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Title: The Standard Oratorios
       Their Stories, Their Music, And Their Composers

Author: George P. Upton

Release Date: September 28, 2007 [EBook #22793]

Language: English

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Standard Oratorios

A Handbook




By A. C. McClurg and Co.
A.D. 1886.



The "Standard Oratorios" is intended as a companion to the "Standard Operas;" and with this purpose in view the compiler has followed as closely as possible the same method in the arrangement and presentation of his scheme. The main object has been to present to the reader a comprehensive sketch of the oratorios which may be called "standard," outlining the sacred stories which they tell, and briefly indicating and sketching their principal numbers, accompanied in each case with a short biography of the composer and such historical matter connected with the various works as is of special interest. The compiler has also included in his scheme a sketch of the origin and development of the Oratorio as illustrated in its three principal evolutionary stages, together with descriptions of several works which are not oratorios in the strict sense, but at the same time are sacred [4] compositions written upon a large scale and usually performed by oratorio societies, such as Bach's "Passion Music" and "Magnificat," Berlioz's, Mozart's, and Verdi's Requiems, Mendelssohn's "Hymn of Praise," Handel's "Dettingen Te Deum," Schumann's "Paradise and the Peri," and Rubinstein's "Tower of Babel."

As in the case of the "Standard Operas," the work has been prepared for the general public rather than for musicians, and as far as practicable, technical terms have been avoided. Description, not criticism, has been the purpose of the volume, and the various works are described as fully as the necessarily brief space allotted to each would allow. The utmost pains have been taken to secure historical and chronological accuracy, inasmuch as these details are nearly always matters of controversy. The favor which has been so generously accorded to the "Standard Operas" leads the compiler to believe that the "Standard Oratorios" will also be welcomed by those who enjoy the sacred music of the great masters, and that it will prove a valuable addition to other works of musical reference.

G. P. U.

Chicago, September, 1886.



Christmas Oratorio 33
The Saint Matthew Passion 39
The Magnificat in D 48
The Mount of Olives 53
The Woman of Samaria 62
The Requiem 70
The German Requiem 80
Eli 84
The Stabat Mater 92
The Redemption 98
Mors et Vita 106
Israel in Egypt 117
Saul 125
Samson 132
The Messiah 140
Judas Maccabæus 149
The Dettingen Te Deum 155
The Creation 162
The Seasons 170
Legend of the Holy Elizabeth 180
Christus 186
St. John the Baptist 193
The Rose of Sharon 199
St. Paul 208
Hymn of Praise 213
Elijah 218
Christus 229
Requiem 236
St. Peter 246
Stabat Mater 253
Tower of Babel 260
Paradise Lost 264
Christmas Oratorio 269
Paradise and the Peri 273
Last Judgment 283
The Prodigal Son 292
The Light of the World 294
Manzoni Requiem 303



The oratorio in its modern form is a musical setting of a sacred story or text in a style more or less dramatic. Its various parts are assigned to the four solo voices and to single or double chorus, with accompaniment of full orchestra, sometimes amplified by the organ. Like the opera, it has its recitative, linking together and leading up to the various numbers. The origin of the word is to be found in the "oratory," or place of prayer, where these compositions were first performed. Crescimbeni, one of the earliest musical writers, says: "The oratorio had its origin from San Filippo Neri,[1] who, in his chapel, after sermons and other devotions, in order to allure young people to pious offices, and to detain [10] them from earthly pleasures, had hymns, psalms, and such like prayers sung by one or more voices." In tracing its evolutionary stages, its root will be found in the moralities, mysteries, and miracle-plays of the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries, which were instituted for the purpose of impressing Biblical events in symbolical form upon the early converts to the Christian Church. These representations were entirely dramatic in character, and their subjects, though always sacred, were often grotesquely treated, and sometimes verged on buffoonery. Among the actors, God, Christ, Satan, Mary, and the angels nearly always appeared; later, the various virtues and vices were personified. The representations were usually given in the streets or in fields, and sometimes on the water. The highest dignitaries of the Church did not disdain to act in these plays, nor did their promoters hesitate at times to reduce the exhibition to the level of a Punch-and-Judy show by the introduction of puppets cleverly manipulated. The earliest of these miracle-plays in England were performed by the various London Companies. The Tanners, for instance, produced the Fall of Lucifer. The Drapers played the Creation, in which Adam and Eve appeared in their original costume,--apparently without giving offence. The Water-Drawers naturally chose the Deluge. In the scene describing the embarkation of Noah's family, the patriarch has a great deal of trouble with his wife, who is determined not to go aboard. She declares that if her [11] worldly friends are left behind, she will stay and drown with them, and he can

"Rowe forth away when thou liste,

And get thee another wif."

Noah expostulates with her in vain, grows furiously indignant, and bids her

"Come in, wif, in twenty devill ways,

Or alles stand thee without."

Her friends the gossips entreat her to remain with them, and have a carousal over a "pottel full of malmsey;" but at last Shem makes a virtue of necessity and forces her into the ark, as the following scene shows:--

"In faith, moder, in ye shall,

Whither you will or noughte."


"Well me wif into this boate."

[She gives him a box on the ear.]

"Haue you that for thee note."


"A le Mary this whote,

A childre methinks my boate remeues,

Our tarrying here heughly me grieues."

[She is forced into the ark.]

The earliest of these representations, so far as has been discovered, dates back to the twelfth century, and is known as the Feast of Asses. In these [12] exhibitions, Balaam, superbly habited and wearing an enormous pair of spurs, rode a wooden ass, in which the speaker was concealed. The ass and the devil were favorite characters. The former sometimes appeared in monkish garb and brayed responses to the intonations of the priests, while the latter, arrayed in fantastic costumes, seems to have been the prototype of clown in the pantomime. As late as 1783 the buffoonery of this kind of exhibition continued. An English traveller, describing a mystery called the "Creation" which he saw at Bamberg in that year, says:--

"Young priests had the wings of geese tied on their shoulders to personate angels. Adam appeared on the scene in a big curled wig and brocaded morning-gown. Among the animals that passed before him to receive their names were a well-shod horse, pigs with rings in their noses, and a mastiff with a brass collar. A cow's rib-bone had been provided for the formation of Eve; but the mastiff spied it out, grabbed it, and carried it off. The angels tried to whistle him back; but not succeeding, they chased him, gave him a kicking, and recovered the bone, which they placed under a trap-door by the side of the sleeping Adam, whence there soon emerged a lanky priest in a loose robe, to personate Eve."

The buffoonery and profanity of the early exhibitions, however, gradually wore away when the Church assumed the monopoly of them and forbade secular performances. Among the earlier works Burney cites the following:--


"The 'Conversion of St. Paul,' performed at Rome, 1440, as described by Sulpicius, has been erroneously called the first opera, or musical drama. 'Abram et Isaac suo Figliuolo,' a sacred drama (azione sacra), 'showing how Abraham was commanded by God to sacrifice his son Isaac on the mountain,' was performed in the Church of St. Mary Magdalen in Florence, 1449. Another on the same subject, called 'Abraham and Sarah,' 'containing the good life of their son Isaac, and the bad conduct of Ishmael, the son of his handmaid, and how they were turned out of the house,' was printed in 1556; 'Abel e Caino,' and 'Samson,' 1554; 'The Prodigal Son,' 1565; and 'La Commedia Spirituale dell' Anima' ('The Spiritual Comedy of the Soul'), printed at Siena, without date, in which there are near thirty personifications, besides Saint Paul, Saint John Chrysostom, two little boys who repeat a kind of prelude, and the announcing angel, who always speaks the prologue in these old mysteries. He is called l'angelo che nunzia, and his figure is almost always given in a wooden cut on the title-page of printed copies. Here, among the interlocutors, we have God the Father, Michael the archangel, a chorus of angels, the Human Soul with her guardian angel, memory, intellect, free-will, faith, hope, charity, reason, prudence, temperance, fortitude, justice, mercy, poverty, patience, and humility; with hatred, infidelity, despair, sensuality, a chorus of demons, and the devil. None of these mysteries are totally without music, as there are choruses and laudi, or hymns, that are sung in them all, and sometimes there was playing on instruments between the acts. In a play written by Damiano and printed at Siena, 1519, according to Crescimbeni, at the beginning of every act there was an octave stanza, which was sung to the sound of the lyra viol by a personage called Orpheus, who was solely retained for that purpose; at other [14] times a madrigal was sung between the acts, after the manner of a chorus."

It was not until the time when San Filippo Neri began his dramatization and performance of Biblical stories, such as "The Good Samaritan," "The Prodigal Son," and "Tobias and the Angels," accompanied with music written by his friend Giovanni Animuccia, that the term "Oratorio" came to be accepted as the distinctive title of these sacred musical dramas. His productions were very crudely and hastily arranged, his only purpose having been to render his service attractive. After his death, however, in 1595, his work was continued by Emilio del Cavaliere, a Roman composer, who produced the first real oratorio which had as yet appeared. It was entitled "La Rappresentazione dell' Anima e del Corpo" ("The Soul and the Body"), and was first performed in February, 1600, in the oratory of the Church of Santa Maria della Vallicella at Rome. Burney assigns to it the credit of being "the first sacred drama or oratorio in which recitative was used." The characters were Time, Human Life, the World, Pleasure, the Intellect, the Soul, the Body, and two youths who were to recite the prologue. The orchestra was composed of a double lyre, a harpsichord, a large or double guitar, and two flutes. The composer has left some curious instructions for the performance of his work; among them the following:--

"Pleasure, an imaginary character, with two companions, are to have instruments in their hands, on [15] which they are to play while they sing and perform the ritornels.

"Il Corpo, the Body, when these words are uttered, 'Sí che hormai alma mia,' etc., may throw away some of his ornaments, as his gold collar, feather from his hat, etc.

"The World, and Human Life in particular, are to be gayly and richly dressed; and when they are divested of their trappings, to appear very poor and wretched, and at length dead carcases."

The ballet played a prominent part in all the early oratorios, and the composer has also left detailed instructions for its guidance. During the ritornels the four principal dancers accompanied them in "a ballet enlivened with capers," and at the close of the performance stanzas were sung, alternating with dances to be executed "sedately and reverentially."

Emilio del Cavaliere was followed by a long line of Italian oratorio composers who contributed to amplify and enrich this form of composition. Among the earliest of these writers were Carissimi, Stradella, Scarlatti, Mazzocchi, Federici, Pistocchi, Caldara, and Colonna. Carissimi perfected the recitative and invested the music with more importance, giving it something like equal rank with the dramatic character of the composition. It was during his time that the personage known as "Historicus" was introduced, who continued the action with explanatory passages between the numbers,--a modern illustration of which may be found in the "Narrator," as used by Gounod in his "Redemption." [16] Carissimi employed this expedient, and made it very effective. It is also claimed that he was the first to introduce the cantata as a form of church music, and the accompaniment of violins in motet performances. His most famous oratorios are "Jephte," "Abraham et Isaac," "Le Jugement Dernier," and "Judicium Salomonis." Of the first named, Hawkins says: "It consists of recitative, airs, and chorus; and for sweetness of melody, artful modulation, and original harmony, is justly esteemed one of the finest efforts of musical skill and genius that the world knows of." Stradella, whose romantic history is familiar to every one, is chiefly remembered by his attachment for Hortensia, the vengeance of the Venetian lover which followed them so long, and the song which saved the composer's life from the assassins. This song was from his own oratorio, "St. John the Baptist," first performed in the Church of St. John Lateran at Rome. Burney, who examined the score, says: "The recitative is in general excellent, and there is scarce a movement among the airs in which genius, skill, and study do not appear." He also observes that this oratorio is the first work in which the proper sharps and flats are generally placed at the clef. Scarlatti, born in 1659, was a composer of great originality, as well as versatility. He has left, in addition to his numerous operas and cantatas, several oratorios, the most famous of which are "I Dolori di Maria sempre Vergine," "Il Sagrifizio d' Abramo," "Il Martirio di Santa Teodosia," and "La Concezzione [17] della beata Vergine." He gave to the oratorio more breadth, boldness, and dignity of style, improved the form of the aria, made the accompanied recitative more dramatic, and developed the treatment of several instruments, among them the trumpet, whose real beauty and effect he was the first to bring out. Mazzocchi is chiefly known by his oratorio, "Querimonia," produced in Rome in 1631, which is said to have drawn tears from all who heard it. Federici wrote two oratorios, "Santa Cristina," and "Santa Caterina de Sienna," in both of which "interstitial" accompaniment is used for the first time; that is, the violins, instead of accompanying the voice, repeat portions of the melody in short symphonies. Pistocchi was one of the most prominent stage-singers of his time, and established a school of singing at Bologna. His most famous oratorio is entitled "Maria Vergine addolerata," and is without overture or chorus. Burney notes that in the close of this work degrees of diminution of sound, such as "piano," "più piano," and "pianissimo," are used for the first time. Caldara wrote a large number of oratorios, mostly adapted to the poetry of Zeno and Metastasio, which are said to have been delightful productions. Colonna, who was a contemporary of Stradella, but not so famous, has left one oratorio, "St. Basil," which is highly praised. Bononcini also, who afterwards became a rival of Handel in England, wrote several oratorios before he went to that country, the best of which is entitled "San Girolamo della Carità."


The conclusion of this period brings us to the second stage in the evolution of the oratorio; namely, the passion-music, which may be regarded as the connecting link between the earlier form as developed by the Italian composers of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, and the oratorio as it appeared after it had felt the mighty influence of Handel. The passion-music was the direct outgrowth of the passion-play. It portrayed the passion of Christ. Its earliest forms are found in the "Passio secundum Matthæum" by Stephani, a Nuremberg composer who flourished in the sixteenth century; in a hymn-book published in 1573 by Keuchental; and in Selenica's hymn-book, which appeared in 1587. Heinrich Schütz, however, was the first to establish the passion-music in genuine oratorio form. He was born in 1585, and died in 1672. The pupil of an Italian master, the famous Gabrielli of Venice, he retained the Italian forms, but added to them his native German force and solidity. His most prominent work, "Die Auferstehung Christi," first performed at Dresden in 1623, where he was chapel-master to the Elector George I., is regarded as the foundation of the German oratorio. The passion-music was usually assigned to three priests, one of whom recited or intoned the part of Jesus, the second that of the evangelist, and the third the other parts, while the chorus served for the "turbæ," or people. In Schütz's music, however, the narrative is given to a chorus of evangelists, the accompaniment being performed [19] by four viole di gamba and organ. There is also a wide departure from all his predecessors in the entire absence of dramatic action. His first work was followed by another, entitled "Die sieben Worte Christi" ("The Seven Words of Christ"),--a subject which Haydn subsequently treated with powerful effect,--and four different compositions on the passion of our Lord. In these works are to be found the real germs of the modern oratorio; they were preparing the way for Handel and Bach. Johann Sebastiani succeeded Schütz, and in 1672 published a passion-music, in which the narrative appears in recitative form and solidly harmonized chorales are used,--with this peculiarity, that only the treble was sung, the other voices being taken by the strings. In 1673 still another passion, written by Theile, was produced at Lübeck. From this time until 1704 there appears to be a gap in the sequence of works of this kind.

In the latter year, however, two more were produced, which made a sensation all over Germany, "The Bleeding and Dying Jesus," by Reinhard Keiser, and the "Passion nach Cap. 19 S. Johannis" by Handel. In the former, cantatas were substituted for the narrative and chorales, one of the numbers being in the nature of a love-song,--an innovation upon the established forms which brought down upon the composer the indignation of the critics both in the pulpit and out of it. The passion-music of Handel was but a weak prelude to the colossal works which were to follow from [20] his pen. Between 1705 and 1718 several other passions appeared, written by Keiser, Handel, Telemann, and Mattheson, preparing the way for the two composers who above all others were destined to develop the chorale and make it not only the foundation, but the all-pervading idea of their passions; they were Carl Heinrich Graun and Johann Sebastian Bach. The former's greatest work, "Der Tod Jesu," was produced in Berlin in 1755, and was a revelation in the matter of chorale treatment. Nothing which had preceded it could equal it in musical skill or artistic handling. But there was one coming greater than Graun, the father of modern music, Johann Sebastian Bach. "If all the music written since Bach's time should be lost," says Gounod, "it could be reconstructed on the foundations which he laid." Besides his "Christmas Oratorio," Bach wrote five passion oratorios, two of which, the "St. John" and "St. Matthew," have been published and are still performed. Of these two, the "St. Matthew" was conceived on the grander scale. In this sublime masterpiece, the early oratorio reached its highest form in Germany. It contains a narration delivered by an evangelist, solo parts for the principal characters, arias, choruses, double choruses, and chorales, the congregation joining in the latter, in which the composer not only reveals an astonishing dramatic power in the expression of sentiment and the adaptation of his music to the feeling and situation of the characters, but also a depth and accuracy of [21] musical skill and invention which have been the despair of composers from that time to this.

With Bach, the passion-music accomplished its purpose, and we now enter upon the third and last stage of the evolution of oratorio. It is a new form, and the change leads us to a new country. We have examined the sacred dramas, with their musical setting, in Italy, and the passion-music in Germany; and now comes the oratorio in England,--the oratorio as we know it and hear it to-day. Handel was its great originator. He began his English career as an operatic writer; but he soon tired of setting music to the trivial subjects so common in opera, which, as he himself declared, were not suited to a composer advancing in years. There were other inducements, however, which led him to turn to the oratorio, and among them one of the most powerful unquestionably was his disgust with the cabals which were organized against him by Italian rivals. "Esther" was his first English oratorio, and it made a great success. It was followed by "Deborah" and "Athalia." His vigorous dramatic power and close musical scholarship were never more apparent than in these works. They aroused such an enthusiasm that from this time forth (1737) he devoted himself exclusively to this species of composition. He wrote in all seventeen English oratorios. In 1739 he produced "Saul," one of the most dramatic of his sacred works, and the colossal "Israel in Egypt." In 1741 he began "The Messiah," the most sublime of all [22] his oratorios and one of the profoundest works of human genius in music. It still holds its place upon the stage as one of the grandest expressions of human aspiration and divine truth, and no Christmas is complete without its performance. Other works followed it, among them "Samson," "Joseph," "Belshazzar," "Judas Maccabæus," "Joshua," and "Theodora," which Handel considered his best work; but none of them equalled "The Messiah," in which his genius reached its climax. Of those last named, only "Samson" and "Judas Maccabæus" still hold their place in the modern repertory, though the other oratorios mentioned contain many of his most effective numbers.

While Handel was writing in England, the oratorio languished in Germany. Hasse, Porpora, and Fux produced several oratorios, but they have not left an impression upon the world. Handel died in 1759. It was not until 1798 that a successor appeared worthy to wear his mantle. That successor was Joseph Haydn, whose greatest work, "The Creation," rivals "The Messiah" in its popularity. He was in his seventieth year when he produced it, as well as his delightful work, "The Seasons;" but "Papa" Haydn, as his countrymen love to call him, preserved the freshness of youth to the very last. The melodies of his old age are as delicious as those of his youth. Both these oratorios are exquisite pictures of nature, as well as of human and divine love. They were inspired by Handel's oratorios (which he heard for the first time when he [23] visited London in 1791), and when first performed aroused as great enthusiasm, though they are not cast in the same heroic mould as are "The Messiah" and "Israel in Egypt." They are characterized rather by grace, sweetness, and elegance of form, and by pure, healthy music. Haydn was a master of instrumentation, as he had shown years before in the string quartet, of which he was the creator, and in his almost innumerable symphonies,--he being the originator of the modern symphony. He had had the advantage of a magnificent orchestra while in service at Prince Esterhazy's, and the results are seen in the orchestral resources which he employs in his oratorios. During this period several Italian oratorios by Salieri, Zingarelli, and Cimarosa appeared, as well as oratorios in the same style by the German composers Himmel and Winter. In 1803 Beethoven wrote his only oratorio, "Christ on the Mount of Olives." This production has not attained to the popularity of his instrumental works or of his single opera, "Fidelio," in part because it is not in pure oratorio form, and in part because of its wretched libretto. Schubert, contemporary with Beethoven, also undertook an oratorio on the subject of "Lazarus;" but it was never completed, and the fragment even was not heard until 1863.

The first really successful oratorio of the present century was "Das jüngste Gericht" ("The Last Judgment"), by Spohr, which was produced under his own supervision at Erfurt in 1812. This oratorio, however, the work of his earlier years, was [24] but the prelude to his masterpiece, "Die letzten Dinge" ("The Last Things"), which is now commonly known as "The Last Judgment," and was first performed at Cassel in 1826. Nine years later he brought out "Des Heiland's letzte Stunden" ("The Saviour's Last Hours," now known as "Calvary"), and still later, "The Fall of Babylon," which he produced for the first time in England in 1843; but neither of these are constructed upon the grand proportions which characterize "Die letzten Dinge," or so well illustrate the profound musical knowledge of the great violinist. Contemporary with Spohr was Schneider, an unusually prolific writer, who produced no less than sixteen oratorios in a period of twenty-eight years, in addition to a large number of operas. Though his oratorios were very popular at the time, but one of them has survived, the "Weltgericht," written in 1819. Among other contemporaries were Lindpaintner, whose "Abraham" was very successful,--though this composer is now remembered only by his orchestral pieces,--and Klein, who brought out two oratorios, "Jephthah" (1828) and "David" (1830), which were greatly admired, though they are now almost unknown.

Spohr had easily held his place in the first rank of the oratorio composers of his time, but was eclipsed when Mendelssohn appeared, as were all his contemporaries. This gifted composer had studied Handel and Bach very closely. In 1829 he brought out the latter's "St. Matthew" passion-music [25] after it had lain concealed for an entire century. He aroused enthusiasm for the two old masters both in Germany and England. His "St. Paul," first produced at Düsseldorf in 1836, was greeted with acclamations of enthusiasm, and still holds its place in the popular regard. Ten years later his greatest work, "Elijah," was performed in England. Though widely different in form and treatment from "The Messiah," it shares equally with that work in the enjoyment of popular favor. Its numbers are almost as familiar as household words, through constant repetition not only upon the oratorio stage, but in the concert-room and choir-loft. In the presentation of the personalities concerned in the progress of the work, in descriptive power, in the portrayal of emotion and passion, and in genuine lyrical force, "Elijah" has many of the attributes of opera, and some critics have not hesitated to call it a sacred opera. Indeed, there can be no question that with costume, scenery, and the aids of general stage-setting, its effect would be greatly enhanced. Mendelssohn began still a third oratorio, "Christus," but did not live to complete it. His "Lobgesang" ("Hymn of Praise"), a symphony-cantata, is usually given as an oratorio, though it is not in the genuine oratorio form. Contemporary with him and since his death numerous oratorios have been written, more or less inspired by his work; but "Elijah" and "St. Paul" still remain unsurpassed. Robert Schumann gave the world a delightful oratorio with a secular subject, [26] "Paradise and the Peri." Numerous English composers have produced meritorious works, among them Sterndale Bennett, whose "Woman of Samaria" is thoroughly devotional. In Germany, Hiller, Rheinthaler, and others have made successful essays in this form of musical art. In France, Massenet and Saint-Saëns have written short one-part oratorios, and Gounod has constructed two, "The Redemption" and "Mors et Vita," upon the old classical form, so far as division is concerned, and is now at work upon a third, of which Joan of Arc is the theme. In "The Tower of Babel" and "Paradise Lost," Rubinstein has given us works which are certainly larger in design than the cantata, and are entitled to be called oratorios. In our own country, Professor Paine, of Harvard University, has written one oratorio, "St. Peter," which commands attention for its scholarly work and musical treatment. Mendelssohn and Spohr, however, represent the nineteenth century of oratorio as Haydn, Handel, and Bach did the eighteenth. Who will take the next step forward in the twentieth, and give to this noblest form of musical art still higher expression?

Before closing this sketch, it will not be out of place to refer briefly to the Requiem, Te Deum, Stabat Mater, and Magnificat, since illustrations of these musical forms appear in the body of the work. "Requiem" is the name given to the "Missa pro Defunctis" ("Mass for the Dead"), and comes from the first word of the Introit, "Requiem æternam [27] dona eis, Domine." Its musical divisions are as follows: (1) Introit; (2) the Kyrie; (3) the Gradual and Tract,--"Requiem æternam" and "Absolve Domine;" (4) the Sequence or Prose,--"Dies Iræ;" (5) Offertorium; (6) Sanctus; (7) Benedictus; (8) Agnus Dei; (9) Communio,--"Lux æterna." The most famous requiems are Palestrina's, written for five voices, but left incomplete (1595); Vittoria's, for six voices, written for the funeral of the Empress Marie, widow of Maximilian II. (1605); Colonna's, for eight voices (1684); Mozart's great masterpiece (1791); Cherubini's in C minor, written for the anniversary of the death of Louis XVI., 1793, and a second for three male voices (1836); Berlioz's "Messe des Morts;" Verdi's "Manzoni Requiem," and Brahms' "German Requiem." Though an integral part of the Roman service, appointed for a special day in commemoration of the dead, the Requiem is also employed for the anniversaries of distinguished persons who have passed away, as well as for funeral occasions.

The Stabat Mater, or Lamentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the well-known Latin hymn on the Crucifixion, is one of the most familiar numbers in the Roman Missal. It is appointed to be sung at High Mass on the Friday in Passion Week, and also on the third Sunday in September. On Thursday in Holy Week it is also sung in the Sistine Chapel as an Offertorium. The poem was written by the monk Jacobus de Benedictis in the thirteenth century, and is regarded as one of the finest of mediæval [28] sacred lyrics. Grove says of it: "Several readings are extant; the one most frequently set to music being that which immediately preceded its last revision in the Roman Office-Books. There are also at least four distinct versions of its plain-chant melody, apart from minor differences attributable to local usage." It has always been a favorite hymn with the composers. The most famous settings are those of Josquin des Prés; two by Palestrina,--the first, which is the most effective, for a double choir of eight voices, and the second for a triple choir of twelve voices; that by Pergolesi for soprano and contralto; Haydn's, which is in his peculiarly melodious style; Steffani's for six voices; those by Clari, Astorga, Winter, Racimondi, Vito, Lanza, Inzenga, and Neukomm; Rossini's, which is the best known of all; and Dvorák's, written in 1881, which is one of the Bohemian composer's finest efforts. Few hymns have been so variously treated, and, it may be added, few in the Roman service are more popular.

The "Te Deum Laudamus" is another familiar hymn. Its origin is doubtful, though it is usually credited to Saint Ambrose. L'Estrange, in his "Alliance of Divine Offices," says: "The Te Deum was made by a bishop of Triers, named Nicetius, or Nicettus, about the year 500, which was almost a century after the death both of Saint Ambrose and Saint Augustine." Bingham, in his "Antiquities of the Church," says: "The Benedictines, who published the works of Saint Ambrose, judge him [29] not to have been the author of it; and Dr. Cave, though at one time he was of a different judgment, and Bishop Stillingfleet, concur in the opinion that the Te Deum was not the composition of Saint Ambrose, or of him and Saint Augustine jointly." Hawkins also says: "The zeal of Saint Ambrose to promote psalm-singing is in nothing more conspicuous than in his endeavors to reduce it into form and method; as a proof whereof, it is said that he, jointly with Saint Augustine, upon occasion of the conversion and baptism of the latter, composed the hymn Te Deum Laudamus, which even now makes a part of the liturgy of our Church, and caused it to be sung in his church at Milan. But this has been discovered to be a mistake. This, however, is certain,--that he instituted that method of singing known by the name of the Cantus Ambrosianus, or Ambrosian Chant, a name, for aught that now appears, not applicable to any determined series of notes, but invented to express in general a method of singing agreeable to some rule given or taught by him." In spite of controversy, however, the Te Deum is still and will always be known as the "Ambrosian Hymn." The original melody is very ancient, but not so old as the hymn itself. It is thoroughly familiar in the Roman Church, though the number of settings for Church use is almost endless. The early composers harmonized it in various forms. It has also borne a conspicuous part on festival occasions. The most celebrated Te Deums of this character, arranged for solos, [30] chorus, organ, and orchestra, are those of Sarti, to commemorate Prince Potemkin's victory at Otchakous; of Graun, to celebrate the battle of Prague; of Berlioz, for two choirs; of Purcell, for St. Cecilia's Day; of Dr. Blow and Dr. Croft, with accompaniments of two violins, two trumpets, and bass; and the magnificent Utrecht and Dettingen Te Deums of Handel. Among those by contemporary writers are Macfarren's, written in 1884, and Sullivan's, commemorating the recovery of the Prince of Wales.

The Magnificat, or Song of the Virgin, is part of the vesper service of the Church, and has been treated by all the old Church composers of prominence both in plain chant and in polyphonic form. In the English cathedral service it is often richly harmonized, and Bach, Mozart, Handel, Mendelssohn and others have set it in oratorio style with complete orchestral accompaniment.

[1]Born at Florence in the year 1515, and famous as the founder of the Congregation of the Fathers of the Oratory.


Johann Sebastian Bach, the most eminent of the world's organ-players and contrapuntists, was born at Eisenach, March 21, 1685, and was the most illustrious member of a long line of musicians, the Bach family having been famous almost from time immemorial for its skill in music. He first studied the piano with his brother, Johann Christoph, and the organ with Reinecke in Hamburg, and Buxtehude in Lübeck. In 1703 he was court musician in Weimar, and afterwards was engaged as organist in Arnstadt and Mühlhausen. In 1708 he was court organist, and in 1714 concert-master in Weimar. In 1718 he was chapel-master to the Prince von Köthen, and in 1723 was appointed music-director and cantor at the St. Thomas School in Leipsic,--a position which he held during the remainder of his life. He has left for the admiration of posterity an almost endless list of vocal and instrumental works, including chorales, motets, magnificats, masses, fugues, and fantasies, especially for organ and piano, the "Christmas Oratorio," and several settings of [32] the passion, of which the most famous are the "St. John" and "St. Matthew," the latter of which Mendelssohn introduced to the world in 1829, after it had slumbered an entire century. His most famous instrumental work is the "Well-tempered Clavichord,"--a collection of forty-eight fugues and preludes, which was written for his second wife, Anna Magdalena Bach, to whom also he dedicated a large number of piano pieces and songs. His first wife was his cousin, Maria Barbara Bach, the youngest daughter of Johann Michael Bach, a composer of no common ability. By these two wives he had twenty-one children, of whom the most celebrated were Carl Phillipp Emanuel, born in 1714, known as the "Berlin Bach;" Johann Christoph Friedrich, born in 1732, the "Bücheburger Bach;" and Johann Christian, born in 1735, who became famous as the "London Bach." Large as the family was, it is now extinct. Bach was industrious, simple, honest, and God-fearing, like all his family. He was an incessant and laborious writer from necessity, as his compensation was hardly sufficient to maintain his large family, and nearly all his music was prepared for the service of the church by contract. The prominent characteristics of his work are profound knowledge, the clearest statements of form, strength of logical sequences, imposing breadth, and deep religious sentiment. He was a favorite of Frederick the Great, who upon one occasion made all his courtiers stand on one side and do homage to the illustrious [33] composer. "There is but one Bach," said the monarch. With all Bach's amiable qualities, it is said that he had a hasty temper. While playing one day, Görner, the organist at St. Thomas, struck a false chord; whereupon Bach flew at him in a passion, tore off his wig and threw it at him, exclaiming: "You ought to have been a cobbler, instead of an organist!" Notwithstanding this infirmity of temper, he was a deeply religious man, and inscribed upon every one of his principal compositions "S. D. G.," "to the glory of God alone." He died July 28, 1750, and was buried at Leipsic; but no cross or stone marks the spot where he lies. His last composition was the beautiful chorale, "Wenn wir in höchsten Nöthen sein," freely translated, "When my last hour is close at hand," as it was written in his last illness. The only record of his death is contained in the official register: "A man, aged 67, M. Johann Sebastian Bach, musical director and singing-master at the St. Thomas School, was carried to his grave in the hearse, July 30, 1750."

The Christmas Oratorio.

The "Christmas Oratorio" was written by Bach in 1734, the subject being taken from texts in Luke and Matthew pertaining to the nativity. It is not, as its name would suggest, a work to be performed at a single hearing, but a composition divided into [34] six parts of divine service, arranged for the three days of Christmas, New Year's Day, New Year's Sunday, and the Epiphany, each part being a complete cantata for each day, and all linked together by chorales which give it a unity of subject and design. Like Wagner's "Ring der Nibelungen," it was given in instalments, each part separate and complete in itself, and yet combining to illustrate a given subject in its entirety. It is not an oratorio in the modern sense; but the justification of its appellation as such is to be found in Bach's own title, "Oratorium Tempore Navitatis Christi."

As the entire six parts are very rarely given, a general review of their character will better suit the reader's purpose than a detailed review of each. When it has been performed in this country, only the first two parts have been given; while in England, though it has been presented entire, the performance is usually confined to the first three, which contain a complete story. The entire vocal score embraces no less than sixty-four numbers,--which in itself constitutes a sufficient reason for abridgment. In the first three parts the connecting narratives, recited by the evangelist, are assigned to tenor and bass, and declare the events associated with the birth of our Lord,--the journey to Bethlehem, the birth in the manger, the joy of Mary, and the thanksgiving over the advent of the Lord,--the choral parts being sung by the shepherds. The fourth part, that for New Year's Day, relates the naming of Jesus, and follows his career in a grand expression [35] of faith and hope. The fifth part illustrates the visit of the three kings, the anxiety of Herod when he hears of the advent of the Lord, and the assurances given him to allay his fears. In the sixth section the visitors depart to frustrate Herod's designs, and choruses of rejoicing over the final triumph of the Lord close the work. In his voluminous life of Bach, Spitta makes an exhaustive analysis of the various parts, an abridgment of which will be of interest in this connection.

The only variation from the particular character of each section is to be found in the introduction of the first chorale in Part I. at the close of Part VI., in the form of a brilliant choral fantasia.

"In the first three the Christmas feeling prevails most vividly; this is effected in great measure by the chorales which are interspersed in far greater numbers than in the last three, and which are almost all familiar Christmas hymns. Most of them are simply set in four parts, with highly ingenious applications of the church modes."

The first and second parts close with chorales, but in the third the opening chorus is repeated at the close.

"Part IV. has least of the character of church festival music. The Biblical matter consists of a single verse from the Gospel of Saint Luke, ii. 21, which relates the circumcision and naming of Jesus. Not much material could be worked out of this, and Bach has almost entirely set aside all adjuncts from the [36] liturgy. No Christmas hymn, indeed no true chorale, is introduced in it.... This section, therefore, bears more strongly the stamp merely of a religious composition; it is full of grace and sweetness, and can only have derived its full significance for congregational use from its position in context with the rest of the work."

Parts V. and VI., devoted to the history of the three kings, are in no respect inferior to the first three.

"The lyrical choruses are full of artistic beauty and swing. The cantata character is more conspicuous here than in the first three sections, and the specially Christmas feeling resides more in the general tone of the music than in the chorales."

Bitter, in his life of Bach, gives the following interesting sketch of the origin of some of the numbers contained in the work:--

"In some parts of this music Bach borrowed from former compositions of his own, especially from a 'Drama per Musica,' dedicated to the Queen of Poland, and a drama entitled 'The Choice of Hercules,' composed in 1733 for a Saxon prince. The old hymn-tune, 'O Haupt voll Blut und Wunden,' composed A.D. 1600 (by Hans Geo. Hassler to a secular tune), and used by Bach five times to different words in the 'Matthäus-Passion,' is again used in this oratorio to the words of Paul Gerhard's Advent hymn, 'Wie soll ich dich empfangen,' and to the hymn of triumph, 'Nun seid ihr wohl gerochen,' at the end of the last part. As this tune was familiar to the hearers in connection [37] with a hymn for Passion Week, its adaptation to Advent and Christmas hymns seems intended to express a presentiment at the time of Christ's birth of his future sufferings. The same tune is now used in the German Church to a number of different hymns, especially to 'Herzlich thut mich verlangen' and 'Befiehl du deine Wege,' and is in some tune-books called by one or other of these names. 'Befiehl du deine Wege' is one of the hymns to which Bach has set it in the 'Matthäus-Passion.' In the first part of the oratorio we find two verses of Luther's Christmas hymn, 'Gelobet seist du Jesu Christ;' first, the verse beginning 'Er ist auf Erden kommen arm,' to the tune Luther composed for it, and the verse 'Ach, mein herzliebes Jesulein,' to the tune (also of Luther's composition), 'Von Himmel hoch da komm ich her.' This last-mentioned tune is also used twice in the second part, to the words 'Schaut hin, dort liegt im finstern Stalle,' and 'Wir singen dir in deinem Heer,' arranged differently each time. The chorales, 'Jesus, richte mein Beginnen,' in the fourth part, and 'Dein Glanz all Finsterniss verzehrt,' in the fifth part, are probably Bach's own compositions."

The first two parts of the work are the only ones which need special notice for the purposes of the oratorio-goer. The first part opens with a brilliant prelude, introduced by the drum, which Bach, like Beethoven, sometimes treated as a solo instrument. It preludes the narrative bidding Zion prepare to meet her Lord,--a simple, touching melody, followed by the chorale, "How shall I fitly meet Thee and give Thee welcome due," set to the old passion-hymn, [38] "O Haupt, voll Blut und Wunden,"--a solemn and even mournful melody, which at first appears incongruous in the midst of so much jubilation. It is the same melody which Bach frequently uses in different harmonic forms in his "St. Matthew Passion." It is introduced here in the midst of the Christmas festivity for a special purpose. Bitter gives it the following significance:--

"We see the Angel of Death unveil his pale face, bend over the cradle of the Lord, and foretell his sorrows. The Child hears the song which one day, sung to other words, will be his death-song."

The composer's evident intention was to impress the hearer with the fact that the object of the divine advent on earth was the passion of our Lord. At the close of the work the same chorale appears, but it has another meaning. It is there an exultant expression of Christ's victory over sin and death. As the chorale dies away, the narrative is resumed, leading up to another chorale, "For us to earth he cometh poor," combined with an orchestral symphony and bass recitative. The next number is a bass aria with trumpet accompaniment, "Lord Almighty, King all glorious," and is followed by a chorale set to the words of Martin Luther's Christmas hymn, which also occurs in other parts of the work, differently harmonized to suit the nature of the situation, with which the first part closes.

The second part opens with one of the most delightful instances of Bach's orchestration, a pastoral [39] symphony, with which the Thomas orchestra have made audiences familiar in this country. Like the symphony of the same style in Handel's "Messiah," it is simple, graceful, and idyllic in character, and pictures the shepherds watching their flocks by night on the plains of Bethlehem. At its conclusion the evangelist resumes his narrative, followed by the chorale: "Break forth, O beauteous, heavenly Light," preluding the announcement of the angel, "Behold, I bring you Good Tidings." It is followed by the bass recitative, "What God to Abraham revealed, He to the Shepherds doth accord to see fulfilled," and a brilliant aria for tenor, "Haste, ye Shepherds, haste to meet Him." The evangelist gives them the sign, followed by the chorale which closed the first part, in another form, "Within yon Gloomy Manger lies." The bass recitative, "O haste ye then," preludes the exquisite cradle-song for alto, "Sleep, my Beloved, and take Thy Repose,"--a number which can hardly be excelled in the sweetness and purity of its melody or in the exquisiteness of its instrumentation. This lovely song brings us to the close, which is an exultant shout from the multitude of the heavenly host, singing, "Glory to God in the highest."

The Saint Matthew Passion.

The passion-music of Bach's time, as we have already seen, was the complement of the mysteries [40] of Mediæval days. It portrays the sufferings of Christ, and was performed at church festivals, the congregation taking part in the singing of the chorales, which were mostly familiar religious folk-songs. It was a revival of the sacred drama in musical form, and the immediate precursor of the modern oratorio. Bach wrote five passions,--the "St. John," probably written in 1723, and first performed in the following year; another, which has been lost, in 1725; the "St. Matthew," in 1729; the "St. Mark," in 1731; and the "St. Luke," in 1734. Of these only two are now known,--the "St. John" and "St. Matthew;" of which the latter is incomparably the greatest.

Macfarren, in his sketch of the "Matthew Passion," says that the idea of this form of composition was first suggested to Bach by Solomon Deyling, who filled an important church position in Leipsic when the composer went there to assume his duties as cantor of the St. Thomas School, his purpose being to introduce into the Reformed Church a service which should be a counter attraction to the Mass as performed in the Roman Church. It was produced for the first time at the afternoon service on Good Friday, 1729, but was not heard again until the young Mendelssohn revived it in Berlin, March 12, 1829. It was frequently repeated in Germany and aroused extraordinary enthusiasm, and still keeps its place in the festival oratorio repertory, the necessary additional accompaniments having been furnished by Robert Franz.


The passion is written in two parts, between which the sermon intervened in old times. It includes portions of chapters xxvi. and xxvii. of the Gospel according to Saint Matthew, the remainder of the text being composed of hymns furnished to Bach by Christian Friedrich Henrici, who wrote under the pseudonym of "Picander," and, it is said, was assisted in the compilation by the composer himself. The dramatis personæ are Jesus, Judas, Peter, Pilate, the Apostles, and the People, or Turbæ, and the narrative is interpreted by reflections addressed to Jesus, forming two choruses, "The Daughter of Zion" and "The Faithful," as Picander calls them. They are sometimes given by the chorus, and sometimes by single voices. The chorales are selected from those which were in common use in the Lutheran Church, and were familiar therefore to the congregations which sang the melody, the harmony being sustained by the chorus and instruments. The Gospel text is in recitative form throughout, the part of the evangelist, or narrator, being assigned to a tenor voice, while those of the persons incidentally introduced are given to other singers. In the dialogue, wherever the words of Jesus occur, the accompaniment is furnished by a string quartette, which serves to distinguish them from the others, and invests them with a peculiar gentleness and grace. The incidental choruses, sung by the People and the Apostles, are short and vivacious in character, many of them being in madrigal form. The chorales, fifteen [42] in number, as has already been said, were taken from the Lutheran service. One of them, which Bach also liberally used in his "Christmas Oratorio," beginning, "Acknowledge me, my Keeper," appears five times in the progress of the work, forming the keynote of the church sentiment, and differently harmonized on each occasion. Another, "O Blessed Jesus," is twice used,--once where the Saviour announces that he will be crucified after the Feast of the Passover, when the whole congregation sings it, and again in the scene at Gethsemane, sung by select choirs. The whole work is written for double chorus, the two choruses singing the harmony of the chorales, accompanied by the instruments, while the congregation sing the tune in unison. They display to the utmost the breadth, richness, ingenuity, and power of Bach in this form of writing. The reflective portions of the work, the text written by Picander, are composed of arias introduced by recitative, with the first part repeated in the close; of arias accompanied by chorus; and of single choruses constructed in the most massive manner. Speaking of the melodies in these portions of the work, Spitta says,--

"The grades of feeling traversed by Bach in the solo songs of the 'St. Matthew Passion' are all the more impressive because every sentiment of joy in its various shades is wholly excluded; they are all based on the emotion of sorrow. The most fervent sympathy with the sufferings of the Son of Man, rising to the utmost anguish, childlike trustfulness, manly [43] earnestness, and tenderly longing devotion to the Redeemer; repentance for the personal sins that his suffering must atone for, and passionate entreaties for mercy; an absorbed contemplation of the example offered by the sufferings of Jesus, and solemn vows pronounced over his dead body never to forsake or forget him,--these are the themes Bach had to treat. And he has solved the difficult problem as if it were child's play, with that inexhaustible wealth of resource which was most at his command precisely when he had to depict the sadder emotions. In no other of his works (unless it be in the 'Christmas Oratorio') do we find such a store of lovely and various solo airs, nor did Bach even ever write melodies more expressive and persuasive than those of the arias in the 'St. Matthew Passion.'"

As we have said, the music is arranged for double chorus, and each chorus has its own orchestra and its own organ accompaniment. The double orchestra is composed of oboes, flutes, and stringed instruments. Drums and brass instruments are not used, the sentiment of the work, in Bach's estimation, not being fitted for them, sweetness and expressiveness of tone rather than power being required. As Spitta says, sorrow is the characteristic of the work. It has no choruses of rejoicing, no pæans of praise, not even a hallelujah at its close.

The first part opens with a reflection sung by double chorus, "Come, ye Daughters, weep for Anguish," the first exhorting believers to weep over the sinful world, the second responding with brief interrogations, and at last taking part in the [44] sorrowful strains of the first. Interwoven with these is an independent instrumental melody, the whole crowned with a magnificent chorale sung by the sopranos, "O Lamb of God all blameless!" followed by still another, "Say, sweetest Jesus," which reappears in other parts of the work variously harmonized. The double chorus and chorales form the introduction, and are followed by recitative and a chorale, "Thou dear Redeemer," and a pathetic aria for contralto, "Grief and Pain," relating the incident of the woman anointing the feet of Jesus. The next number is an aria for soprano, "Only bleed, Thou dearest Heart," which follows the acceptance by Judas of the thirty pieces of silver, and which serves to intensify the grief in the aria preceding it. The scene of the Last Supper ensues, and to this number Bach has given a character of sweetness and gentleness, though its coloring is sad. As the disciples ask, "Lord, is it I?" another chorale is sung, "'Tis I! my Sins betray me." Recitative of very impressive character, conveying the divine injunctions, leads up to a graceful and tender aria for soprano, "Never will my Heart refuse Thee," one of the simplest and clearest, and yet one of the richest and most expressive, melodies ever conceived. After further recitative and the chorale, "I will stay here beside Thee," we are introduced to the scene in the Garden of Gethsemane, which is characterized by a number of extraordinary beauty and strength in its construction. It is introduced by a short instrumental [45] prelude, Zion, represented by the tenor voice, and the Believers by the chorus, coming in after a few bars and alternating with extraordinary vocal effect. It calls for the highest dramatic power, and in its musical development is a web of wonderful harmonies such as we may look for only in the works of the mighty master of counterpoint. It fitly prepares the way for the two great movements which close the first part, an aria for soprano and alto, "Alas! my Jesus now is taken," and a double chorus, "Ye Lightnings, ye Thunders!" The two solo voices join in a lament of a most touching nature, accompanied by the chorus exclaiming in short, hurried phrases, "Let Him go! Hold! Bind Him not!" until at last the double chorus bursts in like a tempest, accompanied with the full power of the instruments, expressing the world's indignation at the deed which is to be committed, in the words:--

"Ye lightnings, ye thunders, in clouds are ye vanished!

Burst open, O fierce flaming caverns of hell!

Ingulf them, destroy them in wrathfullest mood!

Oh, blast the betrayer, the murderous brood!"

and the first part concludes with a chorale, "O Man, bewail thy great Sin!"

The second part, originally sung after the sermon, opens with an aria for contralto, full of the deepest feeling, "Alas! now is my Jesus gone," and one of the most beautiful numbers in the oratorio, [46] wherein Zion, or the Church, mourns her great loss. The trial scene before Caiaphas and the threefold denial of Peter follow, leading up to the beautiful aria for alto, with violin obligato, "Oh, pardon me, my God!" Macfarren, in his admirable analysis, says of this aria,--

"The deep, deep grief of a tormented conscience finds here an utterance which fulfils the purport and far transcends the expression of the words. One might suppose the power of the artist to have been concentrated upon this one incident, so infinite is its beauty,--one might suppose Bach to have regarded the situation it illustrates as more significant than others of man's relation to Deity in his sense of sin and need for mercy, and as requiring, therefore, peculiar prominence in the total impression the oratorio should convey. If this was his aim, it is all accomplished. The penitential feeling embodied in the song is that which will longest linger in a remembrance of the work. The soft tone of the contralto voice, and the keenness of that of the violin, are accessories to the effect which the master well knew how to handle; but these judicious means are little to be considered in comparison with the musical idea of which they are the adjuncts."

The work now rapidly progresses to its beautiful finale. The soprano recitative in response to Pilate's question, "He hath done only good to all," the aria for soprano, "From love unbounded," the powerful contralto recitative, "Look down, O God," the chorale, "O Head all bruised and wounded!" the contralto aria with chorus, "Look [47] where Jesus beckoning stands," and the peaceful, soothing recitative for bass, "At Eventide, cool Hour of Rest," are the principal numbers that occur as we approach the last sad but beautiful double chorus of the Apostles, "Around Thy Tomb here sit we weeping,"--a close as peaceful as the setting of the sun; for the tomb is but the couch on which Jesus is reposing, and the music dies away in a slumber-song of most exalted beauty. This brief sketch could not better close than with the beautiful description which Mr. Dwight gives of this scene in the notes which he prepared when the work was performed at the Triennial Festival of the Handel and Haydn Society of Boston:--

"How full of grief, of tender, spiritual love, of faith and peace, of the heart's heaven smiling through tears, is this tone-elegy! So should the passion-music close, and not with fugue of praise and triumph like an oratorio. How sweetly, evenly, the harmony flows on,--a broad, rich, deep, pellucid river, swollen as by countless rills from all the loving, bleeding, and believing hearts in a redeemed humanity! How full of a sweet, secret comfort, even triumph, is this heavenly farewell: It is 'the peace which passeth understanding.' 'Rest Thee softly' is the burden of the song. One chorus sings it, and the other echoes 'Softly rest;' then both together swell the strain. Many times as this recurs, not only in the voices, but in the introduction and frequent interludes of the exceedingly full orchestra, which sounds as human as if it too had breath and conscious feeling, you still crave more of it; for it is as if your soul were bathed in new life inexhaustible. [48] No chorus ever sung is surer to enlist the singers' hearts."

The Magnificat in D.

The Magnificat in D--known as the "Great Magnificat," to distinguish it from the smaller--is considered one of the grandest illustrations of Bach's genius. It was composed for Christmas Day, 1723. Spitta says:--

"The performance of the cantata 'Christen, ätzet diesen Tag,' with its attendant 'Sanctus,' took place during the morning service, and was sung by the first choir in the Nikolaikirche. In the evening the cantata was repeated by the same choir in the Thomaskirche; and after the sermon the Hymn of the Virgin was sung, set in its Latin form, and in an elaborate style. For this purpose Bach wrote his great 'Magnificat.'"

For the occasion of this festival he expanded the Biblical text into four vocal numbers; but in describing the work it is only necessary to give it as it is now generally sung.

The work is written for a five-part chorus, with organ and orchestral accompaniment. After a concerted introduction, foreshadowing the general character of the music, it opens with the chorus, "Magnificat anima mea," in fugal form, worked up with that wonderful power of construction for which Bach is so renowned among all composers. It is [49] followed by an aria for second soprano ("Et exultavit spiritus meus: in Deo salutari meo"), which is in the same key and has the same general feeling as the opening chorus, that of Christmas rejoicing. It in turn is followed by an aria for first soprano ("Quia respexit humilitatem ancillæ suæ"), of which Spitta says: "Scarcely ever has the idea of virgin purity, simplicity, and humble happiness found more perfect expression than in this German picture of the Madonna, translated as it were into musical language." It leads directly to the chorus which takes up the unfinished words of the soprano ("Omnes generationes"), each part overlaying the other as it enters, and closing in canon form in grave and colossal harmony. Its next number is an aria for bass ("Quia fecit mihi magna"), of a simple and joyous character. It is followed by a melodious duet for alto and tenor ("Et misericordia"), with violin and flute accompaniment, setting forth the mercy of God, in contrast with which the powerful and energetic chorus ("Fecit potentiam") which succeeds it, is very striking in its effect. Two beautiful arias for tenor ("Deposuit potentes de sede") and alto ("Esurientes implevit bonis") follow, the latter being exquisitely tender in its expression, and lead to the terzetto ("Suscepit Israel puerum suum: recordatus misericordiæ suæ"), arranged in chorale form, and very plaintive and even melancholy in style. Its mourning is soon lost, however, in the stupendous five-part fugue ("Sicut locutus est") which follows it and which [50] leads to the triumphant "Gloria," closing the work,--a chorus of extraordinary majesty and power. Spitta, in his exhaustive analysis of Bach's music, says of this "Magnificat":--

"It is emphatically distinct from the rest of Bach's grand church compositions by the compactness and concentrated power of the separate numbers,--particularly of the choruses,--by the lavish use of the means at command, and by its vividly emotional and yet not too agitating variety. It stands at the entrance of a new path and a fresh period of his productivity, at once full of significance in itself and of promise for the future development of the perennial genius which could always re-create itself from its own elements."



A general sketch of the life and musical accomplishments of Beethoven has already appeared in the companion to this work, "The Standard Operas." In this connection, however, it seems eminently fitting that some attention should be paid to the religious sentiments of the great composer and the sacred works which he produced. He was a formal member of the Roman Church, but at the same time an ardent admirer of some of the Protestant doctrines. His religious observances, however, were peculiarly his own. His creed had little in common with any of the ordinary forms of Christianity. A writer in "Macmillan's Magazine" some years ago very clearly defined his religious position in the statement that his faith rested on a pantheistic abstraction which he called "Love." He interpreted everything by the light of this sentiment, which took the form of an endless longing, sometimes deeply sad, at others rising to the highest exaltation. An illustration of this in its widest sense may be found in the choral part of the Ninth Symphony. [52] He at times attempted to give verbal expression to this ecstatic faith which filled him, and at such times he reminds us of the Mystics. The following passages, which he took from the inscription on the temple of the Egyptian goddess Neith at Sais, and called his creed, explain this: "I am that which is. I am all that is, that was, and that shall be. No mortal man hath lifted my veil. He is alone by Himself, and to Him alone do all things owe their being." With all this mysticism his theology was practical, as is shown by his criticism of the words which Moscheles appended to his arrangement of "Fidelio." The latter wrote at the close of his work: "Fine, with God's help." Beethoven added: "O man! help thyself." That he was deeply religious by nature, however, is constantly shown in his letters. Wandering alone at evening among the mountains, he sketched a hymn to the words, "God alone is our Lord." In the extraordinary letter which he wrote to his brothers, Carl and Johann, he says: "God looks into my heart. He searches it, and knows that love for man and feelings of benevolence have their abode there." In a letter to Bettina von Arnim, he writes: "If I am spared for some years to come, I will thank the Omniscient, the Omnipotent, for the boon, as I do for all other weal and woe." In Spohr's album his inscription is a musical setting of the words, "Short is the pain, eternal is the joy." In a letter to the Archduke Rudolph, written in 1817, he gives no uncertain expression to his divine trust. He says: "My [53] confidence is placed in Providence, who will vouchsafe to hear my prayer, and one day set me free from all my troubles; for I have served him faithfully from my childhood, and done good whenever it was in my power. So my trust is in him alone, and I feel that the Almighty will not allow me to be utterly crushed by all my manifold trials." Even in a business letter he says: "I assure you on my honor--which, next to God, is what I prize most--that I authorized no one to accept commissions from me." His letters indeed abound in references to his constant reliance upon a higher Power. The oratorio, "Christ on the Mount of Olives," six sacred songs set to poems of Gellert, the Mass in C written for Prince Esterhazy, and the Grand Mass in D written for the Archduke Rudolph, one of the grandest and most impressive works in the entire realm of sacred music, attest the depth and fervency of his religious nature.

The Mount of Olives.

Beethoven wrote but one oratorio, "Christus am Oelberg" ("Christ on the Mount of Olives"). That he had others in contemplation, however, at different periods of his life is shown by his letters. In 1809 he wrote to Freiherr von Hammer-Purgstall, a famous Oriental scholar, appointing an interview for the discussion of the latter's poem on the subject of the deluge, with reference to its fitness for [54] treatment as an oratorio. Again, in 1824, he writes to Vincenz Hauschka, of Vienna, that he has decided to write an oratorio on the text furnished by Bernard, the subject being "The Victory of the Cross." This work, however, owing to his extreme physical sufferings at that period, was never begun, and the world thereby has suffered a great musical loss; for, judging from his great Mass in D, no one can doubt how majestic and impressive the "Victory of the Cross" would have been, as compared with the "Mount of Olives," written in his earlier period, and before any of his masterpieces had appeared.

The "Mount of Olives" was begun in 1800, and finished during the following year. Beethoven never remained in Vienna during the summer. The discomforts of the city and his intense love for Nature urged him out into the pleasantly wooded suburbs of the city, where he could live and work in seclusion. Upon this occasion he selected the little village of Hetzendorf, adjoining the gardens of the imperial palace of Schönbrunn, where the Elector, his old patron, was living in retirement. Trees were his delight. In a letter to Madame von Drossdick, he says: "Woods, trees, and rocks give the response which man requires. Every tree seems to say, 'Holy, Holy!'" In the midst of these delightful surroundings he found his favorite tree, at whose base he composed the larger part of the oratorio, as well as his opera "Fidelio." Schindler says: "A circumstance connected with both these great works, and of which Beethoven many years afterwards [55] still retained a lively recollection, was, that he composed them in the thickest part of the wood in the park of Schönbrunn, seated between the two stems of an oak, which shot out from the main trunk at the height of about two feet from the ground. This remarkable tree, in that part of the park to the left of the Gloriett, I found with Beethoven in 1823, and the sight of it called forth interesting reminiscences of the former period." The words of the oratorio were by Huber, the author of Winter's "Unterbrochene Opferfest," and were written, with Beethoven's assistance, in fourteen days. That more time and attention were not given to the text was probably regretted by both poet and composer many times afterwards. The first performance of the work in its entirety took place at Vienna, April 5, 1803, at the Theater an der Wien, upon which occasion the programme also included the Symphony in D (second) and the Piano Concerto in C minor, the latter executed by himself. The oratorio was received with enthusiasm, and was repeated three times during that year.

The libretto of the work is unquestionably defective in the most salient qualities which should characterize the text of an oratorio, even to the degree of extravagance and sensationalism. It fails to reflect the sorrowful character of the scene it depicts, and the dramatic requirements which it imposes are often strained, and sometimes border on the grotesque. The theatrical style of the narrative was deplored by Beethoven himself at a subsequent [56] period. Marx, one of the keenest of critics, says of the work:--

"The poet had no other aim but that of making verses for a composer; the latter, no other motive than the ordinary creative impulse prompting him to try his powers in a different and important sphere. The result on both sides could not therefore be other than phrases, although the better of the two proceeded from the composer, and that composer was Beethoven. To conceal or palliate this would be derogatory to the reverence which we all owe to Beethoven; he stands too high to be in need of extenuation."

This is Marx's judgment; and yet it must be said that the world for the most part has found more in the "Mount of Olives" than he has.

The oratorio is written for three solo voices (Jesus, Peter, and a Seraph), chorus, and orchestra. The narrative opens with the agony in the garden, followed by the chant of a Seraph reciting the divine goodness and foretelling the salvation of the righteous. In the next scene Jesus learns his fate from the Seraph, yields himself to approaching death, and welcomes it. The Soldiers enter in pursuit, and a tumult ensues as the Apostles find themselves surrounded. Peter draws his sword and gives vent to his indignation; but is rebuked both by Jesus and the Seraph, and together they conjure him to be silent and endure whatever may happen. The Soldiers, discovering Jesus, rush upon him and bind him. The Disciples express their apprehension [57] that they too will suffer; but Jesus uncomplainingly surrenders himself, and a chorus of rejoicing completes the work. From this brief sketch the artificial and distorted manner of treating the solemn subject will be evident.

The score opens with an adagio introduction for instruments which is of a very dramatic character, and, unlike nearly all of the sacred music of that time, is noticeable for the absence of the fugue. Barbedette, the great French critic, pronounces it the chef-d'œuvre of introductions, and a masterpiece in the serious style. The first number is a recitative and aria for tenor, sung by Jesus ("All my Soul within me shudders"), which, notwithstanding the anomaly of such a scene in such surroundings, is simple and touching in expression. The Seraph follows with a scene and aria ("Praise the Redeemer's Goodness"), concluding with a brilliant and jubilant obligato with chorus ("O triumph, all ye Ransomed"). The next number is an elaborate duet between Jesus and the Seraph ("On me then fall Thy heavy Judgment"), which is still more anomalous than the scene and aria with which Jesus opens the work. In a short recitative passage, Jesus welcomes death; and then ensues one of the most powerful numbers in the work, the chorus of Soldiers in march time ("We surely here shall find Him"), interspersed with the cries of the People demanding his death, and the lamentations of the Apostles. At the conclusion of the tumult a dialogue ensues between Jesus [58] and Peter ("Not unchastised shall this audacious Band"), which leads up to the crowning anomaly of the work, a trio between Jesus, Peter, and the Seraph, with chorus ("O, Sons of Men, with Gladness"). The closing number, a chorus of angels ("Hallelujah, God's Almighty Son"), is introduced with a short but massive symphony leading to a jubilant burst of Hallelujah, which finally resolves itself into a glorious fugue, accompanied with all that wealth of instrumentation of which Beethoven was the consummate master. In all sacred music it is difficult to find a choral number which can surpass it in majesty or power.

The English versions of the "Mount of Olives" differ materially from the German in the text. Numerous efforts have been made to avoid the incongruity of the original narrative, but with poor success. It was first produced in England in 1814 by Sir George Smart during the Lenten oratorios at Drury Lane, the English version of which was made by Arnold, at that time manager of the King's Theatre. Still later it was produced again, and the adapter compromised by using the third person, as "'Jehovah, Thou, O Father,' saith the Lord our Saviour." Two other versions were made by Thomas Oliphant and Mr. Bartholomew, but these were not successful. At last the aversion to the personal part of Jesus led to an entirely new text, called "Engedi," the words of which were written by Dr. Henry Hudson, of Dublin, and founded upon the persecution of [59] David by Saul in the wilderness, as described in parts of chapters xxiii., xxiv., and xxvi. of the first book of Samuel. The characters introduced are David, Abishai, and the Prophetess, the latter corresponding to the Seraph in the original. The compiler himself in his preface says:--

"So far as was possible, the author has availed himself of Scripture language, and David's words have been taken (almost wholly) from the Psalms generally attributed to him, though of course not in regular order, as it has invariably throughout been the writer's first object to select words adapting themselves to the original music in its continually varying expression, which could not have been done had he taken any one psalm as his text. How far the author has succeeded, he must leave to others to determine."

The substituted story has not proved successful, principally because the music, which was written for an entirely different one, is not adapted to it. The latest version is that of the Rev. J. Troutbeck, prepared for the Leeds festivals, in which the Saviour is again introduced.



William Sterndale Bennett, one of the most gifted and individual of English composers, was born at Sheffield, April 13, 1816. His musical genius displayed itself early, and in his tenth year he was placed in the Royal Academy of Music, of which in his later years he became principal. He received his early instruction in composition from Lucas and Dr. Crotch, and studied the piano with Cipriani Potter, who had been a pupil of Mozart. The first composition which gained him distinction was the Concerto in D minor, written in 1832, which was followed by the Capriccio in D minor. During the next three years he produced the overture to "Parisina," the F minor Concerto, and the "Naïades" overture, the success of which was so great that a prominent musical house in London offered to send him to Leipsic for a year. He went there, and soon won his way to the friendship of Schumann and Mendelssohn. With the latter he was on very intimate terms, which has led to the erroneous statement that he was his pupil. In 1840 he made a [61] second visit to Leipsic, where he composed his Caprice in E, and "The Wood Nymphs" overture. In 1842 he returned to England, and for several years was busily engaged with chamber concerts. In 1849 he founded the Bach Society, arranged the "Matthew Passion" music of that composer, as well as the "Christmas Oratorio," and brought out the former work in 1854. The previous year he was offered the distinguished honor of the conductorship of the Gewandhaus concerts at Leipsic, but did not accept. In 1856 he was appointed conductor of the Philharmonic Society, and filled the position for ten years, resigning it to take the head of the Royal Academy of Music. In the same year he was elected musical professor at Cambridge, where he received the degree of Doctor of Music and other honors. In 1858 his beautiful cantata, "The May Queen," was produced at the Leeds Festival, and in 1862 the "Paradise and the Peri" overture, written for the Philharmonic Society. In 1867 his oratorio, or, as he modestly terms it, "sacred cantata," "The Woman of Samaria," was produced with great success at the Birmingham Festival. In 1870 he was honored with a degree by the University of Oxford, and a year later received the empty distinction of knighthood. His last public appearance was at a festival in Brighton in 1874, where he conducted his "Woman of Samaria." He died Feb. 1, 1875, and was buried in Westminster Abbey with distinguished honors. His musical ability was as widely recognized [62] in Germany as in England,--indeed his profound musical scholarship and mastery of problems in composition were more appreciated there. Mr. Statham, in an admirable sketch, pronounces him a born pianist, and says that his wonderful knowledge of the capabilities of the piano, and his love for it, developed into favoritism in some of his concerted music. A friend of the composer, recalling some reminiscences of him in "Fraser," says that his music is full of beauty and expression, displays a remarkable fancy, a keen love of Nature, and at times true religious devotion, but that it does not contain a single note of passion. His only sacred music is the short oratorio, "The Woman of Samaria," and four anthems: "Now, my God, let, I beseech Thee," "Remember now thy Creator," "O that I knew," and "The Fool hath said in his Heart." It has been well said of him: "In his whole career he never condescended to write a single note for popular effect, nor can a bar of his music be quoted which in style and aim does not belong to what is highest in musical art."

The Woman of Samaria.

"The Woman of Samaria," a short, one-part oratorio, styled by its composer a "sacred cantata," was first produced at the Birmingham Festival, Aug. 27, 1867; though one of his biographers affirms that as early as 1843 he was shown a chorus for six voices, treated antiphonally, which Bennett [63] himself informed him was to be introduced in an oratorio he was then contemplating, and that this chorus, if not identical with "Therefore they shall come," in "The Woman of Samaria," is at least the foundation of it.

The work is written for four solo voices, chorus, and orchestra. The soprano takes the part of the Woman of Samaria, the other parts being impersonal. The music for the contralto is mainly declamatory. Tha tenor has a single aria, while the bass, with one exception, has the part of Narrator, the words of our Saviour being attributed to him and invariably introduced in the third personal form,--which is a striking proof of the devotional spirit of the composer, as in all other instances, after the announcement by the Narrator, the Woman sings her own words. The chorus, as in the passion-music of Bach, has the reflective numbers and moralizes on the various situations as they occur, except in one number, "Now we believe," where it declaims the words as a part of the narrative itself. The text for chorus is selected from appropriate parts of the Scriptures which are in keeping with the events forming the groundwork of its reflections.

The story is taken from the fourth chapter of the Gospel according to Saint John, and follows literally the narrative of the journey of the Saviour into Samaria,--his rest at Jacob's well, his meeting with the woman who came thither to draw water, and the conversation which followed; the only interruptions being the reflections, not only by the [64] chorus, but also by the contralto and tenor, these episodes being taken mostly from the Prophecies and Psalms.

The oratorio opens with a brief instrumental introduction and chorale ("Ye Christian People, now rejoice") for sopranos alone, the melody of which first appeared in the "Geistliche Lieder," issued at Wittenberg in 1535. The words are a translation of the old hymn, "Nun freut euch, lieben Christen G'mein," to which the tune was formerly sung in Germany. The treatment of this chorale, by combining it with the instrumental movement in opposing rhythms, shows the powerful influence which the composer's close study of Bach had upon him. Its effect in introducing the scenes which follow reminds one of the grace before the feast. It dies away in slow and gentle numbers, and then follows the opening recitative of the oratorio proper ("Then cometh Jesus to a City of Samaria"), sung by the contralto, and leading up to an arioso chorus ("Blessed be the Lord God of Israel"), the words taken from the Gospel of Saint Luke. The next number is a very graceful and artistic combination, opening with recitative for contralto, bass, and soprano, leading to an adagio solo for bass ("If thou knewest the Gift of God"), and ending with a closely harmonious chorus in the same rhythm ("For with Thee is the Well of Life"), the words from the Psalms. The dialogue between Jesus and the Woman is then resumed, leading to a solo by the latter ("Art Thou greater than our Father Jacob?"). The question is [65] sung and repeated in declamatory tones constantly increasing in power and expressive of defiance. Bennett was a bitter opponent of Wagner; but in the unvocal and declamatory character of this solo, and in the dramatic force he has given to it, to the sacrifice of melody, he certainly ventured some distance in the Wagnerian direction. The next number, the reply of Jesus ("Whosoever drinketh"), sung, as usual, by the bass voice, is in striking contrast with the question. Instead of full orchestra, it has the accompaniment of the strings and first and second horns only, reminding one of Bach's method of accompanying the part assigned to Jesus in his St. Matthew Passion. This number is followed by a spirited fortissimo chorus ("Therefore with Joy shall ye draw Water"), sung to the full strength of voice and orchestra. After the dialogue in which Jesus acquaints the Woman with the incidents of her past life, the contralto voice has an exquisite solo ("O Lord, Thou hast searched me out"), full of tenderness and expression, in which the opening phrase is repeated in the finale and gains intensity by a change of harmony. The dialogue, in which the divine character of Jesus becomes apparent to the Woman, is resumed, and leads to a beautifully constructed chorus in six parts ("Therefore they shall come and sing"), followed by an impressive and deeply devotional quartet for the principals, unaccompanied ("God is a Spirit"),--to which an additional interest is lent from the fact that it was sung in Westminster Abbey upon the [66] occasion of the composer's funeral. A few bars of recitative lead to a chorus in close, solid harmony ("Who is the Image of the Invisible God"), with organ accompaniment only, which in turn, after a few more bars of recitative for contralto and soprano, is followed by the chorus ("Come, O Israel"), sung pianissimo and accompanied by entire orchestra. The next number, as the oratorio is now performed, is one which has been introduced. It is a soprano aria, "I will love Thee, O Lord," which was found among the composer's manuscripts after his death. The preface to the revised edition of the oratorio has the following reference to this number:--

"In justification of so bold a step as the introduction of a new number, it is interesting to point out that the composer felt the Woman of Samaria ought to sing a song of conversion in the portion of the cantata in which the new air is placed. It is clear from the original preface[2] that he thought of her as an impulsive woman who would naturally be carried from worldliness into the opposite extreme of religious devotion."


The introduction of the air also gives more importance to the soprano part and relieves the succession of choral movements in the close of the work. The remaining numbers are the beautiful chorale, "Abide with me, fast falls the Eventide;" the chorus, "Now we believe," one of the most finished in the whole work; a short tenor solo ("His Salvation is nigh them that fear Him"),--the only one in the oratorio for that voice; the chorus, "I will call upon the Lord;" and the final imposing fugue, "Blessed be the Lord God of Israel." The last number is a fitting close to a work which is not only highly descriptive of its subject throughout, but also full of feeling and devotional reverence.

[2]"With regard to the Woman of Samaria herself, it will be plainly seen that the composer has treated her as a secular and worldly character, though not without indications here and there of that strong intuitive religious feeling which has never been denied to her. This feeling is especially shown when she says: 'I know that Messias cometh; when He is come He will tell us all things.' Also, towards the end of the narrative, where she passionately exclaims to the Samaritans: 'Come, see a man who told me all the things that ever I did: is not this the Christ?'"--Original Preface.


Hector Berlioz, one of the most renowned of modern French composers, and an acute critic and skilful conductor as well, was born, Dec. 11, 1803, at La Côte St. André, in France. His father was a physician, and intended him for the same profession. He reluctantly went to Paris and began the study of medicine; but music became his engrossing passion, and medicine was abandoned. He entered the Conservatory as a pupil of Lesueur, and soon showed himself superior to all his masters, except Cherubini,--which aroused a strong opposition to him and his compositions. It was only after repeated trials that he took the first prize, with his cantata, "Sardanapale," which entitled him to go to Italy for three years. On his return to Paris he encountered renewed antipathy. His music was not well received, and he was obliged to support himself by conducting at concerts and writing [69] articles for the press. As a final resort he organized a concert tour through Germany and Russia, the details of which are contained in his extremely interesting Autobiography. At these concerts his own music was the staple of the programmes, and it met with great success, though not always played by the best of orchestras, and not always well by the best, as his own testimony shows; for his compositions are very exacting, and call for every resource known to the modern orchestra. The Germans were quick in appreciating his music, but it was not until after his death that his ability was conceded in France. In 1839 he was appointed librarian of the Conservatory, and in 1856 was made a member of the French Academy. These were the only honors he received, though he long sought to obtain a professorship in the Conservatory. A romantic but sad incident in his life was his violent passion for Miss Smithson, an Irish actress, whom he saw upon the Paris stage in the rôle of Ophelia, at a time when Victor Hugo had revived an admiration for Shakspeare among the French. He married her, but did not live with her long, owing to her bad temper and ungovernable jealousy; though after the separation he honorably contributed to her support out of the pittance he was earning. Among his great works are the opera, "Benvenuto Cellini;" the symphony with chorus, "Romeo and Juliet;" "Beatrice and Benedict;" "Les Troyens," the text from Virgil's "Æneid;" the symphony, "Harold in Italy;" the symphony, [70] "Funèbre et Triomphale;" the "Damnation of Faust;" a double chorused "Te Deum;" the "Symphony Fantastique;" the "Requiem;" and the sacred trilogy, "L'Enfance du Christ." Berlioz stands among all other composers as the foremost representative of "programme music," and has left explicit and very detailed explanations of the meaning of his works, so that the hearer may listen intelligently by seeing the external objects his music is intended to picture. In the knowledge of individual instruments and the grouping of them for effect, in warmth of imagination and brilliancy of color, and in his daring combinations and fantastic moods, which are sometimes carried to the very verge of eccentricity, he is a colossus among modern musicians. He died in Paris, March 8, 1869.

The Requiem.

Ferdinand Hiller writes in his "Künstlerleben:" "Hector Berlioz does not belong to our musical solar system; he does not belong to the planets, neither to the large nor to the small. He was a comet, shining far, somewhat eerie to look at, soon again disappearing; but his appearance will remain unforgotten." The Requiem ("Messe des Morts") exemplifies Hiller's words. It is colossal, phenomenal, and altogether unique. It is not sacred, for it never came from the heart. It is not solemn, though it is a drama of death. It is a combination [71] of the picturesque, fantastic, and sublime, in a tone-poem dedicated to the dead.

In 1836 Berlioz was requested by M. de Gasparin, Minister of the Interior, to write a requiem commemorating the victims of the July Revolution; but the work was not given to the public until 1837, when it was sung at the Invalides in memory of General Damremont and the soldiers killed at the siege of Constantina. It was subsequently asserted by Berlioz that Cherubini had conspired with others in the Conservatory to prevent its performance and to secure that of his own, by virtue of the precedence which his position gave him. The charge, however, must have been a mere fancy on his part, as he had already written a letter to Cherubini, saying:--

"I am deeply touched by the noble abnegation which leads you to refuse your admirable Requiem for the ceremony of the Invalides. Be convinced of my heartiest gratitude."

The work embraced ten numbers: I. Requiem and Kyrie ("Requiem æternam dona eis"); II., III., IV., V., and VI., including different motives taken from the hymn, "Dies Iræ;" VII. "Offertorium;" VIII. "Hostias et Preces;" IX. "Sanctus;" X. "Agnus Dei." It will be observed that the composer has not followed the formal sequences of the Mass, and that he has not only omitted some of the parts, but has also frequently taken license with those which he uses. This may be accounted for in two ways. First, he was not of a religious nature. Hiller, in the work already quoted, says of him:


"Of his Catholic education every trace had disappeared. Doubts of all sorts had possession of him, and the contempt of what he called 'prejudice' bordered on the monstrous. Berlioz believed neither in a God nor in Bach."

Second, it is evident from the construction of the work throughout that it was his purpose simply to give free rein to his fancy and to express, even at the risk of being theatrical, the emotions of sublimity, terror, and awe called up by the associations of the subject. This he could not have done with a free hand had he been bound down to the set forms of the Mass.

After a brief but majestic instrumental introduction, the voices enter upon the "Requiem,"--a beautiful and solemn strain. The movement is built upon three melodies set to the words, "Requiem æternam," "Tu decet Hymnus," and the "Kyrie," the accompaniment of which is very descriptive and characteristic. The "Kyrie" is specially impressive, the chant of the sopranos being answered by the tenors and basses in unison, and the whole closing with a dirge-like movement by the orchestra.

The "Dies Iræ" is the most spirited as well as impressive number of the work. It is intensely dramatic in its effects, indeed it might be called theatrical. Berlioz seems to have fairly exhausted the resources of instruments to produce the feeling of awful sublimity and overwhelming power, even to the verge of the most daring eccentricity and, as [73] one prominent critic expressed it, "terrible cataclysms." The first part of the "Dies Iræ" will always be remarkable for the orchestral arrangement. After the climax of the motive, "Quantus tremor est futurus," there is a pause which is significant by its very silence; it is the hush before the storm. Suddenly from either angle of the stage or hall, in addition to the principal orchestra in front, four smaller bands of trombones, trumpets, and tubas crash in with overwhelming power in the announcement of the terrors of the day of judgment. The effect is like that of peal upon peal of thunder. At its culmination the bass voices enter in unison upon the words, "Tuba mirum," in the midst of another orchestral storm, which is still further heightened by an unusual number of kettledrums. From the beginning to the close, this part of the "Dies Iræ" is simply cyclopean; words cannot describe its overwhelming power. It is a relief when the storm has passed over, and we come to the next verse ("Quid sum miser"), for the basses and tenors, though mostly for the first tenors. It is a breathing spell of quiet delight. It is given in the softest of tone, and is marked in the score to be sung with "an expression of humility and awe." It leads to the andante number ("Rex tremendæ majestatis"), which is sung fortissimo throughout, and accompanied with another tremendous outburst of harmonious thunder in crashing chords, which continues up to the last eight bars, when the voices drop suddenly from the furious fortissimo to an almost inaudible pianissimo [74] on the words "Salve me." The next verse ("Quærens me") is an unaccompanied six-part chorus in imitative style, of very close harmony. The "Dies Iræ" ends with the "Lachrymosa," the longest and most interesting number in the work. It is thoroughly melodic, and is peculiarly strengthened by a pathetic and sentimental accompaniment, which, taken in connection with the choral part against which it is set, presents an almost inexhaustible variety of rhythms and an originality of technical effects which are astonishing. Its general character is broad and solemn, and it closes with a return to the "Dies Iræ," with full chorus and all the orchestras. This finishes the "Dies Iræ" section of the work.

The next number is the "Offertorium," in which the voices are limited to a simple phrase of two notes, A alternating with B flat, which is never varied throughout the somewhat long movement. It never becomes monotonous, however, so rich and varied is the instrumentation. The "Hostias et Preces,"--sustained by the tenors and basses, a very solemn and majestic movement,--displays another of Berlioz's eccentricities, the accompaniment at the close of the first phrase being furnished by three flutes and eight tenor trombones, which one enemy of the composer says represents the distance from the sublime to the ridiculous. The "Sanctus," a tenor solo with responses by the sopranos and altos, is full of poetical, almost sensuous beauty, and is the most popular number in the [75] work. It closes with a fugue on the words "Hosanna in Excelsis." The final number is the "Agnus Dei," a chorus for male voices, in which the composer once more employs the peculiar combination of flutes and tenor trombones. In this number he also returns to the music of the opening number, "Requiem æternam," and closes it with an "Amen" softly dying away. Thus ends the Requiem,--a work which will always be the subject of critical dispute, owing to its numerous innovations on existing musical forms and the daring manner in which the composer has treated it.

The following sketch of the first performance of the Requiem, taken from Berlioz's Autobiography, will be found interesting in this connection. It is necessary to preface it with the statement that the director of the Beaux-Arts had insisted that Habeneck should conduct the work. As Berlioz had quarrelled with the old conductor, and had not been on speaking terms with him for three years, he at first refused; but subsequently consented, on condition that he should conduct at one full rehearsal. Berlioz says:--

"The day of the performance arrived in the Church of the Invalides, before all the princes, peers, and deputies, the French press, the correspondents of foreign papers, and an immense crowd. It was absolutely essential for me to have a great success; a moderate one would have been fatal, and a failure would have annihilated me altogether.

"Now, listen attentively.


"The various groups of instruments in the orchestra were tolerably widely separated, especially the four brass bands introduced in the 'Tuba mirum,' each of which occupied a corner of the entire orchestra. There is no pause between the 'Dies Iræ' and 'Tuba mirum,' but the pace of the latter movement is reduced to half what it was before. At this point the whole of the brass enters, first altogether, and then in passages, answering and interrupting, each a third higher than the last. It is obvious that it is of the greatest importance that the four beats of the new tempo should be distinctly marked, or else the terrible explosion which I had so carefully prepared, with combinations and proportions never attempted before or since, and which, rightly performed, gives such a picture of the Last Judgment as I believe is destined to live, would be a mere enormous and hideous confusion.

"With my habitual mistrust, I had stationed myself behind Habeneck, and, turning my back on him, overlooked the group of kettledrums, which he could not see, when the moment approached for them to take part in the general mêlée. There are perhaps one thousand bars in my Requiem. Precisely in that of which I have just been speaking, when the movement is retarded and the wind instruments burst in with their terrible flourish of trumpets; in fact, just in the one bar where the conductor's motion is absolutely indispensable,--Habeneck puts down his baton, quietly takes out his snuffbox, and proceeds to take a pinch of snuff. I always had my eye in his direction, and instantly turned rapidly on one heel, and, springing before him, I stretched out my arm and marked the four great beats of the new movement. The orchestras followed me each in order. I conducted the piece to [77] the end, and the effect which I had longed for was produced. When, at the last words of the chorus, Habeneck saw that the 'Tuba Mirum' was saved, he said: 'What a cold perspiration I have been in! Without you we should have been lost.' 'Yes, I know,' I answered, looking fixedly at him. I did not add another word.... Had he done it on purpose?... Could it be possible that this man had dared to join my enemy, the director, and Cherubini's friends, in plotting and attempting such rascality? I don't wish to believe it ... but I cannot doubt it. God forgive me if I am doing the man injustice!

"The success of the 'Requiem' was complete, in spite of all the conspiracies--cowardly, atrocious, officious, and official--which would fain have hindered it."



Johannes Brahms, one of the most eminent of living German composers, was born at Hamburg, May 7, 1833. His father was a double-bass player in the orchestra in that city, and devoted his son at a very early age to his own profession. His first piano teacher was Cossell; but to Eduard Marxsen, the Royal Music Director, he owes his real success as a composer. Brahms remained in Hamburg until 1853, when he went upon a concert-tour with Reményí, the eccentric and somewhat sensational Hungarian, who has been a familiar figure upon the American concert-stage. He remained with him, however, but a very short time, for in October of that year they parted company. Brahms had attracted the notice of Liszt and Joachim; and it may have been through their advice that the musical partnership was dissolved. In any event, soon after leaving Reményí he went to Düsseldorf and visited Schumann. It was the latter who announced him to the world in such strong words as these:--


"In following with the greatest interest the paths of these elect [Joachim, Naumann, Norman, Bargiel, Kirchner, Schäffer, Dietrich, and Wilsing], I thought that after such forerunners there would, and must at last, all on a sudden appear one whose mission it would be to utter the highest expression of his time in an ideal manner,--one who would attain mastery, not by degrees, but, like Minerva, would at once spring completely armed from the head of Cronion.... May the highest genius give him strength for that of which there is hope, as in him dwells also another genius, that of modesty! We bid him welcome as a strong champion."

The next year (1854) appeared his first works,--three sonatas, a trio, scherzo for piano, and three books of songs. After a visit to Liszt at Weimar, he settled down as chorus-conductor and music-teacher at the court of Lippe-Detmold, where he remained a few years. During this period he devoted himself assiduously to composition. After leaving Detmold, he successively resided in Hamburg, Zürich, and Baden-Baden, though most of his time has been spent in Vienna, where he has directed the Singakademie and the concerts of the Gesellschaft der Musikfreunde. Schumann's prophecy has been made good; Brahms is to-day one of the most eminent of living musicians. Among his most famous compositions are a Funeral Hymn for chorus and wind-band; the "German Requiem;" "Triumphlied," for double-chorus and orchestra; "Schicksallied," for chorus and orchestra; five symphonies; variations [80] on a theme of Haydn, for orchestra; the Tragic and Academic overtures; and several trios, quartets, quintets, sextets, concertos, and sonatas.

The German Requiem.

The "German Requiem," so called, is not a requiem in its sentiment, nor in any sense a religious service. The poem is full of consolation for the mourner, of assurances of joy hereafter, of warnings against the pomps and vanities of the world, and closes with the victory of the saints over death and the grave. It might with more propriety be called "a sacred cantata." The work has seven numbers,--two baritone solos and chorus, soprano solo and chorus, and four separate choruses. It was first performed at Bremen on Good Friday, 1868, and in 1873 was first heard in England. It was also given at the Cincinnati festival of 1884, under Mr. Thomas's direction.

The opening chorus ("Blessed are they that go mourning") is beautifully written, and is particularly noticeable for the richness of its accompaniment. In the Funeral March, which follows, a very graphic resemblance to the measured tread of the cortège is accomplished by the use of triple time. In this, as well as in numerous other instances, the composer cuts loose from ordinary methods, and in pure classical form and by the use of legitimate musical processes achieves what others seek to [81] effect by sensuous or purely imitative music. The third number ("Lord, make me to know the Measure of my Days on Earth") opens with a baritone solo, followed by two choral fugues, which are solidly constructed, though they are extremely difficult to sing, and call for a chorus of unusual discipline and intelligence. The fourth, for chorus ("How lovely is Thy Dwelling-place, O Lord of Hosts"), is in striking contrast with its predecessor, being a slow movement, and very melodious in style. The fifth ("Ye now are sorrowful, grieve not"), for soprano solo and chorus, shows the composer's unusual power as a song-writer, as well as his melodious attractiveness when melody answers his purpose. In the next number, set for chorus with baritone solo responses ("Here on Earth we have no continuing Place, we seek now a heavenly one"), the character of the music changes again, and the resurrection of the dead is pictured in fugal passages of tremendous power and difficulty. After the storm comes the calm again in the finale ("Blessed are the Faithful who in the Lord are sleeping"), which contains a reminiscence of the opening number, and closes the work in a gentle, but deeply serious strain. It was the "German Requiem" which first made Brahms famous; it confirmed all that Schumann had said of him. Its great difficulties require an extraordinary chorus and orchestra; but when these can be had, the power and beauty of the work will always be conceded.



Michael Costa, the eminent conductor and composer, was born at Naples, Feb. 4, 1810. Having displayed musical aptitude at a very early age, he was placed in the Royal Academy of Music. Before his twenty-first year he had composed several works, among them a mass for four voices, a "Dixit Dominus," three symphonies, an oratorio, "La Passione," the ballet music to "Kenilworth," and the operas, "Il Delitto punito," "Il Sospetto funesto," "Il carcere d' Ildegonda," and "Malvina,"--the last for the San Carlo at Naples. In 1829 he was sent to England by his master Zingarelli to conduct one of the latter's compositions at Birmingham; and that country thereafter became his home. The next year he was engaged at the King's Theatre, now known as Her Majesty's, as piano-master, and two years later became the musical director. He was the first to bring the band to its proper place, though he had to make a hard fight against the ballet, which at [83] that time threatened to absorb both singers and orchestra, and to sweep the musical drama from the stage. He succeeded, however, and did much also to improve the composition of the orchestra. While holding this position he wrote the ballets, "Une heure à Naples" and "Sir Huon" for Taglioni, and "Alma" for Cerito, the beautiful quartet, "Ecco quel fiero istante," and the operas "Malek Adhel" for Paris in 1837, and "Don Carlos" for London in 1844. He remained at Her Majesty's Theatre for fifteen years, during which time he did a great work for singers and band, and reduced the ballet to its proper rank. In 1846 he left his position and went to the new Italian opera at Covent Garden, where he remained for a quarter of a century, absolute in his musical supremacy and free to deal with all works as he pleased, among them those of Meyerbeer, at that time the most prominent composer in the operatic world; for Wagner as yet was scarcely known. It is to Costa that Meyerbeer owes his English reputation. In the same year (1846) he took the direction of the Philharmonic orchestra, and two years later that of the Sacred Harmonic Society, which he held until his death, and as conductor of which he also directed the Handel festivals. In 1849 he was engaged for the Birmingham festivals, and also conducted them until his death. In 1854 he resigned his position with the Philharmonic, and his successor, for a brief time only, was Richard Wagner. His oratorio, "Eli," was composed for the Birmingham Festival [84] of 1855, and his second oratorio, "Naaman," for the same festival in 1864. In 1869 he was knighted, and shortly afterwards, when his "Eli" was produced at Stuttgart, it won for him the royal order of Frederick from the King of Würtemberg. He also had decorations from the sovereigns of Germany, Turkey, Italy, and the Netherlands, in recognition of his musical accomplishments. In 1871 he returned again to Her Majesty's Opera in the capacity of "director of the music, composer, and conductor;" but a few years ago he again dissolved his connection with it, and devoted himself entirely to the private management and public direction of the Sacred Harmonic Society, with which he was identified for over thirty years. He died in April, 1884.


The oratorio of "Eli," the text taken from the first book of Samuel, and adapted by William Bartholomew, was first performed at the Birmingham Festival, Aug. 29, 1855, under Costa's own direction, with Mesdames Viardot and Novello and Messrs. Sims Reeves and Carl Formes in the principal parts. The characters are Eli, Elkanah, Hannah, Samuel, the Man of God, Saph the Philistine warrior, Hophni and Phinehas the sons of Eli, and the Priests and Philistines as chorus. The story is not very consistent in its outlines, and is fragmentary withal, the narrative of the child Samuel being the central theme, [85] around which are grouped the tribulations of Elkanah and Hannah, the service of Eli the priest, the revels of his profligate sons, and the martial deeds of the Philistines.

The overture opens with a pianissimo prelude for organ in chorale form, followed by an orchestral fugue well worked up, but very quiet in character. Indeed, the whole overture is mostly pianissimo. In striking contrast follows the opening recitative for bass ("Blow ye the Trumpet"), which is the signal for those instruments, and introduces the first chorus ("Let us go to pray before the Lord"), beginning with a soft staccato which gradually works up to a jubilant climax on the words "Make a joyful Noise." A tenor solo for Elkanah is interwoven with the chorus, which closes with broad, flowing harmony. The next number, a bass air with chorus ("Let the People praise Thee"), is somewhat peculiar in its construction. It begins with the air, which is slow and tender, and at the close the chorus takes it in canon form. Then Eli intones benedictions in chorale style, and the chorus responds with "Amens" in full harmony at the end of each, making a very impressive effect. It is followed by a very elaborate chorus ("Blessed be the Lord"), closing with a fugue on the word "Amen," which is very clear and well worked up. The next number is the sorrowful prayer of the barren and grieving Hannah ("Turn Thee unto me"), which is very expressive in its mournful supplication, and splendidly contrasted with her joyous song after the [86] birth of Samuel, of which mention will be made in its proper connection. Eli rebukes her, and a dialogue ensues, interrupted by the tender chorus, "The Lord is good." The dialogue form is again renewed, this time by Elkanah and Hannah, leading to a beautiful duet between them ("Wherefore is thy Soul cast down?").

The character of the music now changes as we enter upon a long drinking-chorus, with solos by the two revellers, Hophni and Phinehas ("For everything there is a Season"). The change from the seriousness of the preceding numbers is very abrupt, and the music of the chorus is decidedly of the conventional Italian drinking-song character. Eli appears and rebukes them, and after a cantabile aria ("Thou shouldst mark Iniquities"), a short chorus of Levites, for tenors and basses, ensues, introducing a simple, but well-sustained chorale for full chorus ("How mighty is Thy Name"). At this point the "Man of God" appears, rebuking the Levites for their polluted offerings. His denunciations are declaimed in strong, spirited phrases, accompanied by the chorus of the people ("They have profaned it"), beginning in unison. The scene now changes to the camp of the Philistines, where Saph, their man of war, shouts out his angry and boisterous defiance in his solo ("Philistines, hark, the Trumpet sounding"). It is followed by a choral response from the Philistines ("Speed us on to fight"), which is in the same robust and stirring style, though the general effect is theatrical and [87] somewhat commonplace. Combined with it is a choral response by the priests of Dagon, of an Oriental character. After this clash of sound follows an air of a sombre style by Eli ("Hear my Prayer, O Lord"), the introduction and accompaniment of which are very striking. The "Man of God" once more appears, announcing the approaching death of Eli's sons to a weird, sepulchral accompaniment of the reeds and trombones, and leading up to a very effective duet between them ("Lord, cause Thy Face to shine upon Thy Servant"). Another chorale ensues ("O make a joyful Noise"), and after a brief recitative Hannah has a most exultant song, overflowing with love and gratitude at the birth of Samuel ("I will extol Thee, O Lord"). The first part closes with a brief recitative between Hannah and Eli, preluding a fugued chorus ("Hosanna in the highest"), built up on two motives and one of the most elaborate numbers in the oratorio.

The second part opens with a chaste and lovely melody, the morning prayer of the child Samuel ("Lord, from my Bed again I rise"), followed with some pretty recitative between the child and his parents, and an unaccompanied quartet, set to the same choral theme that was heard in the organ prelude to the overture. The next number is the long and showy instrumental march of the Israelites, followed by two very striking choruses,--the first ("Hold not Thy Peace and be not still, O God") of which appeals for divine help against the enemy, and the second, an allegro ("O God, make them [88] like a Wheel"), leads into a fugue ("So persecute them"), which is very energetic in character, and closes with the martial hymn, "God and King of Jacob's Nation," sung to the melody of the preceding march.

The oratorio abounds in contrasts, and here occurs another, the evening prayer of Samuel ("This Night I lift my Heart to Thee"),--a pure, quiet melody, gradually dying away as he drops asleep, and followed by an angel chorus for female voices with harp accompaniment ("No Evil shall befall thee"), the effect of which is very beautiful, especially in the decrescendo at the close. A messenger suddenly arrives, announcing the defeat of Israel by the Philistines, upon which the chorus bursts out with one of the most telling numbers, both in the voice parts and the descriptiveness of the accompaniment ("Woe unto us, we are spoiled!"). Some very dramatic recitative between Samuel and Eli follows, after which the Levites join in the chorus, "Bless ye the Lord," opening with the tenors and closing in four parts, with the call of Eli intervening ("Watchmen, what of the Night?"). A long recitative by Samuel ("The Lord said"), foreshadowing the disasters to the house of Eli; an air by Eli ("Although my House be not with God"); a funeral chorus by the Israelites ("Lament with a doleful Lamentation"); further phrases of recitative announcing more defeats of Israel, the capture of the ark, the death of Eli and his sons, and an appeal by Samuel to blow the trumpet, calling [89] a solemn assembly to implore the pity of the Lord,--prepare the way for the final chorus ("Blessed be the Lord"), closing with a fugue on the word "Hallelujah."

The oratorio was first given in this country by the Boston Handel and Haydn Society, Feb. 15, 1857, under the direction of Carl Zerrahn, with Mr. Thomas Ball as Eli and also as Saph, Mr. Wilde as the Man of God, Mr. C. R. Adams as Elkanah, Mrs. Long as Hannah, and Miss Hawley in the contralto part of Samuel. Writing of that performance, Mr. Dwight, the careful and discriminating critic, summed up the work as follows: "As a whole, 'Eli' is a noble and impressive oratorio. The composition is learned and musician-like, and generally appropriate, tasteful, dignified, often beautiful, and occasionally grand. It is by no means a work of genius, but it is a work of high musical culture, and indicates a mind imbued with the best traditions and familiar with the best masters of the art, and a masterly command of all the modern musical resources, except the 'faculty divine,'"--which, we may be permitted to say, is not included in "modern musical resources." The characterization of the oratorio, however, is thoroughly pertinent and complete. It is somewhat remarkable that a work so excellent and having so many elements of popularity should not be given more frequently in this country.



Anton Dvorák, the Bohemian composer who has risen so suddenly into prominence, was born at Mülhausen, near Prague, Sept. 8, 1841. His father combined the businesses of tavern-keeper and butcher, and young Dvorák assisted him in waiting upon customers, as well as in the slaughtering business. As the laws of Bohemia stipulate that music shall be a part of common-school education, Dvorák learned the rudiments in the village school, and also received violin instruction. At the age of thirteen he went to work for an uncle who resided in a village where the schoolmaster was a proficient musician. The latter, recognizing his ability, gave him lessons on the organ, and allowed him to copy music. Piano-lessons followed, and he had soon grounded himself quite thoroughly in counterpoint. At the age of sixteen he was admitted to the organ-school at Prague, of which Joseph Pitsch was the principal. Pitsch died shortly after, and was succeeded by Kreyci, who made Dvorák acquainted with the music of Mozart, Beethoven, and Mendelssohn. [91] The first orchestral work which he heard was Beethoven's "Ninth Symphony," during its rehearsal under Spohr's direction. In 1860, being then in his nineteenth year, he obtained an engagement, with the meagre salary of $125 a year, as violinist in a band that played at cafés and dances. Two years later he secured a position in the Bohemian Opera-House at Prague, then under the direction of Mayer, where he remained until 1871, in which year he left the theatre and devoted himself to teaching, with the prospect of earning $250 a year. These were hard days for the young musician; but while he was thus struggling for a bare subsistence he continued writing compositions, though he had no prospect of selling them or of having them played. One writer remarks on this point: "It is far from difficult to compare him in this respect with that marvellous embodiment of patience and enthusiasm, Franz Schubert; only, more fortunate than the Viennese master, the Bohemian has lived to receive his reward. Between these two men another point of resemblance appears. Neither can be charged with pushing or intriguing himself into prominence. Schubert had plenty of artistic ambition, but of personal ambition none; while the quality he so entirely lacked cannot be accredited to Dvorák, who spent the best part of his life in the enjoyment of merely local fame." About this time he wrote his "Patriotic Hymn" and the opera "König und Köhler." The latter was rejected after an orchestral trial; but he continued his work, undaunted by [92] failure. Shortly after this he received the appointment of organist at the Adelbert Church, Prague, and fortune began to smile upon him. His symphony in F was laid before the Minister of Instruction in Vienna, and upon the recommendation of Herbeck secured him a grant of $200. When Brahms replaced Herbeck on the committee which reported upon artists' stipends, he fully recognized Dvorák's ability, and not only encouraged him, but also brought him before the world by securing him a publisher and commending him to Joachim, who still further advanced his interests by securing performances of his works in Germany and England. Since that time he has risen rapidly, and is now recognized as one of the most promising of living composers. Among his works which have been produced during the past few years are the "Stabat Mater," the cantata "The Spectre Bride," three operas in the Czechist dialect, three orchestral symphonies, several Slavonic rhapsodies, overtures, violin and piano concertos, an exceedingly beautiful sextet, and numerous songs.

The Stabat Mater.

Dvorák's "Stabat Mater" was written in 1875. It was sent to the Austrian Minister of Instruction, but was not deemed worthy of the grant of $200 which the composer had expected. Its merit was subsequently recognized by Brahms and Joachim, [93] and the latter secured a hearing of it in London in 1883. It immediately made its composer famous. The Philharmonic Society invited him to London, and the work was given with great success at the Albert Hall, and later at the Worcester and Hereford festivals. It was in England indeed that his celebrity was established, and for that country all his new works are now written.

The "Stabat Mater" is written for soli, chorus, and orchestra, and comprises ten numbers. The first is the quartet and chorus, "Stabat Mater dolorosa," and carries the old Latin hymn as far as the "Quis est homo." After an orchestral introduction which gives out the principal motives on which the number is based, the vocal quartet begins. The materials of which it is composed are very simple, but they are worked up with great technical skill. The general effect is tragic rather than pathetic, as if the composer were contemplating not so much the grief of the Virgin Mother at the foot of the Cross as the awful nature of the tragedy itself and its far-reaching consequences.

The second number is the quartet "Quis est homo." After a short introduction, the theme is taken by the alto, followed by the tenor and bass, and lastly by the soprano, the general structure growing more elaborate at each entrance. After the second subject is introduced a splendid climax is reached, and in the coda the voices whisper the words "vidit suum" to an accompaniment of wind instruments in sustained and impressive chords.


The third number, "Eia Mater," is built up on an exceedingly brief motive, which is augmented with surprising power in choral form. It is a work of scholarly skill, and yet is full of charm and grace, and will always commend itself even to the untutored hearer by its tenderness and pathetic beauty.

The fourth number, "Fac ut ardeat cor meum," for bass solo and chorus, like the third is most skilfully constructed out of small materials, and has a fine contrast between the solo and the chorus, which at its entrance is assigned to the female voices only, with organ accompaniment.

The fifth number is the chorus "Tui nati vulnerati," which is remarkable for the smooth and flowing manner in which its two subjects are treated.

The sixth number, "Fac me vere tecum flere," for tenor solo and chorus, is very elaborate in its construction. A stately theme is given out by the tenor, repeated in three-part harmony by male voices, the accompaniment being independent in form; the subject then returns, first for solo, and then for male voices, in varying harmonies. After a brief vocal episode the subject reappears in still different form, and, followed by the episode worked up at length in a coda, brings the number to its close.

The seventh number, "Virgo, virgonum præclara," for full chorus, is marked by great simplicity and tenderness, and will always be one of the most popular sections of the work.

The eighth number, "Fac ut portem," is a duet for soprano and tenor, responsive in character, and [95] constructed on very simple phrases presented in varying forms both by the voices and orchestra.

The ninth number, "Inflammatus et accensus," is one of the most masterly in the whole work. It is an alto solo composed of two subjects, the first very majestic, and the second pathetic in character, forming a contrast of great power and beauty.

The tenth and closing number, "Quando corpus morietur," for quartet and chorus, is constructed substantially upon the same themes which appeared in the "Stabat Mater," and closes with an "Amen" of a massive character, exhibiting astonishing contrapuntal skill. One of the best English critics says of the whole work:--

"The 'Stabat Mater' approaches as near to greatness as possible, if it be not actually destined to rank among world-renowned masterpieces. It is fresh and new, while in harmony with the established canons of art; and though apparently labored and over-developed in places, speaks with the force and directness of genius."



Charles François Gounod was born in Paris, June 17, 1818. His fame has been made world-wide by the extraordinary success of his opera "Faust," and yet more than almost any other operatic composer of modern times he has devoted himself to sacred music. His earlier studies were pursued in Paris at the Conservatory, under the tuition of Paër and Lesueur, and in 1839 the receipt of the Grand Prix gave him the coveted opportunity to go to Italy. In the atmosphere of Rome religious influences made a strong impression upon him. He devoted himself assiduously to the study of Palestrina, and among his first important compositions were a mass performed at the Church of San Luigi dei Francesi in 1841, and a second, written without accompaniment, which was given in Vienna two years later. On his return to Paris, religious ideas still retained their sway over him, and he became organist and conductor at the Missions étrangères. He even contemplated taking orders, and attended a theological course for two years. In 1846 he [97] became a pupil at the Séminaire; but at last he gave up his priestly intentions and devoted himself wholly to musical composition, though he has been, if not a devotee, a religious enthusiast all his life, and that too in the midst of a peculiarly worldly career. It was about this period that he wrote his "Messe Solenelle" in G,--the first of his compositions that was ever produced in England. It was cordially received, and he was universally recognized as a promising musician. For many years succeeding this event he devoted himself mainly to secular music, and opera after opera rapidly came from his pen,--"Sappho" (1851); "Nonne Sanglante" (1854); "Le Médecin malgré lui" (1858); "Faust," his greatest work, and one of the most successful of modern operas (1859); "Philémon et Baucis" (1860); "Reine de Saba" (1862); "Mireille" (1864); "La Colombe" (1866); "Roméo et Juliette" (1867); "Cinq Mars" (1877), and "Polyeucte" (1878). Notwithstanding the attention he gave to opera and to much other secular music, he found ample time for the composition of sacred works. In 1852, while in Paris, he became conductor of the Orphéon, and for the pupils of that institution he composed two masses. He has also written a great number of pieces for choir use which are very popular, and deservedly so, particularly the beautiful song "Nazareth." Among his larger works are a "Stabat Mater," with orchestral accompaniment; the oratorio "Tobie;" a "De Profundis" [98] and an "Ave Verum;" and the two oratorios, "The Redemption," performed at Birmingham in 1882, and "Mors et Vita," brought out at the same place in 1885. The composer is now engaged upon the scheme of a new oratorio, the career of Joan of Arc being its subject. It may be said in closing this sketch, which has been mainly confined to a consideration of his sacred compositions, as his operatic career has been fully treated in "Standard Operas," that in 1873 he wrote the incidental music to Jules Barbier's tragedy, "Jeanne d'Arc," which may have inspired his determination to write an oratorio on the same subject.

The Redemption.

"The Redemption, a Sacred Trilogy," is the title which Gounod gave to this work, and on its opening page he wrote: "The work of my life." In a note appended to his description of its contents he says:--

"It was during the autumn of the year 1867 that I first thought of composing a musical work on the Redemption. I wrote the words at Rome, where I passed two months of the winter 1867-68 with my friend Hébert, the celebrated painter, at that time director of the Academy of France. Of the music I then composed only two fragments: first, 'The March to Calvary' in its entirety; second, the opening of the first division of the third part, 'The Pentecost.' Twelve [99] years afterwards I finished the work, which had so long been interrupted, with a view to its being performed at the festival at Birmingham in 1882."

It was brought out, as he contemplated, in August of that year, and the production was a memorable one. It was first heard in this country in the winter of 1883-84 under Mr. Theodore Thomas's direction, and was one of the prominent works in his series of festivals in the latter year.

Gounod himself has prefaced the music with an admirably concise description of the text and its various subjects. Of its general contents he says:

"This work is a lyrical setting forth of the three great facts on which depends the existence of the Christian Church. These facts are,--first, the passion and the death of the Saviour; second, his glorious life on earth from his resurrection to his ascension; third, the spread of Christianity in the world through the mission of the Apostles. These three parts of the present trilogy are preceded by a prologue on the creation, the fall of our first parents, and the promise of a redeemer."

The divisions of the work are as follows:--

Prologue.--The Creation.
Part I.--Calvary.
Part II.--From the Resurrection to the Ascension.
Part III.--The Pentecost.

The prologue comprises the Mosaic account of the creation and fall of man, involving the necessity [100] of divine mediation, the promise of redemption, and the annunciation of the mystery of the incarnation of the Holy Virgin. After a brief instrumental introduction, descriptive of chaos, the tenor Narrator announces the completion of creation in recitative, followed by a similar declamation from the bass Narrator announcing the fall of man, the tenor Narrator answering with the announcement of the Redeemer's advent ("But of the Spotless Lamb"), in which we have for the first time a genuine Wagnerian leit motif, which runs through the music of the oratorio whenever allusion is made to the divine atonement. This typical melody is heard nine times,--three times in the prologue, twice in the scene of the crucifixion, once in our Saviour's promise to the thieves on the cross, once in his appearance to the holy women, and twice in the ascension. It is first given out as a violin solo, and at the close of the tenor recitative is repeated by all the strings, leading to the mystic chorale, "The Earth is my Possession," to be sung by a celestial choir of twenty-eight voices. At its close the typical melody is introduced in responsive form between flute and clarinet. To the first, the angelic message of the annunciation, Gounod has affixed the title, "Ave, gratia plena;" and to the second, the reply of Mary, "Fiat mihi secundum verbum tuum."

The first part includes the march to Calvary, which is divided into six separate numbers, yet so connected as to make a single musical series,--the [101] crucifixion, Mary at the foot of the cross, the dying thieves, the death of Jesus, and the confession of his divinity by the centurion. It opens with the story of the condemnation of the Man of Sorrows by Pilate, told by the bass Narrator, the words of Jesus himself, however, being used invariably in the first person, and sung by the baritone voice, as when he says, "If my Deeds have been evil," immediately following the bass recitative. After another monologue by the Narrator, ensues the march to the cross,--an instrumental number which is brilliant in its color effects and somewhat barbaric in tone. Without any break, the sopranos enter with the words, "Forth the Royal Banners go," set to a melody from the Roman Catholic liturgy; after which the march is resumed. The bass Narrator tells the story of the women who followed lamenting, interrupted by a semi-chorus of sopranos singing the lament, and by the words of Jesus, "Ye Daughters of Israel, weep not for me." Again the march is heard, and the sopranos resume ("Forth the Royal Banners go"). The tenor Narrator recites the preparation for the crucifixion, accompanied by very descriptive music, and followed by a stormy chorus of the People ("Ha! thou that didst declare"), and the mocking cries of the priests ("Can he now save himself?"), sung by a male chorus. In a pathetic monologue Jesus appeals for their pardon, which leads to an elaborate concerted number for chorus or quartet, called "The Reproaches." A conversation ensues between [102] Jesus and Mary, followed by the quartet, "Beside the Cross remaining," in canon form, preluding the chorale, "While my Watch I am keeping," at first sung by Mary, and then taken up by the full chorus, accompanied by organ, trombones, and trumpets. The next scene is that between Jesus and the two Thieves, which also leads to a chorale ("Lord Jesus, thou to all bringest Light and Salvation"). This number contains the last touch of brightness in the first part. Immediately the bass Narrator announces the approach of the awful tragedy. The gathering darkness is pictured by a vivid passage for strings and clarinet, succeeded by the agonizing cries of the Saviour. The bass Narrator declares the consummation of the tragedy, and then with the tenor Narrator describes the throes of Nature ("And then the Air was filled with a Murmur unwonted"), the rending of the veil of the Temple, the breaking of the rocks, the earthquake, and the visions of the saintly apparitions. The last number is the conviction of the centurion, followed by a short chorale ("For us the Christ is made a Victim availing").

The second part includes the announcement of the doctrine of the resurrection by the mystic chorus, the appearance of the Angel to the Holy Women at the sepulchre, that of Jesus to them while on the way to Galilee, the consternation of the Sanhedrim when it is learned that the tomb is empty, the meeting of the Holy Women and the Apostles, the appearance of Jesus to the latter, and [103] his final ascension. It opens with a chorus for the mystic choir ("Saviour of Men"), followed by a short pastorale with muted strings and leading to a trio for the three Women ("How shall we by ourselves have Strength to roll away the Stone?"). Their apprehensions are removed by the tenor Narrator and the message of the Angel interwoven with the harp and conveyed in the beautiful aria, "Why seek ye the Living among the Dead?" Jesus at last reveals himself to the Women with the words, "All hail! Blessed are ye Women," accompanied by the typical melody, of which mention has already been made. The three Women disappear on the way to convey his message to the Disciples, and the scene changes to the Sanhedrim, where, in a tumultuous and agitated chorus for male voices ("Christ is risen again"), the story of the empty tomb is told by the Watchers. The bass Narrator relates the amazement of the priests and elders, and their plot to bribe the guard, leading to the chorus for male voices ("Say ye that in the Night his Disciples have come and stolen him away"), at the close of which ensues a full, massive chorus ("Now, behold ye the Guard, this, your Sleep-vanquished Guard"), closing with the denunciation in unison ("For Ages on your Heads shall Contempt be outpoured"). The tenor and bass Narrators in duet tell of the sorrow of the Disciples, which prepares the way for a lovely trio for first and second soprano and alto ("The Lord he has risen again"). The next number is one of the most effective in the whole work,--a [104] soprano obligato solo, accompanied by the full strength of chorus and orchestra, to the words:

"From thy love as a Father,

O Lord, teach us to gather

That life will conquer death.

They who seek things eternal

Shall rise to light supernal

On wings of lovely faith."

In the close the effect is sublime, the climax reaching to C in alt with the full power of the accompanying forces. Then follows a dialogue between the Saviour and his Apostles, in which he gives them their mission to the world. The finale then begins with a massive chorus ("Unfold, ye Portals everlasting"). The celestial chorus above, accompanied by harps and trumpets, inquire, "But who is he, the King of Glory?" The answer comes in a stately unison by the terrestrial chorus, "He who Death overcame." Again the question is asked, and again it is answered; whereupon the two choirs are massed in the jubilant chorus, "Unfold! for lo the King comes nigh!" the full orchestra and organ sounding the Redemption melody, and the whole closing with a fanfare of trumpets.

The third part includes the prophecy of the millennium, the descent of the Holy Ghost to the Apostles, the Pentecostal manifestations, and the Hymn of the Apostles. The latter is so important that the composer's own analysis is appended:--


"This division of the third part of the work, the last and one of the most highly developed of the trilogy, comprises seven numbers, and gives a summary of the Christian faith.

"1. The Apostles first proclaim the three great doctrines of the Incarnation of the Word, his eternal generation, and his continual presence with his Church. This first number is written in a style which is intended to recall the form and rhythm of the chants called 'Proses' in the Catholic liturgy.

"2. Quartet and Chorus. 'By faith salvation comes, and by peace consolation.'

"3. Chorus. His power manifested by miracles.

"4. Quartet. 'O come to me, all ye that are sad and that weep.'

"5. Semi-Chorus. The Beatitudes.

"6. Repetition of the theme of No. 1, with the whole choir, the orchestra, and the great organ.

"7. Final Coda. Glorification of the Most Holy Trinity throughout all ages."

This part of the oratorio, after a short instrumental prelude, opens with a brief chorus ("Lovely appear over the Mountains"), followed by a soprano solo, the only distinct number of that kind in the work, set to the words, "Over the barren Wastes shall Flowers have possession," at its close the chorus resuming in unison, "Lovely appear over the Mountains." The next number is "The Apostles in Prayer," an instrumental sketch, followed by the Narrators relating the descent of the Holy Spirit. Without break, the Apostles' Hymn begins, tenors and basses in unison ("The Word is Flesh [106] become") leading into the quartet of solo voices ("By Faith Salvation comes, and by Peace, Consolation"). The chorus responds antiphonally, and again the solo voices are heard in a lovely quartet ("He has said to all the Unhappy"), followed by a small choir of thirty voices ("Blessed are the poor in Spirit"), at the end of which all the voices are massed on the Apostles' Hymn, which closes in fugal form on the words, "He like the Holy Ghost is one with the Father, an everlasting Trinity," the whole ending in massive chords.

Mors et Vita.

The oratorio "Mors et Vita" ("Death and Life") is the continuation of "The Redemption," and, like that work also, is a trilogy. It was first performed at the Birmingham Festival, Aug. 26, 1885, under the direction of Herr Hans Richter, the principal parts being sung by Mesdames Albani and Patey and Messrs. Santley and Lloyd. Its companion oratorio, "The Redemption," was dedicated to Queen Victoria, and itself to His Holiness Pope Leo XIII. In his preface to the work, Gounod says:--

"It will perhaps be asked why, in the title, I have placed death before life, although in the order of temporal things life precedes death. Death is only the end of that existence which dies each day; it is only the end of a continual 'dying.' But it is the first [107] moment, and, as it were, the birth of that which dies no more. I cannot here enter into a detailed analysis of the different musical forms which express the meaning and idea of this work. I do not wish to expose myself to the reproach either of pretension or subtlety. I shall therefore confine myself to pointing out the essential features of the ideas I have wished to express,--that is to say, the tears which death causes us to shed here below; the hope of a better life; the solemn dread of unerring justice; the tender and filial trust in eternal love."

The composer further calls attention in his preface to the use of representative themes, an illustration of which was also noted in "The Redemption." The first one, consisting of four notes, presenting a sequence of three major seconds, is intended to express "the terror inspired by the sense of the inflexibility of justice and, in consequence, by that of the anguish of punishment. Its sternness gives expression both to the sentences of divine justice and the sufferings of the condemned, and is found in combination throughout the whole work, with melodic forms which express sentiments altogether different, as in the 'Sanctus' and the 'Pie Jesu' in the 'Requiem,' which forms the first part." It is first heard in the opening chorus, and for the last time in the quartet of the third part. The second melodic form, expressive of sorrow and tears, by the change of a single note and the use of the major key is made to express consolation and joy. "The third," says Gounod, "by means of threefold [108] superposition, results in the interval of an augmented fifth, and announces the awakening of the dead at the terrifying call of the angelic trumpets, of which Saint Paul speaks in one of his epistles to the Corinthians."

The oratorio is divided into a prologue and three parts, the Latin text being used throughout. The first part is entitled "Mors," and opens with the prologue, which is brief, followed by the "Requiem," interspersed with texts of a reflective character commenting upon the sentiment. The second part is entitled "Judicium" ("Judgment"), and includes (1) The Sleep of the Dead; (2) The Trumpets at the Last Judgment; (3) The Resurrection of the Dead; (4) The Judge; (5) The Judgment of the Elect; (6) The Judgment of the Rejected. The third part is entitled "Vita," and includes the vision of Saint John, the text being taken from the Apocalypse; the work closing with an "Hosanna in Excelsis," exulting in the glorious vision of the heavenly Jerusalem.

The prologue, which is sustained by the chorus and baritone solo, declares the terrors of death and the judgment. The chorus intones the words, "It is a Fearful Thing to fall into the Hands of the Living God," and in this phrase is heard the chief motive, heavily accented by the percussion instruments,--the motive which typifies death both of the body and of the unredeemed soul. Immediately after follows the baritone voice, that of Jesus, in the familiar words, "I am the Resurrection and the [109] Life." The chorus repeats the declaration, and the Requiem Mass then begins, divided into various sections, of which the "Dies Iræ" is the most important; this in turn subdivided in the conventional form. After an adagio prelude and the intonation of the "Requiem æternam," an interpolated text occurs ("From the Morning Watch till the Evening"), set as a double chorus without accompaniment, in the genuine Church style of the old masters. It leads directly to the "Dies Iræ," in which the death motive already referred to frequently occurs. It is laid out in duets, quartets, and arias, with and without chorus, very much in the same tempo and of the same character of melody. The verse, "Ah! what shall we then be pleading?" for quartet and chorus, is remarkable for its attractive melody. It is followed by a soprano solo and chorus ("Happy are we, with such a Saviour") of a reflective character, which gives out still another very tuneful melody. The hymn is then resumed with the verse, "Faint and worn, thou yet hast sought us," for duet and chorus, which is of the same general character. The next verse, "Lord, for Anguish hear us moaning," for quartet and chorus, is very effective and elaborate in its construction, particularly as compared with that immediately following ("With the Faithful deign to place us"), a tenor solo of a quaint and pastoral character. The next number for chorus ("While the wicked are confounded") affords still another striking contrast, being in the grandiose style and [110] very dramatic, closing with phrases for the solo voices expressive of submission and contrition. Up to this point the "Dies Iræ" has been monotonous in its sameness of general style; but the next verse ("Day of Weeping, Day of Mourning") is a beautiful and thoroughly original number of very striking effect. It leads directly to the offertory ("O Lord Jesus Christ, King of Glory"), which is composed of a chorus for eight parts, a soprano solo ("But, Lord, do thou bring them evermore"), a chorus ("Which once to Abraham"), and a second chorus ("Sacrifice of Prayer and Praise"). The soprano solo is a delightful melody, sung to a delicate accompaniment of the strings, with occasional chords on the harp, and based upon the beautiful second typical motive, which the composer styles "The Motive of Happiness." The chorus, "Which once to Abraham," is set in fugue form, which is the conventional style among composers with this number; but, as in "The Redemption," whenever Gounod employs the fugue form, he drops it as soon as the four voices have fairly launched themselves.

The next number is the "Sanctus,"--a beautiful tenor aria with chorus, full of that sweetness which is so characteristic of Gounod. It is followed by the quartet, "Mighty Saviour, Jesus blest," which is deeply religious in character; the lovely soprano solo and chorus, "Agnus Dei;" and the chorus, "Lord, forever let Light Eternal." The first part is rounded off with an epilogue, an interlude for full orchestra and organ, based upon the first and [111] second typical melodies, forming a consistent and stately finale to this part of the work.

The second part is peculiar for the prominence which the composer assigns to the orchestra. It opens with a well-sustained, gentle adagio movement, entitled "The Sleep of the Dead," which at times is somewhat harshly interrupted by the third typical melody, announcing the awakening of the dead at the terrifying call of the angelic trumpets. This is specially noticeable in that part of the prelude called "The Trumpet of the Last Judgment," in which the trombones, trumpets, and tubas are employed with extraordinary effect. Still a third phrase of the prelude occurs,--"The Resurrection of the Dead,"--which is smooth and flowing in its style, and peculiarly rich in harmony. A brief recitative by baritone ("But when the Son of Man") intervenes, immediately followed by another instrumental number, entitled "Judex" ("The Judge"),--one of the most effective pieces of orchestration in the oratorio, based upon the motive which indicates the tempering of justice with mercy, given out by the strings in unison. It preludes a short chorus ("Sitting upon the Throne"), the previous melody still continuing in the orchestra. The "Judgment of the Elect" follows, pronounced by the baritone voice in recitative, and leading directly to the soprano solo, "The Righteous shall enter into Glory eternal,"--the most exquisite solo number in the work,--followed by an effective chorale ("In Remembrance everlasting"). Then follows "The Judgment of the [112] Rejected," consisting of baritone solos and chorus, closing the second part.

The third part celebrates the delights of the celestial city as pictured in the apocalyptic vision of Saint John, and is in marked contrast to the gloom and sombreness of the Requiem music, as well as the terrors of the Judgment. It is bright, jubilant, and exultant throughout. The title of the prelude is "New Heaven, New Earth." The baritone intones the recitative ("And I saw the New Heaven"), which is followed by another delightful sketch for the orchestra ("Celestial Jerusalem"),--a most vivid and graphic picture of the subject it describes. The remaining prominent numbers are the "Sanctus" chorus, the celestial chorus ("I am Alpha and Omega"), and the final chorus ("Hosanna in Excelsis"), which closes this remarkable work.

The weakest part of the oratorio is the "Requiem," which suffers from the monotony of its divisions, especially when compared with the treatment of requiems by the great composers who have made them a special study. As compared with the "Redemption," however, it is more interesting, because it is more melodious and less cumbered with recitative. It is also peculiarly noticeable for the free manner in which the composer uses the orchestra, and the skill with which the typical melodies are employed, as compared with which the solitary "Redemption" motive seems weak and thin. Both works are full of genuine religious sentiment, and taken together cover almost the entire [113] scope of human aspiration so far as it relates to the other world. No composer has conceived a broader scheme for oratorio. Though Gounod does not always reach the sublime and majestic heights of the old masters in sacred music, yet the feeling manifested in these works is never anything but religious; the hearer is always surrounded by an atmosphere of devotion.



George Frederick Handel was born at Halle, in Lower Saxony, Feb. 23, 1685, and, like many another composer, revealed his musical promise at a very early age, only to encounter parental opposition. His father intended him to be a lawyer; but Nature had her way, and in spite of domestic antagonism triumphed. The Duke of Saxe-Weissenfels recognized his ability and overcame the father's determination. Handel began his studies with Zachau, organist of the Halle cathedral. After the death of his father, in 1697, he went to Hamburg, and for a time played in the orchestra of the German opera. It was during his residence in that city that he wrote his first opera, "Almira" (1705). In the following year he went to Italy, where he remained several months under the patronage of the Grand Duke of Florence. During the next two years he visited Venice, Rome, and Naples, and wrote several operas and minor oratorios. In 1709 he returned to Germany, and the Elector of Hanover, subsequently George I. of England, [115] offered him the position of Capellmeister, which he accepted upon the condition that he might visit England, having received many invitations from that country. The next year he arrived in London and brought out his opera of "Rinaldo," which proved a great success. At the end of six months he was obliged to return to his position in Hanover; but his English success made him impatient of the dulness of the court. In 1712 he was in London again, little dreaming that the Elector would soon follow him as king. Incensed with him for leaving Hanover, the King at first refused to receive him; but some music which Handel composed for an aquatic fête in his honor brought about the royal reconciliation. In 1718 he accepted the position of chapel-master to the Duke of Chandos, for whom he wrote the famous Chandos Te Deum and Anthems, the serenata "Acis and Galatea," and "Esther," his first English oratorio. In 1720 he was engaged as director of Italian opera by the society of noblemen known as the Royal Academy of Music, and from that time until 1740 his career was entirely of an operatic character. Opera after opera came from his pen. Some were successful, others failed. At first composer, then director, he finally became impresario, only to find himself confronted with bitter rivalry, especially at the hands of Buononcini and Porpora. Cabals were instituted against him. Unable to contend with them alone, he formed a partnership with Heidegger, proprietor of the King's Theatre, in 1729. It was broken in [116] 1734, and he took the management of Covent Garden. The Italian conspiracies against him broke out afresh. He failed in his undertaking, and became a bankrupt. In eight years he had lost $51,000 in Italian opera. Slanders of all sorts were circulated against him, and his works were no longer well received. In the midst of his adversity sickness overtook him, ending with a partial stroke of paralysis. When sufficiently recovered, he went to the Continent, where he remained for a few months. On his return to London he brought out some new works, but they were not favorably received. A few friends who had remained faithful to him persuaded him to give a benefit concert, which was a great success. It inspired him with fresh courage; but he did not again return to the operatic world. Thenceforward he devoted himself to oratorio, in which he made his name famous for all time. He himself said: "Sacred music is best suited to a man descending in the vale of years." "Saul" and the colossal "Israel in Egypt," written in 1740, head the list of his wonderful oratorios. In 1741 he was invited to visit Ireland. He went there in November, and many of his works were produced during the winter and received with great enthusiasm. In April, 1742, his immortal "Messiah" was brought out at Dublin. It was followed by "Samson," "Joseph," "Semele," "Belshazzar," and "Hercules," which were also successful; but even in the midst of his oratorio work his rivals did not cease their conspiracies against [117] him, and in 1744 he was once more a bankrupt. For over a year his pen was idle. In 1746 the "Occasional Oratorio" and "Judas Maccabæus" appeared, and these were speedily followed by "Joshua," "Solomon," "Susanna," "Theodora," and "Jephtha." It was during the composition of the last-named work that he was attacked with the illness which finally proved fatal. He died April 14, 1759, and was buried in Westminster Abbey. During the last few days of his life he was heard to express the wish that he "might breathe his last on Good Friday, in hopes of meeting his good God, his sweet Lord and Saviour, on the day of his resurrection." The wish was granted him; for it was on Good Friday that he passed away, leaving behind him a name and fame that will be cherished so long as music retains its power over the human heart.

Israel in Egypt.

"Israel in Egypt," the fifth of the nineteen oratorios which Handel composed in England, was written in 1738. The Exodus, which is now the second part, was written between the 1st and the 11th of October, and was superscribed, "Moses' Song, Exodus, Chap. xv., begun Oct. 1, 1738;" and at the close was written, "Fine, Oct. 11, 1738." It is evident from this that the work was at first written as a cantata, but that Handel on reflection [118] decided that the plagues of Egypt would not only be a good subject, but would also prove a logical historical introduction to the second part. Four days later he began the first part, and finished it on the 1st of November,--the composition of the whole of this colossal work thus occupying but twenty-seven days. It was first performed as "Israel in Egypt," April 4, 1739, at the King's Theatre, of which Handel was then manager. It was given the second time April 11, "with alterations and additions," the alterations having been made in order to admit of the introduction of songs. The third performance took place April 17, upon which occasion the "Funeral Anthem," which he had written for Queen Caroline, was used as a first part and entitled, "Lamentations of the Israelites for the Death of Joseph." During the lifetime of Handel the oratorio was only performed nine times, for in spite of its excellence, it was a failure. For many years after his death it was produced in mutilated form; but in 1849 the Sacred Harmonic Society of London gave it as it was originally written and as we know it now, without the Funeral Anthem or any of the songs which had been introduced.

The text of the oratorio is supposed to have been written by Handel himself, though the words are taken literally from the Bible. Schoelcher says:

"The manuscript does not contain any of the names of the personages. Nevertheless, the handbook, which includes the extracts from Solomon for [119] the first parts, has in this part the names of personages (High Priest, Joseph, Israelite woman, Israelite man), as if the composer wished to throw it into a dramatic form. The words in their Biblical simplicity form a poem eminently dramatic."

The first part opens with the wail of the Israelites over the burdens imposed upon them by their Egyptian taskmasters, and then in rapid succession follow the plagues,--the water of the Nile turned to blood, the reptiles swarming even into the king's chambers, the pestilence scourging man and beast, the insect-cloud heralding the locusts, the pelting hail and the fire running along the ground, the thick darkness, and the smiting of the first-born. Then come the passage of the Red Sea and the escape from bondage, closing the first part. The second part opens with the triumphant song of Moses and the Children of Israel rejoicing over the destruction of Pharaoh's host, and closes with the exultant strain of Miriam the prophetess, "Sing ye to the Lord, for He hath triumphed gloriously; the Horse and his Rider hath He thrown into the Sea."

"Israel in Egypt" is essentially a choral oratorio. It comprises no less than twenty-eight massive double choruses, linked together by a few bars of recitative, with five arias and three duets interspersed among them. Unlike Handel's other oratorios, there is no overture or even prelude to the work. Six bars of recitative for tenor ("Now there arose a new King over Egypt which knew not [120] Joseph") suffice to introduce it, and lead directly to the first double chorus ("And the Children of Israel sighed"), the theme of which is first given out by the altos of one choir with impressive pathos. The chorus works up to a climax of great force on the phrase, "And their Cry came up unto God," the two choruses developing with consummate power the two principal subjects,--first, the cry for relief, and second, the burden of oppression; and closing with the phrase above mentioned, upon which they unite in simple but majestic harmony. Then follow eight more bars of recitative for tenor, and the long series of descriptive choruses begins, in which Handel employs the imitative power of music in the boldest manner. The first is the plague of the water turned to blood, "They loathed to drink of the River,"--a single chorus in fugue form, based upon a theme which is closely suggestive of the sickening sensations of the Egyptians, and increases in loathsomeness to the close, as the theme is variously treated. The next number is an aria for mezzo soprano voice ("Their Land brought forth Frogs"), the air itself serious and dignified, but the accompaniment imitative throughout of the hopping of these lively animals. It is followed by the plague of insects, whose afflictions are described by the double chorus. The tenors and basses in powerful unison declare, "He spake the Word," and the reply comes at once from the sopranos and altos, "And there came all Manner of Flies," set to a shrill, buzzing, whirring accompaniment, which increases [121] in volume and energy as the locusts appear, but bound together solidly with the phrase of the tenors and basses frequently repeated, and presenting a sonorous background to this fancy of the composer in insect imitation. From this remarkable chorus we pass to another still more remarkable, the familiar Hailstone Chorus ("He gave them Hailstones for Rain"), which, like the former, is closely imitative. Before the two choirs begin, the orchestra prepares the way for the on-coming storm. Drop by drop, spattering, dashing, and at last crashing, comes the storm, the gathering gloom rent with the lightning, the "fire that ran along upon the ground," and the music fairly quivering and crackling with the wrath of the elements. But the storm passes, the gloom deepens, and we are lost in that vague, uncertain combination of tones where voices and instruments seem to be groping about, comprised in the marvellously expressive chorus, "He sent a Thick Darkness over all the Land." From the oppression of this choral gloom we emerge, only to encounter a chorus of savage, unrelenting retribution ("He smote all the First-born of Egypt"). Chorley admirably describes the motive of this great fugue:--

"It is fiercely Jewish. There is a touch of Judith, of Jael, of Deborah in it,--no quarter, no delay, no mercy for the enemies of the Most High; 'He smote.' And when for variety's sake the scimitar-phrase is transferred from orchestra to voices, it is admirable to see how the same character of the falchion--of hip-and-thigh [122] warfare, of victory predominant--is sustained in the music till the last bar. If we have from Handel a scorn-chorus in the 'Messiah,' and here a disgust-chorus, referred to a little while since,[3] this is the execution, or revenge chorus,--the chorus of the unflinching, inflexible, commissioned Angels of the Sword."

After their savage mission is accomplished, we come to a chorus in pastoral style ("But as for His People, He led them forth like Sheep"), slow, tender, serene, and lovely in its movement, and grateful to the ear both in its quiet opening and animated, happy close, after the terrors which have preceded it. The following chorus ("Egypt was glad"), usually omitted in performance, is a fugue, both strange and intricate, which it is claimed Handel appropriated from an Italian canzonet by Kerl. The next two numbers are really one. The two choruses intone the words, "He rebuked the Red Sea," in a majestic manner, accompanied by a few massive chords, and then pass to the glorious march of the Israelites, "He led them through the Deep,"--a very elaborate and complicated number, but strong, forcible, and harmonious throughout, and held together by the stately opening theme with which the basses ascend. It is succeeded by another graphic chorus ("But the Waters overwhelmed their Enemies"), in which the roll and dash of the billows closing over Pharaoh's hosts are closely imitated [123] by the instruments, and through which in the close is heard the victorious shout of the Israelites, "There was not one of them left." Two more short choruses,--the first, "And Israel saw that Great Work," which by many critics is not believed to be a pure Handel number, and its continuation, "And believed the Lord," written in church style, close this extraordinary chain of choral pictures.

The second part, "The Song of Moses,"--which, it will be remembered, was written first,--opens with a brief but forcible orchestral prelude, leading directly to the declaration by the chorus, "Moses and the Children of Israel sang this Song," which, taken together with the instrumental prelude, serves as a stately introduction to the stupendous fugued chorus which follows ("I will sing unto the Lord, for He hath triumphed gloriously; the Horse and his Rider hath He thrown into the Sea"). It is followed by a duet for two sopranos ("The Lord is my Strength and my Song") in the minor key,--an intricate but melodious number, usually omitted. Once more the chorus resumes with a brief announcement, "He is my God," followed by a fugued movement in the old church style ("And I will exalt Him"). Next follows the great duet for two basses, "The Lord is a Man of War,"--a piece of superb declamatory effect, full of vigor and stately assertion. The triumphant announcement in its closing measures, "His chosen Captains also are drowned in the Red Sea," is answered by a brief [124] chorus, "The Depths have covered them," which is followed by four choruses of triumph,--"Thy Right Hand, O Lord," an elaborate and brilliant number; "And in the Greatness of Thine Excellency," a brief but powerful bit; "Thou sendest forth Thy Wrath;" and the single chorus, "And with the Blast of Thy Nostrils," in the last two of which Handel again returns to the imitative style with wonderful effect, especially in the declaration of the basses, "The Floods stood upright as an Heap, and the Depths were congealed." The only tenor aria in the oratorio follows these choruses, a bravura song, "The Enemy said, I will pursue," and this is followed by the only soprano aria, "Thou didst blow with the Wind." Two short double choruses ("Who is like unto Thee, O Lord," and "The Earth swallowed them") lead to the duet for contralto and tenor, "Thou in Thy Mercy," which is in the minor, and very pathetic in character. It is followed by the massive and extremely difficult chorus, "The People shall hear and be afraid." Once more, after this majestic display, comes the solo voice, this time the contralto, in a simple, lovely song, "Thou shalt bring them in." A short double chorus ("The Lord shall reign for ever and ever"), a few bars of recitative referring to the escape of Israel, the choral outburst once more repeated, and then the solo voice declaring, "Miriam the prophetess took a timbrel in her hand, and all the women went out after her with timbrels and with dances; and Miriam answered [125] them," lead to the final song of triumph,--that grand, jubilant, overpowering expression of victory which, beginning with the exultant strain of Miriam, "Sing ye to the Lord, for He hath triumphed gloriously," is amplified by voice upon voice in the great eight-part choir, and by instrument upon instrument, until it becomes a tempest of harmony, interwoven with the triumph of Miriam's cry and the exultation of the great host over the enemy's discomfiture, and closing with the combined power of voices and instruments in harmonious accord as they once more repeat Miriam's words, "The Horse and his Rider hath He thrown into the Sea."

[3]The second chorus, "The Plague of the Water turned to Blood," and the loathing of the Egyptians.


The oratorio of "Saul" was written by Handel in 1738. He began it, says Schoelcher, on the 3d of July, and finished it on the 27th of September; thus occupying eighty-six days. This, however, is evidently an error, as Rockstro says: "The score, written in a thick quarto volume, on paper quite different from that used for the operas, is dated at the beginning of the first chorus, July 23, 1738." The next date is August 28, at the end of the second part, and the last, at the end of the work, September 27,--which would give two months and four days as the time in which it was written. But even this period, short as it is, seems brief when [126] compared with that devoted to the composition of "Israel in Egypt," which Handel began four days after "Saul" was completed, and finished in twenty-seven days.

It has already been said, in the analysis of the last named-work, that in January, 1739, Handel took the King's Theatre in the Haymarket, his purpose being to give oratorios twice a week. "Saul" was the first of the series; and in this connection the following advertisement, which Schoelcher reprints from the London "Daily Post" of Jan. 3, 1739, will be of interest:--

"We hear that on Tuesday se'en night the King's Theatre will be opened with a new oratorio composed by Mr. Handel, called 'Saul.' The pit and boxes will be put together, the tickets delivered on Monday the 15th and Tuesday 16th (the day of performance), at half a guinea each. Gallery 5s. The gallery will be opened at 4; the pit and boxes at 5. To begin at 6."

The first performance took place as announced, and the second on the 23d, "with several new concertos on the organ,"--which instrument also plays a conspicuous part in the oratorio itself, not only in amplifying the accompaniment, but also in solo work. In 1740 it was performed by the Academy of Ancient Music in London, and in 1742 in Dublin. Selections were also given from it in the great Handel Commemoration at Westminster Abbey in 1784, and in 1840 it was revived by the Sacred Harmonic Society of London, since [127] which time it has occupied an important place in the oratorio repertory.

The story closely follows the Biblical narrative of the relations between David and Saul. The words have been attributed both to Jennens and Marell; but the balance of evidence favors the former,--a poet who lived at Gopsall. The overture, marked "Symfonie" in the original manuscript, is the longest of all the Handel introductions. It is in four movements, the first an allegro, the second a largo (in which the organ is used as a solo instrument), the third an allegro, and the fourth a minuetto. It is an exceedingly graceful and delicate prelude, and makes a fitting introduction to the dramatic story which follows. The characters introduced are Saul, king of Israel; Jonathan, his son; Abner, captain of the host; David; the apparition of Samuel; Doeg, a messenger; an Amalekite; Abiathar, Merab, and Michal, daughters of Saul; the Witch of Endor; and the Israelites. The very dramatic character of the narrative admirably adapts it to its division into acts and scenes.

The first act is triumphant in its tone and expressive of the exultation of the Israelites at their victory over the Philistines. The second gives a story of the passions,--Saul's jealousy of David, the love of Michal, and the ardent friendship between David and Jonathan. The last act is sombre in its character, opening with the weird incantations of the Witch, and closing with David's grief over Saul and Jonathan.


The first scene opens in the Israelitish camp by the valley of Elah, where the people join in an Epinicion, or Song of Triumph, over Goliah and the Philistines. It is made up of a chorus ("How excellent Thy Name, O Lord"), which is a stirring tribute of praise; an aria ("An Infant raised by Thy Command"), describing the meeting of David and Goliah; a trio, in which the Giant is pictured as the "monster atheist," striding along to the vigorous and expressive music; and three closing choruses ("The Youth inspired by Thee," "How excellent Thy Name," and a jubilant "Hallelujah"), ending in plain but massive harmony.

The second scene is in Saul's tent. Two bars of recitative prelude an aria by Michal, Saul's daughter, who reveals her love for David ("O godlike Youth!"). Abner presents David to Saul, and a dialogue ensues between them, in which the conqueror announces his origin and Saul pleads with him to remain, offering the hand of his daughter Merab as an inducement. David (whose part is sung by a contralto) replies in a beautiful aria, in which he attributes his success to the help of the Lord alone. In the next four numbers the friendship of Jonathan and David is cemented, which is followed by a three-verse hymn ("While yet thy Tide of Blood runs high"), of a very stately character, sung by the High Priest. In a few bars of recitative Saul betroths his daughter Merab to David; but the girl replies in a very powerful aria ("My Soul rejects the Thought with Scorn"), in which she [129] declares her intention of frustrating the scheme to unite a plebeian with the royal line. It is followed by a plaintive but vigorous aria ("See with what a scornful Air"), sung by Michal, who again gives expression to her love for David.

The next scene is entitled "Before an Israelitish City," and is prefaced with a short symphony of a jubilant character. A brief recitative introduces the maidens of the land singing and dancing in praise of the victor, leading up to one of Handel's finest choruses, "Welcome, welcome, Mighty King,"--a fresh, vigorous semi-chorus accompanied by the carillons, in which Saul's jealousy is aroused by the superiority of prowess attributed to David. It is followed by a furious aria, "With Rage I shall burst, his Praises to hear." Jonathan laments the imprudence of the women in making comparisons, and Michal suggests to David that it is an old malady which may be assuaged by music, and in the aria, "Fell Rage and black Despair passest," expresses her belief that the monarch can be cured by David's "persuasive lyre."

The next scene is in the King's house. David sings an aria ("O Lord, whose Mercies numberless"), followed by a harp solo; but it is in vain. Jonathan is in despair, and Saul, in an aria ("A Serpent in my Bosom warmed"), gives vent to his fury and hurls his javelin at David. The latter escapes; and in furious recitative Saul charges his son to destroy him. The next number is an aria for Merab ("Capricious Man, in Humor lost"), lamenting Saul's [130] temper; and Jonathan follows with a very dramatic recitative and aria, in which he refuses to obey his father's behest. The High Priest appeals to Heaven ("O Lord, whose Providence") to protect David, and the first part closes with a powerful chorus, "Preserve him for the Glory of Thy Name."

The second act is laid in the palace, and opens with a powerfully descriptive chorus ("Envy, Eldest-born of Hell!"). In a noble song ("But sooner Jordan's Stream, I swear") Jonathan assures David he will never injure him. In a colloquy between them, David is informed that Saul has bestowed the hand of the haughty Merab on Adriel, and Jonathan pleads the cause of the lovely Michal. Saul approaches, and David retires. Saul inquires of Jonathan whether he has obeyed his commands, and in a simple, sweet, and flowing melody ("Sin not, O King, against the Youth") he seems to overcome the wrath of the monarch, who dissembles and welcomes David, bidding him to repel the insults of the Philistines, and offering him his daughter Michal as a proof of his sincerity.

In the second scene Michal declares her love for David, and they join in a rapturous duet ("O fairest of ten thousand fair"), which is followed by a chorus in simple harmony ("Is there a Man who all his Ways"). A long symphony follows, preparing the way for the attempt on David's life. After an agitated duet with Michal ("At Persecution I can laugh"), David makes his escape just as Doeg, the messenger, enters with instructions to bring David [131] to the King's chamber. He is shown the image in David's bed, which he says will only enrage the King still more. Michal sings an exultant aria, "No, let the Guilty tremble," and even Merab, won over by David's qualities, pleads for him in a beautiful aria, "Author of peace." Another symphony intervenes, preluding the celebration of the feast of the new moon in the palace, to which David has been invited. Jonathan again interposes with an effort to save David's life, whereupon Saul, in a fresh outburst of indignation, hurls his javelin at his son, and the chorus bursts out in horror, "Oh, fatal Consequence of Rage."

The third act opens with the intensely dramatic scene with the Witch of Endor, the interview being preluded by the powerful recitative, "Wretch that I am!" The second scene is laid in the Witch's abode, where the incantation is practised that brings up the Apparition of Samuel. The whole scene is very dramatic, and the instrumentation powerful, although the effect, vigorous as it is, is made simply by oboes, bassoons, and strings, instead of by the brass instruments which other composers employ so vigorously in similar scenes. This scene closes with an elegy foreboding the coming tragedy.

The third scene opens with the interview between David and the Amalekite who brings the tidings of the death of Saul and Jonathan. It is followed by that magnificent dirge, the "Dead March," whose simple yet solemn and majestic strains are familiar [132] to every one. The trumpets and trombones with their sonorous pomp and the wailing oboes and clarinets make an instrumental pageant which is the very apotheosis of grief. The effect of the march is all the more remarkable when it is considered that, in contradistinction to all other dirges, it is written in the major key. The chorus, "Mourn, Israel, mourn thy Beauty lost," and the three arias of lament sung by David, which follow, are all characterized by feelings of the deepest gloom. A short chorus ("Eagles were not so swift as they") follows, and then David gives voice to his lament over Jonathan in an aria of exquisite tenderness ("In sweetest Harmony they lived"), at the close of which he joins with the chorus in an obligato of sorrowful grandeur ("O fatal Day, how low the Mighty lie!"). In an exultant strain Abner bids the "Men of Judah weep no more," and the animated martial chorus, "Gird on thy Sword, thou Man of Might," closes this great dramatic oratorio.


The oratorio of "Samson" was written in 1741, and begun immediately after the completion of "The Messiah," which was finished September 14 of that year. The last chorus was dated October 29; but in the following year Handel added to it "Let the bright Seraphim" and the chorus, "Let their [133] celestial Concerts." The text was compiled by Newburgh Hamilton from Milton's "Samson Agonistes," "Hymn on the Nativity," and "Lines on a Solemn Musick." The oratorio was first sung at Covent Garden, Feb. 18, 1743, the principal parts being assigned as follows: Samson, Mr. Beard;[4] Manoah, Mr. Savage; Micah, Mrs. Cibber; Delilah, Mrs. Clive. The aria, "Let the bright Seraphim," was sung by Signora Avolio, for whom it was written, and the trumpet obligato was played by Valentine Snow, a virtuoso of that period. The performance of "Samson" was thus announced in the London "Daily Advertiser" of Feb. 17, 1743:--

"By subscription. At the Theatre Royal in Covent Garden, to-morrow, the 18th inst., will be performed a new oratorio, called Sampson. Tickets will be delivered to subscribers (on paying their subscription money) at Mr. Handel's house in Brooke Street, Hanover Square. Attendance will be given from nine o'clock in the morning till three in the afternoon. Pit and boxes to be put together, and no person to be admitted without tickets, which will be delivered that day at the office in Covent Garden Theatre at half a guinea each; first gallery 5s.; upper gallery, 3s. 6d."


The representation was greeted with extraordinary enthusiasm, and "Samson" soon became so popular that many had to be turned away; notwithstanding which, the ill-natured Horace Walpole could write, in a letter dated Feb. 24, 1743:--

"Handel has set up an oratorio against the opera, and succeeds. He has hired all the goddesses from the farces, and the singers of roast beef from between the acts at both theatres, with a man with one note in his voice, and a girl without ever an one; and so they sing and make brave hallelujahs, and the good company encore the recitative if it happens to have any cadence like what they call a tune."

The text, as we have said, was adapted from Milton by Hamilton, who says in his preface to the handbook, or libretto:--

"That poem indeed was never divided by Milton into acts or scenes, nor designed for the stage, but given only as the plan of a tragedy with choruses, after the manner of the ancients. But as Mr. Handel had so happily introduced here oratorios, a musical drama, whose subject must be scriptural, and in which the solemnity of church music is agreeably united with the most pleasing airs of the stage, it would have been an irretrievable loss to have neglected the opportunity of that great master's doing justice to this work; he having already added new life and spirit to some of the finest things in the English language, particularly that inimitable ode[5] of Dryden's which no age nor nation ever excelled."


The characters introduced are Samson; Micah, his friend; Manoah, his father; Delilah, his wife; Harapha, a giant of Gath; Israelitish woman; priests of Dagon; virgins attendant upon Delilah; Israelites, friends of Samson; Israelitish virgins; and Philistines. After a brilliant overture, closing, like that to "Saul," with a minuet movement, the scene opens before the prison in Gaza, with Samson blind and in chains. His opening recitative, setting forth his release from toil on account of the feast to Dagon, introduces a brilliant and effective chorus by the priests with trumpets ("Awake the Trumpet's lofty Sound"), after which a Philistine woman in a bright, playful melody invites the men of Gaza to bring "The merry Pipe and pleasing String;" whereupon the trumpet chorus is repeated. After the tenor aria ("Loud is the Thunder's awful Voice"), the chorus recurs again, showing Handel's evident partiality for it. The Philistine Woman has another solo ("Then free from Sorrow"), whereupon in a pathetic song ("Torments, alas!") Samson bewails his piteous condition. His friend Micah appears, and in the aria, "O Mirror of our fickle State," condoles with him. In answer to his question, "Which shall we first bewail, thy Bondage, or lost Sight?" Samson replies in a short, but exquisitely tender aria, "Total Eclipse: no Sun, no Moon, all dark amidst the Blaze of Noon,"--a song which brought tears to the eyes of the blind Handel himself when he listened to it long afterwards. The next chorus ("O first-created Beam") is of more [136] than ordinary interest, as it treats the same subject which Haydn afterwards used in "The Creation." It begins in a soft and quiet manner, in ordinary time, develops into a strong allegro on the words, "Let there be Light," and closes with a spirited fugue on the words, "To Thy dark Servant Life by Light afford." A dialogue follows between Manoah and Micah, leading up to an intricate bravura aria for bass ("Thy glorious Deeds inspired my Tongue"), closing with an exquisite slow movement in broad contrast to its first part. Though comforted by his friends, Samson breaks out in furious denunciation of his enemies in the powerfully dramatic aria, "Why does the God of Israel sleep?" It is followed up in the same spirit by the chorus, "Then shall they know,"--a fugue on two vigorous subjects, the first given out by the altos, and the second by the tenors. Samson's wrath subsides in the recitative, "My genial Spirits droop," and the first act closes with the beautifully constructed chorus, "Then round about the starry Throne," in which his friends console him with the joys he will find in another life.

The second act, after a brief recitative, opens with an aria by Manoah ("Just are the Ways of God to Man"), in which he conjures Samson to repose his trust in God. It is followed by the beautiful prayer of Micah ("Return, return, O God of Hosts"), emphasized by the chorus to which it leads ("To Dust his Glory they would tread"), with which the prayer is interwoven in obligato form. From this [137] point, as Delilah appears, the music is full of bright color, and loses it sombre tone. In a short recitative, she excuses her misdeed, and then breaks out in an aria of sensuous sweetness, "With plaintive Notes and am'rous Moan, thus coos the Turtle left alone." Its bewitching grace, however, makes little impression upon Samson, who replies with the aria, "Your Charms to Ruin led the Way." In another enticing melody, "My Faith and Truth, O Samson, prove," she seeks to induce his return to her house, and a chorus of Virgins add their entreaties. A last effort is made in the tasteful and elegant aria, "To fleeting Pleasures make your Court;" but when that also fails, Delilah reveals her true self. Samson rebukes her "warbling charms," her "trains and wiles," and counts "this prison-house the house of liberty to thine;" whereupon a highly characteristic duet ensues ("Traitor to Love"). An aria for Micah follows ("It is nor Virtue, Valor, Wit"), leading up to a powerful dissertation on masculine supremacy in a fugued chorus which is treated in a spirited manner, and in which we may well fancy that the woman-hating composer gave free rein to his spite:--

"To man God's universal law

Gave power to keep his wife in awe.

Thus shall his life be ne'er dismayed,

By female usurpation swayed."

The giant Harapha now appears, and mocks Samson with the taunt that had he met him before he was blind, he would have left him dead on the field [138] of death, "where thou wrought'st wonders with an ass' jaw." His first number ("Honor and Arms scorn such a Foe") is one of the most spirited and dashing bass solos ever written. Samson replies with the majestic aria, "My Strength is from the living God." The two solos reach their climax in the energetic duet between the giants, "Go, baffled Coward, go." Micah then suggests to Harapha that he shall call upon Dagon to dissolve "those magic spells that gave our hero strength," as a test of his power. The recitative is followed by an impressive six-part chorus ("Hear, Jacob's God") in the true church style. Its smooth, quiet flow of harmony is refreshing as compared with the tumult of the giants' music which precedes, and the sensuousness of the chorus ("To Song and Dance we give the Day") which follows it. The act closes with the massive double chorus ("Fixed in His everlasting Seat") in which the Israelites and Philistines celebrate the attributes of their respective deities and invoke their protection, and in which also the composer brings out with overwhelming effect the majesty and grandeur of God as compared with the nothingness of Dagon.

The third act opens with a dialogue in which Harapha brings the message to Samson that he must repair to the feast of Dagon to delight the Philistines with some of his feats of strength. Upon Samson's refusal, Harapha sings the threatening aria, "Presuming Slave!" The Israelites invoke the protection of God in the spirited chorus, "With Thunder [139] armed," closing with a prayer which changes to wild and supplicating entreaty. Samson at last yields in a tender, pathetic aria ("Thus when the Sun"), which seems to anticipate his fate. In a song of solemn parting ("The Holy One of Israel be thy Guide"), accompanied by the chorus ("To Fame immortal go"), his friends bid him farewell. The festivities begin, and in an exultant chorus ("Great Dagon has subdued our Foe") the Philistines are heard exulting over Samson's discomfiture. Micah and Manoah, hearing the sounds, are filled with anxiety, and the latter expresses his solicitude in the tender aria, "How willing my paternal Love." But the scene suddenly changes. In a short, crashing presto the coming destruction is anticipated. The trembling Israelites express their alarm in the chorus, "Hear us, our God," and appeal to Heaven for protection. A Messenger rushes upon the scene and announces that Samson is dead and has involved the destruction of his enemies in the general calamity. Micah gives expression to his grief in the touching aria, "Ye Sons of Israel, now lament," followed by the Israelites in a sorrowful wail, "Weep, Israel, weep." A funeral march, in the major key, intervenes, full of tender expression of sorrow,--for which, after the first two representations Handel substituted the Dead March from "Saul;" and both marches are now printed in the scores for general use. As at first written, the oratorio closed with the effective chorus and solo, "Bring the Laurels;" but, as has been already said, [140] a year afterwards Handel made a different ending. Manoah calls upon the people to cease their lamentation, and the funeral pageant is followed by the magnificent trumpet aria, "Let the bright Seraphim,"--a song worthy only of the greatest artists, both with voice and instrument,--and the equally magnificent chorus, "Let their celestial Concerts," which closes the great oratorio with triumphant exultation.

[4]"John Beard, a quondam chorister of the Chapel Royal, under Bernard Gates, and afterwards the greatest English tenor singer of his day, achieved one of his brightest triumphs in the part of Samson. His history was romantic. In 1732 he married the Lady Henrietta, daughter of James, Earl of Waldegrave, and widow of Lord Edward Herbert, second son of the Marquis of Powis. In 1759 he took as his second wife Charlotte, daughter of John Rich, the harlequin."--Rockstro.
[5]Alexander's Feast; or, the Power of Music.

The Messiah.

The "Messiah" represents the ripened product of Handel's genius, and reflects the noblest aspirations and most exalted devotion of mankind. Among all his oratorios it retains its original freshness, vigor, and beauty in the highest degree, in that it appeals to the loftiest sentiment and to universal religious devotion, and is based upon the most harmonious, symmetrical, and enduring forms of the art.

It was begun on the 22d day of August, 1741. The first part was concluded August 28, the second, September 6, the third, September 12, and the instrumentation, September 14. It is an illustration of Handel's almost superhuman capacity for work, that at the age of fifty-six he should have written his masterpiece in twenty-three days. The text was taken from the literal words of Scripture, and the libretto arranged by Charles Jennens, who, [141] singularly enough, was not satisfied with the music which has satisfied the world. In a letter written at that time, he says:--

"I shall show you a collection I gave Handel, called 'Messiah,' which I value highly. He has made a fine entertainment of it, though not near so good as he might and ought to have done. I have with great difficulty made him correct some of the grossest faults in the composition; but he retained his overture obstinately, in which there are some passages far unworthy of Handel, but much more unworthy of the 'Messiah.'"

For two or three years prior to the appearance of the "Messiah," Handel had been harassed by cabals set on foot by rival opera-managers in London, who, by importing Italian singers, drew off the patronage of the nobility, and ultimately succeeded in reducing him to the condition of an insolvent debtor. While in this wretched plight an invitation came to him from the Duke of Devonshire, then Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, to visit Dublin. He eagerly accepted it, and in the correspondence which passed between them promised to contribute a portion of whatever might accrue from his music to charitable institutions, and also agreed to give an oratorio "for the benefit and enlargement of poor distressed prisoners for debt in the several marshalseas of the city of Dublin." He left London early in November, arriving in that city, after many delays, on the 18th. On the 23d of December he began a series of six musical entertainments, which was completed February 10. His success was so great that he was [142] induced to begin a second series February 17, a fortnight before the close of which appeared the following advertisement:--

"For the Relief of the Prisoners in the several Gaols, and for the Support of Mercer's Hospital, in Stephen's Street, and of the Charitable Infirmary on the Inn's Quay, on Monday, the 12th of April, will be performed at the Musick Hall in Fishamble-street, Mr. Handel's new Grand Oratorio, called the Messiah, in which the Gentlemen of the Choirs of both Cathedrals will assist, with some Concertos on the Organ by Mr. Handel."

The first rehearsal took place on the 8th of April, in the presence of "a most Grand, Polite, and Crowded Audience," as we are informed by "Faulkner's Journal." The same paper, referring to the first public performance, which took place on Tuesday, April 13, 1742, says:--

"At the desire of several persons of distinction, the above performance is put off to Tuesday next. The doors will be opened at eleven, and the performance begins at twelve. Many ladies and gentlemen who are well-wishers to this noble and grand charity, for which this oratorio was composed, request it as a favor that the ladies who honor this performance with their presence would be pleased to come without hoops, as it would greatly increase the charity by making room for more company."

Gentlemen were also requested to come without their swords. "In this way," it is said, "the stewards" [143] were able to seat seven hundred persons in the room instead of six hundred. The principal parts in the performance were assigned to Signora Avolio, Mrs. Cibber, and Messrs. Church and Ralph Roseingrane; and Mrs. Cibber's delivery of the aria "He was despised" is said to have been so touching that Dr. Delany, the companion of Swift, exclaimed, as she closed: "Woman, for this be all thy sins forgiven."

The "Messiah" was performed thirty-four times during the composer's life, but never upon a scale commensurate with its merits until the Handel Commemoration at Westminster Abbey in 1784, when the largest choir and band that had ever assembled before, with the renowned Madame Mara at the head of the soloists, first gave the "Messiah" to the world in accordance with the grand ideal of the composer. The orchestra was composed as follows: First violins, 40; second violins, 47; tenors, 26; first oboes, 13; second oboes, 13; flutes, 6; violoncellos, 21; double-basses, 15; bassoons, 26; double-bassoon, 1; trumpets, 12; trombones, 6; horns, 12; kettledrums, 3; double-kettledrum, 1: total, 242. The choir was made up as follows: Sopranos, 60, of whom 45 were choir-boys; counter-tenors (altos), 40; tenors, 83; basses, 84: making the entire number of singers 267. Of the performance of the band upon this occasion, Burney quaintly says:--

"Dante in his Paradiso imagines nine circles, or choirs, of cherubs, seraphs, patriarchs, prophets, martyrs, [144] saints, angels, and archangels, who with hand and voice are eternally praising and glorifying the Supreme Being, whom he places in the centre, taking the idea from Te Deum laudamus, where it is said: 'To Thee Cherubim and Seraphim continually do cry,' etc. Now, as the orchestra in Westminster Abbey seemed to ascend into the clouds and unite with the saints and martyrs represented on the painted glass in the west window, which had all the appearance of a continuation of the Orchestra, I could hardly refrain, during the performance of the Allelujah, to imagine that this Orchestra, so admirably constructed, filled, and employed, was a point or segment of one of these celestial circles. And perhaps no band of mortal musicians ever exhibited a more respectable appearance to the eye, or afforded a more ecstatic and affecting sound to the ear, than this."

He is equally enthusiastic over the chorus; and of Madame Mara's singing of the aria, "I know that my Redeemer liveth," he says:--

"Her power over the sensibility of the audience seemed equal to that of Mrs. Siddons. There was no eye within my view which did not 'silently a gentle tear let fall,' nor, though long hackneyed in music, did I find myself made of stronger earth than others."

The oratorio is divided into three parts. The first illustrates the longing of the world for the Messiah, prophesies his coming, and announces his birth; the second part is devoted to the sufferings, death, and exaltation of Christ, and develops the spread and ultimate triumph of the Gospel; [145] while the third is occupied with the declaration of the highest truths of doctrine,--faith in the existence of God, the surety of immortal life, the resurrection, and the attainment of an eternity of happiness.

The first part opens with an overture, or rather orchestral prelude, of majestic chords, leading to a short fugue, developed with severe simplicity and preparing the way for the accompanied recitative, "Comfort ye My People," and the aria for tenor, "Every Valley shall be exalted," which in turn leads to the full, strong chorus, "And the Glory of the Lord shall be revealed,"--the three numbers in reality forming one. The prophecy is announced, only to be followed by the human apprehension in the great aria for bass ("But who may abide the Day of His coming"), written in the Sicilian pastoral style,--a form of which, Burney affirms, Handel was very fond. The aria leads to the exquisitely constructed number, "And He shall purify," a fugued chorus closing in simple harmony. Once more the prophet announces, "Behold, a Virgin shall conceive," followed by the alto solo, "O Thou that tellest," which preludes a chorus in the same tempo. The next aria ("The People that walked in Darkness"), with its curious but characteristic modulations, leads to one of the most graphic fugued choruses in the whole work ("For unto us a Child is born"), elegantly interwoven with the violin parts, and emphasized with sublime announcements of the names of the Messiah in full harmony and with the [146] strongest choral power. The grand burst of sound dies away, there is a significant pause, and then follows a short but exquisite Pastoral Symphony for the strings, which with the four succeeding bits of recitative tells the message of the Angels to the Shepherds on the plains of Bethlehem. Suddenly follows the chorus of the heavenly hosts ("Glory to God"), which is remarkably expressive, and affords sharp contrasts in the successive clear responses to the fugue. The difficult but very brilliant aria for soprano, "Rejoice greatly," the lovely aria, "He shall feed His Flock," originally written entire for soprano, in which Handel returns again to the pastoral style, and a short chorus ("His Yoke is easy"), close the first part.

The second part is the most impressive portion of the work. It begins with a majestic and solemn chorus ("Behold the Lamb of God"), which is followed by the aria for alto, "He was despised,"--one of the most pathetic and deeply expressive songs ever written, in which the very key-note of sorrow is struck. Two choruses--"Surely He hath borne our Griefs," rather intricate in harmony, and "With His Stripes we are healed," a fugued chorus written a capella upon an admirable subject--lead to the spirited and thoroughly interesting chorus, "All we like Sheep have gone astray," closing with an adagio of great beauty ("And the Lord hath laid on Him the Iniquity of us all"). This is followed by several short numbers,--a choral fugue ("He trusted in God"), the [147] accompanied recitative ("Thy Rebuke hath broken His Heart"), a short but very pathetic aria for tenor ("Behold and see if there be any Sorrow"), and an aria for soprano ("But Thou didst not leave His Soul in Hell"),--all of which are remarkable instances of the musical expression of sorrow and pity. These numbers lead to a triumphal shout in the chorus and semi-choruses, "Lift up your Heads, O ye Gates," which reach a climax of magnificent power and strongly contrasted effects. After the chorus, "Let all the Angels of God worship Him," a fugue constructed upon two subjects, the aria, "Thou art gone up on high," and the chorus, "The Lord gave the Word," we reach another pastoral aria of great beauty, "How beautiful are the Feet." This is followed by a powerfully descriptive chorus ("Their Sound is gone out into all Lands"), a massive aria for bass ("Why do the Nations"), the chorus, "Let us break their Bonds asunder," and the aria, "Thou shalt break them," leading directly to the great Hallelujah Chorus, which is the triumph of the work and its real climax. It opens with exultant shouts of "Hallelujah." Then ensue three simple phrases, the middle one in plain counterpoint, which form the groundwork for the "Hallelujah." These phrases, seemingly growing out of each other, and reiterated with constantly increasing power, interweaving with and sustaining the "Hallelujah" with wonderful harmonic effects, make up a chorus that has never been excelled, not only in musical skill, [148] but also in grandeur and sublimity. After listening to its performance, one can understand Handel's words: "I did think I did see all heaven before me, and the great God himself." This number closes the second part. It is worthy of note in this connection that when the oratorio was first performed at Covent Garden, London, in 1743, the whole audience, with the King at its head, arose during the singing of the "Hallelujah" and remained standing until it was finished,--a custom which is still observed, not only in England, but also in this country.

If the oratorio had closed at this point it would not have disturbed the unities; but Handel carried it into a third part with undiminished interest, opening it with that sublime confession of faith, "I know that my Redeemer liveth,"--an aria which will never be lost. It is followed by two quartets in plain counterpoint with choral responses, "Since by Man came Death," and "For as in Adam all die," in which the effects of contrast are very forcibly brought out. The last important aria in the work ("The Trumpet shall sound"), for bass with trumpet obligato, will always be admired for its beauty and stirring effect. The oratorio closes with three choruses, all in the same key and of the same general sentiment,--"Worthy is the Lamb," a piece of smooth, flowing harmony; "Blessing and Honor," a fugue led off by the tenors and bassos in unison, and repeated by the sopranos and altos on the octave, closing with full harmony on the [149] words "for ever and ever" several times reiterated; and the final, "Amen" chorus, which is treated in the severest style, and in which the composer evidently gave free rein to his genius, not being hampered with the trammels of words.

Other oratorios may be compared one with another; the "Messiah" stands alone, a majestic monument to the memory of the composer, an imperishable record of the noblest sentiments of human nature and the highest aspirations of man.

Judas Maccabæus.

The oratorio of "Judas Maccabæus" was written in thirty-two days, between July 9 and Aug. 11, 1746, upon the commission of Frederic, Prince of Wales, to celebrate the return of the Duke of Cumberland from Scotland after the decisive victory of Culloden, April 16, 1746. The words were written by the Rev. Thomas Morell, D.D., a learned Greek scholar of that time, the plot being taken from the narrative of the exploits of the Jewish deliverer contained in the first book of Maccabees and in the twelfth book of Josephus' "Antiquities of the Jews." In his dedication, Dr. Morell says:--

"To His Royal Highness Prince William, Duke of Cumberland, this faint portraiture of a truly wise, valiant, and virtuous commander as the possessor of the like noble qualities is, with the most profound [150] respect and veneration, inscribed by His Royal Highness' most obedient and most devoted servant the author."

To what extremes of adulation even a doctor of divinity may go, is well shown in Schoelcher's pithy comment: "This is addressed to a man who pitilessly murdered as many prisoners after the battle as his courage had slain enemies during the combat." It is but just to the composer, however, to say that the great success of this oratorio had little to do with the political causes which led to its composition. It was first performed at Covent Garden, April 1, 1747, and was repeated six times that year. Handel himself conducted it thirty-eight times with ever growing popularity, to which the Jews contributed greatly, as it glorified an episode in their national history.

The characters represented are Judas Maccabæus; Simon, his brother; an Israelitish Messenger; and Israelitish Men and Women. The story may be gathered from the following summary of the plot as prepared for the Birmingham Festival of 1861:--

Part I.--Lamentations for the death of Mattathias (the father of Judas Maccabæus and Simon), by whom the Jewish people had been roused to resist the cruelties and oppressions of Antiochus Epiphanes, the Syrian king, in his attempt to suppress their religion and liberties.--The divine favor invoked.--Judas recognized as leader.--Appeal to the patriotism of the people, and [151] their response.--The value of liberty.--Preparations for war.--Pious trust in God, and heroic resolve to conquer or die.

Part II.--Celebration of the victories gained over the armies of Apollonius, the governor of Samaria and Seron, the Deputy Governor of Cœlesyria, and the valor of Judas.--Renewal of war by a division of the Syrian array from Egypt, under Gorgias, and the despondency it occasions among the Israelites.--Judas again arouses the failing courage of the people, and they set out to meet the enemy.--Those who remain behind utter their detestation of the heathen idolatries, by which the sanctuary at Jerusalem had been desecrated, and their determination only to worship the God of Israel.

Part III.--Feast of the dedication at Jerusalem, after Judas and his followers had recovered and restored the sanctuary, and re-established the liberties of his country.--Return of Judas from his final victory over Nicanor and his confederates.--Celebration of peace, and national thanksgiving.

The first scene introduces the Israelitish Men and Women lamenting the death of the father of Judas in the sorrowful chorus, "Mourn, ye afflicted Children," which, after a duet for soprano and tenor, is followed by still another chorus in a similar strain ("For Zion Lamentation make"), but much more impressive, and rising to a more powerful climax. After a brief and simple soprano solo ("Pious Orgies"), the chorus sings the prayer, "O Father, [152] whose Almighty Power," closing with a characteristic fugue on the words, "And grant a Leader." After a short recitative, Simon (bass) breaks out in the heroic and sonorous aria, "Arm, arm, ye brave," which has always retained its popularity, notwithstanding its antique bravura. It is followed by the chorus in the brief, but stirring number, "We come in bright array." Five arias, a duet, and two choruses, nearly all of which are now omitted in performances, being of the same general character, and mainly apostrophes to liberty, lead to the great chorus closing the first part, "Hear us, O Lord." It is intricate in its construction, but when properly sung resolves itself into one of the most vigorous and impressive choruses Handel has written.

The second part opens with the Israelites celebrating the return of Judas from the victories over Apollonius and Seron. An instrumental prelude, picturing the scenes of battle, leads directly to the great chorus, the best in the work, "Fallen is the Foe." The triumphant declaration is made over and over with constantly increasing energy, finally leading to a brilliant fugue on the words, "Where warlike Judas wields his righteous Sword;" but interwoven with it are still heard those notes of victory, "Fallen is the Foe," and the response, "So fall Thy Foes." The Israelitish Man sings a vigorous tribute to Judas ("So rapid thy Course is"). The triumphant strain, "Zion now her Head shall raise," is taken by two voices, closing with the soprano alone; but [153] before her part ends, the whole chorus takes it and joins in the pæan, "Tune your Harps," and the double number ends in broad, flowing harmony. In a florid number ("From mighty Kings he took the Spoil") the Israelitish Woman once more sings Judas's praise. The two voices unite in a welcome ("Hail Judæa, happy Land"), and finally the whole chorus join in a simple but jubilant acclaim to the same words. The rejoicings soon change to expressions of alarm and apprehension as a Messenger enters and announces that Gorgias has been sent by Antiochus to attack the Israelites, and is already near at hand. They join in a chorus expressive of deep despondency ("Oh, wretched Israel"); but Simon, in a spirited aria ("The Lord worketh Wonders"), bids them put their trust in Heaven, and Judas rouses their courage with the martial trumpet song, "Sound an Alarm," which, though very brief, is full of vigor and fire. After the departure of Judas to meet the foe, Simon, the Israelitish Man, and the Israelitish Woman follow each other in denunciation of the idolatries which have been practised by the heathen among them, and close with the splendid chorus, "We never will bow down to the rude Stock or sculptured Stone," in which vigorous repetitions of the opening phrase lead to a chorale in broad, impressive harmony, with which is interwoven equally vigorous repetitions of the phrase, "We worship God alone."

The third part opens with the impressive prayer, "Father of Heaven, from Thy eternal Throne," [154] sung by the Priest. As the fire ascends from the altar, the sanctuary having been purified of its heathen defilement, the Israelites look upon it as an omen of victory and take courage. A Messenger enters with tidings of Judas's triumph over all their enemies. The Israelitish Maidens and Youths go out to meet him, singing the exultant march chorus, "See the Conquering Hero comes," which is familiar to every one by its common use on all occasions, from Handel's time to this, where tribute has been paid to martial success and heroes have been welcomed. It is the universal accompaniment of victory, as the Dead March in "Saul" is of the pageantry of death. It is very simple in its construction, like many others of Handel's most effective numbers. It is first sung as a three-part chorus, then as a duet or chorus of Virgins, again by the full power of all the voices, and gradually dies away in the form of an instrumental march. The chorus did not originally belong to "Judas Maccabæus," but to "Joshua," in which oratorio it is addressed to Othniel when he returns from the capture of Debir. Handel frequently made transfers of that kind, and this was a permanent one; for the celebrated chorus is now unalterably identified with the work in which he placed it, and in which also the setting is still more imposing. A very elaborate chorus ("Sing unto God"), a florid aria with trumpet solo for Judas ("With Honor let Desert be crowned"), the chorus, "To our Great God," a pastoral duet with exquisite accompaniment ("O [155] Lovely Peace"), and a Hallelujah in the composer's customary exultant style, close this very brilliant and dramatic oratorio.

The Dettingen Te Deum.

On the 27th of June, 1743, the British army and its allies, under the command of King George II. and Lord Stair, won a victory at Dettingen, in Bavaria, over the French army, commanded by the Maréchal de Noailles and the Duc de Grammont. It was a victory plucked from an expected defeat, and aroused great enthusiasm in England. On the King's return, a day of public thanksgiving was appointed, and Handel, who was at that time "Composer of Musick to the Chapel Royal," was commissioned to write a Te Deum and an anthem for the occasion. The original score, a large folio volume in the Royal Collection, is headed "Angefangen Juli 17, 1743." There is no date at the end; but as the beginning of the Dettingen Anthem is dated July 30, it is probable that the Te Deum was finished between the 17th and 30th. Both works were publicly rehearsed at the Chapel Royal, Whitehall, on the 18th and 25th of the ensuing November, and formed part of the thanksgiving services on the 27th at the Chapel Royal of St. James, in the presence of the King and royal family.

The Dettingen Te Deum has been universally considered as one of the masterpieces among [156] Handel's later works. Never was a victory more enthusiastically commemorated in music. It is not a Te Deum in the strict sense, but a grand martial panegyric, and, as Rockstro says:--

"It needs no great stretch of the imagination to picture every drum and trumpet in the realm taking part in the gorgeous fanfare of its opening chorus, while the whole army, with the King at its head, joins the assembled nation in a shout of praise for the escape which was so unexpectedly changed into a memorable victory."

Schoelcher, in his reference to this work, notes that Handel set the hymn of St. Ambrose to music five different times in thirty years, and always with new beauty and fresh color, though it is somewhat remarkable that he gave each time a plaintive character to the verse, "To Thee all angels cry aloud,"--a fact also observed by Burney, who says:--

"There is some reason to suspect that Handel, in setting his grand Te Deum for the peace of Utrecht, as well as in this, confined the meaning of the word 'cry' to a sorrowful sense, as both the movements to the words 'To Thee all angels cry aloud' are not only in a minor key, but slow and plaintive."

Burney further says, speaking of its performance at the great Handel Commemoration in Westminster Abbey in 1784:--

"As it was composed for a military triumph, the fourteen trumpets, two pairs of common kettledrums, two [157] pairs of double drums from the Tower, and a pair of double-bass drums made expressly for this occasion, were introduced with great propriety; indeed, these last drums, except the destruction, had all the effect of the most powerful artillery."

The Te Deum contains eighteen short solos and choruses, mostly of a brilliant, martial character, the solos being divided between the alto, baritone, and bass. After a brief instrumental prelude, the work opens with the triumphant, jubilant chorus with trumpets and drums, "We praise Thee, O God," written for five parts, the sopranos being divided into firsts and seconds, containing also a short alto solo leading to a closing fugue. The second number ("All the Earth doth worship Thee") is also an alto solo with five-part chorus of the same general character. It is followed by a semi-chorus in three parts ("To Thee all Angels cry aloud"), plaintive in style, as has already been observed, and leading to the full chorus ("To Thee Cherubim and Seraphim"), which is majestic in its movement and rich in harmony. The fifth number is a quartet and chorus ("The glorious Company of the Apostles praise Thee"), dominated by the bass, with responses from the other parts, and followed by a short full chorus ("Thine adorable, true, and only Son"). The seventh number is a stirring bass solo with trumpets ("Thou art the King of Glory"), leading without break into a stately choral enunciation of the same words. The eighth is a slow and plaintive bass solo, [158] usually sung by a tenor ("When Thou tookest upon Thee to deliver Man"), followed by a grave and impressive chorus ("When Thou hadst overcome the Sharpness of Death"). The next number is a trio for alto, tenor, and bass ("Thou sittest at the Right Hand of God"), closing with a beautiful adagio effect. A fanfare of trumpets introduces the next four numbers, all choruses, set to four verses of the hymn:--

"We therefore pray Thee, help Thy servants: Whom Thou hast redeemed with Thy precious blood.

"Make them to be numbered with Thy Saints: in glory everlasting.

"O Lord, save Thy people: and bless Thine heritage.

"Govern them: and lift them up forever.

"Day by day: we magnify Thee:

"And we worship Thy Name! ever, world without end."

In this group of choruses the art of fugue and counterpoint is splendidly illustrated, but never to the sacrifice of brilliant effect, which is also heightened by the trumpets in the accompaniments. An impressive bass solo ("Vouchsafe, O Lord") intervenes, and then the trumpets sound the stately symphony to the final chorus, "O Lord, in Thee have I trusted." It begins with a long alto solo with delicate oboe accompaniment that makes the effect very impressive when voices and instruments take up the phrase in a magnificent outburst of power and rich harmony, and carry it to the close.



Joseph Haydn, the creator of the symphony and the stringed quartet, was born at Rohrau, a little Austrian village on the river Leitha, March 31, 1732. His father was a wheelwright and his mother a cook, in service with Count Harrach. Both the parents were fond of music, and both sang, the father accompanying himself upon the harp, which he played by ear. The child displayed a voice so beautiful that in his sixth year he was allowed to study music, and was also given a place in the village church-choir. Reutter, the capellmeister of St. Stephen's, Vienna, having heard him, was so impressed with the beauty of his voice that he offered him a position as chorister. Haydn eagerly accepted it, as it gave him opportunities for study. While in the service of St. Stephen's he had lessons on the violin and piano, as well as in composition. When his voice broke, and his singing was of no further value, he was thrown upon the tender mercies of the world. Fortune favored him, however. He obtained a few pupils, [160] and gave himself up to composition. He made the acquaintance of Metastasio, Porpora, and Gluck. His trios began to attract attention, and he soon found himself rising into prominence. In 1759, through the influence of a wealthy friend and amateur, he was appointed to the post of musical director and composer in the service of Count Morzin, and about this time wrote his first symphony. When the Count dismissed his band, Prince Paul Anton Esterhazy received him as his second capellmeister, under Werner. When the latter died, in 1766, Haydn took his place as sole director. His patron, meanwhile, had died, and was succeeded by his brother Nicolaus, between whom and Haydn there was the utmost good feeling. Up to this time Haydn had written thirty symphonies, a large number of trios, quartets, and several vocal pieces. His connection with the Prince lasted until 1790, and was only terminated by the latter's death. But during this period of twenty-eight years his musical activity was unceasing; and as he had an orchestra of his own, and his patron was ardently devoted to music, the incentive to composition was never lacking. Anton succeeded Nicolaus, and was generous enough to increase Haydn's pension; but he dismissed the entire chapel, and the composer took up his abode in Vienna. He was hardly established before he received a flattering proposition from Salomon, the manager, to go to England. He had already had many pressing invitations from others, but could not accept them, owing to his engagement at Esterhazy. [161] Now that he was free, he decided to make the journey. On New Year's Day, 1791, he arrived in London. Success greeted him at once. He became universally popular. Musicians and musical societies paid him devoted attention. He gave a series of symphony concerts which aroused the greatest enthusiasm. He was treated with distinguished courtesy by the royal family. Oxford gave him the honorary degree of Doctor of Music. The nobility entertained him sumptuously. After a year of continuous fêtes, he returned to Germany, where he remained two years, during a portion of which time Beethoven was his pupil. In 1794 he made his second journey to England, where his former successes were repeated, and fresh honors were showered upon him. In 1804 he was notified by Prince Esterhazy that he was about to reorganize his chapel, and wished him for its conductor again. Haydn accordingly returned to his old position, where he remained during the rest of his life. He was already an old man, but it was during this period that his most remarkable works were produced, among them the Austrian National Hymn ("Gott erhalte Franz den Kaiser"), the "Seven Words," the "Creation," the "Seasons," and many of his best trios and quartets. He died May 31, 1809, a few days after the occupation of Vienna by the French, and among the mourners at his funeral were many French officers. Funeral services were held in all the principal European cities. Honored and respected all over [162] Europe, he was most deeply loved by his own countrymen, who still affectionately speak of him as "Papa" Haydn.

The Creation.

Haydn was sixty-five years of age when he undertook the great work of his life. It was begun in 1796, and finished in 1798. When urged to bring it to a conclusion more rapidly, he replied, "I spend much time over it, because I intend it to last a long time." Shortly before his final departure from London, Salomon, his manager, brought him a poem for music which had been compiled by Lydley from Milton's "Paradise Lost," for use by Handel, though the latter had not availed himself of it. Haydn took it with him to Vienna, and submitted it to the Baron van Swieten, the Emperor's librarian, who was not only a very learned scholar, but also something of a musician and composer. The Baron suggested that he should make an oratorio of it, and to encourage him, not only translated the text into German, but added a number of arias, duets, and choruses, particularly those of the descriptive kind. Several of the nobility also guaranteed the expenses of preparation and performance. His friend Griesinger writes:--

"Haydn wrote 'The Creation' in his sixty-fifth year with all the spirit that usually dwells in the breast of youth. I had the good fortune to be a witness of the deep emotions and joyous enthusiasm which several [163] performances of it under Haydn's own direction aroused in all listeners. Haydn also confessed to me that it was not possible for him to describe the emotions with which he was filled as the performance met his entire expectation, and his audience listened to every note. 'One moment I was as cold as ice, and the next I seemed on fire, and more than once I feared I should have a stroke.'"

On another occasion Haydn remarked: "Never was I so pious as when composing 'The Creation.' I knelt down every day and prayed God to strengthen me for the work." That he sought this inspiration in his old age more than once, we may infer from another remark to Griesinger: "When composition does not get on well, I go to my chamber, and with rosary in hand say a few aves, and then the ideas return." It was first performed in private at the Schwartzenberg Palace, April 29, 1798; and Bombet, the celebrated French critic, who was present, says in one of his letters:

"Who can describe the applause, the delight, the enthusiasm of this society? I was present, and I can assure you I never witnessed such a scene. The flower of the literary and musical society of Vienna were assembled in the room, which was well adapted to the purpose, and Haydn himself directed the orchestra. The most profound silence, the most scrupulous attention, a sentiment, I might almost say, of religious respect, were the dispositions which prevailed when the first stroke of the bow was given. The general expectation was not disappointed. A long train of beauties, to that moment unknown, [164] unfolded themselves before us; our minds, overcome with pleasure and admiration, experienced during two successive hours what they had rarely felt,--a happy existence, produced by desires, ever lively, ever renewed, and never disappointed."

The first public performance was given at the National Theatre, March 19, 1799, Haydn's name-day, and the next by the Tonkünstler Societät. On the 9th of March he conducted it at the palace of Ofen before the Archduke Palatine Joseph of Hungary. Its success was immediate, and rivalled that of "The Messiah." It was performed all over Europe, and societies were organized for the express purpose of producing it. In London rival performances of it were given at Covent Garden and the King's Theatre during the year 1800.

The oratorio opens with an overture representing chaos. Its effect is at first dull and indefinite, its utterances inarticulate, and its notes destitute of perceptible melody. It is Nature in her chaotic state, struggling into definite form. Gradually instrument after instrument makes an effort to extricate itself, and as the clarinets and flutes struggle out of the confusion, the feeling of order begins to make itself apparent. The resolutions indicate harmony. At last the wonderful discordances settle, leaving a misty effect that vividly illustrates "the Spirit of God moving upon the face of the waters." Then, at the fiat of the Creator, "Let there be Light," the whole orchestra and chorus burst forth in the sonorous response, "And there was Light." [165] A brief passage by Uriel (tenor) describes the division of light from darkness, and the end of chaos, introducing a fugued chorus, in which the rage of Satan and his hellish spirits, as they are precipitated into the abyss, is described with tremendous discords and strange modulations; but before it closes, the music relates the beauties of the newly created earth springing up "at God's command." Raphael describes the making of the firmament, the raging of the storms, the flashing lightning and rolling thunders, the showers of rain and hail, and the gently falling snow, to an accompaniment which is closely imitative in character. The work of the second day forms the theme of "The Marvellous Work," for soprano obligato with chorus,--a number characterized by great joyousness and spirit. This leads to the number, "Rolling in foaming Billows," in which the music is employed to represent the effect of water, from the roaring billows of the "boisterous seas," and the rivers flowing in "serpent error," to "the limpid brook," whose murmuring ripple is set to one of the sweetest and most delicious of melodies. This leads the way to the well-known aria, "With Verdure clad," of which Haydn himself was very fond, and which he recast three times before he was satisfied with it. It is followed by a fugued chorus ("Awake the Harp"), in which the Angels praise the Creator. We next pass to the creation of the planets. The instrumental prelude is a wonderful bit of constantly developing color, which increases "in splendor bright," [166] until the sun appears. It is followed by the rising of the moon, to an accompaniment as tender as its own radiance; and as the stars appear, "the Sons of God" announce the fourth day, and the first part closes with the great chorus, "The Heavens are telling," in which the entire force of band and singers is employed in full, broad harmony and sonorous chords, leading to a cadence of magnificent power.

The second part opens with the aria, "On mighty Pens," describing in a majestic manner the flight of the eagle, and then blithely passes to the gayety of the lark, the tenderness of the cooing doves, and the plaintiveness of the nightingale, in which the singing of the birds is imitated as closely as the resources of music will allow. A beautiful terzetto describes with inimitable grace the gently sloping hills covered with their verdure, the leaping of the fountain into the light, and the flights of birds, and a bass solo in sonorous manner takes up the swimming fish, closing with "the upheaval of Leviathan from the deep," who disports himself among the double-basses. This leads to a powerful chorus, "The Lord is great." The next number describes the creation of various animals; and perhaps nothing that art contains can vie with it in varied and vivid description. It begins with the lion, whose deep roar is heard among the wind-instruments. The alertness of the "flexible tiger" is shown in rapid flights by the strings. A presto ingeniously represents the quick movements of the [167] stag. The horse is accompanied by music which prances and neighs. A quiet pastoral movement, in strong contrast with the preceding abrupt transitions, pictures the cattle seeking their food "on fields and meadows green." A flutter of sounds describes the swarms of insects in the air, and from this we pass to a long, undulating thread of harmony, representing "the sinuous trace" of the worm. This masterpiece of imitative music is contained in a single recitative. A powerful and dignified aria, sung by Raphael ("Now Heaven in fullest Glory shone"), introduces the creation of man, which is completed in an exquisitely beautiful aria ("In Native Worth ") by Uriel, the second part of which is full of tender beauty in its description of the creation of Eve, and closes with a picture of the happiness of the newly created pair. A brief recitative ("And God saw everything that He had made") leads to the chorus, "Achieved is the glorious Work,"--a fugue of great power, superbly accompanied. It is interrupted by a trio ("On Thee each living Soul awaits"), but soon returns with still greater power and grandeur, closing with a Gloria and Hallelujah of magnificent proportions.

The third part opens with a symphonic introduction descriptive of the first morning of creation, in which the flutes and horns, combined with the strings, are used with exquisite effect. In a brief recitative ("In rosy Mantle appears") Uriel pictures the joy of Adam and Eve, and bids them sing the praise of God with the angelic choir, which [168] forms the theme of the succeeding duet and chorus ("By Thee with Bliss"); to which the answering choir replies with a gentle and distant effect, as if from the celestial heights, "Forever blessed be His Power." Again Adam and Eve in successive solos, finally uniting, join with the choir in extolling the goodness of God; and as they close, all take up the beautiful and majestic pæan, "Hail, bounteous Lord! Almighty, hail!" As the angelic shout dies away, a tender, loving dialogue ensues between Adam and Eve, leading to the beautiful duet, "Graceful Consort," which is not only the most delightful number in the work, but in freshness, sweetness, and tenderness stands almost unsurpassed among compositions of its kind. After a short bit of recitative by Uriel ("O happy Pair"), the chorus enters upon the closing number ("Sing the Lord, ye Voices all"), beginning slowly and majestically, then developing into a masterly fugue ("Jehovah's Praise forever shall endure"), and closing with a Laudamus of matchless beauty, in which the principal voices in solo parts are set off against the choral and orchestral masses with powerful effect.

Haydn's last appearance in public was at a performance of the "Creation," which took place in 1808, when it was given in Italian under the direction of Salieri. Dies says of this remarkable scene:--

"On alighting from the Prince's carriage, he was received by distinguished personages of the nobility and [169] by his scholar, Beethoven. The crowd was so great that the military had to keep order. He was carried, sitting in his arm-chair, into the hall, and was greeted upon his entrance with a flourish of trumpets and joyous shouts of 'Long live Haydn!' He occupied a seat next his Princess, the Prince being at court that day; and on the other side sat his favorite scholar, Fräulein Kurzbeck. The highest people of rank in Vienna selected seats in his vicinity. The French ambassador noticed that he wore the medal of the Paris Concert des Amateurs. 'Not only this, but all the medals which have been awarded in France, you ought to have received,' said he. Haydn thought he felt a little draught; the Princess threw her shawl about him, many ladies following her example, and in a few moments he was completely wrapped in shawls. Poems by Collin and Carpani, the adapter of the text, were presented to him. He could no longer conceal his feelings. His overburdened heart sought and found relief in tears. When the passage, 'And there was Light,' came, and the audience broke out into tumultuous applause, he made a motion of his hands towards heaven, and said, 'It came from thence.' He remained in such an agitated condition that he was obliged to take his leave at the close of the first part. As he went out, the audience thronged about him to take leave of him, and Beethoven kissed his hand and forehead devoutly. His departure completely overcame him. He could not address the audience, and could only give expression to his heartfelt gratitude with broken, feeble utterances and blessings. Upon every countenance there was deep pity, and tearful eyes followed him as he was taken to his carriage."


He lived but a short time longer, but long enough to witness the success of his scholar, Beethoven, in the same year.

The Seasons.

"The Seasons," written two years after "The Creation," was Haydn's last oratorio. The music was composed between April, 1798, and April, 1801. It is not an oratorio in the strict sense of the term, as it partakes of the form and qualities, not only of the oratorio, but also of the opera and cantata. The words were compiled by Baron van Swieten from Thomson's well-known poem of "The Seasons," but it was a long time before he could persuade Haydn to undertake the task of composing an oratorio on the subject. His old age and infirmities made him averse to the work. He was greatly annoyed by the text, and still more so by its compiler, who insisted upon changes in the music which Haydn testily declined to make. He was frequently irritated over the many imitative passages, and it was to relieve his own feelings and vary the monotony of the sentiment that he introduced the rollicking bacchanal chorus in the third part. He expressed his feelings to a friend in the remark: "My head was so full of the nonsensical stuff that it all went topsy-turvy, and I therefore called the closing fugue the 'drunken fugue.'" Notwithstanding his many objections, when once he started, he [171] worked hard,--so hard, indeed, that this continuous labor induced brain-fever and intense suffering, and he never entirely rallied from its effects. A weakness followed, which constantly increased. To one friend he remarked: "The 'Seasons' have brought this trouble upon me. I ought not to have written it. I have overdone;" and to another: "I have done; my head is no longer what it was. Formerly ideas came to me unsought: I am now obliged to seek for them; and for this I feel I am not formed." It is a sad picture, that of the old composer sitting down to work in his seventieth year, distrustful of his own powers, with an uncongenial text before him; but no indications of age or weakness are to be found in this music, which from its first note to the last is fresh, original, bright, and graceful,--a treasure-house of ideas to which subsequent composers have gone time after time when they would write of Nature or attempt to picture her moods.

The "Seasons" was first performed at the Schwartzenberg Palace, Vienna, April 24, 1801, and was repeated on the 27th and on the 1st of May. On the 29th of May Haydn himself conducted it in public at the Redoutensaal, for his own benefit. Though some of the critics disparaged it, and Beethoven was not overpleased with it, it met with a great popular success, and Haydn himself was delighted with the work that had cost him so much trouble. Bombet, the French critic, who was present at the first performance, says of it:--


"The best critique that has been given of the work is that which Haydn himself addressed to me when I went to give him an account of the performance of it in the Palace Schwartzenberg. The applause had been universal, and I hastened out to congratulate the author. Scarcely had I opened my lips when the honest composer stopped me: 'I am happy to find that my music pleases the public; but I can receive no compliment on this work from you. I am convinced that you feel yourself that it is not the "Creation;" and the reason is this: in the "Creation" the actors are angels; here they are peasants.'"

The work is divided into four parts,--Spring, Summer, Autumn, and Winter,--and the characters introduced are Simon, a farmer; Jane, his daughter; Lucas, a young countryman and shepherd; and a chorus of Country People and Hunters. A vivacious overture, expressing the passage from winter to spring, and recitatives by Simon, Lucas, and Jane, who in turn express their delight at the close of the one season and the approach of the other, lead to the opening chorus ("Come, gentle Spring, ethereal Mildness, come"),--a fresh and animated number, which is familiar to every one. Simon trolls out a pastoral aria ("With Joy the impatient Husbandman"), full of the very spirit of quiet, peace, and happiness,--a quaint melody which will inevitably recall to opera-goers the "Zitti, Zitti" from Rossini's "Barber of Seville," the essential difference between the two pieces being that in the latter the time is greatly accelerated. This aria is followed by a trio and chorus ("Be [173] propitious, bounteous Heaven"), a free fugue, in which all beseech a blessing upon the sowing of the seed. The next number is a duet for Jane and Lucas, with chorus ("Spring her lovely Charms unfolding"), which is fairly permeated with the delicate suggestions of opening buds and the delights of the balmy air and young verdure of spring. As its strains die away, all join in the cheerful fugued chorus, "God of Light," which closes the first part.

After a brief adagio prelude, the second part, "Summer," opens with a charming aria by Simon ("From out the Fold the Shepherd drives"), which gives us a delightful picture of the shepherd driving his flock along the verdant hillside, then leaning upon his staff to watch the rising sun. As it appears, it is welcomed by trio and chorus with the exultant shout, "Hail, O glorious Sun!" As noon approaches, the music fairly becomes radiant. A series of recitatives and arias follow, bringing out in a vivid and picturesque manner the oppressive, exhaustive heat and the longing for rest and shade, leading at last to an ominous silence as the clouds begin to gather and the sky darkens. A short recitative prepares the way. A crash of thunder is heard upon the drums: it is the prelude to the storm-chorus ("Hark! the deep tremendous Voice"), which has been the model for nearly all the storm-descriptions written since Haydn's time. It is worked up to a tremendous climax of tumult and terror, of pouring rain, flashing lightning, and pealing thunder. At last the tempest dies away, and in the [174] trio and chorus, "Now cease the Conflicts," night comes on, with its song of the quail,--which Beethoven subsequently utilized in his Pastoral Symphony,--the chirp of the crickets, the croaking of the frogs, the distant chime of the evening bells, and the invocation to sleep. Of the frog episode, Nohl says:--

"He particularly disliked the croaking of the frogs, and realized how much it lowered his art. Swieten showed him an old piece of Grétry's in which the croak was imitated with striking effect. Haydn contended that it would be better if the entire croak were omitted, though he yielded to Swieten's importunities. He declared afterwards, however, that the frog passage was not his own. 'It was urged upon me,' he said, 'to write this French croak. In the orchestral setting it is very brief, and it cannot be done on the piano. I trust the critics will not treat me with severity for it. I am an old man, and liable to make mistakes.'"

After a quaintly melodious prelude the third part opens with a terzetto and chorus ("Thus Nature ever kind rewards"), an invocation to virtue and industry, and a quaintly sentimental duet ("Ye gay and painted Fair"). The next number, an aria by Simon ("Behold along the dewy Grass"),--which gives us a picture of the hunter and his dog pursuing a bird,--prepares the way for the great hunting chorus ("Hark! the Mountains resound"), one of the most graphic and stirring choruses of this description ever written. The whole scene,--the vales and forests resounding with the music of the [175] horns, the finding of the quarry, the flying stag outstripping the wind, the pack at fault, but starting in again as they find the scent, the tally-ho of the hunters, the noble animal at bay, his death, and the shouts of the crowd,--are all pictured with a freshness and genuine out-door feeling which seem almost incredible considering Haydn's age. This remarkable number is separated from its natural companion, the bacchanalian chorus, by a recitative extolling the wealth of the vintage. This chorus ("Joyful the Liquor flows") is in two parts,--first a hymn in praise of wine, sung by the tippling revellers, and second, a dance tempo, full of life and beauty, with imitations of the bagpipe and rustic fiddles, the melody being a favorite Austrian dance-air. With this rollicking combination, for the two movements are interwoven, the third part closes.

A slow orchestral prelude, "expressing the thick fogs at the approach of winter," introduces the closing part. In recitative Simon describes the on-coming of the dreary season, and Jane reiterates the sentiment in the cavatina, "Light and Life dejected languish." In Lucas's recitative we see the snow covering the fields, and in his following aria, "The Traveller stands perplexed," a graphic tone-picture of the wanderer lost in the snow is presented. At last he espies the friendly light in the cottage. "Melodious voices greet his ears," and as he enters he beholds the friendly circle, the old father telling over his stories of the past, the mother plying the distaff, the girls spinning, and the young people [176] making the night merry with jest and sport. At last they join in a characteristic imitative chorus ("Let the Wheel move gayly"). After the spinning they gather about the fire, and Jane sings a charming love-story ("A wealthy Lord who long had loved"), accompanied by chorus. Simon improves the occasion to moralize on the sentiment of the seasons in the aria, "In this, O vain, misguided Man," impressing upon us the lesson that "Nought but Truth remains;" and with a general appeal to Heaven for guidance through life, this quaint and peaceful pastoral poem in music draws to its close. It was the last important work of the aged Haydn, but it has all the charm and freshness of youth.



Franz Liszt, the most eminent pianist of his time, who also obtained world-wide celebrity as a composer and orchestral conductor, was born at Raiding, Hungary, Oct. 22, 1811. His father was an accomplished amateur, and played the piano and violoncello with more than ordinary skill. He was In his ninth year Liszt played for the first noblemen encouraged him to continue his studies, and guaranteed him sufficient to defray the expenses of six years' tuition. He went to Vienna at once and studied the piano with Czerny, besides taking lessons in composition from Salieri and Randhartinger. It was while in that city that his first composition, a variation on a waltz of Diabelli, appeared. In 1823 he went to Paris, hoping to secure admission to the Conservatory; but Cherubini [178] refused it on account of his foreign origin, though Cherubini himself was a foreigner. Nothing daunted, young Liszt continued his studies with Reicha and Paer, and two years afterwards brought out a one-act opera entitled "Don Sancho," which met with a very cordial reception. The slight he had received from Cherubini aroused popular sympathy for him. His wonderful playing attracted universal attention and gained him admission into the most brilliant Parisian salons. He soon became known as the "wonder-child," and was a favorite with every one, especially with the ladies. For two or three years he made artistic tours through France, Switzerland, and England, accompanied by his father, and everywhere met with the most brilliant success. In 1827 the father died, leaving him alone in the world; but good fortune was on his side. During his stay in Paris he had made the friendship of Victor Hugo, George Sand, Lamartine, and other great lights in literature and music, and their influence prepared the way for his permanent success. Notwithstanding that he was in many senses a Bohemian and a man of the world, he had a strong religious tendency. For a time he became deeply interested in the doctrines of Saint-Simon; but his adherence to that system did not last long. He speedily returned to the Roman Church, and some years afterwards went to Rome, at the suggestion of the Pontiff took orders, and set himself about the work of reforming the church music,--a task, however, which he soon [179] abandoned; too many obstacles stood in his way. He expected to become Capellmeister at the Sistine Chapel; but, as he himself said: "I was thwarted by the lack of culture among the cardinals; and besides, most of the princes of the Church were Italian." The Abbé was soon in Germany again, where he resided until the close of his life. From 1839 to 1847 he travelled from one city to another, arousing the most extraordinary enthusiasm; his progress was one continued ovation. In 1849 he went to Weimar and accepted the post of conductor at the Court Theatre. He made Weimar the musical centre of Europe. It was there that his greatest compositions were written, that the school of the music of the future was founded, and that Wagner's operas first gained an unprejudiced hearing; and it is from Weimar that his distinguished pupils, like Von Bülow, Tausig, Bendel, Bronsart, Klindworth, Winterberger, Reubke, and many others date their success. In 1859 he resigned his position, and after that time resided at Rome, Pesth, and Weimar, working for the best interests of his beloved art, and encouraging young musicians to reach the highest standards. Few men of this century have had such a powerful influence upon music, or have done so much to elevate and purify it. His most important works were the "Divina Commedia" and "Faust" symphonies, the twelve symphonic poems, the six Hungarian rhapsodies, the "Graner Mass," the "Hungarian Coronation Mass," and the oratorios "Christus" and [180] "The Legend of the Holy Elizabeth." Besides these he wrote a large number of orchestral pieces, songs, and cantatas, and a rich and varied collection of pianoforte solos, transcriptions, and arrangements. He died July 31, 1886.

The Legend of the Holy Elizabeth.

The oratorio, "Legend of the Holy Elizabeth," was written in 1864, and first produced Aug. 15, 1865, upon the occasion of the twenty-fifth anniversary of the Conservatory of Pesth-Ofen. The text is by Otto Roquette, and was inspired by Moritz von Schwind's frescos at the Wartburg representing scenes in the life of the saint. A brief allusion to her history will still further elucidate the story which Liszt has treated so powerfully. She was the daughter of King Andreas II. of Hungary, and was born in 1207. At the age of four she was betrothed to Ludwig, son of the Landgrave Hermann of Thuringia, whom she married in 1220. After his death, in 1227, she was driven from the Wartburg and forced to give up the regency by her cruel and ambitious mother-in-law. After long wanderings and many privations she retired to Bamberg, where her uncle, the bishop, dwelt; but shortly afterwards her rights were restored to her. She renounced them in favor of her son, Hermann II., and died in 1231. Four years later she was canonized at [181] Marpurg by order of Pope Gregory IX. Her life was devoted to the relief of the poor and suffering.

The characters introduced in the oratorio are Saint Elizabeth, Landgrave Ludwig, Landgrave Hermann, Landgravine Sophie, a Hungarian Magnate, the Seneschal, and the Emperor Frederick II. The last three rôles are usually assigned to Ludwig, thus reducing the number of solo-singers to four. The work is laid out in two parts, each having three scenes corresponding in subjects with Von Schwind's six frescos. The first describes the arrival of Elizabeth at the Wartburg, and the welcome she receives. In the second she is married, and her husband, Ludwig, has succeeded to the throne. His devotion to knight-errantry leads him from home. During his absence a famine breaks out, and Elizabeth in her devotion to the sufferers impoverishes herself and incurs the wrath of her mother-in-law, the Landgravine Sophie. While carrying a basket of bread and wine one day to the victims of the scourge, she is met by her husband, who has unexpectedly returned. Amazed at the absence of her attendants, he questions her, and she excuses herself with the plea that she has been gathering flowers. Doubting the truth of her statement, he snatches the basket from her. She confesses her falsehood; but upon examining the basket it is found to be full of roses. The Lord has performed a miracle. Overcome with remorse for doubting her, Ludwig begs her forgiveness, and the two join in prayer that the Lord may continue His goodness to them. The third scene opens at [182] Schmalkald, on the borders of Thuringia, where Ludwig has assembled his knights and nobles who are to accompany him to the Holy Land. They declare their allegiance to Ludwig as their leader, and he calls upon them also to swear fealty to his wife. After a sad farewell Ludwig rides away at the head of his Crusaders. The fourth scene opens with the news of Ludwig's death. The Landgravine claims the castle as her inheritance, compels Elizabeth to abandon the regency, and drives her out in the midst of a furious storm. In the fifth scene we find her at a hospital which she has founded, and notwithstanding her own troubles and sufferings still ministering to others in like affliction. This scene closes with her death, and in the last we have the ceremonies of her canonization at Marpurg.

The first scene opens with a long orchestral introduction, working up to a powerful climax, and based mainly upon a theme from the old church service, which is Elizabeth's motive, and is frequently heard throughout the work. An animated prelude which follows it introduces the opening chorus ("Welcome the Bride"). A brief solo by Landgrave Hermann ("Welcome, my little Daughter") and another of a national character by the Hungarian Magnate attending the bride intervene, and again the chorus break out in noisy welcome. After a dignified solo by Hermann and a brief dialogue between Ludwig and Elizabeth, a light, graceful allegretto ensues, leading up to a children's chorus ("Merriest Games with thee would we play"), [183] which is delightfully fresh and joyous in its character. At its close the chorus of welcome resumes, and the scene ends with a ritornelle of a plaintive kind, foreboding the sorrow which is fast approaching.

The second scene, after a short prelude, opens with Ludwig's hunting-song ("From the Mists of the Valleys"), which is written in the conventional style of songs of this class, although it has two distinct movements in strong contrast. As he meets Elizabeth, a dialogue ensues, including the scene of the rose miracle, leading up to a brief chorus ("The Lord has done a Wonder"), and followed by an impressive duet in church style ("Him we worship and praise this Day"). The scene closes with an ensemble, a duet with full choral harmony, worked up with constantly increasing power and set to an accompaniment full of rich color and brilliant effect.

The third scene opens with the song of the Crusaders, an impetuous and brilliant chorus ("In Palestine, the Holy Land"), the accompaniment to which is an independent march movement. The stately rhythm is followed by a solo by the Landgrave, bidding farewell to Elizabeth and appealing to his subjects to be loyal to her. The chorus replies in a short number, based upon the Hungarian melody which has already been heard. Elizabeth follows with a tender but passionate appeal to her husband ("Oh, tarry! oh, shorten not the Hour"), leading to a solo ("With Grief my Spirit wrestles"), [184] which is full of the pain of parting. A long dialogue follows between them, interrupted here and there by the strains of the Crusaders, in which finally the whole chorus join with great power in a martial but sorrowful style. As it comes to a close, the orchestra breaks out into the Crusaders' march,--a brilliant picture of the knightly pageant, the time gradually accelerating as well as the force, until it reaches a tremendous climax. The trio of the march is based upon a religious melody which was sung in the time of the Crusaders; but the remainder follows the Gregorian intonation. The chorus once more resumes its shout of jubilee, and the brilliant scene comes to an end. So vividly colored is this music that one can well fancy the sorrowful Elizabeth as she stands gazing at the band of knights, with Ludwig at their head, slowly riding away, pennons fluttering in the breeze, and lances and mail glittering in the sunlight.

In the fourth scene a slow and mournful movement, followed by an allegro ominous and agitated in style, introduces the Landgravine Sophie, the evil genius of the Wartburg. The tidings of the death of Ludwig have come, and with fierce declamation she orders Elizabeth away from the castle. The latter replies in an aria ("O Day of Mourning, Day of Sorrow") marked by sorrowful lamentation. Sophie again hurls her imprecations, and a very dramatic dialogue ensues, which takes the trio form as the reluctant Seneschal consents to enforce the cruel order. Once more Elizabeth tenderly appeals [185] to her in the aria, "Thou too art a Mother." Sophie impatiently and fiercely exclaims, "No longer tarry!" The scene comes to an end with Elizabeth's lament as she goes out into the storm, which is vividly described in an orchestral movement, interspersed with vocal solos. These have little bearing upon the subject-matter, however, which is mainly described by the band with overwhelming power.

The fifth scene opens with a long declamatory solo by Elizabeth,--full of tenderness and pathos, in which she recalls the dream of childhood,--closing with an orchestral movement of the same general character. It is followed by the full chorus ("Here 'neath the Roof of Want"), which after a few bars is taken by the sopranos and altos separately, closing with chorus again and soprano solo ("Elizabeth, thou holy one"). The death-scene follows ("This is no earthly Night"). Her last words, "Unto mine End Thy Love has led me," are set to music full of pathos, and as she expires, the instrumentation dies away in peaceful, tranquil strains. A semi-chorus, which can also be sung by three solo voices ("The Pain is over"), closes the sad scene, the ritornelle at the end being made still more effective by the harps, which give it a celestial character.

The last scene opens with an interlude which gathers up all the motives of the oratorio,--the Pilgrim's Song, the Crusaders' March, the Church Song, and the Hungarian Air, and weaves them into a rich and varied texture for full orchestra, bells, and [186] drums, forming the funeral song of the sainted Elizabeth,--the same effect, and produced in the same manner, which Wagner subsequently used with such magnificent power in the dirge of Siegfried. It is followed by a solo from the Emperor, "I see assembled round the Throne,"--a slow and dignified air, leading to the great ensemble closing the work, and descriptive of the canonization of Elizabeth. It begins as an antiphonal chorus ("Mid Tears and Solemn Mourning"), the female chorus answering the male and closing in unison. Once more the Crusaders' March is heard in the orchestra as the knights sing, "O Thou whose Life-blood streamed." The church choir sings the chorale, "Decorata novo flore," the Hungarian and German bishops intone their benedictions, and then all join in the powerful and broadly harmonious hymn, "Tu pro nobis Mater pia," closing with a sonorous and majestic "Amen."


"Christus, oratorio, with texts from the Holy Scriptures and the Catholic Liturgy," as Liszt entitles his work, was finished in 1866. At the outset the composer selected the "Hymn of Praise" and "Pater Noster" from Rüchert's "Evangelical Harmony;" and upon these and one or two other detached numbers for a background, he built up a series of religious events connected with the offices [187] of the Church according to the Vulgate and its Liturgy. These events are laid out in three divisions,--"The Christmas Oratorio," "After Epiphany," and "The Passion and Resurrection;" the separate parts of which are as follows: (1) The Introduction. (2) Pastoral and Vision of the Angels. (3) Stabat Mater speciosa. (4) Song of the Shepherds in the Manger. (5) The Anointing of the three Kings. (6) Hymn of Praise. (7) Pater Noster. (8) The Establishment or Foundation of the Christian Church. (9) The Storm on the Lake. (10) The Entry into Jerusalem. (11) Tristis est anima mea. (12) Stabat Mater dolorosa. (13) Easter Hymn. (14) Resurrection of Christ. The motive of the work is announced in Saint Paul's words to the Ephesians: "But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ."

The long instrumental introduction is constructed upon a theme representative of a text from Isaiah, "Resound, ye Heavens above," many times repeated, and leading to a pastoral which prepares the way for the angelic announcement to the shepherds. This announcement is made in the simple collect music by a soprano solo, and replied to by a female chorus, first accompanied by string quartet, and then by full orchestra, and leading to the full chorus, "Gloria in excelsis," a series of mighty shouts, closing with a stately Hallelujah and a return of the orchestra to the pastoral movement. The next division is the old Latin hymn, "Stabat Mater speciosa," the Virgin at the cradle of our Lord,--a six-part [188] chorus in church style, accompanied by the organ, with solo variations interspersed through it, and characterized by a lofty feeling of devotion, especially in the "Inflammatus" and the majestic final "Amen." The remaining numbers of the first part are entirely instrumental, including the "Shepherd's Song at the Manger," a pastoral full of beautiful effects, and "the Three Holy Kings," a march which is majestic in its style and broad in its rhythm, and full of characteristic color. The two numbers close the part in a brilliant and jubilant manner.

The second part opens with the "Seligkeiten" ("Hymn of Praise"), a grand declamatory solo for baritone, accompanied by a six-part chorus, which, like the next number, was written by Liszt in his younger days and utilized in its present setting. The hymn is accompanied by organ throughout, and is followed by the "Pater Noster," also with organ,--a fervent, almost passionate, offering of prayer by the precentors and congregation, closing with a mighty "Amen." In the next number--the founding of the Church ("Tu es Petrus"), beginning with male chorus--the orchestra resumes its work. The voices move on in stately manner until the words, "Simon, son of Jona, lovest thou me?" are reached, when the full chorus comes in with imposing effect. Of this number, Nohl says in his fine analysis of "Christus:"--

"The perishable, sinful world in all its aspects is here contrasted with an undoubting faith in an everlastingly constant higher ideal, to give it this name. [189] That it is the spirit of the subject, not its mere perishable husk, is shown by the nature of the melody, which rises to the most powerful expression of the final victory of this spirit of love. Now again the full orchestra joins the double chorus; for the world, the whole world, is meant."

The next scene, entitled "The Wonder," is purely instrumental, and is a marvellous picture of the storm upon the lake, which Nohl also characterizes with reference to its inner meanings:--

"The ninth scene is a marvel. 'The storms rage in contention,'--not the storms of the sea, but the storm of desires to which the weak of faith are exposed. It is not the outward marvel or superstition that is to be strengthened, but the faith of human nature in itself and its higher power and destiny. Hence the actual inner tranquillity when, after the raging orchestral tumult, 'a great stillness' succeeds Christ's words, which is ingeniously introduced with the motive of the 'Seligkeit,' because such inner purity alone bestows upon mankind effective power over the savage forces of the world."

"The Entrance into Jerusalem," a graphic instrumental prelude, introduces a "Hosanna" for full chorus, followed by a "Benedictus" for mezzo-soprano with chorus,--a splendidly constructed number, which closes the second part in a style full of beauty and majesty.

The third part opens with the sorrowful scene, "Tristis est anima mea," Christ's sad words in the walk to Gethsemane,--an unutterably pathetic solo, [190] with an accompaniment which is a marvel of expressive instrumentation. The next number is the old Middle-Age hymn, "Stabat Mater dolorosa," in which Liszt has combined voices and instruments in a manner, particularly in the "Inflammatus," almost overpowering. Solos, duets, quartets, choruses, orchestra, and organ are all handled with consummate skill. It has been aptly characterized as having the dimensions of the "Last Judgment" in the Sistine Chapel. After the great hymn is ended, another begins. It is the old Easter song, "O Filii et Filiæ," written to be sung by boys with harmonium,--a joyous, sunny chorus, dispersing the gloom of the "Stabat Mater." The last scene, "The Resurrection," is a powerful and massive chorus, full of mighty accords, typical of the final triumph of Christianity, and closing with a majestic "Amen" built up on the opening motive of the original introduction. "It is," says Nohl, "a cycle of scenes such as only the victorious mastery of the subject by inward perception can give, and such as only the artist can draw who dominates all the conditions apart like a king, and has reconciled his soul with the absolute truth and power of the Eternal."



George Alexander Macfarren, one of the most prominent of modern English composers, was born in London, March 2, 1813. He began the study of music in 1827 under the tuition of Charles Lucas. Two year's later he entered the Royal Academy of Music, and in 1834 became one of its professors. The latter year dates the beginning of his career as a composer, his first work having been a symphony in F minor. During the next thirty years his important works were as follows: overture "Chevy Chase" (1836); "Devil's Opera," produced at the Lyceum (1838); "Emblematical Tribute on the Queen's Marriage" and an arrangement of Purcell's "Dido and Æneas" (1840); editions of "Belshazzar," "Judas Maccabæus," and "Jephthah," for the Handel Society (1843); opera "Don Quixote" (1846); opera "Charles II." (1849); serenata "The Sleeper Awakened," and the cantata "Lenora" (1851); the cantata "May Day," for the Bradford Festival (1856); the cantata "Christmas" (1859); the opera "Robin Hood" (1860); the [192] masque "Freya's Gift" and opera "Jessy Lea" (1863); and the operas "She Stoops to Conquer," "The Soldier's Legacy," and "Helvellyn" (1864). About the last year his sight, which had been impaired for many years, failed. His blindness did not however diminish his activity. He still served as professor in the Royal Academy, and dictated compositions,--indeed some of his best works were composed during this time of affliction. In 1873 appeared his oratorio, "St. John the Baptist," which met with an enthusiastic reception at the Bristol Festival of that year. In 1875 he was elected professor of music at Cambridge, to fill the vacancy occasioned by the death of Sterndale Bennett, and in the same year was also appointed principal of the Royal Academy of Music. In 1876 his oratorio "The Resurrection" was performed at the Birmingham Festival, and in 1877 the oratorio "Joseph" at Leeds, besides the cantata "The Lady of the Lake" at Glasgow. Grove catalogues his other compositions as follows: a cathedral service, anthems, chants, psalm-tunes, and introits for the Holy Days and Seasons of the English Church (1866); "Songs in a Cornfield" (1868); "Shakspeare Songs for Four Voices" (1860-64); songs from Lane's "Arabian Nights," and Kingsley's and Tennyson's poems; overtures to "The Merchant of Venice," "Romeo and Juliet," "Hamlet," and "Don Carlos;" symphonies, string quartets, and a quintet; a concerto for violin and orchestra; and sonatas for pianoforte alone, and in combination with other instruments. [193] As lecturer, writer, and critic, Sir George Macfarren also holds a high place, among his important works being "Rudiments of Harmony" (1860), and six Lectures on Harmony (1867); also Analyses of Oratorios for the Sacred Harmonic Society (1853-57), and of orchestral works for the Philharmonic Society (1869-71), besides numerous articles in the musical dictionaries.

St. John the Baptist.

The oratorio "St. John the Baptist" was first produced at the Bristol Musical Festival in 1873. The libretto was written by Dr. E. G. Monk, and is divided into two parts,--the first styled "The Desert," and the second "Machærus," to correspond with the localities where the action is supposed to take place. The incidents described are John's preaching to the people, the baptism of Christ, and the events which begin with Herod's feast and close with the execution of the Prophet. One of the best of the English critics, speaking of the libretto, says:--

"John is thus shown in his threefold capacity, as the herald of the Kingdom of Heaven, as the uncompromising champion of righteousness, and as the witness of truth even unto death. Nothing could be more simple or more definite than this, and the discreetness it evinces is shown also by the manner in which the characters are treated. John, of course, is the central [194] figure. He stands out clothed with all the noble attributes accredited to him in the Bible,--'stern and inflexible in his teaching, yet bowing before him whose message he had to promulgate.' A halo of grandeur surrounds the ascetic of the desert as he hurls anathemas upon the corruptors of Israel; or as, in the true spirit of the ancient prophets of his race, he rebukes Herod under the roof of that monarch's palace. No greater hero could a musician wish for as a source of inspiration, or as a means of exciting interest. Next to John stands the weak and voluptuous King,--a contrast as marked in character as in outward circumstance. The impulsive temperament of Herod is well brought out. One instant he resents John's boldness, and significantly exclaims, 'If I command to kill, they kill;' the next he trembles before his rebuker, and promises to amend his life. The rashness of the fatal vow to Salome, and the bitter but unavailing repentance to which it led, are also put well forward, while in matters of detail extreme care is taken to make the contrast of Prophet and King as great as circumstances permit. The part of Salome, who is the only other dramatic person, contains no more amplification of the Bible narrative than was exacted by the necessities of musical treatment. In structure, the libretto is partly dramatic, partly narrational, the dramatic form being employed in all the chief scenes; and as little use is made of 'Greek chorus,' the story marches without the halting rendered necessary by efforts to 'improve' its incidents as they arise."

The overture, which is very dramatic in character, is followed by a powerful fugued chorus ("Behold! I will send My Messenger"), a part of which is set [195] to organ accompaniment. The Narrator (contralto) recites the coming of the Prophet, in the orchestral prelude to which is a phrase borrowed from an old church melody which Mendelssohn also used in his Reformation Symphony, and which serves throughout the work as the motive for the Prophet, in the genuine Wagner style. Saint John is introduced in a rugged and massive baritone solo ("Repent ye, the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand"), accompanied by very descriptive instrumentation. A dramatic scene ensues, composed of inquiries as to the Prophet's mission by the People, a short chorus by the latter ("What shall we do then?") which is very melodic in style, and the resumption of the dialogue form, set to a very skilful accompaniment. This scene is followed by a characteristic aria for the Prophet, "I indeed baptize you with Water." The story is once more taken up by the Narrator, who describes the baptism of Christ. The words, "This is My Beloved Son," are given to a female choir, with exquisite accompaniment by the violins and harps. A song for the Narrator ("In the Beginning was the Word") follows, and leads to the chorus, which closes the first part, the words taken from the first verse of Psalm civ., and the melody borrowed from the familiar old tune "Hanover," which the composer has worked up with great skill and effect.

The second part opens in Herod's palace with the rebuke of the Monarch by the Prophet. In this scene, as well as in others, the composer draws a [196] strong contrast in the music assigned to the two, the one being strong and stern, the other sensuous, in style. In the duet, where Herod confesses the error of his ways, the voices unite in a genuine religious strain. The Narrator is once more introduced, and describes the feast given by the Monarch to the Galilee estates, followed by a jubilant chorus of Nobles ("O King, live forever!"), set to a brilliant accompaniment, calling for the most ample orchestral resources. The next number is a chorus for male voices ("Lo! the Daughter of Herodias cometh in, she danceth!"), set to a dance rhythm with tambourines, the themes being bits of Oriental melodies skilfully treated. We then have the banquet-scene, the admiration of the Nobles for Salome's beauty, Herod's oath, and Salome's joy expressed in a showy song ("I rejoice in my youth"). Then follows the dramatic scene of Salome's request,--a concerted number of great force in its treatment. Herod sings a mournful aria ("Alas! my Daughter, thou hast brought us very low"). The Narrator explains how the King was compelled to keep his word, and is followed by the Nobles in a stirring chorus ("Lo! the Wrath of the King is as a Messenger of Death"). The scene now changes to the dungeon, where the Prophet sings his farewell song ("A Man can receive nothing"), accompanied by orchestra and organ. The final tragedy is told by the Narrator, and the work closes with two reflective numbers,--the beautiful unaccompanied quartet, "Blessed are they which are persecuted," [197] and the chorus, "What went ye out into the Wilderness for to see?" The above-mentioned critic, who was present at its first performance, says of the work:--

"It is a strange thing that John the Baptist has not often attracted the notice of musical composers in search of a subject. No more remarkable personage, with one great exception, figures in Bible history than he whom the Master described as 'more than a prophet.' His striking appearance, stern asceticism, wrathful denunciation of 'wickedness in high places,' and tragic fate,--not to speak of his relation to One whose shoes he professed himself unworthy to loose,--throw his form into bold relief, and mark him as of heroic proportions. Yet, save that he holds a subordinate place in a very limited number of works, among which is Sir Julius Benedict's 'St. Peter,' the great forerunner has been passed over till now. At length, however, in that 'fulness of time' which ever brings forth the best results, the Man and his Life have found a musical illustrator. There is now an oratorio of 'John the Baptist,'--a work worthy its theme, and to which the stamp of enthusiastic approval has been affixed by the unanimous verdict of an audience competent to judge."



Alexander C. Mackenzie, one of the very few successful Scotch composers, was born at Edinburgh in 1847. His father was a musician; and recognizing his son's talent, sent him to Germany at the age of ten. He began his studies with Ulrich Eduard Stein at Schwartzburg-Sonderhausen, and four years later entered the ducal orchestra as violinist. He remained there until 1862, when he went to England to study the violin with M. Sainton. In the same year he was elected king's scholar of the Royal Academy of Music. Three years later he returned to Edinburgh and established himself as a piano-teacher. The main work of his life, however, has been composition, and to this he has devoted himself with assiduity and remarkable success. Grove catalogues among his works: "Cervantes, an overture for orchestra;" a scherzo for ditto; overture to a comedy; a string quintet and many other pieces in MS.; pianoforte quartet in B, op. 11; Trois Morceaux pour Piano, op. 15; two songs, [199] op. 12; besides songs, part-songs, anthems, and pieces for the piano. This catalogue, however, does not include his two most important works,--a Scotch Rhapsody, introduced into this country by the Theodore Thomas orchestra, a composition of great merit, and the oratorio, "The Rose of Sharon," which has been received with extraordinary favor wherever it has been performed.

The Rose of Sharon.

"The Rose of Sharon," a dramatic oratorio founded on the Song of Solomon, the words selected from the Scriptures and arranged by Joseph Bennett, was first brought out at the Norwich Festival, England, Oct. 16, 1884, under the direction of the composer, and was subsequently performed in London by the Sacred Harmonic Society. Its first performance in Scotland took place at Glasgow, Dec. 8, 1885, under the auspices of the Glasgow Choral Union, Madame Albani, Miss Hilda Wilson, Mr. Edward Lloyd, and Mr. Watkins Mills being the principal vocalists. One notice of this performance says: "The enthusiastic reception of the work on this occasion was beyond all description; the composer was recalled after each part with cheers that must have made his heart leap with delight." At the first performance at Norwich he was showered with flowers by the chorus, while the whole audience rose and greeted him with prolonged [200] cheering. In speaking of the text, its compiler says:--

"In adopting for the purposes of this oratorio a reading of the 'Song of Songs' upon which Ewald and Renan substantially agree, the compiler of the libretto favored no controversial opinion. He simply saw in the ingenious commentaries of the learned Hebraists suggestions for a story of unconquerable love, capable of expression in the language of the Bible.

"For the arrangement of incident the compiler is alone responsible. In some respects it departs widely from the original poem,--which opens, for example, in Jerusalem,--and gives only in narrative the events that occupy part one of the oratorio.

"In taking a story from a canonical book of Holy Scripture, the compiler could not ignore its spiritual significance. He has, therefore, introduced a prologue suggesting the parabolic character of the drama, and an epilogue which points its moral."

The characters are the Rose of Sharon, designated throughout the work as the Sulamite (soprano); a Woman (contralto); the Beloved (tenor); and Solomon (baritone); the chorus representing Officers of the Court, Princes, Nobles, Villagers, Elders, and Soldiers. The story, briefly told, is one of the power of love. The Beloved and Solomon are both in love with the Sulamite, and the king tears her from the former to be the favorite among the women of the harem. Amid all the splendors of the palace and the luxuries heaped [201] upon her by her passionate admirer she remains true to the Beloved, is ultimately restored to him, and returns to the vineyards of Sulam. The work is divided as follows: Prologue; Part I. Separation; II. Temptation; III. Victory; IV. Reunion; V. Epilogue. The motto of the oratorio is "Love is strong as death, and unconquerable as the grave." This motto has its musical theme as well as each of the three principal characters, and they are invariably used with great skill and effect. The Woman acts the part of Narrator, and after a brief orchestral prelude she is heard declaring the meaning and spiritual significance of the story in the prologue:

"We will open our mouth in a parable;

We will utter dark sayings of old,

Which we have heard and known,

Which our fathers have told us;

We will not hide them from our children,

That the generation to come may know them,

Who shall declare them to their children.

This is a great mystery; but we speak concerning Christ and his Church."

The oratorio opens in the vineyard of Sulam as the Vine-dressers come forth to their labor. The orchestral part begins with the melody of the Vineyard Song ("We will take the Foxes"), and serves to introduce their chorus, a joyous pastoral ("Come, let us go forth into the Field"). As they disappear, the voice of the Beloved is heard singing a tender and passionate appeal beneath the Sulamite's lattice ("Rise up, rise up, my Love") as he urges her to join him, "For lo! the winter is past; the rain [202] is over and gone." Her reply follows from within her chamber, full of love and adoration, and closing with the Vineyard Song ("We will take the Foxes, the little Foxes that ravage the Vines"). She descends from her chamber and joins the Beloved, and their voices unite in a delightful duet ("Come, Beloved, into the Garden of Nuts"). Once more the chorus of the Vine-dressers is heard, and at its close, after an intermezzo descriptive of the joys of a spring morning, the scene changes to Lebanon. A short alto solo announces the coming of Solomon, and the pastoral music is followed by a brilliant and stately processional march, accompanied by chorus ("God save the King!"). Solomon beholds the Sulamite, and pours forth his admiration in a rapturous song ("Thou art lovely, O my Friend, as Thirza"). The Princes and Nobles also testify to their admiration of her beauty. A very dramatic scene ensues, in which the Beloved and the Sulamite seek to escape "out of the caves of the lion and from the haunt of the leopard." She is brought back by an elder, and again Solomon pleads his cause in a passionate declamation ("Unto my charger in Pharaoh's stud I would compare thee, O my friend"). She replies, "My Beloved is to me a nosegay of myrrh," and clings to her lover, who once more seeks to escape with her; whereupon she is seized and placed in one of the king's chariots, and the cavalcade moves off to the brilliant strains of the cortège music, accompanied by the chorus.


The second part, "Temptation," introduces us to Solomon's palace, where the Sulamite is alone, pining for her lover. The scene opens with the psalm, "The Lord is my Shepherd," set to a simple, charming melody, full of the spirit of devotion, but entirely disconnected with the general texture of the work. As the touching strain comes to an end, the Women of the court enter, insidiously plead the cause of Solomon, tempt her with his luxuries, and seek to shame her love for the Beloved. "Kings' daughters shall be among thine honorable women; thy clothing shall be of wrought gold; thou shalt be brought unto the king in raiment of needlework, with gladness and rejoicing shalt thou be brought and enter into the king's palace," sings one of the Women; but the Sulamite remains loyal, and only answers: "My Beloved pastures his flocks among the lilies. My Beloved is mine, and I am his." The temptation is interrupted by the procession of the ark passing in the street below to the glad acclaim of the people ("Make a joyful Noise unto the Lord, all ye Lands"), and a brilliant march. Successively the Maidens of Jerusalem with timbrels, the Elders, the Shepherds and Vine-dressers, the Soldiers, the Priests bearing the sacred vessels pass by, singing tributes of praise to the Lord; and as the Levites appear bearing the ark, and Solomon comes in sight with all his retinue, the entire chorus triumphantly repeat "God save the King!" The brilliant procession passes from view. The Women once more appeal to the Sulamite; but [204] she still loyally declares: "My Beloved pastures his flocks among the lilies; lo! Solomon in all his glory is not arrayed like one of these."

The third part, "Victory," opens with an orchestral prelude picturing the sleep of the Sulamite, with her women watching about her. The voice of the Beloved is heard without the chamber, "Open to me, my Sister, my Bride." It reaches her in a dream, and in fancy she replies to him, clothes herself, and searches for him in the streets; but when she accosts the watchmen, they are so rude that her fright awakes her. She is still a prisoner in the palace, and the Women about her announce the coming of Solomon. He pleads his cause in a passionate song ("Ere the Day cool and the Shadows flee away"); and she replies with another protestation of her constancy in the solo, "Lo! a Vineyard hath Solomon at Baal-hamon." The situation, which is very dramatic in its treatment, is heightened by a duet and by the mocking chorus of Women; but above them all still sings the brave Sulamite, "My Beloved is mine, and I am his."

The fourth part brings us back again to the vineyards of Sulam. It opens with a melancholy chorus of the Vine-dressers ("O Lord, be gracious unto us"), lamenting her absence. It is followed by a bass solo ("Thus saith the Lord") and a chorale in full broad harmony. At last the victorious Sulamite is seen coming up from the valley leaning on the arm of the Beloved. All join in a powerful and exultant chorus of gratitude and joy ("Sing, O [205] Heavens, and be joyful, O Earth"). A rapturous duet ensues between the Sulamite and the Beloved, and then all join in the spirited finale:--

"For the flame of Love is as fire,

Even the fire of God.

Many waters cannot quench it,

Neither can floods drown it.

Yea, Love is strong as death,

And unconquerable as the grave."



Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy, the son of a Berlin banker, was born at Hamburg, Feb. 3, 1809, and, unlike almost all other composers, was reared in the lap of luxury. Every advantage which wealth could procure he enjoyed, with the result that he became highly educated in the other arts as well as in music. His teachers in music were Zelter and Ludwig Berger, and he made such progress that in his ninth year he appeared in public as a pianist in Berlin, and afterwards in Paris. The first of his compositions to attract general notice were the overture to Shakspeare's "Midsummer Night's Dream" and the little opera "The Marriage of Camacho," which were brought out in Berlin in 1827. After several concert tours, in which he met with great success, he resided for some time in Düsseldorf. In 1835 he went to Leipsic as director of the famous Gewandhaus concerts,--which are still given in that city. Two years later he married Cécile Jeanrenaud, the beautiful daughter of a minister of the Reformed Church in Frankfort, and [207] shortly afterwards went to Berlin as general director of church music. In 1843 he returned to his former post in Leipsic, and also took a position in the newly established Conservatory, where he spent the remainder of his days in company with his family, to whom he was closely attached. He has left a large and rich collection of musical works, which are favorites the world over. His three great oratorios are the "Hymn of Praise," catalogued as a symphony-cantata, "St. Paul," and "Elijah." The last is specially interesting, as it marked a new departure from the conventional forms of oratorio, and gave the widest scope to the dramatic elements,--to such a degree, in fact, that it might with propriety be styled a sacred opera. Besides these oratorios, his exquisite music to the "Midsummer Night's Dream," which is familiar the world over, and his stately dramatic music to "Antigone," he has left five symphonies, of which the "Scotch," the "Italian," and the "Reformation" are best known; four exquisite overtures, "Ruy Blas," "Calm Sea and Prosperous Voyage," "Hebrides," and "Melusina;" the very dramatic cantata, "The Walpurgis Night;" a long list of beautiful songs for one or more voices; the incidental music to Racine's "Athalia;" a very large collection of sacred music, such as psalms, hymns, anthems, and cantatas; several beautiful trios and other specimens of chamber-music; and the lovely "Songs without Words," which are to be found upon almost every piano, the beauty and freshness of which time has not impaired. Mendelssohn [208] never wrote a grand opera, owing to his fastidiousness as to a libretto; though he finally obtained one from Geibel, on the subject of the "Loreley," which suited him. He had begun to write it, and had finished the finale to the first act, when death interrupted his work, Nov. 4, 1847. Mendelssohn was a man of remarkable beauty, and his character corresponded to his charm of person. He had a liberal education, was a man of broad culture, a clever artist, and a very skilful writer, as is shown by his volumes of letters from Italy and Switzerland. Possessed of these graces of mind and person, and having all the advantages that wealth could bestow, he lacked those incentives which in other composers have brought out the deepest, highest, and most majestic forms of musical expression. His music is a reflex of his life; grace, elegance, culture, and finish are its characteristics.

St. Paul.

"St. Paul," the first of Mendelssohn's oratorios, was begun in Düsseldorf and finished in Leipsic in the winter of 1835, the composer being then in his twenty-sixth year. He first applied to Marx to write the text; but the invitation was declined, on the ground that the chorales were unsuited to the period of the narrative. Mendelssohn then consulted with his friends Fürst and Schubring, and the libretto as it now stands represents their joint [209] compilation. Its three principal themes are the martyrdom of Saint Stephen, the conversion of Saint Paul, and the apostle's subsequent career. One of the clearest statements of the general character of the work is that given by Lampadius; he says:--

"The main thought which runs through the whole work is too high and broad to be linked by the tie of a personal interest to any single man. It is the glorification of Christianity, with its humility, its joy in living and dying for the Lord, in contrast with the blind self-righteousness of Judaism and the mere sensuous morality of the heathen schools. It is the contrast, or rather the struggle, of the last two with the former, and the victory of the light and love of the Gospel,--the light eternal, the love divine. This thought is made incarnate in the persons of Stephen, Paul, and Barnabas, and it is concentrated at that point which is really the central point of interest to the oratorio,--the conversion of Saint Paul."

The work was written upon a commission given by the Cecilien Verein of Frankfort in 1831; but it was not produced until May 22, 1836, on the occasion of the Lower Rhine Festival at Düsseldorf. The principal parts were sung by Madame Fischer-Achten, Mademoiselle Grabau, Herren Schmetzer and Wersing, the latter artist taking the part of Paul. The second performance was given at Liverpool, Oct. 3, 1836; and between the two performances Mendelssohn revised the work and cut out fourteen numbers.


After a long and expressive overture for orchestra and organ, the first part opens with a strong and exultant chorus ("Lord! Thou alone art God"). It is massively constructed, and in its middle part runs into a restless, agitated theme ("The Heathen furiously rage"). It closes, however, in the same energetic and jubilant manner which characterizes its opening, and leads directly to a chorale ("To God on High"), set to a famous old German hymn-book tune, "Allein Gott in der Höh' sei Ehr," which is serenely beautiful in its clearly flowing harmony. The martyrdom of Stephen follows. The basses in vigorous recitative accuse him of blasphemy, and the people break out in an angry chorus ("Now this Man ceaseth not to utter blasphemous Words"). At its close Stephen sings a brief but beautiful solo ("Men, Brethren, and Fathers!"); and as the calm protest dies away, again the full chorus gives vent to a tumultuous shout of indignation ("Take him away"). A note of warning is heard in the fervent soprano solo, "Jerusalem, thou that killest the Prophets;" but it is of no avail. Again the chorus hurls its imprecations more furiously than before ("Stone him to death"). The tragedy occurs. A few bars of recitative for tenor, full of pathos, tell the sad story, and then follows another beautiful chorale of submission ("To Thee, O Lord, I yield my Spirit"). Saul's participation in the tragedy is barely touched upon. The lament for Stephen is followed by the chorus, "Happy and blest are they," which is [211] beautifully melodious in character. Saul now appears, "breathing out threatenings and slaughter" against the apostles. His first aria ("Consume them all") is a bass solo which is fiery in its energy. It is followed by the lovely arioso for alto, "But the Lord is mindful of His own,"--fitting companion to the equally beautiful "O rest in the Lord" from "Elijah," and much resembling it in general style. Then occurs the conversion. The voice from heaven ("Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou Me?") is represented, as was often done in the passion-music, by the soprano choir, which gives it peculiar significance and makes it stand out in striking contrast with the rest of the work. A forcible orchestral interlude, worked up in a strong crescendo, leads to the vigorous chorus, "Rise up! arise!" in which the powerful orchestral climax adds great strength to the vocal part. It is a vigorously constructed chorus, and is followed by a chorale ("Sleepers, wake! a Voice is calling"), which still further heightens the effect by its trumpet notes between the lines. At the close of the imposing harmony the music grows deeper and more serious in character as Saul breathes out his prayer, "O God, have Mercy upon me;" and again, after the message of forgiveness and mercy delivered by Ananias, more joyful and exultant in the bass solo with chorus ("I praise Thee, O Lord, my God"), Saul receives his sight, and straightway begins his ministrations. A grand reflective chorus ("O great is the Depth of the Riches of Wisdom"), strong and jubilant in [212] character, and rising to a powerful climax, closes the first part.

The second part opens with the five-part chorus, "The Nations are now the Lord's,"--a clear fugue, very stately and dignified in its style, leading, after a tenor and bass duet ("Now all are Ambassadors in the Name of Christ"), to the beautifully melodious chorus, "How lovely are the Messengers that preach us the Gospel of Peace," and the equally beautiful soprano arioso, "I will sing of Thy great Mercies." After the chorus, "Thus saith the Lord," and a second tumultuous chorus expressive of rage and scorn ("Is this He who in Jerusalem"), another chorale occurs ("O Thou, the true and only Light"), in which the Church prays for direction. The tenor recitative announcing the departure of Paul and Barnabas to the Gentiles, followed by the tenor and bass duet, "For so hath the Lord Himself commanded," bring us to the scene of the sacrifice at Lystra, in which the two choruses, "The Gods themselves as Mortals," and "O be gracious, ye Immortals," are full of genuine Greek sensuousness and in striking contrast with the seriousness and majestic character of the harmony in the Christian chorus ("But our God abideth in Heaven") which follows. Once more the Jews interfere, in the raging, wrathful chorus, "This is Jehovah's Temple." In a pathetic tenor aria ("Be thou faithful unto Death") Paul takes a sorrowful leave of his brethren, and in response comes an equally tender chorus, "Far be it from thy [213] Path." Two stately choruses ("See what Love hath the Father," and "Now only unto Him") close the work.

Hymn of Praise.

The "Lobgesang" ("Hymn of Praise") was written at Leipsic in 1840, the occasion which gave birth to it being the fourth centennial celebration of the art of printing. The musical features of the festival were intrusted to Mendelssohn, the ceremonies occupying two days, June 24 and 25 of the above year. On the evening of the 23d there was a performance of Lortzing's opera, "Hans Sachs," written for the occasion. On the morning of the 24th there was a service in the church, followed by the unveiling of the statue of Guttenberg in the public square, and an open-air performance of the composer's "Festgesang" for two choirs, with trombone accompaniment, David conducting one choir, and Mendelssohn the other. In the afternoon of the 25th the "Hymn of Praise" was given for the first time in St. Thomas's Church, preceded by Weber's "Jubilee Overture" and Handel's "Dettingen Te Deum." Lampadius, who was present at the performance, says:--

"The work called out the greatest enthusiasm, which could hardly be repressed within bounds even by the fact that the audience were seated within the walls of a church. After the first duet a subdued [214] whisper of applause ran through the edifice and betrayed the suppressed delight of the listeners. On one of the evenings following, a torchlight procession was made in honor of the great composer. Mendelssohn, who then lived in Lurgenstein's Garden, appeared at the window, his face lighted up with joy. 'Gentlemen,' he said in his neat, quiet way, with a sensible trembling of the voice, 'you know that it is not my manner to make many words; but I heartily thank you.' A loud 'Hoch!' three times shouted, was our reply."

Its next performance was at Birmingham, Sept. 23, 1840, Mendelssohn himself conducting. After this performance it was considerably changed, and the whole scene of the watchman was added. The idea occurred to him after a sleepless night, during which, as he informed a friend, the words, "Will the night soon pass?" incessantly came into his mind.

The title given to the "Hymn of Praise," "a symphony-cantata," was first suggested by his friend Carl Klingemann, of London, as will be seen by the following interesting extract from a letter written by Mendelssohn to him, Nov. 18, 1840:--

"My 'Hymn of Praise' is to be performed the end of this month for the benefit of old invalided musicians. I am determined, however, that it shall not be produced in the imperfect form in which, owing to my illness, it was given in Birmingham; so that makes me work hard. Four new pieces are to be added, and I have also much improved the three sets of symphonies, which are now in the hands of the copyist. As an introduction to the chorus, 'The Night is passed,' I [215] have found far finer words in the Bible, and admirably adapted to the music. By the by, you have much to answer for in the admirable title you hit on so cleverly; for not only have I sent forth the piece into the world as a symphony-cantata, but I have serious thoughts of resuming the first 'Walpurgis Night' (which has been so long lying by me) under the same cognomen, and finishing and getting rid of it at last. It is singular enough that at the very first suggestion of this idea I should have written to Berlin that I was resolved to compose a symphony with a chorus. Subsequently I had not courage to begin, because the three movements were too long for an introduction; and yet I never could divest myself of the impression that something was wanting in the shape of an introduction. Now the symphony is to be inserted according to my original intention, and the piece brought out at once."

The text to the "Hymn of Praise" is not in narrative form, nor has it any particular dramatic significance. It is what its name indicates,--a tribute of praise. Lampadius says the composer undertook to show "the triumph at the creation of light over darkness. With his pious and believing heart he could easily enter into that theme, and show with matchless power and skill the closing-in of those ancient foes, and the victory of light when darkness cowered and ignobly shrank away." The expression of delight over this victory is very well brought out, not only in the music, but also in the arrangement of the Scriptural texts, which begin with exhortations of praise, and appeals to those who have been in distress and affliction to trust the Lord. [216] The tenor, who may be regarded as the Narrator, calls upon the Watchman, "What of the night?" The response comes that the night has passed. In exultation over the victory, once more the text ascribes praise to the Lord. "All that has life and breath" sings to His name.

The symphony is in three parts, beginning with a maestoso movement, in which the trombones at once give out the choral motive, "All that has life and breath sing to the Lord,"--a favorite theme of Mendelssohn. This movement, which is strong and energetic in character, is followed by an allegretto based upon a beautiful melody, and to this in turn succeeds an adagio religioso rich in harmony. The symphony clearly reflects the spirit of the cantata, which follows. The opening chorus ("All that has Life and Breath") is based upon the choral motive, and enunciates the real hymn of praise. It moves along in a stately manner, and finally leads without break into a semi-chorus, "Praise thou the Lord, O my Spirit," a soprano solo with accompaniment of female voices. The tenor in a long dramatic recitative ("Sing ye Praise, all ye redeemed of the Lord") urges the faithful to join in praise and extol His goodness, and the chorus responds, first, the tenors, and then all the parts, in a beautiful number, "All ye that cried unto the Lord." The next number is an exquisite duet for soprano and alto with chorus ("I waited for the Lord"). It is thoroughly devotional in style, and in its general color and effect reminds one [217] of the arias, "O Rest in the Lord" from "Elijah," and "The Lord is mindful of His own" from "St. Paul." This duet is followed by a sorrowful, almost wailing tenor solo, "The Sorrows of Death had closed all around me," ending with the piercing, anxious cry in recitative, "Watchman! will the Night soon pass?" set to a restless, agitated accompaniment and thrice repeated. Like a flash from a cloud comes the quick response of the chorus, "The Night is departing," which forms the climax of the work. The chorus is beautifully constructed, and very impressive in its effect. At first the full chorus proclaims the night's departure; it then takes the fugal form on the words, "Therefore let us cast off the works of darkness," which is most effectively worked out.

In the finale the male voices are massed on the declaration, "The Night is departing," and the female voices on the response, "The Day is approaching;" and after alternating repetitions all close in broad, flowing harmony. This chorus leads directly to the chorale, "Let all Men praise the Lord," sung first without accompaniment, and then in unison with orchestra. Another beautiful duet, "My Song shall alway be Thy Mercy," this time for soprano and tenor, follows, and prepares the way for the final fugued chorus, "Ye Nations, offer to the Lord," a massive number, stately in its proportions and impressive in its effect, and closing with a fortissimo delivery of the splendid choral motive, "All that has Life and Breath."


Notwithstanding that the choral part is brief as compared with the "St. Paul" and "Elijah," there are many critics who are inclined to pronounce the "Hymn of Praise" Mendelssohn's greatest work. In its combination of the symphony and the voice parts, the one growing out of the other and both so intimately connected, it stands almost alone. Some critics have condemned Mendelssohn for imitating Beethoven's Choral Symphony, though in that colossal work the chorus is not only subordinate to the symphony, but is even trifling in length as compared with it, and very inferior in style. While in Mendelssohn's work the symphony is subordinated to the choral part, and serves only as an introduction to it, they are yet conventionally connected; but in Beethoven's work the chorus was the product of necessity, as the idea could not have been developed without it. The instruments had gone as far as possible; the voices must speak.


"Elijah," the most admired of all Mendelssohn's compositions, was finished in 1846. The plan of the work was first considered in 1837, and was discussed with his friend Klingemann in London. During the next year he had frequent consultations with another friend, Schubring, as to the preparation of the book, and many of the passages were selected and scenes sketched out; but [219] it was not until 1840 that he really began to put it into shape. We learn by a letter that in 1842 he was still at work upon the book itself. Two years later he received an invitation to conduct the Birmingham Festival of 1846; and it was evidently at that time he decided to prepare the work for that occasion. We learn by another letter that on the 23d of May, 1846, the entire first part and six or eight numbers of the second part were sent to London to a Mr. Bartholomew, who was engaged translating the text into English. That Mendelssohn himself was pleased with his work is evident from his own words, written to a friend after he had finished the first part: "I am jumping about my room for joy. If it only turns out half as good as I fancy, how pleased I shall be!" By the latter part of July the entire oratorio was in the hands of Mr. Bartholomew, and on August 18 Mendelssohn himself arrived in London and immediately began the rehearsals. The work was first performed on the 26th at Birmingham, coming between Haydn's "Creation" on the 25th, and Handel's "Messiah" on the 27th, the latter oratorio being followed by Beethoven's Mass in D. A correspondent who was present writes:--

"How shall I describe what to-day has been in the Music Hall? After such an intense enjoyment it is a hard task to express one's feelings in cold words. It was a great day for the festival, a great day for the performers, a great day for Mendelssohn, a great day for art. Four da-capos in the first part, four in the [220] second, making eight encores, and at the close the calling out of the composer,--are significant facts when one considers that it was the rigid injunction of the Committee that the public should not testify its approval by applause. But the enthusiasm would be checked by no rules; when the heart is full, regulations must stand aside. It was a noble scene, the hall filled with men, the galleries gay with ladies, like so many tulip-beds, added to the princely music and their thundering bravas."

Mendelssohn himself on the day after the performance writes to his brother in Berlin:--

"No work of mine ever went so admirably the first time of execution, or was received with such enthusiasm by both the musicians and the audience, as this oratorio. It was quite evident at the first rehearsal in London that they liked it, and liked to sing and play it; but I own I was far from anticipating that it would acquire such fresh vigor and impetus at the performance. Had you only been there! During the whole two hours and a half that it lasted, the large hall, with its two thousand people, and the large orchestra were all so fully intent on the one object in question that not the slightest sound was to be heard among the whole audience, so that I could sway at pleasure the enormous orchestra and choir, and also the organ accompaniments. How often I thought of you during the time! more especially, however, when 'the sound of abundance of rain' came, and when they sang and played the final chorus with furore, and when, after the close of the first part, we were obliged to repeat the whole movement. Not less than four choruses and four airs were encored, and not one single mistake [221] occurred in the first part; there were some afterwards in the second part, but even these were but trifling. A young English tenor[6] sang the last air with such wonderful sweetness that I was obliged to collect all my energies, not to be affected, and to continue beating time steadily."

Notwithstanding his delight with the performance, he was not satisfied with the oratorio as a whole. He made numerous changes and re-wrote portions of the work,--indeed there was scarcely a movement that was not retouched. It is interesting to note in this connection that the beautiful trio, "Lift thine Eyes," was originally a duet, and very different in character. The first performance of the work in London took place April 16, 1847, when it was given by the Sacred Harmonic Society. Her Majesty and Prince Albert were in attendance; and after the performance the Prince sent to Mendelssohn the score which he had used in following the music, with the following tribute written in it:--

To the noble artist who, surrounded by the Baal-worship of corrupted art, has been able by his genius and science to preserve faithfully, like another Elijah, the worship of true art, and once more to accustom our ear, lost in the whirl of an empty play of sounds, to the pure notes of expressive composition and legitimate harmony; to the great master who makes us conscious of the unity of his conception through the whole [222] maze of his creation, from the soft whispering to the mighty raging of the elements.

Written in token of grateful remembrance by


Buckingham Palace, April 24, 1847.

The text was mainly compiled from the First Book of Kings, and was translated, as has been said, by Mr. Bartholomew. Hiller says that the idea of the oratorio was first suggested by the verse in the nineteenth chapter, "Behold, the Lord passed by," and that Mendelssohn, while reading it, remarked to him, "Would not that be splendid for an oratorio?" The prominent scenes treated are the drought prophecy, the raising of the widow's son, the rival sacrifices, the appearance of the rain in answer to Elijah's appeal, Jezebel's persecution of Elijah, the sojourn in the desert, his return, his disappearance in the fiery chariot, and the finale, which reflects upon the meaning of the sacred narrative. The scenes themselves indicate the dramatic character of the oratorio. In this respect, indeed, Mendelssohn may almost be said to have created a new school of oratorio construction. "Elijah" could be placed upon the stage with scenery, costume, and properties as a sacred opera, and make a powerful impression,--almost as much so, indeed, as Rossini's "Moses." Mendelssohn's own testimony on this point is interesting. In a letter written Nov. 2, 1838, to Pastor Julius Schubring, who was assisting him in the preparation of the book, he says:--


"I figured to myself Elijah as a grand, mighty prophet, such as we might again require in our own day,--energetic and zealous, but also stern, wrathful, and gloomy; a striking contrast to the court myrmidons and popular rabble,--in fact, in opposition to the whole world, and yet borne on angel's wings.... I am anxious to do justice to the dramatic element, and, as you say, no epic narrative must be introduced.... I would fain see the dramatic element more prominent, as well as more exuberant and defined,--appeal and rejoinder, question and answer, sudden interruptions, etc."

Again, on the 6th of December, he writes:--

"In such a character as that of Elijah, like every one in the Old Testament (except, perhaps, Moses), it appears to me that the dramatic should predominate, the personages should be introduced as acting and speaking with fervor,--not, however, for Heaven's sake, to become mere musical pictures, but inhabitants of a positive, practical world such as we see in every chapter of the Old Testament; and the contemplative and pathetic element, which you desire, must be entirely conveyed to our apprehension by the words and the mood of the acting personages."

The introduction to the oratorio is prefaced by a brief but very impressive recitative,--Elijah's prophecy of the drought; leading directly to the overture, a sombre, despairing prelude, picturing the distress which is to follow as the curse settles down upon the streams and valleys. At last the suffering is voiced in the opening chorus ("Help, [224] Lord"), which, after three passionate appeals, moves along in plaintive beauty, developing phrase after phrase of touching appeal, and leading to a second chorus, with duet for two sopranos ("Lord, bow Thine Ear to our Prayer"), the choral part of which is an old Jewish chant, sung alternately by the male and female voices in unison. It is followed by Obadiah's lovely tenor aria, "If with all your Hearts," full of tenderness and consolation. Again the People break out into a chorus of lamentation ("Yet doth the Lord see it not"), which at the close develops into a chorale of graceful and serene beauty ("For He the Lord our God"). Then follows the voice of an Angel summoning Elijah to the brook of Cherith, leading to the beautiful double quartet, "For He shall give His Angels Charge over thee," the melody of which is simple, but full of animation, and worked up with a skilful effect. Again the Angel summons Elijah to go to the Widow's house at Zarephath. The dramatic scene of the raising of her son ensues, comprising a passionate song by the mother ("What have I to do with thee?") and the noble declaration of the prophet, "Give me thy Son," and closing with the reflective chorus, "Blessed are the Men who fear Him."

In the next scene we have the appearance of Elijah before Ahab, and the challenge of the Priests of Baal to the sacrifice on Mount Carmel, set forth in vigorous recitative, accompanied by short choral outbursts. At the words of Elijah, "Invoke your [225] forest gods and mountain deities," the Priests of Baal break out into the stirring double-chorus, "Baal, we cry to thee," which is fairly sensual and heathenish in its rugged, abrupt melodies, as compared with the Christian music. At its close Elijah bids them "call him louder, for he is a god; he talketh, or he is pursuing." Again they break out into a chorus of barbaric energy ("Hear our Cry, O Baal"), in the intervals of which Elijah taunts them again and again with the appeal, "Call him louder." The Priests renew their shouts, each time with increasing force, "pausing in vain for the reply, and closing with a rapid, almost angry expostulation ("Hear and answer"). Then follows the calm, dignified prayer of the prophet ("Lord God of Abraham"), succeeded by a simple, but beautiful chorale ("Cast thy Burden upon the Lord"). It is the moment of quiet before the storm which is to come. He calls for the fire to descend upon the altar, and a chorus of passionate energy replies, "The Fire descends from Heaven," accompanied by imitative music, and closing with a brief movement in broad harmony. In fierce recitative Elijah dooms the Priests of Baal to destruction, and after a short choral reply sings the bass aria, "Is not His Word like a Fire?"--a song of extraordinary difficulty, and requiring a voice of exceptional accuracy and power for its proper performance. A lovely arioso for alto ("Woe unto them") follows Elijah's vigorous declamation. These two arias are connecting links between the fire chorus and [226] the rain scene which ensues. Obadiah summons Elijah to help the People, and Elijah replies in an exquisite little andante passage, repeated by the chorus ("Open the Heavens and send us Relief"). Then follows a dialogue-passage between the prophet, the People, and the Youth, whom he bids "look toward the sea,"--the most striking features of which are the responses of the Youth and the orchestral climax as the heavens grow black and "the storm rushes louder and louder." As the deluge of rain descends, the thankful People break out into a passionate shout of delight ("Thanks be to God"), heard above the tempest in the orchestra. At first it is a brief expression of gratitude. The voices come to a pause, and Elijah repeats the tribute of praise. Then all join in a surging tumult of harmony, as fresh and delightful as was the pouring rain to the thirsty land, voices and instruments vying with each other in joyful acclamations, until the end is reached and the first part closes.

The second part opens with a brilliant soprano solo ("Hear ye, Israel"), beginning with a note of warning, and then with trumpet obligato developing into another melody of an impetuous and animated description ("I, I am He that comforteth"). The solo leads to the magnificent chorus, "Be not afraid," in which, after a short pause, the entire force of voices, orchestra, and organ join in the sublime strain, sweeping on in broad, full harmony. There is a pause of the voices for two bars, then [227] they move on in a strong fugue ("Though Thousands languish and fall"). At its close they are all merged again in the grand announcement, "Be not afraid," delivered with impetuosity, and ending with the same subject in powerful chorale form. The scene which follows is intensely dramatic. The prophet rebukes Ahab and condemns the Baal worship. Jezebel fiercely accuses Elijah of conspiring against Israel, and the People in sharp, impetuous phrases declare, "He shall perish," leading to the chorus, "Woe to him!" After a few bars for the instruments, Obadiah, in an exquisite recitative, counsels him to fly to the wilderness. In the next scene we behold Elijah alone, and in a feeble but infinitely tender plaint he resigns himself. It is hard to conceive anything grander and yet more pathetic than this aria, "It is enough," in which the prophet prays for death. A few bars of tenor recitative tell us that, wearied out, he has fallen asleep ("See, now he sleepeth beneath a juniper-tree in the wilderness, and there the angels of the Lord encamp round about all them that fear Him"). It introduces the trio of the Angels, "Lift thine Eyes to the Mountains," sung without accompaniment,--one of the purest, loveliest, and most delightful of all vocal trios. An exquisite chorus ("He watching over Israel") follows, in which the second theme, introduced by the tenors ("Shouldst thou, walking in Grief"), is full of tender beauty; the trio and chorus are the perfection of dream-music. At its close the Angel awakes Elijah, and once more [228] we hear his pathetic complaint, "O Lord, I have labored in vain; oh, that I now might die!" In response comes an aria of celestial beauty, sung by the Angel ("Oh, rest in the Lord"), breathing the very spirit of heavenly peace and consolation,--an aria of almost matchless purity, beauty, and grace. Firmly and with a certain sort of majestic severity follows the chorus, "He that shall endure to the end." The next scene is one of the most impressive and dramatic in the oratorio. Elijah no longer prays for death; he longs for the divine presence. He hears the voice of the Angel: "Arise now, get thee without, stand on the mount before the Lord; for there His glory will appear and shine on thee. Thy face must be veiled, for He draweth near." With great and sudden strength the chorus announces: "Behold! God the Lord passed by." With equal suddenness it drops to a pianissimo, gradually worked up in a crescendo movement, and we hear the winds "rending the mountains around;" but once more in pianissimo it tells us "the Lord was not in the tempest." The earthquake and the fire pass by, each treated in a similar manner; but the Lord was not in those elements. Then, in gentle tones of ineffable sweetness, it declares, "After the fire there came a still, small voice, ... and in that still, small voice onward came the Lord;" and onward sings the chorus in low, sweet, ravishing tones to the end: "The Seraphim above Him cried one to the other, Holy, holy, holy, is God the Lord!"--a double chorus of majestic proportions. Once [229] more Elijah goes on his way, no longer dejected, but clothed with "the strength of the Lord." His aria, "For the Mountains shall depart," prepares us for the final climax. In strong accents the chorus announce, "Then did Elijah the prophet break forth like a fire;" his words were like "burning torches;" he overthrew kings; he stood on Sinai and heard the vengeance of the future on Horeb. Then comes a significant pause. The basses begin, "And when the Lord would take him away;" another brief pause, and the full chorus pictures in vivid color the coming of the fiery chariot and the whirlwind by which he was caught up into heaven. The picturesqueness and dramatic intensity of this splendid chorus can hardly be described in words. One more tenor aria ("Then, then shall the Righteous shine") and a brief soprano solo introduce the chorus, "Behold My servant." A beautiful quartet ("Oh! come, every one that thirsteth") follows, and the massive fugue, "And then shall your Light break forth as the Light of the Morning," closes this great masterpiece.

[6]Mr. Lockey was the tenor on this occasion; the part of Elijah was sung by Standigl.


"Christus," which Mendelssohn intended as the third in the series with "Elijah" and "St. Paul," was left unfinished. The words were written by the Chevalier Bunsen and given to the composer in [230] 1844, before he began "Elijah." With his customary fastidiousness, he altered and rearranged the text, and it was not until 1847, after "Elijah" was finished, that he touched the music. At this time he was in delicate health, and had not recovered from the shock of his sister's death. He sought consolation for his troubles and relief for his ailments among the mountains of Switzerland. Part of his time was devoted to mountain-rambling, and the remainder to work upon "Christus" and the opera "Loreley," neither of which he lived to finish.

It is interesting to note in this connection that before Mendelssohn settled upon "Christus," the subject of Saint Peter occupied his attention, although he still had the former in view for later consideration. In a letter to his friend Schubring, written at Bingen-on-the-Rhine, July 14, 1837, he says:--

"I wish to ask your advice in a matter which is of importance to me, and I feel it will therefore not be indifferent to you either, having received so many proofs to the contrary from you. It concerns the selection of a subject of an oratorio which I intend to begin next winter. I am most anxious to have your counsels, as the best suggestions and contributions for the text of my 'St. Paul' came from you. Many very apparent reasons are in favor of choosing St. Peter as the subject,--I mean its being intended for the Düsseldorf Musical Festival at Whitsuntide, and the prominent position the feast of Whit Sunday would [231] occupy in this subject. In addition to these grounds, I may add my wish (in connection with a greater plan for a later oratorio) to bring the two chief apostles and pillars of the Christian Church side by side in oratorios,--in short, that I should have a 'St. Peter' as well as a 'St. Paul.'"

Another extract from the same letter will show the keenness with which he analyzed his themes. He writes:--

"I need not tell you that there are sufficient internal grounds to make me prize the subject; and far above all else stands the outpouring of the Holy Ghost, which must form the central point or chief object. The question, therefore, is whether the place that Peter assumes in the Bible, divested of the dignity which he enjoys in the Catholic or Protestant Churches as a martyr, or the first Pope, etc.,--whether what is said of him in the Bible is alone and in itself sufficiently important to form the basis of a symbolical oratorio. For, according to my feeling, the subject must not be treated historically, however indispensable this was in the case of 'St. Paul.' In historic handling, Christ must appear in the earlier part of St. Peter's career; and where he appears, St. Peter could not lay claim to the chief interest. I think, therefore, it must be symbolical; though all the historical points might probably be introduced,--the betrayal and repentance, the keys of Heaven given him by Christ, his preaching at Pentecost,--not in an historical, but prophetic light, if I may so express myself, in close connection."

The project was never carried out; but the deep earnestness with which Mendelssohn considered it [232] shows how thoughtfully he must have devoted himself to the scheme which took its place. Neither his letters nor his biographers throw much light upon the history of "Christus." Lampadius says: "The oratorio was laid out upon a grand scale. It was to be in three parts,--the career on earth, the descent into hell, the ascent to heaven." This plan must have been subsequently changed, for the fragments of the oratorio are included in two parts, though they entirely pertain to the earthly career. There are in all eight complete numbers,--three from the first part, and five from the second. The first part opens with a soprano recitative ("When Jesus our Lord was born in Bethlehem"), leading to a strong trio for tenor and two basses ("Say, where is he born?"), the question of the Wise Men from the East. The chorus replies, "Then shall a Star from Jacob come forth," closing with the old German chorale, "Wie schön leuchtet der Morgenstern" ("How brightly shines the Morning Star!"), in plain, flowing harmony.

The fragments of the second part are in the form of the passion-music, and include five tenor recitatives, narrating the dialogue between Pilate, the Elders and the People, and his final order, "Take ye him and crucify him, for I cannot find a fault in him," and several short, angry choruses of the Jews, accusing Jesus and calling for his death, leading to a beautiful chorus for mixed voices ("Daughters of Zion, weep"), and closing [233] with an effective chorale for male voices in the genuine Bach style:--

"He leaves his heavenly portals,

Endures the grief of mortals,

To raise our fallen race.

O love beyond expressing!

He gains for us a blessing,

He saves us by redeeming grace.

"When thou, O sun, art shrouded,

By night or tempest clouded,

Thy rays no longer dart;

Though earth be dark and dreary,

If, Jesus, thou art near me,

'Tis cloudless day within my heart."



Johann Chrysostomus Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, one of the most remarkable musical geniuses the world has produced, and the only one of his contemporaries whose operas still hold the stage with unimpaired freshness, was born at Salzburg, Jan. 27, 1756. He was the son of Leopold Mozart, the Salzburgian Vice-Capellmeister, who gave him and his sister Nannerl their earliest instructions in music, and with such good results that the children travelled and gave concerts with great success. Before he was seven years of age, he had composed several pieces for piano and violin, his earliest having been written at the age of five! At twelve he became court capellmeister in Salzburg. After his musical travels he went to Vienna, and there began his real period of classic activity, which commenced with "Idomeneus," reached its culmination in "Don Giovanni," and closed with the "Requiem,"--the "swan-song" of his wonderful life. In his brief life Mozart composed more than fifty great [235] works, besides hundreds of minor ones in every possible form of musical writing. His greatest compositions may be classed in the following order: "Idomeneus" (1780); "Entführung aus dem Serail" (1781); "Figaro's Hochzeit" ("The Marriage of Figaro"), (1785); "Don Giovanni" (1787); "Cosi fan tutti," "Zauberflöte" ("The Magic Flute"), and "Titus" (1790); and the "Requiem" (1791, the year of his death). The catalogue of Mozart's works is an immense one, for his period of productivity was unusually long. From the age of five to his death, there was not a year that was not crowded with his music. Besides his numerous operas, of which only the more famous are given above, he wrote a large number of symphonies (of which the "Jupiter" is now the best known), sonatas, concertos for all kinds of instruments, even to musical-glasses, trios, quartets, quintets, and sextets for all possible combinations of instruments, marches, fugues, masses, hymns, arias of extraordinary brilliancy,--many of them written for his sister-in-law, Aloysia Weber, to whom at one time he was engaged,--liturgies, cantatas, songs, and ballads, and indeed every form of music that is now known. His style was studied by Beethoven, and so closely imitated that the music of his first period, if published without autograph, would readily be attributed to Mozart. His style was so spontaneous and so characteristic that it has been well said there is but one Mozart. The distinguishing trait of his music is its rich melodic beauty and its almost ravishing sweetness. His melody pours [236] along in a bright, unbroken stream that sometimes even overflows its banks, so abundant is it. It is peculiarly the music of youth and spring-time, exquisite in form, graceful in technique, and delightful in expression. It was the source where all his immediate successors went for their inspiration, though it lacked the maturity, majesty, and emotional depths which were reached by such a Titan as Beethoven. Old as it is, and antiquated in form, especially as compared with the work of the new schools, its perennial freshness, grace, and beauty have made it immortal.

The Requiem.

Mozart's "Requiem" was written in Vienna in 1791 and was left in an unfinished state by the composer, who made suggestions and gave instructions as to its completion even upon his death-bed; it was literally his swan-song. No work by any composer has given rise to more romantic stories or more bitter discussion. It was long the popular belief that the "Requiem" was commissioned by a dark, mysterious stranger, whose appearance impressed Mozart with the conviction that he was a messenger of death; more than this, that he himself had been poisoned, and that he was writing his own death-song, upon the order of some supernatural power. There was some foundation for the belief, as the commission was given in a very mysterious [237] manner, and Mozart's health at that time was so delicate that he had had several premonitions of death. In his gloomy spirits he even said to his wife that he was writing his own requiem. The actual circumstances attending the commission, though they do not bear out the romantic versions of the story-tellers, are yet of extraordinary interest.

The author of the commission was one Count von Walsegg, living in the village of Stuppach, whose wife had died early in 1791. He was an amateur musician of vast ambitions and small accomplishments, and had conceived the idea of purchasing a requiem anonymously from Mozart and passing it off as his own work. In pursuance of his scheme he despatched his steward, named Leutgeb, a tall, solemn, mysterious looking person, with an anonymous letter to Mozart, who at that time was in absolute poverty, asking for the music and requesting him to name his own price,--stipulating, however, that he should make no effort to discover the identity of his patron. The unsuspicious Mozart accepted the proposition, after consulting with his wife. He was about to begin work upon it at once, when he received a commission to write the opera of "Clemenza de Tito," in honor of the Emperor Leopold's coronation. This occupied him several weeks, and when it was completed he decided upon a visit to Baden. At the moment he was about to get into the carriage, the mysterious stranger again appeared and inquired about the progress of the "Requiem." Mozart excused himself, and replied that as soon as [238] he returned he would begin the work; and the stranger went away satisfied.

Mozart came back to Vienna in September; and after the completion of the "Magic Flute," and its first performance, Nov. 30, 1791, he devoted himself assiduously to the "Requiem," though it served only to increase his gloom. One day he remarked to his wife: "I well know that I am writing this requiem for myself. My own feelings tell me that I shall not last long. No doubt some one has given me poison; I cannot get rid of the thought." It is now known that this suspicion was only the result of his morbid thoughts; but when it was publicly uttered, most unjust accusations were made against his rival, Salieri, embittering the old composer's life until its close. As the work progressed, his gloom increased. "The day before his death," Nohl says, "he desired the score to be brought to him in bed, and he sang his part, taking the alto voice. Benedict Shack took the soprano, his brother-in-law, Hofer, the tenor, and Gerl the bass. They had got through the various parts to the first bars of the 'Lacrymosa,' when Mozart suddenly burst into tears and laid aside the score." His sister-in-law has left an account of his last moments. She writes:

"As I approached his bed, he called to me: 'It is well you are here; you must stay to-night and see me die.' I tried as far as I was able to banish this impression; but he replied: 'The taste of death is already on my tongue, I taste death; and who will be near to support my Constance if you go away?' Süssmayer [239] [his favorite pupil] was standing by the bedside, and on the counterpane lay the 'Requiem,' concerning which Mozart was still speaking and giving directions. He now called his wife and made her promise to keep his death secret for a time from every one but Albrechtsberger, that he might thus have an advantage over other candidates for the vacant office of capellmeister to St. Stephen's. His desire in this respect was gratified, for Albrechtsberger received the appointment. As he looked over the pages of the 'Requiem' for the last time, he said, with tears in his eyes: 'Did I not tell you I was writing this for myself?'"

Mozart's widow, after his death, fearing that she might have to refund the money advanced for the work, induced Süssmayer, who was thoroughly familiar with Mozart's ideas, to complete it. He did so, and the copy was delivered to Count von Walsegg, who did not hesitate to publish it as his own. Süssmayer, however, had kept a copy, and after completion published it; and in a letter to the publishers set up a claim to the instrumentation of the "Requiem," "Kyrie," "Dies Iræ," and "Domine," and to the whole of the "Sanctus," "Benedictus," and "Agnus Dei." The publication of Süssmayer's letter provoked a controversy which has raged from that day to this. The ablest critics and musicians in Europe have taken part in it. Nearly all of them have defended Mozart's authorship; but after half a century's discussion it still remains in doubt how far Süssmayer participated in the completion of the work as it now stands. The bulk of the evidence, [240] however, favors the theory that Süssmayer only played the part of a skilful copyist, in writing out the figurings which Mozart had indicated, carrying out ideas which had been suggested to him, and writing parts from the sketches which the composer had made. One of the most pertinent suggestions made in the course of this controversy is that of Rockstro, who says:--

"Some passages, though they may perhaps strengthen Süssmayer's claim to have filled in certain parts of the instrumentation, stand on a very different ground to those which concern the composition of whole movements. The 'Lacrymosa' is quite certainly one of the most beautiful movements in the whole 'Requiem'--and Mozart is credited with having only finished the first eight bars of it! Yet it is impossible to study this movement carefully without arriving at Professor Macfarren's conclusion that 'the whole was the work of one mind, which mind was Mozart's.' Süssmayer may have written it out, perhaps; but it must have been from the recollection of what Mozart had played or sung to him, for we know that this very movement occupied the dying composer's attention almost to the last moment of his life. In like manner Mozart may have left no Urschriften (sketches) of the 'Sanctus,' 'Benedictus,' and 'Agnus Dei,'--though the fact that they have never been discovered does not prove that they never existed,--and yet he may have played and sung these movements often enough to have given Süssmayer a very clear idea of what he intended to write. We must either believe that he did this, or that Süssmayer was as great a genius as he; for not one of Mozart's acknowledged masses will bear comparison [241] with the 'Requiem,' either as a work of art or the expression of a devout religious feeling. In this respect it stands almost alone among instrumental masses, which nearly always sacrifice religious feeling to technical display."

After an introduction, which gives out the subject of the opening movement,--a slow, mournful, solemn theme,--the first number begins with the impressive strain, "Requiem æternam dona eis," which gradually brightens in the phrase, "Et Lux perpetua," and reaches a splendid burst of exultation in the "Te decet hymnus," of which Oublichieff, the Russian critic, says: "One seems to hear the voice of an archangel, and Saint Cecilia herself with her organ sounding a fugued accompaniment which the most laborious efforts of mortals never could have power to reach." After a repetition of the "Requiem æternam," the number closes with the "Kyrie eleison," a slow and complicated fugue, which is sublime in its effect, though very sombre in color, as befits the subject.

The next number is the "Dies Iræ," written for chorus in simple counterpoint, and very dramatic in its character, the orchestral part being constantly vigorous, impetuous, and agitated, and reaching intense energy on the verse, "Quantus tremor est futurus," the whole presenting a vivid picture in tones of the terrors of the last judgment. In the "Tuba mirum" the spirit of the music changes from the church form to the secular. It is written for solo voices, ending in a quartet. The bass [242] begins with the "Tuba mirum," set to a portentous trombone accompaniment; then follow the tenor ("Mors stupebit"), the alto ("Judex ergo"), and the soprano ("Quid sum miser"). This number is particularly remarkable for the manner in which the music is shaded down from the almost supernatural character of the opening bass solo to the beauty and sweetness of the soprano solo. From this extraordinary group we pass to the sublime chorus, "Rex tremendæ majestatis," once more in the church style, which closes with the prayer, "Salva me," in canonical form. With rare skill is this last appeal of humanity woven out of the thunder-crashes of sound in the judgment-music.

The "Dies Iræ" is followed by the "Recordare," written, like the "Tuba mirum," as a quartet for solo voices. The vocal parts are in canon form and are combined with marvellous skill, relieved here and there with solos in purely melodic style, as in the "Quærens me," while the orchestral part is an independent fugue, with several subjects worked up with every form of instrumental embellishment, the fugue itself sometimes relieved by plain accompaniment. The whole is an astonishing piece of contrapuntal skill, apparently inexhaustible in its scientific combinations, and yet never for an instant losing its deep religious significance. Once more the orchestral part is full of agitation and even savage energy in the "Confutatis maledictis," as it accompanies a powerful double chorus, closing at last in a majestic prayer ("Oro supplex et [243] acclinis"), in which all the voices join in magnificent harmony.

The "Lacrymosa" is the most elegant and poetically conceived movement in the "Requiem." It begins in a delicate, graceful, and even sensuous manner, which gradually broadens and strengthens, and at last develops into a crescendo of immense power, reaching its climax on the words "Judicandus homo reus." Then it changes to a plaintive prayer ("Huic ergo parce Deus"), and closes in a cloud of gloom in the "Dona eis requiem." The next number ("Domine Jesu Christe") is in pure church form, beginning with a motet by chorus in solid harmony, which runs into a fugue on the words "Ne absorbeat eas Tartarus," followed by a quartet of voices regularly fugued, leading to another great fugue on the passage, "Quam olim Abrahæ," which closes the number in a burst of sacred inspiration. The "Domine" is followed by the "Hostias," a lovely choral melody which leads to the "Sanctus," a sublime piece of harmony closing with a fugued "Hosanna." The "Benedictus," which follows it, is a solo quartet plaintive and solemn in character, but full of sweet and rich melodies magnificently accompanied.

The "Agnus Dei" closes the work, a composition of profound beauty, with an accompaniment of mournful majesty, developing into a solemn, almost funereal strain on the words "Dona eis requiem," and closing with the fugue of the opening "Kyrie" on the words "Lux æterna." "Written under the [244] inspiration of death" might well be inscribed on this great monument of musical skill, this matchless requiem of awful majesty and divine beauty. In its own unity, its perfection of form and design, its astonishing skill, from the opening fugue of the "Kyrie" to its repetition in the finale, may be found the proof that Mozart and no other wrote the entire score, and that every thought and idea in it are the inspired work of the dying master.



John K. Paine, one of the very few really eminent American composers, was born at Portland, Me., Jan. 9, 1839. He studied the piano, organ, and composition with Kotzschmar in that city, and made his first public appearance as an organist, June 25, 1857. During the following year he went to Germany and studied the organ, composition, and instrumentation with Haupt and other masters in Berlin. He returned to this country in 1861 and gave several concerts, in which he played many of the organ works of the best writers for the first time in the United States. Shortly after his return he was appointed instructor of music in Harvard University, and in 1876 was honored with the elevation to a professorship and given a regular chair. He is best known as a composer, and several of his works have been paid the rare compliment of performance in Germany, among them his Mass in D and all his symphonies. The former was given at the Berlin Singakademie in 1867, under his own direction. Among his principal compositions are the oratorio [246] "St. Peter;" the Mass in D; the Centennial Hymn, set to Whittier's poem and sung at the opening of the Philadelphia Centennial Exhibition; the overture to "As You Like It;" "The Tempest," in the style of a symphonic poem; the symphony in C minor and "Spring" symphony; besides numerous sonatas, fantasies, preludes, songs, and arrangements for organ and piano. His larger orchestral works have been made familiar to American audiences by Mr. Theodore Thomas's band, and have invariably met with success. His style of composition is large, broad, and dignified, based upon the best classic models, and evinces a high degree of musical scholarship.

St. Peter.

"St. Peter," Mr. Paine's only oratorio,--and from the highest standpoint it may be said the only oratorio yet produced in this country,--was written in 1872-73, and first performed at Portland, Me., in June of the latter year, under the composer's own direction. The solos were sung by Mrs. Wetherbee, Miss Adelaide Phillipps, Mr. George L. Osgood, and Mr. Rudolphsen. It was again produced with great success at the third Triennial Festival of the Boston Handel and Haydn Society, May 9, 1874, with Mrs. J. Houston West, Mr. Nelson Varley, Miss Phillipps, and Mr. Rudolphsen in the principal parts.


The establishment of Christianity, illustrated by the four principal scenes in the life of St. Peter, forms the subject of the oratorio. It is divided into two parts, and these are subdivided as follows: Part I. The Divine Call; The Denial and Repentance. Part II. The Ascension; Pentecost. The overture, a short adagio movement expressive of the unsettled spiritual condition of the world prior to the advent of Christianity, leads directly to the opening chorus, "The Time is fulfilled," which develops not only this subject, but also a second, "Repent, and believe the glad Tidings of God," in a masterly manner. The chorus, written in a very noble style, is followed by the tenor recitative, which describes the divine call of our Lord to Simon and Andrew as "He walked by the Sea of Galilee." It prepares the way for a soprano aria ("The Spirit of the Lord is upon me") which announces the glad tidings they are commissioned to deliver. Twelve male voices, representing the Disciples, accept the call in the chorus, "We go before the Face of the Lord," which is beautifully accompanied by and interwoven with the full chorus, closing with the smoothly flowing chorale, "How lovely shines the Morning Star." Then ensues the first dramatic scene. To the question of the Saviour, "Who do men say that I am," the twelve male voices first reply, followed by Peter in a few bars of very effective recitative, "Thou art the Christ." A tenor arioso, declaring the foundation of the Church "upon this rock," is followed by a noble [248] and exquisitely chaste bass aria for Peter ("My Heart is glad and my Spirit rejoiceth"), the scene ending with the powerful chorus, "The Church is built upon the Foundation of the Apostles and Prophets." The next scene, "The Denial and Repentance," opens with the warning to Peter that he will deny his Lord, and his remonstrance, "Though I should die with thee," which is repeated by the Apostles. These brief passages are followed by a very pathetic aria for tenor ("Let not your Heart be troubled") and a beautifully worked-up quartet and chorus ("Sanctify us through Thy Truth"). A contralto solo announces the coming of "Judas with a great multitude," leading Jesus away to the High Priest, and is followed by the very expressive chorus, "We hid our Faces from him." The scene of the denial is very dramatic, the alternating accusations of the servants and the denials of Peter being treated with great skill; it closes with a very effective contralto recitative, illustrating the sad words: "And while he yet spake, the cock crew. And the Lord turned, and looked on Peter; and he remembered the word of the Lord, and he went out and wept bitterly." An orchestral interlude follows, in the nature of a lament, a minor adagio full of deep feeling. It is followed by an aria for Peter ("O God, my God, forsake me not"), which is cast in the same strain of lamentation as the orchestral number which precedes and really introduces it. At its close a chorus of Angels, sopranos, and altos, with harp accompaniment ("Remember, [249] remember from whence thou art fallen"), is heard warning Peter, augmented on the introduction of the second subject ("And he that overcometh shall receive a Crown of Life") by the full chorus. This chorus is followed by a beautiful aria for alto ("The Lord is faithful and righteous to forgive our Sins"); and then a massive chorus, which is fairly majestic ("Awake, thou that sleepest"), closes the first part.

The second part opens with a chorus ("The Son of Man was delivered into the Hands of sinful Men"), which tells the story of the crucifixion, not only with great power, but also with intense pathos, ending with the chorale, "Jesus my Redeemer lives," which invests the sad narrative with tender and consolatory feeling. The ascension scene is accompanied by graceful and expressive recitatives for tenor and bass, followed by a tenor arioso ("Go ye and teach") and a short soprano recitative ("And he lifted up his Hands"), leading to the full melodious chorus, "If ye then be risen." The next number is an impressive soprano solo ("O Man of God"), in which Peter is admonished "to put on the whole armor of God and fight the good fight." A beautifully written quartet ("Feed the Flock of God") closes the scene of the ascension. The last scene opens with a tenor solo describing the miracle of Pentecost, set to an extremely vigorous and descriptive accompaniment. It is followed by the chorus, "The Voice of the Lord," which is one of the most effective in the whole work, though [250] not constructed in the massive style of those which close the two parts. A contralto recitative links this chorus to its successor, "Behold! are not all these who speak Galileans?" After a brief soprano recitative, Peter has another vigorous solo ("Ye Men of Judæa"), which is as dramatic in its style and almost as descriptive in its accompaniment as the opening tenor solo of this scene. A reflective aria for alto ("As for Man") follows it, and bass and tenor recitatives lead up to the eagerly questioning chorus of the people, "Men and Brethren." The answer comes from Peter and the Apostles, "For the Promise is to you." An intricate chorus ("This is the Witness of God"), closing with a chorale ("Praise to the Father"), leads to the finale, which comprises the chorus, "Beloved, let us love one another," written for bass solo, tenors, and basses (the Disciples), and full chorus; an effective duet for soprano and tenor ("Sing unto God"); and the final majestic chorus ("Great and marvellous are thy Works").



Gioachino Antonio Rossini, the father of the modern Italian school of opera, was born Feb. 29, 1792, at Pesaro, in the Romagna. His father was an accomplished musician, and his mother a professional singer, so that he was brought up in a musical atmosphere. Even as a boy he sang with his mother in the theatre. He first studied with Mattei, and later with Martini. His first opera, "Demetrio e Polibio," was brought out at Rome in 1812, and before he had concluded his life-work, more than forty of his operas had been given in almost every part of Europe,--a crowning result of labor and contemporaneous fame not often enjoyed by composers. His "Tancredi," which was produced for the first time at Venice in 1813, was the opera which made him famous, and its remarkable success spread his reputation far and wide. In 1815 appeared "L' Italiana in Algeri" and "Aureliano in Palmira;" in 1816, "Elisabetta," "Otello," and his splendid work "The Barber of Seville," which, though his masterpiece, is said to have been [252] written in fourteen days; in 1817, "La Cenerentola," "La Gazza Ladra," and "Armida;" and in 1819, "Ricciardo e Zoraïde," "La Donna del Lago," and many others. From 1815 to 1822 Rossini was under the "management" of the impresario Barbaja in Naples, who had much difficulty in keeping him to the work of composition, his facility in writing often leading him to defer work until it was the very eve of performance. In 1823, under the auspices of Barbaja, and with the assistance of the prima donna, Colbran, whom Rossini married about this time, his opera "Zelmira" and others of his works were given with such brilliant success as to raise his aspirations for a wider and more promising field of labor. In the year 1823 he went to Paris and London, finally settling in the former city, where he not only began a new grand opera, but also gave himself to the study and development of orchestral music and the encouragement of artists. His home was the Mecca of singers, and, like Liszt's at Weimar, the centre of art influences. The new work was "William Tell," which was first brought out in Paris in 1829. It was his last important effort. It met with only temporary success, though it enjoys to-day a reputation almost equal to that of the "Barber." His most celebrated work in sacred music is the "Stabat Mater," which, though written in operatic style and very brilliant in coloring, has retained its place in popular favor, and is to-day as eagerly sought for by artists and the public as it was in his own day. Among his other sacred works is "Moses [253] in Egypt,"--originally written as an oratorio for the San Carlo in Naples, and brought out there in 1818, though subsequently recast and provided with a revised libretto for the Paris Grand Opera in 1827. The "Prayer" from this work has a world-wide popularity. During the latter years of his life Rossini gave up composition entirely,--in part because of the eventual failure of his "William Tell,"--and enjoyed the fruits of his labors at his beautiful villa in Passy. He died Nov. 14, 1868. His sacred works, besides those already mentioned, are a few Italian oratorios, now unknown, three choruses, "Faith, Hope, and Charity," the "Petite Messe Solenelle," a "Tantum Ergo," a "Quoniam," and an "O Salutaris."

Stabat Mater.

The great Stabat Maters in the musical world are those of Palestrina, Pergolesi, Haydn, Steffani, Clari, Astorga, Winter, Neukomm, Rossini, and the one recently written by the Bohemian composer, Dvorák. Of all these no one has been so popular as that of Rossini, nor made the world so familiar with the text of the Virgin's Lamentation. After the failure of "William Tell," Rossini abandoned opera-writing, though he had a contract with the Grand Opera at Paris for four more works, and contemplated taking up the subject of Faust. "William Tell" was his [254] last work for the stage; but before his absolute retirement he was to produce a work destined to add to his fame. In 1832 his friend Aguado induced him to compose a "Stabat Mater" for the Spanish minister, Don Valera, which was not intended to be made public. Before its completion he fell ill, and Tadolini wrote the last four numbers. The work was dedicated to Valera, with the understanding that it should always be retained by him. Nine years afterwards Valera died, and Rossini learned that his heirs had sold the work to a Paris publisher for two thousand francs. He at once claimed the copyright and brought an action, in which he was successful. He then composed four new numbers in place of those written by Tadolini, and sold the work complete to the publisher, Troupenas, for six thousand francs. The latter sold the right of performance for a limited time to the Escudiers for eight thousand francs, and they in turn sold it to the Théâtre Italien for twenty thousand. Its first complete performance was at the Salle Ventadour, Jan. 7, 1842, Grisi, Albertazzi, Mario, and Tamburini taking the principal parts.

A brief but brilliant orchestral prelude leads to the opening chorus, "Stabat Mater dolorosa," arranged for solos and chorus, and very dramatic in style, especially in its broad, melodious contrasts. It is followed by the tenor solo, "Cujus Animam," which is familiar to every concert-goer,--a clear-cut melody free of embellishment, but very brilliant and even jubilant in character, considering the [255] nature of the text. The next number ("Quis est Homo"), for two sopranos, is equally familiar. It is based upon a lovely melody, first given out by the first soprano, and then by the second, after which the two voices carry the theme through measure after measure of mere vocal embroidery, closing with an extremely brilliant cadenza in genuine operatic style. The fourth number is the bass aria "Pro peccatis," the two themes in which are very earnest and even serious in character, and come nearer to the church style than any other parts of the work. It is followed by a beautifully constructed number ("Eia Mater"), a bass recitative with chorus, which is very strong in its effect. The sixth number is a lovely quartet ("Sancta Mater"), full of variety in its treatment, and closing with full, broad harmony. After a short solo for soprano ("Fac ut Portem"), the climax is reached in the "Inflammatus,"--a brilliant soprano obligato with powerful choral accompaniment. The solo number requires a voice of exceptional range, power, and flexibility; with this condition satisfied, the effect is intensely dramatic, and particularly fascinating by the manner in which the solo is set off against the choral background. A beautiful unaccompanied quartet in broad, plain harmony, "Quando Corpus," leads to the showy fugued "Amen" which closes the work.

Unquestionably the "Stabat Mater" is one of the most popular of all the minor sacred compositions; and the secret lies on the surface: it is to be found [256] in the delightful and fascinating melodies, which are strewn so thickly through it, as well as in the graceful bravura, which was so characteristic of Rossini, and which when delivered by accomplished artists is very captivating to a popular audience. As to its sacred form, it is as far from the accepted style of church music as Berlioz's or Verdi's requiems. Indeed, Rossini himself remarked to Hiller that he wrote it in the "mezzo serio" style. In connection with this matter one or two criticisms will be of interest. Rossini's biographer, Sutherland Edwards, says: "The 'Stabat Mater' was composed, as Raphael's Virgins were painted, for the Roman Catholic Church, which at once accepted it, without ever suspecting that Rossini's music was not religious." The remark, however, would be more pertinent were it not for the fact that the Church itself has not always been a good critic of its own music, or a good judge of what its music should be, as Liszt discovered when he went to Rome full of his purposes of reform in the musical service. Heine, in a letter to the "Allgemeine Zeitung" in 1842, replying to certain German criticisms, went so far as to say,--

"The true character of Christian art does not reside in thinness and paleness of the body, but in a certain effervescence of the soul, which neither the musician nor the painter can appropriate to himself either by baptism or study; and in this respect I find in the 'Stabat' of Rossini a more truly Christian character than in the 'Paulus' ['St. Paul'] of Felix Mendelssohn [257] Bartholdy,--an oratorio which the adversaries of Rossini point to as a model of Christian style."

It will hardly be claimed, however, even by Heine's friends, that this sweeping statement is either just to Mendelssohn or true of Rossini. Perhaps they will also concede that Heine was not a very good judge of Christianity in any of its aspects, musical or otherwise. The veteran Moscheles in one of his letters criticizes the work very pertinently. He says,--

"It is, as you may imagine, a model of 'singableness' (if I may say so); but it is not sufficiently church music to my taste. His solitary fugue is clumsy. The criticisms on the work are very various. Some agree with me; but the majority delight in the captivating Italian phrases, which I admire too, but which I cannot think are in the right place."

He might have added, "Because they are the phrases of 'Semiramide,' 'Tancredi,' and the 'Barber.'" There is scarcely a number of the "Stabat Mater" which might not be detached from it and reset in one of Rossini's operas without doing violence to whatever of the real religious style it may be supposed, or was intended, to have. The "Stabat Mater" music would be captivatingly beautiful in any setting.



Anton Gregor Rubinstein was born, Nov. 30, 1829, at the village of Wechwotynetz, in Russia. His parents, who were in moderate circumstances, moved to Moscow during his infancy, and in that city he received his first musical instruction. His mother gave him lessons at the age of four, with the result that by the time he was six she was unable to teach him anything more. He then studied the piano with Alexander Villoing, a pupil of John Field. His first composition appeared in his twelfth year, and soon his songs and two and four hand piano-pieces began to attract the attention of musicians. In 1840 Villoing took him to Paris and placed him in the Conservatory, where he attracted the attention of Liszt, Chopin, and Thalberg. He remained in that city eighteen months, devoting himself to unremitting study, and then made some professional tours, in which he met with extraordinary success, particularly in England. From that country he went to Holland and Sweden, everywhere meeting with an enthusiastic reception. [259] In 1844 his parents removed to Berlin, and he was placed under Dehn, the famous contrapuntist, to study composition, his brother Nicholas being a companion in his work. The father dying in 1846, the mother and Nicholas returned to Russia, leaving Anton alone. During the next two years he taught music in Pressburg and Vienna, and in the latter part of 1848 went back to Russia. About this time he received an honorary musical appointment from the Grand-Duchess Hélène. For eight years he studied and wrote in St. Petersburg, and at the end of that time had accumulated a mass of manuscripts destined to make his name famous all over Europe, while his reputation as a skilful pianist was already world-wide. He visited England again in 1857, and the next year returned home and settled in St. Petersburg, about which time he was made Imperial Concert Director, with a life-pension. At this period in his career he devoted himself to the cause of music in Russia. His first great work was the foundation of the Conservatory in the above city in 1862, of which he remained principal until 1867. He also founded the Russian Musical Society in 1861, and in 1869 was decorated by the Czar. In 1870 he directed the Philharmonic and Choral Societies of Vienna, and shortly afterwards made another tour, during which, in 1872, he came to this country with the eminent violinist Wieniawsky, as will be well remembered. His visit here was marked by a succession of ovations. No other pianist ever achieved such a wonderful success, not only among [260] musicians, but among the people of all classes. Musicians were astounded at his remarkable knowledge, while musical and unmusical people alike were carried off their feet by the whirlwind-style of his playing. It was full of grace, nobility, breadth, and dignity; but it combined with these qualities a fire, an intensity, and a passion which sometimes invested the piano with orchestral effects, and again transformed it into an instrument that wept, laughed, sang, and danced. His power was irresistible and electric. As a composer he ranks very high. His greatest works are the Ocean Symphony, Dramatic Symphony, and a character sketch for grand orchestra called "Ivan the Terrible;" his operas, "Children of the Heath," "Feramors," "Nero," "The Maccabees," "Dimitri Donskoi," and the "Demon;" the oratorios "Paradise Lost" and "Tower of Babel;" and a long and splendid catalogue of chamber, salon, and concert music, besides some beautiful songs which are great favorites in the concert-room.

The Tower of Babel.

"The Tower of Babel," a sacred opera, as Rubinstein entitles it, was written in 1870, the text, which is somewhat of a travesty on sacred history, by Julius Rodenberg. An English critic very pertinently says: "One item alone in all the multitude of details crowded by Herr Rodenberg into his [261] canvas has any foundation in fact. He adopts the theory that there really was a tower of Babel, and all the rest he founds on conjecture." In point of fact, the anachronisms are numerous enough to make the text almost a burlesque. Nimrod, the mighty hunter, is made the chief builder of the tower, which is supposed to be in process of erection as an insult to the Deity. Abraham appears upon the scene (many years before he was born), and rebukes Nimrod for his presumption; whereupon the hunter-king orders "the shepherd," as he is called, to be thrown into a fiery furnace, after the manner of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. The angels watch over the patriarch, and he comes out of the fire unharmed. Some of the people standing by ascribe the miracle to Baal, some to Dagon, some to Ashtaroth, and a few to Jehovah, and at last get into a quarrel with each other. Nimrod interposes his authority, and orders them to their work on the tower again. Soon the heavens cloud over, and a storm is seen approaching. Abraham prophesies destruction, and Nimrod orders him to be seized and hurled from the summit of the tower; but before his commands can be executed, a thunderbolt strikes it and crumbles it into a heap of shapeless stones. While Abraham exults over the destruction, the dispersion of the three races, the Shemites, Hamites, and Japthides, occurs. Nimrod laments over the result of his folly, and at last acknowledges the authority of the Divine Power, and thus the story ends.


The dramatis personæ are Nimrod (bass), Abraham (tenor), Master Workman (baritone), four Angels (boys' voices), the choruses by Nimrod's followers, the People, Angels, and Demons. The overture is a confused, formless number, indicating the darkness. In the beginning there is no clear musical idea; but at last the subject assumes definite form as the dawn breaks and the Master Workman announces the sunrise and calls the People to their work, in the recitative, "Awake! ye Workers, awake!" The summons is followed by the chorus, "To work," in which the vocal part is noisy, broken, and somewhat discordant, representing the hurry and bustle of a crowd of working-men,--with which, however, the orchestra and organ build up a powerful theme. The song of the Master Workman is also interwoven, and the chorus is finally developed with great vigor and splendid dramatic effect. Nimrod now appears, and in a triumphant outburst ("Stately rises our Work on high") contemplates the monument to his greatness now approaching completion. Abraham rebukes him ("How, Mortal, canst thou reach His Presence?"). The scene at this point is full of dramatic vigor. Nimrod hurls imprecations at Abraham, followed by strongly contrasting choruses of the angry People and protecting Angels, which lead up to the mixed chorus of the People, indicating the confusion of tongues as they severally ascribe the escape of Abraham from the furnace-fire to Baal, Dagon, Ashtaroth, and Jehovah, and closing [263] with tumultuous dissension, which is quelled by Nimrod. The effect of the Angels' voices in the hurlyburly is exceedingly beautiful, and the accompaniments, particularly those of the fire-scene, are very vivid. Nimrod's order to resume work on the tower is followed by the angelic strain, "Come on! let us down to Earth now hasten." Once more the Builders break out in their barbaric chorus, "To work," followed by the portentous outburst of the People, "How the Face of Heaven is o'ershadowed!" In a vigorous solo Abraham replies, "No! 'tis not Vapor nor Storm-clouds that gather." There is a final controversy between Abraham and Nimrod, and as the latter orders the patriarch to be thrown from the tower, the storm breaks, and amid the shrieks of the chorus ("Horror! horror") and the tremendous clangor of organ and orchestra on the theme already developed in the opening, the tower is destroyed.

The tumultuous scene is followed by Nimrod's lament ("The Tower whose lofty Height was like my State"), a bass aria of great power, and reaching a splendid climax. Abraham, in an exultant strain ("The Lord is strong in Might"), proclaims God's purpose to scatter the people. The most picturesque scene in the work now occurs,--the dispersal of the Shemites, Hamites, and Japthides, typified by orchestral marches and choruses of a barbaric cast. The stage directions at this point indicate that the three choruses "must be sung behind the scenes, while dissolving views present [264] to the audience the emigration of the three great human races,"--an effect which is also made in the last act of Goldmark's "Queen of Sheba." The first chorus, that of the Shemites, which is sung in unison, is taken from some of the ancient music in the ritual of the Jewish Synagogue, that used on the eve of the Day of Atonement. The other two choruses are also Oriental in color and rhythm, and give a very striking effect to this part of the work. The chorus of Angels ("Thus by Almighty Power of God") proclaims the completion of the work, and two long solos by Abraham and Nimrod lead up to the final choruses of the Angels, People, and Demons, worked up in very powerful style, and in the finale uniting the themes which originally introduced the chorus of the People and the Angels, and the subject of the darkness in the overture. The tableau is thus described in the stage directions: "The stage is divided into three horizontal compartments. In the middle is the earth; in the upper is the throne of the Almighty, surrounded by all the heavenly powers; in the lower, hell, Satan seated on his throne, surrounded by all the infernal deities."

Paradise Lost.

The oratorio "Paradise Lost" was first produced in Vienna in 1859 by the Gesellschaft der Musikfreunde, a choral organization conducted by Rubinstein during his stay in that city. Like "The Tower [265] of Babel," it is entitled by the composer "a sacred opera," though it is in genuine oratorio form, and usually classed as such. The text is a very free transcription from Milton. The work is divided into three parts; but as the second is usually the only part given by oratorio societies, our sketch will be principally confined to that. The first part mainly concerns the defeat of Satan's forces by the legions of Heaven, and is remarkable for its vigorous instrumental treatment.

The second part is devoted to the creation, and is composed principally of choruses introduced by a few bars of recitative, invariably for the tenor, who acts the part of narrator. The first seven of these describe the creation of the earth. After a characteristic introduction, the tenor declares "Chaos, be ended!" whereupon the Angels sing a glowing tribute to light ("Upspringing, the darkened Air broke forth into radiant Brightness"). Again the tenor and chorus in a brief number describe the firmament. The third chorus ("Fierce raged the Billows") pictures the division of land and water with great vigor, accompanied by imitative instrumentation which indicates Rubinstein's skill as a water-painter quite as clearly as his great Ocean Symphony. In the fourth and fifth choruses the music vividly tells the story of the creation of the trees and plants and the appearance of the stars in the firmament. The sixth ("Gently beaming, softly streaming"), in which the Angels rejoice in the soft radiance of the moon, is short, but exceedingly tender and [266] beautiful. In the seventh ("All around rose the Sound of the Strife of Life"), we have a description of the awakening of life characterized by extraordinary descriptive power. This group of choruses, each one thoroughly fresh, original, and picturesque in its description, brings us up to the creation of man, which is the finest portion of the whole work. It begins with a long tenor recitative, "In all her Majesty shines on high the Heaven," reaching a fine crescendo at the close ("And lo! it was Man"). The Angels reply with their heavenly greeting, "Hail to Thee, O Man." A short dialogue follows between Adam and the Narrator, and the Angels renew their greeting, this time to Eve. This leads up to a lovely duet between Adam and Eve ("Teach us then to come before Thee"), which is very gracefully constructed, and tenderly melodious in character. The final number is a chorus of the Angels ("Clear resounded the Trumpets of Heaven"), beginning in broad, flowing, jubilant harmony, then developing into a fugue on the words "Praise the Almighty One," built up on a subject full of exultation and grandeur, and closing with a Hallelujah delivered with mighty outbursts of power.

The third part is devoted to the fall of Adam and Eve and their banishment from Eden, closing with the announcement of the ultimate salvation of mankind. Both the Almighty and Satan appear in this part, the former's music being sung by the tenor voice; though, curiously enough, the latter's music is much the more attractive.



Charles Camille Saint-Saëns, famous as composer, pianist, and critic, was born in Paris, Oct. 9, 1835. He began his musical studies at a very early age. In his seventh year he took piano lessons of Stamaty and studied harmony, and in his twelfth was a student at the Conservatory, where he took two organ prizes; though he failed on two occasions in his competition for the Prix de Rome. His first symphony appeared in 1851, and was performed with success. In 1853 he was appointed organist of the Church of St. Merri, and five years later secured a like position at the Madeleine, which he filled with high honor for nineteen years, finally resigning in favor of Theodore Dubois. In 1867 he was awarded a prize for his cantata "Les Noces de Prométhée" by the Paris International Exhibition, and the next year he was received with distinguished honor at the Artists' Meeting in Weimar, both as pianist and composer. His operatic career began about this time. "La Princesse jeune" appeared in 1872, and "Le Timbre [268] d'Argent" in 1877; but neither was successful. His next work was the sacred drama "Samson et Dalila," produced at Weimar in the latter part of 1877; followed by "Étienne Marcel" at Lyons in 1879. In addition to his operas he has written several cantatas, among them "The Deluge" and "La Lyre et la Harpe," composed for the Birmingham Festival of 1879; three symphonies; four symphonic poems, "La Rouet d'Omphale," "Phaéthon," "Danse Macabre," and "La Jeunesse d'Hercule;" a large number of concerted pieces with orchestra, songs and romances, as well as chamber-music and compositions for piano and organ. His sacred music includes the following works: mass for four voices, Requiem Mass, "Oratorio de Noël," "Tantum Ergo," the Nineteenth Psalm for solos, chorus, and orchestra, and many minor pieces for choir use. He has been a prolific writer, but his fame thus far rests upon his instrumental music. He has travelled much as a virtuoso in Russia, Spain, Germany, and England, conducting his own compositions, and also giving piano and organ recitals, in which he has met with great success. He also ranks high as a musical critic, and many of his contributions to the Parisian press have been collected, with a view to publication in a separate volume. Of late he has obtained considerable notoriety by his controversial articles on the Wagner question,--in which, however, national prejudice sometimes has been more apparent than cosmopolitan judgment. As a composer, he is unquestionably more learned than are [269] any of his native contemporaries, and he has made a closer study of Bach than even Gounod has. His descriptive powers are very strong, as is evidenced by the symphonic poems which Mr. Thomas has introduced into this country. They even go to the verge of the sensational; but, on the other hand, the study of his "Oratorio de Noël" and of his transcriptions from Bach will show that he is a master of counterpoint and thematic treatment.

Christmas Oratorio.

"Noël," Saint-Saëns' Christmas oratorio, in dimensions hardly exceeds the limits of a cantata, but musically is constructed in oratorio style. Its subject is the nativity, combined with ascriptions of praise and a final exultant hallelujah. The work is short, but very effective, and is written for five solo voices and chorus, with accompaniment of strings and organ, and the harp in one number. It opens with a pastoral symphony of a very melodious character. The first number is the recitative, "And there were Shepherds," including the angelic message and the appearance of the heavenly hosts, the subject being divided among the tenor, alto, soprano, and baritone, and leading up to the first chorus ("Glory now unto God in the highest"), which is quite short, but beautifully written. The next number is an aria for mezzo-soprano ("Firm in Faith"), which is very simple, but graceful in its melody. The fourth number is a tenor solo and [270] chorus ("God of all"), written in the church style, followed by a soprano and baritone duet ("Blessed, ever blessed"), which is very elaborate in its construction, and highly colored. The next number is the chorus, "Wherefore are the Nations raging," which is intensely dramatic in its effect, especially for the manner in which the voice-parts are set off against the agitated accompaniment. The contrasts also are very striking, particularly that between the tumultuous opening of the chorus and its tranquil close in full harmony on the words, "As it was in the Beginning." The next number is a lovely trio for tenor, soprano, and baritone ("Thou art from first to last"), with harp accompaniment throughout, which gives to it an extremely graceful and elegant effect. It is followed by a quartet ("Alleluia"), in which the theme is introduced by the alto. The Alleluia is then taken up by all four parts (soprano, mezzo-soprano, alto, and baritone), in full, rich harmony, the alto closing the number alone in a very effective adagio passage. The next number is a quintet and chorus, the prelude to which is a repetition of parts of the opening pastoral. It is also utilized in the voice parts. The number is very elaborate in its construction and development, and is followed by a short final chorus ("Raise now your Song on high") in simple church style. Short as the work is, it is very beautiful, and full not only of genuine service music, but also of graceful conceits and delicate fancies, both in the voice parts and the accompaniments.



Robert Schumann, one of the greatest of musicians, and one who, had his life been spared, would probably have stood at the head of all composers since Beethoven and Schubert, was the son of a bookseller, and was born at Zwickau, in Saxony, June 8, 1810. In his earliest youth he was recognized as a child of genius. His first teacher in music was Baccalaureus Kuntzsch, who gave him piano instructions. It was while taking these lessons that he attended a concert given by Moscheles. The playing of the great teacher aroused his musical ambition, and first inspired him to become a musician. His father recognized his talent very early, but his mother was opposed to his ambition. In deference to her wishes, he began the study of law,--with the full determination, however, to make music his vocation; and in this he ultimately succeeded, through the influence of Wieck, whose daughter, Clara, he subsequently married, and who is still a skilful pianist and famous teacher. He studied the [272] piano with Wieck until his right hand was injured. In 1830, in which year his artistic career really opened, he began the theoretical study of music in its groundwork, first with Director Kupsch in Leipsic, and later with Heinrich Dorn, and at the same time entered upon the work of composition. His opus No. 1 was the so-called "Abegg Variations," dedicated to a young lady, Meta Abegg, whom he had met at a ball in Mannheim. In the same year, 1830, he composed a toccata. In 1831 his famous "Papillons" and other piano works appeared. Schumann was not only a musician, but an able critic and graceful writer; and in 1834, with Schunke, Knorr, and Wieck, he founded the "Neue Zeitschrift für Musik," which had an important influence upon musical progress in Germany, and in which the great promise of such musicians as Chopin and Brahms was first recognized. He married Clara Wieck in 1840, after much opposition from her father; and in this year appeared some of his best songs, including the three famous cycluses, "Liederkreis," "Woman's Life and Love," and "Poet's Love," which now have a world-wide fame. In the following year larger works came from his pen, among them his B major symphony, overture, scherzo, and finale in E major, and the symphony in D minor. During this period in his career he also made many artistic journeys with his wife, which largely increased the reputation of each. In 1843 he completed his great "romantic oratorio," "Paradise and the Peri," set to Moore's text, and [273] many favorite songs and piano compositions, among them the "Phantasiestücke" and "Kinderscenen," and his elegant piano quintet in E flat. In 1844, in company with his wife, he visited St. Petersburg and Moscow, and their reception was a royal one. The same year he abandoned his "Zeitschrift," in which "Florestan," "Master Raro," "Eusebius," and the other pseudonyms had become familiar all over Germany, and took the post of director in Düsseldorf, in the place of Ferdinand Hiller. During the last few years of his life he was the victim of profound melancholy, owing to an affection of the brain, and he even attempted suicide by throwing himself into the Rhine. He was then removed to an asylum at Endenich, where he died July 20, 1856. The two men who exercised most influence upon Schumann were Jean Paul and Franz Schubert. He was deeply pervaded with the romance of the one and the emotional feeling of the other. His work is characterized by genial humor, a rich and warm imagination, wonderfully beautiful instrumentation, especially in his accompaniments, the loftiest form of expression, and a rigid adherence to the canons of art.

Paradise and the Peri.

Schumann's secular oratorio, "Paradise and the Peri," was written in 1843, and first performed at the Gewandhaus, Leipsic, December 4th of that [274] year, under the composer's own direction. Its first performance in England was given June 23, 1856, with Madame Jenny Lind-Goldschmidt in the part of the Peri, Sterndale Bennett conducting. The text is taken from the second poem in Moore's "Lalla Rookh," and was suggested to Schumann by his friend Emil Flechsig, who had translated the poem. This was in 1841; but he did not set it to music until two years later. The text required many changes, and these he made himself. The principal additions are a chorus for "The Spirits of the Nile," the chorus of Houris, the Peri's solo, "Banished," the quartet, "Peri, 'tis true," the solo, "Sunken was the Golden Orb," and the final chorus. It has also been suggested that he availed himself of still another translation, that of Ollker's, as many of the changes agree with his text.

It is difficult to define the exact form of the work, though it is nearly always classed as a secular oratorio, principally because of the introduction of the narrator, after the style of the passion-music. In other respects it resembles the cantata. Reissmann, in his Life of Schumann, says on this point,--

"It seems right that he should have retained the most primitive form of the oratorio, that of the passion-music. The poem has no genuinely dramatic course; there was not the smallest intrinsic or extrinsic reason to dramatize it more fully. Even with treatment such as that of the 'Walpurgisnacht,' it must have lost much of its picturesque development [275] The only proper way to treat the subject, therefore, was to retain the original epic form, and to introduce a narrator in the style of antique oratorio, who should relate the facts in a few simple words up to the point where they seem to demand a more dramatic setting."

Von Wasielewski also discusses the same point:

"The narrator is evidently copied from the evangelist in Bach's passion-music; but by no means with a like necessity. Unquestionably the latter shared the conviction of his day, that not only the substance, but the words, of the biblical dogma were sacred. Schumann's case was not at all similar. He had before him, in the poem to be set to music, a work of art which, although once remodelled, would still permit every formal change required by æsthetic considerations. How easy, for example, it would have been to abolish the narrator, as destructive of unity!"

Had the narrative passages been omitted, it would unquestionably have enhanced the interest and perhaps relieved the monotony and wearisomeness of some parts of the work. Unlike the usual manner in which the narrator's part is treated,--as a mere recitative link between numbers,--Schumann invests it with the same importance as the acts and events themselves, and treats it melodically, so that the relief which comes from contrast is lacking.

The oratorio is written in three parts, for solo voices, chorus, and orchestra, the principals being the Peri (soprano); the Angel (alto); the King of Gazna (bass); a Youth (tenor); the Horseman (baritone); and the Maiden (soprano). The choruses [276] are sung by Indians, Angels, Houris, and Genii of the Nile, and the part of Narrator is divided among the various voices. The story follows that of the original poem. The Peri, expelled from Paradise, stands at its gate weeping to think

"her recreant race

Should e'er have lost that sacred place."

The angel who keeps the gate of light promises she shall be re-admitted if she brings "the gift that is most dear to Heaven." The Peri goes in quest of the gift, first to India, where she procures the last drop of blood shed by the hero who resisted the tyrant Mahmoud, and takes it with her to the gate; but the crystal bar moves not. She continues her quest, and from the pestilential plains of Egypt she takes back the last sigh of the maiden who sacrificed herself to her love for the youth who stole out to die alone. But still the crystal bar moves not. At last, in the vale of Baalbec, she finds the gift,--the tear of a repentant sinner,--which secures her admission.

After a brief orchestral introduction, the Narrator (alto) tells the story of the disconsolate Peri at the gate, and introduces her in the first solo ("How blest seem to me, vanished Child of Air"), a tender, beautiful melody, characterized by romantic sentiment. The Narrator (tenor) introduces the Angel, who delivers her message to the Peri ("One Hope is thine"), to which the latter replies in a sensuous melody, full of Oriental color ("I know the Wealth [277] hidden in every Urn"). The tenor Narrator introduces at this point a quartet ("O beauteous Land"), in which the two trebles, tenor, and bass alternate, followed by the full, powerful chorus, "But crimson now her Rivers ran." A weird march, fairly barbaric in its effect, indicates the approach of the tyrant of Gazna, and introduces the stirring chorus of the Indians and Conquerors ("Hail to Mahmoud"). The tenor Narrator describes the youthful warrior standing alone beside his native river and defying the tyrant. Once more the chorus shouts its greeting to Mahmoud, and then ensues a dialogue in recitative between the two, leading up to the youth's death and a double chorus of lamentation ("Woe, for false flew the Shaft"). The tenor Narrator describes the flight of the Peri to catch the last drop of blood shed for liberty; and then all the voices join with the soprano solo in a broad, strong, exultant finale ("For Blood must holy be"), which is one of the most effective numbers in the work.

The second part opens in the most charming manner. The tenor Narrator pictures the return of the Peri with her gift, leading up to the Angel's solo ("Sweet is our welcome"), which preludes a brief choral passage for sixteen female voices. After the Narrator's declaration of her disappointment, the scene changes to Egypt, and in a dainty, delicate three-part chorus the Spirits of the Nile are invoked not to disturb the Peri. Her lament is heard ("O Eden, how longeth for thee my Heart!"), and the Spirits now weave a gentle, sympathetic strain with [278] her song. A long tenor narration follows ("Now wanders forth the Peri sighing"), describing the pestilence brooding over the Egyptian plains, the music to which is very characteristic. The scene of the maiden dying with her lover is full of pathos, and contains two exquisite numbers,--the narrative solo for mezzo-soprano ("Poor Youth, thus deserted"), and the dying love-song of the Maiden ("O let me only breathe the Air, Love"). The scene closes with a sweet and gentle lament for the pair ("Sleep on"), sung by the Peri, followed by the chorus, which joins in the pathetic farewell.

The third part opens with a lovely chorus of Houris ("Wreathe ye the Steps to Great Allah's Throne"), interspersed with solos and Oriental in its coloring. The tenor narration ("Now Morn is blushing in the Sky"), which is very melodious in character, introduces the Angel, who in an alto solo ("Not yet") once more dooms the Peri to wander. Her reply ("Rejected and sent from Eden's Door") is full of despair. The narration is now taken by the baritone in a flowing, breezy strain ("And now o'er Syria's rosy Plain"), which is followed by a charming quartet of Peris ("Say, is it so?"). Once more the baritone intervenes, followed by the Peri; and then the tenor Narrator takes up the theme in a stirring description of the boy nestling amid the roses, and the "passion-stained" horseman at the fountain. The alto proclaims the vesper call to prayer, and the tenor reflects upon the memories of the wretched man as he sees the child kneeling. [279] The solo baritone announces his repentance, followed by a quartet and chorus in very broad, full harmony ("O blessed Tears of true Repentance!"). The next number is a double one, composed of soprano and tenor solos with chorus ("There falls a Drop on the Land of Egypt"). In an exultant, triumphant strain ("Joy, joy forever, my Work is done!"), the Peri sings her happiness, and the chorus brings the work to a close with the heavenly greeting, "Oh, welcome 'mid the Blessed!" The third part is unquestionably long and wearisome, and taxes not only the voices of the singers, but also the patience of the hearers. The first and second, however, contain some beautiful gems, and the orchestral work is very rich in its coloring. Taken all in all, however, it is a severe treatment of a fanciful subject.



Louis Spohr, one of the world's greatest violinists, and a composer of world-wide fame, was born at Brunswick, April 25, 1784. Like all great musical geniuses, his ability was displayed very early. He began to play the violin in his fifth year, and to compose for that instrument before he was in his teens. After studying the rudiments with several teachers, the Duke of Brunswick induced Franz Eck, a recognized master of the violin, to give him instruction. Spohr remained with him two years, and accompanied him on his travels to Russia, studying, composing, and learning much by his observation of Eck's playing. In 1805 he was appointed leader of the band of the Duke of Gotha, and began writing orchestral works, his compositions before that time having been mainly for the violin. His first opera, "Die Prüfung," also appeared about this time. In 1807 he made a very successful tour through Germany, and another in [281] 1809, arousing great enthusiasm by his admirable playing. In that year also occurred the first musical festival in Germany, which was conducted by Spohr at Frankenhausen, in Thuringia. In 1811 another was held, for which he wrote his first symphony. In 1812 his first oratorio, "Das jüngste Gericht," appeared; but after two performances of it he was greatly dissatisfied, and laid it aside. In the fall of that year he made his first public appearance in Vienna, and achieved such success that he was offered and accepted the leadership of the band at the Theater-an-der-Wien. He remained there only three years, however, and then resumed his professional tours in Switzerland and Italy. In 1818 he was appointed conductor of the opera at Frankfort, where he remained for two years, during which time he brought out his operas "Faust" and "Zemire and Azor." In 1820 he went to England for the first time, and played many of his compositions in the Philharmonic concerts. His English visit was a very successful one, and on his journey back to Germany he stopped in Paris, where also he met with an enthusiastic welcome. He finally settled down at Dresden, where Weber was then busy with the preparations for the performance of his "Freischütz." During his stay there, Weber had been offered the post of Hofkapellmeister to the Elector of Cassel; but not being in a position to accept it, he recommended Spohr, and the latter obtained the appointment Jan. 1, 1822, where he remained the rest of his days, as it was a life-office. During this [282] year he finished his opera "Jessonda," one of the most successful of all his vocal works. Four years later he conducted the Rhenish Festival at Düsseldorf and brought out his second oratorio, "Die letzten Dinge" ("The Last Things"). In 1831 he completed his "Violin School," which has ever since been a standard work. His most important symphony, "Die Weihe der Töne" ("The Consecration of Sound"), was produced at Cassel in 1832, and his third oratorio, "Des Heiland's letzte Stunden" ("Calvary"), at the same place in 1835. Four years later he went to England again, and produced his "Calvary" at the Norwich Festival with immense success, which led to his reception of a commission to produce "The Fall of Babylon" for the Festival of 1842. His last opera, "The Crusaders," was written in 1844, but did not meet with a permanent success. From this time until 1857 he was engaged in making tours and producing the works of other composers, among them those of Wagner, whose "Tannhäuser" he brought out in 1853, in spite of the Elector's opposition. In 1857 he was pensioned, and two years later died. He was born a musician and died one, and in his long and honorable life he was always true to his art and did much to ennoble and dignify it, notwithstanding the curious combinations in his musical texture. He never could understand or appreciate Beethoven. He proclaimed himself a disciple of Mozart, though he had little in common with him, and he declared Wagner the greatest [283] of all living composers, on the strength of his "Flying Dutchman" alone. As a performer, he was one of the best of any period.

The Last Judgment.

Spohr wrote two oratorios upon the same subject,--"Das jüngste Gericht" ("The Last Judgment") and "Die letzten Dinge" ("The Last Things"); but the latter is now universally entitled "The Last Judgment," and the former was shelved by the composer himself shortly after its performance. His autobiography gives us some interesting details of each. After a concert-tour to Hamburg, Spohr returned to Gotha, and found there a letter from Bischoff, the Precentor of Frankenhausen, informing him that he had been commanded by the Governor of Erfurt to arrange a musical festival there in celebration of the birthday of Napoleon, August 15. He invited Spohr to assume its direction and to write an oratorio for the occasion. Previous to this a poet in Erfurt had offered him the text called "The Last Judgment," and Spohr determined to avail himself of it. He writes,--

"I sent for the libretto and set to work at once. But I soon felt that for the oratorio style I was yet too deficient in counterpoint and in fugueing. I therefore suspended my work in order to make the preliminary studies requisite for the subject. From one of my [284] pupils I borrowed Marpurg's 'Art of Fugue-writing,' and was soon deeply and continuously engaged in the study of that work. After I had written half a dozen fugues according to its instruction, the last of which seemed to me very successful, I resumed the composition of my oratorio, and completed it without allowing anything else to intervene. According to a memorandum I made, it was begun in January, 1812, and finished in June."

In this connection Spohr tells the following humorous story:--

"One of the solo-singers alone, who sang the part of Satan, did not give me satisfaction. The part, which was written with a powerful instrumentation, I gave, by the advice of Bischoff, to a village schoolmaster in the neighborhood of Gotha who was celebrated throughout the whole district for his colossal bass voice. In power of voice he had indeed quite sufficient to outroar a whole orchestra; but in science and in music he could by no means execute the part in a satisfactory manner. I taught and practised him in the part myself, and took great pains to assist him a little. But without much success; for when the day of public trial came, he had totally forgotten every instruction and admonition, and gave such loose to his barbarian voice that he first of all frightened the auditory, and then set it in roars of laughter."

It is clear from Spohr's remarks that he was satisfied with the choruses and fugues, but not with the solo parts of Jesus and Mary, which were in the florid cantata style of that day. He subsequently [285] determined to re-write them; but "when about to begin," he says, "it seemed to me as though I could no longer enter into the spirit of the subject, and so it remained undone. To publish the work as it was, I could not make up my mind. Thus in later years it has lain by without any use being made of it."

Thirteen years afterwards he wrote "Die letzten Dinge," now so well known as "The Last Judgment." He says in one of his letters,--

"In the same year [1825] Councillor Rochlitz, the editor of the 'Leipsic Musical Journal,' offered me the text of an oratorio, 'Die letzten Dinge,' to compose for, which I received with great pleasure, as my previous attempt in that style of art, 'Das jüngste Gericht,' by no means pleased me any longer, and therefore I had not once been disposed to perform a single number of it at the meeting of our Society.... The whole work was finished by Good Friday [1826], and then first performed complete in the Lutheran Church. It was in the evening, and the church was lighted up. My son-in-law, Wolff, who had been long in Rome, proposed to illuminate the church as at Rome on Good Friday, with lights disposed overhead in the form of a cross, and carried out his idea. A cross fourteen feet long, covered with silver-foil and hung with six hundred glass lamps, was suspended overhead in the middle of the church, and diffused so bright a light that one could everywhere clearly read the text-books. The musicians and singers, nearly two hundred in number, were placed in the gallery of the church, arranged in rows one above the other, and for the most part [286] unseen by the auditory, which, amounting to nearly two thousand persons, observed a solemn stillness. My two daughters, Messrs. Wild, Albert, and Föppel, together with an amateur, sang the soli, and the performance was faultless. The effect was, I must myself say, extraordinary."

The title of the work is clearly a misnomer, as well as a mistranslation, for it contains nothing of the terrors of the Last Judgment, but, on the other hand, is graceful and elegant in style. The affixing of this title to it is said to have been the work of Professor Taylor, who arranged it for the Norwich festival of 1830, and supposed he was preparing the earlier oratorio, "Das jüngste Gericht." The title has now become so indissolubly connected with it that no effort has been made to change it. In the first part the text is confined to ascriptions of praise. The solo, "Blessing, honor, glory, and power be unto him that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb forever," conveys the meaning of the whole first part; while the second part is confined to those portions of the Apocalypse which describe the terrible signs of the last day, concluding with visions of the new heaven and a hallelujah. And yet Malibran, in her biography of Spohr, calls the oratorio a musical copy of Michael Angelo's "Last Judgment,"--showing that more than one person has confounded the two oratorios.

The work opens with a very long overture of a grave and majestic character, in limits far beyond [287] those usually found in oratorio. It is followed by the striking chorus, "Praise His awful Name," which is beautifully written, and contains impressive soprano and bass solos. Some brief tenor and bass recitatives lead to the second number, a short chorus ("Holy, holy, Lord God of Hosts"), in which the voices have no accompaniment except the horns. Three phrases of recitative for soprano and tenor lead to the next chorus ("All Glory to the Lamb that died"), a grand number, which is familiar to nearly every lover of oratorio music. The next number is one of the most striking in the work. A short tenor recitative introduces the tenor solo and chorus, "Blessing, honor, glory, and power," beginning with a tranquil and smoothly flowing solo, the chorus opening in the same manner, then developing into an admirably written fugue, and closing in the same serene style as it opened. A very dramatic and picturesque scene follows, comprising the tenor recitative ("And lo! a mighty Host"), with a very striking accompaniment descriptive of "the mighty host of all nations and people that stood before the throne and the Lamb," and the exquisite quartet and chorus ("Lord God of Heaven and Earth") which close the first part.

The second part opens with an orchestral symphony which heralds the signs and portents of the Day of Judgment in graphic style. It is followed by a long bass recitative with intensely dramatic accompaniment:--


"The day of wrath is near.

The Almighty shall reveal His power.

The reaper's song is silent in the field,

And the shepherd's voice on the mountain.

The valleys then shall shake with fear,

With dread the hills shall tremble.

It comes, the day of terror comes!

The awful morning dawns!

Thy mighty arm, O God, is uplifted.

Thou shalt shake the earth and heavens.

They shall shrivel as a scroll

When Thou in wrath appearest."

The text indicates the dramatic nature of the subject, and it is treated with a force and vigor that are in striking contrast with the tenderness and serenity, at times rising to exultation, that characterize the remainder of the work. This recitative leads to the very pathetic duet for soprano and tenor, "Forsake me not in this dread hour," which is a gem of beautiful melody, followed by the response of the chorus in unison, "If with your whole Hearts." After a short tenor recitative, another strong chorus ensues ("Destroyed is Babylon"), with an agitated and powerful accompaniment, which continues for some time after the voices cease, once interrupted by the tenor proclaiming "It is ended," and then coming to a close in a gentle pianissimo effect. A tender, melodious quartet and chorus ("Blest are the Departed") follows. The soprano voice announces the new heaven and earth. A short tenor recitative ("Behold! He soon shall come") and the quartet response ("Then come, Lord Jesus") prepare the way for the final massive [289] chorus ("Great and wonderful are all Thy Works"), which begins with a few bars of full harmony, then develops into a vigorous fugue, which, after choral announcements of hallelujah, is followed by another fugue ("Thine is the Kingdom"), closing with a tumultuous ascription of praise, and Amen. The solo parts in the oratorio are always short and of a reflective character. It is peculiarly a choral work, of which, with one or two exceptions, the predominant traits are sweetness, tenderness, and grace. In these exceptions, like the great chorus, "Destroyed is Babylon," with its wonderful accompaniments, it reaches a high strain of sublimity.



The great popularity which Arthur Seymour Sullivan has enjoyed for a few years past, growing out of his extraordinarily successful series of comic operettas, beginning with "The Sorcerer" (1877), which first caught the public fancy, and ending with "The Mikado" (1885), has almost overshadowed the permanent foundations upon which his reputation must rest; namely, his serious and sacred music. He was born in London, May 13, 1842. His father, a band-master and clarinet-player of distinction, intrusted his musical education at first to the Rev. Thomas Hilmore, master of the children of the Chapel Royal. He entered the Chapel in 1854 and remained there three years, and also studied in the Royal Academy of Music under Goss and Sterndale Bennett during this period, leaving the latter institution in 1858, in which year he went to Leipsic. He remained in the Conservatory there until 1861, when he returned to London and introduced himself to its musical public with his music to Shakspeare's "Tempest," which made a great success. The enthusiasm with which this was received and the favors he gained at the hands [291] of Chorley, at that time musical critic of the "Athenæum," gave him a secure footing. The cantata "Kenilworth," written for the Birmingham Festival, the music to the ballet "L'Île enchantée," and an opera, "The Sapphire Necklace," were produced in 1864. In 1866 appeared his first symphony, which has been played not only in England, but also in Germany, and an overture, "In Memoriam,"--a tribute to his father, who died that year. The next year his overture "Marmion" was first performed. In 1869 he wrote his first oratorio, "The Prodigal Son," in 1873 "The Light of the World," and in 1880 "The Martyr of Antioch;" the first for the Worcester, the second for the Birmingham, and the third for the Leeds festivals. The beautiful "Overture di Ballo," so frequently played in this country by the Thomas orchestra, was written for Birmingham in 1870, and the next year appeared his brilliant cantata "On Shore and Sea." On the 11th of May, 1867, was first heard in public his little comic operetta "Cox and Box." It was the first in that series of extraordinary successes, really dating from "The Sorcerer," which are almost without parallel in the operatic world, and which have made his name and that of his collaborator, Gilbert, household words. He has done much for sacred as well as for secular music. In addition to his oratorios he has written numerous anthems, forty-seven hymn-tunes, two Te Deums, several carols, part-songs, and choruses, and in 1872 edited the collection of "Church Hymns with Tunes" for the Christian Knowledge Society.


He received the honorary degree of Doctor of Music from Cambridge in 1876, and from Oxford in 1879, and in 1883 was knighted by the Queen.

The Prodigal Son.

"The Prodigal Son," the first of Sullivan's oratorios, was written for the Worcester Festival in England, and performed for the first time Sept. 8, 1869. It is a short work, comprising but eighteen numbers, and very melodious in character. In his preface to the work the composer says,--

"It is a remarkable fact that the parable of the Prodigal Son should never before have been chosen as the text of a sacred musical composition. The story is so natural and pathetic, and forms so complete a whole; its lesson is so thoroughly Christian; the characters, though few, are so perfectly contrasted; and the opportunity for the employment of local color is so obvious,--that it is indeed astonishing to find the subject so long overlooked.

"The only drawback is the shortness of the narrative, and the consequent necessity for filling it out with material drawn from elsewhere. In the present case this has been done as sparingly as possible, and entirely from the Scriptures. In so doing, the Prodigal himself has been conceived, not as of a naturally brutish and depraved disposition,--a view taken by many commentators, with apparently little knowledge of human nature, and no recollection of their own youthful impulses,--but rather as a buoyant, restless youth, tired of the monotony of home, and anxious to see what lay [293] beyond the narrow confines of his father's farm, going forth in the confidence of his own simplicity and ardor, and led gradually away into follies and sins which at the outset would have been as distasteful as they were strange to him. The episode with which the parable concludes has no dramatic connection with the former and principal portion, and has therefore not been treated."

In reality there are but six of the eighteen numbers concerned with the narration of the parable. The remainder moralize upon the story and illustrate its teaching. After a short, simple orchestral prelude, an opening chorus, beginning with soprano solo ("There is Joy in the Presence of the Angels of God"), and containing also alto and bass solos, gives the key to the whole work in reflective style, as it proclaims the rejoicing in heaven over the "one sinner that repenteth." At its conclusion the parable begins with tenor recitative and solo, "A certain man had two sons," in which the Prodigal asks for his portion of goods. In a bass aria preceded by recitative, the father gives him good advice, "Honor the Lord," and presumably his portion also, as the soprano recites in the next number that "he took his journey into a far country, and there wasted his substance in riotous living." Thereupon follows a very melodious and vivacious chorus ("Let us eat and drink; to-morrow we die"), in which the tenor has an important part. The response to the bacchanal comes in the next number, a brief chorus beginning with the alto recitative, [294] "Woe unto them." One of the gems of the work, a pretty alto song, "Love not the World," intervenes at this point. At its conclusion the narrative is resumed.

After an effective prelude by orchestra, the soprano recitative relates the famine and the experiences of the Prodigal among the swine, leading up to a pretty aria ("O that thou hadst hearkened"). The tenor follows with an expressive aria ("How many hired Servants of my Father's"). The narrative again halts to give place to a very taking chorus ("The Sacrifices of God"), after which we have the return and reconciliation ("And he arose and came to his Father"),--a very dramatic duet for tenor and bass, followed by the vigorous and exultant bass aria ("For this my Son was dead") of the father. The parable ends here; but the music goes on moralizing upon and illustrating the theme in four effective numbers,--the chorus, "O that Men would praise the Lord," which is the longest and best constructed in the work; the recitative and aria for tenor, "Come, ye Children;" the unaccompanied quartet, "The Lord is nigh;" and the final chorus, "Thou, O Lord, art our Father," closing with a Hallelujah in full, broad harmony.

The Light of the World.

Sir Arthur Sullivan's second oratorio, "The Light of the World," is laid out upon a much larger scale in every way than "The Prodigal Son." It was [295] written for the Birmingham Festival of 1873, was given for the first time on the 27th of August. The purpose of the work, as the composer explains in his preface, is to set forth the human aspects of the life of our Lord upon earth, by the use of some of the actual incidents in his career which bear witness to his attributes as preacher, healer, and prophet. "To give it dramatic force," he says,--

"The work has been laid out in scenes dealing respectively, in the first part with the nativity, preaching, healing, and prophesying of our Lord, ending with the triumphal entry into Jerusalem; and in the second part, with the utterances which, containing the avowal of himself as the Son of Man, excited to the utmost the wrath of his enemies, and led the rulers to conspire for his betrayal and death; the solemn recital by the chorus of his sufferings, and the belief in his final reward; the grief of Mary Magdalene at the sepulchre; and the consolation and triumph of the Disciples at the resurrection of their Lord and Master."

The first part has four scenes, "Bethlehem," "Nazareth," "Lazarus" (which might more appropriately have been entitled "Bethany"), and "The Way to Jerusalem." The scenes of the second part are laid entirely in Jerusalem. "Bethlehem" includes the message of the angels to the shepherds, their visit to Mary, the nativity, the warning by the angel to Mary and Joseph of Herod's design, the lament and consolation of Rachel in Rama, and the promise of God's blessing upon the child. In "Nazareth" we have a scene representing Christ in [296] the synagogue reading from Isaiah and declaring himself the object of the prophecy, his expulsion by the incredulous crowd of listeners, and his exhortations to his disciples, when left alone with them, to bear their persecutions with meekness. "Lazarus" describes the journey to Bethany and our Lord's assurances to the bereaved sisters that their brother shall rise again. "The Way to Jerusalem" scene is indicated by its title,--the entry of the Lord into the city amid the hosannas and exultant acclamations of the people. In the second part, we have the discourse concerning the sheep and the goats, the interview between the ruler and the people, and the former's anger with Nicodemus, the sufferings and death of Christ, and the resurrection and joy of the disciples as they glorify God and sing the praises of their risen Master.

The work opens with a prologue chorus ("There shall come forth a Rod out of the Stem of Jesse"), at the close of which the "Bethlehem" scene begins. It is preluded with a quiet but effective pastoral movement for the orchestra, a tenor recitative ("There were Shepherds abiding in the Field"), and a contralto solo announcing the heavenly message to the Shepherds, which lead up to a spirited "Gloria" by the sopranos and altos, followed by a chorus of the Shepherds ("Let us now go even unto Bethlehem") for male voices. A Shepherd, in brief recitative passages, declares to Mary, "Blessed art thou among Women," followed by the soprano solo, "My Soul doth magnify the Lord." After [297] the Virgin's expression of thanks, the Shepherds join in the chorus, "The whole Earth is at rest," which is peculiarly striking in its contrasts. A short recitative by the Angel, warning Mary to flee into Egypt, is followed by a very sombre chorus ("In Rama was there a Voice"). At its close, the tenor is heard in a tender aria ("Refrain thy Voice from weeping"), leading to a chorus full of spirited harmony, and rising to a very effective climax ("I will pour My Spirit"), which closes the scene.

The "Nazareth" scene opens with a baritone solo ("The Spirit of the Lord is upon me"), in which Jesus declares himself in the synagogue as the object of the prophecy from Isaiah which he has been reading. The Jews answer in a very dramatic chorus ("Whence hath this Man his Wisdom?"). Again Jesus interposes with the declaration, "A prophet is not without honor save in his own country;" whereupon the people break out in a still more dramatic chorus ("Is not this Jesus?"), set to a very effective accompaniment. For the third time Jesus declares himself, followed by the stirring, furious chorus, "Why hear ye him?" A tender and at times fervid solo ("Lord, who hath believed our Report?") leads to a very effective quintet ("Doubtless Thou art our Father"). After another brief baritone solo ("Blessed are they"), we come to the chorus, "He maketh the Sun to rise," which is one of the most beautifully written in the work, and closes the scene.


The third scene, "Lazarus," begins with the description of the mournful journey to Bethany, the arrival among the kindred and friends, who are trying to comfort the bereaved sisters, and closes at the still unopened grave. It includes a duet between tenor and baritone, the former a Disciple, the latter Jesus, whose music is invariably sung by the baritone voice; a solo for alto ("Weep ye not for the Dead"), with a sombre orchestral prelude, and accompanied by a chorus in its close; a dialogue between Martha and Jesus ("Lord, if thou hadst been here"); a short but very beautiful chorus ("Behold how he loved him!"); the baritone solo, "Said I not unto thee;" and a final chorus of great power ("The Grave cannot praise thee").

The last scene of the first part, "The Way to Jerusalem," is very brilliant throughout, and is in cheerful contrast with the general sombreness of the preceding numbers. It opens with a brief dialogue between Jesus and a Disciple ("Master, get thee out, and depart hence"), which leads to a charming three-part chorus for children's voices ("Hosanna to the Son of David"), with a prominent harp part in the accompaniment, and worked up to a fine climax. A brilliant soprano solo ("Tell ye the Daughter of Zion") intervenes, followed by a short dialogue between Jesus and a Pharisee, which leads to the vigorous chorus of the Disciples, "Blessed be the Kingdom." After another baritone solo ("If thou hadst known, O Jerusalem") the children's hosanna is repeated,--this time with [299] the power of the full chorus; and the first part comes to a close.

The first part opens with a prelude of a few bars; but the second begins with a long overture, very effectively written, and intended, as the composer himself says, to indicate the angry feelings and dissensions caused by the Lord's presence in Jerusalem. At its close the baritone, in one of the most forcible solos assigned to this part ("When the Son of Man shall come in his Glory"), discourses the parable of the sheep and goats. The wondering chorus of the People, "Is not this he whom they seek to kill?" follows, and then ensues a somewhat tedious scene. A Ruler argues with the People, contemptuously asking if Christ shall come out of Galilee. The People remain unconvinced, however. Nicodemus then strives to reason with the Ruler, with the natural effect of making him very angry. All this leads up to an effective female chorus ("The Hour is come"). In a very tender and pathetic solo ("Daughters of Jerusalem") Jesus sings his farewell. The incidents of the crucifixion are avoided, as the work is intended only to illustrate the human career of Jesus. The rest of the story is told in narrative form; an unaccompanied quartet ("Yea, though I walk") and a powerful, but gloomy chorus, describing Christ's sufferings ("Men and Brethren"), bring us to the sepulchre. The scene opens with the plaint of Mary Magdalene, "Where have they laid him?" and the response of the Angel, who tells her Christ has risen, which is followed by a six-part [300] unaccompanied chorus ("The Lord is risen"). A short tenor solo ("If ye be risen with Christ") leads directly to the final chorus ("Him hath God exalted"), which is worked up in fugal form with much spirit.



Giuseppe Verdi, the greatest of living Italian opera composers, was born at Roncale, Oct. 9, 1813. Like many another musician, he sprang from humble and rude beginnings, his parents having kept a small inn and notion store in the little Italian village. His musical talent displayed itself very early. In his tenth year he was appointed organist in the place of Baistrocchi, the master with whom he had been studying at Busseto. Through the generosity of his patron, M. Barezzi, he was sent to Milan, where he was refused admission to the Conservatory, on the ground that he showed "no special aptitude for music!" Nothing daunted, the young composer, acting on the suggestions of the conductor of La Scala, studied composition and orchestration with M. Lavigne, himself a composer of no mean ability. In 1833 Verdi returned to Busseto, and five years later went back to Milan, where he began his wonderfully successful career as an operatic composer. His first opera, "Oberto Conte di S. Bonifacio," appeared in 1839, and was followed by a [302] series of operatic works that have achieved world-wide success and placed their composer at the head of all contemporary Italian writers. The most important of them are: "Nabucco" (1842); "I Lombardi" (1843); "Ernani" (1844); "Attila" (1846); "Macbeth" (1847); "I Masnadieri" (1847); "Luisa Miller" (1849); "Rigoletto" (1851); "Il Trovatore" (1853); "La Traviata" (1853); "The Sicilian Vespers" (1855); "The Masked Ball" (1857); "The Force of Destiny" (1862); "Don Carlos" (1867); "Aïda" (1871). In the last-named opera, Verdi departs from the purely Italian school of operatic writing and shows the unmistakable signs of Wagner's influence upon him. Now, in his seventy-third year, comes the intelligence that he has completed still another opera, on the subject of "Othello," which will soon be placed in rehearsal in Paris. In the interval between "Aïda" and "Othello" he wrote the "Manzoni Requiem," a "Pater Noster" for five voices, and an "Ave Maria" for soprano solo. He has also written several marches, short symphonies, concertos for piano, minor church compositions, a stringed quartet, a "Stabat Mater," the choruses to Manzoni's tragedies, and numerous songs and romances for the drawing-room. With his wife, Madame Strepponi, he has spent a very quiet life in his villa at S. Agato, looking after his farming operations, to which of late years he has given more attention than to music. In a letter addressed to the Italian critic, Filippi, he writes: "I know very [303] well that you are also a most distinguished musician and devoted to your art: ... but Piave and Mariani must have told you that at S. Agato we neither make nor talk about music, and you will run the risk of finding a piano not only out of tune, but very likely without strings." He has been overwhelmed with decorations and honors, but has studiously avoided public life and the turmoil of the world. In 1866 he was elected a member of the Italian Parliament from Busseto, but sent in his resignation shortly afterwards; and in 1875 was appointed senator by the King, but never took his seat. His fame is indissolubly connected with his music, and in the pursuit of that art he has become one of the most admired composers of his time.

The Manzoni Requiem.

The history of "The Manzoni Requiem" is of more than ordinary interest. Shortly after Rossini's death, in 1868, Verdi conceived the idea of a requiem in his memory, to be written by many hands, which should be performed in the cathedral of Bologna on each centenary of the composer's death, but upon no other occasion and at no other place. The project met with favor. The work was laid out in thirteen numbers and assigned to thirteen Italian composers, Verdi taking the "Libera me," which was to be the last number in the work. Each of [304] the composers finished his task; but when the parts were joined in a complete requiem they were found to be so dissimilar in treatment, and the whole work so incoherent and lacking in symmetry and unity, that the scheme went no further. M. Mazzucato, of Milan, who had examined the work, was so impressed with the "Libera me" that he wrote to Verdi urging him to compose the entire requiem.

About this time (1873) Alessandro Manzoni, the founder of the romantic school in Italian literature, died, and was universally mourned by his countrymen. The requiem which had been intended for Rossini was now written by Verdi for his friend, the great Italian patriot and poet, the immortal author of "I promessi Sposi," and the "Libera me" was transferred to it. It was performed for the first time at Milan, May 22, 1874, the anniversary of Manzoni's death, with Teresa Stolz soprano, Maria Waldmann alto, Giuseppe Capponi tenor, and Ormondo Maini bass, a chorus of a hundred and twenty voices, and an orchestra of a hundred and ten. It was next given in Paris, in the following month, under the composer's direction and since that time has been frequently given in Europe and in the United States.

The mass is divided into seven parts, with solos, choruses, and full orchestra, as follows: No. 1. "Requiem" and "Kyrie" (quartet and chorus). 2. "Dies Iræ;" thus divided: "Dies Iræ" (chorus); "Tuba Mirum" (chorus); "Liber scriptus" (chorus and fugue); "Quid sum miser" (trio for soprano, [305] alto, and tenor); "Rex tremendæ" (quartet and chorus); "Recordare" (duo for soprano and alto, and chorus); "Ingemisco" (solo for tenor); "Confutatis" (solo for bass); "Lacrymosa" (quartet and chorus). 3. "Domine Jesu," offertory, by quartet. 4. "Sanctus" (fugue with double chorus). 5. "Agnus Dei" (duet for soprano and alto, and chorus). 6. "Lux æterna" (trio for alto, tenor, and bass). 7. "Libera me" (solo for soprano, chorus, and final fugue).

The "Requiem" opens, after a few measures of prelude, with the chorus chanting the appeal for rest sotto voce, the effect being carried as pianissimo as possible until the basses, by an abrupt change of key, give out the theme of a fugue ("Te decet hymnus"), written in pure religious style. The introductory "Requiem" is repeated, and leads to the "Kyrie," the theme of which is stated by the tenor, and in turn taken up by the other soloists, the chorus shortly joining, a double sextet interwoven with it, and the whole closing pianissimo, as the "Requiem" opened.

The second part, the "Dies Iræ," is in strong contrast with the first, and is more broadly and dramatically worked up, and with freer accompaniment. The opening chorus is one of startling power. The tenors and basses open the number, immediately followed by the four parts announcing the Day of Wrath in high, sustained notes, while the second sopranos, altos, and tenors accompany them with immense sweeps of sound that rise and fall like the [306] waves. There are nine numbers in this part which have been already specified, the most effective of them being the adagio trio ("Quid sum miser") for soprano, alto, and tenor, upon which Verdi has lavished his melodious inspiration. The trio is continually interwoven with the chorus shouting fortissimo the "Rex tremendæ majestatis," until it takes another form in the prayer, "Recordare," a duet for soprano and alto in Verdi's best operatic vein. A very effective tenor solo, "Ingemisco," followed by a very solemn and majestic bass solo, "Confutatis," lead to the stirring measures of the Day of Wrath again, and close this part in an ensemble of immense power, both vocal and dramatic.

The offertory ("Domine Jesu") is a quartet with three motives,--the first andante, the second allegro, and the third adagio in Gregorian form, the three themes being admirably worked up and accompanied. The "Sanctus" (the fourth part of the mass) is a very impressive allegro double chorus, followed by the "Agnus Dei," a duet for soprano and alto which is full of melodious inspiration, illustrated with charming instrumental color; it is the gem of the mass, and one of the happiest numbers Verdi has ever scored. The sixth part is the "Lux æterna," a trio for alto, tenor, and bass which is very dramatic in setting; and this leads to the "Libera," the final division and the climax of the work. It is in its general effect a soprano obligato with chorus. After a monotone recitative and solo, the "Dies Iræ" is repeated, likewise the "Requiem [307] æternam" (which forms the introduction of the mass), and closes with a fugue of majestic proportions that finally ends in the same pianissimo effect as characterizes the opening of the work.

Thus much of the work in detail. It remains to look at this mass as a whole. The first thought that will strike the listener is its utter dissimilarity to any other of Verdi's works, except "Aïda." Like that opera, it is in his latest style,--an attempt to show the world that he can write something besides melodies. Hence we find more decided contrapuntal effects, the canon and fugue forms, and even the plain, serious style of the early devotional music of the Church in the days of Gregory and Palestrina. The second thought is that this mass, although it has had Papal approval, is not so much a mass as it is a dramatic threnody in memory of a loved friend. As compared with the masses of Beethoven, Mozart, Haydn, and the other early mass-writers, it has not their conventional form, their regular sequence of setting, their coherence of spirit and sentiment. There are wide divergences in it from the old beaten track. But it may be said, on the other hand, that while the traditions are violated, Verdi does not so far lose sight of the devotional character of his work as to descend to the light, tripping, and sometimes fantastic measures of Rossini in the "Stabat Mater." Von Bülow very nearly hit the truth in saying that "The Manzoni Requiem" is an opera in ecclesiastical costume. The dramatic element is its strong feature, and the inexhaustible [308] resources of the composer's invention strike the hearer as one of the chief characteristics. The first six parts seem to have included nearly all that can be done, and you wonder if the last part, the "Libera me," will not fall tamely; when to your surprise it proves to be the grand culmination of the work, and presents, with its solo and chorus and imposing fugue, an ensemble of effect, a richness of instrumentation, a severe and almost classical form of composition, and a dramatic intensity and passion that sweep the whole range of power, from a fortissimo tutte forza, down to the faintest whisper of a pianissimo. It bursts upon you like the thunder, and dies away in the still small voice that whispers the requiem of everlasting rest.



The following sketch of the rise and progress of sacred music in America may prove of interest to the reader as a supplement to the history of the Oratorio and of the numerous illustrations of that class of compositions contained in the body of the book. Ritter, Gould, Hood, and other church-music historians have been freely consulted to make the sketch as complete as possible.

The psalmody of the Protestant church was first arranged and brought into use in the course of the sixteenth century, through the efforts of the reformers in Germany and particularly of Martin Luther, who was extremely fond of music, and wrote a quaint discourse on the art. In 1524 he published a collection of hymns which also comprised a few versified psalms. These were set to music in four parts, as he says "for no other reason than because of my desire that the young, who ought to be educated in music as well as in other good arts, might have [310] something to take the place of worldly and amorous songs, and so learn something useful and practise something virtuous, as becometh the young. I would be glad to see all arts, and especially music, employed in the service of Him who created them." Zwingle, Cranmer, Calvin, and Knox were also zealous advocates of psalm-singing; and during the same century Tye, Tallis, Bird, and Gibbons did a great work for ecclesiastical music in England.

At the time of the Reformation in England the Puritans proved themselves zealous musical reformers. They reduced singing to the severest simplicity. They had no sympathy with elaborate arrangements. Organs, choir-books, and choir-singers were objects of their special antipathy. One of these iconoclasts says: "This singing and saying of mass, matins, or even-song is but roryng, howling, whisteling, mummying, conjuring and jogelyng and the playing of orgayns a foolish vanitie." Latimer in 1537 notified the convent at Worcester: "Whenever there shall be any preaching in your monastery all manner of singing and other ceremonies shall be utterly laid aside." In 1562 it was proposed that the psalms should be sung by the whole congregation, and that organs should be no longer used. In the Confession of the Puritans (1571) they say: "Concerning the singing of the psalms, we allow of the people's joining with one voice in a plain tune, but not in tossing the psalms from one side to the other, with intermingling of organs." An appeal was made to Parliament against the singing of the noble cathedral [311] music by "chanting choristers disguised, as are all the rest, in white surplices, some in corner caps and silly copes, imitating the fashion and manner of Antichrist the Pope, that man of sin and child of perdition, with his other rabble of miscreants and shavelings."

Sternhold, who was groom of the robes to Henry VIII. and afterwards groom of the bed-chamber to Edward VI., was one of the most zealous of these reformers. In connection with Hopkins, a clergyman and schoolmaster, he versified a large number of the psalms and published them. They were printed at first without music, but in 1562 they appeared with the notes of the plain melody under the following title: "The whole Book of Psalms, collected into English metre by T. Sternhold and J. Hopkins and others, conferred with the Ebrue, with apt notes to sing them withal. Imprinted by John Day." In this work there was but one part, the air, and each note was accompanied by its name; but a few years later the psalms appeared set to music in four parts. They were the work of William Damon, and his book bore the title: "The Psalms of David to English Metre, with notes of Four Parts set unto them, by Wm. Damon, to the Use of the Godly Christians, for recreating themselves, instead of fond and unseemly ballads. 1579." In 1599 there appeared a very ambitious work in folio form, so arranged that four persons might sing from it, and bearing the title: "The Psalms of David in Metre, the Plain song being [312] the common Tune, to be sung and played upon the Lute, Orpharion, Citterne, or Bass-viol, severally or together; the singing Part to be either Tenor or Treble to the instrument, according to the Nature of the Voice, or for Four Voices; with Ten Short Tunes in the end, to which, for the most part, all Psalms may be usually sung; for the Use of such as are of mean Skill, and whose Leisure least serveth to practice. By Richard Allison, Gent., Practitioner in the Art of Music." Notwithstanding its formidable title, the work was not highly esteemed at the time. In 1621, Thomas Ravenscroft, Bachelor of Music, published an excellent collection of psalm tunes, many of which are still in use. In his preface he says, by way of advice: "1. That psalms of tribulation be sung with a low voice and long measure; 2. That psalms of thanksgiving be sung with a voice indifferent, neither too loud nor too soft, and neither too swift nor too slow; 3. That psalms of rejoicing be sung with a loud voice and a swift and jocund measure." His preface closes with the pious wish that all his patrons after death may join in the "Quire of Angels in the Heavens."

The date of the Ravenscroft collection brings us to the time of the Pilgrims. When they loaded the "Mayflower" with their homely household furniture, spinning-wheels, and arms of defence, and set out upon their long and uncertain voyage to find a friendly shore where they might worship God in their own fashion, the psalm-book was not forgotten. [313] They brought with them a version made by Henry Ainsworth of Amsterdam, in which the notes set above the words were of lozenge shape. For twenty years it was in exclusive use, though the Salem Church did not abandon it until 1667, and the Plymouth Church retained the old favorite until 1692. The Sternhold and Hopkins collection had also found its way over, but it was used only at Ipswich and in its vicinity. In 1640 appeared the Bay Psalm Book, issued from the Cambridge press. It was prepared by an association of New England divines, most prominent among whom were Thomas Welde, Richard Mather of Dorchester, and John Eliot of Roxbury, the famous Indian missionary. Being new, it was at once regarded as an innovation. The churches were soon in a wrangle, not only over the contents of the new collection, but as to the methods of singing. Some were opposed to singing altogether, while others insisted that only Christian voices should be heard. At no time were the colonists very learned in music. In the edition of the Bay Psalm Book printed in 1698, the following concise directions appear:--

"First, observe how many note-compass the tune is next the place of your first note, and how many notes above and below that, so as you may begin the tune of your first note, as the rest may be sung in the compass of your and the people's voices, without Squeaking above or Grumbling below. For the better understanding of which take note of the following directions: [314]

"Of the eight short Tunes used to four lines only, whose measure is to eight syllables on the first line, and six on the next; and may be sung to any Psalms of that measure.

Oxford Tune.
Litchfield Tune.
Low Dutch Tune.
} To Psalms Consolatory.
York Tune.
Winsor Tune.
To Psalms of Prayer, Confessions, and Funerals.
Cambridge Short Tune to peculiar Psalms, as 21, 24, 33, 70, 86, first metre, 114, 132.
"Those six short tunes, in tuning the first notes, will bear a cheerful high pitch; in regard to their whole compass from the lowest note, the highest is not above five or six notes.
St. David's Tune.
Martyrs Tune.
To Psalms of Praise and Thanksgiving.
"These two tunes are eight notes compass above the first note, and therefore begin the first note low.
"Of five long tunes following:
"Hackney Tune--119 Psalm Tune, second metre. These two tunes begin your first note low, for the compass is nine notes, and eight above the first note of the tune.
"100 Psalm Tune. This one tune begin your note indifferent high, in regard you are to fall your note lower than your first pitch note.
"113 Psalm Tune, and 148 Psalm Tune.--These two tunes begin your first note low, in regard the Tune ascends eight notes above it."

The turmoil in the churches was settled for a time by Rev. John Cotton, who issued a tract entitled "Singing of Psalms a Gospel ordinance, or a [315] Treatise wherein are handled these four Particulars: I. Touching the duty itself. II. Touching the matter to be sung. III. Touching the singers. IV. Touching the manner of singing." In this tract the author says:--

"For the first Question we lay downe this conclusion for a Doctrine of Truth: That singing of Psalms with a lively voyce, is an holy duty of God's worship now in the day of the New Testament. When we say, singing with lively voyce, we suppose none will so farre misconstrue us as to thinke we exclude singing with the heart; for God is a Spirit, and to worship him with the voyce without the spirit, were but lip-labour; which (being rested in) is but lost labour, or at most profitted but little. Concerning the second Question we hold and believe that not only the Psalms of David, but any other spirituall song recorded in the Scripture, may lawfully be sung in Christian Churches. 2d. We grant also that any private Christian who hath a gifte to frame a spirituall song, may both frame it and sing it privately for his own private comfort, and remembrance of some special benefit or deliverance. Nor do we forbid the private use of any instrument of Music therewithall, so that attention to the instrument does not divert the heart from attention of the matter of song.

"Whether women may sing as well as men: For in this point there be some that deale with us as Pharaoh delt with the Israelites, who, though he was at first utterly unwilling that any should go to sacrifice to the Lord in the Wilderness, yet being at length convinced that they must goe, then he was content that the men should goe, but not the women. So here, [316] some that were altogether against singing of Psalms at all with lively voyce, yet being convinced that it is a morall worship of God warranted in Scripture, then if there must be a Singing, one alone must sing, not all (or if all) the men only, and not the women. And their reason is: Because it is not permitted to a women to speake in the Church, how then shall they sing? Much less is it permitted to them to prophecy in the Church. And singing the Psalms is a kind of Prophecying."

Peace, however, was of short duration. Fresh quarrels arose. The early colonists were good fighters. They quarrelled over the question whether one should sing or the whole congregation; whether women as well as men should sing; whether pagans should be allowed to lift up their voices; and whether the scanty stock of tunes should be enlarged. Learning a tune by note, without having previously heard it, was almost a mortal offence, and at last something like a compromise was effected in some of the churches, where alternate singing by rote and rule satisfied both parties. The ministers added to the general confusion with a flood of circulars on the subject. Several of them issued a tract entitled "Cases of Conscience about singing Psalms," in which they ask:--

"Whether you do believe that singing Psalms, Hymns, and Spirituall Songs is an external part of Divine Worship, to be observed in and by the assembly of God's people on the Lord's Days, as well as on other occasional meetings of the Saints for the worshipping of God. [317]

"Whether you do believe that singing in the worship of God ought to be done skilfully?

"Whether you do believe that skilfulness in singing may ordinarily be gained in the use of outward means by the blessing of God.

"Is it possible for Fathers of forty years old and upward to learn to sing by rule; and ought they to attempt at this age to learn?

"Do you believe that it is Lawful and Laudable for us to change the customary way of singing the psalms?

"Whether they who purposely sing a tune different from that which is appointed by the pastor or elder to be sung are not guilty of acting disorderly, and of taking God's name in vain also, by disturbing the order of the sanctuary."

Rev. Thomas Symmes, of Bradford, Mass., also issued a tract in which he contended for rule-singing. On this point he says:--

"The total neglect of singing psalms by many serious Christians for want of skill in singing psalm-tunes. There are many who never employ their tongues in singing God's praises, because they have no skill. It is with great difficulty that this part of worship is performed, and with great indecency in some congregations for want of skill; it is to be feared singing must be wholly omitted in some places for want of skill if this art is not revived. I was present in a congregation where singing was for a whole Sabbath omitted for want of a man able to lead the assembly in singing.

"The declining from and getting beside the rule was gradual and insensible. Singing-schools and singing-books being laid aside, there was no way to learn, but only by hearing of tunes sung or by taking [318] the run of the tunes, as it is phrased. The rules of singing not being taught or learnt, every one sang as best pleased himself; and every leading-singer would take the liberty to raise any note of the tune, or lower it, as best pleased his ear, and add such notes and flourishes as were grateful to him; and this was done so gradually as that but few if any took notice of it. One Clerk or Chorister would alter the tunes a little in his day, the next a little in his, and so one after another, till in fifty or sixty years it caused a considerable alteration."

John Eliot, who was having famous success with the Indians, particularly in teaching them psalm-singing,--for Dr. Mather says "their singing was most ravishing,"--made a long contribution to the general discussion, which contains the following "Lamentation:"--

"That musick, which in itself is concord, harmony, melody, sweetness, charming even to irrational creatures, cheers the spirits of men, and tends to raise them in devotion, and in the praises of God, and was instituted by God as a means of divine worship, which is a terrour to evil spirits, the delight of the holy Angels, and will be everlasting imployment of those Seraphim and the glorified Saints, should be an occasion of strife, debate, discord, contention, quarelling, and all manner of disorder. That men, the only creatures in the lower creation that are accomplished with reason and apt organs to praise God with, should improve them so to dishonour him; and that instead of an angelick temper in man, which they are capable of, and is required of them, and especially in this matter, [319] there should be rather a cynick disposition and an improvement of such noble Organ to bark, snarl at, and bite one another; that instead of one heart and one voice in the praises of our Glorious Creator and most bountiful Benefactor, there should be only jangle, discord, and sluring and reviling one another, etc., this is, and shall be, for a lamentation."

The essay closes with the following exhortation:

"Whatever our thoughts are as to the mode or vocal part, whether the old or the new way (as it is called) be most pleasing to us, it would be our wisdom and a manifestation of our Christianity to deny ourselves and our own obstinate wills, which are apparently the chief cause of our contention in these things, and condescend (at least) so far one to the other as to keep time, i.e. to begin and end the lines all together, which if we did, there would not in most of the tunes commonly sung be so wide a difference as is by some imagined, many of the lines being near alike; if we all sincerely endeavour to exercise grace in Singing, and to perform the vocal part in the best manner we could, our service would be accepted of God. And I doubt not but regular singing would have a better relish with the most of our people and be comply'd with, and so our differences would end in a good and lasting union, and our jars and discords in a sweet and delightful concord and harmony. So let it be: Amen."

At last harmony was restored, and a serious effort was made to introduce better singing, in which the college at Cambridge took a leading part. In 1712, Rev. John Tufts, of Newbury, issued a book of [320] twenty-eight tunes, so arranged by appending letters to the notes, as F for Fa, S for Sol, etc., "that the learner may attain the skill of singing them with the greatest ease and speed imaginable." These tunes were reprinted in three parts from Playford's "Book of Psalms." In 1721, Rev. Thomas Walter, of Roxbury, Mass., issued a new book, also compiled from Playford, which was highly commended by the clergy. The English singing-books by Tansur and Williams were reprinted by Thomas Bailey, at Newburyport, Mass., and had a large circulation. In 1761, James Lyon, of Philadelphia, published a very ambitious work, called "Urania, or a choice collection of Psalm Tunes, Anthems, and Hymns," which was compiled from the English books. The edition, however, was a small one, and was issued in such an expensive manner that it ruined the unfortunate author. In 1764 appeared another collection, made by Josiah Flagg, who was a composer himself as well as band-master. Its title reads: "A Collection of the best Psalm Tunes in two, three, and four parts, from the most approved authors, fitted to all measures and approved by the best masters in Boston, New England; the greater part of them never before printed in America. Engraved by Paul Revere, printed and sold by him and Jos. Flagg." About the same time Daniel Bailey, of Newburyport, Mass., published "A new and complete Introduction to the Grounds and Rules of Music, in two Books;" and in 1769, "the American Harmony," reprinted from English collections.


Up to this period, or, more strictly, to the year 1770, no American composers had contributed to New England psalmody. Though numerous singing-books had appeared, they were compiled from the English collections and reprinted. The first composer of church music in America was William Billings, born at Boston, Oct. 7, 1747. He was the son of poor parents, and followed tanning for an occupation. Gould, in his "History of Church Music," says of him:--

"Billings was somewhat deformed in person, blind in one eye, one leg shorter than the other, one arm somewhat withered, with a mind as eccentric as his person was deformed. To say nothing of the deformity of his habits, suffice it, he had a propensity for taking snuff that may seem almost incredible, when in these days those who use it are not very much inclined to expose the article. He used to carry it in his coat-pocket, which was made of leather; and every few minutes, instead of taking it in the usual manner, with thumb and finger, would take out a handful and snuff it from between his thumb and clenched hand. We might infer from this circumstance that his voice could not have been very pleasant and delicate."

This uncouth and eccentric tanner was the father of American church music, and of American choirs, concerts, and singing-schools as well. He wrote his first tunes on the boards of the tannery as he tended the bark-mill. He was a zealous patriot; and as Governor Samuel Adams was not only a still more zealous patriot, but devotedly attached to music, the [322] two became warm friends and at one time sang together in a choir, evidently much to the distress of Adams, as his companion had a stentorian voice. His association with Adams led him to the composition of songs of a patriotic and religious character, one of which, set to the tune known as "Chester," played an important part in rousing the martial spirit of the colonists. It runs as follows:--

"Let tyrants shake their iron rod,

And slavery clank her galling chains;

We'll fear them not, we'll trust in God;

New England's God forever reigns.

"The foe comes on with haughty stride,

Our troops advance with martial noise;

Their veterans flee before our arms,

And generals yield to beardless boys."

That the tanner had a sly humor of his own is demonstrated by the following instructions appended to one of his anthems which was performed in a concert:--

"We've met for a concert of modern invention;

To tickle the ear is our present intention;

The audience seated, expect to be treated

With a piece of the best.

"And since we all agree

To set the key on E,

The author's darling key

He prefers to the rest,

The bass take the lead,

And firmly proceed;

Let the tenor succeed," etc.


In 1770 his first compositions appeared in a work of one hundred and eight pages entitled "The New England Psalm Singer; or American Chorister. Containing a number of Psalm Tunes, Anthems, and Canons. In four and five parts. (Never before published.) Composed by William Billings, a native of Boston, in New England. Matt. xii. 16, 'Out of the mouth of Babes and Sucklings hast thou perfected Praise;' James v. 13, 'Is any merry, let him sing Psalms.'

'O, praise the Lord with one consent,

And in this grand design

Let Britain and the Colonies

Unanimously join.'

Boston: New England. Printed by Edes and Gill."

In the preface to this work he quaintly says:--

"To all Musical Practitioners.

"Perhaps it may be expected by some, that I could say something concerning rules for composition; to these I answer that Nature is the best Dictator, for all the hard dry studied rules that ever were prescribed will not enable any person to form an Air any more than the four and twenty letters, and strict Grammatical rules will qualify a scholar for composing a piece of Poetry, or properly adjusting a Tragedy without a Genius. It must be Nature; Nature must lay the Foundation, Nature must give the Thought. But perhaps some may think I mean and intend to throw Art entirely out of Question. I answer by no Means, for the more Art is displayed, the more Art is decorated. And in some sorts of composition there is dry [324] Study requir'd, and Art very requisite. For instance, in a Fuge. But even there Art is subservient to Genius, for Fancy goes first, and strikes out the Work roughly, and Art comes after and polishes it over. But to return to my Text: I have read several Authors' Rules on Composition, and find the strictest of them make some Exceptions, as thus, they say that two 8vos or two 5ths may not be taken together rising or falling, unless one be Major and the other Minor; but rather than spoil the Air, they will allow that Breach to be made, and this Allowance gives great Latitude to young Composers, for they may always make that Plea, and say, if I am not allowed to transgress the Rules of composition I shall certainly spoil the Air, and cross the Strain that Fancy dictated. And indeed this is without dispute, a very just Plea, for I am sure I have often and sensibly felt the disagreeable and slavish Effect of such Restraint as is here pointed out, and so I believe every Composer of Poetry as well as Musick, for I presume there are strict Rules for Poetry, as for Musick. But as I have often heard of a Poetical License I don't see why with the same propriety there may not be a musical License, for Poetry and Musick are in close Connection, and nearly allied besides they are often assistants to each other, and like a true friend often hide each other's feelings. For I have known a Piece of Poetry that hath neither Rhime nor Reason in it, pass for tolerable good sense because it happened to be set to an excellent Piece of Musick, and to get Respect rather for its good Fortune in falling into such respectable company than for any Merit in itself: so likewise I have known and heard a very indifferent Tune often sung and much caress'd, only because it was set to a fine Piece of Poetry, without this recommendation, perhaps it would not be sung [325] twice over by one Person, and would be deemed to be dearly bought only at the expense of Breath requisite to perform it.

"For my own part, as I don't think myself confined to any Rules for Composition laid down by any that went before me, neither should I think (were I to pretend to lay down rules) that any who comes after me were any ways obligated to adhere to them any further than they should think proper; so in fact I think it is best for every composer to be his own learner. Therefore upon this consideration, for me to dictate, or pretend to prescribe Rules of this Nature for others, would not only be very unnecessary but also a very great piece of Vanity."

His second work was the "Singing Master's Assistant," an abridgment and revision of his first. His humor again crops out in the following extract from its preface:--

"Kind reader, no doubt you remember that about ten years ago I published a book entitled 'The New England Psalm-Singer;' and truly a most masterly performance I then thought it to be. How lavish was I of encomium on this my infant production! 'Welcome, thrice Welcome, thou legitimate Offspring of my brain, go forth my little book, go forth and immortalize the name of your Author: may your sale be rapid and may you speedily run through ten thousand Editions,' said I, 'Thou art my Reuben, my first born; the beginning of my Strength, the Excellency of my Dignity, and the Excellency of my power.' But to my great mortification I soon discovered it was Reuben in the sequel, and Reuben all over; I have discovered that [326] many pieces were never worth my printing or your inspection.

"It is the duty of Christians to praise God publicly by singing of psalms together in the congregation, and also privately in the family. In singing of psalms the voice is to be audible and gravely ordered; but the chief care must be to sing with understanding and with grace in the heart, making melody unto the Lord. That the whole congregation may join therein, every one that can read is to have a psalm-book, and all others not disabled by age or otherwise are to be exhorted to learn to read. But for the present, where many in the congregation cannot read, it is convenient that the minister or some fit person to be appinted by him and the other ruling officers, do read the psalms line by line, before the singing thereof."

Billings's other publications were "Music in Miniature," "Psalm Singers' Amusement," "Suffolk Harmony," and "Continental Harmony." Though the crudest of musical works, for he was entirely unacquainted with harmony and musical rules, they had an immense influence. He was the pioneer, and the path he cleared was soon crowded with his successors. The most prominent of these were Andrew Law, born at Cheshire, Conn., in 1748, who published many books and taught in most of the New England States; Jacob Kimball, born at Topsfield, Mass., in 1761, who published the "Rural Harmony;" Oliver Holden, of Charlestown, Mass., who published the "American Harmony," "Union Harmony," and "Worcester Collection," and wrote the favorite tune "Coronation;" Samuel Holyoke, [327] born at Boxford, Mass., in 1771, author of the "Harmonia Americana" and "Columbian Repository;" Daniel Reed, born at Rehoboth, Mass., in 1757, who published the "American Singing-Book" and "Columbian Harmony;" Jacob French, born at Stoughton, Mass., in 1754, who issued a work entitled "Harmony of Harmony;" Timothy Swan, born at Suffield, Conn., in 1757, who published "Federal Harmony" and "New England Harmony," and wrote the familiar tunes "Poland" and "China;" John Hubbard, who wrote many anthems and treatises on music; Dutton, of Hartford, Conn., who issued the "Hartford Collection," and wrote the tune of "Woodstock;" Oliver Shaw, born at Middleborough, Mass., in 1799, who was totally blind, but became a very successful teacher and composer. Gould says that his compositions were "truly original," and one of them, "There's Nothing True but Heaven," was repeated night after night by the Boston Handel and Haydn Society.

The era of psalm composers was followed by that of the singing-school teachers, who exerted a mighty influence upon sacred music and musical taste. At the same time numerous societies were organized, among them the Handel and Haydn Society of Boston, which was born April 20, 1815, and still exists,--a vigorous growth from the little gathering which gave its first concert on Christmas, Dec. 25, 1815, singing the first part of "The Creation" and selections from Handel's works, and was pronounced [328] by an enthusiastic critic of that time "the wonder of the nation." The great singing-teachers were Thomas Hastings of Washington, Conn., Lowell Mason of Mansfield, Mass., Nathaniel D. Gould of Chelmsford, Mass. Still later came George F. Root, Woodbury, Dyer, Bradbury, Ives, Johnson, and others, whose labors, both as composers and teachers, are familiar to all lovers of sacred music even at this day. The old-fashioned singing-school, however, has disappeared. The musical convention still survives in rural places. The great festivals, oratorio societies, the modern concert stage, even the opera, have all had their effect upon sacred music. The paid choir of professional musicians marks a long departure from the robust Puritan psalm-singers; its music is equally remote from the jingling tunes of Billings which "tickled the ears" of the colonists.



The following chronological list is intended to present to the reader a statement of the more important sacred music which has been written during the last two centuries, with its composers and dates, for the purposes of reference.

Miserere (1630).
Abel (1755);
Judith (1764).
St. John Passion (1720);
Magnificat in D (1723);
St. Matthew Passion (1729);
Christmas Oratorio (1734).
Rebekah (1870).
Mount of Olives (1799-1801);
Mass in C (1807);
Mass in D (1822).
St. Cecilia (1866);
St. Peter (1870).
Woman of Samaria (1867).
Grande Messe des Morts (1837);
L'Enfance du Christ (1854).
German Requiem (1868).
Eli (1855);
Naaman (1864).
Gideon (1871).
Palestine (1812);
Captivity of Judah (1834).
Moses on Sinai (1846).
Stabat Mater (1875).
Ruth (1867).
Messe Solenelle (1850);
Tobie (1870);
Redemption (1883);
Mors et Vita (1885).
The Death of Jesus (1755);
Prague Te Deum (1756).
First Passion Oratorio (1704);
La Resurrezione (1708);
Il trionfo del Tempo (1708);
Utrecht Te Deum (1713);
Second Passion Oratorio (1716);
Esther (1720);
Deborah (1733);
Athalia (1733);
Saul (1738);
Israel in Egypt (1738);
Messiah (1741);
Samson (1742);
Joseph (1743);
Dettingen Te Deum (1743);
Belshazzar (1744);
Occasional Oratorio (1745);
Judas Maccabæus (1746);
Alexander Balus (1747);
Joshua (1747);
Solomon (1748);
Susanna (1748);
Theodora (1749);
Jephtha (1751).
Stabat Mater (1771);
Return of Tobias (1774);
Mariazeller Mass (1782);
Imperial Mass (1797);
The Creation (1796-98);
Te Deum (1800);
The Seasons (1800);
The Seven Words (1801).
The Destruction of Jerusalem (1839).
Gideon (1860).
Requiem (1862);
Christus (1866).
Job (1820);
Jephthah (1828);
David (1830).
Penitential Psalms (1565);
Vigiliæ Mortuorum (1565).
Immanuel (1853);
Judith (1858).
Graner Mass (1854);
Hungarian Coronation Mass (1856);
Legend of Saint Elizabeth (1864);
Christus (1866).
John the Baptist (1873);
The Resurrection (1876);
Joseph (1877).
Rose of Sharon (1884).
Moses (1850).
Mary Magdalen (1873);
Eve (1875);
The Virgin (1879).
Psalm cxv (1830);
Psalm xcv (1835);
St. Paul (1836);
Hymn of Praise (1840);
Elijah (1838-46);
Christus (1844-47);
Lauda Sion (1846).
God and Nature (1811).
Coronation Mass (1779);
Mass in C (1780);
Mass in G (1785);
Mass in B (1791);
Ave Verum (1791);
Requiem (1791).
Mount Sinai (1830);
David (1834).
St. Polycarp (1854);
Hagar (1873).
St. Peter (1873).
Papæ Marcelli Mass (1563);
Stabat Mater (1589);
Requiem (1591).
Stabat Mater (1736).
Jerusalem (1852).
Psalm cl (1872).
Jephta (1856).
Moses in Egypt (1818);
Stabat Mater (1832-41);
Messe Solenelle (1864).
Tower of Babel (1870);
Paradise Lost (1876).
Schneider (Fr.)
The Judgement of the World (1819);
Paradise Lost (1824);
Pharaoh (1828);
Christ the Child (1829);
Gideon (1829);
Gethsemane and Golgotha (1838).
Lazarus (1820).
Paradise and the Peri (1843);
Advent Hymn (1848);
Mass and Requiem (1852).
Passions' Music (1665).
The Last Judgment (1812);
The Last Things (1826);
Calvary (1833);
Fall of Babylon (1840).
The Three Holy Children (1885).
The Prodigal Son (1869);
Light of the World (1873);
Martyr of Antioch (1880).
Manzoni Requiem (1874);
Pater Noster and Ave Maria (1880).
Magnificat and Stabat Mater (1777).
Das Liebesmahl der Apostel (1843).
Pilgrimage to Calvary (1792);
Stabat Mater (1805).


Ainsworth, Henry, 313.
Albrechtsberger, 239.
Allison, Richard, 312.
Appendix, 329.
Astorga, 253.
Athalia, 21.
Bach, 19-21, 24, 26, 30, 61, 65, 269, 275;
life of, 31.
Bailey, Daniel, 320.
Bailey, Thomas, 320.
Bay Psalm Book, 313, 314.
Beethoven, 23, 91, 161, 174, 218, 219, 235, 236, 282, 307;
life of, 51.
Belshazzar, 22.
Benedict, 205.
Bennett, Sterndale, 26, 200, 274, 290;
life of, 60.
Berlioz, 27, 30, 259;
life of, 68.
Billings, William, 321-326.
Blow, Dr., 30.
Bononcini, 17, 115.
Bradbury, 328.
Brahms, 27, 92, 272;
life of, 78.
Caldara, 17.
Carissimi, 15.
Cherubini, 27, 68, 71, 178.
Chopin, 258, 272.
Christmas Oratorio (Bach), 20, 33.
Christmas Oratorio (Saint-Saëns), 269.
Christus (Liszt), 186.
Christus (Mendelssohn), 25, 229.
Cimarosa, 23.
Colonna, 17, 27.
Costa, 82.
Cotton, John, 314.
Creation, 136, 162.
Croft, Dr., 30.
Damon, William, 311.
Das jüngste Gericht, 23, 283, 286.
Deborah, 21.
Der Tod Jesu, 20.
Des Heilands letzte Stunden, 24.
Dettingen Te Deum, 155.
Die Auferstehung Christi, 19.
Die Sieben Wörte Christi, 19.
Dutton, 327.
Dvorák, 253;
life of, 90.
Dyer, 328.
Eli, 84.
Elijah, 25, 218.
Eliot, John, 313, 318.
Emilio del Cavaliere, 14, 15.
Engedi, 58.
Esther, 21.
Fall of Babylon, 24.
Federici, 17.
Flagg, Josiah, 320.
French, Jacob, 327.
Fux, 22.
Gabrielli, 18.
German Requiem, 27, 80.
Gluck, 160.
Gould, Nathaniel D., 328.
Gounod, 15, 20, 26;
life of, 96.
Graun, 20, 30.
Grétry, 174.
Habeneck, 75, 76, 77.
Handel, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 24, 26, 30;
life of, 114.
Handel and Haydn Society, 327.
Hasse, 22.
Hastings, Thomas, 328.
Haydn, 19, 22, 23, 26, 28, 80, 136, 253, 307;
life of, 159.
Heine, 256, 257.
Hiller, 26, 70, 222, 256, 273.
Himmel, 23.
Holden, Oliver, 326.
Holyoke, Samuel, 326.
Hubbard, John, 327.
Hymn of Praise, 25, 213.
Israel in Egypt, 21, 23, 117.
Italian oratorio composers, 15
Ives, 328.
Joachim, 78, 92.
Johnson, 328.
Joseph, 22.
Joshua, 22, 154.
Judas Maccabæus, 22, 149.
Keiser, Reinhard, 19, 20.
Kimball, Jacob, 326.
La Rappresentazione dell' Anima e del Corpo, 14.
Last Judgment, 23, 283.
Latimer, 310.
Law, Andrew, 326.
Legend of the Holy Elizabeth, 180.
Light of the World, 294.
Liszt, 78, 256, 258;
life of, 177.
Lyon, James, 320.
Macfarren, George A., 30;
life of, 199.
Mackenzie, 191.
Magnificat (Bach), 48.
Magnificats, 26, 30.
Martin Luther, 309.
Mason, Lowell, 328.
Massenet, 26.
Mattheson, 20.
Mazzocchi, 17.
Mendelssohn, 24, 25, 26, 30, 60, 256, 257;
life of, 206.
Messe des Morts, 27, 71.
Messiah, 21, 23, 25, 39, 140.
Meyerbeer, 83.
Mors et Vita, 26, 106.
Moscheles, 257, 271.
Mount of Olives, 23, 53.
Mozart, 30, 60, 282, 307;
life of, 234.
Mysteries and miracle-plays, 10, 11, 12.
Neukomm, 253.
Oratorio, its origin, 9;
in England, 21;
in Germany, 22;
oratorios of the present century, 23-26.
Paine, 26, 245.
Palestrina, 27, 28, 96, 253, 307.
Paradise and the Peri, 25, 273.
Paradise Lost, 26, 264.
Passion Music, 18, 19, 20.
Pistocchi, 17.
Playford's Psalms, 320.
Porpora, 22, 115, 160.
Prodigal Son, 292.
Protestant Psalmody, 309.
Psalmody in England, 310.
Puritan reforms, 310.
Ravenscroft Collection, 312.
Redemption, 26, 98.
Reed, Daniel, 327.
Reményí, 78.
Requiem (Manzoni), 27, 303.
Requiem (Mozart), 236.
Requiems, 26, 27.
Rheinthaler, 26.
Richter, Jean Paul, 273.
Root, George F., 328.
Rose of Sharon, 192.
Rossini, 222, 303, 307;
life of, 251.
Rubinstein, 26;
life of, 258.
Sacred dramas, 13, 14.
Sacred Music in America, 309.
Saint-Saëns, 26, 267.
Salieri, 23, 168, 177.
Samson, 22, 131.
Sarti, 30.
Saul, 21, 125.
Scarlatti, 16.
Schneider, 24.
Schubert, 23, 91, 273.
Schumann, 25, 60, 78, 79, 81;
life of, 271.
Schütz, 18.
Seasons, 22, 170.
Sebastiani, 19.
Shaw, Oliver, 327.
Spohr, 23, 26, 52, 91;
life of, 280.
St. John Passion, 20.
St. John the Baptist, 201.
St. Matthew Passion, 20, 24, 39.
St. Paul, 25, 208.
St. Peter, 26, 246.
Stabat Mater (Dvorák), 28, 92.
Stabat Mater (Rossini), 28, 253.
Stabat Maters, 27.
Stephani, 18.
Sternhold and Hopkins, 311, 313.
Stradella, 16, 17.
Sullivan, 30, 290.
Swan, Timothy, 327.
Symmes, Thomas, 317.
Tansur and Williams, 320.
Te Deums, 28, 29.
Telemann, 20.
Thalberg, 258.
The Bleeding and Dying Jesus, 19.
Theile, 19.
Theodora, 22.
Thomas, Theodore, 80, 99, 192, 246, 269, 291.
Tower of Babel, 26, 260.
Tufts, John, 319.
Verdi, 256;
life of, 301.
Victor Hugo, 69, 178.
Vittoria, 27.
Von Bülow, 179, 307.
Wagner, 65, 83, 179, 186, 268, 282.
Walter, Thomas, 320.
Weber, 281.
Weniawski, 259.
Winter, 23.
Woman of Samaria, 26, 62.
Woodbury, 328.
Zingarelli, 23.




The Standard Operas. Their Plots, their Music, and their Composers. A Handbook. 12mo, yellow edges, $1.50; extra gilt, gilt edges, $2.00.


The Standard Oratorios. Their Stories, their Music, and their Composers. A Handbook. 12mo, yellow edges, $1.50; extra gilt, gilt edges, $2.00.


The Standard Cantatas. Their Stories, their Music, and their Composers. A Handbook. 12mo, yellow edges, $1.50; extra gilt, gilt edges, $2.00.


The Standard Symphonies. Their History, their Music, and their Composers. A Handbook. 12mo, yellow edges, $1.50; extra gilt, gilt edges, $2.00.

[337] [338]

THE STANDARD OPERAS. Their Plots, their Music, and their Composers. By George P. Upton, author of "Woman in Music," etc., etc.

12mo, flexible cloth, yellow edges $1.50

The same, extra gilt, gilt edges $2.00

"Mr. Upton has performed a service that can hardly be too highly appreciated, in collecting the plots, music, and the composers of the standard operas, to the number of sixty-four, and bringing them together in one perfectly arranged volume.... His work is one simply invaluable to the general reading public. Technicalities are avoided, the aim being to give to musically uneducated lovers of the opera a clear understanding of the works they hear. It is description, not criticism, and calculated to greatly increase the intelligent enjoyment of music."--Boston Traveller.

"Among the multitude of handbooks which are published every year, and are described by easy-going writers of book-notices as supplying a long-felt want, we know of none which so completely carries out the intention of the writer as 'The Standard Operas,' by Mr. George P. Upton, whose object is to present to his readers a comprehensive sketch of each of the operas contained in the modern repertory.... There are thousands of music-loving people who will be glad to have the kind of knowledge which Mr. Upton has collected for their benefit, and has cast in a clear and compact form."--R. H. Stoddard, in "Evening Mail and Express" (New York).

"The summaries of the plots are so clear, logical, and well written, that one can read them with real pleasure, which cannot be said of the ordinary operatic synopses. But the most important circumstance is that Mr. Upton's book is fully abreast of the times."--The Nation (New York).

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THE STANDARD CANTATAS. Their Stories, their Music, and their Composers. A Handbook. By George P. Upton. 12mo, 367 pages, yellow edges, price, $1.50; extra gilt, gilt edges, $2.00.

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The "Standard Cantatas" forms the third volume in the uniform series which already includes the now well known "Standard Operas" and the "Standard Oratorios." This latest work deals with a class of musical compositions, midway between the opera and the oratorio, which is growing rapidly in favor both with composers and audiences.

As in the two former works, the subject is treated, so far as possible, in an untechnical manner, so that it may satisfy the needs of musically uneducated music lovers, and add to their enjoyment by a plain statement of the story of the cantata and a popular analysis of its music, with brief pertinent selections from its poetical text.

The book includes a comprehensive essay on the origin of the cantata, and its development from rude beginnings; biographical sketches of the composers; carefully prepared descriptions of the plots and the music; and an appendix containing the names and dates of composition of all the best known cantatas from the earliest times.

This series of works on popular music has steadily grown in favor since the appearance of the first volume on the Operas. When the series is completed, as it will be next year by a volume on the Standard Symphonies, it will be, as the New York 'Nation' has said, indispensable to every musical library.

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LIFE OF LISZT. With Portrait.

LIFE OF HAYDN. With Portrait.

LIFE OF MOZART. With Portrait.

LIFE OF WAGNER. With Portrait.


From the German of Dr. Louis Nohl.

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By Z. Topelius, Professor of History, University of Finland. Translated from the original Swedish, comprising--

Times of Gustaf Adolf,

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