Project Gutenberg's Among the Great Masters of Music, by Walter Rowlands

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Title: Among the Great Masters of Music
       Scenes in the Lives of Famous Musicians

Author: Walter Rowlands

Release Date: April 13, 2007 [EBook #21056]

Language: English

Character set encoding: ISO-8859-1


Produced by Al Haines

The Tone Masters.  Haydn, Mozart, Handel, Beethoven. From painting by Hans Temple.

The Tone Masters. Haydn, Mozart, Handel, Beethoven. From painting by Hans Temple.

Among the Great
Masters of Music

Scenes in the Lives of Famous Musicians

Thirty-two Reproductions of Famous Paintings
with Text by

Walter Rowlands

E. Grant Richards

Miss Jane Rowlands




THE TONE MASTERS . . . . . . . . . Frontispiece


The compiler's thanks are due to Messrs. Houghton, Mifflin & Co., and to Mrs. Elizabeth Stuart Phelps Ward, for permission to use a selection from "The Silent Partner."

Music is the link between spiritual and sensual life.—Beethoven.

And while we hear
The tides of Music's golden sea
Setting toward eternity,
Uplifted high in heart and hope are we.

Music in the best sense has little need of novelty, on the contrary, the older it is, the more one is accustomed to it, the greater is the effect it produces.—Goethe.

Music is a kind of inarticulate, unfathomable speech, which leads us to the edge of the infinite, and lets us for moments gaze into that.—Carlyle.



One of the most ancient legends handed down to us by the early Church is that of St. Cecilia, the patroness of music and musicians. She is known to have been honoured by Christians as far back as the third century, in which she is supposed to have lived.

Doubtless much of fancy has been added, in all the ensuing years, to the facts of Cecilia's life and death. Let us, however, take the legend as it stands. It says that St. Cecilia was a noble Roman lady, who lived in the reign of the Emperor Alexander Severus. Her parents, who secretly professed Christianity, brought her up in their own faith, and from her earliest childhood she was remarkable for her enthusiastic piety: she carried night and day a copy of the Gospel concealed within the folds of her robe; and she made a secret but solemn vow to preserve her chastity, devoting herself to heavenly things, and shunning the pleasures and vanities of the world. As she excelled in music, she turned her good gift to the glory of God, and composed hymns, which she sang herself with such ravishing sweetness, that even the angels descended from heaven to listen to her, or to join their voices with hers. She played on all instruments, but none sufficed to breathe forth that flood of harmony with which her whole soul was filled; therefore she invented the organ, consecrating it to the service of God. When she was about sixteen, her parents married her to a young Roman, virtuous, rich, and of noble birth, named Valerian. He was, however, still in the darkness of the old religion. Cecilia, in obedience to her parents, accepted the husband they had ordained for her; but beneath her bridal robes she put on a coarse garment of penance, and, as she walked to the temple, renewed her vow of chastity, praying to God that she might have strength to keep it. And it so fell out; for, by her fervent eloquence, she not only persuaded her husband, Valerian, to respect her vow, but converted him to the true faith. She told him that she had a guardian angel who watched over her night and day, and would suffer no earthly lover to approach her. And when Valerian desired to see this angel, she sent him to seek the aged St. Urban, who, being persecuted by the heathen, had sought refuge in catacombs. After listening to the instructions of that holy man, the conversion of Valerian was perfected, and he was baptised. Returning then to his wife, he heard, as he entered, the most entrancing music; and, on reaching her chamber, beheld an angel, who was standing near her, and who held in his hand two crowns of roses gathered in Paradise, immortal in their freshness and perfume, but invisible to the eyes of unbelievers. With these he encircled the brows of Cecilia and Valerian, as they knelt before him; and he said to Valerian, "Because thou hast followed the chaste counsel of thy wife, and hast believed her words, ask what thou wilt, it shall be granted to thee." And Valerian replied, "I have a brother named Tiburtius, whom I love as my own soul; grant that his eyes, also, may be opened to the truth." And the angel replied, with a celestial smile, "Thy request, O Valerian, is pleasing to God, and ye shall both ascend to his presence, bearing the palm of martyrdom." And the angel, having spoken these words, vanished. Soon afterward Tiburtius entered the chamber, and perceiving the fragrance of the celestial roses, but not seeing them, and knowing that it was not the season for flowers, he was astonished. Then Cecilia, turning to him, explained to him the doctrines of the Gospel, and set before him all that Christ had done for us,—contrasting his divine mission, and all he had done and suffered for men, with the gross worship of idols made of wood and stone; and she spoke with such a convincing fervour, such heaven-inspired eloquence, that Tiburtius yielded at once, and hastened to Urban to be baptised and strengthened in the faith. And all three went about doing good, giving alms, and encouraging those who were put to death for Christ's sake, whose bodies were buried honourably.

Now there was in those days a wicked prefect of Rome, named Almachius, who governed in the emperor's absence; and he sent for Cecilia and her husband and brother, and commanded them to desist from the practice of Christian charity. And they said, "How can we desist from that which is our duty, for fear of anything that man can do unto us?" The two brothers were then thrown into a dungeon, and committed to the charge of a centurion named Maximus, whom they converted, and all three, refusing to join in the sacrifice to Jupiter, were put to death. And Cecilia, having washed their bodies with her tears, and wrapped them in her robes, buried them together in the cemetery of Calixtus. Then the wicked Almachius, covetous of the wealth which Cecilia had inherited, sent for her, and commanded her to sacrifice to the gods, threatening her with horrible tortures in case of refusal. She only smiled in scorn, and those who stood by wept to see one so young and so beautiful persisting in what they termed obstinacy and rashness, and entreated her to yield; but she refused, and by her eloquent appeal so touched their hearts that forty persons declared themselves Christians, and ready to die with her. Then Almachius, struck with terror and rage, exclaimed, "What art thou, woman?" and she answered, "I am a Roman of noble race." He said, "I ask of thy religion;" and she said, "Thou blind one, thou art already answered!" Almachius, more and more enraged, commanded that they should carry her back to her own house, and fill her bath with boiling water, and cast her into it; but it had no more effect on her body than if she had bathed in a fresh spring. Then Almachius sent an executioner to put her to death with the sword; but his hand trembled, so that, after having given her three wounds in the neck and breast, he went his way, leaving her bleeding and half dead. She lived, however, for the space of three days, which she spent in prayers and exhortation to the converts, distributing to the poor all she possessed; and she called to her St. Urban, and desired that her house, in which she then lay dying, should be converted into a place of worship for the Christians. Thus, full of faith and charity, and singing with her sweet voice praises and hymns to the last moment, she died at the end of three days. The Christians embalmed her body, and she was buried by Urban in the same cemetery with her husband.

As the saint had wished, her house was consecrated as a church, and the chamber in which she had suffered martyrdom was regarded as a place especially sacred. In after years, the edifice fell into ruins, but was rebuilt by Pope Paschal I. in the ninth century. While this pious work was in progress, it is told that Paschal had a dream, in which St. Cecilia appeared to him and disclosed the spot where she had been buried. On a search being made, her body was found in the cemetery of St. Calixtus, together with the remains of Valerian, Tiburtius, and Maximus, and all were deposited in the same edifice, which has since been twice rebuilt and is now known as the church of St. Cecilia in Trastevere. At the end of the sixteenth century, the sarcophagus which held the remains of the saint was solemnly opened in the presence of several dignitaries of the Church, among whom was Cardinal Baronius, who left an account of the appearance of the body. "She was lying," says Baronius, "within a coffin of cypress-wood, enclosed in a marble sarcophagus; not in the manner of one dead and buried, that is, on her back, but on her right side, as one asleep, and in a very modest attitude; covered with a simple stuff of taffety, having her head bound with cloth, and at her feet the remains of the cloth of gold and silk which Pope Paschal had found in her tomb." The reigning Pope, Clement VIII., ordered that the relics should be kept inviolate, and the coffin was enclosed in a silver shrine and replaced under the high altar, with great solemnity. A talented sculptor, Stefano Maderno, was commissioned to execute a marble statue of the saint lying dead, and this celebrated work, which fully corresponds with the description of Baronius, is now beneath the high altar of the church, where ninety-six silver lamps burn constantly to the memory of Cecilia. The accompanying inscription reads, "Behold the image of the most holy virgin Cecilia, whom I myself saw lying incorruptible in her tomb. I have in this marble expressed for thee the same saint in the very same posture of body."

It seems hardly possible now to say when St. Cecilia came to be considered as music's patron saint,—probably it was not until centuries after her death. We know that in 1502 a musical society was instituted in Belgium, at Louvain, which was placed under the patronage of St. Cecilia. We know, also, that the custom of praising music by giving special musical performances on St. Cecilia's Day (November 22) is an old one. The earliest known celebration of this nature took place at Evreux, in Normandy, in 1571, when some of the best composers of the day, including Orlando Lasso, competed for the prizes which were offered. It is recorded that the first of these festivals to be held in England was in 1683. For these occasions odes were written by Dryden, Shadwell, Congreve, and other poets, and the music was supplied by such composers as Purcell and Blow. At the Church of St. Eustache, in Paris, on St. Cecilia's Day, masses by Adolphe Adam, Gounod, and Ambroise Thomas have been given their first performance. In Germany, Spohr and Moritz Hauptmann have composed works in honour of the day, and Haydn's great "Cecilia" mass must not be forgotten.

Mrs. Jameson says that, before the beginning of the fifteenth century, St. Cecilia was seldom represented in art with musical attributes, but carried the martyr's palm. Later, she appears in painting, either accompanied by various instruments of music, or playing on them. Domenichino, who was in Rome when the sarcophagus of St. Cecilia was opened, and painted numerous pictures of the saint, shows her in one of them as performing on the bass viol. This picture is in the Louvre, where also is Mignard's canvas, representing her accompanying her voice with a harp.

Many painters have depicted St. Cecilia playing upon the organ, often a small, portable instrument, such as she bears in the celebrated picture by Raphael, which we reproduce. For over six hundred years, from the time of Cimabue to our own day, artists of all countries have vied with each other in representations of St. Cecilia, but none have risen to the height of Raphael's treatment of the theme.

St. Cecilia.  From painting by Raphael

St. Cecilia. From painting by Raphael

He shows us Cecilia, standing with enraptured face lifted to heaven, where the parted clouds display six angels prolonging the melody which the saint has ceased to draw forth from the organ she holds. On her right, the majestic figure of St. Paul appears as if in deep thought, leaning on his sword, and between him and St. Cecilia we see the beautiful young face of the beloved disciple, John the Evangelist. Upon the other side, the foremost figure is that of Mary Magdalen, carrying the jar of ointment in her hand, and behind her stands St. Augustine with a bishop's staff, looking toward John. At the feet of St. Cecilia are scattered various instruments of music, a viol, cymbals, the triangle, flute, and others. They are broken, and some of the pipes of the regal held by St. Cecilia are falling from their place,—all seeming to indicate the inferiority of earthly music to the celestial harmonies. Of the five saints depicted, only Cecilia looks upward, and it has been suggested that Raphael meant that she, alone, hears and understands the heavenly strains.

She is clothed in a garment of cloth of gold, St. Paul in crimson and green, and the Magdalen in violet.

Some writers claim that the face of the Magdalen is that of Raphael's love, the "Farnarina," whom he frequently used as a model. The baker's daughter was a girl of the Trastevere, and it is a coincidence that her home was near that church dedicated to Cecilia, where the saint's remains have rested for hundreds of years.

As Mrs. Jameson observed, Sir Joshua Reynolds has given us a paraphrase of Raphael's painting of music's patron saint in his fine picture of Mrs. Billington, the famous English singer of his last years, as St. Cecilia. She holds a music book in her hand, but is listening to the carolling of some cherubs hovering above her. The composer Haydn paid the singer a happy compliment suggested by this portrait when he said to Sir Joshua, "What have you done? you have made her listening to the angels, you should have represented the angels listening to her." Mrs. Billington was so delighted with this praise that she gave Haydn a hearty kiss. This splendid portrait of the charming young singer is in the Lenox Library in New York.

Raphael's "St. Cecilia" has, of course, a history. In October of the year 1513, a noble lady of Bologna, named Elena Duglioli dall Olio, imagined that she heard supernatural voices bidding her to dedicate a chapel to St. Cecilia in the Church of S. Giovanni in Monte. Upon telling this to a relative, Antonio Pucci of Florence, he offered to fit up the chapel at his own expense, and induced his uncle, Lorenzo Pucci, then newly created a cardinal, to commission Raphael to paint a picture for the altar. It was finished in 1516.

Tradition relates that Pucci had no ear for music, and was laughed at by his brother cardinals when chanting mass in the Sistine Chapel. He thereupon invoked the aid of St. Cecilia, who rewarded the donor of her picture by remedying his harmonic deficiency.

In 1796, Napoleon's conquering army carried the painting to Paris, where it remained until 1815, when it was returned to Bologna. It was at a later date transferred to the art gallery of that city, where it now hangs. About the middle of the eighteenth century, when the agent of Augustus III., the Elector of Saxony, was negotiating the purchase of Italian paintings for the royal gallery in Dresden, the "St. Cecilia" was offered to him for $18,000, but the price was thought too high, and a copy by Denis Calvaert sufficed. This still hangs in the Zwinger at Dresden, the home of the Sistine Madonna. According to Vasari, the organ and other musical instruments in this picture were painted by one of the master's pupils, Giovanni da Udine. Raphael again designed a St. Cecilia in the now ruined fresco of her martyrdom, which either the master or one of his pupils painted in the chapel of the Pope's hunting castle of La Magliana, near Rome. Fortunately, Marc Antonio's engraving has preserved for us the composition of this work.

Of the many tributes to this "St. Cecilia," we will select the one by Shelley.

"We saw besides one picture of Raphael—St. Cecilia; this is in another and higher style; you forget that it is a picture as you look at it; and yet it is most unlike any of those things which we call reality. It is of the inspired and ideal kind, and seems to have been conceived and executed in a similar state of feeling to that which produced among the ancients those perfect specimens of poetry and sculpture which are the baffling models of succeeding generations. There is a unity and a perfection in it of an incommunicable kind. The central figure, St. Cecilia, seems rapt in such inspiration as produced her image in the painter's mind; her deep, dark, eloquent eyes lifted up; her chestnut hair flung back from her forehead—she holds an organ in her hands—her countenance, as it were, calmed by the depth of its passion and rapture, and penetrated throughout with the warm and radiant light of life. She is listening to the music of heaven, and, as I imagine, has just ceased to sing, for the four figures that surround her evidently point, by their attitudes, toward her; particularly St. John, who, with a tender yet impassioned gesture, bends his countenance toward her, languid with the depth of his emotion. At her feet lie various instruments of music, broken and unstrung. Of the colouring I do not speak; it eclipses nature, yet has all her truth and softness."

Dryden's "Song for St. Cecilia's Day, 1687," set to music by Draghi, an Italian composer, ends with this verse, apposite to our picture:

"Orpheus could lead the savage race,
And trees uprooted left their place,
Sequacious of the lyre:
But bright Cecilia raised the wonder higher;
When to her organ vocal breath was given,
An angel heard, and straight appeared,—
Mistaking earth for heaven!"

Ten years later he wrote his noble ode, "Alexander's Feast," in honour of St. Cecilia's festival, at the close of which he again refers to the saint's wondrous powers:

"Thus long ago,
Ere heaving bellows learn'd to blow,
While organs yet were mute,
Timotheus to his breathing flute
And sounding lyre,
Could swell the soul to rage, or kindle soft desire.
At last divine Cecilia came,
Inventress of the vocal frame;
The sweet enthusiast, from her sacred store,
Enlarged the former narrow bounds,
And added length to solemn sounds,
With Nature's mother-wit, and arts unknown before.
Let old Timotheus yield the prize,
Or both divide the crown;
He raised a mortal to the skies,
She drew an angel down."

Handel, in 1736, produced his oratorio of "Alexander's Feast." Pope's "Ode on St. Cecilia's Day," was written in 1708, and performed at Cambridge, in 1730, with music by Maurice Greene. In this composition the poet uses a similar image to Dryden. He sings:

"Music the fiercest grief can charm,
And fate's severest rage disarm;
Music can soften pain to ease,
And make despair and madness please;
Our joys below it can improve,
And antedate the bliss above.
This the divine Cecilia found,
And to her Maker's praise confin'd the sound.
When the full organ joins the tuneful quire,
Th' immortal pow'rs incline their ear;
Borne on the swelling notes our souls aspire,
While solemn airs improve the sacred fire;
And angels lean from Heav'n to hear.
Of Orpheus now no more let poets tell,
To bright Cecilia greater pow'r is given;
His numbers rais'd a shade from Hell,
Hers lift the soul to Heav'n."


Some twenty miles from Rome, the insignificant but picturesquely situated town of Palestrina, lies on the hillside. The Praeneste of antiquity, it was once an important colony of Rome, many of whose wealthy ones resorted thither in summer, for the sake of its bracing atmosphere, which Horace extolled. Excavations here have yielded a rich harvest, and the Eternal City holds among its ancient treasures few of more interest or value than those recovered from the soil of Palestrina.

Palestrina.  From painting by Ferdinand Heilbruth.

Palestrina. From painting by Ferdinand Heilbruth.

Here, probably in 1524, was born Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina, who received his last name from that of his native town. His parents were of humble station in life, but, beyond this fact, we know little that is reliable about his youth or early education. In 1540 he went to Rome, and became a pupil at the music school of Claudio Goudimel, a French composer, who turned Protestant, and perished in the massacre of St. Bartholomew's Day. Palestrina appears to have returned to his birthplace when he was about twenty years old, and to have been made organist and director of music in the cathedral. He married in 1546, and had several sons, but in 1551 was again in Rome, where he held the position of teacher of the boy singers in the Capella Giulia, in the Vatican. While holding this office, he composed a set of masses, which he dedicated to Julius III., and which were issued in 1554. Before that time, Flemish composers had supplied all the music of the Church, and these masses are the first important work by an Italian musician. The Pope recognised their value by appointing Palestrina one of the singers of the papal choir, which was against the rules of the Church, married singers being debarred. Nor was the composer's voice such as entitled him to a place in this splendid body of singers, and he conscientiously hesitated before accepting the position. He did not, however, hold it long, for Julius III. died within a few months, and his successor, Marcellus II., lived but twenty-three days after becoming Pope. Paul IV., who succeeded Marcellus, was a reformer, and dismissed Palestrina from the choir, which was a severe blow to the poor composer. But in October of the same year (1555) he was made director of the music at the Lateran Church, where he remained for over five years. During this time he produced several important works, among them being his volume of Improperia ("the Reproaches"), an eight-voiced "Crux Fidelis," and the set of "Lamentations" for four voices. These compositions gave him fame as the leader of a new school, the pure school of Italian church-music. In 1561 the composer became director of music at the Church of St. Maria Maggiore, where he remained ten years, during which period the event took place which gave him his greatest fame.

For years church music had been lacking in that dignity which should be its main characteristic, and this fault was largely due to the Flemish composers, who thought most of displaying their technical skill. They frequently selected some well-known secular tune around which to weave their counterpoint, many masses, for instance, having been written on the old Provencal song of "L' Homme Armé." Some of the melodies chosen as the basis for masses were nothing but drinking songs. At that time the tenor generally sang the melody, and, as in order to show on what foundation their work rested, the Flemings retained the original words in his part, it was not uncommon to hear the tenors singing some bacchanalian verses, while the rest of the choir were intoning the sacred words of a "Gloria" or an "Agnus Dei." These abuses lasted for an incredibly long time, but finally, in 1562, the cardinals were brought together for the purification of all churchly matters, and the Council of Trent took note of the evil. All were agreed upon abolishing secular words from the mass, and some even urged the banishment of counterpoint itself, and a return to the plain song or chant, but fortunately this sweeping reform met with a vigorous protest from others. At last the whole matter was referred to a committee of eight cardinals, who wisely sought the aid of an equal number of the papal singers, and the outcome of their debate was a commission given Palestrina to write a mass, which should employ counterpoint without irreverence, and prove that religion and music might be blended into one.

The composer, in response to this signal mark of confidence, wrote three masses, which he submitted in 1565. The third one was the celebrated "Mass of Pope Marcellus," of which the Pope ordered a special performance by the choir of the Apostolical Chapel. The rendition was followed by the complete acceptance of Palestrina's work.

A new office, that of "Composer to the Pontifical Choir," was created for him, and in 1571 he became leader of the choir of St. Peter's. Although highly honoured and rewarded with many offices, Palestrina received no great pecuniary recompense for his labours. His life was blessed, however, with the love of a devoted wife, and the friendship of many true admirers, especially Cardinal Carlo Borromeo and Filippo Neri, the founder of oratorio, both of whom were afterward canonised.

Palestrina died in 1594, and lies buried in St. Peter's, where his works are still performed. To the end of his life he never ceased to produce, and left behind him over ninety masses, one hundred and seventy-nine motettes, forty-five sets of hymns for the entire year, and an immense quantity of other compositions. No composer, it is said, has ever existed at once so prolific and so sustainedly powerful. Both the man and his work deserve our regard. Elson says: "If ever the Catholic Church desires to canonise a musical composer, it will find devoutness, humility, and many other saintly characteristics in Palestrina."

Palestrina, in reverend age, discoursing on his art to some pupils or friends, has been painted by Ferdinand Heilbuth (1826-1889), an artist who, born in Germany of Jewish parents, gained his greatest successes in France. He painted three classes of pictures,—those in which celebrated personages of other times are the central attraction, as in "Palestrina;" others which portray aged ecclesiastics of the Roman Church, conversing with the orphan boys of some religious foundation, or the like; and lastly, charming transcripts from field or wood, in whose foreground he placed some fair dame in fashionable attire.


That Amazon of princesses, granddaughter of Henry IV., and cousin of Louis XIV., the Duchesse de Montpensier (better known, perhaps, by the name of "La Grande Mademoiselle"), once asked the Chevalier de Guise to bring her from Italy "a young musician to enliven my house." The chevalier did not forget the great lady's whim, and noticing, one day in Florence, a bright-eyed boy of twelve singing to the music of his guitar, said to him, "Will you come with me to Paris?" The lad, a poor miller's son, without hesitation answered, "Yes;" and thus the young Lulli got his start in the world.

He soon gained experience of the uncertainty which attended the favour of royalty, for, after a few days, "La Grande Mademoiselle" grew tired of her new toy, and sent him to the kitchen, where he became a cook's boy. Here, in the intervals of his work, surrounded by pots and pans, and eatables of all kinds, he often played upon his violin, or sang to his guitar. He is credited with having set some verses to music, at this time; among them the popular "Au Clair de la Lune," which the numberless readers of "Trilby" will remember was sung by La Svengali, on that famous night at the Cirque des Bashibazoucks. Some couplets reflecting on his mistress were sent to the young musician, and, composing a pretty air to the words, he sang them to the frequenters of the kitchen. This disrespectful act reached the ears of the duchess, who thereupon expelled Lulli from her house.

The Young Lulli.  From painting by H. de la Charlerie.

The Young Lulli. From painting by H. de la Charlerie.

His talent for the violin had, however, attracted the attention of some people of influence, and he was placed under tuition, and finally made one of the court musicians. At nineteen years old, he played for the first time before the king, who was much pleased, and appointed him Inspector of the Violins, and organised for him a band of young musicians, who were called Les Petits Violons, to distinguish them from the Grande Bande des Violons du Roi. Lulli was then chosen to compose dance-music for the ballets performed at court, and afterward the entire musical portion of these entertainments was entrusted to him. He became also a collaborator of Molière, furnishing the music for many of the great dramatist's plays, and even acting in some of them.

His greatest fame was won in the composition of operas, for which the poet Quinault wrote the words, and he is justly considered to be the founder of French opera. Among Lulli's operas are "Armide," "Isis," "Atys," "Alceste," "Psyche," "Proserpine," and "Bellerophon." The composer did not reach old age, but died in 1687, about fifty-four years old, wealthy and honoured, and a great favourite of Louis XIV., who had made him "Superintendent of the King's Music," and treated him with much liberality. His death was caused, one might say, by an illness of the king. When Louis recovered from this sickness, Lulli was commanded to write a Te Deum in grateful celebration of the event. At the first performance, the composer himself conducted, and while beating time with his baton, accidentally struck it against his foot, causing a bruise, which developed into an abscess of such a malignant character that the entire foot, and then the leg were affected. Amputation was advised as the only hope of saving the patient's life, but Lulli hesitated in giving his consent, and it was soon too late. From all accounts, the closing scene of Lulli's life was not marked with that awe which generally attends a death-bed. He desired absolution, but his confessor would not absolve him, except on the condition that he would commit to flames the score of his latest opera. After many excuses, Lulli at length acquiesced, and pointing to a drawer, where was the rough score of "Achille et Polixene," it was burned, the absolution granted, and the priest went home satisfied.

Lulli grew better, and one of the young princes visited him.

"What, Baptiste," said he, "have you burnt your opera? You were a fool for giving such credit to a gloomy confessor, and burning such good music."

"Hush! hush!" whispered Lulli, "I knew well what I was about,—I have another copy of it!"

But this was not all. Unhappily, this joke was followed by a relapse, and the prospect of certain death caused him such dreadful remorse for his deceit to the priest, that he confessed all, and submitted to be laid on a heap of ashes, with a cord around his neck, which was the penance recommended him! He was then placed in bed, and expired singing, "Il faut mourir, pecheur, il faut mourir!" to one of his own airs.

Many anecdotes are told about Lulli, of which we will repeat one or two.

So fatal was the influence of success and its attendant fortune upon Lulli's career, that he entirely laid aside his violin, and refused to have such a thing in his house, nor could any one prevail upon him to play upon one. Marshal de Gramont, however, was his match. He determined not to be entirely deprived of his favourite treat, and devised the ingenious plan of making one of his servants, who could bring more noise than music out of the instrument, play upon the violin in Lulli's presence; whereupon the ex-violinist would rush to the unfortunate tormentor, snatch the fiddle from him, and seek to allay his disturbed equanimity (which, much to the delight of those within hearing, always took him a long time to accomplish) by playing himself.

At the first performance of "Armide," at Versailles, some delay prevented the raising of the curtain at the appointed hour. The king, thereupon, sent an officer of his guard, who said to Lulli, "The king is waiting," and was answered with the words, "The king is master here, and nobody has the right to prevent him waiting as long as he likes!"

Hippolyte de la Charlerie, who painted Lulli as a boy in the kitchen of "La Grande Mademoiselle," was a Belgian artist, who died young, in 1869, the same year that he sent this picture to the Paris Salon.


Crowest, the English writer on musical subjects, says: "Two hundred years ago, the finest violins that the world will probably ever have were being turned out from the Italian workshops; while at about the same time, and subsequently, there was issuing from the homes of music in Germany, the music for these superb instruments,—music not for any one age, 'but for all time.'"

"In the chain of this creative skill, however, a link was wanting. Nobody rose up who could marry the music to the instrument. For years and years the violin, and the music for it, marched steadily on, side by side, but not united. Bach was writing far in advance of his time, while Stradivarius and the Amatis were 'rounding' and 'varnishing' for a people yet to come. It was not till the beginning of the present century that executive skill, tone, and culture stepped in, and were brought to bear upon an instrument that is, perhaps, more than any other, amenable to such influences. Consequently, to us has fallen the happy fate to witness the very zenith of violin-playing. A future generation may equal, but can scarcely hope to surpass a Joachim, a Wilhelmj, or a Strauss,—players who combine the skill of Paganini with a purity of taste to which he was a stranger, and, moreover, with a freedom from those startling eccentricities which, more than anything else, have made the reputation of that strange performer."

The greatest violin-maker that ever lived, Antonio Stradivari, or Stradivarius, was born in Cremona, probably in 1644. No entry of his birth has been found in any church register at Cremona, but among the violins which once belonged to a certain Count Cozio di Salabue was one bearing a ticket in the handwriting of Stradivarius, in which his name, his age, and the date of the violin were given. He was then ninety-two years old, and the date of the violin was 1736. He was the pupil of another famous Cremonese violin-maker, Niccolo Amati, and his first works are said to bear the name of his master, but in 1670 he began to sign instruments with his own name. His early history is quite unknown, but a record exists showing that in 1667, when twenty-three years old, he married Francesca Ferraboschi. For about twenty years after his marriage, Stradivarius appears to have produced but few instruments, and it is supposed that during this time he employed himself chiefly in making those scientific experiments and researches which he carried into practice in his famous works. It was about the year 1700, when he was fifty-six years old, that Stradivarius attained that perfection which distinguishes his finest instruments. The first quarter of the eighteenth century witnessed the production of his best violins,—the quality of those made after 1725 is less satisfactory.

During his long life (he died in 1737), the great violin-maker worked industriously, and produced a large number of instruments, but a far greater number are attributed to him than he could possibly have made. His usual price for a violin was about twenty dollars, (Haweis says fifty dollars), but a fine specimen from his hand now sells in the auction room for hundreds of dollars. In 1888, a Stradivarius violin brought the large sum of five thousand dollars, and double this sum was paid a few years since for the celebrated "Messie" violin, made by Stradivarius in 1716, and still in perfect condition. Count Cozio di Salabue had bought it in 1760, but never allowed it to be played upon, and when he died (about 1824) it was purchased by that remarkable "violin hunter," Luigi Tarisio. Thirty years later, he, too, passed over to the majority, and his friend, the Parisian violin-maker Vuillaume, bought the "Messie" from Tarisio's heirs, along with about two hundred and fifty other fiddles, many of which were of the greatest rarity and value. Vuillaume kept the "Messie" in a glass case and never allowed any one to touch it, and many anxious days he passed during the Commune, fearing for his musical treasures. However, they luckily escaped the dangers of the time, and when, in 1875, Vuillaume died, the "Messie" became the property of his daughter, who was the wife of M. Alard, the celebrated teacher of the violin. From his executors it was bought in 1890 for 2,000 pounds, for the English gentleman who now possesses this most famous of all the works of Stradivarius. Charles Reade, the novelist, who was a lover of the violin and an expert in such matters, in 1872 had thought this instrument to be worth 600 pounds, so that its value had trebled in less than twenty years. The celebrated violinist, Ole Bull, owned a Stradivarius violin, dated 1687, and inlaid with ebony and ivory, which is said to have been made for a king of Spain. In the "Tales of a Wayside Inn" Longfellow speaks of it:

"The instrument on which he played
Was in Cremona's workshop made,
By a great master of the past
Ere yet was lost the art divine;
"Exquisite was it in design,
Perfect in each minutest part,
A marvel of the lutist's art;
And in its hollow chamber, thus,
The maker from whose hands it came
Had written his unrivalled name,—
'Antonius Stradivarius.'"

Haweis, in his admirable book on "Old Violins," reproduces for us "the atmosphere in which Antonio Stradivari worked for more than half a century.

"I stood in the open loft at the top of his house, where still in the old beams stuck the rusty old nails upon which he hung up his violins. And I saw out upon the north the wide blue sky, just mellowing to rich purple, and flecked here and there with orange streaks prophetic of sunset. Whenever Stradivarius looked up from his work, if he looked north, his eye fell on the old towers of S. Marcellino and S. Antonio; if he looked west, the Cathedral, with its tall campanile, rose dark against the sky, and what a sky! full of clear sun in the morning, full of pure heat all day, and bathed with ineffable tints in the cool of the evening, when the light lay low upon vinery and hanging garden, or spangled with ruddy gold the eaves, the roofs, and frescoed walls of the houses.

"Here, up in the high air, with the sun, his helper, the light, his minister, the blessed soft airs, his journeymen, what time the workaday noise of the city rose and the sound of matins and vespers was in his ears, through the long warm days worked Antonio Stradivari."

Stradivarius.  From painting by E. J. C. Hamman.

Stradivarius. From painting by E. J. C. Hamman.

Edouard Jean Conrad Hamman, who painted the picture of Stradivarius—deep in thought amid his violins—which accompanies this, was a Belgian. Born at Ostend in 1819, and a pupil of De Keyser, he lived a long time in Paris, won many medals and other honours, and died in 1888, leaving behind him numerous pictures, several of which are reproduced in this book. His "Erasmus Reading to the Young Charles V." is in the Luxembourg, and the Brussels museum has his "Dante at Ravenna," and the "Entry of Albert and Isabella into Ostend." Besides these he produced "The Mass of Adrien Willaert," "The Childhood of Montaigne," "Shakespeare and his Family," "Vesalius," "Hamlet," and "Murillo in his Studio." One of his paintings, entitled "The Women of Siena, 1553," shows the women of that city working on the fortifications intended to resist the besieging army of Charles V., and another depicts Columbus first sighting land on October 12, 1492.


A few years ago the Istrian town of Pirano unveiled a statue, not exactly to one of its illustrious sons, but to the only one of its children who ever became famous, so far as we know. The pedestal of the statue is inscribed.

Istria to Giuseppe Tartini, 1896.

The admirably conceived figure which surmounts the pedestal represents the master standing, violin and bow in hand, at the moment of his accidental discovery of the curious acoustic phenomenon known as the "third sound,"—i. e., the production of a third note in harmony when only two are struck with the bow. The statue was modelled by Dal Zotto, an able Italian sculptor, whose work found so much favour with those present at its inauguration that they enthusiastically carried him about the piazza on their shoulders,—a tribute we judge to have been well deserved.

The subject of Dal Zotto's statue was sent, while yet very young, from Pirano, (where he was born of a good family in 1692) to Capo d' Istria, to study at the college of the "Padri delle Scuole." It was here that he received his first instruction in violin playing, and in fencing,—two accomplishments that were to play an important part in his future life. In spite of the fact that Tartini's family had destined him to become a Franciscan, he had the strongest antipathy to an ecclesiastical career. His relatives fought in vain against his unbending resistance, and finally sent him to Pavia, to study law. Learning cost him little effort, and he still found plenty of spare time for fencing. Somewhat wild, and tired of serious study, he decided to take up his abode in Paris or Naples, and there establish himself as a fencing-master. A love-affair put an end to this project. Tartini having won the heart of a young and beautiful girl, a niece of the cardinal and Bishop of Padua, George Cornaro, the lovers were secretly married, but did not long succeed in keeping the knowledge of their union from their relatives. Tartini's family, enraged at his conduct, withdrew at once the support they had hitherto given him, and to cap the climax, the bishop accused him of seduction and theft. Warned in time, Tartini fled to Rome, leaving his young wife in Padua without confiding to her the direction of his travels.

Reaching Assisi, he ran across a monk in whom he recognised a near relation from his native city of Pirano. This good-natured brother, who was a sacristan in the monastery at Assisi, took pity on the refugee, and gave him an asylum in one of the cells. This is the time, and this is the cell in which the accompanying picture represents our hero. Two years he passed in this monastery, making use of his involuntary seclusion to carry on with great zeal his musical studies. The story of Tartini's dream, and his motive for writing the "Devil's Sonata" is told in various ways and with many additions. Tartini told the tale himself to the astronomer Lalande, who relates it in the following manner in his "Italian Travels." "One night in the year 1713," said Tartini, "I dreamed that I had made a compact with the Devil, and that he stood at my command. Everything thrived according to my wish, and whatever I desired or longed for was immediately realised through the officiousness of my new vassal. A fancy seized me to give him my violin to see if he could, perchance, play some beautiful melodies for me. How surprised I was to hear a sonata, so beautiful and singular, rendered in such an intelligent and masterly manner as I had never heard before. Astonishment and rapture overcame me so completely that I swooned away. On returning to consciousness, I hastily took up my violin, hoping to be able to play at least a part of what I had heard, but in vain. The sonata I composed at that time was certainly my best, and I still call it the 'Devil's Sonata,' but this composition is so far beneath the one I heard in my dream, that I would have broken my violin and given up music altogether, had I been able to live without it." The Paris Conservatory Library owns the manuscript of the "Devil's Sonata," which was published many years later (in 1805), under the title of "Il Trillo del Diavolo." This sonata has become one of the show-pieces of leading violinists, such as Joachim, Laub, and others. One writer speaks of it as a "piece in which a series of double shakes, and the satanic laugh with which it concludes, are so dear to lovers of descriptive music." Its title alone almost ensures its success beforehand. The listener is, however, less impressed by the hidden diabolical inspiration than by the wonderful technic.

Tartini's Dream.  From painting by James Marshall.

Tartini's Dream. From painting by James Marshall.

Strange to say, this composition actually aided Tartini to obtain the position of director of the orchestra in the Church of St. Antony at Padua, in 1721. Before this time, however, he heard in Venice the famous violinist Veracini, whose achievements in bowing impressed Tartini so much, that he left Venice the next morning for Ancona, where he pursued the study of his art, unmolested, for seven years. It was here that he created a new method of playing, which, particularly as regards the bowing, was the one followed for half a century.

Let us, however, return to Tartini at Assisi, and tell how an unforeseen incident at last freed the young artist from his hiding-place and gave him back to his family. On a certain holiday, Tartini was playing a violin solo, during services, in the choir of the church, when a sudden gust of wind blew aside the curtains which had concealed him from the assembly. A man from Padua, who happened to be in the church at the time, recognised Tartini, and betrayed his hiding-place. Circumstances had fortunately changed in the course of two years, the anger of the bishop was pacified, and Tartini was allowed to return to his wife at Padua.

In the year 1723 he was called to Prague to perform during the festivities at the coronation of the Emperor Charles VI. He went with his friend, the violoncellist, Antonio Nardini, to Prague, where they both accepted a position in the orchestra of Count Kinsky. After three years in this service, they returned to Padua, which city Tartini never left again. Invitations flowed in from all the great capitals, but no terms tempted him to leave his native soil.

Among the first of these offers was one from Lord Middlesex, inviting Tartini to London, and hinting that a visit to England would probably bring him in at least three thousand pounds; but it was declined in the following disinterested language: "I have a wife with the same sentiments as myself, and no children. We are perfectly contented with our position, and if we wish for anything, it is, certainly, not to possess more than we have at present." The remainder of his long and famous career passed quietly, dedicated to study, composition, and teaching. The school founded by him in 1728 soon became famous all over Europe, and sent out some of the most noted violinists. Padua was then the place of pilgrimage for all violinists, and it was not without cause that Tartini's countrymen called him "il maestro delle nazioni."

This period of Tartini's labour is, above all, remarkable for his theoretic researches. Already, in 1714, he had discovered the combination tones (the so-called "third" or Tartini's tone). This discovery, a lasting and valuable acquisition to all later investigations into acoustics, led him further and further, but apart from the exact road of natural science into the nebulous regions of mystic philosophy. Tartini taught that with the problem of harmony would also be solved the mystery of creation, that divinity itself would be revealed in the mystical symbols of the tone relations. In these mystical investigations, the composer believed himself particularly favoured by the grace of God.

The German composer, Naumann, who became Tartini's pupil at an early age, and who enjoyed his favour as no other did, has written down many remarkable facts concerning the master. To be initiated into the last secrets of the art of tone and the universe was Naumann's most ardent wish, but he was always put off to some future time as not yet being quite mature and worthy enough. Naumann's illustrations of Tartini's teachings resemble more a mystic and ecstatic sermon than a musical theory. Tartini died without having spoken his last word. His character in this last period of his life appears to have been amiable, mild, and benevolent. The sharp and violent disposition of his wife did not make him happy, but he nevertheless always remained considerate and tender toward her. He died in Padua, at the age of seventy-eight, on the sixteenth of February, 1770, and lies buried in the Church of St. Catherine. He perfected the art of bowing, composed eighteen concertos for five instruments, as well as several trios and a number of sonatas, and left a treatise on music. Doctor Burney translated and published, in 1779, a long letter of instructions for playing the violin which Tartini wrote from Padua, in 1760, to "My very much Esteemed Signora Maddalena." It can also be found in the life of "Ole Bull," who had a very high opinion of what Tartini must have been as a teacher.

The splendid collection of modern German pictures owned by Count von Schack, at Munich, includes "Tartini's Dream," which was painted by James Marshall. He was born at Amsterdam in 1838, but studied in Antwerp and Paris, and at Weimar under Friedrich Preller. Most of Marshall's life has been spent in Germany.


Bach's position as one of a numerous family of musicians is unique, for it cannot be said of any other composer that his forefathers, his contemporary relations, and his descendants were all musicians, and not only musicians, but holders of important offices as such.

Johann Sebastian Bach, the greatest of all that bore that name, considered the founder of his family to be Veit Bach, a Thuringian musician who settled in Pressburg in Hungary as a baker and miller. Later, because of religious persecution, he returned to his native country, where he lived at the village of Wechmar near Gotha, dying in 1619. Of his numerous musical descendants, Johann (1604-1673) became organist at Schweinfurt, and afterward director of the town musicians at Erfurt. Here, though the town suffered much from the effects of war, he founded a family which quickly increased and soon filled all the town musicians' places, so that for about a hundred and fifty years, and even after no more of the family lived there, the town musicians were known as "The Bachs."

Bach's Preludes.  From painting by E. J. C. Hamman.

Bach's Preludes. From painting by E. J. C. Hamman.

Heinrich Bach (1615-1692) was organist of the Franciscan Church at Arnstadt for fifty years, composed much, and had six children, three of whom were, in their day, noted musicians. Of the twin brothers, Johann Ambrosius and Johann Christoph, born in 1645, the first was town organist of Eisenach, and the second court musician at Arnstadt. These brothers were remarkably alike, not only in looks, but in character and temperament. They both played the violin in exactly the same way, they spoke alike, and it is said that their own wives could scarcely tell them apart. They suffered from the same illnesses, and died within a few months of one another. Johann Christoph once figured in an action for breach of promise of marriage brought before the Consistory at Arnstadt by Anna Cunigunda Wiener, with whom he had once "kept company." The court decided that Bach must marry her, but, with the independence of his family, he refused to do so, and he kept his word.

Another Johann Christoph, uncle of the great Sebastian, was organist at Eisenach for sixty years, and is, together with his brother Michael, distinguished as a composer. Maria Barbara, the youngest daughter of Michael, became Sebastian Bach's first wife. One Johann Jacob Bach was an oboe-player in the Swedish guard, and followed Charles XII. to his defeat at Pultowa, later becoming court-musician at Stockholm.

A vigorous, ambitious, and altogether remarkable family was this of the Bachs, and one of the most notable things about it is the uniformly high moral character of its members. Only one, of all those who flourished before Sebastian, is spoken of as being given to drink.

Wilhelm Friedemann, the oldest son of the greatest Bach, unfortunately had the same failing, and died in Berlin in 1789, poor and miserable through intemperance. His musical talent was exceptional, authorities calling him the greatest organist in Germany after his father. He is sometimes spoken of as the "Halle Bach," from having been music director of a church there.

The "father of modern piano music" was also the father of a large family, not less than twenty children having been born to him. The most celebrated of his twelve sons was Carl Philipp Emanuel, who is called the "Berlin Bach," having lived there in the court service for nearly thirty years. Emanuel was a prolific composer in all styles, and occupies an important place in the history of music. Another son, Johann Christoph Friedrich, was a composer and also chamber musician to Count von Lippe at Bückeburg, from which circumstance he is called the "Bückeburger Bach." Sebastian's youngest boy, Johann Christian (the Bach family evidently never wearied of the name of Johann), called the "Milanese" and afterward the "English" Bach, composed a large number of works,—songs, operas, oratorios, what not. He lived and worked at one time in Milan, where he was organist of the cathedral, and from there went to London, where he died in 1782. The daughters of Sebastian Bach—there were only eight of them—mostly died young, nor did they exhibit any special musical talent, and, after his sons' careers were ended, no one bearing the name has, we believe, won distinction in the art.

The Bach family were as a rule both sincerely pious and fond of innocent pleasure. Their tribal feeling was strong, and it was a custom to meet together once a year at Erfurt, Eisenach, or Arnstadt, and spend a day in friendly intercourse, exchanging news and relating experiences. Of course on these occasions they devoted some of the happy hours to music, and a favourite pastime was the singing of "quodlibets"—a kind of musical medley—wherein portions of several well-known songs would be dovetailed together.

Morning Devotions in the Family of Bach.  From painting by Toby E. Rosenthal.

Morning Devotions in the Family of Bach.
From painting by Toby E. Rosenthal.

Bach's home life was a happy one. Both his marriage ventures turned out well, and he was beloved by children and pupils alike. His large family circle was often added to by friends and visitors, who enjoyed his never failing hospitality, especially toward musicians. In the midst of all his occupations, he found time for music in the family circle, and a German-American artist has produced a charming work showing the great composer seated at the clavichord and surrounded by his children, who are singing their morning hymn. This painting, which belongs to the Museum of Leipsic, the city where Bach laboured so long and where he died, is by Toby E. Rosenthal, who was born in Germany in 1848, but was brought to the United States by his parents when but a few years old. He grew up here, but, at the age of seventeen returned to study art in the land of his birth, where he became a pupil of Professor Raupp and also of the celebrated Piloty. Most of his life since then has been spent in Germany.

The dead Elaine, passing to Lancelot on her funeral barge, and Constance de Beverley, before her judges in the Vault of Penitence, have been finely pictured by Rosenthal, who has also treated lighter topics in "Grandmother's Dancing-lesson," "The Alarmed Boarding-school," and "The Cardinal's Portrait."

The last visit which Bach ever made was to the court of Frederick the Great at Potsdam, in 1747.

His son Emanuel had been capellmeister to Frederick since 1740, and the king had frequently, and always with more insistence, thrown out hints that he would like to hear the great artist. Bach, being much occupied, and disinclined for travelling, did not accede to the king's wishes until they amounted to a positive command. Then, taking Friedemann with him, he started for Potsdam, which he reached early in May. The story of the meeting with Frederick is variously told. We will tell it in Friedemann's own words: "When Frederick II. had just prepared his flute, in the presence of the whole orchestra, for the evening's concert, the list of strangers who had arrived was brought him. Holding his flute in his hand, he glanced through the list. Then he turned around with excitement to the assembled musicians, and, laying down his flute, said, 'Gentlemen, old Bach is come.' Bach, who was at his son's house, was immediately invited to the castle. He had not even time allowed him to take off his travelling clothes and put on his black court dress. He appeared, with many apologies for the state of his dress, before the great prince, who received him with marked attention, and threw a deprecating look toward the court gentlemen, who were laughing at the discomposure and numerous compliments of the old man. The flute concerto was given up for this evening; and the king led his famous visitor into all the rooms of the castle, and begged him to try the Silbermann pianos, which he (the king) thought very highly of, and of which he possessed seven. The musicians accompanied the king and Bach from one room to another; and after the latter had tried all the pianos, he begged the king to give him a fugue subject, that he could at once extemporise upon. Frederick thereupon wrote out the subject, and Bach developed this in the most learned and interesting manner, to the great astonishment of the king, who, on his side, asked to hear a fugue in six parts. But since every subject is not adapted for so full a working out, Bach chose one for himself, and astounded those present by his performance. The king, who was not easily astonished, was completely taken by surprise at the unapproachable mastery of the old cantor. Several times he cried, 'There is only one Bach!' On the following day Bach played on all the organs in the churches of Potsdam."

Frederick the Great and Bach.  From painting by Herman Kaulbach.

Frederick the Great and Bach. From painting by Herman Kaulbach.

Rosenthal portrayed the composer making music among his family; Hermann Kaulbach has depicted him playing before Frederick. The artist has given such a look of naturalness to the scene, that we are quite satisfied to accept his presentment and believe that thus the king and his court listened

"While the majestic organ rolled
Contrition from its mouths of gold."

Hermann Kaulbach is a son of the renowned painter, Wilhelm von Kaulbach. A pupil of Piloty, he was born at Munich in 1846, and has produced some works of a historic character, such as "Lucrezia Borgia," "Voltaire at Paris," "Louis XI. and His Barber," and "The Last Days of Mozart," but is perhaps still more successful with his admirable pictures of childhood. We must not forget to mention his "Madonna," a work which should add much to his fame.


Like many other children who grew up to fame, Handel was not intended by his parents to follow the art in which he is renowned. His father, who was body surgeon to the Prince of Saxony, wished him to become a lawyer.

All accounts of Handel's childhood "agree in representing him as bright, clever, energetic, and singularly tenacious of purpose. These qualities he inherited; the special genius on which they were brought to bear was all his own. Unlike Bach, the flower and crown of a race of born musicians, there seems no record in Handel's case of his having a single musical or artistic progenitor. From infancy, however, he lived in music, its attraction for him was irresistible, and he began to 'musicise' for himself (to quote Chrysander's expression) almost as soon as he could walk, and before he could speak. This inspired all the family and friends with wonder and admiration, in which his parents at first shared; but, as time went on, the thing began to wear a different aspect, and the father grew alarmed. The boy was a curiosity, no doubt, and music as a pastime was all very well, but it had never occurred to the worthy surgeon to look on it as a serious profession for a child of his, least of all for this, his last, most promising and favourite son. For the others he had been contented with situations in his own station of life; for this one he nourished more ambitious designs. He was to be a doctor of laws, a learned man, and the child's intelligence and thirst for knowledge favoured the hope.

"The father set to work to stifle his son's musical proclivities in every possible way, to separate him from musical society, to banish all music from the house, to prevent him even from going to school, for fear he should learn notes as well as letters there. He had set himself a difficult task, for the boy's inclination was obstinate, and among his doting admirers were some who conspired in his behalf so successfully as to convey into the house, undiscovered, a little clavichord, or dumb spinet. This instrument, much used at that time in convent cells, is so tiny that a man can carry it under his arm, and as the strings are muffled with strips of cloth, the tone is diminutive in proportion. It was safely established in a garret under the roof, and here, while the household slept, the boy taught himself to play. If the master of the house ever suspected what was going on, he connived at it, thinking that probably no very dangerous amount of art-poison could be imbibed under such difficulties. It proved, however, but the thin edge of the wedge, and resulted before long in a collision between the wills of father and son, in which the former sustained his first real defeat. He had occasion to visit Weissenfels, where a grandson of his first marriage was chamberlain to the reigning duke. George, who was seven or eight years old, and was very fond of this grown-up nephew of his, begged to be taken, too; but his father refused, turned a deaf ear to all his entreaties, and set off alone. Not to be baffled, the pertinacious boy followed the carriage on foot, and after a considerable time overtook it. The father's vexation and wrath were extreme, but futile; scolding and threats were thrown away on this child. He owned his fault, cried bitterly, promised endless good behaviour in the future, but stuck all the time to his original point, which was that this time he must go. The end was that the father had to give in and take him, and this journey practically decided Handel's career.

"Music at Weissenfels was held in high esteem. The duke, a generous and enlightened prince, was a friend to musicians. And though Heinrich Schütz had been twenty years dead, his long life and noble labours were fresh in the memory of his fellow townsmen, who were justly proud of their burgomaster's son. He, too, had been educated for the law, and not till after long doubts and severe struggles did he abandon it to follow his true vocation.

"Little Handel soon found allies. The choir of the ducal chapel admitted him to their practices, and encouraged him to try his hand at the organ. Finding him soon quite able to manage it, they lifted him up to the organ-stool, one Sunday afternoon at the conclusion of the service, and let him play away as best he could. This attracted the notice of the duke, who listened with astonishment to the performance, and, at its close, inquired who the brave little organist might be. On hearing the whole story from his chamberlain, he summoned father and son to his presence. With the former he expostulated on the folly of coercing a child in the choice of a profession, and assured him, with all due respect for his conscientious scruples, that to restrain the activity of a heaven-born genius like this was to sin against nature and the public good. As to the boy, he filled his pockets with gold pieces, and exhorted him to be industrious. Here was a change! Music was to be not only suffered, but furthered; his father was to lose no time in finding him a good teacher. Often as old Handel must have stopped his ears to these very same arguments before, he could not choose but listen, now that they fell from ducal lips. He did not change his mind,—a doctorship of law remained the goal of his ambition,—but he practically acquiesced, and, on his return to Halle, sent his son to study music with Zachau, organist of the Frauenkirche."

The Child Handel.  From painting by Margaret Dicksee.

The Child Handel. From painting by Margaret Dicksee.

The legend that accompanied, in the catalogue of the Royal Academy of 1893, Miss Dicksee's picture of the boy Handel, varied somewhat from the version just quoted. It says that the father forbade the child following his bent, and banished all the musical instruments in the house to the attic, where, however, the little musician discovered them, and, under cover of night, resumed his beloved pursuit. The sounds thus produced, and the flitting of the little white-clad figure over the stairs, started the story that the house was haunted, which was believed until the truth was revealed, as shown in the picture.

Miss Dicksee, an Englishwoman, and the sister of Frank Dicksee, R. A., has painted several deservedly popular pictures, having for their subjects episodes in the lives of those who have reared themselves above the common mass of humanity. Such are her "Swift and Stella," "The First Audience—Goldsmith and the Misses Horenck," and "Sheridan at the Linleys."

Handel, whom the Elector of Hanover had made his capellmeister, first came to England in the autumn of 1710, having been granted a year's leave of absence by his royal patron. In the following February his opera of "Rinaldo" was produced in London with great success, and at once established the composer's reputation with the English public. At the close of the season he returned to Hanover, where he remained over a year, but was back in England again toward the end of 1712. In July of the following year, his Te Deum and Jubilate, for the service of thanksgiving held in celebration of the Peace of Utrecht, was performed in St. Paul's, and Queen Anne bestowed a life pension of 200 pounds a year upon him. In August, 1714, the queen died, and Handel, who had long out-stayed his leave of absence from Hanover, felt some qualms of conscience while awaiting the coming of his master, who arrived within six weeks after Anne's death to be crowned as George I. George had some reason to be vexed with both "his principal musicians: with the capellmeister for neglect, with Farinelli, the concert-master at Hanover, for obtrusiveness. In the thick of all the bustle consequent on the court's leaving Hanover, this gentleman wrote and thrust into the elector's notice a composition to the words, 'Lord, remember me when thou comest into thy kingdom.' Handel was somewhat afraid to go near his injured master, who, however, could not help hearing of him. The new royal family cared for music, and for no other form of art. They were not edified by entertainments in a language they did not understand, and the English drama drooped while the Italian opera revived, the Prince and Princess of Wales being present nearly every night.

"'Rinaldo' was remounted, with Nicolini, who had returned, in the principal part. 'Amadigi,' by Handel, was produced toward the end of the season, and repeated four times. At the second performance the concerto now known as the 'Fourth Hautboy Concerto' was played between the acts. A great deal of the opera is adapted from 'Silla;' the whole stands high among the series to which it belongs. It may be an indirect testimony to its popularity that parodies and burlesques in imitation of it drew crowded audiences to other theatres. Meanwhile, the awkwardness of the situation between the king and Handel increased every day. The account of the manner in which a reconciliation was at last brought about has been repeated and believed by every biographer since Mainwaring, including Chrysander, in his first volume, who, however, by the time he wrote his third volume had discovered some evidence tending to throw doubt on its veracity. The story goes that Baron Kielmansegge, the common friend of both king and capellmeister, took occasion of a grand water-party, attended by the whole court, to engage Handel to compose some music expressly for this festivity, the result being the celebrated 'Water Music,' of which Handel secretly conducted the performance in a boat that followed the royal barge. The king, as delighted as he was surprised by this concert, inquired at once as to the author of the music, and then heard all about it from Kielmansegge, who took upon himself to apologise most humbly for Handel's bad behaviour, and to beg in his name for condonation of his offence. Whereupon his Majesty made no difficulties, but at once restored him to favour, and 'honoured his compositions with the most flattering marks of royal approbation.'

"A water-party did take place in August, 1715, but the brilliant occasion when a concert of music was given, for which special music was written 'by Mr. Handel,' and when Kielmansegge was present, and when probably, therefore, the 'Water Music' was produced, only happened in 1717, when peace had long been made, and pardon sealed with a grant to Handel of 200 pounds a year. The ice was, perhaps, broken by Geminiani, the great violinist, who, when he was to play his concertos at court, requested to be accompanied on the harpsichord by Handel, as he considered no one else capable of doing it. The petition was powerfully seconded by Kielmansegge, and acceded to by George I."

Handel and George I.  From painting by E. J. C. Hamman.

Handel and George I. From painting by E. J. C. Hamman.

Handel was not only honoured by those who were kings by birth, but also by the rulers in his own art. Beethoven always declared that Handel was "the monarch of the musical kingdom;" Haydn said of him, "He is the father of us all," and at another time, "There is not a note of him but draws blood." Scarlatti followed Handel all over Italy, and in after years, when speaking of the great master, would cross himself in token of admiration; and Mozart said, "Handel knows better than any of us what will produce a grand effect."


Marie Antoinette, married at fourteen and Queen of France at eighteen, found herself wearied and annoyed by the excessive etiquette of the French court, so different from the comparatively simple life she had led at Vienna. While dauphiness, she often expressed a wish for a country-house of her own where she could find freedom at times from the pomp and intrigues of the court, and very soon after his accession Louis XVI. offered her Little Trianon, which she joyfully accepted.

Built by Louis XV. for Madame du Barry, this charming residence lay in the midst of a park which was intended to serve both as a school of gardening and as a botanical garden, and united the various kinds of gardens then known,—French, Italian, and English. Marie Antoinette sacrificed the botanical garden, for which she did not much care, in order to improve and extend the English gardens, which she most admired, and which were then becoming the fashion on the Continent.

The world was taxed to furnish specimens of trees and plants for her garden. From North America alone came two hundred and thirty-nine kinds of trees and shrubs. Besides these, there were everywhere and always flowers; in the spring, lilacs, then syringas, snowballs, tuberoses, irises, tulips, hyacinths, and so through the floral calendar. In addition to these beauties, the park of Trianon was enhanced by all that the art of the landscape gardener could devise. Architecture added its gifts in the theatre, the Temple of Love, the Belvedere, and the palace, where the art of Lagrenée, of Gouthière, Houdon, and Clodion found expression. And there still remained the queen's favourite creation, the little hamlet of eight cottages, where she and her ladies played at farming, with its dairy, its mill, and its poultry yard.

"At Trianon there was no ceremony, no etiquette, no household, only friends. When the queen entered the salon, the ladies did not quit their work nor the men interrupt their game of billiards or of trictrac. It was the life of the château, with all its agreeable liberty, such as Marie Antoinette had always dreamed, such as was practised in that patriarchal family of the Hapsburgs, which was, as Goethe has said, 'Only the first bourgeoise family of the empire.'"

In spite of Marie Antoinette's many kindnesses to authors, it seems doubtful if she really cared for literature, but of music she was a constant lover. As a child she had played with Mozart and had received lessons from Gluck, and when she became queen she still took lessons both in music and singing.

Gluck was to her not only a great composer, he was one of the dear memories of her youth, her home, and her country, and also a hope for reform in French music, which she found monotonous. It was to please her that the directors of the Grand Opera invited Gluck to come to Paris and produce some of his works. The great reformer of opera had long wished for this opportunity, which he seized with alacrity, and set out from Vienna for Paris in the autumn of 1773. He was received with every kindness and encouragement by Marie Antoinette and the court, and proceeded to rehearse his "Iphigenia in Aulis"—not without difficulties, as he found the French singers and musicians even less inclined to reforms than those of Vienna. Gluck, however, supported by the protection of the dauphiness, made short work of those who held back. To the lady who sang the music of "Iphigenia," and who refused to obey him at rehearsal, he said, "Mademoiselle, I am here to bring out 'Iphigenia.' If you will sing, nothing can be better; if not, very well, I will go the queen and say, 'It is impossible to have my opera performed;' then I will take my seat in my carriage and return to Vienna." Doubtless this result would have been much to the prima donna's liking, but she had to submit.

Gluck at the Trianon.  From painting by E. J. C. Hamman.

Gluck at the Trianon. From painting by E. J. C. Hamman.

"Iphigenia" was produced on April 19, 1774, and Marie Antoinette applauded from the royal box without ceasing. On the first representation, opinions were divided, but at the second performance the approval was unanimous. When Marie Antoinette became queen shortly afterward, she gave the composer a pension of six thousand francs, with the entrée to her morning receptions. He often visited her at Trianon, where the daughter of Maria Theresa was always gracious to the forester's gifted son. The next work of Gluck to be given in Paris was his "Orpheus and Eurydice," whose success was greater than that of the "Iphigenia," and caused Rousseau to publicly acknowledge that he was mistaken in asserting that the French language was unsuitable to set to music. He also said that the music of "Orpheus" had reconciled him to existence, and met the reproach that Gluck's work was lacking in melody with the words, "I believe that melody proceeds from every pore."

When the composer's next opera, "Alcestis," was produced, in 1776, the queen gave it her decided approbation, and loyally supported Gluck against the king's preference for the older form of opera, and the partisans of the Italian composer Piccini, who was Gluck's rival for the favour of the Parisians. Great was the battle between the warring factions, the "Gluckists" and the "Piccinists," whose differences of opinion sometimes even resulted in personal encounters in the theatre. Between the two composers themselves, matters were more pleasant. When Piccini's "Roland" was being studied, the composer, unused to conducting and unfamiliar with the French language, became confused at a rehearsal. Gluck happened to be present, and, rushing into the orchestra, threw off his wig and coat, and led the performance with such energy and skill that all went smooth again. On the other hand, Piccini, when he learned of the death of his whilom rival, expressed his respect for Gluck by starting a subscription for the establishment of an annual concert to be given upon the anniversary of the composer's death, at which nothing but his music should be performed.

Gluck's "Armida" was given its first presentation in 1777, and increased his fame so much that his bust was placed in the Grand Opera beside those of Lulli, Rameau, and Quinault. "Iphigenia in Tauris" was produced in 1779, with great success, but "Echo and Narcissus," the last opera which Gluck gave in Paris, was a failure. He left France for Vienna in the same year, never to return, though his royal pupil pressed him to do so in the most flattering manner.

Before taking leave of Gluck, let us read the eloquent words with which Ernest Newman closes his book on "Gluck and the Opera." "The musician speaks a language that is in its very essence more impermanent than the speech of any other art. Painting, sculpture, architecture, and poetry know no other foe than external nature, which may, indeed, destroy their creations and blot out the memory of the artist. But the musician's material is such that, however permanent may be the written record of his work, it depends not upon this, but upon the permanency in other men of the spirit that gave his music birth, whether it shall live in the minds of future generations. Year after year the language of the art grows richer and more complex, and work after work sinks into ever-deepening oblivion, until music that once thrilled men with delirious ecstasy becomes a dead thing, which here and there a student looks back upon in a mood of scarcely tolerant antiquarianism. In the temple of the art a hundred statues of the gods are overthrown; and a hundred others stand with arrested lips and inarticulate tongues, pale symbols of a vanished dominion which men no longer own. Yet here and there, through the ghostly twilight, comes the sound of some clear voice that has defied the courses of the years and the mutations of taste; and we hear the rich canorous tones of Gluck, not, perhaps, with all the vigour and the passion that once was theirs, but with the mellowed splendour given by the touch of time. Alone among his fellows he speaks our modern tongue, and chants the eternal passions of the race. He was, indeed, as Sophie Arnould called him, 'The musician of the soul;' and if we have added new strings to our lyre, and wrung from them a more poignant eloquence than ever stirred within the heart of Gluck, none the less do we perceive that music such as his comes to us from the days when there were giants in the land."


It was in 1762 that Leopold Mozart, father of the two musical prodigies, Maria Anna and Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, first began to turn to account his children's talent. Wolfgang was then six years old, and his sister between four and five years older. By easy stages the family journeyed to Vienna in the month of September, and it is told that upon their arrival the wonderful boy-musician saved his father the payment of customs duties. He made friends with the custom-house officer, showed him his harpsichord, played him a minuet on his little fiddle, and the thing was done,—"Pass—free of duty."

The imperial family were sincere lovers of music. Charles VI., the father of Maria Theresa, had two passions, hunting and music, and was an accomplished musician. He used to accompany operatic or other performances at court upon the clavier, and also composed pieces. At one time he wrote an opera, which was performed with great splendour in the theatre of his palace. On this occasion the emperor led the orchestra, and his two daughters, Maria Theresa and Maria Anne, danced in the ballet. Lady Mary Wortley Montagu speaks of an opera which she saw at Vienna in 1716, the decorations and dresses of which cost the emperor thirty thousand pounds. He called Metastasio from Italy to compose the operas for his court. Maria Theresa inherited this love of music, and in 1725, when only seven years old, sang in an opera by Fux, at a fête given in honour of her mother, the Empress Elizabeth. Alluding to this, she once said in a joking way to the celebrated singer, Faustina Hasse, that she believed herself to be the first of living vocalists. In 1739 she sang a duet with Senesino so beautifully that the famous old singer was melted to tears. Her husband, Francis I., was also a lover of music, and her daughters were carefully instructed in singing, and often appeared in operatic performances at court. Maria Theresa's son, afterward the Emperor Joseph, also sang well, and played both the harpsichord and the violoncello.

Mozart and His Sister before Maria Teresa.  From painting by A. Borckmann.

Mozart and His Sister before Maria Teresa.
From painting by A. Borckmann.

"With a court so favourably disposed toward music, it is not surprising that Leopold, a few days only after his arrival, should have received a command to bring his children on the 13th of October to Schönbrunn, an imperial palace near Vienna, and this without any solicitation on his part. The children remained three hours with the court, and were then obliged to repeat their performance. The Emperor Francis I., the husband of Maria Theresa, took a peculiar interest in the little 'sorcerer.'

"He made the little fellow play with only one finger, in which he perfectly succeeded. An attempt which little Mozart made at the special request of the emperor, to play with the keys covered by a piece of cloth, was also a brilliant success. It was, perhaps, owing to the imperial fancy that this species of artistic trick obtained considerable celebrity, and played a not unimportant part in the little 'sorcerer's' repertoire on all his long journeys. Wolfgang entered readily into any joke that was made with him, but sometimes he could be very serious, as, for instance, when he called for the court composer, Georg Christoph Wagenseil, a thorough connoisseur of the harpsichord, and himself a performer. The emperor stepped back and made Wagenseil come forward, to whom Mozart said, quite seriously, 'I play a concerto by you: you must turn over the pages for me.' The emperor ordered a hundred ducats to be paid to his father. The empress was very kind to the Mozarts, and sent them costly dresses. 'Would you like to know,' writes Leopold to Hagenauer, his host at Salzburg, 'what Wolferl's (a pet name for Wolfgang) dress is like? It is of the finest cloth, lilac-coloured, the vest of moire of the same colour. Coat and top-coat with a double broad border of gold. It was made for the Hereditary Duke Maximilian Franz.' In the picture which is preserved in the Mozart collection at Salzburg, Mozart is painted in this dress. Wolfgang never showed the least embarrassment in the society of the great."

"At court, as elsewhere, Mozart was a bright, happy child. He would spring on the empress's lap, throw his arms around her neck, and kiss her, and play with the princesses on a footing of equality. He was especially devoted to the Archduchess Marie Antoinette. Once, when he fell on the polished floor, she lifted him from the ground and consoled him, while one of her sisters stood by. 'You are good,' said Wolfgang, I will marry you.' The empress asked him why. 'From gratitude,' answered he; 'she was good to me, but her sister stood by and did nothing.'"

Nor was he shy with the Crown Prince Joseph, who, in after years, when emperor, reminded him of his playing duets with Wagenseil, and of Mozart's standing in the audience and calling out, "Fie!" or "That was false!" or "Bravo!" as the case might be.

As was to be expected, the children became the rage in society, and all the ladies fell in love with little Mozart. No musical entertainments could be given without him and Maria Anna, and they appeared in company with the most celebrated performers, being everywhere petted, feasted, and flattered, and receiving many costly gifts.

Their successes induced Leopold Mozart to plan a more extended tour, and in the summer of the next year he and his children set out on a journey which was intended to include visits to Paris and London. The trio arrived in Paris in November, and were greatly befriended by their countryman, Grimm, the encyclopaedist, secretary to the Duke of Orleans. Leopold wrote home thus, about the help this powerful friend had been to them: "He has done everything; he has introduced the matter at court, and arranged the first concert. He, alone, paid me eighty louis-d'ors, then sold three hundred and twenty tickets, and, moreover, bore the expense of lighting with wax. We burnt more than sixty candles. It was he who obtained permission for the concert, and now he is getting up a second, for which a hundred tickets have already been distributed. You see what one man can do, who possesses sense and a kind heart. He is a native of Ratisbon, but has been more than fifteen years in Paris, and knows how to guide everything in the right direction, so that all must happen as he intends."

Mozart and Madame de Pompadour.  From painting by V. de Paredes.

Mozart and Madame de Pompadour. From painting by V. de Paredes.

Little Wolfgang had played before Maria Theresa; now he performed before her ally, Madame de Pompadour, then within a few months of her end, for the all-powerful favourite of Louis XV. died in the following April. Leopold Mozart, writing home to Salzburg, speaks thus of the Pompadour; "She must have been very beautiful, for she is still comely. She is tall and stately; stout, but well proportioned, with some likeness to her Imperial Majesty about the eyes. She is proud, and has a remarkable mind." Mozart's sister remembered in after days how she placed little Wolfgang on the table before her, but pushed him aside when he bent forward to kiss her, on which he indignantly asked: "Who is this that does not want to kiss me? The empress kissed me." The king's daughters were much more friendly, and, contrary to all etiquette, kissed and played with the children, both in their own apartments and in the public corridors.

As before at Vienna and afterward in London, the little Mozarts made a great hit in Paris, and performed before the most distinguished audiences. Grimm relates in his correspondence "a truly astonishing instance of the boy's genius." Wolfgang accompanied a lady in an Italian air without seeing the music, supplying the harmony for the passage which was to follow from that which he had just heard. This could not be done without some mistakes, but when the song was ended he begged the lady to sing it again, played the accompaniment and the melody itself with perfect correctness, and repeated it ten times, altering the character of the accompaniment for each. On a melody being dictated to him, he supplied the bass and the parts without using the clavier at all; he showed himself in all ways so accomplished that his father was convinced he would obtain service at court on his return home. Leopold Mozart now thought the time was come for introducing the boy as a composer, and he printed four sonatas for the piano and violin, rejoicing at the idea of the noise which they would make in the world, appearing with the announcement on the title-page that they were the work of a child of seven years old. He thought well of these sonatas, independently of their childish authorship; one andante especially "shows remarkable taste." When it happened that, in the last trio of Opus 2, a mistake of the young master, which his father had corrected (consisting of three consecutive fifths for the violin), was printed, he consoled himself by reflecting that "they can serve as a proof that Wolfgangerlf wrote the sonatas himself, which, naturally, not everyone would believe."

Mozart at the Organ.  From painting by Carl Herpfer.

Mozart at the Organ. From painting by Carl Herpfer.

Less than thirty years had passed since these triumphant days in the life of the child Mozart, when there came the end of that wonderful career. In the summer of Mozart's last year,—1791,—he was at work on the concluding portions of "The Magic Flute," when one day he received a visit from a stranger. This man, tall, gaunt, and solemn in manner, clad all in gray, handed the composer an anonymous letter, sealed in black, requesting him to write a "Requiem" as quickly as possible, and asking the price. Mozart agreed to do the work and received from the messenger fifty (some say a hundred) ducats, with a promise of more upon completion of the piece, he agreeing to make no effort to discover who his patron was. The unknown messenger then went away, saying, "I shall return when it is time."

It is known now that this mysterious go-between was Leutgeb, the steward of Count Franz von Walsegg of Stuppach, who often obtained musical compositions in this way, copied them, and had them performed as his own. The count desired the "Requiem" for his wife, who had died in the preceding February, and it was sung as his own production and under his direction on the 15th of December, 1793.

But Mozart knew nothing of patron or steward; his spirits were depressed by trouble, and he grew superstitious over the strange affair. Near the end of August, he was about to set out for Prague to attend the coronation of Leopold II., upon which occasion the composer's music to Metastasio's festival opera was to be performed. Just as he was stepping into the carriage the mysterious messenger appeared suddenly and inquired as to the "Requiem," to which Mozart answered by excuses. "When will it be ready?" "I will work on it without ceasing on my return." "Good," said the stranger, "I shall rely on your promise." True to his word, upon again reaching home, Mozart, though feeling melancholy and far from well, worked steadily upon the "Requiem." Always cheerful until now, his low spirits increased, and he imagined that he was writing his own death-mass. In November, his illness grew alarming, and a consultation of physicians was held. "Mozart's only consolation during his suffering was to hear of the repeated performances of 'Die Zauberflöte.' He would follow the representations in spirit, laying his watch beside him, and saying, 'Now the first act is over. Now they are come to the place, "The great Queen of Night,"' etc. Only the day before his death he expressed a wish that he might hear 'Die Zauberflöte' once more. He hummed to himself the song, 'Der Vogelfänger bin ich ja.' Capellmeister Roser, who happened to be with him, went to the harpsichord and played and sang the song, which appeared greatly to cheer Mozart. Nevertheless, the 'Requiem' occupied him continually. As soon as he had finished a piece, he had it rehearsed by the friends who happened to be present. At two o'clock in the afternoon of the day before his death, Schack, who was the first 'Tamino,' sang soprano, Mozart himself contralto, Hofer, his brother-in-law, tenor, and Geri, who was the first 'Sarastro,' bass. At the 'Lacrymosa' Mozart began to weep violently, and laid down the score. Toward evening, when his sister-in-law, Sophie Haibl, came in, Mozart begged her to remain and help Constance, as he felt death approaching. She went out again just to tell her mother and to fetch a priest. When she returned she found Mozart in lively conversation with Süssmayer. 'Did I not say that I was writing the "Requiem" for myself?' he said; and then, with a sure presentiment of approaching death, he charged his wife instantly to inform Albrechtsberger, on whom his post at St. Stephen's would devolve. Late in the evening he lost consciousness. But the 'Requiem' still seemed to occupy him, and he puffed out his cheeks as if he would imitate a wind instrument, the 'Tuba mirum spar gens sonum.' Toward midnight his eyes became fixed. Then he appeared to fall into slumber, and about one o'clock in the morning of the 5th of December he died."

The Last Days of Mozart.  From painting by Herman Kaulbach.

The Last Days of Mozart. From painting by Herman Kaulbach.

The "Requiem" was left incomplete, and Mozart's widow entrusted to Süssmayer the task of finishing the imperfect portions. But the greatest part of it is the work of Mozart.


While making a tour of Italy with his father in 1770, Mozart stayed a few days in Florence, and there formed a warm friendship with Thomas Linley, an English boy of about his own age, who was studying under Nardini, the celebrated violinist, and played so finely as almost to surpass his teacher. The two boys met at the house of Signora Maddelena Morelli, who was famed as an improvisatrice under the name of Corilla, and had been crowned as a poetess on the Capitol in 1776, and when they parted, Tommasino, as Linley was called in Italy, gave the young Mozart, for a souvenir, a poem which Corilla had written for him. Linley was unfortunately drowned a few years after his return to England, but not before he had given proof of the possession of talent as composer as well as musician.

His father, Thomas Linley the elder, was born at Wells in 1732, and was by trade a carpenter. But being one day at work at Badminton, the seat of the Duke of Beaufort, he heard Thomas Chilcot, the organist of Bath Abbey Church, play and sing, and, feeling that he had now found his true vocation in life, determined to become a musician. At first he received instruction from Chilcot at Bath, and then proceeded to Italy and studied under Paradies. Upon his return to England, he set up in Bath as a singing-master, and he became a leader in his profession. With the aid of his children, he carried on a series of concerts at the Bath assembly rooms, paying special attention to the rendition of the works of Handel. Linley removed to London in 1775, and was manager with Doctor Arnold of the Drury Lane Oratorios. With his son Thomas, he composed the music for his son-in-law Sheridan's comic opera of "The Duenna," and his other works include the music for "The Camp," and other pieces by Tickell, another son-in-law, for a version of Allan Ramsay's "Gentle Shepherd," and for "Selima and Azor," and "Richard Coeur de Lion," two adaptions from Gretry. He wrote new accompaniments to the airs in the "Beggar's Opera," also various elegies, ballads, anthems, glees, and madrigals. Doctor Burney praised him as a masterly performer on the harpsichord, and his music, which is distinguished by admirable taste and simplicity of design, gained for him a high place among English composers. During his last years his health was undermined by money difficulties and grief at the loss of his children,—of whom he had twelve, only three surviving him,—especially Thomas. He died suddenly, in London in 1795, and was buried in Wells Cathedral, where a monument was erected to him and his two daughters.

Several of his children made their mark in music, especially his youngest son, William Linley. A younger daughter, Maria, a favourite at the Bath concerts, died at an early age from brain fever. After one severe paroxysm, she rose up in bed and began to sing the air, "I know that my Redeemer liveth," in as full and clear a tone as when in perfect health.

Mary, the second daughter, who was also an excellent vocalist, married Sheridan's friend, Richard Tickell, a wit, author, and man of pleasure, and, after her older sister's retirement, filled her place in concert and oratorio. The sisters were very fond of each other, and one of Gainsborough's finest paintings is that in the Dulwich gallery, which shows them together. In the same collection are the same artist's portraits of the father and the son Thomas.

Little Elizabeth Ann Linley, the composer's eldest daughter, used to stand at the Pump-room door, in Bath, with a basket, selling tickets, when only a girl of nine. She was very lovely, gentle, and good, and came to be known as the "Maid of Bath." After she sang before the king and queen at Buckingham House in 1773, George III. told her father that he never in his life heard so fine a voice as his daughter's, nor one so well instructed. Her beauty was praised in high terms by John Wilkes, Horace Walpole, and Miss Burney, and the Bishop of Meath styled her "the connecting link between woman and angel." Of course she had many admirers. The Duke of Clarence persecuted her with his attentions, and her parents wished her to marry Mr. Long, an old gentleman of considerable fortune. The latter, when Elizabeth told him she could not love him, had the magnanimity to take upon himself the burden of breaking the engagement, and settled 3,000 pounds on her as an indemnity for his supposed breach of covenant.

A certain rascally Captain Mathews, a married rake, and a so-called friend of her father, had the effrontery to follow her with his solicitations, from which she was rescued by the young Sheridan, who fell in love with Elizabeth and persuaded her to fly with him to France. There, at Calais, they went through a formal ceremony of marriage, separating immediately afterward, the lady entering a convent, and Sheridan returning to England. Here he fought two duels with Captain Mathews, in the second of which he was quite seriously wounded. Mr. Linley went to France and brought his daughter home, and finally, about a year from the time of the Calais episode, the young couple were married again, this time in full sight of the world.

The future author of "The Rivals" and "The School for Scandal," addressed to his Eliza, among other early productions, this pretty snatch of song:

"Dry be that tear, my gentlest love,
Be hush'd that struggling sigh;
Nor seasons, day, nor fate shall prove
More fix'd, more true than I.
Hush'd be that sigh, be dry that tear;
Cease boding doubt, cease anxious fear;
Dry be that tear.

"Ask'st thou how long my love will stay,
When all that's new is past?
How long, ah! Delia, can I say
How long my life will last?
Dry be that tear, be hush'd that sigh;
At least I'll love thee till I die.
Hush'd be that sigh.

"And does that thought affect thee too,
The thought of Sylvio's death,
That he who only breath'd for you
Must yield his faithful breath?
Hush'd be that sigh, be dry that tear,
Nor let us lose our heaven here.
Dry be that tear."

For some eighteen years the Sheridans lived together,—Elizabeth never sang in public again after her marriage,—and then their union was broken by death. The devoted wife to this brilliant, but selfish, unreliable, and extravagant genius died in 1792, of consumption.

"Music, when soft voices die,
Vibrates in the memory,"

and surely during the years of life left to Richard Brinsley Sheridan, he must often have recalled the happy days when he listened in delight to the music of his loved one's voice.

Sheridan at the Linleys.  From painting by Margaret Dicksee.

Sheridan at the Linleys. From painting by Margaret Dicksee.

Sir Joshua Reynolds painted her as St. Cecilia in a lovely picture which he sent to the Royal Academy exhibition in 1775,—the year of "The Rivals." It remained in the artist's possession till 1790, when Sheridan bought it for one hundred and fifty guineas. It is now owned by the Marquis of Lansdowne.


In 1790 Haydn had been capellmeister at Esterhaz, the magnificent palace which Prince Nicolaus Esterhazy had created in imitation of Versailles. For nearly a quarter of a century, Esterhaz, though built on an unhealthy site, was the favourite residence of the prince, who never tired of altering, extending, and improving the palace and grounds, and whose greatest ambition was to make the musical and theatrical entertainments given there the best of their kind. In many ways Haydn was most happily situated at Esterhaz, and though his isolated position there became more irksome to him as time went on, he would not, though frequently approached with flattering offers from abroad, leave his well-beloved master, of whom he wrote, in 1776, "My dearest wish is to live and die with him."

The King of Naples, an ardent admirer of the composer, had urged him to go to Naples with him. Haydn's presence was also much desired in Paris, and from London, especially, he had received many overtures. Cramer, the violinist, had written to Haydn in 1781, offering to engage him at his own figure for the Professional Concerts, and Gallini, the owner and manager of the King's Theatre in Drury Lane, urged him to compose an opera for him. Salomon, still more enterprising, in 1789, sent Bland, a well-known music publisher, to treat with Haydn, but without success. The composer gave him the copyright of several of his productions, among them the "Stabat Mater" and "Ariadne," and the "Razirmesser" quartette. This composition is said to derive its name from Haydn's exclaiming one morning, while shaving, "I would give my best quartette for a good razor!" Bland happened to enter the room at that moment, and at once hurried back to his lodgings and, returning with his own razors of good English steel, gave them to Haydn, who thereupon kept his word by tendering in exchange his latest quartette.

The death of Prince Esterhazy, in September, 1790, gave Haydn the opportunity he had long wished for, as Prince Anton, who succeeded Nicolaus, had little taste for music, and dismissed most of the performers, at the same time, however, increasing Haydn's pension of a thousand florins a year, left him by Prince Nicolaus, by the addition of four hundred florins.

Haydn, being now his own master, went to live at Vienna, with his old friend Bamberger, and, declining an invitation to become capellmeister to Count Grassalcovics, was working with his usual industry when, one day, a visitor was announced. He turned out to be Salomon, the London manager, who, on his way back from Italy, whither he had been to engage singers for the Italian opera in London, had heard of the prince's death, and hastened at once to Vienna in the hope of inducing Haydn to visit England. This, after much negotiation, was at last accomplished. Mozart, to whom Haydn was like a father, felt the separation deeply, and vainly strove to prevent it. He said to Haydn: "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." Mozart spent the day of his departure with him, and bade him farewell in tears, saying, "We shall see each other no more in this world!" a presentiment which was sadly fulfilled.

Haydn and Salomon left Vienna on the 15th of December, 1790, and journeyed by way of Munich, Bonn, and Brussels to Calais, where they arrived on the evening of December 31st. At half-past seven the next morning they embarked for Dover, but, the wind being contrary, they had a stormy passage, and did not reach the English port until five in the afternoon. Haydn, whose first voyage it was, remained on deck the whole time, in spite of the unfavourable weather.

Haydn Crossing the English Channel.  From painting by E. J. C. Hamman.

Haydn Crossing the English Channel. From painting by E. J. C. Hamman.

His first impressions of London, then a city of less than a million people, were of its great size and its noise. Many times the composer must have longed for the comparative quiet of Esterhaz, or of his own study in Vienna.

An amusing anecdote is told of Haydn in London. One morning he came upon a music shop, and, going in, asked to be shown any novelties that might be for sale.

"Certainly," answered the salesman, who forthwith brought out "some sublime music of Haydn's," as he termed it.

"Oh, I'll have nothing to do with that," said the customer.

"Why not?" asked the man, who happened to be a warm admirer of Haydn's music. "Have you any fault to find with it?"

"Yes," said the composer, "and if you can show me nothing better than that, I must go without making a purchase."

"Well, then, you had better go, for I've nothing that I can supply as suitable for such as you," and Mr. Shopman walked away.

Before Haydn could reach the door, however, a gentleman entered, who was known not only to him, but to the music publisher. He greeted the composer by name, and began to congratulate him upon his latest symphony produced at Salomon's concerts. The music seller turned around upon hearing the name of Haydn, and said, "Ah! here's a musician who does not like that composer's music."

The gentleman at once saw the joke, and, explaining the matter to the dealer, they all had a hearty laugh over the incident.

Haydn was received with the warmest hospitality in London, and, like many other "lions," was at no little pains to secure sufficient time for his work amid the pressure of social engagements and the visits of celebrities of all kinds. Doctor Burney, the musical historian, with whom the composer had corresponded, wrote a poem in his honour. This appeared in the Monthly Review, and its concluding stanza runs as follows:

"Welcome, great master! to our favoured isle,
Already partial to thy name and style;
Long may thy fountain of invention run
In streams as rapid as it first begun;
While skill for each fantastic whim provides,
And certain science ev'ry current guides!
Oh, may thy days, from human sufferings free,
Be blest with glory and felicity,
With full fruition, to a distant hour,
Of all thy magic and creative power!
Blest in thyself, with rectitude of mind,
And blessing, with thy talents, all mankind."

Less pleasant than such tributes was an experience Haydn had with a noble pupil, who called upon him, saying that he was passionately fond of music, and would be grateful if the composer would give him a few lessons in harmony and counterpoint, at a guinea a lesson.

"Oh, willingly!" answered Haydn; "when shall we begin?"

"Immediately, if you see no objection," and the nobleman took out of his pocket one of Haydn's quartettes. "For the first lesson," said he, taking the initiative, "let us examine this quartette, and you tell me the reason of some modulations which I will point out to you, together with some progressions which are contrary to all rules of composition."

Haydn did not object to this course, and the gentleman proceeded. The initial bar of the quartette was first attacked, and but few of the succeeding ones escaped the critical comments of the dilettante.

The composer's reply as to why he did this or that was very simple. "I did it," he said, "because I thought it would have a good effect."

Such a reply did not satisfy "my lord," who declared that his opinion of the composition as ungrammatical and faulty would be unchanged unless Haydn could give him some better reason for his innovations and errors.

This nettled Haydn, who suggested that the pupil (?) should rewrite the quartette after his own fashion. But, like many other would-be critics, he declined to undertake the task, contenting himself with impugning the correctness of Haydn's work. "How can yours, which is contrary to the rules, be the best?" he repeatedly asked Haydn.

At last the composer's patience was exhausted. "I see, my lord," said he, "it is you who are so good as to give lessons to me. I do not want your lessons, for I feel that I do not merit the honour of having such a master as yourself. Good morning."

Haydn then left the room, and sent his servant to show the man out.

One of Haydn's biographers says that the composer soon gauged the musical taste of the English public, and rearranged most of his compositions written earlier, before producing them in London. "Our national manners in the concert-room would seem to have descended to us from our grandfathers, for we find Haydn doubting as to which of two evils he shall choose: whether to insist on his stipulated composition being placed in the first or the second part of each concert's programme. In the former case its effect would be marred by the continual noisy entrance of late comers, while in the latter case a considerable portion of the audience would probably be asleep before it began. Haydn chose this, however, as the preferable alternative, and the loud chord (Paukenschlag) of the andante in the 'Surprise' symphony is said to have been the comical device he hit upon for rousing the slumberers."

Haydn was very desirous that one of his compositions should be performed at an Ancient Music Concert in London, but one of their rules was to admit only work by composers who had been dead twenty years. The management would make no exception, even for Haydn, and it was not until forty-one years later that they produced a composition by him,—the "Let there be Light," from the "Creation."

One of the pleasantest incidents of Haydn's visit to England occurred in November, when he made a visit of three days to Oatlands Park as a guest of the Duke of York, who was spending his honeymoon there with his young bride, the Princess of Prussia. "The sight of the kind German face and the familiar sound of the German tongue of the musician, whose name had been a household word to her ever since she could speak, must have been more than welcome to the little transplanted bride (she was only seventeen), and Haydn writes tenderly to Frau v. Genzinger (December 20th) how the 'liebe Kleine' sat close by his side all the time he was playing his symphony, humming the familiar airs to herself, and urging him to go on playing until long past midnight."

Upon his second visit to London, Haydn received many attentions from the royal family, especially from the Prince and Princess of Wales. The prince had a taste for music at once genuine and intelligent. He played the violoncello, and took his place in the orchestra in the concerts given at Carlton House, his brothers, the Dukes of Gloucester and Cumberland, playing the violin and viola.

When Haydn returned to Vienna, he carried with him, besides the substantial sum gained by his art, many presents from friends and admirers. One of the most original souvenirs was received from William Gardiner, a Leicester manufacturer and a great lover of music, who wrote a book entitled "Music and Friends." His gift consisted of six pairs of stockings, into which were woven airs from Haydn's compositions, the "Emperor's Hymn," the "Surprise" andante, and others.


The picture of Weber sitting among the airy visions evoked by music's spell, which is known as "Weber's Last Thoughts," and is supposed to represent him as composing the waltz so called, is based upon an error. For this popular piece, published in 1824, is not the work of Weber at all, but was written by Reissiger. The probable cause of its being ascribed to Weber is that a manuscript copy of it, given him by Reissiger on the eve of the master's departure for London, was found among Weber's papers after his death.

The "Last Thoughts" of Von Weber.  From painting by E. J. C. Hamman.

The "Last Thoughts" of Von Weber. From painting by E. J. C. Hamman.

Weber's son, in his life of his father, tells us that when the composer was in London, Miss Stephens, of whose talent he was a great admirer, offered to appear at his concert. "The celebrated artist, however, was desirous of singing some new composition by the master; and Weber, exhausted as he was, could not gainsay her wish. Miss Stephens herself chose the words from Moore's 'Lalla Rookh;' and the composer set himself to work on 'From Chindara's Warbling Fount I Come.' But fearfully painful was the effort now. Twice Weber flung down his pen in utter despair. At last, on the morning of the 18th of May, the great artist's flitting genius came back to him, and for the last time gave him a farewell kiss upon that noble forehead, now bedewed with the cold sweat of death,—for the last time! The trembling hands were unable to write down more than the notes for the voice. Weber rehearsed his last composition with the celebrated artist from this sketch, and accompanied the song from memory at his concert."

Here we have the true story of the master's last composition.

The concert spoken of, at which he made his last appearance in public, was, unfortunately, not a pecuniary success, because of the indifference of the English aristocracy. This was a severe blow to the composer, who knew that he had not long to live, and who had hoped to realise from this concert a substantial sum, which he could add to that received from his opera of "Oberon," and use all in providing for his wife and children. "The following day Weber was somewhat better. He was still supported by the hopes of his benefit; he still found sufficient strength to write to his wife in such wise as to place in its least painful light his cruel disappointment. As yet, in spite of his bodily weakness, his handwriting had remained distinct and clear. In this letter, it displays the utter ruin of his strength. 'Writing is somewhat painful to me,' runs one phrase of it; 'my hands tremble so.' Fürstenau saw only too clearly the sinking state of the poor man, and generously offered to give up his own concert, in order to hasten the departure of his friend. 'What a word of comfort you have spoken!' gasped Weber, clutching the hand of the kind fellow. He wrote again to his wife, with a last gleam of his spirit: 'You will not have many more letters from me; and so receive now my high and mighty commands. Do not answer this to London, but to the poste restante, Frankfurt. You are astounded! Well! I am not coming home through Paris. What should I do there? I cannot walk—I cannot speak. I will have nothing more to do with business for years to come. So it is far better I should take the straight way home by Calais, through Brussels, Cologne, Coblentz, and thus by the Rhine to Frankfurt. What a charming journey! I must travel very slowly, however, and probably rest for half a day, now and then. I shall gain a good fortnight thus; and by the end of June I hope to be in your arms.' At this time he was still resolved to keep his promise of conducting at Miss Paton's concert. But he came home in a state of such feverish agitation and complete exhaustion that his friends came around him, and wrung from him the promise that he would conduct no more, and even give up his own benefit. This resolution, strange to say, appeared to bestow fresh spirits on him; it enabled him to hasten his return. Now that all last earthly interests were laid aside, love and affection for the dear ones at home had alone possession of his mind. One thought alone occupied his whole soul,—to be at home again, amongst his own—to see them, if but once—but once! With this feeling, in which gleamed one last ray of cheerfulness, he wrote: 'How will you receive me? In heaven's name, alone. Let no one disturb my joy of looking again upon my wife, my children, my dearest and my best.… Thank God! the end of all is fast approaching.' … The end of all was fast approaching. On the 1st of June, every painful symptom of the poor sufferer had so increased that his friends held counsel with Doctor Kind, who considered his state highly precarious. Fürstenau was desirous of watching by his bedside. 'No, no,' replied Weber, 'I am not so ill as you want to make me out.' He refused even the attendance of Sir George Smart's servant in his anteroom. Blisters were applied to his chest, and he noted in his diary, 'Thank God, my sleep was sweet!' He fixed his departure for the 6th, arranged all his pecuniary affairs with minuteness, and employed his friends in purchasing presents for his family and friends in Dresden. He was strongly urged by his friends to postpone his journey until he could have recovered some degree of strength. But this solicitation only irritated him. 'I must go back to my own—I must!' he sobbed, incessantly. 'Let me see them once more—and then God's will be done!' The attempt appeared impossible to all. With great unwillingness he yielded to his friends' request to have a consultation of physicians. 'Be it so!' he answered. 'But come of it what may, I go!' His only thought, his only word, was 'Home!' On the 2d of June he wrote his last letter to his beloved wife,—the last lines his hand ever traced. 'What a joy, my own dear darling, your letter gave me! What a happiness to me to know that you are well! … As this letter requires no answer, it will be but a short one. What a comfort it is not to have to answer! … God bless you all, and keep you well! Oh, were I but amongst you all again! I kiss you with all my heart and soul, my dearest one! Preserve all your love for me, and think with pleasure on him who loves thee above all, thy Karl.' What an outpouring of the truest affection there was in that last loving prayer!

"Weber's only thoughts were now concentrated on his journey, and he even reproached Fürstenau with caballing with the others to prevent his undertaking it. 'You may do what you will, it is of no avail,' he said. On the evening of the 3d of June he asked his friend Göschen, with a smile, 'Have you anything to say to your father? At all events I shall tell him that his son has been a dear kind friend to me in London.' 'But you leave many friends and admirers here,' said Göschen. 'Hush! hush!' replied Weber, still smiling softly; 'that's not the same thing, you know.' When, on the evening of the 4th, he sat panting in his easy chair, with Sir George Smart, Göschen, Fürstenau, and Moscheles grouped around him, he could speak only of his journey. At ten o'clock they urged him to retire to bed. But he firmly declined to have any one watch by his bedside, and even to forego his custom of barring his chamber door. When he had given his white, transparent, trembling hand to all, murmuring gently, but in earnest tones, the words, 'God reward you all for your kind love to me!' he was led by Sir George Smart and Fürstenau into his bedroom. Fürstenau, from whom alone he would accept such services, helped him to undress; the effort was a painful one to himself. With his own hand, however, Weber wound up his watch, with his usual punctilious care; then, with all that charm of amiability for which he was conspicuous through life, he murmured his thanks to his friend, and said, 'Now let me sleep.' These were the last words that mortal ear heard the great artist utter. It is clear, however, that Weber must have left his bed later, for, the next morning, the door through which Fürstenau had passed, was barred. For a long time the friends sat together in Sir George Smart's room, filled with sorrowful presentiments, and earnestly consulting what means might best be taken to prevent the journey. About midnight they parted. On their leaving the house, all was dark in Weber's window. His light had been extinguished.

"The next morning, at the early hour when Weber generally required his aid, Sir George Smart's servant knocked at his chamber door; no answer came; he knocked again, and louder. It was strange, for Weber's sleep had always been light. The alarmed servant rushed to Sir George, who sprang out of bed and hurried to the room. Still, to his repeated knocking, no answer was returned. Fürstenau was sent for. He came half dressed, already anticipating the worst. It was now resolved to force the door. It was burst open. All was still within. The watch, which the last movement of the great hand which had written 'Der Freischütz,' 'Euryanthe,' and 'Oberon,' had wound up, alone ticked with painful distinctness. The bed-curtains were torn back. There lay the beloved friend and master dead. His head rested on his left hand, as if in tranquil sleep,—not the slightest trace of pain or suffering on his features. The soul, yearning for the dear objects of its love, had burst its earthly covering and fled. The immortal master was not dead,—he had gone home."

Weber died in London in 1826, but it was not until 1844, and then mainly through the efforts of Wagner, that his remains were taken to his native land. They now rest in Dresden, where a statue was raised in 1860 in honour of Carl Maria von Weber, who has been called "The operatic liberator of Germany."


"No one can conceive," Beethoven wrote to the Baroness Droszdick, "the intense happiness I feel in getting into the country, among the woods, my dear trees, shrubs, hills, and dales. I am convinced that no one loves country life as I do. It is as if every tree and every bush could understand my mute inquiries and respond to them." It was this rage for fresh air and fields which made him such a bad stay-at-home bird, whether he was sheltered amid the palatial surroundings of some princely patron, or whether sojourning in the less luxurious and comfortless atmosphere of some one of his frequently changed lodgings. He disliked any control, and truly meant it when, at intervals, growing impatient with the constant requests for his company, he complained outright that he was forced too much into society. His favourite places for ruralising were Mödling, Döbling, Hentzendorf, and Baden; while there is still cherished in the royal garden of Schönbrunn a favourite spot, between two ash-trees, where the master is reputed to have composed some of the music of "Fidelio."

A French artist, Paul Leyendecker, has painted the master thus at work amid nature's peace. Beethoven is sitting on the outskirts of a wood near his native city of Bonn, absorbed in composition. A funeral procession is coming up the road, with the coffin borne upon the shoulders of the mourners, and preceded by the priest, who recognises the composer and bids the choristers cease chanting for a while in order not to disturb his labours. Turning from the master at work in the open air to him at home, we find that Carl Schloesser, a German painter long settled in London, exhibited at the Royal Academy, a few years ago, a striking picture showing Beethoven at the piano absorbed in composition, amid a litter of manuscripts and music-sheets. It was thus he must have looked when Weber called upon him in 1823.

Beethoven at Bonn.  From painting by Paul Leyendecker.

Beethoven at Bonn. From painting by Paul Leyendecker.

"All lay in the wildest disorder—music, money, clothing, on the floor—linen from the wash upon the dirty bed—broken coffee-cups upon the table. The open pianoforte was covered thickly with dust. Beethoven entered to greet his visitors. Benedict has thus described him: 'Just so must have looked Lear, or one of Ossian's bards. His thick gray hair was flung upwards, and disclosed the sanctuary of his lofty vaulted forehead. His nose was square, like that of a lion; his chin broad, with those remarkable folds which all his portraits show; his jaws formed as if purposely to crack the hardest nuts; his mouth noble and soft. Over the broad face, seamed with scars from the smallpox, was spread a dark redness. From under the thick, closely compressed eyebrows gleamed a pair of small flashing eyes. The square, broad form of a Cyclops was wrapped in a shabby dressing-gown, much torn about the sleeves.' Beethoven recognised Weber without a word, embraced him energetically, shouting out, 'There you are, my boy; you are a devil of a fellow! God bless you!' handed him at once his famous tablets, then pushed a heap of music from the old sofa, threw himself upon it, and, during a flow of conversation, commenced dressing himself to go out. Beethoven began with a string of complaints about his own position; about the theatres, the public, the Italians, the talk of the day, and, more especially, about his own ungrateful nephew. Weber, who was nervous and agitated, counselled him to tear himself from Vienna, and to take a journey through Germany to convince himself of the world's judgment of him, and more especially to go to England, where his works were more reverenced than in any other country. 'Too late! too late!' cried Beethoven, making the pantomime of playing on the piano, and shaking his head sadly. Then he seized on Weber's arm, and dragged him away to the Sauerhof, where he was wont to dine. 'Here,' wrote Weber afterward, 'we dined together in the happiest mood. The rough repulsive man paid me as much attention as if I were a lady to whom he was making court, and served me at table with the most delicate care. How proud I felt to receive all this kindness and affectionate regard from the great master spirit! The day will remain for ever impressed on my mind, as well as on that of all who were present.'"

Beethoven in His Study.  From painting by Carl Schloesser.

Beethoven in His Study. From painting by Carl Schloesser.

Three years later the Swedish poet, Atterbom, being in Vienna, went to visit Beethoven. Atterbom was accompanied by his friend, Doctor Jeitteles, who has left this account of their odd experience. He says: "We went one hot afternoon to the Alservorstadt, and mounted to the second story of the so-called Schwarzspanier house. We rang, no one answered; we lifted the latch, the door was open, the anteroom empty. We knocked at the door of Beethoven's room, and, receiving no reply, repeated our knock more loudly. But we got no answer, although we could hear there was some one inside. We entered, and what a scene presented itself! The wall facing us was hung with huge sheets of paper covered with charcoal marks; Beethoven was standing before it, with his back turned toward us, but in what a condition! Oppressed by the excessive heat, he had divested himself of everything but his shirt, and was busily employed writing notes on the wall with a lead-pencil, beating time, and striking a few chords on his stringless pianoforte. He did not once turn toward the door. We looked at each other in amused perplexity. It was no use trying to attract the deaf master's attention by making a noise; and he would have felt embarrassed had we gone up to him. I said to Atterbom, 'Would you, as a poet, like to take away with you to the north the consciousness of having, perhaps, arrested the loftiest flight of genius? You can at least say, "I have seen Beethoven create." Let us leave, unseen and unheard!' We departed."

A Symphony by Beethoven.  From painting by A. Graefle.

A Symphony by Beethoven. From painting by A. Graefle.

Another German artist, Graefle, has produced an interesting work depicting Beethoven playing to his friends.

"At the pianoforte Beethoven seemed a god—at times in the humour to play, at others not. If he happened not to be in the humour, it required pressing and reiterated entreaties to get him to the instrument. Before he began in earnest, he used sportively to strike the keys with the palm of his hand, draw his fingers along the keyboard from one end to the other, and play all manner of gambols, at which he laughed heartily. Once at the pianoforte, and in a genial mood with his surroundings, he would extemporise for one and two hours at a stretch, amid the solemn silence of his listeners. He demanded absolute silence from conversation whenever he put his fingers upon the pianoforte keys to play. If this was not forthcoming, he rose up, publicly upbraided the offenders, and left the room. This mode of resenting a nuisance—one not yet extinct—was once illustrated at Count Browne's, where Beethoven and Ries were engaged in playing a duet, yet during which one of the guests started an animated conversation with a lady. Exasperated at such an affront to his artistic honour, Beethoven rose up, glared at the pair, and shouted out, 'I play no more for such hogs,'—nor would he touch another note or allow Ries to do so, although earnestly entreated by the company. 'His improvisation,' Czerny tells us, 'was 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, while many would break out into loud sobs, for there was something wonderful in his expression in addition to the beauty and originality of his ideas and his spirited style of rendering them.' Ries says: 'No artist that I ever heard came at all near the height Beethoven attained in this branch of playing. The wealth of ideas which forced themselves on him, the caprices to which he surrendered himself, the variety of treatment, the difficulties, were inexhaustible. Even the Abbé Vogler's admirers were compelled to admit as much.'"

Tomaschek was greatly impressed by Beethoven. He writes: "It was in 1798, when I was studying law, that Beethoven, that giant among players, came to Prague.… His grand style of playing, and especially his bold improvisation, had an extraordinary effect upon me. I felt so shaken that for several days I could not bring myself to touch the piano."

"His manner was to sit in a quiet way at the instrument, commanding his feelings; but occasionally, and especially when extemporising, it was hard to maintain the pose. At extreme moments he warmed into great passions, so that it was impossible for him to hide from his listeners the sacred fires that were raging within him. Czerny declares that his playing of slow movements was full of the greatest expression,—an experience to be remembered. He used the pedal largely, and was most particular in the placing of the hands and the drift of the fingers upon the keys. As a pianist, he was surnamed 'Giant among players,' and men like Vogler, Hummel, and Wölffl were of a truth great players; but as Sir George Grove aptly says, in speaking of Beethoven's tours de force in performance, his transposing and playing at sight, etc., 'It was no quality of this kind that got him the name, but the loftiness and elevation of his style, and his great power of expression in slow movements, which, when exercised on his noble music, fixed his hearers, and made them insensible to any fault of polish or mere mechanism.'"

Beethoven has often served as a subject for painters, but, among the numerous pictures dedicated to him, we recall none more impressive than Aimé de Lemud's "Beethoven's Dream." De Lemud, a Frenchman who died at the age of seventy years, in 1887, first won success as a painter, and then studied engraving. At the Salon of 1863 he received a medal for his engraving of this picture, which was then entitled, simply, "Beethoven."

Beethoven's Dream.  From painting by Aimé de Lemud.

Beethoven's Dream. From painting by Aimé de Lemud.

Elizabeth Stuart Phelps, in her story of "The Silent Partner," tells how "a line engraving after De Lemud could make a 'forgetting' in the life of a factory girl.

"An engraving that lay against a rich easel in a corner of the room attracted the girl's attention presently. She went down on her knees to examine it. It chanced to be Lemud's dreaming Beethoven. Sip was very still about it.

"'What is that fellow doing?' she asked, after a while. 'Him with the stick in his hand.'

"She pointed to the leader of the shadowy orchestra, touching the baton through the glass, with her brown fingers.

"'I have always supposed,' said Perley, 'that he was only floating with the rest; you see the orchestra behind him.'

"'Floating after those women with their arms up? No, he isn't.'

"'What is he doing?'

"It's riding over him—the orchestra. He can't master it. Don't you see? It sweeps him along. He can't help himself. They come and come. How fast they come! How he fights and falls! Oh, I know how they come! That's the way things come to me; things I could do, things I could say, things I could get rid of if I had the chance; they come in the mills mostly; they tumble over me just so; I never have the chance. How he fights! I didn't know there was any such picture in the world. I'd like to look at that picture day and night. See! Oh, I know how they come!'

"'Miss Kelso—' after another silence, and still upon her knees before the driving dream and the restless dreamer. 'You see, that's it. That's like your pretty things. I'd keep your pretty things if I was you. It ain't that there shouldn't be music anywhere. It's only that the music shouldn't ride over the master. Seems to me it is like that.'"


In the Währing cemetery in Vienna three monuments of varying design stand side by side. The central one honours Mozart, the name of Beethoven is inscribed upon the second, and the last bears that of Franz Schubert. Schubert died aged but thirty-one, in 1828, the year after Beethoven had passed beyond. He had the greatest reverence for the sublime master, and on the day before his own death spoke of him in a touching manner in his delirium. Schubert was one of the torch-bearers at the grave of Beethoven, and after the funeral went with some friends to a tavern, where he filled two glasses of wine. The first he drank to the memory of the great man who had just been laid to rest, and the other to the memory of him who should be first to follow Beethoven to the grave. In less than two years he himself lay beside him.

Schubert, in his youth, once asked a friend, after the performance of some of his own songs, whether he thought that he (Schubert) would ever become anything. His friend replied that he was already something. "I say so to myself, sometimes," said Schubert, "but who can do anything after Beethoven?" At a later day he said of the master, "Mozart stands in the same relation to him as Schiller does to Shakespeare. Schiller is already understood, Shakespeare still far from being fully comprehended. Every one understands Mozart; no one thoroughly comprehends Beethoven."

Although Beethoven lived in Vienna during nearly the whole life of Schubert, and for some years very near to his house, the two composers were almost strangers. Schindler, Beethoven's biographer, does indeed state that they met in 1822, but the story has been much doubted. Schindler says that the younger composer, whose "Variations on a French Air" had just been published by Diabelli and dedicated to Beethoven, went with the publisher to present the offering in person. He received them kindly, but Schubert was too confused to answer the master's questions, and on Beethoven making some slight criticism upon the piece, fled from the room in dismay. Huttenbrenner says, on the other hand, that Beethoven was not at home when Schubert called on him and that they never met. He, however, states that he, Schubert, and the artist Teltscher, went to Beethoven's house during his last illness and stood for a long time around his bed. The dying man was told the names of his visitors and made signs to them with his hand which they could not comprehend. Schubert was deeply touched, for his veneration for Beethoven amounted almost to worship.

Schindler, during Beethoven's last illness, brought him a collection of Schubert's songs, and he expressed the greatest admiration for their beauty, coupled with regrets that he had not known more of him. How great must have been Schubert's delight to learn that Beethoven on this occasion said of him, "Truly, Schubert possesses a spark of the divine fire;" and again, "Some day he will make a noise in the world." Beethoven is said to have frequently played the "Variations" which Schubert dedicated to him.

The extraordinary fertility and facility of Schubert in composing are well known. Elson tells the story of the creation of "Hark, Hark, the Lark!" from "Cymbeline." "It was a summer morning in 1826 that Schubert was returning from a long walk in the suburbs of Vienna, with a party of friends; they had been out to Potzleindorf, and were walking through Währing, when, as they passed the restaurant "Zum Biersack," Schubert looked in and saw his friend Tieze sitting at one of the tables; he at once suggested that the party enter and join him at breakfast, which was accordingly done. As they sat together at the table, Schubert took up a book which Tieze had brought with him; it was Shakespeare's poems in a German translation; he began turning from page to page in his usual insatiable search for subjects for musical setting; suddenly he paused and read one of the poems over a few times. 'If I only had music-paper here,' he cried, 'I have just the melody to fit this poem.' Without a word, Doppler, one of his friends, drew the musical staff on the back of the bill of fare, and handed it to the composer, and on this bill of fare, while waiting breakfast, amid the clatter and confusion of a Viennese outdoor restaurant, Schubert brought forth the beautiful aubade, or morning song, 'Hark, Hark, the Lark!'"

Upon the same evening, he set two more of Shakespeare's songs to music, "Who is Sylvia?" from the "Two Gentlemen of Verona," and the drinking song from the second act of "Antony and Cleopatra."

The composer played the piano with much expression, but could not be considered as a performer of great technical attainments. He once attempted to play his "Fantasia in C, Opus 15," to some friends, but broke down twice, and finally sprang up from his chair in a fury, exclaiming: "The devil may play the stuff!"

Schubert at the Piano.  From painting by Gustav Klimt.

Schubert at the Piano. From painting by Gustav Klimt.

"The subtle influence which Schubert exercised over those with whom he was brought into close contact was not to be accounted for by any grace of person or manner. Kreissle says that he was under the average height, round backed and shouldered, with plump arms and hands and short fingers. He had a round and puffy face, low forehead, thick lips, bushy eyebrows, and a short, turned-up nose, giving him something of a negro aspect. This description does not coincide with our ideas of one in whom either intellectual or imaginative qualities were strongly developed. Only in animated conversation did his eye light up, and show by its fire and brilliancy the splendour of the mind within. Add to this that in society Schubert's manner was awkward, the result of an unconquerable diffidence and bashfulness, when in the presence of strangers. He was even less fitted than Beethoven to shine in the salons of the Viennese aristocracy, for his capacity as an executive musician was more limited. But he was far more companionable among his intimate acquaintances, and perhaps his greatest, and certainly his most frequent, pleasure was to discuss music over a friendly glass in some cosy tavern. It would be entirely unjust to say that he was a drunkard, but he was not overcautious in his potations, and frequently took more than was prudent or consistent with a regard to health. This weakness was purely the result of his fondness for genial society, for he was not a solitary drinker, and invariably devoted the early portion of the day to work. The enormous mass of his compositions sufficiently proves his capacity for hard and unremitting labour, and no diminution of energy was observable to the very last. It is not easy for us at this distance of time, and with our colder Northern temperament, to comprehend the romantic feelings of attachment subsisting between Schubert and some of his friends,—feelings which, however, are by no means rare among the impulsive youth of South Germany,—but his naïve simplicity, cheerful and eminently sociable disposition, insensibility to envy, and incorruptible modesty, were qualities calculated to transform the respect due to his genius into a strong personal liking. Schubert was, in truth, a child of nature, one whom to know was to love; for his faults might be summed up into a general incapacity to understand his own interests, and it might be said of him as truly as of any one that he was no man's enemy save his own, thus reversing Shakespeare's words, the good which he did lives after him; the evil was interred with his bones."


During the great English revolution of 1688, Lord Wharton, as Macaulay says, wrote "a satirical ballad on the administration of Tyrconnel. In this little poem an Irishman congratulates a brother Irishman, in a barbarous jargon, on the approaching triumph of popery, and of the Milesian race. The Protestant heir will be excluded. The Protestant officers will be broken. The Great Charter, and the praters who appeal to it, will be hanged in one rope. The good Talbot will shower commissions on his countrymen, and will cut the throats of the English. These verses, which were in no respect above the ordinary standard of street poetry, had for burden some gibberish which was said to have been used as a watchword by the insurgents of Ulster in 1641. The verses and the tune caught the fancy of the nation. From one end of England to the other, all classes were constantly singing this idle rhyme. It was especially the delight of the English army. More than seventy years after the revolution, a great writer delineated, with exquisite skill, a veteran who had fought at the Boyne and at Namur. One of the characteristics of the good old soldier is his trick of whistling 'Lillibullero.'

"Wharton afterward boasted that he had sung a king out of three kingdoms. But in truth the success of 'Lillibullero' was the effect, and not the cause, of that excited state of public feeling which produced the revolution."

The English revolution had its "Lillibullero," the French Revolution its "Marseillaise." The former is never heard now; the latter, in which spirited words are wedded to inspiring music, is undying. Lamartine said, "Glory and crime, victory and death, are mingled in its strains." Sir Walter Scott called it "the finest hymn to which Liberty has ever given birth." Heine exclaimed, "What a song! It thrills me with fiery delight, it kindles within me the glowing star of enthusiasm;" and Carlyle pronounced it "the luckiest musical composition ever promulgated."

In the spring of 1792, a young officer of artillery was in garrison at Strasburg. His name was Rouget de Lisle, and his talents as poet, singer, and musician had rendered him a welcome guest at the house of Dietrich, the mayor of the city. Famine reigned in Strasburg, and one day, when the Dietrich family could offer but a scanty repast to the youthful soldier, Dietrich produced a bottle of wine, and said, "Let us drink to Liberty and to our country. There will soon be a patriotic celebration at Strasburg; may these last drops inspire De Lisle with one of those hymns which convey to the soul of the people the intoxication from whence they proceed." The wine was drunk and the friends separated for the night. De Lisle went to his room and sought inspiration, "now in his patriotic soul, now in his harpsichord; sometimes composing the air before the words, sometimes the words before the air, and so combining them in his thoughts that he himself did not know whether the notes or the verses came first, and it was impossible to separate the poetry from the music, or the sentiment from the expression. He sang all and set down nothing."

In the morning De Lisle wrote down the words and music and went with them to Dietrich's house. The old patriot invited some friends, who were as fond of music as himself, to listen, and his eldest daughter played the accompaniment, while Rouget sang. "At the first stanza all faces turned pale; at the second tears ran down every cheek, and at the last all the madness of enthusiasm broke forth. The hymn of the country, destined also to be the hymn of terror, was found. A few months afterward the unfortunate Dietrich went to the scaffold to the sound of the very notes which had their origin on his own hearth, in the heart of his friend, and in the voices of his children."

Rouget de l'Isle Singing the Marseillaise.  From painting by I. A. A. Pils.

Rouget de l'Isle Singing the Marseillaise.
From painting by I. A. A. Pils.

It was on April 25th that De Lisle's hymn was sung at Dietrich's house. The next day it was copied and arranged for a military band, and on April 29th it was performed by the band of the Garde Nationale at a review. On June 25th, a singer named Mireur sang it with so much effect at a civic banquet at Marseilles that it was at once printed and distributed to the volunteers of the battalion just starting for Paris, which they entered by the Faubourg St. Antoine on July 30th, singing their new hymn. It was heard again on August 10th, when the mob stormed the palace of the Tuileries. From that time the "chant de guerre pour l'armée du Rhin," as it had been christened, was known as the "Chanson" or "Chant de Marseillais," and finally as "La Marseillaise." The original edition contained only six couplets; the seventh was added by the journalist Dubois.

Rouget de Lisle's authorship of the music has been often contested, but it is proven by the conclusive evidence contained in the pamphlet on the subject, by his nephew, published in Paris, in 1865. Schumann has used the "Marseillaise" in the overture to "Hermann and Dorothea," and also in his song of the "Two Grenadiers."

Its author, Claude Joseph Rouget de Lisle, was born at Montaigu, Lous-le-Saulnier, in 1760. Entering the school of Royal Engineers at Mezières in 1782, in 1789 he was a second lieutenant and quartered at Besançon. Here, a few days after the fall of the Bastille, on July 14th, he wrote his first patriotic song to the tune of a favourite air. The next year found him at Strasburg, where his "Hymn to Liberty," set to music by Pleyel, was sung at the fête of September 25, 1791. One of his pieces, "Bayard en Bresse," produced at Paris in 1791, was not successful. Being the son of royalist parents and one of the constitutional party, Rouget de Lisle refused to take the oath to the constitution abolishing the crown, and was therefore cashiered, denounced, and imprisoned, not escaping until after the fall of Robespierre. It is told that as he fled through a pass of the Alps he heard his own song. "'What is the name of that hymn?' he asked his guide. 'The Marseillaise,' was the peasant's reply. It was then that he learned the name of his own work. He was pursued by the enthusiasm which he had scattered behind him, and escaped death with difficulty. The weapon recoiled against the hand which had forged it; the Revolution in its madness no longer recognised its own voice."

De Lisle afterward reëntered the army, made the campaign of La Vendée under Hoche, was wounded, and at length, under the consulate, returned to private life at Montaigu. Poor and alone, he remained there until the second Restoration, when, his brother having sold the little family property, he came to Paris. Here he was unfortunate and would have starved but for a small pension granted by Louis XVIII., and continued by Louis Philippe, and for the care of his friends, the poet Béranger and the sculptor David d'Angers, and especially M. and Madame Voiart. At the house of the Voiarts in Choisy-le-Roi, Rouget de Lisle died in 1836.

His other works include a volume of "Essais en vers et en prose," issued in 1797, "Cinquante Chants Français" (1825), and "Macbeth," a lyrical tragedy (1827). He also wrote a song called "Roland at Roncesvalles," and a "Hymn to the Setting Sun."

Two statues, if no more, have been erected to him in France,—one at Lous-le-Saulnier, from the hand of Bartholdi, and another at Choisy-le-Roi.

Pils, to whom we owe the picture of Rouget de Lisle singing his immortal chant, was a French artist, who died in 1875, at the age of sixty-two, having gained many medals and a professorship of painting at the Paris School of Fine Arts. His fame was mostly won by pictures of the war in the Crimea, notably by his "Battle of the Alma," now in the gallery at Versailles. The "Rouget de Lisle," painted in 1849, belongs to the French nation. Pils decorated the ceiling over the grand staircase in the Paris Opera House.


Earth's effective picture of the great violinist in prison is an instance of the use of that license which we are generally willing to allow the painter and the poet. Among the many astounding fictions which were related about Paganini is one which asserts that, during years spent in confinement on the charge of murdering his wife, he solaced himself and perfected his art by the constant use of his beloved instrument, and this story must serve as the artist's excuse. Doubtless as many believers were found for this baseless tale as for these others.

Paganini in Prison.  From painting by Ferdinand Barth.

Paganini in Prison. From painting by Ferdinand Barth.

Some declared that he had a league with Satan, and held interviews with him in an old Florentine castle, much frequented by the artist, from which, they said, fearful sounds were heard proceeding on stormy nights, and where the great master was known to have lain as one dead for hours together, on different occasions. These persons believed that at such times Paganini had only come back to life by magical agency. Another swore to having seen a tall, dark shadow bending over him at one of his concerts, and directing his hand; while a third testified that he had seen nine or ten shadowy hands hovering about the strings of the great master's violin.

Many of his admirers warmly upheld it as their opinion that he was in reality an angel sent down to this world, in pity, for the purpose of lightening the miseries of earthly life by giving man a foretaste of what the heavenly harmonies will be hereafter. They said that it was as if a choir of sweet-voiced spirits lay hid within the instrument, and that at times it seemed as though this choir turned into a grand orchestra.

It was not only Paganini's wonderful playing, but his weird appearance which helped to gain credence for such surprising anecdotes. Leigh Hunt has left us a graphic description of the renowned fiddler.

"Paganini, the first time I saw and heard him, and the first time he struck a note, seemed literally to strike it, to give it a blow. The house was so crammed that, being among the squeezers in the standing-room at the side of the pit, I happened to catch the first glance of his face through the arm akimbo of a man who was perched up before me, which made a kind of frame for it; and there, on the stage in that frame, as through a perspective glass, were the face bent and the raised hand of the wonderful musician, with the instrument at his chin, just going to commence, and looking exactly as I described him:

His hand,
Loading the air with dumb expectancy,
Suspending ere it fell a nation's breath,
He smote, and clinging to the serious chords,
With godlike ravishment drew forth a breath
So deep, so strong, so fervid thick with love,
Blissful yet laden as with twenty prayers,
That Juno yearned with no diviner soul
To the first burthen of the lips of Jove.
Th' exceeding mystery of the loveliness
Sadden'd delight, and with his mournful look,
Dreary and gaunt, hanging his pallid face
'Twixt his dark flowing locks, he almost seem'd
Too feeble, or to melancholy eyes
One that has parted with his soul for pride,
And in the sable secret lived forlorn.'

"To show the depth and identicalness of the impression which he made upon everybody, foreign or native, an Italian, who stood near me, said to himself, after a sigh, O Dio!' and this had not been said long when another person in the same manner exclaimed, 'O Christ!' Musicians pressed forward from behind the scenes to get as close to him as possible, and they could not sleep at night for thinking of him."

Another writer shows us Paganini in his lodgings.

"Everything was lying in its usual disorder; here one violin, there another, one snuff-box on the bed, another under one of the boy's playthings. Music, money, caps, letters, watches, and boots were scattered about in the utmost confusion. The chairs, tables, and even the bed had all been removed from their proper places. In the midst of the chaos sat Paganini, his black silk nightcap covering his still blacker hair, a yellow handkerchief carelessly tied around his neck, and a chocolate-coloured jacket hanging loose upon his shoulders. On his knees he held Achillino, his little son of four years of age, at that time in very bad humour because he had to allow his hands to be washed. His affectionate forbearance is truly wonderful. Let the boy be ever so troublesome, he never gets angry, but merely turns around and observes to those present, 'The poor child is wearied; I do not know what I shall do, I am already quite worn out with playing with him. I have been fighting with him all the morning; I have carried him about; made him chocolate; I do not know what more to do!'

"It was enough to make one die of laughing to see Paganini in his slippers fighting with his little son, who reached to about his knee. Sometimes the little Achillino would get into a rage; draw his sabre upon his father, who would retreat into the corner of the room and call out, 'Enough, enough! I am wounded already;' but the little fellow would never leave off until he had laid his gigantic adversary tottering and prostrate on the bed. Paganini had now finished the dressing of his Achillino, but was himself still in dishabille. And now arose the great difficulty, how to accomplish his own toilet, where to find his neckcloth, his boots, his coat. All were hid, and by whom?—by Achillino. The urchin laughed when he saw his father pacing with long strides through the apartment, his searching looks glancing in all directions; and upon his asking him where he had put his things, the little wag pretended astonishment, and held his tongue, shrugged up his shoulders, shook his head, and signified by his gesture that he knew nothing about them. After a long search, the boots were found; they were hid under the trunk; the handkerchief lay in one of the boots; the coat in the box; and the waistcoat in the drawer of the table. Every time that Paganini had found one of his things, he drew it out in triumph, took a great pinch of snuff, and went with new zeal to search for the remaining articles, always followed by the little fellow, who enjoyed it vastly when he saw his papa searching in places where he knew nothing was hid. At last we went out, and Paganini shut the door of the apartment, leaving behind him, lying about upon the tables and in the cupboards, rings, watches, gold, and what I most wondered at, his most precious violins. Any idea of the insecurity of his property never entered his head; and, fortunately for him, in the lodgings which he occupied the people were honest."

The famous violinist, like the rest of us, had his faults, but we can easily find instances to prove the kindness of his heart.

One day, while walking in Vienna, Paganini came across a poor boy playing upon a violin. He went up to him and learned that he maintained his mother and a flock of little brothers and sisters by the money which he picked up as an itinerant musician. Paganini turned out his pockets, gave the boy all the coins he could find, and then, taking the boy's violin, commenced playing. A crowd soon assembled, and, when he had finished playing, Paganini went around with his hat, collected a goodly sum, and then gave it to the boy, amid loud acclamations from the bystanders.

In the autumn of 1832 Paganini was an invalid at Paris, and seldom saw any one but Nicette, a merry country girl who waited upon him, and often cheered him up in hours of sadness. One morning she appeared with weeping eyes, and waited upon the musician without saying a word.

"What's the matter, child?" said the musician. "Has any misfortune happened to you?"

"Alas! yes, sir."

"Speak! speak! What is it?"

She was silent.

"Now, out with it," said he. "I see it all clearly enough. After he had made you a thousand promises he has forsaken you. Is it not so?"

"Alas! poor fellow, he has indeed forsaken me, but he is quite innocent."

"How has that happened?"

"He has drawn a bad number in the conscription, and must go off for a soldier. I shall never see him again!" sobbed the poor girl.

"But can't you buy a substitute for him?"

"How could I get such a large sum? Fifteen hundred francs is the lowest price, for there is a report that a war will soon break out," said she.

Paganini said no more, but when Nicette had left the room, he took his pocketbook and wrote in it, "To think what can be done for poor Nicette."

It was toward Christmas-time, and Paganini's health was improved, when one afternoon Nicette came into the room where he was, and announced that a box had come, addressed to Signer Paganini. It was brought in, and the first thing which he pulled out was a large wooden shoe.

"A wooden shoe," said Paganini, smiling. "Some of these excellent ladies wish to compare me with a child, who always receives presents and never gives any. Well, who knows but that this shoe may earn its weight in gold?"

Nothing now was seen of Paganini for three days, during which time his clever hand had transformed the shoe into a well-sounding instrument. Soon afterward appeared an advertisement announcing that, on New Year's eve, Paganini would give a concert, and play five pieces on the violin and five on a wooden shoe. A hundred tickets at twenty francs each were instantly sold. Paganini duly appeared, and played on his old violin as he alone ever did. Then, taking up the wooden shoe, he commenced a descriptive fantasia. There it was,—the departure of the conscript, the cries of his betrothed at the parting, the camp life, the battle and victory, the return-rejoicings, and marriage-bells, all were vividly portrayed.

The company departed, but in the corner of the room stood Nicette, sobbing bitterly.

"Here, Nicette," said Paganini, going up to her, "are two thousand francs,—five hundred more than you require to purchase a substitute for your betrothed. That you may be able to begin housekeeping at once, take this shoe-violin and sell it for as much as you can get for it."

Nicette did so, and a wealthy collector of curiosities gave her a very large sum indeed for Paganini's wooden shoe.

Here is another anecdote of Paganini, as related by one who took part in some of the frequent demands upon his goodness of heart. When Paganini was in London, he resided at No. 12 Great Pulteney Street, in a house belonging to the Novellos, next door to which was a "young ladies'" school, kept by a humpbacked old lady. The girls were perfectly aware who their next-door neighbour was, and, with the fondness of female youth for mischief, had nicknamed Paganini "the devil."

Now, in order to avoid being heard from the street, "the devil" used to practise his violin in a back room, which happened to be divided only by a thin partition from the next house. The adjoining room was one devoted by the old lady to the most advanced of her pupils, and here they were allowed to do their needlework apart from the others, and were frequently left to themselves.

When the cat's away, however, the mice will play. The temptation to make overtures to "the devil" was too great for the young ladies; and whenever they heard him in his room, while one kept a lookout at the door for the intrusions of "old humpback," there was a delicate "tat-tat-tat" at the partition, and a half-singing, half-speaking call, "Pag-an-in-ee, Pag-an-in-ee—the Carnival—'Carnival de Venise';" whereupon he would go to his window, open it, and accede to the request, playing the piece exactly as he did in public, nor did the maestro ever once fail to gratify the wishes of his fair neighbours.

"Paganini received some enthusiastic receptions in his time, but probably never a more spontaneous outburst than that which came from a son of Erin's Isle, after one of his performances in Dublin. On the occasion in question, Paganini had just completed that successful effort, the rondo à la Sicilienne from 'La Clochette,' in which was a silver bell accompaniment to the fiddle, producing a most original effect (one of those effects, we presume, which have tended to associate so much of the marvellous with the name of this genius). No sooner had the outburst of applause ended, than the excited Paddy in the gallery shouted out as loud as he was able:

"'Arrah now, Paganini, just take a drop o' whisky, my darling, and ring the bell again like that!'

"At a soirée given by Troupenas, the music publisher, in Paris, in 1830, Paganini gave one of the most wonderful exhibitions of his skill. Rossini, Tamburini, Lablache, Rubini, De Beriot, and Malibran were of the party. Malibran, after singing one of her spirited arias, challenged Paganini, who said, 'Madam, how could I dare, with all the advantages you possess in beauty and your incomparable voice, take up your glove?' His declining was of no avail; the whole company, aware that such an opportunity might never occur again, urged him most strongly, and finally persuaded him to send for his violin. After an introduction, in which gleamed now and then the motive of Malibran's song, he gave the whole melody with additional fiorituras, so that the audience, amazed and overwhelmed, could not help confessing that he was the master. Malibran herself was most emphatic of all in proclaiming him the victor."

Paganini's favourite violin was a Joseph Guarnerius. An Italian amateur, who evidently knew its value, lent it to the great maestro, and, after hearing him play upon it, declared that no other hand should touch it, and presented it to Paganini. He left it to his native city of Genoa, where it is preserved in the town hall.

Ferdinand Barth, who painted "Paganini in Prison," was the son of a carpenter, and was born in Bavaria in the early forties. For some time he worked as a wood carver, and then began to paint, and studied at the Munich Academy, under Piloty. Probably his best known picture is "Choosing the Casket," in which he has depicted the familiar scene from the "Merchant of Venice."


Like Mozart, the composer of the "Songs without Words" had a sister, a few years older than himself, who was possessed of great musical talent.

Mendelssohn's sister, Fanny, was born in 1805. In 1829 she became the wife of Wilhelm Hensel, a noted historical and portrait painter. Probably the most valuable and interesting of his works is the series of portraits of all the celebrities who, from time to time, were the guests of the Mendelssohn family. They number more than a thousand drawings, and include, besides likenesses of poets, painters, and philosophers, portraits of many people famous in the annals of music,—Weber, Paganini, Ernst, Hiller, Liszt, Clara Schumann, Gounod, Clara Novello, Lablache, and Grisi.

Rockstro tells the story of Fanny Mendelssohn's early death in the following words:

"On Friday afternoon, the 14th of May, 1847, Madame Hensel, the beloved sister Fanny, to whom, from earliest infancy, Felix, the child, the boy, the man, had committed every secret of his beautiful art life; the kindred spirit, with whom he had shared his every dream before his first attempt to translate it into sound; the faithful friend who had been more to him than any other member of the happy circle in the Leipziger Strasse, of which, from first to last, she was the very life and soul,—Fanny Hensel, the sister, the artist, the poet, while conducting a rehearsal of the music for the next bright Sunday gathering, was suddenly seized with paralysis; suffered her hands to fall powerless from the piano at which she had so often presided; and, an hour before midnight, was called away to join the beloved parents whose death had been as sudden and painless as her own. She had hoped and prayed that she, too, might pass away as they had done, and her prayer was granted; to her exceeding gain, but to the endless grief of the brother who had loved her as himself. On Sunday morning, in place of the piano, a coffin, covered with flowers, stood in the well-known hall in the Garden House. And the life, of which that Garden House had so long been the cherished home, became henceforth a memory of the past."

An English lady, Mrs. Florence Fenwick Miller, known not only as a writer, but as an ardent advocate of woman suffrage, has in one of her books written a chapter which she entitles "A Genius Wasted—Fanny Mendelssohn." She says: "One of the saddest instances with which the world has ever become acquainted, of gifts repressed and faculties wasted because of the sex of their possessor, is that of Fanny Mendelssohn, the sister of the famous composer, Felix Mendelssohn. With natural powers apparently fully as great as her brother's, Fanny was not, indeed, denied all opportunity of cultivating them, but was effectually prevented from utilising them, and, therefore, from fully developing her genius or from displaying its force."

These two Jewish children were members of a family in which both intellect, in its widest meaning, and musical talent, specifically, were hereditary. Their mother began to teach music both to the boy and the girl in their early years. Fanny, who was five years older than her brother, was naturally more advanced than he; and when the two children were allowed to show off their powers as pianists, it was Fanny who always won the most applause. They passed from their mother's elementary tuition to that of superior teachers, L. Berger and afterward Zeiter, and the former of these indicated Fanny as being, in his opinion, the future great musician.

But a father and mother with a maiden of genius on their hands were like a hen whose duckling takes to the water. The difference of the training of Fanny and Felix Mendelssohn, as distinguished from their musical education, is effectually indicated by the following letter from their father to Fanny, written when she was fourteen years old. After referring in terms of satisfaction to the compositions of both his son and daughter, Abraham Mendelssohn proceeded to say to the latter of his two gifted children:

"What you wrote to me about your musical occupations, with reference to and in comparison with Felix, was both rightly thought and expressed. Music will, perhaps, become his profession (Felix was at this time only nine years old. Fanny was fourteen), whilst for you it can and must be only an ornament, never the root of your being and doing. We may, therefore, pardon him some ambition and desire to be acknowledged in a pursuit which appears to him important, while it does you credit that you have always shown yourself good and sensible in these matters; and your very joy at the praise he earns proves that you might, in his place, have merited equal approval. Remain true to these sentiments and to this line of conduct; they are feminine, and only what is truly feminine is an ornament to your sex."

Ten more precious years of youth, the years of training and of hope, passed by; the different ideal was persistently forced by the parents upon the two, although Fanny, more fortunate than many girls, was, nevertheless, allowed to study her art as well as she could in intervals of housekeeping. On her twenty-third birthday, her father again felt it necessary to check his gifted daughter in her pursuit of her art. He wrote her a letter in which he praised her conduct in the household.

"However," he added, "you must still improve. You must become still more steady and collected, and prepare more earnestly and eagerly for your real calling, the only calling of a woman,—I mean the state of a housewife. Women have a difficult task; the constant occupation with apparent trifles, the interception of each drop of rain, that it may not evaporate, but be conducted into the right channel, the unremitting attention to every detail,—all these are the weighty duties of a woman."

The time came, at length, for Fanny Mendelssohn to love,—that crisis came which stimulates a man in his work, and nerves him to fresh efforts to make himself successful, that he may be worthy and able to establish a home. But to a woman this brings, only too often, yet another heavy barrier in the way of success in any art or occupation. So it was to Fanny Mendelssohn.

"Hensel was at first dreadfully jealous … even of Fanny's art.… Only her letters have been preserved. With characteristic energy she refuses to sacrifice her brother to the jealousy with which Hensel, in the beginning, regards her love for him, but she consents to give up her friends, and even her music.… She never, in her thoughts, loses sight of that letter of her father's, in which he calls the vocation of a housewife the only true aim and study of a young woman, and in thinking of the man of her choice she earnestly devotes herself to this aim."

What reprobation and what just indignation would be showered upon a woman who should try to make the man of her choice give up his art, to attend to her private comforts!

Although Fanny's good father and mother, yielding to the prejudices of their day, had struggled to make housekeeping her main interest, and music only her recreation, yet they had not denied her musical genius a complete education. Fanny was not only taught to play the piano in her childhood, in company with Felix, but she was also allowed to receive lessons in thorough bass and the theory of composition. She was thus rendered capable of the expression of her musical talents; and in between her household duties, after, as well as before she became a wife and mother, she often found time to compose. Much of what she wrote was of so high a character that her brother Felix felt no hesitation in putting it forth to the world as his own composition! It is, apparently, impossible to discover which, amongst the works published as those of Mendelssohn, were really those of his sister; but references now and again occur in his private letters to the fact, which thereby becomes incontrovertible, that he has claimed before the public compositions which are hers exclusively. The most famous of such passages is one that has became widely known in consequence of its quotation in Sir Theodore Martin's "Life of the Prince Consort." Mendelssohn is telling of his visit to the queen, at Buckingham Palace, in 1842.

"The queen said she was very fond of singing my published songs. 'You should sing one to him,' said Prince Albert, and after a little begging she said she would. And what did she choose? 'Schöner und schöner schmuckt sich;' sang it quite charmingly, in strict time and tune, and with very good execution. Then I was obliged to confess that Fanny had written that song (which I found very hard, but pride must have a fall), and to beg her to sing one of my own also."

As her father had kept her from appearing before the public when she was young, so her brother strenuously opposed her wish to publish her work in her maturity. In the spring of 1837, Fanny, in defiance of him, did issue one song with her own name to it. It had a great success, and Felix himself graciously wrote to her after it had been performed at a concert; "I thank you, in the name of the public, for publishing it against my wish." Fanny's husband urged her to follow up this success by issuing more of her works. "Her mother was of the same opinion, and begged Felix to persuade Fanny to publish. The success had not altered Felix's views, however, and he declined to persuade his sister; and Fanny, who had herself no desire to appear in print, readily gave up the idea."

Felix's influence sufficed to debar Fanny from all further attempt to obtain recognition, after that one song, until the year 1846, when she was forty-one years old. Then the persuasions of another musical friend led her to publish a small selection of her best work. "Felix had not altered his views, and it went against his wishes when he heard that she had made up her mind to publish. Some time passed before he wrote on the subject at all, but on August 14th the following entry appears in her diary: 'At last Felix has written, and given me his professional blessing in the kindest manner. I know that he is not satisfied in his heart of hearts, but I am glad he has said a kind word to me about it.'"

This little volume, too, was warmly received. Encouraged by the success of her published work,—delayed till so sadly late in life,—tasting the stimulating elixir of appreciation, and knowing the fascinating encouragement of public applause, she now began composition on a larger scale than anything she had before attempted. "I am working a good deal," she wrote, "and feel that I get on,—a consciousness which, added to the glorious weather, gives me a feeling of content and happiness such as I have, perhaps, never before experienced."

Alas! it came too late. In the spring of the next year, Fanny Mendelssohn died, aged forty-two. Her grand playing, "which made people afraid to perform in her presence," went down with her into the silence of her grave; and the musical genius and originality which should have left a lasting mark in the world faded, too, leaving but a few small tokens of what might have been.

The "Songs without Words" are more closely associated with Mendelssohn than any other of his works. The composer considered that music is more definite than words, and these lovely songs had as exact an intention as those which were written to accompany poetry. It was in a letter of Fanny Mendelssohn's, dated December 8, 1828, that their title first appeared, and they are referred to as if Mendelssohn had but lately begun to write them. On the day after his arrival in London, April 24, 1832, he played the first six to Moscheles. The earliest one is No. 2, of Book 2, which Felix sent to his sister Fanny in 1830. "In a Gondola," the last song in the first book, is said to be the earliest of the six, in date. A few only were given titles by the composer. Six books, each containing six songs, were published during his life, and the seventh and eighth after his early death.

Song without Words.  From painting by R. Poetzelberger.

Song without Words. From painting by R. Poetzelberger.

We reproduce the charming picture by a German painter, which, entitled "Song without Words," is said to represent the young Mendelssohn and his sister Fanny seated at the piano, side by side. Poetzelberger's other works, which he has named "Con Amore," "Old Songs," and "Trifling," are also distinguished by their graceful sentiment.


Liszt, the friend and rival of Chopin, wrote a biography of him which may almost be ranked among the curiosities of literature. Liszt was a genius, but not a good biographer, and his life of Chopin is largely a rhapsody.

For instance, Liszt writes thus about Chopin's short-lived passion for the singer Constantia Gladkowska. "The tempest, which, in one of its sudden gusts, tore Chopin from his native soil, like a bird dreamy and abstracted, surprised by the storm, upon the branches of a foreign tree, sundered the ties of this first love and robbed the exile of a faithful and devoted wife, as well as disinherited him of a country." And the same tendency to "gush" is here again apparent. "Chopin," he says, "could easily read the hearts which were attracted to him by friendship and the grace of his youth, and thus was enabled early to learn of what a strange mixture of leaven and cream of roses, of gunpowder and tears of angels, the poetic ideal of his nation is formed. When his wandering fingers ran over the keys, suddenly touching some moving chords, he could see how the furtive tears coursed down the cheeks of the loving girl, or the young, neglected wife; how they moistened the eyes of the young man, enamoured of and eager for glory. Can we not fancy some young beauty asking him to play a simple prelude, then, softened by the tones, leaning her rounded arms upon the instrument to support her dreaming head, while she suffered the young artist to divine in the dewy glitter of her lustrous eyes the song sung by her youthful heart?"

It has been asserted both by Liszt and others that Chopin owed his musical education to the generosity of Prince Anton Radziwill, but the statement is untrue. That wealthy and cultured nobleman was, however, always a warm friend and helpful patron of the great Polish pianist, who often visited the prince at his country-seat. Prince Radziwill was a musician himself,—a good singer and "cellist," and the composer of numerous pieces, among them being the first portions of Goethe's "Faust." To him Chopin dedicated his first trio for pianoforte, violin, and violoncello, published in 1833. Chopin seems to have passed a very pleasant time with the prince and his family, and, indeed, not to have been blind to the fascinations of the prince's charming daughters, one of whom was an excellent pianist. The prince himself was no mean performer on the violoncello, and he and Chopin played a good deal together. Writing from Antonin, Chopin says: "I have written during my stay here an Alla Polacca with violoncello. It is nothing more than a brilliant salon piece, such as pleases ladies. I should like the Princess Wanda to practise it. She is only seventeen years of age, and very beautiful; it would be delightful to have the pleasure of placing her pretty fingers upon the keys." Chopin was a susceptible being and ever a victim to the latest impression, so it is not strange that the lovely Wanda was soon forgotten.

Chopin at Prince Radziwill's.  From painting by H. Siemiradski.

Chopin at Prince Radziwill's. From painting by H. Siemiradski.

A countryman of Chopin's, the distinguished artist, Siemiradski, has produced a picture of the young pianist playing in the salon of Prince Radziwill, which itself convinces us of its truthfulness. The painter (born in 1843, and a pupil of Piloty) secured a wide renown through his painting of "The Living Torches of Nero." From a long list of notable pictures by Siemiradski, we select for mention "Phryne at Eleusis," "The Sword Dance," and "The Cremation of a Russian Chieftain in the Tenth Century."

Twenty years from the time at which Siemiradski has painted Chopin, the great pianist lay on his death-bed in Paris. "His sister never left him for a moment. His dearest friend and pupil, Gutmann, was also now constantly with him, and both friend and sister felt that the end was not far off. On the 15th of October, his friend, the Comtesse Delphine Potocka, arrived in Paris, having hastened from Nice, where she was at the time, directly she heard of the master's illness. No sooner was he made aware of her presence than he implored her to sing to him." Says Liszt; "Who could have ventured to oppose his wish? The piano was rolled to the door of his chamber, while with sobs in her voice and tears streaming down her cheeks his gifted countrywoman sang. She sang the famous 'Canticle to the Virgin,' which, it is said, once saved the life of Stradella. 'How beautiful it is!' he exclaimed. 'My God, how very beautiful! Again, again!' Though overwhelmed with emotion, the countess had the noble courage to comply with the last wish of a friend and compatriot. She again took a seat at the piano, and sang a hymn from Marcello. Chopin now feeling worse, everybody was seized with fright; by a spontaneous impulse all who were present threw themselves upon their knees—no one ventured to speak; the sacred silence was only broken by the voice of the singer floating, like a melody from heaven, above the sighs and sobs which formed its mournful earth accompaniment." Since the publication of Professor Niecks's biography, considerable doubt must be felt as to the accuracy of Liszt's statement touching upon what the lady sang; for he states that "Gutmann positively asserted that she sang a psalm by Marcello, and an air by Pergolesi, while Franchomme insisted on her having sung an air from Bellini's 'Beatrice di Tenda,' and that only once, and nothing else." We know that both the authors of these statements were present, whereas Liszt was not; but while that leaves no doubt as to the incorrectness of the abbé in this particular, it does not help us in deciding between the relative statements of the two witnesses. This, of course, is impossible, as there is nothing whatever to guide us to a trustworthy decision. To Professor Niecks, also, do we owe much of interest concerning these last hours of the master, inasmuch as he has brought to light much new testimony of a further witness, M. Gavard, who relates how, on the day following, Chopin called around him those friends who were with him in his apartment. To the Princess Czartoryska and Mlle. Gavard, he said, "You will play together, you will think of me, and I shall listen to you." Beckoning to Franchomme, he said to the princess, "I recommend Franchomme to you; you will play Mozart together, and I shall listen to you!" How well he was cared for, and how much devotion and tenderness were lavished upon him, we can judge from another letter of M. Gavard, quoted by Professor Niecks, in which he says: "In the back room lay the poor sufferer, tormented by fits of breathlessness, and only sitting in bed resting in the arms of a friend could he procure air for his oppressed lungs. It was Gutmann, the strongest amongst us, who knew best how to manage the patient, and who mostly thus supported him. At the head of his bed sat Princess Czartoryska; she never left him, guessing his most secret wishes, nursing him like a Sister of Mercy, with a serene countenance which did not betray her deep sorrow. Other friends gave a helping hand to relieve her,—every one according to his power; but most of them stayed in the two adjoining rooms. Every one had assumed a part; every one helped as much as he could,—one ran to the doctor's, to the apothecary; another introduced the persons asked for; a third shut the door on intruders.

"But, alas! the door was not to be shut upon the greatest of all intruders, and on the evening of the 16th of October the Abbé Alexander Jelowicki, the Polish priest, was sent for, as Chopin, saying that he had not confessed for many years, wished to do so now. After the confession was over, and the absolution pronounced, Chopin, embracing his confessor, exclaimed, 'Thanks! thanks to you, I shall not now die like a pig.' The same evening two doctors examined him. His difficulty in breathing now seemed intense; but on being asked whether he still suffered, he replied, 'No longer.' His face had already assumed the pure serenity of death, and every minute was expected to be the last. Just before the end—at two o'clock of the morning of the seventeenth—he drank some wine handed to him by Gutmann, who held the glass to his lips. 'Cher ami!' he said, and, kissing his faithful pupil's hands, he died. 'He died as he had lived,' says Liszt, 'in loving.'"

The Death of Chopin.  From painting by Felix Joseph Barrias.

The Death of Chopin. From painting by Felix Joseph Barrias.

Barrias has worthily painted the last scene in the life of Chopin. A native of Paris, where he was born in 1822, this artist has to his credit a long list of meritorious works which have secured him many honours. They include the "Exiles under Tiberius," in the Luxembourg, "The Death of Socrates," "Sappho," "Dante at Ravenna," "The Fairy of the Pearls," "The Sirens," "The Triumph of Venus," and "Camille Desmoulins at the Palais Royal," in addition to a number of important decorative works. The "Death of Chopin" was exhibited in 1885. A gold medal was bestowed upon Barrias at the Paris Exposition of 1889, when the artist was in his sixty-seventh year. The critic, Roger Ballu, said of him: "A painter of style, very careful of the dignity of his art, he has never made a compromise with the taste of the day."


Among the chief mourners at Chopin's funeral was Meyerbeer, who, though German by birth and training, passed the most important years of his life in Paris, as did the gifted Pole. In our picture Hamman has represented the composer enthroned amid the characters of his chief operas, doubtless as real to him as creatures of flesh and blood.

Mayerbeer.  From painting by E. J. C. Hamman.

Mayerbeer. From painting by E. J. C. Hamman.

In the foreground, at Meyerbeer's right hand, are seen Nelusko and Selika, from "L'Africaine," his last opera, which was not produced until the year after his death. "Vasco da Gama, the famous discoverer, is the betrothed lover of a maiden named Inez, the daughter of Don Diego, a Portuguese grandee. When the opera opens he is still at sea, and has not been heard of for years. Don Pedro, the president of the council, takes advantage of his absence to press his own suit for the hand of Inez, and obtains the king's sanction to his marriage on the ground that Vasco must have been lost at sea. At this moment the long-lost hero returns, accompanied by two swarthy slaves, Selika and Nelusko, whom he has brought home from a distant isle in the Indian Ocean. He recounts the wonders of the place, and entreats the government to send out a pioneer expedition to win an empire across the sea. His suggestions are rejected, and he himself, through the machinations of Don Pedro, is cast into prison. There he is tended by Selika, who loves her gentle captor passionately, and has need of all her regal authority—for in the distant island she was a queen—to prevent the jealous Nelusko from slaying him in his sleep. Inez now comes to the prison to announce to Vasco that she has purchased his liberty at the price of giving her hand to Don Pedro. In the next act Don Pedro, who has stolen a march on Vasco, is on his way to the African island, taking with him Inez and Selika. The steering of the vessel is entrusted to Nelusko. Vasco da Gama, who has fitted out a vessel at his own expense, overtakes Don Pedro in mid-ocean, and generously warns his rival of the treachery of Nelusko, who is steering the vessel upon the rocks of his native shore. Don Pedro's only reply is to order Vasco to be tied to the mast and shot, but before the sentence can be carried out, the vessel strikes upon the rocks, and the aborigines swarm over the sides. Selika, once more a queen, saves the lives of Vasco and Inez from the angry natives. In the next act the nuptials of Selika and Vasco are on the point of being celebrated, with great pomp, when the hero, who has throughout the opera wavered between the two women who love him, finally makes up his mind in favour of Inez. Selika thereupon magnanimously despatches them home in Vasco's ship, and poisons herself with the fragrance of the deadly manchineel tree."

Behind Selika appear Robert and Bertram, from "Robert le Diable," the first work of the composer's French period, produced in 1831. Its libretto, by Scribe, tells how "Robert, Duke of Normandy, the son of the Duchess Bertha by a fiend who donned the shape of man to prosecute his amour, arrives in Sicily to compete for the hand of the Princess Isabella, which is to be awarded as the prize at a magnificent tournament. Robert's dare-devil gallantry and extravagance soon earn him the sobriquet of 'Le Diable,' and he puts the coping-stone to his folly by gambling away all his possessions at a single sitting, even to his horse and the armour on his back. Robert has an âme damnée in the shape of a knight named Bertram, to whose malign influence most of his crimes and follies are due. Bertram is in reality his demon-father, whose every effort is directed to making a thorough-paced villain of his son, so that he may have the pleasure of enjoying his society for all eternity. In strong contrast to the fiendish malevolence of Bertram stands the gentle figure of Alice, Robert's foster-sister, who has followed him from Normandy with a message from his dead mother. Isabella supplies Robert with a fresh horse and arms; nevertheless, he is beguiled away from Palermo by some trickery of Bertram's, and fails to put in an appearance at the tournament. The only means, therefore, left to him of obtaining the hand of Isabella is to visit the tomb of his mother, and there to pluck a magic branch of cypress, which will enable him to defeat his rivals. The cypress grows in a deserted convent haunted by the spectres of profligate nuns, and there, amidst infernal orgies, Robert plucks the branch of power. By its aid, he sends the guards of the princess into a deep sleep, and is only prevented by her passionate entreaties from carrying her off by force. Yielding to her prayers, he breaks the branch, and his magic power at once deserts him. He seeks sanctuary from his enemies in the cathedral, and there the last and fiercest strife for the possession of his soul is waged between the powers of good and evil. On the one hand is Bertram, whose term of power on earth expires at midnight. He has now discovered himself as Robert's father, and produced an infernal compact of union, which he entreats his son to sign. On the other is Alice, pleading and affectionate, bearing the last words of Robert's dead mother, warning him against the fiend who had seduced her. While Robert is hesitating between the two, midnight strikes, and Bertram sinks with thunder into the pit. The scene changes, and a glimpse is given of the interior of the cathedral, where the marriage of Robert and Isabella is being celebrated."

Next to the evil Bertram is portrayed, in his coronation robes, John of Leyden, the chief character in "Le Prophète," which had its first representation in 1849. "John, an innkeeper of Leyden, loves Bertha, a village maiden, who dwells near Dordrecht. Unfortunately, her liege lord, the Count of Oberthal, has designs upon the girl himself, and refuses his consent to the marriage. Bertha escapes from his clutches and flies to the protection of her lover, but Oberthal secures the person of Fidès, John's old mother, and, by threats of putting her to death, compels him to give up Bertha. Wild with rage against the vice and lawlessness of the nobles, John joins the ranks of the Anabaptists, a revolutionary sect pledged to the destruction of the powers that be. Their leaders recognise him as a prophet promised by Heaven, and he is installed as their chief. The Anabaptists lay siege to Munster, which falls into their hands, and in the cathedral John is solemnly proclaimed the Son of God. During the ceremony he is recognised by Fidès, who, believing him to have been slain by the false prophet, has followed the army to Munster in hopes of revenge. She rushes forward to claim her son, but John pretends not to know her. To admit an earthly relationship would be to prejudice his position with the populace, and he compels her to confess that she is mistaken. The coronation ends with John's triumph, while the hapless Fidès is carried off to be immured in a dungeon. John visits her in her cell, and obtains her pardon by promising to renounce his deceitful splendour, and to fly with her. Later he discovers that a plot against himself has been hatched by some of the Anabaptist leaders, and he destroys himself and them by blowing up the palace of Munster."

In front of John of Leyden are the leading personages in "Les Huguenots." Raoul is kneeling to Valentine, while the wounded Marcel stands by, sword in hand. Eugene Scribe was the author of the words of this opera, which dates from 1836, and is thus summarised: "Marguerite de Valois, the beautiful Queen of Navarre, who is anxious to reconcile the bitterly hostile parties of Catholics and Huguenots, persuades the Comte de Saint Bris, a prominent Catholic, to allow his daughter Valentine to marry Raoul de Nangis, a young Huguenot noble. Valentine is already betrothed to the gallant and amorous Comte de Nevers, but she pays him a nocturnal visit in his own palace, and induces him to release her from her engagement. During her interview with Nevers, she is perceived by Raoul, and recognised as a lady whom he lately rescued from insult and has loved passionately ever since. In his eyes there is only one possible construction to be put upon her presence in Nevers's palace, and he hastens to dismiss her from his mind. Immediately upon his decision comes a message from the queen, bidding him hasten to her palace in Touraine upon important affairs of state. When he arrives she unfolds her plan, and he, knowing Valentine only by sight, not by name, gladly consents. When, in the presence of the assembled nobles, he recognises in his destined bride the presumed mistress of Nevers, he casts her from him, and vows to prefer death to such intolerable disgrace. The scene of the next act is in the Pré aux Clercs, in the outskirts of Paris. Valentine, who is to be married that night to Nevers, obtains leave to pass some hours in prayer in a chapel. While she is there she overhears the details of a plot devised by Saint Bris for the assassination of Raoul, in order to avenge the affront put upon himself and his daughter. Valentine contrives to warn Marcel, Raoul's old servant, of this, and he assembles his Huguenot comrades hard by, who rush in at the first cliquetis of steel and join the general mêlée. The fight is interrupted by the entrance of the queen. When she finds out who are the principal combatants, she reproves them sharply, and en passant tells Raoul the real story of Valentine's visit to Nevers. The act ends with the marriage festivities, while Raoul is torn by an agony of love and remorse. In the next act Raoul contrives to gain admittance to Nevers's house, and there has an interview with Valentine. They are interrupted by the entrance of Saint Bris and his followers, whereupon Valentine conceals Raoul behind the arras. From his place of concealment he hears Saint Bris unfold the plan of the massacre of Saint Bartholomew, which is to be carried out that night. The conspirators swear a solemn oath to exterminate the Huguenots, and their daggers are consecrated by attendant priests. Nevers alone refuses to take part in the butchery. When they all have left, Raoul comes out of his hiding-place, and, in spite of the prayers and protestations of Valentine, leaps from the window at the sound of the fatal tocsin, and hastens to join his friends. In the last act, Raoul first warns Henry of Navarre and the Huguenot nobles, assembled at the Hôtel de Sens, of the massacre, and then joins the mêlée in the streets. Valentine has followed him, and, after vainly endeavouring to make him don the white scarf, which is worn that night by all Catholics, she throws in her lot with him, and dies in his arms, after they have been solemnly joined in wedlock by the wounded and dying Marcel."


"Had it not been for Meyerbeer, my wife and I would have starved in Paris," Wagner once told a friend, in speaking of his dark days, and he always esteemed the composer as a man, though his honesty in art matters forced him to condemn Meyerbeer's music.

Wagner wandered over Europe for many years. Born in Leipsic and dying in Venice, he lived in many cities during the years between. His youth was spent at Leipsic and Dresden; then he was choir-master at Wurzburg; next musical director at the Magdeburg theatre, conductor at Königsberg and at Riga. Proceeding thence by way of London to Paris, in 1839, he remained in the French capital until the spring of 1842, thence going to Dresden, where he served as court conductor for seven years. Forced to fly from Dresden because of his part in the uprising of 1849, he at first went to Liszt at Weimar, and then to Zurich by way of Paris. At Zurich he stayed, with some intermission, until 1861, when he received permission to return to Germany. The misfortunes he met there decided him, after three years, to return to Switzerland, and he was on his way thither when Ludwig II. ascended the throne of Bavaria, and invited him to go to Munich and work. The end of 1865 found Wagner at the lovely Villa Triebschen, on Lake Lucerne, where he composed the "Meistersinger," and worked on the "Nibelungen." In 1872, Wagner settled in Bayreuth, where, soon after, the house which he called "Wahnfried" was built for him.

At last the great composer's wanderings were coming to an end, but, as we have said, he died in Venice, and not at his own home. He was, however, buried there, in the garden of the villa.

It is at "Wahnfried" that the artist has drawn Wagner discussing some musical question with Liszt, Frau Wagner seated near by.

Wagner at Home.  From painting by W. Beckmann.

Wagner at Home. From painting by W. Beckmann.

Wagner's first wife was a beautiful and talented actress and singer, by name Wilhelmina Planer, whom he married at Riga in 1834. She was a faithful helpmate for years, sacrificing to him her own career, but did not comprehend his genius, and as years went by they drifted apart. The composer's professional intercourse with Hans von Bülow led to an intimacy with the latter's wife, Cosima von Bülow, who was an illegitimate daughter of Liszt by the Countess d'Agoult. In 1861 Richard and Wilhelmina Wagner separated, and in 1866 she died. Four years later, Cosima, then divorced from Von Bülow, was married to Wagner, whom she both worshipped and well understood. Their union was a very happy one, blest with one son named Siegfried, and Madame Wagner long survived her illustrious husband, and laboured indefatigably to carry on his work and increase his fame.

Wagner owed much to Cosima, born Liszt, and still more to her father, who was a never-failing friend. In a work published in 1851, Wagner says: "I was thoroughly disheartened from undertaking any artistic scheme. Only recently I had proofs of the impossibility of making my art intelligible to the public, and all this deterred me from beginning new dramatic works. Indeed, I thought that everything was at an end with artistic creativeness. From this state of mental dejection I was raised by a friend. By most evident and undeniable proofs, he made me feel that I was not deserted, but, on the contrary, understood deeply by those even who were otherwise most distant from me; in this way he gave me back my full artistic confidence.

"This wonderful friend, Franz Liszt has been to me. I must enter a little more deeply into the character of this friendship, which to many has seemed paradoxical; indeed, I have been compelled to appear repellent and hostile on so many sides, that I almost feel the want of disclosing all that relates to this sympathetic intercourse.

"I met Liszt for the first time in Paris, and at a period when I had renounced the hope, nay, even the wish, of a Parisian reputation; and, indeed, was in a state of internal revolt against the artistic life I found there. At our meeting Liszt appeared the most perfect contrast to my own being and situation. In the Parisian society, to which it had been my desire to fly from my narrow circumstances, Liszt had grown up from his earliest age, so as to be the object of general love and admiration, at a time when I was repulsed by general coldness and want of sympathy. In consequence, I looked upon him with suspicion. I had no opportunity of disclosing my being and work to him, and therefore the reception I met with on his part was altogether of a superficial kind, as indeed was quite natural in a man to whom every day the most divergent impressions claimed access. But I was not in a mood to look with unprejudiced eyes for the natural cause of his behaviour, which, friendly and obliging in itself, could not but hurt me in that state of my mind. I never repeated my first call on Liszt, and, without knowing or even wishing to know him, I was prone to look upon him as strange and adverse to my nature.

"My repeated expression of this feeling was afterward reported to Liszt, just at the time when the performance of my 'Rienzi,' at Dresden, attracted general attention. He was surprised to find himself misunderstood with such violence by a man whom he had scarcely known, and whose acquaintance now seemed not without value to him. I am still touched at recollecting the repeated and eager attempts he made to change my opinion of him, even before he knew any of my works. He acted not from any artistic sympathy, but led by the purely human wish of discontinuing a casual disharmony between himself and a fellow creature; perhaps he also felt an infinitely tender misgiving of having hurt me unconsciously. He who knows the terrible selfishness and insensibility in our social life, and especially in the relations of modern artists to each other, cannot but be struck with wonder, nay, delight, by the treatment I experienced from this extraordinary man.

"Liszt soon afterward witnessed a performance of 'Rienzi,' at Dresden, on which he had almost to insist, and after that I heard from all the different corners of the world, where he had been on his artistic excursions, how he had everywhere expressed his delight with my music, and indeed had—I would rather believe unintentionally—canvassed people's opinions in my favour.

"This happened at a time when it became more and more evident that my dramatic works would have no outward success. But just when the case seemed desperate, Liszt succeeded by his own energy in opening a hopeful refuge to my art. He ceased his wanderings, settled down in the small and modest Weimar, and took up the conductor's bâton, after having been at home so long in the splendour of the greatest cities of Europe. At Weimar I saw him for the last time, when I rested a few days in Thuringia, not yet certain whether my threatening prosecution would compel me to continue my flight from Germany. The very day when my personal danger became a certainty, I saw Liszt conducting a rehearsal of my 'Tannhäuser,' and was astonished at recognising my second self in his achievements. What I had felt in inventing the music, he felt in performing it; what I wanted to express in writing it down, he proclaimed in making it sound. Strange to say, through the love of this rarest friend, I gained, at the moment of becoming homeless, a real home for my art, which I had longed and sought for always in the wrong place.

"At the end of my last stay at Paris, when ill, broken down, and despairing, I sat brooding over my fate, my eyes fell on the score of my 'Lohengrin,' totally forgotten by me. Suddenly I felt something like compassion that this music should never sound from off the death-pale paper. I wrote two lines to Liszt; his answer was the news that preparations for the performance were being made on the largest scale the limited means of Weimar would permit. Everything that men and circumstances could do was done in order to make the work understood.… Errors and misconceptions impeded the desired success. What was to be done to supply what was wanted, so as to further the true understanding on all sides, and with it the ultimate success of the work? Liszt saw it at once and did it. He gave to the public his own impression of the work in a manner the convincing eloquence and overpowering efficacy of which remain unequalled. Success was his reward, and with this success he now approaches me, saying: 'Behold, we have come so far, now create us a new work that we may go still further.'"


In a letter written to Franz von Schober, the poet and writer, and the intimate friend of Schubert, in 1840, Liszt says: "Most affectionate remembrances to Kriehuber. His two portraits of me have been copied in London. They are without doubt the best."

Joseph Kriehuber, whose fine drawing of Liszt at the piano, playing Beethoven's C sharp minor sonata to some friends, we reproduce, was a Viennese artist of great talent, who made many excellent portraits in pencil, lithography, water-colours, and miniatures. In this work, Kriehuber has introduced a portrait of himself seated at the left of the pianist, with pencil and sketchbook in hand. Behind the piano stands Berlioz, and next him is Czerny, the celebrated music teacher and composer, and the teacher of Liszt.

A Morning with Liszt.  From drawing by Joseph Kriehuber.

A Morning with Liszt. From drawing by Joseph Kriehuber.

We will quote here an interesting letter, written from Paris by Liszt to Czerny. At this time Liszt was but seventeen years old.

"MY VERY DEAR MASTER:—When I think of all the immense obligations under which I am placed toward you, and at the same time consider how long I have left you without a sign of remembrance, I am perfectly ashamed and miserable, and in despair of ever being forgiven by you! 'Yes,' I said to myself, with a deep feeling of bitterness, 'I am an ungrateful fellow, I have forgotten my benefactor, I have forgotten that good master to whom I owe both my talent and my success.' … At these words a tear starts to my eyes, and I assure you that no repentant tear was ever more sincere! Receive it as an expiation, and pardon me, for I cannot any longer bear the idea that you have any ill-feeling toward me. You will pardon me, my dear master, won't you? Embrace me then … good! Now my heart is light.

"You have doubtless heard that I have been playing your admirable works here with the greatest success, and all the glory ought to be given to you. I intended to have played your variations on the 'Pirate' the day after to-morrow, at a very brilliant concert, that I was to have given at the theatre of H. R. H. Madame, who was to have been present as well as the Duchess of Orleans; but man proposes and God disposes. I have suddenly caught the measles, and have been obliged to say farewell to the concert; but it is not given up because it is put off, and I hope, as soon as ever I am well again, to have the pleasure of making these beautiful variations known to a large public.

"Pixis and several other people have spoken much to me of four concertos that you have lately finished, and the reputation of which is already making a stir in Paris. I should be very much pleased, my dear master, if you would commission me to get them sold. This would be quite easy for me to do, and I should also have the pleasure of playing them from first hand, either at the opera or at some big concerts. If my proposition pleases you, send them to me by the Austrian Embassy, marking the price that you would like to have for them. As regards any passages to be altered, if there are any, you need only mark them with a red pencil, according to your plan which I know so well, and I will point them out to the editor with the utmost care. Give me at the same time some news about music and pianists in Vienna; and finally tell me, dear master, which of your compositions you think would make the best effect in society.

"I close by sending you my heartfelt greetings, and begging you once more to pardon the shameful silence I have kept toward you: be assured that it has given me as much pain as yourself!

"Your very affectionate and grateful pupil,

"December 23, 1828.

"P. S.—Please answer me as soon as possible, for I am longing for a letter from you; and please embrace your excellent parents from me. I add my address (Rue Montholon, No. 7bis)."

Returning to Kriehuber's picture, we see, on the master's right, Ernst, the famous violinist. Writing to his pupil and friend, Franz Kroll, from Weimar in 1845, Liszt speaks thus of Ernst:

"Ernst has just been spending a week here, during which he has played some hundred rubbers of whist at the 'Erbprinz.' His is a noble, sweet, and delicate nature, and more than once during his stay I have caught myself regretting you for him, and regretting him for you. Last Monday he was good enough to play, in his usual and admirable manner, at the concert for the Orchestral Pension Fund. The pieces he had selected were his new 'Concerto Pathétique' (in F sharp minor) and an extremely piquant and brilliant 'Caprice on Hungarian Melodies.' (This latter piece is dedicated to me.) The public was in a good humour, even really warm, which is usually one of its least faults."

The following epistle, written by Liszt to Ernst, and dated at Weimar, May 30, 1849, is of special interest because of its references to Wagner.

"DEAR FRIEND:—Weimar has not forgotten you, and I hope soon to be able, after the return of the hereditary prince, whom we expect for the day of his fête, by the 24th of May at the very latest, to forward to you the token of the distinguished remembrance in which you are held. It pleases me to think that it will be agreeable to you, and that it will tend to attach you more in the sequel to people worthy to appreciate you.

"I should have desired to tell you sooner of this, but the inevitable delays in present circumstances postpone more than one wish.

"After the deplorable days in Dresden Wagner came here, and only departed again in order to escape from a warrant (lettre de cachet) with which the Saxon government is pursuing him. I hope that at the present moment he will have arrived safe and well in Paris, where his career of dramatic composer cannot fail to be extended, and in grand proportions. He is a man of evident genius, who must of necessity obtrude himself on the general admiration, and hold a high place in contemporary art. I regret that you have not had the opportunity of hearing his 'Tannhäuser,' which is for me the most lyric of dramas, the most remarkable, the most harmonious, the most complete, the most original and selbstwürdig (the most worthy of his country), both in foundation and form, that Germany has produced since Weber. Belloni has, I believe, written to you on the subject of Wagner, to ask for information as to the actual state of the English opera in London.

"I make no doubt that if it were possible for Wagner to obtain from the directors a tour of performances in the course of the year for a new work ('Lohengrin,' the subject of which, having reference to the Knights of the Round Table who went to search for the Holy Grail, is of the most poetic interest), he would make a great sensation and large receipts by it. As soon as he tells me the news of his arrival in Paris, allow me to induce him to write to you direct, if his plans do not change in this matter."

As for Berlioz, we find Liszt in 1854 endeavouring to aid him in securing a production of "Benvenuto Cellini." Liszt writes about it to Wilhelm Fischer, chorus director at Dresden, thus:

"DEAR SIR AND FRIEND:—Your letter has given me real pleasure, and I send you my warmest thanks for your artistic resolve to bring 'Cellini' to a hearing in Dresden. Berlioz has taken the score with him to Paris from Weimar, in order to make some alterations and simplifications in it. I wrote to him the day before yesterday, and expect the score with the pianoforte edition, which I will immediately send you to Dresden. Tichatschek is just made for the title rôle, and will make a splendid effect with it; the same with Mitterwurzer as Fieramosca, and Madame Krebs as Ascanio, a mezzo-soprano part. From your extremely effective choruses, with their thorough musicianly drilling, we may expect a force never yet attained in the great carnival scene (finale of the second act); and I am convinced that, when you have looked more closely into the score, you will be of my opinion that 'Cellini,' with the exception of the Wagner operas,—and they should never be put into comparison with one another,—is the most important, most original musical dramatic work of art which the last twenty years have to show.

"I must also beg for a little delay in sending you the score and the pianoforte edition, as it is necessary entirely to revise the German text and to have it written out again. I think this work will be ready in a few weeks, so you may expect the pianoforte edition at the beginning of February. At Easter Berlioz is coming to Dresden to conduct a couple of concerts in the theatre there. It would be splendid if you should succeed in your endeavours to make Herr von Luttichau fix an early date for the 'Cellini' performance, and if you could get Berlioz to conduct his own work when he is in Dresden. In any case, I shall come to the first performance, and promise myself a very satisfactory and delightful result.

"Meanwhile, dear friend, accept my best thanks once more for this project, and for all that you will do to realise it successfully, and receive the assurance of the high esteem of

Yours very truly,

"Weimar, January 4 (1854)."

A few years later, in 1862, Liszt addresses his friend, Dr. Franz Brendel, the writer on music, saying:

"I have just received a few lines from Berlioz. Schuberth, whom I commissioned before I left to send the dedication copy of the 'Faust' score to Berlioz, has again in his incompetent good nature forgotten it, and perhaps even from motives of economy has not had the dedication plate engraved at all! Forgive me, dear friend, if I trouble you once more with this affair, and beg you to put an execution on Schuberth in order to force a copy with the dedication page from him. The dedication shall be just as simple as that of the Dante symphony, containing only the name of the dedicatee, as follows:

"'To Hector Berlioz.'

"After this indispensable matter has been arranged, I beg that you will be so kind as to have a tasteful copy, bound in red or dark green, sent perhaps through Pohl (?) to Berlioz at Baden (where he will be at the beginning of August)."

Liszt was always generous to a fault; he carried charity almost to excess. If it were possible that his art could be forgotten, his name would still be gratefully remembered for his numberless deeds of kindness. We have quoted Wagner's acknowledgment of Liszt's exertions in his cause, and his efforts on behalf of Robert Franz rescued that composer from poverty when old age was coming upon him. Beethoven was always the object of Liszt's worship, and the monument to the master at Bonn was reared chiefly through his labours of love.


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