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Title: Philip Hale's Boston Symphony Programme Notes
Author: Hale, Philip
Language: English
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                               Edited by
                              JOHN N. BURK

                        With an Introduction by
                            LAWRENCE GILMAN

    [Illustration: Lyre]

                        _Garden City, New York_
                    DOUBLEDAY, DORAN & COMPANY, INC.

   PRINTED AT THE _Country Life Press_, GARDEN CITY, N. Y., U. S. A.

                            COPYRIGHT, 1935
                  BY DOUBLEDAY, DORAN & COMPANY, INC.
                          ALL RIGHTS RESERVED
                             FIRST EDITION

                             EDITOR’S NOTE

This book, assembling the musical writings of Philip Hale, draws
principally upon the programme books for which he wrote descriptive
notes for thirty-two years of concerts by the Boston Symphony Orchestra.
Since the notes were addressed to audiences approaching the music with,
presumably, open minds, the writer judiciously withheld his individual
opinion. This opinion he freely expressed in his newspaper reviews of
the same concerts, extending over an even longer period, and it has
seemed advisable, by combining the two, to bring together the critic and
the historian. The editor has found, in the newspaper files, pertinent
critical paragraphs which are here used to introduce the programme notes
about each particular work. The transition from criticism to descriptive
note is indicated by a typographical ornament.

In going through the scrapbooks in the Allen A. Brown Room of the Boston
Public Library, wherein the newspaper criticisms of Philip Hale’s forty
active years are carefully preserved, the editor came across this
observation by him, in the Boston _Herald_ of March 13, 1912: “In 1945
some student in the Brown Room of the Public Library will doubtless be
amused by opinions expressed by us all, of works first heard in 1912.
Some of us will not then be disturbed by his laughter or by quotations
ornamented with exclamation marks of contempt or wonder.”

There is cause for wonder, to a student at a time ten years short of the
year Mr. Hale mentioned; wonder, however, at his quick perception of
essential values upon first hearing what time has since proved a
masterpiece, or considerably less than a masterpiece, as the case may
be. Few indeed are the professional judges of music who are not glad to
leave undisturbed in the dust of the newspaper files some skeletons of
their past—appalling errors of denunciation or proclamation. Again and
again, when his fellow critics of another day wrote laughably of a then
new tone poem of Richard Strauss or pastel of Claude Debussy, Philip
Hale delivered a sane and still quotable judgment.

No attempt has been made to modify by omissions Mr. Hale’s frank
expressions of personal preferences among the composers. This writer
never spoke as a major prophet, but as one who might be discussing a
favorite subject over a demi-tasse. Anyone is privileged to disagree,
and those insisting upon their eternal verities are referred to any one
of a hundred books where the musical monuments are enshrined in ringing
platitudes of praise. When this critic wrote, with the very opposite of
solemnity, about Bach, or Brahms, or Wagner, his ridicule was always
directed against a certain snobbish element in his public—a genus which
sat at the feet of these composers. “There is, it is true, a gospel of
Johannes Brahms,” he wrote as long ago as 1896, “but Brahms, to use an
old New England phrase, is often a painful preacher of the word.—Brahms
is a safe play in Boston. Let me not be unthankful; let me be duly
appreciative of my educational opportunities in this town.”

It is a joyful privilege to be the agent of bringing the treasure of
Philip Hale’s musical knowledge and commentary within the permanence and
general accessibility of two covers. It was at first hoped that the
author could assist in the compilation, but, failing in health, he was
unable to give more than his whole-hearted assent to the project. His
death, November 30, 1934, came before the book was far under way.

The material drawn upon is of vast proportions. From the autumn of 1901
through the spring of 1933, Philip Hale contributed programme notes for
everything played by the Boston Symphony Orchestra in its regular
concerts—upward of a thousand works. As music critic, Mr. Hale commented
upon these and many more. He wrote for the Boston _Home Journal_ from
1889 to 1891; the Boston _Journal_ (like the other publication, long
since extinct), from 1891 to 1903; and from then until his retirement in
1933 for the Boston _Herald_. There were also the editorials on various
musical topics which he contributed anonymously to the _New Music
Review_ for many years. Acknowledgment is due for the quotations made
from all of these publications; in particular the Boston Symphony
Orchestra Concert Bulletins, which have provided the bulk of this book,
and the Boston _Herald_, from which by far the larger number of critical
paragraphs are drawn. To these should be added the innumerable writers
to whom Mr. Hale himself has referred in the course of his programme
notes. The helpful advice of Mrs. Philip Hale in the choice of the
frontispiece is gratefully acknowledged.

The problem of selecting from the vast accumulation of Philip Hale’s
writings became somewhat less formidable when a large number of works
now forgotten, and others still current but of lesser importance, were
eliminated. One hundred and twenty-five works have been chosen, with the
aim of including those most often encountered upon symphony programmes.
The works of recent composers were necessarily limited to those which
had been played by the Boston Symphony Orchestra, and therefore
described in its programmes, up to April, 1933. They are still further
limited by the exigencies of space. The quoted reviews have been kept
clear, for the sake of continuity, of dates and sources; documentation
in the programme notes has been minimized. These notes are given in the
form in which they most recently appeared. Their partial curtailment is
justified by the readiness of their author to adjust them to the space
of the programme in hand. To have used each note in its fullest form
would have reduced the number of works which the book could contain. As
regards the newspaper quotations, they are largely of recent years, and
in any case represent the writer’s reconsidered opinion. A disproportion
in the space given to a certain composer or certain work may be set down
to the fact that in a few instances Mr. Hale did not happen at any time
to write one of his inimitable essays in miniature which could be
detached from the discussion of the occasion and the performance.


  Editor’s Note                                                         v
  Introduction by Lawrence Gilman                                    xvii
      The Brandenburg Concertos                                         2
      The Concertos for Pianoforte                                      4
      The Orchestral Suites                                             5
      Symphony No. 1, in C major                                        7
      Symphony No. 2, in D major                                       10
      Symphony No. 3, in E flat major                                  13
      Symphony No. 4, in B flat major                                  18
      Symphony No. 5, in C minor                                       22
      Symphony No. 6, in F major                                       26
      Symphony No. 7, in A major                                       29
      Symphony No. 8, in F major                                       34
      Symphony No. 9, in D minor                                       38
      Overture to _Leonore_ No. 3                                      44
      Overture to _Egmont_                                             47
      Overture to _Coriolanus_                                         49
      Concerto for Pianoforte, No. 4, in G major                       51
      Concerto for Pianoforte, No. 5, in E flat major                  52
      Concerto for Violin, in D major                                  54
      _Symphonie Fantastique_, in C major                              57
      Overture, _The Roman Carnival_                                   64
      _Schelomo_, Hebrew Rhapsody for Violoncello and Orchestra        66
      Symphony No. 2, in B minor                                       70
      Symphony No. 1, in C minor                                       77
      Symphony No. 2, in D major                                       80
      Symphony No. 3, in F major                                       83
      Symphony No. 4, in E minor                                       86
      _Variations on a Theme by Josef Haydn_                           88
      _Tragic_ Overture                                                90
      _Academic Festival_ Overture                                     91
      Concerto for Pianoforte, No. 1, in D minor                       94
      Concerto No. 2, in B flat major, for Pianoforte                  95
      Concerto for Violin, in D major                                  97
      Symphony No. 7, in E major                                      102
      Symphony No. 8, in C minor                                      106
      _Adventures in a Perambulator_, Suite                           114
      _Prélude à l’Après-Midi d’un Faune_                             119
      _Nocturnes_                                                     122
      _La Mer_                                                        124
      _Ibéria_: “Images” for Orchestra, No. 2                         127
      Symphony No. 5, in E minor                                      131
      Variations on an Original Theme, _Enigma_                       135
      Ballet-Pantomime: _El Amor Brujo_                               140
      Three Dances from _El Sombrero de Tres Picos_                   142
      Symphony in D minor                                             146
      Twelve Concerti Grossi, for String Orchestra                    151
      (London Symphonies)
          Symphony No. 104, in D major (B. & H. No. 2)                155
          Symphony No. 94, in G major (“_Surprise_”) (B. & H. No. 6)  157
      (Paris Symphonies)
          Symphony No. 88, in G major (B. & H. No. 13)                158
      _Konzertmusik_ for String and Brass Instruments                 161
      _Pacific 231_, Orchestral Movement                              164
      Symphony No. 2, in B flat major                                 166
      _Istar_, Symphonic Variations                                   170
      A _Faust_ Symphony                                              175
      Symphonic Poem, No. 3, _Les Préludes_                           181
      Pianoforte Concerto, No. 1, in E flat                           182
      _A Pagan Poem_                                                  184
      Orchestral Suite, No. 2, in E minor, _Indian_                   186
      The Symphonies                                                  190
      Symphony No. 5, in C sharp minor                                192
      Symphony in A major, “_Italian_”                                195
      Overture and Incidental Music to _A Midsummer Night’s Dream_    199
      Concert Overture, _The Hebrides_, or _Fingal’s Cave_            201
      Concerto for Violin, in E minor                                 203
      _A Night on Bald Mountain_                                      206
      Symphony in E flat major (Koechel No. 543)                      211
      Symphony in G minor (Koechel No. 550)                           212
      Symphony in C major (“_Jupiter_”) (Koechel No. 551)             212
      Overture to _The Marriage of Figaro_                            217
      Overture to _The Magic Flute_                                   219
      The Concertos for Violin                                        221
      Mozart as Pianist                                               222
      Scythian Suite                                                  225
      Classical Symphony                                              227
      Symphony No. 2 in E minor                                       229
      Concerto No. 2 in C minor, for Pianoforte                       232
      _Ma Mère l’Oye_: Five Children’s Pieces                         234
      _Daphnis et Chloé_, Ballet (Second Series)                      237
      _Bolero_                                                        239
      Symphonic Poem, _Pines of Rome_                                 241
      Symphonic Suite, _Scheherazade_                                 244
      Caprice on Spanish Themes                                       250
      Symphony No. 3, in C minor (with organ)                         255
      _Verklärte Nacht_, Arranged for String Orchestra                259
      Symphony No. 8, in B minor (“_Unfinished_”)                     265
      Symphony No. 7, in C major                                      267
      Symphony No. 1, in B flat major                                 272
      Symphony No. 2, in C major                                      275
      Symphony No. 3, in E flat major                                 278
      Symphony No. 4, in D minor                                      282
      Concerto in A minor, for Pianoforte                             285
      _The Poem of Ecstasy_ (_Le Poème de l’Extase_)                  288
      Symphony No. 1, in E minor                                      292
      Symphony No. 2, in D major                                      295
      Symphony No. 4, in A minor                                      298
      Symphony No. 5, in E flat major                                 300
      Symphony No. 7                                                  301
      _Finlandia_, Symphonic Poem                                     303
      _The Swan of Tuonela_, Symphonic Poem                           305
      _Don Juan_, Tone Poem                                           308
      _Tod und Verklärung_, Death and Transfiguration, Tone Poem      310
      _Till Eulenspiegel’s Merry Pranks_, Tone Poem                   313
      _Thus Spake Zarathustra_, Tone Poem                             316
      _Don Quixote_, Variations                                       320
      _Ein Heldenleben_ (A Hero’s Life), Tone Poem                    327
      Suite from _L’Oiseau de Feu_ (The Fire-Bird)                    331
      Suite from _Petrouchka_                                         333
      _Le Sacre du Printemps_ (The Rite of Spring) Pictures of Pagan
          Russia                                                      336
      _Through the Looking Glass_, Suite                              339
      Symphony No. 4, in F minor                                      344
      Symphony No. 5, in E minor                                      346
      Symphony No. 6, in B minor, _Pathétique_                        350
      _Romeo and Juliet_, Overture Fantasia                           354
      Concerto for Pianoforte, No. 1, in B flat minor                 356
      Concerto for Violin, in D major                                 359
      Overture to _Rienzi_                                            365
      Overture to _Der Fliegende Holländer_                           366
      Overture to _Tannhäuser_                                        367
      Prelude to _Lohengrin_                                          368
      Prelude and _Liebestod_ from _Tristan und Isolde_               370
      Prelude to _Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg_                     371
      A _Siegfried_ Idyl                                              373
      “_The Ride of the Valkyries_,” from _Die Walküre_               375
      Prelude to _Parsifal_                                           376
      _Good Friday Spell_, from _Parsifal_                            379
      Overture to _Oberon_                                            381
      Overture to _Der Freischütz_                                    382
      Overture to _Euryanthe_                                         385
      A London Symphony                                               389
  Index                                                               395


Some day an inquisitive musicologist will consider the part played in
the history of musical education and musical taste by that seemingly
indispensable adjunct of the symphonic concert room, the Programme Note.
When that time comes, the contributions made by Philip Hale to the
musical civilization of his time will appear in their true proportions.
For more than a generation, from the beginning of the twentieth century
to the fifth year of the Great Depression, Hale provided programme notes
for everything played by the Boston Symphony Orchestra in its regular
concerts—“upward of a thousand works”, as Mr. Burk informs us in his
valuable note to the present collection. The annual issue by the Boston
Symphony Orchestra of the bound volumes containing Philip Hale’s
annotations was an event in the musical world of America that exceeded
in importance and interest the appearance of the average new symphonic
work upon the Orchestra’s programmes. A decade ago, in commenting upon
the issue of one of those momentous and liberal tomes (sometimes they
included more than two thousand pages), I remarked that it provided a
musical education in one volume. Those famous annotations—modestly
indicated on the title-page, in small and light-faced type, as
“historical and descriptive notes by Philip Hale”—constitute a library
of musical information the like of which is not to be found elsewhere on
this sufficiently book-congested sphere.

Though Hale was a New Englander by birth, he had not the normal New
England suspicion of entertainment as an educational ingredient; and he
did not scruple to amuse. He was almost indecently readable. He never
hesitated to lighten musical instruction with diversion and with wit. He
knew much besides music; and he was able to peptonize for the reader his
vast and curious erudition. He could tell you about the maceration of
Oriental women, and what action is described by the word
“tutupomponeyer”, and who invented the first chess-playing automaton,
and how locomotive engines are classified, and what Pliny said
concerning the bird called penelope. He knew all about the various
editions of the singular _Commentaires sur les epistres d’Ovide_ by
Claude Gaspar Bachet, Sieur de Meziriac, in which the parentage of
Ulysses is discussed. He could tell you why the river Ebro bears that
name; and what Louis XIV ate for supper—which, you may like to be
reminded, often consisted of four plates of different soups, the whole
of a pheasant, a partridge, a heaped-up plate of salad, two huge slices
of ham, mutton stewed with garlic, and a plate of pastries topped off
with fruit and hard-boiled eggs. As for all the other things that Hale
knew, you must turn to his writings if you would appreciate their range
and number.

And all this fantastically varied learning—which not only seemed
boundless in extent, but which was also incredibly exact and
circumstantial—adorned a general culture that was nourishing and humane,
and a specifically musical culture which conceived no relevant fact as
inconsiderable, no anecdote unimportant, no human aspect unrevealing.
The average programme note is a deadly and a stifling thing; but these
amazing annotations, traversing all history and the ceaseless
tragi-comedy of life, assure us that a programme note may sometimes, if
an artist has contrived it, be more rewarding than the music that
occasioned it.

Philip Hale transformed the writing of programme notes from an arid and
depressing form of musical pedagogy into an exhilarating variety of
literary art. The formidable weight of learning which he bore was
employed with an ease and finesse, a lightness of touch, a charm of
manner, a wit and conciseness and flexibility, which belong among the
achievements of distinguished letters. His predecessor as annotator of
the Boston Symphony Orchestra’s programmes, the accomplished William
Foster Apthorp, had prepared the way for Hale’s achievement. Apthorp’s
notes, written between 1892 and 1901, surpassed in brilliance and acumen
anything that had come out of Europe or America. But Philip Hale, by
reason of his exceptional width of intellectual range, and the well of
knowledge which he drew upon, and his insatiable, devouring, delighted
curiosity, established himself almost at once as the master of an
enlivened order of creative musical scholarship which was a new thing
under the tonal sun.

One might justly say of him, as critic, commentator, analyst, what Sir
George Grove said of Schubert—a saying that Hale himself was fond of
quoting: “There never has been one like him, and there never will be
                                                        Lawrence Gilman.


                            JOHANN SEBASTIAN

 (Born at Eisenach on March 21, 1685; died at Leipsic on July 28, 1750)

No matter how well old music may be performed by chorus, orchestra,
virtuoso, many audiences are bored by it today. There is one exception:
the music of Bach. “He is the forerunner, the prophet that foresaw our
epoch and our tastes.” This speech is often heard, as is the remark:
“There is not one ultra-modern harmonic thought that is not to be found
somewhere in Bach’s music.” Bach is one of the great fetishes in music.
The late John S. Dwight really believed in the plenary inspiration of
the indefatigable weaver of counterpoint. No matter how formal, how dull
a page of music looked or sounded, Mr. Dwight was in ecstasy the moment
he was told the page was signed with Bach’s name.

Mme Wanda Landowska (in _Musique ancienne_) says entertainingly: “The
idea that the Cantor of Eisenach, though dedicating his music to
Frederick the Great and princes of his period, composed it solely with a
view to a Châtelet audience is so consecrated a commonplace that I
hardly dare to dream of combating it.” Von Bülow and others have
declared that Bach’s _Chromatic Fantasy_ is an anticipation of modern
romanticism; but the composers hinted at in this piece are more modern
than Beethoven, Chopin, Schumann. Frescobaldi, Buxtehude, Couperin, and
the writers for the lute are more modern because they are less known.
And Bach not only knew their works but followed them rather than the
advanced ideas of his own epoch; for Bach was a conservative rather than
a radical.

                       THE BRANDENBURG CONCERTOS

  No. 1 in F, for two horns, three oboes and bassoon, with strings
  No. 2 in F, for violin, flute, oboe, trumpet, with strings
  No. 3 in G, for three string orchestras
  No. 4 in G, for violin and two flutes, with strings
  No. 5 in D, for pianoforte, flute, and violin, with strings
  No. 6 in B, for two viole da braccia, two viole da gamba, violoncello,
          and bass

                                 * * *

The six Brandenburg Concertos, completed on March 24, 1721, were written
in answer to the wish of a Prussian prince, Christian Ludwig, Margraf of
Brandenburg, the youngest son of the Great Elector by a second wife.
This prince was provost of the Cathedral at Halberstadt. He was a
bachelor, living now at Berlin and now on his estate at Malchow. Fond of
music, and not in an idle way, he was extravagant in his tastes and mode
of life, and often went beyond his income of nearly fifty thousand
thalers. In May, 1718, Prince Leopold of Anhalt-Cöthen, at whose court
Bach was _Kapellmeister_, journeyed to Carlsbad to drink the waters. He
took with him Bach and a quintet from his orchestra; also his
clavicembalo with three “servants to care for it”; he was also thus
attended when he visited Carlsbad in 1720. The Margraf may have been at
Carlsbad, and as he was very fond of music and had his own orchestra, he
undoubtedly attended Leopold’s musical parties. At any rate, he gave
Bach a commission. It was on March 24, 1721, that Bach—possibly someone
at the Court—wrote a dedication in French:

  _“A son altesse royale, Monseigneur Crétien Louis, Margraf de
  Brandenbourg, etc., etc., etc._


  “Two years ago, when I had the honor of playing before your Royal
  Highness, I experienced your condescending interest in the
  insignificant musical talents with which heaven has gifted me, and
  understood your Royal Highness’s gracious willingness to accept some
  pieces of my composition. In accordance with that condescending
  command, I take the liberty to present my most humble duty to your
  Royal Highness in these Concerti for various instruments, begging your
  Highness not to judge them by the standards of your own refined and
  delicate taste, but to seek in them rather the expression of my
  profound respect and obedience. In conclusion, Monseigneur, I most
  respectfully beg your Royal Highness to continue your gracious favor
  toward me, and to be assured that there is nothing I so much desire as
  to employ myself more worthily in your service.

  “With the utmost fervor, Monseigneur, I subscribe myself,

  “Your Royal Highness’s most humble and most obedient servant,

                                                   “Jean Sebastian Bach.

  “Coethen, 24 March, 1721.”[1]

These concertos—“_Concerts avec plusieurs instruments_”—were intended as
a gift for the Margraf’s birthday in March. Nothing is known about the
reception in Berlin, nor is it positively known whether they were ever
played at the palace of the Margraf. “The condition of the autograph
suggests that, like the parts of the ‘Kyrie’ and ‘Gloria’ of the B minor
Mass at Dresden, it was never performed by the recipient.” It was the
Margraf’s habit to catalogue his library. The name of Bach was not found
in the list, although the names of Vivaldi, Venturini, Valentiri,
Brescianello, and other writers of concertos were recorded. After the
death of the Margraf in 1734, Bach’s score was put for sale with other
manuscripts in a “job lot.” The Brandenburg Concertos came into the
possession of J. P. Kirnberger. They were later owned by the Princess
Amalie, sister of Frederick the Great and a pupil of Kirnberger. Their
next and final home was the Royal Library, Berlin, No. 78 in the
Amalienbibliothek. They were edited by S. W. Dehn and published by
Peters, Leipsic, in 1850.

                      THE CONCERTOS FOR PIANOFORTE

  D minor (with strings)
  E major (with strings)
  D major (with strings)
  A major (with strings)
  F minor (with strings)
  G minor (with strings)
  F major (with two flutes and strings)
  A minor (with flute, violin and strings)
  D major (with flute, violin and strings)

                                 * * *

Little is known about these concertos. It is supposed that the seven
were formed by putting together various separate movements, or were
arrangements or transcriptions for the clavier. “In all the concertos
for clavier, whether for one instrument or many, there are passages for
the solo instrument unaccompanied which anticipate the procedure of
modern concertos, with considerable use of _arpeggios_, and even
occasional _cadenza_ passages. Bach follows the Italian types in the
general scheme and easy style of the quick movements, and they are
rather homophonic in feeling, with the exception of the last movement of
the double concerto in C major, which is a fugue of the most vivacious
description.... Bach clearly enjoyed writing in the concerto form and
found it congenial. It would be even natural to infer that he found
opportunities for performing the works, as in many cases the same
concertos appear in versions both for violin and clavier.”[2]

Parry also says: “When Bach writes slow movements for the clavier, he
makes them serve as phases of contrast to the quick movements, in which
some rather abstract melody is discussed with a certain aloofness of
manner, or treated with elaborate ornamentation, such as was more suited
to the instrument than passages of sustained melody pure and simple. The
alternative presented in the admirable concerto for the clavier in D
minor is to give a _Siciliano_ in place of the central slow movement, a
course which provides a type of melody well adapted to the limited
sustaining power of the harpsichord.... The finest of them [the
concertos] is that in D minor, above mentioned, which from its style
would appear to have been written at Cöthen.”

It is supposed that there was use of the general bass in these
concertos. A second clavier was usually employed; but there is reason to
believe that a portable organ, or lutes, theorbos, and the like were
also used in accompaniment. Dr. Albert Schweitzer wrote in his _J. S.
Bach_ (Leipsic, 1905): “The seven concertos for clavier are in effect,
and with one exception only, transcriptions made at Leipsic after 1730
at a time when Bach saw himself obliged to write concertos for the
performances of the Telemann Society, which he began to conduct in 1729,
and for the little family concerts at his own home. These transcriptions
are of unequal worth. Some were made carefully and with art, while
others betray impatience in the accomplishment of an uninteresting task.
Only one of the pianoforte concertos is not derived from a violin

                         THE ORCHESTRAL SUITES

  No. 1. Suite in C (for two oboes, and bassoon, with strings)
  No. 2. Suite in B minor (for flute with strings)
  No. 3. Suite in D (for two oboes, three trumpets, and drums, with
  No. 4. Suite in D (for three oboes, bassoon, three trumpets, and
          drums, with strings)

The term “suite” was not given by Bach to the four compositions that now
are so named—the suites in C major, B minor, and two in D major. He used
the word “_ouverture._” The original parts of these overtures were
handed over in 1854 by the Singakademie of Berlin to the Royal (now
Stadt) Library of that city.

Bach probably composed the four suites during his stay at Cöthen
(1717-23), as _Kapellmeister_ to Prince Leopold of Anhalt-Cöthen. The
prince was then nearly twenty-four years old, an amiable, well-educated
young man, who had traveled and was fond of books and pictures. He
played the violin, the viol da gamba, and the harpsichord. Furthermore,
he had an agreeable bass voice and was more than an ordinary singer.
Bach said of him, “He loved music, he was well acquainted with it, he
understood it.” The music at the Court was chiefly chamber music, and
here Bach passed happy years.

Under the reign of Leopold’s puritanical father there was no Court
orchestra, but in 1707 Gisela, Leopold’s wife, set up to please her
husband an establishment of three musicians. When Leopold returned from
his grand tour he expanded the orchestra. In 1714 he appointed
Augustinus Reinhard Stricker _Kapellmeister_, and Stricker’s wife
Catherine soprano and lutanist. In 1716 the orchestra numbered eighteen
players who, “with some omissions and additions,” constituted its
membership under Bach. Stricker and his wife retired in August, 1717.
Leopold offered the post of _Kapellmeister_ to Bach, “who was known to
him since his sister’s wedding at Nienburg in the previous year.” This
orchestra, reinforced by visiting players, probably played the
Brandenburg music before it was performed elsewhere.

                               LUDWIG VAN

 (Born at Bonn, December 16 (?), 1770; died at Vienna, March 26, 1827)

                   SYMPHONY NO. 1, IN C MAJOR, OP. 21

    I. Adagio molto; allegro con brio
    II. Andante cantabile con moto
    III. Menuetto: allegro molto e vivace; trio
    IV. Finale: adagio; allegro molto e vivace

Why debate whether the music of this First symphony is wholly Mozartian;
whether there are traces of the “greater” Beethoven? Let the music be
taken for what it is, music of the end of the eighteenth century. At the
same time let us recall the fact that when this symphony was played in
Paris a hundred years ago, two or three critics protested against the
“astonishing success” of Beethoven’s works as “a danger to musical art.”
“It is believed,” said one, “that a prodigal use of the most barbaric
dissonances and a noisy use of all the orchestral instruments will make
an effect. Alas, the ear is only stabbed; there is no appeal to the

In spite of pages of mere routine, the music still has a certain
freshness and a quaint beauty. The symphony will always remain a
charming work with trivial passages, not to be compared as a whole with
the three great symphonies of Mozart or the latter symphonies of Haydn.

                                 * * *

The symphony in C major, No. 1, probably originated in 1800, was
sketched at an earlier period, and elaborated in 1799.

The first performance was at a concert given by Beethoven at the
National Court Theater, “next the Burg,” Vienna, April 2, 1800.

The concert began at 6:30 P.M. The prices of admission were not raised.
It was the first concert given in Vienna by Beethoven for his own
benefit. A correspondent of the _Allgemeine Musikalische Zeitung_
(October 15, 1800) gave curious information concerning the performance.
“At the end a symphony composed by him was performed. It contains much
art, and the ideas are abundant and original, but the wind instruments
are used far too much, so that the music is more for a band of wind
instruments than an orchestra.” The performance suffered on account of
the conductor, Paul Wranitzky. The orchestra men disliked him and took
no pains under his direction. Furthermore, they thought Beethoven’s
music too difficult. “In the second movement of the symphony they took
the matter so easily that there was no spirit, in spite of the
conductor, especially in the performance of the wind instruments....
What marked effect, then, can even the most excellent compositions
make?” The parts were published in 1801 and dedicated to Baron von

Berlioz[3] wrote concerning it as follows: “This work is wholly
different in form, melodic style, harmonic sobriety, and instrumentation
from the compositions of Beethoven that follow it. When the composer
wrote it, he was evidently under the sway of Mozartian ideas. These he
sometimes enlarged, but he has imitated them ingeniously everywhere.
Especially in the first two movements do we find springing up
occasionally certain rhythms used by the composer of _Don Giovanni_, but
these occasions are rare and far less striking. The first _allegro_ has
for a theme a phrase of six measures, which is not distinguished in
itself but becomes interesting through the artistic treatment. An
episodic melody follows, but it has little distinction of style. By
means of a half cadence, repeated three or four times, we come to a
figure in imitation for wind instruments; and we are the more surprised
to find it here, because it had been so often employed in several
overtures to French operas. The _andante_ contains an accompaniment of
drums, _piano_, which appears today rather ordinary, yet we recognize in
it a hint at striking effects produced later by Beethoven with the aid
of this instrument, which is seldom or badly employed as a rule by his
predecessors. This movement is full of charm; the theme is graceful and
lends itself easily to fugued development, by means of which the
composer has succeeded in being ingenious and piquant. The _scherzo_ is
the first-born of the family of charming _badinages_ or _scherzi_, of
which Beethoven invented the form and determined the pace; which he
substituted in nearly all of his instrumental works for the minuet of
Mozart and Haydn with a pace doubly less rapid and with a wholly
different character. This _scherzo_ is of exquisite freshness, lightness
and grace. It is the one truly original thing in this symphony in which
the poetic idea, so great and rich in the majority of his succeeding
works, is wholly wanting. It is music admirably made, clear, alert, but
slightly accentuated, cold, and sometimes mean and shabby, as in the
final _rondo_, which is musically childish. In a word, this is not

This judgment of Berlioz has been vigorously combated by all fetishists
that believe in the plenary inspiration of a great composer. Thus Michel
Brenet[4] (1882), usually discriminative, found that the introduction
begins in a highly original manner. Marx took the trouble to refute the
statement of Ulibichev,[5] that the first movement was an imitation of
the beginning of Mozart’s “_Jupiter_” symphony—a futile task. We find
Dr. Prof. H. Reimann[6] in 1899 stoutly maintaining the originality of
many pages of this symphony. Thus in the introduction the first chord
with its resolution is a “genuine innovation by Beethoven.” He admits
that the chief theme of the _allegro con brio_ with its subsidiary theme
and jubilant sequel recalls irresistibly Mozart’s “_Jupiter_”; “but the
passage _pianissimo_ by the close in G major, in which the basses use
the subsidiary theme, and in which the oboe introduces a song, is new
and surprising, and the manner in which by a crescendo the closing
section of the first chapter is developed is wholly Beethovenish”! He is
also lost in admiration at the thought of the development itself. He
finds the true Beethoven in more than one page of the _andante_. The
trio of the _scherzo_ is an example of Beethoven’s “tone-painting.” The
introduction of the _finale_ is “wholly original, although one may often
find echoes of Haydn and Mozart in what follows.”

Colombani combated the idea that the symphony is a weak imitation of
symphonies by Haydn and Mozart. Ulibichev wrote that Beethoven, in order
to reveal himself, waited for the minuet. “The rhythmic movement is
changed into that of a _scherzo_, after the manner instituted by the
composer in his first sonatas.” When the symphony was first performed at
Leipsic, a critic described it as a “confused explosion of the
outrageous effrontery of a young man.” At Vienna in 1810, the work was
described as “more amiable” than the second symphony.

                   SYMPHONY NO. 2, IN D MAJOR, OP. 36

    I. Adagio molto; allegro con brio
    II. Larghetto
    III. Scherzo
    IV. Allegro molto

The symphony is an answer to those who insist that the inner emotions of
a composer must find a vent in the music composed at the time. Never was
Beethoven more wretched physically and mentally than when he wrote this
symphony, music that breathes forth serenity, beauty, gayety, and

                                 * * *

In 1801 Beethoven’s deafness, which had begun with a roaring in his
ears, grew on him. He suffered also from frightful colic. He consulted
physician after physician; tried oil of almonds, cold baths and hot
baths, pills and herbs and blisters; he was curious about galvanic
remedies, and in his distress he wrote: “I shall as far as possible defy
my fate, although there must be moments when I shall be the most
miserable of God’s creatures.... I will grapple with fate; it shall
never pull me down.”

Dr. Schmidt sent him in 1802 to the little village of Heiligenstadt,
where, as the story goes, the Emperor Protus planted the first vines of
Noricum. There was a spring of mineral water—a spring of marvelous
virtues—which had been blessed by St. Severinus, who died in the village
and gave the name by which it is known today. Beethoven’s house was on a
hill outside the village, isolated, with a view of the Danube valley.
Here he lived for several months like a hermit. He saw only his
physician and Ferdinand Ries, his pupil, who visited him occasionally.

Nature and loneliness did not console Beethoven. He had been in dismal
mood since the performance of the First symphony (April, 1800). The
powers of darkness, “_finstere Mächte_,” to quote Wasielewski’s phrase,
had begun to torment him. He had already felt the first attacks of
deafness. It is possible that the first symptoms were in 1796, when, as
a story goes, returning overheated from a walk, he plunged his head into
cold water. “It would not be safe to say that the smallpox, which in his
childhood left marks on his face, was a remote cause of his deafness.”
In 1800-01 Beethoven wrote about his deafness and intestinal troubles to
Dr. Wegeler, and to the clergyman, Carl Amenda, in Kurland. It was at
the beginning of October, 1802, that Beethoven, at Heiligenstadt, almost
ready to put an end to his life, wrote a letter to his brothers, the
document known as “Beethoven’s will,” which drips yew-like melancholy.

Furthermore, Beethoven was still passionately in love with Giulietta
Guicciardi, of whom he wrote to Wegeler, November 16, 1801: “You can
hardly believe what a sad and lonely life I have passed for two years.
My poor hearing haunted me as a specter, and I shunned men. It was
necessary for me to appear misanthropic, and I am not this at all. This
change is the work of a charming child who loves me and is loved by me.
After two years I have again had some moments of pleasure, and for the
first time I feel that marriage could make me happy. Unfortunately, she
is not of my rank in life, and now I certainly cannot marry.” Beethoven,
however, asked for her hand. One of her parents looked favorably on the
match. The other, probably the father, the Count Guicciardi, refused to
give his daughter to a man without rank, without fortune, and without a
position of any kind. Giulietta became the Countess Gallenberg.
Beethoven told Schindler that after her marriage she sought him out in
Vienna, and she wept, but that he despised her.

Yet during the sad period of the winter of 1802-03, Beethoven composed
the Second symphony, a joyous, “a heroic lie,” to borrow the descriptive
phrase of Camille Bellaigue.

The first performance of the Second symphony was at the Theater an der
Wien, April 5, 1803. The symphony was performed at Leipsic, April 29,
1804, and Spazier characterized it as “a gross monster, a pierced dragon
which will not die, and even in losing its blood (in the _finale_), wild
with rage, still deals vain but furious blows with his tail, stiffened
by the last agony.” Spazier, who died early in 1805, was described by
his contemporaries as a learned and well-grounded musician and a man of
sound judgment.

A Leipsic critic found that the symphony would gain if certain passages
were abbreviated and certain modulations were sacrificed. Another
declared that it was too long; that there was an exaggerated use of the
wind instruments; that the _finale_ was bizarre, harsh, savage. Yet he
added that there was such fire, such richness of new ideas, such an
absolutely original disposition of these ideas, that the work would
live; “and it will always be heard with renewed pleasure when a thousand
things that are today in fashion will have been long buried.”

The sketch of Berlioz may here serve as an analysis: “In this symphony
everything is noble, energetic, proud. The introduction (_largo_) is a
masterpiece. The most beautiful effects follow one another without
confusion and always in an unexpected manner. The song is of a touching
solemnity, and it at once commands respect and puts the hearer in an
emotional mood. The rhythm is already bolder, the instrumentation is
richer, more sonorous, more varied. An _allegro con brio_ of enchanting
dash is joined to this admirable _adagio_. The _gruppetto_ which is
found in the first measure of the theme, given at first to the violas
and violoncellos in unison, is taken up again in an isolated form, to
establish either progressions in a _crescendo_ or imitative passages
between wind instruments and the strings. All these forms have a new and
animated physiognomy. A melody enters, the first section of which is
played by clarinets, horns, and bassoons. It is completed _en tutti_ by
the rest of the orchestra, and the manly energy is enhanced by the happy
choice of accompanying chords.

“The _andante_ [_larghetto_] is not treated after the manner of that of
the First symphony: it is not composed of a theme worked out in canonic
imitations, but it is a pure and frank song, which at first is sung
simply by the strings, and then embroidered with a rare elegance by
means of light and fluent figures whose character is never far removed
from the sentiment of tenderness which forms the distinctive character
of the principal idea. It is a ravishing picture of innocent pleasure
which is scarcely shadowed by a few melancholy accents.

“The _scherzo_ is as frankly gay in its fantastic capriciousness as the
_andante_ has been wholly and serenely happy; for this symphony is
smiling throughout; the warlike bursts of the first _allegro_ are wholly
free from violence; there is only the youthful ardor of a noble heart in
which the most beautiful illusions of life are preserved untainted. The
composer still believes in immortal glory, in love, in devotion. What
abandon in his gayety! What wit! What sallies! Hearing these various
instruments disputing over fragments of a theme which no one of them
plays in its complete form, hearing each fragment thus colored with a
thousand nuances as it passes from one to the other, it is as though you
were watching the fairy sports of Oberon’s graceful spirits.

“The _finale_ is of like nature. It is a second _scherzo_ in two time,
and its playfulness has perhaps something still more delicate, more

            SYMPHONY NO. 3, IN E FLAT MAJOR “EROICA,” OP. 55

    I. Allegro con brio
    II. Marcia funebre: Adagio assai
    III. Scherzo: Allegro vivace; Trio
    IV. Finale: Allegro molto

It is interesting to note the difference in the expression of heroism
between this symphony and Strauss’s _Heldenleben_. To be sure, Beethoven
had Bonaparte at first in mind, while in _Heldenleben_ the hero
is—Richard Strauss, defying his enemies, rejoicing vaingloriously in his
immortality as a composer. It is not necessary to accept the theories of
Beethoven’s commentators. The excellent Nietzel finds that, in the
second theme of the first movement, “the hero, having for the first time
exerted his force, turns about to look at the path he has trod.” Wagner
sees Man, not merely a triumphant soldier, the hero. Schindler believes
the symphony to be the celebration of the French Revolution. And so on
and so on. It is enough that the structure and the spirit of the
symphony are heroic, that there is the grand gesture, that even in the
Funeral March there is no whine of pessimism, no luxury of woe. It is a
heroic lamentation over heroes slain in defence of freedom, a
lamentation in which there is exultation, even in grief.

                                 * * *

At Nussdorf in the summer of 1817, Beethoven, who had then composed
eight symphonies, and the poet Christian Kuffner were having a fish
dinner at the Tavern Zur Rose. Kuffner asked him which of his symphonies
was his favorite.

“Eh! Eh!” said Beethoven. “The _Eroica_.”

“I should have guessed the C minor,” said Kuffner.

“No, the _Eroica_.”

Anton Schindler wrote in his life of Beethoven:

  “First in the fall of 1802 was his [Beethoven’s] mental condition so
  much bettered that he could take hold afresh of his long-formulated
  plan and make some progress: to pay homage with a great instrumental
  work to the hero of the time, Napoleon. Yet not until 1803 did he set
  himself seriously to this gigantic work, which we now know under the
  title of _Sinfonia Eroica_: on account of many interruptions it was
  not finished until the following year.... The first idea of this
  symphony is said to have come from General Bernadotte, who was then
  French Ambassador at Vienna and highly treasured Beethoven. I heard
  this from many friends of Beethoven. Count Moritz Lichnowsky, who was
  often with Beethoven in the company of Bernadotte, ... told me the
  same story.”[7] Schindler also wrote, with reference to the year 1823:
  “The correspondence of the King of Sweden led Beethoven’s memory back
  to the time when the King, then General Bernadotte, Ambassador of the
  French Republic, was at Vienna, and Beethoven had a lively
  recollection of the fact that Bernadotte indeed first awakened in him
  the idea of the _Sinfonia Eroica_.”

These statements are direct. Unfortunately, Schindler, in the third
edition of his book, mentioned Beethoven as a visitor at the house of
Bernadotte in 1798, repeated the statement that Bernadotte inspired the
idea of the symphony, and added: “Not long afterward the idea blossomed
into a deed”; he also laid stress on the fact that Beethoven was a
stanch republican and cited, in support of his admiration of Napoleon,
passages from Beethoven’s own copy of Schleiermacher’s translation of

Thayer admits that the thought of Napoleon may have influenced the form
and the contents of the symphony; that the composer may have based a
system of politics on Plato; “but,” he adds, “Bernadotte had been long
absent from Vienna before the Consular form of government was adopted at
Paris, and before Schleiermacher’s Plato was published in Berlin.”

The symphony was composed in 1803-04. The story is that the title page
of the manuscript bore the word “Buonaparte,” and at the bottom of the
page “Luigi van Beethoven”; and “not a word more,” said Ries, who saw
the manuscript. “I was the first,” also said Ries, “to bring him the
news that Bonaparte had had himself declared emperor, whereat he broke
out angrily: ‘Then he’s nothing but an ordinary man. Now he’ll trample
on all the rights of men to serve his own ambition; he will put himself
higher than all others and turn out a tyrant!’” There is also the story
that when the death of Napoleon was announced, Beethoven exclaimed: “Did
I not foresee the catastrophe when I wrote the Funeral March in the
_Eroica_?” Vincent d’Indy argues against Schindler’s theory that
Beethoven wished to celebrate the French Revolution _en bloc_. “_C’était
l’homme de Brumaire_” that Beethoven honored by his dedication. The
autograph score, sold at auction in Vienna in 1827 for three florins,
ten kreutzers, shows the erasure of two words under “_Sinfonia grande_”
on the title page: one is plainly “Bonaparte”; under his own name,
Beethoven wrote, in large characters, “Written on Bonaparte.” Paul
Bekker, arguing that the _Eroica_ is not the portrait of any one hero,
but that the symphony represents his concept of human heroism, believes
that the first movement is the only one of direct connection with
Napoleon: “The hero’s deeds have resulted in victory, the restless will
has achieved fulfilment.”[8]

There can be nothing in the statements that have come down from Czerny,
Dr. Bartolini, and others: the first _Allegro_ describes a sea fight;
the Funeral March is in memory of Nelson or General Abercrombie, etc.
There can be no doubt that Napoleon, the young conqueror, the Consul,
the enemy of kings, worked a spell over Beethoven, as over Berlioz,
Hazlitt, Victor Hugo; for, according to W. E. Henley’s paradox,
although, as despot, Napoleon had “no love for new ideas and no
tolerance for intellectual independence,” yet he was “the great First
Cause of Romanticism.”

The first performance of the symphony was at a private concert at Prince
Lobkowitz’s in December, 1804. The composer conducted, and in the second
half of the first _Allegro_ he brought the orchestra to grief, so that a
fresh start was made. The first performance in public was at a concert
given by Clement at the Theater an der Wien, April 7, 1805. The symphony
was announced as “A new grand Symphony in D sharp by Herr Ludwig van
Beethoven, dedicated to his Excellence Prince von Lobkowitz.” Beethoven
conducted. Czerny remembered that someone shouted from the gallery: “I’d
give another kreutzer if they would stop.” Beethoven’s friends declared
the work a masterpiece. Some said it would gain if it were shortened, if
there were more “light, clearness, and unity.” Others found it a mixture
of the good, the grotesque, the tiresome.

The symphony was published in October, 1806. The title in Italian stated
that it was to celebrate the memory of a great man. And there was this
note: “Since this symphony is longer than an ordinary symphony, it
should be performed at the beginning rather than at the end of a
concert, either after an overture or an aria, or after a concerto. If it
be performed too late, there is the danger that it will not produce on
the audience, whose attention will be already wearied by preceding
pieces, the effect which the composer purposed in his own mind to

The theme of the first movement is note for note the same as that of the
first measures of the Intrade written by Mozart in 1768, at Vienna, for
his one-act operetta, _Bastien et Bastienne_, performed that year in a
Viennese garden house. Beethoven’s theme is finished by the violins and
developed at length. There is a subsidiary theme, which begins with a
series of detached phrases distributed among wood-wind instruments and
then the violins. The second theme, of a plaintive character, is given
out alternately by wood-wind and strings. The development is most
elaborate, full of striking contrasts, rich in new ideas. The passage in
which the horn enters with the first two measures of the first theme in
the tonic chord of the key, while the violins keep up a tremolo on A
flat and B flat, has given rise to many anecdotes and provoked fierce
discussion. The _coda_ is of unusual length.

The Funeral March, _Adagio assai_, C minor, 2-4, begins, _pianissimo e
sotto voce_, with the theme in the first violins, accompanied by simple
chords in the other strings. The theme is repeated by the oboe,
accompanied by wood-wind instruments and strings; the strings give the
second portion of the theme. A development by full orchestra follows.
The second theme is in C major. Phrases are given out by various
wood-wind instruments in alternation, accompanied by triplet _arpeggios_
in the strings. This theme, too, is developed; and there is a return to
the first theme in C minor in the strings. There is fugal development at
length of a figure that is not closely connected with either of the two
themes. The first theme reappears for a moment, but strings and brass
enter _fortissimo_ in A flat major. This episode is followed by another;
and at last the first theme returns in fragmentary form in the first
violins, accompanied by a _pizzicato_ bass and chords in oboes and

M. d’Indy,[9] discussing the patriotism of Beethoven as shown in his
music, calls attention to the _militarisme_, the adaptation of a warlike
rhythm to melody, that characterizes this march.

_Scherzo_: _allegro vivace_, E flat major, 3-4. Strings are _pianissimo_
and _staccato_, and oboe and first violins play a gay theme which Marx
says is taken from an old Austrian folk song. This melody is the basic
material of the _scherzo_. The trio in E flat major includes hunting
calls by the horns, which are interrupted by passages in wood-wind
instruments or strings.

_Finale_: _allegro molto_, E flat major, 2-4. A theme, or, rather, a
double theme, with variations. Beethoven was fond of this theme, for he
had used it in the _finale_ of his ballet, _Die Geschöpfe des
Prometheus_, in the Variations for pianoforte, Op. 35, and in a country
dance. After a few measures of introduction, the bass to the melody
which is to come is given out, as though it were an independent theme.
The first two variations in the strings are contrapuntal. In the third
the tuneful second theme is in the wood-wind against runs in the first
violins. The fourth is a long fugal development of the first theme
against a counter subject found in the first variation. Variations in G
minor follow, and the second theme is heard in C major. There is a new
fugal development of the inverted first theme. The tempo changes to
_poco andante_, wood-wind instruments play an expressive version of the
second theme, which is developed to a _coda_ for full orchestra, and the
symphony ends with a joyful glorification of the theme.

First performances: London, 1814. Paris (at a rehearsal in 1815
everybody laughed after the first and second movement; this happened at
another attempt some years later), Conservatory Orchestra, 1828. St.
Petersburg, 1834. Rome, 1860. Madrid, 1878.

                SYMPHONY NO. 4, IN B FLAT MAJOR, OP. 60

    I. Adagio; Allegro vivace
    II. Adagio
    III. Allegro vivace. Trio. Un poco meno allegro
    IV. Finale: Allegro, ma non troppo

Of the nine symphonies of Beethoven the Fourth and Sixth are the least
impressive. The First is historically interesting, and its _finale_ is
delightfully gay. The Second is also interesting as showing the
development of Beethoven’s musical mind. After the _Eroica_, the Fourth
seems a droop in the flight of imagination. Yet there are noble and
strange things in this symphony, things that only Beethoven could have
written: the introduction, the mysterious measures with the _crescendo_
that majestically reëstablishes the chief tonality in the first
movement; the superb _adagio_.

The old theory that the Fourth was inspired by Beethoven’s love for
Therese Brunswick; that he was betrothed to her, which made happiness
the keynote to the music, has been disproved, if ever it was accepted by
students of Beethoven’s life. As a matter of fact, nothing is known
about the “origin” of the music. A German commentator has recently
spoken of “indecisiveness of mood” as “part of the imaginative scheme of
the whole work”; he even sees in the _adagio_ “the stimulus of some
tense emotion” such as inspired the love letter, whether aroused by the
“Immortal” or some other beloved. Is it not enough to hear the serene,
nobly emotional _adagio_ without vain speculation as to why Beethoven
was so deeply moved? Nor is it necessary to see Berlioz’s Archangel
Michael, who, by the way, was the warlike leader of the angelic hosts,
sighing and overcome by melancholy, as “he contemplated the worlds from
the threshold of the empyrean.” One might ask why should Michael grow
melancholy at the glorious sight? Nor can Beethoven’s _adagio_ be justly
characterized as melancholy.

                                 * * *

The composition of Beethoven’s Symphony No. 5 in C minor was interrupted
by work on the Symphony in B flat major, No. 4, a symphony of a very
different character. The symphony was probably planned and composed in
the summer of 1806. “Having been played in March, 1807, at one of the
two subscription concerts at Lobkowitz’s,” Thayer is justified in adding
solemnly that “it must have been finished at that time.”

After the performance of the _Eroica_, Beethoven also worked on his
opera, _Fidelio_. The French army entered Vienna November 13, 1805; on
the 15th, Napoleon sent to the Viennese a proclamation dated at
Schönbrunn, and on November 20, 1805, _Fidelio_ was performed for the
first time, before an audience largely composed of French officers.
There were three performances, and the opera was withdrawn until March
29, 1806, when it was reduced from three acts to two. The opera was
again coldly received; there were two performances; and there was no
revival in Vienna until 1814.

Beethoven, disturbed by the disaster which attended the first
performances of his _Fidelio_ in Vienna, during the French invasion,
went in 1806 to Hungary to visit his friend, Count Brunswick. He visited
the Prince Lichnowsky at Castle Grätz, which was near Troppau in
Silesia. It has been said that at Martonvásár, visiting the Brunswicks,
he found that he loved Therese and that his love was returned. Some,
therefore, account for the postponement of the Fifth symphony, begun
before the Fourth, “by the fact that in May, 1806, Beethoven became
engaged to the Countess Therese.... The B flat symphony has been
mentioned as ‘the most tenderly classical’ of all works of its kind; its
keynote is ‘happiness’—a contentment which could have come to the master
only through such an incident as the one above set forth—his betrothal.”
We do not see the force of this reasoning.

It is better to say with Thayer that nothing is known about the origin
of the Fourth beyond the inscription put by the composer on the
manuscript which belongs to the Mendelssohn family: “_Sinfonia 4^ta
1806. L. v. Bthvn._”

This we do know: that, while Beethoven was visiting Prince Lichnowsky at
the latter’s Castle Grätz, the two called on Franz, Count Oppersdorff,
who had a castle near Grossglogau. This count, born in 1778, rich and
high-born, was fond of music; he had at this castle a well-drilled
orchestra, which then played Beethoven’s Symphony in D major in the
presence of the composer. In June, 1807, he commissioned Beethoven to
compose a symphony, paid him two hundred florins in advance and one
hundred and fifty florins more in 1808. Beethoven accepted the offer,
and purposed to give the Symphony in C minor to the Count; but he
changed his mind, and in November, 1808, the Count received, not the
symphony, but a letter of apology, in which Beethoven said that he had
been obliged to sell the symphony which he had composed for him, and
also another—these were probably the Fifth and the Sixth—but that the
Count would receive soon the one intended for him. The Fifth and Sixth
were dedicated to Prince Lobkowitz and Count Rasoumowsky. Oppersdorff at
last received the Fourth symphony, dedicated to him, a symphony that was
begun before he gave the commission; he received it after it had been
performed. He was naturally offended, especially as the Fourth symphony
at first met with little favor. He did not give Beethoven another
commission, nor did he meet him again, although Beethoven visited again
the Castle Grätz in 1811. The Count died January 21, 1818.

The Fourth symphony was performed for the first time at one of two
concerts given in Vienna about the 15th of March, 1807, at Prince
Lobkowitz’s. The concert was for the benefit of the composer. The
_Journal des Luxus und der Moden_ published this review early in April
of that year:

“Beethoven gave in the dwelling house of Prince L. two concerts in which
only his own compositions were performed: the first four symphonies, an
overture to the tragedy _Coriolanus_, a pianoforte concerto, and some
arias from _Fidelio_. Wealth of ideas, bold originality, and fullness of
strength, the peculiar characteristics of Beethoven’s Muse, were here
plainly in evidence. Yet many took exception to the neglect of noble
simplicity, to the excessive amassing thoughts, which on account of
their number are not always sufficiently blended and elaborated, and
therefore often produce the effect of uncut diamonds.”

Was this “Prince L.” Lobkowitz or Lichnowsky? Thayer decided in favor of
the former.

Berlioz writes of this symphony:

“Here Beethoven abandons wholly the ode and the elegy—a reference to the
_Eroica_ symphony—to return to the less lofty and somber but perhaps no
less difficult style of the Second symphony. The character of this score
is generally lively, nimble, joyous, or of a heavenly sweetness. If we
except the meditative _adagio_, which serves as an introduction, the
first movement is almost entirely given up to joyfulness. The motive in
detached notes, with which the _allegro_ begins, is only a canvas, on
which the composer spreads other and more substantial melodies, which
thus render the apparently chief idea of the beginning an accessory.
This artifice, although it is fertile in curious and interesting
results, has already been employed by Mozart and Haydn with equal
success. But we find in the second section of this same _allegro_ an
idea that is truly new, the first measures of which captivate the
attention; this idea, after leading the hearer’s mind through mysterious
developments, astonishes it by its unexpected ending.... This
astonishing _crescendo_ is one of the most skillfully contrived things
we know of in music: you will hardly find its equal except in that which
ends the famous _scherzo_ of the Symphony in C minor. And this latter,
in spite of its immense effectiveness, is conceived on a less vast
scale, for it sets out from _piano_ to arrive at the final explosion
without departing from the principal key, while the one whose march we
have just described starts from _mezzo-forte_, is lost for a moment in a
_pianissimo_ beneath which are harmonies with vague and undecided
coloring, then reappears with chords of a more determined tonality, and
bursts out only at the moment when the cloud that veiled this modulation
is completely dissipated. You might compare it to a river whose calm
waters suddenly disappear and only leave the subterranean bed to plunge
with a roar in a foaming waterfall.

“As for the _adagio_—it escapes analysis. It is so pure in form, the
melodic expression is so angelic and of such irresistible tenderness,
that the prodigious art of the workmanship disappears completely. You
are seized, from the first measure, by an emotion which at the end
becomes overwhelming in its intensity; and it is only in the works of
one of these giants of poetry that we can find a point of comparison
with this sublime page of the giant of music. Nothing, indeed, more
resembles the impression produced by this _adagio_ than that which we
experience when we read the touching episode of Francesca da Rimini in
the _Divina Commedia_, the recital of which Virgil cannot hear ‘without
weeping in sobs,’ and which, at the last verse, makes Dante ‘fall, as
falls a dead body.’ This movement seems to have been sighed by the
archangel Michael, one day when, overcome by melancholy, he contemplated
the worlds from the threshold of the empyrean.

“The _scherzo_ consists almost wholly of phrases in binary rhythm forced
to enter into combinations of 3-4 time.... The melody of the trio, given
to wind instruments, is of a delicious freshness; the pace is a little
slower than that of the rest of the _scherzo_, and its simplicity stands
out in still greater elegance from the opposition of the little phrases
which the violins throw across the wind instruments, like so many
teasing but charming allurements.

“The _finale_, gay and lively, returns to ordinary rhythmic forms; it
consists of a jingling of sparkling notes, interrupted, however, by some
hoarse and savage chords, in which are shown the angry outbursts which
we have already had occasion to notice in the composer.”

                   SYMPHONY NO. 5, IN C MINOR, OP. 67

    I. Allegro con brio
    II. Andante con moto
    III. Allegro; trio—
    IV. Allegro

As for the Fifth symphony, what words can be said of its composer more
fitting than those of De Quincey’s apostrophe to Shakespeare; “O mighty
poet! Thy works are not those of other men, simply and merely great
works of art, but are also like the phenomena of nature, like the sun
and the sea, the stars and the flowers, the frost and the dew, hailstorm
and thunder, which are to be studied with entire submission of our own
faculties, and in the perfect faith that in them there can be no too
much or too little, nothing useless or inert, but that the farther we
press in our discoveries, the more we shall see proofs of design and
self-supporting arrangement where the careless eye had nothing but

In all modern music there is no page more thrilling than that of the
mysterious, unearthly transition from the _scherzo_ to the _finale_, and
the preceding pages are the triumph of absolute music over that which
needs a programme or is the translation of something into music. Here is
music that was not suggested, but it suggests that which can only be
imagined, not spoken, not painted, not written in lofty rhyme or
passionate prose.

                                 * * *

Beethoven sketched motives of the _Allegro_, _Andante_, and _scherzo_ of
this symphony as early as 1800 and 1801. We know from sketches that
while he was at work on _Fidelio_ and the pianoforte concerto in G
major—1804-06—he was also busied with this symphony, which he put aside
to compose the Fourth symphony, in B flat.

The Symphony in C minor was finished in the neighborhood of
Heiligenstadt in 1807. Dedicated to the Prince von Lobkowitz and the
Count Rasoumowsky, it was published in April, 1809. It was first
performed at the Theater an der Wien, Vienna, December 22, 1808.

Instead of inquiring curiously into the legend invented by
Schindler—“and for this reason a statement to be doubted,” as Bülow
said—that Beethoven remarked of the first theme, “So knocks Fate on the
door!” (it is said that Ferdinand Ries was the author of this
explanation and that Beethoven was grimly sarcastic when Ries, his
pupil, made it known to him), instead of investigating the statement
that the rhythm of this theme was suggested by the note of a bird—oriole
or goldfinch—heard during a walk; instead of a long analysis, which is
vexation and confusion without the themes and their variants in
notation, let us read and ponder the words of the great Hector Berlioz:

“The most celebrated of them all, beyond doubt and peradventure, is also
the first, I think, in which Beethoven gave the reins to his vast
imagination, without taking for guide or aid a foreign thought. In the
First, Second, and Fourth, he more or less enlarged forms already known,
and poetized them with all the brilliant and passionate inspirations of
his vigorous youth. In the Third, the _Eroica_, there is a tendency, it
is true, to enlarge the form, and the thought is raised to a mighty
height; but it is impossible to ignore the influence of one of the
divine poets to whom for a long time the great artist had raised a
temple in his heart. Beethoven, faithful to the Horatian precept,
‘_Nocturna versate manu, versate diurna_,’ read Homer constantly, and in
his magnificent musical epopee, which, they say, I know not whether it
be true or false, was inspired by a modern hero, the recollections of
the ancient Iliad play a part that is as evident as admirably beautiful.

“The Symphony in C minor, on the other hand, seems to us to come
directly and solely from the genius of Beethoven; he develops in it his
own intimate thought; his secret sorrows, his concentrated rage, his
reveries charged with a dejection, oh, so sad, his visions at night, his
bursts of enthusiasm—these furnish him the subject; and the forms of
melody, harmony, rhythm, and orchestration are displayed as essentially
individual and new as they are powerful and noble.

“The first movement is devoted to the painting of disordered sentiments
which overthrow a great soul, a prey to despair; not the concentrated,
calm despair that borrows the shape of resignation; not the dark and
voiceless sorrow of Romeo who learns of the death of Juliet; but the
terrible rage of Othello when he receives from Iago’s mouth the
poisonous slanders which persuade him of Desdemona’s guilt. Now it is a
frenetic delirium which explodes in frightful cries; and now it is the
prostration that has only accents of regret and profound self-pity. Hear
these hiccups of the orchestra, these dialogues in chords between wind
instruments and strings, which come and go, always weaker and fainter,
like unto the painful breathing of a dying man, and then give way to a
phrase full of violence, in which the orchestra seems to rise to its
feet, revived by a flash of fury; see this shuddering mass hesitate a
moment and then rush headlong, divided in two burning unisons as two
streams of lava; ... and then say if this passionate style is not beyond
and above everything that had been produced hitherto in instrumental

“The _adagio_” [_andante con moto_] “has characteristics in common with
the _allegretto_ in A minor of the Seventh symphony and the slow
movement of the Fourth. It partakes alike of the melancholy soberness of
the former and the touching grace of the latter. The theme, at first
announced by the united violoncellos and violas, with a simple
accompaniment of the double-basses _pizzicato_, is followed by a phrase
for wind instruments, which returns constantly, and in the same tonality
throughout the movement, whatever be the successive changes of the first
theme. This persistence of the same phrase, represented always in a
profoundly sad simplicity, produces little by little on the hearer’s
soul an indescribable impression....

“The _scherzo_ is a strange composition. Its first measures, which are
not terrible themselves, provoke that inexplicable emotion which you
feel when the magnetic gaze of certain persons is fastened on you. Here
everything is somber, mysterious; the orchestration, more or less
sinister, springs apparently from the state of mind that created the
famous scene of the Blocksberg in Goethe’s _Faust_. Nuances of _piano_
and _mezzoforte_ dominate. The trio is a double-bass figure, executed
with the full force of the bow; its savage roughness shakes the
orchestral stands and reminds one of the gambols of a frolicsome
elephant. But the monster retires, and little by little the noise of his
mad course dies away. The theme of the _scherzo_ reappears in
_pizzicato_. Silence is almost established, for you hear only some
violin tones lightly plucked and strange little cluckings of
bassoons.... At last the strings give gently with the bow the chord of A
flat and doze on it. Only the drums preserve the rhythm; light blows
struck by sponge-headed drumsticks mark the dull rhythm amid the general
stagnation of the orchestra. These drum notes are C’s; the tonality of
the movement is C minor; but the chord of A flat sustained for a long
time by the other instruments seems to introduce a different tonality,
while the isolated hammering of the C on the drums tends to preserve the
feeling of the foundation tonality. The ear hesitates—but will this
mystery of harmony end?—and the dull pulsations of the drums, growing
louder and louder, reach the violins, which now take part in the
movement and with a change of harmony, to the chord of the dominant
seventh, G, B, D, F, while the drums roll obstinately their tonic C; the
whole orchestra, assisted by the trombones, which have not yet been
heard, bursts in the major into the theme of a triumphal march, and the
_finale_ begins....

“Criticism has tried, however, to diminish the composer’s glory by
stating that he employed ordinary means, the brilliance of the major
mode pompously following the darkness of a _pianissimo_ in minor; that
the triumphal march is without originality, and that the interest wanes
even to the end, whereas it should increase. I reply to this: Did it
require less genius to create a work like this because the passage from
_piano_ to _forte_ and that from minor to major were the means already
understood? Many composers have wished to take advantage of the same
means; and what result did they obtain comparable to this gigantic chant
of victory in which the soul of the poet-musician, henceforth free from
earthly shackles, terrestrial sufferings, seems to mount radiantly
towards heaven? The first four measures of the theme, it is true, are
not highly original, but the forms of a fanfare are inherently
restricted, and I do not think it possible to find new forms without
departing utterly from the simple, grand, pompous character which is
becoming. Beethoven wished only an entrance of the fanfare for the
beginning of his _finale_, and he quickly found in the rest of the
movement and even in the conclusion of the chief theme that loftiness
and originality of style which never forsook him. And this may be said
in answer to the reproach of his not having increased the interest to
the very end; music, in the state known at least to us, would not know
how to produce a more violent effect than that of this transition from
_scherzo_ to triumphal march; it was then impossible to enlarge the
effect afterwards.

“To sustain one’s self at such a height is of itself a prodigious
effort; yet in spite of the breadth of the developments to which he
committed himself, Beethoven was able to do it. But this equality from
the beginning to end is enough to make the charge of diminished interest
plausible, on account of the terrible shock which the ears receive at
the beginning; a shock that, by exciting nervous emotion to its most
violent paroxysm, makes the succeeding instant the more difficult. In a
long row of columns of equal height, an optical illusion makes the most
remote appear the smallest. Perhaps our weak organization would
accommodate itself to a more laconic peroration, as that of Gluck’s
‘_Notre général vous rappelle_.’ Then the audience would not have to
grow cold, and the symphony would end before weariness had made
impossible further following in the steps of the composer. This remark
bears only on the _mise en scène_ of the work; it does not do away with
the fact that this _finale_ in itself is rich and magnificent; very few
movements can draw near without being crushed by it.”

            SYMPHONY NO. 6, IN F MAJOR, “PASTORALE,” OP. 68

    I. Awakening of serene impressions on arriving in the country:
          allegro, ma non troppo
    II. Scene by the brookside: andante molto moto
    III. Jolly gathering of country folk: allegro; in tempo d’allegro
          Thunderstorm; tempest: allegro
    IV. Shepherd’s song; gladsome and thankful feelings after the storm:

When justly read, this symphony is indeed pastoral, light-hearted,
something more than a fearsome length relieved only by the little
ornithological passage in which nightingale, quail, and cuckoo are
neatly imitated; at least, it is fair to suppose this; we have never
heard the nightingale sing. Jean Cocteau, in his amusing little book
full of aphorisms designed to make the bourgeois sit up, says that the
nightingale sings badly. So we must not be unduly prejudiced by praise
of the bird coming from Milton, Matthew Arnold, and other poetical
enthusiasts. Then there is the thunderstorm—the tempest, to use the good
country term that has come down from Shakespeare and before him. And how
charming the first two movements! To borrow the Host’s characterization
of Master Fenton, the symphony smells April and May.

                                 * * *

This symphony—_Sinfonia pastorale_—was composed in the country round
about Heiligenstadt in the summer of 1808. It was first performed at the
Theater an der Wien, Vienna, December 22, 1808. The descriptive headings
were probably an afterthought. In the sketchbook, which contains
sketches for the first movement, is a note: “_Characteristic Symphony.
The recollections of life in the country._” There is also a note: “_The
hearer is left to find out the situations for himself._”

M. Vincent d’Indy in his _Beethoven_ (Paris, 1911) devotes several pages
to Beethoven’s love of nature. “Nature was to Beethoven not only a
consoler for his sorrows and disenchantments; she was also a friend with
whom he took pleasure in familiar talk, the only intercourse to which
his deafness presented no obstacle.” Nor did Beethoven understand Nature
in the dryly theoretical manner of Jean Jacques Rousseau, whose writings
then were in fashion, for there could be no point of contact between the
doctrines of this Calvinist of Geneva and the effusions of Beethoven, a
Catholic by birth and by education. Nor did Beethoven share the views of
many Romantics about Nature. He would never have called her “immense,
impenetrable, and haughty,” as Berlioz addressed her through the mouth
of his Faust. A little nook, a meadow, a tree—these sufficed for
Beethoven. He had so penetrated the beauty of nature that for more than
a dozen years all his music was impregnated by it.

His bedside book for many, many years soon after his passion for
Giulietta Guicciardi was the _Lehr und Erbauungs Buch_ of Sturm.
Passages underscored show the truth of the assertions just made, and he
copied these lines that they might always be in his sight: “Nature can
be justly called the school of the heart; it shows us beyond all doubt
our duty towards God and our Neighbor. I wish therefore to become a
disciple of this school, and offer my heart to it. Desirous of
self-instruction, I wish to search after the wisdom that no disillusion
can reject; I wish to arrive at the knowledge of God, and in this
knowledge I shall find a foretaste of celestial joys.”

Nature to Beethoven was the country near by, which he could visit in his
daily walks. If he was an indefatigable pedestrian, he was never an

M. d’Indy draws a picture of the little _Wirthschaften_ in the suburbs
of the large towns, humble inns “not yet ticketed with the pompous
barbarism of ‘restaurant.’” They were frequented by the bourgeoisie, who
breathed the fresh air and on tables of wood ate the habitual sausage
and drank the traditional beer. There was a dance hall with a small
orchestra; there was a discreet garden with odorous alleys in which
lovers could walk between the dances. Beyond was the forest where the
peasant danced and sang and drank, but the songs and dances were here of
a ruder nature.

Beethoven, renting a cottage at Döbling, Grinzing, or Heiligenstadt,
which then were not official faubourgs, could in a few minutes be in the
forest or open country. He did not attempt to reproduce the material,
realistic impression of country sounds and noises, but only the spirit
of the landscape.

Thus in the _Pastoral_ symphony, to suggest the rustic calm and the
tranquillity of the soul in contact with Nature, he did not seek curious
harmonic conglomerations, but a simple, restrained melody which embraces
only the interval of a sixth (from _fa_ to _re_). This is enough to
create in us the sentiment of repose—as much by its quasi-immobility as
by the duration of this immobility. The exposition of this melody based
on the interval of a sixth is repeated with different timbres, but
musically the same, for fifty-two measures without interruption. In an
analogous manner Wagner portrayed the majestic monotony of the river in
the introduction to _Rheingold_. Thus far the landscape is uninhabited.
The second musical idea introduces two human beings, man and woman,
force and tenderness. The second musical thought is the thematic base of
the whole work. In the _scherzo_ the effect of sudden immobility
produced by the bagpipe tune of the strolling musician (the oboe solo,
followed by the horn), imposing itself on the noisy joy of the peasants,
is due to the cause named above; here, with the exception of one note,
the melody moves within the interval of a fifth.

The storm does not pretend to frighten the hearer. The insufficient
kettledrums are enough to suggest the thunder, but in four movements of
the five there is not a fragment of development in the minor mode. The
key of F minor, reserved for the darkening of the landscape hitherto
sunny and gay, produces a sinking of the heart and the distressing
restlessness that accompany the approach of the tempest. Calm returns
with the _ambitus_ of the sixth, and then the shepherd’s song leads to a
burst of joyfulness. The two themes are the masculine and feminine
elements exposed in the first movement.

According to M. d’Indy the _andante_ is the most admirable expression of
true nature in musical literature. Only some passages of _Siegfried_ and
_Parsifal_ are comparable. Conductors usually take this _andante_ at too
slow a pace and thus destroy the alert poetry of the section. The brook
furnishes the basic movement, expressive melodies arise, and the
feminine theme of the first _allegro_ reappears, alone, disquieted by
the absence of its mate. Each section is completed by a pure and
prayer-like melody. It is the artist who prays, who loves, who crowns
the diverse divisions of his work by a species of Alleluia.

It has been said that several of the themes in this symphony were taken
from Styrian and Carinthian folk songs. It is dedicated to Prince von
Lobkowitz and Count Rasoumowsky. The work was published in 1809.

                   SYMPHONY NO. 7, IN A MAJOR, OP. 92

    I. Poco sostenuto; vivace
    II. Allegretto
    III. Presto; assai meno presto; tempo primo
    IV. Allegro con brio

The rhapsodists have had their say; the commentators have pried and
conjectured; the later symphonies are still sublime in their grandeur.
They well-nigh express the inexpressible.

Nor have the legends, fondly believed for years, done injury to the
music. It matters not whether the Seventh symphony be a description of
Germany exulting in its deliverance from the French yoke, or the
apotheosis of the dance; whether the allegretto picture a procession in
the catacombs or be the love dream of an odalisque. Whenever the music
is played, whenever it comes into the mind, it awakens new thoughts and
each one dreams his own dreams.

Each writer in turn publishes in print or by word of mouth his little
explanation, but Beethoven broods, mysterious, gigantic, above
commentators, above even conductors when they misunderstand him, or
plume themselves upon a new and striking interpretation, or in their
endeavor to grasp and convey to others the essential greatness of the
composer put their trust in din and speed.

                                 * * *

The first sketches of this symphony were probably made before 1811 or
even 1810. The score of the symphony was dedicated to the Count Moritz
von Fries and published in 1816. The edition for the pianoforte was
dedicated to the Tsarina Elizabeth Alexievna of All the Russias.

The Seventh and Eighth symphonies were probably played over for the
first time at the Archduke Rudolph’s in Vienna on April 20, 1813.
Beethoven in the same month vainly endeavored to produce them at a
concert. The first performance of the Seventh was at Vienna in the large
hall of the university, on December 8, 1813.

Mälzel, the famous maker of automata, exhibited in Vienna during the
winter of 1812-13 his automatic trumpeter and panharmonicon. The former
played a French cavalry march with calls and tunes; the latter was
composed of the instruments used in the ordinary military band of the
period—trumpets, drums, flutes, clarinets, oboes, cymbals, triangle,
etc. The keys were moved by a cylinder. Overtures by Handel and
Cherubini and Haydn’s Military symphony were played with ease and
precision. Beethoven planned his _Wellington’s Victory_, or _Battle of
Vittoria_, for this machine. Mälzel made arrangements for a concert—a
concert “for the benefit of Austrian and Bavarian soldiers disabled at
the battle of Hanau.”

This Johann Nepomuk Mälzel (Mälzl) was born at Regensburg, August 15,
1772. He was the son of an organ builder. In 1792 he settled at Vienna
as a teacher of music, but he soon made a name for himself by inventing
mechanical music works. In 1816 he constructed a metronome, though
Winkel, of Amsterdam, claimed the idea as his. Mälzel also made ear
trumpets, and Beethoven tried them, as he did others. His life was a
singular one, and the accounts of it are contradictory. Two leading
French biographical dictionaries insist that Mälzel’s “brother Leonhard”
invented the mechanical toys attributed to Johann, but they are wholly
wrong. Fétis and one or two others state that he took the panharmonicon
with him to the United States in 1826 and sold it at Boston to a society
for four hundred thousand dollars—an incredible statement. No wonder
that the Count de Pontécoulant, in his _Organographie_, repeating the
statement, adds, “I think there is an extra cipher.” But Mälzel did
visit America, and he spent several years here. He landed at New York,
February 3, 1826, and the _Ship News_ announced the arrival of “Mr.
Maelzel, Professor of Music and Mechanics, inventor of the Panharmonicon
and the Musical Time Keeper.” He brought with him the famous
automata—the Chess Player, the Austrian Trumpeter, and the Rope
Dancers—and opened an exhibition of them at the National Hotel, 112
Broadway, April 13, 1826. The Chess Player was invented by Wolfgang von
Kempelen. Mälzel bought it at the sale of von Kempelen’s effects after
the death of the latter, at Vienna, and made unimportant improvements.
The Chess Player had strange adventures. It was owned for a time by
Eugène Beauharnais, when he was viceroy of the kingdom of Italy, and
Mälzel had much trouble in getting it away from him. Mälzel gave an
exhibition in Boston at Julien Hall, on a corner of Milk and Congress
streets. The exhibition opened September 13, 1826, and closed October 28
of that year. He visited Boston again in 1828 and 1833. On his second
visit he added _The Conflagration of Moscow_, a panorama, which he sold
to three Bostonians for six thousand dollars. Hence, probably, the
origin of the panharmonicon legend. He also exhibited an automatic
violoncellist. Mälzel died on the brig _Otis_ on his way from Havana to
Philadelphia on July 21, 1838, and was buried at sea, off Charleston.
The _United States Gazette_ published his eulogy and said, with due
caution: “He has gone, we hope, where the music of his harmonicons will
be exceeded.” The Chess Player was destroyed by fire in the burning of
the Chinese Museum at Philadelphia, July 5, 1854. An interesting and
minute account of Mälzel’s life in America, written by George Allen, is
published in the _Book of the First American Chess Congress_, pp. 420-84
(New York, 1859); see also _Métronome de Maelzel_ (Paris, 1833); the
_History of the Automatic Chess Player_, published by George S.
Hilliard, Boston, 1826; Mendel’s _Musikalisches Conversations-Lexicon_;
and an article, _Beethoven and Chess_, by Charles Willing, published in
_The Good Companion Chess Problem Club_ of May 11, 1917 (Philadelphia),
which contains facsimiles of Mälzel’s programmes in Philadelphia (1845)
and Montreal (1847). In Poe’s fantastical “Von Kempelen and His
Discovery” the description of his Kempelen, of Utica, N. Y., is said by
some to fit Mälzel, but Poe’s story was probably not written before
1848. His article, “Maelzel’s Chess Player,” a remarkable analysis, was
first published in the _Southern Literary Messenger_ of April, 1836.
Portions of this article other than those pertaining to the analysis
were taken by Poe from Sir David Brewster’s _Lectures on Natural Magic_.

The programme of the Vienna concert was announced: “A brand-new
symphony,” the Seventh, in A major, by Beethoven; and also _Wellington’s
Sieg, oder die Schlacht bei Vittoria_. _Wellington’s Sieg_ was completed
in October, 1813, to celebrate the victory of Wellington over the French
troops in Spain on June 21 of that year. Mälzel had persuaded Beethoven
to compose the piece for his panharmonicon. He furnished material for it
and gave him the idea of using “God Save the King” as the subject of a
lively fugue. He purposed to produce the work at concerts, so as to
raise money enough for him and Beethoven to visit London. A shrewd
fellow, he said that if the “_Battle_” symphony were scored for
orchestra and played in Vienna with success, an arrangement for his
panharmonicon would then be of more value to him. Beethoven dedicated
the work to the Prince Regent, afterwards George IV, and forwarded a
copy to him, but the “First Gentleman in Europe” never acknowledged the
compliment. _Wellington’s Sieg_ was not performed in London until
February 10, 1815, when it had a great run. The news of this success
pleased Beethoven very much. He made a memorandum of it in the notebook
which he carried with him to taverns.

The benefit concert was brilliantly successful, and there was a
repetition of it December 12 with the same prices of admission, ten and
five florins. The net profit of the two performances was four thousand
six gulden. Spohr tells us that the new pieces gave “extraordinary
pleasure, especially the symphony; the wondrous second movement was
repeated at each concert; it made a deep, enduring impression on me. The
performance was a masterly one, in spite of the uncertain and often
ridiculous conducting by Beethoven.” Glöggl was present at a rehearsal
when violinists refused to play a passage in the symphony and declared
that it could not be played. “Beethoven told them to take their parts
home and practise them; then the passage would surely go.” It was at
these rehearsals that Spohr saw the deaf composer crouch lower and lower
to indicate a long _diminuendo_, and rise again and spring into the air
when he demanded a climax. And he tells of a pathetic yet ludicrous
blunder of Beethoven, who could not hear the soft passages.

Beethoven was delighted with his success, so much so that he wrote a
public letter of thanks to all that took part in the two performances.
“It is Mälzel especially who merits all our thanks. He was the first to
conceive the idea of the concert, and it was he who busied himself
actively with the organization and the ensemble in all the details. I
owe him special thanks for having given me the opportunity of offering
my compositions to the public use and thus fulfilling the ardent vow
made by me long ago of putting the fruits of my labor on the altar of
the country.”

The first movement opens with an introduction, _poco sostenuto_, A
major, 4-4. The main body is _vivace_, 6-8. The _allegretto_ is in A
minor, 2-4; the third movement, _presto_, F major, 3-4. The _finale_,
_allegro con brio_, A major, 2-4, is a wild rondo on two themes. Here,
according to Mr. Prod’homme and others, as Beethoven achieved in the
_scherzo_ the highest and fullest expression of exuberant
joy—“unbuttoned joy,” as the composer himself would have said—so in the
_finale_ the joy becomes orgiastic. The furious bacchantic first theme
is repeated after the exposition, and there is a sort of coda to it, “as
a chorus might follow upon the stanzas of a song.”[10]

                   SYMPHONY NO. 8, IN F MAJOR, OP. 93

    I. Allegro vivace e con brio
    II. Allegretto scherzando
    III. Tempo di menuetto
    IV. Allegro vivace

Beethoven characterized his Eighth symphony as “a little symphony” and
in the same letter spoke of the Seventh as a great one; yet if Czerny is
to be believed the composer was vexed because the audience was cool when
the Eighth was first performed. He said, “because it is much better”
than the Seventh, which was played at the same concert. Authors often
pronounce strange judgments on their works, as parents often favor a
stupid or unpleasant child; but this composer had a right to be proud of
the little Benjamin—the colossal Ninth was not then born—for the Eighth
symphony is charged with the spirit of the greater Beethoven.

Some commentators have endeavored to read a programme into the symphony,
thinking perhaps thus to give it greater importance. One speaks of the
symphony as a “military trilogy”; another thinks the _allegretto_ is a
parody of Rossini’s manner, but the movement was written in 1812, and
Vienna did not go mad over the Olympian Rossini until after that year.
We even find Vincent d’Indy citing the Eighth as revealing impressions
of Nature made on the composer’s soul; the trio of the pompous minuet is
to M. d’Indy a representation in grotesque fashion of a peasant band,
and the Hungarian theme in the _finale_, the hymn of Hunyadi, denotes
the arrival of gypsy musicians in the midst of a festival.

The symphony needs not such support to excite extraneous interest. In
the music we find Beethoven in reckless mood, whimsical, delighting in
abrupt contrasts, shouting his joy, ready to play a practical joke.
There is, no doubt, the absence of the “fine taste” which Debussy misses
in the case of Beethoven and finds ruling the musical life of Bach and
Mozart. No, Beethoven was not Paterian in a struggle after taste. He was
an elemental person, coarse in his life, with an enormous capacity for
hard work. There are others who have been condemned for a lack of taste:
Euripides, Rabelais, Shakespeare, Verdi, Walt Whitman. De Quincey, a
stylist, found Goethe lacking in taste when he wrote _Wilhelm Meister_.

And in this symphony, characterized by mad jollity, and a playfulness
that at times approaches buffoonery, there are exquisite musical
thoughts; there are passages that for a moment sound the depths and
reach the heights.

                                 * * *

The Eighth symphony was composed at Linz in the summer of 1812.
Beethoven was in poor physical condition in that year, and as
Staudenheim, his physician, advised him to try Bohemian baths, he went
to Töplitz by way of Prague; to Carlsbad, where a note of the
postillion’s horn found its way among the sketches for the Eighth
symphony; to Franzensbrunn, and again to Töplitz; and lastly to his
brother Johann’s home at Linz, where he remained until into November.

At the beginning of 1812 Beethoven contemplated writing three symphonies
at the same time; the key of the third, D minor, was already determined,
but he postponed work on this; and as the autograph score of the first
of the remaining two, the Symphony in A, No. 7, is dated May 13, it is
probable that he contemplated the Seventh before he left Vienna on his
summer journey. His sojourn in Linz was not a pleasant one. Johann, a
bachelor, lived in a house too large for his needs, and so he rented a
part of it to a physician, who had a sister-in-law, Therese Obermeyer, a
cheerful and well-proportioned woman of an agreeable if not handsome
face. Johann looked on her kindly, made her his housekeeper, and
according to the gossips of Linz, there was a closer relationship.
Beethoven meddled with his brother’s affairs, and, finding him obdurate,
visited the bishop and the police authorities and persuaded them to
banish her from the town, to send her to Vienna if she should still be
in Linz on a fixed day. Naturally, there was a wild scene between the
brothers. Johann played the winning card: he married Therese on November
8. Ludwig, furious, went back to Vienna and took pleasure afterwards in
referring to his sister-in-law in both his conversation and his letters
as the “Queen of Night.”

This same Johann said that the Eighth symphony was completed from
sketches made during walks to and from the Pöstlingberge, but Thayer
considered him to be an untrustworthy witness.

The two symphonies were probably played over the first time at the
Archduke Rudolph’s in Vienna, April 20, 1813. Beethoven in the same
month endeavored to produce them at a concert, but without success. The
Seventh was not played until December 8, 1813, at a concert organized by
Mälzel. The first performance of the Eighth symphony was at a concert
given by Beethoven at Vienna in the Redoutensaal on Sunday, February 27,

The _Allgemeine Musik-Zeitung_, in a review of this concert, stated that
the Seventh symphony was again heartily applauded, and the _allegro_ was
repeated. “All were in anxious expectation to hear the new symphony (F
major, 3-4), the latest product of Beethoven’s muse; but this
expectation _after one hearing_ was not fully satisfied, and the
applause which the work received was not of that enthusiastic nature by
which a work that pleases universally is distinguished. In short, the
symphony did not make, as the Italians say, a _furore_. I am of the
opinion that the cause of this was not in weaker or less artistic
workmanship (for in this, as in all of Beethoven’s works of this
species, breathes the peculiar genius which always proves his
originality), but partly in the mistake of allowing this symphony to
follow the one in A major, and partly in the satiety that followed the
enjoyment of so much that was beautiful and excellent, whereby natural
apathy was the result. If this symphony in future should be given alone,
I have no doubt concerning its favorable reception.”

There were in the orchestra at this concert eighteen first violins,
eighteen second violins, fourteen violas, twelve violoncellos, seven
double basses. The audience numbered about three thousand, although
Schindler spoke of five thousand.

We know from his talk noted down that Beethoven originally planned an
elaborate introduction to this symphony.

It is often said that the second movement, the celebrated _allegretto
scherzando_, is based on the theme of a “three-voice circular canon, or
round, _Ta, ta, ta, lieber Mälzel_, sung in honor of the inventor of the
metronome at a farewell dinner given to Beethoven in July, 1812, before
his leaving Vienna for his summer trip into the country.” This story was
first told by Schindler, who, however, did not say that the dinner was
given to Beethoven alone, and did say that the dinner was in the spring
of 1812. Beethoven was about to visit his brother Johann in Linz; Mälzel
was going to England to produce there his automaton trumpeter but was
obliged to defer this journey. Beethoven, who among intimate friends was
customarily “gay, witty, satiric, ‘unbuttoned,’ as he called it,”
improvised at this parting meal a canon, which was sung immediately by
those present. The _allegretto_ was founded on this canon, suggested by
the metronome, according to Schindler. Thayer[11] examined this story
with incredible patience, and he drew these conclusions: the machine
that we now know as Mälzel’s metronome was at first called a musical
chronometer, and not until 1817 could the canon include the word
“Metronom.” Schindler, who was seventeen years old in 1812, heard the
story from Count Brunswick, who was present at the meal, but was not in
Vienna from March, 1810, till the end of February, 1813, four months
after the completion of the symphony. Furthermore, Beethoven is reported
as having said: “I, too, am in the second movement of the Eighth
symphony—ta, ta, ta, ta—the canon on Mälzel. It was a right jolly
evening when we sang this canon. Mälzel was the bass. At that time I
sang the soprano. I think it was toward the end of December, 1817.”
Thayer says: “That Mälzel’s ‘ta, ta, ta’ suggested the _allegretto_ to
Beethoven, and that at a parting meal the canon on this theme was sung,
are doubtless true; but it is by no means sure that the canon preceded
the symphony.... If the canon was written before the symphony, it was
not improvised at this meal; if it was then improvised, it was only a
repetition of the _allegretto_ theme in canon form.” However this may
be, the persistent ticking of a wind instrument in sixteenth notes is
heard almost throughout the movement, of which Berlioz said: “It is one
of those productions for which neither model nor pendant can be found.
This sort of thing falls entire from heaven into the composer’s brain.
He writes it at a single dash, and we are amazed at hearing it.”

                             JOY,” OP. 125

  I. Allegro, ma non troppo, un poco maestoso
  II. Molto vivace; presto
  III. Adagio molto e cantabile
  IV. Presto
    Allegro assai
    Baritone recitative
    Quartet and chorus: allegro assai
    Tenor solo and chorus: allegro assai vivace, alla marcia
    Chorus: allegro assai
    Chorus: andante maestoso
    Adagio, ma non troppo, ma divoto
    Allegro energico, sempre ben marcato
    Quartet and chorus: allegro ma non tanto; prestissimo

Much has been written about the Ninth symphony, a symphony that has been
and is a stumbling block to certain conductors and hearers. It is easy
to smile at such books as _Le Livre de la Genèse de la IX Symphonie de
Beethoven_, by Ricciotto Canudo, with its fantastical theories and
titles given to the leading themes, but the comments of more ordinary
mortals have led conductors into singular experiments. Some have
rewritten passages. Some, fearing the inherent difficulties in the
_finale_, have transposed this _finale_ a tone lower. There are hearers
who, knowing the theory of Wagner—that the Ninth symphony was the
logical end of purely instrumental music, and Beethoven introduced
singers in the finale to show his impatience with the orchestra as a
medium of full expression—look on the symphony as a polemical work and
in turn deny all absolute music written after Beethoven’s death.

The music remains, in spite of the commentators and the too anxious
conductors. The instrumental movements are among the proudest
achievements of man. Mr. Canudo may begin his “explanation” of the
opening _allegro_ by saying: “In the beginning was space; and all
possibilities were in space; and life was space”; he may find in a
certain page the “religious affirmation of Creation”; he may entitle the
first theme of the _adagio_ “The rhythm of the blessed cosmic night” and
thus take his pleasure.

The music of the first three movements is not the less sublime or
beautiful because it has no programme, because it has no text for
singers. With the exception of a few stupendous passages in the
_finale_, where Beethoven is among the stars, the _finale_ falls below
the movements that precede it. There is more frenzied joy in the
_scherzo_; there is greater, world-embracing humanity, a loftier, nobler
spirit in the _adagio_. The theme of Joy is not in itself one of
Beethoven’s most fortunate inventions, and there are pages both for
singers and for orchestra that disconcert even if they do not seem to
the hearer abnormal and impotent. The answer made by some is that if an
ideal performance could be attained the grandeur of the thought would
then be overwhelming. Unfortunately, human voices have their

Yet if the first three movements are performed alone, there is a sense
of incompleteness. If the _finale_ is transposed, the effect is
diminished. And so the Ninth symphony as a whole is still a stumbling
block to many.

                                 * * *

Beethoven made sketches for his Ninth symphony as early as 1815. The
symphony was completed about February, 1824. The idea of adding a chorus
to the last movement probably came to him only in the course of his
work, for there are sketches of a purely instrumental _finale_ which
Nottebohm says were made in June or July, 1823; but Schiller’s _Hymn to
Joy_ had long tempted Beethoven. At Bonn, in 1792, he thought of setting
music to it. His _Fantaisie_ for piano, orchestra, and chorus (1800)
contains the melodic germ that he afterwards used for Schiller’s words.
Perhaps the “mother melody” may be found in a folk song, “Freu’ dich
sehr, O meine Selle, und vergiss’ all’ Noth und Qual.” Wasielewski
thinks the origin is in a song of Beethoven’s, “Kleine Blümen, kleine
Blätter,” with text by Goethe, while the music was composed in 1810.

According to Beethoven’s sketchbooks, he was planning two symphonies;
one, for England, was to be purely instrumental; the other was the
_Sinfonie allemand_, either with variations after the chorus when it
entered, or without variations; the _finale_ with “Turkish music”—that
is, bass drum, cymbals, and triangle—“and choral song.”

In 1817, there was correspondence between the Philharmonic Society of
London and Beethoven with reference to the latter’s visiting England. He
was offered 300 guineas if he would come to London and superintend the
production of two symphonies to be composed for the Society. Beethoven
asked for 400 guineas; 150 to be paid in advance (one hundred were for
traveling expenses). The previous offer was repeated, but Beethoven
abandoned his intention of going to London.

At the first performance of the Ninth symphony in England (March 21,
1825), the programme read: “New Grand Characteristic Sinfonia, MS. with
vocal _finale_, the principal parts to be sung by Madame Caradori, Miss
Goodall, Mr. Vaughan, and Mr. Phillips; _composed expressly for this
Society_.” There was also a note in which it was said that in 1822 the
directors of the Philharmonic had offered Beethoven £50 for a symphony
to be delivered at the stipulated time; and as it had been performed and
published at Vienna before the Society could use it, the remuneration
was ample. It should be remembered that the Philharmonic Society,
learning of Beethoven’s sickness in 1827, sent him £100. Beethoven
acknowledged in most grateful terms, eight days before his death, the
receipt of the sum given him by these “generous” Englishmen, and spoke
of a tenth symphony wholly sketched, also a new overture, that he might
send to them. He had written to Ries in 1823 that only his poverty
compelled him to write the Ninth symphony for the Philharmonic; he had
sent to it the overture _The Dedication of the House_, and he asked Ries
to drive as good a bargain as he could for it. He had been vexed because
the Philharmonic Society had characterized three overtures delivered for
75 guineas in 1815: _Ruins of Athens_, _King Stephen_, and _Zur
Namensfeier_, as “unworthy” of the composer.

After Beethoven’s death, the Philharmonic Society reclaimed the gift of
£100, but was persuaded to withdraw the claim. A portion of the money
was applied to the payment of the funeral expenses.

The first performance of the Ninth symphony was at the Kärthnerthor
Theater, Vienna, on May 7, 1824. Musicians and wealthy amateurs
organized the concert, for the Gesellschaft der Musikfreunde had refused
the undertaking on account of the expense. Beethoven then proposed to
give the first performance of the symphony and the great Mass in Berlin,
where Count Brühl, the Intendant of the Royal theaters there, was
favorably inclined. This led the Viennese patrons and musicians to sign
a petition, begging Beethoven to spare Vienna the shame. He reflected,
and consented. The programme, approved by the police, was as follows:
Grand Overture, Op. 124; Three Grand Hymns for solo voices and chorus;
Grand Symphony with a _finale_ in which solo voices and chorus enter, on
the text of Schiller’s “Ode to Joy.” The three “Hymns” were the _Kyrie_,
_Credo_, _Agnus Dei_, of the Mass in D. Sedlinsky, the chief of police,
acting on the advice of the Archbishop, had forbidden the printing of
“Sacred words” on a play-bill, and the church authorities were opposed
to the performance of missal music in a theater.

The solo singers were Henriette Sontag, Karolina Unger, Anton
Haitzinger, and J. Seipelt. The chorus was composed of amateurs from the
Gesellschaft der Musikfreunde. Ignaz Schuppanzigh was the concertmaster;
Michael Umlauf conducted. Beethoven asked for twenty-four violins, ten
violas, twelve violoncellos and double basses, and a doubling of wind
instruments. The rehearsals were laborious. The solo singers had great
difficulty in learning their parts. Mmes Sontag and Unger begged
Beethoven to make changes in their music. He was obdurate. Mme Unger
called him to his face “tyrant over all the vocal organs.” When he
refused to change the music, she said to Mme Sontag: “Well, then we must
go on torturing ourselves in the name of God.” The success of the
symphony was great, though the performance was imperfect. “There was
lack of homogeneous power, a paucity of nuance, a poor distribution of
lights and shades.” When the drum alone beat the _scherzo_ motive, the
audience applauded so that a repetition seemed inevitable. (It was of
the _scherzo_ that Rossini, hearing the symphony in Paris, exclaimed, “I
could not have written that.”) Mme Unger led Beethoven to the edge of
the stage that he might see the crowd waving hats and handkerchiefs. He
bowed and was calm. Mme Grebner, who had sung in the chorus, told Felix
Weingartner that Beethoven sat in the middle of the orchestra and
followed the score. Thalberg, the pianist, who was in the audience, told
A. W. Thayer that Beethoven was dressed in a black dress-coat, white
neckerchief and waistcoat, black satin small-clothes, black silk
stockings, shoes with buckles; but Thalberg was mistaken if Schindler’s
story is true, for he called on Beethoven just before the concert and
said, “O great master, you do not own a black frock-coat! The green one
will have to do. The theater will be dark, and no one will notice it. In
a few days the black one will be ready.”

The success was unprecedented; the net pecuniary result was a sum
equivalent to sixty dollars. Beethoven was angry. Some days after the
concert, dining in a restaurant with Schindler and Duport, he accused
them of having swindled him; nor would he be persuaded by Schuppanzigh
that the charge was absurd, for Beethoven’s brother Johann and nephew
Karl had watched the cashiers.

There was a second performance in Vienna on May 23, 1824, in the large
Hall of the Redoutes. Duport assumed all the expenses, and guaranteed
Beethoven 500 florins. The programme was not the same, but it included
the symphony, the _Kyrie_, and the overture. The hour, noon, was
unfavorable. Duport lost some hundreds of florins. These were the only
performances at which Beethoven could be present.

Beethoven had purposed to dedicate the symphony to the Tsar Alexander;
he finally dedicated it to Friedrich Wilhelm III, the King of Prussia.
The King answered, expressing appreciation, and saying that he had sent
to him a diamond ring. The gem turned out to be not a diamond, but a
reddish stone valued by the court jeweler at 300 florins in paper money.
The indignant Beethoven was inclined to return the ring; but he sold it
to the jeweler who had appraised it. Some thought that the “reddish
stone” had been substituted for the diamond ring on the way to Vienna.

Though Beethoven had long been fond of Schiller’s “Ode to Joy,” the
Ninth symphony was not conceived at first as a celebration of joy. In
1818, he had the plan of introducing voices into a symphony “in the
ancient modes,” but the text was to be relating to some Greek myth, or a
pious song.

The symphony begins _Allegro ma non troppo_, D minor, 2-4; but the chief
theme, though hinted at, does not appear until after sixteen measures.
There is a continuous melodic development which may be divided into
several distinct periods, but there is no marked contrast in character
between what might be called eight separate themes.

The second movement, _molto vivace_, D minor, 3-4, is a _scherzo_,
though it is not so called in the score. It is built on three leading
themes. The peculiar rhythm of the dotted triplet is maintained either
in the melody or in the accompaniment.

The third movement, _adagio molto e cantabile_, B flat major, 4-4, has
been described as a double theme with variations.

The _finale_ begins with several orchestral sections, the first
_presto_, D minor, 3-4. There are recitatives for the lower strings.
Finally, the baritone enters with this recitative:

  _O brothers, these sad tones no longer!
  Rather raise we now together our voices,
  And joyful be our song!_

_Allegro assai_, D major, 4-5. The baritone “with the encouragement of
the basses of the choruses at the beginning,” sings the first theme.
Then follow passages for chorus, quartet, until the tempo changes to
_allegro assai vivace alla marcia_, B flat major, 6-8. There are later
changes in tempo until the final _prestissimo_, “in which the chorus
goes stark mad with joy.”

The following translation of Schiller’s ode is by the late Henry G.

                                _TO JOY_

  _Joy, thou spark from flame immortal
    Daughter of Elysium!
  Drunk with fire, O heav’n-born Goddess,
    We invade thy halidom!
  Let thy magic bring together
    All whom earth-born laws divide;
  All mankind shall be as brothers
    ’Neath thy tender wings and wide._

  _He that’s had that best good fortune,
    To his friend a friend to be,
  He that’s won a noble woman,
    Let him join our Jubilee!
  Ay, and who a single other
    Soul on earth can call his own;
  But let him who ne’er achieved it
    Steal away in tears alone._

  _Joy doth every living creature
    Draw from Nature’s ample breast;
  All the good and all the evil
    Follow on her roseate quest.
  Kisses doth she give, and vintage,
    Friends who firm in death have stood;
  Joy of life the worm receiveth,
    And the Angels dwell with God!_

  _Glad as burning suns that glorious
    Through the heavenly spaces sway,
    Haste ye brothers, on your way,
  Joyous as a knight victorious._

  _Love toward countless millions swelling,
    Wafts one kiss to all the world!
    Surely, o’er yon stars unfurl’d,
  Some kind Father has his dwelling!_

  _Fall ye prostrate, O ye millions!
    Dost thy Maker feel, O world?
    Seek Him o’er yon stars unfurl’d,
  O’er the stars rise His pavilions!_

                  OVERTURE TO “LEONORE NO. 3,” OP. 72

The overture is in itself a condensation of what is dramatic in an opera
that has commonplace, yes, bourgeois pages. Hearing the overture, one is
spared the sight of a bulbous and shrieking prima donna; of a tenor
whose throat had been seriously affected by a long confinement in a
“dem’d moist” dungeon; of the operetta young man and woman chatting with
a flatiron among the stage properties; of four persons, each with an
individual sentiment, singing the same tune in an approved scholastic

It might be well to play in the same concert the three Leonore overtures
in the order in which they were probably written: Nos. 2, 3, 1. A
programme composed exclusively of piano sonatas by Beethoven is an
invention of the Adversary, and it deserves the attention of the police
as a deliberate act against public morals. Nor is an orchestral
programme devoted exclusively to the works of any composer to be
encouraged, except possibly when the Ninth symphony is given. But with
these overtures the case is different, for here is a revelation of
Beethoven’s processes of musical and dramatic thought when he was
mightily interested in the same subject.... How many composers, after
the achievement of a _Leonore No. 2_, would have the courage or the
ability to shape from it a _Leonore No. 3_? After the three were
attentively heard and thoughtfully considered, then _No. 3_ might be
reasonably reserved for concert use and the other two put away ready but
surely on the shelf.

                                 * * *

In the year that saw the production of _Fidelio_ (November 20, 1805),
Napoleon’s army was hastening toward Vienna. There was an exodus from
the town of the nobility, merchants, and other residents. The vanguard
of the French army entered on November 13. Those of the Viennese who
would have appreciated the opera had fled the town. The theater was not
well filled. Many in the audience were or had been officers in
Napoleon’s army. The success of the opera was small. Only two
performances followed the first. At the first and at the second the
overture _Leonore No. 2_ was performed. Anna Pauline Milder, afterwards
Mme Hauptmann, was the heroine. “The opera was hastily put upon the
stage, and the inadequacy of the singers thus increased by the lack of
sufficient rehearsals.” Beethoven had received the text in 1804. He
worked on the music the following summer at Hetzendorf. On his return to
Vienna, rehearsals were begun. In later years _Fidelio_ was one of Anna
Milder’s great parts: “Judging from the contemporary criticism, it was
now [1805] somewhat defective, simply from lack of stage experience.”

_Leonore No. 2_ was the overture played at the first performance in
Vienna. The opera was withdrawn, revised, and produced again on March
29, 1806, when _Leonore No. 3_, a remodeled form of _No. 2_, was the
overture. There was talk of a performance at Prague in 1807. Beethoven
wrote for it a new overture, retaining the theme derived from
Florestan’s air, “In des Lebens Frülingstagen.” The other material in
_Nos. 2_ and _3_ was not used. The opera was not performed; the
autograph of the overture disappeared. _Fidelio_ was revived at Vienna
in 1814. For this performance Beethoven wrote the _Fidelio_ overture. We
know from his diary that he “rewrote and bettered” the opera by working
on it from March to May 15 of that year.

The dress rehearsal was on May 22, but the promised overture was not
ready. On the 20th or 21st, Beethoven was dining at a tavern with his
friend Bartolini. After the meal was over, Beethoven took a bill of
fare, drew lines on the back of it, and began to write. “Come, let us
go,” said Bartolini. “No, wait a while: I have the scheme of my
overture,” answered Beethoven, and he sat until he had finished his
sketches. Nor was he at the dress rehearsal. They waited for him a long
time, then went to his lodgings. He was fast asleep in bed. A cup of
wine and biscuits were near him, and sheets of the overture were on the
bed and the floor. The candle was burnt out. It was impossible to use
the new overture, which was not even finished. Schindler said a
_Leonore_ overture was played. According to Seyfried, the overture used
was that to _The Ruins of Athens_.

The order, then, of these overtures, according to the time of
composition, is now supposed to be _Leonore No. 2_, _Leonore No. 3_,
_Leonore No. 1_, _Fidelio_. It was said that _Leonore No. 2_ was
rewritten because certain passages given to the wood-wind troubled the
players. Others say it was too difficult for the strings and too long.
In _No. 2_, as well as in _No. 3_, the chief dramatic stroke is the
trumpet signal, which announces the arrival of the Minister of Justice,
confounds Pizarro, and saves Florestan and Leonore.

The _Fidelio_ overture is the one generally played before performances
of the opera in Germany, although Weingartner has tried earnestly to
restore _Leonore No. 2_ to that position. _Leonore No. 3_ is sometimes
played between the acts of the opera. The objection to this is that the
trumpet episode of the prison will then discount the dramatic ending of
the overture when it comes in the following act, nor does the joyous
ending of the overture prepare the hearer for the lugubrious scene with
the Florestan soliloquy. Bülow therefore performed the overture at the
end of the opera. Zumpe did likewise in Munich. They argued with Wagner
that this overture is the quintessence of the opera, “the complete and
definite synthesis of the drama that Beethoven had dreamed of writing.”
There has been a tradition that the overture should be played between
the scenes of the second act.

The key of the _Leonore Overture No. 3_ is C major. A short _fortissimo_
is struck. It is diminished by wood-wind and horns, then taken up,
_piano_, by the strings. From this G there is a descent down the scale
of C major to a mysterious F sharp. The key of B minor is reached,
finally A flat major, when the opening measures of Florenstan’s air, “In
des Lebens Frülingstagen” (Act II of the opera), is played. The theme of
the _allegro_, C major, begins _pianissimo_, first violins and
violoncellos, and waxes impetuously. The second theme has been described
as “woven out of sobs and pitying sighs.” The working out consists in
alternating a pathetic figure, taken from the second theme and played by
the wood-wind over a nervous string accompaniment, with furious
outbursts from the whole orchestra. Then comes the trumpet call off
stage. The twice-repeated call is answered in each instance by the short
song of thanksgiving from the same scene. Leonore’s words are: “_Ach! du
bist gerettet! Grosser Gott!_” A gradual transition leads from this to
the return of the first theme at the beginning of the third part (flute
solo). The third part is developed in general as the first part and
leads to a wildly jubilant _coda_.

                      OVERTURE TO “EGMONT,” OP. 84

Strange things have been done by conductors to Beethoven’s overture. We
remember Franz Wüllner in Berlin slackening the pace in the _allegro_
section when he came to the heavy chords that are supposed by some
commentators, finders of sunbeams in cucumbers, to represent Alva, and
then playing the chords with brutal emphasis and a long pause between
them. Another conductor, no less a person than Arthur Nikisch, made a
long hold on the short, incisive violin stroke just before the _coda_,
and then brought the figure slowly down _portamento_. We doubt if he did
this in later years.

                                 * * *

This overture was composed in 1810; it was published in 1811. The music
to Goethe’s play—overture, four entr’actes, two songs sung by Clärchen,
“Clärchen’s Death,” “Melodrama,” and “Triumph Symphony” (identical with
the coda of the overture), for the end of the play, nine numbers in
all—was performed for the first time with the tragedy at the Hofburg
Theater, Vienna, May 24, 1810. Antonie Adamberger was the Clärchen.

When Hartl took the management of the two Vienna Court theaters, January
1, 1808, he produced plays by Schiller. He finally determined to produce
plays by Goethe and Schiller with music, and he chose Schiller’s _Tell_
and Goethe’s _Egmont_. Beethoven and Gyrowetz were asked to write the
music. The former was anxious to compose the music for _Tell_; but, as
Czerny tells the story, there were intrigues, and, as _Egmont_ was
thought to be less suggestive to a composer, the music for that play was
assigned to Beethoven. Gyrowetz’s music to _Tell_ was performed June 14,
1810. It was described by a correspondent of a Leipsic journal of music
as “characteristic and written with intelligence.” No allusion was made
at the time anywhere to Beethoven’s _Egmont_.

The overture has a short, slow introduction, _sostenuto ma non troppo_,
F minor, 3-2. The main body of the overture is an _allegro_, F minor,
3-4. The first theme is in the strings; each phrase is a descending
_arpeggio_ in the violoncellos, closing with a sigh in the first
violins; the antithesis begins with a “sort of sigh” in the wood-wind,
then in the strings; then there is a development into passage work. The
second theme has for its thesis a version of the first two measures of
the sarabande theme of the introduction, _fortissimo_ (strings), in A
flat major, and the antithesis is a triplet in the wood-wind. The coda,
_allegro con brio_, F major, 4-4, begins _pianissimo_. The full
orchestra at last has a brilliant fanfare figure, which ends in a
shouting climax, with a famous shrillness of the piccolo against
fanfares of bassoons and brass and between crashes of the full

Long and curious commentaries have been written in explanation of this
overture. As though the masterpiece needed an explanation! We remember
one in which a subtle meaning was given to at least every half-dozen
measures: The Netherlanders are under the crushing weight of Spanish
oppression; Egmont is melancholy, his blood is stagnant, but at last he
shakes off his melancholy (violins), answers the cries of his
country-people, rouses himself for action; his death is portrayed by a
descent of the violins from C to G; but his countrymen triumph. Spain is
typified by the sarabande movement; the heavy, recurring chords portray
the lean-bodied, lean-visaged Duke of Alva; “the violin theme in D flat,
to which the clarinet brings the under-third, is a picture of Clärchen,”
etc. One might as well illustrate word for word the solemn ending of
Thomas Fuller’s life of Alva in _The Profane State_: “But as his life
was a mirror of cruelty, so was his death of God’s patience. It was
admirable that his tragical acts should have a comical end; that he that
sent so many to the grave should go to his own, and die in peace. But
God’s justice on offenders goes not always in the same path, nor the
same pace; and he is not pardoned for the fault who is for a while
reprieved from the punishment; yea, sometimes the guest in the inn goes
quietly to bed before the reckoning for his supper is brought to him to
discharge.” The overture is at first a mighty lamentation. There are
voices of an aroused and angry people, and there is at the last
tumultuous rejoicing. The “Triumph Symphony” at the end of the play
forms the end of the overture.

                    OVERTURE TO “CORIOLANUS,” OP. 62

Someone said—was it A. W. Thayer?—of this overture that he could not
understand it—until he read Collin’s tragedy; that he could not
reconcile the music with Shakespeare’s text. Pray, what would the
gentleman have had? It is immaterial whether Beethoven had Collin or
Shakespeare in mind. The name Coriolanus was enough, even if he knew it
only from some schoolboy history of Rome; for in this music we hear the
proud voice, we hear the haughty, inexorable bearing of the
soldier-patrician. Nor does it matter whether the lyrical theme is the
entreating voice of wife or mother. Possibly if one should read Collin’s
play he would wonder that Beethoven should have written an overture for
it. There it is—one of Beethoven’s greatest works. From his own disdain
of the mob, from his own contempt of what the public thought of his
music, he recognizes in Coriolanus a kindred spirit.

                                 * * *

The original manuscript of the overture bears this inscription:
_Overtura_ (_zum Trauerspiel Coriolan_) _composta da L. v. Beethoven,
1807_. The words in parentheses are crossed out. The overture was
published in 1808. The tragedy by Heinrich Joseph von Collin, in which
the hero kills himself, was produced in Vienna on November 24, 1802.
Collin (1771-1811) was jurist and poet. In 1803 he was ennobled. In 1809
he became court councillor. Other tragedies by him were _Regulus_ and
_Polyxena_. In 1807 Beethoven was expecting a libretto from him. Collin
tried _Macbeth_, Tasso’s _Jerusalem Delivered_, and a _Bradamante_ to
which J. F. Reichardt set music. But Beethoven wrote to Collin:

“Great irate poet, give up Reichardt. Take my _music_ for your _poetry_;
I promise that you will not thereby suffer. As soon as my concert is
over ... I will come to you, and then we will at once take in hand the
opera—and it shall soon sound. For the rest you can ring out your just
complaints about me by word of mouth.” The libretto before this had
seemed to Beethoven “too venturesome” in respect of its use of the
supernatural. Collin’s biographer, Laban, says that the _Macbeth_
libretto was left unfinished in the middle of the second act “because it
threatened to become too gloomy.” At various times Beethoven thought of
Grillparzer’s _Melusine_, Körner’s _Return of Ulysses_, Treitschke’s
_Romulus and Remus_, Berger’s _Bacchus_, Shakespeare’s _Romeo and
Juliet_, Schiller’s _Fiesco_, Grillparzer’s _Dragomira_, Voltaire’s
tragedies, and Goethe’s _Faust_, as operatic subjects. He told Rellstab
that the material must be attractive to him; that it must be something
he could take up with sincerity and love. “I could not compose operas
like _Don Juan_ and _Figaro_. They are repugnant to me. I could not have
chosen such subjects; they are too frivolous for me!”

It is in one movement, _allegro con brio_, in C minor, 4-4, as written,
_alla breve_ as played. It begins with a succession of three long-held
_fortissimo_ C’s in the strings, each one of which is followed by a
resounding chord in the full orchestra. The agitated first theme in C
minor soon gives place to the second lyrically passionate theme in E
flat major. The development of this theme is also short. The free
fantasia is practically passage-work on the conclusion theme. The
tendency to shorten the academic sonata form is seen also in the third
part, or recapitulation. The first theme returns in F minor with
curtailed development. The second theme is now in C major. The _coda_
begins with this theme; passage-work follows; there is a repetition of
the C’s and the chords of the beginning; and the purely dramatic close
in C minor may be suggestive of the hero’s death.


    I. Allegro moderato
    II. Andante con moto
    III. Rondo: vivace

This concerto was probably composed for the most part, and it was surely
completed, in 1806, although Schindler, on advice from Ries, named 1804
as the year, and an edition of the concerto published by Breitkopf &
Härtel states that the year 1805 saw the completion.

The concerto was performed by Beethoven in one of two private
subscription concerts of his works given in the dwelling house of Prince
Lobkowitz, Vienna, in March, 1807. The first public performance was in
the Theater an der Wien, Vienna, December 22, 1808.

The score was dedicated “humbly” by Beethoven to “his Imperial Highness,
the Archduke Rudolph of Austria.”

I. _Allegro moderato_, G major, 4-4. The first movement, contrary to the
tradition that prevailed at the time, begins with the pianoforte alone.
The pianoforte announces the first four measures of the first theme,
five measures if an introductory chord be counted. (These measures are
to be found in a sketchbook of Beethoven which is dated 1803, but in
this book they end in the tonic, and not in the dominant.) The orchestra
then enters in B major, but soon returns to G major, and develops the
theme, until after a short climax with a modulation a second theme
appears, which is given to the first violins. There is a third theme
_fortissimo_ in G major, with a supplement for the wood-wind
instruments, and still another new theme, an expressive melody in B flat

II. _Andante con moto_, E minor, 2-4. This movement is free in form.
Beethoven put a footnote in the full score to this effect: “During the
whole _andante_, the pianist must use the soft pedal (_una corda_)
unintermittently; the sign ‘Ped’ refers to the occasional use of the
ordinary pedal.” This footnote is contradicted at one point in the score
by the marking “_tre corde_” for five measures near the end of the
movement. A stern and powerful recitative for strings alternates with
gentle and melodic passages for the pianoforte. “The strings of the
orchestra keep repeating a forbidding figure of strongly marked rhythm
in _staccato_ octaves; this figure continues at intervals in stern,
unchanging _forte_ through about half the movement and then gradually
dies away. In the intervals of this harsh theme the pianoforte as it
were improvises little scraps of the tenderest, sweetest harmony and
melody, rising for a moment into the wildest frenzied exultation after
its enemy, the orchestra, has been silenced by its soft pleading, then
falling back into hushed sadness as the orchestra comes in once more
with a whispered recollection of its once so cruel phrase; saying as
plainly as an orchestra can say it, ‘The rest is silence!’”[12]

III. _Rondo_: _vivace_. The first theme, of a sunny and gay character,
is announced immediately by the strings. The pianoforte follows with a
variation. A short but more melodic phrase for the strings is also taken
up by the pianoforte. A third theme, of a bolder character, is announced
by the orchestra. The fourth theme is given to the pianoforte. The
_rondo_, “of a reckless, devil-may-care spirit in its jollity,” is based
on this thematic material. At the end the tempo becomes _presto_.


    I. Allegro
    II. Adagio un poco mosso
    III. Rondo: allegro ma non tanto

There are noble pages, also moments of tenderness, in the first
movement; there is a majestic, compelling sweep. In the second movement
there is simplicity, serenity of contemplation, Buddhistic music of
singular detachment, found only in certain measures of Beethoven and
Handel; but the _finale_ with the endless repetitions of a Kangaroo
theme leads one to long for the end.

                                 * * *

Beethoven, having made some sketches in 1808, wrote this concerto in
1809 at Vienna. The town was occupied by the French from May 12 to
October 14.

It is said that the first public performance of which there is any
record was at Leipsic on November 28, 1811. It is also stated that this
performance was late in 1810. The pianist was Friedrich Schneider. The
_Allgemeine Musik Zeitung_ described the concerto as “without doubt one
of the most original, imaginative, effective, but most difficult of all
existing concertos.” Schneider, it seems, played “with soul” as well as
force, and the orchestra accompanied remarkably, for “it respected and
admired composer, composition, and pianist.”

The first performance with which Beethoven was concerned was at Vienna
on February 12, 1812, when Karl Czerny (1791-1857) was the pianist. The
occasion was a singular sort of entertainment. Theodor Körner, who had
been a looker-on in Vienna only for a short time, wrote home on February
15: “Wednesday there took place for the benefit of the Charitable
Society of Noble Ladies a concert and a representation of three pictures
after Raphael, Poussin, and Troyes, as Goethe describes them in his
_Elective Affinities_. A new concerto by Beethoven for the pianoforte
did not succeed”; but Castelli’s _Thalia_ gave as the reason of this
failure the unwillingness of Beethoven, “full of proud self-confidence,”
to write for the crowd. “He can be understood and appreciated only by
the connoisseurs, and one cannot reckon on their being in a majority at
such an affair.” Thayer moralizes on this statement. “The trills of Miss
Sessi and Mr. Siboni and Mayseder’s Variations on the March from _Aline_
were appropriate to the occasion and the audience.”

The Vienna correspondent of the _Allgemeine Musik Zeitung_ wrote that
the extravagant length of the concerto diminished the total effect which
the “noble production of the mind” would otherwise have made. As for
Czerny, “he played with much accuracy and fluency, and showed that he
has it in his power to conquer the greatest difficulties.” But the
correspondent wished that there had been greater purity in his
performance, a finer contour.

The tableaux pleased mightily, and each one was repeated.

The first movement, _allegro_, in E flat, 4-4, opens with a strong chord
for full orchestra, which is followed by a _cadenza_ for the solo

The first theme is given out by the strings and afterward taken up by
the clarinets. The second theme soon follows, first in E flat minor,
softly and staccato by the strings, then _legato_ and in E flat major by
the horns. It was usual at that time for the pianist to extemporize his
_cadenza_, but Beethoven inserted his own with the remark, “_non si fa,
una cadenza ma s’attacca subito il seguente_” (that is to say, “Do not
insert a _cadenza_, but attack the following immediately”); and he then
went so far as to accompany with the orchestra the latter portion of his

The second movement, _adagio un poco moto_, in B major, 2-2, is in the
form of “quasi-variations,” developed chiefly from the theme given at
the beginning by muted strings. This movement goes, with a suggestion
hinted by the pianoforte of the coming first theme of the _rondo_, into
the _rondo_, the _finale_, _allegro_, in E flat, 6-8. Both the themes
are announced by the pianoforte and developed elaborately. The end of
the _coda_ is distinguished by a descending long series of pianoforte
chords which steadily diminish in force, while the kettledrums keep
marking the rhythm of the opening theme.

                CONCERTO FOR VIOLIN, IN D MAJOR, OP. 61

    I. Allegro ma non troppo
    II. Larghetto
    III. Rondo

Beethoven composed this concerto in 1806 for the violinist, Franz
Clement, who played it for the first time at the latter’s concert in the
Theater an der Wien, December 23 of that year.

Beethoven, often behindhand in finishing compositions for solo
players—according to the testimony of Dr. Bartolini and others—did not
have the concerto ready for rehearsal. Clement played it at the concert
_a vista_.

The first movement, _allegro ma non troppo_, in D major, 4-4, begins
with a long orchestral _ritornello_. The first theme is announced by
oboes, clarinets, and bassoons. It is introduced by four taps of the
kettledrums on D. (There is a story that these tones were suggested to
the composer by his hearing a neighbor knocking at the door of his house
for admission late at night.) The wind instruments go on with the second
phrase. Then come the famous and problematical four D sharps in the
first violins. The short second theme is given out by wood-wind and
horns in D major, repeated in D minor, and developed at length. The solo
violin enters after a half cadence on the dominant. The first part of
the movement is repeated. The solo violin plays the themes or embroiders
them. The working out is long and elaborate. A _cadenza_ is introduced
at the climax of the conclusion theme. There is a short _coda_.

The second movement, _Larghetto_, in G major, 4-4, is a romance in free
form. The accompaniment is lightly scored. The theme is almost wholly
confined to the orchestra, while the solo violin embroiders with
elaborate figuration until the end, when it brings in the theme, but
soon abandons it to continue the embroidery. A _cadenza_ leads to the

The third movement, _rondo_, in D major, 6-8, is based on a theme that
has the character of a folk dance. The second theme is a sort of hunting
call for the horns. There is place for the insertion of a free _cadenza_
near the end.

                                 * * *

Beethoven’s great development of the symphony was in his use of the
instruments—not in their number. For the most part, he called for
virtually the same orchestra which his predecessors, Mozart and Haydn,
evolved: two flutes, two oboes, two clarinets, two bassoons, two horns,
two trumpets, kettledrums and strings. This applies to Beethoven’s
First, Second, Third, Fourth, Seventh, and Eighth symphonies
(exceptions: the addition of a third horn in the _Eroica_ symphony, and
use of a single flute in the Fourth).

In the Fifth symphony, he gave greater sonority to his _finale_ with
three trombones, double bassoon, and piccolo.

In the Sixth, he added a piccolo for the storm, two trombones for the
storm and _finale_.

In the Ninth, he increased his horns to four, added three trombones, and
the following instruments in the _alla marcia_ of the _finale_: piccolo,
double bassoon, cymbals, triangle, and bass drum.

In the overtures here listed, Beethoven added to the above essential
orchestration as follows: _Egmont_—two additional horns, piccolo;
_Leonore_—two additional horns and three trombones. The concertos call
for the minimum orchestration, “in twos.”—EDITOR.


 (Born at La Côte Saint-André, December 11, 1803; died at Paris, March
                                9, 1869)

The more Berlioz is studied, the more the wonder grows at his colossal
originality. Yet there are some who still insist that he had little
melodic invention. They have ears, and they do not hear. They should
read the essay of Romain Rolland, and the essay of Felix Weingartner in
his _Akkorde_, for there are many, unfortunately, who do not trust their
own judgment and are eager to accept the sayings of others who are
considered men of authority.

Berlioz wrote his _Fantastic_ symphony in a high-strung, hotly romantic
period. Romanticism was in the air. Much that seems fantastic to us,
living in a commercial and material period, was natural then. It was as
natural to be extravagant in belief, theories, speech, manner of life,
dress, as it was to breathe. And Berlioz was a revolutionary of
revolutionaries. His “antediluvian hair” that rose from his forehead was
as much of a symbol as was the flaming waistcoat worn by Théophile on
the memorable first night of _Hernani_. We smile now at the
eccentricities and the extravagancies of the period, but we owe the
perpetrators a heavy debt of gratitude. They made the art of today

It is easy to call Berlioz a _poseur_, but the young man was terribly in
earnest. He put his own love tragedy into his _Fantastic_ symphony; he
was a man; he suffered; he was there; and so the music did not pass away
with the outward badges of romanticism, with much of Byron’s poetry,
with plays and novels of the time. The emotions he expressed are still
universal and elemental.


    I. Dreams, Passions: Largo: Allegro agitato e appassionato assai
    II. A Ball: Waltz: allegro non troppo
    III. Scene in the Meadows: Adagio
    IV. March to the Scaffold: Allegretto non troppo
    V. A Witches’ Sabbath: Larghetto: allegro

When one remembers that Beethoven had died only a few years before
Berlioz wrote his symphony; that Schubert also had died; that Schumann
and Wagner were not known as composers, one must regard this audacious
work of Berlioz as nothing less than marvelous. No predecessor had given
him hints for orchestration: he invented his own system; he thought and
wrote orchestrally. Liszt, Meyerbeer, Wagner, Strauss, the Russian
School, in fact, the musical world of the last century is indebted
deeply to Hector Berlioz. Without him all would have been sadly at a

One may smile in this matter-of-fact age at the frantic love of Berlioz
for the Irish actress; at the programme of the _Fantastic_ symphony,
written when he was not twenty-seven years old. But there’s no denying
the genius in this work, the genius that has kept this music alive in
spite of a few cheap or arid pages; for there is the imagination, the
poetic sensitiveness that we rightly associate with genius. If one would
gladly shorten the “Scene in the Fields,” what is to be said against
that masterpiece “The March to the Scaffold,” with its haunting,
nightmarish rhythm, its ghostly chatter of the bassoons, its mocking
shouts of brass? Or who does not find beauty in the first movement,
brilliance in the second, and a demoniacal spirit in the _finale_?

Ernest Newman has wisely said that the harmonies of Berlioz suited
exactly his aims; that however strange they may seem on paper, they are
justified when they are heard. As for the charge of failure as a
melodist, there are the songs; there is the pathetic air of Marguerite
in _The Damnation of Faust_, the “Farewell of the Shepherds” in _The
Childhood of Christ_, the grand arias in _Les Troyens_.

                                 * * *

This symphony forms the first part of a work entitled _Épisode de la vie
d’un artiste_ (Episode in the Life of an Artist), the second part of
which is a lyric monodrama, _Lélio, ou le retour à la vie_ (Lelio; or,
The Return to Life). Berlioz published the following preface to the full
score of the symphony:

                       “PROGRAMME OF THE SYMPHONY

“A young musician of morbid sensibility and ardent imagination poisons
himself with opium in a fit of amorous despair. The narcotic dose, too
weak to result in death, plunges him into a heavy sleep accompanied by
the strangest visions, during which his sensations, sentiments, and
recollections are translated in his sick brain into musical thoughts and
images. The beloved woman herself has become for him a melody, like a
fixed idea which he finds and hears everywhere.

                                “Part I
                           “DREAMS, PASSIONS

“He first recalls that uneasiness of soul, that _vague des passions_,
those moments of causeless melancholy and joy, which he experienced
before seeing her whom he loves; then the volcanic love with which she
suddenly inspired him, his moments of delirious anguish, of jealous
fury, his returns to loving tenderness, and his religious consolations.

                                “Part II
                                “A BALL

“He sees his beloved at a ball, in the midst of the tumult of a
brilliant fête.

                               “Part III
                          “SCENE IN THE FIELDS

“One summer evening in the country he hears two shepherds playing a
_Ranz-des-vaches_ in alternate dialogue; this pastoral duet, the scene
around him, the light rustling of the trees gently swayed by the breeze,
some hopes he has recently conceived, all combine to restore an unwonted
calm to his heart and to impart a more cheerful coloring to his
thoughts; but _she_ appears once more, his heart stops beating, he is
agitated with painful presentiments; if she were to betray him!... One
of the shepherds resumes his artless melody, the other no longer answers
him. The sun sets ... the sound of distant thunder ... solitude ...

                                “Part IV
                         “MARCH TO THE SCAFFOLD

“He dreams that he has killed his beloved, that he is condemned to death
and led to execution. The procession advances to the tones of a march
which is now sombre and wild, now brilliant and solemn, in which the
dull sound of the tread of heavy feet follows without transition upon
the most resounding outburst. At the end, the _fixed idea_ reappears for
an instant, like a last love-thought interrupted by the fatal stroke.

                                “Part V
                        “WALPURGISNIGHT’S DREAM

“He sees himself at the witches’ Sabbath, in the midst of a frightful
group of ghosts, magicians, and monsters of all sorts, who have come
together for his obsequies. He hears strange noises, groans, ringing
laughter, shrieks to which other shrieks seem to reply. The _beloved
melody_ again reappears; but it has lost its noble and timid character;
it has become an ignoble, trivial, and grotesque dance tune; it is _she_
who comes to the witches’ Sabbath.... Howlings of joy at her arrival ...
she takes part in the diabolic orgy.... Funeral knells, burlesque parody
on the _Dies Iræ_. Witches’ dance. The Witches’ dance and the _Dies Iræ_

In a preamble to this programme, relating mostly to some details of
stage-setting when the _Épisode de la vie d’un artiste_ is given entire,
Berlioz also writes: “If the symphony is played separately at a concert
... the programme does not absolutely need to be distributed among the
audience, and only the titles of the five movements need be printed, as
the symphony can offer by itself (the composer hopes) a musical interest
independent of all dramatic intention.”

The score is dedicated to Nicholas I of Russia.

                                 * * *

The symphony begins with a slow introduction, _Largo_, C minor, 4-4. Two
measures of soft preluding lead to a plaintive theme played by the
strings, _pianissimo_. This theme is a melody of romance composed by
Berlioz in his youth and recurs in modified form in each movement.
“Strange to say,” wrote Berlioz of the imagined artist, “the image of
the loved one never comes into his mind without the accompaniment of a
musical thought in which he finds the characteristic grace and nobility
attributed by him to his beloved. This double _idée fixe_—obsessing
idea—constantly pursues him; hence the constant apparition in all the
movements of the chief melody of the first _allegro_.”

The symphony is scored for two flutes (and piccolo), two oboes (and
English horn), two clarinets and E flat clarinet, four bassoons, four
horns, two cornets-à-pistons, two trumpets, three trombones, two tubas,
two pairs of kettledrums (three players) bells, snaredrum, bass drum,
cymbals, two harps, and strings.

What was the origin of this symphony? Who was the woman that inspired
the music and was so bitterly assailed in the argument sent to his
friend Ferrand? Boschot describes her as she looked in 1827: “Tall,
lithe, with shoulders rather fat and with full bust, a supple figure, a
face of an astonishing whiteness, with bulging eyes like those of the
glowing Mme de Staël, but eyes gentle, dreamy, and sometimes sparkling
with passion. And this Harriet Smithson had the most beautiful
arms—bulbous flesh, sinuous line. They had the effect on a man of a
caress of a flower. And the voice of Harriet Smithson was music.”[13]

Harriet Constance Smithson, known in Paris as Henrietta Smithson, born
at Ennis, Ireland, March 18, 1800, was seen as Ophelia by Berlioz at the
Odéon, Paris, September 11, 1827, after engagements in Ireland and
England. She appeared there first on September 6 with Kemble, Powers,
and Liston. Her success was immediate and overwhelming. She appeared as
Juliet, September 15 of the same year. Berlioz saw these first
performances. He did not then know a word of English: Shakespeare was
revealed to him only through the mist of Letourneur’s translation. After
the third act of _Romeo and Juliet_ he could scarcely breathe; he
suffered as though “an iron hand was clutching” his heart, and he
exclaimed, “I am lost.” And the story still survives, in spite of
Berlioz’s denial, that he then exclaimed: “That woman shall be my wife!
And on that drama I shall write my greatest symphony.” He married her,
and he was thereafter miserable. He wrote the _Romeo and Juliet_
symphony. To the end he preferred the “Love Scene” to all his other

Berlioz has told in his Memoirs the story of his wooing. He was madly in
love. After a tour in Holland, Miss Smithson went back to London, but
Berlioz saw her always by his side; she was his obsessing idea, the
inspiring muse. When he learned through the journals of her triumphs in
London in June, 1829, he dreamed of composing a great work, the _Episode
in the Life of an Artist_, to triumph by her side and through her. He
wrote Ferrand, February 6, 1830: “I am again plunged in the anguish of
an interminable and inextinguishable passion, without motive, without
cause. She is always at London, and yet I think I feel her near me: all
my remembrances awake and unite to wound me; I hear my heart beating,
and its pulsations shake me as the piston strokes of a steam engine.
Each muscle of my body shudders with pain. In vain! ’Tis terrible! O
unhappy one! if she could for one moment conceive all the poetry, all
the infinity of a like love, she would fly to my arms, were she to die
through my embrace. I was on the point of beginning my great symphony
(_Episode in the Life of an Artist_), in which the development of my
infernal passion is to be portrayed; I have it all in my head, but I
cannot write anything. Let us wait.”

He wrote Ferrand on April 16, 1830: “Since my last I have experienced
terrible hurricanes, and my vessel has cracked and groaned horribly, but
at last it has righted itself; it now sails tolerably well. Frightful
truths, discovered and indisputable, have started my cure; and I think
that it will be as complete as my tenacious nature will permit. I am
about to confirm my resolution by a work which satisfies me completely.”
He then inserted a description of the work. “Behold, my dear friend, the
scheme of this immense symphony. I am just writing the last note of it.
If I can be ready on Whitsunday, May 30, I shall give a concert at the
Nouveautés, with an orchestra of two hundred and twenty players. I am
afraid I shall not have the copied parts ready. Just now I am stupid;
the frightful effort of thought necessary to the production of my work
has tired my imagination, and I should like to sleep and rest
continually. But if the brain sleeps, the heart keeps awake.”

He wrote to Ferrand on May 13, 1830: “I think that you will be satisfied
with the scheme of my _Fantastic_ symphony which I sent you in my
letter. The vengeance is not too great; besides, I did not write the
_Dream of a Sabbat Night_ in this spirit. I do not wish to avenge
myself. I pity her and I despise her. She’s an ordinary woman, endowed
with an instinctive genius for expressing the lacerations of the human
soul, but she has never felt them, and she is incapable of conceiving an
immense and noble sentiment, as that with which I honored her. I make
today my last arrangements with the managers of the Nouveautés for my
concert the 30th of this month. They are very honest fellows and very
accommodating. We shall begin to rehearse the _Fantastic_ symphony in
three days; all the parts have been copied with the greatest care; there
are 2,300 pages of music; nearly 400 francs for the copying. We hope to
have decent receipts on Whitsunday, for all the theaters will be
closed.... I hope that the wretched woman will be there that day; at any
rate, there are many conspiring at the Feydeau to make her go. I do not
believe it, however; she will surely recognize herself in reading the
programme of my instrumental drama, and then she will take good care not
to appear. Well, God knows all that will be said, there are so many who
know my story!” He hoped to have the assistance of the “incredible
tenor,” Haizinger, and of Schröder-Devrient, who were then singing in
opera at the Salle Favart.

The “frightful truths” about Miss Smithson were sheer calumnies. Berlioz
made her tardy reparation in the extraordinary letter written to
Ferrand, October 11, 1833, shortly after his marriage. He too had been
slandered: her friends had told her that he was an epileptic, that he
was mad. As soon as he heard the slanders, he raged, he disappeared for
two days, and wandered over lonely plains outside Paris, and at last
slept, worn out with hunger and fatigue, in a field near Sceaux. His
friends had searched Paris for him, even the morgue. After his return he
was obstinately silent for several days.

At last Berlioz determined to give a grand concert at which his cantata
_Sardanapale_, which took the prix de Rome, and the _Fantastic_ symphony
would be performed. Furthermore, Miss Smithson was then in Paris. The
concert was announced for November 14, 1830, but it was postponed till
December 5 of that year. But Miss Smithson was not present; she was at
the Opéra at a performance for her benefit, and she mimed there for the
first and last time the part of Fenella in Auber’s _Muette de Portici_.
The symphony made a sensation; it was attacked and defended violently,
and Cherubini answered, when he was asked if he heard it: “_Ze n’ai pas
besoin d’aller savoir comment il né faut pas faire_.”

After Berlioz returned from Italy, he purposed to give a concert. He
learned accidentally that Miss Smithson was still in Paris; but she had
no thought of her old adorer; after professional disappointments in
London, due perhaps to her Irish accent, she returned to Paris in the
hope of establishing an English theater. The public in Paris knew her no
more; she was poor and at her wit’s end. Invited to go to a concert, she
took a carriage, and then, looking over the programme, she read the
argument of the _Fantastic_ symphony which with _Lélio_, its supplement,
was performed on December 9, 1832. Fortunately, Berlioz had revised the
programme and omitted the coarse insult (“She is now only a courtesan
worthy to figure in such an orgy”) in the programme of the _Sabbat_;
but, as soon as she was seen in the hall of the Conservatory, some who
knew Berlioz’s original purpose chuckled, and spread malicious
information. Miss Smithson, moved by the thought that her adorer, as the
hero of the symphony, tried to poison himself for her, accepted the
symphony as a flattering tribute.

Tiersot[14] describes the scene at this second performance in 1832. The
pit was crowded, as on the great days of romantic festival
occasions—Dumas’s _Antony_ was then jamming the Porte Saint-Martin—with
pale, long-haired youths, who believed firmly that “to make art” was the
only worthy occupation on the earth; they had strange, fierce
countenances, curled mustaches, Merovingian hair or hair cut brushlike,
extravagant doublets, velvet-faced coats thrown back on the shoulders.
The women were dressed in the height of the prevailing fashion, with
coiffures _à la girafe_, high shell combs, shoulder-of-mutton sleeves,
and short petticoats that revealed buskins. Berlioz was seated behind
the drums, and his “monstrous antediluvian hair rose from his forehead
as a primeval forest on a steep cliff.” Heine was in the hall. He was
especially impressed by the _Sabbat_, “where the Devil sings the mass,
where the music of the Catholic church is parodied with the most
horrible, the most outrageous buffoonery. It is a farce in which all the
serpents that we carry hidden in the heart raise their heads, hissing
with pleasure and biting their tails in the transport of their joy....
Mme Smithson was there, whom the French actresses have imitated so
closely. M. Berlioz was madly in love with this woman for three years,
and it is to this passion that we owe the savage symphony which we hear
today.” It is said that, each time Berlioz met her eyes, he beat the
drums with redoubled fury. Heine added: “Since then Miss Smithson has
become Mme Berlioz, and her husband has cut his hair. When I heard the
symphony again last winter, I saw him still at the back of the
orchestra, in his place near the drums. The beautiful Englishwoman was
in a stage box, and their eyes again met: but he no longer beat with
such rage on his drums.”

Musician and play actress met, and after mutual distrust and
recrimination there was mutual love. She was poor and in debt; on March
16, 1833, she broke her leg, and her stage career was over. Berlioz
pressed her to marry him; both families objected; there were violent
scenes; Berlioz tried to poison himself before her eyes; Miss Smithson
at last gave way, and the marriage was celebrated on October 3, 1833. It
was an unhappy one.

“A separation became inevitable,” says Legouvé.[15] “She who had been
Mlle Smithson, grown old and ungainly before her time, and ill besides,
retired to a humble lodging at Montmartre, where Berlioz,
notwithstanding his poverty, faithfully and decently provided for her.
He went to see her as a friend, for he had never ceased to love her, he
loved her as much as ever; but he loved her differently, and that
difference had produced a chasm between them.”

After some years of acute physical as well as mental suffering, the once
famous play actress died, March 3, 1854. Berlioz put two wreaths on her
grave, one for him and one for their absent son, the sailor. And Jules
Janin sang her requiem in a memorable _feuilleton_.

                 OVERTURE, “THE ROMAN CARNIVAL,” OP. 9

Berlioz’s overture, _Le Carnaval Romain_, originally intended as an
introduction to the second act of _Benvenuto Cellini_, is dedicated to
Prince de Hohenzollern-Hechingen. It was performed for the first time,
and under the direction of the composer, at the Salle Herz, Paris, on
February 3, 1844. The overture was composed in Paris in 1843, shortly
after a journey in Germany. The score and parts were published in June,

The chief thematic material of the overture was taken by Berlioz from
his opera _Benvenuto Cellini_, originally in two acts, libretto by Léon
de Wailly and Augusta Barbier. It was produced at the Opéra, Paris, on
September 10, 1838.

The success of _The Roman Carnival_ overture was immediate. The applause
was so long-continued that the work was repeated then and there. Berlioz
gives an account of the performance in the forty-eighth chapter of his
Memoirs. He first says that Habeneck, the conductor at the Opéra, would
not take the time of the _saltarello_ fast enough.

“Some years afterwards, when I had written the overture _The Roman
Carnival_, in which the theme of the _allegro_ is the same _saltarello_
which he never could make go, Habeneck was in the foyer of the Salle
Herz the evening that this overture was to be played for the first time.
He had heard that we had rehearsed it without wind instruments, for some
of my players, in the service of the National Guard, had been called
away. ‘Good!’ said he. ‘There will surely be some catastrophe at this
concert, and I must be there to see it!’ When I arrived, all the wind
players surrounded me; they were frightened at the idea of playing in
public an overture wholly unknown to them.

“‘Don’t be afraid,’ I said; ‘the parts are all right, you are all
talented players; watch my stick as much as possible, count your rests,
and it will go.’

“There was not a mistake. I started the _allegro_ in the whirlwind time
of the Transteverine dancers; the audience shouted, ‘_Bis!_’ We played
the overture again, and it went even better the second time. I went to
the foyer and found Habeneck. He was rather disappointed. As I passed
him, I flung at him these few words: ‘Now you see what it really is!’ He
carefully refrained from answering me.

“Never have I felt more keenly than on this occasion the pleasure of
conducting my own music, and my pleasure was doubled by thinking on what
Habeneck had made me suffer.

“Poor composers, learn to conduct, and conduct yourselves well! (Take
the pun, if you please.) For the most dangerous of your interpreters is
the conductor. Don’t forget this.”

                                 * * *

The overture is scored for two flutes (and piccolo), two oboes, English
horn, two clarinets, two bassoons, four horns, two trumpets, two
cornets, three trombones, kettledrums, two side drums, cymbals,
triangle, and strings.


              (Born at Geneva, Switzerland, July 24, 1880)


Mr. Bloch is most inspired when he stands firmly and proudly on Jewish
ground. The well equipped composer is seen in all that he writes, but
his three Jewish Poems for orchestra, his Psalms, for voice and
orchestra, his _Schelomo_, are far above his what might be called
Gentile work, even above his concerto, not to mention the cycloramic
_America_. As he has written in an account of himself and his artistic
beliefs, it is the Jewish soul that interests him: “the complex,
glowing, agitated soul” that he feels vibrating through the Bible. No
wonder that the despair of the Preacher in Jerusalem and the splendor of
Solomon alike appealed to him; the monarch in all his glory; the
Preacher, who when he looked on all his works that his hands had wrought
and on the labor that he had labored to do, could only explain: “And
behold, all was vanity, and vexation of spirit, and there was no profit
under the Sun.” And so Mr. Bloch might have taken as a motto for this
Hebrew rhapsody the lines of Rueckert:

  _Solomon! Where is thy throne? It is gone in the wind
  . . . . . . . . . . .
  Say what is pleasure? A phantom, a mask undefined.
  Science? An almond, whereof we can pierce but the rind.
  Honor and affluence? Firmans that Fortune hath signed
  Only to glitter and pass on the wings of the wind._

Other composers have taken Solomon for their hero; as Handel in his
oratorio; Goldmark, representing him as mighty and jealous in _The Queen
of Sheba_; Gounod in the opera similarly entitled, based on the wildly
fantastic tale of Gerard de Nerval; there are older operas, but all, or
nearly all, are concerned with _Grand Turke_, the Sultan of the
Ottomans. It was left for Mr. Bloch to express in music the magnificence
and the pessimistic, despairing philosophy of the ruler to whom is
falsely attributed the book, Ecclesiastes. Here is music that does not
brook conventional analysis; music that is now purely lyrical, now
dramatic, now pictorial; music that rises to gorgeous heights and sinks
to the depths; with a conclusion that is not of the Preacher, the pious
admonition after summing up the whole matter, but a conclusion voiced by
the violoncello: “There is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor
wisdom in the grave, whither thou goest.” Here is no Solomon, lord of
all creatures at whose name Afrites and evil genii trembled, the Solomon
of the “Thousand Nights and a Night,” here is the monarch that having
known power and all the pleasures, enumerating them—even to “the
delights of the sons of men, as musical instruments, and that of all
sorts”—reasoned that everything was futile; that all was vanity.

One might therefore infer that this rhapsody is distressingly somber,
for nothing is more wearisome than a long-drawn-out complaint. The
inference would be wrong, for Mr. Bloch has imagined in tones, in
superbly exultant measures, the pomp and sumptuousness of the King
enthroned. There are orchestral bursts of glorification; between them
are recitatives and lyric reflections for the jaded voluptuary, the
embittered philosopher. The ingenuity displayed is as remarkable as the
individuality, the originality shown by the composer stirred in his soul
not only by the story of Solomon; moved mightily by the thought of
ancient days, the succeeding trials and persecution of his race. More
than once in the rhapsody, if there is a suggestion of Solomon’s court
and temple, there is also the suggestion of the Wailing Wall.

                                 * * *

_Schelomo_ was composed at Geneva, Switzerland, in the first two months
of 1916. With the _Trois poèmes juifs_ (composed in 1916) and the
symphony _Israel_ (1913-18), it is that portion of Mr. Bloch’s work that
is peculiarly Hebraic in character. In a letter to the writer of these
notes in 1917, Mr. Bloch wrote that the Psalms, _Schelomo_, and _Israel_
were more representative than the _Jewish Poems_ because they came from
the passion and the violence that he believed to be characteristics of
his nature. “It is not my purpose, not my desire, to attempt a
‘reconstitution’ of Jewish music, or to base my works on melodies more
or less authentic. I am not an archæologist. I hold it of first
importance to write good, genuine music, my music. It is the Jewish soul
that interests me, the complex, glowing, agitated soul, that I feel
vibrating throughout the Bible; the freshness and naïveté of the
Patriarchs; the violence that is evident in the prophetic books; the
Jew’s savage love of justice; the despair of the Preacher in Jerusalem;
the sorrow and the immensity of the Book of Job; the sensuality of the
Song of Songs. All this is in us; all this is in me, and it is the
better part of me. It is all this that I endeavor to hear in myself and
to transcribe in my music: the venerable emotion of the race that
slumbers way down in our soul.”

The _Musical Quarterly_ of January, 1921, published a translation by
Theodore Baker of Guido M. Gatti’s estimate of _Schelomo_ contributed to
_La Critica musicale_ of April-May, 1920:

“The Hebrew rhapsody for solo violoncello with orchestra bears the name
of the great king Solomon. In this, without taking thought for
development and formal consistency, without the fetters of a text
requiring interpretation, he has given free course to his fancy; the
multiplex figure of the founder of the Great Temple lent itself, after
setting it upon a lofty throne, and chiseling its lineaments, to the
creation of a phantasmagorical entourage of persons and scenes in rapid
and kaleidoscopic succession. The violoncello, with its ample breadth of
phrasing, now melodic and with moments of superb lyricism, now
declamatory and with robustly dramatic lights and shades, lends itself
to a reincarnation of Solomon in all his glory, surrounded by his
thousand wives and concubines, with his multitude of slaves and warriors
behind him. His voice resounds in the devotional silence, and the
sentences of his wisdom sink into the heart as the seed into a fertile
soil: ‘Vanity of vanities, saith the Preacher, ... all is vanity. What
profit hath a man of all his labor which he taketh under the sun? One
generation passeth away, and another generation cometh: but the earth
abideth for ever.... He that increaseth knowledge increaseth sorrow.’...
At times the sonorous voice of the violoncello is heard predominant amid
a breathless and fateful obscurity throbbing with persistent rhythms,
again, it blends in a phantasmagorical paroxysm of polychromatic tones,
shot through with silvery clangors and frenzies of exultation. And anon
one finds oneself in the heart of a dream-world, in an Orient of fancy,
where men and women of every race and tongue are holding argument or
hurling maledictions; and now and again we hear the mournful accents of
the prophetic seer, under the influence of which all bow down and listen
reverently. The entire discourse of the soloist, vocal rather than
instrumental, seems like musical expression intimately conjoined with
the Talmudic prose. The pauses, the repetitions of entire passages, the
leaps of a double octave, the chromatic progressions, all find their
analogues in the Book of Ecclesiastes—in the versicles, in the fairly
epigraphic reiteration of the admonitions (‘and all is vanity and
vexation of spirit’), in the unexpected shifts from one thought to
another, in certain _crescendi_ of emotion that end in explosions of
anger or grief uncontrolled.”

_Schelomo_ is scored for three flutes (and piccolo), two oboes (and
English horn), two clarinets, bass clarinet, two bassoons,
contra-bassoon, four horns, four trumpets, three trombones and tuba,
kettledrums, tambourine, side drum, bass drum, cymbals, tam-tam,
celesta, two harps, and strings.

                        ALEXANDER PORPHIRIEVITCH

(Born at St. Petersburg, November 12, 1833;[16] died there February 28,

                   SYMPHONY NO. 2, IN B MINOR, OP. 5

    I. Allegro moderato
    II. Molto vivo
    III. Andante
    IV. Allegro

Only a Russian can do justice to this music, which is wildly Russian;
that is to say, the Russia of the Orient. One is tempted, hearing the
repetitions of the first leading theme, a motto phrase it may be called,
to say with Hamlet: “Leave thy damnable faces and begin,” but the
monotony of repetition becomes irrepressive. A Russian critic was
reminded more than once in the course of the first and last movements of
the ancient Russian knights in their awkwardness, also in their
greatness. We are told that Borodin intended to portray them in tones.
He himself said that in the slow movement he wished to recall the songs
of Slav troubadours; to picture in the first movement the gatherings of
princes, and in the _finale_ the banquets of heroes where the Russian
Guzla and bamboo flute were heard while the mighty men caroused. It is
easy in the lyrical passages to be reminded of corresponding phrases in
_Prince Igor_, nor is this surprising, for he was working on the
symphony and the opera at the same time. He was then obsessed by the
life of feudal Russia.

No composer can be called great simply because he is a nationalist in
his music. The folk tunes of a nation have often worked damage to the
composer relying on them for his themes, and content with the mere
exposition of them. Rimsky-Korsakov and Moussorgsky were nationalists,
but their music passed the frontier; it gives pleasure in every country.
Is Borodin to be ranked with them?

Eric Blom, speaking of Borodin as a pioneer, remembers how he was once
condemned as an “incompetent amateur who wrote hideous discords because
he did not know the rules of harmony”—an unwarranted and foolish
condemnation, as unjust as Tchaikovsky’s characterization in the bitter
letter he wrote to Mme von Meck in 1878 the year after this symphony was
first heard. Admitting that Borodin had talent, “a very great talent,”
he said that it had come to nothing for the want of teaching, “because
blind fate has led him into the science laboratories instead of a vital
musical existence.” The reference was to Borodin’s fame as a chemist at
the Academy of Medicine. This was written when Tchaikovsky was accused
of that atrocious crime, cosmopolitanism, by his fellow laborers in the
Russian vineyard.

There are pages of splendid savagery in this symphony; there are a few
wild, haunting melodies. No, the composer of the two symphonies, one at
least of the string quartets, and a handful of exquisite songs is not to
be flippantly dismissed.

                                 * * *

Borodin’s Symphony in B minor was written during the years 1871-77. The
first performance was at St. Petersburg in the Hall of the Nobility,
February 14, 1877, and Eduard Napravnik was the conductor.

Borodin’s First symphony, in E flat major, was begun in 1862 and
completed in 1867. Stassov furnished him with the scenario of a libretto
founded on an epic and national poem, the story of Prince Igor. This
poem told of the expedition of Russian princes against the Polovtsi, a
nomadic people of the same origin as the Turks, who had invaded the
Russian Empire in the twelfth century. The conflict of Russian and
Asiatic nationalities delighted Borodin, and he began to write his own
libretto. He tried to live in the atmosphere of the bygone century. He
read the poems and the songs that had come down from the people of that
period; he collected folk songs even from Central Asia; he introduced in
the libretto comic characters to give contrast to romantic situations;
and he began to compose the music, when at the end of a year he was
seized with profound discouragement. His friends said to him: “The time
has gone by to write operas on historic or legendary subjects; today it
is necessary to treat the modern drama.” When anyone deplored in his
presence the loss of so much material, he replied that this material
would go into a second symphony. He began work on this symphony, and the
first movement was completed in the autumn of 1871. But the director of
the Russian opera wished to produce an operatic ballet, _Mlada_. The
subject was of an epoch before Christianity. The fourth act was
intrusted to Borodin: it included religious scenes, apparitions of the
ghosts of old Slavonic princes, an inundation, and the destruction of a
temple; and human interest was supplied by a love scene. Faithful to his
theories, Borodin began to study the manners and the religion of this
people. He composed feverishly and did not leave his room for days at a
time. Although the work was prepared by the composers—Minkus was to
write the ballet music, and Borodin, Cui, Moussorgsky, and
Rimsky-Korsakov the vocal music—the scenery demanded such an expense
that the production was postponed, and Borodin began work again on his
Second symphony and _Prince Igor_. He worked under disadvantages: his
wife, Catherine Sergeïevna Protopopova (she died August 9, 1887), an
excellent pianist, was an invalid, and his own health was wretched. In
1877 he wrote: “We old sinners, as always, are in the whirlwind of
life—professional duty, science, art. We hurry on and do not reach the
goal. Time flies like an express train. The beard grows gray, wrinkles
make deeper hollows. We begin a hundred different things. Shall we ever
finish any of them? I am always a poet in my soul, and I nourish the
hope of leading my opera to the last measure, and yet I often mock at
myself. I advance slowly, and there are great gaps in my work.”

Borodin in a letter (January 31, 1877) to his friend, Mme Ludmilla
Ivanovna Karmalina, to whom he told his hopes, disappointments,
enthusiasms, wrote: “The Musical Society had determined to perform my
Second symphony at one of its concerts. I was in the country and did not
know this fact. When I came back to St. Petersburg, I could not find the
first movement and the _finale_. The score of these movements was lost;
I had without doubt mislaid it. I hunted everywhere, but could not find
it; yet the Society insisted, and there was hardly time to have the
parts copied. What should I do? To crown all, I fell sick. I could not
shuffle the thing off, and I was obliged to reorchestrate my symphony.
Nailed to my bed by fever, I wrote the score in pencil. My copy was not
ready in time, and my symphony will not be performed till the next
concert. My two symphonies then will be performed in the same week.
Never has a professor of the Academy of Medicine and Surgery been found
in such a box!”

The Second symphony was at first unsuccessful. Ivanov wrote in the
_Nouveau Temps_: “Hearing this music, you are reminded of the ancient
Russian knights in all their awkwardness and also in all their
greatness. There is heaviness even in the lyric and tender passages.
These massive forms are at times tiresome; they crush the hearer.” But
Stassov tells us that Borodin endeavored by this music to portray the
knights. “Like Glinka, Borodin is an epic poet. He is not less national
than Glinka, but the Oriental element plays with him the part it plays
for Glinka, Dargomijsky, Balakirev, Moussorgsky, Rimsky-Korsakov. He
belongs to the composers of programme music. He can say with Glinka:
‘For my limitless imagination I must have a precise and given text.’” Of
Borodin’s two symphonies the second is the greater work, and it owes its
force to the maturity of the composer’s talent, but especially to the
national character with which it is impregnated by the programme. The
old heroic Russian form dominates it as it does _Prince Igor_.

The symphony is scored for three flutes (and piccolo), two oboes,
English horn, two clarinets, two bassoons, four horns, two trumpets,
three trombones, bass tuba, three kettledrums, bass drum, cymbals,
triangle, tambourine, harp, and the usual strings.

It appears from the score that this symphony was edited by
Rimsky-Korsakov and Glazounov.

I. _Allegro_, B minor, 2-2. The first movement opens with a vigorous
theme given out by the strings in unison, while bassoons and horns
reinforce each alternate measure. This theme may be taken for the motto
of the movement, and it is heard in every section of it. Another motive,
_animato assai_, is given to the wood-wind. After the alternation of
these two musical thoughts, the expressive second theme, _poco meno
mosso_, 3-2 time, is introduced by the violoncellos, and afterward by
the wood-wind. The vigorous first theme is soon heard again from the
full orchestra. There is development. The time changes from 2-2 to 3-2,
but the motto dominates with a development of the first measure of the
second subject. This material is worked at length. A pedal point, with
persistent rhythm for the drum, leads to the recapitulation section, in
which the theme undergoes certain modifications. The _coda_, _animato
assai_, is built on the motto.

II. _Scherzo_, _prestissimo_, F major, 1-1 time. There are a few
introductory measures with repeated notes for first and second horn. The
chief theme is followed by a new thought (syncopated unison of all the
strings). This alternates with the first theme.

_Trio_: _Allegretto_, 6-4. A melody for the oboe is repeated by the
clarinet, and triangle and harp come in on each alternate half of every
measure. This material is developed. The first part of the movement is
repeated, and the _coda_ ends _pianissimo_.

III. _Andante_, D flat major, 4-4. There are introductory measures in
which a clarinet is accompanied by the harp. A horn sings the song of
the old troubadours. _Poco animato_. There is a tremolo for strings, and
the opening melody, changed somewhat, is heard from wood-wind
instruments and horns. _Poco più animato_, 3-4. A new thought is given
to the strings with a chromatic progression in the bass. After the
climax the opening theme returns (strings), and the movement ends with
the little clarinet solo. Then comes, without a pause, the

IV. _Finale._ _Allegro_, B major, 3-4. The movement is in sonata form.
There is an introduction. The chief theme, _forte_, is given to the full
orchestra. It is in 5-4. The second subject, less tumultuous, is given
to clarinet, followed by flute and oboe. The chief theme is developed,
_lento_, in the trombones and tuba, and in a more lively manner by
strings and wood-wind. The second subject is developed, first by
strings, then by full orchestra. The recapitulation section is preceded
by the introductory material for the opening of the movement.


     (Born at Hamburg, May 7, 1833; died at Vienna, April 3, 1897)

Those who like to know about composers as human beings rejoice in the
knowledge that Beethoven was irascible, the despair of his landladies,
given to rough joking; that Haydn was nagged by his shrew of a wife and
fell in love in London with a widow; that Mozart was fond of punch and
billiards; that César Franck’s trousers were too short. There are many
anecdotes about the great, some of them no doubt apocryphal.

In the excellent biography of Brahms by Walter Niemann[17] there is an
entertaining chapter entitled “Brahms as a Man.”

He was not fussy in his dress. At home he went about in a flannel shirt,
trousers, a detachable white collar, no cravat, slippers. In the country
he was happy in a flannel shirt and alpaca jacket, carrying a soft felt
hat in his hand, and in bad weather wearing on his shoulders an
old-fashioned bluish-green shawl, fastened in front by a huge pin. (In
the ’sixties many New Englanders on their perilous journeys to Boston or
New York wore a shawl.) He preferred a modest restaurant to a hotel
table d’hôte. In his music room were pictures of a few composers,
engravings—the Sistine Madonna among them—the portrait of Cherubini, by
Ingres, with a veiled Muse crowning the composer—“I cannot stand that
female,” Brahms said to his landlady—a bronze relief of Bismarck, always
crowned with laurel. There was a square piano on which a volume of Bach
was usually standing open. On the cover lay notebooks, writing tablets,
calendars, cigar cases, spectacles, purses, watches, keys, portfolios,
recently published books and music, also souvenirs of his travels. He
was passionately patriotic, interested in politics, a firm believer in
German unity. He deeply regretted that he had not done military service
as a young man. Prussia should be the North German predominant power.

A Viennese musician once said that whenever he heard one of Brahms’
symphonies he was inclined to prefer it to the other three; but he was a
passionate Brahmsite. The second has a freshness and a spontaneity that
are perhaps not found in the others, though the third presses it hard in
these respects; but there is a rugged grandeur in the first that puts it
above the others.

Professor Schweizerhoffsteinlein, the celebrated Wagnerite, once said:
“To me, however many movements there are in an orchestral work of
Johannes Brahms, to me—hear me once—there are only two: he makes the
first, and I make the second.” But the eminent professor was no doubt
unjust toward Brahms, in his clumsy ponderous way.

The sensuousness of Brahms is cerebral; it might be called Platonic.
There are various kinds of sensuousness in music, as in human life. Some
years ago Joséphin Péladan, the fantastical Sar of dark corners, likened
the music of Brahms to a gypsy woman dancing in tight-fitting corsets.
He detected “latent heat beneath the formal exterior.”

                   SYMPHONY NO. 1, IN C MINOR, OP. 68

    I. Un poco sostenuto; allegro
    II. Andante sostenuto
    III. Un poco allegretto e grazioso
    IV. Adagio; allegro non troppo, ma con brio

Brahms’ First symphony contains remarkable pages, as those of the first
movement, passages in the second, and the marvelously poetic
introduction to the final _allegro_. Mr. Apthorp’s belief that this
introductory episode may have been suggested to Brahms by the tones of
the Alpine horn is not too fanciful, and this impression is made on all
that have heard the horn whether in the Oberland or high up in the
Canton Vaud. Brahms’ fondness for Switzerland is well known, and he had
visited that country before the _finale_ was performed. In this
introductory _adagio_ there is a lyric flight and at the same time an
imaginative force in superb decoration that are seldom found in the
purely orchestral compositions of Brahms.

                                 * * *

Brahms was not in a hurry to write a symphony. He heeded not the wishes
or demands of his friends, he was not disturbed by their impatience. As
far back as 1854 Schumann wrote to Joachim: “But where is Johannes? Is
he flying high or only under the flowers? Is he not yet ready to let
drums and trumpets sound? He should always keep in mind the beginning of
the Beethoven symphonies; he should try to make something like them. The
beginning is the main thing; if only one makes a beginning, then the end
comes of itself.”

Max Kalbeck, of Vienna, the author of a life of Brahms in 2,138 pages,
is of the opinion that the beginning, or rather the germ, of the
Symphony in C minor is to be dated 1855. In 1854 Brahms heard in Cologne
for the first time Beethoven’s Ninth symphony. It impressed him greatly,
so that he resolved to write a symphony in the same tonality. This
symphony he never completed. The first two movements were later used for
the Pianoforte concerto in D minor, and the third for “Behold all flesh”
in _A German Requiem_.

A performance of Schumann’s _Manfred_ also excited him when he was
twenty-two. Kalbeck has much to say about the influence of these works
and the tragedy in the Schumann family over Brahms, as the composer of
the C minor symphony. The contents of the symphony, according to
Kalbeck, portray the relationship between Brahms and Robert and Clara
Schumann. The biographer finds significance in the first measures, _poco
sostenuto_, that serve as introduction to the first _allegro_. It was
Richard Grant White who said of the German commentator on Shakespeare
that the deeper he dived the muddier he came up.

Just when Brahms began to make the first sketches of this symphony is
not exactly known. He was in the habit, as a young man, of jotting down
his musical thoughts when they occurred to him. Later he worked on
several compositions at the same time and let them grow under his hand.
There are instances where this growth was of very long duration. He
destroyed the great majority of his sketches. The few that he did not
destroy are, or were recently, in the library of the Gesellschaft der
Musikfreunde at Vienna.

In 1862 Brahms showed his friend Albert Dietrich an early version of the
first movement of the symphony. It was then without the introduction.
The first movement was afterwards greatly changed. Walter Niemann quotes
Brahms as saying that it was no laughing matter to write a symphony
after Beethoven; “and again, after finishing the first movement of the
First symphony, he admitted to his friend Levi: ‘I shall never compose a
symphony! You have no conception of how the likes of us feel when we
hear the tramp of a giant like him [Beethoven] behind us.’”

The first movement opens with a short introduction, _un poco sostenuto_,
C minor, 6-8, which leads without a pause into the first movement
proper, _allegro_, C minor. Second movement, _andante sostenuto_, E
major, 3-4. The place of the traditional _scherzo_ is supplied by a
movement, _un poco allegretto e grazioso_, A flat major, 2-4. The
_finale_ begins with an _adagio_, C minor, 4-4, in which there are hints
of the themes of the _allegro_ which follows. Here William Foster
Apthorp should be quoted:

“With the thirtieth measure the tempo changes to _più andante_, and we
come upon one of the most poetic episodes in all Brahms. Amid hushed,
tremulous harmonies in the strings, the horn and afterward the flute
pour forth an utterly original melody, the character of which ranges
from passionate pleading to a sort of wild exultation, according to the
instrument that plays it. The coloring is enriched by the solemn tones
of the trombones, which appear for the first time in this movement. It
is ticklish work trying to dive down into a composer’s brain, and
surmise what special outside source his inspiration may have had; but
one cannot help feeling that this whole wonderful episode may have been
suggested to Brahms by the tones of the Alpine horn, as it awakens the
echoes from mountain after mountain on some of the high passes in the
Bernese Oberland. This is certainly what the episode recalls to anyone
who has ever heard those poetic tones and their echoes. A short, solemn,
even ecclesiastical interruption by the trombones and bassoons is of
more thematic importance. As the horn tones gradually die away, and the
cloudlike harmonies in the strings sink lower and lower—like mist
veiling the landscape—an impressive pause ushers in the _allegro non
troppo, ma con brio_ (in C major, 4-4 time). The introductory _adagio_
has already given us mysterious hints at what is to come; and now there
bursts forth in the strings the most joyous, exuberant _Volkslied_
melody, a very Hymn to Joy, which in some of its phrases, as it were
unconsciously and by sheer affinity of nature, flows into strains from
the similar melody in the _finale_ of Beethoven’s Ninth symphony. One
cannot call it plagiarism: it is two men saying the same thing.”

The symphony was produced at Carlsruhe by the Grand Duke’s orchestra on
November 4, 1876. Dessoff conducted from manuscript. Brahms was present.
There was a performance a few days later at Mannheim, where Brahms

Richard Specht,[18] stating that the First symphony made its way
slowly—even Hanslick was far from being enthusiastic—attributes the fact
largely to unsatisfactory interpretations.

After the first performance in Boston (by the Harvard Musical
Association, January 3, 1878), John S. Dwight wrote in his _Journal of
Music_ that the total impression made on him was “as something
depressing and unedifying, a work coldly elaborated, artificial; earnest
to be sure, in some sense great, and far more satisfactory than any
symphony by Raff, or any others of the day, which we have heard; but not
to be mentioned in the same day with any symphony by Schumann,
Mendelssohn, or the great one by Schubert, not to speak of
Beethoven’s.... Our interest in it will increase, but we foresee the
limit; and certainly it cannot be popular; it will not be loved like the
dear masterpieces of genius.”

                   SYMPHONY NO. 2, IN D MAJOR, OP. 73

    I. Allegro non troppo
    II. Adagio non troppo
    III. Allegretto grazioso, quasi andantino
    IV. Allegro con spirito

The latest biographers of Johannes Brahms differ curiously concerning
the character of the Second symphony. The excellent Walter Niemann finds
a tragic undercurrent; “ghostly elements glimmering in a supernatural,
uncanny way”; even “mysterious Wagnerian visions.” The equally excellent
Richard Specht finds sunshine, fair days, warm winds, clarity, and
tenderness. Brahms can on occasion be gloomy and crabbed enough. Why
cannot Mr. Niemann, a devoted admirer of Johannes, allow him to be
cheerful once in a while, as in this Second symphony?

The Symphony in D is the most genial of the four, the most easily
accepted by an audience, for, if there are pages of supreme beauty in
it, as toward the end of the first movement, so there are pages that are
Mendelssohnian in form and in the rhythm of the easily retained melodic
thought. Mendelssohn, a shrewd composer, seldom, if ever, committed the
blunder of surprising an audience. As in the theater, so in the concert
hall, an audience does not wish to be left in doubt, and in this
symphony, which is in reality a storehouse of truly beautiful things,
there is every now and then a passage that is accepted by the hearer as
an agreeable commonplace.

                                 * * *

Chamber music, choral works, pianoforte pieces, and songs had made
Brahms famous before he allowed his First symphony to be played. The
Symphony in C minor was performed for the first time in 1876. Kirchner
wrote in a letter to Marie Lipsius that he had talked about this
symphony in 1863 or 1864 with Mme Clara Schumann, who then showed him
fragments of it. No one knew, it is said, of the existence of a second
symphony before it was completed.

The Second symphony, in D major, was composed, probably at
Pörtschach-am-See, in the summer of 1877, the year that saw the
publication of the first. Brahms wrote Dr. Billroth in September of that
year: “I do not know whether I have a pretty symphony; I must inquire of
skilled persons.” He referred to Clara Schumann, Dessoff, and Ernst
Frank. On September 19, Mme Schumann wrote that he had written out the
first movement. Early in October he played it to her, also a portion of
the _finale_. The symphony was played by Brahms and Ignaz Brüll as a
pianoforte duet (arranged by the composer) to invited guests at the
pianoforte house of his friend Ehrbar in Vienna a few days before the
announced date of the orchestral performance, December 11, 1877. Through
force of circumstances the symphony was played for the first time in
public at the succeeding Philharmonic concert of December 30. Hans
Richter conducted. The second performance, conducted by Brahms, was at
the Gewandhaus, Leipsic, on January 10, 1878.

Certain German critics in their estimate of Brahms have exhausted
themselves in comparison and metaphor. One claims that, as Beethoven’s
Fourth symphony is to his _Eroica_, so is Brahms’ Second to his First;
the one in C minor is epic, the one in D major is a fairy tale. When
Bülow wrote that Brahms was an heir of Cherubini, he referred to the
delicate filigree work shown in the _finale_ of the second. Felix
Weingartner, whose _Die Symphonie nach Beethoven_ (Berlin, 1898) is a
pamphlet of singularly acute and discriminative criticism, coolly says
that the Second is far superior to the First: “The stream of invention
has never flowed so fresh and spontaneous in other works by Brahms, and
nowhere else has he colored his orchestration so successfully.” And
after a eulogy of the movements he puts the symphony among the very best
of the new classic school since the death of Beethoven—“far above all
the symphonies of Schumann.”

Richard Specht, in his Life of Brahms, writes: “The work is suffused
with the sunshine and the warm winds playing on the water, which recall
the summer at Pörtschach that gave it life. The comfortably swinging
first subject at once creates a sense of well-being with its sincere and
sensuous gladness.... This movement is like a fair day in its creator’s
life and outshines the other three sections—the brooding _andante_, the
rather unimportant _scherzo_ ... the broad, sweeping _finale_ which, for
all its lively, driving motion, strikes one as cheerless and artificial
in its briskness. The impression of the unsymphonic nature of this work
is probably due partly to a prejudice that expects to see cosmic images
and not mere genre pictures in such a composition, and partly to the
meter adopted for the first movement. It is remarkable that Brahms did
not employ the common time almost invariably used by the symphonic
masters from Mozart to Schubert in their opening movements until he came
to his Fourth symphony. The round-dance nature of the 3-4 measure in the
D major symphony is especially difficult to take seriously, and rightly
so; for this is a light-hearted work, a declaration of love in symphonic

“Brahms was particularly fond of this dear and tender composition, as
might be judged from the little mystifications with which he raised the
expectations his friends had of the new work that followed its elder
sister within the space of a year. He persisted in describing it as
gloomy and awesome, never to be played by any musicians without a
mourning band on their sleeve.” (As a matter of fact Brahms wrote to
Elisabet von Herzogenberg on December 29, 1877: “The orchestra here play
my new symphony with crape bands on their sleeves, because of its
dirge-like effect. It is to be printed with a black edge, too.”) “He
replied in a tone of waggish secrecy to Elisabet, who was impatiently
waiting for the score and scolded him for not rewarding her discretion
by sending her the work, which she knew to be ready (‘May the deuce take
such modesty!’) and who, incidentally, took exception to his spelling so
noble a word as ‘symphony’ with an ‘f’. ‘It really is no symphony,’ he
writes, ‘but merely a _Sinfonie_, and I shall have no need to play it to
you beforehand. You merely sit down at the piano, put your little feet
on the two pedals in turn, and strike the chord of F minor several times
in succession, first in the treble, then in the bass _ff_ and _pp_ and
you will gradually gain a vivid impression of my “latest.”’ And he was
as pleased as Punch with the glad surprise and delight of the adored
woman and of all his friends when they saw this sunny work.”

                  SYMPHONY, NO. 3, IN F MAJOR, OP. 90

    I. Allegro con brio
    II. Andante
    III. Poco allegretto
    IV. Allegro

Some justly prefer the Symphony in F major to the other three. It has no
pages equal in imagination to the wonderful introduction to the _finale_
of the First; it has nothing in it like the architectural grandeur of
the Fourth’s _finale_; but, as a whole, it is the most poetic of the
four. Brahms wrote nothing more commanding than the opening of the first
movement. Page after page thereafter might be cited in praise. And in
this symphony the natural austerity of the composer is mellowed, his
melancholy, as in the third movement, is tender, wistful, not

                                 * * *

Brahms worked on his Third symphony in 1882, and in the summer of 1883
he completed it.

The first performance of the Third symphony was at a Philharmonic
concert in Vienna, December 2, 1883. Hans Richter conducted. Brahms
feared for the performance, although Richter had conducted four
rehearsals. He wrote to Bülow that at these rehearsals he missed the
Forum Romanum (the theater scene which in Meiningen served as a concert
hall for rehearsals), and would not be wholly comfortable until the
public gave unqualified approval. Max Kalbeck states that at the first
performance in Vienna a crowd of the Wagner-Bruckner _ecclesia militans_
stood in the pit to make a hostile demonstration, and there was hissing
after the applause following each movement had died away; but the
general public was so appreciative that the hissing was drowned and
enthusiasm was at its height. Arthur Faber came near fighting a duel
with an inciter of the _Skandal_ sitting behind him, but forgot the
disagreeable incident at the supper given by him in honor of the
production of the symphony, with Dr. Billroth, Simrock, Goldmark,
Dvořák, Brüll, Hellmesberger, Richter, Hanslick, among the guests. At
this concert Franz Ondricek played the new violin concerto of Dvořák.

It is said that various periodicals asserted that this symphony was by
far the best of Brahms’ compositions. This greatly annoyed the composer,
especially as it raised expectations which he thought could not be
fulfilled. Brahms sent the manuscript to Joachim in Berlin and asked him
to conduct the second performance where or at what time he liked. For a
year or more the friendship between the two had been clouded, for Brahms
had sided with Mrs. Joachim in the domestic dispute, or at least he had
preserved his accustomed intimacy with her, and Joachim had resented
this. The second performance, led by Joachim, was at Berlin, January 4,
1884. Dr. Franz Wüllner was then the conductor of the Berlin
Philharmonic Orchestra Subscription Concerts. Brahms had promised him in
the summer before the honor of conducting this symphony in Berlin for
the first time. Joachim insisted that he should be the conductor.
Churlish in the matter, he persuaded Brahms to break his promise to
Wüllner by saying that he would play Brahms’ violin concerto under the
composer’s direction if Brahms would allow him to conduct the symphony.
Brahms then begged Wüllner to make the sacrifice. Joachim therefore
conducted it at an Academy Concert, but Brahms was not present; he came
about a fortnight later to Wüllner’s first subscription concert, and
then conducted the symphony and played his pianoforte concerto in D
minor. The writer of these notes was at this concert. The symphony was
applauded enthusiastically, but Brahms was almost as incompetent a
conductor as Joachim. (His pianoforte playing in 1884 on that occasion
was muddy and noisy.) Brahms conducted the symphony at Wiesbaden on
January 18, 1884. The copyright of the manuscript was sold to the
publisher Simrock, of Berlin, for 36,000 marks ($9,000) and a percentage
on sums realized by performances.

Hans Richter in a toast christened this symphony when it was still in
manuscript, the “_Eroica_.” Hanslick remarked concerning this: “Truly,
if Brahms’ First symphony in C minor is characterized as the
‘_Pathetic_’ or the ‘_Appassionata_’ and the second in D major as the
‘_Pastoral_,’ the new symphony in F major may be appropriately called
his ‘_Eroica_’”; yet Hanslick took care to add that the key word was not
wholly to the point, for only the first movement and the _finale_ are of
heroic character. This Third symphony, he says, is indeed a new one. “It
repeats neither the poignant song of Fate of the first, nor the joyful
Idyl of the second; its fundamental note is proud strength that rejoices
in deeds. The heroic element is without any warlike flavor; it leads to
no tragic action, such as the Funeral March in Beethoven’s _Eroica_. It
recalls in its musical character the healthy and full vigor of
Beethoven’s second period, and nowhere the singularities of his last
period; and every now and then in passages quivers the romantic twilight
of Schumann and Mendelssohn.”

Max Kalbeck thinks that the statue of Germania near Rüdesheim inspired
Brahms to write this symphony.[19] Joachim found Hero and Leander in the
_finale_! He associated the second motive in C major with the bold
swimmer breasting the waves. Clara Schumann entitled the symphony a
“Forest Idyl” and sketched a programme for it.

The first movement, _allegro con brio_, in F major, 6-4, opens with
three introductory chords (horns, trumpets, wood-wind), the upper voice
of which, F, A flat, F, presents a short theme that is an emblematic
figure, or device, which recurs significantly throughout the movement.
Although it is not one of the regular themes, it plays a dominating
part. Some find in a following cross-relation—A flat of the bass against
the preceding A natural of the first theme, the “Keynote to some occult
dramatic signification.” Enharmonic modulation leads to A major, the
tonality of the second theme. There is first a slight reminiscence of
the “Venusberg” scene in _Tannhäuser_—“_Naht euch dem Strande!_” Dr.
Hugo Riemann goes so far as to say that Brahms may have thus paid a
tribute to Wagner, who died in the period of the composition of this
symphony. The second theme is of a graceful character, but of compressed
form, in strong contrast with the broad and sweeping first theme. The
second movement, _andante_ in C major, 4-4, opens with a hymnlike
passage, which in the first three chords reminds some persons of the
“Prayer” in _Zampa_. The third movement is a _poco allegretto_, C minor,
3-8, a romantic substitute for the traditional _scherzo_. _Finale_,
_allegro_, in F minor, 2-2. At the end the strings in tremolo bring the
original first theme of the first movement, “the ghost” of this first
theme, as Apthorp called it, over sustained harmonies in the wind

                   SYMPHONY NO. 4, IN E MINOR, OP. 98

    I. Allegro non troppo
    II. Andante moderato
    III. Allegro giocoso
    IV. Allegro energico e passionato

Much of the Fourth symphony is melancholy and lamentful, but it is
relieved by the consolatory beatitude of the _andante_ and the elevating
stateliness of the conclusion.... The austerity with which the composer
has been reproached—in many instances unjustly—is here pronounced. The
solidity of the structure may be admired, but the structure itself is
granitic and unrelieved. The symphony has not the epic grandeur of the
first, the geniality of the second, the wealth of varied beauty that
distinguishes the third.

                                 * * *

This symphony was first performed at Meiningen, October 25, 1885, under
the direction of the composer.

It was composed in the summers of 1884 and 1885 at Mürzzuschlag in
Styria: Miss Florence May in her Life of Brahms says that the manuscript
was nearly destroyed in 1885: “Returning one afternoon from a walk, he
[Brahms] found that the house in which he lodged had caught fire, and
that his friends were busily engaged in bringing his papers, and amongst
them the nearly finished manuscript of the new symphony, into the

In a letter, Brahms described this symphony as “a couple of entr’actes,”
also as “a choral work without text.” He was doubtful about its worth.
He consulted his friends, and he and Ignaz Brüll played a pianoforte
arrangement in the presence of several of them. He judged from their
attitude that they did not like it and he was much depressed. There was
a preliminary orchestral rehearsal at Meiningen in October, 1885,
conducted by Hans von Bülow. Brahms arrived in time for the first
performance. The symphony was most warmly applauded, and the audience
endeavored, but in vain, to obtain a repetition of the third movement.

The symphony was performed at a Philharmonic concert in Vienna on March
7, 1897, the last Philharmonic concert heard by Brahms. We quote from
Miss May’s biography: “The Fourth symphony had never become a favorite
work in Vienna. Received with reserve on its first performance, it had
not since gained much more from the general public of the city than the
respect sure to be accorded there to an important work by Brahms. Today
[_sic_], however, a storm of applause broke out at the end of the first
movement, not to be quieted until the composer, coming to the front of
the artist’s box in which he was seated, showed himself to the audience.
The demonstration was renewed after the second and the third movements,
and an extraordinary scene followed the conclusion of the work. The
applauding, shouting house, its gaze riveted on the figure standing in
the balcony, so familiar and yet in present aspect so strange, seemed
unable to let him go. Tears ran down his cheeks as he stood there,
shrunken in form, with lined countenance, strained expression, white
hair hanging lank; and through the audience there was a feeling as of a
stifled sob, for each knew that they were saying farewell. Another
outburst of applause and yet another; one more acknowledgment from the
master; and Brahms and his Vienna had parted forever.”

Heinrich Reimann gives a short description of the symphony: “It begins
as in ballad fashion. Blaring fanfares of horns and cries of pain
interrupt the narration, which passes into an earnest and ardent melody
(B major, violoncellos). The themes, especially those in fanfare
fashion, change form and color. ‘The formal appearance, now powerful,
prayerful, now caressing, tender, mocking, homely, now far away, now
near, now hurried, now quietly expanding, ever surprises us, is ever
welcome: it brings joy and gives dramatic impetus to the movement.’ A
theme of the second movement constantly returns in varied form, from
which the chief theme, the staccato figure given to the wind, and the
melodious song of the violoncellos are derived. The third movement,
_allegro giocoso_, sports with old-fashioned harmonies, which should not
be taken too seriously. This is not the case with the _finale_, an
artfully contrived _ciacona_ of antique form, but of modern contents.
The first eight measures give the ‘title-page’ of the _ciacona_. The
measures that follow are variations of the leading theme; wind
instruments prevail in the first three, then the strings enter; the
movement grows livelier, clarinets and oboes lead to E major; and now
comes the solemn climax of this movement, the trombone passage. The old
theme enters again after the _fermata_, and rises to full force, which
finds expression in a _più allegro_ for the close.”[20]


At Bonn, in August, 1873, Brahms with Clara Schumann played to a few
friends the _Variations on a Theme by Haydn_ in the version (Op. 56b)
for two pianofortes.

It is not definitely known whether the orchestral version or the one for
two pianofortes was the earlier. The orchestral stands first in thematic
catalogues of Brahms’ compositions, but the pianoforte version was
published first—in November, 1873. The probability is that the
orchestral version was the first. The autograph manuscript of Op. 56b is
dated at the end “Tutzing July 1873.” It was in November, 1870, that C.
F. Pohl showed Brahms the compositions of Haydn, an _andante_ from a
symphony and the _chorale_ that gave Brahms his theme. Kalbeck believed
that the score of Haydn’s _chorale_ put Brahms in mind of the excellent
wind choir of the Detmold Court Orchestra, and the thought of the Vienna
Philharmonic Orchestra gave him greater desire to write an orchestral

The theme is taken from a collection of _divertimenti_ for wind
instruments by Haydn. In the original score it is entitled _Chorale St.
Antoni_. The _divertimento_ in which this theme occurs is in B flat
major; it is composed for two oboes, two horns, three bassoons, and a
serpent. For the third bassoon and the serpent Brahms substituted a
double bassoon. The _divertimento_ was composed by Haydn probably about
1782-84 and for open-air performance. It was performed at a concert in
London in March, 1908. As then played, it consisted of a lively
introduction, the _Chorale Sancti Antonii_, a _minuetto_ and a _rondo_.
It was then questioned whether Haydn composed the _chorale_, and why the
folk-song-like tune was so named.

The theme is announced by Brahms in plain harmony by wind instruments
over a bass for violoncellos, double basses, and double bassoon.

Variation I. _Poco più andante._ The violins enter, and their figure is
accompanied by one in triplets in the violas and violoncellos. These
figures alternately change places. Wind instruments are added.

II. B flat minor, _più vivace_. Clarinets and bassoons have a variation
of the theme, and violins enter with an _arpeggio_ figure.

III. There is a return to the major, _con moto_, 2-4. The theme is given
to the oboes, doubled by the bassoons an octave below. There is an
independent accompaniment for the lower strings. In the repetition the
violins and violas take the part which the wind instruments had, and the
flutes, doubled by the bassoons, have _arpeggio_ figures.

IV. In minor, 3-8. The melody is sung by oboe with horn; then it is
strengthened by the flute with the bassoon. The violas and shortly after
the violoncellos accompany in scale passage. The parts change place in

V. This variation is a _vivace_ in major, 6-8. The upper melody is given
to flutes, oboes, and bassoons, doubled through two octaves. In the
repetition the moving parts are taken by the strings.

VI. _Vivace_, major, 2-4. A new figure is introduced. During the first
four measures the strings accompany with the original theme in harmony,
afterwards in _arpeggio_ and scale passages.

VII. _Grazioso_, major, 6-8. The violins an octave above the clarinets
descend through the scale, while the piccolo doubled by violas has a
fresh melody.

VIII. B flat minor, _presto non troppo_, 3-4. The strings are muted. The
mood is _pianissimo_ throughout. The piccolo enters with an inversion of
the phrase.

The _finale_ is in the major, 4-4. It is based throughout on a phrase,
an obvious modification of the original theme, which is used at first as
a ground bass—“a bass passage constantly repeated and accompanied each
successive time with a varied melody and harmony.” This obstinate phrase
is afterwards used in combination with other figures in other passages
of the _finale_. The original theme returns in the strings at the
climax; the wood-wind instruments accompany in scale passages, and the
brass fills up the harmony. The triangle is now used to the end. Later
the melody is played by wood and brass instruments, and the strings have
a running accompaniment.

The late Max Kalbeck in his long-winded and ponderous Life of Brahms has
much to say about these Variations. Which St. Anthony was in Haydn’s
mind is immaterial. Kalbeck decided that Brahms’ hero is the St. Anthony
of Thebes. Brahms was a friend and admirer of Anselm Feuerbach, the
artist, who had painted a life-size Temptation of St. Anthony, the monk
kneeling with a book, a scourge, and a skull near him, while a woman
begs him to leave his religious meditation and enter into life. This
picture was so ridiculed that the sensitive Feuerbach destroyed it, but
it had been engraved and photographed.

Kalbeck finds a _crescendo_ of musical psychology in the Variations,
which, as they are developed, remind him of musical dissolving views.
The seventh Variation pictures the severest test undergone by the saint:
“The most atrocious because it is the sweetest.” In this Siciliano he
sees the apparition of the tempting woman. The music is “the
quintessence of human voluptuousness, which according to Master Eckhart
is ‘mixed with bitterness.’ After it comes death. Blessed is the man
that has withstood the temptation! The _finale_, which includes
seventeen and more variations, celebrates him.”

Did Brahms have all this in mind when he wrote these Variations? Was not
Kalbeck like the man “of meager aspect with sooty hands and face” seen
by Captain Lemuel Gulliver at the Academy of Lagado engaged for eight
years upon a project for extracting sunbeams from cucumbers?

                       “TRAGIC” OVERTURE, OP. 81

The _Tragic_ overture is among the greatest works of Brahms; by its
structure, and by its depths of feeling. There is no hysterical
outburst; no shrieking in despair; no peevish or sullen woe; no
obtruding suggestion of personal suffering. The German commentators have
cudgeled their brains to find a hero in the music: Hamlet, Faust, this
one, that one. They have labored in vain. The soul of Tragedy speaks in
the music.

                                 * * *

Although the _Tragic_ overture is Op. 81 and the _Academic_ is Op. 80,
the _Tragic_ was composed and performed before the _Academic_: it was
performed for the first time at the Fourth Philharmonic Concert at
Vienna in 1880.

The _Tragic_ overture may be said to be a musical characterization of
the principles of tragedy as laid down by Aristotle or Lessing; it
mirrors, as Reimann puts it, the grandeur, the loftiness, the deep
earnestness, of tragic character; “calamities, which an inexorable fate
has imposed on him, leave the hero guilty; the tragic downfall atones
for the guilt; this downfall, which by purifying the passions and
awakening fear and pity works on the race at large, brings expiation and
redemption to the hero himself.” Or as Dr. Dieters says: “In this work
we see a strong hero battling with an iron and relentless fate; passing
hopes of victory cannot alter an impending destiny. We do not care to
inquire whether the composer had a special tragedy in his mind, or if
so, which one; those who remain musically unconvinced by the
unsurpassably powerful theme, would not be assisted by a particular

The overture was composed in 1880 and published in 1881.

                   ACADEMIC FESTIVAL OVERTURE, OP. 80

Johannes Brahms desired to give thanks publicly to the University of
Breslau because he had received from the illustrious dignitaries of that
university the degree of Doctor of Philosophy. How best could he express
his thanks in music? By something stately, pompous? Or by something
profound and cryptic? Brahms acted with shrewdness in the matter; he
took for his thematic material well-known students’ songs. These songs
are familiar throughout Germany, and it is not as though a composer
called upon, for instance, to write an appropriate overture for an
approaching jubilee at Yale should take songs peculiar to that college;
nor is it as though a composer should take “Eli Yale” and “Fair Harvard”
and a Dartmouth or Williams song for his themes. Wherever Brahms’
overture is heard by a German student, whether of Heidelberg, Bonn,
Berlin, or Breslau, the themes are old friends and common property.

But where is the reckless gayety of student life in this overture? Much
of it is dry, on account of the orchestration. For even when you admit
that Brahms was a master builder of musical structures, you are not
thereby estopped from saying in clear, bell-like tones that he was also
color deaf.

The Brahmsite turns triumphantly to the _Fuchslied_—“Was kommt dort von
der Höh”—which is introduced by two bassoons, accompanied by ’cellos and
violas _pizzicati_. “There! there!” he exclaims, “that is excruciatingly
funny. Only a master, only a Johannes could make so easily a master
stroke!” If you cross-examine him you will find that the humor consists
in the choice of instruments.

Somebody once said that the bassoon is the clown of the orchestra.
Therefore the double bassoon should be twice as funny—perhaps even a
Shakespearean clown. And simply because somebody gave the poor bassoon
this name, it must be regarded as funny _per se_. “Funny”? The bassoon
is lugubrious, ghostly, spectral, weird, unearthly, demoniacal. It
smells of mortality. It suggests the glow-worm and the grave. The wicked
nuns in _Robert le Diable_ heard it and obeyed the spell, for corruption
called to corruption. It lends a flavor of the charnal house to
Tchaikovsky’s _Pathétique_. It pictures the mood of Leonora without Di
Luna’s tower. It chatters and gibbers as the murderous artist in the
_Symphonie fantastique_ goes his wretched way to the scaffold. It is the
instrument dear to all that inhabit the night air, the cemetery, the
diseased mind.

But these bassoons appear in Brahms’ overture “_etwas plötzlich_”—a
phrase I once heard used in a Berlin beer hall by a dapper and corseted
and monocled officer, who was extremely thirsty and thus addressed the
waiter. And I defy any sober-minded person who has not the fear of
Brahms before his eyes to find the introduction or the treatment of the
song spontaneously gay or humorous. The song itself is a good freshman
hazing song.

Some of the books—and books of authority—say that the _Academic_ was
written for performance at Breslau on the occasion of Brahms’ receiving
the degree of Doctor of Philosophy. He did receive the degree, but it
was on March 11, 1879, and if anyone doubts this I shall be happy to
quote to him the degree in the original Latin—which I cannot construe,
except as regards the date. I like to think of Brahms as a doctor of
philosophy. The degree goes so well with the man. It also explains
some—not all—of his music. Let the overture be considered and weighed as
the night work of a Doctor of Philosophy.

                                 * * *

Brahms wrote two overtures in the summer of 1880 at Ischl—the _Academic_
and the _Tragic_. They come between the Symphony in D major and that in
F major in the list of his orchestral works. It is said by Heuberger
that Brahms wrote two “Academic Festival overtures”; so he must have
destroyed one of them. When the _Academic_ was first played at Breslau,
the rector and Senate and members of the Philosophical faculty sat in
the front seats at the performance, and the composer conducted his work.
Brahms was not a university man, but he had known with Joachim the
joyous life of students at Göttingen—at the university made famous by
Canning’s poem:

  _Whene’er with haggard eyes I view
    This dungeon that I’m rotting in,
  I think of those companions true
  who studied with me at the U-
    niversity of Göttingen—
    niversity of Göttingen_;

—the university satirized so bitterly by Heine.

Brahms wrote to Bernard Scholz that the title ‘_Academic_’ did not
please him. Scholz suggested that it was “cursedly academic and
boresome,” and suggested _Viadrina_, for that was the poetical name of
the Breslau University. Brahms spoke flippantly of this overture in the
fall of 1880 to Max Kalbeck. He described it as a “very jolly potpourri
on students’ songs à la Suppé”; and, when Kalbeck asked him ironically
if he had used the “Foxsong,” he answered contentedly, “Yes, indeed.”
Kalbeck was startled, and said he could not think of such academic
homage to the “leathery Herr Rektor,” whereupon Brahms duly replied,
“That is also wholly unnecessary.”

The first of the student songs to be introduced is Binzer’s “Wir hatten
gebauet ein stattliches Haus” (We had built a stately house, and trusted
in God therein through bad weather, storm, and horror). The first
measures are given out by the trumpets with a peculiarly stately effect.
The melody of “Der Landesvater” is given to the second violins. And then
for the first time is there any deliberate attempt to portray the
jollity of university life. The “Fuchslied” (Freshman Song) is
introduced suddenly by two bassoons. There are hearers undoubtedly who
remember the singing of this song in Longfellow’s “Hyperion”; how the
freshman entered the _Kneipe_, and was asked with ironical courtesy
concerning the health of the leathery _Herr Papa_ who reads in Cicero.
Similar impertinent questions were asked concerning the _Frau Mama_ and
the _Mamsell Sœur_; and then the struggle of the freshman with the first
pipe of tobacco was described in song. “Gaudeamus igitur,” the melody
that is familiar to students of all lands, serves as the _finale_.


    I. Maestoso
    II. Adagio
    III. Rondo: allegro non troppo

This concerto was played for the first time at Hanover, on January 22,
1859. Brahms was the pianist; Joachim conducted.

Brahms, living in Hanover in 1854, worked in the spring and summer on a
symphony. The madness of Schumann and his attempt to commit suicide by
throwing himself into the Rhine had deeply affected him. He wrote to
Joachim in January, 1855, from Düsseldorf, “I have been trying my hand
at a symphony during the past summer, have even orchestrated the first
movement and composed the second and third.”

This symphony was never completed. The work as it stood was turned into
a sonata for two pianofortes. The first two movements became later the
first and the second of the Pianoforte concerto in D minor; the third is
the movement “Behold all flesh” in _A German_ _Requiem_. The sonata for
two pianofortes was frequently played in private in the middle ’fifties
by Brahms with Clara Schumann, or his friend Julius Otto Grimm, who had
assisted him in the orchestration of the symphony. Grimm (1827-1903),
philologist, conductor, lecturer, doctor of philosophy, composer of a
symphony, suites and other works, declared that the musical contents of
this sonata deserved a more dignified form, and persuaded Brahms to put
them into a concerto. The task busied Brahms for two years or more. The
movements were repeatedly sent to Joachim, whose advice was of much
assistance. In 1858 the _Signale_ reported that Brahms had arrived in
Detmold, and it was hoped that some of his compositions might be
performed there. “He has completed, among other things, a pianoforte
concerto, the great beauties of which have been reported to us.” The
musicians at Detmold were not inclined to appreciate Brahms; it is said
that the _Kapellmeister_, Kiel, was prejudiced against him; but the
concerto was rehearsed at Hanover, and Joachim, in spite of a certain
amount of official opposition, put it on the programme of the Hanover
Subscription Court Concerts, the third of the series for 1858-59.

The concerto was then coldly received. The Hanover correspondent of the
_Signale_ wrote, “The work had no great success with the public, but it
aroused the decided respect and sympathy of the best musicians for the
gifted artist.” Brahms played the concerto at a Gewandhaus concert in
Leipsic on January 27, 1859. The public and the critics were unfriendly.
The composer wrote to Joachim: “A brilliant and decided failure.... In
spite of all this, the concerto will please some day when I have
improved its construction.” Breitkopf & Härtel refused to publish it;
but Rieter-Biedermann gave it to the world in 1861.


    I. Allegro non troppo
    II. Allegro appassionato
    III. Andante
    IV. Allegretto grazioso

The choice of this concerto shows the high purpose and the pure aim; for
the Second concerto of Brahms is not one to tickle the ear, stun the
judgment, and provoke cheap and boisterous applause. And as the Second
symphony of Brahms is to the First, so is the Second concerto of Brahms
to the First. In each case, while the passion is less stormy, the
thoughts are less crabbed and gnarled. Only in the first movement of the
B flat major concerto does Brahms “keep up a terrible thinking.”

The second fascinates by its sturdiness and rhythmic capriciousness; the
third movement is Brahms at his noblest, when his thought is as lofty
and serenely beautiful as a summer sky at noon. And who can describe in
words the enchanting, haunting delight of the _finale_—music like unto
the perfect verse of a supreme poet whose imagination is kindled by wild
or melancholy tales told him in youth by gypsy lips.

                                 * * *

This concerto was performed for the first time at Budapest, from
manuscript, November 9, 1881, when the composer was the pianist.

On April 8, 1878, Brahms, in company with Dr. Billroth and Carl
Goldmark, made a journey to Italy. Goldmark, who went to Rome to be
present at the last rehearsals of his opera _Die Königin von
Saba_—production was postponed until the next year on account of the
illness of the leading soprano—did not accompany his friends to Naples
and Sicily. Returning to Pörtschach, Brahms sketched themes of the
Concerto in B flat major on the evening before his birthday; but he left
the sketches, in which “he mirrored the Italian spring turning to
summer,” undeveloped.

His violin concerto originally contained a _scherzo_ movement.
Conferring with Joachim, he omitted this movement. Max Kalbeck thinks
that this _scherzo_ found a home in the second pianoforte concerto.

In March, 1881, Brahms set out on a second journey in Italy. He visited
Venice, Florence, Siena, Orvieto, Rome, Naples, and Sicily. He returned
to Vienna on his birthday of that year with his mind full of Italian
scenes in springtime and with thoughts of the pianoforte concerto
inspired by his first visit. On May 22 he went to Pressbaum near Vienna
and lived in the villa of Mme Heingartner. In 1907, Orestes Ritter von
Connevay, then the possessor of the villa, erected a monument to Brahms
in the garden. A bronze bust stands on a stone pedestal. An iron tablet
bears this inscription: “Here in the summer of 1881 Johannes Brahms
completed _Nänie_, Op. 82, and the pianoforte concerto, Op. 83.” Brahms
was moved by the death of Anselm Feuerbach, the painter, to set music
for chorus and orchestra to Schiller’s poem, “Nänie.”

Miss May says in her life of Brahms that the manuscript of _Nänie_, and
portions of the concerto, were soon lent by Brahms to Dr. Billroth, “the
concerto movements being handed to him with the words, ‘A few little
pianoforte pieces.’” “It is always a delight to me,” wrote Billroth,
“when Brahms, after paying me a short visit, during which we have talked
of indifferent things, takes a roll out of his greatcoat pocket and says
casually, ‘Look at that and write me what you think of it.’”

                CONCERTO FOR VIOLIN, IN D MAJOR, OP. 77

    I. Allegro non troppo
    II. Adagio
    III. Allegro giocoso, ma non troppo vivace

This concerto was written, during the summer and the fall of 1878, at
Pörtschach on Lake Wörther in Carinthia for Joseph Joachim, dedicated to
him, and first played by him under the direction of the composer at a
Gewandhaus concert, Leipsic, on January 1, 1879.

Brahms, not confident of his ability to write with full intelligence for
the solo violin, was aided by Joachim, who it appears from the
correspondence between him and Brahms, gave advice inspired by his own
opinions concerning the violinist’s art. Richard Specht, in his
_Johannes Brahms_ (1928), says that Brahms agreed to scarcely anything
but “bow marks and fingering; otherwise he adhered to his text, and not
always to the advantage of his notation, which has often been misread by
violinists.” There was a dispute concerning the writing of “ties over
staccato dots, which has not the same meaning for the violinist as for
the pianist.” Joachim tried to explain this difference, but Brahms
obstinately refused to alter his notation, “which was afterwards duly

The concerto was originally in four movements. It contained a _scherzo_
which was thrown overboard. Max Kalbeck, the biographer of Brahms,
thinks it highly probable that it found its way into the Second
pianoforte concerto. The _adagio_ was so thoroughly revised that it was
practically new. “The middle movements have gone,” Brahms wrote, “and of
course they were the best! But I have written a poor _adagio_ for it.”
Specht suggests that Brahms may have intended to save the rejected two
movements for a second violin concerto, “of which he made sketches
immediately after the first.”

Florence May in her life of Brahms quotes Dörffel with regard to the
first performance at Leipsic: “Joachim played with a love and devotion
which brought home to us in every bar the direct or indirect share he
has had in the work. As to the reception, the first movement was too new
to be distinctly appreciated by the audience, the second made
considerable way, the last aroused great enthusiasm.” Miss May adds that
the critic Bernsdorf was less unsympathetic than usual.

Kalbeck, a still more enthusiastic worshiper of Brahms than Miss May,
tells a different story. “The work was heard respectfully, but it did
not awaken a bit of enthusiasm. It seemed that Joachim had not
sufficiently studied the concerto or he was severely indisposed.” Brahms
conducted in a state of evident excitement. A comic incident came near
being disastrous. The composer stepped on the stage in gray street
trousers, for on account of a visit he had been hindered in making a
complete change of dress. Furthermore he forgot to fasten again the
unbuttoned suspenders, so that in consequence of his lively directing
his shirt showed between his trousers and waistcoat. “These
laughter-provoking trifles were not calculated for elevation of mood.”

In spite of Leipsic, Brahms soon recovered his spirits. He wrote to
Elisabet von Herzogenberg from Vienna in January: “My concert tour was a
real downhill affair after Leipsic; no more pleasure in it. Perhaps that
is a slight exaggeration, though, for friends and hospitality are not
everything on a concert tour. In some trifling ways it was even more
successful; the audiences were kinder and more alive. Joachim played my
piece more beautifully with every rehearsal, too, and the _cadenza_ went
so magnificently at our concert here that the people clapped right on
into my _coda_. But what is all that compared to the privilege of going
home to Humboldtstrasse and being pulled to pieces by three
womenkind—since you object to the word ‘females’?”

The composition is fairly orthodox in form. The three movements are
separate, and the traditional _tuttis_, _soli_, _cadenzas_, etc., are
pretty much as in the old-fashioned pieces of this kind; but in the
first movement the long solo _cadenza_ precedes the taking up of the
first theme by the violin. The modernity is in the prevailing spirit and
in the details. Furthermore, it is not a work for objective virtuoso

  The orchestra which Brahms requires in his symphonies is practically
  the same as that which Beethoven used in the first three movements of
  his Ninth: two flutes, two oboes, two clarinets, two bassoons and
  double bassoon, four horns, two trumpets, three trombones,
  kettledrums, and strings. This is the orchestration of Brahms’ First
  symphony (the trombones being reserved for the final movement). The
  Second omits the double bassoon but adds a tuba. The Third lists the
  same orchestra as the First. The Fourth adds a piccolo, and in this
  symphony the trombones are not heard until the opening chords of the

  To the above basic orchestration Brahms added, in his _Tragic_
  overture, a piccolo and tuba, and in his _Academic_ overture, a
  piccolo, a third trumpet, tuba, bass drum, cymbals, and triangle. The
  _Variations_ add piccolo and triangle but omit trombones. The
  concertos follow the usual orchestration, with but two trombones in
  the piano concertos—none in the violin concerto.—EDITOR.


    (Born at Ansfelden, in Upper Austria, September 4, 1824; died at
                       Vienna, October 11, 1896)

Both the admirers of Bruckner and those that dislike his music lay
stress on the fact that he was born a peasant and was essentially a
peasant to the day of his death, although the Rector Magnificus of the
University of Vienna bowed before him when he presented him with the
honorary degree of doctor. The detractors find in Bruckner’s peasanthood
his salient faults. The former say that by reason of the simplicity and
purity of his character Bruckner was as Paul caught up in the body or
out of the body, they cannot tell, to the third heaven, caught up into
paradise where he heard unspeakable words, which it was not lawful for
him to utter, but it was allowed him to hint at them in music. The
latter insist that his peasant naïveté is revealed in his interminable
chatter, in his vague wanderings, in his lack of continuity and cohesion
in the expression of thought.

The wretched game of politics is still played with Bruckner. Because he
worshipped Wagner and because Brahms, or rather Hanslick—who was to
Brahms both elephantier and thurifer—was opposed to Wagner, the
Wagnerites therefore pitted Bruckner against Brahms and proclaimed the
former the great successor to Beethoven in the field of absolute music.
As a matter of fact, Brahms was neither bitterly hostile toward Wagner
nor did he sneer at Bruckner. There was room for both Brahms and
Bruckner—except in Vienna and except in the shaggy breasts of
Wagnerites. Hanslick is dead, “the executioner of Bruckner,” as William
Ritter characterizes him, “the man who derided all the true glories of
the music of his time for Brahms’ sole benefit”; but Hanslick in his
lifetime did not kill Bruckner, who had friendly audiences in Vienna
before his death, whose fame has steadily grown.

In order to appreciate fully and yet with discrimination the
indisputable talent, the irregular, uncontrolled genius of Bruckner, it
is not necessary to inquire curiously into Bruckner’s humble origins, or
into the character of his father and mother. It was the theory of
Sainte-Beuve that the superior man is found, at least in part, in his
parents, and especially in his mother; but I doubt in this instance
whether an intimate acquaintance with Therese, the daughter of the
innkeeper and administrator Ferdinand Helm, at Neuzeng, would explain
the inconsistencies and contradictions in her son’s music. She was no
doubt a strong, lusty woman, and she bore her husband a dozen children.
As for Bruckner being a peasant, poor, now rude in behavior and speech,
and now almost cringing in his desire to be courteous, shabbily
educated, very few of the greatest composers have been born in rooms of
purple hangings, very few have been distinguished for the elegance of
their manners or the depth and breadth of their general learning.

The wonder is that Bruckner, the long-ignored, poor, humble school
teacher, grotesque in appearance, a peasant in speech and action, should
have had apocalyptic visions and spoken musically with the tongues of

                       SYMPHONY NO. 7, IN E MAJOR

    I. Allegro moderato
    II. Adagio: sehr feierlich und langsam
    III. Scherzo: allegro. Trio: etwas langsamer
    IV. Finale: bewegt, doch nicht schnell

This certainly is a gigantic work, abounding in lofty and noble pages,
abounding also in trivialities, tiresome repetitions, and fussy and
insignificant details. As in the other symphonies of Bruckner that we
have heard, there is a lack of continuity in each movement; there are
impressive preparations that lead to nothing: “In the name of the
Prophet—Figs!” The composer had little sense of structure. To use
Disraeli’s phrase, he was intoxicated with his own verbosity. His taste
in ornamentation was more than doubtful. He could crown a noble façade
with gingerbread work; he would plan an extension of cheap stucco to a
pure temple of marble.

And yet in the Seventh symphony there are pages that come closer to
Beethoven at his greatest than we find in the symphonies of other
composers. There are grand thoughts expressed in a masterly manner in
Franck’s symphony and in the symphony in B flat by Vincent d’Indy; the
introduction to the _finale_ of Brahms’ First symphony has elemental
grandeur and spiritual intensity; but Bruckner’s spirit in the _adagio_
and in the main body of the _scherzo_ of the Seventh symphony is nearer
akin to that of Beethoven.

                                 * * *

Bruckner’s Symphony in E major was composed in the time between
September, 1881, and September, 1883. The first movement was completed
December 29, 1882; the third, October 16, 1882; the fourth, September 5,
1883. The symphony is dedicated “To His Majesty the King, Ludwig II of
Bavaria, in deepest reverence,” and was published in 1885.

The statement is often made that the _adagio_ was composed as funeral
music in memory of Richard Wagner. As a matter of fact, this _adagio_
was completed in October, 1882. Wagner died February 13, 1883.

The singular statement has been made that a premonition of Wagner’s
death inspired Bruckner to compose a dirge—this _adagio_. Bruckner, who
had what the Germans call “peasant cunning,” may have agreed to this in
the presence of those who were thus affected by the thought, but he
himself knew, as will be seen by his letters to Felix Mottl in 1885
concerning the first performance at Carlsruhe, that the movement had not
in all respects the character of a dirge. Indeed, he pointed out the
measures of the funeral music: “At X in the _adagio_ (Funeral music for
tubas and horns)” etc.; also, “Please take a very slow and solemn tempo.
At the close, in the Dirge (In memory of the death of the Master), think
of our Ideal!... Kindly do not forget the _fff_ at the end of the

Bruckner wrote to Mottl in a letter published February 10, 1900: “At one
time I came home and was very sad; I thought to myself, it is impossible
that the Master can live for a long time, and then the _adagio_ in C
sharp minor came into my head.”

The symphony is scored for two flutes, two oboes, two clarinets, two
bassoons, four horns, three trumpets, three trombones, four Wagner
tubas, bass tuba, kettledrums, triangle, cymbals, strings.

I. _Allegro moderato_, E major, 2-2. The first theme is announced by
horn and violoncellos against the violins, tremolo, and clarinets,
violas, and violoncellos add a subsidiary theme. The chief theme appears
in a richer orchestral dress. There is a _crescendo_ based on the
subsidiary theme, and the whole orchestra enters, but there is quickly a
_diminuendo_, and the mood becomes more nervous, more uncertain. The
second theme, one of complaint, is given to oboe and clarinet, with
horns and trumpet in the accompaniment. This theme with its peculiar
instrumentation and its changing tonality is in marked opposition to the
first. This second chief theme is developed at length. (The first
assumes greater importance later.) In this development there are
evidences in the manner of leading the voices of Bruckner’s partiality
for the organ. The mood becomes more restful, although the theme of
complaint is not silent, but soon appears, inverted, in the violins. It
may here be said that Bruckner delighted in this manner of varying a
theme. A mighty _crescendo_ is based on a phrase of this inverted theme
over an organ-point, F sharp, but instead of the arrival of the expected
climax a theme of somewhat mournful character is given to wood-wind
instruments with counterpoint in the strings. The rhythm of this
counterpoint is maintained in the final section of the exposition part.
An episode for the brass follows. There is soon a calmer mood, and
gentle horn and clarinet tones mingle with the voices of the strings.

The free fantasia begins with an inversion of the first theme
(clarinet). The rhythm of the characteristic counterpoint just mentioned
appears, but a solemn, religious mood is soon established (trombones,
_pianissimo_). The second chief theme appears in its inverted form, also
the “contrapuntal figure.” The mood is now one of doubt and perplexity,
but the decisive, inexorable first theme enters, inverted, C minor, in
the full orchestra, _fortissimo_, and with canonic imitation.

The beginning of the third, or recapitulation, part of the movement is
quietly worked. The first theme appears _piano_ (violoncellos and horn);
there is an inversion of the theme for violins and flute, and there is
canonic imitation for oboe and trumpet. As in the first part, the
subsidiary leads to the second chief theme, which is now in E minor and
is given to the clarinet. There is an end to the delicate
instrumentation. There is a great _crescendo_, which ends in an
inversion of the second chief theme, _fortissimo_, for full orchestra.
Other _crescendos_ follow, one with the second theme to an episode of
choral character, others based on the “contrapuntal figure.” The great
climax comes in the elaborate _coda_, which is built on a long
organ-point on the bass E, with the first subsidiary theme and with the
first chief theme, which now has its true and heroic character.

II. _Adagio, sehr feierlich und langsam_ (in a very solemn and slow
manner), C sharp minor, 4-4. This movement is thought by many to be
Bruckner’s masterpiece and monument. It undoubtedly established his fame
when there were few to recognize his irregular genius. The _adagio_ was
played in cities of Germany in memory of the composer shortly after his
death, as at the Philharmonic Concert, Berlin, led by Mr. Nikisch,
October 26, 1896.

In this movement, as in the _finale_, Bruckner introduced the Bayreuth
tubas, to gain effects of peculiar solemnity and also, no doubt, to pay
homage to the master whom he loved and venerated.

The chief melody of the _adagio_ is given to the lower strings and tubas
and is answered by all the strings.

There is a passage of stormy lamentation, and then consolation comes in
a melody for violins (_moderato_, F sharp major, 3-4). This theme is
developed, chiefly by the strings. Then there is a return to the first
and solemn theme, with wood-wind instruments and strings in alternation.
There is a great _crescendo_ with bold modulations until the entrance, C
major, of the chief theme (second violins, supported by horn, oboes, and
clarinets), which is soon followed by a variant of the answer to this
theme. The answer soon appears in E flat major and in its original form
and is maintained for a long time (G major). There is a modulation to A
flat major, and the _cantilena_ is repeated. After the entrance again of
the chief melody and the restoration of the original tonality there is a
_crescendo_ of great and imposing force. This is over, and the tubas
chant the answer to the chief theme and after an interlude for strings
the chief theme itself, C sharp major. The horns take up the
_cantilena_, and the last chord, C sharp major, dies away in brass
instruments to a _pizzicato_ of the strings.

III. _Scherzo_: _sehr schnell_ (very fast), A minor, 3-4. This _scherzo_
is based chiefly on two themes—the first for trumpet (_piano_), then
clarinet, with a figure for strings; the second, a wild and raging one.
The _scherzo_ ends after a great _crescendo_. Drumbeats lead to the
trio, F major, _etwas langsamer_ (somewhat slower), with an expressive
melody for strings. The theme of this trio is made at first out of an
inversion of the _scherzo_ theme, but the trio is in all respects in
marked contrast to the _scherzo_, which after the trio is repeated.

_Finale_: _bewegt, doch nicht schnell_ (with movement, but not fast), E
major, 2-2. The first theme, given to the violins, has a certain
resemblance, as far as intervals are concerned, to the chief theme of
the first movement, but it is joyous rather than impressive. Flutes and
clarinets enter at times, and horn tones also enter and lead to the
second theme, which has the character of a choral, with an accompanying
_pizzicato_ bass. The tubas are then heard in solemn chords. A new theme
of a dreamy nature follows (strings), and then at the beginning of the
free fantasia an orchestral storm breaks loose. This dies away, and a
theme appears which is derived from the first and main motive, which in
turn enters, inverted, and with a _pizzicato_ bass. The choral theme is
also inverted, but it gives way to the chief motive, which is developed
and leads to another tempestuous burst, ended suddenly with a pause for
the whole orchestra. The repetition section brings back the themes in
inverted order. The second chief theme is heard in C major. After a time
there is a _crescendo_ built on passages of this motive, which leads to
a powerful episode in B major, with a theme in the bass derived from the
chief motive. This motive is given to violins and clarinets, and there
are contrapuntal imitations. The choral theme, appearing at the end of
the free fantasia, is heard no more. The first chief theme dominates to
the end. There is an imposing _coda_.

I am indebted in a measure to the analysis of this symphony by Mr.
Johannes Reichert, prepared for the concerts of the Royal Orchestra of

                       SYMPHONY NO. 8, IN C MINOR

    I. Allegro moderato
    II. Scherzo: allegro—andante—allegro moderato
    III. Adagio
    IV. Finale: Feierlich, nicht schnell

Bruckner’s Eighth is in all respects to be numbered with his greatest.
The structure is nobler, the form more clearly recognized than in his
other symphonies. There is less perplexing or boresome detail. The
digressions do not cause the main line of musical argument to be
forgotten. The interest is more steadily maintained. The instrumentation
is richer in color and in contrasts. Above all, the invention shown,
both in thematic lines and in wealth of development, is little less than
marvelous, for Bruckner was sixty years old when he began work on this

Much has been said in European cities about the extraordinary length of
the work. This length does not seem distressing. Bruckner had a great
deal to say, and whereas in other symphonies he sometimes stammers and
often falters, as though he were not able to express his thoughts, as
though they were so great to him that he hesitated to put them into even
musical speech, which comes nearest to the full expression of the
inherently inexpressible, in this symphony he is master of his speech;
he is convincing, authoritative, eloquent. Furthermore, he is more
discriminative in his use of material. In other symphonies he is seen
building indifferently with marble and clay. His Eighth symphony is as a
stately temple, in which mortals forget the paltry cares and
tribulations of earth, and gods appear calm and benignant.

There are pages that remind one of the visions seen by John on the isle
of Patmos. “And I heard, as it were, the voice of a great multitude, and
as the voice of many waters, and as the voice of mighty thunderings.”

There are also pages of ravishing beauty, as those of the trio in the
_scherzo_, as those devoted to the exposition of the first and second
themes of the _adagio_, as those of the second theme in the _finale_.
The _scherzo_, with rough humor and its episode of rare melodic beauty
finely orchestrated, is of this earth, but the other movements leave the
earth behind in a sustained and fearless flight. This is especially true
of the first movement and the _adagio_.

In the _finale_ there is here and there a drooping of the wings, but the
opening measures of this _finale_ and the close are towering and

                                 * * *

This symphony, begun in 1885, was completed in 1890. It was performed
for the first time in Vienna, December 18, 1892, at a Philharmonic
concert led by Hans Richter. Even Hanslick admitted in his bitter review
(_Neue Freie Presse_, December 23, 1892) of the symphony that the
concert was a triumph for the composer. “How was the new symphony
received? Boisterous rejoicing, waving of handkerchiefs from those
standing, innumerable recalls, laurel wreaths,” etc.

The symphony is dedicated to the composer’s “imperial and royal
apostolic Majesty Francis Joseph I, Emperor of Austria and apostolic
King of Hungary.” It is scored for three flutes, three oboes, three
clarinets, three bassoons (and double bassoon), eight horns, three
trumpets, three trombones, bass tuba, kettledrums, triangle, cymbals,
three harps, and usual strings.

It appears that, when the symphony was first performed, there was an
explanatory programme written by some devout disciple. This programme
stated that the first theme of the first movement was “the form of the
Æschylean Prometheus”; and a portion of this movement was entitled “the
greatest loneliness and silence.” The _scherzo_ was supposed to typify
“The German Michael.” “_Der deutsche Michel_” may be translated “the
plain, honest, much enduring (but slow) German,” and “Michel” in a
figurative sense means yokel, boor, clodhopper. Hanslick wrote: “If a
critic had spoken this blasphemy, he would probably have been stoned to
death by Bruckner’s disciples; but the composer himself gave this name,
the German Michael, to the _scherzo_, as may be read in black and white
in the programme.” The published score bears no motto. The
programme-maker found in the _scherzo_ “the deeds and sufferings of
Prometheus reduced in the way of parody to the smallest proportions.”
And in the _adagio_ was disclosed “the all-loving Father of mankind in
his measureless wealth of mercy.” The _finale_ was characterized by him
as “heroism in the service of the Divine,” and the trumpet calls in the
_finale_ were explained as “the announcers of eternal salvation, heralds
of the idea of divinity.” On the other hand, it is said that the
beginning of the _finale_ was suggested to Bruckner by the meeting of
the three emperors!

In the published score there is nothing to give the idea that the music
has any programme, any argument. Yet Johannes Reichert in his
analysis[22] of the symphony, referring to Josef Schalk’s vision of
“Prometheus Bound” in the first movement, found something of Prometheus
or of Faust in the music.

I. _Allegro moderato_, C minor, 2-2. The first and chief motive is given
to violas, violoncellos, and double basses. It is announced
_pianissimo_; it is decisively rhythmed, and its rhythm and its upward
leap of a sixth are important factors in the development. After a short
_crescendo_, the strings are about to return to a _pianissimo_ when the
theme is proclaimed with the full force of the orchestra.

The first violins have the expressive and questioning second theme.
Wood-wind instruments answer the question. The rhythm of the second
theme, a rhythm that is characteristically Brucknerian, is used in
counterpoint to a new _cantilena_ sung by horns and first violins.

There is a modulation to the dominant of the chief tonality. The second
theme now assumes an obstinate, arrogant character. Wood-wind
instruments conduct over _pianissimo_ and sustained chords of tubas,
with the use of the first measures of the chief motive, to the second
subsidiary section. In spite of the interrupting springs of the seventh
there is a return to a quiet mood. Then comes a chromatic and mighty
_crescendo_ for full orchestra, which reaches a climax with trumpet
fanfares. The chief motive returns and is given out thrice _pianissimo_.
The first horn has the chief motive in augmentation, and there is a
double echo of it: from first oboe; from tenor tuba.

The “working-out” section begins with the indication “very quietly.”
Oboes and tubas introduce constituent parts of the chief motive in
augmentation; then the motive itself appears in inversion and as in a
_stretto_. This form of elaboration is long continued. And now the
second theme appears inverted, and gives with its compelling rhythm the
impetus to a great crescendo which reaches its climax with the encounter
of the two themes _fortississimo_. This shock occurs three times without
a decisive result. The orchestra seems to lose its force. There are
wandering fragments of the two motives, while the trumpet keeps up
monotonously the rhythm of the chief theme. A fragment of the first
theme leads to the repetition section.

The repetition is at first free, whereas as a rule in Bruckner’s
symphonies it is literal. The first theme, now a lamentation, is given
to the first oboe. The clarinet answers in another tonality. After bold
modulations the second theme is repeated. The prevailing mood of unrest
ends with a long held _fermata_. The second subsidiary section is
repeated quietly, and, as in the first chief section of the movement, it
is used in a _crescendo_; but here the climax is built on a _coda_
motive of a bitterly complaining character, while horns and trumpets
repeat incessantly the chief theme. Grief itself soon loses its voice.
The violins sigh the chief motive thrice _pianissimo_. Only the last
portion of the theme is then heard, and it dies away in the violas.

II. _Scherzo_, _Allegro moderato_, C minor, 3-4. The chief theme (violas
and violoncellos) has a rough humor, while violins have a contrasting
figure of a whispering and mysterious nature. This figure brings in a
great _crescendo_ in which the theme is blown by horns, later by
trumpets, and at last by the bass tuba. At the end of the section a
rhythm appears (E flat major, bassoons, drums, basses) that is slightly
reminiscent of a rhythm in Beethoven’s Symphony No. 8. The whispering
figure is inverted. The first section is repeated.

The trio begins _langsam_ (“slow”), 2-4, softly and delicately (first
violins). The horn enters. There are pleasant harmonies in E major. “The
whole episode breathes smiling happiness.”

The harp is used here and in the _adagio_, the only instances of the use
of this instrument in a symphony by Bruckner. A second subject brings
the return to A flat major. The beginning of the trio is repeated with
changes in tonality, and the whole first part of the _scherzo_ is
repeated with an ending in C major.

III. The _adagio_ is said to be probably the longest symphonic _adagio_
movement in existence, and there are some that put it at the head of all
_adagios_ by reason of its solemnity, nobility, and elevated thought. It
begins, “solemn, slow, but not dragging,” D flat major, 4-4. The first
violins sing (on the G string) a long and intimate song to the
accompaniment of the second violins and lower strings. “This theme
contains three moments of mood. For the first four measures the violins
complain softly; then sighing clarinets and bassoons enter in gasps; the
four last measures are only an extension to strengthen the mood.” A
strange organ-point puts an end to the mood of doubt and brings in
triumphant certainty. The violins, playing with greater breadth, lead to
a calm close in F. There is a repetition of what has gone before, with
the exception of a few measures of the chief theme.

The second theme is sung by the violoncellos, and they lead to the
serenely quiet song of the tubas. Some measures based on fragments of
the second theme bring in the “working-out” section. The chief theme
appears. Portions of the long _cantilena_ are combined, and there is
fresh and melodic counterpoint. There is at the same time a _crescendo_.
After the climax the second theme becomes prominent, with interruptions
by the tubas.

The first theme appears with lively figuration at the beginning of the
second section of development. A portion of this theme is used in
augmentation. “Then appears suddenly and in a decided manner the rhythm
for horns of the ‘Siegfried’ motive in _The Ring_.” The accompaniment
for strings grows livelier; the chief theme is more and more impressive
in the brass. The second theme enters, and there are tranquillizing
episodes, but there is no checking the course of the _crescendo_ or the
acceleration in pace. “_À tempo_ (though in a lively movement).” The
third section of the chief theme is now in powerful augmentation. There
is a return to the prevailing tempo. The mood is milder. The violins
“intimately and softly” remember once more the second theme. The _coda_
brings in a peaceful close. In the third and fourth measures before the
end the tubas indicate _pianissimo_ the chief rhythm of the _finale_
that follows.

IV. _Finale_, C minor, “solemnly, not fast,” 2-2. The heavily rhythmed
chief theme contains three important motives. It first appears in F
sharp, as the enharmonically changed subdominant of the preceding
tonality, D flat major (or as the dominant of the dominant of C minor).
Joyful fanfares sound in D flat. The whole is repeated, and there is a
modulation from A flat to E flat. Then appears sonorously the conclusion
of the whole theme in the prevailing tonality, C minor. Out of the
counterpoint arises a lamenting strain for oboes.

There is a pause. The melodious and religious second theme is sung in
slower tempo. The accompanying voices for horn and violas might well be
reckoned as thematic. The third theme, wood-wind and strings, is
practically a double theme, and the lower voice has much importance
later. The concluding section of this theme is developed in choral
fashion, and it is then combined with the lower voice. After a pause
comes the working-out section. As the introduction indicated, it gives
the impression of a mighty struggle. A blend of the two just preceding
themes leads to a new melody for violins. There is a powerful
_crescendo_ for full orchestra. The rhythm of the chief theme of the
first movement is heard. The first measures of the _finale_ are now
played softly by the horns, then by the flutes. Preceding themes are
again combined. The repetition section opens powerfully. The decisive
rhythm of the chief theme spurs the full orchestra. The _coda_ begins
quietly, but it soon becomes intense. In the triumphant ending in C
major, chief themes of the four movements are heard exulting.

I am indebted in a measure for the preceding sketch of the contents of
this symphony to the analysis by Werner Wolff, published in the
programme book of the Philharmonic Orchestra, Berlin, October 29, 1906;
and to the analysis of Johannes Reichert which has already been
mentioned. They that wish to study the symphony may consult with profit
the analysis by Willibald Kähler (_Musikführer_ No. 262). These analysts
are by no means unanimous in their designation of the chief themes. I
have followed chiefly in the footsteps of Mr. Wolff.

It may help to a better understanding of the music of Bruckner if light
be thrown on the personal nature and prejudices not only of the composer
but of his contemporaneous partisans and foes. This simple man, who had
known the cruelest poverty and distress, and in Vienna lived the life of
an ascetic, made enemies by the very writing of music.

There appeared in Vienna in 1901 a little pamphlet entitled _Meine
Erinnerung an Anton Bruckner_. The writer was Carl Hruby, a pupil of
Bruckner. The pamphlet is violent, malignant. In its rage there is at
times the ridiculous fury of an excited child. There are pages that
provoke laughter and then pity; yet there is much of interest about the
composer himself, who now, away from strife and contention, is still
unfortunate in his friends. We shall pass over Hruby’s ideas on music
and the universe, nor are we inclined to dispute his proposition (p. 7)
that Shakespeare, Goethe, Beethoven, Wagner, were truer heroes and
supporters of civilization than Alexander, Cæsar, Napoleon, who,
nevertheless, were, like Hannibal, very pretty fellows in those days.
When Hruby begins to talk about Bruckner and his ways, then it is time
to prick up ears.

As a teacher, Bruckner was amiable, patient, kind, but easily vexed by
frolicsome pupils who did not know his sensitive nature. He gave each
pupil a nickname, and his favorite phrase of contentment and disapproval
was “_Viechkerl!_”—“You stupid beast!” There was a young fellow whose
name began “Sachsen”; but Bruckner could never remember the rest of it,
so he would go through the list of German princes,
“Sachsen”—“Sachsen”—“Sachsen-Coburg-Gotha, Sachsen”—and at last the name
would come. Another pupil, afterwards a harp virtuoso, was known to his
teacher only as “Old Harp.” Bruckner had a rough, at the same time, sly,
peasant humor. One of his pupils came into the class with bleached and
jaded face. Bruckner asked what ailed him. The answer was: “I was at the
Turnverein till two o’clock.” “Yes,” said Bruckner, “oh, yes, I know the
Turnverein that lasts till 2 A.M.” The pupil on whom he built fond hope
was Franz Nott, who died young and in the madhouse. When Bruckner was
disturbed in his work, he was incredibly and gloriously rude.

Bruckner was furious against all writers who discovered “programmes” in
his music. He was warmly attached to the ill-fated Hugo Wolf, and was
never weary of praising the declamation in his songs: “The fellow does
nothing all day but compose, while I must tire myself out by giving
lessons,” for at sixty years Bruckner was teaching for three guldens a
lesson. Beethoven was his idol, and after a performance of one of the
greater symphonies he was as one insane. After a performance of the
_Eroica_, he said to Hruby—would that it were possible to reproduce
Bruckner’s dialect—“I think that if Beethoven were alive, and I should
go to him with my Seventh symphony and say, ‘Here, Mr. Van Beethoven,
this is not so bad, this Seventh, as certain gentlemen would make out’
... I think he would take me by the hand and say, ‘My dear Bruckner,
never mind, I had no better luck; and the same men who hold me up
against you even now do not understand my last quartets, although they
act as if they understood them.’ Then I’d say to him, ‘Excuse me, Mr.
Van Beethoven, that I have gone beyond you in freedom of form, but I
think a true artist should make his own forms for his own works, and
stick by them.’” He once said of Hanslick, “I guess Hanslick understands
as little about Brahms as about Wagner, me, and others. And the Doctor
Hanslick knows as much about counterpoint as a chimney sweep about

Hanslick was to Bruckner as a pursuing demon. (We are giving Hruby’s
statement, and Hanslick surely showed a strange perseverance and an
unaccountable ferocity in criticism that was abuse.) Hruby likens this
critic to the _Phylloxera vastatrix_ in the vineyard. He really believes
that Hanslick sat up at night to plot Bruckner’s destruction. He affirms
that Hanslick tried to undermine him in the Conservatory and the
Imperial Chapel, that he tried to influence conductors against the
performance of his works. And he goes so far as to say that Hans
Richter, thus influenced, had never performed a symphony by Bruckner in
England. As a matter of fact, Richter produced Bruckner’s Seventh in
London, May 23, 1887. There is a story that when the Emperor Franz Josef
asked Bruckner if he could honor him in any way, he asked if the Emperor
would not stop Hanslick abusing him in print.

He was never mean or hostile toward Brahms, as some would have had him.
He once said that Brahms was not an enemy of Wagner, as the Brahmsites
insisted; that down in his heart he had a warm admiration for Wagner, as
was shown by the praise he had bestowed on _Die Meistersinger_.

Just before his death Bruckner’s thoughts were on his Ninth symphony: “I
undertook a stiff task,” he said. “I should not have done it at my age
and in my weak condition. If I never finish it, then my ‘_Te Deum_’ may
be used as a _finale_. I have nearly finished three movements. This work
belongs to my Lord God.”

Although he had the religion of a child, he had read the famous book of
David Strauss, and he could talk about it reasonably. Someone asked him
about the future life and prayer. “I’ll tell you,” he replied. “If the
story is true, so much the better for me. If it is not true, praying
cannot hurt me.”

                               JOHN ALDEN

             (Born at Park Ridge, Ill., February 28, 1876)


    I. En Voiture
    II. The Policeman
    III. The Hurdy-gurdy
    IV. The Lake
    V. Dogs
    VI. Dreams

Mr. Carpenter has told us in music the outing of a child. One of his
first compositions was a collection of humorous _Improving Songs for
Children_. This fondness for children as subjects for art he shares with
Victor Hugo; with Swinburne, who abandoned the shrine of Venus to sing
of children’s beauty and innocence—after Watts-Dunton had docked him of
his rum. In the _Perambulator_ there is no sentimentalism, no
Sunday-school address to “you, little girl with the blue sash”; but his
music is as his child saw and thought, when wheeled about.

This suite is not only an ingenious work: it has true fancy, true humor,
pages of truly poetic feeling. Mr. Carpenter displays imagination;
witness his glorification of the lake that supplies Chicago with water.
But even his imagination was dormant at the thought of the Chicago
River. An unflinching realist would have introduced the child’s visit to
the stockyards and slaughter houses.

                                 * * *

The composition of this suite was begun in July, 1914, and completed in
December of that year. The suite was performed for the first time at the
concerts of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Frederick Stock conductor,
March 19-20, 1915.

The suite is scored for these instruments: three flutes (and piccolo),
two oboes, English horn, two clarinets, bass clarinet, two bassoons,
four horns, two trumpets, three trombones, bass tuba, kettledrums, bass
drum, cymbals, triangle, tambourine, xylophone, glockenspiel, bells,
harp, celesta, pianoforte, and the usual strings.

This programme is printed as preface to the score:

I. _En Voiture._ Every morning—after my second breakfast—if the wind and
the sun are favorable, I go out. I should like to go alone, but my will
is overborne. My nurse is appointed to take me. She is older than I, and
very powerful. While I wait for her, resigned, I hear her cheerful
steps, always the same. I am wrapped in a vacuum of wool, where there
are no drafts. A door opens and shuts. I am placed in my perambulator, a
strap is buckled over my stomach, my nurse stands firmly behind—and we
are off!

II. _The Policeman._ Out is wonderful! It is always different, though
one seems to have been there before. I cannot fathom it all. Some sounds
seem like smells. Some sights have echoes. It is confusing, but it is
Life! For instance, the Policeman—an Unprecedented Man! Round like a
ball; taller than my Father. Blue—fearful—fascinating! I feel him before
he comes. I see him after he goes. I try to analyze his appeal. It is
not buttons alone, nor belt, nor baton. I suspect it is his eye and the
way he walks. He walks like Doom. My nurse feels it, too. She becomes
less firm, less powerful. My perambulator hurries, hesitates, and stops.
They converse. They ask each other questions—some with answers, some
without. I listen, with discretion. When I feel that they have gone far
enough, I signal to my nurse, a private signal, and the Policeman
resumes his enormous Blue March. He is gone, but I feel him after he

III. _The Hurdy-gurdy._ Then suddenly there is something else. I think
it is a sound. We approach it. My ear is tickled to excess. I find that
the absorbing noise comes from a box—something like my music box, only
much larger, and on wheels. A dark man is turning the music out of the
box with a handle, just as I do with mine. A dark lady, richly dressed,
turns when the man gets tired. They both smile. I smile too, with
restraint, for music is the most insidious form of noise. And such
music! So gay! I tug at the strap over my stomach. I have a wild thought
of dancing with my nurse and my perambulator—all three of us together.
Suddenly, at the climax of our excitement, I feel the approach of a
phenomenon that I remember. It is the Policeman. He has stopped the
music. He has frightened away the dark man and the lady with their music
box. He seeks the admiration of my nurse for his act. He walks away, his
buttons shine, but far off I hear again the forbidden music. Delightful
forbidden music!

IV. _The Lake._ Sated with adventure, my nurse firmly pushes me on, and
before I recover my balance I am face to face with new excitement. The
land comes to an end, and there at my feet is the Lake. All other
sensations are joined in one. I see, I hear, I feel the quiver of the
little waves as they escape from the big ones and come rushing up over
the sand. Their fear is pretended. They know the big waves are amiable,
for they can see a thousand sunbeams dancing with impunity on their very
backs. Waves and sunbeams! Waves and sunbeams! Blue water—white
clouds—dancing, swinging! A white sea gull floating in the air. That is
_My Lake_!

V. _Dogs._ We pass on. Probably there is nothing more in the World. If
there is, it is superfluous. _There_ IS. It is Dogs! We are coming upon
them without warning. Not _one_ of them—all of them. First, one by one;
then in pairs; then in societies. Little dogs, with sisters; big dogs,
with aged parents. Kind dogs, brigand dogs, sad dogs, and gay. They
laugh, they fight, they run. And at last, in order to hold my interest,
the very littlest brigand starts a game of “Follow the Leader,” followed
by all the others. It is tremendous!

VI. _Dreams._ Those dogs have gone! It is confusing, but it is Life! My
mind grows numb. My cup is too full. I have a sudden conviction that it
is well that I am not alone. That firm step behind reassures me. The
wheels of my perambulator make a sound that quiets my nerves. I lie very
still. I am quite content. In order to think more clearly, I close my
eyes. My thoughts are absorbing. I deliberate upon my mother. Most of
the time my mother and my nurse have but one identity in my mind, but at
night or when I close my eyes, I can easily tell them apart, for my
mother has the greater charm, I hear her voice quite plainly now, and
feel the touch of her hand. It is pleasant to live over again the
adventures of the day—the long blue waves curling in the sun, the
Policeman who is bigger than my father, the music-box and my friends,
the Dogs. It is pleasant to lie quite still and close my eyes, and
listen to the wheels of my perambulator. How very large the world is!
How many things there are!

                             CLAUDE ACHILLE

   (Born at Germain [Seine and Oise], August 22, 1862; died at Paris,
                            March 26, 1918)

Debussy suffered at the hands of the ultra-orthodox and the snobs in
music. The former could not find either melodic lines or the semblance
of form in his orchestral and chamber works, his songs and pianoforte
pieces. The snobs, secretly bored, thought it the thing to swoon at the
mere mention of his name. In New York and Boston, as in Paris, there
were “_Pelléastres_,” to use the contemptuous term coined by Jean
Lorraine. There were some that spoke of Debussy as an ignorant fellow
who, not being able to achieve greatness in the conventional manner,
wrote in an eccentric way to attract attention, to make the bourgeois
sit up. They forgot that Debussy had taken the chief prize at the Paris
Conservatory, where harmony and counterpoint are taught rigorously.
Debussy fashioned his own musical speech. It is easy to say that he
learned much from Moussorgsky’s _Boris Godounov_—but no one has yet
pointed out exactly what he borrowed or imitated. That Debussy sojourned
in Russia was enough to excite those who are unwilling to admit that any
innovator has originality, for Debussy was an innovator, not a developer
of what was handed down to him. It is more probable that he learned from
the gypsies in Russia than from Moussorgsky.

The question arises whether in his compositions of the few last years
Debussy did not merely imitate himself, whether he had anything more to
say. The believer in plenary inspiration of course shouts with joy on
hearing the three sonatas that have been played in this country.
Admiring Debussy greatly as we do, we cannot in this instance shout with
him. Debussy can surely rest his fame on the string quartet;
_L’Après-midi d’un faune_; _Gigues_, _Ibéria_, _Pelléas et Mélisande_,
and some of the songs and the pianoforte pieces.

As for _Pelléas and Mélisande_, we believe it to be the perfect example
in opera of music wedded to words and situations, an opera more
remarkable in this respect than even _Tristan and Isolde_.


Debussy’s _Prelude to the Afternoon of a Faun_ is a masterpiece of
imaginative poetry in tones; it is a thing of flawless beauty. It
matters not whether the symbolism of Mallarmé be cryptic or
intelligible. It matters not whether the explanation of Gosse or of
another be ingenious and plausible. The title is enough to give a clue
to the hearer, if a clue be needed. Debussy himself has composed nothing
more charming in strictly orchestral music.

There is the suggestion of sunlight and warmth, forest and meadow dear
to fauns and nymphs. There is the gentle melancholy that is associated
with a perfect afternoon. There is the exquisite melodic line, and there
is harmonic suggestion with inimitable coloring that is still more

                                 * * *

_Prélude à l’après-midi d’un faune_, completed in 1892, was played for
the first time at a concert of the National Society of Music, Paris,
December 23, 1894. The conductor was Gustave Doret. According to Charles
Koechlin, there had been insufficient rehearsal, so the performance left
much to be desired, and the acoustics of the Salle d’Harcourt were
unfavorable. When the second performance took place at a Colonne
concert, a critic wrote: “This composer seems to dread banality.” “And
yet,” says Koechlin, “the charm of this music is so simple, so melodic.
But every _new_ melody should be heard several times. Besides, even the
construction—a supple melodic line that is expanded—could be
disconcerting. For certain writers about music, Debussy was a dangerous
artist with a diabolical fascination: the worst possible example.
Diabolical or not, the work has lasted. It has the votes of the élite:
that is enough.”

The second performance was at a Colonne concert, Paris, October 20,
1895. In the _Annales du théâtre_, we find this singular note: “Written
after a poem by Stéphane Mallarmé so sadistic that M. Colonne did not
dare to print the text; young girls attend his concerts.”

To Debussy is attributed a short “explanation of his _Prelude_, a very
free illustration of Mallarmé’s poem”: The music evokes “the successive
scenes in which the longings and the desire of the Faun pass in the heat
of the afternoon.”

Stéphane Mallarmé formulated his revolutionary ideas concerning style
about 1875, when the _Parnasse contemporain_ rejected his first poem of
true importance, _L’Après-midi d’un faune_. The poem was published in
1876 as a quarto pamphlet, illustrated by Manet.

Gosse gave this explanation of the poem that suggested music to Debussy:
“It appears in the _florilège_ which he has just published, and I have
now read it again, as I have often read it before. To say that I
understand it bit by bit, phrase by phrase, would be excessive. But, if
I am asked whether this famous miracle of unintelligibility gives me
pleasure, I answer, cordially, Yes. I even fancy that I obtain from it
as definite and as solid an impression as M. Mallarmé desires to

“This is what I read in it: A faun—a simple, sensuous, passionate
being—wakens in the forest at daybreak and tries to recall his
experience of the previous afternoon. Was he the fortunate recipient of
an actual visit from nymphs, white and golden goddesses, divinely tender
and indulgent? Or is the memory he seems to retain nothing but the
shadow of a vision, no more substantial than the ‘arid rain’ of notes
from his own flute? He cannot tell. Yet surely there was, surely there
is, an animal whiteness among the brown reeds of the lake that shines
out yonder. Were they, are they, swans? No! But Naiads plunging?
Perhaps! Vaguer and vaguer grows that impression of this delicious
experience. He would resign his woodland godship to retain it. A garden
of lilies, golden-headed, white-stalked, behind the trellis of red
roses? Ah! the effort is too great for his poor brain. Perhaps if he
selects one lily from the garth of lilies, one benign and beneficent
yielder of her cup to thirsty lips, the memory, the ever receding
memory, may be forced back. So when he has glutted upon a bunch of
grapes, he is wont to toss the empty skins in the air and blow them out
in a visionary greediness. But no, the delicious hour grows vaguer;
experience or dream, he will never know which it was. The sun is warm,
the grasses yielding; and he curls himself up again, after worshiping
the efficacious star of wine, that he may pursue the dubious ecstasy
into the more hopeful boskages of sleep.

“This, then, is what I read in the so excessively obscure and
unintelligible. _L’Après-midi d’un faune_; and, accompanied as it is
with a perfect suavity of language and melody of rhythm, I know not what
more a poem of eight pages could be expected to give. It supplies a
simple and direct impression of physical beauty, of harmony, of color;
it is exceedingly mellifluous, when once the ear understands that the
poet, instead of being the slave of the Alexandrine, weaves his
variations round it, like a musical composer.”

_The Afternoon of a Faun_ is scored for three flutes, two oboes, English
horn, two clarinets, two bassoons, four horns, two harps, small antique
cymbals, strings. It is dedicated to Raymond Bonheur.

The chief theme is announced by the flute, _très modéré_, E major, 9-8.
Louis Laloy gives the reins to his fancy: “One is immediately
transported into a better world; all that is leering and savage in the
snub-nosed face of the faun disappears; desire still speaks, but there
is a veil of tenderness and melancholy. The chord of the wood-wind, the
distant call of the horns, the limpid flood of harp tones, accentuate
this impression. The call is louder, more urgent, but it almost
immediately dies away, to let the flute sing again its song. And now the
theme is developed: the oboe enters in, the clarinet has its say; a
lively dialogue follows, and a clarinet phrase leads to a new theme
which speaks of desire satisfied; or it expresses the rapture of mutual
emotion rather than the ferocity of victory. The first theme returns,
more languorous, and the croaking of muted horns darkens the horizon.
The theme comes and goes, fresh chords unfold themselves; at last a solo
violoncello joins itself to the flute; and then everything vanishes, as
a mist that rises in the air and scatters itself in flakes.”[23]


    a. Nuages
    b. Fêtes
    c. Sirènes

Baudelaire’s prose poem, “The Stranger,” might serve as motto for the
first nocturne, and for a hint to performance.

“_Enigmatical man, whom do you love best? Tell me—your mother, your
sister, or your brother?_”

“_I have neither father, mother, sister, nor brother._”

“_Your friends?_”

“_You now use a word which to this day has been meaningless to me._”

“_Your country?_”

“_I do not know under what latitude it lies._”


“_I would love her gladly; goddess and immortal._”

“_Well, what do you love, extraordinary stranger?_”

“_I love the clouds, the clouds that pass, yonder, the marvellous

_Festivals_, with its strange processional march, its whirring
capriciousness, makes a more direct appeal. Does the third movement
answer the old question put by Tiberius to the grammarians and repeated
by Sir Thomas Browne, “What song did the sirens sing?” Here is music of
waves and of sea-women: music that never was heard on a casino-lined
coast, but sounds that might go with “The light that never was, on sea
or land.” Here is music that is subtly poetic, music of ineffable
beauty. Suppose that Debussy had put words to this song; how he would
have cheapened the nocturne! To each hearer on the ship of Ulysses, or
to each hearer of Debussy’s music, the sirens sang of what might well
lure him.

                                 * * *

The first two nocturnes, _Nuages_ and _Fêtes_, were produced at a
Lamoureux concert, Camille Chevillard conductor, Paris, December 9,
1900, and they were played by the same orchestra January 6, 1901. The
third, _Sirènes_, was first produced—in company with the other two—at a
Lamoureux concert, October 27, 1901. The third is for orchestra with
chorus of female voices. At this last concert the friends of Debussy
were so exuberant in manifestations of delight that there was sharp
hissing as a corrective. The _Nocturnes_ were composed in 1898, and
published in 1899.

Debussy furnished a programme for the suite; at least, this programme is
attributed to him. Some who are not wholly in sympathy with what they
loosely call “the modern movement” may think that the programme itself
needs elucidation. Debussy’s peculiar forms of expression in prose are
not easily Englished, and it is well-nigh impossible to reproduce
certain shades of meaning.

“The title _Nocturnes_ is intended to have here a more general and,
above all, a more decorative meaning. We, then, are not concerned with
the form of the Nocturne, but with everything that this word includes in
the way of diversified impression and special lights.

“_Clouds_: the unchangeable appearance of the sky, with the slow and
solemn march of clouds dissolving in a gray agony tinted with white.

“_Festivals_: movement, rhythm dancing in the atmosphere, with bursts of
brusque light. There is also the episode of a procession (a dazzling and
wholly idealistic vision) passing through the festival and blended with
it; but the main idea and substance obstinately remain—always the
festival and its blended music—luminous dust participating in the
universal rhythm of all things.

“_Sirens_: the sea and its innumerable rhythm; then amid the billows
silvered by the moon the mysterious song of the Sirens is heard; it
laughs and passes.”

Alfred Bruneau with regard to the _Nocturnes_: “Here, with the aid of a
magic orchestra, he has lent to clouds traversing the sombre sky the
various forms created by his imagination; he has set to running and
dancing the chimerical beings perceived by him in the silvery dust
scintillating in the moonbeams; he has changed the white foam of the
restless sea into tuneful sirens.”

Questioning the precise nature of the form that shapes these
_Nocturnes_, the reader may well ponder the saying of Plotinus in his
“Essay on the Beautiful”: “But the simple beauty of color arises, when
light, which is something incorporeal, and reason and form, entering the
obscure involutions of matter, irradiates and forms its dark and
formless nature. It is on this account that fire surpasses other bodies
in beauty, because, compared with the other elements, it obtains the
order of form: for it is more eminent than the rest, and is the most
subtle of all, bordering as it were on an incorporeal nature.”

The _Nocturnes_ are scored as follows:

I. Two flutes, two oboes, English horn, two clarinets, three bassoons,
four horns, kettledrums, harp, strings. The movement begins _modéré_,

II. Three flutes, two oboes, English horn, two clarinets, three
bassoons, four horns, three trumpets, three trombones, bass tuba, two
harps, kettledrums, cymbals, and snare drum, strings. _Animé et très
rhythmé_, 4-4.

III. Three flutes, oboe, English horn, two clarinets, three bassoons,
four horns, three trumpets, two harps, eight soprano voices, eight
mezzo-soprano voices, strings, _modérément animé_, 12-8.

Debussy before his death made many changes in the instrumentation of
these _Nocturnes_.


    I. De l’aube à midi sur la mer
    II. Jeux de vagues
    III. Dialogue du vent et de la mer

As these sketches are frankly impressionistic, the enjoyment of the
hearer depends largely on his own susceptibility and imagination. There
are persons who do not like the ocean. Oscar Wilde was disappointed in
the Atlantic; but there are more normal beings, far from being poseurs,
who cannot exclaim with Jules Laforgue, “the sea, always new, always
respectable!” We know a man who was doomed to spend a vacation in a
summer hotel on a bluff looking down on Nantucket Sound. Whenever he sat
on a bench he turned his back to the ocean and faced pine trees, giving
as an excuse that “the sea got on his nerves.”

Debussy’s _Sea_ is not for them, neither is it for those who find
pleasure in Mendelssohn’s overture, _Sea Calm and Prosperous Voyage_,
for Debussy knows a wilder ocean, many-faced, now exulting in Æschylean
laughter, now spasmodic, sinister, terrible, and never so terrible as
when calm, or inviting mortals to sport with it, and smiling—as though
it were forgetful of rotting ships and sunken treasure and the drowned
far down that were for a time regarded curiously by monsters of the

                                 * * *

These orchestral pieces (I. _From Dawn till Noon on the Ocean_; II.
_Play of the Waves_; III. _Dialogue of Wind and Sea_) were performed for
the first time at a Lamoureux concert in Paris, October 15, 1905.
Camille Chevillard conducted.

Debussy wrote in August, 1903, from Bichain to his publisher Jacques
Durand[24] that he was at work on _La Mer_. “If God will be good to me
the work will be in a very advanced state on my return [to Paris].” He
wrote later that the sketches would have three titles: _Mer belle aux
Îles Sanguinaires_; _Jeux de vagues_; _Le Vent fait danser la mer_; and
in September he said the work was intended for Chevillard. In September,
1904, he wrote from Dieppe, “I wanted to finish _La Mer_ here, but I
must still work on the orchestration, which is as tumultuous and varied
as the sea (with all my excuses to the latter).” In January, 1905, he
was not sure that the title, “_De l’Aube à midi sur la mer_” would do:
“So many contradictory things are dancing in my head, and this last
attack of grippe has added its particular dance.” He also wrote that he
had remade the end of _Jeux de vagues_. He was disturbed because
Chevillard spoke of the difficulties in the music, but if he gave the
score to Colonne there might be a row. In July and September, 1905, he
complained of “very curious corrections” made by someone in the proofs;
and the idea of a performance at Chevillard’s first concert seemed to
him as bad as a performance at the last one of the season. At rehearsal
it was found that the proofs had been badly read.

The Sketches, dedicated to Jacques Durand, were published at Paris in
1905. Debussy made an arrangement for two pianos; André Caplet made one
in 1908 for three pianos.

_La Mer_ is scored for piccolo, two flutes, two oboes, English horn, two
clarinets, three bassoons and contra-bassoon, four horns, three
trumpets, two _cornets-à-pistons_, three trombones, bass tuba,
kettledrums, bass drum, cymbals, tam-tam, glockenspiel, two harps, and

                          Debussy and the Sea

Debussy loved and respected the ocean. In 1905 he wrote from Eastbourne:
“The sea rolls with a wholly British correctness. There is a lawn combed
and brushed on which little bits of important and imperialistic English
frolic. But what a place to work! No noise, no pianos, except the
delicious mechanical pianos, no musicians talking about painting, no
painters discussing music. In short, a pretty place to cultivate

At Le Puy near Dieppe, August, 1906: “Here I am again with my old friend
the sea, always innumerable and beautiful. It is truly the one thing in
nature that puts you in your place; only one does not sufficiently
respect the sea. To wet in it bodies deformed by the daily life should
not be allowed; truly these arms and legs which move in ridiculous
rhythms—it is enough to make the fish weep. There should be only Sirens
in the sea, and could you wish that these estimable persons would be
willing to return to waters so badly frequented?”

Houlgate, 1911: “Here life and the sea continue—the first to contradict
our native savagery, the second to accomplish its sonorous going and
coming, which cradles the melancholy of those who are deceived by the

Pourville, August, 1915: “Trees are good friends, better than the ocean,
which is in motion, wishing to trespass on the land, bite the rocks,
with the anger of a little girl—singular for a person of its importance.
One would understand it if it sent the vessels about their business as
disturbing vermin.”

                “IBÉRIA”: “IMAGES” FOR ORCHESTRA, NO. 2

    I. Par les rues et par les chemins (In the Streets and By-ways)
    II. Les Parfums de la nuit (The Fragrance of the Night)
    III. Le Matin d’un jour de fête (The Morning of a Festival Day)

The _Images_, of which _Ibéria_ is the second movement, are remarkable
in many ways and to be ranked among the first compositions of this
genius. They are impressionistic, but there is a sense of form; there is
also the finest proportion. This music is conspicuous for exquisite
effects of color. There are combinations of timbres and also contrasts
that were hitherto unknown. There are hints of Spanish melodies;
melodies not too openly exposed; there are intoxicating rhythms, sharply
defined, or elusive, and then they are the more madding.

This music is pleasingly remote from photographic realism. The title
might be “Impressions of Spain.” There is the suggestion of street life
and wild strains heard on bleak plains or savage mountains; of the music
of the people; of summer nights, warm and odorous; of the awakening of
life with the break of day; of endless jotas, tangos, seguidillas,
fandangoes; of gypsies with their spells brought from the East; of women
with Moorish blood. _Ibéria_ defies analysis and beggars description.

What phrase-mongering, however ingenious, would impart the beauty of
_Odors of the Night_ to him that did not hear the music? The music that
haunts should not be lightly or openly talked about. The impression made
by it should be guarded or confided only to the closest friend.

To speak of Debussy’s use of instruments to gain effects, of his ability
to reproduce what had not been heard by others, though they may have
felt it feebly and had the wish to hear it clearly and put it in
notation, would be a classroom task. To write of it for the general
reader would be only to rhapsodize. Now Debussy is a rhapsodist of the
rarest nature, and his musical speech is not to be translated by a
rhapsody in words.

                                 * * *

_Ibéria_ is the second in a series of three orchestral compositions by
Debussy entitled _Images_.

The first, _Gigues_—it was originally entitled _Gigue Triste_—was
published in 1913 and performed for the first time at a Colonne concert,
Paris, January 26, 1913. _Ibéria_ was performed for the first time at a
Colonne concert in Paris on February 20, 1910, Gabriel Pierné,

M. Boutarel wrote after the first performance that the hearers are
supposed to be in Spain. The bells of horses and mules are heard, and
the joyous sounds of wayfarers. The night falls; nature sleeps and is at
rest until bells and _aubades_ announce the dawn, and the world awakens
to life. “Debussy appears in this work to have exaggerated his tendency
to treat music with means of expression analogous to those of the
impressionistic painters. Nevertheless, the rhythm remains well defined
and frank in _Ibéria_. Do not look for any melodic design, nor any
carefully woven harmonic web. The composer of _Images_ attaches
importance only to tonal color. He puts his timbres side by side,
adopting a process like that of the _Tachistes_ or the ‘stipplers’ in
distributing coloring.” The Debussyites and “_Pelléastres_” wished
_Ibéria_ repeated, but, while the majority of the audience was willing
to applaud, it did not long for a repetition. Repeated the next Sunday,
_Ibéria_ aroused “frenetic applause and vehement protestations.”

_Ibéria_ is scored for these instruments: piccolo, three flutes (one
interchangeable with a second piccolo), two oboes, English horn, three
clarinets, three bassoons, double bassoon, four horns, three trumpets,
three trombones, bass tuba, kettledrums, side drum, tambourine,
castanets, xylophone, celesta, cymbals, three bells (F, G, A), two
harps, and the usual strings.

Debussy wrote on May 16, 1905, to Jacques Durand, his publisher, that he
was preparing these compositions for two pianofortes: “I. _Gigues
tristes._ II. _Ibéria._ III. _Valse_ (?).” In September of that year he
hoped to finish them. 1906, August 8: “I have at present three different
ways of finishing _Ibéria_. Shall I toss up a coin or search for a
fourth?” In September, 1907, the _Images_ would be ready as soon as the
_Rondes_ were “_comme je le veux et comme il faut_.” In 1908 Debussy was
hard at work on his opera, _The Fall of the House of Usher_, an opera of
which, it is said, no sketches have been found. (Durand received
Debussy’s libretto in 1917.) In 1909 he wrote that he had laid the
_Images_ aside “to the advantage of Edgar Allan Poe.” He also worked on
an opera, _The Devil in the Belfry_.

In 1910: “I have seen Pierné. I think he exaggerates the difficulties in
a performance of _Ibéria_.”

Debussy wrote on December 4, 1910, from Budapest, where he gave a
concert of his works, that _Ibéria_ was especially successful. “They
could not play _The Sea_ no more the _Nocturnes_, from want of
rehearsal. I was assured that the orchestra knew _The Sea_, for it had
been played through three times. Ah! my friend, if you had heard it!...
I assure you to put _Ibéria_ right in two rehearsals was, indeed, an
effort.... Don’t forget that these players understood me only through an
interpreter—a sort of Doctor of Law—who perhaps transmitted my thought
only by deforming it. I tried every means. I sang, made the gestures of
Italian pantomime, etc.—it was enough to touch the heart of a buffalo.
Well, they at last understood me, and I had the last word. I was
recalled like a ballet girl, and if the idolatrous crowd did not
unharness the horses of my carriage, it was because I had a simple taxi.
The moral of this journey is that I am not made to exercise the
profession of composer of music in a foreign land. The heroism of a
commercial traveler is needed. One must consent to a sort of compromise
which decidedly repels me.”


  (Born at Mühlhausen [Nelahozeves] near Kralup, Bohemia, September 8,
                   1841; died at Prague, May 1, 1904)

The winning and endearing qualities of childhood were in Dvořák’s best
music: artless simplicity, irresistible frankness, delight in nature and
life. His music was best when it smacked of the soil, when he remembered
his early days, the strains of vagabond musicians, the dances dear to
his folk. One of a happily primitive people, he delighted in rhythm and
color. He was not the man to translate pictures, statues, poems, a
system of metaphysics, a gospel of pessimism into music. He was least
successful when he would be heroic, mystical, profound. It was an evil
day for him when England “discovered” him, patronized him, ordered
oratorios from him for her festivals, made him a doctor of music (as
though he were a cathedral organist), and tried to turn this
_Naturmensch_ into a drawing-room and church celebrity. When Dvořák is
dull, he is very dull. His Slavonic Dances and such a song as “Als die
alte Mutter” are worth a wilderness of “St. Ludmilas” and “Heldenlieds.”
And his work as a creative musician was no doubt at an end when he left
this country to go back to his beloved Prague.

Some have been inclined to think lightly of Dvořák because his best and
vital qualities were recognized by the people. This popularity irritated
those who believe that pure art is only for the few—the purists; they
forget Mozart, Beethoven, Schubert, Chopin, Verdi, Wagner, Tchaikovsky.
But this popularity was based on the quick recognition of essential
qualities: melody, rhythm, color. Slavonic intensity has a purpose, an
esoteric meaning. Dvořák might have replied to lecturers, essayists, and
the genteel in Whitman’s words:

  _Do you guess I have some intricate purpose? Well, I have—for the
  Fourth-month showers have, and the mica on the side of a rock has._

  _Do you take it I would astonish? Does the daylight astonish? Does the
  early redstail, twittering through the woods?_

Dvořák had his faults, and they were tiresome and exasperating. His
naïveté became a mannerism. Like a child, he delighted in vain
repetitions; he was at times too much pleased with rhythms and colors,
so that he mistook the exterior dress for the substance and forgot that
after all there was little or no substance behind the brilliant
trappings. We believe that he will ultimately be ranked among the minor
poets of music. His complete works may gather dust in libraries; but no
carefully chosen anthology will be without examples of his piquancy,
strength, and beauty in thought and expression.


    I. Adagio; allegro molto
    II. Largo
    III. Scherzo
    IV. Allegro con fuoco

Dvořák was an Austrian of a sort, and lived his time in Vienna, like the
others. But he had Czech blood in his veins, and had, moreover, pretty
well formed his style before coming to Vienna; besides, he was a peasant
and had not only been brought up in, but had a native affinity for, the
peasant musical atmosphere; Vienna taught him no dancing-master tricks.
It is at once curious and delightful to note how, in this symphony,
Dvořák sticks to his peasant dialect. Once, in the _scherzo_, he rises
to the Schubert pitch of civilization (and Schubert himself was an
incorrigible man of the people), but for the rest remains peasant as he
was born and bred. And as his dialect is really his native lingo, it has
all the charm of reality and does not offend nor bore you—as so-called
dialect novels do. Here in this symphony Dvořák has done, perhaps, the
best work of his life; not the most genuine, for he is hardly ever
anything but genuine, but the most thoroughly poetic and beautiful.
There are parts of the _finale_ that seem clearly intended as a picture
of—or say, rather, clearly inspired by memories of—a peasant’s Sunday
afternoon _Keilerei_, or free fight (of the “where you see a head, hit”

                                 * * *

Dvořák in 1892-93 was living in New York as the director of the National
Conservatory of Music. He made many sketches for this symphony. In the
first of the three books used for this purpose, he noted “Morning,
December 19, 1892.” Fuller sketches began January 10, 1893. The slow
movement was then entitled “_Legenda_.” The _scherzo_ was completed
January 31; the _finale_, May 25, 1893. A large part of the
instrumentation was done at Spillville, Ia., where many Bohemians dwelt.

This symphony was performed for the first time, in manuscript, by the
Philharmonic Society of New York on Friday afternoon, December 15, 1893.
Anton Seidl conducted. Dvořák was present.

When this symphony was played at Berlin in 1900, Dvořák wrote to Oskar
Nedbal, who conducted it: “I send you Kretzschmar’s analysis of the
symphony, but omit that nonsense about my having made use of ‘Indian’
and ‘American’ themes—that is a lie. I tried to write only in the spirit
of those national American melodies. Take the introduction to the
symphony as slowly as possible.”

The symphony aroused a controversy in which there was shedding of much
ink. The controversy long ago died out, and is probably forgotten even
by those who read the polemical articles at the time and expressed their
own opinions. The symphony remains. It is now without associations that
might prejudice. It is now enjoyed or appreciated, or possibly passed
by, as music, and not as an exhibit in a case on trial.

Yet it may be good to recall the circumstances of the symphony’s origin.
In the feverish days of the discussion excited by the first performance
of this symphony, it was stated that Mr. Krehbiel and others called the
attention of Dvořák, who was then living in New York, to Negro melodies
and rhythms; that the Bohemian composer then wept with joy and rushed
after music paper; that he journeyed to a Western town inhabited chiefly
by Bohemians, a town in Iowa, where he could find the stimulating
atmosphere to write masterpieces of a truly American nature. Some may
also remember that soon after the first performances of the symphony
there was a distressing rumor that portions of it had been composed long
before Dvořák came to New York; long before his eyes were dimmed and his
knees turned to water by hearing Negro tunes.

The conclusion of the whole matter, according to several Czechs whom
William Ritter (author of a life of Smetana) consulted, is as follows:

I. The _New World_ symphony expresses the state of soul of an uncultured
Czech in America, the state of a homesick soul remembering his native
land and stupefied by the din and hustle of a new life.

II. The uncultured Czech is a born musician, a master of his trade. He
is interested in the only traces of music that he finds in America.
Negro airs, not copied, adapted, imitated, tint slightly two or three
passages of the symphony without injury to its Czech character.

III. The symphony leaped, Minerva-like, from the head of this uncultured
genius. As nearly all his other compositions, except the operas, it was
not stimulated by any foreign assistance, by any consultation of
authors, or by quotations, reading, etc., as was especially the case
with Brahms.

IV. The national Czech feeling in this work, quickened by homesickness,
is so marked that it is recognized throughout Bohemia, by the learned
and by the humblest.

These are the conclusions of Mr. Ritter after a painstaking
investigation. That Dvořák was most unhappy and pathetically homesick
during his sojourn in New York is known to many, though Mr. Ritter does
not enter into any long discussion of the composer’s mental condition in
this country.

Yet some will undoubtedly continue to insist that the symphony _From the
New World_ is based, for the most part, on Negro themes, and that the
future of American music rests on the use of Congo, North American
Indian, Creole, Greaser, and Cowboy ditties, whinings, yawps, and

The symphony is scored for two flutes and piccolo, two oboes (one
interchangeable with English horn), two clarinets, two bassoons, four
horns, two trumpets, three trombones, bass tuba, kettledrums, cymbals,
triangle, and strings.

                             EDWARD WILLIAM

  (Born at Broadheath, near Worcester, England, June 2, 1857; died at
                     Worcester, February 23, 1934)

Nearly one hundred years ago, William Hazlitt wrote a few words
concerning a speech on Indian affairs by the Marquis Wellesley, the
eldest brother of the Duke of Wellington. These words may be justly
applied to Sir Edward Elgar, composer of _The Dream of Gerontius_, two
symphonies, the popular march _Pomp and Circumstance_, and other works
familiar to our concert audiences.

“Seeming to utter volumes in every word, and yet saying nothing;
retaining the same unabated vehemence of voice and action without
anything to excite it; still keeping alive the promise and the
expectation of genius without once satisfying it—soaring into mediocrity
with adventurous enthusiasm, harrowed up by some plain matter of fact,
writhing with agony under a truism, and launching a commonplace with all
the fury of a thunderbolt.”


    Theme: Andante.
    I. “C.A.E.” L’istesso tempo
    II. “H.D.S.-P.” Allegro
    III. “R.B.T.” Allegretto
    IV. “W.M.B.” Allegro di molto
    V. “R.P.A.” Moderato
    VI. “Ysobel” Andantino
    VII. “Troyte” Presto
    VIII. “W.N.” Allegretto
    IX. “Nimrod” Moderato
    X. “Dorabella—Intermezzo.” Allegro
    XI. “G.R.S.” Allegro di molto
    XII. “B.G.N.” Andante
    XIII. “X.X.X.—Romanza.” Moderato
    XIV. “E.D.U.—Finale”

Elgar’s Variations were once regarded as a brilliant show-piece for an
orchestra. There was a time when Elgar was held to be a “great”
composer. Time, the Old Man with a Scythe, has a disconcerting way of
handling it. The music with a few exceptions seems at the best
respectable in a middle-class manner; the sort of music that gives the
composer the degree of Mus. Doc. from an English university. In Elgar’s
case, his music won him knighthood, and to this day there are “Elgar
Festivals” in England. Was Cecil Gray too severe when he wrote of Elgar:
“He never gets entirely away from the atmosphere of pale, cultured
idealism and the unconsciously hypocritical, self-righteous, Pharisaical
gentlemanliness which is so characteristic of British art in the last

                                 * * *

These Variations, composed at Malvern in 1899, were first performed at
one of Hans Richter’s concerts in London, June 19, 1899. Mr. Felix
Borowski, the excellent editor of the Chicago Orchestra’s Programme
Books, says: “Richter had never met the English composer when, in
Vienna, he received the score of the Variations from his agent in the
British capital; but the conductor determined to exploit a work which
appeared to him to possess qualities of strength and skill that had not
been made evident in many English compositions. ‘The _Enigma_
Variations,’ wrote Robert J. Buckley, ‘toured by Richter’s band, set the
seal on Elgar’s reputation. Richter did for Elgar what he had done for
Wagner thirty years before. England was won for Wagner by Richter and
the _Tannhäuser_ overture. England was won for Elgar by Richter and the
_Enigma_ Variations.’[25] It should, however, be pointed out that the
Variations, as produced by Richter in June, 1899, were not quite the
same composition as that which has been made familiar to every
concert-going audience in the world. After the first performance, Elgar,
at the instigation of Hans Richter, added a _coda_, and he made various
changes in the orchestration throughout the piece. In this revised form
it was produced at the Worcester Festival, the composer conducting his
work, September 13, 1899.” The Variations were first played in Germany
at a concert of the Städtische Musikverein, Düsseldorf, February 7,
1901; Julius Buths, conductor.

The score, which includes a theme and fourteen variations, is dedicated
by the composer to his “friends pictured within.” Elgar himself said:
“It is true that I have sketched, for their amusement and mine, the
idiosyncrasies of fourteen of my friends, not necessarily musicians; but
this is a personal matter and need not have been mentioned publicly. The
Variations should stand simply as a ‘piece’ of music. The Enigma I will
not explain—its ‘dark saying’ must be left unguessed, and I warn you
that the apparent connection between the Variations and the theme is
often of the slightest texture; further, through and over the whole set
another and larger theme ‘goes’ but is not played.... So the principal
theme never appears, even as in some late dramas—e.g., Maeterlinck’s
_L’Intruse_ and _Les Sept Princesses_: the chief character is never on
the stage.”

Elgar’s work is scored for two flutes and piccolo, two oboes, two
clarinets, two bassoons, double bassoon, four horns, three trumpets,
three trombones, bass tuba, snare drum, bass drum, triangle, cymbals,
organ (_ad lib._), and strings.


The theme, or the “Enigma,” is an _andante_, G minor, 4-4, of a
melancholy nature, with a halting and sighing melody. A few measures of
musical notation would show more clearly the nature of the following
variations than any verbal description, however graphic.

Elgar wrote to the late August Johannes Jaeger that he had composed
thirteen variations, but, yielding to superstition, he had called the
_finale_ the fourteenth.


I. “C.A.E.” _L’istesso tempo_, G minor, 4-4. The initials are Lady
Elgar’s. The theme, changed in rhythm, is given to the second violins
and violas tremolo; flute and clarinet in octaves. The close,
_pianississimo_, is in G major.

II. “H.D.S.-P.” _Allegro_, G minor, 3-8. The theme finally appears in
the violoncellos and basses under a staccato figure for wood-wind, later

III. “R.B.T.” _Allegretto_, G major, 3-8. Fragments of the theme are
played by oboe and violins (_pizzicato_) against a counter theme for

IV. “W.M.B.” A spirited, vigorous variation. _Allegro di molto_, G
minor-major 3-4. Strings, wood-wind, and horns proclaim the theme. The
last measures call for the full strength of the orchestra.

V. “R.P.A.” _Moderato_, C minor, 12-8 (4-4). A counter melody is
developed against the theme (bassoons, violoncellos, and double basses),
first above the theme and then below it.

VI. “Ysobel.” _Andantino_, C major 3-2. A lyrical movement with a
cantilena for solo viola, while gentle phrases are given to the woodwind
and horns.

VII. “Troyte.” _Presto_, C major, 4-4. Wood-wind and violins have a bold
figure over a _basso ostinato_ for violoncellos, double basses,
kettledrums. This figure, changed, is afterwards given to the basses.

VIII. “W.N.” _Allegretto_, G major, 6-8. Clarinets vary the theme.

IX. “Nimrod.” _Moderato_, E flat major, 3-4. This and the next
variations are in strong contrast to each other and to those that
precede. “Nimrod” is a tribute to Elgar’s friend Jaeger. Elgar’s
Variations were performed at a memorial concert to Jaeger in London on
January 24, 1910. Hans Richter conducted. Elgar wrote this note for the
programme: “The Variations are not all ‘portraits.’... Something ardent
and mercurial, in addition to the slow movement (No. IX), would have
been needful to portray the character and temperament of A. J. Jaeger.
The variation is a record of a long summer evening talk, when my friend
grew nobly eloquent (as only he could) on the grandeur of Beethoven, and
especially of his slow movements.” The strings (2d violins, violas, and
violoncellos divided) sing the theme, _pianississimo_. Later the
wood-wind and brass enlarge it.

X. “Dorabella—Intermezzo.” _Allegretto_, G major, 3-4, a sparkling,
joyous variation, scored lightly for muted strings and wood-wind; a horn
is heard in one measure, and there are a few strokes on the kettledrums.

XI. “G.R.S.” _Allegro di molto_, G minor, 2-2. An English reviewer says
of this variation: “The furious pedaling in the basses seems to confirm
our suspicion that this is the ‘picture’ of a well-known Cathedral
organist.” This organist is probably Dr. George Roberton Sinclair, a
friend and neighbor of Elgar at Hereford. The basses play a staccato
variation of the theme. Later the brass has it _fortissimo_.

XII. “B.G.N.” _Andante_, G minor, 4-4. A song for violoncellos in which
violas join later with first violins for the climax.

XIII. “X.X.X.—Romanza.” _Moderato_, G major, 3-4. The story is that
“X.X.X.” was at sea when Elgar wrote this variation. We quote from Mr.
Daniel Gregory Mason’s essay on Elgar: “Violas in a quietly undulating
rhythm suggests the ocean expanse; an almost inaudible tremor of the
drum gives the throb of the engines; a quotation from Mendelssohn’s
_Calm Sea and Prosperous Voyage_ (clarinet) completes the story. Yet
‘story’ it is not—and there is the subtlety of it. Dim sea and dreamlike
steamer are only accessories, after all. The thought of the distant
friend, the human soul there, is what quietly disengages itself as the
essence of the music.”[26] Ernest Newman speaks of the “curious drum
roll, like the faint throb of the engines of a big liner.”[27]

XIV. “E.D.U.—Finale.” _Allegro_, G major, with an introduction. There
are various modifications of tempo; the final section is a _presto_. The
organ part was added after the first performance. “The _finale_ is an
elaborate movement, starting _pianissimo_, but soon developing strength
and brilliancy in a richly scored marchlike strain, with which anon the
_ritmo di tre_ of Variation IX, ‘Nimrod’ (but in augmentation) is
combined in a grandiose and triumphant passage, which virtually forms
the climax of the work.” There is also a reminiscence of the opening
strain of Variation I, _pianississimo_.

                                DE FALLA

                   (Born at Cadiz, November 23, 1876)

                   BALLET-PANTOMIME: “EL AMOR BRUJO”

The suite derived from de Falla’s “choreographic fantasy,” _Love, the
Sorcerer_, does not suffer so much by its separation from the theatrical
situations, action, and stage settings as other suites arranged from
ballets. There are many pages that are enjoyable as pure music without
thought of a plot and the evolutions of a ballet, without the question
of whether this number or that is illustrative of an episode in the
ballet. If de Falla expresses the wildness of Spanish gypsy music in a
fascinating manner, he is equally fortunate in the expression of gentle
emotions. There is little that is sensuous or voluptuous in the suite.
The music for the scene of the appearance of a ghost which cools the
amorous ardor of Candelas when her new lover would approach her—here one
is reminded of the chief theme of Anatole France’s amusing and satirical
_Histoire comique_—is, perhaps, imbued with passionate fervor for
performance on the stage.

                                 * * *

This _Gitaneria_ (Gypsy Life) in one act and two scenes, a choreographic
fantasy with voice and small orchestra, book by Gregorio Martinez Sierra
(known in this country by the plays _A Romantic Young Lady_, _Cradle
Song_, _The Kingdom of God_), was produced at the Teatro de Lara,
Madrid, April 15, 1915, with the Señora Pastora Imperio assisting. A
concert version was performed at Madrid in 1916, E. Fernandez Arbos
conductor, at a concert of the Sociedad Nacional de Música. According to
G. Jean-Aubry, “De Falla drew from the music certain symphonic excerpts,
in which he suppressed the spoken or sung parts and enlarged the
instrumentation.... But this did not alter the essential character of
the work, which is to be found in its particular color, or the
semi-Arabian style of its idioms.”

This suite was performed for the first time in London on November 23,

Sierra based the libretto of de Falla’s ballet pantomime on an
Andalusian gypsy story. _Brujo_ means a wizard, a male witch. Mr. Trent,
in his _Manuel de Falla and Spanish Music_, writes: “_L’Amour sorcier_
has misled both audiences and English translators. _Love the Wizard_
gives an entirely wrong impression; _Wedded by Witchcraft_, proposed as
an alternative, is a description, more or less, of what happens; and
even that would be better as _Wedded in Spite of Witchcraft_.”

There was a small orchestra when the work was first produced. As finally
revised, the score calls for piccolo, two flutes, oboe, two clarinets,
bassoon, two horns, two trumpets, kettledrums, bells (A, D, C), piano,
and strings. A mezzo-soprano sings “behind”; but in concerts the voice
is replaced by a horn, or in one place an English horn.

When Mr. Arbos conducted this work in St. Louis, the Programme Book,
edited by Harry R. Burke, contained this synopsis of the story published
as a preface to the piano score:

“Candelas, a young, very beautiful and passionate woman has loved a
wicked, jealous and dissolute, but fascinating and cajoling Gypsy.
Although having led a very unhappy life with him, she has loved him
intensely and mourned his loss, unable ever to forget him. Her memory of
him is something like a hypnotic dream, a morbid, gruesome, and
maddening spell. She is terrified by the thought that the dead may not
be entirely gone, that he may return, that he continues to love her in
that fierce, shadowy, faithless, and caressing way. She lets herself
become a prey to the past as if under the influence of a specter; yet
she is young, strong, vivacious. Spring returns, and with it love, in
the shape of Carmelo.

“Carmelo, a handsome youth, enamored and gallant, makes love to her.
Candelas, not unwilling to be won, almost unconsciously returns his
love; but the obsession of her past weighs against her present
inclination. When Carmelo approaches her and endeavors to make her share
his passion, the Specter returns and terrifies Candelas, whom he
separates from her lover. They cannot exchange the kiss of perfect love.

“Carmelo being gone, Candelas languishes and droops; she feels as if
bewitched, and her past love seems to flutter heavily about her like
malevolent and foreboding bats. But this evil spell has to be broken,
and Carmelo believes he has found a remedy. He has once been the comrade
of the Gypsy whose specter haunts Candelas. He knows that the dead lover
was the typical faithless and jealous Andalusian gallant. Since he
appears to retain, even after his death, his taste for beautiful women,
he must be taken on his weak side and thus diverted from his posthumous
jealousy in order that Carmelo may exchange with Candelas the perfect
kiss against which the sorcery of love cannot prevail.

“Carmelo persuades Lucia, a young and enchantingly pretty Gypsy girl,
the friend of Candelas, to simulate acceptance of the Specter’s
addresses. Lucia, out of love for Candelas and from feminine curiosity,
agrees. The idea of a flirtation with a ghost seems to her attractive
and novel. And then the dead man was so mirthful in life. Lucia takes up
the sentinel’s post. Carmelo returns to make love to Candelas, and the
Specter intervenes ... but he finds the charming little Gypsy, and
neither can nor will resist the temptation, not being experienced in
withstanding the allurements of a pretty face. He makes love to Lucia,
coaxing and imploring her, and the coquettish young Gypsy almost brings
him to despair. In the meantime Carmelo succeeds in convincing Candelas
of his love, and life triumphs over death and the past. The lovers at
last exchange the kiss that defeats the evil influence of the Specter,
who perishes, definitely conquered by love.”


    I. The Neighbors
    II. The Miller’s Dance
    III. Final Dance

The score calls for piccolo, two flutes, two oboes, English horn, two
clarinets, two bassoons, four horns, two trumpets, three trombones, bass
tuba, kettledrums, side drum, bass drum, cymbals, triangle, xylophone,
tam-tam, castanets, celesta, harp, piano, and the usual strings.

When the Russian Ballet visited Spain, Serge de Diaghilev was so much
interested in the work of de Falla that he commissioned him to write a
ballet on the subject of Alarcón’s novel, _El Sombrero de Tres Picos_.

This ballet _The Three-cornered Hat_ was performed for the first time on
any stage by the Russian Ballet at the Alhambra, London. Joaquin Turina
says (_The Chesterian_, May, 1920) that the first version of _The
Three-cornered Hat_ was produced at the Eslava Theater, Madrid, under
the title of _El Corregidor y la Molinera_. Turina was then conducting
this theater’s orchestra. The “pantomime” of de Falla was accompanied by
only seventeen players. “The composer was confronted with one great
difficulty, and that was to follow musically the action of the play
without spoiling the unity of his score. The music therefore continually
reflected a certain anxiety on the composer’s part, as if he were trying
to disentangle himself, so to speak, from the external network. The
transformation of the ‘pantomime’ into a ballet at once cleared away all
these difficulties. This is quite natural, for in the new version the
action became reduced to a strictly indispensable minimum, and the
dances became predominant, those already existing being considerably

Turina finds the Miller’s Dance the most interesting “because of its
typically Andalusian character, its fascinating rhythm which is like an
affirmation of Southern art, and its Moorish character.” In the Final
Dance the _jota_ and the folk theme called _vito_ are introduced.

The _Daily Telegraph_ (London, July 24, 1919) said of the ballet:

“Over the whole brisk action is the spirit of frivolous comedy of a kind
by no means common only to Spain of the eighteenth century. A young
miller and his wife are the protagonists, and if their existence be
idyllic in theory, it is extraordinarily strenuous in
practice—choreographically. But that is only another way of saying that
M. Massine and Mme Karsavina, who enact the couple, are hardly ever off
the stage, and that both of them work with an energy and exuberance that
almost leave one breathless at moments. The miller and his wife between
them, however, would scarcely suffice even for a slender ballet plot. So
we have as well an amorous _corregidor_ (or governor), who orders the
miller’s arrest so that the way may be cleared for a pleasant little
flirtation—if nothing more serious—with the captivating wife. Behold the
latter fooling him with a seductive dance, and then evading her admirer
with such agility that, in his pursuit of her, he tumbles over a bridge
into the mill stream. But, as this is comedy, and not melodrama, the
would-be lover experiences nothing worse than a wetting, and the laugh,
which is turned against him, is renewed when, having taken off some of
his clothes to dry them and gone to rest on the miller’s bed, his
presence is discovered by the miller himself, who, in revenge, goes off
in the intruder’s garments after scratching a message on the wall to the
effect that ‘Your wife is no less beautiful than mine!’ Thereafter a
‘gallimaufry of gambols’ and—curtain!”


 (Born at Liège, Belgium, December 10, 1822; died at Paris, November 8,

What a characteristic figure is this artist of the nineteenth century,
whose profile stands out so boldly from the surroundings in which he
lived! An artist of another age, whose work makes one think of that of
the great Bach! Franck went through this life as a dreamer, seeing
little or nothing of that which passed about him, thinking only of his
art, and living only for it. True artists are subject to this kind of
hypnotism—the inveterate workers, who find the recompense of their labor
in the accomplished fact, and an incomparable joy in the pure and simple
toil of each day. They have no need to search for the echo in the crowd.

When Ysaye and Lachaume introduced Franck’s violin sonata (in Boston) in
1895; when these and others introduced the magnificent piano quintet in
1898, leading musicians of this city shook wise heads and said with an
air of finality: “This will never do.” The string quartet was only
tolerated, endured because it was produced at a Kneisel concert, and at
that time the Kneisels could do no wrong. _The Wild Huntsman_, produced
here by Theodore Thomas in 1898, was looked on as the work of an
eccentric and theatrical Frenchman.

When Mr. Gericke produced the symphony in 1899, the storm broke loose.
There were letters of angry protest. A leading critic characterized the
symphony as “dismal.” Several subscribers to the concerts called it
“immoral” and vowed they would not attend any concert at which music by
Franck was to be played.

Nor did Franck fare better for a time in New York. Even the broad-minded
James Huneker dismissed him as a sort of Abbé Liszt, now in the heavily
scented boudoir, now with self-conscious devotion in the church. Franck
in the boudoir! Poor “_Père_” Franck!

And so Franck had to make his way here, as in Paris, misunderstood,
abused, regarded by some as an anarchist, by some as a bore. This, men
and brethren, should make us all tolerant, even cautious in passing
judgment on contemporary composers whose idiom is as yet strange to us.
Cocksure opinions are valuable chiefly to the one who expresses them.

Let us hear what is going on in the musical world, even if it is going
on noisily and queerly in our ears. It is not enough to say: “I don’t
like it. Why does —— put such pieces on the programme?” Inherently bad
music will soon disappear of itself, unless it is so bad, with such
obviously vulgar tunes, that it becomes popular. But music is not
necessarily bad because it is of a strange and irregular nature. For
audiences to have no curiosity about new works, no spur to hot
discussion concerning them, is a sign of stagnation in art. Thus César
Franck, a great teacher, teaches us all indirectly a lesson.

                          SYMPHONY IN D MINOR

    I. Lento; allegro non troppo
    II. Allegretto
    III. Allegro non troppo

As the “_Pelléastres_” for a time did Debussy harm, so the “Franckists”
injured the reputation of César Franck. They insisted on his aloofness
from earthly strife, joy, sorrow, passion. They proclaimed him a mystic,
dwelling in the seventh heaven and hearing, if not the celestial choir,
at least the music of the spheres. His compositions were of plenary
inspiration: not a note could be added; not a note could be taken away.

A reaction was inevitable. Younger composers, escaping his influence,
were tired of his alleged perfection. Older composers, envious no doubt
of his fame, were wearied by the recital of his private and musical
virtues. Was he overestimated soon after his death? For some years it
has been the fashion to underestimate him; to speak of “the false
mysticism of the old Belgian angel.” Too frequent repetitions of his
music, even of that masterpiece the violin sonata and of his symphony,
were not of benefit to him. (It was as with Tchaikovsky and his
_Pathetic_ symphony.)

Today it is only just to recognize Franck’s eminence among composers. To
say that his symphony is flawless is not so easy. We believe that in the
first movement the return of the somber introduction, even with a
changed tonality, before the full exposition, development and
continuance of the main body of the movement, was a mistake. It might
reasonably be said that there is in this movement overelaboration, a
surplusage of detail, unnecessary repetitions of thematic fragments
given in turn to various instruments or choirs of instruments, a
favorite device of Tchaikovsky’s. There might something be said with
regard to diffuseness in the other movements.

                                 * * *

This symphony was produced at the Conservatoire, Paris, February 17,
1889. It was composed in 1888 and completed August 22 of that year.

Vincent d’Indy[28] in his Life of Franck gives some particulars about
the first performance of the Symphony in D minor. “The performance was
quite against the wish of most members of the famous orchestra, and was
only pushed through thanks to the benevolent obstinacy of the conductor,
Jules Garcin. The subscribers could make neither head nor tail of it,
and the musical authorities were much in the same position. I inquired
of one of them—a professor at the Conservatoire, and a kind of factotum
on the committee—what he thought of the work. ‘That a symphony?’ he
replied in contemptuous tones. ‘But, my dear sir, who ever heard of
writing for the English horn in a symphony? Just mention a single
symphony by Haydn or Beethoven introducing the English horn. There,
well, you see—your Franck’s music may be whatever you please, but it
will certainly never be a symphony!’” This was the attitude of the
Conservatoire in the year of grace 1889.

“At another door of the concert hall, the composer of _Faust_, escorted
by a train of adulators, male and female, fulminated a kind of papal
decree to the effect that this symphony was the affirmation of
incompetence pushed to dogmatic lengths. For sincerity and
disinterestedness we must turn to the composer himself, when, on his
return from the concert, his whole family surrounded him, asking eagerly
for news. ‘Well, were you satisfied with the effect on the public? Was
there plenty of applause?’ To which ‘Father Franck,’ thinking only of
his work, replied with a beaming countenance: ‘Oh, it sounded well; just
as I thought it would!’”

D’Indy describes Gounod leaving the concert hall of the Conservatoire
after the first performance of Franck’s symphony, surrounded by incense
burners of each sex, and saying particularly that this symphony was “the
affirmation of impotence pushed to dogma.” Perhaps Gounod made this
speech; perhaps he didn’t; some of Franck’s disciples are too busy in
adding to the legend of his martyrdom. D’Indy says little about the
structure of this symphony, although he devotes a chapter to Franck’s
string quartet.

Speaking of Franck’s sonata for violin and pianoforte, he calls
attention to the fact that the first of its organic germs is used as the
theme of the four movements of the work. “From this moment cyclical
form, the basis of modern symphonic art, was created and consecrated.”
He then adds:

“The majestic, plastic, and perfectly beautiful Symphony in D minor is
constructed on the same method. I purposely use the word _method_ for
this reason: After having long described Franck as an empiricist and an
improviser—which is radically wrong—his enemies (of whom, in spite of
his incomparable goodness, he made many) and his ignorant detractors
suddenly changed their views and called him a musical mathematician, who
subordinated inspiration and impulse to a conscientious manipulation of
form. This, we may observe in passing, is a common reproach brought by
the ignorant Philistine against the dreamer and the genius. Yet where
can we point to a composer in the second half of the nineteenth century
who could—and did—think as loftily as Franck, or who could have found in
his fervent and enthusiastic heart such vast ideas as those which lie at
the musical basis of the symphony, the quartet, and _The Beatitudes_?

“It frequently happens in the history of art that a breath passing
through the creative spirits of the day incites them, without any
previous mutual understanding, to create works which are identical in
form, if not in significance. It is easy to find examples of this kind
of artistic telepathy between painters and writers, but the most
striking instances are furnished by the musical art.

“Without going back upon the period we are now considering, the years
between 1884 and 1889 are remarkable for a curious return to pure
symphonic form. Apart from the younger composers, and one or two
unimportant representatives of the old school, three composers who had
already made their mark—Lalo, Saint-Saëns, and Franck—produced true
symphonies at this time, but widely different as regards external
aspects and ideas.

“Lalo’s Symphony in G minor, which is on very classical lines, is
remarkable for the fascination of its themes, and still more for charm
and elegance of rhythm and harmony, distinctive qualities of the
imaginative composer of _Le Roi d’Ys_.

“The C minor symphony of Saint-Saëns, displaying undoubted talent, seems
like a challenge to the traditional laws of tonal structure; and
although the composer sustains the combat with cleverness and eloquence,
and in spite of the indisputable interest of the work—founded, like many
others by this composer, upon a prose theme, the _Dies Iræ_—yet the
final impression is that of doubt and sadness.

“Franck’s symphony, on the contrary, is a continual ascent towards pure
gladness and life-giving light because its workmanship is solid, and its
themes are manifestations of ideal beauty. What is there more joyous,
more sanely vital, than the principal subject of the _finale_, around
which all the other themes in the work cluster and crystallize? While in
the higher registers all is dominated by that motive which M. Ropartz
has justly called ‘the theme of faith.’”

The symphony is scored for two flutes, two oboes, English horn, two
clarinets, bass clarinet, two bassoons, four horns, two trumpets, two
cornets, three trombones, bass tuba, tympani, harps, and strings. The
score is dedicated to Henri Duparc.

                             GEORG FRIDERIC

   (Born at Halle, February 23, 1685; died at London, April 14, 1759)

“Mr. Georg Frideric Handel,” Mr. Runciman once wrote, “is by far the
most superb personage one meets, in the history of music. He alone, of
all the musicians, lived his life straight through in the grand
manner.”[29] When Handel wrote “_pomposo_” on a page, he wrote not idly.
What magnificent simplicity in outlines!... For melodic lines of such
chaste and noble beauty, such Olympian authority, no one has approached
Handel. “Within that circle none durst walk but he.” His nearest rival
is the Chevalier Gluck.

And this giant of a man could express a tenderness known only to him and
Mozart, for Schubert, with all his melodic wealth and sensitiveness,
could fall at times into sentimentalism, and Schumann’s intimate
confessions were sometimes whispered. Handel in his tenderness was
always manly. No one has approached him in his sublimely solemn moments!
Few composers, if there is anyone, have been able to produce such
pathetic or sublime effects by simple means, by a few chords even. He
was one of the greatest melodists. His fugal pages seldom seem labored;
they are distinguished by amazing vitality and spontaneity. In his slow
movements, his instrumental airs, there is a peculiar dignity, a
peculiar serenity, and a direct appeal that we find in no other

Would that we could hear more of Handel’s music! At present he is known
in this country as the composer of _The Messiah_, the variations
entitled _The Harmonious Blacksmith_, and the monstrous perversion of a
simple operatic air dignified, forsooth, by the title “_Handel’s


    No. 1, in G major
    No. 2, in F major
    No. 3, in E minor
    No. 4, in A minor
    No. 5, in D major
    No. 6, in G minor
    No. 7, in B flat major
    No. 8, in C minor
    No. 9, in F major
    No. 10, in D minor
    No. 11, in A major
    No. 12, in B minor

Handel apparently took a peculiar pride in his Concerti Grossi. He
published them himself, and by subscription. They would probably be more
popular today if all conductors realized the fact that music in Handel’s
time was performed with varied and free inflections; that his players
undoubtedly employed many means of expression. As German organists of
forty years ago insisted that Bach’s preludes, fugues, toccatas, should
be played with full organ and rigidity of tempo, although those who
heard Bach play admired his skill in registration, many conductors find
in all of the _allegros_ of Handel’s concertos only a thunderous speech
and allow little change in tempo. In the performance of this old music,
old but fresh, the two essential qualities demanded by Handel’s music,
suppleness of pace and fluidity of expression, named by Volbach, are
usually disregarded. Unless there be elasticity in performance, hearers
are not to be blamed if they find the music formal, monotonous, dull.

The twelve concertos were composed within three weeks. Kretzschmar has
described them as impressionistic pictures, probably without strict
reference to the modern use of the word “impressionistic.” They are not
of equal worth. Romain Rolland[30] finds the seventh and three last
mediocre. In the tenth he discovers French influences and declares that
the last _allegro_ might be an air for a music box. Yet the music at its
best is aristocratic and noble.

                                 * * *

Handel’s twelve grand concertos for strings were composed between
September 29 and October 30, 1739. The London _Daily Post_ of October
29, 1739, said: “This day are published proposals for printing by
subscription, with His Majesty’s royal license and protection, Twelve
Grand Concertos, in Seven Parts, for four violins, a tenor, a
violoncello, with a thorough-bass for the harpsichord. Composed by Mr.
Handel. Price to subscribers, two guineas. Ready to be delivered by
April next. Subscriptions are taken by the author, at his house in Brook
Street, Hanover Square, and by Walsh.” In an advertisement on November
22 the publisher added, “Two of the above concertos will be performed
this evening at the Theatre Royal, Lincoln’s Inn.” The concertos were
published on April 21, 1740. In an advertisement a few days afterwards
Walsh said, “These concertos were performed at the Theatre Royal in
Lincoln’s Inn Fields, and now are played in most public places with the
greatest applause.” Victor Schoelcher made this comment in his _Life of
Handel_: “This was the case with all the works of Handel. They were so
frequently performed at contemporaneous concerts and benefits that they
seem, during his lifetime, to have quite become public property.
Moreover, he did nothing which the other theaters did not attempt to
imitate. In the little theater of the Haymarket, evening entertainments
were given in exact imitation of his ‘several concertos for different
instruments, with a variety of chosen airs of the best master, and the
famous _Salve Regina_ of Hasse.’ The handbills issued by the nobles at
the King’s Theatre make mention also of ‘several concertos for different

The year 1739, in which these concertos were composed, was the year of
the first performance of Handel’s _Saul_ (January 16) and _Israel in
Egypt_ (April 4)—both oratorios were composed in 1738—also of the music
to Dryden’s _Ode for St. Cecilia’s Day_ (November 22).

Romain Rolland, discussing the form _concerto grosso_, which consists
essentially of a dialogue between a group of soloists, the _concertino_
(trio of two solo violins and solo bass with cembalo) and the chorus of
instruments, _concerto grosso_, believes that Handel at Rome in 1708 was
struck by Corelli’s works in this field, for several of his concertos of
Opus 3 are dated 1710, 1716, 1722. Geminiani introduced the concerto
into England—three volumes appeared in 1732, 1735, 1748—and he was a
friend of Handel.

It is stated that the word “concerto,” as applied to a piece for a solo
instrument with accompaniment, first appeared in a treatise by Scipio
Bargaglia (Venice, 1587); that Giuseppe Torelli, who died in 1708, was
the first to suggest a larger number of instruments in a concerto, and
to give the name _concerto grosso_ to this species of composition. But
Michelletti, seventeen years before, had published his _Sinfonie e
concerti a quatro_, and in 1698 his _Concerti musicali_, while the word
“concerto” occurs frequently in the musical terminology of the
seventeenth century. It was Torelli who, determining the form of the
grand solo for violin, opened the way to Archangelo Corelli, the father
of modern violinists, composers, or virtuosos.

Romain Rolland insisted that the instrumental music of Handel has the
nature of a constant improvisation, music to be served piping hot to an
audience, and should preserve this character in performance. “When you
have studied with minute care each detail, obtained from your orchestra
an irreproachable precision, tonal purity, and finish, you will have
done nothing unless you have made the face of the improvising genius
rise from the work.”

                              FRANZ JOSEF

(Born at Rohrau, Lower Austria, March 31, 1732; died at Vienna, May 31,

Haydn has been sadly misunderstood by present followers of tradition who
have spoken of him as a man of the old school, while Mozart was a
forerunner of Beethoven. Thus they erred. Mozart summed up the school of
his day and wrote imperishable music. There has been only one Mozart,
and there is no probability of another being born for generations to
come; but Haydn was often nearer in spirit to the young Beethoven. It is
customary to speak lightly of Haydn as an honest Austrian who wrote
light-hearted _allegros_, also minuets by which one is not reminded of a
court with noble dames smiling graciously on gallant cavaliers, but sees
peasants thumping the ground with heavy feet and uttering joyful cries.

It is said carelessly that Haydn was a simple fellow who wrote at ease
many symphonies and quartets that, to quote Berlioz, recall “the
innocent joys of the fireside and the _pot-au-feu_.” But Haydn was
shrewd and observing—read his diary, kept in London—and if he was
plagued with a shrewish wife he found favor with other women. Dear Mrs.
Schroeter of London received letters from him breathing love, not manly
complimentary affection. And it is said of Haydn that he was only
sportive in his music, having a fondness for the bassoon. But Haydn
could express tenderness, regret, sorrow in his music.

                           LONDON SYMPHONIES
              SYMPHONY NO. 104, IN D MAJOR (B. & H. NO. 2)

    I. Adagio; allegro
    II. Andante
    III. Menuetto; trio
    IV. Allegro spiritoso

Haydn’s symphony is ever fresh, spontaneous, yet contrapuntally worked
in a masterly manner. What a skillful employment of little themes in
themselves of slight significance save for their Blakelike innocence and
gayety! Yet in the introduction there is a deeper note, for, contrary to
current and easy belief, Haydn’s music is not all beer, skittles, and
dancing. There are even gloomy pages in some of his quartets; tragic
pages in his _Seven Last Words_, and the prelude to _The Creation_,
depicting chaos, is singularly contemporaneous.

                                 * * *

Haydn composed twelve symphonies in England for Salomon. His name began
to be mentioned in England in 1765. Symphonies by him were played in
concerts given by J. C. Bach, Abel, and others in the ’seventies. Lord
Abingdon tried in 1783 to persuade Haydn to take the direction of the
Professional Concerts which had just been founded. Gallini asked him his
terms for an opera. Salomon, violinist, conductor, manager, sent a music
publisher, one Bland—an auspicious name—to coax him to London, but Haydn
was loath to leave Prince Esterhazy. Prince Nicolaus died in 1790, and
his successor, Prince Anton, who did not care for music, dismissed the
orchestra at Esterház and kept only a brass band; but he added 400
gulden to the annual pension of 1,000 gulden bequeathed to Haydn by
Prince Nicolaus. Haydn then made Vienna his home. And one day, when he
was at work in his house, the “Hamberger” house in which Beethoven also
once lived, a man appeared, and said: “I am Salomon from London, and
come to fetch you with me. We will agree on the job tomorrow.” Haydn was
intensely amused by the use of the word “job.” The contract for one
season was as follows: Haydn should receive three hundred pounds for an
opera written for the manager Gallini, £300 for six symphonies and £200
for the copyright, £200 for twenty new compositions to be produced in as
many concerts under Haydn’s direction, £200 as guarantee for a benefit
concert, Salomon deposited 5,000 gulden with the bankers, Fries &
Company, as a pledge of good faith. Haydn had 500 gulden ready for
traveling expenses, and he borrowed 450 more from his prince. Haydn
agreed to conduct the symphonies at the piano.

Salomon about 1786 began to give concerts as a manager, in addition to
fiddling at concerts of others. He had established a series of
subscription concerts at the Hanover Square Rooms, London. He thought of
Haydn as a great drawing card. The violinist W. Cramer, associated with
the Professional Concerts, had also approached Haydn, who would not
leave his prince. The news of Prince Esterhazy’s death reached Salomon,
who then happened to be at Bonn. He therefore hastened to Vienna.

The first of the Salomon-Haydn concerts was given March 11, 1791, at the
Hanover Square Rooms. Haydn, as was the custom, “presided at the
harpsichord”; Salomon stood as leader of the orchestra. The symphony was
in D major, No. 2, of the London list of twelve. The _adagio_ was
repeated, an unusual occurrence, but the critics preferred the first

The orchestra was thus composed: twelve to sixteen violins, four violas,
three violoncellos, four double basses, flute, oboe, bassoon, horns,
trumpets, drums—in all about forty players.

Haydn and Salomon left Vienna on December 15, 1790, and arrived at
Calais by way of Munich and Bonn. They crossed the English Channel on
New Year’s Day, 1791. From Dover they traveled to London by stage. The
journey from Vienna took them seventeen days. Haydn was received with
great honor.

Haydn left London towards the end of June, 1792. Salomon invited him
again to write six new symphonies. Haydn arrived in London, February 4,
1794, and did not leave England until August 15, 1795. The orchestra at
the opera concerts in the grand new concert hall of the King’s Theatre
was made up of sixty players. Haydn’s engagement was again a profitable
one. He made by concerts, lessons, symphonies, etc., £1,200. He was
honored in many ways by the King, the Queen, and the nobility. He was
twenty-six times at Carlton House, where the Prince of Wales had a
concert room; and, after he had waited long for his pay, he sent a bill
from Vienna for 100 guineas, which Parliament promptly settled.

                           LONDON SYMPHONIES
        SYMPHONY NO. 94, IN G MAJOR, “SURPRISE” (B. & H. NO. 6)

    I. Adagio cantabile e vivace assai
    II. Andante
    III. Menuetto
    IV. Allegro di molto

This symphony, known as the “_Surprise_,” and in Germany as the symphony
“with the drumstroke,” is the third of the twelve Salomon symphonies as
arranged in the order of their appearance in the catalogue of the
Philharmonic Society (London).

Composed in 1791, this symphony was performed for the first time on
March 23, 1792, at the sixth Salomon concert in London. It pleased
immediately and greatly. _The Oracle_ characterized the second movement
as one of Haydn’s happiest inventions, and likened the “surprise”—which
is occasioned by the sudden orchestral crash in the _andante_—to a
shepherdess, lulled by the sound of a distant waterfall, awakened
suddenly from sleep and frightened by the unexpected discharge of a

Griesinger in his Life of Haydn (1810) contradicts the story that Haydn
introduced these crashes to arouse the Englishwomen from sleep. Haydn
also contradicted it; he said it was his intention only to surprise the
audience by something new. “The first _allegro_ of my symphony was
received with countless ‘Bravos,’ but enthusiasm rose to its highest
pitch after the _andante_ with the drumstroke. ‘_Ancora! ancora!_’ was
cried out on all sides, and Pleyel himself complimented me on my idea.”
On the other hand, Gyrowetz, in his Autobiography, page 59 (1848), said
that he visited Haydn just after he had composed the _andante_, and
Haydn was so pleased with it that he played it to him on the piano, and
sure of his success, said with a roguish laugh: “The women will cry out
here!” C. F. Pohl[32] added a footnote, when he quoted this account of
Gyrowetz, and called attention to Haydn’s humorous borrowing of a
musical thought of Martini to embellish his setting of music to the
commandment, “Thou shalt not steal,” when he had occasion to put music
to the Ten Commandments. The _Surprise_ symphony was long known in
London as “the favorite grand overture.”

                            PARIS SYMPHONIES
              SYMPHONY NO. 88, IN G MAJOR (B. & H. NO. 13)

    I. Adagio; allegro
    II. Largo
    III. Menuetto; trio
    IV. Finale; allegro con spirito

The Parisian orchestra, which Haydn undoubtedly had in mind, was a large
one—forty violins, twelve violoncellos, eight double basses—so that the
composer could be sure of strong contrasts in performance by the string
section. Fortunate composer—whose symphonies one can, sitting back,
enjoy without inquiring into psychological intention or noting attempts
at realism in musical seascapes and landscapes—music not inspired by
book or picture—just music; now pompous, now merry, and in more serious
moments, never too sad, but with a constant feeling for tonal grace and

                                 * * *

Haydn wrote a set of six symphonies for a society in Paris known as the
_Concert de la loge olympique_. They were ordered in 1784, when Haydn
was living at Esterház. Composed in the course of the years 1784-89,
they are in C, G minor, E flat, B flat, D, A. No. 1, in C, has been
entitled the “_Bear_”; No. 2, in G minor, has been entitled the “_Hen_”;
and No. 4, in B flat, is known as the “_Queen of France_.” This symphony
is the first of a second set, of which five were composed in 1787, 1788,
1790. If the sixth was written, it cannot now be identified. This one in
G major was written in 1787, and is numbered 88 in the full and
chronological listing of Mandyczewski (given in Grove’s Dictionary).

I. The first movement opens with a short, slow introduction, _adagio_, G
major, 3-4 which consists for the most part of strong _staccato_ chords
which alternate with softer passages. The main body of the movement
_allegro_, G major, begins with the first theme, a dainty one, announced
_piano_ by the strings without double basses and repeated _forte_ by the
full orchestra with a new counter figure in the bass. A subsidiary theme
is but little more than a melodic variation of the first. So, too, the
short conclusion theme—in oboes and bassoon, then in the strings—is only
a variation of the first. The free fantasia is long for the period and
is contrapuntally elaborate. There is a short _coda_ on the first theme.

II. _Largo_, D major, 3-4. A serious melody is sung by oboe and
violoncellos to an accompaniment of violas, double basses, bassoon, and
horn. The theme is repeated with a richer accompaniment; while the first
violins have a counter figure. After a transitional passage the theme is
repeated by a fuller orchestra, with the melody in first violins and
flute, then in the oboe and violoncello. The development is carried
along on the same lines. There is a very short _coda_.

III. The _Menuetto_, _allegretto_, G major, 3-4, with trio, is in the
regular minuet form in its simplest manner.

IV. The _finale_, _allegro con spirito_, G major, 2-4, is a _rondo_ on
the theme of a peasant country dance, and it is fully developed. Haydn
in his earlier symphonies adopted for the _finale_ the form of his first
movement. Later he preferred the _rondo_ form, with its couplets and
refrains, or repetitions of a short and frank chief theme. “In some
_finales_ of his last symphonies,” says Brenet,[33] “he gave freer reins
to his fancy, and modified with greater independence the form of his
first _allegros_; but his fancy, always prudent and moderate, is more
like the clear, precise arguments of a great orator than the headlong
inspiration of a poet. Moderation is one of the characteristics of
Haydn’s genius; moderation in the dimensions, in the sonority, in the
melodic shape; the liveliness of his melodic thought never seems
extravagant, its melancholy never induces sadness.”

The usual orchestration of Haydn’s symphonies (including those listed
above) consisted of one (or two) flutes, two oboes, two bassoons, two
horns, two trumpets, kettledrums, and strings. In his last years (from
1791) he followed Mozart’s lead in introducing two clarinets. The
clarinets accordingly appear in the London symphony in D major,
described in this chapter.—EDITOR.


                 (Born at Hanau, on November 16, 1895)


There was a time in Germany when Hindemith was regarded as the
white-haired boy; the hope for the glorious future; greater even than
Schönberg. In England, they look on Hindemith coolly—an able and
fair-minded critic there has remarked: “The more one hears of the later
Hindemith, the more exasperating his work becomes. From time to time
some little theme is shown at first in sympathetic fashion, then
submitted to the most mechanical processes known to music. Any pleasant
jingle seems to mesmerize the composer, who repeats it much as Bruckner
repeats his themes—Hindemith abuses the liberty shown to a modern.”

But Hindemith is not always mesmerized by a pleasant jingle. Witness his
oratorio, performed with great success. The title is forbidding, _The
Unending_, but the performance takes only two hours. The _Concert
Music_, composed for the fiftieth anniversary of the Boston Symphony
Orchestra, is more than interesting. It cannot be called “noble,” not
even “grand,” but it holds the attention by its strength in structure,
its spirit, festal without blatancy. For once there is no too evident
desire to stun the hearer. It is as if the composer had written for his
own pleasure. It is virile music with relieving passages—few in
number—that have genuine and simple beauty of thought and expression;
exciting at times by the rushing rhythm.

                                 * * *

Hindemith, at the age of eleven, played the viola in the theater and in
the moving-picture house; when he was thirteen, he was a viola virtuoso,
and he now plays in public his own concertos for that instrument. When
he was twenty, he was first concert master of the Frankfort opera house.
His teachers in composition were Arnold Mendelssohn and Bernhard Sekles
at the Hoch Conservatory in Frankfort. He is the viola player in the
Amar Quartet (Licco Amar, Walter Casper, Paul Hindemith, and Maurits
Frank—in 1926 his brother Rudolf was the violoncellist).

Apropos of a performance of one of his works, in Berlin, the late Adolf
Weissmann wrote in a letter to the _Christian Science Monitor_:
“Promising indeed among the young German composers is Paul Hindemith.
More than promising he is not yet. For the viola player Paul Hindemith,
travelling with the Amar Quartet through half Europe, has seldom time
enough to work carefully. The greater part of his compositions were
created in the railway car. Is it, therefore, to be wondered at that
their principal virtue lies in their rhythm? The rhythm of the rolling
car is, apparently, blended with the rhythm springing from within. It is
always threatening to outrun all the other values of what he writes. For
that these values exist cannot be denied.”

A foreign correspondent of the London _Daily Telegraph_, having heard
one of his compositions, wrote: “It was all rather an exhilarating
nightmare, as if Hindemith had been attempting to prove the theorem of
Pythagoras in terms of parallelograms, which is amusing, but utterly

It has been said by A. Machabey that Hindemith has been influenced in
turn by Wagner, Brahms—“an influence still felt”; Richard Strauss; Max
Reger, who attracted him by his ingenuity and freedom from elementary
technic; Stravinsky, who made himself felt after the war; and finally by
the theatrical surroundings in which he lives. “He is opposed to
post-romanticism. Not being able to escape from romanticism in his
youth, today he seems to be completely stripped of it. Freed from the
despotism of a text, from the preëstablished plan of programme music,
from obedience to the caprices and emphasis of sentiment, music in
itself suffices.... The reaction against romanticism is doubled by a
democratic spirit which was general in Germany after the war.” Therefore
he has had many supporters, who welcomed, “besides this new spirit, an
unexpected technic, unusual polyphony and instrumentation, in which one
found a profound synthesis of primordial rhythms, tonalities enriched
and extended by Schönberg and Hauer, economical and rational groupings
of jazz.” Then his compositions are so varied: chamber music for the
ultra-fastidious; melodies for amateurs; dramatic works for opera-goers;
orchestral pieces for frequenters of concerts; he has written for
débutantes and children; for the cinema, marionettes, mechanical pianos,
brass bands. Work has followed work with an amazing rapidity.


               (Born at Havre, France, on March 10, 1892)

                   “PACIFIC 231,” ORCHESTRAL MOVEMENT

Some say that Honegger had no business to summon a locomotive engine for
inspiration. No doubt this music of Honegger’s is “clever,” but
cleverness in music quickly palls. Louis Antoine Jullien years ago in
this country excited wild enthusiasm by his _Firemen’s Quadrille_, in
which a conflagration, the bells, the rush of the firemen, the squirting
and the shout of the foreman, “Wash her, Thirteen!” were graphically

But there is majestic poetry in great machines, even in railway engines.
One of Turner’s most striking pictures is the one depicting a hare
running madly across a viaduct with a pursuing locomotive in rain and
mist. What was the most poetic thing of the Philadelphia exposition of
1876? The superb Corliss engine, epic in strength and grandeur. Walt
Whitman, Kipling, and others have found inspiration in a locomotive; why
reproach a composer for attempting to express “the visual impression and
the physical sensation” of it? One may like or dislike _Pacific 231_,
but it is something more than a musical joke; it was not merely devised
for sensational effect.

                                 * * *

When _Pacific 231_ was first performed in Paris at Koussevitzky’s
concerts, May 8 and 15, 1924, Honegger made this commentary:

“I have always had a passionate love for locomotives. To me they—and I
love them passionately as others are passionate in their love for horses
or women—are like living creatures.

“What I wanted to express in the _Pacific_ is not the noise of an
engine, but the visual impression and the physical sensation of it.
These I strove to express by means of a musical composition. Its point
of departure is an objective contemplation: quiet respiration of an
engine in state of immobility; effort for moving; progressive increase
of speed, in order to pass from the ‘lyric’ to the pathetic state of an
engine of three hundred tons driven in the night at a speed of one
hundred and twenty per hour.

“As a subject I have taken an engine of the ‘Pacific’ type, known as
‘231,’ an engine for heavy trains of high speed.”

Other locomotive engines are classified as “Atlantic,” “Mogul.” The
number 231 here refers to the number of the “Pacific’s” wheels 2—3—1.

“On a sort of rhythmic pedal sustained by the violins is built the
impressive image of an intelligent monster, a joyous giant.”

_Pacific 231_ is scored for piccolo, two flutes, two oboes, English
horn, two clarinets, bass clarinet, two bassoons, double bassoon, four
horns, three trumpets, three trombones, bass tuba, snare drum, bass
drum, cymbals, tam-tam, strings.

The locomotive engine has been the theme of strange tales by Dickens,
Marcel Schwob, Kipling, and of Zola’s novel, _La Bête humaine_. It is
the hero of Abel Gance’s film, _Roué_ for which it is said Honegger
adapted music, and the American film, _The Iron Horse_.

                          PAUL MARIE THÉODORE
                             VINCENT d’INDY

 (Born at Paris, March 27, 1852;[34] died at Paris on December 2, 1931)

Vincent d’Indy’s music has often been charged with the atrocious crimes
of austerity and aloofness; it has been called cerebral. It is true that
d’Indy uses his head, not loses it, in composition; that his music will
never be popular with the multitude; it lacks an obvious appeal to those
who say, with an air of finality: “I know what I like.” It is not
sugary; it is not theatrical. To say that it is cold is to say that it
is not effusive. D’Indy does not gush. Nor does he permit himself to run
with a mighty stir and din to a blatant climax, dearly loved by those
who think that noise shows strength. He respects his art and himself,
and does not trim his sails to catch the breeze of popular favor. There
is a nobility in his music; there is to those who do not wear their
heart on their sleeve true warmth. There is a soaring of the spirit, not
a drooping to court favor. And no one has ever questioned his
constructive skill.

                SYMPHONY NO. 2, IN B FLAT MAJOR, OP. 57

    I. Extrêmement lent; très vif
    II. Modérément lent
    III. Modéré; très animé
    IV. Introduction, fugue et finale

The majority of the pages in d’Indy’s symphony contain music lofty and
noble. Only the _finale_ sinks below the prevailing high level, and
there are fine moments in the introduction to this _finale_. It is
natural that the influence of César Franck is shown especially in the
two middle movements. So great was d’Indy’s devotion to his master that
he proudly admitted the influence; but d’Indy was no mere copyist; the
greatest pages of the symphony are his own.

                                 * * *

The Symphony in B flat major, composed in 1903-04, was produced at a
Lamoureux concert, Paris, February 28, 1904. The score is dedicated to
Paul Dukas. The symphony is scored for three flutes (and piccolo), two
oboes, English horn, two clarinets, bass clarinet, three bassoons, four
horns, small trumpet in E flat, two trumpets in C, three trombones, bass
trombone, chromatic kettledrums, bass drum, cymbals, triangle, two
harps, strings.

This symphony is without a programme of any sort. D’Indy wrote in an
article published in the first number of _Musica_ (Paris): “Symphonic
music, unlike dramatic music, is developing toward complexity: the
dramatic element is more and more introduced into absolute music, in
such a way that form is here, as a rule, absolutely submissive to the
incidents of a veritable action.” Mr. Calvocoressi supplies a note to
this remark: “To search for an action that is not purely musical in
absolute music would be madness. There is, indeed, an action in this
symphony, but it is wholly in the music: the putting into play of two
principal themes, which present themselves at the beginning side by
side, follow each other, war against each other, or, on the contrary,
are each developed separately, associate with themselves new ideas which
complete or serve as commentary, and at the end of the work are blended
in an immense triumphal chant.”[35] It would be idle, then, to attempt
to characterize these themes as though they were dramatic motives. One
can say, however, that two decided elements of musical expression are
strongly opposed to each other.

The first movement is made up of two distinct parts: a slow
introduction, in which the themes appear at first in the state of simple
cells, and a lively movement.

I. _Extrêmement lent. Très vif._ B flat major, 4-2. Violoncellos and
double basses, doubled by harps, announce an initial and somber theme of
almost sluggish rhythm. The flute replies with a phrase whose chief
characteristic is an ascending leap of a seventh, a progression dear to
the composer. This phrase is the second principal theme of the symphony.
The phrase may be resolved in this instance into two distinct elements:
the descending fourth—B flat to F sharp—which, with its own peculiar
rhythm, is a cell that later on will assume great importance; the
ascending seventh, which will play a dominating part and appear again
throughout the work as a song of despair, a burst of the determined
will. The second theme may then be considered as a sort of embryonic
form which contains the chief elements of the symphony. The initial
theme, on the contrary, will almost always keep a closer resemblance to
itself; there will be numberless changes, melodic or rhythmic
transformations, but its particular physiognomy will not be lost.

A _tutti_ of some measures leads by a rapid _crescendo_ to the main
body, _très vif_, 3-4. A horn, accompanied by second violins and violas,
announces a new theme, which belongs exclusively to this movement. The
first two notes of this motive are the descending fourth, the first cell
of the second chief theme. The second section of the new theme furnishes
material for an abrupt and jerky figure, given soon afterwards to the

II. _Modérément lent._ D flat major, 6-4. The second movement begins
with an announcement by the first violins of the second principal theme
(descending fourth). The bass clarinet sings the rest of the motive,
which is taken up by the strings. These first measures prepare the
reëntrance of the same theme under a form (6-4) already used in the
first movement. A new figure appears, which will be found in the
_finale_. The development brings a modulation to E major, and harps give
out a strongly rhythmed motive in that tonality. This motive will be
employed in the _scherzo_. The dotted, characteristic rhythm is now kept
up, while the oboe, then the clarinet, and also other instruments, sing
in turn an expressive theme; on the conclusion of it is the first new
theme of this movement, which in turn is a prolongation of the theme
(6-4) of the first movement.

III. _Modéré_, D minor, 2-4. A solo viola chants a theme of archaic
character, which reminds one of some old legend’s air. The flute hints
at the strongly rhythmed theme of the preceding movement, but the
archaic tune is developed and interrupted suddenly by the horns
proclaiming the initial theme, sadly changed and of greatly diminished
importance. There is a fantastic whirlwind in the strings, and above it
a bold theme is given out by the wood-wind. The strongly rhythmed theme
appears almost immediately afterwards, and is added to the whirling
triplets. There is a comparative lull, and the bold theme is now given
out at length by the small trumpet, after which there is an orchestral
explosion. Then the archaic tune appears, rhythmed curiously in 3-8,
“after the manner of a pantomimic dance,” and played by flutes and then
bassoons; harp harmonics and the triangle give additional color to this

IV. _Introduction, fugue, et finale._ The general form of this last
movement is that of a rondo preceded by an introduction in two parts
(introduction and fugue). In the introduction to the fugue all the chief
thematic ideas of the preceding movements are recalled one by one,
either by solo instruments or by groups of instruments.

The subject of the fugue is the expressive theme first sung by the oboe
in the second movement, but now the theme is lengthened by an ascending
arabesque. The final association of the two themes, already hinted at
the beginning of the second movement by the appearance of a figure
common to them both, is now frankly declared. This subject, persisting
to the end of the fugue, brings in a lively movement, 5-4, the true
_finale_. The oboe sings the first new theme of the second movement. The
instrumental complications become more elaborate. The strongly rhythmed
theme presents itself, and then a brand-new motive appears, interrupted
by echoes of the archaic melody. This new theme prepares the return of
the initial motive, which strengthens itself in canon form. The fugue
subject creeps about the whole orchestra, while a more aggressive form
of the often used theme of the second movement soars above. The
brand-new theme returns, and once more ushers in the initial theme in
the bass, while the second chief or cyclic theme is announced above.
This is the final struggle of the two. The fugue subject soon reappears,
and leads to a brilliant burst of the whole orchestra. The second chief
or cyclic theme is then used as a broadly proportioned chorale, whose
bass is the initial theme, now subdued and definitely associated with
the triumph of the second theme. This triumph is thrice proclaimed in
the peroration, and, between the proclamations, the archaic theme, with
its characteristic initial fifth, is heard in the wood-wind.

                 SYMPHONIC VARIATIONS, “ISTAR,” OP. 42

_Istar_, the _Symphony on a Mountain Air_, and _A Summer Day on the
Mountain_ were composed in the period of d’Indy’s life when he was
concerned chiefly with making music, and not telling young composers how
it should be made. Those three compositions, with the Symphony in B flat
major, will represent him honorably in the years to come. One should not
underrate his work as a teacher, his high ideals. His technic did not
leave him in his later works, but his brain was more in evidence than
any source of emotion. Maurice Boucher, speaking of Debussy being drawn
instinctively toward the French poets contemporaneous with him (the
poems of Rossetti and the dramas of Maeterlinck also attracted him) said
that d’Indy “by his temperament was borne toward doctrinal discussions.”
In _Istar_, though his technical skill is brilliantly in evidence, there
is pure music from the beginning to the end. It is true that the
withholding of the theme in its full glory to the end might be called a
“stunt,” as Ravel’s _Bolero_ is a stunt, but d’Indy’s is the legitimate,
inevitable crowning of the work; Ravel’s was designed chiefly to create
curiosity with a final surprise, and the _Bolero_ once known does not
bear repeated hearings, for the effect, once known, is afterward
discounted if not wholly lost.

                                 * * *

This composition was first brought out in Brussels, and led by Eugène
Ysaye, on January 10, 1897; it was performed in Chicago and led by
Theodore Thomas on April 23, 1898. The variations—the work is
practically a symphonic poem—are scored for piccolo, two flutes, two
oboes, English horn, two clarinets and bass clarinet, three bassoons,
four horns, three trumpets, three trombones, bass tuba, kettledrums,
cymbals, triangle, two harps, and strings. They are dedicated to the
Orchestral Society of the Ysaye Concerts.

William Foster Apthorp translated the verses on the title-page as

  _Toward the immutable land Istar, daughter of Sin, bent her steps,
  toward the abode of the dead, toward the seven-gated abode where He
  entered, toward the abode whence there is no return._

  . . . . . .

  _At the first gate, the warder stripped her; he took the high tiara
  from her head._

  _At the second gate, the warder stripped her; he took the pendants
  from her ears._

  _At the third gate, the warder stripped her; he took off the precious
  stones that adorn her neck._

  _At the fourth gate, the warder stripped her; he took off the jewels
  that adorn her breast._

  _At the fifth gate, the warder stripped her; he took off the girdle
  that encompasses her waist._

  _At the sixth gate, the warder stripped her; he took rings from her
  feet, the rings from her hands._

  _At the seventh gate, the warder stripped her; he took off the last
  veil that covers her body._

  . . . . . .

  _Istar daughter of Sin went into the immutable land, she took and
  received the Waters of Life. She gave the sublime Waters, and thus, in
  the presence of all, delivered the Son of Life, her young lover._

The variations begin _très lent_, F minor, 4-4, with a somber motive
(first horn). The violas and clarinets, accompanied by wood-wind
instruments in syncopated rhythm, answer with a second motive, and there
is a modulation to F major. The variations, as Mr. Apthorp says, have
one wholly original peculiarity: “The theme is not given out simply at
the beginning, neither is it heard in its entirety until the last
variation, in which it is sung by various groups of instruments in
unison and octaves, and worked up later in full harmony. Each one of the
variations represents one of the seven stages of Istar’s being disrobed
at the gates of the ‘immutable land,’ until in the last she stands forth
in the full splendor of nudity. The composition is so free as to resent
technical analysis; but by following the poem, and noting the garment or
ornament taken off, the listener can appreciate the composer’s poetic or
picturesque suggestiveness in his music.”

M. Lambinet, a professor at a Bordeaux public school, chose in 1905 the
text “Pro Musica” for his prize-day speech. He told the boys that the
first thing the study of music would teach them would be logic. “In
symphonic development logic plays as great a part as sentiment. The
theme is a species of axiom, full of musical truth, whence proceed
deductions. The musician deals with sounds as the geometrician with
lines and the dialectician with arguments.” The master went on to
remark: “A great modern composer, M. Vincent d’Indy, has reversed the
customary process in his symphonic poem _Istar_. He by degrees unfolds
from initial complexity the simple idea which was wrapped up therein,
and appears only at the close, like Isis unveiled, like a scientific law
discovered and formulated.” The speaker found this happy definition for
such a musical work—“an inductive symphony.”


  (Born at Raiding, near Oedenburg, Hungary, October 22, 1811; died at
                        Bayreuth, July 31, 1886)

Liszt suffered as a composer from foolish adulation and still more
absurd denunciation. It was not so many years ago that otherwise
fair-minded musicians, professors in conservatories, composers of smug,
respectable music, pianists and violinists of nimble fingers and
lukewarm blood, would leave the concert hall with an air whenever one of
Liszt’s works was about to be performed. Liszt also suffered from
admiring friends who helped themselves to his musical thoughts, to his
new forms of musical expression, and using them for their own advantage,
were applauded by the crowd, while Liszt himself was ignored or flouted.
How much of Liszt there is in Richard Wagner’s best!

Programme music has existed from the early days of the art. No doubt
David’s performance before Saul had some definite programme; but the
symphonic poem as it is now known was invented and shaped by Liszt, and
he has influenced in this respect composers of every nation. The modern
Russians all hark back to Berlioz and Liszt. The more recent Germans and
even the modern French were made possible by this Hungarian, who, in
Paris, Weimar, or Rome, was first of all a citizen of the world. In the
mass of his compositions there is mysticism that is vague and
insignificant; there is affected simplicity that is as childish prattle;
there is pathos that is bathos; eloquence sometimes degenerates into
bombast; there is frequently the odor of tanbark, the vision of the
ringmaster cracking his whip and the man in tights and spangles leaping
through paper hoops or kissing his hand from the trapeze. Liszt was
first famous as a virtuoso, and as Edward MacDowell once said, in every
virtuoso there is the possibility of the rope dancer; it is in his

The faults of Liszt as a composer are open to everyone. When they lie in
the music for the piano they have been too often exaggerated by the
“Liszt pupil.” Nor have orchestral conductors always been fortunate in
the interpretation of the greater works; they have been intoxicated by
the pomp or fury and were unable to draw the line between sonority and

We are inclined to judge a master of years gone by as though he were a
contemporary, and forgetting that he in his day was a daring innovator,
a revolutionary, we cry out against his music as trite and moribund.
Certain forms of Liszt’s expression, forms that recall the reign of
Rossini or Meyerbeer, are now distasteful to us, as are certain formulas
of Wagner. Excessive modernity contains the seeds of early death. But
the architecture that Liszt devised is still strong and beautiful, and
is today a model for others who delight in strange ornamentation. The
world of music owes Liszt a debt that it will be long in paying, and, as
other debtors, it often forgets what it owes and abuses the creditor.

The years go by and the generosity, the loving-kindness, the nobility of
Liszt, the man, are more and more clearly revealed. His purse, advice,
assistance were ever ready. He would not cringe or flatter. His art was
a religion. He was one of the very few composers that stood at ease in
the presence of the mighty and were not snobbish toward the unfortunate,
the misunderstood, the unappreciated. As a man in the world of his art
he is therefore to be ranked with Handel and Hector Berlioz.


    I. Faust
    II. Gretchen
    III. Mephistopheles

Perhaps in the first movement there are a few passages that might be cut
out or condensed, but no one would wish the movement “Gretchen” to be
changed in any way; of all the music that is associated with the
innocent maiden of Goethe’s poem, this is surely the most expressive,
the most beautiful. The remorseful, crazed Gretchen is not in Liszt’s
picture. We find her in the prison music of Boïto. And how paltry does
the music of Mephistopheles conceived by Gounod seem in comparison with
the ironical fiend of Liszt, mocking the doubts and the aspirations of
the disillusionized philosopher!

                                 * * *

Liszt told his biographer, Lina Ramann,[36] that the idea of this
symphony came to him in Paris in the ’forties, and was suggested by
Berlioz’s _Damnation of Faust_. (Berlioz’s work was produced at the
Opéra-Comique, December 6, 1846.) Lina Ramann’s biography is eminently
unsatisfactory, and in some respects untrustworthy, but there is no
reason to doubt her word in this instance. Some have said that Liszt was
inspired by Ary Scheffer’s pictures to illustrate Goethe’s _Faust_.
Peter Cornelius stated that Liszt was incited to his work by seeing the
pictures “in which Scheffer had succeeded in giving a bodily form to the
three leading characters in Goethe’s poem.” As a matter of fact, we
believe, Scheffer did not portray Mephistopheles. Scheffer (1795-1858)
was a warm friend of Liszt, and made a portrait of him in 1837, which is
in the Liszt Museum at Weimar.

But Liszt made in the ’forties no sketches of his symphony. The music
was composed in 1853-54; it was revised in 1857, when the final chorus
was added. The _Faust_ symphony is scored for three flutes (and
piccolo), two oboes, two clarinets, two bassoons, four horns, three
trumpets, three trombones, bass tuba, kettledrums, cymbals, triangle,
harp, strings, and male chorus with tenor solo. In the revised and
unpublished version the bass clarinet is used, but only for a few

Miss Ramann admits frankly that the symphony is, without the final
chorus, merely a series of musical “Faust pictures,” as the pictures by
Kaulbach, Kreling, and others, are in art; but without the chorus it
does not reproduce the lyrical contents of the main idea of the poem

I. “Faust.” Some find in this movement five leading motives, each one of
which portrays a characteristic of Faust or one of his fixed moods. The
more conservative speak of first and second themes, subsidiary themes,
and conclusion themes. However the motives are ticketed or numbered,
they appear later in various metamorphoses.

The movement begins with a long introduction, _lento assai_, 4-4. “A
chain of dissonances,” with free use of augmented fifths (muted violas
and violoncellos), has been described as the “Inquiry” theme, and the
bold greater seventh (oboe) is also supposed to portray Faust, the
disappointed philosopher. “These motives have here the expression of
perplexed musing and painful regret at the vanity of the efforts made
for the realization of cherished aspirations.”

An _allegro impetuoso_, 4-4. Violins attack, and, after the interruption
of reeds and horns, rush along and are joined by wind instruments. The
“Inquiry” motive is sounded. The music grows more and more intense. A
bassoon, _lento assai_, gives out the “Faust” motive and introduces the
main body of the movement:

_Allegro agitato ed appassionato assai_, C minor, 4-4. The first theme,
a violently agitated motive, is of kin in character to a leading theme
of the composer’s symphonic poem, _Prometheus_, which was composed in
1850 and revised in 1855. This theme comes here for the first time,
except for one figure, a rising inflection at the end of the first
phrase, which has been heard in the introduction. It is developed at
length, and is repeated in a changed form by the whole orchestra. A new
theme enters in passionate appeal (oboes and clarinets in dialogue with
bassoons, violoncellos, and double basses), while the first violins
bring back the sixteenth note figure of the first theme of the main
section. This second theme with subsidiary passage-work leads to an
episode, _meno mosso, misterioso e molto tranquillo_, 6-4. The “Inquiry”
theme in the introduction is developed in modulating sequence by
clarinet and some of the strings, while there are sustained harmonies in
wind instruments and ascending passages in muted violins and violas. But
the “Inquiry” theme has not its original and gnarled form: it is calmer
in line and it is more remote. Another theme comes in, _affettuoso poco
andante_, E major, 7-4 (3-4, 4-4), which has been called the “Love”
theme, as typical of Faust with Gretchen. This theme is based on the
“Faust” motive heard near the beginning of the introduction from wind
instruments. In this movement it is said to portray Gretchen, while in
the “Gretchen” movement it portrays Faust; and this theme is burlesqued
continually in the third movement, “Mephistopheles.” The short theme
given to wind instruments is interrupted by a figure for solo viola,
which later in the symphony becomes a part of the theme itself. The
“Faust-Gretchen” motive is developed in wood-wind and horns, with
figures for violins and violas. Passage-work follows, and parts of the
first theme appear, _allegro con fuoco_, 4-4. The music grows more and
more passionate, and the rhythm of the wind instruments more pronounced.
There is a transition section, and the basses allude to the last of the
themes, the fifth according to some, the conclusion theme as others
prefer, _grandioso, poco meno mosso_, which is given out _fortissimo_ by
the full orchestra. It is based on the initial figure of the violas and
violoncellos in the introduction. The exposition section of the movement
is now complete. The free fantasia, if the following section may be so
called, begins with the return of “_tempo primo—allegro agitato assai_,”
and the working out of thematic material is elaborate. There is a
repetition section, or rather a recapitulation of the first, third, and
fourth themes. The _coda_ ends sadly with the “Faust” motive in

II. “Gretchen.” _Andante soave_, A flat major, 3-4. The movement has an
introduction (flutes and clarinets), which establishes a mood. The chief
theme, “characteristic of the innocence, simplicity, and contented
happiness of Gretchen,” may be called the “Gretchen” theme. It is sung
(_dolce semplice_) by the oboe with only a solo viola accompaniment. The
theme is then given to other instruments and with another accompaniment.
The repeated phrase of flutes and clarinet, answered by violins, is
supposed by some commentators to have reference to Gretchen’s plucking
the flower, with the words, “He loves me—loves me not,” and at last, “He
loves me!” The chief theme enters after this passage, and it now has a
fuller expression and deeper significance. A second theme, typical of
Gretchen, is sung by first violins, _dolce amoroso_; it is more
emotional, more sensuous. Here there is a suggestion of a figure in the
introduction. This theme brings the end to the first section, which is
devoted exclusively to Gretchen.

Faust now enters, and his typical motive is heard (horn with agitated
viola and violoncello accompaniment). The “Faust-Gretchen” motive of the
first movement is used, but in a very different form. The restless theme
of the opening movement is now one of enthusiastic love. The striking
modulations that followed the first “Gretchen” theme occur again, but in
different keys, and Faust soon leaves the scene. The third section of
the movement is a much modified repetition of the first section.
Gretchen now has memories of her love. A tender violin figure now winds
about her theme. Naturally, the “He loves me—loves me not” music is
omitted, but there is a reminiscence of the “Faust” motive.

III. “Mephistopheles.” Mephistopheles is here the spirit of demoniacal
irony. Mr. Apthorp, after saying that the prevalence of triple rhythms
in the movement might lead one, but in vain, to look for something of
the _scherzo_ form in it, adds: “One may suspect the composer of taking
Mephisto’s ‘_Ich bin der Geist der stets verneint_’ (‘I am the spirit
that denies’) for the motto of this movement; somewhat in the sense of
A. W. Ambros when he said of Jacques Offenbach in speaking of his
opera-bouffes: ‘All the subjects which artists have hitherto turned to
account, and in which they have sought their ideals, must here be pushed
_ad absurdum_; we feel as if Mephisto were ironically smiling at us in
the elegant mask of “a man of the times,” and asking us whether the
whole baggage of the Antique and the Romantic were worth a rap.’”

It is not at all improbable that Liszt took the idea of Mephistopheles
parodying the themes of Faust and Gretchen from the caricature of the
motive of the fixed idea and from the mockery of the once loved one in
the _finale_ of Berlioz’s _Episode in the Life of an Artist_, or
_Fantastic_ symphony.

There are no new themes introduced in the “Mephistopheles” movement.

As Miss Ramann says, Mephistopheles’ character in this music is to be
without character. His sport is to mock Faust as typified by his themes;
but he has no power over the “Gretchen” themes, and they are left

Ernest Newman[37] finds the “Mephistopheles” section particularly
ingenious. “It consists, for the most part, of a kind of burlesque upon
the subjects of the _Faust_ which are here passed, as it were, through a
continuous fire of irony and ridicule. This is a far more effective way
of depicting ‘the spirit of denial’ than making him mouth a farrago of
pantomime bombast, in the manner of Boïto. The being who exists, for the
purpose of the drama, only in endeavoring to frustrate every good
impulse of Faust’s soul, is really best dealt with, in music, not as a
positive individuality, but as the embodiment of negation—a malicious,
saturnine parody of all the good that has gone to the making of Faust.
The ‘Mephistopheles’ is not only a piece of diabolically clever music,
but the best picture we have of a character that in the hands of the
average musician becomes either stupid, or vulgar, or both. As we listen
to Liszt’s music, we feel that we really have the Mephistopheles of
Goethe’s drama.”

_Allegro vivace ironico_, C major, 2-4. There is a short pictorial
introduction, an ascending chromatic run (violoncellos and double
basses, chords for wood-wind, strings, with cymbals and triangle). There
are ironical forms of the “Faust” and “Inquiry” motives, and the _sempre
allegro_ in which these themes appear leads to the main body of the
movement, _allegro vivace_, 6-8, 2-4. The theme is the first of the
first movement, and it now appears in a wildly excited form. Interrupted
by the “Faust” motive, it goes on with still greater stress and fury.
Transitional passages in the movement return in strange disguise. An
episode _un poco animato_ follows with an abrupt use of the “Faust”
motive, and the “Inquiry” motive, reappearing, is greeted with jeers and
fiendish laughter. The violas have a theme evolved from the “Faust”
motive, which is then given to the violins and becomes the subject of
fugal treatment. _Allegro animato_; the grandiose fifth, or conclusion,
theme of the first movement is now handled most flippantly. There is a
tempestuous _crescendo_, and then silence; muted horns sustain the chord
of C minor, while strings _pizzicati_ give out the “Inquiry” motive.
“The passage is as a warning apparition.” The hellish mockery breaks out
again. Some find the music now inspired by an episode in Goethe’s
Walpurgis scene. In the midst of the din, wood-wind instruments utter a
cry, as when Faust exclaimed, “Mephistopheles, do you see yonder a pale,
beautiful child, standing alone?... I must confess it seems to me that
she looks like the good Gretchen.” The music ascends in the violins,
grows softer and softer. _Andante_; the oboe sings the “Gretchen” theme.
The vision quickly fades. Again an outbreak of despair, and there is a
recapitulation of preceding musical matter. In the _allegro non troppo_
the “Faust” theme is chiefly used. “And then things grow more and more
desperate, till we come to what we may call the transformation scene. It
is like the rolling and shifting of clouds, and, indeed, transports us
from the abode of mortal man to more ethereal spheres.” The wild
dissonances disappear; there is a wonderful succession of sustained
chords. _Poco andante, ma sempre alla breve_: the “Gretchen” theme is
colored mysteriously; trombones make solemn declaration. Gretchen is now
Faust’s redeemer. The male chorus, _Chorus mysticus_, accompanied by
organ and strings, sings to the strain announced by the trombones,
_andante mistico_, the lines of Goethe:

  _Alles Vergängliche
  Ist nur ein Gleichniss;
  Das Unzulängliche,
  Hier wird’s Erreigniss;
  Das Unbeschreibliche,
  Hier ist’s gethan;
  Das Ewig-Weibliche
  Zieht uns hinan._

The solo tenor and chorus sing: “_Das Ewig-Weibliche zieht uns hinan_”
(with the “Gretchen” motive rhythmically altered and with harp added to
the accompaniment), and the work ends radiantly calm.

These lines have been Englished in prose: “All that is transitory is
only a simile; the insufficient here becomes event; the indescribable is
here done; the Ever feminine draws us onward.” It was Liszt’s intention,
Brendel tells us, to have this chorus invisible at the first
performance, but, inasmuch as it would have been necessary at Weimar to
have it sung behind the lowered curtain, he feared the volume would be
too weak.


According to statements of Richard Pohl, this symphonic poem was begun
at Marseilles in 1834 and completed at Weimar in 1850, According to L.
Ramann’s chronological catalogue of Liszt’s works, _The Preludes_ was
composed in 1854 and published in 1856.

Theodor Müller-Reuter says that the poem was composed at Weimar in
1849-50 from sketches made in earlier years, and this statement seems to
be the correct one.

Ramann tells the following story about the origin of _The Preludes_.
Liszt, it seems, began to compose at Paris, about 1844, choral music for
a poem by Aubray, and the work was entitled _Les 4 Éléments_ (_la
Terre_, _les Aquilons_, _les Flots_, _les Astres_). The cold stupidity
of the poem discouraged him, and he did not complete the cantata. He
told his troubles to Victor Hugo, in the hope that the poet would take
the hint and write for him; but Hugo did not or would not understand his
meaning, so Liszt put the music aside. Early in 1854 he thought of using
the abandoned work for a Pension Fund concert of the Court Orchestra at
Weimar, and it then occurred to make the music, changed and enlarged,
illustrative of a passage in Lamartine’s _Nouvelles Méditations
poétiques, XVme Méditation: “Les Préludes,”_ dedicated to Victor Hugo.

The symphonic poem _Les Préludes_ was performed for the first time in
the Grand Ducal Court Theater, Weimar, at a concert for the Pension Fund
of the widows and orphans of deceased members of the Court Orchestra on
February 23, 1854. Liszt conducted from manuscript.

Liszt revised _Les Préludes_ in 1853 or 1854. The score was published in
May, 1856; the orchestral parts, in January, 1865.

The alleged passage from Lamartine that serves as a motto has thus been

“What is our life but a series of preludes to that unknown song, the
first solemn note of which is sounded by death? Love forms the enchanted
daybreak of every life; but what is the destiny where the first delights
of happiness are not interrupted by some storm, whose fatal breath
dissipates its fair illusions, whose fell lightning consumes its altar?
and what wounded spirit, when one of its tempests is over, does not seek
to rest its memories in the sweet calm of country life? Yet man does not
resign himself long to enjoy the beneficent tepidity which first charmed
him on Nature’s bosom; and when ‘the trumpet’s loud clangor has called
him to arms,’ he rushes to the post of danger, whatever may be the war
that calls him to the ranks, to find in battle the full consciousness of
himself and the complete possession of his strength.” There is little in
Lamartine’s poem that suggests this preface. The quoted passage
beginning “The trumpet’s loud clangor” is Lamartine’s “_La trompette a
jeté le signal des alarmes_.”

_The Preludes_ is scored for three flutes (and piccolo), two oboes, two
clarinets, two bassoons, four horns, two trumpets, three trombones, bass
tuba, kettledrums, snare drum, bass drum, cymbals, harp, and strings.

                 PIANOFORTE CONCERTO, NO. 1, IN E FLAT

Liszt’s E flat concerto, long the subject of scurrilous criticism
because forsooth a triangle was indicated in the score, has long been
the virtuoso concerto _par excellence_. But its virtuosity is of an
unusual order. It does not display its innate quality to the precise and
composed technician; it cannot be played complacently or casually. It
demands an audacious, unhesitating bravura, large rhetorical phrases,
bold accents, and a careless contempt for its difficulties. Its octave
_cadenzas_ suggest the remorseless dash of an eagle upon its prey.

                                 * * *

This concerto was completed probably in 1848 or 1849, from sketches made
in the early ’forties. According to a letter of Hans von Bülow’s, the
concerto was completed in June, 1849. Revised in 1853, it was published
in 1857. The first performance was at Weimar, at a Court concert in the
hall of the Grand Duke’s palace (during the Berlioz week), on February
17, 1855; Liszt, pianist; Bülow, conductor. The concerto is dedicated to
Henri Litolff. The orchestral part is scored for piccolo, two flutes,
two oboes, two clarinets, two bassoons, two horns, two trumpets, three
trombones, kettledrums, cymbals, triangle, and the usual strings.

The form is free. A few important themes are exposed, developed; they
undergo many transformations in rhythm and tempo. The first and leading
theme is at once given out imperatively by the strings, with
interrupting chords of wood-wind and brass. This is the theme to which
Liszt used to sing: “_Das versteht ihr alle nicht!_”—according to Bülow
and Ramann, “_Ihr Könnt alle nichts_.” This theme may be taken as the
motto of the concerto. _Allegro maestoso, tempo giusto_, 4-4. The second
theme, B major, _quasi adagio_, 12-8, is first announced by muted
violoncellos and double basses and then developed elaborately by the
pianoforte. There are hints of this theme in the preceding section. The
third theme, E flat minor, _allegretto vivace_, 3-4, in the nature of a
_scherzo_, is first given to the strings, with preliminary warning and
answers of the triangle, which, the composer says, should be struck with
delicately rhythmic precision. The fourth theme is rather an answer to
the chief phrase of the second than an individual motive. The _scherzo_
tempo changes to _allegro animato_, 4-4, in which use is made chiefly of
the motto theme. The final section is an _allegro marziale animato_,
which quickens to a final _presto_.

The introduction of the triangle in the score caused great offense in
Vienna. Hanslick damned the work by characterizing it as a “‘Triangle’
concerto,” when Pruckner played it there in the season of 1856-57. It
was not heard again in that city until 1869, when Sophie Menter insisted
on playing it. Liszt wrote a letter in 1857 describing the concerto and
defending his use of the triangle.

                             CHARLES MARTIN

   (Born at Mühlhausen [Alsace], January 30, 1861; died at Medfield,
                          Mass., May 19, 1935)


The music of the _Pagan Poem_ is highly imaginative. Its pages are pages
of beauty and passion. The strangeness of the opening is not forced or
experimental. The composer himself first saw in his mind’s eye the scene
and heard the sorcerer’s chant. And here is no love song of familiar
type given to caterwauling ’cellos. There is no conventional lament of
approved crape and tears. A dolorous theme, broadly and nobly thought,
is sung by the English horn. The spell works. Daphnis now hastens toward
the long empty and expectant arms. There is frantic and amorous

In this instance a rich and rare orchestral dress covers a well shaped
and vigorous body.

                                 * * *

This tone poem was suggested to Mr. Loeffler by certain verses in the
eighth Eclogue of Virgil, which is sometimes known as “Pharmaceutria”
(the Sorceress). The Eclogue, dedicated to Pollio, was written probably
in 39 B.C. It consists of two love songs, that of Damon and that of
Alphesibœus. Each song has ten parts, and these parts are divided by a
recurring burden or refrain. Alphesibœus tells of the love incantation
of a Thessalian girl, who by the aid of magical spells endeavors to
bring back to her cottage her truant lover Daphnis. Virgil helped
himself freely here from the second Idyll of Theocritus, “The
Sorceress,” in which Simaetha, a Syracuse maiden of middle rank, weaves
spells to regain the love of Delphis.

Mr. Loeffler does not intend to present in this music a literal
translation of Virgil’s verse into tones. The poem is a fantasy,
inspired by the verses.

The poem opens, _adagio_, 2-2, with a short motive, which, with an
inversion of it, is much used throughout the work. The first chief theme
is announced dolce, _mezzo-forte_, by viola solo and three flutes. It
may be called the theme of invocation. The latter half of it may be
divided into two motives, the first a phrase descending in whole tones,
the second a rising and falling wail. These two motives are used
separately and frequently in all sorts of ways. After the exposition of
this theme the pianoforte enters _fortissimo_ with a harmonized
inversion of the introductory motive; a _crescendo_ follows with use of
the foregoing thematic material, and a _glissando_ for the pianoforte
leads to an _allegro_, in which now familiar thematic material is used
until the second theme appears (first violins, harp, pianoforte). This
theme is developed. A pianoforte _cadenza_ built on thematic material
leads to a _lento assai_, 6-4, with a dolorous theme (No. 3) for the
English horn. The trumpets behind the scenes give out the burden of the
sorceress. The _più vivo_ section may suggest to some a chase of wolves
(“I have often seen Moeris become a wolf and plunge into the forest”).
_Tranquillo_: a fourth theme, 4-4, is given to the pianoforte.
_Calando_: the refrain is heard again from behind the scenes.
_Moderato_: the second chief theme, 6-4, now appears, and it is used
extensively. _Largamente_: the trumpets, now on the stage, announce the
coming of Daphnis, and there is the suggestion of the barking Hylax. The
ending is a fanfare of frantic exultation.

This poem, dedicated to the memory of Gustave Schirmer, was written
originally in 1901 for performance as chamber music.

In 1905 and 1906 the work was remoulded and treated much more
symphonically. The first public performance was by the Boston Symphony
Orchestra in Boston on November 23, 1927, Mr. Gebhard pianist.

The poem is scored for three flutes (and piccolo), two oboes, English
horn, two clarinets, bass clarinet, two bassoons, four horns, three
trumpets (and three trumpets off-stage), three trombones, bass tuba,
kettledrums, glockenspiel, tam-tam, harp, pianoforte, strings.


  (Born in New York, December 18, 1861; died there, January 23, 1908)


    I. Legend
    II. Love Song
    III. In War Time
    IV. Dirge
    V. Village Festival

The music has the characteristic force and tenderness of this composer
when he was writing for himself and not directly for the general public.
It is not necessary to lug in any question of whether this be
distinctively American music, for the best pages of the suite are not
parochial—they are not national.

They are universal in their appeal to sensitive hearers of any land. The
movements that are the most poetically imaginative, that have the
greatest distinction, are the “Legend,” “In War Time,” and above all the
“Dirge.” Music like this would honor any composer of whatever race he
might be.

This lamentation might be that of the dying race. There is nothing of
the luxury of woe; there is no conventional music for “threadbare crape
and tears.” There is the dignity of man who has been familiar with
nature, who has known the voices of the day and of the night on lonely
prairie and in somber forest. There is serene yielding to fate.

                                 * * *

This suite was composed in 1891-92. The first performance in public was
by the Boston Symphony Orchestra in the Metropolitan Opera House, New
York, January 23, 1896.

The Indian themes used in the suite are as follows:

1. First theme, Iroquois. There is also a small Chippewa theme.

2. Iowa love song.

3. A well-known song among tribes of the Atlantic coast. There is a
Dacota theme, and there are characteristic features of the Iroquois
scalp dance.

4. Kiowa (woman’s song of mourning for her absent son).

5. Women’s dance, war song, both Iroquois.

The suite is scored for piccolo, two flutes, two oboes, two clarinets,
two bassoons, four horns, two trumpets, three trombones, bass tuba, a
set of three kettledrums, bass drum, cymbals, and strings.

I. “Legend”: Not fast; with much dignity and character, E minor, 2-2. It
has been said that this movement was suggested to the composer by Thomas
Bailey Aldrich’s Indian legend, “Miantowona”; but MacDowell took no
pains to follow Aldrich’s poem incident by incident, nor to tell any
particular story; “the poem merely suggested to him to write something
of a similar character in music.”

II. “Love Song”: Not fast; tenderly, A major, 6-8. One chief theme,
which is announced immediately by the wood-wind, is developed, with the
use of two subsidiary phrases, one a sort of response from the strings,
the other a more assertive melody, first given out in D minor by
wood-wind instruments.

III. “In War Time”: With rough vigor, almost savagely, D minor, 2-4. The
chief theme is played by two flutes, in unison, unaccompanied. Two
clarinets, in unison and without accompaniment, answer in a subsidiary
theme. This material is worked out elaborately in a form that has the
characteristics of the _rondo_. The rhythm changes frequently towards
the end from 2-4 to 6-8 and back again.

IV. “Dirge”: Dirge-like, mournfully, in G minor, 4-4. The mournful chief
theme is given out by muted violins in unison, which are soon
strengthened by the violas, against repetitions of the tonic note G by
piccolo, flutes, and two muted horns, one on the stage, the other behind
the scenes, with occasional full harmony in groups of wind instruments.
“The intimate relation between this theme and that of the first movement
is not to be overlooked. It is answered by the horn behind the scenes
over full harmony in the lower strings, the passage closing with a
quaint concluding phrase of the oboe.” The development of this theme
fills the short movement.

V. “Village Festival”: Swift and light, in E major, 2-4. Several related
themes are developed. All of them are more or less derived from that of
the first movement. There are lively dance rhythms. “But here also the
composer has been at no pains to suggest any of the specific
concomitants of Indian festivities; he has only written a movement in
which merrymakings of the sort are musically suggested.”


  (Born at Kalischt in Bohemia, on July 7, 1860; died at Vienna on May
                               18, 1911)

Those who without undue prejudice discuss Mahler the composer, admitting
his faults, discussing them at length, dwelling on undeniable fine
qualities, assert that his artistic life was greater than his own
musical works, which, greatly planned, did not attain fulfillment and
were often imitative. The sincerity of the composer was never doubted;
the failure to secure that for which he strove is therefore the more

He was of an intensely nervous nature. His life as a conductor—and he
was a great conductor—the feverish atmosphere of the opera house, his
going from city to city until his ability was recognized in Vienna and
later at the Metropolitan, the death of a dearly loved child, the fact
that he was a Jew, who had turned Catholic: these, with musical
intrigues and controversies from which he suffered, gave him no mental
or esthetic poise. It was his ambition to continue the work of men he
revered, Beethoven and Wagner. In spite of his indisputable talent he
was not the man to do this. In the nearer approaches to the ideal that
was in his mind he was simply an imitator; not a convincing, not even a
plausible one.

One has found through his symphonies restlessness that at times becomes
hysterical; reminders of Wagner, Berlioz, Strauss; melodies in folk-song
vein, often naïve, at times beautiful, but introduced as at random and
quickly thrown aside; an overemployment of the wood-winds, used too
often as solo instruments; passages for the brass which recall the fact
that as a child Mahler delighted in military bands. Sudden changes from
screaming outbursts to thin and inconsequential instrumentation; trivial
moments when the hearer anticipates the movement of a country dance;
diffuseness, prolixity that becomes boresome; an unwillingness to bring
speech to an end; seldom genuine power or eloquence; yet here and there
measures that linger in the memory.

                             THE SYMPHONIES

No. 1. D major. Begun in December, 1883; completed at Budapest in 1888;
produced at Budapest, Mahler, conductor, on November 20, 1889; published
in 1898. The Budapest programme described it as a “symphonic poem in two
parts.” When it was performed at the Tonkünstler Fest at Weimar on June
3, 1894, through the insistence of Richard Strauss and Dr. Kretzschmar,
it was known as “_Titan_” (after Jean Paul Richter’s romance).

No. 2. C minor. Begun and completed in 1894. First performed at a
Philharmonic Concert in Berlin, Richard Strauss, conductor, on March 4,
1895. Only the three instrumental movements were then performed. The
second and third met with great favor; Mahler was called out five times
after the _scherzo_. The majority of the Berlin critics distorted or
suppressed this fact and represented the performance as a fiasco. The
whole of the symphony was performed for the first time at Mahler’s
concert at Berlin on December 13, 1895. According to Ernst Otto
Nodnagel, the critics again behaved “indecently”; took the purely
orchestral movements for granted, and heard only the _finale_ with the
tenor and contralto solos. One of them spoke of “the cynical impudence
of this brutal and very latest music maker.” Nikisch and Weingartner
were deeply impressed, and the greater part of the audience was wildly

No. 3. F major, known as the “_Summer Morning’s Dream_,” or
“_Programme_” symphony. Sketched in 1895, completed in 1896. Produced
piecemeal in 1896 at Berlin and Hamburg; in 1897 at Berlin. First
performance of the whole symphony at a concert of the Allgemeiner
Deutscher Musikverein at Krefeld in June, 1902. Published in 1898.

No. 4. G major. Composed in 1899-1900. First performance at Munich by
the Kaim Orchestra on November 28, 1901. Mahler conducted. Published in

No. 5. C-sharp minor, known as “_The Giant_” Symphony. Completed in
1902. First performance at a Gürzenich concert in Cologne, October 18,

No. 6. A minor. Composed in 1903-04. Performed under Mahler’s direction
at the Tonkünstler Fest at Essen on May 27, 1906. Published in 1905.

No. 7. E minor. Composed in 1904-06. Produced at Prague on September 19,
1908. Mahler conducted. Published in 1908.

No. 8. In two parts, with soli and double chorus; first part, hymn,
“Veni, Creator Spiritus,” as a sonata first movement, with double fugue;
second part, the last scenes of _Faust_, in form of an _adagio_,
_scherzo_, and _finale_. Composition begun in 1906. First performance at
Munich as “_Symphony of the Thousand_” on September 12, 1908, the year
of publication.

No. 9. Begun in 1906. Produced at Vienna late in June, 1912, Bruno
Walter, conductor. The last movement is an _adagio_.

No. 10. Composed in 1909-10; left unfinished by Mahler. First
performance at Prague on June 6, 1924, Alex von Zemlinsky, conductor.

“_Das Lied von der Erde_” (Song of the Earth), a symphony in six parts
for tenor and contralto soli with orchestra, the text taken from _The
Chinese Flute_, a collection of Chinese lyrics by Hans Bethge. Composed
in 1908, first produced at Munich November 10, 1911, Bruno Walter,

Some of Mahler’s symphonies are described as programme music, but he was
no friend of realism as it is understood by Richard Strauss. Mahler was
reported as saying: “When I conceive a great musical picture, I always
arrive at the point where I must employ the ‘word’ as the bearer of my
musical idea.... My experience with the last movement of my second
symphony was such that I ransacked the literature of the world, up to
the Bible, to find the expository word.” Though he differed with Strauss
in the matter of realistic music, he valued him highly: “No one should
think I hold myself to be his rival. Aside from the fact that, if his
success had not opened a path for me, I should now be looked on as a
sort of monster on account of my works, I consider it one of my greatest
joys that my colleagues and I have found such a comrade in fighting and

One reason why Mahler’s symphonies were looked at askance by conductors
was the enormous orchestra demanded. No. 2 called for as many strings as
possible, two harps, four flutes (interchangeable with four piccolos),
four oboes (two interchangeable with two English horns), five clarinets
(one interchangeable with bass clarinet—and when it is possible the two
in E flat should be doubled in _fortissimo_ passages), four bassoons
(one interchangeable with double bassoon), six horns (and four in the
distance to be added in certain passages to the six), six trumpets (four
in the distance, which may be taken from the six), four trombones, tuba,
two sets of kettledrums, bass drum, snare drum (when possible several of
them), cymbals, tam-tam of high pitch and one of low pitch, triangle,
glockenspiel, three bells, a Ruthe (a bundle of rods to switch a
drumhead), organ, two harps. In the distance a pair of kettledrums, bass
drum, cymbals, triangle. Soprano solo, contralto solo, mixed chorus.


    I. 1. Dead March—with measured step—like a funeral train.
        Suddenly faster, passionately, wildly. À tempo
      2. With stormy emotion. With utmost vehemence
    II. 3. Scherzo. With force, but not too fast
    III. 4. Adagietto, very slow
      5. Rondo finale: allegro

The symphony is like unto the great image that stood before
Nebuchadnezzar in a vision. “And the form thereof was terrible. The
image’s head was of fine gold, his breast and his arms of silver, his
belly and his thighs of brass; his legs of iron, his feet part of iron
and part of clay.”

There are musical thoughts that are lovely and noble. By their side are
themes of a vulgarity that is masked only by adroit contrapuntal
treatment or by the blare of instrumentation which gives a plausible and
momentary importance. There is excessive reiteration of subjects and
devices, and the skill displayed in embellishment and variation of
orchestral color, color rather than nuance, does not relieve the
monotony. The opening is imposing, but the chief theme of the Dead March
disappoints. The first pages of the second section, “stormily restless,”
are a stroke of genius, the free expression of wild imagination. There
are charming ideas in the _scherzo_, and there is also much that is only
whimsical, as though Mahler had then written solely for his own
amusement, and said to himself, “Let us try it this way. I wonder how it
will sound.” The _adagietto_ is the most emotional portion of the work,
and here Mahler employed simple means. Here the thought and the
expression are happily wedded, nor does the ghost of Wagner, seen for a
moment smiling, forbid this union. It may be that in the _finale_ the
composer could not help remembering the wondrous theme, D major, in the
_adagio_ of Beethoven’s Ninth symphony; but the resemblance is after all
only a suggestion, and this _finale_ in _rondo_ form, with the majestic
peroration, is worked so that there is a steady _crescendo_ of interest.
As a whole Mahler’s symphony, with its mixture of the grand and the
common, with its spontaneity and its laborious artifice, is like unto
the great image referred to above.

                                 * * *

This symphony, known to some as “_The Giant_” symphony, was performed
for the first time at a Gürzenich concert at Cologne, October 18, 1904.
The composer conducted. There was a difference of opinion concerning the
merits of the work. A visiting critic from Munich wrote that there was
breathless silence after the first movement, “which proved more
effectively than tremendous applause that the public was conscious of
the presence of genius.” It is stated that after the _finale_ there was
much applause; there was also hissing.

When the symphony was performed in certain German cities, as at Dresden,
January 27, 1905, at a symphony concert of the Royal Orchestra, and at
Berlin, February 20, 1905, at a Philharmonic concert, the programme
books contained no analytical notes and no argument of any sort. The
compilers thus obeyed the wish of the composer. Mr. Ludwig Schiedermair
tells us, in his _Gustav Mahler: eine biographisch-kritische Würdigung_,
of Mahler’s abhorrence of all programme books for concert use, and he
relates this anecdote. Mahler conducted a performance of his Symphony in
C minor at a concert of the Munich Hugo Wolf Society. After the concert
there was a supper, and in the course of the conversation someone
mentioned programme books. “Then was it as though lightning flashed in a
joyous, sunny landscape. Mahler’s eyes were more brilliant than ever,
his forehead wrinkled, he sprang in excitement from the table and
exclaimed in passionate tones: ‘Away with programme books, which breed
false ideas! The audience should be left to its own thoughts over the
work that is performing: it should not be forced to read during the
performance; it should not be prejudiced in any manner. If a composer by
his music forces on his hearers the sensations which streamed through
his mind, then he reaches his goal. The speech of tones has then
approached the language of words, but it is far more capable of
expression and declaration.’ And Mahler raised his glass and emptied it
with ‘_Pereat den Programmen!_’”

Yet Mr. Mahler’s enthusiastic admirer and partisan, Ernst Otto Nodnagel,
of Darmstadt, contributed to “Die Musik” (second November number and
first December number of 1904) a technical analysis of the Fifth
symphony, an analysis of twenty-three large octavo pages, with a
beautiful motto from Schiller. This analysis, published by Peters, and
sold for the sum of thirty pfennig, is within reach of the humblest.

The symphony was completed in the spring of 1903. It was written in
1901-02 at his little country house near Maiernigg on Lake Wörther.
Other works of this date are the _Kindertotenlieder_ and other songs
with Rückert’s verses. The symphony is scored for four flutes (and
piccolo), three oboes, three clarinets (and bass clarinet), two
bassoons, one double bassoon, six horns (in third movement a horn
obbligato), four trumpets, three trombones, tuba, kettledrums, snare
drum, bass drum, cymbals, triangle, Glockenspiel, gong, harp, and

Let us respect the wishes of the composer who looked on analytical or
explanatory programmes as the abomination of desolation. Yet it may be
said that in the _rondo finale_, after the second chief motive enters as
the subject of a fugal section, one of the lesser themes used in the
development is derived from Mahler’s song, “Lob des hohen Verstands”
(relating to the trial of skill between the nightingale and the cuckoo
with the ass as judge).


 (Born at Hamburg, February 3, 1809; died at Leipsic, November 4, 1847)

Mendelssohn in his maturity wrote his music as he looks in his picture,
smiling and with a stickpin in his ruffled shirt. When at seventeen he
wrote his overture to _A Midsummer Night’s Dream_, he was a romanticist.
What might he not have accomplished if he had been poor and less
respectable! He wrote this overture before he had been spoiled by
flattery; before he became a composer of priggish formulas. Aubrey
Beardsley pictured the later Mendelssohn in that forgotten magazine, the
_Savoy_. There you see the man that was shocked by the resurrection of
the nuns in _Robert the Devil_, by Terlina undressing in _Fra Diavolo_,
by Hugo’s _Ruy Blas_, although he condescended to write an overture for
it. The spotless Mendelssohn who delighted Queen Victoria and her spouse
by playing the organ to them. But the overture to Shakespeare’s comedy
is from another Mendelssohn, the composer of _The Hebrides_, portions of
the _Walpurgis Night_, not the man of the oratorios and the sentimental
_Songs without Words_.

                 SYMPHONY IN A MAJOR, “ITALIAN,” OP. 90

    I. Allegro vivace
    II. Andante con moto
    III. Con moto moderato
    IV. Saltarello: presto

How much of Italy is there in this symphony of Mendelssohn? Suppose
there were no title. The last movement might easily be recognized as a
_saltarello_; but how about the other movements? The first is light and
gay, but there is no geographical or national mood at once established,
there is no authoritative characterization. I doubt whether even a
tambourine would be of material assistance. It was not necessary for the
composer to go to Naples to write the _andante_. As for the _scherzo_,
the horns with their pleasant sentimentalism might represent today
Germans in Rome, armed with red guide books, and now and then bursting
out in songs of the Fatherland, something about the forest, or spring,
or the blissfulness of sorrow and longing. The _saltarello_ part was
done much better by Berlioz. Compare this symphony, so far as local
color is concerned, with a page of Bizet painting in tones a Southern
scene, or with Richard Strauss’ Italian suite, or with the suite of
Charpentier, and Mendelssohn’s music seems without marked distinction,
rather tame and drab. Yet the first movement and the _finale_ are
amiable music, pages that may awaken a gentlemanlike joy, and there is
no denying the clearness of the musical thought, the purity of
expression, the sure and polished workmanship.

                                 * * *

The symphony was completed in Berlin. Mendelssohn wrote to Pastor Bauer,
“My work about which I recently had many misgivings is completed, and,
looking it over, I now find that, contrary to my expectations, it
satisfies me. I believe it has become a good piece. Be that as it may, I
feel it shows progress, and that is the main point.” The score bears the
date, Berlin, March 13, 1833.

The first performance from manuscript and under the direction of the
composer was at the sixth concert of the Philharmonic Society that
season, May 13, 1833. “The concerts of the Society were this year, and
onward, given in the Hanover Square Rooms, which had just been
remodeled. The symphony made a great impression, and Felix electrified
the audience by his wonderful performance of Mozart’s Concerto in D
minor, his _cadenzas_ being marvels in design and execution. His new
overture in C was produced at the last concert of the season.”

Mendelssohn began to revise the symphony in June, 1834. On February 16,
1835, he wrote to Klingemann that he was biting his nails over the first
movement and could not yet master it, but that in any event it should be
something different—perhaps wholly new—and he had this doubt about every
one of the movements. Towards the end of 1837 the revision was
completed. Whether the symphony in its new form was played at a
Philharmonic Society Concert in London, June 18, 1838, conducted by
Moscheles, is doubtful, although Moscheles asked him for it. The first
performance of the revised version on the European continent was at a
Gewandhaus concert, Leipsic, November 1, 1849, when Julius Rietz
conducted. The score and orchestral parts were not published until
March, 1851.

Grove remarked of this work: “The music itself is better than any
commentary. Let that be marked, learned, and inwardly digested.”

Reismann found the first movement, _allegro vivace_, A major, 6-8, to be
a paraphrase of the so-called “Hunting Song” in the first group of
_Songs without Words_. The tonality is the same, and this is often
enough to fire the imagination of a commentator. The chief subject
begins with the violins in the second measure and is developed at
length. The second subject, E major, is for clarinets. The development
section begins with a new figure treated in imitation by the strings.
The chief theme is then used, with the second introduced contrapuntally.
In the recapitulation section the second theme is given to the strings.

The second movement, _andante con moto_, D minor, 4-4, sometimes called
the “Pilgrims’ March,” but without any authority, is said “to have been
a processional hymn, which probably gave the name of ‘“_Italian_”
symphony’ to the whole (!).” Lampadius remarks in connection with this:
“I cannot discover that the piece bears any mark of a decided Catholic
character, for, if I recollect rightly, I once heard Moscheles say that
Mendelssohn had in his mind as the source of this second movement an old
Bohemian folk song.”[38] The two introductory measures suggested to
Grove “the cry of a muezzin from his minaret,” but, pray, what has this
to do with Italy? The chief theme is given out by oboe, clarinet, and
violas. The violins take it up with counterpoint for the flutes. There
is a new musical idea for the clarinets. The first theme returns. The
two introductory measures are used with this material in the remainder
of the movement.

The third movement is marked simply “_con moto moderato_” (A major,
3-4). “There is a tradition (said to originate with Mendelssohn’s
brother-in-law, Hensel, but still of uncertain authority) that it was
transferred to its present place from some earlier composition. It is
not, however, to be found in either of the twelve unpublished juvenile
symphonies; and in the first rough draft of this symphony there is no
sign of its having been interpolated. In style the movement is, no
doubt, earlier than the rest of the work.” The movement opens with a
theme for first violins; the trio with a passage for bassoons and horns.
The third part is a repetition of the first. In the _coda_ there is at
the end a suggestion of the trio.

The _finale_ is a _saltarello, presto_, 4-4. There are three themes. The
flutes, after six introductory measures, play the first. In the second,
somewhat similar in character, the first and second violins answer each
other. The third is also given to the first and second violins
alternately, but now in the form of a continuously moving, not a jumping

This _saltarello_ was undoubtedly inspired by the Carnival at Rome, of
which Mendelssohn gave a description in his letter of February 8, 1831.
“On Saturday all the world went to the Capitol, to witness the form of
the Jews’ supplications to be suffered to remain in the Sacred City for
another year, a request which is refused at the foot of the hill, but,
after repeated entreaties, granted on the summit, and the Ghetto is
assigned to them. It was a tiresome affair; we waited two hours, and
after all, understood the oration of the Jews as little as the answer of
the Christians. I came down again in very bad humor, and thought that
the Carnival had begun rather unpropitiously. So I arrived in the Corso
and was driving along, thinking no evil, when I was suddenly assailed by
a shower of sugar comfits. I looked up; they had been flung by some
young ladies whom I had seen occasionally at balls, but scarcely knew,
and when in my embarrassment I took off my hat to bow to them, the
pelting began in right earnest. Their carriage drove on, and in the next
was Miss T——, a delicate young Englishwoman. I tried to bow to her, but
she pelted me, too; so I became quite desperate, and clutching the
confetti, I flung them back bravely. There were swarms of my
acquaintances and my blue coat was soon as white as that of a miller.
The B——s were standing on a balcony, flinging confetti like hail at my
head; and thus pelting and pelted, amid a thousand jests and jeers and
the most extravagant masks, the day ended with races.”

It is a singular reflection on “local color” in music that Schumann
mistook the “_Scotch_” symphony for the “_Italian_” and wrote of the
former: “It can, like the Italian scenes in _Titan_, cause you for a
moment to forget the sorrow of not having seen that heavenly country.”
The best explanation of this Symphony No. 4, if there be need of any
explanation, is found in the letters of Mendelssohn from Italy.


Translations by Schlegel and Tieck of Shakespeare’s plays were read by
Mendelssohn and his sister Fanny in 1826. The overture, _A Midsummer
Night’s Dream_, was written in July and August of that year.

Klingemann tells us that part of the score was written “in the summer,
in the open air, in the Mendelssohns’ garden at Berlin, for I was
present.” This garden belonged to a house in the Leipziger Strasse (No.
3). It was near the Potsdam gate, and when Abraham Mendelssohn, the
father, bought it, his friends complained that he was moving out of the
world. There was an estate of about ten acres. In the house was a room
for theatrical performances; and the center of the garden house formed a
hall which held several hundred, and it was here that Sunday music was
performed. In the time of Frederick the Great this garden was part of
the Thiergarten. In the summer-houses were writing materials, and Felix
edited a newspaper, called in summer _The Garden Times_, and in the
winter _The Snow and Tea Times_.

Mendelssohn told Hiller that he had worked long and eagerly on the
overture: “How in his spare time between the lectures at the Berlin
University he had gone on extemporizing at it on the piano of a
beautiful woman who lived close by; ‘for a whole year, I hardly did
anything else,’ he said; and certainly he had not wasted his time.”

It is said that Mendelssohn made two drafts of the overture, and
discarded the earlier after he completed the first half. This earlier
draft began with the four chords and the fairy figure; then followed a
regular overture, in which use was made of a theme typical of the loves
of Lysander and Hermia, and of kin to the “love melody” of the present

The overture was first written as a pianoforte duet, and it was first
played to Moscheles in that form by the composer and his sister,
November 19, 1826. It was performed afterwards by an orchestra in the
garden house. The first public performance was at Stettin in February,
1827, from manuscript, when Karl Löwe conducted. The critic was not
hurried in those days, for an account of the concert appeared in the
_Harmonicon_ for December of that year. The critic had had time to think
the matter over, and his conclusion was that the overture was of little

The overture was performed in England for the first time on June 24
(Midsummer Day), 1829, at a concert given by Louis Drouet in the Argyll
Rooms. Sir George Smart, who returned from the concert with Mendelssohn,
left the score of the overture in a hackney coach. So the story is told;
but is it not possible that the blameless Mendelssohn left it? The score
was never found, and Mendelssohn rewrote it. The overture was played in
England for the first time in connection with Shakespeare’s comedy at
London, in 1840, when Mme Vestris appeared in the performance at Covent

The orchestral parts were published in 1832; the score in April, 1835.
The overture is dedicated to His Royal Majesty the Crown Prince of

The overture opens _allegro di molto_, E major, 2-2, with four prolonged
chords in the wood-wind. On the last of these follows immediately a
_pianissimo_ chord of E minor in violins and violas. This is followed by
the “fairy music” in E minor, given out and developed by divided violins
with some _pizzicati_ in the violas. A subsidiary theme is given out
_fortissimo_ by full orchestra. The melodious second theme, in B major,
begun by the wood-wind, is then continued by the strings and fuller and
fuller orchestra. Several picturesque features are then introduced: the
Bergomask dance from the fifth act of the play; a curious imitation of
the bray of an ass in allusion to Bottom, who is, according to Maginn’s
paradox, “the blockhead, _the_ lucky man on whom Fortune showers her
favors beyond measure”; and the quickly descending scale passage for
violoncellos, which was suggested to the composer by the buzzing of a
big fly in the Schoenhauser Garten. The free fantasia is wholly on the
first theme. The third part of the overture is regular, and there is a
short _coda_. The overture ends with the four sustained chords with
which it opened.

In 1843 King Frederick William the Fourth of Prussia wished Mendelssohn
to compose music for the plays _Antigone_, _A Midsummer_ _Night’s
Dream_, _Athalie_, which should be produced in September. During March
and April of that year Mendelssohn, who had written the overture in
1826, composed the additional music for Shakespeare’s play. Tieck had
divided the play into three acts and had said nothing to the composer
about the change. Mendelssohn had composed with reference to the
original division. The first performance was in the Royal Theater in the
New Palace, Potsdam, October 14, 1843, on the eve of the festival of the
King’s birthday. Mendelssohn conducted.

The score was published in June, 1848; the orchestral parts in August of
that year. The first edition for pianoforte was published in September,

Mendelssohn’s music to the play consists of thirteen numbers:

  I. Overture;
  II. _Scherzo_ (Entr’acte after Act I);
  III. Fairy March (in Act II);
  IV. “You spotted snakes,” for two sopranos and chorus (in Act II);
  V. Melodrama (in Act II);
  VI. Intermezzo (Entr’acte after Act II);
  VII. Melodrama (in Act III);
  VIII. Notturno (Entr’acte after Act III);
  IX. _Andante_ (in Act IV);
  X. Wedding March (after the close of Act IV);
  XI. _Allegro commodo_ and _Marcia funebre_ (in Act V);
  XII. Bergomask Dance (in Act V);
  XIII. _Finale_ to Act V.

Many of the themes in these numbers were taken from the overture.

The _scherzo_ (entr’acte between Acts I and II) is an _allegro vivace_
in G minor, 3-8. “Presumably Mendelssohn intended it as a purely musical
reflection of the scene in Quince’s house—the first meeting to discuss
the play to be given by the workmen at the wedding—with which the first
act ends. Indeed, there is a passing allusion to Nick Bottom’s bray in
it. But the general character of the music is bright and fairy-like,
with nothing of the grotesque about it.” The _scherzo_ presents an
elaborate development of two themes that are not sharply contrasted; the
first theme has a subsidiary. The score is dedicated to Heinrich Conrad


In the _Hebrides_ overture, Mendelssohn shook off his priggish
formalism. He had been deeply affected by the sight of Staffa and
Fingal’s Cave; he was not ashamed to translate his emotions into music
without obsequious obedience to the old pedagogic traditions. Here he is
poetic, picturing the wildness of the far-off scene without too
deliberate attempt at realism. Here is the suggestion—and with the small
orchestra of the period!—as Mr. Apthorp put it, of screaming sea birds,
whistling winds, the salty smell of the seaweed on the rocks. For once
Mendelssohn showed himself more than a careful manufacturer of music
when he revised his score, saying that the middle section smelt more of
counterpoint than of train oil, sea gulls, and salt fish.

                                 * * *

Mendelssohn saw Staffa and Fingal’s Cave on August 7, 1829. He at once
determined to picture the scenes in music. He wrote to his sister on
that day: “That you may understand how extraordinarily the Hebrides
affected me, the following came into my mind”; and he then noted down
twenty-one measures in _alla breve_, which coincide for the first ten
and a half measures with the later measures in 4-4. Ferdinand Hiller,
who lived with Mendelssohn in Paris during the winter of 1831-32, tells
how Mendelssohn brought to him the sketched score. “He told me how the
thing came to him in its full form and color when he saw Fingal’s Cave;
he also informed me how the first measures, which contain the chief
theme, had come into his mind. In the evening he was making a visit with
his friend Klingemann on a Scottish family. There was a pianoforte in
the room; but it was Sunday, and there was no possibility of music. He
employed all his diplomacy to get at the pianoforte for a moment; when
he had succeeded, he dashed off the theme out of which the great work
grew. It was finished at Düsseldorf, but only after an interval of
years.” Hiller was mistaken about the place and time of completion.

The overture was first performed on May 14, 1832, from manuscript, in
London, at the sixth concert of the Philharmonic Society at Covent
Garden. Thomas Attwood conducted. The composer wrote: “It went
splendidly, and sounded so droll amongst all the Rossini things.” The
_Athenæum_ said that the overture as descriptive music was a failure.
George Hogarth wrote in his History of the Philharmonic Society (1862):
“It at once created a great sensation—a sensation, we need scarcely add,
that has not been diminished by numberless repetitions. At a general
meeting of the Society on the 7th of June, 1832, Sir George Smart read a
letter from Mendelssohn requesting the Society’s acceptance of the score
of this overture; and it was resolved to present him with a piece of
plate in token of the Society’s thanks, which was forthwith done.” The
_Harmonicon_ praised the overture highly, and found the key of B minor
well suited to the purpose.

                CONCERTO FOR VIOLIN, IN E MINOR, OP. 64

    I. Allegro molto appassionato
    II. Andante
    III. Allegretto non troppo; allegro molto vivace

The concerto does not call for any true depth of emotional display. The
sentiment is amiable and genteel, with a dash of becoming melancholy,
and the strength is the conventional strength of a man who in music had
little virility. Beautifully made, a polished piece of mechanism, the
concerto always, under favorable circumstances, interests and promotes
contagious good feeling.

                                 * * *

Mendelssohn in his youth composed a violin concerto with accompaniment
of stringed instruments, also a concerto for violin and pianoforte
(1823) with the same sort of accompaniment. These works were left in
manuscript. It was at the time that he was put into jackets and
trousers. Probably these works were played at the musical parties at the
Mendelssohn house in Berlin on alternate Sunday mornings. Mendelssohn
took violin lessons first with Carl Wilhelm Henning and afterwards with
Eduard Rietz, for whom he wrote this early violin concerto. When
Mendelssohn played any stringed instrument, he preferred the viola.

As early as 1838 Mendelssohn conceived the plan of composing a violin
concerto in the manner of the one in E minor, for on July 30 he wrote to
Ferdinand David: “I should like to write a violin concerto for you next
winter. One in E minor is running in my head, and the beginning does not
leave me in peace.” On July 24 of the next year he wrote from Hochheim
to David, who had pressed him to compose the concerto: “It is nice of
you to urge me for a violin concerto! I have the liveliest desire to
write one for you, and if I have a few propitious days here, I’ll bring
you something. But the task is not an easy one. You demand that it
should be brilliant, and how is such a one as I to do this? The whole of
the first solo is to be for the E string!”

The concerto was composed in 1844 and completed on September 16 of that
year at Bad Soden, near Frankfort-on-the-Main. David received the
manuscript in November. Many letters passed between the composer and the
violinist. David gave advice freely. Mendelssohn took time in revising
and polishing. Even after the score was sent to the publishers in
December, there were more changes. David is largely responsible for the
_cadenza_ as it now stands.

Mendelssohn played parts of the concerto on the pianoforte to his
friends; the whole of it to Moscheles at Bad Soden.

The first performance was from manuscript at the twentieth Gewandhaus
concert in Leipsic, March 13, 1845. Ferdinand David was the violinist.
Niels W. Gade conducted.

The concerto is in three connected movements. The first, _allegro molto
appassionato_, E minor, 2-2, begins immediately after an introductory
measure with the first theme given out by the solo violin. This theme is
developed at length by the solo instrument, which then goes on with
_cadenza_-like passage-work, after which the theme is repeated and
developed as a _tutti_ by the full orchestra. The second theme is first
given out _pianissimo_ in harmony by clarinets and flutes over a
sustained organ-point in the solo instrument. The chief theme is used in
the development which begins in the solo violin. The brilliant solo
_cadenza_ ends with a series of _arpeggios_, which continue on through
the whole announcement of the first theme by orchestral strings and
wind. The conclusion section is in regular form. There is no pause
between this movement and the _andante_.

The first section of the _andante_, C major, is a development of the
first theme sung by the solo violin. The middle part is taken up with
the development of the second theme, a somewhat agitated melody. The
third part is a repetition of the first, with the melody in the solo
violin, but with a different accompaniment. Mendelssohn originally
intended the accompaniment (strings) to the first theme to be played
_pizzicato_. He wrote to David, “I intended to write in this way, but
something or other—I don’t know what—prevented me.”

The _finale_ opens with a short introduction, _allegretto non troppo_, E
minor, 4-4. The main body of the _finale, allegro molto vivace_, E
major, 4-4, begins with calls on horns, trumpets, bassoons, drums,
answered by _arpeggios_ of the solo violin and tremolos in the strings.
The chief theme of the _rondo_ is announced by the solo instruments. The
orchestra has a second theme, B major; the violin one in G major. In the
recapitulation section the _fortissimo_ second theme appears again, this
time in E major. There is a brilliant _coda_.

  Mendelssohn used the following orchestration for the works discussed
  in this chapter (save for the addition of an ophicleide in the
  overture to _A Midsummer Night’s Dream_): two flutes, two oboes, two
  clarinets, two bassoons, two horns, two trumpets, kettledrums, and

                           MODESTE PETROVITCH

 (Born at Karevo, district of Toropeta, in the government of Pskov, on
       March 28, 1835; died at St. Petersburg on March 28, 1881)

     Posthumous Work Completed and Orchestrated by Rimsky-Korsakov

Moussorgsky’s fantasy was composed in 1867 and was thus one of the few
early Russian orchestral compositions of a fantastically picturesque
nature. In the original form it was no doubt crude, for Moussorgsky had
little technic for the larger forms of music; he despised “style,” and
believed that much knowledge would prevent him from attaining the
realism that was his goal. That he himself was not satisfied with this
symphonic poem is shown by the fact that he revised it two or three
times. He died; Rimsky-Korsakov edited it and orchestrated it. The music
was finally heard after Moussorgsky’s death. Rimsky-Korsakov was a
fastidious musician, a learned harmonist, a master of orchestrations. It
is said that he sandpapered and polished _Boris Godounov_ to the great
detriment of Moussorgsky’s opera; he chastened the wild spirit; he tamed
the native savageness, so it is said. What did he do to this musical
picture of a Witches’ Sabbath on Bald Mountain?

Having heard several musical descriptions of these unholy Sabbaths,
where reverence was paid Satan, exultantly ruling in the form of a
he-goat, where there was horrid, obscene revelry, if we may believe
well-instructed ancient and modern writers on Satanism and witchcraft,
we wonder why any woman, young or old, straddled a broomstick and made
her way hopefully and joyfully to a lonely mountain or barren plain. If
we can put faith in the musical descriptions given by Berlioz, Boïto,
Gounod, Satan’s evening receptions were comparatively tame affairs, with
dancing of a nature that would not have offended the selectmen and their
wives and sisters of our little village in the sixties, when the waltz
was frowned on as a sensual and ungodly diversion. Liszt’s _Mephisto
Waltz_ is, indeed, sensuous, fleshly, but Satan in this instance only
plays the fiddle; he is not master of sabbatic revels. In Moussorgsky’s
symphonic poem the _allegro_ devoted to the worshipers of the devil is
rather commonplace; its laborious wildness becomes monotonous in spite
of the editor’s instrumentation. Far more original and effective is the
second section, in which a church bell puts the blasphemous revelers to

                                 * * *

In September, 1860, Moussorgsky wrote to Balakirev: “I have also been
given a most interesting piece of work to do, which must be ready by
next summer: a whole act of _The Bald Mountain_ (after Megden’s drama
_The Witch_). The assembly of the witches, various episodes of
witchcraft, the pageant of all the sorcerers, and a _finale_, the witch
dance and homage to Satan. The libretto is very fine. I have already a
few materials for the music, and it may be possible to turn out
something very good.” In September, 1862, he wrote to Balakirev, saying
that his friend’s attitude towards _The Witches_ [_sic_] had embittered
him. “I considered, still consider, and shall consider forever that the
thing is satisfactory.... I come forth with a first big work.... I shall
alter neither plan nor working-out; for both are in close relationship
with the contents of the scene, and are carried out in a spirit of
genuineness, without tricks or make-believes.... I have fulfilled my
task as best I could. The one thing I shall alter is the percussion,
which I have misused.” A letter to Rimsky-Korsakov dated July, 1867,
shows that he did rewrite _A Night on Bald Mountain_, but remained
unwilling to make further alterations.

During the winter of 1871-72 the director of the opera at St. Petersburg
planned that Moussorgsky, Borodin, Rimsky-Korsakov, and Cui should each
write a portion of a fairy opera, _Mlada_. Moussorgsky was to write
music for some folk scenes, a march for the procession of Slav princes
and a great fantastical scene, “The Sacrifice to the Black Goat on Bald
Mountain.” This would give him the opportunity of using his symphonic
poem. The project fell through on account of pecuniary reasons.
Rimsky-Korsakov’s _Mlada_ was produced at St. Petersburg in 1892.

In 1877 Moussorgsky undertook to write an opera _The Fair at
Sorotchinsi_, based on a tale by Gogol. He purposed to introduce in it
_A Night on Bald Mountain_, and he revised the score.

It is said that the original version of the symphonic poem was for
pianoforte and orchestra; that the revision for _Mlada_ was for
orchestra and chorus; that the work was to serve as a scenic interlude
in the unfinished opera, _The Fair at Sorotchinsi_.

Rimsky-Korsakov as Moussorgsky’s musical executor revised the score of
the poem. He retained the composer’s argument:

“Subterranean din of supernatural voices. Appearance of Spirits of
Darkness, followed by that of the god Tchernobog. Glorification of
Tchernobog. Black mass. Witches’ Sabbath. At the height of the Sabbath
there sounds far off the bell of the little church in a village which
scatters the Spirits of Darkness. Daybreak.”

The form is simple: a symphonic _allegro_ is joined to a short
_andante_; _allegro feroce_; _poco meno mosso_.

_A Night on Bald Mountain_, dedicated to Vladimir Stassov, is scored for
piccolo, two flutes, two oboes, two clarinets, two bassoons, four horns,
two trumpets, three trombones, bass tuba, kettledrums, bass drum,
cymbals, tam-tam, bell in D, and strings.

The first performance was at a concert of the Russian Symphony Society
at St. Petersburg on October 27, 1886. Rimsky-Korsakov conducted. The
piece met with such success that it was played later in that season.

                            WOLFGANG AMADEUS

 (Born at Salzburg, January 27, 1756; died at Vienna, December 5, 1791)

In this life that is “so daily,” as Jules Laforgue complained, a life of
tomorrow rather than of today, we are inclined to patronize the ancient
worthies who in their own period were very modern, or to speak jauntily
of them as bores, with their works of “only historical interest.” Mozart
has not escaped. Many concertgoers yawn at his name and wonder why such
men as Richard Strauss or Vincent d’Indy could praise him with glowing
cheeks. They suspect this attribute of worship to be a pose. Remind them
of the fact that to such widely different characters as Rossini, Chopin,
Tchaikovsky, Brahms, the musician of musicians was Mozart, and they say
lightly, “There’s no accounting for tastes; surely you do not pretend to
maintain that Mozart is a man of this generation.”

No, Mozart was neither a symbolist nor a pessimist. He was not a
translator of literature, sculpture, or painting into music His
imagination was not fired by a metaphysical treatise. He simply wrote
music that came into his head and disquieted him until it was jotted
down on paper. He did not go about nervously seeking for ideas. His
music is never the passionate cry, never the wild shriek of a racked
soul. His music is never hysterical, it is never morbid. It is seldom
emotional as we necessarily and unhappily understand that word today.
Perhaps for these reasons it is still modern, immortal, and not merely
on account of the long and exquisite melodic line, fitting, inevitable
background, delicate coloring. Music that is only the true voice of a
particular generation is moribund as soon as it is born.

His music, whether it vitalizes stage characters or is absolute, as in
the three famous symphonies, and in the chamber works, is as the music
on Prospero’s isle: “Sounds and sweet airs that give delight and hurt
not.” The analyst may find pleasure in praising the unsurpassable
workmanship, which is akin to the spontaneity of natural phenomena; he
may marvel at the simplicity of plan and expression; the simplicity that
is the despair of interpreters, for it is the touchstone of their own
art or artificiality—and Mozart himself, when he told his emperor that
his opera had just the right number of notes, anticipated the judgment
of time—but he is still far from explaining the peculiar and ineffable
tenderness of this music that soothes and caresses and comforts.

The serenity, the classic suggestion of emotion without the distortion
that accompanies passion, would grace a tragedy of Sophocles or a comedy
by Congreve. Mozart’s music is essentially Grecian, yet now and then it
reminds one of Watteau.

Hazlitt said of art that it should seem to come from the air and return
to it. But he characterized it with finer appreciation when he said,
without mention of Mozart’s name, “Music is color without form; a soul
without a body; a mistress whose face is veiled; an invisible goddess.”
And for this reason Debussy is the spiritual brother of Mozart, moderns
both, yet classics.

 _Symphonies in E flat (Koechel No. 543), G minor (Koechel No. 550), C
                 major (“Jupiter”), (Koechel No. 551)_


    I. Adagio; allegro
    II. Andante
    III. Minuetto; trio
    IV. Finale: allegro

Mozart wrote his symphony when in a condition of distress, but who would
know from the music of the composer’s poverty and gloom? The iteration
of the chief theme of the second movement soon frets the nerves, not
from any poignancy of emotion, but from its very placidity. And how
seldom in Mozart’s music is there any emotional burst as we understand
emotion today! There are a few passages in the first movement of the G
minor symphony, pages in certain chamber works, and in the _Requiem_,
and there are the two great scenes in _Don Giovanni_, the trio between
the Don, the Commander, and Leporello after the duel, and the scene
between the blaspheming rake and the Stone Man. As a rule the emotion of
Mozart is that of the classic frieze or urn. Beauty with him is calm and
serene, and emotion, he believed, should always be beautiful.

                                 * * *

The symphony in E flat induced A. Apel to attempt a translation of the
music into poetry that should express the character of each movement. It
excited the fantastical E. T. A. Hoffmann to an extraordinary rhapsody:
“Love and melancholy are breathed forth in purest spirit tones; we feel
ourselves drawn with inexpressible longing toward the forms which beckon
us to join them in their move with the spheres in the eternal circles of
the solemn dance.” So explained Johannes Kreisler in the
_Phantasiestücke in Callots Manier_.

                 SYMPHONY IN G MINOR (KOECHEL NO. 550)

    I. Allegro molto
    II. Andante
    III. Minuetto; trio
    IV. Finale: allegro assai

It seems as if Mozart lost his classic serenity whenever he chose the
key of G minor. In the immortal symphony there is, except in the
beautiful, characteristically Mozartian _andante_, a feverishness, an
intensity not to be found in his other symphonies; and so in the perfect
flower of his chamber music there is a direct, passionate appeal of one
theme (G minor again) that reminds one of the terribly earnest Verdi of
the ’fifties.

Some years ago, a prominent writer about music, a wild-eyed worshiper of
Liszt and Wagner, published the statement that this symphony is
interesting only in a historical sense. His idols would have been the
first to laugh at him. There are few things in art that are perfect. The
G minor symphony is one of them. Its apparent simplicity is an adorable
triumph of supreme art.


    I. Allegro vivace
    II. Andante cantabile
    III. Minuetto: allegretto; trio
    IV. Finale: allegro molto

Hearing the _andante_, the _minuet_, and the wonderful _finale_, one no
longer questions the famous and subtle saying of Rossini. When asked who
was the greatest composer, he answered “Beethoven”; he then said, “But
Mozart is the only one.”

Let the first movement pass with its second theme that reminds one of
charming music in _The Marriage of Figaro_. The _andante_ could have
been written only by Mozart. There is spiritualized sensuousness; there
is perfect form, exquisite proportion, and euphony.

Has there not too much been said about the marvelous display of science
in the construction of the _finale_? The wonder of it is that the
display does not impress the hearer unduly. To him it is merely gay and
charming music. It ravishes his ear without his taking interest in the
technical devices, even if he could recognize and understand them. If
the title should be “Symphony in C major with the Fugue,” the word
“fugue” would not fill his soul with dismal foreboding. There has been
only one Mozart, as there has been only one Handel.

It is not known who gave the title “Jupiter” to the symphony. There is
nothing in the music that reminds one of Jupiter Tonans, Jupiter
Fulgurator, Jupiter Pluvius; or of the god who, assuming various
disguises, came down to earth, where by his adventures with women
semi-divine or mortals of common clay he excited the jealous rage of
Juno. The music is not of an Olympian mood. It is intensely human in its
loveliness and its gayety.

                                 * * *

It is possible that the “_Jupiter_” symphony was performed at the
concert given by Mozart in Leipsic. The two that preceded the great
three were composed in 1783 and 1786. The latter of the two (D major)
was performed at Prague with extraordinary success. Publishers were not
slow in publishing Mozart’s compositions, even if they were as
conspicuous niggards as Joseph II himself. The two symphonies played at
Leipsic were probably of the three composed in 1788, but this is only a

Some say the title “Jupiter” was applied to the symphony by J. B.
Cramer, to express his admiration for the loftiness of ideas and
nobility of treatment. Some maintain that the triplets in the first
measure suggest the thunderbolts of Jove. Some think that the “calm,
godlike beauty” of the music compelled the title. Others are satisfied
with the belief that the title was given to the symphony as it might be
to any masterpiece or any impressively beautiful or strong or big thing.
To them “Jupiter” expresses the power and brilliance of the work.

The eulogies pronounced on this symphony are familiar to all—from
Schumann’s “There are things in the world about which nothing can be
said, as Mozart’s C major symphony with the fugue, much of Shakespeare,
and pages of Beethoven,” to Bülow’s “I call Brahms’ First symphony the
Tenth, not because it should be placed after the Ninth: I should put it
between the Second and the _Eroica_, just as I think the first not the
symphony of Beethoven but the one composed by Mozart and known by the
name of ‘Jupiter.’” But there were decriers early in the nineteenth
century. Thus Hans Georg Nägeli (1773-1836) attacked this symphony
bitterly on account of its well-defined and long-lined melody, “which
Mozart mingled and confounded with a free instrumental play of ideas,
and his very wealth of fancy and emotional gifts led to a sort of
fermentation in the whole province of art, and caused it to retrograde
rather than to advance.” He found fault with certain harmonic
progressions which he characterized as trivial. He allowed the composer
originality and a certain power of combination, but he found him without
style, often shallow and confused. He ascribed these qualities to the
personal qualities of the man himself: “He was too hasty, when not too
frivolous, and he wrote as he himself was.” Nägeli was not the last to
judge a work according to the alleged morality or immorality of the

Mozart wrote his three greatest symphonies in 1788. The one in E flat is
dated June 26; the one in G minor, July 25; the one in C major with the
_fugue-finale_, August 10.

His other works of that year are of little importance with the exception
of a piano concerto in D major which he played at the coronation
festivities of Leopold II at Frankfort in 1790. Why is this? 1787 was
the year of _Don Giovanni_; 1790, the year of _Cosi fan tutte_. Was
Mozart, as some say, exhausted by the feat of producing three symphonies
in such a short time? Or was there some reason for discouragement and
consequent idleness?

The Ritter Gluck, composer to the Emperor Joseph II, died November 15,
1787, and thus resigned his position with a salary of 2,000 florins.
Mozart was appointed his successor, but the thrifty Joseph cut down the
salary to 800 florins. And Mozart at this time was sadly in need of
money, as his letters show. In a letter of June, 1788, he tells of his
new lodgings, where he could have better air, a garden, quiet. In
another, dated June 27, he says: “I have done more work in the ten days
that I have lived here than in two months in my other lodgings, and I
should be much better here, were it not for dismal thoughts that often
come to me. I must drive them resolutely away; for I am living
comfortably, pleasantly, and cheaply.” We know that he borrowed from
Puchberg, a merchant with whom he became acquainted at a Masonic lodge,
for the letter with Puchberg’s memorandum of the amount is in the
collection edited by Nohl.

Mozart could not reasonably expect help from the Emperor. The composer
of _Don Giovanni_ and the “_Jupiter_” symphony was unfortunate in his

The Emperor Joseph was in the habit of getting up at five o’clock; he
dined on boiled bacon at 3.15 P.M.; he preferred water as a beverage,
but would drink a glass of Tokay; he was continually putting chocolate
drops from his waistcoat pocket into his mouth; he gave gold coins to
the poor; he was unwilling to sit for his portrait; he had remarkably
fine teeth; he disliked sycophantic fuss; he patronized the English, who
introduced horse-racing; and Michael Kelly, who tells us many things,
says that Joseph was “passionately fond of music and a most excellent
and accurate judge of it.” We know that he did not like the music of

Joseph commanded from his composer Mozart no opera, cantata, symphony,
or piece of chamber music, although he was paying him 800 florins a
year. He did order dances, for the dwellers in Vienna were dancing mad.
Kelly, who knew Mozart and sang in the first performance of _Le Nozze di
Figaro_ in 1786, says in his memoirs (written by Theodore Hook): “The
ridotto rooms, where the masquerade took place, were in the palace; and,
spacious and commodious as they were, they were actually crammed with
masqueraders. I never saw or indeed heard of any suite of rooms where
elegance and convenience were more considered, for the propensity of the
Vienna ladies for dancing and going to carnival masquerades was so
determined that nothing was permitted to interfere with their enjoyment
of their favorite amusement.... The ladies of Vienna are particularly
celebrated for their grace and movements in waltzing, of which they
never tire. For my own part, I thought waltzing from ten at night until
seven in the morning a continual whirligig, most tiresome to the eye and
ear, to say nothing of any worse consequences.”[39] Mozart wrote for
these dances, as did Haydn, Hummel, Beethoven.

We know little or nothing concerning the first years of the three
symphonies. Gerber’s “_Lexicon der Tonkünstler_” (1790) speaks
appreciatively of him: the erroneous statement is made that the Emperor
fixed his salary in 1788 at 6,000 florins; the varied ariettas for piano
are praised especially; but there is no mention whatever of any

The enlarged edition of Gerber’s work (1813) contains an extended notice
of Mozart’s last years, and we find in the summing up of his career: “If
one knew only one of his noble symphonies, as the overpoweringly great,
fiery, perfect, pathetic, sublime symphony in C.” And this reference is
undoubtedly to the “_Jupiter_” the one in C major.

Mozart gave a concert at Leipsic in May, 1789. The programme was made up
wholly of pieces by him, and among them were two symphonies in
manuscript. At a rehearsal for this concert Mozart took the first
_allegro_ of a symphony at a very fast pace, so that the orchestra soon
was unable to keep up with him. He stopped the players and began again
at the same speed, and he stamped the time so furiously that his steel
shoe buckle flew into pieces. He laughed, and, as the players still
dragged, he began the _allegro_ a third time. The musicians, by this
time exasperated, played to suit him. Mozart afterwards said to some who
wondered at his conduct, because he had on other occasions protested
against undue speed: “It was not caprice on my part. I saw that the
majority of the players were well along in years. They would have
dragged everything beyond endurance if I had not set fire to them and
made them angry, so that out of sheer spite they did their best.” Later
in the rehearsal he praised the orchestra, and said that it was
unnecessary for it to rehearse the accompaniment to the pianoforte
concerto: “The parts are correct, you play well, and so do I.” This
concert, by the way, was poorly attended, and half of those who were
present had received free tickets from Mozart, who was generous in such

Mozart also gave a concert of his own works at Frankfort, October 14,
1790. Symphonies were played in Vienna in 1788, but they were by Haydn;
and one by Mozart was played in 1791. In 1792 a symphony by Mozart was
played at Hamburg.

The early programmes, even when they have been preserved, seldom
determine the date of a first performance. It was the custom to print:
“_Symphonie von Wranitsky_,” “_Sinfonie von Mozart_,” “_Sinfonia di
Haydn_.” Furthermore, it should be remembered that _Sinfonie_ was then a
term often applied to any work in three or more movements written for
strings, or strings and wind instruments.


_Le Nozze di Figaro: dramma giocoso in quadro atti; poesia di Lorenzo Da
Ponte, aggiustata dalla commedia del Beaumarchais, “Le Mariage de
Figaro”; musica di W. A. Mozart_, was composed at Vienna in 1786 and
produced there on May 1 of the same year.

The overture opens (_presto_, D major, 4-4) immediately with the first
theme; the first part of it is a running passage of seven measures in
eighth notes (strings and bassoons in octaves), and the second part is
given for four measures to wind instruments, with a joyous response of
seven measures by full orchestra. This theme is repeated. A subsidiary
theme follows, and the second theme appears in A major, a gay figure in
the violins, with bassoon, afterward flute. There is no free fantasia.
There is a long _coda_.

Mozart saw in the play of Beaumarchais an excellent libretto for an
opera. Da Ponte tells the story in his amusing _Memoirs_: “Talking one
day with him [Mozart], he asked me if I could turn Beaumarchais’s _Noces
de Figaro_ into an opera. The proposition was to my taste, and the
success was immediate and universal. A little before, this piece had
been forbidden by the Emperor’s command, on account of its immorality.
How then to propose it anew? Baron Vetzlar [Wezlar] offered me with his
customary generosity a reasonable price for my libretto and assured me
that he would see to its production at London or in France, if it were
refused in Vienna. I did not accept the offer, and I secretly began
work. I waited the opportune moment to propose the poem either to the
Intendant or, if I had the courage, to the Emperor himself. Martin alone
was in my confidence, and he was so generous, out of deference to
Mozart, to give me time to finish my piece before I began work on one
for him. As fast as I wrote the words, Mozart wrote the music, and it
was all finished in six weeks. The lucky star of Mozart willed an
opportune moment and permitted me to carry my manuscript directly to the

“‘How’s this?’ said Joseph to me. ‘You know that Mozart, remarkable for
his instrumental music, has with one exception never written for song,
and the exception is not good for much.’

“I answered timidly, ‘Without the kindness of the Emperor, I should have
written only one drama in Vienna.’

“‘True: but I have already forbidden the German company to play this
piece _Figaro_.’

“‘I know it; but, in turning it into an opera, I have cut out whole
scenes, shortened others, and been careful everywhere to omit anything
that might shock the conventionalities and good taste; in a word, I have
made a work worthy of the theater honored by His Majesty’s protection.
As for the music, as far as I can judge, it seems to me a masterpiece.’

“‘All right; I trust to your taste and prudence. Send the score to the

“A moment afterward I was at Mozart’s. I had not yet told him the good
news, when he was ordered to go to the palace with his score. He obeyed,
and the Emperor thus heard several _morceaux_ which delighted him.
Joseph II had a very correct taste in music, and in general for
everything that is included in the fine arts. The prodigious success of
this work throughout the whole world is a proof of it. The music,
incredible to relate, did not obtain a unanimous vote of praise. The
Viennese composers crushed by it, Rosenberg and Casti especially, never
failed to run it down.”[40]

Did Da Ponte show himself the courtier when he spoke of the Emperor’s
“very correct taste in music”?

There was a cabal from the start against the production of Mozart’s
opera. Kelly says in his _Reminiscences_: “Every one of the opera
company took part in the contest. I alone was a stickler for Mozart, and
naturally enough, for he had a claim on my warmest wishes.... Of all the
performers in this opera at that time, but one survives—myself. [This
was written in 1826.] It was allowed that never was opera stronger cast.
I have seen it performed at different periods in other countries, and
well too, but no more to compare with its original performance than
light is to darkness. All the original performers had the advantage of
the instruction of the composer, who transfused into their minds his
inspired meaning. I never shall forget his little animated countenance,
when lighted up with the glowing rays of genius; it is as impossible to
describe as it would be to paint sunbeams.”


Emanuel Johann Schikaneder, the author of the libretto of _Die
Zauberflöte_ (The Magic Flute), was a wandering theater director, poet,
composer, and play actor. Vain, improvident, shrewd, a bore, he
nevertheless had good qualities that won for him the friendship of
Mozart. In 1791 Schikaneder was the director of the Auf der Wieden, a
little theater where comic operas were performed. He no doubt would have
made a success of his venture, had he curbed his ambition. On the verge
of failure, he made a fairy drama out of _Lulu, or the Enchanted Flute_,
Liebeskind’s story in a collection of fairy tales published by Wieland.
He asked Mozart to write the music for it. Mozart, pleased with the
scenario, accepted the offer and said: “If I do not bring you out of
your trouble, and if the work is not successful, you must not blame me;
for I have never written magic music.” Schikaneder had followed closely
Wieland’s text; but he learned that Marinelli, a rival manager, the
director of the Leopoldstadt Theater, thought of putting upon the stage
a piece with the same subject; so he hurriedly, and with the assistance
of an actor named Gieseke, modified the plot, and substituted for the
evil genius of the play the high priest Sarastro, who appears to be the
custodian of the secrets and the executor of the wishes of the Masonic

Schikaneder knew the ease with which Mozart wrote. He also knew that it
was necessary to keep watch over him, that he might be ready at the
appointed time. Mozart’s wife was then in Baden. Schikaneder therefore
put Mozart in a little pavilion which was in the midst of a garden near
his theater. The music of _The Magic Flute_ was written in this pavilion
and in a room of the casino of Josephdorf. Mozart was deep in doleful
dumps when he began his task, so Schikaneder surrounded him with members
of his company. It was long believed that the composer was then inspired
by the beautiful eyes of the singing woman, Gerl, but the story may rest
on no better foundation than the one of the Mme Hofdaemmel tragedy,
which even Otto Jahn thought worthy of his investigation.

Schikaneder made his proposal early in March, 1791. The overture, with
the Priests’ March, was composed September 28, 1791. On September 30 of
that year _Die Zauberflöte_, a grand opera in two acts, was produced at
the Auf der Wieden Theater.

Schikaneder’s name was in large type on the bill; Mozart’s name was in
small type underneath the cast. Johann Schenk (1753-1836), who made
money and won fame by the popularity of his operas—_Der Dorfbarbier_
(1796) was long a favorite—Schenk gave Beethoven lessons in counterpoint
at Vienna in 1793-94—sat in one of the orchestra seats. At the end of
the overture, he went to Mozart and kissed his hand. Mozart stroked his
admirer’s cheek. But the first act was not well received. Mozart went
behind the scenes and saw Schikaneder in his costume of a bird. He
reassured Mozart, but the opera disappointed the Viennese at first, and
Mozart was cut to the quick. The cool reception was not due to the
character of the subject; for “magic plays” with music of Viennese
composers, as Wenzel Müller, were very popular, and _The Magic Flute_
was regarded as a _Singspiel_, a “magic farce,” with unusually elaborate
music. The report from Vienna that was published in Kunzen and
Reichardt’s music journal, _Studien fur Tonkünstler und Musikfreunde_
(Berlin, 1793, p. 79), tells the story: “The new machine comedy, _The
Magic Flute_, with music by our _Kapellmeister_ Mozard [_sic_], which
was given at great expense and with such sumptuousness, did not meet
with the expected success, for the contents and dialogue of the piece
are utterly worthless.” Schikaneder was obstinate in his faith; the
opera soon became the fashion. The two hundredth representation was
celebrated at Vienna in October, 1795. _The Magic Flute_ made its way
over the continent. The libretto was translated into Dutch, Swedish,
Danish, Polish, Italian. Paris knew the opera in 1801 (August 23) as
_Les Mystères d’Isis_. The first performance in London was on May 25,
1819, in Italian.

Mozart died shortly after the production of _The Magic Flute_, in deep
distress. This opera, with the music of his _Requiem_, was in his mind
until the final delirium. While the opera was performing he would take
his watch from under his pillow and follow the performance in
imagination: “We are now at the end of the act,” or “Now comes the grand
aria for the Queen of Night.” The day before he died, he sang with his
weak voice the opening measures of “Der Vogelfänger bin ich ja,” and
endeavored to beat the time with his hands. The frivolous and audacious
Schikaneder, “sensualist, parasite, spendthrift,” filled his purse by
this opera: in 1798 he built the Theater an der Wien. On the roof he put
his own statue, clothed in the feather costume of Papageno. His luck was
not constant; in 1812 he died in poverty.

                          CONCERTOS FOR VIOLIN

    No. 1, in B flat major (Koechel No. 207)
    No. 2, in D major (Koechel No. 212)
    No. 3, in G major (Koechel No. 216)
    No. 4, in D major (Koechel No. 218)
    No. 5, in A major (Koechel No. 219)
    No. 6, in E flat major (Koechel No. 268)

Mozart composed five violin concertos at Salzburg in 1775. The
accompaniment of the five concertos is scored for the same instruments:
two oboes, two horns, strings. In 1776 Mozart wrote a sixth concerto—E
flat major—with an accompaniment scored for flute, two oboes, two
bassoons, two horns, and strings. A seventh was discovered by Dr.
Kopfermann in 1907. There is some doubt as to its genuineness.

These concertos were undoubtedly written for Mozart’s own use. As a
child, he played the violin as well as the forerunners of the
pianoforte, and on his tour in 1763 he played the violin in public. His
first published composition was a sonata in C major for pianoforte and
violin (K. No. 6). This, and one in D major, were composed in 1763 at
Paris. They are dedicated to the Princess Victoire of France. In 1775
Mozart was practicing diligently the violin to please his father. It was
one of Wolfgang’s duties at the Court to play the violin. He disliked to
do it. His father, an excellent violinist, encouraged his son: “You have
no idea how well you play the violin; if you would only do yourself
justice, and play with boldness, spirit, and fire, you would be the
first violinist in Europe.” This was in answer to a letter from Munich
in which Mozart had written: “I played as though I were the greatest
fiddler in Europe.” In 1777 the father reproached him for neglecting the
violin (in Vienna Wolfgang preferred to play the viola in quartets). And
it was in 1777 that Mozart wrote of one Franzl whom he heard playing a
violin concerto at Mannheim: “You know I am no great lover of
difficulties. He plays difficult things, but one does not recognize the
difficulties and imagines that one could do the same thing at once: that
is true art. He also has a beautiful round tone—not a note is missing,
one hears everything; everything is well marked. He has a fine
_staccato_ bow, up as well as down; and I have never heard so good a
double shake as his. In a word, though he is no wizard, he is a solid

The characteristics of the Salzburg violin concertos are the same. They
are in three movements, _allegro_, _andante_ or _adagio_, and _rondo_.
The first movement is the one most developed, although it might be
considered as in aria form rather than the form befitting a first
movement of a symphony. There is the customary alternation between
_tutti_ and solo passages. The structure is more compact than that of
the aria; it has more life. The “passage” measures grow out of the
themes, play about them, or are closely related to them. The second
movement requires expressive playing of sustained melody and is of a
cheerful character. The _finale_ is in rondo form and joyful mood.

                           MOZART AS PIANIST

From Mozart’s letters, one learns something about his own manner of
playing the piano:

“Herr Stein sees and hears that I am more of a player than Beecke—that
without making grimaces of any kind I play so expressively that,
according to his own confession, no one shows off his pianoforte as well
as I. That I always remain strictly in time surprises everyone; they
cannot understand that the left hand should not in the least be
concerned in a _tempo rubato_. When they play, the left hand always
follows” (1777).

About Nannette Stein’s playing: “She sits opposite the treble instead of
in the middle of the instrument, so that there may be greater
opportunities for swaying about and making grimaces. Then she rolls up
her eyes and smirks. If a passage occurs twice, it is played slower the
second time; if three times, still slower. When a passage comes, up goes
the arm, and, if there is to be an emphasis it must come from the arm,
heavily and clumsily, not from the fingers. But the best of all is that
when there comes a passage (which ought to flow like oil) in which there
necessarily occurs a change of fingers, there is no need of taking care:
when the time comes you stop, lift the hand and nonchalantly begin
again. This helps one the better to catch a false note, and the effect
is frequently curious” (1777). Nannette was then eight years old.

At Aurnhammer’s: “The young woman is a fright, but she plays
ravishingly, though she lacks the true singing style in her _cantabile_;
she is too jerky” (1781).

“Whenever I played for him [Richter, a pianist], he looked immovably at
my fingers, and one day he said, ‘My God! how I am obliged to torment
myself and sweat, and yet without obtaining applause; and for you, my
friend, it is mere play!’ ‘Yes,’ said I, ‘I had to labor once in order
not to show labor now’” (1784).

“It is much easier to play rapidly than slowly; you can drop a few notes
in passages without anyone noticing it. But is it beautiful? At such
speed you can use the hands indiscriminately; but is that beautiful?”

“Give me the best clavier in Europe and at the same time hearers who
understand nothing or want to understand nothing, and who do not feel
what I play with me, and all my joy is gone” (1778).

“The _andante_ is going to give us the most trouble, for it is full of
expression and must be played with taste.... If I were her [Rose
Cannabich’s] regular teacher, I would lock up all her music, cover the
keyboard with a handkerchief, and make her practice on nothing but
passages, trills, mordents, etc., until the difficulty with the left
hand was remedied.”

Saint-Saëns, lover of irony and paradox, wrote a preface to his edition
of Mozart’s pianoforte sonatas, published at Paris in 1915, in which,
after a discussion of the ornaments, he has this to say:

“One is accustomed in modern editions to be prodigal with _liaisons_, to
indicate constantly _legato_, _molto legato_, _sempre legato_. There is
nothing of this in the manuscripts and the old editions. Everything
leads us to believe that this music should be performed lightly, that
the figures should produce an effect analogous to that obtained on the
violin by giving a stroke to each note without leaving the string. When
Mozart wished the _legato_, he indicated it. In the middle of the last
century, pianists were still found whose playing was singularly leaping
(as one may say). The old non-_legato_, being exaggerated, became a
_staccato_. This exaggeration brought a reaction in the contrary sense,
and this was pushed too far....

“This music of Mozart during his early years is destitute of nuances;
occasionally a _piano_ or a _forte_; nothing more. The reason for this
abstinence is because these pieces were written for the clavecin, and
its sonority could not be modified by a pressure of the finger.
Clavecins with two keyboards could alternate with _forte_ and _piano_,
but nuances, properly speaking, were unknown to them.

“In the 18th century, one lived more quietly than today, nor were there
in music our modern habits of speed, which is often inflicted on ancient
compositions to their great injury. It is necessary to shun in the case
of Mozart this tendency to hurry the movements, as too often happens.
His _presto_ corresponds to our _allegro_; his _allegro_ to our _allegro
moderato_. His _adagios_ are extremely slow, as is shown by the
multiplicity of notes sometimes contained in a single beat. The
_andante_ is not very slow.

“It was the rule, in his time, not to put the thumb on a black key
except from absolute necessity. This method of fingering gives to the
hand great restfulness, precious for the performance of old music that
demands perfect equality of the fingers.

“The first pianofortes were far from having the powerful sonority of the
great modern instruments. Therefore, it is not always necessary to take
Mozart’s _forte_ literally; it is often the equivalent of our _mezzo

                            SERGE SERGIEVICH

              (Born at Sontsovka, Russia, April 24, 1891)

                SCYTHIAN SUITE, “ALA AND LOLLI,” OP. 20

    I. The Adoration of Veles and Ala
    II. The Enemy God and the Dance of the Black Spirits
    III. Night
    IV. The Glorious Departure of Lolli and the Procession of the Sun

The ancient Scythians, wildly savage, had horrid manners and customs.
Herodotus tells us at pleasing length how they sacrificed one in a
hundred of their enemies to Mars; how in battle they scalped their foes
and drank their blood; how they burned false prophets among their many
soothsayers; how they strangled servants of their dead king and seated
them upon horses stuffed with chaff to place about the monument. Truly a
splendidly barbarous folk.

And in his Scythian suite, Prokofieff has written superbly barbaric

This music is something more than roaring, blaring dissonance; something
more than eccentric experimentation in harmonic schemes and daring
orchestration. The suite is deftly planned; broadly conceived; carried
out with rare dramatic intensity.

No matter how wild this music is, there is admirable method in the
madness; there is a refreshing mastery in the development of the
composer’s purpose. He knew what he wanted; he gained his effects. They
are not episodic, spasmodic, but skillfully continuous. The third
movement, “Night,” is perhaps the most remarkable in the revelation of
poetically dramatic feeling. There is “the blackness of darkness”—a
night in which Nature herself shudders and is afraid; a night when the
Demon is master, and strange, sinister deeds are wrought. Compare this
movement with the magnificent _finale_ with its amazing climax.

                                 * * *

This suite was composed in 1914. The first performance was at the
Imperial Maryinski Theater, Petrograd, on January 29, 1916. The composer

The suite is scored for piccolo, three flutes, three oboes, English
horn, three clarinets, bass clarinet, three bassoons, double bassoon,
eight horns, four trumpets, four trombones, bass tuba, kettledrums, bass
drum, side drum, tambourine, cymbals, triangle, celesta, xylophone,
bells, two harps, pianoforte, and strings.

The four movements have this programme:

I. Invocation to Veles and Ala. _Allegro feroce_, 4-4 time. The music
describes an invocation to the sun, worshiped by the Scythians as their
highest deity, named Veles. This invocation is followed by the sacrifice
to the beloved idol, Ala, the daughter of Veles.

II. The Evil-God and dance of the pagan monsters. _Allegro sostenuto_,
4-4 time. The Evil-God summons the seven pagan monsters from their
subterranean realms and, surrounded by them, dances a delirious dance.

III. Night. _Andantino_, 4-4 time. The Evil-God comes to Ala in the
darkness. Great harm befalls her. The moon rays fall upon Ala, and the
moon-maidens descend to bring her consolation.

IV. Lolli’s pursuit of the Evil-God and the sunrise. _Tempestuoso_, 4-4
time. Lolli, a Scythian hero, went forth to save Ala. He fights the
Evil-God. In the uneven battle with the latter, Lolli would have
perished, but the Sun-God rises with the passing of night and smites the
evil deity. With the description of the sunrise the suite comes to an

Scythia is a name that has been applied to different countries at
different times. The Scythia described by Herodotus comprised the
southeastern parts of Europe between the Carpathian Mountains and the
river Tanaïs (now Don). Herodotus gives a graphic and singularly
interesting account of these wild, barbaric nomads in the fourth book of
his history. We are interested here only with what he has to say about
their religion:

“They propitiate the following gods only: Vesta, most of all; then
Jupiter, deeming the Earth to be the wife of Jupiter; after these,
Apollo, and Venus Urania, and Hercules and Mars. All the Scythians
acknowledge these, but those who are called Royal Scythians sacrifice
also to Neptune. Vesta in the Scythian language is named Tabiti; Jupiter
is, in my opinion, very rightly called Papæus; the Earth, Apia; Apollo,
Œtosyrus; Venus Urania, Artimposa; and Neptune, Thamimasadas. They are
not accustomed to erect images, altars, and temples, except to Mars; to
him they are accustomed.” Then follows a minute description of the
manner in which they sacrificed cattle and enemies taken prisoners, the
latter to Mars. “Swine they never use, nor suffer them to be reared in
their country.”

                       CLASSICAL SYMPHONY, OP. 25

    I. Allegro
    II. Larghetto
    III. Gavotte
    IV. Finale

Prokofieff’s symphony is a delightful little work, fresh, melodious,
vivacious, with significant themes; masterly, not pedantic treatment of
them; charming orchestration achieved by apparently simple means, but
showing consummate skill. The first movement and the _finale_ are in
many measures truly Mozartean in mood, the _larghetto_ and the gavotte
are more modern but in no way agressively contradictory.

                                 * * *

This symphony, begun in 1916, was completed in 1917. The first
performance was at Leningrad by the orchestra now known as the State
Orchestra. The first performance in the United States was at a concert
of the Russian Symphony Orchestra in New York, in December, 1918.

The symphony, scored for two flutes, two oboes, two clarinets, two
bassoons, two horns, two trumpets, kettledrums, and strings, is
dedicated to Boris Assafieff, who, as Igor Gleboff, has written much
about music. “The composer’s idea in writing this work was to catch the
spirit of Mozart and to put down that which, if he were living now,
Mozart might put into his scores.”[41]

I. _Allegro_, D major, 4-4 time. The chief theme is given to the first
violins. A transitional passage has material for the flutes. Development
follows. The second theme is for first violins. The development begins
with use of the first subject. The transitional measures are taken up,
later the second theme. The recapitulation opens in C major (strings).
Then follows the transitional passage (D major) for the flute. The
second theme is again for the strings. There is a short _coda_.

II. _Larghetto_, A major, 2-2 time. First violins announce the chief
theme. There are episodes.

III. _Gavotta_: _Non troppo allegro_, D major, 4-4 time. The subject is
given at once to strings and wood-wind. The trio is in G major (flutes
and clarinets above an organ point for violoncellos and double basses).
This subject is repeated by the strings.

IV. _Finale_: _Molto vivace_, D major, 2-2 time. The first theme is for
the strings; the second, A major, for wood-wind.

                          SERGEI VASSILIEVICH

      (Born at Onega in the government of Novgorod, April 1, 1873)

                   SYMPHONY NO. 2, IN E MINOR, OP. 27

    I. Largo; allegro moderato
    II. Allegro molto
    III. Adagio
    IV. Allegro vivace

The composition is a long one; it lasts about an hour. The first two
movements seem by far the strongest, architecturally and emotionally.
The third movement seems insufferably long drawn out and sentimental.
The fourth movement gains on a second hearing—has a more decided
profile, and seems less episodic.

The reasons for the popularity of this symphony are not far to seek. The
themes are eminently melodious, and some of them are of singular beauty;
there is rich coloring; there are beautiful nuances in color; there is
impressive sonority; there are frequent and sharp contrasts in
sentiment, rhythm, expression; there is stirring vitality. Mr.
Rachmaninoff in this symphony is romantic in the old and accustomed
forms. He does not surprise or perplex by experiments in harmony; his
form is essentially academic and traditional. Here is another case of
new wine in old leather bottles, but first of all the bottles were put
in thorough order, patched, strengthened, cleaned.

Instantaneous popularity often indicates some weakness in a composition.
It will be interesting to watch the life of this symphony. There was a
time when Raff’s _Lenore_ was as rapturously applauded. The most
extravagant things were said about it. Raff too had uncommon
contrapuntal skill; he too was a fecund melodist; he too had a pretty
sense of color in his day. And what, pray, has become of Raff’s
_Lenore_? It is in the great cemetery of orchestral compositions buried
snugly with its heroine and her Wilhelm.

Let us enjoy, however, the gifts the gods give us and not indulge
ourselves in gloomy thoughts. Mr. Rachmaninoff has written beautiful and
eloquent music in this symphony. He has shown technical skill and
revealed an emotional side that he has concealed in other compositions.
Whether he would show inspiration outside of traditional forms; whether
he has imagination in sufficient degree to shape wondrous thoughts in a
freer form and be a law not only to himself but to his hearers—these
questions we shall call unnecessary.

                                 * * *

This symphony, composed at Dresden, was played at Moscow at a concert of
the Imperial Russian Music Society in the course of the season of
1908-09. The composer conducted.

The symphony, dedicated to S. Tanéïev, is scored for three flutes (and
piccolo), three oboes, English horn, two clarinets, bass clarinet, two
bassoons, four horns, three trumpets, three trombones, bass tuba,
kettledrums, snare drum, bass drum, cymbals, glockenspiel, and the usual

There is an introduction, _largo_, 4-4, to the first movement.
Violoncellos and double basses give an indication of the chief motive.
Sustained chords of wind instruments follow, and over them appears the
leading thought of the symphony (violins). The solo for the basses is
repeated a third lower, and again chords for wind instruments follow.
(These passages for wind instruments are used reminiscently in the
second movement.) The violin theme is now more broadly developed, and
after a short _crescendo_ a phrase for the English horn leads to the
main portion of the first movement, _allegro moderato_, E minor, 2-2.

The first theme, _molto espressivo_, of the first movement, enters after
four measures of prelude and is given to the violins. A motive in
triplets for basses, _poco a poco più vivo_, is added. This leads to a
section, _moderato_, in which, after preluding, a theme in G major is
sung by violins. This becomes more passionate, and leads to a close in G
major with a melody for violoncellos. The chief theme of the symphony is
developed in the working out, by solo violin, by the rest of the strings
and by wood-wind instruments. There is a noticeable rhythmic figure for
violas, and this slackening of the pace brings the return of the chief
theme of the movement with an elaborate _crescendo_. There are fanfares
for the brass, and a horn-call is freely used. There is an agitated

Second movement, _allegro molto_, A minor, 2-2. The theme begins with
horns and is carried out by violins, while there are characteristic
figures for wood-wind instruments. The first section is constructed
simply and clearly from portions of this theme. There is a melodious
section, _moderato_ (violins in octaves, violas, and violoncellos
_cantabile_), and then the energetic rhythmic figure brings in the
repetition of the first portion of the movement. The trio, _meno mosso_,
begins with a design for second violins, and its development includes
march-like harmonies for the brass. There is a free repetition of the
_scherzo_ portion, and at the end a reminiscence of the theme for brass
in the introduction.

The third movement, _adagio_, A major, 4-4, is in song form, and there
are three leading melodies in succession. The chief one is given to the
first violins; the clarinet has an expressive air; the third melody is
for oboes and violins. In the middle section there is a return to the
chief theme of the symphony. It occurs in dialogue form, and it also
appears at the end of the repetition of the first section.

The _finale_, _allegro vivace_, begins with a lively introduction which
is rhythmically developed out of the first jubilant motive for full
orchestra. There is a march theme for wind instruments. The second theme
is for strings, D major, and is in lyric mood. Many of the melodic
figures heard before enter in the _finale_. The climax of passion is
reached when the brass sounds forth the bass motive of the introductory
_largo_, and at the end the _adagio_ theme is sung against the dance
motive of the _finale_.


    I. Moderato
    II. Adagio sostenuto
    III. Allegro scherzando

The concerto is of uneven worth. The first movement is labored and has
little marked character. It might have been written by any German,
technically well-trained, who was acquainted with the music of
Tchaikovsky. The _adagio_ and the _finale_ have more racial spirit and
are well designed to win the favor of the crowd; the _adagio_ by its
agreeable sentiment, the _finale_ by the sharply defined themes, the
hustle and rush, the _crescendo_ of excitement, with the apotheosis,
full vigor of the orchestra with a long, sweeping _cantilena_, an
obvious tune—truly an _ad captandum finale_.

                                 * * *

This concerto was performed for the first time at a concert of the
Philharmonic Society of Moscow, October 14, 1901, when the composer was
the pianist. The concerto gained for the composer, in 1904, the Glinka
prize of 500 roubles, founded by the publisher Belaïev. Published in
1901, it is dedicated to N. Dahl.

The orchestral portion of the concerto is scored for two flutes, two
oboes, two clarinets, two bassoons, four horns, two trumpets, three
trombones and bass tuba, kettledrums, bass drum, cymbals, and the usual

Rachmaninoff has composed four pianoforte concertos: No. 1, F sharp
minor, Op. 1, was written in 1890-91 and revised in 1917; No. 2, in C
minor, 1900; No. 3, in D minor, 1909; No. 4, in G minor, 1927.

There follows a description of the Second concerto:

I. _Moderato_, C minor, 2-2. Introductory chords for the pianoforte lead
to the exposition of the first theme, which is given to the strings
while the pianoforte has an _arpeggio_ figure in accompaniment. There is
a short orchestral interlude, and the second theme, E flat major, is
announced by the pianoforte. The presentation of this subject ends with
a _coda_ in which there is passage-work for the pianoforte while there
is a suggestion of the first theme in the brass choir. The section of
development begins with a working out of the first motive, at first in
the orchestra. In the recapitulation, _maestoso, alla marcia_, the chief
theme is given to the strings, while there are chords for the brass and
a counter theme for the solo instrument. The horns take the second theme
in augmentation, _moderato_, A flat major. The material for the _coda,
meno mosso_, is taken from the chief theme, and the pianoforte has

II. _Adagio sostenuto_, E major, 4-4. There is a short introduction with
sustained harmonies for strings. These harmonies are soon reinforced by
wind instruments. The pianoforte enters with a figure over which the
flute and then the clarinet announce the theme on which the movement is
built. The opening phrase for the clarinet has much significance in this
respect. The pianoforte now has the theme, and the accompaniment of a
broken chord figure is given to violins (_pizzicato_) and clarinets. The
pace is quickened for the working out of the subject and for episodic
material. There is a _cadenza_ for the pianoforte, after which there is
a repetition in part of the opening section. The _coda_ contains a new
musical thought for the pianoforte: a progression of chords in the upper
part is accompanied by a broken chord figure in the left, and wood-wind
instruments play against this in triplets.

III. _Allegro scherzando_, C minor, 4-4. There are introductory
measures, and the first motive is for the pianoforte. This motive is
developed. The second motive is for oboe and violoncellos, and is taken
up later by the pianoforte and leads to figuration in triplets, _meno
mosso_, for the same instrument. Then comes a section _allegro
scherzando_, _moto primo_, in which the chief theme is further
developed. There is a _fugato_: the first violins are answered by
pianoforte and lower strings. In the recapitulation section there is a
suggestion of the chief theme, but the second motive is in the
orchestra, this time for violins and flute, and it is taken up later, as
it was before, by the solo instrument. The triplet figuration returns.
_Allegro scherzando_: the chief theme is treated in imitation by the
orchestra. There is an increase in speed with a _crescendo_, and, when
the climax is reached, there is a _cadenza_ for the pianoforte. The
second theme is announced by the full orchestra _maestoso_, with chords
for the solo instrument. There is a brilliant _coda_.

                             JOSEPH MAURICE

           (Born at Ciboure, Basses Pyrénées, March 7, 1875)


    I. Pavane de la Belle au Bois Dormant (Pavane of Sleeping Beauty)
    II. Petit Poucet (Hop o’ my Thumb)
    III. Laideronnette, Impératrice des Pagodes (Laideronnette, Empress
          of the Pagodas)
    IV. Les Entretiens de la Belle et de la Bête (Conversations of
          Beauty and the Beast)
    V. Le Jardin Féerique (The Fairy Garden)

Ravel’s music is of the most delicate texture, lacework with exquisite
thoughts orchestrated as for the little orchestra of ivory instruments
imagined by Jules Laforgue. Although to the eye the structure of the
score is simple, the performance demands the utmost skill on the part of
the players and the finest taste of an imaginative conductor. It would
be hard to say which of the five movements is the most beautiful in
fancy. The “Pavane” has a subtle, melancholy charm. “Hop o’ my Thumb” is
curiously rhythmed and strangely effective by means of orchestration.
“Laideronnette” in the movement of a march is delightful, and with the
movement that follows, in the time of a slow waltz and with a solo for
the double bassoon representing the Beast, wins immediate popularity. In
the ballet the Apotheosis was the “Fairy Garden,” and this movement,
too, is most poetic.

                                 * * *

These pieces were originally composed in 1908 for pianoforte (four
hands), and for the pleasure of the children, Mimie and Jean Godebski,
to whom they were dedicated when the pieces were published in 1910. They
were first performed at a concert of the Société Musicale Indépendante,
Salle Gaveau, Paris, on April 20, 1910. The pianists were Christine
Verger, six years old, and Germaine Duramy, ten years old.

I. “Pavane of the Sleeping Beauty.” _Lent_, A minor, 4-4. This movement
is only twenty measures long. It is based on the opening phrase for
flute, horns, and violas.

II. “Hop o’ my Thumb.” Ravel has quoted in the score this passage from
Perrault’s tale: “He believed that he would easily find his path by
means of his bread crumbs which he had scattered wherever he had passed;
but he was very much surprised when he could not find a single crumb:
the birds had come and eaten everything up.”

III. “Laideronnette, Empress of the Pagodas.” The French give the name
_pagode_ to a little grotesque figure with a movable head, and thus
extend the meaning, which was also found in English for pagoda, “an idol
or image.” This latter use of the word is now obsolete in the English
language. A _laideron_ is any ugly young girl or young woman. There is
this quotation from “Serpentin Vert” by the Countess Marie Catherine
d’Aulnoy (about 1655-1705) who wrote romances and also fairy tales in
imitation of Perrault. “She undressed herself and went into the bath.
The pagodes and pagodines began to sing and play on instruments; some
had theorbos made of walnut shells; some had viols made of almond
shells; for they were obliged to proportion the instruments to their
figure.” Laideronnette, in the story, the daughter of a king and queen,
was cursed in her cradle by Magotine, a wicked fairy, with the curse of
the most horrible ugliness. When the princess grew up, she asked that
she might dwell far away in a castle where no one could see her. In the
forest near by she met a huge green serpent, who told her that he was
once handsomer than she was. Laideronnette had many adventures. In a
little boat, guarded by the serpent, she went out to sea and was wrecked
on the coast of a land inhabited by pagodes, a little folk whose bodies
were formed from porcelain, crystal, diamonds, emeralds, etc. The ruler
was an unseen monarch—the green snake who also had been enchanted by
Magotine. Finally, he was changed into human shape, and he married
Laideronnette, whose beauty was restored.

IV. “The Conversations of Beauty and the Beast.” Quotations from Mme
Leprince de Beaumont are given:

“‘When I think how good-hearted you are, you do not seem to me so ugly.’

“‘Yes, I have, indeed, a kind heart; but I am a monster.’

“‘There are many men more monstrous than you.’

“‘If I had wit, I would invent a fine compliment to thank you, but I am
only a beast.’

                             . . . . . . .

“‘Beauty, will you be my wife?’

“‘No, Beast!’

“‘I die content since I have the pleasure of seeing you again.’

“‘No, my dear Beast, you shall not die; you shall live to be my

The Beast had disappeared, and she saw at her feet only a prince more
beautiful than Love, who thanked her for having broken his enchantment.

“_Mouvement de valse très modéré_,” F major, 3-4. This movement is based
chiefly on a melody for the clarinet, which begins in the second
measure. There is a middle section with a subject suggesting the Beast
and given to the double bassoon. The two subjects are combined. At the
end, a solo violin plays the theme of the middle section.

V. “The Fairy Garden.” _Lent et grave_, C major, 3-4. The movement is
based on the opening theme for strings.

The orchestration is as follows: two flutes (and piccolo), two oboes
(and English horn), two clarinets, two bassoons, double bassoon, two
horns, kettledrums, triangle, cymbals, bass drum, tam-tam, xylophone,
glockenspiel, celesta, harp and strings.


Ravel’s cunningly and gorgeously orchestrated ballet bears separation
from the stage and stage effects, the dancers and the mimes. Nor is it
necessary for one’s enjoyment to be concerned with the adventures of
Daphnis and Chloe. Here is something more than purple patches of
instrumental color and dexterous juggling with surprising combinations
of timbres. There is form, there is melody, there are ravishing harmonic
devices; there is, above all, poetic imagination.

                                 * * *

Ravel composed his ballet, _Daphnis and Chloe_, expecting that it would
be performed by the Russian Ballet at Paris in 1911. Jacques Durand, the
publisher, says that Ravel was asked by Diaghilev in 1911 to write this
ballet. Others give the year 1910. Durand also says Diaghilev was not at
first satisfied with the ballet and hesitated to produce it, but Durand
finally persuaded him; that Diaghilev’s first unfavorable impression was
due to his knowing the music only by the arrangement for piano. At the
rehearsals there were violent scenes between Fokine and Diaghilev, which
led to the rupture which became “official” after that season of the
Ballet Russe. It was not performed until June 5, 1912. The performances
were at the Châtelet. Nijinsky mimed Daphnis; Mme Karsavina, Chloe.
Messrs. Bolm and Cechetti also took leading parts. The conductor was Mr.
Monteux. The score, however, was published in 1911. Two concert suites
were drawn from it. The first—“Nocturne,” “Interlude,” “Danse
Guerrière”—was performed at a Châtelet concert conducted by Gabriel
Pierné on April 2, 1911.

The second suite is scored for two flutes (and piccolo), a flute in G,
two oboes, English horn, a clarinet in E flat, two clarinets in B flat,
bass clarinet in B flat, three bassoons, double bassoon, four horns,
four trumpets, three trombones, bass tuba, kettledrums, bass drum,
cymbals, triangle, tambourine, two side drums, castanets, celesta,
glockenspiel, two harps, strings (double basses with the low C), chorus
of mixed voices. This chorus, which sings without words, can be replaced
by variants inserted for this purpose in the orchestral parts.

The following argument is printed in the score of the suite to
illustrate the significance of the sections in succession:

“No sound but the murmur of rivulets fed by the dew that trickles from
the rocks. Daphnis lies stretched before the grotto of the nymphs.
Little by little the day dawns. The songs of birds are heard. Afar off a
shepherd leads his flock. Another shepherd crosses the back of the
stage. Herdsmen enter, seeking Daphnis and Chloe. They find Daphnis and
awaken him. In anguish he looks about for Chloe. She at last appears,
encircled by shepherdesses. The two rush into each other’s arms. Daphnis
observes Chloe’s crown. His dream was a prophetic vision: the
intervention of Pan is manifest. The old shepherd Lammon explains that
Pan saved Chloe, in remembrance of the nymph Syrinx, whom the god loved.

“Daphnis and Chloe mime the story of Pan and Syrinx. Chloe impersonates
the young nymph wandering over the meadow. Daphnis as Pan appears and
declares his love for her. The nymph repulses him; the god becomes more
insistent. She disappears among the reeds. In desperation he plucks some
stalks, fashions a flute, and on it plays a melancholy tune. Chloe comes
out and imitates by her dance the accents of the flute.

“The dance grows more and more animated. In mad whirlings, Chloe falls
into the arms of Daphnis. Before the altar of the nymphs he swears on
two sheep his fidelity. Young girls enter; they are dressed as
Bacchantes and shake their tambourines. Daphnis and Chloe embrace
tenderly. A group of young men come on the stage.

“Joyous tumult. A general dance. Daphnis and Chloe.”

The scenario of the ballet was derived by Michel Fokine from the
charming romance of Longus. There are stage pictures of Chloe carried
away by robbers, rescued by Pan at the prayer of Daphnis, and of the
lovers miming together the story of Pan and Syrinx. There are scenes in
the grove of Pan and in the pirate camp, besides those mentioned above.
The scenery and costumes were designed by Leon Bakst.


_Bolero_ does not fare the better by repetition. It is the clever trick
of a super-refined composer. The trick is amazingly well performed, but
it is only a trick. The surprise of a first performance does not affect
one a second time. Still, there is the expectation of something going to
happen, of a final, thunderous proclamation of the inherently negligible
tune. According to the old saw, surprise is the chief element of wit.
Perhaps—but honest laughter follows the first cracking of a joke. After
that, the laughter is only courteous.

                                 * * *

This _Bolero_, dedicated to Ida Rubinstein, was brought out by her and
danced by her at Paris in November, 1928. Alexandre Benois designed the
settings and the costumes to represent a scene that Goya might have
painted: a Spanish inn, with the dancer on a trestle table, men
surrounding it. At first calm, the actors on the Parisian stage were
little by little excited to frenzy as the dancer became more and more
animated. Knives were drawn—the woman was tossed from arms to arms,
until her partner intervened; they danced until quiet was restored. So
was the scene described by French and English reporters.

The first performance in the United States of this Bolero as a concert
piece was by the Philharmonic Society of New York, Mr. Toscanini
conductor, on November 14, 1929.

_Tempo di ballo, moderato assai_, 3-4. A drum gives the dance rhythm,
which is maintained throughout; a flute announces the theme, which is
taken up by the wind instruments in turn; then by groups of instruments.
There is a _crescendo_ for about twenty minutes, until there is an
explosive modulation—brass and percussion instruments swell the din
until at last there is what has been described as a “tornado of sound.”

M. Prunières called attention to the fact that Ravel was not the first
to repeat a simple, common theme until by the monotony of tune and
rhythm the hearer was excited (as are Oriental hearers by the same
method). Padilla, the composer of _Valencia_, had worked this obsession
by the repetition of a tune for at least twenty times.

Ravel’s _Bolero_ calls for these instruments: two flutes (and piccolo),
two oboes, oboe d’amour, English horn, two clarinets, one E flat
clarinet, two bassoons, double bassoon, four horns, four trumpets, three
trombones, bass tuba, high saxophone in F, soprano and tenor saxophones
in B flat, kettledrums, side drums, cymbal, tam-tam, celesta, harp, and
the usual strings.


               (Born on July 9, 1879, at Bologna, Italy)

                    SYMPHONIC POEM, “PINES OF ROME”

    I. The Pines of the Villa Borghese
    II. The Pines near a Catacomb
    III. The Pines of the Janiculum
    IV. The Pines of the Appian Way

Respighi wrote _Pines of Rome_ as a companion piece to his _Fountains of
Rome_. He may yet write “_Hills of Rome_,” but it would have to be in
seven movements. In the _Fountains of Rome_ he set no bird a-singing. In
the third section [of the Pines of Rome] “Pines of the Janiculum,” he
introduces a nightingale. Perhaps he had in mind the reply of the good
King Agesilaus, who, when a man was recommended to him as a skillful
imitator of that justly famous bird, replied: “I have heard the
nightingale itself.” So Respighi obtained a gramophone record of a
nightingale which he heard singing. The movement would not suffer if
there were no nightingale in the orchestra.

In the “Pines of the Villa Borghese,” where children are supposed to be
playing games, darting to and fro, shrieking, emitting loud squeals of
joy, the instrumentation is unusually brilliant, effective, original.
One finds more poetic feeling, more imagination in “Pines near a
Catacomb,” with the somber opening, the solemnity of the double basses,
the mysterious song which swells and dies away. Yes, there is more
poetic feeling in this movement than in “Pines of the Janiculum,” with
the moon full and the gramophone turned on for the faint voice of the
nightingale. At first in the _finale_ there is the rhythm of innumerable
steps that De Quincey might have heard at the beginning of his “Dream
Fugue” in “The Vision of Sudden Death.” There is the vision of past
glories, of soldiers victorious making their clashing and blaring way to
the Capitol; with the huzzaing crowd “to see Great Pompey pass the
streets of Rome.” This march is exciting by reason of its rhythmic and
dynamic increasing intensity and its overpowering climax.

But if one takes the work poem as a whole, the composer is revealed as a
supreme master of orchestral color rather than a man of fine,
entrancing, impressive ideas.

                                 * * *

This symphonic poem was composed in 1924. It was performed at a concert
in the Augusteum, Rome, in the season of 1924-25. The score calls for 3
flutes (and piccolo), 2 oboes, English horn, 2 clarinets, bass clarinet,
2 bassoons, double bassoon, 4 horns, 1 trumpet off stage, 3 trumpets, 3
trombones and bass tuba, 6 buccine (the bucina was the war trumpet of
ancient Rome): 2 flicorni (Fluegelhorn) soprani, 2 flicorni tenori, 2
flicorni bassi—replaced if necessary by horns; kettledrums, bass drum,
cymbals, 2 small cymbals, tambourine, rattle, triangle, tam-tam, harp,
bells, celesta, gramophone (No. R. 6105 of the Concert Record
Gramophone—the “Song of the Nightingale”), pianoforte, organ, and

The piece is in four connected sections. They are based upon this
programme, printed as preface to the score:

“1. The Pines of the Villa Borghese. _Allegretto vivace_, 2-8. Children
are at play in the pine grove of the Villa Borghese, dancing the Italian
equivalent of ‘Ring Around a-Rosy’; mimicking marching soldiers and
battles; twittering and shrieking like swallows at evening; and they
disappear. Suddenly the scene changes to—

“2. The Pines near a Catacomb. _Lento_, 4-4; beginning with muted and
divided strings, muted horns, _piano_. We see the shadows of the pines
which overhang the entrance to a catacomb. From the depths rises a chant
which reëchoes solemnly, sonorously, like a hymn, and is then
mysteriously silenced.

“3. The Pines of the Janiculum. _Lento_ 4-4; _piano cadenza_; clarinet
solo. There is a thrill in the air. The full moon reveals the profile of
the pines of Gianicolo’s Hill. A nightingale sings (represented by a
gramophone record of a nightingale’s song heard from the orchestra).

“4. The Pines of the Appian Way. _Tempo di marcia._ Misty dawn on the
Appian Way. The tragic country is guarded by solitary pines.
Indistinctly, incessantly, the rhythm of innumerable steps. To the
poet’s phantasy appears a vision of past glories; trumpets blare, and
the army of the consul advances brilliantly in the grandeur of a newly
risen sun toward the sacred way, mounting in triumph the Capitoline

Mr. Ernest Newman was facetious, hearing the symphonic poem at a concert
of the London Symphony Orchestra in October, 1925: “The tame nightingale
in the last movement (a gramophone record, ‘kindly lent,’ as the
programme informed us, ‘by the Gramophone Company, Hayes’) did not
communicate the expected thrill. Perhaps the captive bird does not sing
with the rapture of the free one. Perhaps the proper romantic
associations were lacking; it might have been better had the lights been
put out and we had all held hands. But I fancy the explanation is that
realism of this sort is a trifle too crude to blend with music. We all
remember Mr. Arnold Bennett’s ‘Card,’ who, having bought in the days of
his prosperity a painting of a Swiss scene with a church tower in it,
and still having enough of the Five Towns left in him to want to fortify
the beautiful with the useful, had a real clock face inserted in the
tower to tell him and the world the time. Since then we have read of Mr.
Harry Leon Wilson’s little boy, who used to gaze with a blend of
fascination and terror on a picture of a lion in a cage, the bars of the
cage being real, inserted in the frame; the great thing was to put your
fingers behind the bars and half hope, half fear that the lion would go
for them. Musical realism of the Respighi type has the same queer
attractiveness and the same drawbacks. Of course, if the public likes
it, it can be extended indefinitely. We may yet live to see the evening
when the _Pastoral_ symphony will be given with real running water in
the slow movement, nightingale by the Gramophone Company, quail by
Messrs. Fortnum and Mason.”

                          NICOLAS ANDREJEVITCH

(Born at Tikhvin, in the government of Novgorod, March 18, 1844; died at
                     St. Petersburg, June 21, 1908)

                            NIGHT”), OP. 35

    I. The Sea and Sindbad’s Ship
    II. The Story of the Kalandar Prince
    III. The Young Prince and the Young Princess
    IV. Festival at Baghdad. The Sea. The Ship Goes to Pieces against a
          Rock Surmounted by a Bronze Warrior. Conclusion

Rimsky-Korsakov wrote an argument for his score. The music is in
illustration of _Sindbad the Sailor_, the storm at sea, the shipwreck,
the tale of one of the three Kalandars, a tale of a prince and a
princess. The argument is not wholly clear, and probably this was the
composer’s intention. What prince and what princess? There are so many
in _The Thousand Nights and a Night_. Who will be so rash as to name the
one of the three Kalandars? In the last movement there is a festival at
Baghdad, and lo, suddenly Sindbad’s ship sails to its fate.

In the ballet all this music is wedded to the story that is the prelude
to the wondrous tales: the story of the two rulers, their wanton wives,
and the resolve of one of the Kings to kill a spouse every morning,
until Scheherazade by her charm as a narrator softens his heart. What
then becomes of the graphic sea music; or that illustrative of Kalandar,
prince and princess? It is not necessary to insist on the incongruity.

Unless a conductor can feel in this music the spirit of _The Thousand
Nights and a Night_, unless he is himself a rhapsodist with admiration
for the wild fancy, the humor now grotesque, now cruel, now Rabelaisian,
for the sensuousness that is at times sensuality; unless there is
understanding, with appreciation of the imagination that peopled the air
with slaves of King Solomon’s ring, hideous afreets and
space-annihilating genii, his interpretation will be that of a man who
complains of endless repetitions without contrapuntal development. The
music is not for the academic.

Grant that _Scheherazade_ reeks at times of benzoin and the pastils of
the harem; that it suggests:

  _Lucent syrops, tinct with cinnamon;
  Manna and dates in argosy transferred
  From Fez; and spiced dainties, every one
  From silken Samarcand to cedared Lebanon_—

grant all this: there remains the superb sea music with the rolling
billows, the tossing, laboring vessel, the final crash and wild
farewell. There is more than a constant display of fancy or imagination.
The wonder is, as a matter of technic, how Rimsky-Korsakov succeeds in
casting his spell with analogous themes constantly varied. Nor is this
due solely to the surprising, masterly, and entrancing instrumentation.

                                 * * *

_Scheherazade_, with the _Easter Overture_, was composed in the summer
of 1881 at Neyzhgovitsy on the shore of Lake Cheryemenyetskoye. It was
produced at St. Petersburg in the course of the following concert

The suite, dedicated to Vladimir Stassov, is scored for piccolo, two
flutes, two oboes (and English horn), two clarinets, two bassoons, four
horns, two trumpets, three trombones, bass tuba, kettledrums, snare
drum, bass drum, tambourine, cymbals, triangle, tam-tam, harp, and

The following programme is printed in Russian and French on a fly-leaf
of the score:

“The Sultan Schahriar, persuaded of the falseness and the faithlessness
of women, has sworn to put to death each one of his wives after the
first night. But the Sultana Scheherazade saved her life by interesting
him in tales which she told him during one thousand and one nights.
Pricked by curiosity, the Sultan put off his wife’s execution from day
to day, and at last gave up entirely his bloody plan.

“Many marvels were told Schahriar by the Sultana Scheherazade. For her
stories the Sultana borrowed from poets their verses, from folk songs
their words; and she strung together tales and adventures.”

Rimsky-Korsakov has this to say about _Scheherazade_ in _My Musical
Life_, translated into English by J. A. Joffe:

“The programme I had been guided by in composing _Scheherazade_
consisted of separate, unconnected episodes and pictures from _The
Arabian Nights_: the fantastic narrative of the Prince Kalandar, the
Prince and the Princess, the Baghdad festival, and the ship dashing
against the rock with the bronze rider upon it. The unifying thread
consisted of the brief introductions to Movements I, II, and IV, and the
_intermezzo_ in Movement III, written for violin solo, and delineating
Scheherazade herself as telling her wondrous tales to the stern Sultan.
The conclusion of Movement IV serves the same artistic purpose.

“In vain do people seek in my suite leading motives linked always and
unvaryingly with the same poetic ideas and conceptions. On the contrary,
in the majority of cases, all these seeming leitmotives are nothing but
purely musical material, or the given motives for symphonic development.
These given motives thread and spread over all the movements of the
suite, alternating and intertwining each with the other. Appearing as
they do each time under different moods, the self-same motives and
themes correspond each time to different images, actions and pictures.

“Thus, for instance, the sharply outlined fanfare motive of the muted
trombone and trumpet, which first appears in the Kalandar’s Narrative
(Movement II) appears afresh in Movement IV, in the delineation of the
doomed ship, though this episode has no connection with the Kalandar’s
Narrative. The principal theme of the Kalandar’s Narrative (B minor,
3-4) and the theme of the Princess in Movement III (B flat major, 6-8,
clarinet) in altered guise and quick tempo appear as the secondary
themes of the Baghdad festival; yet nothing is said in _The Arabian
Nights_ about these persons taking part in the festivities. The unison
phrase, as though depicting Scheherazade’s stern spouse, at the
beginning of the suite, appears in the Kalandar’s Narrative, where there
cannot, however, be any thought of Sultan Schahriar.

“In this manner, developing quite freely the musical data taken as a
basis of the composition, I had in view the creation of an orchestral
suite in four movements, closely knit by the community of its themes and
motives, yet presenting, as it were, a kaleidoscope of fairy-tale images
and designs of Oriental character—a method that I had to a certain
degree made use of in my _Skazka_ (Fairy Tale), the musical data of
which are as little distinguishable from the poetic as they are in

“In composing _Scheherazade_ I meant these hints to direct but slightly
the hearer’s fancy on the path which my own fancy had traveled, and to
leave more minute and particular conceptions to the will and mood of
each listener. All I had desired was that the hearer, if he liked my
piece _as symphonic music_, should carry away the impression that it is
beyond doubt an Oriental narrative of some numerous and varied
fairy-tale wonders, and not merely four pieces played one after the
other and composed on the basis of themes common to all the four
movements. Why, then, if that be the case, does this name and the
subtitle (‘After _The Thousand and One Nights_’) connote in everybody’s
mind the East and fairy-tale wonders; besides, certain details of the
musical exposition hint at the fact that all of these are various tales
of some one person (which happens to be Scheherazade) entertaining
therewith her stern husband.”

A characteristic theme, the typical theme of _Scheherazade_, keeps
appearing in the four movements. This theme, that of the Narrator, is a
florid melodic phrase in triplets, and it ends generally in a free
_cadenza_. It is played, for the most part, by a solo violin; sometimes
by a wood-wind instrument. “The presence in the minor cadence of the
characteristic seventh, G, and the major sixth, F sharp—after the manner
of the Phrygian mode of the Greeks or the Doric church tone—might
illustrate the familiar beginning of all folk tales, ‘Once upon a

I. The Sea and Sindbad’s Ship. _Largo e maestoso_, E minor, 2-2. The
chief theme of this movement, proclaimed frequently and in many
transformations, has been called by some the “Sea” motive, by others the
“Sindbad” motive. It is proclaimed immediately and heavily in fortissimo
unison and octaves. Soft chords of wind instruments—chords not unlike
the first chords of Mendelssohn’s “Midsummer Night’s Dream” overture in
character—lead to the “Scheherazade” motive, lento, 4-4, played by solo
violin against chords of the harp. Then follows the main body of the
movement, allegro non troppo, E major, 6-4, which begins with a
combination of the chief theme, the “sea” motive, with a rising and
falling arpeggio figure, the “wave” motive. There is a crescendo. A
modulation leads to C major. Wood-wind instruments and violoncellos
pizzicato introduce a motive that has been called the “ship,” at first
for solo flute, then oboe, lastly, clarinet. A reminiscence of the “sea”
motive is heard from the horn between the phrases. A solo violoncello
continues the “wave” motive, which in one form or another persists
almost throughout the whole movement. The “Scheherazade” motive soon
enters (solo violin). There is a long period that at last reëstablishes
the chief tonality, E major. The “sea” motive is sounded by full
orchestra. The development is easily followed. There is an avoidance of
contrapuntal use of thematic material. The style of the composer in this
suite is homophonous, not polyphonic. He prefers to produce his effects
by melodic, harmonic, rhythmic transformations and by most ingenious and
highly colored orchestration. The movement ends tranquilly.

II. The Story of the Kalandar Prince. The second movement opens with a
recitative-like passage, _lento_, B minor, 4-4. A solo violin
accompanied by the harp gives out the “Scheherazade” motive, with a
different _cadenza_. There is a change to a species of _scherzo_
movement, _andantino_, 3-8. The bassoon begins the wondrous tale,
_capriccioso quasi recitando_, accompanied by the sustained chords of
four double basses. The beginning of the second part of this theme
occurs later and transformed. The accompaniment has the bagpipe drone.
The oboe then takes up the melody, then the strings with quickened pace,
and at last the wind instruments, _un poco piu animato_. The chief
motive of the first movement is heard in the basses. A trombone sounds a
fanfare, which is answered by the trumpet; the first fundamental theme
is heard, and an _allegro moto_ follows, derived from the preceding
fanfare, and leads to an orientally colored _intermezzo_. “There are
curious episodes in which all the strings repeat the same chord over and
over again in rapid succession—very like the responses of a congregation
in church—as an accompaniment to the ‘Scheherazade’ motive, now in the
clarinet, now in the bassoon.” The last interruption leads to a return
of the Kalandar’s tale, _con moto_, 3-8, which is developed, with a few
interruptions from the “Scheherazade” motive. The whole ends gayly.

III. The Young Prince and the Young Princess. Some think from a
similarity of the two themes typical of prince and princess that the
composer had in mind the adventures of Kamar al-Zaman (Moon of the Age)
and the Princess Budur (Full Moons). “They were the likest of all folk,
each to other, as they were twins or an only brother and sister,” and
over the question which was the more beautiful, Maymunah, the Jinniyah,
and Dabnash, the Ifrit, disputed violently.

This movement is in simple _romanza_ form. It consists in the long but
simple development of two themes of folk-song character. The first is
sung by the violins, _andantino quasi allegretto_, G major, 6-8. There
is a constant recurrence of songlike melody between phrases in this
movement, of quickly rising and falling scale passages, as a rule in the
clarinet, but also in the flute or first violins. The second theme,
_pochissimo piu mosso_, B flat major and G minor, 6-8, introduces a
section characterized by highly original and daringly effective
orchestration. There are piquant rhythmic effects from a combination of
triangle, tambourine, snare drum, and cymbals, while violoncellos (later
the bassoon) have a sentimental counter phrase.

IV. Festival at Baghdad. The Sea. The Ship Goes to Pieces Against a Rock
Surmounted by a Bronze Warrior. Conclusion. _Allegro molto_, E minor,
6-8. The _finale_ opens with a reminiscence of the “sea” motive of the
first movement, proclaimed in unisons and octaves. Then follows the
“Scheherazade” motive (solo violin), which leads to the fête in Baghdad,
_Allegro molto e frenetico_, E minor, 6-8. The musical portraiture,
somewhat after the fashion of a tarantelle, is based on a version of the
“sea” motive, and it is soon interrupted by Scheherazade and her violin.
In the movement _vivo_, E minor, there is a combination of 2-8, 6-16,
3-8 times, and two or three new themes, besides those heard in the
preceding movements, are worked up elaborately. The festival is at its
height—“This is indeed life; O sad that ’tis fleeting”—when there seems
to be a change of festivities, and the jollification to be on shipboard.
In the midst of the wild hurrah the ship strikes the magnetic rock.

The trombones roar out the “sea” motive against the billowy “wave”
motive in the strings, _Allegro non troppo e maestoso_, C major, 6-4;
and there is a modulation to the tonic, E major, as the tempest rages.
The storm dies. Clarinets and trumpets scream one more cry on the march
theme of the second movement. There is a quiet ending with development
of the “sea” and “wave” motives. The tales are told. Scheherazade, the
narrator, who lives with Shahryar “in all pleasance and solace of life
and its delights till there took them the Destroyer of delights and the
Severer of societies, the Desolator of dwelling places and Garnerer of
graveyards, and they were translated to the ruth of Almighty Allah,”
fades with the vision and the final note of her violin.

                   CAPRICE ON SPANISH THEMES, OP. 34

    I. Alborada
    II. Variations
    III. Alborada
    IV. Scene and Gypsy Song
    V. Fandango of the Asturias
      (Played without pause)

Rimsky-Korsakov’s _Capriccio Espagnol_ was performed for the first time
in St. Petersburg at a Russian Symphony concert, October 31, 1887. The
composer conducted. The caprice was published in 1887, yet we find
Tchaikovsky writing to Rimsky-Korsakov in 1886 (November 11): “I must
add that your _Spanish Caprice_ is a colossal masterpiece of
instrumentation, and you may regard yourself as the greatest master of
the present day.” Rimsky-Korsakov wrote in his _Autobiography_: “The
opinion formed by both critics and public, that the _capriccio_ is a
magnificently orchestrated piece, is wrong. The _capriccio_ is a
brilliant composition for the orchestra. The change of timbres, the
felicitous choice of melodic designs and figuration patterns, exactly
suiting each instrument, brief virtuoso _cadenzas_ for instrument solo,
the rhythm of the percussion instruments, etc., constitute here the very
essence of the composition and not its garb or orchestration. All in
all, the _capriccio_ is a purely external piece, but vividly brilliant
for all that.”

The caprice is dedicated to the artists of the orchestra of the Imperial
Russian Opera House of St. Petersburg. The names, beginning with M.
Koehler and R. Kaminsky, are given, sixty-seven in all, on the
title-page of the score. The caprice is scored for piccolo, two flutes,
two oboes (and English horn), two clarinets, two bassoons, four horns,
two trumpets, three trombones, bass tuba, kettledrums, side drum, bass
drum, cymbals, triangle, tambourine, castanets, harp, and strings.

It was in the summer of 1887 that Rimsky-Korsakov, purposing at first to
use Spanish dance themes for a virtuoso violin piece, sketched instead
this caprice. He thought the third section, the “Alborada” in B flat
major, to be a little less successful than the other sections, on
account of the brass somewhat drowning the melodic designs of the
wood-wind, but this fault could be remedied by a careful conductor.
Rimsky-Korsakov tells how, at the rehearsal in St. Petersburg, the
orchestra applauded vigorously after the first movement, and in fact
after those succeeding, and the composer was so pleased that he
dedicated the _capriccio_ to the players. He also says that the first
performance was extraordinarily brilliant, more so than when it was
later led by others, even by Arthur Nikisch.

The movements, according to the direction of the composer, are to be
played without intervening pauses.

I. Alborada. _Vivo e strepitoso._ This serenade opens with the wild,
tempestuous chief theme, which is given to the full orchestra. There is
a subsidiary theme for the wood-wind instruments. Both themes are
repeated twice by solo clarinet, accompanied by horns and bassoons, and
strings _pizzicato_. A delicate _cadenza_ for solo violin brings the
close, _pianissimo_.

II. Variations. _Andante con moto_, F major, 3-8. The horns give out the
theme with a rocking accompaniment for strings. Before this theme is
ended, the strings have the first variation. The second variation, _poco
meno mosso_, is a dialogue between English horn and horn. The third
variation is for full orchestra. The fourth, _tempo primo_, E major,
organ-point on B, is for wood-wind, two horns, and two violoncellos,
accompanied by sixteenth notes for clarinet and violins. The fifth, F
major, is for full orchestra. A _cadenza_ for solo flute brings the end.

III. Alborada. _Vivo e strepitoso_, B flat major, 2-4. This movement is
a repetition of the first, transposed to B flat major and with different
orchestration. Clarinets and violins have now exchanged their parts. The
solo that was originally for clarinet is now for solo violin; the
_cadenza_ that was originally for the solo violin is now for the solo

IV. Scene and Gypsy Song. _Allegro_, D minor, 6-8. This dramatic scene
is a succession of five _cadenzas_. The movement begins abruptly with a
roll of side drum, with a fanfare, quasi-_cadenza_, in syncopated
rhythm, gypsy fashion, for horns and trumpets. The drum roll continues,
now _pianississimo_. The second _cadenza_, which is for solo violin,
introduces the chief theme. This is repeated by flute and clarinet. The
third _cadenza_, freer in form, is for flute over a kettledrum roll; the
fourth, also free, for clarinet over a roll of cymbals. The fifth
_cadenza_ is for harp with triangle.

The gypsy song begins after a harp _glissando_.

The song is attacked savagely by the violins and is punctuated by
trombone and tuba chords and cymbal strokes. The _cadenza_ theme enters,
full orchestra, with a characteristic figure for accompaniment. The two
themes are alternated. There is a side theme for solo violoncello. Then
the strings, in guitar fashion, hint at the fandango rhythm of the
_finale_, and accompany the gypsy song, which is now blown _staccato_ by
wood-wind instruments. The _cadenza_ theme is enwrapped in triplets for
strings alternating with harmonics _pizzicato_. The pace grows more and
more furious, _animato_, and leads into the _finale_.

V. Fandango of the Asturias. A major, 3-4.

The chief theme of the fandango in this _Spanish Caprice_ is announced
immediately by the trombones, and a related theme for wood-wind
instruments follows. Both themes are repeated by oboes and violins,
while flutes and clarinets have figured in accompaniment. There is a
variation in dance form for solo violin. The chief theme in a modified
version is given to bassoons and violoncellos. The clarinet has a solo
with fandango accompaniment, and the dance grows more and more furious
until the chief theme is heard again from the trombones. The _fandango_
suddenly is changed into the “Alborada” of the first movement, _Coda,
vivo_. There is a short closing _presto_.

                            CHARLES CAMILLE

  (Born at Paris, October 9, 1835; died at Algiers, December 16, 1921)

An enemy of Saint-Saëns—and Saint-Saëns made enemies by his barbed
words—might have applied to him the lines of Juvenal:

  _Grammaticus, rhetor, geometres, pictor, aliptes,
  Augur, Schoenobates, medicus, magus, omnia novit.
  Graeculus esuriens in coelum, jusseris, ibit_—[42]

for Saint-Saëns was not satisfied with the making of music or the career
of a virtuoso. Organist, pianist, caricaturist, dabbler in science,
enamored of mathematics and astronomy, amateur comedian, feuilletonist,
critic, traveler, archæologist—he was a restless man.

He was of less than average height, thin, nervous, sick-faced; with
great and exposed forehead, hair habitually short, beard frosted. His
eyes were almost level with his face. His eagle-beak would have excited
the admiration of Sir Charles Napier, who once exclaimed: “Give me a man
with plenty of nose.” Irritable, whimsical, ironical, paradoxical,
indulging in sudden changes of opinion, he was faithful to friends,
appreciative of certain rivals, kindly disposed toward young composers,
zealous in practical assistance as well as in verbal encouragement. A
man that knew the world and sparkled in conversation; fond of society;
at ease and on equal terms with leaders in art, literature, fashion. A
man whose Monday receptions were long famous in Paris, eagerly
anticipated by _Tout Paris_; yet never so happy as when acting Calchas
to Bizet’s or Regnault’s Helen in Offenbach’s delightful _La Belle
Hélène_, or impersonating in an extraordinary costume Gounod’s
Marguerite surprised by the casket of jewels. An indefatigable student
of Bach, he parodied the Italian opera of the ’thirties, ’forties,
’fifties in _Gabriella di Vergi_.

Then there is his amusing _Carnival des Animaux_, which was written, as
his _Gabriella di Vergi_, without intention of publication. A Parisian
from crown of head to sole of foot; yet a nomad.

In 1867 Berlioz called Saint-Saëns “one of the greatest musicians of our
epoch.” In 1878 Bülow lamented in a letter to Hans von Bronsart that
there was no musician in Germany like Saint-Saëns “except you and me.”
Liszt’s admiration for Saint-Saëns is well known. In 1918 there were
some, even in this country, who applauded him as the greatest living
composer. On the other hand, there have been critics who said that he
was too much of a musician to be a great composer or creator. The praise
of Gounod—“Saint-Saëns will write at will a work _à la Rossini_, _à la
Verdi_, _à la Schumann_, _à la Wagner_”—was counted by them a reproach;
it was regarded as a courteous manner of saying, “Saint-Saëns has the
unfortunate faculty of assimilation.” Hugues Imbert, discussing him,
admitted that there is no graver censure than to say of an artist, “He
is incapable of being himself.”

So far as an intimate knowledge of music as a science is concerned, so
far as fluency and ease of expression are concerned, Saint-Saëns was
beyond a doubt a remarkable musician.

An extraordinary man and musician. Possessing an uncommon technical
equipment as composer, pianist, organist; French in clearness of
expression, logic, exquisite taste; a master of rhythm, with a clear
appreciation of tonal color and the value of simplicity in
orchestration, he is seldom warm and tender; seldom does he indulge
himself in sentiment, passion, imagination. With him orthodox form must
always be kept in mind. Hence perhaps the reactionary attitude of his
later years; his sharp criticism of the more modern school of French
composers, including César Franck. His wit and brilliancy are
indisputable. He seldom touches the heart or sweeps away the judgment.
He was not a great creator, yet his name is ever to be mentioned with
respect. Without consideration of his many admirable compositions, one
should bear this in mind: In the face of difficulties, discouragement,
misunderstanding, sneers, he worked steadily from his youth up, and
always to the best of his ability, for righteousness in absolute music;
he endeavored to introduce into French music thoughtfulness and
sincerity for the advantage and the glory of the country that he dearly

            SYMPHONY NO. 3, IN C MINOR (WITH ORGAN), OP. 78

    I. Adagio; allegro moderato; poco adagio
    II. Allegro moderato; presto; maestoso; allegro

Saint-Saëns’ Symphony in C minor has the finest and most characteristic
qualities of the best French music: logical construction, lucidity,
frankness, euphony. The workmanship is masterly. There is no hesitation.
The composer knew exactly what he wanted and how to express himself. A
few of the themes that when first exposed might seem to some
insignificant assume importance and even grandeur in the development.
The chief theme of the _adagio_, the theme for strings, is very French
in its sustained suavity, in a gentle, emotional quality that never
loses elegance, and the preparation for the entrance of this _adagio_ is
worthy of the greatest masters. It is not necessary to speak of the many
beautiful or stirring pages; of the consummate skill of the technician;
of the unerring instrumentation.

                                 * * *

This symphony was composed for the London Philharmonic Society and first
performed at a concert of that society in London, May 19, 1886, when the
composer conducted. It was performed at Aix-la-Chapelle in September of
that year under the direction of the composer.

For the first performance in London, Saint-Saëns prepared the following
analysis, which was translated into English:

“This symphony is divided into two parts, after the manner of
Saint-Saëns’ Fourth concerto for piano and orchestra and Sonata for
piano and violin. Nevertheless, it includes practically the traditional
four movements: the first, checked in development, serves as an
introduction to the _adagio_, and the _scherzo_ is connected, after the
same manner, with the _finale_. The composer has thus sought to shun in
a certain measure the interminable repetitions which are more and more
disappearing from instrumental music.

“The composer thinks that the time has come for the symphony to benefit
by the progress of modern instrumentation, and he therefore establishes
his orchestra as follows: three flutes, two oboes, English horn, two
clarinets, bass clarinet, two bassoons, double bassoon, four horns,
three trumpets, three trombones, tuba, three kettledrums, organ,
pianoforte (now for two hands and now for four), triangle, a pair of
cymbals, bass drum, and the usual strings.

“After an introduction _adagio_ of a few plaintive measures the string
quartet exposes the initial theme, which is somber and agitated
(_allegro moderato_). The first transformation of this theme leads to a
second motive, which is distinguished by greater tranquillity; after a
short development, in which the two themes are presented simultaneously,
the motive appears in a characteristic form, for full orchestra, but
only for a short time. A second transformation of the initial theme
includes now and then the plaintive notes of the introduction. Varied
episodes bring gradually calm, and thus prepare the _adagio_ in D flat.
The extremely peaceful and contemplative theme is given to the violins,
violas, and violoncellos, which are supported by organ chords. This
theme is then taken by clarinet, horn, and trombone, accompanied by
strings divided into several parts. After a variation (in arabesques)
performed by the violins, the second transformation of the initial theme
of the _allegro_ appears again, and brings with it a vague feeling of
unrest, which is enlarged by dissonant harmonies. These soon give way to
the theme of the _adagio_, performed this time by some of the violins,
violas, and violoncellos, with organ accompaniment and with a persistent
rhythm of triplets presented by the preceding episode. This first
movement ends in a _coda_ of mystical character, in which are heard
alternately the chords of D flat major and E minor.

“The second movement begins with an energetic phrase (_allegro
moderato_), which is followed immediately by a third transformation of
the initial theme in the first movement, more agitated than it was
before, and into which enters a fantastic spirit that is frankly
disclosed in the _presto_. Here arpeggios and scales, swift as
lightning, on the pianoforte, are accompanied by the syncopated rhythm
of the orchestra, and each time they are in a different tonality (F, E,
E flat, G). This tricky gayety is interrupted by an expressive phrase
(strings). The repetition of the _allegro moderato_ is followed by a
second _presto_, which at first is apparently a repetition of the first
_presto_; but scarcely has it begun before a new theme is heard, grave,
austere (trombone, tuba, double basses), strongly contrasted with the
fantastic music. There is a struggle for the mastery, and this struggle
ends in the defeat of the restless, diabolical element. The phrase rises
to orchestral heights, and rests there as in the blue of a clear sky.
After a vague reminiscence of the initial theme of the first movement, a
_maestoso_ in C major announces the approaching triumph of the calm and
lofty thought. The initial theme of the first movement, wholly
transformed, is now exposed by divided strings and the pianoforte (four
hands), and repeated by the organ with the full strength of the
orchestra. Then follows a development built in a rhythm of three
measures. An episode of a tranquil and pastoral character (oboe, flute,
English horn, clarinet) is twice repeated. A brilliant _coda_, in which
the initial theme by a last transformation takes the form of a violin
figure, ends the work; the rhythm of three measures becomes naturally
and logically a huge measure of three beats; each beat is represented by
a whole note, and twelve quarters form the complete measure.”

This symphony is dedicated to the memory of Franz Liszt.

Liszt died at Bayreuth, July 31, 1886. The symphony was performed at
London before his death. When Liszt was in Paris in March of 1886 to
hear the performance of his _Graner Messe_ at St. Eustache, the symphony
was nearly completed, and Saint-Saëns gave Liszt an idea of it by
playing it on the pianoforte. The statement that Saint-Saëns intended
the symphony to be “a funereal memorial and an apotheosis of the
glorious master” is nonsensical. The dedication was a posthumous


                  (Born at Vienna, September 13, 1874)


Schoenberg’s music, to be enjoyed, does not need either the original
verse or the paraphrase. Indeed, it would be better if the argument were
not printed for the concertgoer. As it is, he may be too anxious to
discover the emancipated woman and the good, easy-going, complaisant man
in the music, and be oblivious of the strains of beauty and passion. For
this music, on the whole prolix, has beautiful and passionate pages of
compelling eloquence. Other pages are a sandy, dreary waste. The
impression would be still stronger, the music still more significant, if
the composition were much shorter. Whether the music itself gains by the
revision and enlargement, is a question that admits of discussion.

                                 * * *

This piece, originally a sextet, was published in 1905; the arrangement
for string orchestra was published in 1917. The sextet was composed in

An excerpt from Richard Dehmel’s poem, “Weib und die Welt,” is printed
on a flyleaf of the score. When the sextet was first performed in New
York by the Kneisel Quartet, Mr. Krehbiel paraphrased this poetic
fragment as follows:

“Two mortals walk through a cold, barren grove. The moon sails over the
tall oaks, which send their scrawny branches up through the unclouded
moonlight. A woman speaks. She confesses a sin to the man at her side:
she is with child, and he is not its father. She had lost belief in
happiness, and, longing for life’s fullness, for motherhood and mother’s
duty, she had surrendered herself, shuddering, to the embraces of a man
she knew not. She had thought herself blessed, but now life had avenged
itself upon her, by giving her the love of him she walked with. She
staggers onward, gazing with lack-lustre eye at the moon which follows
her. A man speaks. Let her not burden her soul with thoughts of guilt.
See, the moon’s sheen enwraps the universe. Together they are driving
over chill waters, but a flame from each warms the other. It, too, will
transfigure the little stranger, and she will bear the child to him. For
she has inspired the brilliant glow within him and made him too a child.
They sink into each other’s arms. Their breaths meet in kisses in the
air. Two mortals wander through the wondrous moonlight.”

                              FRANZ PETER

  (Born at Lichtenthal, near Vienna, January 31, 1797; died at Vienna,
                           November 19, 1828)

Schubert was a clumsy man, short, round-shouldered, tallow-faced, with a
great shock of black hair, with penetrating though spectacled eyes,
strong-jawed, stubby-fingered. He shuffled in his walk, and he expressed
himself in speech with difficulty. He described himself as unhappy,
miserable; but his practical jokes delighted tavern companions, and he
was proud of his performance of _The Erlking_ on a comb. He kept a diary
and jotted down platitudes. He had little taste for literature,
painting, sculpture, travels; he was not interested in politics or in
questions of sociology. He went with his own kind. Unlike Beethoven, he
could not impose on the aristocracy of Vienna. He loved the freedom of
the tavern, the dance in the open air or late at night, when he would
play pretty tunes for the dancers. Handel was the superb personage of
music. Gluck was a distinguished person at the Court of Marie
Antoinette; Sarti pleased the mighty Catherine of Russia; Rossini, the
son of a strolling horn player, was at ease with royalty and worshiped
by women. There is little in the plain life of Schubert to fire the zeal
of the anecdotical or romantic biographer. No Grimm, no Diderot,
relished his conversation. There is no gossip of noble and perfumed
dames looking on him favorably. There is a legend that he was
passionately in love with Caroline of the House of Esterhazy; but his
passion followed a spell of interest in a pretty housemaid. He sang love
in immortal strains; but women were not drawn towards him as they were
towards Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven—the list is a long one. He was not a
spectacularly heroic figure. His morbidness has not the inviting charm
of Schumann’s torturing introspection. We sympathize more deeply with
the sufferings of Mozart, and yet the last years of Schubert were
perhaps as cruel. Dittersdorf is close to us by his autobiography. Smug
Blangini amuses by his vanity and by his indiscreet defence of Pauline
Bonaparte, his pupil. No one can imagine Schubert philosophizing in
books after the fashion of Wagner, Gounod, Saint-Saëns. It would have
been easier for him to write a dozen symphonies than a feuilleton in the
manner of Hector Berlioz. Schubert was a simple, kindly, loving, honest
man, whose trade, whose life, was music.

Schubert thought in song even when he wrote for the pianoforte, string
quartet, or orchestra. The songs which he wrote in too great number were
composed under all sorts of conditions, almost always hurriedly, in the
fields, in the tavern, in bed. There were German songs before
Schubert—folk songs, songs of the church, set songs for home and
concert; but Schubert created a new lyric—the emotional song. Plod your
weary way through the ballads of Zumsteeg, the songs of J. A. Hiller,
Reichardt, Zelter, and the others: how cold, formal, precise they are!
They are like unto the cameo brooches that adorn the simpering women in
old tokens or keepsakes; as remote and out of fashion as the hair
jewelry of the early ’sixties. Take away “The Violet,” and what interest
is there in Mozart’s book of songs? There is Haydn’s famous _Canzonet_;
there is perhaps Beethoven’s “In Questa Tomba” with a few of the songs
addressed to the “_Ferne Geliebte_”; but Beethoven knew the voice best
as an orchestral instrument. The modern song was invented by Franz

The striking characteristics of Schubert’s songs, spontaneity, haunting
melody, a birthright mastery over modulation, a singular good fortune in
finding the one inevitable phrase for the prevailing sentiment of the
poem and in finding the fitting descriptive figure for salient detail,
are also found in the best of his instrumental works.

There is the spontaneous simplicity, the simplicity praised by Walt
Whitman: “The art of art, the glory of expression is simplicity. To
speak with the perfect rectitude and insouciance of the movements of
animals and the unimpeachableness of the sentiment of trees in the woods
and grass by the roadside is the flawless triumph of art. The greatest
poet swears to his art: ‘I will not be meddlesome. I will not have in my
writing any elegance or effect or originality to hang in the way between
me and the rest like curtains. What I tell, I tell for precisely what it
is. Let who may exalt or startle or fascinate or soothe, I will have
purposes as health or heat or snow has, and be as regardless of
observation. What I experience or portray shall go from my composition
without a shred of my composition. You shall stand by my side and look
in the mirror with me.’”

Then there is the ineffable melancholy that is the dominating note.
There is gayety such as was piped naïvely by William Blake in his _Songs
of Innocence_; there is the innocence that even Mozart hardly reached in
his frank gayety; yet in the gayety and innocence is a
melancholy—despairing, as in certain songs of “The Winter Journey,” when
Schubert smelled the mould and knew the earth was impatiently looking
for him—a melancholy that is not the titanic despair of Beethoven, not
the whining or shrieking pessimism of certain German and Russian
composers; it is the melancholy of an autumnal sunset, of the ironical
depression due to a burgeoning noon in spring, the melancholy that comes
between the lips of lovers.

  _The sunniest things throw sternest shade,
  And there is even a happiness
  That makes the heart afraid!
  There is no music in the life
  That sounds with idiot laughter solely;
  There’s not a string, attuned to mirth,
  But has its chord in melancholy._

No one has treated the passion of love more purely. Love with the modern
French composer is too often merely a pronounced phase of eroticism, or
it is purely, or impurely, cerebral. With Wagner it is as a rule
heroically sensuous if not sensual. Is there one page of Schubert’s
music that is characterized first of all by sensuousness? A few measures
are played or sung; the music may be unknown to the hearer, but he says
to himself “Schubert,” and not merely because he recognizes restless
changes from major to minor and from minor to major, tremulous
tonalities, surprising ease in modulation, naïve, direct melody. The
sedulous ape may sweat in vain; there is no thought of Schubert, whose
mannerisms are his whole individuality.

This individuality defies analysis. It was finely said by Walt Whitman
that all music is “what awakens from you when you are reminded by the
instruments”; the hearer’s thoughts are sweeter and purer, his soul is
cheered or soothed, when he is reminded by the music of Schubert.

Pompous eulogies have been paid this homely, human, inspired man, who
knew poverty and distress, who was ignored by the mob while he lived his
short life, who never heard some of his most important works, whose
works were scattered.

“Schubert, turning round, clutched at the wall with his poor, tired
hands, and said in a slow voice, ‘Here, here is my end.’ At three in the
afternoon of Wednesday, November 19, 1828, he breathed his last, and his
simple, earnest soul took its flight from the world. There never has
been one like him, and there will never be another.” When you read these
words of Sir George Grove, something chokes you; they outweigh the
purple phrases and dexterously juggled sentences of the rhetorician.

               SYMPHONY NO. 8, IN B MINOR (“UNFINISHED”)

    I. Allegro moderato
    II. Andante con moto

Let us be thankful that Schubert never finished the work. Possibly the
lost arms of the Venus of Milo might disappoint if they were found and
restored. The few measures of the _scherzo_ that are in the manuscript
furnish but slight hope that here at last Schubert would not, as in so
many of his works of long breath, maintain a steady _decrescendo_ of

Surely, no one would deny the melancholy beauty of the first movement of
Schubert’s symphony, with its lyricism that is appealingly feminine,
with its melancholy that is without touch of peevishness and without
taint of pessimism; and the second movement has the serenity—that is,
Schubert’s romantic serenity, which is another thing than the classic
serenity of Mozart.

The symphony is eminently Schubertian in its beauty and in its weakness.
In the first movement there are measures of a grandeur that is seldom
found in Schubert’s compositions. In these measures we recognize the
Schubert that conceived the “Doppelgänger,” the “Gruppe aus dem
Tartarus,” and a few other songs in which dramatic force comes before
charming lyricism.

                                 * * *

Two brothers, Anselm and Joseph Hüttenbrenner, were fond of Schubert.
Their home was in Graz, Styria, but they were living at Vienna. Anselm
was a musician; Joseph was in a government office. Anselm took Schubert
to call on Beethoven, and there is a story that the sick man said, “You,
Anselm, have my mind; but Franz has my soul.” Anselm closed the eyes of
Beethoven in death. These brothers were constant in endeavor to make
Schubert known. Anselm went so far as to publish a set of _Erlking
Waltzes_, and assisted in putting Schubert’s opera, _Alfonso and
Estrella_ (1822), in rehearsal at Graz, where it would have been
performed if the score had not been too difficult for the orchestra. In
1822 Schubert was elected an honorary member of musical societies of
Linz and Graz. In return for the compliment from Graz, he began the
Symphony in B minor, No. 8 (October 30, 1822). He finished the _allegro_
and the _andante_, and he wrote nine measures of the _scherzo_. Schubert
visited Graz in 1827, but neither there nor elsewhere did he ever hear
his unfinished work.

Anselm Hüttenbrenner went back to his home about 1820. It was during a
visit to Vienna that he saw Beethoven dying. Joseph remained at Vienna.
In 1860 he wrote from the office of the Minister of the Interior a
singular letter to Johann Herbeck, who then conducted the concerts of
the Gesellschaft der Musikfreunde. He begged permission to sing in
concerts as a member of the society, and urged him to look over
symphonies, overtures, songs, quartets, choruses by Anselm. He added
towards the end of the letter, “He [Anselm] has a treasure in Schubert’s
B minor symphony, which we put on a level with the great Symphony in C,
his instrumental swan song, and any one of the symphonies by Beethoven.”

Herbeck was inactive and silent for five years, although he visited Graz
several times. Perhaps he was afraid that if the manuscript came to
light he could not gain possession of it, and the symphony, like the one
in C, would be produced elsewhere than in Vienna. Perhaps he thought the
price of producing one of Anselm Hüttenbrenner’s works in Vienna too
dear. There is reason to believe that Joseph insisted on this

In 1865 Herbeck was obliged to journey with his sister-in-law, who
sought health. They stopped in Graz. On May 1 he went to Ober-Andritz,
where the old and tired Anselm, in a hidden little one-story cottage,
was awaiting death. Herbeck sat down in a humble inn. He talked with the
landlord, who told him that Anselm was in the habit of breakfasting
there. While they were talking, Anselm appeared. After a few words,
Herbeck said, “I am here to ask permission to produce one of your works
at Vienna.” The old man brightened, he shed his indifference, and after
breakfast took him to his home. The work-room was stuffed with yellow
and dusty papers, all in confusion. Anselm showed his own manuscripts,
and finally Herbeck chose one of the ten overtures for performance. “It
is my purpose,” he said, “to bring forward three contemporaries,
Schubert, Hüttenbrenner, and Lachner, in one concert before the Viennese
public. It would naturally be very appropriate to represent Schubert by
a new work.” “Oh, I have still a lot of things by Schubert,” answered
the old man; and he pulled a mass of papers out of an old-fashioned
chest. Herbeck immediately saw on the cover of a manuscript “_Symphonie
in H moll_,” in Schubert’s handwriting. Herbeck looked the symphony
over. “This would do. Will you let me have it copied immediately at my
cost?” “There is no hurry,” answered Anselm. “Take it with you.”

The symphony was first played at a Gesellschaft concert, Vienna,
December 17, 1865, under Herbeck’s direction. It was played at the
Crystal Palace, Sydenham, in 1867.

                       SYMPHONY NO. 7, IN C MAJOR

    I. Andante; allegro non troppo
    II. Andante con moto
    III. Scherzo: allegro vivace; trio
    IV. Finale: allegro vivace

There are some who are not persuaded by Schumann and Weingartner into
enjoying the extreme length of the symphony. They would fain have the
work undergo some process of condensation, and yet it would be difficult
for them to indicate the measures or sections that should be omitted.

It is still a marvelous work in certain respects. The Hungarian dash in
the second theme of the first movement; the wonderful trombone passage;
the melodic charm of the _andante_ and the infinite beauty of the
detail—but when one begins to speak of this movement he might vie with
Schubert in length; the expressive trio of the _scherzo_; the rush of
the _finale_—these place the symphony high on the list; and yet, and
yet—but Schubert was not a severe critic of his own compositions. He
wrote at full speed, and he had not the time to revise, to condense.

                                 * * *

The manuscript of this symphony, numbered 7 in the Breitkopf & Härtel
list and sometimes known as No. 10, bears the date March, 1828. In 1828
Schubert composed besides this symphony the songs “Die Sterne” and “Der
Winterabend”; the oratorio, _Mirims Siegesgesang_; the song “Auf dem
Strom”; the _Schwanengesang_ cycle; the string quintet, Op. 163, and the
Mass in E flat. On November 14 he took to his bed. It is said that
Schubert gave the work to the Musikverein of Vienna for performance;
that the parts were distributed; that it was even tried in rehearsal;
that its length and difficulty were against it, and it was withdrawn on
Schubert’s own advice in favor of his earlier Symphony in C, No. 6
(written in 1817). All this has been doubted; but the symphony is
entered in the catalogue of the society under the year 1828, and the
statements just quoted have been fully substantiated. Schubert said,
when he gave the work to the Musikverein, that he was through with songs
and should henceforth confine himself to opera and symphony.

It has been said that the first performance of the symphony was at
Leipsic in 1839. This statement is not true. Schubert himself never
heard the work; but it was performed at a concert of the Gesellschaft
der Musikfreunde, Vienna, December 14, 1828, and repeated March 12,
1829. It was then forgotten until Schumann visited Vienna in 1838 and
looked over the mass of manuscripts then in the possession of Schubert’s
brother Ferdinand. Schumann sent a transcript of the symphony to
Mendelssohn for the Gewandhaus concerts, Leipsic. It was produced at the
concert of March 21, 1839, under Mendelssohn’s direction, and repeated
three times during the following season—December 12, 1839, March 12 and
April 3, 1840. Mendelssohn made some cuts in the work for these
performances. The score and parts were published in January, 1850.

The manuscript is full of alterations. As a rule Schubert made few
changes or corrections in his score. In this symphony, alterations are
found at the very beginning. The subject of the introduction and that of
the _allegro_ were materially changed; the tempo of the opening movement
was altered from _allegro vivace_ to _allegro ma non troppo_. Only the
_finale_ seems to have satisfied him as originally conceived, and this
_finale_ is written as though at headlong speed.

The symphony[44] is scored for two flutes, two oboes, two clarinets, two
bassoons, two horns, two trumpets, three trombones, kettledrums,
strings. There is a story that Schubert was afraid he had made too free
use of trombones and asked advice of Franz Lachner.

The second theme of the first movement has a decidedly Slav-Hungarian
character, and this character colors other portions of the symphony both
in melody and general mood. The rhythm of the _scherzo_ theme had been
used by Schubert as early as 1814 in his Quartet in B flat. It may also
be remarked that the _scherzo_ is not based on the old minuet form, and
that there is more thematic development than was customary in such
movements at that period.

There is a curious tradition—a foolish invention is perhaps the better
phrase—that the _finale_ illustrates the story of Phaëton and his justly
celebrated experience as driver of Apollo’s chariot. Others find in the
_finale_ a reminiscence of the terrible approach of the Statue towards
the supper table of Don Giovanni.

                            ROBERT ALEXANDER

  (Born at Zwickau, Saxony, June 8, 1810; died at Endenich, near Bonn,
                             July 29, 1856)

It has been urged against Schumann that his symphonies were thought for
the pianoforte and then orchestrated crudely, as by an amateur. This,
however, is not the fatal objection. He had his own orchestral speech.
Good, bad, or indifferent, it was his own. He could not have otherwise
expressed himself through the orchestral instruments. His speech is to
be accepted or rejected as the hearer is impressed chiefly by ideas, or
by the manner of expression.

A more serious objection is this: the genius of Schumann was purely
lyrical, although occasionally there is the impressive expression of a
wild or melancholy mood, as in the chords of unearthly beauty soon after
the beginning of the overture to _Manfred_. Whether the music be
symphonic, chamber, a pianoforte piece or a song, the beauty, the
expressive force lies in the lyric passages. When Schumann endeavored to
build a musical monument, to quote Vincent d’Indy’s phrase, he failed;
for he had not architectonic imagination or skill.

His themes in symphonies, charming as they often are, give one the
impression of fragments, of music heard in sleep-chasings. Never a
master of contrapuntal technique, he repeated these phrases over and
over again instead of broadly developing them, and his filling in is
generally amateurish and perfunctory.

The best of Schumann’s music is an expression of states and conditions
of soul. This music is never spectacular; it is never objective. Take,
for instance, his music to Goethe’s _Faust_. The episodes that attracted
the attention of Berlioz, Liszt, Gounod, were not to Schumann a source
of inspiration. It was the mysticism in the poem that led him to musical
interpretation. His music, whether for voice or instruments, is first of
all _innig_, and this German word is not easily translated into English.
Heartfelt, deep, ardent, fervent, intimate; no one of these words
conveys exactly the idea contained in _innig_. There is the intimacy of
personal and shy confession.

Schumann in his life was a reticent man. He dreamed dreams. He was lost
in thought when others, in the beerhouse or at his home, were chattering
about art. He put into his music what he would with difficulty have said
aloud to his Clara. As a critic he was bold in praise and blame. As a
composer he was often not assertive as one on a platform. He told his
dreams, he wove his romantic fabric for a few sympathetic souls. It is
true that in his days of wooing he was orchestrally jubilant, as in the
first movement of the Symphony in B flat, but in this movement the
anticipation aroused by the first measures is not realized. The thoughts
soared above the control of the thinker; there was not the mastery over
them that allowed no waste material, that gives golden expression
without alloy.

In his own field, Schumann is lonely, incomparable. No composer has
whispered such secrets of subtle and ravishing beauty to a receptive
listener. The hearer of Schumann’s music must in turn be imaginative and
a dreamer. He must often anticipate the composer’s thought. This music
is not for a garish concert hall; it shrinks from boisterous applause.

                SYMPHONY NO. 1, IN B FLAT MAJOR, OP. 38

    I. Andante un poco maestoso; allegro molto vivace
    II. Larghetto
    III. Scherzo: molto vivace. Trio (1): molto più vivace; Trio (2)
    IV. Allegro animato e grazioso

The opening is imposing with need of re-orchestration. Charming is the
lyric passage in the _scherzo_ that puts one in mind of Schubert’s
“Hark, Hark, the Lark”; but for the most part there is rhythmic
uniformity and boresome repetition that no change in the instrumentation
could redeem. As the thick orchestration stands, if the music is played
according to Schumann’s directions, Weingartner says, it is impossible
to produce a true _forte_ or an expressive _pianissimo_.

                                 * * *

Schumann was married to Clara Wieck, September 12, 1840, after doubts,
anxieties, and opposition on the part of her father; after a nervous
strain of three or four years. His happiness was great, but to say with
some that this joy was the direct inspiration of the First symphony
would be to go against the direct evidence submitted by the composer. He
wrote Ferdinand Wenzel: “It is not possible for me to think of the
journal” (the _Neue Zeitschrift für Musik_, founded by Schumann, Wieck,
Schunke, and Knorr in 1834, and edited in 1841 by Schumann alone). “I
have during the last days finished a task (at least in sketches) which
filled me with happiness, and almost exhausted me. Think of it, a whole
symphony—and, what is more, a Spring symphony; I myself can hardly
believe that it is finished.” And he said in a letter (November 23,
1842) to Spohr: “I wrote the symphony toward the end of the winter of
1841, and, if I may say so, in the vernal passion that sways men until
they are very old, and surprises them again with each year. I do not
wish to portray, to paint; but I believe firmly that the period in which
the symphony was produced influenced its form and character, and shaped
it as it is.” He wrote to Wilhelm Taubert, who was to conduct the work
in Berlin: “Could you infuse into your orchestra in the performance a
sort of longing for the Spring, which I had chiefly in mind when I wrote
in February, 1841? The first entrance of trumpets, this I should like to
have sounded as though it were from high above, like unto a call to
awakening; and then I should like reading between the lines, in the rest
of the introduction, how everywhere it begins to grow green, how a
butterfly takes wing; and, in the _allegro_, how little by little all
things come, that in any way belong to Spring. True, these are fantastic
thoughts, which came to me after my work was finished; only I tell you
this about the _finale_, that I thought it as the good-bye of Spring.”

(It may here be noted that the symphony was fully sketched in four days,
and that Schumann now speaks of composing the work in February, 1841,
and now of writing it towards the end of that year.)

Berthold Litzmann, in the second volume of his _Clara Schumann_
(Leipsic, 1906), gives interesting extracts from the common diary of
Schumann and his wife, notes written while Schumann was composing this

Towards the end of December, 1840, she complained that Robert had been
for some days “very cold toward her, yet the reason for it is a
delightful one.” On January 17-23, 1841, she wrote that it was not her
week to keep the diary, “but, if a man is composing a symphony, it is
not to be expected that he will do anything else.... The symphony is
nearly finished. I have not yet heard a note of it, but I am exceedingly
glad that Robert at last has started out in the field where, on account
of his great imagination, he belongs.” January 25: “Today, Monday,
Robert has nearly finished his symphony; it was composed chiefly at
night—for some nights my poor Robert has not slept on account of it. He
calls it ‘Spring symphony.’... A spring poem by [Boettger] gave him the
first impulse toward composition.”

According to the diary Schumann completed the symphony on Tuesday,
January 26. “Begun and finished in four days.... If there were only an
orchestra for it right away. I must confess, my dear husband, I did not
give you credit for such dexterity.” Schumann began to work on the
instrumentation January 27; Clara impatiently waited to hear a note of
the symphony. The instrumentation of the first movement was completed
February 4, that of the second and third movements on February 13, that
of the fourth on February 20, in the year 1841. Not till February 14 did
Schumann play the symphony to her. E. F. Wenzel, later a teacher at the
Leipsic Conservatory, and E. Pfundt, a kettledrum player of the
Gewandhaus orchestra, were present. “I should like,” she wrote in her
diary, “to say a little something about the symphony, yet I should not
be able to speak of the little buds, the perfume of the violets, the
fresh green leaves, the birds in the air.... Do not laugh at me, my dear
husband! If I cannot express myself poetically, nevertheless the poetic
breath of this work has stirred my very soul.” The instrumentation was
completed on February 20.

Clara wrote to Emilie Liszt after the performance: “My husband’s
symphony achieved a triumph over all cabals and intrigues.... I never
heard a symphony received with such applause.”

Robert wrote in the diary some days before that his next symphony should
be entitled “Clara; and I shall paint her therein with flutes, oboes,
and harps.”

The first movement opens with an introduction, _andante un poco
maestoso_, B flat major, 4-4, which begins with a virile phrase in the
horns and trumpets, answered by the full orchestra _fortissimo_. There
are stormy accents in the basses, with full chords in the brass and
other strings, and each chord is echoed by the wood-wind. Flute and
clarinet notes over a figure in the violas lead to a gradual _crescendo
ed accelerando_, which introduces the _allegro molto vivace_, B flat
major, 2-4. This begins at once with a brilliant first theme. The chief
figure is taken from the initial horn and trumpet call as Schumann
originally wrote it. The development of the theme leads finally to a
modulation to the key of C major, and there is the thought, naturally,
of F major as the tonality of the second theme, but this motive given
out by the clarinets and bassoons is in no definite tonality; it is in a
mode which suggests A minor and also D minor; the second section ends,
however, in F major, and the further development adheres to this key.
The first part of the movement is repeated. The free fantasia is long
and elaborately worked out. The first movement does not return in the
shape it has at the beginning of the _allegro_, but in the broader
version heard at the opening of the introduction. The long _coda_ begins
_animato, poco a poco stringendo_, on a new theme in full harmony in the
strings, and it is developed until horns and trumpets sound the familiar

The second movement, _larghetto_, E flat major, 3-8, opens with a
_romanza_ developed by the violins. The second theme, C major, is of a
more restless nature, and its phrases are given out alternately by the
wood-wind and violins. The melodious first theme is repeated, B flat
major, by the violoncellos against an accompaniment in second violins
and violas and syncopated chords in the first violins and the wood-wind.
There is a new episodic theme. The first motive appears for the third
time, now in E flat major. It is sung by the oboe and horn, accompanied
by clarinets and bassoons, with passages in the strings. Near the close
of the short _coda_ are solemn harmonies in bassoons and trombones. This
movement is enchained with the _scherzo_.

The _scherzo, molto vivace_, D minor, 3-4, begins in G minor. The first
trio, _molto più vivace_, D major, 2-4, includes harmonic interplay
between strings and wind instruments. It is developed at some length,
and the _scherzo_ is repeated. There is a second trio, B flat major,
3-4, with imitative contrapuntal work, and it is followed by a second
repetition of the _scherzo_. A short _coda_ has the rhythm of the first
trio and brings the end.

_Finale_: _allegro animato e grazioso_, B flat major, 2-2. It begins
with a _fortissimo_ figure which is used hereafter. The first theme, a
cheerful, tripping dance melody, enters and is developed by strings and
wood-wind. The second theme, equally blithe, is in G major, and the
impressive initial figure of the full orchestra at the beginning of the
movement, now given out by the strings, is in the second phrase. The two
motives are worked up alternately. The free fantasia opens quietly.
Trombones sound the rhythm of the first theme of the first movement.
There is a long series of imitations on the first theme of the _finale_.
This series leads to some horn calls and a _cadenza_ for the flute. The
third section of the movement is regular, and there is a brilliant

                   SYMPHONY NO. 2, IN C MAJOR, OP. 61

    I. Sostenuto assai; allegro ma non troppo
    II. Scherzo: allegro vivace. Trio (1); Trio (2)
    III. Adagio espressivo
    IV. Allegro molto vivace

With the exception of the introduction to the first movement and the
_adagio_, in which the romantic dreamer Schumann is revealed, the
symphony has aged. And in this symphony, more than the other three, the
orchestration seems hopelessly crude, ineffective, distressing to the
ear, while the musical contents are seldom worthy of a more tasteful

Yet there are few _adagios_ to be compared with this dramatic song of
Schumann. If he had only had the courage to cut out that meaningless and
incongruous little episode, too deliberately contrapuntal.

                                 * * *

In October, 1844, Schumann left Leipsic, where he had lived for about
fourteen years. He had in July given up the editorship of the _Neue
Zeitschrift_; he had been a teacher of pianoforte playing and
composition at the Leipsic Conservatory from April, 1843. A singularly
reserved man, hardly fitted for the duties of a teacher and without
pupils, he was in a highly nervous state, so that a physician
recommended a change of scene and told him he should not hear too much
music. Schumann therefore moved back to Dresden. “Here,” he wrote in
1844, “one can recover the old lost longing for music, there is so
little to hear. This suits my condition, for I still suffer very much
from my nerves, and everything affects and exhausts me immediately.” He
saw few people; he talked little. In the early ’eighties they still
showed in Dresden a restaurant frequented by him, where, seated in a
room with his head against a wall, he would sit for hours at a time,
dreaming daydreams. In 1846 he was very sick, mentally and bodily. “He
observed that he was unable to remember the melodies that occurred to
him when he was composing; the effort of invention fatigued his mind to
such an extent that it impaired his memory.” When he did work, he
applied himself to contrapuntal problems.

The Symphony in C major, known as No. 2, but really the third—for the
one in D minor, written first, was withdrawn after performance,
remodeled, and finally published as No. 4—was composed in the years 1845
and 1846. The symphony was published, score and parts, in November,
1847. The symphony was first played at the Gewandhaus, Leipsic, under
Mendelssohn’s direction, on November 5, 1846.

Schumann wrote from Dresden on April 2, 1849, to Otten, a writer and
conductor at Hamburg, who had brought about the performance of the
symphony in that city: “I wrote the symphony in December, 1845, when I
was still half sick. It seems to me one must hear this in the music. In
the _finale_ I first began to feel myself; and indeed I was much better
after I had finished the work. Yet, as I have said, it recalls to me a
dark period of my life. That, in spite of all, such tones of pain can
awaken interest, shows me your sympathetic interest. Everything you say
about the work also shows me how thoroughly you know music; and that my
melancholy bassoon in the _adagio_, which I introduced in that spot with
especial fondness, has not escaped your notice, gives me the greatest
pleasure.” In the same letter he expressed the opinion that Bach’s
Passion according to John was a more powerful and poetic work than his
Passion according to Matthew.

And yet, when Jean J. H. Verhulst of The Hague (1816-91) visited
Schumann in 1845 and asked him what he had written that was new and
beautiful, Schumann answered he had just finished a new symphony.
Verhulst asked him if he thought he had fully succeeded. Schumann then
said, “Yes, indeed, I think it’s a regular Jupiter.”

There is a dominating motive, or motto, which appears more or less
prominently in three of the movements. This motto is proclaimed at the
very beginning, _sostenuto assai_, 6-4, by horns, trumpets, alto
trombone, _pianissimo_, against flowing counterpoint in the strings.
This motto is heard again in the _finale_ of the following _allegro_,
near the end of the _scherzo_, and in the concluding section of the
_finale_. (It may also be said here that relationship of the several
movements is further founded by a later use of other fragments of the
introduction and by the appearance of the theme of the _adagio_ in the
_finale_.) This motto is not developed: its appearance is episodic. It
is said by one of Schumann’s biographers that the introduction was
composed before the symphony was written, and that it was originally
designed for another work. The string figure is soon given to the
wood-wind instruments. There is a _crescendo_ of emotion and an
acceleration of the pace until a _cadenza_ for the first violins brings
in the _allegro, ma non troppo_, 3-4. The first theme of this _allegro_
is exposed frankly and _piano_ by full orchestra with the exception of
trumpets and trombones. The rhythm is nervous, and accentuation gives
the idea of constant syncopation. The second theme, if it may be called
a theme, is not long in entering. The exposition of this movement, in
fact, is uncommonly short. Then follows a long and elaborate
development. In the climax the motto is sounded by the trumpets.

The _scherzo, allegro vivace_, C major, 2-4, has two trios. The
_scherzo_ proper consists of first violin figures in sixteenth notes,
rather simply accompanied. The first trio, in G major, 2-4, is in marked
contrast. The first theme, in lively triplet rhythm, is given chiefly to
wood-wind and horns; it alternates with a quieter, flowing phrase for
strings. This trio is followed by a return of the _scherzo_. The second
trio, in A minor, 2-4, is calm and melodious. The simple theme is sung
at first in full harmony by strings (without double basses) and then
developed against a running contrapuntal figure. The _scherzo_ is
repeated, and, towards the close, trumpets and horns loudly sound the

The third movement, _adagio espressivo_, 2-4, is the development of an
extended _cantilena_ that begins in C minor and ends in E flat major.
Violins first sing it; then the oboe takes it, and the song is more and
more passionate in melancholy until it ends in the wood-wind against
violin trills. This is followed by a contrapuntal episode, which to some
is incongruous in this extremely romantic movement. The melodic
development returns, and ends in C major.

The _finale, allegro molto vivace_, C major, 2-2, opens after two or
three measures of prelude with the first theme of vigorous character
(full orchestra except trombones). This is lustily developed until it
reaches a transitional passage, in which the violins have prominent
figures. All this is in _rondo_ form. The second theme is scored for
violas, violoncellos, clarinets, and bassoons, while violins accompany
with the figures mentioned. This theme recalls the opening song of the
_adagio_. A new theme, formed from development of the recollection, long
hinted at, finally appears in the wood-wind and is itself developed into
a _coda_ of extraordinary length. Figures from the first theme of the
_finale_ are occasionally heard, but the theme itself does not appear in
the _coda_, although there is a reminiscence of a portion of the first
theme of the first movement. The motto is sounded by the brass. There is
a second exultant climax, in which the introductory motive is of great


    I. Vivace
    II. Moderato assai
    III. Allegro non troppo
    IV. Maestoso
    V. Vivace

This music has not the buoyancy and exciting rush of the First symphony,
or the romantic spirit of the one in D minor. Nor are there pages equal
in sheer beauty to those of the _adagio_ in the Second symphony. One
wishes that the first movement was not in so continuously heroic,
exultant vein; that there was at least a breathing spell. The second
movement expresses a sort of clumsy joviality. The third might be a
pretty piano piece that had been orchestrated. The fourth movement, the
“cathedral scene,” is the most impressive portion of the symphony. Here
we have lofty ideas and a solemn, ecstatical mood befitting a gorgeous
ceremony of the holy church.

Schumann’s symphony was intended by him to be a glorification of Rhenish
scenes and Rhenish life. It was composed first of all for Düsseldorf,
the city where he met with many disappointments, many vexations. He was
temperamentally unfitted for the position of city conductor. He did not
have a firm control over the players—in a word he was a composer—a man
of dreams and visions—not an interpreter of works by others, not even of
his own works. It was received coldly when it was first heard. The
compositions that followed showed his failing powers. There were
intrigues that vexed him. Little by little his mind gave way. There was
the attempt at suicide; then madness. But the Schumann of this symphony
was still the composer to be reckoned with.

                                 * * *

The symphony was sketched and orchestrated at Düsseldorf between
November 2 and December 9, 1850. Clara Schumann wrote in her diary,
November 16, 1850: “Robert is now at work on something, I do not know
what; for he has said nothing to me about it.” It was on December 9 that
he surprised her with the symphony. Sir George Grove, for some reason or
other, thought Schumann began to work on it before he left Dresden to
accept the position of City Conductor at Düsseldorf; that he wished to
compose an important work for production at the Lower Rhine Festival.

The first performance of this symphony was in Geisler Hall, Düsseldorf,
at the sixth concert of Der Allgemeine Musikverein, February 6, 1851.
Schumann conducted from manuscript. The reception was cold. Mme Schumann
wrote after the performance that the “creative power of Robert was again
ever new in melody, harmony, and form.... I cannot say which one of the
five movements is my favorite. The fourth is the one that at present is
the least clear to me; that it is most artistically made—that I hear—but
I cannot follow it so well, while there is scarcely a measure in the
other movements that remains unclear to me; and indeed to the layman is
this symphony, especially in its second and third movements, easily

Schumann wrote (March 19, 1851) to the publisher, Simrock, at Bonn: “I
should have been glad to see a greater work published here on the Rhine,
and I mean this symphony, which perhaps mirrors here and there something
of Rhenish life.” It is known that the solemn fourth movement was
inspired by the recollection of the ceremony at Cologne Cathedral at the
installation of the Archbishop of Geissel as Cardinal, at which Schumann
was present (November 12, 1850). Wasielewski quotes the composer as
saying that his intention was to portray in the symphony as a whole the
joyful folk life along the Rhine, “and I think,” said Schumann, “I have
succeeded.” Yet he refrained from writing even explanatory mottoes for
the movements. The fourth movement originally bore the inscription, “In
the character of the accompaniment to a solemn ceremony”; but Schumann
struck this out and said: “One should not show his heart to people; for
a general impression of an art work is more effective; the hearers then,
at least, do not institute any absurd comparison.” The symphony was very
dear to him. He wrote (July 1, 1851) to Carl Reinecke, who made a
four-handed arrangement at Schumann’s wish and to his satisfaction: “It
is always important that a work which cost so much time and labor should
be reproduced in the best possible manner.”

The first movement, _lebhaft_ (lively, animated), E flat major, 3-4,
begins immediately with a strong theme, announced by full orchestra. The
basses take the theme, and violins play a contrasting theme, which is of
importance in the development. The complete statement is repeated; and
the second theme, which is of an elegiac nature, is introduced by oboe
and clarinet and answered by violins and wood-wind. The key is G minor,
with a subsequent modulation to B flat. The fresh rhythm of the first
theme returns. The second portion of the movement begins with the second
theme in the basses, and the two chief themes are developed with more
impartiality than in the first section, where Schumann is loath to lose
sight of the first and more heroic motive. After he introduces towards
the end of the development the first theme in the prevailing tonality,
so that the hearer anticipates the beginning of the reprise, he makes
unexpected modulations, and finally the horns break out with the first
theme in augmentation in E flat major. Impressive passages in
syncopation follow, and trumpets answer, until in an ascending chromatic
climax the orchestra with full force rushes to the first theme. There is
a short _coda_.

The second movement is a _scherzo_ in C major, _sehr mässig_ (very
moderately), in 3-4. William Foster Apthorp found the theme to be “a
modified version of the so-called ‘Rheinweinlied,’” and this theme of “a
rather ponderous joviality” well expresses “the drinkers’ ‘_Uns ist ganz
cannibalisch wohl, als wie fünf hundert Säuen!_’ (As ’twere five hundred
hogs, we feel so cannibalic jolly!) in the scene in Auerbach’s cellar in
Goethe’s _Faust_.” This theme is given out by the violoncellos and is
followed by a livelier contrapuntal counter theme, which is developed
elaborately. In the trio horns and other wind instruments sing a
_cantilena_ in A minor over a long organ-point on C. There is a pompous
repetition of the first and jovial theme in A major; and then the other
two themes are used in combination in their original form. Horns are
answered by strings and wood-wind, but the ending is quiet.

The third movement, _nicht schnell_ (not fast), in A flat major, 4-4, is
really the slow movement of the symphony, the first theme, clarinets and
bassoons over a viola accompaniment, reminding some of Mendelssohn;
others of “_Tu che a Dio spiegasti l’ali_,” in _Lucia di Lammermoor_.
The second theme is a tender melody, not unlike a refrain heard now and
then. On these themes the _romanza_ is constructed.

The fourth movement, _feierlich_, E flat minor, 4-4, is often described
as the “Cathedral scene.” Three trombones are added. The chief motive is
a short figure rather than a theme, which is announced by trombones and
horns. This appears augmented, diminished, and afterwards in 3-2 and
4-2. There is a departure for a short time to B major, but the tonality
of E flat minor prevails to the end.

_Finale_: _lebhaft_, E flat major, 2-2. This movement is said to portray
a Rhenish festival. The themes are of a gay character. Towards the end
the themes of the “Cathedral scene” are introduced, followed by a
brilliant _stretto_. The _finale_ is lively and energetic. The music, as
a rule, the free development of thematic material of the same unvaried

                  SYMPHONY NO. 4, IN D MINOR, OP. 120

    I. Andante; allegro
    II. Romanza
    III. Scherzo
    IV. Largo; finale
      (Played without pause.)

Weingartner regards the D minor symphony of Schumann as inferior to the
first and second of the same composer. I fail to see why. Surely this
symphony does not fall behind its companions; it is the one of
Schumann’s four that can be heard with full enjoyment. The middle
movements breathe a romantic spirit that Schumann himself never
surpassed as expressions of gentle, dreamy melancholy. I know of few
more haunting pages in orchestral music than those of the trio in the

                                 * * *

This symphony was composed in 1841, immediately after the Symphony in B
flat major, No. 1. According to the composer’s notes it was “sketched at
Leipsic in June, 1841, newly orchestrated at Düsseldorf in 1851. The
first performance of the original version was at the Gewandhaus,
Leipsic, under David’s direction. December 6, 1841.” Clara Schumann
wrote in her diary on May 31 of that year: “Robert began yesterday
another symphony, which will be in one movement, and yet contain an
_adagio_ and a _finale_. I have heard nothing about it, yet I see
Robert’s bustle, and I hear the D minor sounding wildly from a distance,
so that I know in advance that another work will be fashioned in the
depths of his soul. Heaven is kindly disposed toward us: Robert cannot
be happier in the composition than I am when he shows me such a work.” A
few days later she wrote: “Robert composes steadily; he has already
completed three movements, and I hope the symphony will be ready by his

Their first child, Marie, was born on September 1, 1841. On the
thirteenth of the month, his wife’s birthday, Marie was baptized and the
mother received from her husband the D minor symphony: “which I have
quietly finished,” he said.

Schumann was not satisfied with the symphony, and he did not publish it.
In December, 1851, he revised the manuscript. During the years between
1841 and 1853 Schumann had composed and published the Symphony in C (No.
2) and the Symphony in E flat (No. 3); the one in D minor was published
therefore as No. 4. In its first form the one in D minor was entitled
“_Symphonische Phantasie_.”

The symphony in the revised and present form was played for the first
time at the seventh concert of the Allgemeine Musikverein at Düsseldorf
on March 3, 1853, in Geisler Hall. Schumann conducted from manuscript.
At this concert selections from the Mass were performed for the first

The concert master, Ruppert Becker, made these entries in his diary
concerning the rehearsals and the first performance of this symphony in

“Tuesday, evening of March 1. Rehearsal for 7th Concert. Symphony by
Schumann for the first time; a somewhat short but thoroughly fresh and
vital piece of music. Wednesday, 2. 9 o’clock in the morning, 2
rehearsal for concert. Thursday, 3. 7th concert: Program.

“Of Schumann compositions these were new: Symphony D minor, which he had
already composed 12 years ago, but had left lying till now. 2 excerpts
from a Mass: both full of the most wonderful harmonies, only possible
with Schumann. I liked the symphony especially on account of its swing.”

The symphony was dedicated to Joseph Joachim. On the title-page of the
manuscript was this inscription: “When the first tones of this symphony
were awakened, Joseph Joachim was still a little fellow; since then the
symphony and still more the boy have grown bigger, wherefore I dedicate
it to him, although only in private. Düsseldorf, December 23, 1853.
Robert Schumann.”

The parts were published in November, 1853. The score was published the
next month.

It was stated for many years that the only changes made by Schumann in
this symphony were in the matter of instrumentation, especially in the
wood-wind. Some time after the death of Schumann the first manuscript
passed into the possession of Johannes Brahms, who finally allowed the
score to be published, edited by Franz Wüllner. It was then found that
the composer had made important alterations in thematic development. He
had cut out elaborate contrapuntal work to gain a broader, simpler, more
rhythmically effective treatment, especially in the last movement. He
had introduced the opening theme of the first movement “as a completion
of the melody begun by the three exclamatory chords which make the
fundamental rhythm at the beginning of the last movement.” And, on the
other hand, some thought the instrumentation of the first version
occasionally preferable on account of clearness to that of the second.

It was Schumann’s wish that the symphony should be played without pauses
between the movements. Mendelssohn expressed the same wish for the
performance of his “_Scotch_” symphony, which was produced nearly four
months after the first performance of this Symphony in D minor.

The first movement begins with an introduction, _ziemlich langsam_ (_un
poco lento_), D minor, 3-4. The first motive is used later in the
“Romanze.” The orchestra gives out an A which serves as background for
this motive in sixths in the second violins, violas, and bassoons. This
figure is worked up contrapuntally. A dominant organ-point appears in
the basses, over which the first violins play an ascending figure; the
time changes from 3-4 to 2-4.

The main body of this movement, _lebhaft_ (_vivace_), in D minor, 2-4,
begins _forte_ with the development of the violin figure just mentioned.
This theme prevails, so that in the first section there is no true
second theme. The characteristic trombone figure reminds one of a
passage in Schumann’s piano Quartet in E flat, Op. 47. There is a heroic
figure in the wood-wind instruments. After the repetition comes a long
free fantasia. The true second theme, sung in F major by first violins,
appears. The development is now perfectly free. There is no third part.

The “Romanze,” _ziemlich langsam_ (_un poco lento_), in D minor—or,
rather, A minor plagal—opens with a mournful melody said to be familiar
in Provence. Schumann intended originally to accompany the song of oboe
and first violoncellos with a guitar. This theme is followed by the
dreamy motive of the introduction. Then the first phrases of the
“Romanze” are sung again by oboe and violoncellos, and there is a second
return of the contrapuntal work—now in D major—with embroidery by a solo
violin. The chief theme brings the movement to a close on the chord of A

The _scherzo, lebhaft_ (_vivace_), in D minor, 3-4, presents the
development of a rising and falling scale-passage of a few notes. The
trio, in B flat major, is of a peculiar and beautiful rhythmic
character. The first beat of the phrase falls constantly on a rest in
all the parts. The melody is almost always in the wood-wind, and the
first violins are used in embroidery. The _scherzo_ is repeated after
the trio, which returns once more as a sort of _coda_.

The _finale_ begins with a short introduction, _langsam_ (_lento_), in B
flat major, and it modulates to D minor, 4-4. The chief theme of the
first movement is worked up against a counter figure in the trombones to
a climax. The main body of the movement _lebhaft_ (_vivace_), in D
major, 4-4, begins with the brilliant first theme, which has the
character of a march, and it is not unlike the theme of the first
movement with its two members transposed. The figure of the trombones in
the introduction enters. The _cantabile_ second theme begins in B minor,
but it constantly modulates in the development. The free fantasia begins
in B minor, with a G (strings, bassoons, trombones), which is answered
by a curious ejaculation by the whole orchestra. There is an elaborate
contrapuntal working out of one of the figures in the first theme. The
third part of the movement begins irregularly with the return of the
second theme in F sharp minor. The second theme enters in the tonic. The
_coda_ begins in the manner of the free fantasia, but in E minor; but
the ejaculations are now followed by the exposition and development of a
passionate fourth theme. There is a free closing passage, _schneller_
(_più moto_), in D major, 2-2.


    I. Allegro
    II. Adagio
    III. Allegro non troppo

After Schumann heard for the first time Mendelssohn play his own
Concerto in G minor, he wrote that he would never dream of composing a
concerto in three movements, each one complete in itself. It is said
that he began to write a pianoforte concerto when he was only seventeen
and ignorant of musical form; that in 1836 he sketched a concerto in F
major when he was living at Heidelberg. In January, 1839, he wrote from
Vienna to Clara Wieck, his betrothed: “My concerto is a compromise
between a symphony, a concerto, and a huge sonata. I see I cannot write
a concerto for the virtuosos: I must plan something else.” The key was
not mentioned.

The first movement of the Concerto in A minor was written at Leipsic in
the summer of 1841—it was begun in May. It was then called “_Phantasie_”
in A minor, and was not intended for the movement of a concerto. It was
played for the first time by Clara Schumann, on August 13, 1841, at a
private rehearsal in the Gewandhaus, Leipsic. This rehearsal was for the
changes made in Schumann’s First symphony. Schumann wished in 1843 or
1844 to publish the work as an _allegro affettuoso_, also as _Concert
Allegro_, for pianoforte with orchestral accompaniment, “Op. 48,” but he
could not find a publisher. The _intermezzo_ and _finale_ were composed
at Dresden, May-July, 1845. Clara wrote in her diary on July 31, 1845:
“Robert has finished his concerto and given it to the copyists.”

The whole concerto was played for the first time by Clara Schumann at
her concert, December 4, 1845, in the Hall of the Hôtel de Saxe,
Dresden, from manuscript. The second performance was at Leipsic, January
1, 1846, when Clara Schumann was the pianist and Mendelssohn conducted.
Verhulst attended a rehearsal, and said that the performance was rather
poor; the passage in the _finale_ with the puzzling rhythms “did not go
at all.”

I. _Allegro affettuoso_, A minor, 4-4. After a short pianoforte prelude,
the first period of the first theme is announced by wind instruments.
The antithesis, which is almost an exact repetition of the thesis, is
for the pianoforte. The second theme is practically a new version of the
first and may be considered as a new development of it. The free
fantasia begins _andante espressivo_, A flat major, 6-4. The
recapitulation section is almost a repetition of the first. There is an
elaborate _cadenza_ for the pianoforte before the _coda_, which is an
_allegro molto_, A minor, 2-4.

II. _Intermezzo_: _andante grazioso_, F major, 2-4. The movement is in
simple _romanza_ form. Dialogue between solo instrument and orchestra;
then more emotional phrases for violoncellos, violins, etc. (accompanied
by pianoforte _arpeggios_). At the close there are hints at the first
theme of the first movement, which lead directly to the _finale_.

III. _Allegro vivace_, A major, 3-4. The movement is in sonata form. The
pianoforte gives out the chief theme. After a modulation to E major, the
second theme is for the pianoforte. This theme is distinguished by
constantly syncopated rhythm. A contrasting theme is developed in florid
fashion by the pianoforte. The free fantasia begins with a short
orchestral _fugato_ on the first theme. The third part begins
irregularly in D major, with the first theme as an orchestral _tutti_.
There is a long _coda_.

  In each of his four symphonies Schumann used two flutes, two oboes,
  two clarinets, two bassoons, four horns (two horns sufficed for the
  Second symphony), two trumpets, three trombones, kettledrums, and
  strings. For the piano concerto, he used the same orchestration, with
  two horns, and omitting the trombones.—EDITOR.

                        ALEXANDER NICOLAIEVITCH

 (Born at Moscow on Christmas Day, 1871; died there on April 14, 1915)


A singular and at times interesting composition. Victor Hugo has said
that agony when at its height is mute. Some, on hearing Scriabin’s
score, have wished, no doubt, that this were true of ecstasy. Is the
music really ecstatic? There are anthropological sociologists who find
extreme voluptuousness in physical pain. Mantegazza has a chapter on
this subject, a chapter that is not for the _jeune fille_. We are told
that Scriabin in this music wished to express the ecstasy of untrammeled
action, the joy in creative activity. Let the poem he wrote, and the
title, be put aside; there are fine and original passages in the
composition, and there is certainly untrammeled action. The themes
themselves are not important, not expressive, not significant enough to
warrant the extravagant development and the polyphonic complexity. There
is also irritating repetition.

                                 * * *

“_Le Poème de l’Extase_” was performed for the first time by the Russian
Symphony Society of New York in New York, December 10, 1908. Modeste
Altschuler conducted. We were indebted to Mr. Altschuler in 1910 for the
following information about _The Poem of Ecstasy_:

“While I was in Switzerland during the summer of 1907 at Scriabin’s
villa, he was all taken up with the work, and I watched its progress
with keen interest. The composer of the _Poème de l’Extase_ has sought
to express therein something of the emotional (and therefore musically
communicable) side of his philosophy of life. Scriabin is neither a
pantheist nor a theosophist, yet his creed includes ideas somewhat
related to each of these schools of thought. There are three divisions
in his poem: 1. His soul in the orgy of love; 2. The realization of a
fantastical dream; 3. The glory of his own art.”

Mr. Modeste Altschuler has interesting letters written by Scriabin
covering the period of his sojourn in the United States and Mr.
Altschuler’s journey to Russia in 1907, the aim of which was to secure a
subsidy from the Russian government for the Russian Symphony Orchestra
in New York. Scriabin was very anxious to assist Mr. Altschuler in his
mission. The letters plainly indicate his anxiety. Those letters will
appear in Mr. Altschuler’s _Memoirs_, which a Russian historian was
taking down in November, 1930, when Mr. Altschuler was conductor of the
Hollywood Symphony Orchestra.

Scriabin wrote from Paris in the spring of 1907 that he had finished The
Poem of Ecstasy. The revised instrumentation now in use was made that
summer (1907) by the composer and Modeste Altschuler together, in
Switzerland, where they spent two weeks together.

It has been said that the subject of _Le Poème de l’Extase_ begins where
that of _Le divin Poème_ leaves off. The three divisions of the latter
symphony, movements joined together without a pause, are “Luttes,”
“Voluptés,” “Jeu divin” (creative force consciously exercised).

_Le Poème de l’Extase_ was completed in January, 1908, in Switzerland,
the month of the Fifth sonata, which, it is said, was written in three
or four days. It is scored for these instruments: piccolo, three flutes,
three oboes, English horn, three clarinets, bass clarinet, three
bassoons, double bassoon, eight horns, five trumpets, three trombones,
bass tuba, kettledrums, bass drum, cymbals, triangle, tam-tam, bells,
deep chime in C, celesta, two harps, organ, and the usual strings.

Scriabin wrote a poem in Russian for this orchestral composition. The
poem was published at Geneva, Switzerland, 1906. Mr. Altschuler kindly
lent his copy of it. A literal translation into English was made by Mrs.
Lydia L. Pimenov-Noble of Boston expressly for the Boston Symphony
Programme Book of October 22, 1910. The poem is very long, too long for
reprinting. There are verses that recur like a refrain, especially the
first lines:

  _The Spirit,
  Winged by the thirst for life,
  Takes flight
  On the heights of negation.
  There in the rays of his dream
  Arises a magic world
  Of marvelous images and feelings.
      The Spirit playing,
      The Spirit longing,
  The Spirit with fancy creating all,
  Surrenders himself to the bliss of love._

The poem ends with a rhapsodic invocation of the poet to the world he
has created:

      _“O pure aspirations,
      I create thee,
      A complex entity.
          A feeling of bliss
      Embracing all of you.
      I am a moment illuminating eternity.
      I am affirmation,
      I am ecstasy.”
      By a general conflagration
      The universe is embraced.
  The Spirit is at the height of being.
  And he feels
  The tide unending
  Of the divine power,
  Of free will.
  He is all-daring,
      What menaced—
      Now is excitement,
      What terrified
  Is now delight;
  And the bites of panthers and hyenas have become
  But a new caress,
      A new pang,
      And the sting of the serpent
  But a burning kiss.
  And the universe resounded
      With a joyful cry,
      “I am.”_

                         JEAN JULIUS CHRISTIAN

            (Born at Tavastehus, Finland, December 8, 1865)

Some, judging the music of Sibelius or rhapsodizing over it, have laid
great stress on the fact that Finland is a wild and desolate country.
They therefore argue that the music of Sibelius must be bleak and grim.
They are also convinced that Sibelius himself must be a stern-visaged
man, something of a Berserk, savage and unapproachable, to write as he
does. But travelers assure us that in Finland there are smiling
landscapes, and we know from personal acquaintance that Mr. Sibelius,
like Baptista Minola in the comedy, is “an affable and courteous
gentleman.” We doubt if climatic conditions, the constitutional
qualities or the passive mood of a man necessarily affect his music.
Beethoven was in doleful dumps when he wrote one of his most cheerful
symphonies. We have heard music by contemporaneous Italian composers
that is more barbaric, gloomier than the great majority of that by
Scandinavian or Russian musicians.

                   SYMPHONY NO. 1, IN E MINOR, OP. 39

    I. Andante ma non troppo; allegro energico
    II. Andante ma non troppo lento
    III. Allegro
    IV. Finale (quasi una fantasia): andante; allegro molto

There is a marked difference between the mood and the orchestral
expression of this First symphony and those of the composer’s Fifth and
Seventh. Sibelius was not young in years when he wrote the First—he was
thirty-four—but this symphony was the work of one musically young. It is
seldom that a first symphony rests on firm foundations architectonically
planned, logically continuous in flow of musical thought, as is the
First symphony of Brahms, who had written much chamber music before he
ventured into the symphonic field.

The musical thoughts of a symphonic composer meditating his first work
of long breath are many; they are often yeasty in their exuberance.
There is not yet in the joy of composing the ability to eliminate. There
is so much to say; all of it is thought important, essential.

Yet this exuberance when it expresses itself in a fantastical manner is
not displeasing. Better wild irregularity, barbaric force than the smug
aping of orthodox and approved predecessors. In the first symphony he
did not escape the influence of Tchaikovsky, an influence shown
particularly in the second movement. But the voice of Sibelius himself
speaks in no uncertain tones: a virile voice that has new things to say;
is not ashamed of screaming outbursts, sudden contrasts; not a whining
egoist, not a despairing pessimist; a strong soul not disturbed by the
sensuous charm of woman.

And so this symphony is more than conventionally interesting. It is
dramatic, as if Sibelius had had a drama in his mind, perhaps one of his
own life. The music is free, outspoken. It is without fear of the
learned professor at the conservatory. One might say of the symphony,
one hears this music and is in the mighty presence of a man.

                                 * * *

The First symphony was composed in 1899 and published in 1902. The first
performance was at Helsingfors on April 26, 1899. The symphony was
played in Berlin at a concert of Finnish music, led by Robert Kajanus,
in July, 1900.

I. Introduction: _andante ma non troppo_, E minor, 2-2. Over a drum roll
that rises and falls in intensity a clarinet sings a mournful melody,
which is of much importance in the _finale_ of the symphony.

The first violins, after the short introduction, give out the first
theme with imitative passages for violas and violoncellos, _allegro
energico_, E minor, 6-4. There are two subsidiary motives: one for wind
instruments, and one, derived from this last, for strings. A _crescendo_
leads to a climax, with the proclamation of the first chief theme by
full orchestra with a furious drum roll. The second and contrasting
chief motive is given to the flutes, _piano ma marcato_, against
tremulous violins and violas and delicate harp chords. The conclusion of
this theme is developed and given to the flutes with syncopated rhythm
for the strings. The pace is quickened, and there is a _crescendo_,
which ends in B minor. The free fantasia is of a passionate nature with
passages that suggest mystery; heavy chords for wind instruments are
bound together with chromatic figures for the strings; wood-wind
instruments shriek out cries with the interval of a fourth; cries that
are taken from one in the introduction; the final section of the second
theme is sung by two violins with strange figures for the strings,
_pianissimo_, and with rhythms taken from the second chief theme. These
rhythms in the course of a powerful _crescendo_ dominate at last. The
first chief theme endeavors to assert itself, but it is lost in
descending chromatic figures. Again there is a _crescendo_, and the
strings have the second subsidiary theme, which is developed until the
wild entrance of the first chief motive. The orchestra rages until,
after a great outburst and with clash of cymbals, a diminuendo leads to
gentle echoes of the conclusion of the second theme. Now the second
theme tries to enter, but without the harp chords that first accompanied
it. Rhythms that are derived from it lead to defiant blasts of the brass
instruments. The movement ends in this mood.

II. _Andante, ma non troppo lento_, E flat major, 2-2.

“The _adagio_ (_andante_) is steeped in his proper pathos, the pathos of
brief, bland summers, of light that falls for a moment, gentle and
mellow, and then dies away. Something like a memory of a girl sitting
amid the simple flowers in the white Northern sunshine haunts the last
few measures.”[45]

“The _andante_ is purest folk melody; and it is strange how we know
this, though we do not know the special tune.”[46]

III. _Allegro_, C major, 3-4. The chief theme of the _scherzo_ may be
said to have the characteristically national humor, which seems to
Southern nations wild and heavily fantastical. The second theme is of a
lighter and more graceful nature. The trio, E major, is of a somewhat
more tranquil nature.

IV. _Finale_ (_quasi una fantasia_), E minor. The _finale_ begins with
the melody of the introduction of the first movement. It is now of an
epic, tragic nature, and not merely melancholy. There are hints in the
lower strings at the chief theme, which at last appears, 2-4, in the
wood-wind. This theme has a continuation which later has much
importance. The prevailing mood of the _finale_ is one of wild and
passionate restlessness, but the second chief theme, _andante assai_, is
a broad, dignified, melodious motive for violins.

“The substratum [of the symphony] is national; in fact, one may say that
if the principal subjects are predominantly Slavonic in character, the
subsidiary ones are often distinctly Finnish, and the atmosphere of
storm and conflict which pervades the entire work is largely the outcome
of a kind of revolt on the part of this thematic rank and file against
their lords and masters. In this way the symphony presents a symbolical
picture of Finnish insurrection against Russian tyranny and oppression.
Not that I would suggest for a moment that the composer had any such
purpose in mind while writing it, but there would be nothing surprising
if there were an unconscious correspondence between the state of mind of
the composer and the position of his unhappy country at the time when
the symphony was conceived, at the very height of the Tsarist
persecution. On the contrary, it would be surprising if there were

                   SYMPHONY NO. 2, IN D MAJOR, OP. 43

    I. Allegretto
    II. Tempo andante ma rubato
    III. Vivacissimo; lento e suave
    IV. Finale: allegro moderato

Mr. Paul Rosenfeld, who writes about certain modern composers as if he
had summered and wintered with them and been through them with a dark
lantern, finds this symphony of a “pastoral” nature, full of “home
sounds, of cattle.” The music reveals a “pale, evanescent sunlight,” and
through the music sounds “the burden of a lowly tragedy.” This is
entertaining reading, to be sure, but to be charged with these
impressions Mr. Rosenfeld must have heard a tea-table performance of the
symphony. There is almost continually the tragic note in the music, but
the tragedy is hardly “lowly.”

This music is extremely Northern, at times bleak and windswept.
Arresting and impressive music; and lo, suddenly Sibelius drops into
Tchaikovskian mood, and even speaks the self-torturing Russian’s speech.
Yet Sibelius is generally in the foreground, and his speech is generally
his own. It is when he would touch the heart of the public that
Tchaikovsky pushes him aside. There is much of interest in the symphony
besides the peculiar esthetic and racial quality: there are qualities of
the orchestration that hold the attention and excite admiration, as the
long _pizzicato_ figure for the double basses.

                                 * * *

This symphony, composed in 1901-02, was produced at Helsingfors, March
8, 1902, at a concert given by the composer.

According to Georg Schneevoight, an intimate friend of Sibelius, the
composer’s intention was to depict in the first movement the quiet,
pastoral life of the Finns undisturbed by thought of oppression. The
second movement is charged with patriotic feeling, but the thought of a
brutal rule over the people brings with it timidity of soul. The third,
in the nature of a _scherzo_, portrays the awakening of national
feeling, the desire to organize in defense of their rights, while in the
_finale_ hope enters their breasts and there is comfort in the
anticipated coming of a deliverer.

I. _Allegretto_, D major, with various rhythms, that of 6-4
predominating. The movement begins with an accompaniment figure for
strings, which reappears in the course of the development. The quaint
first theme is announced by oboes and clarinets. This theme is worked,
and secondary motives are introduced, to be used again later. A passage
for strings _pizzicato_ leads to a theme given out by flutes, oboes, and
clarinets in octaves; bassoons and brass instruments sustain, and the
strings have the characteristic strumming heard at the beginning. After
the free fantasia a prolonged tremolo of strings leads to the
recapitulation. The quaint first theme appears again in the wood-wind,
but the accompaniment is more elaborate. The second theme is again
announced by wind instruments, and at the end there is the initial
figure of accompaniment.

II. _Tempo andante ma rubato_, D minor, 4-4, 3-8, 4-4. On a roll of
kettledrums, double basses begin _pizzicato_, a figure which is finally
taken up by violoncellos, and serves as an accompaniment for a mournful
theme sung by the bassoons in octaves. The movement becomes more
animated and more dramatic. After a climax _fortississimo, molto
largamente_, the second and expressive theme is sung by some of the
first violins, violas, violoncellos (F sharp major, _andante
sostenuto_), accompanied at first by strings and then by running
passages in flutes and bassoons. This theme, now in wood-wind
instruments, is accompanied by running passages for violins. The first
theme returns in F sharp minor, and is developed to another climax,
after which the second theme enters in D minor, and toward the close
there are hints at the first motive.

III. _Vivacissimo_, B flat major, 6-8. The movement begins with a nimble
theme for violins. There is a short development, and flute and bassoon
announce the second theme, against the rhythm of the first, which
returns against a _tremolo_ of wood-wind instruments supported by brass
and kettledrums. _Lento e suave_, G flat major, 12-4. The oboe has the
theme over sustained chords for bassoons and horns. This section, which
serves here as a trio to a _scherzo_, is short. There is a repetition,
with changes of the opening section. The oboe sounds again the theme of
the trio, and there is a free transition to the _finale_ without any

IV. _Finale_: _allegro moderato_, D major, 3-2. The movement is
fashioned after the general style of a _rondo_ on a short and simple
theme announced immediately by violins, violas, and violoncellos. There
are less important motives which serve as thematic material, and there
are modifications of tonality and tempo. The movement ends in a sonorous
apotheosis, _molto largamente_.

                   SYMPHONY NO. 4, IN A MINOR, OP. 63

    I. Tempo molto moderato quasi adagio
    II. Allegro molto vivace
    III. Il tempo largo
    IV. Allegro

The fourth symphony is strangely different in character from those that
precede and follow it. Was Sibelius experimenting, endeavoring to strike
out a new path? Was he dissatisfied with the result? When it was
performed in New York as a new piece, Mr. Henderson, the most
sympathetic of those reviewing the symphony, thought that Sibelius had
“parted company with himself and joined the futurists.” One of the
critics went so far as to describe the work as “inconsequential as the
ravings of a drunken man.” This was an absurd opinion, for, whatever may
be said of the symphony, it is not “inconsequential”; it was planned
deliberately; one might say, from the lack of emotional quality, planned
in cold blood.

Perhaps there was an argument in his mind. Perhaps he had been hearing
_Parsifal_, for there are times in the symphony when one is reminded of
Amfortas with his complaining voice. Not that Sibelius was obliged to
borrow phrases; but the mood of the composer and that of the wounded
knight are at times alike. There is also the suggestion of similar
harmonic and orchestral, but not melodic expression.

The thematic material is for the most part cool, contemplative, often
fragmentary, or purposely incomplete. The melancholy that drips from the
pages is almost without relief. Nor does one find the symphony of
“baffling simplicity” as a London reviewer found it a few years ago. The
“simplicity” was carefully contrived. There is little real beauty, frank
or subtle—there is little that impresses by loftiness of thought, or
nobility of expression. There is prevailing sobriety. Sibelius might
say, “That is the way I felt when I wrote it. I could not write
otherwise any more than I could then feel differently.” Is it not a
significant fact that Sibelius soon left this path that he had found?

                                 * * *

This symphony, dated 1911, was performed at Helsingfors in that year.
The score is dedicated to Eero Järnefelt.

The reviewer for the London _Times_ noted (February 28, 1921) that there
was moderate applause after a performance, and added: “After all, what
was there to make a fuss about? No accumulation of energy, no building
to a climax, no display of rhetoric; just a number of ideas, each dwelt
on as long as it showed capacity for growth, each left as soon as it had
generated another; there is just enough relevance to defeat the charge
of inconsequence, not enough arrangement to suggest a moment’s
tautology. The fineness of this symphony is of the ascetic type which
refuses the luxuries of sound and finds a miracle in the simplest
relations of notes. From these relations the tunes grow naturally as
folk tunes grow. From the intonation of two notes at the outset comes
the whole of the first movement; a perfect fifth is the source of the
most expansive melody which crowns the third movement. There is nothing
abstruse about it; people only fail to understand it because they cannot
believe that any man could be so simple and so real as Sibelius shows
himself to be.”

Mr. Fox Strangways wrote (February 21, 1932): “Sibelius has, what only
the best composers have, the flair for the phrase that will repay
investigation. His phrase on paper impresses no one; when you hear it,
spaced out, set in relief, debated upon, it grows life size. He seems to
go on for minutes together in an ordinary tone of voice, and then
suddenly an idea stings him, and he is afire, and the whole room hanging
on his lips.”

“The complete absence of sensuous appeal in this work,” writes Cecil
Gray, “coupled with the exacting demands it makes upon the intelligence
of audiences, will always prevent it from being popular. For the few,
however, it probably constitutes Sibelius’s greatest achievement; he has
certainly never written anything to surpass it.”

                SYMPHONY NO. 5, IN E FLAT MAJOR, OP. 82

    I. Tempo molto moderato; allegro moderato
    II. Andante mosso, quasi allegretto
    III. Allegro molto: un pochettino largamente

There is not a sensuous note, not a single bid for immediate popularity;
but there is something in the symphony that will be permanent. It is
skillfully constructed in a new manner; skillfully scored with most
ingenious effects not too laboriously contrived, and with a
comparatively small orchestra. The young composer of today, looking at
the score, will rub his eyes in wonder and exclaim: “What! No English
horn, no bass clarinet, only four horns, no celesta, xylophone, harp,
tam-tam? What’s the man thinking about?”

But Sibelius has ideas. He feels deeply; he pours out his emotions; he
snaps his fingers at decorations, at sensational effects, at sugared
pages sure to please. When he is in lighter mood it is only for a
moment; the eternal questions asked since the beginning of time are ever
in his mind; yet serious, he is not dull, he does not sermonize. He
writes music first of all to free himself of what is in his heart and
brain and must out.

This man of the North knows the exciting effect of oriental repetition
in phrase and rhythm, and on these repetitions he rears imposing musical
structures. There are measures to which dervishes might whirl, rays of
the sun break through the clouds, yet we prefer Sibelius when the sky is

                                 * * *

This symphony was composed before the World War. It was performed at
Helsingfors as early as the spring of 1914. It is said that the symphony
was revised before performances in other cities, among them Stockholm.

The first two movements are here played as one.

When the symphony was performed in London the _Daily Telegraph_ had this
to say: “It is true that this symphony is designed on broader lines than
its predecessor; it contains more positive statement of its ideas, many
of which are of the simplest melodic kind, that the coloring is richer
and fuller, with more use of the effects of orchestral masses....

“The first two movements are closely linked together by a four-note
motto theme which pervades the greater part of the subject matter of
both; they are distinguished by contrast of mood. The first is a
dreaming fantasy in which many motives and forces contend; the second
unifies them in a more closely knit _scherzo_ rhythm. Through both of
them the strings supply in an uneasy background of shimmering sound,
while the voices of the wind instruments are more closely articulated.

“The third movement is _andante quasi allegretto_. The rather dry
rhythmic pattern of the chief theme is discussed among the instruments
in a way which is strangely Mozart-like, and marks more definitely
Sibelius’s abstracted devotion to pure beauty of design. The _finale_
launches out into a franker expression of feeling. Its second subject
makes an almost passionate appeal on its first revival, and this appeal
is intensified in the long development of it which leads to the _coda_.
Yet somehow this ending left the feeling that the composer had not
allowed himself to say all that he meant, or the thing which he meant
most of all. This may have been partly in the playing, for Sibelius is a
difficult conductor to follow.

“Sibelius, both as composer and conductor, stands apart, a lonely figure
seeking with difficulty to bring the ideals which are intensely real to
him into touch with other minds. Possibly it is his struggle for
expression which sometimes recalls Beethoven as one listens to him.”

                        SYMPHONY NO. 7, OP. 105
                          (_In one movement_)

Mr. Lawrence Gilman was right in characterizing Sibelius’ Seventh
symphony as “enigmatic, puissant.” Is it also, as he says, “strangely
moving”? It is not a symphony for an afternoon’s careless pleasure.

The music of Sibelius seldom accepts the canons of obvious beauty. His
musical soul is proud, regardless of popular applause. In his latest
works he seems to be writing for himself; to be absorbed in
introspection and the expression of what he finds that is dear and
important to himself alone. There are noble ideas, fleeting and haunting
passages, in this symphony, but the plan and the conclusion of the whole
are not easily grasped.

                                 * * *

It has been said that this symphony, published in 1925, was composed
with the view of producing it under the direction of the composer at an
English music festival. Sickness prevented his going to England. The
symphony was performed in Philadelphia by the Philadelphia Orchestra,
Mr. Stokowski conductor, on April 3, 1926.

There is no designation of key. The opening measures are in A minor; the
ending is in C major.

The first section is a somber _adagio_. It opens with an ascending
scale, 3-2 time for the strings. This is the basic theme of the
symphony, appearing as a whole, in fragments, or inverted. A lyric theme
follows, C major, for violas (divided) and violoncellos. The violins
join later. There is a melody, somewhat like a chant for a solo
trombone. This later assumes marked importance. The pace grows faster,
until it is _vivacissimo_, C minor. Mr. Gilman, in his lucid notes for
the Philadelphia Programme Book, finds that the subject now announced by
the strings “recalls the mood of the _scherzo_ of Beethoven’s
‘_Eroica_.’” The _adagio_ tempo recurs, as does the trombone theme,
which the brass section enlarges. Change in tempo: _allegro molto
moderato_. There is a new motive, C major, 6-4, simple, in folk manner;
still another motive with wood-wind “doubled in pairs, playing in
thirds, fifths and sixths.” The development is for strings and wind.
_Vivace_, E flat major. Antiphonal measures for strings and wood-wind.
“The tempo becomes _presto_, the key C major. The strings, divided in
eight parts, begin a mysteriously portentous passage, at first
_pianississimo_, with the violas and violoncellos defining an urgent
figure against a reiterated pedal G of the violins, basses, and tympani.
A _crescendo_, _rallentando_, is accompanied by a fragment of the basic
scale passage, in augmentation, for the horns. The tempo is again
_adagio_; and now the chant-like C major theme is heard once more from
the brass choir, against mounting figurations of the strings. There is a
climax _fortissimo_, for the whole orchestra. The strings are heard
alone, _largamente molto_, in an _affettuoso_ of intense expression.
Flute and bassoon in octaves, supported by soft string tremolos, sing a
plaint. The strings, _dolce_, in syncopated rhythm, modulate through
seventh chords in A flat and G to a powerful suspension, _fortissimo_,
on the tonic chord of C major; and this brings to a close the enigmatic,
puissant, and strangely moving work.”[48]

  The instrumentation which Sibelius calls for in his Seventh symphony
  is typical of the severely “classical” orchestration which was the
  basis of his symphonies in general: two flutes, two oboes, two
  clarinets, two bassoons, four horns, three trumpets, three trombones,
  kettledrums, and strings. This was also the instrumentation of the
  Third, Fourth, Fifth, and Sixth (although, for episodic purposes, a
  glockenspiel was added to the Fourth, and a bass clarinet and harp to
  the Sixth). The First symphony had a richer bass and percussion—bass
  tuba, bass drum, cymbals, triangle, and harp were used (compare the
  orchestration of _Finlandia_ and _The Swan of Tuonela_ of the same
  early period). When he wrote his Second symphony, Sibelius dropped all
  these instruments of percussion. The tuba he kept for the Second, but
  he did not use it again in his symphonies.—EDITOR.


It is said that _Finlandia_, although it was composed as far back as
1894, evokes such enthusiasm in the composer’s native land that
performance of it was forbidden by the oppressing Russian. The question
is, does _Finlandia_ evoke enthusiasm in Madrid, Dresden, Boston? For
after all it is something more than a national document. It is
picturesque, with suggestions of prayers and hymns, revolts and

There is more of Finland in the symphonies, the violin concerto, and _A
Saga_ of Sibelius than in his _Finlandia_, which is hot with the spirit
of revolt. No doubt he wrote this music with a patriotic heart, but
patriotism is not an essential quality in a musical work of art.

                                 * * *

_Finlandia: Tondight for orkester_, Op. 26, No. 7, was composed in 1894.
It is not a fantasia on genuine folk tunes. The composer is the
authority for this statement. Mrs. Newmarch says: “Like Glinka, Sibelius
avoids the crude material of the folk song; but like this great national
poet, he is so penetrated by the spirit of his race that he can evolve a
national melody calculated to deceive the elect. On this point the
composer is emphatic, ‘There is a mistaken impression among the press
abroad,’ he has assured me, ‘that my themes are often folk melodies. So
far I have never used a theme that was not of my own invention. Thus the
thematic material of _Finlandia_ and _En Saga_ is entirely my own.’”

The following note is from a programme of the Russian Symphony Society:

“_Finlandia_, though without explanatory subtitle, seems to set forth an
impression of the national spirit and life.... The work records the
impressions of an exile’s return home after a long absence. An agitated,
almost angry theme for the brass choir, short and trenchant, begins the
introduction, _andante sostenuto_ (_alla breve_). This theme is answered
by an organ-like response in the wood-wind, and then a prayerful passage
for strings, as though to reveal the essential earnestness and
reasonableness of the Finnish people, even under the stress of national
sorrow. This leads to an _allegro moderato_ episode, in which the
restless opening theme is proclaimed by the strings against a very
characteristic rhythmic figure, a succession of eight beats, the first
strongly accented.... With a change to _allegro_ the movement, looked at
as an example of the sonata form, may be said to begin. A broad,
cheerful theme by the strings in A flat, against the persistent rhythm
in the brass, is followed by a second subject, introduced by the
wood-wind and taken up by the strings, then by the ’cello and first
violin. This is peaceful and elevated in character, and might be looked
upon as prophetic of ultimate rest and happiness. The development of
these musical ideas carries the tone poem to an eloquent conclusion.”

_Finlandia_ is scored for two flutes, two oboes, two clarinets, two
bassoons, four horns, three trumpets, three trombones, bass tuba,
kettledrums, bass drum, cymbals, triangle and strings.

                          FOLK EPIC “KALEVALA”

Here is no swan, singing before death, a fable that suggested to
Villiers de l’Isle-Adam one of his cruelest tales, and served Anna
Pavlowa for an entrancing, memorable dance-pantomime to Saint-Saëns’
familiar music. This is the swan that glides and sings on the river of
black water around Tuonela, the Kingdom of Death. Sibelius, to whom the
Finnish epic _Kalevala_ furnished subjects for several of his earlier
compositions, by economic means, by an unerring choice of his
instruments, portrays the scene and gives the song—after the hearer is
acquainted with the explanatory note in the score. Suppose that the
hearer had no knowledge of the legend, had never read of Lemminkainen’s
adventures; how, to win the maid Pohjola, he set out to accomplish
certain tasks, among them to shoot a swan on this River of Death. How
would the hearer then be impressed? Surely he would be moved by the
strangeness of the music, by the mysterious first measures, by the
unearthly melancholy of the song, by the quiet intensity of it all. He
would find in the music a tragic mood, simply but unmistakably
expressed. To us this legend of Sibelius, for itself, is commanding

                                 * * *

_The Swan of Tuonela_ is the third section of a symphonic poem
_Lemminkainen_, in four parts, Op. 22, 1. “Lemminkainen and the
Maidens”; 2. “His Sojourn in Tuonela”; 3. “The Swan of Tuonela”; 4.
“Lemminkainen Homefaring.” These pieces are drawn from the Finnish epic
_Kalevala_. A note on the score of _The Swan of Tuonela_ runs thus:
“Tuonela, the Kingdom of Death, the Hades of Finnish mythology, is
surrounded by a broad river of black water and rapid current, in which
the Swan of Tuonela glides in majestic fashion and sings.”

Lemminkainen is one of the four principal heroes of the _Kalevala_. Mr.
W. F. Kirby, in his translation of the epic, describes him as a “jovial,
reckless personage, always getting into serious scrapes, from which he
escapes either by his own skill in magic or by his mother’s. His love
for his mother is the redeeming feature in his character. One of his
names is Kaukomieli, and he is, in part, the original of Longfellow’s

In the thirteenth and fourteenth Runos, it is told how Lemminkainen asks
the old woman of Pohja for her daughter Pohjola. She demands that he
should first accomplish certain tasks: to capture on snowshoes the elk
of Hiisi; to bridle fire-breathing steeds. Succeeding in these
adventures, he is asked to shoot a swan on the river of Tuonela.

  _I will only give my daughter,
  Give the youthful bride you seek for,
  If the river swan you shoot me,
  Shoot the great bird on the river;
  There on Tuoni’s murky river,
  In the sacred river’s whirlpool,
  Only at a single trial,
  Using but a single arrow._

Lemminkainen came to the river. A cowherd, Märkähattu, old and
sightless, who had long waited for him, slew him there by sending a
serpent “like a reed from out the billows” through the hero’s heart, and
cast the body into the stream. Lemminkainen floated on to Tuonela’s
dread dwelling. The son of Tuoni cut the body into pieces. The hero’s
mother, learning of his fate, raked the water under the cataract till
she found all the fragments. She joined them together and restored her
son to life by charms and magic salves, so that he could return home
with her.

The piece is written in A minor, _andante molto sostenuto_ 9-4 time.
Mrs. Rosa Newmarch (_Jean Sibelius_) says of it:

“The majestic but intensely sad, swan-like melody is heard as a solo for
_cor-anglais_, accompanied at first by muted strings and the soft roll
of drums. Now and then this melody is answered by a phrase given to
first violoncello or viola, which might be interpreted as the farewell
sigh of some soul passing to Tuonela. For many bars the brass is silent,
until suddenly the first horn (muted) echoes a few notes of the swan
melody with the most poignant effect. Gradually the music works up to a
great climax, indicated _con gran suono_, followed by a treble
_pianissimo_, the strings playing with the back of the bow. To this
accompaniment, which suggests the faint flapping of pinions, the swan’s
final phrases are sung. The strings return to the natural bowing and the
work ends in one of the characteristic, sighing phrases for

The second theme is given out by the strings to a slow but rhythmed
accompaniment of wood-wind, brass, and drums.

The score calls for oboe, English horn (solo), bass clarinet, two
bassoons, four horns, three trombones, kettledrums, bass drum, harp, and
the usual strings.


                    (Born at Munich, June 11, 1864)


Some of Strauss’s wild-eyed worshipers, not content with the quotations
that serve as mottoes, have invented ingenious analyses in which we are
told the precise meaning of each theme in _Don Juan_, and how this
section represents his passion for a widow and that for a maiden. But
did not Strauss himself say that the theme which represents, according
to an analyst, Don Juan rushing off to new triumphs was intended as his
drunken entrance into a ballroom? And is it not possible that when
Strauss wrote down this theme he attached no specific and minute
significance to it? No, there is no need of the showman with blackboard
and rod while this music is playing. “Don Juan—after Lenau’s poem” is
enough; and merely _Don Juan_ might serve.

A daring, brilliant composition: one that paints the hero as might a
master’s brush on canvas. How expressive the themes! How daring the
treatment of them! What fascinating, irresistible insolence, glowing
passion, and then the taste of Dead Sea fruit!

                                 * * *

_Don Juan_, composed at Munich 1887-88, is known as the first of
Strauss’s symphonic or tone poems, but _Macbeth_, Op. 23, was composed
at Munich, 1886-87 (revised in 1890 at Weimar), and published later
(1891). _Don Juan_ was published in 1890. The first performance of _Don
Juan_ was at the second subscription concert of the Grand Ducal Court
Orchestra of Weimar in the fall of 1889.

The work is scored for three flutes (and piccolo), two oboes, English
horn, two clarinets, two bassoons, double bassoon, four horns, three
trumpets, three trombones, tuba, kettledrums, triangle, cymbals,
glockenspiel, harp, strings. The score is dedicated “To my dear friend,
Ludwig Thuille,” a composer and teacher, born at Bozen in 1861, who was
a fellow student at Munich. Thuille died in 1907.

Strauss’s hero is Lenau’s, in search of the ideal woman. Not finding one
reaching his standard, disgusted with life, he practically commits
suicide by dropping his sword when fighting a duel with a man whose
father he had killed. Before this Don Juan dies, he provides in his will
for the women he had seduced and forsaken.

Lenau wrote his poem in 1844. It is said that his third revision was
made in August and September of that year at Vienna and Stuttgart. After
September he wrote no more, for he went mad, and he was mad until he
died in 1850. The poem, “Eitel nichts,” dedicated in the asylum at
Winnenthal, was intended originally for _Don Juan_. _Don Juan_ is of a
somewhat fragmentary nature. The quotations made by Strauss paint well
the hero’s character.

L. A. Frankl, a biographer of the morbid poet, says that Lenau once
spoke as follows concerning his purpose in this dramatic poem: “Goethe’s
great poem has not hurt me in the matter of _Faust_ and Byron’s ‘Don
Juan’ will here do me no harm. Each poet, as every human being, is an
individual ego. My Don Juan is no hot-blooded man eternally pursuing
woman. It is the longing in him to find a woman who is to him incarnate
womanhood, and to enjoy in the one, all the women on earth, whom he
cannot as individuals possess. Because he does not find her, although he
reels from one to another, at last Disgust seizes hold of him, and this
Disgust is the Devil that fetches him.”

It has been said that the “emotional phases of the story” appealed to

1. The fiery ardor with which Don Juan pursues his ideal;

2. The charm of woman; and

3. The selfish idealist’s disappointment and partial atonement by death.

There are two ways of considering this tone poem: to say that it is a
fantasia, free in form and development—the quotations from the poem are
enough to show the mood and the purposes of the composer; or to discuss
the character of Lenau’s hero, and then follow foreign commentators who
give significance to every melodic phrase and find deep, esoteric
meaning in every modulation. No doubt Strauss himself would be content
with the verses of Lenau and his own music, for he is a man not without
humor, and on more than one occasion has slyly smiled at his prying or
pontifical interpreters.

Strauss has particularized his hero among the many that bear the name of
Don Juan, from the old drama of Gabriel Tellez, the cloistered monk who
wrote, under the name of “Tirso de Molina,” _El Burlador de Sevilla y el
Convidado de Piedra_ (first printed in 1634). Strauss’s hero is
specifically the Don Juan of Lenau, not the rakehelly hero of legend and
so many plays, who at the last is undone by the Statue invited by Juan
to supper.


“Death and Transfiguration” is now more old-fashioned than the G minor
symphony of Mozart. The anguish of the dying man, who does not make the
graceful and gracious apology of Charles II on his deathbed, no longer
moves us. His recollections seem sentimental and vapid, while the
trombone passages once considered as terrific, awe-inspiring, are not so
significant as the single horn of Charon in Gluck’s _Alceste_. _Don
Juan_, on the other hand, holds its own by its defiant spirit,
expressing the arrogance of the Don on his triumphant way—by its
dramatic translation into music of the words put by Lenau into his

  _Exhausted is the fuel;
  And on the hearth, the cold is fiercely cruel._

The superb horn phrase should have accompanied the entrance of Lovelace
into the ballroom, one of the most powerful scenes in Richardson’s
long-winded romance.

                                 * * *

This tone poem was composed at Munich in 1888-89.

Hans von Bülow wrote to his wife from Weimar, November 13, 1889:
“Strauss is enormously beloved here. His _Don Juan_ evening before last
had a wholly unheard-of success. Yesterday morning Spitzweg and I were
at his house to hear his new symphonic poem _Tod und Verklärung_—which
has again inspired me with great confidence in his development. It is a
very important work in spite of sundry poor passages, and it is also

The first performance was from manuscript, under the direction of the
composer, at the fifth concert of the 27th Musicians’ Convention of the
Allgemeine Deutscher Musikverein in the City Theater of Eisenach, June
21, 1890.

The poem is dedicated to Friedrich Rösch, and is scored for three
flutes, two oboes, English horn, two clarinets, bass clarinet, two
bassoons, double bassoon, four horns, three trumpets, three trombones,
tuba, a set of three kettledrums, two harps, gong, and strings.

On the flyleaf of the score is a poem in German.

The following literal translation is by William Foster Apthorp:

“In the necessitous little room, dimly lighted by only a candle end,
lies the sick man on his bed. But just now he has wrestled despairingly
with Death. Now he has sunk exhausted into sleep, and one hears only the
soft ticking of the clock on the wall in the room, whose awful silence
gives a foreboding of the nearness of death. Over the sick man’s pale
features plays a sad smile. Dreams he, on the boundary of life, of the
golden time of childhood?

“But death does not long grant sleep and dreams to his victim. Cruelly
he shakes him awake, and the fight begins afresh. Will to live and power
of Death! What frightful wrestling! Neither bears off the victory, and
all is silent once more!

“Sunk back tired of battle, sleepless, as in fever-frenzy the sick man
now sees his life pass before his inner eye, trait by trait and scene by
scene. First the morning red of childhood, shining bright in pure
innocence! Then the youth’s saucier play—exerting and trying his
strength—till he ripens to the man’s fight, and now burns with hot lust
after the higher prizes of life. The one high purpose that has led him
through life was to shape all he saw transfigured into a still more
transfigured form. Cold and sneering, the world sets barrier upon
barrier in the way of his achievement. If he thinks himself near his
goal, a ‘Halt!’ thunders in his ear. ‘Make the barrier thy stirrup! Ever
higher and onward go!’ And so he pushes forward, so he climbs, desists
not from his sacred purpose. What he has ever sought with his heart’s
deepest yearning, he still seeks in his death sweat. Seeks—alas! and
finds it never. Whether he comprehends it more clearly or it grows upon
him gradually, he can yet never exhaust it, cannot complete it in his
spirit. Then clangs the last stroke of Death’s iron hammer, breaks the
earthly body in twain, covers the eye with the night of death.

“But from the heavenly spaces sounds mightily to greet him what he
yearningly sought for here: deliverance from the world, transfiguration
of the world.”

The poem by Ritter is, after all, the most satisfactory explanation of
the music to those that seek eagerly a clew and are not content with the
title. The analysts have been busy with this tone poem as well as the
others of Strauss. Wilhelm Mauke wrote a pamphlet of twenty pages with
twenty-one musical illustrations, and made a delicate distinction
between “Fever” theme No. 1 and “Fever” theme No. 2. Reimann and Brandes
have been more moderate. _Death and Transfiguration_ may be divided into
sections, closely joined, and for each one a portion of the poem may
serve as a motto.

I. _Largo_, C minor, D flat major, 4-4. The chief “Death” motive is a
syncopated figure, _pianissimo_, given to the second violins and violas.
A sad smile steals over the sick man’s face (wood-wind accompanied by
horns and harps), and he thinks of his youth (a simple melody, the
childhood motive, announced by the oboe). These three motives establish
the mood of the introduction.

II. _Allegro molto agitato_, C minor. Death attacks the sick man. There
are harsh double blows in quick succession. What Mauke characterizes as
the “Fever” motive begins in the basses, and wildly dissonant chords
shriek at the end of the climbing motive. There is a mighty _crescendo_,
the chief “Death” motive is heard, the struggle begins (full orchestra,
_fortississimo_). There is a second chromatic and feverish motive, which
appears first in sixteenths, which is bound to a contrasting and
ascending theme that recalls the motive of the struggle. This second
feverish theme goes canonically through the instrument groups. The sick
man sinks exhausted (_ritenuto_). Trombones, violoncellos, and violas
intone even now the beginning of the “Transfiguration” theme, just as
Death is about to triumph. “And again all is still!” The mysterious
“Death” motive knocks.

III. And now the dying man dreams dreams and sees visions (_meno mosso,
ma sempre alla breve_). The “Childhood” motive returns (G major) in
freer form. There is again the joy of youth (oboes, harp, and, bound to
this motive of “Hope” that made him smile before the struggle, the
motive now played by solo viola). The fight of manhood with the world’s
prizes is waged again (B major, full orchestra, _fortissimo_), waged
fiercely. “Halt!” thunders in his ears, and trombones and kettledrums
sound the dread and strangely rhythmed motive of “Death” (drums beaten
with wooden drumsticks). There is contrapuntal elaboration of the “Life
Struggle” and “Childhood” motives. The “Transfiguration” motive is heard
in broader form. The chief “Death” motive and the feverish attack are
again dominating features. Storm and fury of orchestra. There is a wild
series of ascending fifths. Tam-tam and harp knell the soul’s departure.

IV. The “Transfiguration” theme is heard from the horns; strings repeat
the “Childhood” motive. A _crescendo_ leads to the full development of
the “Transfiguration” theme (_moderato_, C major), “World deliverance,
world transfiguration.”

The scoring is as follows: three flutes, two oboes, English horn, two
clarinets, bass clarinet, two bassoons, double bassoon, four horns,
three trumpets, three trombones and bass tuba, kettledrums, tam-tam, two
harps, and strings.

                     MANNER—IN RONDO FORM,” OP. 28

_Till Eulenspiegel_ disputes with _Don Juan_ the first position among
the symphonic poems of Strauss. The opening of _Thus Spake Zarathustra_
is colossal in its elemental grandeur; the death music in _Don Quixote_
is incomparably beautiful; there are a few pages in _A Hero’s Life_ that
remind one of Beethoven at his best; the love music in the _Domestic
symphony_ is memorable; but _Till Eulenspiegel_ and _Don Juan_ are
continuously impressive, each in its way, and are free from the
suspicion of effects made for the sake of effect, designed deliberately
to make the bourgeois stare.

The story is medieval and Rabelaisian, and the music is quite as broad
as the tale. Clear motives typify Till, who can be traced from beginning
to end. He “bobs up” (no other term can describe it) through every kind
of repression and persecution; he is saucy and insouciant; he is
comically repentant when at the last he is hanged, and his last faint
squeak is very mock-pathetic.

This hanging is a deviant from the old story in which Till evades his
doom and cheats the executioner. For some time the reviewers were in
doubt as to whether Strauss had given warrant for the execution—which
shows the weak point of “programme music,” for no one ought to have had
any doubts upon the subject after hearing the change of style from
glibness to utter dejection at the end.

                                 * * *

_Till Eulenspiegel’s lustige Streiche, nach alter Schelmenweise—in
Rondoform, für grosses Orchester gesetzt, von Richard Strauss_, was
produced at a Gürznich concert at Cologne, November 5, 1895. It was
composed in 1894-95 at Munich, and the score was completed there, May 6,
1895. The score and parts were published in September, 1895.

There has been dispute concerning the proper translation of the phrase,
_nach alter Schelmenweise_, in the title. Some, and Apthorp was one of
them, translate it “after an old rogue’s tune.” Others will not have
this at all, and prefer “after the old—or old-fashioned—roguish manner,”
or, as Krehbiel suggested, “in the style of old-time waggery,” and this
view is in all probability the sounder. It is hard to twist
_Schelmenweise_ into “rogue’s tune.” _Schelmenstück_, for instance, is
“a knavish trick,” a “piece of roguery.” As Krehbiel well said: “The
reference [_Schelmenweise_] goes, not to the thematic form of the
phrase, but to its structure. This is indicated, not only by the
grammatical form of the phrase but also by the parenthetical
explanation: ‘_in Rondoform_.’ What connection exists between
roguishness, or waggishness, and the rondo form it might be difficult to
explain. The roguish wag in this case is Richard Strauss himself, who,
besides putting the puzzle into his title, refused to provide the
composition with even the smallest explanatory note which might have
given a clue to its contents.” It seems to us that the puzzle in the
title is largely imaginary. There is no need of attributing any intimate
connection between “roguish manner” and “_rondo_ form.”

Till (or Tyll) Eulenspiegel is the hero of an old _Volksbuch_ of the
fifteenth century attributed to Dr. Thomas Murner (1475-1530). Till is
supposed to be a wandering mechanic of Brunswick, who plays all sorts of
tricks, practical jokes—some of them exceedingly coarse—on everybody,
and he always comes out ahead. In the book, Till (or Till Owlglass, as
he is known in the English translation) goes to the gallows, but he
escapes through an exercise of his ready wit and dies peacefully in bed,
playing a sad joke on his heirs, and refusing to lie still and snug in
his grave. Strauss kills him on the scaffold. The German name is said to
find its derivation in an old proverb: “Man sees his own faults as
little as a monkey or an owl recognizes his ugliness in looking into a

When Dr. Franz Wüllner, who conducted the first performance at Cologne,
asked the composer for an explanatory programme of the “poetical intent”
of the piece, Strauss replied: “It is impossible for me to furnish a
programme to _Eulenspiegel_; were I to put into words the thoughts which
its several incidents suggest to me, they would seldom suffice, and
might give rise to offense. Let me leave it, therefore, to my hearers to
crack the hard nut which the Rogue has prepared for them. By way of
helping them to a better understanding, it seems sufficient to point out
the two ‘Eulenspiegel’ motives, which, in the most manifold disguises,
moods, and situations, pervade the whole up to the catastrophe, when,
after he has been condemned to death, Till is strung up to the gibbet.
For the rest, let them guess at the musical joke which a Rogue has
offered them.” Strauss indicated in notation three motives—the opening
theme of the introduction, the horn theme that follows almost
immediately, and the descending interval expressive of condemnation and
the scaffold.

The rondo, dedicated to Dr. Arthur Seidl, is scored for piccolo, three
flutes, three oboes, English horn, small clarinet in E flat, two
clarinets, bass clarinet, three bassoons, double bassoon, four horns
(with the addition of four horns _ad lib._), three trumpets (with three
additional trumpets _ad lib._), three trombones, bass tuba, kettledrums,
snare drum, bass drum, cymbals, triangle, a watchman’s rattle, strings.

                                 OP. 30

Strauss’s huge “machine” has aged. The opening measures are still
stupendous. The “Grave Song” and “Night Song” are not without compelling
beauty, but on the whole, Nietzschian philosophy and music do not dwell
together in harmony. Dismiss the thought of Nietzsche; consider the
music as absolute music, and there is much that is boresome and
inherently cheap, if not vulgar, in spite, or by reason of the bombast
and pretentiousness.

                                 * * *

The full title of this composition is _Also sprach Zarathustra,
Tondichtung_ (_frei nach Friedrich Nietzsche_) _für grosses Orchester_.
Composition was begun at Munich, February 4, 1896, and completed there
August 24, 1896. The first performance was at Frankfort-on-the-Main,
November 27 of the same year. The composer conducted, and also at
Cologne, December 1.

Friedrich Nietzsche conceived the plan to his _Thus Spake Zarathustra: A
Book for All and None_, in August, 1881, as he was walking through the
woods near the Silvaplana Lake in the Engadine and saw a huge tower-like
crag. He completed the first part in February, 1883, at Rapallo, near
Genoa; he wrote the second part in Sils Maria in June and July, the
third part in the following winter at Nice, and the fourth part, not
then intended to be the last, but to serve as an interlude, from
November, 1884, till February, 1885, at Mentone. Nietzsche never
published this fourth part; it was printed for private circulation and
not publicly issued till after he became insane. The whole of
_Zarathustra_ was published in 1892.

Nietzsche’s Zarathustra is by no means the historical or legendary
Zoroaster, mage, leader, warrior, king. The Zarathustra of Nietzsche is
Nietzsche himself, with his views on life and death. Strauss’s opera
_Guntram_ (1894) showed the composer’s interest in the book. Before the
tone poem was performed, this programme was published: “First movement:
Sunrise, Man feels the power of God. _Andante religioso._ But man still
longs. He plunges into passion (second movement) and finds no peace. He
turns towards science, and tries in vain to solve life’s problem in a
fugue (third movement). Then agreeable dance tunes sound and he becomes
an individual, and his soul soars upward while the world sinks far
beneath him.” But Strauss gave this explanation to Otto Florsheim: “I
did not intend to write philosophical music or to portray in music
Nietzsche’s great work. I meant to convey by means of music an idea of
the development of the human race from its origin, through the various
phases of its development, religious and scientific, up to Nietzsche’s
idea of the Superman. The whole symphonic poem is intended as my homage
to Nietzsche’s genius, which found its greatest exemplification in his
book, _Thus Spake Zarathustra_.”

_Thus Spake Zarathustra_ is scored for piccolo, three flutes (one
interchangeable with a second piccolo), three oboes, English horn, two
clarinets in B flat, clarinet in E flat, bass clarinet, three bassoons,
double bassoon, six horns, four trumpets, three trombones, two bass
tubas, kettledrums, bass drum, cymbals, triangle, glockenspiel, a low
bell in E, two harps, organ, sixteen second violins, twelve violas,
twelve violoncellos, eight double basses.

On a flyleaf of a score is printed the following excerpts from
Nietzsche’s book, the first section of “Zarathustra’s Introductory

“Having attained the age of thirty, Zarathustra left his home and the
lake of his home and went into the mountains. There he rejoiced in his
spirit and his loneliness, and for ten years did not grow weary of it.
But at last his heart turned—one morning he got up with the dawn,
stepped into the presence of the Sun and thus spake unto him: ‘Thou
great star! What would be thy happiness, were it not for those on whom
thou shinest? For ten years thou hast come up here to my cave. Thou
wouldst have got sick of thy light and thy journey but for me, mine
eagle and my serpent. But we waited for thee every morning and receiving
from thee thine abundance, blessed thee for it. Lo! I am weary of my
wisdom, like the bee that hath collected too much honey; I need hands
reaching out for it. I would fain grant and distribute until the wise
among men could once more enjoy their folly, and the poor once more
their riches. For that end I must descend to the depth; as thou dost at
even, when sinking behind the sea, thou givest light to the lower
regions, thou resplendent star! I must, like thee, go down, as men
say—men to whom I would descend. Then bless me, thou impassive eye, that
canst look without envy even upon overmuch happiness. Bless the cup
which is about to overflow, so that the water golden-flowing out of it
may carry everywhere the reflection of thy rapture. Lo! this cup is
about to empty itself again, and Zarathustra will once more become a
man.’—Thus Zarathustra’s going down began.”

This prefatory note in Strauss’s tone poem is not a “programme” of the
composition itself. It is merely an introduction. The sub-captions of
the composer in the score indicate that the music after the short
musical introduction begins where the quotation ends.

“The scene of _Thus Spake Zarathustra_,” says Dr. Tille, “is laid, as it
were, outside of time and space, and certainly outside of countries and
nations, outside of this age, and outside of the main condition of all
that lives—the struggle for existence.... There appear cities and mobs,
kings and scholars, poets and cripples, but outside of their realm there
is a province which is Zarathustra’s own, where he lives in his cave
amid the rocks, and whence he thrice goes to men to teach them his
wisdom. This Nowhere and Nowhen, over which Nietzsche’s imagination is
supreme, is a province of boundless individualism, in which a man of
mark has free play, unfettered by the tastes and inclinations of the
multitude.... _Thus Spake Zarathustra_ is a kind of summary of the
intellectual life of the nineteenth century, and it is on this fact that
its principal significance rests. It unites in itself a number of mental
movements which, in literature as well as in various sciences, have made
themselves felt separately during the last hundred years, without going
far beyond them. By bringing them into contact, although not always into
uncontradictory relation, Nietzsche transfers them from mere existence
in philosophy, or scientific literature in general, into the sphere or
the creed of _Weltanschauung_ of the educated classes, and thus his book
becomes capable of influencing the views and strivings of a whole age.”

Zarathustra teaches men the deification of Life. He offers not joy of
life, for to him there is no such thing, but fullness of life, in the
joy of the senses, “in the triumphant exuberance of vitality, in the
pure, lofty naturalness of the antique, in short, in the fusion of God,
world, and ego.”

There is a simple but impressive introduction, in which there is a
solemn trumpet motive, which leads to a great climax for full orchestra
and organ on the chord of C major. There is this heading, “Von den
Hinterweltlern” (Of the Dwellers in the Rear World). These are they who
sought the solution in religion. Zarathustra too had once dwelt in this
rear world. (Horns intone a solemn Gregorian _Credo_.)

The next heading is “Von der grossen Sehnsucht” (Of the Great Yearning).
This stands over an ascending passage in B minor in violoncellos and
bassoons, answered by wood-wind instruments in chromatic thirds.

The next section begins with a pathetic _cantilena_ in C minor (second
violins, oboes, horn), and the heading is: “Von den Freuden und
Leidenschaften” (Of Joys and Passions).

“Grablied” (Grave Song). The oboe has a tender _cantilena_ over the
Yearning motive in violoncellos and bassoons.

“Von der Wissenschaft” (Of Science). The fugued passage begins with
violoncellos and double basses (divided). The subject of this _fugato_
contains all the diatonic and chromatic degrees of the scale, and the
real responses to this subject come in successively a fifth higher.

Much farther on a passage in the strings, beginning in the violoncellos
and violas, arises from B minor. “Der Genesende” (The Convalescent).

“Tanzlied.” The dance song begins with laughter in the wood-wind.

“Nachtlied” (Night Song).

“Nachtwanderlied” (The Song of the Night Wanderer, though Nietzsche in
later editions changed the title to “The Drunken Song”). The song comes
after a _fortissimo_ stroke of the bell, and the bell, sounding twelve
times, dies away softly.

The mystical conclusion has excited much discussion. The ending is in
two keys—in B major in the high wood-wind and violins, in C major in the
basses, _pizzicato_. “The theme of the Ideal sways aloft in the higher
regions in B major; the trombones insist on the unresolved chord of C,
E, F sharp; and in the double basses is repeated C, G, C, the World
Riddle.” This riddle is unsolved by Nietzsche, by Strauss, and even by
Strauss’s commentators.

                                 OP. 35

Don Quixote, a virtuoso tone poem, shows Strauss at his best and at his
worst. Composers have laid violent hands on the world-famous novel of
Cervantes. The Knight has figured in both serious and comic operas. It
occurred to Strauss that Don Quixote might be portrayed by one
instrument, Sancho Panza by another. Strauss undoubtedly rubbed his
hands with glee at the thought of the musical representation of
ba-a-a-ing sheep and the opportunity of introducing a wind machine with
a man turning a crank for the variation, “The Ride through the Air.” But
there are fine passages in the work. When Don Quixote speaks nobly of
the ideal, Strauss gives him noble music, and Strauss has seldom written
more charming music than for the last speech of Sancho Panza. One might
ask, however, if this music is in Sancho Panza’s character as Cervantes
describes it. And in the final music—the disillusionment of Don Quixote
and his death—Strauss attains, without straining and exaggeration, an
emotional height that is seldom found in his instrumental compositions
that follow. Hearing these emotional sections one almost forgets the
imitative and pictorial passages of the work, which seem too long, with
much music that is of little worth and interest.

                                 * * *

_Don Quixote_ (_Introduzione, Tema con Variazioni, e Finale_):
_Fantastische Variationen uber ein Thema ritterlichen Charakters_, was
composed at Munich in 1897 (the score was completed on December 29th of
that year). It was played for the first time at a Gürzenich Concert,
Cologne, from manuscript, Franz Wüllner conductor, March 8, 1898.
Friedrich Grützmacher was the solo violoncellist. Strauss conducted his
composition on March 18, 1898, at a concert of the Frankfort
Museumgesellschaft, when Hugo Becker was the violoncellist. It is said
that Becker composed an exceedingly piquant _cadenza_ for violoncello on
the “Quixote” motive for his own enjoyment at home.

The work is scored for piccolo, two flutes, two oboes, English horn, two
clarinets, bass clarinet, three bassoons, double bassoon, six horns,
three trumpets, three trombones, tenor tuba, bass tuba, kettledrums,
snare drum, bass drum, cymbals, triangle, tambourine, wind machine,
harp, sixteen first violins, sixteen second violins, twelve violas, ten
violoncellos, eight double basses. It is dedicated to Joseph Dupont.

Much has been written in explanation of this work, which followed _Also
sprach Zarathustra_, Op. 30 (1896), and preceded _Ein Heldenleben_, Op.
40 (1898). As the story goes, at a music festival in Düsseldorf in 1899
an acquaintance of Strauss complained bitterly before the rehearsal that
he had no printed “guide” to _Don Quixote_, with which he was
unfamiliar. Strauss laughed, and said for his consolation, “Get out! you
do not need any.” Arthur Hahn wrote a pamphlet of twenty-seven pages in
elucidation. In this pamphlet are many wondrous things. We are told that
certain queer harmonies introduced in an otherwise simple passage of the
introduction “characterize admirably the well-known tendency of Don
Quixote toward false conclusions.”

There is no programme attached to the score of this work. The
arrangement for pianoforte gives certain information concerning the
composer’s purposes.

Max Steinitzer declares in his _Richard Strauss_ (Berlin and Leipsic,
1911) that with the exception of some details, as the “Windmill”
episode, the music is intelligible and effective as absolute music; that
the title is sufficiently explanatory. “The introduction begins
immediately with the hero’s motive and pictures with constantly
increasing liveliness by other themes of knightly and gallant character
life as it is mirrored in writings from the beginning of the seventeenth
century. ‘Don Quixote, busied in reading romances of chivalry, loses his
reason—and determines to go through the world as a wandering knight.’”
It is easy to recognize the hero’s theme in its variations, because the
knight is always represented by the solo violoncello. The character of
Sancho Panza is expressed by a theme first given to bass clarinet and
tenor tuba; but afterward and to the end by a solo viola. _Don Quixote_
is divided into an introduction, a theme with variations, and a
_finale_. The sections are connected without a break. Each variation
portrays an incident in the novel.


_Mässiges Zeitmass_ (_moderato_), D major, 4-4. Don Quixote plunged
himself deeply in his reading of books of knighthood, “and in the end,
through his little sleep and much reading, he dried up his brains in
such sort, as he lost wholly his judgment. His fantasy was filled with
those things that he read, of enchantments, quarrels, battles,
challenges, wounds, wooings, loves, tempests, and other impossible
follies.”[49] The first theme (wind instruments) foreshadows the typical
Don Quixote motive, and is here typical of knight-errantry in general.
The next section (strings) represents the idea of knightly gallantry,
and the whole theme ends with the passages that include the strange
harmonies and portray his madness. These strange progressions recur
frequently throughout the work. “He does not dream,” says Mr. H. W.
Harris, “that his reasoning is at fault or that he is the victim of
self-delusion; on the contrary, he ascribes all such discrepancies to
magic, by which he believes himself to be persecuted, which is clearly
being employed to make things appear otherwise than his judgment assures
him they really should be.”

The first section of the first theme is ornamented (violas). Don Quixote
grows more and more romantic and chivalric. He sees the Ideal Woman, his
lady-love (oboe). The trumpets tell of a giant attacking her and her
rescue by a knight. “In this part of the Introduction, the use of mutes
on all the instruments—including the tuba, here so treated for the first
time—creates an indescribable effect of vagueness and confusion,
indicating that they are mere phantasms with which the Knight is
concerned, which cloud his brain.” A Penitent enters (muted violas
_fortissimo_). Don Quixote’s brain grows more and more confused. The
orchestral themes grow wilder. An augmented version of the first section
of the theme (brass), followed by a harp _glissando_, leads to shrill
discord—the Knight is mad. “The repeated use of the various sections of
the first theme shows that his madness has something to do with
chivalry.” Don Quixote has decided to be a knight-errant.


“Don Quixote, the knight of the sorrowful countenance; Sancho Panza.”
_Moderato_, D minor, 4-4. The Don Quixote theme is announced by solo
violoncello. It is of close kin to the theme of the introduction. Sancho
Panza is typified by a theme given first to bass clarinet and tenor
tuba; but afterward the solo viola is the characteristic instrument of

                              Variation I

The Knight and the Squire set out on their journey. “In a leisurely
manner,” D minor, 12-8. The beautiful Dulcinea of Toboso inspires the
Knight (a version of the “Ideal Woman” theme), who soon sees some
windmills (brass) and prepares to attack. A breeze arises (wood-wind and
strings), and the Knight, angry at the challenge, attacks, and is
knocked down by the sails (run in wood-wind, harp _glissando_, heavy

                              Variation II

The Victorious Battle against the Host of the Great Emperor Alifanfaron.
“Warlike,” D major, 4-4. There is a cloud of dust; surely a great army
approaches; the Knight rushes to fight, in spite of the warnings of
Sancho, who sees the sheep. There is a pastoral figure (wood-wind), and
out of the dust cloud (strings) comes a chorus of “Ba-a-a-a” (muted
brass). Don Quixote charges and puts the foes to confusion.

                             Variation III

The Dialogues of the Knight and the Squire. _Moderato_, 4-4. Sancho
questions the worth of such a life. Don Quixote speaks of honor and
glory (first theme), but Sancho sees nothing in them. The dispute waxes
hot. Don Quixote speaks nobly of the ideal. Sancho prefers the easy,
comfortable realities of life. At last his master is angry and bids him
hold his tongue.

                              Variation IV

The Adventure with the Penitents. “Somewhat broader,” D minor, 4-4. A
church theme (wind instruments) announces the approach of a band of
pilgrims. Don Quixote sees in them shameless robbers, desperate
villains. He attacks them. They knock him senseless and go on their
prayerful way. Sancho, sorely disturbed, rejoices when his master shows
signs of life, and after he has helped him, lies down by his side and
goes to sleep (bass tuba, double bassoon).

                              Variation V

The Knight’s Vigil. “Very slow,” 4-4. Don Quixote, ashamed to sleep,
holds watch by his armor. Dulcinea, answering his prayers, appears in a
vision (the “Ideal Woman” theme, horn). A _cadenza_ for harp and violins
leads to a passage portraying his rapture.

                              Variation VI

The Meeting with Dulcinea. G major, 2-4, 3-4. A common country wench
comes along (wood-wind, tambourine), and Sancho by way of jest points
her out to his master as Dulcinea. The Knight cannot believe it. Sancho
swears it is so. The Knight suddenly knows that some magic has worked
this transformation, and he vows vengeance.

                             Variation VII

The Ride through the Air. D minor, 8-4. Knight and Squire sit,
blindfolded, on a wooden horse, which, they have been made to believe,
will bear them through the air. Their respective themes soar skyward.
The wind whistles about them (chromatic flute passages, harp, drum roll,
wind machine). They stop suddenly (long-held bassoon note), and, looking
about them, they think themselves still on the ground. “The persistent
_tremolo_ of the double basses on one note may be taken to mean that the
two did not really leave the solid earth.”

                             Variation VIII

The Journey in the Enchanted Bark. Don Quixote sees an empty boat, and
he is sure it is sent by some mysterious power, that he may do a
glorious deed. He and Sancho embark. His typical theme is changed into a
barcarolle. The boat upsets, but they succeed in gaining the shore; and
they give thanks for their safety (wind instruments _religioso_).

                              Variation IX

The Combat with Two Magicians. “Quickly and stormily,” D minor, 4-4. Don
Quixote is again on his famous horse, eager for adventure. Two peaceable
monks are jogging along on their mules, and the Knight sees in them the
base magicians who have worked him harm. He charges them and puts them
to flight. The two themes are a version of the Don Quixote motive and an
ecclesiastical phrase for the bassoons.

                              Variation X

Don Quixote, defeated by the Knight of the White Moon, returns home and
resolves to be a shepherd. “Know, sir,” said the Knight of the White
Moon, “that I am styled the Bachelor Samson Carrasco, and am one of Don
Quixote’s town; whose wild madness hath moved as many of us as know him
to compassion, and me amongst the rest most; and believing that the best
means to procure his health is to keep him quiet, and so to have him in
his own house, I thought upon this device.” So said this knight after
the furious battle which is thus described:

“They both of them set spurs to their horses, and the Knight of the
White Moon’s being the swifter, met Don Quixote ere he had run a quarter
of his career so forcibly (without touching him with his lance, for it
seemed he carried it aloft on purpose) that he tumbled horse and man
both to the ground, and Don Quixote had a terrible fall; so he got
straight on the top of him; and, clapping his lance’s point upon his
visor, said, ‘You are vanquished, Knight, and a dead man, if you confess
not, according to the conditions of our combat.’ Don Quixote, all
bruised and amazed, without heaving up his visor, as if he had spoken
out of a tomb, with a faint and weak voice, said, ‘Dulcinea del Toboso
is the fairest woman in the world, and I the unfortunatest Knight on
earth; and it is not fit that my weakness defraud this truth; thrust
your lance into me, Knight, and kill me, since you have bereaved me of
my honor.’ ‘Not so truly,’ quoth he of the White Moon, ‘let the fame of
my Lady Dulcinea’s beauty live in her entireness; I am only contented
that the grand Don Quixote retire home for a year, or till such time as
I please, as we agreed, before we began the battle.’ And Don Quixote
answered that, so nothing were required of him in prejudice of his Lady
Dulcinea, he would accomplish all the rest, like a true and punctual
knight.” The variation portrays the fight. The pastoral theme heard in
the second variation—the battle with the sheep—reappears. Don Quixote
loses one by one his illusions.


The Death of Don Quixote. “Very peacefully,” D major, 4-4. The typical
theme of the Knight takes a new form. The queer harmonies in a section
of this theme are now conventional, commonplace. “They stood all gazing
one upon another, wondering at Don Quixote’s sound reasons, although
they made some doubt to believe them. One of the signs which induced
them to conjecture that he was near unto death’s door was that with such
facility he was from a stark fool become a wise man. For, to the words
already alleged, he added many more so significant, so Christian-like,
and so well couched, that without doubt they confidently believed that
Don Quixote was become a right wise man.... These heavy news opened the
sluices of the tears-ful and swollen-blubbering eyes of the maid, of the
niece, and of his good Squire Sancho Panza; so that they showered forth
whole fountains of tears and fetched from the very bottom of their
aggrieved hearts a thousand groaning sighs. For in effect (as we have
already declared elsewhere) whilst Don Quixote was simply the good
Alonso Quixano, and likewise when he was Don Quixote de la Mancha, he
was ever of a mild and affable disposition and of a kind and pleasing
conversation: and therefore was he not only beloved of all his
household, but also of all those that knew him.... He had no sooner
ended his discourse and signed and sealed his will and testament, but a
swooning and faintness surprising him, he stretched himself the full
length of his bed. All the company were much distracted and moved
thereat, and ran presently to help him; and during the space of three
days, that he lived after he had made his will, he did swoon and fall
into trances almost every hour. All the house was in a confusion and
uproar; all which notwithstanding the niece ceased not to feed very
devoutly: the maidservant to drink profoundly, and Sancho to live
merrily. For, when a man is in hope to inherit anything, that hope doth
deface or at least moderate in the mind of the inheritor the remembrance
or feeling of the sorrow and grief which of reason he should have a
feeling of the testator’s death. To conclude, the last day of Don
Quixote came, after he had received all the sacraments; and had by many
and godly reasons made demonstration to abhor all the books of errant
chivalry. The notary was present at his death and reporteth how he had
never read or found in any book of chivalry that any errant knight died
in his bed so mildly, so quietly, and so Christianly as did Don Quixote.
Amidst the wailful plaints and blubbering tears of the bystanders, he
yielded up the ghost, that is to say, he died.”

“Tremolos in the strings indicate the first shiver of a deadly fever.”
The Knight feels his end is near. Through the violoncello he speaks his
last words. He remembers his fancies; he recalls the dreams and the
ambitions; he realizes that they were all as smoke and vanity; he is,
indeed, ready to die.


We doubt if _Ein Heldenleben_ will be ranked among Strauss’s important
works, though some of the sections, notably “The Hero’s Escape from the
World, and Conclusion” are impressive, having emotional depth, being the
baring of a soul. No man is perhaps a hero to his valet; but Strauss is
evidently a hero to himself. He is autobiographical in this tone poem,
as in his _Domestic_ symphony. There is a certain presumption in asking
one to hear musical descriptions of a composer’s struggles, his feelings
at being adversely criticized by wretched Philistines, who do not
appreciate him, his sulking and withdrawal, like Achilles to his tent.
And why drag Frau Strauss into the musical story and typify her,
capricious, coquettish, by whimsical measures for the violin? This tone
poem, in spite of the sections just referred to, might be justly
entitled “A Poseur’s Life,” and a blustering poseur at that.

Still, in _Ein Heldenleben_ there is the peaceful, contemplative ending,
pages that Strauss has seldom surpassed, only in the recognition scene
of _Elektra_ and the presentation of the rose by the cavalier.

                                 * * *

_Ein Heldenleben_, a _Tondichtung_, was first performed at the eleventh
concert of the Museumsgesellschaft, Frankfort-on-the-Main, March 3,
1899, when Strauss conducted from manuscript and Alfred Hess played the
violin solo.

Strauss began the composition of this tone poem at Munich, August 2,
1898; he completed the score December 27, 1898, at Charlottenburg. The
score and parts were published at Leipsic in March, 1899.

The score calls for these instruments: sixteen first and second violins,
twelve violas, twelve violoncellos, eight double basses, two harps, a
piccolo, three flutes, three or four oboes, an English horn, clarinet in
E flat, two clarinets in B flat, bass clarinet, three bassoons, double
bassoon, eight horns, five trumpets, three trombones, a tenor tuba, a
bass tuba, kettledrums, bass drum, snare drum, side drum, cymbals. It is
dedicated to Willem Mengelberg and his orchestra in Amsterdam. Strauss
has said that he wrote _A Hero’s Life_ as a companion work to his _Don
Quixote_, Op. 35: “Having in this later work sketched the tragi-comic
figure of the Spanish Knight whose vain search after heroism leads to
insanity, he presents in _A Hero’s Life_ not a single poetical or
historical figure, but rather a more general and free ideal of great and
manly heroism—not the heroism to which one can apply an everyday
standard of valor, with its material and exterior rewards, but that
heroism which describes the inward battle of life, and which aspires
through effort and renouncement towards the elevation of the soul.”

There are many descriptions and explanations of _Ein Heldenleben_. One
of the longest and deepest—and thickest—is by Friedrich Rösch. This
pamphlet contains seventy thematical illustrations, as well as a
descriptive poem by Eberhard König. Romain Rolland quotes Strauss as
saying: “There is no need of a programme. It is enough to know there is
a hero fighting his enemies.”

The work is in six sections:

                                The Hero

The chief theme, which is typical of the hero, the whole and noble man,
is announced at once by horn, violas and violoncellos, and the violins
soon enter. This theme, E flat major, 4-4, is said to contain within
itself four distinct motives, which collectively illustrate the will
power and self-confidence of the hero, and their characteristic features
are used throughout the work in this sense. Further themes closely
related follow. They portray various sides of the hero’s character—his
pride, emotional nature, iron will, richness of imagination, “inflexible
and well-directed determination instead of low-spirited and sullen
obstinacy,” etc. This section closes with pomp and brilliance, with the
motive thundered out by the brass; and it is the most symphonic section
of the tone poem. “A pause is made on a dominant seventh: ‘What has the
world in store for the young dreamer?’”

                         The Hero’s Antagonists

They are jealous, they envy him, they sneer at his aims and endeavors,
they are suspicious of his sincerity, they see nothing except for their
own gain; and through flute and oboe they mock and snarl. They are
represented by about a half-a-dozen themes, of which one is most
important. Diminutions of the preceding heroic themes show their
belittlement of his greatness. (It has been said that Strauss thus
wished to paint the critics who had not been prudent enough to proclaim
him great.) “Fifths in the tubas show their earthly, sluggish nature.”
The hero’s theme appears in the minor; and his amazement, indignation,
and momentary confusion are expressed by “a timid, writhing figure.”
Finally the foes are shaken off.

                          The Hero’s Helpmate

This is an amorous episode. The hero is shy. The solo violin represents
the loved one, who at first is coy, coquettish, and disdains his humble
suit. There is a love theme, and there are also two “thematic
illustrations of feminine caprice” much used later on. At last she
rewards him. The themes given to the solo violin, and basses,
violoncellos, and bassoon, are developed in the love duet. A new theme
is given to the oboe, and a theme played by the violins is typical of
the crowning of happiness. The clamorous voices of the world do not mar
the peacefulness of the lovers.

                         The Hero’s Battlefield

There is a flourish of trumpets without. The hero rushes joyfully to
arms. The enemy sends out his challenge. The battle rages. The typical
heroic theme is brought into sharp contrast with that of the challenger,
and the theme of the beloved one shines forth amid the din and the shock
of the fight. The foe is slain. The themes lead into a song of victory.
And now what is there for the hero? The world does not rejoice in his
triumph. It looks on him with indifferent eyes.

                      The Hero’s Mission of Peace

This section describes the growth of the hero’s soul. The composer uses
thematic material from _Don Juan_, _Also sprach Zarathustra_, _Tod und
Verklärung_, _Don Quixote_, _Till Eulenspiegel’s lustige Streiche_,
_Guntram_, _Macbeth_, and his song, “Traum durch die Dämmerung.” Jean
Marnold claims that there are twenty-three of these reminiscences,
quotations, which Strauss introduces suddenly, or successively, or
simultaneously, “and the hearer that has not been warned cannot at the
time notice the slightest disturbance in the development. He would not
think that all these themes are foreign to the work he hears, and are
only souvenirs.”

            The Hero’s Escape from the World, and Conclusion

The world is still cold. At first the hero rages, but resignation and
content soon take possession of his soul. The bluster of nature reminds
him of his old days of war. Again he sees the beloved one, and in peace
and contemplation his soul takes flight. For the last time the hero’s
theme is heard as it rises to a sonorous, impressive climax. And then is
solemn music, such as might serve funeral rites.

                            IGOR FEDOROVITCH

      (Born at Oranienbaum, near St. Petersburg, on June 5, 1882)

As for Stravinsky, we personally prefer the Stravinsky of the _Sacre du
Printemps_ to the Stravinsky who of late has been attempting to compose
in the manner of Bach. To begin with, we do not hear music now with the
ears of the earlier centuries, and the old idiom today has no pertinence
except when it has been handed down to us by a master of it, who broke
through the idiom and made a universal language of it for many years to
come. Stravinsky’s feeble echo is simply dull, boresome. His “Muscovism”
is greatly to be preferred.

                            A Danced Legend

    I. Introduction: Kastcheï’s Enchanted Garden and Dance of the
    II. Supplication of the Fire-Bird
    III. The Princesses Play with the Golden Apples
    IV. Dance of the Princess
    IVa. Berceuse
    V. Infernal Dance of All the Subjects of Kastcheï
    VI. Finale

In the summer of 1909 Diaghilev asked Stravinsky to write a ballet
founded on the old Russian legend of the Fire-Bird. The score was ready
in May, 1910. The scenario was the work of Fokine.

The first performance of _L’Oiseau de Feu_, a _Conte dansé_, in two
scenes, was at the Paris _Opéra_ on June 25, 1910. The Fire-Bird, Tamara
Karsavina; The Beautiful Tsarevna, Mme Fokina; Ivan Tsarevitch, Fokine;
Kastcheï, Boulgakov. Gabriel Pierné conducted. The stage settings were
by Golovine and Bakst. Balakirev had sketched an opera in which the
Fire-Bird was the central figure, but nothing came of it. Kastcheï (or
Kostcheï) is the hero of Rimsky-Korsakov’s opera _Kastcheï the Immortal:
an Autumn Legend_, produced at the Private Opera, Moscow, in 1902. He
also figures as “the man-skeleton” in Rimsky-Korsakov’s _Mlada_, a fairy
opera-ballet (St. Petersburg, 1893) and, by implication, Moussorgsky’s
symphonic poem, _A Night on Bald Mountain_.

Mr. Montagu-Nathan[50] says in his sketch of Stravinsky: “In identifying
the literary basis of _The Fire-Bird_ with that of Korsakov’s
_Kastcheï_, it should be pointed out that the latter work is but a
_pastiche_ of episodes derived from legendary lore, with the monster as
a central figure. In Stravinsky’s ballet, the ogre is an accessory
character, so far as concerns the dramatic action, but his presence in
the scheme is nevertheless vital to it.”

“Ivan Tsarevich, the hero of many tales, wandering in the night, espies
the Fire-Bird attempting to pluck the golden fruit from a silver tree,
and, after a chase, succeeds in capturing her. But receiving the gift of
a glowing feather he consents to forego his prize. As the darkness of
night lifts, Ivan discovers that he is in the grounds of an old castle,
from which thirteen maidens presently emerge. They are observed by the
concealed youth to make play with the tree and its fruit. Disclosing
himself, he obtains possession of a golden apple. With the approaching
dawn the maidens withdraw into the castle, which Ivan now recognizes as
that of the fearsome Kastcheï, captor of decoyed travelers, over whom he
tyrannously wields his magic power. Ivan resolves upon entering
Kastcheï’s abode, but on opening the gate he is confronted first by a
motley horde of freakish monsters and then by the ogre himself, to whose
court they belong. Kastcheï seeks to bewitch the young adventurer and to
turn him to stone, but Ivan is protected by the glowing feather.
Presently the bird comes to his aid and nullifies Kastcheï’s threatened
spell, and, after demonstrating its power by causing the frightful
company of courtiers to break into a frenzied dance, reveals the casket
in which Kastcheï’s ‘death’ is hidden. From the casket Ivan takes an
egg, which he dashes to the ground; the death it contains unites itself
with its owner, and the dread wizard dies. His castle vanishes, his
victims are liberated, and Ivan receives the hand of the most beautiful
of the maidens.”

The score, which was later revised with a smaller orchestration, calls
for piccolo, three flutes (one interchangeable with a second piccolo),
three oboes, English horn, three clarinets in A (one interchangeable
with a small clarinet in D), bass clarinet, three bassoons (one
interchangeable with a second double bassoon), double bassoon, four
horns, three trumpets, three trombones, bass tuba, kettledrums, bass
drum, cymbals, triangle, bells, tambourine, xylophone, celesta,
pianoforte, three harps, sixteen first violins, sixteen second violins,
fourteen violas, eight violoncellos, six double basses.


 _Carnival—The Magician—Russian Dance—Petrouchka—The Arab—Dance of the
  Ballerina—Carnival—Nurses’ Dance—The Bear and the Peasant Playing a
 Hand-Organ—The Merchant and the Gypsies—The Dance of the Coachmen and
Grooms—The Masqueraders—The Quarrel of the Arab and Petrouchka, and the
                         Death of Petrouchka._

The ballet _Petrouchka: Scènes burlesques en 4 Tableaux_, scenario by
Alexandre Benois, was completed by Stravinsky at Rome in May (13-26),
1911. It was produced by Diaghilev at the Châtelet, Paris, on June 13,
1911. The chief dancers were Mme Tamar Karsavina, La Ballerine;
Nijinsky, Petrouchka. Mr. Monteux conducted; Mr. Fokine was the ballet
master. The scenery and costumes were designed by Benois; the scenery
was painted by Anisfeld.

“This ballet depicts the life of the lower classes in Russia, with all
its dissoluteness, barbarity, tragedy, and misery. Petrouchka is a sort
of Polichinello, a poor hero always suffering from the cruelty of the
police and every kind of wrong and unjust persecution. This represents
symbolically the whole tragedy in the existence of the Russian people, a
suffering from despotism and injustice. The scene is laid in the midst
of the Russian carnival, and the streets are lined with booths in one of
which Petrouchka plays a kind of humorous rôle. He is killed, but he
appears again and again as a ghost on the roof of the booth to frighten
his enemy, his old employer, an allusion to the despotic rules in

The following description of the ballet is taken from _Contemporary
Russian Composers_, by Mr. Montagu-Nathan:

“The ‘plot’ of _Petrouchka_ owes nothing to folklore, but retains the
quality of the fantastic. Its chief protagonist is a lovelorn doll; but
we have still a villain in the person of the _focusnik_, a showman who
for his own ends prefers to consider that a puppet has no soul. The
scene is the Admiralty Square, St. Petersburg; the time ‘Butter-Week,’
somewhere about the eighteen-thirties.... Prior to the raising of the
first curtain the music has an expectant character and the varied
rhythmic treatment of a melodic figure which has a distinct folk-tune
flavor has all the air of inviting conjecture as to what is about to
happen. Once the curtain goes up we are immediately aware that we are in
the midst of a carnival, and are prepared for some strange sights. The
music describes the nature of the crowd magnificently, and in his
orchestral reproduction of a hurdy-gurdy, whose player mingles with the
throng, Stravinsky has taken pains that his orchestral medium shall not
lend any undue dignity to the instrument.... Presently the showman
begins to attract his audience, and, preparatory to opening his curtain,
plays a few mildly florid passages on his flute. With his final flourish
he animates his puppets. They have been endowed by the showman with
human feelings and passions. Petrouchka is ugly and consequently the
most sensitive. He endeavors to console himself for his master’s cruelty
by exciting the sympathy and winning the love of his fellow doll, the
Ballerina, but in this he is less successful than the callous and brutal
Moor, the remaining unit in the trio of puppets. Jealousy between
Petrouchka and the Moor is the cause of the tragedy which ends in the
pursuit and slaughter of the former. The Russian Dance which the three
puppets perform at the bidding of their task-master recalls vividly the
passage of a crowd in Rimsky-Korsakov’s _Kitezh_.

“When at the end of the dance the light fails and the inner curtain
falls, we are reminded by the roll of the side drum which does duty as
entr’acte music that we have to do with a realist, with a composer who
is no more inclined than was his precursor Dargomijsky to make
concessions; he prefers to preserve illusions, and so long as the drum
continues its slow fusillade the audience’s mind is kept fixed upon the
doll it has been contemplating. The unsuccessful courtship is now
enacted and then the scene is again changed to the Moor’s apartment,
where, after a monotonous droning dance, the captivation of the
Ballerina takes place. There are from time to time musical figures
recalling the showman’s flute flourishes, apparently referring to his
dominion over the doll.... The scene ends with the summary ejection of
that unfortunate (Petrouchka), and the drum once more bridges the change
of scene.

“In the last tableau the Carnival, with its consecutive common chords,
is resumed. The nurses’ dance, which is of folk origin, is one of
several items of decorative music, some of them, like the episode of the
man with the bear, and the merchant’s accordion, being fragmentary. With
the combined dance of the nurses, coachmen, and grooms, we have again a
wonderful counterpoint of the melodic elements.

“When the fun is at its height, it is suddenly interrupted by
Petrouchka’s frenzied flight from the little theater. He is pursued by
the Moor, whom the cause of their jealousy tries vainly to hold in
check. To the consternation of the spectators, Petrouchka is slain by a
stroke of the cruel Moor’s sword, and a tap on the _tambour de Basque_.

“The showman, having demonstrated to the satisfaction of the gay crowd
that Petrouchka is only a doll, is left alone with the corpse, but is
not allowed to depart in absolute peace of mind. To the accompaniment of
a ghastly distortion of the showman’s flute music the wraith of
Petrouchka appears above the little booth. There is a brief reference to
the carnival figure, then four concluding _pizzicato_ notes, and the
drama is finished. From his part in outlining it we conclude that
Stravinsky is an artist whose lightness of touch equals that of Ravel,
whose humanity is as deep as Moussorgsky’s.”

The ballet calls for these instruments: four flutes (two interchangeable
with piccolo), four oboes (one interchangeable with English horn), four
clarinets (one interchangeable with bass clarinet), four bassoons (one
interchangeable with double bassoon), four horns, two trumpets (one
interchangeable with little trumpet, in D), two _cornets-à-pistons_,
three trombones, bass tuba, kettledrums, snare drum, _tambour de
Provence_, bass drum, tambourine, cymbals, triangle, glockenspiel,
xylophones, tam-tam, celesta (two and four hands), pianoforte, two
harps, strings. The score, dedicated to Alexandre Benois, was published
in 1912.


                     I. The Adoration of the Earth

            _Introduction—Harbingers of Spring—Dance of the
                       Rounds—Games of the Rival
          Cities—The Procession of the Wise Men—The Adoration
            of the Earth (The Wise Man)—Dance of the Earth._

                           II. The Sacrifice

   _Introduction—Mysterious Circles of the Adolescents—Glorification
          of the Chosen One—Evocation of the Ancestors—Ritual
             of the Ancestors—The Sacrificial Dance of the
                              Chosen One._

_The Rite of Spring_, or more literally according to the Russian _Spring
Consecration_, scenery and costumes designed by Nicolas Roerich,
choreography by W. Nijinsky, was produced at the Théâtre des Champs
Élysées on May 29, 1913, by the Diaghilev Ballet Russe. Mr. Monteux
conducted. The chief dancers were M. Nijinsky and Mlle Piltz. The
performance, while it delighted some, incited howls of protest. The
hissing was violent, mingled with counter cheers, so that M. Astruc
ordered the lights turned up. The late Alfred Capu wrote a bitter
article published in _Le Figaro_, in which he said:

“Bluffing the idle rich of Paris through appeals to their snobbery is a
delightfully simple matter.... The process works out as follows: Take
the best society possible, composed of rich, simple-minded, idle people.
Then submit them to an intense régime of publicity. By pamphlets,
newspaper articles, lectures, personal visits and all other appeals to
their snobbery, persuade them that hitherto they have seen only vulgar
spectacles, and are at last to know what is art and beauty. Impress them
with cabalistic formulæ. They have not the slightest notion of music,
literature, painting, and dancing; still, they have heretofore seen
under these names only a rude imitation of the real thing. Finally
assure them that they are about to see real dancing and hear real music.
It will then be necessary to double the prices at the theater, so great
will be the rush of shallow worshipers at this false shrine.”

Mr. Carl Van Vechten describes the scene in his book: _Music after the
Great War_:

“I attended the first performance in Paris of Stravinsky’s anarchistic
(against the canons of academic art) ballet, _The Rite of Spring_, in
which primitive emotions are both depicted and aroused by a dependence
on barbarous rhythm in which melody and harmony, as even so late a
composer as Richard Strauss understands them, do not enter. A certain
part of the audience, thrilled by what it considered to be a blasphemous
attempt to destroy music as an art, and swept away with wrath, began
very soon after the rise of the curtain to whistle, to make cat-calls,
and to offer audible suggestions as to how the performance should
proceed. Others of us, who liked the music and felt that the principles
of free speech were at stake, bellowed defiance. It was war over art for
the rest of the evening, and the orchestra played on unheard, except
occasionally when a slight lull occurred. The figures on the stage
danced in time to music that they had to imagine they heard, and
beautifully out of rhythm with the uproar in the auditorium. I was
sitting in a box, in which I had rented one seat. Three ladies sat in
front of me, and a young man occupied the place behind me. He stood up
during the course of the ballet to enable himself to see more clearly.
The intense excitement under which he was laboring, thanks to the potent
force of the music, betrayed itself presently when he began to beat
rhythmically on the top of my head with his fists. My emotion was so
great that I did not feel the blows for some time. They were perfectly
synchronized with the beat of the music. When I did, I turned around.
His apology was sincere. We had both been carried beyond ourselves.”

There were five performances in Paris that season.

When this ballet was brought out at Drury Lane, London, on July 11,
1913, with Mr. Monteux conductor, it was thought advisable to send a
lecturer, Mr. Edwin Evans, in front of the curtain, to explain the ideas
underlying the ballet. At the end of the performance there was greater
applause than hissing.

The music of this ballet was performed for the first time in concert
form by an orchestra conducted by Mr. Monteux at one of his concerts at
the Casino de Paris in Paris on April 5, 1914, when it was
enthusiastically applauded.

And now _The Rite of Spring_ is acclaimed by many as Stravinsky’s
“greatest work.”

The orchestration is as follows: piccolo, 3 flutes (the third
interchangeable with a second piccolo), bass flute; five oboes (the
fourth interchangeable with English horn); small clarinet in E flat,
three clarinets and bass clarinet; three bassoons, two double bassoons;
eight horns (two interchangeable with tenor tubas); small trumpet in D,
three trumpets in C, bass trumpet; three trombones; two bass tubas;
kettledrums, bass drum, two antique cymbals, tam-tam, scratcher, and

                              JOSEPH DEEMS

                 (Born at New York, December 22, 1885)

                                 OP. 12

    Ia. Dedication
    Ib. The Garden of Live Flowers
    II. Jabberwocky
    III. Looking-Glass Insects
    IV. The White Knight

It is a pleasure to find an American composer of talent who is willing
to write music that is cheerful, not portentous; whose fancy is
delicate; who uses a large orchestra discreetly, not chiefly to make a
thunderous noise. Mr. Taylor for his inspiration went to a book that for
years has pleased children from the tender age to that of white hair; he
did not ransack the Grecian or the Scandinavian mythology; he had no
thesis, no exposition of colors; he did not attempt to portray in music
cave life and the rude rites of primitive man. Nor did he strive
painfully to be ultra-modern in the French, Italian, or German manner.
He remembered Lewis Carroll’s story. Pleasant and amusing musical
thoughts came into his head, and he expressed them musically, without
laboring after transliteration. Even his narration of the Jabberwock’s
fate is not too realistic, and in this movement the measures that may be
taken to picture the peaceful scene while the hero waited “with vorpal
sword” in hand by the Tumtum tree the approach of the fearful monster
are charged with poetic beauty. Charming also is the “Dedication.” The
whole work shows genuine fancy, a gift of expression in an individual
manner. Whether without titles the music would identify this or that
episode is not to the point. The suite is frankly programme music, but
of the better kind; natural, not pretentious; amusing, but as a man of
talent amuses first himself, then those who are privileged to be with

                                 * * *

This suite, inspired by _Through the Looking-Glass_, by Lewis Carroll
(Charles Lutwidge Dodgson, 1832-98), was written in 1917-19 for flute,
oboe, clarinet, bassoon, horn, pianoforte, and strings. It was produced
in this form at a concert of the New York Chamber Music Society in New
York on February 18, 1919. The suite was then in three movements. In
September, 1921, Mr. Taylor began to revise the suite for full
orchestra. He added “The Garden of Live Flowers.” The first performance
of the revised work was by the New York Symphony Orchestra in Brooklyn,
March 10, 1923. The performance was repeated in New York the following

The score, dedicated “To Katharine Moore Taylor from a difficult son,”
calls for these instruments: three flutes (and piccolo), two oboes,
English horn, two clarinets, bass clarinet, two bassoons, double
bassoon, four horns, three trumpets, three trombones, tuba, a set of
three kettledrums, snare drum, tambourine, cymbals, triangle,
glockenspiel, xylophone, pianoforte, and strings.

When the suite was produced by the Symphony Society of New York, the
programme contained a description by Mr. Taylor:

“The suite needs no extended analysis. It is based on Lewis Carroll’s
immortal nonsense fairy tale, _Through the Looking-Glass and What Alice
Found There_, and the five pictures it presents will, if all goes well,
be readily recognizable to lovers of the book. There are four movements,
the first being subdivided into two connected parts.”

                             Ia. Dedication

Carroll precedes the tale with a charming poetical foreword, the first
stanza of which the music aims to express. It runs:

  _Child of the pure, unclouded brow
    And dreaming eyes of wonder!
  Though time be fleet, and I and thou
    Are half a life asunder,
  Thy loving smile will surely hail
    The love gift of a fairy tale._

A simple song theme, briefly developed, leads to

                     Ib. The Garden of Live Flowers

(The score contains this extract from the book:

  “‘O Tiger Lily,’ said Alice, addressing herself to one that was waving
  gracefully about in the wind, ‘I wish you could talk.’

  “‘We can talk,’ said the Tiger-Lily, ‘when there’s anybody worth
  talking to.’

  “‘And can the flowers talk?’

  “‘As well as you can,’ said the Tiger-Lily, ‘and a great deal

Shortly after Alice had entered the looking-glass country she came to a
lovely garden in which the flowers were talking—in the words of the
Tiger-Lily, “as well as you can, and a great deal louder.” The music,
therefore, reflects the brisk chatter of the swaying, bright-colored
denizens of the garden.

                            II. Jabberwocky

This is the poem that so puzzled Alice, and which Humpty-Dumpty finally
explained to her. The theme of that frightful beast, the Jabberwock, is
first announced by the full orchestra. The clarinet then begins the
tale, recounting how on a “brillig” afternoon, the “slithy toves did
gyre and gimble in the wabe.” Muttered imprecations by the bassoon warn
us to “beware the Jabberwock, my son.” A miniature march signalizes the
approach of our hero, taking “his vorpal sword in hand.” Trouble starts
among the trombones—the Jabberwock is upon us. The battle with the
monster is recounted in a short and rather repellent fugue, the double
basses bringing up the subject and the hero fighting back in the
interludes. Finally his vorpal blade (really a xylophone) goes
“snicker-snack” and the monster, impersonated by the solo bassoon, dies
a lingering and convulsive death. The hero returns to the victorious
strains of his own theme—“O frabjous day! Callooh! Callay!” The whole
orchestra rejoices—the church bells are rung—alarums and excursions.

Conclusion. Once more the “slithy toves” perform their pleasing
evolutions, undisturbed by the uneasy ghost of the late Jabberwock.

                       III. Looking-Glass Insects

(The score contains extracts from the dialogue of Alice and the gnat
“about the size of a chicken” about various insects, among them the

  “‘And what does it live on?’

  “‘Weak tea with cream in it.’

  “‘Supposing it couldn’t find any?’

  “‘Then it would die, of course.’

  “‘But that must happen very often,’ said Alice thoughtfully.

  “‘It always happens,’ said the gnat.”)

Here we find the vociferous diptera that made such an impression upon
Alice—the Bee-elephant, the Gnat, the Rocking-horse-fly, the
Snap-dragon-fly, and the Bread-and-butter-fly. There are several themes,
but there is no use trying to decide which insect any one of them stands

                          IV. The White Knight

(The score contains extracts from the conversation of the White Knight,
and an account of his leave-taking.)

  He was a toy Don Quixote, mild, chivalrous, ridiculous, and rather
  touching. He carried a mouse-trap on his saddle-bow, “because, if they
  do come, I don’t choose to have them running about.” He couldn’t ride
  very well, but he was a gentle soul, with good intentions. There are
  two themes: the first, a sort of instrumental prance, being the
  Knight’s own conception of himself as a slashing, dare-devil fellow.
  The second is bland, mellifluous, a little sentimental—much more like
  the Knight as he really was. The first theme starts off bravely, but
  falls out of the saddle before very long, and has to give way to the
  second. The two alternate, in various guises, until the end, when the
  Knight rides off, with Alice waving her handkerchief—he thought it
  would encourage him if she did.

                              PETER ILITCH

  (Born at Votkinsk, in the government of Viatka, Russia, May 7, 1840;
               died at St. Petersburg, November 6, 1893)

It is true that in more than one page of his symphonies Tchaikovsky
narrowly escapes the reproach of vulgarity; but the earnestness, the
sincerity of the speech makes its way even before the development and
the amplification make them seem inevitable. The heart of Tchaikovsky
was that of a little child; the brain was that of a man weary of the
world and all its vanities. And so we have the singular phenomenon of
naïveté, accompanied by a super-refined skill—and all this in the body
and mind of a man fundamentally oriental in his tastes and especially in
his love of surprising or monotonous rhythms and gorgeous colors. The
very modernity of Tchaikovsky, his closeness to us as the spokesman of
the things we think and dare not say—these qualities may war against his
lasting fame; but in our day and generation he is the supreme
interpreter by music of elemental and emotional thought. The emptiness
of life obsessed him, and in the expression of his thought he is again
the man of his period. When faith returns again to the world, his music
may be studied with interest and curiosity as an important document in
sociology. But in the present we are under his mighty spell.

                   SYMPHONY NO. 4, IN F MINOR, OP. 36

    I. Andante sostenuto; moderato con anima in movimento di valse
    II. Andantino in modo di canzona
    III. Scherzo: “pizzicato ostinato”; allegro
    IV. Finale: allegro con fuoco

If Tchaikovsky had a programme in mind when he composed his Fifth and
Sixth symphonies, he never published it to the world; but for the Fourth
he wrote an elaborate one. Does the music gain by it? To us the Fourth
symphony is interesting because it seems nearer to the Russian spirit
and life as portrayed by Dostoivsky than the later ones. Even the
ornamentation, the arabesques, that in another’s music would seem as so
many excrescences, perhaps frivolous, are here in place. The neurotic,
self-torturing Tchaikovsky was for years obsessed by the thought of
death and the charnel house. Fate was to him not a word to be associated
only with the story of Œdipus or Pelop’s line. The Fourth symphony is a
personal document, revealing the man, as his letters revealed him. It is
easy to pick flaws in it; to dismiss it as a suite, not a symphony; to
complain of this or that; but the music with its deep-rooted melancholy,
its noisy attempt to forget the inevitable end, its drunken hilarity,
its dark and sinister sadness, is not easily to be put aside, not easily
to be forgotten.

                                 * * *

Tchaikovsky composed this symphony during the winter of 1877-78. He had
lost interest in an opera, _Othello_, for which a libretto at his own
wish had been drafted by Stassov. The first draft was finished in May,
1877. He began the instrumentation on August 23 of that year, and
finished the first movement September 24. He began work again towards
the end of November. The _andantino_ was finished on December 27, the
_scherzo_ on January 1, 1878, and the _finale_ on January 7, 1878.

The first performance was at a symphony concert of the Russian Musical
Society, Moscow, February 22, 1878. Nicholas Rubinstein conducted.

The dedication of this symphony is as follows: “_À mon meilleur ami_”
(To my best friend), and thereby hangs a tale.

This best friend was the widow Nadejda Filaretovna von Meck. Her maiden
name was Frolovsky. Born in the village Snamensk, government of
Smolensk, February 10, 1831, she married in 1848 an engineer, and for
some years knew poverty. Her courage did not give way; she was a
helpmeet for her husband, who finally became famous and successful. In
1876 her husband died. She was left with eleven children and a fortune
of “many millions of rubles.” Dwelling at Moscow, fond of music, she
admired beyond measure certain works by Tchaikovsky. Inquiring curiously
concerning his character as a man and about his worldly circumstances,
she became acquainted with Kotek, a pupil of Tchaikovsky in composition.
Through him she gave Tchaikovsky commissions for transcriptions for
violin and pianoforte of some of his works. There was an interchange of
letters. In the early summer of 1877 she learned that he was in debt.
She sent him 3,000 rubles; in the fall of the same year she determined
to give him yearly the sum of 6,000 rubles, that he might compose free
from pecuniary care and vexation; but she insisted that they should
never meet. They never spoke together; their letters were frequent and
intimate. Tchaikovsky poured out his soul to this woman, described by
his brother Modeste as proud and energetic, with deep-rooted principles,
with the independence of a man; a woman that held in disdain all that
was petty and conventional; pure in thought and action; a woman that was
compassionate, not sentimental.

The composer wrote to her on May 13, 1877, that he purposed to dedicate
this symphony to her. “I believe that you will find in it echoes of your
deepest thoughts and feelings. At this moment any other work would be
odious to me; I speak only of work that presupposes the existence of a
determined mood. Added to this I am in a very nervous, worried, and
irritable state, highly unfavorable to composition, and even my symphony
suffers in consequence.” In August, 1877, writing to her, he referred to
the symphony as “yours.” “I hope it will please you, for that is the
main thing.” He wrote in August from Kamenka: “The first movement has
cost me much trouble in scoring it. It is very complicated and long; but
it seems to me it is also the most important. The other movements are
simple, and it will be fun to score them. There will be a new effect of
sound in the _scherzo_, and I expect much from it. At first the strings
play alone and _pizzicato_ throughout. In the trio the wood-wind
instruments enter and play alone. At the end all three choirs toss short
phrases to each other. I believe that the effects of sound and color
will be most interesting.” He wrote to her in December from Venice that
he was hard at work on the instrumentation: “No one of my orchestral
pieces has cost me so much labor, but on no one have I worked with so
much love and with such devotion. At first I was led on only by the wish
to bring the symphony to an end, and then I grew more and more fond of
the task, and now I cannot bear to leave it. My dear Nadejda
Filaretovna, perhaps I am mistaken, but it seems to me that this
symphony is no mediocre piece; that it is the best I have yet made. How
glad I am that it is our work, and that you will know when you hear it
how much I thought about you in every measure! If you were not, would it
ever have been finished? When I was in Moscow and thought that my end
was about to come [There is a reference here to the crazed condition of
Tchaikovsky after his amazing marriage to Antonina Ivanovna Milioukov.
The wedding was on July 18, 1877. He left his wife at Moscow, October 6,
of that year.] I wrote on the first draft: ‘If I should die, please send
this manuscript to N. F. von Meck.’ I wished the manuscript of my last
composition to be in your possession. Now I am not only well, but,
thanks to you, in the position to give myself wholly to work, and I
believe that I have written music which cannot fall into oblivion. Yet
it is possible that I am wrong; it is the peculiar habit of all artists
to wax enthusiastic over the youngest of their productions.” Later he
had chills as well as fever over the worth of the symphony.

                   SYMPHONY NO. 5, IN E MINOR, OP. 64

    I. Andante; Allegro con anima
    II. Andante cantabile, con alcuna licenza
    III. Valse (Allegro moderato)
    IV. Finale (Andante maestoso; allegro vivace)

Tchaikovsky was singularly reticent in his letters concerning the Fifth
symphony, but who can refrain from thinking with Ernest Newman that this
symphony was written to a programme; that the work “embodies an
emotional sequence of some kind”? There is the tread of inexorable fate;
this tread disturbs the beauty of the _andante_; it checks the forced
gayety of the dancers in the waltz, and is the triumphant spirit in the
_finale_ something more than a heroic defiance of the inevitable, a
brave stand before the approach of death?

We are interested in the woe of Canio or of the Navarraise; we are moved
by the infinite sadness of Mélisande; we understand the tragedy in the
humble home on Montmartre and the agony of Rigoletto. We endure the
spectacle of the anguish of these men and women on the stage, applaud
and go comfortably to bed. Tchaikovsky’s music awakens in the breast the
haunting, unanswerable questions of life and death that concern us
directly and personally.

                                 * * *

About the end of April, 1888, Tchaikovsky took possession of his country
house at Frolovskoe, which had been made ready for him, when he was at
Paris and London, by his servant Alexis. Frolovskoe is a picturesque
place on a wooded hill on the way from Moscow to Klin. The house was
simple. “Here he [Tchaikovsky] could be alone,”—we quote from Mrs.
Newmarch’s translation into English of Modeste Tchaikovsky’s life of
Peter,—“free from summer excursionists, to enjoy the little garden (with
its charming pool and tiny islet) fringed by the forest, behind which
the view opened out upon a distant stretch of country—upon that homely,
unassuming landscape of Central Russia which Tchaikovsky preferred to
all the sublimities of Switzerland, the Caucasus, and Italy. Had not the
forest been gradually exterminated, he would never have quitted
Frolovskoe, for, although he only lived there for three years, he became
greatly attached to the place. A month before his death, traveling from
Klin to Moscow, he said, looking out at the churchyard of Frolovskoe: ‘I
should like to be buried there.’”

On June 22 he wrote to Mme von Meck: “Now I shall work my hardest. I am
exceedingly anxious to prove to myself, as to others, that I am not
played out as a composer.... Have I told you that I intend to write a
symphony? The beginning was difficult; but now inspiration seems to have
come. However, we shall see.”

In July, Tchaikovsky received a letter from an American manager who
offered him 25,000 dollars for a concert tour of three months. The sum
seemed incredible to the composer: “Should this tour really take place,
I could realize my long-cherished wish to become a landowner.” On August
6 he wrote to Mme von Meck: “When I am old and past composing, I shall
spend the whole of my time in growing flowers. I have been working with
good results. I have orchestrated half the symphony. My age—although I
am not very old [he was then forty-eight]—begins to tell on me. I become
very tired, and I can no longer play the pianoforte or read at night as
I used to do.” On August 26 he wrote to her: “I am not feeling well, ...
but I am so glad that I have finished the symphony that I forget my
physical troubles.... In November I shall conduct a whole series of my
works in St. Petersburg, at the Philharmonic, and the new symphony will
be one of them.”

The Fifth symphony was performed for the first time at St. Petersburg,
November 17, 1888. The composer conducted. The audience was pleased, but
the reviews in the newspapers were not very favorable. On November 24 of
the same year, Tchaikovsky conducted the symphony again at a concert of
the Musical Society.

In December, 1888, he wrote to Mme von Meck: “After two performances of
my new symphony in St. Petersburg and one in Prague, I have come to the
conclusion that it is a failure. There is something repellent, something
superfluous, patchy, and insincere, which the public instinctively
recognizes. It was obvious to me that the ovations I received were
prompted more by my earlier work, and that the symphony itself did not
really please the audience. The consciousness of this brings me a sharp
twinge of self-dissatisfaction. Am I really played out, as they say? Can
I merely repeat and ring the changes on my earlier idiom? Last night I
looked through _our_ symphony No. 4. What a difference! How immeasurably
superior it is! It is very, very sad!” He was cheered by news of the
success of the symphony in Moscow.

At the public rehearsal in Hamburg, the symphony pleased the musicians;
there was real enthusiasm.

Tchaikovsky wrote after the concert to Davidov: “The Fifth symphony was
magnificently played and I like it far better now, after having held a
bad opinion of it for some time. Unfortunately, the Russian press
continues to ignore me. With the exception of my nearest and dearest, no
one will ever hear of my successes.”

Modeste Tchaikovsky is of the opinion that the Fifth symphony was a long
time in making its way chiefly on account of his brother’s inefficiency
as a conductor.

The _andante_, E minor, 4-4 theme of the symphony, which occurs in the
four movements, typical of fate, “the eternal note of sadness,” of what
you will, is given at the very beginning to the clarinets, and the
development serves as an approach to the _allegro_. The principal theme
of the first movement, _allegro con anima_, 6-8, is announced by
clarinet and bassoon. It is developed elaborately and at great length.
This theme is said to have been derived from a Polish folk song. The
second theme in B minor is given to the strings. The recapitulation
begins with the restatement of the principal theme by the bassoon. There
is a long _coda_, which finally sinks to a _pianissimo_ and passes to
the original key.

The second movement has been characterized as a romance, firmly knit
together in form, and admitting great freedom of interpretation, as the
qualification, “_con alcuna licenza_,” of the _andante cantabile_
indicates. After a short introduction in the deeper strings, the horn
sings the principal melody. The oboe gives out a new theme, which is
answered by the horn, and this theme is taken up by violins and violas.
The principal theme is heard from the violoncellos, after which the
clarinet sings still another melody, which is developed to a climax, in
which the full orchestra thunders out the chief theme of the symphony,
the theme of bodement. The second part of the movement follows in a
general way along the lines already established. There is another
climax, and again is heard the impressive theme of the symphony.

The third movement is a waltz _allegro moderato_, A major, 3-4. The
structure is simple, and the development of the first theme, _dolce con
grazia_, given to violins against horns, bassoons, and string
instruments, is natural. Toward the very end clarinets and bassoons
sound, as afar off, the theme of the symphony: the gayety is over.

There is a long introduction, _andante maestoso_, E major, 4-4, to the
_finale_, a development of the somber and dominating theme. This
_andante_ is followed by an _allegro vivace_, E minor, with the first
theme given to the strings, and a more tuneful theme assigned first to
the wood-wind and afterward to the violins. The development of the
second theme contains illusions to the chief theme of the symphony.
Storm and fury; the movement comes to a halt; the _coda_ begins in E
major, the _allegro vivace_ increases to a _presto_. The second theme of
the _finale_ is heard, and the final climax contains a reminiscence of
the first theme of the first movement.

Some find pleasure in characterizing Tchaikovsky’s symphonies as suites;
Dvořák is said to have made this criticism. But the Fifth symphony
escapes this charge, for objectors admit that in this work the composer
made his nearest approach to true symphonic form—in spite of the fact
that there is no repetition of the first part of the first _allegro_,
and a waltz movement takes the place of the _scherzo_.

             SYMPHONY NO. 6, IN B MINOR, “PATHETIC,” OP. 74

    I. Adagio; allegro non troppo
    II. Allegro con grazia
    III. Allegro molto vivace
    IV. Finale: adagio lamentoso

We well remember the sensation the Sixth symphony made in Boston when
Mr. Paur brought it out. When the late William Foster Apthorp described
the music as “obscene,” a singular word to apply to it, indignant
denunciatory letters were sent to the _Evening Transcript_, written by
persons who, as Charles Reade once said of letter writers to newspapers,
had no other waste-pipe for their intellect.

This symphony was at the first so popular that some predicted its life
would be short. It is still an amazing human document. The Fifth may for
some reasons be preferred as a purely musical composition; the Fourth
has more of the Russian folk-spirit; but the somber eloquence of the
_Pathetic_, its pages of recollected joys fled forever, its wild gayety
quenched by the thought of the inevitable end, its mighty
lamentation—these are overwhelming and shake the soul.

                                 * * *

The first mention of the _Pathetic_ symphony is in a letter from
Tchaikovsky to his brother Anatol, dated Klin, February 22, 1893: “I am
now wholly occupied with the new work (a symphony) and it is hard for me
to tear myself away from it. I believe it comes into being as the best
of my works. I must finish it as soon as possible, for I have to wind up
a lot of affairs and I must also soon go to London. I told you that I
had completed a symphony which suddenly displeased me, and I tore it up.
Now I have composed a new symphony _which I certainly shall not tear

Returning in August from a trip to London, Peter wrote to Modeste that
he was up to his neck in his symphony. “The orchestration is the more
difficult, the farther I go. Twenty years ago I let myself write at ease
without much thought, and it was all right. Now I have become cowardly
and uncertain. I have sat the whole day over two pages; that which I
wished came constantly to naught. In spite of this, I make progress.” He
wrote to Davidov, August 15: “The symphony which I intended to dedicate
to you—I shall reconsider this on account of your long silence—is
progressing. I am very well satisfied with the contents, but not wholly
with the orchestration. I do not succeed in my intentions. It will not
surprise me in the least if the symphony is cursed or judged
unfavorably; ’twill not be for the first time. I myself consider it the
best, especially the most open-hearted of all my works. I love it as I
never have loved any other of my musical creations. My life is without
the charm of variety; evenings I am often bored; but I do not complain,
for the symphony is now the main thing, and I cannot work anywhere so
well as at home.” He wrote Jurgenson, his publisher, on August 24, that
he had finished the orchestration: “I give you my word of honor that
never in my life have I been so contented, so proud, so happy, in the
knowledge that I have written a good piece.” It was at this time that he
thought seriously of writing an opera with a text founded on _The Sad
Fortunes of the Reverend Mr. Barton_, by George Eliot, of whose best
works he was an enthusiastic admirer.

Tchaikovsky left Klin forever on October 19. He stopped at Moscow to
attend a funeral, and there with Kashkin he talked freely after supper.
Friends had died; who would be the next to go? “I told Peter,” said
Kashkin, “that he would outlive us all. He disputed the likelihood, yet
added that never had he felt so well and happy.” Peter told him that he
had no doubt about the first three movements of his new symphony, but
that the last was still doubtful in his mind; after the performance he
might destroy it and write another _finale_. He arrived at St.
Petersburg in good spirits, but he was depressed because the symphony
made no impression on the orchestra at the rehearsals. He valued highly
the opinion of players, and he conducted well only when he knew that the
orchestra liked the work. He was dependent on them for the finesse of
interpretation. “A cool facial expression, an indifferent glance, a
yawn—these tied his hands; he lost his readiness of mind, he went over
the work carelessly, and cut short the rehearsal, that the players might
be freed from their boresome work.” Yet he insisted that he never had
written and never would write a better composition than this symphony.

The Sixth symphony was performed for the first time at St. Petersburg,
October 28, 1893. Tchaikovsky conducted. The symphony failed. “There was
applause,” says Modeste, “and the composer was recalled, but with no
more enthusiasm than on previous occasions. There was not the mighty,
overpowering impression made by the work when it was conducted by
Napravnik, November 18, 1893, and later, wherever it was played.” The
critics were decidedly cool.

The morning after, Modeste found Peter at the tea-table with the score
of the symphony in his hand. He regretted that, inasmuch as he had to
send it that day to the publisher, he had not yet given it a title. He
wished something more than “No. 6,” and did not like “Programme
symphony.” “What does Programme symphony mean when I will give it no
programme?” Modeste suggested “Tragic,” but Peter said that would not
do. “I left the room before he had come to a decision. Suddenly I
thought, ‘Pathetic.’ I went back to the room,—I remember it as though it
were yesterday,—and I said the word to Peter. ‘Splendid, Modi, bravo,
“Pathetic”!’ and he wrote in my presence the title that will forever

On November 1, Tchaikovsky was in perfect health. He dined with an old
friend and went to the theater. In the cloakroom there was talk about
spiritualism. Varlamov objected to all talk about ghosts and anything
that reminded one of death. Tchaikovsky laughed at Varlamov’s manner of
expression and said: “There is still time enough to become acquainted
with this detestable snub-nosed one. At any rate, he will not have us
soon. I know that I shall live for a long time.” He then went with
friends to a restaurant, where he ate macaroni and drank white wine with
mineral water. When he walked home about 2 A.M., Peter was well in body
and in mind.

There are some who find pleasure in the thought that the death of a
great man was in some way mysterious or melodramatic. For years some
insisted that Salieri caused Mozart to be poisoned. There was a rumor
after Tchaikovsky’s death that he took poison or sought deliberately the
cholera. When Mr. Alexander Siloti, a pupil of Tchaikovsky, first
visited Boston, in 1898, he did not hesitate to say that there might be
truth in the report, and, asked as to his own belief, he shook his head
with a portentous gravity that Burleigh might have envied. We have been
assured by other Russians who knew Tchaikovsky that he killed himself,
nor was the reason for his so doing withheld. Peter’s brother Modeste
gives a circumstantial account of Peter’s death from natural causes.
Peter awoke November 2 after a restless night, but he went out about
noon to make a call; he returned to luncheon, ate nothing, and drank a
glass of water that had not been boiled. Modeste and others were
alarmed, but Peter was not disturbed, for he was less afraid of the
cholera than of other diseases. Not until night was there any thought of
serious illness, and then Peter said to his brother: “I think this is
death. Good-bye, Modi.” At eleven o’clock that night it was determined
that his sickness was cholera.

Modeste tells at length the story of Peter’s ending. Their mother had
died of cholera in 1854, at the very moment that she was put into a
bath. The physicians recommended as a last resort a warm bath for Peter,
who, when asked if he would take one, answered: “I shall be glad to have
a bath, but I shall probably die as soon as I am in the tub—as my mother
died.” The bath was not given that night, the second night after the
disease had been determined, for Peter was too weak. He was at times
delirious, and he often repeated the name of Mme von Meck in reproach or
in anger, for he had been sorely hurt by her sudden and capricious
neglect after her years of interest and devotion. The next day the bath
was given. A priest was called, but it was not possible to administer
the Communion, and he spoke words that the dying man could no longer
understand. “Peter Ilitch suddenly opened his eyes. There was an
indescribable expression of unclouded consciousness. Passing over the
others standing in the room, he looked at the three nearest him, and
then toward heaven. There was a certain light for a moment in his eyes,
which was soon extinguished, at the same time with his breath. It was
about three o’clock in the morning.”

What was the programme in Tchaikovsky’s mind? Kashkin says that, if the
composer had disclosed it to the public, the world would not have
regarded the symphony as a kind of legacy from one filled with a
presentiment of his own approaching end; that it seems more reasonable
“to interpret the overwhelming energy of the third movement and the
abysmal sorrow of the _finale_ in the broader light of a national or
historical significance rather than to narrow them to the expression of
an individual experience. If the last movement is intended to be
predictive, it is surely of things vaster and issues more fatal than are
contained in a mere personal apprehension of death. It speaks rather of
a ‘_lamentation large et souffrance inconnue_,’ and seems to set the
seal of finality on all human hopes. Even if we eliminate the purely
subjective interest, this autumnal inspiration of Tchaikovsky, in which
we hear ‘the ground whirl of the perished leaves of hope, still remains
the most profoundly stirring of his works.’ ...”


The _Romeo and Juliet_ overture would be worth a journey if only to hear
Tchaikovsky’s love music. Here is the incomparable expression in tones
of the Southern passion of Juliet, and it is strangely Shakespearean.
The remainder of the overture is rather rank Russian, with the exception
of the music of Friar Laurence and the noble requiem at the end.

                                 * * *

This overture fantasia was begun and completed in 1869. The first
performance was at a concert of the Musical Society, Moscow, on March
16, 1870; Nicholas Rubinstein conducted. The work was revised in the
summer of 1870 during a sojourn in Switzerland; it was published in
1871. Tchaikovsky, not satisfied with it, made other changes, and, it is
said, shortened the overture. The second edition, published in 1881,
contains these alterations.

The first performance in the United States was in New York, by the
Philharmonic Society, George Matzka, conductor, on April 22, 1876.

The overture begins _andante non tanto, quasi moderato_, F sharp minor,
4-4. Clarinets and bassoons sound the solemn harmonies, which, according
to Kashkin, characterize Friar Laurence; and yet Hermann Teibler finds
this introduction symbolical of “the burden of fate.” A short theme
creeps among the strings. There is an organ-point on D flat, with
modulation to F minor (flutes, horns, harp, lower strings). The Friar
Laurence theme is repeated (flutes, oboes, clarinets, English horn, with
_pizzicato_ bass). The ascending cry of the flutes is heard in E minor
instead of F minor, as before.

_Allegro giusto_, B minor, 4-4. The two households from “ancient grudge
break to new mutiny.” Wood-wind, horn, and strings picture the hatred
and fury that find vent in street brawls. A brilliant passage for
strings is followed by a repetition of the strife music. Then comes the
first love theme, D flat major (muted violas and English horn, horns in
syncopated accompaniment, with strings _pizzicato_). This motive is not
unlike in mood, and at times in melodic structure, Tchaikovsky’s famous
melody, _Nur wer die Sehnsucht kennt_ (Op. 6, No. 6), which was composed
in December, 1869. In the “Duo from Romeo and Juliet,” found among
Tchaikovsky’s sketches and orchestrated by S. Taneiev, this theme is the
climax, the melodic phrase which Romeo sings to “_O nuit d’extase,
arrête-toi! O nuit d’amour, étends ton voile noir sur nous!_” (O tarry,
night of ecstasy! O night of love, stretch thy dark veil over us!).
Divided and muted violins, with violas _pizzicato_, play delicate,
mysterious chords (D flat major), which in the duet above mentioned
serve as accompaniment to the amorous dialogue of Romeo and Juliet in
the chamber scene. Flutes and oboes take up the first love theme.

There is a return to tumult and strife. The theme of dissension is
developed at length; the horns intone the Friar Laurence motive. The
strife theme at last dominates _fortissimo_, until there is a return to
the mysterious music of the chamber scene (oboes and clarinets, with
murmurings of violins and horns). The song grows more and more
passionate, until Romeo’s love theme breaks out, this time in D major,
and is combined with the strife theme and the motive of Friar Laurence
in development. A burst of orchestral fury; there is a descent to the
depths; violoncellos, basses, bassoons, alone are heard; they die on low
F sharp, with roll of kettledrums. Then silence.

_Moderato assai_, B minor. Drum beats, double basses _pizzicato_.
Romeo’s song in lamentation. Soft chords (wood-wind and horns) bring the


    I. Allegro non troppo e molto maestoso; allegro con spirito
    II. Andantino semplice; allegro vivace assai
    III. Allegro con fuoco

There was an old Grecian gentleman who apologized for the sumptuous
funeral provided for his little child. There are men who have built a
lordly portico for a dwelling place, and then, for some reason or other,
lack of funds or through caprice, contented themselves with a tasteless,
shabbily furnished mansion. The opening section of Tchaikovsky’s piano
concerto has a compelling melodic sentence, treated gorgeously, and with
magnificent breadth and sweep. What follows is a curious mixture of
engrossing measures and wild vulgarity.

Perhaps Nicholas Rubinstein was right; after all, in his bitter, almost
venomous tirade when Tchaikovsky played it to him in private. When the
concerto was brought out in Boston by Bülow, in October, 1875—it was the
very first performance—a critic of this city shrewdly discovered that
the first movement was “not in the classical concerto spirit.”
Tchaikovsky himself was amused by American reviews sent to him by Bülow.
Peter wrote: “The Americans think that the first movement of my concerto
‘suffers in consequence of the absence of a central idea’—and in the
_finale_ this reviewer has found ‘syncopation in trills, spasmodic
pauses in the theme, and disturbing octave passages!’ Think what healthy
appetites these Americans must have: each time Bülow was obliged to
repeat the whole _finale_ of my concerto! Nothing like this happens in
our country!”

                                 * * *

In 1874 Tchaikovsky was a teacher of theory at the Moscow Conservatory.
(He began his duties at that institution in 1866 at a salary of thirty
dollars a month.) On December 13, 1874, he wrote to his brother Anatol:
“I am wholly absorbed in the composition of a pianoforte concerto, and I
am very anxious that Rubinstein [Nicholas] should play it in his
concert. I make slow progress with the work, and without real success;
but I stick fast to my principles, and cudgel my brain to subtilize
pianoforte passages: as a result I am somewhat nervous, so that I should
much like to make a trip to Kiev for the purpose of diversion.”

The orchestration of the concerto was finished on February 21, 1875, but
before that date he played the work to Nicholas Rubinstein. The episode
is one of the most singular in the history of this strangely sensitive
composer. He described it in a letter written to Nadeshda Filaretovna
von Meck. This letter is dated San Remo, February 2, 1878. It has been
published in Modeste Tchaikovsky’s Life of his famous brother.

“In December, 1874, I had written a pianoforte concerto. As I am not a
pianist, I thought it necessary to ask a virtuoso what was technically
unplayable in the work, thankless, or ineffective. I needed the advice
of a severe critic who at the same time was friendly disposed toward me.
Without going too much into detail, I must frankly say that an interior
voice protested against the choice of Nicholas Rubinstein as a judge
over the mechanical side of my work. But he was the best pianist in
Moscow, and also a most excellent musician. I was told that he would
take it ill from me if he should learn that I had passed him by and
shown the concerto to another; so I determined to ask him to hear it and
criticize the pianoforte part.

“On Christmas Eve, 1874, we were all invited to Albrecht’s, and Nicholas
asked me, before we should go there, to play the concerto in a classroom
of the Conservatory. We agreed to it. I took my manuscript, and Nicholas
and Hubert came. Hubert is a mighty good and shrewd fellow, but he is
not a bit independent; he is garrulous and verbose; he must always make
a long preface to ‘yes’ or ‘no’; he is not capable of expressing an
opinion in decisive, unmistakable form; and he is always on the side of
the stronger, whoever he may chance to be. I must add that this does not
come from cowardice, but only from natural instability.

“I played through the first movement. Not a criticism, not a word. You
know how foolish you feel, if you invite one to partake of a meal
provided by your own hands, and the friend eats and—is silent! ‘At least
say something, scold me good-naturedly, but for God’s sake speak, only
speak, whatever you may say.’ Rubinstein said nothing. He was preparing
his thunderstorm; and Hubert was waiting to see how things would go
before he should jump to one side or the other. The matter was right
here: I did not need any judgment on the artistic form of my work: there
was question only about mechanical details. This silence of Rubinstein
said much. It said to me at once: ‘Dear friend, how can I talk about
details when I dislike your composition as a whole?’ But I kept my
temper and played the concerto through. Again silence.

“‘Well?’ I said, and stood up. Then burst forth from Rubinstein’s mouth
a mighty torrent of words. He spoke quietly at first; then he waxed hot,
and at last he resembled Zeus hurling thunderbolts. It appeared that my
concerto was utterly worthless, absolutely unplayable; passages were so
commonplace and awkward that they could not be improved; the piece as a
whole was bad, trivial, vulgar. I had stolen this from that one and that
from this one; so only two or three pages were good for anything, while
the others should be wiped out or radically rewritten. ‘For instance,
that! What is it, anyhow?’ (And then he caricatured the passage on the
pianoforte.) ‘And this? Is it possible?’ and so on, and so on. I cannot
reproduce for you the main thing, the tones in which he said all this.
An impartial bystander would necessarily have believed that I was a
stupid, ignorant, conceited note-scratcher, who was so impudent as to
show his scribble to a celebrated man.

“Hubert was staggered by my silence, and he probably wondered how a man
who had already written so many works and was a teacher of composition
at the Moscow Conservatory could keep still during such a moral lecture
or refrain from contradiction—a moral lecture that no one should have
delivered to a student without first examining carefully his work. And
then Hubert began to annotate Rubinstein; that is, he incorporated
Rubinstein’s opinions, but sought to clothe in milder words what
Nicholas had harshly said.”

Tchaikovsky erased the name of Nicholas Rubinstein from the score and
inserted in the dedication the name of Hans von Bülow, whom he had not
yet seen; but Klindworth had told him of Bülow’s interest in his works
and his efforts to make them known in Germany. Bülow acknowledged the
compliment, and in a warm letter of thanks praised the concerto, which
he called the “fullest” work by Tchaikovsky yet known to him: “The ideas
are so original, so noble, so powerful; the details are so interesting,
and though there are many of them they do not impair the clearness and
the unity of the work. The form is so mature, ripe, distinguished for
style, for intention and labor are everywhere concealed. I should weary
you if I were to enumerate all the characteristics of your
work—characteristics which compel me to congratulate equally the
composer as well as all those who shall enjoy actively or passively
(respectively) the work.”

For a long time Tchaikovsky was sore in heart, wounded by his friend. In
1878 Nicholas had the manliness to confess his error; as a proof of his
good-will he studied the concerto and played it often and brilliantly in
Russia and beyond the boundaries, as at the Paris Exhibition of 1878.

                 CONCERTO FOR VIOLIN, IN D MAJOR OP. 35

    I. Allegro moderato
    II. Canzonetta: andante
    III. Finale: allegro vivacissimo

Hanslick’s volumes of collected reviews and essays are many. It is
possible that in the days to come he will be remembered only by the fact
that he said, apropos of Tchaikovsky’s violin concerto, that it stank in
the ear. In spite of Hanslick’s dictum, the concerto still lives,
whatever its obvious faults: its endless repetitions, its measures of
sheer padding. Why cannot someone arrange _Gems from Tchaikovsky’s
Concerto_ after the manner of various anthologies (including _Crumbs of
Comfort_)? Long-winded, tedious at times as it is, the concerto, by
reason of melodic charm and demoniacal spirit, is still heard by the
people gladly.

                                 * * *

The concerto, dedicated at first to Leopold Auer, but afterwards to
Adolf Brodsky—and thereby hangs a tale—was performed for the first time
at a Philharmonic concert, Vienna, December 4, 1881. Brodsky was the
solo violinist. An interesting letter from him to Tchaikovsky after the
first performance, is published in Modeste’s Life of his brother (Vol.
II, p. 177): “I had the wish to play the concerto in public ever since I
first looked it through. That was two years ago. I often took it up and
often put it down, because my laziness was stronger than my wish to
reach the goal. You have, indeed, crammed too many difficulties into it.
I played it last year in Paris to Laroche, but so badly that he could
gain no true idea of the work; nevertheless, he was pleased with it.
That journey to Paris which turned out unluckily for me—I had to bear
many rude things from Colonne and Pasdeloup—fired my energy (misfortune
always does this to me, but when I am fortunate then am I weak) so that,
back in Russia, I took up the concerto with burning zeal. It is
wonderfully beautiful. One can play it again and again and never be
bored; and this is a most important circumstance for the conquering of
its difficulties. When I felt myself sure of it, I determined to try my
luck in Vienna. Now I come to the point where I must say to you that you
should not thank me: I should thank you; for it was only the wish to
know the new concerto that induced Hans Richter and later the
Philharmonic Orchestra to hear me play and grant my participation in one
of these concerts. The concerto was not liked at the rehearsal of the
new pieces, although I came out successfully on its shoulders. It would
have been most unthankful on my part, had I not strained every nerve to
pull my benefactor through behind me. Finally we were admitted to the
Philharmonic concert. I had to be satisfied with one rehearsal, and much
time was lost there in the correction of the parts, that swarmed with
errors. The players determined to accompany everything _pianissimo_, not
to go to smash; naturally, the work, which demands many nuances, even in
the accompaniment, suffered thereby. Richter wished to make some cuts,
but I did not allow it.”

The concerto came immediately after a _divertimento_ by Mozart.
According to the account of the Viennese critics and of Brodsky there
was a furious mixture of applause and hissing after the performance. The
applause prevailed, and Brodsky was thrice recalled, which showed that
the hissing was directed against the work, not the interpreter. Out of
ten critics only two, and they were the least important, reviewed the
concerto favorably. The review by Eduard Hanslick, who was born hating
programme music and the Russian school, was extravagant in its
bitterness, and caused Tchaikovsky long-continued distress, although
Brodsky, Carl Halir, and other violinists soon made his concerto
popular. Tchaikovsky wrote from Rome, December 27, 1881, to Jurgenson:
“My dear, I saw lately in a café a number of the _Neue Freie Presse_ in
which Hanslick speaks so curiously about my violin concerto that I beg
you to read it. Besides other reproaches he censures Brodsky for having
chosen it. If you know Brodsky’s address, please write to him that I am
moved deeply by the courage shown by him in playing so difficult and
ungrateful a piece before a most prejudiced audience. If Kotek, my best
friend, were so cowardly and pusillanimous as to change his intention of
acquainting the St. Petersburg public with this concerto, although it
was his pressing duty to play it, for he is responsible in the matter of
ease of execution of the piece; if Auer, to whom the work is dedicated,
intrigued against me, so am I doubly thankful to dear Brodsky, in that
for my sake he must stand the curses of the Viennese journals.”

The review of Hanslick is preserved in the volume of his collected
_feuilletons_ entitled, _Concerte, Componisten, und Virtuosen der
Letzten fünfzehn Jahre, 1870-1885_, pp. 295, 296 (Berlin, 1886). The
criticism in its fierce extravagance now seems amusing. Here are
extracts: “For a while the concerto has proportion, is musical, and is
not without genius, but soon savagery gains the upper hand and lords it
to the end of the first movement. The violin is no longer played: it is
yanked about, it is torn asunder, it is beaten black and blue. I do not
know whether it is possible for anyone to conquer these hair-raising
difficulties, but I do know that Mr. Brodsky martyrized his hearers as
well as himself. The _adagio_, with its tender national melody, almost
conciliates, almost wins us. But it breaks off abruptly to make way for
a _finale_ that puts us in the midst of the brutal and wretched jollity
of a Russian _kermess_. We see wild and vulgar faces, we hear curses, we
smell bad brandy. Friedrich Vischer once asserted in reference to
lascivious painting that there are pictures which ‘stink in the eye.’
Tchaikovsky’s violin concerto brings to us for the first time the horrid
idea that there may be music that stinks in the ear.” Modeste
Tchaikovsky tells us that this article disquieted Peter till he died;
that he knew it by heart, as he did an adverse criticism written by
César Cui in 1866.

The concerto was dedicated first to Leopold Auer. Tchaikovsky, in the
Diary of his tour in 1888, wrote: “I do not know whether my dedication
was flattering to Mr. Auer, but in spite of his genuine friendship he
never tried to conquer the difficulties of this concerto. He pronounced
it impossible to play, and this verdict, coming from such an authority
as the St. Petersburg virtuoso, had the effect of casting this
unfortunate child of my imagination for many years to come into the
limbo of hopelessly forgotten things.” The composer about seven years
before this wrote to Jurgenson from Rome (January 16, 1882) that Auer
had been “intriguing against him.” Peter’s brother Modeste explains this
by saying: “It had been reported to Peter that Auer had dissuaded Emile
Sauret from playing the concerto in St. Petersburg;” but Modeste also
adds that Auer changed his opinion many years later, and became one of
the most brilliant interpreters of the concerto.

  The following orchestration was used by Tchaikovsky in his last three
  symphonies (with no percussion but timpani in the Fifth): piccolo, two
  flutes, two oboes, two clarinets, two bassoons, four horns, two
  trumpets, three trombones, bass tuba, kettledrums, bass drum, cymbals,
  triangle, and strings. In the _Romeo and Juliet_ overture, the English
  horn and harp were added for color, and the bass drum (with the
  customary kettledrums) sufficed for percussion. In the piano and
  violin concertos there was the same scheme of orchestration (without
  the additional percussion).—EDITOR.


   (Born at Leipsic, May 22, 1813; died at Venice, February 13, 1883)

It is not easy for anyone who did not live through the period of the
Wagnerian excitement to understand the fierceness of the controversy.
The younger generation reads at its ease accounts of protests against
compositions by Strauss, Reger, Schönberg; how this or that piece was
hissed by some in a concert hall and applauded by others; it reads and
is amused, but it regards the discussion as academic. The Wagner
question, like the Beecher trial, like the Ibsen controversy in Norway,
divided households.

The world has moved since 1876. Much water has flowed under the bridge.
Wagner is still one of the most commanding figures in the temple, but it
is no longer an act of irreverence to discuss him as Verdi, Gluck,
Richard Strauss are discussed. It is now generally agreed that this
towering genius was after all a mortal; that he was often verbose, that
he could be dull in his musical speech, as other geniuses were before

The great public today cares nothing about Wagner’s philosophy, or the
“metaphysics” of his _Ring_. Wotan, Mime, Siegfried, and the rest of
them, heroic or shabby characters, are as Radames, Salome, Mélisande,
Edgardo, Leonora, Manrico in the tower; they are persons in a drama who
sing, and do not speak the dialogue. We have the heartiest admiration
for the great scenes in the _Ring_, and yet find Wotan long-winded and
tiresome in his reminiscences and narrations. Mime is like Artemus
Ward’s kangaroo, “an amoozin’ little cuss.” Alberich with his gibbering
and his jumping about is also amusing. The Dragon and the Bird do not
excite our ridicule. We accept them and find their singing no more
surprising than the vocal endurance of Tristan on his deathbed or the
moving scenery in the first act of _Parsifal_. The dragon is a familiar
figure in art, and we should not rub our eyes more than once if we
should see one in the wilds of New Jersey. We enjoy seeing him in his
proper place in _Siegfried_ and do not wish to be told what he
represents or typifies.

Enemies of Wagner, esthetic enemies, used to reproach him for the
“immorality” of his librettos. In _Tannhäuser_ there is the Venusberg.
In _Die Walküre_ there is the incestuous and adulterous pair whose
amorous shoutings shocked Arthur Schopenhauer. Reading the story of
_Tristan_, these rigid moralists held the nose and called for civet. Fie
on Kundry’s case!

We now hear little about the “immorality” of the music dramas. King
Mark’s long harangue is more immoral than the rapturous duet of the
lovers; the Landgrave is more immoral than Venus; for Mark and the
Landgrave, by reason of their long-winded platitudes, make Virtue
boresome and Respectability a monster.

And in the expression of certain emotions and passions, in the
expression of amorous ecstasy and the mystery of death, Wagner reached a
height of eloquence that has seldom been attained by makers of music.
Hearing the announcement by Brünnhilde of Siegmund’s fate, the love song
of Tristan and Isolde under the cloak of the conniving night, the rustle
and murmur of Siegfried’s forest, we marvel at the genius of the man who
first heard these things and had the ability to let the world hear them
with him.


The overture to _Rienzi_ is at the best mere circus music. It is a good
thing to hear it once in a while, for it shows that Wagner, on occasion,
could be more vulgar than Meyerbeer, whom he so cordially disliked.

                                 * * *

Wagner left Königsberg in the early summer of 1837 to visit Dresden, and
there he read Bärmann’s translation into German of Bulwer’s _Rienzi_.
And thus was revived his long-cherished idea of making the last of the
Tribunes the hero of a grand opera. “My impatience with a degrading
plight now amounted to a passionate craving to begin something grand and
elevating, no matter if it involved the temporary abandonment of any
practical goal. This mood was fed and strengthened by a reading of
Bulwer’s _Rienzi_. From the misery of modern private life, whence I
could nohow glean the scantiest material for artistic treatment, I was
wafted by the image of a great historico-political event in the
enjoyment whereof I needs must find a distraction lifting me above cares
and conditions that to me appeared nothing less than absolutely fatal to
art.” The overture to _Rienzi_ was completed October 23, 1840. The opera
was produced at the Royal Saxon Court Theater, Dresden, October 20,

The overture is scored for piccolo, two flutes, two oboes, two
clarinets, two bassoons, serpent (third bassoon), two valve horns, two
plain horns, two valve trumpets, two plain trumpets, three trombones,
one ophicleide, kettledrums, two snare drums, bass drum, triangle,
cymbals, and strings. The serpent mentioned in the score is replaced by
the double bassoon, and the ophicleide by the bass tuba.

All the themes of the overture are taken from the opera itself. The
overture begins with a slow introduction, _molto sostenuto e maestoso_,
D major, 4-4. It opens with “a long-sustained, swelled and diminished A
on the trumpet,” in the opera, the agreed signal for the uprising of the
people to throw off the tyrannical yoke of the nobles. The majestic
_cantilena_ of the violins and the violoncellos is the theme of Rienzi’s
prayer in the fifth act. The last prolonged A leads to the main body of
the overture. This begins _allegro energico_, D major, 2-2, in the full
orchestra on the first theme, that of the chorus, “_Gegrüsst sei hoher
Tag!_” at the beginning of the first _finale_ of the opera. The first
subsidiary theme enters in the brass, and it is the theme of the battle
hymn (“Santo spirito cavaliere”) of the revolutionary faction in the
third act. A transitional passage in the violoncellos leads to the
entrance of the second theme—Rienzi’s prayer, already heard in the
introduction of the overture—which is now given, _allegro_, in A major,
to the violins. The “Santo spirito cavaliere” theme returns in the
brass, and leads to another and joyful theme, that of the _stretto_ of
the second _finale_, “Rienzi, dir sei Preis,” which is developed with
increasing force. In the _coda, molto più stretto_, the “Santo spirito
cavaliere” is developed in a most robust manner.


The overture to _The Flying Dutchman_ gives the condensed and essential
drama. We are relieved of the avaricious father who is delighted at the
thought of handing his daughter to the mysterious stranger; nor does one
have to hear the bleatings of the saphead lover. No wonder Senta
preferred the Dutchman.

Wagner’s overture is a stormy seascape. The Dutchman knew no calm seas.
The music that typifies him is one of Wagner’s happiest inventions. Poor
Vanderdecken sings nothing so compelling, not even in his monologue. One
hears enough of Senta’s ballad in the overture; one is not tempted to
laugh at the operatic spinning wheels that stick when they should
revolve; one does not find Wagner trying to write with Italian

                                 * * *

The overture was sketched at Meudon near Paris in September, 1841, and
completed and scored at Paris in November of that year. In 1852, Wagner
changed the ending. In 1860 he wrote another ending for the Paris

It opens _allegro con brio_ in D minor, 6-4, with an empty fifth,
against which horns and bassoons give out the “Flying Dutchman” motive.
There is a stormy development, through which this motive is kept
sounding in the brass. There is a hint at the first theme of the main
body of the overture, an _arpeggio_ figure in the strings, taken from
the accompaniment of one of the movements in the Dutchman’s first air in
Act I. The storm section over, there is an episodic _andante_ in F major
in which wind instruments give out phrases from Senta’s ballad of the
Flying Dutchman (Act II). The episode leads directly to the main body of
the overture, _allegro con brio_ in D minor, 6-4, which begins with the
first theme. This theme is developed at great length with chromatic
passages taken from Senta’s ballad. The “Flying Dutchman” theme comes in
episodically in the brass from time to time. The subsidiary theme in F
major is taken from the sailors’ chorus, “Steuermann, lass’ die Wacht!”
(Act III). The second theme, the phrase from Senta’s ballad already
heard in the _andante_ episode, enters _fortissimo_ in the full
orchestra, F major, and is worked up brilliantly with fragments of the
first theme. The “Flying Dutchman” motive reappears _fortissimo_ in the
trombones. The _coda_ begins in D major, 2-2. A few rising _arpeggio_
measures in the violins lead to the second theme, proclaimed with the
full force of the orchestra. The theme is now in the shape found in the
_allegro_ peroration of Senta’s ballad. It is worked up energetically.

The overture is scored for piccolo, two flutes, two oboes, English horn,
two clarinets, four horns, two bassoons, two trumpets, three trombones,
bass tuba, kettledrums, harp, strings.

                         OVERTURE TO TANNHÄUSER

_Tannhäuser und der Sängerkrieg auf Wartburg_, Romantic Opera in three
acts, book and music by Wagner, was produced at the Royal Opera House in
Dresden, under the direction of the composer, on October 19, 1845.

The overture was written in Dresden, probably in March-April, 1845. The
first performance of it as a concert piece was at a concert at Leipsic
for the benefit of the Gewandhaus Orchestra Pension Fund, February 12,
1846. Mendelssohn conducted it from manuscript.

Wagner’s own programme of the overture was published in the _Neue
Zeitschrift_ of January 14, 1853. It was written at the request of
orchestral players who were rehearsing the overture for performance at
Zurich. The translation into English is by William Ashton Ellis.

“To begin with, the orchestra leads before us the Pilgrims’ Chant alone;
it draws near, then swells into a mighty outpour, and passes finally
away.—Evenfall; last echo of the chant. As night breaks, magic sights
and sounds appear, a rosy mist floats up, exultant shouts assail our
ears, the whirlings of a fearsomely voluptuous dance are seen. These are
the Venusberg’s seductive spells, that show themselves at dead of night
to those whose breast is fired by daring of the senses. Attracted by the
tempting show, a shapely human form draws nigh; ’tis Tannhäuser, Love’s
minstrel.... Venus, herself, appears to him.... As the Pilgrims’ Chant
draws closer, yet closer, as the day drives farther back the night, that
whir and soughing of the air—which had erewhile sounded like the eerie
cries of souls condemned—now rises, too, to ever gladder waves; so that
when the sun ascends at last in splendor, and the Pilgrims’ Chant
proclaims in ecstasy to all the world, to all that lives and moves
thereon, Salvation won, this wave itself swells out the tidings of
sublimest joy. ’Tis the carol of the Venusberg itself, redeemed from
curse of impiousness, this cry we hear amid the hymn of God. So wells
and leaps each pulse of Life in chorus of Redemption; and both
dissevered elements, both soul and senses, God and Nature, unite in the
atoning kiss of hallowed Love.”

The overture is scored for piccolo, two flutes, two oboes, two
clarinets, two bassoons, four horns, three trumpets, three trombones,
bass tuba, kettledrums, cymbals, triangle, tambourine, and strings.

                         PRELUDE TO “LOHENGRIN”

We remember how at one of Theodore Thomas’s concerts at Central Park
Garden in New York—it was in the ’seventies—when this prelude was played
we heard strong hissing from many who would not have “the music of the
future.” And so today there are “lovers of music” who cannot endure the
music of the present and swear it cannot be the music of future, for
they have ears but they do not and will not hear.

“Ephraim is joined to idols; let him alone.”

                                 * * *

_Lohengrin_, an opera in three acts, was performed for the first time at
the Court Theater, Weimar, August 28, 1850. Liszt conducted.

Liszt described the prelude as “a sort of magic formula which, like a
mysterious initiation, prepares our souls for the sight of unaccustomed
things, and of a higher signification than that of our terrestrial

Wagner’s own explanation has been translated into English as follows:

“Love seemed to have vanished from a world of hatred and quarreling; as
a lawgiver she was no longer to be found among the communities of men.
Emancipating itself from barren care for gain and possession, the sole
arbiter of all worldly intercourse, the human heart’s unquenchable
love-longing again at length craved to appease a want, which, the more
warmly and intensely it made itself felt under the pressure of reality,
was the less easy to satisfy, on account of this very reality. It was
beyond the confines of the actual world that man’s ecstatic imaginative
power fixed the source as well as the outflow of this incomprehensible
impulse of love, and from the desire of a comforting sensuous conception
of this supersensuous idea invested it with a wonderful form, which,
under the name of the ‘Holy Grail,’ though conceived as actually
existing, yet unapproachably far off, was believed in, longed for, and
sought for. The Holy Grail was the costly vessel out of which, at the
Last Supper, our Saviour drank with His disciples, and in which His
blood was received when out of love for His brethren He suffered upon a
cross, and which till this day has been preserved with lively zeal as
the source of undying love; albeit, at one time this cup of salvation
was taken away from unworthy mankind, but at length was brought back
again from the heights of heaven by a band of angels, and delivered into
the keeping of fervently loving, solitary men, who, wondrously
strengthened and blessed by its presence, and purified in heart, were
consecrated as the earthly champions of eternal love.

“This miraculous delivery of the Holy Grail, escorted by an angelic
host, and the handing of it over into the custody of highly favored men,
was selected by the author of _Lohengrin_, a knight of the Grail, for
the introduction of his drama, as the subject to be musically portrayed;
just as here, for the sake of explanation, he may be allowed to bring it
forward as an object for the mental receptive power of his hearers.

“The prelude is scored for three flutes, two oboes, English horn, two
clarinets, bass clarinet, four horns, three trumpets, three trombones,
bass tuba, kettledrums, cymbals, and strings.”


The subject of _Tristan und Isolde_ was first mentioned by Wagner in a
letter to Liszt in the latter part of 1854; the poem was written at
Zürich in the summer of 1857, and finished in September of that year.
The composition of the first act was completed at Zürich, December 31,
1857 (some say, but only in the sketch); the second act was completed at
Venice in March, 1859; the third act at Lucerne in August, 1859.

Wagner himself frequently conducted the prelude and Love-Death, arranged
by him for orchestra alone, in the concerts given by him in 1863. At
those given in Carlsruhe and Löwenberg the programme characterized the
prelude as _Liebestod_ and the latter section, now known as _Liebestod_,
as _Verklärung_ (Transfiguration).

The prelude, _langsam und schmachtend_ (slow and languishingly), in A
minor, 6-8, is a gradual and long-continued _crescendo_ to a most
sonorous _fortissimo_; a shorter _decrescendo_ leads back to
_pianissimo_. It is free in form and of continuous development. There
are two chief themes: the first phrase, sung by violoncellos, is
combined in the third measure with a phrase ascending chromatically and
given to the oboes.

These phrases form a theme known as the “Love Potion” motive, or the
motive of “Longing”; for passionate commentators are not yet agreed
about the terminology. The second theme, again sung by the violoncellos,
a voluptuous theme, is entitled “Tristan’s Love Glance.”

The prelude is scored for three flutes (and piccolo), two oboes, English
horn, two clarinets, bass clarinet, three bassoons, four horns, three
trumpets, three trombones, bass tuba, kettledrums, harp, and the usual

Wagner wrote this explanatory programme:

“A primitive old love poem, which, far from having become extinct, is
constantly fashioning itself anew, and has been adopted by every
European language of the Middle Ages, tells us of Tristan and Isolde.
Tristan, the faithful vassal, woos for his king her for whom he dares
not avow his own love, Isolde. Isolde, powerless to do otherwise than
obey the wooer, follows him as bride to his lord. Jealous of this
infringement of her rights, the Goddess of Love takes her revenge. As
the result of a happy mistake, she allows the couple to taste of the
love potion which, in accordance with the custom of the times, and by
way of precaution, the mother had prepared for the husband who should
marry her daughter from political motives, and which, by the burning
desire which suddenly inflames them after tasting it, opens their eyes
to the truth and leads to the avowal that for the future they belong
only to each other. Henceforth, there is no end to the longings, the
demands, the joys and woes of love. The world, power, fame, splendor,
honor, knighthood, fidelity, friendship, all are dissipated like an
empty dream. One thing only remains: longing, longing, insatiable
longing, forever springing up anew, pining and thirsting. Death, which
means passing away, perishing, never awakening, their only
deliverance.... Powerless, the heart sinks back to languish in longing,
in longing without attaining; for each attainment only begets new
longing, until in the last stage of weariness the foreboding of the
highest joy of dying, of no longer existing, of the last escape into
that wonderful kingdom from which we are furthest off when we are most
strenuously striving to enter therein. Shall we call it death? Or is it
the hidden wonder-world from out of which an ivy and vine, entwined with
each other, grew up upon Tristan’s and Isolde’s grave, as the legend
tells us?”


The idea of the opera occurred to Wagner at Marienbad in 1845. He then
sketched a scenario which differed widely from the one finally adopted.
It is possible that certain scenes were written while he was at work on
_Lohengrin_; there is a legend that the quintet was finished in 1845.
Some add to this quintet the songs of Sachs and Walther. Wagner wrote to
a friend on March 12, 1862: “Tomorrow I hope at least to begin the
composition of _Die Meistersinger_”—the libretto was completed at Paris
in 1861. He worked at Biebrich on the Rhine in 1862 on the music. The
prelude was sketched in February of that year. The instrumentation was
completed in the following June.

He wrote to his friend Dr. Anton Pusinelli from Penzing near Vienna on
March 14, 1864: “I have tried with the greatest care to ensure myself
the proper leisure for completing the _Meistersinger_ by next winter.
Unfortunately, everything has been very difficult for me because my
continual indisposition and my sad frame of mind have kept company with
my other trials, so as to make it more difficult for me to have any
desire for work.” He wrote again to Pusinelli in a long letter about his
“poor wife” Minna, questioning whether he should return to her: “Under
favorable conditions I finally _can_ complete my _Meistersinger_. Very
probably this work will quickly become popular, and it _can_ bring in
good returns for me. But one can’t _count_ on this, and my life from
month to month must not depend on such possibilities; for if I have no
‘good inspirations,’ then I have nothing to write down, and with
continual worries I no longer have very good inspirations now.”

At Lucerne on May 10, 1866, he wrote that he had won for a little time
the quiet for creating “a great and joyful work. Wish me this success
and—perhaps I dare to say it—wish it to the world!” He had already
completed Act I and was progressing well with Act II, which was finished
in December.

In 1868 he wrote from Lucerne: “In Dresden I had in mind an attempt to
procure some guarantee for the _Meistersinger_ against abominable
incompetence of the _Kapellmeisters_ there, and with what a nice
reception was I met there!” The principal _Kapellmeister_ was Julius
Rietz, who was hostile to Wagner, as he had been at Leipsic.

The prelude is scored for piccolo, two flutes, two oboes, two clarinets,
two bassoons, four horns, three trumpets, three trombones, bass tuba,
kettledrums, triangle, cymbals, harp, and the usual strings.

Wagner in his Autobiography tells how the idea of _Die Meistersinger_
formed itself; how he began to elaborate it in the hope that it might
free him from the thrall of the idea of _Lohengrin_; but he was impelled
to go back to the latter opera. The melody for the fragment of Sachs’
poem on the Reformation occurred to him while going through the
galleries of the Palais Royal on his way to the Taverne Anglaise. “There
I found Truinet already waiting for me and asked him to give me a scrap
of paper and a pencil to jot down my melody, which I quietly hummed over
to him at the time.” “As from the balcony of my flat, in a sunset of
great splendor, I gazed upon the magnificent spectacle of ‘Golden’
Mayence, with the majestic Rhine pouring along its outskirts in a glory
of light, the prelude to my _Meistersinger_ again suddenly made its
presence closely and distinctly felt in my soul. Once before had I seen
it rise before me out of a lake of sorrow, like some distant mirage. I
proceeded to write down the prelude exactly as it appears today in the
score, that is, containing the clear outlines of the leading themes of
the whole drama.”

Wagner conducted the two overtures. The hall was nearly empty; there was
a pecuniary loss. This was a sore disappointment to Wagner, who had
written to Weissheimer on October 12, 1862: “Good: _Tannhäuser_
overture, then. That’s all right for me. For what I now have in mind is
to make an out-and-out sensation, so as to make money.” He had proposed
to add the prelude and _finale_ of _Tristan_ to the Prelude to “_Die
Meistersinger_”; but his friends in Leipsic advised the substitution of
the overture to _Tannhäuser_. There was not the faintest applause when
Wagner came on the platform; but the prelude to _Die Meistersinger_ was
received with such favor that it was immediately played a second time.

One critic wrote of the _Meistersinger_ prelude, “The overture, a long
movement in moderate march tempo, with predominating brass, without any
chief thoughts and without noticeable and recurring points of rest, went
along and soon awakened a feeling of monotony.” The critic of the
_Mitteldeutsche Volkzeitung_ wrote in terms of enthusiasm. The
_Signal’s_ critic was bitter in opposition. He wrote at length and
finally characterized the prelude as “chaos,” a “tohu-wabohu and nothing

                            A SIEGFRIED IDYL

Cosima Liszt, daughter of Franz Liszt and the Countess d’Agoult, was
born at Bellagio, Italy, on Christmas Day, 1837. She was married to Hans
von Bülow at Berlin, August 18, 1857. They were divorced in the fall of

Richard Wagner married Minna Planer on November 24, 1836, at Königsberg.
They separated in August, 1861. She died at Dresden, January 25, 1866.

Wagner and Cosima were married at Lucerne, August 25, 1870. Their son,
Siegfried Wagner, was born at Triebschen, near Lucerne, on June 6, 1869.

In a letter to Frau Wille, June 25, 1870, Wagner wrote of Cosima: “She
has defied every disapprobation and taken upon herself every
condemnation. She has borne to me a wonderfully beautiful boy, whom I
can boldly call ‘Siegfried’; he is now growing, together with my work;
he gives me a new long life, which at last has attained a meaning. Thus
we get along without the world, from which we have wholly withdrawn.”

The _Siegfried Idyl_ was a birthday gift to Cosima. It was composed in
November, 1870, at Triebschen. Hans Richter received the manuscript
score on December 4, 1870. Wagner gave a fine copy of it to Cosima.
Musicians of Zürich were engaged for the performance. The first
rehearsal was on December 21, 1870, in the foyer of Zürich’s old
theater. The Wesendocks were present. Wagner conducted a rehearsal at
the Hôtel du Lac, Lucerne, on December 24. Christmas fell on a Sunday.
Early in the morning the musicians assembled at Wagner’s villa in
Triebschen. In order to surprise Cosima, the desks were put on the
stairs and the tuning was in the kitchen. The orchestra took its place
on the stairs, Wagner, who conducted, at the top; then the violins,
violas, wood-wind instruments, horns, and at the bottom the violoncello
and the double bass. Wagner could not see the violoncello and the double
bass; but the performance, according to Richter, was faultless. The
orchestra was thus composed: two first violins, two second violins, two
violas (one played by Richter, who also played the few measures for a
trumpet), one violoncello, one double bass, one flute, one oboe, two
clarinets, one bassoon, two horns. Richter, in order not to excite
Cosima’s suspicions, practised for some days the trumpet part in the
empty barracks. “These daily excursions and several trips to Zürich
awakened the attention of Mme Wagner, who thought I was not so
industrious as formerly.” The performance began at 7.30 A. M. The _Idyl_
was repeated several times in the course of the day, and in the
afternoon Beethoven’s Sextet was performed without the variations.

The _Idyl_ was performed at Mannheim on December 20, 1871, in private
and under Wagner’s direction. There was a performance on March 10, 1877,
in the Ducal Palace at Meiningen. Wagner conducted. The score and parts
were published in February, 1878. The first performance after
publication was at a Bilse concert in Berlin toward the end of February,
1878. The music drama _Siegfried_ was then so little known that a Berlin
critic said the _Idyl_ was taken from the second act. And Mr. Henry
Knight, a passionate Wagnerite, wrote verses in 1889 in which he showed
a similar confusion in mental operation.

This composition first bore the title _Triebschener Idyll_. The score
calls for flute, oboe, two clarinets, bassoon, trumpet, two horns, and

Siegfried was born while Wagner was at work on his music drama
_Siegfried_. The themes in the _Idyl_ were taken from this music drama,
all save one: a folk-song, “Schlaf’, mein Kind, schlaf’ein”; but the
development of the themes was new.


After an instrumental introduction to Act III of _The Valkyrie_, the
curtain rises.

“On the summit of a rocky mountain. On the right a pine wood encloses
the stage. On the left is the entrance to a cave; above this the rock
rises to its highest point. At the back the view is entirely open; rocks
of various heights form a parapet to the precipice. Occasionally clouds
fly past the mountain peak as if driven by storm. Gerhilde, Ortlinde,
Waltraute, and Schwertleite have ensconced themselves on the rocky peak
above the cave; they are in full armor.

“Flashes of lightning break through the clouds, and from time to time a
Valkyrie is seen on horseback with a slain warrior hanging from the
saddle. We quote John F. Runciman’s description of the Valkyries’

“The drama here is of the most poignant kind; the scenic surroundings
are of the sort Wagner so greatly loved—tempest amidst black pine woods
with wild, flying clouds, the dying down of the storm, the saffron
evening light melting into shadowy night, the calm, deep blue sky with
the stars peeping out, then the bright flames shooting up; and the two
elements, the dramatic and the pictorial, drew out of him some pages as
splendid as any even he ever wrote. The opening, ‘The Ride of the
Valkyries,’ is a piece of storm music without a parallel. There is no
need here for Donner with his hammer; the All-Father himself is abroad
in wrath and majesty, and his daughters laugh and rejoice in the riot.
There is nothing uncanny in the music: we have that delight in the sheer
force of the elements which we inherit from our earliest ancestors: the
joy of nature fiercely at work which is echoed in our hearts from time
immemorial. The shrilling of the wind, the hubbub, the calls of the
Valkyries to one another, the galloping of the horses, form a picture
which for splendor, wild energy, and wilder beauty can never be matched.

“Technically, this Ride is a miracle built up of conventional
figurations of the older music. There is the continuous shake, handed on
from instrument to instrument, the slashing figure of the upper strings,
the kind of _basso ostinato_, conventionally indicating the galloping of
horses, and the chief melody, a mere bugle call, altered by a change of
rhythm into a thing of superb strength. The only part of the music that
ever so remotely suggests extravagance is the Valkyries’ call; and it,
after all, is only a jodel put to sublime uses. Out of these commonplace
elements, elements that one might almost call prosaic, Wagner wrought
his picture of storm, with its terror, power, joyous laughter of the
storm’s daughters—storm as it must have seemed to the first poets of our

“It is worth looking at the plan of this Ride—which is, be it
remembered, only the prelude to the gigantic drama which is to follow.
After the _ritornello_ the main theme is announced, with a long break
between the first and second strains; and again a break before it is
continued. Then it sounds out all its glory, terse, closely gripped
section to section, until the Valkyries’ call is heard; purely pictorial
passages follow; the theme is played with, even as Mozart and Beethoven
played with their themes, and at the last the whole force of the
orchestra is employed, and Wagner’s object is attained—he has given us a
picture of storm such as was never done before, and he has done what was
necessary for the subsequent drama—made us feel the tremendous might of
the god of storms.”

The arrangement for concert use calls for these instruments: two
piccolos, two flutes, three oboes, English horn, three clarinets, bass
clarinet, three bassoons, eight horns, three trumpets, four trombones,
bass tuba, kettledrums, side drum, cymbals, triangle, and the usual

                         PRELUDE TO “PARSIFAL”

Wagner, with his theatrical sense, was right: this music is not so
impressive when it is performed, no matter how well, outside of the
Bayreuth theater consecrated to the music dramas. We heard _Parsifal_
the year it was produced at Bayreuth. No performance of the prelude has
since awakened the same emotions. There was the silence of deep
devotion; the presence of the worshipers, fanatics in the great
majority; the expectation of marvelous scenes to come as the wailing
first phrase rose from the unseen orchestra. Put this prelude in the
conventional opera house, or in the concert hall, and it cannot be
ranked with Wagner’s greatest works.

                                 * * *

The prelude to _Parsifal_ was composed at Bayreuth in September, 1877.
The first performance was a private one in the hall of the Villa
Wahnfried at Bayreuth, on December 25, 1878, to celebrate the birthday
of Cosima Wagner. The prelude was performed as a morning serenade by the
Meiningen Court Orchestra, led by Wagner. The performance was repeated
the evening of the same day, when guests were invited.

The score and orchestral parts were published in October, 1882.
_Parsifal_, “a stage-consecration-festival play” in three acts, book and
music by Richard Wagner, was first performed at Bayreuth for the
patrons, July 26, 1882. The first public performance was on July 30,
1882. Hermann Levi conducted.

Wagner’s version of the story of Percival, or, as he prefers, Parsifal,
is familiar to all. There is no need in a description of the prelude to
this music drama of telling the simple tale or pondering its symbolism.
The ethical idea of the drama is that enlightenment coming through
conscious pity brings salvation. The clearest and the sanest exposition
of the prelude is that included by Maurice Kufferath in his elaborate
essay, _Parsifal_ (Paris: Fischbacher, 1890). We give portions of this
exposition in a greatly condensed form:

Without preparation the prelude opens with a broad melodic phrase, which
is sung later in the great religious scene of the first act, during the
mystic feast, the Lord’s Supper.

The phrase is sung, at first without accompaniment, in unison by
violins, violoncello, English horn, clarinet, bassoon, _sehr langsam_
(_lento assai_), A flat major, 4-4. This motive is repeated by trumpet,
oboes, and half the first and second violins in unison against rising
and falling _arpeggios_ in the violas and remaining violins, repeated
chords for flutes, clarinets, and English horn, and sustained harmonies
in bassoons and horns. This theme is known as the motive of the “Last
Supper.” The second phrase of the motive is given out and repeated as

Without any other transition than a series of broken chords, the
trombones and the trumpets give out the second theme, the “Grail”
motive, because it serves throughout the music drama to characterize the
worship of the holy relic. It is a very short theme, which afterwards
will enter constantly, sometimes alone, sometimes in company with other
themes, often modified in rhythm, but preserving always its
characteristic harmonies. As William J. Henderson says: “The second
theme of the prelude is that of the Grail itself, which is here
presented to us in a different musical aspect from that of the
_Lohengrin_ score. There the Grail was celebrated as a potency by which
the world was aided, while here it is brought before us as the visible
embodiment of a faith, the memento of a crucified Saviour.”[52] This
theme is not original with Wagner. The ascending progression of sixths,
which forms the conclusion of the theme, is found in the Saxon liturgy
and is in use today in the “Court” Church at Dresden. Mendelssohn
employed it in the _Reformation_ symphony; therefore, zealous admirers
of Mendelssohn have accused Wagner of plagiarism. The two masters, who
knew Dresden well, probably were struck by the harmonic structure of
this conclusion, and they used it, each in his own way. Anyone has a
personal right to this simple formula. The true inventor of the “Amen”
is unknown; the formula has been attributed to Silvani. Its harmonic
nature would indicate that it belongs to the seventeenth century, but
there are analogous progressions in Palestrina’s Masses. The “Grail”
motive is repeated twice.

Then, and again without transition, but with a change of tempo to 6-4,
comes the third motive, that of “Belief.” The brass first proclaims it.

The strings take up the “Grail” theme. The “Belief” motive reappears
four times in succession, in different tonalities.

A roll of drums on A flat is accompanied by a tremolo of double basses,
giving the contra F. The first motive, the “Lord’s Supper,” enters first
(wood-wind, afterwards in the violoncellos). This time the motive is not
completed. Wagner stops at the third measure and takes a new subject,
which is repeated several times with increasing expression of sorrow.
There is, then, a fourth theme derived from the “Lord’s Supper” motive.
The first two measures, which are found in simpler form and without the
appoggiatura in the “Supper” theme, will serve hereafter to characterize
more particularly the “Holy Lance” that pierced the side of Christ and
also caused the wound of Amfortas, the lance that drew the sacred blood
which was turned into the communion wine; the lance that fell into the
hands of Klingsor, the Magician.

At the moment when this fourth theme, which suggests the sufferings of
Christ and Amfortas, bursts forth from the whole orchestra, the Prelude
has its climax. This prelude, like unto that of _Lohengrin_, is
developed by successive degrees until it reaches a maximum of
expression, and there is a _diminuendo_ to _pianissimo_.

Thus the synthesis of the whole drama has been clearly exposed. That
which remains is only a peroration, a logical, necessary conclusion,
brought about by the ideas expressed by the different themes. It is by
the sight of suffering that Parsifal learns pity and saves Amfortas. It
is the motive of the “Lord’s Supper” that signifies both devotion and
sacrifice; that is to say Love, and Love is the conclusion. The last
chords of the expiring lament lead back gently to the first two measures
of the “Lord’s Supper” motive, which, repeated from octave to octave on
a pedal (E flat), end in a series of ascending chords, a prayer, or a
supplication. Is there hope? The drama gives the answer to this question
full of anguish.

The prelude is scored for three flutes, three oboes, English horn, three
clarinets, bass clarinet, three bassoons, double bassoon, four horns,
three trumpets, three trombones, bass tuba, kettledrums, and strings.

                  “GOOD FRIDAY SPELL,” FROM “PARSIFAL”

When Parsifal turns slowly towards the meadow, a hymn of tender
thanksgiving arises from the orchestra. The melody is played by flute
and oboe, which muted strings sustain. In the development of this theme
occur several figures—“Kundry’s Sigh,” the “Holy Supper,” the “Spear,”
the “Grail” harmonies, the “Complaint of the Flower Girls,” which are
all finally absorbed in the “Good Friday” melody. This pastoral is
suddenly interrupted by the sound of distant bells, sounding mournfully
from afar.

Gurnemanz and Kundry robe Parsifal. They set out for Montsalvat.

When Gurnemanz blesses Parsifal and salutes him king, horns, trumpets,
and trombones play the “Parsifal” motive, which is developed imposingly
and ends with the “Grail” theme, intoned by the whole orchestra
_fortissimo_. A series of chords leads to the motives of “Baptism” and

                               CARL MARIA
                               VON WEBER

 (Born at Eutin, Oldenburg, December 18, 1786; died at London, June 5,

Mr. William Apthorp frequently spoke of the “Weberian flourish,” of the
chivalric spirit shown, not only in Weber’s overtures to _Euryanthe_ and
_Oberon_, but in much of his music for the piano. Weber’s operas are
wholly unknown as stage works to the younger generation. _Oberon_ is a
dull opera, with some beautiful music. _Euryanthe_, too, is dull, dull
beyond redemption, although at Dresden years ago we saw a most carefully
prepared performance, for the cult of Weber in that city was then firmly
established, and nowhere else was Der Freischütz so admirably performed.
Yet Weber was a mighty man in his day, influencing composers of other
countries than his own, praised to the skies by Berlioz and Wagner. The
latter had good reason for his enthusiasm; the influence of _Euryanthe_
is observed in his early operas. Weber was a romanticist of the E. T. A.
Hoffmann order. The music for the scene of the Wolf’s Glen in _Der
Freischütz_ is in no need of fireworks and ghostly apparitions for its
terrifying effects. There is charming fairy music in _Oberon_. Then
there is the mysterious _largo_ in the _Euryanthe_ overture. The grand
arias, the set pieces for a soprano, with the final _allegro_ section
better suited to an orchestral instrument than the human voice, are now
singularly out of fashion, but what could be better as music for a
particular text than that for the opening scenes of _Der Freischütz_?
The three overtures will long preserve the composer’s name.

                     OVERTURE TO THE OPERA “OBERON”

_Oberon; or, the Elf-King’s Oath_, a romantic opera in three acts, book
by James Robinson Planché, who founded it on Villeneuve’s story “Huon de
Bordeaux” and Sotheby’s English translation of Wieland’s German poem,
“Oberon,” was first performed at Covent Garden, London, on April 12,
1826. Weber conducted. The first performance in New York was at the Park
Theatre on October 9, 1828.

Weber was asked by Charles Kemble in 1824 to write an opera for the
Theatre Royal, Covent Garden. Weber chose “Oberon” for the subject.
Planché was selected to furnish the libretto. In a letter to him, Weber
wrote that the fashion of it was foreign to his ideas: “The intermixing
of so many principal actors who do not sing—the omission of the music in
the most important moments—all these things deprive our _Oberon_ of the
title of an opera, and will make him [_sic_] unfit for all other
theaters in Europe, which is a very bad thing for me, but—_passons

Weber, a sick and discouraged man, buckled himself to the task of
learning English, that he might know the exact meaning of the text. He
therefore took one hundred and fifty-three lessons of an Englishman
named Carey and studied diligently, anxiously. Planché sent the libretto
to Dresden an act at a time. Weber made his first sketch on January 23,
1825. The autograph score contains this note at the end of the overture:
“Finished April 9, 1826, in the morning, at a quarter of twelve, and
with it the whole opera. _Soli Deo Gloria!!!_ C. M. V. Weber.” This
entry was made at London. Weber received for the opera £500. He was so
feeble that he could scarcely stand without support, but he rehearsed
and directed the performance seated at the piano. He died of consumption
about two months after the production.

Planché gives a lively account of the genesis and production of
_Oberon_. He describes the London public as unmusical. “A dramatic
situation in music was ‘caviare to the general,’ and inevitably received
with cries of ‘Cut it short!’ from the gallery, and obstinate coughing
or other significant signs of impatience from the pit. Nothing but the
‘Huntsmen’s Chorus’ and the _diablerie_ in _Der Freischütz_ saved that
fine work from immediate condemnation in England; and I remember
perfectly well the exquisite melodies in it being compared by English
musical critics to ‘wind through a keyhole.’ ... None of our actors
could sing, and but one singer could act, Madame Vestris, who made a
charming Fatima.... My great object was to land Weber safe amidst an
unmusical public, and I therefore wrote a melodrama with songs, instead
of an opera such as would be required at the present day.”

The first performance in Germany of _Oberon_ was at Leipsic, December
23, 1826.

The overture begins with an introduction (_adagio sostenuto ed il tutto
pianissimo possibile_, D major, 4-4). The horn of Oberon is answered by
muted strings. The figure for flutes and clarinets is taken from the
first scene of the opera (Oberon’s palace; introduction and chorus of
elfs). After a _pianissimo_ little march, there is a short dreamy
passage for strings, which ends in the violas. There is a full
orchestral crashing chord, and the main body of the overture begins
(_allegro con fuoco_ in D major, 4-4). The brilliant opening measures
are taken from the accompaniment figure of the quartet, “Over the Dark
Blue Waters,” sung by Rezia, Fatima, Huon, Scherasmin (Act II, Scene x).
The horn of Oberon is heard again; it is answered by the skipping fairy
figure. The second theme (A major, sung first by the clarinet, then by
the first violins) is taken from the first measures of the second part
of Huon’s air (Act I, No. 5). And then a theme is taken from the
peroration, _presto con fuoco_, of Rezia’s air “Ocean! Thou mighty
monster” (Act II, No. 13), and given as a conclusion to the violins.
This theme ends the first part of the overture. The free fantasia begins
with soft repeated chords in bassoons, horns, drums, basses. The first
theme is worked out in short periods; a new theme is introduced and
treated in _fugato_ against a running contrapuntal counter theme in the
strings. The second theme is treated, but not elaborately; and then the
Rezia motive brings the spirited end.


What would conductors do without these three overtures of Weber? They
are to them in time of perplexity what _Cavalleria Rusticana_ and
_Pagliacci_ are to opera managers. And yet, in spite of countless
performances, the overture to _Der Freischütz_ is not stale. The part
song for the horns still charms the ear, although it is now associated
with “when the sun glorious” and other sacred words for service in the
meeting house. The Samiel motive is still dramatically sinister and
brings back memories of the red-cloaked fiend as we have seen him on the
German stage. And the clarinet theme, typical of Max, is still worthy of
the famous praise of Berlioz. When there is talk of this overture there
is frequently a reference to an article about it written by Douglas
Jerrold. Was this article ever republished in an edition of Jerrold’s
works? Has anyone now living ever read it?

                                 * * *

_Der Freischütz_, a romantic opera in three acts, book by Friedrich
Kind, music by Weber, was performed at Berlin, June 18, 1821. Weber
wrote in his diary that the opera was received with “incredible
enthusiasm; Overture and Folksong were encored; fourteen out of
seventeen music pieces were stormily applauded. Everything went
exceedingly well, and was sung _con amore_. I was called before the
curtain and took Mad. [_sic_] Seidler and Mlle. [_sic_] Eunike with me
as I could not get hold of the others. Verses and wreaths came flying.
‘_Soli Deo Gloria_.’” Some of these verses were malicious, and reflected
on Spontini, much to Weber’s distress.

Weber began work on the overture on February 22, 1820. On May 13 he
noted in his diary: “Overture of _Die Jägersbraut_ finished, and with it
the whole opera. God be praised, and to Him alone be the glory” (_Die
Jägersbraut_ was the original title of the opera; it was kept until into
the year 1820, when Weber changed it to _Der Freischütz_ at the advice
of Count Bruhl, Intendant of the Berlin Court theaters). Weber heard the
music for the first time at a rehearsal of the Dresden Orchestra, June
10, 1820. This was the first music of the opera that he heard.

We have mentioned the success of this overture at Berlin, when it was
played as the prelude to the opera and under Weber’s direction; a
success that dumfounded the followers of Spontini and settled the future
of German opera in the capital. And so, wherever the overture was
played, the effect was overwhelming—as in London, where the opera was
first performed in English, July 22 (?), 1824, at the English opera
house. W. T. Parke wrote: “The music of this opera is such a continued
display of science, taste, and melody as to justify any praises bestowed
on it. The overture embraces most of the subjects of the airs in the
opera, ingeniously interwoven with each other, and is quite original.
The grandeur of some passages and the finely contrasted simplicity of
others produced an effect which was irresistible. It was vehemently

Much has been written about the overture, from the rhapsody of Douglas
Jerrold to Wagner’s critical remarks concerning the true reading. The
enthusiasm of Berlioz is well known: “The overture is crowned Queen;
today no one dreams of disputing it. It is cited as the model of the
kind. The theme of the slow movement and that of the _allegro_ are sung
everywhere. There is one theme that I must mention, because it is less
noticed, and also because it moves me incomparably more than all the
rest. It is that long, groaning melody, thrown by the clarinet over the
tremolo of the orchestra, like unto a far-off lamentation scattered by
the winds in the depths of the forest. It strikes home to the heart; and
for me, at least, this virginal song, which seems to breathe skyward a
timid reproach, while a somber harmony shudders and threatens, is one of
the most novel, poetic, and beautiful contrasts that modern art has
produced in music. In this instrumental inspiration one can already
recognize easily a reflection of the character of Agathe, which is soon
to develop in all its passionate purity. The theme is borrowed, however,
from the part of Max. It is the cry of the young hunter at the moment
when, from his rocky height, he sounds with his eyes the abysses of the
infernal glen. Changed a little in outline, and orchestrated in this
manner, the phrase is different both in aspect and accent.” Compare with
this the remarks of Berlioz in the section on the clarinet in his
“Treatise on Instrumentation.” The clarinet, he says, has the precious
faculty of producing “distance, echo, an echo of echo, and a twilight
sound.... What more admirable example could I quote of the application
of some of these shadowings than the dreamy phrase of the clarinet,
accompanied by a tremolo of stringed instruments in the midst of the
_allegro_ of the overture to _Freischütz_? Does it not depict the lonely
maiden, the forester’s fair betrothed, who, raising her eyes to heaven,
mingles her tender lament with the noise of the dark woods agitated by
the storm? O Weber!!”

The overture begins _adagio_, C major, 4-4. After eight measures of
introduction there is a part song for four horns. This section of the
overture is not connected in any way with subsequent stage action. After
the quarter the Samiel motive appears, and there is the thought of Max
and his temptation. The main body of the overture is _molto_ _vivace_, C
minor, 2-2. The sinister music rises to a climax, which is repeated
during the casting of the seventh bullet in the Wolf’s Glen. In the next
episode, E flat major, themes associated with Max (clarinet) and Agathe
(first violins and clarinet) appear. The climax of the first section
reappears, now in major, and there is use of Agathe’s theme. There is
repetition of the demoniac music that introduces the _allegro_, and
Samiel’s motive dominates the modulation to the _coda_, C major,
_fortissimo_, which is the apotheosis of Agathe.


The overture is not without a certain old-fashioned but veritable pomp;
it has the spirit of ceremony which the admirers of Weber call “the
chivalric spirit.” It would be perhaps an idle task for an ultra-modern
to insist that the only music in this overture that appeals to the men
and women of the younger generation is that of the short episode which
was originally intended to accompany a pantomimic scene on the stage, a
scene of old-fashioned romantic melodrama, with tomb, kneeling heroine,
gliding ghost, and an eavesdropping, intriguing woman. In these few
mysterious measures Weber thought far beyond his period. The
ultra-modern might say that the rest of the music is decorative and that
the decorations are substantial till they are cumbrous; that the
melodies are like unto a cameo brooch worn by a woman who remembers
nights of coquetry and dances long out of fashion; that the few measures
of counterpoint show Weber as a plodding amateur. Nevertheless, the
conventionally jubilant swing and the impetuous pace still make their
way in a concert hall.

                                 * * *

_Euryanthe_, grand heroic-romantic opera in three acts, book founded by
Helmina von Chezy on an old French tale of the thirteenth century,
“Histoire de Gérard de Nevers et de la belle et vertueuse Euryant de
Savoye, sa mie”—a tale used by Boccaccio (_Decameron_, second day, ninth
novel) and Shakespeare (_Cymbeline_)—music by Weber, was produced at the
Kärnthnerthor Court Opera Theater, Vienna, October 25, 1823. The
composer conducted. Domineco Barbaja, manager of the Kärnthnerthor and
the An der Wien theaters, had commissioned Weber to write for the former
opera house an opera in the style of _Der Freischütz_. Weber had several
librettos in mind before he chose that of _Euryanthe_; he was impressed
by one concerning the Cid, by Friedrich Kind. The two quarreled. Then he
thought of the story of Dido, Queen of Carthage, as told by Ludwig
Rellstab, but this subject had tempted many composers before him.
Helmina von Chezy, living in Dresden when Weber was there, had written
the text of “Rosamunde” to which Schubert set music. The failure of this
work apparently did not frighten Weber from accepting a libretto from
her. She had translated a version of the old French tale mentioned above
for a collection of medieval poems (_Sammlung romantischer Dichtungen
des Mittelalters_), edited by Fr. Schlegel, which was published at
Leipsic in 1804. She entitled her version, “Die Geschichte der
Tugendsamen Euryanthe von Savoyen” (The Story of the Innocent Euryanthe
of Savoy). The original version is in the _Roman de la Violette_, by
Gilbert de Montreuil.

As soon as the text of the first act was ready (December 15, 1821),
Weber began to compose the music. He wrote a large portion of the opera
at Hosterwitz. The opera was completed without the overture on August
29, 1823. Weber began to compose the overture on September 1, 1823, and
completed it at Vienna on October 19 of that year. He scored the
overture at Vienna, October 16-19, 1823.

Weber wrote to his wife on the day after the first performance, “My
reception, when I appeared in the orchestra, was the most enthusiastic
and brilliant that one could imagine. There was no end to it. At last I
gave the signal for the beginning. Stillness of death. The overture was
applauded madly; there was a demand for a repetition; but I went ahead,
so that the performance might not be too long drawn out.”

Max Maria von Weber, in the life of his father, gives a somewhat
different account. A grotesque incident occurred immediately before the
performance. There was a tumult in the parterre of the opera house.
There was laughing, screaming, cursing. A fat, carelessly dressed woman,
with a crushed hat and a shawl hanging from her shoulders, was going
from seat to seat, screaming out: “Make room for me! I am the poetess!”
It was Mme von Chezy, who had forgotten to bring her ticket and was thus
heroically attempting to find her seat. The laughter turned into
applause when Weber appeared in the orchestra, and the applause
continued until the signal for the beginning was given. “The performance
of the overture,” says Max von Weber, “was not worthy of the usually
excellent orchestra; indeed, it was far inferior to that at the dress
rehearsal. Perhaps the players were too anxious to do well, or, and this
is more probable, perhaps the fault was in the lack of sufficient
rehearsal. The ensemble was faulty—in some places the violins actually
played false—and, although a repetition was demanded by some, the
impression made by the poetic composition was not to be compared with
that made later in Berlin, Dresden, and the Gewandhaus concert in
Leipsic.” Yet Max von Weber says later that Count Brühl wrote the
composer, January 18, 1824, that the overture played for the first time
in Berlin in a concert by F. L. Seidel hardly made any impression at
all. To this Weber answered, January 23: “That the overture failed is
naturally very unpleasant for me. It must have been wholly misplayed,
which I am led to believe from the remarks about its difficulty. The
Vienna orchestra, which is in no way as good as that of Berlin,
performed it _prima vista_ without any jar to my satisfaction, and, as
it seemed, with effect.”

The overture begins E flat, _allegro marcato, con molto fuoco_, 4-4,
though the half note is the metronomic standard indicated by Weber.
After eight measures of an impetuous and brilliant exordium the first
theme is announced by wind instruments in full harmony, and it is
derived from Adolar’s phrase: “_Ich bau’ auf Gott und meine Euryanth’_”
(Act I, No. 4). The original tonality is preserved. This theme is
developed brilliantly until, after a crashing chord, B flat, of full
orchestra and vigorous drumbeats, a transitional phrase for violoncellos
leads to the second theme, which is of a tender nature. Sung by the
first violins over sustained harmony in the other strings, this theme is
associated in the opera with the words, “_O Seligkeit, dich fass’ ich
kaum!_” from Adolar’s air, “_Wehen mir Lüfte Ruh’_” (Act II, No. 12).
The measures of the exordium return, there is a strong climax, and then
after a long organ-point there is silence.

The succeeding short _largo_, charged with mystery, refers to
Eglantine’s vision of Emma’s ghost and to the fatal ring. Eglantine has
taken refuge in the castle of Nevers and won the affection of Euryanthe,
who tells her the tragic story of Emma and her betrothed, Udo; for the
ghost of Emma, sister of Adolar, had appeared to Euryanthe and told her
that Udo had been her faithful lover. He fell in battle. As life was to
her then worthless, she took poison from a ring, and was thereby
separated from Udo; a wretched ghost, she was doomed to wander by night
until the ring should be wet with the tears shed by an innocent maiden
in her time of danger and extreme need (Act I, No. 6). Eglantine steals
the ring from the sepulcher. She gives it to Lysiart, who shows it to
the Court, swearing that he had received it from Euryanthe, false to
Adolar. The music is also heard in part in Act III (No. 23), where
Eglantine, about to marry Lysiart, sees in the madness of sudden remorse
the ghost of Emma, and soon after reveals the treachery.

In _Euryanthe_, as in the old story of Gérard de Nevers, in the tale
told by Boccaccio, and in _Cymbeline_, a wager is made over a woman’s
chastity. In each story the boasting lover or husband is easily
persuaded to jealousy and revenge by the villain bragging of favors
granted to him.

  For these three overtures, Weber used the customary orchestration of
  wood-winds in twos, four horns, two trumpets, three trombones,
  kettledrums, and strings.—EDITOR.

                             RALPH VAUGHAN

 (Born at Down Ampney on the Borders of Gloucestershire and Wiltshire,
                     England, on October 12, 1872)

                           A LONDON SYMPHONY

  I. Lento; Allegro risoluto
  II. Lento
  III. Scherzo (Nocturne): Allegro vivace
  IV. Andante con moto; Maestoso alla marcia
    Epilogue: Andante sostenuto

It is doubtful whether without the title and descriptive programme a
hearer, as the music was playing, would say, “Aha! London—I hear the
Thames, the roar and bustle of the streets. Now we are in foggy, dismal
Bloomsbury. Let’s go to the Thames Embankment. And now we see the march
of the unemployed.” No. The austere, remote Delius wrote a symphonic
poem _Paris_, which is anything but the Paris of _Louise_, and might be
Rouen, Belfast, or Terre Haute.

A critic in London reproached Williams for introducing in this symphony
a theme too much like the notes of “Have a banana!” from a song. “We’ll
All Go Down the Strand,” a popular music-hall ditty in the London of
1897. Perhaps Williams did this deliberately for the sake of “local

The symphony contains pages of great worth. The first two movements are
the richest in musical thought and in powerful expression. The idea of
sleeping London is admirably brought out, and the contrast with London
awake is symphonically, not merely theatrically, dramatic. The second
movement is an excellent example of tonal painting. It seems to us that
the succeeding movements lack varied and contrasting coloring. The
“Hunger March” of the unemployed is disappointing. The subject called
for a Hector Berlioz. The epilogue is of a higher flight of imagination.
On the whole, the symphony is an important contribution to orchestral
literature, one of the most important—and they have not been many—in a
dozen years.

                                 * * *

This symphony was composed in 1912-13. The first performance was at one
of F. B. Ellis’s concerts in Queen’s Hall, London, on March 27, 1914.
Geoffrey Toye was the conductor. On May 4, 1920, the revised version of
the symphony was brought out at Queen’s Hall, London, at a concert of
the British Music Society. Albert Coates conducted. This performance was
said to be the fourth. It was also said that the symphony had been
“shortened a good deal, particularly at the closes of the movements, on
the way.”

The following description by Mr. Coates of the symphony was published in
the bulletin of the society:

“The first movement opens at daybreak by the river. Old Father Thames
flows calm and silent under the heavy gray dawn, deep and thoughtful,
shrouded in mystery. London sleeps, and in the hushed stillness of early
morning one hears Big Ben (the Westminster chimes) solemnly strike the

“Suddenly the scene changes (_allegro_); one is on the Strand in the
midst of the bustle and turmoil of morning traffic. This is London
street life of the early hours—a steady stream of foot passengers
hurrying, newspaper boys shouting, messengers whistling, and that most
typical sight of London streets, the costermonger (Coster ’Arry),
resplendent in pearl buttons, and shouting some coster song refrain at
the top of a raucous voice, returning from Covent Garden Market, seated
on his vegetable barrow drawn by the inevitable little donkey.

“Then for a few moments one turns off the Strand into one of the quiet
little streets that lead down to the river and suddenly the noise
ceases, shut off as though by magic. We are in the part of London known
as the Adelphi. Formerly the haunt of fashionable bucks and dandies
about town, now merely old-fashioned houses and shabby old streets,
haunted principally by beggars and ragged street urchins.

“We return to the Strand and are once again caught up by the bustle and
life of London—gay, careless, noisy, with every now and then a touch of
something fiercer, something inexorable—as though one felt for a moment
the iron hand of the great city—yet, nevertheless, full of that mixture
of good-humor, animal spirits, and sentimentality that is so
characteristic of London.

                            “Second Movement

“In the second movement the composer paints us a picture of that region
of London which lies between Holborn and the Euston Road, known as
Bloomsbury. Dusk is falling. It is the damp and foggy twilight of a late
November day. Those who know their London know this region of melancholy
streets over which seems to brood an air of shabby gentility—a sad
dignity of having seen better days. In the gathering gloom there is
something ghostlike. A silence hangs over the neighborhood broken only
by the policeman on his beat.

“There is tragedy, too, in Bloomsbury, for among the many streets
between Holborn and Euston there are alleys of acute poverty and worse.

“In front of a ‘pub’ whose lights flare through the murky twilight
stands an old musician playing the fiddle. His tune is played in the
orchestra by the viola. In the distance the ‘lavender cry’ is heard:
‘Sweet lavender; who’ll buy sweet lavender?’ Up and down the street the
cry goes, now nearer, now farther away.

“The gloom deepens and the movement ends with the old musician still
playing his pathetic little tune.

                            “Third Movement

“In this movement one must imagine one’s self sitting late on a Saturday
night on one of the benches of the Temple Embankment (that part of the
Thames Embankment lying between the Houses of Parliament and Waterloo
Bridge). On our side of the river all is quiet, and in the silence one
hears from a distance coming from the other side of the river all the
noises of Saturday night in the slums. (The ‘other’ side, the south side
of the river Thames, is a vast network of very poor quarters and slums.)
On a Saturday night these slums resemble a fair; the streets are lined
with barrows, lit up by flaming torches, selling cheap fruit,
vegetables, produce of all kinds; the streets and alleys are crowded
with people. At street corners coster girls in large feather hats dance
their beloved ‘double-shuffle jig’ to the accompaniment of a mouth
organ. We seem to hear distant laughter; also every now and then what
sounds like cries of suffering. Suddenly a concertina breaks out above
the rest; then we hear a few bars on a hurdy-gurdy organ. All this
softened by distance, melted into one vast hum, floats across the river
to us as we sit meditating on the Temple Embankment.

“The music changes suddenly, and one feels the Thames flowing silent,
mysterious, with a touch of tragedy. One of London’s sudden fogs comes
down, making Slumland and its noises seem remote. Again, for a few bars,
we feel the Thames flowing through the night, and the picture fades into
fog and silence.

                            “Fourth Movement

“The last movement deals almost entirely with the cruder aspect of
London, the London of the unemployed and unfortunate. After the opening
bars we hear the ‘Hunger March’—a ghostly march past of those whom the
city grinds and crushes, the great army of those who are cold and hungry
and unable to get work.

“We hear again the noise and bustle of the streets (reminiscences of the
first movement), but these now also take on the cruder aspect. There are
sharp discords in the music. This is London as seen by the man who is
‘out and under.’ The man ‘out of a job’ who watches the other man go
whistling to his work, the man who is starving, watching the other man
eat—and the cheerful, bustling picture of gay street life becomes
distorted, a nightmare seen by the eyes of suffering.

“The music ends abruptly, and in the short silence that follows one
again hears Big Ben chiming from Westminster Tower.

“There follows the epilogue, in which we seem to feel the great, deep
soul of London—London as a whole, vast and unfathomable—and the symphony
ends as it began, with the river, old Father Thames flowing calm and
silent, as he has flowed through the ages, the keeper of many secrets,
shrouded in mystery.”

And yet the composer has been quoted as saying:

“The title might run _A Symphony by a Londoner_—that is to say, various
sights and sounds of London may have influenced the composer, but it
would not be helpful to describe these. The work must succeed or fail as
music, and in no other way. Therefore, if the hearers recognize a few
suggestions of such things as the Westminster chimes, or the lavender
cry, these must be treated as accidents and not essentials of the

The symphony is dedicated “to the memory of George Butterworth,” a young
composer of great promise, Lieutenant of the Durham Light Infantry, who
was killed on August 5, 1916, “after successfully taking an enemy trench
at the head of a bombing party.” It is scored for these instruments:
three flutes (and piccolo), two oboes, English horn, two clarinets, bass
clarinet, two bassoons, double bassoon, four horns, two trumpets, two
_cornets-à-pistons_, three trombones, bass tuba, a set of three
kettledrums, snare drum, bass drum, cymbals, triangle, jingles (the
little cymbals, or plates, fixed in the wooden hoop of a tambourine),
tam-tam, glockenspiel, two harps, and strings.


[1]Translation into English by Charles Sanford Terry: _Bach: A
    Biography_, London, 1928.

[2]C. H. H. Parry: _Johann Sebastian Bach_, 1909.

[3]Hector Berlioz: _À travers champs_, 1862.

[4]Michel Brenet (Marie Bobillier): _Histoire de la Symphonie à

[5]Alexander von Ulibichev: _Beethoven, ses critiques, et ses
    glossateurs_, 1857.

[6]Heinrich Reimann: _Musikalische Rückblicke_.

[7]English translation by Ignatz Moscheles, 1841.

[8]Paul Bekker: _Beethoven_, translated by M. M. Bozman, 1925.

[9]Vincent d’Indy: _Beethoven, a Critical Biography_, 1911; translated
    by Dr. Theodore Baker, 1913.

[10]J. G. Prod’homme _Les Symphonies de Beethoven_, 1906.

[11]A. W. Thayer: “_Ludwig van Beethoven’s Leben_,” 1866-79; revision in
    English by H. E. Krehbiel.

[12]William Foster Apthorp.

[13]Adolf Boschot: _La jeunesse d’un romantique_, 1906.

[14]Julien Tiersot: _Hector Berlioz et la société de son temps_, 1904.

[15]Ernest Legouvé: _Soixante Ans de Souvenirs_, 1886.

[16]The year 1834 has been generally accepted as the year of Borodin’s
    birth. M. D. Calvocoressi (in the _London Musical Times_, June,
    1934) reported that Serge Dianin had examined the church registers
    in Leningrad, and other documents which proved the date to have been
    October 31 (November 12), 1833, not 1834. “Borodin himself knew this
    quite well until October 31, 1873, when he wrote to his wife: ‘Today
    is my fortieth birthday.’ But on that very day an old servant of his
    mother, Catherine Beltzman by name, assured him that he was
    thirty-nine years old, not forty. Borodin was delighted, and never
    troubled to verify the information.”—EDITOR.

[17]Walter Niemann: _Brahms_, 1920; translated by C. A. Phillips, 1929.

[18]Richard Specht: _Johannes Brahms_, translated by Eric Blom, 1930.

[19]See Kalbeck’s _Brahms_, Vol. III, Part II, pp. 384-85, Berlin, 1912.

[20]Heinrich Reimann: _Johannes Brahms_, 1930.

[21]Dr. Hermann Dieters: _Johannes Brahms_, a biographical sketch,
    translated by Rosa Newmarch, 1888.

[22]_Programme Book_ of the Symphony Concert of the Royal Orchestra of
    Dresden, December 13, 1907.

[23]Louis Laloy: _Claude Debussy_, 1909.

[24]_Lettres de Claude Debussy à son éditeur_; published by Jacques
    Durand, 1927.

[25]Robert J. Buckley: _Sir Edward Elgar_, 1904.

[26]D. G. Mason: _Contemporary Composers_, 1918.

[27]Ernest Newman: _Elgar_, 1906.

[28]Vincent d’Indy: _César Franck_, 1906; translated by Rosa Newmarch,

[29]John F. Runciman: _Old Scores and New Readings_, 1899.

[30]Romain Rolland: _Handel_, 1910; translated by A. E. Hull, 1916.

[31]Victor Schoelcher: _The Life of Handel_, 1857.

[32]C. F. Pohl: _Josef Haydn_, 1875, 1882.

[33]Michel Brenet (Marie Bobillier): _Haydn_, 1909; English translation,

[34]This year was given by the composer. The Catalogue of the Paris
    Conservatory gives 1851, the year also given by Adolphe Jullien.—P.

[35]_Le Guide musical_, May, 1904.

[36]Lina Ramann: _Franz Liszt als Künstler und Mensch_, 1880; translated
    by E. Cowdrey, 1882.

[37]Ernest Newman: “Faust in Music,” in _Musical Studies_.

[38]Wilhelm Adolf Lampadius: _Felix Mendelssohn-Bartholdy_, 1848;
    translated by W. L. Gage, 1866.

[39]Michael Kelly: _Reminiscences_, 1826; written by Theodore Hook, from
    material furnished by Kelly.

[40]Lorenzo da Ponte: _Memoirs_, translated by Elizabeth Abbott, 1929.

[41]Felix Borowski, Chicago Orchestra Programme.


    “_Grammarian, painter, augur, rhetorician,
    Rope-dancer, conjuror, fiddler, and physician,
    All trades his own, your hungry Greekling counts;
    And bid him mount the sky—the sky he mounts!_”
    Gifford’s Translation.

    Compare Dr. Johnson’s lines:

    _All sciences the hungry Monsieur knows,
    And bid him go to hell—to hell he goes!_

[43]See _Johann Herbeck_, by L. Herbeck, Vienna, 1885, page 165.

[44]The _Unfinished_ symphony has the same orchestration.—EDITOR.

[45]Paul Rosenfeld: _Musical Portraits_, 1920.

[46]Philip H. Goepp.

[47]_Sibelius_, by Cecil Gray, London, 1931.

[48]Lawrence Gilman, Philadelphia Orchestra Programme Notes.

[49]Quotations from the novel itself are here taken from the translation
    into English by Thos. Shelton (1612-20.)

[50]M. Montagu-Nathan: _Contemporary Russian Composers_, 1917.

[51]John F. Runciman: _Richard Wagner, Composer of Operas_, 1913.

[52]William J. Henderson: _Richard Wagner, His Life and His Works_,


  _Afternoon of a Faun_ (Debussy), 119-22.
  _Also Sprach Zarathustra_ (Strauss), 313, 316-19, 330.
  Altschuler, Modeste, 288-89.
  _Amor Brujo, El_ (_Love, the Sorcerer_), de Falla, 140-42.
  Apthorp, William F., 52, 77, 78-79, 171, 178, 281, 311, 350, 380.

  Bach, Johann Sebastian, 2-6, 151.
      The Brandenburg Concertos, 2-3.
      The Concertos for Pianoforte, 4-5.
      The Orchestral Suites, 5-6.
  Balakirev, M., 207.
  Baudelaire, P. C., 122.
  Beaumarchais, P. A., 217.
  Beethoven, Ludwig van, 7-55, 102, 112-13, 154.
      Symphony No. 1, 7-10.
      Symphony No. 2, 10-13.
      Symphony No. 3, 13-17.
      Symphony No. 4, 18-22.
      Symphony No. 5, 19-20, 22-26.
      Symphony No. 6, 26-29.
      Symphony No. 7, 29-33, 36.
      Symphony No. 8, 34-37, 109.
      Symphony No. 9, 38-44.
      Overture to _Leonore No. 3_, 44-47.
      Overture to _Egmont_, 47-49.
      Overture to _Coriolanus_, 49-57.
      Piano Concerto No. 4, 51-52.
      Piano Concerto No. 5, 52-54.
      Violin Concerto, 54-55.
      _Fidelio_, 19, 45.
      _Wellington’s Victory_, 30, 32.
  Bekker, Paul, 15.
  Berlioz, Hector, 8, 12-13, 20-22, 23-26, 56-65, 175, 254, 390.
      _Symphonie Fantastique_, 56, 57-64, 92.
      Overture, _The Roman Carnival_, 64-65.
  Blake, William, 263.
  Bloch, Ernest (_Schelomo_), 66-69.
  Blom, Eric, 71.
  Boito, Arrigo, 175.
  _Bolero_ (Ravel), 170, 239-40.
  Borodin, Alexander (Symphony No. 2), 70-74.
  Borowski, Felix, 136.
  Boschot, Adolphe, 60.
  Boucher, Maurice, 170.
  Brahms, Johannes, 75-99, 100, 113.
      Symphony No. 1, 77-80.
      Symphony No. 2, 80-83.
      Symphony No. 3, 83-85.
      Symphony No. 4, 86-88.
      Haydn Variations, 88-90.
      Tragic overture, 90-91.
      Academic overture, 91-94.
      Piano Concerto No. 1, 94-95.
      Piano Concerto No. 2, 95-97.
      Violin Concerto, 97-99.
  Brenet, Michel (Marie Bobillier), 9, 159.
  Bruckner, Anton, 100-13.
      Symphony No. 7, 102-06.
      Symphony No. 8, 106-11.
  Bruneau, Alfred, 123.
  Buckley, R. J., 137.
  Bülow, Hans von, 81, 182, 254, 311, 356.
  Burke, Harry R., 141.

  Calvocoressi, M. D., 167.
  Canudo, Ricciotto, 38-39.
  _Caprice on Spanish Themes_ (Rimsky-Korsakov), 250-52.
  Carpenter, J. A. (_Adventures in a Perambulator_), 114-17.
  Cervantes, Miguel de, 320-27.
  Cherubini, Luigi, 63.
  _Clouds_ (Debussy), 122-24.
  Coates, Albert, 390.
  Cocteau, Jean, 27.

  _Daphnis et Chloe_, Suite No. 2 (Ravel), 237-38.
  David, Ferdinand, 203.
  _Death and Transfiguration_ (Strauss), 310-13.
  Debussy, Claude, 34, 118-29.
      _Afternoon of a Faun_, 119-22.
      _Nocturnes_, 122-24.
      _La Mer_, 124-26.
      _Iberia_, 127-29.
  De Quincey, Thomas, 22, 35, 242.
  Diaghilev, Serge de, 143, 237, 331-33.
  Dieters, Dr. Hermann, 91.
  _Don Juan_ (Strauss), 308-10, 313.
  _Don Quixote_ (Strauss), 313, 320-27, 330.
  Dvořák, Anton, 130-34.
      Symphony No. 5 (_From the New World_), 130-34.
  Dwight, John S., 1, 79-80.

  Elgar, Edward (_Enigma_ Variations), 135-39.
  _Euryanthe_ overture (Weber), 385-88.
  Evans, Edwin, 337.

  Falla, Manuel de, 140-44.
      _El Amor Brujo_ (_Love the Sorcerer_), 140-42.
      _El Sombrero de Tres Picos_ (_The Three-cornered Hat_),
  _Faust_ (Goethe), 25.
  _Faust_ symphony (Liszt), 175-80.
  _Festivals_ (Debussy), 122-24.
  _Fidelio_ (Beethoven), 19, 45.
  _Figaro_ overture (Mozart), 217-19.
  _Fingal’s Cave_ (_Hebrides_) overture (Mendelssohn), 201-03.
  _Finlandia_ (Sibelius), 302-04.
  _Fire-Bird_ (Stravinsky), 331-33.
  _Fliegende Holländer_ overture (Wagner), 366-67.
  Fokine, Michel, 237.
  Franck, César (Symphony), 102, 145-49, 167.
  _Freischütz, Der_, overture (Weber), 382-85.

  Gatti, Guido M., 68.
  Gilman, Lawrence, 301-02.
  Gluck, C. W. von, 150, 214, 310.
  Goepp, Philip H., 294.
  Goethe, J. W. von, 25, 48, 175-80, 309.
  Goldmark, Carl, 96.
  Gray, Cecil, 136, 295, 299.
  Grove, Sir George, 197, 264.

  Habeneck, F. A., 65.
  Handel, G. F. (Twelve Concerti Grossi), 150-53.
  Hanslick, Edouard, 84-5, 100-01, 108, 113, 183, 359-60.
  Haydn, F. J., 154-60.
      Symphony No. 88, 158-60.
      Symphony No. 94, 157-58.
      Symphony No. 104, 155-57.
  Hazlitt, William, 210.
  _Hebrides_ (_Fingal’s Cave_) overture (Mendelssohn), 201-03.
  _Heldenleben, Ein_ (Strauss), 13, 313, 327-30.
  Henderson, W. J., 298, 378.
  Herodotus, 227.
  Hindemith, Paul (_Konzertmusik_), 161-63.
  Hoffmann, E. T. A., 211.
  Honegger, Arthur (_Pacific 231_), 164-65.
  Hugo, Victor, 181, 287.
  Huneker, James, 146.

  _Iberia_ (Debussy), 127-29.
  _Images_ (Debussy), 127-29.
  _Indian Suite_ (MacDowell), 186-88.
  d’Indy, Vincent, 17, 27-8, 34, 102, 147-49, 166-72.
      Symphony No. 2, 166-69.
      _Istar_ variations, 170-72.

  Jean-Aubry, G., 141.
  Joachim, J., 84, 94, 97.
  “_Jupiter_” symphony (Mozart), 277.

  Kalbeck, Max, 85, 93, 98.
  Kelly, Michael, 215-16, 218-19.
  Koechlin, Charles, 120.
  Krehbiel, Henry E., 259-60, 314.
  Kretzschmar, A. F. H., 151.

  Laforgue, Jules, 209, 234.
  Lalo, Édouard, 149.
  Laloy, Louis, 121.
  Lamartine, A. M. L., 181.
  Landowska, Wanda, 1.
  Lampadius, W. A., 197.
  Legouvé, Ernest, 64.
  Lenau, Nicolaus, 308-10.
  Liszt, Franz, 173-83, 207, 254, 258, 271, 368-69, 370.
      _Faust_ symphony, 175-80.
      _Les Préludes_, symphonic poem, 181-82.
      Piano Concerto No. 1, 182-83.
  Loeffler, C. M. (_A Pagan Poem_), 184-85.
  _Lohengrin_ prelude (Wagner), 368-69.
  _London Symphony_ (Vaughan Williams), 389-93.
  _Love the Sorcerer_ (_El Amor Brujo_) (de Falla), 140-42.

  MacDowell, Edward (_Indian Suite_), 186-88.
  Machabey, A., 162.
  _Magic Flute, The_, overture (Mozart), 219-21.
  Mahler, Gustav, 189-94.
      The Symphonies, 190-92.
      Symphony No. 5, 192-94.
  _Ma Mère l’Oye_ (_Mother Goose_) suite (Ravel), 234-36.
  Mason, D. G., 139.
  May, Florence, 86, 97-98.
  _Meistersinger, Die_, prelude (Wagner), 113, 371-73.
  Mendelssohn, Felix, 80, 195-205, 268, 285, 378.
      “_Italian_” symphony, 195-99.
      Incidental music, _Midsummer Night’s Dream_, 199-201.
      _Hebrides_ overture, 201-03.
      Violin concerto, 203-05.
  _Mer, La_ (Debussy), 124-26.
  Montagu-Nathan, 332, 334.
  _Mother Goose_ (_Ma Mère l’Oye_) Suite (Ravel), 234-36.
  Moussorgsky, Modeste, 118, 206-08.
      _Night on Bald Mountain_, 206-08.
  Mozart, W. A., 154, 209-24, 263.
      Symphonies (E flat, G minor, C major—“_Jupiter_”), 211-17.
      Overture to _Figaro_, 217-19.
      Overture to _The Magic Flute_, 219-21.
      Violin concertos, 221-22.

  Napoleon Bonaparte, 14.
  Newman, Ernest, 139, 179, 243, 346.
  Newmarch, Rosa, 304, 306-07, 347.
  Niemann, Walter, 75, 78, 80.
  Nietzsche, Friedrich, 316-19.
  _Night on Bald Mountain_ (Moussorgsky), 206-08.
  Nijinsky, Vaslav, 237, 333, 336.
  Nikisch, Arthur, 47.
  Nocturnes (Debussy), 122-24.

  _Oberon_ overture (Weber), 381-82.
  _Oiseau de Feu, L’_ (Stravinsky), 331-33.

  _Pagan Poem_ (Loeffler), 184-85.
  Parry, C. H. H., 4.
  _Parsifal_ (Wagner), 298, 376-79.
  Péladan, Joséphin, 76.
  _Pelléas et Mélisande_ (Debussy), 119.
  _Petrouchka_ (Stravinsky), 333-35.
  _Pines of Rome_ (Respighi), 241-43.
  Plotinus, 124.
  Poe, Edgar Allan, 129.
  _Poème de l’Extase, Le_ (Scriabin), 287-91.
  Pohl, C. F., 88, 158.
  Ponte, Lorenzo da, 218.
  _Preludes, The_ (Liszt), 181-82.
  Prod’homme, J. G., 33.
  Prokofieff, Serge, 225-28.
      Scythian suite, 225-27.
      _Classical_ symphony, 227-28.

  Rachmaninoff, Sergei, 229-33.
      Symphony No. 2, 229-31.
      Piano Concerto No. 2, 232-33.
  _Radiant Night_ (_Verklärte Nacht_) (Schoenberg), 259-60.
  Raff, J. J., 230.
  Ramann, Lina, 175, 178, 181.
  Ravel, Maurice, 234-40.
      _Ma Mère l’Oye_, Suite, 234-36.
      _Daphnis et Chloe_, Suite No. 2, 237-38.
      _Bolero_, 170, 239-40.
  Reichert, Johannes, 106.
  Reimann, Heinrich, 9, 87, 91.
  Respighi, Otterino (_Pines of Rome_), 241-43.
  Richter, Hans, 84, 113, 136.
  _Rienzi_, overture (Wagner), 365-66.
  Ries, Ferdinand, 15.
  Rimsky-Korsakov, N., 206, 244-52.
      _Scheherazade_ suite, 244-50.
      _Caprice on Spanish Themes_, 250-52.
  _Rite of Spring, The_ (Stravinsky), 336-38.
  Ritter, William, 133.
  Rolland, Romain, 56, 151, 152-53, 328.
  _Romeo and Juliet_ overture-fantasia (Tchaikovsky), 354-55.
  Rosenfeld, Paul, 294, 295.
  Rossini, Giacomo, 34, 41.
  Rubinstein, Nicholas, 356-58.
  Runciman, J. F., 150.

  _Sacre du Printemps, Le_ (Stravinsky), 336-38.
  Saint-Saëns, C., 149, 223-24.
      Symphony No. 3, 253-58.
  Salomon, J., 154-55.
  _Scheherazade_ suite (Rimsky-Korsakov), 244-50.
  Schindler, Anton, 14, 42.
  Schoelcher, Victor, 152.
  Schoenberg, Arnold (_Verklärte Nacht_), 259-60.
  Schubert, Franz, 132, 261-69.
      Symphony No. 8 (“_Unfinished_”), 264-67.
      Symphony No. 7, 267-69.
  Schumann, Clara, 78, 81, 88, 95, 272, 273, 274, 279, 282, 286.
  Schumann, Robert, 78, 94, 268, 270-87.
      Symphony No. 1, 272-75.
      Symphony No. 2, 275-78.
      Symphony No. 3, 278-81.
      Symphony No. 4, 282-85.
      Piano Concerto, 285-87.
  Schweitzer, Dr. Albert, 5.
  Scriabin, Alexander (_Le Poème de l’Extase_), 287-91.
  Scythian suite (Prokofieff), 225-27.
  Shakespeare, William, 22, 24, 49, 60, 199, 354.
  Sibelius, Jean, 292-307.
      Symphony No. 1, 292-95.
      Symphony No. 2, 295-97.
      Symphony No. 4, 298-99.
      Symphony No. 5, 300-01.
      Symphony No. 7, 301-03.
      _Finlandia_, 302-04.
      _Swan of Tuonela_, 305-07.
  _Siegfried Idyl_ (Wagner), 373-75.
  Sierra, Martinez, 140.
  Siloti, Alexander, 353.
  _Sirens_ (Debussy), 122-24.
  _Sombrero de Tres Picos, El_ (_The Three-cornered Hat_), (de
          Falla), 142-44.
  Specht, Richard, 79, 82-83, 97.
  Stassov, Vladimir, 73, 208, 246, 344.
  Steinitzer, Max, 321.
  Strangways, Fox, 299.
  Strauss, Richard, 190-91, 308-30.
      _Don Juan_, 308-10, 313, 330.
      _Tod und Verklärung_, 310-13, 330.
      _Till Eulenspiegel’s Merry Pranks_, 313-15, 330.
      _Also Sprach Zarathustra_, 313, 316-19, 330.
      _Don Quixote_, 313, 320-27, 330.
      _Ein Heldenleben_, 13, 313, 327-30.
  Stravinsky, Igor, 331-38.
      _L’Oiseau de Feu_, 331-33.
      _Petrouchka_, 333-35.
      _Sacre du Printemps_, Le, 336-38.
  _Swan of Tuonela_ (Sibelius), 305-07.

  _Tannhäuser_ Overture (Wagner), 85 137, 367-68.
  Taylor, Deems (_Through the Looking Glass_ suite), 339-42.
  Tchaikovsky, Peter, 71, 250, 343-62.
      Symphony No. 4, 344-46.
      Symphony No. 5, 346-50.
      Symphony No. 6, 92, 147, 350-54.
      _Romeo and Juliet_ overture-fantasia, 354-55.
      Concerto for Piano No. 1, 356-59.
      Concerto for Violin, 359-62.
  Thayer, A. W., 14, 37, 42.
  Thomas, Theodore, 368.
  _Three-cornered Hat, The_ (_El Sombrero de Tres Picos_) (de
          Falla), 142-44.
  _Through the Looking Glass_ suite (Taylor), 339-42.
  _Thus Spake Zarathustra_ (Strauss), 313, 316-19, 330.
  Tiersot, Julien, 63.
  _Till Eulenspiegel’s Merry Pranks_ (Strauss), 313-15, 330.
  _Tod und Verklärung_ (Strauss), 310-13.
  _Tristan und Isolde_ prelude and _Liebestod_ (Wagner), 370-71.
  Turina, Joaquin, 143.

  Ulibichev, Alexander von, 9.

  Vechten, Carl Van, 337.
  _Verklärte Nacht_ (_Radiant Night_) (Schoenberg), 259-60.
  Virgil, 184.

  Wagner, Richard, 85, 100, 103, 110, 113, 137, 173, 298, 363-79.
      _Rienzi_ overture, 365-66.
      _Fliegende Holländer_ overture, 366-67.
      _Tannhäuser_ overture, 85, 137, 367-68.
      _Lohengrin_ prelude, 368-69.
      _Tristan und Isolde_ prelude and _Liebestod_, 370-71.
      _Die Meistersinger_ prelude, 113, 371-73.
      _A Siegfried Idyl_, 373-75.
      _Ride of the Valkyries_, 375-76.
      _Parsifal_ prelude, 376-79.
      _Parsifal_, Good Friday Spell, 379.
  Weber, Carl Maria von, 380-88.
      _Oberon_ overture, 381-82.
      _Der Freischütz_ overture, 382-85.
      _Euryanthe_ overture, 385-88.
  Weingartner, Felix, 42, 56, 81, 272, 282.
  Weissmann, Adolf, 162.
  _Wellington’s Victory_ (Beethoven), 30, 32.
  Whitman, Walt, 262-63.
  Williams, Ralph Vaughan (_A London Symphony_), 389-93.
  Wolf, Hugo, 112.
  Wolff, Werner, 111.
  Wüllner, Franz, 47, 84, 315.

    [Illustration: Endpapers]

                          Transcriber’s Notes

—Retained copyright information from the printed edition: this eBook is
  public-domain in the country of publication.

—Silently corrected a few palpable typos.

—In the text versions only, text in italics is delimited by

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