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Title: Louis Spohr's Autobiography - Translated from the German
Author: Spohr, Louis
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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In publishing an English translation of the unadorned yet highly
interesting Autobiography of the celebrated Violinist and great
Composer _Louis Spohr_, we consider we are but satisfying a natural
desire on the part of his many admirers in this country to become
more intimately acquainted with both the public and private life of
this great musical genius--this noble, manly character, in whom were
combined in so high a degree the qualities of the true artist with
those of the really great-minded and thoroughly good man.

Although nearly twelve years have elapsed since _Spohr’s_ last
appearance in England, and during that time numberless foreign artists
of distinction have visited us and gathered well-earned laurels and
golden opinions in these islands; yet still above all _Spohr_ shines
out a star of the first magnitude, and there are no doubt thousands yet
amongst us who were present at the performance of his oratorios, under
his direction, at Norwich, or attended his concerts in London, and to
whom this Autobiography will be of interest. We have little to say of
it here--it speaks for itself. Simple and truthful throughout, it is
a mirror of the mind of him who jotted down the details composing the
same. Modest and unassuming at the commencement of his career, _Spohr_
continued so till the end, notwithstanding the celebrity he achieved
and the high position to which he attained. The praises showered upon
him neither turned his brain nor puffed him up with pride; and he has
left us an example of high morality, great amiability, and bright
domestic virtues, too rare alas! among artists and men of genius.

_Spohr_ was a man devoted to his art, and although far from wealthy,
often sacrificed his time--which to him, as to most of us, was
money--in giving gratuitous instruction to young men of ability too
poor to pay for lessons; and not unfrequently has he unhesitatingly
dismissed some rich, well-paying, but dull scholar to make way for a
poor but talented pupil, in hopes of thereby benefitting his art--and
this was his sole reward.

Another prominent trait in _Spohr’s_ character was his childlike
simplicity, combined with never-failing good-nature and an inability
to bear malice. Nor did the many unavoidable trials and vexations of a
long life ever permanently disturb his good humour or sour his temper;
and even gross injustice failed to do more than temporarily ruffle the
calm serenity of his soul. Thus he passed through the world, an active
and highly useful member of society, beloved and respected by all who
knew him, till in process of time he went down to his grave full of
years and honour.

As is explained in the text, the Autobiography comes to an end with the
month of June 1838; but the description of the life and doings of the
great master from that date till the time of his death was continued
from reliable materials furnished by Mrs. _Spohr_ and other members of
the family; so that the whole forms a true account and lively picture
of _Spohr’s_ earthly career from his cradle to his grave.

With these few remarks we submit the work to the perusal and kind
consideration of the gentle reader.

_London_, October 1864.


Chronological Index of Contents.

  Vol. I.


 1784 to 1799. _Spohr’s_ childhood and youth at Seesen and Brunswick.--
 Musical proclivities, and the instrument of his choice.--His first
 instructors on the violin.--First attempts at composition.--Sent by
 his father to Hamburg to seek his fortune.--Disappointed hopes,
 and return to Brunswick.--Singular interview with the Duke
 of Brunswick.--Appointed violinist in the court orchestra of the
 Duke.--Undertakes the musical education of his brother _Ferdinand_.--
 His admiration of the music of _Mozart_.--Disturbs the Duchess of
 Brunswick at her party of “ombre” with his “murderous fiddling.”        1

 1802. _Spohr_ proceeds with _Franz Eck_ to St. Petersburg.--Revisits
 Hamburg.--Cultivates at intervals his fondness for drawing and
 painting in water-colours.--His first love.--Dussek.--_Spohr’s_ first
 published work, violin concerto _Op. 1._--Stay at Strelitz.--Romantic
 adventure.--Second capture of _Spohr’s_ heart.--Königsberg.--St.
 Petersburg.--Impressions, and incidents during his stay in that
 Capital.--Returns by sea to Germany.--Arrival at Brunswick             14

 1803. Appointed court musician at Brunswick                            62

 1804. Musical tour to Leipsic, Dresden and Berlin                      67

 1805. Appointed Concert-Master at Gotha.--Present with Prince
 _Louis Ferdinand_ at the military manœuvres at Magdeburg               84

 1806. Marriage of _Spohr_ with _Dorette Scheidler_                     95

 1807. Musical tour to Weimar, Leipsic, Dresden, Prague, Munich,
 Frankfort, Stuttgard and Heidelberg                                   101

 1808. Pedestrian tour through the Harz with his pupils                112

 Composes his opera of “Alruna”                                        115

 Congress at Erfurt                                                    117

 1809. Musical tour to Leipsic, Breslau, Berlin and Hamburg            128

 1810. Musical festival at Frankenhausen                               139

 Performance of the opera: “Zweikampf mit der Geliebten,” at Hamburg   153

 1812. Performance of the oratorio: “Das jüngste Gericht” at the
 Musical festival at Erfurt                                            157

 Musical tour to Leipsic, Prague and Vienna                            159

 1813. Appointed director of the orchestra at the theatre An der Wien  168

 Composes his opera of “Faust”                                         178

 1814. Composes his cantata: “The Liberation of Germany”               182

 1815. Journey to Brünn, Breslau, Carolath.--Third musical
 festival at Frankenhausen                                             203

 Musical tour to Wurzburg, Nuremberg and Munich                        211

 1816. Frankfort.--Strasbourg, &c.                                     217

 Visit to Switzerland                                                  234

 Journey to Milan                                                      251

 Journey to Venice                                                     270

 Journey to Bologna, Florence and Rome                                 283

 1817. Departure from Rome.--Arrival at Naples                         325

 Vol. II.

 1817. Residence in Naples                                               1

 Ascends Mount Vesuvius                                                  3

 Departure from Naples to Rome                                          32

 “Miserere” in the Sistine Chapel                                       36

 Departure from Rome                                                    41

 Addenda in reference to the Italian journey                            47

 Visit to Holland                                                       53

 Appointed director of the orchestra at Frankfort                       53

 1818. Composes the opera: “Zemire and Azor”                            58

 Journey to the musical festival at Mannheim                            59

 1819. Leaves Frankfort                                                 66

 Musical tour to Berlin, Dresden, Leipsic and Cassel                    68

 Visit to Brussels                                                      68

 1820. Journey to London                                                72

 First concert at the Philharmonic Society                              82

 _Spohr’s_ concert at the New Argyll Rooms, London                      94

 Mr. Logier’s Musical Academy                                           98

 Return to Germany                                                     102

 Musical festival at Quedlinburg                                       105

 Journey to Paris by way of Frankfort and Heidelberg                   105

 1821. Return to Gandersheim                                           134

 Concerts at Alexisbad and Pyrmont                                     135

 Removal to Dresden                                                    138

 1822. Appointed director of the orchestra of the court
 theatre at Cassel                                                     141

 1823. Institutes the Society of St. Cecilia                           147

 Composes the opera: “Jessonda” in Cassel, where it is
 first performed                                                       148

 1824. “Jessonda” performed in Leipsic                                 153

 1825. “Jessonda” performed in Berlin                                  157

 Composes the opera of “The Mountain Sprite” in Cassel,
 where it is first performed                                           157

 1826. Composes the oratorio of: “Die letzten Dinge” in Cassel,
 where it is first performed                                           159

 Musical festival at Düsseldorf                                        161

 1827. Composes the opera: “Pietro von Abano”                          163

 1828. Musical festival at Halberstadt                                 165

 1829. Musical festival at Nordhausen                                  166

 1830. Composes the opera: “The Alchymist”                             168

 1831. Celebration festival upon the occasion of the grant of a
 constitution to Hesse                                                 172

 Celebration of _Spohr’s_ “Silver Wedding”                             173

 Terminates his work “The Violin School”                               176

 1832. Composes the symphony: “Die Weihe der Töne”                     178

 Celebration of the “Golden Wedding” of _Spohr’s_ parents              180

 1833. Musical festival at Halberstadt                                 183

 1834. Journey to Marienbad                                            184

 Death of _Spohr’s_ first wife                                         187

 1835. Finishes the oratorio: “Des Heilands letzte Stunden” (Calvary)
 in Cassel, where it is performed for the first time                   188

 Journey to Sandfort in Holland                                        188

 1836. _Spohr’s_ second marriage                                       194

 Journey to Leipsic, Dresden and Saxon Switzerland                     195

 Musical festival at Brunswick                                         197

 Millenium-jubilee at Paderborn                                        199

 1837. Projected musical festival at Cassel                            202

 Journey to Prague                                                     204

 Vienna--Salzburg, &c.                                                 206

 1838. Death of _Theresa Spohr_                                        209

 Journey to Carlsbad                                                   209

 Continuation of _Spohr’s_ Biography by his family                     210

 1839. Composes his “Historical Symphony”                              215

 Departure to the musical festival at Norwich                          215

 1840. Journey to the musical festival at Aix-la-Chapelle              227

 Journey to Lübeck and Hamburg                                         229

 1841. Journey to Switzerland by way of Stuttgard and Hechingen        232

 Musical festival at Lucerne                                           235

 Composes his “Double Symphony”                                        237

 Musical performance in honour of _Mozart_ in Cassel                   239

 1842. Journey to Carlsbad                                             240

 1843. Invitation to Prague                                            244

 Journey to London to direct the “Fall of Babylon”                     249

 1844. Composes the opera: “The Crusaders”                             257

 Journey to Paris                                                      257

 Journey to the musical festival at Brunswick                          260

 1845. His opera of “The Crusaders” performed for the first
 time, at Cassel                                                       261

 Journey to Oldenburg, Carlsbad and Berlin                             262

 Journey to Bonn to the inauguration of the memorial
 erected to _Beethoven_                                                270

 1846. Journey to Leipsic and Carlsbad                                 276

 1847. _Spohr’s_ twenty-fifth Anniversary as director at Cassel        282

 _Spohr’s_ journey to London                                           287

 Musical performances in commemoration of the death of _Mendelssohn_   291

 1848. Festivities at Cassel                                           293

 1849. Journey to Leipsic and Carlsbad                                 293

 1850. _Spohr’s_ fall upon the ice                                     295

 Composes his symphony “The Seasons”                                   295

 Journey to Leipsic, Breslau and Berlin                                296

 1851. Journey to Switzerland and Italy                                300

 Journey to Göttingen                                                  300

 1852. Law-suit relative to the fine imposed upon _Spohr_ for his
 absence on a journey without permission                               301

 Journey to London to direct the performance of his opera: “Faust”     302

 Appointment of a second director of the orchestra, Mr.
 _Bott_ at Cassel                                                      306

 1853. Journey to London to direct the performance of his opera
 “Jessonda,” &c.                                                       308

 1854. Journey to Switzerland, Munich and Alexandersbad                314

 1855. Journey to Hannover                                             316

 Journey to Hamburg and Lübeck                                         319

 1856. Journey to Dresden, Saxon Switzerland and Prague                321

 Journey to the Harz                                                   321

 1857. Journey to Holland                                              323

 _Spohr_ pensioned off by the Elector of Hesse                         325

 Breaks his arm                                                        327

 1858. Journey to Magdeburg, &c.                                       327

 Journey to Bremen                                                     329

 Journey in Prague to the jubilee of the conservatory                  329

 Visit to Alexandersbad                                                331

 Journey to Wiesbaden to the musical festival of the Middle-Rhine      331

 Journey to Leipsic                                                    331

 His _Last composition_                                                334

 1859. Journey to Meiningen. _Spohr_ directs an orchestra for the
 last time                                                             336

 Journey to Detmold                                                    338

 Journey to Alexandersbad and Würzburg                                 339

 _Spohr’s_ last illness and death                                      341

My father, _Carl Heinrich Spohr_, Doctor of Medecine, afterwards
Medical Councillor, was the son of a Clergyman at Woltershausen in
the district of Hildesheim. He married, November 26, 1782, _Ernestine
Henke_, daughter of the Clergyman of the Aegydian church of Brunswick,
and at first resided with her parents at the parsonage[1]. I was the
eldest child of this marriage, and was born April 5, 1784. Two years
later, my father was transferred as district physician to Seesen. My
earliest recollections reach back to that removal; for the impression
made upon me by my mother’s weeping, after having taken leave of her
parents, and our arrival at the simple and somewhat rustic house at
Seesen, have remained with me up to the present time. I remember also
the smell of the newly whitewashed walls striking me as disagreeable,
and even now I still retain an uncommon acuteness and sensibility of
the senses.

[1] The house is still standing, and, as Number 7, forms the corner of
the Aegydian churchyard in Monk street. For several years it has been
given up to the Military musical institution, since the parish was
abolished during the Westphalian times.

In Seesen were born my four brothers, and one sister. My parents were
musical: my father played the flute, and my mother, a pupil of the
Conductor _Schwaneberger_ in Brunswick, played on the piano with great
ability, and sang the Italian bravuras of that time. As they practiced
music very often in the evening, a sense and love for the art was early
awakened in me. Gifted with a clear soprano voice, I at first began
to sing, and already in my fourth or fifth year I was able to sing
duets with my mother at our evening music. It was at this time that my
father, yielding to my eagerly expressed wish, bought me a violin at
the yearly fair, upon which I now played incessantly. At first I tried
to pick out the melodies I had been used to sing, and was more than
happy when my mother accompanied me.

Soon after, I had lessons from Herr _Riemenschneider_, and I still
remember, that, after the first lesson, in which I had learned to
play the _G_-sharp accord upon all four strings, in an extasy at the
harmony, I hastened into the kitchen to my mother, and arpeggiod the
chord to her so incessantly that she was obliged to drive me out.
When I had learned the fingering of the violin from notes, I was also
allowed to practise music with the others in the evening, as violinist,
and there were particularly three trios by _Kalkbrenner_, for piano,
flute and violin, which, after being studied, were executed in presence
of our circle of friends.

About the year 1790 or 91 a French emigrant, named _Dufour_, came to
Seesen. Although an amateur, only, he was an accomplished violinist and
violoncellist. He settled there; and being supplied with free board
by the more wealthy inhabitants, maintained himself by giving French
lessons. The days on which he used to come to my parents, we always
practised music, and I still remember having been moved to tears the
first time I heard him play. I now gave my parents no rest until I had
lessons from him.

_Dufour_, astonished at my rapid progress, was the first to persuade my
parents to devote me entirely to music. My father, who had predestined
me for the study of medecine, was from his love of music soon brought
to agree to this; but he had a hard struggle with my grandfather,
whose idea of a Musician was limited to that of a Tavern-fiddler who
played to dancers. Subsequently, after I had been so early appointed
_Kammermusicus_[2] in Brunswick, I had the satisfaction to induce
my grandfather, who loved me very much, to adopt a higher opinion
respecting my chosen career as a musical _artiste_.

[2] Musician in the Ducal Orchestra, or Court Musician.

It was while I took lessons from M. _Dufour_, that I made my first
attempts at composition, but without yet having had any instruction
in harmony. They consisted in duets for two violins, and I executed
them with my teacher at our musical soirées; astonishing my parents
with them in the highest degree. To this day, I recollect the proud
feeling of being already able to appear before the friends of the
house as a composer. As a reward, I received from my parents a gala
dress, consisting of a red jacket with steel buttons, yellow breeches,
and laced boots with tassels; a dress for which I had long prayed in
vain. The duets, which my father has carefully preserved, are indeed
incorrect and childish, but possess a certain form and a flowing melody.

This first brilliant success in composition, so inspired me, that from
this time I devoted nearly every hour which the school allowed me, to
similar attempts: I even ventured upon a little opera, the text of
which I took from “_Weisse’s Kinderfreund_.” It may be mentioned as
characteristic, that, I began with the title-page, and first of all
painted it very finely with Indian ink; then followed the overture,
then a chorus, then an air, and there the work came to a standstill.
As I had never yet seen an opera performed, I took the model for these
musical pieces from _Hiller’s_ operas “_Die Jagd_”, and “_Lottchen am
Hofe_”, of which my mother had a pianoforte arrangement, and which she
had often sung with me and my father. But I soon felt that I needed
both knowledge and experience for such an undertaking, and I therefore
set to work at other attempts. In this however, I had a hard struggle
with my father, who strongly insisted that every work once begun should
be completed before another was commenced; and only because my father
was convinced that I was unequal to so great a task, was an exception
made on this occasion; but it was never allowed again. To this severity
I owe my perseverance in working, and I have always recollected the
paternal precept.

As my father liked to superintend the labours of his son, he allowed
me to establish myself in his study, not being at all disturbed by the
humming and whistling of the young composer. When I had written down
anything wrong, which happened frequently enough, and was obliged to
scratch it out, my father heard it at once, and would say half angrily:
“Now the stupid boy is making windows again!”--for thus he designated
the marks I made across the lines, in scratching out. I was very
sensitive to this, and that is perhaps the reason why I acquired early
the habit of writing off a clean score without erasing anything.

Since it was now determined, on the advice of _Dufour_, that I should
devote myself entirely to music; _Dufour_ insisted that I should
be sent to Brunswick to enjoy the advantage of better lessons,
particularly in theory. This could not take place till I was confirmed.
According to a law strictly observed in the Dutchy of Brunswick,
confirmation could not take place before the age of fourteen; in order
therefore to lose no time, I was sent to my grandfather in the district
of Hildesheim, where it was left to the decision of the clergyman as to
when the children could be admitted to confirmation. Here, during the
winter, I had lessons from my clever grandfather, both in religion, and
other things; but music-lessons were not attended to, for neither my
grandfather nor my uncles understood anything about it. I was therefore
obliged to walk twice a week to Alefeld with my violin, to take lessons
from the precentor there. Tedious as were these journeys, owing to the
frequent severity of the winter weather, I was always pleased with
them, chiefly, indeed, because I felt that I was above my teacher, and
often brought him into difficulties by my fluent reading of the notes;
and besides, I had not unfrequently the secret triumph of seeing him
brought to a standstill.

Half way to Alefeld, stood a solitary mill. I once entered there during
a heavy shower of rain, and gained the good will of the miller’s wife
to such a degree, that from that time I was obliged to call every
day I passed by, and was treated with coffee, cakes and fruit; for
which I used to improvise something upon my violin by way of thanks.
I still remember having once so completely ravished her by playing
_Wranitzky’s_ variations upon “_Du bist liederlich_”, into which all
the juggles with which _Paganini_ afterwards enchanted the world were
introduced, that she would not let me leave her during the whole day.

Soon after returning from Woltershausen, I was sent to Brunswick,
where I was received into the house of the rich gingerbread-baker
_Michaelis_, as one of his own children, and treated with kindness by
all the members of the family; my father had been their physician and
had cured _Michaelis’_ wife of a dropsy.

I commenced my musical and other studies with eagerness. I received
instruction on the Violin from _Kammermusicus Kunisch_, a well
grounded and amiable teacher, to whom I owe much. Less friendly was
my instructor in harmony and counterpoint, an old organist named
_Hartung_; and I still remember how severely he once rebuked me, when,
soon after the beginning of the lessons, I showed him a composition
of my own. “There is time enough for that,” said he, “you must learn
something first.” But after some months he himself encouraged me to
make trials in composition: he corrected me, however, so mercilessly,
and scratched out so many ideas which to me appeared sublime, that I
lost all desire to show him anything further. Not long afterwards,
our lessons were brought to a close by the ill health of the old man;
and these were the only lessons in theory, I ever had. I was now
obliged to seek for instruction in theoretical works. But the reading
of good scores was of special advantage to me; these I obtained from
the Theatrical library through the interest of my teacher _Kunisch_.
In this manner I soon learned to write harmony correctly; and I now
ventured for the first time to appear publicly in Brunswick with a
composition for the violin. This took place in the School-concert
of the _Katharinen-Schule_, which I attended as a _Secundaner_.
These concerts were instituted by the Prefect for the practice of
the School-choir; but from several members of the _Hof-Kapelle_, the
Town musicians, and accomplished amateurs taking part in them, they
became so important, that greater works could always be executed, such
as Cantatas, Symphonies, and instrumental Concertos. From this time
everything was studied very exactly, and the performances, which were
held in the tolerably large saloon of the head class, soon became so
celebrated, that it enabled a trifling entrance money to be charged
to defray the expenses. At one of these concerts I thus appeared for
the first time in my native-town, and achieved so much success that I
was invited to assist at the Subscription concerts at the _Deutsches
Haus_, and received the usual remuneration. This first payment which
I earned as an artist made me very happy, nor have I forgotten the
proud feeling with which I announced it to my parents. I now frequently
played solos at the subscription concerts, and generally some of my
own compositions. I was also allowed to play in the Orchestra of the
Theatre for my own practice, and, thereby, became familiar with much
good music.

At this time, still possessing my clear, high soprano voice, it gave
me much pleasure also to join the School chorus in its perambulations
through the town. The leader, who since then has become celebrated
as the Bass singer, _Strohmeyer_, gave the soprano solos to me very
readily, from my being able to sing them without fault at sight.

My teacher _Kunisch_, who interested himself for me in a paternal
manner, now insisted that I should take lessons of the Concert-Director
_Maucourt_, the best violinist of the Brunswick orchestra. My father
agreed readily, although it was much against his grain to pay the
higher charge for this instruction; and the more so, as I had been
obliged to leave _Michaelis’_ house from his inability to give me up
a special apartment, and that it was quite impossible for me to play
and compose quietly in the same room with the children of the house.
A further consequence of this change of dwelling was, that my father
was obliged to arrange with his former aquaintances about my having
free board; this was very galling to his ambitious son. Nevertheless
I was treated in a friendly way by all these people, and thus the
humiliating feeling of my position was soon dissipated. I now, with
another _Secundaner_, inhabited a room in the house of the organist
_Bürger_; here however I could practise and compose undisturbed, for
our landlord, who interested himself in my musical studies, placed his
music room and pianoforte at my disposal.

With M. _Maucourt’s_ instruction, I progressed more and more towards
becoming (for my age) an excellent solo player: and after the lapse
of about a year, as my father was unable to defray the great expense
of my living in Brunswick, on account of the growing up of his other
children, he considered me to have made progress enough to enable me
to try my luck in the world as a travelling “_Artiste_.” He determined
therefore to send me first to Hamburgh, where he had acquaintances to
whom he could give me letters of recommendation.

Accustomed to obey my father in everything, and well disposed to
consider myself a shining light, I had no objection to this. If it
appear hazardous in the extreme to send a boy of fourteen into the
world, left entirely to himself, and trust everything to fortune, its
explanation is to be found in the character and life-experience of
my father. Bold and enterprising in the highest degree, he also had
already emancipated himself in his sixteenth year. In order to escape
punishment at school, he had run away from Hildesheim, and supported
himself most precariously in Hamburgh, first as a teacher of languages,
and afterwards, by giving lessons in the _Büsching_ Commercial school.
He then attended several Universities, struggling through great
privations by help of his enterprising spirit and unwearying activity;
and, at last, without any help from home; after a most adventurous
youth, succeeded in establishing himself in practice as a physician
in Brunswick. He found it therefore very natural that his son should
try the same course, although my mother shook her head thoughtfully at
it. Scantily provided with money for the journey, but furnished with
much good advice, I was sent by the mail to Hamburgh. Still, filled
with the lively impression made upon me by the crowded Commercial
City, and the ships, now seen for the first time, I went, full of hope
and in high spirits, to Professor _Büsching_, to whom I had a letter
of introduction from my father. But how soon were those hopes to be
destroyed! The Professor, after he had read the letter with increasing
astonishment, exclaimed: “Your father is then still, the same as ever!
What madness to send a boy into the world trusting merely to good
luck!” He then explained to me, that, in order to arrange a concert
in Hamburgh, one must either possess a well known name, or at least,
the means to bear the great expenses it would entail. But, that in
summer, when all the rich people were at their country seats, such an
undertaking would be quite impossible. Completely down cast by this
explanation, I could not answer a single word, and was hardly able to
repress my tears. I took leave in silence, and hastened to my lodging
full of despair, without thinking of delivering the other letters of
recommendation. Here, upon thinking over my situation, the certainty
that my money would hardly suffice for a couple of days, terrified me
to such a degree, that, in thought, I already saw myself in the claws
of the crimps of whom my father had drawn a warning picture. I made up
my mind at once, packed up my violin and other things again, sent them
to Brunswick by the mail, paid my bill, and with the scanty remainder
of my money, which might perhaps suffice to my subsistence, I set out
on foot, on my return to Brunswick.

Some miles from the town, calmer reflection brought regret for this
overhaste; but it was too late; had it not been so, I would have turned
back. I said to myself that it was foolish not at least to have
delivered the other letters first. They might perhaps have procured for
me the aquaintance of some musical person who would have appreciated
my talent, and have procured some information how arrangements might
have been made for a Concert. To this was added the humiliating thought
that my father who had been so enterprising himself, would upbraid me
as childish, cowardly and thoughtless. Thus, saddened to the depth of
my soul, I wandered farther, thinking continually how I might avoid the
humiliation of returning to my paternal home without having effected
anything whatever.

At last, the idea struck me of addressing myself to the Duke of
Brunswick, to solicit from him the means to carry on my studies. I knew
that the duke had earlier played the violin himself, and I therefore
hoped that he would recognise my talent. When (thought I) he has
heard me play but one of my concertos, my fortune is made. With newly
awakened courage I now journeyed onward, and got over the rest of the
road in the most cheerful disposition of mind.

Scarcely arrived in Brunswick, I concocted a petition to the Duke, in
which I laid before him my whole situation, ending with the request
either for aid towards improving myself, or, for a situation in the
ducal orchestra. As I knew that the Duke was in the habit of walking
every morning in the park of the Palace, I sought him there with my
petition in my pocket, and had the good fortune to have it accepted by
him. After having glanced over it and asked me some questions about
my parents and former Instructors, which I fearlessly answered, he
enquired who had worded the petition. “Well, who but I myself? I need
no help for that,” was my reply, half offended at the doubt as to my
ability. The Duke smiled and said: “Well, come to the palace to-morrow
at eleven; we will then speak further about your request.” Who so
happy as I! Punctually at eleven I presented myself before the groom
of the chambers and requested to be announced to the Duke. “And who
may _Er_[3] be?” snarled the groom to me in unfriendly tone. “I am no
_Er_. I am here by the Duke’s command, and _Er_ has to announce me”,
was my indignant reply. The groom went to announce me, and before my
excitement had subsided I was introduced. My first word to the Duke was
therefore, “Your Serene Highness! your servant calls me “_Er_”; I must
earnestly remonstrate against that.” The duke laughed aloud, and said:
“Come, calm yourself; he will not do it again”. Then, after having
put several questions to me to which I gave the most unembarrassed
answers, he said: “I have enquired about your abilities from your
last teacher _Maucourt_, and am now desirous to hear you play one of
your own compositions; this can take place at the next concert in the
apartments of the Duchess. I will have it intimated to the director

[3] _Er_, or he, used in this mode of address, is a contemptuous style
of expression in the German language, which has its equivalent only in
the English word _fellow_, used in a rude sense.

In most happy mood I left the Palace, hastened to my lodging, and
prepared myself for the concert in the most careful manner.

The Court concerts in the apartments of the duchess took place once
a week, and were most disagreeable to the musicians of the Ducal
Orchestra: for, according to the then prevailing custom, cards were
played during the music. In order not to be disturbed, the Duchess had
ordered the orchestra, always to play _piano_. The leader therefore
left out the trumpets and kettle drums, and insisted strongly that no
_forte_ should be played in its full strength. As this was not always
to be avoided in Symphonies, however softly the band might play, the
Duchess ordered a thick carpet to be spread out under the orchestra, in
order to deaden the sound. One heard therefore the words “I play”, “I
stand” and so forth, much louder than the music.

However, the evening on which I played there for the first time, the
card tables and carpet had disappeared; the orchestra, informed that
the Duke would be present, had well prepared themselves, and the music
went on excellently. As I then still appeared without any timidity,
and well knew that my whole future fate depended upon the success of
that day, I played with real inspiration; and must have surpassed the
expectations of the Duke, for he, even while I was playing, cried
repeatedly “bravo”. After I had finished, he came to me, patted me
on the shoulder, and said, “The talent is there; I will take care of
you. Come to me to-morrow.” In an extasy of delight I returned to my
lodging, wrote immediately to my parents of my good fortune, and could
get no sleep for a long time, from excitement and joy.

The next day, the Duke said to me, “there is a place vacant in the
orchestra, I will give it to you. Be diligent and behave well. If after
some years you have made good progress, I will send you to some great
master; for here you have no great model to follow!” This last speech
filled me with astonishment, for till then I had considered the playing
of my Instructor _Maucourt_, as the utmost that could be attained.

In this manner, in the beginning of my fifteenth year I was appointed
_Kammermusicus_. The Rescript of my appointment which was drawn up
later, is dated August 2^{nd}, 1799. Although the salary was only 100
thalers, yet by great economy, and with the help of other trifling
earnings, it sufficed to me; and I did not now need any further help
from home. Nay, I was even happy enough to be enabled to render the
education of the other children easier for my parents, by taking my
brother _Ferdinand_, who was eight years younger than I, and who showed
an inclination and talent for music, to live with me, and give him my
assistance to become an artist.

From this time, the young _Kammermusicus_ was in full activity. His
duties consisted in playing at the Court-concerts and in the Theatre,
for which latter, a French operatic and dramatic company had been
engaged shortly before. I therefore became earlier acquainted with the
French dramatical music than with the German; and this was not without
influence upon the tendency of my taste, and upon my compositions of
that time. At last, during the two fairs, a German operatic company
from Magdeburgh was also engaged, and the grandeur of _Mozart’s_
operatic music burst upon me. _Mozart_ now became for my life time my
ideal and model. Even now I well remember the transport and dreamy
enchantment with which I heard for the first time, the “_Zauberflöte_”
and “_Don Juan_”; and that I had no rest until I had got the scores
lent to me, and had brooded over them half the night long.

Neither did I fail to be present at all the other musical parties
in the town: I was a member of all the quartetto circles. In one of
these which had been formed by two of the singers of the French opera,
who played the violin, I heard for the first time the quartettos of
_Beethoven_, and from that time raved no less about them than I had
before done about those of _Haydn_ and _Mozart_. With such constant
practice, my playing and taste could not fail to become more and more
cultivated. The presence of two foreign violinists who at this time
visited Brunswick, produced also a favourable influence upon me. These
were _Seidler_, and the boy _Pixis_. The former impressed me by his
beautiful tone and his pure playing, the latter by his execution, which
for his years, was extraordinary.

I very often played in private parties, with the brothers _Pixis_,
and in their second public concert I performed in a double concerto,
by Pleyel the violinist. After such encouragement I always studied
with redoubled diligence. The duke, who did not lose sight of me,
had allowed me to inform him whenever I intended to execute a new
composition at the Court concerts, and he was sometimes present, to the
great annoyance of the duchess, who was thus disturbed in her party at
Ombre. One day when the duke was not there, and for that reason nobody
was listening to the music; the prohibition regarding the _forte_ being
renewed, and the dreadful carpet again spread, I tried a new concerto
of my own. I can only call these performances rehearsals, because no
preparation was ever made beforehand, excepting on the days upon which
we knew that the duke would be present. Engrossed with my work which,
I heard for the first time with the orchestra, I quite forgot the
prohibition, and played with all the vigour and fire of inspiration;
so that I even carried away the orchestra with me. Suddenly, in the
middle of the solo, my arm was seized by a lackey, who whispered to
me, “Her Highness sends me to tell you that you are not to scrape away
so furiously.” Enraged at this interruption I played, if possible, yet
more loudly; but was afterwards obliged to put up with a rebuke from
the Marshal of the Court.

The Duke, to whom I complained the next day; laughed heartily: but on
this occasion he at the same time adverted to his former promise, and
told me to choose a teacher at once from among the great Violinists of
the day. Without hesitation I named _Viotti_, and the duke approved of
the choice. He was immediately written to, to London, where he resided
at the time. Alas! He refused the request: he wrote word that “he had
become a wine merchant,”--“occupied himself but seldom with music, and
therefore could not receive any pupils”[4].

[4] It is related of _Viotti_ (the father of Modern Violin-Playing)
when thus established in London as a Wine-merchant, that, a Nobleman
who had previously been a great admirer and patron of his talent,
rebuked him for having abandoned his art to become a dealer in Wine!
“My dear Sir” replied _Viotti_, “I have done so, simply because I find
that the English like Wine better than Music!”

Next to _Viotti_, _Ferdinand Eck_, in Paris was at that time the most
celebrated violinist. He was therefore next applied to. But he also,
would take no pupils. A short time before, when engaged in the Court
orchestra at Munich, he had eloped with a rich countess; had married
her in Switzerland, and now led an affluent life, partly in Paris,
and partly upon an estate near Nancy which had been bought with the
fortune of the countess. He, however, proposed his younger brother and
pupil, _Francis Eck_, as master. As he was at that time travelling
through Germany, and had appeared with great success at Berlin, he was
written to; and, in case of his accepting the proposition, invited to
Brunswick. _Eck_ came; played at Court, and pleased the Duke greatly.
As however he was about to start for Petersburgh upon an artistic
tour, I was sent with him as a pupil for a year; and it was settled
that I should bear half the expenses of the journey: and that _Eck_,
at the end of the instruction should receive a suitable reward from
the Duke. A diary of this journey exists, which from some extracts may
perhaps be of interest. It commences a few days before our departure
(which took place April 24, 1802), in the following childish manner;
notwithstanding I was already a youth of eighteen.

“The Leave-taking.”

“To the most sorrowful hours of life, belong those of leave taking
from loving parents, and tried friends. Not even the prospect of an
agreeable and profitable journey can brighten them; time only, and the
hope of a speedy meeting again, can assuage their pain. From these
also do I expect relief on recommencing my musical tour. Farewell,
therefore, parents and friends! The remembrance of the many happy hours
enjoyed with you will always accompany me.”

We first went to Hamburgh, where _Eck_ intended giving concerts. I
regarded this town again, from which I had fled some years ago so full
of despair, with a certain degree of self-satisfaction and content.

After _Eck_ had delivered his letters of recommendation, the lessons
began. Concerning these, the following is written in my diary:

“This morning, April 30, Herr _Eck_ commenced my lessons. But alas!
how was I humiliated! I, who imagined myself one of the first virtuosi
of Germany, could not play one single bar to his satisfaction; but was
obliged to repeat it ten times at least, in order in some degree to
gain his approbation. My bow-ing particularly displeased him, to alter
which, I now also see is very necessary. At first it will of course be
difficult for me; but at last, convinced of the great advantage of the
change, I hope to accomplish it.”

The diary now describes everything that the travellers saw and heard.
Attractive as these were to me, yet I did not neglect my musical
studies for them. The forenoon, which in Hamburgh lasts till three
o’clock, was devoted entirely to practising what _Eck_ gave me. It was
not long before he expressed himself favourably as to my progress.
Already on May 10, I wrote:

“Herr _Eck_ begins to be more satisfied with my playing, and was kind
enough to assure me yesterday that I was now able to play the concerto
I had studied under him, without fault.”

The intervals between practising, I employed in painting. From my
earliest youth I had applied myself to drawing and painting in water
colours, and had attained some proficiency without ever having had any
good instruction. Yes, I had even hesitated for some time, as to which
of the two arts, music or painting, I should choose for my profession.
I now made my first attempt at portrait painting. The 12^{th} of May I

“On Sunday I commenced a miniature which I finished this forenoon. I
tried to paint myself, and am quite satisfied with the result. This,
and playing on the violin have occupied me so fully, that I have not
left the house for four days. I sent this picture to my parents, and
then commenced painting Herr _Eck_, who was patient enough to sit to

It is now time to mention that the young artist, from his earliest
youth, was very susceptible to female beauty, and already when a boy
fell in love with every beautiful woman. It is therefore not to be
wondered at, that, the diary of the youth of eighteen contains many
pages of the outpourings of the emotions of his heart. But there
is great comicality in the earnestness with which these fleeting
inclinations are spoken of.

In Hamburgh it was a Miss _Lütgens_, the daughter of a music master,
who particularly won my heart. After a visit paid to the father, I
wrote the following:

“His eldest daughter, a girl of thirteen, a very fine, innocent
creature, pleased me particularly by her agreable and modest demeanour.
She is very beautiful, has hair that curls naturally, very lively
brown eyes, and a neck of dazzling whiteness. Her father, whose
hobby is counterpoint and harmony, entertained me continually with
the resolution and combination of the chords; finding in me the most
patient listener to his sermon, while I would much have greatly
preferred to speak with his amiable daughter about the combination of
hearts and lips.”

In order to a more frequent near approach, I asked permission to take
her likeness, which was willingly granted. But before the sittings
commenced, I was warned by Herr _Eck_, whom oddly enough I had made
my confidant, that she was a coquette, and unworthy of my regard. At
first I could not believe that a girl of thirteen could already be a
coquette, but after the first sitting, I became of the same opinion,
and wrote the following remarks:

“Henrietta begged me to take her portrait in the dress which she
wore, assuring me that she had chosen it expressly; for her other
dresses were not cut low enough, and covered her neck too much. I was
astonished at her vanity, and the sight of this charming neck which
otherwise would have enchanted me now saddened me; being convinced
that she was already infected by the vanity and shamelessness of the
Hamburgh ladies. While I painted, she chatted with her cousin, (an ugly
but vain girl,) of nothing but the dress she intended wearing at the
ball which was to take place on the following evening. Quite vexed, I
returned home, and wished that we might now leave as soon as possible,
for Hamburgh began to displease me more and more. My sociable heart,
which could so willingly attach itself to any one, finds here nobody.
In this girl, I thought to have found something on which to set my
affections; but I see I am again deceived. I had intended making a copy
of this portrait for myself; but I am still too much embittered against
her to be able to do so. Neither have I now any wish to go to the ball.”

But two days afterwards I wrote, “This forenoon I worked diligently at
Miss _Lütgens’_ portrait--and began also a copy of it for myself. After
dinner I went to her..... Henrietta received me with reproaches for
not having been at the ball.... To-day, she was so modestly dressed,
and spoke so reasonably, that I occupied myself more with her than with
my painting, which was the cause of my not quite finishing it. It is
really a thousand pities that this girl with so much talent and good
sense, lives in such vulgar society, and is thereby led away into the
follies of Hamburgh.”

With the presentation of the portrait, and our departure, which took
place immediately after; this little romance, that never came to a
declaration, terminates.

With respect to the point I had at that time reached in my art, and
my views of the latter, my diary shews proofs at every page, of my
opinion of what I heard in Hamburgh. Without doubt those judgments
are pronounced with the naïve assurance that belongs to youth, and
require without a doubt many modifications, if these were possible
after the lapse of so long a time. The opinion about Operas, and their
performance, may be well passed over, for those works have for the most
part, disappeared from the repertoire, and the singers, also, have
passed away.

But respecting other matters, as well as those of my Instructor, the
following incidents may be mentioned.

“May 5. To-day we were invited to dinner by Herr _Kiekhöver_, and there
met _Dussek_ and some other musicians. This was very agreeable to me,
as I had long earnestly wished to hear _Dussek_ play. Herr _Kiekhöver_
and his wife are very kind people, and in their house good taste is
combined with splendour. The conversation at table, was almost always
in French. As I am not well versed in that language I could take
but little part in it. But, I took all the more in the music which
followed. Herr _Eck_, began with a quartett of his own composition,
and enchanted all the listeners. Then Herr _Dussek_ played a sonata
for the piano, of his own composition, which however did not seem to
please particularly. Now followed a second quartett by Herr _Eck_,
which so delighted Herr _Dussek_, that he enthusiastially embraced him.
In conclusion, Herr _Dussek_ played a new quintett he had composed in
Hamburgh, which was praised to the skies. However, it did not entirely
please me; for, despite the numerous modulations, it became tedious
towards the end, and the worst was, that it had neither form nor
rhythm, and the end could quite as well have been made the beginning as

At a musical party at M. _Thornton’s_ country house, I became
acquainted with Fräulein _Grund_, at that time the most esteemed singer
of Hamburgh. My diary speaks of her with great enthusiasm. Among other

“At first, the conversation was very vapourous; for the merchants spoke
of nothing but the contrary winds that prevented their ships entering
the Elbe. By and by however, it became more interesting, particularly
when Fräulein _Grund_ joined in it. I had already admired her correct
and polished language, and her captivating and obliging manners. But
when at table, she spoke alternately French with one, and English with
another, and that one gentleman informed me she spoke and wrote four
languages correctly, I began to envy her, and to be ashamed that I,
as a man, was so far behind this girl. She had also attained great
proficiency in music, and enchanted us so much yesterday evening by
her singing, that Herr _Eck_ proposed to her to sing at his Concert,
which she also promised to do. My neighbour at dinner, informed me that
her father maintained his family by giving Instruction in Music, and
spent a great deal upon the education of his children. In this, his
eldest daughter assisted him greatly; since she not only instructed
her brothers and sisters in music and languages, but also earned a
considerable sum by giving lessons in the first houses in Hamburgh.
I would gladly have made her acquaintance at once, but she was so
surrounded by young men that I could not approach her.”

My diary mentions the following with regard to Herr _Eck’s_ public
concert in the _Logensaal_ on the _Drehbahn_ on the eighteenth of May:

“Herr _Eck_ had great reason to be satisfied with the orchestra, for
his concerti were admirably accompanied; not so the arias of Fräulein
_Grund_, which were somewhat difficult for the wind instruments. At the
head of this well drilled orchestra, is _Massoneau_, well known by his
charming compositions. The appearance of this man by no means indicates
his great talent; for his manner of playing and his bow-ing are so bad,
that one might take him for the greatest bungler--and yet he does not
direct at all badly.”

Our stay at Hamburgh lasted till June 6. Herr _Dussek_ who was
commissioned to arrange the concert at a festival with which the
English living in Hamburgh were about to celebrate the 4^{th} of
June, in honour of their king, engaged Herr _Eck_ to perform a violin
concerto. It was not until the rehearsal which took place on the
evening of June 3, at nine o’clock, that Herr _Eck_ discovered that
the concert was to be given in the open air, which, until then, had
never been mentioned. A tent had been erected, in which the orchestra,
about one hundred strong, was disposed on a terrace-like platform. Herr
_Dussek_ first tried a _Cantata_, composed by him for the occasion,
and which, had an uncommon effect upon me; for not only was it well
written and thoroughly well studied, but from the accompainment of a
large organ which had been erected in the back ground of the orchestra
and “from its being executed in the silence of night, it partook of so
solemn a character that I was quite charmed by it.”

After the Cantata, Herr _Eck_ was to try his Concerto. But, he fearing
that the damp night air would have an unfavourable effect upon his
strings, and that his violin, after so powerful a volume of vocal
sound, and hemmed in by the linen walls, would tell badly, had resolved
not to play at all. He explained this; and at the same time reproached
Herr _Dussek_ warmly for not having told him at once, that the concert
was to take place in the open air. Hereupon a sharp dispute followed,
the consequence of which was that _Eck_ left the place immediately with
me, and we took no part in the festival itself.

We now went to Ludwigslust, where _Eck_ wished to play at Court. But
his offer was declined; and he came also to Strelitz at an unfortunate
time, for the Court was absent. Nevertheless, as it was soon expected
to return, and the pleasant little town with its charming park, bounded
by the lake, invited us to make a longer stay; and, as _Eck_ foresaw
that in the height of summer it would be impossible to do much in
Stettin, Dantzic and Konigsberg, he made up his mind to await the
return of the Court. We looked out therefore for private lodgings, and
made ourselves at home there for some time.

This was the most favourable period for my studies, during the whole
journey. _Eck_, who was now at leisure, devoted himself with great
zeal to the instruction of his pupil, and initiated me in all the
secrets of his art. I, for my part, urged on by youthful ambition,
was indefatigable. I rose very early and practised until exhaustion
obliged me to cease. But, after a short rest I began again, and in this
way, sometimes brought it to ten hour’s practising a day, including
the time that _Eck_ devoted to me. In a letter from Brunswick, I had
been informed that those who did not wish me well had loudly expressed
themselves, that I should distinguish myself as little as all the other
youths whom the duke had hitherto assisted in their studies. In order
to controvert this opinion, I was determined to do my utmost, and even
when my zeal sometimes flagged, the thought of my first appearance in
Brunswick upon my return, animated me directly to fresh exertion.

In this manner I succeeded after a short time in acquiring such
dexterity and firmness in the management of my instrument, that none
of the then known Concerto-music was too difficult for me. In these
exertions I was supported by sound health, and a Herculean frame.

Between whiles, I composed, painted, wrote and read; and in the
later hours of the afternoons we used to make excursions into the
neighbourhood. A favourite amusement of the travellers was to row
across the lake, and to take supper at a farm house, situated on the
opposite shore. As I was already at that time an accomplished swimmer,
I often undressed during these trips, and swam a while alongside the
boat. The relation in which I stood to _Eck_, which was more that of
one comrade to another than of pupil to teacher, admitted of such

At this time, I finished a violin concerto I had begun in Hamburgh,
and which afterwards appeared as Op. 1 at _Breitkopf & Härtel’s_ in
Leipsic; and wrote the three violin duets Op. 3 published at _Kühnel’s_
in the same town. While practising these duets with _Eck_, I became
first aware that my teacher, like many violinists of the French school,
was no thoroughly finished artist; for however excellently he executed
his concertos, and some other compositions studied with his brother,
yet he knew but little how to enter into the spirit of the works of
others. A change of characters would have been very possible while
playing these duets, for the scholar could have taught the master how
they ought to have been executed. I became also aware from an attempt
at composition made by _Eck_, that it was impossible for him to have
composed the violin concertos and quartetts he had given out as his
own productions. At a later period, also, the concertos appeared with
the name of the elder _Eck_ affixed to them, and the quartetts with
that of _Danzi_, the leader of the Orchestra at Stutgard. Thus the four
weeks, during which we waited for the arrival of the Court, passed in
a very uniform way, but not fruitlessly for me, when Herr _Eck_ fell
seriously ill, and being obliged to keep his room for the first four
weeks of his indisposition, I took my evening walks alone. During these
walks another love affair sprang up, which is related in the diary with
great earnestness and minuteness. On the eighth of July, is written:

“This afternoon, impelled by ennui, I entered a circulating library,
where I selected _Lafontaine’s_ well known novel “_Quinctius Heymerom
von Flaming_.” I took it with me, and, leaving the town, looked for a
sequestered and shady place on the shore of the lake, where I lay down
and began to read. I became deeply engrossed in the story; grieved with
_Lissow_ about his _Jacobine_, and compared her to a lady then living,
and an acquaintance of mine. Suddenly I heard footsteps near me, I
looked up, and two girls stood before me; one with blue eyes, fair
curls, and beautiful as an angel, the other with black hair and eyes,
less beautiful indeed than her companion, but still not plain. I sprang
up, bowed respectfully and gazed after them for a long time. Myrrha,
Herr _Eck’s_ dog which I had taken with me, followed them, fawning upon
the fair haired one incessantly, so that it did not heed my calling. I
therefore followed to bring back the dog, and if possible to make the
acquaintance of the girls. The fair one came to meet me, begging pardon
for having kept back the dog, and asked me to promise that I would not
punish it for its disobedience. With her sweet silvery voice she might
have exacted yet greater promises from me; I therefore gave the desired
one with pleasure. The conversation was now commenced; I continued it,
and accompanied the girls on their walk. I found that the fair one was
very well educated and polite. The dark one spoke too little to allow
of judging of her education. We came at length to a meadow separated
from our path by a broad ditch, which although shallow, was yet too wet
for ladies to cross. As they expressed a desire to walk in the meadow,
I offered to carry them over. At first they would not consent, but
at last they allowed themselves to be persuaded. I took the fair one
first, and an incomprehensible pleasure seized me when thus carrying
the beautiful girl in my arms. When I had reached the most dangerous
part of the ditch with her, one of her fair curls fell upon my face.
This so disturbed me, that I nearly fell with my lovely burthen into
the ditch. Nevertheless, I brought her happily over. She thanked me
so heartily and gazed so into my face with her large blue eyes that I
almost forgot to fetch the other. We now walked on across the meadow,
and, at the end, to my great disappointment, found a little bridge
which led us back over the ditch. This envious bridge robbed me of the
pleasure of carrying once more the sweet burthen. I escorted the girls
as far as the town, and then parted from them very unwillingly.--I will
immediately enquire their names and station.”

Already the next day I again met my fair one. The diary relates this
with comical ingenuousness:

“This evening, urged by God knows what impulse, I took the same walk
as yesterday, and again laid myself down in the very place where I
had been so agreeably disturbed by the girls. I began to read; but,
although I was at an interesting part, yet when I had run through
some pages, I had not the least idea of the contents. I now confessed
to myself that I had not come here to read, but in the hope of again
meeting my new acquaintance. I pocketed my book and gazed with longing
looks towards the place where I had first seen them yesterday. But;
after waiting in vain for two hours, I arose, vexed, and returned
towards the town. Just before reaching it, at a place where two roads
meet, I encountered some cows, on their way home from the meadow, which
blocked up my path and obliged me to wait. But I had not stood there
long, before I saw at some distance, a female figure, dressed in white,
coming towards me, and which had exactly the same fine form and high
bearing of her whom I had waited for with such earnest longing. As she
drew nearer, I was more convinced that it must be her, and I went to
meet her. I had not deceived myself--it was her! She greeted me with
her graceful friendliness, enquired how I was, and told me that her
friend had taken cold the evening before, and was obliged to keep her
bed. I said I was sorry to hear it, and that I feared I had been the
cause of the illness of her friend, in having delayed them too long in
their walk. She assured me however of the contrary, and laid all the
blame upon her friend herself, who had clad herself too lightly.”

“During this time the herd had passed by, and we separated. In this
second conversation I have again remarked in her so much polish of
manner, and so much tender feminine delicacy that I could not but infer
that she had been exceedingly well educated.--But, as yet I know not
who she is; though from her conversation, I am of opinion she must
belong to the bourgoisie.”

These meetings were now repeated almost every evening without prior
agreement, and I felt very unhappy when on one occasion I did not find
my friend. I became more and more confidential with her; spoke of my
parents; of my patron who provided me with the means to accompany
my eminent Instructor on his travels; mentioned my works, and plans
for the future; and felt myself drawn nearer to her by her friendly
interest for me. I saw in her the sum of all womanly perfections, and
imagined to have met _her_ who could make the happiness of my life.
When wandering hand in hand in the little wood by the lake side, I
was more than once upon the point of declaring my love to her; but a
timidity I could not conquer always prevented me. Respecting her own
circumstances, she was very reserved, and hence I was still ignorant as
to who she was. On the 24 of July I however wrote:

“At last I have learned the name of my fair one; but the enquiries
made, have cost me dear! Herr _Eck_, who is now almost recovered and
who has already taken some short walks, sent for a hair dresser. Of
him, I made enquiries. He told me her name was ***, and, that she was
the daughter of a groom of the chambers to the former Duke, who had
died some years ago. Her mother, with whom she lived, had a small
pension. To my question as to how that could enable her to dress so
elegantly? his reply was: they were probably presents from Herr von ***
who was very fond of her and visited her frequently. On hearing this,
my agony was so great, that I nearly let fall my violin,--and scarcely
had the courage to ask, whether her virtue was doubtfully spoken of. He
assured me nevertheless to the contrary, and was of opinion, that Herr
von ***, who had only come of age two months ago, had the intention of
marrying her. He was now travelling, and would return in some weeks.
I had made the acquaintance of this Herr von *** at the Inn where we
dined, before his departure, and must admit that he seemed to me the
most well bred young nobleman we met there. The less therefore do I
understand his making her presents and she accepting them; for she can
hardly permit herself to hope that he will marry her. And, if so, how
as a prudent girl, could she venture during his absence to take lonely
walks with a young man, and sit with him in the evening before the door
of the house? The affair is a riddle to me, and I am doubtful whether I
shall go to her this evening or not.”

The girl’s character however did not long remain a riddle to me; for
scarcely had _Eck_, who now again shared the evening walks, made her
acquaintance, than she received his attentions in a much more friendly
and forward manner than she had done mine. _Eck_, gallant and liberal,
arranged excursion-parties to please her, into the neighbourhood; to
Rheinsberg, Hohenzirze, and other places. For this, she rewarded him
with the most marked attention, and had eyes for him only. I felt
deeply wounded; the diary contains passionate outbursts of jealousy.
Fortunately they were confined to writing, and the good understanding
with my Instructor remained unshaken. The contempt I now felt for the
girl helped me to conquer my passion, and I turned to my studies with
renewed zeal. My diary states:

“I never remark the progress I have made in playing, more than when,
from time to time, I take up some old theme and remember how I used to
execute it. To-day for instance I took the Concerto I had studied in
Hamburgh and found, that I now executed with the greatest ease those
passages which I then could not play without a break.”

My Instructor also, did not leave me without encouragement; and when,
on the 16 of August, I had played my new Concerto; to my great delight,
Herr _Eck_ said: “If every three months you progress as you have done
in these, you will return to Brunswick a perfect virtuoso.”

Two days later, Aug. 18., I remained almost the whole day at home,
and composed a new Adagio to my Concerto; for although I had already
written three, yet none of them seemed to suit well to the other parts.

As evincing my youthful pride as a Composer, the following may here be

“I was told of a popular festival which was to be arranged at
Hohenzirze, August 27. the birthday of the hereditary Prince. To this
festival the peasants of the neighbouring villages are invited to a
dance and supper. There is also to be dancing at the castle. In answer
to my question, as to where so many musicians would be found, I learned
that the _Janitscharen_-music would play for the peasants, and the
Orchestra--imagine my astonishment--for the _dancing_ at Court! I would
not believe it at first, until repeated assurances of it were made
to me. But, I asked: how is it possible, that the Duke can require
such a thing from the members of his Orchestra, and that they have so
little feeling of honour and artistic pride as not to refuse it? The
reply was: the Duke does not consider it improper for his Orchestra to
play to dancers, and the majority of the members dare not disobey his
commands, for if discharged from here, poor bunglers as they are, they
would find it difficult to obtain places in other orchestras.”

As after the end of my unhappy love affair, my residence in Strelitz
had become unbearable, I longed greatly for our departure. This
however, was still delayed, for the doctor could not pronounce Herr
_Eck_ fully restored until the end of September. The unpleasantness of
my position was still further heightened by the friend of my faithless
one, whom at our first meeting I had named the “dark one”, turning her
affection most unmistakeably towards me; an affection, which, although
the girl was very pretty, I could not return. I withdrew myself from
their society as much as possible; but, out of regard to my Instructor,
I could not entirely refuse to share in the pleasure parties and
excursions which he constantly arranged; and at these I could not avoid
being the escort of the dark beauty. There are naive complaints in my
diary of the embarrassments which her tenderness caused me, and more
than once I wished the moment of our departure to arrive, which would
free me from such trials.

On the 27^{th} Sept., came at length the moment, when we were to say
farewell to our fair ones. Sophy (the dark one) had affected, or
perhaps really felt, an uncommon sadness for the last three days.
To-day she spoke not a word, only sighed sometimes, and, when the
others in the room did not observe it, threw herself passionately
upon my neck. About eight o’clock in the evening, Herr _Eck_ and Miss
*** left the room. Now for the first time the real outbreak of her
tenderness took place; for after she had also sent away her brothers
and sisters, she hardly let me out of her arms. I was obliged to bear
with it until ten o’clock; then we took leave. The poor girl shed so
many tears, that I was ashamed of my own dry eyes, and, in order not
to appear quite heartless, I kissed her warmly. Sophy accompanied me
to the door of the house, and pressed a paper into my hand, with the
request that I would keep it as a remembrance. I hastened home, opened
it, and found a letter with a gold ring containing some hair. The
letter ran as follows: “Noble friend, pardon a girl whose importunity
must certainly have been obvious to you. I knew that sometimes I did
more than was befitting my sex. But God knows, when in your company,
which was so dear to me, I could not control myself. Now also I force
upon you a small token, trifling indeed, but given with the most
openhearted impulse. My only wish and prayer is that you will wear it,
and remember me. Ah! could this paper but tell you how highly I value
having made your acquaintance, and how deeply I regret your going so
far away from us! I must conclude, and in the firm hope of seeing you,
my best friend, once more, I already rejoice at the day which will
restore you to us again. Farewell, and may you live as well and happily
as is the wish of your friend Sophy ***”

This unmerited and tender inclination may not have remained without
thankful acknowledgement; for the resolution to answer the letter in
a most friendly manner from Stettin, is expressed in the diary. But
there is nothing mentioned respecting the execution of that resolve.

We went to Danzic, via Stettin, arriving there October 2. As _Eck_ had
to deliver many letters of introduction, and had to arrange a Concert;
the lessons, which till now had been given regularly, came rather to a
standstill. Meanwhile, I thought, “that I made progress by only hearing
Herr _Eck_ practise.” We were constantly invited out to dinner, and for
the evening; among other invitations was one to the country seat of
Herr _Saurmann_, where from a hill behind the house, we could overlook
the Baltic and a great part of the town. The view of the sea and the
vessels upon it made an indiscribable impression upon me. As the day
was somewhat overcast, the ships appeared to hang in the clouds, and to
move slowly along with them. I could with difficulty tear myself away
from the magnificent sight.

At another dinner, in Mr. _Simpson’s_ garden, I had the honour to sit
beside the hostess. She induced me to relate to her many things of my
early life, namely: how I had been at first destined for the study
of medecine, and then, from a passionate inclination for music, had
been led to devote myself entirely to the art. She listened to me with
a benevolent interest, but at the end wounded my feelings by asking
whether I should not have done better to follow the profession of my
father. Wholly penetrated with the dignity of my artistic career, I
replied angrily: “As high as the soul is above the body, so high is he
who devotes himself to the ennobling of the mind, above him who only
attends to the mortal frame.”

Almost everytime that an opera was given, I went to the theatre, and
did not fail to note down my remarks upon the performance, in which
singers, chorus and orchestra were sharply handled.

To my great joy, Ariadne in Naxos, the celebrated melodrama of _Brade_,
which I did not yet know, was also given. But it offended my taste,
that in the comedy which followed, “The peasants and lawyers”, Theseus
appeared again in the character of a lawyer, and Ariadne as a humble
peasant girl. “The music enchanted me although it was very badly
performed. But how could it be otherwise, the score having only arrived
in the morning from Königsberg, and the first and only rehearsal having
been held at noon! Madame _Bochmann_, who played Ariadne, declaimed
indeed very well, but was too ugly for the part.” A young Englishman,
who sat next to me, said, that, he did not think Theseus to blame
for forsaking such an Ariadne. And upon this, he related to me the
following anecdote. At an amateur theatre in England, Ariadne was also
given. A rather elderly and anything but beautiful lady played the part
of Ariadne so excellently, that the audience broke out into applause
at the end of the piece. She modestly disclaimed the applause, saying:
“In order to represent Ariadne well, it was necessary to be both young
and handsome.” A young man, who wished to say something clever to her,
cried out: “O, Madam, you prove the contrary!”

Herr _Eck’s_ concert on October 16. at the Theatre, went off
brillantly. As I knew the pieces that my Instructor performed,
very accurately, I undertook to lead them on the first violin. The
musicians, who soon discovered how firm the young Conductor was,
followed me willingly, thereby rendering the performance of the Solo
player much easier; which he also thankfully acknowledged. Besides
the three pieces played by Herr _Eck_, there was also a Symphony by
_Haydn_, an Overture by _Mozart_, a pianoforte Concerto by _Danzi_,
played by Herr _Reichel_, and two Arias of _Cimarosa_ and _Mozart_ sung
by Fräulein _Wotruba_ and Herr _Ciliax_. “The success of Herr _Eck’s_
performances was great, and the applause enthusiastic and reiterated. I
also, had never before heard him play so well in public.”

On the 20^{th} Oct. we went on to Königsberg and remained there till
Nov. 18. _Eck_ gave two concerts which were very well attended. Being
introduced into many of the first houses by letters of introduction,
we were constantly invited to dinner as well as to musical parties.
In the house of the “Surgeon-General” _Gerlach_, I often practised
music with Fräulein _Gerlach_, who was a thoroughly cultivated
dilettante, and an excellent pianiste; and who also sang my new songs.
Whether these had any artistic worth is now not to be ascertained,
for they have been lost. I sometimes played quartetts with two
Messrs. _Friedländer_. It was not however these quartett parties
alone that attracted me to their house; Fräul. _Rebecca Oppenheim_,
the younger sister of Madame _Friedländer_, had again inflamed my too
susceptible heart. She was a Jewess, and the society that frequented
the house consisted almost entirely of Jews only; but they were all
polite and educated people. The day on which I took leave, I found
Madame _Friedländer_ and Fräul. _Rebecca_ alone. The latter was
overflowing with wit and humour, and we never ceased laughing, and
jesting, although this but ill suited the purport of my visit. “It is
fortunate,” says my diary, “that we leave to-morrow, for Rebecca is a
dangerous girl! He who loves his freedom and his peace must fly from
her, and the sooner the better.”

Before Herr _Eck_ gave his first concert, the family _Pixis_ arrived
at Königsberg upon their return from St. Petersburgh. I immediately
renewed our acquaintance. The eldest brother had in the mean time grown
very tall, and his soprano voice had changed to a deep bass. But he
still dressed “_à l’enfant_ with a turn-down collar and no necktie”.
They were much dissatisfied with their journey to Russia, and the
father even affirmed that he was a thousand rubles out of pocket during
their stay in St. Petersburgh, although he had taken with him two
hundred letters of introduction.

We met at a musical party at Count _Calnheim’s_, where the youngest
played first of all some variations on the piano with great execution
and taste. The eldest then played a quartett by _Krommer_. But neither
the composition, nor his playing pleased me. “His tones”, says a remark
in my diary, “are without power, and his execution without expression.
Added to this, he handled his bow so badly, that, if he does not alter
this, he will never become a perfect virtuoso. He holds the bow a
hand’s breadth from the nut, and raises the right arm much too high.
In this manner, all strength fails him in the stroke, and the shades
of _piano_ and _forte_ vanish altogether in his playing.” After him,
Herr _Eck_ also played a quartett by _Krommer_. “But Heavens! what a
difference was there! The transitions from _forte_ to _piano_ in his
tones, the clearness of the passages, the tasteful _fioriture_ by which
he knew how to enhance the most common place composition, lent an
irresistable charm to his playing. He gained also, the most undivided
applause. _Pixis_ then played a quartett by _Tietz_, the celebrated
crazy violinist of St. Petersburgh, but had just as little success with
it as with his former one. At last, he begged Herr _Eck_ to play a duet
by _Viotti_ with him, in order that he might be able to say that he had
played with all the great violinists of the day; for _Viotti_, _Rode_,
_Kreutzer_, _Iwanovichi_, _Tietz_, _Durand_ and others, had all done
him that honour. In this request all the company joined, and Herr _Eck_
was obliged to consent. _Pixis_ played this duet best of all, although
he did not bring out _one_ of the passages as well as Herr _Eck_, who
was not at all prepared for it.”

In the Concert also, which the brothers gave, the eldest had no
success, “the passages were flat and without expression: he even played
very false, and at times scraped so much as to inflict pain on the ears
of the audience.... According to my idea, three years ago when I heard
him for the first time in Brunswick, he played the easy Concertos of
_Iwanovichi_ and others, better than the difficult ones with which he
now came forward.” Yes, I even doubted whether he ever could become a
great violinist, “unless he soon got a good master, who, of all things,
could give him a good style of bow-ing.”

Upon these doubtless too severe criticisms my Instructor who was a very
stern judge, may certainly have had some influence. When, ten years
later, I again met _Pixis_ in Vienna, he had become a distinguished
virtuoso, and as Professor at the Conservatory in Prague, he proved
himself also an able teacher of the violin.

In Königsberg, I began again to paint. I made the acquaintance of a
miniature painter, named _Seidel_, who gave me some lessons, and sat to
me. The picture was very like. My diary speaks also of composing. From
a remark about the polishing down of a Concerto, it is evident that
at that time, I did not understand how to work of a piece; in which I
afterwards succeeded so well, that, the rough draught, seldom suffered
even from slight changes, and, once written in score, it was never
altered afterwards.

For our journey to Memel, “we chose the road along the shore, being
twelve miles (German) shorter than that across the country. In winter
also, when the sand is hard frozen, it is better to drive on than the
latter. Three miles from Königsberg, the road runs close to the sea,
and does not leave it until you reach Memel. We travelled the whole
night, and suffered much from the cold and cutting sea air. Between
the fourth and fifth station we had the misfortune to have a wheel
come off. We were now obliged to quit the carriage, to right it by our
united strength, and secure the wheel temporarily with ropes. All this
may have lasted a full half hour, and I feared I had got my fingers
frostbitten; but this I happily found to be groundless. At nine o’clock
we reached Memel, but were obliged to wait three whole hours until we
could be carried across the harbour, because the boatmen had first to
be collected from all parts of the town. Four miles farther we reached
the frontiers.”

We arrived at Mittau with a large addition to our number; for Myrrha,
without our remarking it, had brought forth nine pups, six living and
three dead. “All, excepting two, were taken away from the poor mother.”

In the families to whom Herr _Eck_ was recommended, we found the most
hospitable welcome. We were invited to dinners, suppers, musical
parties and balls; and everything was done to render our stay
agreeable. In the house of a “Collegiate-Assessor”, _von Berner_,
I played for the first time in the place and in the presence of my
teacher. It happened thus; Herr _Eck_, after having played some
quartetts with great applause, was solicited to accompany a young
Pianiste of 16 years of age, a Miss _Brandt_, who was possessed of a
surprising skill, in a Sonata of _Beethoven’s_; but he excused himself
on the plea of great fatigue. As I well knew that _Eck_ did not dare
to play any piece _at sight_, that he did not know, I offered to play
in his stead. It is true, the Sonata was wholly unknown to me, but I
trusted to my readiness in reading. I was successful; and the young
Artist, in whom probably but little confidence had been felt, was
overwhelmed with praise.

At the subsequent musical parties, I was now always solicited to play
something; and I remember that Herr _von Berner_ on my taking leave of
him, said to me with fatherly kindness: “My young friend, you are on
the right road--only keep in it! Herr _Eck_ as a Virtuoso is certainly
still above you; but you are a much better musician than he is.”

In the Governor’s house I heard a Violinist of the name of _Sogeneff_,
who at that time was very celebrated in Russia, and a serf of Prince
_Subow_. “He played variations of his own composition, which were
immensely difficult. The composition pleased me right well, but his
play, although skilful, was very raw, and offensive to the ear. Herr
_Eck_ played immediately after him, so that the difference between the
two Players was very distinctly perceptible. The play of the Russian,
was wild and without transition from _forte_ to _piano_; that of Herr
_Eck_ firm, powerful, and still, always harmonious. We heard there,
also, some Russian military singers. They were six private soldiers,
some of whom sang soprano parts. They shrieked fearfully, so much so
that one was almost obliged to stop ones ears. They are practised in
singing by a non commissioned Officer, cane in hand. In some songs they
accompanied themselves on sort of Schalmey of so piercing a tone, that
I expected the ladies would have fainted away. The Melodies of the
songs were not bad, but accompanied by a great deal of false harmonics.”

At a club in the house in which we lived, I was invited to a card
party “with three Excellencies, but was obliged to pay dearly for the
great honour, for I lost more than three thalers in a few hours.”

Our departure for Riga was put off until December the second, on
account of Herr _Eck’s_ recurring indisposition. I spent my evenings at
the houses of Herr _von Berner_ and _von Korf_, in turn, and constantly
practised with Fräulein _Brandt_. We played through the whole store
of sonatas with violin accompaniment, and many of the masterpieces of
_Mozart_ and _Beethoven_ were thus brought under my notice for the
first time. After supper we chatted for an hour, or Frau _von Korf_
played at chess with me, a game which from my childhood, I had been
passionately fond of.

Herr _von Berner_, who had become attached to me, invited me to pass
some months with him in the country, upon my return from Petersburgh;
and then to give some Concerts about midsummer, a season in which
all the Courland nobility are assembled at Mitau. It gave me great
satisfaction to hear that I was considered far enough advanced to
appear in public as a virtuoso. I gladly consented.

It is odd that there is nothing mentioned in my diary about the
children of Herr _Berner_; for one of his daughters who afterwards
became a pupil of _Rode_, and distinguished herself as a violin player,
must already then have been very nearly grown up.

At last the hour of our departure came, and with a moved and grateful
heart I took leave of the families who had so kindly welcomed me.

In Riga, I found a letter from Brunswick, that gave me much pleasure.
I had asked permission of the Duke to dedicate my new Concerto, as
my first published work, to him; and the answer written by the Lord
Chamberlain _von Münchhausen_, brought the consent to my request. Full
of impatience to see my work appear, I begged Herr _Eck_ to write to
_Breitkopf & Härtel_ in Leipsic, with whom he was in correspondance,
to propose the publishing of the concerto. The reply soon arrived, but
was very discouraging to me.

For the consolation of the young Composer who can find no publisher
for his first work, the conditions upon which the above named firm
consented to undertake its publication, may be mentioned. I had myself
given up all claim to payment, and only stipulated for some free
copies. The firm required however that I should buy one hundred copies
at half the selling-price! At first my youthful Artist-pride rebelled
against such dishonourable conditions, as I deemed them. But the wish
to see the publication of the concerto so expedited, that, upon our
return to Brunswick, I might be able to present the Duke with a printed
copy; joined to the hope that he would make me a present, assisted
me to conquer my sensitiveness, and agree to the conditions. The
concerto was finished in time, and when I returned, was lying ready at
a Music-seller’s in Brunswick; but the package was not delivered to me
before I had paid for the hundred copies.

In Riga, Herr _Eck_ had a quarrel with the Society of Musical
Dilettanti there. Being in possession of the Concert room; they
required from him, as from all foreign artists, that he should first
perform in their concert, for which they were ready to give him up
the room and orchestra, for his own concert afterwards. Herr _Eck_
refused to comply with these conditions and would rather give up his
own concert altogether. This made the company more compliant; and
they declared themselves satisfied, if he would agree to play in no
other concert than theirs, after his own. He consented to this, on the
condition that they would be silent about it beforehand: because he
had been told that the subscribers to the dilettanti concerts would be
unwilling to pay for an extra-concert, if they were sure of hearing the
foreign Artist in the former. Silence, however, was not kept, and the
consequence was that Herr _Eck’s_ concert was badly attended. Angry at
this, he now demanded the sum of fifty ducats for his appearance in
their concert, as a remuneration for the loss which their gossiping
had caused him. The gentlemen directors, feeling in some degree that
they had been wrong; after long debating, agreed to pay thirty ducats.
Herr _Eck_, however, stood by his first demand. The gentlemen now
threatened to make the police compel him to appear; and he was actually
summoned before the Chief of the police. But he succeeded in winning
him over to his cause, and the gentlemen directors were dismissed,
with their charge. At last, upon the day of the concert, after the
bills parading forth the name of Herr _Eck_, had been posted up at the
corners of the streets, they vouchsafed to grant the required demand;
but they were not a little surprised at the declaration of Herr _Eck_,
that, now, after having been summoned before the police he would not
play at all, not even for double the sum demanded. All their threatning
and storming was of no avail; they were obliged to give their concert
without him. “I was there,” says the diary, “and much enjoyed the
fermentation that prevailed among the dilettanti. Nothing but Herr
_Eck_ and his refusal were spoken of; but nobody said one single
word in his favour; all were too much annoyed at their disappointed
expectations. The concert went off badly. A virtuoso on the flute, from
Stockholm, who first played an old fashioned concerto by _Devienne_
in place of Herr _Eck_, pleased as little as a dilettante from St.
Petersburgh, who executed a concerto for the piano by _Mozart_, in a
most schoolboy-like manner.”

_Eck_, had however won the good will of the Director of the police,
by having offered to give a concert for the benefit of the Nikolai
Asylum for the poor. _Meirer_, the Director of the Theatre, gave the
house gratis, and Messeurs _Arnold_ and _Ohmann_, as well as the ladies
_Werther_ and _Bauser_ gave their vocal services. The Musical Society
did all they could to put a stop to it; but in vain. “Immediately upon
his appearance Herr _Eck_ was received with the liveliest applause,
which was still more increased after he had played. The proceeds, after
deducting the expenses, amounted to more than a hundred ducats, which
were handed over to the cashier of the Asylum; but a gift of one
hundred ducats from the nobility present was also made to Herr _Eck_,
and the next morning, fifty more followed from several rich merchants,
who did not wish to be behindhand in generosity.”

Among the many invitations, one is also mentioned in the diary, to the
house of the rich sugar baker _Klein_, who “kept no less than three
tutors for his children”--a German, a Frenchman and a Russian.

On the seventeenth of December we quitted Riga. In Narwa the governor,
a great lover of music, who had seen from the _Paderoschna_, which we
were obliged to deliver up at the gate of the town, to be examined,
what a celebrated _Artist_ was passing through, invited us immediately
for the evening. “Our excuse, that we could not appear in our
travelling clothes, was not accepted. The governor sent his state
carriage, and we were carried off half by force. The embarrassment at
finding ourselves all at once in the midst of a brilliant society, clad
in travelling costume, very soon wore off after the friendly welcome
and obliging politeness of those present, and we passed a pleasant
evening. At one o’clock when the party broke up, we found our carriage
with post-horses ready before the door, and set out immediately.

But, between Narwa and St. Petersburgh, one misfortune after the other
occured to us. Two stations on this side of St. Petersburgh, we were
persuaded to place our carriage upon a sledge. But hardly had we driven
half an hour in it, when the cords with which it was fastened, broke,
and we could get on no farther. The postillion was obliged to get some
peasants from the neighbouring village to help us. After the job was
done, they made us understand by signs that we were to pay them five
rubles. Very angry at this shameful demand, we refused to give so much,
but as they shewed the intention of cutting the cords with which they
had bound the wheels, with their axes; and as we saw that we could not
contend against the crowd of wild looking fellows who by degrees had
surrounded our carriage, we were obliged to comply with the demand.

“After a halt of more than an hour we were at last enabled to proceed;
but it was not long before we stuck fast in the snow, and it was only
by the help of several peasants whom we called to assist us, that we
were able to extricate ourselves. We now found that in the deep snow,
the sledge hindered more than it served us, and we had the carriage
taken off. After this was done, and paid for, we were enabled to
proceed; but again seven times did we stick fast, so that no less
than sixteen hours were necessary to accomplish this post of three
miles. As we came nearer to St. Petersburgh we found the roads better,
and were also driven faster. At last, Wednesday the 22. at nine in
the evening, we arrived; after being six days and five nights upon
the road. The last part of the journey from Narwa to St. Petersburgh
is dreadfully uniform and tiresome. The perfectly straight road cut
through the fir forests, with the party coloured Werst-stones, each
exactly like the other, are enough to weary the most patient! Seldom
only does the endless forest open, to disclose a few buildings, or a
miserable village. The houses, or rather the huts of these villages,
have for the most part, one room only, with a window a foot square. In
this room, men and animals live together quite peaceably. The walls
consist of unhewn beams laid upon each-other, the crevices being filled
up with moss. It cannot certainly be very warm in these holes; but the
inhabitants do not seem to care for that; for I saw children and grown
up people running about in their shirts, and barefoot in the snow. The
poorer and more wretched the objects appear during the journey, the
more surprising is the magnificent St. Petersburgh and its palaces.....
We descended at the _Hôtel de Londres_, and immediately engaged a
guide, without whom one cannot be here even for one day; for as soon as
the stranger is shown his room, not a soul troubles himself about him
any farther.”

In St. Petersburgh, I was at first quite left to myself. This would
therefore have been the most favorable opportunity for me to look round
that splendid city. But the extreme cold, which already exceeded twenty
degrees, would not permit of this. I therefore continued to work with
my usual diligence, and indeed with increased zeal, for the period
of Herr _Eck’s_ instruction was more than half elapsed.--Through a
member of the Imperial orchestra we were introduced into the “Citizen
Club,” and there made the acquaintance of almost all the celebrated
_artistes_ and scholars then in St. Petersburgh. Among others, my diary
mentions _Clementi_, his pupil _Field_, the violinist _Hartmann_, the
first violin of the Imperial orchestra, _Remi_, also a member of the
orchestra, _Leveque_, the son of the leader in Hanover, and director of
an orchestra of serfs belonging the senator _Teplow_, _Bärwald_ from
Stockholm, the hornist _Bornaus_, and others.

_Clementi_, “a man in his best years, of an extremely lively
disposition, and very engaging manners,” liked much to converse with
me “(in French, which from my great practice in St. Petersburgh I
soon spoke pretty fluently)” and often invited me after dinner to
play at billiards. In the evening, I sometimes accompanied him to
his large pianoforte warehouse, where _Field_ was often obliged to
play for hours, to display the instruments to the best advantage
to the purchasers. The diary speaks with great satisfaction of the
technical perfection and the “dreamy melancholy” of that young artist’s
execution. I have still in recollection the figure of the pale,
overgrown youth, whom I have never since seen. When _Field_, who had
outgrown his clothes, placed himself at the piano, stretched out his
arms over the keyboard, so that the sleeves shrunk up nearly to his
elbows, his whole figure appeared awkward and stiff in the highest
degree; but as soon as his touching instrumentation began, everything
else was forgotten, and one became all ear. Unhappily, I could not
express my emotion and thankfulness to the young man otherwise than by
a silent pressure of the hand, for he spoke no other language, but his
mother tongue.

Even at that time, many anecdotes of the remarkable avarice of the
rich _Clementi_ were related, which had greatly increased in latter
years when I again met him in London. It was generally reported that
_Field_ was kept on very short allowance by his master, and was obliged
to pay for the good fortune of having his instruction, with many
privations. I myself experienced a little sample of _Clementi’s_ true
Italian parsimony, for one day I found teacher and pupil with up turned
sleeves, engaged at the washtub, washing their stockings and other
linen. They did not suffer themselves to be disturbed, and _Clementi_
advised me to do the same, as washing in St. Petersburgh was not only
very expensive, but the linen suffered greatly from the method used in
washing it.

Of all the acquaintances I made in the Citizen’s Club, none were dearer
to me than my young friend _Remi_. The diary speaks of him immediately
after our first meeting, as a “polite and charming young Frenchman.”
The same enthusiasm for art, the same studies and the same inclinations
bound us yet closer to each-other. We met every day at dinner at the
Citizen’s Club, when I was not invited out with my Instructor; and
when in the evening there was no Opera or Concert in which _Remi_ was
engaged, we played duets, of which _Remi_ possessed a great collection,
till late in the night. There were many evenings in that cold winter
on which the Theatre was closed; for by an _ukas_ of the benevolent
Emperor _Alexander_, all public amusements were forbidden when the
cold should exceed seventeen degrees, in order that the coachmen and
servants might not be exposed to the danger of being frozen to death.
And during that winter, the cold often remained at above seventeen
degrees for a fortnight together. That was a dull, monotonous time for
foreigners. But foreign _artistes_, were still worse off, for they
were unable to give their concerts. When the cold fell below seventeen
degrees there were notices innumerable; but they were often obliged to
be recalled on the following day. Herr _Eck’s_ public concert was also
postponed till March 6. O. S. after having been announced more than
once. In the mean time however, he played twice at Court at the private
Concerts of the Empress, and pleased so much, particularly the second
time, that the Empress had him engaged as solo player in the Imperial
Orchestra at a salary of 3500 rubles.

The less frequently operas and concerts took place in the cold months
of January and February, the more diligently I attended them, in order
to become more nearly acquainted with the native and foreign talent. I
also saw and heard _Tietz_ the celebrated crazy violin player. He was a
man of about forty years of age, with a ruddy complexion, and pleasing
exterior. His appearance in no wise showed his insanity. We therefore
were the more astonished when he addressed every one with the question,
“My most gracious monarch, how are you?” He then related to us a long
affair in which was but little evidence of sanity; complained bitterly
about a malicious sorcerer, who, jealous of his violin playing had so
bewitched the middle finger of his left hand that he could no longer
play; but at last expressed the hope that he would still be able to
conquer the spell--and so forth. On taking leave of us he fell upon
his knees before Herr _Eck_, kissed his hand, before the latter could
prevent it, and said, “My most gracious Monarch, I must do homage to
thee and thine art, upon my knees!”

Four months later, in the beginning of May 1803, all St. Petersburgh
rang with the sudden news that _Tietz_, whom the Russians in their
blind patriotism regarded as the first violinist in the world, and who
on account of his madness had not played for six months, had suddenly
commenced again. _Leveque_ related the nearer particulars to me.
_Tietz_ had been invited to a musical party at the Senator _Teplow’s_,
but had refused to play in spite of all entreaty; Herr _Teplow_, much
annoyed, sent away the orchestra saying, “Then I also will never again
hear music!” This made so deep an impression upon _Tietz_ that he
said, “most gracious Monarch, have the orchestra recalled; I will play
a symphony to their accompaniment.” This took place, and having once
began, he played quartets until two o’clock in the morning. The next
day the amateurs assembled in his house and he played again. This gave
me the hope of hearing him also, and on that account I hastened to him
on May the second (20. April). Many amateurs were once more assembled
there, who again beseiged him with requests to play; this time however
in vain. He was not to be moved, and I afterwards heard that some one
had been of the party whom he did not like.

On the eighteenth of May I took my new duet and my violin, and went
again to Herr _Tietz_, whom I this time found alone. It did not require
much to persuade him to play the duet; but he would not take the primo.
We had hardly ended, when Herr _Hirschfeld_, hornist in the Imperial
orchestra, and others with whom I was unacquainted, came in. Herr
_Tietz_ begged me to repeat the duet, and it appeared to please not
him alone, but also the others. Herr _Tietz_ now opened a quartet by
_Haydn_, and required me to take the first violin. He himself took the
violoncello part. As the quartet was known to me, I did not refuse.
It was pretty well executed, and Herr _Tietz_, as well as the others
present, overwhelmed me with praises. _Tietz_ played the secondo of
my duet, which is not easy, without faltering and perfectly clean,
executing the cantabile passages with taste and feeling. The passages
which, according to the old method, he played with rebounding bow,
pleased me less.

On the 23^{rd} May, we met _Tietz_ at the weekly evening concert of the
Senator _Teplow_, where a pianiste named Madame _Meier_ appeared, and
played a piano concerto of her own composition, which was not bad. Then
_Eck_ and I followed with a concerto of his brother’s, which we had
been closely practising for the previous fortnight. At the beginning, I
was nervous, and played the first solo not so well as at home; but it
soon went on better, particularly in the last parts.

Herr _Tietz_ now produced a concerto of his own composition, the
Allegro and Rondo of which he played twice, possibly because the first
time did not please him. As he never had practised since his madness,
it may be readily conceived that technical firmness was wanting in his
play. The difficult passages also, were executed very much better the
second time. Into all the three parts, he introduced cadences in the
old style, improvising them; they were in themselves very pretty, but
sounded quite different the second time.

The diary closes with the remark, “though _Tietz_ indeed is not a
great violinist, much less the greatest in the world as his admirers
maintain, he is undoubtedly a musical genius as his compositions prove.”

The best violinist then in St. Petersburgh was, without doubt,
_Fränzel_ junior. He had just come from Moscow where he had been
engaged for six concerts at three thousand rubles. His attitude in
playing displeased me. The diary says:

“He holds the violin still in the old manner, on the right side of
the tail piece, and must therefore play with his head bent...... To
this must be added that, he raised the right arm very high, and has
the bad habit of elevating his eyebrows at the expressive passages. If
this is not unpleasant to the majority of the listeners it is still
very disagreeable for a violinist to see...... His playing is pure and
clean. In the Adagio parts, he executes many runs, shakes, and other
fioriture, with a rare clearness and delicacy. As soon however as he
played loud, his tone is rough and unpleasant, because he draws his bow
too slowly and too near to the bridge, and leans it too much to one
side. He executed the passages clearly and purely, but always with the
middle of the bow, and consequently without distinction of piano and

I heard another celebrated violinist, Herr _Bärwald_, afterwards leader
in Stockholm. As he came forward to play the concerto of _Viotti_
(A-sharp) he was already applauded, before he had sounded a note.

This, together with his good bearing and his excellent manner of
managing his bow, raised my expectation very high, and it was with the
greatest impatience that I awaited the end of the _Tutti_. But how was
I disappointed on hearing the solo! His playing was indeed clean and
accomplished, but still so sleeply and monotonous, the passages so flat
and drawn out, that I would have much preferred the false but still
fiery playing of _Pixis_. He introduced, and played an Adagio of his
father’s composition, something better, and thus somewhat reconciled
me again. After him, one Herr _Palzow_, a man celebrated for his
theoretical knowledge, played a concerto of his own composition, on a
piano with a flute attachment. Well and scientifically as the concerto
was worked out, it pleased neither me nor the others listeners, on
account of its length and monotony. The tones also of the strings and
of the flute had together a very bad effect.

I also wrote my opinion of _Fodor_, the then celebrated violinist
and composer. I heard him in the concert of the “Nobility’s, or
Musical club,” where however everything was very unmusical; for the
elite assembled there, “not to listen, but to chat and walk about in
the saloon.” At first a fine symphony by _Romberg_, (_C_-sharp) was
extremely well executed. Then Signor _Pasco_, first tenorist of the
Italian theatre, sang an aria so charmingly, tastefully and tenderly,
that it actually became somewhat more quiet in the saloon. Herr _Fodor_
now followed with a concerto of his own composition, which however
appeared to me worse than those I already knew. His playing also did
not please me. He played indeed in a pure and rather accomplished
manner, but without warmth and taste. In the passages he also played
with rebounding bow, which soon became unbearable. Madame _Canavassi_,
prima donna of the Italian opera who before had not pleased me on the
stage, sung this time so beautifully, that I must confess to having
wronged her.

During Lent, the Greek church allowing no theatrical representations,
the Intendancy of the Court theatre gave two grand concerts weekly in
the Steiner theatre, in which, only virtuosi of the Imperial orchestra
performed, among whom Herr _Eck_ was now reckoned. The best whom I
had the opportunity of hearing there were the violinist _Hartmann_,
_Jerchow_ and _Remi_, the violinist _Delphino_, the hautboyist
_Scherwenka_, and the hornist _Hirschfeld_.

In the first concert, the orchestra consisted of thirty six violins,
twenty bass and double set wind instruments. Besides these the choruses
were supported by forty hornists from the Imperial orchestra, each
of whom had only one single note to blow. They served in place of an
organ, and gave the chorus, the notes of which were divided among them,
great firmness and strength. In several short soli, their effect was
ravishing. Before the orchestra, were the Court singers, men and boys,
about fifty in number, all in red uniform embroidered with gold. After
the first part of _Sarti’s_ oratorio, _Remi_ played a violin concerto
by _Alday_ with much success. “After the concert as we drove home, he
asked me for my opinion of his playing. As truth alone should be spoken
between friends I did not withold from him that: clean and pure as his
playing was, I had yet missed the shades of forte and piano, expression
in the cantabile, and a sufficiency of vigour in the passages. He
thanked me for my candour and declared that he had been particularly
embarrassed that day, at having to appear in Herr _Eck’s_ place, the
latter having previously been advertised for this concerto.”--After
the second part of the oratorio, Signor _Delphino_ played a violin
concerto. As his playing was much extolled I had expected more from
him. “He played without taste, and not once perfectly clean.”

The Italian singers appeared in the second concert, and the French in
the third. Among the first, Signor _Pasco_ and Madame _Canavassi_,
already mentioned, distinguished themselves. Among the French there
were only two, _M. St. Leon_ and the celebrated _Phyllis Andrieux_, who
could lay claim to be called singers; they had charmed all Petersburgh
by their correct and pleasing singing, their skilful and graceful
acting, and their personal beauty. There was especially a Polonaise
with which the latter fascinated everybody, and which was always
encored. The beginning of it is found in my diary as follows:


Between the first and second part of this concert, the Imperial
hornists executed an ouverture by _Gluck_, and with a rapidity and
exactness which would have been difficult for stringed instruments,
how much the more so then for hornists, each of whom blew only one
tone! It is hardly to be believed that they performed the most rapid
passages with the greatest precision, and I could not have conceived it
possible, had I not heard it with my own ears. But as may be imagined,
the Adagio of the ouverture made a greater effect than the Allegro; for
it always remains somewhat unnatural to execute such quick passages
with these living organ pipes, and one could not help thinking of the
thrashings which must have been inflicted.

These concerts, with the exception of one in which Herr _Eck_ played
and Mademoiselle _Phyllis_ sang, were but little frequented; for which
reason the managers soon discontinued them.

On the other hand a performance of _Haydn’s_ “Seasons” which was given
for the benefit of a widow’s fund, (also during Lent,) was very well
attended. Baron _Rall_, one of the projectors invited me also to take
part. I therefore shared in all the orchestra rehearsals, and in these,
as well as in the performance, played with M. _Leveque_, the same
part. The orchestra was larger than any I had yet heard. It consisted
of seventy violins, thirty bass, and double set wind instruments. The
whole therefore was something very grand, and my diary mentions it with
delight; as also of the work itself, which I then heard for the first
time, although I estimated the “Creation” _yet higher!_

My playing thus with _Leveque_, had increased our friendship, and I
learned from him that, during the summer he intended to visit his
parents in Hanover. We therefore agreed to make the voyage to Lübeck in
the same vessel.

As my new friend now visited me oftener, I played my new violin
concerto to him, and expressed my wish, to hear it with the orchestra
before I sent it to the publisher. _Leveque_ immediately offered to
study it with his orchestra, took the parts with him, and invited me to
a rehearsal some days later.

“I was in great agitation now that I was about to hear my own
composition with full orchestra for the first time. The Tutti were
well studied, and from this I could calculate how, in every part, the
effect I intended would be brought out. The most of them satisfied me,
some even surpassed my expectation...... But I was the less pleased
with my own play. All my attention being fixed on the accompaniment, I
played much worse than I did at home. I therefore begged permission of
Mr. _Leveque_ to try the concerto once more at the end of eight or ten
days, when I should have received the copy; this permission he readily

The following appears later: “I got the copy of my concerto yesterday,
for which I was obliged to pay eight silver rubles. I could have had
six concertos copied for a like sum in Germany.”

The work was again tried from the new-copied parts. I was much calmer
than the first time, and played therefore much better. It was also
better accompanied than before, and therefore more effective. _Leveque_
declared himself very well satisfied. “I therefore hastened home,
packed up my concerto and took it, together with a letter, to the post.
I there heard to my great amazement, that there was no parcel’s post
in Russia by which one can send things out of the country, and that
if I would send it as a letter I should have to pay at least fifty
rubles.” I therefore took it back in order to send it by sea by the
next opportunity.

I have mentioned the Imperial hornband, each member of which had only
one note to play. On the twelfth of January, the Russian Newyear,
upon which day the Emperor, as usual, gave a grand masquerade in the
Winterpalace, for which twelve thousand tickets were issued, I found
the said band joined with the usual Ball-orchestra, and I heard a music
such as till then I had no idea of. “The accompaniment of this hornband
gave a fullness and harmony to the orchestra such as I have never
heard. Several Horn-Soli, produced a most enchanting effect. It was
long before I could tear myself away from this place.”

In another saloon opposite the Throne-room, the Imperial family,
surrounded by the Court, were dancing. But as this part of the saloon
was cut off from the rest by a wall of gigantic grenadiers with high
bearskin caps, and as I, inspite of my fair allowance of inches, could
not even peep over the shoulders of these giants, I was unable to
see much of the Imperial state, and of the diamonds of the ladies.
I therefore passed on, and entered the third and most beautiful of
the saloons. It is entirely of polished marbles, the walls white,
the pillars violet, and the window frames blue. The lights mirrored
themselves a thousandfold in the polished stone. The whole building was
lighted by twenty thousand wax tapers.

“After wandering several times through the apartments, and having gazed
at all the magnificence, I tried to find Herr _Eck_ again, he having
been separated from me in the beginning of the evening. Among the
twelve thousand present this was however a vain attempt. I now guessed
that he had gone direct home, and not finding our servant in the place
where he had been desired to wait, confirmed me still more in this
idea. I therefore thought it best to proceed home, also, and hoped,
thoroughly warmed as I was, to be able to go the short distance to our
hotel without a cloak, although the cold had increased to twenty four
degrees. But hardly had I reached the square before the Winterpalace,
on the opposite side of which was our hotel, then I felt my nose and
ears stiffen, and should certainly have had them frozen, although
I rubbed them unceasingly, had I not been able to warm myself at a
large fire in the middle of the square which had been lighted for the
coachmen; before I attempted the other half of the way. Unluckily,
however, Herr _Eck_ had not yet come home, and as he had the key to our
apartment, and the coffeeroom was already locked, I resolved to return
again. Arrived there I managed to press forward to a buffet, and warm
myself with a glass of punch. While I was observing the rich gold and
silver plate with which the room was decorated, Herr _Eck_ also came to
the buffet. Arm in arm we wandered through the magnificient rooms once
more, and then our servant with our cloaks having once more turned up,
drove off together. My friend _Remi_, to whom I related my adventure,
blamed me much for my want of precaution.”

On the 27. Feb. the so called “mad week” came to an end. It has its
name from the circumstance of the Russians allowing themselves the most
boundless extravagancies as a sort of indemnification for the ensuing
fast. “Not being allowed to taste either meat, milk, or butter for six
weeks, they cram themselves well for the last time, and give themselves
so diligently to the brandy bottle, that they do not recover their
sobriety, and in this state allow themselves every possible liberty,
thinking to atone fully for all in the following fast.--In all parts of
the town, booths are erected, in which fruit, liquors, and comfits are
sold. In others, Polichinelli, trained dogs, juggler’s tricks and other
things of the kind are exhibited. The chief delight of the Russians
during this week is sliding down the ice-mountains, most likely because
it is such a break-neck sport. Upon the Newa, and in various other
places, high scaffoldings are erected, having on one side a flight
of steps by which to ascend to the top, and on the other an incline
descending gradually to the ground. This incline is laid down with
large slabs of ice, which are joined together in the closest manner by
water poured between the interstices. Down this glass-like surface of
ice, the descent is then made in little sledges shod with steel, and
these are guided by means of a short staff held in each hand. Great
skill is required in order to keep the middle of the incline during
the extreme velocity of the descent, so as not to fall over the sides
which are protected by a slight barrier only. Four drunken Russians,
who had scarcely started, having come in contact with each other’s
sledges and being thereby brought too near the barrier, paid dearly for
their awkwardness. They fell over; two were killed upon the spot and
the others were carried away with broken limbs. But this did not in the
least disturb the enjoyment of the people, who pressed forward anew in
crowds to the steps. On the 26, the Court drove out to the scene, and
remained for a long time spectators of the neck-breaking amusement.
At an evening party at _Baron Rall’s_, I met also the Governor of
Narva, who upon our passing through that town, had had us fetched
almost forcibly to his house. He enquired in a friendly manner after
my health; and added “on your return through Narva you will find the
Petersburgh gate open, but the opposite one closed, and then you must
remain my prisoner for eight days without mercy.”

“This evening, _Field_ played as well as Herr _Eck_, and in truth
wonderfully. At two o’clock, the company sat down to supper, and we did
not arrive home till past four o’clock.”

On the 5. April, my birth-day; Herr _Eck_ invited me to dine at the
Hôtel de Londres. Previous to this, availing ourselves of the fine
weather we took a walk on the Newa, the granite-faced bank of which
was the resort of the _beau monde_. The breaking up of the ice was
impatiently looked for, and heavy bets were made respecting the day
on which this would take place.--In the evening I had a great and
unexpected pleasure.

“_Remi_ had again invited me to play duetts with him, and to day I was
able to bring him a new one of my composition. After we had played
this through for the second time, he embraced me and said: You must
change violins with me, so that we may both possess a souvenir of each
other! I was overcome with surprise and joy; for his violin had long
pleased me better than my own. But as it was a genuine _Guarneri_, and
at least worth as much again as mine, I felt obliged to decline his
offer. He, however, would hear of no refusal and said: Your violin
pleases me because I have heard you play on it so frequently, and
though mine is really a better one; yet you must accept it from me as a
birth-day present! I could now no longer refuse, and overjoyed carried
my new treasure home with me. Here I would have liked but too well to
play on it all night, and feast my ears with its heavenly tones; but
as Herr _Eck_ was already gone to bed, I was obliged to let it lie
quietly in its case. Sleep, however, I could not!” On the 12. April,
_Herr Leveque_ came for me to take a walk down to the Newa. “We there
found half St. Petersburgh assembled, awaiting the breaking up of the
ice. At length, a cannon shot from the fortress announced the long
desired moment. This was also the signal for the sailors to break up
the long bridge of boats which connects Wasiliostrow with this part of
the city. This was effected in a few minutes. The ice could now float
down unimpeded, and in a short time boats were being rowed up and
down. The first of these brought over the Governor of the fortress,
who accompanied by a numerous suite and by the band of the regiment,
brings over a glass of the water of the Newa to the Emperor in his
Palace, and receives for it a present of 1000 roubles. After this, the
serf-seamen of the Crown in red uniforms row all comers to and fro
across, without charge, until the communication by the bridge of boats
is re-established between both sides of the town. After we had looked
on all this with great interest, walking up and down for some hours, we
returned home.”

On Easter-Eve, Sunday, 17. April, I was awakened by the firing of
cannon, which announced the commencement of the Festival. As the night
was very calm, every shot was heard in long repeated echoes, until
another fell upon the ear.--On Easter Sunday the Russian greets his
acquaintances with the words: “Christ is risen!” upon which the person
saluted is obliged to kiss the other. One need only go to the window,
to see people on all sides embracing and kissing each other. It was
related to me that, “the Empress Catherine was walking on the bank
of the Newa one Easter Sunday accompanied by all her Court, when a
dirty fellow, probably somewhat drunk, threw himself in her way with
the salutation: “Christ is risen” upon which in order not to violate
the holy custom, she was obliged to kiss him. But, upon a sign given
by her, he was immediately seized, and had ample time afterwards in
Siberia to repent of his boldness!”

A few weeks afterwards, I received a commission from _Breitkopf &
Härtel_ of Leipsic to write an article upon the state of Music in St.
Petersburgh for their Journal, which was published in the course of

On the 13. May, a most original popular Festival took place. Every body
who possesses either a carriage, a horse, or a sound pair of legs,
betakes himself on this day through the Riga gate to the Katharinen
Hof; where they stare at each other for a couple of hours and then
return home. I went there with _Leveque_, and must confess, that the
sight of the handsome equipages, of which there may have been at least
two thousand, together with their fashionably dressed occupants,
afforded me much amusement. Katharinen Hof is a small wood, which
considering the climate looks tolerably green. From here one has a fine
view of the sea. In the middle of the wood stands the Summer-Palace of
Peter the Great, which together with its antique furniture is still
kept up in exactly the same condition as when he lived there. It is a
very poor looking place, and more like the house of a citizen than the
Palace of a mighty Emperor. We returned home by another road, and saw
numerous fine Villas and gardens, of which there are a great number
outside this gate.

Thus amid various occupations, and short excursions to view the
magnificent City, the time of our departure drew nigh. We agreed
for our passage by sea with a Lubeck captain to whom for the voyage
inclusive of board for both of us, we paid 20 ducats. Just before we
left, we were present during the celebration of another grand Festival
which I have minutely described. It was the Jubilee commemorating the
foundation of St. Petersburgh by Peter the Great, one hundred years

On the 28. May, the whole garrison assembled on the Isaak Square
and was drawn up and commanded by the Emperor in person. In his
suite rode the whole of the General Staff, and the Ambassadors from
Foreign Courts. At ten o’clock the Empress made her appearance with
the Court, occupying some twenty magnificent carriages. The State
Carriage in which the Empress mother sat by the side of the Empress,
was covered with gilding and richly inlaid with precious stones. On
the top of the carriage was a crown of brilliants, fixed upon a purple
cushion. This state carriage was drawn by eight cream coloured horses
in silver harness, ornamented also with precious stones. The other
Court carriages which were also very handsome, were each drawn by
six horses. The Emperor rode a magnificent horse richly caparisoned,
but was otherwise dressed in a very plain uniform. In his suite was
a Turkish Prince who attracted the attention of all by the splendour
of his dress. The hilt of his sabre was covered with diamonds, and
his stirrups and spurs were of massive gold. When the cortège had
arrived in front of the Isaak’s Church, the Emperor dismounted and
led the Empress into the edifice, where the _Te-Deum laudamus_ was
immediately chaunted by the Singers of the Court. Unfortunately we
were not successful in our effort to get into the Church, as the doors
were closed immediately after the entrance of the Court. But it is
very probable that even in the interior of the building little of the
Music could be heard, for not only were all the bells set ringing, but
salvos of artillery were fired from the fortress, and by the ships
of war lying in the Newa. The Military drawn up on the Square before
the Church increased the noise yet more by the fire of musketry, and
the populace were not at all backward in shouting, so in this manner
not a single note of the Music reached us on the square. After the
Service was ended, the Court proceeded on foot through two lines of
soldiers to the Senate House. What ceremonies took place there, I was
unable to ascertain. After the space of about half an hour, the Court
resumed their places in the carriages, and the cortège returned in
the same order to the palace. In the evening the City was brilliantly
illuminated, and more so than I had ever yet seen. At nine o’clock,
_Leveque_ came to fetch me, and took me first of all to the Summer
Garden. Dark clouds hung in the sky, and threatened to extinguish the
lamps which had been but just lighted, with a heavy shower. With the
now clear nights, when it keeps so light till midnight that one can
read and write without a candle, this black sky was most welcome, for
otherwise the illumination would have been less effective. The Garden
was very brilliantly lit up. On both sides of the alleys a wooden
frame work had been raised which was thickly hung with glass lamps of
different colours. At the end of the Alleys, were seen brilliantly
illuminated triumphal arches, in the centre of which shone the capital
letters P (Peter) and A (Alexander). The whole of the Pavillions
throughout the garden were also lit up in a splendid and tasteful

But the Fortress presented a truly magic sight, as on leaving the
Garden we came on the bank of the Newa. It swam in a very sea of fire!
The granite masonry of the walls was hung with white lamps, the pillars
and the cornice of the entrance gate with red, and the sentry boxes on
the top of the ramparts with blue. The graceful tower of the fortress
was lit up to its topmost point, and as there was no wind, there was
not even one lamp that did not burn. From the place where we stood,
the whole fairy like scene was again seen reflected in the Newa at our
feet! It was indeed an enchanting sight! But the sky grew constantly
darker and more threatening; we were therefore obliged to make haste,
in order to see other parts of the city. Near the bridge, which was
also brilliantly illuminated, we saw a large ship hung with lamps up
to the very tops of the masts, between which countless streamers were

The streets which radiate from the Admiralty in the form of a fan,
many of which are above two miles in length, were lit up as light
as day, and presented a magnificent sight, with the merry crowds
streaming through them in their gayest attire. Among the Public
Buildings which were richly decorated with transparencies and devices,
the Admiralty was especially conspicuous. Some private houses also,
exhibited transparencies, among others that of the Grand Chamberlain
_Narischkin_; in which, Mars, accompanied by the allegorical figures
of Wisdom and Justice, crowned the letters P. and A., the first of
which had beneath it the Inscription: _Gloire du premier Siècle_,
and the last: _Gloire du second Siècle_!--We now followed the stream
of the multitude, which pressed forward to the Summer Garden where a
display of Fire Works was to take place. But we had scarcely reached
the Arcades of the Winter Palace, when a sudden torrent of rain put
an end at once to the splendour of the scene, and St. Petersburgh but
a few minutes before brilliant as with the light of day, was shrouded
in Egyptian darkness! Under the Arcades of the Square where we had
taken shelter, was the only place that remained illuminated. This
circumstance procured for us a curious and amusing spectacle. The mass
of people all dressed in their various coloured Sunday attire, who were
flying home out of the Summer Garden, were obliged to pass in review
before the place where we stood, and dripping with rain they presented
a comical sight enough. Some women had drawn their dresses over their
heads in place of umbrellas; others, trusting to the darkness, had
even taken off their shoes and stockings to save them, and waded by
barefooted, not a little discomposed at being obliged to pass by a
place lit up so brightly, and filled with laughing spectators. At
length after about an hour, the rain ceased, and we now could also
return to our homes. On the 1. June, (20. May) I packed up my last
things and then went to take leave of my friends and acquaintances. The
parting from my kind friend _Remi_, was very painful, and cost us both
many tears. He promised in a few years to pay me a visit in Germany. My
leave taking from my Instructor to whom I owed so much, was a very sad
one, and the more so, that for some time past he had again been very
unwell, and I therefore feared I should never see him again!

This fear was but too well grounded; we never saw each other more!
Respecting his subsequent and in part highly romantic fate, I have
learned the following, but cannot pledge myself for its entire truth,
since I derived it for the most part from hearsay.

At the time I left St. Petersburgh, _Eck_ had entered upon a love
affair with a daughter of a Member of the Imperial Orchestra, but
without the least notion of marrying the girl. Shocked at such levity,
I thought it my duty to caution the parents. I did so; but my warning
was received with coldness and disbelief. Some months afterwards, when
the visits of Herr _Eck_ had suddenly ceased, the daughter confessed
with tears that she had been seduced by him, and that she already
felt the consequences of it. Her mother, a resolute woman, succeeded
in obtaining an audience of the Emperor; threw herself at his feet,
and implored the restitution of her daughter’s honour. The Emperor
consented. In true Russo-Imperial style he offered Herr _Eck_ the
choice: either to marry his sweetheart within twenty four hours, or
prepare for a promenade to Siberia. Herr _Eck_ naturally chose the
former. That a marriage sprung out of such circumstances would soon
become a hell upon earth, may easily be imagined. _Eck_, whose health
had been already greatly shattered by his former excesses, could not
long endure the effects of the daily recurring matrimonial discords.
He lost his senses, and soon became so furious, that the mother in
law was again obliged to entreat the Emperor’s assistance. He granted
a dissolution of the marriage; gave the wife a pension, and ordered
the husband to be sent under proper care to his brother, at Nancy.
The selection of the man to whom the unfortunate sufferer and the sum
granted by the Emperor for the journey were entrusted, was however,
a very unluckly one, and failed in its object; for scarcely had he
arrived in Berlin with the invalid, than he declared to the Russian
Ambassor there, that the money was expended, and therefore he could
accompany his charge no farther. At the same time he laid before the
Ambassor an account of his expenses, according to which indeed, the
sum given by the Emperor was exhausted. There were however some very
extraordinary items in the account; among others, a dinner of one
hundred covers, which the lunatic had ordered without the knowledge of
his guardian, in one of the first Hotels in Riga, and which the latter
had been obliged to pay. Whether the Ambassador remained satisfied with
this account, was never known; but the Guardian disappeared all of a

In the meantime, the lunatic finding that he was no longer watched,
was seized with the desire to escape. One evening, half dressed only,
he succeeded in slipping out of his room unperceived; and as there was
a heavy fall of snow at the time, he effected his escape unperceived
through the city gate. He had already got some miles from Berlin when
he was seized by some peasants, and as they believed him to be an
escaped convict they brought him back bound to the city. At the Police
Office, the poor half frozen fugitive was soon discovered to be a
lunatic, and handed over to the Asylum for the insane. Some members of
the Court Orchestra who a few years before had known and admired the
unfortunate man in the height of his artistic career, became interested
for him. They set on foot a subscription among their colleagues and
some wealthy amateurs of the Art, and with the proceeds they sent him
under the care of a trustworthy man to his brother at Nancy. The latter
procured for him a becoming treatment in the Asylum at Strasbourg,
where he remained for several years. His misfortune then reached the
ears of his former patroness the Dowager Electress of Bavaria, who
sent him to a clergyman of Offenbach or somewhere near that place, who
devoted himself to the cure of the insane. There, it is said, if not
quite cured, he became much more composed, so that a violin could again
be placed in his hands, from which it is said he drew the most touching
melodies. After the death of the Electress he was then placed in the
Asylum for the insane at Bamberg, where, either in 1809 or 1810, he

On the 2. June (21. May) at 9 in the morning, we sailed from St.

“On passing a guard ship at the mouth of the Newa we were compelled to
show our passports, these were returned to us without charge, which
from our previous experience astonished us greatly. As the wind was
against us, the sailors were obliged to row continually, this made the
progress slow and at length very tedious; so that we were very glad
when at last we arrived at 2 o’clock at Cronstadt. We there put up at
the German eating house, the master of which had been recommended to
us for his honesty. But with all that, he retained also the thorough
bluntness, not to say rudeness of his class, for when we returned at
9 in the evening from a walk, and asked for supper, he replied with a
true north-German accent: now is no time for eating, people go to bed
now! And with that he turned his back upon us. Dumbstruck, we went
up stairs, and had already made up our minds that we must go hungry
to bed, when he at length had us called down to supper. At first we
were much inclined to refuse it; but our hunger got the better of our
sensitiveness. We went down, found a right good repast, and the host
who waited upon us himself, sought to make amends for his previous
rudeness by the most friendly behaviour.”

It was not until after some days that the wind became fair for
the farther voyage; but very soon, and for a very long time, the
“Saturn”--so our ship was called--was obliged to tack about, and on
the 14 June “we were still not far distant from the high land, which
we had already reached on the first day.” On the second day the sea
rose very high, and the passengers therefore, three women and nine men,
became all sea-sick one after the other. With me it began with a head
ache. “I felt my courage so depressed, that I bitterly repented to have
come by sea.” But on the fourth day I got better, and in a short time,
although the sea was still very rough, I felt as well as on land. It
was not so with all, for the ladies and also some of the gentlemen were
for a long time sick and invisible. _Leveque_ and I amused ourselves
meanwhile very well. We played duetts, read, wrote, and made sketches;
walked up and down the deck and ate and drank with real appetite. In
this way passed day after day. But like the others, we longed for a
fair wind, “for this eternal tacking, with which one makes but little
progress, is quite unbearable!”

On the 15 June, the wind grew fair; on the 16, it fell almost calm, and
on the 20, we had a storm. This was so violent that the ship cracked
in every timber. “I crept ill as I was, upon deck, to see the terribly
grand spectacle. I got thoroughly drenched it is true, for the waves
broke every moment over the deck, nor could I long endure above the
piercing wind and cold. But it was worth the effort, to see how the
waves like mountains, came rolling on, threatening to submerge us, how
they then suddenly seized us, lifted us high in air, and then again as
quickly let us plunge into a deep abyss! Although I had become somewhat
accustomed to this sight by the previously experienced high sea, yet
every time we made a plunge, I felt my back run cold, and should have
thought we were in great danger, had I not read the contrary in the
calm face of the captain. He gave his orders always with the same
coolness. But it was nevertheless fearful to behold how the seamen
clambered to the top of the masts, and then out upon the yards to reef
the sails. Only those who have grown up amid such perils can brave
unmoved the wild rage of the elements.”

On the 26 June, we arrived off Bornholm, a Danish island, on which
we could perceive two small towns, several villages, and a carefully
cultivated country. “The sight of the green cornfields which I had not
beheld for so long a time was particularly cheering to me.” From a
small neighbouring island “some peasants put off to us in a boat with
some fresh meat, vegetables and milk. I was particularly pleased with
the latter, for I could not at all relish the black coffee.”

“On one or two evenings, with a clear sky and calm weather, we had a
sight, such as one never sees in the same grandeur upon land, namely,
the sun set. It is impossible to describe the splendour of the ever
changing colours, with those also of the clouds scattered over the
heavens, and which were again reflected in a sea as smooth as glass;
but the impression made by this heavenly sight in the solemn stillness
of the evening, upon the whole ship-company assembled on the deck, will
never be forgotten by me. I saw the most callous among them moved by

At length on the 28 June, after a voyage of one and twenty days, the
“Saturn” cast anchor in the roads of Travemünde, and on the 5. July,
1803, I was once more in my native town Brunswick, which after my long
absence was now doubly dear to me. We arrived at 2 o’clock in the

I alighted at the Petri Gate, crossed the Ocker in a boat, and hastened
to my grandmother’s garden. But arrived there, I found both the house
and garden doors locked, and as my knocking was not heard, I clambered
over the garden wall, and laid myself down on the ground in an open
summer house at the bottom of the garden. Fatigued by the journey I
immediately fell asleep, and notwithstanding the hardness of my couch,
would probably have slept on for a long time, had not my aunts in
their morning walk in the garden, discovered me in my retreat. Greatly
allarmed, they turned back, and told my grandmother that a strange man
was lying in the summerhouse. Returning all three together, they had
courage to approach nearer, recognised me, and I was now awakened
with joyous exclamations, embraces and kisses. For some time I could
not recollect where I was; at length I recognised my dear relations,
and was overjoyed to find myself among them once more, and in the home
of my childhood. They had been very anxious about me, as owing to our
tediously long sea passage they had received no intelligence of us for
six weeks.

The first pleasing news that I heard, was, that the celebrated _Rode_
was there, and would shortly play at Court. I therefore immediately
announced my return to the Duke, in order to be permitted to attend the

I immediately closed my oft cited Diary, with the wish that “it might
often afford me a pleasing remembrance of the agreable journey.”
I was received by my Patron with the same benevolent kindness as
formerly, which was manifested also, by his gift of the remainder
of the sum furnished for my travelling expenses, which was by no
means inconsiderable, and which upon my handing in the account and
the balance, was presented to me by the Grand Chamberlain. For the
dedication of my Concerto, which I had handed to the Duke on my first
interview, I also received twenty Friedrichsd’or.[5]

[5] One Fredericks d’or (single) = 16^s 6^d English.

I now burned with the desire, to appear with this Concerto before the
Duke, in public, as a Violinist and Composer; to exhibit proofs of my
industry, and the progress I had made. But this was not to be effected
so readily, for _Rode_ had already announced a Concert to be given
in the Theatre. The idea of making my appearance so soon after that
celebrated Violinist was also a source of some anxiety to me. For the
more I heard him play, the more was I captivated with his playing.
Yes! I had no hesitation to place _Rode’s_ style of play (then still
reflecting all the brilliancy of that of his great master _Viotti_,)
above that of my Instructor _Eck_, and to apply myself sedulously
to acquire it as much as possible by a careful practice of _Rode’s_

In this I succeeded also, by no means ill, and up to the time when I
had by degrees formed a style of playing of my own, I had become the
most faithful imitator of _Rode_ among all the young violinists of that
day. I succeeded more especially in executing in his style the eighth
Concerto, the three first Quartetts, and the world famed Variations in
G-Major; in these, both in Brunswick, and afterwards on my first grand
artistic tour, I achieved great success.

Shortly after _Rode’s_ departure, the day I had so ardently wished
for arrived, on which in a Concert given by me at the Theatre, I was
to exhibit the first proofs of the artistic skill I had acquired on
my travels. Curiosity had assembled a numerous audience. From the
ready surety with which I could play not only my own Concerti, but the
other music I had practised under _Eck’s_ direction, I might have been
expected to feel no embarrassment upon my appearance. Nevertheless, I
could not wholly overcome it, when I thought, that, but shortly before,
in the very place where I stood, so great a Violinist had played
before the same audience. But I had now to put to shame my invidious
detractors, who on my setting out upon my journey had loudly asserted
that the Duke would again throw away his money upon one who would prove
incapable and ungrateful. I therefore summoned all my resolution, and
already during the Tutti of my Concerto, I succeeded in banishing
from my mind all and every thing around me, and gave myself up to my
play with my whole soul. The result, also, was a success beyond all
expectation; for already after the first Solo, a general applause broke
forth, which increased with every succeeding one, and at the end of
the Concert seemed as though it would never cease. The Duke, also, who
during the intervening pause sent for the young _artiste_ to his box,
expressed to him his full satisfaction. That day, therefore, is still
borne in my remembrance as one of the happiest of my life.

I was now appointed First Violin, in the place of a recently deceased
“_Kammermusicus_” and received the additional salary accruing to that
post, of 200 thalers. But as on account of the three months grace
allowed to his widow, this salary could not immediately commence, I was
compensated by another present of twenty Friedrichsd’or.

With my salary of three hundred thalers, and my additional evenings
I could at that time live quite respectably and free from care. I
therefore, again took my brother Ferdinand to live with me, and devoted
myself assiduously to his improvement. As I had not yet seen my parents
and brothers and sister, I went to Seesen to fetch him. While there I
received a visit from my fellow traveller _Leveque_, who was about to
return to St. Petersburgh. During the eight days we were together, we
played diligently, and my parents and musical friends of the little
town were especially delighted with the performance of my Duetts, which
we had so perfectly studied during the sea voyage.

On my return to Brunswick, I began anew my labours in composition.
I first of all completed a Violin-Concerto in E-Minor, which I had
commenced on the journey, but which remained unpublished, because it
no longer pleased me after I had adopted _Rode’s_ style of execution.
Nevertheless I played it several times with great applause in the
Winter-Concerts. At that time also, at the wish of the Violoncellist
_Beneke_, whom I frequently met at Quartett parties, I wrote a
Concertante for Violin and Violoncello with orchestral accompaniment.
Neither was this work ever published, and not even included in the list
of my compositions, as at the time I began to make that, I did not lay
my hand on it, and indeed had wholly forgotten it. Nevertheless there
must be some copy of it in existence, for I heard it once in 1817 or
1818, at a concert in Mayence given by the brothers _Gans_, afterwards
members of the Royal Orchestra at Berlin, who played it without at the
same time acknowledging it as my composition. It is true, the piece of
music seemed known to me, just as though I had heard it before; but
not until I had asked my neighbour for the programme of the concert,
and seen my name affixed to the piece, did the recollection of that
production of my youth recur to my mind. I now recollect nothing more
of it, than that it consisted of an _Adagio_ and _Rondo_, and the last
written in 6/8 time. But I can no longer remember the key.

The practise of this Concertante with _Beneke_ may probably have given
rise to the resolution we formed to make an artistic tour together,
and to Paris; where I had long desired to go. The permission for this
journey was readily obtained through the favour in which I stood with
the Duke, and so we set out upon it in January, 1804, with the most
pleasing anticipations.

We first spent some few days with my parents at Seesen, from whence we
announced our coming to Göttingen, to give our first concert there. For
the journey thither, we hired a carriage. Shortly before my leaving
Brunswick I had had a case made more worthy of the splendid Violin I
had brought from Russia, i. e. a very elegant one, and in order to
protect this from all injury, I had packed it in my trunk between my
linen and clothes. I therefore took care that this, which contained
my whole estate, should be carefully fastened behind the carriage
with cords. But, notwithstanding, I thought it necessary to look out
round at it, frequently, particularly as the driver told me that but
recently between Nordheim and Göttingen, several trunks had been cut
down from behind carriages. As the carriage had no window at the back,
this continual looking out behind was a very troublesome business, and
I was therefore very glad, when towards evening we arrived between
the gardens of Göttingen, and I had convinced myself for a last time
that the trunk was still in its place. Delighted, that I had brought
it so far in safety, I remarked to my fellow-traveller: my first care
shall now be to procure a good strong chain and padlock for the better
security of the trunk.

In this manner we arrived at the town gate, just as they were lighting
the lamps. The carriage drew up before the guardhouse. While _Beneke_
gave our names to the sergeant, I anxiously asked one of the soldiers
who stood round the carriage: is the trunk still well secured?

“There is no trunk there!” was the reply. With one bound I was out of
the carriage, and rushed out through the gate with a drawn hunting
knife. Had I with more reflection listened awhile, I might perhaps have
been fortunate enough to hear and overtake the thieves running off by
some side path. But in my blind rage, I had far overshot the place
where I had last seen the trunk, and only discovered my overhaste when
I found myself in the open field. Inconsolable for my loss, I turned
back. While my fellow-traveller looked for the Inn, I hastened to the
Police Office, and requested that an immediate search might be made in
the gardenhouses outside the gate. With astonishment and vexation I was
informed that the jurisdiction outside the gate belonged to Weende,
and that I must address my request there. As Weende was half a league
from Göttingen, I was compelled to abandon for that evening all further
steps for the recovery of my things. That these would prove fruitless
on the following morning, I now also felt assured; and I passed a
sleepless night, in a state of mind such as in my hitherto fortunate
career had been wholly unknown to me. Had I not have lost my splendid
Guarneri-violin, the exponent of all the artistic excellence I had
till then attained, I could have lightly borne the loss of the rest. A
moderate success during the tour would soon replace them. But in this
manner, without a violin, I should be compelled not only to give up the
journey, but in a certain degree recommence my study anew from the very

On the following morning the Police sent to inform me that an empty
trunk and a violin-case had been found in the fields behind the
gardens. Full of joy I hastened thither, in the hope that the thieves
might have left the violin in the case, as an object of no value to
them, and as likely to lead to their discovery. But unfortunately it
did not prove so. The bow of the violin, only, a genuine _Tourté_,
secured in the lid of the case, had remained undiscovered; everything
else, inclusive also of a sum in gold for the expenses of the journey,
had been carried off. The Music had been considered unworthy of the
thieves’ notice. It was found strewed all over the field. As my
manuscripts were among it, of which I had no copies, I was glad to have
recovered these at least.

Without money, without clothes and linen, I was now first of all
obliged to procure on credit what was most necessary, before I could
give with my fellow-traveller the concert which we had already
announced. In the meantime, I practised diligently upon a very good
violin by _Stainer_ which I borrowed of a student from Hanover, and
thus prepared, I made my first appearance out of Brunswick as an
artiste. The concert was unusually well attended. Perhaps the account
of my loss had contributed to it. The Solo performances of the two
artistes, as also together, in my Concertante, were received with
enthusiastic applause.

This it is true was very encouraging for a further prosecution of the
journey; but anxiously concerned for my reputation, I could not make up
my mind to appear publicly, before I had procured a good violin of my
own, and had carefully practised myself upon it.

As _Beneke_ was unwilling to proceed further on the journey without
me, we therefore returned to Brunswick. The intelligence of my loss
had already become generally known there. The Duke, also, had heard of
it, and in order to facilitate my purchase of a new instrument sent
me again a handsome present. With the aid of that, I purchased from
a _Herr von Hantelmann_, a distinguished amateur, the best violin
in Brunswick at that time, but I soon felt, that it could not fully
replace the one which I had lost.

In order to prepare myself well for a future journey, I again applied
myself diligently to composition. Thus I wrote the Concerto in D-Minor
which was published by _Kühnel_ of Leipsic as (Op. 2), a Potpourri upon
chosen themes (published also by the same, as Op. 5.) and a Concerto
in A-Major which has remained in manuscript. In these, as also, in some
subsequent compositions, _Rode’s_ style is predominant, from which
at a later period only, my own style and peculiar mode of execution
develloped themselves.

In this manner passed the summer of 1804. In the autumn, fully prepared
for a fresh Musical tour, I felt disposed to repair first to the German
Capitals. I much desired also to appear once in Leipsic, which through
the excellently conducted Musical Journal of _Rochlitz_ had risen to
be the Centre of Musical criticism. I therefore set out upon my second
Artistic tour on the 18. October, through Leipsic and Dresden, to

Of this journey also, a Diary exists, but which extends only to the
9. December, and then suddenly breaks off. The cause of this will be
related hereafter.

I made my first stay at Halberstadt, where I gave a public Concert, and
on the following day played at the house of Count _Wernigerode_. Among
the Musical amateurs who received me in a particularly kind manner I
must mention the Vicar of the Cathedral, _Augustin_, and the Auditor
_Ziegler_. With the latter, who was an accomplished connoisseur of
Music and an excellent pianist, I remained on terms of intimacy until
his death. I received also great attention and assistance in getting up
my Concert, from the there resident Musicians, the brother Organists
_Müller_ and _Holzmärker_, the Violinist _Glöckner_, with whom I
played my Duetts, the Bassonist _Barnbeck_, and _Clase_, the Secretary
and Musical Director of Count _Wernigerode_. I therefore passed many
pleasant days in Halberstadt.

One afternoon, “I took a walk with Herr _Holzmärker_ and one of his
friends outside the gate of the town. We visited the Klus, a mountain
on the top of which rise several isolated steep rocks, the inside of
which is excavated, and which according to the legend was the work
of robbers, who in former times took up their abode there. I could
not resist the desire to ascend one of these rocks, hazardous as
was the attempt, and earnestly as my companions dissuaded me from
it. I succeeded in reaching the summit without accident, and besides
the pleasure I felt at having effected what few had the courage to
attempt, I had that of an extensive and magnificent view. So far all
went well. But when at length I wished to descend, and looked down the
declivity, a sudden giddiness overcame me, and I was instantly obliged
to sit down to save myself from falling over the precipice. Full ten
minutes elapsed before I could summon the necessary composure to make
the descent, and it is doubtful whether I should have effected it in
safety, if the gentlemen below had not shouted to me, where to set my
feet, which I could not see to do, having my face turned towards the
rock. Trembling from the exertion and the convulsive clinging to the
rock, as well as thoroughly ashamed at having disregarded the warning
of the two gentlemen, I reached them at length, and returned with them
to the town not a little glad to have escaped uninjured from so eminent
a danger.”

On the 22. October, I gave my Concert. At the rehearsal, my Concerto in
D-Minor had made a great sensation.

“Messrs. _Ziegler_, _Müller_ and others declared to my great
satisfaction, that they had never heard a finer Violin Concerto.”

“The Concert itself began at five o’clock. The Theatre was very
empty, but the audience was composed of persons possessed of a high
intelligence of Art, as I could readily see by the deep silence and
sympathy with which my play was listened to.” Among other things, the
following were executed: A Symphony by _Haydn_; my Concerto in D-Minor;
a Concerto in D-Major by _Kreutzer_; a Polonaise by _Rode_ from the
Quartett in Es-Major. After the Concert, Count _Wernigerode_ expressed
his satisfaction to me, and invited me to a Concert at his house on the
following day, in which the third Count assisted as Clarionetist in the
orchestra. I played _Rode’s_ Concerto in A-Major and his Quartett in

“After the Concert was over, the company surrounded me and overwhelmed
me with expressions of praise. I was obliged to relate to the ladies a
great deal about St. Petersburgh.”

In Magdeburg, as artiste I also met with the most friendly reception.
Captain _von Cornberg_, Major _von Witzleben_, Regimental Quartermaster
_Türpen_, and Privy Counsellor _Schäfer_, to whom I was recommended,
exerted themselves to the utmost, both to procure a numerous audience
for me, and to make my stay as agreeable as possible. Already at my
first Concert on the 3. November, the audience was very numerous. I
played my D-Minor-Concerto, the A-Minor-Concerto of _Rode_, and the

“I succeeded right well in all, and the people seemed to be quite
carried away by my play.”

At this time I occupied myself with the remodelling of my last Concerto
but one, in E-Minor. I wrote an entirely new Adagio for it.

At a Musical party at the house of the Secretary to the Board of
Finance, _Feska_, I heard his son play in a Quartett of his own

“The Quartett,” says the Diary, “is very well worked out and evinces
great talent. As a Player he pleased me less. He is certainly not
wanting in mechanical skill, but in a finished and well regulated
handling of the bow, and therefore in a good tone, and in clearness of
the passages. Neither was his intonation always pure. Were he to study
under a good master, he might become something great.”

I went frequently to parties at the houses of the Merchants
_Hildebrandt_ and _Schmager_, of the Criminal-Counsellor _Sukrow_, and
the Privy Counsellor _Schäfer_, and “everywhere pleased much.”

“I was also invited by _Türpen_ to an interesting Musical Soirée. I
found assembled there a small but a very select company of the most
zealous friends of Music in Magdeburg. I played Quartetts by _Haydn_,
_Beethoven_, _Mozart_, and in conclusion the Es-Major-Quartett of
_Rode_. I was accompanied very well in all of them, so I that could
give myself entirely up to my feelings. The company seemed enchanted.
Herr _Türpen_ affirmed that I understood better than any one how to
render the peculiar style of each Composer. As finale, our host played
a Trio by _Mozart_, right well, on a very good pianoforte by _Blum_
of Brunswick. But he has the bad habit of drawing out the “Canto” too
much, by which he rather injures the expression than improves it.”

On the 10. November, I gave my second Concert, which was not quite so
numerously attended as the first, and in which I executed a Symphony by
_Haydn_ and my Violin-Concerto in E-Minor, I also played a Concertante
by _Eck_, with _Feska_. The remodelled E-Minor-Concerto went well. The
new Adagio appeared to please very much.

Of the other circumstances that occurred while I was in Magdeburg,
I will only mention a theatrical representation, the Author of the
Piece having made himself a name in the theatrical world by his
piquante notice “Musical Ollapodrida from Paris.” It was the first
representation of “The Female Abällino” by _Sievers_.

“Never have I read or seen enacted a more wretched piece. It is a
sorry imitation of the well known “Great Bandit,” but has neither
the exciting scenes nor the clever dialogue which made that piece a
favorite of the public. The chief personage Rosa Salviatti, who in
order to protect her lover from a conspiracy of his uncle’s, resorts to
the most romantic and absurd means, explains the reasons of her conduct
in a speech that lasts at least a quarter of an hour. The public, which
had already previously manifested signs of impatience, became so noisy
during this discourse, that the play could scarcely be concluded. At
length when the curtain fell, a general hissing and whistling broke
forth. The unfortunate Author, unappreciated as he considered he had
been in Brunswick, and who thought to achieve a triumph here, is said
to have been present in the Theatre, but made a hasty retreat before
the end of the piece.”

Respecting my stay in Halle, whither I next went, the Diary gives
but very scanty information. The more I was drawn into society by an
increased circle of acquaintances, the less pleasure I took as it
would appear, in the previous frequent freedom of style in my remarks
upon it. I may also not have had the time, as I was very careful in
preparing myself for every performance whether public or private, and
was constantly engaged in composing.

My two Concerts on the 21. and 23. November, were very well attended.
Besides my own works, I played a Concerto of _Rode_, A-Minor and the
G-Major variations.

“My play met with an enthusiastic reception.” The persons, who took a
particular interest in me, and whom I have to thank for many pleasant
hours, were the Family _Garrigues_, consisting of the father, mother,
daughter and two sons, all of them very charming, polite people;
_Lafontaine_ and his fascinating adopted daughter; _Chodowiecki_,
_Niemeier_ and _Loder_. Among the students I made the acquaintance of
some clever amateurs. One Herr _Schneider_ played well on the piano;
another, Herr _Müller_ right well on the violin. Herr _Gründler_, from
Trebnitz near Breslau, immediately took instruction from me on the

I yet remember also the following incident: Among those who were
also of assistance to me in the arrangements for my Concert was the
celebrated Counterpointist _Türk_. He directed the Academical Concerts,
one of which took place during my stay in Halle. The Opera “_Titus_”
was given as Concert-Music. The public had been already assembled
for the space of half an hour; the Orchestra had finished tuning and
awaited the signal to begin. Among the Student part of the audience,
great dissatisfaction had begun to shew itself at the delay in the
appearance of the Singer; but when he at length made his appearance,
in very unseemly dress for the occasion, in an overcoat and with dirty
boots, the general disapprobation was shewn by hissing and a shuffling
of the feet. The Singer, into whose hands the impatient Director had
already thrust the notes, stepped forward and said with a contemptuous
look: “If I do not please you as I am, why then I can go away again!”
Hereupon he threw the notes at the feet of the Director and rushed out
of the place. They ran after him to bring him back; but all in vain! I
now expected that the Concert would be postponed, or at least that all
those “Numbers” in which Titus has to sing, would be omitted. Nothing
of the kind! The conscientious Director did not allow his auditory to
go short of a single bar of the music; he knew how to help himself!

~He played upon his Grand-Piano the whole Part of Titus, Recitative,
Airs, and Concerted-pieces from the first note to the last!~ I was
astounded, and knew not whether to be vexed, or to laugh at the
singularly naive expedient. But it was made quite clear to me that
evening, that a man may be a learned Counterpointist and yet not
possess an atom of good taste!

After my arrival in Leipsic on 29. November, the Diary gives two
short notices and then remains wholly silent. The first concerns
a representation of the Opera by _Paer_: “Die Wegelagerer” (The
Way-layer); the second relates to a visit to the Drapers-Hall-Concerts.

“These Concerts”, it says, “are got up by a Society of shopkeepers.
But they are not Amateur-concerts; for the orchestra is alone composed
of professional musicians, and is both numerous and excellent. For the
Vocal part a foreign female singer is always engaged, as the Director
of the Theatre does not allow his singers to appear in concerts.
This year it is a Signora _Alberghi_ from Dresden, the daughter of a
Church-singer of that City. She is still very young, but has already
a very good method, and a clear, melodious voice. She sang two arias
with great applause. Besides that, I heard the Concert Master of the
society, Herr _Campagnoli_, play a Concerto by _Kreutzer_, extremely
well. His method, it is true, is of the old school; but his play is
pure and finished. The Room in which these Concerts are given is
exceedingly handsome, and particularly favorable to the effect of the

I had many difficulties to overcome for the arrangements of my concert.
Engrossed in the business pursuits of this commercial city, people did
not come forward to assist me with the readiness I had been hitherto
accustomed to meet, and I had much to do before every obstacle was
overcome. It annoyed me also that the wealthy merchants to whom I was
recommended appeared as yet to know nothing of my artistic reputation,
and that though politely, they received me coldly. I was therefore
exceedingly desirous to be invited to some musical party, in order
to attract notice to my capabilities. This wish was gratified; I
received an invitation to a large evening party, with the request to
perform something. I selected for the occasion, one of the finest of
_Beethoven’s_ six new Quartetts, with my performance of which I had so
frequently charmed my audience in Brunswick. But already after a few
bars, I remarked that those who accompanied me were as yet unacquainted
with this music, and therefore unable to enter into the spirit of it.
If this already annoyed me, my dissatisfaction was much more increased
when I remarked that the company soon paid no more attention to my
play. For by degrees, a conversation began, that soon became so general
and so loud that it almost overpowered the music. I therefore rose up
in the midst of my playing, before even the first Theme was concluded,
and without uttering a word, hastened to replace my violin in its case.
This excited a great sensation among the company, and the master of
the house advanced towards me with an enquiring look. I went forward
to meet him, and said aloud, so as to be heard by the company: “I have
hitherto been accustomed to find my play listened to with attention.
As that has not been so here, I of course thought the company would
prefer that I discontinued.” The Master of the house knew not what
reply to make, and retired much embarrassed. But when, after having
apologised to the Musicians for breaking off so suddenly, I shewed the
intention to take my leave of the company, the host returned and said
in a friendly tone: “If you could be persuaded to play something else
for the company more adapted to their taste and capacity you will find
a very attentive and grateful auditory.” I, who had already clearly
comprehended, that I was most to blame for what had occurred, from my
misapprehension in the choice of music for _such_ an auditory, was glad
of the opportunity to conciliate matters. I therefore willingly resumed
my violin and played _Rode’s_ Quartett in _Es_, which the Musicians
knew and therefore well accompanied. A breathless silence now reigned,
and the interest shewn in my play increased with every passage. On
the conclusion of the Quartett so many flattering things were said to
me of my play, that I was induced now to parade my hobby-horse the
G-Major-Variations of _Rode_. With this I so enchanted the company that
I became the object of the most flattering attention for the remainder
of the evening.

This incident became the subject of conversation for many days, and
was probably the cause, that the musical-amateurs whose attention had
been thereby directed to me, came even to the rehearsal of my Concert
in considerable number. At this, I succeeded so well in winning them
over to me, by the execution of my D-Minor-Concerto, that before
the evening on which my Concert was to take place they had spread a
favourable account of my performances throughout the City, and thereby
a more numerous audience was attracted than I had dared to hope. The
élite of the musical amateurs of Leipsic and a very sympathetic public
were present. I now succeeded also in awakening such an enthusiasm in
my auditory, that at the conclusion of the concert I was vehemently
solicited to give a second. This took place a week later, and was one
of the most numerously attended that had ever been given by a foreign
artiste in Leipsic. In the meanwhile, I was frequently invited to
Quartett parties, at which, after I had previously practised them with
those who were to accompany me, I obtained more particularly a hearing
for my favorites the six first of _Beethoven’s_ Quartetts. I was the
first, who played them in Leipsic, and I succeeded in obtaining a full
appreciation of their excellence by my style of execution. At these
Quartett parties I also first made the acquaintance of the Editor of
the Musical-Journal, Councellor _Rochlitz_, and from that time till his
death maintained the most friendly relations with him. _Rochlitz_ wrote
a notice of my concert in his paper.

As that Notice first established my reputation in Germany, and had an
influence upon my career in life, it may serve as apology for my verbal
citation of it in this place:

“On the 10. December, 1804, Herr _Spohr_ gave a Concert in Leipsic, and
at the solicitation of many, a second, on the 17. in both of which he
afforded us a treat such as, so far as we can remember, no Violinist
with the exception of _Rode_ ever gave us. _Herr Spohr_ may without
doubt take rank among the most eminent violinists of the present day,
and one would be astonished at his powers, more especially when his
youth is considered, were it possible to pass from a sense of real
delight to cold astonishment. He gave us a grand Concerto of his own
composition (D-Minor), which was called for a second time, and another,
also from his own pen (E-Minor). His Concerti, rank with the finest
existing, and in particular, we know of no Violin Concerto, which can
take precedence of that in D-Minor, whether as regards conception,
soul and charm, or also, in respect of precision and firmness.
His peculiarity inclines mostly to the grand and to a soft dreamy
melancholy. And so it is with his brilliant play. Herr _Spohr_ can
execute everything; but he charms most by the former. As regards, in
the first place, correctness of play in the broadest sense, it is here,
as may be presupposed, as sure fundamental principle; a perfect purety,
surety and precision, the most remarkable execution; every manner of
bow-ing, every variety of violin-tone, the most unembarrassed ease in
the management of all these, even in the most difficult passages; these
constitute him one of the most accomplished virtuosi. But the soul
which he breathes into his play, the flights of fancy, the fire, the
tenderness, the intensity of feeling, the fine taste, and lastly his
insight into the spirit of the most different Compositions, and his art
of rendering each in its own peculiar spirit make him a real Artiste.
This last faculty we have never seen possessed in so remarkable a
degree as by Herr _Spohr_, and more especially in his Quartett-playing.
It is therefore not surprising that he should please everywhere, and
scarcely leaves any other sentiment behind, than the wish to detain and
to hear him always.”

I felt exceedingly happy that moment! But it was not alone the
recognition of my merits as an artiste that infused a new life into my
whole being: it was another, a more tender feeling. I loved and was

The day after I saw and heard _Rosa Alberghi_ for the first time at the
Draper’s Hall Concert, I paid her a visit, to invite her to take part
at my concert. Both mother and daughter received me in a very friendly
manner. The former, although a resident in Germany for many years,
had not acquired one word of our language. As she also shook her head
on my addressing her in French, I was obliged to make my wishes known
to the daughter, who, educated in Dresden, spoke German fluently. She
very willingly assented to my request, and forthwith chatted with me a
child-like ingenuousness, as though we had long known each other. On my
taking leave, _Rosa_ asked me to come again soon. I had already gazed
too deeply into her brilliant dark eyes, to let her wait long for me.
And as the mother soon made me cordially welcome, I passed all my hours
of leisure at their house. I accompanied _Rosa_ in her singing practice
on the piano, to the best of my ability; assisted her in the study of
the Music sent to her by the Directors of the Concerts, and embellished
her Arias with new ornaments, at which she always evinced a really
child-like pleasure. In this manner, without our perceiving it, our
relations became constantly more tender. The notes in my Diary on this
subject had however come to a stop, nor were they afterwards resumed.
_Rosa_ now sang in my second Concert, and as her engagement in Leipsic
was drawing to a close, and that she was about to return to Dresden,
she offered also to sing in my concerts there.

I now therefore, left for Dresden, furnished with high recommendations.
A letter from _Rosa_ introduced me to her father, who received me in
the most friendly manner. He, with some members of the Dresden Royal
Orchestra, namely the brothers _Röthe_ assisted me in the arrangements
for my concert, and thereby made an always unpleasant business much
lighter for me.

_Rosa_ returned to Dresden a few days before the concert, and sang in
it with her father. The success which my play and compositions met
with, was even more brilliant than in Leipsic. As there, also, I was
invited on all sides to give a second concert. While I was making
arrangements for this, I was advised to announce myself also at Court,
as from the sensation which my Play had made, there could be no doubt
of a favourable result.

But, when I was informed, that the Court-Concerts took place during
Dinner and that no exception to the rule was made in favour of foreign
artistes, my youthful Artistic pride kindled with indignation at the
idea that my Play would be accompanied by the clatter of plates; so
that I immediately declined the honour, of playing at Court.

My second Concert was extremely well attended, and the applause almost
greater than at the first.

I now thought of my departure for Berlin, but could not make up my mind
to it; for the parting from my beloved _Rosa_ seemed too painful to
think of. When, on a sudden, her father surprised me with a proposal
which still further delayed the dreaded parting. He said, that he had
long wished his daughter should appear in Berlin, and if I had no
objection to give some concerts there together with her, as he was
himself unable to obtain leave of absence, his wife should accompany
her on the journey.

To this proposal with joy I acceded and immediately began to make every
preparation for our departure. As the journey by Coach, was considered
too fatiguing for the ladies, we hired a carriage together. I sat
opposite to my beloved one, and complained neither of the slowness
of our progress nor the length of the journey. Arrived in Berlin, we
found apartments all ready for us in the same house, which my former
Instructor _Kunisch_, now a member of the Berlin Royal Orchester,
had provided for us upon receipt of a letter from me announcing our
coming. The latter, not a little proud to introduce the young Artiste
as his former Pupil, procured for me the acquaintance of the most
distinguished artistes of Berlin, and was also of great assistance to
me in making arrangements for a concert, which nevertheless owing to
the great number of persons then giving concerts, was obliged to be
postponed for some time.

Meanwhile I delivered my letters of recommendation, and thereupon was
invited to some Music parties. I first played at _Prince Radziwill’s_,
himself well known as a distinguished Violoncellist, and talented
Composer. I there met _Bernhard Romberg_, _Möser_, _Seidler_,
_Semmler_, and other distinguished artistes. _Romberg_, then in the
zenith of his fame as a Virtuoso, played one of his Quartetts with
Violoncello obligato. I had never yet heard him, and I was charmed with
his play. Being now solicited to play something myself, I thought that
to such Artistes and Connoisseurs I could offer nothing more worthy
than my favorite Quartetts of _Beethoven_. But again I soon remarked
that, as at Leipsic, I had committed an error; for the musicians of
Berlin knew as little of those Quartetts as the Leipsickers, and
therefore could neither play nor appreciate them. When I had finished,
they praised my play, it is true, but spoke very disparagingly of what
I had performed. _Romberg_, even, said very bluntly: “But dear _Spohr_,
how can you play such stuff as that?” I was now quite doubtful of my
own taste, when I heard one of the most famous artistes of the day
express such an opinion of my favorites. Later in the evening when
again asked to play, I selected as I had done in Leipsic, _Rode’s_
Es-Major-Quartett, and was gratified by a similar favourable result in
this instance.

The second Music-party, to which also my fellow-travellers were
invited, was at Prince Louis Ferdinand’s of Prussia. We drove there
together, and were received by the host in the most courteous
manner. We there found a brilliant circle of decorated gentlemen
and fashionably dressed ladies, as also the principal artistes of
Berlin. I met there, also, a former acquaintance of Hamburgh, the
celebrated Pianist-Virtuoso and Composer _Dussek_, who was now
Instructor to the Prince, and resided in his house. The music commenced
with a Piano-Quartett, which was executed by him with real artistic
brilliancy. It was now my turn. Made wise by my recent experience, I
only selected such compositions, as I could shine in as Violinist,
namely: a Quartett, and the G-Major-Variations of _Rode_. My play met
with the most enthusiastic applause, and _Dussek_ in particular, seemed
delighted with it. My loved _Rosa_, also won general admiration by her
execution of an aria, in which she was accompained by _Dussek_ on the

After the conclusion of the music, the Prince offered his arm to one
of the Ladies present, and led the company who at a sign from him had
done the same, to the dining room, where a splendid supper had been
laid out. Each gentleman without ceremony took his place by the side of
his lady; and I by the side of my dear fellow-traveller. At first the
conversation though free and unembarrassed was yet marked with decorum.
But when the champagne began to circulate, many things were heard not
suited for the chaste ears of an innocent girl. As soon therefore as my
observation had led me to infer that the supposed distinguished ladies
did not belong to the Court as I had believed, but more probably to the
Ballet, I began to think of withdrawing unperceived from the company,
with my fellow-traveller. I succeeded also, without being remarked
or prevented, in making good our retreat; and reaching my carriage, I
returned with _Rosa_ to her expecting mother. The next day I was told
that the Prince’s Music-parties generally ended in similar orgies.

I still remember an other Music-party--it was at the house of the
Banker _Beer_--where I heard for the first time, the now so celebrated
_Meyerbeer_, play in his paternal house, then but a boy of thirteen
years of age. The talented lad already then excited so much attention
by his accomplished execution on the piano-forte, that his relatives
and admirers regarded him with the greatest pride. It is related,
that, one of these on returning from a Lecture on popular Astronomy
exclaimed full of joy to the boy’s parents “Only think! our _Beer_ has
been already placed among the Constellations! The Professor shewed us a
constellation, which in honour of him is called “the little _Beer_!”[6]

[6] This pun on the _idem sonans_ of the word “Beer” with “Bär” anglice
“Bear”, being almost as obvious in the English as the German, will be
readily understood by the reader.

I conceived the shrewd idea of inviting the young virtuoso to perform
a Solo in my Concert, this was willingly assented to by the family. As
it was the boy’s first appearance in public, it drew a crowd of his
admirers, and I may chiefly thank that circumstance for my concert
having been one of the most numerously attended of a period that teemed
with Musical performances. After overcoming numerous obstacles it
eventually took place in the theatre. My playing, and the singing of
my fair fellow traveller were received here as at Leipsic with great
applause. Not so favorable however was the criticism that appeared in
the new Musical Journal then but recently published by _Reichard_ the
Musical conductor of the Royal Orchestra. He animadverted in his own
peculiar offensive manner chiefly upon my easy _abandon_ in respect to

Although I felt hurt by such an imputation, to which I was not yet
accustomed, I was obliged to confess that yielding to my depth of
feeling, I had kept back in the Cantabile, perhaps, too much, and in
the Passages and more impassioned parts carried away by my youthful
fire, I had precipitated them too much. I therefore determined to
correct such blemishes in my execution without diminishing its force of
expression, and by unremitting attention I succeeded.

After several unavailing attempts to give a second concert in Berlin,
I was compelled to abandon the idea. I therefore divided the not
unconsiderable receipts of the first, with my fellow-traveller, and
began to think of my return to Brunswick, as the period of my leave of
absence was drawing to a close. _Rosa’s_ mother also made preparations
to return home, having failed in an endeavour to procure an engagement
for her daughter at the Italian Opera in Berlin.

_Rosa_ had daily evinced an increasing attraction towards me, and
manifested her partiality without disguise. I, on the contrary, on a
nearer acquaintance, was obliged to confess to myself that she was not
suited for a partner in life for me, and I therefore carefully avoided
being betrayed into any declaration. She was it is true, an amiable,
unspoiled girl, and richly endowed by nature; but her education, apart
from the polish of social forms, had been greatly neglected, and what
was more especially displeasing to me, was her bigotted piety, which
had once even led her to attempt the conversion of the Lutheran heretic
to the only true Church of salvation. I bore the parting with tolerable
self-controul; but _Rosa_ burst into tears, and with the last embrace
pressed into my hand a card with the letter _R_, worked upon it with
her beautiful black hair, as a souvenir.

Upon my return to Brunswick, I devoted myself with renewed zeal to
Composition. I wrote my H-Minor-Concerto, which was subsequently
published by _Simrock_ as Fourth Violin-Concerto. For the first time,
a foreign pupil was sent to me, one Herr _Grünewald_ from Dresden.
During my stay in Brunswick, I also gave lessons to a Miss _Mayer_,
a talented young lady of sixteen, who as Violiniste gave several
concerts at Brunswick with much applause; under my direction she
studied my concerto in D-Minor. This pupil, after a lapse of five
and twenty years, during which time I had heard nothing more of her,
suddenly excited a general interest, as much on account of her fate, as
of her accomplished execution on the violin.

On one of her earlier artistic-tours, when in Poland, she had there
married a landed-proprietor of considerable fortune. Although then in
affluent circumstances, she never neglected the further cultivation
of her great talent, though only as amateur. This enabled her, after
her husband had lost his whole fortune in the Polish revolution,
and had become a refugee, to support herself and her daughter. As
Madame _Filipowicz_, she again made her appearance as an artiste, in
Dresden, and played there the same D-Minor-Concerto she had studied
under me five and twenty years before. As she considered that she was
chiefly indebted for her now increasing success to her rendering of
that Concerto, she felt impelled to express her thanks to her former
Instructor in a letter. It was thus I became acquainted with the above
circumstances. After her artistic-tour through Germany, she settled in
Paris, and at a later period in London. From both places I received
several letters from her. Upon my last journey but one to London, when
I had hoped to have seen her again, I was informed that she had died
a few days before my arrival, and I only made the acquaintance of her
daughter, and of her husband, who was a Doctor, and also a Polish

But to return to the year 1805. In the spring, I received a letter from
_Rosa_, in which with her ingenuous simplicity she said, that, so great
had her longing become to see me again, that she had prevailed on her
father to make an artistic tour to Brunswick; that she would arrive in
a few days, and begged me to make the preliminary arrangements for a
concert. I was not best pleased with this intelligence, and foresaw
that great embarrassments might arise from it. I now perceived with
regret that _Rosa’s_ inclination towards me was much more earnest
than I had beleived, and I reproached myself bitterly for my conduct
towards her. It was also evident to me, that her father had only
undertaken this journey to bring me to some declaration in respect to
his daughter. I therefore looked forward to their arrival with great
anxiety. But everything passed off much better than I had anticipated.
_Rosa’s_ heartfelt joy, to see me again, her lively unsuspecting
simplicity, which did not permit her to feel the least doubt of a
reciprocity of her feelings, assisted me to the avoidance of any
explanation. Thus, after a fortnight’s stay, they left Brunswick and
returned to Dresden, very satisfied with their visit, and the brilliant
Concert which my assistance obtained for them; and it was arranged that
I should visit them after my projected journey to Vienna, in the autumn.

As they wished to return by way of Göttingen, I gave them a letter
of introduction to my parents. During a stay of several days with
my parents, _Rosa_ so won their hearts by her amiability, that
with unhesitating confidence she confessed her love for their son.
Concluding from this, that I returned her affection, my parents had
embraced her as my betrothed. I was greatly allarmed when I learned
this in a letter from my father; protested against this engagement, and
assigned as ground for my refusal, _Rosa’s_ want of education, and the
difference in our religious faith. My father would not see the matter
in this light, and repeatedly declared that I was a fool, to refuse so
charming a girl.

In June 1805, I received a letter from _Bärwolf_, a Musician of
the Ducal Orchestra at Gotha, who was unknown to me, that greatly
influenced my destiny. Herr _Bärwolf_ wrote to inform me of a vacancy
that had taken place in the Orchestra there, by the death of the
Director _Ernst_, and that the Intendant, Baron _von Leibnitz_, who
had read so favorable a notice of my performances in the Leipsic
Musical-Journal, was very desirous to recommend me to that post, if
I would make immediate application for it. But, for this, it was
required that I should repair personally to Gotha. He therefore invited
me to come and play at the Concert that was to take place at Court on
the 11. July, in celebration of the birth-day of the dutchess.

Extremely pleased at this, I hastened to the Duke, to request his
consent to my journey. I received it, and immediately announced this at
Gotha. Arrived there, Herr _Bärwolf_ introduced me to the Intendant.
The latter appeared astonished to see before him so young a man, and
said with a thoughtful expression of countenance, that I appeared to
him almost too young to place at the head of so many men, all older
than myself. But after I had conducted two Overtures at the rehearsal,
and executed my Concerto in D-Minor, the Herr Intendant, had quite
changed his mind, for he requested me to conceal my real age, and to
give myself out as four or five years older. I was therefore introduced
to the Court as a competitor for the situation, of twenty fours years
of age. But the resort to such a deceit was indeed scarcely requisite
to obtain it, for on my first appearance at the Court-Concert I won
the favour of the Dutchess so completely, that the other competitors
were all obliged to retire. By a Decree of the 5. August, 1805, I
was installed as Concert-Director to the Ducal Court of Gotha, with
a salary of nearly five hundred thalers, inclusive of allowances, my
service duties to commence on the 1. October.

As my leave of absence was not quite expired, by the advice of Herr
_Bärwolf_, before returning to Brunswick, I made a little excursion to
Wilhelmsthal near Eisenach, the family seat of the Court of Weimar.
With the recommendation of the Dutchess of Gotha it was easy for me to
obtain a hearing. I played, pleased greatly, and on leaving, received
a handsome present. On my return to Gotha, I gave in haste, a Concert
that had been meanwhile arranged for there, which was also attended
by the Court, and then set out on my return to my native town highly
gratified with the result of my journey. I went by way of Seesen, and
was joyfully congratulated by my parents and the friends of my family
upon the new dignity conferred upon me. In order to make the rest of
the journey more pleasant for me, my father lent me his saddle-horse,
and thus conduced to give my hitherto prosperous journey a tragical
end; for a few leagues from Brunswick, while riding homewards at a
sharp trot, absorbed in deep thought upon the future, and paying but
little attention to the road, the horse fell, his foot having caught
in a deep rut, and threw his rider rudely to the ground. I fell over
the horse’s head with my face upon a small heap of broken road-stones,
before I could spread out my hands sufficiently to break my fall; my
face was therefore cut in such a manner by the sharp stones, that the
blood flowed profusely. In a few minutes also, the wounds became so
swollen as almost to close my eyes. Half blind, and wholly unable to
help myself, I stood in the road, until at length some foot-passengers
came to my assistance. After they had caught my horse, they led me
to the nearest village. They there procured for me a four wheeled
peasant’s-cart, with straw spread out in it, upon which I was brought
in the most deplorable condition to my lodgings at a late hour in
the evening. A Doctor having been sent for, he ordered my face to be
bathed and bound with linen-rags steeped in Goulard water, which being
continued throughout the night, the swelling had so much subsided by
the morning, that I could again open my eyes. After the Doctor had
carefully examined my face, and allayed my anxiety respecting all
further results from my fall; I soon recovered my cheerfulness of
mood, and alone lamented that I could not immediately wait upon my
noble Patron to solicit his permission to accept the situation of the
Directorship. But as meanwhile I was not without some anxiety, lest my
benefactor, to whom I was so greatly indebted, might take it ill that
I could thus leave his service, I was rather pleased that my accident
furnished me with an excuse to address a letter to the duke. But I
had judged him wrongfully; for on the following day I received the
solicited permission in his own handwriting. I have carefully preserved
that letter as a cherished Memorial, and cannot deny myself the
pleasure of quoting it here, as follows:

  My dear Herr _Spohr_.

 I have read with much interest the successful result of your
 performance at Wilhelmsthal and Gotha. The advantageous offer made
 to you at Gotha is such as your talents well merit, and as I have
 always taken great interest in your fortune and success, I can but
 congratulate you on your appointment to a position where you will
 undoubtedly find more opportunity for the exercise of your talent.

  I remain very respectfully
  your well wisher
  _Carl W. Ferd_.

Releived now of my last anxiety, I was truly happy. But it occurred
to me, that in this letter, the Duke addressed me for the first time
“_You_”, while hitherto he had always honoured me with the benevolent,
fatherly “_Thou_”. I nevertheless consoled myself readily with the
reflexion, that the Duke might have thought it more becoming so to
address a person leaving his service.

In about a fortnight or three weeks, my face was so far healed, that I
could again announce myself ready to resume my orchestral duties.

Before I had done so, I received a letter from _Dussek_, who wrote to
say that his master, Prince _Louis Ferdinand_, was about to proceed to
the grand military manoeuvres at Magdeburg, and wished that I should
be his guest during that time, in order to give my assistance at the
projected Music-parties there. The Prince would himself write to the
Duke to solicit the leave of absence for me. This was immediately
granted. I therefore proceeded to Magdeburg, and found in the house
which the Prince had taken for himself and his suite, a room also,
for me. I now led an extraordinary, wild and active life, which
nevertheless suited my youthful taste right well for a short time.
Frequently at six o’clock in the morning, were _Dussek_ and I roused
from our beds and conducted in dressing-gown and slippers to the
Reception-saloon, where the Prince was already seated at the pianoforte
in yet lighter costume, the heat being then very great, and indeed,
generally in his shirt and drawers only. Now began the practice and
rehearsal of the music that was intended to be played in the evening
circles, and from the Prince’s zeal, this lasted frequently so long,
that in the meantime the saloon was filled with Officers decorated,
and bestarred. The costume of the Musicians contrasted then somewhat
strangely with the brilliant uniforms of those who had come to pay
their court to the Prince. But this did not trouble his Royal Highness
in the least, neither would he leave off until everything had been
practised to his satisfaction. Then we finished our toilet in all
haste, snatched as hasty a breakfast, and rode off to the review.
I had a horse appropriated to me from the Prince’s stud, and was
permitted to ride with his suite. In this manner for a time to my
great amusement, I took part in all the warlike evolutions. But, one
day I found myself jammed in close to a battery, where I was obliged
to endure for more than an hour a truly hellish-noise, and when in
the evening at the Music party I found that I could not hear so
distinctly as before, I held back from the warlike spectacle and from
that time spent those hours in which the Prince did not require me,
with my former acquaintances in Magdeburg. In the house of the Privy
Counsellor _Schäfer_ I met with a most friendly welcome. His daughter
_Jettchen_, who, previously, while residing in Brunswick, in the house
of her brother-in-law the Conductor _Le Gaye_ had been an object of
my admiration, was now returned to her paternal home, and here also
performed the part of a kind and attentive hostess to me.

Soon, however, the Prince was recalled from his exile to Magdeburg, and
dismissed by him with friendly thanks, I could now return to Brunswick.
_Dussek_ on taking leave of me, told me that the Prince had intended
to have made me a present, but that his purse was at so low an ebb,
he must postpone it to a later and more favorable time. But that time
never came; for the Prince found an early death in the following year
in an action near Saalfeld. In the beginning of October, after an
honourable discharge from the Duke’s service had been duly made out for
me, I left my native town. On my taking leave, the Duke said to me with
truly paternal benevolence, as he extended his hand to me: “should you
dear _Spohr_ find your new place unpleasant to you, you can re-enter my
service at any time.”

I parted with my benefactor, deeply moved; and alas! never saw him
more,--for as is well known he fell mortally wounded at the unfortunate
battle of Jena, and died a fugitive in a foreign land. I mourned for
him, as for a father.

Arrived in Gotha, I was introduced to the members of the Ducal
Orchestra by the Intendant Baron _von Leibnitz_, as Concert-Director,
and made acquainted with my sphere of duties. This consisted, both in
winter and summer, in the arrangement of a concert at Court every week,
and in practising and rehearsing the orchestra in the music chosen
for the occasion. As the orchestra had no other duties beyond these
concerts, I was enabled to have three or four rehearsals of each, and
to practise all that was to be performed at these with the greatest
precision. By my zeal, and the good-will of the members, I soon
succeeded in attaining an exceeding accuracy of _ensemble_ which was
recognised by the Dutchess and some of the Musical-connoisseurs in the
Court-circle, and elicited much praise.

The orchestra consisted in part of musicians of the Ducal Chamber, and
in part of Court-hautboyists. It was the duty of the latter to play
also during the repasts, and at Court-balls. Among the musicians of the
Chamber, there was a whole bevy of solo-players. The chief were: on the
violin, Madame _Schlick_ and Messrs. _Preissing_ and _Bärwolf_; on the
violoncello, Messrs. _Schlick_, _Preissing jun._ and _Rohde_; on the
clarionet, bassoon and harp, Herr _Backhofen_; on the hautboy, Herr
_Hofmann_; and Herr _Walch_ on the horn.

For the vocal parts at the Court-Concerts two Court-singers Mesdames
_Scheidler_ and _Reinhard_ were engaged. The husband of the latter
accompained the vocalists on the piano-forte. Being the oldest member
of the orchestra, he had warmly competed for the vacant post of
Conductor; and as the Duke’s musical instructor, some regard was due
to him; he also, therefore, had the title of Concert-Master conferred
upon him on my appointment, and his rescript was even of anterior
date to mine. For this reason he at first made some weak attempts, to
assume the direction of the vocal performances. But I knew so well how
to overawe him by my decisive bearing as first Violin, that he soon
succumbed as willingly to my lead at the pianoforte, as at the viol, on
which he performed in the instrumental music. I was also soon enabled
to overcome the opposition of the _Schlick_ family who relied on the
favour of Prince _Augustus_, the Duke’s uncle, and then undisturbedly
maintained my directorial-position.

In the introductory visits I made to the members of the orchestra I was
received most cordially by the Court-singer Madame _Scheidler_. She
introduced me to her daughter _Dorette_, of the age of eighteen, of
whose skill upon the harp and pianoforte I had already heard much. In
this charming _blondine_ I recognised the girl whom I had seen on my
first visit to Gotha, and whose pleasing form had since then frequently
recurred to my memory. At the Concert which I then gave in that town,
she had sat in the first row of the auditory, by the side of a female
friend, who upon my appearance, astonished at so tall a figure,
exclaimed rather louder than she had intended: “Just look, _Dorette_,
what a long hop-pole!” Upon hearing this exclamation, my eye fell upon
the girls, and I saw _Dorette_ blush with embarrassment. With a similar
graceful blush she now again stood before me, probably recollecting
that circumstance. To put an end therefore to a situation so painful to
me, I entreated her to play something on the harp. Without the least
affectation she complied with my wish.

When a boy, I had myself once made an attempt to learn the harp, and
took lessons of one Herr _Hasenbalg_ in Brunswick, when I soon got
so far as to be able to accompany my songs. But after my voice had
broken, and that for a considerable time I remained without any voice
at all, the harp was neglected, and at length wholly laid aside. My
predilection for that instrument had nevertheless remained the same;
and I had given my attention to it sufficiently long, to know, how
difficult it is, if one would play more than mere accompaniments upon
it. My astonishment and delight may therefore be imagined, when I
heard so young a girl execute a difficult “Fantasia” of her instructor
_Backofen_, with the greatest confidence, and with the finest shades
of expression. I was so deeply moved, that I could scarce restrain
my tears. Bowing in silence, I took my leave;--but my heart remained
behind! Irresistibly impelled, my visits now became frequent, and my
reception more friendly every time.

I accompanied the daughter on the piano, which she played with the
same excellence as the harp, assisted the mother in the practise of
her songs for the Court-Concerts, and so made myself more and more
necessary to the family. The first piece that I composed in Gotha,
was a grand “Vocal Scena” for a soprano voice, which I dedicated to
_Dorette’s_ mother, and which she sang with great applause at one
of the Court-Concerts. For myself and the daughter, I then wrote a
Concerted Sonata for violin and harp, which I practised with her in the
most careful manner. They were happy hours!

Thus, after my arrival, had a month passed away for me in the most
agreable manner, when the Court set out for the session of Parliament
at Altenburg and took the orchestra with it. _Dorette_ also accompanied
her mother thither. I offered myself to them as a travelling-companion,
but unfortunately made my application too late, for they had already
arranged to travel in company with Messrs. _Preissing_, the brothers
of Madame _Scheidler_. I was therefore obliged to seek other
travelling-companions; but at every place where we stopped to take
refreshment I did not fail to join immediately the _Scheidler_ family,
and always contrived to get possession of the place at table next to
_Dorette_. These meetings after a separation of four or five hours,
gave a peculiar charm to the otherwise long and tedious journey, so
much so indeed, that when at length on the evening of the third day we
entered the gates of Altenburg, it seemed too short to me. I was lodged
in the house of Secretary _Brummer_ who as a great lover of music had
begged that I might become his guest. I met with the most friendly
reception and a well furnished table. But I had previously arranged to
dine always at Madame _Scheidler’s_, who like an active housewife had
immediately established a kitchen of her own, for herself and brothers.
Henceforth, treated almost like a member of the family, I had full
opportunity to become more nearly acquainted with my beloved _Dorette_.
Her father, an excellent musician, and a man of scientific attainments,
had, up to his death, which had taken place two years before, devoted
himself entirely to the education and improvement of this daughter.
With an almost extreme severity he had compelled her not only from her
earliest childhood to pursue the study of Music, but also, instructed
her, in part personally, and partly through the medium of other able
teachers in every branch of education suitable to a young female.
She therefore spoke Italian and French with the greatest fluency and
wrote her mother tongue with ease and correctness. But her brilliant
execution both on the harp and pianoforte was already then despite her
youth, truly remarkable! Yes, even upon the violin on which instrument
her uncle _Preissing_ gave her instruction, she had acquired so much
skill, that she could play _Viotti’s_ Duetts with me. But as I advised
her to discontinue the practise of that instrument so unbecoming for
females, and to devote rather her undivided study to the two others,
she adopted my advice and from that moment gave it up.

Meanwhile the Court-concerts had commenced. They took place in a
large saloon in the Palace, very favourable for music, and together
with the Court were attended by the parliamentary Deputies and by the
dignitaries of the town. The orchestra, as well as the performances
both of myself and the other soloplayers met with great applause.
_Dorette’s_ Soli’s on the harp and piano made also a great sensation.
In this manner the concert-days were soon looked forward to by the
Altenburgers as real festival days, and the auditory encreased so much
in number each time, that at length there was scarcely room for their
accommodation. There were also many private Music-parties, at which I
and the members of the _Scheidler_ family never failed to be invited.
One day, however, I was invited with _Dorette_, but without her mother,
to a Fête given by the Minister _von Thümmel_, to the Court and its
immediate circle. We were requested to reproduce my Sonata for the
harp und violin, which we had already played with great success at the
Court-concerts. With some timidity I ventured to ask whether I might
fetch _Dorette_ in the carriage, and felt delighted beyond measure,
when her mother without hesitation gave her consent. Thus alone for the
first time with the beloved girl, I felt the impulse to make a full
confession of my feelings towards her; but my courage failed me, and
the carriage drew up, before I had been able to utter a syllable. As I
held out my hand to her to alight, I felt by the tremor of hers, how
great had also been her emotion. This gave me new courage, and I had
almost plumped out with my declaration of love upon the very stairs,
had not the door of the Reception-saloon been thrown open at the same

That evening we played with an inspiration and a sympathy of feeling
that not alone carried us wholly away, but so electrified the company
also, that all rose spontaneously, and gathering round us, overwhelmed
us with praise. The Dutchess whispered some words in _Dorette’s_ ear,
which brought blushes to her cheek.

I interpreted them as favorable to me, and now on the drive home I at
length found courage to say: “Shall we thus play together for life?”
Bursting into tears, she sank into my arms; the compact for life was
sealed! I led her to her mother, who joined our hands and gave us her

The next morning I announced my happiness to my parents. But before I
could enjoy it without alloy, I felt compelled to write another letter,
and one which was to me a most disagreable task. I felt the injustice
of my conduct towards _Rosa_, and the necessity to ask her forgiveness.
I had it is true, never made a declaration of my love to her; but it
had been but too apparent in the earlier period of our acquaintance. To
that was added moreover, the circumstance that, my parents had greeted
her in Seesen as my betrothed. What the arguments were that I resorted
to in exculpation of my injustice, I no longer remember at this
distance of time. Probably I may have again adverted to the difference
of religion, which could alone serve me as excuse for my withdrawal.
The letter was at length finished; and with a lightened heart I took it
to the post. I anxiously expected an answer; but none came. At a later
period I learned that _Rosa_ had returned to Italy with her parents
who had acquired some fortune in Germany. Some years afterwards, I was
told when in Dresden, that _Rosa_, led by her devotional turn of mind,
had retired to a convent, and after the year’s novitiate had taken the
veil. I never could think of that charming maiden without sentiments of
the deepest sorrow!

At the dinner-table on the following day all appeared in full dress;
it was to celebrate our betrothal. The news of this had soon spread
through the town, and not only the members of the Ducal orchestra,
but also many of the inhabitants of the place came to felicitate the
engaged couple. At the next concert the same took place on the part of
the Dutchess and the Court.

With the end of the year, the session of Parliament drew also to a
close, and the return of the Court to Gotha was already spoken of,
when I solicited an eight day’s leave of absence to go to Leipsic in
order to give a concert there. Preparatory to that, I had already made
enquiries of my friends of the foregoing year, and received from them
the most favorable assurances. My bride, and her mother accompanied me,
to appear also in the same concert. This therefore offered a diversity
of attraction to the public, and consequently the attendance was
very numerous. I played a new Violin-Concerto in C-Major (published
by _Kühnel_ as the third) which I had begun in Gotha and finished at
Altenburg. Both my playing and composition found as warm a reception
as in the previous year. My bride also met with the most enthusiastic
applause. She played _Backhofen’s_ Fantasia, and with me the new
Sonata. On this occasion, it was again our combined play that was
considered the most brilliant performance of the evening. The mother,
a singer possessed of a powerful, pleasing tone, and of a good school,
executed, accompanied by her daughter, the aria of _Mozart_ with
Pianoforte obligato, as also, my new vocal-Scena, with great success.

Highly satisfied with the result of our undertaking, we returned to
Altenburg, and shortly afterwards with the Court to Gotha.

Madame _Scheidler_ resided there in a very roomy and well furnished
house, of which without feeling in the least inconvenienced, she
could readily give up to me an apartment or two. As she offered to
take my brother _Ferdinand_ who as my pupil lived with me, together
with ourselves as boarders, nothing therefore stood in the way of
my immediate marriage. The wedding was accordingly fixed for the
2. February, 1806. I hastened therefore, to procure the documents,
requisite for the occasion, my certificate of baptism, and the consent
of my parents. To my regret, they were unable to bring this to me in
person, as my father dare not leave his patients, some of whom were
dangerously ill, but they sent my brother _William_[7] to be a witness
to my happiness.

[7] Afterwards architect to the Court of Brunswick, and father of the
well known harpiste _Rosalie Spohr_.

It created no little astonishment when I produced my certificate of
baptism, that instead of growing older in Gotha, I had become several
years younger! But as I had already sufficiently established my
authority as Concert-Director I experienced no subsequent prejudice
from this discovery.

The ardently desired 2. February, dawned at length. At the request
of the Dutchess who wished to be present, the marriage took place
in the Palace-chapel. Upon the conclusion of the ceremony the newly
married pair received the felicitations and wedding-presents of their
illustrious Patroness. At home, we found assembled as wedding-guests,
the two uncles _Preissing_ and several other of the most intimate
friends among the members of the Ducal orchestra, as also Cantor
_Schade_, an old friend of the _Scheidler_ family. After dinner many
others came. Among these the playmates and school-fellows of _Dorette_.
All brought with them their friendly gifts. Neither was she wanting who
had compared me to a hop-pole, and as punishment for the unbecoming
comparison, she was frequently obliged to endure a little raillery. As
the weather was too unfavourable for an excursion, or promenade, music
was kept up till a late hour in the evening.

In the midst of Music also, the happy pair passed the honeymoon. I
began forthwith a diligent study of the harp, in order to ascertain
thoroughly what was best adapted to the character of the instrument.
As I was prone to a richness of modulation in my compositions, it
was therefore requisite to make myself especially well acquainted
with the pedals of the harp, so as to write nothing that would be
impracticable for them. This could not readily occur, on account of the
great accuracy with which my wife had already then mastered the whole
Technics of the instrument. I therefore gave free play to my fancy, and
soon succeeded in obtaining wholly new effects from the instrument.

As the Harp sounded most advantageously in combination with the singing
tones of my Violin, I wrote more especially Concerted compositions
for both instruments alone. At a later period, it is true, I made
trial, also, of two Concertanti with Orchestral accompaniment, and of
a Trio for Harp, Violin and Violoncello; but as I found that every
Accompaniment only disturbed our mutual and deeply felt harmony of
action, I soon abandoned it.

Another attempt to obtain a greater effect, had however, a more
successful result. I conceived the idea of pitching the harp half a
tone lower than the violin. By so doing I gained in two ways. For, as
the violin sounds most brilliantly in the cross or sharp notes, but the
harp best in the B-tones or flat notes, when the fewest pedals possible
are moved; I thereby obtained for both instruments the most favourable
and most effective key-notes: for the violin namely, D and G; for the
harp E and A-flat. A second advantage was, that, from the lower tuning
of the harp, a string would less frequently break, which in public
performances in very warm rooms so frequently happens to the harpist,
and mars the enjoyment of the hearers. From this time therefore, I
wrote all my Compositions for harp and violin in that difference of the

_Dorette_, forcibly attracted by these new Compositions, devoted at
that time her attention exclusively to the study of the harp, and soon
obtained such a brilliant execution, that I felt an eager desire to
exhibit this before a larger public than that of the Court-concerts
of Gotha. As I beleived also, to have now perfected my own Play in a
manner such as no other could readily surpass, I resolved to set out
on an Artistic tour with my wife in the ensuing autumn. I had already
stipulated for such a leave of absence upon receiving my appointment,
and it had been acceded to in consideration of my then small salary.

Meanwhile as the autumn drew near, a twofold obstacle presented itself
to the execution of my cherished projects. The war between Prussia and
France threatened to break out. The Prussian army prepared for the
struggle, was already assembled in the neighbourhood of Gotha, and the
inhabitants of the Dutchy had much to endure from the billeting, and
overbearing insolence of the Prussians.

Even though I might have been able to take my journey in a direction
that would have carried us from the tumult of war, yet when my home was
in danger of becoming the scene of conflict, I could not well leave it
in such an extremity. Then, one day, with blushing cheek and beaming
eyes, my little wife imparted to me that towards the end of winter she
looked forward to a mother’s joys. Now, therefore, indeed it was no
longer possible to think of undertaking a journey, and all hesitation
on the subject was set at rest. I therefore bethought me of some
engrossing work that would distract my attention as much as possible
from all the anxieties of the times. I had long wished to try my hand
at a Dramatic composition; but I had never yet found a favourable
opportunity. Neither, indeed, did that present itself now, for Gotha
possessed no Theatre. Yet, I thought; if the opera were once written,
some opportunity to hear it might yet present itself. Just at that
time, I received a visit from a companion of my youth _Edward Henke_
my mother’s youngest brother, afterwards Professor of Jurisprudence
at the university of Halle, who had already met with some success in
lyrical compositions. I persuaded him to write the words of an opera
for me. We cogitated together the subject-matter, and the scenes, of a
one act Opera, to which we gave the Name of “Die Prüfung” (The Trial).
_Edward_ began forthwith the composition of the Song-parts and finished
them wholly before his departure. He promised to supply the dialogue

But before I could begin my work, the storm of war broke loose. The
battle of Jena had been fought; and with that, the fate of Prussia
decided. The Prussians who had lain in and around Gotha, and who but
shortly before had been so-overbearing in their demeanour were now seen
flying in the greatest confusion. The disorganisation of their troops
was so complete, that their arms were to be found in thousands strewn
over the fields near Gotha. In a walk I took a few days afterwards, I
found as a further gleaning, a ramrod, which I took home with me as a
reminiscence of that fatal day. Suspended from a thread it gave with
a clear sound the note _B_, once struck, and served me for many years
instead of a tuning-fork when tuning the harp.

Although after the advance of the French army in pursuit, the theatre
of war was soon removed farther and farther from Gotha; yet the
quartering of troops upon the inhabitants was no less continuous.
Fresh reinforcements of French and South-German troops were constantly
moved forward in support; and a greater part of the Prussian prisoners
taken at Jena, was brought through Gotha. These came in bodies of
from 3 to 4000 men of all arms, frequently escorted by 40 or 50
voltigeurs, only, and were shut up in the great Church on the market
place, opposite to our dwelling, with merely a few sentries mounting
guard over them before the closed doors. As the nights were already
very cold, the men in their thin uniforms must indeed have been nearly
frozen. For that reason also they kept up a continual noise and outcry.
The inhabitants of the houses in the neighbourhood, in constant dread
that the prisoners from their greatly superior numbers would liberate
themselves, were obliged to keep continually on the watch, and for many
nights together could not retire to rest.

This, therefore, was by no means the most propitious time for me to
attempt a style of composition that was quite new to me. But as my
study was situated near the garden, at a distance from the noise in
the streets, I soon succeeded in forgetting every thing around me, and
gave myself up heart and soul to my work. In this manner, before half
the winter had passed, I completed the composition of the 8 “Numbers”
of the Opera, together with the Overture. The four Song-parts in
these, permitted of being well rendered by the Female Court-singers
and two Dillettanti whose assistance I had already obtained for
the Court-concerts. I therefore had the opera written out with all
despatch, practised it carefully, and then played it as Concert-Music
at one of the Court-concerts.

Great as at first was my satisfaction with the new work, I nevertheless
soon became sensible of its deficiencies, and weak points. With every
successive rehearsal these were made more clear to me, and even before
its production in public took place, the Opera (with the exception of
the Overture and one aria for a tenor-voice) had become distasteful to
me. Even the great applause it had met with from those who executed it,
and those who heard it, could not reconcile me the more to it; so that
I laid it aside, and with the exception of the two “Numbers” mentioned,
I never played any thing more of it in public. But with this feeling of
dissatisfaction with my work I was truly unhappy; for I now thought to
perceive that I had no talent for Operatic compositions. There were,
however, two things which I had forgotten duly to consider; first, that
I had assumed a much too elevated style, for I had put my Opera upon
a par with those of _Mozart_, and secondly, that I was wholly wanting
in the practice and experience requisite for this kind of composition.
This did not occur to me till some years afterwards, and encouraged me
then to make another attempt at dramatic composition.

For the present, I again devoted myself wholly to Instrumental
composition; wrote the already mentioned Concertanti for Harp and
Violin with full orchestra; a Fantasia (op. 35) and Variations (op.
36) for Harp-Solo; and, for myself, my Fifth Violin Concerto (op.
17. published by _Nägeli_ of Zurich) and the Pot-Pourri (op. 22, at
_André’s_ in Offenbach).

As _Dorette_ anticipated her confinement in the spring, it was
impossible we could remain longer in the limited accommodation of her
mother’s house, and we were now obliged to furnish a house of our own.
This took place at Easter 1807.

Shortly after, on the 27. May, we were gladdened by the birth of a
little daughter. I now had to invite the Duke as Godfather to the
new-born, he having already previously offered himself for that post
of honour. On the day of the Christening, he made his appearance, in
the full splendour of his Ducal rank, accompanied by the dignitaries
of his Court and followed by the idlers of the town, who attracted
by the grandeur of the rarely used state carriage and its occupants,
stared with astonishment to see it draw up before my house, at the door
of which I received him, and conducted him to the apartment decorated
with garlands of flowers. The ceremony began, and the new-born was
christened _Emilie_, after the Duke’s second Name, Emilius.

To my great regret, my parents could not take part in this delightful
family festival. And yet, in the previous summer, when on a visit
at Seesen, I had introduced my dear wife to them, and had the
gratification to see not only that they soon evinced much affection for
her, but the satisfaction also, that my father was obliged to admit I
might not have been so happy with _Rosa_, even had my love for her been
more lasting.

As soon as _Dorette_ had fully regained her strength, she began anew
to practise the recently finished compositions for the Harp, in order
to prepare herself for our projected artistic tour. But while thus
engaged, she became more and more convinced of the defects of the
instrument she had hitherto used, a Strasburg pedal-harp, which she
had received as a present from the Dutchess. It was therefore decided
in a family consultation, to apply a small capital appertaining to
her as inheritance, to the purchase of another, and a better harp.
Herr _Backofen_, had such an instrument, a very superior one, by
_Nadermann_ of Paris, and was disposed to part with it to his pupil for
a moderate price. This, therefore, was purchased. Of _Dorette’s_ small
inheritance there yet remained a few hundred thalers, to expend in the
acquisition of an indispensible convenience for travelling, namely a
travelling-carriage, constructed at the same time for the transport of
the harp. For a considerable time I turned over in my mind the form of
build best adapted to this purpose. There were two things that required
especial consideration; first, that it should not be too expensive,
and secondly that it should be sufficiently light for one pair of
post-horses. At length I hit upon the right plan. I ordered a long, but
not too heavy Basket-carriage to be built, with a chaise compartment
behind for the travellers. In front of this between the basket-sides,
lay the box for the harp, slung by leather straps, and covered with a
leather apron, which fastened by means of a bar of iron hooking into
the chaise-seat in front of the occupants. Under this was a seat-box
to hold the violin-case, and behind it a larger one to contain a trunk
adapted to the space, in which all the other travelling requisites
could be packed. In front, above the harp-box, was the raised seat for
the driver. A trial trip, for which the carriage was completely packed,
shewed that it fully answered the object proposed. Thus, therefore,
every thing was in readiness for our artistic tour.

After a painful leave-taking of our child, of whom my mother-in-law
undertook the care, we set out on our journey, in the middle of
October. As I unfortunately kept no diary upon this and our subsequent
journey from Gotha, I am left wholly to my somewhat faint recollections
of that period, which have been but sparingly refreshed by a few
notices in the Leipsic Musical-Journal. Of a diary kept by my wife at
that period, but which she never let me see, I have neither been able
to find anything since her death. Probably, it was destroyed by her in
after years.

On the very first day, our journey began in a very ominous manner,
by the overturning of our carriage at a place between Erfurt and
Weimar, where there was at that time no paved high-road. Fortunately,
however, neither the travellers nor their instruments were injured,
we therefore considered ourselves very fortunate to have escaped with
the fright only. No such accident re-occurred to us on any of our
numerous journeys. In Weimar, whither we took letters of introduction
from the Dutchess of Gotha, we played at Court with great applause, and
received a munificent present from the Hereditary Grand Dutchess, the
Princess _Maria_. Among the auditory at the Court-Concert were the two
Poet-heros _Goethe_ and _Wieland_. The latter seemed quite charmed with
the play of the artiste-couple, and evinced it in his own animated and
friendly manner. _Goethe_, also, addressed a few words of praise to us
with a dignified coldness of mien.

In Leipsic, as I perceive from a notice in the Musical-Journal, we
gave a concert on the 27. October. The opinion therein expressed of
the compositions I played on that occasion, namely the Overture to the
“Prüfung”, the Violin-Concerto in Es, the first Concertante for Harp
and Violin, the Potpourri in B, and the Fantasia for the Harp, was very
favorable. As regards our play, it says:

“Respecting the play of Herr _Spohr_, and his wife, we have already
spoken in detail, and here alone add, that he has entirely corrected
himself of many of the too arbitrary mannerisms (in Time, and the like)
which he had acquired, and of which we had now and then complained;
and, without a doubt, as regards Tone and Expression, Surety and Skill,
both in _Allegro_ and in _Adagio_ (in the latter more especially,
in our opinion) he now takes rank among the foremost of all living
Violinists: and Madame _Spohr_, by her great skill, neatness and
feeling in her play, is certain to meet with the most distinguished

Of Dresden, where we also gave a Concert and also, if I do not mistake
this occasion for a later one--played at Court (though certainly not
during dinner, to which neither of us would have consented) I recollect
nothing more particular. But I well remember many circumstances
of our stay at Prague. My fame had not yet reached there, and at
first I had many difficulties to contend with. These, however, were
forthwith overcome when I and my wife had played at a Soirée given
by the Princess Hohenzollern, and when that lady declared herself
our Patroness. We now immediately became the fashion, and the
_beau-monde_ came in crowds to the two concerts we gave in the City
so famed for its cultivation of Art. We had therefore full reason to
be satisfied with our stay there. This is also confirmed by a notice
in the Musical-Journal beginning as follows: “Among the strangers
who have given concerts, the third was Herr _Spohr_, the celebrated
Director of Concerts to the Duke of Saxe-Gotha. Herr _Spohr_ performed
on the Violin, as did his wife on the Pedal-Harp. It will be long
before another artiste will have such reason to be satisfied with the
reception he met here as Herr _Spohr_, and of a certainty every friend
of Art, will acknowledge that he well deserved that distinction.”

But in the course of his notice, the Editor animadverts on several
points in my Play, though this opinion would seem to have been a
somewhat isolated one, as in his notice of the concert given by the
brothers _Pixis_ which immediately followed mine, he says: “his place
has been assigned to him far below _Spohr_,” and then continues: “as
but a few days before people were so charmed by the Play of the latter,
and the opinion was expressed from that point of view, it may not be
considered altogether fair.”

Among the friends of Art in Prague, I then made the acquaintance of
a man with whom up to the time of his death I constantly remained on
terms of the closest friendship. This was Herr _Kleinwächter_, the
head of the commercial firm of _Ballabene_. At his house, every Sunday
forenoon, a small but select circle of Professionals and lovers of Art
met to play and listen to Quartett-music. Every foreign artiste sought
to be introduced there, and whether violinist or violoncellist took
an active part in them. I took a pleasure in playing there; for my
execution and my endeavours to give each composition in its appropriate
style were fully appreciated. One Sunday morning I was playing a
Solo-quartett of mine (D-Minor, op. 11. published by _Simrock_) when
the master of the house was suddenly called away; but returning after
some time, announced to the company, that during the playing of the
Quartett a son had been born to him! Among the congratulations of those
present the wish was also expressed that this harmonious greeting of
the new citizen of the world, would be of the most happy augery for
his future life, and above all things might endow him with a taste for
Music! With the latter, he was indeed gifted in a high degree. _Louis
Kleinwächter_, (in compliment to me he was christened after me) though
only as an amateur (his profession was the law) became a distinguished
musician, as his compositions many of which have been published,
sufficiently attest. Whether it was that he had been told he was born
during the performance of one of _Spohr’s_ compositions, and that, that
had awakened his predeliction for them, or whether it was his diligent
study of them, there never was a more enthusiastic admirer of my music
than he. Whenever in the Musical Reunions of Prague, a choice was
mooted of the Compositions which were to be played, he always strove
for those of _Spohr_, and never rested until he had carried his point.
For that reason, also, he soon acquired the general cognomen of “the
mad Spohrist.”

It is to be regretted that this young man of whom mention will
frequently be made in these pages, was snatched from his family by an
early death; he died several years before his father.

From Prague, the Artiste-couple proceeded to Munich, via Ratisbonne.
I no longer recollect whether I succeeded in getting up a Concert in
the latter town. I could find no notice of it. And respecting Munich,
in a summary notice of the Musical-Journal on the winter-season of
that year, it was curtly remarked “Herr _Spohr_, from Gotha, gave a
Concert and met here also with a warm approval.” Of our stay there I
have nevertheless a tolerable clear recollection. Before we gave our
concert in the City, we played at Court. When we came forward to play
our Concertante for Harp and Violin, there was no stool for _Dorette_.
King Maximilian who sat beside his Consort in the front row of the
audience, observed it, and immediately brought his own gilded arm-chair
surmounted with the Royal Crown, before an attendant could procure one.
In his own friendly good-tempered manner he insisted upon _Dorette_
seating herself in it, and only when I explained to him that the arms
of the chair would impede her playing, he consented to her taking the
seat brought by the servant.

When the Concert was over, he presented us to the Queen and her Ladies
of the Court, who discoursed with us in the most friendly manner. On
the following day the Royal Gifts were presented to us; to me a diamond
ring, to _Dorette_ a tiara of brilliants; both of great value.

At our Public Concert, we were supported by the members of the Royal
orchestra with the greatest good will. Herr _Winter_, the Director,
led. I was delighted with the precision and spirited execution of my
compositions, and thought it very natural that they should please,
played in such a manner. But it was a special satisfaction to me that
the Composer of the “Opferfest” (the Festival of the Sacrifice) assured
me also in his candid and straight forward way, of his full approval.
I went frequently to _Winter’s_ house, and was greatly amused with his
original character, which united the most singular contradictions. Of a
colossal build, and gifted with the strength of a giant, _Winter_ was
withal as timid as a hare. Readily excited to the most violent rage, he
nevertheless allowed himself to be led like a child. His housekeeper
had soon observed this, and tyrannised over him in a cruel manner. As
an example of this, he took great pleasure in dressing up the little
images for the Christmas tree, on the Eve of that Festival, and would
amuse himself in this way, by the hour. But ill befel him if the
housekeeper caught him at it. She would then immediately drive him away
from them, and call out: “Must you then be eternally at play?! Sit down
directly to the Pianoforte, and get your song ready!”

The junior members of the Royal orchestra, whom he took great pleasure
in having about him, and sometimes invited to dinner, teazed him in
return, unceasingly. They had soon discovered that he had a great fear
of Ghosts, and invented all manner of tales of apparitions and ghostly
narratives to frighten him. In the summer time he frequently went to
a public garden outside the town, but as he was timerous in the dark,
he always returned before night-fall. One day, the mischievous young
folks contrived by various means to delay his return longer than usual,
and it was already quite dark when he set out on his way home. As the
other guests still remained quietly seated, he found the road which lay
between two gloomy hedge-rows fearfully lonely. Seized with a sudden
terror, he unconsciously began to run. Scarcely had he commenced, than
he felt a heavy load upon his back, and he beleived that it could be
nothing also but a Hobgoblin that had sprung down upon him. Hearing
other footsteps behind as though running after him, he thought the
Devil and all his Imps were in full chase, and he now ran still faster.
Reeking with perspiration and panting for breath he at length reached
the city gates; when the goblin sprung down from his back, and said in
a voice that he knew: “Thank you Herr Kapellmeister, for carrying me,
for I was very tired!” This speech was followed by a general titter,
and he whom they had so befooled, burst into an uncontrolable rage.

From Munich, we continued our journey to Stuttgard, where we took
letters of introduction to the Court. I presented these to the
Court-Chamberlain, and on the following day received from him the
assurance that we should be permitted to play at Court. But in the
meantime I had been informed that here also cards were played during
the Concerts at Court, and that little attention was paid to the
Music. At Brunswick I had been already sufficiently disgusted with
such a degradation of the Art, that I took the liberty to declare
to the Court-Chamberlain, that I and my wife could alone appear,
if the King would be graciously pleased to cease card-playing
during our performance. Quite horrified at so bold a request, the
Court-Chamberlain made one step backward, and exclaimed: “What? You
would prescribe conditions to my gracious Master? Never should I dare
make such a proposal to him!” “Then must I renounce the honour of
playing at Court”, was my simple reply. And on this, I took my leave.

How the Court-Chamberlain betook himself to lay so unheard of a
proposition before his Sovereign, and how the latter prevailed upon
himself to yield to it, I never learned. But the result was, that the
Court-Chamberlain sent to inform me: “His Majesty would be graciously
pleased to grant my wish; but on the condition, that the musical pieces
which I and my wife would play, should follow in quick succession, so
that His Majesty would not be too frequently inconvenienced.”

And so it occurred. After the Court had taken their seats at the
card-table, the Concert began with an Overture, which was followed by
an aria. During this, the lacqueys moved to and fro with much noise,
to offer refreshments, and the card-players called out: “I play, I
pass” so loud, that one could hear nothing connectedly of the music
and the singing. The Court-Chamberlain now came to inform me that I
should hold myself ready. Upon this, he announced to the King, that the
strangers would begin their performances. Presently, His Majesty rose
from his chair, and with him all the company. The servants placed two
rows of stools in front of the orchestra, upon which the Court seated
themselves. Our play was listened to in the greatest silence, and with
interest; but no one dared utter a syllable of approval, as the King
had not given the lead. The interest he took in the performances was
shewn only at the close of each by a gracious nod of the head, and
scarcely were they over, than all hastened back to the card-tables, and
the former noise began anew.

During the remainder of the Concert, I had leisure to look about me.
My attention was particularly directed to the King’s card-table, in
which in order to accommodate itself better to his Majesty’s obesity,
a semi-circular place had been cut out, into which the King’s belly
fitted closely. The great size of the latter, and the little extent of
the Kingdom, gave rise as is well known to the smart caricature in
which the King in his Coronation-robes, with the map of his Kingdom
fastened to the button of his knee breeches, is represented as uttering
the words: “I cannot see over all my States!”

As soon as the King had finished his game, and moved back his stool,
the Concert was broken off in the middle of an aria by Madame _Graff_,
so that the last notes of a cadence actually stuck in her throat.
The musicians accustomed to this vandalism, packed their instruments
quietly in their cases; but I was deeply exasperated at such an insult
to the Art.

At that time, Würtemberg groaned under a despotism such as indeed
the rest of Germany had never known. To cite only a few examples of
this, it suffices to say: that rain or snow, every one who entered
the Palace-Court at Stuttgard was compelled to walk hat in hand from
the irongates to the portal of the palace, because his Majesty’s
apartments were on that side. Every civilian was furthermore obliged
by the most imperative order to take off his hat before the sentry,
who was not required to salute him in return. In the theatre, it was
strictly forbidden by notices to that effect, to applaud with the
hands before the King had commenced. But his Majesty on account of the
extreme cold of the winter sat with his hands buried in a large muff,
and only took them out when his Royalty was graciously pleased to feel
the want of a pinch of snuff. When that was done, it little mattered
what was going on upon the stage, he then clapped his hands. Upon this
the Chamberlain who stood behind the King, immediately joined in, and
thereby gave notice to the loyal people, that they might also give vent
to their approbation. In this manner the most interesting scenes and
the best pieces of music of the opera were almost always disturbed, and
interrupted by a horrid noise.

As the citizens of Stuttgard had long learned to accommodate themselves
to the Royal humours, they were not a little astonished at what I had
stipulated for before my appearance at the Court-concert, and had
actually granted to me. This made me the object of public attention,
and the result was, that my concert in the town was attended by an
unusually numerous auditory. The Royal orchestra gave me their support
in the most friendly manner, and the Director _Danzi_ endeavoured to
facilitate the whole arrangements for me in every possible way.

_Danzi_ was a most amiable artiste, and I felt the more inclined
towards him, from finding he had the same admiration for _Mozart_,
that I was so deeply impressed with. _Mozart_, and his works, were
the inexhaustible subjects of our conversation, and I still possess
a most cherished memorial of that time, a four-handed arrangement of
_Mozart’s_ Symphony in G-Minor, composed by _Danzi_, and in his own

In Stuttgard I also first made the acquaintance of the since so greatly
famed _Carl Maria von Weber_, with whom up to the time of his death I
was always on the most friendly terms. _Weber_ was then Secretary to
one of the Princes of Würtemberg and cultivated the Art as an amateur
only. This however, did not hinder him from composing with great
assiduity, and I still well remember hearing at his house, as a sample
of _Weber’s_ works some “Numbers” from the Opera “_Der Beherrscher der
Geister_.” (The Ruler of the Spirits.) But these, from being always
accustomed to take _Mozart_ as the type and rule by which to measure
all dramatic works, appeared to me so unimportant and amateur-like,
that I had not the most distant idea _Weber_ would ever succeed in
attracting notice with any opera.

Of the Concerts which we gave besides, in Heidelberg and Frankfort on
the Mayne, before our return home, I can now speak but imperfectly
from memory--I therefore give a few extracts from the notices of the

First of all speaking of Heidelberg, it says: “_Eisenmenger’s_ violin
would still have been unforgotten, had not the Heidelbergers had
the pleasure in the last Concert to hear _Louis Spohr_ play in his
_Rode_-like style of firm, sustained and skillful bow-stroke. His
wife played the harp, in a way one seldom hears in Germany--with a
tenderness, lightness and grace, with a confidence, strength, and
expression, that are quite captivating.”

To me it seems very strange, that even at this time my play was still
designated as a _Rode_-like style, for at that period at least I
thought to have wholly laid aside his manner. Perhaps it arose merely,
from the circumstance, that, on account of the easier accompaniment, I
had selected a Concerto of _Rode’s_ for execution.

Respecting the Concert in Frankfort on the 28. March, the remarks were
also very eulogistic. The Frankfort Journal spoke of the “wellmerited,
and distinguished applause” that we met with, and reverted to a “in
many respects similar Pair, who five and twenty or thirty years before
made much sensation in Mannheim, and afterwards in London--to _Wilhelm
Kramer_, the great Violinist and his wife, the splendid Harpiste”.

On my return to Gotha I was met at some miles from the town by my
pupils, some of whom had remained there during my absence, and others
but shortly returned, and escorted by them as in triumph to my
tastefully decorated dwelling. We there found _Dorette’s_ parents and
relatives all assembled to welcome us, and also our dear child, who
under her grandmother’s excellent care was in blooming health. As on
our tour we had not only earned a rich harvest of applause, but had
saved a sum of money which for our circumstances was considerable, we
now felt on our return to our domestic hearth right happy and free from

As soon as I had resumed the Direction of the Court-concerts, I felt
impelled to set to work at new compositions. I first wrote a Potpourri
for the violin with orchestral accompaniment (Op. 23, published by
_André_ of Offenbach) which had already suggested itself to me during
the journey, and for the most part in the carriage. I was very desirous
to see on paper what I there thought a very artistic combination of two
Themes in one and the same; but still more desirous to hear it executed
by an orchestra. This Potpourri begins with a lively, and for the
solo, brilliant _Allegro_ in G-Major, connected with and passing into
the Theme from the “_Entführung_”: “_Wer ein Liebchen hat gefunden_” in
G-Minor. After this has been varied five times alternately in the Minor
and Major, it is taken up in sixth Variation by the wind-instruments,
and for a time carried out in free-fugued Entries. On the return into
the principal key, the first horn takes up the melody of the song
in the Major and carries it out completely to the end. This is then
succeeded anew in a very startling manner by the introductory _Allegro_
of the primo, blending with it as it were in the style of a Fantasia,
though it previously appeared as an independant piece of Music.

With the working of this combination at the Rehearsal, I was very
satisfied; but when the Potpourri was executed at the Court-Concert,
I was doomed to see my ingenious combination of the two themes was
noticed by a few musicians only, and was totally lost upon the rest of
the hearers.

The next that I wrote, was the Concertante for two Violins (Op. 48,
published by _Peters_ in Leipsic). I was prompted to this chiefly by
the artistic genius of one of my pupils one Herr _Hildebrandt_ of
Rathenow, with whom I was very fond of playing. This young man had made
so much progress under my guidance in twelve months, that he promised
to become one of the first violinists of Germany. Unfortunately, at a
later period, by what mischance I now no longer remember, a wound which
he received in his left hand became a bar to the full development of
his talent, so that he did not become so known in the Musical world,
as was previously to have been expected. This pupil had acquired to
such a degree his instructor’s method of execution in all its shadings,
that he might have been considered a true copy of him. Our play blended
therefore so intimately, that, without looking at us, no one could tell
by the ear which of us played the upper or which the lower key. In this
manner we had practised the new Concertante, before we executed it at
the Court-concert. We achieved, also, such success with it, that the
Dutchess requested its repetition in the next concert, and afterwards,
insisted, also, as long as _Hildebrandt_ remained in Gotha to have it
put in the programme when strangers were on visit at Court.

As my pupils at that time were of much the same age as myself, and were
young people of good breeding and inspired with a love of their Art; I
liked to have them about me, and took great pleasure in permitting them
to accompany me in my walks and little excursions in the neighbourhood.
I used then to join in all their amusements, played at ball and other
games with them, and taught them to swim. Yes, perhaps I was even
somewhat more _en camerade_ with them than beseemed the dignity of the
Instructor with his pupils. But my authority suffered no diminution on
that account; for I knew not only how to maintain a strict discipline
during the hours of tuition, but also at other times, a becoming

In this manner, I had already made a longer excursion in the spring,
to Liebenstein, and up the Inselsberg, and returned from that journey
so pleased, that I longed once more to make a similar excursion to the
Harz, which I so loved. Quite unexpectedly, a temporary absence of the
Dutchess, through which some Court-concerts were suspended, furnished
the necessary leave of absence. I therefore, immediately, proposed to
my pupils, a pedestrian journey to the Harz, which they welcomed with
the most joyful assent. As our absence would of a necessity extend to
a fortnight, the lessons could not be suspended for so long a time
without great prejudice to the pupils, and I therefore determined to
continue them on the journey. For this purpose I took two violins
with me, with which the orchestra-servant _Schramm_, yet a young man,
and greatly attached to me was loaded, while we carried all the other
necessaries distributed in two knapsacks, each in his turn. Before our
caravan could set out, I had yet to console my wife, who could not make
up her mind to so long a separation, the first since our marriage,
and who shed, indeed, a torrent of tears. Not until I had promised
to write to her every other day, could she be somewhat pacified, and
it was long before she let me from her arms. To me, also, this first
separation was no less extremely painful!

How far we went the first day and where we stopped the following
night, I no longer remember; but I still know well, that at every
rest after dinner, I gave two of my pupils regular instruction, and
required of them a punctual alternate practise of the lesson in the
evening, as soon as we reached our quarters for the night. In this way,
on the third or fourth day, (the heat was intense,) we arrived about
a league from Nordhausen, and very tired sat down to rest ourselves
under the shade of an oak by the side of a large pond, when by an
unlucky accident one of our knapsacks rolled down the steep bank and
fell into the water--and so far from the bank, also, that we could not
reach it with our walking sticks. As the water was deep, I was soon
obliged as the only practised swimmer of the party, to make up my mind
to jump in and fetch it out. But before I could get my clothes off,
the knapsack had taken in so much water, that it began to sink. I was
therefore obliged to dive at the place where it had disappeared until
I succeeded in recovering it. When I brought it to the bank, and it
was opened, I found its contents so saturated with water, that we were
obliged to spread them on the grass in the sun to dry them. As it was
to be anticipated this would be an operation of several hours, and
noon was drawing near with its attendant hunger, I resolved to take
our customary dinner-rest in this place, and to send to Nordhausen to
procure the necessary provisions. The purchase of these fell by lot
to one of the pupils, and _Schramm_ accompanied him to carry them.
Meanwhile, I gave my two lessons unter the great oak, and those pupils
who were not engaged therein, bathed themselves at a more shallow
part of the pond. After the lapse of two hours, our foragers returned
heavily laden, and under the shadow of the dear oak, which served us
with equal hospitality as a Dining- or Concert-room, a capital-dinner
was soon spread and despatched in the merriest humour, and with the
best appetite. Then resounded in joyous harmony the tones of four
male-voices, in choice four-part glees of which we carried with us a
good collection, and had also well-practised them. After this, our
properties which were once more dry, were packed up, and our troop set
itself again in motion.

After this merry fashion we visited every remarkable spot of the lower
Harz, and then climbed the “Brocken.” When we got to the top, that
which occurs to nine tenths of all travellers, befel us also; we found
it envelloped in mist, and waited in vain until noon, in the hope that
it would clear off and enable us to enjoy the view from the summit.
We endeavoured to dispel as much of our disappointment as we could by
singing, playing and looking through the pages of the many tomed “Book
of the Brocken”; indeed, one of the party put our Jeremiade on this
misfortune into really decent rhyme, which I immediately converted into
a Canon for three voices. This was diligently practised, sung both
within the “Brockenhause” and outside in the mist, and then written
together with our names in the Brocken-Book, in the hope that at length
the weather would clear up.[8] But in vain! We were obliged to make up
our minds to continue our journey.

[8] This Canon was found among _Spohr’s_ manuscripts, and a fac-simile
is appended to this volume.

We now took the direction of Clausthal, and when we reached the plain,
we had the mortification to see the summit of the Brocken, after we had
left it about one hour, lit up with the brightest sunshine!--Arrived
at Clausthal; our first care was to get rid of the unseemly growth of
beard that had accrued to all during our journey, so as to reassume a
somewhat more civilized appearance. We sent, therefore, for a barber,
and submitted ourselves one after the other to his razor. A somewhat
comical incident arose out of this operation. We had all of us more
or less, a sore place under the chin from holding the violin, and I
who first sat down, directed the barber’s attention to this, and
begged him to go over it very lightly with his razor. As the barber
found a similar sore place under the chin of each that followed, his
countenance assumed more and more the grotesque expression exhibited
in the disposition to whistle and smile at one and the same time,
murmuring every now and then something, inwardly. Upon being asked the
reason, he replied with a grave look: “Gentlemen, I see very clearly
that you all belong to a secret Society, and you all carry the sign.
You are Freemasons, probably, and I am right glad that I know at last
how that is to be discovered!” As upon this we all broke out into a
loud peal of laughter, he was at first very much disconcerted, but,
nevertheless, not to be shaken in his belief.

After we had descended into a mine, and visited the smelting-huts
and stamping-works, we continued our journey to Seesen, by way of
Wildemann. There, we were joyfully welcomed by my parents and brothers
and sister as well as by the musical friends of the little town. We had
music now from morning to night, and even got up a Public concert, in
which all exhibited our skill to the utmost in playing and singing. The
proceeds of the concert, we presented to the School for the Poor, for
the purchase of new schoolbooks.

Highly pleased with our journey we returned through Göttingen and
Mühlhausen to Gotha. I yet think with emotion on the intense pleasure,
with which my dear little wife welcomed me home, and never did I feel
more acutely, the happiness of being loved!

At this period, a young Poet, a Candidate in Theology, who was awaiting
his appointment in Gotha, offered to me an Opera he had written, to set
to music, and I seized this opportunity with pleasure, to try my hand,
and as I hoped with more success, in dramatic composition. The Name
of the Opera was “Alruna, _die Eulenkönigin_” (the Owlet-Queen), it
was founded on a popular tradition, and in matter had much resemblance
to the “_Donauweibchen_”, (the Danube Water-Nymph) which at that time
excited general admiration. I immediately commenced my work with great
zeal, and finished the three Acts of the Opera before the end of the
year. As some of the “Numbers” which I played at the Court-concerts
found great favour, I was encouraged by this to offer my work for
representation at the Court-Theatre in Weimar. I went thither in person
to obtain a favourable reception of it from Herr _von Goethe_, the
Intendant of the Theatre, and Frau _von Heigendorf_, the prima Donna
and the mistress of the Duke. To the former I handed the Libretto, to
the latter the Music of the Opera. As she found some brilliant parts
for herself and her favorite _Stromeyer_, she promised to interest
herself in getting the Opera accepted, and as I knew that this depended
solely upon her, I returned to Gotha with the most sanguine hopes. Yet
it required many reminiscences from me, and month after month passed
away, until at length the study of the Opera was commenced. As this had
now gone so far that a grand orchestral rehearsal could be effected,
Frau _von Heigendorf_ invited me to direct it. I therefore proceeded to
Weimar a second time, and now in company with the author.

As I had written all manner of new things after I had completed the
Opera, it had somewhat faded from my recollection, and I therefore
thought I should be the better able to judge of it without partiality.
Accordingly I was greatly preoccupied with the impression that it
would make upon me.--The Rehearsal took place in a Saloon at the house
of Frau _von Heigendorf_. Among the assembled Auditory, besides the
Intendant Herr _von Goethe_, and the Musical Amateurs of the Town,
_Wieland_ was also present. The Singers had well studied their parts;
and as the orchestra had already had one rehearsal, the Opera was right
well executed under my direction. It gave general satisfaction, and
the Composer was overwhelmed with congratulations. Herr _von Goethe_,
also spoke in praise of it. The Author did not come off so well.
_Goethe_ found all manner of defects in the Libretto, and especially
required that the dialogue which was written in Iambics should first
be put into simple prose, and considerably curtailed before the Opera
was performed. This requisition was particularly painful to the
Author, as he prided himself not a little on his metrical dialogue. He
nevertheless declared to me his readiness to undertake the required
alteration, but on account of other pressing work, he could not set
about it immediately. This was not displeasing to me, for with the
exception of a few of the “Numbers”, my Music at the rehearsal in
Weimar had not satisfied me, greatly as it had pleased there, and I
was again tortured with the thought, that I had no talent for Dramatic
music. For this reason the Opera became more and more indifferent to
me, and I was glad to see that its representation would be delayed. At
length the thought of seeing it represented and thus made public was
so distasteful to me, that I withdrew the parts and score. Hence with
the exception of the Overture which was published as Op. 21 by _André_
in Offenbach, nothing else of it was engraved. But on the other hand,
I was unjust towards this work; for it shews, compared with the first
Opera, an unmistakably great progress in dramatic style.

In the year 1808, took place the celebrated Congress of Sovereigns,
on which occasion, _Napoleon_ entertained his friend the Emperor
_Alexander_, and the Kings and Princes of Germany his Allies. The
lovers of sights and the curious of the whole country round, poured in
to behold the magnificence which was there displayed. In the company of
some of my pupils I also made a pedestrian excursion to Erfurt, less
to see the Great Ones of the earth, than to see and admire the great
ones of the French Stage, _Talma_, and _Mars_. The Emperor had sent to
Paris for his tragic performers, and every evening one of the classic
works of _Corneille_ or _Racine_ was played. I and my companions had
hoped to have been permitted to see one such representation, but
unfortunately, I was informed that they took place for the Sovereigns
and their suite only, and that every body else was excluded from them.
I now hoped, with the assistance of the musicians, to obtain places in
the orchestra; but in this I also failed, for they had been strictly
forbidden to take any person in with them. At length it occurred to me,
that I and my three pupils, by taking the places of the same number
of musicians who played between the acts, might then be enabled to
remain during the performance. As we were willing to pay handsomely,
and the musicians knew that their substitutes would fill their places
in a satisfactory manner, they gave their consent. But, now a new
difficulty presented itself: three of us only could be introduced for
the violins and the bass-viol; and as neither of us played any other
orchestral-instrument but those, one of us of a necessity must remain
excluded. The thought then struck me, to try whether I could learn
sufficient of the horn, by the evening, so as to be able to undertake
the part of the second hornist. I immediately prevailed upon him whose
place I wished to take, to yield his horn to me; and began my studies.
At first I produced the most terrific tones from it; but after about an
hour, I succeeded in bringing out the natural notes of the instrument.
After dinner, while my pupils went to walk, I recommenced my studies in
the house of the “Stadt-Musicus”[9] and although my lips pained me very
much, yet I did not rest until I could play my horn-part, perfectly, in
the certainly, very easy overture and “between acts” which were to be
played in the evening.

[9] Musician to the Corporation.

Thus prepared, I and my pupils joined the other Musicians, and as
each carried his instrument under his arm, we reached our places
without opposition. We found the saloon in which the theatre had been
erected, already brilliantly lit up, and filled with the numerous
suite of the Sovereigns. The seats for Napoleon and his guests were
close behind the orchestra. Shortly after the most able of my pupils
to whom I had assigned the direction of the music, and under whose
leadership I placed myself as a new fledged hornist, had tuned up
the orchestra; the high personages made their appearance, and the
overture began. The orchestra with their faces turned towards the
stage, stood in a long row, and each was strictly forbidden to turn
round and look with curiosity at the Sovereigns. As I had received
notice of this beforehand, I had provided myself secretly with a small
looking-glass, by the help of which as soon as the music was ended, I
was enabled to obtain in succession a good view of those who directed
the destinies of Europe. Nevertheless, I was soon so entirely engrossed
with the magnificent acting of the tragic artistes, that I abandoned
my looking-glass to my pupils, and directed my whole attention to the
stage.--But at every succeeding “entre-acte”, the pain of my lips
increased, and at the close of the performance they had become so much
swollen and so blistered, that in the evening, I could scarcely eat
any supper. Even the next day, on my return to Gotha, they had a very
negro-like appearance, and my young wife was not a little alarmed when
she saw me; but she was yet more nettled, when in a jesting tone I
said: that it was from kissing to such excess the pretty Erfurt-women!
When, however, I had related to her the history of my studies on the
horn, she laughed heartily at my expense.

About that time, though I do not exactly remember whether it was on
that journey to Erfurt, or upon a previous one, the Emperor Napoleon
slept also once in the palace at Gotha, and on that account a
Court-concert had been commanded the previous evening. I and my wife
had the honour to play before the allpowerful man, and he addressed
a few words to us. On the following evening also, we received our
share of the “Gold Napoleons” which he had left as a present to the

The Duke of Gotha was at that time high in his favour, and therefrom
great advantages were expected for the Duchy. But he must have lost
it afterwards by some neglect; for when the Emperor passed through on
a subsequent journey, a scene occurred that filled the inhabitants of
Gotha with bitter rage against the tyrant. The Emperor was expected
about 11 o’clock. A breakfast had therefore been prepared in the
palace at Friedrichsthal, the summer-residence of the Court, and the
whole Court-circle was assembled in state-costume. The posthorses
ready harnessed were waiting in the palace-square, to take the Emperor
immediately after breakfast upon his farther journey.--At length, the
first gun of the salute resounded above on the Friedenstein, from
whence every time the Emperor passed through, 101 guns were fired.
Shortly afterwards, his carriage drove up. The Duke, surrounded by
his Court, already stood with uncovered head at the iron gates,
approached the carriage with humble demeanour, and begged that his
Imperial Majesty would deign to take breakfast. An abrupt _non!_ and
the order to his Mamelucks to put to the horses, was the reply. Without
condescending any further word or look to the Duke, he leaned back in
the carriage and left the Prince standing at the closed door in the
most painful perplexity. The Duke turned pale with inward rage to see
himself so insulted in the presence of his Court and People, and yet,
had not the courage to return immediately to the palace. Thus passed in
a dead silence, five or six fearfully long minutes, until the horses
were put to. At the first forward movement they made, the Emperor’s
head was once more visible, and with a cold nod, he drove off. The
Duke, as though annihilated, returned to the palace, and the citizens
loudly expressed their rage, that the overbearing Corsican should have
so insulted their Prince.

On the 6. November, 1808, my wife presented me with a second daughter,
who was named _Ida_, after my wife’s step-sister Madame _Hildt_, who
held her over the font. Her confinement passed over as lightly and
happily as the former one, and during the first days the health of the
invalid was excellent. This, however, induced her to leave her bed too
soon, whereby she caught cold, and the sad consequences were, that she
was seized with a violent nervous fever. For several days her life was
in imminent danger. I left her neither by day nor night, for she would
receive attention from no one but me. What I suffered at the side of
her sick-bed is indiscribable! Alarmed by her fits of delirium, by the
grave countenance of the physician, who shunned my interrogatories,
and tortured with self-reproaches for not having taken more care of
her, I had not a moment’s rest during _Dorette’s_ illness. At length
the more cheerful expression of the physician’s face betokened that the
danger was passed, and I, who during the last days, first became really
sensible of all I possessed in my wife, and of the intense love I bore
her, now felt unspeakably happy. Her recovery progressed rapidly. Yet
there was great weakness still remaining, from which _Dorette_ was not
wholly releived until the spring, when by the recommendation of the
Doctor I hired a house in the country with garden attached, and by that
means procured her the continual enjoyment of fresh air. Strengthened
by this, she then gradually began her musical studies, which for almost
six months she had been obliged to discontinue. In the Catalogue of
the whole of my works, which I began shortly after my appointment in
Gotha and continued up to the present time, besides those Compositions
already named, dating from 1808, the following are specified: Two
Duetts for violin (op. 9) and one for violin and viola (op. 13),
Variations for the harp and two Quartetts for stringed instruments.
In Quartetts, certainly the most difficult of all compositions, I had
already made a trial the year before. But with them I succeeded no
better than with Song-compositions. Shortly after their completion they
no longer pleased me; and for that reason I should not have published
them had not my Leipsic publisher, Herr _Kühnel_, at whose house I
played them in the autumn of 1807, retained them almost by force, and
shortly afterwards published them (as op. 4). The new Quartett (op. 15)
also brought out by _Kühnel_, pleased me it is true somewhat longer;
but at a later period when I had learned to produce a better style of
Quartett-composition I regretted also that I had published them. The
two first Quartetts I dedicated to the Duke of Gotha, but only at his
personal request; for though I felt a pleasure in dedicating my works
to _Artistes_ and amateurs of music, as a token of my respect and
friendship, yet my artistic pride would never permit me to dedicate
them to Princes for profit’s sake, though even at their express desire.

At the time when the Duke invited me to dedicate my Compositions to
him, he frequently used to send for me to converse with him upon his
tastes in Art. As is well known, in spite of his peculiarities, he was
a man of mind, and cultivated taste, which his published Poems and
his Correspondance with _Jean Paul_ sufficiently prove. But with the
affairs of Government he did not in the least trouble himself, and
left them entirely to the Privy-Counsellor _von Frankenberg_, who,
therefore, was virtually the Regent of the land. Obliged _pro forma_
to be present at the sittings of the Privy-Council, he invariably got
tired of the subjects of discussion, and endeavoured to make them as
short as possible, himself frequently, saying, in derision of his own
want of interest “will not the Gentlemen of the Privy-Council soon be
pleased to command what I am to command?”

At that time, perhaps incited by my Compositions for the voice, he
was seized with the desire to have one of his longer poems, a kind
of Cantata, set to music. He did me the honour to consult me on the
subject. But as the Duke probably could not prevail on himself to
let me see his limited knowledge of music, he applied to his old
music-master, the Concert-Director _Reinhard_, to carry it out. From
him at a later period, in an unguarded and confiding moment, I heard
how the composition of the Cantata was brought about. The Duke, read to
his master seated at the piano, a passage of the text, and explained to
him his ideas respecting the style in which it should be composed. When
the Duke had once heard or read the characteristics of the different
tones, _Reinhard_ was then obliged to strike several of them in sequent
accords, so that he might find the right one for his text. If this
was cheerful, a Major-Key was chosen, if it was mournful, a Minor-Key
was selected. It happened one day that the Duke took the Major too
sprightly, and the Minor was too mournful, upon this he required poor
_Reinhard_ to sound the Key in _half_ Minor. When they had agreed upon
this point, the melody suited to the text was next sought for. The Duke
then whistled every melody that came into his head, and left his master
to choose the most suitable to the character of the words. When in this
manner a few lines of the poem had been disposed of, they passed on
to the next. As _Reinhard_ could not compose, or at least not arrange
the instrumentation, the plan of the Cantata thus sketched out in the
Duke’s leisure-hours was handed over to the “Kammer-Musicus” _Backofen_
to complete with score. The latter, as may readily be imagined,
could make but little use of the materials given to him, and was
therefore obliged to recompose as it were the Cantata anew. Possessing
considerable talent for composition, he accordingly put out of hand
a piece of music such as could well be listened to. The work thus
completed, was now written out, carefully practised under my direction,
and then produced at a Court-Concert. The Duke, though he may well have
been somewhat astonished that his music sounded so well, received the
congratulations and praises of the Court with a satisfied mien, praised
me for having so well entered into his ideas in practising it with the
orchestra, and privately sent his two fellow-workmen their gratuity. In
this manner all parties were satisfied.

In the winter of 1808-9, I arranged some Subscription-Concerts in
the town for the benefit of the Court-Orchestra. But as these could
present nothing better than was heard at the Court-Concerts, and those
were much frequented by the amateurs of music of the town, for whom a
large space behind the orchestra in the Concert-saloon was set apart,
these Subscription concerts met with but little support. The product
therefore was so small after the deduction of the expenses, that it was
not considered worth while repeating the undertaking.

At one of these Concerts, Herr _Hermstedt_, Director of the
“Harmonic-music” to Prince Sondershausen, appeared as Clarinet player,
and attracted much attention by his admirable performance. He had
come to Gotha to request me to write a Clarinet-concerto for him, for
which the Prince upon the condition that _Hermstedt_ should be put
in possession of the manuscript, offered to pay a handsome gratuity.
To this proposal I gladly assented, as from the immense execution,
together with the brilliancy of tone, and purity of intonation
possessed by _Hermstedt_, I felt at full liberty to give the reins
to my fancy. After, that with _Hermstedt’s_ assistance I had made
myself somewhat acquainted with the technics of the instrument, I went
zealously to work, and completed it in a few weeks. Thus originated the
Concerto in E-minor, published a few years afterwards by _Kühnel_ as
op. 26, with which _Hermstedt_ achieved so much success in his artistic
tours, that it may be affirmed he is chiefly indebted to that for his
fame. I took it over to him myself to Sondershausen, at the end of
January, and initiated him in the way to execute it. On this occasion,
I appeared also as Violinist at a concert given by _Hermstedt_, and
played for the first time, my Concerto in G-Minor (op. 28) which I had
just finished a few days before, and, also, a new Pot-pourri (op. 24).

Secretary _Gerber_, the author of the “Musical Lexicon”, speaks of
these not only in that work, under the article “_Spohr_” but also in
a spirited notice in the Musical-Journal, a reprint of which is to be
found in number 26. of the eleventh volume. The third part of this
Concerto is a Spanish _Rondo_, the melodies of which are not mine but
genuine Spanish. I heard them from a Spanish soldier who was quartered
in my house, and who sang to the guitar. I noted down what pleased
me, and wove it into my _Rondo_. In order to give this a more Spanish
character, I copied the guitar-accompaniments as I had heard them from
the Spaniard, into the orchestral part. At the beginning of the same
winter, I had also a visit from _Reichardt_, Director of the orchestra
at Cassel, and then first made his personal acquaintance. _Reichardt_
told me he was going to Vienna by the command of his Court, to engage
singers for a German theatre that was about to be opened at Cassel.
This, proved afterwards to be false; for _Reichardt_ was at that very
time no longer in the Westphalian service. I had felt at first much
annoyed by a sharp criticism of _Reichardt’s_ upon my play, on my first
appearance at Berlin; but as I soon found that it contained many truths
and well founded strictures, and that it had prompted me to correct the
faults it pointed out in my execution, a sentiment of gratitude had
long taken the place of my former resentment. I therefore welcomed my
guest with great cordiality, and immediately arranged a musical party
at my house in his honour, at which I let him hear my two new and just
finished Violin-Quartetts.

As at that time I knew none of _Reichardt’s_ compositions beyond a
couple of successful songs, and looked upon the famous author of the
“Confidential letter from Paris” and the dreaded Critic, as a great
Composer, I set much value upon his opinion, and awaited it with a
feeling of acute expectancy. I therefore again felt somewhat chafed
when _Reichardt_ had various objections to make, and expressed them
_sans gène_. But it was perhaps more the self sufficient look of
infallibility with which he pronounced his judgement, that wounded
me; for some time after, I was again obliged to admit to myself, that
_Reichardt’s_ observations were in many respects just. There was _one_
remark, which I frequently called to mind in my subsequent studies. For
instance, in an _Adagio_, from the beginning to the end, I had carried
out a figure after the style of _Mozart_, now in one Key, and then in
the other, and in my delight at this scientific interweaving, had not
remarked that it at last became monotonous. But although _Reichardt_
praised the manner in which I had carried it through, he spoke
unsparingly against it, and added more over, maliciously, “You could
not rest until you had worried your motive to death!”

       *       *       *       *       *

In the spring of 1809, from the unusual expenses attendant upon my
wife’s confinement and subsequent illness, as well as those incurred by
the necessary removal to another house outside the town, I found myself
in such straightened circumstances, that I earnestly desired to see
realised the promise of an increase of salary that had been made to me
on my appointment. I therefore addressed a petition to the Duke, which
as he never troubled himself with administrative matters, was without
effect, and probably, was laid aside unread. I was therefore advised by
the Intendant, Baron _von Reibnitz_ to make a personal application to
the Privy-Counsellor _von Frankenberg_ and deliver to him my petition
for the desired increase of salary. I followed this advice, and in
the afternoon of a fine spring-day, walked over to the seat of the
Privy-Counsellor, distant about two miles from Gotha, on the road to
Erfurt. I found him in his garden, sitting under a large lime tree,
playing chess with his daughter. As I had been familiar with this game
from my early youth, played it often, and was passionately fond of it;
after a short salutation of the players, I immediately directed my
whole attention to the game as it stood. The Privy-Counsellor observing
this, had a chair placed for me close to the table, and quietly played
on. When I first arrived, the game looked very threatening for the
daughter, and it was not long before she was checkmated by her father.
I had taken particular notice of the position of the pieces, and in so
doing, a move had suggested itself to me by which the checkmate could
have been prevented. I represented this, and was immediately challenged
by the Privy-Counsellor, who thought himself sure of the victory, to
try it. The pieces were again replaced in the position they stood
when I arrived, and I now took the daughter’s game. After a few well
combined moves I succeeded in extricating my King from all danger,
and I then played against my opponent with such success, that he was
soon obliged to confess himself beaten. The Privy-Counsellor, though
somewhat nettled at his defeat, was nevertheless much struck with the
unexpected issue of the game. He held out his hand to me in a friendly
manner and said: “You are a capital Chess-player, and must often do me
the pleasure of playing with me.” This I did; and as I was world-wise
enough not to win too many games, I soon got in great favour with my
new patron; the result was, that a rescript, for an additional two
hundred thalers to my salary was soon made out.

       *       *       *       *       *

Towards the middle of the summer, from the constant enjoyment of fresh
air, and frequent walks which were extended by degrees to little
excursions into the neighbourhood; _Dorette_ had regained her former
strength and health, and again devoted herself with renewed assiduity
to the study of her instrument, in order to prepare herself thoroughly
for our projected second artistic-tour. As I also now became more and
more acquainted with the properties of the harp, with its effects, and
what my wife in particular was capable of performing with it, I at that
time wrote another grand Sonata for harp and violin (op. 115 published
by _Schuberth_ in Hamburg), and took great pains to introduce into it
the result of my experience. I was completely successful; the part for
the harp in this Sonata was easier to play, and at the same time more
brilliant than in the previous ones. _Dorette_ therefore, practised it
with special predeliction and soon played this new work with the same
precision as the others.

Thus once more prepared for an Artistic tour, we began to consider in
which direction it would be most advantageous to go. I had learned from
a traveller just returned from Russia, that my Musical fame and that
of my wife had already reached there, and that in the previous winter
a visit from us had been expected. As I had reason to hope, moreover,
that I should receive powerful letters of recommendation from the Court
of Weimar to the Imperial Court of St. Petersburgh, the journey to
Russia appeared to me to hold out the most advantages. But, _Dorette_
would not consent to so distant a journey from home, as she beleived
herself unable to bear so long a separation from her children. Yet,
when I represented to her, that if at any time it was our intention
to go to Russia, the present was the most favourable moment, in which
our children under the assiduous care of their grandmother, would
miss us less than at a later period, she at length, though with a
bleeding heart, consented to it. As I had foreseen that the Dutchess,
also, would not consent to so long an absence as would be required for
a journey to Russia, I kept secret for the present the real aim of
our journey, and named Breslau as its object, for which I asked and
obtained a three-month’s leave. From there, I intended to apply for an
extension of leave, to proceed farther.

We set out on our journey in October, 1809; played first at Weimar,
and received from the Grand-Dutchess the desired introduction to her
brother, the Emperor Alexander, as also to other Russian Magnates. We
then gave a Concert in Leipsic, of which the Musical-Journal contains
the following short notice: “Herr Concertmeister _Spohr_ and his wife
afforded us the pleasure to hear for a whole evening, several of his
newest Compositions, and himself on the Violin; as, also, his wife
on the Harp. Respecting this _true_ artiste and his talented wife
we have already spoken fully and decidedly, we shall here therefore
be succinct. Since we last heard them, both have made a surprising
progress, not alone in their mastery and ready command of all the
resources of their Art, but in their skilful application of them to
the best and most effective purposes:--And if the former Compositions
of this Master found both here and everywhere else the most unanimous
applause, his later Compositions which we have now heard, will much
less fail to do so.”

Of our Concerts in Dresden, and Bautzen, having sought in vain for
a notice of them, I am unable to say more than that they took place
on the 1. and 7. November, as I perceive from a memorandum of the
receipts on this journey, which has by chance been preserved. But of
the three Concerts we gave in Breslau, on the 18. November, and the
2. and 9. December there is a notice in the Musical-Journal, which
speaks in great praise of our Play, though it finds some fault with
the Compositions. It says: “The opinion of our musical friends of Herr
_Spohr_ as a Composer, agrees fully with that which they previously
pronounced respecting him. He is in truth a Musician of high merit. He
has nevertheless a peculiarity, and one which by degrees perhaps, will
lead him to uniformity in style; namely, his latest compositions, so
far as we are acquainted with them are _one and all of a melancholy
character_. Even the Pot-Pourri which he played at the close of the
Concert, partook somewhat of it.”

This remark upon the melancholy character of my Compositions, which is
here made for the first time, and so often repeated at a later period
in criticisms upon my works, as to become regularly stereotyped, has
always been a riddle for me; for, to me, my Compositions appear for
the most part quite as cheerful as those of any other Composer. Those
in particular which I then played in Breslau, with the exception of
two subjects, were all of so lively a character, that I am still
unable to understand the above remark. The two first Allegro’s alone
of the Concertante in H- and G-Minor are serious, the former perhaps
even somewhat mournful, but the other subjects are all of them,
lively. The same may be said from beginning to end of the Concertante
for two violins in A-Major, which I played with Herr _Luge_, and
more than that, the third Thesis is even saucily playful. Neither
does the Composition for the harp, nor the Overture to “Alruna”
bear any trace of melancholy; how then does the Reviewer come by
his remark?--Nevertheless, as something similar has been maintained
respecting my Compositions even up to the present time, so that people
who have not known me personally, have considered me a misanthrope, or
an hypochondriac, though I am happy to say I am always of a cheerful
tone of mind; there must be something in it, and I think it is,
that people have taken the prevailing dreaminess and sentimental
character of my Compositions, and my predeliction for the Minor Keys,
as outbursts of melancholy. If it is so, I am content to bear with it,
though at first it always annoyed me. Of the Overture to “Alruna”, the
same Breslauer critic says: “It is not free from reminiscences.” He
might have said right out, it is an exact imitation of the Overture
to the “Zauberflöte”; for that was the object I had in view. In
my admiration of _Mozart_, and the feeling of wonder with which I
regarded that Overture, an imitation of it seemed to me something very
natural and praiseworthy, and at the time when I sought to develope
my talent for Composition I had made many similar imitations of
_Mozart’s_ master pieces, and among others that of the aria full of
love-complaints in Alruna, imitated from the beautiful aria of Pamina:
“_Ach, ich fühl’s, es ist verschwunden._” Although shortly after
that time, I became sensible that a Composer should endeavour to be
original both in the form of his musical pieces, and in the development
of his musical ideas, yet I retained even up to a later period, a
predeliction for that imitation of the Overture to the “_Zauberflöte_”,
and still consider it as one of my best and most effective
Instrumental-compositions. Neither is it so slavish an imitation as
to contain nothing of my own invention; for instance, the striking
modulations in the introductory _Adagio_, and the second Fugue-theme
with which the second half of the _Allegro_ begins, and, which then is
so happily connected with the chief theme. The instrumentation, also,
though quite in the _Mozart_ style has nevertheless, some original

In Breslau we met an old acquaintance from Gotha, Baron _von Reibnitz_,
who hitherto had been Intendant of the Orchestra, but had resigned, and
retired to his estate in Silesia. He was then in town for the winter
months, and acquainted with all in Breslau who were fond of music, and
who played, he introduced me into the Musical Circles there, and was
of great assistance to me in making arrangements for my concerts. In
Breslau, from olden time one of the most musical Towns of Germany,
there was at that moment such a succession of Concerts, that one took
place almost every day in the week. As the Theatre, was open also every
evening, it was therefore very difficult to fix upon a day favourable
for an Extra-Concert, and almost more difficult to get together a good
and numerous orchestra. The kindness of _Schnabel_ the Leader of the
Cathedral-Choir enabled me nevertheless to overcome this difficulty,
for he not only procured for me a good Orchestra for each of my three
Concerts, but each time undertook to conduct it. The experienced
Director evinced a particular interest in my compositions, which he
soon transferred to the Composer, who returned it in the most hearty
manner. We became much attached to each other, and until _Schnabel’s_
early death remained on the most intimate terms of friendship.

Shortly after my arrival in Breslau, just as I was about to write to
Gotha for an extension of my leave to proceed to Russia, I received
through Baron _von Reibnitz_ a letter from the Court-Chamberlain Count
_Salisch_ in Gotha, to the following effect:

The Dutchess has with great regret received the information from
Weimar, that I had the intention of proceeding to Russia and did
not contemplate returning before the expiration of the year. As she
would be extremely unwilling to miss my services and those of my wife
at the Court-Concerts for so long a period, she therefore offered,
if I would give up the journey to Russia, and return speedily to
Gotha, to indemnify my wife, by procuring for her the appointment
of Solo-player at the Court-Concerts, and Teacher of Music to the
Princess.[10]--Scarcely had I communicated to my wife the contents of
this letter, than I saw how the hope of sooner rebeholding her children
brought tears of joy into her eyes. This moved me so deeply, that I
at once resolved to give up the journey. I therefore immediately put
myself in communication with Count _Salisch_, the new Intendant of the
Gotha Orchestra, and when he had definitively arranged the appointment
of my wife with a suitable salary to commence from the 1. January
1810, I agreed on my side to return to Gotha as soon as possible. We
therefore hastened our departure from Breslau to Berlin, and proceeded
through Liegnitz to Glogau, where we gave two Concerts on the 13. and
18. December, that had been previously arranged for by our musical
friends there, and which were very numerously attended.

[10] The Step-daughter of the Dutchess, afterwards married to the Duke
of Coburg, and mother of the present reigning Duke and of His R. H. the
late Prince Albert, Consort of the Queen of England.

Of the Concert at Glogau, I still remember a very ludicrous incident.
It took place in a building which was perhaps unique of its kind; for
on the basement were the Butcher’s shambles, on the first floor the
Concert-Saloon, and above that the Theatre of the town. As the Saloon
was very low and much overcrowded, it soon became insufferably hot.
The public, therefore, soon demanded that a trap-door in the ceiling
of the Saloon should be opened, which could be effected from the Pit
of the Theatre overhead. Now, however, the key of the Theatre was
nowhere to be found, the latter not having been used during the whole
of the winter; a long pole was therefore brought with which to push up
the door. At first, it would not move; but upon several men combining
their strength, it sprung suddenly, open, and at the same moment
let down upon the ladies sitting underneath such a shower of dust,
cherry-stones, apple-peel and the like, the accumulation of years, in
the pit, that not only were they completely covered, but the whole
orchestra and audience envelloped in such a cloud of dust, that at
first nobody could make out what it really was. When it had cleared off
again, the ladies endeavoured as well as they could to free their necks
and dresses from the dirt; the Musicians cleaned their instruments, and
the Concert was continued.

We found Berlin very full of strangers, and in a state of festive
excitement in expectation of the return of the Court, which ever since
the unfortunate battle of Jena had continued to reside in Königsberg.
The moment was favourable for giving Concerts, and even before the
arrival of the Court we had a numerous audience at our first. Of our
performances, the Editor of the Musical Journal says: “Yesterday,
the 4. January, the Director of Concerts in Gotha, Herr _Spohr_,
gave a Concert at the Theatre. Of his own Compositions he played a
Violin-Concerto in G-Minor, with a Spanish _Rondo_, a Pot-Pourri for
the Violin, and with his wife an accomplished and most expressive
player, a Sonata for pedal-Harp and Violin, also of his composition.
The Musical Journal has already frequently spoken in praise of this
talented Virtuoso, and recently also adverted to this composition. In
the present instance, also, both his Compositions and his Play were
highly commended. Particularly admired were the double chords, the
distances, and the shakes which Herr _Spohr_ executed with the greatest
skill, and by the impassioned expression of his play, especially in
the _Adagio_, he won every heart. We hope, to hear this estimable
Artiste-Couple again next week.”

On the 10. took place the Public Entry of the returning Court. It was
indeed an affecting scene, when the King seated by the side of his Wife
in an open carriage, drove slowly through the crowded streets, greeted
by the acclamations of thousands and by the waving of handkerchiefs
from every window. The Queen seemed deeply affected; for tear after
tear was seen to steal from her beautiful eyes. In the evening the City
was splendidly illuminated.

On the following day, we gave our second Concert. Early in the morning
we were beseiged with questions, whether the Court would be there.
We could as yet afford no information on the subject; but when about
noon, the Queen sent for tickets, the news of it spread through the
City like wildfire, and the auditory now came in such crowds that the
spacious Saloon could scarcely hold them. I played, as I see by the
notice in the Musical Journal, my third Concerto in C-Major; and with
my pupil _Hildebrandt_ who was on a visit to a relation in Berlin, my
Concertante in A-Major. The precision of our Duo-playing was the same
as usual, and here, as in Gotha gained for us the most lively applause.
But the critic, nevertheless does not appear to have been wholly of
the same opinion, since he expresses himself as follows: “Both Players
in the Concertante played not only together, but as _one_; and though
this merits on the one hand praise and even elicits astonishment,
yet on the other, it is somewhat uniform and monotonous; one missed
and regretfully, that charm which derives from the union of things
different in themselves, when through that very unison the difference
is still observable--instead of being a union of accord, it was one and
the same thing.”--This sounds very sensible, and yet has very little
sense in it! The two Solo-voices of this Concertante are written in
such a manner that their full effect is only to be attained by the
closest union of play. But to achieve that in the highest degree, is
possible only when both players are of the same school and have the
same style of execution. In fact, it is even necessary that their
Instruments should possess a like power, and as much as possible the
same qualities of tone. These were all combined in my Pupil and me;
hence the great effect of our Duo-playing. At a subsequent period in my
travels both in Germany and abroad, I have played that Concertante with
several of the most celebrated Violinists of the day, who as Virtuosi
stood higher than my pupil _Hildebrandt_, but with them I never could
attain the same effect as in my play with him, their school and mode of
execution being too dissimilar from mine.

It was at first my intention to return to Gotha direct from Berlin, in
order to keep my promise. But being informed by a musical friend in
Hamburgh that it was then a most favourable time of the year to give
Concerts, I wrote to Gotha requesting a few weeks more extension of
leave, to visit Hamburgh before my return. It was granted to me.

Hamburgh was at that time in the possession of the French, who had
laid a severe interdict upon all commerce with England. The then even
very rich merchants had therefore little to do, and the more leisure
to occupy themselves with Music and Concerts. As we were now preceeded
by a good artistic reputation, our first Concert, which we gave on the
8. February in the Apollo-Saloon was exceedingly well attended, and
brought in at the high admission-price of one Hamburgh Species, nearly
400 thalers. Our play in that Concert having made a great sensation,
the receipts increased at the second, on 21. February, to the large sum
of 1015 Thalers. Between those two Concerts we gave one also at Lubeck
on the 14. which we had been invited to do by the Musical amateurs of
that place, and, lastly, played also at Altona in the Museum, for a
moderate remuneration.

Highly gratified with the business we had done, we were now on the
point of leaving; when the Secretary to the French Governor called upon
us, and invited us in his name to give a third Concert, as he and his
Circle had missed the opportunity of hearing us. Under the apprehension
that a third would not be well attended, as I hesitated in my reply,
the gentleman added, that he was charged to take two hundred tickets
for the Governor and his friends. All hesitation on my part was now
dismissed, and on the 3. March we gave a third Concert, which again
brought a receipt of 510 thalers.

At that time, in Hamburgh, I first became personally acquaintained
with _Andreas Romberg_ and the Director of Music _Schwenke_. Both
those celebrated Artistes received me in the most friendly manner,
and rendered me every possible assistance in my concerts. _Romberg_
took care to provide a good Orchestra and directed it himself, and
_Schwenke_, the dreaded critic, undertook to announce the Concerts in
the newspapers. As his opinion was considered the highest authority,
the favourable manner in which he introduced the Artiste-Pair to the
notice of the Public, and afterwards pronounced upon our performance,
and upon my compositions, contributed not a little to the great success
we met with in Hamburgh. Both those Artistes lived amid an agreable
family circle and were much pleased when I and my wife looked in upon
them at tea-time. We then chatted on nothing but Music, and many were
the entertaining and instructive discussions that arose. _Romberg_
took great pleasure in reverting to his former residence in Paris,
and related many piquante incidents of the musical celebrities there.
_Schwenke_ amused us highly with his witty but biting criticism,
which scarcely spared any one. I might therefore well be proud that
my Compositions and Play were favourably spoken of by him. The
specialities touched upon by _Schwenke_ in these discussions were
very instructive for me, and I was therefore always delighted when
I met him at these Music-Parties. At this time, Quartetts were much
played in Hamburgh, and _Romberg_ had studied his Quartett admirably,
in which the execution of the Violincellist _Prell_ formed a most
attractive feature. It was therefore a pleasure to join them. _Romberg_
only played particular Quartetts, and though no great Virtuoso on
his instrument, executed them with skill and taste. But he only grew
right warm with the subject, when he could smoke his pipe at his ease
while Quartett-playing[11]. I played his favorites among the Quartetts
of _Mozart_ and _Beethoven_ and in this instance, also, excited much
sensation by my truthful rendering of the distinctive characters of
each. _Schwenke_ expressed himself thereon in the most eloquent terms.
At his desire, also, I was obliged to play two of my own Quartetts. I
did it unwillingly, as they no longer came up to the standard I now
prescribed to myself in that kind of composition. This I expressed
also without reserve; but they pleased nevertheless, and found grace
even from _Schwenke’s_ sharp criticism. _Romberg_ was of a different
opinion. He said to me with ingenuous openheartedness: “Your Quartetts
will not do yet; they are far behind your Orchestral pieces!” Much
as I agreed with him, yet it wounded me to hear another express that
opinion. When therefore, a few years afterwards I wrote some Quartetts
in Vienna, which seemed to me more worthy of my other Compositions,
I dedicated them to _Romberg_, in order to shew him that I could now
write Quartetts, “which would do.”

[11] _Bernhard Romberg_, also, constantly smoked while playing, and
I once heard him in his house at Gotha, executed his most difficult
Concerto in F-Minor, without taking the pipe from his mouth.

At one of the Musical Parties where I and my wife were present, a
comical misunderstanding arose which excited much laughter.

A rich Jew banker, who had heard my Quartett-playing much praised,
was desirous to give his Circle a treat, and so he invited me to his
house. Although, I knew that I should meet an auditory there but little
able to appreciate such high class Music, I could not well refuse,
as the wealthy man had taken forty tickets for each of my concerts.
I therefore accepted the invitation, but on the condition that the
best Artistes of Hamburgh should be invited to accompany me. This was
promised, and upon my entering the brillant company I not only found
_Romberg_ was present, but saw another distinguished violinist. Just
as the Quartett-playing was about to begin a fourth Violinist made
his appearance with his instrument, and we now saw with astonishment
that the master of the house had invited Violinists only. As a good
Accountant, he knew that to play a Quartett, _four_ persons were
necessary, but not that a Violist and Violincellist should be among
them. To extricate him from his perplexity, he was advised to send
quickly for Herr _Prell_ at the Theatre. But as the performances were
already over there, in spite of every endeavour, neither he nor any
other Violincellist could be found, and the company would have been
obliged to separate without any music, had not I and my wife played one
of our sonatas. If the musical knowledge of this Macenas of Art was
but little, his delicacy was still less. For when I took leave of him
that evening, he went to his writing table and taking out 40 Species,
said as he held them out to me: “I hear, you are going to give a third
Concert; send me forty more tickets; I have still, it is true, almost
all the others, but will take new ones, nevertheless.” Indignant at the
meanness of the rich Jew, I declined to take his money, and said: “The
former tickets, certainly, do not admit to the next Concert; but yours
shall. You will not therefore require any new ones.” And so I left him
standing embarrassed and ashamed before his company, and turned my back
upon him. On the day of the Concert, nevertheless, one of the servants
of the Hebrew Cresus came for the forty tickets.

Before I left Hamburgh, another offer was made to me that gave me much
pleasure. The celebrated Theatrical-Manager, Actor, and Play-writer
_Schröder_, who for nearly ten years had lived in retirement, and had
then let his Theatre to other speculators, was suddenly seized with the
desire to resume the management after the expiration of their lease.
The Play-going public of Hamburgh were rejoiced at this, for they
looked forward to see their Stage reassume the distinguished rank to
which it had formerly attained under _Schröder’s_ direction. The new
management was to commence with the year 1811, and open at first with
several new Plays and Operas. _Schröder_ himself had already written a
number of Plays and Comedies, for the occasion, and had procured the
librettos of four Operas, for which the music was now to be composed.
Three of these were already in the hands of _Winter_ of Munich, of
_Andreas Romberg_ and _Clasing_ the teacher of music in Hamburgh;
but the fourth “_Der Zweikampf mit der Geliebten_” of _Schink_ was
offered to me for composition. The negotiator in this matter, was a
former acquaintance of mine, _Schmidt_, the actor, previously on the
Magdeburgh but now on the Hamburgh stage.

Little satisfied as I had hitherto been with my Dramatic labours, the
desire to make another trial was by no means diminished. I therefore
accepted the offer without much preliminary enquiry about the
conditions, and without submitting the libretto destined for me to any
proof. The conditions were nevertheless very fair. A written agreement
was drawn up in which these were stipulated and signed by both parties.
I undertook to deliver my composition in the spring of 1811, and to
go to Hamburgh in the course of the summer, to direct the three first
representations of the opera.

With the prospect of a pleasant task before me, I now gladly returned
to the quiet of Gotha. But I was somewhat anxious lest the Dutchess
might have felt offense at our protracted absence, and I was the more
confirmed in that fear when upon paying our visit of return, to the
Dutchess, we were not received. We saw her therefore for the first time
again at the Court-Concert. As I well knew that the surest way to make
our peace with her, was to appear in this at once, I played one of my
Sonatas with my wife, and afterwards the Dutchess’s favorite Variations
of _Rode_ in G-Major. This had the desired effect; for at the end of
the Concert, the Dutchess advanced towards us, greeted us in the most
friendly manner, and would not permit us to finish our apologies. With
our mind at rest, we could now fully enjoy the happiness of being once
more united to our children.

As soon as we again felt at home, I longed to commence the composition
of the Opera I had brought with me. I now first saw, upon a nearer
examination of the libretto, that I had not drawn a very great prize.
The subject though in itself not uninteresting, had been worked out
in a manner that little suited me. I felt the necessity for some
alterations, and therefore applied first to Herr _Schröder_ for
permission to make them. This was readily conceded, and with the
assistance of a young Poet in Gotha, I altered what did not please me,
but saw later on its representation, that I ought also to have erased
many other things. I was then, however, still too little experienced in

Scarcely had I begun the Composition of the first acts of the Opera,
than I was called away from it by another task. In the spring,
_Bischoff_, the Leader of the choir at Frankenhausen, came to Gotha,
and offered me the Direction of a Musical Festival, which he purposed
to give in the church of his town, in the course of the summer. He
had already secured the assistance of the most celebrated Singers, as
well as of the most distinguished members of the Court-Orchestras
of the neighbouring Thuringian Capitals, and therefore had no doubt
of the most brilliant success. As the junior Director of these
Court-Orchestras, I felt not a little flattered at having the
Leadership offered to me, and accepted it with pleasure, although I had
never yet directed so large an Orchestra and Chorus company as would
be there assembled. I was now obliged to lay aside for some time the
work I had begun, for _Hermstedt_ urgently besought me to write another
new Clarinet-Concerto for him, to play at the Festival. Although sorry
to be disturbed in my studies, I allowed myself to be persuaded, and
finished it in sufficient time for _Hermstedt_ to practise it well
under my direction. This first Musical Festival at Frankenhausen, which
at that time attracted great attention in the Musical World, and gave
rise both on the Elbe, the Rhine, in North-Germany and Switzerland, to
the institution of similar Musical Festivals, found in Herr _Gerber_,
the author of the Musical-Lexicon, so eloquent a Commentator, that I
think I cannot do better than quote in part here his notice, in the 12.
Annual-Volume Nr. 47 of the Musical Journal:

“On the 20. and 21. of June, a Musical-Festival was celebrated in
Frankenhausen, a Town in the Schwarzburg-Rudolstadt Circle, four
leagues from Sondershausen; at which _Haydn’s_ “_Creation_” was
performed, and a Grand Concert; a Festival as remarkable for the
successful manner in which the numerous difficulties attending the
arrangement of the whole had been overcome, as for the high degree of
excellence exhibited in the presence of thousands, who had gathered to
hear it from a distance of twenty leagues round. When it is considered
that we are here speaking of a country town in Thuringia, in which
the Musical-_personel_ consisted alone of the “Stadt-Musicus” and
his assistants, with the vocalists of the Choir, the possibility of
accomplishing such an undertaking must excite the greatest surprise....

“The Precentor Herr _Bischoff_ of Frankenhausen, a young, active man,
and an enthusiast in his love for Music, who already in 1804, with the
assistance of his neighbours and a few members of the Ducal Orchestra
of Gotha, under the leadership of Concert-Director _Fischer_ of Erfurt,
and _Ernst_ of Gotha, performed “The Creation” in the principal
church of that place with about eighty Singers and Instrumentalists
to the great satisfaction of the hearers; felt thereby encouraged to
reproduce once more that great master-piece, according to the idea of
its great Composer with _two hundred_ Singers and Instrumentalists.
His purpose was long hindered by the passage to and fro of foreign
troops. At length in the present apparent calm in Germany, he undertook
to carry it out. With that view he had some time previously visited
Weimar, Rudolstadt, Gotha and Erfurt; to several towns he sent written
invitations, and as these were everywhere favourably received, early on
the 19. June, 101 Singers and 106 Instrumentalists, for the most part
of Thuringia, had assembled for the rehearsal, and among these, twenty
Artistes from Gotha with their celebrated Director, Concert-Master

“The Assistants were partly graduated Musicians, and Members of
Orchestra, partly Dilletanti and Virtuosi of first rank, each with
his own instrument, and most of them already familiar with the

“Of this assemblage, the following Orchestra was formed: Director,
Concert-Master _Spohr_; Soprano-Solo, Madame _Scheidler_ from Gotha;
Tenor-Solo, “Kammer-Singer” _Methfessel_ from Rudolstadt; Bass-Solo,
“Kammer-Singer” _Strohmeyer_ of Weimar; Organ, Director _Fischer_ and
Professor _Scheibner_, both of Erfurt; Pianiste, Director _Krille_
from Stollberg; Director of the Chorus, Precentor _Bischoff_ of
Frankenhausen; Chorists, Soprani 28, Alti 20, Tenori 20, Bassi 30.”

Here follow the names of all the Musicians, and a description of the
arrangement of the Orchestra. The notice then continues:

“This appropriate and excellent arrangement, by which each had
sufficient room, and the Director constantly in view, contributed
without doubt not a little after one rehearsal only to the successful
execution of so great a work of art, new to many, and exceedingly
difficult, as was in particular produced on the second day:

“1) A grand new Overture for full Orchestra (with bassoons also) by
_Spohr_. 2) A grand Italian Scena for Bass by _Righini_, sung by
_Strohmeyer_. 3) A grand new Clarinet Concerto, written expressly
for this Festival by _Spohr_, and played by Director _Hermstedt_.
After which 4) Concert-Master _Fischer_ played upon the full Organ an
artistic Introduction to the last Chorus from _Haydn’s_ “Seasons”. This
was followed 5) by a Double-Concert for two Violins (also of _Spohr’s_
original-Composition) played by himself and _Matthäi_. 6) A grand
_Rondo_ from a Concerto in D-Major by _Bernard Romberg_, artistically
played by _Dotzauer_, and lastly, Beethoven’s C-Major Symphony....

“Herr _Spohr’s_ leading with a roll of paper, without the least noise,
and without the slightest contortion of countenance, might be called
a _graceful Leading_ if that word were sufficient to express the
precision and influence impressed by his movements upon the whole mass,
strange both to him and to itself. To this happy talent in Herr _Spohr_
I ascribe in great part the excellence and precision--the imposing
power, as well as the soft blending of this numerous Orchestra with the
voices of the Singers in the execution of “The Creation.”

“The full toned yet flexible voice of Madame _Scheidler_, so
well adapted to a large church, the expressive execution of the
Art-experienced Herr _Methfessel_, the magnificent bass-voice of Herr
_Strohmeyer_, indisputably the finest I ever heard, reaching from
Contra D to G _on the second line_, .... these three Solo-Singers,
in unison with so many distinguished Virtuosi leading every Voice,
where each sang or played voluntarily and with pleasure, justify me in
affirming that this execution of “The Creation” was the most powerful,
most expressive and in a word the most successful that I had ever

“The Overture with which the Concert began on the following day,
belongs properly considered to the _Master-pieces in modulation_.
Almost with every new bar, one _Inganno_ succeeds the other, so that
it may be looked upon as a connected series of studies in modulation.
Probably, this restlessness, this vacillation, has reference to the
character of the “Alruna” for which drama this was written. Great,
however as the effect of this Overture may certainly be in a Theatre,
yet as Concert-Music it did not appear to make the impression that
might have been expected from its execution by so good and numerous
an orchestra. This result can be explained in no other way than, in
as much as continuously disappointed hopes depress the spirits and
make the mind uneasy, so a music which to the end disappoints the
expectations of the ear, never satisfies. A profusion of crooked and
sometimes rough passages, leading to no object, to no repose, and to
no further enjoyment, in which the Composer merely keeps the mind
of the hearer in suspense become at length wearisome. The music of
our forefathers 200 years ago, consisted of just such a profusion of
crooked passages, without resting place--of numberless modulations
and sustained terminals. But our worthy ancestors were as yet wanting
in the flowers wherewith to embellish and make a little resting place
interesting, that is: they were yet wanting in figures of Melody to
entertain their hearers agreably in one Tone. But how easy would this
have been to the admirable _Spohr_, who has so many of the beautiful
flowers! The so called contrast in great Musical works is by no means
to be despised; and least of all, the more it is grounded upon human
perception and feeling.

“Of the effect of Herr _Strohmeyer’s_ execution of the grand Scena of
_Righini_, it is here unnecessary to say any thing further, since his
splendid delivery has had full justice done to it above. _Righini’s_
charming Song, and admirable instrumentation are sufficiently known.
The Scena kindled the enthusiasm of the whole audience.

“_Spohr’s_ Clarinet-Concerto in E-Minor, played by _Hermstedt_, is
indisputably one of the _most perfect Artistic Works of the kind_. A
grand and brilliant handling of the concerted instruments, combined
with a most original accompaniment for the Orchestra, in which as it
were each instrument even the kettle-drum, is _obligato_, and which
for that reason requires a more than usually practised and attentive
Orchestra, entitles it to be so considered. The third, Polonaise-like
theme, is particularly remarkable, in which one knows not whether to
admire most the brilliancy of the artistic Soli’s or the admirably
elaborated Tutti’s--in the latter of which, the wind instruments seem
actually to engage each other in a Thematic struggle. This artistic
work is moreover conspicuous for the cheerful spirit that pervades it
throughout. The admirable execution of this Concerto did great honour
to the Composer, the Player and the whole Orchestra; and set thousands
of hands among the audience in lively and continuous motion.

“Hereupon, Concert-Master _Fischer_ surprised the Orchestra as well
as the audience not a little, by falling in with the full Organ, in
order to introduce the now ensuing chorus of the Finale, in C-Major.
This novel kind of Music, of which nothing had been heard at the
rehearsal, its artistic connecting of the Voices, its harmonious turns
and masterly modulations made every member of the Orchestra doubly
attentive. For some minutes he may have entertained the audience
in this manner, when, he dwellt upon the dominant, and to keep the
expectation yet more alive for the entry of the Chorus, by means of
a sort of Organ-Point, formed a close at this interval. This was no
sooner observed by Herr _Spohr_, than he lifted his roll of paper, and
scarcely had the last organ-tone ceased, when the whole Orchestra fell
in with the first single chord C of the Chorus; which C, the trumpets
had then to sustain alone to the end of the bar. This was executed with
the greatest punctuality. One of the trumpeters, only, preoccupied
with the Organ play, had forgotten to change his mouth piece and so
blew on in E-Minor. In an instant Herr _Spohr_ made a motion, and
nothing more of the second bar was heard from the Orchestra. Upon this
Herr _Fischer_ instantly fell in again with the Organ, continued his
Prelude, and this time closed in form with the dominant C-Major--just
as if that occurrence had been intentionally introduced.

“As no pause whatever in the music took place, so that, except by the
Orchestra, it would have been difficult for any one to have remarked
this oversight, it might have been wholly concealed, were it not to
be feared, that experienced Musicians might laugh at my here repeated
assurances of nothing but faultless and successful performances by an
Orchestra collected from twenty leagues round, after one rehearsal
only, in the same manner as our present newspaper political reports are
frequently ridiculed.

“After a pause of about a quarter of an hour, Herr _Spohr_ resumed
his Violin, Herr _Matthäi_ drew nearer to him, and now those two
admirable Artistes, by their perfect execution of a double Concerto
of Herr _Spohr_ afforded us the most lively enjoyment of alternating
admiration, astonishment and pleasure. They seemed frequently in open
feud for superiority in artistic execution, then became as it were
reconciled and poured forth together the most harmonious roulades upon
the listeners. The precision, and the rapidity with which they took
up and combined their respective tones, was worthy of admiration. The
quite original _Adagio_ of this masterly work which now followed,
commenced with a Trio for two Violincellos, impressively performed by
Herren _Preissing_ and _Müller_, and for a Contra-Bass, by Herr _Wach_
of Leipsic. When these three had ended their soft melodious play, a
_Quadro_ in long drawn and tied chords, as though from a Harmonica,
but somewhat deeper, was heard. It had a thrilling, and sweet effect.
Everybody looked round to the Bassi and Violi, from which this heavenly
harmony seemed to have in part proceeded, but every arm was still,
and the bows of Herren _Spohr_ and _Matthäi_ moved alone. It was they
alone, also, who had played that _Quadro_--and with a purity, that
upon the taking up of the Con-sonants after releasing the ties, the
ear was frequently moved with a singularly deep felt charm. After a
second similar Violincello-trio, the Quadro of the two Concerto-voices
recommenced, and proceeded to the close. The last Thesis accorded fully
with the science and beauty of the first.

“Upon this, Herr _Dotzauer_ advanced to the front music-desk, and
played, owing probably to the shortness of the remaining time, a
_Rondo_, but a Rondo of masterly elaboration and very difficult,
from a Violincello-Concerto in D-Major by _Bernard Romberg_, with an
execution, roundness and force in the sustained passages, and with a
lightness, purity, expression, and silvery tone in the melodic parts
of the higher octaves, that in his performance of this _Rondo_ alone,
he displayed in the most admirable manner his great mastery of his

“_Beethoven’s_ Symphony in C-Major; indisputably his most pleasing and
popular one, formed the conclusion. It could not have been executed
with more grace, fire and precision. The Chorus of wind instruments in
the _Trio_ of the Minuett afforded particular enjoyment. One imagined
to hear the tones of an exceedingly pure harmonica. A general and long
continued applause evinced the thanks and satisfaction of the audience
with the choice of the masterly compositions performed, and with the
manner in which they had been executed by the assembled artists.

“Though we commenced by adverting to the difficulties which had been
surmounted by the gentleman who carried out this undertaking, both in
the arrangements for the mental and bodily recreation of his numerous
guests, we feel it a duty to add yet something in respect to the
latter, a by no means easy thing to effect in so small a town.

“The hundred Chorists were distributed among the different Inns, where
they found both bed and board. The whole of the Virtuosi, Singers and
Dilettanti were on the other hand received into respectable private
houses. But in order to render the stay of the kind lovers of Music
who had met together from such distant places, as agreable to them as
possible, Herr _Bischoff_ had made a sacrifice of the flower garden
immediately behind his house, and converted it into a Dining-room. The
Saloon erected for this purpose was decorated with green branches the
pleasing freshness of whose verdure seemed a friendly welcome to the

“In this Saloon, the tables were laid out, and the repasts served.
It was a pleasure to behold so many worthy Artists and Lovers of Art
assembled here for one and the same purpose, proceeding thence to their
labour of Love, and returning therefrom to meet here anew for cheerful
enjoyment, and to pay unanimous and hearty tribute to the great father
_Haydn_, the excellent _Spohr_ and many other first rate Artists in
brimming glasses. The hilarity of the supper table was generally
heightened by lively and well sung songs. Fine voices joined, and
sang Quartetts and Canons; Herr _Methfessel_ taking his guitar would
entertain the company with pleasing Ballads, and touching Romances of
his own Composition; by way of change, he then sang a Comic Song, or
two, and exhibited his liveliness of fancy, his richness of invention,
wit, and humour of expression, as well as his intimate knowledge of
tone and harmony. Herr _Hachmeister_, the Assessor of mines from
Clausthal taking then the guitar from him in turn, charmed the company
with National Songs in the Thuringian dialect, replete with such wit
and humour as compelled the hearer despite himself, to laugh at the
cares of life.”

I and my wife, made many agreable acquaintances among the artistes
and friends of Art then assembled in Frankenhausen, among others,
that of Amtsrath _Lüder_ of Catlenburg, who up to the present time
has remained one of my most intimated friends. _Lüder_ then resided
in the neighbourhood of Bremen and was upon a journey of business to
Berlin. On arriving at the foot of the Hartz mountains, his postillion
informed him of the approaching Musical Festival in Frankenhausen and
pictured to him in so attractive a shape the Musical treat that was
to be expected there, that _Lüder_ immediately made him diverge from
the road, and take the direction of Frankenhausen. Arrived there, his
first care was to enquire for me, to ask permission to be present at
all the rehearsals. This was not only very readily granted, but I also
invited my new acquaintance whose enthusiasm for Art greatly pleased
me, to join our meetings under the tent at dinner and supper. Here in
the hours intervening between the rehearsals and the performances,
amid artistic enjoyments seasoned with lively sallies of wit and
good humour, a social intercourse sprang up so delightful, that all
who shared in it will assuredly have looked back upon it with the
greatest satisfaction. A small circle of similarly minded enthusiasts
for Art had especially gathered round me, and we soon became so
mutually attached, that after the close of the Festival it became
difficult to separate, and an excursion together to the Kyffhäuser
was determined upon. On this mountain-excursion which was favoured
by the most beautiful weather, it was the Singer _Methfessel_ from
Rudolstadt, who more particularly kept the company in the merriest
mood by his inexhaustible humour. I still remember with great pleasure
an improvised Capucin-sermon which he preached from the chancel of a
ruined cloister, in which he interwove in a half serious, half comical
manner the chief incidents of the Musical-festival. From the summit of
the Kyffhäuser, he sang also the praise of the Emperor Barbarossa, and
urged him to a speedy resurrection for the final enfranchisement of

[12] According to the ancient legend, the belief in which was once
popular throughout Germany; _Frederick Barbarossa_, seated at a stone
table in the vaulted tower of the Imperial Castle of the Kyffhäuser,
awaits since 600 years the hour of Germany’s regeneration, in order
to reappear once more in the vigour of life, prepared for new works
and achievements for the glory and well being of a united Germany. The
red beard of the Emperor grows round the table of stone in front of
him, and so soon as it has wholly grown round it for the third time,
_Frederick_ will awake. His first act will then produce a symbol of
his further mission. He will hang his shield upon a withered tree,
which will then suddenly shoot out its buds and leaves again, till
it is covered anew with verdant life and beauty! Such is the legend,
the origin of which dates far back into the middle ages, and must
be considered as a long subsisting expression of that yearning of
the popular mind in Germany which under long enduring circumstances
of political oppression looked towards the future with hopes of
enfranchisement and relief, and which associated those hopes and
aspirations with the memory of an honoured name.

  (Note of Translator.)

Arrived again at the foot of the mountain, the new friends were
reluctantly obliged to part, and each returned to his home highly

I immediately resumed the composition of my Opera, and finished it in
the course of the winter of 1810-1811. Besides this, in my catalogue
appears the following Works at this period: A Violin-concerto
afterwards published by _Peters_, a Sonata for Harp and Violin (Op.
114, by _Schuberth_) and an Italian aria, _alla Polacca_, with Violin
Obligato, which was never engraved. I wrote the latter at the request
of Prince Frederick von Gotha, brother of the Duke, who gifted with a
pleasing tenor voice, frequently sang in the Court-concerts, and much
wished to have an Air with Violin accompaniment of my composition. It
was frequently sung, particularly when visitors were at court.

The Prince was an amiable well meaning man, who interested himself
in Music much more than his brother, and who, with the Dutchess,
kept alive the interest for the Court-concerts. Unfortunately he was
subject to an incurable complaint, epilepsy, with which he was seized
every fourteen days, (in later years, still more frequently) which
kept him down from 12 to 15 hours at a time. He was then deprived of
the use of all his limbs, and the organs of speech and the muscles of
his face were the only parts that remained unaffected. During these
dreadful attacks he would lie in bed as motionless as a corpse; but
was always pleased when any one visited him, and entertained him with
conversation. From the continual recurrence of these attacks he had
become so accustomed to his condition, that he could be quite cheerful
during their duration. His physicians considered that a milder climate
would be most likely to cure him, and for that reason sent him to
Italy. I met him in Rome during my tour in Italy in 1816; and mention
will therefore be frequently made of him at that part of my narrative.

In the spring of 1811, the Precentor _Bischoff_ again paid me a visit,
and invited me to conduct a second grand Musical Festival which
he intended giving in Frankenhausen. He also begged me to play a
Violin-Concerto on the second day of the Concert, and to write a grand
Symphony for the opening. Although I had not yet attempted that kind of
Musical composition, I acceded with pleasure to his request.

In this manner the opportunity presented itself for another interesting
task, and I immediately set about it with spirit. Although hitherto
it had been usual with me to lose after a time all taste for my first
essays in a new style of Composition, this Symphony was an exception
to the rule, for it has pleased me even in after years. As I had
previously practised it very carefully with my Orchestra, which was
composed of the _élite_ of the Frankenhausen Orchestra, although we
could have but one rehearsal of it, it was nevertheless executed
in an admirable manner at the Festival, and met, particularly from
those who took part in it, with an enthusiastic reception. I felt
highly gratified at this, more even than at the applause I gained as
Solo-player. In Leipsic also, where the Symphony was executed in the
Drapers’-House-Concert, it met with great approbation, as is shewn in
a notice of the Musical Journal, which says: “_Spohr’s_ new and yet
unpublished Symphony excited the interest and admiration of all real
lovers of music. Both in invention and elaboration, we consider it
not only to surpass all that we know of the Orchestral-Music of this
Master, but confess also, that for many years we have scarcely heard a
new work of this kind, which possesses so much novelty and originality,
without singularity and affection; so much richness and science,
without artifice and bombast. We may therefore confidently predict,
that when published, it will become a favorite piece with every great
and skilled Orchestra, and with all serious and cultivated Auditories;
but it requires both.”

Besides this Symphony, I had also written for the Musical Festival at
_Hermstedt’s_ earnest solicitation, Variations for the Clarinet, with
Orchestral accompaniment, upon themes from the “_Opferfest_” which
he performed with his usual skill. This Composition, (published by
_Schlesinger_ in Berlin as Op. 80) which carries out those themes with
a more artistic Fantasia-like freedom, than as Variations, were greatly
admired by Musicians and connoisseurs.

On the afternoon of the second day, the Musical Festival was followed
by a family fête in the house of the projector. A few weeks before, a
son had been born to him, who was now christened. He had invited the
whole of the assistants to be godfathers, who now in holiday attire
ranged themselves round the altar at the church. I held the infant
son over the baptismal font, and gave him my name “Louis”. When the
clergyman put the question to me and the other godfathers, whether we
would take care that the child should receive a Christian education, a
solemn “Yes” from full three hundred voices echoed through the church.
A Chorus executed by the singers, with Organ accompaniment, terminated
the holy ceremony.

At this second Festival my gratification was still more enhanced by the
presence of my parents among the auditory, and that they took a lively
part in the social gaieties under the tent. The projector was no less
satisfied with his speculation, and thus this Festival terminated like
that of the previous year, to the satisfaction of all.

Shortly after my return, I received intelligence from Hamburgh that
my Opera, which I had sent in in the spring, had been at length
distributed and that its representation would take place in the first
days of November. I therefore applied for a month’s leave of absence
for myself and wife, and set out with her, in the middle of October,
via Hanover, where I intended giving a concert. As this was the first
Opera of mine that was to be represented, I was in a state of great
anxiety. The shock I felt may therefore be readily imagined, upon
receiving a letter in Hanover from the manager _Schröder_, informing me
that the Opera would not be produced, because the _Prima Donna_ Madame
_Becker_ refused to take the part assigned to her, and that according
to the theatrical laws she was perfectly justified in doing so.

The matter was in this wise: Previous to beginning my work, I had
certainly taken pains to inquire of Herr _Schwenke_ respecting the
range of voice and the capabilities of the Hamburgh singers, and in
accordance therewith, I had constructed the chief parts of the opera.
But as I was without all experience in these things, I had neglected to
ascertain the personal appearance of the singers, so that, for Madame
_Becker_, a small, delicate figure, I had written the part of Donna
Isabella, who seeks for her faithless lover at the Court of Princess
Matilda disguised in man’s clothes, and at last challenges him to
mortal combat armed cap-à-pied as a knight. So long as Madame _Becker_,
knew no more about the Opera than her part, she was highly satisfied
and began to practice with great zeal. But as soon as she had read
the libretto, she declared, that she could not undertake the part, as
she would make herself perfectly ridiculous. Exceedingly annoyed at
my mistake I set off for Hamburgh, to remedy it wherever possible,
and to induce the representation of the opera. I found old _Schröder_
in very low spirits, and exceedingly dissatisfied with his theatrical
untertaking. But he had every reason to be so. Several of the
performers had failed to make their appearance, others came too late,
and some had not answered the expectations entertained of them; his
new Plays and Comedies had not been very successful, and empty houses
had been the result. Of the four Operas which he had Music written
for, two were already laid aside, because they had displeased. The one
composed by _Winter_: “_Die Pantoffeln_” had lived through some few
thinly attended representations; that of _Clasing_: “_Welcher ist der
Rechte?_” had been withdrawn from the _Repertoire_ immediately after
the first night, for in spite of the strenuous efforts of _Clasing’s_
numerous friends it was a complete failure.

With such disappointments, it was not to be wondered that the old
grumbler should be mistrustful of my Opera also, and the more so
since the most favorite singer of his theatre would not lend her aid.
But when he offered me payment of the sum agreed for it, and at the
same time laid it aside without having given it a trial, I was much
hurt and protested against it in the most positive manner. At length
after much entreaty, I obtained _Schröder’s_ consent that I should
make a trial of it with another singer, who hitherto had played only
in secondary characters, and practise her in the rôle refused by
Madame _Becker_. In this singer, a Madame _Lichtenheld_, I found great
willingness and natural capacity, and when I had simplified the most
difficult bravura passages of the part to her powers of execution,
I succeeded well with her. Thus at length the rehearsals could be
commenced, and when _Schröder_ had heard one, and had become convinced
that Madame _Lichtenheld_ would fill the part satisfactorily, the
first representation was announced for the 15. November. My former
musical acquaintances one and all, including _Romberg_ and _Prell_,
offered their services to me in the two representations in which I was
to lead the orchestra. _Hermstedt_, also, who had come to Hamburgh to
give a Concert with my support, joined them, and undertook the First
Clarinet part, for which there were some telling Soli’s and a concerted
accompaniment or a Soprano-air. With the aid of these distinguished
artists the Orchestra was considerably strengthened, and as the Singers
and the Chorus were likewise well practised, I was already greatly
pleased with the precision with which my music was performed in the
rehearsals, and therefore entertained the most lively hopes that the
Opera would please. Nevertheless on the evening of the representation,
it was not without fresh anxiety that I took my place at my desk,
for it had come to my ears that, _Clasing’s_ friends would evince an
inimical feeling towards me in revenge for the failure of his opera.
But when the music had begun, I thought of that alone, and forgot
every thing else around me. The applause with which the Overture was
received, shewed me, nevertheless, that the unfriendly party would
not make any demonstration; and so it proved. Almost every piece was
applauded, and the approbation increased yet more towards the end of
the opera. Upon the fall of the curtain a long sustained storm of
applause was given to the composer.

I ought now to have been very happy, but was by no means so. Already
at the first rehearsal some things in my music had displeased me. At
every fresh rehearsal these were increased by something new, and before
the actual representation, the half of my Opera had become distasteful
to me. I now thought I well knew how I could have made it better, and
was greatly annoyed that I had not discovered it before. Yes, indeed,
had my work appeared to me in that light on my arrival at Hamburgh,
I should have made no opposition to _Schröder’s_ intention to lay it
aside unperformed. But my musical friends were of a different opinion;
they were exceedingly pleased with this work, and wished me every
further success. _Schwenke_ wrote a full and very laudatory criticism
of the Opera, wherein he adroitly combated the well founded opinion
of its opponents, that it contained many reminiscences of the Operas
of _Mozart_, and while admitting that the form of the musical pieces
as well as the whole design recalled _Mozart_, he assigned that, as
a recommendatory feature and proof of its excellence. By this, made
watchful of myself, I became sensible of the necessity to break myself
of it, and think that I already fully effected it in “Faust” my next
Dramatic work.

With my permission, _Schwenke_ had some time before made a Piano-forte
arrangement from the Opera, which was now published by _Böhm_ in
Hamburgh, and soon found an extensive circulation.

Of the Concert which I then gave in Hamburgh with my wife and
_Hermstedt_, I recollect but little more than that the latter created
a great sensation by his highly cultivated skill. But I have a clearer
recollection of another Concert in Altona, at which we and several
of our Hamburgh friends assisted, and in which all manner of little
misfortunes befell us, which afterwards afforded matter for much

This Concert was given by a rich Musical-amateur of Altona, who invited
the assistants from Hamburgh to a luxurious dinner. After the company
had been at table for two hours, and addressed themselves diligently
to the champaign, they became so merry and forgetful, that nobody gave
a thought to the Concert that was to follow. The terror therefore
was general, when a Messenger suddenly appeared, and announced that
the numerous Audience which had assembled was become impatient and
demanded the opening of the concert. All now hurried to the Concert
saloon; although in reality no one was any longer in a fit state to
make a public appearance. It was especially remarkable that, those
who were usually the most timid had now become the most courageous.
The Altona dilettanti-Orchestra, who were to serve as nucleus and
support to the Hamburgh Artists, were already in their places, and the
Concert immediately began with an Overture by _Romberg_ who conducted
it himself. He, who was unjustly accused of taking the _tempi_ of his
Compositions too slow, hurried the _Allegro_ of his Overture this time
so much, that the poor Dilettanti could not keep up with him. Little
therefore was wanting for the whole thing to break down from the very
overture. My wife and I were then to follow with a Sonata for harp
and violin, which as usual we were about to play without notes. Just
as we had seated ourselves, and I was about to begin, my wife, who at
all other times was self-possession itself, whispered anxiously to me:
“For Heaven’s sake, _Louis_, I cannot remember which Sonata we are to
play, nor how it begins!” I hummed softly in her ear the commencement
of it, and restored to her the necessary calmness and self-possession.
Our Play now proceeded without mishap to the end, and was received
with great applause. It was now Madame _Becker’s_ turn to sing an
Air, and _Romberg_ had just led her forward to the raised platform of
the Orchestra, when to the great astonishment of the public, she all
at once ran off, and disappeared in the room adjoining. _Dorette_,
allarmed lest she should have been taken suddenly ill, hastened after
her. But, both shortly reappeared, and I now ascertained from my wife,
that Madame _Becker_ had found her breath too short from the effects
of the dinner, and was therefore obliged to have her clothes loosened
before she could sing.

_Hermstedt_, now followed with a difficult composition of mine. He, who
always when appearing in public, went to work with the most nervous
precision in every thing, emboldened now to rashness by the fumes of
the champaign, had screwed on a new and untried plate to the mouthpiece
of his Clarinet, and even spoke vauntingly of it to me as I mounted
the platform of the orchestra. I immediately anticipated no good from
it. The Solo of my composition began with a long sustained note, which
_Hermstedt_ pitched almost inaudibly, and by degrees encreased to
an enormous power, with which he always produced a great sensation.
This time he began also in the same way, and the public listened to
the increasing volume of tone with wrapt expectancy. But just as he
was about to encrease it to the highest power, the plate twisted,
and gave out a mis-tone, resembling the shrill cry of a goose. The
public laughed, and the now suddenly sobered Virtuoso turned deadly
pale with horror. He nevertheless soon recovered himself, and executed
the remainder with his usual brilliancy, so that there was no want of
enthusiastic applause at the end.

But with poor _Schwenke_ it fared worse than all. The waist-buckle
of his pantaloons had given way during the dinner, without his being
aware of it. When therefore he had mounted into the orchestra to
take the Viol-part in a Pot-Pourri with Quartett-accompaniment which
I played at the close of the Concert, shortly after he had begun to
play, he felt his pantaloons begin to slip with every movement he
made in bow-ing. Much too conscientious a Musician, to omit a note
of his part, he patiently waited for the pauses, to pull up his
nethergarment again. His predicament did not long escape the notice
of the public, and occasioned considerable merriment. But towards the
close of the Pot-Pourri, when a 1/16 movement shook him so roughly,
that the downward tendency of his pantaloons made serious progress,
and threatened to exceed the limits of propriety, the public could no
longer restrain itself, and broke out into a general titter. By this
untoward interruption of the execution of my Solo, I was thus dragged
also, into the general calamity of the day.

On my return to Gotha, I found a letter from _Bischoff_, in which he
informed me that he had been commanded by the Governor of Erfurt to
make arrangements for a grand Musical Festival there, in the ensuing
summer, in celebration of the birthday of Napoleon, August 15. He had
already agreed with him as to the terms, and now asked me to untertake
its direction, and to write a new Oratorio for the first day. I had
long desired to try for once, something in the Oratorio-style, also,
and readily consented to the proposal. A young poet in Erfurt had
already offered me the text of an Oratorio, in which I had found
several grand passages for composition. It was called: “The last

I sent for the libretto, and set to work at once. But I soon felt
that for the Oratorio-style I was yet too deficient in Counter-point
and in Fugeing; I therefore suspended my work, in order to make the
preliminary studies requisite for the subject. From one of my pupils
I borrowed _Marpurg’s_ “Art of Fuge writing” and was soon deeply and
continuously engaged in the study of that work. After I had written
half a dozen Fugues according to its instructions, the last of which
seemed to me very successful; I resumed the composition of my Oratorio,
and completed it without allowing any thing else to intervene.
According to a memorandum I made, it was begun in January 1812, and
finished in June. There would not therefore have been sufficient
time to write it out and practise it before the performance, had I
not sent the two first parts of the work to _Bischoff_, immediately
after their completion. By that means, not only could the Choruses be
carefully practised in it, but I had also sufficient time to study
the Orchestral-parts with my own orchestra, which was again to form
the nucleus of the great Erfurt orchestra. In this manner, although
the work is a very difficult one, I was enabled after one general
rehearsal only, to effect a tolerably successful performance of it.
One of the Solo-singers, alone, who sang the part of Satan, did not
give me satisfaction. This part which was written with a powerful
instrumentation, I gave by the advice of _Bischoff_ to a village
schoolmaster in the neighbourhood of Gotha, who was celebrated
throughout the whole district for his colossal bass-voice. In power
of voice he had indeed quite sufficient to outroar a whole Orchestra,
but in science, and in Music, he could by no means execute the part in
a satisfactory manner. I taught and practised him in the part myself,
and took great pains to assist him a little, but without much success.
For when the day of public trial came, he had totally forgotten every
instruction, and admonition, and gave such loose to his barbarian
voice, that he first of all frightened the auditory, and then set them
in a roar of laughter.

From overstraining his voice, he moreover almost always intonated
too high, and by that spoiled several of the most effective parts
of the oratorio. I suffered intensely from this, and my pleasure in
my composition was greatly embittered. Nevertheless it gave general
satisfaction, and was most favourably spoken of in a detailed notice
of the Musical Festival in one of the Thuringian newspapers. Another
criticism which appeared in a South-German (if I am not mistaken a
Francfort Journal) found on the other hand much to cavil with in the
work, and was altogether written in a bitter and malevolent tone.
For many years I suspected this malicious criticism was written by
Counsellor _André_ of Offenbach, as he was present at the Festival
with two of his pupils, _Arnold_ and _Aloys Schmidt_. What induced me
to suspect him of it, although _André_ had expressed himself to me
personally in praise of the work, I now no longer remember; and in
later years when I questioned him on the subject, he assured me that he
was not the author. I, myself, not only considered the work the best I
had written up to that time, but I thought I had never heard any thing
finer. Even to this day I like so much some of the choruses and Fuges,
as well as the part of Satan, that I could almost pronounce them to be
the most grand of all I ever wrote. Not so, however, with the other
themes particularly with the Soli-parts of Jesus and Mary. These are
wholly written in the Cantata style of that day and overladen with
bravoura and ornamental passages. Shortly afterwards, also, I felt the
impropriety of this style, and in later years frequently resolved to
re-write those Soli parts. But when about to begin, it seemed to me as
though I could no longer enter into the spirit of the subject, and so
it remained undone. To publish the work as it was I could not make up
my mind. Thus in later years it has lain by with out any use being made
of it.

As the above mentioned Festival in honour of Napoleon’s birth-day was
the last that took place in Erfurt and in Germany just before the
Russian Campaign, it was considered to have been ominous, that the
principal Musical piece then performed should have been “the last

       *       *       *       *       *

In the Autumn of 1812 I again applied for a leave of absence for myself
and wife, which after some reluctance on the part of the Dutchess was
granted. We this time directed our journey to Vienna as the least
disturbed by the war, and the passage of troops. Our first stay was at
Leipsic, where we assisted at a Concert given by _Hermstedt_, and where
I afterwards performed my new oratorio. Of this the Musical Journal
speaks in the following manner:

“Herr _Hermstedt’s_ Concert as regards the Compositions executed, was
one of the most attractive that could be heard. With the exception of
_Mozart’s_ Overture, and the Scena by _Righini_, all the pieces were
of the composition of Concert-Master _Spohr_, and with the exception
of the Clarinet-Concerto, all newly written. This Concerto, the first
in C-Minor, and, as a Composition, the most brilliant of all Concerti
for that instrument, was again listened to with great satisfaction.
A grand Sonata for Violin and Harp, played by Herr and Madame
_Spohr_, the leading theme of which must be pronounced masterly in
conception and elaboration, and the second, consisting of a delightful
Pot-Pourri of happily combined and most pleasingly handled melodies
from the “_Zauberflöte_”,--this as well as each of the other pieces
were received with the warmest approbation. We heard besides another
Violin-Concerto[13] played by Herr _Spohr_ and a Pot-Pourri for the
Clarinet with Orchestral accompaniment. In the former, the first
_Allegro_, as regards composition and execution pleased us least. Here
and there, it seemed to us both tricky and overladen with ornament,
and considering its contents, much too long; neither was the execution
of the Virtuoso every where sufficiently distinct and clear. But the
_Adagio_, as regards composition and execution is one of the finest we
ever heard on this instrument, we may even say the very finest that was
ever produced by any Virtuoso.”

[13] This must have been the 6. (Op. 28).

Of the Oratorio, also, it speaks upon the whole, favourably. It
contains not only “many details that are original and attractive, some
even that are really charming, but which, also, too closely crowd upon
and obliterate each other. Every hearer whether he agrees or not with
_Spohr_ in his idea of an Oratorio, that is, whether he may be disposed
or not to tolerate its combination of almost every kind of treatment
and style, or rather, to see them replace each other in turn--yet every
hearer must be impressed with a lively interest in this work, and
experience a real pleasure not unmingled with astonishment at several
of its principal parts.”

According to a notice in the Musical Journal of the 8. November, I do
not appear to have made any stay at Dresden, upon this journey. But in
Prague I gave a Concert on the 12. November, and eight days after, my
Oratorio at the Theatre. A very favourable notice of the former appears
in the Musical Journal, which adverts especially to the “enchanting
unity” of execution, from which the most perfect harmonic marriage of
the two admirable artistes was to be recognised.

Of the performance of the Oratorio I alone remember that Fräulein
_Müller_ afterwards Madame _Grünbaum_, sang exquisitely in it, and that
the work was right well received by the public.

I now hastened towards the chief object of my journey. Vienna was
at that time indisputably the Capital of the Musical world. The two
greatest Composers and Reformers of Musical taste, _Haydn_ and _Mozart_
had lived there, and there produced their Master-pieces. The generation
still lived, which had seen them arise, and formed their taste in Art
from them. The worthy successor of those Art-heroes, _Beethoven_,
still resided there, and was now in the zenith of his fame, and in the
full strength of his creative power. In Vienna therefore the highest
standard for Art creations was set up, and to please there--was to
prove one’s self a Master.

I felt my heart beat as we drove over the Danube-bridge, and thought
of my approaching début. My anxiety was yet more increased by the
reflexion that I should have to compete with the greatest Violinist of
the day; for in Prague I had learnt that _Rode_ had just returned from
Russia, and was expected in Vienna. I still vividly recalled to mind
the overpowering impression which _Rode’s_ play had made upon me ten
years before in Brunswick, and how I had striven for years to acquire
his method and execution. I was now therefore anxious in the highest
degree to hear him again, in order thereby to measure my own progress.
My first question therefore on alighting from the carriage was whether
_Rode_ had arrived, and had announced a concert. This was answered in
the negative, but with the assurance that he had long been expected.

It was now therefore a matter of importance to me to be heard before
_Rode_, and I hastened as much as possible the announcement of my
concert. I succeeded also in appearing first; but _Rode_ had arrived
meanwhile, and was present at the concert. To my great surprise I felt
less intimidated than inspired by that circumstance, and played as well
as I could have desired. The Musical Journal spoke of my appearance
before “a crowded house” in the following manner:

“On the 17. December we had the pleasure to hear and admire Herr
_Louis Spohr_ and his wife at a concert. We subscribe gladly to the
favourable opinions expressed of this worthy Artiste-pair and can only
add that here also every one was charmed by their masterly play. Herr
_Spohr_ played a Violin-Concerto with a Spanish _Rondo_ and at the end
a Pot-Pourri, both of his composition; with his wife, he executed one
of his published Sonatas for harp and violin. The composition both of
the Concerto and this Sonata are excellent, and contrasted not a little
with the watery, patchwork productions with which so many practising
Musicians without talent or genius for composition, make their
appearance here.”

By the advice of some kind friends I relinquished my intention of
giving my Oratorio at my own expense, as I had projected doing in a
second Concert; since the great expenditure which a large Orchestra and
a numerous Chorus would have superadded to that of an usual Concert,
forbade the hope to realise any profit from the undertaking. Yet as
I was very desirous to have this work heard in Vienna, for I still
considered it one of the grandest of its kind, I offered to perform
it for the benefit of “the Widow’s and Orphan’s Society” on the
condition only, that for its production, the society would provide a
well appointed orchestra supported by the most distinguished Singers
and Instrumentalists in Vienna. This condition was accepted, and
fully carried out by the society, which provided a _personel_ of three
hundred assistants from among the best artistes in the city. The work
was carefully studied in two grand rehearsals, and on its production,
was performed better than I had yet heard it. I became anew enraptured
with my creation, and with me several of the assistant Musicians, among
whom more especially Herr _Clement_ the Director of the Orchestra of
the “Theatre an der Wien”.

He, had so thoroughly imbibed the spirit and substance of the work,
that the day after its performance he was enabled to play to me on the
Piano several entire parts, note for note, with all the harmonies and
orchestral figures, without ever having seen the score. But _Clement_
possessed a musical memory such perhaps as no other artiste ever
possessed. It was at that time related of him in Vienna, that after he
had heard several times “the Creation” of _Haydn_, he had learned it so
thoroughly, that with the help of the text book he was able to write a
full Pianoforte arrangement of it. He shewed this to old _Haydn_, who
was not a little alarmed at it, thinking at first that his score had
either been stolen or surreptitiously copied. Upon a nearer inspection
he found the Pianoforte arrangement so correct, that after _Clement_
had looked through the original score, he adopted it for publication.

Before my Oratorio was performed, I had a quarrel with the Censorship,
which nearly subverted the whole untertaking. They would not suffer
the names of _Mary_ and _Jesus_ to be used in the list of the
Dramatis-Personae of the Text-Book, nor above the words which they
had to sing. But after long negotiation, upon the omission of these,
the text was allowed to be printed. I could readily accede to this
omission, since from the context it was easy to understand who the
persons were.

Greatly as the work pleased the Musicians, and increased their opinion
of my talent for composition, yet its reception by the Public was
not nearly so brilliant as that which my play, and my Concerted
compositions had met with. It is true there was no want this time
also of marked applause, but it was not so general as to attract a
numerous audience to the second performance which took place three
days afterwards. This second representation in Vienna was the last the
work ever had; for in later years I saw too well its weak points and
deficiencies ever to persuade myself to give it again in public. Of the
first representation in Vienna on the 21. January the Musical Journal
spoke tolerably well.

_Salieri_ the Leader of the Imperial Orchestra had undertaken the
direction of the whole; Herr _Umlauf_ presided at the Piano, and I led
the violins. The principal parts were sung by Demoiselle _Klieber_,
Madame _Anenheim_, Demoiselle _Flamm_, Messrs. _Anders_, _Wild_,
and _Pfeiffer_. “It is difficult” says the notice “here in Vienna
to bring out an Oratorio, so as either to awaken attention to it,
or to procure for the work a permanent name--here where such grand,
successful masterpieces of the kind first made their appearance, which
are familiar to every body and which have procured for their creators
a lasting fame in the musical world. Herr _Eibler_ already attempted
to set the “Four last Things” ... to music. But his work was only
twice publickly performed, because he failed in a thoroughly even and
original style, and his composition would not bear comparison with the
works of his great predecessors of this kind. The same may be said also
of Herr _Spohr’s_ “Last Judgement” although the composer of that work
is infinitely superior in severe passages to the writer of the “Four
last things.” All the chorusses and fugues in the severe style, with
which one can find fault in some secondary parts only, have a real
artistic merit; are worked out with great industry, and were received
also with loud and general enthusiasm. The Airs, Duetts and single
Song passages, depart however too much from the real Oratorio style,
are too frequently repeated in the text, and approach more or less to
the Italian Operatic style. Some too striking reminiscences of the
“Creation” and particularly of the “Zauberflöte” lessen the merit of
the work in respect of originality. The Chorus of Devils at the end
of the first part would be more admissably in its place if introduced
in a ballet. Herr _August Arnold_ the author of the text, has also,
certainly not produced a work such as might satisfy the composer for
musical treatment.... The Theatre was scarcely half full. On the 24.,
this Oratorio was repeated before scarcely two hundred auditors. But a
work of this kind should not have been brought out in such a pleasure
loving City in Carnival time!”--

A fortnight after my first appearance, _Rode’s_ Concert came in turn.
Relying on his European reputation he had chosen the most spacious
Concert-room in Vienna, the great “Redouten-Saal” and he found it
completely filled. With almost feverish excitement I awaited the
commencement of _Rode’s_ play, which ten years before had served as
my highest model. But, already, after the first Solo, it seemed to me
that _Rode_ had lost ground in that time. I now found his play cold,
and full of mannerism. I missed his former boldness in conquering great
difficulties, and felt particularly dissatisfied with his execution of
the Cantabile. The composition as well of the new Concerto, appeared
to me far behind that of the seventh in A-Minor. In his execution of
the Variations in E-Major, which I had heard him play ten years before,
convinced me fully, that he had greatly lost in technical precision,
for he had not only simplified for himself many of the most difficult
passages, but he produced also those modified passages with timidity
and a degree of uncertainty. Neither did the public seem satisfied; at
least he failed to rouse them to any enthusiasm. The Reviewer in the
Musical Journal says, also, that _Rode_ had “not _quite_” satisfied the
expectation of the public. “His bow-stroke” continues the Reviewer,
“is long, grand and forcible, his tone full and strong--indeed, almost
too strong, cutting; he has a correct, pure intonation and is always
sure in his rebounds up to the very highest notes; his double notes
although occurring but seldom, are good, and in _Allegro_ he conquers
great difficulties with ease: on the other hand he is wanting in that
which electrifies and carries away all hearts--fire, and that winning
grace which is not otherwise to be defined, that witchery of charm that
ravishes the ear and inspires the soul. In _Adagio_, the sharpness of
his tones was still more perceptible than in _Allegro_; the result
therefore was cold. Neither did the composition awaken much interest;
it was thought far fetched and mannered. It is probable the vast size
of the great “Redouten-Saal” may have induced Herr _Rode_ to bring out
his tones so sharply, and thus they lost much of their sweetness.”

Eight days after _Rode’s_ Concert I gave my second, in the small
“Redouten Saal.” The Musical Journal speaks of it as follows: “_Spohr_
shewed himself to be a great Master of violin-play. He produced a new
composition in A-Major (published as the tenth), which was solemnly
and slowly preceded by an introduction in A-Minor. The _Adagio_ was in
D-Major. A most charming _Rondo_ concluded it. In the pleasing, and
the tender, _Spohr_ is indisputably the nightingale, of all living, at
least, to us known, Violinplayers. It is scarcely possible to execute
an _Adagio_ with more tenderness and yet so clearly, combined with
the purest good taste; added to this, he overcomes the most difficult
passages in quick-time measure, and effects the greatest possible
stretches with wonderful ease, to which certainly the large size of his
hand may be of some advantage to him. This evening he again received
a general and unanimous applause, and was repeatedly called forward,
an honour--which so far as we remember,--was conferred only upon Herr
_Polledro_. With his wife, Herr _Spohr_ played an _Allegro_ which she
performed upon the harp, with great execution, taste and expression. We
think, of all the Virtuosi whom we have heard upon that instrument none
possesses so much school, and such intensity of feeling in expression,
as Madame _Spohr_; though Demoiselle _Longhi_ may have more power, and
Demoiselle _Simonin-Pollet_ more equality in their play.”

Speaking of _Rode’s_ second Concert, the Musical Review says: that
“with a very crowded saloon he met with much more applause than before;
but in the Cantabile this time, also, he did not sufficiently satisfy
the expectations of the public.”

On the 28. January I played with _Seidler_ of Berlin in his Concert,
and as a notice of it says “bore away the palm although Herr
_Seidler’s_ play was worthy of praise.”

I could thus be very satisfied with the reception I had met with in
Vienna as an Artiste; for the public newspapers also awarded the
palm to me. At private Parties where as the rule, I not only met the
above named Violinist, but also the most distinguished of the native
Violinists Herr _Mayseder_, and had to compete with all these, my
performances met also with special acknowledgment and attention. On
these occasions there was at first always a dispute who should begin,
for each desired to be the last, in order to eclipse his predecessor.
But, I, who always prefered playing a well combined Quartett to a Solo
piece, never refused to make the beginning, and invariable succeeded in
gaining the attention and sympathy of the company by my own peculiar
style of reading and executing the classical quartetts. Then when
the others had each paraded his hobby-horse, and I observed that the
company had more liking for that sort of thing than for classical
music, I brought out one of my difficult and brilliant Pot-Pourri’s,
and invariably succeeded in eclipsing the success of my predecessors.

In the frequent opportunities of hearing _Rode_ I became more and more
convinced that he was no longer the perfect Violinist of earlier days.
By the constant repetition of the same compositions, a mannerism had
crept by degrees into his execution, that now bordered on caricature.
I had the rudeness, to remark this to him, and asked him if he no
longer remembered the way in which he played his compositions ten years
ago. Yes! I carried my impertinence so far, as to lay the variations
in G-Major before him, and said, that I would play them exactly as I
had heard him play them so frequently ten years before. After I had
finished playing, the company broke out into a rapturous applause,
and _Rode_, for decency’s sake was obliged to add a “bravo”; but one
could plainly see that he felt offended by my indelicacy. And with good
reason. I was soon ashamed of it, and advert to the circumstance now,
only, to show how high an opinion I then had of myself as a Violinist.

Satisfied in the highest degree with Vienna, I now thought of
proceeding farther, when quite unexpectedly I received from Count
_Palffy_ the then Proprietor of the Theatre “an der Wien” the offer
of an engagement there for three years, as Leader and Director of the
Orchestra. As I could not make up my mind to give up my and my wife’s
permanent life engagements, I at first decidedly declined it. But when
Herr _Treitschke_, who was the agent in the matter, offered me more
than three times the salary which I and my wife together had received
in Gotha; when he informed me that the Theatre “an der Wien” would soon
become the first in Germany, that the Count had succeeded in engaging
for it the best singers of the day, and that he now contemplated to
entrust to me the formation of the Orchestra from among the first
artists of Vienna, and further represented to me that in such an
excellent Theatre I should have the first opportunity to cultivate my
abilities and distinguish myself as a Dramatic Composer: I could no
longer withstand the temptation; requested a short delay in order to
consult with my wife, and promised to give a definite answer in a few

Of the large salary that was offered to me, and which much exceeded
those of the two Leaders of the Imperial Orchestra _Salieri_ and
_Weigl_, I might hope to economise a third or perhaps the half. I
might furthermore, from the reputation I had acquired in Vienna as an
Artiste, safely reckon upon earning something considerable by Concerts,
Compositions and Tuition. Besides, I was secured as regarded the
future, even in case the proffered appointment should terminate at the
expiration of the three years, and could then carry out a favorite
plan conceived from my earliest youth, of a journey to Italy, in
company with my wife and children.

More than all these, however, I was disposed by my re-awakened desire
to write for the stage, to accept the Count’s proposal. So, after
_Dorette_ had given her consent, although with sorrow at the now
necessary separation from her mother and family, the written Contract
was drawn up and signed under the direction of a Notary, a friend of
ours. I bound myself therein as Director of the Orchestra to play in
all grand Operas, to undertake the Violin Soli’s in Operas and Ballets,
and as Conductor, to lead from the score when the other leader should
be prevented doing so. From small Operas, Ballets, and the music in
Plays, I was exempted. I now, conjointly with Count Palffy and my
new colleague, conductor _von Seifried_ proceeded to remodel the
constitution of the orchestra. The Count was not niggardly in regard
to the salaries; so I soon succeeded in procuring the services of the
most talented young artistes, and to establish an _ensemble_ that made
my Orchestra not only the best in Vienna, but raised it to one of the
first in all Germany.

Among the new appointed members was my brother _Ferdinand_, and one of
the most gifted of my other pupils, _Moritz Hauptmann_ of Dresden. He
had just arrived in Vienna and desired to establish himself there. But
my brother did not arrive till the spring.

I had stipulated at the same time for a month’s leave of absence in the
spring, to arrange my affairs in Gotha and to fetch my children. But
before that, it was necessary for me to make arrangements for another
domicile, so that on my return I could commence my own housekeeping. At
this time a circumstance took place that not only greatly influenced
this business, but, also, my artistic labours in Vienna. Scarcely
had it become known in the City that I was to remain there, when one
morning a stranger of gentlemanly exterior called on me, who introduced
himself as Herr _von Tost_, a proprietor of manufactories and a
passionate lover of music. In excuse for the intrusiveness of his
visit he pleaded his desire to make a proposition to me. After he had
seated himself, and I full of expectation had taken a chair opposite
to him, he first expressed his admiration of my talent as a Composer,
and then the wish that I would assign over to him for a proportionate
pecuniary consideration all that I might compose or had already written
in Vienna, for the term of three years, to be his sole property during
that time; to give him the original scores, and to keep myself, even,
no copy of them. After the lapse of three years he would return the
manuscripts to me, and I should then be at liberty either to publish
or to sell them. After I had pondered a moment over this strange
and enigmatical proposition, I first of all asked him whether the
compositions were not to be played during those three years? Hereupon,
Herr _von Tost_ replied: oh! “yes, as often as possible, but each time
on my lending them for that purpose, and only in my presence.” He would
not, he added prescribe the kind of compositions they should be; but he
more particularly wished they should be such as would permit of being
produced in Private Circles, therefore, Quartetts and Quintetts for
stringed instruments and Sextetts, Octetts and Nonettes for stringed
and wind instruments. I was to consider upon his proposal and fix the
sum for each kind of composition. Upon this he presented me with his
card and took leave of me.

My wife and I vainly endeavoured to discover the object Herr _von Tost_
could have in making such a proposal; and I therefore resolved to ask
him the question plump and plain. Before doing this I made enquiries
about him, and ascertained that he was a wealthy man, the proprietor of
large cloth manufactories near Znaim, was passionately fond of music,
and never missed being present at every public concert. This sounded
well, and I resolved to accede to the proposal. As compensation for
the three years cession of my manuscripts, I fixed the amount for a
Quartett at thirty Ducats, for a Quintett five and thirty, and so on
progressively higher for the other kinds. When I now wished to know
what Herr _von Tost_ intended doing with the works during the three
years; he at first would not satisfy me, and said, that as soon as he
had bound himself by writing not to publish my compositions, it could
not in the least concern me: but when he perceived, that I had still
some misgivings, he added: “I have two objects in view. First, I desire
to be invited to the music Parties in which you will execute your
compositions, and for that I must have them in my keeping; secondly,
possessing such treasures of art, I hope upon my business journeys to
make an extensive acquaintance among the lovers of music, which may
then serve me also in my manufacturing interests!”

Although unable to understand thoroughly Herr _von Tost’s_ speculation,
I was obliged mentally to confess, that at any rate he had an exalted
idea of the worth of my compositions. This was very flattering to me,
and suppressed all further hesitation. As Herr _von Tost_ had now also,
nothing to object to in the price demanded, nor to the requisition
for payment upon delivery of the manuscripts, the business was soon
concluded by a written agreement in form.

I had brought with me to Vienna one manuscript, a Solo-Quartett for
Violin, which I had finished on the journey. I was just then also
engaged upon a second. I determined to finish that before leaving for
Gotha, and then deliver both to Herr _von Tost_.

Meanwhile I had been so fortunate as to find convenient apartments
in the immediate neighbourhood of the Theatre “an der Wien” on the
first floor of the house of a cabinet maker. As they had been somewhat
disfigured by their last occupants I had them newly painted and
decorated, and was just on the point of furnishing them. I therefore
delivered my two Quartetts to Herr _von Tost_, and demanded their price
of sixty ducats, remarking at the same time that I required the money
for the furnishing of my new domicile. “I will provide you with that,
complete in every respect” was his reply, “and much cheaper also than
if you were to buy them yourself; for I have business transactions with
all those with whom you will have to deal, and therefore can obtain
them on lower terms than you. It will give me moreover an opportunity
to collect some outstanding debts. Appoint therefore a day when I shall
call for you and your wife in order that we may choose the things

And so the thing was done. We first drove to the new apartments, where
Herr _von Tost_ with great tact and business knowledge sketched an
estimate of all we should require. We then went from one shop and
warehouse to the other, and my wife and I had continually to guard
against his choosing too much, and frequently the most costly and
beautiful articles. We could not however prevent him from ordering for
the best room, a suite of mahagony furniture with silk coverings and
curtains to match; and for the kitchen, a mass of cooking utensils,
crockery and a table service more befitting a capitalist than an
unpretending artiste. It was in vain that _Dorette_ represented we
should give no parties, and therefore did not require so large a
table service. But he was not to be persuaded, and when I expressed
the fear that the whole arrangements would be too expensive for my
circumstances, he replied: “Make yourself easy, it will not cost you
too much; neither shall I ask for any cash payment. By degrees you will
soon square all accounts with your manuscripts.”

Nothing more was to be said against this and thus we found ourselves
in possession of apartments fitted up in a style so handsome and yet
tasteful, as for certain no other artist-family in the City could shew.

I now got every thing ready for my journey. My wife was invited to
reside with a lady of her acquaintance, the sister of the Advocate
_Zizius_, a great lover of music, in whose house we had frequently
played, so that during my absence I could leave her without any

I had been informed, that a Leipsic merchant about to return home in
his own carriage with extra-post-horses was desirous of meeting with a
fellow-traveller; I hastened therefore to offer my company, and soon
agreed with him upon the terms. I now no longer recollect his name,
but, that he was a well informed and agreable companion, from whom
I parted in the most friendly manner. We journeyed without stopping
to Prague, but remained there a whole day to rest ourselves. I spent
that day very pleasantly at the house of my friend _Kleinwächter_. On
leaving Prague we were obliged to leave the high road to Dresden, as
the armies of the belligerent powers were drawn up there opposite to
each other, and the bridge over the Elbe had been made impassable,
the French having blown up several arches. We were therefore obliged
to find a way over the Erzgebirge, where we also met with detachments
of troops, by which however, we were neither stopped nor turned back.
We arrived therefore without further adventure at Chemnitz. But here
something befell me that filled me with such terror, that I fainted
away, a circumstance which with my strong frame of body, never occured
to me before or since.

We arrived at Chemnitz at noon, just as a numerous company at the
hotel were about to sit down to dinner. We joined them, and I took a
seat between my fellow-traveller and the hostess. While the latter was
helping the soup, I like the rest of the guests proceeded to cut a
slice from a large brown loaf that lay before me. I applied the knife
to the loaf, but it would make no incision, from having (as afterwards
appeared) come in contact with a small stone baked into the crust. This
induced me to think the knife was blunt, and to increase the force of
the pressure. Upon this it suddenly slipped off and glancing on to the
ball of my left fore finger cut off a considerable piece of the flesh,
which fell upon the plate before me. A stream of blood followed. The
sight of this, or rather the thought, that now there would be an end
to my violin playing, and that I should no longer be able to support
myself and family, filled me with such horror that I fell insensible
from my chair. When after the lapse of about ten minutes I recovered
my senses, I saw the whole company in commotion and occupied with me.
My first look fell upon my finger, which I found wrapped round with a
large piece of English plaister that the kind hostess had brought. It
adhered closely in the hollow of the wound, and to my comfort I could
now see that the whole ball of the finger had not been cut off, as I
had at first imagined. Nevertheless almost the half of it, together
with a large piece of the nail were gone. As I scarcely experienced any
pain, I left the strapping undisturbed, and first applied to a surgeon
on arriving at Leipsic, who also let the plaister remain, and only
advised me to be careful of all ungentle contact with my finger.

Thus somewhat consoled I arrived home in Gotha. I found the Court very
much annoyed about my contemplated removal to Vienna; the Dutchess was
so angry that I had much difficulty to soothe her, and the more so,
as I was now unable to play once more as she had so much wished, at
a parting Court-Concert. My mother-in-law was also greatly grieved.
I hastened therefore as much as possible to get away from all these
unpleasant circumstances. A few weeks before, I had commissioned my
old friend _Bärwolf_ to dispose of the furniture and things which I
did not purpose taking with me. In this he had been successful. I had
therefore the reserved articles packed up, consisting chiefly of beds,
looking glasses, music, clothes, linen etc., and dispatched beforehand
as freight to Ratisbonne for water carriage. Eight days afterwards I
followed with my brother _Ferdinand_, my two children and a young girl,
an orphan, whom my mother-in-law had taken charge of, and brought up,
and now gave to me as nursemaid for the children.

The parting with my relations and dear Gotha, was a very sorrowful
one; but favoured with the most delightful weather, we soon cheered up
again, and I was highly amused with the artless remarks of the children
upon the numerous objects now seen by them for the first time. So we
arrived very tired it is true, but very happy, in Ratisbonne. There
we stopped some days, during which I made every preparation for the
voyage down the Danube to Vienna. I hired at a moderate price a boat
to myself, and had my packages which had already arrived as freight,
put on board. The beds were unpacked, and spread out under the little
wooden house on board the boat, for our repose at night. The trunks
and boxes served as seats. As we purposed continuing our voyage day
and night without stopping anywhere, provisions for four or five days
were laid in. The boat’s company consisted besides me and mine, of the
skipper, his wife who undertook the cooking, the boatman, and three
trades-apprentices to whom I gave a free passage and food, for which
they had agreed to lend a diligent hand at the oars.

We were in the month of May, the moon was full, and the deep blue sky
was outspread over the charming country round. Spring had just decked
all nature in her first dress of tender green, and the fruit trees
were still laden with their beautiful blossom. The bushy banks of the
majestic stream were the resort of numerous nightingales, which in
bright calm nights particularly, poured forth an unceasing melody.
It was indeed a delightful voyage, and I have striven continually,
during my whole long life, to make it again under similar favourable
circumstances; but alas! in vain.

While we were passing the celebrated _Rapids_ and the _Whirlpool_,
which at that time could not be effected wholly free from danger, our
skipper who till then had been very jovial became all at once serious,
and impressively cautioned the rowers to obey his orders with the
greatest punctuality. The moment the downward rushing stream seized
upon our boat, he turned pale, his wife threw herself upon her knees
and howled more than spoke a prayer to the Holy Virgin. Hereupon I
cautioned my brother who like me was a skillful swimmer, should any
accident occur, to stand by me in saving the children. But we descended
safely the shooting rapids and steered clear of the whirlpool, which is
only dangerous for very small boats.

Upon the rock, which stands in the middle of the stream at the end of
the rapids, and which by its throwing back the waves with violence
occasions the whirlpool, dwellt then an old hermit, who subsisted upon
the charitable gifts of the passing travellers. He put off and rowed
over to us in his little skiff, to the great delight of the children,
who had never before seen a hermit, and when alongside of us he
received the customary donation.

On the fourth day of our voyage we arrived towards evening at Vienna,
and from afar could see _Dorette_ in company with her hostess, awaiting
our arrival at the landing place. That was a happy meeting! The luggage
was taken to our new domicile the same evening, whither we moved the
following day.

By the time I had arrived in Vienna, my wound was almost healed. To
my surprise, and to that of the surgeon to whom I related it, under
the English sticking plaister which still enveloped my finger, a new
flesh had grown in the place of that which had been cut away, and
had by degrees assumed the previous form and size of the ball of the
finger. The piece cut out of the nail had also grown again, though but
imperfectly joined to the rest of the nail, so that there yet remained
a gap, which is even still visible, and shews plainly the extent of the
excision. With the help of a leather finger stall I could use my finger
again, and though I could not yet play a Solo, yet I could perform my
duties in the orchestra.

I now led a very active and a very happy life in the enjoyment of
the society of my family. The early dawn found me at the piano, or
at the writing table, and every other moment of the day which my
orchestral duties or the tuition of my pupils permitted was devoted
to composition. Yes, my head was at that time so continually at
work, that on my way to my pupils and when taking a walk I was
constantly composing, and by that means acquired a readiness in
working out mentally, not only long periods, but whole pieces of
music so completely, that without any further labour they could be
at once written off. As soon as this was done, they were as though
effaced from my mind, and then I had room again for new combinations.
_Dorette_ frequently chid me in our walks for this perpetual thinking,
and was delighted when the prattle of the children diverted me
from it. When this had once been done, I gladly gave myself up to
external impressions; but I was not to be permitted to relapse into
my thoughtful mood again, and _Dorette_ with great skill knew how to
prevent it.

In the first summer of our residence in Vienna, we already made
ourselves well acquainted with the beautiful environs of the City,
and almost every fine evening, when I was not engaged at the Theatre,
we spent in the open air. Then, accompanied by the nursemaid carrying
our simple evening-repast in a small basket, we used to seek out some
spot from whence we could have a fine view of the country, and see the
sun go down. On Sunday, also, we used to hire a fly at the “Linie”,
and make farther excursions to Leopoldsberg, or to the Brühl or to
Laxenburg and Baden.

But the favorite walk of the children was always to Schönbrunn to see
the menagery, or to the “Dörfl” in the Prater, where they ever beheld
with new transport the puppet and dog shows, and other diverting
wonders. I and my wife, half children too in disposition, shared
intensely in all the pleasure of our little pets. It was a lovely,
joyous time! so free from care!

After my return from Gotha, my first work was the composition of
“Faust.” Before my journey thither, I had had another subject in view,
which _Theodor Körner_ was to have worked out for me as an Opera. I
had made the young poet’s acquaintance soon after my first arrival in
Vienna; he was then already as much admired for his amiable manners as
for the success of his theatrical pieces. I met him at almost every
party where I played, and as _Körner_ was very fond of music we soon
took to each other. When it was decided that I should remain in Vienna,
I asked _Körner_ to write an Opera for me and proposed for subject
the legend of the “Rübezahl”. _Körner_, who had been present at both
performances of the “Last Judgement”, and who had a good opinion of my
talent for composition acquiesced without hesitation, and went to work
with zest upon the materials proposed. But, suddenly it was reported
that _Körner_ was about to join _Lützow’s_ light horse, and fight for
the freedom of Germany. I hastened to him and endeavoured like many
other of my friends to dissuade him from that intention; but without
success. We soon saw him depart. It became afterwards known, that it
was not alone his enthusiasm for the war of German independance, but an
unfortunate and unrequited love for the handsome actress _Adamberger_
that drove him from Vienna, and to an early death.

I thus saw my hope of an Opera-libretto from the pen of the youthful
and gifted poet, destroyed, and was now obliged to look elsewhere for
another. It was therefore very opportune that Herr _Bernhard_ had
offered me his version of “Faust” for composition, and we were soon
agreed upon the terms. Some alterations that I had wished to have made,
were completed by the author during my journey to Gotha, so that I
could begin upon it immediately after my return. From the list of my
Compositions, I find that I wrote that Opera in less than four months,
from the end of May to the middle of September. I still remember with
what enthusiasm and perseverance I worked upon it. As soon as I had
completed some of the parts I hastened with them to _Meyerbeer_, who
then resided in Vienna, and begged him to play them to me from the
score, a thing in which he greatly excelled. I then undertook the Vocal
parts and executed them in their different characters and voices with
great enthusiasm. When my voice was not sufficiently flexible for the
purpose, I helped myself by whistling, in which I was well practised.
_Meyerbeer_ took great interest in this work, which appears to have
kept its ground up to the present time, as he during his direction
of the Opera at Berlin put “Faust” again upon the stage, and had it
studied with the greatest care.

_Pixis_ the younger, also, who then resided with his parents in Vienna,
as well as _Hummel_ and _Seyfried_, shewed a great predeliction for
this Opera, so that I offered it for representation at the Theatre
“an der Wien” with the fairest hopes of a brilliant success. Count
_Palffy_, with whom I was then still on good terms, accepted it
immediately, and promised to distribute the characters as soon as
possible and to bring it out. While engaged on the work, it is true,
I had the personnel of my Theatre in my eye; and wrote the Faust for
_Forti_, the Mephistopheles for _Weinmüller_, Hugo for _Wild_, Franz
for _Gottdank_, Cunigunda for Madame _Campi_, and Rosa for Demoiselle
_Teiner_; but nevertheless, (apart from the circumstance that I at
that time especially did not yet understand how to keep myself within
the bounds of the natural compass of the voice) all manner of things
had escaped my pen that did not suit the above named singers, as, for
instance: the long ornamental passages in the air of Hugo, for _Wild_,
who at that time had but a limited power of execution. This at a later
period was urged by the Count, when I had a disagreement with him, as
an excuse for withdrawing his consent, and actually the opera was never
produced while I was in Vienna. Some years afterwards, it was brought
out with great success, and in more recent times was put upon the stage
again with increased approbation. I, who had always felt an interest in
my compositions so long only as I was engaged on them, and so to say,
full of them; bore with great equanimity of mind the banishment of my
score to the shelves of the library of the Theatre, and immediately set
to work on new subjects. Even the pianoforte-arrangement of the opera
that _Pixis_ had taken great pleasure in preparing, I did not publish
till many years afterwards at _Peter’s_ in Leipsic.

After having finished Faust, I thought it my duty to proceed to the
fulfillment of my agreement with Herr _von Tost_. I therefore enquired
of him, what kind of composition he would now prefer. My Art-Mæcenas,
reflected a while, and then said: a Nonet, concerted for the four
stringed instruments, Violin, Viol, Violincello, and Double-Bass;
and the five principal wind-Instruments, Flute, Oboë, Clarinet, Horn
and Bassoon, written in such a manner that the character of each of
those instruments should be properly brought out, might be both an
interesting and grateful theme; and as he did not in the least doubt
that I should successfully accomplish it, he would suggest that to
me as the next subject to choose. I felt attracted by the difficulty
of the task, consented to it with pleasure, and commenced the work
at once. This was the origin of the well known Nonet, published by
_Steiner_ in Vienna as op. 31, and which up to the present time is the
only work of its kind. I completed it in a short time and delivered the
score to Herr _von Tost_. He had it written out, and then invited the
first artists in Vienna to his house, in order to study it under my
direction. It was then performed at one of the first musical parties in
the beginning of the winter, and met with such unanimous applause, that
its repetition was frequently called for during the season. Herr _von
Tost_ would then appear each time with a music-portfolio under his arm,
lay the different instrumental parts upon the music-stands himself, and
when the performance was ended, lock them up again. He felt as happy
at the success of the work as if he himself had been the composer. I
played, also, very frequently at musical parties, the two Quartetts of
which he possessed the manuscripts, and thus his desire to be invited
to numerous musical parties was fully accomplished. Indeed, wherever I
played, people soon became so accustomed to see Herr _von Tost_, also,
with his portefolio of music, that he used to be invited even when I
did not play any of his manuscripts.

Before the end of the year 1813, I wrote another _Rondo_ for harp and
violin for my wife and self, and a Quartett for stringed instruments
for Herr _von Tost_. It is the one in G-Major, Op. 33 which from an
oversight the publisher has marked as Nr. 2. It was nevertheless,
written six months before the one in E-Major.

This Quartett was the occasion of my becoming entangled in a literary
feud, which was the first and also the last that I ever engaged in
about my compositions. It had met with a particularly favourable
reception among the Artists and lovers of art in Vienna, and I
considered it, also, and with reason, as the best I had written up to
that time. It was therefore the more mortifying to me that the reviewer
in a Viennese Art-journal of the day could find nothing good whatever
in it. I was more particularly hurt by the malicious manner in which
he spoke of the theoretical handling of the first theme, of which I
was proud; and which had excited the admiration of connoisseurs. Even
now, after so long a period I recollect the words, which were nearly as
follow: “This eternal rechewing of the theme in every voice and key,
is to me just as if one had given an order to a stupid servant, that
he cannot understand, and which one is obliged to repeat to him over
and over again in every possible shape of expression. The composer
appears to have considered his auditors in the same light as the stupid

I soon ascertained that the anonymous reviewer was Herr _von Mosel_,
the composer of a lyric tragedy called “Salem”, of which I certainly
had said very openly: “I never heard any thing so wearisome in all my
life.” This opinion had unluckily reached the ears of the writer, and
had excited his gall to this degree. Herr _von Tost_ who was more proud
of my compositions, particularly those he had in his portefolio than
the composer himself, would not rest until I had written a replication
to the criticism. What I said in reply, particularly in defence of the
treatment of my theme, I now no longer remember, but I recollect, I
was prodigal in side-thrusts at “Salem”. This was pouring oil on the
fire, and so a disputation ensued, which would have been continued
much longer, had not the censorship put a stop to it by forbidding the
Editor of the journal to insert any thing more on the subject. As such
quarrels were exceedingly unpleasant to me, I was very glad to be able
to return to my harmless occupation of composing.

In the autumn of 1813, _Dorette_ presented me with a son. Our joy at
this increase to our family was unfortunately of short duration; for
the boy soon became sickly and died, before he was three months old.
His poor mother sought and found relief in her harp; she practised with
me the new _Rondo_ for my benefit-concert that was to take place in
December. According to the musical journal, this concert took place in
the small “Redouten-Saal”, and my brother _Ferdinand_ made his début in
a Violin Duet with me.

In the meantime, the great battle of Leipsic had been fought. The
allied armies had crossed the Rhine, and it was hoped they would soon
enter Paris. In Vienna great preparations were made to celebrate that
entry, and the return of the Emperor and his victorious army. All
the Theatres, had had incidental commemorative pieces written and
composed, and the newly instituted _Society of the friends of music
of the Austrian Empire_ under the patronage of the Archduke _Rudolph_
made preparations for a monster performance of _Handel’s_ “Samson”
in the Imperial Riding-school; for which Herr _von Mosel_ increased
the instrumentation. Other Societies undertook similar performances.
This gave Herr _von Tost_ the idea of making arrangements for a grand
musical performance on the return of the Emperor, and he asked me if
I would write a Cantata for the occasion, the subject of which should
be the liberation of Germany. I willingly consented, but with the
observation, that this subject in itself offered but few favourable
passages to the composer, and that in order to obtain such, the text
should be written by a _good_ poet.

“Oh! there shall be no want of that” was the reply. “I will immediately
go to Frau _von Pichler_, and have no doubt, that she will untertake
to furnish you with the text.” And so she did. I consulted with
the authoress upon the form and contents, and she then handed me a
text-book, which in rich variety of domestic and warlike scenes
presented a succession of favourable materials for composition.

I immediately set to work upon it, and finished this Cantata, which
takes two hours to perform, in less than three months, from January
to the middle of March 1814, in the midst of all my other numerous

Meanwhile Herr _von Tost_, had engaged the four best singers in Vienna
for the soli-parts, viz Mesdames _Buchwieser_ and _Milder_, and Messrs.
_Wild_ and _Weinmüller_, and for the choruses he purposed to combine
the whole of the church-choirs and the chorus-singers of the theatre.
The vocal parts were written and distributed, and I had already gone
several times to Madame _Milder_, to assist her in practising her part;
when, one morning Herr _von Tost_ rushed into my room and exclaimed in
despair: “I have just now had the great Redouten-Saal refused to me for
our performance, under the idle pretence that it cannot be spared on
account of the preparation for the Court-festivals! It is from sheer
jealousy alone of the Musical Society, who will not allow any other
grand performance in the Riding-school but their own. What is to be
done? Since the destruction of the Apollo Saloon, there is no locale
in Vienna except the “Great Redouten-Saal” fit for such a musical

At the moment, the thought occured to me of the Circus of Herr _de
Bach_ in the Prater. We immediately drove out there, to see whether the
Riding-ring in the centre of the building would afford sufficient room
to hold our orchestra and the personnel of the theatre. I thought it
would, and promised myself an immense effect from the disposing of the
body of assistants in the centre of the building. But unfortunately,
this locale also, for some reason which I no longer recollect, was not
to be had, and so the whole undertaking failed, to the great grief of
Herr _von Tost_.

This Cantata shared the same fate as “Faust.” It was first produced
long after I had left Vienna. I heard it for the first time in 1815 at
the musical Festival at Frankenhausen, on the anniversary of the battle
of Leipsic.

As with me, so it fared with _Beethoven_ in a similar Festive
composition; neither, also, was his performed at that period. It was
called “Der glorreiche Augenblick”[14] and was published later with
altered text by _Haslinger_ in Vienna.

[14] “The glorious moment.”

While mentioning _Beethoven_, it occurs to me, that I have not yet
adverted to my friendly relations with that great artist, and I
therefore hasten to supply the deficiency.

Upon my arrival in Vienna I immediately paid a visit to _Beethoven_; I
did not find him at home, and therefore left my card. I now hoped to
meet him at some of the musical parties, to which he was frequently
invited, but was soon informed that, _Beethoven_ since his deafness
had so much increased that he could no longer hear music connectedly,
had withdrawn himself from all musical parties, and had become very
shy of all society. I made trial therefore of another visit; but
again without success. At length I met him quite unexpectedly at the
eating-house where I was in the habit of going with my wife every
day at the dinner hour. I had already now given concerts, and twice
performed my oratorio. The Vienna papers had noticed them favourably.
_Beethoven_ had therefore heard of me when I introduced myself to him,
and he received me with an unusual friendliness of manner. We sat down
at the same table, and _Beethoven_ became very chatty, which much
surprised the company, as he was generally taciturn, and sat gazing
listlessly before him. But it was an unpleasant task to make him hear
me, and I was obliged to speak so loud as to be heard in the third room
off. _Beethoven_ now came frequently to these dining rooms, and visited
me also at my house. We thus soon became well acquainted: _Beethoven_
was a little blunt, not to say uncouth; but a truthful eye beamed from
under his bushy eyebrows. After my return from Gotha I met him now and
then at the theatre “an der Wien”, close behind the orchestra, where
Count _Palffy_ had given him a free seat. After the opera he generally
accompanied me to my house, and passed the rest of the evening with
me. He could then be very friendly with _Dorette_ and the children. He
spoke of music but very seldom. When he did, his opinions were very
sternly expressed, and so decided as would admit of no contradiction
whatever. In the works of others, he took not the least interest; I
therefore had not the courage to shew him mine. His favorite topic of
conversation at that time was a sharp criticism of the management of
both theatres by _Prince Lobkowitz_ and Count _Palffy_. He frequently
abused the latter in so loud a tone of voice, while we were yet even
within the walls of his theatre, that not only the public leaving
it, but the Count himself could hear it in his office. This used
to embarrass me greatly, and I then always endeavoured to turn the
conversation upon some other subject.

_Beethoven’s_ rough and even repulsive manners at that time, arose
partly from his deafness, which he had not learned to bear with
resignation, and partly from the dilapidated condition of his pecuniary
circumstances. He was a bad housekeeper, and had besides the misfortune
to be plundered by those about him. He was thus frequently in want of
common necessaries. In the early part of our acquaintance, I once asked
him, after he had absented himself for several days from the dining
rooms: “You were not ill, I hope?”--“My boot was, and as I have only
one pair, I had house-arrest”, was his reply.

But some time afterwards he was extricated from this depressing
position by the exertions of his friends. The proceeding was as follows:

_Beethoven’s_ “Fidelio”, which in 1804 (or 1805) under very
unfavourable circumstances, (during the occupation of Vienna by the
French), had met with very little success, was now brought forward
again by the director of the Kärnthnerthor-Theatre and performed for
his benefit. _Beethoven_ had allowed himself to be persuaded to write
a new overture for it (in E), a song for the jailor, and the grand air
for Fidelio (with horns-obligati) as also to make some alterations.
In this new form the Opera had now great success, and kept its place
during a long succession of crowded performances. On the first night,
the composer was called forward several times, and now became again the
object of general attention. His friends availed themselves of this
favorable opportunity to make arrangements for a concert in his behalf
in the great “Redouten Saal” at which the most recent compositions of
_Beethoven_ were to be performed. All who could fiddle, blow, or sing
were invited to assist, and not one of the most celebrated artists of
Vienna failed to appear. I and my orchestra had of course also joined,
and for the first time I saw _Beethoven_, direct. Although I had heard
much of his leading, yet it surprised me in a high degree. _Beethoven_
had accustomed himself to give the signs of expression to his orchestra
by all manner of extraordinary motions of his body. So often as a
_Sforzando_ occured, he tore his arms which he had previously crossed
upon his breast, with great vehemence asunder. At a _piano_, he bent
himself down, and the lower, the softer he wished to have it. Then
when a _crescendo_ came, he raised himself again by degrees, and upon
the commencement of the _forte_, sprang bolt upright. To increase the
forte yet more, he would sometimes, also, join in with a shout to the
orchestra, without being aware of it.

Upon my expressing my astonishment to _Seyfried_, at this extraordinary
method of directing, he related to me a tragi-comical circumstance that
had occurred at _Beethoven’s_ last concert at the Theatre “an der Wien.”

_Beethoven_ was playing a new Pianoforte-Concerto of his, but forgot at
the first _tutti_, that he was a Soloplayer, and springing up, began to
direct in his usual way. At the first _sforzando_ he threw out his arms
so wide asunder, that he knocked both the lights off the piano upon
the ground. The audience laughed, and _Beethoven_ was so incensed at
this disturbance, that he made the orchestra cease playing, and begin
anew. _Seyfried_, fearing, that a repetition of the accident would
occur at the same passage, bade two boys of the chorus place themselves
on either side of _Beethoven_, and hold the lights in their hands. One
of the boys innocently approached nearer, and was reading also in the
notes of the piano-part. When therefore the fatal _sforzando_ came, he
received from _Beethoven’s_ out thrown right hand so smart a blow on
the mouth, that the poor boy let fall the light from terror. The other
boy, more cautious, had followed with anxious eyes every motion of
_Beethoven_, and by stooping suddenly at the eventful moment he avoided
the slap on the mouth. If the public were unable to restrain their
laughter before, they could now much less, and broke out into a regular
bacchanalian roar. _Beethoven_ got into such a rage, that at the first
chords of the solo, half a dozen strings broke. Every endeavour of the
real lovers of music to restore calm and attention were for the moment
fruitless. The first _allegro_ of the Concerto was therefore lost to
the public. From that fatal evening _Beethoven_ would not give another

But the one got up by his friends, was attended with the most brilliant
success. The new compositions of _Beethoven_ pleased extremely,
particularly the symphony in A-Major (the seventh); the wonderful
second theme was _encored_; and made upon me also, a deep and lasting
impression. The execution was a complete masterpiece, inspite of the
uncertain and frequently laughable direction of _Beethoven_.

It was easy to see that, the poor deaf _Maestro_ of the Piano, could
no longer hear his own music. This was particularly remarkable in a
passage in the second part of the first _allegro_ of the symphony.
At that part there are two pauses in quick succession, the second of
which, is _pianissimo_. This, _Beethoven_ had probably overlooked,
for he again began to give the time before the orchestra had executed
this second pause. Without knowing it therefore, he was already from
ten to twelve bars in advance of the orchestra when it began the
_pianissimo_. _Beethoven_, to signify this in his own way, had crept
completely under the desk. Upon the now ensuing _crescendo_, he again
made his appearance, raised himself continually more and more, and
then sprang up high from the ground, when according to his calculation
the moment for the _forte_ should begin. As this did not take place,
he looked around him in affright, stared with astonishment at the
orchestra, that it should still be playing pianissimo, and only
recovered himself, when at length the long expected _forte_ began, and
was audible to himself.

Fortunately this scene did not take place at the public performance,
otherwise the audience would certainly have laughed again.

As the saloon was crowded to overflowing and the applause enthusiastic,
the friends of _Beethoven_ made arrangements for a repetition of the
concert, which brought in an almost equally large amount. For some time
therefore _Beethoven_ was extricated from his pecuniary difficulties;
but, arising from the same causes, these reoccurred to him more than
once before his death.

Up to this period, there was no visible falling off in _Beethoven’s_
creative powers. But as from this time, owing to his constantly
increasing deafness, he could no longer hear any music, that of a
necessity must have had a prejudicial influence upon his fancy. His
constant endeavour to be original and to open new paths, could no
longer as formerly, be preserved from error by the guidance of the
ear. Was it then to be wondered at that his works became more and more
eccentric, unconnected, and incomprehensible? It is true there are
people, who imagine they can understand them, and in their pleasure
at that, rank them far above his earlier masterpieces. But I am not
of the number, and freely confess that. I have never been able to
relish the last works of _Beethoven_. Yes! I must even reckon the much
admired Ninth Symphony among them, the three first themes of which,
inspite of some solitary flashes of genius, are to me worse than all
of the eight previous Symphonies, the fourth theme of which is in my
opinion so monstrous and tasteless, and in its grasp of _Schiller’s_
Ode so trivial, that I cannot even now understand how a genius like
_Beethoven’s_ could have written it. I find in it another proof of
what I already remarked in Vienna, that _Beethoven_ was wanting in
æsthetical feeling and in a sense of the beautiful.

As at the time I made _Beethoven’s_ acquaintance, he had already
discontinued playing both in public, and at private parties; I had
therefore but one opportunity to hear him, when I casually came to the
rehearsal of a new Trio (D-Major 3/4 time) at _Beethoven’s_ house. It
was by no means an enjoyment; for in the first place the pianoforte
was woefully out of tune, which however little troubled _Beethoven_,
since he could hear nothing of it, and, secondly, of the former so
admired excellence of the virtuoso, scarcely any thing was left, in
consequence of his total deafness. In the _forte_, the poor deaf man
hammered in such a way upon the keys, that entire groups of notes were
inaudible, so that one lost all intelligence of the subject unless
the eye followed the score at the same time. I felt moved with the
deepest sorrow at so hard a destiny. It is a sad misfortune for any
one to be deaf; how then should a musician endure it without despair?
_Beethoven’s_ almost continual melancholy was no longer a riddle to me

The next thing I wrote after finishing the Cantata, was a
Violin-quartett (the tenth, op. 30 published by _Mechetti_ in Vienna.)
Being very brilliant for the first violin, it was soon my hobby-horse,
and I played it times innumerable at private parties. Then followed
the Octett, in which by Herr _von Tost’s_ wish, who then contemplated
a journey to England, I took up a theme from _Handel_, varied, and
carried it out thematically, as he was of opinion it would on that
account excite great interest in that country. I also played this
composition very frequently, in which besides myself the clarinetist
_Friedlowsky_ and the hornist _Herbst_, and another whose name I now
forget, found especial opportunity to distinguish themselves.

In the autumn of 1814, the crowned heads of Europe and their Ministers
assembled in Vienna, and that famed Congress began, from which the
German nations expected to see the fulfilment of all the promises made
to them for their self devotion. A swarm of idlers and curious poured
from all parts into Vienna, to be present at the splendid festivities,
with which the Emperor was to entertain his guests. Before the
Emperor’s return to Vienna several had already taken place, which from
their magnificence yet more increased the expectation of what was to
follow. At one of these I had also assisted. It was a grand serenade in
the Court-Yard of the Burg Palace, and was given either to the Emperor
or to Prince _Schwarzenberg_, I now no longer recollect which. In the
centre of that not very large square, surrounded by lofty buildings a
raised platform was erected for the numerous personnel of the orchestra
and choruses. Upon a balcony opposite the singers, the Court and State
officials were assembled. The remaining space was filled by a numerous
public, to whom free admission had been allowed.

When I saw the locality, and the assembled crowd which had increased
to thousands, I felt alarmed, for I had promised to perform a
violin-concerto, and now feared, that my tones would be unheard, and
lost in the wide surrounding space. But to withdraw now, was no longer
possible, so I resigned myself to my fate. But every thing went off
better than I had expected. Already during the overture I remarked that
the high buildings threw back the sounds right well, and I then came
forward with renewed courage. The very first tones of my solo allayed
all my anxiety that the damp night air would affect my strings, for my
violin sounded clear and powerful as usual. As the public also, during
my play, maintained the most perfect silence, even the finest shades
of my instrumentation were every where distinctly heard. The effect,
therefore, was a very favorable one, and was acknowledged by loud and
long applause. I have never played before a more numerous nor a more
sympathetic public.

Among the many strangers attracted by the Congress were several
artists, who thought the opportunity a most favourable one to give
concerts in Vienna. In this they very much deceived themselves. For
as all the native artists gave concerts, these became so numerous
and close upon each other, that it was impossible for all to be well
attended! One that I and my wife gave on the 11. December was an
exception to this, for it attracted a numerous and brilliant audience.
I gave the overture to “Faust,” and it was received with great
approbation. The reviewer of the Musical-journal says “it increased
our desire to see this opera, which has now been ready a twelvemonth,
brought out at last.” Several lovers of art among the ambassadors
and foreign diplomatists who had heard me play for the first time at
my concert, paid me a visit, and expressed the wish to hear me in a
quartett. This was the cause of my giving several music-parties during
the Congress, and in which I played to those lovers of art the new
compositions I had written for Herr _von Tost_. I still recollect with
great satisfaction the general delight with which those productions
were received. Certainly, I was supported also, upon those occasions by
the first artists in Vienna, so that as regards execution nothing more
could be desired. I generally began with a Quartett, then followed with
a quintett, and concluded with my octett, or nonett.

Others also besides me, gave music parties to the visitors to the
Congress, among these my friend _Zizius_ particularly distinguished
himself. All the foreign artists had been introduced at his house, and
at his music parties therefore, there arose frequently a spirit of
rivalry between the native and foreign virtuosi. I there for the first
time heard _Hummel_ play his beautiful Septett, as well as several
other of his compositions of that period. But I was mostly charmed by
his improvisations in which no other Pianoforte-Virtuoso has ever yet
approached him. I especially remember with great pleasure one evening
when he improvised in so splendid a manner as I never since heard
him whether in public or in private. The company were about to break
up, when some ladies, who thought it too early, entreated _Hummel_
to play a few more walzes for them. Obliging and galant as he was to
the ladies, he seated himself at the piano, and played the wished for
walzes, to which the young folks in the adjoining room began to dance.
I, and some other artists, attracted by his play, grouped ourselves
round the instrument with our hats already in our hands, and listened
attentively. _Hummel_ no sooner observed this, than he converted his
play into a free phantasia of improvisation, but which constantly
preserved the walz-rhythm, so that the dancers were not disturbed. He
then took from me and others who had executed their own compositions
during the evening a few easily combined themes and figures, which he
interwove into his walzes and varied them at every recurrence with a
constantly increasing richness and piquancy of expression. Indeed,
at length, he even made them serve as fuge-themes, and let loose all
his science in counterpoint without disturbing the walzers in their
pleasures. Then he returned to the galant style, and in conclusion
passed into a bravoura, such as from him even has seldom been heard.
In this finale, the themes taken up were still constantly heard, so
that the whole rounded off and terminated in real artistic style. The
hearers were enraptured, and praised the young ladies’ love of dancing,
that had conduced to so rich a feast of artistic excellence.

Among the foreign artists who came to Vienna before and during the
Congress, were also, three of my former acquaintances, _Carl Maria
von Weber_, _Hermstedt_ and _Feska_. _Weber_ played with great
success and then left for Prague, whither he was summoned to direct
the opera. _Hermstedt_ came at a time, when the concerts were so
numerous, that he could not give one of his own. He played, however,
with immense applause at a concert of the flutist _Dressier_, in
which he accompanied the air with clarinet obligato in “Titus”,
accompanied and played a pot-pourri of mine which I wrote for him for
the occasion, after a new composition for harp and violin, that had
particularly pleased _Hermstedt_. Both compositions were afterwards
published; that for the clarinet with quartett-accompaniment as op. 81
at _Schlesinger’s_ in Berlin, and that for harp and violin as op. 118
by _Schuberth_ in Hamburgh.

_Feska_, who since I had known him in Magdeburgh, had become member of
the Westphalian orchestra in Cassel, and now after its dissolution had
been made Concert master at Carlsruhe, had made great progress both as
violinist and composer. His quartetts and quintetts, which he executed
in a pure, accomplished, and tasteful manner, took greatly in Vienna,
and found a ready sale among the publishers there. One of them began in
one of its themes with the notes, which form the composer’s name:


This the auditors thought very pretty, and joked the other composers
present, _Hummel_, _Pixis_, and me, on account of our unmusical names.
This suggested the idea to me of making something musical out of my
name, with the assistance of the abbreviation formerly used of the
_piano_ into _po_, and of a quarter rest, which when written looks like
an r. It was in this form:


and I immediately took it as a theme for a new violin-quartett, which
is the first of the three quartetts published in Vienna by _Mechetti_
as op. 29 and dedicated to _Andreas Romberg_. When I first played it at
my friend’s _Zizius_, it met with great applause, and the originality
of the theme, with its descending, diminished _Quarte_, was especially
praised. I now called together those who had previously quizzed me
for my unmusical name and _shewed_ them, (for naturally they had not
_heard_ it) the famous thema formed out of my name. They laughed
heartily at my artistic trick, and now quizzed the more both _Hummel_
and _Pixis_, who with all their skill could make nothing musical out of
their names.

       *       *       *       *       *

Meanwhile many things had changed in my position at the theatre and in
respect to its proprietor. I had openly broken with Count _Palffy_.
It was brought about by the following circumstance: One evening, when
I entered the orchestra I saw Herr _Buchwieser_, the father of the
prima donna, and third orchestra director, had taken _Seyfried’s_
seat. I observed to him that I alone was charged with the direction of
the orchestra, when _Seyfried_ was prevented coming, and I therefore
requested him to leave it. This he refused to do, with the remark,
that the Count himself had ordered him to direct the opera, and at
the express wish of his daughter, who preferred singing under his
direction. As all my expostulations were unavailing, and I considered
it beneath my dignity to play the first violin under so obscure a
director, I quitted the orchestra, and returned home. The next morning
I sent in a written remonstrance to the Count respecting this invasion
of right that had been secured to me in my engagement, and requested,
that I might be exposed to no further repetition of it.

The Count, incited by the _Prima Donna_, who was very incensed because
I would not lead under the direction of her father, answered me with
rudeness instead of with the apologies I had reason to expect, and
which I replied to in yet stronger terms. From that moment, the Count
and his creatures studied to annoy me in every possible manner that
my position exposed me to. Added to this, since _Palffy_ had been so
fortunate as to become lessee of the two Court Theatres, he put his
own theatre greatly in the back-ground. He took away from it the best
singers, and the best part of the chorus, to incorporate them with the
personnel of the Kärnthnerthor-Theatre; so that “an der Wien”, from
that time, _Spectacle-pieces_, and low class popular operas alone, were
given. As I was not bound to assist at these, I had scarcely any thing
more to do at the theatre. I could therefore clearly see, that I should
be discharged after the termination of my engagement.

As now, after Napoleon was vanquished and banished to Elba, a general
European peace seemed in perspective, and that I greatly desired to
set out as soon as possible on my long projected artistic tour through
all Europe; I made a proposition to the Count to cancel our agreement
on the expiration of the second year, and demanded as compensation
the half of my salary for the third year, paid down in _one_ sum. He
readily consented to it, and so we parted in peace. I now hastened to
make every preparation in order to be enabled to commence my journey
in the spring. I contemplated first, to travel through Germany and
Switzerland to Italy, whither I had long ardently desired to go. As
I purposed taking my children with me, foreseeing that their mother
would not be able to separate from them for so long a time without
pining to death; I was first of all obliged to provide myself with a
larger travelling carriage to hold us all, with the instruments. The
difficulty was to build one for this purpose, sufficiently light of
draught for three posthorses. I conferred upon this therefore with Herr
_Langhaus_, the clever machinist at the theatre “an der Wien”, and
afterwards director of public buildings in Berlin, who made a drawing
of the design suggested in our conference, according to which the
carriage should be built. It had a solid roof, upon which were packed
the leather covered harp-case, and a trunk for linen. The violin-case
was stowed in a boot under the coachman’s seat, so that the whole space
in the interior of the vehicle remained for the travellers.

In my relations with Herr _von Tost_, also, a serious alteration had
taken place. After the settlement of our earlier account, which was
effected by the delivery of the Cantata “Das befreite Deutschland”
I had delivered again, four manuscripts, the octett, two quartetts
and a second quintett, without receiving the agreed price. At first
I had argued no ill of this delay in settlement. But when it became
suddenly reported in the city, that the wealthy Herr _von Tost_ had
sustained severe losses, and was on the point of bankruptcy; that he
no longer called upon me, and even failed to appear at a musical-party
where I played one of his manuscripts, but sent the portfolio instead
of coming; the matter looked dubious. I therefore took back to him
the portfolio myself, in order if possible, to come to a clear
understanding with him at the same time. I found the otherwise so
jovial man very much depressed in spirits. He confessed to me his
position without reserve. It was, he said, extremely painful to him, to
be unable to fulfil his engagements with me; but as his plans for the
future were unsettled if not quite destroyed, he would forthwith return
all my manuscripts to me before the expiration of the stipulated time,
so that I might sell them as soon as possible to a publisher. For the
loss I might thereby sustain, he was willing to indemnify me with a
bill for one hundred ducats, which as soon as his affairs had assumed a
more favourable aspect, he would honourably meet. Upon this he fetched
the whole of the manuscripts and handed them to me. I, who considered
that Herr _von Tost_ had amply compensated me for the short time he had
them in his possession, by the costly furniture he had bought for me,
and reckoned at so low an estimate, was quite satisfied with the return
of my manuscripts and refused all further indemnification. However, as
I perceived that Herr _von Tost_ felt hurt by this arrangement, I took
the bill, well knowing that from my contemplated departure from Vienna
its early liquidation was not to be thought of.

I now sold the whole of the returned manuscripts to two Vienna
publishers, and from their having acquired a great celebrity by their
frequent performance, I received a considerable sum for them.

At the commencement of the year 1815, I wrote another Quartett, in
C-major (No. 2 of the op. 29) and a new violin Concerto (the seventh,
op. 38) as also Variations, which remained unpublished, for use upon
the coming journey; the two last of these compositions I played at
my farewell-Concert on the 19. February 1815. Respecting this last
concert I gave in Vienna, the Musical journal spoke very favourably.
Of the newest violin concerto (E-minor, C-major, E-major) it says:
“Very difficult for the solo player as well as for those who accompany.
A splendid, perfect composition; a fine flowing cantabile; striking
modulations, replete with bold canonic imitations, an ever new,
charming and happily calculated instrumentation. The melting _adagio_
is especially captivating.” In conclusion it says: “As to the merits
of this masterly artist, both here and throughout Germany there is but
_one_ opinion. We yet remember with lively satisfaction the triumph,
which he achieved two years ago over his rival, the great _Rode_. He is
now about to leave us upon a grand artistic tour. He first proceeds to
Prague, where his new opera “Faust” is now being studied.... May he,
who by his talent and his open, manly character has left an honourable
memorial of his worth in our hearts, meet always, and every where with

I at that time really had the intention of going first to Prague, to be
present at the production of my opera, which was being studied under
_Carl Maria von Weber_. But I afterwards abandoned that plan. I had in
fact received a letter from my former Intendant Baron _von Reibnitz_
at Breslau, wherein in the name of a family of his acquaintance that
of Prince _von Caroluth_, he asked me if I would feel disposed to pass
the summer months with them at their seat, _Caroluth_, in Silesia? The
Princess was very desirous, that her two daughters, one of whom played
the harp, the other the pianoforte, should receive instruction in
music from my wife. They would endeavour to make the stay of myself and
family at their charming castle as agreable as possible. He, the Baron
had been invited also, and would be extremely pleased if I would accept
the invitation, so that he might again pass some time with me.

As the spring and summer were any way but little favourable seasons
of the year to give concerts, and that _Dorette_ and the children
anticipated much pleasure from the stay at Carolath, I readily
assented. I therefore hastened the preparations for our journey, in
order to avail ourselves of the opportunity to give a few concerts at
Breslau and in its neighbourhood, before the fine season had set in.
The next thing was to effect the sale of our furniture and household
chattels, which was very speedily done, for immediately upon the
announcement of the sale, a host of purchasers presented themselves. As
our furniture was very elegant, and withal nearly new, the purchasers
bid warmly against each other, and we therefore realised a sum far
beyond our expectation. This as well as my Vienna savings, which were
still in paper currency, I now took to a banker’s and changed for
gold. Scarcely had I done this when all Vienna was alarmed by the
intelligence that Napoleon had escaped from Elba, landed in France, and
been hailed with the greatest joy. The rate of exchange fell suddenly
so low, that if I had delayed the conversion of my paper into specie
but _one_ day more, I should have suffered a loss of more than fifty

When first contemplating my grand tour through Europe, the idea
struck me, also, of commencing an album, in which I purposed making a
collection of the compositions of all the artists whose acquaintance I
might make. I began immediately with the Viennese, and received from
all the resident composers of my acquaintance, short, autographic works
written for the most part expressly for my album. The most valuable
contribution to me, is that of _Beethoven_. It is a Canon for three
voices to the words from _Schiller’s_ “Jungfrau von Orleans”: “Kurz
ist der Schmerz, und ewig währt die Freude.” It is worthy of remark, in
the first place, that _Beethoven_ whose handwriting, notes as well as
text, were usually almost illegible, must have written this page with
particular patience; for it is unblotted from beginning to end, which
is the more remarkable, since he even drew the lines without the aid of
a ruler; secondly, that after the falling in of the third voice a bar
is wanting, which I was obliged to complete. The pages concluded with
the wish:

May you dear _Spohr_ where ever you find real art, and real artists,
think with pleasure of me, Your friend.

  _Ludwig van Beethoven._

Vienna March 3. 1815.

Upon all my subsequent travels I received contributions to this
album, and possess therefore a highly interesting collection of
short compositions from German, Italian, French, English and Dutch

[15] A selection from the pages of this album will be found in the

       *       *       *       *       *

On the eve of taking leave of Vienna, I yet think I must recall some
further incidents of my stay there, which hitherto I have had no
opportunity of relating. First, in respect of my orchestral duties.
These were sometimes very onerous for me; the same piece being
frequently represented twenty or thirty nights in succession. This
happened not only with two of _Mozart’s_ operas “Don Juan” and the
“Zauberflöte”, which during my engagement were brought out with a new
distribution of characters and with a very brilliant _mise en scene_;
but, also, with a ballet, which during the Congress was repeated an
innumerable number of times, and in which I had to play violin soli’s.
What its name was, I no longer recollect, but that the celebrated
dancers _Duport_, and mesdames _Bigottini_ and _Petit Aimée_, whom
Count _Palffy_ had sent for from Paris, danced in it. It is true, I
did not play those soli’s unwillingly, upon their own account, for
the audience always listened with the greatest attention, and were
profuse in their applause of me; but it annoyed me that I was obliged
to measure my _tempi_, by the steps of the dancers and that I could
not lengthen at pleasure my closes and cadences, as the dancers were
unable to sustain themselves so long in their groupings. This gave
rise therefore to many bickerings with the ballet master, until at
length I learned compliance. I endeavoured to sweeten the monotony of
my duties in some degree by always enriching and ornamenting my soli
performances. This I did especially with the troubadour in “John of
Paris” for whom a _pas de trois_ was introduced in that ballet. As in
the opera of that name, there were three strophes, the first of which
had to be executed by the horn, the second by the violincello, and
the third by the violin, I at first ornamented my strophe in a very
vocal style. But as I remarked, that the _Prima Donna_, demoiselle
_Buchwieser_ at the next representation had borne them well in mind,
sang them, and obtained great applause for them, this so annoyed me, as
I could not bear the singer, that I thenceforth ornamented them in a
style she could not imitate with her voice.

Besides the two above mentioned operas of _Mozart_, I experienced a
third ordeal in a new popular-opera, with music by _Hummel_, which
by a singular chance such as will assuredly never occur again, went
through a long succession of nightly representations. It was called
“Princess Eselshaut” and as far as the author’s text, was so wretched
a piece of patchwork, that in spite of the pretty music of which five
or six of the Numbers were received with great applause, it was at the
conclusion unanimously hissed. This according to Vienna custom at once
consigned it to the tomb. _Hummel_ who conducted, had, already, quite
resignedly expressed himself to me, who in honour of him led as first
violin. “Another pure labour in vain!” But on the following evening
when another piece was to have been announced, it could not be given,
owing to the illness of several of the performers in the opera and
play, and the manager was therefore obliged to repeat the condemned
opera though at the risk of exciting an uproar in the theatre. On that
evening nevertheless, just on account of the anticipated tumult, the
theatre was crammed to excess, and the piece was hissed at the end of
each act, and again at the conclusion. But the musical pieces met with
more applause than on the first night, and at the fall of the curtain
when the hissing had ceased, the composer was even called for, and
greeted with vehement applause. As the indisposition of the invalids
still continued, a third trial of it was obliged to be made, which went
off nearly like the former one. Yet was the opposition against the
piece much less, and the music obtained more friends than ever. Thus
it could be continued with confidence, and on the succeeding nights it
again found new friends in sufficient number. At length it became the
fashion to go and hiss the piece, and praise the music. _Hummel_ took
speedy advantage of this, and published a piano-forte arrangement of
the most favorite Numbers, which had a rapid sale. So it was no “labour
in vain” after all, as he had feared on the first evening!

_Pixis_, was not so fortunate with his opera, the “Zauberspruch”. That
was swamped by the badness of the libretto, nor could the music keep it
above water, although it had, also, many successful “numbers.” It was
the occasion for the display of a bit of real Viennese wit. A friend of
the composer, not having been able to see the first representation of
it, enquired of another who had been present “Well what do you think of
the opera of _Pixis_?”--“Nix is!” was the reply.

I may here relate another of my Vienna recollections, since it is one
of those which make a deep impression and therefore do not so easily
fade from the memory. It was an unusually great inundation, such as
occurs once only in every century, occasioned by the overflowing of the
little river “die Wien” on the banks of which my house was situated.
On that occasion it was so great from the simultaneous overflowing of
the Danube, which would not allow the waters of the “Wien” an outlet. I
had not observed the commencement of the inundation, being engaged at a
rehearsal at the theatre. After it was over, I found the street leading
to my house already flooded, and I saw that I must use all haste to be
enabled even to wade through it.

Nevertheless I first fetched my violin-case out of the orchestra, as
I foresaw that, also, would be laid under water. By this time the
flood had risen so high that in some places the water reached above my
knees. I found my family in the greatest consternation and the other
inmates of the house still more so. My landlord, the cabinet-maker,
with his family, were already hurrying up past my floor to the top of
the house, and endeavouring to secure a dry stowage for their effects,
in the loft. He had need to hasten; for the water rose so fast, that
in a few hours it almost reached to the first floor. The terrified
inhabitants of the suburb had now a scene before them such as they
had never before beheld. The rushing waters swept by, bearing along
with them articles of every description commingled in the strangest
confusion. Implements of husbandry, carts laden with hay or wood, the
wreck of stalls and stabling, dead cattle, and even a cradle containing
a screaming infant, which, however, was happily rescued by a boat.
The owners of the houses, furnished with long poles, were exerting
themselves to keep off the objects as they floated by, so that they
might not damage the walls of the houses, others on the other hand
provided with boat hooks, endeavoured to lay hold of the furniture
and other household chattels in order to save them, and pull them up
into the windows for security. Some hours afterwards, when such like
articles had ceased to float past, boats made their appearance laden
with provisions, which were readily bought up by the inhabitants of
the flooded streets. Other boats towards evening brought the employés
and men of business from the city to their dwellings, and anxiously
expecting families. As the rain also poured down in torrents, the
inundation still continued at the same height, and even at night fall
there was no perceptible decrease of the waters. So long as it remained
light, the scene afforded great diversity of interest, but when night
came it was fearful to behold. The roar of the waters, and the howling
of the storm forbade all thought of repose; nor was it advisable to
retire to rest, as no one knew what might yet occur. I therefore
laid my children near me on my sofa with their clothes on, and as
_Dorette_ had soon fallen asleep beside them, I sat down to my work,
a new song-composition, in order to resist sleep more effectually. In
this I succeeded. But my zeal at composition led me several times to
the piano, which the family of my landlord who passed half the night
in the floor above me upon their knees in prayer, took in very great
dudgeon; for on the following morning the nurse-maid informed me, that
the wife had bitterly exclaimed: “That Lutheran heretic will bring yet
greater misfortune upon us with his unchristian singing and playing.”
But the night passed without further misfortune, and by day-break the
water had greatly decreased. Nevertheless, it was evening before it had
sufficiently subsided to admit of again traversing the streets on foot.
But the “Theatre an der Wien” remained closed for eight days, for it
required that time before all traces of the inundation could be removed.

       *       *       *       *       *

After a sorrowful parting from dear Vienna, where we had passed so many
happy days, I set out with my family upon our great journey on the 18.
March, 1815. My brother _Ferdinand_ whose engagement at the “Theatre an
der Wien” was to last for another year, remained alone behind. After
its expiration, he obtained an appointment in the Royal Orchestra of

Our first resting place was at Brünn, where we gave a concert. How it
succeeded, I no longer remember, but I well recollect, that I was very
dissatisfied with the orchestral-accompaniment. In respect to that, of
course my excellent orchestra in Vienna had accustomed me to a very
different style of performance.

From Brünn we went to Breslau, where in April we also gave two
concerts; but they were not well attended. The unsettled state of
the public mind arising from the recommencement of hostilities and
from the great sacrifices entailed upon each individual by the
contributions required of them, was in truth then so general, that a
more unfavourable time to give concerts could not well have presented
itself. But in so musical a city as Breslau, even in that period of
warlike commotion, there was no dearth of zealous musical amateurs, to
whom music was a necessary of life. I was therefore frequently invited
to private circles, in which I had an opportunity to perform my Vienna
compositions of Herr _von Tost’s_ portfolio. They met with a brilliant
reception, particularly the two Quintetts, which I was frequently
obliged to repeat. At the earnest wish of my friend _Schnabel_,
director of the Cathedral-orchestra, I wrote an Offertorium for a
Solo-soprano voice and chorus, with violin obligato and orchestra,
which, as is shewn by the catalogue of my compositions was performed
in the Cathedral on 16. April, and where I took the violin-part. As I
left behind me there the original score, and have never seen it since
that time, I am unable to say whether the composition has any merit.
Probably it is still to be found in the library of the cathedral.

       *       *       *       *       *

On a fine evening in the spring, I arrived with my family at Carolath.
As we had to pass over a small river near the castle, in a ferry-boat,
our arrival was perceived before hand. We therefore found upon driving
into the Castle-court, the whole of the Prince’s family assembled at
the foot of the steps, and were welcomed by them in the most friendly
manner. The prince himself led us to the apartments assigned to us.
After we had changed our dress we were summoned to the supper-table.
The Prince, a somewhat ceremonious but friendly and well meaning man
from fifty eight to sixty years of age received us at the entrance of
the dining-room, and introduced us to the other guests. They consisted
of the Princess his second wife, her sister, a lady passionately fond
of poetry and music, his two daughters by his first marriage, amiable
maidens of fifteen and seventeen years of age, and their tutor, Herr
_Kartscher_, a young man of polished manners. The conversation at table
was with the exception of the somewhat antiquated formality of the
Prince, both free from restraint and lively, and convinced me that I
was in a high bred circle having a sympathy for all that was beautiful.
_Dorette_ was also very pleased with the conversation of her neighbours
the Prince and his sister-in-law, and the children in whom the young
ladies had interested themselves in the most friendly manner, were
also extremely happy. Our whole family looked forward therefore to a
pleasant residence at the castle.

On the following day, the regulations were forthwith adopted for
the subjects and hours of study, which with few exceptions remained
unchanged during the whole time of our stay. In the forenoon, while
_Dorette_ gave instruction to the Princesses, the eldest on the harp,
the youngest on the piano, I also gave the first music lessons to
my children. Afterwards they were permitted to participate in the
lessons given to the Princesses by their tutor, and he was so good as
to adapt his instruction as much as possible to the capacities of the
children. Meanwhile, my wife and I occupied ourselves with our own
musical-studies, or I composed. As the members of the Prince’s family
were very fond of singing, this was inducement sufficient to me to
write two small books of songs, the text of which was furnished by the
sister of the Princess from her large collection of poetical pieces.
Among these were also some poems of Herr _Kartscher_. Both volumes were
published by _Peters_ of Leipsic as op. 37, and 41. When the studies
of the forenoon were terminated, a careful toilette was made by all,
to appear at the dinner-table, as it was always the custom with the
Prince’s family to dine _en parure_, or full dress. The remainder of
the day was devoted to social intercourse and amusements. When the
weather was fine, coffee was served in the castle garden, and towards
evening an excursion-drive was made into the neighbouring environs.
A farm belonging to the Prince was a frequent object of our visit,
and either there or in the woods around it we frequently partook of a
rustic supper. At other times when the weather was overcast, or that
visitors came from neighbouring parts, we had music in the evening.
As soon, however, as Herr _von Reibnitz_ arrived as guest at the
Castle, an attempt at Quartett music was made. The old valet of the
Prince who in his younger days had played the violincello, was then
summoned to produce his instrument, the schoolmaster of the village his
viol, and Herr _von Reibnitz_ took the second violin. Unfortunately
I had no other Quartetts with me, than my own, which were certainly
never written for _such_ performers. The first attempt therefore was
very discouraging. But as the others evinced much zeal, I was not
wanting in patience and endurance; and by dint of several rehearsals
I succeeded so far as to enable me to let the company hear two of my
quartetts. They were not so well accustomed to enjoyments in art as
not to receive their performance with great approbation. A polonaise
also, which I then wrote (op. 40, published by _Peters_) pleased
greatly, and soon became a frequently requested and favorite piece
with the company, perhaps, merely, because they had seen it composed.
After I and my family had passed the first two months of our residence
in Carolath in this sufficiently pleasant though somewhat uniform
manner, the Prince announced one day at dinner with some solemnity,
that he would be obliged to leave his dear guests for one day, as it
was his custom every year on the 24. June to proceed to Glogau, to
be present at the Freemason’s festival of St. John. This induced me
upon rising from table to make myself known to him as a brother Mason,
which so agreably surprised the Prince that he immediately invited
me to accompany him on the journey. I have forgotten to relate that I
had already become a freemason in Gotha, had there received after the
expiration of a year the second degree of the order, and a year later
on a journey to Berlin, the third, of master-mason. But as in Austria,
freemasonry was prohibited, and that for two years and a half I had
frequented no lodge, I longed to assist once more at a meeting of the
brothers. The Prince’s invitation to accompany him to Glogau came
therefore very opportunely. Grand preparations were forthwith made.
The great travelling carriage emblazoned with the Prince’s armorial
bearings was drawn out of the coach-house, and cleansed from dust; a
Jäger, and another servant had squeezed himself into the state livery,
and the Prince himself made his appearance for the first time in
state-uniform, with his star upon his breast. We set out early on the
morning of the 24. Arrived at the lodge, the Prince was received and
welcomed by a deputation, and his guest, also, after having testified
his prerogative, was greeted as a brother in the most friendly manner.
After the meeting of the work-lodge, a splendid dinner-lodge followed,
in which I joined the musical brethren, directed their singing, and
myself, sang with my powerful bass voice some mason’s songs and the
“Heiligen Hallen” from the “Zauberflöte.” Among the musical brothers I
found several acquaintances of my earlier travels through Silesia, who
eagerly sought to honour me with their attentions.

The chairman, also, welcomed the “renowned craftsman” to the circle
of brothers, and thanked the Prince for having introduced him. The
Prince seemed greatly pleased to find the honours paid to his guest,
redound to his own, for on his return to Carolath he redoubled his
already great attentions towards me and my family, so that we were even
frequently embarrassed by them.

After a further highly agreable stay of from six to eight weeks, we
resumed our journey through Dresden and Leipzic to Gotha. Returned
thither after an absence of nearly three years from her home, _Dorette_
felt so happy, that I could not think of leaving it for some time. I
therefore settled down quietly for a few months, and only made a few
short excursions in the neighbourhood. The first was to my parents at
Gandersheim, where my father had in the meanwhile been transferred as
District-Physician, and from thence to Hanover, where I gave a concert.
The second was to Frankenhausen, where _Bischoff_ got up another
musical festival.

Here begins one of my diaries which I continued without any break off
up to my return from Italy. The title is “Passing Remarks, during a
Musical-tour” and the work begins:

  _Frankenhausen_, Oct. 19. 1815.

...... “In Hanover we made the interesting acquaintance of the
_Violinist_, and the highly uninteresting one of the _Man,
Kiesewetter_. As violinist he is distinguished for a powerful very
pure, and even feeling style of play, without however as it seems to
me, a true feeling for the beauties of art; as a man, he is the most
inflated wind-bag, that I ever met! He conducted in our concert on the
11. October, but without certainty and foresight.

“After a pause of three years, the musicians of Thuringia have again
assembled here, for the purpose of celebrating after the speedily
terminated war, the now complete emancipation of Germany, upon the
anniversary of the Leipsic “Battle of the Nations”, in a manner worthy
of the musical science. This day, the first of the musical festival,
the performance of my Cantata “Das befreite Deutschland” and the “Te
Deum” of Gottfried _Weber_, took place. As it would not beseem me as
composer to express an opinion of my own work, we will here alone
speak of its performance. The solo-parts were throughout not well
distributed, for which reason the arias and _ensemble_ parts produced
the least effects. But the chorus and the orchestra were excellent,
and therefore the overture and collective choruses produced a great
sensation. The double chorus of the flying French and that of the
pursuing Russians followed by the Prayer of thanks of the German
peoples, and the concluding chorus with the fuge, pleased the most.
I again experienced that in a spacious locality, and with a numerous
orchestra and chorus, the most simple subjects when written in a worthy
and noble style produce the greatest effects; that on the other hand,
a richness of figures in the instrumentation, and a rapidly changing
sequence of harmony are, there, by no means in their proper place.
The _Te Deum_ of _Gottfried Weber_ which had been greatly extolled in
favourable reviews of it in the public journals, did not quite fulfil
my expectations. It betrays too much that, it was not the production
of a moment of inspiration, but rather of cold speculation. The very
commencement is a straining after effect, and as introduction to a _Te
Deum_, certainly very unsuited. To what purpose the long roll of the
kettle-drums that sounds like a passing peal of thunder? And then,
above all, the ensuing flourish of four trumpets and sackbuts, like
that with which cavalry draws up on parade?”

  October, 20.

“On the second day, a miscellaneous Concert took place in the following
order: A Symphony of _Mozart_ (C-Major) executed with spirit and
precision, its effect was ravishing! To-day I became convinced that in
a spacious _locale_, and with a powerfully appointed orchestra, the
four themes of the concluding fuge, at the part where they combine to
form the finale, can be right well understood by a practised ear. If,
hitherto, this part appeared to me more scientific than effective, I
was this day convinced of my error. 2^{dly} a violin-Concerto (E-Minor)
my own. To-day, I again became convinced, that, the masses are far
more taken with the skilful and brilliant execution of the virtuoso,
than by the merit of the composition. All were delighted with my play,
and but few adverted as well to the composition. 3^{dly} an Italian
air with chorus, by _Paer_, sung by Herr _Strohmeyer_. This aria from
an Oratorio called “_La Religione_” is written in so unecclesiastical
a style, that with a change of the text it might be converted into a
right good _Opera buffa_. During the time that the impersonation of
Religion (who certainly might with much more propriety, sing soprano,
instead of bass) executes the most common place operatic melodies,
shakes and throat-tearing bounds, the chorus screams now and then
_unisono_, and _fortissime_, _Santa! Santa!_ between; just as a
robber-band would call out to travellers the “Stand! your money or your
life!” As this aria gave Herr _Strohmeyer_ an opportunity to display
his fine and powerful voice as well as his skill in its management, it
was received with great applause. 4^{thly} an _Adagio_ and Potpourri
of mine for the clarinet, played by Herr _Hermstedt_, likewise very
favorably received. Yet I found, and several other musicians were
of the same opinion, that, though _Hermstedt_ constantly made more
progress in the technics of his instrument, he did not devellope his
taste in the same degree. His execution has somewhat of a mannerism
that borders on caricature. 5^{thly} a patriotic song on the melody
of “God save the king” with orchestral and organ accompaniment by
_Methfessel_. The public to whom the words had been distributed, joined

Poor _Bischoff_ did not find his account in this third Frankenhausen
musical festival. The reason of the deficit in the receipts was
doubtless the quartering of Russian troops in the neighbourhood, which
kept both the town and country residents from attending the festival.
As _Bischoff_ was not in a position to cover this deficit from his own
means, the musicians who had assisted, agreed, upon my proposition, to
defray their own expenses of the journey both ways, and to collect the
necessary sum by a concert to be given on their return home. To that
effect I also gave one at Gotha on the 28. October, in which _Andreas
Romberg_ who since two years had been director of concerts there,
supported me in the most friendly manner.

  _Gotha_, October, 29.

My intercourse with _Andreas Romberg_, the educated and reflective
artiste, afforded me again many hours of rich enjoyment. But I again
found that he performs his compositions in an indiscribably cold
and dry manner, as though he himself did not feel the beauties they
contain! He played several of his Quartetts, which I had long admired,
because I had frequently heard them played by others, and have myself
played them; but the soul which they so plainly bespeak, and which
every violinist by whom I have heard them played till now has rightly
seized, seems to have remained unknown to him, for in his execution of
them, no trace of it was to be discovered! It struck me as remarkable,
also, that his predeliction leaned more especially to those which
seemed to me the weakest. But I was yet more astonished that he often
takes his tempi, according to my feeling, false, and thereby frequently
spoils their effect; for I almost invariably found the Allegro’s too
slow, and the Adagio’s too fast.

  _Meiningen_, October, 31.

We gave a concert here to-day, at which the Dutchess and the whole
Court were present. Herr _Wassermann_, one of the cleverest of my
former pupils, played my Concertante with me.

  _Wurzburg_, Nov., 10.

I made here the acquaintance of two known artistes, that of Herr
_Fröhlich_, and of _Witt_. The former, Professor at the University,
lectures on æsthetics and is in many respects a highly talented artist,
as well as a zealous contributor to the Musical journal. As a critic
he appears tolerably conscientious, but I remarked, that he also, like
many other reviewers, writes opinions upon works without having the
score before him. He that knows how difficult it is even with the aid
of the score, to acquire a knowledge of a work from merely reading
it, must be greatly astonished that these gentlemen will commit such
an oversight, and merely place the separate voices side by side, and
alternately cast their eyes on each. In a work of many voices, the
perusal of the score is not alone sufficient, to enable a correct
judgement to be pronounced; it is necessary also to have heard it, and
well performed too!.....

_Witt_ is Concert-master of the formerly grand-ducal Court-orchestra,
which as well as the _personnel_ of the singers of the Castle-church,
after the acquisition of the grand-duchy by Bavaria are still continued
in pay as formerly, and have remained up till now at their full
complement. It is kept in good play-practice, and accompanied me
to my full satisfaction in the concert we gave on the 7. November.
I experienced much pleasure also from the performance of one of
_Haydn’s_ masses in the Castle-church, which was excellently executed
under _Witt’s_ direction. Herr _Witt_ let me hear on the piano, his
oratorio, “Die vier Menschenalter” (“The four ages of man”). As he
played badly, and if possible sung still worse, it would be premature
in me, from what I heard and read after him of the score, to give an
opinion of the effect the work would produce when performed. Yet it
seemed to me somewhat common-place, and here and there, almost trivial.
Nevertheless, the fuges and some other “Numbers” written in the severe
style showed great skill in counterpoint.

  _Nürnberg_, Nov., 16.

Music appears very little cultivated in the ancient Imperial city, for
the orchestra here is remarkably bad. At our concert yesterday, there
was it is true both a numerous audience and no want of applause of our
performance, but every thing accompanied by the orchestra was totally
spoiled by it.

To render my diary complete, I must here add that, in Nürnberg, young
_Molique_, then about fourteen years of age introduced himself to me,
and requested me to give him instruction in music during my stay in
Nürnberg; this I readily assented to, for the lad already then gave
evidence of very uncommon talent for his years. As _Molique_, since
that time, by an assiduous study of my violin-compositions formed
himself more and more upon my model in style of play, and therefore
called himself _Spohr’s_ pupil. I have mentioned this circumstance in a
supplementary manner.

  _Munich_, Dec., 12. 1815.

Our stay here afforded us much artistic enjoyment. Already on the
day after our arrival we were present at an interesting concert, the
first of the twelve winter-concerts given every year by the royal
orchestra upon their own account. These concerts are very numerously
attended, and merit it in a high degree. The orchestra consists
of the simple harmony, twelve first, twelve second-violins, eight
viols, ten violincelli and six double-basses. The violins and basses
are excellent, and the wind instruments, also, up to the horns. At
every concert, a _whole_ Symphony is performed; (which is the more
praiseworthy, from its becoming unfortunately daily more rare, and that
the public for that reason are losing more and more the taste for that
noble kind of instrumental-music); then an overture, two vocal, and two
concert pieces. As the Court-orchestra of Munich still maintains its
ancient repute as one of the first in the world, my expectation was
greatly on the stretch; yet was it far exceeded by the execution of
_Beethoven’s_ Symphony in C-Minor, with which this first concert was
opened. It is scarcely possible, that it could have been performed with
more spirit, more power, and at the same time with greater delicacy,
as also, throughout, with a closer observance of all the shades of
forte and piano! It produced therefore a greater effect, also, than I
had beleived it capable of, although I had already frequently heard
it, and even under the direction of the composer himself in Vienna.
Nevertheless, I found no reason to retract my former opinion respecting
it. Though with many individual beauties, yet it does not constitute
a classical whole. For instance, the introductory theme of the very
first passage is wanting in that dignity which according to my feeling
the commencement of a Symphony should of a necessity possess. Setting
this aside, the short and easily comprehended theme, certainly permits
of being carried out very thematically, and is combined also by the
composer with the other principal ideas of the first subject in an
ingenious and effective manner. The _Adagio_ in _as_ is in part very
fine, yet the same passages and modulations repeat themselves much
too frequently, and although always with richer ornamentation, become
in the end wearisome. The _Scherzo_, is highly original, and of real
romantic colouring, but the _Trio_ with the noisy running bass is to my
taste much too rough. The concluding passage with its unmeaning noise,
is the least satisfactory; nevertheless the return to the _Scherzo_ at
this part is so happy an idea, that the composer may be envied for it.
Its effect is most captivating! But what a pity that this impression is
so soon obliterated by the returning noise!

In this first concert we heard also Herr _Rovelli_, a young and but
recently engaged violinist, in a Concerto in C-Minor by _Lafond_ which
is excellent, and was executed to the satisfaction of all. This young
artist, a pupil of _Kreutzer_, combines with the chief excellencies of
the Parisian school that which is usually wanting with pupils, viz,
feeling and peculiar taste. The chief points of excellence in that
school consist in a careful study and development of the Technics of
the instrument, in which, however, the real cultivation of art is
very frequently neglected. This, nevertheless, is not the case with
Herr _Rovelli_; for he reads well from the sheet, and knows how to
accompany, as I afterwards had an opportunity of proving when playing
my quartetts.

Madame _Bamberger_ from Würzburg, of whose fine second-tenor voice and
good school, I had there already heard spoken of in such praise, sang
in the concert, but appeared nervous, which was probably the reason why
she took breath so frequently, and rendered the tones so imperfectly.

In the second subscription-concert, we heard Herr _Flad_, who performed
an hautboy-concerto in a very brilliant manner. He has a very fine
tone, and a very tasteful execution. Herr _Legrand_, on the other hand,
who played _Romberg’s_ violincello-concerto in E-Minor, seems to me to
be already going down hill, for his play is wanting both in power of
endurance, and in sure, and pure intonation. An overture from the Romeo
and Juliet by _Steibelt_, does not reach beyond common-place.

In the third subscription-concert, my Symphony in E-Major was
exceedingly well performed under the spirited yet circumspect direction
of Herr Concertmaster _Maralt_, and made more effect here than in
Frankenhausen, where I had heard it for the first time four years ago.
Herr _Franzl_ director of music, played his old violin-concerto in
C-Major with Turkish-music. Its composition is in the namby-pamby taste
of _Pleyel’s_ time, and will never suit the taste of the present day.
His play is just as antiquated, and retains of its former excellence
nothing but its vigour, but which now carries him frequently away into
an indistinctness and want of purity in intonation. Although this
was the case to-day, also, yet he was applauded like mad. This might
have impressed a stranger with an unfavourable opinion of the taste
of the people of Munich, had it not been evident, how well a small
party of his personal friends knew to carry away the public by an
uproarious clapping of hands, and a vigorous shouting of bravo. Though
it certainly may be conceded to an artist who excelled in former times,
that he should still meet with applause in later years, yet this may
readily mislead him to overstep the period when he should cease to
appear in public.

In the fourth subscription-concert, I played with Herr _Rovelli_,
my Concertante, in satisfaction of the expectation that every
foreign artist who desires to be supported in his own concerts
by the royal orchestra, is in duty bound to play in one of the
subscription-concerts. I never heard my Concertante to better
advantage. Herr _Rovelli_ had practised his part with the greatest
attention and played in a masterly manner. The accompaniment was
equally good. The _Adagio_ with the three violincelli-obligati had a
particularly fine effect.

_Vogler’s_ celebrated overture to “Castor and Pollux” did not come up
with my expectations. It begins in a spirited and powerful manner it
is true, but becomes lame towards the end, and the commencement itself
derives its effect only from the noise of the brass instruments.

On the third of December, we played before the Queen in her private
apartments, where besides herself and the King, a few only of the élite
of the Court were present. Both Sovereigns appeared to take great
interest in our play, for they loaded us with civilities. Besides
ourselves, Madame _Dulcken_, a distinguished artiste played also, with
her daughter and pupil, a _Rondeau_ by _Steibelt_ for two piano-forti.

On the sixth, our public concert took place in the Redouten-saloon,
which the Queen also honoured with her presence, a mark of distinction,
that for many years had been shewn to no foreign artists. I derived a
great satisfaction from hearing my compositions again performed with so
much brilliancy.

In the Museum, I found the Musical-journal, and therein a notice of the
last musical-festival at Frankenhausen, which also contains an opinion
upon my Cantata: “The emancipation of Germany.” The writer adduced so
many shallow and false objections to that work, that I was greatly
inclined to reply to it, had I not come to the resolution since my
paper-war with _Mosel_, never again to write an anti-criticism.

  _Würzburg_, Dec., 26.

On our journey thither from Munich, we have given in ten days, in four
different towns, four flying concerts, that we had previously made
arrangements for, which were numerously attended, and returned a rich
harvest; viz, on the 16. in Nuremberg, on the 18. in Erlangen, on the
22. in Bamberg, and yesterday, the first day after Christmasday, here.
It was nevertheless an arduous exertion, particularly for _Dorette_;
the continual packing up and unpacking, rehearsing and concert-giving!
We will now give ourselves a little rest.--The day before yesterday, I
let Herr Professor _Fröhlich_ hear my two Vienna Quartetts, dedicated
to _Romberg_, chiefly with the view that he might notice them in the
musical-journal. They went off well, and therefore did not fail to
make a favourable impression upon the hearers.

  _Frankfurt on the Mayne_, January, 14. 1816.

Our stay here was but very poor in art-enjoyments. During the whole
time, not a single concert besides our own, not one musical party!
While eight years ago, on our first coming here we scarcely could find
time to satisfy all the invitations to musical-soireés, now, not one of
the Frankfurt musical amateurs (if indeed there are any left) takes it
into his head to make a single demand upon our talents.

Even the theatre offered nothing very attractive, and only one, (for
us new) opera, viz, “Carlo Fioras” by _Fränzl_, was performed.--Madame
_Graff_ in this opera, and as the countess, in the “Marriage of Figaro”
proved herself a singer of an excellent school, gifted with feeling and
taste. The remaining _personnel_ of vocalists is of no importance, but
the orchestra excellent, and worthy of its ancient repute.

On the twelfth, we gave a concert at the Red-House. Madame _Graff_ sang
brilliantly the grand scena from “Faust.” The orchestra accompanied
with predeliction, and the greatest precision.

We passed a day rich in music at the house of _André_, in Offenbach. I
found him mounted upon a new hobby, which he rode with yet greater self
satisfaction than his former ones. It was called “declamation!” He is
firmly convinced, and affirms it also with honest openheartedness, that
with the exception of himself, no composer, from _Mozart_ to _Bornhard_
has understood how to declaim a song properly, and to set it to music
as it ought to be. He has therefore taken compassion of that neglected
art-orphan, and written a number of pattern-songs! He had heard of
my new songs and urged me to sing them. But already at the second,
he found a reason to return to his own. Fräulein _von Goldner_ his
pupil, sang them, and really in a most charming manner. It is not to be
denied, that she declaims correctly, and has given a reading to several
of them both new and interesting in its kind. When executed besides in
so masterly a manner as they are by Fräulein _von Goldner_, the effect
is certainly very great. I readily admitted this, but did not conceal
from him at the same time what I thought objectionable therein: which
is principally, that he has frequently sacrificed both form, rhythm,
and melody to the right declamation. In order to avoid the fault of
many song-composers, who restrict themselves too stringently to the
rhythm of the poem, he has fallen into the opposite extreme. In order
to give every syllable its proper duration and accent, he frequently
changes the time in many of these songs, and thereby destroys the
rhythm as well as the melody. Thus, the hearer cannot follow, and feels
dissatisfied. I had further to object, that, the piano accompaniment to
most of these songs is too much obligato, and distracts the attention
from the song. Some sound like independant piano-fantasia’s, to which
the song has been adapted. The selfsatisfaction with which _André_ gave
us these songs to hear, was quite unbearable. For instance, he took
an old song of _Schulze_: “O selig, wer liebt” sang it burlesqued to
make it appear ridiculous, and then requested Fraulein _von Goldner_ to
execute his own on the same text. “Aha!” said every one of the company,
“You shew us the shadow first, that the light may have the greater
effect afterwards!” This ill treatment of an old meritorious composer
annoyed me so much, that I could not refrain from saying:

“Dear _André_, you seem to forget, that it does not redound to the
credit of your song, that it should require a piece of buffoonery to
introduce it; that this song of _Schulze_ was composed upwards of
five and twenty years ago, when the notions of song-composition were
very different from what they now are; that the melody, which appears
antiquated to us, was new at that time, and that you in the end have
made no happy selection for your purpose, since this song with all its
simplicity of form and melody is nevertheless correctly declaimed,
and in the repetition of the: “O selig, wer liebt” at the end of
every strophe, has some depth of feeling in it, whereas it is very
problematical whether our songs will impart so much pleasure after a
lapse of five and twenty years, as this song is still capable of doing
when it is _well_ sung.”

_André_ seemed somewhat ashamed, and from that moment evinced much more
discretion. I was now desirous to gratify his wish to hear some of my
Vienna Quartetts and Quintetts; but the accompaniment was so bad, that
I soon relinquished it, and gave no more than the first.

After dinner, Herr _Aloys Schmitt_ gave us a Fantasia upon the piano “A
sea voyage with a storm”. Although this trivial style of thing first
introduced by _Wölffl_, was not bad, yet from so clever a virtuoso on
the piano I should have expected to hear something more refined and

In the evening, _André_ took us to Herr _Ewald_, a great lover of
music, at whose house the Offenbach Singing-academy had assembled to
let him hear three compositions which they had practised with great
care. It was called “Die drei Worte” (The three Words) of _Schiller_,
set to music by _Aloys Schmitt_, a patriotic chorus by _André_, and
“Die Bürgschaft” (The pledge) by _Schiller_, also composed by _Aloys
Schmitt_, all with piano-forte accompaniment. The chorus numbered about
forty eight voices, and the performance succeeded well. The only regret
was, that the locality was not more spacious. The music to the “Drei
Worte” pleased me very much. It evinced a great talent for that kind
of lyrical composition. The poem is also right well adapted to it. The
second; “Die Bürgschaft” is less so. In this, the composer distributes
the persons represented as speaking, among the several solo-voices;
but it sounds very strange to hear these sing what the poet relates.
The chorus has its share in the text distributed in the same arbitrary
manner. It is nevertheless not to be denied, that several of their
_entreés_ have an extraordinary effect, as for instance, where it says:
“Und unendlicher Regen giesset herab”. “And neverceasing rain pours
down”, and later, where the exhausted wanderer hears the murmering
of a spring of water. The whole poem throughout is conceived and
rendered with much fancy, yet the music suffers from a want of form
through the frequent change of the tempi and measure. The repetition
of _single_ words which of themselves express no meaning is very much
to be reprehended, and sometimes sounds truly comical. The four handed
piano-forte-accompaniment is so rich in ornamentation, passages and
modulations, that with very little modification it would not require to
be rewritten for the orchestra. _André’s_ chorus was not distinguished
by any thing remarkable. At the conclusion, Herr _Hasemann_ of the
Frankfurt orchestra, who as violincellist accompanied me in my Quartett
in the morning much better than any of the others, astonished us with
his skill on the bass-sackbut! He played variations on the well known
song: “Mich fliehen alle Freuden” (All pleasures depart from me). But
it makes an unpleasant impression upon a hearer of taste, when an
instrument is constrained to produce what is neither natural to, nor
consistant with its character.

  _Darmstadt_, 9. Febr.

Constrained to nearly a month’s stay by the illness of my good
_Dorette_, I have had ample time to inform myself on the state of
music here. Little satisfactory can be said of it. The Grand-Duke is
certainly very fond of music, and spends considerable sums of money
upon it; but this love of it is one sided, egotistical, and is limited
solely to Theatrical music. He takes a pleasure for instance in
enacting the Director of music, and Manager, in the Opera-rehearsals;
he therefore not only directs the orchestra from a desk in the
theatre, but directs also every thing upon the stage. As he considers
himself incapable of error in both capacities, nor will allow either
the director of the orchestra, or the stage manager to gainsay his
regulations in the least, as a matter of course many mistakes occur.
For, although of all Grand-Dukes he may be the best director of an
opera, that does not make him _a good one_! He clearly proves this
in his selection of the works which he allows to be performed in
his theatre. As he has so liberally endowed the theatre that the
management has no need to study the taste of the public for the sake of
the receipts, they might therefore procure a Repertoire of really good
and meritorious works, if he would only allow them the choice. But this
he reserves to himself, and therefore not only much of what is given
is of mediocrity merely, but many excellent works are wholly excluded,
such as the operas of _Cherubini_, because the Grand-Duke cannot bear
them. He may by chance let “Den Wasserträger,” (the Watercarrier) pass,
but only the first act of it. Neither do the operas of _Mozart_ seem to
please him any better; for when a few days ago the turn came again for
“Don Juan”, after nothing else had been given for thirty consecutive
nights but _Poissl’s_ “Athalia”, and that the orchestra relieved from
the distressing wearisomeness with which that opera had overcome them,
executed the first finale with great spirit, the Grand-Duke turning to
the director of the orchestra, said: “After _Poissl’s_ opera there’s no
relishing “Don Juan!”

Considering the large salaries paid by the Grand-Duke, the _personnel_
of solo-singers might be a much better one, with a few exceptions, than
it really is; but it is maintained, that he only wishes for middling
talents, so that they may yield more willingly to his regulations. The
chorus (thirty females and thirty men) is very excellent. The orchestra
is also very numerous, and comprises several very good artists among
its members; but there is also a good deal of ordinary talent among
them. The Grand-Duke may claim some credit for their _ensemble_, and
particularly in the _pianissimo_; but as regards pure intonation, and
clearness of expression, there is yet much to be desired. No orchestra
in the world is so harrassed as this is; for the whole of the members
without exception, must attend every blessed evening in the theatre,
from 6 to 9 or 10 o’clock. Every Sunday, there is opera; on two other
days in each week a play; and on the four remaining days the Grand-Duke
has his opera-rehearsals. These never fail unless he is prevented by
illness. Then no operas are given. A short time ago he was obliged to
keep his room for several weeks with a bad leg; during this time no
rehearsal dare be held, nor any opera performed. He seemed to beleive,
or wished others to beleive that without him, nothing could be studied.

It is a singular sight, to see the old gentleman already grown quite
crooked, seated at the desk in uniform with his star on his breast,
giving the time; ordering the chorus and the “statists” to recollect
this thing or the other, or calling out _piano_ or _forte_ to the
orchestra. If he but understood all this, there would be no better
director of an opera; for he has not only great zeal and perseverance,
but from his station also, as Grand-Duke, the necessary authority. But
his knowledge of scores extends no farther than at most to enable him
to read after the violin-voice, and as he once played the violin when
a young man, he continually harrasses the poor violinists with his
reminiscenses, without making things any better! On the other hand, the
singers may sing as false or with as little taste as they choose, or
the wind-instruments may be one beat before or behind,--and he does not
observe it!

It is just the same with his arrangements on the stage; but there the
manager can yet come in unobserved to the rescue, while the director
of the orchestra is not permitted the slightest reproval of any error
that may occur. That the operas, therefore, despite the numerous
rehearsals should come off badly, and invariably worse the more
rehearsals that have been held, is sufficiently accounted for above,
so that in the end both singers and orchestra become incapable of more
attention from sheer exhaustion and disgust. This was the case with
the opera “Athalie” of _Poissl_, which during our stay was rehearsed
every evening when no performance took place, and in which on its
representation at last, after thirty stage-rehearsals, faults still
occured, both on the stage and in the orchestra. Of the music of this
opera but little can be said in praise. It is too common-place, and the
same kind of thing too frequently heard before. Several of the musical
pieces are imitations of the most admired pieces of _Mozart_ and
_Cherubini_, yet without producing any other effect than recalling them
to mind: so for instance, the procession of Priests, with its single
strokes of the kettle-drum, is exactly like that in the “Zauberflöte”
(the Magic Flute) during the “fire and water ordeal.” In the same
manner also, the concluding Allegro of the first act, which contains
striking reminiscences from the finale of “Don Juan,” and so forth. The
first act is besides extremely tedious, from the circumstance that so
many slow tempi and prayers succeed each other so closely, so that in
point of fact, the opera has neither life nor action.

The Grand-Duke, who considers the music of this opera very fine,
perhaps merely, because it was written by a Baron, had the vexation
to find that the public considered it very wearisome, which was even
loudly expressed close to the box of the Grand-duke. This so much
enraged him, that he said in a loud voice: “All those who do not
comprehend this splendid opera should have the doors of the theatre
closed against them!” If what people say here, is true, that he compels
the servants of his Court and officers, to frequent the theatre, by
deducting without any ceremony the amount of the subscription for the
_entrée_ to the theatre from their salaries, he might readily carry out
his threat by releasing them from this soccage!

As the Grand-Duke refused to us the assistance of the orchestra for a
public concert, because as he expressed in his reply to my request,
he could not spare it from the theatre on any evening, we were on
the point of leaving without having played in Darmstadt, when the
directors of the Cassino proposed to us to appear in their _locale_,
for which they offered us a sum of twenty carolins.[16] This offer we
accepted. I played with _Dorette_ a sonata, and two concert-pieces with
pianoforte accompaniment; and _Dorette_ concluded with the Fantasia in
C-Minor. We met with a very sympathising audience. The violinists of
the orchestra, who much desired to hear me, and Herr _Backhofen_ the
former instructor of my wife who would have been greatly interested in
her present artistic skill, were however, not permitted to be of the
auditory; for the Grand-Duke had said on the previous evening in the
theatre: “Let me find nobody absent himself to-morrow evening!”

[16] One Carolin = 20 s, 4 d English.

  _Heidelberg_, February, 11.

Notwithstanding the extreme cold that set in last night, we this
afternoon climbed the castle-hill, to behold once more the magnificent
ruins of the castle. I was pleased to find that since the last eight
years it has not been allowed to fall into further decay, and that much
more care is taken to preserve the ruins in their present condition.
The view over the town towards Mannheim, and into the valley of the
Neckar, is even in winter, beautiful in the extreme!

  _Carlsruhe_, February, 26.

Our stay here was made very agreable, from our meeting with old
acquaintances. It afforded us also some art-enjoyments. It is true
we did not hear any good orchestral-music; for the orchestra here,
although latterly several distinguished artists have been engaged, is
still very middling. A few good members cannot cloak the weak points
of the rest. On the other hand, we heard two good female singers,
Demoiselle _Bahrenfels_ and Madame _Gervais_. On the 21., when we
played in the private apartments of the Grand-Dutchess, the former
sang an aria; and a few days before, the soprano-soli in _Romberg’s_
“Glocke” (the “Bell”) which was right well performed by a society of
dilettanti in the museum. Demoiselle _Bahrenfels_ has a fine voice,
good taste and great ease of execution, but overloads her singing too
much with ornamentation. Madame _Gervais_, who is also a distinguished
actress, I heard in _Weigl’s_ pretty opera: “Adrian van Ostade” in
which she sang a Cavatina in a very brilliant manner. We then heard
her sing in our concert on the 24. the grand scena from “Faust” with
universal applause. She has also a fine voice, is of a good school,
has feeling, and great execution, but embellishes also too much at the
wrong place, and now and then sings out of tune....

I frequently played my Quartetts and Quintetts; twice at Herr _von
Eichthal’s_ and once at Messrs. _Freidorf’s_ and _Brandt’s_. I was
excellently accompanied in them by Messrs. _Fesca_, _Viala_, _Bönlein_,
and _von Dusch_. _Fesca_ played also a new Quintett of his composition,
which had many new and beautiful points in it. In the last passage
there was nevertheless something far-fetched.

  _Strasburg_, March, 6.

I must first speak of that which strikes the eye of the traveller even
before he has crossed the Rhine,--I mean the Cathedral! Far beyond
Kehl we saw its colossal and yet graceful form towering high into
the air. It has been so often and so well described (and poetically
also in Baggesen’s travels) that I shall not attempt it. But I must
say, that nothing I had ever seen before, awakened in me so much the
sentiment of the sublime, and the holy, as that wonderful structure!
What stateliness of form, what elegance, what richness of decoration,
and what imposing grandeur are here united! All that the Iconaclausts
damaged during the time of the revolution has again been restored, and
the new statues that have been placed in the room of those which were
destroyed have more artistic merit than such of the old ones as were
then spared. The building is very carefully kept in repair throughout,
and 20,000 francs annually are set apart for the external repairs
alone. Such care is nevertheless doubly necessary with this structure,
on account of its delicacy of ornamentation, as the slightest damage
would readily entail a greater and more dangerous one; for the gigantic
tower has no foundation wall running round its base but is built
upon piles, between which deep in the ground below flows a navigable
canal. Half way up, where the structure separates into two halves,
one of which unfortunately, is finished only, every part throughout
is so, aërial, so elegant, and permits the eye to see through it so
completely, that here, where when one pillar is the support of the
other, the least damage, if not immediately re-established, might
readily entail the falling in of the whole tower.

After we had sufficiently satisfied our feeling of admiration of the
bold, gigantic structure; the telegraph which extends its arms upon
the roof of the Cathedral attracted our attention. At that moment
the telegraph was being worked, and we were greatly amused with the
ease and rapidity of its movements. As we were desirous to understand
the mechanism, we ascended to it, but only reached it just as it
had ceased, and we alone saw the Despatch about to be transmitted,
in the curious characters still standing wet upon the paper. I was
desirous to know whether these characters of which there might be
about twenty four at the utmost, represented the letters of the
alphabet, or separate words, or whole sentences, and I put a few
questions to the telegraphist upon the subject. He, however, gave me
but little information, either because he durst not, or did not know
himself, which is the most probable, as the director alone is allowed
to possess the key to the characters. According to him, each sign or
character expresses a word. But this is very improbable, as it would
be impossible to communicate with sufficient clearness with four and
twenty words, even supposing the intervening missing words might be
for the most part guessed at. On the other hand, that the meaning of
one or more of the signs must have been known to him, was evident from
the circumstance, that in order to shew us the mechanism, he gave the
_signe d’attention_, by which was asked, whether in the course of the
day another Despatch was to be expected, and if each telegraphist
was to remain at his post. This sign was immediately taken up by the
next telegraph, as we could see through the telescope affixed to the
wall, and then also by the next one, although it could be seen less
distinctly. After a lapse of 7 or 8 minutes the reply came back from
Paris: “Every body must remain at his post.” This sign was immediately
taken up also by our telegraph, and then all were again at rest. The
mechanism is very simple. Three large wheels in the telegrapher’s room,
over which run cords of twisted copperwire set the three limbs of the
telegraph in motion. Smaller wheels, affixed to the larger ones set
in motion a smaller telegraph in the interior of the room, by which
the mechanist sees whether the signs have been correctly made above,
on the roof. A third moderately sized telegraph outside of the room,
directed towards the residence of the director, serves to impart to him
the signs coming from Paris. The whole contrivance is very ingenious
and does credit to man’s creative mind. The telegraphists have a very
onerous duty. From the first dawn of day-light to night fall, they must
be at their posts. The slightest negligence is immediately punished
with dismissal from the service.

In Strasburg I made the acquaintance of three distinguished _artistes_
and of several passionate lovers of music. The former were: Herr
_Spindler_, director of the Cathedral Orchestra, the successor of
_Pleyel_, who previously held that appointment, Herr _Berg_, _pianiste_
and composer, and Herr _Kuttner_ also a pianiste and a singer. Of
_Spindler’s_ Ecclesiastical-compositions a Requiem is very much
praised; of his dramatic works an Opera: “The Orphan Asylum.” Spindler
sent the score and the libretto of this opera, which was also his
property to the directors of the Vienna Court-theatre. It was not
accepted and returned under the pretence, that the song-parts would not
suit the operatic-personnel there. But a copy was thievishly taken of
the libretto, and _Weigl_ then composed music for it also. As shortly
before, his “Schweizerfamilie” had been very successful, this new work
soon became popular at all the theatres in Germany, while _Spindler’s_
composition up to the present time has only been heard in Strasburg.
For this dishonest transaction he nevertheless obtained some slight
satisfaction, for when _Weigl’s_ composition was given here last year
by a German operatic-company, it pleased infinitely less than his.
_Spindler_ is a well educated and extremely modest artiste. Among
the ardent lovers of music the Advocate _Lobstein_ ranks first. He
is Director of a well assorted Amateur-Concert-society; the numerous
Orchestra of which consists for the most part of dilettanti, and they
do not give badly such compositions, as are not too difficult and which
they have sufficiently rehearsed. As in France since the Revolution a
law is still enforced, which requires that every person who gives a
Concert, if he publicly announces it by bills, and takes money, shall
pay over one fifth of the receipts to the Directors of the Theatre of
the town; Herr _Lobstein_ made the proposal to me to give a Concert in
the same place and on the same day as the Amateur-Concert-Society, by
which means I avoided the impost. The Concert was announced privately
only, but was nevertheless so well attended that above one hundred
persons were unable to find further room in the by no means small
saloon. This as well as the enthusiastic reception that our play met
with, induced me to give a second and a public Concert after having
come to an understanding with the manager of the theatre to pay over a
fixed impost of eighty francs; but it was not so numerously attended
as the first, probably owing to the price of admission being raised
to three francs. The Orchestra was the same in both, half composed
of dilettanti and half of skilled musicians; the string-instruments
tolerably good, the wind-instruments for the most part bad. As the
latter have a good deal to do in my compositions, they therefore got
sadly mishandled. My Quartetts and Quintetts which I frequently played
at private parties, were on the other hand very well accompanied.
Upon these occasions Messrs. _Baxmann_ (first Violincellist of the
theatrical Orchestra) and _Nani_ (Violinist) especially distinguished
themselves. Although the Strasburghers are much behind the inhabitants
of the larger towns of Germany in the cultivation of music, and know
little or nothing of our newest music and its spirit, they yet appear
to relish well my compositions. My stay here therefore served to make
my compositions in demand, few of which only were known here, and they
were now frequently written for to the music sellers.

While we were in Strasburg Messrs. _Berg_ and _Kuttner_ gave together
a public Concert, in which both shewed themselves good pianistes, and
Herr _Berg_ a talented composer. He gave an Overture, a Pianoforte
Concerto and variations for two Piano’s. The allegro of the overture
pleased me especially, on account of its natural flow and the manner in
which the theme is carried out. But Herr _Berg_ is not free from the
complaint common to all modern composers, who are always striving after
effects, and in so doing miss the carrying out of their ideas.

We went a few times to the theatre, and with the exception of the
Prima Donna Madame _Dufay_, found the Opera very bad, but the Comedy
and Vaudeville excellent. I became again convinced, how greatly the
French excel the Germans in the two last kinds of entertainment. The
company here, which is generally considered but very middling, perform
nevertheless their Comedies with roundness, and life like truth, such
as is seldom seen on the stage of the best theatres in Germany.

  _Münster, near Colmar_, March, 26.

For the last fortnight nearly we are here in a small manufacturing
town in the Vosges mountains, on a visit to a wealthy manufacturer
_Jacques Hartmann_. Our host, who is an ardent lover of music, was
informed by Herr Kapellmeister _Brandt_ of Carlsruhe, that we should
pass through Colmar on our journey. He had ascertained from Strasburg
the day on which we should pass through; he therefore way laid us and
with friendly force compelled us to follow him to his house at Münster.
Arrived there at nightfall, we were welcomed by his family in the
most hearty manner, and conducted immediately through the garden to a
brilliantly lighted Concert-Room, which was decorated all round with
the names of our great Composers, among which probably from to-day
mine also has found a humble place. The Orchestra of Herr _Hartmann_
was already in their places and received us upon our entry with a
by no means ill executed Overture. The Orchestra consists of Herr
_Hartmann’s_ family, and in part of some of the employés, musicians and
workmen employed in his Cotton-manufactury. As he as much as possible
engages those only who are musical, he has succeeded in getting
together an almost completely appointed Orchestra, which executes in a
very decent manner compositions that are not too difficult and which
it has diligently practised.[17] Herr _Hartmann_ himself is a virtuoso
on the bassoon and has a fine tone and much skill. His sister and
his daughter play the pianoforte. The latter a child, eight years of
age is the star of this Dilettanti orchestra. She already plays very
difficult compositions with wonderful facility and precision. But more
than this, her fine musical ear surprised me, with which (though at a
distance from the Piano) she distinguishes the intervals of the most
complicated discordant accords that can be struck for her, and will
name consecutively the tones of which they consist. Of this child for
a certainty if properly guided will one day be made a distinguished
artiste.[18] After the family had exhibited their capabilities, we let
them hear one of our Duetts and found a very grateful and enthusiastic

[17] From the leader of the Orchestra an employé in the manufactory,
I then made the acquisition of a Violin by _Lupot_ of Paris. I was
so much struck with the full and powerful tone of this Instrument,
which was then only thirty years old, that I immediately proposed an
exchange for an Italian Violin, which I had purchased in Brunswick,
and played upon in my first journey; the possessor of the _Lupot_
willingly acceded to my desire. I soon got so fond of this Violin,
that I preferred it to my hitherto Concert-Violin, an old german
by _Buchstetter_, and from this time I played on it in all my

It was not till the year 1822, when my artistic tours as Violinist
had ceased, that I bought of Madame _Schlick_ in Gotha my present
instrument, a _Stradivari_, and yielded to Concert-master _Matthaei_
of Leipsic at his urgent entreaty this Violin of _Lupot_, which in
the course of years had become very good and had acquired a great
reputation. _Matthaei_ played on it till his death, when it came into
the possession of Concert-master _Ulrich_.

[18] Unhappily she died young and before her full development.

Herr _Hartmann_ does not readily permit a Musician of note to pass
through Alsace without calling on him and therefore has already seen
many of them under his roof; among others, _Rudolpho_, _Kreutzer_,
_Durand_, _Turner_, _Bärmann_ and the brothers _Schunke_. And for a
certainty all must have been as satisfied with their stay in his house
as we were; for a more agreable host, and one more desirous to please
than Herr _Hartmann_ could not readily be found. Of the two first
mentioned artistes he related the following, which is sufficiently
characteristic. _Kreutzer_ gave a Concert at the theatre in Strasburg,
which was very fully attended. After the first part, he went and took
the receipts, and lost them at Roulette in the refreshment room to the
last _sous_. He was now called for the second part of the Concert,
and was obliged to earn wherewith to supply what he had already lost.
_Durand_ did still worse! Herr _Hartmann_ had got up a Concert for him
at Mühlhausen and accompanied him thither. _Durand_ immediately forgot
himself in a beerhouse, and it was a difficult matter to get him away
from it to hold the rehearsal. At this he missed his bow, which he
had forgotten at Colmar. He declared that he must fetch it, otherwise
he would not be able to play in the evening. Herr _Hartmann_ gave him
his carriage and urged him to return as soon as possible. The hour
of the Concert was fast approaching, but _Durand_ had not yet come
back. The public had assembled, the Musicians were tuning up,--but the
Concert-giver was still wanting! After waiting for half an hour, as the
auditory had become very restless, Herr _Hartmann_ had the Overture
played. But as _Durand_ had not yet made his appearance, he was
obliged to come forward and explain the absence of the Concert-giver.
Exceedingly displeased at this, the public left the Concert-room.
Late in the evening the coachman returned without the vainly expected
musician, and informed his master that he had sought for him for
several hours in all the Coffee-houses and taverns at Colmar but in
vain, and that at length he had found him in a beerhouse where in
company with other jovial guests he had totally forgotten the concert.

Three days ago, we gave a Concert in Colmar which was very fully
attended, and which Herr _Hartmann_ had previously solicited his there
resident musical friends to make arrangements for. As the Orchestra
which was almost wholly composed of dilettanti was very bad; I was
compelled to renounce playing any of my own compositions and chose some
of easier accompaniment by _Rode_ and _Kreutzer_. After the Sonata
which I played with my wife, a crown of laurel was thrown to us from a
box to which was attached the following poem:

    Couple savant dans l’art heureux
    Qui fit placer au rang des Dieux
    L’antique Chantre de la Grèce.
    D’un instrument melodieux,
    Et de la harpe enchanteresse
    Quand les accords delicieux.
    Nous causent une double ivresse,
    Faut-il, que les tristes apprêts
    D’un depart qui nous désespère,
    Mêlent d’inutiles regrets
    Aux charmes que votre Art opère!
    Ah! près de nous il faut rester!
    Quelle raison pour s’en défendre?
    A nos voeux, si _Spohr_ veut se rendre,
    Il pourra, j’ose l’attester,
    Se lasser de nous enchanter,
    Jamais nous lasser de l’entendre.

    _Par E. C. (outerèt), habitant de Colmar._

In the second part of the Concert Herr _Hartmann_ played also some
variations for the bassoon by _Brandt_. He seemed very nervous, but
played nevertheless right well. The receipts were very considerable
for so small a town. The day after the Concert we dined at General
_Frimont’s_, Commander of the Austrian troops in Alsace. We found our
host an extremely amiable and jovial man. By his love of justice, his
strict discipline and agreable manners, he has acquired in a high
degree the esteem of the inhabitants of Colmar.--In the evening we
returned here.

Yesterday I received information from the Director of music _Tollmann_,
in Basel, to whom Herr _Hartmann_ had previously announced our arrival,
that he had made arrangements for a Concert for us on next Sunday the
31. We must therefore take leave of our kind host and his family. But
we have been obliged to promise to come once again if possible during
the summer.

Herr _Hartmann_ conducted us several times over the Cotton factory.
It is very extensive and produces goods which in respect of taste in
the designs greatly excel the English. It gives employment to upwards
of one thousand persons, and among these to artists of great talent
as Draughtsmen and Engravers on copper. Cotton prints of all kinds
are made, common ones by hand-press, the finer sorts by Roll-press,
with furniture prints as well as carpets ornamented with large and
small designs. The latter are chiefly made for the East Indian and
China markets. On the copper-plates for these kinds, artists often
work for several years together. The designs are for the most part
copies of celebrated pictures. The mechanism by which the copper-plates
are printed off upon stuffs is a secret in the possession of the
_Hartmann_-manufactory, which is not shewn to strangers. We were made
an exception to the rule. An ingenious machine for rubbing colours was
also invented here, and is as yet the only one of the kind. Alsace
which is so rich in manufactories, is very discontented with the new
government, which does nothing for the encouragement of industry as did
the exiled Emperor, to whom the people are devotedly attached. This may
be readily imagined when we consider, that in the palmy days of the
Empire, the manufactories in this part were in an extremely flourishing
condition, which arose in a great measure from the exclusion of English
manufactures from the Continent by the celebrated Berlin decrees. But
now again when the whole of Europe is inundated with English goods, the
factories here are obliged to restrict their labours considerably.
People express here without reserve their discontent with the present
government, and say quite openly, that the favourable opportunity is
only waited for to shake off the present yoke once more. It is true,
also, that many things that tended greatly to the public good, such as
canal and road making, the distribution of prizes for encouragement of
Industry, Art-institutions etc. such for example as the Conservatory
of Music in Paris, have been in part suppressed or greatly limited, as
hateful reminiscences of the Revolution and of the Empire. All this had
made much bad blood, and rendered the new Government extremely hated.
People will therefore be by no means displeased, should the report be
verified, that Alsace is to be ceded to Austria.

  _Basel_, April, 2.

Herr _Tollmann_, a good Violinist and Director and at the same time
the most obliging man and most willing to render a service I ever met,
had already with the assistance of the Union-society of Music here,
prepared every thing for our concert. Nothing remained to be done but
to obtain the permission of the Head Burgomaster to raise the price of
admission to half a laub-thaler. This was immediately granted. Herr
_Tollmann_ introduced me to the Directors of the society, whom I found
both agreable and well bred people. They completely disproved in their
persons the report which prevails in Alsace, that the Baseler is cold
and uncourteous, and usually cuts short the visits of strangers at the
street door. I was received with politeness by all whom I visited, and
even with distinction. As the Orchestra, with the exception of four or
five artistes was composed of Dilettanti merely, the accompaniment of
my Solo-pieces, particularly by the wind-instruments was fearful. How
poor _Tollmann_ is to be pitied, to be obliged to hear such music all
the year round! And yet, he says, the Orchestras in the other towns of
Switzerland are still worse. If that is the case, then indeed Music is
in a more pitiable condition in Switzerland than in Alsace. The good
folks here are enraptured still with compositions such as in Germany
even in _Pleyel’s_ time were considered intolerable. _Mozart_, _Haydn_
and _Beethoven_ are scarcely known by name to the majority. But they
are fond of music, and the best of all is, they are easily pleased; for
badly executed as all the orchestral passages were in our Concert the
people were nevertheless content, and considered that on this occasion
the Orchestra had particularly distinguished itself. Even a Bravoura
air which was awfully tortured by a Dilettant, they found delicious.
The expenses being slight, the receipts were somewhat considerable.

  _Zürich_, April, 10.

On the road from Basel to this place, like all other travellers coming
from Germany, we had ample proof that though one travels with more
comfort in Switzerland, yet is as expensive again as there. At every
inn here, even in the smallest villages, one finds a complete and well
dressed dinner or supper, but the price all through Switzerland is
half a Laub-thaler a head. All other necessaries are equally good, but
also very dear. The expense of travelling is almost still worse. With
the exception of the short distance from Basel to Zurich, there is no
extra-post in all Switzerland, and one is therefore obliged to travel
either by the Diligence or with hired horses. Both are very dear. The
price for a pair of hired horses per day is three laub-thaler, and
their days for return are also charged for.

There is here also an “Union-society of Music.” These societies in
the Swiss towns are a great boon to the travelling artiste, for they
very willingly undertake all the arrangements for his concert. Ours
took place already on the fourth day after our arrival. We had nothing
more to do but to play. The accompaniment certainly was again very bad
and I suffered the more from it, by allowing myself to be persuaded
to select a Concert of my own compositions. At the rehearsal, by
dint of innumerable repetitions of the most difficult parts, I at
length succeeded in making them sound like music; but in the evening
the orchestra got so frightened that it upset every thing again!
Fortunately, the auditory did not appear to notice anything of it, for
they evinced the greatest satisfaction with every thing they heard.

The receipts were yet greater than at Basel. There are two artistes
living here who are also known in Germany. One of them, Herr _Nägeli_,
is the proprietor of a music-shop, and the composer of the song sung
throughout Germany: “Freut euch des Lebens” (Life let us cherish) he
has also since made a name for himself by his Singing Instructions on
the _Pestalozzian_ system. He may have great merit as a Theorist and
musical Composer but in the practical part of the science of music and
in the development of taste, he does not appear to have effected much;
for of three of his pupils whom he introduced to us as his best, one
sang an Aria, and the other two executed a Duett in our Concert, with a
bad method, and without taste.

The other artiste is Herr _Liste_, who is considered here a first rate
pianiste and Instructor, he is known by some compositions for the
piano. He shewed me some Glees and Quartetts for male voices, which
pleased me much for their melody, harmony and induction of the voices.

Zurich is most charmingly situated. From our room, at the Inn “zum
Raben” (The Raven) we have a view over great part of the lake. The
arrival and departure of boats and other craft give great life to this
part of the town.

  _Bern_, April 20.

With most beautiful weather we had an extremely pleasant journey
thither. From the summit of a high hill about a league from here,
we saw for the first time since we entered Switzerland the whole
magnificient chain of the Alps quite distinctly, and in all its
grandeur. We hailed the sight with joy! How we long to approach yet
nearer to those mountains!

The musical society of Bern undertook also with zeal the preparations
for our Concert, and relieved me of all trouble in the matter. The
attendance here likewise, was more numerous than had ever before been
known at the Concert of a foreign artist. The receipts however, on
account of the here customary low price of admission, were not so great
as at Zurich. The Orchestra here is if possible still worse than in
Basel and Zurich, and the public with the exception of very few yet
more uncultivated. At the head of the Orchestra is a brother of _Carl
Maria von Weber_, who, as I am told, is a good theorist. As a Violinist
and Director he is very weak. Among the dilettanti and members of the
Society of music Professors _Meissner_ and _Jahn_, and the Burgomaster
_Hermann_ are particularly distinguished for their cultivated taste for
the science of music. The former is Director of the society, and a very
good violinist.

As the season is already too far advanced, to give further Concerts
in the other towns of Switzerland, we intend giving up our journey
there for the present, and at once set ourselves down to rest in
some beautiful part of the Bernese Oberland, of which _Dorette_ has
such urgent need for the full re-establishment of her health. Our
acquaintances here recommend to us a village in the neigbourhood of
Thun. Yesterday, accompanied by _Edward_[19] we drove out there, and
found every thing so much in accordance with our wishes, that we
resolved to remove thither on the next day. The name of the village
is Thierachern, and it lies in one of the most beautiful spots that
we had yet beheld. At the Inn we hired two rooms, for which together
with a coach house for our carriage, and breakfast and dinner daily, we
agreed to pay the host two Carolines per week. We are all longing to
settle in this paradise, and looking forward to the enjoyment of its
rural repose. I think especially to avail myself of it to write some
new Violin compositions, with very simple and easy accompaniments for
Italy, as from all accounts the Orchestras there are worse than those
of the provincial towns in France. _Edward_ has promised to visit us
frequently, and then join us in excursions into the beautiful environs.

[19] _Edward Henke_, previously adverted to, my mother’s youngest
brother, then Professor at the University of Bern; and afterwards of

Bern, the handsomest of all the towns of Switzerland that we had yet
seen, is situated upon an eminence of moderate height in the centre of
a somewhat long and narrow valley. The Aar, a rapid, clear mountain
stream, flows round three sides of it. The mountains which surround
it are not so high as to impede the view of the Alps from the town.
From the Platform in particular, a spacious quadrangular bulwark near
the principal church, planted with chesnut trees and furnished with
benches, the view is extensive, and charmingly beautiful. On leaning
over the wall which surrounds this platform on the south side, the
foaming Aar is seen deep below rushing between the rocks, above this
in the middleground, smiling meadows, hills covered with woods, and
villages thickly surrounded with fruit trees, and in the back ground
the majestic Alpine chain with its summits covered with eternal snow!
The Bernese are not a little proud of this spot; and the first question
they put to a stranger is usually: “Have you been on the platform?”

The houses of the town are all of them massively built, and have open
Arcades running the length of the street, under which one is able to
traverse the whole town dry footed in wet weather. Under these Arcades
are the warehouses and shops of the merchants and trades-people.

  _Thierachern_, April, 26.

We have been here three days in our beautiful little village, and are
inhaling in full draughts the breath of the first spring days in this
indiscribably charming place. We have no thought of work as yet, for
early every morning we feel impelled to hasten out into the fresh air.
We have already wandered a full mile in different directions round our
little village, and always discovered new beauties. The situation of
our dwelling is beautiful beyond conception; it stands upon a hill
from which one has a view of the country on every side. Our rooms open
upon a long balcony which extends the whole breadth of the house, and
is covered in by the eaves of the main roof. These open galleries,
which almost all the houses have, are called “Lauben”.[20] From this
laube, where in the hitherto fine weather we breakfast every morning,
we have a most extensive view over wood and meadow, as far as Thun, and
its ancient castle; then upon the right across the lake as far as the
chain of the Alps, with the white peaks of the Jungfrau, the Eiger,
and Schreckhorn. Still farther again to the right, the eye rests upon
green copse-covered hills, and villages embosomed amid orchards, and
beyond these upon the fearful rocky ridges of the Riesen, as far as the
Stockhorn. Almost every day these mountains present aspects different
from those of the previous one. Sometimes the foremost mountains
are covered with dense masses of clouds, and the hinder ones appear
majestically above them at an altitude, such as one can scarce believe
possible for any thing firm to exist; at others the farmost mountains
stand out clear and distinct; and the highest peaks alone are shrouded
in clouds. But in the evening, shortly after sun set, the sight of
these snow covered mountains is quite entrancing to behold. When the
valley is wholly wrapped in gloom, and the lights from Thun are seen
reflected upon the lake, the mountain peaks are still resplendent
with the most beautiful rosy light, which when the darkness encreases
changes into as beautiful a blue. It is a spectacle from which it is
difficult to tear one’s self away!

[20] From _Laube_, an arbour, bower.

  May, 16.

We have now begun to divide our time between pleasure and work. In the
forenoon, while I compose, _Dorette_ gives the children instruction
in arithmetic, writing, geography etc.: in the afternoon I teach
them the Piano and singing. Then away we sally out into the free air.
If the weather permits an extended excursion, we take our frugal
evening repast in some “Küher’s” (so the shepherds are called here)
and do not return till late in the evening. Should the weather be
uncertain, we go provided with umbrellas, at least as far as Thun,
to enquire after letters from home; procure some amusement for rainy
days from the lending-library, and purchase our little necessaries.
The daily exercise in the beautiful pure balmy air strengthens our
bodies, enlivens our spirits and makes us joyous and happy. In such
a disposition of mind, one works easily and quickly, and several
compositions lie already completed before me, namely a Violin Concerto
in the shape of a Vocal-scena and a Duett for two violins.

I must not forget to mention a musical Natural-curiosity which we
remarked in our walks. There is a Cuckoo here which does not sing its
name like ours in a terza, but adds another “koo” between, and which
may be expressed as follows:


Whether this is a different kind from ours, I have not been able to
ascertain, but, that every year in this part, such Cuckookoos are heard.

Something also, I have here remarked, which has still more interested
me as a musician. The serving boy belonging to our house and some
maidens of the neighbourhood who hold their Singing-Academy before
our window every Sunday evening, intonate in their songs just like
the notes from a tin instrument when unassisted by the stopping of
the finger, i, e, the Terza somewhat too high, the Quarta still
higher and the little Septime considerably too low. From this it is
evident, that this intonation is natural to the human ear, if it is
not accustomed from early youth to the attemperated system of tones.
These nature-singers would sound as false to our tone-scale, as we
to theirs. But it is nevertheless specially remarkable, and _almost
disquieting_, that in order to attain our present richness of harmony,
we have been obliged to deviate from the Tone-scale given to us by
nature. For without our attemperated Tone-system we should be confined
to the nearest tones, and obliged to renounce the enharmonical changes
which are the _haut goût_ of modern harmony. And yet by this deviation
from nature, it seems to me that music is alone elevated to a real
Science, while all other arts, must be content to copy Nature, and even
when they would idealise, still imitate nature in all individualities.
The songs of these Nature-singers have a great deal of originality, and
when I have learned to understand better the dialect of these parts,
which has much resemblance to the Allemanic, I will endeavour to note
down some of them.

  June, 4.

Yesterday we returned from the first more distant excursion which
the fine weather tempted us to undertake, and enjoyed ourselves
exceedingly. We went to Kandersteg, a small village high up in the
mountains, distant from here between seven or eight leagues. I had
hired for this purpose our host’s one horse “Rietwägeli” and drove
myself. The map was again our guide. Our road lay at first along
the right bank of the lake of Thun as far as Spiez. Behind Gwatt we
crossed the Kander over a wooden bridge, which in a single arch of most
ingenious construction spans high and boldly the broad and rushing
stream. About a hundred years ago the course of the Kander was turned
into the lake, by which means the beautiful valley from Glutsch to
Thierachern which lay waste and uncultivated every spring owing to
the inundations, was converted into fine meadows and fruitful fields.
But this must have been a giant-labour, for it was found necessary
to pierce a high mountain for the purpose. From the centre of the
bridge one looks down from a dizzy height upon the foaming Kander in
its passage over the rocks, and at the same time upon the lowering
banks on either side. From Spiez the road turns to the right round the
majestic Riesen, and leads through a fruitful and highly cultivated
valley to Frutigen, a cheerful little place. Here a second valley
opens, out of which the Kander issues. In this gloomy, fearful rocky
vale, which is frequently scarce broad enough for the bed of the river
and the road, the ascent now begins. On both sides, rocks of stupendous
height, and which in many places hang so much over the road as to make
it quite dark, and fearful to behold. Added to that, the roar of the
onward rolling Kander over its rocky bed, and the numerous waterfalls
which on both sides of the glen precipitate themselves frequently
from a height of more than a hundred feet. As we by degrees ascended
higher with every step, we receded as it were more and more back into
the season of Spring. The cherry trees, which at Thierachern had
already bloomed a month ago, were here only in their first bloom. But
higher, all fruit trees ceased, and after we had crossed the last steep
mountain of the Kandersteg we saw nothing but a few thinly scattered
fir trees. The village, consisting of small wooden huts, unsurrounded
by gardens and trees, lying wide apart from each other between masses
of rock, presents a cheerless aspect. The snow which lies here for nine
weary months, was scarcely melted, and the meadows upon which lean
looking cattle sought a scanty fodder, still wore the sickly yellow hue
of the winter season. Upon all the lofty peaks which tower on either
side of the valley of Kandersteg, lay still a deep mantle of snow, from
which innumerable small rivulets had their rise, and leaped foaming
down. From this part, the road still ascends for three leagues more to
Gemmi, and then descends precipitously to the Leuker Baths, whose hot
springs are greatly frequented in the autumn. As the made road ceases
at Kandersteg, the visitors to the Baths, who are bad pedestrians, are
obliged to be carried on there by bearers, or upon mules, and with
this arduous occupation the majority of the inhabitants of the little
village eke out a scanty subsistance.

We slept at Kandersteg, and returned on the following day. It was an
agreable feeling to return by degrees as it were from winter once more
into the spring and summer.

  July, 1.

A few days ago I sent five new works to Herr _Peters_ at Leipsic to
be engraved. They were two collections of Songs, three Duetts for two
Violins, the seventh Violin Concerto and a grand Polonaise for Violin
and Orchestra, work 37-41. The Duetts and one of the Songs are new;
the other Songs which I wrote the previous summer at Carolath, I have
partly rewritten and newly instrumentated the Polonaise.

After mature consideration we have resolved to make the journey to
Italy without our carriage, as one travels there more economically and
safely by Vetturino. The chief reason for this decision was the fear
that the renewed exertion upon the instrument which so much affects the
nerves might again shake the health of my good _Dorette_, and embitter
both for her and us the long anticipated enjoyment of the delightful
journey. As therefore we were going to leave the harp and a part of our
luggage behind with our host, until our return, we should not require
the carriage, and save at the same time the long circuitous route by
the highroad to the lake of Geneva, and through the whole length of the
valley of the Valais. That _Dorette_ however, as artiste, should not
wholly sink into inactivity, I shall write several things in part anew,
for Violin and Pianoforte, and re-arrange some from former things,
which we can then play both in private circles and in public in Italy,
where it is even said there is great difficulty in meeting with a good
Quartett accompaniment. In the way of preparation for our next winter
journey, I may also mention an improvement I have made upon my newly
acquired violin. By a variety of experiments with voice and bridge, I
have at length so far succeeded as to make it speak as softly with the
Quinte which was hitherto hard and brittle, as with the other strings.
The change in the instrument has not been without effect on the style
of the new Violin-compositions, as also upon my method of execution!
So certain it is, that, the instrument exercises an influence upon the
method of the player in the same manner as does the voice upon that
of the singer. As one endeavours to conceal the weak points of
the instrument, and to bring out its good qualities, one plays more
especially what the instruments renders with the most ease, and in this
manner the whole method of play becomes by degrees subordinate and
appropriate to the peculiarity of the instrument. One may therefore not
only recognise the peculiarities of a Virtuoso by his compositions, but
those also of his instrument.

  August, 1.

We have again made some farther excursions in the neighbourhood.
First of all, a fortnight ago we went to Bern, to repay the solicited
visit to Professor _Jahn_, who accompained by his wife and _Edward_
had several times visited us. We passed a most delightful day with
our Bernese friends. For the last month we had been in hopes of
settled weather, in order to make an excursion on the lake; but with
the wet-cold weather of this summer we have as yet not had three
wholly bright days in succession. At length it appeared as though
it would be finer! The mountains, which for a long time we had not
seen wholly unshrouded, stood out on Friday evening in all their
majestic distinctness. On Saturday the horizon remained quite clear.
As the height of the barometer now also indicated settled fair
weather, we resolved to set out on our journey early the following
morning. On our awaking, a bright clear sky filled us with the most
agreable expectations, and we got into our Rietwägeli amid the
joyous exclamations of the children. At Thun I hired an extra-boat
which carried us over the whole length of the lake. This voyage in
the beautiful calm Sabbath morning gave us the most inexpressible
delight. The sail so over the green, clear bosom of the lake, and
along its banks clothed in the richest verdure, the majestic chain
of the Alps in the back ground, whose snow covered peaks mirrored
themselves in trembling outlines in the fathomless depth of the lake,
the solemn tolling of the bells calling to Divine worship, every thing
was entrancing, and inspired as with a sense of the purest joy. At
Neuhaus, where we landed after a three hour’s sail, we were pounced
upon immediately by one of the drivers of the carriages plying there
for hire. We permitted him drive us to Lauterbrunn. The road leads
through the little, poverty stricken town of Untersee, round the base
of a projecting mountain into a deep valley, resembling that from
Frutigen to Kandersteg, but not quite so wild and barren. Almost at
the extremity of this valley, after it has gradually become somewhat
higher, lies Lauterbrunn. As soon as we had turned the base of the
last projecting wall of rock, the Staubach lay before us in all its
grandeur. The water precipitates itself down from an immense height
upon a perpendicular wall of rock, and scatters itself so completely
into a vapoury spray, that one would almost imagine it a cloud of
the finest dust rather than water. Every thing around this wonder of
nature is worthy of it. In the back ground of the valley, barriers of
rock, over which also, leap numerous small streams of water; above
them a glacier of a greenish hue, and near that, stretching far away,
the Wengern Alps, above which the Jungfrau towering majestically over
all. Upon our arrival, we were so fortunate as to be still enabled to
behold the whole grandeur of this sublime scene under favour of the
most beautiful weather. But shortly afterwards, to our regret, the sky
became obscured, and while we were taking dinner at the inn, hail and
rain poured down in torrents. Towards evening it again cleared up a
little. We hastened therefore to take a walk through the village in the
direction of the waterfall, but found that our previous point of view
from the side, was far more favorable than close in front of it. We
were exceedingly annoyed by the pertinaceous solicitations of beggars
on every kind of plea. One offered small pieces of quartz or minerals,
and another cristals for sale. Two grown up maidens had posted
themselves on the road and howled a Duett, for which they expected to
be remunerated. We were however soon driven back into the inn by the
recommencing rain, from the windows of which we enjoyed a third view of
the waterfall from another aspect.

  August, 12.

We are just returned from Freiburg, where we went to hear the Swiss
Musical festival. Herr _Nägeli_, the President of the Swiss Society
of Music, had in Zurich previously invited me to it, and offered
me its direction, which I willingly accepted. But he had not then
bethought him that the statutes of the Society expressly forbid that
a foreign and non-member of the Union should direct the concerts.
We received therefore from the Director of the Society (who here in
Switzerland is not the same who directs the music, but he who conducts
the correspondance, provides the locale, superintends the erection of
the orchestral platform and the printing of the tickets of admission)
a friendly invitation it is true, to be present at the Festival, but
not a word was said about the direction of the orchestra. Instead of
that, he begged me to assist with the violin. But as I had always
replied both by word of mouth and writing in the affirmative, whenever
questioned whether I would direct the Musical Festival this year,
and that this had been more widely circulated, I could not now well
undertake a subordinate _rôle_ at the Festival. I therefore excused
myself from assisting at it, but wrote to say that we would attend the
Festival as hearers. On the 6^{th}, with clear favourable weather we
drove to Freiburg in our Rietwägeli. Upon our arrival, although I had
declined to assist at the Festival, we were lodged in a private house
just the same as the members of the society, and found there tickets
for admission to all the rehearsals and performances as also to a
dress ball, with text books of the “Schöpfung” (Creation) in French
and German, and for myself also an invitation to the sittings of the
Society.... As the weather was very fine, we resolved upon a walk with
the children to the celebrated Hermitage, three miles distant from
Freiburg, situated in a narrow wild rocky valley on the banks of the
Saane. This was the habitation of a pious Recluse who many years ago
had hewn it in the sandstone rock in this secluded part of the country.
It now consists, after having been enlarged by his son and successor,
of a Chapel with a bell tower 86 feet in height, hewn out of the rock,
five or six rooms, a kitchen with a chimney of the same height as the
tower, and several passages of intercommunication. The whole of this
space, the architectural proportions of which are very pleasing, is
gained by boring and excavating the gigantic perpendicular rock, and
has no where not even in the window spaces any supports of masonry. One
is filled with wonder not only at the immense patience and perseverance
of the two architects, but with admiration also at their skill and
sentiment for beauty of proportion.

The chapel is still very prettily decorated, and the bells in the tower
are still sometimes rung to summon the pious of the neighbourhood
to mass. The remaining apartments were taken possession of by a
peasant-family after the death of the last Recluse and therein they
possess a commodious and healthy dwelling at all seasons of the year.

We dined at an inn in the immediate neighbourhood and returned to
Freiburg in the evening. There we were informed, that during our
absence a deputation of the Musical Society had called at our house, to
announce to me, that on the following morning at their second sitting,
I was to be nominated honorary member. At the same time, the gentlemen
had again begged that I would lead with the violin. I was very glad
that my absence had exonerated me of the unpleasant obligation to give
a refusal. In order not to be taken by storm, I slipped secretly into
the Church and concealed behind a pillar, listened to the rehearsal. It
went very badly, and I was therefore very pleased that I was not of the
party. After the first part was over, I was obliged to retire in order
not to be seen.

When I appeared the next morning at the sitting, I was received with
applause. The President announced to me, that the members present had
unanimously elected me honorary member of the Society, adding thereto
many things very flattering to me and made honourable allusion to our
musical Festival at Frankenhausen. I returned thanks to him and the
Society in a few words, and then seated myself in the place assigned
to me. They were then engaged in the choice of a President and of the
other Officials for the next year, and after some debates nominated
Zurich as the place of meeting for the next assembly.

At three o’clock in the afternoon the performance of the “Creation”
took place. The locale was exceedingly favourable for music, and the
orchestra very well placed, but unfortunately, on the opposite side
to the Organ, so that of this no use could be made. The assistant
_personnel_, which on former occasions was at least estimated at three
hundred and fifty persons, amounted this time scarcely to two hundred,
and as the larger half formed the chorus, the orchestra was relatively
to the strength of the chorus much too weak, so that it was frequently
not heard at all. As it was also very bad besides, the Chaos, and the
accompanied Recitative in particular, went awfully bad. The Violinists
intonated unbearably false, and the wind instrumentalists, particularly
the Hornists, and trumpets, brought out tones sometimes which excited
general laughter. _Tollmann_ directed with firmness and foresight, but
unhappily took several _tempi_ totally false, almost all the airs too
slow and the chorus too fast. His greatest mistake was in the chorus
after the Chaos: “Und der Geist Gottes etc.” (And the spirit of the
Lord etc.) which he gave just like an _Allegro_. The chorus had been
well practised and sang powerfully and purely. It consisted chiefly
of German singers. Among the Solo-singers there were however two from
French Switzerland who sang in their mother tongue which sounded droll
enough, particularly in the Duett between Adam and Eve in which the
latter replied in French to the tender breathings of her German Adam.
To the auditors at Freiburg this appeared however in no wise strange,
as their town forms, the frontier boundary of both languages, and on
one side of the Saane they preach in French, on the other in German.
Hence all the inhabitants understand and speak both languages.--The
part of Eve was sung by Madame _Segni_ from Lausanne, who has a very
fine voice, but unhappily also for a German ear, an unbearable style
of execution. Among the German singers were also good voices. The
assembled public applauded the music in a very lukewarm manner, and
there was not a spark of the enthusiasm that inspired us so much in

On the 9^{th}, the rehearsal for the Concert took place. As it had
been previously the intention to give it in a smaller saloon, but it
was found insufficient for the accommodation of the audience present,
there was a want of written voices for the whole of the orchestra. It
was therefore much less numerously appointed than the day before, and
its want of purety, and stupidity were still more obvious to the ear.
But how could it be otherwise with an Orchestra composed wholly of
dilettanti and particularly of _Swiss dilettanti_? The easiest passages
were obliged to be repeated from six to eight times before they went
even tolerably. I was astonished all along with the indefatigable
patience of the worthy _Tollmann_, but who nevertheless, it must be
confessed, was born with every qualification for the Director of an
Orchestra of Swiss dilettanti.--At three o’clock this remarkable
concert began at once in an ear-rending manner with the Overture to
_Gluck’s_ “Iphigenia.” The trumpets were pitched a quarter of a tone
too high, and notwithstanding the weakness of the orchestra were blown
with the utmost strength of lungs. Had the Overture only lasted a
little longer the greater part of the auditory would now already have
run out of the church. Then followed a long succession of dilettanti,
partly Singers, partly Instrumentalists with their Solo-pieces.
Some of them were very good, for instance a gentleman from Iverdun
distinguished himself by the ease and good taste with which he
executed a Harp-concerto by _Bochsa_. Madame _Segni_ also, the “Eve” of
the day before, sang this time in Italian and right well. A gentleman,
whose name is as little known to me as those of the other performers,
for no programme was distributed, played variations upon a clarinet, in
tone and form similar to the Basset-horn, with much skill and beauty of
tone. In the second part of the Concert, which we did not stop to hear,
for we were now satiated to nausea, we were informed that a Clergyman
of Lucern and the worthy _Tollmann_ executed a Violin-Rondo in a very
effective manner. We regretted that we were not aware that the latter
was going to play, otherwise we would have remained to the end. Such
were the productions of the Swiss Society of Music so highly spoken of
in Germany. Director _Conradin Kreutzer_ of Stuttgard and his wife, a
native of Zürich, whose acquaintance we made here, sat near us during
the performances, and we were pleased to be enabled to interchange our
opinions upon what we heard. But we were obliged to keep a constant
guard upon our looks and gestures, fore we were continually watched by
those sitting round us, who sought to read in our faces the impression
their music made upon us. When we were asked also for our opinion,
which was not unfrequently, and always with a sentiment of national
pride, we carefully kept in the mean between truth and flattery, and by
that means successfully extricated ourselves without giving offence.

_Kreutzer_ told me in confidence that, he would not return to Stuttgard
because the despotism there had become thoroughly insufferable.[21]
My former Viennese acquaintance _Romberg_ and _Kraft_ were just in
the same position; they also longed to get away and made application
for other appointments.--We passed the greater part of the time while
at Freiburg in the society of _Kreutzer_ and his wife. We dined and
supped together, and during the continuous fine weather made frequent
promenades into the charming surrounding country. It is true the
Society had a place of meeting at the “Schützenhouse”, where most of
the members dined; but as women were not admitted, because there were
several unmarried Clergymen in the society, we did not pay a single
visit to that place. But I heard that there was a total absence of
that sociability and cheerfulness which gave such a zest to our meals
at Frankenhausen.--The ball which took place in the same locality,
had neither any attraction for us, as none of us danced. We sat
therefore meanwhile, in confidential discourse at the tea-table, and
amused ourselves with the relation of past incidents of our lives
and experience. _Kreutzer_ in reality had come with the sole view to
give a concert upon his own account at the conclusion of the musical
festival, as he had been told in Zurich that this year the Society
would only give one performance. He seemed to think that I had the same
intention, for he proposed that we should make common cause and give
one together. But I had never thought of giving a concert here, and had
not even brought my violin. His concert however never took place, for
the Society gave a second, and thus we had no opportunity of hearing
the play and compositions of this famous artist.

[21] _Mozart_ has recorded his hatred of the “insolent Aristocracies
of Germany” towards whom _Haydn_ demeaned himself with more courtly
subserviency than became the great Master of Sound.

On the 10. early in the morning we left Freiburg, spent the afternoon
and evening very pleasantly in Bern in the society of _Edward_ and
_Jahn_, and returned here at 11 in the forenoon.

       *       *       *       *       *

Journey to Milan.

In _Edward’s_ company, who was desirous to avail himself of his
vacation to make a little excursion into North-Italy, we set out upon
our journey on Sunday the 2^d September. At one o’clock we arrived at
Kandersteg, where I immediately hired four horses with as many guides,
to carry us over the Gemmi. On three of them, rode _Dorette_, _Emilie_
and _Ida_, the fourth carried our luggage. _Edward_ and I preferred to
do it on foot. Three quarters of a league on this side of Kandersteg,
the ascent begins and continues tolerably steep for a good 2-1/2
leagues. The road then leads round the Gemmihorn for some distance upon
a level, till at a distance of 3/4 of a league from Schwaribach it
ascends again.--The weather had up till now been very favorable; but
here a hail storm over took us which soon changed to rain and wetted us
completely through. As it was already tolerably late besides, and we
had still the greatest and most difficult part of the way before us,
the guides easily persuaded us to put up for the night in Schwaribach.
The inn here is a mere rude blockhouse, and has nothing in common with
the hotels in the Swiss vallies, that one should be made to pay here
equally their exorbitant overcharges. But as one of the two habitable
rooms was wholly given up to us, and that besides a bundle of clean
straw for us men, we found there a large bed for _Dorette_ and the
children, we passed the night nevertheless in tolerable comfort. We
could certainly not help feeling a shudder of horror when we called to
mind previous to going to sleep, that the midnight murder in _Werner’s_
“Twenty fourth of February” was enacted here.[22]

[22] At this inn in 1807, two Italians murdered the daughter of the
Innkeeper, and this circumstance suggested to _Zach. Werner_ the
Tragedy adverted to.

During the night, snow had fallen, and it was bitter cold upon our
setting out next morning. I therefore sent back three of the horses,
and let _Dorette_ and the children walk also, more especially as the
descent to the Leuker Bad cannot be made on horseback. At Schwaribach
all vegetation ceases, and even the beautiful Alpine rose is not to be
found. The road has again a very steep ascent as far as the Daubensee
(then half covered with ice) along which it runs for the distance of
half a league through a barren valley, in which seemed to reign the
stillness of the grave; to the last ascent, which as it leads through
snow and icefields was the most toilsome ascent of all. Arrived at the
top, to our disappointment we were favoured with one look alone into
the abyss opening beneath us; for in a few minutes we were envelloped
in a mist, which scarcely permitted us to see a few paces before us. We
were now compelled to follow blindly the pack-horse and its guide, and
to keep quite close together. The road led precipitously down between
fissures in the rocks and sometimes even between perpendicular walls of
rock in which a small path had been cleared by blasting. At the part
where it runs, the horse’s neck projects over the abyss, and the guide
is obliged to hold him up by a rope secured to the load on his back, or
even by holding on to his tail with all his might. At this place the
view down into the depth which had been concealed from us by the thick
fog, makes the head so giddy, that many invalids who wish to go to the
Leuker Bad have not the courage to make the descent, and prefer, after
having had the object of their journey under their very eyes, to take
the immensely circuitous route of nearly twenty leagues by way of Bern,
Freiburg, Lausanne and through the Valais.

After we had continued descending for more than an hour without
finding any other vegetation than here and there a violet blooming in
the clefts of the rocks, we came suddenly to a region where the mist
ceased, and we were now favoured with a most unexpected and charming
view far away down upon the Leuker Bad beneath us. At this place we
rested ourselves for a moment, to recover a little from the highly
fatiguing exertions of the steep descent. But it required many such
resting places before we reached the bath, at 11 o’clock. The children
only, were not fatigued, and were always in advance of us.

While we refreshed ourselves in the large and well appointed inn, I
sent for fresh horses, and at 2 o’clock in the afternoon, animated with
new spirits we continued our journey, _Edward_ and I on foot, _Dorette_
and the children on horseback. Previous to leaving, we inspected the
sulphur-spring which rises out of the earth at boiling heat, in front
of the inn.

At Leuk it was not possible to procure any vehicle for the farther
journey. We were therefore obliged to pass the night in the miserable
inn to which our guides brought us. On Friday the 4^{th}, at an early
hour in the morning, we continued our journey to Brieg in two one-horse
vehicles, and arrived there at noon. The valley of the Valais is very
narrow and little cultivated. We saw numerous marshy meadows, and but
few maize and potatoe fields. At Brieg commences _Napoleon’s_ famed
Simplon-road, a gigantic work, which cannot be enough admired. We
here hired a two-horse vehicle to take us to Domo d’Ossola. The road
is so ingeniously carried in and out of the mountain ravines, that it
never rises more than five inches in six feet, so that heavy loaded
waggons can descend without using the drag-shoe. Especially remarkable
are several colossal bridges, which are thrown across deep glens and
clefts in the rocks, and those parts of the road which have been bored
through the rocks by blasting, and resemble subterraneous galleries.
One of these is so long, that it is but imperfectly lighted by the
light admitted on both sides. At the distance of every league, one
finds a house to afford shelter on the sudden coming on of stormy
weather. In the third of these houses is the post-house, the sixth
the custom-house, where we were obliged to pay a few laubthaler for
roadway duty. Considerable as this tax is, it is still insufficient to
keep the road in good repair, and it is greatly feared that it will by
degrees fall into ruin. Nevertheless what one hears of this decay in
foreign countries is without foundation, for with the exception of some
of the barriers which had been carried away by avalanches and not yet
reconstructed, we found it in good condition. Upon the highest part of
it, the construction of a gigantic house has been begun, in which if it
were finished, a corps of 4000 troops would be able to pass the night.
But since the fall of _Napoleon_, its construction has been stayed, and
it will now soon fall into decay. The Simplon pass is certainly not so
high as that over the Gemmi, but here also all vegetation ceases, and
even in the village of Simpeln where we slept, we found it very wintery.

Wednesday the 5^{th}, September 1816, was the happy day on which the
realisation of the wish of my early childhood, to behold the land
“where the citrons bloom” was at length to be fulfilled. After we had
travelled for two leagues more in continual descent, we came to the
frontier of Lombardy and soon found ourselves transported into the
midst of the South. Now we beheld woods of the sweet chesnut, and in
gardens, figs, almonds and magnificent festoons of the vine, trained
from one tree to another, and pendant with masses of the finest grapes.
At every step as we descended, the warmth increased; at first agreably,
but, soon quite oppressively. At noon we arrived at Domo d’Ossola,
a small but pretty town. Here in the Hotel of the _Capello verde_
we were for the first time imposed upon in real Italian style, and
impressed with the necessity of the caution, to agree always before
hand with the hotelkeeper on the charges for the accommodation. After
dinner we travelled as far as Laveno, which lies close to the shore of
the beautiful Lago Maggiore, and opposite to its celebrated islands.
Here although we had agreed before hand on the charges for our nights
accommodation, we paid as we were afterwards informed too much by
half. On the 6^{th}, early in the morning, we visited the so oft-times
enthusiastially described Borromean islands, Isola Madre and Isola
bella. Like many others whose expectations have been unduly raised
by the too lavish praises of enthusiastic travellers of particular
localities, they did not come up with our too sanguine expectations.
We were most pleased with the Isola Madre, where for the first time
we beheld with admiration the vigorous vegetation of the South, in
the ancient and majestic laurel, citron, pomgranite and fig-trees,
with other shrubs and plants of southern growth. Though of necessity
these plants must here also, as with us be protected in winter, to
secure them from the frost, yet their growth is so much more vigorous,
and the fruits are much larger and more juicy than those of our
greenhouses. On Isola Bella, there is a large but as yet not wholly
finished palace, which contains some fine apartments, in which are
several fine pictures, but the building is already going to decay.
The remaining space on the island comprises the celebrated garden,
which rises in ten terraces from the shore of the lake. The inside is
supported by masonry which rises in progressively higher arches from
terrace to terrace. The plan of the garden is gigantic, but in a bad
old french style. The numerous wretched statues in the alleys and on
the steps of the terraces are particularly repulsive and offensive to
the eye. The terraces are ornamented with beds of flowers and numerous
yet more southern products, which in the winter time are put under
cover under the arches. All were in most beautiful flower, and diffused
unknown sweets around us. From the summit of the garden site, a most
charming view is obtained of the opposite side of the lake, towards
Palanza, Intra, Laveno, and the beautiful outline of mountains which
bound the sight. Far as the eye could reach, all was canopied by a sky
of the purest and deepest blue, and lit up with such a flood of sun
light that the most distant objects could be clearly distinguished.
This, and the mild balsamic air made us especially feel that we had
entered a southern climate. Before we left the Islands, the gardener
conducted us to an historical curiosity, to the name of _Napoleon_ cut
by himself in the bark of a laurel tree, shortly before the battle of

The same boat that brought us to the Islands, took us six leagues
farther to the little town of Sesto Calende, at the extremity of the
lake. On this excursion we again had many a fine view of the beautiful
banks of the lake. Belgirate, Arona, and the colossal statue of _St.
Carlo Borromeo_, were seen to great advantage. At Sesto Calende, we
already found the dirt and smell peculiar to Italian towns, and that
of an Oil-boilery, so offensive to a German palate. On the 7^{th}
we performed the last days journey to Milan in the vehicle of a
Milanese driver, through a flat and uninteresting country, and put up
at a _Pensione Suizzera_ which was recommended to us for its German

  _Milan_, Sept. 9.

The first of the remarkable things in Milan which we visited yesterday,
was the cathedral. This beautiful building upon which the labour of
nearly five centuries has been almost uninterruptedly devoted, and
which nevertheless is as yet unfinished, approaches most nearly in
style and architecture to the cathedral of Strasburg, but in form is
nevertheless very different from the latter. It is in the form of a
lengthened cross; at the place where the two lines meet, stands the
high-altar, and above that, the span of the majestic dome, upon which
the pretty tower in the form of a pyramid is built, the top of which
is surmounted by the colossal statue in bronze of the holy Virgin.
Innumerable other pierced gothic pyramids ornamented with niches and
statues rest in part upon the pillars of the external walls, and in
part on the marble-slabbed roof, increasing in height more and more
the nearer they approach to the tower. On the pinnacle of each stands
the statue of some Saint. The whole structure, from the ground to the
highest point, is of white, polished marble, quarried at Baveno on
the Lago Maggiore, and brought thither by the Ticino-Canal. During
_Napoleon’s_ rule, the work was prosecuted with great zeal and not
only was the _façade_ of the chief entrance completed (which had been
carried out only to the top of the door) but all the pyramids also,
upon the external walls. At first sight, and seen from below, the
building now seems finished; but upon ascending the roof, and the
tower, one sees how much yet remains to be done.

The pillars and niches are in the Gothic, the doors and windows in the
Roman style, and the statues are clothed after the Greek manner. All
the sculptured works, of which in small and large statues, in high- and
low-reliefs, in arabesques and other ornaments there are an immense
quantity in this splendid building are from the chisel of celebrated
masters, and it seems to me that, the modern works excel even the
ancient in beauty and correctness.

The Interior of the church is by reason of the painted windows somewhat
dark, but on that account and from the imposing grandeur and height, is
the more fitted to raise religious feelings. Among the numerous statues
in the interior of the cathedral, that of _Carlo Borromeo_ is the most
esteemed. Its great merit as a work of art is considered to lie in the
anatomical correctness displayed by the sculptor in the deliniation of
all the muscles, tendons, veins and prominent joints. From the gallery
of the tower one has an extensive view, bounded on the north by the
Swiss Alps, and on the south by the Apenines.

In the evening we went to the theatre _della Scala_, where was given
“_la statua di bronza_”, a _semiseria_-opera by _Soliva_, a young
composer and pupil of the conservatory here. Upon our entrance, we were
surprised at the size and beauty of the house. It is built after the
model of the _St. Carlo_-theatre at Naples, the largest in Italy, and
contains a spacious pit and six tiers of boxes one above the other, but
will not hold much over 3000 people, so much space having been wasted
in the manner of its distribution. The price of admission is the same
to every part of the house, viz, two _Lire di Milano_. The orchestra is
very numerous; four and twenty violins, eight counterbasses, the same
number of violincellos, all the customary wind instruments, trumpets,
bass-horn, turkish music etc. and yet with all, not numerous enough
for the size of the locale. The performance very much surpassed my
expectation; it was pure, vigorous, precise, and withall very calm.
Signor _Rolla_ an _artiste_ known also in foreign countries by his
compositions, directed as first violin. There is no other directing
whether at the piano, or from the desk with the baton, than his, but
merely a prompter with the score before him, who gives the text to the
singers, and if necessary, the time to the choruses. The composition
of the opera is more in the German than the Italian style, and one
could hear very plainly that the young artist had taken our German
composers, particularly _Mozart_, much more for his models, than his
own countrymen. The orchestral parts are not so subdued as is usual
in Italian operas, but are rendered in a very prominent manner, and
sometimes even so much so as to cloak the singing. It is therefore
astonishing that this opera has pleased so much, as this _genre_ is
never much liked. The well studied _pièces d’ensemble_ and the finale
have certainly not been the reasons for the success of the opera,
but a few little unimportant cantabili’s which were well executed by
the singers. These _alone_ also, were the points listened to with
attention. During the powerful overture, several very expressive
accompanied recitatives, and all the _pièces d’ensemble_, the audience
made so much noise that one could scarcely hear the music. In most
of the boxes, the occupants played at cards, and all over the house,
people conversed aloud. Nothing more insufferable can be imagined for
a stranger who is desirous to listen with attention, than this vile
noise. On the other hand, from such persons as have perhaps seen the
same opera thirty or forty times, and who come to the theatre only for
the sake of the society, no attention is to be expected, and it is a
great condescension if they only listen quietly to some “numbers”. At
the same time, I can imagine no task more ungrateful than to write for
such a public, and one is surprised that good composers will submit
to it. After the first act of the opera, a grand serious ballet was
given, which from the skill of several of the dancers male and female,
and the splendour of the decorations and costumes, presented a very
imposing dramatic spectacle. As it lasted nearly an hour, the auditory
had forgotten the first half of the opera. After the second act of the
opera, another, but a comic-ballet, not much shorter, was produced,
so that the whole of the performances lasted from eight o’clock to
midnight. What work for the poor musicians!

  September, 14.

Last evening we went to a concert, given by _Ferlendis_ of Venice, a
_Professore di Oboa_. His composition and play were alike pitiable.
It is impossible to imagine a worse Tone and a greater want of Taste
in the execution of the passages and of the cantabile, than this
Professor _di Oboa_ displayed. In Germany he would most certainly have
been hissed off; here of a necessity, he was applauded as a matter of
course by the Free-tickets. In the second part, _Luigi Beloli_ played
a Horn-Concerto of his own composition. This it is true did not exceed
the line of mediocrity, but the execution was very superior. _Beloni_
has a very beautiful tone, much skill and a cultivated taste. In order
that the horrid Oboe should not obliterate the last more pleasing
impression, we would not stop to hear the remainder of the concert.

  September, 16.

That the Italians are a very musical nation may be judged from
the fact that their beggars always solicit alms either singing or
playing. Here are parties of four or five such musicians, who play of
an evening in front of the Cafés, a by no means intolerable music,
usually accompanied by a finely dressed female vocalist, who afterwards
collects the money; sometimes they consist of three singers who with
guitar accompaniment execute Trios and short Canons very efficiently;
at others, blind fiddlers, flute players or singers who either without
accompaniment, or who accompany themselves on the tambourine, seek
their fortune singly; and even those who hawk things about for sale,
offer their wares singing. Yesterday we came upon a comical fellow of
this kind. He had manufactured for himself a remarkable instrument out
of a whip-handle, from one end of which to the other he had stretched
a single string. On the top, this cord was passed through a ball of
paste, from the aperture of which rose a large bouquet of artificial
flowers by way of ornament. In the right hand he carried a violin-bow,
with which he produced the single tone which his instrument was capable
of. The remarkable talent of this artist consisted there-in, that on
a constantly repeated melody, for the fundamental tone of which his
instrument furnished the Quinte, and which therefore never concluded in
the Tonica, but always in the dominant, he improvisated the politest
compliments to all who passed, or who sat before their doors; for
these, the persons flattered, seldom refused a gift of money, which
he collected in his hat, but without interrupting his song. In this
style of recitative singing, in which his instrument fulfilled the
duty of the orchestra, he would now praise the shape, now the dress
of the passers by, and one could see by the self-satisfied smiles and
generosity of the persons bepraised, that he well knew how to touch
them on the weak side.

This afternoon we went to another concert, given by the _Società del
Giardino_. The two Mesdames _Marcolini_ and _Fabré_ sang a duett of
_Rossini’s_. The former is celebrated throughout Italy as an contralto,
her voice is fine, and she has great execution; but she almost always
sings too low, by which in my opinion her singing was much injured.
Signora _Fabré_ is the _Prima donna_ of the great theatre whose high
notes are particularly fine, and her method of execution cultivated.
Although both singers stand equally high in regard to voice and skill,
yet here also the soprano bore away the palm from the contralto, just
as a bass-viol can never please by the side of a violin. In the second
part were sung also, a duett of _Paccini_, a Cavatina by _Bonfichi_,
and a _Rondo_ by _Paer_. All alike, the humorous or the serious, were
sung in the same manner and with the same ornamental trimmings which
have been heard a thousand times. The compositions were almost all
insipid and without intimate connection, and the singing frequently
disturbed or cloaked by meaningless figures of instrumentation.

  September, 17.

We have just seen the Mosaic-Manufactory here. The most important work
is a copy in mosaic of _Leonardo da Vinci’s_ “Last supper” on which
the artist has been uninterruptedly engaged for twelve years; it is of
the same size as the original, (the figures of the size of life). It
is divided into twelve pieces, each of which is about three ells in
length and of the same breadth. All the pieces are now finished, but
only some have as yet been polished, these (from the ceiling part only)
have a bright polish, those containing the figures were somewhat matt
in the colours, at least as compared to the good copy of the picture
from which it had been worked; but perhaps it will gain yet more life
when the polishing has been completed. _Bonaparte_ had given the order
for this work, which will now be finished at the expense of the Emperor
of Austria. As eight ducats a day are paid to the workmen, it already
costs in wages for labour 34,960 ducats. Besides this herculean labour
we saw several mosaics in the establishment, of exceeding beauty,
exhibited for sale.

  September, 17.

To-day we were present at the concert at the Conservatory of music, for
which Count _Saurau_ had presented us with tickets.

What I could ascertain respecting the interior administration of the
Conservatory is as follows: The Professors, of whom four teach singing,
one the violin, one the violincello, one counterbass, and some others
the wind instruments, are appointed by and receive their salaries from
the government, which pays also for the board and lodging of twelve
pupils, six boys and six girls. All the other pupils some of whom live
at the Conservatory, and some attend only at the hours of tuition,
are required to pay for every thing. The Milanese are said to be very
much opposed to the Institution; at the present time also, there are
scarcely thirty pupils.

  September, 22.

To-day I paid a momentary visit to a kind of Practising-Concert
where the dilettanti of this place, perform Symphonies under
_Rolla’s_ direction, and in particular of the German masters. The
string-instruments are chiefly played by dilettanti, the wind
instruments by players from the _della Scala_ theatre. When I arrived,
they had already given the old symphony in D major of _Mozart_,
and some overtures by Italian masters, and were just then engaged
practising one of the grand Symphonies of _Haydn_ (B major). It was
played with tolerable accuracy, but without _piano_ and _forte_,
and for the most part crude. Nevertheless, the Institution which is
moreover the only one of the kind in Italy, is a very praiseworthy one,
since it enables the lovers of music here to become acquainted with our
magnificent Instrumental-compositions. If I do not mistake, this weekly
Practice-Concert takes place in the house of Signor _Motto_, who is
said to have a fine collection of first class violins. But there are
a great many fine violins here. A Signor _Caroli_ has two very fine
Stradivari’s; _Rolla_ has one also of great beauty; a Count _Gozio de
Solence_ has in his numerous collection of fine violins among several
others by _Amati_, _Guarneri_ and _Guardagnini_, four Stradivari’s
also, which have never been played upon, and which although very old
look as though they had only just been made. Two of these violins are
the production of the last year of that artist, 1773, when he was an
old man of ninety three years of age. But it is immediately perceptible
on the violin that it was cut by the tremulous hands of an infirm old
man; the other two are however of the best days of the artist, from
1743 and 1744, and of great beauty. The tone is full and strong, but
still new and woody, and to become fine, they must be played upon for
ten years at least.

  September, 28.

Last evening we gave our concert in the _della Scala_ theatre. The
orchestra kept its usual place, but the female singers, and _Dorette_
and I, for our performances, took our places under the Proscenium,
between the curtain which remained down, and the orchestra. The house
although favourable for music, requires nevertheless on account of its
immense size, a very powerful tone, and a grand but simple style of
play. It is also very difficult _in a place_ where people are always
accustomed to hear voices only, to satisfy the ear with the tone of a
violin. This consideration, and the uncertainty whether my method of
play and my compositions would please the Italians, made me somewhat
nervous on this my first _début_ in a country where I was as yet
unknown; but as I soon observed after the first few bars, that my play
was listened to with attention, this fear soon left me, and I then
played without any embarrassment. I had also the satisfaction to see
that in the new concerto I had written in Switzerland, which was in the
form of a _Vocal-Scena_, I had very happily hit upon the taste of the
Italians, and that all the cantabile parts in particular were received
with great enthusiasm. Gratifying and encouraging as this noisy
approbation may be to the Solo-player, it is nevertheless exceedingly
annoying to the composer. By it, all connexion is completely disturbed,
the _tutti_ so industriously worked out, are wholly unheeded, and
people hear the Solo-player begin again in another tone without any
one knowing how the orchestra has modulated with it.--Besides the
Concerto, I played with _Dorette_ the new Pot-pourris for piano and
violin, and another with orchestral accompaniment. The latter, at the
general request, I was obliged to repeat. The orchestra, the same that
played in the opera, accompanied me with great attention and interest.
_Rolla_, in particular, took great pains. My overture to “Alruna” was
played at the beginning of the second part with great power it is
true, but not without fault. The orchestra is accustomed to too many
rehearsals, to be able to execute any thing free from fault after one
rehearsal only. Madame _Castiglioni_, a Contre-Altiste engaged as a
supplementary vocalist at the next carnival in Venice, sang an aria in
the second part, with a fine voice and a good school, and was rewarded
with a general applause. It had cost me infinite trouble to procure
these two song-pieces; for the singers of the great theatre some of
whom would have been very pleased to sing, could not get permission
from the Impressario, and all the other singers of note who lived here,
had already either signed engagements, or did not dare to appear at
the Scala. The Impressario at first demanded the fifth part of the
receipts for the grant of the theatre, but by the intercession of the
governor Count _Saurau_, this tax was remitted in my favour.

After the concert, I was solicited on all sides to give another; but as
next Friday, the only free day in each week, is the Emperor’s Name-day,
on which the governor gives a grand fête, and we have no desire to
prolong our stay another fortnight, I shall rather defer this second
concert till my return, and proceed forthwith to Venice. The first
concert moreover, has but little more than paid the expenses, which
amounted to fifty ducats.

A few days ago we visited the Picture Gallery in the Arena; the locale
is the finest we ever beheld. It consists of three large saloons, which
receive the light from above, of a long gallery, and two cabinets.
In the gallery are the pictures _al fresco_ collected from the
churches in Milan, from the walls of which they have been taken with
the plaster on which they were painted, and here let into the walls
again. Among them are some of high artistic worth, of which copies
and engravings have already been made. In the saloons, the paintings
are chronologically arranged, and the name of the master given under
each. In the first saloon are those of the earlier period, in the
middle are those of the later, and in the third those of the modern
school. Yet as far as I know there are no works of any living artists
hung up. In the Cabinets, the smaller paintings are exhibited. The
most precious of all, a _Raphael_, which although of his earlier days
when he still painted in the style of his master, is nevertheless of
infinite beauty. It is the betrothal of the Holy Virgin with _Joseph_.
In the centre stands the Rabbi who in a grave and dignified posture
pronounces his blessing; on his left is _Joseph_, a manly figure with
dark hair and beard, placing with a kindly expression the ring upon
the finger of the Virgin, who upon the right, softly blushes in all
the graceful sweetness of maiden modesty. Among the other figures, a
youth is also conspicuous, who breaks a stick against his knee. Artists
admire greatly the foreshortening of the inclined posture. At first
sight the sharp outline of the figures strikes one as unpleasing; but
after one has become somewhat used to it by a longer contemplation,
one is irresistibly fascinated with the elevated expression both of
countenance and position. In this as in all _Raphael’s_ pictures the
hands and feet are of exceeding beauty.

  _Venice_, October, 5.

On Monday the 30^{th} September we set out upon our journey thither in
company with two amiable Polish Counts, whose acquaintance we had made
in Milan, and of a painter who had just returned from a tour in Sicily.
For myself and family I had hired a Vetturino as far as Padua, for
seven louisd’or, for which price it was also agreed he was to pay for
our supper and beds....

The road to Brescia presents very little variety. Brescia is an
ancient town, in which there is very little worth seeing; but it is
situated in a charming locality on the slope of a mountain covered
with vineyards and countryhouses. We took a walk through the town, in
which we saw nothing remarkable except a vine that covered the fronts
of five houses up to their roofs, and was every where loaded with
clusters of the finest grapes. One of the Poles, Count _Zozymola_,
had meanwhile paid a visit to Signora _Mulonatti_, one of the most
celebrated Contre-Altistes of the day, whose acquaintance he had made
in Florence, where a few months previously she had sung. She is now
reposing from the fatigues of the last months in the society of her
_Cavaliere serrente_, a Count _Secchi_ who has a fine house in Brescia,
and a still finer estate in the neighbourhood. During the Carnival she
will again make her appearance here in Venice, at a salary of 10,000
francs and a benefit. Her admirer, a man of large fortune and extensive
knowledge has devoted his whole life to his _Donna_, while his two
elder brothers have greatly distinguished themselves as Generals in the
French Army. For the last ten years he has accompanied her every where
she has sung, manages her affairs, and devotes himself to all her
caprices. His sole somewhat earnest occupation is to write her memoirs
_i_, _e_, her triumphs over other singers, and her love adventures.
Once a year she furnishes him with the written data for the latter,
which are the originals of the love-letters received, and although
he is very jealous, she nevertheless prevails on the good natured
fool to copy those letters himself, and introduce them with their
respective explanations in her history. She has a husband as well, and
two children by him, of whom she is said to be very fond. This husband
plays a thoroughly pitiful part; he always keeps a certain distance,
and awaits every look and beck of his ruling mistress. Up to the
present time Count _Secchi_ has seen neither Rome nor Naples, because
his lady has not yet sung in those Cities, and she would not readily
grant him permission to go there without her.

Between Brescia and Verona, the road passes along the Lago de Garda,
whose beautiful wooded shores studded with country seats and enclosed
by mountains, present the most beautiful views, which richly repaid us
for the uniformity of the previous days journies. At the farthest end
of the lake and half in the water, lies Peschiera, a small mean-looking
town containing but few houses, but with extensive fortifications.
From thence to Verona, the road is again very uninteresting. Upon
our arrival, we learned that a female Pianiste and Harpiste of note
from Naples was to give a Concert in the theatre, and we proposed to
ourselves to go there. Through the slowness of the waiters who brought
our supper an hour later than we had ordered it, we were however
prevented going. We went nevertheless, at eleven o’clock at night by a
beautiful moonlight to see the Coliseum, of all the monuments of Roman
greatness, the one which is in the best state of preservation.... We
ascended to the topmost benches, which equal in height the loftiest
buildings of the town; from thence we had a splendid view over the
whole colossal structure. We pictured to ourselves the immense mass of
stone filled with the Romans of old--how they cheered the victors in
the Arena beneath,--and then lost ourselves in the contemplation of the
perishableness of all human greatness, and in comparisons between that
vigorous people of yore and the present inhabitants of this beautiful

On one side of the Oval, the prisons are still to be seen where the
malefactors were confined who were to be thrown to the wild beasts. The
arrangement is still existing also, by means of which in a few minutes
the circus could be laid under water for naval fights and boat races.
During the visit of the Austrian Emperor, the people were treated
with a resuscitation of the ancient horse and foot races. We had seen
something similar in Milan of which I had forgotten to speak.

_Napoleon_ has erected in the _Foro Buonoparte_, a Circus in the Roman
Style, whose exterior consists also of a wall having passages for
ascent; but the benches in the interior are of turf only. Of these
there are about twelve, but from 25- to 30,000 people find nevertheless
room sufficient. On one side of the breadth, stands a handsome building
with a fine colonnade looking into the interior, from which stone
benches run the whole breadth of the building down to the circus. In
this modern Arena, which can also be laid under water, the people were
treated at the time of the coronation of _Napoleon_, as king of Italy,
with a free admission to a _rechauffé_ of the ancient Roman games. A
third but smaller edition, on payment, took place the day before our

First of all, eighteen runners in Roman costume made their appearance,
who upon a signal from the trumpets ran forward in a seemingly
encumbered manner to the goal. The victor received a flag, from the
top of which was suspended a wreath of laurel. The two next best after
him, were also presented with tokens of triumph. Twelve horsemen
now advanced to compete in speed. Several fell from their horses at
the first start, and all of them rode so badly that they excited
nothing but laughter and compassion. After the winners had been again
rewarded, came the Chariot Race, which however presented both a new
and interesting sight. The six charioteers were mounted on small
two-wheeled Roman chariots such as one sees upon old coins, and on a
given signal to start, lashed their horses, of which there were two
to every chariot into a full gallop; at the extremity of the course,
one of them in turning fell twice, horses and all, but without taking
any harm. The others drove round the course three times, and the
victors were again presented with their rewards. Now commenced the
grand Triumphal-procession. From thirty to forty Hautboyists in the
_Roman_ costume with _Turkish_ music!--playing a March from the Opera
“John of Paris” opened the spectacle. Then came the Runners carrying
spears; and at length a large Roman triumphal chariot drawn by four
oxen, with the whole of the victors. The handsomely decorated oxen had
been harnessed in pairs in the Roman manner; but the poor animals had
not been accustomed to that sort of thing, and they would not move an
inch; so that it was at length found necessary to yoke them in the same
manner as they were used to, in their dung carts, and when this was
done they went off in style. Behind them came the unsuccessful riders
and charioteers who closed the procession.

The costume of all these people and animals was well chosen, and had
one not seen round the Circus the modern _beau monde_, with now and
then among the runners a three cornered hat, the wearer of which kept
order in the games, and, not have heard the Turkish music playing the
march from “Aline”, one might indeed for a moment have fancied, to see
beneath one the old Romans of yore. But these soldiers and hackney
carriage drivers were so sparing of their miserable horses, and at the
same time so clumsy, that they soon dissipated every deception.

On the 3^{rd} early in the morning we parted from our agreable fellow
travellers, who now proceeded on their farther journey by another road
through the Tyrol to Munich. We slept in Vicenza, a filthy dirty place.
Our windows looked out upon a lonely street, in which heaps of dirt
of the most disgusting kind infected the air in an unbearable manner.
But one meets with the same kind of thing here even in the largest
Cities, and in the most magnificent squares. If one ascends a retired
flight of steps, often of the finest marble, at the grandest palaces,
it behoves one to keep in the centre, to avoid contamination, and even
the Cathedral of Milan is unapproachable on many sides for the high
heaps of filth. This exceeding dirtiness, in which the Italians surpass
almost all other nations, prevails also in most of the apartments and
kitchens. I thought to myself that a Dutchman would go out of his
senses here!

On the 4^{th} at noon, we arrived at the ancient, unsightly Padua,
where we stopped till eight o’clock in the evening. We then continued
our journey by water in the Canal-Diligence. On getting into the bark,
deceived by the uncertain moonlight I missed my footing, and fell into
the water; but in my fall I fortunately caught hold of the gunwale of
the bark, and was immediately pulled on board again. With the exception
of the fright and the trouble of changing my clothes I experienced no
unpleasant consequences from this fall. The bark is very conveniently
fitted up for the accommodation of from twenty four to thirty persons,
and towed by a horse at full trot, goes very fast. The last half of the
Canal is thickly dotted on both sides with beautiful country seats and
gardens, which at this period are inhabited by the wealthy Venetians.
The Palace of the former Viceroy, in which the governor Count _Goes_
resides during the fine season, is particularly remarkable. We much
regretted passing this beautiful part of the country in the night, but
even by moonlight the view presented is magnificent. At five o’clock in
the morning, when all Venice was yet asleep, we arrived, and alighted
at the _Albergo della Scala_.

  _Venice_, October, 10.

Little as Venice upon the whole, has come up with my expectations,
yet I was the more surprised by the beauty of some parts of the city.
The Piazza San Marco, is particularly imposing. The thousand-year
old church of St. Mark, built in the oriental style, with its five
cupolas, its innumerable statues and magnificent mosaic-pictures
with their resplendent gold ground; the colossal Bell tower with
its pyramid which serves as a beacon to the mariner far away on the
Adriatic sea, the three grand buildings almost in the same style of
architecture which enclose the square upon three sides; the busy life
under the Arcades, the rich shops of the traders and the tastefully
decorated coffee-houses, in and in front of which from eight o’clock
in the morning till far into the night the fashionable idle world of
both sexes may be seen collected: the mingled vociferations of the
numerous vendors of refreshments, and of the criers who read aloud the
proclamations of the government, or announce the pieces to be performed
in the evening at the different Theatres--all these together form so
varied a picture, that a stranger finds subject therein for a whole
week’s entertainment.

If one then proceeds to the second square which abuts on the first
near the church, enclosed on the east side by the former palace of the
Doges, and on the west by the prolongation of one of the three large
buildings adverted to; a new spectacle quite different from the former
one presents itself. Before you, the harbour dotted with gondolas,
barks and trading ships of all sizes; on the left the quay bordered
with magnificent buildings and churches extending as far as the
_giardino publico_. Opposite, situated upon a small island, a monastery
in whose handsome church the last Pope was elected, and to the right on
the other side of the grand canal the church of _San Giorgia maggiore_
with its majestic dome, surrounded by other beautiful buildings. When
the eye has feasted itself on these objects, it is attracted by the
nearer surroundings; by the motley crowd of human beings upon the
high-arched stone bridges leading over the numerous canals which from
this spot intersect the City; by the loading and unloading of the
larger ships, the embarking of the fashionable and unfashionable world
in gondolas and barks for pleasure-excursions, or journeys of business;
by the singular forms of the fish and shell-fish exposed here for
sale, and the other numerous striking objects peculiar to a sea-port.
Having seen all this, one returns gladly to the square of St. Mark,
and there finds new subjects for admiration. Upon contemplating the
church more attentively, the four gigantic bronze horses over the chief
entry first attract the eye, less by their artistic worth, for they
are not of the finest proportions, than on account of their antiquity
and their various fortunes. Carried off by the Venetians on the taking
of Constantinople, they were placed as war-trophies over the chief
entrance of the church of St. Mark, and there remained undisturbed
until the French after the conquest of Italy took them to Paris. From
thence with all the other treasures of art carried from Italy, they
were again brought back after the capture of Paris by the allies, and
reinstated in their old place amid the exultations of all Venice.
Besides these horses, there are many other memorials of the triumphs
of the Venetians in the church of St. Mark. Statues, bas-reliefs,
arabesques, columns and capitals from Greece, Egypt and the Barbary
States, and it is subject of astonishment in this building, that,
though comprising so many objects executed in the most different styles
of Art, it presents nevertheless a whole of such harmonious beauty.
In front of the church, stand three lofty red painted masts, which on
Festival days are decorated with long silken streamers reaching to the
ground, and their cast bronze foot-sockets are ornamented with fine

On the second square, close to the water, stand two colossal pillars of
Egyptian granite, each pillar hewn in one single block. One supports a
winged lion in brass, which was also carried to Paris, the other, the
patron Saint, the holy Theodorus upon a crocodile.

The interior of the church of St. Mark, is not less beautiful than
the exterior. Walls, niches, and domes are entirely covered with
Mosaic-pictures, among which it is true some are of little artistic
worth; but in the most of them, the composition, drawing, and colouring
are very fine, and all have a pure gold ground which in spite of its
great age still shines as though it were new. Here, however, one
is soon surrounded by whole rows of mendicants, who plead hunger so
piteously and look so disgusting, that one is glad to make one’s escape
from them with the sacrifice of a few copper coins. In fact one cannot
pass through any part of the city at any time without being addressed
by beggars, and it is said as many as 25,000 here suffer from hunger.
At this period, it is true, the poor subsist very cheaply on cooked, or
rather roasted, pumpkins, which are sold at the corner of every street,
and of which a piece as big as the hand costs but a centisimo.

On leaving the Square, one finds but little to divert attention, for
in Venice people neither ride nor drive, the streets being so narrow
that frequently two persons cannot walk side by side. In the busiest
part of the city not far from the _Ponte Rialto_, the crowd is so great
that one has a difficulty to work one’s way through it. From the dirty
habits of the Italians, who throw every sort of refuse into the canals,
and from the pestilential smell of half-putrid fish and muscles,
together with the disagreeable effluvia from the workshops of most
of the artizans, it is very natural to suppose that in these narrow
streets, the whole year long, one cannot once breathe a pure air.

Here gondolas take the place of vehicles, and are to be had at a very
cheap rate. They all have an awning of black cloth, which gives them a
mournful appearance. At the time of the Republic such luxury prevailed
in the decoration of the gondolas, that the government found it
necessary to establish the present mode of covering. The gondoliers are
very expert in rowing and steering, and however great may be the throng
on the canals, they pass each other with great swiftness, without
coming in collision. When one hires two of them, the speed is equal to
that of a horse in full trot. As the houses have, besides the front
entry towards the water, a side door or exit upon the street, one can
go, it is true, everywhere by land; but on account of the bridges one
is obliged to make so many turnings, that one can get to the required
place as quickly again by water.

  October 12.

By the most beautiful weather we to-day enjoyed the singularly splendid
view from the tower of St. Mark, which is ascended very conveniently
by a spiral ascent without steps. The view is truly enchanting! On one
side one sees over the extensive mass of houses to the mainland, in the
distance the snow-covered mountains of the Friaul; on the other side
the harbour with its varied and busy life, the Islands covered with
handsome churches and buildings; and in the back-ground the open sea.
I do not remember having ever seen so beautiful a view from any tower,
not even from that of St. Michael’s at Hamburg.

At 4 o’clock we visited the church of the Foundling, where a mass was
being performed by the female foundlings. The orchestra and choir were
composed entirely of young girls; an old instructress of music gave
the time, another accompanied on the organ. There was more to be seen
than to be heard, for the composition and execution were execrable. The
girls playing the violin, flute, and horns, looked strange enough; the
contra-bassist was unfortunately not to be seen, being hidden behind
the trellis. There were some good voices among them, and one quite
remarkable, which sang up to _g_ on the fourth leger line (_g_^3); but
the style of singing of all was horrid.

We have made the acquaintance of several lovers of music, the two
Counts _Tomasini_, and Signors _Contin_, _Filigran_, and several others
whose names I do not know. The two former are assisting me greatly in
making arrangements for my Concert, and if at the present bad time of
the year for business, when every body of note is in the country, I
should have a tolerable Concert, I shall have them to thank for it.

To-day we had a visit from a German musician, Herr _Aiblinger_, from
Munich, and a pupil of _Winter_, who has been residing in Venice for
the last sixteen years. He is a pianist and composer, and seems to
possess much real taste for his art. At least he complained to us,
with a most piteous face, that in this country it was impossible for
him to keep pace with his German brothers in art, because he had
scarcely ever the good fortune to hear a German work of any note, and
that with his enthusiasm for music, his heart was fit to break; that
his circumstances bound him to a city where, for sixteen years, he
had heard every year the same things over again, while the Germans,
in the meantime, had witnessed the production of so many classic
works. I afterwards saw some of his productions, and it is much to be
regretted that he has been confined in this Siberia of art. In order
to give me an idea how little art and artists were esteemed, even
by gentlemen who wished to pass for Mæcenas’s, he related to me an
anecdote of what occurred to _Bärmann_ of Munich, who was here last
winter with Demoiselle _Harles_. Count _Herizo_, a very rich nobleman,
who, during the winter, gives a concert at his house every week, to
which he frequently invites as many as two hundred persons, besought
_Bärmann_, through a third party, to play at one of them. The latter
had himself already announced a public concert, and presuming that it
would be greatly to his disadvantage if he played elsewhere before, he
declined the invitation, but promised to play _after_ his own concert.
On the same day, however, Count _Herizo_ gave one of his customary
grand concerts in which “the Creation” was performed, I believe for the
first time in Venice; and _Bärmann_ had so thin an attendance, that to
cover the expenses of the concert he was obliged to add forty francs
from his own pocket. Nevertheless a week afterwards, Count _Herizo_
repeated his invitation to _Bärmann_, who now, however, demanded a
gratification of twelve Louisd’or. After much debate this was at
length agreed to. But _Bärmann_ shortly after was apprised that it was
intended to play off a hoax upon him. To avoid this he wrote anew to
decline the invitation, and went on a pleasure excursion with _Harles_
to the mainland. Upon his return, a friend of Count _Herizo’s_ came to
inquire of him the reason why he would not play, and on being told,
he assured him upon his honour that nothing of the kind was intended,
and that _Bärmann_ had not the least to fear; upon which the latter
gave his promise to appear at the next concert. He was very politely
received by Count _Herizo_, and the music began. After the space of an
hour, when six pieces had been performed, _Bärmann_ was curious to know
when his turn would come; he therefore asked the loan of a programme
from his neighbour, and found at the end of the whole of the pieces of
music, which at least would last two hours more, the following words:
“If time will permit, Herr _Bärmann_ will also perform a concerto on
the clarinet.” His rage may be imagined. Count _Herizo_ is reported
then to have said to him at the end of the concert, in a loud tone of
voice: “We have no time to hear you this evening, but we shall perhaps
another time!” and in this manner he was cheated of his pecuniary
gratification. _Bärmann_ immediately slunk out, but in so doing was so
unfortunate as to mistake the way, and instead of taking the passage
leading out upon the street, plumped right into the canal. Fortunately
the gondoliers plying near the spot came to his assistance, and soon
pulled him out. Half-perished with cold, and highly exasperated, he
returned home. Next morning he was summoned before the police by
Count _Herizo_. The director of police, after the matter had been
explained to him by _Bärmann_, had nevertheless courage sufficient to
justify _Bärmann_, and to point out to Count _Herizo_ the rudeness of
his conduct. Under such circumstances, however, _Bärmann_ thought it
advisable to hasten his departure, especially as a suspicious-looking
fellow had been making inquiries about the hours of his going out of
evenings. Fräulein _Harles_, also, came badly off. In the first opera
she gave tolerable satisfaction, and fault was found only with her bad
accent; but on the first representation of the second opera, she was so
disconcerted, in her very first scene, by the loud talking, coughing,
and laughing of the audience, that she ran off the stage in the middle
of her aria, and fell down behind the scenes like one dead. She was
seized with an inflammation of the throat, and, during the whole
winter, was unable to sing any thing else but the speaking recitatives.
All _pièces d’ensemble_ and both finales were sung without her, and
yet, as she could find no substitute, she was obliged to appear before
the public every evening. The managers deserve praise, for they played
her no underhand tricks, but paid her according to the agreement made.

  October 15.

There are two kinds of dilettanti-concerts given here. One takes place
every fortnight at the _Fenice_ theatre, under the direction of Count
_Tomasini_. At the one at which I was present _Teresa Sessi_, who was
formerly engaged at Vienna, sang two airs, a duet, and a quartet, with
much applause, in her old style, which is neither better nor worse.
Besides her, a dilettante attracted the attention of the auditory
by singing several buffo things in the genuine Italian caricature
style. All the rest, particularly the composition and execution of the
ouvertures, was, as is usual in Italy, exceedingly bad.

The other is a sort of practice concerts, and takes place once a week,
under the direction of Signor _Contin_. With the exception of some of
the wind instruments and of the bass-viols, the orchestra is wholly
composed of dilettanti, and the pieces performed consist mostly of
symphonies and overtures by German masters. But a proper study of these
works is quite out of the question, and it is considered matter of
gratulation if they are got through without coming to a stillstand. On
the day I was present, a very old symphony of _Krommer’s_ was performed
first, which was followed by the one in E flat major by _Andrew

For the finale I was solicited to direct _Beethoven’s_ second symphony
in D major, which I could not refuse. But I had a rare job with the
orchestra, for they were accustomed to quite other _tempi_ than I took,
and seemed not at all to understand that there are shades of _forte_
and _piano_ in music, for all worked with bow and breath as hard and
incessantly as they could, and my ears rang the whole night with the
infernal noise. But these practice concerts are nevertheless so far
good that they afford the lovers of music in Venice the opportunity of
hearing several of our classical instrumental compositions, such as
the overtures to “Don Juan” and the “Zauberflöte,” which they had not
hitherto been acquainted with; and, though but imperfectly, they learn
to feel that the Germans are immensely superior to them in that kind of
composition. Indeed they say so themselves, but they do not thoroughly
believe it, and only acknowledge it, in order to be enabled to boast
with more freedom of their superiority in song and vocal compositions
(!!). The self-satisfaction of the Italians, despite their poverty of
fancy is in fact unbearable; whenever I executed in their presence any
of my things, they thought they could pay me no higher compliment than
when they assured me they were quite Italian in taste and style.

  October 16.

To-day in the forenoon, in company with three Silesians, we went to the
ancient palace of the Doges. The so-called golden stair case was the
first thing that attracted our attention. It is outside the building
as far as the first floor, is of the finest marble, and ornamented
with colossal statues of beautiful proportions. Up to the second and
third stories it is in the interior of the building, and there is
richly decorated on the sides with marble bas-reliefs, on the ceiling
with gilt mouldings and small fresco-paintings, and with very fine
statues in the niches. We then saw an extensive suite of salons and
apartments, which were truly grand in decoration, the walls and the
ceilings are painted in oil by the best masters, and here and there
at intervals are the richest and most beautiful sculptured ornaments
I ever beheld. The subjects of these pictures are almost exclusively
incidents in the history of Venice; Doges returning thanks to the Holy
Virgin for victories achieved, or the surrender of the keys of some
one of the fortresses besieged by the Venetians, etc. etc. Despite
the want of good taste in the bringing together, in these paintings,
of heavenly and earthly personages, the execution and grouping of
each, particularly in those by _Paul Veronese_, is exceedingly fine.
Altogether in my opinion, there is no kind of decoration so befitting
and worthy of a princely palace as this, in which the deeds of the
nation are immortalized at the same time with the name of the most
skilful national artist. In the present day how little feeling exists
for this kind of patriotism! Where up to the present day is there to
be seen any painting illustrating the modern deeds of heroism of the
Germans, executed by the order of a Sovereign? And yet how greatly
the artists of the present day are in want of such encouragement and
support! And I am here speaking of painters and sculptors only; poets
and musicians ought also to have been invited to immortalize the deeds
of the German people.

We came at last to the great library, which contains also a perfect
treasure of paintings and antique statues. From the gallery of this
hall one has a charming view of the harbour.--In order to be enabled
to make a comparison between the style of decorating palaces in
former time with the modern method, we visited the apartments in the
government building fitted up by order of the former Viceroy. We
found them pretty and convenient, it is true; but what a difference
between the earnest splendour of that ancient palace and the tasteless
ornamentation of the new! Instead of the marble bas-reliefs and the
rich gilt mouldings and ornaments of the latter, here we found slovenly
painted arabesques by the hands of unknown daubers, and the walls hung
with silk tapestry or figured paper instead of the pictures of famous

  October 17.

Yesterday _Paganini_ returned here again from Trieste, and therefore,
as it would appear, has at once abandoned his project of going to
Vienna. He called on me this morning, and so I have at length made
the personal acquaintance of this wonderful man, of whom since I
have been in Italy I have heard some story or other every day. No
instrumentalist ever charmed the Italians so much as he, and although
they are not very fond of instrumental concerts, yet he gave more than
a dozen concerts in Milan and five here. On making nearer enquiry, what
it is that he in reality fascinates his auditory with, one hears from
the non-musical portion the most exaggerated encomiums--that he is a
complete wizard, and brings tones from his violin which were never
heard before from that instrument. Connoisseurs, on the other hand,
say that it cannot be denied he certainly possesses a great dexterity
with the left hand, in double-chords and in passages of every kind, but
that the very thing by which he fascinates the crowd debases him to a
mere charlatan, and does not compensate for that in which he is utterly
wanting--a grand tone, a long bow-stroke, and a tasteful execution. But
that by which he captivates the Italian public and which has acquired
for him the name of the “Inimitable,” which is even placed under his
portraits, consists, on a nearer enquiry, in a succession of feats
which, in the dark times of good taste, the once so famous _Scheller_
performed in the small towns and some capitals of Germany, and which
at that time equally excited the admiration of our countrymen, viz,
in the flageolet tones; in variations upon one string, in which for
the purpose of imposing more upon the audience, he takes off the
other three strings of the violin; in a peculiar kind of _pizzicato_,
produced with the left hand without the help of the right or of the
bow; and in many tones quite unnatural to the violin, such as the
bassoon tone, the voice of an old woman, etc. etc.--As I never heard
the wonderful _Scheller_, whose saying was: “_One God! one Scheller!_”
I should much like to hear _Paganini_ play in his peculiar manner, and
the more so, because I presume that so admired an artist must possess
some more real merits than those adverted to.

The origin of his present skill as a virtuoso is said to have been a
four years incarceration, to which he was condemned, for strangling his
wife in a fit of violent rage. Such, at least, is the public report in
Milan and here also. As from a wholly neglected education he could
amuse himself neither with writing nor reading, he cheered the _ennui_
of the tedious hours of his existence in the invention and practise of
all the tricks of art with which he now astonishes all Italy. By his
disobliging and rude behaviour he has made enemies of several of the
lovers of music here, and they, after I have played any thing before
them at my lodgings, extol me upon every opportunity at _Paganini’s_
expense, in order to annoy him, which is not only very unjust, since
between two artists of such entirely different style no parallel can
be drawn; but is also disadvantageous to me, because it makes all
_Paganini’s_ admirers and partizans my enemies. His opponents have
inserted a letter in the journals, in which they say that my play
recalls to them the style of their veteran violinists, _Pugnani_ and
_Tartini_, whose grand and dignified manner of handling the violin has
become wholly lost in Italy, and had been compelled to make room for
the petty and childish manner of their virtuosi of the present day;
while the Germans and French had understood how to adapt that noble and
simple method of play to the taste of modern times. This letter, which
appeared in to-day’s paper without my knowledge, will certainly do me
rather harm than good with the public, for the Venetians are firmly
persuaded that it is impossible to come up to _Paganini_, much less to
surpass him.

  October 19.

Our concert took place yesterday, and was better attended than I had
expected, since all who have the means to go into the country, or who
are not tied to the city by very urgent business, are away, and of
all my letters of recommendation the only one I have been yet able to
deliver is the one to the governor Count _Goes_. Neither is it worth
the trouble, to bring letters of introduction to Italians, for they
are of no manner of use. A cold offer of their services, which they
do not intend to give, is all that one gets from them. But I must
return to the concert. It took place in the St. Luca theatre, which,
next to the Fenice, is the largest and handsomest in Venice. The
proprietor, Signor _Vendremi_, let me have it on the condition that
I should relinquish to him two-thirds of the sale of the boxes which
were not private property. There exists, namely, a curious custom in
Italy, which is, that certain boxes are sold to private individuals
for as long as the house stands, whereby the proprietor of the house
abandons all right to them. But these proprietors of boxes must pay
the price for admission at the entrance the same as everybody else.
This is the same for every part of the house, and always a very low
one; with the boxes which remain in the hands of the proprietor of the
theatre rare bargains are sometimes driven, and on the performance of
very attractive pieces they are frequently paid as high as several
carolini. Yesterday very little was taken for the boxes, so that signor
_Vendremi_ did not profit much. From the coldness of the public at
the commencement of my play, I immediately observed that there was
a prejudice against me; but by degrees it subsided, and towards the
close of the concert the applause was so unanimous, that I was twice
called for. All that I afterwards played now found a much more ready
reception, and the clapping of hands was as boisterous as in Milan.

To-day there has also appeared in the paper a very favorable report
upon yesterday’s concert, in which it says, in reference to the letter
adverted to, that it is unjust and partial to endeavour to praise one
style at the expense of another, and that there should be no monopoly
of any one genre in art: in which report, however, it also says of me,
among other things, “that I unite the Italian sweetness with all the
depth of study peculiar to our nation, and that I must be acknowledged
to take rank among the first of living violinists--encomiums therefore,
such as might content the vainest artist.”

  October 20.

_Paganini_ called upon me early this morning to compliment me upon the
concert. I very urgently solicited him to play something, and several
musical friends who were at my place united their entreaties to mine.
But he very bluntly refused, and excused himself on account of a fall,
the effects of which he still felt in the arms. Afterwards, when we
were alone, and I again besought him, he said, his style of play was
calculated for the great public only, and with them never failed in its
effect; and that if he was to play anything to me, he must play in a
_different_ manner, and for that he was at the moment by no means in
the humour; but that we should probably meet in Rome or Naples, and
then he would not put me off with a refusal. I shall therefore leave
this place in all probability without hearing the wonderful man.

This morning, on going out, we had the wholly unexpected pleasure of
meeting _Meyerbeer_ and all his family. He is now returned from a
tour through Sicily to meet his parents here, who have not seen him
for five years: he will then turn back through Florence and Rome to
Naples, to be present at the opening of the new theatre of _St. Carlo_.
It was a real enjoyment to me to be able once more to converse with a
well-educated German artist on subjects of art. His brother gave me
the gratifying information that my opera “Faust” had been performed
in Prague. On their journey through they were present at a rehearsal
of it. I now look forward with hope to more detailed information
respecting its representation.

At the theatre St. Moise we were present at the first performance
of the old opera “Don Papirio,” which had been studied with great
attention by the vocalists and the orchestra. The prima donna, Madame
_Marchesini_, already somewhat _passée_, distinguished herself greatly
on that evening by good execution and clever acting. The buffo singer,
whose name I do not remember, was also very excellent.

  _Bologna_, October 25.

Late on Monday evening we left Venice by the “mail boat.” As the wind
was very favorable, we performed the first part of the journey by
water, as far as where the canal falls into the Lagunes, very quickly.
Twice, for a short distance, we crossed a part of the open sea, that
is the great and lesser harbour of Chiozza, where the motion of our
bark was so violent from the roughness of the sea, that _Dorette_ and
the children were regularly sea-sick. I only escaped this affliction by
seating myself on the deck in the fresh air. When we had run into the
canal, and afterwards into the Po, where the boat was towed by horses,
it went slowly and quietly enough, so that I soon went to fetch up the
patients. As I am told here, that the rich people of the town are still
in the country, and that even at the most favorable season of the year
concerts scarcely cover their expenses, we shall abandon the idea of
giving one here, and continue our journey to Florence to-morrow morning
by vetturino.

  _Florence_, October 28.

The journey here over the Apennines, with very fine weather, was
exceedingly pleasant. The mountains, though of a considerable height,
are wooded almost to their summits, and the trees and bushes, were now
rich with the most beautiful colours of their autumnal garb. The valley
in which Florence lies presents a highly charming prospect. When one
looks down upon the beautiful gardens and country seats, one seems to
be entering a very Paradise.

  November 2.

Florence does not quite come up to the expectations one forms of it
from the description of over-enthusiastic travellers. Dresden is called
the German Florence, but is not much honoured by the parallel. The
situation of Dresden, as well as the city itself, are incomparably
finer. The Arno is a dirty, mean-looking river, and is not in the least
to be compared with the majestic Elbe. The four bridges which lead
over it and connect the two parts of the town are certainly good and
substantial, but not so long or so elegant as that of Dresden. Neither
has Florence such fine buildings nor such handsome squares as Dresden,
and excels it alone in its treasures of art of every kind. Of these
there are so many here, that one can scarcely find time to see them
all. On the square in front of the ancient palace stand several groups
of colossal statues in marble and bronze of the most celebrated of the
old masters, which make of this square, otherwise so irregular and
unattractive, one of the most interesting in the world for connoisseurs
in art. A group in marble, representing the rape of a Sabine,
especially charmed us. From this square it is not far to the cathedral,
a gigantic building with a cupola, which in circumference and height
is said to be little inferior to St. Peter’s at Rome. The exterior is
somewhat too party-coloured and not very tasteful; the walls are inlaid
with tables of marble of different colours, which present a variety
of patterns. Near the church stands a very lofty square clock-tower,
which is ornamented in the same manner. Belonging thereto, although
isolated from it, is also a christening chapel built in the same style,
and also with a tolerably high dome. Here are the celebrated gates of
bronze, of which _Michael Angelo_ said they were worthy to stand at
the entrance to the abode of the blessed, as they were too beautiful
for any earthly building. There are three of them, two of which are
executed and ornamented in the same style. But the single one is by
far the handsomest and has far larger bas-reliefs than the other two.
In the whole world is not to be seen any thing more beautiful in the
grouping, drawing, perspective, softness and purity of the work than
these bas-reliefs.

In another church we saw a succession of tombs, among which those of
_Michael Angelo_, _Nardini_, and _Alfieri_ interested us greatly. On
the tomb of the former is his bust, executed with his own hand, and
three female figures (by one of his pupils) personifying the three arts
in which he excelled: architecture, painting, and sculpture, mourning
for his loss. What however does it not confer upon the artists who
merited such memorials of their worth, and upon their contemporaries
also who raised them to them! Where can one find anything of the kind
in Germany? Where have _Mozart_ and _Haydn_ the memorials to their
honour? In Vienna no one even knows where they are buried.

  November 5.

On the day we arrived, and almost every evening since, we have been
to the theatre in the _Via della Pergola_. They are now giving an
opera of _Rossini’s_, “L’Italiana in Algeri,” and a grand ballet.
_Rossini_ is now the favorite composer of the Italians, and several
of his operas, “Tancredi,” “Il Turco in Italia,” and the above-named,
are performed with great applause in almost every town in Italy. I was
therefore glad, after having heard his compositions so frequently and
highly praised in Milan and Venice, to hear something of his myself.
This opera has, however, not wholly satisfied my expectations; in
the first place it is wanting, like all Italian music, in purity of
style, characteristic proprieties in the personages, and judicious
calculation of the length or shortness of the music for the scene.
These indispensable qualities of an opera to which we would give the
appellation classic, I had however not expected, as we do not at all
miss them in an Italian opera. One is accustomed to have the same
person sing alternately in the tragic and comic style, and to hear from
a peasant girl the same pompous vocal ornamentation as from a queen or
a heroine, and to hear one of the persons performing sing alone, for
a quarter of an hour at a time, in situations of the most impassioned
kind, while the others walk about in the back-ground, or partly behind
the scenes, and chat and laugh with their acquaintances. But I did
indeed expect qualities which should distinguish _Rossini’s_ work above
that of his colleagues--novelty of ideas, for instance; purity of
harmony, etc.; but of all these I found but little. What the Italians
consider new in _Rossini’s_ operas is not new to us; for they consist
of ideas and modulations for the most part long since known in Germany;
for instance the appoggiatura in the bass at the beginning of the
much-admired duett in the first act:


which the musicians in Florence boasted of to me as something quite
new, and discovered by _Rossini_. In Milan, where I heard the same duet
at a concert, it was probably found too hard, and the fifth and sixth
measures were thus changed:


Or the following modulation, also, at the finale of the first act:


Purity of harmony is not to be found in him any more than in any other
modern Italian composer; and I have heard many sequences of quints like
the following:


But in attention to the rhythm and in the complete use he makes of the
orchestra, he distinguishes himself above his countrymen.

The instrumentation, however, as compared with ours, first introduced
by _Mozart_, is still very meagre, and the Italians in that still
cling too much to the old. The viols and bassoons almost always go
through the whole opera _col Basso_, and the clarinets and hautboys
in _Unisono_. As in most Italian operas with from six to eight
contra-basses there is only one violincello, and usually not even a
good one, they as yet know nothing here of the (since _Mozart’s_ day)
frequent use of the violincello for middle voices, which, skilfully
brought in, has such a splendid effect; and they are far behind the
Germans in the knowledge of how to get the best effect from the wind
instruments. But what surprised me most, was to hear sometimes in these
operas a very uneven cantabile, while a flowing and for the voice
grateful and well arranged cantabile is the only praise-worthy quality
of the modern Italian operatic music, and must compensate for all the
deficiencies and faults. The two following passages struck me most; the
first in an aria of the prima donna, the second, in the first finale,
where it frequently recurs:



Both these passages are not only unsingable but exceedingly insipid,
and the second especially, from the somewhat slow movement and its
frequent recurrence, is wholly unbearable.

Among the singers in this opera, Madame _Georgi_, the prima donna,
is the only remarkable one. She has a full, powerful voice of rare
compass, from




Her part is written for a contralto, and she can therefore exhibit
her high notes in the _fiorituri_ only; if she possesses equal power
in the low notes a deep soprano part would suit her much better. Like
almost every singer we have yet heard in Italy she has the vice of
ornamenting too much, and does not know how to derive all the advantage
she might from her splendid voice. One hears very plainly, moreover,
that she does not draw in the least upon her own spontaneous feeling
and taste, but everything has been studied; so that her _fiorituri_,
which are repeated every evening, note for note, become so wearisome
that one cannot hear her again without repugnance. She was formerly a
dillettante, and only now sings in the third theatre; but nevertheless
she is already an excellent actress.

The ballet, which is given every evening between the two acts of the
opera, is the most splendid of any I have ever yet seen. I think it
is called “The Destruction of the Western Empire,” and is especially
remarkable for the constant introduction of great masses of persons on
the stage in full activity who form the boldest and most surprising
groups. It has been studied with extraordinary correctness, and is
performed every evening with the same precision. At the end a cavalry
engagement was represented, which however always looks somewhat stiff
and awkward.

  November, 8.

Last evening our concert took place in the theatre _della Pergola_. The
Grand-duke, to whom I brought a letter from his brother _Rudolph_, and
who has received me several times very graciously at his residence,
honoured it with his presence, accompanied by his whole family. The
small though select auditory was very animated, and after having
greeted the Grand-duke with the usual recognitions, were not restrained
from a loud expression of applause of my performances. The music had
a very good effect in the spacious and sonorous theatre; but the
accompaniment was not of the best.--To-day I have received a great
number of invitations to give a second concert next week, from which
I am promised a better result. I shall make the venture, although the
Grand-duke, who goes to-morrow to Pisa to meet his brother _Rainer_,
will not be here. Yesterday’s concert, exclusive of the Archduke’s
present to me, did not bring in more than the evening’s expenses, which
were, as they always are, very considerable; the price of admission
being only three paoli, and all disposition over the sale of a single
box being again denied me. A very favorable notice of my concert
appeared this afternoon in the newspaper.

  November, 12.

As we have now been several times to the picture-gallery, and
attentively observed all that it contains, I will commit to paper a
few words, not upon the truly splendid works of art which it contains,
for they have already been frequently and well described, but also the
expression of the impression which they made upon me. I must first of
all give due praise to the admirable custom, one by no means usual in
Italy, of admitting the public to the gallery free. At the entrance one
finds a notice in four or five languages, that the guardians of the
gallery are forbidden under the penalty of the loss of their situation,
to take the smallest present. Though perhaps they may not altogether
adhere too strictly to this injunction, one is at least fully secured
from the importunate begging, with which one is everywhere pursued in
Italy, and in this place, made sacred by art, gives oneself peacefully
up to the enjoyment.

To assist my memory hereafter I have sketched a plan of the gallery
and marked the position where the works of art stand which made the
greatest impression upon me. As I never make use either of a guide
or a book to find the objects worthy of observation in a city (I am
averse to all dictation as what I should admire, and never permit
myself to be deprived of the pleasure of finding for myself the works
of art in a gallery which are known to me by reputation), therefore
it is very possible that I have erred in many instances. On the first
day I looked for a long time and with attention at the works of art
which are in the gallery proper, before the apartments were opened in
which the _most choice_ are situated. I am even now glad I did so, as
afterwards, when I had seen the most perfect specimens of art, I could
never again remain for any length of time with the works exhibited in
the gallery. One exception to this was the _group of the Laocoon_,
which I always contemplated with renewed admiration. When the sanctuary
of art was thrown open we first beheld the celebrated _Medicean Venus_,
whose perfect and surpassingly beautiful form is yet more thrown out
by the large curtain of red-velvet suspended behind her. In the same
rotunda with her are the greatest master-pieces ever produced by the
chisel and by the brush: the _Apollo del Belvedere_[23] and _Raphael’s
St. John_. To contemplate and admire in these three works of art the
highest ideal of human beauty is an enjoyment quite peculiar in its
kind. After reiterated contemplation and long hesitation I gave the
palm for beauty to the _St. John_. Any thing more charming and at
the same time more noble than the whole form of this Youth cannot be
imagined by the most lively fancy. What may have contributed somewhat
to this decision on my part is the circumstance that the _Apollo_ as
well as the _Venus_ are of a three-quarter-life size, a proportion
which seems to be not quite happily chosen, as the figures being so
nearly the real size of life, always appear to be wanting in something,
which, if they were smaller, would not be the case. The _Apollo_ has
nevertheless a rather too feminine beauty, which not I alone, but my
wife also and several other persons present remarked. In this apartment
are numerous other master-pieces, among which a head by _Raphael_, the
_Venus_ of _Titian_; and a group of gladiators in marble, excited most
our admiration. Of the pictures arranged according to the schools in
the side apartments, the head of a female, by _Carlo Dolce_, pleased me
most; but one soon returns again to the gems of the whole collection.
On the other side of the building, in two apartments, is the collection
of Bronzes, among which the celebrated flying _Mercury_ excites the
most admiration. In another saloon is a collection of _Niobes_,
among which are some beautiful works of art. Besides these we saw
innumerable portraits of celebrated masters, for the most part painted
by themselves.

[23] This is the _Apollino_. _Spohr_ himself corrects this error at a
subsequent part of his narrative.

  November 13.

Behind the residence of the Grand-duke is a large garden called, I
know not why, _Boboli_. It is open to all on Sundays and Fridays.
Last Sunday we went there for the second time, and afterwards heard
mass in the Court-chapel. The Grand-duke, who has a collection of
between three and four-hundred masses of celebrated masters of every
period, had given out upon this occasion one of _Michael Haydn’s_ for
performance; it was executed with tolerable precision, but it was found
necessary to play a very simple solo for the tenor-trumpet upon the
viol. The musicians asked me afterwards whether we had players on the
trumpet in Germany who could execute such soli as that!

Upon our way back our hired lacquey pointed out to us the covered
passage leading from the Grand-ducal residence to the water side,
which passes through several streets at a considerable height, and
after being carried across the river Arno over one of the bridges, and
through a few more streets, abuts at the government buildings in which
the gallery is also situated. This gallery, which is at least a quarter
of an hour’s walk in length, is used by the Grand-duke when in wet
weather he attends the sittings of the privy council.

  November 15.

Our concert yesterday was not better attended than the first
and therefore brought in nothing. I am now convinced that an
instrumental-musician, even under the most favourable circumstances,
can earn nothing in Florence; for in the first place the Italians
esteem and like instrumental music too little, and in the second the
price of admission is much too low in proportion to the considerable
expenses. I must here observe, as somewhat worthy of note, that one
part of the orchestra, namely, all the violinists, took no payment,
which for people who must live from their daily earnings, and for
Italians who, wherever possible, extort three times the price of
every thing, is certainly very astonishing. For the rest, my play was
received with still greater applause yesterday than the first time.
Madame _Georgi_ sang exceedingly well the admired cavatina (sung
everywhere in Italy) in _Rossini’s_ “Tancredi,” with the following


It was again to be deplored, that upon the return to the theme she
overwhelmed it with so much ornamentation that one could recognise
nothing of the original song. Signor _Sbigoli_, first tenor at the
_Pergolo_ theatre, who had also given his assistance at the first
concert, again sang two airs in a good style, and with much exertion,
but with little voice. He, like the singers in Venice and Milan who
sang at my concerts, required payment, but was satisfied with the very
moderate sum of a carolin for each concert.

This afternoon we, for a last excursion, strolled out to the
_Porta Romana_, to see the fresco-painting, so celebrated from
the circumstance which gave rise to it, and which adorns a small
mean-looking house there. The following is related concerning it: The
Medici had sent to Rome for the most famed masters of that time, to
paint, I believe, the chapel _al fresco_. The Florentine painters first
became informed of this upon the day previous to the arrival of the
strangers, and jealous of the preference which they had attained, they
resolved at least to shew them, that they were quite as well able to
execute the work, which they were sent for to perform. They combined
their abilities therefore, and in one night, by the light of torches,
painted this large fresco-picture, of which it is true but few traces
now remain, but which sufficiently attest the excellence of the work.
As the house on which this painting is executed, is so situated that it
must attract the immediate attention of all persons entering at this
gate, the foreign artists immediately observed the work, which had been
completed but a few hours before, and as modesty was not then so rare
among artists as it is in the present day, they immediately turned
back, and sent word to the Medici, that they could not understand why
they had been written for, since Florence produced artists who could
execute so admirable a work of art in the space of a single night, as
they had beheld. As a matter of course the work was then given to the
Florentines for execution.

We have fixed our departure for to-morrow. Some things of note, such
for example as the tomb of the Medici, which we have not yet been able
to see, we must defer until our return journey.

  Rome, November 22.

We arrived at length last night, after a long and tedious journey, in
the former capital of the world. The journey was rendered tedious,
first by the slowness of our vetturino, the driver of which had taken
up, besides ourselves, who had hired the interior of his vehicle for
twelve Louisd’or (_inclusive_ of night lodgings and supper), three
other travellers in the so-called cabriolet, and therefore could only
drive at a walking pace, secondly, by reason of the raw weather and
the cold, which for Italy was very great, and against which so little
shelter is found at the inns where we stopped for the night, where the
windows and doors are always open a good hand’s breadth, the floors of
stone, and the generally very lofty rooms not to be warmed by a chimney
fire; thirdly, from the uninteresting and barren country through which
the road passes. One has the choice of two roads. The one longer, but
more interesting, by way of Perugia, a journey of seven days; the other
through Sienna of six days. We took the latter. As far as Sienna it is
not without interest, and it is a clean and a pretty town, which has
moreover the reputation that the purest Italian is spoken there. But
from there the road runs through numerous barren stretches of country.
Neither houses nor trees are to be seen, and now and then only the
melancholy testimonials of Roman justice, that is, high posts from
which are suspended the arms and legs of bandits and murderers. How in
a country whose soil yields without manure two harvests, one of corn
and the other of maize, men should be compelled by hunger to subsist
by robberies, is to me incomprehensible: but so it is. So long as corn
is in abundance, all the roads are safe, but when hunger pinches, the
sternest severity is unavailing. During the rule of the French knives
were forbidden to be carried on the person on pain of the galleys; if
any one drew a knife upon an opponent he was treated as a murderer
and hung without mercy. By such measures the public security was soon
re-established and for a long time one heard of no more assassinations.
Now, though certainly those regulations still exist, they are not
rigorously carried out: the previous insecurity prevails anew, and it
is not safe to venture alone into the more lonely streets of the city.

Before we could drive to an inn, we were obliged to proceed to the
custom-house, where our trunks and other luggage were inspected in the
closest manner. For my violon, although it is an old one and for my own
use, I was obliged to pay a duty of seven Paoli.

  December 5.



This is the first music we heard in Rome, and since then have heard
it so frequently, that I have been enabled to write it down easily.
During the time of Advent, when all public music is forbidden, the
theatres closed, and a real deathlike stillness prevails, whole troops
of virtuosi on the bagpipe come from the Neapolitan territory, who play
first before the pictures of the Virgin and Saints, and then collect
in the houses and in the streets a _viaticum_, or travelling penny.
They generally go in pairs, one playing the bagpipe and the other the
shepherds-pipe. The music of all, with a few unimportant deviations,
is the same, and is said to have its origin in a very ancient sacred
melody; but from the way in which these people now play it, it sounds
profane enough. Heard at a certain distance it nevertheless does not
sound badly; the one who plays the bagpipe produces an effect somewhat
as though three clarinets were blown, he of the shepherds-pipe a sound
like that of a coarse powerful hautboy. The purity of the notes of the
bag-pipe and shepherds-pipe is very striking. Wherever one now goes, be
the part of the city which it may, one hears the above music.

Last Sunday Prince Frederick of Gotha took me to the famous Sestine
Chapel, where I for the first time saw the Pope, surrounded by all the
Cardinals in their fullest ecclesiastical splendour, and heard his
celebrated singers of the choir. Whether it is that I am differently
organized from other travellers, or that my expectations are always
too exalted from the perusal of books of travel, neither the music,
the place, nor the ecclesiastical ceremony pleased me, or impressed
me with awe. The singers of the choir were about thirty in number,
who comported themselves in a somewhat off-hand and uncouth manner.
The soprani, for the most part old men, frequently sang false, and
altogether the intonation was anything but pure. They commenced with
melodies for two voices of very ancient date, which were declaimed
by the singers rather than sung. Then followed some things for four
voices, written in a condensed style, and arranged for the voices to
fall in like in a catch. The composition of these seemed to me very
dignified, in the genuine old ecclesiastical style, and well calculated
for the place. The execution was correct, it is true, but, as we have
said, too coarse, and not better than most of our German choristers
could have sung the same kind of thing. Three and four-voiced soli
interchanged alternately with the choir; sometimes one heard also
the _crescendo_ effected by the gradual and successive entry of the
voices, and the _diminuendo_ produced by the inverse process, which in
the celebrated _Miserere_ on Good Fridays is said to have so charming
an effect. It had also a good effect to-day, but this can be equally
obtained from any well-practised choir. The place is indeed extremely
favorable to simple slow church music, as it is very sonorous and the
voices blend well with one another; but I know several churches in
Germany--for instance the castle chapel at Würzburg and the catholic
church at Dresden--where music sounds even better. I became also,
convinced anew, that vocal and instrumental music combined have a
much finer effect than vocal music alone, which, after all is always
somewhat monotonous, and, on account of its restricted limits, becomes
tedious. But in the papal chapel there is never any instrumental music,
being contrary to ecclesiastical etiquette. Lastly, as far as regards
the ceremonies, which, according to the accounts of travellers, are
on Good Friday of so elevating a character, and increase immensely
the effects of the music, this was by no means the case on Sunday;
on the contrary, many things took place which could not but appear
ridiculous to an unprejudiced spectator; for instance, the frequently
repeated removal, as though at the word of command, of the little
red caps of the cardinals, the clumsy awkwardness of several of their
attendants when carrying after them their long violet-coloured trains,
and on handing to them and again taking off their caps, etc. I also
felt indignant when I saw that the priests who read the mass, and the
preacher, before he ascended the pulpit, threw themselves upon their
knees before the Pope and kissed his red slipper; and how every time
previous thereto two assistants fell upon one knee, spread out his
capacious mantel and lifted his sacerdotal frock to enable him to raise
his foot for them to kiss. Neither did any of his assistants hand any
thing to him, not even his pocket handkerchief, without previously
kneeling before him. What is this but a degradation of humanity?

The celebrated “Last Judgement” of _Michael Angelo_, and all the other
fresco-paintings which decorate the chapel, have greatly suffered and
are much blackened with smoke. But one can still see sufficient of the
former, which covers the whole wall behind the altar, to admire the
grandeur of the composition and the masterly touch of the artist in the

After the mass the sacrament was presented to the Pope and all the
Cardinals in the Pauline Chapel, which, illuminated by innumerable
tapers, presented when first seen an imposing spectacle. As we got
there first, we heard the chaunt of the choristers who walked at the
head of the procession, approach by degrees nearer and nearer, which
produced a fine _crescendo_. A silent prayer, during which all present
remained kneeling, here closed the ceremony.

In Rome there are two private musical réunions: one, a kind of singing
academy, takes place every Thursday at the house of its institutor,
_Sirletti_, a teacher of singing and of the piano-forte. From thirty
to five-and-thirty singers, mostly dilettanti, meet here, some of whom
have very fine voices, as, for example, Madame _Vera_ (née _Häser_) and
the tenor, Signor _Moncade_. Up till now we have been there twice. The
first day, in compliment to us Germans, they gave _Mozart’s_ Requiem,
and that very powerfully and purely; all the soli and the quartet
were especially well sung. Madame _Vera_ with her splendid sonorous
organ, her firm intonation, and her fine management of the voice, sang
her part in an irreproachable manner. The grand and very difficult
fugue was in particular sung purely and well. The only disturbing
influence upon the execution, which otherwise would have afforded us
great enjoyment, was signor _Sirletti’s_ pianoforte accompaniment from
the score. It is true we ought not to have expected better; for where
should an _Italian_ teacher of singing and pianoforte get a knowledge
of harmony sufficient to read and play correctly a score of _Mozart’s_?
But as his deep (!) knowledge of harmony had been greatly extolled to
me previously, I had certainly expected something better. He struck
some such barbarous harmonies at times, that, could _Mozart_ have heard
him, he would have turned round in his grave. After the Requiem they
sang a piece of _Händel’s_ hitherto unknown to me, and, for the finale,
the Halleluja; the latter in particular was powerfully and purely sung.

On the previous Thursday they had sung some of _Marcello’s_ Psalms,
for two and three voices. These Psalms, which the Italians consider
classic master-pieces, and of which some years since a fine edition
was published with long commentaries on the particular beauties of
each Psalm, pleased me very well, but I did not find anything so
very particular in them; on the contrary, I am persuaded, although
I am not very familiar with the German works in this style, that we
have compositions of the kind by _Bach_ and others which are greatly
superior to them. They appear to me, particularly in the form, to have
been carelessly constructed, they deviate frequently for a length of
time from the chief key, and then close immediately after the return to
the tonic in a very unsatisfactory manner. Those for three voices begin
generally with soprano and tenor, and the bass first enters with the
repeat; but this third voice was never essential, and always sounded
like an orchestral fundamental bass; there were however some among
them in which the voices took up their parts as in a canon, and these
were very remarkable. Nevertheless, on the whole, the part-writing and
modulation were very monotonous, and the same intrate and appoggiaturas
recurred in all. Signor _Sirletti’s_ accompaniment was again also very
disturbing in these Psalms, and particularly unpleasant to me was an
impurity of some of the full chords, which in these simple three-voiced
things was still more out of place. With that, like all Italians whom
I have yet heard accompany, he has the execrable fashion practice of
doubling the bass notes with the right hand, which with some accords,
for instance 6/5 accords, sounds quite unbearable with the leading
tone. That moreover, by this method octaves must arise in the solution,
does not appear to trouble the Signori, nor are their ears offended by
it. To me it was also exceedingly displeasing that some Germans who
were present seemed so much delighted. What is the meaning of these
grimaces? The Italians really might be induced to believe that we have
never heard any thing so good in Germany. When will Germans cease to be
the blind admirers and the apes of foreigners!

The other private musical réunion takes place every Monday, at the home
of Signor _Ruffini_, the proprietor of the great manufactory of strings
for instruments. Here operas are executed also by dilettanti as concert
music, before an auditory of from 200 to 250 persons. The singers stand
upon a slightly raised platform, and the orchestra, consisting of four
violins, viol, violincello, double bass, two clarinets, two horns,
and a bassoon, is disposed round them in a semi-circle on the level
floor. Last Monday, when Prince Frederick took us there, an old _opera
buffo_ of _Paisiello_ was given. The selection was certainly not the
best concert music. The music of a comic opera can alone be produced
with the desired effect upon the stage, combined with the proper action
which belongs to it; but apart from that, this one appeared to me
somewhat insipid. The execution both on the part of the singers and
the orchestra, was equally bad; Signor _Moncade_, with his splendid
tenor voice, was the only one worthy of remark. Between the two acts
a dilettante executed the first Allegro of a clarinet concerto with
much ability and a tolerably good tone, but without the least taste. He
was another illustration of a remark I have already made, that Italian
virtuosi and dilettanti direct their whole attention to the acquirement
of mechanical skill, but as far as regards a tasteful style of
execution, they form themselves very little after the good models which
their best singers might be to them; while our German instrumentalists
generally possess a very cultivated style and much feeling, which,
without taking pattern of any one, they must find in themselves.

  December 7.

As Rome, like other Italian cities, offers us no great musical treats
(and even less than usual, at the present moment, as all the theatres
are closed), we must, like all other travellers, content ourselves with
the creations of architecture, painting, and sculpture of the former
flourishing period of Italian art. Of these certainly there is a wealth
such as is not to be found in any other city in the world. Wherever
one goes--in the streets, in the squares, palaces, churches, and
gardens--one sees everywhere columns, obelisks, statues, bas-reliefs
and paintings. We first strolled through all the streets, in order to
familiarise ourselves with the remains of ancient Roman architecture.
The venerable Pantheon, the Forum Romanum with its triumphal arches
and columns, and particularly the Colosseum, filled us with wonder and
admiration. We then ascended the Capitol, saw the Tarpeian rock and a
thousand other places and objects made interesting by Roman history.

On the following day we visited the immortal _Michael Angelo’s_
master-piece, the church of St. Peter. Several travellers whose
expectations of this gigantic structure from their point of view had
not been satisfied, had much depressed mine, and from that circumstance
perhaps it made a powerful impression upon me. The open space before
the church, with the semi-circular colonnades, the obelisk and the
two stupendous fountains are of themselves of imposing grandeur. But
on entering the interior of the church, one is seized with wonder
and admiration at the magnificence of the decorations. Without being
overloaded, it contains such wealth in mosaic pictures, statues, and
bas-reliefs, that it would occupy weeks to examine all the separate
works of art. As all these things are in the most harmonious relation
and proportion to each other, and are as colossal as the whole
structure itself, one is greatly deceived at first in regard to the
size of the church. But upon contemplating more nearly the separate
objects, one finds, for instance, that the little angels which hold the
basins for holy-water, when seen closer, are taller than the tallest
Prussian grenadier; and one finds the assertions of the architects who
have taken all the dimensions of the building, more creditable, that,
for instance, the cathedral of Strasburg could conveniently stand
under the dome without the top of the tower reaching higher than into
the lantern. But it is necessary to ascend into the interior of the
lantern itself to convince oneself of the correctness of the other
calculations, viz., that the pen of St. Peter is eight feet long, that
four men abreast can conveniently walk round upon the cornice, etc. etc.

From the church we went to the museum of the Vatican. The riches
it contains in treasures of art and antiquities, and the size and
splendour of the place, surpass even the most exalted expectations.
One first enters a long gallery on both sides of which the walls are
encrusted with ancient Roman inscriptions and sepulchral stones, which
had but little interest for us. We then came into a second gallery,
in which are statues, busts, and fragments of sculpture innumerable.
We then entered the famed Belvedere, where all round a circular open
court, in the centre of which is a fountain, a number of niches,
apartments, and saloons contain the most precious works of ancient and
modern art. We first saw in one of the niches the celebrated _Apollo
of Belvedere_, whose form is still considered the beau ideal of manly
vigour and beauty. By a mistake for which I may be readily pardoned,
since as I have said I never make use either of a guide or book, I had
taken the somewhat feminine figure in the gallery at Florence for the
universally admired Apollo of Belvedere. That statue, which is also of
extreme artistic beauty, is, as I am now informed called the Apollino.
In a second niche we saw the celebrated group of _Laokoon and his
sons_; in a third, three master-pieces of _Canova_, a _Perseus_ and
two Roman gladiators. The _Perseus_ is a wonderfully beautiful figure,
but evidently imitated from the _Apollo_; for the head as well as the
position of the body and of the mantle are strikingly similar. One
of the gladiators is said to resemble more an English prize-fighter
than a Roman gladiator; at least such is the opinion of the pupils and
partisans of _Thorwaldsen_, who cannot forgive _Canova_ his certainly
very blamable vanity, that he should have placed his work, the only
one of a modern in a museum of antiques. Nevertheless, if one judges
without reference to persons, it must be admitted that in _Perseus_ he
has produced a splendid work of art, and that there are hundreds of
antiquities in the museum which are not equal to it in artistic beauty.

In one apartment there is a great number of animals, single and in
groups, in marble and other yet more costly and rare varieties of
stone, of the most perfect execution. I could not give the preference
to any one of them without disparaging the others. In other apartments
are vases of immense size, of Egyptian granite and porphyry, cups,
fountains and sarcophages with bas-reliefs, arabesques and other
ornaments, as well as statues of all sizes. A two-wheeled Roman
chariot, such as were used in chariot races, with two incomparably
beautiful horses, greatly pleased us. The magnificence of the saloons,
rotundi, apartments, and staircases exceeds anything we have ever seen.
The floor consists almost wholly of ancient mosaics, and the ceilings
are decorated with the most splendid fresco-paintings.

From the Belvedere two handsome staircases then lead one story higher
up to a long gallery. One then enters an apartment in which the
tapestries are hung which were worked after the drawings of _Raphael_.
As is natural to suppose, not only the colours are said to be bad, as
is usual with all tapestries, but the drawing is also defective, so
that connoisseurs in art esteem them but little. In the composition
and throughout the grouping, nevertheless, the spirit of _Raphael_ is

Now come the celebrated “Stanzi” of _Raphael_, which are considered
by painters and connoisseurs in art as the most costly and beautiful,
not only in Rome, but in the whole world. One of these apartments he
finished entirely himself; in the others only some of the figures are
of his execution; the rest were painted by his pupils and friends
after his drawings and under his eye. The paintings are in much better
preservation than those in the Sixtine chapel and, with the care which
is now taken of them, they may for centuries to come attract the
admiration of connoisseurs. It is nevertheless a sad reflection that
some of the most precious things produced by the genius and pencil of
_Raphael_ are here adherent to the walls, and must perish with them.
It is therefore fortunate that these paintings have been and are so
frequently copied and engraved, that something of them will yet remain
when the originals shall be no more. But this must not be permitted to
be done in the way resorted to by the young Parisian academicians, who
stick their tracing paper upon the paintings with wax or even fasten
it on with nails, in order to copy the contours, by which proceeding
a quantity of the lime cement has already crumbled away from one of
the walls. An iron rail is now put up round the apartments, so that
one can no longer approach close to the walls. The passages from these
apartments lead to the “Logge” of _Raphael_, by which is understood the
arched galleries outside the buildings. Those decorated by that master
himself are now enclosed by glazed windows to shield them from the
destructive effects of the weather, the rest are open. In these “logge”
there are but four small paintings from his own hand; all the rest are
painted by others after his drawings. In a niche at the end of the
gallery stands a bust of _Raphael_, which is said, however, to be but
an indifferent likeness of him.

  December 9.

On a second visit which we made yesterday to the museum, we saw the
room containing the celebrated oil paintings of _Raphael_. The finest
of them is without a doubt the Transfiguration, respecting which so
much has been written, and disputed. Connoisseurs of art are not agreed
as to whether the composition is correct or defective. Some maintain
that it consists of two separate groups which do not harmonise with
each other in the least; others, on the contrary, say that every
part is in the most perfect and beautiful accord. Without troubling
ourself with the contentions of the æsthetics, which was renewed by two
persons in our presence, we gave ourselves up to the enjoyment of its
contemplation. It is extremely interesting to see here three paintings
of _Raphael_ of different periods of his life in close proximity to
each other. The eldest, or that of his youthful days, hangs by the
side of one by his master _Perugino_, and is painted wholly in his
style, with the same hardness of outline and the same formal, almost
symmetrical grouping. The one of the middle period (a Madonna with the
child, and some others figures, resembling very much the painting at
Dresden in the grouping) evinces his own genius enfranchised from the
form of his teacher. In the third, the “Transfiguration,” his last
important work, we see the fully developed artist.

  December 12.

As we live in a couple of rooms which cannot be heated, we have
suffered somewhat from cold the last eight days, on account of the
_Tramontana_, or north wind, which has not ceased to blow all that
time; but although we have had hoar-frost a few times in Rome, we have
had no ice yet, neither has it snowed. When we rose this morning,
we found that the outside of our window was dim with moisture, and
on opening it a warm moist air blew in; while the weathercocks
informed us that the _Sirocco_ (south wind) was blowing. It now
soon became overcast, and this afternoon it is raining. Generally,
however, the _Tramontana_ brings bright settled weather. As Rome
is very damp and dirty, one soon longs for the return of that wind,
and is better content with a little cold than with the unwholesome
moisture. In the spring of the year especially, when it begins to grow
warm, this moisture is said to be quite unbearable, and to engender
dangerous fevers, particularly on the other side of the Tiber, in the
neighbourhood of the Vatican, where many a stranger, who has taken up
his residence there on account of the cheaper rate of the lodging,
has found a grave. In the summer months especially Rome must be very
unhealthy, the air being charged with the exhalations from the dead
bodies, which, according to ancient custom, are here all deposited
in the vaults of the churches. Every time one of these vaults is
opened, which takes place almost every day, a stench rushes out which
penetrates into the interior of the very palaces of the living. At the
time of the domination of the French the dead were buried outside the
city, but no sooner was the papal rule restored, than that wholesome
regulation was discontinued. No corpse is permitted to remain unburied
longer than twenty-four hours, and accordingly the body of any one
deceased is laid upon a bier, some eight or ten hours only after the
breath is out of it, and carried with uncovered head, breast, and feet,
in broad daylight, through the street to the church, and set down
before the altar, when if the estate is sufficient to pay the expenses,
a mass for the dead is read, and the body is thrown uncoffined through
one of the openings of the vaults. That many only apparently dead are
in this manner buried with the rest, may be readily imagined; and a few
years ago such a case actually occured. A poor man, who a few hours
after his apparent death had been thrown into the vault, was aroused by
the fall and passed two fearful days among the half-decomposed bodies,
when fortunately the chief entrance to the vault was opened in order to
clear it out, and the poor fellow was rescued and is still living.

In no city in the world, I think, is the contrast so striking between
the most luxurious splendour and the most abject misery as here. On
the marble steps of the palaces, among the statues for which thousands
have been paid, near the altars of the churches which are laden
with golden ornaments and utensils--everywhere, in fact, one sees
half-starved mendicants lying, who moan for bread, and gnaw the stumps
of cabbages or the peel of lemons, which they have picked out of the
gutter. At first I thought this a trick merely to excite the compassion
of strangers; but I became convinced afterwards that many of the poor
must for days subsist on such horrid food, or perish with hunger. The
Romans are accustomed to see this misery from their youth, and seldom
give alms (except they drop it into the begging-box of some well-fed
monk collecting for his monastery), and strangers soon become hardened
to pity, when they find that as soon as they have given something to
one beggar, they are immediately surrounded by _twenty others_. It is
true there are many among them who beg from sheer idleness, but there
are many also who are quite unable to work for a livelihood. In this
respect also I admire my native country, where every pauper has at
least potatoes and bread, and a case of one dying of starvation in the
midst of his richer fellowmen is wholly unheard of.

  December 19.

Last evening our concert took place. As I had been refused permission
to give a public concert in the theatre during Advent, I was obliged
to make arrangements to give it at a private house, without any public
announcement. Prince _Piombino_ granted me an apartment for the purpose
in the _Ruspoli_ palace, and Count _Apponyi_, the Austrian ambassador,
procured for me a considerable number of subscribers; so that this was
the first concert in Italy that brought me a somewhat considerable
profit. The price of admission was one Piaster (nearly a Laubthaler).
The orchestra, composed of the best musicians of Rome, was nevertheless
the worst of all that had yet accompanied me in Italy. The ignorance,
want of taste, and stupid arrogance of these people beggars all
description. Of _nuances_ in _piano_ and _forte_ they know absolutely
nothing. One might let that pass, but each individual makes just what
ornamentation comes into his head and double strokes with almost every
tone, so that the _ensemble_ resembles more the noise of an orchestra
tuning up than harmonious music. I certainly forbade several times
every note which did not stand in the score; but ornamentation has
become so much a second nature to them, that they cannot desist from
it. The first hornist, for instance, blew once in the _Tutti_, instead
of the simple cadence,


the following


The Clarinets blew perhaps at the same time


instead of


and now if one imagines the figured passages for the violins, which
the composer has prescribed, some conception may be formed of the
bewildering noise which such an orchestra gives you for music. With
that, the musicians have so little musical taste, and are so unskilled
in note-reading, that we nearly broke down twice. Here also, my
concerto in the form of a vocal-scene pleased most, and I gained far
more applause for the way in which I played the song parts, than for
the mastery of very great difficulties. A tenor belonging to the papal
orchestra, the permission for whose co-operation I had obtained with
great difficulty, sang a duet with Mademoiselle _Funk_ of Dresden, and
a very beautiful air of _Rossini_, the best of that composer which I
had yet heard.

  December 20.

Last evening I was present at a small private musical performance
at the house of Count _Apponyi_. There was much good vocal music
with piano accompaniment. The best were a duet from a “Passione” by
_Paisiello_, most charmingly sung by Madame _Häser_ and the Countess
_Apponyi_; an aria by _Zingarelli_ with chorus, written for Madame
_Häser_ and executed by her in the most finished manner; a duett of
_Rossini’s_, sung by Countess and Signor _Moncade_. Madame _Häser_ sang
with a feeling and a purity such as I never heard her display before.
Her magnificent sonorous voice, which in a room with much reverberation
sounds almost too sharp, particularly in the higher tones, had a fine
effect yesterday in an apartment where the tapestry and carpeting
deadened the sound. She has at command every nuance of tone, from the
most tender breathings to the greatest fullness of power, and she
knows how to avail herself of it in a masterly manner. She has lost,
it is true, the brilliant fluency of voice which was formerly so much
admired in Dresden, but she retains still enough of it to enable her
to give every vocal ornamentation with ease and elegance. The only
thing I miss in her singing is the shake, which in the present day is
so much neglected. _Moncade_ is a singer with a fine chest voice, and
a tasteful though not a very feeling execution. Besides them, Prince
_Frederick of Gotha_ sang an air, and a bass singer a couple of Buffi.

I have again been twice to _Sirletti’s_ music parties. A week ago some
parts of the Requiem were repeated and the Halleluja; but the rest of
the evening was wholly devoted to _Marcello’s_ Psalms. With regard
to the latter, I find my former opinion still more confirmed. In the
fine edition of these Psalms, there is also a biography of _Marcello_,
in which the reason is given for his relinquishing theatrical
compositions, to which alone he had previously devoted himself, and
taking all at once to sacred music. On visiting a church in a retired
part of Venice, he had the misfortune to fall through a badly covered
opening into one of the subterranean dead-vaults, and remained there
a long time before his cries for assistance were heard. This accident
induced so serious a tone of mind, that ever after he would write
nothing but sacred music.

I have again been to _Ruffini’s_ music parties also, and heard a
tragic opera by a young and early deceased composer, who had much
native talent but evinced also a complete deficiency of study. The
singer showed to more advantage in this opera than in the one they
gave previously; but the orchestra was just as unbearable. I sat next
to the formerly so celebrated singer _Crescentini_ (but, who is said
to have now wholly lost his voice, although he is scarcely fifty years
of age), and I had the satisfaction to find that his opinion upon the
present state of music in Italy agreed in every respect with mine.
His conversation evinced the highly cultivated artiste, free from the
trammels of prejudice. He deplored that at the present day the good
school of vocal music, the only one in which Italians had distinguished
themselves, had become more and more rare every day, and upon his
last return to Italy (I think he had been in Paris) he had found so
frivolous and bad a taste, that it no longer bore the least trace
of the former simple yet noble style of his time. To him, also, who
had heard much good music in Germany and France, the insipidity and
incorrectness of modern Italian music are abominations.

  December 23.

Now that the festival of Christmas is approaching, begging, with which
one is plagued here at all times, will be carried on on a large scale.
Wherever you go, you are greeted with the cry of “Pleasant holidays!”
and you are then expected to pull out your purse. This system of
begging occurs, it is true, in Germany at New Year, but is by no means
so general as here. For instance, the servants of all the nobility and
gentry at whose houses have shewn yourself, if but once, come to beg
of you; and indeed at other times as well, foreigners are laid under
contribution by them. If you have paid the master a visit, the servant
comes the next day and asks you for a present. As one cannot give less
than three Paoli, it becomes a dear amusement to deliver many letters
of introduction here. The poor devils are certainly very badly paid,
and must resort to such a system of begging if they would not starve.

Yesterday _Meyerbeer_ and his mother arrived here. He received a letter
in Florence from _Carl M. von Weber_, and read to me from it the
gratifying intelligence that my Opera “Faust” had already been twice
performed at Prague with marked approbation.

  December 25.

Last evening we were present at a service in the Sixtine chapel
preparatory to the approaching high festival. I had anticipated
something very effective but I found myself very much mistaken. The
illumination was by no means effective, for the chapel was soon so
filled with the smoke of the tapers that you could not see distinctly
ten paces before you. Instead of the four-voice Psalmody which I had
hoped for, the singers of the choir recited merely a rather long Litany
of prayers in _unison_, without any melody, something as the following:


To listen to this for almost half an hour without interruption was the
greatest musical penitence that I ever endured. At length, in the midst
of a silent prayer, we were refreshed by a four-voiced solo, in which
the splendid soprano-voice before alluded to was again remarkable. But
immediately after this, the monotonous chaunt was again resumed, and
now we thought it preferable to work our way through the compact crowd
at the expense of great exertion rather than to endure it any longer.

This morning early we at length saw the head of the catholic church
in the highest ecclesiastical pomp perform mass in the church of
St. Peter. The high altar under the dome, divested of its habitual
covering, was radiant with gold and precious stones; the clergy and
cardinals, habited in their richest gold-embroidered stuffs, the
body-guard in their splendid uniform, the Swiss guard in their bright
polished old German armour, in a word all converted with the pope
contributed to render this service the most splendid spectacle ever
performed in a church. For more than a theatrical spectacle it was not
to the surrounding crowd: not a sign of emotion or spiritual elevation
was to be seen among the many thousand spectators! The appearance of
a spectacle got up for amusement was more especially given to it by
the circumstance that for the accommodation of the high personages who
were present--the king of Spain, the queen of Etruria, the princes
of Prussia, Gotha and others--a sumptuously decorated box had been
erected, and, that upon the amphitheatre the fashionable world of Rome
was present in full dress. A singular contrast with this splendour was
presented by the rags and dirt of the riff-raff of the Roman populace
who had pressed to the very step of the high altar. As the “service”
became tediously long, and what the singers sang was neither very
interesting, nor could be heard distinctly for the noise in the church,
we preferred to take a walk, as the weather was so mild and bright, but
returned in sufficient time to the church to see the procession, which
forms the close to the whole performance.

In front moved a detachment of the body-guard, behind these the
Cardinal’s hat was carried upon a sword; then came the Cardinals,
and lastly the Pope seated upon a richly decorated sedan or throne
borne by eight priests; on either side of him two large fans of white
ostrich feathers; then all the clergy, and lastly the remainder of
the body-guard and Swiss guards. During the procession, the Pope,
a venerable old man of 75, on whose pale and interesting face the
exhausting influence of frequent fast and of the long fatiguing service
were very distinctly visible, bestowed with a feeble motion of the
hand his blessing upon the people. But the latter shewed during this
no sign of devotion; not a knee was bent; there was laughing and loud
talking during the whole service. The procession passed out through a
side chapel into the Vatican. The immense size of the church could be
first rightly seen to-day, from the mass of human beings which it held.
It was full half an hour before they could make their exit through
three large doors.

  December 27.

Yesterday, at last the theatres were once more opened, after being
closed six months. At the _Argentino_ theatre, the largest and
handsomest, _Rossini’s_ “Tancredi” was performed, at the theatre
_Valle_, a new _Opera buffa_ by Signor _Pietro Romano_, called “Il
Quiproquo.” As “Tancredi” is an old opera, the first night of which
is not more interesting than the succeeding ones, _Meyerbeer_ easily
persuaded me to go with him to the _Valle_ theatre, while my wife and
the children, with Madame _Beer_, went to the _Argentino_ theatre.
Before the opera a farce in prose was given, imitated from our German
“Proberollen.” Then came the first act of the opera, the text of
which we soon recognised as an adaptation of the “_Nouveau Seigneur
de Village_.” The subject, though spun out somewhat too much, was
neither so stupid nor so wearisome as those of most Italian operas.
But so much the more insipid and common-place is the music. Signor
_Romano_ has taken the now so much admired _Rossini_ as his model,
and so closely imitated him, or rather copied him outright, that the
pit called out every moment “_Bravo Rossini!_” With that his music is
so incorrect, that an ear accustomed to a pure harmony cannot hear it
without disgust. Nevertheless that was no injury to it here, but much
more so its want of fire and noise, the last of which the Italians are
as fond of as the French and Germans. Once only, after a duet, the pit
called out the encouraging and joyful “_Bravo Maestro!_” for which he
immediately made a most profound bow. All the rest was listened to
with coldness, and at the conclusion of the opera neither approval
nor displeasure was expressed. The singers were by no means sure of
their parts, and were continually making mistakes. Madame _Georgi_,
the _prima donna_, who in the previous carnival had been the favorite
of the public, did not please much yesterday, and had the annoyance of
seeing the _seconda donna_, who certainly did not sing badly, called
forward after her aria in the second act, an honour which had not
fallen to her lot all the evening. She shewed her displeasure at this
by singing the rest of her part with the utmost indifference and
with half-voice only, by which however she injured the last finale
very much, and was perhaps the cause of the opera’s going off so
coldly, and of the report which prevails in the town to-day, that she
had not given satisfaction. The orchestra, composed for the most part
of the professors (!) who had played at my concert, played crudely,
incorrectly and without any sort of difference between piano and forte.

This morning there was another private music party at Count
_Apponyi’s_. Nothing else scarcely was sung but things from _Rossini’s_
operas, of which a terzette, from “Elisabetha,” if I am not mistaken,
pleased me most, on account of the excellent treatment of the voices.
The more I hear of _Rossini’s_ compositions, the more I am disposed
to join _in part_ with the general opinion, which pronounces him the
most distinguished of modern Italian composers, and as a reformer of
the taste in operatic style. _Mayer_ may nevertheless with propriety
be excepted, who has, if not so much imagination as _Rossini_, yet,
certainly, more knowledge and æsthetic feeling. That the latter is
wanting in knowledge of harmony, delineation of character, sense of the
difference between the serious and comic style, and of propriety, I
observed already in Florence, after hearing the “Italiana in Algeria.”
_Rossini_, however, has devised _some quite new things_, although
they are not necessarily good because they are new: for instance his
“flowery song,” as _Meyerbeer_ very characteristically calls it, which
in reality is nothing more than that the passages hitherto sung on
one vowel are sung with a series of syllables, as in an aria in the


or in a duet between a tenor and a bass in the same opera, where
the part for the second voice is very unsingable and more like an
orchestral bass than a singing bass:[24]

[24] As I do not know the text, I have appended dots for the syllables.


Every time such little tricky passages occur, and are well executed by
the singers, as to-day by _Moncade_ especially, the auditory breaks out
into an ecstasy of applause which causes Italian music to degenerate
more and more into a mere tickling of the ears and both singers and
composer; become every day less capable in use of working upon the
feelings; so that I may say without exaggeration, that of all the
compositions we have yet heard in Italy, I have not experienced the
least emotion, with the exception of one or two passages in the “Testa
di bronzo”; and of all the singers we have yet heard, Madame _Häser_
alone, in a duet from the old “Passione” of _Paisiello_ moved me for a
few seconds.

Likewise new, and first introduced by _Rossini_, is the way in which
the speaking passages in the _Opera buffa_, hitherto usually written in
one tone, or at least at very close intervals only, and formerly always
given _legato_, are provided with syllables, as for instance in the
beginning of the above duet:


Well known as this commencement is (it resembles the beginning of a
finale in a quartett of _Haydn_ in E flat-major):


yet his method of giving it with the different syllables of the text
in this manner is quite new; but whether good or not, is still the
question; to me it always sounded as though travestied, as if, for
instance, a song which admits of a feeling execution were executed upon
a singing instrument and for fun’s sake so caricatured that it excited
laughter instead of emotion. At any rate no instrumentalist of taste
would play the above song _staccato_.

The following and similar _crescendo_ passages are also peculiar _to
Rossini_, they appear in almost all his musical pieces, and the Italian
public are thrown into ecstasies by them; for instance, in the overture
to the “Italiana.”


In this manner it continues for a while, until at length at the
strongest _forte_, the public break out into a furious clapping of
hands and shouts of “Bravo!” In fact it can so little resist such a
_crescendo_, that even the luckless imitators of _Rossini_, like Signor
_Romano_ in the opera last night, understood how to draw down a storm
of applause by it. That such passages are frequently very incorrect and
offensive from the passing notes occurring in them, it is not necessary
for me to remark; even in the celebrated cavatina from “Tancredi,” so
enthusisiastically admired throughout Italy, and which was also sung
to-day, there are in the very first bars the most hideous-sounding
octaves, between the bass and the second hautboy, that I ever heard.


The first result of my judgment of _Rossini_ is, therefore, that
he is by no means wanting in invention and genius and with those
qualifications had he been scientifically educated, and led to the
only right way by _Mozart’s_ classical masterpieces, he might readily
have become one of the most distinguished composers of vocal-music of
our day, but, as he now writes, he will not raise Italian music, but
much rather lower it. In order to be new, _Rossini_ departs more and
more from the simple and grand style of song of former days, and does
not reflect that in so doing he wholly robs the voice of its charm
and advantages, and actually debases it, when he forces it to execute
passages and fioritures, which every petty instrumentalist can produce
much purer, and especially much _more connected_, because he has no
need to express a syllable every time on the third or fourth note. With
his “flowery song,” however much it may please, he is therefore in a
fair way to make a clearance of all _real_ song which is already now
very scarce in Italy, and in which the despicable horde of Imitators,
who here as well as in Germany pursue their pitiful calling, are doing
their best to assist him.

  December 29.

Last evening I went with _Meyerbeer_ to hear “Tancredi” at the
_Argentino_ theatre. I never witnessed a more wretched performance. The
singers, with the exception of _Paris_ the elder, are very _mediocre_;
the _prima donna_, the younger _Paris_, is yet quite a beginner,
the _basso_ was frightful, the orchestra worse than in the smallest
provincial town in Germany, and in a word, it is an assemblage of folks
such as had all Italy been ransacked for the purpose, it would have
been difficult to find worse. God help the composer whose work falls
into such hands! They disfigured it in such a manner that one can no
longer recognise it. The only one person who distinguished herself,
was the elder _Paris_, who, in the part of “Tancredi,” displayed a
powerful, healthy contralto voice and a cultivated execution. It
would be unjust after such a representation to pass judgment upon the
opera, and the more so, as several passages were omitted and others
substituted. The ballet which was given between the acts, was quite
of a piece with the rest: a serious ballet executed by a number of
grotesque dancers! But among these were some men, who made themselves
remarkable by the power, and agility and by springs of all kinds.

During the last week we have again seen many interesting things;
the museum of the Capitol, in which the dying gladiator and several
Egyptian statues pleased me most--the latter less remarkable for
artistic beauty than for singularity; the picture gallery in the
_Doria_ palace, which contains among many other remarkable pictures,
four beautiful landscapes by _Claude Lorrain_; another gallery in
the _Colonna_ palace, in which hangs an extremely beautiful head of
_Raphael_; the handsome and richly decorated churches of _Santa Maria
Maggiore_ and _St. Giovanni in Laterano_, &c. From the portal of the
latter one has an extensive view in the direction of Albano, which with
the ancient aqueducts, which the eye can follow for miles, and other
remains of ancient Roman architecture, possesses much romantic interest.

On Sunday evening, the weather being very clear, we ascended the
dome of St. Peter’s church. The ascent is at first by a footway of a
spiral form without steps as far as the roof of the church. Arrived
there once fancies one’sself again in the streets of a town, for the
ground is paved, and a number of houses, some of which are inhabited,
together with numerous small and large cupolas, prevent a view into the
distance. But if you walk up to the gigantic statues over the portal
of the church, you then see at how great a height you are standing.
The pavement of the square in front of the church looks like a minute
mosaic, and the people little puppets creeping about upon it. On
looking up to the dome from here, it looks like an enormous isolated
building; from the first interior gallery one has also to mount to a
considerable height before one arrives at the second, where the first
swell of the dome begins. The view from these galleries, particularly
from the second, down into the church is quite _sui generis_, and makes
one positively shudder. The hundred lamps which burn right under the
dome at the entrance of the subterranean chapel, seem to mingle as in
one flame, and the human beings below appear like moving black spots.
From the second gallery one then ascends between the inner and exterior
dome by wooden steps up to the lantern, from which one has again a view
down into the church that makes the head turn. From here a flight of
winding stone steps once more leads up into a tolerably large chamber
situated in the top of the lantern, and thence at length ascending an
iron ladder, one passes through the shaft to the ball, which is large
enough to contain from twelve to sixteen persons.

The foolhardy can ascend yet higher, by a ladder outside the ball, up
into the cross, but we were quite satisfied with having been as high
as the ball. The view from the external galleries is magnificent and
varied beyond description. Below, proud Rome with its inummerable
palaces, ruins, columns and obelisks; around it the villas.

In the distance the mountain near Tivoli and Albano, above which are
seen the peaks of snow-covered mountains, and far away on the west the
Mediterranean, which at the time of the day we ascended the dome looked
like a fiery stripe in the distant sky. After we had long enjoyed this
entrancing view, we descended and found that two hours had passed very
rapidly in the ascent of the dome.

We also went up the high column on the _Piazza Colonna_, and from its
summit, which rises high above all the houses, enjoyed one of the
finest views of Rome and its immediate environs.

  December 30.

I have acquired the conviction that the Italians, even in modern
times, are not wanting in natural abilities for the study of the fine
arts, and indeed, that on the whole they surpass therein the northern
nations. Almost all their singers have a happy ear for intonation,
and the faculty of immediately seizing and repeating a melody once
heard; although but very few of them, even among the theatrical singers
possess _what we call music_, and most of them scarcely even know their
notes. At the last musical party at _Apponyi’s_ there was a Canon
of _Cherubini’s_ to be sung, in which _Moncade_ who, as I had been
told, is one of the singers who cannot read music, although formerly
a theatrical singer, was solicited to take a part. As he willingly
assented to sing something that he did not know, I immediately thought
that in his case at least what I had heard was untrue. The Countess
first sang the slow melody consisting of eight bars and _Moncade_
repeated it note for note with all the little ornaments which she had
added. But when his part began, he could get no farther: nevertheless,
he did not permit himself to be disconcerted, but sang away by ear,
which certainly sometimes did not sound much like music by _Cherubini_.
When, however, the third singer, who also had no music before him,
began, after his first simple entry in the second part, also to
compose, such confusion and discord arose that they were obliged to
leave off. Both singers declared very ingenuously that they had hoped,
they would have accomplished it; like the Englishman who, when he was
asked if he played the violin, replied: “It is possible, but I have
never yet tried.”

Among the lower uneducated classes of the people, a remarkable genius
for painting is by no means rare here, which is awakened by the early
contemplation of the public works of art. In this manner the attention
of the painters here has been attracted for the last year and more by
the extraordinary artistic talent of a lad in the streets. This boy,
without ever having had the least instruction, draws large historical
sketches in charcoal upon the white walls of the houses, and there is
scarcely a street in which some of his artistic work is not to be seen.

Sometimes he chooses for his subject a Madonna, or some legend, at
others a Roman triumph. But in no one instance has he ever copied
from any existing subject, or even repeated himself; his fancy
constantly creates something new. Some of these sketches excite the
greatest astonishment by the richness of the composition, comprising
frequently more than thirty or forty figures, and by the correctness
of the drawing. The most remarkable to me is the certainty with which
he throws off and depicts his ideas. You see no double stroke in the
contours--nothing wiped out--everything stands there at once clear and
prominent. When he draws he is always surrounded by a crowd of people,
who look on with gratification at the skill he displays; but he is so
deeply engrossed with his work, that he heeds neither the surrounding
spectators nor their remarks. I have been told that _Canova_ took this
lad, with the view of developing his talent; but that regular kind of
life did not all please him, and he soon ran away.

  January 1. 1817.

The new year has begun very unpleasantly for us. This morning _Emily_
was taken suddenly ill. The doctor thinks she will have the scarlet
fever; should that be the case, we shall be obliged to postpone our
departure for Naples, which we had fixed for the 7th, for at least a
fortnight. Added to the annoyance of remaining here yet longer without
any object and in anxiety, is that of being compelled to see our
fellow-countrymen with whom we had contemplated making the journey
together depart alone, and that also of missing the opening of the St.
Carlo theatre at Naples, which is to take place on the 12th. To console
ourselves for the latter we shall meanwhile hear the new opera of
_Rossini_, which he is writing for the _Valle_ theatre, and the début
of Madame _Schönberger_ at the _Argentino_.

  January 3.

Not only _Emily_, but _Ida_ also has caught the scarlet fever, and now
for a certainty we shall not be able to leave before the 20th. Both
children were very ill for some days, and my good _Dorette_ has been
extremely alarmed and anxious. I have kept up my spirits and amused
myself in inventing some puzzle-canons and have now began to write a
new solo-quartett.

I should so much have liked to make _Rossini’s_ acquaintance; but
before he has finished his opera this is quite out of the question. The
impressario, in whose house he lives, neither permits him to go out
nor to receive visits, so that he may not neglect his work. Should his
opera not be brought out before our departure, I shall probably not be
able to see him.

  January 18.

The children have recovered sooner than we had anticipated, and we have
fixed to leave for Naples the day after to-morrow.

Last Thursday I went again to _Sirletti’s_, and yesterday to the
morning concert at Count _Apponyi’s_; at neither place, however, was
any thing played worth particular notice, with the exception of a fine
quartett by _Mayer_ and a duet from a comic opera of _Fioravanti_.
_Mayer_ is remarkable for scrupulously correct harmony, regularity of
rhythm and a good treatment of the voices in part compositions, and
surpasses therein all modern Italians. The duet out of _Fioravanti_
more particularly interested me from the circumstance that it is also
adorned with the modern so-called “flowery song,” from which I find
that _Rossini_ is neither the first nor only one who makes use of it.
I begin moreover to judge him more favourably, as long as he does not
venture beyond the limits of _comic_ opera, and when his music is as
gracefully executed as by the Countess _Apponyi_ and _Moncade_.

       *       *       *       *       *

On the 20th January we left Rome. The _Campagna di Roma_ is as little
cultivated on this side as on the other; the road as far as Albano
derives nevertheless much interest from the many antiquities seen on
the way. The numerous remains of three or four old Roman acqueducts
give a particularly romantic aspect to the country round. One of the
acqueducts, which was less injured, has been repared in later times,
and still serves to supply Rome with water upon this side.

While our _vetturino_ was baiting his horses at Albano, I ascended the
mountain upon which the lake of Albano is situated. The view across it
towards Rome is exceedingly beautiful. Below at one’s feet is seen the
lake with its high precipitous banks thickly covered with trees and
underwood; upon the right a long building, the use of which I do not
know; to the left, upon the high steep bank, Castel Gandolfo, and in
the extreme distance the mass of houses of Rome. The form of the lake
and of its high precipitous banks indicates plainly that it has been
formed by the falling in of a burnt-out crater.

The road from Albano to the little dirty town of Velletri, where we
took up our first night-quarters, presents a great variety of scenery.

On the second day we crossed the Pontine marshes, which extend from
Velletri to Terracina, a distance of four and twenty Italian miles.
We did not find them so desolate and barren as we expected, for one
has always a sight of the mountains on the left, and here and there
of even a few patches of cultivated land. The numerous herds of oxen,
buffaloes, swine, and in the dry parts, of sheep also, give some life
to the uniformity of the level. But houses are of rare occurrence,
and the inhabitants have always a pale unhealthy appearance. In the
heat of summer the exhalations from the marshes are very dangerous,
even to travellers who do but cross them, particularly if they abandon
themselves to sleep, to which one is greatly induced by the uniformity
of the road. Only last summer a young lady who could not resist the
disposition to sleep inhaled death here, and was carried off by a
malignant fever three days after her arrival in Naples. Such cases are
not unfrequent in summer.

At _Torre a tri ponti_, a solitary hostelry, all the inmates of which
looked as if they had just risen from their graves, we dined, and had
very excellent meat, and roast ducks and geese, of which there are
swarms in the uncultivated parts of the marshes.

Terracina, where we arrived at night-fall is most charmingly situated.
The town stands upon a wild rocky eminence, but we stopped below at a
very excellent inn close to the sea. From our windows we had a view of
the sea, and on the following morning enjoyed the magnificent sight
of the rising sun. Close below our windows, the waves broke with
considerable noise, although during the previous day the wind had not
been high. The air was as mild as after a warm summer’s day in Germany,
and in the evening late we saw the fishermen launch their barks through
the surf by moonlight, to cast their nets.

On the next morning we had to pass through the most dangerous part of
the whole journey, from being the most infested with banditti. This
part is between Terracina and Fondi, where the road lies through a
thinly inhabited country and almost always between masses of low bushes
in which the scoundrels easily conceal themselves, and can shoot down
travellers and their escort from an ambuscade without being perceived.
It is here where the most robberies are perpetrated, and but recently
only some travellers were again attacked. But the government has at
length taken earnest measures to suppress this. We found several
hundred peasants employed in cutting down all the bushes on both sides
of the road and burning them; and we met several strong detachments of
soldiers, sent out to hunt up the banditti in their fastnesses. From
twenty to thirty have already been brought in and hung up with little
ceremony. On this side of the Neapolitan frontiers we met a picquet of
soldiers at intervals of every quarter of an hour, which bivouacked on
the side of the road and sent out patrols during the night.

At Fondi, a poor dirty looking hole, where we were almost torn to
pieces by beggars, we saw the first gardens of lemons, pomegranates and
oranges. We took a walk through the town and were delighted with the
sight of the splendid trees, which were loaded with the finest fruit.
In the gardens and in the market we saw fine fresh vegetables, such as
cauliflowers, savoy-cabbages, carrots, &c. But at noon the heat was so
great, that we were obliged to seek the shade.

We passed the night at Molo di Gaëta, also a small town situate close
to the sea. From the windows of our inn in the evening we saw the
fishermen put out to sea by torchlight to fish. Between Molo and Santa
Agata we saw a great number of evergreen shrubs and plants, which do
not grow even in the north of Italy, and upon the rocks several kinds
of aloes, such as we grow in greenhouses. Several other shrubs which
are also indigenous with us were already in their first leaf. On the
road-side the air was perfumed by the violets, and the fields with the
blossoms of the beans.

Capua, where we passed the last night of our journey, is a handsome
town with fine buildings. We supped in the evening with two Austrian
officers, who told us among other things, that they did not bury people
in Capua, but threw them down a hole about a mile from the town, which
was unfathomly deep, but was believed to have a communication with the
sea, as after some lapse of time one could hear the bodies of those who
were thrown down fall into the water.

The road from Capua to Naples is the most uninteresting of the whole
journey. Nothing else is to be seen on either side of the road but
high mulberry trees and pendant vines, both now without leaves. At two
o’clock in the afternoon we at length arrived at the long-wished for
Naples, and found a lodging which had been already engaged and prepared
for us by one of our fellow-countrymen.


  _Naples_, January 1.

Naples, although not remarkable for beautiful architecture, is, from
its situation and many peculiarities, one of the most beautiful cities
of the world. On coming from Rome, one certainly misses the grander
taste in architecture and other works of decorative art formed upon
and refined by the study of the antique, which for ages has rendered
that city the most interesting of all others to the architect, the
sculptor and the painter; but one is compensated for that in Naples
by other advantages that Rome has not. To an inhabitant of northern
lands, the city presents from its amphitheatrical position a most
imposing spectacle, and with its flat roofs covered with party-coloured
and lacquered tiles, its cupolas and towers, it has a very novel and
oriental appearance. It is moreover one of the most lively cities of
the world, at least one of the most noisy; for although Vienna and
Hamburg, the two most populous cities that I have yet seen, may have
proportionately as many inhabitants as Naples, yet the latter, partly
from its southern liveliness, and partly from the circumstance that
here all classes idle away more time in the streets than they work at
home, is much more animated than those cities. The noise in the streets
is positively great beyond description, and until one has become
somewhat accustomed to it, one is completely deafened by it. All the
mechanics pursue their calling in the streets: blacksmiths, locksmiths,
copper-smiths, carpenters, tailors and shoemakers--all alike sit in
front of their houses variously intermingled, and work. Added to that
the rattling of the carts and vehicles, which in the principal streets
almost always move on two lines, the wild cries of itinerant vendors,
always endeavouring to undersell each other, and lastly the animated
language and gestures of those who meet, or converse in the streets,
who to a German seem as though they were in violent dispute, although
they are perhaps merely talking of the weather or some unimportant
piece of news or town gossip. But more striking than in any other city
of the world is the contrast between the luxury in the equipages and
dress of the higher classes, and the dirt and nakedness of the lower
ones, particularly of the so-called Lazzaroni. Of these whole families
are to be seen lying in the streets in the midst of the _beau monde_,
looking for vermin upon their half-naked bodies. A more disgusting
sight I never beheld! And yet before _Murat’s_ time, who made soldiers
of all the able-bodied Lazzaroni, these vagabonds were far more

  February 3.

Yesterday we made our first excursion. In company with our Silesian
fellow-countrymen, Herren _von Raumer_, _von Lattorf_, _Hagen_
and _Kruse_, we first drove out to Portici to see the museum.
Here, in a suite of apartments, are preserved the paintings and
interior-decorations found in Herculaneum and Pompeii, from whence they
have been taken from the walls with the plaster, and are here hung up
in frames with glass doors. Of the greater part of them the colours
are in excellent preservation, especially a very fine red. The room
or interior decorations, consisting of arabesques, small landscapes,
and the figures of animals, are almost all well painted. The larger
historical paintings taken from temples and public buildings have great
artistic merit, and are remarkable both for drawing and colour. Some of
these are in a wonderful state of preservation, and appear as though
they had been painted but recently. Besides these paintings, there is
in another room a collection of a variety of metal utensils, a helmet,
and some vases in pottery, with different kinds of grain, partly burnt
by the glowing ashes, such as wheat, barley, Indian corn, beans, &c.
&c. These different kinds of grain are readily recognised, and we
found them quite similar to our own in size and form. All the other
antiquities which were formerly preserved here have been transferred to
Naples, and it is intended to transfer the paintings there also.

As the weather was extremely fine, we felt a great disposition to
make the ascent of mount Vesuvius without loss of time. But as it
was almost impossible for women and children to climb the last steep
ascent, _Dorette_ and the children returned to Naples, accompanied by
Herr _Kruse_. We others hired some asses for the journey and return,
at the extremely low charge of four Carlini (about 15-1/2d.), and set
out at 12 o’clock at noon. At first the road lies through vineyards
for about the distance of an hour and a half’s journey, and with but a
gentle ascent only; but the road begins already to be difficult, being
very uneven and stony. We saw several vineyards enclosed with large
bush-aloes instead of hedges. After the lapse of an hour and a half
we came to a plain which spread away before us like a desolate waste,
as far as the proper base of the volcano. Not a vestige of vegetation
met the eye; on every side nothing but masses of lava piled upon each
other! Our path now turned leftward across the plain towards a mountain
ridge, which rises like an island out of the midst of this fearful
wilderness. On this stands the so-called hermitage, a building of two
stories high, where we refreshed ourselves with bread, wine, cheese and
fruits, and enjoyed the fine and now tolerably extensive view. After a
short rest, in company with ten Englishmen whom we met here, we resumed
the road, which still continues to run over the summit of the ridge as
far as the crater. This part of the way is the least difficult, leading
for some distance through bushes of sweet chesnuts, the plain covered
with black lava stretching away before the eye. After half an hour’s
progress we reached the steepest part of the ridge, at the foot of
which we were obliged to leave the asses. Now began the difficult part
of our work. Treading upon deep ashes without solid bottom, at every
footstep one slips back so far, that one has often scarcely advanced
an inch; and the mountain is here so steep, that one is obliged to
use the hands as well for progression. Fortunately a ridge of solid
lava extends downwards almost from the whole height, and rises like
a ridge of rock from out of the ashes. When one has reached this,
the toil is less, as the ground beneath has again become firm. But
were one obliged, as at first, to wade always through the ashes, it
would require a whole day to make the ascent of this height alone.
Nevertheless it took a good hour to accomplish it, although we set out
from our resting place with recruited strength, and with the hope of
soon reaching the summit. On reaching the top, we saw again a small
plain before us, from which in several places between the lava-rocks a
white sulphurous steam ascended. The ground here was more or less hot
and our footsteps produced a hollow sound. After we had passed rapidly
over this we had to climb another though a lower height, and then
beheld at a moderate distance before us the two craters, which were
now vomiting fire. We sat down upon the ground between the lava-rocks
and found ourselves as though sitting in a heated stove, for a great
heat rose from the earth, which was nevertheless very agreeable to
us. After we had rested here some time, some one of the company asked
whether one could not ascend between the two cones close to the brink
of the crater? All the guides replied in the negative, and assured us
it was very dangerous to approach it nearer. We saw sufficiently well
ourselves that it would be impossible to ascend direct from the place
where we stood, as we should have run the risk of being stifled with
the smoke of the crater upon our left. But it seemed to us that a way
might possibly be found round the left side of one crater, from which
we could ascend on the windward side of the other; so we immediately
proceeded to make the trial together; after some objections our guides
followed also. We had scarcely proceeded a distance of two hundred
paces, when one of the craters with a fearful report threw out a
quantity of red-hot stones, some of which fell at no great distance
from us. This soon brought the whole party to a standstill; but after
some little hesitation the foremost proceeded onward and the rest of us
followed. In this manner, after a toilsome passage, we reached the rear
of the left-hand crater, and then began to ascend the cone. But this
was the most laborious task of the whole day, for we had now to climb
a very steep incline up to our knees in ashes. Nevertheless, after
great exertion we reached the summit and stood on the narrow edge of
the crater, which, in the form of a funnel, is about two hundred feet
in diameter at the upper part of the opening. After we had taken breath
here awhile, and contemplated the eruptions of the other crater, which
lay before us to leeward, the one close to which we were standing,
became suddenly quite clear of smoke, and we could look down into the
awful abyss. We there saw large cavernous fissures between the masses
of rock forming the neck of the funnel, out of which flames burst at
intervals; but as these were immediately followed by smoke, this sight
was of short continuance only. One of the Englishmen of our party
took it into his head, at a moment when the smoke of the crater upon
the brink of which we were standing was somewhat less, to run across
even to the other, in order to look down into it. But scarcely had he
reached the brink, when an eruption, though fortunately not a very
strong one, took place, from which he had barely time to save himself,
and rush back again to us. At the same moment a third crater behind us
began to make a noise, and it was now indeed high time that we should
make our retreat. Though it was ashes merely that it threw up, yet by
the timely fear with which it filled us, it was our saviour from utter
destruction; for scarcely had we reached our old halting-place than the
hitherto very quiet crater on the brink of which we had stood, threw
out such a mass of red hot stones, exactly in the direction of the
place where we had stood, that we should all have been struck down and
overwhelmed by them had we stopped there five minutes longer. After our
daring party had recovered from the terror which had seized upon all,
we were compelled to avow our extreme rashness in having ventured to
ascend so high despite the warnings of our guides.

We now once more bivouaked upon our warm place, and recruited our
spirits with the provisions we had brought with us. But with night
drawing on, far away from every living creature, and surrounded on
all sides by desolation, it was a fearful reflexion to think that we
sat here suspended as it were over a sea of fire, upon a perhaps not
very thick crust, which sooner or later might give way beneath us.
Several of our party made the observation, that it was indeed a mad
piece of folly to have risked life upon chances so eminently possible,
for the mere gratification of an idle curiosity. But these reflexions
nevertheless did not prevent us from enjoying with much relish the eggs
our guides had brought with them and cooked in the hot ashes, and which
we washed down with a draught of delicious _Lacrymæ Christi_.

We here awaited the approach of night; saw the sun sink below the sea,
and the full moon rise behind the craters, her yellow light forming a
beautiful contrast with the red flames that issued from them. On our
right we saw at the same time the reflexion from the burning lava which
poured from an opening in the side of the mountain, which however it
was impossible to approach without the greatest danger.

About seven o’clock we set out upon our return, which at first, from
our being obliged to descend on the shaded side of the mountain was
on account of the darkness both very difficult and dangerous. But
when we arrived at the precipitous places, our guides led back us by
another way, where we slid down with giant steps over deep ashes. Below
we found our asses, upon which we rode to Portici by a magnificent
moonlight. At ten o’clock at night we arrived once more at Naples,
highly gratified with the extremely interesting day’s adventures.

  February 7.

During the constant fine spring weather we daily take a walk to see
the immediate environs of the city. The favorite walk of the children
is to the quay, on which is the light-house, partly because the busy
life in the port itself, as well as the sight of the different kinds
of vessels, from the ship of war mounting a hundred guns down to the
fisherman’s boat, affords them immense pleasure, and partly because
the way leading to it presents the most lively picture of the habits
and occupations of the lower classes. From the St. Carlo theatre to
the harbour there is, next to the Toledo-street, always the greatest
crowd; at a short distance from which are all the small hole-and-corner
theatres, where performances take place all the day long and where,
upon a platform outside, a couple of fiddlers and a merry-Andrew
constantly invite the passers-by to enter. Between these are the booths
of the itinerant vendors, who, perched upon a table, recommend their
medicaments to their numerous listeners and purchasers. Upon the quay,
where there is no noise from the carts and carriages, the puppet-show
players pitch their portative theatres, and the _Improvisatori_
entertain the Neapolitans with the heroic feats of their ancestors.
Sometimes one of these reads aloud to his auditory and then explains
what he has been reading. But here also swarm the most impudent and
disgusting beggars, and the most expert pick-pockets; so that one
cannot be too careful how one gets mixed up with them. On my first
walks into that quarter I lost my pocket handkerchief each time. If one
waits here till the evening the Vesuvius, with its red fire, presents a
singular and magnificent contrast with the white lights of the Pharos.

The Royal garden on the Chiaja is also another very interesting walk.
It extends for a considerable length close to the sea, and consists of
three very broad alleys with small flower-beds laid out in the English
style. It is ornamented with several fine statues and groups in marble;
in the centre stands the celebrated Farnesian Bull, a splendid antique
by a Greek master; on both sides are several fine copies of ancient
works of art, such as that of the Apollo of Belvedere, the rape of the
Sabines, &c. &c. From eleven in the forenoon on fine days, the _beau
monde_ assembles here to look and to be looked at. If one proceeds
still farther along the Chiaja, one soon comes to the road that leads
through the Grotto of Pausilippo to Puzzuoli. This long gallery,
extending at least for a thousand paces right through a mountain of
considerable height, is very remarkable of its kind, for the galleries
cut through the rocks in the road over the Simplon are but child’s
play compared to this work. The entrance on this side between towering
rocks is exceedingly romantic; at a great distance off the noise of the
carriages driving through resembles thunder, and it is said that at
night, when all is quiet here, the sound of the vehicles in the streets
of Naples, is echoed through this rocky gallery like that of distant
thunder. The interior is lighted day and night with numerous lamps.
At the entrance and in the middle are little chapels, at which the
passengers are solicited for alms. Above the entrance high up on the
rocks, a small grotto is pointed out, where the immortal poet Virgil
lies buried.

A few days ago we visited also Fort St. Elmo, from which one has an
extensive view over the whole city and of the expansive bay.

  February 12.

Last evening we returned from a delightful excursion to the islands.
On Sunday at noon, in company with our three Silesian countryman, we
went across to Ischia in a hired boat. We were at first obliged to
sail round the promontary of Pausilippo: Nisida and Procida lay quite
close to us, Cape Micen somewhat in the background, and Ischia at
a greater distance, in a direct line before us. These islands and
promontories with their steep, and towering rocks close to the sea,
and the rich fertility of their interior, present every moment and on
every side on which they are beheld new aspects of varying interest,
now of a beautiful and now of a bolder and grander character. Procida,
in particular, one of the most populated spots of the whole world,
presents a magnificent view from the sea, the whole island having
the appearance of a large city. As the wind blew tolerably fresh and
against us, night came on before we could reach Ischia. But the beauty
of the evening would not permit us to regret our having been delayed.
The stars shone with a brightness such as in Germany at least they are
never seen to shine with; and Venus in particular was resplendent with
so clear a light that its beams were reflected in the sea like those of
the moon, and one could plainly discern a shadow from any intervening
object. The sea, also, at every stroke of the oar shone as with the
light of myriads of glowworms. About eight o’clock we at length landed
at the north shore of the island and found a comfortable night-lodging
in the handsome house of a clergyman.

On the next morning we soon set out upon our way to see the interior
of the island and to ascend the Epomeo. As at Ischia there are neither
vehicles nor roads to travel on, we all mounted upon asses, which
carried us more conveniently and safely over the rocky and uneven
ground. After passing through several level tracts in the highest
cultivation we came to the small but lively town of Ischia, on the
sea-shore, and onward to the foot of the Epomeo between vineyards to
the opposite side of the mountain, where it is more convenient to
climb. After we had ascended about half-way by very bad roads, we
halted for an hour to rest and refresh the animals, and then completed
the other still more toilsome part of the ascent. Meanwhile the sky had
unfortunately become overcast with clouds, and upon reaching the summit
of the mountain we were enveloped in a thick mist. We then entered a
hermitage of some size, consisting of several rooms and passages,
and of a chapel. It resembles that at Freiburg in Switzerland, and
like that also is hewn out of the solid rock, by two industrians
recluses. We waited here some time in the hope that the weather would
clear up, and several times also we had a glimpse between the clouds
over the level parts of the island, which lay like a map outspread in
the distance before us; but Naples, Capri, and Sorrento were veiled
from our sight. We were at length obliged to set out on our way once
more, without having had the pleasure of enjoying the fine view from
here, which is perhaps one of the finest in the world, and had already
considered our toilsome journey as a labour in vain, when on a sudden,
after we had descended somewhat lower and stood under the stratum of
clouds, the magnificent view of the whole of the islands, promontories
and bay, with Vesuvius smoking in the background, displayed itself to
our enraptured eyes. Long we stood lost in admiration of the singular
beauty of the scene, and at length, when the setting sun gave token
of departure, we returned by the shortest but steepest road, where
we could make no use of the asses, to our quarter of the previous
night. The Epomeo, which 450 years ago was a volcano, exhibits on this
side, which is much more wild and barren than the other, numerous
traces of former eruptions. The road led now almost continually over
weather-worn lava. Upon the rocks we saw at very frequent intervals
the stock-gilliflower in bloom, which here and in the neighbourhood of
Naples grows wild. On the way-side violets and other plants, several
of which are not indigenous with us, were in full flower, and in the
gardens, the almond tree. At length we came to a place where there are
warm baths, which in summer are much frequented by the Neapolitans. At
the house of our host we found a plentifully spread table awaiting us,
which after all the fatigue of the day was exceedingly acceptable. A
fiery white Ischian wine of the year 1811 we found especially agreeable
to the palate.

We re-embarked the next morning at eight o’clock and landed first at
Cape Micenus, where we visited the large subterranean reservoirs of
soft water from which the Roman fleets were supplied, and the _cento
camere_ of Nero, which were probably prisons for the detention of
prisoners of war. We then sailed right across the bay to Puzzuoli, and
there made another pilgrimage to some antiquities. On running into
the harbour we sailed past the still standing piers and arches of the
bridge of _Caligula_, which that Emperor designed throwing across the
bay. Although built of bricks merely, such is the excellence of the
cement used in their construction, that their remains, after the lapse
of so many centuries, still bid defiance to the unceasing action of the

Our cicerone led us first to the Solfatara, a round level field-like
space enclosed on all sides with rocks, apparently a crater which at
some remote period had fallen in. The subterranean fire still burns
beneath, nevertheless, for in many places smoke issues out of the
earth, and as on Mount Vesuvius, deposits sulphur. At those places the
ground is burning hot, and the foot-tread sounds hollow. Our guide
flung a large stone upon the ground, which made it vibrate for a
considerable distance round us, and produced a very loud, hollow sound.
Thence we proceeded to another subterranean reservoir of water similar
to that at Cape Micenus; inspected the ruins of an amphitheatre and
several temples, and at last reached the most interesting antiquity
in the whole neighbourhood--the ruins of the temple of Serapis, close
to the sea-shore. So much has been written respecting all these
antiquities, that it would be superfluous to dwell upon them here, but
the remains of the temple of Serapis are so remarkable, and afford such
evidence of its former size and grandeur that to see them alone amply
repays a journey here. Towards the evening we drove back to Naples
through the grotto of Pausilippo.

  February 15.

As I have now been several times to the St. Carlo theatre, I can with
confidence put my judgment to paper respecting it. On the first visit
I experienced the same feeling as in the church of St. Peter: it did
not appear to me so large as it really is, and it was not until I had
been frequently told that it is four feet wider and I know not how many
longer than the theatre at Milan, that I could believe it. But when the
curtain drew up and I could compare the size of the human beings with
the painted objects of the decorations, I readily observed that here
also I had been deceived by the correct proportions of each gigantic
object. Here for the first time the horses introduced on the stage did
not appear out of proportion with the rest, and the people one saw
at the extreme depth of the theatre, were still in just proportion
with objects which surrounded them. For ballet and pantomine I know
of no better adapted locality, and military evolutions of infantry
and cavalry, battles, storms at sea, and such things can be produced
without falling into the ridiculous and the paltry; but for operas the
house is too large. Although the singers, Madame _Colbran_ and Signori
_Nozzari_, _Benedetti_, and others, have very powerful voices, yet
one hears only the highest notes given out with the full strain of
the voice; but all tender pathos in song is wholly lost. This is said
not to have been the case before the fire, and the theatre was then
quite as sonorous as _Della Scala_ at Milan. This prejudicial change
is ascribed to three causes first, the proscenium has been widened by
several feet; secondly, the ceiling is not so concave as formerly;
and thirdly, the high projecting decorations in stucco obstruct the
sound and do not send it back. If the house was in reality so sonorous
formerly, then they have greatly deadened that faculty in the new
building, and they would do very wisely to eject (the sooner the
better) all the unnecessary trumpery of ornament and gildings, which
besides is exceedingly heavy and not in the best taste, and so regain
the former advantages.

The first opera I saw was “_Gabriele de Vergi_,” by Count _Caraffa_,
who formerly was a dilettant merely, but now as a younger son without
means, is become an artiste, and as such strives to earn a subsistence.
The opera pleased me very much, but without being altogether
particularly attractive for me. The style is even and dignified,
but the orchestra is too much overladen, and the voice parts are too
much obscured. The execution was very precise, both on the part of
the singers and of the orchestra. The latter, under the correct and
spirited but somewhat too loud direction of Signor _Festa_, had studied
it well, but were somewhat wanting in _nuances_ of _piano_ and _forte_;
the wind instruments in particular are always too loud in the _piano_.
Of the singers nothing further can be said than that they have good
and powerful voices. Whether they have a good execution cannot be
ascertained in this theatre; for one hears them either singing at the
top of their voices, or one cannot hear them at all. After the opera
_Duport’s_ ballet of “Cinderella” was given, the decorations, costumes,
&c., of which were of a very expensive character. Besides _Duport_ and
his wife, the dancer _Vestris_ attracted much notice. The music was
nearly the same as that we heard in Vienna in that ballet; a polonaise
newly introduced by Count _Gallenberg_, the ballet-composer here,
pleased greatly from its originality and sweetness.

Another opera, also by a dilettant, Signor _Carlo Saccenti_, was given
a week ago, after a three months’ study and rehearsal. The king, who
is a great patron of the composer, had fixed on it for the opening
of the San Carlo theatre, and _Mayer_, who had been sent for here by
the impresario, to write a new opera for the occasion, was obliged
to keep his back. But as it was afterwards found that it would be
impossible to be perfect in it by the day appointed for the opening,
_Mayer_ was permitted to write a Cantata in all haste, with which
on the 12th January the theatre was at length opened. This cantata,
though written with great despatch, is said nevertheless, according
to the opinion of connoisseurs to contain a good deal of fine music;
but as the text or subject was the burning of the theatre, one little
calculated for composition, it could not well have been other than a
somewhat tame production. Nor could it be expected, with the little
attention given to it by the public, more occupied with the brilliant
illumination of the house and the splendour and Spanish etiquette which
the court displayed at the opening of the theatre, that the reception
given by the public to the cantata should have been other than a very
cold one. Nevertheless, it was not properly speaking a failure. After
this had been brought out, the study of _Saccenti’s_ opera was again
resumed. All that reached the public concerning these rehearsals was
very unfavourable. His friends said he had composed a work which from
its originality and excellence would produce a complete reform in
operatic compositions: the singers and musicians, on the other hand,
said that in all their lives they had never sung or played anything
more villanous, tedious and incorrect than that unfortunate opera. The
impartial conjectured that, as is usual with such conflicting opinions,
the truth would lie in the mean; but I soon satisfied myself, after
a few rehearsals which I attended, that the musicians were perfectly
right in the judgment they had formed of it. It would indeed be
scarcely possible to put together a more outrageous piece of music,
even if one strove expressly, and with the greatest industry to act
contrary to all the most approved rules of rhythm, structure of the
periods, harmony and instrumentation. There was no trace of song or
sensible carrying out of an idea; every third bar was something else,
with the most incorrect modulations. In the very beginning of the
introduction three ugly quints follow each other in quick succession.
One of the musicians from recollection said that the composer justified
it very ingeniously with the example of the English sailor who was
brought before a magistrate for having married three wives, but whom
the law could not reach as it forbade bigamy only, and made no mention
of trigamy; in the same manner, said the composer, it is forbidden to
have _two_ quints in succession, but by having _three_ the penalty
contemplated by the law was evaded.

After rehearsals innumerable, the representation took place in the
presence of the court and with a crowded house. Notwithstanding the
here prevailing formal Spanish etiquette, which commands that the
curtain shall be drawn up immediately the king enters the box and
which constrains the poor singers to exhibit themselves on the stage
during the whole duration of the overture, without being able to move
in the spirit of the characters they impersonate; and which moreover
forbids every demonstration of applause or of disapprobation; despite
this constraint, which impedes free judgment, the opera was hissed in
_optima forma_. On the following night it had the same fate, without
a single friend of the composer’s daring to clap a hand. With this
second representation, at which I was present, the opera was for ever
consigned to the tomb. It is called “Aganadeca;” its author is Signor
_Vincenzio de Ritis_. The subject, from _Ossian_, is said not to be
without merit, and it is regretted that it did not fall into the hands
of a better composer. The latter, however is not sensible of his own
deficiency; he ascribes its failure to the little musical judgment of
the Neapolitan public, and intends sending his work to Germany. May
Apollo and the muses bestow their blessings upon it!

  February 20.

The Carneval came to a close yesterday, and the fasts have begun.
After the noise of the last day of the carneval, the quiet which has
now succeeded does one really good, although the evenings are somewhat
dull, as all the theatres are closed for four days. At the St. Carlo
theatre instead of the customary oratorios this year operas will be
given as usual, but without ballets, which are wholly forbidden at this
season. At the _Fiorentino_ theatre we saw an opera of _Guglielmi_
(son), “_Paolo e Virgina_,” which met with some success. But the music
of the third act is quite Italian for insipidity, in which _Paul_,
during a storm at sea, sings an air in the usual form, and with the
usual insipid intermediate acting, exhausting himself in shakes and
passages, when he would act much more sensibly if he hastened to the
assistance of his loved one. This sea-storm without an appropriate
music was therefore the most ridiculous thing I ever saw at a theatre,
and solicited no sympathy for the whole affair from the spectators. It
is true the machinery also at this theatre was most mean and childish.
Among the singers Mesdames _Chabran_ and _Canonici_ distinguished
themselves greatly. The former has a fine soprano voice, great ease
of execution and a good school; the latter the same qualifications
with a powerful contralto voice. They had particularly well studied
their duets. In this theatre we found for the first time in Italy,
with a full house and a frequently repeated performance, a quiet and
sympathetic audience. The house is roomy and prettily decorated, but
the stage very small and narrow.

I had expected the end of the carneval to have been far more gay than
I found it. The whole amusement consisted in the crowding together
of half Naples, masked and unmasked, in vehicles and on foot in the
street of Toledo, where they moved up and down and pelted each other
with little balls of gypsum. The masks of the carriages were provided
for the purpose with whole baskets full of these little bullets, and
with shovels, so as to enable them to throw them up to the balconies.
They carried tin shields on the left arm, with which to ward off the
missiles of other maskers. As these were frequently of a tolerable size
and were thrown with full force, the fun frequently proved somewhat
rough for those persons who were not masked, and many a lady must
doubtless have taken home with her a few blue marks on her neck and
arm. Nevertheless all was borne with good humour and without dispute,
as the liberty conferred by the mask serves to excuse all impoliteness.
The masqued balls at the San Carlo theatre are said to have been
somewhat wearisome affairs; although there was no want of masks in
character, yet there was very little wit and ability to personate the
characters in accordance with the costume and manners of the period.

  February 26.

I have been twice to the conservatory of music. The first time I
was present at a practice concert of the pupils, in which several
overtures, or first themes of symphony composed by one of them, who
at the same is first violin also, were tried. They were not devoid
of fancy, but in form and instrumentation complete imitations of
the overtures of _Rossini_, which certainly are not calculated to
serve as models. The execution was but tolerable; the young folks,
particularly the violinists, have no school at all; they know neither
how they should hold the violin nor the bow, and play neither purely
nor distinctly. Nor can it be otherwise with the bad instruction they
receive. _Festa_, the only violinist here of a good school, is not
employed in the conservatory of music. It is highly reprehensible
that the young people are permitted to give their practise-concerts
without the superintendence and guidance of their instructors; their
first violin and director, who is himself still a pupil, is wholly
wanting in self possession and judgment. He bungles the allegro tempi
in such a manner that all distinctness is out of the question. Among
the wind instruments, a hornist, a lad of eleven years of age, is
very remarkable. On the occasion of the second concert at which I
was present, two singers made their appearance, who had neither good
voices nor a good method. All that I have yet heard, is far inferior
to what the Milan musical students can perform. Signor _Zingarelli_,
director of the conservatory here, and teacher of the theory of music
and singing may possess many qualifications as a composer of operas;
but it is generally said that since his appointment the conservatory
has very much declined. That he at least does not know how an orchestra
should be conducted or a symphony executed, he proves by allowing so
quietly these things to take place in his presence. Of the merits of
our German composers he has some very erroneous notions. One day, when
I paid him a visit, he spoke for a long time of _Haydn_ and other of
our composers with great respect, but without even once mentioning
_Mozart_; I therefore turned the conversation upon the latter, upon
which he said: “Yes, he also was not deficient in talent, but he lived
too short a time to cultivate it in a proper manner; if he could only
have continued to study ten years longer, he would then have been able
to write something good.”!

  March 3.

An opera has been again put on the stage written by _Mayer_ several
years ago. It is called “_Cora_” and is founded on the same subject
as _Kotzebue’s_ “Sonnenjungfrau” (Virgin of the Sun). There are
certainly some fine passages in the music, but taken as a whole it
has not satisfied my expectations of _Mayer’s_ music. He is after all
deeply tinctured with the Italian manner and almost wholly an apostate
from the German. His method of carrying out the vocalisation and his
instrumentation are thoroughly Italian. This certainly is not to be
wondered at, for since the age of fourteen he has lived in Italy, and
never wrote for any other than Italian audiences. I think, that apart
from his natural talent, he has raised himself above the others alone
by having always endeavoured to procure all the best German works,
which he studied, and made use of, the latter indeed sometimes a little
too much. Throughout Italy, and here in particular, he is very much
admired and liked: he merits it also in every respect, and as a man is
ever the upright, smooth-spoken unassuming German. He is much attached
to his fatherland, and seems only to regret that it was not his fate
to pursue his career as a composer in Germany. In Bergamo, where he is
director of the orchestra, he now only desires to live in retirement,
and write solely for his church. He assured me that nothing but the
honour of writing for the reopening of the San Carlo theatre could have
induced him to leave his retreat once more, but that the opera “La
vendetta di Junone,” which he had now completed, should certainly be
his last work for the theatre. In “Cora” the favorite piece with the
public is the finale, consisting of a theme in three variations in the
old style of _Pleyel_; one of the singers sings the theme, _Davide_
the first variation in quavers, then _Nozzari_ the second in triplets,
and in conclusion la _Colbran_ the third in semiquavers. As it is well
sung, it greatly pleases the public, and critics therefore must be

  March 6.

Last evening Signor _Pio Chianchettino_ gave a concert in the _Fondo_
theatre. He is a nephew and pupil of _Dussek_, and played two concertos
of that master in his manner. Although his play was pure, distinct
and even full of expression, yet here again, as every-where else, the
piano-forte as concert-instrument proved itself insufficient to awaken
the enthusiasm of an audience; and the more so is this the greater
the size of the place. For that reason also upon this occasion, the
song-pieces pleased far more than the concertos, although no one could
find fault with his play. I myself felt this also; for although I
am very fond of the piano, when a composer rich in ideas improvises
upon it, yet as concert-instrument I am wholly unmoved by it; and a
piano-forte-concerto in my opinion is only effective when written like
those of _Mozart_, in which the piano is not much more thought of than
any other orchestral instrument. The singers, Madame _Chabran_ and
the Signori _Davide_, _Nozzari_ and _Benedetti_, all distinguished
themselves, and were loudly applauded. One becomes more sensible of
their merits when one hears them in a smaller place than the San Carlo
theatre. _Davide_ and _Nozzari_ may be called almost perfect singers,
they both have very fine voices; the former a very high tenor, the
latter a high baritone, remarkable fluency of execution and much true
expression. _Benedetti_ has a very fine bass voice, but sings rather

  March 7.

We have again taken some rather more distant and highly interesting
walks. The object of one was the Camaldula convent, which is situated
upon a hill above two hours’ drive from the centre of the city. We
rode as far as the foot of the mountain, where as the carriage road
terminated, we were obliged to make the ascent on foot. The view from
the convent garden is perhaps one of the most extensive and beautiful
in the world. On one side are seen Ischia, Capri, Procida, Nisida and
the promontories which we had visited in our previous excursion,
accompanied by the blue mirror of the sea; on the opposite side Capua,
Caserta, and in the back-ground the snow-covered mountains; on the side
of Naples a part of the city itself, the whole bay with the opposite
coast, and on the left the smoke-emitting Vesuvius; lastly, on the
fourth side, the shores and salient promontories near Gaëta, as far
as Terracina. As the weather was very propitious for us, this was one
of the most magnificent days we ever passed in the enjoyment of the
beauties of nature. The monks, some of whom we caught sight of, did not
appear in the same humour as we were; for they all wore a gloomy aspect.

We took a shorter but not less interesting walk on the new road to
Rome, which was begun under _Murat_, but has remained unfinished since
his dethronement. It leads over a mountain from which one has the most
admirable view of the city, and it is much to be regretted that it
is not complete; for then the traveller would be able to form a more
worthy conception of the city before his entry into Naples, while now
by the old road, which winds through a narrow mountain ravine, he
sees nothing of Naples until he has entered the most dirty and least
attractive part of the city; which leaves him long in doubt whether he
actually is in the world-famed Naples.

We passed a very pleasant day at the villa of the banker _Heigelin_,
which is situated also upon a mountain near the _Strada Nuova_, whence
one has a beautiful view. Old _Heigelin_, an amiable, open-hearted
German, has ornamented this place of his own creation with so many fine
things, such as grottoes, ruins, temples, fountains, &c. &c., that it
would be actually impossible to crowd any thing more together in so
small a space. Although perhaps the whole is somewhat frivolous as
regards the manner in which it is laid out, it has nevertheless many
individual things worthy of attention. For us Northerns, for instance,
the vast number of exotic plants, which were for the most part in full
bloom, were objects of great interest.

  March 11.

Last evening our concert took place. As the impressario of the court
theatres, _Barbaja_, an extremely selfish man, asked me too much
money for the hire of the theatres, for the _Fondo_ for instance 100
Neapolitan ducats and for the _San Carlo_ 200 even, I adopted his
proposal rather to give my concert in the assembly-room of the San
Carlo theatre, which he offered me lit up for nothing. This apparently
disinterested offer was nevertheless calculated also for his advantage,
for the assembly-room and the adjoining rooms were the places for the
hazard-tables, which he had rented, and to which by means of my concert
he hoped to attract the most fashionable and wealthiest company of the
city. This use of my concert, which could in no way prejudice me, I
could readily allow him. As the saloon is not very spacious, I fixed
the price of admission, as at Rome, at one piaster, and although I had
not a more numerous, yet I had a more susceptible public than there.
Encouraged by this and supported most efficiently by the very accurate
accompaniment under _Festa’s_ direction, as well as by the room itself,
which was so advantageous for my instrument, I played better than I
had done in many other towns in Italy. Besides my compositions a duet
by _Mayer_ and a terzet of _Cherubini_ were sung by Signore _Davide_,
_Nozzari_ and _Benedetti_. Even during the evening I was solicited on
all sides to give a second concert in the theatre.

  March 18.

This morning early we visited the “Studii,” _i. e._ the building in
which the treasures of art from Pompeii and Herculaneum are preserved,
together with the collections previously made of statues and paintings.
The library is situated also in the same building. As it is impossible
to see all in one day, we chose for to-day the statues and the library.
Among the former are some very celebrated statues from the Farnese
collection, of which numerous excellent casts have been made, and two
equestrian statues found in Pompeii, of great artistic worth. In one
room are two glazed cases, full of antique bronzes, also from Pompeii
and Herculaneum, consisting of lamps, small penates and all kinds of
domestic utensils. These things, as well as the statues in marble are
in the most perfect preservation, and appear scarcely so many days old
as they are years; but every thing of iron is much eaten by rust, as
for instance the handles and rings of various vessels of bronze.

The library is contained in a fine handsome and spacious apartment and
several adjoining rooms. On the floor of the grand room the line of the
meridian is drawn, on which, through a small hole pierced in the wall
for that purpose, the sun’s rays fall at noon. When a person claps his
hands at a particular spot in this apartment, an echo repeats it more
than thirty times in rapid succession. This arises probably from the
position of the window-recesses, which are high up, near the ceiling.

Lastly we visited the room where the rolls of papyrus are preserved
and unrolled. They have all the appearance of charcoal, and one might
mistake them for that, were it not that one can easily distinguish the
edges of the leaves. A manuscript fully unrolled, mounted upon linen,
framed and glazed, hangs against the wall. As the paper is burnt quite
black the letters are scarcely to be distinguished, and one cannot but
admire the patience, the penetration, and the knowledge of languages
of those who have known how to unravel its sense. It is a treatise on
music: each side is divided into three columns. In the first is seen an
engraved, accurate copy of the unrolled papyrus, with all its defects,
and rents; in the second, the contents in modern Greek characters, in
which the letters and words that are wanting in the original are filled
in with red letters, and in the third, a Latin translation. They are
now unrolling another manuscript, but do not appear to be hurrying
themselves much, for we found one person only thus occupied. The method
pursued is a very simple one. Small strips of fine parchment are stuck
with gum close to each other or rather somewhat lapping over each
other, upon the charred rolls, after which the paper is gradually and
carefully released and removed. The process is of a necessity a slow
one, but considerably more might have been unrolled by this time. If
these precious remains of ancient learning were in the possession of a
German sovereign, they would all have been deciphered long since.

  March 22.

As I did not like the trouble of making the arrangement for a second
concert, I readily accepted the proposal of the impressario to play
twice at the San Carlo theatre between the acts of the opera for the
sum of 300 ducats. This I did the evening before last for the first
time. I was very much afraid that the violin would not fill the immense
house, but I was soon set at rest on that point on being told at the
rehearsal that every note was distinctly heard in the most distant
parts of the house. But of a necessity nevertheless I was obliged to
forego every finer _nuance_ in my play. Although the house was very
full, yet the greatest silence prevailed whilst I was playing, and
after the second piece of music I was called forward.

Last evening I played at the _Casino mobile_, in a very fine saloon,
my concerto in the form of a scena, and a pot-pourri with pianoforte
accompaniment. As the room is very favourable for music, both of these
had a very sensible effect upon the audience. The remainder of the
concert, consisting of symphonies and _pièces d’harmonie_, was not of

I forgot to mention a concert given by Signora _Paravicini_ at which
we were present, at the _Teatro nuovo_, on Wednesday last. She played,
between the acts of a comedy, the first violin-concerto of _Rode_
in D minor, a pot-pourri by _Kreutzer_, and at the end an _Adagio_
and _Rondo_ of the same composer. I have been accustomed to hear my
instrument ill used by women, but I never saw it used so badly as by
Signora _Paravicini_. I was the more surprised at this, as she has
acquired some fame, and has a vast deal of pretension; as an instance
of this, she told people here that she had heard _Rode_ in Vienna, but
that he had excited no other sentiment in her than pity. Her turn
had now come to excite pity if one can feel it at all for arrogance
and unskilfulness. She has a very excellent violin, a _Stradivari_,
and in the cantabile draws from it a tolerable tone; but that is her
only merit. In other respects she plays in bad taste, with a profusion
of meaningless ornamentations, and the passages indistinctly: her
intonation is not pure and her bow stroke extremely bungling. The
applause was very lukewarm and was elicited only when Prince Leopold
her patron began to clap his hands. Much more interesting than
_Paravicini’s_ play, was the comedy, which was capitally performed.
Signor _de Marini_ played remarkably well, and he is altogether one of
the best actors of the day. The theatre, certainly, is smaller than the
Fiorentino and Fondo, but quite as pretty.

At private-parties I have played my quartetts and quintetts a few
times, which were exceedingly well accompanied by Messieurs _Dauner_
and son, the young and talented violinist _Onario_, whom I have
practised in some of my things, and by the accomplished violoncellist
_Fenzi_, who lived formerly in Cassel. They afforded great pleasure,
and _Mayer_ assured me he had never enjoyed a greater musical treat. On
the second occasion we played them at the house of Lady _Douglas_, who
herself plays the piano very well and is said to have sung exceedingly
well some years ago. She and her husband are the first English in whom
I have found a real taste for music.

  March 23.

On looking through this diary I observe that I have forgotten to
mention the performance of two masses given at the expense of Prince
_Esterhazy_ of Vienna. The first by old _Umlauf_ of Vienna, was
remarkable for nothing in particular; but the second by _Haydn_, in D
minor, which was performed with great solemnity and military pomp on
the emperor’s birthday, afforded much gratification. Mesdames _Chabran_
and _Canonici_, and Signori _Nozzari_ and _Benedetti_ sang the solo
parts very beautifully; the chorus and orchestra were also admirable.
Unfortunately, at the express desire of the Prince, almost all the
_tempi_ were taken too quick, and thereby much spoiled.

  _Milan_, April 22.

Prevented from writing by the great press of business in the last days
of our residence in Naples, and the hurry of our return journey, which
was almost unbroken by a day of rest, I have got greatly in arrears,
and have therefore much to fetch up, even respecting Naples.

_Mayer’s_ new opera was at length brought out a fortnight before
Easter, after it had been once more re-christened, but it was a total
failure, so that it lived through two and a half representations only,
and probably is for ever at rest. On the third evening, in fact, the
first act alone was given, with one act of _Paer’s_ “Sargino.” Both the
subject and the music of _Mayer’s_ opera are equally uninteresting and
tedious. The latter especially is wanting in life and spirit; it is
so common-place and so spun out, that one can hardly hear it without
falling asleep. This actually occurred to me, to Count _Gallenberg_,
and to several others, at the grand rehearsal. _Mayer_ seems to have
exhausted himself, which is no wonder with the enormous quantity of
operas which he has written. It is certainly high time for him to
retire as a composer of operas, that he may not entirely forfeit the
repute he had acquired, and he would have done well if he had not
accepted the last invitation to Naples. The evening after the first
representation of his opera he set out on his return to Bergamo.

About this time the arrival of Madame _Catalani_ set all the lovers of
music in Naples in great commotion. She immediately took advantage of
this enthusiasm and announced a few days afterwards a concert in the
Fiorentino theatre, the prices of admission being seven-fold the usual
ones. On the day before the concert, it was with difficulty that I got
two pit tickets, and that because I had previously bespoken them, at
22 Carlini each. Never perhaps were the expectations of an audience at
a higher pitch of tension, than were those of the Neapolitan public
on that evening. My wife and I, who for years had longed to hear this
celebrated singer, could scarcely repress our impatience for the moment
of her appearance. At length she did appear, and a deathlike silence
pervaded the whole house. She came forward with a cold and pretentious
air, and saluted neither the Court nor the public, which created an
obvious unpleasant sensation. Perhaps she had expected to have been
received with a burst of applause, which however is not the custom in
Naples, and this perhaps put her out of humour. But when after her
first song she was greeted with a storm of applause, she became more
friendly, and remained so for the rest of the evening. She sang four
times, two airs by _Pucitta_, _Ombra adorata_ of _Zingarelli_ (or, as
the Neapolitans insist, of _Crescentini_, whose name also was down on
the bills) and variations on the thousand times varied “_Nel cor non
più mi sento_.” The airs by _Pucitta_ were extremely poor; the famed
_Ombra adorata_ can only be considered fine, when all thoughts of the
text are banished from the mind; the variations were common place, but
become piquante from her manner of execution. She pleased us greatly,
by the constantly pure intonation and the perfect finish with which she
executes every kind of vocal ornamentation and of passages, and by her
quite peculiar and characteristic style of singing; but she does not
come up to that ideal of a perfectly accomplished singer, which we had
expected to find her. Her voice which has the extensive range of




is both full and powerful in the low and middle notes, but the
transition to the _voce di testa_ at


very observable, and from three to four notes in that region are much
weaker, than the deeper and highest; for which reason she gives all
passages which occur in those notes, with half-voice, only in order
to conceal the inequality. Her voice is wanting also in the youthful
freshness, which, however, in a female singer of forty years of age, is
not to be wondered at. Her shake is wonderfully beautiful; and equally
pure whether in the half or whole notes. A peculiar style of run
through the half notes, properly speaking the enharmonic scales, since
every note was produced twice, is greatly admired as something quite
her own. To me, nevertheless, it was more remarkable than beautiful;
for it sounded to me like the howling of the storm in the chimney.
Another kind of vocal ornamentation, which in itself is common enough,
she gives, however, in a manner that imparts great charm to it. It
would be expressed in notes somewhat in this manner:


but at the same time it must be observed, that she took breath at
every sixteenth-pause, which gave to this part a very impassioned
character. Among the variations was one with syncopated notes, which
from her peculiar style of execution derives also a very characteristic
and interesting charm; and another in triplets _legato_ she gives in
perfection. But what I most missed in her singing, was _soul_. She
sings recitative without expression--I might say with carelessness, and
in _Adagio_ she remains cold. Neither were we even _once_ deeply moved,
but experienced merely that sense of pleasure one always feels when one
sees and hears mechanical difficulties overcome with ease. This, also,
was the sentiment of all those who sat in our immediate neighbourhood.
Some unpleasant and prejudicial habits, which she is not likely now to
correct, I must yet advert to. To these belong firstly, that in certain
passages, particularly those which she gives with force, every note
is delivered with a sort of see-saw movement of the lower jaw, as in
mastication, so that a dumb person, if he _saw her sing_, would have
no great difficulty in distinguishing crochets from quavers and up and
down running passages from one another. In the shake, more especially,
the movement of the lower jaw by which every note might be counted, is
very striking and disfiguring. Secondly, in impassioned passages her
whole body partakes of a southern but highly unbecoming mobility, from
which a deaf man would likewise of a certainty easily guess the subject.

A few days afterwards we heard her again in the rehearsal to her
second concert, in which she sang five times, and exhibited the same
qualifications, but also impressed no one at any time by a show of
feeling in her execution. She seemed to me much less pretentious here
and more amiable; and she was very polite to the orchestra and the
persons who had gathered to hear her, so that I can readily believe
what I was told--that her pretentious air when appearing in public,
arose more from embarrassement than pride, and was assumed by her to
conceal her fears. A young man who stood behind the side-scenes during
her concert assured me, that upon first stepping forward on the stage
she trembled in every limb, and could scarcely breathe for nervousness.
It is said that here in Milan she did not give general satisfaction;
and her last concerts were much less numerously attended than the
first. One part of the public was in favour of _Grassini_, whom we have
now heard here also, but of whom I shall speak later. The admirers of
the latter had played _Catalani_ a malicious trick by distributing for
sale at the entrance of the theatre at her first concert an Italian
translation of the unfavourable opinions respecting her that had
appeared in the Hamburg and Leipsic musical journals. _Catalani_,
herself, expecting to find in it a sonnet or something of the kind in
her praise, purchased a copy.

The day after _Catalani’s_ first concert in Naples took place,
_Rossini’s_ “Elisabetta” was given at the San Carlo theatre, in which
_Colbran_ played the first part. As every body knew that it was her
intention to compete with _Catalani_, the house was more than usually
crowded, both by partizans and antagonists of _Colbran_. The latter
on the previous evening called _Catalani’s_ concert the exequies of
_Colbran_, and people were therefore extremely curious to learn what
would be the result of the evening. Immediately upon her appearance
she was received with a concert of hisses, but simultaneously also
with vehement applause. As, however, this time she really sang and
played exceedingly well, the applauders increased in number and the
hissers grew less, so that at last she was called forward almost
unanimously by the audience. She is far behind _Catalani_ in voice and
every mechanical point of excellence, but she sings with true feeling
and plays with considerable passion. The composition of this opera
is one of _Rossini’s_ best, but with all the merits, it has also all
the weak points of the others.--In the theatre, a ridiculous trait of
pretentious magnanimity on the part of _Catalani_ furnished subject of
amusement. A few evenings before, when she first went to the theatre,
she sent her secretary behind the scenes to express to _Colbran_
and the other singers that “she was perfectly satisfied with their

  _Freiburg in Breisgau_, June 20. 1817.

Previous to our leaving Naples, we devoted one whole day more to a
visit to Pompeii. We were so fortunate as to have a clear and tolerably
warm day, a real wonder throughout the whole of the month of March!
While from the middle of January to the end of February the weather was
almost without interruption the most beautiful spring weather, with the
beginning of March winter suddenly returned. A cold and stormy rain
fell in the vallies, and snow in the mountains to such a depth, that
they were no longer accessible. On Vesuvius it was said to be from
three to four feet deep. But March is generally very cold and the real
winter month of the Neapolitans.

The ruins of Pompeii, which from having lain covered for nearly 2000
years with a light crust of dry ashes, are in far better preservation
than all the remains of that period which have been exposed to the
air, made a deep and really solemn impression upon us. The ruins of
the Colosseum and other ancient buildings in Rome, impress one with an
idea of the artistic taste, the wealth, and love of grandeur of the
ancients; but here the sight of simple small private dwelling-houses,
which are as entire as on the day of the fearful catastrophe, makes
one acquainted with the habits and ways of their civic life, and, by
ocular evidence, with many customs unknown to our mode of living, and
described to us by ancient writers.

On entering one of these houses, which may have belonged to a
well-to-do individual in the middle class of society, one finds a row
of small, neat rooms all painted _al fresco_, like the paintings cut
out of the walls from Herculaneum, which are preserved at Portici.
These chambers have rarely any window, and but one door to admit
light and air, which opens upon a court yard, round which runs a
covered gallery. In the centre of the court is a fountain, near this a
circular marble table round which stand marble benches to recline upon
at meal time, furnished with a somewhat higher projection to support
the elbows; and on one side of the court is one or more tastefully
decorated baths. All these houses had but one floor or story and were
much smaller than our dwelling houses. It is greatly to be regretted
that the domestic utensils which were found there could not be left
in their place! One would then have had a perfect conception of the
habits and mode of life of the former inhabitants of this remarkable
city. The pavement of the streets is still in the same condition as it
then was, and the impression of the wheels of the vehicles as also of
the feet of the foot-passengers are still to be seen in the streets.
Over the shops one still sees expressed in Greek characters painted on
walls, the wares which were sold in each, and at the corner of a street
an advertisement of that period. In the shops where oil was sold huge
earthen-ware jars, let into the masonry of the front wall, are still
to be seen, from which that article was dipped out for sale. In many
cellars in good preservation, similar tall jars, but with very narrow
necks are to be seen, in which wine was kept. In one of these cellars
the skeleton of a woman was found, and so completely imbedded in the
ashes, that the form of her body could be distinguished as in a mould.
A part of this form in which the impress of her breast is left, is
preserved at Portici. In her hand was found a large leathern bag with
coins in it.

The street which is in the best preservation is the street of the
tombs, in which on both sides scarcely any thing is to be seen but
tombs, some of which are built in the Egyptian pyramidal-form, and
others in the Roman style. In these tombs, urns have been found in
which the ashes and bones of the burned dead were preserved. The
inscriptions upon these tombs are sometimes Greek, sometimes Latin, and
begin very frequently with the exclamation: “_Siste viator!_” “Stop
passer-by!” &c., which mode of arresting the attention of the way farer
here in a frequented and busy street was much more in place than it
is in our generally very retired churchyards, in which it has been
imitated in a somewhat inappropriate manner.

The public buildings, theatres, temples, &c., which attract attention
in Pompeii, are certainly neither so vast nor so grand and beautiful as
those of Rome, Puzzuoli and other places; but they nevertheless exceed
in importance everything that a modern provincial town can offer to the
visitor. Where, for instance, would one find in any of these, a vast
circus for public games, and two large theatres! Of the latter, one
was roofed over, and served probably for the performance of comedies;
the other, with a stage, an orchestra, and a circular, very lofty
amphitheatre gives us an idea of the sort of place in which the Roman
actors, provided with a mask to increase the volume of sound, performed
their tragedies before an audience of from 10,000 to 15,000 spectators.
But the temples also, the finest of which is now being dug out of the
ashes, afford ocular demonstration of the love of grandeur and of the
good taste of the ancients in architecture.

The vineyards and cultivated land which lie above the yet unexcavated
part of the city, have been already long purchased by the former king
of Naples; hence if the work had been carried on with energy, which,
however, is not to be expected from the present government, which
prosecutes all such things very indolently, the whole of this highly
interesting city would be laid bare in a few years, and from the
high ground which surrounds it might all be surveyed at one glance.
At present the different parts which have been excavated are still
separated from each other by long strips of land under cultivation,
which one is obliged to ascend like so many hills; and one is greatly
surprised after having traversed one of this sort of fields to see
beneath one another part of the city, which contrasts so strangely with
the vines, trees, fields and peasant’s huts upon the high ground.

The day before our departure from Naples we once more paid a visit to
the Studii, and inspected the large collection of Etrurian vases of
every imaginable form. We were greatly pleased also, with the fine
collection of paintings, among which the pictures by _Raphael_ recently
brought back from Sicily were special objects of our admiration.

On the 29th March we set out on our return journey to Rome. The morning
of our leaving was very stormy and unpleasant for me; for in the first
place I had a dispute with the vetturino, who wanted to thrust a fifth
person into the interior of the vehicle, in the shape of a dirty
and ill-smelling Capucin friar, till at length after much desultory
disputation we consented to his being accommodated in the cabriolet,
and as a further incident of annoyance, my family was at first not
permitted to pass out of the gate, because they had not been mentioned
in the new Neapolitan passports which it is requisite to take upon
leaving the country. It was in vain that I shewed my old passport, in
which my wife and children were mentioned; and it was not until I had
pledged my word to go back and procure another passport that I was
allowed to move from the spot. I therefore went back to the minister,
while my wife and children proceeded without further hindrance on
their way. Arrived at the minister’s, I there found all still buried
in sleep; but with fair words and that which with Italians is far more
effectual, money, I at length succeeded in procuring a new passport.
Furnished with this I jumped into a hired carriage, and drove with
all speed to overtake my family, which I did about half-way to Capua
and thus relieved them of a great anxiety respecting me. Among the
annoyances with which travellers in Italy are almost worried to death,
is the excessive strictness in regard to passports, which is frequently
carried to a ridiculous extreme. We subsequently saw an instance in
which a traveller who had already got beyond Parma on the Lombard
frontier was sent all the way back to Leghorn because his passport had
not been signed by the Austrian consul at that place.

In a second vehicle which accompanied us travelled an Englishman,
who was possessed of an extraordinary skill in taking the fine views
in a few minutes. For this purpose he made use of a machine which
transmitted the landscape on a reduced scale to the paper. Between
Velletri and Albano, where we went part of the way on foot in order
better to enjoy the magnificent landscape and the mild air, we saw the
whole method of his proceeding, which afforded infinite pleasure to the
children. He shewed us afterwards his collection of views, of which he
had upwards of two hundred of Naples and its neighbourhood alone. He
gave me his address: Major _Cockburn_, Woolwich, nine miles from London.

Our re-entry into Rome filled us anew with wonder and admiration of
the remains of the old Roman architecture, which we had not seen for
three months. We were much amused also with the simple remarks of the
Capucin friar, whose first visit this was to the mainland, and who
was totally inexperienced in every thing. Apart from his dirt, he was
really a good-tempered, simple sort of man, and quite endurable. He
was full of restless impatience to see the pope officiate. How various
are the wishes and inclinations of men! He perhaps felt as we did the
day before the concert given by the celebrated _Catalani_! I wish with
all my heart that he may return to his convent, better satisfied then
we returned home from that concert.

With great difficulty we procured a miserable apartment in a private
house, for which nevertheless we were obliged to pay half a piaster per
diem. Strangers from every part of Italy had poured into Rome to be
present during the Holy Week, in addition to whom also, pilgrims, and
the devout gathered together from all parts of the world, were now here
to receive remission of their sins. The streets were thronged to that
degree that we were frequently obliged to pull up as we drove through.

Our apartments had a look-out upon the Tiber from a wooden balcony;
from here we could follow the course of the Tiber from the Porta Romana
to the bridge in front of the castle of St. Angelo. The stillness of
the quarter of the city beyond the Tiber, lit up by the ruddy evening
sky and the moonlight, contrasted in a remarkable manner with the dense
throng which poured to and fro across the bridge and then disappeared
in the streets leading from the castle of St. Angelo to the church of
St. Peter. High above all the houses and palaces which lay between us
and the church of St. Peter, rose the latter, proudly and majestically,
filling us with wonder and admiration of its gigantic proportions.
Tired as we were, it was long before we could tear ourselves away from
this magnificent sight, and we remained till a late hour in the mild
evening air upon our balcony. When we at length lay down to rest, we
called to each other once more: “To-morrow, to-morrow, then we shall
hear the famous Miserere!”

  _Aix la Chapelle_, Aug. 10. 1817.

Here at length, I find once more a few moments leisure to continue my
narrative of our return journey from Italy.

On the 3rd April we at last heard the-long-wished-for Miserere in the
Sixtine chapel. We had been told that females were admitted by tickets,
and that men were required to appear in shoes. But a ticket for
_Dorette_ was now not to be had, and I was therefore obliged to make up
my mind to go alone. But when I recognised among the Swiss guard at the
entrance of the church one whom I knew and whose good will I had won
upon a former occasion by a present for accompanying us up to the dome
of St. Peter’s church; I enquired of him whether he could not assist to
procure me an admission into the chapel for my wife without a ticket;
and upon his assurance that he would do his best, I hastened home to
fetch her. After some discussion with the other Swiss guards we were so
fortunate as to be admitted, although several English ladies of rank
who came unprovided with tickets were refused admittance and turned
back. The Swiss cannot bear the English nor the French, and favour the
Germans upon such occasions much more, particularly if one can talk to
them in a few words of “_Schwizerdütsch_.”

We yet arrived in good time, and only regretted that we were not
allowed to remain together, so as to interchange at the moment the
impression which the music would make upon us.

Before the commencement of the singing, nineteen psalms were chaunted
alternately by high and low voices, in the same manner _unisono_,
and in the form of prayer, as we had already found so tedious at
Christmas; and we had to bear with the last eight or nine of these:
after every one, which lasted for five long minutes, one of the tapers
is extinguished that burns upon a gigantic pyramidal-shaped candelabra
in front of the high altar. How one wishes that the last of them also
was extinguished! At length the wished-for moment comes, and by degrees
a silence ensues which not a little increases the expectation of that
which now follows. To this sentiment of expectation, the solemn
twilight which now prevails in the church faintly illumined with the
last gleam of the rosy tints of evening, and the repose felt at length
by the ear after the hoarse bellowing of the psalms may be ascribed the
delicious impression that I experienced from the first long-drawn chord
of _C flat_, and which seemed to me like music from another world.
But one was too soon reminded that it was an earthly music that fell
upon the ear, and one indeed sung by Italians; for immediately after
the second bar, the ear was rent by a horrid succession of quints! The
theme was doubtless after this manner:


but was given by the singers in the following barbarous manner:


I could not have believed even my own ears, much more those of others,
that they sing _in such wise_ in the Sixtine chapel, had I not heard
it subsequently repeated. Is this perhaps the mysterious method of
executing these old compositions, of which it is related that it is
known alone to this choir, and has been handed down traditionally?
Impossible! _Modern_ Italians only can sing in so barbarous a style,
who may perhaps possess a feeling for melody, but who in all that is
called harmony are grossly ignorant.

When however this first Miserere had been endured, I was soon attracted
by something else. These simple sequences of harmony, consisting almost
wholly of triads, this mixing and sustaining of the voices, at one time
increasing to the most tumultuous _forte_, at another dying away into
the softest _pianissimo_; the continual and lengthened sustaining of
single tones to a degree attainable only by the lungs of a castrated
person, and then especially the soft introduction of a chord, while
that of other voices is still faintly sustained, give to this music, in
spite of all its deficiencies, something so peculiar, that one feels
irresistibly attracted by it. I can now therefore readily understand
that in former times, when the choir was much better, this must have
made an immense impression upon foreigners who had never heard pure
vocal music and the voices of castrated persons. It might even now be
made most charmingly effective, if the singers of the choir had only
a director of more extensive knowledge. But as it is, they do not
generally sing even with purity.

On this first day, two compositions of _Allegri_ and _Baini_ were
given, and each of them repeated once. Between each of these ten
not very long divisions a prayer was recited in a low tone by the
cardinals, bishops, and other clergy, which from its resemblance to
the roll of distant thunder had a good effect. At the conclusion of
the ceremony however, the servants, scraping and treading upon the
foot-boards, made a very unpleasant noise for musical ears, which
greatly disturbed and then obliterated the impression made by the
music, to which one would willingly have abandoned oneself a little
longer. This noise they tell me is to represent an earthquake!

On the second evening I managed things in such a manner as to arrive
at the chapel just at the commencement of the real singing, and on the
extinguishing of the last taper. The crowd was so great, that I was
obliged to remain standing some time at the entrance surrounded by
Englishmen, who during the whole time of the music spoke to each other
in a very loud tone of voice, and would not even allow themselves to
be restrained from it by any signs to keep silence. Besides this, the
singers sang much more carelessly than the day before, and frequently
very false, so that I was very glad when the earthquake came to put an
end to the ceremony. Three new compositions were added to the two of
yesterday, for which reason each required to be sung but once. In other
respects everything was exactly the same as the first time.

At a later period I had an opportunity of seeing the Miserere
collection published by _Kühnel_ of Leipsic, but did not find a single
one of those which we heard in Rome. The library of the Sixtine chapel
must however be so rich in such compositions, that they are enabled to
select different ones for many years in succession.

Both evenings after the Miserere we saw the illumination of the cross
in the church of St. Peter. Upon entering by the grand entrance, whence
one sees the illuminated cross at the farthest distance, it makes an
imposing impression, but so soon as one approaches nearer, it loses
greatly. The effect would be far greater if all the other lights in the
church were extinguished. But as it is, not only hundreds of lamps burn
round the entrance to the subterranean chapel, but innumerable other
lights besides in every part of the church. The brilliant illumination
in the cross casts therefore no prominent shadow. The Pantheon was also
illuminated this evening, which must have had a magnificent effect.
Unfortunately we arrived just as the lights were being extinguished.

On the previous evening prince _Frederick_ took me to a party, at which
the fiftieth psalm, or the Miserere of _Marcello_, was exceedingly well
sung by dilettanti. But as the orchestral accompaniment was, as is
usual in Rome, very bad, and the composition throughout monotonous, I
soon got tired of it and was glad when it came to an end.

On Saturday forenoon we took a long walk to St. Paul to see the
magnificent ancient pillars in that otherwise very ugly church. On our
way back, we saw the pyramid of _Cestius_ and the so-called mount of
pot-sherds. At noon we met at the eating-house at the sign of “The
Ermine” a German drawer, Herr _Rösel_, who easily persuaded us to take
another walk in his company. He first pointed out to us an arched,
old Roman subterranean canal, the _Cloaca maxima_, I think; we then
went to a small, insignificant church, but which contains many fine
antiquities, in order to see the divine service of the Greek church,
which is celebrated on this day only; but the crowd was so great, that
we could not obtain an entrance. Upon this we went to see the temple of
Vesta, and lastly ascended the mount Aventino, where our companion led
us before the door of a garden and shewed us through the key-hole one
of the most startling sights imaginable. Through a long arched gallery
overgrown with wild shrubs and verdure the dome of the church of St.
Peters is seen magnificently lit up and gilded by the rays of the
setting sun. We had then the door of the garden opened for us, in order
to admire closely, a very large and beautiful palm tree which was just
then in full bloom.

On the following morning the ringing of bells and salves of artillery
from the castle of St. Angelo reminded us that it was Easter Sunday,
and of the necessity of a speedy toilet if we would not lose the sight
of the great ceremony in the church of St. Peter’s. But the fearful
crush of the crowd upon the bridge almost compelled us to turn back.
Completely carried along by the throng, we at length arrived on the
other side of the Tiber, and then hastened to get into a less crowded
side street, which also led to the grand square in front of the church.
We there found many thousand persons assembled, and among them many
pilgrims, with their hats ornamented with shells collected from every
quarter of the world, who were impatiently awaiting the moment when
the Holy father should give his benediction from the balcony. But some
time was to elapse before that would take place, and we therefore first
took a turn through the church, where we found every part decorated
just the same as at Christmas, and as we could hope to see very little
of the ceremony, we preferred taking a walk in the open air as the
weather was so fine. We got back again about 12 o’clock, and found
the populace still in a state of acute suspense. The balcony over the
grand entrance to the church was decorated with crimson velvet, and to
shield it from the rays of the sun a gigantic tent was stretched over
it. In the gallery above the pillars on the left-hand side a box had
been erected for the accommodation of the most distinguished foreign
visitors. A number of pages bearing tapers first made their appearance
on the balcony, then followed the cardinals, and lastly the Pope, borne
upon a sedan, and having on each side of him the white fans of ostrich
feathers. As soon as he appeared, all the people fell upon their knees
and a solemn stillness took the place of the wild tumult which had
previously prevailed. There was something exceedingly imposing in the
reverential awe impressed by this moment upon the feelings. The pale
old man then arose, and with a slow and dignified movement of the
hands, blessed the assembled multitude. In the mean-time, two folded
papers were thrown down from the balcony, one of which, as I was told,
contained the damnation of all heretics, and the other the papal
indulgence for all good believers then present. The damnatory-bull did
not however reach the ground, but flew driven by the wind into a window
that stood open, while the bull of indulgence was caught by the people
who struggled for its possession.

On our way to the eating-house, we were joined by Herr _Kelle_ of
Stuttgard, whose acquaintance we had previously made in Dresden. He
asked us among other things whether we were satisfied with our tour in
Italy and with what we had seen. Upon which I complained that we had
found many things which did not realise the expectation that had been
raised in our minds by previous travellers. He found that very natural,
and considered that it arose from the circumstance that not one of the
travellers upon his return would confess, that he also had been made an
April-fool of by his predecessors. It reminds me, he continued, of the
well-known anecdote of a man who advertised that he had a horse in his
stable which had its head where other horses had their tails. But the
curious who went to see it found nothing more than a horse fastened to
the crib by the tail, yet took good care to conceal it from the others
who were waiting outside the door--because they were ashamed. The
application of the story is easy!

After dinner we took another walk in the villa Borghese, and then
made our preparations for our departure, which was fixed for the next

In company of two persons from Stuttgard and one from Munich, with whom
we had collectively hired a vetturino, we this time performed the far
more interesting return-journey by the way of Perugia to Florence, in
six days. On the evening of the second day we arrived at Terni, and
hastened before the sun had set, to visit the celebrated waterfall,
about two hours’ walk from that place. We proceeded as far as the
foot of the mountain and then hired some asses already saddled for
the purpose in the very romantically situated village, to which half
Terni attracted by the mildness of the Sunday evening had repaired as a
pleasant promenade. These soon and safely carried us up the ascent to
the waterfall. The view from the mountain, before one turns into the
valley into which the waterfall precipitates itself, is very varied and
charming. The scene then, as one approaches nearer to it, becomes more
and more wild and romantic. As the sun was now about to set, we did not
tarry long but made all possible haste to reach the waterfall before
nightfall, in part to see the imposing spectacle in a proper light, and
partly for security’s sake, as the country hereabouts has not a very
good reputation. With the last declining rays of the sun we reached
the rock which rises out of the dark foaming abyss opposite the fall,
and where for the convenience of visitors a pavillon furnished with
benches has been erected. The view of the majestic spectacle from this
point of sight is beyond the power of language to describe. We were all
riveted as it were to the spot with admiration and wonder. Certainly at
no former period of my life did any of the beauties of nature, not even
the first sight of the Alps, make so deep an impression upon me. After
we had stood here for full ten minutes and fully feasted our eyes with
the magnificent sight, we returned to Terni without accident, on one of
the mildest and finest evenings of spring, exceedingly delighted with
our charming excursion.

On the fourth day of the journey it became suddenly very cold, so much
so that towards evening snow even began to fall, and lay upon the
ground till the morning. But when we entered the deep valley in which
Florence lies, we found everything in bloom.

We remained one day only in Florence, which we nevertheless turned to
good account. In the forenoon we visited the cathedral, the baptistery
and the Boboli gardens. Unfortunately, as it was a holiday, we could
not get admittance to see the tomb of the Medici and the Pitti Palace.
In the afternoon we took a walk to the Cascini.

Next morning, the 14th April, we resumed our journey, to Bologna
without our previous companions, who remained some time longer in
Florence. We found a great deal of snow in the Apennines, and once
more got into complete winter. In dismal Bologna we stopped one day
only. The host of the “Pellegrino” had made out a somewhat shamefully
long bill against us, in abatement of which I resorted to a means I
had frequently put in practice; that is, I deducted a third from the
account, which after some discursive wrangling, he was obliged to
submit to. Subsequently I always resorted to this expedient, and found
it answer better than the previous plan of pre-arrangement, which I had
hitherto followed, but in which after all I always found that I was

We now proceeded by way of Modena, Reggio, Parma and Piacenza, to
Milan. As we did not stop long any where, I can say nothing more of
those cities than that we everywhere found similar crowds of ragged
beggars, the same system of cheating among the hotel keepers, and the
same dirt. On the market place of Piacenza, we saw the two gigantic
bronze statues. Whether they have any artistic merit, I cannot take
upon me to say, as we saw them only in the evening twilight.

In Milan we put up at the _Pension Suisse_, which I recommend to all
travellers for cleanliness and cheapness. We were again struck on our
first going out by the magnificence and beauty of the exterior of the
cathedral. It is without doubt the finest building that we ever saw,
more noble and richer than the _façade_ of the church of St. Peter’s.

The celebrated _Grassini_, to the imitation of whose singing _Rode_
is said to be indebted for his peculiar method of play, which differs
from the school of _Viotti_, had announced six representations in the
theatre _della Scala_. As they were however but thinly attended, three
only took place, at the last of which we were present. It consisted
of unconnected scenas from “the Horatii and Curatii” of _Cimarosa_,
and some other airs, among which also _Ombra adorata_. _Grassini_, who
in the flower of her age was without doubt a distinguished vocalist,
is now somewhat _passée_. In that however which time could not steal
from her she still stands alone; that is, she has a good style, and
plays and sings with much intensity of feeling--in truth with far
more feeling and expression than _Catalani_, but she is nevertheless
greatly behind the latter in brilliancy of execution and as regards
voice.--Hence whenever the production of a brilliant effect alone,
was the desideratum, she did not altogether give satisfaction, but in
impassioned recitative she charmed the audience by her truthful force
of expression.

I found this time also, the della Scala theatre admirably adapted to
give effect to music. I know of no place in which the voices as well as
the orchestra sound so grandly, and so distinctly at the same time; it
is therefore immeasurably preferable in an acoustic point of view to
the San Carlo theatre.

As upon our first appearance at the theatre our speculation had been so
unprofitable, we tried this time the music hall of the conservatorium,
fixed the price of entrance at three francs, and on account of the
theatre gave our concert in the forenoon. Whether attributable to the
unusual hour or to the already too advanced season of the year--suffice
to say, it was again very thinly attended, and did not return much more
than the expenses.

In the company of two Englishmen, the younger of whom was tolerably
amiable, we set out from Milan on the 2nd of May, slept in Arona, and
on the following morning were anew enraptured by the heavenly scenery
round the _Lago maggiore_, which we now again found in the garb of
spring, and arrived towards evening at the village of Simplon, at the
foot of the Simplon pass. Here, upon taking leave of Italy, we were
again cheated in real Italian style, being compelled, for instance, to
pay two francs for each cup of coffee.

The next morning we commenced the at this season of the year somewhat
difficult journey over the mountain pass, and reached the snow region
one hour after leaving Simplon. Here it was necessary to take the
carriage to pieces; the body was placed upon one sledge, the wheels
upon another, and our luggage upon a third; and in this manner the
caravan proceeded with several additional horses at a slow rate. In
the higher regions of the pass, where the snow remained hard, there
were not many stoppages, but further down, where the warmth was already
considerable, and the snow not very deep, we came every moment to
a standstill. Sometimes the horses sank in up to their bellies, at
others the carriage would get jammed fast between walls of snow as high
as a house, when it became necessary to clear a passage for it; and
then again the road had to be cleared of the fallen avalanches that
encumbered it and obstructed our progress. We therefore went on before,
and arrived two hours earlier at the fourth refuge station, wet through
up to the knees, it is true. At this place the snow had disappeared,
and here we refreshed ourselves with a simple breakfast, and rested
from the fatigues of our toilsome promenade. We heard many avalanches
come thundering down, and were in constant fear that it might fare
with us as with some travellers who had passed the day before. These,
arrived near to one of the galleries pierced through the rock, saw
a fearful avalanche sweeping down upon them, and had but just time
sufficient to take refuge in the gallery. To their horror, however,
they found both exits had been blocked up by the snow, so that for
three fearfully anxious hours they were shut in, until the inspector of
the road had worked his way through to them.

When at length the carriage arrived, we drove on to Brieg, where
we passed the third night, and for the first time again heard our
mother-tongue spoken, which sounded right welcome to our ears. Our
fourth day’s journey brought us to Sion, where French is spoken. In the
Valais we found the spring much less forward than on the other side.
Here, the cherry-trees were scarcely in bloom, while in Lombardy and on
the _Lago maggiore_ they had long passed their bloom. We thus once more
found ourselves in spring, in which we had constantly been since the
beginning of February.

On our fifth day’s journey we came to the celebrated Pissevache,
which is close to the road. But our expectations were not altogether
satisfied; for in comparison with the waterfall at Terni, this looked
very insignificant in our eyes. We slept at Bex, a charmingly situated
little village, which the inhabitants call not without reason _un
paradis terrestre_. The inn here may compete with the largest hotels of
many capitals.

On the sixth day we travelled continuously along the lake of Geneva
through Vevay to Lausanne. This place, so much lauded, and also
much resorted to in summer by the English, is not so beautiful as I
expected. The views on the lake of Thun, and still more on the lake of
Zurich, are far more varied; but all the Swiss lakes are in my opinion
far behind the _Lago maggiore_. On the seventh day we arrived at length
at Geneva.

       *       *       *       *       *

In consequence of a severe cold I was confined for some days to my bed.
During this time Herr _Dupont_ and the Rev. Pastor _Gerlach_, with some
other musical friends, took some pains to make arrangements for a
concert. But it was easy to see beforehand that it would not be a very
brilliant affair, for in part the prevailing distress and dearness of
provision were still too great; and partly because several concerts had
taken place shortly before for the benefit of the poor. The season was
also too far advanced, and the majority of the wealthy families had
already retired to their country-seats. In fact it did not much more
than cover the expenses. We also permitted ourselves to be persuaded to
play at Herr _Piclet Rochemont’s_ and Herr _Dupont’s_ private parties;
and the very numerous company assembled at both their tea-parties then
thought it no longer worth while coming to our concert. The brothers
_Bohrer_, who had been there a month before we came, did not meet with
better success. Taken as a whole the Genevese have very little taste
for art, and are always speculating how they can best squeeze the
numerous foreigners who reside there summer and winter. At any rate
they know very little of _German art_ and _German artists_, and do not
know our classical composers even by name. The foreign language, and
the long French rule to which they were subjected, explains all this

Of all towns of Switzerland Geneva may boast the greatest number of
distinguished artists, but who here, as almost everywhere else, are
split into two or more parties, and live a regular cat-and-dog life
among themselves. Of these the brothers _Hensel_ and _Wolf_ and Herr
_Berger_ (properly _Münzberger_) are the most prominent. I was so
fortunate as to bring these gentlemen together at my concert, who
otherwise never played together, and had thus for a Swiss town a
really good orchestra. The Rev. Pastor _Gerlach_ received us in the
most friendly manner, and rendered us even many obliging services;
he even gave up to us the Lutheran church for our concert, in which
music has a very good effect. Without that we should been compelled to
give it in the dark and cheerless theatre, which would have occasioned
considerable expense (300 Francs).

In Geneva I had the unexpected pleasure of meeting once more my old
teacher _Kunisch_ of Brunswick. This worthy man had experienced every
possible caprice of fortune. When a young man he was a first-rate
hornist, but from its inducing at last a spitting of blood, he was
obliged to abandon that instrument to save his life. By the most
untiring application he then in three years attained to a considerable
skill on the violin, and subsequently procured an appointment as first
violin at the national theatre in Berlin. When after the battle of
Jena the Prussian court was obliged to fly from Berlin and the royal
orchestra was dispersed, he was driven from Berlin by the intrigues
of Herr _Schick_, who much wanted to obtain his place. He then first
went to Switzerland, when already advanced in years he learned the
French language, and, afterwards went to Lyons, where he again procured
an appointment as first violin at the theatre. Well pleased with his
situation here, he had just begun to feel comfortably settled down,
when by an unluckly fall he dislocated his left hand, which soon
became perfectly rigid, so that he could no longer play the violin,
and consequently was obliged to give up his situation. He was now for
a third time compelled to learn another instrument, and thenceforth
earned a scanty subsistence as a teacher of the piano-forte. He was
exceedingly pleased to meet me again, and seemed very proud to be able
to call me his pupil.

       *       *       *       *       *

Upon perusing the here intercalated diary of the Italian journey I miss
some incidents which even now (in 1847) are so vividly impressed on my
memory that I cannot forbear appending them here in continuation.

Mention has already been made of the circumstance that I had alone to
thank the exertions of the Austrian ambassador Count _Apponyi_ for
being enabled to give a concert in Rome during Advent, at which time
all public music is forbidden. Count _Apponyi_ undertook to represent
my request for permission to the governor of Rome, but advised me
nevertheless not to wait for the reply, but to make arrangements as
quickly as possible for the concert, while he would procure for me
the necessary subscribers. I went to work immediately, but found my
efforts impeded by very considerable difficulties. The salon in the
Ruspoli Palace, which Count _Apponyi_ had procured for me, was like
every other part of that fine uninhabited building, in a very ruinous
condition. It was necessary to re-glaze the windows in many places,
to fill up the holes in the marble pavement with bricks, and to hire
the necessary furniture, chandeliers, seats, music desks, &c. &c. But
it was first of all especially necessary to cleanse the palace, from
the entrance to the saloon, from the filth with which the esplanade
and the handsome flight of marble steps ornamented with statues were
filled in such a manner, that whole cart-loads of it required to be
carried away. I was also first obliged to find one by one singers and
musicians in the immense city, and to engage them for my concert, all
of which occupied a great deal of time. Until the day of the concert,
and even on that itself till the evening, I was in continual anxiety
lest a refusal of my request should arrive and overthrow every thing
I had done. But the police were so humane, that they did not forward
this to me till the day _after_ the concert when I had already in hand
a satisfactory return in the shape of receipts. I was hereby relieved
of great uneasiness and one which until then had greatly embittered my
stay in Rome. My travelling funds had come to so low an ebb, from the
hitherto scanty receipts from my concerts in Italy, that I saw with
alarm they would in no manner suffice for an extension of our journey
to Naples, and scarcely even for a direct return to Germany. To be so
near to Naples, the most desired object of the whole journey, and now
to turn back--that was a reflexion too fearful for me to bear with
calmness! I therefore conceived the idea of applying to the _Beer_
family, which had meanwhile arrived from Venice, for a loan. Intimate
as was my friendship with the son _Meyer Beer_ (afterwards _Meyerbeer_)
I could nevertheless not overcome my reluctance to express my wish
on the subject, and applied therefore in preference to a rich friend
of mine in Alsace, who however, as it frequently happens with such
applications, paid no attention to it. But now, thanks to the handsome
receipts which my concert had brought in, all prospect of pecuniary
want was dissipated, and I could venture upon the further journey to
Naples without anxiety. This was nevertheless delayed by the illness of
my children till the latter end of January; and as _Dorette_, wholly
occupied with attending to them, could now no longer accompany me in
my excursions, I kept frequent company with the _Beer_ family, and
they having arrived later, I could now serve them as Cicerone. Of an
evening, when the light no longer permitted anything more to be seen
(for the theatres were still closed during Advent), the three sons
accompanied me sometimes to my lodgings, and we then shortened the
long evenings with a game at whist. As it was at that time, however,
very cold in Rome, and there was no means of heating my room, we used
to set ourselves down in my enormous bed with our backs turned to the
four cardinal points, with the leaf of a table between us, and in that
manner played our rubber in comfortable warmth and in the best humour.

Of my stay in Naples, the following incident is to be added.

On the day of my first concert, I received in the green-room of the San
Carlo theatre, a visit from the celebrated singer _Crescentini_, whom I
had already become acquainted with in Rome. After he had said many very
complimentary things relative to my play and my compositions, he made
the following proposition to me. The present director, _Zingarelli_,
who, with his religious turn of mind, was very unremitting in praying
with his pupils, but who practised them in music very little, was to be
pensioned off, and he, _Crescentini_ was applying for the appointment.
But as he understood nothing of instrumental music, the Neapolitan
minister contemplated appointing a second director for that, and had
thought of me, as my play and my compositions had quite enchanted him
at my concert on the previous day. If therefore I felt disposed to make
an application for the place, I was to accompany him immediately to
the minister, where further proposals would be made to me. This took
place. I returned to _Dorette_ highly satisfied with the propositions
of the minister, and we were not a little pleased at the thoughts of
taking up our home in such a paradise as Naples. But week after week
passed away, without any further communication from the minister, and
we learned from _Crescentini_ that the whole project had been abandoned
by reason of the expense it would entail. We dared not therefore delay
any longer the period of our departure, for I again found that my
treasury was so decreased by our numerous excursions in the environs of
Naples, which we had made in the company of our Silesian friends, and
of which I was always obliged to bear half the expenses, that my means
would scarcely suffice for the return journey to Switzerland.

This calculation proved indeed but too correct; for on our arrival at
Geneva, my funds were completely exhausted. As my concert there also
brought in but very little, and I knew beforehand that with the then
(in the spring of 1817) prevailing famine in Switzerland, but very
little was to be earned in the other Swiss towns, I for the first time
in my life experienced the bitter anxiety arising from a want of the
means of subsistence. It is true we possessed some valuables which had
been presented to us at several courts; but the bare thought of being
obliged to sell or to pledge these, was still much too painful to our
feelings. Necessity, however, compelled us to do so. I was just on the
point of looking for a place where money was advanced upon pledges,
when _Dorette_ suggested that it would be preferable to reveal our
position to the most friendly of all our acquaintances there, the
Pastor _Gerlach_, and offered to go to him herself, as I had not the
courage to do so. She took with her her handsomest ornament, a diadem
of brilliants, a present from the Queen of Bavaria, and proceeded to
the reverend gentleman’s house. Never in all my life did I pass such
painful moments as those which elapsed during her absence. At length,
after a seemingly never-ending half hour, she returned, and brought
back the pledge--but with it the sum necessary for the prosecution
of our further journey. She was still in a state of excitement
from a fright she had experienced there. While, with the greatest
embarrassment and with faltering lips, she disclosed to the Pastor our
momentary necessities, and made a request for a loan upon the pledge
she proferred, he had suddenly burst into a loud fit of laughter and
vanished into an adjoining room. But before she had time to reflect
upon the meaning of this outburst of hilarity, which seemed to her
so greatly out of place, he returned bringing the required sum, and
said to her in the kindest manner: “I am delighted that the worthy
pair of artists have afforded me so great a pleasure as to render them
a service; but how could you think that a clergyman would lend upon
pledges like a jew?”

Thus, then, our immediate wants were relieved and we could resume our
journey. We now first went to Thierachern to fetch our carriage and
the harp, which we had left there the previous autumn. As _Dorette_
required a little time to get her hand again into play upon her
instrument, and we did not moreover require to hurry, as the favorable
period for concert-giving was passed, we stayed there a fortnight,
practised again each forenoon our duets for harp and violin, and in
the afternoons, favoured by the most beautiful spring weather, visited
once more all our former favorite spots. At length, however, we were
obliged to make up our minds to leave the paradise of Thierachern and
proceed further upon our artistic tour. In Switzerland we met with
very little success, for the permission to give public concerts was
everywhere refused on account of the prevailing famine, and it was
permitted in Zurich only because we there offered to hand over a part
of the proceeds to the poor. I there played for the first time since
my return to Germany my vocal _scena_ and a solo-quartet (Op. 43) that
I had begun in Italy and finished in Thierachern; both compositions
were received with very great applause. But with that I was obliged
to content myself; for the receipts from this concert were far below
those of the previous year. I could not therefore keep my promise as
to time, in the repayment of the sum borrowed in Geneva, which gave me
much uneasiness. But the Pastor _Gerlach_, upon my communicating to him
the reason, in excuse for my failure, returned the most satisfactory
reply, and I could thus proceed on my journey with a mind more at ease.

But even in Germany also, where we gave concerts in Freiburg,
Carlsruhe, Wiesbaden, Ems, and Aix-la-Chapelle, the receipts were but
middling, on account of the generally prevailing distress, so that they
scarcely covered our travelling expenses; and not until we reached the
last-named town, where our play produced a great sensation and enabled
us to give three very numerously attended concerts, did sufficient
remain to enable us to liquidate my debt to _Gerlach_.

From Naples to Aix-la-chapelle we had now travelled for four months
continually in the direction from south to north, without stopping very
long anywhere. We had therefore found everywhere beyond and on this
side of the Alps, the trees in bloom, and thus enjoyed an extension
of the spring season in a degree such as it has never since been our
lot to know. At Aix-la-Chapelle we arrived in the height of summer,
and in the middle of the bathing season. For our farther journey to
Holland this was the most unfavourable time for concert-giving, and I
therefore resolved to stop some weeks in Aix-la-Chapelle. We had there
become acquainted with several zealous musical amateurs, at whose
houses music parties were frequently given. I had also found some good
quartet-accompaniers with whom I practised my Vienna quartets and
quintets; and as they were greatly admired by all who heard them, I
gave them frequently.

We thus passed the time of our stay in Aix-la-Chapelle in a very
pleasant manner, equally divided between work and pleasure. The
instruction of the children, which indeed had never entirely ceased
during the whole journey, for we used to give them instruction even
in the carriage as we travelled along, was now resumed with more
earnestness and regularity. I also began to compose again, and wrote
there the first number of my four-voice songs for men’s voices (Op. 44)
of which _Gœthe’s_ “Dem Schnee, dem Regen” became afterwards a favorite
table song.

Towards autumn we continued our journey to Holland, and on our way
thither first gave some concerts at Cologne and Dusseldorf which were
very well attended. Thence we proceeded to Cleves, where we made the
acquaintance of the notary, Mr. _Thomae_, a zealous friend of art and
a distinguished dilettante, who played several instruments. In his
house we had music very frequently, and the two families, inclusive of
the children, soon became so attached that they formed a life-enduring
friendship. Through this circumstance our stay in Cleves became so
attractive that we took leave of the friendly little town and its
charming environs with much reluctance.

The fame of the _Spohr_ artist-couple had however not yet reached
Holland, and we were therefore first obliged to break ground there.
In this however we soon succeeded. In that wealthy land, favourably
disposed towards German art and German artists, we made a great
sensation, and consequent thereon also a flourishing business. We had
already played at Rotterdam and the Hague, and had just arrived at
Amsterdam, where we had also already made our appearance in _Felix
meritis_ and had afterwards given a concert upon our own account,
when I received a letter from Mr. _Ihlée_, director of the theatre at
Frankfort on the Main, in which, on the part of the shareholders of
that theatre, he offered me the appointment of director of the opera
and music, and in case of my acceptance thereof, added the request
that I would enter upon it with all possible despatch. The terms, it
is true, were not so brilliant as those of my Vienna appointment,
but sufficient nevertheless to maintain a family. Certainly I should
have liked to have continued my artistic tour, in which I took great
pleasure, at least till the spring; but they were very pressing in
Frankfort, and _Dorette_ longed once more for domestic repose. I
therefore consented without further hesitation and set out immediately
upon the return journey. At Cleves, where we alighted at the friendly
house of the _Thomae_ family, we were forced, despite the pressing
urgency to accelerate our journey, to stop a few days. Although it was
now mid-winter, every thing was again done to make our stay agreeable.
Music parties, sledge excursions and other amusements succeeded each
other alternately. On the evening before our departure, as we sat
at the supper-table, cracking nuts and thinking regretfully of the
approaching parting, my friend _Thomae_ made the proposal that the
_Spohr_ family, as a memorial of their presence there, should plant one
of the nuts in the garden. This proposition was received with general
acclamation. Upon a spade being brought, both families, wrapped in warm
cloaks, repaired in procession to the garden, in the very centre of
which, after I had cleared away the snow, I dug a hole, in which the
children planted the nut. In the following spring the appearance of the
germ above ground was announced to us at Frankfort. This, carefully
protected by a circular fence, grew by degrees to a fine tree, and
even now (1852) the _Thomae_ family, as one of the sons not long since
informed me, thinks with pleasurable feelings of that evening and the
absent friends.

In Frankfort I was received by the shareholders of the theatre
and by the whole company of the theatre and orchestra in the most
friendly manner. A dinner was given in my honour in the saloon of the
“_Weidenbusch_,” at which the usual toasts were given and speeches made
in due form. The orchestra, which, under the able direction of its
previous leader Mr. _Schmitt_, had acquired the reputation of being
one of the best in Germany, I found somewhat deteriorated, from his
long illness. But as a ready disposition was shewn by all to meet my
wishes and arrangements, and as they soon accustomed themselves to my
method of directing, the former _ensemble_ was soon re-established. My
predecessor had led with the violin, and by the wish of the singers I
began also in the same manner, indicating the time with the bow, and
keeping the violin ready at hand, in order to assist with that when
necessary. But I soon accustomed them to so precise a practise of their
parts that such assistance as that was soon no longer necessary. I now
laid the violin aside and directed in the French style, with the bâton.

The routine of business on the Frankfort stage was at that time as
follows: the managers chosen by the shareholders, met every week the
technical directors (Mr. _Ihlée_ for the drama and I for the opera)
at a sitting at which the programme for the week was agreed upon
and everything concerning the management arranged. The _præses_, or
_senior_ of this directory, was a merchant of the name of _Leers_, who
liked the office and therefore always managed to be re-elected. In
the course of time he had acquired a certain tact in the routine of
managing the theatre, and spoke usually therefore in a very decided
tone. His whole endeavour was directed to economy, in order to diminish
the yearly recurring deficit of from 14 to 17,000 florins, which
the shareholders were obliged to cover. He liked best the singers,
performers and musicians, who engaged at the lowest salaries, and in
the choice of the operas and plays which were to be given he always
decided upon those which would entail the least expense. _Ihlée_ and
I had also an especial interest in getting rid of the deficit, as we
had a share in any overplus secured to us by agreement: but we thought
this would be much more surely attained if an endeavour was made to
raise the character of the theatre by engaging distinguished talent and
the representation of classical works. We were therefore frequently in
opposition to Mr. _Leers_ and his colleagues, and one of them only,
Mr. _Clement Brentano_, entertained the same opinion as ourselves. But
he seldom succeeded in obtaining the victory for it, as it was always
his custom to defend it merely with light sallies of wit and sarcasm.
The animosity which sprung out of this difference of opinion between
Mr. _Leers_ and myself was not perceptible, however, till a later
period, for at first we agreed very well. It was therefore not very
difficult for me to obtain the consent of the managers to bring out
my opera “Faust.” I was very desirous of at length hearing this work,
which I had written five years before at Vienna, and I hastened all the
preparations as much as possible. As there was no baritone among the
singers of the theatre who could satisfactorily take the part of Faust,
I was obliged to give it to the tenor, Mr. _Schelble_, afterwards the
founder and director of the society of St. Cecilia, who possessed in
his _mezzo-tenore_, the necessary compass as also the requisite skill
in execution. After the rehearsals had commenced, _Schelble_ expressed
the wish that I would write another air for him which would shew his
voice off to more advantage than those which were in the opera. As I
found a suitable place for its introduction immediately after the duet
at the commencement, and Mr. _George Döring_ (hautboy of the orchestra
and subsequently a much admired romance writer) furnished me with
appropriate words for it, I was very pleased to be enabled to satisfy
_Schelble’s_ wish. This air: “Liebe ist die zarte Blüthe” (Love is the
tender blossom), which was afterwards so frequently sung at concerts,
and innumerable times in London by _Pischek_, is therefore the first
thing I composed in Frankfort. Meanwhile the study of the opera had
proceeded so well that it could be announced and performed for the
first time in March (1818). At first, it is true, it pleased the great
majority less than the connoisseurs, but with each representation
gained more admirers; so that from that time it has remained almost
constantly in the repertorium of the Frankfort stage, and has been
studied anew after short intervals.

This success encouraged me to new dramatic compositions. I therefore
looked about me for the materials for a work of the kind, and found
one that suited me in _Appel’s_ book of ghost stories, in the tale
called “Der schwarze Jäger” (the black huntsman). _Döring_, with whom I
spoke upon the subject, offered to work it out as an opera. We devised
together a plot which differed chiefly from _Kind’s_ text-book (which
was at that time as yet unknown to us) in this, that we retained the
tragical conclusion of the story. As soon as _Döring_ had written the
first scenes, I immediately set about the composition. The introduction
was already for the most part sketched out, when the celebrated
tragedian Madame _Schröder_, and her daughter, the afterwards more
celebrated _Schröder-Devrient_, came to Frankfort, and during her
visit saw the work I was engaged upon on the piano. They then informed
that _C. M. von Weber_ was composing music for the same subject as an
opera, and had already finished the first act. This induced me to lay
my work aside, as I had reason to fear _Weber_ would come forward with
his opera much earlier than I. As it afterwards proved, however, such
was not the case; for the “Freischütz” appeared first in 1820, and
my opera “Zelmira and Azor,” which I began almost a year later, was
already given on the 4th April 1819. Nevertheless I have not regretted
that I abandoned the materials of _Appel’s_ story, for with my music,
which is not adapted to please the multitude and excite the popular
enthusiasm, I should never have met with the unexampled success that
the “Freischütz” met with.

As I was now again obliged to look about me for a libretto, I
began meanwhile to write quartets. The chief reason for this was
the solicitation of some lovers of that kind of music to institute
public-quartet performances, which had not hitherto been given in
Frankfort. At these I wished also to be enabled to bring forward some
new compositions, and for that purpose I wrote in the course of the
summer the three quartets (Op. 45). When I played the first of these at
a musical soirée at _Schelble’s_, _Jean Paul_ was one of the audience.
He appeared to interest himself very much for this new composition
and ascribed to it a highly poetical signification, of which while
composing it I certainly never thought, but which recurred in a very
striking manner to my mind at every subsequent performance of the

On the 29th July 1818 my family was again increased by the birth of
a little daughter, who was christened by the name of Theresa after
her godmother Mrs. _Thomae_ of Cleves, and was held over the font
by my friend _Speyer_. _Dorette_ now felt very happy at having a
permanent-dwelling place, so as to be able to devote herself wholly to
the care of the new visitor.

In the autumn began the first set of the public quartets in the little
saloon of the “Rothes Haus.” The assistants were: second violin
the concertmaster Mr. _Hofmann_, viol Mr. _Bayer_, violoncello Mr.
_Hasemann_, at that time bass-trumpet of the orchestra, and afterwards
first violincellist of the Cassel orchestra. I brought forward some
quartets of _Haydn_, _Mozart_, _Beethoven_, and some of my own, which
we had practised in the most careful manner in two rehearsals. They
made therefore a great sensation by the precision of their execution,
and were so well received that in the course of the winter another set
could be given.

In September 1818 I began also the composition of the new opera.
Mr. _Ihlée_ had proposed as subject the text of the formerly very
much admired opera “_La Belle et la Bête_,” by _Gretry_. As this at
that time had wholly disappeared from the German repertory, and was
wholly unknown to the younger generation, I readily assented to the
proposition; for from my earliest youth I had a predeliction for this
tale, and even remembered an air of _Gretry’s_ opera, that namely of
_Zelmira_ with the echo, which as a boy I had frequently heard my
mother sing, and also sung myself. Herr _Ihlée_ offered to alter the
text to the style of the modern opera, which, as he well understood
stage business, he did greatly to my satisfaction.--At that time
_Rossini’s_ music became then first known in Germany, and “Tancred” in
particular brought down a very storm of applause in Frankfort. Almost
at every sitting of the theatre I was obliged to hear from Mr. _Leers_
the words: “That is an opera that pleases and attracts the public,
you must bring out more of that kind!”--Little as I was an admirer of
_Rossini’s_ music, as the severe criticism thereof in the diary of the
Italian journey shews, yet the applause which “Tancred” had met with
in Frankfort was not wholly without influence on the style of my new
opera. I was furthermore induced to this by the considerable power
of execution possessed by four singers (Miss _Friedel_, the sisters
_Campagnoli_, and Mr. _Schelble_) who were at my command. This explains
why the music to “Zelmira and Azor” has so much colouring and vocal
ornamentation in the parts sustained by the three sisters, and that of
Azor. The opera was studied most attentively by the singers and the
orchestra, and met with great success at the very first representation,
indeed a more general one than “Faust,” which however, at a later
period, both in Frankfort and the rest of Germany, reassumed the place
in public estimation which its real merits as an opera more properly

During the course of the winter I gave another concert with my wife,
for which I had written a new sonata for harp and violin. As, since I
had once more a fixed residence, pupils again presented themselves,
both native and foreign, I was overburdened with work the whole
winter. When spring at length came I was therefore very desirous of
a little rest and I was well pleased when four of my earlier musical
friends of Rudolstadt, Messrs. _von Holleben_, _Müller_, _Sommer_ and
_Methfessel_, came to Frankfort and urged me to accompany them to
Mannheim, where a musical festival was to take place. I managed to get
leave of absence for eight days, and joined the party. From Darmstadt,
where the charming mountain-road begins, we went on foot to Heidelberg,
and carried our necessary luggage in knapsacks, on our backs. Three
of the Rudolstädter, _Müller_, _Sommer_ and _von Holleben_, who were
first-rate harmonists, had strapped their horns upon their knapsacks,
and _Methfessel_, who accompanied our four-part songs with the
guitar, carried his instrument slung by a band over his shoulders. In
this manner our travelling-party, notwithstanding their respectable
exterior, had completely the appearance of an itinerant music-band, and
as, in high and jocund spirits, we always entered all the villages and
small towns either playing or singing, we had always a long train of
jovial listeners, and numerous applications to “strike up,” which, to
the great regret of the applicants, were of course not complied with.
We made short stages, and ascended the ruins of several castles which
lay near our road. There we partook of the meal brought with us from
the neighbouring inn and seasoned it with horn-music, song and mirthful
jest. On the third day we arrived at Heidelberg, where we visited the
castle. A flourish of horns soon brought a number of hearers around us,
who were highly delighted with our four-part songs and _Methfessel’s_
comic lyrics. As we had inscribed our names in the visitors’ book, it
soon became known in the town that I and some musical friends were on
our way to the festival at Mannheim, and in the evening a deputation
from the Heidelberg musical society made its appearance at our inn with
an invitation to make the passage to Mannheim the next morning on board
the society’s vessel. We consented with very great pleasure.

This voyage was the most brilliant episode in the whole journey. When I
and my companions set foot on board the vessel, which was dressed out
with festoons of flowers up to the top of the mast, we were welcomed
in the most friendly manner by the already assembled male and female
singers, with a choral-song. While the boat was passing directly
afterwards between high rocky banks on either side, which threw back
the echo, the Rudolstädter first returned the compliment with their
horns, which had a fine effect there. Then followed our songs, and
_Methfessel_ again distinguished himself in particular by the execution
of his humorous songs, which he accompanied in a masterly manner on the
guitar. These put the whole company in the merriest mood. As we drew
near the end of our journey we were met and welcomed by the Mannheim
musical society on board several boats decorated with flags and
flowers. My presence on board the Heidelberg boat was already known.
The committee of the festival therefore saluted me and my companions,
and presented us with tickets of admission to the rehearsals and
performances. To me even apartments were offered in a private house,
which I was however obliged to decline, as it would separate me from
my companions. As soon as we had landed, therefore, we sought for an
inn. Unfortunately, however, we found it already so full of visitors
that we were obliged all five to accommodate ourselves in one room, and
the next day the crowd of applicants for lodging was so great that we
had great difficulty in protecting our room from the invasion of yet
more guests. In the evening, since, as may be readily supposed, beds
were not to be had, we lay down contented beside each other on some
clean straw, nor was our good humour in the least disturbed thereby.

As regards the musical performances, I now only recollect that I and
my companions, who, together with me, had assisted at the festival at
Frankenhausen, were not so satisfied with the effect of the music here
as there, which can alone be accounted for by the circumstance that the
performance at Frankenhausen took place in the church, a place sonorous
and well adapted on account of its excellent acoustic qualities, while
at Mannheim they were given in the theatre.

On the third day we set out upon our return journey. As the road from
Mannheim to Mayence would have been too uninteresting to travel on
foot, we hired a boat with two vigorous rowers, and went by water. But
in this way also the journey was rather tedious. We had, moreover,
passed the previous night at a ball, and felt very tired; it was
therefore no wonder that we sought to make up for the lost night’s
rest, and passed the greater part of the time in sleep. On our arrival
at Mayence we nevertheless met with a little adventure which put us in
the merriest mood during the last hours of our being together. Evening
was drawing in when, after our landing, we proceeded to look for the
best inn in the town. Just as we were about to enter it, in the already
described dress of travelling musicians, the host, who was looking out
of the window, called out to us in an angry tone of voice: “Be off with
you! we don’t take in such people as you!” This style of address amused
me amazingly, as I had frequently joked my companions upon their dress,
and laughing, I called out to Mr. _von Holleben_: “High warden of
forests, did you hear that? they will not take us in here; we must look
for another inn!” But the host, startled at hearing my friend addressed
by such a grand title, darted down-stairs in a minute and made his
appearance immediately in the street, and with bows innumerable
entreated the gentlemen to walk in and graciously pardon his silly
mistake! As we followed him into the house and were all ushered by him
into the well-lighted dining room, his embarrassment was ludicrous in
the extreme: our highly respectable appearance seemed now to allay all
his fears, when the unlucky horns strapped upon the knapsacks, and
_Methfessel’s_ guitar suspended from his neck, excited new doubts as
to whether we were guests worthy of entertainement in his house. But
when we ordered three rooms with wax lights (which latter I purposely
mentioned), five beds and a good supper, all uttered in the curt
imperative tone of persons of importance, his last lingering scruples
vanished, and his whole demeanour became thenceforth cringingly
servile. This specimen of the mean vulgarity of innkeeper-nature amused
us long, and was subject of mirth up to the last moment of our being
together. The next morning, as my leave of absence was expired, I
returned to Frankfort and the Rudolstädter continued their journey down
the Rhine, as they had proposed.

As I entered my house, the children ran joyfully to meet me, but my
wife, who had been in very low spirits at our parting the week before,
was now suffering extremely from the shock sustained from a fright. In
order that the reader may understand the cause of this, I must advert
to some previous incidents that had occurred while in Frankfort.

In the latter part of the autumn of 1818 _Turner_, a player on the
hautboy, came to Frankfort. I had previously known him in Brunswick,
where we were both members of the orchestra. Already at that time
_Turner_ distinguished himself greatly by his skill upon that
instrument, as also by his talent for composition. Upon his subsequent
travels, particularly while in Vienna, where he lived some time, he
had acquired the reputation of being the first of living hautboyists.
At the same time, however, many strange stories were current of his
residence there; of a _liaison_ with a lady of rank, whom he afterwards
accused of having given him poison in a cup of coffee. A criminal
inquiry was instituted, whereat it was elicited that he had periodical
fits of insanity, at which times he was possessed with the fixed idea
of being poisoned. These relations concerning him, which passed from
mouth to mouth, imparted to him a certain interest, and his concerts
were on that account most numerously attended. I found him on his
arrival in Frankfort--for he immediately paid me a visit--more earnest
and reserved, it is true, than when I was previously acquainted with
him in Brunswick, but otherwise remarked nothing whatever peculiar
in him. As his play pleased very much, and as I knew moreover that
his orchestral skill was very great, and as from _George Döring’s_
retirement from the orchestra (he had now thought of devoting himself
entirely to authorship), a vacancy had occurred for a hautboy player--I
proposed at the next sitting of the theatrical committee that _Turner_
should be engaged as first hautboy. The salary he asked was not
unusually high, and therefore the proposition met with no opposition,
even Mr. _Leers_ himself making no objection. _Turner_ took his place
therefore in the orchestra, and proved a real acquisition by the
tasteful execution of his soli and by his fine tone. After some time,
however, a remarkable melancholy was observed in him, which gradually
increased so much, that at length not a word above a whisper was to be
got from him. Nevertheless he always performed his orchestral duties
with punctuality, so that I hoped these periods of sadness would pass
off without further results. Soon however they assumed the character
of complete aberration of mind, in which the fixed idea of the Vienna
poisoning again evinced itself. It was now full time to remove him
from the orchestra, to prevent the possibility of some unpleasant
occurrence. _Döring_, a near relation of _Turner’s_, undertook to
provide for him and get him cured, and engaged also to temporarily
fill his place. The malady now soon increased with such violence,
that it was necessary to have him constantly watched by keepers. One
evening, nevertheless, he succeeded in escaping from them scarcely
half-clothed. During a violent snow-storm he wandered about in the open
fields half the night, nor did he return home till towards morning,
covered with a thick crust of snow and ice. As he had immediately
gone to bed in this condition, the doctor found him in the morning
bathed in perspiration and in a violent fever. This perhaps, however,
brought about a crisis, for from that day he got better, and he was
soon enabled to resume his duties in the orchestra with fully restored
sanity of mind. I remarked, nevertheless, that for about eight days
in every month, and always with the moon’s increase, he was visited
by a slight return of his melancholy madness, which announced itself
beforehand by a fixed look and a certain feverish restlessness. I
then, with _Döring’s_ assistance, managed to keep him away from the
orchestra for a few days, until his more cheerful look bespoke anew
his recovery. In this manner _Turner_ performed his duties up to the
summer and it was hoped that by degrees he would also be cured of
these slighter attacks also. In the latter part of this time he again,
as formerly, called upon me now and then, and even spent the evening
with me, and demeaned himself in a friendly manner towards my wife,
and shewed much interest in the children. When therefore I went to
Mannheim with my Rudolstädt friends, it did not at first appear at all
strange to _Dorette_ to see him walk one morning into the room; but as,
without any salutation or uttering a word, he sat down opposite to her
and gazed upon her with his eyes fixed, she began to feel uneasy, and
was at length seized with fear. As she was quite alone with him (the
children being at school) she was about to call in a needlewoman, who
was sewing in the adjoining room; but scarcely had she risen than he
also sprang up and clasped her in his arms. With a shriek of terror
she tore herself from his grasp, rushed into the adjoining room, the
door of which the sempstress had then just opened, and she succeeded
in closing and bolting the door before _Turner_ could follow her.
There was, however, unfortunately no further issue from this room, and
the two terrified women found themselves besieged by the madman. His
endeavours to force the lock they met by pressing against the door
with their whole weight, and all the strength which terror imparted
to them; and succeeded, for after a few vain efforts he abandoned his
purpose, ran down the stairs and out of the house. _Dorette_ now felt
about to faint, was obliged to send for the doctor, and kept her bed
for some days. After my return, her pleasure thereat and the assurance
of again being under my protection, soon restored her, and thus this
circumstance was fortunately attended by no worse results. For the
unfortunate young man this last violent outbreak of his malady entailed
his discharge by the directors of the theatre. After again recovering,
he went to Holland, and at first gave there several concerts in which
he was greatly applauded, and which were also very remunerative; but
upon a fresh attack was put into a mad house, where he soon afterwards
died. The world lost in him a very great musical genius, the full
development of which was barred by the sad affliction that befel him.

Meanwhile the acrimony of feeling that existed between Mr. _Leers_
and myself became constantly more apparent, and a sitting of the
directors seldom passed over without a regular dispute. He asserted
that I required too much time for the study and production of new
pieces because I was too fastidious in the matter. He expressed the
opinion, that a new opera ought to be studied every fortnight, or at
least an old one completed in those parts that required to be newly
filled up. In vain I represented to him, that it was impossible for an
opera that was carelessly studied to go off well, and therefore that
it never could give satisfaction; that once brought into discredit,
it would draw no audience, and then the time and money expended upon
it would be sheer waste. With this self-willed, obstinate man, who,
moreover, before my appointment had never met with any opposition in
the management, every sensible representation was ineffectual; and
as I would not allow any opera to be brought out until it had been
studied thoroughly as far as the means and strength of the company
allowed, our contest never ceased. This, together with an intimation
made by Mr. _Leers_ at a general meeting of the shareholders, “that for
their theatre they did not require a musical artist of eminence, but
merely a good indefatigable workman, who would devote his whole time
and energies to the theatre,” induced me to give in my resignation at
the next meeting of the committee, to date from the end of September
(1819). The news of this soon spread through the town, and excited
general regret among the lovers of music. _Börne_, in his journal
“The Balance” gave expression to his sentiments on the subject, and
indeed in a by no means gentle manner towards the theatrical-committee
of management. I left Frankfort with a light heart, for my summons
to that town had only been an interruption to the gratification of
my love of travelling; but my good wife was very grieved at it--she
who looked forward to the consequent separation from the children, as
these, from requiring now a regular school education, could no longer
be taken with us on our artistic tours. But I consoled her nevertheless
with the promise that she should always pass the summer months with
her children, and only travel with me during a period of from four to
five months in the winter. Before my departure from Frankfort I had
accepted an engagement from the Philharmonic Society of London for
the next season of the sitting of Parliament, which engagement was
offered me by _Ferdinand Ries_, the celebrated pianist and composer,
in the name of the society. This had been instituted but a few years
before by from twelve to sixteen of the most eminent musical artists in
London: _Clementi_, the two _Cramers_, _Moscheles_, _Ries_, _Potter_,
_Smart_, and others, with the object of giving every year eight grand
concerts during the season. Notwithstanding the very high price of
admission, the number of subscribers was so great, that many hundreds
of those who had inscribed their names could not obtain seats at the
commencement of the season, and could obtain them only by degrees in
the course of the summer. The funds of the society were therefore so
great, that they could not only engage the first artists and singers in
London for the soli in their concerts, but the most reputed musicians
on the Continent.--In this manner I was also engaged for the season
of 1820, and for a considerable remuneration, which secured to me the
expenses of the journey thither and return, and the expenses of a four
months’ residence in London, I undertook the performance of a fourfold
duty. I was required, namely, to direct some of the eight concerts, to
play soli in some, to assist in all of them as orchestra violinist,
and lastly to leave in the hands of the society as their own property
one of my orchestral compositions. At the same time a benefit concert
was also insured to me in the rooms of the society, with the joint
assistance of the orchestra. Although my wife was not included in this
engagement, yet I could not make up my mind to leave her behind me for
four long months. It was therefore resolved, on consulting with my
family, that my wife should accompany me and make her appearance as
artiste in London at least in my own concerts. As the season commenced
in the middle of February, and therefore the sea-passage would be made
at the roughest time of the year, we resolved, in order to shorten it
as much as possible, to go by way of Calais; and in order to be enabled
to give concerts on the journey in the Belgian and French towns, to set
out six or eight weeks earlier. We first proceeded to Gandersheim to
my parents, who had undertaken the care and education of the children
during the winter, and then set out upon an artistic tour to Hamburg,
where we gave two concerts with very great success. I played there,
before highly respectable audiences, my new quartets, which had been
previously published there: they were exceedingly well accompanied,
and as violinist upon those occasions I made the most sensation with
my two solo-quartets. I played likewise a few times the two quintets,
and I found the passion for this kind of music to be greater here
than anywhere else, except perhaps in Vienna. In the catalogue of my
compositions, _Goethe’s_ ballad “Wenn die Reben blühen” is enumerated
as composed by me in Hamburg, but I do not now recollect the reason of
its being so designated.

We then proceeded to Berlin, Dresden, Leipsic, Cassel, and other
places, in all of which we gave concerts, but respecting all of them
I now no longer remember anything particular. Of our performances in
Berlin one of the newspapers gave a most favourable notice.

In Brussels we found another travelling artist-couple who, like
ourselves, gave performances on the harp and violin. They were Monsieur
_Alexandre Boucher_ and wife from Paris. I had already heard a good
deal about him and was therefore very desirous of making his personal
acquaintance. _Boucher_ had the reputation of being a distinguished
violinist, but a great charlatan also. He bore a striking resemblance
to _Napoleon_, both in the features of his face and in his figure, and
did his best to turn this resemblance to account. He had acquired by
study the deportment of the exiled emperor, his way of wearing his hat,
and of taking a pinch of snuff with the greatest possible exactitude.
When on his artistic tours he arrived in a town where he was unknown,
he immediately presented himself with these acquired arts on the public
promenade or in the theatre, in order to attract the notice of the
public and to be talked about; he even endeavoured to spread the report
that he was persecuted by the present sovereign and driven from France
on account of his resemblance to _Napoleon_, because it brought back
the recollection of the beloved exile to the mind of the people. In
Lille, at least, as I there afterwards learned, he had announced his
concert in the following manner: “Une malheureuse ressemblance me force
de m’expatrier; je donnerai donc, avant de quitter ma belle patrie,
un concert d’adieux,” etc. That announcement had contained also some
similar charlatanerie, as follows: “Je jouerai ce fameux concerto de
_Viotti_ en mi-mineur, dont l’éxécution à Paris m’a gagné le surnom:
_l’Alexandre_ des violons.”

I was just on the point of calling upon Monsieur _Boucher_, when he
anticipated me by paying me a visit. He offered in a most friendly
manner to assist me in the arrangements for my concert, and shewed
himself in every respect, deduction made of his self-glorification, a
very amiable man. He introduced us to several families who were lovers
of music, who then by inviting us to their musical parties, procured
for us the opportunity of hearing the _Boucher_-couple. Both shewed in
their joint performances great skill; but all the compositions they
played were poor and barren, and of those of Monsieur _Boucher_ himself
I no longer recollect anything. At first Monsieur _Boucher_ played a
quartet of _Haydn_, but introduced so many irrelevant and tasteless
ornaments, that it was impossible for me to feel any pleasure in it.
The manner in which _Boucher_ allowed himself to be waited upon by his
wife on these occasions was remarkable. When he had taken his seat at
the quartet desk, she would ask him for the key of the violin-case,
open it, bring him his violin, then the bow, which she had previously
resined; she then laid the music before him and lastly seated herself
near him, to turn over the pages. When we were then invited to play,
the whole of this process was inverted; for I not only fetched my own
instrument, but took my wife’s harp out of the case also, led her to
the seat where she was to play and then tuned up, all of which in the
previous performance had been the business of Madame _Boucher_. But I
took upon me the tuning of the harp upon every appearance in public,
not only to save my wife the trouble, but also to bring the instrument
to a perfectly pure and tempered pitch, which, as is well known, is not
so easy a matter. We played one of our brillant duets, and met with
great applause. _Boucher_ in particular seemed charmed with my play,
and he may perhaps have meant it with some sincerity; for in a letter
of recommendation which he gave me to Baron _d’Assignies_ in Lille,
and which the latter shewed to me as a curiosity, after describing the
characteristics of my play; he said: “Enfin, si je suis, comme on le
prétend, le _Napoléon_ des violons, Mr. _Spohr_ est bien le Moreau!”

My concert took place in the new large theatre and met with marked
approbation; but the receipts, after deduction of the very considerable
expenses, were but small, for our fame had not yet reached Brussels.
It is true we were invited by lovers of music and the public journals
to give a second concert; but as a favourable day did not immediately
offer, and our stay at the chief hotel where we had stopped was very
expensive, we preferred setting out immediately on our journey to Lille.

Arrived there, my first visit was to Monsieur _Vogel_, who had been
mentioned to me as the best violinist in the town and as director
of the dilettanti-concerts. I did not find him at home, but Madame
_Vogel_, who received me in a very cordial manner. When I told her my
name, her face became animated, and she anxiously inquired whether I
was the composer of the nonette, the theme of which she sang to me. As
I smiling replied yes, with an outburst of French vivacity she threw
her arms round my neck, and exclaimed: “Oh how delighted my husband
well be, _car il est fou de votre Nonetto!_” I had scarcely returned
to the inn, when Monsieur _Vogel_ appeared with a countenance lit up
with pleasure, and welcomed me with the warmth of an old friend. In the
house of this amiable couple we passed some very happy hours, and gave
a concert in the saloon of the dilettanti society, the arrangements
for which were made by Monsieur _Vogel_, the whole of the members of
the society being desirous to hear the composer of the so frequently
performed nonette play in person. The joint play of my wife and self
was especially received with such enthusiastic acclamation, that the
day was immediately fixed for a second concert. Some lovers of music
from the neighbouring town of Douay, who had come over to the concert,
invited us in the name of the musical society of that place to give
a concert in Douay also, and insured to us the sale of 400 tickets
at five francs each. I had therefore the finest prospect of carrying
from Lille plenty of money, when an unexpected occurrence quashed
all my hopes. The carriage was already packed and we were on the
point of starting for Douay, when the report was spread in the town
that the telegraph had just announced from Paris the assassination
of the Duke _de Berri_. It was not long before placards were posted
at the corners of the streets by order of the mayoralty, announcing
officially this mournful intelligence to the inhabitants of Lille. As
all concert-giving was now necessarily suspended throughout France,
but the period of my engagement in London not yet arrived, I was
easily induced by Messrs. _Vogel_, _d’Assignies_, and other lovers
of music, to remain yet longer in Lille. Private musical parties now
took place almost daily, and I had thus an opportunity of performing
all my quartets, quintets, and compositions for the harp to this
circle of enthusiastic lovers of music. I found on these occasions a
very sympathetic and graceful auditory, and therefore still recall
with infinite pleasure the remembrance of those musical soirées. At
these many other interesting things were related to me concerning
_Boucher_. Among others, upon one occasion, in the midst of his play,
when according to his idea something had gone wrong, he suddenly ceased
playing, and without paying any regard to those who accompanied him,
he again repeated the unlucky passage, addressing himself aloud with
the words: “Cela n’a pas réussi; allons, _Boucher_, encore une fois!”
The termination of his second and last concert was also of a highly
comic character. As his concluding subject he played a rondo of his own
composition which had at the end an impromptu cadence. At the rehearsal
he had begged the gentlemen dilettanti to fall in right vigorously with
their final tutti immediately after the shake of his cadence, and added
that he would give them the signal by stamping with his foot. In the
evening, when this concluding piece began, it was already very late,
and the dilettanti were growing impatient to get home to supper. But
when the cadence in which _Boucher_ as usual exhibited all his artistic
_tours de force_ seemed never likely to end, some of the gentlemen
put their instruments into their cases and slipped out. This was so
infectious, that in a few minutes the whole orchestra had disappeared.
_Boucher_, who in the enthusiasm of his play had observed nothing of
this, lifted his foot already at the commencement of his concluding
shake, in order to draw the attention of the orchestra beforehand to
the agreed signal. When he had now concluded the shake he was fully
satisfied of what would follow, namely the most vigorous entry of
the orchestra and the burst of applause it was to bring down from
the enraptured audience. His astonishment may therefore be imagined
when all that fell upon his ear was the loud stamp of his own foot.
Horrified he stared aghast around him, and beheld all the music desks
abandoned. But the public, who had already prepared themselves to see
this moment arrive, burst out into an uproarious laughter, in which
_Boucher_, with the best stomach he could, was obliged to join.

The time for our departure for London had now arrived. As I was
desirous of purchasing in London a new _Erard_ harp with the improved
_double movement_ for my wife, we left the old instrument in the care
of Monsieur _Vogel_. The family were very pleased at this, as they now
reckoned with certainty upon seeing us again on our return journey.

Arrived in Calais, I immediately went to the packet-boat office to take
our berth for the passage. Thence I took a walk to the port, to look
at the vessel in which we were to sail in the afternoon. As I now,
however, remarked that the sea, even in the inside of the harbour, was
very rough, and ran so high outside that the waves broke high over the
pier head, I lost all inclination to cross with the sea so stormy, and
hastened back to the office, to have the berths taken transferred for
the following day. In the afternoon while taking a walk in the town I
took good care not to take my wife near the sea, so that, dreading the
passage as she already did, she might not observe how rough it was.
The thoughts of being obliged to cross at so stormy a season of the
year with my delicate and nervous wife disturbed my rest throughout
the night; as soon as day broke I hastened therefore again down to
the harbour to see whether the storm had not abated. It appeared to
me to have done so, and I therefore fetched _Dorette_, brought her
on board, and advised her to lie down in the cabin. A good-natured
German who served as seaman on board this English packet-boat, promised
me to take every care of her and bring her all she might require.
This enabled me to go upon deck, where in the open air I hoped to be
somewhat enabled to resist sea-sickness. Meanwhile the preparations
were made for departure, and the vessel was towed out with long ropes
close along the left-hand side jetty of the harbour by from sixty to
eighty men. Scarcely, however, had she reached this, when a gigantic
wave seized her and in a moment hurled her to the opposite side of the
harbour, so that she was almost thrown against the extreme point of the
right-hand pier. Immediately upon this the waves broke over the deck,
and the hatches and cabin doors were obliged to be closed. Of all the
passengers I was the only one who remained on deck, and had seated
myself on a bench near the mast, round the foot of which was piled a
high coil of cable. Here I hoped to be protected from the water that
poured in torrents over the deck; but the waves soon broke in over the
bows to such a height, that to prevent being completely drenched by
them I was compelled to stand up upon the bench. I had not done this
many times, before I found my strength fail me to repeat it; and in
a short time therefore in spite of my thick cloak I found myself wet
through to the skin, which made my already wretched condition but more
distressing. In addition to this I was then seized with such violent
cramp in the stomach from the straining which follows when the stomach
has nothing more to yield, that I thought I should expire under it.
Fortunately, however, favoured by the storm, the passage was an
unusually quick one. Nevertheless, the three hours of its duration
seemed to me an eternity;--at length we arrived at Dover, but another
misfortune awaited us here; for on account of the tide being at ebb,
we could not enter the harbour, and were constrained to disembark the
passengers in open boats in the offing. For this purpose as soon as
we had cast anchor, the boats were lowered, and we were called to get
into them to be put on shore in the harbour. I now saw my suffering
fellow-passengers come from below, pale and trembling like ghosts from
the grave, and it was very evident that they had not fared better in
the cabin than I upon deck. At length, supported by the kind sailor,
my poor wife appeared also, in a most suffering condition. I was just
about to hasten to her, when a young and beautiful girl, whom I had
already remarked, it is true, when we came on board, but who then did
not think me worthy of a look, suddenly threw her arms round my neck,
and without uttering a word, clung close to me. I readily guessed the
motive of this extraordinary conduct. The poor, terrified creature had
been a joint spectator of the manner in which the first passengers
had been put on board the boat, and how when it had been lifted by
the still surging waves as high as the deck of the vessel, it then
sank as it were into an abyss, and was again lifted up, which was the
moment seized by the sailors to thrust another passenger or pitch
another object of luggage into it. This rough method of proceeding had
so terrified her, that she left the arm of the female who accompanied
her, and clung to me, whom she may have considered the strongest of the
passengers. There was no time for explanation; I bore her therefore in
my arms into the boat, and then hastened back to my wife, to put her
also into it. Scarcely had I effected this without accident, when the
still terrified fair one clung close to me anew, and indeed so as to
excite _Dorette’s_ extreme surprise. But the danger of the passage was
too absorbing to permit of any remark on the subject, and upon landing
the young girl had scarcely felt the firm ground under her feet than
she left hold of me without a word of thanks, and taking the arm
of her companion walked away. That she was some young lady of rank
accompanied by her governess, may be readily imagined from this truly
English behaviour.

Arrived at the inn, I exchanged my thoroughly wet clothes for dry ones,
and having satisfied our re-awakened appetite at the _table d’hôte_,
and gained strength for the further journey, we immediately took
places in the coach, which was to leave in the afternoon for London.
The greater part of this journey was made at night, and when on the
following morning we were set down in the yard of the coach-office
with our luggage, I found myself in very great difficulty. In spite of
every endeavour, I could not succeed in finding any one either there
or in the office to whom I could explain myself, for I knew not a
word of English, and none of all whom I addressed, understood either
German or French. Nothing therefore remained for me but to hunt up some
interpreter in the public street while my wife watched the luggage.
But it was yet early in the morning, and I saw therefore none but
people of the lower class, from whom I could hope nothing. At length
a better dressed man approached, whom I first addressed in German,
then, as he shook his head, expressed to him my wants in French; but
the man shrugged his shoulders and went on his way. A second person,
however, who had witnessed this scene, approached me, and asked me in
good French what it was I wanted? He was one who hired himself out as
day-interpreter, and out-door servant at hotels, and at my request
immediately fetched a hackney-coach for me, to drive to Mr. _Ries_,
whose address I fortunately remembered. We were now soon taken to the
lodgings that had been engaged for us, where we could at length repose
from the fatigues of our voyage and night journey.

The next morning, on which a meeting of the directors of the
Philharmonic society was to assemble, I was to be introduced to them by
Mr. _Ries_. I therefore made a careful toilette, and expressly for the
occasion put on a bright red Turkish shawl-pattern waistcoat forming
part of my ward-robe, and which was considered on the Continent as a
most elegant article and of the newest fashion. Scarcely had I appeared
in it in the street than I attracted the general attention of all who
passed. The grown-up people contented themselves with gazing at me
with looks of surprise, and then passed on their way; but the young
urchins of the street, were loud in their remarks, which unfortunately
I did not understand, and therefore could not imagine what it was in
me that so much displeased them. By degrees, however, they formed a
regular tail behind me, which grew constantly louder in speech and
more and more unruly. A passer-by addressed me and probably gave me
some explanation of its meaning; but as it was in English, I could
derive no benefit from it. Fortunately Mr. _Ries_’ house was not very
distant, and I reached it shortly after. His wife, a young amiable
English woman, and who spoke French fluently, now soon solved for me
the problem of my adventure. The death of George III. had but recently
taken place and a general mourning had been officially ordered, and
according to English custom no person durst appear in public otherwise
than in a black suit. In all other respects it is true my dress was
black, and therefore in accordance with the requisition, but the
unfortunate red waistcoat contrasted with it but the more prominently.
Mrs. _Ries_ observed to me that I had doubtless to thank my imposing
height and my earnest expression of countenance for having escaped from
the rude licence of the boys in the street, and from their resort to
its more open exhibition of pelting me with mud. In order to avoid all
further offence, _Ries_ then first drove with me to my lodgings, in
order to exchange my red waistcoat for a black one.

After I had been welcomed in a friendly manner by the directors of the
Philharmonic Society, some of whom spoke German and others French, a
council was held respecting the programme of the first concert. At this
I was required to play solo twice and to lead as first violin. To this
I replied that I was quite ready to perform the first, but must beg
that I might be permitted to lead in one of the subsequent concerts,
as my solo play would appear to less advantage if both were required
of me on one and the same evening. Clear as this was acknowledged to
be by some of the gentlemen who were themselves solo-players, yet
it gave rise at first to a long and earnest discussion, as it was
contrary to the custom of the society, but at length it was complied
with. Still greater subject of offence, however, was my request to be
permitted on this my first appearance to play my own compositions only.
The Philharmonic Society, in order to exclude from their programmes
all shallow and worthless virtuosi-concerti, had laid down the law,
that with the exception of the pianoforte concerti of _Mozart_ and
_Beethoven_ no similar musical pieces should be played, and that
solo players had only to perform that which they should select.
Nevertheless, after _Ries_ had continued the discussion in English,
and therefore unintelligibly to me, and represented to the gentlemen
that my violin-concerts in Germany would therefore become excluded
by their bann, they at length yielded in this also. I therefore at
the first Philharmonic concert, came forward with my cantabile scena,
and in the second part with a solo quartet in E major, and met with
great and general applause. As a composer it afforded me an especial
gratification that the whole of the directors now shared the opinion
of Mr. _Ries_, and as a violinist the greatest pleasure, that old
_Viotti_, who had always been my pattern, and was to have been my
instructor in my youth, was among the auditory and spoke to me in great
praise of my play. As I had thus so successfully passed through the
ordeal of my first appearance in London, I devoted the next day to
the delivery of my letters of recommendation. Not knowing a word of
English this was for me by no means a pleasant business, and brought me
into frequent perplexity. Not having been told that in London people
announced themselves by knocking at the street doors, and gentlemen
always by giving a succession of loud rapid knocks; I, in German
fashion, rang very gently at the bell, which is done in London only
by those who have business with the kitchen, and I could not imagine
why the servants who opened the door always looked at me with an
expression of astonishment, and could not at all imagine that I wished
my name to be announced to their masters. As those also for whom my
visit was intended frequently understood as little as their servants
either German or French, the most perplexing scenes were of frequent
occurrence. I was however exceedingly amused by one at _Rothschild’s_,
to whom I brought a letter of recommendation from his brother at
Frankfort, and a letter of credit from _Speyer_. After _Rothschild_
had taken both letters from me and glanced hastily over them, he said
to me in a more subdued tone of voice: “I have just read (pointing to
the “Times”) that you managed your business very efficiently. But I
understand nothing of music; this is my music (slapping his purse),
they understand that on the exchange!” Upon which, with a nod of the
head, he terminated the audience.--But just as I had reached the door,
he called after me: “You can come and dine with me, too, out at my
country-house!” A few days afterwards also Madame _Rothschild_ invited
me to dinner; but I did not go, although she repeated the invitation.
Nevertheless, the letter of recommendation to _Rothschild_ was not
wholly useless, for he took a whole box at my benefit concert.

As immediately on our arrival in London I was obliged to prepare for
my appearance in public; and my wife was engrossed with our domestic
arrangements, we had unfortunately delayed writing to apprise my
parents at Gandersheim of our safe arrival, by which the old folks
were thrown into a state of alarm from which they did not recover for
a long time. The vessel in which we had designed to cross the channel
on the day of our arrival in Calais, and for which I had at first paid
the passage money, and had the tickets transferred for the next day’s
packet, on account of the roughness of the weather, had been driven
completely down channel and was given up for lost, until it at length
turned up again somewhere on the coast of Spain. A French newspaper had
cited our names among the passengers on board. What therefore could
be natural, than that the French papers should collectively announce:
“The artist-couple _Spohr_ and wife have perished on the passage to
England.” This was soon copied into German papers, and to wit into the
country paper taken in by my parents. Unfortunately, this first fell
into the hands of my mother, who was already in a state of anxiety from
the long delay of letters from England. A shriek of anguish and
an immediate fainting of it were the result of this. The whole family
was thrown into confusion, and when at length my mother recovered her
senses, there began a general outburst of tears and mourning. My sister
first recovered some calmness of mind, and urged as subject of hope and
consideration how frequently newspaper reports were wholly false. She
also entreated that no one should speak on the subject in the presence
of my children, who were now seen returning from school, which request
was faithfully promised. But my mother could not refrain from embracing
those she believed to be now orphans with more than usual tenderness.
This circumstance, together with the yet swollen eyes of the mourners,
excited no small astonishment in the children, and when no reply was
made to the inquiries they made respecting these incidents, and no one
would sit down to supper, they also began to weep, without knowing

At length the arrival of the postman put an end to this painful scene.
All sprang up delighted, with the expectation of a letter from England.
But the joy was but of short duration, for when they recognised the
“Frankfort” post-mark and _Speyer’s_ hand writing on the address, they
now indeed believed that they were about to read nothing else than the
corroboration of the sad newspaper report. No one, therefore, had the
courage to open the letter, until at length my sister summoned the
resolution. Scarcely had she glanced her eyes over a few words than
she exclaimed with joy: “They have arrived safe,” and then handed the
letter to my father, who read it aloud to them with great emotion.
_Speyer_ informed them that he had just received the announcement
from the house of _Rothschild_ in London, that they had there made
me a payment of money, and that therefore the newspaper report of
the loss of Herr _Spohr_ and his wife was unfounded, which he had
therewith immediately communicated to allay all their alarm. A general
exclamation of joy was now uttered by all, and the previously neglected
evening meal was turned into a very feast of delight. Immediately after
supper my father seated himself at his writing table, to thank Mr.
_Speyer_ for his kind attention, and to give the editor of the country
paper a sound rating for having thrown a family into such grief by the
heedless insertion of an unauthenticated report in his columns.

The following day my letter arrived also from London, and increased yet
more by its good intelligence the joy of my family.

At the house of Mr. _Ries_ I had made the acquaintance of Mr. _Erard_,
the head of the London firm _Erard Brothers_, and accompanied by my
wife had already visited his show rooms of finished harps. We could
not however immediately make up our minds in the choice of one, as
_Dorette_ wished first to try which size would suit her best, and
in particular whether she could be able to accustom herself to the
new mechanism. Mr. _Erard_ removed all hesitation from her mind in
that respect, by kindly offering to lend her a harp for trial and
choice, during our stay in London, which if it did not suit her, she
could change for another or wholly return. This offer she thankfully
accepted, and began immediately to practise on the new instrument; but
at first she could not well succeed upon it. The new harp, though of
the smallest pattern, was nevertheless considerably larger, as well
as much more strongly strung, than her own, and therefore required a
greater exertion of strength, and it was very difficult for her to
acquire a mastery of the new mechanism _à double movement_, from being
accustomed from her childhood to the single movement. She therefore
soon felt convinced that it would require several months’ practice
on this harp before she could play upon it in public, and I accordingly
resolved to allow her to appear once only, at my benefit-concert, in
order that she might give an additional attraction to it. Meanwhile
my turn had come to direct one of the Philharmonic concerts, and I
had created no less sensation than with my solo play. It was at that
time still the custom there that when symphonies and overtures were
performed, the pianist had the score before him, not exactly to conduct
from it, but only to read after and to play in with the orchestra at
pleasure, which when it was heard, had a very bad effect. The real
conductor was the first violin, who gave the _tempi_, and now and
then when the orchestra began to falter gave the beat with the bow
of his violin. So numerous an orchestra, standing so far apart from
each other as that of the Philharmonic, could not possibly go exactly
together, and in spite of the excellence of the individual members, the
_ensemble_ was much worse than we are accustomed to in Germany. I had
therefore resolved when my turn came to direct, to make an attempt to
remedy this defective system. Fortunately at the morning rehearsal on
the day when I was to conduct the concert, Mr. _Ries_ took the place
at the Piano, and he readily assented to give up the score to me and
to remain wholly excluded from all participation in the performance.
I then took my stand with the score at a separate music desk in front
of the orchestra, drew my directing baton from my coat pocket and gave
the signal to begin. Quite alarmed at such a novel procedure, some of
the directors would have protested against it; but when I besought them
to grant me at least one trial, they became pacified. The symphonies
and overtures that were to be rehearsed were well known to me, and in
Germany I had already directed at their performance. I therefore could
not only give the tempi in a very decisive manner, but indicated also
to the wind instruments and horns all their entries, which ensured to
them a confidence such as hitherto they had not known there. I also
took the liberty, when the execution did not satisfy me, to stop, and
in a very polite but earnest manner to remark upon the manner of
execution, which remarks Mr. _Ries_ at my request interpreted to the
orchestra. Incited thereby to more than usual attention, and conducted
with certainty by the _visible_ manner of giving the time, they played
with a spirit and a correctness such as till then they had never
been heard to play with. Surprised and inspired by this result the
orchestra immediately after the first part of the symphony, expressed
aloud its collective assent to the new mode of conducting, and thereby
overruled all further opposition on the part of the directors. In the
vocal pieces also, the conducting of which I assumed at the request
of Mr. _Ries_, particularly in the recitative, the leading with
the baton, after I had explained the meaning of my movements, was
completely successful, and the singers repeatedly expressed to me their
satisfaction for the precision with which the orchestra now followed

The result in the evening was still more brillant than I could have
hoped for. It is true, the audience were at first startled by the
novelty, and were seen whispering together; but when the music began
and the orchestra executed the well-known symphony with unusual power
and precision, the general approbation was shewn immediately on the
conclusion of the first part by a long-sustained clapping of hands.
The triumph of the baton as a time-giver was decisive, and no one was
seen any more seated at the piano during the performance of symphonies
and overtures. On this evening also the concert overture which I
had composed before I left Frankfort was given for the first time.
As it pleased very much the Philharmonic society accepted it as the
composition which according to my contract I was to leave in their
hands. I kept no copy of it and soon forgot it entirely, so that a few
years afterwards when preparing a thematic catalogue of my compositions
I could not recal to mind the beginning of it, for which reason the
theme of it is wholly wanting in the text.

During the delivery of my letters of introduction in London, as also
upon many other occasions, I had so much felt the want of some one
to serve me as interpreter that I was continually making inquiries
for a person to accompany me who could speak German and English. At
length Mr. _Ries_ bethought him of an old servant of the deceased
_Salomon_[25] of the name of _Johanning_, who would be competent
to fill that office. It is true, that he had retired from service,
and as heir to his late master had bought a small country-house in
the neighbourhood of London. Mr. _Ries_ hoped nevertheless that the
yet vigorous old man would consent to take the situation, for which
purpose he sent for him to town, and the offer on my part was made to
him. When he learned that it was to enter the service of a German and
a musician, and furthermore of a violinist, as his deceased master
had been, he immediately expressed his readiness, and even left it
to my option what remuneration I should give him at the close of
the season. Thenceforth he came every morning into town, and having
first interpreted the wishes of my wife to the landlady respecting
the dinner, he then accompanied me on my rounds of business. From his
long residence in London, however, he had forgotten a great deal of
his German, and his English doubtless was not very classic; for in
his interpreting frequent misunderstandings would take place. When I
had thus presented the remainder of my letters of introduction with
less difficulty than before, I again found time and leisure for new
compositions. I first wrote a symphony (the second D flat, Op. 49) and
played it for the first time at one of the Philharmonic concerts, which
I had to conduct, April 10. 1820. At its rehearsal, it met with very
great approbation both from the orchestra and the numerous persons who
were present; but in the evening it was received with real enthusiasm.
I had in part to thank the numerous and particularly excellent stringed
instruments of the orchestra for this brillant success, and in this
composition I had given them a special opportunity of exhibiting
their skill in playing with purity and precision of _ensemble_. In
fact, as regards the stringed instruments, I have never since heard
that symphony given with so much effect as on that evening. The next
morning all the London newspapers contained reports respecting the
new symphony that had been composed in their town, and vied with each
other in their praise of it. Similar favourable notices of my play upon
every occasion of my appearance soon spread my fame throughout the
town, and pupils readily presented themselves to receive instruction
from me on the violin, as well as ladies who were desirous of being
accompanied on the piano. As all expressed their willingness to pay a
guinea for each hour’s instruction, I readily accepted their offers,
as I considered that I owed it to my family to turn the good fortune
I had met with in London as a musician to my pecuniary advantage. In
this manner, after having first devoted a few hours to composition
at home or to music with my wife, I was running or driving about all
day in huge London, and frequently right weary of it; for the greater
part of my pupils had neither talent nor application, and took lessons
of me merely to be enabled to say that they were pupils of _Spohr_.
I nevertheless call to mind with some pleasure several originals who
amused me with their singularities, and therewith somewhat relieved the
bitter trouble I had with them. One was an old general on half-pay,
but who always made his appearance in full uniform, decorated with all
his orders, and with the extreme of high military bearing. He, as an
exception, came always to my house, but, nevertheless, required to play
for three quarters of an hour only, as according to the custom there
deduction was made of the quarter of an hour for the drive. He came
every morning, Sundays excepted, in his old state carriage, precisely
at 12 o’clock, ordered one of his belaced and powdered footmen to
bring up his violin-case, and after a dumb greeting sat himself down
immediately to his music desk. But previous to that he took out his
watch to see at what o’clock the lesson would commence, and then set
it down close to him. He would bring easy duets with him, chiefly of
_Pleyel_, in which I played second violin. Although there were many
things in his play that indicated the unpractised pupil, I soon saw
that it would not be wise to point them out to him; I contented myself
therefore with accommodating my tones as much as possible to those of
the old gentleman, and so we played one duet after the other in the
best concord. As soon, however, as we had played the three quarters of
an hour, the general would stop, though in the middle of the piece,
take from his waistcoat pocket a one-pound note in which a shilling was
wrapped up, and put it upon the table. He would then take up his watch,
and take leave in the same taciturn manner as he had entered.

[25] It was this _Salomon_, who, as concert-giver, induced his friend
_Haydn_ to visit London and compose symphonies for his concerts; and
to him therefore the musical world owes the twelve most beautiful
symphonies _Haydn_ wrote.

The other original was an old lady whom I accompanied on the piano.
She was a passionate admirer of _Beethoven_, against which I had
nothing to say, but she had the whim, moreover, never to play any
other music than that of her favorite. She had all _Beethoven’s_
pianoforte-compositions, as also his orchestral works arranged for
the piano. Her apartment was also hung with every portrait of him
that she had been able to procure. As many of these differed greatly
in resemblance to each other, she urged me to inform her which most
resembled him of the whole. She possessed also some relics of him which
had been brought to her from Vienna by English travellers, among others
a button of his dressing-gown and a piece of music paper with some note
marks and ink-blots from his hand. When I apprized her that I had lived
for some time on terms of great intimacy with him, I rose greatly in
her estimation, and she had then so much to ask that on some days we
never played at all. She spoke French with tolerably fluency, and could
even bring out a few words of German. Her pianoforte play was not at
all bad, so that I was rather pleased to play the sonatas for piano and
violin. But when she subsequently produced the trios also, and played
with me _without_ violoncello, and then even the piano concertos, in
which, with the exception of first orchestral-violin, which I played,
all else was wanting, it became very clear to me that her enthusiasm
for _Beethoven_ was nothing but affectation, and that she had not the
least perception of the excellence of his compositions.

I became acquainted with a third singular character in the following
manner. One morning a servant in livery brought a letter to me, which
my old _Johanning_ translated in the following manner: “Mr. _Spohr_
is requested to call at the house of the undersigned, at 4 o’clock
precisely.” As I did not know the name appended to the note, nor could
ascertain from the servant the purpose for which my attendance was
requested, I replied thereto in an equally laconic manner: “At the
hour indicated I am engaged and cannot come.” The next morning the
servant reappeared with a second much more polite note: “Mr. _Spohr_
is requested to honour the undersigned with a visit, and to appoint
the time himself.” At the same time the servant had been ordered to
offer his master’s carriage, and as I had been meanwhile informed
that the writer was a celebrated physician, who frequently attended
concerts, and interested himself especially in violin music, I no
longer hesitated to go, but indicated the appointed hour to the servant
and was duly fetched in the doctor’s carriage. An amiable old gentlemen
with snow white hair received me at the foot of the stairs, but we
now discovered to our mutual regret that we could not make ourselves
intelligible to each other, for he spoke neither German nor French.
We stood opposite to each other in great embarassment, until he took
me by the arm and led me into a spacious room on the walls of which a
number of violins were hung. Others had been taken from their cases
and placed upon tables. The doctor handed a bow to me and pointed to
the instruments. I now comprehended that I was to give my opinion of
the respective merits of the violins, and immediately began to try
them and to arrange them in order according to their worth. This was
no easy work to do; for there were a great number of them, and the
old gentleman brought them all in succession, without omitting one.
When at length, after the lapse of about an hour, I had found the
best six of them, and still played on these alternately to discover
the very best of them, I observed that the doctor eyed one of them
with looks of particular fondness, and his face lit up with pleasure
every time I struck the strings. I therefore readily gave the kind old
gentleman the satisfaction of indicating that instrument as the matador
of the whole collection. Quite delighted with this announcement, he
now brought a _viola d’amour_, and began to play a fantasia on this
long-unused instrument. I listened to him with pleasure, as I had not
heard the instrument before and the doctor played by no means ill.
Thus terminated the interview to the satisfaction of both, and I had
taken up my hat, to take my leave of him when the old gentleman, with
a kindly expression of countenance and several low bows, handed to
me a five-pound note. Astonished at this, I looked at the note and
the donor, and at first knew not what he meant; when it struck me
that he intended it as a remuneration for my testing his violins, and
shaking my head with a smile, I laid the note on the table, pressed
the doctor’s hand with warmth, and hastened down stairs. He followed
me out into the street, assisted me into the carriage and then spoke
some words with evident emotion to his coachman. This had made so
much impression on the coachman, that he immediately told it to old
_Johanning_, who had come with the carriage, to open the door. He
had said to him: “You are driving there a German who is a perfect
gentleman; and I expect you will take him home to his house with the
greatest care.”--A few months afterwards, when I gave my benefit
concert, the doctor sent for a ticket and forwarded to me at the same
time a ten-pound note.

Meanwhile my wife had by unflagging industry acquired great proficiency
on the new harp, but in doing so--on account of the greater stretch
of arm it required and the stronger tension of the strings--she had
exerted herself over much and now suffered greatly from the exhaustion
it had induced. From former experience I had learned that nothing so
quickly imparted fresh strength to her nerves as the frequent enjoyment
of fresh air. I therefore availed myself of every moment of sunshine
in the first days of spring to take gentle walks into Regent’s Park,
which was very near to our dwelling in Charlotte Street. On Sundays,
when all music ceases in London, and when even without fear of giving
offence we could not play in our own apartments, we used to make more
distant excursions to Hampstead, and to the other parks. Our companion
and guide was alternately the younger _Ries_ and an old amiable man of
the name of _Stumpf_, an instrument maker. I soon had the gratification
of seeing my wife regain fresh strength and spirits from the mild
influence of the English spring, but I adhered strictly to my previous
resolution that she should appear once only at my own concert, and
declined with firmness several offers that were made to her. But as
for myself, I played at all concerts where they were willing to pay
the price I asked, and as this according to English notions was not
excessively high, I was in frequent requisition, and saw my name
announced on almost all the concert-programmes of the season. But
I never could make up my mind to play for remuneration at private
parties, for the manner in which musicians were then treated there, was
to me most unbecoming and degrading. They were not admitted to join
the company, but were shewn into an adjoining room, where they had to
wait until the moment arrived when they were summoned to the apartments
where the company was assembled before whom they were to play; their
performance over, they had to leave the room again immediately. My wife
and I were ourselves once eyewitnesses of this contemptuous treatment
of the first and most eminent artists in London. We had received
letters of introduction to the king’s brothers the Dukes of _Sussex_
and _Clarence_, and as the latter was married to a German, a Princess
of Meiningen, I paid them a visit accompanied by my wife. The Ducal
couple received us in a very kind manner and invited us to a musical
party they were to give in a few days and at which we were also asked
to assist. I then thought in what way I could best extricate myself
from this disgusting exclusion from the company, and resolved if I
could not succeed to return home immediately. When therefore we entered
the palace, and a lacquey was on the point of opening the door of the
room where the other musicians were assembled, I told _Johanning_ to
deliver my violin case to him, and with my wife on my arm, immediately
ascended the staircase before the lacquey had time to recover from his
astonishment. Arrived at the door of the apartments where the company
were assembled, I announced my name to the footman in waiting, and as
he hesitated to open the door I evinced an intention of opening it
myself. Upon this the lacquey instantly threw open the door and called
out the names of the new-comers. The Duchess, alive to German usages,
rose immediately from her seat, advanced a few steps to meet my wife,
and led her into the circle of ladies. The Duke welcomed me also with
a few friendly words and introduced me to the gentlemen around him. I
now thought I had successfully achieved all; but I soon observed that
the servants notwithstanding not did consider me as properly belonging
to the company, for they always passed me by with the tea-tray and
other refreshments, without offering me any. At length the Duke may
also have remarked this; for I saw him whisper a few words in the ear
of the steward of the household. After this the refreshments were also
presented to me. When the concert was to commence the steward of the
household sent a servant to summon the invited artists in the order
in which their names appeared on the programme. They hereupon entered
the apartment with their sheet of music or instrument in hand, saluted
the company with a profound bow, and began their performances. They
were the _élite_ of the most distinguished singers and musicians in
London, and the execution of their respective pieces was almost without
exception charmingly beautiful. This, however, did not appear to be
felt by the noble and fashionable auditory; for they did not cease
their conversation one moment. Once only when a very favorite female
singer entered the room they became somewhat more silent, and a few
subdued _bravas_ were heard, for which she immediately returned thanks
with profound curtsies. I was exceedingly annoyed by this derogation of
art and still more so with the artists who submitted to be so treated,
and I had a great mind not to play at all. When the turn came to me,
therefore, I purposely hesitated so long till the Duke, probably at
a sign made to him by his wife, invited me himself to play. I then
requested one of the servants to bring up my violin case, and I then
began to play the piece I had proposed to myself without making the
customary bows to the company. All these circumstances excited no
doubt the attention of the company, for during the whole time of my
performance the greatest stillness pervaded the apartment. When I had
concluded the ducal pair and their guests applauded. Now also I first
expressed my thanks by making a bow. Shortly afterwards the concert
terminated, and the musicians retired. If our having constituted
ourselves part of the company had furnished matter of surprise, this
was still more increased when they saw that we stopped there also to
supper, and during the supper were treated with great attention by
the ducal hosts. The circumstance to which we doubtless owed this
distinction--one so unheard-of and repugnant to all English notions of
that day--was the fact that the Duchess had known us while yet living
in her paternal house, and had there witnessed the friendly reception
which, at the time when we lived at Gotha, we had frequently met with
at the court of Meiningen. The Duke of _Sussex_, to whom I had brought
a letter of recommendation from the Duke of _Cambridge_, then regent of
Hanover, received me also with great distinction and conversed with me
a good deal. During a conversation we had upon the subject of English
national songs, the Duke even sent for his guitar and sang to me some
English and Irish national songs, which afterwards suggested to me the
idea of working up some of the most popular of these as a pot-pourri
for my instrument, and of introducing the same at my concert.[26]
When the company broke up, which was not till long after midnight, we
returned home greatly pleased with the result of our daring and with
the victory we had gained over the prejudices of London society.

[26] This is the Op. 59, the second of my works written in London.

Among those who solicited me to play solo at their concerts was Sir
_George Smart_, one of the directors of the Philharmonic Society.
During the season he gave a succession of subscription concerts which
he called “sacred concerts,” in which nevertheless a great deal of the
music was “worldly” also. I played at two of them, in return for which
Sir George undertook the arrangements for my benefit-concert--a by no
means light task even for a native well versed in the matter, and which
if I had undertaken in person would perhaps have occupied six weeks of
my time, which I could employ in a much more advantageous manner. My
concert took place on the 18th. June, and was one of the most brillant
and well attended of the whole season. Almost every person to whom we
had brought letters of recommendation--and among them also the Dukes of
_Sussex_ and _Clarence_--had taken either boxes or reserved seats, and
several of those wealthy personages had forwarded considerable sums for

A great number of the subscribers to the Philharmonic Society also
retained their seats, and as the lowest price for a ticket was half
a guinea, and the room held nearly a thousand people, the receipts
were very considerable. I derived a great additional advantage from
the circumstance, that the expenses which otherwise in London are
enormously high, were greatly reduced on this occasion by the refusal
of several of the members of the orchestra to receive any gratuity,
from a friendly feeling towards me, and from the agreement previously
entered into by me with the Philharmonic Society, that the use of the
rooms should cost me nothing. On the other hand, however, I had to pay
all the singers, and I yet well remember that I was obliged to pay Mrs.
_Salmon_, the then most popular female vocalist in London, and without
whose presence my concert would have been considered not sufficiently
attractive, the sum of thirty pounds sterling for a single song; and
she made it a further condition of agreement, that she should not
sing until towards the end of the concert, as she had first to sing
at a concert in the city, six miles off. I must here mention also a
singular custom which prevailed at all concerts in London at that time,
which now, however, like many other strange practices of that period,
has been discontinued. Namely, it was required that the party giving
the concert should provide the auditory with refreshments during the
pause between the first and second parts of the concert. These were
accordingly supplied at a buffet in an adjoining room, and one was
obliged to agree beforehand with the confectioner upon the sum for
their purveyance, which at my concert was undertaken for ten pounds
sterling. If the company consisted for the most part of persons of
rank and fashion, with whom it was not usual to take any refreshments,
the confectioner used to make a good thing of it, but if it was a
very numerous and mixed company, and the heat very great, he might
frequently be a loser. But he never did a better stroke of business
than at my concert.

This took place on the very day that Queen _Charlotte_ of England made
her entry into London on her return from Italy, to make her defence
before Parliament against the charge of infidelity brought against her
by her husband. All London was divided into two parties, the larger of
which, composed of the middle and lower classes, was on the side of
the Queen. The town was in the greatest commotion, and it was a very
fortunate thing for me that I had already disposed of the whole of the
tickets for my concert, as otherwise by this unfavourable circumstance
I might have incurred a very great loss. The bills announcing my
concert, posted at the corners of the streets, were quickly pasted
over and covered with large placards in which in the name of the people
a general illumination of the town was called for to celebrate the
day; and _Johanning_ brought me word that the populace threatened to
smash the windows in every house, where this call was not complied
with. As at that time the police force as well as the few military
were not sufficiently numerous to protect the royal palaces from the
threatened excesses of the populace, the partisans of the king, who
were wholly unable to repress the tumult, were compelled to abide the
worst, and contented themselves with making the best use of the short
notice given by having their windows nailed up with boards, in order
to save their costly mirrors and furniture. In this manner during the
whole of the day the sound of the carpenter’s hammer was everywhere
heard, particularly in Portland Place, close adjoining where many of
the nobility resided, and these preparations of defence were subjects
of great derision and amusement to the young vagabonds of the street.
While we were rehearsing at home the pieces to be performed in the
evening, the people poured in crowds through the streets to meet the
Queen upon her entry. As this took place in the direction of the city,
it became perfectly quiet towards evening at the West-end. We found
therefore, as we drove at half-past eight o’clock to the concert-rooms,
the streets almost less thronged than usual, and met with no obstacle
on our way. But we remarked everywhere active preparations for the
illumination, in order that the sovereign will of the people might be
immediately complied with. My wife, who was somewhat nervous respecting
her first public appearance with the new harp, was in great trepidation
as to what might occur from this excitement of the populace, and I
was greatly afraid that the agitation in which I saw her would be
prejudicial both to her play and to her health. I therefore endeavoured
to soothe her by argument and persuasion, in which I happily succeeded.
The concert-room filled by degrees with a numerous auditory and the
concert began. I am able to give here the entire programme, as Sir
_G. Smart_ upon my last visit to London (in the year 1852) made me a
present of a copy of that which was handed at the time to the audience
upon their entry into the rooms. It runs as follows:



  Thursday, June 18th. 1820.

         *       *       *       *       *

  ~PART I.~

  Grand Sinfonia (M. S.)                                 ~Spohr~.

  Air, Mr. T. ~Welch~, “Revenge, revenge, Timotheus
  cries”                                                 ~Haendel~.

  Grand Duetto (M. S.), Harp and Violin, Mad.
  ~Spohr~ and Mr. ~Spohr~                      ~Spohr~.

  Aria, Miss ~Goodall~, “Una voce al cor mi parla.”
  Clarinet obligato, Mr. ~Willman~                  ~Pær~.

  Sestetto for Pianoforte, two Violins, Viola, Violincello
  and Contrabasso, Messrs.:
  ~Ries~, ~Watts~, ~Wagstaff~, R. ~Ashley~,
  ~Lindley~ and ~Dragonetti~                   ~Ries~.

  Irish Melodies (M. S.), with Variations for the
  Violin, Mr. ~Spohr~ (composed expressly
  for this occasion)                                     ~Spohr~.

  ~PART II.~

  Nonotto for Violin, Viola, Violincello, Contrabasso,
  Flute, Oboe, Clarinet, Horn and
  Bassoon, Messrs. ~Spohr~, ~Lindley~,
  ~Dragonetti~, ~Ireland~, ~Griesbach~,
  ~Willman~, ~Arnull~ and ~Holmes~        ~Spohr~.

  Scena, Mrs. ~Salmon~ “Fellon, la pena avrai”      ~Rossini~.

  Rondo for the Violin, Mr. ~Spohr~                 ~Spohr~.

  Aria, Mr. Vaughan “Rendi’l sereno”                     ~Haendel~.

  Overture                                               ~Spohr~.

         *       *       *       *       *

  Leader of the Band      Mr. ~Spohr~.

  At the Pianoforte       Sir George ~Smart~.

The new symphony, though already known to the orchestra, was again
carefully rehearsed through with them, and was executed in a masterly
manner, and it met with a more lively applause, if possible, than on
its first performance. While the air that followed was being sung I
tuned my wife’s harp for her in the adjoining room and spoke some words
of encouragement to her. I then led her into the concert-room and we
took our places to begin the duet. Silent expectation pervaded the
whole auditory, and our first tones were eagerly awaited, when suddenly
a fearful noise was heard in the street, which was immediately followed
by a volley of paving stones against the unilluminated windows of the
adjoining room. Terrified at the noise of the breaking glass of the
windows and chandeliers, the ladies sprang up from their seats, and a
scene of indescribable confusion and alarm ensued. In order to prevent
a second, volly of missiles, the gas lights in the adjoining apartment
were speedily lighted, and we were not a little gratified to find that
the mob after giving another uproarious cheer at the success of their
demonstration went on their way, and thus by degrees the previous quiet
was restored. But it was some time before the public resumed their
places in the room and became so far tranquillized that we could at
length begin. I was not a little fearful that the fright and the long
pause would make my wife still more nervous and I listened therefore
to her first accords in the greatest anxiety; but when I heard these
resound with their usual power I became immediately tranquillized, and
gave my attention wholly to the unity and ensemble of our play. This,
which in Germany had always pleased so much, did not fail to make its
effect upon an English audience also; the applause, indeed, increased
with every theme of the duet, and at its conclusion seemed as though it
never would cease. As we retired highly gratified with this success, we
neither of us thought that it was the _last time_, that _Dorette_ would
play on the harp. But of that hereafter!

As regards the other items of the programme in which I took part, I
was particularly pleased with the good reception which the nonette met
with. I had already played it with the same artists at one of the
Philharmonic concerts, and was invited on many sides to repeat it at my
concert. The accuracy of our _ensemble_ was this time more complete,
and therefore it could not fail in its effect. The Irish melodies were
generally well received. Thus, in spite of the disturbing intermezzo,
the concert terminated to the general satisfaction of all. The interval
after the first part and the promenade in the adjoining saloon were
this time entirely prevented by the damage which it had sustained; the
confectioner told me that, having had no demand for his refreshments,
he was the ten pound in pocket, although he had had some things smashed
on the buffet by the volley of stones. When at length, exceedingly
fatigued, we got into our carriage, we were not able to drive straight
home, as the mob in the neighbourhood of Portland Place still had it
all their own way. The coachman was therefore obliged to take all
manner of circuitous turnings, and it was past one in the morning
when we at length drove up to our own door. With the exception of our
floor we found the whole house lit up, and the landlady was awaiting
our return in the greatest anxiety, in order to light up our windows
also. And indeed it was high time; for the mob were heard approaching.
But as in obedience to their sovereign will they found the whole of
Charlotte-street brilliantly illuminated, they passed on without
committing any excesses. But it was not safe to extinguish the lights,
and not until the lapse of several hours, when the town had become
quite quiet, did we at length get the rest we so much needed.

       *       *       *       *       *

Now comes a sorrowful period in my life, on which I now still think
with grief. My wife felt so ill from the effects of the great exertions
she had made in acquiring the mastery of the new harp and the alternate
impressions upon her nervous system on the evening of the concert,
that I was greatly afraid she was about to have a third attack of
nervous fever. It was therefore high time to come to some firm
resolve as regarded her future well-being. Already after her second
attack in Darmstadt, when she had become fully restored to health,
I had endeavoured to persuade her to abandon her nerve-destroying
instrument, but when I saw how much this proposition distressed her, I
again immediately relinquished it. She was too much heart and soul the
artiste, and had acquired too great a love for the instrument to which
she owed so many triumphs, to be able to give it up readily; and it had
always been a source of happiness to her to think that she could assist
with her talent towards the maintenance of our family. But now, that
she was but too convinced that her physical powers were not sufficient
to conquer the new instrument, and a return to the old one would not
satisfy her after having made herself intimately acquainted with the
advantages of the new one in tone and mechanism, it became much easier
for me to win her over to my way of thinking, particularly when I
represented to her that as the artiste she could still be known, and
in future appear at my concerts as pianiste, for which she had all the
necessary qualifications. This tranquillized her very much, although
she was obliged to admit to herself, that she would never be able to
achieve upon the pianoforte the same success as on the harp, upon which
in Germany at least she had not her equal. I moreover promised her,
that in order to give her performances the charm of novelty, I would
write some brilliant concert themes, and as it was very important for
me to try my hand also at pianoforte compositions, I immediately set
to work and finished before leaving London the first subject of the
piano-quintet Op. 52. In order to remove the harp wholly from her
sight, I sent it to Mr. _Erard_. When I informed him that my wife was
compelled to abandon the harp entirely on account of the weak state of
her health, he took it back very willingly, and refused a compensation
for the use made of it up to that time. In a most gallant manner he
said, the instrument had now acquired a real value, from having been
played upon by so celebrated an artiste, and that too at her last
public performance.

I now again took daily walks into the country with my wife and had soon
the pleasure of seeing that she was gradually recovering her strength.
The thought that she would soon see her children again contributed no
doubt in a very great measure towards this improvement. I also longed
to be home again with my family, and immediately the last Philharmonic
concert was over, I made preparations for leaving.

I must here by way of appendix speak of the musical institution of
Mr. _Logier_, which I visited several times with great interest,
and respecting which I sent the following report to the Leipsic
Musical Journal of August 1820: “Mr. _Logier_, a German by birth, but
resident for the last fifteen years in England, gives instruction in
pianoforte-play and in harmony upon a method of his own invention,
in which he permits all the children, frequently as many as thirty
or forty, to play at the same time. For this purpose he has written
three volumes of studies, which are all grounded upon perfectly simple
themes, and progress by degrees to the most difficult ones. While
beginners play the theme, the more advanced pupils practise themselves
at the same time in more or less difficult variations: one might
imagine that from this manner of proceeding great confusion must ensue,
out of which the teacher would be able to distinguish very little;
but as the children who play these studies, sit near each other, one
hears, according to whichever part of the room one may be in, either
one or the other of the studies very distinctly. The teacher also
frequently makes half of the pupils, at times all but one, cease
playing, in order to ascertain their progress individually. In the last
lessons he makes use of his chiroplast, a machine by means of which
the children get accustomed to a good position of the arms and hands,
and which so soon as they have progressed so far as to know the notes
and keys, is removed first from one hand and then from the other, and
then for the first time they put their fingers to the keys and learn
to play scales; but all this, in the respective studies, with all the
children at once, and always in the strictest time. When they have then
progressed to a new lesson they do not of course succeed in bringing
out more than a few notes of each bar, in the quick movement which they
hear being played near or around them; but they soon overcome more and
more of them, and in a shorter time than might well be believed, the
new lesson is played as well as the previous one. But what is most
remarkable in Mr. _Logier’s_ method of teaching is, that, with the
very first lessons in pianoforte playing he teaches his pupils harmony
at the same time. How he does this, I do not know; and that is his
secret, for which each of the teachers in England who give instruction
on his system pay him one hundred guineas. The results of this method
with his pupils are nevertheless wonderful; for children between the
ages of seven and ten years solve the most difficult problems. I wrote
down on the board a triad, and denoted the key in which they were to
modulate it: one of the littlest girls immediately ran to the board,
and after very little reflection wrote first the bass, and then the
upper notes. I frequently repeated this test, and indeed with the
addition of all manners of difficulties: I extended it to the most
divergent keys in which enharmonic changes were required, yet they
never became embarrassed. If one could not succeed, another immediately
came forward, whose bass perhaps was corrected by a third; and for
everything they did they were obliged to assign the reason to the
teacher. At length I wrote upon the table a simple treble--the first
that came into my head--and told each of them to put the other three
voices to it, each upon her own slate. At the same time I said to them
that the solution of the theme which the teacher and I should consider
the best, I would inscribe in my musical album as a souvenir of their
performance. All were now full of life and activity, and in a few
minutes one of the littlest of the girls, who had already distinguished
herself by her play and in working out the first problems, brought me
her slate to inspect, but in her haste she had omitted an octave in
the third bar between the bass and one of the middle voices. No sooner
had I pointed it out to her, than blushing and with tears in her eyes
she took back the slate and rapidly corrected her error. As in her
performance the bass was indisputably the best of all, the teacher
wrote it in my album, and I subjoin it here with diplomatic accuracy.


The resolutions of the other children were more or less good, but
all of them correct, and mostly written out in four different keys.
Each also played her own immediately without any embarrassment on the
pianoforte and without “fault,” &c.”

Upon my announcing our approaching departure to my old _Johanning_,
tears came into the eyes of the kind and affectionate old man. He had
become so fond of us that he would have even refused all remuneration
for the services he had rendered us, and positively objected to take
the sum I had reserved for him. But upon my insisting on his taking
it he complied, on the condition that I would not refuse him a favour
he wished to ask of me. I asked him what it was, and he did not keep
me long in suspense, but stammered out in an embarrassed manner the
request that I and my wife would do him the honour to take our dinner,
the day before our departure, at his house. When we consented thereto
without hesitation, his whole countenance immediately brightened up,
and he could not find words to express sufficiently his gratitude.
On the appointed day he made his appearance dressed as I had never
yet seen him, in a full-dress suit of his deceased master’s, with
hair powdered, and in white silk stockings, and at our door stood a
hackney carriage for four persons, which was to take us to his country
house, and in which a musician whom he had also invited, and whose
acquaintance we had already made, and who was the most intimate friend
of his late master, was already seated. When we had got in, _Johanning_
refused to take the fourth seat, saying that it would be unbecoming of
him to do so, although I pointed out to him that he was now no longer
my servant, but for this day my host and entertainer. But he was not
to be persuaded, and took his usual place by the side of the coachman.
On the way there our companion related to us many particulars highly
creditable to _Johanning_--how he had shewn the most ardent attachment
and fidelity to his master, and after his death had applied the greater
part of the money he had left him, to the erection of a memorial to
his master in Westminster Abbey, so that we felt penetrated with the
highest respect for our recent servant. Upon our arrival he opened
the carriage door and led us into his house. The property consisted
of a small house with a small garden attached, and everywhere the
greatest neatness and cleanliness. He led the way up one flight of
stairs to his reception room, and did not fail to show us immediately
the bell-pull near the mantle-piece, to which he forthwith gave a tug,
although he kept no servant whom he could summon with it, since he
and his wife were their own servants. We then took a turn through the
little garden and then entered the parlour, where the table was laid
for three persons. _Johanning_ again refused to take a seat near us at
table, and this time for the cogent reason that we should then have
had no one to wait upon us. Upon this he brought up the dinner and as
master of the house waited upon his guests, during which occupation
his whole countenance wore an expression of the greatest pleasure. The
dinner was exceedingly well dressed and served up on an elegant china
dinner-service which had belonged to his master, and the excellent
Rhenish wine which he placed before us was no doubt derived also from
the same source. The dessert, strawberries and cherries, was the
produce of his little garden, and this he did not fail to announce
to his guests.--When dinner was over he led the way once more to his
drawing-room, where we found Mrs. _Johanning_, who till then had been
engaged in the kitchen in dressing and sending up the dinner, in full
Sunday attire. There at length, though only after repeated pressing,
the worthy old couple allowed themselves to be persuaded to take seats
at the table, on which coffee had already been placed. _Johanning_
was now in the height of happiness, and interpreted with no little
satisfaction to his wife the praises which we had expressed and still
reiterated of the admirable manner in which we had been entertained.
Towards evening the coach again drove up to the door to take us back
to town. But _Johanning_ could not be deterred from resuming his old
place by the side of the coachman, to accompany us home, and open
the carriage door. In fact, even on the next morning he presented
himself again, in order to be of assistance at our departure. At the
coach-office we found also several friends and acquaintance waiting to
bid us farewell.

       *       *       *       *       *

We returned again by way of Dover and Calais, in order to take our own
carriage which we had left at Lille. Our passage across this time was a
very calm one and the weather fine, so that not any of the passengers
were sea-sick. Between Calais and Lille the diligence stopped at a so
charming place to dine that even now, after so long a time, I recollect
it with a feeling of pleasure. It was at the small town of Cassel,
which is situated upon a high isolated conical hill that rises in the
midst of an extensive plain. The weather being fine, dinner had been
laid for the travellers in the garden of the inn under a bower of
vines, and during the repast, from this pleasant, cool situation we
enjoyed an extensive view over the beautiful country round. In Lille we
again spent some pleasant days in the society of the _Vogel_ family and
other of our friends there, and then without longer stay set out in our
own carriage upon our further journey.

As a natural consequence of the painful ordeal of grief through
which my parents had passed on our account, and after the first long
separation from our children, our reception this time in Gandersheim
was beyond measure one of heartfelt joy, and after our protracted
exertions and fatigue we now indeed felt once more happy and freed
from care in the calm repose of the country. This was just the time
for me to set myself to new labours, and I there first completed
the quintet for pianoforte, flute, clarinet, horn and double-bass
which I had begun in London, and in which I proposed that my wife
should make her appearance in the world of art as a pianiste on our
projected winter tour. Indeed, it was high time to occupy her in its
artistic study; for as she now felt quite re-established in health,
she had the greatest desire to resume her harp. With the assistance
of the new quintet, however, and supported by the medical counsel of
my father, I soon succeeded in dissuading her from it. She therefore
devoted her attention to the pianoforte with the greatest zeal, and
in a short time had the gratification of finding she had reacquired
her former technical skill upon that instrument. After the lapse of a
few weeks she succeeded therefore in executing the new and difficult
concert-piece to her and my satisfaction.

About this time we had a visit from two musical Hamburg friends,
Messrs. _Fritz Schwenke_ and _Wilhelm Grund_, the latter of whom
brought his younger brother _Edward_ with him, who was already a good
violinist, to become my pupil. With the assistance of these three I now
gave our musical friends of Gandersheim a quartet-party such as they
had never heard before nor have since. In order to have my new quintet
heard upon this occasion also, I quickly rewrote the accompaniment of
the four wind-instruments, for a stringed-quartet, and in this shape
was highly pleased with its effect, as also with the brilliant play
of my wife. From the great success this had met with, she felt much
encouraged in her new studies and consoled in some measure for her
relinquishment of the harp. To provide her still with new materials for
practice, I rewrote also two former harp-compositions for the piano, a
pot-pourri and a rondo with violin, which appeared later as Op. 50 and
51. We practised these together also with the greatest care, and they
were destined for performance at private parties on our next winter
tour. After the departure of the Hamburg visitors I commenced the
instruction of my new pupil. By his talent and amiability he soon won
the esteem of the whole _Spohr_ family, from the old grandfather down
to little _Theresa_, whom he always called in pure Hamburg dialect: “Du
säute Deren.” As he played well on the piano, he undertook the musical
instruction of _Emilia_ and _Ida_, and young as he was, he knew how to
keep them assiduous to their studies. Himself as violinist he soon made
so much progress, that I practised him in and played with him the three
extremely difficult violin-duets which I wrote in Switzerland (Op. 39)
and for which I had never yet been able to meet with a fellow-player.
By the accurate, pure and spirited execution of this almost always
four-voiced duets we made a great sensation, and musical amateurs
from the whole country round came to hear us play them. We played one
of them also with great success at a concert in Hildesheim, given
there by the director of music _Bischoff_, the same who undertook the
Frankenhaus musical festivals. Towards autumn, just as I had begun to
compose a new violin concerto (the 9th. D-minor. Op. 55, published by
_André_ of Offenbach) for the winter journey, I received an invitation
from music-director _Rose_ in Quedlinburg to conduct a musical festival
which he was about to hold there. I very gladly accepted it, and made
all haste to complete my concerto so as to be able to perform it there
for the first time. While practising it I received great assistance
from _Edward Grund_, who was able to accompany through the score on
the piano, an assistance, which I had never before experienced.

The musical festival took place on the 13th. and 14th. October
1820, and went off to the full satisfaction of the originator and
the numerous auditory. Upon my proposition, _Schneider’s_ “Last
Judgement” was given on the first day, at which the composer himself
was present. On the second day, among other things my London symphony
was performed, and, as well as my new violin concerto, was received
with great approbation. I met in Quedlinburg many of my former friends
and acquaintances from Sondershausen, Gotha, Leipzig, Magdeburg,
Halberstadt and Brunswick, and passed several delightful days with
them. After our return from this pleasant excursion, upon which my
parents and _Edward Grund_, as well as my wife, had accompained me, it
became full time to set out upon our winter tour, the terminus of which
was to be Paris. A new parting from the children, my parents, and the
pleasant society of Gandersheim, was therefore necessary; and _Edward
Grund_ returned to Hamburg with the intention of coming again in the
spring to prosecute his studies under my guidance.

We took Frankfort, Heidelberg, Carlsruhe and Strasburg on our way to
Paris, and gave concerts in all those towns. In Frankfort, where we
lived in the house of my friend _Speyer_, we still found a lively
remembrance of our artistic talents; our concert in the salon of
the “_Weidenbusch_” was crowded to overflowing, although the room
could easily accommodate eight hundred persons. My new violin
concerto, excellently accompanied, made a great sensation; Councillor
_André_ himself, who previously had always some fault to find with
my compositions, seemed quite satisfied with my new work; for he
repeatedly requested me, after the rehearsal even, to let him have the
publishing of it. Although I declined this most positively, as I was
bound by a promise to my then publisher _Peters_ of Leipsic, to let him
have all my new manuscripts, yet in the evening at the concert _André_
again pressed me, and so pertinaciously, that to get rid of him, and to
prepare quietly for my solo-play, I at last called out to him “Yes.”
This precipitancy however cost me dear, for although I immediately
informed _Peters_ of all the circumstances, in order to exculpate
myself with him, I was compelled to endure many bitter reproaches
for my excessive pliancy towards Mr. _André_. The new piano quintet
with wind-instrument accompaniment, which was now also performed, made
likewise a great sensation, and _Dorette’s_ purity of piano-forte
play, of which until then the friends of music in Frankfort had known
nothing, was greeted with the loudest applause. I was more particularly
pleased with this result, as of all others it was calculated to console
my wife for the abandonment of her harp.

Of the other towns between Frankfort and Paris, and of the concerts
given there I have forgotten everything; I must however advert to the
acquaintance I made of Councillor _Thibaut_ at Heidelberg on this
occasion. That celebrated jurist conducted a choral society that he
had instituted; but excluding all modern church music, he permitted
_ancient_ Italian music only to be sung, of which he had made a rich
and rare collection. Until then I knew nothing more of this music than
what I had heard in the Sixtine chapel at Rome, and was therefore very
thankful to the Councillor for the permission he gave me to be present
at the rehearsals of his society, at which I became better acquainted
with several of those old works, which were carefully practised by
them. _Thibaut’s_ opinion that this music _alone_ represented the
true ecclesiastical style, and surpassed all that had ever been
written since, I cannot coincide with, for to me _Mozart’s_ requiem,
incomplete as it passed from the hands of that master, who died during
its composition, is alone worth more than all I ever heard of earlier
church music; nevertheless, the simple-grandiose style of those works
made then a great impression on me, and I begged permission to study
their scores through. After some hesitation my wish was granted in
such wise that I was permitted to visit _Thibaut’s_ music-room at
particular hours, and to go through the works on the piano, but was
not permitted to take any home with me. I took daily advantage of
this favour, and by that means made myself intimately acquainted with
the vocal method and harmonic sequence of the old masters. While so
engaged I was seized with the desire of trying for once an ecclesiastic
piece _alla Capella_ for several voices, and in the following summer I
carried out my idea at Gandersheim with the composition of the mass for
ten voices, Op. 54. I certainly did not strive to imitate the simple
treble movements of the old masters; but on the contrary I did a good
deal towards carrying out the rich modulation of the later Mozart

Respecting our stay in Paris I published at the time “Four letters to a
Friend” in the Leipsic Musical Journal of 1821, which I here append.


  _Paris_, December 15. 1820.

I trust, my dear friend, that you will give me credit for writing to
you so soon on the eighth day after our arrival, at a time when so many
novelties crowd upon my notice, that I find it difficult to collect my
thoughts. But for my own sake I must not permit the materials to grow
upon me too much, otherwise I shall be wholly unable to deal with them
in their due order.

With a beating heart I drove through the Barrière of Paris. The
thought, that I should at length have the pleasure of making the
personal acquaintance of the artists whose works had inspired me in
my early childhood, excited the emotion which I then felt. In fancy I
reverted to the days of my boyhood, in which _Cherubini_ was my idol,
whose works I had had an earlier opportunity of becoming acquainted
with in Brunswick, at the then permanent French theatre there, than
even the works of _Mozart_; I vividly recollected the evening when the
“Deux Journées” was performed for the first time--how, intoxicated
with delight and the powerful impression that work had made upon me,
I asked on that very evening to have the score given to me, and sat
over it the whole night; and that it was that opera chiefly that gave
me the first impulse to composition. The author, and many other men
whose works had had the most decided influence on my development as a
composer and violinist, I was now soon to behold.

We had therefore scarcely got under cover, when I made it my first
business to pay a visit to those artists. I was received by all in a
friendly manner, and relations of friendship soon sprang up between me
and several of them.

I was told of _Cherubini_, that he was at first very reserved toward
strangers, repulsive even; I did not find him so. He received me,
without any letter of introduction, in the most friendly manner, and
invited me to repeat my visit as often as I pleased.

On the evening of our arrival _Kreutzer_ took us to the grand opera,
where a ballet of his, with pretty characteristic music: “Le carnaval
de Venise,” was performed. It is observable in the singers and dancers
of the grand opera, that they have been accustomed to move in a more
spacious place; in this one, where the space is much more confined as
compared with the opera house that has been abandoned, they appear in
a much too sharp relief. Several grand operas, those of _Gluck’s_ for
instance, can no longer be represented at all, there being not even
the necessary room for the whole orchestra. For this reason every one
looks forward with hope for the early completion of the new opera
house; but actively as they are working upon it, that will not be ready
before the middle of next summer. Before the ballet the opera: “Le
Devin du village,” the words and music by _Rousseau_, was given. Is it
a subject for praise or blame, that the French, notwithstanding the
many excellent things with which their operatic repertoire has been
enriched during the last twenty years, still give the oldest things
of all? And is it indeed a proof of an advanced cultivated taste for
art, when one sees them give as enthusiastic a reception (if not more
so) to the oldest operas of _Grétry_ with their poverty of harmony and
incorrectness, as to the master pieces of _Cherubini_ and _Méhul_? I
think not! How long have not the operas of _Hiller_ and _Dittersdorf_
and others of those days, disappeared from our repertoire, although
these are far to be preferred for their real musical worth to the
greater part of _Grétry’s_. But on the other hand it is certainly very
discouraging, that with us the new only, however poor and defective,
finds a ready reception, and many excellent things of older date are
set aside for them and forgotten. Nevertheless it must be said to the
honour of the taste for art of the Germans, that _Mozart’s_ operas at
least are the exception, and for the last thirty years have constantly
been produced in all the theatres of Germany, which is a proof that the
German people are at length impressed with the inimitable perfection of
those master-pieces, and are not to be deceived on this head, however
extensively the sweet musical poison may spread which flows in upon us
so profusely from beyond the Alps.

The orchestra of the grand opera, as compared with the other
orchestras, reckons among its members the most celebrated and
distinguished artistes, but in _ensemble_ is said to be behind the
Italian opera. I cannot yet judge how far that may be correct, as I
have only heard the latter as yet. In _Kreutzer’s_ ballet, which was
played by the orchestra with the greatest precision, I was greatly
pleased with a hautboy solo, which was executed in a masterly manner
by Mr. _Voigt_. This artist has succeeded in giving to his instrument
a perfect uniformity of tone and intonation throughout the whole range
from _C_ to the high _F_, an accomplishment which almost all hautboy
players have failed in attaining. His execution is moreover full of
grace and good taste.

For some days past I have been less edified at the grand opera than
I was the first time. “Les mystères d’Isis” was performed. Too well
indeed are justified the complaints of the admirers of _Mozart_ of
the disfigurement of the beautiful “Zauberflöte” in this piece
of workmanship, which the French themselves re-christened on its
appearance “Les Misères d’ici”! One must blush that it should have
been Germans, who so sinned against the immortal master. Everything
but the overture has been meddled with; all else has been thrown into
confusion, been changed and mutilated. The opera begins with the
concluding chorus of the Zauberflöte; then comes the march in Titus,
and then in succession some fragmentary piece from other operas of
_Mozart_, and even a little bit of a symphony of _Haydn_; then between
these recitatives of Mr. _Lachnitz’_ own manufacture. But worse than
all this is, that the transposers have applied a serious text to many
cheerful and even comic passages of the Zauberflöte, by which the music
of those passages becomes a parody of the text and of the situation. In
this manner, for instance, Papagena sings the characteristic air of the
Moor: “Alles fühlt der Liebe Freuden,” &c.; and the pretty terzet of
the three boys: “Seid uns zum zweitenmal willkommen,” &c., is sung by
the three ladies. Of the duet: “Bei Männern, welche Liebe fühlen,” &c.,
a terzet has been made, and so on. Worse than all, however, they have
taken the liberty of making alterations in the score: for example, in
the air: “In diesen heil’gen Hallen,” at the words: “So wandelt er an
Freundes Hand,” the imitating bass


is entirely left out, which is here indispensably necessary, not
alone to the harmony, but because it expresses the act of wandering
in so characteristic a manner, and the bass sound the _B_ only a few
times instead. You may therefore readily imagine how insipid and
meagre this passage now sounds, which in Germany is so frequently
admired. Moreover, in the terzet of the three females, where _Mozart_
strengthens and supports the third voice with the violins only, the
transposers have added both violoncello and double-bass; so that at
these tender passages, which are for three voices only, the bass lies
in three different octaves, which to a cultivated ear is unbearable.
Similar offences are of frequent occurrence. We must nevertheless do
the French the justice to say, that they have always highly disapproved
of this vandalic mutilation of a great master-piece (the extent of
which from their ignorance of the original is yet not known to them);
but how is it, that the “_Mystères_” have nevertheless kept their
place undisturbed in the repertoire for the last eighteen or twenty
years?--and here where the public moreover, as I see every day, rule so
despotically in the theatre, and manage to have everything their own

To me, as a German, the performance was not satisfactory. Even the
overture was not executed so well as it should have been by so
excellent a union of first-rate musicians. It was taken too quick, and
still more hurried at the close, so that the violins instead of playing
semiquavers could only play quavers. The singers of the grand opera,
whose great merits may perhaps lie in declamatory song, are little
qualified to render the soft airs of the Zauberflöte in a satisfactory
manner. They sing them with a blunt roughness that deprives them of
all tenderness. The getting-up in scenery, dresses and dancing is
respectable, but not so handsome as I had expected.--Yesterday we went
for the first time to the grand opera, and saw “Clari,” a grand ballet
in three acts, the music by _Kreutzer_. Little as I like ballets, and
little, in my opinion as pantomime merits the aid of the resources of
art, as these are lavished on it here, I nevertheless do not deny that
the Parisian ballet may sometimes afford agreeable amusement, until
one becomes wearied with the monotony of the mimic movements, and of
the yet greater sameness of the dances. But with all the perfection
with which it is given here, pantomime, from the poverty of its
signs, which always require a printed explanation of their meaning,
is, as compared to recitative drama, a mere outline by the side of a
finished drawing. However it may be embellished with golden ornament
and decorated surroundings, as is the ballet here by magnificence of
costume and decorations, it gives the outline only, and the life is
wanting. In the same manner I may compare the drama to the opera--as
a drawing by the side of the painting. From song, the poem receives
its first colouring, and by it only, and the powerful aid of harmony,
does it succeed in giving expression to the indefinable and merely
imagined emotions of the soul which language must be content alone to
hint at. The music to “Clari” is a great success, and in the second and
third act especially the effect is most captivating. It facilitates
greatly the comprehension of the subject by a correct delineation of
the passions, and contains a treasury of pretty melodies which one
regrets do not form part of an opera. Mademoiselle _Bigottini_ played
the chief character, and evinced a deep study of mime and action in her
play. That in very impassioned situations she carried the expression
of her features to the borders of grimace, may perhaps be imputed to
the circumstance that hitherto she has always appeared in a spacious
place, where on account of the distance it was requisite to give strong
play to the features. Perhaps as a German this is my fancy only, for
the applause was never more tumultuous than when (to my feeling) she
overstepped the bounds of the beautiful and graceful.

Before the ballet, the one-act opera “Le rossignol” was given; from
which _Weigl_ took the subject of his German opera of “Nachtigall und
Rabe.” The music of the French opera is of no account, and interested
me only through the masterly execution of a flauto-solo by Mr. Tulou.
It is impossible to hear a finer tone than that Mr. Tulou draws from
his instrument. Since I heard him, it appears to me no longer so
inappropriate, when our poets compare the pleasing sound of a fine
voice to the tones of a flute.


  _Paris_, December 31. 1820.

Since the despatch of my first letter, a fortnight has elapsed,
replete with enjoyment, and since then we have both seen and heard
much that is beautiful; but for the present I must content myself
with writing to you upon that which most nearly concerns my art.
I have now made my appearance before musicians and dilettanti,
connoisseurs and a lay public, as violinist and composer, first at
Mr. _Baudiot’s_, primo violoncellist of the royal orchestra, on the
day after at _Kreutzer’s_, and since then at three private parties.
At the soirées of the two first the company consisted almost wholly
of musicians; at _Kreutzer’s_, in particular, almost all the first
composers and violinists of Paris were present. I gave several of my
quartets and quintets, and on the second day my nonet. The composers
present expressed themselves to me in very laudatory terms upon the
composition, and the violinists upon my play. Of the latter, _Viotti_,
both the _Kreutzers_, _Baillot_, _Lafont_, _Habeneck_, _Fontaine_,
_Guerin_, and several others whose names are not so well known in
Germany, were present; and you may imagine that it was then highly
necessary that I should collect my faculties, to do credit to my
countrymen. The wind-instrument parts in my nonet were played by the
five artists of whose masterly execution of _Reicha’s_ quintets you
will have so frequently read in accounts from Paris. I had the pleasure
of hearing them play two of those quintets, but shall reserve to myself
all detailed observations thereon till I shall have heard some more
of them. At the request of all the musicians present my nonet was
played again the same evening; and if the readiness with which the
assistant players read _à prima vista_ that difficult piece of music
had surprised me, I was still more gratified, upon its repetition, by
the manner in which they now entered into the spirit of the composition
and re-executed it.

The young pianist _Herz_, of whom you have also doubtless read in
the Parisian musical miscellanies, played twice on that evening, at
first his own variations on the theme from the “Schweizerfamilie,”
and then _Moscheles’_ well-known variations on Alexander’s march.
The extraordinary execution of this young man is the astonishment
of everybody; but with him, as with all the young artists here whom
I have yet heard, it seems to me that his technical cultivation is
in advance of that of his mind; otherwise, in a company composed of
artists only, he would surely have given something different and more
intellectual than the break-neck tricks of art he exhibited. But it
is very singular, how all here, young and old, strive only to shine
by mechanical execution, and individuals in whom perhaps the germ of
something better lies, devote whole years and every energy to the
study and practice of one single piece of music, frequently of the
most worthless kind, in order to create a sensation with it before the
public. That the mind remains torpid under such circumstances and that
such people never become much better than musical automatons may be
readily imagined.

Hence one seldom or never hears in the musical réunions here an
earnest, well-digested piece of music, such as a quartet or quintet of
our great masters; every one produces his show-piece; you hear nothing
but _airs variés_, _rondos favoris_, _nocturnes_, and the like trifles,
and from the singers romances and little duets; and however incorrect
and insipid all this may be, it never fails to produce an effect,
if it is executed right smoothly and sweetly. Poor in such pretty
trifles, with my earnest German music I am ill at ease in such musical
parties, and feel frequently like a man who speaks to people who do
not understand his language; for when the praise of any such auditors
extends even sometimes from my play to the composition itself, I cannot
feel gratified by it, since immediately afterwards he bestows the same
admiration upon the most trifling things. One blushes to be praised by
such connoisseurs. It is just the same at the theatres: the masses, the
leaders of the fashion here, know not positively how to distinguish the
worst from the best; they hear “_Le Jugement de Midas_” with the same
rapture that they hear “_Les deux Journées_” or “_Joseph_.” It requires
no long residence here, to adopt the frequently expressed opinion, that
the French are not a musical nation.

The artists themselves here are of this opinion, and frequently reply,
when I speak of Germany in this respect: “Yes, music is loved and
understood there, but not here.” In this manner may be explained how
good music wedded to a wretched theatrical piece, falls to the ground,
and wretched music united to a good _pièce de théâtre_, may be highly

This has deprived me of all desire to write for any of the theatres
here, as I had previously much wished to do; for apart from the fact
that I should have to begin _de novo_, like a young composer--since,
with the exception of some of my violin pieces, they know little or
nothing of my compositions--and further that I should have to work my
way through a thousand cabals, which would rise up against me as a
foreigner with fearful violence before I could get my work performed,
so that at the end I should find, although I might have written good
music, its success would be uncertain, as that depends, as I have
said, almost wholly on the theatrical piece. This may be seen from the
notices in the journals here upon recent operas, in which whole columns
are devoted to a critique of the text, and the music is dismissed with
a passing notice of a few words only.

Were it not so lucrative to write for the theatres in Paris, there
would have been long since no good composer willing to do so. But from
the considerable gain which a successful opera brings in during one’s
whole life-time, new works are produced almost every day; authors and
composers turn their mind constantly to the creation of new effects,
but do not neglect at the same time, to ply the public for months
together in the journals, and provide the necessary number of paid
_claqueurs_ in the pit on the evening of the performance, in order to
ensure a brilliant reception for their work and thereby an ultimate
rich harvest from its frequent repetition. If only half as much were
to be gained by an opera in Germany, we should soon be equally rich in
good composers for the theatre as we now are in instrumental composers,
and we should have no further need to introduce foreign pieces upon our
stage, for the most part unworthy of the artistic culture of Germans.

After a residence of now three weeks it may be well imagined that we
have repeatedly visited all the theatres. I am the more pleased at this
as the circle of my acquaintance has become larger, and my engagements
both for the morning and evening have so much increased that for the
next fortnight we shall be able to devote but few evenings to the

Of the _Théâtre français_, the Odéon, and the four lesser theatres, I
shall say nothing; as in a musical point of view they offer nothing
worthy of notice. In the two first they give nothing but _entr’actes_,
and in the four others almost nothing else but vaudevilles. That this
last kind of theatrical pieces, which, thanks to Apollo and the muses,
has hitherto been transplanted into no other country, is so much liked
here that four theatres give almost nothing else, is the most striking
proof that the French are not musical; for the sacred art cannot be
more abused anywhere than in these kind of songs, which are neither
sung nor spoken, but rattled out in intervals, and which are in most
striking anomaly with the melodies, and the accompanying harmony. All
Frenchmen of taste are agreed that the vaudeville, which formerly was
given in one theatre only, has by its increase deteriorated more and
more the taste for true music, and therefore had a prejudicial effect
upon art here. We have been to each of these theatres once, to hear
the celebrated comedians _Brunet_, _Pothier_ and _Perlet_, but are not
likely to go a second time, for the enjoyment one derives from the wit
and inexhaustible humour of those performers is too dearly purchased
by hearing such wretched music. I was particularly struck by the
skill with which the orchestra in those theatres follow the singers,
who do not in the least adhere to the time, or the notes. But this is,
also, their chief merit, for in other respects they are but middling

We have been frequently to the Italian opera, and much enjoyed
ourselves there. Last evening we saw “Don Juan” there, at last, after
it had been frequently announced. The house was again, as upon the
previous performances, filled to overflowing, and hundreds of people
could find no room, even half an hour before the curtain drew up. I
was disposed to believe that the Parisians had at length understood
the classical beauty of this work, and that they flocked always in
greater numbers to enjoy it; but I soon relinquished that opinion when
I saw that the finest parts of the opera--the first duet, the quartet,
the grand septet, and several other things--passed off without making
any impression upon them, and two subjects only received a storm of
applause, which was given rather to the singers than to the composer.

These two subjects, which were each respectively encored, were the
duet between Don Juan and Zerline: “Reich mir die Hand mein Leben”
etc., and the air of Don Juan: “Treibt der Champagner” etc.; the
first, because Signor _Garcia_, not having depth of voice sufficient,
transposes it to B flat, and the last even a whole tone higher, to
_C_. Madame _Fodor-Mainville_, who well knew that the song-pieces
of Zerlina would please the Parisians more than all the rest of the
opera, chose very wisely that part, and the result shewed that she had
calculated rightly. What would she care, were the characters of the
opera wholly transposed, so long as she meets with a storm of applause.
The real connoisseur can only consent to this when he dismisses from
his mind that she personates the role of a peasant girl, and when he
wholly sets aside the true intention of the subject represented; for
she decorates the simple songs of her part with a number of high-flown
embellishments which, splendidly though she may execute them, are
here wholly out of place; first because they do not at all belong to
_Mozart’s_ music, and secondly, because they are wholly incompatible
with the character. With deduction of this, it certainly affords an
unusual enjoyment to hear this part, which in Germany is usually played
by a third-rate singer, impersonated by a first-rate one, and so
distinguished a vocalist. Signor _Garcia_, as Don Juan, uses also too
much ornamentation. Where this is only moderately admissable, he comes
out with a _fioritura_ a yard long; and these are most out of place in
the serenade, where the supposed mandoline accompaniment forbids the
most simple ornament. Nevertheless he gives full latitude in it to his
fancy, and in order to do this more conveniently, he takes the tempo
very slow. On the other hand, however, he sings his song incomparably
“Treibt der Champagner” etc., and I acknowledge that I never heard that
air so well sung. The pliability of the Italian tongue is of great use
to him in this, and instead of losing his breath in it, as is usual
with our German singers, his vocal power increases to the end.

The other parts are sung more or less well, but none of them badly, and
one must gratefully acknowledge that each does his best to do honour
to the work. One may also be very satisfied with the performance,
when one loses sight of the claims one is justified in making upon so
celebrated a combination of artists. But to a German it soon becomes
very evident that these singers, who execute Italian music only, and
that of _Rossini_ especially, in the highest perfection, cannot give
the music of _Mozart_ with the same excellence; the difference of style
is far too great. The effeminate, sweet execution which accords so well
with the former, obliterates too much the energetic character which
distinguishes Don Juan above all other of _Mozart’s_ operas.

The orchestra, which the Parisians always pronounce the first in the
world, made some mistakes. Twice for instance the wind instruments were
very obviously at fault, and they wavered several times so much, that
the conductor was obliged to beat the time for them. I became confirmed
but the more strongly in my opinion, that a theatrical orchestra,
however excellent it may be, on account of the great distance of the
extreme ends, should not be conducted otherwise than by a continual
beating of the time, and, that to mark the time constantly by motions
of the body, and the violin, like Mr. _Grasset_ does, is of no use. In
other respects this orchestra is justly famed for the discretion with
which it accompanies the singer, and in that might serve as a model for
the other Parisian as well as many German orchestras.

The choruses are also excellent, and the effect particularly powerful
and grand at the concluding allegro of the first finale. But why
here, as well as almost everywhere else, is this allegro taken so
unreasonably quick? Do then the conductors wholly forget, that by so
doing they decrease instead of increasing the power, and that the
triplet movement of the violins which must first give life and motion
to the whole, cannot be brought out clearly and forcibly in a movement
of such exaggerated rapidity, and instead of hearing the living whole,
it becomes a mere skeleton sketch without fillings in?!

When one hears so beautiful a piece of music lose its effect by
incorrectness of time, one wishes again that the marking of the tempi
was finally and universally established either on _Mälzel’s_ or
_Weber’s_ method, or still better upon both at the same time. But then
of course orchestral conductors must follow them conscientiously, and
not as now, follow their own fancy merely.


  _Paris_, January 12. 1821.

With a mind greatly relieved, I write to announce to you, my dear
friend, that I have made my public début and with success. It is always
a hazardous undertaking for a foreign violinist to make a public
appearance in Paris, as the Parisians are possessed with the notion
that they have the finest violinists in the world, and consider it
almost in the light of arrogant presumption when a foreign considers
he has talent sufficient to challenge a comparison with them.

I may therefore well be a little proud of the brilliant reception I
met with the day before yesterday, and the more so that, with the
exception of a dozen persons, the auditory was personally unknown to
me, and there were none among them who had been admitted with free
tickets in purchase of their service as _claqueurs_. But I had prepared
myself very carefully for the occasion, and was properly supported by
the careful accompaniment of Mr. _Habeneck_. I was, however, not in
the least nervous, which is sometimes the case with me when I appear
for the first time in a strange country, and which occurred to me
the year before in London. The reason why I did not feel so in this
instance, was doubtless, that here I had already played before all
the most distinguished musicians, previous to my appearing in public;
but in London eight days only after our arrival, without having been
previously heard by any person, I was constrained to appear at the
philharmonic concert.

Before I enter into any details of the concert, I must first relate
how I came to give it. It is at all times a tedious business to make
arrangements for a concert in any town, but in Paris, which is so
extensive, where so many theatres are daily open, where there is so
much competition and so many obstacles to overcome, it is indeed a
Herculean task. I think also that this is the reason why so many
artists who come to Paris, decline giving a public concert, which,
besides being attended with the enormous expense of nearly 3000 francs,
is always an undertaking of great risk. If these matters have been
extremely unpleasant to me in other places, you may readily imagine how
I feared to attempt them here. In order to get over the difficulty, I
bethought myself of making a proposition to the directors of the grand
opera, to divide with me the expenses and the receipts of an evening
entertainment of which the first half should consist of a concert and
the second of a ballet. Contrary to the expectation of all those to
whom I had spoken on the subject, this proposition was acceded to.

The consent of the minister was however so long delayed, that the
concert could not be announced till three days before it took place,
and although the house was well filled, yet I ascribe to this delay
that it was not so crowded as I had expected so novel and, from
its novelty, so attractive an arrangement would have been for the
Parisians. The half which came to my share, after deduction of the
expenses, was therefore, as you may imagine, not very considerable: but
as I had not calculated upon making much pecuniary gain in Paris, I
do not regret this arrangement at all, as it saved me an immense deal
of trouble, and yet gave me an opportunity of making my appearance
in public. Of my own compositions I gave: the overture to “Alruna,”
the newest violin concerto, and the potpourri on the duet from “Don
Juan.” Between these a cavatine of _Rossini’s_ was sung by Mademoiselle
_Cinte_, and a duet, also of the same master, by Messrs. _Bordogni_
and _Levasseur_. At the rehearsal the overture was repeated three
times, and in the evening therefore, although it did not go off quite
so well as the last time at the rehearsal, the public nevertheless
could not refuse their applause of its execution. In the concerto, as
well as in the potpourri, some of the wind instruments failed twice,
from a negligence in observing the pauses, which seems somewhat usual
with the French, but fortunately it was not much disparaged by it.
The satisfaction of the audience was unmistakably expressed by loud
applause and cries of Bravo! To-day, however, the criticism of the
majority of the journals is not so favourable. I must solve this riddle
for you. Previous to every first appearance in public, whether of a
foreigner or a native, these gentlemen of the press are accustomed
to receive a visit from him, to solicit a favourable judgment, and
to present them most obsequiously with a few free admission tickets.
Foreign artists, to escape these unpleasant visits, sometimes forward
their solicitations in writing only, and the free admissions at the
same time; or, as is of frequent occurrence, induce some family to whom
they have brought letters of introduction, to invite the gentlemen of
the press to dinner, when a more convenient opportunity is offered to
give them to understand what is desirable to have said of them both
before and after the concert. This may perhaps occur now and then in
Germany; but I do not think, that newspaper critics can be anywhere so
venal as here. I have been told that the first artists of the _Théatre
français_, Mlle. _Mars_, and even _Talma_, pay annually considerable
sums to the journals, in order to keep those gentlemen constantly in
good humour, and that the latter, whenever they wish to extricate
themselves from any pecuniary embarrassment, find no method so sure
as to attack some esteemed artist until he submits to a tribute of
money. How the opinions of a press that are so purchasable, are at
all respected, I cannot understand. Suffice however to say, I did not
pay any of these supplicatory visits, for I considered them unworthy
of a German artist, and thought that the worst that could happen
would be, that the journalists would not take any notice at all of my
concert. But as these have each a free pass to every performance at
the grand opera, I found I was mistaken. They all speak of it; some
with unqualified praise, but the majority with a _But_, by which the
praise is more than sufficiently diminished. In all these notices,
however, French vanity speaks with the utmost self-assurance. They all
begin by extolling their own artists, and their artistic culture, above
all other nations; they think that the country that produced Messrs.
_Baillot_, _Lafont_ and _Habeneck_, need envy no other its violinists;
and whenever the play of a foreigner has been received here with
enthusiasm, it is nothing more than a proof of the great hospitality
which the French in particular shew towards foreigners. Apart from
this vanity the notices are very contradictory: The “Quotidienne”
says, for instance: “Mr. _Spohr_ aborde, avec une incroyable audace,
les plus grandes difficultés, et l’on ne sait ce qui étonne le plus,
ou son audace ou la sureté avec laquelle il exécute ces difficultés.”
In the “Journal des Débats,” on the other hand: “Le concert exécuté
par Mr. _Spohr_ n’est point surchargé de difficultés,” etc. These
gentlemen differ also in opinion respecting the merits or demerits
of my compositions. The majority think them good, but without saying
why; but “Le Courier des Spectacles,” which altogether speaks most
disparagingly of me, says: “C’est une espèce de pacotille d’harmonie
et d’enharmonie germaniques que Mr. _Spohr_ apporte, en contrebande,
de je ne sais quelle contrée d’Allemagne.” But _Rossini_ is his man,
of whom he says further on: “Cet Orphée moderne a défrayé de chant le
concert de Mr. _Spohr_, et il lui suffit pour cela de prêter une petite
aria et un petit duo bouffo.” But as a violinist I found more grace
in his eyes; he says for instance: “Mr. _Spohr_ comme exécutant est
un homme de mérite; il a deux qualités rares et précieuses, la pureté
et la justesse,” but then winds up his phrase like a true Frenchman:
“s’il reste quelque temps à Paris, il pourra perfectionner son goût et
retourner ensuite former celui des bons Allemands.” If the good man
only knew what the “bons Allemands” think of the musical taste of the

This ridiculous vanity in the Parisians is shewn also in their
conversation. When one or other of their musicians plays anything,
they immediately ask: “Well, can you boast of anything like that in
Germany?” Or when they introduce to you one of their distinguished
artists, they do not call him the first in Paris, but at once the
first in the world, although no nation knows less what other countries
possess, than they do, in their--for their vanity’s sake most

You are doubtless astonished that I have as yet said nothing of the
music of the royal chapel; but I delayed doing so intentionally,
until I had first heard some of _Cherubini’s_ masses. _Lesueur_ and
_Cherubini_, the two directors of the music of the royal chapel,
assume the duties of their office every three months alternately; our
arrival took place during the time of _Lesueur’s_ directorship, and
_Cherubini’s_ did not begin till the first of January. But the musical
directors of the royal chapel do not conduct the music themselves, and
preside only in their court uniform at the head of the vocal personnel,
without taking any active part in the performance. The director _de
facto_ is _Plantade_; _Kreutzer_ leading player of the first violin,
and _Baillot_ of the second. The orchestra is composed of the first
artists in Paris, the chorus is powerful and good. Every mass is
rehearsed once or twice, and under _Plantade’s_ sure and spirited
direction, every thing goes exceedingly well.

Although previously prepared by Mr. _Sievers’_ account, I was very far
from expecting to hear music here of the style we call church-music
in Germany; yet I was greatly taken by surprise by the brilliant
theatrical style of a mass by _Plantade_, which I heard on my first
visit to the chapel on the 17th of last month. There is not the least
trace of the ecclesiastical style, not a vestige of the canonical
management of the voices, and still less of a fugue. But apart from
this, there were very pretty ideas, and much good instrumentation,
which would be quite in place in a comic opera. The concluding allegro,
probably upon the words: _Dona nobis pacem_ (for I am not certain,
since the French pronounce Latin in a manner very unintelligible to a
German ear) was so completely in the style of the finale to an opera
(like those usually with three or four times increased tempo) that
at the end, forgetting completely where I was, I expected to see the
curtain fall, and to hear the public applaud.

At midnight, on the 24th December, we heard a so-called “_Messe de
minuit_” of _Lesueur’s_ composition. First of all we were obliged to
endure a great trial of our patience, in which during two somewhat
tedious hours, from ten to twelve o’clock, we heard nothing but
psalms, sung off in the most monotonous manner, and interrupted at
intervals with barbarous peals of organ-play. At length, at midnight,
the mass began. Again the same frivolous theatrical style as in that
of _Plantade_, but which at the solemn midnight hour was still more
insufferable. But what most surprised me, particularly from _Lesueur_,
who is reputed here a first-rate harmonist, and was educated, if I am
not mistaken, for a teacher of harmony at the _Conservatoire_, there
was not even a four-part management of the voices! Though at times
it may be effective in an opera, when writing only a two-part vocal
distribution, to let the soprani go in octaves with the tenors, and
the alti with the bass, partly with a view to facilitate the execution
of the generally bad theatrical choruses, and partly to obtain by
that means more material power; yet to me it seems quite barbarous to
introduce this in the church, and I should therefore like to know what
Mr. _Lesueur_, who must certainly be an artist of reflective powers,
means by it. In the place of the offertory, variations by _Nadermann_
for the harp, horn and violoncello were thrust in, executed by the
composer and Mrs. _Dauprat_ and _Baudiot_. You who know, that in
Germany a serious symphony even appeared to me too mundane at this
part, may therefore readily imagine what an unpleasant impression
these frivolous, French variations on the harp must have made upon me
in a mass at midnight; and yet I saw the people present in earnest
prayer. How is it possible for them to feel a religious sentiment with
such trivial music! This must be either a matter of no importance to
them, or they know how to close their ears effectually; otherwise,
like myself, they would of a certainty be reminded of the ballet at
the grand opera, in which those three instruments are heard in a like
manner in the most voluptuous dances. Although the harp in ancient
times was the favorite instrument of a pious king, it should for all
that be banished from the church, because it is wholly unfit for the
severe style which is the only one suitable for that edifice.

But will you believe it, when I assure you that even the worthy master
_Cherubini_ himself, has allowed himself to be led away by this bad
example, and his masses exhibit in many places a theatrical style.
It is true that he makes amends for it in those places with superior
music, full of effect; but who can enjoy it, if he cannot wholly
forget the place in which he hears it?

It would he less regrettable that _Cherubini_ also should deviate
from the true ecclesiastical style, if in some individual parts he
did not shew in what a dignified manner he can move in it. Several
separate subjects in his masses--particularly the scientifically
conducted fugues, and above all his _Pater noster_ up to the profane
conclusion--afford the grandest proofs of this. But when one has once
overcome the inclination to feel annoyed at this frequent, extremely
digressive style, one feels then the highest enjoyment of art. By
richness of invention, well-chosen, and frequently quite novel
sequences of harmony, and a sagacious use of the material resources of
art, directed by the experience of many years, he knows how to produce
such powerful effects, that, carried away by them in spite of oneself,
one soon forgets all pedantic cavil to give oneself wholly up to one’s
feelings, and to enjoyment. What would not this man have contributed
to art, if instead of writing for Frenchmen, he had always written for


  _Paris_, January 30. 1821.

The two months which I had allotted to our stay in Paris are drawing to
a close. As I do not know whether circumstances may even permit us to
come here again, we are exerting ourselves to find all the remarkable
things we have not yet seen, and make daily excursions in Paris and
into its environs. In order to devote my time wholly to this, I have
given up the idea I had conceived of giving another soirée before
our departure, and for which I had already made some arrangements.
The fortnight which I should have been obliged to devote solely to
that object, I can now therefore pass more pleasantly, and in greater
freedom. I gave up with much more repugnance my project to give a
second public concert, since, from the reception given to the first,
I had good ground to expect a successful result. But during this month
there was not a day to be found favorable for such a purpose; for on
a week day the administration will not give up the theatre, as there
is either a grand or an Italian opera, and of the three yet remaining
Sundays, the first was too near, the second, as the anniversary of the
death of Louis XVI., not to be had, and the third, already pre-engaged
by Mr. _Lafont_ for a concert. To extend our stay over the middle of
next month, we have no desire, for we are heartily tired of the noisy
life and ceaseless night-disturbance here, and ardently long for a
quiet place of residence.

On the other hand I have latterly played more frequently at private
parties, and seen with pleasure that my compositions, upon every
repetition, have been received with greater enthusiasm, especially by
musicians. This has been particularly the case with a new quintet for
pianoforte, flute, clarinet, horn and bassoon, which I have written
for my wife, and in which, since by the advice of the physician, she
has abandoned the harp, she has appeared several times. The chief
object of my coming here, to make myself personally known to the most
distinguished artists here, and to become more nearly acquainted with
them, I have thus fully effected; and I cannot speak sufficiently in
praise of the sympathy and kindness which the greater part of them have
evinced towards me. They repeatedly endeavoured to persuade me to make
a longer stay, and should I feel disposed to give a second concert,
they would not only take all the trouble of the arrangements for it off
my hands, but promised to get together for me the best orchestra in
Paris, without the cost to me of a single sou. Although I am not likely
to avail myself of this offer, yet it was very gratifying to me.

Another no less important object of my coming here has also been
achieved; I have had opportunities of hearing the most celebrated
violinists of, and at present in Paris. _Baillot_ gave a soirée at his
house for me, at my request; I heard _Lafont_ at his own concert; and
the younger _Kreutzer_ and _Habeneck_ at morning concerts which were
arranged expressly for the purpose. Should you wish to know which of
these four Violinists has best pleased me, then without hesitation, in
point of execution, I say, _Lafont_. In his play he combines beauty
of tone, the greatest purity, power, and grace; and he would be a
perfect violinist, if, with these qualifications, he possessed depth
of feeling, and had not accustomed himself to the habit peculiar to
the French school, of laying too much stress upon the last note of
a phrase. But feeling, without which a man can neither conceive nor
execute a good adagio, appears with him, as with almost all Frenchmen,
to be wholly wanting; for although he dresses up his slow movements
with many elegant and pretty ornaments, yet he still remains somewhat
cold. The adagio appears altogether to be considered here, both by
artists and the public, as the least important part of a concerto, and
is only retained perhaps because it separates both the quick subjects
and increases their effect.

To this indifference for it--as indeed the general insensibility of the
French for everything that works upon the feelings--I ascribe also,
that my adagio and the manner in which I played, made less impression
here than the brilliant allegro subjects. Accustomed to the special
applause which my manner of playing it had received from Germans,
Italians, Dutch, and English, I at first felt hurt to see it thought
so little of by the French. But since I have observed how seldom their
artists give them an earnest adagio, and how little their taste for it
is awakened, I became pacified on that subject. The practice of giving
emphasis to the last note of a period, by an increased pressure and a
rapid upward stroke of the bow, even when that note falls on a part
where the time is bad, is more or less common to all French violinists,
but with none so prominent as _Lafont_. To me it is incomprehensible
how this unnatural accentuation has arisen, which sounds exactly as
though a speaker endeavoured to intonate the short final syllable of
a word with particular force. If when executing a musical piece the
cantabile of the human voice had always been kept in view as model
(which in my opinion should be done by every instrumentalist) such
errors would never have become confirmed habits. But the Parisians are
so accustomed to this unnatural custom, that a foreigner who does not
play in the same bizzarre manner, appears to them much too plain, or,
as Mr. _Sievers_ expresses it, “much too straightforward.”

That _Lafont’s_ excellence restricts itself always to but a few pieces
at once, and that he practises the same concerto by the year together
before he plays it in public, is well known. Since I have heard the
perfect execution which he attains by this means, I certainly will not
cavil with this application of all his powers to the one object; but
I could not imitate him, and cannot even understand how one can bring
one’s-self to practise the same piece of music for four or five hours
daily, but still less how it is to be done without eventually losing
every vestige of real art, in such a mechanical mode of proceeding.

_Baillot_ is, in the technical scope of his play, almost as perfect,
and his diversity of manner, shews that he is so, without resorting
to the same desperate means. Besides his own compositions, he plays
almost all those of ancient and modern times. On one and the same
evening he gave us a quintet of _Bocherini_, a quartet of _Haydn_,
and three of his own compositions--a concerto, an _air varié_, and a
rondo. He played all these things with the most perfect purity, and
with the expression which is peculiar to his manner. His expression,
nevertheless, seemed to me more artificial than natural, and indeed his
whole execution, from the too salient evidence of the means by which he
gives that expression, has the appearance of mannerism. His bow-stroke
is skilful, and rich in shades of expression, but not so free as
_Lafont’s_, and therefore his tone is not so beautiful as that of the
latter, and the mechanical process of the up and down stroke of the bow
is too audible. His compositions are distinguished above almost all
those of any other Parisian violinist by their correctness; neither can
they be denied a certain originality; but being somewhat artificial,
mannered, and out of date in style, the hearer remains cold and without
a sense of emotion. You know that he frequently plays and takes great
pleasure in _Boccherini’s_ quintets. I was desirous of hearing him in
these quintets, with about a dozen of which I am acquainted, in order
to see whether from the manner in which he executes them he could
succeed in making one forget the poverty of the compositions. But well
as they were given by him, the frequent childishness of the melodies,
and the poverty of the harmonies (almost always three-voiced only) were
no less unpleasing to me, than in all those I had heard before. One can
hardly understand how a cultivated artist like _Baillot_, to whom our
treasures in compositions of this kind are known, can bring himself
to play those quintets still, whose worth consists only in the regard
had to the period and circumstances under which they were written. But
that they are here listened to with as much pleasure as a quintet of
_Mozart_, is another proof that Parisians cannot distinguish the good
from the bad, and are at least half a century behind in art.

I heard _Habeneck_ play two _airs variés_ of his composition. He is a
brilliant violinist and plays much with great rapidity and ease. His
tone and his bow-stroke are somewhat coarse.

_Kreutzer_ junior, the brother and pupil of the elder, played to me a
new, very brilliant and graceful trio of his brother’s composition. The
manner in which he executed it reminded me somewhat of the style of the
elder one, and satisfied me that they are the purest players of all the
Parisian violinists. Young _Kreutzer_ is wanting in physical power,
he is somewhat ill, and dare not play sometimes for months together.
His tone therefore is weak, but in other respects his play is pure,
spirited and full of expression.

Two days ago I heard two more quite new quintets of _Reicha_, which he
wrote for the morning-concerts of the five previously named artists.
They were played at a rehearsal, which appears to me to have been
given solely for the purpose of fishing for more subscribers to the
morning-concerts, among the numerous persons who were invited. At
least a list of them was handed round. It is sad to see what means
artists here are obliged to resort to, in order to procure support
for their undertakings. While the Parisians press eagerly forward to
every sensual enjoyment, they must be almost dragged to intellectual
ones.--I found the composition of these two new quintets, like those I
had previously heard at _Kreutzer’s_, rich in interesting sequences of
harmony, correct throughout in the management of the voices, and full
of effect in the use made of the tone and character of the different
wind-instruments, but on the other hand, frequently defective in the
form. Mr. _Reicha_ is not economical enough of his ideas, and at the
very commencement of his pieces he frequently gives from four to five
themes, each of which concludes in the tonic. Were he less rich, he
would be richer. His periods also are frequently badly connected and
sound as though he had written one yesterday and the other to-day.
Yet the minuets and scherzi, as short pieces, are less open to
this objection, and some of them are real masterpieces in form and
contents. A German soundness of science and capacity are the greatest
ornaments of this master. The execution in the rapid subjects was again
wonderfully correct, but somewhat less so in the slow ones.

I do not think I have yet spoken to you of the _Feydeau_. We have been
less frequently to that theatre than to the other operatic theatres,
because it so happened that on those evenings when we were at liberty
pieces were generally performed that did not much interest us. Yet we
were present at the first representation of _Méhul’s_ “Joseph,” which,
after a long repose was again put on the stage. The public however,
did not seem very grateful for this to the directors of the theatre,
for they gave it but a cold reception. In support of my assertion
that the French take an interest only in the piece, and know little
how to appreciate the excellence of the music, I may adduce, that
the tirades in the dialogue were far more applauded than the song
parts. The singers succeeded in obtaining applause only when, in the
superabundance of an artificial feeling, instead of singing, they began
to sob. At the pieces of the opera--for instance, at the first chorus
of the brothers--there was not a hand stirred. Many of the tempi were
taken quite different from those in Germany, but not to the advantage
of the music; for instance, the fine morning-hymn of the Israelites,
behind the scenes, was taken so quick, that it lost all its solemnity.
A screaming violin, also, that supported the soprani was far too
prematurely loud. The orchestra played well, and was particularly
remarkable for a delicate _piano_.

_Moscheles_ has been here a month. He makes a great sensation with his
extremely brilliant play, and wins the admiration both of artists and
dilettanti, the former by his execution of his richly intellectual
compositions, and the latter by his free fantasias, in which, as far
as his Germanism permits him, he accommodates himself to the Parisian
taste. The brothers _Bohrer_ have also returned to-day from a tour in
the provinces, but will remain here a few days only, and then leave
on a new tour viâ Munich to Vienna. I regret that I shall not have
an opportunity of hearing these artists, whom I have not met for ten
years. They wanted to persuade me to accompany them from here upon a
tour in the southern provinces, where they assure me some money is to
be made. But I have not the least inclination to go. The bad orchestras
in the provincial towns, the bad taste and the unpleasant negociations
to lessen the amount to be given up to the theatre and the poor of the
towns, would make a journey of the kind too disagreeable to me. In a
few days we shall return to Germany by way of Nancy and Strasbourg, and
therefore shall soon greet you again in dear Fatherland.

Till then farewell!

       *       *       *       *       *

To these letters regarding my sojourn in Paris, I have yet to add some
few things from recollection. From the frequent opportunities I had
of playing before _Cherubini_ at private parties, I conceived a very
ardent desire to have all my quartets and quintets so far as I thought
them worthy of it, heard by that by me highly esteemed master, and to
introduce them by degrees to his notice, in order to ask his opinion of
them. But in this I succeeded with very few only, for when _Cherubini_
had heard the first quartet (it was Nr. 1 of the Op. 45 written at
Frankfort), and I was on the point of producing a second, he protested
against it, and said: “Your music, and indeed the form and style of
this kind of music, is yet so foreign to me, that I cannot find myself
immediately at home with it, nor follow it properly; I would therefore
much prefer that you repeated the quartet you have just played!” I was
very much astonished at this remark, and did not understand it until
I afterwards ascertained that _Cherubini_ was quite unacquainted with
the German masterpieces of this kind of _Mozart_ and _Beethoven_--and
at the utmost had once heard a quartet by _Haydn_ at _Baillot’s_
soirées. As the other persons present coincided with _Cherubini’s_
wish, I consented the more readily, as in the first execution of it,
some things had not gone altogether well. He now spoke very favourably
of my composition, praised its form, its thematic working out, the
rich change in the harmonies, and particularly the _fugato_ in the
last subject. But as there were still many things not quite clear to
him in the music, he begged me to repeat it a second time, when we
should next meet. I hoped he would think nothing more about it, and
therefore at the next music party brought forward another quartet.
Before I could begin, however, _Cherubini_ renewed his request, and I
was therefore obliged to play the same quartet a third time. The same
thing occurred also with Nr. 2 of Op. 45, excepting that he spoke of it
with more decisive praise, and said of the adagio: “It is the finest I
ever heard.” He was equally pleased with my pianoforte quintet with
the concerted accompaniment of wind instruments, and I was frequently
obliged to play it on that account. The first time my wife played the
piano part; but when _Moscheles_ subsequently requested permission to
study it and to play it once, she had not the courage to play it any
more in Paris, after him. He remained therefore in possession, and
entered more and more into the spirit of the composition. He executed
the two allegro subjects especially with far more energy and style,
which certainly greatly increased their effect. As the wind instruments
of _Reicha’s_ quintet were excellent, I never recollect to have heard
that quintet so perfectly rendered as then, although I have heard it
played in more recent days by many celebrated pianoforte virtuosi.
From the continual repetition of my quartets in Paris I could find no
opportunity of giving even one of my two first quintets for stringed
instruments which had been some time written. Nevertheless I found for
them a very sympathetic audience at Strasbourg, on my return journey,
to which the taste for quartet-music has more readily penetrated from
its contiguity to Germany. The quintet in _G_ major, with the half
melancholy half merry finale, became soon an especial favorite with the
friends of music there, and at their request formed the finale of every
quartet-party. In Carlsruhe, where on a former visit I had already
played quartets frequently, particularly in the house of that lover
of art Mr. _von Eichthal_, my stay this time was very much saddened
by finding the friend of my youth _Feska_ dangerously ill: he shortly
afterwards succumbed to his incurable malady.

       *       *       *       *       *

Returned to Gandersheim, I resumed again, immediately, the pleasant
active life of the previous summer. _Edward Grund_ soon arrived also,
and devoted himself with his usual zeal both to his own improvement
and to the instruction of my children. I myself first began with the
composition of the already mentioned ten-voiced vocal mass, but I was
soon obliged to give it up for a short time. I received a letter from
my old friend _Hermstedt_, in which he invited me on the part of the
directors of the baths of Alexisbad in the Harz, to give a concert
in the course of the approaching season. He offered at the same time
to make all the necessary arrangements beforehand, so that I should
not require to stay there longer than a few days. He also urgently
pressed me to write a new clarinet concerto for him, and promised if
he received it sufficiently early, to play it for the first time at
the Alexisbad concert. As I liked to write for _Hermstedt_, who at
that time was without doubt the first of all living clarinet virtuosi,
I consented to his proposal, and set to work immediately. After
despatching to him the new concerto _F_ minor (the third for clarinet),
I wrote for myself and wife another pot-pourri concerted for violin and
pianoforte on two themes from the “Opferfest”--published afterwards
as Op. 56, for which I worked out anew a former composition for
clarinet with orchestral accompaniment which I had written in 1812 for
_Hermstedt_, for the celebration of Napoleon’s birthday, in Erfurt. I
considered it one of my most successful pieces, and wished by this new
elaboration of it, to make it more generally known. It may be readily
understood that in this transfer from the clarinet and orchestra to the
violin and pianoforte, very considerable modifications were requisite,
and that I could adhere chiefly only to the form and modulations of the
previous composition. By the time this piece of music had been studied
by us in the usual manner, with the greatest care, the day fixed upon
for our departure for Alexisbad arrived. Of this excursion I have now
but very faint reminiscences. I neither know what we played at the
concert, nor how the new clarinet concerto pleased, and the less so,
that since that time I have not heard it again; for it has remained
altogether in _Hermstedt’s_ hands, and has never been published. But I
recollect very distinctly a natural phenomenon by which our concert was
disturbed and for some time interrupted, as in London by the smashing
of the windows. Just as the music was about to begin, a storm, which
had threatened since noon, broke out with such violence, that what
with the rolling of the thunder and the noise of the rain that poured
down in torrents, nothing could have been heard. In the over-crowded
concert-room, which was suffocatingly hot, the closely packed auditory
were compelled to await the passing over of the storm, and the concert
could not be commenced until the air of the room had been renewed by
the opening of the doors and windows. Owing to this the concert did not
terminate till complete nightfall. The confusion and perplexity which
ensued among the departing audience now first reached their climax;
for it was found that the otherwise very modest rivulet which runs
through the valley of Alexisbad had become so swollen, and had torn
up and flooded the roads to such an extent, that the numerous company
that had come in from the neighbourhood of the town found it impossible
to return home in the darkness of night. All therefore first rushed
to the dining-room of the baths, but there no provision had been made
for such an influx of guests. As soon as the regular visitors of the
baths had retired to their apartments previous to sitting down to
dinner, the strangers seized upon their seats at the table, and upon
the eatables also, so that when the former returned they were obliged
to content themselves with what they could lay hold of. Upon this very
naturally a good deal of ill-feeling was excited, and the host had
enough to do and a hard time of it to pacify and keep the people in
bounds. Now, furthermore, it was found that to pass the night there
were neither rooms nor beds sufficient for their accommodation, and a
great number of the strangers were _nolens volens_ obliged to lie down
indiscriminately beside each other upon a shakedown of straw. Many did
it good humouredly, but others with ill-suppressed curses. For the
unconcerned spectator it was indeed a highly comical and amusing scene.

During the same summer, I received a similar invitation to go to
Pyrmont and give a concert there. I acquiesced, and proceeded thither
accompanied by my wife and my pupil _Edward Grund_, who conducted
the orchestra and very much facilitated my solo-playing by practising
the accompaniment beforehand, which alone enabled me to play my own
compositions. _Grund_ had in truth become a first-rate artist, and
began now to make musical tours with much success; which led to his
appointment as director of the court-orchestra at Meiningen, which
office he now still (1853) fills, respected by his prince and by the
members of the orchestra, and zealously exerting his energies to the
advantage of art. As upon his leaving Gandersheim, in the autumn of
1821, the musical instruction of my daughters completely ceased,
and as they gave evidence of vocal powers that appeared worthy of a
further artistic cultivation, I determined to remove to Dresden with my
family, in order to give the children the advantage of the instruction
of a then celebrated teacher of vocal music of the name of _Miksch_
in that city. To _Emilia_ I had indeed, myself already begun to give
instruction in singing, but soon found that I had neither the necessary
perseverance and patience, and that it drew my attention too much from
my work of composition. Besides this, also, I determined as soon as my
family had become somewhat settled in Dresden, to proceed alone upon
some short artistic tours in the neighbourhood. I wrote therefore to my
former pupil _Moritz Hauptmann_ in Dresden, and requested him to treat
with Mr. _Miksch_ on my behalf, and so soon as he should agree, to hire
apartments for me; shortly after which I received a reply informing me
that all my wishes had been carefully complied with.

My mass for ten voices had been meanwhile completed, and I longed very
much to hear it. As on my journey to Dresden I contemplated giving a
concert in Leipzic, and on that account should be obliged to make a
longer stay there, I bethought myself of getting it sung during the
time I was there by the grand choral-society of that town, with the
Director of which I was acquainted. I wrote to him therefore to inquire
if he felt disposed to have the work practised beforehand, and as
he replied in the affirmative, I sent the score to him to have the
voice-parts immediately written out.

The parting from Gandersheim was this time a very sad one, as the
children also, to whose society their grandfather and grandmother had
become so much accustomed, were to part from them, and I was obliged to
promise to return the next summer, even though for a short visit only.

On arriving in Leipzic, one of my first visits was to the Director of
the choral-society, to ascertain something about my mass. But what I
learned was not very satisfactory. The rehearsals it is true had been
commenced; but the work had been found so enormously difficult, and
was so imperfectly understood, that the director refused decidedly to
let me hear it. At my urgent request, however, a trial was made, which
went very badly, and as I did not nearly hear the effect which I had
pictured to myself during the inspiration of the work, I concluded that
I had produced a complete failure. After hearing it a few more times,
I resolved to make some alterations in it, in order to facilitate its
execution, and shortly after, the mass was published by _Peters_ as Op.
54. A long time afterwards, when I had almost forgotten it, some parts
of it were sung to me by the Berlin choral-academy under _Zelter’s_
direction. These had been so well studied, were intonated so clearly,
and had so imposing an effect from the combination of so many voices,
that I now became fully convinced that the work could be performed, and
conceived the desire to have it studied by my choral-society in Cassel.
This proved successful, as I did not lose my patience and the singers
were indefatigable, and the entire mass, without any omissions, was
performed in November 1827 on Saint Cecilia’s day. The experience I had
acquired during these rehearsals taught me, however, to avoid a too
great abundance of modulations and difficult chords in succession.

Arrived in Dresden, we were conducted by _Hauptmann_ to the lodgings
he had hired for us, which were pleasantly situated in a quiet part of
the town. Both my eldest girls immediately began their singing-lessons
with Mr. _Miksch_ and I then went in search of my former acquaintances
among the artists and amateurs of music, and, foremost of all, of
the orchestra director _Carl Maria von Weber_. He received me in
a very cordial manner, and by degrees introduced me into all the
musical circles, where I not only heard much good music, but had the
opportunity of playing my own chamber-music. As the musicians who
accompanied me evinced great interest in my quartet-play, this induced
me, with their assistance to give quartet parties every week at my
house, to which I invited the most ardent lovers of music in the town.
At these I brought forward, as I could not succeed in doing in Paris,
all the quartets and quintets in succession which I had written up to
that time, and as I soon got to the end of them, and they met with
great approbation from all hearers, I was encouraged to write some new
ones. In a short time, I finished two (the two first of Op. 58), and I
took such interest in this work, as well as in the whole artistic life
of Dresden, that I at once gave up my contemplated musical tour, and
deferred it to the latter end of the winter.

Meanwhile _Carl Maria von Weber_ had succeeded in obtaining the
permission to have his opera of “Der Freischütz” studied in Dresden,
after it had met with such brilliant success in Vienna and Berlin; and
the private rehearsals were already begun. As up to that time I had not
entertained a very high opinion of _Weber’s_ talent for composition,
it may be readily imagined I was not a little desirous of becoming
acquainted with that opera, in order to ascertain thoroughly by what
it had achieved such an enthusiastic admiration in the two capitals of
Germany. My interest in it was increased the more from my having worked
also a few years before, when at Frankfort on the Maine, upon the
same materials, from _Appel’s_ book of apparitions, for an opera; and
only abandoned the composition upon accidentally hearing that _Weber_
was already engaged upon it. The nearer acquaintance with the opera,
certainly did not solve for me the riddle of its enormous success; and
I could alone account for it by _Weber’s_ peculiar gift and capacity
for writing for the understanding of the mass. As I very well knew
that this gift had been denied me by nature, it is difficult for me to
explain how an unconquerable impulse should have led me nevertheless,
to attempt dramatic composition anew. But so it was! Scarcely had I
arrived home, than I took from my trunk, a half-forgotten work which
I had begun in Paris. On a tedious rainy day which in that muddy city
renders it impossible to go out of doors, I asked my landlady to lend
me a book to read. She brought me an old, well-read romance: “La Veuve
de Malabar.” I found its interesting matter would well permit of being
adapted to an opera, and I purchased it of her for a few sous, in order
to make trial of it. While in Paris, and during the journey home I
turned over in my mind the most favourable form for the composition of
the opera, and began immediately after my return to Gandersheim to make
the cast of a scene. In those hours when I did not feel disposed to
work on the composition of the mass, I progressed with it, and by the
time I removed with my family to Dresden, I had nearly completed it. I
now reconsidered and worked over anew this sketch with renewed zeal,
decided in the most precise manner everything that should take place
in each scene, and then looked out for a poet who would feel disposed
to write the opera according to this plan. Such a person I found in
Mr. _Edward Gehe_, who readily entered into my ideas. In this manner
originated the text of the opera “Jessonda.” I was just on the point of
beginning its composition, when an event took place that took off my
attention from it again for some time.

One morning, in the beginning of December, _Carl Maria von Weber_,
called upon me, and informed me that he had just received an invitation
to Cassel, with the offer of the appointment of conductor of the
orchestra at the newly-built court theatre there, but had decided upon
declining it, as he was fully satisfied with his present position.
Should he, however, find me disposed to apply for that post, he would
in his reply to the letter, direct attention to me, and say that I
was at present living in Dresden. As shortly before I had heard from a
member of the Cassel orchestra who passed through Gandersheim much of
the magnificence of the court theatre there and of the love of art of
the elector _William_ II. who had just entered upon the government, I
could not doubt but that I should find there an important and pleasant
sphere of action. I therefore accepted _Weber’s_ offer with many
thanks, and before the lapse of a week, as a result of his reply, I
received a letter from Mr. _Feige_, director-general of the Cassel
court theatre, in which he offered me on the part of the elector the
appointment of master of the court orchestra, and I was requested to
send in my terms of acceptance by return of post. After I had consulted
with _Weber_ and my wife, I demanded: 1) the appointment for life,
by rescript, at a salary of 2000 Thalers; 2) a leave of absence of
from 6 to 8 weeks, every year; and 3) the assurance that the artistic
direction of the opera should be made over to me exclusively. The whole
of these stipulations were agreed to, but in return it was required of
me that I should enter upon my post at the latest on the commencement
of the new year. Overjoyed as we were at this new appointment,
particularly _Dorette_, as she was thereby certain that she would be
no more separated from her children for a long time, yet we were not
altogether satisfied at having to leave our present residence so soon,
where _Emilia_ and _Ida_ were making such progress, particularly in
singing. We had besides taken our Dresden lodgings up to Easter, and
a removal in the middle of winter was altogether very unpleasant. I
therefore proposed that I should leave, to assume my place at Cassel,
but that my wife and the children should remain in Dresden till the
spring. Painful as was to her the separation from me for so long
a time, she was compelled to admit the obvious convenience of my
proposition. As the new year was now approaching, I therefore made the
necessary preparations for my departure, and urged _Gehe_ to work upon
the matter for the second and third act of Jessonda, with all possible
diligence, while I took the first act, which was ready, with me to

Meanwhile another new and startling offer was made to me. Count
_Salisch_, my old patron in Gotha, wrote word to me that the duchess
had been informed I was now living in private at Dresden, and she was
therefore desirous to know whether I might not be disposed to resume
my old engagement, which, since the recent death of _Andreas Romberg_,
was again vacant? Count _Salisch_ added furthermore that they would
be enabled to grant me a considerable increase of my former salary.
Had I not already accepted the offer from Cassel, I might possibly
have given this one the preference, in order to afford my wife the
pleasure of a reunion with her mother and family by a return to her
native town. But the choice was thus not permitted to me, and I might
consider this rather in the light of a fortunate circumstance, as my
sphere of action in Gotha would have been a very circumscribed one,
in comparison with that in Cassel. In a few years also I should have
again been left without a home, for the duke, and his successor also,
prince _Frederick_, the last heir, died soon after each-other, and the
state was divided among the other Saxon duchies. The orchestra was then
pensioned off, and as I could not have endured to live in complete
idleness, I should have soon removed again to some other place.

The parting from my wife and children, although for a short time only,
was nevertheless a very sad one. _Dorette_, who wept bitterly, could
alone be somewhat comforted by my promise to write every week and
inform her of everything that I was doing. In Gotha, when on passing
through I paid a visit to my mother-in-law, I was urgently pressed by
her and the other relatives of my wife, as also by the members of the
orchestra, to settle there once more. The duchess, also, to whom it
was requisite I should pay a visit, as she had always evinced so much
interest and kindness towards me, resorted to every means to make me
give up Cassel, and offered to induce her brother the elector of Hesse
to release me from my engagement. But as, since I had left Gotha, and
looked about me in the world, the sphere of action in that place seemed
to me too humble and restricted, I withstood every solicitation and
made a speedy departure.

I had scarcely arrived in Cassel (New Year’s Day 1822), than I was
summoned to an interview with the elector, who received me with great
kindness, and said many flattering things to me. Among other subjects
he expressed the hope to see his opera become by my exertions one
of the most celebrated of Germany, and requested me to make such
propositions as were best calculated to effect that object. In order
to do that I requested a fortnight’s time, so that I might first make
myself well acquainted with the means and materials at hand. After I
had been present at a few rehearsals and performances, I then assumed
my new post with the direction of _Winter’s_ “Opferfest.” As the
previous director of music, _Benzon_, had from all accounts, been so
much wanting in authority, that the singers and the orchestra did not
hesitate to oppose his regulations, which indeed led to his dismissal,
I considered it immediately necessary to somewhat tighten the reins of
discipline. I therefore became very strict at the rehearsals of the
“Opferfest,” but did not find the least disposition to resist either
in the singers, or in the orchestra; and already in the first opera
which I directed, succeeded in producing a better ensemble than they
had hitherto been accustomed to. This was also generally acknowledged,
and immediately procured for me the confidence of the elector, as also
of the whole theatrical personnel. As I already found some excellent
voices among the singers, viz. the first tenor _Gerstäcker_ and the
prima donna demoiselle _Dietrich_, and ascertained that _Feige_ the
director of the theatre was negotiating for the engagement of several
other eminent artists, I limited for the present the proposals which
I now sent in to the mere increase and improvement of the personnel
of the chorus and orchestra. The latter consisted in part of civilian
musicians, and partly of musicians belonging to the band of the
body-guard, among whom were several of great excellence. The elector
had granted to the latter as well as to the civilian musicians a
rescript of engagement for life, so that I could no longer carry out my
notion of constituting the orchestra solely of civilian musicians, in
order to avoid any collision between the military and the orchestral
duties of the non-civilians. I hoped at least, however, to get rid of
the objectionable regulations which obliged the military musicians
to appear in full uniform, which upon my first visit to the theatre
was a great eye-sore to me. But neither did I succeed in this, for
upon my representing it to the elector he replied, “It is contrary
to military etiquette for a soldier to appear before me otherwise
than in full uniform;” and when I made answer that the close-fitting
uniform made the orchestral duties more difficult, and that the high
epaulettes in particular made it quite impossible for the violinists
to hold their instrument in the proper way, he proposed to give the
musicians a particular and convenient uniform without epaulettes, for
the orchestral service, rather than give up his whim. He rejected also
my then suggested proposal to give the civilian-musicians the same kind
of uniform; and in this manner this party-coloured orchestra remained
unchanged to the astonishment of all foreigners, until the year 1832,
when the present elector became co-regent in the government.

But my propositions for the increase and improvement of the orchestra
were all adopted, and I received instructions to engage some more good
violinists, and some first-rate solo-players for the leading wind
instruments. By this means the opportunity was afforded me of bringing
my brother near to me once more, who, after the expiration of his
engagement in Vienna had met with an engagement in the Berlin court
orchestra. I was equally successful with my former pupil and friend
_Hauptmann_, and both received a rescript of engagement for life. Some
excellent musicians were soon found also for the wind instruments, and
by this increase and by diligent study and exercise, the orchestra
became one of the best in Germany, and has so remained, in spite of
all the personal changes until now (1853).

But I must revert to the year 1822. My accession to office was
celebrated by the whole theatrical company, by a grand dinner, at which
the two heads of the theatrical administration, the intendant Mr. _von
Manger_, director of the police, and director-general _Feige_ presided.
Songs, speeches and toasts were sung and made in my honour, and I felt
myself quite at home in a circle where I was met on every side with so
much friendliness, and indeed in so hearty a manner. As the Elector,
who in the first years of his rule was very generous, had made Messrs.
_von Manger_ and _Feige_ grants of money for special performances
for the relief of native and travelling musicians, this gave rise
to brilliant and interesting soirées at both their houses. These
meetings were enlivened by genius and wit, and there prevailed thereat
a joviality which though somewhat free was yet decorous. I at first
therefore frequented them with pleasure; but towards the time when I
expected my family I gradually withdrew from them, partly because I was
obliged to confess to myself that my wife would not quite approve of
this circle and partly because I was fearful of endangering my official
authority by a too companionable intercourse with the singers.

A few days after my arrival in Cassel I was presented to the Electress
and her daughters, the Princesses _Caroline_ and _Marie_, and was
invited to their evening parties. At one of these I was requested
to play some of my quartets, which I expressly practised beforehand
with the most distinguished members of the court-orchestra. Messrs.
_Wiele_, solo violinist, _Barnbeck_, first violinist, and _Hasemann_,
first violincellist (my former quartetist in Frankfort, who had been
engaged at Cassel shortly before). These music parties, which were much
spoken of, were probably the reason why the Elector, who, separated
from his wife, never joined her evening circle, gave me the order to
give a court-concert, in order to afford an opportunity for himself
and the Countess _Reichenbach_ to hear me play. This concert, for
which I enlisted the services of all the talent among the singers and
court-orchestra, was given in the grand saloon of the palace, before a
brilliant company (in which of course the Electress did not appear, as
the Countess _Reichenbach_ occupied her place), and as it was the first
at the new court, it made a great sensation. It was, however, the only
one for a long time, as the Elector and the Countess took but little
interest in concert music.

By the wish of the orchestra I assumed also the direction of the
concerts which they gave in the new town-hall saloon, and appeared
also at one of them as solo player. In the first years their receipts
were divided, as they had previously been, among the members of the
orchestra; but later, upon my proposition, they were appropriated to
a relief-fund for the widows and the families of deceased members
of the orchestra, and managed by a committee according to rules and
regulations devised for that purpose. This relief fund, which from
that period was supplied from the receipts from the concerts given
every winter by the court orchestra and those from the performance
of an oratorio on Good Fridays, is still in existence (1853), and in
the course of years has alleviated the distress of many widows and
orphans of the members of the orchestra. But for several years past
the concerts have been no more given in the town-hall, but in the
court theatre, from the time the former Elector became patron of the
institution, who, as little as the present Elector, could make up his
mind to be present at a concert given anywhere else than in the theatre.

       *       *       *       *       *

(Resumed in April 1858 after a pause of five years.)

 (In this continuation, of the Journal, written in _Spohr’s_
 seventy-fifth year, the manuscript would no longer permit of being
 printed so _verbally_ as previously, and here and there, to avoid too
 much prolixity, it was necessary to make _omissions_. Some _gaps_,
 nevertheless, which required filling up have been so far completed
 only as the citation of _Spohr’s own words_ in letters written to
 absent friends, would permit of,--so that the reader may rely upon
 the subject matter as faithfully given and that _only Spohr himself
 speaks, without any additions from the pen of others_, up to the
 mournful period (June 1858) when his biographical notes, which reach
 to the year 1838, break off altogether.)

Shortly after my arrival in Cassel, I was invited by the countess
_Hessenstein_ to a music-party. I there met several dilettanti of
the town, who all sang, though in their own very bad style only. As
nevertheless some of them had the gift of good voices, it suggested
of me the idea of directing my exertions on that side also, and
beginning by the institution of a choral society. I therefore formed
an acquaintance with some of the singers, communicated my plan to
them, and we immediately arranged to meet on an early day in order to
consult further upon the steps necessary to be taken. As result of
this meeting a code of regulations was drawn up, and as early as the
22nd March following an invitation was sent round to the dilettanti of
Cassel, signed by myself, Mr. _von Steuber_, and secretary _Knyrim_,
to join the society we were about to establish under the name of the
“Society of St. Cecilia,” in order, “after the example of the majority
of the larger towns of Germany, to strive here also towards the same
noble aim, to awaken and cultivate a pure and correct taste for music
of an exalted and earnest character.” As the enterprise met with a
cordial welcome, the society was soon formed, and upon its opening
began first with the study of _Mozart’s_ incomparable _Ave Verum_, then
with _Haydn’s_ Hymns of Thanks, and _Mozart’s_ first mass, followed by
a _Salve Regina_ by _Hauptmann_, a charmingly beautiful composition in
the real, pious ecclesiastical style. Meanwhile the number of members
had increased to more than fifty, and such satisfactory progress was
made in the weekly rehearsals, that already in the first year of its
institution the society performed several times in the catholic church
accompanied by the organ, during divine service, masses by _Hauptmann_
and others.

In the theatre also, after I had got to know the singers and orchestra
more intimately, my sphere of action began to extend itself. The
first quite new work studied under my direction was the opera “Zemira
and Azor,” which I had written at Frankfort, and which was first
performed on the 24th March. A young, talented singer, Miss _Canzi_,
who was just then on a professional visit to Cassel, sang the part of
Zemira, and _Gerstäcker_, the then much admired first tenor of our
stage, the part of Azor. As the other characters of the opera were also
well represented, it could not fail to be as well received here as at
Frankfort, so that not only was it repeated during _Canzi’s_ stay, a
few days afterwards, but also immediately studied by her successor,
Miss _Roland_, and given several times during the course of the year
with great applause. But far more pleasure than from the enthusiastic
approbation of the public, did I receive from the circumstance that the
opera pleased me, who had not heard it for two years, and I was a still
more severe judge of my later productions. I was also now more than
ever convinced, that this, like many of my compositions required to be
given in strict accordance with the spirit of the work to please the
non-connoisseur as well; and that my music, if negligently played, can
readily be so spoiled, that the connoisseur himself would be at a loss
to understand it. Meanwhile, in the beginning of March 1822 my family
arrived under the protection of my brother _Ferdinand_, who had fetched
them from Dresden on his way here from Berlin, and we removed together
to the house I had hired in the Bellevue. Once more settled down in
the domestic circle I immediately began to compose the new opera
“Jessonda,” and finished it in December of the same year. [In a letter
written to _Speyer_ of Frankfort on 26th January 1823, he says: “I have
been latterly so much engaged upon a new opera that I have somewhat
neglected everything else. It is now ready, and I am right glad to have
completed so important a work. If I expect more from this opera than
from the earlier ones, it is because of my greater experience, and
the inspiration I felt in the study of almost every ‘number’ of the
successfully written libretto. In order to devote myself to the work
in my hours of inspiration only, I have allowed myself also more time
with this than with all the former ones.”] Some “numbers” from it--the
overture, an air of Jessonda’s, and the well-known duet between Amazili
und Nadori--were performed the very same winter at the subscription
concerts, and my daughter _Emilia_ gained much applause in them. The
entire opera was first represented upon our stage on the birthday of
the Elector, the 28th July, in the following summer, and was received
with general acclamation. [In a letter of the 2nd August 1823, appears,
further: “You wish to hear from me something respecting the first
representation of ‘Jessonda;’ it is a subject scarcely becoming me to
write upon, for without wishing to do so, I must nevertheless speak
in praise of it. The effect was great! It is the fashion here, upon
birthdays to receive the court only with applause, and then the opera
is listened to without any _loud_ demonstration of approbation. It
should also have been so now; but already before the end of the first
act a storm of applause burst forth, and etiquette was forgotten for
the rest of the evening. The performance was excellent. _Gerstäcker_,
Miss _Roland_, _Hauser_ were grand, Miss _Braun_ was endurable at
least, and better than in other characters. The chorus and orchestra,
scenery, dances, spectacle combats, storm, decorations, costume, every
thing, was excellent.... This work has made me very happy, and I have
reason to hope that the opera will please much in other places.”]

From the windows of our house on the Bellevue we had a very fine view
across the meadows into the valley, which is enlivened by the Leipzic
high-road, and the beauty of the country induced us to take frequent
walks in the charming environs of Cassel. In these walks we were
mostly attracted by the numerous villas situated in gardens, outside
the Wilhelmshöhe, and also of the Cologne gate; and as we began to
like this part very much, we soon felt the wish, also, to have such a
house with garden as we had already once rented in Gotha, that we might
call our own property. When therefore in our rambles any one of these
particularly took our fancy. I often made enquiries whether the owner
was disposed to sell it, but was frequently answered in the negative,
until at length a small country-house outside the Cologne gate, close
to the town and not far from the theatre, in a quiet neighbourhood
surrounded on all sides by gardens, was offered to me to purchase. As
the price asked for it did not exceed the amount of my small savings
placed with the firm of _William Speyer_ of Frankfort, I concluded the
purchase of it at once, and already in the autumn we moved into the
newly-acquired property and had the pleasure of gathering forthwith a
good harvest of fruit and vegetables. The only thing I missed in the
new house was a spacious music room. I therefore had a partition wall
removed that separated two rooms on the first floor, and by that means
gained a sufficiently roomy saloon for a quartet party, which, however,
had the defect in an acoustic point of view, of being too low; for
which reason I proposed to myself at a later period to erect a building
with a music room.

Our pretty quiet country-house incited me anew to fresh compositions,
and so I first wrote a third quartet to the two already begun in
Dresden, which were published by _Peters_ of Leipzic as Op. 58. In
order to have this quartet heard and the former ones, I established
here also a quartet circle, at which, in turn with some other families
who were lovers of music, we gave three quartets every week, and
concluded the evenings with a frugal supper. At first the quartet
consisted of myself, Mr. _Wiele_, solo violinist, and subsequently
concert-master of our court orchestra, of my brother _Ferdinand_, who
took the viol, and of our excellent violincellist _Hasemann_. But as by
degrees, both in the orchestra, and in this small circle, death made
some vacancies, others were obliged to be substituted in their place,
and then some time was always required until we obtained once more the
old, customary ensemble again. In 1831 my brother was first snatched
from us, then _Wiele_, and at last _Hasemann_; but their places were
again filled by new members of our court orchestra, so that the
quartet parties, which only took place in the winter months, never
ceased entirely, and I myself up to quite recently (1858) played two
quartets in each of them.

After I had completed the third quartet of Op. 58, a fancy seized me
to carry out an idea I had long conceived, and of which, if I am not
mistaken, _Andrew Romberg_, when we played a quartet together for
the last time before his death, first spoke of, viz. to try my hand
at a double quartet. The circumstance that _Romberg_ had entertained
the idea for several years without ever attempting it, incited me
to it yet more, and I imagined to myself the manner in which he had
also comprehended it, and how two quartet parties sitting close to
each other, should be made to play _one_ piece of music, and keep in
reserve the eight-voice play for the chief-parts of the composition
only. According to this idea, I also wrote my first double quartet
(_B minor_), began the theme of the first allegro with both quartets
_unisono_, and _forte_, in order to impress it well upon the hearers,
and then carried it concerted through both quartets in turn. Of the
families who belonged to the quartet circle, the marshal of the court
_von der Malsburg_ had the most spacious place, for which reason
I waited until the turn came to him to give the quartet party, at
which I then with the assistance of my best pupils and of a second
violincellist from the orchestra, gave the new double quartet to our
circle, to hear. I was greatly pleased to find that its effect was
far greater than that of simple quartets and quintets, and as this
kind of chamber music excited also great sensation abroad[27], as was
proved by its frequent performance, I expected nothing less than that
the composers of that day would soon imitate it and make it general.
But this was as little the case, as with some other extensions of the
forms of art, which I have tried in later years, as for instance
in the symphony for two orchestras: “Irdisches und Göttliches im
Menschenleben.” (The earthly and heavenly in human life, Op. 121) in
the historical symphony (Op. 116), and the four-handed piano-forte
accompaniment to some tenor songs. One single young composer only,
of Lubeck, of the name of _Pape_, who was afterwards appointed
violincellist in the orchestra of the theatre at Bremen, once sent me
a double quartet in manuscript. He had great talent for composition,
but found no opportunity of making his things known, and like so many
young Germans, became desponding for want of the recognition of his
talent. This has never been published, and thus my four double quartets
remain the only ones of their kind. An octet for stringed instruments
by _Mendelssohn-Bartholdy_ belongs to quite another kind of art, in
which the two quartets do not concert and interchange in double choir,
with each other, but all eight instruments work together. This kind,
although not so interesting as the double quartets, has been imitated;
for the violincellist _Schuberth_ of St. Petersburg published one of
the kind at his brother’s, the music-publisher’s in Hamburg, which has
been played by us in Cassel several times, and been well received.

[27] The “Vienna Allgemeinen musikalischen Anzeiger,” of the 14th
March, said among other things, in announcing the publication by
_Peters_ [Op. 65] of this work: “To waste words in praising this double
quartet, which all unite in admiring, would be carrying coals to

At this time I was engaged besides on various other compositions: two
pot-pourris on themes from “Jessonda” (Op. 64 and 66, at _Peter’s_ in
Leipzic), one for violin, the other for violin and violincello, both
of which I played in the course of the winter in our subscription
concerts. I further composed a hymn to St. Cecilia, written by Miss
_von Calenberg_ for the festival of the 22nd November, which consisted
of chorus with a brilliant soprano solo, the latter very well executed
upon the occasion by my eldest daughter _Emilia_.[28]

[28] The manuscript remained unpublished for many years, and was only
recently published bei _Luckhardt_ in Cassel as Op. 97.

For the celebration of this day, which our choral society did this year
for the first time, a company of about 120 persons assembled, mostly
friends of the members of the society, in the Austrian saloon, which
had been handsomely decorated for the occasion, and ornamented with
a life-size picture of St. Cecilia. The festival began with the hymn
to St. Cecilia, after which a member delivered a discourse upon the
musical art, and with the most flattering expression of the thanks and
acknowledgements of the society, presented me with a valuable gift,
consisting of two large bronze candelabra executed by the subsequently
so celebrated sculptor _Henschel_, and ornamented with scenes from my
three operas performed here. This was followed by a “Lord’s Prayer”
by _Feska_, the _Salve regina_ by _Hauptmann_, and during the supper,
some songs for male voices were sung. In the following year _Hauptmann_
composed another hymn written by Miss _von Calenberg_ in celebration of
the name-day of our holy patroness, and as this, together with my
composition, met with the same general approbation, both these pieces
of music were executed in turn upon all the subsequent celebratimes
of the festival. The voluntary contributions which were collected
upon these occasions were applied only to charitable purposes, and
the celebration of the day although sometimes interrupted by some
disturbances, continued to be observed up to a late period, sometimes
on a more limited and at others on a more extensive scale.

In the following year (1824) I received an invitation from Councillor
_Küstner_, who was then director of the Leipzic theatre, to bring
out my opera of “Jessonda” upon that stage. [A letter of the 14th
February furnishes an account of its successful performance there on
the 9th of that month: “Upon entering the orchestra I was received with
general acclamation, the overture was called for again with a loud and
continued _da capo_. Every ‘number’ was received with lively applause,
and four of them called for again, of which one was a chorus, the first
of the 2nd act. The greatest, and really stormy enthusiasm, was created
by the duet between Amazili and Nadori. After the conclusion of the
first act a speaker stood up in a box on the first tier, and addressed
me in a speech in which he characterised me as a _true master_ of
_German art_, and called upon the audience to give me a “three times
three”! This actually took place with a flourish of trumpets and
kettle-drums in a tutti such as I thought would bring down the walls of
the theatre. At the conclusion of the opera the same scene occurred,
and the house rang with cries of “_da capo_ Jessonda!” The day after
the performance Councillor _Küstner_ sent me double the amount of the
honorarium agreed upon, and when upon my departure from the inn I was
about to pay my bill, I found that it had been already settled....
_Peters_, the publisher of the selections from it for pianoforte,
declared to me also, that after _such a success_ of the opera, the
honorarium I had fixed was too small, and that I must now permit him to
fix one for it.”] On the 14th June of the same year, the opera was also
produced at Frankfort, for the first time, and after that on the stage
of all the principal theatres of Germany.

Some time afterwards I received the command from the Elector to write
a new opera to celebrate the marriage of his daughter the Princess
_Marie_ with the Duke of Saxe-Meiningen, which was to take place in
the spring of 1825. The subject I had before proposed in Vienna to
_Theodore Körner_ to arrange for me, _Musäus’s_ tale of the “Rübezahl,”
now came into my mind, and I therefore applied to Mr. _Edward Gehe_
in Dresden, who had written the libretto of “Jessonda” so much to my
satisfaction. But as I could not send to him a clear outline of the
scenes for the opera, not being myself as yet well decided respecting
the working-up of the materials, his fancy could not assist him in the
matter, and he sent me a libretto that did not all come up with my
ideas, and to which I did not at all feel myself inclined to compose. I
now called to mind my former kettle-drummer in the Frankfort orchestra,
the already-mentioned _George Döring_, who was at the same time a
literary man, and who since then had made himself known by several
successful novels. I therefore addressed myself to him, and explained
my views respecting the working-up of the “Rübezahl,” particularly
pointing out to him, that as I intended this to be a grand opera,
it would not be necessary to write it in rhyming verse. In _Gehe’s_
“Rübezahl” there were many things both shallow and inappropriate,
and which appeared to me as caused by the shackles imposed upon the
author by the rhyme, and this _Döring_, by my express wish, was to
avoid altogether. Although this has been greatly objected to, I am
nevertheless of opinion that the want of the rhyme in my opera “Der
Berggeist,” although it does not fulfill all that could be desired,
is the least to be blamed for it. Although _Döring’s_ libretto was
neither altogether to my mind, yet there was no time to be lost, and
less so, since this was not the only work the elector had requested
me to prepare for the celebration of the marriage. I had besides to
compose a grand march with introduction of the melody of the old
German ballad: “Und als der Grossvater die Grossmutter nahm,” together
with a torch-light-dance for fifty-three trumpeters, and two pair of
kettle-drummers (for these were the numbers to be found in the music
bands of the army of the Elector of Hesse); and as for the sake of the
modulation I was obliged to take various tones of the trumpets, and
the trumpeters of the bands not being very musical, I was obliged to
practise them also beforehand in this torch-light-dance.

At the end of the year, nevertheless, I was ready with all these
compositions, and could now proceed to the study of the “Berg-Geist.”
Our first tenor _Gerstäcker_, who had been ill for some time past, had
meanwhile become worse, and his malady had taken so sad a turn, that
all likelihood of his being able to sing was out of the question, and
we were now without a first tenor. The Elector therefore gave orders
to invite some foreign singer to perform for a series of nights in his
place, and we were so successful as to engage for several weeks the
services of the tenorist _Cornet_ of Hamburg, who was then in great
repute, together with his betrothed, Miss _Kiel_ of Sondershausen, who
undertook the first soprano part in the new opera. Scarcely, however,
had I begun the study of the work by our own theatrical company, than
I received from _Spontini_ an invitation that very much surprised me,
viz. to proceed to Berlin, to direct the first representation there of
the opera of “Jessonda,” fixed for the 4th of February, and to preside
myself at the two last grand rehearsals. _Spontini_, who must often
have seen himself reproached in the Berlin newspapers, for giving
nothing but his own operas, and witholding other meritorious works
from that stage, might have come to the idea of meeting that reproach
in the most signal manner by inviting the composer of “Jessonda.” But
in reality he did not seem to trouble himself much in furthering the
representation of the opera; for as soon as, having obtained leave of
absence, I arrived at Berlin, and waited upon _Spontini_, he received
me in a very friendly manner, it is true, but informed me that the
preparatory-rehearsals even had not yet been begun, and that he had
sent me the invitation without the previous knowledge of the intendant
of the royal theatre, Count _Brühl_. I now first sought to soften
the sensitiveness of the latter on the score of such a neglect, and
in order not to be obliged to return home without having effected
anything, I then consulted with him on all that was necessary to
expedite the representation of the opera.

In the preparatory rehearsals which now took place, I had the
satisfaction of finding that the principal parts were in good hands:
_Bader_ and _Blume_ as Nadori and Tristan, and Mdmes. _Schulze_ and
_Seidler_ as Jessonda and Amazili, were excellent singers; the part
of Dandau also was well filled by Mr. _Krause_, and that of Lopez,
which had at first been given to a comic singer, by which the serious
character of the opera would have been damaged, was taken by the
baritone _Devrient_, after I had agreed to make some alterations in
the recitatives. The opera could thus have been soon placed on the
repertory, when _Bader_ suddenly fell ill, and after his convalesence
Mrs. _Seidler_, being seized with a hoarseness occasioned some
obstruction. As the term of my leave of absence was nearly at an end,
I made application for an extension of it. But the Elector had felt
himself aggrieved by the obstacles thrown in my way by _Spontini_ and
the Berlin intendance, and he allowed me but a few days more, after the
expiration of which I was to return, whether the opera was brought out
or not. Fortunately, Mdme. _Seidler_ got better; I could now therefore
direct in person the first representation of “Jessonda” in Berlin, and
be witness to its very favourable reception. Immediately after, I left,
and travelled three whole nights without resting, in order to regain
the time lost.

The two singers from Hamburg had arrived in the meantime, and had
already performed with great applause; I could therefore begin the
stage rehearsals of the “Berg-Geist” at once. But between whiles I
received furthermore the elector’s order to arrange choruses for the
prologue to the opera, in which were to be introduced some popular
Thuringian melodies. To effect this I applied to my pupil _Grund_,
concertmaster at Meiningen, who procured for me the desired melodies,
which I then made use of in the work as well as they would admit of it.

On the 23rd March 1825, the marriage took place in the palace of
Bellevue. On the procession of the new-married pair and their
suite from the dining-hall to the white saloon, the orchestra
played my march, which had a good effect, and at the part where the
“Grossvater-Lied” was introduced was very pretty. The Elector, and
the Duke (who was decidedly more musical than his father-in-law) both
congratulated me much upon the grand march, which, at their request,
was played a second time. The reception of the married couple at the
festive representation on the following evening in the theatre, was a
very brilliant and noisy one; for I ordered the fifty-three trumpeters
and the two pair of kettle-drummers whom I had placed up in the gallery
to join in with the acclamations and vivats of the audience! The
festive-prologue written by counsellor _Niemeyer_ followed; then my new
opera “Der Berg-Geist,” which in truth was received by the thronged
and brilliantly lighted house with as much boisterous applause as
“Jessonda,” but which neither pleased me so much, nor was so popular
on other stages as the latter. The Elector, who was very satisfied
with all I had written for the occasion, sent for me the next-day,
thanked me, and presented me with a very handsome snuff-box, upon the
lid of which, though somewhat unsuitable for a musician, was a very
artistic chasing representing a combat of cavalry, set and framed
under glass. But--and that was the best part of it--it was filled with
Friedrich’s-d’or, and therefore a handsome and princely gift.

A few months afterwards Councillor _Küstner_ sent for my new opera
to Leipzic, and in September the first representation of it on that
stage took place. [A letter of the 18th September speaks of it in
the following manner: “The day before yesterday “Der Berg-Geist”
was launched here with the greatest success.... The _mise en scene_
was more brilliant than was ever known before in Leipzic, and some
of the scenes were more beautiful than any I had ever yet seen. The
scene-painter _Gropius_ is in a fair way to become the first in the
world; neither in Italy, Paris nor London have I ever seen anything so
charming as the closing-scene of the second act.... The reception the
opera met with, was the most flattering I had ever yet experienced....
The performance may be said to have been a very successful one. With
the exception of one error in the overture, and one obstinate rock
which would not come up out of the earth, nothing went wrong. On
the stage, almost all did better than in Cassel, particularly the
Berg-Geist (_Köckert_) and Oscar (_Vetter_).... The orchestra, although
far inferior to ours, was unusually good.”]

In the summer of 1825 an aimable young man, _Frederick Curschman_
of Berlin, came to Cassel to perfect himself under my guidance as
a musician. Although he had begun the study of jurisprudence at
Göttingen, he thought nevertheless of giving up the law, and had
already tried his hand with success at various kinds of literature,
particularly in songs, which he sung with a pleasing baritone voice,
and thereby introduced himself into our musical circle. As his musical
education was still imperfect, I advised him to apply first to
_Hauptmann_, who at my request had undertaken to instruct my violin
pupils in the theory of music, and shown great skill in that capacity.
_Curschmann_ also immediately joined our society of St. Cecilia, and
became a very valuable member of it, as he not only sang the bass soli
very well at sight, but frequently took the pianoforte accompaniment,
and did the duty of a librarian with great zeal. Together with some of
our best dilettanti he formed also an opera circle, in which for the
first time were produced several of his compositions which afterwards
became such favorites, and parts of his little opera “Die Todten, oder
Abdul und Erinnieh,” which was brought out at a later period upon the
stage here. He thus in many ways enlivened the culture of art in our
town, and soon became the favorite of the musical world.

In the same year Councillor _Rochlitz_, the editor of the Leipzic
Musical Journal, offered me the text of an Oratorio: “Die letzten
Dinge,” to compose for; which I received with great pleasure, as my
previous attempt in that style of art, “Das jüngste Gericht,” the
oratorio performed at Erfurt, by no means pleased me any longer, and
therefore I had not once been disposed to perform a single “number”
of it at the meetings of our society. I now began with new studies
of counter-point, and of the ecclesiastic style, and set zealously
to work on the composition, in which I followed the prescriptions of
the author which he had forwarded to me with the text, in respect to
its treatment, and which I not only strictly adhered to, but found of
assistance to me. The first part of the oratorio was thus soon ready,
and as early as the end of November I could give it with the members of
our choral society, at a concert in behalf of the sufferers from the
fire that had occurred shortly before at Seesen; although it is true,
with pianoforte accompaniment only. On that occasion, I observed with
great pleasure, that it made a deep impression upon the assistants, as
well as upon all the auditory, and this observation was of the more
importance to me, as it convinced me that I had found the proper style
for this kind of work. I had in particular striven to be very simple,
religious, and true in expression, and carefully to avoid all artistic
trickery, all bombast and every thing of difficult execution. W