing together,
over and over again, the line "For methinks thou stay'st too long."  A
welcome relief is Dr Arne's broad, flowing setting of "Blow, blow, thou
winter wind," by far the best to these words.  The next number is a
terrible setting by Bishop of the first eight lines of the 7th Sonnet,
"Low in the Orient when the gracious light," for male voices.  Silvius
now has a sentimental song to words taken, slightly altered, from
_Venus and Adonis_.  The situation is inverted: Silvius sings Venus's
words reproaching Adonis, to Phoebe; but Bishop is undaunted, and "Oh
thou obdurate flint, hard as steel" is addressed to a woman!  (By the
way, Shakespeare wrote "Art," not "Oh.")  Rosalind sings a sentimental
ballad to the words from _Venus and Adonis_ beginning "If love had lent
you twenty thousand tongues," of no great importance.  Dr Arne's
beautiful setting of "When daisies pied," from _Love's Labour's Lost_,
is another welcome relief, and I remember in several modern revivals of
this play managers introducing this song when they had a Rosalind able
to sing well enough.  The next number is a march and dance for the
procession of Hymen, and is for orchestra only.  It is a good example
of absolutely straight writing, with no bother about the romance or
mystery of the masque of Hymen--a good workaday march in D major and
common time.  This is followed by the last number, words actually from
_As You Like It_.  Hymen, who in the original production was played by
a boy, sings "Then is there mirth in heaven," a long, tedious, florid
song, full of endless repetitions of single words.  It is a curious
fact that the beautiful lyric, "It was a lover and his lass," does not
occur in this version, though really part of the original play.

{9}

It was a great pity that Sir George Alexander did not commission
+Edward German+ to write the whole of his music for the _As You Like
It_ revival at the St James's, instead of the Masque only.  This Masque
is so very good that one would like to have an overture and full
_entr'actes_, but one must be thankful for what one has got.  The work
is in four movements.  First, an introduction, very quiet and
moderately slow, leading to the "Woodland Dance" in the minor,
beginning very quietly, but working up to twelve _ff_ bars in the
middle, and then dying away.  The second number is a very graceful
"Children's Dance," _piano_ throughout, most melodious, and very
delicately scored.  The last number, "Rustic Dance," is the longest and
most important.  It begins _allegro con spirito_ and _fortissimo_, and
keeps it up till the first episode, which is in the same time, but
_pianissimo_ and in the minor.  Soon this is worked up to a big _forte
rallentando_ effect, which leads into the last theme, _pianissimo_ to
begin with, getting quicker and quicker and more _crescendo_ to the
coda, which is _presto fortissimo_.  This is by far the most effective
of the movements, but the "Children's Dance" is the most beautiful.  Mr
German's setting of "It was a lover and his lass," one of the best of
this lyric, was not composed for this production.


+Clarence Lucas's+ overture to the comedy is one of the few purely
orchestral works associated with _As You Like It_.  It begins very
brightly, the first theme being a rollicking one in Old English style.
This is developed until we come to the second subject, which is much
slower, and is first played on the clarinet.  The whole overture is
really in valse time, and the second half of the second theme makes a
most interesting syncopated valse.  The first half ends with a horn
passage, suggesting the banished Duke and his friends hunting.  There
are no new themes.  Those which I have described are taken through
their phases in various keys, and the work comes to a sparkling finish
by means of a _presto_ coda.  It is a very lively comedy overture, and
not at all difficult to perform.



{10}

THE COMEDY OF ERRORS

I must just copy the whole of the title-page of +Sir Henry Bishop's+
operatic version of _The Comedy of Errors_.  Nothing could give any
idea of what Shakespeare has been through save an analysis of the music
that follows, but I can only touch on that.  "The overture, songs, two
duets, and glees in Shakespeare's _Comedy of Errors_, performed at the
Theatre Royal, Covent Garden; the words selected entirely from
Shakespeare's Plays, Poems, and Sonnets.  The music composed and the
whole adapted and compressed from the score for the voice and
pianoforte by Sir Henry R. Bishop, Composer and Director of the Music
to the Theatre Royal, Covent Garden."

I have written this down just as it was printed.  I was so overwhelmed
by it that I felt sure that neither I nor anyone else could improve
upon it.  I knew there was only one bit of the play set to music--and
not a very beautiful example either--in the ordinary anthologies of
Shakespeare's music.  It is by Dr Kemp, who died in 1824.  He chose
these few lines from Act ii., Scene 2, lines 187-191, but Bishop, very
wisely, does not touch these lines.  He brings in every kind of song
and tune, from, as he puts it, "Shakespeare's Plays, Poems, and
Sonnets," with no reference to the play for which he was composing
music.  The overture is of the "potpourri" style.  After four bars of
slow music the theme of Ophelia's song in _Hamlet_, "How shall I my
true love know?", is played.  A few bars afterwards a theme from _The
Tempest_, then a very cheerful subject from _Macbeth_, followed by a
bright little thing from _The Winter's Tale_.  Then comes an old tune
for "When that I was" {11} (_Twelfth Night_); next a melody from _The
Tempest_ and "St Valentine's Day" lead pleasantly into the catch,
"Which is the properest day to drink," from _Twelfth Night_, all
preparing the way for "Under the greenwood tree" (_As You Like It_).
After this theme is given a fair chance, a subject from _The Winter's
Tale_ is produced, followed by "Blow, blow," from _As You Like It_.  A
sad little bit from _Macbeth_, succeeded by a very bright coda from
_The Winter's Tale_, brings the overture to a conclusion.  But why call
it the "Overture to _The Comedy of Errors_"?  There is not a suggestion
or a line in this overture, except the one on the title-page, that has
anything to do with the play to which that is supposed to be the
opening, though it is beautifully printed as "_Comedy of Errors_
Overture."

No one minds Bishop writing a potpourri overture and calling it
"Shakespeariana," but why call it "The Comedy of Errors"?--unless he
wishes the title to describe the overture, not the overture the play.

The first vocal number in this strange work is a setting of "It was a
lover," from _As You Like It_.  It is a simple but quite pretty song.
The next is a song for Antipholus of Ephesus, words selected from
Shakespeare's Sonnets; it is called "Beauty's valuation," and is a good
example of the composer's worst manner.  Then comes a strange setting
of "Blow, blow," from _As You Like It_.  The melody of the first part
is by Dr Arne and the refrain by Mr Stephens, the whole arranged for
four male voices by Bishop; it makes a strange medley!  After this one
is not surprised to find the "Willow song" from _Othello_ sung by
Adriana to quite a cheerful tune.  Dr Arne's "Under the greenwood
tree," arranged for a male quartet by Bishop, follows.  The next number
is a curious duet for Ceremon and Antipholus of Ephesus to the words
beginning "Saint Witnold footed thrice the world," from _King Lear_
(Act iii., Scene 4).  There is no attempt to bring out the weirdness of
these strange words.  Bishop then composed a very obvious duet for
tenor and baritone, with effective _cantabile_ {12} passages and plenty
of pauses and shakes.  Adriana now sings Bishop's setting of "Come live
with me" (Marlowe), quite the prettiest number in the opera, though the
words seem a little bold for her, and more suited to the nameless
character, the last in Shakespeare's cast.  Luciana then sings Sir
Henry's "favourite cavatina," "Sweet rose, fair flower," words culled
from _The Passionate Pilgrim_, but ascribed by Bishop to the Sonnets.
Perhaps this was a "favourite cavatina."  The publisher says so, and
ought to know, having bought it; but I cannot say I really like it.

The third act is brought to a brilliant finish by Bishop's famous glee
from _As You Like It_, "What shall he have who killed the deer?"  The
fourth act begins cheerfully by Adriana singing the composer's "Take,
oh take those lips away," which is really a very bad setting.  _The
Passionate Pilgrim_ is again drawn upon for the next number, a duet for
Adriana and Luciana.  This is a feeble affair rather in Horn's "I know
a bank" manner, and the words are again attributed to "The Sonnets."
Sir Henry appears to have no more idea of what a sonnet really is than
the London editor who asked a poet for a sonnet "not more than a
hundred lines long."  A pleasant change is caused by the glee party
singing "Come, thou monarch of the vine," from _Antony and Cleopatra_,
as an unaccompanied trio.  Luciana now sings "The springtime of love,"
words from _The Two Gentlemen of Verona_, a good florid vocal soprano
solo; and the opera finishes with "Lo, here the gentle lark," from
_Venus and Adonis_, with flute _obbligato_.  This is too well known to
need description.  I daresay it made as good an end as any other that
Bishop could have devised.

I have written at some length on this musical "pasticcio," as this kind
of opera is called, because it presents strange points of interest.
The persistent way in which no single line from _The Comedy of Errors_
was set to music for this production is only equalled by the manner in
which Purcell did not set a line of Shakespeare in his _Fairy {13}
Queen_.  Whenever modern critics point out the faults in our occasional
Shakespearian productions, one can always say, "Remember 1819, the year
of the first performance of this atrocity."

It is not surprising to find that Sir Henry Bishop was knighted (in
these days he might get the O.B.E.); but it is odd that he should have
succeeded Dr Crotch in the chair of music at Oxford.



{14}

CORIOLANUS

Despite the fact that Clément and Larousse, the French musical operatic
historians, give no fewer than seven Italian operas entitled
_Coriolanus_, and mention four more, unfortunately not one of them is
founded on Shakespeare's play.  One great overture that is always
associated with the play was not composed directly for Shakespeare's
drama but for a work on the same subject by Baron von Collin, a
Viennese dramatist.  M. H. Laboix _fils_, the celebrated French musical
critic, in his essay, "Les traducteurs de Shakespeare en musique,"
says: "Among symphonic works it is not possible to avoid mentioning
Beethoven's 'Coriolan Overture,' and we should have placed it in the
front rank if a scruple did not require us to refer only to music
directly inspired by Shakespeare."  In spite of the character of
grandeur and majesty which gives it its stamp, the overture
"Coriolanus" was not composed for the English tragedy, and a little
story will serve to show this.

A German poet, von Collin, had written a play, _Coriolanus_.  To give
relief to his tragedy, he took it to the composer of _Fidelio_ and
prayed him to write an overture.  Perhaps Beethoven knew the English
_Coriolanus_; perhaps the stern Roman pleased him so much by reason of
his vindictive and indomitable character that one night, so say the
historians, sufficed the composer to provide the magnificent pages that
serve to preface the work for which we have to thank von Collin.  The
critics have found, with reason, the striking connection between
Shakespeare's play and Beethoven's overture; but if the anecdote be
true, these analogies are a proof of that intimate tie which binds {15}
together great men of genius.  The overture is too well known to
require analysis.  Everyone will remember the austere opening, the
turbulent principal theme, the perfect melody of the second theme, the
wonderful fiery development, and the exquisite _morendo_ at the end.
Beethoven, one feels, must have known Shakespeare's _Coriolanus_.

Of real incidental music composed for this play very little has
survived.  Most managers were content to play the Beethoven overture if
the orchestra was large enough, and to get through with a couple of
marches--one for the Romans and one for the Volscians,--a few fanfares,
and a little soft music to illustrate the "home life" of the hero.


Not so Sir Henry Irving, all honour to him.  He commissioned +Sir
Alexander Mackenzie+ to write special music, which it is my privilege
to discuss now.  The composer has made his incidental music into a
suite of four movements.  The first number is called "Prelude," and is
in C minor and common time.  It opens with a vigorous, decisive
chromatic theme lasting only for nine bars, and is followed by a very
tender and beautiful subject for strings, which is soon developed, in
an animated manner, into a _forte_ passage, that quickly dies down and
enables a tranquil melody for wood wind and harp to be heard.  After a
little while the trumpets enter with a rapid fanfare figure, which
quickly spreads over the rest of the orchestra, and works up finely to
the return of the first theme _fortissimo_.  All these themes are now
finely treated in various ways by the composer, and the movement ends
with a brilliant coda in the major.  The second number is a march in D
major.  After a quiet introduction for strings _pizzicato_, the violins
give out a martial theme very quietly, and presently the wood wind
joins in, and a graceful, rather florid theme for the wood is added;
then comes the first theme again, and the march ends with some _piano_
trumpet fanfares.  The trio is in the minor and slower; its theme is
broad and flowing, and at its end Sir Alexander introduces a longish
piece of complex development music {16} working to the first march
theme, which is played for the first time _fortissimo_, but soon gets
_piano_ again.  The coda is quite short and quiet, with a reference to
the trio: the music gets slower and slower, and ends _pianissimo_.

The third number is a funeral march.  The opening theme is practically
the same as the few bars of the prelude, but is developed more
lyrically.  The middle part, or trio, is even more solemn; there is a
very impressive kettledrum effect, and a fateful subject is played on
trombone and cornet in octaves against a strong string passage.  The
first part is repeated with very little alteration, and the end is
fitly funereal.  The fourth and last number is by far the most
descriptive of the suite; it is called "Voces Populi," and gives,
musically, the effect of an angry crowd being gradually stirred up to
great heights of wrath.  This is followed by an expressive _affettuoso_
theme, mostly for the violins, leading to a new melody, very triumphant
and happy, but soon broken in upon by the murmuring of the people, this
time sounding even more ominous.  After a short appearance of the
_affettuoso_ theme the movement finishes triumphantly on the third
theme in a great blaze of music.  No stage music could be more in
keeping with the true meaning of the play; it is all on a very high and
important level, and is most worthy of its distinguished composer.

It is of this _Coriolanus_ production that a very good story is told.
After the final dress rehearsal two stage hands were discovered outside
the stage door reading through the day-bill.  One said: "Scenery
designed by Sir Laurence Alma Tadema; music composed by Sir Alexander
Mackenzie; produced by Sir Henry Irving--three knights.  About all it
will ---- well run."  Unfortunately, owing to no fault of the music,
this prophecy was not very far out.



{17}

CYMBELINE

During my researches in Shakespearian music, operatic or other, I have
been often hindered by the strange titles under which works were
hidden.  Having a smattering of French, German, Latin, and a tiny bit
of Italian, I could recognise _The Merchant of Venice_ under the title
of _Il Mercante di Venezia_, or _Der Kaufman von Venedig_, or
_Shylock_; but why _Jessica_?  Yet there is an opera founded on that
play, called _Jessica_, by a Frenchman named Louis Deffès.  _Romeo and
Juliet_ is easy to discover under the title _I Capuletti ed i
Montecchi_; but why _Les Amants de Verone_?  _Much Ado About Nothing_
one "spots" at once under the title _Beaucoup de Bruit pour Rien_, or
_Béatrice et Bénédict_; but why _Hero_ or _Ero_?  _The Tempest_ is
easily discovered as _La Tempesta_, _Die Geisterinsel_, _Der Sturm_, or
_Miranda_, as is _The Winter's Tale_ as _Wintermärchen_ or _Conte
d'Hiver_; but why did Max Bruch call his opera on the same subject
_Hermione_?  _Twelfth Night_ is easy to find as _Was Ihr Wollt_, not so
easy as _Cesario_.  Under the fine-sounding title, _Ricardus, Angliæ
Rex, ab Henrico Richmondæ comite vita, simul et Regno exitus_, we find
an old friend, _Richard III._; and _Timone Misantropo_ almost sounds
like a pet name for _Timon of Athens_.  The title _Macbetto_ is a very
thin and seemingly purposeless disguise for _Macbeth_; and _King Lear_
is generally called _Cordelia_, operatically.  _The Merry Wives of
Windsor_ is called severally _Le Vieux Coquet, Falstaff, Falstaff,
ossia Letre Burle, Die Lustigen Weibervon Windsor_; and _Antony and
Cleopatra_ is generally named after the lady.  But the greatest
surprise I received was when I {18} discovered, lurking under the name
of _Dinah_, Shakespeare's _Cymbeline_!

It is an opera in four acts, book by Michel Carré, jun., and Paul
Choudens, music by +Edmond Missa+.  Carré _fils_ is the son of the
well-known librettist of _Faust_ and _Romeo_ fame, and Choudens is
connected with Choudens Fils, who publish this opera; but concerning
the composer, Grove and Riemann are silent.  The opera was produced at
the Comedie Parisienne, on June 27, 1894, and was not a success.  There
are only five characters, and a chorus of lords and courtesans.  The
scene is laid in Venice during the Middle Ages.  The characters are
Mentano (Posthumus), Iachimo, Philario, Dinah (Imogen), and Flora, a
courtesan, a high soprano, not occurring in Shakespeare's text.
Cymbeline and the rest of Shakespeare's characters are cut.  Boiled
down, the plot is (I will give Shakespeare's names):--Posthumus is the
lover and beloved of Imogen; they are not married secretly, as in the
play; Iachimo is so madly in love with Imogen that he forces a quarrel
on Posthumus, and they fight.  Just as Posthumus is about to fall under
the furious attack of Iachimo, Philario enters and separates them.
Iachimo then offers to lay his entire fortune that, within twenty-four
hours, he will bring to Posthumus the bracelet the latter had given to
Imogen, as proof that he is her lover.  Posthumus accepts the wager.
In the second act Iachimo creeps into Imogen's sleeping chamber and
steals the bracelet.  At the appointed hour Posthumus realises that, in
one fell swoop, he has lost his fortune and his mistress.  From this
point the action becomes very obscure, involved, and difficult to
follow.  Somehow or other Imogen and Posthumus realise the truth;
Philario mortally wounds Iachimo in a duel, and the curtain falls on
Iachimo apologising handsomely for his shocking behaviour.  It will be
noted that there is very little Shakespeare in this version, but,
really, I have given all there is; and were it not that the librettists
have carefully said, "d'aprés _Cymbeline_ de Shakespeare," few people
would have noticed it.  It is a mystery to me why {19} the authors
changed the beautiful name of Imogen into Dinah.  I have always
associated the name of Dinah with coon songs and the kitten in _Through
the Looking-Glass_.

The first act opens in Venice with a canal at the back of the stage.
The gondoliers sing a bad Mascagni chorus, and Flora enters singing in
imitation Italian style.  All Flora's part is written in this manner,
and unfortunately the composer has chosen a very bad model to
imitate--good Mascagni is good, but bad is----!  The music is in a
curious jumble of styles: sometimes Italian, sometimes pseudo-modern
French, with occasional attempts at Wagnerian imitations--Missa's
constant use of intentional consecutive fifths becomes very wearing
after a time.  The music in the masked-ball scene is pretty, and the
duet in which Flora tempts Posthumus is melodious, though the situation
is rather comic.  Imogen's song at the opening of the second act is the
best number in the piece, and it is followed by a really good bit of
pantomime music while she is preparing for bed; but on the entrance of
Iachimo all becomes vulgar again.  In the last act Iachimo dies to the
tune to which Imogen prepared to go to bed; and if anyone, hearing it,
should remember where he heard it before, it might raise a quiet smile.
The music is admirably suited to the libretto.  Both are in the worst
possible taste, and the words "d'aprés _Cymbeline_ de Shakespeare" seem
rather in the nature of an outrage.  Still, it is the only opera I can
find on the subject, and perhaps on the whole I am glad; a few more
_Cymbeline_ operas in this style might smash the _entente cordiale_.


With the notable exception of the lyric, "Hark, hark, the lark,"
beautifully set to music by +Schubert+, very little attention has been
paid by important composers to the songs in _Cymbeline_.  True, more
than a dozen composers, dating from 1750 to the present day, have set
those words, and also the exquisite lyric "Fear no more the heat of the
sun," but with indifferent success.  An interesting story {20} of the
composition of "Hark, hark, the lark," by Schubert, is told by the
composer's old friend Doppler.  "Returning from a Sunday stroll with
some friends through the village of Währing, he (Schubert) saw a friend
sitting at a table in the beer-garden of one of the taverns.  The
friend, when they joined him, had a volume of Shakespeare on the table.
Schubert seized it and began to read; but, before he had turned over
many pages, pointed to 'Hark, hark, the lark,' and exclaimed, 'Such a
lovely melody has come into my head, if I had but some music paper.'
Someone drew a few staves on the back of the bill of fare; and there,
amid the hubbub of the beer-garden, that beautiful song, so perfectly
fitting the words, so skilful and happy in its accompaniment, came into
perfect existence."  Two other songs probably followed the same
evening: the drinking-song from _Antony and Cleopatra_, marked
"Währing, July 26," and _Who is Sylvia?_ of the same date--a very good
day's work.  As for the other settings of these lyrics, +G. A.
Macfarren's+ part-songs for S.A.T.B. are, as is usual with him, very
musicianly but not inspired.



{21}

HAMLET

_Hamlet_ offers great scope for composers to show their virtues and
their limitations, and a large number have done so from Graun, 1701, to
the present day.  This is the more curious, as there are fewer
references to music in the text or the stage directions than in most of
the plays.  True, there are many fanfares, Ophelia's mad songs, and the
gravedigger's song in the last act; but, as a whole, music is kept in a
very subordinate position.  I can find no trace of contemporary
incidental music for this play.  I should like to hear a real Hamlet
tucket.  From the text, we know that whenever King Claudius drank a cup
of Rhenish a trumpet and a kettle-drum played a flourish, and a cannon
was fired to let the Danes know exactly what the King was doing at that
time.  But, alas!  I can find no trace of a real contemporary Hamlet
fanfare.  The versions still in use in this country of Ophelia's mad
songs and the first gravedigger's song are supposed to be the
originals, handed down by aural tradition from mother to daughter, from
father to son; but I know something of the wonderful things,
transformations, etc., that appear as the result of aural tradition.  I
have heard Zulus singing what the ordinary white visitor to Africa is
told are native folk-songs; but these I have been able to trace from
their sources, though the original composers, Messrs Moody and Sankey,
would have some difficulty in recognising their own inspired tunes!  It
is well known, if a story is repeated from one to the other by a number
of people, how strangely the last version varies from the original.  If
this is so in words, how much more so must it be in music, {22} where
the varying compass of the voices must be taken into consideration: the
singer substituting a high note for a low note that he cannot touch, or
_vice versâ_.  Still, the songs in _Hamlet_ may bear a general likeness
to the songs sung in the first production.  I wonder!

Of course, an enormous amount of incidental music has been composed for
_Hamlet_.  Every producer must have some Ghost music, fanfares, a
King's march for the Play scene, and a funeral march for Ophelia.  Also
scene music helps to pass the time during the frequent scene changes
that are necessary in this play, and this has been done and re-done by
hundreds of composers, orchestrators, arrangers, and hack workers.  But
this stuff is mostly ephemeral, and at the end of the run or the tour
the music goes to the stores in a basket (the remnants that have been
collected from the orchestra), and is heard no more; unless, indeed,
the stage manager thinks that perhaps the _Hamlet_ march would suit a
situation in the new modern patriotic play just about to be produced,
or, with the assistance of a tam-tam, could be converted into a grand
Oriental march for the forthcoming production of _Ali Baba_.


On the other hand, several important producers have commissioned
celebrated composers to write for them.  Thus, Sir Herbert Tree asked
Sir George Henschel to do the music for his production, and, what is
more, actually allowed it to be played more or less as written.  Sir
Frank Benson's music was obtained with the scenery and props, prompt
books, etc., when he took over the company from Bentley, and is rather
a hotch-potch.  It has been added to from time to time, but it is
beyond improvement.  The Otho Stuart-H. B. Irving-Oscar Asche _Hamlet_
music was insignificant.  +Hamilton Clark's+ music to Sir Henry
Irving's production I cannot find, even at the British Museum, but I
remember it well as thoroughly sound, effective incidental music, a
great help to the play, and never obtrusive.

The +Henschel+ music was far more complicated.  Tree produced _Hamlet_
at the Haymarket in January 1892.  The {23} prelude is a solemn _largo_
movement, lasting about five minutes, with nothing very distinctive
about it.  The Ghost music is the usual 'cello and bass effect, long
_pianissimo_ holding notes (octaves), with plenty of pauses.  The
cock-crowing imitation on the oboe is most effective.  The triple
_piano_, high B flat, triplet dropping an octave, gives a most
realistic effect.  The next number is very important.  It is called
"Danish March," and I take Sir George Henschel's word for it that it is
one.  It is very long, and serves to bring the King, Queen, and court
on and off whenever necessary.  The prelude to Act ii. is called
"Ophelia," and is quite conventionally _affettuoso_.

The fanfares are all good.  There is a prelude to Act iii., _allegro
impetuoso_, but it has no label, and might suit Hamlet or Laertes
equally well.  The prelude to Act iv., called "Ophelia's Death," is a
funeral march for muted strings and _timpani_.  There is very effective
melodrama music while the Queen describes Ophelia's death, muted
strings _pianissimo_, and the clarinets playing broken snatches of the
mad songs.  The prelude to Act v. is a pastorale for full orchestra,
and the churchyard music is for solo organ on stage.  At the end of the
whole play, at the cue "And flights of angels sing thee to thy rest," a
female chorus on the stage sings, in three parts, "Good-night, sweet
Prince, good-night," which makes a pretty ending.  I gather this was
Sir Herbert Tree's idea.


In addition to the fine "Fantasy Overture," which I discuss later as a
separate piece of orchestral music, +Tschaikowsky+ composed an
overture, _entr'actes_, and full incidental music for _Hamlet_.  It was
written for a special production at Petrograd, and is much the finest
music for the play.  The whole is composed for small orchestra, double
wood wind, two horns, two trumpets, trombone, and drums, and these
limitations seem to have suited Tschaikowsky's genius particularly
well.  The overture is founded on the themes of the "Fantasy Overture,"
but is considerably shorter.  The Ghost music is very {24}
awe-inspiring and original, very _piano_, deep notes on the trombone
and trumpets, combined with strange, eccentric scale passages on the
clarinets.  The fanfares throughout are particularly fine, the first
being an elaborate and long flourish in nine-eight rhythm, scored for
the full brass, but, curiously enough, without kettledrums; nor are
these used in any of the subsequent fanfares.  Now, Shakespeare in his
text makes Hamlet say (Act i., Scene 4), "The King doth wake to-night,
and takes his rouse, Keeps wassail, and the swaggering upspring reels.
And, as he drains his draughts of Rhenish down, The kettledrum and
trumpet thus bray out The triumph of his pledge."  And, later (Act v.,
Scene 2), the King says, "Give me the cups; And let the kettle to the
trumpet speak, The trumpet to the cannoneer without," etc.  Now, this
seems to me to be a strange omission.  It cannot have been done
intentionally.  Perhaps in the Russian version the text is altered and
the kettledrum missed out.  Of course, the side-drum is generally used
in England, because it is easy to take on the stage, and our managers
do not like hiring extra stage kettledrums; but this would scarcely
apply to Petrograd or Moscow.  No. 3 is a powerful piece of melodrama
music, mostly on the Hamlet theme, on the solo bassoon at first, and
subsequently taken up by the clarinets, all on their low register: a
very sinister number this.  No. 4 is another melodrama, very _agitato_,
scored for _pizzicato_ strings and bassoon, with a very curious and
ominous kettledrum figure, frequently repeated.  The _entr'acte_
between Acts i. and ii. is marked _allegro semplice_; it is a graceful
waltz, very characteristic of the composer, and is obviously meant for
Ophelia.  Then comes a strange fanfare for two oboes, two clarinets,
two bassoons, and tamburino: this is long and florid, rather like a
street march.  No. 6 is a long florid fanfare for two trumpets; the
first leading off with the theme, and the second following a bar or so
later, in canon style: this is a most interesting fanfare.  The
_entr'acte_ between Acts ii. and iii. is a beautifully melodious
movement for strings only, sad, and exquisitely written {25} for the
instruments.  The melodrama music in this act is the same as in the
first act.

Before Act iv. is an _élégie_ for strings: one of the most beautiful
works of the kind ever written.  Tschaikowsky has composed several
elegies for this combination of instruments, but none better than this.
Nothing more ideal as preparation for the Ophelia scenes could be
imagined.  Next follow Ophelia's songs.  These are all freshly set by
the composer in folk-song manner, accompanied very delicately by the
orchestra.  Before the last act comes the Funeral March, very striking,
very _funèbre_, very dignified, and very wistful; in all, a perfect
piece of elegiac writing, than which nothing more thoroughly in keeping
with the spirit of the play could be imagined.  It is on the same lines
as Berlioz's "Marche Funèbre" in the same situation.  The Gravedigger's
song is newly set, to a lively and very Russian-sounding tune,
accompanied by full orchestra; but I doubt the wisdom of having
orchestral accompaniment either to Ophelia's songs or to the
Grave-digger's single one.  A long and florid fanfare for two trumpets
accompanies the King's toast to Hamlet (without kettledrums).  The
Funeral March is repeated at Hamlet's death, and the martial music for
Fortinbras is in splendid contrast.  It is a short, quick movement,
only nineteen bars in length, marked _allegro risoluto_, and makes a
great end to the play.  The music is absolutely worthy of the play, and
is a perfect example of what incidental music should be.  Sir Johnston
Forbes-Robertson was wise enough to use nearly all this music in his
fine production.  He did not adopt Tschaikowsky's settings for
Ophelia's songs or the Gravedigger's, but used the so-called
traditional ones, and I am sure he was right here.  But why, after
having played the great funeral march as an _entr'acte_, he did not use
it again, as directed by the composer, for Hamlet's funeral procession,
I can't understand.  Instead, he used a march by +Carl Armbruster+,
quite good in its way, but very pale after Tschaikowsky.  Still, it was
a praise-worthy act of Sir Johnston to use the large amount of the {26}
music he did, and he deserves great thanks for only interpolating one
number.


Unfortunately, the music composed by +Norman O'Neill+ for Martin
Harvey's production of _Hamlet_ in 1907 is as yet unpublished.  Mr
O'Neill wrote the entire score.  He had already composed an overture
built on the themes on which he draws largely for the incidental music
in this production, and he uses the overture itself in its entirety as
a prelude to the second act, under the title "Prelude, _Hamlet_."  The
prelude for the first act is sombre, quiet, and brooding, with a very
curious cuckoo effect at the end, which is repeated in the subsequent
Ghost music.  Of course, I do not know the habits of the Danish cuckoo,
but obviously, according to Mr O'Neill, he is either a very late or a
very early bird.  Perhaps he is cracking an Elizabethan wheeze at the
expense of the Ghost's widow's unholy marriage.  The big processional
march for the entrance of the King and Court is, curiously enough, not
founded on the King's theme, but on Hamlet's theme from the overture
now used as the prelude to the second act.  The scene-change music
before Ophelia's first scene is founded on "How shall I my true love
know?", with varied accompaniment, sometimes simple, sometimes complex,
and once as clarinet solo with harp accompaniment.  At the cue, "Held
his wont to walk," there is a fanfare for the clarinet, but, as in most
incidental music, no kettledrums.  The Ghost music in this act is all
founded on the Hamlet theme.  The prelude to Act ii. is, as I have
said, the overture proper.  It begins with the Hamlet theme, _allegro
maestoso_, very bold and rhythmic, which suddenly breaks off with a
_pianissimo_ suggestion of "How shall I my true love know?", which is
used as the second subject, and very much developed.  These themes are
worked out in a complex manner, and there is a curious fanfare effect
before the coda, which is marked _grandioso_, in the major key, and is
very triumphant.  The players come on to perform their tragedy to a
pretty little tune, {27} quite light and graceful, played on the oboe
and clarinet, which has a quaint and interesting effect.  Before Act
iii. (the arrangement of the scenes is according to Mr Harvey's stage
version) is an _entr'acte_ entitled "Ophelia," founded on her
traditional songs; but I wish Mr O'Neill would use more of his original
melodies.  An _entr'acte_ entitled "Laertes" is a fine, vigorous
number.  In the last number of all, on the cue "The rest is silence,"
we have the Hamlet theme in the major, with sweeping arpeggios for the
harp, a gradual crescendo to a _fortissimo grandioso_ finish to the
act.  This makes a fine theatrical curtain.


+Karl Heinrich Graun+, Court musician to Frederick the Great, composed
an overture and incidental music to _Hamlet_; but as the only known
score is in the Court Library at Berlin, it is impossible, at the time
of writing, to get hold of it.[1]


Robert Browning's Abt Vogler (+Abbé Georg Joseph Vogler+) composed an
overture and incidental music for this play for a production at
Mannheim in 1779.  Born at Würzburg in 1749, he was educated by the
Jesuits at that town, and soon became a famous musician.  He was
ordained priest at Rome in 1773, but still continued his career as a
composer and organ virtuoso.  He was a famous teacher also, Weber and
Meyerbeer being his best pupils.


Some very good incidental music to this play was written by +Victorin
de Joncières+ for Alexandre Dumas and Paul Meurice's version.  The
composer was born in Paris in 1839, and entered the Paris
Conservatoire, but left suddenly, as he disagreed with his counterpoint
master, Leborne (a very conservative musician), concerning {28} Richard
Wagner, who had just given his first concert in Paris.  This work
consists of an overture, march, _entr'actes_, and melodramas.  It was
performed at the Grand, Nantes, on September 21, 1867, the composer
conducting the orchestra, and the part of Hamlet being played by Mme.
Judith, ex-sociétaire of the Comédie Française.  When the play was
produced the following year at the Gaieté in Paris, this excellent
music was for some strange reason refused by M. Perrier, the producer.


The earliest known opera on _Hamlet_ is by +Francesco Gasparini+, and
was produced in Venice in 1705 and in London at the Queen's in 1712.
The composer was born near Lucca in 1668, and was a pupil of Archangelo
Corelli, the celebrated violinist and composer.  The libretto is by
Apostolo Zeno, and the work is in three acts.  The style is very much
like Corelli's, florid and melodious.  Dr Burney, the musical
historian, who wrote a _General History of Music and Musicians from the
Earliest Ages to the Present Period_, has a short account of this opera
in the fourth volume of his work.  He does not seem to like it.  He
writes (in 1789): "_Hamlet_, in Italian, _Ambleto_; written by Apostolo
Zeno, and set for the Venetian Theatre, 1705, by Francesco Gasparini,
was brought on our stage under the conduct of Nicolini, who dedicated
the poem to the Earl of Portland.  There is very little resemblance in
the conduct of this drama to Shakespeare's tragedy of the same name,
though both seem to have been drawn from the same source, the Danish
history of Saxo Grammaticus.  But if Zeno is much inferior to our
divine Shakespeare, in variety of character, knowledge of the human
heart, and genius in its most unlimited acceptation, his drama is
exempt from all the absurdities and improprieties which critics,
insensible to the effects of music, had leisure to find in former
operas."  So much for the libretto.  For the music, there is an
overture, ending in a jig; but whether the curtain rises on the last
note of this dance for the "Rampart" scene, is not shown in the score.
Dr Burney {29} seems to like the music even less than the libretto.  He
writes: "There are few songs, however, in this opera which would please
modern judges of music either by their melody or harmony."  And on the
whole I agree with the doctor.


Though _Hamlet_ has been treated many times operatically, the only
setting that is ever performed is that of +Ambroise Thomas+, in five
acts, book by Carré and Barbier, produced in Paris 1860.  Boito did the
libretto for Faccio's _Hamlet_, produced in Genoa 1865, but I cannot
get a copy.  Anyway, Boito's libretto would certainly be the best
_Hamlet_ one ever written.  After Gasparini comes a whole list of names
of _Hamlet_ composers, much too tedious to quote, the only interesting
name between him and Faccio being +Domenico Scarlatti+, the famous
harpsichord player and composer, whose opera was produced in Rome, 1715.


Thomas's prelude is very short, and obviously connected with the
supernatural happenings at Elsinore.  The opening chorus is bright, and
all in praise of the King and Queen.  Everyone seems happy until Hamlet
and Ophelia come on, and their first duet opens very sadly.  All
through this work one gets glimpses of familiar quotations, but there
is no close adherence to Shakespeare; rather have MM. Carré and Barbier
followed in the paths of Shadwell, Davenant, and Colley Cibber.
Laertes, on his entrance, sings a very stirring patriotic song, and
manages to get away without any advice from Polonius.  The part of
Polonius is mercilessly cut down to almost nothing.  Fancy a singing
Polonius!  Scene 2 is a very serviceable Ghost scene, with the clock
striking twelve, fanfares and plenty of _tremolo_; and the operatic
version gives a very fair idea of the original scene.

Act ii. opens with a short prelude on one of Ophelia's themes, and then
there is a long recitative and aria for her (Ophelia).  I do not think
it would be wise or expedient {30} to give an exact analysis of this
work, so I will pass over with but few references.

Act iv. begins with a long and complicated ballet, which is about the
changes of weather from which we suffer, and Ophelia's "mad scene"
comes in the midst of it.  The tyranny of the grand-opera ballet is one
of the most cramping things that have ever helped to ruin the fine
spontaneity of dramatic art.  Everyone knows how Wagner fought against
it, and of the final _débâcle_ in Paris.  Wagner, as a sop to the
Jockey Club and Napoleon III., put a ballet in _Tannhäuser_, but it was
a logical ballet, and in keeping with the general idea of the opera.
But because it was performed in the only possible place in the work
where it was suitable, the Parisians hooted the opera off the stage.
So why should not Ambroise Thomas have put a ballet in _Hamlet_?
Wagner gave way to his producer, but was firm as to where the ballet
should come.  The ballet ran on from the overture, and there was no
question of a superimposed ballet.  The Paris ballet music, Wagner
using the _Tannhäuser_ melodies with the _Tristan_ technique, is one of
the most interesting of all Wagner's struggles against what he loathed
so much.  In spite of his giving way to the Paris convention, the
ballet was a failure, because he would have it in the first act; but it
still serves to remind us English people that we are not the only
inartistic nation in the world, though we seldom sing pæans in our own
praise.

A very entertaining innovation of our French adapters is that instead
of Hamlet telling the players how to act, or in opera how to sing, he
calls for wine, and sings a merry drinking song, which probably pleased
the performers much more than a free singing lesson or a few tips on
elocution.  I should very much like to see how Wagner would have
treated this scene.  I feel sure he would have made Hamlet tell the
singing players to use the Italian _bel canto_ production, but, at the
same time, to sing the words as if they meant something and were not as
unimportant as the perpetual A--A--A of the singing exercises.

{31}

The usual end of the opera differs a little from Shakespeare's.  The
Queen, Laertes, and Polonius live, and Hamlet is crowned King of
Denmark to music very similar to that which is sung in the first act,
in praise of Claudius and his Queen.  But there is another ending
sometimes played to this opera.  It is an ending that ought to make
Cibber blush!  Sir Alexander Mackenzie told me he saw this closing
scene in Paris.  The poor, unimaginative, bourgeois English producer
could never rise to such Latin heights.  Here it is:--At the end of the
play, Ophelia marries Hamlet, and the Ghost, with full
melodrama-musical accompaniment, gives them his blessing.  It is a dull
thing to be a simple Anglo-Saxon!

One of the most interesting things about this opera is that Hamlet is a
bass-baritone; very few people would believe this unless they heard the
opera, or saw it in black and white in the score.


A very interesting opera on this subject is +Aristide Hignard's+ lyric
drama in five acts, book by Pierre de Garal.  The composer finished the
score in the well-founded hope of a speedy production, neither he nor
his friends knowing that Ambroise Thomas's work on the same subject was
already accepted and being rehearsed at the Opéra, Paris, which fact
upset all his hopes.  In this deeply studied work the composer had made
an effort to discover a new form, and believed that he had succeeded.
The new form consisted in this, says M. Hignard in his preface to the
score: in the vocal part of his work he interpolates declamation,
replacing the recitatives, and fully backed by the orchestra.  This
procedure, which Massenet employed much later in _Manon_, was
undoubtedly new then, and the honour of inventing it falls distinctly
to Hignard.  The composer was so disappointed at not being first in the
field, that even before the production and subsequent success of his
colleague's opera he abandoned all hopes of producing his work on the
stage in Paris, but published the score, not only to make it known but
also to prove that it had {32} been conceived by him at the same time
as his illustrious _confrère's_ opera.  After twenty years it saw the
light in his native town of Nantes, and its success gave some
consolation to its composer for his earlier disappointment.  Clément
and Larousse, in their account of it, say: "This _Hamlet_ is remarkable
in more than name.  In it one finds much music of a real and high
inspiration; in the numbers it is necessary to mention, the Platform
scenes are treated very dramatically; the beautiful septuor which
follows the Play scene, and particularly the music that accompanies the
funeral of Ophelia, when the composer finds music of great pathos, are
most suitable.  The _entr'actes_, ballets, and character passages make
delightful episodes, being full of charm and grace, and very
picturesque in colouring.  To sum up, it is the work of an artist,
always learned, and does great honour to the hand that signed it."
Grove's _Dictionary of Music_ does not mention this composer's name,
but Riemann says he was born in Nantes, May 22, 1822, was a pupil of
Halévy at the Paris Conservatoire, composed much music, including
several comic operas, and died at Vernon in 1898.


+Franco Faccio+ had the inestimable boon of the services of Boito as
librettist for his _Hamlet_ opera.  Faccio was born 1840, at Verona,
and at the age of fifteen entered the Conservatoire at Milan.  He and
Boito fought together in the Garibaldian Army in 1867-68, after the
opera had been successfully produced at the Teatro Carlo Felice, Genoa,
on May 30, 1865; it was revived at the Scala in 1871, but was a
failure.  The work is called _Amleto_, a lyrical tragedy in four acts.
"Dubita pur che brillino (sortita d'Ophelia)" is a sort of paraphrase
of Hamlet's letter:--

  Doubt thou the stars are fire,
    Doubt that the sun doth move,
  Doubt truth to be a liar,
    But never doubt I love.

It is quite a beautiful song, very melodious and dramatic, and in a
style of its own.  Ophelia is a high soprano.  There {33} is a fine
drinking song for the King and Queen, Hamlet, and Ophelia, with a
chorus of courtiers.  After an ironic recitative, mostly addressed to
Hamlet, the King leads off singing very solemnly and slowly the words
"Requie ai defunti," and immediately afterwards in a most lively style,
"e colmisi d'almo liquor la tazza."  Then slowly and solemnly again,
"Oriam per essi," and quickly, "e calice sia vittima ed altar."  The
song now continues as a very lively bolero, until just before the end
of the first verse, when the King sings, solemnly again, "Requie ai
defunti," and the chorus brings the first verse to a close with shouts
for the King.  The Queen has the next verse just on the same lines as
the King's verse.  Hamlet and Ophelia both have serious asides in the
next verse, but the chorus does not notice them, and finishes up the
number in a fine, reckless operatic way.  The second part of the first
act opens in a remote part of the Castle ramparts.  The night is very
dark, but the light in the banqueting-hall can be seen in the distance.
The opening music is intensely dramatic; the 'cellos are divided into
five parts, and while the orchestra in front are playing this most
tragic music, one can hear occasionally, beautifully blending with the
rest of the score, the lively strains of the King's private band
playing in the great dining-hall.  Dramatically the Ghost enters just
as the lively music is dominating.  Hamlet, in an impassioned outburst,
calls on the Ghost for an explanation; and, beginning very quietly, the
Ghost works himself up to a tremendous pitch of excitement in telling
his story.  Finally he disappears, and his voice is heard below the
stage singing "Giurate" ("Swear").  Hamlet, Horatio, and Marcellus
finish the act singing, _pianissimo_, "De profundis clamavi."  This is
indeed a fine concerted number, and much the most dramatic in any of
the _Hamlet_ operas.  The famous soliloquy, "Essere, o non essere!"
("To be, or not to be!"), is faithfully and dramatically set, a strange
'cello part giving singular point to the words "To die, to sleep."
Hamlet and Ophelia have a very elaborate duet in this act, the former
pretending to be mad.  The King and Queen also have a duet, entitled
{34} "Vieni, compagna," a very pretty, melodious, and light number.
The third act opens with the King's prayer; the orchestra plays a long
and solemn introduction, and the prayer is beautiful and dignified.
The last number is a trio for Queen, Hamlet, and Ghost.  Hamlet
upbraids his mother in bolero rhythm, to which she replies tragically,
and then the Ghost appears, and the dance rhythm stops suddenly.  They
sing a grim trio, and the act finishes in a tragic manner.

The next number is called "The Madness of Ophelia." She sings a
touching, sad little song, sometimes quite frivolous, but always
pathetic, Laertes and the King joining in now and again.  This is
broken in upon by the populace, who have revolted, and wander about
singing songs of pillage and sacking.  Ophelia finishes by laughing
quite madly, and Hamlet first, and then the King, says "Unfortunate
one."  Unluckily, this is the last published number, so one has to
guess how the opera ends, as there is no copy of the libretto to be
found in the British Museum Library.  Mr W. Barclay Squire, in his
contribution to _Homage to Shakespeare_, says of the work: "It had the
advantage of an admirable libretto, in which Shakespeare's tragedy was
closely followed."  Hence one concludes that the opera ends more or
less in the same way as Shakespeare's play.


An interesting opera on this subject is +Alexandre Stadtfeldt's+ lyric
drama _Hamlet_, book by Jules Guillaume.  The composer, a Belgian, was
a distinguished pupil of the Brussels Conservatoire, winning the Prix
de Rome in 1849.  As he was unable to produce his opera in his native
country, he had the libretto translated into German, and the work was
performed with success at Bonn in 1881, and subsequently at Weimar.


_Hamlet_, +Franz Liszt's+ great symphonic poem, was one of the latest
of the series, being composed in 1859.  It was first performed at
Sondershausen in 1886.  The work is {35} planned on a large scale, and
is very difficult to perform.  So far as I can find out, it is the only
Shakespearian work of the composer, but it is a very important one.
The main key of the work is B minor, and the greater part of it
passionate and _agitato_.  The prelude opens slowly, sombrely, and
_piano_, with occasional sudden _crescendos_ and _sforzatos_, and
significant tremolo string passages, marked "stormy" in the score.
Then comes the principal theme, a quick, passionate subject, given out
by the violins, and presently taken up by the rest of the orchestra.
This is quickly followed by a strongly marked theme, allotted to the
full strings in unison, and these subjects are developed until the
Ophelia music is heard.  This, naturally, is very different from the
preceding music, being slow, _piano_, with a violin solo accompanied by
_piano_ wood wind.  It is soon broken in upon by the Hamlet music,
first on the bassoons, marked "ironical" in the score, and later
repeated by the rest of the wood wind.  One fresh theme is introduced,
also _agitato_, and this thematic material suffices for the composer.
After much excitement and working up, we get a return to the slow
opening, followed by an _à funèbre_ episode, founded on the Hamlet
motive, which finishes the whole movement.  The end is very tragic, and
the whole a notable and interesting addition to our modern
Shakespearian music.


+Tschaikowsky's+ Phantasie Overture, _Hamlet_, is dedicated to Edvard
Grieg.  It is really a great work, full of dignity, strength, and
beauty.  The twelve o'clock effect is curiously given by twelve
_sforzato_ semibreves on muted horns, beginning _pianissimo_, and
swelling up until the twelfth note is given triple _fortissimo_.  The
first subject is energetic, obviously for Hamlet, with his mind very
much made up; but gradually the theme gets more and more undecided and
vacillating, and leads to the second theme, Ophelia, a beautiful and
tender subject given out by the oboe.  The whole development is long,
complicated, and interesting; towards the end a strange quasi-_funèbre_
theme is given out on the brass and drums, closely followed by a long
passage {36} for full orchestra, marked triple _fortissimo_,
culminating in a chord for the wind marked with five _f_'s.  Then comes
a very solemn and dignified ending, strings muted and everything dying
away to a whisper.  This work is one of the finest commentaries on the
play ever written.


+Berlioz's+ contributions to _Hamlet_ music consist of two numbers: a
ballad for two female voices, entitled "La mort d'Ophélie," done into
English by the Rev. J. Troutbeck under the title "Ophelia"; and a
funeral march for the last scene in the play.  The words of the ballad
are by Berlioz, and are a description of Ophelia's last hours, her
wandering by the brook making fantastic wreaths, with many very
ingenious references to Shakespeare's scene so beautifully described by
the Queen in the play.  Naturally, the music is throughout exquisitely
sad, and is beautifully descriptive of Ophelia's death.  It is not at
all difficult to perform, and very melodious; I cannot understand why
Ladies' Choral Societies do not take it up.

The "Marche Funèbre" is not in ordinary march form.  There are no trios
in it; it is all the development of one theme.  It begins _pianissimo_
in A minor, and ends _pianissimo_ in the same key.  It has a monotonous
bass throughout, and Berlioz uses all kinds of drums with his usual
weird skill.  The impression of many men marching slowly and solemnly
must be realised by even the most unimaginative hearer, and it is a
work that requires no programme.  It tells its own story absolutely to
anyone who cares to hear it.  There is a tremendous _fortissimo_
triumphant effect in the middle, the bass stalking up and down in slow
dotted notes, while the rest of the orchestra sustains a slow, heavy
melody.  After a terrific triple _forte_ effect, there is a dead
silence; then a long, deep, sustained note; then occur about twenty
bars of the most hopelessly despairing music I have ever heard, and
then the drums again take up their dreadful figure; and so the whole
march winds to a close.  It does not end on any note of hope.  There is
no thought of a glorious resurrection--all is lost, hopeless,
despairing.  It {37} would make a splendid _entr'acte_ played before
the last act of _Hamlet_, and would put the audience into exactly the
proper state of mind.  The march should be oftener used on occasions of
national mourning.


+Edward Alexander MacDowell+, the best-known American composer, wrote
two symphonic poems for orchestra entitled _Hamlet_ and _Ophelia_.
These works are dedicated jointly to Henry Irving and Ellen Terry.  The
composer was born in New York in 1861, but studied mostly in France and
Germany, afterwards teaching at the Conservatoires of Darmstadt and
Wiesbaden.  In these two poems there is no attempt to tell any story.
The _Hamlet_ one is naturally more excited than the _Ophelia_; but as
there seem to be no Ghost, King, or any of the accustomed secondary
characters, I presume that the composer means exactly what he says,
viz. that the one represents his conception of Hamlet, and the other
that of Ophelia.  The result is two excellent, if rather dull, works.
The theme for French horn at the beginning of the Ophelia poem is the
most striking in either of the pieces, and is the only melody that
stands out at all.  It is also very skilfully developed.


+Edward German's+ symphonic poem, _Hamlet_, dedicated to Hans Richter,
the conductor, was first produced at the Birmingham Festival of 1897.
The composer, in a preface to the printed copy, says: "In this
symphonic poem the composer has endeavoured to depict the character of
Hamlet as stern and relentless, yet in this mood alternately hesitating
and impetuous.  The influence of this character may be said to dominate
the entire work.  Hamlet's love for Ophelia is overpowered by his
doubts, his distrust of the Queen, and his determination to avenge the
murder of his father.  His fury reaches its height as he stabs the
King.  The poison which Hamlet has received from the weapon of Laertes
now begins to take effect, and hence to the end the music is
descriptive of the ebbing away of his life."  This gives the reader a
very fair idea of Edward {38} German's work.  It is planned on a large
scale for a large orchestra, and is quite the most important serious
work that Mr German has given us.  It opens with a picture of night,
sombre and serious, followed by the inevitable bell tolling twelve.
Then a short _agitato_ episode leads to a bold theme entitled "Hamlet"
in the score.  Shortly afterwards come a very pleading Ophelia theme
for clarinet and harp, and a fine _pomposo_ march theme for the King.
All these are freely worked out, and in the middle of this development
occurs a very touching episode called "Death of Ophelia."  Mr German,
following his own programme, works now for his great climax, the
killing of Claudius by Hamlet, after which the music grows slower and
slower and more and more _piano_ till it finally dies away.

It is a beautiful and ambitious work, and well worthy of the colossal
theme that it is founded upon.  It is a great credit to British
musicianship, and I only wish it could be heard oftener.


I have frequently wished that +Grieg+ had composed music for _Hamlet_.
In several productions I have heard numbers from his _Sigurd Jörsalfar_
suite, played as _entr'actes_, and sometimes as incidental music, and
they always sounded exactly in keeping with the feeling and atmosphere
of the play.  I have just discovered the reason.  His master and
fellow-countryman, Niels Gade, had composed a _Hamlet_ overture, and
Grieg, unlike some of our modern English composers, who freely set
poems and stories immortalised by Handel, was a very modest man, and
left his master alone in the field, to our great loss.


Some time ago Sir Frederick Bridge unearthed in the Pepys Library at
Cambridge a strange setting of the soliloquy "To be, or not to be," for
bass voice, viol de gamba, and lute.  Pepys is supposed to have had the
music specially composed for him, but, unfortunately, the composer's
name is still unknown.  "It is a broad, declamatory {39} setting" (says
_The Times_), "something in the manner adopted by Pelham Humphrey and
Blow in their sacred recitatives; and though it does not differ from a
great deal of contemporary music, it is as much more effective as it is
less pretentious than the strange setting of the same words in Thomas's
version.  There is a vague reference to this in the _Diary_: 'Dined at
home very well, and spent all the afternoon with my wife within doors,
and getting a speech out of Hamlet, "To be, or not to be," without
book.'"



[1] As will be gathered from a similar passage on page 2 and from
others that need not be specified, it is clear that Christopher Wilson,
had he been spared, would have filled in various gaps before the
publication of his papers in permanent book-form.



{40}

KING HENRY IV

There have been several operas composed about this King when he was
Prince of Wales, but only one of them, +Mercadante's+ _Gioventu di
Enrico V._, Milan, 1834, has any connection with Shakespeare's play.
Verdi's _Falstaff_ opera contains some bits from the _Henry IV._ plays
which I am dealing with under _The Merry Wives of Windsor_.


The most important modern work on this subject is "_Falstaff_,
symphonic study in C minor, with two interludes in A minor, composed by
+Sir Edward Elgar+, Op. 68."  The work is dedicated to Landon Ronald,
was composed for the Leeds Musical Festival, and was produced there,
the composer conducting, on October 2, 1913.  Sir Edward, in a
foreword, says: "We must dismiss from our minds the Falstaff of _The
Merry Wives of Windsor_ and turn to the Falstaff of _Henry IV._, parts
one and two."  A literary civil servant, Maurice Morgan, wrote a
defence of Sir John from the general accusation of cowardice, which
has, to some extent, helped the composer's inspiration.  This essay was
published in 1777, and contains several most interesting passages.  In
one place, quoted by Elgar, he writes: "...a conception, hardly less
complex, hardly less wonderful, than that of Hamlet"; and again: "He is
a character made up by Shakespeare entirely of incongruities, a man at
once young and old, enterprising and fat, a dupe and a wit, harmless
and wicked, meek in principle and resolute by constitution, cowardly in
appearance and brave in reality: a knave, a gentleman and a soldier,
without either dignity, decency, or honour."  This is the complicated
character that Sir Edward sets out to portray in music.

{41}

Mr Gilbert Webb, who made the analytical notes for the performance at
the Albert Hall Sunday Concerts on December 14, 1913, divides the work
into four parts:--(1) Falstaff and Prince Henry.  (2) Eastcheap,
Gadshill, The Boar's Head.  (3) Falstaff's March.  The Return through
Gloucestershire.  The New King.  The hurried Ride to London.  (4) King
Henry V.'s Progress.  The Repudiation of Falstaff and his Death--and
this seems a very wise division.  The work opens with a boisterous
theme given out on the bass instruments, depicting the mature Falstaff
in the height of his fame or infamy, as you will.  It would be
impossible in my limited space to follow the ramifications of this
immensely complicated work.  It is a Pageant of Falstaff's life and
death.  Of the two interludes mentioned in the title, the first is
headed in the score, "Dream Interlude."  "Jack Falstaff, now Sir John,
a boy and page to Thomas Mowbray, Duke of Norfolk."  The music here is
very quiet, melodious, and graceful.  The second interlude represents
Justice Shallow's orchard, and is again very calm and reposeful.  There
is much fine march music for the King's coronation procession, and the
meeting between the King and his old companion is graphically and
tragically described.  The work ends sadly, the various characteristic
themes already used being heard again, but in much sadder mode:
Mistress Quickly's beautiful account of Sir John's death (in _Henry
V._) is very touchingly musicked, and the work closes on a _pianissimo_
chord.  It would take a long pamphlet to describe this symphonic poem,
and it must be heard and studied often and deeply to be appreciated
properly.



{42}

HENRY VIII

+John Liptrot Hatton+, born 1809 at Margate, wrote an overture and
incidental music for _Henry VIII._, dedicated to Mrs Charles Kean, and
performed at the Princess's.  The overture begins with a slow
introduction of a sugary type, followed by a very obvious _allegro_.
The themes here are not of much value, and the development does not
invest them with any great interest.  There is no attempt at character
drawing, and the only things standing out in the overture, except its
dullness, are a few scale passages for the bells.  The first
_entr'acte_ is called "A Maske-dance," interrupted at intervals by
Henry's love-song to Anne Boleyn.  The dance part has a strange
likeness to a number by Edward German, but the trio episodes
representing Henry's love-making are quite sad and sentimental.  The
number ends with the dance music.  The next section is headed
"Shakespeare's Favourite Tune" (Lightie Love Ladies), and old dances,
and opens with a bright country dance called "Wolsey's Wild," followed
by another six-eight country dance, "Sellinger's Round," very graceful,
with again a dash of Edward German.  This is followed by a rather
contrapuntal arrangement of the well-known old morris-dance, and the
whole movement finishes with "Lightie Love Ladies," said by the
publishers and Hatton to be "Shakespeare's favourite tune."  It is a
broad, simple melody, flowing in style, and, for all I know, may have
been Shakespeare's favourite tune; but I cannot trace it in any
Shakespeare reference book.  The next _entr'acte_ is a prelude and air
with variations.  The air {43} and variations, five in number, are made
after the fashion of Mendelssohn's works in the same form, though
simple.  There is nothing outstanding about the whole movement.  The
third and fourth _entr'actes_ are both marches: the first in the minor,
the second in the major key.  Both are good working marches with the
regular trios, and call for no comment.

The setting of "Orpheus with his lute" is interesting.  It is written
for soprano and contralto; it was first sung by the Misses Broughton,
two celebrated artists.  The composer, in the phrasing of the first two
lines, actually makes sense of them--a very rare thing to happen to the
musician setting these words; but afterwards he falls from grace.  With
only a fair number of repetitions he gets to the end of the second
verse, but then goes back to the first, and finishes at the end of it,
utterly failing to see how right Fletcher or Shakespeare was in
concluding with the perfect lines, "Killing care and grief of heart,
fall asleep or hearing die."


Sir Henry Irving showed good judgment in commissioning +Edward German+
to write the music for his great revival of _Henry VIII_.  The composer
took full advantage of his opportunity, and the music for this play
contains certainly the most popular numbers that Mr German has ever
composed.  I need hardly say that I mean the famous "Three Dances,"
well known and popular throughout the world.  I once heard them in
Germany, under the extraordinary title of "Three German Dances from
Saint Saëns's _Henry VIII._," but they were these three all the
same--the Morris Dance, the Shepherd's Dance, and the Torch Dance.
They are too familiar to call for any more attention from me, so I will
pass on to the rest of the music.

The overture is a strong and vigorous work, full of striking themes and
ideas.  The first subject is just right for the King, bluff and
overbearing in style, but full of real strength.  The second theme in
the relative minor {44} is very pathetic, and in strong contrast to the
first.  Then comes a third subject, a very decided march tune, which is
used later on in the prelude to Act ii.  These themes are all well and
skilfully developed, and the whole overture finishes brilliantly with a
coda on the "Henry VIII." _motif_, the music getting faster and faster
until the end.  The prelude to the second act is called "Intermezzo
Funèbre," and the opening is exactly in the manner of a funeral march,
while the trio has a very graceful subject.  This is beautifully broken
in upon by the funeral theme, which finally wins a very unequal battle.
For the prelude to Act iii. Mr German writes a very pretty, graceful
movement, quite in his own style, full of melody and good musicianship.
The prelude to Act iv. is a march in the conventional form, brilliantly
scored and most effective from an orchestral point of view; but the
ideas do not seem so fresh as those in the remainder of the music, and
the whole gives rather a theatrical effect.  Still, it is a very good
march.

The prelude to Act v. is a "Thanksgiving Hymn" for the birth of
Princess, afterwards Queen, Elizabeth, and is good, stirring patriotic
English music; the melodies broad and flowing and the harmonies
diatonic--a perfect "Thanksgiving Hymn," in fact.  There is a very
delightful trio for three of the Queen's ladies (words actually from
the play): "Orpheus with his lute."  This trio, which was dedicated to
Miss Ellen Terry, who was playing the Queen in this revival, is a
beautiful example of the composer's happy knack of fitting music to
exquisite words, and adding melody and real vocal part-writing.  This
number again is very easy to sing, and deserves much greater publicity.
On the whole, Edward German's music to _Henry VIII._ is about the most
successful modern example of English incidental theatre music.  There
is, with him, no question of writing down to a theatre audience
(generally very unmusical), but a deep knowledge of the play and a very
useful knowledge of the stage and how music can help it practically.
As performed at the Lyceum, {45} the music was never preponderating,
but was always there and always right at the proper moment; and, of
course, the "Three Dances" are rightly immortal.


+Sir Arthur Sullivan's+ "Incidental Music to _Henry VIII._" in its
published form is much slighter, but I have never heard it in its
entirety.  Much of it is still, unfortunately, in manuscript, but those
portions published by Metzler are very interesting.  The "Graceful
Dance" is still very popular (it seems strange that dances in this
piece are always winners), and is frequently played in theatres and
restaurants; and the King's song, "Youth will have dalliance," is one
of the composer's best songs.  I really ought not to touch on it here,
as Shakespeare was not the author of the words, but the song is so much
associated with the play that I cannot help myself; and even though
Shakespeare did not write the words, Henry VIII. did, and, anyway, he
was in the period.  That versatile king, poet, and theologian also
wrote music, and very beautiful music, to his own lyrics.  The opening
music in my edition of the score consists of a long fanfare leading up
to a not very dignified march, rather recalling happy old Savoy days
than the Shakespeare or Shakespeare-Fletcher drama.  The second theme
is also rather of the cheap variety, and the third is reminiscent of
Rossini; but I am certain that, judging from the high level of
excellence shown in the "Graceful Dance" and "King's Song," much very
beautiful music is hidden away in manuscript.  Sullivan's setting of
"Orpheus with his lute" is one of the most beautiful songs in the
English language.  It is a very early work of the composer, written
long before the rest of his _Henry VIII._ music.  The accompaniment is
strangely reminiscent of Schubert's _Who is Sylvia?_


+Macfarren's+ part-song to the same words is also beautiful, and gives
the words their real meaning when properly sung and phrased.  The lyric
is difficult to set, and when set difficult to sing.  Most singers give
one the idea that {46} Orpheus made trees with his lute.  It is not
always the singer's fault, as several composers give this effect.  The
blame is also a little with Shakespeare or Fletcher for separating the
word "trees" so far from the word "bow."  Since writing the above, I
hear, on the best authority, that of the late Dr F. J. Furnivall, that
Fletcher undoubtedly wrote the lyric: so to him is due the blame of
misleading simple composers.



{47}

JULIUS CÆSAR

Mr Barclay Squire, in his contribution to the _Book of Homage to
Shakespeare_, 1916, entitled "Shakespearian Operas," says concerning
Julius Cæsar: "There are innumerable operas, mostly of the eighteenth
century, on Julius Cæsar, as to which Riemann and Clément and Larousse
may be consulted; but it is very doubtful whether any of them are
founded on Shakespeare."  I myself went through Handel's opera on the
subject, but when I discovered that Cleopatra had an important part in
the work I put it on one side: I always funk trying to connect a Cæsar
and Cleopatra opera with the Shakespeare play.  Perhaps Handel was
merely anticipating Bernard Shaw's brilliant _Cæsar and Cleopatra_,
but, any way, Handel was not dreaming of Shakespeare's work.

_A List of Songs and Passages in Shakespeare which have been set to
Music_, compiled by Greenhill, Harrison, and F. J. Furnivall, does not
give one line which has been treated musically.


Of incidental music very little remains; Schumann's overture I treat of
later, and von Bülow's I cannot find in the Museum library or anywhere
else; but +Raymond Rôze's+ orchestral suite, _Julius Cæsar_, based on
the music he composed for Sir Herbert Tree's revival at His Majesty's
on January 22, 1898, is published and easily obtainable.

The overture commences with Cæsar's "March Motive," and here is shown
an absolute freedom from Wardour Street Roman music: it is quite as
modern as Mr Rôze {48} could be.  The next episode appears to be the
Conspirators' Music; it is _agitato_, but of a curious Mendelssohnian
simplicity, and leads to a naïve Wagnerian theme, in which the
characteristic slow turn is used with great effect.  This runs into the
Cæsar march theme _pianissimo_, with harp effects, leading up to a
brilliant coda on the Cæsar _motif_, with a moving bass and full
orchestral effects for the close.  The prelude to Act ii. is a very
emotional piece of music, sometimes dramatic, often melodramatic, but
always exciting and comfortably away from any thought of the historic
period.  The prelude to Act iii. opens with a fine broad theme for the
brass, much of which, curiously enough, might possibly have been played
on trumpets of Cæsar's time.  After this, Mr Rôze naturally takes a
rest from his museum researches, and the rest of the prelude is quite
innocent of anything that would remind a Roman centurion, if he came to
life now, of his past existence: it is most modern in the 1898 manner,
and Professor Ebenezer Prout, had Mr Rôze shown him the score, would
probably have told him to "run away and try to be a better boy."
Still, there are excellent points in this music, and I wish that more
of it were published.


+Robert Schumann's+ _Julius Cæsar_ overture, Op. 128, is a fine example
of the composer's sonorous and sombre style.  Any musician on hearing
it could guess the composer's name at first shot, but I defy anyone to
guess its title.  There is no attempt at ancient Roman effects, the
style being much the same as that of his _Manfred_ overture, written
some years earlier.

It opens in the minor key with a strongly marked theme, rather in the
nature of a fanfare; this is followed by a very beautiful Schumannesque
syncopated passage.  The second subject, for the horns, is again highly
characteristic of the composer; the whole work finishes very
brilliantly in the major.

I cannot see any connection between this work and Shakespeare's play,
the overture having quite a happy {49} ending; but perhaps it
represents an early phase in Cæsar's life before he met too many "lean
and hungry" men.  The whole piece is most effective on the orchestra,
in Schumann's own particular way, which I like, but most modern critics
heartily dislike.  It is very seldom performed, but I should much like
to hear it in front of a production of the play.



{50}

KING LEAR

Very few composers have had the temerity to lay hands on _King Lear_.
With the notable exception of Berlioz, no composer of the first rank
seems to have touched it.  At one time Verdi thought very seriously of
making it the subject of an opera, and it is much to be regretted that
the project was never carried out.  With Boito as librettist, what a
work Verdi might have turned out in his golden old age!


+Berlioz+ began his _Roi Lear_ overture at Nice while he was holding
the Grand Prix de Rome, but was stopped by the King of Sardinia's
police as a spy.  The composer's habit of writing music without a piano
did not please them at all; so he was sent for and interrogated by the
chief of the secret police.

"You wander about with a book in your hands; are you making plans?"

"Yes, the plan of an overture to _King Lear_."

"Who is this King Lear?"

"A wretched old English king," etc.

"You cannot possibly compose wandering about the beach with only a
pencil and paper and no piano; so tell me where you wish to go, and
your passports shall be made out."

"Then I will go back to Rome, and, by your leave, continue to compose
without a piano."

Berlioz finished the overture in May 1831, but it was years before it
made any success, and it has never been popular in France.

Some years afterwards Berlioz was invited to conduct a {51} concert of
his works at Löwenberg for the Prince of Hohenzollern-Hechingen.  At
the rehearsal the orchestra played the score "with such spirit,
smoothness, and precision that I said to myself in amazement, not
having heard the piece for ten or twelve years, 'It is tremendous; can
I really have written it?'"  I am quoting from Berlioz's autobiography.

The overture begins _andante_ with a bold theme for basses, and the
whole of the opening is composed in a much more simple manner than one
is accustomed to expect from Berlioz.  A beautiful cantabile theme soon
appears on the oboe, the opening is repeated _fortissimo_, and then
comes the real Berlioz.  This episode is fiery and _agitato_, leading
on to the beautiful Cordelia music.  The rest of the work is very long
and complicated, but no new melodies are introduced.  There are no
labels; each hearer must read his own meaning into it; but by keeping
the idea of Lear in one's mind it is not difficult to get a very shrewd
notion of what the composer is driving at.


+Konradin Kreutzer+ composed an opera on this tragedy entitled
_Cordelia_.  It is in one act, the libretto by P. Wolff.  It was first
produced at Donaueschingen in 1819.  The composer was born at Baden in
1780, and was a prolific writer.  The only number I can find is the
overture, which is an ordinary straightforward composition, that
suggests Cordelia just as much as it would Julius Cæsar or Charlie
Chaplin; I cannot understand why such music should ever be written.


In the _Athenæum_ of June 8, 1912, occurs the following passage:--

"According to _Le Ménestrel_, a complete libretto of _King Lear_ in
+Verdi's+ handwriting has been discovered among his papers.  This
confirms the report that he had intended to write an opera on the
subject."


_Antonio Bazzini_, the eminent violinist, composed a fine concert
overture to _King Lear_, which was performed {52} twice at the Crystal
Palace--in 1877 and 1880.  It is really more of a symphonic poem than
an overture, but it has no definite programme.  Most of the work is
very sombre and grim, as befitting its title.  I have rarely seen a
more restless work from the point of view of _tempo_, and its tonality
is constantly changing.  It is not in the least the kind of work one
would expect from the composer of the popular "Ronde des Lutins" for
violin, which is the only piece of his generally known here; but
Bazzini was really a serious-minded composer, and was Professor of
Composition in, and subsequently Director of, the famous Conservatoire
of Milan.  This overture is one of his mature works, and, though the
themes are obviously of Italian origin, the development of them shows
signs of German influence.  The whole work is very interesting and
uncommon.


+Felix Weingartner+, whose symphonic poem _King Lear_ is, after
Berlioz's overture, the most important work on this subject, was born
at Zara (Dalmatia) in 1863, and is one of the most distinguished of
living conductors.  The score was published in 1897, and performed in
England at the London Musical Festival on May 2, 1902.  The composer,
in his own account of the work, says that it is not to be regarded as
depicting the march of events as they occur in the drama (after the
manner of programme music), its form being designed rather on the lines
of early examples of the overture.  The poem opens with a broad
_fortissimo_ theme, showing the King in his pomp and state.  This is
followed by a crawling theme, signifying the malignant attitude of many
at the Court.  These two subjects struggle together, with a third, the
love theme, hovering over all.  The _motif_ of the King in his glory is
repeated, but this time the evil influence music gets the better of it.
A beautiful theme follows--Cordelia; but the King does not understand
it, and soon Lear curses his daughter in a fine dramatic passage.  This
section is succeeded by a terrific storm, with thunder and lightning;
the King's theme is {53} played in a wildly contorted form to show that
he has become mad.  The beautiful Cordelia music now comes to comfort
him, and the two are reconciled, but their happiness does not last
long.  The work ends most tragically.  The whole is a very reverent and
masterly attempt on the part of a first-rate musician to set down in
musical notation the effect of this stupendous tragedy on a
finely-balanced brain.



{54}

MACBETH

Of the tragedies, _Macbeth_, for some strange reason, is more
associated with incidental music than any of the others.  "The
celebrated music introduced into the tragedy of _Macbeth_, commonly
attributed to +Matthew Locke+," as Novello describes it in his edition,
is associated in the minds of a great number of people with
Shakespeare's play.  I have known the work since I was a child.  It
used to be very popular at village and school breaking-up concerts.  I
never could understand its village popularity, but I know boys liked
some of the strong words in it, and sang them with great gusto.  It was
sung in nearly all stage productions until about twenty years ago, and
is very much missed by local choristers when not performed with the
piece on tour.  I remember how very disappointed the local
chorus-master was to find that Sir Frank Benson was not using it in his
later years.  The chorus-master thought its absence would spoil the
whole play.  I have been through the text of Davenant's version, to
which Locke wrote the music, and can discover only four consecutive
lines and some odd words of Shakespeare's in the whole work.  How it
persisted through all those years is a great mystery.  The music is not
even interesting.  The four lines immortalised are:--

  Black spirits and white,
  Red spirits and gray,
  Mingle, mingle, mingle, mingle,
  You that mingle may.

For many years this music was falsely attributed to Purcell, but
musical historians have finally cleared Purcell of all {55} connection
with it; though long ago he got even with Locke by writing an elegy on
his death.  Daniel Purcell, uncle of Henry, also wrote some _Macbeth_
music.


+John Eccles+ wrote music for a revival at Drury Lane in 1696; and
+Richard Leveridge+, composer of "The Roast Beef of Old England" (a
song which should be popular if revived now) and "All in the Downs,"
also wrote music for the second act in 1708.


To come to more modern times, +Sullivan's+ music is perhaps the best.
Composed for Sir Henry Irving's great production at the Lyceum, it was
an instant success.  The overture, a very elaborate work, is often done
on concert platforms.  The whole of the music is most effective, and
perfectly suited to the play.  Subsequently, Sir Henry gave readings of
the play on tour with Ellen Terry, for which they travelled a full band
of sixty performers for Sullivan's music.


+Michael Balling+, one time musical director for Sir Frank Benson, and
subsequently for Cosima Wagner at Bayreuth, where he conducted _The
Ring_ and _Parsival_, composed some very clever music for his old
chief's production, very modern in feeling and permeated with Scottish
atmosphere: the Witch music being very grim and mysterious, and in the
cauldron scene very clearly bringing in a suggestion of Locke's
"Mingle, mingle."  The Banquet music (strings only) is bagpipey, and
the marches for Macbeth and Macduff are stirring and in strong
contrast, while there is fine battle music for the close.
Unfortunately, he wrote no overture or _entr'actes_.


Several operas have been founded on this theme, the most notable being
+Verdi's+ _Macbetto_, produced on March 17, 1847, at the Pergola,
Florence.  Unfortunately, Verdi was not so lucky in his librettist as
he was in the cases of {56} _Otello_ and _Falstaff_, when he had the
invaluable assistance of Arrigo Boito, perhaps the greatest librettist
who ever lived, with the exception of Wagner.  Piave's book is not very
inspiring.  The opera was never a success.  Verdi could not see Macbeth
as a tenor, and bravely made him a dramatic baritone.  The Italian
could not understand a grand opera in which the hero was not a tenor;
and the only tenor, Macduff, comes on late in the evening.  It is a
great pity, as there is much fine music in the work, though very little
of Shakespeare's _Macbeth_ gets through.  The very Italian singing and
dancing witches seem out of place on a blasted heath, and the ballet of
Scottish retainers savours of a warmer clime than that of the North of
Scotland.  Still, the work should be revived.


+Hippolyte André Jean Baptiste Chelard+ was born in Paris in 1789, and
subsequently won the Grand Prix de Rome.  He was one of those
Frenchmen, like Berlioz later, whose music was thought little of in
Paris but was much admired in Munich and London.  The adaptation of
this play for the French lyric stage was not suitable, especially at
the Opera House, where the action and words are the most important
things to the public; and Chelard found that his harmonies, simple
enough to our modern ears, were too complex for the Parisian audience.
He left Paris and went to Munich, where he revised the whole opera most
carefully, and made a great success of it; the result being that he
became Court Capellmeister and dedicated the score to the Bavarian
King, his patron.  The rest of his life he divided between failure in
Paris and success abroad, again very like his so much greater
compatriot, Hector Berlioz.  In this opera, for the first time, so far
as I know, the witches are given names--Elsie, Nona, and Groem.  I
think the last a good name for a witch, but I should not dream of
calling Shakespeare's first or second witch Elsie or Nona.  I don't
think Rouget de Lisle, the librettist, better known as the poet and
composer of the "Marseillaise," ought to have done this.  The opera is
in three acts, and opens with the {57} conventional overture of the
period--as composed by second-rate musicians, quite harmless; but one
expects something more from a _Macbeth_ overture.  The Witches have
some effective trios, some of them unaccompanied; and one of their
motives was used by Liszt, who knew Chelard at Weimar, and taken from
Liszt by Wagner for use in the _Walküre_.  It comes quite as a surprise
in its original place in this _Macbeth_.  _Macbeth's_ march is fine and
sombre, and the ballet music is quite exciting.  One number is marked
_tempo d' inglese_, though why a Franco-Scottish dance, produced in
Germany, should be in English time I cannot understand.  The choruses
are broadly written, and the music, though mostly very florid, is often
dramatic.  There is a tremendously difficult and florid song for
mezzo-soprano in the third act for a character called Moina, a friend
of Lady Macbeth, and the prelude to this act is a long duet-cadenza for
harp and flute.  It has nothing to do with the plot, and must have been
put in to please two friends who were excellent players or had valuable
patrons.  The librettist does not stick too closely to Shakespeare's
story; in fact, he gives Duncan a daughter, the Moina just mentioned,
and introduces the Sleep-walking scene before Duncan's death.  When the
opera was performed in London in 1832, Mme. Schroeder-Devrient, for so
long Wagner's favourite singer, actress, and companion, sang the part
of Lady Macbeth.

An amusing story is told of Chelard's _Macbeth_ by FitzGerald, Tenderer
into English verse of the _Rubáiyát of Omar Khayyám_.  In one of his
letters to the celebrated actress, Fanny Kemble, niece of John Philip
of that name, he writes: "You may know there is a French opera of
_Macbeth_, by Chelard.  This was being played at the Dublin
theatre--Viardot, I think, the heroine.  However that may be, the
curtain drew up for the Sleep-walking scene; Doctor and Nurse were
there, while a long mysterious symphony went on--till a voice from the
gallery called out to the leader of the band, Levey--'Whist, Lavy, my
dear--tell us now--is it a boy or a girl?'"


{58}

Surely the world's operatic tragedy is that +Beethoven+ never completed
his _Macbeth_.  He composed sketches for an overture and chorus to
libretto by J. von Collin, who also, as we have seen, wrote the play
_Coriolan_, which inspired one of Beethoven's greatest overtures.


+Wilhelm Taubert's+ opera _Macbeth_ was produced in Berlin in 1857,
libretto by F. Eggers.  It is in five acts, and begins with an overture
in Scoto-German style.  The curtain rises on the blasted heath, the
three witches, two sopranos and one alto, singing in a very spirited
manner.  Macbeth enters, and the music closely follows the original
plot.  The second scene is in Macbeth's castle at Inverness, Lady
Macbeth being discovered alone, having received her husband's letter.
This is really very dramatic music; and when a servant announces that
Duncan is coming that very night, Taubert gives one a fine thrill.
Duncan enters and is heartily cheered by Macbeth's retainers, and all
exit save Macbeth and his lady, who soon make arrangements for King
Duncan's long sleep.  The act ends _pianissimo_ in a sombre manner.  In
the second act there is much festal music, a great procession of bards
playing harps, and much singing of "Hail, Macbeth, hail!"  Now comes a
Scoto-German characteristic dance, towards the end of which Macbeth
hears from the murderer that Banquo is dead, but that his son has
escaped.  The music gets louder and wilder at the end of this dialogue,
and the dance finishes with great abandon.

Macbeth summons his guests to the banquet, and Macduff (tenor), with
harp, sings a song in praise of Scotland and Macbeth, the chorus
joining in heartily.  At the end of the song Banquo's ghost appears and
spoils Macbeth's party.  This act also ends _piano_, Lady Macbeth
taking a very remorseful Macbeth to have a nice quiet rest.

The third act takes place in the Witches' cave.  Hecate (tenor) and
chorus are with the Witches.  Macbeth enters and is told about Birnam
Wood.  The music here is very impressive.  The Witches raise up the
ghosts of the eight {59} kings, and they pass Macbeth to a sort of
funeral march; this also is very striking.  The scene ends with a
terrific hubbub, which gradually dies away, the curtain rising on
Birnam Wood and a male chorus singing "O Scotland, poor fatherland, how
has fate treated you!"  It is a very sentimental bit of work, and must
often draw tears; but I don't think real Scotsmen would be caring about
it.  After this sad opening we are prepared for Macduff's entrance.  He
is full of the news of the murder of his wife and children, and is very
vocal about it.  The chorus sympathise, and the act closes by Malcolm,
Fleance, Macduff, and male chorus vowing vengeance on Macbeth.  The
third act begins with the Sleep-walking scene.  The doctor and
lady-in-waiting are there, and presently Lady Macbeth enters, and,
keeping closely to the original text, the act finishes again
_pianissimo_.  The scene of the last act is in a chamber near
Dunsinane.  A harper sings a good imitation of a Scottish song, and
then the Wood of Birnam seems to move nearer and nearer.  Lady Macbeth
appears in the last scene of all, and sings a very dramatic aria,
welcoming the advent of the Birnam Wood, and firmly believing in the
immortality of Macbeth; but Macduff kills him, and all he says to his
wife is "Farewell, my wife, Eternal sleep is welcome."  The Witches
make a short appearance here, singing "He had the crown, we have the
King," and Malcolm is crowned; and the chorus spread themselves,
hailing their new King.  By this time they must have become accustomed
to hailing new kings.  Already they have sung in praise of Duncan and
Macbeth, and now, quite easily, they adapt their vocal transports to
Malcolm, and are very Scoto-Germanic in their efforts.  Still, the
opera has very good points, and should not die.


The latest opera on this subject is the gigantic lyric drama in a
prologue and three acts, each act having two scenes, by +Ernest Bloch+,
poem by Edmond Fleg, after Shakespeare.

This work was produced at the Opéra Comique, Paris, {60} 1910, under
the direction of Albert Carré.  I can find nothing about the composer
in any dictionary of music, but, judging from the score, he is a modern
of moderns.  The work is planned on an heroic scale, and is appallingly
difficult to perform, the time and key changing, sometimes every bar,
during long passages: moreover, the composer seems very fond of putting
in an odd five-four bar unexpectedly.  The opera opens with a prelude,
depicting the blasted heath, and the witches enter one by one.  They
are, severally, soprano, mezzo, and contralto.  During their trio
distant drums and muted trumpet are heard announcing the near presence
of Macbeth, Banquo, and the army.  They gradually get nearer, and
finally, with a burst of grim, significant music, the mortals enter to
three horrible chords and a sinister figure in the bass.  At the words,
"Glamis, and thane of Cawdor!  The greatest is behind," the orchestra
plays a solemn theme curiously reminiscent of the Valhalla _motif_ in
Wagner's _Ring_.  So ends the prologue; the orchestra conveys one to
Macbeth's castle, and the curtain rises just as he has finished telling
Lady Macbeth about his interview with the three witches on the heath.
This ingenious device saves the time generally used in the latter
scene, and also saves the audience hearing Macbeth's account of his
meeting with the Witches, which they have already heard.  Further, it
allows Macbeth to be present when the servant announces the advent of
King Duncan, which makes a strong dramatic point, and is admirably
emphasised by the fine Duncan theme ringing out in the brass.  It would
take hundreds of pages to explain in detail this enormous and
complicated work, so I will just touch on a few points of outstanding
interest.  Duncan's entrance is finely managed, and his dignified
thanks and praise of Macbeth and his lady are calmly and peacefully
set, in great contrast to all that has gone before.  In the duet
(Macbeth and Lady Macbeth) which follows, the composer emphasises the
scorn of the lady for her undecided husband, and the passage, "I have
nourished children at my breast, and I know it is sweet," has a {61}
concentrated bitterness in it that is not often found in music.  A very
elaborate and beautiful orchestral scene-change interlude, founded on
the Duncan theme, quiet and very calm, brings us to a court in
Macbeth's castle.  It is moonlight, and all is still until Macbeth
begins the dagger soliloquy, which is set with great force.  The
Porter's song is very elaborate, and the composer has an explanation,
in a footnote to the score, in which he says: "The character of the
song of the Porter is this:--The Porter is drunk.  He really hears the
knocking.  He listens, but his troubled brain confuses reality and
fiction, and the hammering blows awaken in him the memory of a familiar
song.  In each verse you get a suggestion of this old song, and only at
the last verse he realises that he must open the door."  The situation
is held with great intensity.  The song is long; there are three
verses, each richly varied, and I should think it is one of the most
difficult songs to sing ever written.  A great _ensemble_ number, for
principals and chorus, very dramatic and brilliantly written
technically, nearly finishes the act; but by a happy device the crowd
rush into the King's chamber, leaving the stage empty save for an old
man.  The music fades away, the great bell continues to toll, and the
ancient sings, very quietly, "I can recall all that has happened for
seventy years; I have seen terrible hours and strange things, but I
have never seen a night comparable to this night."  (I translate
roughly.)  Curtain falls slowly.

The second act opens in Macbeth's castle, himself as King.  The opening
orchestral introduction is very regal, but Macbeth's subsequent
soliloquy shows how doubtful he is of himself.  A fine series of
fanfares brings on Lennox and his followers to the banquet.  The music
for the appearance of Banquo is most suggestive; in fact, in suiting
the music to the words or situation Bloch is never at fault.  The last
Witch scene, with the procession of kings, is awe-inspiring, as is Lady
Macbeth's sleep-walking scene and Macbeth's "to-morrow and to-morrow"
monologue.  The tragic feeling never ceases until the very death of
Macbeth, when the curtain falls slowly.

{62}

This is, I know, a very inadequate description of a most tragic opera,
but I have no more space.  There are no separate numbers, save the
Porter's song, which could be detached from the rest of the work.  The
opera must be taken as an entity or not at all.  There are no attempts
at sustained, beautiful melody; everything is sacrificed to the drama.
There are no effective bits from a singer's point of view, and Mr
Arthur Godfrey would have some difficulty in writing a really popular
selection founded on this work.  For a perfect performance, wonderful
acting, singing, orchestral playing, and _mise-en-scène_ are absolutely
essential.  It requires months of the most careful rehearsal, but the
result would justify all the time and labour spent over it.  It should
be a great privilege to take the smallest part in a performance of such
a stupendous tragedy.


It is the general custom of amateurs to sneer at +Spohr+.  True, he was
the finest classical violinist of his time, but that cannot account for
the general abuse from which he suffers: there must be something else.
The something else seems to me to be the curious foresight he had with
regard to Richard Wagner's works.  When no one, save Liszt, would hear
them or of them, dear old-fashioned classical Spohr risked his whole
reputation to produce operas by this young art--and
practical--revolutionary at his theatre at Cassel.  There was something
very splendid about him.  Among the enormous quantity of music he has
written there is one overture, "Macbeth," to which I wish to draw
attention; it is short, it is conventional, but there is a lot of the
real feeling of _Macbeth_ in it.  I don't say for an instant that this
is an epic, but it is a very excellent piece of work and quite worthy
of the great man, if not great composer, who devised it.


In some editions of +Robert Schumann's+ pianoforte works the
"Novelette," op. 21, No. 3, is headed with these words from _Macbeth_:
"When shall we three meet again?"  They certainly fit in with the first
phrase of the movement, {63} and the whole sounds very like a witches'
dance, but there is no mention of the words in Peters' edition.  I hope
it is true, as that gives us another piece of Schumann's Shakespearian
music in addition to the _Julius Cæsar_ overture and the last Clown's
song from _Twelfth Night_.


+Raff's+ "Macbeth" overture is quite one of his most successful works.
It opens with a dance of the Witches, mostly for flute and piccolo at
first, but getting very wild later; then there is a sort of dialogue
between Macbeth (wood wind and horns) and Witches (their own dance).
These themes are developed with considerable skill, and a new one (Lady
Macbeth) is added, as are some odd little bits of a sort of Scottish
character.  There is fine fight-music near the end, and the final
triumph of Macduff is celebrated with a very cheerful noise.  This
overture would make an admirable opening for an elaborate stage
performance of _Macbeth_.


+Henry Hugo Pierson+ was an English composer, born at Oxford, 1815, but
is still unknown to the majority of his fellow-countrymen.  After
leaving Cambridge he studied in Germany, where he became very intimate
with Mendelssohn.  Meyerbeer, Spohr, and Schumann were all his friends
and admirers; and in 1844 he succeeded Sir Henry Bishop as Professor of
Music at Edinburgh, but very soon resigned, and settled down in
Germany, marrying a German literary lady, Caroline Leonhardt.  The
inordinate Mendelssohn-worship of his day rendered England a difficult
home for a modern English composer: so he changed the spelling of his
name from Pearson to Pierson, settled down in his adopted country, and
died at Leipsic, January 18, 1873.

His symphonic poem, "Macbeth," op. 51, was once performed at the
Crystal Palace concerts, but has been very thoroughly neglected since.
It is real modern programme music, and scored for a very large
orchestra, including a solo part for the cornet-à-pistons and a
military drum.  The symphonic poem opens at Act ii., Scene 2, and is
headed {64} with the words, "Hours dreadful and strange things."  The
music is very slow and mysterious, but works up to a climax on the
words of the Witches, "Fair is foul and foul is fair."  Then comes,
very _piano_, "The March of the Scottish Army"--a most characteristic
piece, the tune on the high wood wind, drones on the bassoons, and
great use made of the military drum.  This works up to a tremendous
_fortissimo_, and dies away mysteriously before Banquo's words:--

            What are these,
  So withered and so wild in their attire,
  That look not like th' inhabitants o' th' earth,
  And yet are on't?

A curious and interesting effect is here made by the tenor trombone,
clarinet, and cornet taking the parts of the three witches, and playing
the themes that fit what the Witches are supposed to speak.  I mean the
three "All hail" speeches.  The orchestration is full of sinister
mystery here; but, on Macbeth's words, "Two truths are told As happy
prologue to the swelling act Of the imperial theme," the music becomes,
for a time, triumphant, though very wild, and breaks off suddenly for a
Lady Macbeth scene.  She is reading Macbeth's letter, and these words
are printed in the score: "This have I thought good to deliver thee.
Lay it to thy heart, and fare thee well."  The subjects here used are
the Witches' prophetic theme and a passionate Lady Macbeth one.  All
the music in this section is highly emotional, dramatic, and
brilliantly clever.  On Macbeth's words, "If it were done when 'tis
done, then 'twere well It were done quickly," a gruesome little passage
for strings and bassoons heralds the King's feast music, consisting of
curious disjointed wood-wind passages, till Macbeth's words, "Is this a
dagger which I see before me?", when the music seems to drive him to
the murder.  After the words, "Hear it not, Duncan; for it is a knell
That summons thee to Heaven or to Hell," there are two intensely
dramatic bars; and then, _pianissimo_, is heard the Witches' prophetic
_motif_ on the cornet and horn--a fine {65} bit of musical
word-painting.  Now comes the longest episode in the work, a
magnificent Witches' dance, the composer employing nearly every
resource of the modern orchestra.  Then, in the distance, is heard the
march of the English army, very stirring and martial.  At the end of
this passage, Macbeth says: "It's ripe for shaking, and the powers
above Put on their instruments."  Here a great stirring is made in the
orchestra, and a cry (violin solo) is heard:--

  _Macbeth_: Wherefore was that cry?
  _Seyton_: The Queen, my lord, is dead.


Very piteous and poignant music is used in this passage, broken in upon
by the strains of battle.  At the words, "Blow, wind, come, wrack!  At
least we'll die with harness on our back," the music dies down for the
familiar dialogue between Macbeth and Macduff concerning the
gynæcological manner of the latter's birth, and a few more bars of
fight music finish off the former.  The sound dies down.  The prophetic
theme is heard very faintly on the trombone and finally on the horn;
the music gets softer and slower, and so fades away.

I have written at special length about this composer, because it seems
so strange that an English musician, a Harrow and Cambridge man, and a
pupil of Attwood and Corfe, should have been so much in advance of his
time and especially of his country.  Born, as we saw, in 1815, he was
only six years younger than Mendelssohn, and forty years old when Sir
Henry Bishop died.  He was four years younger than Liszt, and doubtless
got the general idea of the symphonic poem form, or want of form, from
the elder master.  He was two years younger than Wagner, yet his
earlier compositions are far in advance, musically, of Wagner's early
work.  It seems deplorable that this remarkable English composer should
be so utterly ignored by his countrymen.


+Richard Strauss's+ magnificent Symphonic Poem on this theme must take
a very high place in the musical {66} commentary on _Macbeth_.  It is
scored for the largest possible orchestra, and every known musical
device in orchestration or harmony is to be found in this enormous and
complicated score.  The poem begins sombrely, but almost at once there
breaks in a short fanfare, which occurs repeatedly throughout the work.
Immediately after the fanfare the first subject is announced on the
brass, and the whole work gets going.  Strauss prints a short speech of
Lady Macbeth's beginning, "Hie thee hither, that I may pour My spirits
in thine ear; And chastise with the valour of my tongue All that
impedes thee from the golden round."  In the score the music here is
marked "wildly _appassionato_," though _pianissimo_ (Strauss here uses
the device of _tremolo_ strings playing on the bridge with great
effect).  Afterwards he introduces a long, broad, and very beautiful
theme, the sort of theme which his detractors are always challenging
him to write, and which he is always writing.  Strauss gives no
definite programme in his score, and it is up to anyone hearing it to
make his own; but one could not go very far wrong.  There is no need to
describe the various developments, thematic and harmonic, which take
place in the themes before the end of this work.  It is long.  Ninety
pages of closely printed full score take some time to play, and a
longer time to describe in detail: so I content myself with saying that
anyone can get a fine, convincing picture of the life and death of
Macbeth by hearing this work and not bothering whether a certain theme
means Duncan, Bloody Child, Bleeding Sergeant, Macbeth, or Lady Macbeth.



{67}

MEASURE FOR MEASURE

+Wagner's+ one known contribution to Shakespearian music is his two-act
opera, _Das Liebesverbot_, founded on _Measure for Measure_, and not,
as so many people think, on _Love's Labour's Lost_.  It is his second
complete opera, and, for reasons I will explain later, was only once
performed; now, seeing that the composer, according to some
authorities, apparently destroyed all of it except a couple of numbers,
it may never be done again.  Wagner planned the libretto during the
summer of 1834, while on holiday at Teplitz.  He had lately heard
Auber's _Masaniello_ at Leipsic, and was astonished at the effect of
the striking scenes and rapid action of this opera.  Could he not
improve on Auber's music and produce an opera in which the action
should be equally swift?  He took _Measure for Measure_, changed the
scene from Vienna to Sicily, "where a German governor, aghast at the
incomprehensible laziness of its populace, attempts to carry out a
puritanical reform and lamentably fails."  (The words in quotation
marks are taken from Wagner's article on this opera in volume vii. of
his prose works, as with the other quotations that follow.)

The score of the opera was finished while the composer was musical
director at the town theatre of Magdeburg, during the winter of
1835-36.  Wagner had the right to claim a benefit performance, and,
having an excellent troupe of singers at his disposal, decided to
produce his opera at this benefit.  "In spite of a royal subsidy and
the intervention of a theatre committee, our worthy director was in a
perennial state of bankruptcy," says Wagner, "and before the end of the
season the most popular member of {68} the company, in spite of the
unpunctuality of the payment of their salaries and the offer of better
engagements elsewhere."  Wagner modestly says: "It was only through my
being a favourite with the whole opera company that I induced the
singers not merely to stay until the end of March, but also to
undertake the study of my opera, most exhausting in view of the
briefness of the time."  He only had ten days for all the various
rehearsals.  He says: "Notwithstanding that it had been quite
impossible to drive them into a little conscious settledness of memory,
I finally reckoned on a miracle to be wrought by my own acquired
dexterity as conductor."  This does not bear out the general opinion
held in London as to Wagner's conducting.  During his season as
conductor of the Philharmonic in 1855, he had very severe opposition
with which to contend, especially that of the musical critics Chorley
and Davison (the _Athenæum_ and the _Times_); but I should think Wagner
was a pretty useful conductor, to judge from his article about
conducting.  Wagner kept the company together at rehearsal by singing
all their parts and shouting the necessary action, forgetting that this
could not be done at the public performance.  At the general rehearsal
Wagner's conducting, gesticulation, shouting, and prompting kept things
together, but at the performance, before a crowded house, there was
utter chaos.

Unfortunately, Wagner had allowed the manager, Herr Bethmann, to have
the receipts of the _première_ as his benefit; and at the second
performance, Wagner's benefit, there were few in the audience, and a
free fight, amusingly described by him, was waged behind the scenes.

It takes Wagner six pages of closely printed prose to give a _résumé_
of the plot, and it would be impossible in my present space to do more
than comment on some of the changes.  The Duke, who is the most
indefatigable talker in Shakespeare's play, becomes a King, who never
even appears.  Angelo becomes a German Governor, who tries to foist
German puritanism on the hot-blooded Sicilians.  There is no moated
grange for Mariana, who in Wagner's version is {69} a fellow-novice of
Isabella.  Neither King nor Duke ever appearing, Isabella marries
Lucio--a strange alteration to make.  Isabella, to save her brother
Claudio, arranges an appointment with the German Governor at the
Carnival (Wagner's idea), and sends Mariana instead.  They are
discovered, and the Governor expects to be executed for his
ill-treatment of Mariana, when news is heard of the King's arrival in
harbour.  In Wagner's words, "Everyone decides to go in full carnival
attire to greet the beloved prince, who surely will be pleased to see
how ill the sour puritanism of the Germans becomes the heat of Sicily.
The word goes round!  Gay festivals delight him more than all the
gloomy edicts.  Frederick, with his newly married wife Mariana, has to
head the procession; the novice, Isabella, lost to the cloister for
ever, makes the second pair with Lucio."  This is Wagner's ending, and
anyone who knows the original text can get a fair idea of his
alterations.

With the few, but very important, exceptions I have mentioned, he
sticks fairly closely to Shakespeare's text.  In regard to the troubles
concerning the production, much has been amusingly written by Wagner.
The police took offence at the title "Forbidden Love."  The production
was for the last week before Easter, when only serious pieces were
performed.  Wagner assured the magistrate that it was founded on a
serious play by Shakespeare, and, not having read further than the
title, the official passed the opera on condition that the title was
changed to _The Novice of Palermo_.  Wagner says: "In the Magdeburg
performance, remarkably enough, I had nothing at all to suffer from the
dubious character of my opera text; the story remained utterly unknown
to the audience, on account of its thoroughly vague representation."
Of his benefit performance the composer says: "Whether a few seats were
filled at the commencement of the overture I can scarcely judge.  About
a quarter of an hour earlier the only people I could see in the stalls
were my landlady and her husband, and, strange to say, a Polish Jew in
full costume!  I was hoping for an increase in the audience {70}
notwithstanding, when suddenly the most unheard-of scenes took place in
the wings.  The husband of my primadonna (Isabella) had fallen upon the
second tenor, a very pretty young man, who sang my 'Claudio,' and
against whom the offended husband had long nursed a secret grudge.  It
seems that having convinced himself of the nature of the audience when
he accompanied me to the curtain, the lady's husband deemed the
longed-for hour arrived for taking vengeance on his wife's admirer
without damage to the theatrical enterprise.  Claudio was so badly
cuffed and beaten by him that the unhappy wretch had to escape to the
cloak-room with bleeding face.  Isabella was told of it, rushed in
despair at her raging husband, and received such blows from him that
she fell into convulsions."  There was a general free fight, all the
company paying off old scores.  The principals were unable to proceed
with the performance, the manager made the usual speech about
unforeseen obstacles, and the performance did not take place.  This is
the correct account of the exciting second and last performance, told
almost in Wagner's own words, of the composer's only Shakespearian
opera.

Of the music, Grove says the score is in the possession of the King of
Bavaria at Munich.  In the British Museum there is a copy of a carnival
song and chorus, very bright and spirited, but with no trace of the
later Wagner.  There is also a "Carnival scene" for pianoforte, founded
on motives from the opera, by Geo. Kirchner.  Unfortunately, the first
half of this fantasia is the song I have just noticed, with elaborate
bravura passages for the piano, but the middle episode is much more
like the real man.  It is a fairly slow, melodious passage, full of
interesting modulations, quite foreshadowing what the composer might
do.  If the rest of the work is up to this form, and if the score is
really in Munich, I hope that it will be published, and performed with
better luck than at Wagner's "benefit."

As there has been so little music composed for this play, I will give a
short account of as many settings as I can find of the solitary lyric
contained in it.  Probably the {71} first setting of these words was by
+Dr John Wilson+, born at Faversham, 1595, who is supposed to have sung
Balthazar in _Much Ado About Nothing_, and other similar parts, and to
have been mentioned by name in the First Folio edition of Shakespeare's
plays.

In this edition (1623) the stage direction runs, "Enter the Prince,
Leonato, Claudio, and Jacke Wilson."  This particular song is published
in Playford's _Select Ayres and Dialogues_, published in 1659 for one,
two, or three voices, to the theorbo-lute or bass-viol.  The words are
beautifully set to a quaint and pathetic air, and there is no verbal
repetition.  Dr Wilson adds the second verse, "Hide, O hide those hills
of snow," by Fletcher, to make the song an ordinary length, without
futile repetition.


The next setting is by +John Weldon+, pupil of Henry Purcell, born at
Chichester, January 19, 1676, and educated at Eton.  This song is
interesting, but very florid, and the words are dreadfully ill-treated.
Weldon only sets the verse attributed to Shakespeare.  The music was on
sale at "The Golden Harp and Hoboy" in Catherine Street.  Our
music-sellers do not call their shops by such pretty names now.


Next on our list comes +Johann Ernst Galliard+, happily named as a
composer of theatre music, one of our earliest German "peaceful
penetrators."  Born at Zelle, Hanover, in 1687, he soon emigrated to
England, where he successfully composed operas and much dramatic music,
including this pretty little song, which was published in 1730.  He was
organist at Somerset House, and, I suppose, played the organ while the
clerks filled in birth certificates and made out income-tax forms.  He
died in London in 1749.


+Thomas Chilcot+, composer of the next version of these words, was
organist at Bath Abbey from 1733 until he died (1766).  This song was
published in 1745, and is a good example of the period, slightly
florid, but very melodious, {72} with a charming accompaniment for
stringed orchestra.  It is a song that would repay careful study on the
part of a high tenor.  The second Fletcher verse is added in this
version.


Of +Christopher Dixon+, the composer of the next setting, no mention is
made in Grove's _Dictionary of Music and Musicians_, and all that seems
to be known of him is that he was called "of York," and some cantatas
and songs of his are in the British Museum Library.  This song,
published in 1760, has a flowing, rather sad melody, and the second
verse is again used.


A glee for male voices to these words was published about 1780.  It was
composed by either +Tommaso+ or +Giuseppe Giordani+, two
composer-brothers--probably by the former, who was born at Naples in
1740 and migrated to Dublin in 1761, and wrote a great deal of music to
English lyrics.  This glee is a charming setting.  The part-writing is
always graceful, and often very ingenious, the inner parts melodious
and interesting, and the whole effective.  The composer has adapted
this glee for mezzo-soprano solo with harpsichord accompaniment, and a
very pretty song it makes.


+Jackson of Exeter+, as he was generally called, who wrote the
celebrated church service known as Jackson in F, has set these words as
a duet, with harpsichord accompaniment.  The first verse only is taken,
but the composer "rings the changes" on the words to such an unhappy
extent that it makes quite a long number.  Simple, melodious, and
graceful, like nearly all of Jackson's secular music, it is not of much
value as a serious setting of the words.  Strangely enough, it is
marked _allegro molto_, and, should this instruction be carried out
literally, the effect would be very curious, taking the words into
consideration.  The composer was born at Exeter in 1730, and this duet
was published in 1780.  He was a {73} keen landscape painter, and
imitated the style of his friend Gainsborough.


+W. Tindal+, whose setting was published in 1785, is not mentioned in
Grove's _Dictionary_, and seems to have composed very little music.
Six vocal pieces, of which this is No. 2, and eight English, Spanish,
and Scottish ballads, one of which is a quaint setting of part of
Hamlet's love-letter, "But never doubt I love," are all the
compositions of his I can find.  This duet is full of clever bits of
imitation and good contrapuntal part-writing, and is melodious as well.
Tindal also repeats the words almost _ad nauseam_, and only uses the
first verse.


+Sir John Andrew Stevenson+, Mus.D., composed a glee on these words,
which was published in 1795, but is of no great merit.


All that I can discover about +Luffman Atterbury+ is that he was a
carpenter before he became a musician, was a musician-in-ordinary to
George III., sang at the Handel commemoration of 1784, and died in
1796.  He composed one beautiful piece of music, a round in three parts
to the first verse of these words, which is really a perfect gem.  The
melody is simple and beautiful, the counter-melodies are equally
taking, and the part-writing is very skilful.  What more can one desire?



{74}

THE MERCHANT OF VENICE

Very few composers seem to have been attracted by _The Merchant of
Venice_, though in the last act occurs one of the most beautiful
eulogies of music in the world--the lines are too familiar to quote.  I
can only trace two operas on the subject.  The first is _Il Mercante di
Venezia_, by +Ciro Pinsuti+, produced at Bologna, November 8, 1873.  It
is in four acts, and the libretto is by G. T. Cimino, who very freely
adapted Shakespeare's story.  The work opens with a short
overture-prelude of no very great importance, and the curtain rises on
a street in Venice with chorus singing and gondolas floating by.
Presently Portia appears in a gondola with the Prince of Morocco,
playing the lute.  She sings a greeting to Venice and its inhabitants,
and exits with the Prince, who has not a singing or speaking part in
the opera.  But Bassanio and Antonio have observed her, and the former
has fallen in love with her and tells Antonio about it.  They exit, and
the chorus, cunningly knowing that Shylock is about to enter, sings a
derisive anti-Semitic song.  Shylock tells them that he is following a
really inoffensive industry, but no one seems to believe him.  It would
be wearisome to follow the plot too closely here.  Shylock has a
terrific aria about his daughter's elopement, after which the pound of
flesh contract is made; and this scene is really impressive.  Then
there is a long trio between the three--Shylock, Antonio, and
Bassanio--which makes a brilliant finale to the first act.

Act ii. opens at Belmont.  Portia is wondering about her father's will,
and she sings quite a long and florid song {75} about it.  Bassanio
enters and declares his love, and a long and impassioned duet follows,
at the end of which is a lengthy fanfare, succeeded by the strangest
caricature of Mendelssohn's Wedding March I have ever heard.  The
rhythm is exactly the same, and the melody and harmony are almost
identical.  This brings on poor Morocco again.  The casket business,
very much shortened, takes place, and Bassanio, as usual, wins.  Then
comes the March again, this time quite frankly called "Marcia Nuziale,"
and the act finishes with the bad news of Antonio and Bassanio's
hurried exit to try to save him.

The third act discovers Shylock in a bad temper, still singing about
his daughter's elopement.  (Really Shakepeare's construction was not
quite so bad as his adapters seem to think.)  Afterwards a chorus of
Jews comes on and sings hymns at Shylock.  This seems to make him even
more angry.  The Trial scene is very much curtailed, and Portia "comes
to the 'osses" very much more quickly than Shakespeare lets her.

The fourth and last act opens with a long and elaborate choral ballet,
at the end of which (Jessica and Lorenzo being cut out) Portia and
company soon finish off the plot; but, for some probably operatic
reason, the full chorus is at Belmont, and, what is stranger, the
chorus of Jews break in on it with Yiddish hymns.  At the back of the
stage a ship is seen on which is Shylock.  The Jews and Christians
continue singing, but gradually the Christians win, the Jews dying away
as the Christians become more vociferous.  So the curtain slowly falls.
It is a strange and interesting work, and not without some dramatic
touches.  The themes are mostly cheap and _banal_, and there is little
or no dignity about the part of Shylock; but the work is noteworthy if
only for the fact that it is the only opera but one ever written or in
any way produced on _The Merchant of Venice_.  Also Shylock has one
thing in his favour--he is not a tenor.


+Louis Deffès+, a French composer, born at Toulouse, {76} July 25,
1819, also composed an opera on this subject, in four acts, calling it
_Jessica_.  The libretto is by Jules Ardevies.  The work was first
performed on March 25, 1898, at the composer's birthplace.  M. Deffès
was a pupil of the Paris Conservatoire, where he studied under Halévy
and subsequently won the Prix de Rome.  The librettist has taken the
elements of his dramatic poem from Shakespeare's play, but has, owing
to musical exigencies, very much cut down the work.  On the other hand,
he introduces a tragic dénouement that had no place in Shakespeare's
drama.  To this book the composer has written most moving and dramatic
music, which produced a deep effect on the audience when first
performed.

This opera was to have been called _Shylock_ and brought out at the
Opéra Comique, where the work had been accepted; but circumstances
decided otherwise.  Among the prominent numbers that stand out in the
first act are the song of Antonio, "C'était le soir," and the fine
finale.  In the second act Jessica has a charming cavatina, and a very
interesting duet with Shylock, who also has a fine song in this act.
In the third act, at the culminating point of the work, is a delicious
chorus of swallows (at the first performance beautifully sung by a
chorus of young lady pupils from the Toulouse Conservatoire); a poetic
dream reverie by Portia; and a charming ballet; the act ending with a
brilliantly written quintet.  In the fourth act are serious songs for
Jessica and Shylock, the whole ending with a dramatic version of the
Trial scene.  The first performance was a veritable triumph for the
composer, who, at the age of seventy-nine, an old pupil of the Toulouse
Conservatoire, an old Prix de Rome man, and the composer of a dozen
works produced in Paris, had returned to his native town to produce the
opera and to take over the direction of the school of music at which he
had begun his studies.


As regards incidental music, every production of this play must have
some.  There must be masque music for {77} Lorenzo and Jessica to elope
to; there must be a setting of "Tell me where is fancy bred"; and
Portia has her own private orchestra at Belmont.  But most of the
specially composed music for the _Merchant_ remains in manuscript.


+Sullivan+ wrote a very elaborate masque for the Calvert production at
Manchester, much of which is published.  There is a long and very
Viennese valse, full of melody and grace, and a grotesque Dance for
Pierrots and Harlequins, with a highly comic cadenza for the bassoon.
The Bounce is the most familiar number, as it is frequently played as
an _entr'acte_ in the theatre.  It is very attractive, but not at all a
bourrée on the old accepted lines.  There is also a melodious serenata
in the rarely used key of E flat minor.  These few numbers are all that
have been printed.


+Engelbert Humperdinck+ wrote music for Reinhardt's production of this
play in Berlin at the Deutsches Theater.  This version of the play
begins with a barcarolle sung by a tenor behind the act-drop as the
curtain goes up.  This, oddly enough, is sung in Italian, and the words
are not by Shakespeare.  Portia is discovered playing the lute in the
second scene, cleverly imitated by Humperdinck on the harp.  Before the
second act is a very stately saraband.  For the Prince of Morocco's
entrance there is no attempt at Eastern local colour.  Obviously the
Prince in this version did not bring his own band, and trusted to
Portia's private orchestra for his effects, and they did not know his
national anthem; so he only gets an ordinary flourish, two trumpets and
kettledrums.  The same thing happens to Aragon, only the fanfare is
different though in the same key.  The march is very wild, working up
to a great climax, and then dying away to nothing.  "Tell me where is
fancy bred" is set as a duet for soprano and contralto with female
chorus, and makes a beautiful number.  After this there is nothing till
the last act.  The curtain goes up to exquisite music, which lasts till
the end of the play.  {78} It is very lightly scored, strings, harps,
solo violin, and horns, and every word can be heard through it: so it
makes a perfect ending for the whole play.  I have never read of this
music being performed in England, but I can very strongly recommend it
to any future producer of _The Merchant of Venice_.


For Mr Arthur Bourchier's production at the Garrick +Frederick Rosse+
composed a great deal of music, some of which is published.  It is very
good stage music, and admirably suited to the production it was written
for.  There is a prelude to the first act, ending with a sort of
barcarolle; then a melodious intermezzo, entitled "Portia"; an Oriental
march for Morocco (evidently the Prince brought his own band for this
production); a second prelude, rather sickly sentimental; a good
stirring march for the Doge; and a pretty setting of "Tell me where is
fancy bred" for contralto, baritone, and harp--very serviceable and
useful music all of it.  But somehow the play itself does not seem to
get the best out of musicians.


+Gabriel Fauré+, the distinguished French musician, who composed the
fine incidental music for Mrs Patrick Campbell's production of _Pelléas
el Mélisande_, also wrote incidental music to Edmond Haraucourt's
version of _The Merchant of Venice_, called by him _Shylock_.  There
are not many numbers, but all of them are interesting.  The first is a
prelude and serenade for light baritone to words of M. Haraucourt's;
very graceful and melodious, but unconnected with Shakespeare's plot.
The words begin, "Oh les filles, venez les filles aux voix douces."
The first _entr'acte_, in march time, opens with trumpets.  There is a
flowing trio founded on the same subject, and then back to the
beginning for the close--a very pleasant little interlude.  Now comes a
so-called madrigal, not in the English sense of a contrapuntal number
in several vocal parts, but a very pretty sentimental song, the words,
again by M. Haraucourt, "Celle que j'aime a de beauté," being {79}
charmingly set for baritone once more.  The "Épithalme" or "Bridal
Song" is for orchestra only; it is a solemn adagio movement, almost too
sombre for such a comedy as M. Haraucourt makes of _The Merchant_.  The
love music is in nocturne form, and is chiefly a duet for solo violin
and 'cello.  The last number, headed "Finale," is a brilliant
quasi-scherzo movement in triple time--rather in the manner of a
valse-scherzo.  This is the longest and most elaborate section of the
suite, finishing with a well-developed coda.  Altogether Fauré's
_Shylock_ is an interesting, though rather slight, addition to our very
scanty amount of music for this play.



{80}

THE MERRY WIVES OF WINDSOR

It is a curious thing that, though critics are unanimous in saying that
_The Merry Wives of Windsor_ is the weakest comedy Shakespeare ever
wrote, it has directly inspired one opera of first-class
importance--Verdi's _Falstaff_, by some considered the finest comic
opera in the world; also Nicolai's _Merry Wives of Windsor_, a
first-rate opera in the second division, as it were, still constantly
played in Germany, and here by the Carl Rosa Opera Company; and Balfe's
comic opera _Falstaff_, produced at Her Majesty's, July 19, 1838.  This
work is not so easy to place; it is essentially Italian music, and
shows how wonderfully adaptable Balfe's genius was.


+Braham, Parry,+ and +Horn+ wrote numbers for a musical version of this
play, which was produced in London in 1823, but I cannot trace the
score nor any of the numbers.


We will take +Balfe's+ opera first.  There was a fine cast for the
first production--Grisi, Rubini, Tamburini, with Lablache as Falstaff:
so the work had every opportunity, as far as singers were concerned,
but it never passed into the opera repertory, and few people now have
heard of it.  Perhaps the libretto by S. M. Maggioni may have helped
_Falstaff_ into its present oblivion.  The work opens with a
conventional overture, a slow introduction and a quick second part,
getting quicker towards the end--the sort of overture that would suit
almost any comedy-opera as well as _The Merry Wives_.  After the
overture comes a duet for Page and Ford; then Falstaff's entrance and
song.  {81} It is impossible to follow the plot clearly, as there is a
great deal of spoken dialogue; but all the principals have very "fat"
bits.  The composer was obviously writing for singers whom he knew
well, and he did not bother much about character, colour, Windsor, or
Queen Elizabeth's time; everything is perfectly vocal, and the melodies
are quite pleasant.

Balfe certainly had a wonderful gift for melody, but there is no drama
at all in the work.  Parts of it would sound quite well in a
concert-hall, but I could not trust it on the stage.  At the end,
instead of fairies tormenting Sir John, a chorus of witches is
introduced for that purpose, and they do it quite effectively.  The
work ends with a brilliant ensemble for the principals and chorus, with
Grisi "coloraturing" all over the place.  The opera is only in two
acts, so a good deal of plot is omitted; still, the work is
interesting, if merely from the fact that Balfe is the only British
composer who has written an opera, _The Bohemian Girl_, which has been
played, and is being played, all over the world.  It is the fashion for
"superior people" to sneer at Balfe, but _The Bohemian Girl_ is the
sole English opera in the international repertory.


+Nicolai's+ opera, _Die lustigen Weiber von Windsor_, book by
Mosenthal, produced at Berlin in 1849, is now a classic.  The overture
is quite beautiful; the second subject so attracted Wagner that he
"pinched" it and put it into the _Meistersinger_.  The libretto is very
well done, too.  Although none of the rest of the opera quite reaches
this high level, all is very good.

After the overture, Mistress Page and Mistress Ford enter with their
letters, and the plot gets under way at once.  No tiresome preliminary
chorus, but straight to the story.  In this charming duet is hatched
the plot for the undoing of Falstaff.  Fenton is made into a much
larger and more important _rôle_ than Shakespeare conceived; in point
of fact, he is the solo tenor lover, and much very pretty music is
given to him.  All Sir John's music is very expressive {82} of the man,
and, though vocal, is suited to the character.  With the exception of
the enlargement of Master Fenton's part, Nicolai's librettist sticks
closely to Shakespeare's text; but there are occasional excrescences,
mostly harmless.  At the opening of the second act, Falstaff sings a
song, with male chorus, the words of which begin with the famous
Clown's song at the end of _Twelfth Night_, "When that I was and a
little tiny boy"; but after a few lines it grows into a drinking song.
Anyway, there's some Shakespeare in it, and it is a first-rate number.

The third act opens with a ballad about Herne the Hunter and his oak
for Mistress "Reich" (Ford).  It is a very weird and effective song,
and in excellent contrast to the music which has preceded it.  Sweet
Anne Page also has much more to do in this version of the story than in
Shakespeare's; but in opera one must have young lovers, and Falstaff
and Mistresses Ford and Page are not quite romantic enough for the
average opera audience.  The grotesque music for Slender and Dr Caius
is wonderfully done, and full of quiet humour.  After the "Herne"
ballad Sweet Anne Page sings a long and almost tiresome aria, but this
is followed by the Moon chorus scene, which opens with the same _motif_
as the overture.  The orchestra plays the beautiful melody, and the
chorus sustains long, _pianissimo_ six-part harmonies.  The whole
effect is very fine.  Next comes a ballet with chorus of fairies, also
on themes used in the overture.  Whenever Nicolai employs a theme from
the overture the whole work seems to rise in value and become quite
first-rate.  With Fenton disguised as Oberon, King of the Fairies, and
Anne Page as Titania, Falstaff is "put through the hoops," even as he
is in Shakespeare's play, and a very melodious trio begins the finale.
This is sung by the three ladies--Anne, Mistress Page, and Mistress
Ford.  Near the end Falstaff joins in, and for the last fourteen bars
principals and chorus sing an _ensemble_.

It is indeed a very merry work, and curiously Shakespearian; all the
parts are showy to sing and to act, the {83} music, though full of
character, is thoroughly vocal, and the orchestration is never too
heavy for the singers.  As a comic opera it is quite one of the best in
the world, and fully deserves its place in the repertory of opera for
all time.

We now come to the third opera founded on _The Merry Wives of Windsor_,
+Verdi's+ _Falstaff_, libretto by Boito.  After the production of
_Otello_, 1887, the composer was silent operatically; but in 1893, at
the age of eighty, he produced _Falstaff_, and astounded the entire
musical world.  The work was produced at the Scala, Milan, February 9,
and its success was instantaneous.  The book by Boito is, as the score
says, "derived from Shakespeare's _Merry Wives of Windsor_, and from
certain passages of _Henry IV._ having relation to the personality of
Falstaff," and is a masterpiece of construction and adaptation.

The opera is in three acts, each act being in two parts.  Shallow,
Page, Slender, Sir Hugh, Nym, Simple, and Rugby all go.  Certain lines
have to be transposed.  For instance, in Act i, Scene 1, Caius speaks
Shallow's lines, beginning "You have beaten my men"; but these things
are necessary in converting a five-act comedy, with two scenes, into a
three-act lyrical comedy with six scenes.  Sweet Anne Page becomes
Annetta Ford, and her part and Master Fenton's are much written up; in
fact, they become a very pretty pair of lovers, and their frequent
love-duets are beautifully melodious, and never sentimental.  Bardolph
(tenor) becomes an important part, and he pursues his old master after
his dismissal with the utmost malignancy.  The scene is Windsor in the
time of Henry IV.  Falstaff is a baritone.  Victor Maurel, the great
French baritone, created the part.

As is usual with this composer's later work, there is no overture, the
curtain rising on the interior of the Garter Inn at the fourth bar of
an _allegro vivace_.  Sir John has just sealed the two love-letters.
Dr Caius (tenor) enters angrily and abuses Falstaff nearly in Shallow's
words; Falstaff pays no attention, but calls for sherry, and in a
brilliant scene the Doctor accuses Falstaff and his followers {84} of
making him drunk and robbing him.  After Caius's exit, Sir John calls
for his bill and sings a song of his wandering from inn to inn,
following the light shed by Bardolph's nose, and setting forth how much
it has cost him (Falstaff) to get it into its present condition.  He
then produces the letters, and Pistol and Bardolph refuse to bear them.
Falstaff bundles them out of the room and the scene ends.  The whole of
the music in these comedy scenes is as light as air, the action is
wonderfully swift, and every nuance in the words is reflected in the
orchestration.  It is only necessary to comment on a few features, as
the original story is so well known and Boito follows it fairly closely
now.  There are no real numbers that can be separated from the main
body; no songs or concerted pieces that it would be wise to perform
apart from the context: the whole work is so welded into one
homogeneous whole that it would be sacrilege to do scraps on the
concert platform.  There are no numbers, like the "Preis" song or Hans
Sachs' soliloquies from Wagner's great comic opera, that can be
performed with great effect at concerts: with Verdi's _Falstaff_ it is
all or nothing.  The reading of the letter by Mistress Ford makes a
fine comic effect, and the unaccompanied quartet for the four
ladies--Page, Ford, Sweet Anne, and Mrs Quickly--that follows it is a
rare bit of vocal writing.  The concerted writing throughout is
splendid--the counterpoint is _never_ obtrusive, but always there,--and
the orchestration a wonderful combination of lightness and strength.

To return to the plot.  Falstaff comes only once to Ford's house, and
is thrown out of a window into the Thames, so never escapes as the wise
woman of Brentford.  A very amusing effect, though not in Shakespeare,
is obtained during Ford's mad search for Sir John.  Fenton and Anne
Page have hidden behind a curtain.  In the middle of the fearful din
everyone is making there comes a sudden pause, during which the lovers
kiss audibly.  Ford at once thinks it is Sir John and his wife, creeps
up to the arras, jerks it aside, and discloses his daughter and her
forbidden lover, {85} much to Ford's anger and the lovers' mutual
embarrassment!  During this act Falstaff sings to Mistress Ford the
fine song about his youth, "Once I was page to the Duke of Norfolk."

Though Verdi does not use the _leit-motif_ in the ordinary sense of the
word, much use is made of a triplet figure.  Mistress Quickly employs
it first to announce to Sir John his appointment with Mistress Ford.
It is used by Sir John when he announces to Ford, disguised as Brook,
his appointment with Ford's wife.  Unfortunately, the original Italian
cannot be, or has not been, rendered into the same number of syllables
in the English version (I am speaking of Ricordi's edition), so there
is one syllable missing, which spoils the whole effect.  This figure is
used wonderfully as an accompaniment during the duet that follows, and
the eighty-year-old composer gets heaps of natural boyish fun (though
technically marvellous) out of those six notes.

The first part of the third act opens with, for Verdi, quite a long
introduction, _agitato_ in nature, on the theme that interrupts
Falstaff's love-making in the previous act.  The scene is the exterior
of the Garter Inn.  Falstaff is alone, and sings his famous soliloquy
on the wicked, treacherous world.  He calls for wine, drinks deeply,
and begins to feel better.  He mixes the sack with the Thames water he
has swallowed, and sings, "How sweet it is to drink good wine while
basking in the sunshine."  Mistress Quickly comes on, and makes the
appointment for Herne's oak at midnight.  She begins the story of Herne
the Hunter very impressively, and Mistress Page finishes it.

The next and last scene takes place a little before midnight, at the
oak in Windsor Park.  Anne Page and Fenton open with a love-duet, and
as the bell strikes twelve Sir John enters wearing a pair of antlers.
After a short scene with Mistress Page, Anne Page is heard as Fairy
Queen summoning her wood nymphs, dryads, and goblins.  Falstaff falls
on his face, and the fairies enter.  There is a long and beautiful sort
of choral ballet, in which Falstaff is badly treated by everyone,
especially by Bardolph.  In {86} the hubbub Dr Caius elopes with
Bardolph disguised as Anne Page, and Fenton and Anne manage to get
Ford's consent to their marriage.  Then comes the great moment of all.
All parties are reconciled; Ford invites everyone to carouse at his
house, and Sir John Falstaff leads off with the subject of the great
choral fugue that forms the finale.  The words begin, "Jesting is man's
vocation," etc.  Fenton takes the answer, then Dame Quickly, then
Mistress Ford.  At first the orchestration is very light, but as the
rest join in it grows heavier.  Mistress Page then enters with the
subject, followed by Sweet Anne in _stretto_, Pistol meanwhile starting
with the counter-subject, closely followed by Ford, with Dr Caius in
_stretto_.  It would take too long to describe the ramifications of
this, as Browning says of another, "mountainous fugue," but it is one
of the most superb pieces of vocal fugal writing extant, and makes one
of the finest endings to an opera the brain of man has ever conceived.

The idea of having a great fugue in eight and ten parts, with a full
chorus and orchestra, quite independent of the solo parts, to finish a
comic opera was a stroke of genius that could only have occurred to a
supreme mind, and could only have been carried out by one of the great
musical and dramatic geniuses of the world.  It is extraordinarily
successful, and its daring is gloriously vindicated.  Let those lovers
of musical comedy, ragtime, and sentimental ballads who sneer at fugue,
counterpoint, form, and technique hear this, and wonder.  It does not
sound very complicated or difficult, but really it is quite as complex
as the finale of Mozart's "Jupiter" Symphony, the "Cum Sancto Spiritu"
from Bach's B minor Mass, or the great fugato finale from the third act
of Wagner's _Meistersinger_.  Verdi and Mozart make the numbers I have
spoken of sound simple and almost easy; Bach and Wagner sound as
difficult as they are, and all are equally difficult at bedrock.

I have written a great deal on this work, though no number of pages of
mine could do any kind of justice to {87} it; but if I have helped one
reader to a little fuller understanding of this great comic opera I
shall have "acquired grace," and, anyhow, that is something.


In 1856, at the Lyric, Paris, +Adolphe Adam+ produced his one-act comic
opera _Falstaffe_, with a libretto by MM. Saint Georges and Leunen.  He
was born in Paris in 1803, and was a pupil of Boieldieu at the
Conservatoire.  The music is very light and fairly melodious, but quite
unambitious, and has been described by a French musical critic, very
justly, as mediocre.  There is a valse in it which was popular for a
time, and a few catchy numbers, but the critic was right--mediocre is
the word.


There is a song by +J. L. Hatton+ entitled "Falstaff's Song: Give me a
cup of sack, boy."  But I cannot find the words in my edition of
Shakespeare's plays and poems.  It begins:

  A full, flowing cup of old sack give me, boy;
  For sack clears the head, clears the heart.

I don't think the words are Shakespeare's, in spite of the printed
title-page before me.  The music is in the composer's well-known "Simon
the Cellarer" style; only, unfortunately, the tune is not so good.  The
words get sillier as the song continues, so that if I had been the boy
I should have given the singer prussic acid instead of the sack he so
repeatedly calls for.



{88}

A MIDSUMMER NIGHT'S DREAM

From a musical point of view one of the most important of Shakespeare's
plays is _A Midsummer Night's Dream_.  It is possible to use nothing
but Mendelssohn's music for this play, but I have never heard it in
England without additional numbers.  Sir Frank Benson, in his poetical
production, used all the original music, but also included a song by
Cooke, "Over hill, over dale," for the first singing fairy, and a duet,
"I know a bank," by Horn, for first and second singing fairies: the
latter a very boring work and quite out of keeping with the rest of the
music.  There is no reason why these words should be sung at all: they
should be spoken by Oberon.  Sir Herbert Tree had them sung to the tune
of "Auf Flügeln des Gesanges"--certainly by Mendelssohn, but the effect
was very distressing.  Most producers use the Spring Song and Bee's
Wedding as fairy dances, and this effect is quite legitimate and
absolutely in the picture with the rest of the score.  Mendelssohn is
at the top of his form in this music, and here is no Shakespearian Old
English Wardour Street style: it is just Mendelssohn at his best, and a
very good best it is.  With careful arrangement it can be played on a
small orchestra, and is a tremendous help to the success of the play.
There is bound to be a long wait between the first and second acts--the
change from Athens to the Forest--and Weber's overture to _Oberon_ is
very effective here; and, although scored much more brilliantly than
the Mendelssohn music, does not seem out of place, and fills in what
would else be a very tiresome interval.  Several {89} English composers
have set the fairy chorus, "You spotted snakes," as a glee for mixed
voices; but I never quite fancy fairies singing tenor or bass, and
consider Mendelssohn was very wise to stick to women's and children's
voices only.


+Mendelssohn+ was only seventeen when he wrote the overture, but the
rest of the music was composed much later, at the request of the King
of Prussia, and first produced at the New Palace, Potsdam, in 1843.
His critical German friends took him much to task for wasting such
beautiful music on such a foolish play, but I don't think he ever
regretted it.  There is a fine ophicleide part in the overture, giving
the idea of the clumsy Bottom among the fairies.  Mendelssohn chose
this instrument because it blends with no other instrument on earth,
and really knew what he was doing; but, because of its very quality of
tone, for which he chose it, modern conductors have cut it out and
substituted a bass trombone or tuba, both of which blend quite prettily
with the other instruments.  I am speaking of a few years ago; there
are hardly any ophicleide players left now.

I suppose the great majority of Christians in the world have been
"Mendelssohned," as Kipling has it, out of church once in their lives,
and I daresay that is why many people talk sniffily about the "Wedding
March."

I am going to make a dreadful confession.  Once at a small theatre I
did the whole of the Mendelssohn music to the _Dream_, excepting the
scherzo, on a band of eighteen, and it didn't sound half bad.  The
parts were carefully cross-cued, and everyone was very busy, but I was
very proud of the general effect.  Of course, the orchestra was almost
beneath the stage, which was a great help.  The players--they were
picked men--consisted of single wood wind, one horn, two trumpets, one
trombone, and drums, four first violins, two second, viola, 'cello, and
bass.  Incidentally we threw in Weber's _Oberon_ overture.  I know this
sounds like vandalism to read about, but it didn't sound so in the
theatre.


{90}

+Purcell+ wrote music to a perversion of the _Dream_ produced in 1692
(see above, p. 12), and in some strange manner managed not to set a
single line of Shakespeare.


+John Christopher Smith+, composer of an opera called _The Fairies_,
founded on _A Midsummer Night's Dream_, was born at Anspach in 1712,
but came to England as a boy with his father, who was Handel's
treasurer and agent for the sale of his music.  At the age of thirteen
he became a pupil of Handel, and, when his master went blind, his
amanuensis.  _The Fairies_ was produced in 1754, and on the title-page
of the score is written, "the words taken from Shakespeare," but not by
whom.  Also, unfortunately, as was the manner at the time, the name of
the singer is printed, but not that of the character; however, it is
usually possible to get a fairly shrewd idea, from the gist of the
words, who is singing.  This music is strictly Handelian, though the
score as a whole shows greater pains and industry than is generally
displayed by his great master.  The overture has an introduction,
fugue, tuneful minuet, and a fine march in D major after the manner of
Handel's _Scipio_ march.  The first song is for tenor, with trumpet
_obbligato_, and, I think, must be intended for Theseus.  The words
run, "Pierce the air with sounds of joy, Come Hymen with the winged
boy, Bring song and dance and revelry."  From this I take it that
Theseus was preparing for his wedding.  It is a very stirring, florid
air, and, given a robust tenor and a first-rate trumpeter, makes a good
opening for the opera.  Helena sings next a song with a very pathetic
middle part, saying how she scorns to hide her love.  Lysander
(baritone) has a brisk song about the joys of country life, followed by
Helena, singing, sadly, "O Hermia fair; O happy, happy fair"; and Mr
Smith sets four lines of Shakespeare's text.  Hermia's next air is not
very interesting, so we will pass on to a graceful setting of the
words, "Love looks not with the eyes, but with the mind," sung by
Helena or Hermia, I can't settle which; {91} the words are correct
text, and very respectfully set.  Puck, taken by a boy, now sings,
"Where the bee sucks"--quite a new setting to me, and a charming one,
too.  Here follows an orchestral interlude, called "Sinfonia," for
strings, with two independent oboe parts.  I don't know if it is meant
to be played with the curtain up for business, but rather think it is
intended for scene-change music.  Titania sings a very "fairy" song,
words not by Shakespeare, to her fairies, telling them to follow her;
and Oberon, a boy singer, does the same office, in a florid air, for
his fairies.  Helena, who seems to have too much to do, now has another
pathetic song; Titania sings herself to sleep with "You spotted
snakes," with slight verbal alterations to make sense.  The human
lovers become rather tedious here, as they do sometimes in the play;
they have several sentimental love-songs and duets, so we welcome
Oberon and his fairies.  His number, "Now until the break of day," is
really beautiful and most fairylike, and brings the second act to a
charming close.  Oberon sings "Flower of this purple dye" to a solemn
_largo_ melody, and the mortals take up the tale again.  Oberon sings a
setting of "Sigh no more, ladies" very interestingly, and sticks
closely to the text; it certainly might have been written by Handel,
but is none the worse for that.  Puck sings "Up and down" to thoroughly
suitable music while he chases the foolish lovers about the forest;
after which Titania obliges with "Orpheus with his lute," with oboe
_obbligato_, quite one of the best numbers in the piece and one of the
best settings of these much ill-used lines--the close of the second
verse is exquisitely done.  A hunting "Sinfonia" heralds the last
scene, with a couple of fine solo horn parts.  This introduces a bold
march for the entrance of Theseus, who has a lusty hunting-song with an
elaborate orchestral accompaniment.  Hermia now has an unnecessary
song, "Love's a tempest," and the opera closes joyfully with a solo and
chorus to the words "Hail to love and welcome joy."  So ends a work I
should very much like to have seen.  There is no sign of the clowns in
{92} the score, so I fear Smith's librettist cut them out; but the
music is all by one composer and all in one style.  There is none of
the horrible jostling of periods that annoys one in Bishop's pasticcio
Shakespearian operas, and the text is quite as near the original as
Bishop's.


If Christopher Smith omitted the clowns, his fellow-countryman, +John
Frederick Lampe+, composed a mock-opera, entitled _Pyramus and Thisbe_,
the words freely taken from Shakespeare, which was produced at the
Theatre Royal, Covent Garden, in 1745.  Johann Friedrich Lampe was born
at Helmstadt, Saxony, in 1703.  He came to England as a bassoon player
at the opera, and married Isabella Young, a famous singer, sister of Dr
Arne's wife.  He soon settled down in London as a composer, and made a
tremendous success with his opera _The Dragon of Wantly_, written in
imitation of the famous _Beggar's Opera_, and burlesquing current
Italian operas.  This Pyramus mock-opera consists of an overture and
thirteen numbers.  The overture is a delightfully fresh and original
composition, very melodious, with quaint rhythms, and finishing with a
very plaintive movement for strings and oboes.  Wall (a tenor) has the
first song, words not by Shakespeare, explaining his duties; it is good
burlesque, and great point is made of repeating the word "whispering"
seventeen times, making fun of the Italian method of the time somewhat
heavily but amusingly.  Pyramus (tenor) has a mock-dignified entrance,
and sings an elaborate burlesque song on Shakespeare's words, "And
thou, O wall, O sweet and lovely wall, That stands between her father's
ground and mine, Show me thy chink that I may blink through with mine
eyne."  No other words are used in this long song, and the effect
should be very comic, and also irritating to Lampe's contemporaries.
Pyramus proceeds with a second song, "O wicked wall," using the last
two lines only of his speech in the original text.  Thisbe, the part
taken by Mrs Lampe, now enters and sings about her love for Pyramus in
a little amorous song, again not by Shakespeare.  The lovers now have a
{93} duet, called the First Whispering Duet, to the words, "Not
Cephalus to Procris was so true"; a short spirited duet, "I go without
delay," takes them off; and the Lion enters and roars pleasantly in
florid baritone passages.  The Moon (tenor) enters and sings of the
joys of drinking and loving in the sky.  Thisbe has a lament, so well
written that it hardly seems a burlesque at all.  Pyramus, thinking her
dead, sings a furious mock-heroic song, "Approach, ye furies," followed
by "Now am I dead," a beautiful plaintive burlesque with _obbligato_
parts for two oboes.  Thisbe sings her lament, "These lily lips, this
cherry nose," to a sad little tune; however, for some curious reason
not explained in the text, neither of the lovers dies, but they finish
the burlesque off with a very bright and cheerful duet to the words,
"Thus folding, beholding, caressing, possessing, My Thisbe, my dear,
We'll live out the year."  As there is no spoken dialogue in my copy of
this work, I don't know how the author gets over the death of Pyramus
and Thisbe: doubtless he has some ingenious way out of it.  Some of the
fun is quite Shakespearian, and some is very German, but the whole
little mock-opera is amusing and worth a few hours' study.  The
orchestration is simple and good, and the vocal writing, as was nearly
always the case in this period, is excellent.


+Sir Henry Bishop's+ operatic version of this play is the first of his
series of pasticcio operas founded on Shakespeare's plays.  It was
produced at the Theatre Royal, Covent Garden, in 1816, and is a
wonderful hotch-potch of musical styles from Handel to Bishop.  The
overture is in four distinct movements, none of which seem to have any
bearing on the play or each other; and not one is used later in the
opera.  The whole appears to be entirely detached from the rest of the
production.  The first song (Hermia) is still sometimes heard; it is by
Bishop, and is a melodious setting of the passage beginning "By the
simplicity of Venus' doves."  The next number is a trio and chorus for
the {94} Clowns, beginning "Most noble Duke."  Quince, Snout, and
Bottom all have little solos, but I can't trace the words--I think they
were by some contemporary of Bishop's; the tune is by Arne and Bishop,
but is not very valuable.  The next song is for the first fairy and by
Dr Cooke.  The words do not occur in the play or in any other work of
Shakespeare's; they are just the conventional fairy-song words about
fairy rings, lightly trip it o'er the green, but the musical setting is
charming.  The fairy march by Bishop is the same as in his _As You Like
It_, beginning _pianissimo_ and finishing with about fifty bars of such
vulgar _fortissimo_ noise as would have frightened away any number of
fairies.  Demetrius has the next song: it is by Bishop, but the words
are not Shakespeare's.  The words, "But ne'er recall my love," are
repeated thirteen times, and the tune is insignificant.  The next
number is a "grand recitative air and chorus" for Oberon and the
fairies; again the words are not by Shakespeare, but are of the "trip
it" and "so nimbly" school; the music is by Bishop and Dr Cooke, and
Cooke's part is the better.  Demetrius (tenor) sings Helena's beautiful
words, "O happy fair, your eyes are lodestars," to a graceful melody of
Bishop's: this number is still heard occasionally.  The duet that
follows between Demetrius and Hermia is by Bishop, and the words are by
Anon.; it is a maudlin piece of work, words and music admirably fitted.
Oberon's beautiful speech, "Flower of the purple dye," is set to music
by our old friend Smith, with ineffective additions by Bishop, as a
song for Oberon.  The second act ends with a recitative for the fourth
fairy, a dance and a chorus welcoming the little Indian boy.  In the
third act is a quartet for the four solo fairies by Bishop, words
anonymous and very bad, which takes the curtain up.  Oberon sings his
speech, "Be as thou wast wont to be," to music by Battishill and
Bishop, a very graceful melody; and this is followed by a hunting
chorus about Spartan hounds, music by Bishop, poet unnamed.  An
anonymous character sings Handel's "Hush, ye pretty warbling choir,"
from _Acis and Galatea_.  The effect should {95} be amazing in this
wilderness of bad music.  Demetrius now has a song by Bishop, to
"original words," called "Sweet cheerful hope," but as it is of no
particular value we will pass on to a real piece of Shakespeare from
this very play, a setting by Bishop for Oberon and chorus of the words
"To the best bride bed will we," finishing with the chorus "In Theseus'
house give glimmering light," or, as Shakespeare more happily phrases
it, "Through the house," etc.  Hermia now sings a song, words by some
ruffian unnamed, to Hippolyta and her amazons about freedom; very poor,
pretentious stuff.  The opera ends with a so-called characteristic
march, beginning with the entrance of the Cretans, followed by the
Thebans, Amazons, the Centaurs, the Argo, the Labyrinth, the
Minotaur--a sort of grand historical pageant of Theseus' life.  The
music by Bishop is not in the least descriptive of any of these varied
things and persons I have catalogued; one expects some rather special
music for a Centaur, a Labyrinth, and especially a Minotaur, but one is
disappointed.


+Mr Cecil Sharp+ arranged and composed the incidental music and songs
for Granville Barker's most interesting production of this play at the
Savoy, January 1914.  In a striking preface he points out that not a
single note of contemporary music for the songs in this play has been
preserved; he debates the possibility of using contemporary tunes and
fitting the words to them, of having fake music composed, and of
commissioning a composer to write entirely new music.  He rejects all
these propositions, and plumps for using folk-songs.  He says: "By
using folk-music in the Shakespeare play we shall then be mating like
with like, the drama which is for all time with the music which is for
all time."  Whether the result at the Savoy was successful or not I
leave to the judgment of the many people who saw the production.
Unfortunately, Mr Sharp does not indicate very clearly when he has
arranged, composed, or adapted the tunes in the printed score.  The
first musical number occurs in Act ii., Scene 2, a dance, song, {96}
and chorus; the dance is to the melody of that interesting old
folk-tune "Sellenger's Round," and the baritone solo is, I am sure, by
Mr Sharp, as is the following chorus.  The words, which fit in too
neatly for it to be an adaptation, are the familiar "You spotted
snakes"; but, though he is bitter with Mendelssohn for repeating "so
good night" so often, he cheerfully cuts out one "lul-la," surely a
grievous thing to do for one so correct!  The next number is Bottom's
song, "The ousel cock so black of hue," and is, presumably, by Mr
Sharp, as only the melody is printed, and I don't see how anyone can
have a copyright (it is marked copyright) in a folk-song tune.  I don't
think it is an improvement on the so-called traditional tune to which I
have always been accustomed.  The next number is for orchestra alone,
and occurs in Act iv., Scene 1; it is called "Still Music," and the
melody is the old folk-song, "The sprig of thyme," collected and
arranged by Mr Sharp.  The Bergamask dance, Act v., Scene 1, is one of
the numerous versions of "Green Sleeves," collected and arranged by Mr
Sharp.  The wedding march is on the tune "Lord Willoughby," arranged by
Mr Sharp, and is certainly a great change from the one usually
associated with this situation.  The love charm seems to have gone all
wrong again, and even Theseus and Hippolyta seem to have soured on one
another.  As for the other lovers----!  Even the _tierce de Picardie_
fails to liven up the last bar.  The song and dance in the same scene
and act are composed by Mr Sharp, and, following the glorious tradition
of Sir Henry Bishop in the pasticcio operas, the words "Roses, their
sharp spines being gone" do not appear in the play.  They are not by
Shakespeare, but from Fletcher's _Two Noble Kinsmen_.  The final number
is a traditional dance arranged by Mr Sharp, but from what source he
does not say; it is rather a sad little tune, followed by the more
lively "Nonsuch," and finishing off with "Sellenger's Round," which was
the first musical number.

It would be an interesting point to discover whether Shakespeare would
have preferred this very "correct" {97} musical setting to
Mendelssohn's now derided one.  I rather think that Mendelssohn's
Overture and Scherzo would have appealed to him.  There seems to me to
be very little in this play, with its frequent classical allusions,
that calls for folk-music, and artificial simplicity in a production of
a play so full of Elizabethan artifice seems utterly out of place.



{98}

MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING

The most successful opera founded on _Much Ado About Nothing_ is
+Berlioz's+ two-act work entitled _Béatrice et Bénédict_, produced at
Baden, 1862.  The composer wrote his own libretto for this, and it is
an ingenious one.  The first reference we get to the work is in a
letter to his greatest friend, Humbert Ferrand, dated November 1858: "I
am getting on with a one-act opera for Baden written round
Shakespeare's _Much Ado About Nothing_.  It is called _Béatrice et
Bénédict_; I promise there shall not be 'much ado' in the shape of
noise in it.  Benayet, the King of Baden, wants it next year."

A very interesting point is made here in the little joke about "noise."
Berlioz had long been accused by critics and public of using too large
orchestras.  He was very careful to put down in his scores the exact
number of each instrument that he required, and the ignorant,
non-musical person cannot understand that thirty violins playing
_pianissimo_ are still _pianissimo_ and are infinitely more beautiful
than sixteen or eight.  Berlioz composed this work, "little opera" he
calls it, immensely quickly, and complains that ideas come to him so
fast that he has not time to write them down.  In a letter to his
sailor son, Louis, dated November 1860, he says: "You ask how I manage
to crowd a Shakespeare's five acts into one.  I have taken only one
subject from the play--the part in which Beatrice and Benedick, who
detest each other, are mutually persuaded of each other's love, whereby
they are inspired with a true passion.  The idea is really comic."  I
don't {99} quite understand what he means by the last sentence: it is
certainly a comedy idea, but not to me comic.  Perhaps the translation
of the original may be somewhat free: I have not the French original
version by me, so I quote from the volume in Dent's "Everyman's
Library."

It will be noticed that the original idea of a one-act opera is
abandoned.  The work was produced in two acts, and was a great success.

Writing again to his son he says: "_Beatrice_ was applauded from end to
end, and I was recalled more times than I can count"; and to his friend
H. Ferrand: "I am just home from Baden, where _Beatrice_ is a real
triumph."  He speaks of his "radiant singers."  He says: "People are
finding out that I have melody; that I can be gay--in fact, really
comic; that I am not noisy."  Benayet, whom Berlioz humorously calls
"King of Baden," was the director of the new Opera House, and he
treated the composer most generously financially, and lavishly as
regards scenery and dresses--a thing to which he was not accustomed: so
he ennobled him thus.  The whole _Beatrice_ episode is one of the
happiest in a not very happy life.

Coming to the music itself, the overture is not long, but an admirable
comedy overture, beautifully scored.  The first number is a
drinking-song in praise of the wine of Syracuse, sung by a bass called
Somarone, a creation of Berlioz, with a spirited chorus.

A fine chorus welcomes the return of the victorious Don Pedro.  There
is a very pretty "Siciliana," followed by a song in praise of Claudio,
sung by Hero.

After this, the hero and heroine have most of the work; and on their
finally agreeing to get married, much simple fun is made by the rest of
the characters.  The so-called "Maidens' Duet" became a very popular
number.  In this work are two four-part choruses called "Épithalme
grotesque," composed in _capella_ style.  The end is very bright, and
the whole opera though difficult to sing and play, is not expensive to
mount.

I cannot trace a performance of this work here in London, {100} but it
would be well worth the attention of the Carl Rosa Opera Company; for
even if it has been produced, it must have been a long time ago, and it
would be perfectly fresh now.  The opera has been performed more
frequently in Germany than anywhere else.  It was given at Weimar and
Stuttgart under the composer's direction, and the last important
production was under Mottl.


+Sir Charles Villiers Stanford's+ opera, _Much Ado About Nothing_, has
nothing in common with Berlioz's _Béatrice et Bénédict_, and very
little in common with Shakespeare's work of the same name.  The
libretto is by Julian Sturgis, and the work was produced at Covent
Garden in May 1900, and also at the Stadt Theater, Leipsic, April 1902,
with a German translation by John Bernhoff.

Berlioz took a single episode for his opera in two acts, and worked it
out logically, ignoring everything that had nothing to do with his own
plot, which was "Beatrice and Benedick."  Sturgis and Stanford bring in
nearly all Shakespeare's characters, but these say and sing things that
would have made Shakespeare turn in his grave if he could have heard
them there.  When Debussy wanted to set Maeterlinck's _Pelléas et
Mélisande_, he set every word of the original play and made a perfect
work of art.  When Richard Strauss made an opera of Oscar Wilde's
_Salome_, he did the same thing, and, however much some of us may
dislike it, no one can deny that he turned out a very perfect art-work,
as regards form and brilliance.  He produced a great opera, unpleasant
from some points of view, but, judged as a whole, a real achievement.
He trusted in his librettist and was justified in his trust.  Stanford
did not trust in Shakespeare as much as he did in Julian Sturgis, and
his trust was very much betrayed.

Touching on the opera purely from a musical point of view, there is
much very pleasant music in it.  There is no overture, and the first
act begins just before the masque.  The male chorus sings "Sigh no
more, ladies" as the curtain rises.

{101}

Almost at once Don John and Borachio begin the plot.  Claudio and
Benedick enter, Claudio immediately disclosing his love for Hero, the
story of the play being pretty closely followed.  Leonato now makes a
tardy effort to welcome Don Pedro and the rest, and a masque begins
with a very stately saraband.  Then, according to stage directions,
"Enter a pomp of clowns and country girls," who dance a morris-dance,
while the chorus sings about spring and maying.  The masque ends with
Hero, crowned Queen of Summer, singing a very graceful welcome to the
princes.  Claudio, as in Shakespeare, thinks the prince is wooing for
himself, and sings a tragic farewell to Hero and love, with many
repetitions of the words "farewell" and "love."  Beatrice and Benedick
then have their little comedy scene, and the Prince explains to Claudio
that he has won Hero for him, and gives him some solemn advice.  All
the principals join in and sing a fine sextet, Don John on the bottom
line singing with the others, but with sinister significance, that he
will mar their music presently.

The Prince announces his intention of making Beatrice and Benedick fall
in love with each other, and the four conspirators, Hero, Claudio,
Pedro, and Leonato, sing a quartet about it, finishing with a great
number of "with a fa-la-la's."  Don John says he will cross the
wedding, and in a few words tells Borachio to meet Hero's gentlewoman,
Margaret, that night, and he will bring the Prince and Claudio.  The
doors of the supper-room are thrown open and a procession of guests
comes out, with Hero and Claudio in the centre, the chorus singing
"Sigh no more, ladies," until the curtain comes down on the first act.

The second act opens with a short orchestral introduction.  The scene
is Leonato's garden near Hero's window.  Claudio sings a typical
serenade, at the end of which Hero comes out on the balcony, and they
have a long love-duet.  Benedick then enters, and sings a lengthy and
very clever soliloquy about love and ladies; and then Hero, Pedro, and
Claudio, in a vocal trio, describe the love of Beatrice for {102}
Benedick, the last-named listening as in the play.  The scene ends with
a very bright trio by the conspirators about having snared their bird.

The next episode sticks closely to Shakespeare.  Don John guides Pedro
and Claudio to Hero's window; they see Borachio embrace Margaret, and
Claudio makes up his mind to denounce Hero in the church.  The act ends
excitedly by Claudio rushing off, followed by Don Pedro and Don John,
and the curtain quickly falls.

The third act opens tempestuously on the orchestra, typifying Claudio's
bitter thoughts.  He is discovered alone in the church, where he sings
a grim and very dramatic quasi-recitative about Hero's fall from grace.
The bells are now heard--only three, F, G, A, and the organ begins,
acolytes lighting the altar candles.  The church fills, friars start
the hymn outside to the words, "Mater dulce carmen lenis," the bells
going right through the hymn with excellent effect.  Then comes
Claudio's denunciation of Hero and his refusal to marry her; she
swoons, and everyone leaves the church except Hero, Beatrice, Benedick,
Leonato, and the friar.  The friar, in a fine bass number (beautifully
sung at Covent Garden by Pol Plançon), explains his plan of pretending
that Hero has died of shame at the false accusation.  Benedick promises
to challenge Claudio, and during this scene a funeral bell is heard,
and a procession of the Misericordia Fraternity crosses the stage
carrying a bier and singing "Miserere mei Deus" as it passes out of
sight.  Benedick sings very solemnly "And so farewell" (I don't quite
see why, because Benedick knows Hero is not dead), and the curtain
comes down to _fortissimo_ music on a very effective third act.

The last act takes place in Messina, near the burial-ground of
Leonato's family.  The music to open is not at all gloomy, as it is to
introduce Seacole, Dogberry, and Verges.  Curiously enough, Verges is a
silent performer, or, as he is called in the bill of the play, a
"persona muta."  The watch come straight to the point.  They have
caught Borachio telling of his doings, and the movement follows {103}
very closely Shakespeare's development of the episode.  Benedick comes
on, tries to make a song in Beatrice's honour, fails (just as he did in
Shakespeare), but finally sings quite a good song about "Morning,
spring-a (sic) ring-a (sic) and chantecleer."  Don Pedro and Claudio
enter; Benedick delivers his challenge and they prepare to fight, when
Don Pedro comes between them.  Dogberry, Verges, Watchmen with
Borachio, bound, enter, and all the villainy of Don John is explained.
The Friar enters; Claudio begs forgiveness, and the Friar produces the
living Hero without any of Shakespeare's pretence that she was another
daughter.  Claudio at once sings a song to Hero, calling her angel of
pity, and sentimentalising over her for quite a long time.  Hero joins
in the general soppiness, and, after a great high-note effect on the
part of both, Beatrice and Benedick break in with their comedy scene,
in which they agree to get married, to shouts of "How dost thou,
Benedick, the married man!"  The principals and chorus all join in
singing "Sigh no more, ladies," which finally brings down the curtain
very brightly on a charming comedy opera; the music vastly superior to
the book.  It was a brave attempt of Sir Charles Stanford, but he was
beaten by his librettist every time.  It is not my intention to give Mr
Sturgis's perversions of Shakespeare; but why not have followed the
original text whenever possible, and cut anything that would have made
the work too long?  Some of the paraphrases are quite as long as the
original, but how lamentably weak!  If only Sturgis had used
Shakespeare and a large blue pencil!  Of course, the whole text is too
long to set for an opera--even as a play it is too long; but to rewrite
immortal phrases and put them into such obvious opera libretto form (of
the worst period) was a foolish thing to do, and will kill Stanford's
heroic attempt to achieve English grand opera whenever it is performed.
Mr Sturgis touched no phrase of Shakespeare's that he did not degrade;
there is really no reason why the libretto of a modern opera should be
written in rhyming couplets.


{104}

There are two other operas on this subject, but neither has yet been
performed in England: _Beaucoup de Bruit pour Rien_, by +P. Puget+
(Paris, 1899); and _Ero_, by +C. Podesta+ (Cremona, 1900), about the
latter of which I regret I can obtain no details.  The former, an opera
in four acts and five scenes, libretto taken from Shakespeare's play by
Edouard Blau, music by Paul Puget, was first performed at the Opéra
Comique, Paris, on March 24, 1899.  As a whole, the librettist adheres
closely to his text, with the exception of the omission of Dogberry and
Verges; and I don't think that anyone except an Englishman could
possibly understand two such thoroughly British characters.  In this
work they would only make the serious parts seem ridiculous.  The last
scene of the last act is novel, and owes very little to Shakespeare.
Hero is lying on a mortuary bed before the altar of the cathedral;
Claudio enters, throws open the great doors, and, in the presence of
all, makes a humble confession of his mistake and begs for pardon.  He
swears to consecrate himself to her, and puts on her finger a ring.  At
the touch of his hand Hero comes slowly from her faint, and the piece
finishes happily.  It is a very good libretto, and quite as near the
original text as an opera can be expected to be.  To this libretto M.
Puget has composed some very beautiful music.  The prelude to the first
act is full of happy characterisation, though rather short.  The duet,
Hero and Beatrice, sung while they present flowers to Don Pedro, is
melodious and simple; and in this act there is a very pretty Sicilian
song and dance.  In the second act a madrigal, sung by Benedick, is
charming and very delicately scored, as is also a quartet for Pedro,
Leonato, Benedick, and Beatrice.  In the third act, the scene of the
arrival of the bridal cortege at the cathedral, with fine organ and
orchestral effects, is very impressive; and in the last scene, the long
monologue, addressed by Claudio to the crowd, is broadly phrased and
very pathetic in its dignity: but it is unfortunately largely
overscored.  The one serious blot on the work is the tendency of the
composer to {105} over-weight the singers.  The opera earned a very
well-deserved success.


+Edward German's+ overture and incidental music for Sir George
Alexander's production of _Much Ado_ at the St James's, 1898, is German
at his best.  The overture is mostly very bright, the first theme being
really a saltarello.  The second _motif_, Hero and Claudio, is
naturally more sentimental and subdued.  Don Pedro has a fine theme
(the third subject of the overture), which is afterwards used for his
entrance.  These themes are all blended and woven together, and the
whole ends with a brilliant coda, in saltarello style again.  There is
a very pretty movement, _alla Siciliana_, called "Leonato's Garden";
while the Dogberry music is in a hurried, flurried manner, quite
indicating the fussy old constable.  The Bourrée and Gigue are very
well known on the concert platform.  The former is one of the prettiest
Old English dances that Edward German has ever given us.  The
_grandioso_ effect of the first theme coming in augmentation for the
coda is wonderfully good, and makes a really brilliant ending.  In the
Gigue, also, German is in his happiest vein; but I fear that a great
deal of the incidental music is still in manuscript.



{106}

OTHELLO

Rossini's _Otello_, produced at Naples, 1816, is the earliest grand
opera on the subject.  For many years it enjoyed great popularity.  But
in 1887, in Milan, was produced Verdi's tragic masterpiece, and the
earlier composer's work died a very natural death.

Many serious critics have said that Verdi's is the great tragedy opera
of the world, but, anyhow, it is a great tragic opera.  The incidental
music composed for stage productions of the play has never been of very
much importance.  There is supposed to be a traditional setting of the
"Willow Song," sung by Desdemona; but, as Shakespeare did not even
write the words of the said song, merely quoting a few lines from a
long poem given in its entirety by Bishop Percy in his invaluable
_Reliques_, this setting, even if contemporary, has not much to do with
our subject, "Shakespeare and Music."  The other songs, "King Stephen
was a worthy peer," and "Let me the canakin clink, clink," are both
probably quotations from older songs; while the so-called "traditional"
tunes are very like the so-called "traditional" etc. in other plays by
the master.  In point of fact, I have often heard an old actor sing the
King Stephen lyric to the same tune as the First Gravedigger's song in
_Hamlet_, and the two bear a very close resemblance to the traditional
tune of "The Babes in the Wood."  Still, the so-called traditional (I
am tired of writing the word) setting of "A poor soul sat sighing" is a
very exquisite thing, and worthy of its place in any production of the
play.  But the purity of its _melodic line_ would probably stand out in
contrast to its modern {107} associates, if introduced into a modern
version of the incidental music; so it is as well to leave it
honourably alone, and write a new setting more in keeping with the rest
of one's music.


+Dvorák's+ fine _Othello_ overture is fairly well known in
concert-halls, but is too long and elaborate for theatre use.  It is
scored for full orchestra with harp, and an important part for English
horn.  The opening is slow and _pianissimo_, muted strings giving out
an almost hymn-like subject, occasionally broken in upon by
anticipation of the real principal theme.  This is developed very
dramatically, and leads skilfully into the first subject proper--a very
quick, bright, one-in-a-bar theme, with tragic suggestions in it.

The second subject is of a more peaceful character, and the work slows
down for a while.  The long development is mostly very strenuous, but
just before the end are some beautiful sad passages full of tragedy and
pathos.  The end is _fortissimo_ and _accelerando_, with a curious
sequence of passing notes in the melody against a very rough chord,
repeatedly struck by the rest of the orchestra.  Though a little long,
this overture is full of dramatic and melodic interest, and is, so far
as I know, the only composition directly founded on our dramatist by
this composer.


+Raff's+ "Othello" overture is a fine though uninspired work.


+Rossini's+ grand three-act opera, _Otello_, libretto by the Marquis
Berio, enjoyed a long run of popularity.  It was first produced at the
Teatro del Fondo in the autumn of 1816.  Originally Othello, Roderigo,
and Iago were all great tenor parts; but later, Rossini, realising the
difficulty of getting three tenors of high standing to sing together,
rewrote the part of Iago for baritone.

The work made an enormous impression, and was soon being played over
all Europe.  In many ways it was much in advance of its time, the
composer writing his own {108} ornaments and embellishments, and often
successfully investing them with real dramatic meaning.  In the last
act the librettist introduces a new character who sings a barcarolle to
Dante's celebrated words, "Nessun maggior do lore."  This is one of the
most beautiful things in the work.  It is for tenor.  The librettist
does not attempt to adapt Shakespeare's tragedy, but is content to take
enough plot and situations for a conventional Italian libretto, and he
succeeds in doing this very well.

The overture is studiously conventional, but some of the numbers are
very beautiful.  The duet between Desdemona and Emilia, "Vorrei che il
tuo pensiero," is strikingly lovely; and the quintet in the finale of
the first act is a fine piece of writing, the insistently-recurring
ascending scale of Brabantio to the words "il barbaro tenor" having a
terrific effect.  The duet, Othello and Iago, in the second act, is
full of melodic beauty and dramatic moments.  Desdemona's great aria,
"Assisa a pie d'un salice," is really beautiful, and the end of the
opera is truly dramatic.  The whole work is unquestionably Rossini's
greatest opera, with the exception of _William Tell_.


+Verdi's+ "lyrical drama in four acts," book by Arrigo Boito, is on a
very different plane.  Here we have the finest opera-librettist, with
the possible exception of Richard Wagner, collaborating with one of the
greatest dramatic composers of all time on a subject by the dramatist
of all time--and a stupendous work is the result.

The comparative slowness of the sung as against the spoken word has
necessitated much cutting, but with great technical skill Boito has
devised a wonderful book, as true to Shakespeare as is possible in a
libretto.  The work was first produced at the Scala, Milan, February 5,
1887.  The English translation is by Francis Hueffer, for a long time
musical critic of the _Times_.  The success was immediate, and the
opera at once passed into the world-repertory.

There is no overture, and the whole action of the piece {109} takes
place in Cyprus.  In the original production Tamagno and Maurel were
Othello and Iago.  After two and a half bars of _fortissimo_ orchestral
music, the curtain rises on a tavern with an arbour.  In the background
is the sea.  It is night, and a storm is raging.  It is really
Shakespeare's Act ii., Scene 1.  Iago, Cassio, Montano, Roderigo, and
chorus are watching Othello's ship, buffeting the waves, making slowly
for harbour.  Eventually Othello lands, and explains that the ocean has
overwhelmed the Turk, and the war is over.  Othello goes into the
castle, and the chorus celebrate the happy news, the storm gradually
dying away.  No finer opening for an opera has ever been devised, and
it is remarkable how the composer and librettist have managed to
sustain this high level right through the four acts of the work.

Iago and Roderigo, following closely the original text, conspire
against Othello, and the crowd make a bonfire in the background.
Cassio enters and joins a group of soldiers, and the crowd light the
bonfire and sing a chorus in praise of fire generally; at the end of
which Iago tempts Cassio to drink, and sings an enlargement of "And let
me the canakin clink," the chorus joining in the refrain.

Cassio gets very drunk, and the Shakespeare text is closely followed.
Towards the end of the fight Othello has a magnificent entrance.  He
stops the strife with the words, "Lay down your arms."

After a tremendous _fortissimo_ chord on the orchestra there is a long
and most significant pause.  Then Othello has a beautiful but most
distressing scene with Cassio.  All exit save Desdemona and Othello,
who sing an exquisite and passionate love-duet, which finishes the
first act.

Near the beginning of the second act Iago has his first long soliloquy:
very grim, but most dramatic.  The duet between Othello and Iago that
follows, in which Iago sows the seeds of jealousy, carries the action
forward swiftly, and the "green-ey'd monster" lines are impressively
set.  At the close of the scene a chorus is heard singing softly,
"off," accompanied by two notes (tonic and dominant) on {110} the
cornamusa, or "bay-pipes."  Grove is silent on the subject of the
cornamusa; but Riemann, in his _Dictionary of Music_, says it is "an
old Italian kind of schalmey," "also similar to the word bagpipe": so
that "bay-pipe" is obviously a misprint for bagpipe in my edition of
this work.  The schalmey or schalmei was the predecessor of the oboe.
This accompaniment is added to by mandolins and guitars on the stage,
and gradually the whole orchestra joins in.  The chorus is peaceful and
melodious, and makes a strong dramatic contrast to what has gone before
and what follows.  At the end of this chorus Desdemona intercedes with
Othello in Cassio's favour, and really fans the flame of jealousy;
Othello denounces Desdemona, and the act ends with a dramatic duet
between Othello and his betrayer.

The third act has a somewhat longer orchestral prelude than the first
two, but the librettist gets to work very swiftly none the less.  The
handkerchief business is immediately begun.  A long duet between
Desdemona and Othello follows, the former very loving, the latter very
ironical, the whole culminating in a magnificent passage in which
Othello sings the words, "I mistook you ... for that strumpet of Venice
who has married Othello."  Desdemona is overwhelmed with horror, and
Othello pushes her out of the room.  There is great trumpeting from all
sides of the stage, and, to a chorus of welcome by the Cypriotes, the
Venetian ambassadors enter, bringing Othello's letter of recall.  After
a big chorus and ensemble, Othello and his ancient are left alone; the
former gets more and more excited, and finally swoons.  Iago jeers at
the fallen Othello, the chorus, behind, sings "Hail, Othello," and on
this situation, to a great music of trumpets, the curtain falls.

The fourth act opens with a short orchestral prelude on the subject of
the "Willow Song," which comes a little later.  The scene is
Desdemona's bedroom, and she and Emilia are discovered.  After a short
dialogue, Desdemona sings the "Willow Song."  For sheer beauty this is
the most exquisite thing in the work: it is a wonderful piece of pure
lyrical writing.  Emilia says "Good night," and {111} exits.  Desdemona
intones to a sustained accompaniment a "Hail, Mary," and then sings a
beautiful prayer.  She lies down on the bed, and long-sustained high
chords are heard on the orchestra.  These cease, and a sinister motive
on the lowest bass notes is heard _pianissimo_.  At the first note
Othello is seen standing on the threshold of a secret door.  To a
certain musical figure he lays his scimitar on the table.  He stands
before the candle, doubtful whether to blow it out or not; he goes to
the bed; he stops himself; he raises the curtains and looks for a long
time at the sleeping Desdemona; he kisses her once, again, again, and
she wakens.  It must be understood that until Desdemona wakens not a
word is spoken, but the whole action is fitted to the most dramatic and
speaking music, and the effect is awe-inspiring.  He tells her to pray,
as he does not want to kill her soul; and after a short duet he stifles
her, and she utters a shriek.  This arouses Emilia, who knocks three
times on the door--Othello still gazing at Desdemona--three times
again, and yet again.  Each knock is as carefully written down in the
score as if it were a part for a musical instrument--Verdi is so
thorough.  Finally Othello opens the door.  Desdemona manages to gasp
out, "I have been slain unjustly, I die here guiltless," and expires.
Emilia shouts for help, and Ludovico, Cassio, Iago, and others enter.
All is explained to the unfortunate Othello, who suddenly stabs
himself.  As he is dying he sings the perfect words, "I kissed thee ere
I killed thee;--no way but this, Killing myself, to die upon a kiss."
Mr Hueffer has slightly altered the last six words, but I have ventured
to put back Shakespeare's original text; in fact, I could not have put
down the translator's variant.  On these immortal words, sung
_pianissimo_, the curtain falls on this great art-work.

The perfect combination of Verdi and Boito, and the sympathy of both
with Shakespeare, are amongst the wonders of the world to me.  The art
of collaboration has never, to my knowledge, been brought to such a
pitch of perfection except in the case of _Falstaff_, the work of the
{112} same trio.  George Meredith, in one of his letters, dated 1896,
with reference to his friend Professor W. G. Plimmer, a well-known
amateur musician, writes: "He has got a score of _Othello_ to play to
me; says it is Wagner and water; would seem to say it is Verdi-gris of
Wagner"; which shows that the Professor may have been some sort of a
musician, but was certainly an amateur.  Some critics endeavour to
trace the influence of Wagner on Verdi's later operas, but I think it
was the composer's own rich development in his later years that made
his last two operas stand out so much from the rest of his operatic
work.  Of course, Wagner's influence on his contemporaries, especially
the younger ones, was, and is still, enormous in Germany.  But though
it is quite easy to trace the harmonic and melodic influence of Wagner
on Humperdinck or Strauss, I quite fail to see either influence on
Verdi.  The two operas are the natural result of a glorious old age.


+Arnold Krug+, born 1849 at Hamburg, has written an interesting
symphonic prologue to this play.  After the usual slow introduction, we
start away with a good, quick, syncopated theme for strings, soon added
to by wood wind (evidently the fiery Othello).  Then comes the gentle
Desdemona theme, which persists for a long time, after which the music
gets really exciting.  Iago works Othello up to a frenzy of jealousy;
Desdemona's gentle explanations are overborne.  After a strong climax
her end comes, followed shortly afterwards by Othello's.  The coda is a
short _morendo_ episode, in the major, and very peaceful.

Though this work is by no manner of means great, it is not without
interest, and it is one of the few purely abstract compositions we have
on this play.


+Zdenko Fibich+, who has composed a very interesting symphonic poem on
the theme, was a leader of the "Young Czech" musical movement.  He was
born on December 21, 1850, at Seborschity, near Tschlau, and was taught
music at Prague and Leipsic.  This is his first symphonic {113} poem,
but it is a very interesting example of the composer's method.

Though there is no definite programme, Fibich quotes several passages
from the play to indicate his intentions.  The first is:--

  ... Rude am I in my speech,
  And little bless'd with the set phrase of peace.

Here there is a fanfare for trumpets and horns working into a strong,
rough military march.  Music descriptive of Othello's many adventures
follows, until he says:--

  This only is the witchcraft I have us'd--
  Here comes the lady; let her witness it.

Then the Desdemona melody, oboe solo, harp, and strings, makes its
appearance.  This is really a beautiful theme, perfectly orchestrated,
and it just expresses Desdemona's character.  Her words, written in the
score, are: "I saw Othello's visage in his mind; And to his honours and
his valiant parts Did I my soul and fortunes consecrate."  Presently
comes Iago with his "jealousy" _motif_, which struggles for a long time
with Desdemona's "innocent" theme, but finally wins.  The music is
intensely dramatic here: the clash of wills, Iago's and Othello's, and
the sweet personality of Desdemona, all struggling for predominance.
Finally the trombone and tuba blaze out, _fortissimo_ and _grandioso_,
the jealousy theme in octaves.  The music dies away, and for the last
time the Desdemona melody is heard very _piano_.  Four short, violently
_forte_ bars follow (the brass having the theme), and the work ends
with a solo _pianissimo_ chord on the harp.  The end is most curious,
such an immense amount of meaning being got into the last fifteen bars.
The whole work makes a fine piece of vivid orchestral tone-painting,
and the music distinctly derives from Shakespeare's text, and is worthy
of it.  The last words quoted are Othello's: "I kissed thee ere I
killed thee;--no way but this, Killing myself, to die upon a kiss."


{114}

Sir Herbert Tree commissioned +Samuel Coleridge Taylor+ to write the
music for his revival of _Othello_ at His Majesty's.  The composer has
made a suite for orchestra out of the numbers written for this
production.  The first section is called just a Dance.  This is
strictly Oriental in character, full of movement and excitement.  The
second number is a "Children's Intermezzo," and is very simple in
character.  No touch of the Orient here.  No. 3 is a Funeral March in G
minor, mostly written on two ground basses, one for the march and one
for the trio.  It is a fine broad movement, working up to a great
climax in the middle and dying away very effectively afterwards.  The
setting of the famous "Willow Song" is simple and beautiful.



{115}

KING RICHARD III

The play of _Richard III._ has not attracted musicians.  I can only
trace one opera founded on it--that by the French composer, +Gervais
Bernard Salvayre+, produced 1883 at Petrograd.  This work was a dead
failure, its chief faults--noisiness and an amalgamation of different
styles, from Meyerbeer to Verdi--being so prominent that it was only
performed a few times.  Concerning two other works, which I have not
been able to find, a few bare _data_ are given below.


Of incidental music, specially composed, much has been written, but
most of it is unimportant.  Many producers seem to have been content
with a funeral march and a liberal use of fanfares; but the late
Richard Mansfield, the Anglo-American actor-manager, had the good sense
to commission +Edward German+ to compose the music for his production
at the Globe in 1889, and the result is a fine overture and some very
effective and appropriate incidental music.

The overture is in strict form.  It opens _maestoso_, the Richard III.
theme being given out _forte_.  It is a sinister subject, well suited
to the character Shakespeare drew, if not in agreement with our modern
whitewashing historians.  After this short introduction the overture
proper starts, with Richard's _motif_ on the violins, _allegro molto_,
accompanied by _tremolo_ strings.  This is worked up to a fine
_fortissimo_, and prepares the way for the second theme, "The Princes."
Here we have a tender melody, again suited to the author's picture of
the characters, but not at all {116} like the horrible little prigs one
generally sees in these parts in the theatre.  Personally I have every
sympathy with Richard for killing the Princes whenever I see them on
the stage!  This theme is worked up to a fine climax, and then the very
clever development begins.  The subjects are well mixed and blended,
and the overture comes to an end in a very brilliant manner.

In the incidental music the first number is the King Henry theme, a
plaintive minor melody; then the Lady Anne _motif_, also plaintive, but
not minor.  The Lord Mayor theme is a mock dignified march, marked
"quaintly" in the score.  The number called "On the Way to Chertsey" is
in the "Old English style," and foreshadows the famous "Henry VIII.
Dances" that followed.  "In the Tower" is naturally sombre, very
ominous and fateful.  The "Entrance of the young Duke of York" is a
pretty, boyish, scherzo-like little number; and "In Baynard Castle" is
a serious, organ-like piece of music all on a pedal, and rather like a
conventional postlude.  "Richmond's March" is also serious, and is
marked "religiose," an allusion to his well-known habit of praying!

The processional march, played as Queen Elizabeth and train enter the
Tower, is a fine, pompous, thoroughly English march, as is fitting for
the occasion; and the "Intermezzo Funèbre," played as King Henry's
funeral procession approaches, is all its name promises.  The work ends
with a short "Victory theme."  This score, which was the first
incidental music written by Edward German, then musical director at the
Globe, made quite a sensation, and abundantly justified Mansfield's
selection of his composer.


+Frederick Smetana+, born March 2, 1824, perhaps the greatest Bohemian
musician, wrote a great symphonic poem on this play.  It is a very
elaborate work and laid out for a very large orchestra.  The composer
gives no definite programme, but the music throughout is very dramatic
and full of tragic interest.  After a few quiet introductory {117} bars
the basses give out the principal theme quietly, but working quickly up
to a _fortissimo_.

This subject, with slight changes, dominates the entire work; it is a
grim, characteristic, sinister theme, and a splendid one to develop.
Almost immediately it has been announced the answering _motif_,
plaintive and melodious, follows, and for a long time these are the
only subjects used.  After a good working-up, a four-note figure of the
theme is taken by itself and developed into a great march tune, typical
of the King in his pomp.  After this, one new subject is introduced--a
breathless, syncopated, _agitato_ phrase, which, worked up with the
other theme, develops into a magnificent coda, marked "vittorioso" in
the score--victory for Richmond, I suppose.  The last few bars are
again grim, the same four notes from Richard's theme broken in upon by
two sharp _fortissimo_ chords.

This is indeed a welcome addition to our scanty stock of _Richard III._
music.  It is a symphonic poem in the grand manner, and worthy to stand
with the greatest works in that class.  This work was first performed
in England at the first Henschel concert, St James's Hall, November 12,
1896.


All that is known of an opera bearing the impressive title of _Ricardus
Impius, Angliæ Rex, ab Henrico Richmondæ Comite vita simul et regno
exitus_, is that it was a drama in Latin, music by Jean d'Eberlin, and
was produced by the students of the Benedictine convent at Salzburg on
September 4, 1750.  The composer, +Johann Ernst Eberlin+, was born at
Jettingen, Bavaria, 1702, and died at Salzburg, Austria, in 1762.  He
was Court organist to the Prince Bishop of the latter town, and chief
organist to the Cathedral.  He composed an immense amount of church and
organ music.

The other work unknown to me is +Canepa's+ _Riccardo III._ (Milan,
1879).



{118}

ROMEO AND JULIET

It is a curious fact that, though _Romeo and Juliet_ contains more
exquisite lyrical passages than almost any other play of Shakespeare,
there is no song or lyric in it.

Anyone except Romeo would have hired a quartet, or anyway, one singer,
to serenade Juliet under her balcony; but she remains unserenaded.
Even the four lines beginning "When griping grief" (sung by Peter in
Act iv., Scene 4) are not Shakespeare's, but quoted by him from Richard
Edwards's _Paradise of Daintee Devices_, and sung to a so-called
traditional tune.  But if there is no song like "Sigh no more, ladies,"
or "Who is Sylvia?", there is little doubt that a greater number of
composers have been inspired (more or less) by this tragedy than by any
other of Shakespeare's subjects if we except _Hamlet_.  A mere list of
the names is imposing.  The most popular work is, no doubt, Gounod's
opera _Roméo et Juliette_.  The book, which adheres fairly closely to
the original play, is by Barbier and Carré, and the work was first
performed at the Lyrique, Paris, on April 27, 1867.  The characters are
the same as those of Shakespeare's play, with the addition of Stephano,
page to Romeo (mez. sop.), and Gregorio, a watchman.  The waltz in Act
i. is a very popular _coloratura_ soprano song, but is not in the least
the kind of thing the real Capulet would have allowed the real Juliet
to sing to his guests.  Mercutio's Queen Mab scena is very effective,
as are the Balcony duet and the prelude to the fifth act.  But the most
successful and to my mind the most Shakespearian character in the whole
opera is Friar Laurence, a conception full of dignity and pathos.  Pol
Plançon was {119} magnificent in this part.  Taken altogether, Gounod
has turned out a very successful French grand opera, which will hold
its place in opera repertories for many years to come.


The only other opera on this story that has had any great success is
+Bellini's+ work in three acts, _I Capuletti ed i Montecchi_, book by
Romani, produced at Venice, March 11, 1830.  It is a real Bellini, full
of florid arias, word repetitions, bravura passages, cadenzas, and all
the vocal gymnastics so beloved of his period; but the music, as a
whole, would fit any story quite as badly as it does that of Romeo and
Juliet.  The overture is rather curious.  The first subject, second
subject, development, recapitulation, and coda are all in the same key,
that of D major.  The effect is overwhelming.  It is a perfect tonic
orgy.  An amusing account of this opera is given by Berlioz in his
_Autobiography_.  During the time he held the Prix de Rome, passing
through Florence, he heard some strangers at a _table d'hôte_ talking
of Bellini's _Montecchi_, which was soon to be given.  He writes: "Not
only did they praise the music, but also the libretto.  Italians as a
rule care so little for the words of an opera that I was surprised, and
thought--at last I shall hear an opera worthy of that glorious play.
What a subject it is!  Simply made for music.  The ball at Capulet's
house, where young Romeo first sees his dearly loved one; the street
fight at which Tybalt presides, patron of anger and revenge; that
indescribable night-scene at Juliet's balcony; the witty sallies of
Mercutio; the prattle of the Nurse; the solemnity of the Friar trying
to soothe the conflicting elements; the awful catastrophe; and the
reconciliation of the rival families over the bodies of the ill-fated
lovers.  I hurried to the Pergola Theatre.  What a disappointment!  No
ball, no Mercutio, no babbling Nurse, no balcony scene, no Shakespeare!
And Romeo sung by a small _thin_ woman, Juliet by a tall stout one.
Why, in the name of all things musical--why?"

{120}

I will just enumerate the remainder of the operatic settings, giving
date and place of production and names of composer and librettist.  It
is rather a formidable list, but one never hears any of the works
mentioned, save those of Steibelt and Vaccaj, at the outside; and as
for Bellini's version, it would scarcely be possible to hear it
anywhere out of Italy.


_Romeo e Giulietta_, a serious opera in three acts, by +Zingarelli+,
was composed in Milan and first performed in that city (1796).  It was
produced in Paris in 1812, and had some success.  Nicolò Antonio
Zingarelli was born in Naples, 1752.  He was celebrated in his
lifetime, and was thought much of by Haydn, who prophesied a great
career for him.  According to Coppa, his librettist, he wrote the opera
in "forty hours less than ten days."  He composed a cantata for the
Birmingham Festival of 1829, and, as he could not take it to England
himself, entrusted it to his pupil Costa.  This was Michael Costa's
first introduction to the English public.  Hence the Philharmonic pitch
and loud orchestral playing from which we suffered for so many years.
The two most celebrated numbers in the opera are the duet "Dunque mio
ben" for soprano and contralto, and the air "Ombra adorata aspetta."
The Emperor Napoleon I. was unable to hide his emotion when he heard
this song, especially when sung by Crescentini (Romeo); who achieved so
great a success with this melody that he persuaded himself that he was
the real composer.  This fable obtained, very unjustly, some credence
from the general public.  The last time the Emperor heard Crescentini
sing this song he was so affected that he sent him from his own breast
the Order of the Iron Crown, and gave the composer an order for a Mass
for the Imperial Chapel that should not last longer than twenty
minutes.  He had it rehearsed in his presence, and was so pleased that
he gave the musician 6000 francs.  Zingarelli was an enormously
productive composer, and wrote a great number of operas, as well as
quantities of church and chamber music, but one {121} seldom hears his
name now.  His music is still sung in provincial Catholic churches.


_Roméo et Juliette_, an opera in three acts, book by M. de Ségur, music
by +Daniel Steibelt+, was produced at the Theatre Feydeau, 1793, just
four months after the production of a work on the same subject by
Monnel and Dalayrac, _All for Love_, or _Roméo et Juliette_.  In spite
of this clashing, the opera was a success.  It had been refused by the
Academy of Music, so the authors cut the recitatives, put in prose
dialogue, and produced the piece as an _opéra comique_.  The _Moniteur_
of September 23 describes the music as "learned, but laboured and
ugly."  However, the public loved it, and other critics say it had
power and originality and distinguished voluptuous melody.  Juliette's
song, "The calm of the night," and the quartet, "Graces, virtues," held
their own for a long time; as did the funeral chorus at the end of the
second act.


In 1825, at the Théâtre Italien de Paris, in Milan, +Nicolò Vaccaj+
produced his opera on the same subject.  It is one of the composer's
best efforts, the finest scene being that at the tomb.  The air, "Ah,
se tu dormi svegliati," is pathetic and passionate.  The last act of
this work is often substituted for the last act of the Bellini opera
already dealt with, as the latter composer's fourth act is very weak.
Nicolò Vaccaj was born at Tolentino in 1790.  He spent some years in
London, where he was a very successful singing teacher.  He wrote a
great amount of music, but none of it is very distinguished.


The +Marquis Richard d'Ivry+ composed an opera on this subject,
produced in Paris in 1878.  He was a gifted amateur, born, February 4,
1829, at Beaune (Côte-d'Or), and composed several other operas.  This
one was dedicated to Edward VII. when he was Prince of Wales, and was
called _Les Amants de Verone_, a lyric drama in five acts, words and
music by d'Ivry.  The music, not at all {122} ambitious, is tuneful and
simple.  The most important number is the farewell duet between Romeo
and Juliet in the second act.  A critic, writing of this work, says:
"It is a pity that the author has not corrected in his poem those
vulgar expressions that disfigure it, and in his music those
old-fashioned formulas (_peu nouvelles_)."  As I have only the piano
solo copy before me, I cannot speak on the first complaint; but on the
second I agree with the critic.  The work is amateurish and
old-fashioned, often in the abusive sense of the word, but it is
certainly melodious and generally unpretentious.  Each act has quite a
pretty and effective prelude, and the occasional dances are graceful.


+Pietro Carlo Guglielmi's+ opera on this play, _Romeo e Giulietta_, was
produced in London in 1810.  The composer was born at Naples in 1763.
There are several detached numbers in the British Museum Library.  They
are just the ordinary Italian opera music of the time.  The wonder of
the story does not seem to have made the slightest impression on the
composer, who proceeds calmly on his conventional way, after one
interesting burst of originality: he actually makes Romeo a bass
baritone!  After this one is not so surprised to find Juliet a deep
mezzo, nearly a contralto.  To make up for the lack of tenor interest,
the part of Paris is made quite important, and among other numbers he
is given a very effective duet with Juliet.  One of Juliet's songs is
described as "The Favourite Prayer," and is quite a good example of the
conventional operatic music of the period; as is Romeo's song with
chorus, in which he strives to quiet the street-quarrel between the
rival houses.  The love duets with Juliet are thoroughly vocal; and the
trios, called "Favourite" again, for the lovers and the Friar, and for
Bianca and the lovers, are pretty melodious stuff, but utterly lacking
any sense of drama.


Of the non-operatic works on this subject, +Berlioz's+ symphony _Romeo
and Juliet_ is by far the greatest.  {123} During the six years that
Hector Berlioz was a student at the Paris Conservatoire, the two
influences that affected him and his work most, according to his own
memoirs, were those of William Shakespeare and Ludwig van Beethoven.
It is interesting and strange that perhaps the greatest of all French
musicians should have been so profoundly moved by the plays of an
English poet and the music of a Dutch musician.  I speak of Beethoven
here intentionally as Dutch, because his father was Dutch, and had only
lived in Germany two years when Beethoven was born; and I consider that
a man takes his nationality from his father and not from his actual
birthplace.  Beethoven could certainly have played cricket for the
Rhineland on a strict birth qualification; but he was distinctly of
Dutch blood, and took the precaution of leaving Germany for Austria as
soon as he could.  Finally came another influence to drive Berlioz
further into the arms of Shakespeare but not of Beethoven--also a
foreign one, that of Henrietta Smithson, the Irish actress.  She was
playing Shakespeare heroines at the Odeon early in 1833.  He fell madly
in love with her and went to see her whenever she played, just as our
modern gilded youths haunt the stalls every night to see their
favourite musical-comedy actress; the only difference being that
Berlioz saw his dear one in many different and exquisite characters,
while our youths hear their favourites say the same few lines or sing
the same little song every night of the year.  Berlioz composed music
for her and gave concerts of his own compositions in her honour (the
latter must have bored her very much, judging from the attitude of the
average actress towards serious music--and Miss Smithson, from all
accounts, was not a great actress); and finally he married her.  They
lived together as unhappily as possible for several years, and then
parted; but at least one great art work was the result of their union:
I mean the Fifth Symphony.  "Roméo et Juliette, symphonic dramatique
avec choeurs, solos de chant, et prologue en récitatif choral, op. 17,"
to give it its full title, was finished in 1838, produced in 1839 at
the Conservatoire, and {124} repeated three times within a short
period.  The work had a very mixed reception.  Berlioz was never
popular in Paris or among his own countrymen; but all admitted that the
general conception was colossal.  It is now regarded as a classic
throughout the world, but it is a big undertaking to produce.  Little
bits of it "would never please" as _entr'actes_ or incidental music to
a production of the play in London.  The words are by Berlioz, inspired
by Shakespeare, and versified by Emil Deschamps; and the work is
dedicated to Paganini, who a little earlier had presented Berlioz with
twenty thousand francs to show his admiration for the earlier Symphonie
Fantastique.  Berlioz says in his autobiography: "I remember in one of
my Campagna rides with Mendelssohn (this was during his tenure of the
Prix de Rome) expressing my surprise that no one had ever written a
scherzo on Shakespeare's sparkling little poem, _Queen Mab_.  He, too,
was surprised, and I was very sorry I had put the idea into his head.
For years I lived in dread that he had used it: for he would have made
it impossible, or at any rate very risky, for anyone to attempt to do
it after him.  Luckily he forgot."  This was a very generous tribute to
Mendelssohn's power as a fairy-music composer, coming from a musician
in no very great sympathy with his style.

This symphony is scored for a very large orchestra.  The first movement
consists of a fine musical imitation of a street fight, culminating in
the entrance of the Prince (on the full bass), who stops the fight.
Then comes a choral prologue for contraltos and basses, giving a rough
idea of the plot.  Then a Queen Mab scene for tenor and chorus, and a
great concert and ball given at the Capulets'.  This finishes the
second part.  The third part is the love scene (Balcony scene as we
call it) in Capulet's garden.  There is some very exquisite love-music
here; and the whole movement, which is really the so-called "slow
movement" of the conventional symphony, is very beautiful.  The fourth
section (Scherzo) is called "Queen Mab," and is one of those delicate,
gossamer, fairylike works in which Berlioz {125} so excels.  Then come
choral music for the funeral cortege of Juliet, and Romeo's invocation
at the tomb of the Capulets.  The finale takes place in the graveyard:
Montagues and Capulets are both there, Friar Laurence explains
everything, and there is reconciliation between the rival houses,
ending in their swearing over the graves to be friends for ever.  I
know this is a very bald account.  The work should be heard to be
understood fairly; but a very interesting couple of hours can be spent
by a musician on the full score of this work in the British Museum
reading-room.  The text is given in both French and German.  Wagner, in
his letters from Paris, 1841, says of Berlioz: "He has no friend deemed
worthy to be asked for counsel, none he would permit to draw his notice
to this or that sin against form in his works.  In regard to this, I
was filled with regret by a hearing of his symphony, _Roméo et
Juliette_.  Amid the most brilliant inventions, this work is heaped
with such a mass of trash and solecisms that I could not repress the
wish that Berlioz had shown this composition before performance to some
such man as Cherubini, who, without doing its originality the slightest
harm, would certainly have had the wit to rid it of a quantity of
disfigurements....  Wherefore Berlioz will always remain imperfect,
and, maybe, shine as nothing but a transient marvel."  There is some
sound though exaggerated criticism in these sentences; but Wagner could
not have known on what sort of terms Cherubini and Berlioz were.  That
the latter could submit a work for correction to the former is
impossible for anyone knowing anything about their personal and
artistic relations to consider for a moment.  Still, the personal
criticism of one great composer by another is always interesting and
informing.


Tschaikowsky's Overture-Fantaisie, _Roméo et Juliette_, is scored for
an ordinary symphony orchestra with horn and harp.  It is very modern
and very emotional, and at times almost hysterical.  The work begins in
a quasi-organ manner, but the first subject is very bold.  Whether
{126} it is to express Montague or Capulet I don't know.  It seems too
robust to express my idea of Romeo, but it may be Tschaikowsky's.  The
second subject is obviously Juliet, and the two themes are developed to
the end, which, curiously enough, for the last few bars is quite
lively.  The work makes a very interesting contrast to Berlioz, but I
suspect that the great Frenchman had a deeper insight into
Shakespeare's poem than the Russian.  Tschaikowsky's work could be done
without any mention of Romeo and Juliet or Shakespeare; Berlioz's could
not.


+Joseph Joachim Raff+, a composer whose name is unfortunately mostly
associated with the well-known or notorious Cavatina, is a much
underrated man.  He was an indefatigable worker and an outstanding
example of the fatuity of Carlyle's definition of genius.  Undoubtedly
Raff was no genius, but he was a composer of far from common ability.
His four Shakespearian overtures, of which the one to _Romeo and
Juliet_ is the first, are all most interesting.  They are not absolute
programme music.  They give the idea more than the story, but are none
the worse for that.  The Romeo overture opens with a fine broad theme
for the horns, swiftly followed by a somewhat suave melody for the
strings, the other instruments gradually joining in.  The middle part
is quite tragic, and the whole is carried out to a well-constructed
finish.  Without achieving great music, Raff rises to certain heights
in this overture.


+Hugo Pierson's+ concert overture _Romeo and Juliet_, op. 86, is very
interesting, but not so much so as his symphonic poem _Macbeth_, which
I described at some length in an earlier section.  Composed for a large
orchestra, it opens with a short _allegro appassionato_ introduction;
but this soon changes to a graceful theme typical of the luxurious life
of Verona, broken in upon occasionally by suggestion of the hate
between the rival houses of Montague and Capulet.  This is followed by
an amorous subject typical of Romeo, and by a gay theme for the great
dance.  The {127} Balcony scene is beautifully portrayed.  The
remainder of the music becomes high tragedy, and it remains so till the
very end.  The overture is quite short and not so difficult as most of
Pierson's work, and it is full of melody and broad orchestral effects.
The themes are all original, as is their treatment, and the tonality is
interesting though difficult to follow.


+Edward German+ composed the whole of the music for Forbes-Robertson's
production of _Romeo and Juliet_ at the Lyceum, September 1895, and
also dedicated it to him.  It is a complete piece of work, admirably
carried out and suited for the occasion.  It opens with a fine sombre
prelude, showing the atmosphere of hate which was brooding over the
otherwise pleasant town of Verona.  This feeling of hate and the
love-music are the two most important themes in the prelude, which
finishes up with six bars, _religioso_, to suggest the tomb.  For the
remainder of the music Mr German has himself made a selection of themes
containing all that is of the most importance.  The curtain music for
the first act is a broad theme in common time, which serves to open the
scene and is otherwise harmless.  Then comes the Peter _motif_--a good
Old English comedy theme with an excellent descending bass.  The March
which follows is a thoroughly good Old English march of the kind to
which Mr German has accustomed us.  The Capulets' Reception music and
Juliet's theme (I am quoting Mr German) are graceful six-eight numbers,
and if taken a little faster than marked would make excellent Old
English country dances.  Even at the proper time one expects to see
shepherds, not great ladies and gentlemen.  The Love _motif_ is sombre
enough--Mr German never seems to give his lovers time to be happy; but
the Nurse theme is a real bit of German at his best, and is very
welcome.  The music for Paris at the tomb of Juliet is necessarily sad,
and the Death theme, the last number, is quite in keeping with the end
of Shakespeare's tragedy.  There is a charming nocturne which makes a
very effective {128} _entr'acte_, delicately scored and very original.
The Pastoral, again, is a delightful composition.  But the best number,
to my mind, is the Pavane.  Here Mr German has got the real
Romeo-Juliet-Shakespeare atmosphere, and in this simple dance has done
more to express in music what Shakespeare was showing to us than in his
complicated prelude or in the rest of the incidental music.  This
Pavane is a real gem.


+Joseph Holbrooke's+ poem for chorus and orchestra, _Queen Mab_, was
first performed at the Leeds Festival in 1904.  The chorus part is _ad
lib._, but if properly performed makes a very effective addition to the
fairly large orchestra that Mr Holbrooke has scored for.  The opening
is in the guise of a scherzo, very brilliant and difficult; then comes
a long slow episode; then much development; and finally the entrance of
the chorus.  The time is _adagio_, and the words begin, "Arise, fair
sun, and kill the envious moon," ending six lines afterwards.  These
lines are repeated again and again, quite in the so-called
old-fashioned style; the chorus dies away; and the orchestra finishes
the work with a coda _fortissimo_.  Queen Mab has long since
disappeared.


+Johann Severin Svendsen+, born 1840, Christiania, wrote a _Romeo and
Juliet_ overture, but there is no copy of it in the British Museum.


The following operas are mentioned in Mr Barclay Squire's interesting
article on Shakespearian operas, from the book _Homage to Shakespeare_,
1916.  As they more or less complete the list, I mention them; but I
cannot find copies of them or any reference as to their comparative
merits, or otherwise:--Dramma per Musica, in 2 acts, pub. Berlin in
1773, with no composer's name; opera by Benda, Gotha, 1776; T. G.
Schwanenberg, Leipzig, 1776; L. Marescalchi, Rome, 1789; Von Rumling,
Munich, 1790; Porta, Paris, 1806; Schuster, Vienna, {129} 1809.  This
article gives a fairly complete list of the music inspired by our play.
It seems curious that with so magnificent a theme only one
composer--Berlioz, of course--should have risen to absolutely supreme
heights.  I suppose his work is performed very occasionally; whereas
Gounod's is in every operatic repertory in the world.



{130}

THE TAMING OF THE SHREW

This play seems, on the whole, to have been very much avoided by
musicians.  There must be a certain amount of music in any work of
Shakespeare, but producers appear to have been content to use old stuff
and adapt it for this piece.  +Noel Johnson+ wrote some very pretty
music for the Asche-Brayton production; but Sir Frank Benson's version
had hardly any music in it: just a dance (the beautiful Rigadoon, by
Rameau), a gavotte by Handel, and a song by Sir Henry Bishop, "Should
he upbraid"--words not from the _Shrew_, nor even by Shakespeare.


A musical version, chiefly by +Braham+ and +T. S. Cooke+, was produced
in London in 1828.  But the really important work on the subject is
+Hermann Goetz's+ opera, _Der Widerspenstigen Zähmung_, produced at
Mannheim, 1874, book by Joseph Victor Erdmann.  This work is Goetz's
only complete opera, as, unfortunately for music, he died at the early
age of thirty-five, in the height of his powers.  His _Taming of the
Shrew_ is still in the repertory of the German opera-houses.

The characters have the same names as in the play--Katharina and
Bianca, sopranos; Hortensio and Lucentio, bass and tenor; Baptista and
Grumio, basses; the Tailor, tenor; and Petruchio, baritone.

The work begins with a full concert overture, a capital number, which
would make an excellent opening for any production of the play.  The
themes are bold, striking, and original, though the composer shows
throughout the {131} strong influence of Schumann.  The opera is in
four acts, the first taking place in a street outside Baptista's house.
Lucentio, with guitar, is singing a sentimental ballad, occasionally
interrupted by Baptista's servants, who rush from the house singing
"The Devil is loose in the house."  Baptista asks them what is the
matter, and the servants at once give notice on account of Katharina's
outrageous behaviour.  There is nothing much of Shakespeare in this
act, but it makes a brilliant opening to the opera.  Katharina then
comes on the balcony and tells the people how good she is going to be.
The neighbours all join in, and there is a beautiful bit of choral work
for principals, neighbours, and chorus.  All exit except Lucentio; the
chorus in the house sing an unaccompanied sort of evening hymn, the
music dies away, the lights in Baptista's house go out, and Lucentio
serenades Bianca.

Presently she appears on the balcony, and they sing a beautiful love
duet, say good-night, and exit.  Hortensio arrives to serenade her
also, and quarrels with Lucentio, and the pair of them make such a
noise that they waken poor old Baptista, who appears at the house door
in his dressing-gown, with a light, still wondering if he will ever get
any peace.  Petruchio enters to a very blustering tune (the Petruchio
_motif_, I call it).  They make themselves known to each other, and
Petruchio, in a beautiful and melodious song, describes his deeds in
the past, just as in the play, and says what a poor opinion he has of
the power of a woman's tongue.  The act ends very happily, with
Petruchio promising to woo and win Katharina.

The second act starts with a short prelude, _sostenuto_ and slow, and
as the curtain goes up Katharina and Bianca begin their quarrel scene,
mostly on the former's part.  Bianca produces a guitar and plays, while
her sister says she will live and die a maid.  Petruchio enters and
woos the Shrew in a dramatic duet, and the act closes with a fine
_ensemble_ for the principals.

The third act opens, after hardly any orchestral introduction, with a
quartet for Bianca, Lucentio, Hortensio, {132} and Baptista, lamenting
the absence of the bridegroom.  Katharina joins in, very scornful about
him, and the wedding guests enter, singing how difficult it is to have
a wedding without a bridegroom.  Then comes the familiar lesson scene.
Lucentio sings the first lines of the first book of the _Æneid_, with
his own additions.  Hortensio also sings to his guitar--a method of
music-teaching that even Bianca can see through; and then Baptista
enters, and, in a very lively number, gives the news of Petruchio's
return.  He arrives, more bluff and hearty than ever, clad in eccentric
clothes, and hurries his bride-to-be to the church.  The domestics of
Baptista's house sing a chorus, showing how glad they are that
Katharina is finally married and got rid of.  The bridal party returns,
and Petruchio announces his intention of departing at once.  The close
of the act must be very effective, according to the stage directions,
when properly done.  Grumio brings in two horses.  Petruchio springs on
one, Grumio rides off on the second, the chorus and principals singing
lustily the while.

The fourth and last act opens with a male chorus, Petruchio's servants
being bullied by Grumio, awaiting their master's return.  The bridal
pair make a fine entrance, and, as in the play, the husband finds fault
with all the food, and sends it away.  Katharina is left alone, and
sings a beautiful and pathetic soliloquy on her difficult position.
Grumio introduces the Tailor, and there is a very amusing quartet for
the four.  After this the action is much hurried.  The changed
Katharina arrives at her father's house; her father congratulates his
son-in-law on the admirable way in which he has reformed Katharina;
everyone is pleased, especially the servants of Baptista, and the whole
work ends with a joyous _ensemble_, making a very brilliant close to
the opera.

The opera was refused by innumerable managers, but was finally staged
by Ernst Frank at Mannheim, 1874, where its success was immediate and
decisive.  The next year it was performed at Vienna, Leipsic, Berlin,
and other {133} German towns, and it was also produced in London at a
matinée at Drury Lane, October 12, 1878.  In 1880 it was revived by the
Carl Rosa Company at Her Majesty's, Minnie Hauk taking the part of
Katharina.  It very well deserves a revival at the present day.  Every
note of it would be fresh to nine hundred and ninety-nine opera-goers
out of a thousand.  All the parts are good, and ample scope is given
for brilliant singing.



{134}

THE TEMPEST

Of all the plays _The Tempest_ has been most popular with musicians.
The earliest music to _The Tempest_ is generally believed to be by
+Robert Johnson+, who wrote settings of "Where the bee sucks" and "Full
fathom five."  The _Encyclopædia Britannica_ is quite definite on the
subject; but as Johnson was born in 1604, and Shakespeare died in 1616,
and had left off writing plays for several years before his death,
Johnson must, as I said in the Introduction, have been something of a
musical prodigy.


The next in order seems to be +Matthew Locke's+ instrumental music to
an operatic version of _The Tempest_ (based on Dryden-Davenant), played
in London in 1673.  This work was revived and revised with additional
numbers by +Henry Purcell+ in 1695.  The exquisite "Come unto these
yellow sands" was one of the additional numbers.  In both of these
adaptations the words are very much altered, or "improved," as the
theatre people of the time thought; but a very good hotch-potch version
can be made by taking the best numbers mentioned, scoring them lightly,
and having them sung simply and not operatically.


+Arne's+ "Where the bee sucks" is his best work, and, I think, the most
beautiful of all the settings.


+John Christopher Smith+, Handel's pupil and amanuensis, composed two
operas on _The Tempest_, one of which was produced in London in 1756.
The overture is the usual {135} one of the period; but Ariel's storm
song, which opens the first act, beginning with a long orchestral
prelude, is a very original piece of work.  It is a dramatic recitative
with elaborate orchestral accompaniment to the words, slightly adapted,
from Ariel's speech to Prospero in Act i., Scene 2.  The following
numbers have no connection with Shakespeare's play, a delightful
setting of "Come unto these yellow sands," for Ariel, being the next
Shakespearian lyric taken--this for high soprano with strings, very
florid but melodious; and the music for "Full fathom five" is also very
much in keeping with the words.  Caliban (baritone) sings "No more dams
I'll make for fish" to a rollicking tune, and follows it with a curious
song called "The owl is abroad."  The words are not by Shakespeare, but
it is said that it was a great favourite with audiences.

Ariel's song, "Before you can say come and go," is very gracefully set,
and has a charming _obbligato_ part for the violin; but Prospero's
recitative, "Now doth my project gather to a head," is Shakespeare's
blank verse set to music.  The duet ends peacefully and happily with a
duet for Ferdinand and Miranda about "gentle love, innocence, and
chaste desire."  On the whole the work is disappointing.  One could
have done with a little more Shakespeare and less of Christopher
Smith's own librettist; but it contains much charming music, some of
which would sound very fresh if revived now.


+John Davy+, a West-countryman, born at Exeter, 1763, composed an
overture and other music for _The Tempest_.  It is dedicated to the
memory of John Philip Kemble, and includes songs by Arne, Purcell, and
Linley.  The overture is a very simple affair, bringing in Purcell's
"Where the bee sucks" and "Come unto these yellow sands," and is,
therefore, not so independent of the rest of the music as the overture
of this period usually is.


After the overture comes +Linley's+ graceful setting of "O, bid your
faithful Ariel fly," sung in Prospero's cave {136} by Ariel (the words
by Dr Laurence).  Then follows a very simple so-called symphony by
Davy, all very quiet and peaceful, going into Linley's horrible "Storm
Chorus."  Christopher Smith's Caliban song is introduced after the
"Storm"--"No more dams I'll make for fish," which has a very cheerful
tune; and Purcell's beautiful settings of "Come unto these yellow
sands" and "Full fathom five" follow.  Between Acts i. and ii. Davy
introduced a symphony by himself, consisting of a very simple Largo,
followed by an equally simple Rondo.  The song and chorus that follow
are by Purcell, to words by Dryden, beginning "King Fortune smiles,"
which, like the next song by the same authors, are too interesting to
pass over in silence, though neither has any real connection with
Shakespeare.  The music for the appearance of Fairies is by Purcell, to
words by Dryden, "Where does the black fiend ambition reside?", and is
for two bass voices and chorus, with an interesting solo bassoon part.

The opening of the third act consists of a very pretty symphony by
Davy, in the form of an air with variations.  The only musical number
in this act consists of a song, very grotesque in style, for Caliban,
words by Ben Jonson, music by Christopher Smith.  The prelude to the
fourth act is in march rhythm, a pleasant, cheerful piece of music,
composed by Davy.  The setting of "Where the bee sucks" is Arne's
delightful one, and is sung by Ariel, repeated by a quartet, with added
words and the music much elaborated, while, according to the stage
directions, Ariel and the spirits ascend into the sky.  This is the
last number, but the untiring Linley has added an appendix consisting
of two songs for Ariel, "While you here do snoring lie" and "Ere you
can say come and go," and a duet for Juno and Ceres, entitled "Honour,
riches, marriage, blessing"; all with words by Shakespeare from this
play--quite a concession on the part of a composer of this period,
especially of T. Linley himself.


Between R. Johnson's time and the present day I can {137} trace twenty
operas on this subject, but none of them has held the stage.  The only
modern one that was produced in London seems to be +Halévy's+ two-act
opera _La Tempesta_, book by Scribe, produced at Her Majesty's in
Italian.  The story of how this work came to be composed is rather
interesting.  In October 1831, Mendelssohn gave a grand concert at
Munich, and was so successful that he received a commission to compose
an opera for the Munich theatre.  He consulted with Immerman as to the
libretto, and arranged with him for one founded on _The Tempest_.  The
composer and librettist, however, soon quarrelled, and the opera scheme
lay dormant for some time.  About the middle of October Mendelssohn was
in communication with Lumley, lessee of Her Majesty's, for an opera,
libretto by Scribe, on the same subject.  Mendelssohn did not like this
libretto, and finally turned it down; and Jacques François Fromental
Elias, "a Jew whose real name was Levy," as Grove's _Dictionary_
prettily phrases it, then set the libretto.  Halévy was born in Paris,
1799, and studied at the Conservatoire under Cherubini.  Having won the
second prize twice, he finally carried off the Grand Prix de Rome
itself.

The opera was produced at Her Majesty's, London, on June 14, 1850, and
made an enormous success.  The first act is opened by a chorus of Air
Spirits, who obey the orders of Ariel.  Sleeping Sylphs are wakened,
and make together a most poetic choreographic effect, which is repeated
again in the first tableau summoned by Prospero.  Carlotta Grisi acted
with great success as Ariel in this work, and Lablache was terrible and
grotesque, though sometimes tender, as Caliban.  Sontag was the
Miranda, and the whole performance was conducted by our own Michael
Balfe.  The most popular numbers in the score were the cavatina, "Parmi
una voce mormore"; the duet, "S' odio, orror di me non hai"; and the
finale to the second act, which is full of movement and originality.


A lyrical drama, after Shakespeare, by Armand Silvestre {138} and
Pierre Berton, music by +Victor Alphonse Duvernoy+, was produced in the
Salle du Chatelet on November 24, 1880.  This remarkable work won the
Grand Prix for musical composition offered every two years by the town
of Paris.  It obtained a very well-deserved success at the first public
performance for its great qualities of form and style.  Much of the
opera was greatly applauded, especially the duet of Ferdinand and
Miranda, "Parle encore, que ta voix m'enivre," the dramatic trio,
"Courbe-toi, vaincu sous la chaîne," the very original song of Caliban,
the symphonic music descriptive of Miranda's sleep, the prelude to the
third act, and the pretty ballet air of the Sylphs.

Larousse, the musical historian, says that it is a truly interesting
work, and certainly produces a grand effect on the stage.  The composer
of this opera was born in Paris, 1842.


+Zdenko Fibich's+ three-act opera, _Boûre_, or _Der Sturm_ (1895), is a
recent opera on this subject, and is by far the most modern in
treatment.  All Shakespeare's principal characters are present, and the
libretto is very ingenious.  There is no overture proper, but a fairly
long orchestral introduction opens the first act; it consists of very
furious storm music, with Prospero's principal theme hammered out on
the bass brass.  As the curtain rises, Prospero and Miranda are
discovered watching the storm; the storm dies away, and Miranda, in a
very melodious passage, asks her father all about it, and what has
happened to the sailors and the ship which they have both seen in great
difficulties.  In a very dignified quasi-recitative passage Prospero
tells her that the storm is of his own planning, and he then relates
much of the story of his life and wrongs.

Though long, the orchestral accompaniment to this is so interesting and
varied that no one could be bored by it.  At the end Prospero puts
Miranda to sleep, and after a beautiful orchestral interlude summons
Ariel, who tells him in charming musical phrase what she has done with
ship and sailors, and then exits to a delicate orchestral {139} passage
for wood wind.  Prospero awakes Miranda, and sends her into his cave;
then he calls for Caliban, who presently appears to a grotesque tune
played on the basses.  To characteristic music he grumbles at his
perpetual labour, till Prospero, angry, sends him off.  Ariel and a
spirit chorus now lure Alonzo and the rest, by their singing, to where
Prospero is, and totally bewilder them; a very beautiful _ensemble_
follows for chorus and principals, which finishes on the exit of all
except Prospero and Miranda.  Ariel returns bringing Ferdinand, whom
Miranda recognises as the being she had seen in her dream.  Ariel sings
a very pretty adaptation of "Full fathom five," and the two
lovers-to-be make friends, Prospero looking on unseen.  Suddenly
Prospero breaks in upon them very angrily, and displays to Ferdinand
some of his miraculous powers, causing lightning and thunder, and
finally paralysing him.

This is all done to a most effective and appropriate setting, and the
curtain falls on the first act to a fine dramatic situation, much
heightened by excellent music.

The second act opens with a fairly long orchestral prelude; it is on a
dominant pedal, fifty-five bars in length, and depicts the depths of a
tropical forest.  Ferdinand sings, and is presently joined by Miranda.
Now we have a really amusing comedy scene for Trinculo, Stephano, and
Caliban, the last-named having an excellent grotesque song, in which
the others join.  The drinking scene is very well set to music, the
part of Caliban being strongly marked and individual.

Ariel breaks in on this festive scene with her spirit chorus, and the
comedians exit.  Gonzalo and the other nobles enter, and, as in the
play, spirits bring mysterious food and drink, and strange music is
everywhere heard.  All this is capitally done.  Ariel, in a dramatic
manner, denounces them all as "men of sin."  Prospero then enters, to a
fine _maestoso_ bass movement, explaining everything; and the act
finishes with a solemn march, to which all the spirits of Earth, Air,
Fire, and Water enter and do homage to Prospero.

{140}

The last act opens with a long prelude signifying Prospero's magic
powers.  Sometimes we get charming light Ariel music, sometimes music
suggesting a deeper, more awful, kind of magic, and sometimes a
grotesquely comic dance rhythm, which is, nevertheless, almost sad,
suggesting poor Caliban.  It is altogether a most interesting prelude,
and would make an excellent concert number by itself.  The curtain
rises on Prospero's cave to mysterious sounds; alchemical instruments
are scattered about, and great books in ancient bindings lie on the
table.  Prospero and Ariel are discovered.  The Spirit tells him that
Caliban and his friends are going to kill him in his sleep.  Ferdinand
and Miranda enter hand in hand, and Prospero summons the Spirits, who
sing sweetly to the lovers.  Presently Caliban and his friends enter,
and Ariel and the other spirits chase them away jeeringly.  Ariel
claims liberty; and, to sonorous music, Prospero renounces his magic
arts.  With a great musical noise his cave disappears, and the scene
changes to the landscape of the first act.  In the rocky cove Alonzo's
ship is ready to sail; Prospero calls on Ariel for the last time; and,
to solemn tones, all the mortals enter from different parts of the
stage.  The end is now very near.  Ariel is set free; Prospero promises
all a comfortable, safe voyage; the sailors sing of the joys of home
life; and the curtain falls to the Spirits singing of their new
freedom.  The Caliban and Spirit music is the best part of the opera.
All the mysterious magical effects are most impressively done, but the
composer is not so happy with his lovers.  The orchestral interludes
are excellent, and the many choruses of unseen Spirits are most
melodious, and not too difficult.


+Alfred M. Hale+, a very progressive young composer, has written an
opera on this subject, parts of which were performed at the Queen's
Hall on February 28, 1912.  Among the numbers given was a duet for
Miranda and Ferdinand.  A well-known musical critic writes as follows
concerning this number: "Mr Hale has written vocal parts {141} in the
style of an intoned conversation; no really vocal phrases are apparent,
but the text is moaned to a vague backing of orchestral activity.
Occasionally one heard snatches of _Tristan_ or _Pelléas_.  All is
vast, vague, and vacuous.  Mr Hale's orchestra breathes with its mouth
wide open."  So we will leave it at that.


+Sullivan's+ _Tempest_ contains some of his finest music.  Composed at
Leipsic when he was Mendelssohn Scholar, it has all the freshness of
youth and none of its immaturity.  It was first performed at the
Crystal Palace, June 8, 1862, and was enthusiastically received,
Charles Dickens complimenting the young composer very highly.  Though
not written expressly for the theatre, the music can be used almost as
it stands; but I have never heard it without additional numbers.  When
it was adopted for Henrietta Hodson's production, Sullivan's "Where the
bee sucks" was cut out and Arne's substituted.  Arne's setting is his
best work, and, in my opinion, the most beautiful of all the versions
extant; but Sullivan's is fine too, and the former did not blend with
the rest of the score but stood out and spoilt the whole musical scheme.


+Taubert+ wrote capital incidental music for this play, but I have
never heard it without additional numbers.  Sir Frank Benson used a
great deal of this setting in his production of _The Tempest_, but he
made use of much other music as well.  In his version the play began
with a "Storm Chorus" by Haydn, supposed to have been inspired by his
first (a bad) crossing to England; at least, this was the tradition in
the Benson company.  Then he went on to Taubert for "Come unto these
yellow sands" and "Full fathom five," both very pretty arrangements for
Ariel (soprano) and chorus; back to Arne for "Where the bee sucks," and
to Sullivan for "Honour, riches."  A song for Ariel, "Oh, bid thy
faithful Ariel fly," by T. Linley, was interpolated, the words not even
by Shakespeare.  For the closing scenes, Sir Frank returned to {142}
Taubert; and if the whole affair was a hotchpotch, it was a very
agreeable one.


The last, and quite the most important, music written for _The Tempest_
since Sullivan's time is Humperdinck's.  +Engelbert Humperdinck+ is
well known in England as the composer of the opera _Hänsel und Gretel_,
the scores of _Königskinder_ and _The Miracle_, but few English people
know his Shakespearian works.  His music to _The Tempest_ was first
heard at a great production of the play in Berlin at the Neue
Schauspielhaus on October 25, 1906.  It consists of a long prelude,
running into storm melodrama music for the whole of the first scene,
calming down beautifully for Miranda's first entrance.  All the lyrics
and choruses are set, and in all there are eighteen important numbers.
The music is difficult, and the chorus and orchestra must be on a large
scale; but it would make a very interesting production if it could be
done exactly as the composer devised it, with no added numbers, extra
lyrics, or pseudo-Elizabethan bilge.  Here are ninety pages of closely
printed pianoforte score; enough, surely, for the most old-fashioned
producer without additional numbers.  Very effective use is made of the
male and female chorus, singing _bouche fermée_ instead of the
orchestra playing, as melodrama music.  Ariel's "Where the bee sucks"
is a charming setting, and the choruses and dances are most carefully
and reverentially done.  There is no German equivalent to Shadwell,
Davenant, or Dryden.  Here we have nothing but the exact text of
Shakespeare, and really it seems quite enough.  The Prospero _motif_, a
fanfare, occurring frequently, holds the entire work together, and the
magic music would be a great help to any Shakespeare production.  I
hope one day to see a straight production of this play with the music
as composed.


+Berlioz+ was early attracted to _The Tempest_, and even called one of
the ladies he adored--Miss Moke, subsequently {143} Mme. Pleyel--Ariel.
At the end of 1828, after the failure at rehearsal of the Symphonie
Fantastique, he was asked to write something for Girard, conductor of
the Théâtre Italien.  He then composed his Fantasia with choruses on
_The Tempest_, but Girard at once saw it was too big for his theatre
and could only be done at the Opéra.  There was to be a concert for the
Artists' Benevolent Fund, and the work was accepted for performance by
the director of the Academy, M. Loubbert, of whose care and kindness
during the production Berlioz speaks most highly.  He quotes
Shakespeare about him (he often quoted Shakespeare), saying to a
friend, "He was a man, Horatio."  I cannot do better than transcribe
the composer's interesting account of the first performance, taken from
his _Autobiography_: "All went splendidly at rehearsal; everything
seemed to smile, when, with my usual luck, an hour before the concert,
there broke over Paris the worst storm that had been known for fifty
years.  The streets were flooded, practically impassable, and for the
first half of the concert when my _Tempest_, damned _Tempest_, was
being played, there were not more than three hundred people in the
place."  Just Berlioz's luck!  Something nearly always went wrong with
his work in Paris.  In London, Petrograd, Berlin, anywhere else, he was
immensely successful, but in Paris never quite a success, even at the
height of his fame.  The second performance, the following year, was
much less unfortunate.  Of the work itself Berlioz writes: "It is new,
fresh, grand, sweet, tender, surprising."

It is a pity composers do not tell us more often what they think of
their own works.  I mean in autobiographies and signed articles, of
course; not, as has sometimes happened, in inspired articles written by
their friends, or in anonymous ones written by themselves.

To come to the work itself, Berlioz incorporated it in his _Lelio_, or
_The Return to Life_ (lyric melodrama).  This is one of the most
extraordinary hotchpotches in all music.  It begins with a ballad by
Goethe, then there is a long apostrophe to Shakespeare, then a
brigand's song and {144} chorus, then a song of bliss; finally, the
composer, Lelio or Berlioz, decides to write a fantasia on _The
Tempest_, and calls on Shakespeare to stand by him.  The orchestra and
chorus then perform the fantasia.  It is scored for full orchestra, but
also for two pianos _à quatre mains_.  The first number is a chorus of
air spirits, soprani, alti, and tenori--1 and 2 calling on Miranda to
come to her destined husband.  (This is a rough translation.)  After
this comes a long orchestral interlude with a great _crescendo_ and
_diminuendo_, returning again to the Miranda chorus.  The next is also
a long orchestral interlude, introducing Caliban.  The chorus shout
_fortissimo_ at him, calling him "Orrido monstro," which, I believe,
means "horrid monster."  After another long orchestral bit, the chorus
again begins about Miranda, and sings a farewell chant to her as she is
leaving the island.  The coda is marked _più animato confuoco_, and
keeps up _animato_ to the end.  Whether it is supposed to show general
relief on the part of the inhabitants of the island on the departure of
Prospero and the rest of the mortals, or sorrow for the same reason, I
do not profess to know.  Lelio (Berlioz) says a few words to the
performers, finishing, "You have indeed made progress, so much so that
we may henceforth attempt works of greater depth than this feeble
sketch."  But this "feeble sketch" makes a very difficult work to
tackle; and if Berlioz had developed it, Heaven only knows where we
should end!


_La Tempête, Fantaisie pour orchestre_ by +P. Tschaikowsky+, is a very
long and complicated symphonic poem, with a definite programme.  It
really tells a good deal of the story of Shakespeare's play-poem.  It
opens with "The Sea."  After a few preliminary bars for wind, the
strings _pianissimo_, and very much divided, play without any change of
expression for fifty-three bars, and for the same number of bars the
bass is F, with occasional changes to F sharp.  It is a wonderful tone
picture of a calm sea.  Then comes Ariel, very light and feathery,
presently ordered to bring about a great storm: and it comes--quite one
of the most terrific {145} in all music.  The storm having calmed down,
we get the love-music of Ferdinand and Miranda--very timid music, but
finally swelling up to a fine _forte_ effect; however, before this
happens there is an amusing dialogue (if one may use the word) between
Ariel and Caliban.  To most impressive music, Prospero surrenders his
magic powers, and the mortals quit the island.  The sea music starts
again just as in the opening, and the work ends on a perfectly calm sea
even as it began.  It is, of course, as with all the composer's greater
works, very difficult, and scored for a large orchestra; but its
effects are certain, and it is grateful to conduct or play.  The storm
is undoubtedly one of the most graphic imitations of Nature in all
musical art.


+Frederick Corder's+ Concert Overture "Prospero" is a very good example
of the composer's work.  It was produced in 1885, and the _motto_ is
from _The Tempest_, Act iii., Scene 3: "What harmony is this?  My good
friends, hark!"

It opens with a _forte_ theme for trombones and tuba, obviously
Prospero himself; followed by flute solo, again obviously Ariel,
accompanied by _pianissimo_ violin (very high sustained chords) and
harp.  These two subjects hold a sort of dialogue in which Prospero has
the last word till the _Allegro con fuoco_ commences.

This theme is a very high, swift, semiquaver passage for violins, with
some occasional help from the wood wind.  It leads to a subject for
'cello of quite a melodic, easy-going character, which might easily be
Ferdinand, and, as the first violins join in, Miranda.  Then enters
Prospero with his trombones against this sweetness, and the drama of
the overture begins--Prospero drowns his books, Ariel is heard singing
joyfully, but somewhat sadly, and, in the end, the spirits of the
island, free at last, are heard in a great rejoicing.

I wish Mr Corder had written even the vaguest programme for this
overture.  I have tried to write one, but I may be wrong the whole
time; anyway, I have done my best, and {146} can heartily express my
great admiration for the overture and the attitude it takes according
to my reading of the play.

Mr Corder has also set "Come unto these yellow sands" and "Full fathom
five" for soprano and female chorus, with harps for the first number,
and contralto and orchestra for the second; both are melodious and
effective, though there is much repetition of the words.


+J. F. Duggan+, born 1847, died 1894, whose name does not appear in any
musical biographical dictionary that I can find, has done a couple of
interesting settings of songs for Caliban.  The first, curiously
enough, is for a tenor: I have often thought of Caliban musically, but
never as a tenor; still, here it is.  The words begin, "No more dams
I'll make for fish," and the setting is quite appropriately grotesque.
The second is elaborate.  It was first sung by Sir Charles Santley, to
whom it was dedicated, and is for high baritone.  The words begin, "Art
thou afeared?" and the music is quite decorative in its harmonic
progressions, and gives points quite excellently to the curious lines
in which Caliban describes the musical wonders of the island to
Trinculo and Stephano, while Ariel plays on his tabor and pipe.  This
song was published in 1871, and that is the only further biographical
detail I can give.


+Clarence Lucas+, a Canadian composer (b. 1866), has written a very
brilliant Scherzo for piano solo, entitled "Ariel."  He has taken as
his motto Shakespeare's words, "On the bat's back I do fly," and has
certainly illustrated the familiar passage with great dexterity.  It is
a gossamer piece of work, and, though difficult, is highly effective.
It bears strong traces of the composer's years of study at the Paris
Conservatoire.


+Joseph Spaight+, a clever young English composer, has written a string
quartet called "Ariel," which is really very interesting.  The work is
divided into eight sections, {147} each one expressing some Ariel
episode in the play.  The episodes are described in a few words, such
as "On a ship in a storm," "Invisible," "Playing time on tabor and pipe
and leading Caliban, Stephano, and Trinculo away."  They are highly
descriptive, but one may well question whether the string quartet is
the proper vehicle for such programme music.



{148}

TIMON OF ATHENS

The only opera mentioned by Mr Barclay Squire that might have been
founded on this play is _Timone, Misantropo_, by the +Emperor Leopold
I.+, produced at Vienna in 1696.  Leopold I., Emperor of the West, was
born in 1640, and educated by the Jesuits for the Church, and he
probably learned music from them.  I have read fine biographies of him;
but though I find he was not a really good ruler, there is no mention
of his gifts as a musician.  It would be interesting to discover a copy
of an opera, libretto by the King of Dramatists, music by the Emperor
of the West, King of Hungary and Bohemia; but with the exception of the
name and the date I can discover no record of the work at all: not even
a popular selection for the pianoforte--Leopold-Liszt!


In 1678, Thomas Shadwell produced his version of _Timon of Athens_,
under the title "The History of Timon of Athens, the Man Hater, made
into a play by Thomas Shadwell."  Of the atrocities committed by the
adapter on Shakespeare in this version it is not easy to speak with
restraint.  Suffice it to say that ten years after the production
Shadwell became Poet Laureate!  The masque in Act i. is written
entirely by Shadwell, with music by +Henry Purcell+.  Whether this work
comes legitimately within the scope of my theme I am not certain.
Undoubtedly the author and composer must have been under the influence
of, if not inspired by, Shakespeare: as we have so little music for
this strange play, I will therefore make a short analysis of the
masque.  Julian Marshall, in his foreword to the Purcell {149}
Society's edition, says: "This work was not well calculated to inspire
the genius of Purcell.  Written to order, and perhaps in some haste,
the score is slight in character and design."  There are several
beautiful numbers.

The work consists of an overture and thirteen numbers.  The first part
of the overture is taken from the "Trumpet Sonata," and is fairly
familiar to lovers of Purcell.  The duet for two nymphs that follows is
preceded by a "Symphonie of Pipes" to imitate birds: this is played on
two flutes with a very pretty effect.  The bass song, "Return,
revolting rebels," sung by Bacchus, has a fine bold melody; and a slow
trio in the minor is in strong contrast to the principal theme.  The
best chorus is "Who can resist such mighty charms?", which, though
simple in construction, has some fine broad effects.

The last duet and chorus, for Cupid and Bacchus, is very bright and
melodious, composed in six-four time, and makes a merry end to the
masque.  After the epilogue comes a "Curtain tune on a ground," for
strings only--by far the most interesting number in the piece.  The
persistent use of the idiom of "false relation" throughout the whole
piece gives it a curious interest; and the contrapuntal and harmonic
devices are also quite elaborate.  I should think there is more of the
real Timon in this one number than in all Shadwell's perversions.



{150}

TWELFTH NIGHT

In spite of its great poetical beauties, _Twelfth Night_ has not
attracted many composers.  There is only one opera that I can trace,
and that is _Cesario_, by +K. G. Wilhelm Taubert+, produced in Berlin
at the Royal Opera House in 1874.  There is no attempt to foster the
delusion that anyone who is not next door to an idiot could ever
mistake Sebastian for Viola, or _vice versâ_.  Viola, in this version,
is a soprano, and her brother a tenor-baritone, so it is hard to
understand how even Orsino was taken in; but he was (and he a baritone,
not a tenor!).

The opera opens with an overture, conventional and not very
characteristic, and the curtain rises on a scene in Illyria, near
Orsino's palace.

A chorus of maidens, wives, sailors, children, and musicians is
discovered, singing a very bright and melodious number, which, though
very tuneful, does not help the action at all.  The second scene opens
with storm music bringing on Viola and the Sea Captain.

The librettist, Emil Taubert, does not adhere any too closely to the
original, so I will just describe the most effective numbers.  Sir
Toby's drinking song in the first act is a thoroughly good German
drinking song, with the usual low bass E for the end; and directly
afterwards Sir Andrew has a grotesque love-song with no little humour
in it.

In the fourth scene there is a very sentimental duet between Viola and
Orsino.  As the work progresses we get farther and farther away from
Shakespeare, and so I leave the only opera founded on this exquisite
play.  I {151} think a great deal of its weakness is due to the
librettist cutting out Feste, the clown.  There is no "Come away,
Death," "O mistress mine," or "When that I was."


So it is with pleasure that I turn to +Humperdinck's+ delightful music
for Reinhardt's production at the Deutsches Theater, Berlin, produced
on October 17, 1907.  The first scene is in Orsino's court (as in
Shakespeare), and gives the whole romantic atmosphere of the rest of
the play.  Most producers begin with the short scene of Viola's
shipwreck, thus cunningly avoiding the whole idea of the plot.  Two
violins, viola, and viol-da-gamba are discovered playing the music of
"O mistress mine" on the stage; and if it is impossible to obtain a
viol-da-gamba, the composer allows one to use a violoncello.  Also
there is a guitar off the stage.  The text is closely followed.  The
setting ('cello solo) for the words "If music be the food of love" is
very beautiful; and until the Duke's words, "Enough, no more," the
incidental music fits in with every shade of expression in that perfect
monologue.  The next number is the serenade for the clown (Feste).  He
is supposed to accompany himself on the guitar, but the guitar part is
cued in for the harp if the singing-actor has not enough skill on the
instrument.  It is a very charming song, not in the least like the
settings of the same words to which we are all so accustomed, but none
the worse for that.  The catch "Hold thy peace" is a perfect canon at
the unison, sung by Sir Toby, Sir Andrew, and the clown.  All the
verses in the kitchen scene are set to music, the versatile clown
playing the accompaniments on his ever-ready guitar.

In Act ii., Scene 4, no expensive prima-donna is called upon to sing
"Come away, Death."  Orsino simply sends for Feste, and tells his
orchestra to play the tune while they are all waiting.

When the clown does arrive to sing the song the audience has been
played into the exact mood Shakespeare wanted; and the number, lovely
as it is, gets a better chance of {152} success than if the orchestra
had been playing something quite different (as I have often heard), or
an entirely new character, a singing woman, had been introduced for
this special number.  Feste sings "Hey, Robin, jolly Robin" and "I am
gone, sir," to specially composed music still accompanied by the
guitar, and there are two settings by Humperdinck of the epilogue song,
"When that I was."  Both are written for Feste; but the first one is
accompanied only by the guitar, while the second has an elaborate
orchestral accompaniment.  You can take your choice; both settings are
equally good.

This music, both in form and expression, is, perhaps, the ideal music
for a Shakespearian production.  Nothing is forced on the hearer.  When
Shakespeare wanted music he said so, either in his stage directions or
in the text.  This is exactly what Humperdinck has given us.  Never to
my knowledge has Shakespeare's text been so reverently treated by any
composer or producer.  I often think that it is not entirely the fault
of the composer of Shakespearian music that so much of it is
superfluous; perhaps a little blame may lie with the
actor-manager-producer, who must have a march to bring him on and take
him off at every entrance or exit.


+Sir Alexander Mackenzie's+ delightful _Twelfth Night_ overture was
first produced at a Richter concert in 1888.  Though it is not exactly
programme music, Sir Alexander gives occasional quotations on the score
indicating his intentions.

The opening is labelled Act ii., Scene 5, Malvolio (taking up letter),
"By my life, this is my lady's hand."  The 'cellos, basses, and violas
play a unison quaver passage of introduction, and Malvolio obviously
speaks through the medium of a bassoon.  The clarinets and the rest of
the wood wind join in, the strings sustaining an accompaniment; and so
the first episode finishes.

The next is labelled Act ii., Scene 5, Sir Toby, "Why, thou hast put
him in such a dream that when the image of {153} it leaves him he must
run mad."  Then comes, to my idea, the triumphal music of Malvolio.
This is quickly followed by a label, Act ii., Scene 3, Sir Toby, "Shall
we rouse the night owl in a catch?" and for a few moments we have
bright sounds of revelry; but very swiftly the music gets slow and
_piano_, and presently we return to Act i., and the words on the score
are, "O, she that hath a heart of that frame, To pay this debt but to a
brother," etc.  This subject is very beautiful, and admirably portrays
Orsino's love for Cesario.  After this comes a bright, melodious
episode working up to a _fortissimo_ climax.  Then we have another
label, Act iv., Scene 2, Malvolio, "Fool, there never was a man so
notoriously abused.  I am as well in my wits as thou art."

The music then proceeds in _fugato_ manner for a long time, and there
are no more directions or quotations from the text in the score till
towards the end.  This is now the regular coda, and very brilliant it
is.  But just before the close one finds the label, Act v., Scene 1,
Malvolio, "I'll be revenged on the whole pack of you"; the original
Malvolio _motif_ being played by the violas and 'cellos and taken up by
the rest of the orchestra.  The whole finishes _fortissimo_ and very
cheerfully.  There is a curious kettledrum solo in the third bar before
the end.  Taken all round, this overture is quite one of the best
Shakespearian commentaries extant.  Without being in the least
pedantic, it has a smack of the period; and as a sheer, joyous bit of
comedy it ranks very high in the repertory of Shakespearian music.


+Sir Henry Bishop's+ third pasticcio opera was founded on _Twelfth
Night_.  It was produced at the Royal, Drury Lane, in 1820.  Contrary
to his usual custom there is no overture, and the first number is a
song for viola with bassoon _obbligato_ to the words, "Full many a
glorious morning" from the 33rd Sonnet.  The first half is very unlike
the composer's usual manner, but in the second he soon gets back to his
original style.  The next number is a quintet with words from _The Two
Gentlemen {154} of Verona_--"Who is Sylvia?"  The melody of the first
verse is by Ravenscroft (1714), that of the second by Morley (1595),
and the whole is arranged by Sir Henry; so there is not much unity of
style about it, though if well sung and unaccompanied it should be
effective.  The duet "Orpheus with his lute," words by Fletcher, for
Viola and Olivia, is really too bad; and with pleasure we turn to a
quartet by Thomas Ford (1580) and D. Calcott (1766).  It is called
"Come o'er the brook, Besse, to me."  The first line is from _King
Lear_, Act ii., Scene 6, but in the text it is "bourne" not "brook."
The rest of the lines are spurious.  The first verse is by Ford, the
second by Calcott, and the whole arranged by Bishop; but this time he
has thrown in a harmonica part, the first that I have met with in this
orchestration.  The quartet and chorus at the end of the second act are
by Bishop; the words, some of them from the second part of _Henry IV._,
and some spurious.  The whole finale is very pretentious and of no real
musical value.  In Act iii. we have the inevitable cavatina, "Take all
my loves," from the Sonnet No. 40, sung by Olivia.  It is a most sugary
song; only a few lines are taken, and repeated _ad nauseam_.  The duet
Olivia and Viola, called "Cesario," is adapted by Bishop from a work I
cannot trace (by a certain Winter).  The only composer of that name in
any musical biography is Peter von Winter, born at Mannheim in 1755,
and pupil of Browning's celebrated Abt Vogler.  The words are a very
corrupt version of Olivia's speech in Act iii., Scene 1 of this very
play, and the music sometimes fits in and sometimes does not.

Kit Marlowe's "Crabbed age and youth," set by Bishop for Olivia, has a
fine cadenza duet with the flute, but is otherwise not notable; and
"Bid me discourse," which follows, is too well known to need mention.
An old setting of the Clown's song, "When that I was," is arranged by
Bishop for the finale.  Viola and Olivia have one chorus to themselves,
very _rubato_.  The melody and chorus are frequently changed,
rhythmically and melodically, but it {155} makes a good finish to a
very extraordinary mix-up of styles and composers.  True to his ideals,
Bishop does not use "Come away, Death," or "O mistress mine," two of
the loveliest lyrics in the language--I suppose because they happen to
occur in _Twelfth Night_!


During his second visit to London, +Haydn+ composed his single
contribution to Shakespearian song.  It is contained in the set of six
"Original Canzonets, composed for an English Lady of Position."  The
words are from _Twelfth Night_, beginning "She never told her love,"
and the song is very pathetic.  Curiously enough for the period, the
words "Smiling at grief" are the only ones repeated.  The canzonet
opens with a long symphony for piano.  The voice part is melodious and
vocal; the harmonies are more complicated than is usual with Haydn, and
there is more liberal use made of the chord of the diminished seventh
than one looks for in his work.  The voice part is of just an octave's
range, and there are no aggressive _coloratura_ passages or high notes.


The only work of +Johannes Brahms+ in which I can trace the direct
inspiration of Shakespeare is his setting of the Clown's song, "Come
away, Death," from _Twelfth Night_, for trio of female voices, harp,
and two horns.  This is an exquisite little work, very complete; there
is hardly any repetition of the words: just at the end Brahms repeats
"to weep there," but that is all.  The combination of female voices,
harp, and horns seems on paper to be rather eccentric, but in practice
it is admirable, used as skilfully as Brahms has used it.  This trio
was not written for the play.  In any decent production the song must
be given to Feste, but how often is it?  Time after time I have seen a
strange woman in tights dragged on to sing one of the numerous Wardour
Street versions, and no one seems to mind.  Without this song, the
whole character of Feste, one of the best of all the Shakespearian
clowns, sinks into almost nothingness.

{156}

Perhaps somewhere, hidden away in some old music catalogue, I may find
something more of Brahms in relation to Shakespeare.  Indeed, I hope
so.  What a Hamlet overture he could have written!


The bridal song, "Roses, their sharp spines being gone," and graceful
dance (Malvolio), composed for Sir Herbert Tree's revival of _Twelfth
Night_, make one wish that the composer, +Paul Rubens+, had devoted
more time to this kind of work.  The words, by Fletcher, are
beautifully set; and though there is no attempt at intentional
archaism, there is an inimitable quaintness about this song, and the
graceful dance which always accompanies Malvolio's entrances and exits,
that is hard to find in modern Shakespearian music.


+Augustus Barratt's+ setting of "Come away, Death," in the same
production, is very beautiful.  +Frederick Corder's+ version of the
same lyric for a trio of female voices and piano is a sad little
number; but I wish he would set the words straight, without repetitions.


+Sir Charles Villiers Stanford's+ settings of the "Clown's songs" in
_Twelfth Night_ were not written for any special production, and were
first sung by Mr Plunket Greene.  There is no needless repetition of
the words, every syllable being given its exact musical value; so, from
several points of view these versions are nearly perfect.  The first,
"O mistress mine," has a flowing though not very significant melody,
and a graceful accompaniment.  The second, "Come away, Death," is
naturally of a very sombre nature, the harmonies being rather more
elaborate than in the other two songs.  The last lyric, "The rain it
raineth every day," is, to my mind, much the best of the three.  It is
a very merry song, and the major effect and the little florid voice
passage at the end make a charming close.  Unfortunately, Sir Charles
omits the last verse but one.


{157}

+Dr Arne's+ setting is beautiful.  It has a curious burden to it, in
the accompaniment only; but the words are sadly chopped about.


+Sullivan's+ "O mistress mine" is quite one of his most effective
songs; and there is a beautiful flowing _obbligato_ in the
accompaniment which suggests that Sir Andrew, who played on the
"viol-de-gamboys," was playing it for the Clown.


+J. L. Hatton's+ setting of "When that I was" is quite pretty, but he
plays the deuce with the words.  The exquisitely quaint first line,
"When that I was and a little tiny boy" becomes "When I was a tiny
boy"; the last verse but one is entirely omitted; and the last verse of
all is quite spoilt.  There can be no possible excuse for Hatton or
anyone else changing "But that's all one; our play is done, and we'll
strive to please you every day," into "But that's all one, our song is
done, for the rain it raineth every day."  This song, for tenor solo
and four-part male chorus, won a prize given by the Melodists' Club.  I
suppose it was a word-distorting contest, and I congratulate the judges
on a fine decision.


+Samuel Coleridge Taylor's+ setting of "O mistress mine" is interesting
in several ways.  It is not in the least like any other musical version
of the same words, and, though they are set quite straightforwardly,
the general effect is curiously bizarre.  The accompaniment is in the
style of a guitar serenade, which is, of course, thoroughly in keeping
with the stage situation, although the song itself was not composed for
any special stage performance.



{158}

THE TWO GENTLEMEN OF VERONA

With the exception of the perfect lyric "Who is Sylvia?" composers have
left this play severely alone; but +Sir Henry Bishop+ certainly
produced a pasticcio opera on _The Two Gentlemen of Verona_ at the
Royal, Covent Garden, in 1821.  The work is the usual jumble of words
from the plays, poems, and sonnets, set to music for the most part by
Bishop.  There is an overture which is really a string of tunes, mostly
in C major, not labelled by the composer, and which do not occur later
in the opera.  It is a very bad example of a very bad class of
so-called overture.  The first song is a setting of the fifth to the
twelfth lines of the Sonnet No. 64, sung by a character called
Philippe, who does not appear in Shakespeare's play.  It was performed
by a Master Longhurst, a boy of some importance in his time, as he is
mentioned by name in several books of reference regarding this song.
The song in question is not worth very much, but is a good example of
how a perfect sonnet may be transformed into a very indifferent song.
This is followed by a duet for Philippe and Julia, with words from
Shakespeare's 92nd Sonnet, but the first line is unhappily changed from
"But do thy worst to steal thyself away," into "Save, though you strive
to steal yourself away."  The improvement is obvious!  and the musical
setting quite in keeping with the improvement in the text; only a few
lines of the poem are sung, but oh! how often repeated!

Sylvia has a great show in the next number.  It is an extraordinary
perversion of the Sonnet No. 109, "Oh, never say that I was false of
heart," a poem that any {159} decent-minded pirate or burglar would
have left alone.  Still, Sir Henry rushes in with what is officially
described as a bravura song.  Certainly only lines 1-4 and 13-14 are
set to music, but how the few words are contorted!  In the coda Sylvia
sings on the word "all," fourteen bars first and then fifteen!

A society for the protection of sonnets should certainly be formed.
The ever-useful _Passionate Pilgrim_ is used for a mixture of Dr Arne
and Bishop as an unaccompanied quartet, "Good night, good rest," and we
will leave it at that; but the following number cannot be lightly
treated.  It is difficult to forgive a composer who seizes on the
perfect sonnet in the world and writes a "Solo Brilliante" on the first
four lines.  These are certainly correctly printed, save that the word
"curse" (Shakespeare) is transformed into "moan" (Bishop), and lines
9-12, with endless repetitions, are dragged in for the second half.
This solo ends with a long cadenza for voice and flute, the voice only
using the first half of the word "heaven"; there are just thirty bars
on the syllable "hea-"!  The four-part round, "To see his face," words
from _Venus and Adonis_ (only the first four lines of stanza 183 are
set), is an ingenious and entertaining piece of work, and should be
most effective.  For some strange reason, "Who is Sylvia?" is set as a
quintet, with Julia on the top line.  The first half of the melody is
by Bishop, but the second half is believed to be by Rousseau; anyhow,
no one would quarrel now as to how to apportion the requisite blame;
the "dishonours" appear to be equally divided, except that Rousseau,
being a Swiss, could not be expected to show so tender a regard for
Shakespeare as Shakespeare's own fellow-countryman Bishop did.  The
cavatina sung by Julia is to the first eight lines of the 73rd Sonnet;
and the male chorus, "Now the hungry lion roars," is, of course, from
one of Puck's speeches in _A Midsummer Night's Dream_, but is sadly cut
and altered.

The duet, "On a Day," words from _Love's Labour's Lost_, and also _The
Passionate Pilgrim_, is another "I know a {160} bank"-like thing, and
quite as uninteresting.  Julia's next song, "Should he upbraid," is
familiar to all, and the words are founded on a speech of Baptista in
_The Taming of the Shrew_.  The finale is a duet by Sylvia and Julia,
assisted by the full chorus: its title is "How like a winter," and the
words are partly adapted, very freely, from the first four lines of the
97th Sonnet, and from the masque in _As You Like It_.

A stranger jumble of words could hardly be conceived; yet this opera
was quite successful, and no one seemed to think any the worse of
Bishop, who was mainly responsible for its monstrosities.


+Dr Arne's+ version of "Who is Sylvia?" is really a very charming song,
very melodious, very vocal, and full of delicate grace-notes.  The last
verse is set as a trio, but can be sung as a solo without spoiling the
composer's intentions; in fact, he says it may be done without
additional voices.


+Macfarren's+ part-song is very good--I mean Sir George's, not
Walter's.  Both have set the words.  But the best setting of "Who is
Sylvia?" must for ever remain +Schubert's+--one of the perfect songs of
the world.



{161}

THE WINTER'S TALE

There is only one opera, _Hermione_, by +Max Bruch+, founded on _The
Winter's Tale_, and very little other music has been inspired by it,
though the story possesses great operatic possibilities.


+Engelbert Humperdinck's+ music for the Reinhardt production in Berlin,
September 15, 1906, is, as usual with his incidental music, perfectly
appropriate--not a superfluous note in it; and also as usual in these
productions, Shakespeare's Act i., Scene 1, is Reinhardt's.  Before the
rise of the curtain an orchestra of wood wind, horns, and harp plays
soft and solemn music (called "Tafelmusik" in the score) behind the
scenes, and the orchestra continues till a fanfare of trumpets
announces the entrance of Leontes, Hermione, and their suite.

There is no more music until we come to Act iii., Scene 2, when, to
open the Court of Justice scene, we have a broad, dignified fanfare,
_quasi marcia_, scored for trombones, tuba, and drums, and part of this
is played at the end of the scene.  This is the motive associated with
the Oracle.

At the end of Act iii., Scene 3, Time, a chorus, enters, and solemn
music plays during his speech, composed in the manner of the Oracle.
In the meantime, an act-change has been made, and without pause the
curtain rises on the fourth act; the music dying away as Polixenes and
Camillo speak, swelling up on their exit and running into the symphony
of Autolycus's song, "When daffodils begin to peer."  This is very
beautifully set, and the composer adds the verse from the end of the
scene, which makes six verses {162} instead of five; but this is quite
legitimate, as the last verse is obviously part of the whole lyric,
though separated from the rest by some dialogue.

The music to open the fourth scene is called "Sunday Bells."  I confess
I don't understand why it is introduced, unless it be to cover a
scene-change, and I can find no mention of bells or Sunday in the text;
but I am quite sure there is some good reason for this number, apart
from its own beauty.  It is _pianissimo_, scored for very high tremolo
violins, celesta bells, and harp; and I should very much like to know
exactly what it means in its present position in the play.

Now comes a long and elaborate march of shepherds and shepherdesses,
beginning in march time, four in a bar; then the time changes to two in
a bar, and a very wild dance follows.  Again the time changes, to
mazurka rhythm now, three in a bar, and a very graceful dance in this
time follows; finally we return to the fast two-in-a-bar passage, and
the whole dance finishes with a coda, during which the music gets
faster and faster to the end.  The whole number makes a short ballet,
with plenty of rhythmic changes.  It is most effective, as well as
being part of Shakespeare's plot.

Almost immediately comes Autolycus's song, "Lawn as white as driven
snow"; this also is very carefully set.  The next number is very
interesting.  It is a trio, sung by Autolycus, Dorcas, and Mopsa,
accompanied by a _bouche fermée_ male-voice chorus--not singing the
usual slow, sustained harmonies, but a quick four-part syncopated
rhythm.  This is a very ingenious number.  After a little dialogue
comes Autolycus's last song, "Will you buy any tape?" to a simple tune
with an elaborate accompaniment.  The Satyrs' dance that follows is a
good example of strong but grotesque dance music in its first theme,
but the trio is sensuous and suave, and the number finishes with a
repetition of the first theme and a short but brilliant coda on the
same melody.

In the last scene of the fifth act we have music {163} again.  Paulina
says, "Music, awake not; strike!" and very mysterious music is played
until Hermione moves; then occurs a fine theme for brass and strings,
while Hermione descends from the pedestal; after which, with a few
pauses, the music continues to the end, when the curtain falls very
slowly on Shakespeare's own last words.  The melodrama music here is so
superlatively good that one hardly notices it, such is its absolute
Tightness.  The situation, dramatically, is so strong that, though the
music also is very individual, it does not for a moment counteract the
strength of effect of the closing scene, but just helps it to a
complete finish.  Rarely has Shakespeare been better served by his
acolytes.



{164}

SHAKESPEARE'S SONGS

+William Linley+, born 1771, edited two volumes octavo of settings to
Shakespeare's lyrics, called _Dramatic Songs_.  Some of them are by
Purcell, Arne, etc.; but unfortunately the majority are by the editor,
who seems to have had no exaggerated respect for Shakespeare's text,
but a very high opinion of his own powers.

Mr Linley has some very naïve remarks to make in the observations
printed after the preface.  Writing of the lyrics sung by Feste in
_Twelfth Night_, he says: "Though there is a whimsical point about
them, they are not inelegantly written."  (This of "Come away, Death"!)
Linley proceeds: "Shakespeare evidently meant that it should be sung
with pathetic expression, but one is not prepared to relish it from the
Clown; and there is nothing ludicrous in the words, and the plaintive
wildness which they seem to demand from the music could not, by any aid
of preparation, be given by the Clown so as to produce a feeling of
melancholy--it would be more likely to excite laughter."

After these preliminary remarks, one may expect anything from our
editor; and when one remembers the exquisite pathos of Mr Courtice
Pounds' singing of +Augustus Barratt's+ setting at His Majesty's one
can smile at the pretentious want of knowledge displayed in Linley's
short introduction.

His own setting, which is before me, is sorry stuff.  Words and phrases
are repeated over and over again.  He does not even set the first
sentence correctly; he says, "Come away, Death, come away," and
continues his "improvement" throughout the song.

{165}

The same kind of thing occurs throughout his two volumes; but it is
interesting to note that for a long time it was considered a standard
work, and Roffe, so late as 1867, speaks of it in his +Handbook of
Shakespeare Music+ as "a happily conceived work."

It is a curious thing that the lyrics in the plays most popular with
composers are either frankly not by Shakespeare or are very doubtful.
The one most frequently chosen, "Take, oh take those lips away," from
+Measure for Measure+, has been set, according to Roffe (1867),
seventeen times; and, according to a work not quite truthfully
describing itself as _A List of All the Songs and Passages in
Shakespeare which have been Set to Music_, thirty times.  Now, the
second verse, "Hide, oh hide," is undoubtedly by Fletcher, from _The
Bloody Brother_, and it is likely that Shakespeare merely quoted the
first verse without acknowledgment, as he often did.

The next in order is "Orpheus with his lute."  Roffe gives it sixteen
settings, and _A List of all the Songs, etc._, twenty-two; the latter
boldly states, "By John Fletcher."  Act iii., Scene 1 is part of the
Fletcher portion of _Henry VIII_.  "Shakespeare wrote only 1168-½ of
the 2822 lines of the play; the rest are Fletcher's."  The editors
responsible for this note are F. J. Furnivall and W. G. Stone.

"Come live with me" (_Merry Wives_) has been set, according to Roffe,
sixteen times, and according to the "List" eighteen--the words being
quoted from Kit Marlowe.  "The Willow" song from _Othello_ (Roffe six
and the "List" eleven) is much older than Shakespeare, and is quoted by
him from a long poem now in Percy's _Reliques_.

Very naturally, since these dates (1867 and 1884) many other settings
of songs from Shakespeare's plays have been made.  Still, these four,
two certainly not Shakespeare's and two quite doubtful Shakespeares,
keep ahead in the list of music composed for or concerning the plays.
I have referred to the "List," and think it only fair to give an
account of it.  It was published for "The New Shakespeare Society," and
compiled by J. Greenhill, the {166} Rev. W. A. Harrison, and F. J.
Furnivall; but unfortunately it was published in 1884, and has not been
brought up to date.  Here one may find that composers were not content
with juggling and altering Shakespeare's perfect lyrics, but chose
chunks of blank verse and snippets of sonnets to set, for no earthly
purpose that I can see.  Some of the composers' selections are quite
incomprehensible.  Why +R. J. Stevens+ should have chosen Prospero's
magnificent lines, beginning "The cloud-capt towers, the gorgeous
palaces," and made them into a glee for S.A.T.T.B.B., passes my wit to
understand.

Also, why +Sir Henry Bishop+ chose Sonnet 109, "Oh, never say that I
was false of heart" (lines 1-4 and 13-14), or Sonnet 29, "When in
disgrace with fortune" (lines 1-4 and 9-12), with several verbal
alterations.  All this tends to show that the composer could not have
had the smallest conception of the sonnet form, to cut and chop it
about as he has done.  Personally, I think that no sonnet ought to be
set to music, but I know that quite good musical authorities differ
from me, and I am content to say that either the whole sonnet or none
of it must be set.  It is impossible to cut a word or a sentence out of
a sonnet without spoiling its form and balance; and, if these
essentials are gone, how can it make a perfect song?



{167}

INDEX


  Adam, Adolphe, 87.
  Alexander, Sir George, 9, 105.
  Allitsen, Frances, 6.
  Alma-Tadema, 16.
  Ardevies, Jules, 76.
  Armbruster, Carl, 25.
  Arne, Dr, xiii, 7, 8, 11, 92, 94, 134-136, 141, 157, 159, 160, 164.
  Asche, Oscar, 22, 130.
  Atterbury, Luffman, 73.
  Attwood, 65.
  Auber, 67.


  Bach, xi, 86.
  Balfe, 80, 81, 137.
  Balling, 5, 55.
  Bannister, xi.
  Barbier, 29, 118.
  Barker, Granville, 95.
  Barratt, Augustus, 156, 164.
  Battishill, 94.
  Bavaria, King of, 56, 70.
  Bazzini, 51, 52.
  Beecham, Sir Thomas, 100.
  Beethoven, xi, 14, 15, 58, 123.
  Bellini, 119, 120.
  Benayet, 98, 99.
  Benda, 128.
  Benson, Sir Frank, 5, 22, 54, 55, 88, 130, 141.
  Bentley, 22.
  Berio, Marquis de, 107.
  Berlioz, 3, 25, 36, 50-52, 56, 98, 100, 119, 122-126, 129, 142-144.
  Berlioz, Louis, 98.
  Bernhoff, 100.
  Berton, 138.
  Bethmann, 68.
  Bishop, Sir Henry, xiii, 1, 5, 7, 8, 10-12, 13, 63, 65, 92-96, 130,
      153-155, 158-160, 166.
  Blau, 104.
  Bloch, 59, 61.
  Blow, 39.
  Boieldieu, 87.
  Boito, 29, 32, 50, 56, 83, 84, 108, 111.
  Bourchier, 78.
  Braham, 80, 130.
  Brahms, 155, 156.
  Brayton, Lily, 130.
  Brian, Havergal, 3.
  Bridge, 38.
  Broughton, The Misses, 43.
  Browning, Robert, 27, 86, 154.
  Bruch, Max, 17, 161.
  Bülow, von, 47.
  Burney, Dr, 28, 29.
  Butt, Clara, 6.


  Callcott, D., 154.
  Calvert, 77.
  Campbell, Mrs Patrick, 78.
  Canepa, 117.
  Capelli, 7.
  Carlyle, 126.
  Carré, Albert, 60.
  Carré, Michel, 18, 29, 118.
  Chaplin, 51.
  Chelard, 56, 57.
  Cherubini, 125, 137.
  Chilcot, T., 5, 71.
  Chorley, 68.
  Choudens, Paul, 18.
  Cibber, Colley, 29, 31.
  Cimino, G. T., 74.
  Clark, Hamilton, 22.
  Clément, 1, 14, 32, 47.
  Coleridge Taylor, 114, 157.
  Collier, J., 6.
  Collin, Baron von, xi, 14, 58.
  Cooke, Dr, 88, 94, 130, 131.
  Coppa, 120.
  Corder, Frederick, 145, 146, 156.
  Corelli, Archangelo, 28.
  Corfe, 65.
  Costa, 120.
  Crescentini, 120.
  Crotch, 13.
  Cumberland, 3.
  Cummings, W. H., 54.


  Dalayrac, 121.
  Dante, 108.
  Davenant, 29, 54, 134, 142.
  Davison, 68.
  Davy, 135, 136.
  Debussy, 100.
  Deffès, L., 17, 75, 76.
  Dent, 99.
  Déschamps, 124.
  Dickens, C., 141.
  D'Ivry, Marquis, 121.
  Dixon, C., 72.
  Doppler, 20.
  Dryden, 134, 136, 142.
  Duggan, 146.
  Dumas, A., 27.
  Duvernoy, A., 138.
  Dvorák, 107.


  Eberlin, J. E., 117.
  Eccles, John, 55.
  Edward VII., 121.
  Edwards, Richard, 118.
  Eggers, J., 58.
  Elgar, Sir Edward, 40.
  Elias, J. F., 137.
  Enna, August, 2.
  Erdmann, J. V., 130.


  Faccio, 29, 32.
  Fauré, G., 78, 79.
  Ferrand, H., 98, 99.
  Fibich, Zdenko, 112, 113, 138.
  FitzGerald, 57.
  Fleg, 59.
  Fletcher, 43, 45, 46, 71, 72, 96, 154, 156, 165.
  Forbes-Robertson, 25, 127.
  Ford, T., 154.
  Frank, Ernst, 132.
  Frederick the Great, 27.
  Fuller-Maitland, 5.
  Furnivall, F. J., 46, 47, 165, 166.


  Gade, 2, 38.
  Gainsborough, 72.
  Galliard, 71.
  Garal, Pierre de, 31.
  Gasparini, 28, 29.
  George III., 73.
  German, E., 9, 37, 38, 42-44, 105, 115, 116, 127, 128.
  Giordani, 72.
  Girard, 143.
  Godfrey, A., 62.
  Goethe, 143.
  Goetz, 130.
  Gounod, 118, 119, 129.
  Graun, 2, 21, 27.
  Greene, Plunket, 156.
  Greenhill, 47, 165.
  Grieg, 35, 38.
  Grisi, 80, 81, 137.
  Grove, 1, 18, 32, 70, 72, 73, 110, 137.
  Guglielmi, 122.
  Guillaume, 34.


  Hale, 140, 141.
  Halévy, 32, 76, 137.
  Handel, xi, 2, 27, 38, 47, 73, 90, 91, 93, 94, 130, 134.
  Haraucourt, 78, 79.
  Harrison, 47, 166.
  Hatton, 42, 87, 157.
  Hauk, Minnie, 133.
  Haydn, 120, 141, 155.
  Henry VIII., 45.
  Henschel, Sir George, 22, 23, 117.
  Hignard, A., 31.
  Hodson, Henrietta, 141.
  Hohenzollern-Hechingen, Prince of, 51.
  Holbrooke, Joseph, 128.
  Horn, xiii, 12, 80, 88.
  Hueffer, Francis, 108, 111.
  Humperdinck, 77, 108, 112, 142, 151, 152, 161.
  Humphrey, xi, 39.


  Immerman, 137.
  Irving, Sir Henry, 15, 16, 22, 37, 43, 55.
  Irving, H. B., 22.


  Jackson, 72.
  Johnson, Noel, 130.
  Johnson, Robert, xi, xii, 134, 136.
  Joncières, Victorin de, 27.
  Jonson, Ben, 136.
  Judith, Mme., 28.


  Kean, Mrs C., 42.
  Kemble, Fanny, 57.
  Kemble, J. P., 57, 135.
  Kemp, Dr, 10.
  Kipling, 89.
  Kirchner, 9, 70.
  Kreutzer, K., 51.
  Kreutzer, R., 2.
  Krug, Arnold, 112.


  Lablache, 80, 137.
  Laboix, 14.
  Lampe, J. F., 92.
  Lampe, Mrs, 92.
  Larousse, 1, 14, 32, 47, 138.
  Laurence, Dr, 136.
  Leborne, 28.
  Lennen, 87.
  Leonhardt, Caroline, 63.
  Leopold I., 148.
  Leveridge, 55.
  Levey, 57.
  Linley, 5, 135, 136, 141, 164.
  Lisle, Rouget de, 56.
  Liszt, 34, 57, 62, 65.
  Locke, xi, 54, 55, 134.
  Longhurst, Master, 158.
  Loubbert, 143.
  Lucas, 9, 146.
  Lumley, 137.


  MacDowell, E. A., 37.
  Macfarren, 20, 45, 160.
  Mackenzie, Sir A. C., 15, 16, 31, 152.
  Maeterlinck, 108.
  Maggioni, 80.
  Mansfield, Richard, 115, 116.
  Marescalchi, 128.
  Marlowe, 12, 154, 165.
  Marshall, Julian, 148.
  Martin Harvey, Sir John, 26, 27.
  Mascagni, 19.
  Massenet, 31.
  Maurel, Victor, 84, 109.
  Mendelssohn, 43, 63, 65, 75, 88, 89, 96, 97, 124, 137.
  Mercadante, 40.
  Meredith, George, 112.
  Metzler, 45.
  Meurice, Paul, 27.
  Meyerbeer, 27, 63, 115.
  Missa, 18, 19.
  Moke, Miss, 142.
  Monnel, 121.
  Moody, 21.
  Morgan, M., 40.
  Morley, 124.
  Mosenthal, 81.
  Mozart, 86.


  Napoleon I., 120.
  Nicolai, 80, 81, 82.
  Nicolini, 28.
  Novello, 54.


  O'Neill, 26, 27.


  Paganini, 124.
  Parry, 80.
  Pelham, 39.
  Pepys, 38.
  Percy, Bishop, 106, 165.
  Perrier, 28.
  Peters, 63.
  Piave, 56.
  Pierson, H. H., 63, 126, 127.
  Pinsuti, C., 74.
  Plançon, Pol, 102, 118.
  Playford, 71.
  Pleyel, Mme., 143.
  Plimmer, W. G., 112.
  Podesta, C., 104.
  Porta, 128.
  Portland, Earl of, 28.
  Pounds, Courtice, 164.
  Prout, E., 48.
  Prussia, King of, 89.
  Puget, P., 104.
  Purcell, Dan, 55, 77.
  Purcell, H., xi, 12, 54, 55, 71, 77, 90, 134, 135, 136, 148, 149, 164.


  Raff, 63, 107, 126.
  Rameau, 130.
  Ravenscroft, 154.
  Reinhardt, 77, 151, 161.
  Richter, 37, 152.
  Ricordi, 85.
  Riemann, 1, 18, 32, 47, 110.
  Roffe, 165.
  Romani, 119.
  Ronald, Landon, 40.
  Rosa, Carl, 99, 133.
  Rosse, Frederick, 78.
  Rossini, 45, 106, 107, 108.
  Rousseau, 159.
  Rôze, Raymond, 47, 48.
  Rubens, Paul, 156.
  Rubini, 80.
  Rumling, Von, 128.


  Saint Georges, 87.
  Saint Saëns, 43.
  Salvayre, 115.
  Sankey, 21.
  Santley, Sir Charles, 146.
  Sardinia, King of, 50.
  Scarlatti, D., 29.
  Schott, 70.
  Schroeder-Devrient, 57.
  Schubert, 5, 19, 20, 45, 160.
  Schumann, 47, 48, 62, 63, 131.
  Schuster, 128.
  Schwanenberg, 128.
  Scribe, 137.
  Ségur, 121.
  Shadwell, 29, 134, 142, 148, 149.
  Sharp, Cecil, 95.
  Shaw, Bernard, 47.
  Silvestre, A., 137.
  Smetana, 116.
  Smith, J. C., 7, 90-92, 134-136.
  Smithson, Henrietta, 123.
  Smyth, Dr Ethel, 5.
  Sontag, 137.
  Spaight, 146.
  Spohr, 62-63.
  Squire, Barclay, 7, 34, 47, 128, 148.
  Stadfeldt, 34.
  Stanford, Sir Charles V., 100, 103, 156.
  Steibelt, 120, 121.
  Stephens, 11.
  Stevens, 166.
  Stevenson, Sir John, 73.
  Stone, 165.
  Strauss, R., 65, 66, 100, 112.
  Stuart, Otho, 22.
  Sturgis, Julian, 100, 103.
  Sullivan, Sir Arthur, 45, 55, 77, 141, 142, 157.
  Svendsen, 128.


  Tamagno, 109.
  Tamburini, 80.
  Taubert, Emil, 150.
  Taubert, Wilhelm, 58, 141, 142, 150.
  Taylor, Coleridge, 114, 157.
  Terry, Ellen, 37, 44, 55.
  Thomas, Ambroise, 29, 30, 31.
  Tindal, W., 73.
  Tree, Sir Herbert, 22, 23, 47, 88, 114, 156.
  Troutbeck, the Rev. J., 36.
  Tschaikowsky, 23, 25, 35, 125, 126, 144.


  Vaccaj, N., 120, 121.
  Verdi, 2, 40, 50, 51, 55, 56, 80, 83-86, 106, 108, 111, 112, 115.
  Veracini, F. M., 7.
  Viardot, Mme., 27, 57.
  Vogler, Abt, 27, 154.


  Wagner, 2, 28, 30, 56, 57, 60, 62, 65, 67-70, 81, 84, 86, 108, 112, 125.
  Wagner, Cosima, 55.
  Webb, Gilbert, 41.
  Weber, 27, 88, 89.
  Weingartner, F., 52.
  Weiss, 5.
  Weldon, John, 71.
  Wilde, Oscar, 100.
  Wilson, Dr John, 71.
  Winter, Peter von, 154.
  Wolff, 51.
  Wood, Sir Henry, 2.


  Young, Isabella, 92.


  Zeno, Apostolo, 28.
  Ziani, 7.
  Zingarelli, 120.



  PRINTED IN GREAT BRITAIN BY NEILL AND CO., LTD., EDINBURGH.





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