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Title: Famous Composers and their Works, Vol. 2
Author: Various
Language: English
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VOL. 2]

    Famous Composers and
    their Works

    Edited by

    John Knowles Paine
    Theodore Thomas and Karl Klauser




    J. B. Millet Company


    Copyright, 1891, by


_Reproduction of a steel engraving by L. Sichling, after an oil portrait
by Röster._]

[Illustration: Haydn]



On the river Leitha, in Lower Austria, and some fifteen miles south-east
from Vienna, is a village so insignificant that it is not set down on the
ordinary maps. It is called Rohrau, and there, during the night of March
31, 1732, and descended from a long line of humble hand-toilers, was born
Franz Joseph Haydn, who was destined to make the family name immortal.
His father, Mathias Haydn, was a master wheelwright, whose father, Thomas
Haydn, had followed the same occupation. The mother of Franz, or Joseph,
as he is now called, was Maria Koller, daughter of the market inspector
of the locality, and a cook in the household of Count Harrach, the lord
of the village. The ancestry of the Haydns is undistinguished as far back
as it can be traced. This union of the wheelwright and the cook resulted
in a family of twelve children, of whom three developed into musicians.
They were Franz Joseph, the subject of this sketch, Johann Michael, the
church composer, and Johann Evangelist, a singer of no special excellence.
There is no record of musical talent on the side of either the Haydns
or the Kollers previous to its appearance in the family of Mathias, and
its sudden development in three of the offspring of this marriage is

In addition to his occupation as a wheelwright, Mathias Haydn officiated
as sexton of his parish. Both he and his wife were able to sing
sufficiently well to increase their scant earnings by singing in church on
Sundays and holidays, and at fairs and festivals. They also indulged in
music at home, after a rude fashion, the father accompanying the voices on
the harp, which he had learned to play by ear. The parents of the future
composer were hard-working people who feared God, and so thoroughly did
they instill their religious feelings into their children, that Haydn
felt the influence of this early discipline all through his long life. Of
his earliest years but little is known except that, while yet a tender
child, he began to manifest the musical instinct that was in him by
singing the simple tunes that his father was able to strum on the harp,
and by exciting wonder at the correctness of his ear and his keen sense of
rhythm. These gifts, however, are by no means rare in children, and the
possession of them does not necessarily insure that their possessors shall
develop into Haydns and Mozarts.

One day a cousin, a certain Johann Mathias Frankh, who lived in Hainburg,
paid the Haydns a visit, and his attention was called to young Joseph's
precocious musical talent. Frankh was a school-master and a good musician,
and in Hainburg he filled the offices of Chorregent and Schulrector.
Struck by the talents of the boy, he proposed to take upon himself his
education, musical and otherwise. The father eagerly accepted the offer,
but the mother hesitated, for it was her ambition that the youngster
should become a priest. Her objections, however, were overcome, and the
result was that Haydn, when six years of age, left his home never to
return to it again as an inmate. Frankh took him to Hainburg, instructed
him in reading and writing and in the rudiments of Latin. He also grounded
him in the elements of music, taught him to sing, and to play the violin.
The boy was an apt and zealous pupil, studied with unremitting industry
and progressed rapidly.

Frankh was not a lenient teacher, nor was he very conscientious in his
duties at the head of his school. He was addicted to gambling, and his
honesty was not above suspicion, for he was discharged from his position
for cheating with loaded dice, though later he was reinstated. In common
with the pedagogues of his time he was firm in the faith that what could
not be learned easily could be beaten into a pupil; consequently blows
were not lacking when the child proved dull of understanding, and a
lesson hesitatingly recited was followed by a vigorous thrashing, after
which the boy was sent to bed without his dinner. This severity, however,
was not unkindly meant, for the pedagogue was equally fond and proud of
his young charge, and the harshness was not without its good results, as
may be inferred from the fact, that many years afterwards, Haydn spoke of
his hard discipline, in which, according to his own words, he was given
"more beating than bread," with the warmest gratitude. Not only this, but
in his will, Haydn bequeathed to Frankh's daughter and her husband, one
hundred florins and a portrait of Frankh, "my first music teacher."

This rough teaching, nevertheless, soon reached a point beyond which it
was useless to persevere in it, for Frankh could flog no more knowledge
of music into the boy for the simple reason that he had imparted all
that he possessed. Haydn was now eight years old and had been studying
two years with Frankh, when, one day, George Reuter, director of music
at the Cathedral of St. Stephen, in Vienna, visited Hainburg. He was on
a tour having for its object the procuring of boy voices for his choir,
and meeting with Frankh, that worthy grew eloquent in the praise of his
precocious pupil, and eagerly solicited Reuter to hear the youngster sing.
The Capellmeister consented, and was astonished at the proficiency of the
boy and delighted with the sweetness of his voice. The outcome of the
hearing was that Reuter offered to take Haydn as one of the boy choir at
St. Stephen's and to look after his musical education; and so, in 1740,
Haydn bade farewell to his hard, but well meaning master, and went to
Vienna. The parting was not without tears on both sides, and Haydn was
never forgetful or unappreciative of the benefit he had received from

At St. Stephen's an entirely new life opened to him. The school, an
ancient foundation, consisted of a Cantor, a Subcantor, two ushers and
six scholars. They dwelt under the same roof and ate together. The city
paid for the board, lodging and clothing of the scholars, but not too
liberally, and the youngsters were never under the doctor's care for
over-eating and had no occasion to pride themselves on the quantity or
the quality of the clothing given them. Reading, writing, arithmetic and
Latin were among the studies taught in addition to music. In the art to
which his life was now devoted, Haydn received instruction in singing and
on the violin and clavier. Harmony and composition were also supposed to
be taught by Reuter, but Haydn could never recall more than two lessons
in theory imparted to him by the Capellmeister. The boy was therefore
thrown on his own resources, for he had no money with which to pay for
lessons from other teachers. The music that he now heard opened a new
world to him and filled him with an unappeasable desire to produce such
music himself. He was soon absorbed in every book on musical theory, to
which he had access, and he never put it aside before he had completely
mastered all that it had to tell him. In the meanwhile his attire became
shabbier and shabbier; his shoes were worn down at the heels, and his
appearance gradually merged into what he long afterwards described as
that of "a veritable little ragamuffin." He wrote home for money to renew
his apparel, and when his father sent him six florins for that purpose he
bought Fux's "Gradus ad Parnassum" and the "Vollkommener Capellmeister,"
by Mattheson. The former was his constant companion, and he even placed it
under his pillow when he went to bed. When his companions were at play he
studied, and when they were over noisy and disturbed him he would, as he
said many years later, "take my little clavier under my arm and go away to
practise in quiet." Music had become his passion.

By and by he began to compose and was soon occupied in filling with notes
every sheet of music paper that came within his reach; the more notes he
was able to crowd on a page the more he was satisfied with himself, for
he "thought it must be right if the paper was sufficiently covered with
notes." The determination and industry of the lad were extraordinary, and
he very early began to illustrate that phase of genius which is a capacity
for hard work. One of his first compositions was a "Salve Regina" for
twelve voices. This was seen by Reuter, who dryly suggested that it would
perhaps be better to write it for two voices at first, and to learn how to
write music properly before he began to compose it; but he did not attempt
to show him how to do either. In fact, the boy had no other resource than
to rely on his own unaided efforts to acquire the knowledge for which he
so eagerly yearned, and hence, after his parting with Frankh he was wholly
self-taught. Such was his life until he became sixteen years old, when
his prospects, already dark enough, were to become still more clouded,
for his voice broke and he was no longer useful as a boy soprano. Reuter,
who had no special regard for the lad, resolved to take advantage of the
earliest opportunity that offered, to dismiss him. Before this, however,
Haydn's brother, Michael, had been accepted as a member of the choir, to
the great delight of the former. His voice was more powerful and of better
quality than was Joseph's, which gave indications of breaking. In fact, on
one occasion the empress said that "Joseph Haydn sang like a raven" and
requested that his brother might replace him. Michael was given a solo to
sing, and acquitted himself with so much tenderness and sweetness that the
empress sent for him and gave him twenty-four ducats. Reuter complimented
him on his good luck and the honor that had been done him, and asked
him what he was going to do with so large a sum. Michael replied: "I
shall send half to my good father and keep the other half until my voice
breaks," a resolution that Reuter approved warmly, and which he offered to
further by taking charge of the twelve ducats. Michael gave them to him,
but when his voice broke at last, the ducats were not forthcoming, and he
never saw them again.


The house still exists and is very little changed. The windows to the
right, the fence and the grass plot have disappeared. There is now a bench
under the windows at the left, and a rudely executed tablet inserted in
the wall.

Beethoven, on his deathbed, showed this picture to Hummel, saying with
great emotion: "See, dear Hummel, this is a present I received to-day and
it gives me a childish pleasure."]

Presently Haydn's doom was sealed. One day, in a spirit of mischief, he
cut off the pigtail of a fellow student and was sentenced by Reuter to be
whipped on the hand with a cane. Haydn pleaded, wept, and remonstrated,
but in vain; and at last he declared that he would sooner leave the
cathedral than suffer so humiliating and cruel an outrage. Reuter
cynically retorted that he had no objection to the alternative, "but you
shall be caned just the same, and then you can pack off, bag and baggage
as soon as you see fit"; and so Haydn was punished and then sent forth
into the streets of Vienna without a penny and with attire so worn and
dirty that he was ashamed to be seen. The world was now before him and his
outlook was dreary and discouraging enough. He was friendless, without
prospects and did not know which way to turn to make either. He could
return to Rohrau, where he was sure of a warm and tender welcome from his
parents, but he would not burden their scanty means with his support, and
besides, he had resolved to succeed by the talent that, from the first, he
"knew was in him." His life at the school had inured him to privation and
hunger, and if he could only earn enough to keep soul and body together he
would be content. His departure from his late home took place on a stormy
November evening, and he walked the streets all night hopelessly. Sunrise
found him still wandering and ready to faint with hunger and fatigue.
Utter despair had seized on him when he chanced to meet with one Spangler,
a chorister at St. Michael's, whose acquaintance he had made some time
before. The singer found it hard to win enough bread for himself and his
wife and child, but he took pity on the unfortunate boy and offered him
the shelter of the miserable attic in which he lived with his family.
Haydn gratefully accepted the kindness, and dwelt with his benefactor
through the winter, suffering, with him, cold and hunger. During this
sad time, the boy's courage faltered for the first time and his natural
buoyancy of spirits was dulled. He thought of finding some less precarious
means of earning enough to eat and drink and to clothe himself than music
presented, and for a moment he turned his back on the art he loved so
well; but it was only for a moment. His instinct reasserted itself and
once more he turned resolutely toward music, and never again did he falter
in his determination to devote himself heart and soul to it.

In his search for employment he was, now and then, fortunate enough to be
engaged to play the violin at dances and merrymakings. Then he obtained a
few scholars who paid him the by no means munificent sum of two florins
per month. In the meantime he studied incessantly, especially the six
clavier sonatas of Emanuel Bach. With a rickety harpsichord for his
companion, he forgot his misery and the squalor of the garret in which
he lived. About this time he met a good angel, a Vienna tradesman, by
name, Buchholz, who becoming interested in him, and sympathizing with the
miserable poverty in which he struggled so cheerfully, loaned him one
hundred and fifty florins, taking no acknowledgment therefor and making no
conditions for repayment. It may be mentioned here that Haydn promptly
returned the money when fortune smiled on him, and that he did not forget
the kindness is evidenced by his first will, in which he left "Jungfrau
Anna Buchholz one hundred florins, in remembrance that in my youth and
extreme need, her grandfather made me a loan of one hundred and fifty
florins without interest which I faithfully repaid fifty years ago." This
money was a godsend, for it enabled him to procure a room of his own. The
new apartment was not a great improvement on that which he had quitted.
It was in the old "Michaelerhaus"; and was also a garret boarded off from
a larger room. There was scarcely any light and the space was hardly more
than would suffice for a fair-sized closet. The roof was in a neglected
state, and when the weather was inclement the rain or snow would come
through and fall on the lodger's bed. However, Haydn was happy and could
study and practice without interruption.

Curiously enough, his selection of this room had a great influence on
his future, for in the same house lived Métastasio in a style befitting
his position. The poet was superintending the education of his host's
two daughters. He soon began to take notice of the young man whom he
frequently met on the stairs, and charmed with his character, sought his
acquaintance. Recognizing his talents and wishing to serve him, he taught
him Italian, and after a time, entrusted to him the musical education
of one of the young girls, but now referred to. He added still further
to these services by introducing him to Porpora, then the greatest of
singing-teachers, and one of the most eminent masters of composition.
Before these friendships with Métastasio and Porpora began, however, Haydn
lived alone for a year and a half, supporting himself by teaching for
whatever payment he could obtain; playing the violin whenever he could
earn even the smallest pittance, and obtaining such other engagements as
would help him to buy food, and to pay for his room.

Haydn gave his young pupil daily lessons on the clavier, and for his
services he obtained free board for some three years. This pupil took
singing lessons from Porpora, and it was Haydn's good fortune to be
called to go with her to the master's house to play her accompaniments.
In order to win the good will of the surly and cynical old master, Haydn
performed various menial offices for him, even brushed his clothes
and cleaned his shoes. The result was that the young man received some
valuable instruction in composition, from time to time, together with much
cursing and more insults. Porpora had among his pupils the mistress of the
Venetian Ambassador, to whom he took Haydn in the office of accompanist.
The Italian, not over generous with his own money, induced the Ambassador
to give Haydn a pension, and the consequences were that the struggling
composer was made richer by fifty francs a month, and was enabled to add
to the books he loved so well and studied so constantly.

Haydn was now about twenty years of age, had suffered great privations
and had not been able to rise much above the position of a lackey; but he
never relaxed in his devotion to his art. He submitted to degradations,
kicks and curses because it was not in his power to resent them. The
wonder of it all is that his misfortunes and his humiliations did not sour
his temper irremediably, and that he should have remained buoyant and
amiable to the end of his long life. His existence in his attic was gloomy
and poverty-stricken, but in his old age he told Carpani that he was
never happier than he was in that bare and lowly room with his worm-eaten
clavier and his books.

[Illustration: JOSEPH HAYDN.

From the original pastel portrait by Anton Graff. The original is half

At this period he had composed his first Mass in F, a work which, though
crude and faulty, is remarkable as the effort of a self-taught genius.
By this time, also, he had finished his first opera, "Der Neue Krumme
Teufel," for which he was paid twenty-four ducats, but of which only the
libretto is extant. It was produced at the Stadttheatre in 1752, and as it
was also given in Prague, Berlin and other cities, it would appear that
it was successful. Judging by those operas by Haydn that have come down
to us, the disappearance of the score of his first work in that class is
not to be greatly lamented. His muse was essentially undramatic, yet with
that peculiar blindness to the true bent of his talents, a blindness far
from uncommon among men of genius, he entertained a firm faith that it was
his mission to write operas. Fortunately his opportunities to indulge his
idiosyncrasy were not of a nature to enable him to turn from the path in
which he was to win fame, although he composed in addition to the opera
named, thirteen Italian and five Marionette operas, of which nothing has
survived or has deserved to survive. Haydn was destined to revolutionize
instrumental music; but the man who was to revolutionize the opera was yet
to come and was to be called Mozart.

Among Haydn's other compositions at this period were some clavier sonatas
written by him for his pupils. They were the fruits of his study of the
first six sonatas of C. Ph. Emanuel Bach, to which he devoted himself
untiringly. Haydn said, "I played them constantly and did not rest until
I had mastered them all, and those who know my music must also know that
I owe very much to Emanuel Bach." In fact Haydn prided himself greatly
because he had been once complimented by Bach for his knowledge of
that composer's works. One of these sonatas by Haydn had attracted the
attention of the Countess Thun, an enthusiastic amateur of music, who
expressed a desire to see him. He called on her and surprised her by his
youthful appearance and distressed her by the shabbiness of his attire.
The evil fortune that always kept him in want during his early years was
again accompanied by the good fortune that at every crucial stage of his
youthful career brought him into contact with influential friends who
assisted him. The Countess questioned him about himself. In response to
her inquiries he gave her a straightforward account of his situation,
on hearing which she presented him with twenty-five ducats and engaged
him to give her lessons on the harpsichord and in singing. His prospects
brightened, and as pupils began to increase in number he raised his charge
for lessons from two to five florins ($2.50)--a month! An additional
piece of good fortune came to him at this stage of his prosperity in the
acquaintance of Baron Fürnberg, a rich nobleman and an ardent and talented
amateur, to whose house Haydn was invited. Here private concerts were
given, and the young composer heard frequent performances of string trios
and quartets, such as they were.

On the solicitation of Fürnberg, Haydn composed his first quartet, and
seventeen other quartets followed within a year. The Countess Thun still
remained a warm friend and used all her influence for his advancement.
Fürnberg, who appears to have been very fond of him, was no less eager
to push his fortunes. Through these two supporters he was introduced
to Count Ferdinand Maximilian Morzin, a Bohemian nobleman, immensely
rich and a great lover of music. He had an orchestra of some eighteen
performers, which, when necessity demanded, was augmented by servants who
were musicians. Through the solicitations of Fürnberg, Morzin appointed
Haydn his Musikdirector and Kammercompositor, and in 1759, at the age
of twenty-seven, the composer began, what was up to that date, the most
important stage of his artistic career, and ended forever his painful and
uncertain toil for enough to eat from day to day. For twenty-one years
he had struggled in misery, almost hopelessly, but without ever losing
wholly his faith in his future, and always buoyed up by his intense
love for his art. When he entered on the duties of his new position it
is not unreasonable to believe that he looked back on his past, on the
childhood days when he was beaten and sent to bed hungry by the stern
but well-meaning Frankh; on his days of neglect and cruel insult under
Reuter; on his homeless wanderings through the streets of Vienna, on that
chill November night, not knowing how to obtain food and shelter; on his
humiliating lackey services to Porpora. It was all over now, however, and
he was never again to know want for the half century he had yet to live.

In his first year with Count Morzin, Haydn, taking advantage of the
opportunities afforded him for hearing his own music performed by
able musicians, wrote his first symphony. It is a brief work in three
movements, for string quintet, two oboes, and two horns. It reflects
Emanuel Bach strongly, but in its brightness and easy flow foreshadows the
future style of the composer. It was the forerunner of one hundred and
twenty-five symphonies, some of which were to break wholly with the past,
and to widen infinitely the bounds of instrumental music, and to pave
the way for a Beethoven. Haydn was now in comparative wealth. His salary
was two hundred florins ($100), and in addition he received board and
lodging free. Fortune seemed to smile on him at last. Unfortunately, in
this bright hour he took a step which embittered his life for nearly forty

When Haydn was in the depths of poverty that attended his early days of
adversity he made the acquaintance of one Keller, a wig-maker. This person
had two daughters to whom Haydn gave music lessons. He fell desperately
in love with the younger, but she entered a convent and took the veil.
Her father, however, urgently entreated Haydn to marry the other, and in
an evil hour he consented, though she was three years his elder. When
prosperity dawned on him, with equal honesty and ill luck he kept his
promise, and on the 26th of November, 1760, the girl became his wife. It
was not long before he discovered his irreparable mistake. The partner
he had taken for life was a vixen, foul-mouthed, quarrelsome, a bigot
in religion, reckless in extravagance, utterly unappreciative of her
husband's genius, and, as he complained, "did not care whether he was
an artist or a cobbler," as long as he could supply her with money. She
bickered with him constantly, insulted him for his inability to clothe her
expensively, refused to know his friends, and acted like the virago that
she was on the slightest provocation. Naturally genial and affectionate,
and peculiarly fitted for a happy domestic life by his peaceful and
amiable temperament, it is not surprising that he soon wearied of the
woman who made existence a torture to him. No children came to soften
the asperities of this ill-assorted union, and if Haydn turned from it
to find the happiness and the comfort that were resolutely denied him at
his own fireside, and at last became addicted to gallantry, excuse if not
pardon may be accorded him. They lived apart during the greater portion
of their married life, but were not formally separated until thirty-two
years later. She passed the last years of her life at Baden, near Vienna,
preceding her husband to the grave by nine years.


From an India proof of an engraving by J. Thompson of drawing by
Hammerton. Presented to the publisher for Surmon's Exeter Hall edition of
"The Creation" by the Chevalier Neukomm.]

It was not long after this marriage that the good Count Morzin found
himself unable to maintain his orchestra longer, and therefore he was
compelled to dismiss it and its conductor. Haydn was thus thrown on his
own resources again, but not for long. By this time he had made a name for
himself, and fortunately Prince Paul Anton Esterhazy had been a frequent
visitor at Count Morzin's and heard much of Haydn's music there. It had
impressed him greatly by its originality and its spirit. On the breaking
up of the orchestra the Prince at once engaged Haydn as his second
Capellmeister, and in May, 1761, when he was twenty-nine years old, he
went to Eisenstadt in Hungary, where was the country seat of the richest
and most liberal of the Austrian nobles. There Haydn's wandering ended,
for in service of this family he was fated to remain for the rest of his

The Esterhazy family was distinguished for its love of music, and the
first Prince Paul, who died nearly fifty years before Haydn entered
on his long connection with this house, founded a private chapel, the
performers in which were increased in number from time to time. There were
a chorus, solo singers, and an orchestra, and they participated not only
in the church services, but in concerts and eventually in operas. When
Haydn joined the orchestra it consisted of only sixteen musicians, but
they were all excellent artists, and the precision and finish of their
playing surpassed anything of the kind that Haydn had previously heard.
He was now free to exercise his musical invention in any direction that
he saw fit to choose. The orchestra was at his call on any day and at any
hour, and he was thus enabled to experiment with it, and as he himself
said, "to observe what was good and what was weak in effect, and was
consequently in a position to better, to change, to amplify, to curtail"
his music according as a hearing of it suggested. He was now free from all
care, cut off from the outer world, and able to give full play to the art
aspirations that were in him.

With all this independence on one side, on the other he was in a position
not much higher than that of an upper servant. The agreement between
Haydn and the Prince is still in existence, and some of its stipulations
are so curiously humiliating that they are worth reproducing here. It is
impressed on Haydn that he must be temperate; must abstain from vulgarity
in eating and drinking and conversation; must take care of all the music
and the musical instruments, and be answerable for any injury they may
suffer from carelessness or neglect; that as he is an expert on various
instruments, he shall take care to practice on all that he is acquainted
with; that when summoned to perform before company he shall take care that
he and all members of his orchestra do follow the instructions given and
appear in white stockings, white linen, powder, and with either a pig-tail
or a tie-wig. For pay, a salary of four hundred florins, to be received
quarterly "is hereby _bestowed_ upon the said Vice-Capellmeister by his
Serene Highness." In addition, Haydn is permitted to have board at the
officers' table, or half a gulden a day in lieu thereof. The whole tone
of the contract places the composer in the light of a menial. It is by no
means likely that it was made intentionally offensive, and, in fact, it
is doubtful if Haydn found it so. In Germany at that time, the musician
was not highly considered socially, and the composer was far less esteemed
than were the virtuoso of eminence and the vocalist of superior abilities.
We read of musicians, in the establishments of some of these princely
patrons, who, when they were not needed to play to entertain the guests,
were expected to wait on table or to assist in the kitchen.


From a photograph.]

The chief Capellmeister, and nominally the head of the orchestra, was
Gregorius Josephus Werner, an industrious musician, of whose compositions
nothing has come down to us, and of which nothing deserved to come down.
He was now old, and was to all intents and purposes replaced by Haydn,
whose revolutionary ideas and innovations generally must have greatly
disturbed the calm of his prim, formal, and pedagogic chief, who, in fact,
rarely spoke of him except as "a mere fop" and "a song scribbler." Haydn,
on the contrary, always expressed a warm respect for the old musician,
who lived for five years under the new order of things and then ceased to
repine, in death. But Prince Paul Anton died four years earlier, in fact
before Haydn had been in his service for quite a year, and was succeeded
by his brother Prince Nicolaus, the "great Esterhazy," famous for the
lavishness with which he displayed his wealth and for the enthusiasm of
his love for and patronage of the fine arts.

Under Prince Nicolaus a new order of things began, and his generosity was
at once illustrated. The salaries of all the musicians were increased,
Haydn's four hundred florins being increased to six hundred and shortly
after to seven hundred and eighty-two, or about three hundred and ninety
dollars of our money. The force of the Capelle was enlarged to seven
singers and fourteen instrumentalists, and rehearsals took place every
day. By this time, a knowledge of Haydn's music existed outside his own
country, and his works were beginning to be known in London, Paris, and
Amsterdam, and five years after he had been at Eisenstadt, the official
journal of Vienna, the _Wiener Diarium_, alludes to him as "der Liebling
unserer Nation." His industry was unrelaxing, for he had already composed,
under the Esterhazys, some thirty symphonies and cassations, several
divertimenti in five parts, six string trios, a concerto for French horn,
twelve minuets for orchestra, besides concertos, trios, sonatas and
variations for the clavier. His vocal compositions were a Salve Regina
for soprano and alto, two violins and organ; a Te Deum; four Italian
operettas; a pastoral, "Acis and Galatea," written for the marriage of
Count Anton, eldest son of Prince Nicolaus; and a cantata in honor of
the Prince's return from the coronation of Archduke Joseph as king of
the Romans. In none of these works did Haydn rise to any high power. The
greater Haydn was yet to develop.

To go through, in detail, his life at Eisenstadt would be only to repeat
what has been already said, and to give a catalogue of his compositions
in the order in which they were written. We shall therefore pass in rapid
view the events of his career and leave a consideration of his works until
we reach the point when it becomes necessary to estimate the musician
rather than the man. It may, perhaps, be interesting to describe Haydn as
he appeared personally to his contemporaries. He wore a uniform of light
blue and silver, knee breeches, white stockings, lace ruffles and white
neckcloth. His biographer, Dies, states: "Haydn was below the middle
height, and his legs were somewhat too short for his body, a defect which
was made more noticeable because of the style of attire he affected and
which he obstinately declined to change as the fashions changed. His
features were regular, his expression was spirited and at the same time
temperate, amiable and winning. His face was stern when in repose, but
smiling and cheerful when he conversed. I never heard him laugh. In build
he was firm; he was lacking in muscle." He had a prominent aquiline
nose disfigured by a polypus which he refused to have removed, and he
was heavily pitted by small pox. His complexion was dark, so dark, in
fact, that he was playfully called "The Moor." His jaw was heavy and his
under-lip was large and hanging. Lavater described the eyes and nose of
Haydn as something out of the common; his brow noble and good, but his
mouth and chin "Philistine." Haydn's own opinion was that he was ugly, and
he took pleasure in reflecting that it surely was not for his personal
beauty that so many women were attracted to him. That he tried to make
himself attractive to the opposite sex by extreme neatness of attire,
suavity of manner, and flattery, in which he was an adept, is certain;
and that he never lacked for warm admiration and even devoted love from
women is no less well-established. He was very fond of fun, even that
which was not wholly refined, and a predilection for rough practical
joking abided with him to the last. He was sincere and unaffected in his
piety and looked upon his talent as a gift from God, to be used dutifully
in His service. It was seldom that he began to pen a composition without
writing at its head, _In Nomine Domini_, and at its end, _Laus Deo_. Now
and then he merely used the initials L.D., or S.D.G. (_Soli Deo Gloria_)
and sometimes he wrote B.V.M. (_Beatæ Virgini Mariæ_). This custom was
retained not only in his works for the church, but in those for the
orchestra and even for the stage; and the most elaborate dedication of all
is that to his opera "L'Infidelità Delusa," which he closes with _Laus
omnipotenti Deo et Beatissimæ Virgini Mariæ_.

Haydn's life at Eisenstadt, as it was at Esterhaz, to which Prince
Nicolaus and his household removed in 1766, was one of almost complete
seclusion from the outer world and of unflagging work. The quantity of
music he wrote was enormous and the rapidity with which he poured it forth
was astonishing. At Esterhaz he was obliged to provide for two operatic
performances and for one or two formal concerts each week, in addition
to the daily music. It was here that Haydn wrote nearly all his operas,
the greater number of his arias and songs, and the bulk of his orchestral
and chamber music. The vast quantity of music he wrote and the rapidity
with which he produced it has given rise to the belief that he composed
quickly; but such was not the case. His work was always carefully thought
out, and whenever an idea occurred to him that he thought of musical value
and worth elaborating, he pondered long over it and only began to write it
out finally after he was, as he said, "fully convinced that it was as it
should be." He was now in receipt of a salary of one thousand florins, or
about five hundred dollars, and it is stated that he nearly doubled this
by the sale of his compositions. His operas, of which he was specially
fond, brought him the least profit. The extravagance of his wife, however,
kept him constantly embarrassed in his money affairs, and an attachment he
formed for one of the singers in the chapel, Luigia Polzelli, did not mend


Probably suggested by the miniature portrait]

For the rest, the story of Haydn's life is little else than a catalogue
of his works. From 1766, the year in which he became, by the death of
Werner, the head of the Esterhazy Capelle, to 1790, the year of his first
visit to London, nearly a quarter of a century, was the most fruitful
period of his musical career. His greatest works, however, were yet to be
written. Though he was already famous, he was not permitted to hold his
position unassailed, and many and violent were the attacks upon him for
his innovations and his disdain for pedagogic rules, by the critics of the
older and more conservative school. Honors, nevertheless, began to pour in
on him. The Philharmonic Society of Modena elected him a member in 1780.
In 1784, Prince Henry of Prussia sent him a gold medal and his portrait in
return for six quartets dedicated to him. In 1787, King Frederick William
II. gave him a diamond ring as a recognition of his merit as a composer.
In the meanwhile, in 1785, he received a commission to compose the "Seven
Last Words of Christ" for the Cathedral of Cadiz, a fact which evidences
how far his reputation had travelled from the solitude of Esterhaz. In the
period named, he had written eight masses including the famous "Mariazell"
mass in C, and the great "Cecilia" mass, the largest and most difficult of
all his works in this kind, and now only performed in a condensed form.
Within the same period he wrote sixty-three symphonies, most of which are
in his earlier style, though a steady progress is shown toward the master
symphonies he wrote for the London concerts.

During his residence at Esterhaz he wrote over forty quartets, and
these were, up to the time of his departure for London, his greatest
achievements. It was in these that he became the originator of modern
chamber music and led the way to both Mozart and Beethoven. His clavier
music still was under the influence of Emanuel Bach, though the
twenty-eight sonatas that belong to this period, in freedom, melody
and clearness are far in advance of anything that had been previously
achieved. Seventeen clavier trios are also the product of this period and
are still full of charm. He did not begin to write songs until he was
nearly fifty years old, and the twenty-four he composed at Esterhaz were
by no means of marked value. His part-songs were of a better order, but
his canons were best of all, and may be still heard with pleasure.

It was during his stay at Esterhaz that his friendship for Mozart
developed; and never was one great genius more cordially or sincerely
admired by another than was Mozart by Haydn; and so frank was his
recognition of the younger composer's worth, that he was fond of declaring
that he never heard one of Mozart's compositions without learning
something from it. He pronounced Mozart "the greatest composer in the
world," and affirmed that if he had written nothing but his violin
quartets and the "Requiem" he would have done enough to insure his
immortality. The personal friendship between the two masters was a tender
one and like that of father and son. On the eve of Haydn's departure for
London Mozart was deeply moved and lamented their separation. With tears
in his eyes he said to Haydn, "We shall never see each other again on
earth," a prophecy that was only too literally fulfilled. When Haydn, then
in London, heard of Mozart's death he grieved over it bitterly and with
tears, and he wrote to a friend that his joy of returning home would be
gloomy because he should not be greeted by the great Mozart.

It was in 1787 that Haydn received an urgent invitation from Cramer, the
violinist, to visit London, but without any favorable results. Salomon
took more practical measures, and in 1789 sent Bland, the music publisher,
to try what personal persuasion could effect. It achieved nothing at this
time, and Bland was obliged to return and to inform Salomon of the failure
of the scheme. Haydn would not leave his "well-beloved Prince," but
"wished to live and die with him." In a favorable hour for musical art,
Prince Nicolaus died after a brief illness, in 1790. Haydn was in despair
and mourned him devotedly. The Prince testified to his appreciation of the
faithful services of his devoted Capellmeister by leaving him an annual
pension of one thousand florins, on the condition that he consented to
retain the title of Capellmeister to the Esterhazys. The Prince must have
known that the Capelle would be dismissed by Prince Anton, his successor,
whose taste for music was very slight. He discharged all the musicians
except the wind band, which was retained to perform at banquets and
other ceremonials. Prince Anton nevertheless was not unkind to those he
dismissed, for he gave them gratuities and added four hundred florins to
the pension of Haydn.

From this moment, Haydn was for the first time his own master, free to
go whither he would. His fame, which was world-wide, assured him a warm
welcome, no heed in what capital he might take up his residence, and his
pensions and his savings secured him from all fear for the comfort of his
declining years. He was now fifty-eight years of age. He took up his abode
in Vienna and soon received an invitation to become Capellmeister to Count
Grassalcovics. This he declined; but one day shortly after, he received
a visit from a stranger who announced himself as Salomon of London, and
was determined to take Haydn there will he nil he. Haydn resisted for
a time, but at last all was arranged favorably to Salomon, who, by the
way, was a famous violinist and conductor who was the projector of some
prominent London subscription concerts. The terms which were agreed upon
were as follows: Haydn was to have for one season: £300 for an opera for
Gallini, the owner and manager of the King's Theatre in Drury Lane; £300
for six symphonies and £200 additional for the copyright of them; £200
for twenty new compositions to be produced by Haydn at a like number of
concerts, and £200 guaranteed as the proceeds of a benefit concert for
him, £1,200 in all, or 12,000 florins. His travelling expenses were paid
by himself with the assistance of a loan of 450 florins from the Prince.
He left Vienna with Salomon on the 15th of December, 1790, and arrived
on English soil on the 1st of January, 1791. His reception in London was
enthusiastic. Noblemen and ambassadors called on him; he was overwhelmed
with invitations from the highest society and distinguished artists
hastened to pay him homage. The musical societies fought for his presence
at their performances, his symphonies and quartets were played, his
cantata "Ariadne à Naxos" was sung by the celebrated Pachierotto and the
newspapers vied with each other in honoring him.

The first of his six symphonies composed for Salomon was played March
11, 1791, at the Hanover Square Rooms, the composer conducting it at the
pianoforte. The orchestra, led by Salomon, consisted of nearly forty
performers. The work was received with a storm of applause and the Adagio
was encored,--a rare event in that day. The other symphonies were no less
successful, and were the finest works in their kind that Haydn had written
up to that time. His benefit, which took place in May, was guaranteed to
net him £200 but it produced for him £350. He was fêted constantly and
enthusiasm attended him wherever he went. Oxford conferred on him the
honorary degree of Doctor of Music during the Oxford Commemoration, an
important feature of which was three concerts. At the second of these,
Haydn's "Oxford" symphony was performed, Haydn giving the tempi at the
organ. At the third concert he appeared in his Doctor's gown amid the
wildest plaudits. He was the guest of the Prince of Wales for three days,
and at a concert given all the music was of Haydn's composition, and the
Prince of Wales played the 'cello. In the meantime Salomon made a new
contract with him which prevented him from complying with a recall from
Prince Esterhazy, to give his services in a grand fête for the Emperor. He
gave many lessons at his own price. Among his pupils was the widow of the
Queen's music master, Mrs. Schroeder. Haydn's susceptibilities were again
touched, and though his pupil was over sixty, he said afterward: "Had I
been free I certainly should have married her." To her he dedicated three
clavier trios. He quitted London in June, 1792, and when he reached Bonn,
Beethoven called on him for his opinion of a cantata. At Frankfort Haydn
met Prince Anton at the coronation of the Emperor Francis II. At last he
reached Vienna, where he was welcomed with wild enthusiasm and there was
the greatest eagerness to hear his great London symphonies. Did Haydn at
this triumphant moment recall the homeless young man who wandered through
the streets of the city on a November evening forty-three years ago,
penniless and despairing, and hopeless regarding his future prospects?

[Illustration: JOSEPH HAYDN.

From a miniature painted on ivory about 1785 to 1790, shortly before his
visit to London.

Among the friends who tried to dissuade him from making this journey was
Mozart, who said to him: "Papa, you have not been brought up for the great
world; you know too few languages." Haydn replied: "But my language is
understood by the whole world."]

At the end of this year Beethoven went to Haydn for instruction, and
the lessons continued until Haydn's second departure for London. The
connection between these two geniuses was not a happy one. There can
be no doubt that Haydn neglected his pupil. In fact, in the midst of
his social triumphs and at the height of his fame, giving lessons in
counterpoint could not have had much attraction for him; moreover the
twenty cents an hour that Beethoven paid for instruction was scarcely as
tempting to the Haydn of that day as it would have been to the Haydn of
fifty years before. The breach between the old and the young composer
widened. The latter went to Schenk, a reputable musician, for additional
lessons, and then refused to call himself Haydn's pupil. Haydn at one time
intended to take Beethoven to England with him, but the latter, whenever
occasion offered, made unflattering and contemptuous remarks about the old
man, and these irritating him and wounding his self-esteem caused him to
abandon his intention. Later, Beethoven's resentment softened, and when on
his deathbed he was shown a view of Haydn's humble birth-place, he said:
"To think that so great a man should have been born in a common peasant's

While in Vienna Haydn paid a visit to his native village Rohrau, the
occasion being the inauguration of a monument erected in his honor by
Count Harrach, in whose household Haydn's mother had been a cook. The
emotions of the composer may be imagined. The little boy who fifty-four
years earlier quitted home to study with the pedagogue Frankh, returned
in the glory of a fame that was world-wide, and one of the greatest of
composers, honored of monarchs, and courted of all. Good fortune had
followed him from the first; and though he suffered much in those sad,
early days, every change in his position was for the better. Far different
was the fate of a still greater master, the luckless Mozart.

In 1794, Haydn departed on his second journey to London under contract to
Salomon to compose six new symphonies. Prince Anton parted unwillingly
with him and died three days after. The success of the previous visit was
repeated, and his reception was even still more fervent and enthusiastic.
Toward the end of this stay he was much distinguished by the Court. At
a concert at York House, the King and Queen, the Princesses, the Prince
of Wales, and the Dukes of Clarence and Gloucester were present, and the
Prince of Wales presented Haydn to the King. Both the King and Queen urged
him to remain in England and pass the summer at Windsor; but Haydn replied
that he could not abandon Prince Esterhazy, and beside, the Prince
had already written that he wished to reorganize his chapel with Haydn
as conductor. He returned to his native land, his powers still further
developed, his fame increased and his fortune enlarged. By concerts,
lessons and symphonies he made twelve thousand florins ($6000) enough,
added to what he already possessed, to give him no further anxiety for the

Again was his welcome home marked by the most demonstrative cordiality.
From this time out there is but little to relate except to repeat the
story of his industry and his musical fecundity, until the culmination
of his artistic career was reached in the works of his old age, "The
Creation" and "The Seasons." The success of both was enormous, and he
composed very little after the latter work. His health began to fail, and
he laid it at the door of "The Seasons." He said, "I should never have
undertaken it. It gave me the finishing stroke." He lived in comparative
seclusion, and only once more appeared in public, the occasion being a
performance of "The Creation." He was then seventy-six years of age.
As he entered the concert room he was saluted by a fanfare of trumpets
and the cheers of the audience. His excitement was so great that it was
thought advisable to take him home at the end of the first part. As he
was borne out friends and pupils surrounded him to take leave. Beethoven
was present, and bent down to kiss the old man's hands and forehead. All
animosities were soothed in that last hour of triumph; the crowning moment
and the close of a great master's career. When Haydn reached the door he
urged his bearers to pause and turn him face toward the orchestra. Then
he raised his hands as if in benediction, and in a long, lingering glance
bade farewell to the art to which he had been devoted since the time when,
as a boy, he hoarded his florins to purchase the precious volume of Fux,
which he placed under his pillow when he slept, down to this pathetic
culminating moment.

Haydn's life passed peacefully until in 1809 Vienna was bombarded by the
French, and a shell fell near his dwelling. His servants were alarmed,
but he cried in a loud voice, "Fear not, children. No harm can happen to
you while Haydn is here." The city was occupied by the enemy, and the
last visitor Haydn ever received was a French officer, who sang to him,
"In native worth." Haydn was deeply affected and embraced his guest
warmly at parting. A few days afterward, he called his servants about him
for the last time, and bidding them carry him to the piano he played the
Emperor's Hymn, three times. Five days later, May 31, 1809, that busy
life ended peacefully. He was buried in the Hundsthurm Churchyard, close
to the suburb in which he had lived; but eleven years later the remains
were exhumed by order of Prince Esterhazy and reinterred in the parish
church at Eisenstadt. When the coffin was opened for identification before
removal, the skull was missing. A skull was sent to the Prince from an
unknown source and was buried with the other remains; but there are good
grounds for the belief that the real skull is in the possession of the
family of an eminent physician of Vienna.


At Gumpendorf, a suburb of Vienna, from whence the remains were taken to
the parish church at Eisenstadt.]

Fifteen days after his death Mozart's Requiem was performed in honor of
his memory at the Schotterkirche. Numerous French officers were among the
mourners, and the guard of honor about the bier was chiefly composed of
French soldiers No sooner did Haydn's death become known, than funeral
services were held in all the principal cities of Europe.

The list of Haydn's compositions is enormous. It includes 125 symphonies;
30 trios for strings, and strings and wind; 77 quartets for strings; 20
concertos for clavier; 31 concertos for various other instruments; 38
trios for piano and strings; 53 sonatas and divertissements for clavier; 4
sonatas for clavier and violin; 14 masses; 1 Stabat Mater; 8 oratorios and
cantatas; 19 operas; 42 canons for voice in two and more parts; 175 pieces
for the baritone; and a vast collection of other works, among which are a
collection of over 300 original Scotch songs in three parts with violin
and bass accompaniments and symphonies.

In estimating Haydn's life-work as a composer, the principal stress must
be laid on him as a reformer in his art. Contrapuntally, music had reached
its highest development, but in many other important directions it was
at a low ebb. Concerted music had not yet achieved any prominence as a
distinct branch of the art. Vocal music was in the ascendant and the
church and the opera-house offered the principal if not the only means
for composers to achieve distinction. In Vienna, the Emperor, Joseph
II., was a liberal patron of music, and the nobles, after the fashion
of nobles generally, followed the example of the court, and entered
into rivalry with each other in founding and supporting costly musical
establishments of their own. The Viennese, however, had no very marked
sympathy with art at its highest. One hundred and twenty-five years ago,
Leopold Mozart wrote: "The Viennese public love nothing that is serious or
reasonable; they have not the sense to understand it, and their theatres
prove sufficiently that nothing but rubbish such as dances, burlesque,
harlequinades, ghost magic and devil's tricks will satisfy them. A fine
gentleman, even with an order on his breast, may be seen laughing till
the tears run down his cheeks, applauding as heartily as he can, some bit
of foolish buffoonery; while in a highly pathetic scene he will chatter
so noisily with a lady that his wiser and better-mannered neighbors can
scarcely hear a word of the piece." From which it will be seen that
fashion changes but little as time passes.

Instrumental music was, for the most part, confined to dance tunes, and
minuets, allemands, waltzes and ländler were the rage. Presently these
rose to importance and musicians began to take greater care in composing
them, until at length came the suite, which was formed of a series of
dances all written in the same key but varying in accent and character.
Then followed a second part to the minuet, in the fifth of the key, and a
return to the first part, which proved to be the stepping-stone to form;
and the minuet survived the suite, of which it was originally a part, and
continued an indispensable element of the symphony down to the time that
Beethoven enlarged it into the scherzo.

In considering the influence that Haydn exercised on instrumental music
it may perhaps be interesting to take a passing glance at the condition
of orchestration when he began to compose. The string band, then, as now,
was the foundation of the whole, and the wind instruments were used to add
solidity to the score. The orchestra generally consisted of the string
quintet, two flutes, two oboes, two bassoons, two trumpets, two horns and
tympani. The first oboe did little else than duplicate the first violins,
while the second oboe only appeared now and then with a holding note, or
doubled the first oboe. The first bassoon either played in unison with the
bass or sustained the fundamental harmony, while the second bassoon, from
time to time, doubled the first. The violas rarely had an independent part
and as a rule duplicated the bass. It is true that Haydn had before him
the example of Stamitz, who gave an independent part to the viola in some
of his symphonies, but the innovation does not seem to have influenced
Haydn. Trumpets, horns and drums had but little to do except to produce
noise when contrast in effect was deemed necessary. Unquestionably,
Emanuel Bach departed somewhat from this conventional and circumscribed
treatment of the orchestra and gave to his wind instruments independent
parts. In his symphony in E-flat is to be found, amid the customary unison
and octave passages for the strings, some charming and even piquant
free writing for the wind, together with a marked feeling for contrasts
between the wind and the strings. The horns, especially, are used with a
genuine appreciation of their peculiar quality of tone and the effect of
their timbre. Occasionally the strings remain silent and the wood wind
are heard alone. More than this, for there is an attempt to employ
all the instruments in a manner calculated to let their characteristic
individualities produce their due effect in regard to tone-color; but,
strangely enough, Haydn does not appear to have been in any way swayed
by the innovations of his great predecessor, whose clavier works he had
studied so assiduously. Still, a near and an inevitable change in the
methods of writing for the orchestra was in the air, and the ground was
not wholly unprepared for Haydn.

[Music: Fac-simile of original sketch made by Haydn for the Austrian
Hymn, in which the melody and harmony differ somewhat from the published

The orchestration of John Sebastian Bach was thin despite its elaboration.
The strings formed the foundation, according to the prevailing rule, and
were written in so many real parts, and when wind instruments appeared,
they were also used with an independent polyphony. His contrasts were, for
the most part, produced by giving a melody to a simple solo instrument,
accompanied only by a bass, while a figured bass indicated the chords
to be filled in by the organ or the clavier. It can hardly be said that
the greatest of the Bachs advanced the art and science of orchestration.
Handel's scoring was in quite another vein, and may be viewed as
revolutionary for its era. In his overtures, especially, his strings are
used with the evident object of producing solidity in effect. The oboes
often strengthen the violins in unison and the bassoons perform the same
service for the basses, but he also used these instruments independently
and to embroider the broad and simple themes of the strings. In addition,
he made use of the latter and of the wind separately, each body full
in itself and responding each to the other. Now and then he used three
trumpets, and in his "Rinaldo" he resorts to four, giving the bass to the
drums. In "Saul" he uses three trombones. Clarinets were unknown to him,
and the bass tuba was unborn in his day; but otherwise he was acquainted
with all the instruments of the modern orchestra and made use of them. One
cannot recall an instance in which he used them all in combination, and
hence, the four trumpets of "Rinaldo" and the three trombones of "Saul"
are not heard together in any of his scores. Notwithstanding the fame of
Handel, his daring innovations in orchestration do not seem to have been
studied by Haydn, or if they were, they exercised no early influence over

Gluck's scores must be considered epoch-making in the art of
orchestration. His "Orpheus" was produced in 1762 when Haydn was thirty
years of age; his "Iphigénie en Aulide" was produced in 1774, and the
other "Iphigénie" was given in 1779. In these works instrumentation was
advanced to an extent that broke almost wholly with the past. When Gluck
died Haydn was in his fifty-fifth year, and yet the older composer, the
report of whose world-wide fame must have reached Haydn's ears, even in
the seclusion of Eisenstadt, does not appear to have suggested anything to
Haydn. The twelve great Salomon symphonies, Haydn's, till then, highest
achievements in orchestral writing, were not produced until some seven
years after Gluck's death, and in them the influence is unmistakably that
of Mozart, who had undoubtedly studied Gluck thoroughly.

The word "symphony" had various meanings before it became fixed as a name
for the highest form of instrumental music. It was, however, generally
understood to signify an overture, and its closest connection was with
the opera. Originally it was merely a notification to the audience that
the opera was about to begin; an appeal for silence and to concentrate
attention on the coming entrance of the singers. The French "symphony," as
exemplified by Lully, opened with a slow movement followed by an allegro,
frequently in fugue form, and passed again into an adagio which ended the
overture. The Italian symphony consisted of three movements, the first
of which was a moderate allegro, the second an adagio, and the last a
livelier and lighter allegro; and the Italian overture, as will be seen,
became the foundation of the modern symphony as far as the positions of
the movements are concerned. Before Haydn, Stamitz, Abel, J. C. Bach and
Wagenseil, as well as Emanuel Bach, had written symphonies, and a symphony
by Stamitz, in D, is peculiarly interesting, inasmuch as its form is
completely in accordance with that which was established permanently by
Haydn. The opening movement is an Allegro, with the familiar double bar
with the repeats and the binary form. The second movement is an Andante
in the dominant; the third is a Minuet that has even the Trio, and the
finale is a Presto. The clavier sonatas of Ph. Emanuel Bach congealed this
form and had a permanent influence on it, in the impression they made upon
Haydn, who, by his mastery of his art, his amazing fecundity in invention
and his unflagging productive powers, was enabled to increase the scope
and aim of this form so greatly as to entitle him to be recognized as the
creator of the symphony. Haydn's first symphony was written in 1759, for
Count Morzin. We are unaware of any printed copy of it in this country.
Pohl describes it as a slight work in three movements for two violins,
viola, bass, two oboes and two horns. It appears to be modelled on the
symphonies of Stamitz, Abel and John Christian Bach. The symphonies that
followed differed but little in character from this one and afford little
if any insight into Haydn's influence on the symphonic form. He appears
to have followed in the footsteps of his predecessors, curiously enough,
ignoring the symphonies of Emanuel Bach. The orchestration is meagre and
conventional, the violins are almost constantly playing, and the wind
is only used to duplicate them. It is not until we come to the first
symphony composed by him at Eisenstadt that we see him as an innovator.
This work is in C-major, and is generally known as "Le Matin." It is in
four movements and begins with a few bars of adagio. The opening allegro
is remarkable for its variety of subjects and their treatment, and for
the careful manner in which it worked out. Between this movement and the
adagio is a long dramatic recitative for the violin, very impressive, but
having no discoverable connection with what precedes or what follows it.
In breadth, dignity, and expressiveness it surpasses anything that the
composer had hitherto produced. From this time forth the symphony steadily
grew under Haydn's hands; the form was enlarged, the orchestration
was varied, the timbres of the different instruments were studied and
instrumental effects gradually assumed an importance that increased with
each succeeding symphony. But his greatest symphonies were not written
until the period of the Salomon concerts. In the meanwhile Mozart had
appeared upon the scene. Haydn's first symphony was produced when Mozart
was three years old, and the latter died in the very year in which Haydn's
connection with the Salomon concerts began. That Haydn influenced Mozart's
early works is beyond question; that Mozart in turn, influenced Haydn
later, is equally indisputable.

[Illustration: JOSEPH HAYDN.

From an engraving by J. E. Mansfield, published by Artaria, in Vienna,
1781. Haydn in his forty-ninth year.]

In "Le Matin," before alluded to, the second violins play with the first,
and the viola with the basses almost through the whole of the first
movement. The slow movement has no wind instruments whatever. In the
minuet, though, there is a long passage for wind instruments only, and
in the trio is an extensive and florid solo for bassoon. Haydn treated
the strings in this same confined manner, and the wind after this solo
fashion for some twenty years. Then came an effort to make the strings
more independent and to pay attention to the peculiar qualities of the
viola and violoncello. In the symphony in E-minor (Letter I) the wind is
given long holding notes while strings sustain the subject. This was the
first step toward greater freedom of orchestration in Haydn's symphonies;
but it was not until his "Oxford" symphony that he broke wholly with the
past. It was written in 1788, the same year in which Mozart produced his
three greatest symphonies. This work is in his mature style, and the
orchestration is delightfully clear, flexible and fresh. If he had written
no more symphonies after this, however, he would not have attained to the
rank he has won as a symphony composer. His fame in this walk of his art
was assured by the twelve symphonies he wrote for Salomon after 1790. In
these he reached his highest point. His mastery of form was perfected,
his technical skill was unlimited, and he ventured into bold harmonic
progressions that were little short of daring, for his time. His orchestra
had been enlarged to two flutes, two oboes, two bassoons, two horns, two
trumpets and drums, and in his three last symphonies, the two in D-minor
and the one in E-flat, two clarinets appear. It is in these twelve
symphonies that the influence of Mozart is clearly manifested. The bass
has attained to independence; the violas no longer duplicate it except
for certain effects; the second violins have a free motion of their own;
the wind instruments express musical ideas proper to them and appropriate
to their special qualities of utterance. The form and character of the
symphony were established permanently.

Simplicity, clearness of style, grace and playfulness are the leading
features of Haydn's symphonies. There are few of the more notable of them
in which his command over the science of his art is not delightfully
manifested. Haydn is invariably lucid, always finished to the highest
point, always logical and always free from display for the mere sake
of display. It is a prevailing fault to dwell too persistently on the
cheerful simplicity of Haydn's music and to forget how serious and
profound he could be when occasion demanded. These latter qualities are
nobly manifested in his more important symphonies in those portions
of them devoted to the "working out." Such symphonies as appeared
before Haydn fixed the form and showed the capacity of that species of
composition have wholly disappeared. It would perhaps be over dogmatic
to assert that had it not been for Haydn the symphonies of Mozart and of
Beethoven would not have been what they are; but it is certain that Haydn
gave the impulse to both in as far as their symphony writing is concerned.

Of the quartet Haydn may be justly called the inventor, and it is in this
phase of his art that he may be most profitably studied. The quartet
was, as Otto Jahn truly says, "Haydn's natural mode of expressing his
feelings," and it is in the quartet that Haydn's growth and progress in
his art are most strikingly illustrated. Their influence on music has been
greater than that exerted by his symphonies. Here he is seen in his full
and his best strength, and it is here too that his extraordinary creative
powers are most brilliantly emphasized. When these works first appeared
they were sneered at by the pedagogues of the day, but by-and-by more
respect was shown to them even by their earlier antagonists, for it was
seen that the quartet was not only susceptible of depth of sentiment and
seriousness of treatment, but that musical learning also had in them a
field for its finest development. These quartets, from the opportunities
they afforded for performance in the family circle, exercised great
influence in raising the standard of taste, and in their educational
aspects they were thus of the highest service. They crystallized form
and in essence may be looked on as the parent of all the serious and
so-called classical music that has been composed since. The progeny may
only distantly resemble the parents, but the form establishes beyond all
cavil the family resemblance.

Haydn's first quartet is the merest shadow. The first half of the opening
movement consists of no more than twenty-four bars. The subject comprises
eight bars; then comes eight bars of an episode modulating into the
dominant, and then the second subject, also eight bars in length; but
brief and pale as it is, it is unmistakably the germ that was elaborated
by Beethoven into such prodigious masterpieces. It is in the quartet that
Haydn found the fullest outlet for his wealth of musical thought, and
it is in the quartet that his genius is illustrated in its most marked
individuality. Quartets were written before his day, and also by his
contemporaries, J. C. Bach, Stamitz, Jomelli, Boccherini, and others, but
Haydn's marvellous invention, his originality in the mastery of form, his
fine feeling for the characteristic speech of each instrument enabled him
to obtain a mastery that left him without a rival. His early quartets
are exceedingly thin, and are in such glaring contrast with what came
after the composer had wholly developed the capacity of the quartet as a
means of profound expression of musical thought, that he is said to have
wished to ignore all his works in this class that preceded the nineteenth
quartet; but they are necessary to the student who would follow the
growth of musical form. It is an immense stride from the first of these
compositions to the ever-beautiful "Kaiser quartet," with its exquisite
variations, or "Gott erhalte Franz den Kaiser." The advance from simple
harmonies to polyphonic treatment of the different parts, is a peculiarly
interesting subject for study. Haydn stamped a character on the quartet
that has never been departed from; and what is known as the "quartet
style" was established by him so thoroughly that in all the mutations in
musical taste, it still remains a distinction that admits of no change.

Haydn also left the impress of his genius on the sonata, though to Emanuel
Bach is due the honor of having broken with the past as represented by
Domenico Scarlatti and Kuhnau. The same copiousness of invention and
perfection of form that characterize his quartets and symphonies are to be
found in his sonatas, too much neglected at present, for in several of
his later compositions of this class he appears to have gone further than
Mozart and to have overlapped into the era of Beethoven. His trios for
clavier and strings are full of interest, but with two or three exceptions
they are not of special value except as models. The strings are often
held subordinate to the piano, and the outer voices are too persistently
doubled. Of his other purely instrumental works, including concertos and
divertimenti, nothing survives except the fine concerto for clavier in D
with "principal violin."

His songs, of which he wrote many, have passed for the most part into
deserved oblivion. Some of his canzonets are marked by grace and delicacy,
but the sign of age is unmistakably on them. His masses display that
eternal freshness and that cheerfulness of spirit that are peculiarly
Haydn's, and the more important of them must rank forever among the
masterpieces of their class, notably the "Mariazell" Mass in C-major, and
the "Cecilia" Mass, in the same key.

"The Seasons" and "The Creation" are remarkable not only in themselves,
but as productions of his old age. It is true that his fame does not rest
on them, and it is equally true that if he had written nothing else these
works would not have brought the composer's name down to our day with the
glory that now surrounds it. Some portions of "The Creation" however, are
noble music, and these will always be listened to with delight. Never
was the human voice treated in a more masterly manner than it has been
by Haydn in these "oratorios," and the study of their scores is still
valuable to all who would learn how to support the voice by flowing and
brilliant orchestration without giving undue prominence to the instruments.

The dramatic interest of "The Creation" is not strong. There is nothing
in the shape of declamation, and the singers are confined to mere
description. The result is a lack of passion and a consequent monotony of
sentiment. The tone-picture of Chaos, with which the work opens, stands
out as one of the noblest bits of instrumentation that Haydn ever wrote.
The air "With Verdure Clad" is exquisite, in melody and orchestration,
but its many repetitions mar it and make it tiresome. "On mighty pens" is
another lovely air, but here too the composer has not been fortunate in
respect to discreet brevity. The choruses reach a high point of beauty
in regard to themes, development and voice treatment, and "The Heavens
are telling" still remains one of the noblest oratorio choruses outside
of Bach and Handel. But the breadth and dignity of all the choruses are
impaired by the elaborateness of the orchestration. Haydn was essentially
an instrumental composer, and it was but natural that he should have
yielded to the temptation to produce effects of which he was practically
the inventor and at which the musical world still marvelled. It is, with
all its faults, an amazing work for a man not far from three-score and ten
years of age; and it may still be listened to with pleasure, when the last
part is omitted; for the wooings and cooings of Adam and Eve have become
incurably old-fashioned; and the grace, melodiousness and tenderness of
the music do not atone for its monotonous effect and its lack of dramatic

"The Seasons," by its well sustained pastoral tone, its fresh and
cheerful melodies, the fidelity with which the composer has adhered to
the spirit of his poem, and the simple grace of style that marks the work
throughout, make it still delightful in the hearing when it is produced
with care and in harmony with the chaste sentiment that pervades it.
When it is remembered that the composer compassed this work at the age
of 69, and consequently near the end of a busy life whose active pursuit
might well have exhausted his capacity to invent, its wealth of melody is
astonishing. And yet, he said to Michael Kelly, "It is the tune which is
the charm of music, and it is that which is most difficult to produce." In
our day it would seem that tune is exhausted or that it is more difficult
to produce than it was. In this connection another saying of Haydn's may
be reproduced for the felicity with which it applies to the present time:
"Where so many young composers fail is, that they string together a number
of fragments and break off almost as soon as they have begun; so that at
the end the hearer carries away no clear impression." By omitting the word
"young," the words will not be any the less true now.

Of Haydn's lighter vocal works there is no need to speak, for they have
passed away forever. His operas have been wholly forgotten, and not
unkindly. It is, however, as an instrumental composer that Haydn is
entitled to the most earnest consideration. In this field of his industry
he has left an imperishable name. He was, to all intents and purposes, the
creator of orchestral music. His place in musical history is among the
greatest in his art. He broke with pedantry at the outset of his career,
enlarged the scope and dignified the aim of music, and made the world the
happier for his presence and in the rich legacy he left it. Music has
changed greatly since his day, and in its progress it has departed widely
and is still departing, even more widely, from the conditions in which he
left it; but in all its changes it has left his position unassailed. His
best achievements in his art are yet listened to with delight, despite
the richer orchestration and the larger design that characterize the
music of our time. He has outlived every mutation thus far, and it is
perhaps not overbold to prophesy that his fame will endure long after the
vague, restless and labored music that is peculiar to the present era, is
forgotten. The moral of his life is devotion to art for art's sake. He was
loyal to it through poverty, suffering and disappointment, never doubting
his mission on earth. His early career was through tears, but as Heine
says: "The artist is the child in the fable, every one of whose tears was
a pearl. Ah! the world, that cruel step-mother, beats the poor child the
harder, to make him shed more tears."

[Illustration: B. E. Woolf.]


Illustrating Haydn's Oratorio of "The Creation."]


    _Reproduction of a photograph taken by Hanfstängl from an original
    silver crayon (Silberstift) portrait, drawn by Dora Stock in 1789
    at Dresden, during Mozart's visit--two years before his death. The
    artist was a daughter-in-law of Mozart's friend Körner, the father
    of the poet Theo. Körner. This portrait, though quite different from
    the more familiar pictures, is the best and most characteristic life
    portrait of Mozart in his later years. The date 1787 is incorrect._

[Illustration: MOZART]



Johann Georg Mozart, the grandfather of the great composer, was a
bookbinder. He lived in Augsburg, and in 1708 he married Anna Maria
Peterin, the widow of a fellow-handicraftsman named Banneger. By her he
had five children, and the youngest boy was Johann Georg Leopold, the
author of the "Violin School" and the father of Wolfgang, the immortal

Leopold Mozart was a man of no ordinary parts. His face is known to us
by the engraving from the portrait painted by the amateur Carmontelle
in Paris, 1763, and by the family group in the Mozarteum in Salzburg.
It is an honest face, keen, austere; a mocking jest might have passed
the lips, but neither flatteries nor lies. His tastes were simple, his
life was ever free from dissipation. In money matters he was regarded
as close, and the reproach has been made by some that he acted as a
Barnum towards his two precocious children. The reproach is unjust. The
man was poor. His earnings were small. He needed money to pay his debts
and support his family. But no specific charge of meanness or avarice
has been substantiated. On the other hand he was scrupulously honest,
sincere in the duties of his profession, and of a profoundly religious
nature that was shown in profession and practice. At the same time he
was not a bigot. He would not yield to the tyranny of priests; he was
free from superstition of every sort; his sane spirit and his bitter wit
were exercised in spiritual as well as temporal affairs. Grimm, who was
no mean judge of men, wrote of him as follows: "The father is not only a
skilful musician, but a man of good sense and ready wit, and I have never
seen a man of his profession who was at the same time so talented and of
such sterling worth." As a musician he was thorough, well educated, and a
composer of merit. His treatise upon violin playing was known throughout
Europe, and it showed the solid qualities of the musician and the ironical
temperament of the man. All of his gifts were used, however, chiefly in
directing and developing most wisely the extraordinary genius of the young
Wolfgang. The affection shown him, however, was lavished equally upon his
wife and other children.

Salzburg is a town renowned for its beauty. "To see it shining in the sun,
with its large white façades, its flat roofs, its terraces, its church and
convent cupolas, its fountains, one would take it for an Italian city."
The advantages of its natural situation and the artifical charms of the
place were, if the opinion of the eighteenth century may be accepted,
only equalled by the stupidity of the inhabitants. There was a German
proverb that ran as follows: "He who comes to Salzburg grows foolish
the first year, becomes an idiot the second; but it is not until the
third year that he is a Salzburger." The German Harlequin _Hanswurst_,
however, was a Salzburg creation; and the inhabitants were fond of heavy
and coarse jokes. No wonder then that the town and the society were
distasteful to Leopold Mozart. He left his birthplace to study law in
Salzburg; and in 1743 he entered the service of the Archbishop Sigismund,
as a court-musician. Later he became court-composer and leader of the
orchestra; in 1762 he was second Kapellmeister. In 1747 he married Anna
Maria Pertl or Bertl. She was the daughter of the steward of a hospital.
She was very beautiful, good natured, loving, and of limited education.
Seven children were born of this marriage. Five died at a very early age.
The fourth, Maria Anna (born July 30, 1751), was familiarly known as
"Nannerl," and she was a musical prodigy. The seventh and last was born
at eight o'clock in the evening, Jan. 27, 1756, and the mother nearly
died in the child-bed. According to the certificate of baptism, he was
named Joannes-Chrysostomus-Wolfgangus-Theophilus. His first compositions
published in Paris in 1764 are signed J. G. Wolfgang. Later works bear the
name Wolfgang Amade. In private life he was known as Wolfgang. Variations
sometimes found in the biographies come from the fact that Theophilus and
Amadeus and Gottlieb are but one and the same name.

Schachtner, the court trumpeter, and a house-friend of the father,
preserved for us in a letter written to Mozart's sister many interesting
details of the early manifestations of the boy's genius. At the age of
three he sought thirds upon the keys of the pianoforte. At the age of
four his father began to teach him little pieces. When he was five he
dictated minuets to his father, which are of natural but correct harmony,
melodious and even characteristic. The first of these minuets is given
herewith. These are not legends, but well attested facts. Four minuets and
an allegro have been published by Otto Jahn in the second edition of his
"Mozart." Singular indeed are some of the stories related. Up to the age
of ten he could not endure the sound or sight of the trumpet. He wrote a
pianoforte concerto, clearly conceived, but of unsurmountable difficulty,
when he was four. His sense of pitch was extraordinary. The father watched
this astounding precocity with loving fear and prayed that he might be
wise enough to direct it.



[Illustration: VIEW OF SALZBURG.

From a photograph.]


The court dress was sent to him by the Empress Maria Theresa. Painter
unknown. Original in the Mozarteum in Salzburg. This is the earliest
portrait of Mozart.]

In 1762 Wolfgang and Maria Anna--the latter was now a pianoforte
virtuoso--played before the Elector of Bavaria in Munich, and the
enthusiasm provoked by their appearance was so great, that Leopold
obtained leave of absence in September of the same year and went with his
family to Vienna. At Passau the children played before the Bishop, who
marvelled greatly and gave the father a ducat. At Linz they gave their
first concert. They then descended the Danube to Vienna, stopping at the
monastery of Ips, where Wolfgang played so effectively upon the organ that
the Franciscan fathers left the dinner table that they might hear him;
which miracle is doubtless recorded in the annals of the abbey.


Original in the Mozarteum, in Salzburg. On the bottom of the music--"Th.
Helbling juv. pinx."]

The Austrian imperial family was passionately fond of music. Francis the
First was a distinguished connoisseur, and Maria Theresa was a pupil of
Wagenseil, as well as an accomplished singer. The Mozart children were
received with open arms. The courtiers were astonished at the display of
genius. The Emperor spent hours in testing and wondering at the powers of
Wolfgang. The young Marie Antoinette romped with the boy who promised to
marry her when he was old enough.


Painted by Dominicus van der Smissen, 1766. The original in possession of
Mr. R. Hörner, in Ulm.]

The noble families of the town vied with each other in their attentions.
The children were given money, court dresses, and tokens of genuine
affection, and the first portrait of Wolfgang was painted then in Vienna,
in which he has powdered hair, and he carries a sword. The boy was seized
with scarlet fever in October, and in the beginning of 1763 Leopold went
back to Salzburg. But the 9th of June of the same year, with his wife and
children, he set out for Paris, having letters of credit from his good
friend Haguenauer. They had adventures, and they gave concerts on the way.
They arrived at Ludwigsburg, the Versailles of Stuttgart, where Jomelli,
with his carriages and horses, houses and yearly salary of four thousand
florins, brought to Leopold's mind his own modest condition, and provoked
him to bitter remarks. Frankfort, Bonn and Brussels were seen, and finally
the family arrived in Paris the 18th of November. The story of this
visit, as well as the visit of 1778, has been most entertainingly told by
Jullien in the brochure "Mozart à Paris," to which the reader is referred
for interesting details. The letters of Leopold contain much curious
information about the musical condition of the city. Frederick Melchior
Grimm, who was regarded as an authority, exerted himself most actively
in the behalf of his compatriots. They were presented at Court; they were
celebrated in prose and in verse; their portraits were painted; and four
sonatas "pour le clavecin" were engraved and published. In April, 1764,
Leopold left Paris for London, by Calais, Dover, and he took with him the
opinion that French music and French morals were detestable. In England
the family were received most kindly by the King and the Queen, who, as
is well known, were passionate amateurs of music. The curiosity of the
Londoners to hear the children was great; the learned Daines Barrington
proved the genius of Wolfgang in many ways, and then made it the subject
of a letter preserved in the annals of the "Philosophical Transactions"
of the year 1770; and guineas chinked pleasantly together in Leopold's
pocket. Here Wolfgang wrote three symphonies, four according to Jahn and
Koechel, but Wilder gives good reasons for doubting the date of the one
in B-flat major. He also dedicated six sonatas for pianoforte and violin
or flute to the Queen. His London visit benefited his education. Pohl in
his interesting and valuable "Mozart in London" gives a full account of
the condition of music at the time. Wolfgang had an opportunity of hearing
Handel's oratorios and Italian opera; he became intimate with Christian
Bach; he heard the castrate Tenducci, the master of cantabile; he took
singing lessons of the famous male soprano Manzuoli. In July 1765 Leopold
and the children started for the Hague; at Lille, Wolfgang was seriously
ill, and at the Hague the sister was attacked by a violent fever. Wolfgang
wrote while in Holland six sonatas and other pieces. After passing through
Paris and Swiss towns, the family arrived at Salzburg in November, 1766.
Wolfgang was pleased at seeing again his favorite cat, and then under his
father's direction he began the study of the "Gradus" of Fux. In 1767 he
learned Latin and set to Latin words a comedy, "Apollo et Hyacinthus," at
the instigation of the Archbishop, who had hitherto played the part of
doubting Thomas. He also wrote four pianoforte concertos for his own use
in concerts.


Painted in Verona, Jan. 6 and 7, 1770. Painter unknown.]

Leopold was not blind to the fact that Italy was the home of great
composers and illustrious singers; that its atmosphere was stimulating
to musical thought; that its very name was synonymous with music. Under
pretext of a short visit to Vienna, he made his excuses to the Archbishop
and started, in September, 1767, with his family on a longer journey. In
Vienna, the children were seized with small-pox, and it was not until
January, 1768, that they were able to enter into the musical life of the
town. They heard Gluck's "Alceste," and Leopold preferred to it Hasse's
"Partenope." Joseph II., a man of frugal mind, demanded of Wolfgang
an opera for his theatre, and the boy wrote "La Finta Simplice," an
opera-buffa in three acts. It won the unqualified praise of the singers
and such composers as Hasse, but the cabal against Wolfgang was too
strong, and the opera was not given. "Bastien und Bastienne," an opera in
one act, was written immediately after, and produced with great applause
in the house of a Vienna doctor. (The pastoral theme of the instrumental
introduction, the intrada, anticipates in a singular manner the opening of
Beethoven's Third Symphony.) Wolfgang's first mass was given in public,
and he himself directed. The Archbishop of Salzburg sent word to Leopold
that his pay would continue only while he was actually in Salzburg, and so
the family returned home. But the Italian journey was still in Leopold's
head, and hoping to pay the expenses of the trip by giving concerts, he
started out with Wolfgang in December, 1769. At Roveredo and Verona, the
enthusiasm of the people was unbounded; at Milan they met the generous Von
Firmian, who was the means of procuring a contract for Wolfgang to write
an opera for the Christmas holidays; at Bologna they became acquainted
with Father Martini and Farinelli; at Florence, Wolfgang met his friend
Manzuoli and Thomas Linley, the English violinist of his own age; and in
Holy Week they were at Rome, and they heard the Allegri _Miserere_. The
story of the boy memorizing this famous composition at a hearing, writing
it out, and correcting it after a second hearing, is familiar to all.
The feat provoked the wildest curiosity to see him, and he was looked
at superstitiously, just as, soon after, at Naples his virtuosoship was
attributed to a ring worn upon a finger of the left hand. The concerts
in these towns refilled the drained purse; in 1770, the pope ennobled
the boy, giving him the cross of the Golden Spur; and he was received
into the famous _accademia filarmonica_ of Bologna. Meanwhile Wolfgang
was considering the opera promised for Milan, and the 26th of December,
1770, "Mitridate, re di Ponto" was produced and received with unbounded
enthusiasm. It was given twenty times, and the impresario hastened to make
a new contract with the _cavaliere filarmonico_, as the Milanese called
him. Father and son then visited Turin and Venice, and about this time
Wolfgang probably wrote the oratorio "Betulia liberata." In the spring
of 1771 they returned to Salzburg, where they found a letter from Count
Firmian asking for a pastorale to celebrate the wedding of the Archduke
Ferdinand with the Princess Beatrice of Modena. And now the boy fell in
love with a woman ten years his elder. She was betrothed to another, and
her marriage and Wolfgang's return to Milan in August ended the affair.
Although in the house where he lodged, violinists, a singing teacher, and
an oboe player plied assiduously their business, Wolfgang finished the
promised composition, "Ascanio in Alba" in twelve days. It was first heard
October 17. Its success was so great that Hasse's opera "Ruggiero" was
neglected; and the kindly veteran simply said, "This young rascal will
cause us all to be forgotten."


No. 9 Getreidegasse.]

About the time that Wolfgang returned home, December, 1771, Sigismund,
the Archbishop, died, and Hieronymus ruled in his stead. He was a man
of mean and tyrannical spirit, and his reputation had preceded him, so
that when he arrived in Salzburg he was received in gloomy silence.
Nevertheless there were festivities, and Wolfgang wrote "Il sogno di
Scipione," a composition unworthy of his pen. It was in this same year,
1772, that Dr. Charles Burney received a letter from a correspondent,
saying that the lad was still a pianoforte virtuoso of great merit, but
that as a composer he had reached his limit; and the writer then moralized
over musical precocities, comparing them to premature fruits. Yet at
this same epoch, Wolfgang wrote the celebrated Litany "de venerabile."
In November he visited Milan again to compose and put on the stage the
opera "Lucio Silla." There were many obstacles before and even during the
representation; but the success of the work was unquestioned. This was the
last opera written by Wolfgang for Italy. The impresarios were willing
and eager; but the Archbishop was reluctant in granting even ordinary
favors to his servant. And here is the end of the first period of Mozart's
musical career.


This and an adjoining room form at present the Mozart-Museum in which are
deposited all original family pictures, busts, autographs, compositions,
letters, etc. Also, the spinet and grand piano used by Mozart in his later

The next five years were passed without material change in the
circumstances of the family. There was a trip to Vienna during the absence
of Hieronymus; and in December, 1774, Wolfgang, having obtained permission
from the Archbishop, who did not dare to offend the Elector of Bavaria,
went to Munich to write or to finish and bring out an opera-buffa, "La
finta giardiniera," which had been ordered by Maximilian III., who in
earlier years was much interested in the child. The opera was produced
with brilliant success, Jan. 13, 1775, and his dear sister was present
to share in the joy of the composer. After Mozart's return to Salzburg,
Hieronymus received a visit from the Archduke Maximilian, the brother of
Marie Antoinette. It no doubt occurred to him that one of his servants,
who was paid, by the way, about $5.50 a month, was not earning his wages;
and so Mozart was requested to write an opera, "II re Pastore," in honor
of the imperial guest. This was performed in April, 1775, and this year
and the next were years of great fertility: music for the church, violin
concertos, divertimenti, serenades, organ sonatas, etc. He worked at the
violin to please his father, who had a high opinion of his ability in this
direction; and besides, one of his duties was to play at the court, a
duty that he detested. In spite of all this work, these days in Salzburg
dragged along, sad and monotonous. The social life of the town was slow
and stupid. Risbeck and other travelers have given us curious details.
"The sovereign," writes one, "goes a-hunting and to church; the nobles go
to church and hunt; the tradespeople eat, drink and pray; the rest pray,
drink and eat." No wonder that he shot sarcastic arrows at his fellow
townsmen. He poked fun at a lover of his sister who gaped at everything he
saw in Munich, "so that one could easily tell he had only seen Salzburg
and Innsbruck." He was never tired of telling of a Salzburgian who
complained that he could not judge Paris satisfactorily, "as the houses
were too high and shut off the horizon." "I detest Salzburg and everything
that is born in it. The tone and the manners of the people are utterly
unsupportable." He avoided society. Sundays, to be sure, with a few of his
own age, he played at pea-shooting; and he was fond of going occasionally
to balls. Nor did he associate willingly with the musicians. His father
hated the Italians in the orchestra; and the German musicians were so
fond of their cups that when Leopold went to Mannheim he was surprised at
the sobriety of the orchestra. He spent most of his time at home, fond
of a canary bird and a dog, teasing his sister about her lovers, adoring
his father and mother. Finally the father and son plucked up courage and
asked Hieronymus for a leave of absence. It was refused, with the remark
that he did not wish one of his servants going about begging from town
to town. With his father's permission Wolfgang then sent a letter asking
for his dismission. The vanity of the archbishop was hurt, and he was
furiously angry; "After all," he said, "it is only one musician the less."
As Leopold could not leave the town, he confided his son to the protection
of the mother, and after a sorrowful leave-taking the two started on their
journey Sept. 23, 1777. In the anxiety of the moment, the father forgot to
give the boy his blessing.

CLAVICHORD, now on exhibition at the Mozarteum, in Salzburg.

The piano was used by Mozart during the last ten years of his life. It has
five octaves and was made by the celebrated Anton Walter. Its value was
estimated, after Mozart's death, at 80 florins (about $25) and it probably
sold for less. It came into the possession of Hummel, the composer and
pianist, and finally to the Mozarteum.

The spinet has five octaves and was used in composing the Magic Flute,
Titus and The Requiem.

In the background is seen the large painting of the Mozart family, by

And now began the struggles of his life, struggles that only ended with
a premature death. They went first to Munich, but there was nothing
there. The intendant of the theatre, a broker in music, would not accept
Wolfgang's proposition to furnish four operas a year for a ridiculously
small sum of money; and there was no other opening. Then a visit was made
to Wolfgang's uncle in Augsburg. Here he was kindly received. He became
intimate with Stein, the instrument-maker, and gave pianoforte lessons to
his daughter. He swore lasting fidelity to his own cousin. When he left,
there was an exchange of portraits, and afterward the cousins corresponded
vigorously for a time. The next stopping place was Mannheim, which was
called "the paradise of musicians." The orchestra fostered by the musical
Elector Karl Theodore was probably without a rival in Europe. It was
of unusual size. There were eleven first violins, eleven second, four
violas, four 'cellos, and four double basses; two flutes, two oboes,
two clarinets (instruments rarely used in those days), four bassoons,
two horns, and trumpets and drums. The conductor was Cannabich, a man of
knowledge and of temperament. The performances of this orchestra were
celebrated by all the critics of the time. Burney compared the _piano_
and _forte_ to different colors used by painters. Schubart wrote that the
_forte_ was a thunder-storm, the _crescendo_ a cataract, the _diminuendo_
like the purling of a crystal stream, the _piano_ like a breath of spring.
And Burney, again, compared the orchestra to an army of generals equally
prepared to direct the campaign and to fight. With these men Mozart
became intimate. Here also he knew the famous singers, Dorothea Wendling,
Franciska Danzi and Anton Raaff. Here too he met the famous Abbé Vogler,
the teacher in future years of Weber and Meyerbeer, whom he disliked to
the point of hatred. He sneered at his theoretical books, he called him
"charlatan" and "humbug." A harsh verdict, and one not fully deserved,
although this Vogler was truly an eccentric person, who boasted that he
could make a composer in three weeks and a singer in six months. Now,
certain members of the orchestra were engaged for concerts in Paris, and
they begged Mozart to go with them, saying that Paris was the only town
where such a composer would be appreciated and could make his fortune.
At first he embraced their views and tried to convince his father that
the plan was for the best. When everything seemed favorable, Leopold was
astonished by the receipt of letters from Wolfgang, saying that he had
abandoned the project, and at the same time giving ridiculous reasons for
the change. The truth was that the boy was in love.

Fridolin Weber, a man of good family and of education, was the prompter
and the copyist of the Mannheim theatre. Poor as he was, he had cultivated
the talents of his daughters. They were five in number. The second,
Aloysia, was fifteen, distinguished for her beauty and superb voice. She
and Mozart went together to the chateau of the Princess of Orange,--and
they loved each other. She sang for the Princess and he played, and the
letters written by Wolfgang to his father show more than a musician's
interest in Aloysia. For her he wrote a passionate aria, choosing
Metastasio's lines "Non so d'onde." This love making was stopped by a
sensible and kindly letter from Leopold, and the boy and his mother set
out for Paris. There were tears, and presents. Aloysia gave her lover two
pairs of mittens which she had worked, and Fridolin added a roll of music
paper and a copy of Molière. But Aloysia was piqued and never forgave
Wolfgang for his obedience to his father.

[Illustration: MARIA ANNA MOZART,

Sister of the composer and remarkable as a musical prodigy. This portrait
is idealized, being a reproduction from the Bruckmann collection.]

After a journey of nine days, mother and son arrived in Paris, the 23d
of March, 1778. Mozart, sick at heart, looked upon the gay scenes with
disapproving eyes. Even a month after his arrival, he wrote his father
that he was indifferent to all things and that nothing interested him. His
room was gloomy, and so small that he could not get a pianoforte between
the two cots. However he lost no time in calling upon Grimm and the
Mannheim friends. He met Legros, the director of the "Concert spirituel,"
who gave him work, and Noverre, the celebrated ballet-master, and for him
he wrote music for a ballet-pantomime called "Les Petits Riens," which was
produced at the Opera house June 11, 1778. It was preceded by an opera
of Piccini and ascribed to Noverre. The "demoiselle Asselin" was praised
by the journals, and nothing was said about the music. The manuscript was
discovered by Victor Wilder, and the ballet was played during the winter
of 1872-73 at a concert at the Grand Hotel, Paris. A few days after the
first performance of this ballet, Mozart's "Paris" Symphony was played in
the hall of the Tuileries and with success. A second symphony, played in
September, has disappeared.

Although in many ways this visit to Paris was a sore disappointment to
Mozart, and although he wrote bitterly about the condition of music in the
French capital, his stay was of great and beneficial influence upon his
career. He heard the operas of Gluck, Grétry, Monsigny, Philidor and the
Italians who then disputed the supremacy with the French. In after years
he was found surrounded by the works of Gluck and Grétry, and when asked
if the study of Italian masters was not more profitable, he replied: "Yes,
as regards melody; but not for true and dramatic expression."

In May, 1778, the mother of Mozart sickened, and in July she died after
much suffering. She was stout and subject to apoplectic attacks. As she
had no confidence in French physicians, she was attended by an elderly
German who was more patriotic than learned. He gave her rhubarb and wine,
against Mozart's wishes, and when Grimm's doctor arrived it was too late
for cure. She was buried probably in the cemetery of the Innocents, which
was destroyed in 1785.

The grief of the son was terrible, and the father was uneasy. Grimm,
who was now wholly interested in Italian music sung by Italians,
advised Leopold to recall Wolfgang. The archbishop of Salzburg held out
inducements to father and son. The father at last commanded the return,
and in September, 1778, the philosopher Grimm accompanied the young
musician to the diligence and paid his way to Strasburg. When Wolfgang
finally saw that his return was unavoidable, he complained bitterly. "I
have committed the greatest folly in the world. With a little patience I
should surely have won in France a glorious reputation and a substantial

Karl Theodore of Mannheim was now elector of Bavaria. He took his court
to Munich, and Aloysia Weber sang in his theatre. Mozart stopped to see
her. She was slow to recognize him, and she did not approve of the black
buttons on his red coat, the French fashion of mourning dress. But he
wrote a grand aria for her, and even after her marriage to the play-actor
Lange he confessed to his father that he still cared for her.

It was in January, 1779, that Mozart again saw Salzburg, and for a year
and a half he stayed there working steadily. His illusions were gone; his
heart was sad. He loathed the town. "When I play in Salzburg, or when any
of my compositions are performed, the audience might as well be chairs or
tables." But he found some relief in work, and among the many compositions
of this period is the incidental music to "König Thamos," an Egyptian
drama. He also wrote an opera, "Zaide," which he abandoned, and which was
brought out in Frankfort in 1866. In 1780 he received a commission from
Karl Theodore to compose an opera for the Munich carnival of the following
year. The text was written by an Italian priest named Varesco, and it told
the story of Idomeneus, king of Crete, a story that is closely allied to
the famous adventure of Jephtha. In November Mozart went to Munich and
he was graciously received. His letters tell of the usual differences
that come up between composer and singers, and his father gave him good
advice: "You know that there are an hundred ignorant people for every ten
true connoisseurs; so do not forget what is called popular, and tickle
the long ears." The rehearsals gave great satisfaction and the Elector
remarked: "No one would imagine that such great things could come out of
such a little head." The opera was given January 29, 1781, and the Munich
News praised the scenery "of our well-known theatrical architect, the Herr
Councillor Lorenz Quaglio." It is not known how much Mozart received in

The Archbishop had only given leave of absence for six weeks; but Mozart
liked Munich and hated to return. He wrote church and instrumental pieces
for the Elector, and enjoyed the gay life, until in March the Archbishop,
who went to Vienna after the death of the Empress, summoned him. "And
there his destiny was to be fulfilled."

The Archbishop was in execrable humor. Joseph II. was not fond of priests,
and he had greeted him coolly. The wrath of Hieronymous was poured out on
the composer's head, for he had not forgotten or forgiven Mozart's brusque
departure, and he could not endure his independent spirit. He made him
eat with the servants. He would not allow him to play the pianoforte at
a concert given for the benefit of the widows and orphans of musicians;
and when he was forced into giving him permission, he hated him the more.
He ordered him to be present every morning in an antechamber to receive
orders; and when Mozart rebelled, he forgot his sacred calling and abused
him indecently; "black-guard, regular ass, idiot, dirty rascal," were
the mildest of the reproaches. He showed him the door, and Mozart, who
had kept his temper, said that if His Grace wished it, he would be only
too willing to resign; and he wrote his father that his prospects in
Vienna were bright and that he could not bear the thought of returning to
Salzburg and continual humiliation. His success as a pianoforte player
at the charitable concert was such that many desired to take lessons of
him, in spite of the price demanded by him--six ducats for twelve lessons.
"Thanks be to my pupils, I have as much as I want; but I will not have
many pupils; I prefer few, and to be better paid than other teachers."
He protests as follows: "If I were offered two thousand florins by the
Archbishop, and only one thousand florins in any other place, I should
go to the other place; for instead of the other one thousand florins I
should enjoy health and contentment of mind." But Leopold Mozart was not
the man of former days; he was nervous and almost hypochondriacal. He
had heard that his son was living a dissipated life; and he understood
that he was neglecting his religious duties; it even grieved him to
think that Wolfgang ate meat on fast-days. Nor did he approve of the
renewed intercourse with the Weber family, for Aloysia was now married to
Lange, "a jealous fool," and the mother and daughters were in Vienna. In
June, 1781, young Mozart determined to procure from the Archbishop his
dismission, as he heard that the departure to Salzburg was near at hand.
He found in the antechamber Count Arco ready to receive him. There were
violent words, and finally Arco kicked him out of the room. And thus was
Mozart set free.

[Illustration: ALOYSIA WEBER, sister to Mozart's wife, and her husband
JOS. LANGE, actor and painter.

From the first volume of "Die Ephemeriden der Litteratur und des
Theaters." Berlin, 1785. Drawn by Lange himself. We owe to him the last
portrait of Mozart.]

It was summer, the nobility had gone to their country seats, and there
were few lessons and few concerts. Mozart worked at pianoforte sonatas
and dreamed of an opera. Josephine Aurnhammer, remarkably fat, ugly, and
an excellent pianist, fell in love with him, and he was therefore obliged
to gradually break off his acquaintance with the "sentimental mastodon."
In December Clementi came to Vienna, and he and Mozart played before the
Emperor. Mozart was proclaimed victor, and the Emperor gave him fifty
ducats and saw in him the man to assist him in founding the lyric German
drama. Stephanie, the inspector of the opera, had provided the text
of "Die Entführung aus dem Serail" (The Escape from the Seraglio) and
Mozart had already written much of the music before Clementi's visit. In
a letter to his father he describes the work of a day. "At six o'clock
my hair-dresser awakes me; by seven I am shaven, curled, and dressed; I
compose until nine, and then give lessons until one; I then dine alone,
unless I am invited to some great house, in which case my dinner is put
off until two or three; then I work again about five or six, unless
I go to a concert, in which case I work after my return until one in
the morning." In July (the 13th or the 16th, for there is a dispute
concerning the date), 1782, "The Escape from the Seraglio" was given. The
house was crammed, there was no end to the applause and cheering, and
performances followed one another in quick succession. The German opera
was established; but the Emperor Joseph only said, "Too fine for our ears,
and too many notes." Mozart replied, "Just as many notes as are necessary,
your Majesty." It was in this opera, according to Carl Maria von Weber,
that Mozart arrived at the full maturity of his genius.

[Illustration: MOZART'S WIFE.

Constanze Weber. From a woodcut by A. Neumann, after a photograph from an
aquarelle painting on ivory, in the Mozarteum, in Salzburg.]

The 4th of August, 1782, Mozart married Constanze Weber, before the
arrival of his father's formal consent. He had been in love with her for
some months, and in December of the year before he had written his father
about her. "She is the martyr of the family.... She looks after everything
in the house, and yet can never do right. She is not ugly, but she is far
from being beautiful. Her whole beauty consists in her dark eyes and good
figure. She is not intellectual, but she has common sense enough to fulfil
her duties as a wife and mother. She is not inclined to extravagance;
on the contrary, she is always badly dressed, for the little her mother
can do is done for the two others, never for her. True, she likes to be
neat and clean, but not smart; and almost all that a woman needs she can
make for herself; she understands housekeeping, has the best heart in the
world--she loves me and I love her--tell me if I could wish for a better
wife?" The father was sorely vexed. He saw poverty and "starving brats."
He disapproved of the Weber family. With reluctance he finally sent the
parental blessing. The wedding was simple, and the supper was given by
the Baroness von Waldstädten, a famous pianist, and a woman of unsavory
reputation. The income of the newly-married couple was precarious and
uncertain, and so it was until the divorce of death, but man and wife were
very happy. They were young--Mozart was twenty-six and Constanze was about
eighteen--and they took no thought of the morrow. The morning after the
wedding the Abbé Stadler called upon them, and he was asked to breakfast.
Constanze in her marriage dress made the fire and prepared the coffee,
and with laughter they thus began their married life, without money and
with a carelessness that bordered on recklessness. To Constanze even this
pinched life was a relief, for she had long suffered from the intolerance
of a drunken mother. Mozart's love for his wife was town talk. Kelly,
the English tenor, in later years, spoke of "the passionate love" of the
composer. He told her everything, even his faults and sins, and she was
ever tender and faithful. She was not unmusical; in fact she played and
sang, and was especially fond of fugues. She told him stories while he
worked. She cut his meat for him at table. As she was not robust, he, in
turn, was most careful of her health, and often denied himself that she
might be more comfortable. There are German romances in existence that
deal with alleged love episodes in the life of Mozart, and in which he is
represented as often unfaithful to his wife. Grave historians have not
thought it an unworthy task to examine the current scandals of his life in
Vienna. It is true that the manners and customs of the Viennese were free
and easy. It was an age of gallantry. It is not improbable that he was
exposed to many temptations. At the same time the looseness of his life
was grossly exaggerated, and specific charges that were made are now known
to be legends. Hummel, who lived in Mozart's house as a pupil, wrote in
1831: "I declare it to be untrue that Mozart abandoned himself to excess,
except on those rare occasions when he was enticed by Schikaneder."

[Illustration: THE MOZART FAMILY.

    C. de Carmontelle del.      Delafosse, Sculp. 1764.

Discouraged by the parsimony of the Emperor, failing in his endeavor to
become the teacher of the Princess Elizabeth, and believing himself to
be unappreciated, Mozart determined to leave Vienna and turned towards
France and England. At this time he was chiefly known in Vienna as a
pianoforte player. It was not until the appearance of the "Magic Flute"
that he was recognized there as a great operatic composer, and then it was
too late. The father, however, opposed the plans of his son, and he even
wrote to the Baroness von Waldstädten urging her to reason with Wolfgang,
and adding, "What is there to prevent his having a prosperous career in
Vienna, if only he has a little patience?" And so Mozart stayed in Vienna.
He gave lessons, which were apt to be of a desultory nature. He gave
concerts in the Augarten which was frequented by the fashionable people.
He gave concerts in the theatre and in different halls, and his own music
was performed with great success. His concertos and his playing were
cheered to the echo by the Emperor and the nobility. His old love Aloysia
sang at one of these concerts, and Gluck sat in a box and applauded. It is
not true that at this time Mozart was unappreciated by the public or that
the public was not willing to pay money for the pleasure of hearing him.
As a pianoforte player he was surfeited with applause. His subscription
concerts were crowded. At one he received four hundred and fifty ducats;
at two concerts in Prague in 1786 he received one thousand florins. He
played regularly in private concerts given by members of the nobility,
and it was the custom of the Viennese aristocracy to reward distinguished
artists liberally. On the other hand he made but little by the publication
of his compositions. Nor did he fare better in his dealings with
theatrical managers. The usual payment in Vienna for an opera was one
hundred ducats. Upon the whole, Mozart was probably as well treated from a
pecuniary point of view as the majority of the musicians of his time. He
had no head for business, and he was constantly in want of money. A few
months after his marriage he was threatened with an action for non-payment
of a bill. He was constantly borrowing small sums from Peter to pay Paul.
His letters abound in proofs of his embarrassments. At different times he
tried plans of reform; from March, 1784, until February, 1785, he kept an
account book, and the entries were neatly written. But Constanze was not
the housewife praised by King Lemuel.

A son was born in 1783, who died in the same year, and in the summer a
visit was paid to Salzburg. A mass, which Mozart had vowed in his heart
before his marriage if he succeeded in taking Constanze there as his wife,
was performed; he wrote duets for violin and viola to help Michael Haydn,
who was prevented by sickness from satisfying the Archbishop's command;
he sketched a part of an opera, "L'Oca del Cairo." In one way the visit
was a disappointment. Neither Leopold nor Marianna was really fond of
Constanze, and Mozart was displeased because none of the trinkets that
had been given him in his youth were offered to his wife. He returned to
Vienna in October. In 1785 the father returned the visit. He wept for
joy at hearing Wolfgang play the pianoforte concerto composed for the
blind pianist, Marie Paradies; he heard string quartets of his son played
by Haydn, Dittersdorf, Wolfgang and Vanhall; and Haydn said to him, "I
assure you solemnly and as an honest man, that I consider your son to be
the greatest composer of whom I have ever heard." Influenced by his son
he became a Freemason. There were secret associations, brotherhoods of
all descriptions, more or less closely allied to Freemasonry, throughout
Germany during the latter half of the eighteenth century. Many wished
to join together in fighting for liberty of conscience and independence
of thought; and, as Herder, Wieland, Goethe, they saw in Freemasonry "a
means of attaining their highest endeavors after universal good." In
Vienna nearly all the distinguished leaders of thought were Freemasons;
the lodges were fashionable, and in 1785 the Emperor Joseph placed them
under the protection of the state, although he first reduced the number.
It is not surprising that Mozart, with his love for humanity, his warm
sympathies for all that is good and noble, should enter eagerly into
masonic ties and duties. He contemplated the founding of a secret society
of his own. His lodge was the oldest in Vienna, "Zur gekrönten Hoffnung,"
and for this lodge he wrote vocal and instrumental works, one of which,
the "Trauermusik" is of great beauty and originality.

In 1784 the German opera in Vienna was almost extinct. Aloysia Lange
chose Mozart's "Escape from the Seraglio" for her benefit, and the
composer directed it; Gluck's "Pilgrimme von Mekka" was given, as well
as Benda's melodramas. The next year it was proposed to reinstate German
opera in competition with the Italian, and the scheme was carried out,
but the performances were not equal to those of the Italian opera, and
Mozart was not pitted by the Emperor as a native composer against the
foreigner Salieri. For a festival in 1786 dramatic performances were
ordered in Italian and German, and Mozart wrote the music for "Der
Schauspieldirector" (The Theatre Director), while Salieri was more
fortunate in his text. The Italian operas were popular with the court
and the people, and the better singers went over to the Italian side.
Paesiello and Sarti were welcomed heartily in Vienna, and their operas
received the patronage of the Emperor. Mozart's prospects as an operatic
composer were gloomy, until in 1785 he was seriously benefited by his
acquaintance with Lorenzo da Ponte, abbé, poet, and rake. This singular
man was appointed theatrical poet by Joseph II. through the influence
of Salieri. He quarreled with his benefactor, who engaged a rival as
his librettist. Da Ponte looked about for a composer with whom he could
join against his enemies, and he entered into negotiations with Mozart.
Beaumarchais' comedy, "Le Mariage de Figaro," had finally been put on the
stage of the Théâtre-Français in April, 1784; it was exciting popular
attention; and Mozart wished an adaptation for his music. The adaptation
would be an easy task, but the comedy itself was not allowed in the Vienna
Theatre. The poet was in the good graces of the Emperor and he confided
the plan to him. Joseph admitted that Mozart was a good instrumental
composer, said that his opera did not amount to much, called Mozart to
him, heard portions of the work, and ordered that it should be put into
rehearsal immediately. If we believe the account given by Da Ponte, the
whole opera was finished in six weeks. There was a strong cabal, with
Salieri at the head, against the production, but it was brought out May
1st and with overwhelming success. Michael Kelly, who sang the parts of
_Basilio_ and _Don Curzio_, gives interesting accounts of the rehearsals
and the performance in his "Reminiscences." "Never was anything more
complete than the triumph of Mozart." At the second performance five
pieces were repeated: at the third, seven; "one little duet had to be
sung three times," we learn from a letter of Leopold Mozart. In November
Martin's "Cosa Rara" pleased "the fickle public" mightily, and during
1787 and 1788 "Figaro" was not given. It was first performed in Berlin,
Sept. 14, 1790: the critics praised it: the people preferred Martin and
Dittersdorf. It was heard later in all the great towns of Europe (Paris,
1793; London, 1812, with Catalani as _Susanna_); in Prague it was heard at
once and with the greatest success, and this led to "Don Giovanni."

[Illustration: THE MOZART FAMILY.

Large oil painting by de la Croce (born 1736, a pupil of Lorenzoni),
painted in 1780. The original is in the Salzburg Mozarteum and seems to
have been repeatedly and unskilfully retouched.]

The success of "Figaro" was not of material benefit to Mozart in Vienna.
He fretted at the necessity of teaching; he envied Gyrowetz, who went to
Italy. In 1786, a third child was born to him, Leopold, who died in the
spring of the next year. His English friends urged him to go to England.
He thought seriously of doing this, when he received one day a letter from
the orchestra of Prague, to which the leading connoisseurs and amateurs
had added their names, begging him to visit the town and see for himself
the enormous success of "Figaro." Bohemia was a musical country, and at
the capital music was cultivated passionately. There was an excellent
school where pupils of talent were educated by the support of patrons.
The members of the nobility had their orchestras, and some demanded that
their servants should be musicians. "Figaro" was played by the Bondini
Italian company throughout the winter of 1786-7, and the public enthusiasm
was unbounded. The opera was turned into chamber music. It was arranged
for all combinations of instruments. It was sung in the streets; it was
whistled at street corners. Mozart with his wife arrived in Prague in
January, 1787, and they were entertained by Count Thun. His visit was one
of unalloyed happiness. He saw the beauties of Prague "hopping about to
the music of 'Figaro' turned into waltzes and country dances. The people
talked of nothing but 'Figaro.'" In the theatre he was welcomed with
uproarious applause. His two concerts were in every way successful. And
here he amused himself, doing little work, until Bondini made a contract
with him by which Mozart agreed to give him an opera for the next season
for one hundred ducats.

Naturally he thought at once of Da Ponte, and Da Ponte suggested the
legend of Don Juan Tenorio y Salazar, Lord of Albarren and Count of
Maraña. This story had already attracted the attention of mask-makers and
comedy-writers innumerable, among them Molière, Shadwell, Goldoni; and
Gluck and Righini, Tritto and Gazzaniga had set it to music, as ballet,
_dramma tragicomico, or opera buffa_. Da Ponte had made his fortune by the
text of "Figaro," and when he began the libretto for Mozart he was also at
work on texts for Martin and Salieri. He went from one story to the other,
with snuff-box and bottle of tokay before him, and the pretty daughter of
his hostess by his side. "Don Giovanni" and Martin's "L'Arbore di Diana"
were finished in sixty-three days. We know little or nothing of Mozart's
methods in writing the music of the work. His thematic catalogue shows
that from March till September few other important works were written, and
the greatest of these are the string quintets in C major and G minor. His
father died in May, and Mozart's grief may well be imagined. "Next to God
is papa" showed the depth of his love. In September Mozart took his wife
and boy to Prague. He worked in the vineyard of his old friend Duschek,
and his friends talked or played at bowls. German essayists and novelists
invented many stories, which reflect with discredit upon Mozart's morality
during this visit to Prague, and these stories, without real foundation,
were for a long time accepted as facts. He is said, for instance, to
have been violently in love with the women who sang at the theatre; and
continual intoxication is the mildest charge brought against him. Teresa
Saporiti, the "Donna Anna," said when she first saw him, "This illustrious
man has a most insignificant face," and yet their amorous adventures were
long taken for granted. Nor do we know whether the many traditions are
only traditions; such as his writing "_La ci darem_" five times before he
could satisfy the singers; Bassi's anger, and other tales. The overture
was unwritten the very evening before the day of performance. His wife
mixed punch for him and told him stories, "Cinderella," "Aladdin" and
tales of wonder and enchantment. Little by little, he grew sleepy as he
worked. The head would droop in spite of the efforts of Scheherazade. At
last he rested on the sofa, and at five o'clock Constanze aroused him.
The copyist came at seven; and the orchestra played the overture at sight
from wet sheets when October 29, 1787, "Don Giovanni" was first heard
by an enthusiastic public. The opera was an unqualified success. Mozart
stayed in Prague long enough to write a concert aria for Madame Duschek,
although she was obliged to lock him in a summer-house to get it; shortly
after his return to Vienna Gluck died, and December 7th he was appointed
Chamber Musician by Joseph. "Don Giovanni" was not given in Vienna until
May 7, 1788, and it was a failure. The Emperor is reported to have said,
"The opera is divine, perhaps even more beautiful than 'Figaro,' but it
will try the teeth of my Viennese." And Mozart said, "We will give them
time to chew it." It was first given in Berlin, Dec. 20, 1790; Paris,
1805, in a wretched version; London, in April, 1817. In 1825 Garcia,
with his daughters, was in New York; he met Da Ponte there, and at the
suggestion of the latter "Don Giovanni" was given. After it had made its
way in Germany, it was regarded as his masterpiece, and Mozart is reported
to have said that he wrote it not at all for Vienna, a little for Prague,
but mostly for himself and friends.


By the Sculptor Barrias.]

But the opera did not help him pecuniarily. He was in constant need
of money. He was not idle, however; the great symphonies in E-flat
major, G minor and C major were written in the summer months of 1788;
he prepared the music for the masked balls; he wrote compositions for
the pleasure of his pupils; and, at the instigation of Van Swieten, who
was an enthusiastic admirer of Handel, he prepared "Acis and Galatea,"
"The Messiah," "Ode for St. Cecilia's Day," and "Alexander's Feast" for
performance by strengthening the instrumentation. He also directed them
(1788-1790). In 1789 he was invited by Prince Lichnowsky to visit him in
Berlin; he gladly accepted the invitation, thinking he might better his
condition. They stopped at Prague; at Dresden, where he played before the
Court, and at Leipsic, where he played the organ and heard a Bach motet.
At Potsdam Mozart was presented to the King, Frederick William II., who
was an enlightened patron of music. He played upon the 'cello and was a
man of very catholic taste. The opera stage was free to Italian, French
and German composers. The orchestra in which the king often played at
rehearsals was directed by Duport; the opera by Reichardt, the musician
and journalist. Neither of these men looked upon Mozart's appearance in
Berlin with favor, and they were none the sweeter to him when he replied
to the King's question concerning the performances of the orchestra: "It
contains the best virtuosos, but if the gentlemen would play together,
it would be an improvement." The King offered him the position of
Kapellmeister, at a salary of three thousand thalers; but Mozart would not
leave his Emperor. He made a short visit to Leipsic for a benefit concert
which hardly paid the expenses of the journey. On his return to Berlin
he heard his "Seraglio." In a certain passage, the second violins played
D sharp instead of D, and Mozart cried out angrily, "Damn it, play D,
will you?" And here it is reported that he became enamored of Henriette
Baranius, a singer of remarkable beauty. The boy Hummel, his pupil,
gave a concert in Berlin, and was overjoyed to see him in the audience.
Just before Mozart's departure in May, the King sent him one hundred
friedrichsdor, and wished that he would write quartets for him. Constanze
received a letter in which her husband said that she must be glad to see
him, not the money he brought.

In June, 1789, Mozart worked at the quartets promised to the King. He
furnished the one in D major in a month, and received a gold snuff-box
with one hundred friedrichsdor. But he was poor, in debt, his wife was
often sick, and he wrote in July that he was most unhappy. In December
he worked busily on an opera, "Cosi fan tutte," which the Emperor had
requested, and Jan. 26, 1780, it was produced with success, although it
was not often given. Joseph II. died the 20th of February, and Leopold II.
reigned in his stead. Mozart could expect but little of him, and when King
Ferdinand of Naples visited Vienna in September, the greatest virtuoso of
the town was not asked to play before him, although the royal visitor was
passionately fond of music. Meanwhile his expenses were increasing, his
pupils falling off. In September he pawned his silver plate to pay the
passage, and went to Frankfort to attend the coronation of the Emperor.
He gave a concert there, and played two of his own concertos. He went
to Mayence, where he is said to have had a love-scrape, then to Munich,
where at the request of the Elector he played before the King of Naples.
Soon after his return to Vienna he said good-bye for ever to his dear
friend Haydn, who went with Salomon to England. He was sore distressed.
The position of second Kapellmeister was refused him, and the position of
assistant to Hoffmann, the cathedral Kapellmeister, which was granted by
the magistrates at his request, "without pay for the present," depended
upon the death of Hoffmann, who outlived him. In the midst of his troubles
he fell in with strange company, and among his associates was Emanuel
Johann Schikaneder, a wandering theatre director, poet, composer, and
play-actor. Restless, a bore, vain, improvident, and yet shrewd, he was
not without good qualities that had before this won him the friendship
of Mozart. In 1791 he was sorely embarrassed. He was the director of
the Auf der Wieden, a little theatre, no better than a booth, where
comic operas were played and sung. On the verge of failure, he had one
thing to console him,--a fairy drama which he had made out of "Lulu,
or the Enchanted Flute," a story by Wieland. He asked Mozart to write
the music for it; and Mozart, pleased with the _scenario_, accepted, 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 knew the ease with which Mozart wrote; and he also knew that
it was necessary to keep watch over him, that he might be ready at the
appointed time. As Mozart's wife was then in Baden, the director found
the composer alone, and he put him in a little pavilion, which was in the
midst of a garden near his theatre. And in this pavilion and in a room
of the casino of Josephdorf the music of "The Magic Flute" was written.
Mozart was in a melancholy mood when he began his task, but Schikaneder
drove away his doleful dumps by surrounding him with the gay members of
the company. There was merry eating, there was clinking of glasses, there
was the laughter of women. Here is the origin of many of the exaggerated
stories concerning Mozart's dissipated habits. It was long believed that
he was then inspired by the melting eyes of the actress Gerl; a story
that probably rests on no better foundation than the Mrs. Hofdaemmel
tragedy, which even Jahn thought worthy of his attention. "The Magic
Flute" was given Sep. 30, at the Auf der Wieden theatre. The composer
led the first two performances. The opera at first disappointed the
expectations of the hearers, and Mozart was cut to the quick. The opera
soon became the fashion, thanks to Schikaneder's obstinacy, so that the
two hundredth representation was celebrated in Vienna in October, 1795. It
was translated into Dutch, Swedish, Danish, Polish, Italian. It was given
in Paris in 1801, under the name of "The Mysteries of Isis"; it was first
heard in London in 1811, in Italian.


One evening in July a strange man called on Mozart with a strange errand.
He was tall, gaunt, haggard in face, solemn in demeanor: a fantastic
apparition, dressed completely in grey, or, as some affirm in black; such
a character as might have appeared to Hoffmann when in the black and dark
night, surrounded by spirits of his own conjuring, he wrote wild tales.
The visitor gravely handed him an anonymous letter sealed in black, which
begged him to write a Requiem as soon as possible, and asked the price.
Mozart named 50 ducats, some say 100; the visitor paid the sum, and as
Mozart did not name the time for the completion of the work, the unknown
man left him, saying, "I shall return, when it is time." The mystery
has been solved. The stranger was Leutgeb, the steward of Count Franz
von Walsegg of Stuppach; the Count was in the habit of ordering thus
mysteriously compositions from different musicians; he would copy them
and have them performed as his own; the requiem was ordered in memory of
his late wife; and it was sung as Walsegg's work under his direction Dec.
14, 1793. But Mozart knew nothing of the patron or the steward, and he
grew superstitious. In the middle of August he received a commission to
write a festival opera for the celebration of the coronation of Leopold
II. as King of Bohemia in Prague. The subject was Metastasio's "Clemenza
di Tito." The music was written hurriedly and first performed Sept. 6. It
was not successful; the Empress is said to have spoken bitterly concerning
the _porcheria_ of German music. Just as he was stepping into the carriage
for his journey to Prague, the thin and haggard man suddenly appeared
and asked him what would become of the Requiem. Mozart made his excuses.
"When will you be ready?" said Leutgeb. "I swear that I shall work on it
unceasingly when I return." "Good," said the solemn stranger, "I rely
on your promise." And as soon as the "Magic Flute" was completed and
performed Mozart worked eagerly on the Requiem. He postponed his lessons,
giving as an excuse that he had a work on hand which lay very near his
heart, and until it was finished he could think of nothing else. He had
become subject to fainting fits, and in Prague he was not at all well. He
became gloomy and superstitious. He thought some one had poisoned him, and
indeed, for a long time it was believed foolishly by some that Salieri had
hastened his death. He told Constanze that he was writing the Requiem for
himself. There was a slight improvement for a time, and Mozart worked on
the Requiem, which had been taken away from him, and finished a Masonic
cantata. The last of November his feet and hands began to swell; he
vomited violently; and he was melancholy in mind. The 28th his condition
was critical and his doctor consulted with the chief physician at the
hospital. The "Magic Flute" was now successful; he was certain of an
annual income of one thousand florins contributed by some of the Hungarian
nobility; and of a larger sum each year from Amsterdam in return for the
production of a few compositions exclusively for the subscribers; but it
was too late. The day before his death he said to Constanze, "I should
like to have heard my 'Magic Flute' once more," and he hummed feebly the
bird-catcher's song. In the afternoon he had the Requiem brought to his
bed, and he sang the alto part. At the first measures of the "Lacrimosa,"
he wept violently and laid the score aside. Mrs. Haible came in the
evening and Mozart said, "I am glad you are here; stay with me to-night,
and see me die." She tried to reason with him, and he answered. "I have
the flavor of death on my tongue: I taste death. Who will support my
dearest Constanze if you do not stay with her?" The story of his ending
as told by Otto Jahn is most pathetic. Mrs. Haible went to the priests of
St. Peter's and begged that one might be sent to Mozart, as if by chance.
They refused for a long time, and it was with difficulty she persuaded
"these clerical barbarians" to grant her request. When she returned,
she found Süssmayer at Mozart's bedside, in earnest conversation over
the Requiem. "Did I not say that I was writing the Requiem for myself?"
said he looking at it through his tears. "And he was so convinced of his
approaching death that he enjoined his wife to inform Albrechtsberger
of it before it became generally known, in order that he might secure
Mozart's place at the Stephanskirche, which belonged to him by every
right." The physician finally came; he was found in the theatre, where he
waited until the curtain fell. He saw there was no hope; cold bandages
were applied to the head; and then came delirium and unconsciousness.
Mozart was busy with his Requiem. He blew out his cheeks to imitate the
trumpets and the drums. About midnight he raised himself, opened his eyes
wide, then seemed to fall asleep. He died at one o'clock, Dec. 5th. There
was but little money in the house. The funeral expenses (third-class)
amounted to 8 fl., 36 kr., and there was an extra charge of three florins
for the hearse. In the afternoon of the 6th the body was blessed. There
was a fierce storm raging, and no one accompanied the body to the grave.
The body was put into a common vault, which was dug up about every ten
years. No stone was put above his resting-place, and no man knows his
grave. Constanze was left with two children and about sixty florins ready
money. The outstanding accounts and personal property hardly amounted to
five hundred florins. There were debts to be paid. She gave a concert, and
with the assistance of the Emperor the proceeds were sufficient to pay
them. In 1809 she married George Nissen and was comfortable until 1842,
the year of her death. Karl, the elder son of Mozart, pianist-merchant,
died in Milan in a subordinate official position. Wolfgang, born July 26,
1791, appeared in public in 1805; he afterward was a musical director and
composer in Lemberg and Vienna; he died in Carlsbad in 1844. A statue was
erected to Mozart in Salzburg in 1842, and one was raised in Vienna in
1859. The hundredth anniversary of his birth was celebrated throughout
Germany, and that of his death throughout the world.


Formerly at No. 934 Raubensteingasse. Building destroyed.]

The face of Mozart has been idealized. The authentic portraits coincide
with the descriptions of his contemporaries. He was small, thin, and pale;
with a large head and a large nose; eyes well shaped, but short-sighted,
although he never wore spectacles; he had plenty of fine hair, of which
he was proud, and he was vain of his hands and feet; he dressed carefully
and elegantly, and was fond of jewelry. He rode horseback, and took
great pleasure in playing billiards, bowls, and in dancing. He was very
fond of punch, of which beverage Kelly saw him take "copious draughts."
His prevailing characteristics were amiability, generosity, and a warm
appreciation of all that was good and noble in music or mankind. His
generosity was strikingly shown when, in the darkest hours of need, he
offered to take care of Mariana until her betrothed had found the position
necessary for marriage. It was no doubt often abused by such scapegraces
as Stadler and Schikaneder. He poured out his affection on the members of
his household. He associated freely, and apparently with equal enjoyment,
with aristocrats, learned men, members of the orchestra, singers, and
loungers in the taverns. He was full of fun, and he dearly loved a joke;
he delighted in doggerel rhymes. His intercourse with musicians was as a
rule friendly, and he seldom spoke ill of his neighbors. Gluck appreciated
him as much as Salieri envied him, but he and Mozart were never intimate,
although they dined together and paid each other compliments. Kozeluch
and other small fry hated him, and they also hated Haydn. His relations
with Paisiello, Sarti and Martin were most friendly; and nothing perhaps
illustrates more clearly the sweetness of Mozart's nature than his
immortalizing a theme from Martin's "Cosa rara," an opera which had
prevailed against his "Figaro," by introducing it in the second finale of
"Don Giovanni." He praised Pleyel, sympathized with Gyrowetz, foresaw the
greatness of Beethoven, mourned the death of Linley, and loved Haydn.

In his youth he showed a fondness for arithmetic, and in later years he
was a ready reckoner. He had an unmistakable talent for the languages;
he understood the French, English, and Italian tongues. He was acquainted
with Latin; he had read the works of excellent authors; he even wrote
poetry, but as a manner of jesting. He was not without knowledge of
history. He drew with skill. His letters are full of charm, and Nissen
regretted that a man who used his pen so cleverly had not written
concerning his art. The reply to this is simple, namely, that Mozart was
too busy in making music to write about it. This most honest and amiable
of men loved animals, and birds were particularly dear to him.

Whatever his religious convictions may have been after he reached man's
estate, he wrote to his father, on hearing of his illness, as follows: "As
death, strictly speaking, is the true end and aim of our lives, I have
for the last two years made myself so well acquainted with this true,
best friend of mankind, that his image no longer terrifies, but calms and
consoles me. And I thank God for giving me the opportunity of learning to
look upon death as the key that unlocks the gate of true bliss." The man
as seen in his life and letters was simple, true, averse to flattery and
sycophancy, generous, and eminently lovable.

[Illustration: Fac-simile of a letter from Mozart to his publisher,


[Illustration: Chorus by Mr. Wolfgang Mozart 1765.

Leopold Mozart brought his children Wolfgang (aged 8) and Maria Anna (aged
13), in April, 1764, to London, on a concert tour. The exhibition of these
wonder-children lasted till July, 1765. Before leaving, the party visited
the British Museum, which was opened to the public six years before (on
the 15th January, 1759). On this occasion Wolfgang was requested to leave
the Institution some manuscripts of his compositions. Mozart complied, and
among the manuscripts left was this, his first effort in Choral-writing,
and the only one composed on an English text. The father received the
following acknowledgment:--

    SIR:--I am ordered by the Standing Committee of the Trustees of
    the British Museum, to signify to You, that they have received the
    present of the Musical performances of Your very ingenious Son,
    which You were pleased lately to make Them, and to return You their
    Thanks for the same.

    M. MALY,
    British Museum,
    July 19, 1765.


Painted by his brother-in-law Lange in 1791. The head is finished, but not
the coat.]

In considering the compositions of this man, who died before he was
thirty-six, and spent much time in travel, the most superficial
investigator must be struck by the mere number. There are 20 dramatic
works; 2 oratorios, a funeral hymn, 3 cantatas, and the reinstrumentation
of 4 oratorios by Handel; 66 vocal pieces with orchestral accompaniments;
23 canons and a collection of songs; 48 pieces for the church, and 20
masses, including the Requiem, which however was probably completed by
Süssmayer; 22 pianoforte sonatas and fantasias; 17 organ sonatas, 16
variations for bugle and pianoforte, 23 little pieces, and 11 sonatas
and pieces for four hands on two pianofortes; 45 sonatas for violin
and pianoforte; 8 trios, 2 quartets and 1 quintette for pianoforte and
strings; for strings alone there are 3 duos, 3 trios, 29 quartets, 8
quintets; then there are 2 quartets with flute, 1 with oboe, 1 quintet
with horn; 10 concertos for violin, 1 for two violins, 1 for violin
and viola, 28 for the pianoforte, 1 for two pianofortes, 1 for three
pianofortes, 1 for bassoon, 1 for oboe, 4 for flute and 1 for flute and
harp, 5 for horn, 1 for clarinet,--in all 55; in dance music there is
one gavotte, 39 contradances, 56 waltzes, 96 minuets, a pantomime and a
ballet; there are 27 different pieces of instrumental music, as marches,
adagios, etc., 33 divertissements, serenades or cassations, all pieces
of long breath, including each from 10 to 12 movements; there are 49
symphonies. These authentic works, accepted by Köchel, number in all 769
compositions. Then when one reflects on the quality of the music and its
artistic value, when one finds in nearly each work the traces at least
of genius, and reflects that a third of them are masterpieces, he begins
to realize the might of the man. He was naturally the most spontaneous
of musicians, and in this respect--in pure creation--without doubt the
greatest of them all. Rarely are seen such fecundity and such versatility.
Unlike Handel, when a work was finished, it was finished; it did not enter
again into another composition. The charge of plagiarism was never brought
against him except in one instance: the religious march in "Idomeneus" was
traced by a friend to the march in Gluck's "Alceste." He wrote as though
he could not help it. Jumping from the bed, he ran to the pianoforte. The
barber found him restless. His mind was preoccupied at table. In travel,
the landscape, the very motion of the carriage stimulated his imagination.
He was constantly jotting down his thoughts on scraps of paper. Much of
his greatest music was composed, even in detail, in his head before he
took his pen. The conversation of his friends, noises in the house or
street did not distract him. His faculty of concentration was incredibly
developed, and Constanze said that he wrote his scores as though he
were writing a letter. And so his inspiration, as shown in the hasty
composition of the "Don Giovanni" overture, reminded Victor Wilder of
the saying of the first Napoleon: "Inspiration is only the instantaneous
solution of a long meditated problem."

In examining the works themselves, many of them must be passed over
without notice. Some were written for special occasions; some, for
combinations of instruments, that no longer, or rarely, are heard in
concert-halls; and it would be idle to assert that all his works are
equally worthy of respect. The complete collection of the writings of even
such a genius as Voltaire contains dreary pages and frivolous opinions.
Let us examine more particularly his pianoforte music, the chamber music,
such as the string quartets and quintets; the symphonies; the religious
music; and the operas, looking at the works themselves, comparing them
with that which was contemporaneous, and observing the influence on
the musicians that followed him. The songs, with the exception of the
"Veilchen" (The Violet), were set to meaningless words and are not to
be ranked with the best of his compositions; but this same "Violet" in
its lyrical-dramatic setting pointed the way to the after glory of the
German song as seen in Schubert, Schumann and Franz. And nearly all of the
concert-arias written for special singers and for special use seem to-day
a little antiquated, and cast in the old and traditional mould. As Mozart
first was known as a pianoforte player, let us first look at his writings
for that instrument. (I use the term pianoforte throughout this article,
following the example of Rubinstein, who, in his "Conversation on Music"
(1892), speaks of compositions for Clavecin, Clavichord, Clavi-cymbal,
Virginal, Spinett, etc., "as written for pianoforte, as to-day we can only
perform them on this instrument.")

There is no doubt but that Mozart was the greatest pianoforte player of
his time. The testimony in his favor is overwhelming. His hands were
small and well-shaped, and some of his hearers wondered that he could do
so much with them. He had elaborated an admirable system of fingering,
which he owed to the careful study of Bach, whose pianoforte music he
had played from a very early age. He regarded good fingering as the
basis of expressive playing. He insisted that the player should have
"a quiet, steady hand," and that the passages should "flow like oil";
he therefore objected to all bravura feats that might be detrimental
to "the natural ease and flexibility." He was vexed by exaggerations
of tempos, by over-rapidity of execution, by sentimental rubatos. He
demanded correctness, "ease and certainty, delicacy and good taste, and
above all the power of breathing life and emotion into the music and of
so expressing its meaning as to place the performer for the moment on a
level with the creator of the work before him." It is hard for men of
another generation to gain an idea of the qualities of the virtuosoship
of the pianist that moved and thrilled the audiences of his time. We
must take the word of his hearers. Clementi declared that he never heard
any one play so intellectually and gracefully as Mozart. Rochlitz waxed
enthusiastic over the brilliancy and "the heart-melting tenderness of
his execution;" Dittersdorf praised the union of art and taste; and
Haydn, with tears in his eyes, could not forget his playing, because it
came from the heart. Unfortunately we can not estimate his virtues as a
player from his works, for all that heard him agree that his improvising
was the crowning glory of his art. Variations on a well-known theme were
in fashion, and the variations were often improvised. The published
variations of Mozart are light and pleasing; he did not care for them, and
they were written, no doubt, for the entertainment of his pupils or his
friends. Of the three rondos, the one in A minor (1787) is very original
and of exquisite beauty, and is a favorite to-day in concert-halls.
The fantasia in C minor (1785) is an important work. Five movements,
in various keys and tempos are bound together, and though each is in a
measure independent, the sections seem to follow each other inevitably.
The harmonies are daring, when the date of its composition is considered,
and the mood, the _Stimmung_, is modern in its melancholy and doubt. In
treating the sonata form Mozart was the successor of Ph. Em. Bach and

Whether his sonatas of the Vienna period are solo or accompanied by other
instruments, they have only three movements. He first sought beauty of
melody, for song was to him the foundation, the highest expression of
music. Therefore the themes were carefully sung, and the second subject
was made of more importance by him than by his predecessors. Often the
chief effect in his sonata movements as in his concertos is gained by
the delivery of a sustained melody, and these melodies written for his
own hands show the influence of the peculiar characteristics of his own
performance. Frequently in the elaboration of the themes he introduced
new melodies, so that we find Dittersdorf complaining of the prodigality
of the composer, who "gives his hearers no time to breathe." When he used
polyphony, it was not to display pedantry but to accentuate the beauty of
the themes.

The slow middle movements are in song form, and are full of emotion and
tender grace; eminently spontaneous, and coming from the heart. The final
movements are generally the weakest. They show the facility with which he
wrote, and their gayness often approaches triviality. Passing over the
pianoforte compositions for two performers and for two pianofortes--not
that they are unworthy of attention-- we come to the sonatas with violin
accompaniment, which, during the Vienna period, were, many of them,
written for pupils. They are characterized by beautiful melodies and bold
harmonies rather than by any great depth or exhibition of scholarship. The
violin part is independent, and not an accompaniment, as was usual at the
time. The trios or terzets for pianoforte, violin and 'cello were chiefly
written for amateurs to play in musical parties. Violoncellists of any
force were rare in these circles, and it is not unlikely that this was a
serious hindrance to Mozart's further development of the trio. Far greater
in breadth of design and in thematic elaboration are the two pianoforte
quartets (1785 and 1786). The trios were written for social purposes,
and brilliancy was perhaps too much cultivated; but in these quartets
passion enters, strong and fierce and bitter. In 1784 Mozart wrote his
father that his quintet in E-flat major for pianoforte, oboe, clarinet,
horn, and bassoon, which was received with great applause in a concert
given by him in the theatre, was the best thing he had ever written, and
he chose it to play before Paesiello. It is certainly a composition of
remarkable beauty, not so much on account of its thematic invention as for
its intimate knowledge of the peculiarities of the different instruments
and for the balance of euphony preserved throughout. The pianoforte
concertos, of which seventeen were written in Vienna, were, as a rule,
intended for his own concert use. He described the first three as "a
happy medium between too easy and too difficult." He added in this letter
to his father, that "even ignoramuses will be pleased with them without
knowing why." Two years later (1784) he wrote, "I cannot make a choice
between the two concertos in B-flat and D. Either one will make the player
sweat." The distinguishing merit of these compositions for pianoforte and
orchestra, unjustly neglected in these days, is the combination of the
two different forces, while these forces at the same time preserve their
individuality. Instead of a duel to the death between the instrument and
the orchestra, there is a generous appreciation of the qualities and
limitations of the pianoforte, which in Mozart's time was still weak
in mechanism. Therefore one gives way to the other for the effect of
the whole. The orchestra enters not to crush but to support. Often the
pianoforte part seems absurdly simple, but a closer investigation will
show that this simplicity is most artfully designed and intended. Seldom
are important themes given to the pianoforte or orchestra alone; they are
shared generously. And no words can reproduce the colors of the orchestral
tone-paintings, or describe the marvelous results gained by simple means
and an unerring instinct. The first movements are in the sonata form, but
there is a certain freedom, and the proportions are on a larger scale.
There is a cadenza, invariable, at the conclusion, and Mozart in his
concerts excited wonder by his improvisations. The cadenzas published
were for the use of pupils. The second movement is in song-form, full of
sentiment, often romantic, the expression of temperament; the song is
sometimes varied. The last movement is generally in rondo form, and the
influence of the dance is strongly marked. These movements are gay and
graceful, and occasionally there is a touch of Haydn's humor. The greatest
of these concertos are perhaps those in D minor (K. 466), C (467), C minor
(491) and in C (503). Nor among his pianoforte works must the two pieces
originally written for a musical clock be forgotten, which are only now
known by a four-hand arrangement. The pianoforte works of Mozart are much
neglected in these days, and most unjustly. It is the fashion to call them
simple and antiquated. But the best of the concertos and the sonatas make
severe demands upon the mechanism and taste of the pianist; the apparent
simplicity is often a stumbling block to him that eyes them askew; and
only by an absolute mastery of the mechanism controlled by temperament can
the song be sung as Mozart heard it, so that the hearer may forget the box
of cold keys and jingling wires.


    Mozart's ear.

    Common ear.


First published in Nissen's Biography of Mozart.]

In the days of Mozart the favorite amusement of wealthy amateurs of
music was the string quartet. Haydn was the man who first showed the
way, although Boccherini should not be utterly forgotten. The set of
six dedicated by Mozart to Haydn, show the growth of the quartet, the
individualizing of each part. For in the ideal work of this species, each
part should be of equal importance. This advance, however, was not to the
public taste. He was accused of undue originality. Prince Grassalcovicz
was so angry when he found that the discords coming from the players were
actually in the parts, that he tore the pages in pieces. The publisher
returned them, as full of printer's errors. Learned men, as Fétis and G.
Weber, have written learned analyses of the introduction to the quartet in
C major, against it and in its favor. The hearers of to-day, accustomed
to the last quartets of Beethoven and the licenses of modern composers,
are not shocked even by the celebrated false relations in the aforesaid
introduction. Not only do these compositions display, in clearest light,
the mastery of form and all contrapuntal devices; they are a mine of
sensuous and spiritual riches. The quartet is ennobled; the minuet, that
jolly, rustic dance of Haydn, becomes, with Mozart, the court dance of
noble dames, full of grace and delicacy. The finales abound in dignified
humor, and occasionally pathos is found. Upon these six quartets Mozart
lavished the treasures of his nature and his art. In writing the three for
Frederick William II. of Prussia, he remembered the favorite instrument of
the monarch, and brought the violoncello into greater prominence, making
it often a solo instrument, with the melody in its higher notes. This
necessitated a different treatment of the violins and viola, and resulted
in more brilliancy with an occasional loss of strength. Written, as they
were, to gratify the taste of a monarch, they show more elegance, perhaps,
than depth of feeling, but in invention and in exquisite proportion they
are worthy of even the great name of Mozart. Without stopping to examine
as carefully as it deserves the remarkable trio for violin, viola, and
violoncello (K. 563), in six movements, let us glance at the quintets, in
which the viola is doubled, unlike the many compositions of Boccherini in
which two 'cellos are employed. The quintets in C major and G minor were
composed in 1787, the D major in 1790, the E-flat major, 1791. These four
quintets follow the path pointed out by the six quartets. There are biting
and harsh passages, to impress more forcibly the composer's intentions,
"comparatively frequent successions of ninths in a circle of fifths." And
even Mozart seldom wrote anything so full of wild and sobbing passion as
the first movement of the G-minor quintet, in which the second subject is
of an Italian intensity and a conviction that remind one of the terrible
earnestness of Verdi, the Verdi of the middle period. Yet this melody,
so direct and complete, is taken as matter for contrapuntal treatment.
The adagio is also a masterpiece, approached, perhaps equalled, but not
surpassed by Beethoven. Polyphony is the life of these quintets; but it
is not purely scholastic polyphony. Mozart once said to Michael Kelly,
"Melody is the essence of music. I compare a good melodist to a fine
racer, and counterpointists to hack post horses." But in these quintets
the counterpoint is so melodious that the tricks and strainings of the
pedagogue are never brought to mind. Here may also be mentioned the
quintet in A major for clarinet and strings (1789), written for Anton
Stadler, a dissipated fellow, a toss-pot, and riggish. But Mozart loved
him because he blew cunningly the clarinet, and he went about with him,
and ate with him, and drank with him. Although it is freer in form than
the great quartets, and the quintets in G minor, this clarinet quintet
stands beside them in its grace tinged with melancholy, its contrapuntal
skill masterly disguised, its divine melody.

[Illustration: MOZART IN PROFILE.

Cut in boxwood by Posch, a Salzburg sculptor, in 1789. This important
original has served as a model for many posthumous portraits of Mozart.]

A review of the symphonies of Mozart is a summing up of the history of
the symphony in the eighteenth century from childhood to maturity. He
was eight years old when he wrote in London his first symphony. It is
in sonata form: allegro, andante, finale: he uses the orchestra of the
predecessors of Haydn, viz., two violins, viola, bass, two oboes, and
two horns. These early symphonies of Mozart are relics of the time when
German instrumental music was still in a comparatively crude condition,
and they are chiefly interesting from the historical point of view; for
even Köchel, the devoted admirer of Mozart, says that they are wanting in
character and that the motives are without development. Look for instance
at the first symphony. The allegro has one hundred and eighteen measures;
the andante fifty; the presto ninety-one. According to the fashion of the
old suite the three movements are in the same tonality. The symphonies of
1764 and 1765 are in the same form; in two of them the andante is in a
different key from the other movements. It was in 1767 that Mozart first
introduced the minuet, which was, however, without a trio. The seventeen
symphonies written from 1767 to 1772 show an advance in instrumentation
rather than in growth of form. The early ones were composed for the
eight-part orchestra, the foundation of modern orchestral works. In the
second, the two horns are replaced by two clarinets, and a bassoon is
added. Now the use of the clarinet was then rare. Christopher Denner made
the first clarinet in 1701. Gossec wrote for the instrument in 1756, and
it was first heard in England in Christian Bach's opera "Orione" (1763).
Mozart used it also in a symphony written in Paris in 1778, and he did
not introduce it again until 1783. One of the greatest innovations of
this master, the father of orchestral color, was the knowledge of the
resources of this instrument, whose voice, as Berlioz well says, is the
voice of heroic love. In Mozart's works, "whether it sings with full and
sonorous voice some episodic phrase or displays all the riches of its two
_timbres_ in a superb adagio, everywhere it is brought fully into light,
everywhere it plays an important rôle." In 1768, Mozart used the drums
and one trumpet; in 1769 two bassoons; in 1770 two trumpets; in 1771, in
an andante, two flutes. He was still making experiments. In 1773, for
the first time, he composed a symphony in the minor mode; and in this
year he first went over 200 measures in the opening allegro; he also used
four horns. In 1774 he employed two viola parts. In 1778 the "Parisian"
symphony was performed with great success at a _Concert Spirituel_. Never
before had he developed his motives to so great a length; never before
had he employed so large an orchestra; the score includes, besides the
string parts, two flutes, two oboes, two clarinets, two bassoons, two
horns, two trumpets, drums,--in all seventeen parts. Haydn did not use so
large an orchestra until 1793. The allegros are brilliant and animated,
following the French taste of the time, and they were loudly applauded;
the andante did not produce so great an effect. After his return to
Germany he was obliged to reduce his orchestral forces, and to cut his
cloth to suit his opportunities. The "Haffner" made over from a serenade
shows that the forms of the ancient serenade and modern symphony were
still confounded; its allegro is not symphonic, but one theme is present
and rules from beginning to end. In 1783, in the symphony in C, he first
wrote an introduction to the first movement. In 1786 the symphony in D,
with an introduction, was brought out at Prague with unbounded success.
It contains, like the "Parisian," no minuet. It opens with a solemn
adagio introduction; the allegro bears a rhythmical resemblance in its
first theme to that of the "Magic Flute" overture; the andante is often
cited as a perfect example of the exquisite grace of Mozart; the finale
in its sparkling vivacity brings to mind a number of "Figaro." And here
it may be said that the symphonic instrumentation of Mozart approaches
closer dramatic formulas than that of Haydn or Beethoven. The three last
symphonies of Mozart show a wonderful advance. In a certain expression and
in a certain treatment they belong to the nineteenth century. There is
more blood, more intensity, a dread of unmeaning formalism. Technically
they are beyond criticism; and in pure expression of remarkable musical
thought, in sense of euphony and proportion, in perfection of musical
style they stand a marvel for all time. The one in E-flat was written in
June, 1788. To gain the wished-for effects clarinets are used, and no
oboes. The prevailing rhythm is ternary; and yet Mozart has so varied
the pace of the movements that there is no feeling of monotony on this
account. No prismatic words can give an idea of this "triumph of euphony";
although German commentators have exhausted what has been inelegantly
described as "the drivel of panegyric." It is true that there are points
of resemblance to Haydn's style; "but Mozart's individuality is here so
overpowering as to have given its distinguishing stamp to these very
features." No wonder that German romanticists have sought refuge in
extravagance in description. Apel attempted to turn the symphony into
a poem which was to imitate in words the character of the different
movements. Hoffmann, writer of tales of horror, composer and conductor,
caricaturist, critic, and official, one of the first to realize the
greatness of Beethoven, called the symphony the "Swan Song." "Love and
melancholy breathe forth in purest spirit tones; we feel ourselves drawn
with inexpressible longing towards the forms which beckon us to join them
in their flight through the clouds to another sphere. The night blots
out the last purple rays of day, and we extend our arms to the beings
that summon us as they move with the spheres in the eternal circles of
the solemn dance." Our criticism of to-day is written in a different
spirit. We use freely the test-tube and litmus paper; we pry and analyse.
Such out-pourings we call hifalutin; but it must be remembered that
the acute Hoffmann put them into the mouth of the half-crazed Johannes
Kreisler. A striking contrast to the E-flat symphony is the G minor
written in July, 1788. Deldevez has described it in a sentence; "It is
graceful, passionate, melancholy; it is inspiration united with science."
Deldevez has also pointed out that it is the truest and the most complete
expression of the minor mode; that the tonality is treated in the most
vigorous manner; that the modulations succeed each other according to the
severe precepts of the school. It is the symphony of Mozart that is most
full of passion, and yet the composer never forgot in writing it that
"music, when expressing horrors, must still be music." The symphony in
C, August, 1788, is called, for some reason or other, possibly for its
majesty, the "Jupiter." There is here not so much of human sentiment and
passion as in the G minor symphony, but there is the splendor, as well as
the serenity that is peculiar to Mozart; and the finale is a masterpiece
of contrapuntal skill that is unsurpassed in music, for the fugue is made
on a symphonic plan, and thus two distinct art-forms are moulded into
one. Jahn has said that the highest quality of these three symphonies
is "the harmony of tone-color, the healthy combination of orchestral
sound," and he admits at the same time the impotence of language to
reproduce the substance of a musical work. Richard Wagner wrote that "the
longing sigh of the great human voice, drawn to him by the loving power
of his genius, breathes from his instruments." And in these sayings the
two great elements of Mozart's symphonic writing are fitly described.
In his pianoforte concertos Mozart strove to set out and adorn by the
orchestral instruments the pianoforte part, and at the same time give an
enchanting musical background. In his symphonies "he sought to give his
melody, by way of compensation for its delivery by mere instruments, the
depth of feeling and ardor that lies at the source of the human voice as
the expression of the unfathomable depths of the heart"; and in this he
succeeded by leading "the irresistible stream of richest harmony into the
heart of his melody." Well might the cool-headed Ambros say of the last
great three, "considered as pure music, it is hardly worth while to ask
whether the world possesses anything more perfect."


Erected in 1842.]

Mozart, as we have seen, wrote much for the church. Unfortunately the
best known of his masses were written to suit the florid taste of his
patron; and his church music, judged thereby, has been reproached for its
frivolity and insincerity. Some, forgetting the solemnity of the litanies
de venerabili, the dignity of the vespers, the heavenly "Ave Verum," the
"Qui tollis" from the mass in C minor, and portions of the Requiem, have
denied him religious feeling, so far as his religious music is concerned.
But the musical expression of religious feeling differs with the time,
the place, and the individual. What is religious music? To the Aztec, who
in religious sacrifice cut out the victim's heart, the beating of the
serpent-skin drum was religious music; to the monks of the Middle Ages the
drone of the plain song of the church seemed the expression of religious
contemplation; and to-day many worthy people find spiritual consolation
in the joyous ditties of the Salvation Army. We define religious music
conformably with our own religious sentiment. In the days of Palestrina,
church music influenced subtly the congregation; it created a mood,
a _Stimmung_. In the days of Haydn and Mozart the influence of the
virtuosoship of the opera-singer was strongly felt; it invaded the church;
it was recognized by the composer of the mass. So in more modern days
the dramatic instinct of operatic composers is seen in their religious
works; and one may say with Rubinstein, "I think it an error, however, to
condemn for that reason the 'Stabat Mater' of Rossini or the 'Requiem'
of Verdi in Protestant countries. The Protestant may indeed say: 'I have
a different feeling,' but not, 'That is bad, because it is other than my
feeling of worship.'" Thibaut may attack the church music of Mozart, and
Lorenz may defend it; each expresses thereby his own religious sentiment.
It is true that many of the masses of Mozart, considered as music, are
not to be compared with his works of a higher flight; and the one that is
the most popular, the 12th, so called, was not written by him. But how
about the "Requiem," which he left unfinished, and which has been the
subject of so many legends, so many disputes? Did not the mystery that
for a time surrounded its birth give it a fictitious value? The Requiem
and Kyrie are the work of Mozart as they now exist; the movements from
the Dies Iræ to the first eight bars of the Lacrimosa, also the Domine
Jesu and Hostias, were finished by him in the voice part and bass, and
the principal points of the instrumentation were also indicated by him.
It will be seen, therefore, that the part of Süssmayer, who completed it,
is considerable. Now there has been much discussion concerning the merits
of the double fugue even from the technical standpoint, and it is true
that the most beautiful portions of the work are the least polyphonic,
as the wailing Lacrimosa, which beyond a peradventure belongs to Mozart,
although so little was actually written with his own hand; the Confutatis
with the antiphonal effects of male and female voices, and the marvellous,
unearthly harmonies of the _Oro supplex_; the powerful and concise
_Rex tremendae_. On the other hand the _Tuba mirum_ with the trombone
cantabile is an inadequate setting of the dread scene. By many worshippers
of Mozart, who at the same time believe in the supremacy of religious
music, the Requiem is called the truest and most genuine expression of
Mozart's nature, and his imperishable monument. But the contrary opinion
now prevails among prominent musicians. The Requiem as a whole cannot
be considered as complete a revelation of the genius of the composer as
the G-minor symphony, the quartets dedicated to Haydn, "Figaro" or "Don

Now the supreme genius of Mozart is seen in his dramatic works. It has
been said that he completed the palace of Italian opera and laid the
enduring foundations of the German. This saying has more of epigram than
truth; or it is only partially true. The opera is a thing of fashion,
an amusement of the day. It is finally shaped by the prevailing popular
taste, although the beginnings of a new and varying form may be in
opposition to that taste. The history of opera from the time of its
invention at Florence to the pilgrimages to Bayreuth is a story of fickle
tastes, passionate caprices, violent disputes. First there was the revolt
against the contrapuntists; then came the rule of the singer; then the
conflict between dramatic truth and personal vainglory, a conflict that
was born with the birth of opera. Run over the "History of Operas" by
Clément and Larousse; glance at the roll of singers from the early times
of virtuosoship: names that are utterly forgotten, and yet they once
filled the mouths of men and were the idols of the day. It is a dreary
business, this reading of the exploits of singers and opera makers of
the past,--not unlike the deciphering of moss-covered tombstones in
the hillside graveyard of a well-nigh deserted New England village.
To better appreciate the work of Mozart, let us briefly consider the
condition of opera when he first looked toward the stage. In the middle
of the eighteenth century the singer ruled supreme. They were great days,
those eighteenth-century days,--"When men had longer breaths and voices
that never grew old, when strange and terrible things still happened,
sapphire rings presented them by the demon, processions to welcome them,
and violent deaths by murder or in brawls." The singers had contributed
largely in forming the lyric drama, but their demands became exorbitant
and the composer was their slave. The introduction of castrates on the
stage was of special influence in shaping the operatic conditions. Take
any _opera seria_ of that day: it consists simply of a series of detached
airs strung together by the poet's story. There was no dramatic action;
there was simply an operatic concert. The _prima donna_ was the queen
of the theatre; she claimed the privilege of the escort of a page when
she made her entrance; he held the train of her robe and followed every
movement. The tenor was obliged to be either a noble father, a traitor or
tyrant. The _basso_ was restricted to _opera buffa_, for it was thought
that his voice was naturally too "grotesque" to be heard in _opera seria_.
The castrate was the monarch of the scene. Singularly enough, he was
called the _primo uomo_, and to him was given the lover's part. His very
person was sacred on the stage. Others might slay and be slain; he was
inviolable, and his head was always crowned with laurel. It was the rule
in Italy, never to admit the murder of the chief singer, although the
piece itself might reek with blood. These male sopranos were spoiled
children. One must make his appearance upon a horse; another insisted on
descending from a mountain; another would not sing unless his plume was
five feet in length. The moment they finished their airs, they left the
stage, or remained upon it sucking oranges or drinking wine. They made
their demands on the composer; he was obliged to write a bravura aria,
or an air _di portamento_ with perhaps a trumpet obligato, according to
their caprice. They robbed their associates of their airs if they saw a
possible distribution of glory. The chief singer and the composer between
them made the opera, for there was but little ensemble work. The custom
was to finish the second act with a duet between the castrate and the
first soprano; to end the third by a terzetto in which the first tenor
was admitted. Grétry tells us that during the seven or eight years he
lived in Rome, he never saw a serious opera succeed. "If the theatre was
crowded, it was to hear a certain singer; and when the singer left the
stage, the people in the boxes played cards or ate ices, and the people
in the parterre yawned." And Voltaire summed up the whole matter when he
wrote M. de Cideville (1752) that "the opera is a public rendezvous where
people meet on certain days without knowing why; it is a house which is
frequented by everybody, although the master is freely cursed and the
crowd bored."


Reproduced from a photograph.]

It was different in _opera buffa_. In this species of opera the virtuosos
were not so powerful as the poet and the composer. The castrate could
not afford to waste his time in consorting with the "_bouffons_," and so
his place was taken by the tenor, who became the passionate lover. In
like manner the _prima donna_, was paid such a small sum that the manager
was obliged to look for women of ambition and dramatic talent instead of
acknowledged vocal skill. The _basso_ was admitted to the company, and
here was the foundation of an ensemble impossible in grand opera. The
_opera seria_ remained in its conventional or ideal world; the _opera
buffa_ was concerned with subjects of everyday life. The former clung to
history or legend; the latter delighted in appealing to the life of the
people. The composer was allowed more liberty. He was not confined to the
_da capo_ air, composed of two parts with the invariable repetition of
the first; he could use the rondo, where the chief melody appears after
each secondary theme; or the cavatina, with one movement; or the chanson
with its simple couplet; in other words, he could better suit the dramatic
action. He wrote duets, trios, quartets of importance, and gradually the
finale was developed. So too the orchestra, which had been subordinated to
the imperious singer in _opera seria_, found its voice, and even sang in
passages where the text demanded of the singer a rapid delivery that was
almost dramatic speech. The _opera buffa_ rapidly grew in public favor,
and Arteaga in his famous book on the "Revolution of Italian Dramatic
Music" frankly confessed that the _opera buffa_ was in better condition
and gave greater promise than its more pretentious rival.

The first attempts of Mozart in dramatic composition do not call for
special attention. They were in the conventional style of the day, and
the librettos were wretched. Two of them "Bastien et Bastienne" and "La
finta Giardiniera" were revived in Germany in 1892 and with considerable
success. In the latter the characters are well defined; the melody is
spontaneous; there is color; and the finales are well developed. But in
"Idomeneo" (1781) we first see the peculiar dramatic genius of Mozart.
There is still the formalism of the _opera seria_, but there are traces
of the influence of French dramatic sincerity, and of his own artistic
individuality. Jahn has described the opera as "the genuine Italian _opera
seria_ brought to its utmost perfection by Mozart's highly cultivated
individuality." The chorus is brought into prominence; the instrumentation
is richer than in contemporaneous works, and there are evidences of the
study of Gluck, as in the accompaniment of three trombones and two horns
in the proclaiming of the oracle of Neptune. That he was convinced at the
time of the superiority of French taste in dramatic music, as in truth of
diction and sincerity, is shown by the fact that he wished to bring it
out in Vienna rearranged after the French model. And it may here be said
that if Mozart in the formation of his song was strongly influenced by
Italian spirit, he was also deeply impressed by the sense of proportion,
that was characteristic of French opera of his day. Grétry had shown great
art in the connecting of the operatic scenes, translating faithfully the
spoken word into musical speech, and individualizing by musical means the
creatures of the play. It was reserved for Mozart, the greater genius,
to carry Grétry's theories farther and at the same time never lose sight
of the musical expression. Méhul once said that Grétry made wit and not
music; this reproach could not justly be made against Mozart, although
he walked in the same path with the author of "Le Tableau parlant" and
"Richard." In spite of both the French and Italian influences, there
was much that was novel in the expression of the phrase, the variety of
thematic development, and the modulation, harmony, and instrumentation.
Its first performance was an epoch in the history of opera.

In the "Escape from the Seraglio" (1782) there was a still greater
advance, and here is seen the beginning of what is now known as German
opera. Mozart, while composing it, wrote his father at various times
concerning his operatic creed. Quotations from these letters will perhaps
best explain his theories: "A man who abandons himself to his anger,
becomes extravagant and is no longer master of himself. If music paints
anger, it must imitate its model; and however violent the passions may be
they should never provoke disgust. Music ought never to wound the ear.
Even in the most horrible situations it ought to satisfy the ear. Music
should always remain music." Here it will be seen that he is with La Harpe
and against Gluck. "Poetry in opera should be the obedient daughter of
music. Why do the Italian operas, in spite of miserable texts, please
everywhere, even in Paris? Because the music dominates as sovereign and
everything else is accepted." Here again Mozart is directly opposed to
Gluck; the former is the disciple of the Italian school; the latter
faithful to the French theory. Perhaps, as Victor Wilder suggests, the
truth is between the two extreme points; poetry and music in opera are
necessarily in reciprocal independence, and each ought in turn to dominate
the other, as the action hastens or is at a standstill. Gluck himself
admitted that "the union between words and music should be so close that
the poem seems as much made for the music as the music for the poem." Now
Italian dramatic music was chiefly concerned with the whole effect of
the poetical thought; the French was more concerned with the detail; the
German was more allied to the symphony, and there was a more even balance
between the vocal melody and the instrumental phrase. (It will be borne
in mind that I speak of German opera as it existed before the theories
and work of Richard Wagner.) As "Idomeneo" is distinguished by choral
dignity and French frankness of dramatic expression, the "Escape from the
Seraglio" is characterized by exquisite melody, by delightful ensemble,
and by ingenious instrumentation. There is an exuberance, a freshness in
this opera, that led von Weber to affirm that here Mozart had reached "the
full maturity of his powers as an artist, and that his further progress
after that was only in knowledge of the world." It would be an interesting
task to show the growth of Mozart's dramatic genius as seen in this
glorification of the old German Singspiel; the characterization of the
different parts by musical means. His letters to his father show the pains
he took in the instrumentation, now seeking with triangle, big drum and
cymbals Turkish effects, now emphasizing the sighs of Belmont with muted
strings and the flute.

Rossini once said that his "Barbiere" was an _opera buffa_, while Mozart
in "Le Nozze di Figaro" gave the model of the _dramma giocoso_: a fine
distinction, worthy of the shrewdness of the author. This Italian
adaptation of a French comedy set to music by a German differs from
the accepted form of _opera buffa_, in the development of the plot and
the delineation of character. The opera is at once dramatic, comic and
musical, not merely a bundle of comic situations and gross caricature with
incidental music. Rossini's "Barbiere," a masterpiece for all time, is
undoubtedly the truer reflection of the spirit of Beaumarchais; for Mozart
has idealized the intrigues and characters of the play. The libretto of da
Ponte is admirable in spite of the omission of the political satire that
perhaps justifies the immorality of the play. In this opera the musical
character-drawing is most cunning. Susanna and Marcellina are jealous,
but how different is their common jealousy from the noble jealousy of
the Countess. Rossini has drawn the Countess in her youth and made her a
mischievous and rebellious child. Mozart finds her a loving and abused
wife, who does not encourage the page's advances, but, suffering, yet not
without hope, seeks to win back her husband's love. In Susanna's passion
there is a tinge of sensuality, but the music given her by Mozart is nobly
sensuous. And so her merriment, her teasing, her caprices are all fitly
expressed. The Cherubino of Beaumarchais is a wanton youth who looks with
amorous eye upon all women; but his fever is turned into absorbing and
trembling love when he is in the presence of Mozart's Countess. So too
the men are carefully distinguished. The music given to each one of the
characters can not be mistaken; it surrounds each like an atmosphere.
This characterization is clearly seen in the masterly finales. Take the
eight movements, each distinct in design, that form the finale of the
second act. Succeeding complications as the number of persons in the
action increases; different emotions, as jealousy, merriment, anger,
forgiveness; the entrance and denunciation of the drunken gardener; the
arrival of Marcellina and her confederates; all these seemingly opposing
elements are firmly bound together and knit into an harmonious whole
that constantly increases in dramatic and musical strength. The other
great finale, a succession of misunderstandings and surprises is almost
equally remarkable, and the sextet, which according to Kelly was Mozart's
favorite piece in the whole opera, is not far below it. All these ensemble
numbers are at the same time so skilfully constructed that there is an
appearance of utter freedom of dramatic action. No words can give an
idea of the wealth of melody, a wealth that is prodigally squandered,
and yet this melody enhances the dramatic truth and does not stifle
it. The instrumentation is always appropriate to the scenic effect. It
supplements the voice. Whenever the same subject is used in a great
number of recitatives, there is an astonishing variety of instrumental
expression. It is said that Mozart's contemporaries were particularly
struck by his employment of wind instruments, as in the accompaniment to
Cherubino's romanze and air. And yet how simple the means; how meager
the resources would seem to young composers of to-day who even in comic
operas feel obliged to use the trombones and drums for the accompaniment
of the slightest recitative. In this opera the orchestra takes its
rightful place, it does not seek to dominate. It is always conscious of
the action on the stage, but it is not envious; it gladly assists, and
strengthens the impression. Its tone-colors aid in the distinguishing of
the characters. And above all, in the orchestra as well as on the stage,
there is ever present the sense of dramatic truth and unerring instinct in
the expression of it.

The libretto of "Don Giovanni" has been often censured, and without real
justice; for nearly all the feelings of humanity are expressed by the
characters. The supernatural, the vulgar, tragedy and comedy are mixed
together; even in the scene where the rake-helly hero plunges into eternal
flames, the element of farce is present. Beethoven, it is true, thought
the subject a scandalous one, unworthy of musical treatment; but it was
admirably adapted to the dramatic temperament of Mozart. "Don Giovanni
is a temperament of flame and fire that has no time for monologues; he
acts; it is life without shackles, without curb, flowing as the lava of a
volcano, which destroys everything in its path."

The various scenes, the conflicting passions, are marvellously reproduced
in the music of Mozart. From the very opening where Leporello keeps
impatient watch to the unearthly scene between the Statue and the
libertine, there is an unceasing flow of exquisite melody that is not
only appropriate to the characters and the action, but is also the
fullest and most complete expression of the plot and incidents. Berlioz
objected to the florid air sung by Donna Anna, on the ground that it was
not essentially dramatic; but there have been singers who could express
passion in a roulade and sway the hearer by a trill; such is the power of
personal conviction. It is true that the last finale is an anti-climax.
The interest ceases with the punishment of the hero, and although
attempts have been made to give the opera with this finale, they have not
been successful; and the curtain rightly falls with the descent of Don
Giovanni. To speak in detail of the myriad beauties of this masterpiece
would be simply to analyze the score measure by measure. Its immortal
melodies are known throughout the world. Musicians of all schools have
vied with men eminent in the other walks of life in the most extravagant
eulogy. In this opera is seen the universality of Mozart's genius. His
knowledge of humanity, his sympathy with all classes and conditions of
men. It is the most realistic of his works; it is at the same time the
most ideal. Not without reason did Goethe pass over Cherubini and von
Weber, Auber and Rossini, Beethoven and the rest, and say that Mozart was
the one who should have set his Faust to music. Not without reason did he
mention him with Shakespeare.

"Cosi fan tutte" and "La Clemenza di Tito" were written hurriedly. Neither
is an advance in the career of the composer. The first is a return to
the old-fashioned _opera buffa_; the second looks longingly towards the
ancient _opera seria_. The plot of the former is vulgar, improbable and
stupid; and that of the latter is extremely dull. The music of "Cosi fan
tutte" is often delightful, as in the famous quintet, the second terzet;
but there is not the same degree of psychological characterization found
in his three great operas; and there are many concessions to popular
taste. "La Clemenza di Tito" belongs to that class of compositions
described by the French as _grandes machines officielles_. The finale is
worthy of Mozart; but as a whole the opera is inferior to "Idomeneo" even
in the instrumentation.

When Schikaneder learned that Marinelli, a rival manager, also thought
of putting on the stage a fairy drama made out of Wieland's "Lulu," he
changed the plot of his "Magic flute" and substituted for the evil genius
of the play the high priest Sarastro, who appears to be custodian of the
secrets and the executor of the wishes of the masonic order. The libretto
has been ruthlessly condemned by many for its obscurity, absurdity,
triviality and buffoonery. Certain writers, however, have found a deep
and symbolical meaning in the most frivolous dialogue and even in the
music of the overture. Some have gone so far as to regard the opera as
a symbolical representation of the French Revolution: with the Queen of
Night as the incarnation of royalty; Pamina as Liberty, for whom Tamino,
the People, burns with passionate love; Sarastro as the Wisdom of the
Legislature. Others have claimed that no one who was not a Freemason could
appreciate the merits of the libretto at their true value. Now, Mozart
himself saw nothing in the text but the story of a magic opera. Goethe
and Hegel were equally blind. The former once wrote of the text that "the
author understood perfectly the art of producing great theatrical effects
by contrasts," and Hegel praised the libretto highly for its mixture of
the supernatural and the common, for its episodes of the initiations and
the tests. Rubinstein likes the variety: "pathetic, fantastic, lyric,
comic, naive, romantic, dramatic, tragic, yes, it would be hard to find
an expression that is wanting in it. It is evident the genius of a Mozart
was required to reproduce it all musically, as he has done; but such
texts might incite less genial composers to interesting work." But who
in listening to the music heeds Tamino pursued by the snake, the gloomy
Queen, or the vengeance of the Moor? Who is disquieted by the padlock or
the glockenspiel? He listens to the overture and forgets the "prodigious
complexity" in "its clearness, fascination and irresistible effect," and
he says with Saint Saëns, "it is a _tour de force_ which Mozart only could
have accomplished." He laughs with Papageno; he woos with Tamino; he is
initiated into the solemn mysteries. He does not understand the plot; he
does not desire to understand it; for his mind and his senses are soothed
by the continual and varied melody. As regards the instrumentation Jahn
has condensed all criticism into this one sentence: "It is the point of
departure for all that modern music has achieved in this direction." Nor
can the influence which the opera has exerted in the formation of German
music be overrated. For the first time all the resources of great genius
were brought to bear upon a genuine German opera. No one has summed up so
tersely and so fully the operatic genius of Mozart as Rubinstein: "Gluck
had achieved great things in the opera before him; yes, opened new paths,
but in comparison with Mozart he is, so to say, of stone. Besides, Mozart
has the merit of having removed the opera from the icy pathos of mythology
into real life, into the purely human, and from the Italian to the German
language, and thereby to a national path. The most remarkable feature of
his operas is the musical characteristic he has given to every figure, so
that each acting personage has become an immortal type. That which he has
made, he alone could make: a god-like creation, all flooded with light. In
hearing Mozart I always wish to exclaim: 'Eternal sunshine in music, thy
name is Mozart!'"

Mozart once said in regard to his lesser works, "Woe to the man that
judges me by these trifles." But the skill in instrumentation, the
heaven-born song, the spontaneity of counterpoint, and the exquisite sense
of proportion are often displayed in the serenades and _divertimenti_.
And in these qualities of art he still reigns supreme. It is true that he
founded no school in the narrow sense of the word; but he smoothed the
path for Beethoven; and without him the noble line in direct succession
would have been of later birth. It is idle, and yet it is common in these
days, to compare a composer of one generation, or even of a century, with
the composer of earlier or later years. Music itself is in a measure the
expression of its time. When counterpoint was regarded as the only medium
of music, the opera itself was stiffened by its contrapuntal dress, and
religion could only find vent in a fugue. When the singer waxed arrogant,
music existed only for his vain glory. Now we are taught to believe that
absolute music, music that does not "paint" or "personate" or follow a
"program," is of little account; that unless it puts in clearer light
some poetical thought or some determined emotion or natural phenomenon,
it is worthless; that music is not merely the vehicle of musical thought,
but is rather a means of expressing many ideas that might be better
expressed in poetry, in prose, or on the canvas. So the times change and
with them the fashions in art of every species. There is then perhaps no
greatest composer. Plutarchian comparisons between the men of different
centuries are of little avail in determining true values. A man must be
judged by the conditions of his own time and compared with the men who
worked by his side. And what compositions of Mozart's day, instrumental
or operatic, have stood the test of the revenger Time? Even the mighty
Gluck with his noble theories and statuesque music has bowed the knee
to the younger rival. Figaro and Papageno and the dissolute Don Juan
Tenorio y Salazar live to-day upon the stage; they are as familiar as
the characters of the Old Testament; as Robinson Crusoe or Don Quixote;
they are immortalized by the genius of the music-maker of Vienna. It may
be said without exaggeration that no composer began his work with such a
natural endowment; that Nature created him the greatest musician. His dear
friend Haydn, a man not given to vain compliments, a man of hard sense,
declared that posterity would not see such talent as his for the next
hundred years. And Rossini at the height of his glory, conscious of his
own prodigious natural gifts, pronounced the final judgment so far as this
century is concerned: "He is the greatest, he is the master of us all.
He is the only one whose genius was as great as his knowledge, and whose
knowledge equalled his genius."

[Illustration: Signature: Philip Hale]

[Illustration: The Graces. Figaro. Magic Flute. Don Giovanni. Religion.



_Reproduction of a life-size portrait by F. A. von Klober (1793-1864) made
in 1817. Lithographed by Theo. Neu. This is the best known portrait of the
master and the basis for many idealized portraits of later days. At this
time Beethoven was in his forty-seventh year and began the composition of
the Ninth Symphony, which he finished six years later._]

[Illustration: Beethoven]




The town of Louvain, in Belgium, is now a dull place, with a Hôtel de
Ville, Gothic church, detestable beer, and about 34,000 inhabitants. In
the 14th century it was the capital of the Duchy of Brabant, the residence
of the princes, the home of 2,000 manufactories. Near this city, whose
ruin was wrought by turbulent weavers, are villages called Rotselaer,
Leefdæl, and Berthem; and in the 16th century people by the name of
Van Beethoven were found in these same villages or hard by. If Léon de
Burbure's researches are not in vain, these Van Beethovens were simple
Flemish peasants, who ate beans during the week, and on a Sunday welcomed
the sight of bacon. _Van_ is not in Dutch a sign of nobility. Nor was the
spelling of the name invariable. It was Biethoven, Biethoffen, Bethof,
Betthoven; and there were other variations.

About 1650 one of these farmers grew weary of the smell of fresh earth
and the life with the beasts of the field, and he entered into Antwerp to
make his fortune. There he married, begot a son, and named him Guillaume;
and Guillaume was the great-great-grandfather of the composer of the Nine
Symphonies. Guillaume, or Wilhelm, grew up, trafficked in wines, was
apparently a man of parts, and was held in esteem. He married Catherine
Grandjean. He named one of his eight children Henri-Adélard, and this
Henri, the godson of the Baron de Rocquigny, became a prominent tailor,
and wedded Catherine de Herdt, by whom he had a dozen children. The third,
a son, was baptized Dec. 23, 1712, and his name was Louis. Louis was
brought up in the Antwerp choirs, and there seems to be no doubt that he
received a thorough musical education. His father, Henri, a year after
the birth of Louis, fell into poverty, and it is probable that the boy,
following the fortunes of some choir-master, lived for a time at Ghent.
In 1731 he was a singer in Louvain. In 1733 he was named a musician of
the court of the Elector of Cologne at Bonn. His salary was fixed at
about $160, and he married, in September, 1733, Maria Josepha Poll, aged
nineteen. Louis, or Ludwig, prospered. He rose from "Musicus" to "Herr
Kapellmeister." Maria, his wife, with increasing good fortune and the
addition of a wine shop to music lessons, took to drink, and died in 1775
in a convent at Cologne. Johann, their son, born towards the end of 1739
or in the beginning of 1740, inherited her thirst. He sang tenor and
received his appointment as court singer March 27, 1756. For thirteen
years he had served without pay as soprano, contralto, and tenor, and in
1764 he was granted one hundred thalers by Maximilian Friedrich, who had
succeeded Clemens August as Elector. In 1767 he married Maria Magdalena
Kewerich, the widow of Johann Laym, a valet. Maria was the daughter of a
head cook, nineteen, comely, slender, soft-hearted. Old Ludwig objected
to the match on account of the low social position of the woman. The
young couple lived in the house No. 515 in the Bonngasse. Ludwig Maria
was born in 1769 and lived six days. Ludwig, the great composer, was
baptized the 17th of December, 1770, and he was probably born the day
before the baptism. Of the five children born afterward, only Caspar Anton
(1774-1815) and Nikolaus Johann (1776-1848) grew up. A brother, August,
lived two years; a sister, Anna, four days, and Maria Margaretha about a


The seat of the electoral government of Cologne was transferred in 1257
from Cologne to Bonn. The ecclesiastical principality was a source of
large revenue to the Elector, and his income was derived from rights of
excise and navigation, church dues, benefits of games and lotteries,
and secret sums paid the Elector by Austria and France for serving
their interests. The Elector was also powerful in politics, and he
had the privilege of putting Charlemagne's crown on the head of the
emperor at Aix-la-Chapelle. The founder of the musical organization in
Bonn was Joseph Clemens, ugly, humpbacked, witty, fond of practical
jokes, music-mad. He was continually chasing after artists of merit.
He introduced French and Flemish musicians. In 1722 the state of the
electoral music-chapel was as follows: a director-in-chief of singing, and
two concert-masters; six musicians who were sub-chiefs, organists, etc.;
twelve singers, men and women, and to them must be added choir boys, and
assistants chosen from the domestics of the court; seventeen players of
stringed instruments; four trumpets, two horns and two drums; six players
of oboes and bassoons. Joseph died in 1724. Clemens August succeeded
him, and shared his musical taste. He in turn was followed in 1761 by
Maximilian Friedrich, whose habits were sumptuous; but his prime minister
cut down the expenses. He dismissed comedians, lessened the number of
concerts, and so the Beethoven family suffered in pocket.

The death of the first grandchild healed the breach between old Ludwig
and Johann. The old man died in 1773, but his grandson Ludwig remembered
him and preserved his portrait painted by Radoux to the day of his own
death. Dressed in court costume and wrapped in a red cloak, with great and
sparkling eyes, he made an indelible impression on the three-year-old boy,
as on his neighbors, who respected and admired him. It was his father who
first taught Ludwig the rudiments of his art. It is said, and the reports
are unanimous, that when the boy was hardly four years old, he was obliged
to practise for hours on the pianoforte, and was often urged by blows.
He was soon put under the instruction of Tobias Pfeiffer, the tenor of a
strolling company. Pfeiffer was a good musician and a man of unquenchable
thirst. Johann and he would spend hours in the tavern; and Pfeiffer,
suddenly remembering that his pupil had received no lesson that day,
would return home, drag him from his bed, and keep him at the instrument
until daybreak. Or, locked in a room, young Ludwig practised the violin,
and he was kept there until he had finished the daily allotted task. At
the primary school he learned to read, write, and reckon. Before he was
thirteen, his father declared that his scholastic education was finished.
This limited education was a source of mortification to Beethoven
throughout his life, and no doubt influenced strongly his character. He
spelled atrociously, he was never sure of the proper expression, and the
washerwoman disputed angrily his addition and subtraction.

After the death of the grandfather poverty entered the house. The
second-hand buyer became the warm friend of the family, and the household
furniture fed Johann's appetite. In response to a singular petition of
the tenor, a pension of sixty thalers was granted to the poor woman in
the convent at Cologne, who died a few months after it was given to
her. Beethoven's patient mother was always sewing and mending, and the
baker at least was paid. Meanwhile Johann meditated over his cups the
possibility of fortune gained by his son. Pfeiffer left Bonn. The boy
took a few lessons of Van den Eeden. They were gratuitous; the teacher
was old and infirm; and Neefe, who succeeded Van den Eeden, took charge
of Ludwig and gave him his first instruction in composition. Neefe was
an excellent musician. The son of a tailor, he first studied law, and
gained the title of "Doctor" by his thesis "A father has no right to
disinherit his son because the latter has turned opera-singer." Now Neefe
left on record a description of Ludwig at the age of eleven, which was
published in Cramer's Music Magazine. According to him Beethoven played
the pianoforte with "energetic skill." He played "fluently" Bach's
"Well-tempered Clavichord." "To encourage him he had nine variations which
the child wrote on a march theme engraved at Mannheim. This young genius
deserves a subsidy that he may travel. If he goes on as he has begun, he
will certainly be a second Mozart." Years after, Beethoven acknowledged
gladly his many obligations to this master. In 1782 Neefe went to Munster
for a visit, and Ludwig, then eleven years and a half old, took his place
at the organ. In the following year he was promoted to the position of
_maestro al cembalo_, i.e., he assisted at operatic rehearsals and played
the pianoforte at the performances. During these years, operas by Grétry,
Piccini, Cimarosa, Guglielmi, Sácchini, Sarti, Monsigny, Gluck, and Mozart
were given. According to the recollections of those who then knew him, he
was sombre, melancholy. He did not enter into the sports of his age. Once
a year he assisted in the celebration of the birthday of his mother. There
was music, there was drinking, and there was eating; there was dancing in
stockings, so that the neighbors might not be disturbed.

[Illustration: Beethoven's first authenticated likeness--a silhouette by
Neesen, made between 1787 and 1789.]

In 1783, Beethoven published the first three sonatas, dedicated to
the Elector. A year after, he was named second-organist, through the
intervention of Neefe and Count Salm, but "without appointments."
Maximilian died in 1784, and Maximilian of Austria, the brother of Marie
Antoinette, ruled in his stead. He at once began the work of reforming the
court-music. In a record of the day, Johann is spoken of as a worn-out
singer, "but he has been long in service and is very poor." Ludwig is
referred to as a possible successor to Neefe, and they could secure him
for about $60 a year. "He is poor, very young, and the son of a court
musician." In July, 1784, Ludwig was awarded a salary of $60, although
Neefe was not removed; and at the installation of the new Elector in 1785,
the boy, in court dress with sword at side, was permitted to kiss the
hands of his august master.

At that time Bonn was a sleepy town of about 10,000 inhabitants, who were
chiefly priests and people of the court. There were no factories; there
was no garrison, and the only soldiers were the body guard of the elector.
The theatre was in a wing of the palace. Strolling companies tarried there
for a season. Concerts, or "academies," as they were called, were given
in a handsome hall. The musicians lived bunched together in a quarter of
the town. Franz Ries, the violinist; the horn player, Simrock, the founder
of the publishing house; the singing daughters of Salomon;--these worthy
people were neighbors of the Beethovens. There were many skilled amateurs
in society. The Elector himself was passionately fond of music; he played
the viola and the pianoforte.

There is a story that in 1781, Ludwig made a concert tour in Holland,
or at least played in Rotterdam, but, with this possible exception, he
did not leave Bonn from his birth until the spring of 1787, and then he
went to Vienna. The Elector probably paid the expenses, and he gave him a
letter to Mozart. This great composer was apt to look askew at any infant
phenomenon. He listened at first impatiently to the playing of Beethoven,
but when the latter invented a fantasia on a given theme, Mozart said to
the hearers, "Pay attention to this youngster; he will make a noise in
the world, one of these days." He gave the boy a few lessons. There is a
story that Beethoven also met the Emperor Joseph. His stay was cut short
by lack of money and the news that his mother was dying. In July, Franz
Ries paid her burial expenses. Johann kept on drinking, and his son, who
was now the head of the house, rescued him occasionally from the hands
of the police. In 1789 it was decreed that a portion of the father's
salary should be paid to the son, and December 18, 1792, the unfortunate
man died. The Elector, in a letter to Marshall Schall, pronounced this
funeral oration: "Beethoven is dead; it is a serious loss to the duties on

Ludwig looked after the education of his brothers; Caspar learned music,
and Johann was put under the Court Apothecary. And now he found devoted
friends in Count Waldstein and the Breuning family. The widow von Breuning
was a woman of society, accomplished and kind-hearted. She was one of
the few people who had an influence over the actions of Beethoven, and
her influence was no doubt strengthened by the sweetness of her daughter
Eleonore. He gave Eleonore lessons, and she in turn acquainted him with
the German poets, and Homer and Shakespeare. Was he in love with her?
We know that he was of amorous temperament. Dr. Wegeler, Stephen von
Breuning, Ries, Romberg, all bear witness that he was never without an
object of passion in his heart. Mr. Thayer says that we have no proof
that Beethoven loved her, but such affairs are not often matters for
cross-examination and a jury. No doubt the susceptible young man was
smitten deeply with every fair girl he met, and in the new-comer forgot
the old flame. There was Miss Jeannette d'Honrath of Cologne; there was
Miss Westerhold, whose eyes he remembered for forty years; nor must pretty
Babette Koch be forgotten, the daughter of a tavern keeper, and afterward
a Countess. And so he passed his days in music, conversation, and innocent
pleasures. He went with the Elector to Mergentheim; at Aschaffenburg he
played in friendly rivalry with the Abbé Sterkel. It was at Mergentheim
that the modest and unassuming pianist touched hearts by his telling,
suggestive, expressive improvisations; for so Chaplain Junker bore record.
In 1792, Haydn passed through Bonn on his return from London to Vienna,
and praised a cantata by Beethoven on the succession of Leopold II.,
and in November of the same year Ludwig left Bonn for ever. The Elector
realized the extent of his genius, and gave him a small pension. The
political condition of France affected the Rhenish town; there was panic,
and in October there was a general exodus. His many friends bade Beethoven
warm God-speed, and Count Waldstein in a letter prayed him to receive
"through unbroken industry from the hands of Haydn the spirit of Mozart."
Nearly twenty-two, he was known chiefly by the remarkable facility of his
extempore playing, and the record of his compositions during the Bonn
period is insignificant. At the age of twenty-three, Mozart was famous as
a writer of operas, symphonies, cantatas, and masses, and his pieces were
in number about three hundred.

[Illustration: BEETHOVEN.

Miniature portrait on ivory painted by C. Hernemann, in 1802.]

On his arrival at Vienna he bought clothing and took dancing lessons, that
he might be an acceptable guest in houses to which he was recommended by
Count Waldstein. He never was able to dance, by the way, for he could not
keep step to the music. The 12th of December, he recorded the fact that
he had only about $35. The Elector, fearing hard times, did not fulfill
his first promises. Beethoven took a garret,--and afterwards moved to
a room on the ground-floor--in a printer's house in the Alservorstadt;
there he began a student-life of three years. He took lessons of Haydn,
and although they drank coffee and chocolate at Beethoven's expense,
the lessons were unsatisfactory. Haydn looked on the pupil as a musical
atheist, who had not the fear of Fux before his eyes, and the pupil
thought that Haydn was not diligent and that he did not correct carefully
his mistakes. "It is true he gave me lessons," he once said to Ries,
"but he taught me nothing." Then he took secretly lessons of Schenk,
and when Haydn went to London in 1794, he put himself under the rigid
disciplinarian Albrechtsberger. He studied with Salieri the art of
writing for the voice and the stage. He also took lessons on the viola,
violin, violoncello, clarinet and horn. There were a few exceptions, but
Beethoven was unpopular with his masters. They considered him obstinate
and arrogant. Haydn spoke of him as "the great Mogul"; Albrechtsberger
once said, "He has learned nothing, and will never do anything in decent
style." Nor was Beethoven's continual "_I_ say it is right" calculated to
win the affection of his masters.


Reproduced from a photograph of a painting in which the two composers are
not faithfully represented, as may be seen by referring to authenticated

Meanwhile Beethoven made influential friends. Vienna at that time numbered
about 250,000 inhabitants. The life was gay, even frivolous. Reichardt
considered the city a most agreeable dwelling place for musicians. "You
find there a rich, educated, and hospitable aristocracy, devoted to music;
the middle class is wealthy and intelligent; and the common people,
jolly and good-natured, have always a song in the mouth." Princes hired
orchestra and singers for their own theatres. Others had musicians in
their employment, and even those in moderate circumstances retained an
organist or pianist. These Viennese were the patrons of composers who
wrote especially for them. In common with other South Germans they were
pleased with music that appealed to the heart rather than to the brain,
and the neighborhood of Italy influenced their melodies and taste. This
influence was also marked in the sympathetic performance of the Vienna
players, for the abandon and the swing were opposed to the rigidity of
Northern orchestras. The amateurs were many and of the noblest families.
There was Van Swieten who bowed the knee to Handel; Count Kinsky, whose
son was in after years the devoted friend of Beethoven; Prince Lobkowitz,
who played the violin and spent his fortune in the pursuit of musical
pleasure; the Esterhazy family; Von Rees and Von Meyer; and princes and
counts without number, in whose houses symphonies, oratorios, and chamber
music were performed from manuscript. Public concerts were then rare. The
court opera house was devoted to Italian opera; at the Theatre Marinelli
German operettas were seen; at the theatre _an der Wien_, farces and
operettas were given. The chief composers in Vienna were Haydn, Salieri,
Weizl, Schenk, Süssmayr, Wranitzky, Kozeluch, Förster, Eberl and Vanhall.

Two of the warmest friends of Beethoven were the Prince Lichnowsky and his
wife, formerly the Countess of Thun. They mourned the death of Mozart, and
saw in Haydn's pupil a possible successor. In 1794 they took Beethoven
to their house and humored him and petted him. They were childless, and
their affection was spent on the rude, hot-tempered, trying young man.
The princess saw through the rugged exterior, and the stories of her
tact and forbearance are many. "She would have put me in a glass case
that no evil might come nigh me," said the composer in after years. In
their palace Beethoven was free in action and in dress. He studied or
gave lessons by day, and at night he was associated with the Schuppanzigh
quartet--afterward the Rasoumoffsky quartet--the members of which met
every Friday at Lichnowsky's house.

At this time he was chiefly known as a virtuoso, and his first appearance
in public was March 29, 1795, in a concert at the Burgtheatre for the
benefit of the widows of the Society of Musicians. An oratorio by
Cartellieri was given, and Beethoven played his pianoforte concerto in C
major, which was published six years after as Op. 15. At rehearsal there
was a difference of half a tone between the pitch of the pianoforte and
that of the orchestral instruments, and the composer played the concerto
in C sharp major. In the same year he made a contract with Artaria for
the publication of his first three pianoforte trios. Two hundred and
forty-two copies were subscribed for, and the composer netted about $400,
a respectable sum at that time, especially for the early works of a young

In 1796 Beethoven went to Nuremberg, where he met his Bonn friends, the
Breuning brothers, and for some reason not clearly known, they were
arrested at Linz by the police, but were quickly released. On his return
to Vienna he busied himself in overseeing the publication of sonatas
(Op. 2), minuets and variations. His brothers were in the city. Johann,
"tall, black, handsome, a complete dandy," found a place in an apothecary
shop. Caspar, "small, red-haired, ugly," gave music lessons. In February
Beethoven was in Prague and in Berlin, the only occasion on which he
visited "the Athens of the Spree." Frederick William II. was gracious to
him, heard him play, and gave him a snuff-box filled with gold pieces;
"not an ordinary box," as Beethoven proudly said when he showed it, "but
such a one as they give to ambassadors." Beethoven also met Prince Louis
Ferdinand and complimented him by saying, "you play like an artist, not
like a prince." He jeered at Himmel's improvisation, and Himmel in turn
persuaded him that a lantern had been invented for the benefit of the
blind. He saw Fasch and Zelter. When he returned to Vienna the talk was of
Napoleon conquering in Italy.

In 1797 Beethoven, through imprudent exposure when he was heated,
contracted a dangerous illness, and Zmeskall relates that it "eventually
settled in the organs of hearing." He worked at his trade. He entered
into a contest with Wölfl, a virtuoso of remarkable technique, and they
vied with each other in friendly spirit; whereas in a similar and later
trial of skill between Beethoven and Steibelt, the latter sulked at the
power of his rival. In 1798 he met Prince Rasumowsky, Count Browne,
Rudolphe Kreutzer (who introduced him to Bernadotte, the suggestor of
the "Heroic" symphony and the French ambassador), and in the following
year he saw Dragonetti, the great player of the double-bass, who without
doubt influenced him in his treatment of that instrument, and Cramer the
pianist. The few recorded events of the next years are chiefly connected
with music. The septet and first symphony were produced in 1800, and
April 2 of the same year Beethoven gave the first concert in Vienna for
his own benefit. He had left the palace of Prince Lichnowsky and lodged
at No. 241 "im tiefen Graben." In the fall he went into the country, the
first instance of what was afterward his settled custom. We know of no
publication of music by Beethoven in 1800. He finished the first symphony,
the septet (which he disliked), the string quartets Op. 18, the C-minor
concerto Op. 37, the sonata Op. 22, and other works of less importance,
including the horn sonata for Punto. Czerny, ten years old, met him some
time in this year, and he has left a curious description of him, although
it was written years after the meeting. He mentions the "desert of a
room--bare walls--paper and clothes scattered about--scarcely a chair
except the rickety one before the pianoforte. Beethoven was dressed in a
dark gray jacket and trousers of some long-haired material which reminded
me of the description of Robinson Crusoe. The jet-black hair stood upright
on his head. A beard, unshaven for several days, made still darker his
naturally swarthy face. He had in both ears cotton wool which seemed to
have been dipped in some yellow fluid. His hands were covered with hair,
and the fingers were very broad, especially at the tips."

In 1801 he was feeling well and he worked hard. His ballet "Prometheus"
was given March 28 with success. He changed his lodgings and dwelt in the
Sailer-Staette, where he could look over the town-ramparts. When the days
lengthened, he went to Hetzendorf, near the shaded gardens of Schönbrunn,
modelled after Versailles. "I live only in my music," he wrote Wegeler,
"and no sooner is one thing done than the next is begun; I often work at
three and four things at once." "The Mount of Olives"; the violin sonatas
in A minor and F; the string quintet in C; the pianoforte sonatas, Op. 26,
27, 28, were completed in this year, and other works were sketched. The
so-called "Moonlight Sonata" brings before us Giuletta Guicciardi, to whom
it was dedicated, and the romance connected with her.


Reproduced from a photograph of a painting in which the scene is

The noble women of Vienna were fond of Beethoven; to say they adored him
would not be extravagant. They went to his lodgings or they received
him at their palaces. Even his rudeness fascinated them; they forgave
him if he roared angrily at a lesson, or tore the music in pieces; they
were not offended if he used the snuffers as a tooth-pick. He, too, was
constantly in love, but there is no reason to doubt that his attachments
were honorable. "Oh God! let me at last find her who is destined to be
mine, and who shall strengthen me in virtue," was his prayer. Yet Wegeler
says, that he fancied himself a Lovelace and irresistible. He paraded his
attachments in dedications. There was the beautiful Hungarian Countess,
Babette de Keglevics; the Countess Therese of Brunswick; Baroness Ertmann,
the Countess Erdödy; and there were many others. In lesser station was
Christine Gherardi, and there was Madeleine Willman, the singer, who, it
is said, refused Beethoven's hand because he was "ugly and half-mad."
But his passion for the woman Giuletta Guicciardi was deep-rooted, and
it deserves more than passing notice. Her family came originally from
the Duchy of Modena, and in 1800 her father went to Vienna, an Imperial
Counsellor. She was in her seventeenth year, with dark blue eyes, waving
brown hair, classic features, and a stately carriage. She was then as
good as betrothed to Count Gallenberg, an impressario and a composer of
ballets, whom she married in 1803. After Beethoven's death letters of an
incoherent and a fiery nature were found in a secret drawer, and it was
supposed that they were addressed to the Guicciardi until the ruthless
examination of them by Thayer. She herself made light of the dedication
by telling Jahn in later years that Beethoven gave her the Rondo in G,
but wishing to dedicate something to Princess Lichnowsky, he gave her the
sonata instead. Beethoven, when he was very deaf, wrote in bad French to
his friend Schindler (for his conversation was necessarily at the time in
writing) that he was loved by her; that he raised money for her husband;
and that when she returned to Vienna from Italy, she looked Beethoven
up and wept; but he despised her. The reader who wishes to investigate
the subject and read of her strange adventures with Prince Hermann
Pückler-Muskau, even though illusions be thereby dispelled, is referred to
the chapter "Julia Guicciardi" in "Neue Musikalische Charakterbilder" by
Otto Gumprecht (Leipsic, 1876).

And in this year, 1801, the deafness, which began with violent noise in
his ears, grew on him. In a letter to Wegeler, in which he speaks of a
pension of about $240, from Lichnowsky, he tells of his infirmities. He
connected the deafness with abdominal troubles, with "frightful colic."
He went from doctor to doctor. He tried oil of almonds and cold and warm
baths. Pills and herbs and blisters were of little avail. He inquired into
galvanic remedies. Zmeskall persuaded him to visit Father Weiss, monk and
quack. Discouraged, he still had the bravery to write, "I will as far as
possible defy my fate, though there must be moments when I shall be the
most miserable of God's creatures... I will grapple with fate; it shall
never drag me down." At the same time in telling his sorrow to Carl Amenda
he swore him solemnly to secrecy.

Dr. Schmidt sent him in 1802 to Heiligenstadt, a lonely village, and there
he wrote the famous letter known as "Beethoven's Will," addressed to his
brothers, to be opened after his death (see page 331). It is possible
that this letter full of gloom and distress was only the expression of
momentary depression. The music of this same year is cheerful, if not
absolutely joyous--the Symphony in D, for example--and on his return to
Vienna he wrote letters of mad humor. He changed his lodgings to the
Peters-Platz, in the heart of the city, where he was between the bells
of two churches. He corrected publishers' proofs, and was "hoarse with
stamping and swearing" on account of the errors, "swarming like fish in
the sea." He quarreled with his brother Caspar, who interfered in his
dealings with publishers and brought to light compositions of boyhood.

In April, 1803, a concert was given, the program of which included "The
Mount of Olives," the Symphony in D, and the pianoforte concerto in C
minor, with the composer as pianist. The so-called "Kreutzer Sonata" for
violin and pianoforte, written for the half-breed Bridgetower, was heard
this year; there was a quarrel, and the now famous work was dedicated to
R. Kreutzer, who was in the train of Bernadotte. In the summer, Beethoven
went to Baden near Vienna, and to Oberdöbling, but before he left the
city he talked with Schikaneder about an opera for the theatre "_An der
Wien_." He had also changed his lodgings again and moved to the said
theatre with Caspar. The rest of the year, however, was chiefly given to
the composition of the "Heroic" symphony, which was suggested to him in
1798 by Bernadotte. It is true that he went much in society, associating
with painters and officials, and with the Abbé Vogler; he also began
correspondence with Thomson, the music publisher of Edinburg, concerning
sonatas on Scotch themes. At the beginning of 1804, he was obliged to seek
new quarters, and he roomed with his old friend Stephen Breuning in the
Rothe Haus. At first they had separate sets of rooms; they then thought
it would be cheaper to live together. Beethoven neglected to notify the
landlord, and he was liable for the two suites. Hence hot words and a
rupture. The breach was afterwards healed, but Breuning, who apparently
behaved admirably, wrote in a letter to Wegeler of Beethoven's "excitable
temperament, his habit of distrusting his best friends, and his frequent
indecision. Rarely indeed, does his old true nature now allow itself to
be seen." At Döbling he worked at the Waldstein Sonata and the Op. 54.
The "Bonaparte" Symphony was finished, and, according to Lichnowsky, the
title-page bore simply the inscription "Buonaparte," and the name "Luigi
van Beethoven." Beethoven had unbounded admiration for Napoleon as long as
he was First Consul, and he compared him often with illustrious Romans,
but when the Corsican made himself Emperor of the French, the composer
burst into violent reproaches and tore in pieces the title page of the
Symphony. When the work was published in 1806, the title announced the
fact that it was written "to celebrate the memory of a great man"; and
when Napoleon was at St. Helena, Beethoven once cried out, "Did I not
foresee the catastrophe when I wrote the funeral march in the Symphony?"
When he went back to Vienna for the winter, he lodged in a house of Baron
Pasqualati on the Mölker-Bastion; these rooms were kept for him, even when
he occasionally moved for a season.

In 1805 Baron von Braun took Schikaneder as manager of the "_An der
Wien_," and they made Beethoven an offer for an opera. The story of
Leonora suited the composer, although Bouilly's text had been already set
by Gaveaux and Paer; he worked diligently at his rooms in the theatre, and
later in the fields of Hetzendorf. In the summer he went to Vienna to see
Cherubini. In the fall the operatic rehearsal began. The singers and the
orchestra rebelled at difficulties. The composer was vexed and angry. For
the first time he welcomed deafness. He did not wish to hear his music
"bungled." "The whole business of the opera is the most distressing thing
in the world." The first performance was November 20th, 1805. Anna Milder,
to whom Haydn said, "You have a voice like a house," was the heroine.
Louise Müller was _Marcelline_; Demmer, _Florestan_; Meyer, _Pizarro_;
Weinkopf, _Don Fernando_; Caché, _Jaquino_; Rothe, _Rocco_. The opera
was then in three acts, and the overture seems to have been "Leonora No.
II." The time was unfavorable. The French entered Vienna the 13th of
November; Napoleon was at Schönbrunn; nearly all of the wealthy and noble
patrons of Beethoven had fled the town. The opera was played three nights
and then withdrawn--a failure. It was revised, shortened, and with the
overture "Leonora No. III.," it was again performed March 29, 1806, and
the reception was warmer. It was played April 10th. Beethoven and Braun
quarreled, and Vienna did not hear "Fidelio" for seven or eight years.
Parts of the pianoforte concerto in G and of the C-minor symphony, as well
as the two last of the Rasoumoffsky string quartets Op. 59 were composed
at this time.

[Illustration: BEETHOVEN.

After a posthumous Medallion by Gatteux.]

Some months in 1806 were passed in visits. Beethoven stopped at the
country-seat of Count Brunswick--and some say that he was in love with
Therese, the sister, to whom he dedicated his favorite sonata Op. 78, and
that the posthumous love letters were addressed to her. He went to Silesia
to see Prince Lichnowsky. There were French officers there who wished to
hear him play, and when he refused, the Prince threatened in jest to lock
him up. There was an angry scene, and Beethoven, rushing back to Vienna,
dashed a bust of the Prince to pieces. The 4th symphony was played at a
concert in March, 1807, for Beethoven's benefit. The subscriptions were
as liberal as the program, which was made up of two and a half hours of
orchestral music. Clementi of London paid him $1,000 down for copyrights.
And so he had money and he was cheerful. He worked at the "Coriolan"
overture, and, it is believed, the Pastoral and C-minor symphonies. In
September the mass in C was brought out under the protection of Prince
Esterhazy, who, accustomed to Haydn's music, said to Beethoven, "What,
pray, have you been doing now?" Hummel, the Chapelmaster, laughed, and
there was no intercourse between the composers for some time. In spite of
the failure of "Fidelio," Beethoven looked toward the theatre and offered
to supply one grand opera and one operetta yearly at a salary of about
$960 with benefit performances, an offer that was rejected. 1807 saw the
publication of the "Appassionata" sonata and the thirty-two variations.
The pianoforte concerto in G and the Choral Fantasia were performed in

[Illustration: BEETHOVEN.

From a pencil drawing by Letronne, made in 1814. It has been engraved by
several artists. The above is reproduced from the frontispiece of the
original full score of "Fidelio," published in Bonn.]

The pension from the Elector had been stopped. Prince Lichnowsky made
Beethoven a small allowance, and with this exception, the latter was
dependent on his own exertions. Some time in 1808 Jerome Bonaparte, King
of Westphalia, offered Beethoven the position of _Maître de Chapelle_
at Cassel, with an annual salary, beside travelling expenses, of about
$1,500. This led the Archduke Rudolph, Prince Lobkowitz, and Prince Kinsky
to give a joint undertaking in March 1809 to secure Beethoven 4,000
florins, payable half-yearly, a sum nominally worth about $2,000, and
really about $1,000; this was lessened by the depreciation of the Austrian
paper and the bankruptcy and the death of Prince Kinsky. It was in this
year that Beethoven met young Moscheles, began relations with Breitkopf
and Härtel, negotiated with Thomson about the harmonization of Scottish
melodies, a contract which in the course of years netted him about $1,000.
The French were again in Vienna. Wagram was fought. Beethoven, during
the bombardment of his town, was in a cellar, and dreading the effect of
the explosions on his hearing, called in the aid of cushions. Haydn died
in May, and there is no hint of the fact in the letters or journals of
his quondam pupil. It was the year of the beginning of the "Les Adieux"
sonata, to commemorate the departure of the Archduke.

May, 1810, was the date of the first performance of the music to "Egmont,"
probably in a private house, and in this month Beethoven first saw Bettine
Brentano, "Goethe's child, who seemed the incarnation or the original of
Mignon." With her he fell in love, although she was betrothed to Count
Arnim. The authenticity of the three letters which she published in after
years as his has been a subject of warm dispute. It was in this same year
that he contemplated marriage, and wrote for his baptismal certificate.
But the name of the possible wife is unknown. Some have called her Therese
von Brunswick; others Therese Malfatti.

There was a rumor in Vienna in 1811 that Beethoven thought of moving to
Naples in response to advantageous offers. His income was lowered by
the depreciation in the value of the Austrian paper money. He suffered
from headaches, his feet were swollen, and he hoped that the climate
of Italy would bring relief. His physician did not favor the plan. In
1812 the Brentanos lent Beethoven about $920, and he tried the baths at
Carlsbad, Franzensbrunn, and Töplitz. At the latter place he fell in love
with Amalie Sebald, a soprano from Berlin, about thirty years of age,
handsome and intellectual. The affection was deep and mutual; why the
intimate relations did not lead to marriage, is an insoluble problem.
And here Beethoven met Goethe, whom he reverenced; but the poet saw in
him "an utterly untamed character." The acquaintance did not ripen into
friendship, although Goethe recognized the "marvellous talent" of the
composer; Mendelssohn declared, however, in a letter to Zelter, that the
antipathy of the poet to Beethoven's music was poorly disguised. Nor on
the other hand did the composer relish the self-effacement of Goethe when
he was in the presence of royalty. In October he visited his brother
Johann at Linz and found him entangled with a woman; he forced him to
marry her by threats of arresting her and sending her to Vienna. 1812 was
the year of the composition of the Seventh and Eight symphonies. Beethoven
returned to Vienna in gloomy spirits; he was sick in body; he squabbled
with his servants; Amalie Sebald was ever in his mind.

The defeat of the French at Vittoria in 1813 provoked the vulgar
program-music, "Wellington's Victory," which was suggested also by
Maelzel, the famous mechanician; it enjoyed great popularity, although
Beethoven himself regarded it as "a stupid affair." Spohr was in Vienna
when Beethoven conducted an orchestral concert, the program of which
included the 7th symphony in MS. and this Battle Symphony. He and
Mayseder, Salieri, Hummel, Moscheles, Romberg and Meyerbeer were in the
orchestra. According to Spohr, Beethoven at this time had only one pair of
boots, and when they were repaired he was obliged to stay at home. In 1816
the composer recorded in a note-book that he had seven pairs.

In 1814 Anton Schindler first met Beethoven. They grew intimate, and
five years later he lived with him as a secretary. They quarreled, but
they were reconciled shortly before the death of the composer. "Fidelio"
was revived the same year. The new overture (in E) was included in the
performance. Prince Lichnowsky died before the opera, which had undergone
alteration, was thus produced. Then came a quarrel between Beethoven and
Maelzel, which worried sorely the composer. September saw his triumph,
when six thousand people waxed enthusiastic at a concert given by him in
the Redouten-Saal. There were royal and celebrated visitors, drawn to
Vienna by the Congress. Beethoven wrote a cantata for the event. "_Der
glorreiche Augenblick_" ("The Glorious Moment"), a work unworthy of his
reputation. He was made an honorary member of the Academies of London,
Paris, Stockholm and Amsterdam. Vienna gave him the freedom of the city.
He was courted in the drawing-rooms of the great. The Empress Elizabeth of
Russia made him a present of about $4,600. He bought shares of the Bank of

[Illustration: BEETHOVEN.

From an engraving by Eichens after an oil painting by Schimon, painted in

Caspar Carl Beethoven died in November, 1815, and thus gave final and
posthumous anxiety to his brother Ludwig; for he left to him the care of
his son Carl. The mother of the eight-year-old boy was not a fit person
to rear him, and Caspar had written his last wishes with an affectionate
reference to Ludwig, who in fact had ministered generously to his wants
and his caprices, and had thus spent at least $4,000. A codicil, however,
restrained the uncle from taking his nephew away from the maternal house.
The widow did not restrain her passions even in her grief, and Beethoven
appealed to the law to give him control of the boy. There were annoyances,
changes of jurisdiction, and the decree was not given in his favor until
1820. It was before the _Landrechts_ court that Beethoven pointed to his
head and his heart, saying, "My nobility is here and here"; for the cause
was in this court on the assumption that the _van_ in his name was an
indication of nobility. Owing to these law-suits he composed but little;
still it was the period of the great pianoforte sonatas Op. 106, Op. 109,
Op. 110. He was in straitened circumstances. In 1816 his pension was
diminished to about $550. He had quarreled again with Stephen Breuning.
He found pleasure in the thought that he was a father. He was influenced
mightily by the death of his brother and the painful incidents that
followed, not only in his daily life but in his work. At first there was
a time of comparative unproductiveness, and the cantata "Calm Sea and
Happy Voyage" and the song-cyclus "To the Absent Loved-one," with the
pianoforte sonata Op. 101, are the most important compositions between
1815 and 1818. Texts for oratorios and operas were offered him, but he did
not put them to music. In 1818 he received a grand pianoforte from the
Broadwoods, and there was vain talk of his going to England.

His friend and pupil, the Archduke Rudolph, was appointed Archbishop of
Olmütz in 1818, and Beethoven began in the autumn a grand Mass for the
Installation. The ceremony was in March, 1820; the Mass was not finished
until 1822; it was published in 1827, and there were seven subscribers
at about $115 a copy; among them were the Emperor of Russia, the King of
Prussia, and the King of France. The summer and autumn of 1818 and '19
were spent at Mödling in the composition of the Mass, relieved only by
anxious thoughts about his nephew. Sketches for the 9th symphony date back
to 1817, and the theme of the scherzo is found in 1815. This colossal
work was in his mind together with a tenth, which should be choral in
the adagio and the finale, even when he wrote the overture in C for the
opening of the Josephstadt Theatre in Vienna and watched with fiery eyes
Wilhelmine Schröder-Devrient, the Leonora of the revival in 1822. In this
same year Rossini, sweeping all before him, visited Vienna, and tried
to call on Beethoven. According to Azevedo the interview was painful
between the young man flushed with success and the deaf and "almost blind"
composer of the Heroic Symphony. But Schindler affirms that Beethoven
succeeded in escaping the visits. The operatic triumphs of Rossini and
the thought of the Schröder-Devrient again led him to meditate opera.
There were discussions concerning music to Goethe's "Faust," not in
set operatic form, but incidental airs, choruses, symphonic pieces and
melodrama. In June, 1823, he was hard at work on the Ninth Symphony. He
passed whole days in the open air at Hetzendorf, but his host, a baron,
was too obsequiously civil, and he moved to Baden, where in the fall he
received a visit from Weber. The Philharmonic Society of London in 1822
passed a resolution offering Beethoven £50 for a MS. symphony; the money
was advanced, and the work was to be delivered in the March following.
Ries was in London in the fall of 1823, and in September he heard from
Beethoven that the manuscript was finished, nevertheless there was
additional work on it after the return to Vienna; and according to Wilder,
who quotes Schindler, the finale was not written until Beethoven was in
his new lodgings in town, and the use of the voices in Schiller's Ode was
then first definitely determined, although the intention was of earlier

The Italians still tickled the ears of the Viennese, who apparently cared
not for German music, vocal or instrumental. Beethoven looked toward
Berlin as the city where his solemn Mass and Ninth Symphony (in spite
of his arrangement with the Philharmonic society of London) should be
produced, and he negotiated with Count Brühl. This drove finally the noble
friends of Beethoven in Vienna to send him an address praying him to allow
the first production of these new works to be in the city in which he
lived. Beethoven was moved deeply; he found the address "noble and great."
There were the unfortunate misunderstandings that accompany so often such
an occasion. Beethoven was suspicious, the manager of the Kärnthnerthor
theatre where the concert was given was greedy, and the music perplexed
the singers and the players. Sontag and Ungher, who sang the female solo
parts, begged him to change certain passages, but he would not listen to
them. The 7th of May, 1824, the theatre was crowded, with the exception of
the Imperial box; no one of the Imperial family was present, no one sent
a ducat to the composer. The program was as follows: Overture in C (Op.
124); the Kyrie, Credo, Agnus and Dona Nobis of the mass in D arranged in
the form of three hymns and sung in German, on account of the interference
of the Censure, as the word "mass" could not appear on a theatre program;
the Ninth Symphony. The public enthusiasm was extraordinary. As Beethoven
could not hear the plaudits Caroline Ungher took him by the shoulders and
turned him about that he might see the waving of hats and the beating
together of hands. He bowed, and then the storm of applause was redoubled.
After the expenses of the concert there were about 400 florins for
Beethoven--about $200. The concert was repeated and the manager guaranteed
500 florins. The hall was half-empty. The composer was angry; he at first
refused to accept the guarantee; and he accused his friends whom he had
invited to eat with him of conspiring to cheat him.


From a lithographic reproduction of a painting made by Stieler, in April,


In the Schwarz-Spanier house. From an engraving by G. Leybold of a drawing
made three days after his death.]

Meanwhile his nephew, for whom he was willing to make any sacrifice
and for whose benefit he labored incessantly and sold his manuscripts,
neglected his studies and became an expert at the game of billiards. On
the return of Beethoven from Baden to Vienna in 1824, the nephew entered
the University as a student of philology; he failed in a subsequent
examination; he thought of trade; he failed in an examination for
admission into the Polytechnic school; and although in despair he pulled
the triggers of two pistols which he had applied to his head, he failed
to kill himself. He then fell into the hands of the police, was ordered
out of Vienna, and joined the Austrian army. After he was obliged to quit
Vienna, the uncle and the nephew in 1826 lived with Johann at Gneixendorf.
The surroundings were dreary; the stingy sister-in-law of Beethoven
refused him a fire; the brother found that he must charge him for board
and lodging; and the nephew was insolent. He left the house in an open
chaise and caught a cold which settled in his abdomen. The result of the
journey was a sharp attack of inflammation of the lungs and dropsy. For
the sake of his nephew Beethoven offered his manuscripts to publishers.
Schott bought the Mass in D for 1,000 florins and the Ninth Symphony for
600 florins. A young man named Holtz helped the composer in his business
calculations and gained a strange influence over him; he even induced
him to abandon occasionally his customary sobriety. And yet these days
of business and anxiety saw the composition of the last Quartets. Prince
Nicholas de Galitzin of Saint Petersburg begged three string-quartets
with dedications from him; he wrote to him in flattering terms; he named
his bankers. Beethoven fixed the price at $115 a quartet. The Prince
acknowledged the receipt of two (E-flat Op. 127 and A minor Op. 132) and
regretted his delay in answering; "I now live in the depths of Russia and
in a few days I shall go to Persia to fight." He promised again to send
the money. Beethoven never received it, and the quartets were sold to
publishers. The third, B-flat Op. 130, originally ended with a long fugue
which was afterward published separately, and the new finale was written
at the dreary house of his brother, where he also finished the quartet in


From a photograph.]

When he arrived at Vienna in December, 1826, he went immediately to bed
in his lodgings in the Schwarzspanierhaus. He had dismissed rudely two
eminent physicians who had treated him for a former illness, and they
would not now attend him. His nephew, who was charged with the errand of
finding a doctor, played billiards and forgot the condition of his uncle,
so that two days went by without medical assistance. Finally Dr. Andreas
Wawruch was told by a billiard-marker of the suffering of the sick man. He
went to him and dosed him with decoctions. In a few days the patient was
worse, in spite of the great array of empty bottles of medicine. Dropsy
declared itself. He was tapped by Dr. Seibert, and during one of the
operations he said, "I would rather see the water flow from my belly than
from my pen." Schindler and Breuning came to his bedside, and with them
young Gerhard Breuning, the son of Stephen. This lad now dwelled in the
house with Beethoven as his constant companion. Dr. Malfatti was persuaded
to forget his quarrels with the composer, and he consented to act in
consultation with Dr. Wawruch. Beethoven saw his old friend gladly; but he
would turn his back to Wawruch with the remark, "Oh, the ass!" Malfatti
administered iced punch; for a short time the patient seemed stronger, and
he talked of the 10th symphony. But in February, 1827, he was tapped for
the fourth time; his aristocratic friends were forgetful of him, and even
the Archduke Rudolph did not interest himself by cheap inquiry. In this
same month Beethoven wrote to Moscheles and Sir George Smart telling them
of his strait, and begging them to arrange for a concert for his benefit.
All this time he had the seven bank shares of one thousand florins each
that were found with the two mysterious love letters in a secret drawer of
his writing desk, the day after his death; these shares he held for his
scape-grace nephew, whom he made his sole heir, although by a codicil the
capital was placed beyond his nephew's control. The Philharmonic Society
promptly sent through Moscheles £100 on account of the future concert, and
promised more if it were necessary. Unable to compose, Beethoven tried to
read Sir Walter Scott's "Kenilworth," but he threw it aside and said, "The
man writes only for money." He saw "the divine fire" in some of Schubert's
songs. He wrote many letters, he arranged certain dedications of his
works, and he found pleasure in a lithograph of Haydn's birthplace, and in
a set of Handel's compositions in forty volumes, which had been given him.
The Rhine wine that he had asked of Schott came too late. Hummel called
on him in March and introduced his pupil Ferdinand Hiller. On the 19th of
this month Beethoven felt the end, and he said to Breuning and Schindler,
"_Plaudite, amici, comoedia finita est_." On the 23d he made with his
own hand the codicil above mentioned. Several people called, among them
Schubert, who saw him but could not speak with him. The last Sacraments
of the Roman Catholic church were administered to the dying man the 24th.
Then Beethoven wrestled with death until a quarter to six on the evening
of the 26th, when he gave up the ghost. His sufferings were atrocious; the
final agony was terrible. Just as he was delivered from his earthly ills a
tempest, a great storm of hail and snow, burst over the roofs of Vienna.
There was a dazzling flash of lightning; and the roaring thunder roused
Beethoven. He pulled himself up in his bed, shook his fist at the sky, and
fell back dead. Anselm Hüttenbrenner and the wife of Johann Beethoven were
by his side.

The post mortem examination was made by Doctors Wagner and Rokitansky.
Wagner cut and preserved the temporal muscles and the organs of hearing.
The body was dressed and exposed in the room of the death. The lower jaw
was not sustained, and the face with its long hair and its beard of three
months' growth was savage.

The funeral was the 29th at three o'clock in the afternoon. It was
attended by an immense crowd. Dr. Breuning estimated the number of persons
on the glacis and in the neighboring streets at 20,000. The coffin was
placed on the shoulders of eight members of the Imperial Opera. Eybler,
Hummel, Kreutzer, Weigl, Gyrowetz, Seyfried, Gänsbacher and Würfel held
the streamers of the canopy. There were thirty-two torch bearers, whose
left arms were wrapped in crape ornamented by lilies and white roses.
Among these torch bearers were Czerny, Schubert and the giant Lablache. At
the head, after the crucifix, four trombone players marched, and played
alternately with the singing of a choir of sixteen men the two Equali of
the dead composer. The crowd that followed was so enormous that soldiers
were summoned to force a way. The ceremonies were held at the Church of
the Minorites, and the body was then put in a hearse which was drawn by
four horses to the Währinger cemetery. The gate was reached at the falling
of night, and the play-actor Anschütz delivered an address written by
Grillparzer. Other poems were read and distributed. Flowers and laurel
wreaths were heaped on the coffin when it was lowered to its resting place.

The 3d of April the furniture, clothes and the Graf and Broadwood
pianofortes were sold at auction. The same day Mozart's Requiem was sung
in the Hofpfarrkirche of the Augustines, and Lablache not only sang the
solo bass but paid about $80 for the cost of the singers. In November the
musical effects were sold at auction, and they brought about 1200 florins.
The total amount of money then was about $5,000.

In 1863 the Gesellschaft der Musik-Freunde opened the tombs of Beethoven
and Schubert and reburied their bodies in leaden coffins. The 21st of
June, 1888, the body of Beethoven was removed from the Währinger cemetery
and transferred to the central cemetery of Vienna at Simmering. A monument
was raised in Bonn in 1845, chiefly through the generosity and enthusiasm
of Liszt. It is by Höhnel, and it represents Beethoven standing, draped
in a mantle. A colossal statue by Zurnbusch stands in one of the public
places in Vienna, in front of the Academic Gymnasium.


From a photograph.]

When the body of Beethoven was exhumed in 1863 an impression and
a photograph of his skull were taken. The head was remarkable. The
box of bone was unusually thick; the dimensions of the forehead were
extraordinary; in height the forehead came next to that of Napoleon,
and in breadth it surpassed it. His face was strong and sombre, and
while it was not without ugliness, it was expressive. The head was built
stoutly throughout. The complexion was red and highly accented; though
Schindler tells us that it grew yellow in summer. The hair was thick and
rebellious; it was originally black, and in later years turned white.
He shaved cheeks, chin and upper lip, and he was as awkward as Lord
Macaulay with a razor. The eyes were black, not large, and they shot forth
a piercing flame when he was excited. The nose was thick; the jaw was
broad; the mouth was firm, and with protruding lips; the teeth were white,
well-shaped, and sound, and when he laughed he showed them freely; the
square chin rested on a white cravat. The greater number of pictures of
Beethoven are idealized. The most faithful likenesses are the miniature by
Hornemann, taken in 1802, and sent by Beethoven to Breuning in token of
reconciliation; the drawing by Letronne, a French artist who was in Vienna
in 1814; and the portrait by Schimon in 1819. Two plaster masks were made;
one by Klein in 1812; the other, a death-mask, by the sculptor Dannhauser,
from which Fortuny made an etching.

Beethoven was below the middle height, not more than five feet five
inches; he was broad-shouldered, sturdy, with legs like columns. He had
hairy hands, short fingers, with square ends as though they had been
chopped. His movements were without grace but they were marked by their
quickness. He was awkward in holding playing cards; he dropped everything
that he took in his hands. When he first went about in Vienna he dressed
in the fashion, with silken stockings, a peruke, long boots and a sword.
In later years he wore a blue or dark green coat with copper buttons, a
white waistcoat and a white cravat; and he carried an eyeglass. His felt
hat was on the back of his head so that it touched his coat collar, as in
the sketch of him by Lyser. His hat was often shabby and it excited the
attention of loungers as he amused himself by strolling aimlessly in the
streets, and by peering into the shop windows. The skirts of the coat were
heavy laden; there would be within them an ear-trumpet, a carpenter's
pencil, a stitched-book for use in his written conversation, a thick
blank-book in quarto form, in which he jotted down vagrant thoughts and
musical ideas. A pocket handkerchief would hang down to the calves of his
legs, and the pockets bulged until they showed the lining. He would walk
in deep meditation; talk with himself; at times make extravagant gestures.

He was simple in certain ways, easily gulled; so absent-minded that he
once forgot he was the owner of a horse. He could appreciate wit, although
he preferred rough jokes and horse play. He enjoyed pranks at the expense
of others. He threw eggs at his cook and poured the contents of dishes
over the heads of waiters. He was often brutal and rude in his speech to
unoffending friends and strangers. The reproach of his being absurdly
suspicious may be laid perhaps to his deafness. The son of a drunkard, he
was on the whole abstemious; at the tavern he would sit apart with a glass
of beer and a long pipe, and there he would brood. Of restless nature, he
shifted constantly his lodgings, often with a whimsical excuse. He was
fond of washing himself. He ate greedily badly cooked food whenever it
occurred to him that he was hungry; and his digestion suffered thereby.
He was fond of a panada with fresh eggs, macaroni sprinkled thickly with
cheese of Parma, and fish. His favorite drinks were cool and pure water,
and coffee which he prepared in a glass machine with extreme care, with
sixty beans in a cup. It is said that in later years his table manners
were beyond endurance. When he tried housekeeping for the sake of his
nephew he was in continual trouble with his servants. He had little or no
sense of order.


Taken in 1812 by Franz Klein, Beethoven being then in his forty-second
year. This mask and the bust made after it by the same artist (see page
341) are of the first importance in forming a correct judgment of the
value of all portraits of Beethoven.]

But the life of Beethoven, the man, was not merely a chronicle of
small-beer, a record of shifting of lodgings, quarrels, rude sayings and
personal discomforts. His character was a strange compound of greatness
and triviality. The influence of heredity, the early unfortunate
surroundings, the physical infirmity that was probably due to the sins
of his fathers, the natural impatience of a man whose head was in the
clouds with the petty cares of daily life:--all these unfitted him for
social intercourse with the gallant world in which he was, however, a
welcomed guest. He was afraid of elegance or he disdained it. Frankness,
that was often another name for brutality, was dear to him, and he saw no
wrong in calling men and women who talked when he played "hogs." He was
proud, and his pride was offended easily. He was sure of his own work,
he would therefore brook no contradiction; irritable, he was inclined
to quarrel. He preferred nature to man, and was never so happy as when
walking and composing in the open. In fields and woods he meditated his
great compositions. Winter and summer he rose at the breaking of day and
began to write, but in heat or cold, rain or sunshine, he would rush out
suddenly for air. Yet dear as light and air were to him, the twilight was
his favorite hour for improvising.


Taken by Dannhauser, March 28, 1827, two days after Beethoven's death.]

He used to read the Augsburg newspaper, and he was fond of talking of
politics. It was a time of political unrest. Beethoven revered the heroes
of Plutarch; the leaders in the American revolution; Napoleon Bonaparte
as long as he was First Consul. A bronze statue of Brutus was on his
work-table. It is not necessary, then, to add that he was a republican by
sentiment. He dreamed of a future when all men should be brothers, and the
finale of the Ninth Symphony is the musical expression of the dream and
the wish. We have seen his fondness for women. There is no proof however
that he was ever under the spell of an unworthy passion. A wife was to
him a sacred being; and in an age when unlimited gallantry was regarded
as an indispensable characteristic of a polished gentleman, Beethoven was
pure in speech and in life. He was even prudish in his desire to find an
untainted libretto for his music, and he could not understand how Mozart
was willing to accept the text of "Don Giovanni." He was born in the Roman
Catholic faith, and just before his death he took the Sacrament; but in
his life he was rather a speculative deist. His prayer book was "Thoughts
on the works of God in Nature," by Sturm. It was difficult for him to
separate God from Nature. Many passages in his letters show his sense of
religious duty to man and God, and his trust and his humility. He copied
out and kept constantly on his work-table these lines found by Champollion
Figeac on an Egyptian temple:

    I am that which is,
    I am all that is, that has been, and that shall be; no mortal
      hand has lifted my veil.
    He is by himself and it is to him that everything owes existence.

Although his education had been neglected sadly in his youth, he was not
without literary culture. He could not write a legible hand;--indeed, he
himself described his chirography as "this cursed writing that I cannot
alter"; his letters are often awkwardly expressed and incorrect; but they
also abound in blunt directness, in personal revelation, and in a rude
and overpowering eloquence. In his reading he was first enthusiastic
over Klopstock; he soon wearied of the constant longing of that poet
for death and abandoned him for Goethe. He was familiar with Schiller
and the German poets that were his own contemporaries. His literary
idols were Homer, Plutarch, and Shakespeare. He read the latter in the
translation by Eschenburg, which he preferred to that by Schlegel; this
translation was in his library, and it was thumbed by incessant reading.
Schindler says that Plato's "Republic" was "transfused into his flesh
and blood." He was an insatiable reader of histories. At the house of
Mrs. Von Breuning in Bonn he was guided in a measure by the brother of
his hostess. He knew Milton, Swift and other English writers in the
translations, and he was kindly disposed thereby toward England and
Englishmen. It is not so easy to discover his opinions concerning music
from the few works found in his library, nor would it be wise to argue
from the chance collection. There was a volume of pieces taken from the
compositions of Palestrina, Vittoria, Nanini and other Italians. He had
but little of Sebastian Bach, who was then known chiefly as the author
of "The Well-tempered Clavichord." He owned a portion of the score of
"Don Giovanni" and a few of Mozart's pianoforte sonatas; he preferred,
however, the sonatas of Clementi, which he praised extravagantly. He
was not ashamed to call himself the pupil of Salieri. He held Gyrowetz
and Weigl in sincere esteem. Prejudiced at first against Weber, who had
written violent critical articles against him, he changed his opinion
after a more careful examination of "Der Freischütz," in which he found
"the claw of the devil" side by side with "singular things." "I see what
he intends, but in reading certain pages, such as the infernal chase, I
cannot help smiling. After all, the effect may be right; it is necessary
to hear it; but alas, I can no longer hear!" He was undoubtedly jealous
of Rossini; "Fortune gave him a pretty talent and the gift of inventing
agreeable melodies"; but he thought him no better than a scene-painter
and accused him of a want of learning. Of all composers he appears to
have most admired Handel dead and Cherubini, his contemporary. In a letter
that was written by him to that great Italian-French composer, who is too
much neglected in these restless days, Beethoven assured him that he put
his operas above all other works for the stage; that he took a more lively
interest in one of his new compositions than in his own; that he honored
and loved him; that if it were not for his deafness, he would go to Paris
that he might see him; and he begged him to consider him as worthy of
ranking in the number of true artists. Of Handel he said, and shortly
before his death, "This is the incomparable master, the master of masters.
Go to him, and learn how to produce, with few means, effects that are like
a thunder-clap."


As he appeared on the streets of Vienna; drawn by J.P. Lyser, probably
about 1820-25.]

[Illustration: An ancient Egyptian inscription found in a temple at Saïs,
dedicated to the Goddess Neith, which impressed Beethoven so much that he
copied it, as above, and kept it framed under glass on his desk.]

But no collection of Beethoviana, no affidavits to the truth of anecdotes
and conversations, no photographic, no phonographic record of his daily
life can give a just idea of the character of this extraordinary man. Its
grandeur, titanic in its aspirations, is best seen or felt in the music
that was to him the true organ of speech. To comprehend, to appreciate
Beethoven, the full knowledge of his compositions is necessary; and to the
temperament of the composer must be added the corresponding temperament
of a fit hearer. The Beethoven that has voiced the longings, the joys and
the sorrows of humanity was not merely the man who walked in the streets
of Vienna, not even the being to whom each tree sang the trisagion.
The petty failings and the personal virtues of the individual assume
in his music gigantic, supernatural proportions. In his life passion,
tenderness, pride, arrogance, despair, tumultuous joy, fancy that was at
times grotesque, gayety that often was clowning were strangely mingled;
just as in "King Lear" the broken-hearted old man and the faithful fool
defy together the raging of the elements. To the easy-going, amour-hunting
citizen of Vienna Beethoven no doubt appeared, as to Rochlitz, "a very
able man, reared on a desert island and suddenly brought fresh into the
world," But to the faithful student of his life and works he seems one of
the great high-priests of humanity. To the Beethoven of later years, shut
off from the world, lonely and full of sorrow, the conceiver of unearthly
music such as was never heard before, the sonorous hymn of the Opium Eater
over the mystery known among men as Shakespeare might well be chanted:

"O mighty poet! Thy works are not as 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, like frost and snow, rain and
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 seen nothing but

[Illustration: Signature: Philip Hale]


"TO MY BROTHERS CARL AND ––––. _To be read and acted upon after my death._"


"O ye who think or say that I am rancorous, obstinate or misanthropical,
what an injustice you do me! You little know the hidden cause of my
appearing so. From childhood my heart and mind have been devoted to
benevolent feelings, and to thoughts of great deeds to be achieved in
the future. But only remember that for six years I have been the victim
of a terrible calamity aggravated by incompetent doctors; led on from
year to year by hopes of cure, and at last brought face to face with the
prospect of a lingering malady, the cure of which may last for years, or
may be altogether impossible. Born with an ardent, lively temperament,
fond of social pleasures, I was early compelled to withdraw myself, and
lead a life of isolation from all men. At times when I made an effort to
overcome the difficulty, oh how cruelly was I frustrated by the doubly
painful experience of my defective hearing! And yet it was impossible for
me to say to people, 'Speak louder; shout, for I am deaf.' Ah, how was
it possible I could acknowledge weakness in the very sense which ought
to be more acute in my case than in that of others--a sense which at one
time I possessed in a perfection to which few others in my profession
have attained, or are likely to attain. Oh, this I can never do! Forgive
me, then, if you see me turn away when I would gladly mix with you.
Doubly painful is my misfortune, seeing that it is the cause of my being
misunderstood. For me there can be no recreation in human intercourse,
no conversation, no exchange of thoughts with my fellow-men. In solitary
exile I am compelled to live. Whenever I approach strangers I am overcome
by a feverish dread of betraying my condition. Thus has it been with me
throughout the past six months I have just passed in the country. The
injunction of my intelligent physician, that I should spare my sense of
hearing as much as possible, well accorded with my actual state of mind;
although my longing for society has often tempted me into it. But how
humbled have I felt when some one near me has heard the distant sounds of
a flute, and I have heard _nothing_; when some one has heard a shepherd
singing, and again I have heard _nothing!_ Such occurrences brought me
to the border of despair, and I came very near to putting an end to my
own life. Art alone restrained me! Ah! it seemed impossible for me to
quit this world forever before I had done all I felt I was destined to
accomplish. And so I clave to this distressful life; a life so truly
miserable that any sudden change is capable of throwing me out of the
happiest condition of mind into the worst. Patience! I must now choose her
for my guide! This I have done. I hope to remain firm in my resolve, until
it shall please the relentless Fates to cut the thread of life. Perhaps I
shall get better; perhaps not. I am prepared. To have to turn philosopher
in my twenty-eighth year! It is no easy task--harder for the artist than
for any one else. O God, Thou lookest down upon my inward soul; Thou
knowest, Thou seest that love for my fellow-men, and all kindly feelings
have their abode there!

"O ye who may one day read this, remember that you did me an injustice;
and let the unhappy take heart when he finds one like himself who, in
spite of all natural impediments, has done all that was in his power to
secure for himself a place in the ranks of worthy artists and men. My
brothers, Carl and ––––, as soon as I am dead request Dr. Schmidt in my
name, if he be still alive, to describe my disease, and to add to these
pages the history of my ailments, in order that the world, so far at least
as is possible, may be reconciled to me after my death.

"Hereby I declare you both to be heirs of my little fortune (if it may
so be called). Divide it honestly; bear with and help one another. The
injuries you have done me I have, as you know, long since forgiven. You,
brother Carl, I thank specially for the attachment you have shown towards
me in these latter days. My wish is that your life may be more free from
care than mine has been. Recommend Virtue to your children. She alone, not
money, can give happiness. I speak from experience. It was she alone who
raised me in the time of trouble; and I thank her, as well as my art, that
I did not seek to end my life by suicide. Farewell, and love one another.
I thank all friends, especially Prince Lichnowsky and Professor Schmidt.
The instruments from Prince L–––– I should like to be kept by one of you;
but let there be no quarreling between you in regard to this. As soon as
you can turn them to more useful purpose, sell them. How happy shall I be
if even when in my grave I can be useful to you!

"And thus it has happened. Joyfully I hasten to meet death. Should he come
before I have had the opportunity of developing the whole of my artistic
capacity, he will have come too soon in spite of my hard fate, and I shall
wish he had come a little later. But even in that case I shall be content.
Will he not release me from a state of endless misery? Come when thou
will'st! I go to meet thee with a brave heart. Farewell, and do not quite
forget me even in death! I have deserved this, since during my lifetime I
have often thought of you, and tried to make you happy. So be it.


    "_Heiligenstadt, 6th October_, 1802."

"_Heiligenstadt, 10th October, 1802._--So I take leave of thee sorrowfully
enough. Even the cherished hope, which I brought here with me of being
cured, at least to a certain extent, has now utterly forsaken me. It
has faded like the fallen leaves of autumn. Almost as I came here so
do I depart. Even the lofty hope that upheld me during the beautiful
summer days has vanished. O Providence! let one more day of pure joy be
vouchsafed to me. The echo of true happiness has so long been a stranger
to my heart!--When, when, O God! shall I again be able to feel it in the
temple of nature and of man? Never?--no!--O that were too hard!"


Executed by Zumbusch. From a photograph. (See page 339.)]



One of the most painful of human spectacles is an intellect dominated by
a physical ailment, a mind capable of the wise and useful exercise, of
its powers enthralled or checked in its peripheral expression by some
imperfection in the machinery in the midst of which it has its temporary

The mental effects of bodily disease, in which the organs of special sense
are concerned, have been nowhere more carefully noted than in the cases
of those whose aptitude for some particular line of intellectual process
has raised them above the average of their fellows, and the biographies of
celebrated men seldom fail to record some instance of those ills to which
flesh is heir and to make deductions therefrom as to its influence upon
the life-work of the individual.

There is no more pathetic picture than that of Beethoven in his later
years, at an age when he should have been in the perfection of his
physical manhood, deaf to overwhelming applause or striking in tumultuous
discord the piano which to him was dumb.

References to this deafness, which was to Beethoven such a calamity, have
been carefully studied and recorded by his various biographers, and occur
nowhere more graphically than in those remarkable letters which give,
without the need even of reading between the lines, so clear an exposition
of the man as he was, as he aspired, and as he suffered. There has been as
yet however no attempt to collate this evidence with a view to making a
precise diagnosis of his case or with reference to the possible influence
which the infirmity may have had upon his disposition, his habit of
thought or possibly even upon the character of his compositions.

"It is hard to arrive," says Grove, "at any certain conclusion on the
nature and progress of Beethoven's deafness owing to the vagueness of the
information; difficulty of hearing appears to have shown itself about 1798
in singing and buzzing in his ears, loss of power to distinguish words
though he could hear the tones of voice, and great dislike to sudden loud
noise; it was even then a subject of the greatest pain to his sensitive
nature; like Byron with his club-foot he lived in morbid dread of his
infirmity being observed, a temper which often kept him silent, and when
a few years later he found himself unable to hear the pipe of a peasant
playing at a short distance in the open air, it threw him into the deepest
melancholy, and he wrote the well-known letter to his brother in 1802,
which goes by the name of his Will." The above passage is really an
epitomization of Beethoven's case, and, in connection with the collateral
evidence and viewed in the light of our present knowledge of aural
disease, plainly sets forth the progress as well as the character of his
disorder, the exciting cause of which must ever remain a question, though
the inference from the course of his disease, from the report of the
post-mortem examination and from the evidence afforded by Dr. Bartolini,
is at least permissible, that Beethoven's deafness originated, in part
at least, in a constitutional disorder which may have been one of his
inheritances from his father. Be that as it may, it is shown that he first
became definitely aware of his infirmity when he was twenty-eight years of
age, that his attention was first drawn to it and his appreciation of it
subsequently heightened by the concomitant symptom of subjective noises
in the ears, rushing and roaring sounds which he designates as "sausen"
and "brausen"; this symptom, common to many forms of aural disease,
occurs in such cases as that of Beethoven's only after the changes in
the ear have already become well established, it marks a definite stage
in the progress of the malady and is explainable as follows: the normal
circulation of blood through the blood-vessels is productive of sound,
precisely as is the flow of water or other fluid through pipes; these
sounds vary in pitch and in intensity in proportion to the size of the
blood vessels and the rapidity of flow of the circulating fluid; in the
smaller blood-vessels such as are found in the immediate vicinity of the
perceptive portion of the human ear the flow of the blood is continuous
and not rhythmic in response to the impulse from the heart as is the case
in the larger arteries; the sound resulting from the circulation in the
smaller blood vessels of the ear is a high pitched singing ranging from
a tone of about 15000 v.s. to one of 45000 v.s. while the sounds produced
by the larger vessels are very much lower in pitch; these sounds are
present in normal conditions, but are not noticed because the adjustment
of the sound-transmitting portion of the human ear, the drum head, the
chain of small bones and the adjacent parts is such that sounds of this
class, within certain limits of intensity, may be transmitted directly
outward and pass unnoticed; in the event, however, of structural changes
which interfere with the mobility of this sound-transmitting apparatus,
the circulation sounds are retained within the ear and become appreciable.
This does not occur however in chronic progressive cases such as was
Beethoven's until the disease, insidious in its onset, is already well
advanced, so that while the first mention of the impairment of hearing and
of the subjective noises is made in 1798, it is more than probable that
the disease had been at that time several years in progress.

Taking these facts in connection with the other symptoms already
mentioned, difficulty of distinguishing words and the dread of sudden
loud noises, a definite clinical picture is presented which taken in its
entirety permits the diagnosis of a chronic progressive thickening of the
mucous membrane lining the cavity of the middle ear and of the passages
leading therefrom to the throat.

For a better understanding of the case it is necessary to recall briefly
the structure of that portion of the ear affected, namely, the drum
membrane placed at the bottom of the outer canal of the ear to receive the
sound waves transmitted through that passage and in turn to transmit them
through the three small bones which form a chain of communication with the
internal or perceptive portion of the ear; the drum membrane forming the
boundary between the outer passages and the middle ear, the latter cavity
communicating by means of the Eustachian tube with the upper part of the
throat and being lined throughout with mucous membrane continuous with
that in the latter cavity; in the middle ear this mucous membrane, very
delicate and rich in blood vessels, not only lines the middle ear cavity
but forms the inner coat of the drum-membrane and also covers the small
bones, their articulations and attachments, one of these latter being a
muscle, the tensor tympani, which by its contraction renders all the
sound-transmitting apparatus more tense. It is easily appreciable that a
gradual thickening of this mucous membrane would result in a progressive
impairment of the sound-transmitting apparatus, with a corresponding
decrease in its power of transmitting sound waves not only from without
inward but from within outward. This interference would be first noticed
in the transmission of such short sound waves of slight impulse as occur
in instruments of high pitch or such as make up the qualitative overtones
of the human voice and it was therefore at a comparatively early period in
his disease that Beethoven failed to hear the distant sound of the flute,
and of the shepherd singing, and to distinguish the difference in the more
delicate modulations of the voices of his friends.

The distress induced by exposure to loud noises is also accounted for by
the fact that the comparative rigidity of the sound transmitting apparatus
deprived the deeper sensitive portion of the ear of the protection
normally afforded it by the elastic structure capable of taking up
and dispersing the excessive impulse and by the further fact that the
contraction of the tensor tympani muscle, which contraction is an almost
invariable accompaniment of certain chronic diseases of the middle ear,
served to still further impair the mobility of the drum-head and ossicles.

Later and numerous references to his deafness scattered throughout his
letters and recorded by his friends and associates all point, with one
exception, to the steady, pitiless progress of a disease, at that time
unamenable to treatment, which finally totally deprived him of the sense
most important to the musician; the one exception in question is that
recorded by Charles Neate as heard from Beethoven's own lips in 1815,
and is to the effect that in a fit of anger Beethoven threw himself upon
the floor, and on arising found himself practically deaf in his right
ear. There was no explanation of this occurrence offered, but, taken
in connection with the report of the autopsy, it is apparent that the
sudden loss of hearing in the right ear was the result either of a form
of apoplexy of the labyrinth such as occurs in connection with the more
advanced stages of chronic catarrh of the middle ear, or was due to a
peculiar affection of that portion of the internal ear devoted to sound
perception and consequent upon constitutional disease.

Setting aside this incident, it may be noted that, while himself aware of
the gradual increase of his deafness, it was not until eight years later,
in 1806, that it became especially appreciable to others, after which
time its increase was so rapid that it could no longer be kept secret;
the degree of the disability varying with his general condition, but
its progress being always downward, in 1815 it had so increased that he
abandoned his proposed visit to England, and before his death the hearing
had become so much affected that his playing ceased to charm, he would
play so loudly at times as to break the strings or drown soft passages of
the right hand by striking the keys accidentally with the left, while the
hearing for his own voice even had become so imperfect that he spoke with
unnatural loudness and deficient modulation.

The influence of this almost life-long malady upon his disposition
cannot be estimated without taking into consideration the nervous strain
which the impairment of so important a sense would induce in a person
of Beethoven's temperament; to the mental effects of apprehension of
future evil and the disappointments due to the futility of his efforts at
obtaining relief must be added the purely physical consequences of the
natural attempt at compensation which results in what may be denominated
the fatigue of deafness. Normally we possess double the amount of hearing
ordinarily required for the uses of life, and it is possible therefore to
lose one half of the fullest amount of hearing without being appreciably
affected by the loss. Ordinarily, therefore, our hearing-power is
exercised without conscious exertion, but when this sense becomes impaired
to a certain degree, an effort at hearing is necessary because of the
loss of the sound of the more delicate qualitative overtones, such for
instance as those which make the difference between the parts of speech
most nearly resembling each other; to help out this deficiency the sight
is called upon to watch the motion of the lips, and still later by a
conscious effort those parts of a sentence which have been lost to hearing
and have failed of detection by sight are mentally filled in from the
context, three distinct brain processes being thus required to afford the
information which came before unconsciously of effort.

That such a nervous strain was part of the infliction which Beethoven
suffered, is shown by his increasing disinclination for social intercourse
and a tendency to lead as he says a life of isolation from all men.
"You cannot believe," writes his friend Stephan von Breuning, "what an
indescribable impression the loss of hearing has made upon Beethoven;
imagine the effect on his excitable temperament of feeling that he is
unhappy, then comes reserve, mistrust often of his best friends, and
general irresolution. Intercourse with him is a real exertion, as one can
never throw off restraint."

Undoubtedly his deafness, with the consequent isolation from his fellows,
had the effect of increasing the morbid peculiarities which were his
inheritance, and of all his portraits extant there is none which so
distinctly shows the face of the deaf man as that painted by his friend
Maler, Vienna, 1812.

"Beethoven's deafness," says Goethe, "has not hurt so much his musical as
his social nature."

Indeed it may be questioned if his musical nature were affected at all
other than favorably by his infirmity. His art was greater than the man,
or rather the man in his art was greater than himself; his deafness,
even by shutting him within, seems to have increased his individuality,
for, from the time of its absolute establishment onward his compositions
grew in musical and intellectual value, and each generation finds in
them something new to study and to appreciate. He wrote not for his time
alone but for all time, and from what we can learn of his life and of the
influence of his infirmity upon his character, we are glad to believe that
through all the clouds which overcast his career Beethoven's transcendent
genius shone supreme, superior to circumstance, and that the world is left
none the poorer, possibly the richer, because of the misfortunes which,
while they developed the peculiarities and intensified the faults of the
individual, served but to enclose and protect the intellect too great to
be bounded or controlled by the limitations of a saddened life.

[Illustration: Clarence J. Blake]

[Music: Fac-simile autograph musical manuscript written by Beethoven.
Opening measures of Pianoforte Sonata in A flat, Op. 26.]



The greatest of all instrumental composers began his career as a
pianoforte virtuoso, and his earlier compositions are chiefly for that
instrument. During the first years of Beethoven in Vienna, he was more
conspicuous as a virtuoso than as a composer, and it is said that Haydn
prophesied greater things of him as a performer than a creator of music.
The older master could not foresee that Beethoven's influence was destined
to live in his epoch-making concertos, trios and sonatas, rather than
in his wonderful piano playing. His superiority at Bonn as at Vienna
was not so much in display of technical proficiency as in the power and
originality of improvisation. When he was only eleven years of age Carl
Ludwig Junker heard the boy play, and wrote in most enthusiastic terms of
the inexhaustible wealth of his ideas; he also compared him with older
players of distinction and preferred Beethoven on account of his more
expressive, passionate performance, that spoke directly to the heart. And
so Czerny described his improvisation as "most brilliant and striking; in
whatever company he might chance to be, he knew how to produce such an
effect upon every hearer, that frequently not an eye remained dry, and
listeners would break out into loud sobs; for in addition to the beauty
and the originality of his ideas, and his spirited style of rendering
them, there was something in his expression wonderfully impressive." Ries
and many others bear similar testimony. There were other pianists of great
parts who lived in Vienna or were heard there: Steibelt, Wölffl, and
especially Hummel. But whenever Beethoven met them in friendly or fierce
rivalry, he conquered by richness of ideas, by variety of treatment and by
intense musical individuality, although he extemporized in regular "form."
Hummel excelled him undoubtedly in purity and elegance, and Wölffl had
extraordinary mechanism. They excited lively admiration, but Beethoven
moved the hearts of his hearers. This power was greater than even his
feats of transposing, his skill in reading scores, or such tricks as
turning the 'cello part of a quintet upside down and then extemporizing
from the curious theme formed thereby. We are told that he was very
particular as to the mode of holding the hands and placing the fingers,
in which he followed Emanuel Bach; his attitude at the pianoforte was
quiet and dignified, but as his deafness increased he bent more and
more toward the keys. He was, when he played, first of all a composer,
and in his maturity, the "composer's touch," distinguished his playing.
Czerny said that he produced wonderful effects by the use of the _legato
cantabile_. He was, as a rule, persuaded easily to improvise--at least in
his younger days--but he did not like to play his own compositions, and
only yielded to an expressed wish when they were unpublished. It is also
said that he interpreted his own compositions with freedom, although he
observed rigorously the beat. And he made often a profound impression in a
_crescendo_ by retarding the movement and not accelerating it.

The compositions of Beethoven have been divided by many writers into
three periods, and this division has been followed with absurd precision
and has been as unjustly ridiculed. There were three periods, however,
but they are not to be sharply defined; they correspond in general to
the life-periods of youth, maturity, and old age. In his earlier works,
he followed in some degree the path laid out by Haydn and Mozart; in
his middle period, he appeared in the full strength and maturity of his
wonderful originality; finally, in his last period, he revealed himself as
a prophet and dreamer of unearthly things. But it is not strange that the
style of a man of genius is modified by his age and his experience; that
he thinks otherwise at forty than he thought at twenty; that his ideas are
not rigid, immovable from youth to old age. In his earlier period, and in
the first of his symphonies, he shows the influence of his predecessors,
and yet in his sixteenth work, three trios, known as Op. 1, striking
originality and independence are asserted on every page.

It was his independence of character as much as his great musical gift
that impelled him on the path of progress. He was five years old when at

    ... "the embattled farmers stood
    And fired the shot heard round the world."

He was the child of his time, and he lived to witness the great movement
for freedom and humanity in America and Europe. Although he had warm
friends and admirers among the nobility he would not bow down to rank and
wealth. The prince held no higher position in his estimation than the
private citizen. "It is good to be with the aristocracy," he said; "but
one must be able to impress them." "A trace of heroic freedom pervades
all his creations," says Ferdinand Hiller. The expression "Im Freien,"
which in German means both the open air and liberty, might serve as an
inscription of a temple devoted to his genius. It was this lofty spirit
that impelled him to find new methods of musical expression in the older
forms of the symphony, sonata, string quartet, etc., which have the same
general outlines of formal construction. These classical forms consist
of a cycle or group of three or four movements related to each other by
contrast in tempo, rhythm, key, and æsthetic character. These movements
are combined so as to constitute an organic whole; complex and highly
developed, like a great architectural building. Madame de Stael called
architecture "frozen music." This fanciful idea, so often quoted, suggests
a different conception, perhaps as near the truth, that music may be
considered as a kind of rhythmical architecture. Such architectural music
appeals to the æsthetic sense of form and proportion through the ear by
the stream of melody and harmony that flows in a rhythmical mass, whereas
the "frozen music" appeals to us through the eye, which is able to take in
the great outlines of proportion and form at once; so that the element of
time is not considered. So far as form and construction are concerned, a
Beethoven symphony might well be compared with a Gothic cathedral in its
grand outlines of beauty and strength, complexity, relation of the parts
to the whole, sense of proportion, and unity in variety. But in music, as
in all true art, form is but the means to an end: which is to move the
soul through the æsthetic sense of beauty. This ideal structure of tones
was not the invention of one musician; it was built up gradually, in the
course of a century and a half, by various composers until it reached its
culmination in the works of Beethoven. There are two distinct sources
from which cyclical instrumental music is derived. First, the sonatas
for violins and bass which sprang up in the 17th century under Corelli,
Biber, Purcell and others. Subsequently the sonata was applied to the
solo clavichord by Kuhnau, Sebastian and Emanuel Bach. Second, the Italian
opera overture, which came into vogue as separate instrumental music early
in the 18th century under the names of symphony and concerto. The Italian
overture consisted of three short, related movements--_allegro_, _adagio_,
_allegro_,--a slow movement between two fast ones. Sammartini, Emanuel
Bach and a few others were the first to cultivate this three-movement
form: but it was not until the advent of Haydn that its modern character
was acquired. Under his genius first came classical models. The sonatas
of Emanuel Bach were the starting point of Haydn's music. He worked out
gradually the so-called art of free thematic treatment. Compared with
the older style its chief features are greater freedom in developing the
themes; the parts are not bound down to the rules of strict counterpoint;
the melody is given chiefly to one voice, generally the upper. Free
passages are introduced between the several melodic groups that make up
the contrasted themes. A general air of lightness, grace, elegance and
pleasantness is the result of this freedom of treatment. A whole movement
is evolved out of little rhythmical motives or germs, which recur again
and again, under ever changing conditions of melody, harmony, key,
position or range, and instrumentation. By such kaleidoscopic changes
the motives express constantly new meaning and beauty without abandoning
the central idea of the piece. Then, too, each movement is polythematic
instead of monothematic. Haydn in these and other respects prepared the
way for Mozart and Beethoven, and neither of the three can be considered
without the other. Mozart and Beethoven obtained the structural form
and basis of instrumentation from Haydn; on the other hand, Haydn in
his old age and Beethoven in his youth learned from Mozart a richer art
of instrumental color and expressiveness, especially in the use of wind
instruments. While Mozart did not enlarge the cyclical forms beyond the
general outlines laid down by Haydn, he beautified and enriched them in
all their details. In his last three symphonies and famous six quartets
the beauty is more refined, the pathos more thrilling and profound, the
dissonances and modulations more daring and fascinating. His music is
conceived in a more serious vein.


Executed by Zumbusch. From a photograph. (See page 332.)]

Rubinstein, in his "Conversation on music," has expressed admirably the
relations between Beethoven and his time: "Mankind thirsts for a storm;
it feels that it may become dry and parched in the eternal sunshine of
Haydn and Mozart; it wishes to express itself earnestly; it longs for
action; it becomes dramatic; the French revolution breaks out; Beethoven
appears.... The forms in his first period are the forms then reigning,
but the line of thought is, even in the works of his youth, a wholly
different one. The last movement in his first pianoforte sonata (F minor),
more especially in the second theme, is already a new world of emotion,
expression, pianoforte effect, and even pianoforte technique.... In the
works of his first period altogether, we recognize only the formulas of
the earlier composers; for, although the garb still remains the same for
a time, we see even in these works, that natural hair will soon take the
place of the powdered perruque and cue; that boots, instead of buckled
shoes, will change the gait of the man; that the coat, instead of the
broad frock with the steel buttons, will give him another bearing. The
minuet is supplanted by the scherzo; the works are of a more virile
and earnest character:--through him instrumental music is capable of
expressing the tragic, and dramatic humor rises to irony.... Smiling,
laughing, merry-making, bitterness, in short, a world of psychological
expression is heard in them. It emanates not from a human being, but as
from an invisible Titan, who now rejoices over humanity, now is offended;
who laughs and again weeps, a supernatural being not to be measured!"

Beethoven's music, more than any other before his time, is characterized
by vivid contrasts in the themes, passages, rhythmical effects, bold
dissonances and modulations, dynamic expression, varied and massive
instrumentation. This is true, not only of the several movements as a
whole, but of the subdivisions. The movements are held in close relation
by contrast of emotions, by elevated or depressed, passionate or calm
moods. If the opening movement is conceived in a fiery or tragic spirit,
the feelings after a time will be rendered all the more susceptible to the
calm mood of the slow movement, which may lead through sadness and longing
to the vivacity and jocoseness of the _Scherzo_; and this in turn may
give place to the triumphant joy of the finale. Each movement is employed
with its special æsthetic problem and contributes its share to the total
effect of the work.

First of all, Beethoven was destined to carry the art of free thematic
music to a point never before reached, never surpassed since his death.
The several movements of his works are built on the broadest foundations,
the musical periods are expanded to their utmost limits. The so-called
middle-part (mittelsatz) is more impressive and elaborate than with
his predecessors. This is also the case with the coda, which is much
extended, worked-up, and made the climax of the whole movement. The
opening movements of the Heroic and the Fifth Symphonies are conspicuous
examples. In the art of motive-building he followed Haydn and Mozart, with
new results. The thematic play is of never-ending variety. The opening
_allegro_ of the Fifth Symphony is a wonderful instance of the development
of a great dramatic movement from a single motive of four notes. We learn
from his sketch-books the pains he took in the invention of his themes;
how he turned them about, curtailed or amplified them. These themes
when chosen finally suffered endless metamorphoses. Yet through the
protean changes of rhythm, melody, and harmony the theme preserves its

In composition he was extremely slow and fond of experimenting. We know
his methods by his sketch-books which are preserved. Nearly every measure
was re-written and re-written. The ideas at first were often trivial, but
they were changed and elaborated until they grew to melodies of haunting
beauty. Crude commonplaces became passages of mysterious grandeur. Many of
the thoughts recorded hastily, in his room or in the fields, were never
used. The thought did not spring from his brain, as in the fable, fully
clothed: its birth was more akin to the Cæsarian operation. _Florestan's_
air, for instance, had eighteen distinct and different beginnings, and the
great chorus in "Fidelio" had no less than ten. The blood would rush to
his head as he worked; the muscles of his face would swell; and his eyes
would almost start from their sockets; then, if he were in his room, he
would strip himself of his clothing and pour water on his head.

Among the innovations made by Beethoven, may be mentioned the extension
of key relationship, which before him was not recognized. He broke down
the restrictions that governed transitions. Here he was revolutionary. The
principles of his harmonic combinations have been thus formalized by Mr.
Dannreuther: "(_a_) Any chord can succeed immediately any chord belonging
to another tonality, no matter how remote, provided they have one note
in common, even if it be only harmonically so. (_b_) It is possible to
produce quick harmonic progressions into the most remote tonalities by
means of chromatic and enharmonic changes in individual parts, which
are made to move on step by step, thus building a sort of chromatic or
enharmonic bridge." And Mr. Dannreuther cites as instances, the connection
between variations 32 and 33 in Op. 120; and the return from B major, at
the close of the "working out," to the first subject in B-flat major in
the first movement of Op. 106. Before the time of Beethoven composers of
sonatas and symphonies had generally confined themselves to a narrow range
of keys. The theme of the first movement was given out in the tonic, and
if it was major, it was answered by the second theme in the fifth above;
that is to say, if the sonata were in C, the second subject would be in
G. If the movement were in the minor, the second subject would be in the
relative major: i.e. the second theme of a movement in C minor would be
in E flat. So too the key of the second movement was usually restricted,
although sometimes there was a little more liberty. The painstaking
Grove has examined the eighty-one works of Beethoven in sonata form. The
transition to the dominant occurs only three times; to the subdominant
nineteen times; to the third below thirty times. "His favorite change was
evidently to the submediant or third below--that is to say, to a key less
closely related to the tonic and more remote than the dominant key." He
makes it as early as Op. 1, No. 2.

[Illustration: BUST OF BEETHOVEN.

Made by Franz Klein, after the Life-mask taken by him in 1812. (See page

Wagner once compared the conventional connecting passages between the
melodic groups of Haydn and Mozart to "the rattling of dishes at a royal
feast." Beethoven could not tolerate the traditional commonplaces, which
were often mere padding. In these intermediate periods he used phrases
which hinted at or were actually closely related to the main themes, and
he thus gave the movement the effect of an organic whole, the development
of which was as logical as the results that follow from a law of nature.
Or he would surprise the hearer by the introduction of a fresh episode of
length and importance, although by it the formal rules of the theorist
were defied. Even in his second period there are remarkable instances
of absolute originality in form as well as in style and conception,
as the opening adagio of the pianoforte sonata in C-sharp minor, or
the _Con moto_ of the pianoforte Concerto in G. Nor was his manner of
the introduction of the themes themselves after the manner of his
predecessors; "the glory of the phrase often appeared as it were through
clouds that first shrouded it and were then dispelled."

He was the greatest master of the art of varying a theme, and his genius
ennobled even pianoforte variations, which are too apt, as made by others,
to show mere skill and learning, or excite by superficial brilliancy
the vain display of the virtuoso who plays simply that he may dazzle.
In this species of art is seen the wealth of his ideas as well as the
consummate mastery in expression. In the second and the third period of
his style there are shining examples of his power in this direction. One
kind of variation is peculiarly his own, in which everything is changed,
the rhythm, the melody and the harmony, and yet the theme is clearly
recognized. Then there are great variations without the name, as the slow
movements in the sonata "appassionata" and the Trio in B-flat; the slow
movements of the C minor and Ninth Symphonies; the finale of the Heroic.

Ehlert has spoken of the inexorable logic of Beethoven's music, the
impossibility of rearranging the order of thought, of adding or taking
away. In other words, the concentration of his musical thought is never
too bold, his speech is never too laconic; nor is he tautological or
diffuse. The intensely emotional and dramatic characteristics of his music
impelled him to invent a great variety of dynamic changes, or rhythmical
syncopations. When we compare him in this respect with his predecessors,
we are struck by the great number of marks of expression. The care with
which he indicated the _nuances_ is seen in all his works, but he paid
more and more attention to the matter as he neared the end of his career.
The Cavatina in the Quartet in B-flat, for instance, is sixty-six measures
long, and there are fifty-eight marks of expression. He wished by all
possible means to produce what he himself called, in reference to the
Heroic Symphony, "the special and intended effect." Furthermore certain of
the indications reflect his personality, as the famous directions in the
Mass in D, and the "_beklemmt_" in the Cavatina before mentioned.

It has been said that the criterion wherewith to judge of all music
whatsoever is this: "Technical exposition being considered equal, the
quality and the power of the emotional matter set forth should turn the
scale between any two pieces of music." Now Beethoven not only invented
a new technical language; he invented the necessity of a race of players
that should speak it. The pianist that interprets properly a composition
of Beethoven must clothe his mechanism with intellectuality and virile,
poetic spirit. It was held by Jacob Grimm that no definite thought can
exist without words, and that in giving up the words instrumental music
has become an abstraction, as all thought has been left behind. It seems,
however, an error to limit thought or consciousness to words. There is a
state of consciousness, without verbal thinking, in which we realize great
moments of existence; and this state of consciousness has its clear and
powerful language. Such a spiritual language is music, and its greatest
poet is Beethoven. Even those works of Beethoven which have no title to
indicate the practical plan of the author are expressions of particular
emotions and conceptions that cannot be explained in words, yet convey a
distinct impression to the consciousness of the hearer.

Not that he was the originator or the abettor of that which is now known
as program music; for program music, whether the epithet be applied solely
to that music which without words aims to portray or suggest to the hearer
certain definite objects or events, or whether it be applied loosely to
all characteristic or imitative music, is not a thing of modern invention.
In a sacred ballet of the Greeks, which represented the fight of Apollo
with the Python, the action was accompanied appropriately by flutes,
lutes, and trumpets, and the grinding of the teeth of the wounded monster
was imitated by the trumpet. In the part-songs of Jannequin and his
contemporaries, battles, birds and hens were imitated in music. Buxtehude
described in double counterpoint, "the peaceable and joyous ending of
Simeon after the death of his son." The first movement of Dittersdorf's
orchestral symphony "Actaeon" portrayed the chase; Diana took her bath in
the second; in the minuet Actaeon played the part of "Peeping Tom"; and
in the finale he is torn in pieces by the hounds for his indiscretion.
To prove that there is nothing new under the sun, a wise man of his day,
named Hermes, wrote analytical programs of the fifteen symphonies of
Dittersdorf for the benefit of the hearer and for his own glory. But why
multiply such instances familiar to the searchers after the curious in

Beethoven gave certain compositions a general name, as the pianoforte
sonata Op. 81 _a_, known as "Das Lebewohl" (or "Les Adieux"); the overture
to "Egmont"; the Pastoral Symphony. But these names were not supplied with
a detailed program of words that the music might be identified properly
and the right emotion recognized or subdivided. When he prefixed the
following words to the Pastoral Symphony, "more expression of emotions
than tone-painting," he at the same time made his confession of faith.
Nevertheless the commentators, the successors of Hermes above mentioned,
have seen in this same symphony a good citizen going with his family to
spend Sunday in the country, or a pantheistic hymn of subtle nature; just
as in the Seventh Symphony Wagner finds the apotheosis of the dance,
another the joy of Germany delivered from the French yoke, while others
see a festival in the days of chivalry, the reproduction of a brave
meridional people, a village marriage, a procession in the catacombs, the
love dream of a sensuous odalisque, a Bacchic feast, a battle of giants,
or a vulgar orgy to serve as a temperance lecture. "But in the kingdom of
hypothesis each one has a right to think freely, and even, alas, to speak
his mind."

If a striking characteristic of the music of Beethoven is its
individuality with accompanying infinite variety--as seen in the
symphonies, the concertos, nearly all of the pianoforte sonatas, and
the chamber music--a no less striking feature is its intense dramatic
spirit. The reproach has been made against Beethoven that his genius
was not dramatic, but surely reference was here made to the scenic
conventionalities of opera. But if the dramatic in music lies in the
development of passion, Beethoven was one of the greatest dramatic
composers. To quote Henri Lavoix in his remarks on the Fifth Symphony: "Is
this not the drama in its purity and its quintessence, where passion is no
longer the particular attribute of a theatrical mask, but the expression
of our own peculiar feeling?"

An important factor in the full expression of this dramatic intensity
in his orchestral writing is the instrumentation. All the instruments
are used with greater freedom and effect than ever before. In order to
express his great musical ideas the instruments move in a wider compass
with greater technical execution. In instrumental coloring, in variety of
solo and chorus treatment, and in massive rhythmical effects, Beethoven
advanced the art of orchestration to a point never before conceived,
His effects, however, are not gained by the introduction of unusual
instruments. With the exception of the Ninth Symphony and a few other
instances, his orchestra is practically the one used by Mozart. In the
Ninth Symphony, as in "the Battle of Vittoria," there is a liberal use
of percussion instruments. Beethoven used the contra fagott and the
basset horn on occasions; and he once indulged himself in the singular
fancy of arranging his "Battle of Vittoria" for Maelzel's instrument,
the Panharmonikon, a machine that brought in play all sorts of military
instruments. But the instrumentation of his symphonies does not depend for
its effects on unusual combinations; it is remarkable for the manner of
the speech of well-known members of the orchestra. Take the strings for
example. He knew full well the value of the _pizzicato_, and _tremolo_ as
well as the power of the unison. Outside of the famous chamber music, the
symphonies are filled with passages for the 'cello and double bass that
are unusual for his time. In his treatment of the double bass, which in
the C-minor Symphony was a stumbling block to Habeneck and his trained
men, he was influenced by the skill of Dragonetti. In his use of the
wood-wind he showed rare instinct and imagination. The oboe, for instance,
is with him not a gay rustic pipe of acid character; it is positive, it is
melancholy, it is tender and it soothes. In the famous solos of the first
movement of the Fifth Symphony and the dungeon scene of Fidelio, the oboe
utters heart-piercing accents of sorrow. What is more characteristic than
the odd cluckings of the bassoons in the scherzo of the Fifth Symphony;
the soulful clarinet solo in the allegretto of the Seventh, or the weird
effect of the low notes of the horn in the _trio_ of the scherzo of the
Seventh Symphony? Beethoven held the trombones in great reserve, but
whenever he employed them the effect was impressive, as for instance in
the _finale_ of the Fifth Symphony and the storm of the Pastoral Symphony.
Two famous passages in his symphonies, passages that have provoked angry
disputes, are made remarkable by a singular use of the horn in which the
laws of tonality are set at nought. Beethoven was the first that knew
the value of the kettle-drums. He first raised the drum to the dignity
of a solo instrument, as in the Fourth, Fifth and Ninth Symphonies. His
instrumental effects went hand in hand with the development of the
melodic idea. The different tone-masses are used in conversation; or a
solo instrument announces the return of the theme; or the whole orchestra
rages violently and then stops suddenly to listen to a far off voice.

It would be impossible in an article of this brevity to speak of his
manifold effects of instrumentation, or of the characteristics of his
compositions in detail. Among his instrumental works are the 9 symphonies,
overture and music to "Egmont," overture and music to "Prometheus,"
"The Battle of Vittoria," 9 overtures, 5 concertos for pianoforte and
orchestra, 1 triple concerto, the Choral Fantasia, the violin concerto, 16
quartets for strings, 8 trios for pianoforte and strings, 10 sonatas for
pianoforte and violin, 2 octets for wind, 1 septet for strings and wind,
1 quintet for pianoforte and wind, 5 sonatas for pianoforte and 'cello,
38 sonatas for pianoforte, and 21 sets of variations for pianoforte. The
chief vocal works are "Fidelio," the two masses, the oratorio, "Christus
am Oelberge," "Meerstille und glückliche Fahrt," the aria "Ah perfido!"
and 66 songs with pianoforte accompaniment.

We have already considered briefly the various ways in which Beethoven
expanded the structural elements of the sonata, and now it may not be
amiss to examine for a moment the æsthetical characteristics of his
pianoforte works in sonata form. In the early sonatas he began with the
four movements which others had almost wholly reserved for the symphony.
The scherzo in sonata and symphony was peculiarly his invention. To be
sure the name is older, and was used in describing secular songs in the
16th century as well as for instrumental pieces in the 17th. But the
peculiar quickly moving number with its piquant harmonies and rhythm and
its mocking, grotesque or fantastically capricious spirit is the musical
thought of Beethoven. At times the scherzo assumed gigantic proportions
as in the Third, Fifth and Ninth Symphonies, and in the sonata Op. 106.
Before his day the imagination of the composer had not had full play; it
was more or less hampered by conventionalities, by the necessities of
the men dependent on princes' favors. The expansion of a great idea in
the sonata is found first in his works. Deep feeling, passionate longing
took the place in the slow movement of simple melody with its unmeaning
and elaborate ornamentation. He introduced the recitative with thrilling
effect. Although the breadth of the thought in different movements is
majestic even to awe, all phases of human feeling are expressed. Strength
and delicacy, gloom and playfulness are found side by side. The sonata
form with Beethoven was the means of the full development of all the
expressive elements in music.

These considerations are likewise true of his piano and violin sonatas,
trios and concertos, the most prominent of which are the so-called
Kreutzer Sonata, for piano and violin, trio in B flat, violin concerto,
and piano concertos in G and E flat. These famous works stand foremost
in their respective branches, but to dwell on their individual
characteristics would exceed the limits of this article.

In contrast with the later symphonies, the First and Second seem without
the rare personality of the composer. Yet when the First Symphony appeared
its opening was regarded as daring; and there is the seriousness of
purpose that is found in all of his greater compositions. In the Second
the introduction is built on broader foundations; there is a warmth in
the slow movement that was unusual for the time, and the scherzo is new
in character. But in the Heroic, Beethoven laid the cornerstone of modern
symphonic music. It was written with a definite aim; the glorification of
a great man. The instrumentation is noticeable in a historical sense on
account of the treatment of the orchestra as a whole; the balance of the
parts, the conversations, the antiphonal choirs. The Funeral March is the
departure from the traditional slow movement that was generally devoted
to prettiness or the display of genteel emotion. And in this symphony
the scherzo is Shakesperian in spirit where melancholy or grimness is
mingled with the jesting. It has been said that the last movement of the
Haydn Symphony was designed to send the audience home in gay spirits; but
with Beethoven the finale became the crown of the work. The finale of
the Heroic is not as impressive as are the preceding movements; but it
abounds in interesting detail, and was in its day a remarkable revelation.
The Fourth is built on a lesser scale, and yet as Berlioz well said, the
adagio defies analysis, "the movement that seems to have been sighed by
the Archangel Michael when, a prey to melancholy, he contemplated from
the threshold of heaven the worlds below him." In the Fifth Beethoven rid
himself completely of the shackles of conventionality. It is the story
in music of the composer's defiance of Fate, the battling of man with
nature and unseen forces. Here trombones and contra fagott appeared for
the first time in the history of the symphony. The Sixth is full of peace
and serenity and joy in life that comes from the contemplation of Nature,
and stands in strong contrast with the sublime struggle and exulting
triumph of the Fifth. The Seventh is perhaps the most truly romantic
and sensuously beautiful of all. Joy and sorrow, humor and wild passion
alternate in its strongly contrasted movements. This great work, together
with the three string quartets, Op. 59, are held by some musicians to be
the highest manifestation of subjective feeling and ideal beauty that
musical art has yet revealed. In conciseness of form the Eighth is almost
a return to earlier conditions, but in concentrated power and joyousness
it is one of the most remarkable and Beethovenish. He himself described
it as a "little symphony in F." The substitution of the Ariel-like and
humorous _allegretto_ in place of the slow movement, and the use of the
_menuetto_ are eminently characteristic. The Choral Symphony stands
alone in the history of music. It is said that the first three movements
"have reference, more or less intelligible according to the organization
and sympathies of the hearer, to the _finale_," which is a setting of
Schiller's "Ode to Joy," or rather "Liberty," which was the original title
of the poem. Here all "the dramatic and human elements which Beethoven
introduced into his instrumental music to a degree before undreamed
of" are brought together in complete expression. Moreover in the Ninth
Symphony as in his great Mass in D there dwells the profound spirit of
religious consciousness. The burden of the hymn heard above the symphonic
struggle of the orchestra is joy, love and brotherhood for all mankind,
or that charity which is the true essence of the Christian religion. Like
Dante's Divine Comedy or Bach's Passion Music, the Ninth Symphony will
live as one of the greatest monuments of genius.


Executed by Prof. Hähnel. Unveiled in August, 1845. From a photograph made
in 1880.]

The human voice was to Beethoven an orchestral instrument, and he too
often treated it as such. This failing is seen particularly in the Mass
in D, "Fidelio," and the Ninth Symphony. Yet he showed in the song-cycle,
"To the Absent Loved-one," a knowledge of the art of Italian song and the
principles of _bel canto_ that accompanied German taste and sentiment, as
also in his most famous song "Adelaide." In his great choral works and
in his opera he showed himself everywhere as the instrumental writer _par
excellence_. "Fidelio" is undoubtedly a masterpiece. The text has been
praised highly, but probably more on account of its noble subject than
dramatic treatment; for the interest stops with the great dungeon-scene.
As a drama it has the defects of operas in general of his time. Spoken
dialogue and separate solo and concerted numbers naturally prevent
dramatic unity and consistency of effect.

Undoubtedly the orchestra is the chief figure of the opera, dominating
constantly the scene. This, however, is as true of Wagner as of Beethoven.
"There is not an instrumental note that has not its passionate, dramatic
meaning; there is not an instrument that is not a party to the drama."
With the exception of the prisoners' chorus, the most impressive
passages of "Fidelio" are those in which the orchestra is openly master:
the overture No. III., the melodramas, the introduction to the air of
_Florestan_. The overture No. III. is the whole story of the agony and
the womanly devotion of Leonore in concise and tragic form; just as the
overtures to "Egmont" and "Coriolanus" are the summing up of the tragedies
of Goethe and Collin, although "Coriolanus" is undoubtedly derived
directly from Plutarch and Shakespeare. The force and the meaning of the
accompaniment is always in proportion with the degree of passion on the
stage. When _Pizarro_ meditates his vengeance and the orchestra mimics the
storm within his breast, it matters little that the voice of the singer
is drowned. And so the air of the delirious _Florestan_ is less thrilling
than the preceding prelude; and the oboe tells of his agony although he
himself cries it to the dungeon walls.

There is little or no doubt that when Beethoven wrote his Ninth Symphony,
he thought of Schiller's original conception, the ode to Freedom, and not
the altered and present version, the ode to Joy. To Beethoven, freedom
was the only joy; to him the universal freedom of loving humanity was
true religion: the brotherhood of man. That the singers rebelled against
the frightful difficulties of their task was nothing to him; he heard the
voices of a triumphant world, and he was not to be confined by individual
limitations. So in his mass in D, he thought not of the service of the
Roman Catholic church: he arrayed the human against the supernatural.
It is not church music so much as the direct, subjective expression of a
religious heart, which cannot be restrained by the barriers of mere form
and ritual. Some have argued seriously that because Beethoven was not
punctilious in the observance of the rites of the Church he was therefore
unfitted to celebrate in music her solemn service. Now whatever his
religious opinions were, whether he was deist or pantheist, there is no
doubt that he appreciated fully the dignity of his task and consecrated
all his energies to the performance of it. He meditated it most carefully,
as we know by his sketch-books. In 1818 he wrote a memorandum: "To compose
true religious music, it is necessary to consult the olden chorals in use
in monasteries"; and he added below: "Make once more the sacrifice of
all the petty necessities of life for the glory of thy art. God before
all!" In the manuscript is written over the _Kyrie_, "From the heart! May
it go back to the heart!" and over the _Dona Nobis, "Dona nobis pacem_.
Representing the inner and exterior peace."

It is idle to compare this Mass with the religious works of Palestrina
and Bach and to say that if Beethoven had been a devout Catholic or an
orthodox Lutheran his Mass would have been more thoroughly imbued with
religious feeling. In the first place it is necessary to define the word
"religious." Palestrina wrote in his peculiar style not because he was a
devout Catholic, but because his religious individuality found expression
in the methods of his time. Bach wrote his great Mass in a time when
counterpoint ruled in the music of the church and of the dance. Beethoven
was a man, not only of his time, but of the remaining years of this

Now in this mass Beethoven wherever he is most imposing, he is intensely
dramatic, and when he follows tradition, he is least himself. Notice for
instance the change from the passionate entreaty that is almost a defiance
in the _Kyrie_ to the ineffable tenderness in the _Christe eleison_; the
wonderful setting of the _Incarnatus_ and the _Crucifixus_. On the other
hand, where Beethoven felt that it was his duty to follow the approved
formulas, as in certain passages of the _Credo_ that relate to the
communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, etc., we realize fully the
story of Schindler, who found the composer singing, shouting, stamping,
and sweating at his work; for although he was a master of the _fugato_,
the fugue was to him, apparently, not his natural mode of expression.
But von Bülow's commentary should not be forgotten: "The fugue is with
Beethoven the last and highest means of intensifying the expression of

Again, the religious element in the music of Beethoven is not confined
to works which have a sacred text. The yearning after heavenly rest,
the discontent with the petty vanities of life, sublime hope and humble
thanksgiving,--these are not found exclusively in his works for the church
or in such a movement as the _canzona in moda lidico_ in the A minor
quartet Op. 132. The finale of the Ninth Symphony as well as movements in
the sonatas, the chamber-music and the symphonies are religious music in
the profoundest sense of the word.

And yet the great works of his last years have been decried and are
not now accepted by many. He himself was discontented with many of his
earlier compositions, and this self-depreciation does not seem the
singular yet not uncommon affectation of genius. In a letter written to
Ries in 1816 he declared that the death of his brother had impressed him
profoundly and influenced not only his character but his works. For a
time following he wrote but little; and then he pondered compositions
of gigantic proportions. The pianoforte ceased to accommodate itself to
his thoughts; the string quartet and the orchestra were constantly in
his mind. "The most exalted, the most wondrous, the most inconceivable
music," says Rubinstein, "was not written until after his total deafness.
As the seer may be imagined blind, that is, blind to his surroundings,
and seeing with the eyes of the soul, so the hearer may be imagined
deaf to all his surroundings and hearing with the hearing of the soul."
Deafness befriended him when it closed the doors of sense. It helped him
to turn from outward things, and find peace and consolation in the ideal
world of tones. The spiritual voices that he heard were the companions
of his solitude. He thus vindicated the true spirituality of music. The
deaf man justified its ancient, poetical significance. This inward life
accounts for his early inclination for instrumental music. The highly
developed forms gave wide range to his imagination, through the almost
unlimited resources of the orchestra, in compass, technical execution, and

While in his orchestral works Beethoven reveals all the tragic fire, and
dramatic strength of his nature, it is in his string quartets that he is
most spiritual and mystical. This is due, first, to the nature of the
four combined instruments, so pure and ethereal in their tone effects.

His friend Schuppanzigh, the violinist, complained to him that certain
passages in one of his quartets were impossible; and Beethoven replied:
"Do you believe that I think of a wretched violin, when the spirit speaks
to me and I write it down?" The last five quartets have been called
transcendental, even incomprehensible, on account of their strangeness and
obscurity. They are his last utterances, the mystical creations of a man
who neared the end of his life-tragedy. "The events in Beethoven's life,"
says Nohl, "were calculated more and more to liberate him heart and soul
from this world, and the whole composition of the quartets appears like a
preparation for the moment when the mind, released from existence here,
feels united with a higher being. But it is not a longing for death that
here finds expression. It is the heartfelt, certain, and joyful feeling
of something really eternal and holy, that speaks to us in the language
of a new dispensation. And even the pictures of this world, here to be
discerned, be they serious or gay, have this transfigured light, this
outlook into eternity." Spirituality is impressed on the eternal features
of the music: that is, the technical treatment of the four instruments.
The melodies move freely in a wide compass, the voices cross each other
frequently. Widely extended, open harmony is often employed, giving
wonderful etherealness and spirituality to the effect of the strings
by their thinness and delicacy of tone when thus separated by long
intervals between the several parts of the chords. Nor is the polyphonic
melodiousness of the voices abandoned, as in certain quartets of later
masters in which the treatment is more orchestral than is in keeping with
the character of the solo instruments.

And yet these great quartets are not even now accepted by certain men
of marked musical temperament and discriminating taste. They are called
"charcoal sketches"; they are erroneously regarded as draughts for
elaboration in orchestral form. Others shrug their shoulders and speak
compassionately of the deafness of Beethoven. But he was deaf when, in
directing the Seventh Symphony, he was obliged to follow the movements of
the first violin that he might keep his place; he was deaf when he thought
out the melodic freshness and elegance of the Eighth Symphony; and even
before the Heroic, the Fifth and the Pastoral he mourned his physical
infirmity in the celebrated letter to his brothers. In judging of the
masterpieces of the so-called third period it is not necessary to join the
cry of the critics like Fétis who complain of "the aberrations of a genius
that goes out in darkness," or to swell the chorus of wild enthusiasts
as Nohl and Lenz, who wrench the dictionary in the expression of their
delight. In the light of these great works all criticism is blind and

In the cyclical forms of instrumental music, Beethoven is preëminent from
all points of view, formally, technically, aesthetically, and spiritually.
Moreover, there is a Shakesperian quality in his wonderful tone-poems.
Like the great poet he touches every chord of the heart and appeals to
the imagination more potently than other poets. Beethoven's creations,
like Shakespeare's, are distinguished by great diversity of character;
each is a type by itself. His great symphonies stand in as strong contrast
with each other as do the plays of Shakespeare with each other. Beethoven
is the least of a mannerist of all composers. "Each composition leaves
a separate image and impression on the mind." His compositions are
genuine poems, that tell their meaning to the true listener clearly and
unmistakably in the language of tones, a language which, however, cannot
be translated into mere words, as has often been attempted in the flowery
and fanciful effusions of various writers, like Wagner, Lenz, Marx, and
others, who waste labor and thought in trying to do the impossible.

In the Pantheon of art Beethoven holds a foremost place beside the great
poets and artists of all time, with Æschylus and Dante, Michael Angelo
and Shakespeare. Like these inspired men he has widened and ennobled
the mind and the soul of humanity. "In his last works," says Edward
Dannreuther, "he passes beyond the horizon of a mere singer and poet, and
touches upon the domain of the seer and prophet, where in unison with all
genuine mystics and ethical teachers he delivers a message of religious
love and resignation, and release from the world." Or as Wagner wrote,
"Our civilization might receive a new soul from the spirit of Beethoven's
music, and a renovation of religion which might permeate it through and

[Illustration: Signature: John K. Paine.]


From a photograph. Representing scenes from the Opera of Fidelio.]


_Reproduction of a lithograph portrait made by Kriehuber, of Vienna._]

[Illustration: Schubert]




Franz Peter Schubert was born in Vienna, January 31, 1797, and died there
November 19, 1828. The house in which Schubert was born is now Number 54
in the Nussdorfer Strasse, and the fact is recorded upon a marble tablet
over the door. His immediate ancestry were peasants. His father and
uncle came from Moravia to Vienna, and were schoolmasters there for many
years. His mother, Elizabeth Fitz, before her marriage, was in domestic
service as a cook. After her death in 1812 the elder Schubert married Anna
Klayenbök. By his first marriage he had fourteen children, of whom Franz
was the thirteenth; by the second marriage there were five children, two
of whom were living about 1880. The step-mother was an excellent mother
to Franz. Two of his elder brothers, Ignaz and Ferdinand, lived and died
as schoolmasters, like their father. It seems to have been an admirable
family; its members, so far as we know, were noted for conscientious
industry and integrity, and were affectionately devoted to one another.
It is clear that there was a love for music in the family, though we have
few details on this point. Ignaz and Ferdinand were taught the violin by
their father. The little Franz began of himself to pick out melodic themes
on an old piano much the worse for wear, and thought it a rare treat when
a friendly joiner's apprentice used now and then to take him to a piano
shop, where he was allowed to try his infant hands upon new and fine
instruments. At the age of seven he began to study the violin with his
father, and the piano with his brother Ignaz, then aged nineteen; but in
a very short time he had got quite beyond these teachers, and was sent to
the parish choir-master, Michael Holzer, for instruction in violin, piano,
organ, and thorough-bass, as well as in singing. But the astounded Holzer
soon found, as he said long afterward, "whenever I wished to teach him
anything fresh, he always knew it already." Holzer was fond of giving him
themes on which to extemporize, and used to exclaim with rapture that the
little fellow "had harmony at his fingers' ends."

Instances of precocity among musicians of genius are by no means rare. But
for precocity of the highest order, as well as for spontaneous exuberance
of musical originality, Schubert has probably been equalled by none save
Mozart. The world is familiar with the stories of Mozart found by his
father in the act of scrawling a piano concerto at four years of age, and
of his composing a symphony for full orchestra at eight. A piano sonata
in D major for four hands, which he wrote in his ninth year, is still
very commonly played, and is astonishing for its maturity of thought
and its complete mastery of the sonata form. There is no evidence of
the beginning of such work on Schubert's part at such an early age. His
fantasia for four hands was written when he was thirteen years old, and
his first recorded song, "Hagar's Lament," in the following year; but
there is reason for believing that he had before that time composed songs,
pieces for piano, and string quartettes. Before completing his eleventh
year he had come to be leading soprano singer and violin player in the
choir at the parish church of Lichtenthal, in Vienna. The next year he
obtained a situation as chorister in the Emperor's Chapel, and became a
pupil in the Imperial school known as the "Convict," a name derived not
from _convincere_, but from _convivere_, and implying that the members
or "convictors" were "messmates." It was but scant conviviality that
was allowed by the ignorant parsimony with which that somewhat famous
institution was managed. Those poor growing boys, with the wolfish
appetites belonging to their time of life, had but two wretched meals
daily and more than eight hours apart, while in the winter season their
benumbed fingers shrank from contact with the ice-like key-boards. How
often some promising lad may have succumbed to such a regimen, while
his death was piously ascribed to Providence, we are not informed. That
the effect upon Schubert's constitution was deleterious may readily be
believed. In one of the earliest of his letters that have been preserved,
dated November 24, 1812, we find him beseeching his brother for a few
kreutzers wherewith to get now and then a roll or some apples to keep off
starvation during the long exercises in the freezing schoolroom.

In the _Convict_ more or less instruction was given in history and
mathematics, French and Italian, drawing and writing. In such branches
as he studied, Schubert seems to have done fairly well, but as he went
on the tendency grew upon him to neglect everything else for the sake
of music. Instrumental music was elaborately studied, and symphonies
and overtures of Haydn, Mozart, and others were diligently practised
by an orchestra of boys, in which Schubert distinguished himself from
the first. Soon after his arrival in the school, the conductor of this
orchestra--a big boy, named Joseph von Spaun, afterward Baron and Member
of the Imperial Council, and well known as an amateur musician--remarked
how finely "the little fellow in spectacles" played; from which we may
infer that Schubert's near-sightedness dated from his childhood. After
a while the little fellow himself became first violin and often served
as conductor. A warm friendship grew up between Schubert and Spaun, who
presently discovered that the shy boy of twelve was already possessed by
an unappeasable rage for composition. His head was brimming over with
melodious thoughts, with which he would cover every scrap of music paper
that he could get hold of. But either the _Convict_ was niggardly in
its supply of writing materials no less than of food and fuel, or else
the needs of the new-comer were such as had never before been heard of;
for he could not get enough paper on which to jot down the daily flow
of musical ideas, nor was his scanty stock of copper coins sufficient
to procure sheets enough to meet his wants. Having made this discovery,
the kindly Spaun determined that his little friend should no longer
suffer from this kind of privation; and from that time forth Schubert's
consumption of music paper was astonishing. In April, 1810, he wrote the
four-hand fantasia for piano, probably the earliest of his compositions
that is still preserved. It fills thirty-two closely written pages, and
contains a dozen movements, each ending in a different key from that in
which the piece begins. "Hagar's Lament," written in March, 1811, is
the earliest of his songs still preserved. Perhaps it ought rather to
be called a nondescript vocal piece, or an attempt at a song-cycle; it
comprises twelve numbers, with singular and sometimes irrelevant changes
of key, and covers twenty-eight pages. In spite of its fragmentary and
inorganic character, it bears the unmistakable stamp of genius. From the
outset, whatever his faults, Schubert was always free from the fault of
which Schiller complains that it fetters so many of us poor mortals: he
was never guilty of being commonplace. Whatever came from him was sure to
be something that no one else would have thought of, and it was sure to
be rich in beauty. In view of this, the spontaneity of his creativeness
was almost incredible, and fully justifies the comparison with Mozart.
This same year saw the production of two other vocal pieces, a second
piano fantasia, a string quartet, and a quintet-overture,--to mention
only those that have survived. Doubtless many writings of that early time
were neglected and lost. Schubert seldom showed much interest in a work
of his own after it was finished, for his attention was absorbed in fresh
composition. But he had a methodical habit of dating his works and signing
them "Frz. Schubert, _mpia_," i.e. _manu propria_; and this habit has
been helpful to his biographers in studying the progress of his artistic
labors. The list for 1812 is remarkable for this half-starved boy of
fifteen, containing as it does an overture for full orchestra, two string
quartets, and a sonata for piano, violin, and viola, besides other works
for piano and strings.

But the list for 1813 begins to seem portentous. Here comes the first
symphony (in D; four movements), an octet for wind instruments, three
string quartets, a third piano fantasia, thirty-four minuets, a cantata
for his father's birthday, and about thirty other vocal pieces, including
canons, terzets, and songs for a single voice. Besides all this he began
to set to music Kotzebue's opera "Des Teufels Lustschloss," which he
completed in the following year. In looking over the vocal pieces, one
observes an almost unbroken succession of about a dozen with words by
Schiller; and this illustrates one of Schubert's ways of doing things.
When he happened to turn over the leaves of a volume of poetry, verses
that pleased him would become straightway clothed in melody; they would
sing themselves in his mind, often in all their concrete fullness, with
superb accompaniments, noble in rhythm and rich in wondrous harmonies.
If paper happened to be within reach the song would at once be written
down, and the inspired youth would turn to some other poem, with like
results. What in the ordinary reader fond of poetry is simply an emotional
reaction of keen indescribable pleasure was in his case a sudden thrill
of musical creation. Thus we are told that on a July evening in 1826,
after a long walk, the thirsty Schubert strolled into a beer-garden and
found a friend sitting at one of the tables with a volume of Shakespeare.
After he had laid down the book Schubert picked it up and alighted upon
the song in Cymbeline, "Hark, hark, the lark!" The beautiful melody with
its accompaniment, as we now have it, instantly flashed upon him and was
written down upon some staves hastily drawn across the back of a bill
of fare. In like manner, in the course of the same evening, he set to
music the drinking song in Antony and Cleopatra, and clothed with fresh
immortality the verses "Who is Sylvia" in the Two Gentlemen of Verona. In
its matchless perfection the Sylvia song would of itself suffice for a
composer's reputation. In such wise would Schubert often look through a
book, and come from its hasty perusal with a dozen or more new songs.

[Illustration: SCHUBERT'S BIRTHPLACE IN VIENNA.--From a photograph.]

It is in this astonishing spontaneity that Schubert's greatness largely
consists. In some elements of artistic perfection he is lacking, and
the want may be traced to some of the circumstances of his education.
His early teachers were simply overwhelmed by his genius and let him go
unguided. Holzer, as we have seen, whenever he wished to teach the boy
anything, found that the boy could teach him. So Ruzicka, instructor
in thorough-bass at the _Convict_, simply protested that Schubert must
have learned music directly from heaven, and he could do nothing for
him. Sir George Grove very properly asks, "If all masters adopted this
attitude toward their pupils, what would have become of some of the
greatest geniuses?" Schubert certainly suffered from defective knowledge
of counterpoint; after coming to maturity he recognized this defect
in his education and sought to remedy it by study. Herein he was at a
disadvantage compared with his younger contemporary Mendelssohn. Himself
a musician of extraordinary precocity and spontaneity, Mendelssohn became
thoroughly grounded in counterpoint under one of the best of teachers,
Zelter; and in all his works Mendelssohn shows that absolute mastery of
form, the lack of which is often noticeable in Schubert, especially in
his instrumental works. Upon this point we shall have occasion to make
some further comment. There can be little doubt that the worthy Ruzicka
would have done well had he given his wonderful pupil a careful training
in counterpoint. The heaven-sent music would have lost nothing of its
heavenly quality by enlarging its means of expression.

About the first of November, 1813, Schubert left the _Convict_ and studied
for awhile in the Normal School of St. Anna, in order to qualify himself
for a school-teacher. He escaped conscription by entering his father's
parish school, where he served three years as teacher and discharged the
monotonous and irksome duties of that position with scrupulous fidelity.
He still, however, found time for music. The compositions of the year
1814 show a marked advance in maturity. The most important is the first
mass, in F, a work that has been pronounced superior to the first mass of
any other composer except Beethoven's mass in C. Then we have the second
symphony, in B flat, the overture in Italian style for full orchestra,
five string quartets, eleven dances for strings and horns, and twenty-two
songs, more than half of them to Matthisson's words. Among the songs
"Gretchen am Spinnrade," to Goethe's words, is especially to be noted.

The record for the year 1815 is marvellous:--the third symphony, in D, the
second mass, in G, and the third, in B flat, one opera and six operettas,
a stabat mater, a salve regina, the string quartet in G minor, four piano
sonatas, thirty miscellaneous pieces for the piano, and one hundred and
thirty-seven songs! Among the larger of these works the mass in G merits
especial notice for its beauty. Among the songs are some of Schubert's
most famous,--"Heidenröslein," "Rastlose Liebe," the "Wanderer's
Nachtlied," the exquisite "Nähe des Geliebten," the Ossian songs, and
the magnificent Erl King. This most dramatic and descriptive of songs
was thrown off instantaneously in a fit of wild inspiration. Schubert
had just come upon Goethe's ballad, which he had not seen before; he had
read it two or three times and was dashing the music upon paper when his
friend Spaun came in and found him. It was all done in a few moments, the
rushing accompaniment and all; and that same evening it was sung at the
_Convict_ before Schubert's friends and devoted admirers, his old teachers
and fellow pupils. It was quite customary for Schubert to carry his new
compositions there to be tried, and he was wont to find warm sympathy and
appreciation. But the Erl King was received rather coldly, as will be
hereafter explained.

This year 1816 saw one hundred and thirty-one new compositions by
Schubert. Among these were the fourth or "Tragic" symphony, in C minor,
the fifth symphony, in B flat, an overture for full orchestra, a concerto
for violin and orchestra, a rondo for violin and string orchestra, one
string quartet, one string trio, seven pieces of dance music for piano,
three sonatinas for piano and violin, and other piano music. There was
an unfinished opera, "Die Bürgschaft," followed by four cantatas; one,
called "Prometheus," was the first work composed by Schubert for money;
it was written in a single day and the honorarium was one hundred florins
in Viennese currency; the occasion was the name-day of a certain Herr
Heinrich Watteroth, of Vienna. Another similar but slighter work was
composed in honor of Herr Joseph Spendon, chief inspector of schools;
a third was for Schubert's father; the fourth was for the occasion of
Salieri's jubilee hereafter to be mentioned. Among the sacred compositions
was a magnificat for solo and mixed voices with accompaniment of violin,
viola, hautboy, bassoon, trumpet, drum, and organ; the duetto "Auguste
jam Cœlestium" for soprano and tenor voices, accompanied by violins and
violoncello, double-bass, bassoon, and hautboy; the "Tantum ergo" for four
voices and orchestra; the fragment of a requiem in E flat; the "Salve
regina" for four voices and orchestra; and especially the noble "Stabat
mater" in F minor, one of the finest of Schubert's earlier contributions
to church music. Of this year's songs ninety-nine have been preserved,
including the Wanderer, the three songs of the Harper in "Wilhelm
Meister," Mignon's "Sehnsucht," and "Kennst du das Land," "Der König in
Thule," and "Jäger's Abendlied." These songs are remarkable for strength,
originality, and exquisite beauty. In the Wanderer, and "Wer nie sein Brod
mit Thränen ass," we find Schubert at an elevation which he afterward
scarcely surpassed.

It was Schubert's custom, from an early age, to have quartet parties at
his father's house on Sunday afternoons. When at the _Convict_ he used
to go home on Sundays for this purpose. As first arranged, the elder
Schubert used to play the 'cello, Ferdinand first violin, Ignaz second,
and Franz the viola. In those early days, if a wrong note was heard from
the 'cello, young Franz would modestly say, "Father, there must be a
mistake somewhere," and the hint was always well received. These Sunday
quartets were often joined by friends and neighbors. By degrees the number
of violins was increased, a double-bass and sundry wind instruments were
added, and the affair grew into an orchestra which could perform Haydn's
and Mozart's symphonies. Presently it became necessary to have the
performances in a larger house, and in this way two or three moves were
made, and the Orchestral Society of Amateurs was organized. Overtures
by Cherubini, Spontini, Boieldieu, and Méhul, and the first and second
symphonies of Beethoven were performed. It was for this Society that
Schubert wrote his fourth and fifth symphonies and other orchestral works.
In the autumn of 1820 the society broke down, as such societies are apt to
do, under its own weight. It became necessary to have a large public hall
for the meetings, and the expense thus entailed put an end to the pleasant
and instructive enterprise. There can be little doubt that it was of much
use to Schubert in giving him a chance to hear his own instrumental works
performed and criticised. To a young man of his extremely modest and
retiring disposition, moreover, the friendships thus formed were of much

Schubert was a man to whom friends became devotedly attached. He was
faithful and true, a man of thoroughly sound character, disinterested
and unselfish, without a particle of envy or jealousy about him. He won
affection without demanding it or seeming to need it. He was one of
those men whom one naturally and instinctively loves. Among his special
friends we have already mentioned Spaun. Toward the end of 1814 he became
acquainted with the poet Johann Mayrhofer, about ten years his senior,
and the acquaintance ripened into a life-long intimacy. Mayrhofer was
a man of eccentric nature, with a tinge of melancholy, possibly an
incipient symptom of the insanity which many years afterward drove him
to suicide. Perhaps the most interesting feature of his intimacy with
Schubert was the powerful influence which the latter's music exercised
upon the development of his poetical genius. It was under the spell of
Schubert's charm that Mayrhofer's best poems came to blossom; and many of
them were set to music by Schubert, among which "Erlasse," "Sehnsucht,"
"Nachtstück," "Die zürnende Diana," "Der Alpenjäger," "Der Schiffer," "Am
Strome," and "Schlummerlied" deserve especial mention.

Another of Schubert's friends, and the one who probably exerted the most
influence upon him, was Franz von Schober. Their acquaintance began at
a critical moment. After three years of faithful and conscientious work
in school-teaching, Schubert began to find the drudgery of his position
intolerable, and in 1816, as a public school of music was about to be
opened as an appendage to the normal school at Laybach, near Trieste,
he applied for the post of director. To appreciate the situation, we
must not fail to note the amount of the director's salary, five hundred
Viennese florins, or about one hundred dollars, a year! Such was the
coveted income to which the _alternative_ seemed to be for Schubert, in
Herr Kreissle's phrase, "an impecunious future." From Salieri and from
Spendon recommendations were obtained, such as they were. There was
nothing cordial in them, nothing to indicate that Schubert was a person
of greater calibre than a certain commonplace Jacob Schaufl who obtained
the appointment instead of him. Perhaps, however, they may only have
doubted Schubert's capacity for a position of executive responsibility.
It was at this juncture that young Schober came upon the scene, a student
in comfortable circumstances, about eighteen years of age, who came to
Vienna to continue his studies. He had fallen in with some of Schubert's
songs a year or two before, and had conceived an enthusiastic admiration
for the composer. When he found that the wonderful genius was a boy of
about his own age, wearing out his nerves in a school room, and yet
turning off divine music by the ream, he made up his mind to interpose. He
could at least offer a home, and he persuaded Schubert to come and occupy
his rooms with him. There Schubert began to give music lessons, but his
earnings do not seem to have been considerable or constant. With Schober
he remained a chum for some time, until the need of room for Schober's
brother, a captain of hussars, led to a temporary change. From 1819 to
1821 Schubert had rooms with his friend Mayrhofer. After 1821 he lived
nearly all the time with Schober until within a few weeks of his death.
Their acquaintances were in the main a set of fine, cultivated young men
who felt strong affection and respect for the inspired musician. Among
Schubert's songs we find several set to Schober's words, among which we
may mention "Pax vobiscum" and "Du holde Kunst, in wieviel grauen Stunden."

The third of the friends whose names are inseparably associated with
Schubert was not one of the circle of young men just referred to, but a
much older person. Johann Michael Vogl was nearly thirty years older than
Schubert. In his youth he had had some monastic training and had afterward
studied law and practised at the bar, but his rich baritone voice and
his love for music led him in time to become a public singer, and for
eight-and-twenty years he was a member of the German Opera Company. In
an epoch notable for its great dramatic singers he was rated high, not
so much for his vocal method as for the native quality of his voice and
his intelligent and sympathetic rendering of his parts. He was a learned
man, widely read in philosophy and theology, with a deeply religious
nature and an intense feeling for music,--not a bad sort of man to sing
Schubert's songs. It was in 1817 that Vogl first became aware of these
treasures. Schober pestered him to come and see his wonderful friend and
try some of his songs, but it was not the first time that this veteran
had heard of wonderful young men, and he did not want to be bored. After
a while, however, he called one evening, hummed through half a dozen
songs--among them "Ganymed" and "Des Schäfer's Klage"--and became more
and more interested. "Well, young man," he observed, on taking his leave,
"there is stuff in you, but you squander your fine thoughts instead of
making the most of them." But the more Vogl thought about the songs the
more they loomed up in his memory as strangely and wondrously beautiful.
He called again at the young composer's room, uninvited, found more
and more music which riveted his attention, and it was not long before
that house became one of his haunts. It was this intelligent and highly
cultivated singer who first made Schubert known beyond the limited circle
of his early friends and school-mates. People in the fashionable society
of Vienna made their first acquaintance with the Wanderer and the Erl
King as sung by Vogl's rich voice and in his noble style, with Schubert
himself at the piano. Presently this furnished a new career for Vogl. In
1821 circumstances led to the discontinuance of his work at the Opera
House, and he then began giving concerts, in which German _Lieder_ were
sung, and those of Schubert occupied a foremost place. In 1825 the two
friends made a little concert tour together in the Salzburg country and
Upper Austria. By that time the new songs were becoming famous, though
one serious obstacle to the wide diffusion of their popularity was the
want of singers able to grapple with their technical difficulties and to
express their poetical sentiment in an artistic manner. Operatic quips
and cranks and wanton flourishes would by no means answer the purpose.
Old conventional methods were of no use. A passage from Vogl's diary is
worth quoting in this connection for the glimpse it gives us of his fine
artistic intelligence:--"Nothing shows so plainly the want of a good
school of singing as Schubert's songs. Otherwise, what an enormous and
universal effect must have been produced throughout the world, wherever
the German language is understood, by these truly divine inspirations,
these utterances of a musical _clairvoyance!_ How many would have
comprehended, probably for the first time, the meaning of such expressions
as 'speech and poetry in music,' 'words in harmony,' 'ideas clothed in
music,' etc., and would have learned that the finest poems of our greatest
poets may be enhanced and even transcended when translated into musical
language! Numberless examples may be named, but I will mention only the
Erl King, Gretchen am Spinnrade, Schwager Kronos, the Mignon and Harper's
songs, Schiller's Sehnsucht, Der Pilgrim, and Die Bürgschaft."

[Illustration: Bauernfeld. Schubert. Kupelwieser. Beethoven. Betty
Fröhlich. Mayrhofer. Schwind. Spaun. Vogl. Grillparzer. Josephine
Fröhlich. Kathi Fröhlich.


_Reproduced from photograph of painting which does not represent
any historical scene, as Beethoven and Schubert never met amid such
surroundings. This grouping of Schubert's friends is made by poetical

No subsequent year of Schubert's life witnessed so great a number of
compositions as 1816. For the next year eighty-six compositions are given
in Sir George Grove's list. Of these fifty-two are songs, including many
of those set to Mayrhofer's words. The two songs to Schober's words, above
mentioned, came in this year. Special mention should also be made of the
"Gruppe aus dem Tartarus," to Schiller's words, and of "Lob der Thränen"
and "Die Forelle." "The Pilgrim" and "Ganymede" also belong to this time.
Of large compositions for piano there were the sonatas in E minor; B, Op.
147; A minor, Op. 164; F minor; and A flat; besides the sonata in A, Op.
162, for piano and violin. There were also the variations for piano on a
theme of Hüttenbrenner's; an adagio and rondo; two scherzos, and seventeen
dances for piano; a set of polonaises for violin; and a string trio. The
sixth symphony, in C, was written or finished in November, 1817, and
performed by the amateur orchestral company above described. There were
also three overtures, of which two, written in the Italian style, remind
us that 1817 was the year in which Rossini's operas, newly introduced to
Vienna, were received with wild enthusiasm. Schubert was altogether too
far above Rossini's plane of thought to feel such interest in his work as
he felt for the masterpieces of polyphonic composition. But he appreciated
highly the Italian's gift of melody, and with the assimilative power which
is wont to characterize great genius, he took hints from him which are
apparent not only in the two Italian overtures, but perhaps also in the
sixth symphony. Or in other words, as all creative work is influenced by
its environment, there was a discernible Rossini tinge in the atmosphere
which Schubert was for the moment breathing, and it has left its slight
traces upon a few of his compositions for that year, as upon the work of
less potent creators it left many and deep impressions.

The year 1818 witnessed the beginning of an episode in Schubert's life,
quite different in many respects from what had preceded. He was engaged by
Count Esterhazy to teach music in his family. There were two daughters,
Marie, aged thirteen, and Caroline, aged eleven, and a son aged five.
All were musically gifted, and their friend, Baron von Schönstein, was
a very accomplished singer. The engagement took Schubert to the Count's
country home in Hungary for the summer, while the winter season was
passed in Vienna. Schubert's intercourse with this amiable and cultivated
family was very pleasant, and in the course of it seems to have occurred
the nearest approach to a love affair that can be detected in his life.
Little Caroline Esterhazy was at the outset not at an age likely to evoke
the tender passion. But as time elapsed and she came to be seventeen or
eighteen years of age, it has been supposed that Schubert manifested
symptoms of having fallen in love with her. The evidence is slight, as
evidence is apt to be in such matters, in the absence of anything like
an overt declaration. The nearest that Schubert seems ever to have come
to such a declaration was once when Caroline in an innocent moment of
girlish coquetry asked him why, when he was dedicating so many delightful
works to other persons, he had never dedicated anything to her. Schubert
is said to have replied, "Why should I? Is not everything that I have
ever done dedicated to you already?" This anecdote does not go far as
proof. Question and answer might alike have been merely pleasant jesting.
Contemporary rumor, in the case of a man so shy and reserved on all
matters of deep feeling as Schubert, cannot be expected to tell us much.
The general impression about him was that he was almost insensible to
the charms of fair women. If this impression is to be taken as true, an
interesting question is suggested. How could a man who was never in love
have written that immortal Serenade in which all that is sweetest and most
sacred in the love of man for woman comes forth like a fresh breath from
heaven? Never was voice of love so passionate and so pure. Nowhere has
human art ever found more consummate and faultless expression than in this
song of songs. It could no more have come from a soul insensible to the
passion of love than figs can grow upon thistles. Probably therefore the
general impression about Schubert was due in the main to his reticence.
We have also to bear in mind that such a nature as his can find in
artistic creation a vent for emotional excitement strong enough to craze
the ordinary mind. We know how it was with Goethe, how the worst pains
of life were healed for him by being thrown off in passionate poetry.
This is quite intelligible. It is a special illustration of Shakespeare's

    "Give sorrow words; the grief that cannot speak
    Whispers the o'erfraught heart and bids it break."

This need for expression, felt by every human creature, appears in men
of profound and intense interior life as a creative impulse; it is
so not only with artists and poets, but in many cases with scholars,
philosophers, and scientific discoverers; the relief is found in giving
objective form to the thoughts that come welling up from the depths of the
spirit. But it is in art that creative expression most becomes in itself
an overmastering end, and especially in the two arts that give swiftest
and readiest outlet to emotion, in poetry and in music. Hence one of the
noblest functions of art, to be the consoler of the troubled soul, to
sink its individual sorrows in the contemplation of eternal beauty, to
bring weary and doubting humanity into restful communion with the divine
source of all its yearnings, in the faith that they have not been given
us for naught. If there ever was a soul thus sustained and comforted, it
was the pure and earnest soul of Schubert; the stream of song that flowed
from him was like the ecstatic but soothing and strengthening prayer of
the mediæval saint. One can see that this shy and sensitive young man,
somewhat inclined withal to self-depreciation, would not be quick to avow
a love which social conditions at any rate scarcely favored. He was son of
a peasant, Caroline Esterhazy was daughter of a count. Such a passion was
likely to seek relief in strains of music, as Dante's worship of Beatrice
found expression in verse. As the thought of Beatrice was in all that
Dante wrote, so the story of Schubert's momentary confession to Caroline
that all that he had sung was dedicated to her is in nowise improbable
in itself. There is a circumstance which invests it with a considerable
degree of probability. Shortly after Schubert's death his beautiful
Fantasia in F minor, Op. 103, was published with the inscription,
"Dedicated to the Countess Caroline Esterhazy by Franz Schubert," and Sir
George Grove rightly infers that the publishers would hardly have ventured
upon such a step "unless the manuscript--probably handed to them before
his death--had been so inscribed by himself." This is perhaps all that is
known concerning the question as to Schubert's love.

At the Esterhazy country-house Schubert seems at first to have felt more
at home in the kitchen than in the drawing-room. A letter to Schober,
written in September, 1818, says:--"The cook is a pleasant fellow; the
ladies' maid is thirty; the housemaid very pretty, and often pays me a
visit; the nurse is somewhat ancient; the butler is my rival; the two
grooms get on better with the horses than with us. The Count is a little
rough; the Countess proud, but not without heart; the young ladies good
children." It was not long before Schubert found himself a great favorite
with the whole household, from the count down to the grooms. From this
time until his death he was always welcome whenever he chose to come,
Baron von Schönstein, the singer already mentioned, had hitherto sung
nothing but Italian music, but he was now converted to the German Lied,
and for the rest of his life devoted himself to Schubert's songs, until
for his magnificent rendering of them he acquired a fame scarcely second
to Vogl.

During the winter seasons in Vienna, Schubert continued to give music
lessons in the Esterhazy family, but his home was apt to be in the
humble room with Mayrhofer, or afterwards again with Schober. He was
as regular with his work of composing music as Anthony Trollope with
his novel-writing or Sainte-Beuve with his "Causeries du Lundi." When
Ferdinand Hiller was about sixteen years old he made a visit to Vienna
and called upon Schubert. "Do you write much?" asked Hiller,--a question
which now sounds odd enough, and shows how little knowledge of the great
composer there was outside of his own town. "I write every morning," said
Schubert, "and as soon as I have finished one thing I begin another." This
regularity was simply an outcome of the fact that the fount of inspiration
was never dry. It was not because it was work done for much needed money,
for the larger part of Schubert's work never brought him any money. It was
primarily because singing was as spontaneous with him on first awaking as
with a bird; sometimes he could not wait to get up and dress, but seized
a sheet of music paper and jotted down his first exuberant thoughts while
still in bed. After a piece was finished, he sometimes heard it sung or
played, and sometimes did not; in either case it was apt soon to be tucked
away in a cupboard drawer and forgotten; there are several anecdotes of
his listening to old songs of his own without recognizing them.

After working till two o'clock in the afternoon, Schubert used to dine,
and then visit friends, or take a walk, or sit in a café over his schoppen
of wine or beer. At such times, as we have seen, the sight of a poem, or
perhaps some interesting incident, would call forth a sudden outburst of
song. Some of his noblest masterpieces came from the beer garden. He does
not seem to have been in the habit of drinking anything stronger than beer
and wine. Of these light beverages he was very fond, and as his head was
easily affected, an opinion has found currency that this appetite was a
weakness with Schubert,--perhaps his only assignable weakness. The fact,
however, that he was always up early and quite fresh for the morning's
work, is clear proof that it could not have been a serious weakness. Among
friends with whom he was well acquainted he was genial and jovial, and
liked to sit and talk; but he habitually entertained a due respect for
to-morrow morning.

The compositions for the three years 1818-20 were about a hundred in
number. There were some noble church works, the fourth mass in C and the
fifth in A flat, a Salve Regina for soprano voice with string orchestra,
four hymns by Novalis, the twenty-third Psalm to Moses Mendelssohn's
version, and the Easter cantata "Lazarus"; also the operetta "Die
Zwillingsbrüder" and the fragment of an unfinished opera, "Sakuntala";
an overture for orchestra, quartetts, quintets, canzoni, many dances for
piano, and many songs.

The year 1821 marked a new era with Schubert; in that year some of his
compositions were first published. Some of his friends were determined to
have a group of his songs engraved, among them the Erl King which had now
often been heard in private concerts. They applied to two or three of the
most enterprising music publishers in Vienna, but without success. There
was no profit in such publications, said the sagacious men of business.
The composer was so obscure that his name would carry no weight; and as
for the songs, they were strange affairs, the melodies too difficult for
anybody to sing, and the piano accompaniments quite impossible for any one
to play! As the publishers thus proved unmanageable, some of Schubert's
friends had the Erl King engraved and printed by subscription, and about
the same time the song was first heard at Vienna in a public concert,
with the accompaniment played by the composer himself. It was in this
year, as already observed, that Vogl began giving concerts in which these
songs took a prominent place. In the course of a few months seven groups
of Schubert's songs were published on commission, and their success was
such that publishers were afterward ready to go on at their own risk. Of
new compositions this year saw the completion of the beautiful "Gesang
der Geister über den Wassern" for four tenors and four basses, with
accompaniment of two violas, two 'cellos, and double-bass. There was also
the seventh symphony, for the most part a sketch, but so full of clues
that it would not be difficult to complete it according to the original
intention. It looks as if the composer had some other work upon his
mind at the same time, perhaps the Alfonso and Estrella presently to be
mentioned, and could not for the moment wait to fill out all parts of the
score, but made very complete indications so as to be sure of recovering
his former thoughts on returning to it. Among this year's songs are some
that rank very high, as the two Suleikas and the "Geheimes" to Goethe's
words, the "Lob der Thränen" and "Sey mir gegrüsst." All these are
outdone, however, by the "Frühlingsglaube," written in 1822, to Uhland's
words, a song which for artistic perfection is absolutely unsurpassed.

The rapid development of Schubert's maturity in 1822 is exhibited in the
two movements of his eighth symphony in B-minor, now commonly called the
Unfinished Symphony. It was written for the Musikverein at Gratz, which
had lately elected him an honorary member. Why it was presented to the
society while still half-finished does not clearly appear. The first two
movements were completed and the scherzo partly sketched. It is now more
often played and better known than any of his other symphonies except
the great tenth, in C major, presently to be mentioned. There is greater
conciseness of expression, and in the opinion of some critics, even more
grandeur and beauty in the Unfinished Symphony than in the Tenth. Here
for the first time in an orchestral work Schubert appears as a completely
independent master. In his earlier symphonies, as in Beethoven's first
and second, one always feels the dominant influence of Haydn and Mozart.
In his sixth symphony, composed in 1817, we begin to see the influence of
Beethoven, for whom he was already coming to feel the love and adoration
that never ceased to occupy his mind even upon his death-bed. In the
Unfinished Symphony he takes a new departure, as Beethoven did in his
third or Eroica; but this new departure, while it profits by Beethoven,
is peculiarly Schubertian; the composer's individuality is as completely
expressed in it as in his songs.

We have already had occasion to mention operas or operettas in the lists
of our composer's works from year to year. His insatiable yearning to
express himself in music was excited whenever he happened to come across
an available dramatic poem, good or bad, and sometimes he was fain to
content himself with a wretched libretto. Hitherto his music for the stage
had been of much less importance than his other compositions, though
it hardly need be said that it abounded in beautiful and interesting
conceptions. But the increase of maturity just noticed in his orchestral
music was also shown in the production of his first grand opera, "Alfonso
and Estrella," in 1822, followed by his second and last such work,
"Fierabras," in 1823.

[Illustration: Fac-simile of manuscript of first sketch of the Erl King,
showing that the change of the right-hand accompaniment into triplets was
an afterthought.]

In the autumn of 1821 Schubert and his friend Schober took a bit of
vacation among the Styrian Alps, where something suggested a subject
for the romantic opera, "Alfonso and Estrella," and Schober wrote a
libretto so much better than anything our hero had yet had to work with
that it quite made his eyes sparkle. It may be doubted if Don Quixote's
housekeeper would have kept back even this libretto from the flames,
but of many a musical drama that has solaced the weary mind we may say
that it was not made to be analyzed. An opera should be judged not by
the element that would instantly evaporate in a logical crucible, but by
the opportunities it affords for dramatic situations. In this respect
the Schober libretto, though better than Schubert had ever worked with,
had its shortcomings; the situations were given, but not wrought up with
sufficient dramatic power, so that, in spite of the undeniable dramatic
genius of the composer, the general treatment was felt to be more
lyric than dramatic. The opera was also regarded as too long, and the
accompaniments were pronounced impossible by the orchestras at the Vienna
theatres. For these reasons it proved impossible to get it put upon the
stage. It was first performed at Weimar in 1854, under Liszt's direction,
but was coldly received. At length it was curtailed and simplified by
Johann Fuchs, and brought out at Carlsruhe in 1881, and since then it has
been performed many times with marked success. The overture, a superb
piece of orchestral writing, is often performed at concerts.

This opera was the occasion of a little tiff between Schubert and
Weber, who came to Vienna in 1823 to conduct his opera "Euryanthe." On
hearing that work performed, Schubert said that along with many beauties
in harmony and in dramatic treatment it was wanting in freshness and
originality of melody, and was on the whole quite inferior to its
predecessor, "Der Freischütz." Probably few would dissent from this
judgment to-day, but when it was repeated to Weber it naturally irritated
him, and he is said to have exclaimed, "The dunce had better learn to
do something himself before he presumes to sit in judgment on me."
This hasty remark was tattled about until Schubert heard of it, and
forthwith, armed with the score of "Alfonso and Estrella," he called upon
the famous northern composer, to prove that he had not spoken without
knowing how operas ought to be written. After looking through the score
Weber ungraciously observed, "You know it is customary for people to
drown the first puppies and the first operas!" Poor health was already
making Weber irritable, and this remark was only an expiring flicker of
peevishness. He did not regard "Alfonso and Estrella" as a puppy opera,
but admired it, and afterward tried, though unsuccessfully, to have it
performed in Dresden. The relations between the two composers seem to have
been friendly. Indeed Schubert never bore malice to anybody, and it was
impossible for any one to harbor an unkind feeling toward him.

Of "Fierabras" it need only be said that the libretto was a bad one, the
scene was Spain in the days of Carlovingian romance, the score filled
one thousand manuscript pages, and the opera was never performed. The
romances, entr'actes, choruses, and ballet music, written this year for
the drama of "Rosamunde," rank among the composer's most beautiful works,
and are often performed as concert-pieces, though the drama itself has
been lost.

During part of this year 1823 Schubert was ill and obliged to go to the
hospital. Yet besides all this quantity of operatic music, he composed
the cycle of twenty songs known as "Die schöne Müllerin," to the words of
Wilhelm Müller, containing the exquisite "Wohin?," "Ungeduld," "Trockne
Blumen," and others scarcely less beautiful. Some of these were written in
the hospital. As if this were not enough, the same year's list contains
"Du bist die Ruh," and "Auf dem Wasser zu singen"; as well as the piano
sonata in A minor, Op. 143.

The year 1824 was marked chiefly by piano compositions,--two sonatas and
an overture for four hands, besides a vast quantity of dance music, and
the "Divertissement à l'hongroise," suggested by an air hummed by the
kitchen maid at the Esterhazys' country house, where Schubert spent the
summer to recruit his health. There was also a string quartet, and the
celebrated octet for strings and wood which is now so familiar. This
activity in the sonata form seems to have culminated next year in the
ninth symphony, which was almost surely finished about August, 1825, but
which has quite disappeared from sight. There were three piano sonatas,
besides the fragment of a fourth. Of these the sonata in A minor, Op.
42, must probably be pronounced the greatest of Schubert's works for the
piano, showing along with its wealth of inventiveness a mastery of form
almost as complete as the best of the songs. Among the grand songs of
this year must be mentioned "Die junge Nonne," and the group of seven to
Scott's "Lady of the Lake," of which the most famous is the "Ave Maria."

[Illustration: SCHUBERT'S MONUMENT IN VIENNA.--From a photograph.]

Our composer's progress toward perfect achievement in instrumental music
is marked in 1826 by the two string quartets in G and D minor. The latter
is not only Schubert's greatest work in chamber music, but is hardly
surpassed by the work of any other composer in this department. At the
same time came the piano sonata in G, Op. 78, of remarkable breadth and
grandeur. The Shakespeare songs already mentioned belong to this year.

Among the works of 1827 the most memorable was the second grand cycle
of songs to words by Wilhelm Müller,--the immortal "Winterreise." These
jewels of lyric art, what lover of music will fail to know them, so long
as art endures? But a more sombre tone prevails in them than the songster
had sustained at such length before. The note of unsatisfied longing,
of the strange contrast between the glow of aspiration and the chill
reality, is most decisively struck in "Frühlingstraum." In the last of the
cycle, the pathetic "Leiermann," the sadness is only heightened by the
indescribably delicate and playful humor which hovers about the phrases.
To us it may seem as if these lyrics contained a premonition of the end
that was not far off; but probably Schubert did not suspect it. His
grandest outburst of creative power was yet to come; he was studying his
art more earnestly than ever, and in the true spirit of artist or scholar,
as if all eternity lay before him, though the dread summons might come
to-morrow; in the sweet words of the old monkish distich:--

    "Disce ut semper victurus,
    Vive ut eras moriturus."

Of worldly sources of strength and comfort this great spirit had so few as
to put to shame such weaker mortals as complain of the ways of Providence.
Of what is called business and its management he was as innocent as a babe
in arms. His reticence, his unwillingness to intrude upon others, often
prevented his friends from realizing the straits to which he was reduced.
There can be little doubt that even at this later period of life he
sometimes suffered from cold and hunger, and it has been thought that his
death was hastened by such privations. Salaried positions that he might
have creditably filled were given to men with more self-assertion. His
attempts at the more marketable forms of music, as opera was then deemed
to be, failed from various untoward conditions; and he would sometimes
sell for the price of a frugal breakfast a song destined to bring wealth
to some publisher. The genial musician, Franz Lachner, declares from
personal knowledge that half a dozen numbers of the "Winterreise" were
written in a single day and sold for a franc apiece! If Schubert had
lived longer there would probably have been an improvement in this state
of things. The greatness of his posthumous fame is liable to make us
forget that his life was ended at an age when the most brilliant men are
usually just beginning to win their earliest laurels. From 1822 to 1828
his reputation was increasing rapidly, and before long would have become
so great as probably to work some improvement in his affairs. With time
the recognition of his genius was to seize the whole musical world as it
seized upon Beethoven.

The story of the relations between these two artists is touching. It seems
singular enough that Schubert and Beethoven should have lived in the same
city for thirty years without meeting more than once until the very end.
By his twentieth year, if not before, the feeling of Schubert for the
older composer had come to be little short of adoration. But Beethoven was
absorbed in work, and stone deaf withal, and not always easy of approach,
and his adorer was timid. Sometimes he came into the café where Schubert
was dining and sat down at another table. For a man of the world to get
up, step across the room, and open a conversation with the demigod, might
seem no very difficult undertaking; for Schubert it was simply impossible.
But in 1822 a meeting was at length brought about. His "Variations on a
French Air" were published by Diabelli and dedicated to Beethoven, and
Diabelli took Schubert with him to the master's house to present the
offering in person. Beethoven received the visitors graciously, and paper
and pencil for conversation were handed to them as usual, but Schubert
was too confused to write a word. Most likely it was Diabelli who handed
to Beethoven the Variations and called his attention to the tribute of
admiration printed at their head. On looking over the music Beethoven
stumbled upon some daring or questionable innovation of style, and in
his most kindly manner turned to Schubert to inquire his reason for it,
or perhaps to make some mild criticism quite proper from an artist of
fifty-two years to one of twenty-five. At this the poor fellow simply lost
his head, and with some incoherent exclamation fled into the street. Ah,
what chagrin when once safely alone, and the very thing he ought to have
said, so neat and telling, popped into his head! But to go back, or to
speak to the great man again seemed more than ever impossible.

It was during Beethoven's last illness in 1827 that he first came to
know Schubert. Beethoven's friend and biographer Schindler brought him a
parcel of Schubert's songs, including the "Schöne Müllerin" group, "Die
junge Nonne," and others. Beethoven's astonishment and admiration knew
no bounds. He studied the songs with most profound interest, declared
that their composer was destined to become a great power in the world,
and expressed deep regret that he had not known more about him. Scarcely
a day passed without his reverting to the subject, and it must of course
have been this that led Schubert to visit him twice. On the first occasion
there was some affectionate talk between them; on the second the dying
man was no longer able to speak, but only made some unintelligible signs,
and Schubert went away bowed down with grief. At the funeral he was one
of the torch-bearers, and on the way home from the graveyard he stopped
with Lachner and another friend at the Mehlgrube tavern, and they drank a
glass of wine to the memory of the mighty master who had left them. Then
Schubert proposed a second glass to that one of themselves who should be
the first to follow. It was to be himself, and very soon.


From a photograph.]

An instance of the rapidly growing interest in his music was furnished
by the success of a private concert which he gave for his own benefit
early in 1828. The programme consisted entirely of his own compositions,
the audience was large and enthusiastic, and the sum, equivalent to one
hundred and sixty dollars, which that evening brought him, must have
given him an unwonted sense of wealth. It was his first and last concert
of this sort. For creative work this last year of his life was the most
wonderful, and indeed it would be difficult to cite from the whole history
of music a parallel to it. The one orchestral work was the colossal tenth
symphony in C major, which showed so unmistakably upon whose shoulders the
mantle of the dead master had fallen, that it used sometimes to be called
"Beethoven's tenth symphony." But there is no imitation of Beethoven
or any other master in this work; it is as individually and intensely
Schubertian as the Erl King. It was first performed in Vienna about a
month after its composer's death, but its technical difficulties caused it
to lie neglected and forgotten until 1838, when Robert Schumann carried
the score to Leipsic and studied it with Mendelssohn; and it was again
given to the world, under Mendelssohn's direction, in the following year.
Since then it has been one of the best known and most thoroughly loved of
all the symphonies written since Beethoven's, and it ranks undoubtedly
among the foremost ten or twelve orchestral masterpieces of the world.

Side by side with this symphony sprang into existence the mass in E flat,
the most finished and the most sublime of Schubert's masses, and standing,
like the symphony, in the foremost rank of all works of its kind. And
along with this came the master's first and only oratorio, "Miriam's Song
of Triumph," a noble work, in which, however, Schubert only supported
the vocal score with an accompaniment for piano; so that it must be
regarded as in this sense incomplete. It has often been performed with
orchestration by Lachner, but still needs to be completed by some master
more capable of entering into the composer's intention.

Outdoing his earlier self in all directions at once, Schubert wrote in
this same year his quintet in C major for strings, which among his works
in chamber music is equalled only by the D-minor quartet of 1826. And so,
too, with his piano music; besides many other works poured forth at this
time, we have three superb sonatas, of which the one in B-flat is dated
September 28, less than eight weeks before his death. From all his piano
works it would be hard to select one fuller of his peculiar poetical
charm. Among the sonatas its only peers are the A minor, Op. 42, and the G
major, Op. 78.

In some of the songs of this year the genius of the composer reached a
height scarcely attained before. Besides a few others, uncounted drops
in this ocean of achievement, there were fourteen, not obviously intended
as a cycle, but published in a group, soon after Schubert's death, with
the publisher's title, "Swan Songs." It is enough to mention that this
group contains the "Serenade," "Aufenthalt," and "Am Meer," matchless for
intensity of emotion as for artistic perfection of form. Whichever of this
group he wrote last was truly his swan song; it is commonly believed to
have been the "Taubenpost," dated in October.

During this last year of marvellous creative activity Schubert had
suffered frequently from headache and vertigo. Such cerebral excitement
entailed an excessive rush of blood to the head. Early in September
he moved from his lodgings with Schober to a house which his brother
Ferdinand had lately taken. The situation was near the open country and
thought to be more favorable for air and exercise. Unfortunately the
house was newly-built and damp; very likely the drainage was defective.
Schubert evidently had no suspicion of his dangerous condition, until
on the last evening of October, while supping with some friends at the
Rothen Kreuz inn, having taken some fish from his plate he suddenly threw
down his knife and fork, saying that food had become as odious as poison.
This somewhat alarmed his friends, but he was as full of plans for future
work as if his health had been robust. On November 3, he took a long walk
to attend the performance of a Latin requiem composed by his brother
Ferdinand, the last music he ever heard. He had lately begun studying the
scores of Handel's oratorios, and had thus become impressed with the fact
that in counterpoint he had still much to learn. Though greatly fatigued
with his walk on November 3, he went next day to see Sechter, a famous
teacher of counterpoint, and made arrangements for taking a course of
lessons; the text-book and the dates were settled upon. It is doubtful
if Schubert ever went out again. The disturbance of the stomach, which
prevented him from taking food, continued, and his strength ebbed away. A
letter to Schober on the eleventh says that he can barely get from the bed
to a chair and back again; he has been reading the Last of the Mohicans,
the Spy, the Pilot, and the Pioneer; and if Schober happens to have
anything else of Cooper's, or any other interesting book, he would like
to have him send it. Something like typhus fever was setting in. After
the fourteenth he was confined to his bed, but was still able to correct
the proofs of the "Winterreise." On the seventeenth he became delirious.
The next day he complained of having been taken to a strange and dreadful
room, and when his brother Ferdinand tried to soothe him with the
assurance that he was at home, he replied, "No, it cannot be so; Beethoven
is not here!" On the next day there passed away one of the sweetest and
truest souls that ever looked with human eyes. He was buried in the
Währing cemetery in a grave as near as possible to that of Beethoven. Upon
a monument afterward erected at the head of the grave was inscribed the
epitaph, by Franz Grillparzer: "Music has here entombed a rich treasure,
but still more glorious hopes. Here lies Franz Schubert, born Jan. 31,
1797, died Nov. 19, 1828, aged 31 years." Much fault has been found with
the second clause of this epitaph, and Herr Kreissle does not seem to
have quite understood it as it was meant. It was true, as Schumann said
of him, "He has done enough, and praised be he who, like Schubert, has
striven and accomplished." Nevertheless it was equally true that he was
cut off while his powers were rapidly expanding, and at a moment when even
greater achievement, though difficult to imagine, would have been no more
than a logical consequence of what had gone before.

[Illustration: SCHUBERT'S TOMB IN VIENNA.--From a photograph.

Erected to his memory by the Vienna Manner Gesangs-Verein (Male Chorus).]

Schubert's personal appearance was not attractive. He was short and
round-shouldered, and in his homely face there was nothing to betray the
sacred fire within him save the brightness of the eyes. His character was
almost without a flaw. Simplicity, modesty, kindness, truthfulness, and
fidelity were his marked attributes. He was utterly free from envy or
malice, and not a trace of selfishness appears in anything he ever said or
did. His life was devoted, with entire disinterestedness, to the pursuit
of the noblest aims of art.

       *       *       *       *       *

Concerning his position in the history of music there is but little
question, and the subject admits of a brief statement. The man who died
in his thirty-second year, leaving behind him at least eleven hundred and
thirty-one _such_ compositions, must surely be called the most prolific of
composers, even after allowing for the fact that more than six hundred of
these works were songs, and therefore brief. We may safely say, too, that
for creative spontaneity such a man can never have been surpassed, perhaps
scarcely ever have been equalled. This spontaneous genius found its first
and most characteristic expression in vocal song, and it is commonly if
not universally agreed that Schubert was the greatest composer of songs
that ever lived. In this department of music he marks an era. In him the
German Lied reached a plane of development to which it had not attained
before him.

The German Lied (i.e. Lay) was originally a Volkslied (i.e. Folk's-lay)
or popular melody. The merit of popular melody lies largely in its
spontaneity. In German popular melody, from the oldest times, the
merit of beauty has been added to that of spontaneity, inasmuch as the
Germans, like the Slavs, are naturally musical in a sense in which
English-speaking people are not. No German-speaking people would tolerate
for a national air such a tune as Yankee Doodle. In the plainest German
folk-song may be found spontaneous simplicity without vulgarity. Hence
the Volkslied has been available as a source of melodic suggestiveness
to German composers. It is one such chief source, the Gregorian chant
being the other. To the presence of this folk-song element we may largely
ascribe the far higher poetic quality of German classical music as
compared with the more prosaic musical declamation of the modern French
and Italians.

But as the earlier German composers subjected the Volkslied to elaborate
contrapuntal treatment, while on the one hand they added to its range and
depth of expression, on the other hand they deprived it to some extent
of its indescribable charm. Artistic music began to be divorced from the
Volkslied, and with the advance of musical education the latter seemed to
be falling into decay. But with the revival of German literature which
dates from Lessing, there began a new development of national spirit among
Germans, of which we have seen the culmination in our own time. One of
the early symptoms was the introduction of the Volkslied element into
poetry by Herder and Goethe. About the same time we find the same element
appearing in the thematic treatment of symphonies, sonatas, and string
quartets by Haydn and Mozart, especially in the adagios. In Mozart's songs
there is a great development in dramatic treatment, as for example, in
"Unglückliche Liebe." The nearest approach made by Mozart to the kind of
song afterward developed by Schubert was probably in "Das Veilchen," the
only one of his songs set to Goethe's words. As Mozart was pre-eminently
a musical dramatist, so was Beethoven first and foremost a symphonist;
and in his songs the most noticeable new feature is the enrichment of the
harmonies and the profound increase of significance in the instrumental
accompaniments. We see this in the magnificent "Adelaide," which,
however, resembles an aria rather than a genuine Lied. In some parts of
Beethoven's exquisite cycle, "An die ferne Geliebte," he comes nearer to
the Schubertian form of song.

Now in Schubert all the elements of intensity, power, and poetical depth
in song are found united as never before in such perfection or on such
a scale. The breadth and vigor of dramatic treatment, the profound and
subtle harmonic changes, the accumulation of effect by the rhythm and
sometimes by the independent melodic themes of the accompaniment, are all
to be found in his songs; and at the same time the perfect spontaneity and
the indescribable poetical fragrance of the Volkslied are fully preserved.
Utterances that spring from the depth of the human soul are clothed in
the highest forms of art without losing their naiveté. We must thus rank
Schubert among the most consummate masters of expression the world has
ever seen. His songs represent the high-water mark of human achievement
in one direction, as Beethoven's symphonies represent it in another.
All subsequent composers, beginning with Mendelssohn and Schumann, have
been pupils of Schubert in song-writing, but no one has yet equalled the
master. Mendelssohn's songs, while perfect in form and bewitching for
grace, are far inferior to Schubert's in intensity of passion. On the
other hand Schumann has written some songs--such as "Frühlingsnacht," "Ich
grolle nicht," the "Frauenliebe" cycle, and others--which for concentrated
fire, as well as for original and magnificent harmonies--almost surpass
those of Schubert; but in wealth of imagination, in spontaneity and
variety, he remains distinctly inferior to his master.

In thus carrying the Lied to the highest point of development it has yet
reached, Schubert became one of the chief sources of inspiration for
modern music in all its departments. The influence of his conception of
the Lied is to be seen in all his most highly developed and characteristic
writing for piano, for orchestra, and for chorus. In his earlier
symphonies, quartets, and sonatas he was strongly influenced by his study
of Mozart, and his own individuality is by no means so distinctly asserted
as in his songs. If the sonata form of expression were as easily caught
as the simple song form, this need not have been the case. After Schubert
had mastered the sonata form so that it became for him as easy a vehicle
of spontaneous expression as the Lied, his sonatas and symphonies became
strongly characteristic and replete with originality. This is exemplified
in his eighth and tenth symphonies, in his piano sonatas, Op. 42 and Op.
78, and in his later chamber music. In such compositions he simply worked
within the forms perfected by Beethoven and did nothing to extend them.
But his musical individuality, saturated with the Lied, impressed upon
these noble works features that have influenced all later instrumental
music, imparting to it a more romantic character. As Mr. Paine observes,
"we are constantly surprised by the sudden and abrupt modulations,
rhythmical effects of melody and accompaniment which we call Schubert's
that give variety and life to his movements. The Unfinished Symphony in B
minor is perhaps the most noteworthy in these respects; it is the epitome
of his genius, and well typifies his own unfinished but perfect life."

In similar wise, in his smaller works for piano--his impromptus, "moments
musicals," dances, marches, variations, etc.--we see the marked influence
of the Lied. The impromptu in G major, Op. 90, for example, is a "song
without words." In piano music not only Mendelssohn and Schumann, but also
Chopin, drew copious inspiration from Schubert, who thus stands as one of
the principal founders of the modern imaginative and romantic schools.

We have seen that the Erl King was at first coldly received. It marked
a new departure in the dramatic treatment of musical themes; the ears
of the listeners were not taught to expect such treatment; they were
disturbed by the intensity of passion and bewildered by the boldness
of the harmonies. In particular at the superb discord where the child
cries that the Erl King is seizing him--where the G flat of the voice
comes against the rushing triplets on F natural in octaves resting upon
E flat in the bass--much doubt was expressed, and the worthy Ruzicka's
ingenuity was somewhat taxed to explain and justify such a combination.
But indeed since the beginning of this century the modern ear has received
a remarkable education in appreciating the use and beauty of dissonances.
Schubert's treatment of the Erl King ballad was at first disapproved
by Goethe himself; as he said, "it did not agree with his view of the
subject." But Goethe's opinions on musical matters were of small value;
the range of his appreciativeness was in this direction narrowly limited.
He was fond of the worthy old Zelter, who set to music more than a hundred
of his songs. Of these Goethe said "he could scarcely have believed music
capable of producing such delicious tones." Zelter's music was certainly
not without merit, and his setting of the "König im Thule" is still sung
and deservedly admired; but to go from Zelter to Schubert required a
sorcery more potent than that which brought Helen of Troy to become the
bride of mediæval Faust. At any rate Goethe found it so. Toward the end of
his life, when he heard the Erl King sung with its full dramatic effect by
Madame Schröder-Devrient, he acknowledged its power, but it was probably
the superb woman and her style of singing that moved him rather than the
music. At one time the modest Schubert, at the instigation of some friend,
ventured to send to the great poet some of the settings of his songs
accompanied by a letter tremulous with awe. But Goethe never answered the
letter, and apparently took no notice of the music. "Neither in Goethe's
works," says Kreissle, "nor in his correspondence with Zelter, nor in his
conversations with Eckermann, do we find a syllable in connection with
Schubert's name." Little did either the poet or the musician realize that
throughout all future time their names were to be inseparably associated.
It was the poems of Goethe that inspired Schubert with some of his most
beautiful and sublime conceptions. He set sixty-seven of them to music,
and of the whole number there is perhaps not one in which we do not feel
that the song of the greatest of German poets has been invested with a
higher spiritual life by the music of the most poetical composer the world
has seen. How full of the most delicate fragrance of poetry are the lines
"Ueber allen Gipfeln ist Ruh," etc.! but when one has once associated them
with Schubert's music, one feels that to break this association (were it
possible) and return to the verses pure and simple would be a far greater
descent than from poetry to prose.

In spite of the startling originality already evinced in the Erl King,
we find a decided conservatism alleged for some of Schubert's musical
judgments at this youthful period. It was a time when Beethoven was still
by many people regarded with suspicion as a reckless innovator upon the
orthodox forms and methods. Since the middle of the century, indeed, one
has often heard some of the magnificent works of Beethoven's third period,
including his four latest piano sonatas and some of his quartets, set
down as eccentric vagaries instead of being comprehended in their true
light as the ripe fruits of his most consummate artistic maturity. At the
beginning of the century more or less opposition was excited even by the
earlier works of Beethoven which transgressed the limits of expression
within which Haydn and Mozart had been confined. Schubert was at that time
a friend and to some extent a pupil of the Venetian composer, Antonio
Salieri, conductor of the choir in the Emperor's chapel. Salieri gave
Schubert more or less instruction in thorough-bass and used to correct
and criticise his compositions. He advised him not to waste his time
over ballads and lyrics by Goethe and Schiller, but to set to music by
preference the old and formal Italian stanzas. Another piece of advice, as
applied to the inexhaustible Schubert, is deliciously grotesque; Salieri
thought he had better "husband his resources of melody." There is a point
of view, as we shall presently see, from which a grain of sound sense can
be descried in such counsel; but these incidents sufficiently indicate
Salieri's conservatism of temperament. He wrote about forty operas, a
dozen oratorios and cantatas, and a quantity of miscellaneous vocal and
and instrumental works, not without merit, all of which have virtually
sunk into oblivion. In June 1816 there was a jubilee festival to celebrate
Salieri's residence of fifty years in Vienna, and many compositions of
his pupils, written especially for the occasion, were produced. The music
ended with a chorus from Salieri's oratorio, "Christ in Hades," in
which the composer had caught some of his inspiration from Gluck. After
returning from the performance, Schubert wrote that same evening in his
diary as follows:--"It must be pleasant and invigorating to the artist to
see his pupils gathered about him, every one striving to do his best for
his master's jubilee feast; to hear in all their compositions a simple
and natural expression, free from all that _bizarrerie_ which prevails
with the majority of composers of our time, and for which we are in the
main indebted to one of our greatest German artists; free, I say, from
that _bizarrerie_ which links the tragic with the comic, the agreeable
with the repulsive, the heroic with the whimpering, the most sacred themes
with buffoonery,--and all without discrimination; so that the hearers are
goaded to frenzy instead of dissolving in love, and tickled into senseless
laughter rather than raised toward heaven. The fact that this miserable
_bizarrerie_ has been proscribed and exiled from the circle of his pupils,
so that their eyes may rest on pure, holy Nature, must be a source of
lively satisfaction to the artist who, with a Gluck for a pioneer,
has learned to know Nature, and has clung to her in spite of the most
unnatural influences of our day."

[Illustration: Fac-simile letter from Schubert, to committee of Austrian
Musical Society which accompanied his score of the C-minor symphony.
Original in possession of the "Gesellschaft der Musikfreunde" in Vienna.]

Now the person here mentioned as "one of our greatest German artists"
can hardly be any other than Beethoven, and the following clauses, in
which the _bizarrerie_ ascribed to him is defined, give expression to
the stock objections that were urged in those days, by an unintelligent
public and by musicians of narrow vision, against his music. Did the
youthful Schubert mean to echo and approve these shallow criticisms? Sir
George Grove seems to think so, and quotes from the same diary a passage,
dated three days earlier, in which most intense love and admiration is
expressed for Mozart's music; from which it is inferred that there can
be no doubt to which of the two great masters Schubert was most strongly
attached at that time. Kreissle, on the other hand, without offering any
explanation of the passage above quoted, simply comments on it as a series
of "somewhat misty and confused remarks."

In those days there was nothing strange in a young musician, even
if endowed with vast powers of comprehension, finding Mozart always
satisfactory and Beethoven sometimes unintelligible. That was one of the
musical limitations of that particular moment in the history of music.
If the entry in Schubert's diary is to be taken seriously, it is only
one among many illustrations of the difficulty which one creative genius
often finds in comprehending the methods and results of another creative
genius. But in Schubert's case there is some improbability in such a view.
His early symphonies and string quartets, indeed, show that the influence
of Haydn and Mozart was at that time quite masterful with him, while the
influence of Beethoven was comparatively slight. But he had already spoken
of Beethoven in terms of most enthusiastic and reverent admiration; and
it is not easy to believe that at the age of nineteen the composer of the
Erl King could have seriously repeated the crude stock objections that
were urged against the composer of the C-minor symphony by old fossils
like Salieri. The entry in Schubert's diary is redolent of irony, and
was probably intended as a harmless vent for his satirical amusement at
the foibles of the kindly old master who tried to repress his youthful
exuberance and advised him not to meddle with German ballads. This kind of
humor without bitterness was eminently characteristic of Schubert.

Schubert's one fault was one to which allusion has already been made. As
is so often the case, it was closely connected with his chief attribute
of strength. His unrivalled spontaneity often led him into diffuseness.
Melodies tumbled forth in such lavish profusion as to interfere with the
conciseness of his works and mar their artistic form. This is chiefly true
of his earlier instrumental works. It is not often the case with his vocal
songs. There his musical creativeness is constrained into perfection of
form through his completely adequate poetical conception of the words.
From the Erl King to "Am Meer" his greatest songs are remarkable for
saying just enough and knowing exactly when to stop. It is noticeable that
he very seldom repeats the same verbal phrases, with changes of melody
or harmony, as is customary in arias. In the arias, as well as in the
grand choruses, of oratorios, cantatas, and operas, such repetition is
often of the highest value as leading to an accumulation of sublime or
gorgeous effects hardly otherwise attainable. But inasmuch as it is an
artificial means of producing effects and would thus interfere with the
simple spontaneity of the Lied, it would generally be out of place there.
With Schubert the words of the poem are not merely a vehicle for the
melody, but poetry and music are fused into such identity that when one
has once known them it becomes impossible to separate them. In his earlier
instrumental works, however, released from the guidance of the poetical
thought expressed in words, Schubert's exuberance of fancy often runs
away with him, and takes him into a trackless forest of sweet melodies
and rich harmonies from which he finds it difficult to emerge. But in his
more mature works we find him rapidly outgrowing this fault and acquiring
complete mastery of his resources. In the A-minor sonata, the D-minor
quartet, and the last two symphonies, the form is as perfect as the
thought; and we are thus again reminded that Schubert, like young Lycidas
and others whom the gods have dearly loved, was cut off in his early prime.

So careless of fame was Schubert, so suddenly did death seize him, and so
little did the world suspect the untold wealth of music written upon musty
sheets of paper tucked away in sundry old drawers and cupboards in Vienna,
that much of it has remained unknown until the present day. As from time
to time new songs, sonatas, trios, or symphonies were brought to light,
a witty French journal began to utter doubts of their genuineness and to
scoff at the "posthumous diligence" of "the song-writer Schubert." This
was in 1839. Schumann was one of the first to bring to light the great
merits of Schubert's genius, as we have seen in the case of his Symphony
in C major, and his enthusiasm for Schubert knew no bounds. "There was a
time," he said, "when it gave me no pleasure to speak of Schubert; I could
only talk of him by night to the trees and stars. Who amongst us, at some
time or another, has not been sentimental? Charmed by his new spirit,
whose capacities seemed to me boundless, deaf to everything that could be
urged against him, my thoughts were absorbed in Schubert."

Since then much more has been done toward collecting and editing these
wonderful manuscripts, and the thanks of the whole world of music-lovers
are due to Sir George Grove for his devoted persistence in this work.
Vast as Schubert's fame has come to be, it is probably destined to grow
yet greater as his works and his influence are more intimately studied.
Few indeed have been the composers who have ever brought us nearer to the
eternal fountains of divine music.

       *       *       *       *       *

The original documents for a biographical sketch, excepting the vast mass
of manuscript music, are less abundant than with most other musicians of
the highest rank. For this fact several causes may be assigned. Schubert
was as careless of fame as Shakespeare. He was shy of disposition and
inclined to withdraw himself from the world's gaze. He was not a virtuoso,
and was never called upon, like the youthful Mozart, to play the piano
or any other instrument before crowned heads, or in the presence of a
public wild with enthusiasm; nor did he ever come into prominence as a
director or conductor, like Handel and Mendelssohn. There was thus no
occasion for him to make long journeys and become personally known to
his contemporaries. In the course of his short life, except for a little
travelling in rural Styria and Upper Austria, he never went outside of
Vienna; and there he was not, like Beethoven, thrown habitually into the
society of aristocratic people; his few companions were for the most part
of humble station, though some of them in later years were not unknown
to fame. The obscurity of Schubert during his lifetime cannot be better
illustrated than by the fact that such a kindred spirit should have lived
so many years in the same city with Beethoven--and Vienna was not then
a large city--before attracting his attention. Nor did Schubert acquire
distinction as a musical critic, like Schumann, or leave behind him
writings characterized by philosophic acuteness or literary charm. He was
simply and purely a composer, the most prolific, all things considered,
that ever lived. He poured forth with incredible rapidity, songs,
symphonies, sonatas, operas, masses, chamber-music, until sudden death
overtook him. A great deal of this music he never heard himself except in
his innermost soul; much of it still remained in manuscript forty years
after his death; during his life he was known chiefly as a song writer,
and in that department his unequalled excellence was recognized by few,
while it was too soon for any one to comprehend the significance of his
creative work in its relations to the development of modern music. Thus
the reputation of Schubert, more than that of any other composer of like
eminence, is a posthumous reputation. His existence was too large a fact
for mankind to take in until after he had passed away. These facts account
for the comparative slightness of biographical material in Schubert's
case. There is, nevertheless, material enough to give us an adequate
picture of that singularly simple and uneventful life, the details of
which are largely comprised in the record of the compositions turned off
one after another with bewildering rapidity.

Among biographical sources the first place belongs to the sketch "Aus
Franz Schubert's Leben," by his brother Ferdinand Schubert. It was
published in Schumann's "Neues Zeitschrift für Musik," 1839, numbers
33-36, and is so good as to make one wish there were much more of it.
Between 1829 and 1880 personal reminiscences of Schubert were published
by Mayrhofer, Bauernfeld, Schindler, Sofie Müller, and Ferdinand Hiller,
bibliographical notes of which are given in Grove's "Dictionary of Music,"
Vol. III. p. 370. The first attempt at a thorough biography was the book
of Kreissle von Hellborn, "Franz Schubert," of which the second edition,
published at Vienna in 1865, is an octavo of 619 pages. Though dull and
verbose in style, and quite without literary merit, its fullness and
general accuracy of information make it a very valuable work. An English
translation by Mr. Arthur Duke Coleridge was published by Longmans, Green
& Co., in 1869, in 2 vols. 8vo, with an appendix by Grove, containing
the results of researches made among Schubert manuscripts in Vienna in
1867. Much slighter works are the biographies by Reissmann (Berlin,
1873), Higgli (Leipsic, 1880), Frost (London, 1881), and the article in
Wurzbach's "Biographisches Lexicon" (Vienna, 1876). The article by Sir
George Grove, in his "Dictionary of Music" (London, 1883), for critical
accuracy and thoroughness of information leaves little to be desired.
There are also many excellent and profoundly appreciative notices of
Schubert and his works scattered through Schumann's "Gesammelte Schriften
über Musik und Musiker," 2ᵉ Aufl., Leipz., 1871. From the sources thus
enumerated, as well as from a long study of Schubert's songs and piano
music and an acquaintance more or less extensive with his other works, the
foregoing sketch has been prepared.

[Illustration: John Fisher.]

[Illustration: Erl King. Pilgrim. Opera--"The Domestic War." Diana. The
Fisher. FRESCO IN VIENNA OPERA HOUSE.--From a photograph.]

[Illustration: LUDWIG SPOHR

_Reproduction of a lithograph portrait by Schlick, made in 1855, Spohr
being then in his seventy-second year._]




Ludwig Spohr, celebrated as a composer and as a violinist, was born on
April 25, 1784, at Brunswick. His father, a physician, and his mother both
had musical inclinations, the former being a flute player and the latter
a pianist and singer. They left Brunswick when Ludwig was two years old
and went to Seesen, where the early childhood of the future composer was
passed. The boy's musical gifts made themselves known early in life and
he sang with his mother when he was only four years old. According to
his own story in his autobiography, he began to play the violin without
instruction at the age of five. He must have shown some talent, for he was
turned over to Herr Riemenschneider for instruction. In a short time he
was allowed to practise music with the family in the evenings and with his
parents performed trios by Kalkbrenner for violin, flute and piano.

About the year 1790 or 1791, Dufour, a French violinist, arrived at Seesen
and the boy, having heard him play, did not rest until he became the
Frenchman's pupil. Dufour perceived the child's great gifts and persuaded
Dr. Spohr to abandon the idea of educating his boy in medicine, and to
decide to make a musician of him. While studying with Dufour, Spohr made
his first crude attempts at composition, even beginning an opera, which,
however, went no further than an overture, a chorus and an aria. Dufour
advised that the child be sent to Brunswick to continue his studies.
At Brunswick he lived in the house of one Michaelis, a rich baker, and
studied the violin under Kunisch, of the Ducal orchestra, and counterpoint
under Hartung, an old organist. Hartung was very severe with his young
pupil and scratched out so much that the boy felt that none of his ideas
were left. However, the ill health of the organist brought the lessons to
an end in a few months, and this was all the instruction in theory that
Spohr ever received. He now continued his studies by reading scores,
which Kunisch obtained for him from the theatre library. He made such
progress that he appeared at one of the concerts of the Catherine School
with a violin composition of his own. His success was such that he was
invited to play at the subscription concerts of the Deutsche Haus and was
allowed to play for practice in the theatre orchestra, where he became
acquainted with much good music.

He was now, by the advice of Kunisch, put under the instruction of
Maucourt, the leading violinist of Brunswick. A year later the young
violinist set out for Hamburg with a few letters of introduction and
a determination to appear as an artist. He failed, however, to get a
hearing, and his money being exhausted, he set out on foot to return to
Brunswick. In his despair he determined to make a personal appeal to the
Duke of Brunswick, to whom he drew up a petition and presented it when
he met the nobleman, walking in his park. The Duke asked who had worded
the petition. "Well, who but I myself?" answered Spohr; "I need no help
for that." The Duke said: "Come to the palace tomorrow at eleven; we
will then speak further about your request." Upon which the boy departed
quite happy. The Duke questioned Maucourt about Spohr's ability, and when
the lad called the next day told him that he was to play one of his own
compositions at the next concert in the apartments of the Duchess. His
performance so pleased the Duke that the nobleman promised him instruction
under competent masters and appointed him chamber musician, Aug. 2, 1799.
Spohr's salary was small, but it made him independent, and enabled him to
take his younger brother, Ferdinand, to live with him.

At first the young chamber musician heard a good deal of French music,
but an operatic company from Magdeburg introduced him to Mozart's music,
and he says in his autobiography, "Mozart now became for my lifetime
my ideal and model." He spent whole nights studying the scores of "Don
Giovanni" and "Die Zauberflöte." Now, too, he played chamber music and
first learned Beethoven's quartets. Finally the Duke asked him to select
a teacher among the great violinists of the day. He at once named Viotti,
but he had given up music for the business of selling wine. Ferdinand Eck
was the next choice, but he declined to receive pupils. Francis Eck, his
younger brother, accepted the Duke's offer and Spohr was sent with him to
St. Petersburg, where he had engagements to fill. They left Brunswick on
April 24, 1802. Owing to Eck's engagements his instruction of Spohr was
irregular, but the boy gained much instruction from constantly hearing
him. The young violinist was very industrious, often practising ten hours
a day, composing considerably, and painting for recreation. While on this
tour he wrote his first published violin concertos, Opus 1, A minor, and
Opus 2, D minor, and the "Duos Concertants" for two violins, Opus 3.
In St. Petersburg he met Clementi, Field and many minor musicians, and
played frequently in chamber-music rehearsals. He also wrote in 1803 for
Breitkopf and Härtel, the eminent Leipsic publishers, an article on the
state of music in Russia. He returned to Brunswick in the summer of that
year and heard Rode for the first time. He gave a public concert which
pleased the Duke and resumed his duties as a member of the orchestra.

In 1804 he started for Paris with his fine Guarnerius violin, given him by
Remi, a Russian violinist. Just outside of Göttingen it was stolen from
the carriage. Spohr returned to Brunswick and with the Duke's help got
another violin. Then he made a tour, playing in several German cities,
including Leipsic, Dresden and Berlin, in the last place having the
assistance of Meyerbeer, then a clever pianist thirteen years old. In
1805 Spohr became leader of the Duke of Gotha's band. He married Dorette
Schneidler, a harp-player, and wrote for her and himself some compositions
for harp and violin. He wrote his first opera, "Die Prüfung," which
reached a concert performance. With his wife in 1807 he visited Leipsic,
Dresden, Munich, Prague, Stuttgart, Heidelberg and Frankfort. His second
opera "Alruna" was written in 1808, but it was never performed, though
accepted at Weimar. In this year Spohr went to Erfurt to see Napoleon's
congress of princes, but found that ordinary human beings like himself
could not enter the theatre which they attended in the evenings. He
persuaded the second horn player in the orchestra to allow him to take his
place and practised on the horn all day. In the evening, being forbidden
to stare at the august audience, he viewed the assembled potentates in a
small mirror which he had taken with him for that purpose.

The year 1809 is important in Spohr's history for two reasons. While
making a tour he received at Hamburg a commission for an opera, "The
Lovers' Duel," and at Frankenhausen in Thuringia he conducted the first
music festival in Germany. For the second of those festivals in 1811
he wrote his first symphony in E flat. The opera was also finished in
the winter of 1810-1811. His first oratorio, "Das jüngste Gericht," was
written for the Fête Napoleon at Erfurt and produced there Aug. 15, 1812.
It was in the composition of this work that he found himself hampered by
his lack of skill in counterpoint. He bought Marpurg's work and studied
it. But Spohr was dissatisfied with his opera and with his oratorio. He
felt that he was too much under the dominance of Mozart, and resolved to
free himself from that master's influence. He says in his autobiography
that in "Faust" he was careful to avoid imitating Mozart.

In 1812 he made his début at Vienna as violinist and composer with such
success that the leadership of the orchestra at the Theatre an der Wien
was offered to him. The conditions were very favorable, so he gave up his
position at Gotha and betook himself to the Austrian capital. There his
duties were burdensome, but he was in the musical centre of Europe. He met
Beethoven, and was on terms of friendship with that great master, whose
genius, however, he did not fully appreciate. Among his treasures when he
left Vienna was a canon for three voices on some words from Schiller's
"Maid of Orleans" written for him by Beethoven. Spohr's "Autobiography"
contains some interesting anecdotes about Beethoven's conducting.

Spohr's Viennese sojourn was successful, but on account of disagreements
with the manager of the theatre he left the city in 1815, and made a
visit to Prince Carolath in Bohemia. His next musical undertaking was the
conduct of another festival at Frankhausen. His cantata, "Das befreite
Deutschland," was there produced. He afterward went on a tour through
Germany, Switzerland and Italy, and his eighth violin concerto ("Scena
Cantante") was written to please the public of the last-named country. In
Italy he met Rossini, whom he never admired as a composer. He also met
Paganini, who treated him with much courtesy.

[Illustration: Fac-simile of letter from Spohr deploring the death of his
wife, in 1834.]

In 1817 he returned to Germany. While travelling and giving concerts with
his wife, he received an offer from Mr. Ihlée, director of the theatre
at Frankfort, to become conductor of the opera there. He accepted the
offer and at once set out for his new post. One of his first acts was to
obtain the consent of the managers to the production of his opera "Faust"
which he had written in Vienna five years before. He says, "At first, it
is true, it pleased the great majority less than the connoisseurs, but
with each representation gained more admirers." His success encouraged
him to new dramatic attempts, and he set to work on an operatic version
of Appel's "Der schwarze Jäger" (The Black Huntsman). He soon learned,
however, that Weber was at work on the same subject, and he abandoned his
opera. While looking for a new libretto he wrote the three quartets, Opus
45. In September, 1818, he began work on his "Zemire und Azor," of which
the text had been previously used by Grétry in his "La Belle et la Bête."
Disagreements with the managers of the Frankfort theatre caused him to
resign his post there in September, 1819.

In 1820 he visited England at the invitation of the Philharmonic Society
of London. His début was made at the opening concert of the season, March
sixth, when he played with much success his Concerto No. 8. At the next
concert he was to have appeared as leader. "It was at that time still
the custom there," he says in his autobiography, "that when symphonies
and overtures were performed, the pianist had the score before him, not
exactly to conduct from it, but only to read after and to play in with the
orchestra at pleasure, which when it was heard, had a very bad effect.
The real conductor was the first violin, who gave the tempi, and now and
then when the orchestra began to falter, gave the beat with the bow of his
violin." Spohr induced Ries, the pianist, to let him make an experiment,
and he conducted, after overcoming the opposition of the directors, with
a baton, for the first time at one of these concerts. The success of the
new method was so great that the old way went out forever. His symphony
in D minor was produced at this concert, and at the last concert of the
season another of his symphonies was heard for the first time in England.
At his last concert, his wife, who had been since her arrival in England
busily engaged in mastering the Erard double action harp (she had before
played the single action instrument), appeared and was much applauded. Her
health subsequently failed, and she died in 1834. Spohr married a second
time in 1836. His second wife was Marianne Pfeiffer, the elder of the two
daughters of the Chief Councillor of Cassel. She was a good pianist and
played together with Spohr with considerable success. She died Jan. 4,

Spohr visited Paris for the first time on his way home from England.
In the French capital he made the acquaintance of Kreutzer, Cherubini,
Habeneck and other eminent musicians, all of whom received him with
courteous consideration and showed a warm interest in his music. He gave a
concert at the Opera with satisfying success. Cherubini was particularly
pleased with his work, and Spohr tells with pride how the old martinet of
the Conservatoire made him play one of his quartets three times. Spohr
returned to Germany and took up his residence in the artistic city of
Dresden, where he found Weber engaged in producing "Der Freischütz,"
already a pronounced success in Vienna and Berlin. Weber was offered the
post of Hof-Kapellmeister by the Elector of Cassel, but he declined it
because he did not wish to leave Dresden. He warmly recommended Spohr,
who received the appointment, accepted it, and on Jan. 1, 1822, entered
upon his duties in the city which was to be his home for the rest of his
life. The first new work studied there under his direction was his own
"Zemire und Azor," which was produced on March 24, and repeated several
times in the course of the year. His family arrived at Cassel in March,
and he settled down in the domestic circle and began the composition of
"Jessonda," which he finished in December, 1822. In a letter written in
January, 1823, he says: "I have been latterly so much engaged upon a new
opera that I have somewhat neglected everything else. It is now ready, and
I am right glad to have completed so important a work. If I expect more
from this opera than from the earlier ones, it is because of my greater
experience, and the inspiration I felt in the study of almost every number
of the successfully written libretto." The opera was produced on the
birthday of the Elector, July 28, 1823, and was at once successful. Spohr
writes (Aug. 2, 1823): "This work has made me very happy, and I have
reason to hope that the opera will please much in other places."


Reproduced from a lithograph portrait drawn by W. Pfaff.]

[Music: Sextett

Louis Spohr]

At this time Spohr continued the composition of chamber music and formed
a quartet, consisting of himself, Wiele, solo violinist of the court
orchestra, Ferdinand Spohr, viola, and Haseman, 'cello. About this time,
too, he wrote the first of his four double quartets, which were then a
great novelty. He visited Leipsic and Berlin to conduct first performances
of "Jessonda," which in both cities achieved great success. In 1824, he
enjoyed the society of Mendelssohn during the winter in Berlin. Returning
to Cassel he wrote his opera "Der Berggeist," which was produced at the
marriage of the Elector's daughter on Mar. 23, 1825, and was well received.

In the same year Rochlitz, editor of the Leipsic _Music Journal_, offered
him the text of the oratorio, "The Last Judgment," and he set to work on
it at once. The oratorio was produced in the Lutheran church of Cassel,
on Good Friday, Mar. 25, 1826, and made a deep impression. In 1827, he
produced another opera, "Pietro von Albano," which in spite of Meyerbeer's
enthusiastic praise, had little success. In 1831, he finished his "Violin
School," a book of instruction which is still held in esteem though not
regarded as the best. In 1832, political disturbances, in which Spohr
played the radical and offended the Elector, interrupted the opera
performances at Cassel for a long time, and the artist devoted his time
to oratorio and instrumental composition. In 1832 he wrote his most noted
symphony, "The Consecration of Tones," and in 1834 he was at work on his
"Calvary," which was produced at Cassel on Good Friday, 1835. He went
to England a second time in 1839, to conduct "Calvary" at the Norwich
Festival. The success of the work was so great that he was commissioned to
write "The Fall of Babylon" (the book by Edward Taylor) for the Norwich
Festival of 1842. In 1840 he conducted a festival at Aix-la-Chapelle, and
in 1842 he produced Wagner's "Der Fliegende Holländer" at Cassel.

He had heard much in its praise from Dresden, and having read the work was
at once pleased with it. In writing to a friend he said: "It interests
me, nevertheless, in the highest degree, for it is written apparently
with true inspiration--and unlike so much of the modern opera music,
does not display in every bar the striving after effect, or effort to
please. There is a great deal of the fanciful there-in; a noble conception
throughout; it is well-written for the singer; enormously difficult, it
is true, and somewhat overcharged in the instrumentation, but full of new
effects, and will assuredly, when it once comes to be performed in the
greater space of the theatre, be thoroughly clear, and intelligible....
I think I am so far correct in my judgment, when I consider Wagner as
the most gifted of all our dramatic composers of the present time." This
opinion of Spohr's is creditable to his judgment as a musician and his
generosity as a man. He worked hard and gave a performance which pleased
the public. He wrote to Wagner of the success of his work and received
from the young composer one of his characteristic letters of gratitude.

The Elector of Hesse-Cassel, unmoved even by a monster petition headed
with the name of Lord Aberdeen, declined to permit Spohr to go to England,
and conduct the "Fall of Babylon" at the Norwich Festival. The oratorio
was produced without his assistance and was highly successful. He went
to England, however, at the beginning of his summer vacation and gave
some profitable concerts. In 1844 he brought forward his last opera, "Die
Kreuzfahrer" ("The Crusaders"). For this he had arranged his own libretto
from a play by Kotzebue. The success of the opera, performed at Cassel
and Berlin, was brief. He made a trip to Paris, where the Conservatoire
orchestra honored him with a special performance of his "Consecration of
Tones." He conducted the "Missa Solemnis" and the Ninth Symphony at the
Beethoven Festival at Bonn, in the same year. In 1847 he again visited
London, when his "Fall of Babylon," "Last Judgment," "Lord's Prayer,"
and Milton's eighty-fourth psalm were presented in three concerts by the
Sacred Harmonic Society. In the same year the twenty-fifth anniversary
of his assumption of the directorship at Cassel was celebrated by a
performance of excerpts from his operas.

The revolutionary events of 1848 interrupted Spohr's flow of compositions.
He felt, as he wrote to his friend Hauptmann, that "the excitement of
politics and the constant reading of newspapers incapacitated him from
giving his attention to any serious and quiet study." In 1849, while
recovering from an illness caused by a fall on the ice, he planned his
ninth symphony, "The Seasons," which he wrote shortly after his recovery.
He went to Breslau in the hope of hearing Schumann's "Genoveva," but
owing to delays heard only some rehearsals. During his two weeks' stay in
Breslau, honors were heaped upon him. Banquets were given, concerts of his
music were arranged, and his opera "Zemire und Azor" was performed at the
theatre. In 1850 he was made to suffer from court malice. The Elector,
probably to chastise him for his radical political ideas, refused him
permission to take a summer vacation. He went away without leave, and the
result was a lawsuit with the managers of the theatre, which after four
years he lost by a technicality.

In 1852, at the invitation of the Covent Garden management, he again
visited England to produce his "Faust," which was successfully given on
July 15 with Castellan, Ronconi, Formes and Tamberlik in the principal
parts. In 1853 Spohr showed once more his respect and consideration
for the rising genius of Wagner by devoting his energies to a careful
production of "Tannhäuser." The letters of Spohr show that while he
heartily sympathized with Wagner's irresistible sincerity of purpose
and the honesty of his dramatic art, he, like many others, found the
new master's manner of writing hard to comprehend. He exclaims in one
letter to Hauptmann: "What faces would Haydn and Mozart make, were they
obliged to hear the stunning noise that is now given to us for music."
Nevertheless Spohr saw the germs of a noble dramatic style in these works
of Wagner, and after his successful and artistically admirable production
of "Tannhäuser," he turned his attention to "Lohengrin." Owing, however,
to the opposition of the Elector and the court, the work was not produced,
and, indeed, Spohr never heard it. In the same year (1853) he made his
sixth visit to London, conducting three concerts of the New Philharmonic
Society, at which, among other things, his own double symphony and
Beethoven's ninth were performed. His opera "Jessonda" was put in
rehearsal at Covent Garden by Mr. Gye, but Spohr had to return to Cassel
before it was produced.

On his return journey he planned his septet for piano, two stringed and
four wind instruments, one of his most admired chamber compositions. In
1854 he passed his summer vacation in Switzerland and visited Munich.
In 1855 he visited Hanover, where he heard his seventh violin concerto
played, as he writes, "in a very masterly manner, by Joachim." On his
departure from Hanover the Royal Hanoverian Chapel presented him with
a very handsome conductor's baton. In 1856 Spohr became conscious
that his productive powers were failing. He wrote two quartets and a
symphony, all three of which he condemned, after repeated alterations,
to remain in manuscript and silence. In 1857 he made a trip through
Holland and returned to Cassel much refreshed. On Nov. 14, much against
his inclination, the elector retired him from active duty on a pension
of fifteen hundred thalers per annum. He soon became reconciled to his
retirement, but two days after Christmas he met with a more serious
misfortune in a fall which broke his left arm and rendered him incapable
of further violin playing. This was a source of deep grief to him and
no doubt prepared his spirit for the final resignation of all earthly
joys. How he clung to his artistic endeavors may be seen in a letter to
Hauptmann (April 6, 1858) in which he says: "I am now perfectly convinced
that I cannot accomplish any great work more. I regret to say that my
last attempt of the kind failed, and my requiem remains a fragment;
nevertheless, as the subject, as far as the _Lachrimosa dies illa_, at
which I stuck fast, pleases me well, and seems to have much that is new
and ingenious in it, I shall not destroy it, as I should like to take
it up again, and shall make another attempt to complete it." He devoted
half a day to this attempt, but the effort only brought him to a final
determination to abandon composition for good and all.

In the beginning of July he went to Prague, when the 50th anniversary of
the Conservatory was celebrated by three musical performances, one being
of "Jessonda." On the way home he visited Alexandersbad, returning much
refreshed. Yet thenceforward his spirits declined; he complained to his
wife that he was weary of life because he could no longer do anything. In
September, however, he summoned enough interest to go to the Middle-Rhine
Festival at Wiesbaden and in October to Leipsic. In December, 1858, he
occupied himself once more as a teacher, giving lessons gratis to a poor
girl who wished to become a teacher. On April 12, 1859, he made his last
appearance as a conductor, directing his own "Consecration of Tones"
symphony at a charitable concert by the Meiningen court orchestra. In the
course of the summer he made a few short journeys, but could not conceal
from himself their evil effects. On Sunday, Oct. 16, a change in his
condition became manifest. On retiring that night he expressed to his
wife a hope that he should "at length have a good night's rest." In the
morning he awoke calm and refreshed in spirit, but his physician at once
saw that the end was at hand. He lingered, surrounded by those he loved,
till Oct. 22, when at 10.30 in the evening he peacefully passed away. In
1883 a statue was erected to his memory.

       *       *       *       *       *

Spohr's principal works are as follows: oratorios and cantatas--"Das
jüngste Gericht" ("The Last Judgment," first version, 1812), "Die Letzten
Dinge" ("The Last Judgment," second version, 1826), "Des Heilands letzte
Stunden" ("Calvary," 1835), "Der Fall Babylons" ("The Fall of Babylon,"
1841), and "Das befreite Deutschland" ("Free Germany"), MS.; operas--"Die
Prüfung" ("The Trial," 1806), "Alruna" (1808), "Die Eulenkönigin" ("The
Owl Queen," 1808), "Die Zweikampf mit der Geliebten" ("The Lovers' Duel,"
1811), "Faust" (1818), "Zemire und Azor" (1819), "Jessonda" (1823), "Der
Berggeist" ("The Mountain Spirit," 1825), "Pietro von Albano" (1827),
"Der Alchymist" ("The Alchemist," 1830), and "Die Kreuzfahrer" ("The
Crusaders," 1845); church music--mass for five solo voices and two
five-part choruses, opus 54: three psalms for double chorus and soli, opus
85; hymn, "Gott du bist gross" ("God thou art great"), for chorus, soli
and orchestra; symphonies--No. 1, E flat, opus 20; No. 2, D minor, opus
49; No. 3, C minor, opus 78; No. 4, "Consecration of Tones," F, opus 86;
No. 5, C minor, opus 102; No. 6, "Historical symphony," G, opus 116; No.
7, "The Earthly and Heavenly in Men's Lives," for two orchestras, C, opus
121; No. 8, G minor, opus 137; No. 9, "The Seasons," B minor, opus 143;
eight overtures, 17 violin concertos and concertinas, 15 violin duets, 33
string quartets, 8 quintets, four double quartets, 5 pianoforte trios, 2
sextets, an octet and a nonet, and many songs. Schletterer's catalogue of
his works (published by Breitkopf and Härtel) carries the opus numbers
up to 154, many of the _opera_ embracing six compositions, and there are
a dozen compositions without opus numbers, among which are some of his
operas and oratorios. In all he left over two hundred works, in all fields
of composition.

It is difficult for us at this day to fairly estimate the importance
of Spohr as a figure in musical history. Dates show us that his finest
works chanced to see the light about the same time as the over-shadowing
masterpieces of Weber and Mendelssohn. Thus "Faust" produced in 1818, was
eclipsed by "Der Freischütz," in 1821, and his "Calvary" (1835) by "St.
Paul" (1836). His "Last Judgment" alone had a free field for a time. But
though we with over half a century's perspective find the masterworks
of Weber and Mendelssohn still in the foreground, while Spohr recedes
into the middle distance, the contemporaries of these composers saw them
standing apparently shoulder to shoulder at the front of the picture.
Spohr's influence upon those who lived when he did was very considerable,
and, more than that, there are certain features of his style, which,
it cannot be doubted, presented themselves as attractive models to his
immediate followers along the path of musical progress.

Believing himself to be a disciple of Mozart, and striving to preserve
in his writings the suave beauty and sculpturesque repose of the Mozart
style, Spohr was at heart a romanticist, was in the vanguard of the
new romantic movement in Germany, and established in his compositions
some of those peculiarities which have come to be regarded as special
characteristics of romantic utterance. While, therefore, he created no
school and, except in violin playing, has had no large following, he
exercised over his younger contemporaries a discernible influence, which
cannot be disregarded. That no one in our time looks to the works of Spohr
for models, does not obliterate the fact that he was an influential factor
in the development of that romantic school which has given us all that is
greatest in music since the death of Beethoven. One critic has well said
of him: "Spohr's noble sentimentality and warmth of expression excited
during his lifetime all the youth of Germany into an unusual enthusiasm.
The composer's influence is now somewhat less than it was, and indeed
latterly his productions have been underrated, but as all that is genuine
resists momentary bias, Spohr's works are once again coming to the fore.
In history, Spohr stands as a most important link between the old and
new romantic schools of German tonal art. As a tone-poet he possesses an
individuality so strongly marked, and so important an idiosyncrasy, that
he cannot like Marschner, Kreutzer, Reissiger, and others, be identified
with the school of Weber, but stands almost independent between the
last-named master and men like Mendelssohn and Schumann."

[Illustration: Fac-simile of Introduction to Spohr's fourth Double
Quartette in G minor. Original in possession of the Musical Library at

The special feature of his style, which the critic just quoted calls an
"important idiosyncrasy," was his mastery of chromatic modulations. The
use of chromatic harmonies is characteristic of the romantic school, its
further development being seen in the "Tristan und Isolde" of Wagner.
It may be well to add, for the further enlightenment of the lay reader,
that chromatic modulation is the secret of that flexibility of style and
largeness of tonal atmosphere which are found in Wagner's works; and for
the first determined movement in this direction we must thank Spohr.
Nevertheless, Spohr's use of chromatic modulations was wholly unlike
that of later composers. As Emil Naumann says, "If Salieri is justified
in saying of certain composers, who use venturesome skips in their
modulations, that they are like a man who jumps through the window when
the door is open, we may well say of Spohr that he passes the open door
at least six times before he decides upon entering." This circumlocution
is unquestionably the result of Spohr's endeavor to place upon his
natural impulses the curb of the Mozartean polish. The outcome of his
self-restraint is the reduction of his operas to a dead level of sweetness
that becomes wearisome.

It was this never-ceasing mellifluous quality that forced itself upon
the attention of Chorley and made even that eminent lover of Bellini
cry for something else besides candy. Says Chorley: "The most graceful
Italian garden, where 'grove nods to grove--each alley has its brother,'
is not arranged with a more perpetual reference to reflexion, parallel,
reply, repetition, than the largest or the least piece of handiwork put
forth by this arithmetically orderly composer. Further, Dr. Spohr's
vocal ideas and phrases have, for the most part, a certain suavity and
flow, belonging to the good school of graceful cantabile, eminently
commendable, when not indisputably charming. But it is difficult, nay,
I may say at once, impossible, to cite any motive from his pen, which,
by its artless vivacity, seizes and retains the ear; and there are few
of his melodies that do not recall better tunes by better men." This
sweet level of cantilena undoubtedly also impressed itself on Schumann,
who was expressing his admiration of Spohr when he said: "As he looks at
everything as though through tears, his figures run into each other like
formless, etherial shapes, for which we can scarcely find a name."

In fine Spohr's works reveal to us a man who was deficient in personal
force because he was not a creative genius, but who exerted all the
influence of an original mind upon his contemporaries because he was
wholly at heart and almost wholly in practice in touch with a movement
new and absorbing. If Spohr had possessed real creative genius, his
devotion to Mozart as a model would have dwindled before the incitements
of the movement toward national romanticism which was agitating German
literature and art. His yearning toward the freedom and infinite
possibilities of chromatic harmonies brought him into direct conflict with
the polished symmetry, the veneration for a set form and a conventional
distribution of keys, of the classic period of Mozart. Had he been a man
of aggressive individuality he would not have made the mistake of putting
an intellectual curb on his emotional impulses, but would have spoken
according to the promptings of his heart.

But Spohr, though earnest in his purposes and intolerant of all that was
not sincere in art, was altogether of too amiable a nature to rudely cross
the Rubicon and seize upon the new territory. He was among those who saw
the promised land, who felt the embrace of its atmosphere, and who yet
hesitated upon the borders. The trumpet call of modern romanticism was
sounded in 1821 when Vogl made Schubert's "Erl King" known to Germany,
and in the same year Weber thrilled the hearts of his countrymen by
giving them a national opera, "Der Freischütz," whose story, like that
of Schubert's song, was taken from the folk-lore of the people. Spohr
followed these leaders in making use of the national literatures as in
"Faust," and the tales of the fireside, as in "Zemire und Azor"; but he
emasculated his music in his endeavor to cling to the style of a period
which had terminated. What might have been a style leading directly into
the restless eloquence of the Wagnerian diction became a "lingering
sweetness, long drawn out," and it was reserved for Weber, who had the
necessary force, the resistless energy of creative power, to become the
founder of true German opera and the artistic progenitor of Richard Wagner.

Wagner showed a warm appreciation of Spohr. He expressed his admiration
for the composer in a letter to a Dresden friend written from Paris, in
1860, when he was preparing to produce "Tannhäuser" in the French capital.
He wrote thus: "Almost simultaneously I lost by death two venerable men
most worthy of respect. The death of one came home to the whole musical
world, which deplores the loss of Ludwig Spohr. I leave it to that world
to estimate what wealth of power, how noble a productiveness departed
with the master's death. To me it is a painful reminder that with him
departed the last of that company of noble, earnest musicians whose youth
was directly illuminated by the glowing sun of Mozart and who like vestals
fed the flame received from him with touching fidelity and protected it
against all storms and winds on their chaste hearths. This lovely office
preserved the man pure and noble; and if I were to undertake to express
in a single phrase what Spohr proclaimed to me with such ineradicable
impressiveness, I would say: He was an earnest, upright master of his
art. The 'handle' of his life was faith in his art; and his greatest
refreshment flowed from the potency of this belief. And this earnest faith
emancipated him from all personal pettiness. All that was entirely foreign
to him he severely let alone without attacking it or persecuting it. This
was the coldness and brusqueness with which he was so often charged. That
which was comprehensible to him (and the composer of 'Jessonda' may be
credited with a deep, fine feeling for everything beautiful), that he
loved and cherished, without circumlocution and with zeal, so soon as he
recognized one thing in it--seriousness, a serious intention toward art.
Herein lay the bond which attached him in his old age to the new endeavors
in art. He could remain a stranger to it, but not an enemy. Honor to our
Spohr; venerate his memory! Let us imitate his example."

Another feature of Spohr's music which calls for mention is his
predilection for a programme. He was a believer in the ability of the
composer to convey his emotions through the medium of absolute music
to the hearer. His "Consecration of Tones" symphony, for instance, is
an attempt to depict in music the part which music plays in life and
nature--an attempt not wholly successful. But these labors give Spohr a
place among the founders of modern romantic writing for orchestra, and
as such he must be respected. His chamber music is distinguished by the
general characteristics of his style, and by a beautiful clearness of

As a composer of violin music and as a performer on the instrument Spohr
exercised influence which is still felt. His pupils were Hubert Ries, St.
Lubin, David, Bott, Blagrove, Kömpel and C. L. Bargheer, all players of
note. David was the teacher of Wilhelmj, whose Doric style preserved all
forcible simplicity and repose of the Spohr manner. Spohr's playing was
based on the solid principles of the Mannheim school, modified somewhat
by the style of Rode, for whom Spohr had a great and well-grounded
admiration. But, as we should expect, Spohr in his maturity arrived
at the possession of a style which was wholly the product of his own
individuality. The fundamental and vital characteristic of his playing was
his treatment of the violin as a singing voice. He played with immense
breadth and purity of tone, with subtle delicacy of touch, and with
exquisite refinement of phrasing. He had no taste for the free style of
bowing cultivated by Paganini and was opposed to anything approaching the
_saltato_. He had a large hand and was thus enabled to execute difficult
passages of double stopping with accuracy.

Violin technics have been developed so much since Spohr's time that his
compositions do not present alarming difficulties to contemporaneous
performers. Nevertheless, they were sufficiently difficult at the time of
their production, and they remain among the acceptable works for violin.
His concertos--at any rate, the best of them--are heard occasionally
in concert rooms to-day, not without pleasure, though they are open to
those objections which have been made against his operatic and orchestral
music. His earlier concertos show the immediate influence of Viotti and
Rode, but his later works were the most valuable contribution that had
been made to the literature of the violin, except the Beethoven concerto
up to the time when Spohr ceased to compose them. Indeed Spohr must be
credited with fully as earnest an endeavor to raise the violin concerto
from the level of a mere show piece to that of a serious and artistic
composition as either Beethoven or Mendelssohn. Paul David has rightly
said: "It was mainly owing to the sterling musical worth of Spohr's violin
compositions that the great qualities of the classical Italian and the
Paris schools have been preserved to the present day, and have prevented
the degeneration of violin-playing.... He set a great example of purity
of style and legitimate treatment of the instrument--an example which has
lost none of its force in the lapse of more than half a century."

[Illustration: Signature]


Illustrating Spohr's Opera "Jessonda."]


_Reproduction of a portrait at the British Museum drawn by C. Vogel,
Dresden, 1823, and engraved by C. A. Schwerdgeburth. Weber in his
thirty-seventh year._]



The plenitude of genius in the classical period of German music has a
striking illustration in the rapid succession in the kingship which
followed the wresting of the musical sceptre from Italy. Beginning with
Bach, there has been no break in the line of succession. Had such a
thought occurred to the father of modern music, he might have established
a sentimental foundation, a handgrasp, a kiss, or an apostolic laying on
of hands, which might have been transmitted down to our day without once
leaving the direct and royal line. In the musical succession there is
an over-lapping, a concurrence of reigns, nearly all the time. The most
significant phrase of this phenomenon is exemplified in the subject of
this study. Gluck and Mozart might have come like the good fairies of the
nursery tale to kiss him in his cradle. Haydn and Beethoven might have
waited till their salutations would inspire his youth. He himself might
have blessed the infancy of Schubert, Mendelssohn, Schumann and Wagner.
This it is which helped to give Carl Maria von Weber a position in musical
history which now we recognize to be commanding in a sense never realized
so fully before. His activities range over the territory through which
is drawn the indeterminate line of demarcation between the Classic and
Romantic schools. He embodies the spirit of both tendencies, though not
in an equal degree. Not only does he touch hands with the kings of the
eighteenth century and their successors of the nineteenth, but some of
his life threads in the fabric of history were interwoven with theirs. We
shall see how in the story of his life.

The influence of heredity has a twofold illustration in this story. The
musical talent of Weber and, indeed, the general bent of his artistic
predilections were an inheritance. An ardent devotion to music and the
drama can be traced back a century in the family from which he sprung.
The family belonged to the minor nobility of Austria. Of the tastes
and inclinations of the first Freiherr von Weber, who was endowed with
the title in 1622, nothing is known. But a brother, who had taken up a
residence in Suabia, probably after the loss of the family estates in the
Thirty Years' War, was musical. He was the ancestor of Fridolin Weber,
who, in turn, was the father of several daughters who would have merited
a paragraph in the annals of music had they not won a page through the
circumstance that Mozart fell in love with one, Aloysia, and married
another, Constance. Franz Anton von Weber, a brother of this Fridolin,
was the father of Carl Maria, who through Constance became cousin by
marriage to Mozart. The brothers, though many other things besides, during
the latter portion of their existence were, for the purpose of gaining a
livelihood, musicians. Fridolin, who had dropped the "von" from his name
when Mozart met him in Mannheim, was reduced to the position of a sort
of general utility man in the Court Theatre; Franz Anton, who clung to
the sign of nobility and conveyed other titles to himself to which he had
less right, enjoyed the distinction of being one of the best viola players
of his time and was also an admirable performer upon the double-bass. He
even ventured upon the sea of composition with some songs with pianoforte
accompaniment, which frail craft bore him up for a considerable time.

Here was one manifestation of the law of heredity; contemplation of the
other is less agreeable. From Franz Anton von Weber his son inherited an
instability of character which for a time threatened to make shipwreck
of his divine gifts. The whole of Franz Anton's life was the career of
an adventurer. In his youth he was a titled rake in Mannheim. He became
a soldier and was slightly wounded fighting against Frederick the Great
at Rosbach. The Elector of Cologne, Clément Augustus, gave him an
appointment and on the death of his father-in-law advanced him to the
posts which the latter had held--Steward and Court Councillor. From
these posts he was dismissed with a small pension by Clément Augustus's
successor in the Electorate. It is said that his devotion to music was
partly the cause of his dismissal. He was fonder of his fiddle than of
his duties, and often went walking in the fields, playing on his viol,
his eight children trooping behind him as if he were another Pied Piper.
He married into a councillorship and fiddled himself out of it. The
Prince-Bishop who appointed him was the gay prelate who "danced himself
out of this world into another" and who gave employment to Beethoven's
grandfather and father in his court band; the Prince-Bishop who dismissed
him was the serious-minded and thrifty Maximilian Frederick, who became
the master of Beethoven himself. Those who are fond of delving for remote
causes may associate the birth of Weber with this action of Beethoven's
patron. Franz Anton, having lost his position and squandered his wife's
fortune, started out on a dramatic and musical itinerancy. His wife did
not survive her humiliation. He wandered through Germany after three years
of service as Chapelmaster to the Bishop of Lübeck and Eutin, and in
1784 found his way to Vienna, where he placed two of his sons under the
tuition of Haydn, and a year later married the sixteen-year-old Genoveva
von Brenner, a daughter in the family that had given a home to his sons.
This delicate flower the adventurer of fifty plucked out of its genial
surroundings in the Austrian capital and transplanted to Eutin, whither he
now returned to accept the post of town musician, another having meanwhile
won the once despised but now coveted chapelmastership. Small wonder
that when Carl Maria Friedrich Ernest, the first child of this mistaken
marriage was born he should have brought with him into the world a frail
and puny body afflicted with a disease of the hip which was the cause of
the composer's lifelong lameness.

Concerning the date of Carl Maria's birth there is still controversy. The
church records in Eutin give it as November 18, 1786. The date commonly
accepted is December 18, 1786. When the boy's first composition was
published the father did not hesitate to falsify his age by a year in
order to irritate the attention of the _cognoscenti_. The impulse which
prompted what must have seemed a trifling peccadillo to the unscrupulous
Franz Anton sprang from an ambition which had long consumed his heart and
had been intensified by the marvelous career of his nephew by marriage,
Mozart: He wished to figure in the world as father of a prodigy. He had
been disappointed in the children of his first marriage who, with finer
facilities than Carl Maria ever enjoyed, had turned out to be simply good
working musicians. The forcing process which he applied in the case of his
youngest son was in no respect beneficial. The boy, too, was ambitious to
be a Mozart, but in later life, speaking of his second opera, composed at
the age of thirteen, he mentioned the circumstance that he had written the
second act in ten days, and added: "This was one of the many unfortunate
consequences of the numerous tales of the great masters which made so
great an impression on my juvenile mind, and which I tried to imitate."
The demand which the father made upon the precocious mind of his son was
in reality greater than that made upon the boy Mozart's. Leopold Mozart
was an ideal instructor and a man of fine moral fibre. In his exploitation
of Wolfgang he never sacrificed the things which make for good in art. He
may have been injudicious in fanning the spark of genius so industriously
that it burst into the too-fierce flame which consumed his son's life
prematurely, but the technical training which Wolfgang enjoyed was sound
and thorough. This boon was never accorded to the boy Weber. While his
father continued the roving life which began anew a year after Carl
Maria's birth, he and his son Frederick cared for the lad's education.
There was no more stability in the life of the family than in that of a
gypsy band. Within a dozen years the father figured in one theatrical
capacity or another in Vienna, Cassel, Meiningen, Nuremberg, Augsburg,
Weimar, Erlangen, Hilburghausen and Salzburg. Only in the last two
towns does it appear that he procured proper instruction for the child.
Evidently with all his desire to play the rôle of a second Leopold Mozart
he mistrusted his son's gifts, for he once contemplated making a painter
out of him, and even after he had exhibited noteworthy fruits of the few
months of study pursued under Michael Haydn in Salzburg, and Kalcher in
Munich, he seemed willing to sacrifice his son's musical talents to the
prospect of making money with Senefelder's new invention of lithography,
in which both father and son took a keen interest. The influence of such
an irresolute life upon the lad's moral character must also have been
pernicious. He grew up behind the scenes of a theatre. One can easily
imagine the value of the familiarity with the mimic world thus obtained
after he had become a dramatic composer, but it fastened a clog upon his
talent which he was never quite able to fling off. When a good teacher,
who valued his gifts and devoted himself assiduously to their development,
was found in Hilburghausen, study had already become irksome to the lad.

Michael Haydn had been his master for only six months when, his mother
having died of consumption in March, 1798, he accompanied his father to
Vienna and remained there till July. Next came a removal to Munich, and
study under Kalcher for composition and Wallishauser (of Valesi, as he
called himself) for singing. Even with imperfect cherishing, however, the
boy's creative faculty asserted itself. The first of his music which was
published consisted of six fughettos written under the eyes of Michael
Haydn. Guided by Kalcher he composed an opera, "Die Macht der Liebe und
des Weins," a mass and several vocal and instrumental pieces in the
smaller forms. All of this music is lost except a set of variations which
he dedicated to his teacher and printed himself by the new lithographic


We have written with somewhat disproportionate fullness of the beginning
of Weber's career because of the light which the recital throws upon
his moral as well as his musical development. Fate had it in store that
a lovely character and a genius of high order should emerge from the
unsightly and much-abused chrysalis; but before then another decade had
to be spent under such circumstances as ordinarily wreck men's souls. In
this period the interruptions of the peripatetics which had been the curse
of his childhood, were few and comparatively brief. Freiberg, in Saxony,
Chemnitz, Salzburg, and Augsburg, were in turn the lad's stopping-places,
and a tour was made through Northern Germany. Then came two years of
study in Vienna with Abbé Vogler, rewarded by an appointment which the
Abbé procured for the youth of seventeen and a half as Capellmeister in
Breslau. For two years he performed the duties of this office, and then
disaffections and quarrels between him and the citizens who maintained the
company led to his resignation. The influence of a pupil got him the title
of Musik-Intendant to Duke Eugene of Wirtemberg, which he intended to use
for advertising purposes on a concert tour; but war interfered with the
plan and he went to Schloss Carlsruhe to participate in the music-making
at the Duke's court. The conquest of Prussia by Napoleon in 1807 led the
Duke to dismiss his band, but he obtained for Weber the post of Private
Secretary to a brother, Duke Ludwig, at Stuttgart. The associations
into which this new life threw him were more demoralizing a thousand
times than any of his past experiences. The profligacy and immorality of
the official and theatrical life of the Suabian capital were notorious
throughout Europe. The charm of Weber's mind and manners drew about him
many good influences, particularly the friendship of Capellmeister Danzi,
but the moral stamina to withstand the temptations which beset him on
all hands had not been developed, and he abandoned himself to a course
of life which threatened his moral as well as artistic ruin. His boon
companions were one of the sirens of the theatre and the members of a
coterie known as "Faust's Descent into Hell." From the dangers which beset
him he was most rudely rescued. He had incurred the anger of the King
while delivering one of the many unpleasant messages of Duke Ludwig, who
was the King's brother, and avenged himself for the contumely poured on
him by directing an old woman, who had inquired for the Royal laundress,
into the King's cabinet. It required the intervention of the Duke to save
him from imprisonment, but the King's anger was not appeased, and he soon
found occasion to punish Weber for the insult. The misrepresentations
of a servant to a citizen from whom Weber borrowed money led the former
to believe that the loan would purchase an appointment for his son in
the Duke's household and consequent immunity from military service. The
appointment not following, Weber was denounced to the King, tried by a
process quite as summary as a drum-head court-martial, and banished from
Wirtemberg along with his father, in whose behalf the loan had been made.
It was the year 1810, and it marks Weber's moral regeneration. He resolved
thereafter to devote himself honestly and seriously to the service of
his art. His artistic achievements during this decade were scarcely
significant enough to outweigh the unhappy incidents of his life. At
Freiberg he forgot his father's lithographic schemes long enough to set an
opera book written by Ritter von Steinsberg on the familiar folk-tale of
the Seven Ravens, entitled "Das Stumme Waldmädchen," which was performed
in Freiberg, Chemnitz, Prague and even Vienna and St. Petersburg, without
making a decided success. In the course of his second stay in Salzburg he
composed "Peter Schmoll und seine Nachbarn," which was brought out with
indifferent results at Augsburg. During his trip through Northern Germany
he developed a thirst for theoretical knowledge and also a bent toward
literature which grew with time, made him a student of the writings of
Kant and Schelling, in Stuttgart, and filled his head for a space with
thoughts of a critical journal. His choice of Abbé Vogler as a teacher
has generally been deplored, but it seems to have been beneficial in this
respect, at least, that under the influence of that man of brilliant if
superficial talents, he ceased the production of unripe works and took up
the analysis of masterpieces and the study of folk-music. The circumstance
that his writings for two years are practically summed up in a pianoforte
arrangement of the Abbé's opera "Samori" and two sets of variations
on themes from that opera and "Castor and Pollux" might be variously
interpreted. The Abbé had the gift of attaching young men to himself and
was probably not averse to such tributes as his affectionate pupils paid
him in the revamping of his ideas; but if Weber's own testimony is to
be accepted he must have helped him greatly in the direction where his
greatest needs lay. In Breslau he began the composition of "Rübezahl"
(text by J. G. Rhode, the managing director of the private company that
maintained the theatre), and composed an a Overturn Chinesa," utilizing
for the purpose a Chinese melody entitled "Lieu-ye-kin." This overture
he remodeled a few years later and prefixed it to Schiller's adaptation
of the Italian Gozzi's masque "Turandot" for which he also composed six
incidental pieces. How one who was so happy a few years later in the
application of local color should have persuaded himself to use a Chinese
melody with its characteristic pentatonic scale in an overture to a play
based on a Persian subject does not appear. Weber's stay with Duke Eugene
was not without profit, though his compositions were chiefly instrumental
and, barring two symphonies, in the smaller forms. In Stuttgart where
his musical services to Duke Ludwig were confined to instructing his
children, he undertook a resetting of "Das Stumme Waldmädchen," the book
of which had been worked over by Franz Carl Hiemer, the leading spirit
of the dissolute coterie known as "Faust's Höllenfahrt." Weber seems
to have spent two years on this work, or rather to have spread it out
over two years of time, a circumstance which, when contrasted with the
rapidity of his work on his second opera as a lad of thirteen, tells its
own tale of the effect of the influences which surrounded him. It was
at a rehearsal of this opera, renamed "Sylvana," that the King chose to
have him arrested to gratify a petty vengefulness. The work came into new
notice in connection with the German celebrations of Weber's centenary
in 1886 by reason of a second revision and revival after it had been
forgotten for full half a century. This "revision," however, for which
Ernst Pasqué and Ferdinand Langer are responsible, is almost if not quite
as original a piece of work as that done by Weber in the remodeling of
"Das Stumme Waldmädchen." The three-act play is expanded into one of four
acts; the dumb maiden is metamorphosed into a particularly brilliant
_soprano leggiero_; a ballet is introduced consisting of the "Invitation
to the Dance," which was composed in 1817, and the Polonaise in E-flat
which dates back to the Stuttgart period; several of Weber's songs are
interpolated (a hint of Widor's having seemingly been acted on), and vocal
numbers are constructed out of two sonata movements.


Painted by Jos. Lang, the actor-painter (brother-in-law of Mozart).
Engraved by Joh. Neidl.]

With the expulsion from Stuttgart Weber's wanderings began again, and
for several years, the rest of the time indeed which may be counted
in the period preparatory to his entrance upon his estate as a genius
conscious of a mission and equipped for its performance, his life is like
that of a minstrel knight of old, save for the difference in social and
artistic environment. At the very outset of these final peregrinations
there is noticeable a sign of his moral regeneration, preceding only by
a little most convincing evidences of a determination to make good also
the artistic shortcomings due to his desultory early training and his
later frivolities. Toward the close of 1810 he wrote in his journal: "I
can say calmly and truthfully that I have grown to be a better man within
the last ten months. My sad experiences have made me wiser, I am become
orderly in my business affairs and steadily industrious." The men whose
friendship he cultivated on his travels were worthy of the best he could
offer, and he made no more companionships that were hindrances to his
growth. In Mannheim, whither he first went with letters from Danzi, it was
the theoretician Gottfried Weber who gave him encouragement, help and a
friendship that lasted till death. In Darmstadt began a lovely intercourse
with Meyerbeer, who was then studying with Vogler, and whose parents
received him like one of the family when he went to Berlin. In Hamburg
he met E. T. A. Hoffman, that incarnation of the Romantic spirit; and in
Munich he formed a social and artistic connection with the clarinettist,
Bärmann, which was a source of delight and profit to them both. Duke Emil
Leopold August, of Saxe Gotha, with all his crazy eccentricities, was a
kind patron, at whose court he came into close relationship with Spohr,
whom he had first met at Stuttgart, and on whom he had made an unfavorable
impression. He went to Weimar, and learned to love Wieland and would
also doubtless have bent the knee to Goethe, had that great man treated
him with a little more than scant courtesy. It would seem, however, as
if the great poet had imbibed, consciously or unconsciously, some of the
prejudice against Weber which his musical oracle, Zelter, cherished.
Weber's resolve to give truer devotion to his art bore fruit first in a
heightened appreciation of the value of criticism. Not only did he seek
to profit by the censure bestowed on his own works on the score of a want
of plastic beauty and soundness of form, but he sought to give greater
dignity to criticism by cultivating it himself. In Darmstadt he joined
Meyerbeer and others in organizing a secret society which had for a motto
"the elevation of musical criticism by musicians." He even recurred to his
old project of founding a critical journal, and though he did not carry it
out, he was thus in a sense a forerunner of Schumann, as the "Harmonischer
Verein" (thus the critical coterie called itself) was a prototype of the
"Davidsbündler." His conviction that he was profiting by his more serious
studies and loftier determination is seen, moreover, in his desire to
better his earlier work. He did not try to complete the opera "Rübezahl,"
but he remodelled its overture, which he thought his finest achievement
up to that time, and also the overture to "Peter Schmoll." In his one-act
operetta "Abu Hassan," composed during a second stay in Mannheim after
his return from Frankfort, where he had produced "Sylvana" successfully,
modern critics have found the buds of that dramatic genius which came into
full flower in "Der Freischütz." His fondness for literary composition
grew so strong in this period that, not content with critical essays,
he ventured upon a work of fiction. It is impossible not to see in this
circumstance and also in the title chosen for the romance, "Tonkünstler's
Erdenwallen," a suggestion which Wagner acted on when a generation later
he wrote: "Ein Ende in Paris," and "A Pilgrimage to Beethoven."

We have reached a point in Weber's career when his aims, ambitions,
methods and achievements present so many parallels with those of his
direct successor in art that the temptation is strong to put aside the
story of the man in favor of an essay in comparative criticism. Each
succeeding event in the next few years of his life helps to bring those
parallels into a light which is particularly vivid to us who view them
from the vantage ground of to-day. When he goes to Prague in January,
1813, to organize a German Opera, we see him enter the portal of the
temple which enshrined the goddess of his later idolatry. When he emerges
from that temple it is as the High Priest of a new cult, consecrated for
the greater task which he accomplished in Dresden, whither he went in
1817. The consecration was two-fold; it entered into his moral life and
purged it of the last husks of folly when he married Caroline Brandt on
November 4, 1817; it entered into his artistic life when he conceived his
mission to be to stimulate a national art-spirit in his country worthy
of the spirit of patriotism which had enabled the German people to rid
themselves of a foreign oppressor. In Prague he formed his last ignoble
attachment. It was for the wife of a dancer at the opera, whose purposes
were all mercenary, and whose husband was willing to trade in his wife's
honor. The _liaison_ caused immeasurable suffering to the gentle soul of
Weber, and was the last of his purging fires. The solace which he found in
the love of the singer who had sung in his "Sylvana" at Frankfort and been
engaged at Prague at his instance, was perfect. Caroline Brandt did not
accept him lightly, and he had time, while wooing her, to learn the value
of her sweet purity and recover from the wounds struck by a degrading

The spirit of Romanticism which had long before been breathed into German
literature and encouraged patriotism by disclosing the treasures of
German legendary lore, became a vital force when patriotic sentiments
were transmuted into deeds of valor. Theodor Körner was the incarnation
of that political ecstacy which had been nourished by the Tugendbund. In
the youth of Germany, especially in the students, his songs produced a
sort of divine intoxication. Part of Weber's summer vacation in 1814 was
passed in Berlin. Prussia was leading in the struggle to throw off the
yoke of Napoleon, and Weber drank daily of the soma-juice in Körner's
"Lyre and Sword." On his return trip to Prague he visited his old friend
the Duke Emil August at his castle Gräfen-Tonna. From this old feudal
pile he sent his settings of "Lützow's wilde Jagd" and "Das Schwertlied"
to his love in Prague. The world has never ceased to marvel at the fire
of those settings; who shall describe their effect in Germany at the time
they were written? They were sparks hurled into the powder-magazine of
national feeling. All things were conspiring to develop Weber's Germanism
from an emotion into a religion. The "Hurrah!" of his apostrophe to the
sword found an echo at Waterloo. He planned a cantata to celebrate the
event. It was not musical taste as much as patriotic ardor to which
the circumstances compelled him to appeal. "Kampf und Sieg" is another
"Wellington's Victory," containing the same vulgar realism (the noises of
battle, etc.), but disclosing also a higher artistic striving. Beethoven
used national melodies to characterize the warring soldiery: the "Chanson
de Malbrouk" for the French, and "Rule Britannia" for the English. Weber
utilized the revolutionary "Ça ira" for the French "God save the King"
for the English, the Austrian and Prussian grenadier marches and the
refrain from his own "Lützow." The latter circumstance may be looked upon
as evidence of the popularity which the spirited song had won within a

[Illustration: WEBER

_Drawn and executed in lithography by G. Minasi_ (Artist to the King of
Napler &c.,) _and most respectfully dedicated by him with their permission
to the directors and subscribers of the Philarmonic Society_

    Pale genius strives in vain to check a sigh
    And points in silence to his laurell'd bust:
    While all the tuneful nine sit by.
    No does Britannia generous maid. Forget
    What loth is unassuming worth is due;
    But marks with sympathy and deep regret,
    The cheerless scene which opens to her view,
    Observes with plaintive eye where he is laid
    And drops a tear of pity to his shade.

    Ds Mirore 211.

London Dec. 15th, 1826 Pub.ᵈ by J. Linibird, 143 Strand. Printed et
Pub.ᵈ by Engelmann Graf Coindeta Cᵒ. 66 St. Martins Lane Strand. ]

It was when Romanticism became militant that it fired the heart of Weber
and enlisted him as a soldier. In Berlin Brentano offered him the subject
of "Tannhäuser" for treatment. He had considered the story of "Der
Freischütz" as far back as 1810. He was not ready for such work until he
had fought the fight for a German operatic institution in Prague and in
Dresden. In one respect the conditions were more favorable in the Bohemian
capital than in the Saxon. In the former it was chiefly indifference and
ignorance with which he had to contend; in the latter the patriotic fires
which might have been helpful were buried under the ashes of hatred of
Prussia. The splendid Teutonism of Weber was tolerated with ill grace,
and the intrigues of his associate Morlacchi, at the head of the Italian
opera, were permitted to make fourfold more difficult the stupendous task
of building up a German opera in a city that had always been dominated by
Italian influences in art. It was four years before Weber could take the
step which to us looks like an appeal from the Saxon court to the German
people. The case was that of "Der Freischütz" against the Italian régime,
and it was tried and won on June 18, 1821, in the new opera house in

The Italian régime was maintained in Dresden through the efforts of the
conductor of the Italian Opera, Morlacchi, the concert-master Polledro,
the church composer Schubert, and Count von Einsiedel, Cabinet Minister.
The efforts of these men placed innumerable obstacles in Weber's path and
their influence heaped humiliations upon him. Confidence alone in the
ultimate success of his efforts to regenerate the lyric drama sustained
him in his trials. Against the merely sensuous charm of suave melody
and lovely singing he opposed truthfulness of feeling and conscientious
endeavor for the attainment of a perfect _ensemble_. Here his powers of
organization, trained by his experience in Prague, his perfect knowledge
of the stage imbibed with his mother's milk, and his unquenchable zeal
gave him amazing puissance. Thoroughness was his watchword. He put
aside the old custom of conducting while seated at the pianoforte and
appeared before his players with a _bâton_. He was an inspiration, not a
figure-head. His mind and his emotions dominated theirs and were published
in the performance. He raised the standard of the chorus, stimulated
the actors, inspected the stage-furnishings and costumes and stamped
harmony of feeling, harmony of understanding, harmony of efforts upon the
first work undertaken--a performance of Méhul's "Joseph in Egypt." Nor
did he confine his educational efforts to the people of the theatre. He
continued in Dresden the plan first put into practice by him in Prague
of printing articles about new operas in the newspapers to stimulate
public appreciation of their characteristics and beauties. For a while the
work of organization checked his creative energies, but when his duties
touching new music for court or church functions gave him the opportunity
he wrote with undiminished energy. His masses in E-flat and G were thus
called forth, and his "Jubilee Cantata," the overture to which, composed
later, is now a universal possession.

The year which gave him his wife also gave him the opera book with the
composition of which it was destined he should crown his career as a
National composer. Apel's "Gespensterbuch" had fallen into his hands
seven years before, and he had marked the story of "Der Freischütz" for
treatment. His mind reverted to it again in the spring of 1817. Friederich
Kind agreed to write the book and placed it complete in his hands on March
1st, nine days after he had undertaken the commission. Weber's enthusiasm
was great, but circumstances prevented him from devoting much time to the
composition of the opera. He wrote the first of its music in July, 1817,
but did not complete it till May 13, 1820. It was in his mind during all
this period, however, and would doubtless have been finished much earlier
had he received an order to write an opera from the Saxon court. In this
expectation he was disappointed, and the honor of having encouraged the
production of the most national opera ever written went to Berlin, where
the patriotism which had been warmed by Weber's settings of Körner's
songs was still ablaze and where Count Brühl's plans were discussing to
bring him to the Prussian capital as Capellmeister. The opera was given
under circumstances that produced intense excitement in the minds of
Weber's friends. It was felt that the patriotic interest which the name
and presence of Körner's collaborator aroused would not alone suffice to
achieve a real triumph for a work of art. The sympathies of the musical
areopagus of Berlin were not with Weber or his work,--neither before nor
after the first performance; but Weber spoke to the popular heart and its
quick responsive throb lifted him at once to the crest of the wave which
soon deluged all Germany. The overture had to be repeated to still the
applause that followed its first performance, and when the curtain fell on
the last scene a new chapter in German art had been opened.

[Illustration: THE OLD MARKET SQUARE IN DRESDEN--From a photograph.

The house bearing sign on roof "RENNER" bears this inscription--"Hier
schrieb 1819--C. M. von Weber--Der Freischütz."--(Here C. M. von Weber
wrote 1819 "Der Freischütz.")]

The difficulties which surrounded the production of "Der Freischütz" and
the doubt felt touching its fate seemed to have almost unnerved Weber's
friends. He alone had remained undisturbed. For a year his mind had been
in a fever of creative activity. The incidental music for the melodrama
"Preciosa" had gone to Berlin with the score of "Der Freischütz," and
before he left Dresden to produce his opera he had begun to work on the
music of "Die drei Pintos," a comic opera for which Theodor Hill had
supplied the book. On the eve of the great "Freischütz" day he composed
his "Concertstück," which until recent years was the most universally
popular of his pianoforte compositions and now is esteemed as only second
to the exquisitely graceful, eloquent and romantic "Invitation," which he
composed and dedicated to his wife shortly after his marriage.

Weber had begun the hopeless fight against the disease that robbed him of
his mother at the age of twenty-six years, before he came to Dresden. He
did not possess the physical constitution for a long combat. He was small
and narrow-chested. Much of the superhuman energy which marked the last
five years of his life was due to the unnatural eagerness of his mind to
put forth the whole of his artistic evangel before bodily dissolution
should silence the proclamation.

There is no doubt that it was sheer will-power that kept the vital fires
burning in his tortured body until the uttermost faggot of fuel which
could nourish them was burned to ashes. The picture which Sir Julius
Benedict draws of him as he appeared when Sir Julius entered his house
to become his pupil in February, 1821, is indescribably pathetic in its
simple eloquence: "I found him sitting at his desk and occupied with the
pianoforte arrangement of his 'Freischütz.' The dire disease which but
too soon was to carry him off had made its mark on his noble features;
the projecting cheek-bones, the general emaciation, told their sad tale;
but in his clear eyes, too often concealed by spectacles, in his mighty
forehead fringed by a few straggling locks, in the sweet expression of
his mouth, in the very tone of his weak but melodious voice, there was a
magic power which attracted irresistibly all who approached him." The last
period of his life, the period in which he went on uninterruptedly from
one great achievement to another, strengthening the foundations of the new
structure his genius had reared, lifting it higher and extending it in all
directions, was for his physical body but a period of torment. His rewards
were many, but those which brought the greatest benison of felicity and
comfort flowed from his domestic life, or came from without the province
of his official labors. Dresden shared the glory which he had won in
Berlin and elsewhere, but his masters refused him the honors the rest of
the world was glad to give. His king denied him the petty insignias of
distinction which no man in the kingdom had so richly earned, yet, though
opportunities offered (such as an invitation to become musical director
at Hesse Cassel) he refused to change his field of labor, inspired by a
desperate determination to conquer the indifference of the Saxon court.
"Der Freischütz" had set Germany on fire, but its composer waited a year
before he was privileged to produce it in Dresden. Nearly three months
before that occurrence he received an invitation to compose an opera for
the Kärnthnerthor theatre, in Vienna, under the management of Barbaja.
He chose the blue-stocking, Helmina von Chezy, as his collaborator, and
began work on "Euryanthe." It was another tremendous stride in the path
of progress; but the world did not know it, for now Weber was the forward
man leading the way into the hitherto unexplored fields of dramatic
music. He went to Vienna in September, 1823, to bring out his new work.
Of all the incidents of the memorable visit none is more significant than
his meeting with Beethoven. It was a tardy meeting. As lad and youth he
had been in Vienna without manifesting the slightest desire to meet the
great master. In his self-elected capacity as critic he had attacked the
symphonies in E-flat and B-flat. It is not improbable that it was the
study of "Fidelio," which he produced at Prague, and afterward at Dresden,
that opened his mind to the significant relationship which Beethoven
bore to his own efforts to reanimate a national art-spirit in Germany.
At any rate when the composer of "Euryanthe" went to Vienna it was as a
musician filled with veneration for the composer of "Fidelio," and the
reception which he met with at the hands of the great man touched him
most profoundly. "We dined together in the happiest mood," Weber wrote to
his wife; "the stern, rough man paid me as much attention as if I were a
lady he was courting, and served me at table with the most delicate care.
How proud I felt to receive all this attention and regard from the great
master-spirit; the day will remain forever impressed on my mind and those
of all who were present." Beethoven, it is said, promised to attend the
first performance of "Euryanthe," which took place on October 25, but did
not. He would have heard nothing of the music if he had, but there is a
story that after the representation, which was tremendously successful, he
wrote to Weber: "I am glad, I am glad! For this is the way the German must
get the upper hand of the Italian sing-song." The success of the opera was
not lasting, however. It was marred by the dramatic faults of its book,
and after Weber's departure its score was horribly disfigured by excisions
made by Conradin Kreutzer.

[Illustration: MONUMENT TO WEBER IN DRESDEN.--From a photograph.

Ernst Rietschel, Sculptor.]

The vital forces were rapidly leaving Weber's frail body. For nearly a
year and a half after the completion of "Euryanthe" he composed nothing
except a French romance for voice and pianoforte. Then he marshalled his
intellectual and physical forces for a last endeavor. Charles Kemble
in 1824, stimulated by the success of "Der Freischütz" in London,
commissioned him to compose an opera for Covent Garden. The work was to
be in English, and after some correspondence on the subject Weber agreed
to compose an opera and produce it in person for an honorarium of £1,000.
While the negotiations were in progress he consulted his physician, who
told him the acceptance of the commission would bring about his death in
a few months, or even weeks, whereas a year's respite from all work in
Italy would prolong his life five or six years. The sum offered was large
and Weber's mind had been haunted by the apprehension of leaving his wife
and children unprovided for. He decided to sacrifice his life for the
welfare of his family, and accepted the commission. The decision made, his
physical and intellectual lassitude gave way to another fit of energy.
The subject agreed on was "Oberon," and Planché was to prepare the book.
As a preparation, the dying composer learned English. The first two acts
of the book came into his hands on January 18, the third on February 1,
1825. He began at once but suspended it in order to take the waters at Ems
during the summer. He resumed work in the fall and completed the overture,
which, in the usual manner of composers, he composed last, in London, on
April 29, 1826. He had reached the city a week before, having travelled to
Calais in his own carriage and made a stop in Paris, where he was cheered
by the kind attention of men like Cherubini, Rossini, Onslow and others.
No time was wasted in beginning the preparations for the production of
"Oberon," nor, indeed, was there any time to waste. He superintended
sixteen rehearsals, and conducted the first performance on April 12, 1826.
It was his last triumph; "The composer had an even more enthusiastic
reception than Rossini two or three years before," says Spitta. Weber
conducted twelve performances according to contract, took part in a few
concerts, gave one of his own which was a failure financially because
of the indifference of the aristocracy, and then in feverish anxiety to
see his family again, began preparations for his return journey. On the
morning of June 5, 1826, his host, Sir George Smart, found him dead in
his bed: "his head resting on his hand as if in sweet slumber; no traces
of his suffering could be seen in these noble features. His spirit had
fled--home indeed!" His body was buried in Moorfields Chapel on June
21, but eighteen years later, largely through the instrumentality of
Richard Wagner, it was brought to Dresden and interred in the family
vault with impressive ceremonies. Wagner pronounced the oration at his
final resting-place, and thus emphasized the trait in his character which
lay at the foundation of his greatest achievement in art: "Never lived a
musician more German than thou! No matter where thy genius bore thee, in
what far-away unfathomable realm of fancy, always did it remain fastened
with a thousand sensitive fibres to the heart of the German people,
with which it smiled and wept like an undoubting child listening to the
fairy tales of its native land. This ingenuousness it was which led thy
manhood's mind like a guardian angel and preserved it chaste; and in this
chastity lay thy individuality: preserving this glorious virtue unsullied
thou wast lifted above the need of artificial invention. It was enough for
thee to feel, for when thou hadst felt then hadst thou already discovered
the things which have been from the beginning. And this lofty virtue
didst thou preserve even into thy death. Thou couldst not sacrifice it,
nor divest thyself of this lovely heritage of thy German lineage; thou
couldst not betray us!--Behold, now the Briton does thee justice, the
Frenchman admires thee, but only the German can _love_ thee! Thou art his,
a lovely day out of his life, a warm drop of his blood, a fragment of his
heart--who will blame us for wishing that thy ashes might become a portion
of his earth, his precious German earth?"

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: Fac-simile letter from Weber replying to inquiry concerning
his "Jubel Overture" and pianoforte Concerto. Also recommending Naumann's
"Pater Noster" as a beautiful work.]

The works of Weber comprehend examples of nearly all the vocal and
instrumental forms, except the sacred oratorio. He completed and
published six operas, and left fragments of three others. Of his first
boyish effort, "Die Macht der Liebe und des Weins," not a bar has
been discovered, and it is believed that he destroyed it. Of smaller
dramatic works including the melodrama "Preciosa," the overture, and
incidental music for "Turandot," airs for interpolation in operas of other
composers, etc., he wrote twenty-eight. His cantatas, using the word in
both its old and newer sense as a composition for soli and chorus with
accompaniment, number eight. He wrote two masses and a separate offertory
for each; ninety songs, ballads and romances for single voice with
pianoforte or guitar accompaniment; nineteen part-songs for men's voices;
fourteen canons, part-songs, etc., for mixed voices with and without
accompaniment; and he arranged ten Scotch songs. The summary of his purely
instrumental music is not so large. He was not a master of the great epic
form, and the two symphonies which he composed have no significance in
an estimate of his work. In addition to the overtures to his published
operas he wrote three overtures which have appeared separately: that of
"Peter Schmoll" published as "Grande Ouverture à plusieurs instruments,"
"Rübezahl," known as "Beherrscher der Geister," and "Jubel"; he also
wrote five orchestral dances and marches. He composed three pianoforte
concertos, ten smaller works with pianoforte accompaniment, thirteen
concerted pieces for various solo instruments (clarinet, bassoon, flute
and violoncello) and orchestra, four pianoforte sonatas, seventeen
pianoforte pieces of various other forms for two hands (counting sets of
Fughetti, Allemandes, Ecossaises and Waltzes as single numbers) and twenty
similar pieces for four hands.

Weber's significance lies in his dramatic works. His songs, charmingly
poetical and beautiful as many of them are, have been pushed into the
background by those of his contemporary Schubert and his successors in the
song-field, Schumann, Franz and Brahms. His part-songs for men's voices,
especially his settings of Körner's patriotic lyrics, will probably be
sung as long as the German gives voice to his love of Fatherland through
the agency of _Männergesangvereine_. It is no depreciation of their
artistic merit, however, to say that they fill a much larger page in the
social and political history of Germany than in the story of musical
evolution. As a composer for the pianoforte Weber long ago became archaic.
His sonatas are seldom heard now-a-days outside of historical recitals
whose purpose is, in the first instance, instructive. The "Concertstück,"
once the hobby of nearly all performers of the brilliant school, is
rapidly sinking into neglect, and one might attend concerts for a decade
in Paris, London, Berlin, Vienna, Boston or New York without hearing
either of the other concertos. The circumstance that in the "Concertstück"
and the "Invitation to the Dance," Weber displayed a distinctly Romantic
tendency in the sense of striving to give expression to a poetical conceit
placed at the foundation of the composition and kept in mind throughout,
accounts in a great degree for the greater vitality of these two works.
Yet even the "Invitation" is admired more to-day in the embellished
version of Tausig and the orchestral paraphrase of Berlioz than in its
original shape. The value of this exquisite little dramatic poem in
tones, we are inclined to place so high that the estimate may seem out
of all proportion with the rest of this review. The world has learned,
however, that merit lies in contents and felicity of expression rather
than pretension and dimension, and in view of the subsequent idealization
of the dance by Chopin and his followers, we incline to the belief
that what once may have been regarded as a trifle really outweighs in
importance the bulk of Weber's pianoforte pieces whose formal titles give
them dignity. The professor and the amateur are one in their admiration
for this delicious composition, and there is no one so unlearned in music
that he may not arrive at the composer's purpose from a simple hearing, so
he bring love and a bit of fancy into the concert-room. How many pretty
pictures of brilliant ball-rooms and loving couples has not this music
conjured up in the minds of imaginative people. Even old Dr. Brown, whose
"Rab and his Friends" will ever keep him dear to Anglo-Saxon hearts, felt
the intoxication of these strains a quarter century ago, and put on record
in _The Scotsman_ one of the most eloquent critical rhapsodies extant.
He pictures the ball-room, the lovers, the meeting in a shadowy recess,
where she (the interested maiden) had been left by her mother. He (a
Lochinvar, of course) is bending down and asking her to tread a measure.
She,--but we must let Brown go on in his own way--"She looks still more
down, flushes doubtless, and quietly in the shadow says 'No' and means
'yes'--says 'Yes' and fully means it, and they are off! All this small,
whispered love-making and dainty device, this coaxing and being coaxed,
is in the (all too short for us, but not for them) prelude to the waltz,
the real business of the piece and evening. And then such a waltz for
waltzing! Such precision and decision! Whisking them round, moulding them
into twin orbs, hurrying them past and away from everything and everybody
but themselves." And so old Brown goes on until you are almost dizzy with
reading and entirely ready to vote that his rhapsody is only a little less
delicious than Weber's music. The decadence of the liking for chamber
music with wind instruments and of solos for them has relegated Weber's
compositions for the clarinet and its brethren of the harmonious choir to
the museum of musical history.

It is then to his operas that we must go to study Weber's music as an
expression of artistic feeling and conviction and as an influence. He was
one of the forward men of his art, one whose principles and methods are
as vital now as they were when he was yet alive in the body. In a very
significant sense they are still new to a large portion of the musical
world. They are just dawning in Italy. It is through Wagner's restatement
of them that they are acquiring validity in new fields. Weber's full
stature, indeed, can only be seen in the light which the example of Wagner
throws upon him. This light goes out in several directions, but in each
instance it discloses Weber as a precursor. The intense Teutonism of
Wagner which led him to aim at a resurrection in a new and glorified body
of the "dramma per musica" of the Florentine reformers was an inheritance
from his father-in-art and predecessor as Capellmeister at the Dresden
opera. The Romanticism of Weber displayed in his choice of subjects had
a literary tincture; it went no further than it was propelled by the
example of Tieck, Schlegel and their companions, and it was colored by
the mystical and sentimental Catholicism which was one of the singular
reactionary fruits of the Romantic movement in German literature. Wagner's
Romanticism is that of a period in which the pendulum had swung back
again; it is psychological, almost physiological. The old myths will
not serve in their mediæval form; they must be reduced to their lowest
terms. Yet though we note this difference in manifestation, the root of
Wagner's Romanticism strikes through Weber's. We have seen how Weber's
sincerity of purpose led him to overturn the humdrum routine of operatic
representation. His made his intelligence and his feeling to illuminate
all sides of the work in hand. He was an intermediary not only between
the composer and the performers in all departments, but also between the
art-work and the public. He was wholly modern in his employment of all the
agencies that offered to induct the public into the beauties and meanings
of the operas which he conducted. He was the precursor of Schumann, Liszt,
Wagner, and all the present tribe of literary musicians. To do things
perfunctorily seems to have been foreign to his nature. He labored as
conscientiously to win appreciation for Marschner's "Heinrich IV. und
d'Aubigné" and Meyerbeer's "Abimelek" as for Beethoven's "Fidelio." It
is to Weber that we must trace the essential things which are recognized
to-day as marking the difference between German and Italian opera outside
of language and style of composition.

It is a fact, the bearing of which ought to be borne in mind while
studying the significance of Weber in the development of music, that he
did not enjoy the favor of the leading men amongst his contemporaries.
The popularity of "Der Freischütz" always remained an enigma to Spohr,
and Schubert could find nothing to admire in "Euryanthe." His want of
skill in the handling of form, which in the early part of his career
we are justified in attributing to insufficient study, was an offence
which these men and the majority who were like-minded with them could
not forgive. In his orchestral treatment, too, and his obvious leaning
toward dramatic and spectacular effectiveness, they could only perceive
what is now termed sensationalism. The old notions of the relationship
between music and poetry were still almost universally valid. Beauty had
not come to be looked upon as a relative thing; it was believed that to
be real it must appeal to all alike and that those of its elements which
rested upon individual or national predilections were false in art.
Characteristic beauty was an unknown quantity. Weber's definition of an
opera when it was put forth sounded in the ears of his contemporaries like
a heresy the realization of which would mean the destruction of operatic
music. We are become familiar enough with it since Wagner achieved his
reform, and therefore can scarcely appreciate how revolutionary it must
have sounded three-quarters of a century ago. The opera, said Weber, is
"an art work complete in itself, in which all the parts and contributions
of the related and utilized arts meet and disappear in each other, and,
in a manner, form a new world by their own destruction." A society in
Breslau applied to Weber for permission to perform "Euryanthe" in concert
style. Weber denied the request with the memorable words: "'Euryanthe'
is a purely dramatic attempt which rests for its effectiveness upon the
coöperation of all the sister arts, and will surely fail if robbed of
their help." To these two definitions let us add two others touching
singing and form: "It is the first and most sacred duty of song to be
truthful with the utmost fidelity possible in declamation"; "All striving
for the beautiful and the new good is praiseworthy; but the creation of
a new form must be generated by the poem which is setting." Here we find
stated in the plainest and most succinct terms the foundation principles
of the modern lyric drama. It may be urged that Weber did not pursue his
convictions to their extremity as Wagner did, but returned in "Oberon"
to the simpler operatic style; but this, we are convinced, was partly
because of the intellectual and physical lassitude due to the consumption
of his vital forces, and partly because of his wish to adapt himself to
the customs of the English stage and the taste of the people for whom he
composed his fairy opera. This is obvious not only from his letters to
Planché, the librettist of "Oberon," but from his subsequent effort to
remodel the opera to suit his own ideas "so that 'Oberon' may deserve the
name of opera." On February 16, 1825, he wrote: "These two acts are also
filled with the greatest beauties. I embrace the whole in love, and will
endeavor not to remain behind you. To this acknowledgment of your work
you can give credit, the more as I must repeat, that the cut of the whole
is very foreign to all my ideas and maxims. 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 unfit for all other theatres in Europe, which
is a very bad thing for me, but _passons là dessus_." His adherence to the
belief in the necessity of an intimate and affectionate relation between
poetry and music, moreover, has beautiful assertion in the concluding
words of the same letter: "Poets and composers live together in a sort of
angels' marriage which demands a reciprocal trust."

It is the manner in which he has wedded the drama with music which
makes "Euryanthe" a work that, at times, seems almost ineffable. There
is no groping in the dark such as might have been expected in the case
of a pathfinder. Weber is pointing the way to thitherto undreamed-of
possibilities and means, yet his hand is steady, his judgment all but
unerring. The eloquence and power of the orchestra as an expositor of the
innermost sentiments of the drama are known to him. Witness his use of
the band in the _largo_ episode of the overture, designed to accompany
a picture which Weber wished to have disclosed during the music for
the purpose of giving coherency and intelligibility to the hopelessly
defective book of the opera. Witness the puissance of the orchestra
again in _Lysiart's_ great air, "Wo berg ich mich?" _Euryanthe's_
recital of the secret, _Eglantine's_ distraught confession, and more
strikingly than anywhere else in the wondrously pathetic scene following
_Adolar's_ desertion, and the instrumental introduction in the third
act in which is to be found the germ of one of Wagner's most telling
devices in "Tristan" and "Siegfried." Witness also how brilliantly its
colors second the joyous, sweeping strains which publish the glories of
mediæval chivalry. Will it ever be possible to put loftier sentiment and
sincerer expression into a delineation of brave knighthood and its homage
to fair woman than inspire every measure of the first act? Whither could
we turn for more powerful expression of individual character through the
means of musical declamation than we find in the music of _Euryanthe_
and _Eglantine_? To Wagner's honor it must be said that he never denied
his indebtedness to Weber, but if he had it would have availed him
nothing while the representatives of the evil principle in "Euryanthe"
and "Lohengrin" present so obvious a parallel, not to mention Wagner's
drafts upon what may be called the external apparatus of Weber's score.
Somewhat labored at times, and weighted with the fruits of reflection, the
music unquestionably is, but for each evidence of intellectual straining
discernible how many instances of highly emotionalized music, real,
true, expressive music, present themselves to charm the hearer, and with
what a delightful shock of surprise is not the discovery made that the
old-fashioned roulades, when they come (which they do with as much naïveté
as in Mozart) have been infused with a dramatic potency equalled only by
Mozart in some of his happiest inspirations? Of finest gold is the score
of "Euryanthe." That it is come so tardily into its estate, and that
even to-day it is still underestimated and misunderstood, is the fault
of its libretto. Dr. Spitta has gallantly broken a lance in defence of
the book, but no amount of ingenious argumentation can justify the absurd
complication created by the prudery of a German blue-stocking to avoid
Shakespeare's simple expedient, the "mole, cinque-spotted." After all has
been said and done in defence of the book, the fact remains that it is the
attitude of the hero and heroine of the play to a mystery which is wholly
outside the action and cannot be brought within the sympathetic cognizance
of the spectators, that supplies the motive to the conduct of _Adolar_ and


From a characteristic and truthful lithographed sketch made shortly before
his death and published by J. Dickinson, 114 New Bond Street, London.]

The device of introducing the _largo_ episode in the overture of
"Euryanthe" to accompany a tableau temporarily disclosed by the withdrawal
of the curtain, the tableau having a bearing on the ghostly part of the
dramatic tale, may be said to serve not only to prove Weber's appreciation
of the fundamental defect of the book, but also to indicate his anxiety
to establish a more intimate relationship between the instrumental
introduction and the drama. The choral "Ave Maria" in the overture to
Meyerbeer's "Dinorah" and the Siciliano in the prelude to Mascagni's
"Cavalleria Rusticana" are but variations of Weber's futile invention.
It would be unavailing to deny that the want of symphonic development
in Weber's overtures, the circumstance that they are little else than
potpourris of melodies idealized in a manner by the splendor of their
instrumentation, prevents them from aspiring to the dramatic dignity and
significance of such overtures as Mozart wrote for "Don Giovanni" and
Beethoven for "Fidelio." As a creative composer Weber was first of all a
melodist, secondarily a colorist. His want of constructive skill was held
up as a reproach to him by his colleagues all through his career. It is
not to make a plea in behalf of lawlessness to say that this deficiency
in Weber's artistic equipment was less detrimental to his works and
influence than a deficiency in any other department would have been. Not a
destruction of form but an extension of forms, an adaptation of the vessel
to its new contents, was a necessary consequence of the introduction
of the Romantic spirit as a dominant element in music. The Romanticism
of the poets who inspired the musical Romanticists, consisted not only
in their effort to overthrow the stilted rhetoric and pedantry of the
German writers who were following stereotyped French models, but also in
their effort to disclose the essential beauty which pervades the world of
mystery beyond the plain realities of this life. They found the elements
of their creations in the imaginative literature of the Middle Ages,--the
marvellous and fantastic stories of chivalry and superstition. A man like
Schumann touches hands with these poets in all of their strivings. His
music rebels against the formalism which had assumed despotic dominion
over the art, and also expresses the thousand and one emotions to which
that formalism refused adequate expression. Weber's art was so deeply
rooted in that of the last century that he could not place himself
wholly upon this level. His violations of conventional forms are less
the fruit of necessity than the product of incapacity. His Romanticism,
except that phase which we have already discussed in connection with his
patriotic lyrics, had more of an external nature and genesis--it sprang
from the subjects of his operas. The treatment of these subjects by an
instinctively truthful musical dramatist was bound to produce the features
in which that which is chiefly characteristic in Weber's music is found.
The supernaturalism of "Der Freischütz" and "Oberon," the chivalresque
sentiment of "Euryanthe" and the national tinge of "Preciosa," all made
new demands upon music so soon as the latter came to be looked upon as
only one vehicle of dramatic expression instead of the chief business of
the piece. The musical investiture of necessity borrowed local elements
from the subject. Without losing its prerogative as an expounder of the
innermost feelings of the drama it acquired a decorative capacity so
far as the externals of the play were concerned. Music became frankly
delineative. Whatever may be thought of descriptive music in connection
with the absolute forms of the art there can be no question as to its
justification in the lyric drama where text, action and scenery are so
many programmes, or guides to the purposes of the composer and the fancy
of the listener. The more material kind of delineation, that which helped
to heighten the effect of the stage pictures, to paint the terrors of the
Wolf's Glen with its infernal rout as well as the dewy freshness of the
forest and the dainty grace of the tripping elves, was paired with another
kind far more subtle. The people of the play, like their prototypes in the
mediæval romances, ceased to be representatives of universal types, and
became instead individuals who borrowed physiognomy from time, environment
and race. To give expression to the attributes thus acquired it became
necessary to study the characteristics of those popular publications of
emotion which had remained outside the artificial forms of expression.
The voice of the German people with their love for companionship, the
chase and nature, and their instinctive devotion to the things which have
survived as relics of a time when their racial traits were fixed in them,
Weber caught up from the Folk-song, which ever and anon in the history of
art, when music has threatened to degenerate into inelastic formalism,
has breathed into it the breath of life. For the delineation of spiritual
characteristics Weber utilized the melodic and rhythmic elements of the
people's self-created popular songs; for material delineation his most
potent agency was instrumentation. To the band he gave a share in the
representation such as only Beethoven, Mozart and Gluck before him had
dreamed of. The most striking feature of his treatment of the orchestra
is his emancipation of the wood-wind choir. His numerous discoveries in
the domain of effects consequent on his profound study of instrumental
_timbre_ placed colors upon the palettes of every one of his successors.
The supernatural voices of his Wolf's Glen scene are echoed in Verdi
as well as in Meyerbeer and Marschner. The fairy footsteps of Oberon's
dainty folk are heard not only in Mendelssohn but in all the compositions
since his time in which the amiable creatures of supernaturalism are
sought to be delineated. The reform, not only in composition, but also
in representation achieved by Richard Wagner is an artistic legacy from
Carl Maria von Weber. It is but the interest upon the five talents given
into the hands of a faithful servant who buried them not in the ground but
traded with them "and made them other five talents."

[Illustration: [Music]

Fac-simile of full score of the beginning of Agatha's great aria, from
"Der Freischütz."]

[Illustration: H. E. Krehbiel]

[Illustration: WEBER'S COAT OF ARMS.]


_Reproduction of a lithograph portrait drawn by T. A. Jung and published
by Johanning & Whatmore, London, 1830._]



It is a little less than a generation since Heinrich Marschner died after
having for the same time been one of the most picturesque and significant
figures in the art-life of Hanover. For twenty-eight years he had been
Royal Chapelmaster with salary and duties; for two years thereafter
General Director of Music with a pension. Affecting a custom common
among the men of learning in Germany and the academic musicians of Great
Britain, he prefixed the title of his honorary university degree to his
signature. He was Dr. H. Marschner. On court occasions he could bedizen
his breast with baubles enough to make a brave show amongst the civil and
military servants of his Hanoverian Majesty King George V. He was Knight
of the Order of the Saxon-Ernestine House; Knight of the Guelphic Order;
Knight of the Order of Danebrog; possessor of the Bavarian and Austrian
medals for Merit in Art and Science. He was also Honorary Citizen of
Hanover. He died suddenly of apoplexy at the age of sixty-six, before his
capacity for work had become seriously impaired; his mind was occupied
with a new opera when death overtook him. In his day and generation he was
one of the most admired of Germany's opera writers. He lived to see nearly
all of the colleagues and rivals of his prime die and their creations
fade out of public memory. Lindpaintner, Dorn, and Reissiger are names
that come to our ears like faint echoes of once-living voices. Kreutzer
and Lortzing wake at long intervals in sporadic performances in small or
provincial theatres. Marschner is in a more fortunate case, for his was
greater genius. Three of his operas still have a considerable degree of
vitality, and some of his stirring part-songs for men's voices are yet
sung and heard with delight. But only in Germany. Dust lies deep upon
his pianoforte and chamber music wherever it is. Yet it is less than a
generation since he died. Day by day it becomes more difficult to assign
him the place to which he is entitled in the Temple of Fame, for he wrote
for but one people and his memory is perishing even amongst them.

The birth-place of Heinrich Marschner was Zittau in Saxony. He was born
August 16, 1795 and imbibed his love for music as most German boys of
good family imbibe theirs. His father was fond of the art and it was
industriously practised in the family. When the lad manifested an unusual
degree of talent, the father, instead of becoming alarmed, encouraged its
use, though he had no mind that his son should become a musician. Karl
Gottlieb Hering, an eminent musical pedagogue at the time a teacher in
the town Seminary, was called in to be the lad's teacher. Meanwhile he
pursued his other studies and in due time entered the Gymnasium where his
musical gifts and lovely voice found occupation in the Gymnasial choir.
At the solicitation of the music teacher in the Gymnasium at Bautzen he
went thither for a space and sung the soprano solos in the Bautzen choir,
but his voice changing he returned to his native town and there completed
his lower studies. The political situation (it was in 1813 and Germany
was preparing to rid herself of Napoleon) interfered with his father's
wishes to have him proceed at once to Leipsic to take up the study of
jurisprudence at the University. There was a brief respite which he spent
in Prague until the suspension of the truce compelled him to leave the
Bohemian Capital. He returned to his home in Zittau for a short time, then
proceeded to Leipsic and was there a witness of the great three-days'
battle. The brief stay in Prague had helped to keep the artistic fires
burning on the altar of his heart, for there he became acquainted with
Johann Wenzel Tomaschek, the Bohemian composer and teacher. Marschner was
matriculated at the University so soon as the return of more peaceful
times permitted the step to be taken, and began his study of the law.
His experience, however, was like that of Schumann later. While trying to
be faithful to his Corpus Juris, he found the fascinations of Dame Music
stronger than his will. Some of his essays in composition were applauded
and he resolved to become a musician instead of a lawyer. Schicht, one
of Bach's successors in the position of Cantor of the Thomas School was
now his teacher, and in 1815 he felt himself sufficiently strong as a
pianoforte virtuoso to undertake a concert tour to Carlsbad. There he
met the Hungarian Count Thaddeus von Amadée, who persuaded him to seek
his fortune in Vienna. He went thither in 1816, made the acquaintance
of Beethoven and, aided by the music-loving Count, was appointed to a
position as teacher in Pressburg where three years later he married his
first wife, Eugenie Jaggi, and completed the first of his operas which
achieved the distinction of a representation. This opera was "Henry IV.
and d'Aubigné" which he sent to Weber at Dresden in 1818. A year earlier
he had set Kotzebue's "The Kyffhaus Mountain." The title of this, his
first opera, indicates that his mind was from the beginning turned toward
the legendary materials which afterward became the inspiration of the
Neo-Romantic school. It is possible, too, that this predisposition toward
the supernatural was strengthened by an incident which has been related
by Louis Köhler in connection with the first representation of "Henry
IV. and d'Aubigné." This story is to the effect that one night in 1819
Marschner, living far from Dresden (the year must have been 1820, the
place Pressburg) dreamed that he was witnessing a performance of his
opera. The applause so excited him that he awoke and sprang from his
bed. Ten days later he received a letter from Weber enclosing ten ducats
honorarium and conveying the intelligence that on the night of the dream
"Henry IV. and d'Aubigné" had been produced at Dresden with great success.
As has already been indicated in one respect the credibility of the story
suffers somewhat from analysis of its details. The fact that he dreamed
of a performance of his opera and the possibility of the influence of the
dream upon his mind need not be disputed. It is extremely improbable,
however, that he was ignorant of the date set for the performance as is
implied in the story, for on July 7, 1820, twelve days before the first
representation, Weber, in continuance of the friendly policy which he
adopted five years before in order to introduce Meyerbeer to Prague,
published a description of the opera in the _Abendzeitung_ of Dresden.
It seems to be beyond question, however, that Weber produced the opera
chiefly to encourage the young composer.

After spending over five years in Pressburg, Marschner visited Saxony to
look after some family affairs. The kindness with which Councillor von
Könneritz, Theatrical Intendant, and Weber received him, determined him
to remove to Dresden. His wife had died soon after marriage. He now took
up a residence in the Saxon Capital, and after he had composed incidental
music for Kleist's drama, "Prince Frederick of Homburg," he was by royal
rescript, dated September 4, 1824, appointed Royal Music Director of the
German and Italian Opera, becoming thus an associate of Weber, whose
friendship manifested itself daily in the most helpful manner.

Marschner's "Henry IV." was brought out by Weber in the year which gave
"Der Freischütz" to the world. It was followed by "Saidar," words by Dr.
Hornbostel, composed in 1819, "The Wood Thief," words by Kind, the poet
of "Der Freischütz," and "Lucretia," words by Ehschlagen. "Saidar" was
performed without success in Strassburg, "The Wood Thief" in January,
1825, in Dresden, and "Lucretia" in 1826 in Dantsic under Marschner's
direction. Weber's death in London on June 5, 1826, marked a turning-point
in the energetic young composer's career. Failing in the appointment to
the post made vacant by Weber's death, he severed his connection with the
Dresden Theatre, married a singer named Marianne Wohlbrück on July 3, and
a few months later removed to Leipsic.

His second marriage was celebrated at Magdeburg. A brother of the bride
was Wilhelm A. Wohlbrück, to whom Marschner submitted the subject of "The
Vampire" before he returned to Leipsic. Two years afterwards the opera had
its first representation. Its immediate success, and possibly his newly
attained domestic happiness, were a mighty spur to his industry and fancy.
"The Templer and the Jewess," founded on Scott's "Ivanhoe," followed in
1829, and "The Falconer's Bride" in 1830, Wohlbrück being the poet in both
cases. The triumph of "The Vampire" was eclipsed by that of "The Templar
and the Jewess," whose chivalresque subject was naturally much more
amiable than the gruesome story of "The Vampire." Marschner's attention
was drawn to Scott's "Ivanhoe" when, having been invited like Weber to
compose an opera for London, he imitated Weber's example and prepared
himself for the work by learning English. "The Vampire," translated by
Planché, the librettist of "Oberon," had been well received in London,
though Planché took the liberty of changing the scene from Scotland, where
the author of the story had placed it, to Hungary. Nothing came of the
London invitation, because of the burning of the Covent Garden Theatre.

Marschner was now at the zenith of his fame. Toward the close of 1830
he accepted an invitation to become Royal Chapelmaster at Hanover and
distinguished himself at once in his new position by composing "Hans
Heiling," his finest work and the strongest prop of his present fame. The
book of this opera had been submitted to him anonymously. When the opera
was first performed in 1833 in Berlin the librettist sang the titular
rôle. It was none other than Edward Devrient. Marschner's reception at
Hanover was in every way distinguished, but long before his death he
forfeited some of the good will of the court circles and the portion of
society influenced by them. Domestic misfortunes doubtless contributed
much to embitter his disposition. He lost his wife in 1854. The immediate
cause of his withdrawal in 1859 from active service was the appointment
of C. L. Fischer as second Chapelmaster against his wishes. He lost
his interest in the orchestra which he had brought to a high state of
efficiency and was pensioned off as a General Music Director. Before then
he married a third wife, a contralto singer named Therese Janda of Vienna,
who survived him. He died of an apoplectic stroke on December 15, 1861, at
nine o'clock in the evening. Besides the works mentioned in the foregoing
recital, he composed "The Castle on Aetna," "The Babü," "Adolph of
Nassau," and "Austin," operas, and incidental music to Kind's "Fair Ella,"
Hell's "Ali Baba," Rodenberg's "Waldmüller's Margret" and Mosenthal's "The
Goldsmith of Ulm."

[Illustration: Fac-simile of a letter thanking an unnamed composer for a
set of variations on themes from his opera "Hans Heiling."]

Marschner was not an old man when he died, yet his life compassed the
climax of the Classic Period of German Music, the birth and development
of the Romantic School and the first vigorous stirrings of the spirit
exemplified in the latter-day dramas of Richard Wagner. He knew Beethoven,
stood elbow to elbow with Weber, fought by the side of Spohr and exerted
an influence of no mean potency in the development of Wagner. He was
the last of the three foremost champions who carried the banner of
Romanticism into the operatic field. It is likely that had he asserted
his individuality more boldly instead of fighting behind the shields of
his two great associates the world would know better than it does that he
was a doughty warrior; and criticism would speak less often of his music
as a reflection and of him as merely a strong man among the _epigonoi_
of Beethoven and Weber. Wagner set his face sternly against the estimate
which lowers him to the level of a mere imitator. Schumann esteemed his
operas more highly than those of any of his contemporaries, in spite of
their echoes of Weber's ideas and methods. His record of the impression
made on his mind by a performance of "The Templar and the Jewess" is a
compact and comprehensive estimate of Marschner's compositions: "The music
occasionally restless; the instrumentation not entirely lucid; a wealth of
admirable and expressive melody. Considerable dramatic talent; occasional
echoes of Weber. A gem not entirely freed from its rough covering. The
voice-treatment not wholly practicable, and crushed by the orchestra. Too
much trombone."

It is scarcely to be marvelled at that the world should have accepted
the old verdict. Outside of Germany Marschner has had no existence for
more than half a century. In Germany three of his operas may occasionally
be heard. All the rest of his list have disappeared from the stage as
completely as the hundreds of his compositions in the smaller forms.
These three operas, "The Vampire," "The Templar and the Jewess" and
"Hans Heiling," not only contain his best music but also exemplify the
sum of his contributions to the Romantic movement. In them he appears in
his fullest measure complementary to Weber and Spohr. Yet to appreciate
this fact it is necessary to view them in the light of the time and the
people for which they were created. It is scarcely possible to conceive
their existence, much less to perceive their significance under changed
conditions and beyond the borders of the German land. The measure of their
present popularity in Germany is also the measure of their comparative
merit. In them is exhibited Marschner's growth in clearness, truthfulness
and forcefulness of expression and his appreciation of Romantic ideals.
At this late day it is impossible to perceive anything else than a wicked
perversion of those ideals in "The Vampire"; yet it finds a two-fold
explanation in the morbid tendency of literature and the stage in Europe
two generations ago, and the well-known proneness of the Germans to
supernaturalism. The story is an excresence on the face of Romanticism
for which the creators of the literary phase of the movement are not
responsible. It tells of a nobleman who, having forfeited his life,
prolongs it and wins temporary immunity from punishment by drinking the
life-blood of his brides, three of whom he is compelled by a compact with
the Evil One to sacrifice between midnight and midnight once a year. At
the base of this dreadful superstition lies the notion that the Vampire's
unconquerable thirst for blood is a punishment visited upon a perjurer. It
may be largely fanciful, but it must, nevertheless, not be overlooked in
accounting for the popularity of this subject that a degree of sympathy
for it among the German people may have been due to the fact that it
contains a faint mythological echo. In the Volüspa perjurers are condemned
in their everlasting prison-house to wade knee-deep in blood. It is this
superstition which prolongs the action in the opera until the fiend has
killed two of his victims and stands before the altar with her who had
been selected as the third. In treating this gruesome subject Marschner
and his librettist compelled their hearers to sup full of horrors; nor
did they scorn the melodramatic trick, which survived in the Bertrams
and Rigolettos of a later time, of investing a demon with a trait of
character calculated to enlist sympathetic pity in his behalf. The direct
responsibility for this bit of literary and theatrical pabulum rests with
Byron. He wrote the tale for the delectation of his friends in Geneva.
But the time was ripe for it. Planché adapted a French melodrama on the
subject for London six years before he performed a similar service to
Marschner's opera, and Lindpaintner composed his "Vampire" a year after
Marschner's work had been brought forward.

[Illustration: [Music]

Fac-simile autograph manuscript from "Hans Heiling," written by Marschner.]

The frank supernaturalism of "The Vampire," though it can only present
itself to us in the light of perverted and vulgarized Romanticism, made a
powerful appeal to the Germans with their innate if unconscious sympathy
with the dethroned creatures of paganism. It was the vivid embodiment
of this sympathy which gave to the Romantic School the characteristic
element which Marschner represents in his estate of originality. The
supernaturalism which is little more than an influence in "Der Freischütz"
is boldly personified in "The Vampire." Already at the outset of the
opera, the silent diabolism of Weber's _Samiel_ is magnified and
metamorphosed into a chorus of witches, ghosts, and devils. The opening
scene is a choral Wolf's Glen, the copy going so far as the choice of
Weber's key, F-sharp minor. Yet in spite of the imitation it is here
that Marschner first struck the keynote of the strongest element of his
dramatic music,--the demoniac. It was the fault of the subject that he
could not give a sign here of the element in which he is stronger still,
or at least, more original,--the element of rude humor. That manifestation
had to wait for the coming of Friar Tuck in his setting of the story of
"Ivanhoe." The third element in which the strong talent of the composer
moves most freely and effectually is the delineation of folk-scenes.
Here he has followed closely in the footsteps of Weber and caught up the
spirit of the common people as they gave it expression in their songs and
dances. As Luther, in transforming a dialect into a literary language,
caught the idiom from the lips of the people in the market-place, so Weber
and Marschner went for their folk-music to the popular revels in tavern,
field, and forest.

A want of dramatic cohesion and homogeneity has militated against "The
Templar and the Jewess," the only opera of the three which might by
virtue of its subject, have achieved and retained popularity in England,
France and America as well as Germany. It suffers, too, in contrast with
Weber's "Euryanthe" by reason of its failure to reach the lofty plane
of chivalresque sentiment on which Weber's almost ineffable opera moves
with an aristocratic grace and ease that put even "Lohengrin" to shame.
Nevertheless, some of the significance of "The Templar and the Jewess"
may be found in the evidences that "Lohengrin" is in part its offspring.
The parallelisms are too striking to be overlooked, especially in the
ordeals by which the two heroines are tried. The prayers of Rebecca and
Elsa, the reliance of each upon a heaven-sent champion, the employment
of the accompanying wood-winds stamp them as sisters in art. In "Hans
Heiling," the supernaturalism is greatly purified and idealized. The hero
of the opera is a king of underground spirits, who relinquishes his throne
for love of a mortal maiden. He is deceived in his love, but stifles
his desire for vengeance and returns to his old dominion. The musical
advance over "The Vampire" is commensurate with the ethical. The musical
declamation approaches in truthfulness that of the modern lyric drama, and
an ingenious compromise is effected with the cumbersome device of spoken
dialogue. In the scenes which play on the earth, this relic of the old
German _Singspiel_ is retained; but in _Heiling's_ subterranean kingdom
all speech is music.

[Illustration: H. E. Krehbiel]


_Reproduction of an engraving after an oil portrait from life, made by
Mendelssohn's brother-in-law. W. Hensel._]

[Illustration: Mendelssohn]



The story of his fine life, watched over from the cradle as by fairies,
is a poem. The family names are compound. Mendelssohn is German for son
of Mendel; Bartholdy is Hebrew for son of Tholdy. One key to his artistic
character is the general culture, intellectual and social, of the man, for
which the opportunities were granted him from infancy in fuller measure
than to any other great musician. Born in prosperity, amid refining
influences; taught Greek and Latin classics; familiar with living poets,
scholars and philosophers who frequented his father's house; passing
a fortnight at the impressible age of eleven in the house of Goethe;
imbued with reverence for the character and teaching of his wise Platonic
grandfather, the Jew Moses Mendelssohn, the model for Lessing's "Nathan
the Wise"; stimulated by the piquant and genial letters of his three
gifted aunts (two of whom had turned Catholic), and above all by the
tender, wise, exacting and appreciative oversight of his excellent father,
to whom the best was only "just good enough," he grew unconsciously into a
large and liberal way of thinking. He was at home in the most cultivated
circles, "a native there, and to the manner born." What might it not have
been to Schubert to have germinated and unfolded under such a genial sun
in such a soil! Well was the youth named Felix!

Moses Mendelssohn, a little humpbacked Jew peddler boy, with keen eyes
and winning face, came to Berlin about the middle of the last century. He
had a hard fight with penury, and an unconquerable passion for knowledge
and the culture of his mind. At that time the Jews in Germany were at the
lowest stage of social repression. Excluded from nearly all honorable and
profitable pursuits, restricted to Jew quarters, outcast and despised,
they were the chosen victims of Christian intolerance. On the other
hand, driven back upon the synagogue, upon the even fiercer bigotry of
their own priests and rabbis, with whom "to speak the German language
correctly or to read a German book was heresy," the young man was caught
between two fires. Yet so brave, so able was he, so faithful to his great
life purpose, and withal so winning by his hearty, sterling honesty of
spirit, that he became one of the lights of German literature, one of its
recognized apostles; the intimate associate of Lessing, Herder, Kant, etc.
His conversation had the Socratic quality; and his "Phaedo," a dialogue
on immortality, founded on that of Plato, was so persuasive that it was
translated into many languages. He married a Jewess in Hamburg, and grew
prosperous as well as learned. He left three daughters and three sons.
Abraham, the father of Felix, was the second son, a thriving banker, for
a while in Paris, when he married Lea Salomon, of the Bartholdy family, a
lady of wealth and culture, from Berlin, and formed a partnership with his
elder brother in his native Hamburg. Their first child was Fanny, born,
as her mother said, with "Bach fugue fingers." The second child, Jakob
Ludwig Felix, was born February 3, 1809. Before he was three years old,
the French occupied Hamburg, and Abraham fled to Berlin, where he formed a
new banking house, and his whole family were baptized into the Protestant
Communion, taking the added name Bartholdy.

The patriarchal rule, obedience and industry, was strict in the house.
But the father was kind and gentle as well as severe, and Felix loved
him dearly; called him "not only my father, but my teacher both in art
and in life"; and wondered how it was possible that a father, not a
technical musician, could criticize the son's early efforts in composition
so shrewdly and so justly. After Felix became famous, Abraham said once
humorously of himself: "Formerly I was the son of my father, now I am the
father of my son."

The mother, a lady of fine person, with an air of much benevolence and
dignity, was a model housewife; spoke several languages, read Homer in the
Greek, played the piano, and gave the first frequent five-minute lessons
to her two eldest children, Fanny and Felix. The boy was full of life and
fond of out-door play, very attractive with his long brown curls and great
brown eyes. He was frank, unspoiled, earnest in what he undertook, and
could bear no foolish flattery, no nonsense.


Feb. 3--1809.]

After a short visit of the family to Paris, in 1816, when Fanny was eleven
and Felix seven years old, the children's education began systematically.
Heyse (father of the novelist) was their tutor at large; Ludwig Berger,
teacher for piano; the strict, conservative Zelter (Goethe's friend) for
thorough bass and counterpoint; Henning for violin. Felix, whose pen
and pencil sketches in his letters show such a facile gift for drawing,
was taught landscape by Rösel. Greek he learned with his younger sister
Rebecka, even reading Æschylus. The children were kept closely to their
lessons; Felix used to say how much they enjoyed the Sundays, when they
had not to get up at five o'clock to work.

He was first heard in a public concert on Oct. 24, 1818, when he played
the piano part in a trio with two horns with much applause. Early in his
eleventh year he entered the singing class of the Singakademie as an
alto. "There he took his place," writes his friend Devrient, "amongst the
grown people, in his child's suit, a tight fitting jacket cut very low
at the neck, and with full trousers buttoned over it. Into the slanting
pockets of these he liked to thrust his hands, rocking his curly head from
side to side, and shifting restlessly from one foot to the other."--He
spoke French and English fluently; wrote a letter in good Italian; and
translated the "Andrea" of Terence into German verse, besides making such
good headway in Greek. He could ride and swim and dance, right heartily,
but was not fond of mathematics.

In 1820, his twelfth year, he set about composing regularly. With that
year begins the series of forty-four volumes in which he methodically
preserved autograph copies of a great part of his works down to the
time of his death, with date and place carefully noted. These are now
in the Imperial Library at Berlin. Another proof of his methodical
self-discipline is found in the fact that for many years he made it an
invariable rule to compose _something every day_.

His productive activity during the six early years from 1820 to 1826 was
incessant, many-sided and prolific. In 1820, among other compositions
named by Grove, are a Trio for piano and strings; a Sonata for pianoforte
and violin; another for pianoforte solo; four organ pieces; a Cantata,
bearing the earliest date of all (Jan. 13); a Lustspiel for voices and
pianoforte, in three scenes, beginning: "Ich Felix Mendelssohn," etc. In
1821, five Symphonies for strings, songs, one-act operas. This was the
year when Zelter first took him to Goethe at Weimar.

The next two years were no less productive. In the summer of 1822 the
whole family made a leisurely tour in Switzerland, visiting on the
way Spohr at Cassel, on the return Schelble, conductor of the famous
Cäcilien-Verein at Frankfort, and Goethe again at Weimar. Near Geneva he
wrote the first (Op. I) of three Quartets for pianoforte and strings. In
the two years six more quartet Symphonies, making twelve in all, which do
not figure in the catalogue, although they were not mere exercises. Then,
too, an opera, "The Uncle from Boston," in three acts. He was then nearly
fifteen, growing fast, his features and expression altering and maturing,
and his hair cut short.

It is pleasant to read of the Sunday morning music in his grandmother's
large dining-room, with a small orchestra, Felix conducting, Fanny
or himself at the piano, Rebecka singing, and the young brother Paul
playing the 'cello. Some composition of his own had place in every
programme. Noted musicians passing through Berlin were often present.
For critic there was his own father, besides the wise old Zelter. Every
evening, also, more or less, the house was enlivened by music, theatrical
impromptus, and "constant flux and reflux of young, clever, distinguished
people, who made the suppers gay and noisy, and among whom Felix was the
favorite." Among the intimates were Moscheles and Spohr.


Abraham Mendelssohn--from a pencil drawing made by his son-in-law William

A great advance was shown in the compositions of 1824. In the summer
Felix, with his father and Rebecka, visited a bathing place on the shores
of the Baltic, where he got his first impressions of the sea, afterwards
reproduced in the _Meeresstille_ overture. In the next spring father and
son were in Paris. There Felix met all the famous French musicians. Their
devotion to _effect_ and superficial glitter, their ignorance of German
music (Onslow, for instance, having never heard a note of _Fidelio_), the
insulting liberties they took with some of its masterpieces, enraged the
enthusiastic lad. With Cherubini his intercourse was more satisfactory. On
the way home they paid a third, short visit to Goethe. The fiery Capriccio
in F sharp minor, and the score of the two-act opera, _Camacho's Wedding_,
from Don Quixote, were fruits of that year.

That summer Abraham Mendelssohn purchased the large house and grounds
(ten acres) at No. 3 Leipziger Strasse, which became the sumptuous abode
of the family, until the death of Felix, when it was occupied by the
Herrenhaus, or House of Lords of the Prussian government. As described by
Hensel, it was a dignified, old-fashioned, spacious palace, then in the
suburbs of Berlin, near the Potsdam gate, on the edge of the Thiergarten.
Behind the house was a court with offices, then gardens and a park with
noble trees,--just the ideal seat for such an artistic family! There was
a room for large musical parties and private theatricals. Between the
court and the garden stood the _Gartenhaus_, the middle of which formed
a hall large enough to hold several hundred persons, with glass doors
opening on the lawns and alleys. It was a delightful summer house, but
rather bleak in winter. There the Sunday music found new life; there
Felix composed the Octet for strings; there, too, in the fine summer of
1826, the work with which he "took his final musical degree," astonishing
the world as a full-fledged composer, a master of original, imaginative
genius, the overture to _A Midsummer Night's Dream_. He had been reading
with his sisters the Schlegel and Tieck version of Shakespeare's play. In
this and many instances Fanny, herself a good musician and composer, was
her brother's confidante and critic. The fairy vein, which had cropped
out in earlier works (the Quintet in A, the Octet, etc.), seemed to have
reached its full expression here. And the wonder is that the motives of
the Overture all came in place when he wrote music for the whole play
seventeen years later.


From a pencil drawing made by William Hensel.]

Meanwhile _Camacho_ was granted one unwilling hearing by Spontini, in the
smaller theatre. Galled by the sneering remarks of the critics, Felix
found the art atmosphere of Berlin more and more antipathetic. Entering
the University of that city, he had less time for composition. How far he
followed the course does not appear. He attended lectures of Hegel (one
of whose courses was on music), and of Ritter, the great geographer. And
he resumed his study of Italian classics, translating into German verse
sonnets of Dante and others. There too he became a proficient in landscape
drawing. Ten years later the University of Leipsic conferred on him the
honorary degree of Doctor of Philosophy.

The life in the new house was very genial and active. Felix practised
riding, swimming and other gymnastics with characteristic ardor "to the
utmost"; for skating he could not bear the cold. And what a brilliant and
_élite_ society frequented those large rooms: Rahel Varnhagen, Bettina,
Heine, Holtei, Lindblad, Marx, Humboldt, W. Müller, Hegel,--all famous
then or afterwards! Young people were there "in troops." They had a
little newspaper of their own, called in summer _Garten-Zeitung_, in
winter _Schnee-und Thee-Zeitung_, edited by Felix and Marx, to which
all comers were free to contribute; paper, ink and pens lay ready in
the summer-houses. Graver heads, like Humboldt and Zelter, used the
opportunity! "In all this brilliant interchange of art, science and
literature," says Grove, "Felix, even at this early date, was the
prominent figure. When he entered the room every one was anxious to
speak to him. Women of double his age made love to him; and men, years
afterwards, treasured every word that fell from his lips."

During the next winter, hearing a complaint that Bach seemed like an
arithmetical exercise, Felix formed a choir of sixteen voices for the
practice of the _Passion Music_ at his house. That led to the public
performance of the great neglected master-work a year later; and that to
the "Bachgesellschaft" for the stately publication of all Bach's works,
not yet completed. The little choir warmed to the heavenly music, and
grew eager for its public performance, under Felix's own care, by the
three to four hundred voices of the Singakademie, of which Zelter was
Director. Besides the intrinsic difficulty of the music, there were two
serious obstacles: the opposition of Zelter, and the apathy of the public.
The first was overcome with the sanguine aid of his friend Devrient,
the actor, who with him faced the lion in his den, and made him finally
consent. The second melted to enthusiasm before the splendid success of
the performance. Felix conducted the rehearsals without notes, knowing
the music all by heart; the leading opera singers undertook the solos;
the public flocked to the rehearsals; and on Wednesday, March 11, 1829,
this greatest choral work of the great old master composer was introduced
to the world for the first time since his death. A thousand people were
turned away from the doors. Said Felix: "It was an actor and a Jew who
restored this great Christian work to the people." That was the dawn of
the Bach culture, which steadily if slowly gains ground in these our
modern times.

In the midst of this excitement, his gifted, darling sister Fanny became
engaged to William Hensel, the distinguished Berlin painter. Mendelssohn
had reached the age of twenty. Not on the best terms with the musical
world of Berlin, he yearned for more congenial air and stimulus. To
improve himself in art and general culture, and "to make friends," he set
out on his "grand tour." He arrived in London (April 21), where he was
welcomed by his friends Klingemann (then secretary of legation there)
and Moscheles. At the Philharmonic Concert, May 25, he conducted his
C-minor Symphony, old John Cramer leading him to the piano, at which in
those days, the conductor sat or stood. The applause was immense, and the
Scherzo (which he had scored from his Octet, in place of the Minuet and
Trio) was persistently encored against his wish. The London reception had
"wiped out the sneers and misunderstandings of Berlin." Near the close of
his life he spoke of it as "having lifted a stone from his heart." Indeed,
the English, from that day to this, have been warm, even to the extreme
of partiality, in their enthusiasm for the man and for his music. He took
part in several other London concerts, was much petted in aristocratic
circles, and disported himself in so many fashionable balls and gaieties,
that the sober family at home became alarmed for him.

From London to Scotland, where he called upon Sir Walter, and stopped
at the Hebrides, sending thence in a glowing letter to Fanny the first
motive of the famous overture which he scored in Rome. Returning to London
in September, he was confined to his room two months and could not go
home to his sister Fanny's wedding. In December he found her with her
artist husband installed in the _Gartenhaus_ as studio, together with
the Devrients. These, indeed every member of the family took part in the
little comedy, _Das Heimkehr aus der Fremde_ ("The Son and Stranger"),
which Felix had composed for his parents' silver wedding. For Hensel,
utterly unmusical, he wrote a part upon one note. That winter he composed
his "Reformation Symphony." A chair of Music was founded expressly for him
in the Berlin University, which he knew himself too well to accept.

In May, 1830, the "grand tour" was resumed. He reached Weimar on the 30th,
spent a fortnight of close intercourse with Goethe, leading what he called
a "heathenish life"; then several very interesting weeks in Munich. Then,
through the Salzkammergut, to Vienna, where he found Haydn, Mozart and
Beethoven ignored in favor of Hummel, Field, and Kalkbrenner; and where
he passed a gay month with musicians, but managed to compose some serious


Fanny Mendelssohn--from a pencil drawing made by her husband, William

Then came the leisurely, long stay in Italy, particularly Rome, of which
his letters give such glowing and minute accounts. There he lived a most
genial and happy life, giving himself up completely to the sunny scene and
climate, to art, and fine churches (of which he found the music dull),
old ruins, and all that was picturesque and characteristic in _roba
di Roma_ of all sorts. He was six months in Rome; six weeks in Naples,
finding there his old friend Benedict, whom he first knew as Weber's pupil
in Berlin; then Florence, Genoa, Milan and the Italian Lakes. In Italy
he composed the "Italian" and "Scotch" Symphonies, the _Walpurgisnacht_
music, and many smaller things. And he filled several drawing-books with
sketches. Then, by way of Switzerland, walking from Geneva to Interlachen
(all minutely, graphically chronicled in the Letters), to Paris again,
where he threw himself into the musical and social "swim." But in spite
of his warm reception, and the presence of Hiller, Meyerbeer, and many
friends, he found the gay metropolis no more to his taste than before, and
was glad to spend two months again in the "smoky nest" of London, playing,
composing, and publishing.

[Illustration: MENDELSSOHN'S WIFE.

From a pencil drawing by William Hensel.]

During a second stay in Munich he became "on a brotherly footing" with
the very musical family of the Baermanns. For Heinrich Baermann, one of
the finest of clarinet players, he, as well as Weber, composed concert
pieces. It is his grandson, Carl Baermann, the admirable pianist, who now
adds to the musical prestige of Boston. There, too, he brought out his
G-minor Concerto (Oct. 17, 1831). And there he was commissioned to compose
an opera, and went to Düsseldorf to consult the poet Immermann about a
libretto with Shakespeare's _Tempest_ for a subject.

Early in 1832, his great friends Goethe and Zelter died. Mendelssohn
seemed to be the man of all others to succeed the latter at the
Singakademie; but he lost the election. As a proof of his wise and noble
loyalty to art about this period, read what he wrote to William Taubert
from Lucerne: "Don't you agree with me, that the first condition for an
artist is, that he have respect for the great ones, and do not try to blow
out the great flames, in order that the petty tallow candle may shine a
little brighter?"

In May, 1833, his success in conducting the Lower Rhine Festival
brought him an offer to take general charge of the Music in Düsseldorf
for three years at an annual salary of six hundred thalers ($450)!
But his father advised him to accept duties before emoluments. There
he brought out operas by Mozart and Cherubini; and in the church,
Palestrina, Bach, Handel, Beethoven: above all _Israel in Egypt_. There
he composed the greater part of _St. Paul_, and his _Melusina_ Overture.
Socially Düsseldorf was a delightful place to him; but musically it was
disappointing. In the spring of 1835 he conducted the Cologne Festival.

Soon we find him settled (from 1835 to 1844, and again from 1845 to the
end of his life) in the most genial home sphere of his artistic labors,
Leipsic, where he held the first conductor's post in Europe, at the head
of the famous _Gewandhaus_ Concerts. Hardly had he begun his notable
career there, when he was summoned to Berlin to the death-bed of his
father (Nov. 19, 1835). His grief was profound; for we have seen in
what respect and love he held him. He carried back to Leipsic two fixed
purposes: first, to finish _Paulus_, then to seek a wife. The Oratorio,
for which he selected the words himself, had lain complete before him a
year when it was first given at the Lower Rhine Festival in 1836 with
great enthusiasm. The wife was found in Frankfurt am Main. It was Cecile
Jeanrenaud, the lovely seventeen-year-old daughter of a deceased pastor
of the Reformed French Church there, who lived with her mother, _née_
Souchay, a highly respected, rich, patrician family of Frankfort. The
happy honeymoon ran over with fun and drollery in their joint diary full
of sketches.

In Leipsic his hands were soon full of most congenial tasks: conducting
the _Messiah_; the _Israel in Egypt_, with his own organ part; his own
_St. Paul_; besides a series of historical concerts; and composing his
Forty-Second Psalm, E-minor string Quartet, the D-minor piano Concerto,
the three organ Preludes and Fugues, etc. And is it not worth notice,
by the way, that here Mendelssohn commonly shines as the best of
programme-makers? Indeed, he seems to have been the first in whom that
function rose to the dignity of an art, when he was not balked by others.
Certainly the concerts, ("academies") which Mozart and Beethoven gave
mostly in noble houses, to make their new works heard, offered no models
of good programme-making, containing often far too much of a good thing,
say three great Beethoven Symphonies, with much other matter, in a single
evening! The democratic age of concert-giving had not yet come in.

In all this he was strong and happy in the sympathetic companionship of
his young wife, though often torn from her to fulfil engagements at the
Birmingham Festival and elsewhere. Thenceforth for several years he gave
his heart and soul to Leipsic, chiefly to the Gewandhaus concerts; he
worked with enthusiasm, and was rewarded by the enthusiasm he created.

In June, 1838, he conducted the Cologne Festival, and we have a cogent
letter in which he induced the committee to include "at least one
important vocal work of Bach" (a Church Cantata) in the programme,
besides pieces from Handel's _Joshua_. The summer was spent in the dear
garden-house at Berlin; and that was the young wife's first introduction
to her husband's family. He kept on composing noble things; among them
the Violin Concerto and a Psalm for eight voices: "When Israel," etc. And
he fell just short of giving the world another Symphony (in B flat). The
great event of the next Gewandhaus season was the first performance, at
the last concert (March 22, 1839), of the great Schubert Symphony in C. It
was played from the MS., which had been found in Vienna by Schumann.

It would require a volume to detail the programmes of those ten or eleven
years of Gewandhaus concerts under his direction,--to say nothing of
great musical enterprises outside of all that. In December, 1842, his
mother died, and then the Berlin house was his. Yet he lived for the most
part in Leipsic, aiding as a professor, with David, Hauptmann, Schumann
and the like, in the carrying out of his pet scheme of a Conservatorium
of Music. Since 1838 _Elijah_ had been in his mind as the subject of an
oratorio. It was finished for the Birmingham Festival of 1846. He was on
hand there to conduct it, all the world knows with what success. Yet his
own fastidious taste saw much in it to alter and polish, and he returned
to England for the tenth and last time to conduct it in the revised
edition, so to speak.

[Illustration: WILLIAM HENSEL.

From a pencil drawing made by himself.]

Meanwhile, near the end of 1840, he was prevailed on to accept a year's
engagement at Berlin, and lend his labor and his genius to certain high
artistic schemes of king Frederick William IV. Taking leave of Leipsic
with a performance of Bach's St. Matthew Passion Music, he became
Kapellmeister to the King. The first fruit of that was his noble music to
the _Antigone_, and afterwards the _Œdipus Coloneus_ of Sophocles; and in
another vein, the _Athalie_ of Racine. It was also by the king's request
that he wrote the _Midsummer Night's Dream_ music, into which the early
overture fitted as if pre-ordained, and his both beautiful and wildly
melodramatic setting of Goethe's _Walpurgisnacht_. Not far from the same
time he was moved to make an overture, more dramatic than any of his early
ones, to _Ruy Blas_.


From an English engraving.]

On his last return from England a shadow came over that serene and happy
life. He met the sudden news of his sister Fanny's death, and with a cry
fell unconscious to the ground. He sought relief and rest in Switzerland
that summer, painting in water-colors, and playing the organ all alone in
a little village church--what a touching picture his letters give of it!
His own hour was near at hand. A trouble in his head grew worse. He died
in the evening of Thursday, Nov. 4, 1847. He was mourned by all Europe. In
Leipsic it was as if the most beloved and honored, the soul and centre of
all their higher life and aspiration, were withdrawn. Memorial concerts
were organized in London, Manchester and Birmingham, even in Paris. To
this day among English music-lovers Mendelssohn has been a name to conjure
by, adopted as their own like Handel. Mendelssohn scholarships, busts,
statues, became frequent. And a commission was appointed to publish
selections from the mass of works he left in manuscript; nor could they
keep pace with the impatient, almost angry outcry (at least in England)
for every scrap of manuscript withheld.

Mendelssohn stands as the best modern representative of sound, many-sided,
conservative, and yet progressive musical culture. He was artist to
the marrow. Gifted with original creative genius--a genius not so deep
and absolute, so elemental, so Titanic as that of Bach and Handel and
Beethoven, nor of so celestial temper as that of Mozart;--trained to
consummate musicianship through earnest study and personal absorption
of the world's great musical inheritance; compelling himself to daily
exercise of his own productive faculty, he summed up in himself the
rounded whole of musical art down to his own time. He was the ripe
musical scholar. Haunted by original and beautiful ideas, he resisted all
extravagant solicitations of the ambitious passion for sensation-making
novelty. He kept within bounds of reason and good taste; he respected
"Terminus, the god of bounds." Standing at the height of the musical
culture of his age, he won all his triumphs without setting up new
theories, new forms of art, without resorting to questionable ways. He
was nothing if not sincere, frank, simple in his art. Within the approved
forms and principles of Bach, Mozart, and Beethoven, he found free air
and scope for the expression of what was in him. He never dreamed of
questioning the validity of absolute, pure music,--music in itself,
without words or programme. On the contrary, he maintained that music is a
language far more definite and less ambiguous than speech; that speech is
the gainer by translation into music, but that music is the loser by any
attempt to translate or "interpret" it in words.

[Illustration: Fac-simile autograph letter from Mendelssohn containing
corrections of a four-hand arrangement of one of his symphonies]

[Illustration: [Music]

Fac-simile autograph manuscript of Mendelssohn's most popular song for
male voices, "Farewell to the Forest" Composed in 1840.]

Of his complete musicianship there is no question. As a performing artist,
an interpreter, he was a masterly pianist. We do not measure him by the
phenomenal virtuosity of the Liszts, von Bülows, Rubinsteins, and Tausigs,
who came after him. Such comparison would be irrelevant; he was not of
their kind; not primarily a virtuoso, but essentially an artist and
interpreter. In that sense his playing was remarkable; fluent, brilliant,
vital, full of fire and feeling; his touch sensitive, decided, strong or
delicate as the phrase required; his technique free and faultless; its
perfection seemed to be spontaneous. Hiller said his playing was what
flying is to a bird. Mme. Schumann said: "Of mere _effects_ of performance
he knew nothing; he was always the great musician; in hearing him one
forgets the player in the full enjoyment of the music." Joachim says:
"His playing was full of fire, which could scarce be controlled, and yet
was controlled and combined with the greatest delicacy." His adherence to
strict time and to his author's meaning is said to have been absolute.
He had a rare faculty of playing at sight from a MS. orchestral score,
characterizing each instrument by a peculiar quality of tone. He rarely
played from book, trusting to his prodigious memory. His improvisations
astonished all; they were no vague, random excursions over the keyboard,
all digression, with which so many flashy finger-knights dazzle their
audiences; they were consistent, well-planned compositions, in which
the themes were not merely touched and set in shifting lights, but were
contrapuntally worked and carried out; thematic development was with him a
second nature. This was partly owing to his early practice in counterpoint
under Zelter.

He deeply loved the organ, and was one of the most masterly organ players
and composers of his time. For intrinsic worth and beauty his Organ
Sonatas rank only next to Bach and Handel.

For conductorship he showed a passion and a gift from boyhood, when he
improvised little private concerts in his father's house. Older musicians
did not disdain to play under his bâton. Charming pictures are given
by his biographers of the overtures and symphonies, as well as his own
juvenile operas, performed there under his enthusiastic lead. Later
he became one of the first conductors living, whether in symphony or
oratorio. He had the magnetic quality; all the grace and flexibility of
his attractive person, the electric eloquence of look and gesture, made
each point of the music felt by performers and hearers. The former never
could mistake his meaning, which was the meaning of the music. We have
heard it said by those who knew him, that in the rendering of orchestral
music, even movements of his own, he was subject to his moods, would take
the same movement at one time much quicker, with more fire than at others;
but it was all genuine, all loyal; there was a reason for it, and the
essential music never suffered from this elasticity.

His seemingly instinctive and spontaneous command of counterpoint,
already seen in his improvisation, is manifest in his organ music, in his
psalms and oratorios, in his fugues as such, in the clear, symmetrical
development of his orchestral and chamber works, in fact in all his
compositions of whatever form. He was happily at home in this soul secret
of the plastic tone-art. For the truth is, he was musically, spiritually,
a true child of Sebastian Bach: who more fit than he to be the first
exponent to our century of the long-shelved Matthew _Passion_ of that
mighty master? Through Mendelssohn has Bach gained a foothold in the more
modern world of music.

His instrumentation is a model in its way, neither too much nor too
little. Never dry and meagre, it is never bloated and excessive, weighed
down to monotony by superfluous multitude of heavy instruments, which give
each other scarcely room to vibrate freely, like so much in the "advanced"
instrumentation of to-day. It is never extravagant, bent on sensational
surprises and effects, if sometimes droll for cause. It is chaste, simple,
clear, while it is vivid, graphic, and expressive. There is no false,
exaggerated coloring, only just what suits the subject. Now it is airy,
delicate, and fairylike; now bold, majestic, or sublime; now fraught
with changing atmospheric quality, as in the "Rain" chorus in _Elijah_,
in the _Hebrides_ overture, and the _Becalmed at Sea_ and _Prosperous
Voyage_, now light-hearted and elastic, as in the "Italian" Symphony and
the youthful overture to the _Return from Abroad_. If he does not touch
the spiritual depths, nor strike with the lightning suddenness and fire of
Beethoven, it is because he is himself, not Beethoven. But alike in his
purely instrumental and his choral works, his instrumentation is always
interesting, always clear and telling, and in keeping with the whole,
always original, poetic, full of life and power.

We might discourse upon his mastery of Form. Enough to say, that with him
all is in "good form," yet not formal, at least to a fault.

So much of his musicianship, his technical equipment, of what might be
learned from masters. In him it all ministered to a creative genius of an
original, rare order, as we shall see in a slight, cursory survey of his


Painted by Begas.]

[Footnote A: At this age he had written two operas and almost completed a
third,--six symphonies, a quartet for piano and strings, a Cantata, six
fugues for the piano, a psalm for four or five voices with a double fugue,
and many minor pieces.--K. K.]

We begin with the _Midsummer Night's Dream_ Overture, in which the lad
of sixteen sprang into fame a masterly composer. Well had he read his
Shakespeare,--the bard who fascinates the heart and soul of childhood
before any child can be supposed to understand him! What a felicitous
reproduction of the fairy element in tones! The perfect fairy overture,
it is still heard with delight by old and young, and ever will be,
it is so fresh, spontaneous, genuine, such an honest emanation from
the enthusiastic heart and imagination of the boy composer. The
other movements now commonly sung and played with the drama were the
afterthought of Mendelssohn's riper period, when he was thirty-four years
old. Schumann says: "His music is a meditation on the play, _a bridge
between Bottom and Oberon_, without which the passage into Fairy Land is
almost impossible." The same fairy vein, the same dainty elfin motives,
or some of the same family, are met in many of the earlier and later
works of Felix. That vein haunted him; it was a lucky string to play
upon. Ballad movements, Canzonettas, _Volkslieder_, and the like quaint
melodies, abound as well. The Overture is numbered Op. 21. Sketched or
completed about the same time were the Octet, Op. 20, the first set of the
Songs without Words, and the first Quintet, in A; all works of ripe and
finished art of a clearly asserted, pronounced individuality. These mark
the culmination of his youthful period.

His early piano efforts are in many forms, mostly with strings. He wrote
three Sonatas for piano solo, but soon ceased to cultivate that field (in
face of Beethoven?). But he had already opened a new and original field
for himself, albeit a less ambitious one, in the Songs without Words, a
field to which he returned _con amore_ from time to time until late in
his short life. One is tempted to describe some of these choice little
tone-poems, were there room; at least the three Gondola Songs. Had he been
reading Shelley:

    "My soul is an enchanted boat,
    Which like a sleeping swan doth float
    Upon the silver waves of thy sweet singing."

These perhaps express the daintiest, most exquisite of the many moods
and themes poetic, sentimental, picturesque, or wideawake and stirring
or heroic, in these eight and forty wordless songs. Perhaps the last two
sets have not quite the verve of the earlier and more spontaneous numbers.
But think of the _Volkslied_, the hunting and the martial strains, the
deeper meditations, the _Duet_, above all the exhilarating "Spring Song"
in A! In these, if in nothing else, he opened a new field in musical
art, in which many followed him, but none approached him. These _Lieder
ohne Worte_ are of his most genuine, most individual inspirations. There
is hardly a characteristic trait of the composer's style, as developed
in his larger works, which you do not find here clearly announced and
pronounced in these perfect little miniatures. In them we have the whole
of Mendelssohn,--we mean of the innate, the essential, not the acquired
music of the man. If to some they have come to look commonplace, it is
their own radiance that veils them.

Of his many other piano compositions, the most important are the
Six Preludes and Fugues, Op. 35; another in E minor, full of fire
and strength, his contribution to the Album "Notre Temps"; and the
_Variations Sérieuses_. All the great composers, notably Beethoven, were
fond of writing variations. Those of Mendelssohn are full of character,
and often figure to advantage in the artistic programmes of pianists. For
the piano with strings, the two Trios are the most interesting, and still
challenge the chamber-concert givers. The two Sonatas with 'Cello also
hold their own.

He loved to employ the piano with orchestra. The brilliant _Capriccio_ in
B minor, and the Rondo in E flat, swift as an arrow and going as straight
to the mark, are concert favorites; still more the _Serenade_ and _Allegro
Giojoso_, full of life and charm. But most important, masterworks indeed,
are the two Concertos. That in G minor, by the very fascination of its
beauty, and by being such a model in form, so clear and pure throughout,
has been practised so much in conservatories, and played at the début of
so many callow virtuosos, that a shade of commonplace has settled over
it. The other, in D minor, keeps itself more select, so that for the more
exacting taste it is publicly too seldom played.

And, speaking of Concertos, we must not forget the one for the violin,
which surely ranks only after that by Beethoven, and is attempted by
all the violinists. Its charm is never failing. The fine intensity of
the impassioned Allegro has something feminine and far reaching in its
quality, so that it was a rare pleasure to hear it interpreted by such
an artist as Camilla Urso, with such true nervous grasp and accent. The
middle movement seemed divine; and the finale, heralded by the brass _ff_,
is so uncontainable and full of fire, so brilliant and impetuous, that
it admits of being taken at the most rapid tempo. It is perhaps the most
popular of all violin concertos.

All the great masters have written string quartets. The Quartet for two
violins, viola and 'cello, corresponding to the four essential parts
in harmony, each maintaining its individuality, yet each essential to
the whole, is the quintessence of musical expression. Any imperfection
betrays itself inevitably; all is exposed; there is nothing hidden
under an orchestral coloring or vague passages of mere effect. The four
voices are four persons. Not to speak of Haydn, father and founder of
the race, the greatest models are those of Mozart and Beethoven. Those
of Beethoven often seem like foreshadowings in outline of later phases
in his larger grand creations. Those of Mendelssohn are less purely
quartet-like. They have more of a singing quality,--a melody with an
accompaniment,--and seem to seek orchestral development. The early one
in E flat is of highly impassioned character, and might be distinguished
as the _Quartet Pathetique_. It has a pathetic introductory _Adagio_,
followed by a passionate _Allegro_; then a _Canzonetta_, a quaint minor
strain in the spirit of some sad old _Volkslied_ or Ballad; then an
_Andante_ of profoundest melancholy; then a bold finale, in 12-8, running
in very rapid triplets. The three Quartets of Op. 44 are in a riper
style. But the first begins with a swift and fiery _Allegro_, of which
the theme is strikingly symphonic, and which has been well said to be not
quartet-writing at all, but a melody with a bass and a mere filling-in of
middle parts; not a conversation between four distinct individualities.
The Mendelssohnian ardor, depth of feeling, yearning aspiration, with
all his grace, facility, and clearness, pervade these quartets; but more
perfect as quartets are his part-songs for mixed and for male voices. His
last quartet, in F minor, written just after the death of his beloved
sister Fanny, so soon before his own, has spontaneous unity in all its
movements. It is said to have been written in forty-eight hours, in one
close closeting with grief.

Of the two Quintets, that in A, of the juvenile period, is fresh, bright,
full of life and charm, having a lovely _Andante Intermezzo_, and an
elfin _Scherzo_. The much later one, in B flat, by the irrepressible and
soaring impetus of its _Allegro vivace_,--challenge bravely answered in
the _finale_,--by the sad ballad-like _Andante scherzando_ in D minor; and
by its profoundly, grandly beautiful _Adagio_, is perhaps more popular and
always welcomed with sincere delight.

There remains the Octet, written just before the Midsummer Night's Dream.
It is not a double quartet, two quartets reinforcing or offsetting
one another; but it is a conference of eight real parts, eight
individualities. The _ensemble_, especially the fiery opening _Allegro_,
has the richness and fullness of an organ's diapasons, and naturally
abounds in contrapuntal imitation to keep eight such parts employed. It is
laid out on the broad scale of a symphony, with great contrast between its
several movements, especially between the airy-light, crisp _staccato_ of
its _Scherzo_ (forerunner of the fairy overture) and the grand sweep and
rush, like a freshet, of the _Presto_ finale. The work bears performance
by all the strings of an orchestra, and is not seldom so presented.

We come now to his poetic, fascinating Concert Overtures, already ushered
in by Shakespeare's fairy wand. Three of these date shortly after the
Midsummer Night's Dream. The finest of them is the first, scored in
Rome a year or two after his visit to the Hebrides, the outgrowth of an
attempt to convey to his sister Fanny, in a piano sketch, his impressions
of the "lonely island." The overture is often called "Fingal's Cave."
It does not deal in literal description. It is not realistic. It is the
feeling of the scene, subjectively conceived. The leading theme (B minor)
suggests the dreamy reverie of one leaning over the water, absorbed in its
commingling, fluctuating, mystic ebb and flow. The same poetic spirit sang
the _Gondellieder_. In the strong answering motive you feel the wild force
of the waves dashing on the rock-bound shores; loud calls give the sense
of distance; you hear cries of sea-birds; while all bespeaks the watery
atmosphere, the solemn silence and the mystic solitude of ocean.

Then came _Meeresstille und Glückliche Fahrt_,--a reproduction as Overture
of two sea-pictures from two little poems of Goethe; the first conveying
the sensation of a dead calm at sea; then the rising of a breeze, the
boatswain's whistle, the setting of sails and swinging round of the huge,
heavy hulk, the addressing itself to motion, making smooth, gallant
headway (with ever and anon great, deep, mysterious sighs!) and entering
port amid a triumphal blaze of trumpets. It is a wonderfully graphic
and imaginative reproduction of the subjects. The instrumentation is as
telling and artistic as the thematic working. The introduction of the
piccolo and of the deep serpent and contrafagotto conveys a sense of
illimitable height and depth.

The third, to "the Fair Melusina," Felix tells his sister, he wrote for an
opera of Conradin Kreutzer's, based on Tieck's _Mährchen_, which he saw at
a theatre. He disliked Kreutzer's music, especially the Overture, which
was encored, and he resolved to write another "which the people might not
encore, but which would cause them more solid pleasure." It is romantic
music in the fullest sense. In the two contrasted themes,--the first (in
F) watery, cool and rippling, tempting one beneath the waves,--the other
(F minor) chivalric, heroic, proud, impatient,--he clearly had in view
the princess Melusina (supposed to be a mermaid in the hours denied to
her lord), and the brave knight who weds her. Schumann says it revives
"those fables of the life deep down beneath the watery abyss." How bright
and beautiful the mingling colors of the instruments! With what fine
contrapuntal unity in variety the imitation and development proceeds!

More to the humor of to-day, perhaps, is his much later powerfully
dramatic Overture to _Ruy Blas_. It is exciting, with bold contrasts,
fraught with impending tragic crises, clear, strong, concise, and very
effectively instrumented. Not so great as Beethoven's _Coriolanus_
overture, it is his nearest approach to that, and shows that Mendelssohn
was capable of something more impassioned, concentrated, fateful, than
dreams of fairyland, breathings of sentiment and reproductions of romance.

Now for his Symphonies. First, his greatest, in A minor, which is supposed
to owe its inspiration to his recollections of Scotland. In its wild,
tender, melancholy melody and coloring, its romantic, breezy, sea-shore
character, it has affinity with the _Hebrides_ overture. How deep and
tender the introductory _Andante con Moto_, 3-4! And how charmingly the
kindred _Allegro_ melody, 6-8, sets out from it and runs so smoothly and
so rapidly, most of the way in octaves between the first violins and low
clarinet tones! How it winds in and out among the instruments, now quiet
and individual, now borne along upon the swelling, roaring tide of the
whole orchestra! How it keeps its sweet, sad, minor mood, relieved only
by one little bit of sunshiny major! Then, after the repeat, what wild,
strange, sea-shore modulations, the cool, mysterious thrill of ocean and
the Infinite! And when again those shuddering modulations cross the smooth
mirror, the excitement swells to a furious climax, and all the strings
rush up and down the chromatic scale with a tremendous vehemence; and it
all dies down again, till only flutes and reeds are left streaming in
the air, sliding leisurely down tone by tone, and leading back to the
_Andante_. Compare this exciting climax with one correspondingly placed in
the seventh symphony of Beethoven; if it has not that Promethean fire that
could defy Olympus, is it feeble in comparison?

In the _Scherzo_ the scene shifts to sunny playfulness. Vividly the
laughing theme leaps out from voice after voice; the instruments seem to
speak, as Schumann says, like men. What hurrying, huddling gleesomeness
in the accompaniments, like the tiny waves that crowd up round the spot
where the fountain's column falls! In hushed _staccato_ the strings
whisper a new motive, which is taken up by all and developed, with
fragments of the laughing theme; and there seems to be a pointed allusion,
fond and playful, to a characteristic of Scotch melody, in that emphatic
mocking of the cadence of a minor third! It floats sportively away, in
the violins, against a skyey background of oboe and horn tones, charming
the soul away with it in pleased forgetfulness, when with a sudden
revulsion of consciousness we are in the minor chord of D (like a great
sob, escaping involuntarily), leading with solemn, stately measure and
a sound of warning into the _Adagio_ in A, 2-4, a most lovely, deep and
tender movement, in which the orchestra seems to sing a Psalm of Life....
Upon this bursts, like a flash of sunshine over the sombre water, the
_Vivacissimo_, a most dashing, brilliant theme, pausing anon to let a more
pensive melody of reeds be heard; but with rough, impatient vehemence
the basses break off the episode, and the bacchic frenzy of the movement
storms itself away again, until its force is spent, and the quiet naïve
little reed theme gets another chance and runs fondling and chatting
along in duet between bassoon and oboe, and the strain sinks to sleep
as in the fairy overture. The short finale, in A major, is in kindred
melody and rhythm with the first _Allegro_, but with a bold and swaggering
carelessness of movement, as of a party breaking up and marching off from
a glorious carouse, to the tune (at least its spirit) of "We won't go home
till morning!"

After the immortal nine of Beethoven, there is no Symphony more perfect
in form than this, of charm more enduring, although we have the great
one of the "heavenly length" in C by Schubert, and such noble ones by
Schumann. But Mendelssohn has the advantage over Schumann in point of
instrumentation and of general clearness (the importance of clearness was
a mooted point between the two friends and mutual admirers).

Even more enjoyable in some respects is the "Italian" Symphony in A.
It was written earlier than the so-called third, the "Scotch," and is
commonly numbered the fourth. Both were well advanced before he left
Rome. Its movements are finely contrasted. After the fresh, sunshiny,
buoyant _Allegro_, calling up the blue, blue sky and boundless green of
Italy,--brought out all the more vividly by the pensive Mendelssohnian
subjectivity of the low-running _staccato_ of the violins which sets in
right after the announcement of the bright first theme,--how impressive
is the sombre, solemn, antique-sounding, steady chant of reeds in the
_Andante_, with the soft, warm gush of mingling flutes above! It is like
passing from Italian noon-day into the rich gloom of some old church. The
tranquil, blissful melody of the _Minuet_ flows on in limpid, peaceful
beauty; and the mellow horn Trio makes a delicious episode. In the
_Saltarello_ we feel the rush and whirl of Carnival, not without a dash
of Mendelssohnian melancholy. The passage from that into the yet wilder
_Tarantella_, with its whirling triplets, indicates the very _abandon_ and
delirium of excitement, whereas the former, by the hitch in the alternate
triplet, denotes a dance in which the dancer still keeps some control upon

[Illustration: MENDELSSOHN.

    Painted by Th. Hildebrand.       Engraved by E. Eichens.

This portrait was probably made in 1835, Mendelssohn being at that time in
his twenty-sixth year.]

The "Reformation Symphony" (No. 5) dates back almost to his juvenile
period. It was written at the age of twenty-two. With the exception of
one bright gem, the _Scherzo_, it seems to labor under the proverbial
fatality of _occasional_ works. As a Symphony it is exceptional in form,
consisting really of only two parts, with a refreshing interlude between.
The first part, in which the idea of the Old, the frowning Catholic faith,
predominates, includes the _Allegro_ with its short _Andante_ prelude. The
second part, the triumph of the New, with its curious variations on the
Lutheran Choral, "_Ein' feste Burg_," has likewise its short _Andante_
prelude, whose rather feeble prayer for peace it answers. Suppose a
curtain dropped between the two parts, while for interlude and recreation
we are vouchsafed that happy _Scherzo_.--But it is hardly fair to count
this early effort into his symphonic period, any more than the Symphony
"No. 1," in C minor, which bears date 1824.

From Symphony to Oratorio we have a noble bridge in the Symphony-Cantata
"_Lobgesang_" or "Hymn of Praise." It is of later date, to be sure, than
the oratorio _St. Paul_, and was composed to celebrate the invention of
the art of printing, and to lend _éclat_ to the inauguration of the statue
of Guttenberg, at Leipsic, June 25, 1840. Many regard it as the most
felicitous and most inspiring of his larger works, although prompted by an
"occasion"! Praise and gratitude to God for LIGHT; the waiting and longing
for it through the long darkness of the middle ages; then the break of
day; the free career and joy of a redeemed humanity; and first and last
and everywhere the Praise of God: such were the themes and promptings
of Mendelssohn's heart and genius when he composed the _Lobgesang_. The
three orchestral movements which prepare the chorus are essentially
symphonic. From the first trombone proclamation of the pregnant choral
motive, through the rapidly unfolding, fiery, complex _Allegro_; through
the sweet, sad (almost over-sweet) tune (as of "the heart musing, while
the fire burns," yet with a slight flutter) of the middle movement,
_Allegretto_, and its alternations with the cheery, choral-like full
chords of the wind; to the last deep-drawn sigh of the rich, soulful
_Adagio_, it is pure symphony, all leading up to the superb outburst of
the irrepressible chorus of Praise. Thenceforth we breathe the mountain
air of oratorio. The work is too familiar to require description. Enough
to note the innate strong dramatic tendency of Mendelssohn, as shown in
the middle point and climax of the work, the thrilling scene beginning
with the anxious Tenor recitative; "Watchman, will the night soon pass?"
with fitful, wild accompaniment; the startling Soprano answer: "The night
is departing," flooding all with instant light; and then the blazing
outburst of full chorus, taking up the words in an exciting fugue.--It is
surely an inspired, a master-work, both instrumentally and vocally.

Of his two great Oratorios proper,--the greatest certainly since
Handel,--the one most esteemed among musicians is the earliest, _St.
Paul_, produced in 1836. It shows the influence of Bach throughout, in the
frequency of narrative recitative; in the use made of the Lutheran Choral;
in the introduction of turbulent Jewish people's choruses (_turbae_);
and in a generally dramatic conception and shaping of the whole. It
stands between a Bach _Passion_, and the more epical Handel Oratorio.
Depth of religious feeling and great dignity of style pervade the entire
composition. The music is contrapuntal, never dry and pedantic. The
overture is of quite a different character from his concert overtures; it
is a solemn, contrapuntal, sacred prelude, with the old-school profundity,
yet genial and interesting enough to serve as a good concert piece by
itself. The orchestral resources throughout are carefully husbanded,
after the way of Mendelssohn, to the great gain of true and clear
effect, affording room for great variety of coloring. He relies on the
intrinsic strength of his ideas, rather than on a noisy over-fulness of

The choruses range from grand, uplifting ones to others very lovely and
tender; others mob-like and vindictive, like "Stone him to death"; again
others of a vivid local coloring, like those in which the Gentile crowd
worship Paul and Barnabas, "O be gracious, ye Immortals," etc., full
of light-hearted, sensuous Greek adoration, of "oxen and garlands" and
ear-tickling flutes. The arias are characteristic, heartfelt, deeply pious
melodies. _St. Paul_ is the oratorio which is most sure to gain, at every
hearing, on a serious and truly music-loving listener.

_Elijah_, most popular of oratorios (after the _Messiah_), and most
familiar, requires even less comment. Description or analysis would bore.
The subject began to occupy his mind in 1838. It was finished for the
Birmingham Festival of 1846, where, himself conducting, it was received
with utmost enthusiasm. Yet it did not satisfy himself, and he at once
set about revising and polishing. This was but a year before his death.
When he returned to England for the last time to conduct it, the Prince
Consort addressed him as another Elijah "faithful to the worship of
true Art, though surrounded by the idolators of Baal." In greatness and
variety of poetic and imaginative design, in wealth of musical ideas, in
ripeness of consummate musicianship, in sure calculation of effects, it is
a full expression of the composer's genius. It abounds in numbers which
captivate alike refined and simple listeners. It betrays the dramatic
element in the opening picture of the drought relieved and culminating in
the wonderful "Rain" chorus; in the episode of the Widow who has lost her
son; in the scene between the Prophet and the wicked Queen; in the Baal
choruses, secular, impatient, boastful, impotently clamoring for miracle;
in the sweet soliloquy and meditation of Elijah in the wilderness; in
his ascension in the fiery chariot; and more or less in all the great
choruses, all very graphic. Then what lovely restful choruses, like "He
watching over Israel," followed by the perfect Angel Trio: "Lift thine
eyes"! And arias full of meaning and of exhortation, like the soprano
"Hear ye, Israel," in composing which, beginning with the high F sharp,
his mind was haunted by that note as he had heard it in the voice of Jenny

Judging from the few fragments published, his unfinished oratorio
_Christus_ would have been his greatest sacred composition. From the first
part, the Birth of Christ, we have the Trio of the Magi, teeming with
wonder and anticipation; then the chorus: "There shall a star come forth,"
which has a sweet, pure, star-like beauty, ending with the choral: "_Wie
schön leuchtet der Morgenstern!_" From the second part, or Passion, the
tenor narratives, the accusing choruses before Pilate, terribly dramatic,
especially the multitudinous echoes of "Crucify him," and the inexorable
pronunciamento: "We have a sacred Law," bring him into still closer
affinity with Bach; and even more so the exquisitely plaintive weeping
chorus at the end.

[Illustration: Reproduced from Frontispiece to E. Devrient's "My
Recollections of Mendelssohn." Sculptor's name not given.]

Much might be said of his one Catholic work, the _Lauda Sion_, composed in
1846 for the feast of Corpus Christi at Liège, very beautiful in spite of
the dry dogmatic Latin text, strange text for him! Much, too, of the three
Motets for female voices; of the Hymn: "Hear my Prayer," with its soaring,
bird-like soprano solo: "O for the wings of a dove!" of his masculine,
strong settings of eight or ten of the Psalms, mostly for chorus with
orchestra, with their Old Testament flavor; and of numerous smaller sacred

Of course so sensitive a nature, subject to many moods, quick to take
impressions and to turn them into music, was prolific in songs with piano
accompaniment. From his earliest composing days, at intervals throughout
his life, he produced sets of _Lieder_ and duets, to the number of
ninety or more. They are all musical, refined, full of feeling, some of
them strikingly original; but before the few great ones of Beethoven,
the numberless songs of Schubert, those of Schumann, and above all
Robert Franz, they retreat into the shade. Yet they have been favorites
in musical homes and concert rooms, especially in England, where they
introduced the love of German song, tempting many feeble imitators, while
awakening there some worthier responses from the kindred spirit, Sterndale

More truly original, with more marrow in them, and more of the enduring
quality, are his four-part songs, both for mixed and for male voices.
These have been the staple and the best material on which the Liedertafeln
all over Germany, and the part-song clubs of England and America have
built. After more pretentious, ingenious, sensational part-songs of later
origin, it is always refreshing to hear one of them; for they are sincere
music, thoroughly artistic, with heart and soul and poetry in them. With
them we may mention several larger pieces for male chorus, such as he
composed to Schiller's Ode "To the Artists," with accompaniment of brass.
The exhortation of the music is worthy of the poem; male choirs feel well
when they lift their voices in a strain so manly and so edifying.

We come now to a lofty form of choral and orchestral music, which we owe
to Mendelssohn. In setting two of the Greek tragedies of Sophocles he had
no old Greek music for a model. The spirit of the dramas lay in the text
of Sophocles. He had read the _Antigone_ in the Greek, and so far got his
inspiration at first hand. He took the suggestion from Frederic William
IV., King of Prussia, during a summer residence in Berlin in 1841. The
peculiar function of the Chorus in the Greek tragedies, as a mediator
between the actors and the audience, commenting in some sort of rhythmical
chant upon what was passing on the stage, and the sublimity of some of
those choruses, make us feel that there could not have been a truer
artistic idea than that of setting them to music, realizing and carrying
out their vague embryonic musical aspiration as it could only be realized
in these modern times after music had become an art. Mendelssohn's
inspiration seems to have sprung congenially from that of Sophocles; and
this music is of the freshest, manliest, most original and vigorous that
he has left.

_Antigone_ was the first experiment. He composed it in eleven
days:--Overtures, single and double choruses for male voices, with full
orchestral accompaniment for all that are lyrical in subject; melodramatic
bits, as where Antigone descends into the vault; and chords here and
there making expressive background to the spoken verse. The piece was
first played on the royal stage at Potsdam; and afterwards on the King's
birthday before a select audience, the venerable Tieck presiding. When it
was given at Leipsic, a meeting of "learned Thebans" signed an address
to Mendelssohn, thanking him "for substantially reviving an interest
in the Greek tragedy." The music has since made its mark everywhere,
whether given on the stage with action, or only sung and played in concert
rooms,--at Athens in the original Greek. Nobler men's choruses are never
heard than that rich, sweet, pensive moralizing one which sings of man's
wondrous faculties and limitations; or that superb hymn to "Bacchus"
(double chorus),--as full of pomp and splendor as the Wedding March,--in
which the composer gave free rein to his enthusiasm; or the opening
invocation to "Helios."

_Oedipus at Colonos_ he composed at Frankfort in 1844, about the time when
he began to finish _Elijah_, and write the Violin Concerto and the music
to _Athaliah_. A favorite with the men's Choral clubs is the chorus which
recounts the beauties of Colonos and the glories of Athens. The music is
wonderfully faithful to the ever kindling enthusiasm of the words.

The Mendelssohn Greek choruses are far beyond and above the ordinary
part-song, which is a much smaller, humbler affair,--simply, as its name
denotes, a _song_, harmonized in four parts. But these are themes worked
up, for single and double choir, with as complete art as the choruses in
great oratorios, only avoiding the Fugue form, which is Gothic, Christian,
suggestive of the Infinite, not Greek.

Racine's _Athalie_, often called his greatest drama, is constructed after
the old Greek model, with choruses similarly employed. Mendelssohn's music
for it, compared with _St. Paul_ and _Elijah_, the _Lobgesang_, or the
Greek plays, must to many seem monotonous, in some parts dry and tame. The
musical work, bound by the text, lacks climax. Yet there is much beautiful
and some majestic, splendid music in it. Has it a Jewish, as its congeners
a Greek flavor? The overture is very noble, with the two parts finely

During the last years of his life the dramatic tendency in Mendelssohn,
which we have traced all along through so many of his works in many forms,
from his child operettas in his father's house to the _Walpurgis Night_,
grew upon him with an irresistible momentum. His deep interest in Jenny
Lind (Goldschmidt), who was his ideal of a singer, and to whom he became
a most devoted friend, led him as the last musical problem of his life
to write an opera for her in which she was to take the principal rôle in
London. That was _Die Lorelei_, a theme as legendary and romantic, while
more poetic and more inviting to music, than the monster Norse mythology.
The composition was cut short by his early death. The fragments which he
left of the unfinished work are of such rare excellence, that one wonders
what might have been, had that ideal been achieved! Might not the German
theatre have then possessed an opera, a lyric drama, which would have
forestalled the paradoxical solution of the problem which so many, whether
musical or not, appear so overready to accept? And how long will the
fashion hold?

Greatly unlike in temperament, in character, in quality of genius, in
outward circumstances and environment, largely, too, in their ideal aim
and tendency, Mendelssohn and Schumann seem to be destined to be thought
of together. They lived at the same time, and were intimate associates and
friends in Leipsic. Each had the warmest admiration for the other. The two
together were a double morning-star in music; yet "one star differeth from
another star in glory." Opinions will not soon agree which in his works is
the more significant or glorious, which the more potent and far-reaching
influence. We do not discuss the point. If the sweetness of Mendelssohn's
music does sometimes cloy; if with all the strength of his orchestral
works, his oratorios and Greek plays, with all the Jewish masculinity
of his Psalms, his male choruses and his part-songs, one feels the
feminine, the sentimental minor vein predominate upon the whole; if his
struggles with his formidable art-problems were less Titanic than those of
Beethoven, and consequently his triumphs less complete; if his resolution
of the discord was a joy less absolute, less wholesome and perennial (for
with Beethoven Joy, joy--_Freude_--is ever the last word,--Joy as of the
gods, admitting of no surfeit, no corruption), still there is no denying,
except by some weak caprice of fashion, the essential greatness of the
composer Mendelssohn. The most serious deduction to be made is, that he
was to a certain extent imitable. Swarms of imitators sprang up, both in
his own country and in England. Hence a certain sense of sameness began to
attach to his music,--a sameness not fairly chargeable to the master, but
to the imitators, with whom it was too easy to confound him, or through
their fog to see him falsely. Well might he have said: "Save me from my


In the Königsstrasse.]

Once Mendelssohn was overrated, in a most partisan and partial spirit,
especially in England. Now it is too much the fashion, with young critics
and "disciples of the newness," to estimate him far below his real worth.
But all new fashions bring their own reaction. In this case the reaction
will be purifying and salubrious. A reviving interest in Mendelssohn's
music will be so much new guaranty against all false, extravagant, or
morbid taste.--While music remains music, whatever may be the ups and
downs of fashion, whatever the novelties of style or method, however
startling the juggleries of brilliant execution, the genius and the art
of Mendelssohn will still hold good. Their fascination may be lost awhile
amid the louder clamor of phenomenal new comers; in more sane, reposeful
hours, it surely will return with many a sweet surprise. What oratorio
society, of high aim and standing, can afford to let the _St. Paul_ and
_Elijah_, or the _Hymn of Praise_, lose any of their lustre through
neglect of frequent practice? What orchestra can fill out a worthy season
without one or more of his symphonies and of his poetic overtures? Is any
properly ambitious male chorus or part-song club well equipped without
the _Antigone_ and _Oedipus_ music, or the _Ode to the Artists_, or the
part-songs of Mendelssohn? Can any chamber music club dispense yet with
his string quartets, quintets, or octet? And where is the pianist, however
far advanced in virtuosity, who does not like to play sometimes his
compositions for pianoforte with orchestra, or who fails to find grateful
audience for the _Lieder ohne Wörter_? Indeed to ignore all this is to
convict oneself of a very youthful bumptiousness of spirit, an arrogant
fanaticism of unreasoning modernness in taste.

Four we count above all others in the temple of tone-art and
genius:--Bach, Handel, Mozart and Beethoven. Can we fill out a second four
without the name of Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy? Choice may vary as to one
or two names in that second quartet; of Schubert and Schumann there can be
no question; some may have preference for Haydn, or for Gluck, or Weber,
Cherubini, even for Rossini; but when with the other distinctions we take
into account that of many-sidedness, all-round musicianship, can any other
four compete with Mendelssohn except to his advantage?

[Illustration: John S. Dwight.]


[Illustration: ROBERT SCHUMANN

_Reproduction of an etching by L. Otto, after a Danish photograph. This
portrait is preferred by Schumann's family as the most faithful and

[Illustration: Schumann]



Every professional musician or music-loving amateur, who examines the
individual influence exerted by our great masters upon himself, should
always hold in especial veneration the name of Robert Schumann. What an
important factor in our dearest recollections is formed by his music,
whether enjoyed in great orchestral, choral or chamber concerts, or in
the familiarity and reserve of our homes! In how many directions have his
compositions and writings influenced our musical feeling, knowledge and
taste! That which has so early endeared itself to us must necessarily
remain a lifelong companion, must, indeed, become a part of our soul;
and this particular corner in our musical heart occupied by Schumann
constantly requires fresh recognition of that spirit, which has found
expression in such an enchanting language. Schumann being, however, a true
German, both personally and artistically, the essence of this spirit is
not readily recognized by foreigners. What the latter admire in him, the
Germans love, and if they wish to express that which in Schumann's music
is worthy of their highest esteem, they use words for which it would be
difficult to find an exact equivalent in the French, English or Italian
languages; as for instance, Gemüth, Innigkeit, Sinnigkeit and Schwärmerei.
This is particularly true in the case of his vocal compositions, which
suffer in translation both poetically and musically more than similar
works of any other composer and are for this reason far from being fully
appreciated outside of German speaking countries. Schumann's instrumental
works, on the contrary, have made his name famous wherever music has
become the object of a widespread interest.

Robert Schumann's career was not rich in striking events of a general
interest, but it was of a more solitary character, revealing the inward
life of a poetic dreamer whose language was to be music; of an artist who
paved the way for a new and brilliant epoch of his art, who enlarged its
domain, fought for its dignity, and by the splendid example of his own
productions proved the possibility of his artistic creed. His works were
his life; in him there was the closest union of man and artist. Just as a
knowledge of his life and personal character helps us to understand his
music, so the study of the latter reveals to us the man, for his works are
not merely results of a natural or an acquired ability, but they form the
musical history of the life of his soul.

The twenty years during which Schumann personally exerted a great
influence upon the musical world cover a red-letter period of this
century. Only a few years before, Beethoven, Schubert and Weber had died,
closing the great epoch of the classic masters, while at the same time
preparing a new one with new ideals and new prospects. In the centre
of the musical world stood the masters of French and Italian opera:
Auber, Halévy, Bellini, Donizetti, and soon Meyerbeer, while such men as
Cherubini, Méhul and Boieldieu had already stepped into the background.
Germany still had Spohr and a number of less famous composers excelling
in some special field, as for instance, Marschner in opera, Lachner in
song and instrumental music, Löwe in ballads and oratorios, Hummel and
Moscheles in pianoforte music; but they all were far surpassed by the
brilliant sun of Mendelssohn which had just risen. He, born in 1809, heads
the list of those distinguished names, which opened a new epoch of our
art, mainly represented beside himself by Chopin, Schumann, Liszt, Wagner,
Franz, and their great French contemporary, Berlioz. Italian and French
opera, and an exhibition of meaningless technical virtuosity, formed the
general musical taste; Beethoven was neglected, Schubert hardly known;
and it looks as if by some kind device of nature just in the right time
a resurrection of the higher conception of art was brought about, no one
assisting more in the great work than Robert Schumann. He was equipped not
only with rarest creative gifts, but also with a superior intellect, a
high general culture and a thorough and sincere character, which enabled
him to persevere in his great undertaking with unflagging zeal. Alas! why
has not nature been more kind to him? Why has not one so deserving been
spared the saddest of all fates? Perhaps it was to make his memory still
dearer to us, to increase our veneration for him so that even weaknesses
or errors in his life or works elicit from us an honest sympathy, which
increases whenever we read his many published letters or the story of his
life as told by able and sympathetic writers like Wasielewski, Spitta,
Reissmann, and others.

Robert Schumann was born on the 8th of June, 1810, in the town of Zwickau,
Saxony. Neither his birthplace, nor his ancestry, were such as to favor
an early development of his musical talent. His father, August Schumann,
son of a minister, had, after a long struggle between business and poetry,
finally entered into partnership with a brother as a bookseller, and
became widely known as a publisher of valuable books and magazines, and
besides as an author. He had a particular fondness for English poets,
such as Milton, Scott, and Byron, whose "Beppo" and "Childe Harold" he
translated into German. He was a self-made man, who owed all his success
to his own untiring energy. His wife, Johanna Christiana Schnabel, whom
he won only after a severe struggle, was the daughter of the town-surgeon
in Zeitz; she is described as an agreeable lady, of kind disposition,
deep feeling and a certain romantic sentimentality, which was also a
conspicuous feature of Robert's nature. Her loving care and motherly
anxiety for her son is well known to all readers of young Schumann's

Robert was the youngest of five children. His older brothers entered upon
a business career, and his only sister died in her twentieth year in a
state of incurable melancholy. The handsome little boy was petted by
everybody and much surrounded by women. He received his education first
in a popular private school, later in the public schools, receiving piano
instruction from a school teacher, Baccalaureus Kuntzsch, when only six
years old. Kuntzsch, who was not a professional musician, at least taught
him the most indispensable elements and was held in highest esteem by
Schumann till his death. Little Robert early showed a disposition to lead
his playmates. One particular friend was chosen to assist in four-hand
pieces and a small boys' orchestra was even formed, which Robert directed
and for which he made his first efforts as a composer, without having
had any theoretical instruction. There were overtures, even operatic
sketches, and especially a setting of the 150th psalm for chorus and
orchestra, written in Schumann's twelfth year. He also showed a rare
skill in improvising on the pianoforte, trying to portray certain persons
or dispositions. In public he played the accompaniment of Schneider's
oratorio "The Day of Judgment." He was very fond of poetry and private
theatricals, but his love of music, which was rapidly increasing,
surpassed everything else. This was particularly noticeable after the
summer of 1819, when he attended a concert given by Moscheles in Carlsbad.
The father had now become convinced that Providence intended Robert for
a musician, and notwithstanding all the violent objections on the part
of his wife, who foresaw nothing but a career full of deprivations, he
applied to Carl Maria von Weber, in Dresden, as a teacher for his son.
Weber consented to accept Robert as a pupil, but for unknown reasons the
excellent plan was abandoned and the boy's golden opportunity was lost.
In spite of this neglect of early and well directed training (which may
explain why his first compositions were so original in character and
style), Schumann instinctively kept steadily on in the right path, a fact
that greatly increases our admiration for him. Thus he pursued his musical
studies at home, besides reading as much as possible, and helping his
father in his compilations and translations. But already then he began to
grow more and more reserved and reflective, loving to be alone, in a world
of imagination and dreams. That great romanticist and humorist Jean Paul
Friedrich Richter had completely enchanted him; he knew his novels almost
by heart and never ceased to adore him as the richest source for his own

In 1826 Schumann met with a severe loss in the death of his father,
who left the responsibility of the lad's future in the hands of his
mother and his guardian, the merchant Rudel. They wished him to learn
some profession that would promise a safe position early in life, and
obediently submitting, he was inscribed as a law student at the university
of Leipsic. Before this he had graduated brilliantly from the Zwickau
Academy and had made a trip to Southern Germany with a friend, visiting,
among other places, Bayreuth, where he stopped at Jean Paul's home, and
Munich, where he met Heinrich Heine.


From an engraving by A. Krausse, in Leipsic.]

The young law student had not been long in Leipsic, when he began to
thoroughly dislike the chosen profession as well as the noisy student
life. To the enthusiastic admirer of Beethoven, Schubert, Jean Paul and
Shakespeare the law seemed utterly dry and uninteresting. However he
promised his guardian that he would pursue his legal studies, although
strong signs of a melancholy disposition had begun to make their
appearance. He joined some students' societies, but preferred the company
of a few friends who were also much given to musical and poetic dreamings.
In the house of Professor Carus, whose wife was a clever singer, his
musical penchant found all desired satisfaction; here he met Marschner
and Friedrich Wieck, the eminent piano teacher, father of that wonderful
little Clara who, then nine years old, had already become famous as a
piano-player of rare ability. With his mother's consent Schumann became
Wieck's pupil, enjoying at last a rational method of technical education,
though still neglecting and even despising all theoretical studies. In
February, 1829, Wieck's instruction ended, Schumann gaining more time
for ensemble playing. Beethoven's and Prince Louis Ferdinand's chamber
compositions were frequently rendered, but especially the works of Franz
Schubert, whose early death in the preceding year had impressed Schumann
very deeply. Bach's "Well-tempered Clavichord" never left his piano. Happy
in extemporizing all kinds of new melodies and harmonies, controlled only
by his musical instinct, he wrote a number of songs and piano pieces,
and even a pianoforte quartet, none of which have ever been published.
The law lectures he neglected, but was much interested in those on the
great German philosophers Kant, Fichte and Schelling. The next year he
spent in Heidelberg, that romantic old town so beautifully situated in
the neighborhood of Switzerland and Italy. Here Schumann met the eminent
pandectist Thibaut; but even this great professor was unable to overcome
the student's aversion for the legal profession. Again music became the
centre of his existence. Life was charming, the time being much occupied
by social events and trips which were made to the neighboring towns and
valleys. On these occasions Schumann used to practice on a dumb piano
even when riding in a carriage. In the fall he enjoyed a delightful trip
to Switzerland and upper Italy, and the spirit in which he describes his
impressions, changing from wit or rapture into melancholy, from admiration
into home-sickness, is very characteristic of his peculiar nature. The
stay in Heidleberg was prolonged for another term, which, however, was
again mainly devoted to piano study and composition, it being here that
he composed his first piano pieces. His skill being widely known, he was
often invited to parties, appearing also in a public concert, where he
played variations by Moscheles. The struggle between filial obedience and
loyalty to his genius had now reached its climax. At a concert given by
Paganini in Frankfort, he was deeply impressed, and resolved to live no
longer in uncertainty. Accordingly in July, 1830, he sent his mother that
famous letter in which he pleads that his future must be devoted to art,
and offers to submit unreservedly to the decision of Wieck. To his immense
delight the latter's advice was favorable and removed all doubts and
objections. Thus Schumann returned to Leipsic as an enthusiastic student
of his beloved art.

[Illustration: From a portrait taken in 1831, Schumann being then in his
twenty-first year. During this year he wrote his opus 2--"Papillons."]

Of the four ways in which a musician may shape his practical career,
teaching, conducting, playing and composing, Schumann chose the last
two as being most congenial to him, aiming particularly at the greatest
possible virtuosity. He devoted himself to mechanical exercises with an
almost sacred energy, even inventing devices to promote his abilities in
shorter time than a natural development would allow. At the same time
he continued composing, and though having no thorough instruction, he
found by his wonderful instinct an adequate form for the expression of
his feelings and ideas, a form which could not be called unmusical or
amateurish. Indeed in looking to-day at these earlier compositions, we
forget that they were written by a man who was only half educated in
music, and we admire the genius which guided him in finding the truest
language for his rich musical nature. But this was not all. His highly
cultivated mind, his desire to promote art by every possible means,
compelled him to become also a leading literary champion of its interests.
Leipsic was at that time a great musical centre, although the famous
epoch only began in 1835, when Mendelssohn was appointed conductor of the
Gewandhaus Orchestra.

[Illustration: CLARA SCHUMANN.

From an engraving by Weger after a photograph.]

Before this, however, Schumann had to experience a sad disappointment. A
gradually increasing lameness of the middle finger of the right hand (a
consequence of his mechanical contrivances) spoiled every hope of his
becoming a virtuoso. In spite of this new obstacle he devoted himself
only the more to composition, and feeling sadly the lack of the necessary
theoretical instruction, applied to Dorn, conductor of the opera, for
lessons. During the winter 1832-33 he stayed with his family in Zwickau,
where, in a concert given by Clara Wieck, he conducted the first movement
of an unpublished symphony in G minor.

Schumann was fortunate in being so well situated pecuniarily that he was
not obliged to earn his living during the years of the development of his
genius. After his return to Leipsic he studied in private, surrounding
himself with a few talented friends. Not content with their own mutual
instruction in the spirit and beauty of old masterworks, and the
enthusiastic appreciation of the productions of younger composers; firmly
believing in the possibility of a new and brilliant epoch of musical art,
these young men desired to do all in their power to realize their hopes.
In pursuance of this idea they started a magazine, "Die neue Zeitschrift
für Musik," which for many years was destined to exercise a wide influence
in Germany. Its principal mission was to plead for a more poetic
conception of music, and this cause was presented in an entirely new
poetic language. Poetry and prose, reality and fiction were combined in a
very ingenious manner. A society of Davidites was founded, more in fiction
than reality, not confined to a circle of enthusiasts, but comprising all
the old masters as well as those then living, Mozart and Bach as well as
Berlioz, Chopin and Mendelssohn. All writers of meaningless trivialities
or dry, unpoetic formalities were attacked as "Philistines." In a similar
way Schumann combined fiction and reality in this literary occupation by
substituting for his own individuality three different characters, to
personify the different sides of his nature, Florestan representing all
that was passionate, manly, energetic; Eusebius embracing all that was
sweet, tender or imaginative; with the more objective, experienced and
reconciling figure of old Raro, acting as moderator of both. Some years
before this paper was started, Schumann had made his literary debut by
contributions to other magazines, his first work, when he was twenty-one
years old, being that glorious article on Chopin's opus 2, giving a most
poetic record of the feeling which the music of the rising genius had
awakened within him. His own paper made its first appearance in April,
1834, and Schumann, who soon became its sole editor and proprietor, kept
this position until 1844, when he took up his residence in Dresden. That
small portion of his time which was unoccupied with journalistic work, was
devoted to composing, the fruits being a number of piano works of striking
originality and of a great variety of moods and forms.

[Illustration: In German A flat is As, B natural is H, and E flat is Es.]

Although Schumann's musical and literary occupations laid strong claim to
his time and attention, yet much of his interest was absorbed by affairs
of a private nature. For years he had watched closely the development of
Clara Wieck; but warm as his feelings were for her, there was another
young woman who for a while took possession of his heart, Ernestine von
Fricken, daughter of a Bohemian baron from Asch, a name made famous
through Schumann's "Carnival scenes," which are mostly based on the four
notes corresponding with the letters of that town (also the only musical
letters in his own name). This engagement was, however, broken in 1835,
and the following years, so rich in musical and literary productions, were
also marked by a continuous struggle for that wonderful artist, Clara
Wieck, whose name was to become inseparably united with his own. Not only
from his letters, but also from many compositions, we learn the extent of
Schumann's sufferings from Wieck's obstinate refusal to give his daughter
to one who had not yet gained a safe position and who was so far known
more as a critic than as a composer. Schumann tried everything to improve
his position, publishing his paper for a while in Vienna but without
finding the desired success, and, after his return to Leipsic, procuring
from the university of Jena the honorary degree of doctor of philosophy,
on the ground of his writings and efforts in the interest of art. His
stay in Vienna was not without influence on his future development as
a composer, and it had, besides this, the great result of bringing to
light some of Schubert's finest compositions, especially the symphony
in C, which Schumann not only sent at once to Mendelssohn for its first
glorious performance, but presented to the world in all its beauty through
a wonderful article published in his magazine. His doctor diploma, dated
Feb. 24, 1840, speaks in the highest terms of his merits as a composer and


From an engraving after a daguerreotype.]

With all his efforts and his growing popularity, Schumann could not
gain favor in the eyes of father Wieck; only after a long term of legal
proceedings were the happy pair united in marriage, their wedding being
celebrated in a church near Leipsic in Sept., 1840. It was a union of
greatest importance not only to themselves but to music. Both were true
companions in an ideal struggle, true Davidites and priests of art, Clara
Schumann not only continuing her career as a splendid interpreter of
the classics of Beethoven, Mendelssohn, Chopin and Schumann, but at the
same time tenderly watching over her husband's health and temper, which
was marked by a growing irritability. Honor though it was to be Robert
Schumann's wife, it required a great character and supreme devotion.
Looking at his happy family life, reading his expressions of gratitude,
esteem and love for his wife; hearing those who have seen him play with
his children, once more we say that it is not only the artist, but the man
Schumann for whom we feel a deep sympathy and esteem. Yet his disposition
was not wholly free from features of a less agreeable nature. His
sensitiveness and taciturnity often made him appear in an unsympathetic
light, or offend those who meant well with him. But this was only a sign
of the deep-rooted disease, which developed so steadily and which so early
wrecked his mind and body.

The culmination of Schumann's happiness being attained, his creative
powers increased wonderfully. Now he felt compelled to confide the music
of his soul to the human voice and suddenly appeared as a great master
in a new field, by producing a wealth of songs, perfectly original in
style, form and spirit. Love, of course, plays a prominent but not
exclusive part in them. Yet his genius was seeking for still higher fields
and larger forms. The following year was devoted to the composition of
great orchestral works, three symphonies (two of which were published
much later in different shape) and the first movement of the pianoforte
concerto. In this higher sphere Schumann again proved himself a master,
the first symphony in B-flat, given most successfully under Mendelssohn's
direction, showing his genius at once in the most brilliant light. This
fever for composing did not in the least abate in 1842, the year devoted
to chamber music, when he wrote the three string quartets, the quintet
and quartet for pianoforte and strings, which were unsurpassed by any
later efforts. Far from being exhausted, in 1843 he completed besides
the famous variations for two pianofortes, the great cantata "Paradise
and the Peri." It was received most enthusiastically, and its success
stimulated him to write a similar work of still higher order, the musical
setting of the most difficult and mysterious scenes from the second part
of Goethe's "Faust." Meanwhile he had continued the work for his musical
journal, accompanied his wife to concerts in Hamburg and Russia, where
he was highly honored as a composer, and had also filled a position as
professor for pianoforte and composition at the new Conservatory opened
in April, 1843, with Mendelssohn as director. Of this latter work of
Schumann little has become known, and from his uncommunicative nature one
has inferred that he lacked the talent of a true teacher. In 1844 he
severed his connection with the Conservatory and with his journal also,
and took up his residence in Dresden. Overwork and the exerting musical
life in Leipsic had greatly increased his nervousness and he expected a
speedy recovery in the royal capital, with its lovely surroundings and
quiet life. However it took years to fully restore him. Yet in these very
years Schumann wrote his glorious symphony in C, and devoted much time
to strict contrapuntal studies, composing several works in this style.
He finally took a more active part in Dresden's social life, keeping
a friendly intercourse with other musicians, poets and artists, and a
sincere interest in the opera, then directed by young Wagner. At that time
the reform of the musical drama was in Dresden the centre of all musical
interests, and Schumann felt a deep desire to solve the great problem in
his own way.

We shall speak below more extensively about his only opera "Genoveva."
Although it was completed in Dresden, in 1848, it had its first
performance in the summer of 1850, in Leipsic, under his own direction. It
was repeated there a few times, but was undeniably a great disappointment
in spite of all its musical beauties. Schumann was deeply affected,
disagreeing entirely with the critics as to the dramatic character of
his work. Much more successful were the first performances of his music
to "Faust," presented at the centenary of Goethe's birthday in Dresden,
Leipsic and Weimar. Several years later Schumann added more numbers, but
the entire work was given in its present shape only after his death.

In the winter of 1846-47, Robert and Clara Schumann made a trip to Vienna,
where the latter played her husband's concerto (completed in 1845), and he
conducted his first symphony. The Viennese admired her playing but showed
far less appreciation for his music than the North Germans or even the
Russians. In 1847, Schumann succeeded Hiller as director of the Dresden
"Liedertafel," and in 1848 he started a mixed chorus, which afforded him
more genuine pleasure than the male chorus. With them he gave the Faust
music, and "Paradise and the Peri," studied Beethoven's great Mass in D,
and began to believe in his abilities as a conductor to such a degree,
that when, in 1849, it was rumored that Rietz, Mendelssohn's successor
in Leipsic, was going to Berlin, Schumann eagerly applied for the high
position. Rietz, however, remained. During these last years in Dresden,
Schumann had finished a large number of chamber works, songs, duets, male,
female and mixed choruses with or without accompaniment, piano pieces, and
the music to Byron's "Manfred."


Modelled by the sculptor Dondorf.]

In 1850, Hiller again recommended Schumann to become his successor as
director of the orchestral and choral concerts in Düsseldorf, and a
call being extended, it was readily accepted by the composer. For such
a work he had neither the natural gifts nor the necessary preparation,
his conducting being hesitating, his way of rehearsing not in the least
instructive. Fluent as was his style in writing, he lacked the gift of
easily imparting his ideas. However, he was received with high honors and
for three seasons performed his new duties, also several times taking
part in the great vocal festivals. All his works were listened to with
delight; nevertheless it constantly became more evident that he was unfit
for the position, and in 1853 his engagement was not renewed, the decision
affecting him deeply. A visit to Leipsic made by the artists in 1852 for
the performance of several novelties, was also rather disappointing, while
the triumphant tour through Holland, at the end of 1853, forms the last
sunny period of Schumann's life.

In these years he had composed feverishly, some of the results being
such great and famous productions as the Rhenish symphony, the cantata,
"the Pilgrimage of the Rose," several overtures, ballads for soli,
chorus and orchestra, a mass, a requiem, several chamber works, songs,
melodramas and pianoforte pieces. He also planned writing another opera
on Schiller's "Bride of Messina" or Gœthe's "Hermann and Dorothea," or a
great popular oratorio on "Luther," but was forced to abandon the scheme.
He was happiest amongst his children and was as talkative with them
as reticent with others. Yet his old interest in new talents remained
unabated and the way in which he encouraged young musicians, such as
Reinecke, Meinardus, Dietrich, Joachim and especially Brahms, shows him in
a most amiable light. But all this time that mysterious influence which
had so early affected his mind, was daily gaining in strength. He was
troubled so much by nervousness, a feeling of permanent anxiety, and even
by hallucinations, that he became desirous of a medical treatment in a
hospital. One night he rushed from his bed to write down a theme just sent
to him by the spirits of Schubert and Mendelssohn. Nor was he free from
superstitions, for instance passionately taking part in the practice of
table moving. On February 22, 1854, soon after dinner, without any warning
he left his house and the society of a few friends, to seek his final rest
in the floods of the Rhine. Saved by sailors, he recovered full possession
of his faculties only for a few days, in which he wrote one variation on
the theme of that strange night. During the two last years of his life he
was confined in a private hospital near Bonn. There a few friends such as
Joachim and young Brahms were admitted to see the beloved master, so sadly
afflicted both physically and mentally. His darkened mind became clear
only at rare intervals, when he would sit at the piano, once more seeking
a musical expression for the strange world of thoughts within him. But
soon all visits from friends were forbidden, and the wife of the great
composer saw him only to close his eyes and bid him a last farewell. He
died July 2, 1856, only forty-six years old. In Bonn, where he is buried,
a beautiful monument by Donndorf is erected in his memory.

In appearance Schumann was rather tall and stately, calm and slow in his
movements, the face, with deep, melancholy eyes and rich dark hair, being
quite expressive, but seldom betraying the emotions of his soul, the
wealth and depth of his imagination or the exquisite wit and humor, so
often encountered in his works. Certain odd peculiarities of his personal
and artistic character, which became more apparent when his health
began to fail, can not impair the general impression of his true nature
as manifested in the achievements of his happier days. If we remember
how late Schumann entered upon a musical career, how late he enjoyed a
thorough theoretical instruction, how much he has also done in the field
of literature, how early his health began to be impaired, and at what an
early age he was called away, we are astonished at the mass of his works,
so many of them of the widest scope and importance, which place his name
among the noblest and greatest masters.

[Illustration: Fac-simile autograph letter from Schumann to a lady,
thanking her for her soulful singing in one of his concerts.]

[Illustration: Fac-simile of portion of letter from Clara Schumann to Karl
Klauser, thanking him for introducing her husband's music in Farmington,
Conn., where it was performed before it became known in New York. The
musicians of that period were pleased to call Farmington "Schumannville."
Hence her greetings to that place, unknown to the Gazetteer of the U. S.]


Fac-simile musical manuscript of the opening of Schumann's Quintette Op.
44. The original is in the possession of J. Brahms.]

In a certain sense Schumann's works may be regarded as a musical
commentary on his life. This is particularly true of his earlier
pianoforte compositions. Being neither the result of theoretical studies
nor the imitation of favorite masters, they were of a surprising
originality, melodically, rhythmically and harmonically, and revealed a
new spirit in a new form in spite of all relationship to Schubert's small
character pieces, Beethoven's last sonatas or Bach's polyphonic style.
They were not only new, but bold and full of a higher significance.
Schumann was never at a loss for ideas, but, being familiar with every
style of pianoforte playing from Bach's to Moscheles' and Chopin's, and
aiming at the career of a virtuoso, he wrote from the beginning in a very
difficult style, rich in wonderful new effects and combinations. Sometimes
we find a "pearl of great price" hidden beneath a wealth of ornament of
unusual beauty, novelty and poetic significance. So peculiar indeed is the
style of these pianoforte works, that special technical study is required
in order to do them justice.

Like all our great composers, Schumann frequently makes use of variations,
of course not in Henri Herz's manner, but in Beethoven's, creating out of
one original idea a series of characteristic pieces, strongly contrasted
in form and spirit. In Heidelberg, long before his studies with Dorn,
he wrote those on A-b-e-gg, dedicated to a countess of this name, who,
however, was in reality nothing but a modest, untitled young lady, with
whom he had become acquainted at a ball. The Impromptu (Op. 5), on a theme
of Clara Wieck, belongs to this class also. But of much greater importance
are the two works, in which he best showed the peculiar character of his
pianoforte virtuosity, the Symphonic Studies (Op. 13) and the Andante
with variations for two pianofortes (Op. 46). The extremely interesting
treatment in these works is very free, but always ingenious, and the
technical and intellectual difficulties are very great.

Rarely one meets with a long cantilena, in Schumann's earlier works,
the material generally having a short, somewhat fragmentary character,
often consisting of but a few notes, though treated with a wealth of
rhythmical or harmonical combinations. There is also a great variety of
moods, and the contrasts are not only very distinct, but often unexpected
and sudden. As a dreamer full of sweetest or saddest thoughts he is not
less touching than as a musical knight of the most chivalrous spirit or
as a humorist such as Beethoven. Nowhere can one find a finer exhibition
of that peculiar German humor which "laughs through tears," than in
Schumann's charming "Humoreske" (Op. 20). The arrangements of the Paganini
caprices and studies have a more pedagogic purpose, while the great
Toccata (Op. 7) and the Allegro (Op. 8) may be called Schumann's noblest
contributions to the literature of bravoura-pieces. More characteristic
of his individuality, however, are those works with which his name as
a musical poet will always remain especially connected--"Papillons,"
"Carnival," "Davidsbündlertänze," "Phantasiestücke," "Scenes from
Childhood," "Kreisleriana" and "Noveletten." Distinct pictures of his
poetical imagination form their object, yet it is well to remember the
composer's emphatic declaration, that the music originated in his mind and
was written down before he even thought of the title, which he afterward
gave the composition. Yet so wonderfully appropriate are many of these
titles, that it is often impossible not to perceive their meaning in
the music. What an inexhaustible wealth of musical ideas is hidden in
all these productions, how many new rhythmical combinations, how many
"sweetest discords"! Who has ever understood how to show so much depth
of feeling and originality of thought, such a rich imagination within
such narrow limits as has Schumann, particularly in the "Papillons"
and "Carnival"! One feels that much of his own life's experience,
much of the romance of his heart is embodied in this music. Thus the
"Davidsbündlertänze" are by no means "dances," but the Davidites' knightly
fights against the Philistines, nor are the "Kreisleriana" a portrayal
of the eccentric Capellmeister in E. T. A. Hoffmann's tale, but the
expression of Schumann's own enthusiastic, romantic, many-sided nature and
of the ever-varying moods of his soul. In the Novelettes he tells us, in a
most pleasing and spirited language, the story of his struggle for Clara's
heart. The Phantasiestücke contain veritable gems among modern pianoforte
music, such as "Evenings," "Why," "Traumeswirren" and "Aufschwung." The
utmost delicacy of sentiment and fineness of musical expression are found
in the "Scenes from Childhood," which are not meant as compositions for
children, but as musical genre pictures from the children's life. Other
fine pieces such as "Arabeske," "Blumenstück," "Nachtstücke," may be only
mentioned, though each deserves a detailed analysis.

In three Sonatas Schumann has attempted to force the wealth of his
imagination into an old classic form, but as he had not then perfected
himself in the latter, and besides wrote the single movements at wide
intervals, he could hardly be expected to make a complete success. The
material is almost crowded, the development often lacks coherence, the
different portions are not of equal value; and yet, considering these
productions as free music, we recognize again the composer's vast
powers of invention and combination, his passionate energy, delicacy of
sentiment and brilliancy of style. Of these sonatas, the one in G minor
is generally praised as the best. On a higher plane we place the great
fantasia in C, Op. 17, dedicated to Liszt. Here Schumann's imagination was
free from strict formal fetters; the four movements keep one's interest
evenly and keenly alive, and, apparently written in hours of inspiration,
they go directly from heart to heart. The earnest, noble character
and lofty spirit of this work remind us indeed of Beethoven, to whose
monument Schumann had first intended to contribute it as an "obolus." Its
difficulties are such, that only eminent players are able to master them
and make the meaning of the music clear.

Among Schumann's later pianoforte compositions the following are best
known: the lively, fanciful "Faschingsschwank," composed in Vienna during
the carnival; three romances, of which the one in F-sharp is particularly
famous; some fugues and other pieces in strict contrapuntal style; the
"Scenes from the Woods" (among which is the odd "Bird as Prophet"); "Bunte
Blätter"; "Phantasiestücke"; "20 Album Leaves" (including the popular
cradle song); and "Gesänge der Frühe"; "Three little Sonatas," dedicated
to his daughters, and the well known "Album for the Young," with its
forty-three charming pieces, are certainly among the most valuable works
ever written for children.

Of the compositions for four hands none deserves more sympathy than the
charming "Pictures from the Orient," inspired by Rückert's "Makamen des
Hariri," certainly in no way inferior to the famous "Evening Song" from
the twelve pieces Op. 85, while the elaborate "Ball Scenes" and the easier
"Children's Ball" were written at a later period.

The pianoforte concerto in A minor ranks directly after Beethoven's.
It has a truly symphonic character, especially in the first and last
movements, the orchestra accompaniment being not less important than the
brilliant solo part, while the middle movement, Intermezzo, seems even
like a lovely solo for the violoncello with piano accompaniment. Two more
concert pieces for pianoforte with orchestra are an Allegro appassionato
(Op. 92) and a Concert Allegro with Introduction (Op. 134), the latter
dedicated to Joh. Brahms.

When, in 1840, Schumann reached the sunshine of domestic happiness, he was
compelled to express his joy in singing, not only in vocal compositions,
but also in his instrumental pieces, which now began to assume a more
sustained melodic breadth. He played no instrument besides the pianoforte,
and for this reason has often been accused of not fully understanding the
true nature of string or wood instruments. We admit that occasionally a
desired effect is not well produced, but a thousand instances prove that
as a general statement such an accusation is entirely false. There are
portions where the composer shows a lack of transparency, but a great many
more are very brilliant and most finely balanced. His use of the strings
is certainly effective enough in his chamber works, though the finest
results are obtained in their combination with the pianoforte.

The three string quartets dedicated to Mendelssohn show the latter's great
influence on Schumann's progress in larger forms. Later the composer
changed many details, and now we class them among the most valuable
productions of the kind since Beethoven's death, the beauty of the ideas
and their fascinating treatment increasing our admiration with each
hearing. Schumann likes to place the Scherzo before the slow movement and
to substitute for the Trio an Intermezzo in two-four time. Greater than
these quartets, however, are the famous quintet and quartet in E-flat
for pianoforte and strings. The former especially has been called the
greatest chamber work since Beethoven, and it has not yet been thrust
from this position of honor. How one would have liked to witness the
first performance of this splendid work with Clara Schumann, to whom it
is dedicated, at the piano! Two very short themes form the basis of the
first movement, which has a bright, energetic character and received an
extremely rich harmonic treatment with a brilliant ornamental figure
work. Then follows a funeral march of a peculiar character, having a
choral-like episode in the major key, and a passionate agitato in F minor.
The highly spirited Scherzo has again two trios, one sweet and melodious,
and the other a labyrinth of mysterious sounds and thoughts. The same
harmonic wealth and energetic spirit we find again in the Finale, in which
through a combination of the principal theme with the first one in the
opening moment, a grand climax is reached, closing a work which, with all
its romantic spirit and modern rhythm and harmony, retains the character
of a perfectly classic masterpiece. The pianoforte quartet deserves as
much praise, one of its most conspicuous features being the close relation
which Schumann bears to Bach, while retaining his own strikingly modern
poetical spirit.


From a lithograph from life, by Edward Kaiser, in 1847.]

The trios for piano, violin and violoncello in D minor and F are of a high
order too, full of ingenious ideas, one being especially interesting by
its passionate, poetic spirit, the other through a greater perfection in
form; but the originality and artistic perfection which characterize them
do not appear in the G minor trio [Op. 110]. Of a lighter character, yet
delightful on every page, are the "Phantasiestücke" for violin, 'cello and
piano, and the "Märchenerzählungen" for piano, clarinet and viola.

The two passionate, melancholy Violin Sonatas of his later years are, in
spite of their great musical worth, perhaps more gratifying for players
than for a concert audience, while many an enjoyable page may be found
among the different compositions for clarinet, horn, viola, or violoncello
and pianoforte.

Schumann's organ compositions are few in number, the principal ones
being the six fugues on B-A-C-H, which differ considerably in value and

Besides the pianoforte concerto already mentioned, Schumann has composed
one for violoncello in A minor, demanding a player of great musical
intelligence: one for four horns, a revival of the old concerto grosso,
and a fantasia for violin with orchestral accompaniment dedicated to
Joachim, who owns also the manuscript of a whole violin concerto.
All these works belong to Schumann's last period, showing traces of
exhaustion, but still his noble, always purely artistic purposes.

In order to picture Schumann's orchestral works with any degree
of justice, we should be gifted with his own wonderful powers of
description, thus producing upon our readers an impression similar to that
produced by the musical work upon a sympathetic listener. What a splendid
protest are they against the faint-hearted belief, that with Beethoven's
"Ninth" the symphony as such had not only reached its supreme development,
but died. Surely it required a genius, a great personality, a thorough
master of the symphonic art to write in this field something worthy of
the great predecessors, and yet original. But such a personality was
Schumann, and his symphonies will forever belong to the golden treasure
of instrumental music. Far from being imitations in any respect, they
hold an independent position of their own and will live as long as their
composer's name. Already the first one in B-flat appears at once as a
masterpiece of lasting value. In this he might be called a younger brother
of Beethoven, a lad with youthful thoughts and hopes and longings, with
rosy cheeks and brilliant eyes, full of sweetest tenderness and mirth,
but glowing with youth, manliness and vigor. His kinship with Schubert is
often apparent too, although he always shows his own peculiar face. In
regard to the form, he introduces many new features.

This is particularly noticeable in his treatment of the second theme in
the first and last movements, in the use of two trios in the Scherzo, and
in the melodious Larghetto, which greatly resembles his Phantasiestücke
for piano. Throughout, this music is extremely inspiriting; in spite of
an occasional lack of clearness in the instrumentation it is powerful and
brilliant or of exquisite delicacy, and its spirit full of love, happiness
and spring.

The second symphony in D minor, later revised and published as No. 4, is
decidedly more passionate and concentrated, some of the four movements
being closely connected, besides having partly a common thematic material.
New also is the slow impressive introduction of the finale and the free,
fantasia-like treatment of the second part of the opening movement. In
the place of a broad adagio a lovely romance precedes the Scherzo, which
retains its usual shape, and in all four movements the principal key of D
is dominant.

Schumann's relationship to Beethoven seems however nowhere more
conspicuous than in the great symphony in C. It has an eminently virile,
strong and dithyrambic character. The solemn introduction of the first
movement, the conciseness of its first part, the wide scope of the
working-out portion, even the character of the themes, remind us at once
of Beethoven's spirit. An extensive, fanciful scherzo with two different
trios in two-four time precedes the beautiful Adagio, which, with its
intense feeling, sweet sadness and almost transcendental loftiness,
comes perhaps nearer to Beethoven than anything else in modern symphonic
literature. An exultant finale crowns this truly monumental work. And
let us not forget that it was written in a gloomy period of mental and
physical distress. The deep study of Bach at that time left many traces in
the masterly contrapuntal work.

A new world is revealed in the so-called Rhenish Symphony in E-flat.
There Schumann begins at once with the Allegro, the first subject of the
movement bearing a vigorous character with effective syncopations and clad
in all the splendor of the full orchestra, the second being a charming
melody in G minor. Omitting the usual repetition of the first part, he
extends the working-out portion by new and ingenious combinations of the
two subjects. Here again we are often reminded of Beethoven. After the
brilliant Coda a lovely intermezzo follows with a sweet, almost popular
melody for the 'celli, alternating with a lively staccato figure of the
string and wood instruments and a romantic song for two horns, the whole
suggesting perhaps a pleasant trip on the Rhine at sunset. And is there
anything more delicate and touching in any modern symphony than the
Andante in A-flat, where every instrument seems to have a soul and to
sing directly into our inmost heart, now plaintive and sad, now consoling
with an indescribable delicacy of feeling. Still the composer does not
hasten to the finale, but puts in another slow movement in E-flat minor
in the character of a solemn ceremony (suggested by the installation of
the archbishop in Cologne), highly effective by its spirit, and vastly
interesting by its masterly counterpoint and rich instrumentation. It
touches us like liberty regained from such mysteries when the finale opens
with its brilliant, vigorous theme, and the whole glorious movement fills
our hearts with its own enthusiastic spirit. Yet this great work was
written when Schumann's powers began to decay, and when he was occupied
with many less successful efforts in other musical fields.

The fifth symphonic work, written directly after the first symphony,
but revised and published later under the title "Overture, Scherzo and
Finale," has also become a favorite because of its charming, inspiriting
character, especially prominent in the scherzo, which is an excellent
revival of the old gigue form.


An imaginary and fantastic character introduced in various novels and
sketches by E. T. A. Hoffman, impersonating a true musician devoted to the
highest ideals in conflict with the banale and frivolous world and ending
in insanity. This sketch is by Hoffman himself, showing Kreisler amusing
himself blowing soap-bubbles, seeming to say: "What is the world after
all, but a soap-bubble?"

The figure of Kreisler and his various moods depicted in Hoffman's novels
induced Schumann to write his Op. 16 Kreisleriana, dedicated to F. Chopin.

A prototype of Schumann's own life and sad end.]

Notwithstanding Schumann's admiration for Berlioz, his firm belief in the
close relation between poetry and music, and his programmatic tendencies
in earlier pianoforte works, it is very significant that he has in all his
orchestral writing closely followed the path of his great predecessors.
Hereby he gave great encouragement to still cling to the classic
tradition, and to believe in the possibility of a further development of
the symphonic form.

Even the master's overtures may be regarded in this light of pure music,
although they refer to certain distinct objects. They all were first
intended as preludes for some drama or festival occasion, such as the
one on the Rhine-wine song, in which after a long orchestral movement a
tenor solo leads over to the popular chorus finale. The overtures to his
dramatic works "Genoveva" and "Manfred" rank highest, and will be dwelt
upon later; the others refer to Shakespeare's "Julius Cæsar," scenes of
Gœthe's "Faust," Gœthe's "Hermann and Dorothea," and Schiller's "Bride of
Messina"; the last named being particularly worthy of a deep interest and

Omitting the many songs for children (some of which have a peculiar
charm), Schumann has composed over two hundred works in this smallest
form of vocal music, the majority of which were written in the happy year
of his marriage. They made Schumann at once a peer of Franz Schubert,
and placed him in the front rank of German song composers as the
representative of an entirely new style, which has been quite successfully
adopted by younger masters. His poetic nature enabled him, so to speak,
to repeat the whole process of the poet in the conception and shaping
of his work, but as a musician and in the richer and more delicate
language of music, and thus to more clearly express the finest thoughts
and feelings of the poem. The words are treated very melodiously, but
with a fine sense for correct accentuation. Although the voice retains
the melodic expression of the sentiment, the accompaniment, far from
being a conventional support, is raised to such importance that it is
absolutely essential to the vocal strain. Thus much that the poet could
only suggest, found a wonderfully distinct musical expression, partly in
fine preludes, interludes and postludes, and partly in the details of
the strict accompaniment. Here again, one is surprised at the abundance
of new harmonic and rhythmic combinations. These songs demand the most
intimate harmony between singer and player and most of them lose greatly
by a translation in any other language, as the music is often closely
connected, not only with the thought and sentiment, but with the special
poetic diction of the German text. Schumann has sometimes been accused of
lacking a thorough comprehension of the human voice; in a certain sense
this may be true, on the other hand one must admit that there are few
public singers who are capable of giving a just rendering of his finest
songs, many of which are besides hardly appropriate for the concert hall.

The master's high culture guided him in the selection of poems, and the
great representatives of German lyric poetry, Heine, Rückert, Eichendorff,
Chamisso, and Kerner, owe a great deal of their popularity to Schumann,
as so many of their finest poems have become inseparably connected with
his music. In his several cycles of songs (Heine's and Eichendorff's
"Liederkreis," Heine's "Dichterliebe," Rückert's "Liebesfrühling,"
to which Clara Schumann has contributed some numbers, and Chamisso's
"Frauen-Liebe und Leben"), the single numbers are not connected, but their
coherence is often indicated by some other way. Intensity and purity of
feeling, truth of expression for situations or moods of every kind, and a
rare harmony between the poetic and musical senses secure to many of these
songs the highest position in this kind of literature. Some have a simple,
almost popular character (particularly those by Burns), others are very
elaborate. In ballads ("Belsazar," "Soldier's Bride," "Two Grenadiers,"
"Die Rothe Hanne," "Der arme Peter," etc.), Schumann has a peculiar style
of his own, differing much from that of the great master of German ballad
music, Loewe, less popular, yet in many ways not less effective. Less
happy perhaps are his later settings of the songs from Gœthe's "Wilhelm
Meister" and of poems of Elise Kullmann, Queen Mary Stuart and others.

Much could be said of the many delightful vocal duets, varying so much in
style and spirit, and interesting us so much both in the vocal and piano
parts. Yet we can only mention them here, as well as the several important
and larger works for solo voices and piano in a cyclic form, such as the
"Minnespiel" from Rückert's "Liebesfrühling," the "Spanische Liederspiel"
and "Spanische Liebeslieder," all of which should be favorite numbers for
vocal chamber concerts.

Next in our review stand the part songs for mixed, female or male voices.
Some of them deserve a place beside Mendelssohn's little masterpieces,
others are almost forgotten or, like the great motet for double male
chorus and organ, or the canons on Rückert's "Ritornelle," are beyond
the sphere of male chorus societies. Few have won a greater popularity
than the "Gipsy Life" with piano, triangle and tambourine. Of greater
importance, however, are several works with orchestra, undeservedly
neglected, Rückert's "Advent" and "New Year Songs," Hebbel's gloomy
"Nachtlied," and especially the touching "Requiem for Mignon" from
Gœthe's "Wilhelm Meister." Less distinction is attributed to the four
great ballads for chorus, soli and orchestra, Uhland's "Glück von
Edenhall," "des Sänger's Fluch," "der Königssohn," and Geibel's "Vom
Pagen und der Königstochter." By having these ballads arranged in a
more extended, dramatic form, Schumann impaired the work of the poet;
moreover he succeeded only partially in his musical setting, weak portions
predominating over the more effective and even fine passages, which
are by no means wanting. The Requiem and the Mass, both for chorus and
orchestra without solos, the latter acknowledged as decidedly superior,
were composed in feverish haste, and give little proof of his ability to
reveal his religious feelings by means of great choruses or to adapt his
music to the Catholic service. In these late years he tried his powers in
almost every field of composition, even applying the melodramatic form to
poems, which are recited to a pianoforte accompaniment ("Schön Hedwig,"
"die Flüchtlinge," "der Haideknabe.")

[Illustration: CLARA SCHUMANN.

From a photograph by Hanfstängl, Munich.]

There yet remain several great works which have helped to make Schumann's
name immortal. In the poem of "Paradise and the Peri," forming a part of
Thomas Moore's "Lalla Rookh," Schumann found a subject particularly suited
to his individuality, a touching romantic fairy tale with rich Oriental
scenery and pictures of strongly contrasted vivid colors. Schumann changed
the poem in some places and made a few additions of his own, but did
not in the least impair its beauty or coherency. The epic portions are
attributed to different solo voices and sometimes even to the chorus. The
orchestral accompaniment is very elaborate, demanding great care for an
adequate performance. All these scenes in India, Africa and at the gates
of Eden required a sensuous, yet refined instrumentation to portray them
in their peculiar colors. Orchestra and the human voice were called upon
to furnish the truest and most touching expression for the varied emotions
of every number, which might be warlike and thrilling or tender and sweet,
exuberant with joy or hopeless with despair, illustrating the charm of
a blooming scenery or the gloom, suffering and death brought by the
plague. The solos demand singers with beautiful, well-trained voices, and
a thorough comprehension of all the musical and poetic beauties. A more
brilliant and impressive soprano solo part than the Peri does not exist in
all concert literature. There are also parts assigned to a second soprano,
alto, tenor and two bass voices, the solos alternating with concerted
numbers of extreme beauty. Of the chorus numbers the finales of parts one
and three are on a large plan and have a jubilant and highly spirited
character. Not less beautiful are the smaller numbers, each so wonderfully
adapted to its particular situation and mood. Indeed one cannot speak
too highly of all this music, and even one who does not sympathize with
some monotonous portions in the third part, or an occasional deviation
from correct declamation, will admit that this work is indeed the finest
repository of the wealth, beauty and peculiarity of Robert Schumann's
musical genius, in a field in which he has no superior and hardly a rival.
It inaugurated indeed a new form of secular chorus music, more modern in
spirit and freer in the whole arrangement than the oratorio proper, more
dramatic than the cantata, and of greater refinement than the opera.

"The Pilgrimage of the Rose" cannot claim a similar high position.
Arranged for Schumann by Horn after a poem of Pfarrius, it deals with a
conventional story of a weakly, sentimental character, in spite of a few
highly poetical incidents, and is unduly extended. Yet the music contains
a most beautiful chorus for male voices with horns, and charming mixed
choruses for female and mixed voices, their tones being either soft and
mellow or as bright and spirited as anything written in much younger and
happier years. The solos are, however, more monotonous, the famous duet
of the miller and his wife being one of the few exceptions. It is also
doubtful whether Schumann did right in arranging the original piano
accompaniment for a whole orchestra.

The second immortal work, by which Schumann has enriched vocal concert
literature, is his music to scenes from Gœthe's "Faust." Part I. consists,
after the weak overture, of the scenes in the garden, the dome, and before
the Mater dolorosa, from the first part of Gœthe's tragedy; the scene
in the garden is distinguished by a peculiarly fine musical dialogue
and orchestral accompaniment, that in the dome by the addition of an
impressive Dies iræ. The more important scenes, however, divided in two
parts, are from Gœthe's second play: "Ariel's song in the morning dawn,"
"Sunrise," "Faust's monologue," "Scene of the four grey women," "Faust's
blinding, death and glorification." For this mystic poetry Schumann has
found a sublime musical language, which revealed to thousands the beauty
of Gœthe's verses, and the hidden meaning of his thoughts. The fantastic
scene of the grey women, Faust's farewell song, the dialogue between
Mephisto and his Lemures, digging Faust's grave, the latter's death
followed by a wonderful postlude, are extremely impressive. Yet the climax
is reached in the half-religious, allegorical third part, where saints and
angels sing, amongst them Gretchen as "una poenitentium." Here are true
gems of musical sublimity, comparable with nothing else in the works of
Schumann or any other composer. The incorporeal world of spirits becomes
almost visible through the music. The final chorus in eight parts shows in
its solemn beginning a marvellous mastery of contrapuntal art, while the
allegro on the "eternal womanly" perhaps in neither of the two different
settings which Schumann has written, fully reaches his high intentions,
and is unduly extended. There are many solo and concerted numbers, yet
Faust remains the central figure. The sublime music accorded to him makes
his part unique, approaches nearest the Christ in Bach's "Passion," and
demands a noble voice, technical perfection, and the finest shading in the
spiritual expression of every phrase. The orchestral part, too, demands a
careful preparation. Schumann also composed many numbers in which Gœthe
did not prescribe the assistance of music, and if it is true that as a
whole this work has a fragmentary character, one must not forget that
Schumann originally intended it for the concert stage, and as such it
will forever remain one of the noblest tasks for great choral societies.
However it cannot be denied that here too a full enjoyment of all the
musical depth and beauty is only possible in connection with the German
text, with the peculiar melody, rhythm and color of Gœthe's diction.

Of a somewhat fragmentary character is also the music to Byron's
"Manfred." This dramatic poem with its wealth of thought and almost
unbearable gloom was never intended for theatrical purposes; it has
a kindred spirit with Faust and even with Schumann's own nature, and
certainly no composer could have entered deeper into this poetical
glorification of melancholy and despair. Schumann wrote the music under
such conditions of mind that it could only come from the depths of his
heart. The overture ranks among his greatest productions as a highly
impressive picture of a passionate mental struggle, rich in new orchestral
effects and finenesses of expression. Besides a lovely entr'acte the
many melodramas force even upon those who generally are opposed to this
form, the confession that Schumann was one of the greatest musical
psychologists; while the few vocal numbers (except perhaps the song of the
spirits of Ahrimanes and the Requiem) have less significance. One feels
this especially in theatrical performances, which, although not intended
by either poet or composer, impress us still deeper than the usual
reading, singing and playing in concert form.

Already in 1842, Schumann had confessed that German opera was the subject
of his daily prayer, it being a field in which much could be accomplished.
This longing took a more decided shape in Dresden, where the operatic
interest predominated. There he heard many new and old operas, watching
also the development of him who was destined to become the central figure
of modern musical dramatic art. Schumann's relation to Wagner's personal
and artistic individuality and his opinion of the latter's earlier works
cover a ground on which we hope the future will gain more information
than that afforded by the occasional remarks in Schumann's letters. He
had an irresistible desire to participate in the reform of the opera, and
has shown in his "Genoveva," at least his idea of the best solution of
the problem. He believed honestly in his ability to write dramatic music.
After searching a long while among old legends and stories, thinking
also of Nibelungen, Wartburg Contest and similar subjects, he decided in
favor of "Genoveva," already treated as tragedy by Tieck and Hebbel.
The painter-poet Reinick was invited to write a libretto, based mainly
on Hebbel's drama; his book not being satisfactory, Schumann applied to
Hebbel, who, however, politely declined. The composer, being thus forced
to arrange it himself, not only combined the two different plots and
styles of Tieck and Hebbel, but added new features, and omitted others
which would have greatly increased the sympathy for his play and heroine.
Musically he followed Weber in his last operatic experiment "Euryanthe,"
closely uniting words, music and action, and connecting the single
scenes into one coherent act. But he substituted for the old form of the
recitative the more melodious, but certainly more monotonous, undramatic
arioso. There are four acts and four principal parts of contrasting
individuality. There is no lack of passionate or tender emotional scenes,
of great ensemble numbers, or of scenic display; nor does the lyric
element unduly predominate, but in Schumann's mode of treatment even the
dramatic speech assumes a lyric character, and with all the variety of
moods, all the great single effects and the large number of beautiful
music pieces (prayer, hunting song, love duet, etc.), one does not feel
able to retain a hearty, active interest till the end of the last act.
Instead of an impressive picture of human passions, sufferings and joys,
we have only a musical illustration of an old story which we liked to
read in childhood. Schumann entertained a very high opinion of his work,
saying that it did not contain one bar of undramatic music. He erred, but
nevertheless "Genoveva" remains a most interesting attempt of one of our
greatest masters to solve the operatic problem, an attempt noble in its
sincerity, rich in musical beauty and fine psychological detail, bright
in color, yet of more of the style of oil-painting than the al fresco
required by the stage. Long after the unsuccessful performances in Leipsic
the opera has been revived in many German cities, still finding to-day
a limited, but highly interested audience of those who love its author
from his immortal masterworks in other fields. At least the magnificent
overture will perpetuate its memory as a favorite concert number all over
the world.

Thus Schumann has cultivated every field of his art, not with equal
success, but always with sincere earnestness of purpose and a noble
ambition to widen its domain, and to refine its mode of expression.
How original was he in its treatment of melody, rhythm, harmony,
instrumentation, and of the relation of music to poetry, in the
combination of old forms with a new spirit and in his endeavors to find
new forms. Closely connected in spirit and form with Bach, Beethoven and
Schubert, he was himself so rich and original that he became a great
influence upon younger representatives of his art, even on the other
side of the Rhine and the British channel, though less so in southern
countries. Some younger composers were particularly successful as his
followers in some special field, while others showed his great influence
in the shaping or coloring of many of their best known and otherwise most
original productions. His music will be forever an inexhaustible source of
pure enjoyment for earnest music lovers, and of the most valuable studies
for young aspiring composers of any nationality.

There was however another means by which Schumann exercised a far-reaching
influence, namely, his literary and critical work. His writings, collected
by himself and published in two volumes, belong among the most instructive
and enjoyable books on music. Yet one must not forget the time when they
were written. Since then we have become accustomed to many new ideas
and names, while many once prominent men and once famous compositions
are already forgotten. Still, even if many articles of Schumann are
interesting more in a historical sense, we cannot help being impressed
everywhere by his pure, noble, enthusiastic spirit, his high opinion of
the dignity of art, his extensive knowledge of a general character, and
by his fine taste and clear judgment. He was as far from cold scientific
theories as from mystic philosophical comprehensions. He was fond of
an epigrammatic style, abounding in exclamations and beautiful poetic
pictures. Indeed there is undeniably a similarity of style between his
earlier writings and compositions.

Schumann's aim was to promote all high interests of art, a better
knowledge of old masters, a loving appreciation of any merits of
contemporaneous composers and the preparation of new fields for coming
talents. How happy is he, when permitted to praise enthusiastically! how
rare his ability, to so describe the beauty of a composition that we
become really acquainted with its form and spirit! Yet he is not always
enthusiastic, but sometimes quietly instructive, sarcastic and witty, or
passionately angry, as in his one-sided, yet comprehensible attacks on
Meyerbeer, Italian opera, or light piano music after the fashion of Herz.
But it shows a generous and noble character that he, a rare productive
genius, found almost his greatest pleasure in discovering new talents;
that even after many years' retirement from all journalistic work, he once
more raised his enthusiastic, prophetic voice to introduce Brahms to the
musical world! Nor was he narrow-minded regarding nationality; no Pole
could ever write of Chopin with more enthusiasm, no Frenchman of Berlioz
with a keener appreciation than Schumann did, and how heartily did he
welcome Gade the Dane, Bennett the Englishman, Verhulst the Hollander!
He calls art a fugue, in which all the civilized nations participate
alternately. His articles also abound in most remarkable statements of
a general nature. Of a true work of art he demands a spiritual meaning
and a form corresponding to the composer's individuality. "Music impels
nightingales to utter love-songs, pug-dogs to yelp." "An equipped eye
sees stars where others only clouds and shadows." "The critic must hasten
past those who are sinking and fight for the men of the future." He
ridicules those who "on a ladder try to measure a colossus like Beethoven
with yard-sticks in their hands." In his reviews on new publications he
confined himself to instrumental music, with a few exceptions. The famous
article on Schubert's symphony in C has hardly more lasting value than
the one on Berlioz, with the many significant remarks on the power of
orchestral instruments for expression and description. But his many high
praises of Mendelssohn honor him most. When once told that Mendelssohn
was not true to him, he refused to believe it and always kept his
memory as sacred as that of Schubert. Yet in speaking of their mutual
relations Schumann confessed that he could learn much from Mendelssohn,
but Mendelssohn could also learn something from him, and that, if he had
been brought up in the same happy circumstances as his contemporaries, he
would surpass them one and all. In Dresden Schumann kept a little theatre
journal, in which he wrote short notes on old and new pieces; interesting
remarks just like those in "Meister Raro's, Florestan's and Eusebius'
Denk- und Dichtbüchlein" or the well known "Rules for young people."


From an engraving by F. Schauer of Berlin, after the medallion in relief
by Prof. Rietschel.]

Aside from all musical interest, one may regard Schumann's writings as
valuable contributions to literature emanating from an author of the
finest artistic sense, a master of his language and of the most wonderful
expressions for the subtleties of poetic or musical feelings. It would
not be right not to mention here his many letters, which so far have
been published in several collections and which are as instructive for
the musician as enjoyable for the general reader. They help greatly to
understand his individuality as man and artist. By his literary writings
Schumann has perhaps exercised directly and indirectly as great an
influence as by his musical works. Yet it is the latter, by which he
will live for ever as one who has given his life-blood to his art and
enriched our literature by masterworks of absolute beauty, greatness
and originality, and who, even where he erred or made unsuccessful
experiments, is worthy of our sincere sympathy because of the honesty
of his purpose. Boundless is our gratitude and veneration for him whose
genius will continue to reach thousands of new admirers that will honor in
him a peer of those who are the corner stones of musical art.

[Illustration: Louis Kelterborn]


Fac-simile musical manuscript No. 5 of Schumann's Ritornelles, for male
chorus, in Canon form.]

[Illustration: ROBERT FRANZ

_Reproduction of a photograph from life, made in 1891, by C. Höpfner of



In the study of the history of musical art, nothing can strike our mind
more impressively than the observation of its coherency, of the connection
between the different phases in the development of each particular field
and between its most prominent representatives; but most striking is this
impression when we become aware of an influence directly felt through
generations. When about a generation ago the conservative Professor
Bischoff sarcastically threw the term "music of the future" into the
world with reference to Wagner's music dramas, the master accepted it as
a watchword, and in his pamphlet "The art work of the future," laid down
the hopes and ideals which he strove to realize. Numberless times since
then has this phrase been used everywhere, and those who, standing in the
midst of the movement, wanted to become clear as to its true meaning,
had at least to admit that all great music has ever been "music of the
future," whether its value has been recognized by contemporaries or not.
But most eminently it has seemed to apply to the great master, Johann
Sebastian Bach. Of him, who died more than fourteen decades ago, it could
have been said, that only a very remote future would do his works justice,
for even to-day they must still be regarded as "music of the future," and
the influence which they were destined to exert upon the development of
musical art in various fields, is still far from having reached its end.
It is inspiring to see how the thorough understanding and appreciation
of this genius, and of the wealth, depth and greatness of his style, are
progressing in the different countries, and just as inspiring to examine
his extraordinary influence upon the more recent epochs of musical
history. While some composers tried to follow him in his own fields,
as Mendelssohn in the oratorio or Rheinberger in compositions for the
organ, others, as Schumann and Brahms in instrumental works, have adopted
his wonderful polyphonic and contrapuntal art, showing his influence
just in those productions, which otherwise exhibit most strongly their
own individuality. Even the revolutionary Wagner held Bach's genius in
veneration, and paid a noble tribute to it in his Mastersingers. Indeed,
considering these facts, an overwhelming sense of admiration and gratitude
must fill our hearts, particularly in thinking of the great master of
modern German song to whom this article is devoted.

Not an imitator, but a worthy successor of Bach, in a field, the highest
cultivation of which has been preserved to modern time as one of its
noblest tasks, is Robert Franz, whose life and works may perhaps awaken a
double interest, if viewed in the light of the above introductory remarks.
In outward appearance this life was, perhaps, even more quiet and simple
than that of Bach. Franz's soul and mind had always turned toward the
inner world, just as in his songs he studiously avoided all ostentation
and meaningless brilliancy. There is indeed a significant harmony between
his life and songs, the latter being the outgrowth of the former, not
occasionally written down from a vain ambition to compose, nor as a
pastime or fashion, but as the fulfilment of his life's task, to which his
genius had committed him.

Robert Franz was born June 28, 1815, in Halle, the old university town
in the centre of Germany, the birthplace of Handel. Here Franz has
remained all his life. He did not descend from a musical family, but from
plain, honest, business people; nor were there any direct early proofs
of his musical genius, as only in his fourteenth year he was given an
opportunity, on an antique, spinet-like pantaleon (or large dulcimer) to
make his first practical experiments, at the same time trying, unaided,
with a touching perseverance, to find out the secrets of musical
notation. However, he had received his first musical impressions when very
young. At two years of age he had been amply impressed by Luther's choral,
"A Mighty Fortress is Our Lord," played by trombones from the steeple of
a church at the celebration of the third centenary of the Reformation.
At home his father was accustomed to sing the old church and folk songs.
The effect of these early impressions on his young musical soul was soon
obvious, for he says that in school he had an irresistible desire to add a
second voice to the melodies which were being practised. His unsolicited
assistance was looked upon as a crime by the teacher, who punished him
for it repeatedly. It was the mother who first lent a helping hand to the
boy's outspoken talent and inclination, and who succeeded in persuading
his father to buy the already mentioned pantaleon. Naturally the
instruction which young Robert received, first from a relative and then by
nearly all the different music teachers of Halle in succession, was not of
much value. He achieved more by his own impulses, practising chorals with
friends, eagerly studying the organ and using every opportunity to play
accompaniments, as for instance, in the choral rehearsals of the famous
Franke Asylum. There he became acquainted with the music of Mozart, Haydn,
and his great fellow citizen, Handel, and there he was first fired with
the spirit of composition. Unadvised and without the least theoretical
preparation he yielded to his desire to compose, neglecting even his
school duties in favor of this impulse, the results of which, however, he
has declared utterly worthless. It was difficult for him, especially in
his own home, to brave all depreciation of his talents and to overcome all
opposition; only the firm belief in his artistic calling enabled him to
fight the battle through victoriously.

Franz was twenty years old, when at last his parents consented to his
thorough professional education. The Leipsic Conservatory not having been
founded, the music school of the famous theorist and composer, Friedrich
Schneider, in Dessau, was at that time held in highest esteem, and there
Franz was sent. The rather patriarchal, old fashioned, pedantic spirit
which prevailed in this school, could certainly offer to the young
aspiring student substantial knowledge, though it could do but little to
develop his poetic nature. Yet he learned a great deal there, and laid
a most excellent foundation to the eminent theoretical knowledge and
mastery in the strict contrapuntal and polyphonic style by which he later
won such a high distinction.

Besides this, the ever fresh impulses of his own nature and the inspiring
intercourse with congenial fellow students helped to mature his own
musical individuality. A peculiar influence is attributed to a certain
Reupsch, whom Franz describes as quite extraordinary in improvisations on
the organ and in the treatment of chorals. Nothing has ever been published
of all the works (consisting of pianoforte sonatas, a mass, etc.) which
were composed during these years. Franz felt that his nature would lead
him upon an independent path of his own, but his instinct had not yet
found this sphere. After two years of study he returned home, only to
meet with new opposition and mistrust in his talent. No position was
offered him, no compositions appeared in print; and it was then that the
sympathy of his faithful mother remained his best comfort. In the circles
of cultivated dilettanti he learned that the intrinsic value of a work of
art is found in its inner significance, and that its formal value, if it
be a really artistic production, should be a matter of course. This is the
very idea for which Robert Schumann was then fighting, and which men like
Wagner, Liszt and Berlioz have made the principle of their artistic creed.
Yet all true art rests on the closest harmony between both elements,
where the form is the necessary and most perfect expression of the ideal
contents, the two forming a perfect union. What a blessing was it that
Franz in this way found rich opportunities to become acquainted with old
Italian music, and with the three great German masters, Bach, Schubert and
Schumann, whose works have most essentially influenced the moulding of his
own musical language.

He gave such close study to their works that his nervous system was
overwrought, and becoming his own severest critic he destroyed all his
former compositions. Courage and confidence seemed to leave him and for
years his production ceased. This did not prevent him from striving to
acquire a higher general education, however, and he applied himself
especially to the study of philosophy and literature, availing himself of
the rich opportunities afforded by the University of his city. At last a
short dream of love brought forth the music of his soul, his first songs,
which came forth from the depths of his heart. This was in 1843. Schumann,
to whom he sent the songs, honored him with a most hearty recognition of
his talent, and was helpful in finding a publisher. But Franz's nervous
condition and ominous, early developing auricular sufferings obliged him
to take an extended trip to Tyrol and Italy. The journey strengthened
him so much that after his return he was finally able to devote with
enthusiasm his rich talents untrammelled to the cultivation of his new
field. Others followed Schumann in their sincere recognition of our
composer's talent, among whom were Gade, Mendelssohn, and especially
Liszt, who was so often the noble champion for new talents, and who wrote
one of his finest pamphlets in praise of Franz's songs. Wagner, who
certainly never could be accused of being too liberal in his praise of
others, was not to be outdone. In a letter to Uhlig he says he will never
forget that Franz was, after Liszt, the first German musician who had done
him justice.

[Illustration: ROBERT FRANZ.

Reproduction of an engraving made by A. Weger from a daguerreotype.]

Besides some compositions for the church, and a few part songs, Franz has
confined himself to the cultivation of the German "Lied" with a wonderful
concentration of all his faculties, reaching the highest perfection,
richness, depth, and beauty in this one _genre_, as Chopin did in his
field of pianoforte compositions. As regards his practical occupation in
Halle, he held several positions, with which he had been entrusted soon
after his first success as a composer, being organist at the St. Ulrici
church and director of the singing Academy and the symphony concerts, as
well as at the University. However, his increasing nervous and auricular
maladies obliged him in 1868 to resign all these offices and to live from
the limited earnings of his compositions. A generous gift in money started
by the always noble minded Liszt, and supported by admirers in Germany,
England and America, released him from all further anxieties. Thus the
dear master, invalid in body but young in spirit, lived in retirement
in his native city, with his wife, Maria Hinrichs, slowly winning the
recognition of the musical world. Letters received from him in the summer
of 1892 still showed an unusually bright and active mind, so that the
announcement of his death, which occurred Oct. 24th in Halle, came as a
sad surprise. Many an honor has been conferred upon him, the title of a
royal music director, of an honorary doctor of the Halle University, and
Bavarian and Prussian orders. Yet greater than all these is the honor of
living forever through his works in the hearts of his people, and in the
high esteem of all students of music and its history.

The collection of Robert Franz's songs may be well compared to a lovely
garden, most carefully adorned with beautiful flowers of every variety,
each of which attracts and deserves our special and close attention.
Indeed, whoever takes pains, in an earnest and loving mind to review these
songs one by one, and to penetrate into their peculiar nature, style and
beauty, will be surprised to observe that the composer has allowed not
one to be published without having perfected it in every detail. Even the
simplest folk-song had to be a true work of art, worthy of his name and
genius, before he would send it upon its wanderings through the world.
Another significant fact, which also does him great credit, is that each
song impresses us most forcibly as being born out of a deep, sympathetic
comprehension of the peculiar genius of the poet, and the language,
sentiment, and spirit of the poem. There is no conventionality, no
mannerism, no following of certain patterns, which so often characterize
ancient and modern manufacturers of songs. Every number presents, in
closest harmony with the text of the poem, an individual musical organism,
bearing the mark of Franz's artistic individuality, but forming with the
poem such a perfect union that we do not wish to separate the music from
the words, nor are we able to fully enjoy either independent of the other.
The music of his songs is not of such a character as to detract from the
beauty and interest of the poem. The musical setting is designed mainly to
enhance the charm of the poetic gem, and display it to best advantage.

[Illustration: [Music]

Fac-simile of musical manuscript and letter from Robert Franz.]

There are thousands of songs which please superficial singers and
audiences without awakening the least question as to the worth of the
poem and its author. This is not true of Franz's songs, however, and
never has a song writer succeeded better than he in doing his chosen poets
and poems full justice. He did not use them simply to serve his musical
purpose, but adapted himself to them in a way which might be called
self-abnegation of the highest form. It is this characteristic, together
with his use of the old contrapuntal and polyphonic art, that gives
Franz's compositions a classic aspect. His aim and task was to find a
formally clear, distinct expression for every kind of poetical sentiment,
and one hardly errs in saying that Franz has outgrown the romanticist
in himself and donned the superior garb of classical art. The musical
construction of his songs is firm and perfectly developed, and allows
no room for misunderstanding or individual conceptions. His ideas are
expressed fully and clearly, and although the general impression produced
may continue to move us, it is brought to a complete, satisfactory
conclusion by the last note. One feels that here a superior artistic
spirit, an eminent musical genius reigns; a genius drawing inspiration
from the purest musical source, guided by high literary and æsthetic
culture, scorning imitation and cheap, tawdry effects, but in each new
song striving for strength, character and perfect harmony with the poet
whose work his music honors.

It will readily be understood why the creator of such beautiful works of
art should be unwilling to make the piano accompaniment play a subordinate
part. However, he does not raise it to the principal position, as does
Wagner, in his latest music dramas, but melodically, rhythmically,
harmonically, interweaves it with the vocal strain in such a way that each
part completes the other, both forming a wonderful unity. In fact, as
regards this intimate and organic connection of song and accompaniment,
Franz hardly has his equal among the great song composers, notwithstanding
many splendid instances of this combining power found in the songs of
Schubert, Mendelssohn, Schumann and Brahms. Quite often Franz's song
accompaniments are written in such a manner that each part forms a
beautiful song by itself, so that one is almost tempted to sing one of the
inner voices; while sometimes the accompaniment is even written strictly
in four parts, making it seem like a choral composition. This leads us to
the cardinal features of Franz's style, and shows his close relationship
to Sebastian Bach and to the already mentioned old hymns and folk songs.
August Saran has treated this subject most thoroughly in a very remarkable
book culminating in the statement, "Robert Franz's song is in its whole
nature and musical structure nothing else but the old German folk-song,
enriched and idealized by the peculiar expressiveness of modern music."
Those old folk-songs had once reached their highest development on sacred
ground in the protestant Choral as it became so wonderfully perfected in
Bach's polyphonic and contrapuntal art. We find that Franz has applied
this same art and spirit to modern lyric songs, although at the same time
he fully recognizes what all the later musical epochs have contributed in
the way of greater delicacy or intensity of expression, richer, and freer
use of the rhythms, new harmonic modulations, a closer regard for the
intelligent phrasing of poetic words, and a richer and far more varied and
effective technique of the pianoforte.

As regards his style Franz is thus an absolutely modern composer, else
his songs would be mere scholarly experiments, having no inner life. But
his melodies are evidently designed for a polyphonic treatment. They
need to be supplemented by other parts, not merely by a simple chord
accompaniment, although this is also used occasionally. Yet with all
these finesses, and the difficulties of such a complicated style, most of
the songs have quite a popular character in the noblest meaning of the
word. Only a small number are what the Germans term "durchcomponirt,"
(composed through), a large majority are in the strophe form. Yet the
composer understands just how in the most wonderful, scarcely perceptible,
and often extremely delicate manner, to do justice to the changing moods
of the different strophes. Quite a number of the compositions are true
folk-songs, the poems being old German, Suabian, Swiss, Bohemian and

Franz's favorites among prominent poets, are Heine, Lenau, Eichendorff,
Burns and Osterwald, while secondary are Goethe, Rückert, Geibel, Möricke
and Roquette. The subjects treated by him are many and varied; there are
many beautiful songs of nature in various deeply affecting, concentrated
moods, songs of night and stars, of water and waves, weather and storm,
autumn and spring, forest and heath; also songs of love in all the phases
which a heart may experience, from the first sweet, chaste dawn, to the
exultation of final happiness; the woe of a broken heart, and of parting
and death; nor are merry, dancing or humorous songs missing. Yet there are
no ballads.

How many remarkable, strong, or delicate features could be singled out of
this wealth of lyric music, but how much easier and more directly could
this be done with the songs themselves before one! The sharp eye or ear
would then be delightfully surprised by many strange and new details.
They would meet with unusual keys and modulations, intentional indefinite
fluctuations between major and minor keys, rhythmical finesses and
curious combinations such as a 7/4 time or the periodical change of the
time, impressive declamatory effects, an effective use of syncopations,
sequences, inversions, cadences, characteristic figures and ornaments.
And this never for purely musical purposes, but for the sake of a better
expression of the poetic meaning. Would that these lines might help to
induce many readers to study closely the songs of Robert Franz! They would
then experience delightful surprises with nearly every song, and their
hearts would be filled more and more with music of a new and independent
style, each tone of which has life and meaning, and helps to arouse one's
sympathy for a new, though limited, world of beauty and ideal contents.
But never will the student's surprise and pleasure be greater than when
meeting with songs such as are already familiar and dear to him in other
famous settings. For none of these need to step aside and shun comparison
with their more celebrated rivals. For illustration, his "Restless Love,"
by Goethe, certainly has not a less passionate melody than Schubert's
setting of the same subject, while the brilliant accompaniment of the
former is decidedly superior to Schubert's. "When Midnight Dreams"
("Allnächtlich im Traume") is a worthy rival of Schumann's fine song, and
much better than Mendelssohn's conventional setting of Heine's poem. It
is difficult to decide which deserves the preference, Franz's or Brahms'
setting of the beautiful slumber-song "Ruhe Süssliebchen" from Tieck's
"Schöne Magelone;" though quite dis-similar, both hold high places among
the songs of these two masters. Especially interesting is the comparison
of those, the poems of which, mostly written by Heine, have also inspired
Schumann to some of his very finest productions. These are the songs
which are recommended to all who desire to study the strong individuality
and significance of Robert Franz as a composer of songs. In such a rich
collection it is impossible to specify the merits of each song; for all
appeal equally to our sympathy and attention.

[Illustration: ROBERT FRANZ]

The adequate rendering of Franz's songs lies both with the singer and the
accompanist. Most of them demand a well trained voice of a fine musical
quality, and often of a wide compass, an unusual degree of general musical
education, a clear poetical comprehension of text and music, and a most
distinct enunciation and intelligent phrasing. The accompaniment calls for
a very clever player, well schooled in Bach's polyphonic style, who has
a singing tone and who, in the whole conception and delivery, is in full
harmony with the singer. Nearly all of these songs can be well rendered
and enjoyed in an English translation, if only the translator be guided
in his work by the utmost regard for the melos and rhythm of the poem and
its music. Franz's songs are still far too little known, although in the
old world, and we are proud to say in the new also, some enthusiastic
admirers, singers, musicians and writers have done a great deal for their
introduction. They are everywhere respected, but unduly neglected in vocal
concerts as well as in our homes, where their influence would be felt
still more. May these lines help to win them many true and lasting friends.

There remains still another highly important musical achievement of Robert
Franz to be noted,--a series of works through which he has deserved the
lasting thanks of all earnest friends of musical art, and which will
for all time connect his name with those of our greatest masters of the
oratorio, Bach and Handel. Before him Mozart had made a similar attempt
with the music of Handel, and Mendelssohn with that of Bach, but neither
achieved a complete success. These old masters did not fully write out the
accompaniments to their great works in the form which has become the rule
with their successors, but rather left them as outlines, a mere figured
bass indicating the accompaniment, which the composer either played or
personally supervised. The old art of playing from a figured bass has
in our time become almost obsolete; besides our ears have through the
wonderful development of instrumental music become accustomed to new
sounds and orchestral effects, which are now absolutely essential to us.
Also, some instruments have since been discarded and others modified. It
was an extremely difficult task to complete this accompaniment, which was
merely suggested, and arrange it for our modern orchestral instruments,
at the same time retaining the spirit and style of the old great masters.
It required a thorough historical and theoretical knowledge, a fine
sense of the peculiar character of the different instruments and a
complete mastery of polyphonic and contrapuntal art, qualities found
only in a true musician, who was himself highly gifted as a composer.
Scholarly professors might perhaps have performed this feat in a merely
correct and antiquarian manner, but only a true musician could inspire
these accompaniments with the same life as the old masters would have
done had they lived at the present stage of musical art. It will be
easily understood that such an undertaking excited the most animated
criticism, which several times led Franz to defend his standpoint in very
interesting publications. Against such attacks by more or less famous and
learned musical writers he was warmly assisted by enthusiastic friends
and admirers in Germany, England and America, where Franz had early
found many marks of a high appreciation of his genius. However the most
gratifying reward for his labors is the fact that his arrangements of the
old masterworks are steadily coming into general use. Modern as is his
sentiment as a productive musician, he stands nearer to Bach and Handel
in style and spirit than any other modern composer. We know of none who
could have performed this great task more conscientiously, with a deeper
comprehension of the old art and with a more loving devotion than Robert
Franz. What he has achieved in this line secures him immortality not less
than his songs.

The most important of these arrangements are: Handel's "Messiah,"
"Jubilate," "l'Allegro il Pensieroso ed il Moderato," and many arias and
duets; Bach's "St. Matthew Passion," "Magnificat," "Christmas Oratorio,"
"Tragic Ode," and many cantatas and arias; Astorga's "Stabat Mater,"
Durante's "Magnificat," and quite a collection of old German chorals and

Considering, then, all that Franz has done for us, we bow in
admiration and thankfulness before a genius, who is one of the noblest
representatives of the latest musical epoch, and whose name is one of
the few worthy to continue the list of those masters whom we honor as
the corner stones of musical art. For it is not the size, but the ideal
significance and degree of perfection, which determines the greatness and
lasting value of a work of art. Whoever produces works of absolute beauty
and perfection, even in a minor field, deserves a place of honor amongst
the masters of all times.

[Illustration: Louis Kelterborn]


_Reproduction of a lithograph portrait made from life by Kriehuber of
Vienna. Meyerbeer in his fifty-sixth year._]

[Illustration: MEYERBEER]



The great composer known under the name of Meyerbeer, and who occupied
one of the most important places in the history of musical art in the
nineteenth century, was in reality christened Jacob Liebmann Beer, his
Christian name being afterward Italianized into Giacomo. He was born at
Berlin, according to some authorities on Sept. 5th, according to others
on Sept. 23, 1791. His father, who was a Hebrew, and one of the richest
bankers of Prussia, had three other sons, William, Michael and Henry,
all of whom were distinguished men, although their notoriety has been
eclipsed by the glory of him who is known to the world as Meyerbeer.
William Beer, indeed, who succeeded his father as banker, was at the same
time a remarkable astronomer. He became the collaborator of Maedler for
his scientific works, and published a chart of the moon which won for him
an important prize from the Berlin Academy of Sciences; he died March 27,
1850. Michael Beer, who was born in 1800 and died when only thirty-three,
acquired considerable renown as a dramatic poet by his various works,
_Clytemnestra_, _les Fiancés d'Aragon_, _le Paria_, and especially
_Struensée_, his masterpiece, which afterwards received a new lustre in
being set to music by his brother the composer. To return to the latter,
while he was still quite a child, one of his uncles, named Meyer, who had
always had a great affection for him, died, leaving him his whole fortune
on condition that he should add to his name that of Meyer, whence resulted
the name Meyerbeer, under which the composer has always been known.

From his earliest years, Meyerbeer showed an exceptional bent for music.
His father, far from opposing this tendency, rather encouraged him in it,
and gave him an excellent piano teacher, Ignace Lauska, who had been a
pupil of Clementi. The child made such rapid progress that he was able to
appear at a public concert in Berlin, October 14, 1800, at which he made a
great success. He appeared again in 1803 and 1804 with the same success,
and it was then that the Abbé Vogler, whose disciple he became later on,
hearing him improvise with a rare facility, predicted that he would one
day be a great musician. Two or three years later, Meyerbeer had occasion
to play before Clementi, who was staying for some time in Berlin, on his
way back from Saint Petersburg, and the master was so charmed with the
lad's talent that he consented to give him lessons during his sojourn in
that city.

At this period, and without having given any attention to theoretic study,
Meyerbeer already occupied himself with composition. Guided alone by his
instinct and his natural taste, he wrote numerous songs and piano pieces,
so that his father resolved to give him a master in composition, and fixed
his choice on Bernard Anselme Weber, then leader of the orchestra at the
Berlin Opera. But this artist, very distinguished in his way, and who
could give excellent advice on dramatic style, instrumentation, etc., was
not himself sufficiently versed in the science of counterpoint and fugue
to be able to guide a pupil in this difficult study. Moreover, he showed
himself too easily satisfied with Meyerbeer's efforts. One day when the
latter brought him a fugue, he could not conceal his admiration, and,
regarding it as a masterpiece, thought he would send it to the celebrated
Abbé Vogler, who had been his own teacher, hoping thereby to prove to
him that he, Weber, was able to form good pupils. For several weeks they
anxiously awaited the Abbé's response, which arrived at length in the
form of a bulky package. On opening it, they found that the contents
were divided into three parts. The first constituted a sort of practical
treatise on the fugue, written by Vogler's own hand, and in which all
the rules for this kind of composition were set forth in a precise and
succinct manner. The second part, which was called _The Scholar's Fugue_,
reproduced that of Meyerbeer, analyzed step by step throughout its
development, with remarks which proved super-abundantly that it was far
from being good. The third part, entitled _The Master's Fugue_, was that
which Vogler had constructed on Meyerbeer's theme, analyzed in all its
details and in its _ensemble_, with an explanation of the reasons which
justified its general form and all the incidents.

Meyerbeer was greatly impressed by the theories set forth by Vogler. He
immediately put himself to work again and wrote a new fugue of eight
parts, according to this master's principles, which he sent directly to
Vogler at Darmstadt, his place of residence. The latter replied at once,
expressing his satisfaction, and the confidence which this new work gave
him in his future as an artist, and inviting him to come to Darmstadt; "I
will receive you like a son," said he, "and you shall slake your thirst at
the very sources of musical knowledge." Meyerbeer, delighted at this kind
invitation, easily obtained from his father the necessary permission, and
was soon on his way to Darmstadt.

The school of the Abbé Vogler was celebrated at that time throughout
Germany, and this master, who had studied in Italy with Vallotti and
Martini, was considered one of the first theoreticians of his time. One
thing is certain, and that is, that he turned out excellent pupils,
of whom some won great renown, and others became more or less famous.
Among these were Knecht and Ritter, who themselves became remarkable
theoreticians; the composers who were formed by the lessons and counsels
of Vogler were Winter, Gänsbacher and the two immortal artists Carl Maria
von Weber and Meyerbeer. It was at Vogler's house that these last two met
for the first time, and formed a friendship which was broken only by the
death of Weber. In after years Weber deplored the Italian tendencies of
Meyerbeer, who, in the first days of his career, threw his whole being
into the imitation of Rossini's style, but in spite of this divergence of
artistic views the affection which these two friends felt for one another
was never altered nor disturbed for a single instant.

Indeed, all the pupils who lived at the Abbé Vogler's house entertained
pleasant and affectionate relations toward each other, and a touching
respect and profound tenderness for their excellent master. One proof of
this, among many others, is the fact that after Weber's death a cantata
was found among his papers, bearing the following inscription: "Cantata
written by Weber for Vogler's birthday, and set to music by Meyerbeer and
Gänsbacher." In fact, Weber, who was a very ready verse-maker, had written
the words of this cantata, while Meyerbeer had composed the music of the
choruses and a trio, and Gänsbacher had been charged with that of the
_soli_. It is probable also that the cantata was sung by the pupils of the

This house of Vogler's was patriarchal; the life there was very austere,
very much occupied, and the time of the pupils was exclusively devoted to
severe study and practice of the art. In the morning, after the regular
exercises, the master gave his class an oral lesson in counterpoint.
Then, giving them for treatment any musical subject, sacred or profane,
a psalm, motet, _kyrie_, ode, dramatic scene, he demanded of them a
severe composition. In the evening, all being assembled in the presence
of the master, the compositions were performed, after which each work was
analyzed theoretically, commented on, criticised, estimated, not only by
the professor, but again by all the pupils, so that each of them, after
having been judged, became in his turn the judge of his own attempts and
those of his rivals. It cannot be denied that this was an excellent system
of education, and one calculated to foster in the minds of the pupils
reflection and the sentiment of criticism. On a Sunday the whole household
went to the cathedral, which contained two organs; Vogler played one of
them, while each of his pupils, in turn, took his place at the other,
after the fashion of a kind of academic tourney, in which each endeavored
to develop in a happy and artistic manner the subject improvised and set
forth by the master.

It was during his residence at the Abbé Vogler's house that Meyerbeer
wrote, for the purpose of forming his hand, a great number of pieces of
sacred music, which he always refused to make known to the public. It was
at this period also that he composed an oratorio, _Gott und die Natur_,
which was his first piece publicly performed. He had been two years at
Darmstadt, when Vogler, wishing to give his pupils a rest, and to fortify
their minds by the contemplation of the beauties of nature, closed his
school and undertook with them an excursion through Germany. It was just
before his departure on this expedition that Meyerbeer had obtained a
performance of his oratorio, which resulted in the grand duke of Hesse
conferring on him the title of composer to the court. This oratorio was
brought out at Berlin a short time after, May 8, 1811, in a concert given
by Weber at the Royal Theatre, where the solos were sung by Eunike, Grell
and Frl. Schmalz.


From large lithograph Memorial published at the time of his death.

This portion commemorates his first appearance in Berlin, where he was
praised for his smooth performance of Mozart's Concertos.]

This was the starting point of Meyerbeer's active career. We shall soon
see him make his appearance as composer and virtuoso at the same time (for
Meyerbeer was an exceptional pianist), then promptly abandon his success
as a performer in order to give himself up without reserve to composition,
with the theatre for his objective point. He was eager for glory and aimed
at a great reputation, feeling himself equal to any effort for reaching
his end; it is this which explains the hesitations and evasions of his
youth. Desirous of meeting success, withal patient, persevering and gifted
with an energy which nothing could baffle, he sought it in all possible
ways, but, whatever his critics may say, without ever sacrificing his
convictions, and while always preserving for his art, as well as for the
public, the most complete, the most absolute respect. His first works
performed in Germany, written in a somewhat scholastic form, perhaps a
little pedantic, did not succeed according to his desire, because Germany
at that time, like Italy herself, was under the spell of Rossini's music.
He accordingly betook himself to Italy, and there wrote several operas in
which he forced himself to adopt the style and methods of that master. It
was this that brought down upon him the reproaches of Weber, irritated
to see him, a German, deny the national genius, and submit, like so many
others, to the influence of the author of the _Barber of Seville_. But
in spite of the criticisms of his friend, Meyerbeer, who had seen his
works received with favor in Italy, continued his career in that country,
where he trained his hand and prepared the evolution which was to free
his genius and direct him to France, there to write his incomparable
masterpieces. For Meyerbeer, like Gluck before him, gave to France alone
the full measure of his worth; like Gluck, it is to France that he owes
his greatest triumphs and the best part of his glory; like Gluck, he lived
to see his Italian operas laid aside and well-nigh forgotten, whereas his
French operas made the tour of civilized lands, and are still played on
all the stages of the world.


From the Carnavalet Museum, Paris.]

It was after his trip with Vogler and his fellow-students that Meyerbeer
decidedly entered his career, though not without some fumbling. In 1813
we find him at Munich, where he gave an unsuccessful performance of
_Jephtha's Daughter_, an opera in three acts, which had much the flavor
and style of an oratorio. Disheartened by the result, he left very soon
for Vienna, resolved to make known there his exceptional talent as
pianist. In this capacity he achieved triumph after triumph in the capital
of Austria; his execution was solid and brilliant, and at the same time
full of poetry and charm. He played at these concerts a great number of
his own compositions, which have never been published. At the same time
he came twice before the Vienna public as dramatic composer, first with
a mono-drama for soprano, clarinet obligato and chorus (the clarinetist
figured as a personage of the drama) entitled _The Loves of Tevelind_,
then with a comic opera in two acts, entitled _Abimelek, or The two
Caliphs_, performed at the court theatre. This latter, written in the
somewhat heavy style of _Jephtha's Daughter_, found no favor with a public
which, at that period, was under the complete influence of Italian music.
Meyerbeer was very much affected by this failure, and took his troubles to
Salieri, who was then imperial capellmeister at Vienna. Salieri, who had
taken a great fancy to him, and who had confidence in his future, consoled
him as best he could, lavished encouragement upon him, and counselled him
to make a trip into Italy. "There," said he, "you will learn to ripen your
talent, to train your hand, and particularly to make a better disposition
of the voices in your compositions and to write for them in a more
rational and less fatiguing manner."

At that time Rossini was the king of musical Italy, and the enthusiasm
produced by his works was beginning to take from the renown of such
richly inspired artists as Cimarosa, Guglielmo, Sarti, Paisiello, his
immediate predecessors. Everybody knows the influence which was exerted
all over musical Europe for half a century, by the exuberant and sensual,
though charming and seductive, genius of the author of the _Barber_ and
_Cenerentola_. All the artists, not only of Italy, but of France as
well and some even of Germany, came under this influence to a greater
or less extent. Meyerbeer escaped it no more than the rest; one might
even say that he had no desire to escape it. He went straight from
Vienna to Venice, where he arrived just at the height of _Tancredi's_
immense success in that city; this opera, by the way, was one of the most
personal, most vivacious and most savory works from Rossini's pen. He
could not resist the charm of this chivalresque and enchanting music, and
he was so captivated by the _èclat_ of the Rossinian forms that he began
to assimilate them as rapidly as possible.


From the Carnavalet Museum, Paris.]

It is probable, however, that he reflected longer than people have
hitherto given him credit for, on the transformation which he allowed to
operate in his talent, for it was not until he had spent several years
in Italy, that is to say in 1818, that he appeared to the public of that
country for the first time. With his calm and meditative mind, with his
studious and persevering nature, we may suppose that he employed his
time in working silently, in solitude, to modify his style, to acquire
the assurance which he lacked, to give elegance and facility to the
forms of his melody, without compromising thereby the sentiment of a
rich and abundant harmony, the beauties of an original and vigorous
instrumentation. It was not, then, until after this complete remodelling
of his early education, this training of his faculties, that he decided
to brave the stage anew, and to solicit the approbation of a public to
whom he was quite unknown. If this Italian career of Meyerbeer, of which
I am about to give a brief review, offers only a secondary interest from
the standpoint of the value of his works, it offers a very great one as
a transitional stage, covering as it does the period of the development
of his genius, and the evolution by which he was preparing himself for
the great masterpieces with which he was to endow the French lyric stage,
those masterpieces which were to seal his glory and render his fame


From collection of prints at the Paris Opera.]

It was at Padua, July 10, 1818, that he gave his first Italian opera,
_Romilda e Costanza_, the principal rôle of which was written for
Pisaroni, one of the most illustrious _cantatrices_ of that period.
From the very first performance the opera was a great success, and he
immediately wrote another work, _Semiramide riconosciuta_, on an ancient
poem of Métastasio, which he brought out at the Royal Theatre at Turin in
1819. The following year he gave to the San Benedetto Theatre of Venice,
his third opera, _Emma di Resburgo_, which met with enthusiastic success
at a moment when, on this very stage, Rossini had just triumphed with
his _Edouardo e Christina_. This work fully established his reputation
in Italy, all the great cities esteemed it an honor to present him to
their public, and everywhere he obtained the most complete success. This
was not all. The Germans themselves, who made a point of disparaging
Italian music, made two translations of this opera; one of them, _Emma
von Leicester_, was played at Vienna, Dresden, Munich and Frankfort; the
other, _Emma von Roxburg_, was performed at Berlin and Stuttgart. It may
be well to recall here that the subject of this work was borrowed from the
French opera _Héléna_, by Méhul.

This colossal success opened to Meyerbeer the doors of the largest
theatres of Italy. The first of them all, the Scala of Milan, immediately
ordered a great work of him. It was _Margherita d'Angiù_, which was
performed at this theatre Nov. 14, 1820, where it was sung by Tacchinardi,
Levasseur and Rosa Mariani. Here, again, the success was complete, and
_Margherita d'Angiù_, almost immediately translated and performed in
Germany, was afterwards translated into French for representation at the
Odéon. On March 12, 1822, Meyerbeer gave to the Scala theatre the opera
_l'Esule di Granata_, the first rôles of which were confided to the tenor
Winter, to Lablache, to Mmes. Pisaroni, Adelaide Tosi and Carolina Bassi.
But the last triumphs of the composer had excited envy; jealousy awoke on
every side, and a cabal was organized for the purpose of crushing this new
work. The first act indeed fell flat, thanks to this cabal, and the second
seemed doomed to the same fate, when a beautiful _duo_, admirably sung by
Lablache and Pisaroni came just in time to save all, and change into a
triumph the fall which had appeared inevitable.

After this new success, Meyerbeer's health failed him. He had gone to
Rome, where he was to bring out an opera in two acts entitled _Almanzor_.
He had begun to write the score, when the state of his health obliged him
to stop work and seek absolute rest. As soon as he was able he went to
Germany, where he passed the whole of the year 1823, now at Berlin, now at
some watering place. In the course of this year he wrote a German opera,
_The Brandeburg Gate_, which was intended for the Königstadt theatre,
but which, it is not known why, was never performed. He then returned to
Italy, where awaited him the last and greatest triumphs in that country.

It is here that this second phase of Meyerbeer's remarkably active and
productive career will come to a close. We may be sure that he had already
felt a desire to work for the French stage, whither the very nature of
his powerful and profoundly dramatic genius seemed to call him. We are
now to see him direct his efforts towards this end, preparing himself
for the change by his last Italian work, written in a more elevated,
loftier strain than the preceding ones, and which seemed to indicate on
his part a fixed determination to create another distinct manner. In
order to attain this third and last manner, ingrafted, as it were, on the
two preceding ones, it was necessary for him to adopt a method analogous
to the one which he had used on arriving in Italy. Just as he had to
abandon, on touching foot to Italian soil, everything in his style which
might appear too scholastic, heavy and formal, so, in going to France,
he was obliged to lay aside the affected elegance, frivolous grace and
superficial language of the Italian forms. He endeavored to retain and
combine the best elements in the various schools,--to unite the melodic
sentiment of Italy to the harmonic richness of Germany, and to join to
these the picturesque coloring, the passionate ardor, and above all the
sense of dramatic truth which are the characteristic qualities of the
French musical school. It was then, after he had transformed his style by
this fusion of three different but not antagonistic elements, the union of
which must form a harmonious and well balanced whole, after he had become
master both of his thought and of the idea which should clothe it, it was
then that he found himself in full possession of himself and of his genius
and that he became the great man whose name was universally known and
whose works everywhere challenged admiration.

The great work of transition with which Meyerbeer was to crown his
brilliant career in Italy and prepare his future triumphs on the French
stage, was called _il Crociato Egitto_. This opera, conceived in a broad
and severe style, plainly showed the new preoccupations of his mind and
gave a glimpse of his approaching evolution. The distinct individuality
of the composer showed itself in this remarkable score, in which it was
easy to see his inclination for energetic and vigorous expression of
the grand dramatic situations. _Il Crociato_, brought out at the Fenice
theatre, Venice, Dec. 26, 1824, had for its principal interpreters Mme.
Mérie-Lalande, Lablache and Velluti. Its success was immense, and it soon
made the tour of all Italy. This success was so great as to move Paris,
and the duke of Rochefoucauld, then superintendent of the royal theatres,
immediately arranged to have _il Crociato_ played at the _Thèâtre
Italien_. He wrote to the composer, inviting him to come and supervise the
staging of his opera and direct the rehearsals. The rôles were given to
Danzelli, Levasseur, Mmes. Pasta, Monbelli, Schiasetti and Giovanola. This
was the first of Meyerbeer's works performed at Paris, and its success was
as great as in Italy.


From woodcut in "L'Univers Illustré," Paris.]

Henceforth Meyerbeer was to belong entirely to France. After having seen
his _Crociato_ played at the _Italien_, he had the satisfaction of seeing
his _Margherita d'Angiù_ translated into French and performed successfully
at the _Odéon_. It was to this last fact that he owed the speedy
gratification of his desire to work for the musical stages of France,
although, owing to an unexpected series of events, he was obliged to await
for several years the representation of his first work, and this work,
written with the _Opéra Comique_ in view, had to be completely transformed
and adapted for the _Opéra_. This is the way it happened.

The subject of the Italian opera of _Margherita d'Angiù_ had been taken
from a French drama, _Marguérite d'Anjou_, played in 1810 at the _Gaité_
theatre, and the author of which was Guilbert de Pièxèrcourt. The two very
naturally made each other's acquaintance, Pièxèrcourt's authorization
being necessary for the representation on a French stage of a foreign
opera whose subject belonged to him. An intimacy sprung up between them,
and Meyerbeer profited by it to ask Pièxèrcourt for a poem to set to
music for the _Opéra Comique_. The latter willingly consented, confided
to him _Robert le Diable_, by Scribe, and the composer immediately set to
work. The rôles of _Robert le Diable_ were to be distributed as follows:
Ponchard (Robert), Huet (Bertram), Mme. Boulanger (Alice) and Mme. Rigaud
(Isabella). Obliged in the meantime to make a trip to Berlin, Meyerbeer
took the poem with him, in order to continue the work during his absence.
But while he was in Germany a little revolution took place at the _Opéra
Comique_ which resulted in Guilbert de Pièxèrcourt being dispossessed
of his office of director. What happened then? All the particulars are
not known, but _Robert_ was withdrawn from the _Opéra Comique_, Scribe
enlarged and transformed his poem, Meyerbeer rewrote his score, and the
work was carried to the _Opéra_. It is easy to understand that all this
occasioned a long delay. But this was not all. The revolution of 1830
occurred, which brought everything to a standstill, and which, after the
change of dynasty at the head of the country, brought about a change in
the management of the _Opéra_, where Lubbert was replaced by the famous
Dr. Véron. The latter hesitated a good deal about mounting so important a
work by a composer as yet little known in France, although he had achieved
great success elsewhere. He finally decided in its favor, however, the
rôles were distributed to Nourrir, Levasseur, Mmes. Dorus-Gras and
Cinti-Damoreau, and _Robert le Diable_ was finally performed Nov. 22, 1831.

However, Meyerbeer was still to grow, and _les Huguenots_, performed at
the _Opéra_, Feb. 21, 1836, was to be the crowning point of his glory. It
should be said that he was admirably served by his collaborator Scribe.
The latter, after having given him the fantastic poem of _Robert_, wrote
for him the the passionate, pathetic and dramatic poem of the _Huguenots_,
which revived at the same time a splendid page of history, in which he
introduced, in the happiest manner, a picturesque element which permitted
the artist to vary his palette and give to each episode a color of its
own. The most diverse and powerful situations abound in this superb poem,
and it is just to declare that Meyerbeer has interpreted them with an
incomparable genius.

After the _Huguenots_ three years passed during which France received
no new work from Meyerbeer. Meanwhile people had much to say about the
_Prophète_; but Meyerbeer, exceptionally anxious about the good execution
of his works, not finding in the _personnel_ of the _Opéra_ at that time
the artists of whom he had dreamed for this work, waited patiently.
Moreover, the office of capellmeister of the king of Prussia, to which he
had been appointed, called him often to Berlin during this period. It was
in this capacity that he composed a grand Italian cantata, _la Festa nella
corte di Ferrara_, which was performed at court in 1843, and a German
opera in three acts, _A Camp in Silesia_, composed for the inauguration of
the new royal theatre of Berlin (Dec. 7, 1844) and which was rather coldly
received. It was at this time also that he published, with French words, a
great number of admirable songs, of which a collection in four volumes has
recently been formed in Paris. It was during this period that he composed
the beautiful music for his brother's drama, _Struensée_, and his first
March (Fackeltanz), performed for the marriage of the princess Wilhelmina
of Prussia with the king of Bavaria.

Finally, on April 16, 1849, the _Prophète_, so long expected, made its
appearance at the Paris _Opéra_, interpreted by Roger (Jean de Leyde),
Levasseur (Jacharie), Mme. Viardot (Fidès) and Mme. Castellan (Bertha).

_Le Pardon de Plöermel_ was the last of Meyerbeer's works brought out
before his death, which occurred at Paris, May 2, 1864. For nearly twenty
years _l'Africaine_ had been under consideration, but the master waited
for this work as he had done for _le Prophète_, until the _personnel_ of
the _Opéra_ could offer him such artists as he deemed necessary for its
proper execution. Meanwhile, he had drawn up instructions relative to this
_Africaine_, which he wished to have carried out after his death. Among
other things he requested that the rôle of Sélika be confided to Mme.
Marie Lasse, and that of Vasco to M. Naudin, whose voice he had admired at
the _Théâtre Italien_. The direction of the _Opéra_ took pains to conform
to this posthumous desire and _l'Africaine_ appeared at this theatre,
under the conditions specified by the composer, April 28, 1865. While
fully taking into account the great value of certain episodes of this
work, it will surely be no violation to Meyerbeer's memory to say that
_l'Africaine_ has added nothing to his glory. Even without _l'Africaine_
he would still have remained one of the most magnificent geniuses that has
illumined the art of the nineteenth century.


From large lithograph Memorial published at the time of Meyerbeer's death.]

       *       *       *       *       *

The transformation of the _genre_ of the French grand opera had begun
with Auber's _La Muette de Portici_, performed in 1828. _La Muette_ was
the first work conceived in the new forms and in the vast proportions of
the school which was to succeed the school of Gluck and his followers.
The scenic development, the pursuit of new and piquant harmonies, the
importance given to the orchestra; all this, joined to a more varied
and less uniform melodic expression, had produced a deep impression on
the public, and dethroned with a single blow the ancient opera which
had reigned for more than half a century. Rossini had come later with
his _William Tell_, in which the splendor of the style, the richness
of inspiration and the fullness of dramatic expression, all carried to
their highest degree, had marked an advance over the remarkable work of
the French composer, without, however, surpassing the latter's elegance
and originality. With _Robert le Diable_, Meyerbeer, in his turn, struck
a note entirely personal, and in this work the passionate vigor of
accent, the power of orchestral combinations, the particular character
and relief given to each of the personages, indicated a musician of a
new and profoundly original genius; a genius more complex than that
of his predecessors, seeking for effects in the detail as well as in
the _ensemble_, but arriving like them, and by different means, at an
intensity of expression which was difficult to surpass.

It goes without saying that the score of _Robert le Diable_ contained
suggestions of the forms adopted by the author in the course of his
Italian career. This is especially noticeable in the first act and the
beginning of the second, and it would not have been an easy matter to
avoid it. But the general style of the work has an incontestable grandeur,
the declamation, noble and powerful, assumes the character of the French
lyric declamation, the contrasts of situations are striking and managed
with a remarkable intelligence, and the color of the music, its fantastic
character, so well in accord with the subject, are of such an intensity as
to produce on the hearer an ineffaceable impression. It is in the third
act especially, divided into two distinct parts, that the genius of the
composer is given full scope, and attains its most complete magnificence.
The comic scene between Bertram and Raimbaut, that in which voices from
below call to Bertram, the dramatic scene between Bertram and Alice, are
all of a great beauty, and the tableau following, that of the evocation of
nuns in the depth of their cloister, with the episode of the seduction of
Robert, is of a wonderful poetry and grace, and contrasts in a striking
manner with that which precedes. In the fourth act it is the human passion
which speaks its most pathetic language from the grand duet of Robert
and Isabelle to the moment when the powerful finale comes to prove to us
that Gluck's genius and his transports are not unknown to the genius of
Meyerbeer. As to the fifth act, it is of an admirable dramatic feeling.

The novelty of the forms and the hitherto unusual development of the
score of _Robert_ at first surprised the public, which was cautious about
passing judgment. But surprise soon gave way to admiration, admiration
grew to enthusiasm, and triumph, a triumph perhaps without precedent on
the French stage, welcomed a work so abounding in beauties of a very high
order. It is well known how rapidly the whole world ratified the judgment
of the Parisian public.

Meyerbeer has been criticised for his Italian souvenirs in his opera _les
Huguenots_, particularly that pretty air of Marguerite's in the second
act, charming in itself and from a strict musical point of view, but
which is evidently an aside, a concession made to virtuosity, and which
breaks the _ensemble_ and the unity of an otherwise strong, noble and
severe work. This fault aside, however, what a masterpiece is this score
of the _Huguenots_, in which the interest steadily increases, and which,
from the first scene to the last, never ceases to rise higher and higher!
Admiration knows not how to choose nor where to pause, so constant and
varied are the demands made upon it, whether by the marvellous tableaux,
like that of the arrival of Raoul at Marguerite's house, the picturesque
curfew scene in the third act, the duel scene which follows, the powerful
episode of the benediction of the poignards in the fourth, followed
by the splendid duet of Raoul and Valentine, finally the scene of the
massacre of the Huguenots in the fifth,--or by the delineation of the
characters, traced with a surprising vigor and sureness of hand, such as
those of Marcel, of Saint-Bris and of Nevers, which make an ineffaceable
impression on the memory. And what color, what style, what grandeur from
the beginning to the end of this work! Whether it be the dramatic element
which dominates, as in the duel scene or that of the conjuration, whether
it be the pathetic and passionate element, as in the _duo_ of the lovers,
whether it be the popular and picturesque element, as in the entire third
act, the superiority of the artist is always the same, always equally
complete, with no sign of weakness nor faltering. In this opera he recalls
with vividness and truth a world which has disappeared, and his music is
marvellously in accord with the period which he undertakes to depict,
the personages which he presents to us, and even the costumes of those
personages. As to the inspiration, always warm, noble and vigorous, it is
of an inexpressible richness and power.

[Illustration: [Music]

Fac-simile of Meyerbeer's musical manuscript, written in 1852.]

[Illustration: Fac-simile of Meyerbeer's letter to his brother, written in

The austere subject of the opera of _le Prophète_, in which the element
of passion played only a very secondary rôle, caused it to be received at
first with a certain reserve on the part of the public. But Meyerbeer
had never been better inspired, and the nobleness, the grandeur and the
severity of the style of this composition raises it to a level which he
did not exceed. The beautiful introduction to the first act, the scene
of the three anabaptists, the marvellous ballet of skaters, the arioso
of Fidès in prison, a truly sublime and pathetic page, finally the
grand tableau of the cathedral, are so many superb and living proofs of
Meyerbeer's powerful and versatile genius. The public grew to admire the
beauties of this bold and dignified work; as to the artists, there are
many who unhesitatingly place the _Prophète_ above all that he has written
for the stage; for myself, I divide my highest admiration between _le
Prophète_ and _les Huguenots_.


From archives of the Paris Opera.]

The success of _l'Etoile du Nord_, performed at the _Opéra-Comique_, Feb.
16, 1854, was much more spontaneous and considerable than that of the
_Prophète_ at the _Opéra_. Yet, after the lapse of forty years, the latter
is still played on all the stages of the world, whereas _l'Etoile du Nord_
is well-nigh forgotten. Assuredly there are some beautiful pages in this
score, in which Meyerbeer embodied several pieces from his German opera,
_A Camp in Silesia_, and especially should be mentioned the songs and
the ballad of Catherine in the first act, the quintet in the second, the
superb song of Pierre in the third, as well as the comic duet and trio;
but the work is essentially lacking in unity, it is too heavy as a whole,
and the orchestration is too noisy and brilliant for the demi-character of
the opera. Meyerbeer was much better inspired in _le Pardon de Plöermel_
(Dinorah), given also at the _Opéra-Comique_, April 4, 1839. This work
contains some exquisite pages, among which I will mention particularly the
overture with invisible chorus, Hoël's air in the first act, the drinking
chorus and the trio in the second, and the touching and melancholy song of
Hoël in the third. Unfortunately the insignificance and emptiness of the
libretto have always been a drawback to this beautiful score.

What are the salient traits of Meyerbeer's genius, and what influence has
this genius exerted upon his contemporaries? Such is the double question
which presents itself to us in the presence of the works of this great
man. First of all should be remarked his power of inspiration and power
of conception. He was the first to give to France the example of these
five-act operas of colossal dimensions, the performance of which requires
fully five hours, and the richness, the power of his inspiration is such
that so far from weakening during the course of these five long acts, it
is often higher, more sublime at the end than at the beginning. Witness
the fifth acts of all his great works; _Robert_, _les Huguenots_, _le
Prophète_, _l'Africaine_; every one of them is a masterpiece! As to the
power of conception, that mysterious faculty of unifying the different
parts of a work so large and complex as each of his operas, and forming of
them a harmonic, homogeneous whole, it is trully marvellous, and indicates
a peculiarly organized and quite exceptional musical brain. Everything,
indeed, is to be found in his works; dramatic sentiment is carried to its
highest power, the musical style is full of splendor, the general form is
superb, the harmony is solid and substantial, and the union of the voices
with the instruments admits of no criticism. If there were any fault
to be found with him it would be in the excess of sonority, sometimes
overwhelming, which he gives to the orchestra. But on the other hand, how
much he has improved the orchestra, giving it increased interest and life,
as well as variety of color, of timbre and of effect! What an important
part it takes in certain situations, and how carefully, conscientiously
and cleverly it is managed!

Conscience, indeed, was one of Meyerbeer's master qualities. Others, so
richly gifted, might perhaps have been content to follow the course of
their inspiration, without taking the trouble to enrich it, to fortify
it with the aid of all the means which art puts at the disposal of the
composer. He neglected nothing, no detail, no effect, no method that
enabled him to augment his resources, to complete his thought, in a
word, to attain perfection, or what he believed to be perfection. Nothing
dismayed him, he spared no pains to realize his ideal, to obtain the
result at which he aimed, and he never felt that he had done a thing so
well that it could not be improved. Thus his works have the solidity of
marble and the strength of iron. And if a blemish be sometimes discovered
in them, it is like the spots on the sun, which do not interfere with its
dazzling light.

In regard to the influence exerted by Meyerbeer upon his contemporaries,
although genuine and unmistakable, it cannot be said to be so complete or
so general as that exerted by Rossini. And this is due to the nature of
his genius, which was very complex, and in which cerebral reflection and
the combination of means held as important a place as inspiration properly
speaking. It was easy to imitate, without obtaining the same results,
the methods and the forms employed by Rossini (I refer to the _Italian_
Rossini, and not the Rossini of _William Tell_); very much less easy was
it to imitate the forms and the methods of Meyerbeer, these being not only
more complicated, more varied, but essentially dependent on the subject,
on the situations, on the episodes. This is why Meyerbeer's influence has
been mainly felt in the conception and general form of a work, and has
been much less sensible in technical detail and musical method.

In closing, I would say that Meyerbeer is one of the noblest, most
glorious artists who have ever shed lustre not only upon the French stage,
but on musical art as applied to the theatre. A great musician, but
especially a great dramatic musician, he has power, nobility, bold and
heroic inspiration, and above all the gift of emotion, of that poignant
and vigorous emotion which stirs the spectator, wrings his heart, lays
hold upon his very vitals, and forces the tears from his eyes.

[Illustration: Arthur Pougin]


Illustrating Meyerbeer's Opera "The Huguenots."]

[Illustration: JOHANN STRAUSS

_Reproduction of a photograph from life of the younger Johann Strauss._

_Published by Reichard & Lindner, Berlin, 1887._]



The name of Strauss bids fair to become as numerously represented in the
annals of Nineteenth Century music as was that of Bach in the seventeenth
and eighteenth centuries; with this difference, however, that while the
Bachs were all of one family, three of the Strausses who have become
sufficiently famous to win a place in the musical dictionaries are not
related to the other three or four. It is with those that _are_ related,
the family of Johann Strauss, the Viennese "Waltz-King," that this article
is concerned.

A few years ago (1887) the famous Leipsic publishing house of Breitkopf
and Härtel commenced the issue of a complete collection of the waltzes,
polkas, and other dance pieces of the elder Johann Strauss. The first
volume has an interesting though brief biographic sketch by Johann
Strauss, Jr., who relates some of his personal reminiscences of his
father, besides other facts previously known to the public. "My father,"
he says in the opening paragraph, "was a musician by the grace of God. Had
he not been guided by an inner, irresistible impulse, the difficulties
which confronted him in his youth would have pushed him into another path."

It is interesting to note how this "impulse" would have its own way, as in
the case of other famous musicians, notwithstanding parental opposition.
Strauss was born at Vienna on March 14, 1804. When he was a mere child
he used to amuse himself (as Haydn had done in his childhood) by taking
two sticks and imitating the movements of a fiddler. Great was his joy
when his father, having discovered this instinctive trait, made him a
present of a small violin and allowed him to take lessons on it in the
primary school. But this was as far as parental encouragement went. Little
Johann's desire to become a professional musician was not countenanced,
and at the age of fourteen he was sent to a book-binder to learn his
trade; but he soon tired of this work and when his master added insult
to injury by forbidding him to play the violin, he packed up his beloved
instrument and his few other possessions and ran away. In a suburb of
Vienna he came across a friend who induced him to return to his parents,
whom he persuaded at the same time to give up opposing his musical
inclinations. So he received regular lessons and was soon able to play in
a small local orchestra.

As luck would have it, another musician, who was destined to be Strauss's
colleague and rival, Joseph Lanner, was at that time beginning his
brilliant career in Vienna. He was four years older than Strauss, and had
associated himself with two other musicians for the purpose of playing in
the cafés which abounded in that city. Strauss begged permission to join
this club, and was accepted as viola player, one of his duties being the
passing around of the plate for collections. There was so much animation
and true musical feeling in the performances of this club that it became
immensely popular and soon Lanner found it impossible to accept all the
engagements that were offered. This led him to engage more musicians and
ultimately to divide his orchestra into two smaller ones, over one of
which he himself presided, while Strauss was placed at the head of the

But Strauss was an ambitious man, and after this companionship had lasted
six years (1819-1825) he made his "declaration of independence" of Lanner
and conducted an orchestra of his own, which soon became "all the rage"
in Vienna. His son has sketched this important episode so eloquently that
I cannot do better than translate his words: "The public now learned
to know him as an independent conductor, and as such he soon became so
popular that the dance-loving Viennese were divided into two parties--the
_Lannerianer_ and the _Straussianer_--each of which championed its
idol with ardor. It redounds to the credit of the good old times that
this partisanship could not cloud the personal relations between Lanner
and Strauss, who continued to remain good friends. Their professional
separation at this time was brought about by another circumstance: my
father accidentally discovered his talent for composition. Composing was
obviously at that time an easier matter than it is to-day. To produce a
polka, contemporary musicians study the whole literature of music and
perhaps a few philosophical systems too. Formerly, only one thing was
needed to compose: One had to have a happy thought, as the popular saying
is (_es musste Einem was einfallen_). And strange to say, these happy
thoughts always came. Self-confidence in this respect was so great that we
of the old school (_wir Alten_) frequently announced for a certain evening
a new waltz of which on the morning of the same day not a single note
was written. In such a case the orchestra usually went to the composer's
house, and as soon as the latter had finished a part it was immediately
copied for the orchestra. Meantime, the miracle of the 'happy thought'
repeated itself for the other parts of the waltz; in a few hours the piece
was completed, whereupon it was rehearsed, and in the evening it was
played before a usually enthusiastic public.

"Lanner--light-hearted and careless--hardly ever composed any other way.
One morning it happened that he felt ill and unable to work, while a new
set of waltzes had been promised for the evening, and of course not a
bar was on paper. He sent my father the simple message: 'Strauss, see if
you can think of something' (in the quaint Viennese dialect: _Strauss,
schauen's dass Ihnen was einfällt_.)--In the evening the new waltz was
played--as Lanner's, of course--and was received with extraordinary favor.
This circumstance, combined with his marriage in the same year, induced my
father to secure his independence. He organized at first a quintet, but
after barely a year his orchestra already numbered fourteen men. At what
rate his fame and his popularity both as composer and conductor grew, is
a thing of which we, in these prosaic days, can hardly have a conception.
The years 1830 to 1836, during which my father presided over the music at
the Sperl, will always remain memorable in the history of music at Vienna.
The audiences were enormous, the enthusiasm unbounded, and as my father
was persuaded to accept engagements for other amusement places too, he
had at his disposal, during the carnival, about two hundred musicians.
From this he selected a corps of _élites_--his _Stammorchester_--which he
succeeded by unceasing rehearsals in bringing to a point of perfection
such as no other private orchestra had ever reached. Visitors to Vienna
carried the fame of these musicians to other parts of the world, and
invitations soon came to him to play in other cities."

The rest of Johann Strauss's life is simply a record of his triumphs in
the cities of Germany, Holland, France, Belgium and England, as well as in
Vienna, where he was appointed director of the Court balls in 1835. From
1833 to 1849, the year of his death, he made a tour almost every year,
and he was the first musician, so far as the records show, who undertook
to travel with a whole orchestra. In 1837-38 his tour extended as far as
Paris and London. In evidence of his great success in Paris it is related
that when he gave a series of thirty concerts in conjunction with the
popular Musard, whose orchestra played after Strauss's, one half of the
audience usually left the hall after Strauss had finished his part of the
program. In London he arrived most opportunely about the time of Queen
Victoria's coronation, when merry music was in great demand, and here he
gave no fewer than seventy-two concerts, besides playing at many balls.
London, however, did not agree with his health. At his first visit he fell
ill there, and his second visit, in 1849, proved fatal, for he brought
with him the germs of disease (scarlet fever) to which he succumbed
shortly after his return to Vienna. He died on Sept. 25, aged 45. All the
Viennese joined in doing him homage, and a vast concourse--his son says
one hundred thousand--accompanied his coffin to the grave.

Regarding his personal appearance, Herr C. F. Pohl, the Viennese librarian
says, that "though small he was well made and distinguished looking, with
a singularly formed head. His dress was always neat and well chosen.
Though lively in company, he was naturally rather silent. From the moment
he took his violin in his hand he became another man, whose whole being
seemed to expand with the sounds he drew from it." In his own home the
"Waltz-King," who contributed so much to ball-room merriment, appears to
have been unhappy. His father had been the keeper of a beer house, and
he himself married the daughter of an innkeeper, Anna Streim, from whom he
was divorced on the ground of incompatibility of temper, after eighteen
years. They had five children--two daughters and three sons, Johann,
Joseph and Eduard, all three of whom have became famous in the annals of
dance music.


Drawn and lithographed by C. Lutherer.]

Eduard, the youngest, born on Feb. 14, 1835, has proved the least talented
of the three. His compositions, numbering over two hundred, though often
piquant in harmony and cleverly orchestrated, are deficient in melodic
spontaneity and originality and often a mere echo of his brother Johann's
genius. (There are melodious exceptions, the Doctrinen Walzer, opus 79,
e. g.) He is a good conductor of dance music, and since the death of his
brother Josef, in 1870, and the retirement of Johann from executive music
in the same year, he has been sole conductor of the Strauss orchestra at
court balls and in the Volksgarten.

Josef, the second of the brothers, had more talent for composition than
Eduard. He was of delicate constitution and lived only forty-three years
(Aug. 22, 1827, to July 22, 1870), yet the number of his original pieces
is two hundred and eighty-three, to which must be added about three
hundred arrangements. Some of his waltzes and polkas--like the "Village
Swallows" and "Woman's Heart"--have become great favorites, and deservedly
so, but I cannot agree with the opinion, which has been held, that he was
the superior--or even the equal--of his brother Johann. He was a good
pianist, and for a number of years divided with his brothers the task of
conducting the Strauss orchestra in Vienna.

We now come to Johann Strauss, the oldest of the brothers, born Oct. 25,
1825, and still living. It is not often that a man of genius has a son
who attains even greater eminence than himself, but in this case the palm
must be awarded to Johann Strauss, Jr., whose creative power was not only
greater than that of his brothers, but soared into regions of which even
his father never dreamed.

His talent for music was manifested at a very early age, but his father
did not encourage it--forgetting how much he himself had suffered in his
childhood from parental opposition to his natural inclinations. It was
Horace who remarked, almost two thousand years ago, that no man is quite
satisfied with his occupation, and everyone fancies he would have been
happier had he chosen some other career. This may have been the reason why
the elder Strauss, in the midst of his honors and remarkable popularity,
decided that none of his sons should become musicians. Johann was to be
a merchant, Josef an engineer, and for Eduard, too, some non-musical
employment would have been selected had not his father died before he was

Fortunately for Johann, his mother secretly encouraged his fondness for
music, allowing him to take lessons on the violin and in composition. His
first waltz was written when he was only six years old, and called his
'First Thought.' That was sixty years ago, and every one of these years
has added several waltzes to his list. As a conductor he made his first
venture at the age of nineteen, with a band of his own; and when his
father died, five years later, he took his place and remained at the head
of his orchestra for ten years. As an "orchestral traveller" he was even
more enterprising than his father had been, for he extended his journeys
as far as America and St. Petersburg, being heard at Gilmore's Jubilee at
Boston in 1869, while in St. Petersburg he gave a series of concerts every
summer, from 1856 to 1866, always returning to Vienna in winter to furnish
the music for the court festivities and the numerous other balls given in
that gay city during the carnival.

The eminent Viennese critic, Dr. Hanslick, a personal friend of Strauss,
says of this early period of his career: "The incessant dispenser of joys
to all Vienna, Father Strauss, was a tyrant at home. The sons grew up
amid the embittering and demoralizing impressions of an unhappy family
life. Finally Johann emancipated himself, trusting in his talent, of
which he felt certain, and on that Dommayer-evening suddenly came forth
as a musical rival of his father. The first three works, with which he
made his début, were the waltzes, 'Gunstwerber,' 'Sinngedichte' and the
'Herzenslust' Polka.... The young man's animal spirits, so long repressed,
now began to foam over; favored by his talent, intoxicated by his early
successes, petted by the women, Johann Strauss passed his youth in wild
enjoyment, always productive, always fresh and enterprising, at the same
time frivolous to the point of adventurousness. As in appearance he
resembles his father, handsomer, however, more refined and modern, so also
his waltzes had the unmistakable Strauss family physiognomy, not without
a tendency to originality. Our Viennese, the most expert judges in such
matters, at once recognized the budding talent of the young Strauss, who
promised soon to overtake his famous parent."

[Illustration: JOSEPH STRAUSS.

From a lithograph by Maurin, at the Paris Opera Library.]

For more than a quarter of a century Strauss continued to devote himself
to the creation and the conducting of dance music; and the number of his
pieces in this _genre_ rose to over three hundred. His opus 314 was the
"Blue Danube Waltz," which has since become famous not only as a sort of
second Austrian national hymn, by the side of Haydn's "Gott erhalte Franz
den Kaiser," but as the transition to a new sphere of activity. For it was
_a vocal waltz_, being written for male chorus and orchestra; and just as
Beethoven's choral symphony, according to Wagner, pointed to the necessity
of the music-drama, so it seems that Strauss used this vocal waltz as a
transition to the Viennese operetta, a new style of stage-music which owes
its present form and vogue chiefly to his genius.

It is said that Strauss's wife was largely instrumental in making him
change his sphere from the humble dance hall to the more ambitious
theatre. She was a famous singer and actress, named Jetty Treffz, when
Strauss married her in 1863, and if she was really responsible for her
husband's "new departure," the world owes her a large debt of gratitude.
She died in April, 1879, and toward the close of the same year Strauss
married the dramatic singer, Angelica Dittrich.

Two years after his first marriage he sent Eduard in his place to St.
Petersburg, and in 1870 he also resigned his position as conductor of the
court balls in his brother's favor. But if any one fancied that he had
lost his interest in music, or, like Rossini, intended to retire from
active life when his triumph was at its height, the error was soon made
manifest; for in 1871 Johann Strauss appeared on the boards of the Theater
an der Wien with something which no one had ever expected of him--an
operetta. "Indigo" was its name, and its reception was sufficiently
gratifying to encourage him to try another and still another, with
ever-increasing success.

[Illustration: JOHANN STRAUSS (Senior).

Caricature by Dantan in the Carnavalet Museum, Paris.]

Some of these operettas--especially _The Bat_ (_Fledermaus_), the _Merry
War_, the _Queen's Lace Handkerchief_, and the _Gypsy Baron_--became
enormously popular in Austria, Germany and the United States (where they
have been sung successfully in both German and English), and if anything
had been needed to make the "Waltz King" known to the whole world, and
admired by everybody, these operettas would have brought about that result.

       *       *       *       *       *

It is a strange but suggestive fact that although no name is better
known in the musical world than that of the Strauss family, most of the
histories of music ignore it almost entirely. And why should the erudite
historians honor with their attention a mere Strauss, who was _only a man
of genius_ and never constructed any symphonies, oratorios, or operas?
Scores of composers are treated of in these histories whose genius was not
a tithe of that of Johann Strauss, father or son; but because they wrote
a number of (tedious and now forgotten) sonatas and symphonies, they are
considered worthy of attention by these writers! Even Chopin has often
been treated by historians in a similar gingerly manner, because he wrote
hardly anything but short pieces for the pianoforte; as if there were not
more genius and beauty and suggestiveness in most of Chopin's five-minute
pieces than in many one-hour symphonies and four-hour operas. The same may
be said of not a few Strauss waltzes.

[Illustration: Polka

Johann Strauss, (Junior.)]

Wherein lies this originality that entitles the name of Strauss to
so prominent a place in musical history? It lies partly in the
individuality of their style and ideas; but still more in their having
succeeded in making the waltz the most popular form of modern dance-music
throughout the civilized world, and in the creation of a new style of
operetta, or comic opera. In the first of these achievements all the
members of the Strauss family have coöperated, while in the last the
credit belongs to the second Johann alone.

[Illustration: Simple--Valse

Strauss (Johann Strauss--Senior.)]

To inoculate the world with a passion for a special form of dance music is
not such an easy thing as it seems at first sight. National customs and
inclinations stand in the way. As Rubinstein has remarked, "A melody which
moves a Finn to tears will leave a Spaniard cold, a dance rhythm which
makes a Hungarian skip will not disturb an Italian in his rest, etc." To
have made all the young people in the world dance to the rhythm of the
Austrian waltz is, therefore, a feat which required the magic power of
genius for its performance. And not only has the waltz been universally
adopted, but it has become the dance of dances, the modern dance _par
excellence_, the rapturous dance in which the _young people_ find an
embodiment of the glowing passion of love, while in the old-fashioned
dances,--the minuet at their head--it was the _old people_ and the
chaperons who did the stiff and formal dancing in a slow and stately

Of course the honor of making the waltz cosmopolitan does not belong to
the Strausses alone. The Austrian Lanner, the Bohemian Labitzky, the
Hungarian Gungl and others had their share, but they can be regarded
merely as satellites, who could only revolve around the world by revolving
around Strauss. Nor did Strauss invent the waltz. It "just growed," like
Topsy, among the people, and the time and even the country of its origin
are under dispute. It was at Vienna however, about a century ago, that
it first came into notice; and as it was developed chiefly by Viennese
composers, and is danced most generally by the people of that part of
Europe, the popular notion that Vienna is the home of the waltz does not
call for correction. A few waltz-like pieces had been written by Mozart
and Beethoven, but they are, as Dr. Hanslick remarks, "astonishingly dry
and insignificant," and it remained for that genuine Viennese genius
Franz Schubert, to first infuse true musical genius into this form of
composition. Schubert is the real originator of the modern waltz, as of
the Lied for the voice, and the song for the piano. In the Peters edition
there is, besides a volume of Schubert's Marches and one of Polonaises,
one of his "Dances" (seventy-four pages), mostly waltzes, "valses nobles,"
"valses sentimentales." No. 13 of the last name is that most exquisite
piece which Liszt has made such fine use of in his "Soirées de Vienne,"
and which may be regarded as the predecessor, and the equal, of the noble
waltzes of Chopin, Rubinstein, Brahms and other modern composers. Indeed,
these Schubert waltzes contain the germs of most of the later developments
of the waltz for the piano.

In thus giving Schubert his due we do not detract from the merit of the
elder Strauss. He was of course far from having the genius of Schubert,
but he did a great work in transferring the Schubert spirit to the
orchestral and dance-waltz. For the first time people came to cafés and
dance halls to listen to music for its own sake instead of regarding it
merely as an aid to conversation and dancing. Strauss not only had the
gift of inventing original themes, he also had the skill to clothe them
in a charming orchestral garb. Great composers, like Cherubini, Meyerbeer
and Mendelssohn, recognized his talent, and Wagner wrote in 1863 that
"a single Strauss waltz surpasses in grace, refinement and real musical
substance, the majority of the oft-laboriously-collected foreign products."

To quote Johann the younger once more on his father: "He has borne the
fame of German dance-music over the whole world, and severe judges have
not hesitated to acknowledge that his gay and piquant rhythms bubbled from
the pure fount of musical art. As a conductor he had that indefinable
quality which carried away the performers, was communicated by them to the
hearers, and made their hearts and pulses beat faster." He was the first
to introduce the custom of giving a name to his dance music, and each of
his pieces--including one hundred and fifty waltzes, fourteen polkas,
twenty-eight galops, nineteen marches, and thirty-five quadrilles, has
its own title, either characteristically Viennese, or referring to his
travels or the emotions which a dance piece is apt to evoke, or purely
fanciful. The quadrille was imported by Strauss from Paris. His marches
are the least interesting of his compositions, and his waltzes the most
fascinating and meritorious, the polkas ranking next.

In his early waltzes the elder Strauss often begins, like Schubert,
without an introduction and ends with a very short coda. Gradually,
however (though with exceptions), the introduction and coda assume greater
dimensions; but it remained for Johann the son to show how greatly the
musical and emotional value of the waltz can be increased by elaborating
the slow amorous introduction as well as the coda, in which all the themes
of the preceding numbers can once more be brought forward and ingeniously
developed or combined. Schubert's last set of waltzes consists of a chain
of twenty links or parts. The elder Strauss has usually only five or six
links in his chain; and his son shows a tendency to decrease that number
to three or four separate parts, while giving the introduction the aspect
of a short overture, with several changes of tempo, often delightfully
fore-shadowing the waltz themes in a dreamy, passionate and tender manner,
as if interpreting the thoughts of the young lovers who perchance are
looking forward to their first embrace in the disguise of a waltz. In
the "Stories from the Vienna Forest" Waltzes, opus 325, the introduction
covers more than two pages of the piano score--one hundred and twenty
bars, with four changes of tempo. The first number consists of forty-four
bars, whereas originally each number consisted of eight or sixteen bars
only; and the coda of one hundred and fifty-seven bars. And that this
waltz, like all his best ones, is intended quite as much for the concert
hall as for the ball room is indicated by the signs for retarding or
accelerating and by the insertion of eighteen bars which are marked "to be
omitted in playing for a dance." I have noticed, however, that at Viennese
dances, when conductors, players, and dancers are simultaneously entranced
by the intoxicating Strauss music, there is a slight tendency on the part
of the couples to yield to the _rubato_ or capricious coquetry of movement
which is natural to this music. Such _rubato_ dancing raises that art
itself to a poetic height; but it is perhaps vain to hope for it outside
of a Viennese dance hall.

As the younger Johann's waltzes ceased to be a mere accompaniment to
dancing and assumed the function of interpreting the thoughts and feelings
of lovers as they are whirled along, "imparadised in one another's arms,"
his harmonies became more and more piquant and novel, his instrumentation
more tender, refined, dreamy and voluptuous. Berlioz, himself, in
orchestrating Weber's superb "Invitation to the Dance," has not shown
greater genius for instrumentation than Strauss the son has in his later
waltzes. It might be said that whereas Haydn, Mozart, and Beethoven
built up the symphony from dance forms, Strauss, conversely, applied the
symphonic resources of the orchestra to his dance pieces. One can get no
idea of their real charm at the piano; but Americans have been fortunate
in having had in Mr. Theodore Thomas for many years such a sympathetic and
animated interpreter, who knew how to give them the true Strauss swing.
Not all of these waltzes are of equal value, and popularity is no test
of merit. Thus, the "Blue Danube" Waltz, of which over a million copies
have been sold, is really one of the poorest, just as Schubert's Serenade
is far from being his best song and the Wedding March from being the gem
of "Lohengrin." Their number is enormous--440 is the opus number of the
"Gross-Wien" Walzer, the last one printed up to the end of 1891.

When Strauss turned to composing operettas, there was great consternation,
because it was feared that the Carnival in Vienna and elsewhere would have
to dispense thereafter with its annual gifts from his pen. These fears
were unfounded; his operettas were so full of waltz and polka buds and
full-blown roses, that it was easy to pick them for a concert-hall and
ball-room bouquet; so that some of his best recent dance pieces are taken
from his operettas. Equally unfounded were the fears that after devoting
more than a quarter of a century to the composition of dance music,
Strauss would be unable to win distinction as a dramatic writer. In his
first operettas, it is true, the libretto was little more than a peg to
hang on waltzes, polkas and marches; but gradually he emancipated himself
more and more from the simple saltatorial style, until, in "The Bat,"
the "Merry War" and subsequent works, he created a new type of operetta,
with beautiful flowing, lyric melodies, and stirring dramatic ensembles.
True, the "Waltz King" is never quite able to disguise his character, but
in this very fact lie the originality and unique charm of the Strauss
operetta. It is a new style of stage play--the Austrian operetta, a new
"school" of comic opera; and in creating this, Strauss placed himself far
above his father and his brothers. Millœcker would not have been possible
but for Strauss, and Suppé did not write his best works till after Strauss
had shown the way.

That J. Strauss, the younger, wrote four hundred and forty pieces of dance
music has already been stated. The complete list of his operettas is as
follows: _Indigo_, 1871; _The Carnival in Rome_, 1873; _The Bat_, 1874;
_Cagliostro_, 1875; _Prince Methusalem_, 1877; _Blind Man's Buff_, 1878;
_The Queen's Lace Handkerchief_, 1880; _The Merry War_, 1881; _A Night in
Venice_, 1883; _The Gypsy Baron_, 1885; _Simplicius_, 1887. In my opinion
there is in these operettas more good music than in the operettas of any
other composer, but Strauss has been less fortunate in his librettists
than Offenbach and Sullivan, and this has not only diminished the
present popularity of his works in some countries, but will prevent them
from enjoying as long a life as their truly prodigal wealth of new and
charming melodies would otherwise entitle them to. Moreover, few things
are so short-lived as operettas, and it is therefore probable that, to
the next generation, Strauss will be chiefly known as the "Waltz King,"
after all, partly by the pieces which he wrote directly for the dance
hall, and partly by those which are culled from his dramatic works. He is
still at work, with greater ambition than ever, for his latest opus is
a grand opera, _Ritter Pásmán_, which had its first performance at the
Imperial Opera at Vienna on January 1, 1892. It is modelled partly on
Wagner's _Meistersinger_, and the _Neue Zeitschrift für Musik_ finds in it
the true type of the comic opera of the future, "combining the _esprit_
and grace of French opéra comique with German depth of sentiment, and
that spontaneous melodiousness which is an Austrian specialty--that flow
of fresh and natural melody which we find in Schubert and Haydn." Dr.
Hanslick recommends the score as a model to students of instrumentation.

[Illustration: Henry T. Finck]


From lithograph published at the time.]

       *       *       *       *       *

    |                      Transcriber notes:                        |
    |                                                                |
    | P. 247. Illustration, "Birthplace of Joseph Hayden in Rohrau", |
    |            keeping typo, but should read "Joseph Haydn".       |
    | P. 249. 'bouyant' changed to 'buoyant'.                        |
    | P. 265. 'Hadyn' changed to 'Haydn', in 'Hadyn ever wrote'.     |
    | P. 279. 'antichamber' changed to 'antechamber'.                |
    | P. 279. 'pianoforte sonates', changed 'sonates' to 'sonatas'.  |
    | P. 283. 'finnished' changed to 'finished'.                     |
    | P. 286. 'Bach motett', 'motett' changed to 'motet'.            |
    | P. 354. "Auguste jam Cœ estium", changed to "Auguste jam       |
    |            Cœlestium".                                         |
    | P. 380. 'interruped' changed to 'interrupted'.                 |
    | P. 395. Caption, Dec. 6th? 1826.                               |
    |                                                                |
    |                    Music Transcriber Notes:                    |
    |                                                                |
    | P. 261. The autograph manuscript is difficult to read but      |
    | appears to track the second movement of Haydn's String Quartet |
    | in C Major, Op. 76, with the "Austrian Hymn" theme and first   |
    | variation reversed. The transcription was made from a public   |
    | domain score of the quartet (available at the Petrucci Music   |
    | Library, http://imslp.org/wiki).                               |
    | P. 426. The caption on this image erroneously gives the title  |
    | of the piece as "Farewell to the Forest," which is a different |
    | piece by Mendelssohn ("Abschied vom Walde"). The piece in the  |
    | image is actually "The Hunter's Farewell," as indicated by the |
    | title in the manuscript ("Jägers Abschied").                   |

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