The Project Gutenberg EBook of Life Of Mozart, Vol. 3 (of 3), by Otto Jahn

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Title: Life Of Mozart, Vol. 3 (of 3)

Author: Otto Jahn

Commentator: George Grove

Translator: Pauline D. Townsend

Release Date: August 7, 2013 [EBook #43413]

Language: English

Character set encoding: ISO-8859-1


Produced by David Widger


By Otto Jahn


Translated From the German by Pauline D. Townsend.

With A Preface By George Grove, Esq., D.C.L.

In Three Volumes Vol. III.

London Novello, Ewer & Co.

   Volume I.       Volume II.   



Fac-similé No. 1 is of Mozart's letter to Bullinger from Paris, after the death of his mother (see Vol. II., p. 53).


Fac-simile No. 2 is of the original MS. of "Das Veil-chen," now in the possession of Mr. Speyer, of Herne Hill (see Vol. II., p. 373).

Fac-similes Nos. 3 and 4 are sketches illustrative of Mozart's method of composing. Sketch I. is described in Vol. II., p. 425. Sketch II. is of part of Denis's Ode, the words of which are given below; it is noticed in Vol. II., pp. 370, 424:

    O Calpe! dir donnerts am Fusse,
    Doch blickt dein tausendjähriger
    Gipfel Ruhig auf Welten umher.
    Siehe dort wölkt es sich auf
    Ueber die westlichen Wogen her,
    Wölket sich breiter und ahnender auf,—
    Es flattert, O Calpe! Segelgewolk!
    Flügel der Hülfe! Wie prachtig
    Wallet die Fahne Brittaniens
    Deiner getreuen Verheisserin!
    Calpe! Sie walltl Aber die Nacht sinkt,
    Sie deckt mit ihren schwàrzesten,
    Unholdesten Rabenfittigen Gebirge,
    Flàchen, Meer und Bucht Und Klippen, wo der bleiche
    Tod Des Schiffers, Kiele spaltend, sitzt.























NEXT to pianoforte music for amateur musical entertainments, the quartet for stringed instruments was the favourite form of chamber music. The performers were occasionally highly cultivated amateurs, but more often professional musicians, thus giving scope for more pretentious compositions. The comparatively small expense involved enabled others besides noblemen, even those of the citizen class who were so inclined, to include quartet-playing among their regular entertainments. 1 Jos. Haydn was, as is well known, the musician who gave to the quartet its characteristic form and development. 2 Other composers had written works for four stringed instruments, but the string quartet in its well-defined and henceforth stationary constitution was his creation, the result of his life-work. It is seldom that an artist has been so successful in discovering the fittest outcome for his individual productiveness; the quartet was Haydn's natural expression of his musical nature. The freshness and life, the cheerful joviality, which are the main characteristics of his compositions, gained ready and universal acceptance for them. Connoisseurs and critics, it is true, were at first suspicious, and even contemptuous, of this new kind of music; and it was only gradually that they became aware that depth and earnestness of feeling, as well as knowledge and skill, existed together with humour in Haydn's quartets. He went on his way, however, untroubled MOZART'S INSTRUMENTAL MUSIC. [2] by the critics, and secured the favour and adherence of the public by an unbroken series of works: whoever ventured on the same field was obliged to serve under his banner.

The widespread popularity of quartet music in Vienna could not fail to impel Mozart to try his forces in this direction. His master was also his attached friend and fellow-artist, with whom he stood in the position, not of a scholar, but of an independent artist in noble emulation. The first six quartets belong to the comparatively less numerous works which Mozart wrote for his own pleasure, without any special external impulse. They are, as he says in the dedication to Haydn, the fruit of long and earnest application, and extended over a space of several years. The first, in G major (387 K.), was, according to a note on the autograph manuscript, written on December 31, 1782; the second, in D minor (421 K.), in June, 1783, during Constanze's confinement (Vol. II., p. 423); and the third, in E flat major (428 K.), belongs to the same year. After a somewhat lengthy pause he returned with new zeal to the composition of the quartets; the fourth, in B flat major (458 K.), was written November 9, 1784; the fifth, in A major (464 K.), on January 10; and the last, in C major (465 K.), on January 14, 1785. It was in February of this year that Leopold Mozart paid his visit to Vienna. He knew the first three quartets, Wolfgang having sent them to him according to custom; and he heard the others at a musical party where Haydn was also present; the warmly expressed approbation of the latter may have been the immediate cause of Mozart's graceful dedication, when he published the quartets during the autumn of 1785 (Op. ü). 3

The popular judgment is usually founded on comparison, and a comparison with Haydn's quartets was even more obvious than usual on this occasion. The Emperor Joseph, who objected to Haydn's "tricks and nonsense" (Vol. II., MOZART AND KLOPSTOCK. [3] p. 204), requested Dittersdorf in 1786 to draw a parallel between Haydn's and Mozart's chamber music. Dittersdorf answered by requesting the Emperor in his turn to draw a parallel between Klopstock and Gellert; whereupon Joseph replied that both were great poets, but that Klopstock must be read repeatedly in order to understand his beauties, whereas Gellert's beauties lay plainly exposed to the first glance. Dittersdorf's analogy of Mozart with Klopstock, Haydn with Gellert (!), was readily accepted by the Emperor, who further compared Mozart's compositions to a snuffbox of Parisian manufacture, Haydn's to one manufactured in London. 4 The Emperor looked at nothing deeper than the respective degrees of taste displayed by the two musicians, and could find no better comparison for works of art than articles of passing fancy; whereas the composer had regard to the inner essence of the works, and placed them on the same footing as those of the (in his opinion) greatest poets of Germany. However odd may appear to us—admiring as we do, above all things in Mozart, his clearness and purity of form—Dittersdorf s comparison of him with Klopstock, it is nevertheless instructive, as showing that his contemporaries prized his grandeur and dignity, and the force and boldness of his expression, as his highest and most distinguishing qualities. L. Mozart used also to say, that his son was in music what Klopstock was in poetry; 5 no doubt because Klopstock was to him the type of all that was deep and grand. But the public did not regard the new phenomenon in the same light; the quality they esteemed most highly in Haydn's quartets was their animated cheerfulness; and his successors, Dittersdorf, Pichl, Pleyel, had accustomed them even to lighter enjoyments. "It is a pity," says a favourable critic, in a letter from Vienna (January, 1787), "that in his truly artistic and beautiful compositions Mozart should carry his effort after originality too far, to the detriment of the sentiment and heart of his works. His new quartets, dedicated to Haydn, are much too highly spiced to be palatable for any length


of time." 6 Prince Grassalcovicz, a musical connoisseur of rank in Vienna, 7 had the quartets performed, as Mozart's widow relates, 8 and was so enraged at finding that the discords played by the musicians were really in the parts, that he tore them all to pieces—but Gyrowetz's symphonies pleased him very much. From Italy also the parts were sent back to the publisher, as being full of printer's errors, and even Sarti undertook to prove, in a violent criticism, that some of the music in these quartets was insupportable from its wilful offences against rule and euphony. The chief stumbling-block is the well-known introduction of the C major quartet—[See Page Image]

the harshness of which irritates the expectant ear. Its grammatical justification has been repeatedly given in learned analyses. 9 Haydn is said to have declared, during a dispute over this passage, that if Mozart wrote it so, he must have had his reasons for doing it 10 —a somewhat QUARTETS, 1785. [5] ambiguous remark. Ulibicheff 11 undertook to correct the passage with the aid of Fétis, 12 and then considered it both fine and pleasing; and Lenz 13 declared that Mozart in "this delightful expression of the doctrine of necessary evil, founded on the insufficiency of all finite things" had produced a piquant, but not an incorrect passage. It is certain, at least, that Mozart intended to write the passage as it stands, and his meaning in so doing, let the grammatical construction be what it will, will not be obscure to sympathetic hearers. The C major quartet, the last of this first set, is the only one with an introduction. The frame of mind expressed in it is a noble, manly cheerfulness, rising in the andante to an almost supernatural serenity—the kind of cheerfulness which, in life or in art, appears only as the result of previous pain and strife. The sharp accents of the first and second movements, the struggling agony of the trio to the minuet, the wonderful depth of beauty in the subject of the finale, startling us by its entry, first in E flat and then in A flat major, are perhaps the most striking illustrations of this, but the introduction stands forth as the element which gives birth to all the happy serenity of the work. The contrast between the troubled, depressed phrase—[See Page Images]

has a direct effect upon the hearer; both phrases have one solution:—

and the shrill agitated one—[See Page Images]


The manner in which they are opposed to each other, and the devices by which their opposition is thrown into strong relief, are of unusual, but by no means unjustifiable, harshness. But the goal is not reached by one bound; no sooner does serenity seem to be attained than the recurrence of the b draws the clouds together again, and peace and the power of breathing and moving freely are only won by slow and painful degrees. 14

Any difference of opinion as to this work at the present day can only exist with regard to minor details, and it will scarcely now be asserted by any one that "a piece may be recognised as Mozart's by its rapid succession of daring transitions." 15 We are accustomed to take our standard from Beethoven, and it seems to us almost incredible that a contemporary of Mozart's, the Stuttgart Hofmusicus, Schaul (who acknowledged, it is true, that he belonged to a time when nothing was heard but Italian operas and musicians), should exclaim: 16

What a gulf between a Mozart and a Boccherini! The former leads us over rugged rocks on to a waste, sparsely strewn with flowers; the latter through smiling country, flowery meadows, and by the side of rippling streams.

Apart from all differences of opinion or analogies with other works, it may safely be asserted that these quartets are the clear and perfect expression of Mozart's nature; nothing less is to be expected from a work upon which he put forth all his powers in order to accomplish something that would redound to his master Haydn's honour as well as his own. The form had already, in all its essential points, been determined by Haydn; it is the sonata form, already described, with the addition of the minuet—in this application a creation of Haydn's. Mozart appropriated these main MOZART'S AND HAYDN'S QUARTETS. [7] features, without feeling it incumbent on him even to alter them. Following a deeply rooted impulse of his nature, he renounced the light and fanciful style in which Haydn had treated them, seized upon their legitimate points, and gave a firmer and more delicate construction to the whole fabric. To say of Mozart's quartets in their general features that, in comparison with Haydn's, they are of deeper and fuller expression, more refined beauty, and broader conception of form, 17 is only to distinguish these as Mozart's individual characteristics, in contrast with Haydn's inexhaustible fund of original and humorous productive power. Any summary comparison of the two masters must result in undue depreciation of one or the other, for nothing but a detailed examination would do full justice to them both and explain their admiration of each other. Two circumstances must not be left out of account. Mozart's quartets are few in number compared with the long list of Haydn's. Every point that is of interest in Mozart may be paralleled in Haydn; hence it follows that certain peculiarities found in Haydn's music are predominating elements in Mozart's. Again, Haydn was a much older man, and is therefore usually regarded as Mozart's predecessor; but the compositions on which his fame chiefly rests belong for the most part to the period of Mozart's activity in Vienna, and were not without important influence on the latter. This mutual reaction, so generously acknowledged by both musicians, must be taken into account in forming a judgment upon them.

The string quartet offers the most favourable conditions for the development of instrumental music, both as to expression and technical construction, giving free play to the composer in every direction, provided only that he keep within the limits imposed by the nature of his art. Each of the four combined instruments is capable of the greatest variety of melodic construction; they have the advantage over the piano in their power of sustaining the vibrations of the notes, so as to produce song-like effects; nor are they inferior MOZART'S INSTRUMENTAL MUSIC. [8] in their power of rapid movement. Their union enables them to fulfil the demands of complete harmonies, and to compensate by increase of freedom and fulness for the advantages which the pianoforte possesses as a solo instrument. The quartet is therefore particularly well adapted both for the polyphonic and the homophonie style of composition. The varieties of tone of the instruments among each other, and of each in different keys, further increases their capacity for expression, the nuances of tone-colouring appearing to belong to the nature of stringed instruments. Thus the material sound elements of the string quartet are singularly uniform, at the same time that they allow free scope to the individual movement of the component parts. The beginning of the andante of the E flat major quartet (428 K.) will suffice to show how entirely different an effect is given by a mere difference in the position of the parts. The value which Mozart set upon the uniformity of the naturally beautiful sound effects of stringed instruments may be inferred from the fact that he seldom attempted interference with it as a device for pleasing the ear. Pizzicato passages occur only three times—in the trio of the D minor quartet (421 K.), of the C major quintet (515 K.), and of the clarinet quintet (581 K.)—and each time as the gentlest form of accompaniment to a tender melody. He was not prone either to emphasise bass passages by pizzicato, and has done so only in the second adagio of the G minor quintet (516 K.) and in the first movement of the horn quintet (407 K.). Nor is the muting, formerly so frequent, made use of except in the first adagio of the G minor quartet and in the larghetto of the clarinet quintet. It need scarcely be said that an equal amount of technical execution and musical proficiency was presupposed in each of the performers. This is especially noticeable in the treatment of the violoncello. It is not only put on a level with the other instruments as to execution, but its many-sided character receives due recognition, and it is raised from the limited sphere of a bass part into one of complete independence.

The favourite comparison of the quartet with a conversation between four intellectual persons holds good in some MOZART'S STRING QUARTETS. [9] degree, if it is kept in mind that the intellectual participation and sympathy of the interlocutors, although not necessarily languishing in conversation, are only audibly expressed by turns, whereas the musical embodiment of ideas must be continuous and simultaneous. The comparison is intended to illustrate the essential point that every component part of the quartet stands out independently, according to its character, but so diffidently that all co-operate to produce a whole which is never at any moment out of view; an effect so massive as to absorb altogether the individual parts would be as much out of place as the undue emphasising of any one part and the subordination of the others to it. The object to be kept continually in view is the blending of the homophonie or melodious, and the polyphonic or formal elements of composition to form a new and living creation. Neither is neglected; but neither is allowed to assert itself too prominently. Even when a melody is delivered by one instrument alone, the others do not readily confine themselves to a merely harmonic accompaniment, but preserve their independence of movement. Infallible signs of a master-hand are visible in the free and ingenious adaptation of the bass and the middle parts to the melodies; and, as a rule, the characteristic disposition of the parts gives occasion for a host of interesting harmonic details. The severer forms of counterpoint only appear in exceptional cases, such as the last movement of the first quartet, in G major (387 K.). The intention is not to work out a subject in a given form, but to play freely with it, presenting it from various interesting points of view by means of combinations, analysis, construction, and connection with fresh contrasting elements. But since this free play can only be accepted as artistic by virtue of the internal coherency of its component parts, it follows that the same laws which govern strict forms must lie at the root of the freer construction. In the same way a conversation—even though severe logical disputation may be studiously avoided—adheres to the laws of logic while letting fall here a main proposition, there a subordinate idea, and connecting apparent incongruities by means of association of ideas. A similar freedom in the grouping and MOZART'S INSTRUMENTAL MUSIC. [10] development of the different subjects exists in the quartet, limited only by the unity of artistic conception, and by the main principles of rhythmic and harmonic structure, and of the forms of counterpoint. This is most observable when an apparently unimportant phrase is taken up, and by its interesting development formed into an essential element of the whole, as in the first movement of the third quartet, in B flat major (458 K.), where a figure—[See Page Image]

at the close of a lengthy subject is first repeated by the instruments separately, with a mocking sort of air, and afterwards retained and treated as the germ of numerous freely developed images.

In publishing these six quartets together Mozart certainly did not intend them to be regarded in all their parts as one whole; his object was to bring to view the many-sidedness of expression and technical treatment of which this species of music was capable. The first quartet, in G major (387 K.), and the fourth, in E flat major (428 K.), have a certain relationship in their earnest and sustained tone; but how different is the expression of energetic decision in the first from that of contemplative reserve in the fourth; a difference most noticeable in the andantes of the two quartets. Again, in the third and fifth quartets, in B flat (458 K.) and A major (464 K.), the likeness in their general character is individualised by the difference in treatment throughout. The second quartet, in D minor (421 K.), and the sixth, in C major (465 K.), stand alone; the former by its affecting expression of melancholy, the latter by its revelation of that higher peace to which a noble mind attains through strife and suffering.

An equal wealth of characterisation and technical elaboration meets us in a comparison of the separate movements. The ground-plan of the first movement is the usual one, and the centre of gravity is always the working-out at the beginning of the second part, which is therefore distinguished by its length as a principal portion of the movement. The working-out of each quartet is peculiar to itself. In the two SIX QUARTETS, 1785. [11] first the principal subject is made the groundwork, and combined with the subordinate subject closing the first part, but quite differently worked-out. In the G major quartet the first subject is spun out into a florid figure, which is turned hither and thither, broken off by the entry of the second subject, again resumed, only to be again broken off in order, by an easy play on the closing bar—[See Page Images]

to lead back again to the theme. In the D minor quartet, on the other hand, only the first characteristic division—[See Page Images]

of the broad theme is worked out as a motif; the next division somewhat modified—[See Page Images]

is imitated and adorned by the final figure:—[See Page Images]

The first part of the third quartet, in B flat major, has not the usual sharply accented second subject; the second part makes up for this in a measure by at once introducing a new and perfectly formed melody, followed by an easy play with a connecting passage—

this is invaded by the analogous motif of the first part—[See Page Images]

which brings about the return to the first part. The peculiar structure of the movement occasions the repetition of the second part, whereupon a third part introduces the chief subject anew, and leads to the conclusion in an independent MOZART'S INSTRUMENTAL MUSIC. [12] way. In the E flat major quartet the interest depends upon the harmonic treatment of an expressive triplet passage connected with the principal subject. The first subject of the fifth quartet, in A major, is indicated from the very beginning as a suitable one for imitative treatment, and very freely developed in the working-out section. In the last quartet in C major also, the treatment of the principal subject is indicated at once, but the importance of the modest theme is only made apparent by the harmonic and contrapuntal art of its working-out, leading to the expressive climax of the coda and the conclusion.

The slow movements of the quartets are the mature fruit of deep feeling and masterly skill. With fine discrimination the consolatory andante of the melancholy D minor quartet is made easy, but so managed as to express the character of ardent longing, both in the ascending passage—[See Page Image]

and in the tendency to fall into the minor key. The andante of the fourth quartet, in E flat major, forms a complete contrast to this. Its incessant harmonic movement only allows of pregnant suggestions of melodies, and is expressive of a self-concentrated mood, rousing itself with difficulty from mental abstraction. But the crown of them all in delicacy of form and depth of expression is the andante of the last quartet, in C major; it belongs to those wonderful manifestations of genius which are only of the earth in so far as they take effect upon human minds; which soar aloft into a region of blessedness where suffering and passion are transfigured.

The minuets are characteristic of Mozart's tendencies as opposed to Haydn's. The inexhaustible humour, the delight in startling and whimsical fancy, which form the essence of Haydn's minuets, occur only here and there in Mozart's. SIX QUARTETS, 1785. [13] They are cast in a nobler mould, their distinguishing characteristics being grace and delicacy, and they are equally capable of expressing merry drollery and strong, even painful, emotion. Haydn's minuets are the product of a laughter-loving national life, Mozart's give the tone of good society. Especially well-defined in character are the minuets of the D minor and C major quartets—the former bold and defiant, the latter fresh and vigorous. Delicate detail in the disposition of the parts is common to almost all of them, keeping the interest tense and high, and there are some striking peculiarities of rhythmical construction. Among such we may notice the juxtaposition of groups of eight and ten bars, so that two bars are either played prematurely, as in the minuet of the first quartet, or inserted, as in the trio of the B flat major quartet. 18 The ten-bar group in the minuet of the D minor quartet is more complicated, because more intimately blended, and still more so is the rhythm of the minuet in the fourth quartet, where the detached unequal groups are curiously interlaced. 19 Very characteristic is also the sharp contrast between minuet and trio—as, for instance, the almost harshly passionate minor trios of the first and last quartets, and the still more striking major trio of the D minor quartet, light and glittering, like a smile in the midst of tears.

The finales have more meaning and emphasis than has hitherto been the case in Mozart's instrumental compositions. Three of them are in rondo form (those of the B flat, E flat, and C major quartet), quick, easy-flowing movements, rich in graceful motifs and interesting features in the working-out. The merriment in them is tempered by 1 a deeper vein of humour, and we are sometimes startled by a display of pathos, as in the finale of the C major quartet. The more cheerful passages are distinctly German in tone; and echoes of the "Zauberflote" may be heard in many of the melodies and turns of expression.


The last movement of the G major quartet is written in strict form, and highly interesting by reason of the elegance of its counterpoint; the finale of the A major quartet is freer and easier, but nevertheless polyphonic in treatment. 20 The D minor quartet concludes with variations, the original and long-drawn theme having the rhythmical and sharply accented harmonic form of the siciliana. It is in imitation of a national song, and is sometimes like a slow gigue, sometimes like a pastorale. The rhythm of the 6-8 time is somewhat peculiar, in that the first of three quavers is dotted throughout; the tone is soft and tender. There is a very similar siciliana in Gluck's ballet "Don Juan" (No. 2), showing how marked the typical character is. 21 The variations, which are as charming from their grace and delicacy of form as from their singular mixture of melancholy and mirth, bring this wonderful quartet to a close in a very original manner.

The middle movement of the A major quartet is also in variations—more earnest and careful on the whole—the precursor of the variations in Haydn's "Kaiser" and Beethoven's A major quartets. These quartet variations far surpass the pianoforte variations in character and workmanship; they consist not merely of a graceful play of passages, but of a characteristic development of new motifs springing from the theme.

The success of the quartets, on which Mozart put forth all his best powers, was scarcely sufficient to encourage him to make further attempts in the same direction; not until August, 1786, do we find him again occupied with a quartet (D major, 499 K.), in which may be traced an attempt to LATER QUARTETS, 1786-1790. [15] meet the taste of the public without sacrificing the dignity of the quartet style. It is not inferior to the others in any essential point. The technical work is careful and interesting, the design broad—in many respects freer than formerly—the tone cheerful and forcible throughout, with the sentimental element in the background, as compared with the first quartets. The last movement approaches nearest to Haydn's humorous turn of thought, following his manner also in the contrapuntal elaboration of a lightly suggested motif into a running stream of merry humour. Nevertheless, this quartet remained without any immediate successor; it would appear that it met with no very general approval on its first appearance. "A short serenade, consisting of an allegro, romance, minuet and trio, and finale" in G major, composed August 10, 1787 (525 K.), does not belong to quartet music proper. The direction for violoncello, contrabasso, points to a fuller setting, which is confirmed by the whole arrangement, especially in the treatment of the middle parts. It is an easy, precisely worked-out occasional piece.

During his stay in Berlin and Potsdam in the spring of 1789 Mozart was repeatedly summoned to the private concerts of Frederick William II. of Prussia, in which the monarch himself took part as a violoncellist. He was a clever and enthusiastic pupil of Graziani and Duport, and he commissioned Mozart to write quartets for him, as he had previously commissioned Haydn 22 and Boccherini, 23 rewarding them with princely liberality. In June of this year Mozart completed the first of three quartets, composed for and dedicated to the King of Prussia, in D major (575 K.); the second, in B flat major (589 K.), and the third, in F major (590 K.), were composed in May and June, 1790. From letters to Puchberg, we know MOZART'S INSTRUMENTAL MUSIC. [16] that this was a time of bitter care and poverty, which made it a painful effort to work at the quartets, but there is even less trace of effort in them than in the earlier ones. The instrument appropriated to his royal patron is brought to the front, and made into a solo instrument, giving out the melodies in its higher notes. This obliges the viola frequently to take the bass part, altering the whole tone-colouring of the piece, and the instruments are altogether set higher than usual, the more so as the first violin constantly alternates with the violoncello. By this means the tone of the whole becomes more brilliant and brighter, but atones for this in an occasional loss of vigour and force. In other respects also, out of deference no doubt to the King's taste, there is more stress laid upon elegance and clearness than upon depth and warmth of tone. Mozart was too much of an artist to allow any solo part in a quartet to predominate unduly over the others; the first violin and violoncello leave the other two instruments their independent power of expression, but the motifs and working-out portions are less important, and here and there they run into a fanciful play of passages. It is singular that in the quartets in D and F major the last movements are the most important. When once the composer has thrown himself into the elaboration of his trifling motifs he grows warm, and, setting to work in good earnest, the solo instrument is made to fall into rank and file; the artist appears, and has no more thought of his presentation at court. The middle movements are very fine as to form and effect, but are without any great depth of feeling. The charming allegro of the second quartet, in F major, is easy and graceful in tone, and interesting from the elegance of its elaboration. In short, these quartets completely maintain Mozart's reputation for inventive powers, sense of proportion, and mastery of form, but they lack that absolute devotion to the highest ideal of art characteristic of the earlier ones.

Mozart's partiality for quartet-writing may be inferred from the many sketches which remain (68-75, Anh., K.), some of them of considerable length, such as that fragment of a lively movement in A major (68, 72, Anh., K.) consisting of 169 bars.

TRIO IN E FLAT, 1788. [17]

Duets and trios for stringed instruments were naturally held in less esteem than string quartets. Mozart composed in Vienna (September 27, 1788), for some unspecified occasion, a trio for violin, viola, and violoncello, in £ flat major (563 K.), which consists of six movements, after the manner of a divertimento—allegro, adagio, minuet, andante with variations, minuet, rondo. The omission of the one instrument increases the difficulty of composing a piece full in sound and characteristic in movement, more than could have been imagined; the invention and skill of the composer are taxed to the utmost. It is evident that this only gave the work an additional charm to Mozart. Each of the six movements is broadly designed and carried out with equal care and devotion, making this trio unquestionably one of Mozart's finest works. No one performer is preferred before the other, but each, if he does his duty, may distinguish himself in his own province. With wonderful discrimination, too, every technical device is employed which can give an impulse to any happy original idea. How beautifully, for instance, is the simple violoncello passage which ushers in the adagio—[See Page Images]

transformed into the emphatic one for the violin—

coined in due time, with climacteric effect, by the viola and violoncello. The violin-jumps in the same adagio—

are effective only in their proper position; and all the resources at command are made subservient to the art which is to produce the living work.


The variations demand special attention. The theme is suggestive of a national melody, and its effect is heightened by the different treatment of each part when repeated, which also gives fulness and variety to the variations. Each of these is artistically worked out in detail and of distinctly individual character; the last is especially remarkable, in which the viola, to a very lively figure, carries out the theme in its simplest enunciation as a true Cantus firmus. The whole impression is one of freshness and beauty of conception, elevated and enlivened by the difficulties which offered themselves. Nothing more charming can be imagined than the first trio of the second minuet; its tender purity charms us like that of a flower gleaming through the grass.

Haydn seems to have made no use of the increased resources offered by the quintet, although other musicians—Boccherini, for instance—cultivated this branch. It would appear to have been for some particular occasions that Mozart composed four great string quintets, in which he followed the track laid out in the first quartets. Two were composed in the spring of 1787, after his return from Prague— 24

C major, composed April 19, 1787 (515 K.).

G major, composed May 16, 1787 (516 K.).—

the other two—

D major, composed December, 1790 (593 K.).

E flat major, composed April 12, 1791 (614 K.).—

at short intervals, "at the earnest solicitation of a musical friend," as the publisher's announcement declares. 25

Mozart doubles the viola 26 —not like Boccherini in his 155 quintets, the violoncello 27 —whereby little alteration in tone, colour, or structure is effected. The doubling of the violoncello gives it a predominance which its very charm of tone THE QUINTET. [19] renders all the more dangerous: whereas the strengthening of the less strongly accentuated middle parts by the addition of a viola gives freer scope for a lengthy composition. The additional instrument gives increase of freedom in the formation of melodies and their harmonic development, but it also lays on the composer the obligation of providing independent occupation for the enlarged parts. A chief consideration is the grouping of the parts in their numerous possible combinations. The first viola corresponds to the first violin as leader of melodies, while the second viola leaves the violoncello greater freedom of action; these parts share the melodies in twos or threes, either alternately or in imitative interweaving; the division of a motif as question and answer among different instruments is especially facilitated thereby. Again, two divisions may be placed in effective contrast, the violins being supported by a viola, or the violas by the violoncello. But the device first used by Haydn in his quartets, of giving two parts in octaves, is perhaps the most effective in the quintets, a threefold augmentation being even employed in the trio of the E flat major quintet (614 K.). Finally, it is easier to strengthen the violoncello by the viola here than it is in the quartet. It is not that all these resources are out of reach for the quartet, but that they find freer and fuller scope in the quintet. The effect of the quintet is not massive; it rests on the characteristic movement of the individual parts, and demands greater freedom in order that this movement of manifold and differing forces may be well ordered and instinct with living power. The increased forces require greater space for their activity, if only on account of the increased mass of sound. If the middle parts are to move freely without pressing on each other, the outer parts must be farther apart, and this has a decided influence on the melodies and the sound effects, the general impression becoming more forcible and brilliant. The dimensions must also be increased in other directions. A theme, to be divided among five parts, and a working-out which is to give each of them fair play, must be planned from the first. The original motif of the first Allegro of the C major quintet (515 K.)—[See Page Image] MOZART'S INSTRUMENTAL MUSIC. [20] involves of necessity the continuation of the idea enunciated; and only after a third repetition with modifications is it allowed to proceed to a conclusion. It has thus become too far developed to allow of a repetition of the whole theme; it starts again in C minor, is further developed by harmonic inflections; and after a short by-play on a tributary, it is again taken up and leads on to the second theme; we have thus a complete organic development of the first motif. The second theme is then of course carried out, and finally we have the broadly designed motif which brings the part to a conclusion in a gradually increasing crescendo for all the parts; the whole movement thus gains considerably in dimensions.

The motif of the first movement of the E flat major quintet (614 K.)—[See Page Image]

is precisely rendered. But it is the germ whence the whole movement is to spring; all beyond itself is suggested by this motif, and is important only in relation thereto. The unfettered cheerfulness which runs through the whole of the movement is expressed in these few bars, given by the violas like a call to the merry chase. The opening of the C major quintet prepares us in an equally decided manner for what is to follow. The decision and thoughtfulness which form the ground-tone of the whole movement, in spite of its lively agitation, are calmly and clearly expressed in the first few bars.

The G minor quintet begins very differently, with a complete melody of eight bars, repeated in a different key. Few MOZART'S G MINOR QUINTET. [21] instrumental compositions express a mood of passionate excitement with such energy as this G minor quintet. We feel our pity stirred in the first movement by a pain which moans, sighs, weeps; is conscious in its ravings only of itself, refuses to take note of anything but itself, and finds its only consolation in unreasoning outbreaks of emotion, until it ends exhausted by the struggle. But the struggle begins anew in the minuet, and now there is mingled with it a feeling of defiant resentment, showing that there is some healthy force still remaining; in the second part a memory of happy times involuntarily breaks in, but is overcome by the present pain; then the trio bursts forth irresistibly, as if by a higher power, proclaiming the blessed certainty that happiness is still to be attained. One of those apparently obvious touches, requiring nevertheless the piercing glance of true genius, occurs when, after closing the minuet in the most sorrowful minor accents—[See Page Image]

Mozart introduces the trio with the same inflection in the major—

and proceeds to carry it out in such a manner that only a whispered longing may be detected underlying the gently dying sounds of peace. This turn of expression decides the further course of the development. The next movement, "Adagio ma non troppo, con sordini," gives us an insight into a mind deeply wounded, tormented with self-questionings; earnest reflection, doubt, resolve, outbreaks of smothered pain alternate with each other, until a yearning MOZART'S INSTRUMENTAL MUSIC. [22] cry for comfort arises, tempered by the confident hope of an answer to its appeal; and so the movement ends in the calm of a joyful peace instead of, as the first, in the silence of exhaustion. The conquered pain breaks out again in the introduction to the last movement, but its sting is broken—it dies away to make room for another feeling. The new émotion is not merely resignation, but joy—the passionate consciousness of bliss, just as inspired, just as restlessly excited as the previous pain. But the exultant dithyramb has not the same engrossing interest for the hearers; man is readier to sympathise with the sorrows of others than with their joys, although he would rather bear his sorrow alone than his joy. This complete change of mood may well excite a suspicion of fickleness, but it is not the less true that the anguish of the first movement, and the exultation of the last, belong to one and the same nature, and are rendered with absolute truth of artistic expression.

We turn involuntarily from the artist to the man after such a psychological revelation as this, and find traces of Mozart's nature unmistakably impressed on his work. But we may seek in vain for any suggestion of the work in his actual daily life. At the time when he wrote this quintet his circumstances were favourable, he had only lately returned from Prague covered with honour and substantial rewards, and he was enjoying an intercourse with the Jacquin family which must have been altogether pleasurable to him. It is true that he lost his father soon after (May 26), but a recollection of the letter which he addressed to him with the possibility of his death in view (Vol. II., p. 323), Mozart being at the time engaged on the C major quintet, will prevent our imagining that the mood of the G minor quintet was clouded by the thought of his father's approaching decease. The springs of artistic production flow too deep to be awakened by any of the accidents of life. The artist, indeed, can only give what is in him and what he, has himself experienced; but Goethe's saying holds good of the musician as well as of the poet or painter; he reveals nothing that he has not felt, but nothing as he felt it.

The main characteristics of the other quintets are calmer MOZART'S QUINTETS. [23] and more cheerful, but they are not altogether wanting in energetic expression of passion. The sharper characterisation made necessary by the division of the music among a greater number of instruments was only possible by means of the agitation and restless movement of the parts, even when the tone of the whole was quiet and contained. We find therefore various sharp or even harsh details giving zest to the whole—such, for instance, as the use of the minor ninth and the comparatively frequent successions of ninths in a circle of fifths; and the quintets have apparently been a mine of wealth to later composers, who have made exaggerated use of these dangerous stimulants. Greater freedom of motion stands in close connection with the better defined characterisation of the quintets. Polyphony is their vital element; the forms of counterpoint became more appropriate as the number of parts increased. The finales to the Quintets in D and E flat Major (573, 614, K.) showed that Mozart was able to make use of the very strictest forms upon occasion. Both movements begin in innocent light-heartedness, but severe musical combinations are developed out of the airy play of fancy; ideas which have only been, as it were, suggested are taken up and worked out, severe forms alternate with laxer ones—one leads to the other naturally and fluently, and sometimes they are both made use of at the same time. The disposition of the parts is free, without any preconceived or definitive form, and its many delicate details of taste and originality give an individual charm to each separate part. The homophonie style of composition is not altogether disregarded for the polyphonic, but it is never made the determining element. Even a melody such as the second subject of the first movement of the G minor quintet, complete in itself as any melody can be, is made use of as a motif for polyphonic development. The freest and most elastic treatment of form is that of the last movements. The other movements are fully developed, and sometimes carried out at great length, but the main features are always distinct and well preserved; the outline of the finales is less firm, and capable of a lighter and more varied treatment.


Another branch of concerted music high in favour in Mozart's day was the so-called "Harmoniemusik," written exclusively for wind instruments, and for performance at table or as serenades. Families of rank frequently retained the services of a band for "Harmoniemusik" instead of a complete orchestra. 28 The Emperor Joseph selected eight distinguished virtuosi 29 for the Imperial "Harmonie," who played during meals, especially when these took place in the imperial pleasure-gardens. The performances included operatic arrangements as well as pieces composed expressly for this object. 30 Reichardt dwells on the enjoyment afforded him in 1783 by the Harmoniemusik of the Emperor and the Archduke Maximilian. "Tone, delivery, everything was pure and harmonious; some movements by Mozart were lovely; but unluckily nothing of Haydn's was performed." 31 First-class taverns supported their own "Harmonie" bands, in order that the guests might not be deprived of this favourite accompaniment to their meals. 32

Besides the great serenades, intended for public performance, the old custom was still practised of writing "Standchen," 33 for performance under the window of the person who was to be thus celebrated; and the general desire that such pieces should be new and original provided composers with almost constant employment on them. 34 Wind instruments were most in vogue for this "night-music." The instruments were usually limited to six—two clarinets, two horns, and two bassoons, strengthened SERENADES FOR WIND INSTRUMENTS. [25] sometimes by two oboes. Such eight-part harmonies sufficed both the Emperor and the Elector of Cologne as table-music and for serenades; and at a court festival at Berlin in 1791 the music during the banquet was thus appointed. 35 The "Standchen," in "Cosi fan Tutte" (21), and the table-music, in the second finale of "Don Giovanni," are imitations of reality.

Mozart did not neglect the opportunities thus afforded him of making himself known during his residence in Vienna. He writes to his father (November 3, 1781):—

I must apologise for not writing by the last post; it fell just on my birthday (October 31), and the early part of the day was given to my devotions. Afterwards, when I should have written, a shower of congratulations came and prevented me. At twelve o'clock I drove to the Leopoldstadt, to the Baroness Waldstädten, where I spent the day. At eleven o'clock at night I was greeted by a serenade for two clarinets, two horns, and two bassoons, of my own composition. I had composed it on St. Theresa's day (October 15) for the sister of Frau von Hickl (the portrait-painter's wife), and it was then performed for the first time. The six gentlemen who execute such pieces are poor fellows, but they play very well together, especially the first clarinet and the two horns. The chief reason I wrote it was to let Herr von Strack (who goes there daily) hear something of mine, and on this account I made it rather serious. It was very much admired. It was played in three different places on St. Theresa's night. When people had had enough of it in one place they went to another, and got paid over again.

This "rather serious" composition is the Serenade in E flat major (375 K.), which Mozart increased by the addition of two oboes, no doubt in June, 1782, when he also wrote the Serenade in C minor for eight wind instruments (388 K., s.). He had at that time more than one occasion for works of this kind. The attention both of the Emperor and the Archduke Maximilian was directed towards him (Vol. II., p. 197); and since Reichardt heard compositions by Mozart at court in 1783, his attempt to gain Strack's good offices must have been successful. In the year 1782 Prince Liechtenstein was in treaty with Mozart concerning the arrangement of a Harmoniemusik (Vol. II., p. 206), and he MOZART'S INSTRUMENTAL MUSIC. [26] had undertaken with Martin the conduct of the Augarten concerts, which involved the production of four great public serenades (Vol. II., p. 283).

Both the serenades already mentioned are striking compositions, far above the ordinary level of their kind, and may be considered, both as to style and treatment, the precursors of modern chamber music. The first movement of the Serenade in E flat major had originally two parts, which Mozart afterwards condensed into one, giving it greater precision by the omission of lengthy repetitions. The addition of the oboes gives it greater fulness and variety; but it is easy to detect that they are additions to a finished work. The whole piece is of genuine serenade character. After a brilliant introductory phrase, a plaintive melody makes its unexpected appearance, dying away in a sort of sigh, but only to reassert itself with greater fervour. The amorous tone of the "Entführung" may be distinctly traced in the adagio, and through all its mazy intertwining of parts we seem to catch the tender dialogue of two lovers. The closing rondo is full of fresh, healthy joy; the suggestion of a national air in no way interferes with the interesting harmonic and contrapuntal working-out. 36 The Serenade in C minor is far from leaving the same impression of cheerful homage. The seriousness of its tone is not that of sorrow or melancholy, but, especially in the first movement, of strong resolution. The second theme is especially indicative of this, its expressive melody being further noteworthy by reason of its rhythmical structure. It consists of two six-bar phrases, of which the first is formed of two sections of three bars each:—[See Page Image]

After the repetition of this, the second phrase follows, formed from the same melodic elements, but in three sections of two bars each—[See Page Image] SERENADE IN C MINOR. [27] and also repeated. On its first occurrence it forms a fine contrast to the passionate commencement, and lays the foundation for the lively and forcible conclusion of the first part, while in the second part its transposition into the minor prepares the way for the gloomy and agitated conclusion of the movement. The calmer mood of the andante preserves the serious character of the whole, without too great softness or languor of expression.

Mozart has perpetrated a contrapuntal joke in the minuet. The oboes and bassoons lead a two-part canon in octave, while the clarinets and horns are used as tutti parts. In the four-part trio the oboes and bassoons again carry out a two-part canon (al rovescio) in which the answering part exactly renders the rhythm and intervals, the latter, however, inverted:—[See Page Image]

Tricks of this kind should always come as this does, without apparent thought or effort, as if they were thrown together by a happy chance, the difficulties of form serving only to give a special flavour to the euphonious effect. The last movement, variations, passes gradually from a disquieted anxious mood into a calmer one, and closes by a recurrence to the subject in the major, with freshness and force.


This serenade is best known in the form of a quintet for stringed instruments, to which Mozart adapted it apparently before 1784 (506 K.). Nothing essential is altered—only the middle parts, accompaniment passages, &c., are somewhat modified. Some of the passages and movements, however, especially the andante and finale, have lost considerably by the altered tone-colouring.

Various divertimenti for wind instruments, which have been published under Mozart's name, have neither external nor internal signs of authenticity. 37 An Adagio in B flat major for two clarinets and three basset-horns (411 K.), concerning which little is known, stands alone of its kind. 38 The combination of instruments points here as elsewhere (Vol. II., pp. 361, 410) to some special, perhaps masonic occasion, the more so as a detached and independent adagio could only have been written with a definite object in view. The juxtaposition of instruments so nearly related, with their full, soft, and, in their deeper notes, sepulchral tones, produces an impression of solemnity, which is in accordance with the general facter of peace after conflict expressed by the adagio.

Mozart's works for wind instruments are distinguished by delicacy of treatment apart from virtuoso-like effects. Considering them, however, in the light of studies for the treatment of wind instruments as essential elements of the full orchestra, they afford no mean conception of the performances of instrumentalists from whom so much mastery of technical difficulties, delicacy of detail, and expressive delivery might be expected. Instrumental music had risen to great importance in Vienna at that time. A great number of available, and even distinguished musicians had settled there. Besides the two admirably appointed imperial orchestras, and the private bands attached to families of rank, there were various societies of musicians ready to form large or small orchestras when required; and public and private concerts were, as we have seen, of very frequent occurrence.


The appointment was, as a rule, weak, when judged by the standard of the present day. The opera orchestra contained one of each wind instrument, six of each violin, with four violas, three violoncelli, and three basses. 39 On particular occasions the orchestra was strengthened (Vol. II., p. 173), but most of the orchestral compositions betray by their treatment that they were not intended for large orchestras. The purity and equality of tone and the animated delivery of the Vienna orchestra is extolled by a contemporary, who seems to have been no connoisseur, but to have faithfully rendered the public opinion of the day. 40 Of greater weight is the praise of Nicolai, a careful observer, who compared the performances of the Vienna orchestra with those of other bands. 41 He asserted, when he heard the Munich orchestra soon after, that it had far surpassed his highly wrought expectations of Mannheim, and that he had been perfectly astonished at the commencement of an allegro. 42 It was not a matter of small importance, therefore, that Mozart should have learnt all that could be learnt from the orchestras of Mannheim, Munich, and Paris, and then found in Vienna the forces at command wherewith to perfect this branch of his art. In this respect he had a great advantage over Haydn, who had only the Esterhazy band at his disposal, and never heard great instrumental performances except during his short stays in Vienna.

Mozart had much to do with raising the Vienna orchestra, particularly in the wind instruments, to its highest pitch of perfection. Among contemporary composers, who strove to turn to the best account the advantages of a fuller instrumentation,

Haydn undoubtedly claims the first rank. It is his incontestable merit to have opened the way in his symphonies to the free expression of artistic individuality in instrumental music, to have defined its forms, and developed MOZART'S INSTRUMENTAL MUSIC. [30] them with the many-sidedness of genius; he did not, how-I ever, bequeath to Mozart, but rather received from him the well-appointed, fully organised, and finely proportioned orchestra of our day. In his old age Haydn once complained to Kalkbrenner that death should call man away before he has accomplished his life-long desires: "I have only learnt the proper use of wind instruments in my old age, and now I must pass away without turning my knowledge to account." 43

The first of the seven Vienna symphonies is in D major (part 5, 384 K. (likely 385 K. DW)), and was composed by Mozart, at his father's wish, for a Salzburg fête in the summer of 1782. He wrote it under the pressure of numerous engagements in less than a fortnight, sending the movements as they were ready to his father (Vol. II., p. 211). No wonder that when he saw it again he was "quite surprised," not "remembering a word of it." For performance in Vienna (March 3, 1783) he reduced it to the usual four movements by the omission of the march and of one of the minuets, and strengthened the wind instruments very effectively in the first and last movement by flutes and clarinets.

A lively, festive style was called for by the occasion, and in the treatment of the different movements the influence of the old serenade form is still visible. The first allegro has only one main subject, with which it begins; this subject enters with a bold leap—[See Page Image]

and keeps its place to the end with a life and energy enhanced by harsh dissonances of wonderful freshness and vigour. The whole movement is a continuous treatment of this subject, no other independent motif occurring at all. The first part is therefore not repeated, the working-out section is short, and the whole movement differs considerably from the usual form of a first symphony movement. The andante is in the simplest lyric form, pretty and refined, but nothing more; the minuet is fresh and brilliant (Vol. I., p. 219).


The tolerably long drawn-out concluding rondo is lively and brilliant, and far from insignificant, though not equal to the first movement in force and fire.

A second symphony was written by Mozart in great haste on his journey through Linz in November, 1783; it was apparently that in C major (part 6, 425 K.), which with another short symphony in G major (part 6, 444 K.), bears clear traces of Haydn's influence, direct and indirect. (Note: By M. Haydn—the Introduction only by Mozart. DW)

Several years lie between these symphonies and the next in D major (part 1, 504 K.). This was written for the winter concerts on December 6, 1786, and met with extraordinary approbation, especially in Prague, where Mozart performed it in January, 1787 44 The first glance at the symphony shows an altered treatment of the orchestra; it is now fully organised, and both in combination and detail shows individual independence. The instrumentation is very clear and brilliant—here and there perhaps a little sharp—but this tone is purposely selected as the suitable one. Traces of Haydn's influence may be found in the prefixing of a solemn introduction to the first allegro, as well as in separate features of the andante; such, for instance, as the epigrammatic close; but in all essential points we have nothing but Mozart. The adagio is an appropriate preface for the allegro, which expresses in its whole character a lively but earnest struggle. In this allegro the form of a great symphony movement lies open before us. The chief subject is completely expressed at the beginning—[See Page Image] MOZART'S INSTRUMENTAL MUSIC. [32] and recurs after a half-close on the dominant with a characteristic figure—[See Page Image]

thus allowing of the independent development of section B. Then, after a complete close on the dominant, there enters the very characteristic and originally treated second subject; the close of the part is introduced by the figure, D, so that a member of the chief subject, A, is again touched upon. The working-out in the second part is founded on the third section of the chief subject, C. These two bars, which there formed only an intermediate passage, are here treated imitatively as an independent motif; first B, then D, are added as counter-subjects, all three are worked-out together, tributary subjects reappear from the first part, until the chief subject, A, enters on the dominant in D minor, leading the way for the other motifs, which press in simultaneously, and glide upon a long organ point gradually back to the first subject, with which the modified repetition of the first part begins. In this lengthy working-out every part of the main idea is fully developed. The simple enunciations of the first part appear, after the elaboration of their different elements like utterances of a higher power, bringing conviction and satisfaction to all who hear. The springlike charm of the andante, with all its tender grace, never degenerates into effeminacy; its peculiar character is given by the short, interrupted subject—[See Page Image]

which is given in unison or imitation by the treble part and the bass, and runs through the whole, different harmonic turns giving it a tone, sometimes of mockery, sometimes of thoughtful reserve. The last movement (for this symphony has no minuet) displays the greatest agitation and vivacity SYMPHONIES, 1788. [33] without any license; in this it accords with the restraint which characterises the other movements. It illustrates the moderation of most of Mozart's great works, which, as Ambros ("Granzen der Musik und Poesie," p. 56) remarks, "is not a proof of inability to soar into a higher sphere, but a noble and majestic proportioning of all his forces, that so they may hold each other in equilibrium." The essence of the work, to borrow the aesthetic expression of the ancients, is ethic rather than pathetic; character, decision, stability find expression there rather than passion or fleeting excitement.

A year and a half passed before Mozart again turned his attention to the composition of symphonies; then, in the summer of 1788, within two months, he composed the three symphonies in E flat major (June 26), G minor (July 25), and C major (August 10)—the compositions which most readily occur to us when Mozart's orchestral works come under discussion. The production of such widely differing and important works within so short a space of time affords another proof that the mind of an artist works and creates undisturbed by the changing impressions of daily life, and that the threads are spun in secret which are to form the weft and woof of a work of art. The symphonies display Mozart's perfected power of making the orchestra, by means of free movement and songlike delivery, into the organ of his artistic mood. As Richard Wagner says:—

The longing sigh of the great human voice, drawn to him by the loving power of his genius, breathes from his instruments. He leads the irresistible stream of richest harmony into the heart of his melody, as though with anxious care he sought to give it, by way of compensation for its delivery by mere instruments, the depth of feeling and ardour which lies at the source of the human voice as the expression of the unfathomable depths of the heart. 45


This result can only be attained by the most delicate appreciation of the various capacities of each individual instrument. The very diversity of tone-colouring which characterises these symphonies shows the masterly hand with which Mozart chooses and blends his tones, so that every detail shall come to full effect. It would not be easy to find places in which the sound-effect does not correspond with the intention; as he imagined it and willed it, so it sounds, and the same certainty, the same moderation, is apparent in every part of the artistic construction.

The Symphony in E flat major (543 K., part 3) is a veritable triumph of euphony. Mozart has employed clarinets here, and their union with the horns and bassoons produces that full, mellow tone which is so important an element in the modern orchestra; the addition of flutes gives it clearness and light, and trumpets endow it with brilliancy and freshness. It will suffice to remind the reader of the beautiful passage in the andante, where the wind instruments enter in imitation, or of the charming trio to the minuet, to make manifest the importance of the choice of tone-colouring in giving characteristic expression. We find the expression of perfect happiness in the exuberant charm of euphony, the brilliancy of maturest beauty in which these symphonies are, as it were, steeped, leaving such an impression as that made on the eye by the dazzling colours of a glorious summer day. How seldom is this unalloyed happiness and joy in living granted to mankind, how seldom does art succeed in reproducing it entire and pure, as it is in this symphony! The feeling of pride in the consciousness of power shines through the magnificent introduction, while the allegro expresses purest pleasure, now in frolicsome joy, now in active excitement, and now in noble and dignified composure. Some shadows appear, it is true, in the andante, but they only serve to throw into stronger relief the mild serenity of a G MINOR SYMPHONY, 1788. [35] mind that communes with itself and rejoices in the peace which fills it. This is the true source of the cheerful transport which rules the last movement, rejoicing in its own strength and in the joy of being. The last movement in especial is full of a mocking joviality more frequent with Haydn than Mozart, but it does not lose its hold on the more refined and elevated tone of the preceding movements. This movement receives its peculiar stamp from its startling harmonic and rhythmical surprises. Thus it has an extremely comic effect when the wind instruments try to continue the subject begun by the violins, but because these pursue their way unheeding, are thrown out as it were, and break off in the middle. This mocking tone is kept up to the conclusion, which appears to Nägeli ("Vorlesungen," p. 158) "so noisily inconclusive" (so stillos unschliessend), "such a bang, that the unsuspecting hearer does not know what has happened to him." 46

The G minor symphony affords a complete contrast to all this (550 K., part 2). Sorrow and complaining take the place of joy and gladness. The pianoforte quartet (composed August, 1785) and the Quintet (composed May 16, 1787) in G minor are allied in tone, but their sorrow passes in the end to gladness or calm, whereas here it rises in a continuous climax to a wild merriment, as if seeking to stifle care. The agitated first movement begins with a low plaintiveness, which is scarcely interrupted by the calmer mood of the second subject; 47 the working-out of the second part intensifies the gentle murmur—[See Page Image] MOZART'S INSTRUMENTAL MUSIC. [36] into a piercing cry of anguish; but, strive and struggle as it may, the strength of the resistance sinks again into the murmur with which the movement closes. The andante, on the contrary, is consolatory in tone; not reposing on the consciousness of an inner peace, but striving after it with an earnest composure which even attempts to be cheerful. 48 The minuet introduces a new turn of expression. A resolute resistance is opposed to the foe, but in vain, and again the effort sinks to a moan. Even the tender comfort of the trio, softer and sweeter than the andante, fails to bring lasting peace; again the combat is renewed, and again it dies away, complaining. The last movement brings no peace, only a wild merriment that seeks to drown sorrow, and goes on its course in restless excitement. This is the most passionate of all Mozart's symphonies; but even in this he has not forgotten that "music, when expressing horrors, must still be music" (Vol. II., p. 239). 49 Goethe's words concerning the Laocoon are applicable here ("Werke" XXIV., p. 233): "We may boldly assert that this work exhausts its subject, and fulfils every condition of art. It teaches us that though the artist's feeling for beauty may be stirred by calm and simple subjects, it is only displayed in its highest grandeur and dignity when it proves its power of depicting varieties of character, and of throwing moderation and control into its representations of outbreaks of human passion." And in the same sense in which Goethe ventured to call the Laocoon graceful, none can deny the grace of this symphony, in spite of much harshness and C MAJOR SYMPHONY. [37] keenness of expression. 50 The nature of the case demands the employment of quite other means to those of the E flat major symphony. The outlines are more sharply defined and contrasted, without the abundant filling-in of detail which are of such excellent effect in the earlier work, the result being a greater clearness, combined with a certain amount of severity and harshness. The instrumentation agrees with it; it is kept within confined limits, and has a sharp, abrupt character. The addition of clarinets for a later performance gave the tone-colouring greater intensity and fulness. Mozart has taken an extra sheet of paper, and has rearranged the original oboe parts, giving characteristic passages to the clarinets, others to the oboes alone, and frequently combining the two. No clarinets were added to the minuet. Again, of a totally distinct character is the last symphony, in C major (551 K., part 4), in more than one respect the greatest and best, although neither so full of passion as the G minor symphony, nor so full of charm as the E flat major. 51 Most striking is the dignity and solemnity of the whole work, manifested in the brilliant pomp in the first movement, with its evident delight in splendid sound-effects.:

It has no passionate excitement, but its tender grace is heightened by a serenity which shines forth most unmistakably in the subject already alluded to (Vol. II., p. 455, cf. p. 334), which occurs unexpectedly at the close of the first part. The andante reveals the very depths of feeling, with traces in its calm beauty of the passionate agitation and strife from which it proceeds; the impression it leaves is one of moral strength, MOZART'S INSTRUMENTAL MUSIC. [38] perfected to a noble gentleness. The minuet recalls to mind the cheerful subject of the first movement. There is an elastic spring in its motion, sustained with a delicacy and refinement which transports the hearer into a purer element, where he seems to exist without effort, like the Homeric gods. The finale is that masterpiece of marvellous contrapuntal art, which leaves even upon the uninitiated the impression of a magnificent princely pageant, to prepare the mind for which has been the office of the previous movements. We recognise in the principal subject which opens the movement—[See Page Images]

the motif of which Mozart made frequent use even in his youth (Vol. I., p. 259); here he seems anxious to bid it a final farewell. He takes it again as a fugue subject, and again inverted:—

Then other motifs join in. One, in pregnant rhythm—

asserting itself with sharp accents in all sorts of different ways, and connected with a third motif as a concluding section:—

All these subjects are interwoven or worked out with other subordinate ideas, both as independent elements for SYMPHONIES. [39] contrapuntal elaboration, and in two, three, or fourfold combinations, bringing to pass harmonic inflections of great force and boldness, sometimes even of biting harshness. There is scarcely a phrase, however insignificant, which does not make good its independent existence. 52 A searching analysis is out of the question in this place; such an analysis would serve, however, to increase our admiration of the genius which makes of strictest form the vehicle for a flow of fiery eloquence, and spreads abroad glory and beauty without stint. 53

The perfection of the art of counterpoint is not the distinguishing characteristic of this symphony alone, but of them all. The enthralling interest of the development of each movement in its necessary connection and continuity consists chiefly in the free and liberal use of the manifold resources of counterpoint. The ease and certainty of this mode of expression makes it seem fittest for what the composer has to say. Freedom of treatment penetrates every component part of the whole, producing the independent, natural motion of each. The then novel art of employing the wind instruments in separate and combined effects was especially admired by Mozart's contemporaries. His treatment of the stringed instruments showed a progress not less advanced, as, for instance, in the free treatment of the basses, as characteristic as it was melodious. The highest quality of the symphonies, however, is their harmony of tone-colour, the healthy combination of orchestral sound, which is not to be replaced by any separate effects, however charming. In this combination consists the art of making the orchestra as a living organism express the artistic idea which gives the creative impulse to the work, and controls the forces which are always ready to be set in motion. An unerring conception of the capacities for development MOZART'S INSTRUMENTAL MUSIC. [40] contained in each subject, of the relations of contrasting and conflicting elements, of the proportions of the parts composing the different movements, 54 and of the proportions of the movements to the whole work; finally, of the proper division and blending of the tone-colours—such are the essential conditions for the production of a work of art which is to be effective in all its parts.

Few persons will wish to dispute the fact that Mozart's great symphonies display the happiest union of invention and knowledge, of feeling and taste. We have endeavoured also to show in brief outline that they are the characteristic expression of a mind tuned to artistic production, whence their entire organisation of necessity proceeds. But language, incapable of rendering the impressions made by the formative arts, is still more impotent in seeking to reproduce the substance of a musical work. 55 Points that can be readily apprehended are emphasised disproportionately; and the subjectivity of the speaker or writer intrudes itself upon the consideration of the music. It has been lately questioned, for instance, whether Mozart's compositions were the absolute and necessary results of certain definite frames of mind, and a comparison has been made between him and Beethoven upon this point. If it is intended by this to draw attention to Beethoven's art, as proceeding from his spiritual being (Geist), in contrast to that of earlier composers—of Mozart especially—which came from the mind (Seele), 56 an important point is indicated. But if this distinction is made exhaustive, or essentially qualitative, the right point of view is thereby disturbed. There can be no doubt that Beethoven has struck chords in the human mind which none before him had touched—that THE RIGHT MEANING OF THE SYMPHONIES. [41] he employs the means at his command with a power and energy of expression unheard before; that by him—the true son of his time—the strife of passions and the struggle for individual freedom are more powerfully and unhesitatingly expressed than by any of his predecessors. But human nature remains the same, and the genuine impulses of artistic creation proceed from universal and unalterable laws; the artist does but impress his individual stamp upon the composing elements of his work; and if, under certain circumstances, this should fail to be comprehended, it does not therefore follow that the work has no meaning. 57 For neither can the form and the substance of a veritable work of art be divided or substituted the one for the other, nor can such a work take effect as a whole when it is not accepted and grasped in all its parts. 58 It is this wholeness, this oneness, which brings the mind of the artist most clearly before us. Let it be remembered that Mozart's contemporaries dis-; covered an exaggerated expression of emotion and an incomprehensible depth of characterisation in those very compositions in which our age recognises dignified moderation, pure harmony, perfect beauty, and a graceful treatment of form sometimes even to the loss of intrinsic force; and it will be acknowledged that much which was supposed to depend on the construction of the work lies really in the changing point of view of the hearers. Those only who come to the consideration of the work with a clear and unbiased mind, taking their standard from the universal and unchangeable laws of art—those only who are capable of grasping the individuality of an artistic nature, will not go astray either in their appreciation or their criticism.


THE unexampled success of the "Entführung," which brought fame to the composer and pecuniary gain[42] to the theatrical management, justified Mozart in his expectation that the Emperor, having called German opera into existence, 1 would commission him to further its prosperous career. He was indeed offered an opera, but the libretto, ''Welches ist die beste Nation?" was such miserable trash, that Mozart would not waste his music on it. Umlauf composed it, but it was hissed off the stage; and Mozart wrote to his father (December 21, 1782) that he did not know whether the poet or the composer were most deserving of the condemnation the work received. In fact, the impulse given to German opera seemed only too likely to die away without lasting result. Stephanie the younger 2 contrived by his intrigues to obtain the dismissal of Müller as conductor of the opera, and the appointment of a committee, whose jealousies and party feelings he turned so skilfully to account that they were all speedily satisfied to leave the actual power in his hands. The incessant disagreements which were the consequence, the hostility between composers, actors, and musicians, disgusted Kienmayer and Rosenberg, the managers of the opera, and the Emperor himself. Nor were the repeated experiments made with the works of mediocre THE OPERA IN VIENNA. [43] composers (which so enraged Mozart that he purposed writing a critique on them with examples) likely to find favour with the Emperor. Add to this that his immediate musical surroundings, Salieri at the head of them, were at least passively opposed to German opera, and it will not be thought surprising that the Emperor Joseph angrily renounced German opera, and followed his own taste in the reinstalment of the Italian. Chance brought this determination to a point. A French company of considerable merit, both in opera and the drama, was performing at the Kamthnerthortheater, and was patronised by the Emperor. 3 He sent for the performers to Schönbrunn in the summer of

1782, and entertained them in the castle during their stay. They were dissatisfied with the hospitality they there received, and one of the actors had the ill-breeding, during a meal at which the Emperor happened to come in, to offer him a glass of wine, with the request that he would try it, and say whether such wretched Burgundy was good enough for them to drink. The Emperor drank the wine, and answered that it was good enough for him, but he had no doubt they would find better wine in France. 4

On the dismissal of this company, Count Rosenberg was commissioned to engage the best singers in Italy, male and female, for an opera buffa, which was all that was then thought feasible; and at the end of the carnival of 1783 the German opera company was dissolved, its best members associating themselves with the new Italian company. 5 Under these circumstances there was not much hope of success for German operatic compositions; and only three new pieces were produced in 1783, none of them with any success. 6 Mozart wrote to his father (February 5, 1783):—


Yesterday my opera was given for the seventeenth time with the usual applause, and to a crowded house. Next Friday a new opera is to be given, the music an absurdity (Galimathias) by a young pupil of Wagenseil's

(Joh. Mederitsch), called "Gallus cantans in abore sedens gigirigi faciens." It will probably fail, but perhaps not so completely as its predecessor, an old opera by Gassmann," "La Notte Critica" ("The Disturbed Night"), which was scarcely brought to a third performance. Before this there was Umlaufs execrable opera, which only reached a second. It is as though, knowing that German opera is to die after Easter, they wanted to hasten its end by their own act: and they are Germans—confound them!—who do this. My own opinion is, that Italian opera will not survive long, and I shall always hold to the German; I prefer it, although it is certainly more trouble. Every nation has its opera, why should we Germans not have ours? Is not our language as fit for singing as the French and English? and more so than the Russian? Well, I am writing a German opera all for myself.

I have chosen as subject Goldoni's comedy "Il Servitore di Due Padroni," and the first act is already translated—the translator being Baron Binder! But it is to be a secret until it is finished. Now, what do you think of that? Don't you think that I shall do myself some good by it?

There can be little doubt that his father would have answered this question in the affirmative, but he would have been more sceptical as to the feasibility of the plan, and practical considerations seem to have caused its abandonment. Two German airs, preserved in draft score, belong by their handwriting to this period; one for a tenor (indicated as Carl), "Müsst ich auch durch tausend Drachen" (435 K.), and the other for a bass (Wahrmond), "Manner suchen stets zu naschen" (433 K.). No dramatic situation is recognisable, and it cannot therefore be affirmed that they were composed for this opera. The composition of a German opera for which he afterwards received a commission from Mannheim came to nothing. Klein sent him a libretto (doubtless "Rudolf von Habsburg") 7 with the request that he would set it to music, whereupon Mozart answered (March 21, 1785): 8


I ought certainly to have acknowledged before now the receipt of your letter and the accompanying parcel; but it is not the case that I have in the meantime received two other letters from you; if so, I should certainly have remembered to answer your first as I now do, having received your other two letters on the last post-day. But I should have had no more to say to you on the subject of the opera than I now have. My dear sir, my hands are so full of work that I have not a moment to myself. You know by experience, even better than I, that a thing of this sort must be read carefully and attentively several times over. Hitherto I have not been able to read it once without interruption. All that I can say at present is, that I should like to keep the piece a little longer, if you will be kind enough to leave it with me. In case I should feel disposed to set it to music, I should wish to know beforehand whether it is intended for performance at any particular place? For such a work ought not to be left to chance. I shall hope for an explanation on this point from you.

The reasons for the final rejection of this opera are unknown. Mozart's account of the position of German opera in Vienna is very characteristic. In 1784, it was almost extinct; only Madame Lange selected the "Entführung" for her benefit on January 25, conducted by Mozart himself (Wiener Zeitung, 1784, No. 7); and Adamberger gave Gluck's "Pilgrimme von Mecca" on February 15. Besides these, Benda's melodramas, "Ariadne" and "Medea," Jacquet's chief characters, were performed a few times. But when in the following year the desire for German opera revived, it was decided to reappoint the Kamthnerthortheater, which had been freed from its connection with the court, and to reinstate the German opera in competition with the Italian. On this point Mozart continues:—

I can give you no present information as to the intended German opera, as (with the exception of the alterations at the Karnthnerthor-theater) everything goes on very quietly. It is to be opened at the beginning of October. I do not prophesy a very prosperous result. It seems to me that the plans now formed are more likely to end in the final overthrow of the temporarily depressed German opera, than in its elevation and support. My sister-in-law Lange alone is to be allowed to join the German company. Cavalieri, Adamberger, Teyber, all pure Germans, of whom our fatherland may be proud, are to stay in the Italian theatre, to oppose and rival their own countrymen. German singers at present may be easily counted! And even if they be as good MOZART AS AN OPERA COMPOSER. [46] as those I have named, which I very much doubt, the present management appears to me too economical and too little patriotic to think of paying the services of strangers, when they can have as good or better on the spot. The Italian troupe has no need of them in point of numbers; it can stand alone. The present idea is to employ acteurs and actrices for the German opera who sing from need; unfortunately the very men are retained as the directeurs of the theatre and the orchestra who have contributed by their want of knowledge and energy to the downfall of their own edifice. If only a single patriot were to come to the fore, it would give the affair another aspect. But in that case, perhaps, the budding national theatre would break forth into blossom; and what a disgrace it would be to Germany if we Germans once began in earnest to think, or act, or speak and even—to sing German! Do not blame me, my dear sir, if I go too far in my zeal. Convinced that I am addressing a fellow German, I give my tongue free course, which unfortunately is so seldom possible that after such an outpouring of the heart one feels that one might get drunk without any risk of injuring one's health.

The performances of the new German opera, which opened on October 16, 1785, with Monsigny's "Félix," were in no respect equal to those of the Italian opera. Mozart, whose "Entführung" maintained its place in the repertory until March, 1788, when the house was again closed, was not further employed as composer. 9 Only on one occasion did the Emperor seem to recollect that Mozart was the only opera composer of German birth who could rival the Italian Salieri. At a "Festival in honour of the Governor-General of the Netherlands," dramatic performances were commanded by the Emperor in the Orangery at Schönbrunn, on February 7, 1796; the most distinguished actors and singers, both Italian and German, were engaged. 10 Stephanie junior was commissioned to prepare the German occasional DER SCHAUSPIELDIRECTOR, 1786. [47] piece; it was called "Der Schauspieldirector." 11 The dramatis persona were as follows:—[See Page Image]

The plot consists in the difficulties of Frank, the manager, in engaging a company for a theatre he has received permission to open in Salzburg. Many actors and actresses offer their services, and perform favourite scenes by way of testing their ability, the piece concluding with a similar trial of operatic music. The piece was loosely put together, and its main interest consisted in allusions to the passing events in the theatrical world; these are sometimes too palpable and rather coarse. Casti's little Italian opera, written for the same occasion, "Prima la Musica e poi le Parole" is, on the contrary, really witty and amusing, and allows the composer scope for a genuine musical work. Salieri, whose music, according to Mozart, was tolerable, but nothing more, 12 thus gained a great advantage over Mozart, to whom was entrusted the musical portion of the German piece. There could here, of course, be no question of dramatic interest and individual characterisation. The two singers bring their airs with them as prepared trials of skill. The object was to mark the contrast between them. The two songs are alike in design, with one slow and one agitated movement, and they further resemble each other in their mixture of sentimentality and gaiety, and in the number of bravura passages, MOZART AS AN OPERA COMPOSER. [48] which sometimes go to a considerable height. It is in the details that everything is different, even to the instrumentation, and that the sharpest possible contrast is maintained both in the parts and style of delivery. There is no great liveliness of movement until—the manager being perplexed to make his choice between the two—they fall to quarrelling, each of them reiterating with increasing warmth: "Ich bin die beste Sangerin." Thereupon the tenor comes to the rescue, and seeks to allay the irritation of the enraged ladies, giving occasion for a comic terzet full of life and humour. This was composed by Mozart, probably because it amused him, on January 18, 1786, although the play was not finished until February 3. Although the situation in itself cannot be said to possess much interest, there is a certain charm in the piece, and the forms which are usually only of artistic significance have here a substantial basis. The imitations with which the singers follow on each other's heels, the passages in which they run up to a fabulous height, the alternation of rapid parlando with affected delivery and extraordinary passages—all these not only take effect as means of dramatic characterisation, but give the hearers the pleasure of deciding for themselves which of the two aspirants really is the best singer. The peacemaking tenor attaches., himself now to one, now to the other singer, and then again opposes them both, giving a certain amount of dignity to the dispute by means of musical and dramatic contrasts. Indeed the whole scene is so lively, so gay, so free from caricature, and so euphonious, that the terzet may well claim a place with more important works. The concluding operatic piece is a vaudeville. Each solo voice delivers a verse of the song, passing with characteristic modifications into the principal motif, which takes the form of a chorus. The bass voice comes last; the actor Buf gives his decision for the first buffo. This was Lange, who himself used to say that he could only make a singer at need (Selbtsbiographie, p. 126), and who thus ironically parodied his own words.

Mozart also wrote an overture to the piece, in which, less bound by the triviality of the text, he could move more DER SCHAUSPIELDIRECTOR, 1786. [49] freely. It consists of a single movement in quick time. The first bars—[See Page Image]

fall at once into the tone of the whole, and form in their contrasting elements the motifs which are afterwards intersected in the working-out. The two subsequent better-sustained melodies possess in their easy imitative movement, the charm of a lively, excited conversation, the transition passage forming a piquant contrast; in short, the whole overture resembles a comedy with the different characters and intrigues crossing each other, until at last all ends well. The whole festival was twice repeated at the Kamthnerthortheater soon after the performance at Schönbrunn. 13

Several later attempts were made to give the piece more action and more music, so as to preserve Mozart's work on the stage.

When Goethe undertook the management of the court theatre at Weimar in 1791, numerous Italian and French operas were arranged to German words by the indefatigable concertmeister Kranz and the industrious theatrical poet, Vulpius. 14 Goethe, being in Rome in the summer of 1787, was extremely amused by the performance of an intermezzo, "L' Impresario in angustie," 15 which Cimarosa had composed in the Carnival of the previous year (at the same time as Mozart's "Schauspieldirector") for the Teatro Nuovo at Naples. 16 He at once had it arranged as a comic opera, with the title of "Theatralische Abenteuer," and the whole of the music to Mozart's "Schauspieldirector" introduced. 17


It was performed at Weimar on October 24,1791, with great success, and afterwards repeated with alterations 18 on other stages during a considerable time.

In Vienna, after the operetta had again been thrice performed in 1797, an experiment was made in 1814 with an increased adaptation by Stegmeyer, but without lasting success. 19 Within the last few years L. Schneider has made a false step in the publication of the "Schauspieldirector, or Mozart und Schikaneder." 20 Wishing to preserve Mozart's music free from foreign contact, he chose out some songs, which were suitably instrumentalised by Taubert, and fitted fairly well into the new piece. 21 But in order to give the plot more interest he fell into the unpardonable error of making Mozart himself the hero of the opera, composing the "Zauberflöte"

under Schikaneder's direction. It is incredible that any one should have been capable of thus misrepresenting the master whom the resuscitation of his music was intended to honour, as a senseless, infatuated coxcomb, contemptible both in his obsequious submission to Schikaneder and his immoral relations with his sister-in-law, Aloysia Lange. In 1856 Mozart's operetta was given in Paris at the Bouffes Parisiens with great success; but with what adaptations I am not aware.

Mozart was altogether deceived in his expectation that the Italian opera would not find favour with the public. Joseph made himself acquainted through Salieri with all the most distinguished artists whom the latter had heard in Italy (Mosel, Salieri, p. 75), and gave him full power to engage those he thought fit; he even made this a special object of his own journey through Italy. He thus succeeded in bringing together a personnel for opera buffa, which through a long series of years, with various changes, was unsurpassed in the REVIVAL OF ITALIAN OPERA, 1783. [51] unanimous opinion of the public and connoisseurs. 22 The already mentioned Vienna singers who went over to the Italian opera, Lange, Cavalieri, and Teyber, were joined by Bemasconi, already past her prime, in honour of whom Gluck's "Iphigenie in Tauris" was performed in Italian, in December, 1783. 23 From Italy came Nancy Storace, Mandini, and afterwards Celestine Coltellini. Of the German male singers they had indeed dismissed Fischer, whose loss Mozart rightly declared to be irreparable, but in Benucci they acquired a bass buffo of the first rank. True, he left Vienna the same year, but Marchesini, who replaced him, was not nearly so popular, and Benucci was recalled the following year. The baritones were Mandini, Bussani, and Pugnetti, together with the tenor, O'Kelly (Kelly), and the Germans, Adamberger, Saal, and Ruprecht. On April 22, 1783, the Italian opera was opened with Salieri's newly adapted opera "La Scuola dei Gelosi." 24 It was a decided success, and was repeated twenty-five times, although a cold criticism of the opening night asserts: "The prima donna sang extremely well, but her gesticulation is intolerable. The buffo bore away the palm for natural acting. The other performers are unworthy of notice." 25 The next opera, by Cimarosa, "L' Italiana in Londra" (May 5), was not so well received; but on the other hand Sarti's opera, "Fra due Litiganti il Terzo Gode" (May 25) excited extraordinary enthusiasm. 26 Schroder writes on July 26, 1783: "The Italian opera is much sought after, and the German MOZART AS AN OPERA COMPOSER. [52] theatre is empty." 27 Earnestly as Mozart desired to be employed upon a German opera, he could not fail to be excited by the performances and success of the Italian opera, and his overpowering love of the drama urged him again to employ his genius in the field best fitted for its efforts. He writes to his father (May 7, 1783):—

The Italian opera has recommenced, and pleases very much. The buffo, named Benucci, is particularly good. I have looked through at least a hundred (indeed more) ibretti, but cannot find one satisfactory—that is, unless much were to be altered. And a poet would often rather write a new one than alter—indeed the new one is sure to be better. We have here a certain Abbate da Ponte as poet; he is driven frantic with the alterations he has to make for the theatre; he is, per obligo, employed on a new libretto for Salieri, and will be at least two months over it; 28 then he has promised to do something new for me. But who knows whether he can or will keep his word? You know how fair-spoken the Italians are! If he tells Salieri about it, I shall get no opera as long as I live—and I should like to show what I can do in Italian music. Sometimes I have thought that if Varesco does not bear malice on account of the Munich opera he might write me a new book for seven characters—but you know best if that can be done. He might be writing down his ideas, and we could work them out together in Salzburg. The essential point is that the whole thing should be very comic and, if possible, that it should have two good female parts—one seria, the other mezzo carattere, but both equal in importance. The third female might be quite buffa, and all the male parts if necessary. If you think anything can be done with Varesco, please speak to him very soon.

By way of inducement to Varesco, he sent him word that he might reckon on a fee of four or five hundred gulden, for that it was customary in Vienna to give the poet the receipts of the third representation. Some time after he asks again (June 7, 1783)

Do you know nothing of Varesco? I beg you not to forget; if I were in Salzburg we could work at it together so well, if we had a plan ready prepared.

Before Mozart went to Salzburg he had an instance of what he might expect in the opposition made to the insertion of his two airs for Adamberger and Madame Lange in L' OCA DEL CAIRO, 1783. [53] Anfossi's "Curioso Indiscreto" (Vol. II., p. 326). On his arrival in Salzburg at the end of July, he found Varesco quite ready for the undertaking, which was to begin at once, and to be completed in Salzburg.

Among Mozart's remains were found in Varesco's handwriting the first act complete, and the prose table of contents in detail of the second and third acts of the opera "L' Oca del Cairo" ("The Goose of Cairo"). The dramatis personæ are as follows:—

The contents are briefly these:—

Don Pippo, Marchese di Ripasecca, a vain and haughty fool, has by his ill-treatment forced his wife, Donna Pantea, to leave him; he believes her dead, but she is living, concealed at a place over the seas. Biondello, hated by him, loves his daughter Celidora, whom he intends to marry to Count Lionetto di Casavuota; he himself has fallen in love with her companion Lavina, who has come to an understanding with Calandrino, Biondello's friend and Pantea's relative. The two maidens are confined in a fortified tower and closely guarded. In full conviction of his security, Don Pippo has been induced to promise Biondello that if he succeeds in gaining access to Celidora within the year, her hand shall be his reward. Hereupon, Calandrino, a skilful mechanic, has constructed an artificial goose large enough to contain a man, and with machinery capable of motion; this is conveyed to Pantea, who, disguised in Moorish costume, is to display it as a show; it is hoped that Pippo may consent to its exhibition before the two maidens, and that Biondello may thus be conveyed into the tower. As a condition Calandrino exacts from his friend a promise of Lavina's hand.

The opera begins on the anniversary of the wager. Don Pippo is about to marry Lavina, and awaits the arrival of Count Lionetto; his house is filled with preparations for festivity. The curtain rises on the whole household, including the coquettish maid Auretta and her lover the house-steward, Chichibio, having their hair dressed. Calandrino MOZART AS AN OPERA COMPOSER. [54] enters in much perturbation; Pantea has not arrived, and a violent storm gives rise to the fear that she may fail altogether; some other device must be hit upon. He promises marriage to Chichibio and Auretta, if they can succeed in abstracting Don Pippo's clothes, and preventing his leaving the castle, which they undertake. The scene changes: Celidora and Lavina are conversing on a terrace on the fourth story of the tower, to which they have obtained access in secret; the lovers appear below on the other side of the moat, and a tender quartet is carried on. The new plan is to throw a bridge across the moat and scale the tower. Workmen arrive and the task is eagerly commenced; but Chichibio and Auretta, chattering about their marriage, have failed to keep watch, and now announce that Don Pippo has gone out; he himself speedily appears, summons the watch, stops the work, and drives away the lovers.

In the second act Pantea lands with the goose in a violent storm. It is a fair-day, and the assembled people are full of amazement at the natural and rational movements of the goose, which is supposed to come from Cairo. Auretta and Chichibio inform Don Pippo of the wonderful sight. He causes Pantea to come forward, and she informs him that the goose having lost its speech from fright during the storm can only be restored by the use of a certain herb growing in a lonely garden. Don Pippo, delighted, commissions Calandrino to take Pantea and the goose into the pleasure-garden, that so the two maidens may enjoy the spectacle. The finale represents the fair close to the tower, the two ladies looking on from the window. A dispute arises, in which Biondello takes part; Don Pippo, as magistrate, is called on to do justice; some ridiculous action is carried on, ending in a general tumult. Pantea then puts Biondello into the goose and enters the garden, while Calandrino informs Don Pippo that Biondello, in despair, has set out to sea in a small boat, which is confirmed by the weeping Auretta. Don Pippo, in high delight, forms a ludicrous wedding procession and proceeds to the tower, where Celidora and Lavina stand at the window while the goose makes various antics for the amusement of the crowd. Finally, Don Pippo appears in the great hall of the tower, accompanied by the two maidens and the goose, in full confidence of his triumph, and only waiting the arrival of Count Lionetto to celebrate the wedding. Chichibio enters with an uncourteous refusal from the Count. As Don Pippo is in the act of giving his hand to Lavina, Pantea advances in her true person, the goose begins to speak, opens, and Biondello steps out; Don Pippo is beside himself, and is ridiculed by them all; he ends by promising to amend his ways, and the three couples are made happy.

No doubt this summarised account has omitted to take note of many comic and effective touches; but on the other hand it has suppressed many absurdities—the general impression of a fantastic and senseless plot not being affected L'OCA DEL CAIRO, 1783. [55] by the treatment of the details. In the first glow of delight at having a new libretto, Mozart set to work composing at once in Salzburg, and after his return to Vienna he anticipated different scenes that interested him; but he was soon seized with misgivings that the opera could not be put on the stage without important alterations. He wrote on the subject to his father (December 6, 1783):—

Only three more airs, and the first act of my opera is finished. With the aria buffa, the quartet, and the finale I can safely say I am perfectly satisfied—in fact, quite delighted. So that I should be sorry to have written so much good music in vain, which must be the case unless some indispensable alterations are made. Neither you, nor the Abbate Varesco, nor I, reflected that it would have a very bad effect—indeed, would ruin the opera—if neither of the two principal female characters were to appear on the stage until the last moment, but were to be always wandering about on the ramparts or terraces of the tower. One act of this might pass muster, but I am sure the audience would not stand a second. This objection first occurred to me in Linz, and I see no way out of it but to make some scenes of the second act take place in the fortress—camera della fortezza. The scene where Don Pippo gives orders to bring the goose in might be the room in which Celidora and Lavina are. Pantea comes in with the goose. Biondello pops out; they hear Don Pippo coming. In goes Biondello again. This would give an opening for a good quintet, which would be all the more comic because the goose sings too. I must confess to you, however, that my only reason for not objecting to the whole of the goose business is that two men of such penetration and judgment as yourself and Varesco see nothing against it. But there would still be time to think of something else. Biondello has only undertaken to make his way into the tower; whether he does it as a sham goose, or by any other trick, makes no difference at all. I cannot help thinking that many more comic and more natural scenes might be brought about if Biondello were to remain in human form. For instance, the news that Biondello had committed himself to the waves in despair, might arrive quite at the beginning of the second act, and he might then disguise himself as a Turk, or something of the kind, and bring Pantea in as a slave (Moorish, of course). Don Pippo is anxious to purchase a slave for his wife; and the slave-dealer and the Mooress are admitted into the fortress for inspection. This leads to much cajoling and mockery of her husband on the part of Pantea, which would improve the part, for the more comic the opera is the better. I hope you will explain my opinion fully to the Abbate Varesco, and I must beg him to set to work in earnest. I have worked hard enough in the short time. Indeed, I should have finished the first act, if I did not require some alterations made in some of the words; but I would rather you did not mention this to him at present.


In the postcript he again begs his father to consult Varesco, and hurry him on. On further consideration, however, he thought he had still conceded too much, and a few days afterwards he wrote (December 10, 1783):—

Do all you can to make my book a success. I should like to bring the ladies down from the ramparts in the first act, when they sing their airs, and I would willingly allow them to sing the whole finale upstairs.

Varesco was quite willing to make the alteration, which was easily to be effected by a change of scene. The altered version exists, together with the original text; but we know nothing further on the subject. Mozart seems to have made more extensive demands. He wrote to his father (December 24, 1783):—

Now, for what is most necessary with regard to the opera. The Abbate Varesco has written after Lavina's cavatina: "A cui serverà la musica della cavatina antecedente"—that is of Celidora's cavatina—but this will not do. The words of Celidora's cavatina are hopeless and inconsolable, while those of Lavina's are full of hope and consolation. Besides, making one character pipe a song after another is quite an exploded fashion, and never was a popular one. At the best it is only fitted for a soubrette and her lover in the ultime parti. My idea would be to begin the scene with a good duet, for which the same words, with a short appendix for the coda, would answer very well. After the duet, the conversation could proceed as before: "E quando s' ode il cam-panello della custode." Mademoiselle Lavina will have the goodness to take her departure instead of Celidora, so that the latter, as prima donna, may have an opportunity of singing a grand bravura air. This would, I think, be an improvement for the composer, the singers, and the audience, and the whole scene would gain in interest. Besides, it is scarcely likely that the same song would be tolerated from the second singer after being sung by the first. I do not know what you both mean by the following direction: At the end of the interpolated scene for the two women in the first act, the Abbate has written: "Siegue la scena VIII che prima era la VII e cosi cangiansi di mano in mano i numeri." This leads me to suppose that he intends the scene after the quartet, where the two ladies, one after the other, sing their little songs from the window, to remain. But that is impossible. The act would be lengthened out of all proportion, and quite spoiled. I always thought it ludicrous to read: Celidora. "Tu qui m' attendi, arnica. Alla custode farmi veder vogl' io; ci andrai tu puoi." Lavina: "Si dolce arnica, addio." (Celidora parte.) Lavina sings her song. Celidora comes back and says: "Eccomi, or vanne," &c.; and then out goes Lavina, and Celidora sings her air; they relieve one another, like soldiers on guard. It is much more natural L'OCA DEL CAIRO, 1783. [57] also that, being all together for the quartet, to arrange their contemplated attack, the men should go out to collect the necessary assistants, leaving the two women quietly in their retreat. All that can be allowed them is a few lines of recitative. I cannot imagine that it was intended to prolong the scene, only that the direction for closing it was omitted by mistake. I am very curious to hear your good idea for bringing Biondello into the tower; if it is only comical enough, we will overlook a good deal that may be unnatural. I am not at all afraid of a few fireworks; all the arrangements here are so good that there is no danger of fire. "Medea" has been given repeatedly, at the end of which half the palace falls in ruins while the other half is in flames.

Whether Varesco refused to give up the "goose business," whether he was afraid of further endless emendations, or what his reasons were, who can tell? In any case no radical change was made in the text, and, much against his will, Mozart was forced to lay the opera aside. Besides a recitative and the cursory sketch of a tenor air, six numbers of the first act are preserved in draft score (422 K.), with, as usual, the voice parts and bass completely written out, and the ritornelli and accompaniment more or less exactly indicated for the different instruments. Four numbers belong to Auretta and Chichibio; the comparison with "Figaro" is an obvious one, and though Chichibio is far from being a Figaro, Auretta approaches much nearer to Susanna. The situation of her air (2) is not badly imagined. Calandrino, hearing from Auretta that Chichibio is very jealous, embraces her in jest and says, "What would Chichibio say if he saw us?" Thereupon that personage enters, and Auretta, pretending not to observe him, sings:—

     Se fosse qui nascoso
     Quell' Argo mio geloso,
     O, poverina me!

     Direbbe: "O maledetta,
     Pettegola, fraschetta!
     La fedeltà dov' è?"

     Pur sono innocente,
     Se fosse presente,
     Direbbe tra se:

     "O qui non c' è pericolo,
     Un caso si ridicolo
     Goder si deve affè."


The musical apprehension of the contrasts contained in the words is remarkably humorous and graceful, and especially the point to which the whole tends. "O qui non cè peri-colo" is as charmingly roguish as anything in "Figaro." Chichibio's comic air (3) is in the genuine style of Italian buffo, and consists of a rapid parlando; after the direction to close with the ritornello it acquires some originality of colour from the instrumentation. In the shorter of the two duets between Auretta and Chichibio, the orchestra was also intended to play a prominent part. The first duet (1), however, is more important and more broadly designed; Auretta provokes Chichibio's jealousy in the traditional manner, and then seeks to appease it. The whole piece, with its shifting humours, is lively and amusing, and the subject—[See Page Image]

carried out by the orchestra and toyed with by the voice-parts, is of a mingled grace and intensity truly worthy of Mozart. Then there are sketches of two great ensembles. The quartet (6) in which the lovers converse from afar has less of a buffo character and more true feeling; the two pairs of lovers are clearly distinguished, and their characteristics sharply defined. The finale (7), on the other hand, is altogether in the liveliest buffo tone. At the beginning the lovers are full of eagerness and hope at the building of the bridge, then follows the excitement of suspense, and when Don Pippo actually appears a general tumult breaks out. It does not lie in the nature of this situation to make the same display of rich variety, nor of the dignity of deep emotion, which we admire so much in other finales; it is calculated rather to excite wonder at the long continuation of spirited movement and ascending climax. In the last presto, especially, this is quite extraordinary; here the chorus (contrary to custom in comic opera) is independent and full of effect, yielding to no later work of the same kind. A proof of the figure Don Pippo is intended to cut is given in this LO SPOSO DELUSO, 1784. [59] finale. The short andante maestoso, "Io sono offeso! La mia eccellenza, la prepotenza soffrir non de," indicates a grand buffo part such as never occurs in any other opera. We have, it is true, but a weak and shadowy outline of all these movements. Let the experiment be made of imagining corresponding numbers of "Figaro" and "Don Giovanni" deprived of all their orchestral parts except the bass, and a few bars to suggest the different motifs, and how much weaker and more colourless will be the image that remains! So, also, we can scarcely arrive at even an approximate idea of the life which Mozart would have thrown into these sketches when he came to work them out in all their detail and brilliancy of colouring. They betray, in common with all the works of this period, the firm touch of a master, and possess a singular interest to the student, even in their incomplete form. Who can say that Mozart, if he had finished the opera, would not have succeeded in overcoming the weaker points of the libretto? And yet he scarcely seems to have hoped as much himself, seeing that he finally laid aside the work, begun with so much eagerness and carried on so far. But he was far from abandoning his design, and seeing no immediate prospect of a new libretto, he selected from among the numerous books which he had collected one that he might at least hope to see put on the stage. This was "Lo Sposo Deluso" ("Der gefoppte Brautigam"), probably the same opera which was produced at Padua in the winter of 1787, with music by Cav. Pado. 29 That it was a libretto which had already been made use of follows from the fact that Mozart made some corrections from the original of inaccuracies as to names committed by the ignorant Italian copyist. It is not necessary for the comprehension of the portions composed by Mozart (430 K.) to transcribe the whole of the complicated contents of the book; the list of characters, with the names of the singers to whom Mozart alloted the various parts, will suffice to show the drift of the plot.

The dramatis personæ, then, are as follows:—[See Page Image]


The time at which Mozart was at work on this libretto falls within that during which Nancy Storace performed as Signora Fischer. She had been induced to marry an English violinist, a Dr. Fisher, at Vienna, who ill-treated her, and was thereupon sent out of the country by the Emperor. This was in the year 1784, 30 and as Nancy Storace never afterwards bore the name of her husband, she could only have been so described by Mozart shortly after her marriage. As the opera begins, Bocconio, awaiting his bride, is discovered giving the finishing touches to his toilet; his friend Pulcherio, the woman-hater, is present, and jeers at him; so do Don Asdrubale and Bettina, who declares that if her uncle does not provide her with a husband without delay, she will give him and his wife no peace. While he is defending himself, the arrival of the bride is announced; the confusion increases, for he is not yet ready, and the others all torment him the more. Mozart has connected this quartet with the overture, which leads into the first scene without a break. We have a merry flourish of trumpets and drums, taken up by the whole orchestra, and at once we are in the midst of wedding festivities and joyous excitement. The plan of the LO SPOSO DELUSO, 1784. [61] overture, though without any actual allusion, reminds us of that to "Figaro," but falls short of it in spirit and refinement. The merriment is interrupted by a tender andante 3-8, in which strings and wind instruments alternate, prefiguring the amorous emotions which are to have a place in the drama. The flourish is heard again, the curtain rises, and the andante is repeated in its main points, the instrumental movement serving as a foundation for the free motion of the voices. The different points are more sharply accented, and the hearer's enjoyment is intensified by the richer and more brilliant working out of the movement, which shows itself, as it were, in an altogether new light. The ensemble is inspired with cheerful humour, full of dramatic life, and showing distinctly Mozart's own art of giving independence and freedom to the voices and orchestra, as members of one perfect whole. The draft is worked out somewhat beyond the first design, the stringed instruments being almost written in full, and the principal entrances of the wind instruments at least indicated. We are thus enabled to form a sufficient idea of the movement, which, had it been completed, would have been so brilliant an introduction to the opera. Two airs are preserved in the customary sketch form—voices and bass entire, and detached indications for the violin. In the soprano air (3), however, the outline is so characteristic that but a small effort of imagination suffices to endow it with the effect of full instrumentation. The caricatured haughtiness of the Roman lady Eugenia is shown in the very first words:—

The contrast between pomposity and volubility is given at once; the object is to balance one with the other, so that they may appear natural displays of a consistent character.

The moderation of tone thus obtained is all the more necessary from the character being a female one, since a woman cannot be caricatured to the point of being revolting, as a man can, without injury to the comic effect.

     Nacqui all' aura trionfale,
     Del Romano Campidoglio
     E non trovo per le scale,
     Che mi venga ad incontrar?


Caricature, which emphasises certain characteristic features of an individual at the cost of others less striking must always be an objectionable mode of musical representation. The external features which can be exaggerated by the musician are limited and soon exhausted, the exaggeration of emotional expression to produce a comic effect is a very dangerous device, because music does not possess the resources which enable poetry and the formative arts to represent disproportions of caricature as amusing and comical rather than distorted and hideous. Mozart takes as the foundation for his musical representation a genuine pride, which is only led by chance impulses to express itself in an exaggerated and distorted manner, and it is this temporary self-contradiction which produces the comic effect. The musical device he employs for the purpose is the composition of the air in the traditional heroic form of opera seria, which is opposed to the situation of the moment as well as to the fault-finding words. The compass and employment of the voice show that Mozart had Storace in view, for whom he afterwards composed Susanna. Pulcherio's second air (4) is much more sketchily delineated. Eugenia and Bocconio, after their first meeting, are not on very good terms with each other, and the obliging friend seeks to reconcile them; he draws Bocconio's attention to Eugenia's beauty, and hers to Bocconio's amiability, and as he goes first to one and then to the other with his appeals, he pictures to himself the misery which is sure to follow the union of the two. The contrasting motifs to which the situation gives rise are arranged in animated alternation. The sketch, however, shows only the general design; and the share taken in it by the orchestra, doubtless a very important one, cannot be even approximately arrived at. A terzet (5 cf., Vol. II., p. 424) between Eugenia, Don Asdrubale and Bocconio is completely worked out, and causes regret that it was not inserted in a later opera, that so we might have heard it from the stage. Don Asdrubale coming to greet Bocconio's bride, the lovers in amazement recognise each other. Eugenia, who had been informed of Don Asdrubale's death in battle, falls half-swooning on a couch, and Bocconio hastens off to fetch LO SPOSO DELUSO, 1784. [63] restoratives. Asdrubale, who is on the way to Rome that he may wed Eugenia, overwhelms her with reproaches, and throws himself on a couch in despair. Eugenia has risen, and before Asdrubale can explain himself, Bocconio returns, and to his astonishment finds the scene completely altered. At this point the terzet begins, and expresses most charmingly the confusion and embarrassment of the three personages, who are all in the dark as to each other's conduct, and who put restraint on themselves even in their extremity of suspense. The orchestra carries on the threads independently, joined by the voices, sometimes apart and interrupted, to suit the situation, sometimes together. An excellent effect is given by the sharply accented expression of involuntary painful emotion contrasting with the reserve which otherwise prevails in the terzet. The whole tone of the piece is masterly; while never overstepping the limits of comic opera, it successfully renders the deep agitation of mind of all the three characters. This is contrived, not by the mixture of a comic element in the person of Bocconio, who rather approximates to the frame of mind of the other two, but by the cheerful tone which penetrates the whole without any loss of truth of expression.

This opera again stopped short of completion, and a third seems to have had the same fate. A terzet for male voices, which is preserved in duplicate draft, was intended for the first scene of a comic opera. An opera by Accoromboni, "Il Regno delle Amazoni," was, according to Fétis, performed at Parma in 1782, as well as elsewhere, 31 with success, and the words of the terzet leave little doubt that this, too, was among the "little books" Mozart had looked through, and that it suggested to him an experiment which must almost have coincided in point of time with the two just mentioned. It can scarcely have been the imperfections of the libretti alone which caused Mozart to leave these operas unfinished, but also the improbability of ever bringing them to performance. The brilliant reception accorded to the Italian maestri, Sarti and Paesiello, in Vienna, only caused MOZART AS AN OPERA COMPOSER. [64] the German masters to fall more into the background. The extraordinary success of Paesiello and Casti with "Il Re Teodoro'' (Vol. II., p. 344), alarmed even Salieri. He had himself begun an opera, "Il Ricco d' un Giorno," but laid it aside rather than enter into competition with the "Re Teodoro." He was always skilful in turning circumstances to account. When his "Rauchfangkehrer" failed in 1781, and Mozart's "Entführung" was rousing great expectations, he received in the nick of time a commission from Munich to write the opera "Semiramide," which was performed during the Carnival. 32 He then set out, recommended and patronised by Gluck, to produce "Les Danaides" in Paris. Crowned with new laurels, by reason of the success which it there met with, he returned to Vienna and completed his opera, after the first enthusiasm for his rivals had died out. It was given on December 6, 1784, but without success. 33 Mozart's prospects for the year 1785 were not any more favourable, when suddenly help appeared from an unexpected quarter.

Lorenzo da Ponte (1749-1838), 34 a native of Ceneda, was exiled from the republic of Venice, where he had been schoolmaster, on account of his opinions and manner of life. After a short stay in Gorz and Dresden, he came to Vienna, warmly recommended to Salieri by the poet Mazzola, just as the Italian opera was in process of being established. Through Salieri's influence he was appointed a theatrical poet by Joseph II., who continued to befriend him; he had thus every reason to be beholden to Salieri. His first attempt was this opera, "Il Ricco d' un Giorno," which he did not himself consider a success; Salieri ascribed its failure, which he felt the more keenly in contrast to Paesiello's success, solely and entirely to the poet, and swore that he would sooner cut off his hand than set to music another word of Da Ponte's. He had no difficulty in obtaining a libretto CASTI—DA PONTE. [65] from Casti, "La Grotta di Trofonio"; and this opera, which was first given on October 12, 1785, was a great success. 35 Da Ponte now saw himself threatened in his position, for Casti was his declared rival and opponent.

Casti had long been famous as a witty and gallant verse-maker; he was acquainted with the most influential men of the day, and was ambitious of succeeding Metastasio as poeta Cesareo. The rise of Da Ponte, who had to some extent taken Metastasio's place in the theatre, would be altogether against his interests; he sought therefore both by praise and blame to bring his rival into discredit, and ridiculed him personally in his operetta, "Prima la Musica" (Vol. III., p. 47). Casti carried his vanity and self-complacency to such a pitch that Kelly mimicked him on the stage in his own opera ("Demo-gorgone"), to the intense delight of the public. 36 It was plainly Da Ponte's interest to gain the favour of composers who might do credit to his operatic libretti.

Vincent Martin (1754-1810), born in Valencia, and therefore called "Lo Spagnuolo," had produced some operas in Italy with success since 1781; Storace had made a furore in one of them at Venice. 37 This caused him to repair to Vienna in 1784, where the wife of the Spanish Ambassador took him under her powerful protection. At the command of the Emperor Da Ponte adapted for him the opera, "Il Burbero di Buon Core," after Goldoni's comedy, which was performed for the first time on January 4, 1786, with complete success; but his next operas, "Il Finto Cieco," composed by Gazzaniga, and "Il Demogorgone," composed by Righini, were not particularly successful. Not satisfied with these composers, he cast his eyes on Mozart, to whom he had promised a libretto as early as 1783. Da Ponte positively affirms 38 that it was owing to his readiness and decision that Mozart was enabled to place his masterpiece on the stage in defiance of all the cabals and intrigues of his enemies; and he expresses the MOZART AS AN OPERA COMPOSER. [66] hope that an impartial and truthful account of the affair will make this evident. We shall therefore follow his account, but shall correct and modify it in its details by means of other available information. 39

Baron Wezlar, a great lover of music, in whose house Mozart had lived for a time (Vol. II., p. 304), had brought about the acquaintance between the latter and Da Ponte, and proved himself a munificent patron on the occasion. On Mozart's expressing anxiety lest an opera composed by him should not be allowed to appear, Wezlar engaged to pay the librettist a suitable fee, and to bring about the performance of the opera in London or Paris if the obstacles in Vienna proved insurmountable. Confiding in the favour and discernment of the Emperor, Da Ponte declined this offer. In discussing a suitable subject Mozart expressed the wish that Da Ponte would adapt Beaumarchais' comedy, "Le Mariage de Figaro," which, after a prolonged struggle, had been given for the first time on April 27, 1784, and was now occupying public attention. The adaptation would be an easy matter, but the Emperor had forbidden the production of the piece at the National Theatre on account of its freedom of tone. Da Ponte, however, hoped to overcome this difficulty; he agreed with Mozart to keep.the undertaking a secret. They set to work, Da Ponte writing the libretto, and Mozart composing it gradually as he received it: in six weeks the whole was finished. Fortunately there was a dearth of new operas at the time. Da Ponte, without consulting any one, went straight to the Emperor, and told him what had happened. The Emperor had misgivings both as to Mozart, who, though an excellent instrumental composer, had written an opera which was no great success ("non era gran cosa"), and as to the piece which he had already suppressed. Da Ponte declared that he would be answerable for Mozart as well as for the piece, which he had adapted in such a manner as to be perfectly fit for representation. The Emperor gave way, summoned Mozart before him with the score, and after ADAPTATION OF "FIGARO," 1785. [67] hearing some portions of it, commanded that it should be performed and put into rehearsal at once. This caused much displeasure to Mozart's opponents, Casti and Count Rosenberg, "a sworn enemy of the Germans, who would listen to nothing that was not Italian," 40 and who made as many difficulties as he could. Da Ponte relates one instance of the kind. The manager, Bussani (the singer who was cast for the part of Bartolo), told Count Rosenberg that in the third act of "Figaro," during the wedding festivities, while Susanna is conveying the letter to the Count, a ballet was to be introduced. Rosenberg sent for the poet, reminded him that the Emperor would not allow a ballet, and turning a deaf ear to his remonstrances, tore the scene out of the book. Mozart was furious; wanted to call the Count to answer, to horsewhip Bussani, to appeal to the Emperor, to take back the score—in short, he could with difficulty be pacified. At the full rehearsal the Emperor was present. In obedience to Rosenberg's order the ballet was omitted, and in dead silence Susanna and the Count made their now meaningless gestures. The Emperor, in amazement, asked what it all meant, and on Da Ponte's explanation of the affair, ordered a proper ballet to be at once arranged. This story, although Da Ponte may have exaggerated the importance of his own share in it, doubtless gives a fair idea on the whole of the circumstances under which Mozart's "Figaro" was produced. Kelly's assertion that Mozart was commissioned by the Emperor to write an opera, and selected "Figaro," accords very well with Da Ponte's account. Mozart began his work in the autumn of 1785, as we learn from a letter of his father's to Marianne (November 11, 1785):—

At last, after six weeks' silence, I have received a letter from your brother of November 2, containing quite twelve lines. His excuse for not writing is that he has been over head and ears at work on his opera,

"Le Nozze di Figaro." He has put off all his pupils to the afternoon, so that he may have his mornings free. I have no fear as to the music; MOZART AS AN OPERA COMPOSER. [68] but there will no doubt be much discussion and annoyance before he can get the libretto arranged to his wish; and having procrastinated and let the time slip after his usual fashion, he is obliged now to set to work in earnest, because Count Rosenberg insists upon it.

This contradicts Da Ponte's account of the secrecy with which the opera was prepared; and it may be doubted also whether it was really written in six weeks. The date in Mozarts own catalogue,-April 29, 1786, only proves that he closed his work by writing the overture immediately before the first performance (May 1). 41 Da Ponte may have exaggerated somewhat tor the sake of effect. Mozart's Thematic Catalogue shows what he was capable of accomplishing even while at work upon "Figaro." There is a hiatus in the catalogue from July 5, 1785, to November 5. It is possible that he was busy with the opera during this interval; but during the time immediately following, when he was working at it in real earnest, we find the following compositions entered:—

1785. November 5. Quartet to the "Villanella Rapita" (Vol. II., p. 331).

November 21. Terzet I (479, 480 K.).

December 12. Sonata for piano and violin in E flat major (481 K.).

December 16. Pianoforte concerto in E flat major (482 K.).

1786. January 10. Pianoforte rondo in D major (485 K.).

January 18. Terzet from the "Schauspieldirector."

February 3. "Schauspieldirector" (486 K.).

March 2. Pianoforte concerto in A major (488 K.).

March 10. Duet and air for the private performance of "Ido-meneo" (489, 490 K.).

March 24. Pianoforte concerto in C minor (491 K.).

April 29. "Le Nozze di Figaro" (492 K.).

To these may be added the Lent Concerts, which were also then occupying him. There were other difficulties to be overcome before the performance, of which we hear nothing from Da Ponte, but which are related by Kelly:—

There were three operas now on the tapis, one by Righini ("ü Demo-gorgone"), another by Salieri ("La Grotta di Trofonio"), and one INTRIGUES AGAINST "FIGARO." [69] by Mozart, by special command of the Emperor. Mozart chose to have Beaumarchais' French comedy, "Le Mariage de Figaro," made into an Italian opera, which was done with great ability by Da Ponte. These three pieces were nearly ready for representation at the same time, and each composer claimed the right of producing his opera for the first. The contest raised much discord, and parties were formed. The characters of the three men were all very different. Mozart was as touchy as gunpowder, and swore that he would put the score of his opera into the fire if it was not produced first; his claim was backed by a strong party. Righini, on the contrary, was working like a mole in the dark to get precedence. The third candidate was Maestro di Capella to the court, a clever, shrewd man, possessed of what Bacon called "crooked wisdom"; and his claims were backed by three of the principal performers, who formed a cabal not easily put down. Every one of the opera company took part in the contest. I alone was a stickler for Mozart, and naturally enough, for he had a claim on my warmest wishes, from my adoration of his powerful genius and the debt of gratitude I owed him for many personal favours. The mighty contest was put an end to by his majesty issuing a mandate for Mozart's "Nozze di Figaro" to be instantly put into rehearsal.

A slight error has crept in here, for Salieri's opera was given first on October 12, 1785; but this account confirms the fact of the Emperor's interference. Mozart's claims were supported by the distinguished company of amateurs who arranged a representation of "Idomeneo" at the Auersperg Theatre in March (Vol. II., p. 289). The fact that his friends Count Hatzfeld (Vol. II., p. 291) and Bridi (Vol. II., p. 359) took his part in the dispute shows that it was intended to put Mozart forward as a composer of Italian operas, and that powerful support was considered necessary for the purpose. His father had cause therefore to write to his daughter (April 18):—

On the 28th, "Le Nozze di Figaro" is to be put on the stage for the first time. It will mean much if it succeeds, for I know that there has been a surprisingly strong cabal against it. Salieri and all his adherents will move heaven and earth against it. Duschek told me lately 42 that my son met with such violent opposition because of his extraordinary talent and cleverness.


Niemetschek (p. 37) goes so far as to assert that it was commonly reported that the Italian singers did all they could to ruin the opera on its first performance by intentional mistakes and carelessness, and that they had to be sternly reminded of their duty by the Emperor, to whom Mozart appealed in despair at the end of the first act. Kelly says nothing of this; he maintains, on the contrary, that never was opera so strongly cast, and that all the subsequent performances he had seen were no more to be compared to the original one than light is to darkness: 43

All the original performers had the advantage of the instruction of the composer, who transfused into their minds his inspired meaning. I never shall forget his little animated countenance, when lighted up with the glowing rays of genius; it is as impossible to describe it as it would be to paint sunbeams. I remember at the first rehearsal of the full band Mozart was on the stage with his crimson pelisse and gold-laced cocked hat, giving the time of the music to the orchestra. Figaro's song "Non più andrai" Benucci gave with the greatest animation and power of voice. I was standing close to Mozart, who, (sotto voce), was repeating: "Bravo! bravo, Benucci!" and when Benucci came to the fine passage, "Cherubino, alla vittoria, alia gloria militar!" which he gave out with stentorian lungs, the effect was electricity itself, for the whole of the performers on the stage, and those in the orchestra, as if actuated by one feeling of delight, vociferated: "Bravo! bravo, maestro! viva, viva, grande Mozart!" Those in the orchestra I thought would never have ceased applauding, by beating the bows of their violins against the music-desks. The little man acknowledged by repeated obeisances his thanks for the distinguished mark of enthusiastic applause bestowed upon him.

The following was the cast of the first performance, according to Mozart's Thematic Catalogue—the original libretto is unfortunately lost: 44 —[See page images]


The reception of the opera by the public on its first performance (May 1, 1786) was such as to justify the most favourable anticipations. 45 "Never was anything more complete," says Kelly, "than the triumph of Mozart and his 'Nozze di Figaro.'" The house was crowded, and many pieces were encored, so that the opera lasted twice the usual time; but that did not prevent long-continued applause and repeated calls for Mozart at the close of the performance. L. Mozart wrote to his daughter on May 18: "At the second performance of your brother's opera (May 3) five pieces were encored, and on the third (May 8) seven; one little duet had to be sung three times." 46 The opera, therefore, was a decided success; too much so, indeed, for many people, and the Emperor was persuaded, after the first performance, to forbid any piece to be encored, under the pretence of sparing the singers and the conductor. Kelly narrates how the Emperor, after issuing this prohibition, addressing himself at a rehearsal to Storace, Mandini, and Benucci, said: 47 "I LE NOZZE DI FIGARO. [72] dare say you are all pleased that I put a stop to encores; it must be fatiguing and distressing to you to repeat so many songs." Storace replied: "It is indeed, sire, very distressing." The other two bowed, as if in assent; but Kelly, who was standing by, said boldly to the Emperor: "Do not believe them, sire, they all like to be encored; at least I am sure I always do"; whereupon the Emperor laughed. Mozart's enemies found it impossible to drive the opera completely from the stage, but they took care that it should not be given often enough to take firm hold of the public favour. Nevertheless, it reached nine performances within the year, though with long intervals between them (May 1, 3, 8, 24, July 4, August 28, September 22, November 15, December 18). On November 17 Martin's "Cosa Rara" (after so strong an opposition on the part of the singers, that the Emperor was obliged to compel them to sing) 48 achieved an unprecedented success. This threw "Figaro" somewhat into the shade, both in the public estimation and in the Emperor's opinion; the latter told Dittersdorf that Mozart overweighted the singers with his full accompaniments; 49 Martin's easy and taking melodies were far more to the royal taste. During 1787 and 1788 "Figaro" was not given at all in Vienna, 50 and was not reproduced until August 29, 1789.



THE choice of Beaumarchais' comedy "Le Mariage de Figaro, ou La Folle Journée," as a subject for operatic treatment, was deliberately made by Mozart himself. 1 The LE MARIAGE DE FIGARO. [73] play had excited unusual interest, both on account of the name and political position of the author and of the curious circumstances under which it had been produced in Paris. Beaumarchais had offered his comedy, towards the end of 1781, to the Théätre-Français, where it was readily accepted. But rumours prejudicial to the piece led Louis XVI. to have it read aloud in his presence; he was horrified at its freedom of tone, and declared that he would never consent to its performance. This only served to stimulate curiosity, and people thronged to hear the reading of the manuscript; a strong court party interested themselves for its production, the actors pressed for it, the public insisted upon it. Beaumarchais knew well how to turn all these circumstances to account; in June, 1783, his comedy was on the point of performance at the court theatre; the audience was actually assembled, when, just as the curtain was about to rise, a fresh prohibition arrived, from the King. Complaints of tyranny and oppression now became audible, and the affair assumed a political aspect. At length the King was prevailed upon to countenance a private representation at a festival given by M. de Vaudreuil to the Comte d'Artois in September, 1783. Beaumarchais contrived that this should lead to a public performance, which took place in April, 1784. 2 The unheard-of success of the play caused its reputation to spread rapidly, and Mozart's attention could not fail to be attracted to it, the more so as Paesiello's "Barbiere di Seviglia," founded on Beaumarchais' earlier comedy, had been well received in Vienna. Mozart's search for a suitable libretto among the Italian ones already published, and his attempt to produce a new one with. Varesco, were equally unsuccessful. The accepted form of opera buffa, relying for effect solely on broadly comic situations and caricature, did not satisfy Mozart's conditions of dramatic reality in the development of an interesting plot and a consistent delineation of character. Both conditions were amply fulfilled by Beaumarchais. "Le Nozze di Figaro" is well known to be in a certain sort a continuation of the "Barbiere di Seviglia."


The majority of the characters appear in both pieces, events belonging to the plot of "Figaro" are grounded on the previous play, and it is necessary for a proper appreciation of the motives and characterisation to bear the connection of the two in mind:—

Count Almaviva having, with Figaro's help, gained the hand of Rosina, the charming ward of Doctor Bartolo, takes Figaro and Marcellina, Rosina's duenna, into his service, and retires to his castle, attended also by Basilio, the music-master. He soon wearies of his wife's society, and seeks distraction in the company of Susanna, the Countess's maid and Figaro's affianced bride. Basilio is again made to act the part of a go-between. The piece begins on the day appointed for Figaro's wedding. Figaro, having learnt the Count's designs from Susanna, determines to outwit his master, and to prevent the success of his scheme for delaying the wedding. In this scheme the Count is offered assistance by Marcellina, who is in love with Figaro, and possesses his written undertaking to marry her should he fail in repaying her by a certain day a sum of money she has lent him. Her dread of losing all chance of Figaro, by his union with Susanna, induces her to call Bartolo to her assistance, and the latter is the more ready to do what he can, both that he may revenge himself on Figaro, and free himself from Marcellina's claims upon him. It appears that years ago she bore him a son, who was kidnapped as a child. While this danger is hanging over the heads of the lovers, Susanna is sought in her room by the page Cherubino, a heedless and beautiful youth, just budding into manhood. The Count has surprised him with Fanchette, daughter of his gardener Antonio, with whom he is himself flirting, and has discharged him from his service; he begs Susanna to intercede for him with the Countess, his godmother, for whom he entertains an ardent passion. As they converse, they hear the Count approaching, and Cherubino hides behind a large arm-chair; the Count has come to offer Susanna a dowry if she will consent to meet him the same evening; she, however, vigorously repulses him. Basilio enters: the Count hides behind the same arm-chair, and Cherubino slips round to the front, and covers himself with a cloak which lies upon the chair. Basilio reiterates to Susanna the Count's proposals, and, on her continued refusal, makes malicious allusions to the page, who is paying court not only to Susanna, but to the Countess. The Count comes forward in a fury, orders the immediate dismissal of the page, tells how he found him concealed in the gardener's house, and discovers him in the arm-chair. But Cherubino has been a witness to all that has passed, and, in order to conciliate and get rid of him at the same time, the Count gives him a commission in his regiment, ordering his immediate departure for Seville, to join the garrison there. At this point Figaro enters at the head of the villagers in holiday attire. The Count, at his marriage, had BEAUMARCHAIS' FIGARO. [75] renounced his seignorial rights, and, instigated by Figaro, his grateful subjects come to petition him to honour the first wedding which has since been celebrated by himself placing the wreath on the head of the bride. The Count cannot refuse the petition, but begs for a few hours delay, in order that the ceremony may be rendered more brilliant. Figaro in the meantime is plotting a double intrigue against the Count, with the co-operation of the Countess, who has been kept informed of all that is going on by her devoted Susanna. Her relations to Figaro and Susanna, and her ready acquiescence in a design to recall her husband to a sense of his duty by means of a trick, keep us in mind that the Countess Almaviva is the Rosina of the "Barber of Seville." She loves her husband, and has a full consciousness of her own dignity; but the circumstances of her early life, and of her marriage with Count Almaviva, have left their indelible impress upon her. Figaro warns the Count, who has gone hunting, by an anonymous letter that a rival has made an assignation with the Countess; he hopes that jealousy will divert his mind from the wedding. On the other side he assures him of Susanna's intention to keep her appointment in the garden; Cherubino, who has been allowed to delay his departure at Figaro's intercession, is to be disguised so as to take Susanna's place at the interview. |The page comes to be dressed; all at once the Count knocks, having hurried home in jealous haste. Cherubino slips into the inner room, of which the Countess locks the door; as the Count is plying her with angry questions Cherubino throws down a chair; the Countess explains that Susanna is within, but refuses to allow her to come out, or even to answer, and will not give up the key. The Count, enraged, secures all means of egress, and drags the Countess away with him to fetch an axe and break the door open. Susanna, who has been concealed in an alcove during this scene, proceeds to liberate Cherubino; he, finding no other exit available, springs through the window into the garden, and Susanna takes his place in the cabinet. The Count returning with the Countess, determined to employ force in opening the door, she confesses that the page is in the inner chamber, whereby his rage is still further excited; to the astonishment of them both Susanna steps forth. The Countess soon collects herself, and explains that their only intention has been to punish him for his want of faith, and that Figaro wrote the letter as a preliminary to the trick; the Count is forced to sue for pardon, which he obtains with difficulty. Figaro now enters with the information that all is prepared for the wedding, and being taxed by the Count with the letter, denies all knowledge of it, and is with difficulty brought to understand the position of affairs. This danger is hardly over when the gardener enters, half tipsy, with the complaint that some one has just jumped from the window of the cabinet upon his flowers; Figaro declares that he was there with Susanna, and had jumped into the garden from fear of the Count's fury. The gardener says that he thought he had recognised Cherubino, but hands Figaro a paper which LE NOZZE DI FIGARO. [76] had been dropped in the garden. The Count, his suspicions newly awakened, demands the contents of the paper; the Countess recognises in it the page's patent, and whispers through Susanna to Figaro, who is able to ward off this fresh danger. Marcellina now appears supported by Bartolo, and makes known Figaro's promise of marriage; the Count, in high delight, promises to support her claims in a court of justice, and by dismissing Basilio, who puts forward his claims to Marcellina's hand, revenges himself for the letter which Basilio had presented to him.

Before the sitting of the court the Countess conceives the design of herself taking Susanna's place at the rendezvous with the Count. The trial which takes place results in Figaro's being ordered to pay his debt to Marcellina, or in default to marry her. The Count appears at the goal of his wishes, but Figaro's evasion—that he must have the consent of his parents—leads to the discovery that he is the long-lost son of Bartolo and Marcellina, who thereupon decide to celebrate their espousals together with his; Susanna, entering with money obtained from the Countess to redeem Figaro, is indignant at finding him in Marcellina's arms, but her anger is speedily turned to delight at hearing the true position of affairs.

During the solemn wedding ceremony—at which Cherubino, disguised as Fanchette, appears among the village maidens and is recognised—Susanna gives the Count a letter dictated by the Countess, in which she appoints the place of rendezvous; a pin which is stuck into the letter is to be returned as a token of understanding. Figaro sees that the Count reads the letter and pricks himself with the pin, without noticing that Susanna has given it to him; hearing afterwards from Fanchette that she is commissioned by the Count to convey the pin back to Susanna, he easily surmises what it means. Beside himself with jealousy, he stations his parents and friends in the neighbourhood of the appointed place, and repairs thither himself to surprise and punish the guilty pair.

In the darkness of night the Countess and Susanna, having exchanged clothes, come to put their husbands to the proof; Susanna has been warned by Marcellina of Figaro's designs. Scarcely is the Countess alone, when she is alarmed by the approach of Cherubino, who presses a kiss on the supposed Susanna; the Count, entering on the instant, salutes the page with a box on the ear, which is received instead by the listening Figaro. Alone with the Countess, the Count addresses her in the most endearing terms, presents her with money, and with a costly ring, and endeavours to go off with her; she escapes him in the darkness, and he seeks her in vain.

In the meantime Susanna, as the Countess, comes to the enraged Figaro, but forgetting for a moment to disguise her voice, he recognises her, and turns the tables by proposing to her to revenge herself for her lord's want of faith by her own, whereupon she makes herself known by DA PONTE'S LIBRETTO. [77] boxing his ears. Peace is easily restored by his explanation, and as the Count approaches, seeking his Susanna, they continue to counterfeit love. The Count in a rage calls for his people with torches, Figaro's friends hasten in, and with them the Countess. The Count, to his shame, discovers that it was his wife who accepted his presents and declarations of love, and the pardon which she accords to him brings the confusion to an end.

Such is a mere outline of this amusing play of intrigue, where one knot twisting in with another, one embarrassment growing out of another, call forth ever and again fresh contrivances, while an abundance of effective situations and characteristic detail make the witty and satirical dialogue one of the most graphic character pictures of the time. 3 Da Ponte has arranged his libretto with much skill, having no doubt received important aid from Mozart himself. The progress of the piece is left almost unaltered, the necessary abbreviations being judiciously made. 4 Thus, the lengthy trial scene is omitted, and only the result in its bearing on the plot is communicated. Sometimes an under-plot is added, such as Basilio's appearance as Marcellina's lover. The clearness of the plot is not often endangered, as it certainly is by the alteration which omits all mention of a son of Bartolo and Marcellina previous to their recognition of Figaro as their offspring. The musical pieces are introduced with admirable discrimination in such positions as to allow free and natural scope to the musical rendering of each situation without hindering the progress of the plot, and this is no small praise in such a piece as "Figaro." The whole scheme of the drama demands that quite as much attention shall be given to the ensemble movements and finales as LE NOZZE DI FIGARO. [78] the solo airs; and this is of great advantage to the musical construction. The definite and prearranged progress of the action fulfils all the conditions of operatic representation with regard to the position and diversity of the musical pieces; the poetical conceptions are clever and appropriate, a suggestion of Beaumarchais being often amplified in the musical working-out. The French comedy was of wonderful advantage in maintaining the dialogue; and, shortened and modified as it was of necessity, it retained far more of the spirit and life of the original than was usual in the recitatives of opera buffa. This is not indeed the case as far as the German adaptations of the opera are concerned. I am not aware whence proceeded the first translation made use of in Berlin in 1790. 5 In 1791 Knigge adapted the opera for Schroder in Hamburg; 6 in 1792 it was given in Vienna, translated by Gieseke; and in 1794 Vulpius's translation appeared. A new translation, giving not only Da Ponte's verses, but Mozart's improvements on them, is a pressing necessity. The vast superiority of "Le Nozze di Figaro," in characterisation, plot, and dialogue, to the very best of opera buffa libretti may be easily discerned by comparing it with other famous operas, such as Casti's "Re Teodoro" or "Grotta di Trofonio." In many essential points "Figaro" overstepped the limits of opera buffa proper, and brought to view entirely new elements of dramatic construction. The political element indeed, on which perhaps most of the effect of the comedy depended, was altogether omitted from the opera. Not only does the dialogue receive its essential character from the satire and scorn which it freely casts upon the abuses of political and social life—the whole tendency of the play is to depict the nobleman of the period, who, himself without truth and honour, demands both from others, indulges his lust without scruple, and thereby causes his dependents, injured in their moral rights, to turn against him their intellectual superiority, so that he is finally DA PONTE'S LIBRETTO. [79] worsted and disgraced. This conception of the nobility and their position in relation to the citizen class is expressed with energy and malice, and found such a response in the prevailing opinions of the time, that the production of the piece against the expressed will of the King appeared to be a public confirmation of the principles which inspired it; and Napoleon might with justice say of "Figaro": "C'était la révolution déjà en action." 7 Every trace of these feelings has vanished in the opera, as will be clearly perceived by a comparison of the celebrated "Frondeur-monologue" of Figaro in the fifth act with the jealous song in the opera. The omission was made not so much in deference to the Emperor Joseph's scruples as with the right conviction that the political element is altogether out of place in music.

The omission of political satire is the more serious because it leaves as the central point of the plot an immorality which is not exactly justified, but not by any means seriously punished; only treated with a certain frivolity. The noble libertine is opposed by true and upright love, honest devotion to duty and honourable conduct; but these moral qualities are not made in themselves effective; the true levers of the plot are cunning and intrigue employed as weapons of defence. The whole piece appears in a doubtful light, the atmosphere surrounding Count Almaviva is impure, and the suppression of those circumstances which could alone make the phenomenon natural affects more or less the whole spirit of the plot, and deprives the dialogue of much of its point and double meaning.

Beaumarchais might fairly plead that, having undertaken to give a true picture of the manners of his time, absolute truth of conception and detail was necessary to insure the right moral effect; it was for a later age to perceive how completely the author of the satire was himself under the influence of the time which he depicts and would fain improve. This justification is denied to the opera. It has no title to be considered as a picture of morals, neither can it pretend to exercise any direct influence, whether moral or LE NOZZE DI FIGARO. [80] political, on the minds of men. The dialogue is undoubtedly in many respects purer than in the comedy; but the plot and its motives, the chief situations, the whole point of view, become all the more decidedly frivolous. How came it, then the Mozart could choose such a subject for his opera, and that the public could accept it with approbation? It must in the first place be borne in mind that the facts on which the plot is founded, and the point of view from which these facts are regarded, had at that time substantial truth and reality; men were not shocked at seeing on the stage that which they had themselves experienced, and knew to be going on in their own homes. A later age is disgusted by the contrast between semblance and reality, and at the representation of immorality in all its nakedness; the taste of the time demands that it shall be shown after another form and fashion. A glance at the entertaining literature, and even at the operas of the last half of the eighteenth century, shows clearly that representation of immorality plays an important part therein in a form which bespeaks the temper and spirit of the time; and further, that a desire for the representation of moral depravity is an infallible symptom of moral disease. It cannot, therefore, be wondered at that a picture of the moral corruption which penetrated all classes, from the highest to the lowest, and which had brought all social and political relations to the verge of dissolution, should have been regarded with eager approbation and enjoyment. The age which produced and enjoyed "Figaro" took a lighter view of sensual gratification and the moral turpitude connected therewith than that which seems right to a generation grown serious by reason of higher aims and nobler struggles. It need not here be discussed how far manners and opinions which change with the times are to be regarded as absolute morality; the point we are proving is undeniable, and is apparent, often painfully so, in all the light literature and memoirs of the day. Caroline Pichler writes in reference to this very period: 8


There prevailed a taste for all that was beautiful and pleasant in Vienna at that time. The mind had freer movement than at present, and anything might be written and printed which was not in the strictest sense of the word contrary to religion and the state. There was not nearly so much stress laid upon good manners. Plays and romances of a tolerably free tendency were admitted and discussed in good society. Kotzebue was very much thought of. His pieces, as well as Gemmingen's "Deutscher Hausvater," Schroder's "Ring," and many others which are sunk in oblivion, together with a number of tales and romances (Meissner's sketches above all) were founded on indecent subjects. They were read without scruple or concealment by all the world, and every young girl.

I myself saw and read them all repeatedly; "Oberon" I knew well, and Meissner's "Alcibiades." No mother felt any scruple at allowing her daughter to become acquainted with such works; and indeed living examples of what we read moved before us with so little concealment of their irregular and immoral doings, that it would not have been possible for any mother to keep her daughter in ignorance on these points.

It is sufficient to refer to the reading of Wieland's works.

What can be more repugnant to our ideas than to find a young girl writing to her lover:—

I hope you will soon get the new "Amadis"; it is the funniest, most whimsical book. I wonder how you will like Olinda! Master Amadis is a little too like butter—he melts in every sunbeam.

Our wonder increases when we reflect that this young girl is Caroline Flachsland, and her lover is Herder. 9 There can be no doubt that in this respect Mozart was a child of his time; that he willingly allowed himself to glide along the pleasant stream of life in Vienna, and that his merrier moods were often productive of free and even coarse jests. The frivolous element in Beaumarchais' comedy was not, therefore, likely to repel him, although it would be unfair to assert that it mainly attracted him; he accepted it, as others did, as the sauce which was most likely to be of acceptable flavour.

His chief concern was doubtless the gradual unfolding and continual interest of the plot, and the graphic delineation of character, qualities which were entirely overlooked by the ordinary opera buffa. Any approach to probability or analogy with actual life was not thought of, and was LE NOZZE DI FIGARO. [82] not often replaced even by a fanciful poetic vein of humour; attempts to give consistency to the caricatures of individuals and situations only served to bring their irreconcilable contrasts into stronger relief. In "Figaro," on the contrary, the interest depends upon, the truth the representation of actual life. The motives of the actors are serious, they are carried out with energy and intellect, and from them the situations are naturally developed; only the light in which they are all portrayed is that of Beaumarchais' strongly accented "gaieté," which is by no means innocent, and in its essence nothing less than musical. It is one of the strongest proofs of Mozart's genius that he should have undertaken, moved as he was by the dramatic signification of the piece, to infuse a new soul into it by his musical treatment; so sure was he that whatever came home to his mind might be used as the germ of a living creation. The musical representation, however, could only be a true one by relying entirely on the emotions which alone are capable of being expressed in music. 10 The whole piece is raised to a higher sphere by the subordination of the powers of understanding and intellect, which Beaumarchais had made the chief factors in his design. Beaumarchais' aim was to preserve his plot and characters from vulgarity or caricature; the point of view whence the musical reconstruction proceeded led inevitably to an ennobling of the whole representation. In depicting emotions, whether as the impulse to action, or as giving significance even to the least commendable promptings of the mind, the musician was in his own element, and the MUSICAL TREATMENT OF THE DRAMA. [83] wealth of dramatic situations and characters was a pure gain to an artist who knew how to turn it to account. The piercing eye of genius finds materials for its finest performance where a more superficial view reveals nothing but difficulties. If each of the characters, pursuing the interests they have at heart, are to express their inner sentiments at every point in conformity with their nature, it follows that the aim of dramatic characterisation in its true sense must be the representation of individuality, sharp and precise in form, true and pure as to its source; thus only will the exaggeration of caricature be avoided. This holds good of all the chief characters in "Figaro"—of the Count and Countess, Figaro, Susanna, and Cherubino. They are so entirely governed by their emotions and passions, so completely involved in the complications proceeding therefrom, that an artistic representation must depend on the depicting of these emotions in their fullest truth.

Bartolo and Marcellina seem to invite a treatment in caricature. In the "Barber of Seville" we find the same Bartolo as a buffo character. This is made impossible here by the fact that they are to appear afterwards as Figaro's parents, and ought not, therefore, to cut grotesque figures in our eyes. Beaumarchais' point, that Marcellina gives herself airs of superiority to Susanna, "parce qu'elle a fait quelques études et tourmenté la jeunesse de Madame" is not available for musical characterisation, but Mozart brings it out skilfully in another way. In the duet (Act I., 5), in which Susanna and Marcellina vie with each other in impertinence and provocation, the expression is toned down by the actual, disputing being left to the orchestra, and the two women are put quite on an equality. Susanna prevails over Marcellina only by reason of her youthful grace, and the whole appears an outbreak of that jealous susceptibility which is said to be an attribute of the female sex. Nobler women would not yield to such impulses, but these two belong to no exalted sphere, and give the rein to their angry humours. But they never forget themselves so far as to offend delicacy, and the general tone is a gay one, Marcellina being shown in no way inferior to LE NOZZE DI FIGARO. [84] Susanna. 11 Afterwards, when graver matters engage her, when she asserts her claims upon Figaro in the first finale, or recognises him as her son in the sestet, the musical expression is sustained and full of true feeling. A singer who was able to form her conception of the part from these touches of character would make of Marcellina something quite different from the ordinary old housekeeper, whom we have unhappily been used to see and hear, no doubt from a mistaken endeavour to render the illusion that Figaro's mother must be an old woman, and sing like an old woman. Marcellina's air (Act IV., 2)," on the other hand, does not assist the characterisation, and is the only piece in the whole opera which fails of its effect. The whole style of it, even to the passages, is old-fashioned, like the traditional air for a seconda donna; it appears to have been a concession made to the taste of the singer. Basilio, the man of cold intellect and malicious cunning, is not a figure which can be made comic by caricature. Mich. Kelly (1764-1825), for whom it was written, was an Irishman, who had studied in Naples, and was highly successful as a tenor in Italy and Vienna; his powers as a mimic fitted him especially for comic parts. 12 Basilio's malice and scorn are expressed in the terzet (Act I., 7) with delicacy and character, and, in contrast with Susanna's painful excitement and the Count's anger, they give to the piece an irony, such as has seldom found expression in music. The point justly noted by Ulibicheff (II., p. 45 ) that Basilio, in his attempts to pacify the Count after finding the page in the arm-chair, repeats the words: "Ah, del paggio quel ch' ho detto era solo un mio sospetto," a fifth higher, brings out in a striking degree his character of refined malice. The effect is heightened by the use of the same motif by the Count, when he is BASILIO. [85] telling how he found the page with Barberina; and it is attained in the simplest manner by the natural development of the musical structure. Basilio falls into the background in the course of the opera; the comic way in which Beaumarchais makes him banished by the Count, and his courtship of

Marcellina, would have afforded good operatic situations, but abbreviation and simplification were absolutely necessary, and much that was not essential had to be sacrificed. The air which is given to Basilio in the last act (Act IV., 3) scarcely affords compensation. Da Ponte, deprived of Beaumarchais' guidance in this place, makes Basilio illustrate by the fable of the asses' skin that those who can flatter and deceive succeed in the world. The musical rendering follows the story, the orchestra giving the characteristic detail. The expression of ease and self-complacency, and above all the incomparable idea, deservedly noticed by Ulibicheff, of turning the last sentence of the heartless poltroon: "Onte, pericoli, vergogna e morte col cuojo d' asino fuggir si puö," into a sort of parody of a triumphal march, give the air a character of its own". Executed with humour and delicate mimicry it becomes in fact an epitome of Basilio's character, with its utter want of genial qualities. But tone-painting occurs only in such touches as those of the storm, the yelping dog, the hurried retreat, and never comes to the foreground. This means of effect, elsewhere so favourite a device in opera buffa, is always sparingly used by Mozart. The "Din din, don, don," in the duet between Susanna and Figaro (Act I., 2) can scarcely be called tone-painting any more than it can be said to be word-painting; it is hardly more than an interjection, which has the advantage in its musical rendering of being incorporated as a motif in the structure of the piece. Nor can the term be justly applied to the march like tone of Figaro's "Non più andrai" (Act I., 9). Certain forms and phrases have developed themselves in music as expressions of warlike ideas, and they are employed as a matter of course where these ideas occur; Figaro, describing to the page the military life before him, has it mirrored as it were by the orchestra. Mozart wisely guards against entering LE NOZZE DI FIGARO. [86] upon any musical details in the picture, which would have led to a distorted tone-painting; he confines himself to the barest and most general allusions produced by association of ideas. It is often difficult to decide how far the association of ideas contributes to the partly involuntary, partly conscious construction of the musical expression. For instance in the first duet between Figaro and Susanna (Act I., 1), the motif for the bass—[See Page Image]

with the corresponding one for the first violins, goes very well with Figaro's measuring of the room, the diminutions expressing clearly enough his repeated stretches. It cannot be doubted that the situation has suggested the motif, but whether Mozart intended to express the action of measurement is far less certain, and any idea of tone-painting is out of the question. The subordinate characters of the drunken gardener Antonio and the stuttering judge Don Curzio might under other circumstances have been made into caricatures in the sense of opera buffa, but they appear in situations which have so decided a character of a totally different kind that they could not have departed from it without serious injury to that harmony of the whole which none knew better than Mozart how to preserve. The little cavatina (Act IV., 1)

for Barbarina, (Fanchette in Beaumarchais) is very significantly not exactly caricatured, but drawn in stronger colours than is elsewhere the case. This little maid, in her liking for Cherubino, and with an open-hearted candour which makes her a true enfant terrible to the Count, is altogether childish, and not only naïve but unformed. It is, therefore, natural that she should express her grief for the lost pin, and her fear of punishment, like a child; and when we hear her sobbing and crying over it we receive the same ludicrous impression which grown-up people rarely fail to feel at the sight of a child expressing the sorrow of his heart with an energy quite out of proportion to the occasion. The fact that the strong accents which Mozart here multiplies to produce the effect of the disproportion of childish FIGARO. [87] ideas are afterwards made use of to express real emotion does no injury to the truth of his characterisation. In a similar way the expression of sentiment is exaggerated when it is represented as feigned; as, for instance, the last finale, when Figaro makes love to the supposed Countess, whom he has recognised as Susanna, and grows more and more vehement in order to excite the Count's jealousy. Here we have a parody of the accents of strongest passion (Vol. II., p. 427). How differently does the same Figaro express his true feelings! How simple and genuine is the expression of his love in the first duet (Act I., 1), when he interrupts his measurements to exclaim to his pretty bride, with heartfelt joy: "Si, mio core, or è più bello!" and in the last finale, when he puts an end to pretence and, in an exalted mood, with the feeling of his newly won, safely assured happiness fresh upon him, exclaims: "Pace! pace, mio dolce tesoro!" Equally true is Figaro's expression of the jealousy which results from his love. At first indeed this feeling is a curiously mingled one. Warned by Susanna herself, he has full confidence in her, and feels all his intellectual superiority to the Count; he contemplates his situation with a humour which is admirably rendered in the celebrated cavatina (Act I., 3). Cheerfully as it begins, the expression of superciliousness and versatility has a tinge of bitterness and resentment, betraying how nearly he is touched by the affair which he affects to treat so lightly. Afterwards, when he believes himself deceived, grief and anger are strongly expressed in the recitative preceding his air (Act IV., 4). But his originality asserts itself even here. The consciousness of what his situation has of the ludicrous never forsakes him, and his anger against the whole female sex, which he works up more and more, involuntarily assumes a comic character. Here we have one of the many points which Mozart added to the text.


The somewhat unflattering description of womankind runs—

     Queste chiamate dee
     Son streghe che incantano per farci penar,
     Sirene che cantano per farci affogar,
     Civette che allettano per trarci le piume,
     Comete che brillano per toglierci il lume—

and so on, until at the end—

     Amore non senton, non senton pietà—
     Il resto non dico, già ognuno lo sà.

He has no sooner pronounced the fatal "il resto non dico," when he seems unable to get out any more; and so it runs—

     Son streghe che incantano—il resto non dico
     Sirene che cantano—il resto non dico, &c.—

giving, opportunity for a corresponding musical treatment of the words. At last Mozart makes the horns strike in unexpectedly and finish the phrase for him in a manner full of musical fun. As the consciousness grows upon Figaro that he is himself the injured party, his signs of grief and pain grow stronger and more animated. The blending of warm feeling with the involuntarily comic expression of intellectual reaction is psychologically true, and in such a character as Figaro's inevitable; it is embodied in the music in a form very different to that of an ordinary buffo aria. Not less true to nature is Figaro's resigned expression of disappointed love further on, when, having the evidence of his own senses that Susanna has been unfaithful to him, he ejaculates: "Tutto è tranquillo." But such a mood as this could not be a lasting one with Figaro, and changes at once upon Susanna's entrance. Benucci, for whom Mozart wrote Figaro, possessed an "extremely round, full, fine bass voice." He was considered a first-rate actor as well as singer, and had the rare merit of never exaggerating. 13 The individual characterisation is still more sharply defined when several personages appear together in similar situations. Immediately upon the air where Figaro declares war upon the Count (Act I., 3) follows Bartolo's air (Act I., 5) 14 in which the latter announces his approaching victory over Figaro. He also is altogether in earnest; Figaro has cruelly deceived him, and the long-looked-for BARTOLO. [89] opportunity of vengeance is close at hand: "Tutta Sevilla conosce Bartolo, il birbo Figaro vinto sarà." He is full of pride and self-consciousness—

    La vendetta è un piacer serbato ai saggi,
    L' obliar l' onte, gl' oltraggi
    E bassezza, è ognor viltà—

and the air begins with the forcible and impulsive expression of this self-consciousness enhanced by rapid instrumentation; Bartolo feels the injury done to him, and his obligation in honour to avenge himself, and the sincerity of this feeling invests him with a certain amount of dignity. But—his character has none of the elements of true greatness; as soon as he begins to descant on the way in which he is to outwit Figaro, his grovelling spirit betrays itself; he excites himself with his own chatter, and complacently announces his own triumph beforehand. Bartolo's dignity is not, however, a parody on his true self; the comic element consists in the contrast of the pride which lays claim to dignity and the small-mindedness which unwittingly forfeits the claim. The German translations lose the chief point of the characterisation. Capitally expressed is the original: "coll' astuzia, coll' arguzia, col giudizio, col criterio, si potrebbe——" here the orchestra takes up the motif of the words "è basezza," as if to edge him on, but soon subsides, as he recollects himself: "si potrebbe, si potrebbe"—suddenly interrupted by "il fatto è serio," to which the whole orchestra responds with a startling chord; thereupon he resumes with calm self-confidence: "ma, credete, si farà," and then launches into the flood of trivialities with which he seeks to bolster up his courage.

Steffano Mandini, the original Count Almaviva, was considered by Kelly as one of the first buffos of the day, 15 and Choron used to hold him up to his scholars as his ideal of a singer. 16 At the moment when Susanna has hearkened to; his suit, he infers from a word let fall by her that she has LE NOZZE DI FIGARO. [90] deceived him. Injured pride, disappointed hope, and jealousy of his happier rival, excite him to a pitch of passion which breaks out in true cavalier fashion with the words (Act III., 2).: "vedrò, mentr' io sospiro, felice un servo mio!" What a world of expression Mozart has thrown into these words! While disappointed but unvanquished passion presses its sting deep into his heart, injured pride flares up prepared to give place to no other feeling than that of revenge. In the wonderful passage which follows with renewed force upon the immediately preceding tones of sharp complaint—[See Page Image] the change from major to minor brouight about by the chromatic passage in the middle parts is of inimitable effect. 17 We have before us the nobleman, feeling his honour affronted because he is not allowed to injure that of his servant, and there is in the expression of his revengeful desires and his certainty of victory no tinge of Figaro's cunning or Bartolo's meanness; the stream of passion flows full and unmingled, and the noble position of the Count gives it a certain amount of composure; his weakness excites regret rather than contempt or even ridicule. The expression of this air corresponds to the musical conception of the Count throughout the opera, in making his feelings of injured pride outweigh those of disappointed desire. Pride, jealousy, or anger, unjustifiable as they may be in their outbreaks, are always more dignified and nobler motives than a love-making whose only foundation is licentiousness, and its only excuse frivolity. He gives free play to this feeling in THE COUNT. [91] the enchanting duet with Susanna (Act III., 1); but the situation is rendered endurable to the audience by the knowledge that Susanna is playing a part to please the Countess. Mozart has given this little duet a title to be placed in the first rank of musical works of art by the delicacy with which he has rendered the mixture of encouragement and coyness in Susanna's demeanour, her true motives being as clear to the audience as is the misunderstanding of the Count. The harmonic turns of her evasive answer to his passionate request, "Signor, la donna ognora tempo ha di dir si," are masterpieces of musical diplomacy. Even the piquant conceit by which she answers his urgent questions, "Verrai? non mancherai?" with "si" instead of "no," and vice versa, to his great perplexity, has something more than a merely comic signification. 18 It characterises most strikingly the security with which she plays with his passion as expressed in these eager, flattering requests. Even here, delight at his hard-won victory predominates over his sensual impulses.

The sensual element of love plays far too great a part in "Figaro," however, to be altogether disregarded in its musical rendering. It would be a difficult matter to determine how far and in what way music is capable of giving artistic expression to this side of the tender passion; but it cannot be disputed that Mozart has in this respect competed successfully with the sister arts of painting and poetry. In Susanna's so-called garden air (Act IV., 5) her longing for her betrothed is expressed with all the tender intensity of purest beauty; but the simple notes, cradled as it were in blissful calm, that seem to be breathed forth "soft as the balmy breath of eve," glow with a mild warmth that stirs the heart to its depth, entrancing the mind, and intoxicating the senses like the song of the nightingale. The pizzicato accompaniment of the air fitly suggests a serenade. It gives the voice free scope, and the sparely introduced wind instruments, as well as the tender passage for the first violin towards the close, only serve to give a finer emphasis to the LE NOZZE DI FIGARO. [92] full body of the voice. The impression of longing delight is intensified by the simplicity of the harmonies, as if from fear of disturbing by any sudden change the calm bliss of the passing moment. But what analysis can penetrate these mysteries of creative genius 19 Mozart was right to let the feelings of the loving maiden shine forth in all their depth and purity, for Susanna has none but her Figaro in her mind, and the sentiments she expresses are her true ones. Figaro in his hiding-place, listening and suspecting her of waiting the Count's arrival, throws, a cross light on the situation, which, however, only receives its full dramatic signification by reason of the truth of Susanna's expression of feeling. Susanna, without her sensual charm is inconceivable, and a tinge of sensuality is an essential element of her nature; but Mozart has transfigured it into a noble purity which may fitly be compared with the grandest achievements of Greek sculpture.

Nancy Storace (1761-1814), "who possessed in a degree unique at that time, and rare at any time, all the gifts, the cultivation, and the skill which could be desired for Italian comic opera," 20 seems to have been a singer to whom Mozart was able to intrust the rendering of this mixture of sentiment and sensuality. When "Figaro" was reproduced in July, 1789, he wrote for Adriana Ferrarese del Bene, 21 a less refined and finished singer, the air "Al desio di chi t'adora" (577 K.), retaining the RONDO FOR SUSANNA. [93] accompanied recitative. 22 The words of this song—

     Al desio di chi t' adora
     Vieni, vola, o mia speranza,
     Morirö, se indarno ancora
     Tu mi lasci sospirar.
     Le promesse, i giuramenti
     Deh! ramenta, o mio tesoro!
     E i momenti di ristoro
     Che mi fece amor aperar.
     Ah! che omai più non resisto
     All' ardor, che il sen m' accende.
     Chi d' amor gli affetti intende,
     Compatisca il mio penar.

with the reference to vows and hopes unfulfilled seem better suited to the Countess than to Susanna, though the air is clearly indicated for the latter. Apparently the song was intended to strengthen Figaro in the delusion that it was the Countess he saw before him. The device might intensify the situation, but it was a loss to the musical characterisation, for the air was not altogether appropriate either to Susanna or the Countess. The singer had evidently wished for a grand, brilliant air, and Mozart humoured her by composing the air in two broadly designed and elaborately executed movements, allied in style to the great airs in "Cosi fan Tutte," and in "Titus." The bravura of the voice and orchestra is as entirely foreign to "Figaro" as is the greater display of sensual vigour with which the longing for the beloved one is expressed. Apart from its individual characterisation, the air has wonderful effects of sound and expression, greatly heightened by the orchestra. Basset-horns, bassoons, and horns are employed, occasionally concertante, giving a singularly full and soft tone-colouring to the whole. A draft score, unfortunately incomplete, in Mozart's handwriting, testifies to a later abandoned attempt for a similar song. The superscription is "Scena con Rondo" 23 the person indicated, Susanna. The beginning of the recitative, both in words and music, is like that of the better-known LE NOZZE DI FIGARO. [94] song, and it expresses the same idea somewhat more diffusely as it proceeds, closing in B flat major. The solitary leaf preserved breaks off at the eighth bar of the rondo; only the voice-part and the bass are given—[See Page Image]

but even this fragment of text and melody suffices to show a complete contrast to the air just mentioned. A little ariette preserved in Mozart's original score and marked "Susanna" (579 K.), has still less of the delicate characterisation which we admire so much in the opera. 24 The words—

     Un moto di gioja
     Mi sento nel petto,
     Che annunzia diletto
     In mezzo il timor.
     Speriamo che in contento
     Finisca l' affanno,
     Non sempre è tiranno fato ed amor—

are trifling, and so commonplace that they suggest no particular situation. Even the music, hastily thrown together and light in every respect, expresses only a superficially excited mood. If, as is probable, the air was intended for the dressing scene, 25 the want of individual characterisation SUSANNA. [95] becomes all the more observable. It would be a great mistake to consider the character of Susanna as a mere expression of amorous sensuality. This side of it is judiciously displayed first without any reserve, in order to throw into relief her not less real qualities of devoted affection, faithful service, and refined and playful humour. The very scene, not in itself altogether unobjectionable, in which the ladies disguise the page, is turned into an amusing joke by Susanna's innocent and charming merriment. Susanna's air in this scene (Act II., 3) is, technically speaking, a cabinet piece. The orchestra executes an independent piece of music, carefully worked-out and rounded in most delicate detail, which admirably renders the situation, and yet only serves as a foil to the independent voice-part. A tone of playful humour runs through the whole long piece from beginning to end; it is the merriment of youth, finding an outlet in jest and teasing, expressed with all possible freshness and grace. But the high spirit of youth does not exclude deeper feelings where more serious matters are concerned; in the terzet (Act II., 4) where Susanna in her hiding-place listens to the dialogue between the Count and Countess, she displays deep emotion, and expresses her sympathy with truth and gravity. Mozart has indeed grasped this painful situation with a depth of feeling which raises the terzet far above ordinary opera buffa. 26 In her relations to Figaro, Susanna displays now one, now the other side of her nature. It is judiciously arranged that immediately succeeding her first heartfelt, though not sentimental expression of love (Act I., 1), the second duet (Act I., 2), should display her merry humour. Her consciousness of superiority over Figaro, who learns the Count's designs first through her, combined with the ease of her relations towards them both, resulting from the honesty of her love, enable her to carry off the difficult situation with LE NOZZE DI FIGARO. [96] a spirit and youthful gaiety which contrast with Figaro's deeper emotions. He begins indeed with unrestrained merriment, but the same motif, mockingly repeated by Susanna, becomes a warning which has so serious an effect upon him that not even her endearments can quite succeed in chasing the cloud from his brow. 27 The ground-tone of the duet, the intercourse of affianced lovers, is expressed with the utmost warmth and animation, and places us at once in the possession of the true state of affairs. Before the end comes, however, we see the couple testing each other's fidelity and measuring their intellectual strength against each other, as when in the last finale Susanna, in the Countess's clothes, puts Figaro to the proof, and he, recognising her, takes his clue accordingly. This duet sparkles with life and joviality, rising, after the explanation, to the most winning expression of tender love.

The characters of the Countess and Cherubino are much less complicated than that of Susanna. The Countess is represented as a loving wife, injured by a jealous and faithless husband. The musical characterisation gives no suggestion of any response, however faint and soon stifled, to the page's advances, but is the most charming expression of ideal purity of sentiment. She suffers, but not yet hopelessly, and the unimpaired consciousness of her own love forbids her to despair of the Count's. Thus she is presented to us in her two lovely songs. The calm peace of a noble mind upon which sorrow and disappointment have cast the first light shadow—too light seriously to trouble its serenity—is expressed with intensest feeling in the first air (Act II., 1). The second (Act III., 4),

when she is on the point of taking a venturous step to recall the Count to her side, is more agitated, and, in spite of the melancholy forebodings which she cannot quite repress, gives expression to a joyful hope of returning happiness. There is no strong passion even here; the Count's affronts CHERUBINO. [97] excite her anger, and the dilemma in which she is, placed awakens her youthful pleasure in teasing. This reminiscence of Rosina in earlier years, combined with the consciousness of her true feeling, so finely expressed by the music, may in some measure supply the motive for the deceit which she thinks herself justified in using towards the Count. Signora Laschi, who took the part of the Countess, was highly esteemed in Italy, but was not a great favourite in Vienna. 28 Signora Bussani, on the other hand, who appeared for the first time as the page, although not a singer of the first rank, was much admired by the public for her beautiful figure and unreserved acting, 29 or as Da Ponte says, for her smorfie and pagliacciate. 30 "Cherubino is undoubtedly one of the most original of musical-dramatic creations, Beaumarchais depicts a youth, budding into manhood, feeling the first stirrings of love, and unceasingly occupied in endeavouring to solve the riddle which he is to himself. Count Almaviva's castle is not a dwelling favourable to virtue, and the handsome youth, who pleases all the women he meets, is not devoid of wanton sauciness: "Tu sais trop bien," he says to Susanna, "que je n'ose pas oser." To Susanna, with whom he can be unreserved, he expresses the commotion of his whole nature in the celebrated air (Act I., 6) which so graphically renders his feverish unrest, and his deep longing after something indefinable and unattainable. The vibration of sentiment, never amounting to actual passion, the mingled anguish and delight of the longing which can never be satisfied, are expressed with a power of beauty raising them out of the domain of mere sensuality, Very remarkable is the simplicity of the means by which this extraordinary effect is attained. A violin accompaniment passage, not unusual in itself, keeps up the restless movement; the harmonies make no striking progressions, strong emphasis and accents are sparingly used, and yet the LE NOZZE DI FIGARO. [98] soft flow of the music is made suggestive of the consuming glow of passion. The instrumentation is here of very peculiar effect and of quite novel colouring; the stringed instruments are muted, and clarinets occur for the first time and very prominently, both alone and in combination with the horns and bassoons. 31 The romanze in the second act (2) is notably different in its shading. Cherubino is not here directly expressing his feelings; he is depicting them in a romanze, and he is in the presence of the Countess, towards whom he glances with all the bashfulness of boyish passion. The song is in ballad form, to suit the situation, the voice executing the clear, lovely melody, while the stringed instruments carry on a simple accompaniment pizzicato, to imitate the guitar; this delicate outline is, however, shaded and animated in a wonderful degree by solo wind instruments. Without being absolutely necessary for the progress of the melodies and the completeness of the harmonies, they supply the delicate touches of detail reading between the lines of the romanze, as it were, what is passing in the heart of the singer. We know not whether to admire most the gracefulness of the melodies, the delicacy of the disposition of the parts, the charm of the tone-colouring, or tenederness of the expression—the whole is of entrancing beauty.

Unhappily we have lost a third air written for Cherubino. After the sixth scene of the second act, in which Barberina requests the page to accompany her, the original draft score contains the remark: "Segue Arietta di Cherubino; dopo l'Arietta di Cherubino viene scena 7, ma ch' è un Recitativo istromentato con Aria della Confessa," This arietta is not in existence, and probably never was, a change in the arrangement of the scenes having rendered it superfluous. This is to be regretted; Cherubino's intercourse with Barberina would have supplied an essential feature which is now wanting in the opera. But even as it is, the image of DANCE—MARCH. [99] Cherubino is so attractive, so original, that it must unquestionably be reckoned among the most wonderful of Mozart's creations.

Thus we see all the dramatis personæ live and move as human beings, and we unconsciously refer their actions and demeanour to their individual natures, which lie before us clear and well-defined. So great a master of psychological characterisation was under no necessity of calling accessories of costume or scenery to his aid, and declined even to remind us by the use of peculiar musical forms that the action was laid in Spain. This device is only once resorted to. The dance which is performed during the wedding festivities in the third act (Act III., 8, p. 377) reminds us so forcibly of the customary melody for the fandango, 32 that there can be no doubt this dance was known in Vienna at the time. Gluck has employed the same melody in his ballet of "Don Juan," produced at Vienna in 1761. If Mozart's adaptation be compared with the other two, it will be perceived that he has formed a free and independent piece of music out of some of the characteristic elements of the original, combining dignity and grace in a singular degree; the treatment of the bass and middle pans, and the varied combinations u of the wind instruments heighten the effect of the unusual colouring. At the exclamation of the Gotmt, who has pricked himself with a pin the bassoon strikes up in plaintif tones:—[See Page Image]

which are comically appropriate. But they are not primarily introduced to express pain; they belong to the dance music, and recur at the same point later on in the dance; the point of the joke is the apparently chance coincidence of the dance music with the situation of the moment. The fine march preceding the ballet, the gradual approach of which produces a very effective climax (Vol. II., p. 154, note), takes its LE NOZZE DI FIGARO. [100] peculiar colouring from the constant transition to the minor in the wind instruments—[See Page Images]—without having any very decided national character. Neither are the choruses sung on the same occasion by female voices, or male and female together, particularly Spanish in tone, any more than the chorus in the first act (Act I., 8); they are gay, fresh, very graceful, and exactly fitted to the situation.

Hitherto we have attempted an exposition only of the musical-dramatic characteristics of the opera, the psychological conception which makes the actions of the characters correspond with their individual nature... Not less important are the events and circumstances which give rise to the combined action of the different characters; in the opera this is displayed in ensemble movements. The prevailing principle is here again truth in the expression of feeling; but the juxtaposition of the different characters necessitates a greater stress to be laid on individual peculiarities;

and again, these characteristics of detail must be subordinated to the main idea of producing a well-formed whole. A due balance of parts can only be produced by compliance with the conditions of a musical work of art. The substance and form of these ensemble movements are of course subject to many modifications; many of them are nothing more than a detailed and fuller exposition of some definite situation or mood; and their whole design is therefore simple. Such are the duets between Figaro and Susanna (Act I., i, 2), between Susanna and Marcellina (Act I., 5), the writing duet (Act III., 5), and the duet between the Count and Susanna (Act III., 1); they are distinguished from airs more by their form than their nature. If during the dressing scene Cherubino were to chime in with Susanna's remarks, the Countess were also directly to interpose, such a duet or terzet would represent the situation in greater variety of detail, the form would become richer by means of contrasting ENSEMBLES. [101] elements, but the musical matter would not differ essentially from that to which we are accustomed in solo airs. The terzet in the second act is of this character; a situation or a mood is maintained, and only variously mirrored in the various personages. Here, then, is the point of departure for unity in the grouping of the whole; and the ordinary resources of musical construction, such as the repetition of a motif in different places, the elaboration and combination of the motifs, for the most part lend themselves to the situation.

The difficulty of the task increases in proportion as the music forms part-of the plot. We have an instance of this in the duet between Susanna and Cherubino (Act II., 5); when the latter tries to escape, and finally jumps out of the window. The simple situation gives rise to an expression of fear and disquiet in short, interrupted motifs, and the prevailing characteristic is an agitation almost amounting to action__in progress. The agitation, however, is so characteristically rendered by the music, that, while appearing to flow from an irresistible impulse, it is in reality only an effect of a definite musical formula fitly working out a given motif. The orchestral part forms a separate piece of music of very varied character. 33

The terzet of the first act comes in the very middle of the action (Act I., 7). Here we have not merely three persons of dissimilar natures thrown together, but at the particular point in the plot their interests and sentiments are altogether opposed, and each of them is influenced by different suppositions. The plot proceeds, however, and the discovery of the page in the arm-chair gives a turn to affairs which changes the position of each person present. We are struck in the first place with the striking, delicately toned musical expression, especially when the voices go together, as at the beginning, when the Count's anger: "Tosto andate e scacciate il LE NOZZE DI FIGARO. [102] seduttor!" Basilio's lame excuse: "In mal punto son qui giunto," and Susanna's distress: "Che ruina, me meschina!" are all blended into a whole, while preserving throughout their individual characters. The same is the case at the end also, when the Count, taken by surprise, turns his displeasure against Susanna in ironical expressions: "Onestissima signora, or capisco come và"; while she is anxious on her own account: "Accader non puo di peggio!" and Basilio gives free expression to his malice: "Cosi fan tutte le belle!" But while the music appears only to follow the plot, we cannot fail on closer examination to perceive that I we have before us a work constructed and carried out I according to the strictest laws of musical form. It is all so naturally and easily put together that what is really owing to deep artistic insight might be considered by the uninitiated as the result of a fortuitous coincidence of dramatic and musical effects. The intensely comic effect produced by Basilio's repetition of his previous sentence, a fifth higher is brought about of necessity by the musical form. A similar effect is produced when, at the point where a return to the original key leads us to expect a recurrence of the principal subject, the Count, with the same notes in which he had exclaimed, full of resentment at Susanna's intercession; "Parta, parta il damerino!" now turns to Susanna herself with the words: "Onestissima signora, or capisco come và," the point being brought out by the change from forte to pianissimo. Traits like this of delicate dramatic characterisation proceed immediately from the musical construction, and are to be ascribed solely to the composer; the text does not by any means directly suggest them.

The dramatic interest reaches a far higher level in the two great finales. The finale to the second act is judiciously constructed, as far as is compatible with musical exigences, out of the elements already existing in Beaumarchais. The dramatic interest rises with the increasing number of persons taking part in the action, and grows to a climax, while new developments proceeding from the unravelling of each complication bring the actors into ever-varying relations with each other. The different situations afford the most FINALES. [103] animated variety, moving onwards in close connection, but each one keeping its ground long enough to give ample scope for musical elaboration. 34 The situations thus give rise to the eight movements, distinct in design and character, which form the finale. The masterly combination of the different movements is more effective than would be any amount of emphasis laid on particular points of characterisation. The finale opens with a manifestation of intensest passion—the Count glowing with rage and jealousy, the Countess, wounded to the heart, trembling at the consequences of her imprudence.

In no other part of the opera is the pathetic element express so prominent, the conflict being so strongly expressed that a serious catastrophe appears inevitable. But Susanna's unexpected appearance brings about an explanation, which could not be more aptly expressed than by the rhythmical motif of the second movement. 35 Susanna's mocking merriment, which for a moment rules the situation, is in some degree moderated by the uncertainty of the two others. The want of repose of the following movement alters the character again, while the chief characters have to adapt themselves to their change of relative position. The Count has to propitiate his wife, without being altogether convinced himself; the Countess's anger and forgiveness both come from the heart, but she feels that she is not now quite in the right. Susanna is exerting herself to bring about explanation and reconciliation, and in so doing takes involuntarily, as it were, the upper hand of the Countess. It is a mimic war, carried on in the most courteous manner; every emotion is broken and disturbed.

Now let us turn to the music. A succession of short motifs, each of which characterises a particular element of the situation, are loosely put together, none of them independently worked out, one driving out the other. But the LE NOZZE DI FIGARO. [104] motifs occur in every case just where dramatic expression demands, and each repetition throws a new light upon the situation, turning the apparent confusion into a well-formed musical whole. Figaro brings an element of unrestrained gaiety into the midst of this troubled atmosphere; the G major following immediately on the E flat major breaks away from all that has gone before. His merriment is truly refreshing, but even he feels some constraint knowing that his secret is betrayed, without being aware of what has led to it. The eagerness with which the Count interrupts him, the anxiety with which the women seek to put him in the right way, his alternate holding back and yielding, give the scene a diplomatic sort of tone, wonderfully well-rendered by a tinge of dignity in the music, which only here and there betrays, involuntarily as it were, more animation. The closing ensemble gives to each of the four voices a mysterious character which is quite inimitable. A complete contrast to this delicate play is afforded by the half-drunken gardener with his denunciation; this opponent requires quite a different treatment. The musical characterisation becomes more lively and broader, the different features more strongly marked. As soon as the Count begins his examination of Figaro, the tone alters again. The remarkable andante 6-8 in which the beating motif—[See Page Image] is hurried through the most varied harmonic transitions expresses an impatience which is scarcely to be kept from violent explosion, quite in accordance with the suspense with which the progress of the explanation is followed by all present without arriving at any satisfactory solution. Finally Marcellina enters with her confederates. The firm, bold pace which is at once adopted by the music marks the commencement of a new struggle; the peril becomes serious, and the change of situation brings about a new FINALES. [105] disposition of the characters. Marcellina, Basilio and Bartolo range themselves on one side, the Countess, Susanna and Figaro on the other, both parties aggressive and prepared for the fight, the Count between them turning first to the one side and then to the other. When the crisis is over, and Marcellina's claim acknowledged, the previous positions are reversed; Marcellina's party has the advantage, Figaro's is defeated. The vanquished party now lose self-command and become violently agitated, while the victors express their triumph with mocking composure. The finale ends in doubled tempos with a diffuse but decided expression of those discordant moods on both sides, bringing the long strife and confusion to an end. 36 The plan of the second finale is quite different; we plunge at once into the midst of an animated intrigue, one misapprehension and surprise following close upon another. The Countess, disguised as Susanna, awaits the Count; Figaro, and Susanna listen concealed; first the page enters, then the Count, and the play proceeds, every one getting into the wrong place, receiving what is not meant for him, and addressing himself to the wrong person. Mozart has only grasped the amusing side of the complication, and the music maintains a cheerful, lively character, without leaving room for any expression of deeper feeling. By this means whatever is objectionable in the situation seems to spring unavoidably as it were from the facts of the case, on which the play is founded and developed. It is sufficiently astonishing that the music should succeed in following this development step by step in all its turns; the higher art of the master is displayed in his power of representing dramatic life and reality in all its perfection within the limits of a musical movement of scientific conception and form. Nowhere perhaps is the style of intrigue which Zelter praises as the special quality of the opera 37 brought LE NOZZE DI FIGARO. [106] so prominently forward as in this ensemble. It consists in the art of making each character express himself naturally and appropriately, at the same time rendering the due meaning of the situation and throwing the right light on every separate utterance, while giving the whole a brighter colouring. As soon as Figaro and Susanna are opposed to each other, the tone and style are altered. Serious genuine feeling breaks through the mask of deception, and asserts its sway. Not until the Count enters does the trickery begin again, leading to a succession of surprises which find their climax in the appearance of the Countess. The music renders so bewitchingly the impression of her pardoning gentleness and amiability that we are forced to believe in the sincerity of the reconciliation, and to share in the rejoicings which follow on so many troublous events. 38

Next to these two finales a prominent position is assigned to the sestet (Act III., 3) which according to Kelly was Mozart's favourite piece in the whole opera. 39 This partiality is characteristic, for his amiable nature finds fuller expression in this piece than in any other. The trial scene is omitted in the opera, but the recognition of Figaro by Marcellina and Bartolo is brought into the foreground. The cool sarcastic tone of Beaumarchais gives this scene something unpleasant; but the musical version even here allows human sentiment to assert itself; if it were not for the extraordinary circumstances on which the scene is founded it would be quite pathetic. Both the parents and the son are in the act of expressing the tenderest affection and delight when Susanna hastens in to redeem Figaro. The violence with which she manifests her anger at Figaro's apparent want of constancy is meant quite seriously, and is necessary in order to show how deeply her heart is affected. Amid the caresses of her supposed rival she learns the truth, the charming melody to which Marçellina had made herself known to her THE SESTET. [107] son being transferred to the orchestra while she acquaints Susanna of her relationship to Figaro. Susanna, incredulous of the wonderful story, demands confirmation from each person present in turn, and the situation assumes a comic character, consisting however only in the unexpected turn of events, not in the sentiments of the persons interested, who only wish to be quite sure of their facts before giving themselves up to unmitigated delight. Once assured of their happiness, it overflows in fervent gratitude with an enchanting grace that invests the happy lovers with a sort of inspired and radiant beauty. Mozart has added very much to the effect by keeping the whole passage sotto voce, a device which he always employs with deep psychological truth. 40 But the lovers are not alone, and the contrast afforded by the other personages present prevents the purely idyllic character which would be incongruous in this scene. One of these is the Count, who with difficulty restrains his rage so far as not to commit himself. The other is the stupid, stuttering judge, Don Curzio, who has pronounced judgment as the Count's tool, and is now amazed at what is passing before him; incapable of an idea, he says first one thing and then another, and finally takes refuge in obsequiously following the opinions of his lord and master. The striking musical effect of the high tenor going with the Count's deep bass gives an expression of cutting irony, and emphasises the stupidity of the judge who chimes in with the Count, without in the least entering into the passions which agitate him. Don Curzio serves here the same purpose as Basiliain the terzet of the first act, mingling a comic element with the expression of a deeper emotion, and modifying, without injuring, the serious ground-tone of the piece. This mode of construction is altogether Mozart's own, and is a striking testimony to his power of grasping and delineating dramatic truth.

Kelly narrates that Mozart begged him not to stutter LE NOZZE DI FIGARO. [108] while he was singing lest the impression of the music should be disturbed. He answered that it would be unnatural if a stutterer should lose his defect as soon as he began to sing, and undertook to do no harm to the music. Mozart gave in at last, and the result was so successful that the sestet had to be repeated, and Mozart himself laughed inordinately. He came on the stage after the performance, shook Kelly by both hands and thanked him, saying: "You were right and I was wrong." 41 This was doubtless very amiable of Mozart, but his first view was the right one, nevertheless. The artifice might succeed in a master of mimicry, but Don Curzio ought certainly not to be made the principal person in the sestet. On the contrary, he might well be omitted altogether as a musical pleonasm; at least, if Basilio were to be brought in and made to take the same part in the action.

The sestet may be taken as an excellent example of the manner in which Mozart turned his means of representation to account. We are struck first of all with his power of grouping so as to produce a clear and distinct whole. The effect and appreciation of music depends, like architecture, on symmetry. Even though a strict parallelism of the different component parts may be in all but certain cases inapplicable, yet their symmetry must be always present to the apprehension of the hearers. In the musical drama the characterisation of the situation dominates the construction side by side with the laws of musical form. In the sestet before us Marcellina, Bartolo, and Figaro form a natural group, announcing themselves at once as connected from a musical point of view, Marcellina and Bartolo closely corresponding, Figaro forming the uniting member of the little group. Opposed to them we have the Count and Don Curzio, who also keep together, but with greater freedom of independent movement. Susanna's entry introduces a new element. At first she opposes Figaro, and allies herself to the Count, and we have then two strongly characteristic groups of three persons, each with a construction and TREATMENT OF THE VOICE PARTS. [109] movement of its own. The explanation which ensues necessitates the dissolving of the ensemble into a monologue, after which the situation is changed. Susanna goes over to Figaro, Marcellina, and Bartolo, and fresh group is formed, with Susanna as the chief member, though the others do not by any means renounce their independence. Against this concentrated force the discontented minority gives expression to additional energy and resentment, coming to an end in unison. These hints will suffice to show with what a firm mind of the hearers an impression of the perfect freedom of dramatic action, within the limits of strict and simple musical form.

The great stress laid upon dramatic reality necessitated in general simple forms and moderate execution in the musical part of the work. In the airs the traditional form of two elaborate movements is only exceptionally employed the cavatina or rondo form being in most cases preferred and treated freely, although with considerable precision the majority of the duets are similar in design, Mozart having usually written over them duettino, arietta, But neither confined limits nor dramatic interest have been made a pretext for the neglect of well-constructed, well-rounded form;

he never fails to hit upon the right point, whence a whole may be organised. Thus, every separate passage in the finale heightens the contrast, and leads by a 'natural process of development to a conclusion for which '+ helps to prepare the way. What has been said in general terms may be applied to the treatment of details, and primarily of the voices. The dramatic characterisation necessitates perfect freedom in the employment of every source of effect; long-drawn cantilene shorter melodious phrase; well-marked motifs requiring elaborate working-out, declamatory delivery merging into an easy conversational tone—all are employed in their right place, often in rapid alternation and varied combination. It is not sufficient, however that each separate device should be employed effectively the essential point is that they should be placed in right relations with each other, and with the whole of which hand the musical edifice is put together so as to leave on the LE NOZZE DI FIGARO. [110] they form parts. The unhesitating use of the resources of the voice, and the harmony of the effect, are admirable alike in the great ensemble movements and in the smallest passage to be sung; the sestet and the second duet may be brought forward as essentially differing in style and subject, yet each in its place distinguished by delicacy of detail and striking effect. Great simplicity in the treatment of the voices is a noteworthy consequence of this tendency. Song is merely the means adopted for expressing emotion of different kinds. Homely simplicity not only corresponds to truth of expression—it is necessary for the combination of heterogeneous motives, which would otherwise be incomprehensible.

This simplicity, however, is not of the kind that reduces all expression to the same level, and abjures ornament and grace; rather is it the simplicity of a nature which draws its inspiration from the depths of the heart, and excludes all merely virtuoso-like displays which would serve but to glorify the singer. 42

An important aid to characterisation and colouring was found by Mozart in the orchestra. We know by what means he had prepared and cultivated every part of a full orchestra as a means of characteristic expression and euphonious charm. His contemporaries were particularly impressed by his use of wind instruments, and in point of fact they were little likely ever to have experienced before the sensations produced by the tender interweaving of the wind instruments in Cherubino's romanze (Act II., 2), or their soft, melting sounds in his air (Act I., 6). In these days we should, indeed, appreciate rather Mozart's moderation in the employment of wind instruments. Trombones are never used, and trumpets and drums only in the overture the march with a chorus (Act III., 7), the closing passages of the finales, and in three airs: those of Bartolo (Act I., 4), Figaro (Act I., 9), and the Count (Act III., 2). This is not saying much; true moderation consists, not so much in THE ORCHESTRA. [111] abstaining from certain methods, as in the way in which those which are employed are held in check. Equally admirable is the masterly treatment of the stringed instruments which form the groundwork of the orchestra, at the same time that the independent movements of the separate instruments develop a fresh and ever-varied vivacity. Mozart has striven above all to preserve a healthy balance of sound effects, and a unity of treatment which never aims at brilliant effects brought about either by an ostentatious extra vagance or an exaggerated economy in the use of his resources; the right effect is produced at the right point, and in the simplest manner, regard being always had to the laws of climax. The simplicity of the voice parts necessitates a corresponding simplicity in the instrumental parts! most distinctly appreciable where they occur obbligato. A comparison with "Idomeneo" and the "Entführung" in this respect will bring out the difference very strongly. The orchestra in the "Entführung" is treated more easily and simply than in "Idomeneo"; in "Figaro" the highest degree of clearness is united with abundant fulness and intensive force of instrumental colouring.

The position here accorded to the orchestra may be regarded as not so much an improvement on earlier operas as an essentially new conception of its powers and functions. 43 The orchestra appears For the first time not only as an integral part of the whole, but as one with equal rights, taking an independent and active part in the musical-dramatic representation. Such a conception could only be realised when the orchestra and instrumental music had been developed and cultivated as they were by Haydn and Mozart. In this independent position it is neither above nor in opposition to the voices, but each is indispensable to the due effect of the other.

The orchestra is no longer to be looked upon as a mere accompaniment to the voices, but as an independent and co-operating means of representation. And as such we find it in "Figaro." In many passages the orchestra seems to take the lead—as, for instance, in the dressing scene (Act II., 3), when the animated, LE NOZZE DI FIGARO. [112] delicately worked-out orchestral passages not only hold the threads together, but develop the characterisation. At other times the orchestra forms the foundation in the working-out of motifs upon which the voices are suffered to move freely, as in the duet between Susanna and Cherubino (Act II., 5) and in different passages of the finales, the andante 6-8 of the first finale and the first passage of the second. There are, indeed, few numbers in which the orchestra does not temporarily undertake one or the other office, in order to assist the characterisation. The orchestra is never employed in this way with better effect than in the so-called "writing-duet" (Act III., 5). At the close of the recitative the Countess dictates the title, "canzonetta sull' aria," and as soon as Susanna begins to write, the oboes and bassoons take up the ritornello, and undertake to tell, as it were, what Susanna is writing when she is silent and the Countess dictates. 44 There is a trace here of a subsequent editorial alteration. Instead of the present closing bars of recitative, which are inserted in the original score by a strange hand, there were originally quite different ones, to which the little duet in B flat major could not have immediately succeeded. They probably served as an introduction to a lively scene between the Countess and Susanna, similar to that in Beaumarchais' dialogue. This is confirmed by the first sketch of the writing-duet, which, with the title "Dopo il Duettino," only prefixes the words of the Countess as recitative: "Or via, scrivi cor mio, scrivi! gia tutto io prendo su me stessa." So close an approximation of two duets was most likely the cause of the rejection of the first, with the words of the recitative which called it forth.

Detached features of the orchestral treatment, important as they may be, however, do not constitute its peculiar character; many of them had been previously and successfully attempted by other musicians. The essential point consists in the orchestra taking part, as it were, in the action, so that more often than not the instrumental parts would THE ORCHESTRA—OVERTURE. [113] form a complete and satisfying whole without any voice parts at all. The orchestra, of course, frequently executes the same melodies as the voices, but it treats them in an original manner, producing a constant flow of cross effects with the voices. Sometimes again it works out its own independent motifs, and adds shading and detail to the outlines furnished by the voices. It is not possible to over-estimate the share thus taken by the orchestra in maintaining the main conception of the situation, in increasing the dramatic reality and interest of the plot, and in strengthening the impression made upon the audience.

The capabilities of instrumental music in this direction are most strikingly displayed in the overture, in composing which Mozart appears to have kept before him the second title of Beaumarchais' play, "La Folle Journée." He has made one very characteristic alteration in the course of the overture. At first the rapid impetuous presto was interrupted by a slower middle movement. In the original score the point where the return to the first subject is made (p. 13) is marked by a pause on the dominant-seventh, followed by an andante 6-8 in D minor of which, however, only one bar is preserved:—[See page image]


The leaf on which its continuation and the return to the presto was sketched is torn out, and the portion between vi and de crossed through. 45 It is plain that Mozart altered his mind when he came to the instrumentation of the overture, which he had sketched in the usual way. Perhaps a middle movement beginning like a Siciliana did not please him; in any case, he thought it better not to disturb the cheerful expression of his opera by the introduction of any foreign element. And in very truth the merry, lively movement pursues its uninterrupted course from the first eager murmur of the violins to the final flourish of trumpets. One bright, cheerful melody succeeds another, running and dancing for very lightness of heart, like a clear mountain stream rippling over the pebbles in the sunshine. A sudden stroke here and there electrifies the motion; and once, when a gentle melancholy shines forth, the merriment is as it were transfigured into the intensest happiness and content. A piece of music can hardly be more lightly and loosely put together than this; there is an entire want of study or elaboration. Just as the impulses of a highly wrought poetic mood exist unobserved, and pass from one to the other, so here one motif grows out of the other, till the whole stands before us, we scarce know how.

A not less important office is undertaken by the orchestra in assisting the psychological characterisation, not only by giving light and shade and colouring through changes of tone-colouring and similar devices unattainable by the voices, but by taking a positive part in the rendering of emotion.

No emotion is so simple as to be capable of a single decided and comprehensive expression. To the voices is intrusted the task of depicting the main features, while the orchestra undertakes to express the secondary and even 'the contradictory impulses of the mind, from the conflict of which arise emotions capable of being expressed in music alone of all the arts. We can scarcely wonder that Mozart's FIGARO AS AN OPERA BUFFA. [115] contemporaries, surprised at the novelty of his orchestral effects, failed to appreciate their true meaning, 46 nor that his imitators confined themselves to the material result, and failed to perceive the intellectual significance of the improved instrumentation. 47 The freedom with which Mozart employs voices and orchestra together or apart to express dramatic truths can only exist as the highest result of artistic knowledge and skill. The independence with which each element cooperates as if consciously to produce the whole presupposes a perfect mastery of musical form. True polyphony is the mature fruit of contrapuntal study, although the severe forms of counterpoint are seldom allowed to make themselves visible.

To sum up, there can be no doubt that Mozart's "Figaro" must be ranked above the ordinary performances of opera buffa on higher grounds than its possession of an interesting libretto, a wealth of beautiful melody, and a careful and artistic mechanism. The recognition of truth of dramatic characterisation as the principle of musical representation was an immense gain, and had never even been approached by opera buffa, with its nonsensical tricks and caricatures.

Rossini himself said that Mozart's "Figaro" was a true dramma giocoso, while he and all other Italian composers had only composed opere buffe. 48 Even though we acknowledge the influence of French opera on Mozart (Vol. II., p. 342) as formed by Gluck, 49 and still more by Grétry (Vol. II., p. 15), 50 the first glance suffices to show that Mozart's superior musical cultivation enabled him to employ the resources of his art to LE NOZZE DI FIGARO. [116] a far greater degree than Grétry. Granting also Grétry's undoubted powers of dramatic characterisation and expression of emotion, Mozart's nature is also in these respects far deeper and nobler. Nothing can be more erroneous than the idea that Mozart's merit consisted in taking what was best from Italian and French opera, and combining them into his own; it was solely by virtue of his universal genius' that he was enabled to produce an opera which is at once dramatic, comic, and musical. Chance has decreed that "Figaro" should be an Italian adaptation of a French comedy, set to music by a German; and this being so serves only to show how national diversities can be blended into a higher unity.

A glance by way of comparison at the Italian operas which competed in some respects successfully with "Figaro," such as Sarti's "Fra due litiganti il terrzo godef" Paesiello's.

"Barbiere di Seviglia" and "Re Teodoro," Martin's "Cosa Rara and "Arbore di Diana," or Salieri's "Grotta di Trofonio," may at first excite surprise that they contain so much that reminds us of Mozart, and which we have learnt to identify with Mozart, knowing it only through him. But a nearer examination will show that this similarity is confined to form, for the most part to certain external turns of expression belonging to the time, just as certain forms of speech and manner belong to different periods. In all essential and important points, careful study will serve only to confirm belief in Mozart's originality and superiority. All the operas just mentioned have qualities deserving of our recognition. They are composed with ease and cleverness, with a full knowledge of theatrical effect and musical mechanism, and are full of life and merriment, of pretty melodies, and capital intrigue. But Mozart fails in none of these qualities, and only in minor matters do these other works deserve to be placed side by side with his. None of them can approach him even in some matters of detail, such as the treatment of the orchestra, or the grouping of the ensembles. What is much more important, however, they fail altogether in that wherein consists Mozart's true pre-eminence: in the intellectual organisation, the psychological depth, the VIENNA, 1786. [117] intensity of feeling, and consequent power of characterisation, the firm handling of form and resource, proceeding from that power, and the purity and grace which have a deeper foundation than merely sensual Beauty. Those operas have long since disappeared from the stage, because no amount of success in details will preserve in being any work uninteresting as a whole. Mozart's "Figaro" lives on the stage, and in every musical circle; youth is nourished on it, age delights in it with ever-increasing delight. It requires no external aid for its apprehension; it is the pulse-beat of our own life which we feel, the language of our own heart that we catch the sound of, the irresistible witchery of immortal beauty which enchains us—it is genuine, eternal art which makes us conscious of freedom and bliss.



THE success of "Figaro" did not materially improve Mozart's position in Vienna. He lived, it is true, in very pleasant intercourse with a large circle of friends, especially with the members of the Jacquin family (Vol. II., p. 357), but the necessity he was under of earning his living as a music teacher and virtuoso was very galling to him. "You happy man!" said he to Gyrowetz, who was setting out on a journey to Italy; "as for me, I am off now to give a lesson, to earn my bread." 1 A glance at the Thematic Catalogue of his compositions succeeding "Figaro" shows that they were probably suggested by his position as a teacher and in musical society:—

1786. June 3. Quartet for piano, violin, viola, and violoncello, in E flat major (493 K.).

June 10. Rondo for piano in F major (494 K.).

June 26. Concerto for the French horn for Leutgeb in, E flat major (495 K.).

July 8. Terzet for piano, violin, and violoncello, in G major (496 K.).


1786. August 1. Piano sonata for four hands in F major (497 K.).

August 5. Terzet for piano, clarinet, and violin, in E flat major (498 K.).

August 19. Quartet for two violins, viola, and violoncello, in D major (499 K.).

September 12. &Twelve variations for the piano in B flat major (500 K.).

November. Variations for the piano for four hands in G major (501 K.).

November 18. Terzet for piano, violin, and violoncello, in B flat major(502 K.).

Then follow three compositions intended for the winter concerts:—

1786. December 4. Pianoforte concerto in C major (503 K.).

December 6. Symphony in D major (504 K.).

December 27. Scena con rondo with pianoforte solo, for Mdlle. Storace and myself, in E flat major (505 K.).

We cannot wonder that he turned a willing ear to the entreaties of his English friends, that he would leave Vienna in the autumn of 1786 (his wife having presented him on October 27, 1786, with their third son, Leopold, who died the following spring) and visit England; this plan was seriously considered, and only abandoned upon his father's strong opposition to it (Vol. II., p. 274). There soon after reached him an invitation from another quarter, giving still greater prospect of success and encouragement. "Figaro" made its way but slowly to most of the other great towns of Europe, 2 but in Prague, where the "Entführung" had left a very pleasing impression, it was performed at once, and with the greatest success.

The national taste for music which early distinguished MUSIC IN BOHEMIA. [119] the Bohemians, and which they retain to the present day, arrived at a high stage of development during the last century. 3 The zealous attention bestowed upon church music both in town and country, and the cultivated taste of the nobility, gave to talent an easy recognition, and no available forces, either vocal or instrumental, were suffered to remain in neglect. It was the "custom and obligation" for every head of a school to write at least one new mass during the year, and to perform it with his scholars. Any youth who distinguished himself was placed in an institution where he was able to continue his musical education; there was no lack of patrons ready to support him until he found a situation in the musical establishment of a prince, a prelate, or a monastery. 4 "The families of Morzini, Hartiggi, Czemini, Mannsfeldi, Netolizki, Pachta, &c., were the patrons of many young men; they took them from the village schools on their territories and brought them to the capital to swell the ranks of their private musical establishments; they wore a livery, and formed part of their retinue of servants. Riflemen were not allowed to wear a uniform until they could blow the bugle perfectly. Many noble families in Prague required their livery servants to have a knowledge of music before being considered competent for service." Under these circumstances, music and all connected with it must have been held in high estimation at Prague, where the aristocracy were wont to congregate during the winter. A permanent Italian opera, especially intended for opera buffa, was founded by Bustelli, who had also obtained a license in Dresden in 1765. From that time until 1776 he gave performances at both places with a select MOZART IN PRAGUE. [120] company, and acquired great fame thereby. 5 His successor was Pasquale Bondini, who afterwards gave performances in Leipzig during the summer, 6 and who was able to uphold the ancient fame of the Italian opera in Prague. First-rate artists, such as Jos. Kucharz and Jos. Strobach were engaged as operatic conductors; and other distinguished musicians were engaged, as, for instance, Joh. Kozeluch (a relation of Mozart's opponent living in Vienna, Leopold Kozeluch), Wenzel Praupner, Vincenz Maschek, &c. There was, however, one artistic couple in Prague of peculiar interest from their influential position and their intimate friendship with Mozart. These were the Duscheks, whose name we have already had frequent occasion to mention. 7

Franz Duschek (born 1736 in Chotinborek), while still a poor peasant lad, attracted the notice of his feudal lord, Count Joh. Karl von Spork, by his uncommon talent. He was first sent to study at the Jesuit seminary at Königgràtz, but being obliged to give up study owing to an unfortunate accident, he devoted himself entirely to music, and was sent by the Count to Vienna, where he was educated into an accomplished piano-forte-player by Wagenseil. 8 As such he had long held the first rank in Prague, and not only did much by his excellent teaching to advance the art of pianoforte-playing, but exercised a decided and beneficial influence on musical taste in general. He was universally esteemed as an honest and upright man, and his influence with distinguished connoisseurs made him a powerful patron of foreign artists visiting Prague. His hospitable house formed a meeting-point both for foreign and native talent, and concerts were regularly given there on certain days in the week. The animating spirit at all these meetings was Duschek's wife Josepha (neé Hambacher), 9 who had received her musical education from MADAME DUSCHEK. [121] him. She played the pianoforte well enough to pass for a virtuoso, and made some not unsuccessful attempts as a composer; but her forte lay in singing. Her beautiful, full, round voice was admired equally with her delivery, which was especially fine in recitative; she accomplished the most difficult bravura passages with perfect ease, without neglecting the effect of a perfect portamento; she united fire and energy with grace and expression—in short, she maintained in every respect her claim to be ranked with the first Italian singers of her time. This claim was not, it is true, acknowledged by Leopold Mozart; when she was in Salzburg with her husband, in 1786, he wrote to his daughter (April)—

Madame Duschek sang; but how? I cannot but say that she shrieked out an air of Naumann's with exaggerated expression, just as she used to do, only worse. Her husband is answerable for this; he knows no better, and has taught her, and persuades her that she alone possesses true taste.

Her appearance did not please him either. "She seems to me to show signs of age already," he writes (April 13); "she has rather a fat face, and was very carelessly dressed." Schiller's unfavourable remarks upon her in Weimar, where she was in May, 1788, are quite in accordance with this. 10 She displeased him by her assurance (Dreistigkeit)—he would not call it impudence (Frechheit)—and her mocking manner, which caused the reigning Duchess to observe that she looked like a discarded mistress. 11 By favour of the Duchess Amalie she was allowed to give three concerts for the display of her talent and the general edification; Korner answers Schiller's account of her: 12

The Duchess is not so wrong in what she said of her. She did not interest me very greatly. Even as an artist, I consider her expression caricatured. Gracefulness is, in my estimation, the chief merit of song, and in this she seems to me entirely wanting.


Reichardt, who became acquainted with the Duscheks in 1773, 13 writes in 1808 from Prague: 14

I have found a dear and talented friend of those happy youthful days in Madame Duschek, who retains her old frankness and love for all that is beautiful. Her voice, and her grand, expressive delivery, have been a source of true pleasure to me,

She was a true friend also to Mozart. In 1777 the Duscheks were in Salzburg, where they had family connections who were acquainted with the Mozarts. Wolfgang took great pleasure in the society of the young lively singer, and if she showed a disposition to hold aloof from Salzburg folk in general, he too was "schlimm," as he called it, in this respect. Of course he composed several songs for her (Vol. I., p. 234). The Duscheks discovered Wolfgang's uncomfortable position in Salzburg; and the intelligence that he intended shortly to leave the town drew from them, his father says (September 28, 1777), expressions of the warmest sympathy. They begged Wolfgang, whether he came to Prague then or at any other time, to rely upon the most friendly welcome from them. In the spring of 1786 they came to Vienna, and were witness of the cabals against which Mozart had to contend before the performance of his "Figaro." They were quite able to judge for themselves what the opera was likely to be, and after the success which had attended the performance of the "Entführung" in Prague they found no difficulty in rousing interest there in the new opera:—

"Figaro" was placed upon the stage in 1786 by the Bondini company, and was received with an applause which can only be compared with that which was afterwards bestowed on the "Zauberflote." It is a literal truth that this opera was played almost uninterruptedly during the whole winter, and that it completely restored the failing fortunes of the entrepreneur. The enthusiasm which it excited among the public was unprecedented; they were insatiable in their demands for it. It was soon arranged for the pianoforte, for wind instruments, as a quintet for chamber music, and as German dance music; songs from "Figaro" PERFORMANCE OF "FIGARO." [123] were heard in streets, in gardens; even the wandering harper at the tavern-door was obliged to strum out "Non più andrai" if he wanted to gain any audience at all. 15

Fortunately this enthusiastic approbation was turned to the profit of the one whom it most concerned. Leopold Mozart wrote to his daughter with great satisfaction (January 12, 1787):—

Your brother is by this time in Prague with his wife, for he wrote to me that he was to set out last Monday. His opera "Le Nozze di Figaro" has been performed there with so much applause that the orchestra and a number of connoisseurs and amateurs sent him a letter of invitation, together with some verses that had been written upon him.

He conjectured that they would take up their abode with Duschek, whose wife was absent on a professional journey to Berlin; but a greater honour was in store for them. Count Johann Joseph Thun, one of the noblest patrons of music in Prague, had placed his house at Mozart's disposal. He accepted the offer gladly, and on his arrival at Prague, in 1787, he found the public enthusiastic for his music, and well-disposed towards himself. The account which he addressed to Gottfried von Jacquin (January 15, 1787) is written in the highest spirits:—

Dearest Friend!—At last I find a moment in which to write to you; I intended to write four letters to Vienna immediately on my arrival, but in vain! only a single one (to my mother-in-law) could I attempt, and that I only wrote the half of; my wife and Hofer were obliged to finish it. Immediately upon our arrival (Thursday, the 11th, at noon) we had enough to do to be ready for dinner at one. After dinner old Count Thun regaled us with music performed by his own people, and lasting about an hour and a half. I can enjoy this true entertainment daily. At six o'clock I drove with Count Canal to the so-called Breitfeld Ball, where the cream of Prague beauty are wont to assemble. That would have been something for you, my friend! I think I see you after all the lovely girls and women—not running—no, limping after them. I did not dance, and did not make love. The first because I was too tired, and the last from my native bashfulness; but I was quite pleased to see all these people hopping about to the music of my "Figaro" turned into waltzes and country dances; nothing is talked of here but MOZART IN PRAGUE. [124] "Figaro," no opera is cared for but "Figaro," always "Figaro"—truly a great honour for me. Now to return to my diary. As I returned late from the ball, and was tired and sleepy from my journey, it was only natural that I should sleep long; and so it was. Consequently the whole of the next morning was sine linea; after dinner we had music as usual; and as I have a very good pianoforte in my room, you can easily imagine that I did not allow the evening to pass without some playing; we got up a little quartet in caritatis camera (and the "schone Bandl hammera," [Vol. II., p. 362] ) among ourselves; and in this way the whole evening again passed sine linea. I give you leave to quarrel with Morpheus on my account; he favoured us wonderfully in Prague; why, I cannot tell, but we both slept well. Nevertheless, we were ready at 11 o'clock to go to Pater Unger, and to give a passing glance at the Royal Library and at the Seminary. After we had looked our eyes out, we felt a small menagerie in our insides, and judged it well to drive to Count Canal's to dinner. The evening surprised us sooner than you would believe, and we found it was time for the opera. We heard "Le Gare Generose" (by Paesiello). As to the performance, I can say little, for I talked all the time; the reason I did so, against my usual custom, must have been because—but basta—this evening was again spent al solito. To-day I am fortunate enough to find a moment in which to inquire after your welfare and that of your parents, and of the whole family of Jacquin. Now farewell; next Friday, the 19th, will be my concert at the theatre; I shall probably be obliged to give a second, and that will lengthen my stay here. On Wednesday I shall see and hear "Figaro"—at least if I am not deaf and blind by that time. Perhaps I shall not become so until after the opera.

At the performance of "Figaro" Mozart was received by the numerous audience with tumultuous applause; he was so pleased with the representation, especially with the orchestral part of it, that he expressed his thanks in a letter to Strobach, who conducted it. The Prague orchestra was not strongly appointed, 16 nor did it shine through the names of celebrated virtuosi; but it contained clever and well-schooled musicians, full of fire and of zeal for what was good—the best guarantee of success. Strobach often asserted that he and his orchestra used to get so excited by "Figaro" that, in spite of the actual labour it entailed, they would willingly have played it all over again when they came to the end. 17


The two concerts which Mozart gave in Prague were also highly successful:—

The theatre was never so full, and delight was never so strongly and unanimously roused as by his divine playing. We scarcely knew which to admire most, his extraordinary compositions or his extraordinary playing; the two together made an impression on our minds comparable only to enchantment. 18

We have already given an account of the enthusiasm excited by Mozart's extemporising (Vol. II., p. 438); the other compositions which he performed were all loudly applauded, especially the lately written symphony in D major. The pecuniary gain corresponded to the warmth of this reception, and Storace was able to announce to L. Mozart that his son had made 1,000 florins in Prague. The social distractions which Mozart describes so graphically to his friend appear to have continued; at least, he accomplished no musical work except the country dances which he improvised for Count Pachta (510 K.; Vol. II., p. 436), and six waltzes (509 K.), composed for the grand orchestra, probably for a similar occasion (February 6, 1787). 19 When, however, in the joy of his heart Mozart declared how gladly he would write an opera for an audience which understood and admired him like that of Prague, Bondini took him at his word, and concluded a contract with him by which Mozart undertook to compose an opera by the beginning of the next season for the customary fee of one hundred ducats. 20



MOZART had been so well satisfied with Da Ponte's libretto for "Figaro" that he had no hesitation in intrusting the new libretto to him, and immediately on his return to Vienna they consulted together as to the choice of subject. Da Ponte, fully convinced of the many-sidedness of Mozart's genius, proposed "Don Giovanni," and Mozart at once agreed to it. Da Ponte relates, 1 with an amusing amount of swagger, that he was engaged at one and the same time on "Tarar" for Salieri, on the "Arbore di Diana" for Martin, and on "Don Giovanni" for Mozart. Joseph II. made some remonstrance on this, to which Da Ponte answered that he would do his best; he could write for Mozart at night and imagine himself reading Dante's "Inferno"; for Martin in the morning, and be reminded of Petrarch; and in the evening for Salieri, who should be his Tasso. Thereupon he set to work, a bottle of wine and his Spanish snuffbox before him, and his hostess's pretty daughter by his side to enact the part of inspiring muse. The first day, the two first scenes of "Don Giovanni," two scenes of the "Arbore di Diana," and more than half of the first act of "Tarar" were written, and in sixty-three days the whole of the first two operas and two-thirds of the last were ready. Unfortunately we have no certain information either of the share taken by Mozart in the construction of the text, nor of the manner in which his composition was carried on. The warmth of his reception at Prague made the contrast of his position in Vienna all the more galling to him. On the departure of Storace, Kelly, and Attwood for England, in February, 1787, he had seriously entertained the idea of following them as soon as they had found a situation worthy of his acceptance VIENNA, 1787—DITTERSDORF. [127] in London. The bass singer Fischer, who was visiting Vienna, 2 wrote in Mozart's album on April 1, 1787, the following verses, more well-meaning than poetical:—

     Die holde Göttin Harmonie Der Tone und der Seelen,
     Ich dächte wohl, sie sollten nie
     Die Musensöhnen fehlen,
     Doch oft ist Herz und
     Mund verstimmt;
     Dort singen Lippen Honig,
     Wo doch des Neides Feuer glimmt—
     Glaub mir, es gebe wenig Freunde die den
     Stempel tragen Echter Treu, Rechtschaffenheit.

The lines throw a light on Mozart's relations to his fellow-artists, and the hint contained in Barisani's album verses, written on April 14, 1787, that the Italian composers envied him his art (Vol. II., p. 306), leaves no doubt as to whose envy, in the opinion of himself and his friends, he had to dread. A musical connoisseur, visiting Vienna on his return from Italy in the spring of 1787, 3 found everybody engrossed with Martin's "Cosa Rara," which, Storace's departure having rendered its performance in Italian impossible, was being played in a German adaptation at the Marinelli theatre with success. Dittersdorfs success in German opera had also the effect of throwing Mozart completely into the shade.

Dittersdorf (1739-1799) 4 came to Vienna during Lent, 1786, 5 to produce his oratorio of "Job" at the concerts of the Musical Society, and he afterwards gave two concerts in the Augarten, at which his symphonies on Ovid's "Metamorphoses" were performed. The genuine success of these compositions led to his being requested to write a German opera. Stephanie junior, theatrical director at the time, provided him with the incredibly dull libretto of the "Doctor und Apotheker," which was played for the first DON GIOVANNI. [128] time on July 11, 1786, and twenty times subsequently during the year. That which had not been attained by the success of the "Entführung," happened in this case. Dittersdorf was at once requested to write a second opera, "Betrug durch Aberglauben," which was performed on October 3, 1786, with not less applause than the first; it was followed by a third "Die Liebe im Narrenhause," also very well received on April 12, 1787. On the other hand, an Italian opera by Dittersdorf, "Democrito Corretto," first performed on January 2, 1787, was a complete failure. Dittersdorf's brilliant triumph over such composers as Umlauf, Hanke, or Ruprecht, is not to be wondered at; his operas rapidly spread from Vienna to all the other German theatres, and he acquired a popularity far in excess of most other composers. 6 True merit was undoubtedly at the bottom of this; he was skilful in appropriating the good points both of opera buffa and of French comic opera, and his finales and ensemble movements are specially happy in effect; he was not only thoroughly experienced in the management of voices, but, being a fertile instrumental composer, he had learnt from the example and precedent of Haydn to employ his orchestra independently, and with good effect. His easy flow of invention furnished him with an abundance of pleasing melodies, a considerable amount of comic talent showed itself in somewhat highly flavoured jokes, and his music had an easy-going, good-tempered character, which, though often sinking into Philistinism, was, nevertheless, genuinely German. Far behind Grétry as he was in intellect and refinement, he decidedly excelled him in musical ability. Life and originality were incontestably his, but depth of feeling or nobility of form will be sought for in vain in his works. Each new opera was a mere repetition of that which had first been so successful, affording constant proof of his limited powers, which were rightly estimated by some of his contemporaries. 7 Joseph II. COMPOSITIONS IN 1787. [129] shared the partiality of the public for Dittersdorf's lighter style of music, and rewarded him munificently when he left Vienna in the spring of 1787. But the Emperor took no real interest in German opera—the company received their dismissal in the autumn of 1787, and the performances ceased in February, 1788. 8

Mozart's autograph Thematic Catalogue contains few important works between his return to Vienna and his second journey to Prague:—

1787. March 11. Rondo for pianoforte, A minor (511 K.).

March 18. Scena for Fischer, "Non sö d'onde viene" (512 K.).

March 23. Air for Gottfried von Jacquin, "M entre ti lascio" (513 K.).

April 6. Rondo for the horn, for Leutgeb (514 K.).

April 19. Quintet for two violins, two violas, and violoncello, C major (Vol. III., p. 19) (515 K.).

May 16. Quintet, G minor (Vol. III., p. 20) (516 K.).

May 18, 20, 23, 26. A song on each (517-520 K.).

May 20. A piano sonata for four hands, in C major (521 K.).

June 11. A musical jest (Vol. II., p. 367, 522 K.).

June 24. Two songs (523, 524 K.).

August 10. Serenade (525 K.).

August 24. Pianoforte sonata with violin, in A major (526 K.).

These were probably all composed for social or teaching purposes; even the two quintets, which are worthy of the first rank, were no doubt written to order for a particular musical circle. Nor were these compositions to the taste of the Viennese public of the day. The traveller already mentioned notes as follows: 9

Kozeluch's works hold their ground, and are always acceptable, while Mozart's are not by any means so popular. It is true; and the fact receives fresh confirmation from his quartets dedicated to Haydn, that he has a decided leaning to what is difficult and unusual. But on the other hand, how great and noble are his ideas—how daring a spirit does he display in them!

The amount of industry with which Mozart worked at "Don Giovanni" is unknown to us. We may conclude that, if he followed his usual habit, he plunged eagerly into his new libretto at first, and afterwards procrastinated over DON GIOVANNI. [130] the actual transcription of his ideas. The received tradition represents him as bringing the unfinished opera to Prague in September, 1787, 10 and completing it, incited by intercourse with the intended performers and the stimulating society of his enthusiastic friends and admirers. 11 The impresario, who was bound to provide accommodation for the composer until after the performance, had lodged Mozart in a house, "bei drei Löwen" (on the market-place). 12 He preferred, however, the vineyard of his friend Duschek at Kossir (Kosohirz); and the summer-house and stone table are still shown at which he used to sit writing his score, with lively talk and bowl-playing going on round him. 13 All such stories as those of the delicate diplomacy with which Mozart apportioned the several parts to the satisfaction of the performers, of his having been obliged to appease L. Bassi, indignant at Don Giovanni having no proper grand air to sing; of his having composed "La ci darem la mano" five times before he could satisfy the singers, 14 repose on the same foundation as those of his PERFORMANCE IN PRAGUE, 1787. [131] love-making with the female performers. 15 As to this, we know his relations with the Duscheks; Teresa Saporiti is said to have expressed her surprise that so great an artist should be so insignificant in appearance; whereat Mozart, touched on his weakest point, diverted his attentions from her and bestowed them on Micelli or Bondini—there were no other female artists in Prague at that time. We are unfortunate in having no information as to the influence exerted on the details of the composition by the idiosyncracies of the singers and other circumstances. Two anecdotes obtained credence at the time, both relating to the rehearsals for which Da Ponte had also come from Vienna; 16 he was lodged at the back of the inn "Zum Platteis," and the poet and composer could converse with each other from their respective windows.

In the finale of the first act Teresa Bondini as Zerlina failed to utter the cry for help in a sufficiently spontaneous manner. After many vain attempts, Mozart went himself on to the stage, had the whole thing repeated, and at the right moment gave the singer so unexpected and severe a push that she shrieked out in alarm. "That's right," he exclaimed, laughing, "that is the way to shriek!" The words of the Commendatore in the churchyard scene were originally, it is said, accompanied only by the trombones. The trombone-players failing to execute the passage, Mozart went to the desk, and began to explain how it might be done, whereupon one of them said: "It cannot be played in that way, nor can even you teach us how to do it." Mozart answered, laughing: "God forbid that I should teach you to play the trumpet; give me the parts, and I will alter them." He did so accordingly, and added the wood wind instruments. 17


A good omen for the reception of the new opera was afforded by a brilliant performance of "Figaro" on October 14, 18 under Mozart's direction, in honour of the bride of Prince Anton of Saxony, the Archduchess Maria Theresa of Toscana, who was passing through Prague on her wedding tour. 19 Nevertheless, Mozart himself felt far from secure of the success of "Don Giovanni"; and after the first rehearsal, while taking a walk with the orchestral conductor Kucharz, he asked him in confidence what he thought of the opera, and whether it was likely to achieve so decided a success as that of "Figaro." Kucharz answered that he could entertain no doubt of the success of such fine and original music, and that anything coming from Mozart would meet with ready recognition from the Prague public. Mozart declared himself satisfied with such an opinion from a musician, and said he was ready to spare neither pains nor labour to produce a work worthy of Prague. 20

Thus approached the day of performance, October 29 (not November 4), 1787; and on the previous evening the overture was still unwritten, to the great consternation of Mozart's assembled friends. We have already told (Vol. II., p. 414) how he parted late from the merry company, and sat down to write with a glass of punch before him, and his wife telling him stories by his side; how sleep overcame him, and he was obliged to lie down for several hours before completing his task; and how the copyist was sent for at seven o'clock in the morning, and the overture was ready at SUCCESS IN PRAGUE [133]

the appointed time. 21 There was barely time to write out the parts before the beginning of the opera, which indeed was somewhat delayed on this account. The well-drilled and inspired orchestra played the overture at sight so well that, during the introduction to the first act, Mozart observed to the instrumentalists near him: "Some of the notes fell under the desks, it is true, but the overture went capitally upon the whole." The success of the first representation was brilliant. The theatre was full to overflowing, and Mozart's appearance as conductor at the piano was the signal for enthusiastic clapping and huzzas. The suspense with which the overture was awaited found vent in a very storm of applause, which accompanied the opera from beginning to end. The cast of this performance was as follows:—[See Page Images]

The performance, though not including any virtuosi of the first rank or fame, was considered an excellent one; the inspiring influence of the maestro and the elevated mood of the public united to induce the performers to put forth all their powers, and stimulated them to extraordinary efforts. Guardasoni, who was associated with Bondini in the management of the theatre, 22 was so delighted with the success of DON GIOVANNI. [134] the opera that he announced it to Da Ponte (who had been obliged to hurry back to Vienna to put "Axur" upon the stage) in the words: "Evviva Da Ponte, ewiva Mozart! Tutti gli impresari, tutti i virtuosi devono benedirli! finchè essi vivranno, son si saprà mai, cosa sia miseria teatrale." 23 Mozart also communicated to' Da Ponte the happy result of their joint labours, and wrote to Gottfried von Jacquin (November 4, 1787):—

Dearest Friend,—I hope you have received my letters. On October 29, my opera, "Don Giovanni," was put in scena, with the most unqualified success. Yesterday it was performed for the fourth time, for my benefit.

I intend to leave here on the 12th or 13th, and as soon as I arrive in Vienna you shall have the airs to sing. N.B.—Between ourselves—I only wish my good friends (particularly Bridi and yourself) could be here for a single evening to share in my triumph. Perhaps it will be performed in Vienna. I hope so. They are trying all they can here to persuade me to remain two months longer, and write another opera; but flattering as the proposal is, I cannot accept it. 24

Mozart met with constant and unequivocal proofs of esteem on all sides during his visit to Prague; an esteem, too, not of mere fashion or prejudice, but founded on a genuine love of art; he gave himself up unreservedly to the pleasure afforded him by intercourse with his friends and admirers; and many of these retained long after, as Niemet-schek says (p. 93), the memory of the hours passed in his society. He was as artless and confiding as a child, and overflowing with fun and merriment; it was difficult for SONG FOR MADAME DUSCHEK, 1787. [135] strangers to realise that they were in the society of the great and admired artist.

Mozart had promised his friend, Madame Duschek, that he would compose a new concert air for her; as usual, however, he could not be brought to the point of transcribing it. One day she locked him into a summer-house on the Weinberg, and declared she would not let him out until he had finished the air. He set to work at once, but having completed his task, retorted that if she could not sing the song correctly and well at first sight, he would not give it to her. 25 In truth, the words: "Quest' affanno, questo passo è terribile," in the andante of this song ("Bella mia fiamma," 528 K., part 2) are rendered after a highly characteristic manner; and the intervals for the voice, not easy in themselves, become, by their harmonic disposition, a severe test of pure and correct intonation. Altogether, this is one of the most beautiful of Mozart's concert airs; it makes no great claims on the singer's powers of execution, but it requires a soprano voice of considerable compass and power, and a grand and expressive delivery. It is interesting to observe how this song, animated and energetic as it is in expression, yet differs essentially from the properly dramatic music of "Don Giovanni." Unconnected with any plot, and not designed for the stage, the situation adopts a modified character, the concert singer being in a totally different position from the actor; and the form in which the composer clothes his conception is suitably modified also. On November 15, 1787, immediately after Mozart's return to Vienna, Gluck died; and the success of "Don Giovanni" in Prague may have contributed to induce Joseph II. to retain Mozart in Vienna by appointing him Chamber-Musi-cian (Kammermusikus) on December 7, 1787. For the present, however, there was no prospect of a performance of "Don Giovanni" in Vienna.

Salieri had produced his opera of "Tarar" in Paris, in June, 1787, Beaumarchais having spared no pains to create DON GIOVANNI. [136] an effect by a lively and exciting plot, by lavish decorations and costumes, and by political and philosophical allusions. The public was at first somewhat disappointed, and the music was considered inferior to that of the "Danaides," produced in 1774; but the extraordinary piece made in the end a great effect, and attracted large audiences. 26 The Emperor was exceedingly pleased with the music, and commissioned Da Ponte to prepare Italian words for it upon the occasion of the marriage of the Archduke Francis with the Princess Elizabeth. This Italian opera of "Axur" retained only the groundwork of the original, both the words and the music being completely remodelled. Da Ponte gave fresh proof of his dexterity, and Salieri, finding his task far more congenial than before, did not grudge the trouble of recomposition. 27 On January 8, 1788, the Festival opera "Axur" was performed as a "Freispektakel," the betrothal of the distinguished pair by the Archduke Maximilian having taken place on January 6. 28 At first the audience were somewhat taken aback by the traces of the French "Tarar" in the Italian "Axur," but very soon they felt the lively, brilliantly appointed plot, and the freer development of musical forms to be additional charms bestowed on the essentially Italian music. Several representations, following in quick succession, increased the favour in which this opera came to be held in Vienna, 29 especially by the Emperor Joseph, 30 and very soon on every stage in Germany. 31

The present, therefore, was no time for "Don Giovanni." Mozart catered for the amusement of the Viennese by the dances (534-536 K.), which he wrote in January, 1788, for the balls in the Redoutensaale, and he indulged his patriotic feelings by a song on the Turkish war, which Baumann sang at the theatre in the Leopoldstadt (539 K.). He PERFORMANCE IN VIENNA, 1788. [137] appears also to have given a concert during Lent, for which he wrote his pianoforte concerto in D major (537 K.). But Joseph II. commanded the production of "Don Giovanni," and there was no more to be said; it was given on May 7, 1788, 32 and was a failure. Everybody, says Da Ponte, 33 except Mozart, thought it a mistake; additions were made, airs were altered, but no applause followed. Nevertheless Da Ponte took Mozart's advice, and had the opera repeated several times in quick succession, so that people grew accustomed to what was unusual, and the applause increased with every representation. 34 The cast of the opera in Vienna was as follows:—[See Page Image]

There was no reason, as will be acknowledged, to ascribe the tardy success of "Don Giovanni" to the inferiority of its performance. 35 Da Ponte appears also to have DON GIOVANNI. [138] exaggerated with respect to the frequent alterations. Mozart's Thematic Catalogue contains three pieces for insertion written before the first performance (April 24, 28, 30) and incorporated in the book of words. 36 Mdlle. Cavalieri, of whom it was said at the time 37 that, deserving to be placed in the first rank of Italian singers, and almost deified as she was in Italy, not a word in her praise was ever uttered in Vienna, insisted on having a grand scena in the part of Elvira, in order to maintain her reputation as a singer. This gave rise (April 30) to the magnificent air "Mi tradi quell' alma ingrata" (527, 25 K.). 38 Mozart could not indeed persuade himself to sacrifice so much to the "voluble organ of Mdlle. Cavalieri" as he had formerly done in the "Entführung" (Vol. II., p. 235), but even as it is, the dramatic interest has to yield to the vocal—the character of Elvira to the individuality of the singer. The tenor singer, Signor Francesco Morelia, 39 on the contrary, seems to have found Ottavio's grand air too much for him, and the air in G major "Della sua pace" (527, 27 K.), composed for him is more modest in every respect.

A stronger effort after popularity was made by the duet between Zerlina and Leporello, "Per queste tue manine" (527, 28 K.). The situation is broadly comic, and has no proper connection with the plot; Leporello is roundly abused, and finally tied hand and foot by Zerlina. It was probably intended as a sacrifice to the taste of the audience, who expected an opera buffa to make them laugh heartily. We know that Benucci was an excellent comedian in every branch of his art, and this duet leads to the conclusion that Signora Mombelli's forte was buffa. Zerlina expresses her anger and revenge volubly enough, but her own special grace CRITIQUES ON DON GIOVANNI. [139] and roguery have quite deserted her here. In a true opera buffa the duet would have been quite in keeping; but it is out of place in "Don Giovanni," because it brings Leporello and Zerlina to the foreground in a degree which does not accord with the plot, and places them both in a harsh light, false to their character as elsewhere displayed. Mozart was right, then, in his opinion that additions and alterations were not the means to make his opera gain favour; it was altogether too unusual a phenomenon to take immediate effect upon a Viennese audience. We have already seen how Haydn was constrained to put to silence the adverse criticisms of musicians and connoisseurs assembled at Count Rosenberg's, by declaring his conviction that Mozart was the greatest composer in the world. "Don Giovanni" first made its way upon the stages of Germany in German adaptations. It was given at Mannheim with extraordinary success in October, 1789, 40 and Schroder produced it in Hamburg at about the same time; Schink, while severely criticising the libretto of the opera, expresses himself enthusiastically in praise of the music—

How can this music, so full of force, majesty, and grandeur, be expected to please the lovers of ordinary opera, who bring their ears to the theatre with them, but leave their hearts at home? The grand and noble qualities of the music in "Don Juan" will appeal only to the small minority of the elect. It is not such as to tickle the ear of the crowd, and leave the heart unsatisfied. Mozart is no ordinary composer. His music has been profoundly felt and thought out in its relation to the characters, situations, and sentiments of his personages. It is a study in language, treated musically. He never decks out his songs with unnecessary and meaningless passages. That is the way in which expression is banished from music: expression consisting not in particular words, but in the skilful and natural combination of sounds as a medium of real emotion. Of this method of expression Mozart is a consummate master. Each sound which he produces has its origin in emotion, and overflows with it. His expression is glowing with life and picturesqueness, yet without the taint of voluptuousness. He has the richest, and at the same time the most temperate imagination. He is a true virtuoso, never allowing his creative impulse to run away with his judgment; his inspiration is guided by reason, his impersonations are the result of calm deliberation. 41


The Berlin criticism was not quite so favourable, the opera having been there performed for the first time in the presence of the King on December 20, 1790: 42

If ever an opera was looked forward to with curiosity, if ever a composition of Mozart's was lauded to the skies before its performance, it was surely this "Don Juan." Every one will allow that Mozart is a great and admirable composer, but that nothing good or great has been written before this opera, or will be written after it, is a point on which we may be allowed to doubt. Theatrical music admits of no rules, of no appeal but to the heart, and its worth is in proportion to its effect thereon. No amount of art in heaping up instrumental effects will make a great musician or render his name immortal, unless he can give utterance to the passions and emotions of the heart. Grétry, Monsigny, and Philidor are instances to the point. Mozart has aimed at writing something extraordinary, something inimitably grand in his "Don Juan"; the extraordinary is there, certainly, but not the inimitably grand. Vanity, eccentricity, fancy, have created "Don Juan," not the heart; and we should have preferred being called upon to admire the highest capabilities of music in one of his oratorios or solemn church compositions than in his "Don Juan." 43

The extraordinary success of the opera 44 is attested by a notice of it 45 which proceeds to prove that this musical drama satisfies the eye, enchants the ear, does violence to the intellect, offends against morals, and suffers vice to trample upon virtue and good feeling. The author of the criticism accounts for the popularity of the opera by the quality of the music, which is beyond all expression grand:—

If ever a nation might be proud of one of its children, Germany may be proud of Mozart, the composer of this opera. Never was the greatness of the human mind more perceptible, never did music reach so high a level! Melodies which an angel might have conceived are accompanied by divinest harmonies, and those whose souls are in any degree susceptible to what is truly beautiful will agree with me in saying the ear is bewitched.

At the same time he cannot refrain from the pious wish:—[See Page Image]


Oh, that he had not so wasted the energies of his mighty mind!—that his judgment had been brought to the aid of his imagination, and had shown him a less miry path to fame! How can it please him that his name should appear set in diamonds upon a golden tablet, and the tablet suspended on a pillory?

Spazier, who acknowledged Mozart's "true, unborrowed, unartificial wealth of ideas," 46 and said of "Don Giovanni" that some of its single airs were worth more than whole operas by Paesiello, 47 remarks on another occasion: 48

The pleasure of seeing a genius strike out a new path with ease, which one feels would possess insurmountable obstacles to others, becomes pain and grief, which can only be turned to enjoyment again by minute study of the work, when such an artist puts forth his whole strength as Mozart has in "Don Juan," where he overwhelms his hearers with the vastness of his art, giving to the whole an almost boundless effect.

His promise of a more minute description remained unfulfilled. The various notices of the work which followed its performance in other places were all of the same kind, both praise and blame recognising the fact that a novel and important phenomenon was being treated of. 49 After the performance in Weimar, Goethe wrote to Schiller (December 30, 1797) ^

Your hopes for the opera are richly fulfilled in "Don Juan"; but the work is completely isolated, and Mozart's death frustrates any prospect of his example being followed. 50


The popularity of the opera with the general public spread rapidly, and very soon there was no stage in Germany where "Don Juan" had not acquired permanent possession. According to Sonnleithner's calculation, "Don Giovanni" had been performed 531 times at Vienna at the end of the year 1863; at Prague, Stiepanek asserts that 116 representations took place during the first ten years, and 360 before 1855; 51 at the celebration of the fiftieth anniversary of "Don Giovanni" at Berlin, in 1837, more than 200 performances were calculated to have taken place; 52 similar celebrations took place at Prague 53 and Magdeburg. 54 The opera was first introduced at Paris in 1805, in a fearfully distorted and mangled version, by C. Kalkbrenner; a characteristic instance was the masque terzet, where the words "Courage, vigilance, adresse, défiance, que l'active prudence préside à nos desseins" were sung by three gendarmes. Kalkbrenner also interpolated some of his own music, and, spite of it all, the fabrication pleased for a time. 55 In the year 1811 "Don Giovanni" was first given in its original form by the singers of the Italian opera, and ever since the most distinguished artists have retained Mozart's masterpiece upon this stage in an uninterrupted succession of performances. 56 A French translation of "Don Juan," by Castil-Blaze, 57 was given at Lyons in 1822, at the Odéon in Paris in 1827, and at the Académie de Musique in 1834, admirably cast and brilliantly appointed, besides being more true to the original; 58 a still newer adaptation has been performed at the Théätre Lyrique. 59 In London the great success of "Figaro" had paved the way for "Don Giovanni," which has ever since its STATISTICS OF PERFORMANCES. [143] first performance, in April, 1817, occupied a prominent place at the Italian opera of that city. The applause which followed the first Italian representation was so great that the lessee of Covent Garden theatre produced an English version in May of the same year, which was excellently performed, and with considerable success. 60

While "Don Giovanni" was thus becoming familiar to opera-goers in the north, and even in Petersburg, Stockholm, and Copenhagen, it had not met with any very warm or general sympathy in Italy, where repeated attempts to introduce it to the public had resulted only in a certain amount of respectful recognition from connoisseurs. "Don Giovanni" was first given in Rome in 1811, no pains having been spared in the rehearsals, and few alterations made in the opera. The audience was very attentive, and applauded loudly; the music was termed "bellissima, superba, sublime, un musicone"—but not altogether "del gusto del paese"; the many stranezze might be "belissime," but they were not what people were accustomed to. 61 A more successful attempt was made in Naples in the following year, although not on so grand a scale; the audience were attentive, and seemed to accustom themselves to the musica classica, but even here the success was not lasting. 62 The first representation at Milan in 1814 provoked quite as much hissing as applause, but subsequent performances were more successful. 63 At Turin the opera appears to have pleased in 1815, in spite of its wretched performance. 64 A mangled version of "Don Giovanni" was given at Florence in 1818, and failed, but it was afterwards very well received in its true form; 65 in 1857, as a friend wrote to me, "the antiquated hyperborean music" was so emphatically hissed that it could not be risked again. In Genoa, too, in 1824, "Don Giovanni" pleased the learned, but not the public; 66 and at Venice, in 1833, it gained some DON GIOVANNI. [144] little popularity by slow degrees. 67 Quite lately a celebrated Italian singer exclaimed angrily at a rehearsal of "Don Giovanni": "Non capisco niente a questa maledetta musica!" 68 Against all this must be placed Rossini's charming answer when he was pressed to say which of his own operas he liked best: one person present suggested one, another the other, till at last Rossini exclaimed: "Vous voulez connaître celui de mes ouvrages que j'aime le mieux; eh bien, c'est 'Don Giovanni.'" 69 The fame of "Don Giovanni" did not long remain confined to the old world. When Garcia and his daughters were giving Italian operas at New York in 1825, at Da Ponte's suggestion they produced

"Don Giovanni." 70 At the conclusion of the first finale everything went wrong; Garcia, who was playing Don Giovanni, exerted himself in vain to keep the singers and orchestra in time and tune, until at last, sword in hand, he came forward and, commanding silence, exclaimed that it was a shame so to murder a masterpiece. They began again, collected themselves and took pains, and the finale came happily to an end. 71 The applause of the public renewed Da Ponte's youth; he recounts the satisfaction with which he heard the assurance of a friend, whose custom it was to go regularly to sleep at the opera, that such an opera as that would keep him awake all night. 72 "Don Giovanni" brought him still further good fortune; he placed his unexpectedly large profits obtained therefrom in the lottery, and for the first time drew a prize. 73 "Don Giovanni," once having made its way, was soon unanimously pronounced first among all, Mozart's operas; he was said to have declared that he wrote THE LIBRETTO. [145] it not at all for Vienna, a little for Prague, but mostly for himself and his friends. 74 It is true that the libretto was formerly considered as a bungling fabrication only tolerated for the sake of the music; nevertheless, and especially after Hoffmann's clever vindication of its poetical meaning, 75 "Don Giovanni" gradually became the accepted canon of dramatic music, and the subject of wide-reaching discussion. 76 In "Figaro" Da Ponte had opened a new field to opera buffa, by representing the actual life of bourgeois society; in "Don Giovanni" he raised opera buffa in another direction to an altogether higher sphere. 77 The legend on which the opera is founded had reached the people through the tradition of centuries, and, familiar upon every stage in Europe, it held the same place in the popular mind as the myths of Greek tragedy. The facts, in spite of their wonderful and fantastic character, offered a good groundwork to the dramatist, and the main conception and essential elements of the situations and characters being given, the fullest freedom of construction and development was permitted in the treatment of the legend. 78 Whether the legend current in Seville DON GIOVANNI. [146] of Don Juan Tenorio, 79 who invited to supper the statue of a warrior slain by him in a duel, and who, warned in vain to repent, was doomed to everlasting perdition, is of ancient origin or not, would be difficult to determine from the contradictory accounts given of it. 80 It is said to have been performed in monasteries from an early date, adapted by an unknown writer with the title of "El Ateista Fulminado:" 81 the first authentic dramatic version of the story being that by Gabriel Tellez, contemporary of Lope de Vega, monk and prior of a monastery in Madrid. His active ecclesiastical life did not prevent his acquiring, under the name of Tirso de Molina, an honourable place in Spanish literature as a dramatic poet. 82 His "Burlador de Sevilla y Convidado de Piedra" belongs, according to Schack, both in design and workmanship to his most fugitive pieces, but contains portions which could only have been written by a poet of the first rank. 83 The plot is briefly as follows:—

First Day [The scene is laid in Naples].—The Duchess Isabella is having a parting interview with her lover, Duke Ottavio, when she discovers that Don Juan has stolen into her apartment in Ottavio's stead. Her cries for assistance bring the King, who gives Don Juan into the custody of his uncle, Don Pedro Tenorio, the Spanish TIRSO DE MOLINA'S "CONVIDADO DE PIEDRA." [147] Ambassador; the latter, discovering his relationship with his prisoner, allows him to escape, and denounces Don Ottavio to the King as Isabella's seducer. Don Pedro is thereupon commanded to arrest Don Ottavio, to whom, however, he declares that a man having been found with Isabella, she reported him to be Ottavio; the lover believes himself to be deceived and betrayed, and Don Pedro connives at his escape. [Coast scene in Tarragona.] Catalinon, Don Juan's servant, bears his shipwrecked master lifeless to shore, where they are discovered by Tisbea, a fisher-girl; Don Juan awakes to consciousness upon her bosom, and they fall violently in love with each other. 84 Their love-making is interrupted by a scene in which the Commandant, Don Gonzalo de Ulloa gives Don Albeso, King of Castile, an account of his diplomatic mission to Portugal. Then the story returns to Tisbea, who is deceived and deserted by Don Juan, and left to her passion of despair.

Second Day [The scene is in Seville].—Don Diego Tenorio, Don Juan's old father, acquaints the King with the crime which his son has committed in Naples against Isabella and Ottavio; the King banishes Don Juan from Seville until he shall make reparation by marrying Isabella. Ottavio enters and puts himself under the protection of the King, who promises to demonstrate his innocence in Naples, and to give him the hand of Donna Anna, Ulloa's daughter, and Don Juan's fiancée. Don Juan appears, greets Ottavio in friendly fashion, and enters into a long conversation with the Marquis de la Mota, wherein they discuss the beauties of the day like the regular roués they are; finally the Marquis declares his love for Donna Anna. He has no sooner departed than a note is brought to Don Juan to be conveyed to the Marquis; he opens it, and finding that in it Donna Anna appoints an interview, determines to keep the appointment himself; and he acquaints De la Mota, who returns, with the invitation, but names a later hour. He is as indifferent to his father's sentence of banishment as to his repeated exhortations, and upon the arrival of the Marquis to serenade Donna Anna, he borrows his mantle, ostensibly to enable him to visit one of his many sweethearts, but really that he may gain access to Donna Anna herself. Discovering the deceit, she cries for help; her father stops Don Juan's way with drawn sword, and falls by his hand. The murderer flies; De la Mota enters for the rendezvous; the King, hurrying in with his guards, takes him for the murderer, and delivers him to judgment, commanding a magnificent funeral for the Commandant, and the erection of a monument in his honour. [Country scene.] Patricio is celebrating his wedding with Aminta, when Don Juan, journeying through, mingles with the guests, and placing himself close to the bride, excites the jealousy of the bridegroom.

Third Day.—Don Juan prevails upon the jealous Patricio to renounce DON GIOVANNI. [148] Aminta by falsely representing that she was formerly seduced by him, and had summoned him to interrupt the wedding; he gains the consent of her father by means of a solemn promise of marriage, and after a long resistance, Aminta gives way. [The Sea-coast.] Isabella, arriving at the King's summons for her espousals with Don Juan, falls in with Tisbea, who complains of Don Juan's treachery, and repairs with Isabella to Seville to seek justice from the King. [Seville.] Don Juan, informed by Catalinon of how his victims are united to revenge themselves on him, sees the statue erected to the Commandant, with an inscription calling for vengeance on his murderer. This rouses his haughty insolence; he plucks the statue by the beard, and invites it to supper, that it may execute his vengeance. While Don Juan is entertaining his followers at table, the statue appears, to the consternation of all but Don Juan, and remains silent until the meal is over. Left alone with Don Juan, the Commandant invites him to supper in the chapel, and he accepts the invitation, after repressing an involuntary shudder. [The Palace.] The King promises Don Diego that he will create Don Juan Count of Lebrija, and bestow Isabella upon him, at the same time pardoning the Marquis at Donna Anna's request, and uniting the two in marriage. Don Ottavio requests the King's permission to fight a duel with Don Juan, his father proposing to judge between the two; the King commands a reconciliation. As he goes out, Aminta enters with her father, to acquaint the King with her claims on Don Juan's hand, and Ottavio promises her his support. [The Street.] Don Juan, pardoned by the King, and on the point of wedding Isabella, prepares to keep his appointment with the Commandant, and enters the church where Ulloa has spread a meal for him and Catalinon. The dishes contain scorpions and snakes, the wine is gall and verjuice, and the table music is a penitential psalm. After the meal, the Commandant grasps Don Juan's hand with a grip which cannot be shaken off; 85 "Thou art summoned to the eternal judgment-seat" exclaims the Commandant; "thy reward shall be fitted to thy deserts." Don Juan falls down lifeless and sinks below with the statue. [The Palace.] The King wishing to see the nuptials celebrated, Isabella, Aminta, and Tisbea come forward to make good their claims to Don Juan's hand, and the Marquis reveals the treachery practised on him by Don Juan. The King is in the act of promising justice, when Catalinon enters and makes known Don Juan's dreadful end. Thereupon Ottavio and Isabella, De la Mota and Donna Anna, Patricio and Aminta, are severally united, and "the story of the Marble Guest comes to an end."


The drama, necessarily, in this rapid sketch, stripped of all the elegance and brilliancy of its poetical rendering, bears to an extraordinary degree the stamp of the time and nation to which it belongs. The freedom and unreserve with which the various love intrigues are treated and described are certainly peculiar to the age, and the story is distinguished by a dash of chivalric bravery all its own; the audience, while recognising a faithful representation of their own state of morals, were little inclined to take umbrage at the summary punishment of the sinner before them. 86 This point is, indeed, emphasised by various observations made in a truly catholic spirit; for instance, when Don Juan says to his stony guest, after having mockingly invited him to sup: "What will'st thou, vision, ghost? Dost thou suffer still the pains of purgatory? Dost thou demand satisfaction? What is thy will? I pledge my word to do as thou com-mandest. Why hast thou left God's throne? Do thy sins cause thee still to wander?" The effect is greatly heightened again by the reply of the statue when Don Juan is about to light him out: "Let be; God lights my path." And when Don Juan sees that all is over, he begs for a confessor, and the statue answers, "Too late, too late is thy contrition!" and Don Juan falls dead. The intricate plot is very unequally treated, and so indeed are also the characters. Among the female characters, Tisbea as a type of passion, and Aminta as a type of naïve simplicity, are both attractive and original; and among the men Don Juan, boldly and freely sketched, and his servant Catalinon, the inevitable "Gracioso" of the Spanish drama, are most remarkable. Catalinon in particular is treated with moderation and delicacy; neither his cowardice, his moralising, nor his wit is brought too prominently forward, and he always appears as the shadow of his master. Even in the spectre scenes he fails to rise to any grandeur of character. The influence of Spain upon the Italian drama 87 necessarily DON GIOVANNI. [150] brought Tirso's "Don Juan" to Italy. According to Ricco-boni, it first appeared upon an Italian stage soon after 1620. 88 The first printed translation known is that by Onofrio Giliberti, entitled "ü Convitato di Pietra," performed in 1652 at Naples; others followed with the same title by Giacinto Andrea Cicognini (1670) and Andrea Perucci (1678); 89 the subject was familiar on the Italian stage, and unfailingly popular. 90

The Italian dramatic company, who were naturalised in Paris at the theatre of the Hötel de Bourgogne, were accustomed to appoint one of their number to arrange the plan of the pieces which they performed, but the actual performance was improvised. In this fashion they played an improvised version of Giliberti's "Convitato di Pietra," which had an extraordinary run. 91 The chief situations of the Spanish drama, much simplified and coarsened, are compressed into five acts, and Arlecchino, who appears here as Don Juan's servant, is brought into the foreground and made the mouthpiece of a great deal of very questionable badinage:—

The first act represents Isabella's seduction in Naples. Don Pedro, her father and Don Juan's uncle, agrees with her to denounce Ottavio, her lover, as her seducer, which causes the latter to take flight. 92 In the second act Don Juan and Arlecchino swim to shore [a very favourite scene, richly garnished with jokes], and Don Juan's love passages with the lovely fisher-maiden Rosalba take place. On her claiming his promise of marriage, he mockingly refers her to Arlecchino, who unrolls the long list of his master's mistresses. It was customary to allow the end of the roll to fall, as if by chance, into the pit, and the audience delighted themselves by looking for the names of their friends or connections in the list. Rosalba, in despair, casts herself into the sea. 93


The third act shows Ottavio in great favour at the court of Castile, on the point of marriage with Donna Anna. He is attended by Pantaloon, who carries on the usual by-play with Arlecchino. Don Juan intercepts the letter in which Donna Anna summons Ottavio, steals in to her, Arlecchino keeping watch outside, and slays the Commandant, her father, who surprises them. In the fourth act Donna Anna demands justice from the King; a reward of 6,000 thalers is placed upon the head of the murderer, and Arlecchino is greatly tempted to gain it, which gives rise to much jesting between him and Pantaloon. In the fifth act Don Juan is discovered before the statue of the Commandant, which he mocks. Arlecchino is made to invite it to supper, whereupon it nods, and, upon Don Juan's repetition of the invitation, answers him in words. Don Juan's supper gives opportunity for much comic display of greediness and cunning on the part of Arlecchino, continuing even after the appearance of the Commandant, who invites Don Juan and departs. The King, made acquainted with Don Juan's crimes, commands him to be seized and brought to justice. Before escaping he keeps his appointment with the Commandant in the church, and is dragged below by the spectre. The closing tableau shows Don Juan burning in hell, and expressing his torment and his remorse:—

To which the demons answer: "Mai!" 94

This extravaganza was extraordinarily successful. In 1673 a second version, with additions and new scenery ("Aggiunta al Convitato di Pietra"), was announced. 95 The new Italian company of the Duke of Orleans replaced the improvised "Convitato di Pietra" upon the stage in 1717, and it was revived in 1743. 96 This gave rise to a dispute with the French actors, who were not willing to renounce their claim to so taking a piece. 97 Dorimon first produced a translation of Giliberti's piece with the title of "Le Festin de Pierre, 98 ou le Fils Criminel," at Lyons in 1658, when DON GIOVANNI. [152] Louis XIV. met the Princess of Savoy there, and it was performed again at the Théätre de la Rue des Quatre Vents, in Paris, during 1661. But De Villiers had been beforehand with him here, having produced his tragi-comédie with the same title and almost verbal identity in 1659 at the theatre of the Hötel de Bourgogne. 99 Don Juan's afflicted father, exposed to the insolence of his son and the mockery of the servant, appears quite at the beginning of the piece. Afterwards Don Juan changes clothes with his servant Philippin in order to elude justice, robs a monk of his cowl, and in this disguise slays Don Philippo (Ottavio), the lover of Amarillis (Donna Anna). After the Commandant has supped with him and invited him, Don Juan again seduces a newly married woman, and then repairs to the chapel, where he is struck by lightning as he sits at table.

Molière did not neglect so promising a subject for the use of his company, and his "Don Juan, ou le Festin de Pierre" was first performed at the Palais-Royal on February 15, 1665. In contrast with the buffoonery of the Italians he has tried to raise the subject into the sphere of genuine comedy, and has thereby obliterated the last trace of the national-historical character of the drama in its Spanish form. Both sensual passion and chivalric boldness have disappeared. Molière's "Don Juan" is a cold-blooded egotist in his love and his want of faith, an enlightened rationalist, even when preserving his honour as a cavalier with personal bravery; his servant Sganarelle reasons as morally as his master immorally, but is quite as great an egotist, and a coward into the bargain. The striking situations, in which the original was so rich, are either merely related, as in the case of the seduction of Donna Anna and the murder of the Commenda-tore, or they have lost all their lively colouring by a new turn, as in the case of the adventures with the fisher-girl and the peasant; everything that might shock or injure the MOLIÈRE'S "FESTIN DE PIERRE." [153] refined tone of comedy was omitted. On the other hand, the interests of morality required that every opportunity for repentance and amendment should be given to Don Juan; the more he is preached at from every quarter, the more obstinate he becomes in his evil courses. The truthfulness of psychological development thus striven after makes the catastrophe all the more glaringly absurd; such a sinner as this could not be carried off by a ghost. As a compromise, Molière makes Don Juan to be warned by a spirit in the form of a woman, who is transformed into an appearance of Time with his scythe; this was an allegory quite after the taste of the time, and rendered the marble guest a superfluity. Some of the situations, such as the adventure in the country, or the scene with the merchant, are excellently rendered, and delicate traits of characterisation are always to be found; in fact, the better a point is, the less it is found to have to do with the original "Don Juan." Molière's "Don Juan" was not printed during his life, and was only played fifteen times. A versified adaptation of it by Thomas Corneille, given in 1677, was well received, and kept the stage until 1847, when Molière's comedy was again substituted. 100

Incited by Molière's example, Goldoni produced the "mauvaise pièce espagnole," which he could not contemplate without horror, at Venice in 1736, in the worthier form of a regular comedy entitled "Don Giovanni Tenorio, ossia il Dissoluto":—

In the first act, Donna Anna obeys her father against her will, and is betrothed to Don Ottavio. The second act shows Elisa, a peasant girl, taking leave of her lover Carino. Immediately after Don Juan appears, plundered by robbers, and gains her favour. Carino surprises them bidding farewell, but Elisa appeases his jealousy. Isabella, who has been deserted by Don Juan in Naples, follows him disguised as a man. In the third act she enters Seville with Ottavio, whom she has delivered from the hands of robbers on the way hither. When Donna Anna discovers her sex, she makes it the excuse for renouncing Ottavio's hand. Isabella, meeting Don Juan, forces him to fight with her; but, refusing from shame to give the standers-by any account of herself, she is pronounced by Don Juan to be a maniac. Elisa also DON GIOVANNI. [154] pursues Don Juan, but he is warned against her by Carino, to whom she has been faithless. Don Juan declares himself ready to give her up, but Carino will have none of her. In the fourth act, Don Juan makes declaration of love to Donna Anna, who is not unfavourably disposed towards him, but refers him to her father for consent. He seeks, however, with drawn sword to gain her favour on the spot; she calls for help; her father hastens in, and is slain by Don Juan, who then escapes. It is resolved to pursue him and to seek redress against him from the King. In the fifth act Elisa promises to liberate him, having relatives among the guards, if he will marry her. Isabella interposes and renews her challenge to him to fight. Donna Anna, in mourning robes, calls for vengeance, but Don Juan displays so much passion for her that she relents and pardons him. Thereupon comes a letter from the King of Naples, demanding Don Juan's punishment, and disclosing Isabella's secret. Don Juan, seeing himself hopelessly lost, beseeches Carino to slay him. A thunderbolt from the mausoleum of the murdered Commendatore strikes him dead.

Goldoni asserts 101 that the public were astonished at first, and did not know "Ce que voulait dire cet air de noblesse que l'auteur avait donné à une ancienne bouffonnerie." But it soon became known that the coquettish Elisa was an actual portrait of the actress, Elizabeth Passalacqua, who played the part, and that Goldoni had chosen this way of being revenged on her for bestowing her favours simultaneously on him and on the actor Vitalba. This roused interest in the piece, and convinced people "que le comique raisonné était préférable au comique trivial." Rosimond looked at the subject from quite another point of view in his tragi-comédie "Le Festin de Pierre, ou l'Athéiste Foudroyé," produced in 1669 at the Théätre du Marais. This theatre was then noted for its brilliant decoration and spectacle pieces, which often necessitated high prices of admission. Such a piece was this of Rosimond's, and he had been careful to lay the plot in heathen times, that his atheism might vaunt itself with impunity. 102 Again, in 1746, "Le Grand Festin de Pierre" was given in Paris as a pantomime, 103 and has always been popular on village and marionette stages.


In England also "Don Juan" was put on the stage at about the same time. Whether in his "Libertine Destroyed," which was produced in 1676, Thomas Shadwell followed the Spanish original or the French or Italian version, I cannot pretend to determine. The piece was very successful, but Don Juan's villainy was so dreadful, and the piece altogether so horrible, "as to render it little less than impiety to represent it on the stage." 104 In 1725 Antonio de Zamora, Chamberlain to King Philip V. of Spain, adapted the same subject under the title, "Non hay deuda que no se pague y convi-dado de piedra." "This adaptation, displaying much talent and skill, is cast almost in the same form as the opera; the earlier adventures of Don Juan in Naples are omitted, and Zamora, like the author of the libretto, begins with the murder of the Commandant." 105 In Germany, "Don Juan, oder das Steinerne Gastmahl," belonged to the standing repertory of the improvising actor from the beginning of the eighteenth century. Prehauser, the celebrated buffoon of the Vienna Theatre, made his first dramatic attempt in 1716 as Don Philippo in the "Steinerne Gastmahl." 106 Schroder appeared in Hamburg, in 1766, as Sganarell in "Don Juan," and "surpassed all expectation." 107 This may have been a version of Molière's "Don Juan," but as early as 1746 an afterpiece entitled "Don Juan" was on the repertory of Ackermann's Company, 108 and in 1769 the pantomime ballet of "Don Juan" was given by them. 109 At Vienna, up to 1772, an improvised "Steinerne Gastmahl" was regularly given during the octave of All Souls; 110 a proof that Don Juan's dissolute life was contemplated with pleasure, and that morality was considered as abundantly vindicated by his being carried off by the devil after a long penitential DON GIOVANNI. [156] speech. 111 The traditions of this burlesque degenerate into a mere puppet-show. "Hanswurst" becomes the chief personage, and Don Juan's love adventures are made subservient to his deeds of blood; both the names and situations point to the French version of the Italian piece as the principal source, but many additions have been made, and these, for the most part, not happy ones. 112

It was in Paris that the first attempt was made to treat "Don Juan" operatically. In the year 1713, Le Tellier produced "au jeu d'Octave," a comic opera "Le Festin de Pierre," in three acts, and "en vaudevilles sans prose" at the Théätre de la Foire Saint-Germain. 113 It was well received, but exception being taken to the representation of hell at the conclusion of the opera, it was suppressed; but a few days after, we are told, "Le magistrat, mieux informé, révoqua cette sentence." 114 The piece followed the old lines, only a few new jokes were introduced; and the language of the couplets, judging by the specimens which are given, must have been tolerably free.

A ballet of "Don Juan," with music by Gluck, was performed in Vienna in 1761. 115 The programme indicates four divisions, each of them containing an important situation, worked out and enlivened by means of different dances.


Unfortunately we have no hints as to the details of the music, which consists for the most part of short and unelaborated dance melodies:—

In the first division, Don Juan serenades his mistress, Donna Anna, and is admitted by her; surprised by her uncle, he escapes into the street, and slays his pursuer. In the second division, Don Juan is giving a feast, at which Donna Anna is present, and dances, a pas de deux with him; the appearance of the statue scares away the guests. After a short stay, the Commendatore invites Don Juan, who accepts, and conducts him to the door. In the meantime the guests reassemble, but seized with fresh terror, rush from the house; Don Juan prepares to seek the Commendatore alone, his servant, spite of threats and persuasions, refusing to accompany him. The third part takes place in the mausoleum; the Commendatore tries vainly to bring Don Juan to repentance, and finally plunges him into the abyss. In the last division, Don Juan is tormented by demons in the lower world; he strives in vain to escape or to resist, and at last, in despair, he resigns himself and is devoured by the flames. 117

Ten years before Mozart's "Don Giovanni," a dramma tragicomico, entitled "ü Convitato di Pietra, ossia il Dissoluto," was performed both at Vienna (first on August 21,1777) and at Prague; the composer was Vine. Righini. 118 The plot is briefly as follows: 119

The fisher maiden Elisa, and her lover Ombrino, save Don Giovanni and his servant Arlechino from the waves. Don Giovanni, who has betrayed Isabella, daughter of the Duca d'Altamonte, in Naples, and is a fugitive in consequence, readily wins the love of the too-confiding Elisa. The Commendatore di Loioa, returning from victorious war, is greeted by Don Alfonso in the name of the King of Castile, who has erected a statue to his honour, and promises to wed his daughter Donna Anna to the Duca Ottavio. Donna Anna, in defiance of her father's threats, refuses the honour. Don Giovanni, whose crime and flight have been made known to Don Alfonso, enters with Arlechino the house of the Commendatore, where Donna Anna, having dismissed her maid Lisette, is preparing to retire to rest. He offers her violence, which she resists, and recognises him; thereupon enters the Commendatore and falls in DON GIOVANNI. [158] combat with Don Giovanni. Donna Anna vows vengeance on the murderer. In the second act Don Giovanni determines to flee, and orders Arlechino to be ready in the tavern, and to order a meal. Isabella, who has pursued Don Giovanni, extorts from Don Alfonso a promise of reparation. Don Giovanni, seized with remorse, takes refuge in the mausoleum, and falls asleep near the statue of the Commendatore. There he is found by the sorrowing Anna, whose love and pity he seeks in vain to kindle. Arlechino summons him to the tavern, where all is prepared; he invites the statue to be his guest, and is sorely perplexed by the answer given. Arlechino in the tavern makes love to the hostess Corallina. Donna Anna receives from Don Alfonso the assurance of the speedy pursuit and punishment of Don Giovanni. The latter sups with Arlechino, waited upon by Corallina and Tiburzio; he toasts the approving audience, Arlechino and the pretty maids, in German verse! The statue appears, but does not eat, invites Don Giovanni and disappears; the meal is continued with the utmost composure. In the third act, Don Giovanni is the guest of the Commendatore in the mausoleum; he refuses to repent, and is cast into the abyss. Don Alfonso and Donna Anna are acquainted by Arlechino of this consummation. Don Giovanni is seen tormented by demons.

The libretto differs neither in design nor execution from that of an ordinary opera buffa.

In 1787 "Il Convitato di Pietra," by Gius. Gazzaniga, was given in Venice at the Teatro di S. Mosè, and was received with much applause. The opera was given in Ferrara, Bergamo, 120 and Rome, "every evening for a month, till no one was satisfied who had not seen Don Juan roasting in hell, and the late lamented Commandant rising to heaven as a disembodied spirit"; 121 it was played in Milan, 1789; in Paris, 1791, where, however, in spite of the brilliant concluding scene, it was only moderately successful, 122 and in London (notwithstanding Da Ponte's contradiction) in 1794. 123 The libretto is lost, but fragments of a score which Sonnleithner discovered in Vienna 124 show that Da Ponte GAZZANIGA's "CONVITATO DI PIETRA." [159] must have made liberal use of this libretto, 125 if, indeed, the two have not a common source:—.

Pasquariello is reluctantly keeping watch before the house of the Commandant, when Don Giovanni rushes out, and strives to free himself from Donna Anna, who snatches the mask from his face and calls her father to help; he appears and falls in combat, a terzet for the men closing the introduction [there is no overture]. After some little talk, Don Giovanni flies with Pasquariello. Donna Anna hastens in with her betrothed Duca Ottavio, and finds to her horror the corpse of her father [accompanied recitative]; more composedly she acquaints him with Don Giovanni's villany, and declares her intention of retiring to a nunnery until Ottavio shall have discovered and punished the murderer [air], 126 to which he consents sorrowfully [air]. Don Giovanni, waiting for Donna Eximena in a casino, converses with Pasquariello, when Donna Elvira enters in travelling guise; she has been deceived and deserted by Don Giovanni in Burgos, and has followed him hither [air]. They recognise each other, Don Giovanni refers her to Pasquariello for the motives of his departure, and goes out. Pasquariello gives her the list of his master's mistresses [air]; she vows to gain justice or be avenged. Don Giovanni enters in loving converse with Eximena, and satisfies her jealous doubts of his fidelity [air]. A peasant couple, Biagio and Maturina, are celebrating their wedding [chorus and tarantella]. Pasquariello pays court to the bride, but on the entrance of Don Giovanni retires; and Don Giovanni treats the bridegroom so rudely that he finally goes off in dudgeon [air]. Don Giovanni befools Maturina by flattery and a promise of marriage. Two scenes are wanting here (14 and 15). Biagio enters in jealous mood, but is appeased by Maturina [scena and rondo]. Eximena questions Pasquariello concerning his master, and rejoices to learn that he is constant to her [air]. Don Giovanni is besieged with questions by Donna Elvira, Eximena, and Maturina all at once, and satisfies each in turn by assuring her that love for him has turned the brains of the other two. 127 Duca Ottavio is discovered in the mausoleum adding the inscription to the statue which the Commandant had erected to himself in his lifetime. Don Giovanni enters with Pasquariello to view the monument, and obliges the latter to invite the statue [duet]. The cook Lanterna attends Don Giovanni; Elvira comes and meets him returning with Pasquariello; she exhorts him earnestly to repent, but he scornfully refuses, whereupon she leaves him DON GIOVANNI. [160] and retires to a nunnery. Don Giovanni proceeds to sup merrily [concertino]; Pasquariello eats with him, and Lanterna wait upon them; they toast the town of Venice and its lovely women. 128 A knock is heard, and, to the horror of the two servants, the Commandant appears. Don Giovanni bids him welcome, and orders Pasquariello to serve him; he accepts the Commandant's invitation, giving him his hand on it, but rejects his exhortation to repentance, and is delivered over to the demons. 129

A "Convitato di Pietra," by Tritto, is known to me only through Fétis, who places it in the year 1783. 130

A wealth of material, which made the task of selection difficult, left Da Ponte no necessity to task his invention for his libretto. 131 We have no means of ascertaining how deep or how extensive were his previous studies, 132 but even compared with Gazzaniga's libretto, which he closely followed for the greater part of the first act and the second finale, we cannot fail to recognise his superiority in the arrangement of the plot, in the delineation of character, and in the grouping of situations for musical treatment, especially in the ensembles. His discrimination in the selection of material was also very just. He saw clearly that if the spectral apparition was to have its due effect it must be set in vivid contrast with the representation of actual life, with all its impulses of passion, of love, hate, or despair, of humour and merriment. He cannot be said to have cast the magic of true poetry over his work, nor has it the knightly tone of the Spanish original, but he has endowed DA PONTE'S LIBRETTO. [161] his characters with the easy pleasure-loving spirit of the time; and the sensual frivolity of life at Venice or Vienna is mirrored in every page of his "Don Giovanni." The language displays a versatility almost amounting to gracefulness; and, remembering to what a low level of vulgarity the treatment of the subject had been brought, we shall be the more ready to recognise the effort to raise the dialogue to a more sensible and refined standard. Da Ponte was right in placing the main points on which the action turns upon the stage, and in furnishing the composer with a number of musically effective situations, in which the elements of tragedy and comedy, of horror and merriment, meet and mingle together. This curious intermixture of ground-tones, which seldom allows; expression to any one pure and unalloyed mood, is the special characteristic of the opera. Mozart grasped the unity of these contrasts lying deep in human nature, and expressed them so harmoniously as to open a new province to his art, for the development of which its mightiest forces were henceforward to be concentrated. Great as has been the progress of music in the expression of this inner life of man since Mozart's time, he has not yet been surpassed in his power of creating living forms instinct with artistic beauty, and endowed with perfect dramatic truth. When Goethe declared that Mozart would have been the man to compose his "Faust," 133 he was thinking of "Don Giovanni"; but it could scarcely have been the merely external manipulation of the plot, however skilful, which directed his opinion. With the instinctive certainty of genius he felt the universality of Mozart's conception and representation of humanity, and acknowledged him as his equal on what was, in his judgment, a far more extensive field than this.

The commencement of the opera 134 sets us at once in the midst of the action: the passionate intensity of the first DON GIOVANNI. [162] scene, the villainy which is practised before our eyes, prepare us for the deep shadow which is to fall on the picture of reckless pleasure-seeking, and for its horrifying conclusion; nor is the humorous element altogether absent:—

Leporello is discovered keeping impatient watch for his master, who soon appears, pursued by Donna Anna, and vainly striving to break loose from her. Her cries for help bring the Commendatore, her father, who challenges the insolent intruder to fight, and falls by Don Giovanni's sword, to the consternation of the latter and of Leporello. Neither scorn nor mockery are expressed in the words, "Ah! gia cade il sciagurato," and the music is as far from such sentiments as the words. Da Ponte has sagaciously shown traits of natural human sentiment in Don Giovanni, and Mozart has not let these escape him. But he has no time to waste in regrets; he takes to flight, and immediately after Donna Anna returns with her affianced lover, Don Ottavio; she swoons at sight of the corpse, and as soon as she returns to herself makes Don Ottavio swear vengeance on the murderer.

Don Giovanni, deaf to Leporello's reproaches, is confiding to him that he is in pursuit of a new adventure, 135 when a lady enters. This is Donna Elvira, whom he has deceived and deserted in Burgos, and who has followed him to claim his promise of marriage; he approaches her, and is consternated on seeing who she is. She overwhelms him with reproaches, and he refers her to Leporello for explanations and excuses, taking the opportunity of slipping away himself; Leporello, for her consolation, displays a list of his master's love intrigues, which he carries about with him. Enraged at this fresh insult, she resolves to sacrifice her love for her unfaithful lover to her thirst for vengeance.

Masetto and Zerlina, with their village friends, are celebrating their wedding in the neighbourhood of Don Giovanni's casino, whither he has repaired by preconcerted arrangement. Zerlina's fresh loveliness attracts him; and, making acquaintance with the bridal party, he invites them all into his casino, but soon drives out Masetto, whose jealousy he has excited; and is on the point of winning Zerlina by his flattery and declarations of love when Elvira steps between them, warns Zerlina, and (spite of Don Giovanni's whispered protestation that she is a poor maniac in love with him and mad with jealousy) carries off the peasant maiden. 136 To Don Giovanni, thus left alone, enter Donna Anna and Ottavio, who greet him as a friend of the family, and claim his DA PONTE'S LIBRETTO. [163] assistance in discovering the murderer and bringing him to justice; while he is conversing with Donna Anna, Elvira again interposes and warns her that he is a hypocrite. He again secretly represents her as a maniac who must be humoured, 137 and goes out with her. Donna Anna's suspicions are aroused, and observing Don Giovanni closely, she recognises her father's murderer in him, acquaints Don Ottavio with the circumstances, and urges him to avenge her father's death. Unwilling to give easy credence to such a grave accusation, he decides to examine thoroughly into the affair, and to clear up the doubts as to Don Giovanni. The latter, disembarrassed of Donna Elvira, commands a banquet to be prepared in honour of the bridal party. Masetto, whom Zerlina has with difficulty appeased by her coaxing endearments, conceals himself when he sees Don Giovanni approaching; after some demure behaviour on Zerlina's part, Masetto comes forward, and Don Giovanni, with quick presence of mind, persuades them both to accompany him into the house for the banquet. Donna Anna and Don Ottavio enter with Elvira, who has explained everything to them, and at her instigation they all put on masks, in order to observe Don Giovanni without being recognised; Leporello, perceiving them, conveys the expected invitation to enter, which they accept. It was at that time customary in Venice to go about masked, and strangers thus disguised were invited to enter where any festivities were going on, thus heightening the frolic of the masquerade. As they enter the hall, there is a pause in the dance; the guests take refreshment, Don Giovanni devotes himself to Zerlina, and Masetto, his jealousy again aroused, seeks to warn her; then the masked strangers become the centre of observation, are politely greeted, and the dance begins again. Donna Anna and Don Ottavio tread a minuet, the dance of the aristocracy; 138 Donna Anna with difficulty restrains her conflicting emotions, which vent themselves in occasional interjections, while Don Ottavio exhorts her to remain calm. Elvira follows every movement of Don Giovanni; the latter invites Zerlina to dance, and Leporello forces Masetto to dance with him in order to distract his attention from Zerlina. At the right moment Don Giovanni carries off Zerlina. Leporello hurries after to warn him; her cries for help are heard, and all rush to her rescue. Don Giovanni meets them, dragging in Leporello, whom he gives out to be the culprit, and threatens with death; but he is surrounded on all sides, the masks are thrown off, and he finds himself in the midst of his victims, DON GIOVANNI. [164] intent on revenge. For one moment his presence of mind forsakes him and he is at a loss how to extricate himself, but his courage speedily returns, and he boldly and irresistibly makes his way through his enemies.

This momentary dismay and confusion is psychologically correct, and brings an important feature into the situation, which Mozart has effectively seized in his musical characterisation of it. Don Giovanni and Leporello, with the storm of voices surging round them, sing sotto voce; and highly characteristic is the submission to Leporello's opinion to which Don Giovanni here condescends. Only with the words "Ma non manca in me corraggio" does he gather his senses together, and strike at once a different key, in which Leporello cannot follow him. 139

The first act must be allowed to have a well-constructed and interesting plot, but the second consists of situations without cohesion or connection, although capable of being made musically very effective. It wants a leading motive to hold the parts together, the incessant pursuit of Don Giovanni not by any means answering the purpose; the comic tone also degenerates into coarseness:—

Don Giovanni, having appeased the incensed Leporello with money and fair words, confides to him that he is courting Elvira's pretty wait-ing-maid, and changes clothes with him in order to gain easier access to her. This is scarcely accomplished when Elvira appears at the window. In order to get out of the affair with a good grace, Don Giovanni renews his addresses to her with pretended passion, and she is weak enough to give ear to him. Leporello, in his disguise, accepts and answers her protestations of love, until Don Giovanni, making a noisy entrance, drives them both away; then with a tender song he strives to entice the waiting-maid to appear. Masetto then enters armed, with several friends, to call Don Giovanni to account; the supposed Leporello undertakes to put them on the right track, but cleverly contrives to disperse and dismiss them, wheedles Masetto out of his weapons, beats him soundly, and escapes. Masetto's cries bring Zerlina to the spot, and she seeks to console him with loving caresses.

In the meantime Leporello and Elvira have taken refuge in an antechamber; Leporello tries to slip away, while Elvira beseeches him not to leave her alone in the dark. He is on the point of escaping when DA PONTE'S LIBRETTO. [165] Don Ottavio enters with Donna Anna, endeavouring to calm her sorrow; Elvira and Leporello each try to escape unobserved, but Zerlina and Masetto intercept them. The supposed Don Giovanni is taken to account on the spot; in vain does Elvira petition for him, to the general astonishment; at last Leporello discovers himself, and after many excuses and explanations makes good his escape. Don Ottavio, now no longer doubting that Don Giovanni is the murderer of the Com-mendatore, announces his intention of proceeding against him in a court of justice, and begs his friends to console his betrothed until he shall have accomplished his design.

Don Giovanni awaits Leporello's arrival at the foot of the monument erected to the Commendatore, and laughingly relates his latest adventure; an invisible voice twice utters words of warning. He becomes aware of the presence of the statue, and makes Leporello read the inscription on it: "I here await the chastisement of my ruthless murderer." In arrogant contempt of Leporello's horror he forces the latter to invite the statue to supper; the statue nodding its head. Don Giovanni calls upon it to answer, and on its distinctly uttering the word "Yes" he hastens away in consternation.

Don Ottavio strives anew to console Donna Anna, and at last begs for her hand in marriage: she explains that, though her heart consents to his prayer, her mourning for her father compels her to postpone its fulfilment. This scene gives rise to a suspicion of having been inserted in Prague after the completion of the opera, in order to give the singer a final air. The situation is repeated at the close of the finale, and is not here in accordance with Don Ottavio's previous appearances. Don Giovanni, seated at his richly appointed table, eats and jokes with the greedy Leporello. This scene, which was always made the occasion for broad jesting between master and servant, has been turned by Mozart into musical fun and by-play. Don Giovanni's private musicians play favourite airs from the newest operas. At the first bar Leporello cries "Bravi! 'Cosa Rara!'" It is the last movement of the first finale from Martin's "Cosa Rara": "O quanto un si bel giubilo," which was then in every one's mouth; and the parody was a very happy one. Just as in Martin's opera the discontented lovers are contrasted with the more favoured ones, on whom their mistresses have been bestowed before their eyes, so here the hungry Leporello contrasts with the gormandising Don Giovanni, and the music might have been made for them. The second piece is greeted by Leporello with "Evvivano! 'I Litiganti!'" It is Mingone's favourite air from Sarti's opera, "Fra Due Litiganti il Terzo gode" (Act I., 8), the same on which Mozart had written variations (Vol. II., p. 345), the then familiar words of which—

     "Come un agnello,
     Che va al macello,
     Andrai belando
     Per la città"—


were comically appropriate to the snuffling Leporello. 140 The apparent malice which induced Mozart to parody favourite pieces from operas which were avowedly rivals of his own (the impression being immensely heightened by the humorous instrumentation caricaturing arrangements for harmony music), is rendered in some degree excusable by his having included himself in the joke. When the musicians strike up "Non più andrai," Leporello exclaims: "Questa poi la conosco pur troppo!" Thus Mozart expressed his gratitude to the people of Prague for their enthusiastic reception of "Figaro." 141

To this merry pair enters Elvira. She has overcome her love, and intends entering a cloister, but wishes to make one more effort to bring Don Giovanni to repentance; but her representation being met only with easy contempt, she angrily leaves him. She is heard to utter a shriek without. Leporello hastens after her, and returns in horror: the statue of the Commendatore is at the door; it knocks, and Don Giovanni has to go himself to open it, and to conduct his marble guest to a seat. The statue rejects all hospitality, and asks Don Giovanni if he is prepared to return the visit; on his answering in the affirmative, he grasps him by the hand, and calls upon him to repent. Don Giovanni repeatedly and defiantly refuses, and the statue leaves him; night comes on, flames burst from the earth, invisible spirit voices are heard, demons surround Don Giovanni, who sinks into the abyss. Don Ottavio and Donna Anna, Elvira, Masetto and Zerlina enter to drag the offender to justice, but find that human revenge has been anticipated; Leporello, who has witnessed the dreadful scene with every sign of horror, relates his master's fearful end. Relieved from anxiety, and restored to their natural relations, they unite in the words of the "old song"—

     "Questo è il fin di chi fa mal,
     E de' perfidi la morte
     Alla vita è sempre ugual!"

No doubt the serious moral appended to the gay and easygoing tone of the opera was a reminiscence of the custom of considering the piece, on account of its ready practical application, as a sort of religious drama; the music takes the same tone towards the end. We can scarcely conceive that it was with a view to the moral effect alone that Da Ponte so contrived the plot that Don Giovanni should fail in each GERMAN ADAPTATIONS. [167] of the love adventures in which he engages; there can be no question that the cheerful tone which runs through the whole opera depends chiefly on the repulses with which the hero is continually met on the field of his heroic deeds. It is true that some of the passionate force which distinguishes the Spanish drama is thereby sacrificed, but, on the other hand, the murders and low crimes which were heaped up in the German burlesques of "Don Giovanni" also disappeared, and the concentration of the action dispensed with a number of ill-connected and licentious scenes. Unfortunately the German adaptations have made a concession to the popular taste in retaining the accustomed Carnival frolic, which has nothing whatever in common with Da Ponte's "Don Giovanni"—to say nothing of Mozart. Only of late has this deformity been occasionally removed by the introduction of the original recitative in its stead. 142 But, apart from this, the current German version not only misses the easy, often striking and graceful style of the Italian verses, and spoils the melodious flow of the words; it even distorts the sense, and puts into the mouths of the singers sentiments foreign alike to the situation and to the music. 143

But whatever merit Da Ponte's libretto may claim, it claims chiefly as having given occasion to Mozart's music; (527 K.). One is accustomed to consider the libretto of an opera as the canvas on which the composer is to work DON GIOVANNI. [168] his embroidery; it might in this case almost be compared to the frame on which the sculptor erects and models his statue, so completely is the endowment of the opera with body and soul the actual and exclusive work of Mozart. 144 The very overture 145 shows at once that something more is to be expected than the usual fun of opera buffa. Mozart must have strongly felt the necessity for a grave and solemn introduction, and has therefore selected the usual French form of overture, consisting of a slow introduction followed by an allegro. The andante is taken from the opera itself. We have the principal subjects of the spectral apparition (as it were, the musical expression of the old title "Il Con-vitato di Pietra"), indicating at the very commencement the culminating point of the opera, and fixing its ground-tone. 146 After a few introductory chords, clear, solemn sounds are heard like an apparition from heaven, spreading around a feeling of disquiet and strangeness, swelling into fear and horror. It is interesting to note how the ascending and descending scales, which, like the mysterious rustling of the THE OVERTURE. [169] breeze, produce a kind of cold shudder in the hearer, were first brought clearly before Mozart's mind during the performance of the ghost scene. In the finale, where they first occur (p. 271), they were wanting in the original score; Mozart inserted them subsequently, and, room being scarce, wrote them in diminutive little notes, which often extend into the following bar; but the second time they occur, and in the overture, they are duly written down. The allegro is exclusively suggestive of the main features of the story; and an eager, irrepressible force, "which is intoxicated with the lust for enjoyment, and in enjoyment pines for lust," penetrates the whole, sometimes in accents of keen pain—[See Page Images] and hot desire, sometimes with exultation and wild delight. 147 The grave cry of warning which interrupts the eager movement—is answered, as if in frivolous mockery, by an easy playful passage—[See Page Images]

and then the contrasting elements are worked out with a wealth of harmonious and contrapuntal detail. Mozart is said to have borrowed both the subject and its imitation from DON GIOVANNI. [170] a canon by Stölzel. 148 But a glance at the bars which are adduced to prove this—[See page Image]

will show what a keen hunt after plagiarism is required to find any borrowed idea in this imitative disposition of parts, common to many old church compositions. But here again Mozart has turned one of the resources of musical construction into a development of a psychological idea. How deeply suggestive it is that the warning cries should be heard woven into the imitations, dying into tender, almost melancholy entreaty, and finally, as the mocker seems determined to treat it all as a jest, rising into an awful call to repentance, sounding again and again with a force that penetrates into the very marrow of one's bones! Again, how truly conceived is the harmonic transition at the close, by means of which this warning motif cuts short with the seventh the jubilation at its very highest pitch, then dies away into gentle notes of remonstrance, and so gradually calms the hearer, and prepares him for what is to follow! 149

The opera begins by introducing us to the only really comic character it contains, and thus in a measure fulfils the anticipations excited by the overture. The typical character of the comic servant, which in "Don Juan" had passed through the successive stages of Gracioso, Arlecchino, Sganarelle, Hanswurst, and Kasperle, here attained to perfection as far as opera buffa is concerned. Leporello is a creation unique of its kind; but since in every branch of art gifted minds, however original, draw from a common source, so Leporello, LEPORELLO. [171] striking as is his individuality, is developed out of the traditions of opera buffa. The distinctive character of the opera depends upon his intimate connection with all the situations and all the persons. It would not suffice for the due blending of the contrasting elements that Leporello should scatter jests in season and out of season on every conceivable topic; it was only by rendering all his acts and expressions consistent with his character that they could be made to react upon the situations and persons which brought them forth. He has a distinct personality, with his own way of thinking and feeling, and his own way of expressing himself. The boldness with which his essentially comic nature is brought into conflict with passions and events which sound the very depths of the human heart transports us to the highest province of humour. This is especially observable in his relations to his master, with whom he is at once in sympathy and in striking contrast.

He has the same desire for enjoyment and display, the same laxity of moral judgment, the same tendency to treat serious matters in a mocking spirit; he does not want ability either, but fails altogether in just those qualities which keep alive our interest in Don Giovanni—in strength and courage: his cowardice betrays itself on every occasion. While Don Giovanni is on the look-out for every adventure, however daring, and extricates himself from every peril, however imminent, Leporello is always pressed into the service, is utterly helpless in any contingency, and escapes finally only by virtue of his cowardice. This contradiction between his nature and his surroundings is all the more entertaining since he himself is perfectly aware of it. We learn his character from the very first. He is in high dudgeon at being forced to mount guard outside while his master is enjoying himself within, and marches impatiently up and down; but as he marches, proud thoughts of future grandeur take possession of his soul. "Voglio far il gentiluomo"—he might almost be taken for a cavalier. Suddenly he hears a noise. He is no longer the grand gentleman, but gives vent to abject fear in his terrified babble, as Don Giovanni wrestles with Donna Anna. When the danger grows serious, and the Commendatore falls, he is seized with horror, but DON GIOVANNI. [172] although the moral shock is great it is with actual physical fear that his teeth chatter. The whole sequence of characteristic expression in the scene receives its full significance only by contrast with Leporello's cowardice. Donna Anna's passion, which Don Giovanni is constrained to oppose with a force equal to her own; the dignified bearing of the Commendatore, forcing Don Giovanni at length reluctantly to draw the sword; 150 the duel 151 with its horrifying result—all these afford a rapid succession of exciting and harrowing points, scarcely leaving room for the comic element, which nevertheless is there, and kept actively before us without doing injury to the harmony of the whole. What a force of artistic expression is displayed in the eighteen bars of andante which close the introduction! The death which ends the pain of the Commendatore, the mingled pity and triumph of Don Giovanni, the horror and fear of Leporello, are blended into such harmony as to leave the mind—relieved from suspense—full of true emotion. The unusual combination of three bass voices seems as though expressly chosen for the serious tone of the situation; the stringed instruments accompany the voices in the simplest manner, with a few sustained notes for the horns and bassoons, and only in the concluding symphony do the oboes and flutes enter with a plaintive chromatic passage. Here burns truly the inextinguishable flame of genius! 152

To return to Leporello. The various ways in which his timorous nature expresses itself in different situations give occasion for the most interesting characterisation. He has least to do in the first finale, but he stands close by his master, who shields him in their common danger; in the THE SESTET—LEPORELLO. [173] sestet, however, he shows himself in his full proportions. Willing as he is to take his master's place with Elvira, his fears do not suffer him to do it; and when he finds himself alone in the dark with her, in spite of her entreaties not to be left alone, his one anxiety is to escape. The contrast is excellently expressed between the bashfulness of Elvira and the terror of her cowardly interlocutor. Just as he is making off, Don Ottavio and Donna Anna enter, and he conceals himself. A rapid transition to another key, emphasised by the unexpected entry of drums and trumpets, transports us to a higher region, and an affectingly beautiful expression is given to the sorrow of a noble mind and the consolation of a loving heart. Elvira again takes part in the situation; she is full of anxiety for the supposed Don Giovanni, and the expression of her fear becomes more material, lowering her to the level of Leporello, who seeks anew to escape, and repeats his former motif, but more despondently, and in the minor key. Then Zerlina and Masetto enter and run against him, Don Ottavio and Donna Anna also become aware of his presence; and, to their intense surprise, Elvira interposes a petition for Don Giovanni. Her former motif expressive of anxiety is taken up and maintained by the orchestra, becoming the nucleus of the situation, the surprise of the other serving only to give light and shade. When her petition is finally rejected, Leporello throws off his disguise. His timidity has become mortal fear, he knows that his insignificance alone can shield him, and he cannot reiterate too strongly that he is in very truth Leporello, and not Don Giovanni. The general surprise at this discovery is of course expressed in far stronger fashion than that at Elvira's sudden change of mind. What is to be done? At first they are all at a loss. With regard to Leporello, though he has more or less injured some of them, their position is in common; he is not the Don Giovanni on whom they have vowed vengeance; their indignant amazement at the deceit practised on them unites them into a compact body, more occupied with their own feelings than anxious to punish Leporello. The latter thinks only of the DON GIOVANNI. [174] danger which threatens him, and, try as he may to collect himself, fear gets possession of him; he mumbles to himself, cries aloud, and makes a final appeal for mercy before he runs away. The perplexity which seizes them all at the discovery of Leporello is the point of union of the situation; the truth and energy with which the nature of each person is expressed giving it the stamp of life and power. 153 Leporello's position is totally different when Don Giovanni arrogantly orders him to invite the statue of the Commendatore to sup with them (Act II., 9). The mysterious sounds which he has just heard, and the marble figure, terrify him; but his master threatens with drawn sword; one fear overmasters the other, and he now persuades himself to address the statue—now turns in terror to his master. The musical expression of fear by means of intervals of sevenths—[See Page Image]

but how characteristic is the difference between this cringing appeal for pity, and the former energetic cry extorted, as it might be, on the rack! The terror increases at each successive attempt to address the statue, while the energy of each address decreases, and dies away at last into a plaintive parlando. The orchestra at the same time adds the expression of insolent mockery, which is not less characteristic of the situation, in a playful but sharply accented DUET—LEPORELLO [175] passage, wherein the flutes are made especially effective.

As soon as Leporello's fears are verified and the statue actually moves, he succumbs to his terror, and Don Giovanr^ steps forward. Fear is a stranger to him; he sees the statue nod its head, and demands a more distinct answer; he puts his question plainly and decidedly; the statue answers by "Si." Leporello behaves as though struck by a thunderbolt, and has no idea but flight; even Don Giovanni is affected, and feels the supernaturalness, but he retains his self-possession; and, in the expression of trembling haste with which it hurries on the conclusion, the orchestra mingles something of the humorous impression which is given by the unexpected dénouement of the situation. The harmonic construction is here masterly in the extreme. From the beginning ^ to this point only the principal key and the one next related to it have been used; but now the interrupted cadence upon C major transports us to another atmosphere, and the altered movement of the orchestra is expressive of energetic activity.

A few chords, however, lead Don Giovanni's questions at once back to the dominant of the principal key, and the forcible "Si" of the Commendatore answers with the tonic, the clear calm of which is destroyed at once by Leporello's C: the real conclusion is only arrived at circuitously. Very different in effect on both occasions is the occurrence of the same C in the bass. The first time, when C major follows decidedly on B major, it makes a fresh, elevating impression; the second time, when C follows the sustained E as the third below, and forms the basis for the chord of the third, fourth and sixth, it gives a shock to the ear. The vivid reality with which the two contrasting individualities are made to express themselves in so unusual a situation has necessitated the free form of the duet. Detached musical phrases, complete in themselves, follow the play of the emotions without the elaboration or repetition of any of the subjects; only Leporello's cry of terror recurs several times, and serves to a certain extent as a connecting link. Mozart has judiciously refrained from bringing the horror of a spectral apparition objectively before his hearers. Their imagination has been sufficiently worked upon by the DON GIOVANNI. [176] awful and imposing words of the Commendatore, 154 and their attention ought not to be diverted from Don Giovanni and Leporello. The freedom which permits of a playful treatment of Leporello's double fear and of Don Giovanni's consternation reposes mainly on the half-light in which the ghostly element is viewed. The spectator is impelled to accept the mixture of the horrible as a flavouring to the humorous; he is not in the least absorbed by horror. As soon as the ghost appears bodily, he comes to the foreground and gives tone and colour to all the rest; it is of advantage to the effect that none of the resources of musical delineation are employed to heighten this point. The true economy of an artist not only concentrates his resources on one point, but finds its truest expression in his appearing to disdain their use at another. The main point here was the audible voice of the statue, and Mozart gave it no support but the vibration of the horn note; this necessitated the greatest simplicity in the whole musical rendering of the situation.

The appearance of the Commendatore in the last finale is led up to in truly masterly fashion. First we have the display of the luxurious living which has erased from Don Giovanni's mind all remembrance of what has passed. Leporello's greediness, with the jests upon it which were customary in this part of the piece, are made subservient to the more delicate humour of the table music. The entrance of Elvira heightens the situation, and the contrast of her deeply moved feelings and Don Giovanni's frivolous excitement introduces a new turn, and prepares for the catastrophe. Leporello feels, indeed, that Elvira is in the right, but dares not oppose his master, and so introduces no dissonant tone into the strongly marked character of this scene. But when the catastrophe draws near it is Leporello who, as he opened the action at the beginning of the opera, now announces the dread apparition at its close. All the THE COMMENDATORE. [177] terror he has hitherto been a prey to is as nothing compared with his mortal anguish at the sight of the marble guest, and even to the commands of his master he answers only with cries of terror; we feel that, ludicrous as the gestures of the cowardly fellow may be, something must have happened that would have alarmed any one, however courageous. Then there enters the Commendatore, accompanied by! soul-harrowing sounds. 155 No human passion, no anger, no pity speaks from his awful tones: the inflexible decree of an eternal law is embodied in all its sublimity in music. The warning words pursue their measured course, now tarrying upon one note with varied chords, now moving in forcible intervals, the heavy weight accumulating till it threatens to annihilate the culprit. The orchestra is calmer and quieter even than before, but adds many finely shaded touches to the image of the apparition. At one time it strengthens the weighty tread of the sustained sounds by the sharp rhythm of dotted notes—then again it falls in dissonant chords upon strongly accented notes, or gives expression to the curdling horror which seizes the hearer, by means of rapid ascending and descending scales. In face of this dread apparition Don Giovanni summons all his strength together. At first, indeed he is consternated, and the orchestra gives expression to his horror; but he soon collects himself, becomes more and more decided as the Commendatore continues to urge him, the call to repentance serving merely as a challenge to his defiance: his fall is inevitable. Again, as at the first, the two stand opposite each other in deadly struggle, but now it is Don Giovanni who is forced to yield, powerless against the forces of the unseen world. Mozart has endued the awe-struck sublimity DON GIOVANNI. [178] of this scene with noble beauty and force of climax, and has even ventured to invest it with something of a comic tone. Leporello's abject fear during such a conflict was a matter of course, but it would be foreign to his nature even under these circumstances, to be altogether silent. When, with chattering teeth and shaking limbs, he sings his triplets when, upon the Commendatore's question "Verrai?" he calls in deadly fear to his master—[See Page Image]

every one must feel how wofully in earnest the poor wretch is, and how he is ludicrous not of his own free will, but because he cannot help it. Every-day life shows how easily the sublime or the awful passes into the ridiculous, and how the incongruous emotion thus produced only strengthens the impression of horror; the blending of these contrasting elements into a true and living representation in art can only be accomplished by a great genius. There is scarcely anything in dramatic music which can compare in this respect with this scene of "Don Giovanni."

Leporello is not conscious of the ridicule he incurs by his cowardice, and in truth it forms but one feature in his character. His air (Act II., 7) following the sestet, in which he seeks to justify himself on all sides, looking out at the same time for an opportunity of escape, makes his cunning more apparent than his fear. He has collected his senses, and, convinced that once recognised he has nothing more to fear, he only seeks to fortify himself with excuses until he can escape. The air is therefore lighter and easier in tone, in strong contrasts, varying according to the quarters to which he addresses himself, but in no way elaborated, and coming to an end with a musical point charmingly expressive of the words. The moderated tone of the piece is of very good effect after the ponderous length of the sestet. Leporello is a dissipated, insolent fellow, but, little as his principles can stand before a threat or a bribe, he has not so completely emancipated himself from all moral restraint LEPORELLO—AIRS. [179] as has his master. He has little scruple, however, in accepting his part in the villainies planned by Don Giovanni, who makes use of him chiefly to get rid of Elvira. In the celebrated air (Act I., 4) in which, professedly by way of consolation, he unrolls the list of his master's amours, he does not conceal the pleasure which the remembrance of the love adventures and the thought of the trick he is playing on Elvira afford him. In the first part the enumeration of the long list is made parlando, only here and there the accent is somewhat raised for effect, as at the famous "Ma in Ispagna son già mille e trè"; but the orchestra, in lively motion all the time, betrays the reminiscence of jovial and licentious adventures which is passing through the mind of the speaker. He grows warmer over his description of his master's tastes and habits, and gives full expression to every detail, until his final malicious apostrophe, "Voi sapete quel che fa," is given with undisguised mockery.

Those who have heard how Lablache sang—[See Page Image]

Quel che fa under his breath, and a little through his nose, with an indescribable side glance at Elvira, can have an idea of the comic ill-nature which Mozart meant to throw into this conclusion.

The characterisation, appropriate in every detail and inimitable in its rendering of Leporello's secret complacency, 156 can only be rightly appreciated with the Italian words; the German translation is most faulty where the musical treatment demanded the strictest accuracy; the mode of expression, too, is purely Italian, sometimes only comprehensible in conjunction with Italian pantomime. When indeed he extols "nella bionda la gentilezza, nella DON GIOVANNI. [180] bruna la costanza, nella bianca la dolcezza," the expression is universally applicable, and the grande maestoso rises plainly before the minds of all; but when we come to—[See Page Image]

the proper effect cannot be rendered in German. In the streets of any town in Italy it may be observed how, when anything is to be described as small, the person describing it repeats the word eight or ten times with great rapidity, lowering the hand by degrees nearer and nearer to the ground; and the action could not possibly be better indicated than in this place by Mozart. There is a similar effect in the terzet (Act II., 2) where Leporello cannot contain his laughter—[See Page Image]

Se se-gui-ta-te ri-do, ri-do, ri-do, ri-do, ri-do, ri-do, ri-do, ri-do, ri-do, ri-do, and the silent internal chuckle of the Italian is musically expressed to perfection. More especially has the rapid utterance, one of the principal devices of opera buffa, a totally different signification in Italian and German. It is not natural to the German, and appears either exaggerated or vulgar; it should therefore be seldom and carefully employed as a means of characterisation. For an Italian, on the contrary, rapid speech, for which his language is so well adapted, is the natural expression of excitement, and the only question for him is whether he shall give vent to his feelings or exercise control over them. In Italian opera it is used without scruple, and without in itself aiming at making a comic impression; the circumstances, persons engaged, and manner employed give the character of the piece. In the part of Leporello the rapid parlando has a very different expression in different situations, and can always be justified on psychological grounds. But it is by no means exclusively the characteristic of comic persons. In the first finale (Act I., 13) Masetto's rapid outpouring of jealous rage, Zerlina's fear and distress, are not intended to move the THE RAPID PARLANDO. [181] audience to laughter; they merely give natural expression to their feelings, and it is the situation which produces the comic effect. These characters, it is true, belong to the lower classes, to whom some indulgence might be accorded in respect of good manners; but even Don Giovanni makes free use of his tongue when he ceases to exercise control over himself. In his intercourse with Leporello especially he allows much freedom to his servant, and lowers himself to the same level; this is of course made apparent in the musical expression, and various small indications of a free and easy tone of conversation have an extraordinary effect on the free and vivid conception of the whole. In the short duet (Act II., 1) in which he appeases the incensed Leporello, he expresses himself altogether after the manner of the latter, but it must be remembered that Leporello is really highly indignant, while Don Giovanni is only in joke all the time; in this contrast consists the comic point of the situation. Again, too, in the first finale, when he loses presence of mind for a moment, he falls into this rapid utterance with the words: "È confusa la mia testa," which, as soon as he has collected himself, ceases again with the words "ma non manca-in me coraggio." In the quartet (Act I.) the danger threatening him through Elvira excites him so greatly that in counselling her to be careful—"Siate un poco più prudente"—the rapidity of his address betrays his own loss of self-control. There is something of a comic tone in this, but the gravity of the situation does not allow it to go beyond a mere shade, and even this rapid parlando ought not to assume a really buffo character. Elvira herself, with the unbridled passion of her nature, gives vent to her anger in winged words, which are certainly not calculated to produce a comic effect. Donna Anna, on the other hand, and Don Ottavio, persons of high birth and breeding, never so far lose command over themselves as to fall into this hurried speech. The quartet just mentioned is one of the finest instances of the quality and extent of Mozart's genius. The conversation between Donna Anna, Don Ottavio, and Don Giovanni is most unexpectedly interrupted by the warnings of Elvira; the two first are amazed, and uncertain what to make of it, DON GIOVANNI. [182] while Don Giovanni, alarmed, seeks by deception to keep them in uncertainty, and to silence Elvira. All this gives rise to a genuinely musical variety of mood tinged with melancholy by the grief of Donna Anna and Don Ottavio. A most prominent feature of the whole is the skilful grouping. Donna Anna and Don Ottavio are inseparable, and form the nucleus of the piece; Elvira and Don Giovanni, though in opposition, are sometimes together, and sometimes in conjunction with the other two. The situation demands that Elvira shall be most frequently isolated, in contrast with the three remaining characters; and as her passionate excitement keeps her in the foreground, she gives the tone to the whole piece, and Don Giovanni is constrained to follow her, while Don Ottavio and Donna Anna only occasionally emerge from their mood of anxious contemplation. A touch of dramatic truth is the adoption by the orchestra and other voices of Elvira's motif to the words—[See Page Image]

so that it seems to be the key to the riddle forcing itself on the ear and betraying Don Giovanni's guilt. The motif recurs after all the reproaches, questions, and appeals, and dies away in gentle but pained reproach when the true position of affairs is left unexplained. The suspicion which here enters the mind of Donna Anna prepares the way for the conviction which forces itself upon her that Don Giovanni is the murderer of her father. The grouping of the voices is treated primarily as a means of psychological characterisation. The entrance of Elvira in the second finale gives Leporello a moral shock which brings him musically en rapport with Elvira, and their parts are therefore in correspondence; indeed, towards the end they are in close imitation 157 and opposed to that of Don Giovanni. In the DON GIOVANNI. [183] terzet again (Act II., 2), Leporello is first associated with Don Giovanni and afterwards with Elvira, whom he begins by reviling, but who later arouses his sympathy, while Don Giovanni holds aloof from them both. This power of grouping the parts so that they shall serve the purposes of psychological and dramatic characterisation as well as of musical construction, is observable in every one of the ensemble pieces.

L. Bassi (1766-1825), who is described as an excellent and well-trained singer, and as a man of fine exterior and pleasing manners, 158 was, we are told, very much annoyed that, as the chief personage of the opera, he had no grand air to sing; this was probably felt by others as a blemish in the work. If the nature of Don Giovanni had at all resembled that of Faust, he could not have failed to give some expression to the mental conflict between sensuality and misanthropy on the one hand, and the impulses of his higher moral nature on the other; and such a conflict would have lent itself readily to musical representation. But Don Giovanni has no scruples of the kind; the gratification of his desires is his sole object, and to this he devotes himself in all the consciousness of his own strength. Danger entices him as calling forth his powers; he delights in jests which demonstrate his superiority to his victim, and sensual enjoyment is his only real object in life. He pursues it neither with the lust of a fiend nor with the passion of a strongly moved nature, but with a reckless abandonment to sensual impulses taking absolute possession of all his faculties, and so coming into momentary contact with the nobler capabilities which exist in every soul. Imposing strength, external refinement, a jovial and even humorous manner are, indeed, far from ennobling or dignifying such a character; but they render it less despicable, and reflect line for line the manners of the age which produced Tirso's "Don Juan" and Da Ponte's "Don Giovanni." Music, which in its very nature gives preference and expression to the emotional element of the human mind, DON GIOVANNI. [184] was the only fitting exponent of such a creation in the world of art. 159 A nature such as that of Don Giovanni does not express itself in monologue, but in action, and we learn to know him almost exclusively in his relations to others. It is only when he is directing Leporello to prepare a costly banquet, and abandoning himself to the anticipation of the enjoyment it will afford him, that he gives musical expression to his excitement in an air, or rather in a Lied (Act I., 11). His mind is engrossed with the idea of the ball, and he predicts the situation which actually occurs in the finale; even the three different dances are mentioned by name:—

     Senza alcun ordine
     La danza sia
     Chi l' minuetto
     Chi la follia
     Chi 1' alemanna
     Farai ballar.

Starting with this idea, Mozart has given him a simple and very lively dance song to sing, in which nothing of the higher passions and still less either of demoniacal lust or noble sentiment can be traced, but only a very powerful expression of sensual impulse in a sort of fleeting paroxysm. The very pleasing and impressive melody, the simple harmony, the marked rhythm, and especially the instrumentation, all combine to produce a happy effect. The flutes and violins, which lead the melody almost without interruption, maintain the dance-like character of the song, and the uniformly rapid movement of the accompaniment produces a singular degree of excitement, enhanced by the strong accents of the wind instruments. So again, the digression into the minor key, making the sting of DON GIOVANNI—AIRS. [185] unbridled passion to be felt in the very indulgence of it, is of very striking effect. The serenade (Act II., 3) is of a totally different character; Mozart has written Canzonetta against it. Don Giovanni here pours out the whole warmth of his feelings towards the fair one whose heart he hopes to win. The Italian version of the song has a national character both in rhythm and language; it is of little consequence whether Don Giovanni is supposed to be singing a well-known song, or improvising one. The irresistible, insinuating flattery of this song, the state of voluptuous longing which it expresses, have the same sort of effect upon us as the dazzling colour and intoxicating perfume of some rare exotic flower; there is nothing, even in Mozart, which can be compared to it. The effect of the charming melody, and of the well-chosen harmonies, is much enhanced by the pizzicato mandoline accompaniment supported by the stringed instruments. The tender, curiously vibrating tone of the metal strings of the mandoline seems inseparable from the sweet gracefulness of the song; the instrument was then in common use (Mozart has written several songs to the mandoline, Vol. II., p. 371, note), and its effect was thus all the more characteristic. 160

The only real air which Don Giovanni sings, he sings not as Don Giovanni; disguised as Leporello, he is giving Masetto and his companions directions for catching himself, and the musical characterisation must therefore approach burlesque. This air (Act II., 4), "Metà di voi qua vadano," belongs undoubtedly to those original conceptions which one admires without exactly understanding how they have been brought about. The situation in itself affords no proper musical impulse; it treats merely of the posting of scouts, of communication by signals, the speaker himself being thrown into a dubious light by reason of his disguise, and none DON GIOVANNI. [186] but a great genius could have found in this place a nucleus round which to develop a musical masterpiece. The character of the piece is of course buffo, not only because Don Giovanni is playing the part of Leporello, but because he is himself thoroughly enjoying the trick he is playing Masetto; these motives must therefore be blended. It is only necessary to compare this song with those of Leporello (Act I., 4; II., 7), to appreciate the essential difference in their style. The rapidly spoken passages give a tone of vulgarity, which is relieved by occasional involuntary expressions of greater dignity; passages such as—[See Page Image]

could not have been sung by Leporello; they show us the cavalier beneath his disguise. In accordance with the situation the voice is kept parlando; and the orchestra to which the constructive detail is intrusted is so independently treated that it might without injury dispense with the voice, although each is in fact the necessary complement of the other. The mysterious importance and the apparent confidence of Don Giovanni, which form the fundamental motif of the situation when contrasted with the earnest attention and curiosity of the country people, are humorously conceived and the orchestra renders every turn of what is passing in the minds of all concerned. But, in spite of this, the musical characterisation can only be made fully effective by suitable pantomime on the part of all the characters, even of those who do not speak, except through the orchestra. Don Giovanni's true character, however, is not displayed until he comes in contact with the other, and more especially with the female, characters of the opera. His seductive powers are first practised towards Zerlina. She is represented as a simple village ZERLINA. [187] maiden; and the little duet (Act I., 5) which she sings with her affianced lover amid the joyful acclamations of their friends, expresses innocent gladness in the simplest possible manner and with quite a popular tone. 161 Don Giovanni is the first to arouse sentiments which have hitherto slumbered unsuspected in her bosom. The simple peasant girl becomes an easy prey to the elegant man of the world; her vanity is flattered by his condescension, and his way of expressing the tender emotions excited in him by sensual gratification impresses Zerlina's innocent mind with a conviction of truthfulness, and rouses so irresistible a love towards him that all other considerations are cast into the shade. This is the main idea expressed in the duet (Act I., 6), wherein Don Giovanni makes speedy conquest of Zerlina's heart. The feeling of mutual satisfaction to which they both yield, as it has been preceded by no strife of passions, gives rise to an expression of unalloyed happiness cradled in softest, warmest sunlight. The second part was indeed required to contain more of fire and passion, but the truth of the characterisation has probably suffered thereby. Zerlina's nature is neither deep nor passionate, but light and impressionable; and Don Giovanni's chief weapon is his power of assimilating himself to the woman whom he designs to attract. This point has been made admirable use of by Mozart. 162 Such a broad psychological fact is, however, easy to represent; that which can neither be analysed nor reproduced is the effect of the tender intensity of the simple notes, which penetrate the soul like the glance of a loving eye.

At the second interview between the two the state of affairs is considerably modified. Zerlina has been warned by Elvira; she has just calmed Masetto's jealousy with some difficulty, and is aware that he overhears; she seeks, therefore, to repel DON GIOVANNI. [188] Don Giovanni, though conscious that he has lost none of his old attraction for her. He knows this, and answers her petition for mercy with her own motif, whereby the love-making is as delicately characterised as immediately afterwards his astonishment at finding Masetto in ambush, and the quick presence of mind with which he ceremoniously greets him, whereupon Don Giovanni's own phrase is mockingly repeated by Masetto. The orchestra, after accompanying the lovers with strains as tender as their own, here gives inimitable expression to suppressed scorn and resentment. The dance music is heard, however, and relieves the strain; all except Zerlina feel the relief, and hasten within. As the festivities proceed, and Zerlina, watched by Masetto's jealous eyes, endeavours to elude Don Giovanni's pursuit of her until he leads her to the dance and then carries her off, 163 the complicated situation is characterised, as a whole, with firm and distinct touches, and the individual points are allowed to fall into the background. When she has been delivered from Don Giovanni's hands her feelings for him have undergone a revulsion, and henceforward she is found among the number of his pursuers. Her passing inclination for the libertine has, however, roused into life a germ which is fostered and developed by her relations towards Masetto. At first her intercourse with her lover is unreserved and entirely happy. Masetto is represented as a course, jealous, but good-natured clown, and appears at a disadvantage when compared with Zerlina, Don Giovanni, or even with Leporello. Mozart has sketched his figure for us in simple graphic lines, never bringing him to the foreground, but always giving him his right place in the ensemble movements, to which he contributes his share of life and colour. He only asserts himself once in an air, when Don Giovanni is sending him away in order to be alone with Zerlina. This is of a decidedly buffo character, and, compared with the MASETTO—ZERLINA. [189] airs of Don Giovanni and Leporello, affords a totally distinct but equally faithful picture of character; His indignation, only restrained from respect for the great man, which would fain vent itself in ironical bitterness, his coarse sarcasm, which he intends to be so delicate and biting, are admirably characterised. The very first motif of the orchestra, where the ominous horns are again distinctly heard—[See Page Image]

at which he exclaims, "Ho capito, signor si," shows by the monotonous repetition of increasingly emphatic bars how engrossed he is in the one idea which has taken possession of his mind. The two motifs with which he sarcastically addresses Zerlina and Don Giovanni are also admirably characteristic; and equally so the conclusion, where he does not know how to stop; and the syncopated rhythm adds not a little force to the expression of his perplexity.

Zerlina's two airs are in vivid contrast to the coarse and boorish, but honest character of her lover. They express neither affection nor tenderness, but rather the consciousness of her own superiority, which her intercourse with Don Giovanni has revealed to her. Hers is one of those easy natures which are volatile without being actually untrue, whose feelings are the children of the passing moment, and whose charm is enhanced by the excitement of the moment. The master has inspired this lovely and graceful form with a breath of warm sentiment, without which she would be cold; and her roguish smile saves her from the reproach of mere sentimentality. The first air (Act I., 12) takes its tone from Zerlina's desire to pacify Masetto; but there is no trace of a need for forgiveness—of the consciousness of an unlawful love; she disarms her lover's wrath with caressing tenderness, and gives him glimpses of bliss which he is far too weak to resist.

It would be impossible to conceive a more charming love-making, and no false note of sentimentality mars the graceful picture. The obbligato violoncello lends itself in a singular degree to the individual characterisation, its restless DON GIOVANNI. [190] movement and soft low sound standing in happiest contrast to the clear fresh voices; the accompaniment completes what the singer leaves unsaid. It portrays the anxious hesitation in the minds of both the lovers; and not until the second part does the motion flow free and full, till all resentment dies away in gentle murmurings. The second air (Act II., 5), corresponds to a different situation. Masetto has been beaten, and Zerlina tries to console him; if she were to put on an air of sentimental gravity it would appear absurd; the roguish playfulness with which Mozart has endowed the broader merriment indicated by the words is far more appropriate here, and gives the expression of pure and tender grace, which renders this one of the most attractive of songs. The clearness and brightness of the instrumentation compared with that of the first air is very striking.

Very different is Don Giovanni's behaviour towards Elvira.

This ungrateful part of a deserted mistress has for the most part been neglected. If a great artist, such as Schroder-Devrient, had conceived the idea of embodying on the stage the dignified character of Elvira as Mozart created it, the representation of the opera would have been placed on an altogether different footing. Elvira is in an outward position of equality with Don Giovanni. She is his superior in nobility of mind, and she has been deeply injured by him. Her first air (Act I., 3) 164 shows her as a woman of strong character and passionate feeling, as far from the ladylike reserve of Donna Anna as from the youthful grace of Zerlina. As unreservedly as she had given her love to Don Giovanni does she now yield to her thirst for revenge, and even this proceeds not so much from injured pride as from disappointed love, ready to burst in new flames from its ashes. The tone-colouring of the instrumentation in this air is in very striking contrast to that of the previous songs; clarinets are used for the first time, and with the horns and bassoons (no flutes) give a full and brilliant effect. Don Giovanni overhearing her, and sympathising with her while ELVIRA. [191] not recognising her, together with the running comments he makes on her to Leporello, add a mixture of humour to the scene which could not be more gracefully expressed. The laugh is unsparingly turned against Elvira, and is occasioned by the passionateness with which she has compassed her own discomfiture. The musical rendering clearly shows that in her proper person she remains unaffected by it. Resolved to pursue Don Giovanni, and defeat his machinations, she intercepts him as he is hastening into his casino with Zerlina, and exclaims to the deluded maid:—

     Ah! fuggi il traditor!
     Non lo lasciar più dir;
     Il labbro è mentitor
     E falso il ciglio!
     Da' miei tormenti impara
     A creder a quel cor
     A nasca il tuo timor
     Dal mio periglio!

This air, unlike the rest of the opera, retains the form of the older school, then still frequently heard in church music. 165 Apparently Mozart made use of the severe, harsh form which at once suggests the idea of sacred music to the hearer, in order to give the impression of a moral lecture, and to emphasise the contrast with the "gay intoxication of self-forgetfulness" of the rest of the scene. 166 This mode of address was appropriately and suggestively employed towards the peasant maid; but Elvira adopts quite another tone when she returns and finds Don Giovanni in close converse with Donna Anna. In the quartet (Act I., 8) (likely 9, DW) her warning, in accordance with the exalted rank of the mourners, takes a plaintive tone, and her passion only flares up again when roused by Don Giovanni's duplicity. Then she comes forward, and her energetic tone predominates in the ensemble movements, although the silent power of true nobility and grief exerts a moderating influence on her expressions of passion. She makes a similar impression DON GIOVANNI. [192] in the first finale (Act I., 13). She has explained herself to Donna Anna and Don Ottavio, and they are leagued together to watch and to expose Don Giovanni. When they appear masked in front of the casino she encourages them to act boldly; Don Ottavio chimes in with her, but Donna Anna is seized with maidenly fears face to face with such an adventure. All this is expressed in the most admirable manner, and a few touches suffice to place the two women before us in all the dissimilarity of their natures. The accompaniment, too, is unusually characteristic. In sharp contrast to the cheerful excitement in which Don Giovanni, Zerlina, and Masetto make their exit stands the mournful accompaniment to Elvira, while Don Ottavio's powerful tenor notes are infused with additional energy by the accented passage? for the wind instruments. The accompaniment, without altering its essential character, adopts at Donna Anna's entrance an anxious plaintive tone expressive of the purity and elevation of her mind. After a short colloquy with Leporello, who invites them to enter, the three, confident in the justice of their cause, prepare for their difficult enterprise. After the restless energy of the previous scene this clear and composed expression of a deeper emotion diffuses a sense of calm beneficence. The construction of the movement places Donna Anna and Don Ottavio in close juxtaposition; Elvira is placed in opposition to them and, in accordance with her character, she is more animated and energetic. Here again the desired effect is much strengthened by the support of the orchestra. It was unusual to make use of the wind instruments alone in accompaniments; and in addition to this the full soft sound of the extended chords contrasts strikingly with the deep tones of the clarinets, heard now for the first time. What a contrast it forms, too, to the tone-colouring of the preceding movement; one feels for the moment transported to another world. Scarcely have the last echoes died away when the sharp attack of the orchestra on the following movement brings us down to earth again. In the scene which follows it is Elvira who is ever on the watch—who with Don Ottavio intercepts and ELVIRA—TERZET. [193] unmasks Don Giovanni; after that she falls into her place with the rest. Implacable as Elvira shows herself in her pursuit of revenge on Don Giovanni, her love for him has taken such deep root in her heart, his personality exercises such a magic power over her, that she is ready to forget all that is past, and to trust herself to him again. Poetry could only make this visible by means of a chain of connecting links; music is happier in its power of rendering the most hidden springs of human action; once let the right key be struck, and the state of mind to be represented is there. And seldom has a frame of mind incapable of verbal description been so truly and beautifully expressed as in this terzet (Act II., 2). A short ritomello places the hearer in a frame of mind which enables him to give credence to what he is about to learn. Elvira, alone in the twilight, comes to the window; old memories awaken old feelings, which, while she deplores them, she cannot escape. Don Giovanni, who is present, resolves to turn this softened mood to account; he wishes to drive Elvira away, and a fresh triumph over her affections is a satisfaction to his arrogant vanity. Leporello in his master's hat and cloak is made to advance, and Don Giovanni, concealed behind him, addresses Elvira tenderly in the very notes which have just issued from her mouth. Don Giovanni's appeal comes to her like an echo of her own thoughts. She interrupts him with the same lively reproaches which she has already uttered to herself, while he prays for her pity with the most melting tenderness. Elvira is overcome, and thereupon very appropriately the motif occurs with which Leporello first expressed his consternation at Elvira's appearance. Don Giovanni persists all the more urgently in the same tone, and the turn of expression just alluded to is developed, with a startling impetus produced by the transition to the key of C major, into a cantilene of entrancing beauty. 167 DON GIOVANNI. [194] He answers Elvira's violent reproaches ("con transporto e quasi piangendo," Mozart has noted them) with exclamations of increasing passion, and threatens to kill himself if she does not grant his prayer. The feeling that Elvira must yield to so passionate an outburst of the love towards which her heart impels her is mingled with a sense of Leporello's ludicrous situation, and we feel no incongruity in his fit of laughter. But when Elvira actually yields, even Leporello cannot withhold his sympathy from her, while Don Giovanni mockingly triumphs in his victory. In a certain sense the two have exchanged their parts as well as their clothes. This terzet may safely be cited as an example of how simplicity of design and regularity of construction may unite with perfect beauty and truth of expression into a piece of genuine dramatic characterisation; but who can express in words the tender fragrance of loving desire which breathes from the music like the perfumes from an evening landscape? If we are to infer Don Giovanni's character from the duet with Zerlina (Act I., 6), the serenade (Act II., 3), and this terzet, we have the picture of an engaging and amiable personality which strikes every tone of affection and desire with bewitching grace and delicacy, and with an accent of such true feeling that it is impossible for the female heart to withstand him. This is not the whole of Don Giovanni's character, however. When Elvira's weakness has betrayed her into an equivocal position, Don Giovanni's heartless insolence places her in a situation which only Leporello's comic character prevents from becoming an exceedingly painful one. The fear which takes undisputed possession of him during the interview reflects a comic light upon Elvira, but without interfering with her preconceived character. Mozart has succeeded admirably in the sestet (Act II., 6) in maintaining Elvira's dignity of deportment both towards the craven Leporello and her former allies; she never sinks below herself; but the consciousness of her weakness and of the dastardly trick played upon her has broken her spirit. There is no trace of the energetic, flaming passion of the earlier Elvira; Donna Anna's pure ELVIRA—INSERTED AIR—FINALE. [195] form rises high above her, and she no longer takes the lead in the expression of astonishment and indignation. After the sestet, when Leporello had escaped from the hands of Zerlina, there was inserted in Vienna an air for Elvira, in which the violence of her passion is moderated to a degree almost incredible. The softened mood in which the feeling of her inextinguishable love is expressed no longer as anger against the traitor, but as pity for the lost sinner, is, when rightly delivered, 168 most admirably represented; but the dignity and nobleness which have stilled the waves of sorrow and revenge are not really consistent with the fire and force of the true Elvira. Then, also, the accents of disappointed love, which Mozart knew how to evoke with such masterly insight, are scarcely present at all in this air. Nevertheless, considered musically it is of great beauty, and the voices are most effectively supported by obbligato solo instruments, which are never elsewhere used in exactly the same way by Mozart. This charming piece is not inappropriate in its own place, but it does not render either situation or character with the same breadth or accuracy which Mozart elsewhere displays in "Don Giovanni." Any idea of a closer connection with Don Giovanni being now out of the question, Elvira, feeling also that her own existence is rendered worthless, resolves to enter a convent. But her character and her undying affection forbid her to part for ever from Don Giovanni without calling him to repentance and amendment. Her entrance in the second finale interrupts the merriment of Don Giovanni and Leporello at table, and, like a landscape in changing lights, the whole tone of the music is altered at a stroke. 169 Her warning here is very different to that which she addressed to Zerlina. A stream of glowing words comes from the very depths of her love-tossed heart, and beats in vain against the overweening pride of her heartless betrayer. At first he seeks to treat her appeal as a jest, which may be humoured; and when her prayers, her tears, her dismay are thereby DON GIOVANNI. [196] redoubled, he mocks at her with all the frivolity of his pleasure-seeking nature. This is too much even for Leporello: he sympathetically approaches Elvira; and the effect is very fine, when the same notes which seemed to threaten annihilation by their weight at Elvira's entrance are heard from the mouth of Leporello. Don Giovanni's overbearing insolence increases and calls down upon him the fate to which, now that even Elvira has left him, he is doomed to hasten. This scene is again a very masterpiece of high dramatic art. A flow of passionate emotion, like a lava stream down the mountain side, succeeds to the loosely connected musical jests of the supper-table. The very change of tone-colouring is of the greatest significance. The first noisy and brilliant movement, with its trumpets and drums and lively passages for the stringed instruments, is succeeded by the arranged harmony music, against which the full orchestra, with the combined strength of wind and stringed instruments, stands in bold relief. Don Giovanni and Elvira are here for the first time opposed on equal terms. Her passionate emotion is purified and ennobled without any loss of strength or reality; and he displays an energy and keen enjoyment of life which would have something great in it if it were directed to higher aims, but which here excites only horror. It prepares us for the resistance which he is to make to the spectral apparition; but the insolent scorn with which he hardens himself against Elvira's prayers is more shocking to the feelings than his determined resistance to the horrors of the nether world, wherein we cannot but grant him our sympathy. Sharply accented as are the mocking tone of mind and the sensuality of Don Giovanni, we never find him vulgar or revolting. This is due to the combination of strength and boldness with beauty of form in the music allotted to him. What can be more impressive than the oft-repeated motif given to Don Giovanni:—[See Page Image] DON GIOVANNI'S CHARACTER. [197] with no support but a simple bass, in strong contrast to the rich accompaniment elsewhere employed? His good breeding is as characteristic of him as his love of enjoyment, and is shown at his first entrance in his behaviour towards Donna Anna and the Commendatore. There is no roughness in his struggle with her, and he would fain avoid violence, as also in the combat with her father; not until his honour as a cavalier has been touched to the quick does he draw his sword, and the result of the duel causes him genuine emotion. True, his nobler impulses are not of long duration; he is destitute of generosity or nobility of mind, and his highest quality is mere brute courage. In the churchyard scene, when his arrogance has brought matters to a crisis, and Leporello has made his terrified exit, the horror of his situation rouses all Don Giovanni's determination, and he passes the bounds of foolhardiness in his defiance of the spectre. This scene, however, in which the defiance of a mortal is forced to yield to the higher powers, is a necessary sequel to the preceding one with Elvira, in which the moral conflict has just been fought out. Its pathos redeems it from burlesque, and spreads an impression of horror which overmasters human reason. Mozart's success in the combination of these qualities into a whole of harmonious beauty has already been admired by us as the work of a genius. Gracious and winning manners and overflowing strength and animal spirits, combined with the refinement of good birth and breeding and the frankness of a jovial temperament, produce a picture of a man richly endowed by nature, but requiring to bend to moral restraint before he can be called great or noble. He attracts liking, he rouses sympathy, but he is doomed to final overthrow.

Donna Anna, 170 as the representative of intellectual elevation and moral purity, is placed in strong contrast to this seductive being, who attracts and degrades all with whom he comes in contact. She triumphs over him from the first, DON GIOVANNI. [198] the magic of his presence being powerless to affect her pure spirit. But her maidenly pride resents his unworthy advances; the idea that an insult so great should remain unpunished rouses such passion within her, that she loses sight of all save her just revenge. The music gives a tone of nobility and elevation to her passionate excitement, stamping her at once as the superior nature to which Don Giovanni yields, not only that he may escape recognition, but because he cannot help himself. Her relation to him preserves this tone throughout, and there is no subsequent suggestion of any closer or more personal interest.

Hoffmann's infelicitous idea that Donna Anna had been dishonoured by Don Giovanni is contradicted by Da Ponte's libretto, which emphasises her affection for Don Ottavio as repeatedly and decidedly as does the high-pitched ideality of the music. It is a grievous error to suppose that her "high-tragedy manner" towards her betrothed arises from the consciousness of shame and from falsehood and hypocrisy, and not rather from an elevated sense of pride and pure morality and from filial grief for her murdered father. Hoffmann's conception of the two chief characters, and their; relations to each other, though often quoted, 171 is in many respects a misleading one. A Don Giovanni, a very demon, who seeks in sensual love to satisfy his cravings for the supernatural; who, weary and satiated with earthly pleasures, despising mankind, and in utter scorn against nature and his Creator seeks to compass the ruin of every woman he meets, is as foreign to the age, the character, and the music of Mozart as a Donna Anna who, loving the greatness which originally existed in Don Giovanni, yields to him without resistance, only to feel doubly conscious of her abasement and absorbed in the desire for revenge.

Upon her return with Don Ottavio she finds her father a corpse, and, after making the most pitiful lamentations, she becomes insensible. Coming to herself her first DONNA ANNA. [199] half-unconscious exclamation is for her father; she imagines that the murderer is before her, and beseeches him to slay her also. When the dread certainty has brought her to full consciousness, she collects all her forces for revenge. She makes Ottavio swear vengeance on the murderer, and her excitement rises to an unnatural joy at the prospect of the fulfilment of their gloomy task. The musical rendering of this state of mind is perfect. The high-pitched mood of Donna Anna is characterised with so much precision and delicacy, and the continuous climax is so consistent and well connected, chiefly by virtue of the musical construction, that we feel ourselves taken captive and prepared to accept what we hear as the involuntary outbursts of passion. 172 Even Don Ottavio's consolatory words, sharply as they contrast in their cantilene-like delivery with Donna Anna's broken interjections, betray in their restless accompaniment and changing harmonies the inner disquiet from which he cannot free himself. As soon, however, as the thought of revenge has been grasped, the two go together, and the voices are in close connection, while the orchestra (a chief factor in the musical rendering of the whole scene) contrasts with them in sharpest accents, now urging, now restraining; the long suspense of the detached, disconnected phrases is relieved by the stream of passion which seems to raise the weight from the hearts from which it flows. Don Ottavio, owing partly to the libretto, has acquired an unfavourable reputation that can scarcely be entirely overcome, even if the exaggerations which have become customary in his part should be discarded. 173 In real life we feel the highest esteem for a character which preserves calmness and clearness in the midst of heaviest trials, DON GIOVANNI. [200] and stands loyally and tenderly by the side of the afflicted; but we seldom find a poetic or passionate side to such a nature. Such an one is Don Ottavio. He preserves his composure amid the whirlwind of passion around him; his love imposes upon him the task of consoling and supporting his beloved one under the loss of her father, and he performs it in a manner at once tender and manly. He rises to greater strength in the summons to vengeance, when he shows himself in no way inferior to Donna Anna; and when the two next come upon the scene, it is he who exhorts Donna Anna to stifle her grief and to dream only of revenge. The unexpected appearance of Elvira, and Don Giovanni's behaviour inspire him with some degree of suspicion; but he and Donna Anna preserve in the quartet (Act I., 8) a dignified reserve towards the strangers, which has a depressing effect when united with their mournful contemplation of their own sorrow. Here they are entirely at one with each other, and so the music renders them; their superiority of birth and demeanour has its effect on the other two characters, and gives the tone to the whole. Don Giovanni's entrance, his glance and tone, inspire Donna Anna with the certainty of his being her father's murderer; the memory of that fearful event flashes across her, and the tumult of feeling which it arouses is expressed by the orchestra in pungent dissonances by means of opposing rhythm and harsh sounds produced especially by the trumpets, which have been silent since the overture until now. It is with difficulty that she composes herself sufficiently to acquaint her lover with the cause of her agitation.

When she has told him all, she urges him again to revenge her father's death, in an air (Act I., 10) of which the delicate characterisation completes the perfect image of Donna Anna. This air, in comparison with the preceding recitative and with the duet, is temperate in tone. The renewed appeal for revenge is not the same involuntary outburst of passion which it was; it is the expression of conviction, and is therefore more composed, though not less forcible than before. A high and noble pride speaks in the first motifs (Vol. 11., p. 428)—[See Page Image] DONNA ANNA—OTTAVIO. [201] with inimitable dignity and force, while the plaintive sextoles of the violins and violas, the urgent figure for the basses, which turns to imitation at the second motif, and the gentle admonitory dialogue of the wind instruments represent the restless anxiety which has called forth her determination. 174

Donna Anna's elevation of mind raises the man of her choice, and her maidenly bashfulness gives her confidence a lover-like character. Ottavio, who has not been inspired with the same instinctive certainty of Don Giovanni's guilt, finds it hard to convince himself that a nobleman, and his friend, can be capable of such a crime; but he is quite ready to acknowledge the necessity for closely observing him. It was at this point that the air composed in Vienna was inserted (Anh. 3) to express Ottavio's devoted love for Donna Anna. It depicts exclusively the tender lover, and the heroic impulses which might be supposed to belong to the situation will be sought for in vain; the contrast with Donna Anna's high-spirited air is very striking. No doubt the insertion of the song was, in some measure at least, a concession to the individual singer and to the preference of the public for sentimental lovers. Granting this, however, it is simple and true in sentiment, tender without sickliness, and of purest melody. Besides the clear and lovely chief melodies, parts here and there, such as the transition to B minor and the return to D major at the words, "E non ho bene s' ella non l' ha," have a very striking effect. But the song DON GIOVANNI. [202] is below the level of the situation, and, for want of a counterbalancing force, it injures the conception of Don Ottavio's character. The masque terzet expresses in a very pure and noble manner the contrast between an affection based on moral constancy, such as that of Donna Anna and Don Ottavio, and the unwholesome passions of the other characters. Donna Anna, entering masked to play the spy on Don Giovanni, is seized with alarm at the danger which threatens them all, especially her lover—"Temo pel caro sposo" she sings with her own melting, plaintive tones—and she calms her fears with difficulty. In the ball-room, where noisy merriment is at its height, their dignified appearance gives the assembly a certain air of solemnity. Leporello and Don Giovanni greet them respectfully; they answer somewhat ceremoniously, and join in the cry: "Viva la libertà!" but with a sort of dignified reserve which stamps them as of superior rank to the crowd of country people round them. This is a faithful reflection of the manners of the time; so also is the subordination of the chorus in this scene: it was customary for country people to keep at a respectful distance before persons of rank. When the dance recommences, it is Donna Anna again who finds her feelings so hard to master that she almost betrays herself. Zerlina's cry for help is the signal for an outbreak of general excitement; and henceforth they are all avowedly ranged against Don Giovanni. Don Ottavio acts as the mouthpiece and champion of the women, and calls Don Giovanni to account for the murder of the Commendatore. But he makes no attempt to take the punishment of the crime into his own hands, and Don Giovanni is allowed to beat a retreat from the presence of his former friends and now determined opponents. No chorus is introduced in the last movement of the first finale, and indeed none is conceivable. 175 What would be gained in material sound-effects would be lost in true dramatic effect. The "buona gente" do not presume to take part in the DONNA ANNA—OTTAVIO [203] dispute of their lords; and, as the affair grows serious, the dancers and musicians leave the ball-room hastily, and the principal characters remain in possession of the scene. 176

Hitherto Don Ottavio has shown himself as a man deserving of Donna Anna's affection and confidence, loyal and devoted, cautious and determined, and preserving throughout the lofty demeanour which distinguishes him from Don Giovanni. But from this point we are in expectation that he will put his resolutions into action, and that the second act gives him no opportunity of doing so is a serious blemish.

The loose and disconnected plot of the second act sacrifices Donna Anna and Don Ottavio in especial; Elvira, Zerlina, and Masetto are woven not unskilfully into its intricate meshes, but the other two are altogether left out. In the sestet (Act II., 6) the earlier motif of consolatory assurance is repeated without any definite occasion, and only the exalted purity of the music can cover this defect. Their presence is in no way necessary either to the exposure of Leporello's trickery; it is amply justified from a musical point of view, however, for the noble and dignified tone, which contrasts with Leporello's comic fright and gives the character of the ensemble, is the result of their participation.

Don Giovanni's new villainy having removed all doubt of his guilt from Don Ottavio's mind, the latter no longer hesitates to call him to account. His conduct has rendered him unworthy of giving the ordinary satisfaction of a nobleman, and Ottavio resolves to deliver him over to justice, taking upon himself the risk of encountering so bold and formidable an adversary. As he turns to depart his thoughts naturally turn to Donna Anna, who has left the scene after the sestet, and he entreats his friends to console her during his absence, until he shall return with the tidings of a completed revenge. This feeling is natural and true, and the air (Act II., 8) expressing it is in every way appropriate.

His appeal for the consolation of Donna Anna is made in one of the loveliest cantilene which has ever been written for a tenor voice; but the second part is not quite on the DON GIOVANNI. [204] same level. Mozart has rightly refrained from expressing the desire for revenge in a grand heroic movement, which would have introduced a false tone, but has limited it to a middle movement, rendered characteristic mainly by the rapid and forcible motion of the orchestra. The purely musical effect of this part is excellent, but the voice part has not force or brilliancy proportionate to the sweetness and fulness which it has just displayed. The idiosyncracies of the singer Baglione may, in some degree, have occasioned this treatment; he was specially celebrated for his artistic and finished delivery. 177

The course of the plot justifies Don Ottavio in his conduct towards Don Giovanni, and when the reprobate has been called before a higher than any earthly tribunal, Ottavio claims Donna Anna's hand, not as a tender lover, but as a faithful protector summoned by fate to her side. Donna Anna's postponement of their union until the year of mourning for her father shall have expired is a realistic trait, and reflects the ordinary rules of society and mode of thought then in vogue too faithfully to be at all poetic. But there can be no doubt of the intention to represent the love of Donna Anna and Don Ottavio as deep and sincere; and it argues a misapprehension of tragic ideality to consider the postponement either as an excuse to conceal her aversion to her lover, or as the result of her determination to renounce earthly love and seek refuge in a convent or the grave. 178 It is to the disadvantage of Don Ottavio, however, that he is made to re-enter and entreat Donna Anna to consent to an immediate union, without any previous intimation that he has carried out his design of bringing Don Giovanni to justice. This is uncalled for, and shows him in the light of an amorous weakling destitute of energy. 179 The scene was probably inserted later in order to separate the DONNA ANNA—OTTAVIO. [205] churchyard scene from the supper, and chiefly, no doubt, to supply Donna Anna with another air; the characterisation of Don Ottavio and the natural progress of the plot are sacrificed to these objects. On the other hand, the air itself (Act II., 10) is a grateful task for the singer; and affords important aid to the musical-dramatic characterisation of Donna Anna. Hitherto grief and revenge have inspired her utterances; her affection to Don Ottavio has been indicated by her intrusting to him her most sacred interests and duties. Here, at last, her love breaks forth without reserve, and although she still rejects his petition, it is with a maidenly coyness and an expression of regret which add a new and individual interest to her character. The air is introduced by a recitative, and consists of two independent movements in different tempi. In form and treatment, especially in the employment of wind instruments almost solo, and in the bravura voice passages, it more closely resembles the traditional Italian aria than any other of the original songs in Don Giovanni; but, in spite of this, it renders important service to the characterisation. 180 The regularity of the musical form corresponds very well to the refined and not only noble but well-bred demeanour of Donna Anna. Deep and sincere emotion is expressed with maidenly tenderness, infused with just the tinge of melancholy which invests the whole representation of her character.

The characters which have been occupying our attention are so accurately and minutely delineated, and every detail is so admirably blended into the conception of the whole, that though a comparison with "Figaro" may doubtless show many superficial points of resemblance, a closer examination reveals the complete independence of the two works. No one figure resembles another even distantly; each has its own life, its own individuality, preserved in the minutest particulars, as well as in the general conception. Not less remarkable than this is the art with which the different DON GIOVANNI. [206] elements, in all their force of energy and truth, are combined into an harmonious and comprehensive whole.

As regards the dramatic force and reality of the situations, especially in the ensembles, "Figaro" has the advantage over "Don Giovanni." The introduction to the first act is admirably planned, both musically and dramatically; in the quartet (Act I., 8) and terzet (Act II., 2) the situation and prevailing tone are simple, but well chosen and sustained; and the idea of giving Don Giovanni and Leporello a share in Elvira's first air (Act I., 3), is productive of excellent effect. The sestet (Act II., 6), on the other hand, is very loosely put together; the characters are grouped round Leporello suitably enough, it is true, but their encounter is not the natural result of the situation, and the climax is a purely external one. The finales in "Don Giovanni" are indeed far superior to the ordinary run, which even in good operas often consist of loosely strung scenes which might just as well be spoken as sung, but they are inferior to the well-combined, consistent* development of the plot which delights us in the finales in "Figaro." The first finale begins in lively style with the quarrel between Masetto, whose jealously is newly awakened, and the terrified Zerlina, who seeks to avoid an outbreak. The insidious ever-recurring motif for both voice and orchestra—[See Page Image]

in contrast with the quickly uttered notes and sharp accents of anger, is highly expressive of suspicion. Suggestive in another way are the beating notes for the trumpets—

which are interposed in Masetto's speech, and afterwards taken up by the flutes— FIRST FINALE. [207] when Zerlina asserts herself, rising gradually to impatient quavers for the violin—[See Page Image]

while the principal subject pursues its quiet course. They are interrupted by the noisy merriment of Don Giovanni and his companions, who are repairing to the merry-making in the casino; the gradual dying away of the song of the retreating guests prepares us for the singularly tender and lovely scene between Zerlina and Don Giovanni, which, contrasted with the preceding duet with Masetto, first clearly shows the dangerous fascination of the seducer. After the inimitably expressed start of surprise at Masetto's reappearance the music alters altogether in character, and Don Giovanni assumes a cordial hospitality and cheerful gaiety which is partly accounted for by the sound of the dance music from the casino; this is made also a musical prophecy of what is to ensue, for the eight bars that are heard are taken from the second of the dances afterwards combined, and Mozart has omitted the two first bars, in order to put the hearer at once in the midst of the dance (Vol. II., p. 154 note). A lively figure for the violin expresses the desire of the three to join in the merriment. The figure is continued when Elvira, Donna Anna, and Don Ottavio appear, and several accompaniment figures are also retained, with important modifications. The minor key for the first time occurring, and the totally different treatment of the orchestra give an impression of a mysterious and gloomy shadow cast upon the noisy merriment of the scene. Leporello, opening a window by chance, sees the masks, and is ordered by his master to invite them to enter. The open window causes the dance music to be more plainly heard, and prepares for what is to follow; this time a minuet is played, which is heard entire, for as long as the window remains open the orchestra is silent, and conversation is carried on parlando. The unusual treatment of this scene prepares the way for the ball; but it is quite as consistent with the adagio which intervenes with surprising and profound effect.


The grave and elevated tone betokening the presence of higher moral forces is additionally impressive after the unquiet, passionate activity which precedes it. For the first time in this finale the voices put forth all their power and beauty, and they receive powerful assistance from the accompanying wind instruments. The voices seem to stand out from the dark background of the peculiarly deep notes of the clarinets, but the chords which follow are like gleams of light cast upon them, and the whole movement appears transfigured in the glory of a higher region. The scene changes, as was not unusual in finales, and we find ourselves in the ball-room. The dance ended, the guests disperse for refreshment, and Don Giovanni and Leporello, as hosts, Zerlina unable to escape Don Giovanni's observation, and Masetto, jealously watching her, come to the front. The orchestra plays the principal part in the lively movement, 6-8, which portrays this situation. Rhythm, melodies, and instrumental colouring, all are stamped with voluptuous excitement, and we seem to breathe the heated air of the ball-room. The voices move freely, either joining in the orchestral subjects or going their own way in easy parlando or prominent melodies, grouped according to the requirements of the situation. The entrance of the masks gives, as has already been observed, a different tone to the scene; the stranger guests are courteously greeted, and Don Giovanni's summons to the dance places fully before the spectators the ball-room scene, which has so often been suggested. The real motive of the scene being musical, the dramatic representation is skilfully made the object of the musical construction.

The company is a mixed one, and different dances are arranged to suit the taste of all; thus also Don Giovanni is provided with the means of freeing himself of those persons who come in the way of his design. His distinguished guests tread a minuet, he himself joins in the country dance with Zerlina, while Leporello whirls Masetto in the giddy waltz. The musical representation of the situation in the three different dances is thus made the chief point of the scene, the plot moving rapidly onward; none of the characters DANCES. [209] are in a position to express themselves fully, and the dance alone preserves the continuity of the whole. The combination of three dances simultaneously in varied rhythm and expression, offered to Mozart a task in counterpoint which he has accomplished with so much ease and certainty, that the untechnical listener scarcely believes in its difficulty. The arithmetical calculation that three bars in 2-4 are equal to two bars in 3-4, and one bar 3-8 represents a crotchet in a triplet, is easily made, and the system presents no difficulty. But the problem really consists in concealing the system beneath the melody and rhythm, and in causing the necessary coincidence of the phrasing to appear a natural and unstudied one, dependent on the individual character of each dance. One dance follows another as a matter of course. The minuet begins—the same which has been heard before. At the repetition of the second part, the second orchestra prepares to strike up, the open strings are struck in fifths, touched pizzicato, and little shakes tried, the violoncello joins in in the same way—and all falls naturally into the minuet, as it pursues its even course. 181 At last a gay country dance (2-4) strikes up, as different in melody and rhythm from the minuet as can be, although it is of course constructed on the same fundamental bass. At the second part, the third orchestra proceeds to tune up as the second had done before, and falls in with a fresh and merry waltz (3-8). 182 Before the minuet recommences, Zerlina's cry for help is heard, both dances and music break off suddenly, and the orchestra, which has hitherto been silent, strikes in with full force. 183 Zerlina's cry for help brings about a complete change of DON GIOVANNI. [210] mood and tone. All present, except Don Giovanni and Leporello, are inspired by one sentiment, and form a compact and solid mass opposing the two, either in unison or by means of a purely harmonious treatment of the voices. Only pit particular points, such as the unmasking, do the different characters stand out, and the imitation by means of which the parts are again united emphasises the impression of strict connection between them. This kind of grouping requires a broad, grand treatment, and a more forcible one both for the voices and the orchestra. Mozart has nevertheless happily avoided the adoption of a tragic tone, which would have been unsuited to the situation. The case is not, after all, too grave to allow of Don Giovanni and Leporello expressing their confusion and dismay comically, after their manner, and the humorous character of the opera is thereby preserved. 184 Still more simple is the construction of the second finale. The introduction of table music taken from different operas renders the supper scene a very masterpiece of musical fun; but the episode has no direct connection with the action. 185 This begins with the entrance of Elvira, with a gravity and an impulse which have been wanting since the beginning of the opera. In opposition to Elvira's glowing passion, to which her higher resolves lend nobler impulse than before, so that even Leporello is carried away by her energy, Don Giovanni's sensuality stands out in stronger relief, until it outrages man's noblest and most sacred feelings; the contradiction develops a depth of pathos THE SECOND FINALE. [211] which prepares for the approaching catastrophe. The force and fulness of musical expression in this scene are as remarkable as the deep truth of its characterisation. Compare the passionate expressions of Donna Anna with this outbreak of Elvira, and the fundamental difference of the two characters is clear; so also it is plain that, inimical to each other as they may be, Elvira and Don Giovanni are creatures of the same mould, having the same easily excited sensual impulses. Leporello's terror-stricken announcement of the Commendatore's approach comes as a relief to this highly wrought scene. In point of fact, the comic tone increases the suspense more than even Elvira's piercing cry; ludicrous as is the fear of Leporello, the main impression it produces is one of horror at its cause. The first fear-struck tones of the orchestra, collecting their forces for what is to come, the first simple, firm tones of the spectre's voice 186 transport us to the sphere of the marvellous. This sense of the supernatural is preserved by Mozart throughout the scene, and the hearer seems to himself to be standing in breathless suspense at the very verge of the abyss. It is produced by an uninterrupted climax of characteristically shaded movement; and the object which the master has kept steadily before him has been to produce at every point the expression of a grandeur and sublimity surpassing that of earth. To accomplish this, external means, such as the disposition of harmonies and instrumental colouring are employed with equal boldness and skill, but the true conditions of its extra-ordinary effect are the high conception and powerful inspiration which animate the whole. When to this it is added that Don Giovanni and Leporello, although under the spell of the supernatural apparition, act freely, each according to his individual nature, without for an instant prejudicing the unity of tone, it must be acknowledged that the union of dramatic truth and lofty ideal is here complete. After this prolonged and painful suspense the breaking of the storm DON GIOVANNI. [212] which is to deliver Don Giovanni into the power of the internal spirits comes as a long-expected catastrophe. The spirits themselves Mozart has wisely kept in the background. Invisible in the darkness, they summon their victim in few, monotonous, but appalling notes. This allows of a more animated expression to the torture of despair which seizes Don Giovanni, and to the terror of Leporello; while the orchestra depicts the tumult of all the powers of nature. This scene can only attain to its full effect when theatrical managers can make up their minds to allow the music to work on the imagination and feeling of the audience, unimpeded by a display of fireworks and demoniac masks. 187 This finale, after all that has preceded it, does not certainly produce a calming effect, but it relieves the suspense, and virtually brings the plot to an end. The entrance of the other characters to learn the fate of Don Giovanni from Leporello, and to satisfy the audience as to their own fate, is chiefly a concession to the custom of assembling all the chief persons on the stage at the close of the opera, which in this case seems justified by the necessity of concluding with a composing and moral impression. It is not, however, the true close of the plot, and the audience have already been quite sufficiently informed as to the fate of the characters.

Regarded from a musical point of view, Leporello's narrative—interrupted by exclamations of astonishment from the others—is very fresh and spirited, and the surprise well and delicately expressed; the movement would be most effective in another place, but here it falls decidedly flat. The larghetto in which the duet between Don Ottavio and Donna Anna, with the short remarks of the others, is brought to a close is lovely, but not so weighty in substance as the situation demands. The closing movement is very fine, and Mozart has imparted such a clear and tender radiance to the church-music sort of form in which he has embodied the moral maxims, that a flush like that of dawn seems to rise THE SECOND FINALE. [213] from the gloomy horror which has buried the gay life of the drama in deepest night. It was soon felt that to preserve the interest of the audience after the spirit scene was impossible. An attempt at abbreviation was annexed to the original score, omitting the larghetto so far as it referred to personal circumstances. Whether this experiment was made in Prague or Vienna, 188 it appears not to have sufficed, and at the performance in Vienna the opera closed, as it almost invariably has later, with Don Giovanni's descent into the lower regions. At his fall all the characters enter and give a cry of horror, which is inserted in the score on the chord of D major. A few attempts have been made later, either on theoretical or practical grounds, to restore the original closing scene. 189 Attempts at a modification such as have been made are very objectionable. At a performance in Paris Don Giovanni's disappearance was followed by the entry of Donna Anna's corpse borne by mourners, and the chanting of the "Dies iræ" from Mozart's Requiem. 190 This idea suggested to Kugler 191 the further one of changing the scene after Don Giovanni's fall to the mausoleum of the Commendatore, and introducing the funeral ceremonies, the chorus singing from Mozart's Re-queim, "Lux perpetua luceat ei" (not eis, "because it is only for one person"), "Domine, cum sanctis tuis quia pius es," to be followed by the "Osanna in excelsis" as an appropriate conclusion. It is as difficult to comprehend how these two movements can be thus combined, as how reverence for the master can allow of his sacred music being thus tacked on to an opera without any regard to unity of style and workmanship. Viol, supported by Wolzogen, adopted this idea so far as, instead of the usual conclusion, to insert the funeral service in the mausoleum, and have the closing movement of the opera sung there; but it appears DON GIOVANNI. [214] altogether out of place. Nothing can be more objectionable than to make use of separate parts of a work of art in a different sense to that intended by the master; omission is, on the whole, a less hurtful proceeding.

A consideration of the finale proves what is borne out by the whole opera, that, though inferior in artistic unity of plot to "Figaro," it excels that work in the musical nature of its situations and moods. In "Figaro" we are amazed to find how, within the narrow limits of emotion presented to us, seldom rising to passion, never to a higher pathos, our minds are entranced by the grace and spirit of the representation. In "Don Giovanni," on the contrary, there is scarcely a side of human nature which is not expressed in the most varied shades of individuality and situation; through the checkered scenes of daily life we are led to the very gates of the spirit world, and the light of original wit and humour shines upon the work from beginning to end. The difficulty for a dramatically gifted author lay in moderation. Da Ponte having placed his "Don Giovanni" in the present, Mozart with ready wit draws upon reality where-ever possible for matters of detail and colouring. This freshness and fulness of realism distinguishes "Don Giovanni" from "Figaro," without entailing any loss of ideality, for every subject drawn from real life is turned to the service of the artistic conception of the whole. The statues of the Parthenon or the figures of Raphael teach how the great masters of the formative arts follow nature in all and each of their creations; they teach, too, how the treasure which the eye of genius descries in the depths of nature must be first received into a human heart, thence to emerge as a complete and self-contained whole, appealing to the sympathies of all mankind. Nor is it otherwise with the great masters of sound, whatever be the impulse which urges them to expression, whether the words of the poet, the experiences of life, the impressions of form, colour, or sound;

the idea of the whole, which inspires it with life and endows it with form and meaning, must come from the depths of his own spirit, and is the creative force, which is unceasingly active until the perfect work of art is produced. The ideal [215] of such a work is the perfection which is conceivable and visible to mankind in art alone; in it that which elsewhere appears as contrast or opposition rises to the highest unity. This once attained, we experience the satisfaction which for mortals exists in art alone. But our delight and admiration rise still higher when this harmony is maintained throughout a varied and many-sided composition, containing a wealth of interests and motives appealing to our most opposite sympathies, and stirring the very depths of our being—then it is that we feel the full and immediate inspiration of that Spirit Who looks upon the universe as the artist looks upon his work.



FROM a practical point of view, Mozart's "Don Giovanni" did no more than his "Figaro" towards improving his position in Vienna. His painful pecuniary circumstances may be gathered from his letters to Puchberg in June, 1788. A glance at the catalogue of his compositions after his return from Prague is sufficient to indicate the fact of their having been produced at the pleasure of pupils or patrons:—

1787. December 11. Lied, "Die kleine Spinnerin" (531 K.).

1788. January 3. Allegro and andante for pianoforte in F major (533 K.).

January 14, 23, 27. Tänze (534-536 K.).

February 24. Pianoforte concerto in D major (537 K., part 20). March 4. Air for Madame Lange, "Ah se in ciel" (538 K.). March 5. Teutsches Kriegslied for Baumann (539 K.).

March 19. Adagio for pianoforte, B minor (540 K.).

March 24, 28, 30. Pieces for insertion in "Don Giovanni" (525, 527, 528 K.).

In May. Arietta for Signor Albertarelli, "Un bacio di mano" in the opera of "Le Gelosie Fortunate" (541 K.).

June 22. Terzet for piano, violin, and violoncello, E major (542 K.). OFFICIAL AND OCCASIONAL WORKS. [216] 1788. June 26. Symphony, E flat major (543 K.).

A short march for violin, flute, viola, horn, and violoncello, in D major, unknown (544 K.).

A short pianoforte sonata for beginners in C major (545 K.).

A short adagio for two violins, viola, and bass, to a fugue in C minor (546 K.).

July 10. Short pianoforte sonata for beginners, with violin, F major (547 K.).

July 14. Terzet for piano, violin, and violoncello, in C major (548 K.).

July 16. Canzonette a 2 soprani e basso, "Più non si trovano" (549 K.).

July 25. Symphony in G minor (550 K.).

August 10. Symphony in C major (551 K.).

August 11. Ein Lied beim Auszug ins Feld, unknown (552 K.). 1

September 2. Eight four-part and two three-part Canoni (553-562 K.).

September 27. Divertimento for violin, viola, and violoncello, in E flat major (563 K.).

October 27. Terzet for piano, violin, and violoncello, in G major (564 K.).

October 30, December 6, December 24. Tänze (565, 567, 568 K.).

1789. January. German air, "Ohne Zwang aus freiem Triebe" (569 K.).

February. Pianoforte sonata in B flat major (570 K.).

February 21. Tänze (571 K.).

The symphonies in E flat major, G minor, and C major, written in the three summer months of 1788, show that the inner strength was not slumbering; but Mozart's appointment as chamber-composer to the Emperor gave him no impulse to composition, and his official duties were limited to the preparation of music for the masked balls in the imperial Redoutensale. 2

These Redoutensale are situated in the wing of the Hof-burg, which forms the right side of the Josephsplatz, and originally contained a theatre, where, upon festive occasions, operas and ballets were performed before the court; after the erection of the Burgtheater, in 1752, the old Hoftheater was MASKED BALLS. [217] converted into the large and small Redoutensaal now existing, and concerts, balls, and other entertainments given there. The balls were masked, and took place on every Carnival Sunday, on Shrove-Tuesday, and on the three last days of Carnival. Joseph II. favoured them as a means of drawing different classes together, and frequently appeared at them with his court; all ranks mixed freely, and considerable license was allowed. The usual dances were minuets, country dances, and waltzes, in the last of which only the lower classes joined, on account of the crowding—just as is the case in "Don Giovanni" (p. 163). The management of the Redoute was generally in the same hands as that of the Opera-Theatre, the two being farmed out together. The court monopolised the Opera-Theatre in 1778 and the Kàrnthnerthortheater in 1785, and kept the control over them until August, 1794. Thus it came about that the court theatrical-director ordered the dance music, and although the pay was only a few ducats for a set of dances, the services of good composers were claimed for the purpose; Haydn, Eybler, Gyrowetz, Hummel, and Beethoven all composed for the Redoute, as well as Mozart. 3 During the years succeeding his appointment—1788, 1789, 1791—Mozart composed a number of different dances for the masked balls:—

1788. January 14. Country dance "Das Donnerwetter" (534 K.).

January 23. Country dance, "Die Bataille" (535 K.).

January 27. Six waltzes (536 K.).

October 30. Two country dances (565 K.).

December 6. Six waltzes (567 K.).

December 24. Twelve minuets (568 K.).

1789. February 21. Six waltzes (571 K.).

December. Twelve minuets (585 K.).

Twelve waltzes. N.B.—A country dance, "Der Sieg vom Helden Coburg" (against the Turks, October, 1789) (586, 587 K.).

1791. January 23. Six minuets for the Redoute (599 K.).

January 29. Siz waltzes (600 K.).

February 5. Four minuets and four waltzes (601, 602 K.).

Two country dances. (603 K.).


1791. February 12. Two minuets and two waltzes (604, 605 K.).

February 28. Country dance, "II. Trionfo delle Donne" (607 K.).

March 6. Country dance, "Die Leyer" (610 K.). 4

Waltz with Leyer-trio (611 K.). 5

No dances are chronicled in 1790, the illness and subsequent death of the Emperor (February 20) having doubtless put a temporary stop to such entertainments. Those in the list are for the most part composed for full orchestra, and those with which I am acquainted make no claim to be considered otherwise than as actual dance music, with pleasing melodies and fresh rhythm—innocent recreations, betraying the master's hand in touches here and there. 6 As the only musical task imposed upon him by virtue of his office, they might well give rise to his bitter remark that his salary was too high for what he did, too low for what he could do (Vol. II., p. 276).

A commission more worthy his fame was intrusted to him by Van Swieten, who, having brought with him from Berlin an enthusiastic admiration for Handel's oratorios, sought to introduce them in Vienna. He not only gave frequent concerts at his residence in the Renngasse, for the exclusive performance of classical music, but he arranged grand performances of Handel's oratorios, supported by all the vocal and instrumental forces at his command. He induced several art-loving noblemen (among them the Princes Schwarzen-berg, Lobkowitz, and Dietrichstein, Counts Appony, Batthiany, Franz Esterhazy, &c.) to cover by a subscription the cost of these performances. They took place generally in ARRANGEMENT OF HANDEL'S ORATORIOS. [219] the great hall of the Court Library (of which Van Swieten was chief director); sometimes at the palace of one or other of the patrons, and always in the afternoon, by daylight. There was no charge for admission, the audience being invited guests. The performances were arranged according to circumstances, taking place generally in the spring, before the nobility left Vienna for their country estates. The performers were principally members of the Court-Kapelle and of the operatic orchestra, and the preparation was undertaken entirely by Van Swieten, in whose house the rehearsals took place. He himself arranged "Athalia," and very probably also "The Choice of Hercules," for a performance after Mozart's death. The conductorship was at first intrusted to Joseph Starzer, who had arranged "Judas Maccabæus"; 7 after his death, on April 22, 1787, Mozart took his place, and young Joseph Weigl accompanied on the pianoforte. 8

"Acisand Galatea" was first performed, Mozart's arrangement of it appearing in his own catalogue, in November, 1788; Caroline Pichler retained in her old age a lively recollection of the impression made on her by this performance. 9 It was followed by the "Messiah," in March, 1789. 10 Great expectations were excited by this oratorio, by reason of the magnificent performances of it which had been given at the London Handel festivals in 1784 and 1785, 11 at the cathedral OFFICIAL AND OCCASIONAL WORKS. [220] in Berlin, by Hiller, on May 19, 1786 (with Italian words), 12 at the University Church in Leipzig, 13 on November 3,1786, and May 11,1787, and at Breslau 14 on May 30,1788. Finally, in July, 1790, Mozart arranged the "Ode for St. Cecilia's Day" and the "Feast of Alexander." It was considered necessary, in order not to distract the attention of the public by the unusual effects of Handel's orchestra, to modify the instrumentation. 15 Even Hiller remarks (Nachricht, p. 14), "Many improvements may be made in Handel's compositions by the employment of the wind instruments, according to the fashion of the present day. In the whole of the 'Messiah,' Handel appears never to have thought of the oboes, flutes, or French horns, all of which are so often employed to heighten or strengthen the effect in our present orchestras. I need not remark that the alterations must be made with care and discretion." But he went far beyond these "innocent" views; he shortened and altered the composition itself, especially in the airs and recitatives, and wrote "an entirely new score, as far as may be what Handel would himself have written at the present day" (Betracht-ungen, p. 16). He was convinced that "only a pedantic lover of old fashions, or a pedantic contemner of what is good in the new ones" would find fault with this proceeding (Betracht-ungen, p. 18). The object with which Mozart undertook to rearrange the instrumentation of Handel's works was the strengthening and enriching of the orchestra to enable it to dispense with the organ or harpsichord, to which the working-out of the harmonies had originally been intrusted. This was principally effected by the introduction of wind ARRANGEMENT OF HANDEL'S ORATORIOS. [221] instruments. Mozart's autograph scores of "Acis and Galatea" (566 K.), of "The Ode for St. Cecilia's Day" (592 K.), 16 and of the "Feast of Alexander" (591 K.), 17 preserved in the Royal Library in Berlin, show how he set about his task. The voice parts and stringed instruments have been transferred to his score, and left as Handel wrote them, with the exception that where Handel has provided a violin part, Mozart employs the second violin and viola to fill in the harmonies. The wind instruments have been altogether omitted by the copyist in order to leave Mozart free play. Wherever Handel has employed them characteristically, they are so preserved, but when, as often happens, the oboes are the sole representatives of the wind instruments, Mozart has proceeded independently, sometimes replacing them by other single instruments, frequently clarinets—flutes only very occasionally, sometimes introducing the whole body of wind instruments. This he does also in some places where Handel has not even employed oboes, if it is needed to give force or fulness to the whole.

The frequent introduction of the clarinets replaced the full and powerful organ tones, but without any express imitation of that particular sound-effect by Mozart. The whole character of the instrumentation was necessarily modified, and even the portions which were literally OFFICIAL AND OCCASIONAL WORKS. [222] transcribed from Handel's original have a very different effect in their altered surroundings. Mozart has proceeded quite as independently in dealing with the harpsichord parts. Not content with filling in the prescribed or suggested harmonies and regulating the due succession of chords, he has also made an independent disposition of the middle parts and given them free movement. The subjects employed by Handel are further developed, and sometimes a new motif has occurred to him as an enlivenment to the accompaniment, in which case the additional wind instruments are employed to advantage. The harpsichord is treated, in the main, as might be expected from a first-rate organist of that time, and it is difficult at the present day to reproduce what so much depends upon the free co-operation of the performer. 18 The objection which may be raised against the alteration and partial remodelling of a carefully thought-out and finished work by a strange hand is unanswerable. The most loving and intelligent treatment cannot avoid inequality and incongruity; compared with what has been literally transmitted, every modification reflects, both in kind and degree, the individual learning and taste of the adapter. On the whole, however, Mozart's arrangements evince the greatest reverence for Handel, combined with a masterly use of all available resources, and they afford a proof as interesting as it is instructive of the study which Mozart had bestowed upon Handel, of the spirit in which he undertook his task, and of his thorough and delicate apprehension of foreign creations.

Mozart had heard the "Messiah" in 1777 at Mannheim, but apparently it had made no more lasting impression upon him than upon the public. Now, however, he approached the masterpiece with far other predilections, and the adaptation opened to him many points of interest. The three oratorios already mentioned were so moderate in length as to be suited for performance entire, but the greatly THE "MESSIAH." [223] disproportionate length of the "Messiah" made its curtailment a necessary part of its adaptation (572 K.). Several pieces were omitted, and others were shortened; but a proof that other and more important alterations were contemplated is afforded by a letter from Van Swieten to Mozart (March 21, 1789), given by Niemetschek (p. 46): "Your idea of turning the words of the unimpassioned air into a recitative is excellent; and in case you should not have retained the words, I have copied and now send them to you. The musician who is able to adapt and to amplify Handel's work so reverently and so judiciously, that on the one side he satisfies modern taste, and on the other preserves the integrity of his subject, has appreciated the great master's work, has penetrated to the source of his inspiration, and will doubtless draw from the same well himself. It is thus that I regard what you have accomplished, and I need not therefore again assure you of my entire confidence, but only beg you to let me have the recitative as soon as possible." Nevertheless, this idea, judging from the published score, was not carried out. In the arrangement of the orchestra, Mozart has gone further than in the previous works. Sometimes there has been an external necessity for altering even characteristic instrumentation, as in the air, "The trumpet shall sound" (No. 44). There were no solo trumpeters such as existed in Handel's time, and an attempt was made to preserve the effect as far as possible by rearrangement. He has altered, however, even without such occasion as this, and many instances of instrumental arrangement might be cited as far transgressing the bounds within which interference with a work of art is justifiable. 19 In themselves these same portions are admirable alike in their sound-effects and musical treatment, and in the delicate discrimination with which Mozart has made his additions appear as the natural development of Handel's ideas; we can see how the fascination of continuing the weaving of the threads from the master's hands has tempted OFFICIAL AND OCCASIONAL WORKS. [224] him to overstep the boundary. In doing so, however, the connection of the parts has been lost, and the unity of the whole has been disturbed. One of the most remarkable examples is the air, "The people that walked in darkness," in which the wind instruments added by Mozart are foreign to Handel's purpose, but nevertheless of very fine effect, and certainly not deserving of the reproach of "doleful sound-painting" ("betrübter Malerei"). 20 It was to be expected that Mozart's adaptation should attract both praise 21 and blame, 22 while those, such as Rochlitz 23 and Zelter, 24 who went deeper into the subject found much that was excellent and also much that was faulty in the work, at the same time that they gave due consideration to the occasion that called it forth and the design with which it was undertaken.

It must not be forgotten that these adaptations were undertaken by Mozart solely for Van Swieten's performances, and that his individual taste and the exigences of the representation must have exercised considerable influence upon them. He must certainly not be credited with the wish to improve upon Handel; 25 his intention has rather been so to popularise his works as to bring them home to the ADAPTATIONS OF EARLIER WORKS. [225] public, without altering any of the more important parts. That the adaptations should have been published and accepted as regular improved editions of the original was not his fault, though he has often had to do penance for it. It must be remembered also that the historic theory which holds that every work of art should be carefully preserved in the form wherein its author has embodied it was then non-existent.

The majority of compositions have been directly the result of circumstances determining the direction of the artist's energies; they laboured for the future while seeking to satisfy the present. They therefore made free use of their works for subsequent elaboration, altering what was needful, and adapting them to the particular occasions on which they were performed by means of additions, omissions, and alterations. The same freedom was thought allowable with the works of other masters, especially those of an earlier time, so that the public might the more easily and comfortably enjoy what was set before it. A knowledge of what was then thought excusable in this direction 26 will serve to increase our respect for the artistic spirit in which Mozart performed his task. 27 The scientific and historic ideas which have permeated the cultivation of our times require the enjoyment of a work of art to be founded upon historical insight and appreciation, and to this end it must be represented exactly as the artist has produced it. But this principle, true as it is in itself, can only be applied with considerable practical limitations, and it is doubtful how far the general public is capable of apprehending and approving it; in any case it is much to be desired that the fashion in such matters should not be set by pedants. 28



MOZART'S unsatisfactory position in Vienna, both from a pecuniary and a professional point of view, 1 doubtless inclined him for a professional tour, to which the immediate inducement was an invitation from Prince Karl Lichnowsky, husband of the Countess Thun, a zealous musical connoisseur and a pupil and ardent admirer of Mozart. His estates in Schleswig and his position in the Prussian army necessitated his residence from time to time in Berlin; and, being on the point of repairing thither in the spring of 1789, he invited Mozart to accompany him. The musical taste and liberality of Frederick William II. augured well for the expedition, and Lichnowsky's support was likely to prove a valuable aid. Accordingly on April 8, 1789, they set out. 2 At Prague, where they remained only one day, a contract with Guardasoni for an opera to be written in the autumn was "almost settled"; unfortunately only almost, for it does not appear to have gone further. Mozart was especially delighted with the news brought to him from Berlin by his old friend Ramm, that the King, having been informed of his intended visit, had asked repeatedly if the plan was likely to be carried out.

At Dresden, where they arrived on April 12, Mozart's first care was to seek out his friend Madame Duschek, who was visiting the Neumann family; he was soon quite at home with these "charming people." Joh. Leop. Neumann, Secretary to the Military Council, was highly esteemed for his literary and musical activity. He translated for his intimate friend Naumann the operas "Cora" and DRESDEN, 1789. [227] "Amphion," and in 1777 he founded a musical academy; 3 his wife was considered a first-rate pianoforte-player. 4 Through them Mozart was introduced to the musical world of Dresden—among others to Körner, an interesting proof of whose friendship remains in a crayon sketch of Mozart drawn by Komer's sister-in-law, Dora Stock, in 1789. Kapellmeister Naumann—a Mass composed by whom he heard and thought very "mediocre"—inspired him with instantaneous dislike; and the feeling appears to have been mutual, if, as tradition reports, Naumann used to call Mozart a musical sans culotte. 5

A summons to play before the court on April 14 was regarded as an unusual honour, and was followed by a present of 100 ducats. 6 Elsewhere he played with his usual readiness and good nature; and the interest which was felt in him was increased by a competition in which he came off with flying colours. His rival was Hàssler of Erfurt, 7 who happened to be in Dresden at the time, and was considered a pianoforte and organ-player of the first rank. Much was said in praise of his astonishing executive powers, of his brilliant and fiery delivery, 8 of his singular gift "of putting expression into the most rapid prestissimo—so that in softness and pathos it was equal to an adagio" 9 —and of his wonderful memory, enabling him to play the most difficult compositions without the notes. As an organ-player his dexterity with the pedal was specially admired. 10 He had an A PROFESSIONAL TOUR. [228] excellent opinion of himself; and when in the summer of 1788 he was in Dresden, "exciting the liveliest astonishment in all who heard him by his inexpressibly affecting playing," he let it be known that he intended to proceed to Vienna, "in order to prove to the Vienna public in competition with the great Mozart, that strong as the latter may be upon the pianoforte, he cannot play the clavichord." 11 To Mozart he appeared no formidable antagonist; he gave him credit for his dexterity in the use of the pedal, but placed him below Albrechtsberger as an organ-player, and compared him to Aurnhammer as a pianist.

Mozart's visit to Leipzig left behind a strong and pleasant impression. Fr. Rochlitz, then a young man, became intimate with him at the house of their common friend Doles, 12 and preserved a number of interesting traits, characteristic both of the man and the artist. He was cheerful and amiable in society, outspoken in his judgments of art and artists, and responsive to any display of interest in music; "not niggardly of his art, as so many musicians are." Almost every evening during his stay in Leipzig he took part in musical entertainments at different houses, and when quartets were played he took the piano or tenor part. The violinist Berger, who was generally of the party, used, as an old man, when any of these pieces were brought forward, to whisper to a friend with tender emotion, "Ah, I had once the honour of accompanying the great Mozart himself in that piece." 13 An ear-witness gave the following account:—

On April 22 he played the organ of the Thomaskirche, without previous notice, and gratuitously. He played very finely for an hour to a large audience. The then organist, Gorner, and the cantor, Doles, sat near him and pulled the stops. I saw him well; a young, well-dressed man of middle height. Doles was quite delighted with the performance, and declared that his old master, Sebastian Bach, had LEIPZIG—POTSDAM, 1789. [229] risen again. Mozart brought to bear all the arts of harmony with the greatest ease and discrimination, and improvised magnificently on every theme given—among others on the chorale, "Jesu meine Zuversicht." 14

Doles in return made his Thomaner scholars sing for Mozart Bach's motett, "Singet dem Herrn ein neues Lied," and we have already seen how intensely delighted he was, and how eagerly he at once set about studying Bach's other motetts (Vol. II., p. 416). Shortly after this, and apparently without having given a concert, Mozart continued his journey to Berlin, and thence immediately proceeded to Potsdam, where Lichnowsky presented him to the King. Frederick William II. possessed remarkable talent and love for music. He played the violoncello well, not only as a soloist, but frequently also in the orchestra at rehearsals. 15 Even before his accession to the throne he had maintained a well-appointed and excellent Kapelle under the leadership of the violoncellist Duport senior (1741-1818); concerts were regularly performed before him, and he was fond of hearing foreign virtuosi. 16 Reichardt credits him with great universality of taste, 17 which was of special advantage to music after Frederick the Great's bigoted prejudice. It was at the King's instigation that Reichardt organised his Concerts Spirituels, at which the older Italian music was principally performed; he esteemed highly both Handel and Gluck, and both at his concerts and on the stage showed equal favour to Italian, French, and German music; the improved instrumental music called into being by Haydn found a sympathetic patron in him. After his accession, in 1786, musical enterprise had still more cause to rejoice in the royal favour. He united his own with the royal Kapelle and placed Reichardt as Kapellmeister at their head. The grand Italian opera given at the Carnival was brilliantly appointed, and Naumann's services as a composer were retained, together with those of Alessandri A PROFESSIONAL TOUR. [230] and Reichardt. The hitherto little-esteemed German drama was elevated to the rank of a national theatre, and a regular support was secured to it, which had great weight in the elevation of German opera. Nor were opera buffa or the French opera neglected; on one evening, during a court festival, in the summer of 1789, Cimarosa's "Falegname," Dalayrac's "Nina," and Reichardt's "Claudine von Villa-bella" were performed. The King's concerts were conducted in the same manner as before, remaining under Duport's leadership.

The King welcomed foreign artists not only liberally in point of payment, but with the utmost kindness and freedom of personal intercourse, so that it is not surprising that they should have held him in great reverence, and approached him with large expectations. 18 Mozart's best introductions to the King's favour were his instrumental compositions, especially his quartets, and the very successful performance of his "Entführung" which had taken place in Berlin; there can be little doubt that he confirmed the good opinion conceived of him by his accomplishments as a virtuoso and by his general demeanour. But he found a powerful opponent in the haughty and intriguing Duport. 19 At Mozart's first visit he insisted on speaking French, which Mozart, although familiar with the language, decidedly declined doing. "The grinning mounseer," said he, "has been long enough making German money, and eating German bread, to be able to speak the German language, or to murder it as best he may, with his French grimaces." 20 Duport did not forgive him, and did all he could to prejudice the King against him, although Mozart paid him the compliment of composing variations (573 K.) to a charming minuet of Duport's (April 29, 1789), and of performing them himself. But the King was proof against OFFER OF THE KING OF PRUSSIA. [231] Duport's ill-nature, invited Mozart regularly to his concerts, and was fond of hearing him play. When he asked him what he thought of the Berlin Kapelle, Mozart answered frankly, that it contained the best performers in the world, but that if the gentlemen would play together it would be an improvement. 21 This implied disapprobation of the Kapellmeister Reichardt, whose direction had indeed been found fault with by others. 22 We hear of no intercourse between the two artists; perhaps some such sharp expressions as the above were the cause of the grudging notices of Mozart by Reichardt and the journals under his influence, which we cannot fail to remark. 23 No two natures could well be more dissimilar. Reichardt was undoubtedly a distinguished man; he had musical talent, a keen intellect, varied cultivation, and great energy; but ambition, vanity, and a passionate temper seldom allowed him to arrive at a calm judgment, and he was in continual search of some new way in which to bring himself forward. The journalist and the musician, the critic and the composer, trod close on each other's heels; and while always seeking to gain credit for originality of style, his greater compositions are in truth uncertain and unequal, and seldom produce the desired effect. No wonder that he failed to understand a nature such as Mozart's, which, undisturbed by external considerations, followed its creative impulses from sheer inner necessity; no wonder, either, that so failing, he should have sought to justify his aversion to his rival on polemical grounds. 24 Mozart's remark must have made some impression on the King, since he soon after offered him the post of Kapellmeister, with a salary of 3,000 dollars. This offer, however, consideration for the Emperor Joseph induced Mozart to decline. 25


During his stay in Potsdam, Mozart resided in the house of the well-known hom-player Thùrschmidt, with whom he had become acquainted in Paris; he was a constant guest also of the hospitable and music-loving Sartory, an artist of architectural ornament, who had been much in Italy, and welcomed all who took interest in his favourite art; Mozart's playing and sociability made him, as may be imagined, the centre of this cheerful society. 26 Another of his friends was the charming singer Sophie Niclas, sister to the Kammer-musikus Semler, who had made a very successful appearance as Constanze in the "Entführung" in 1784: 27

On one occasion, at her house, he was asked to improvise something. Readily, as his custom was, he complied, and seated himself at the piano, having first been provided with two themes by the musicians who were present. Madame Niclas stood near his chair to watch him playing. Mozart, who loved a joke with her, looked up and said, "Come! haven't you a theme on your mind for me too?" She sang him one, and he began the most charming fantasia, now on the one subject, now on the other, ending by bringing them all three together, to the intense delight and amazement of all who were present. 28

Arrangements were made during Mozart's stay in Berlin for a return visit to Leipzig, where in the meantime a concert for his benefit was being organised; he arrived there on May 8. At the rehearsal for this concert he took the tempo of the first allegro of his symphony so fast that the orchestra was very soon in inextricable confusion. Mozart stopped, told the players what was wrong, and began again as fast as before, doing all he could to keep the orchestra together, and stamping the time with his foot so energetically that his steel shoe-buckle snapped in two. 29 He laughed at this, and as they still dragged, he began a third time; the musicians, CONCERT IN LEIPZIG, 1789. [233] grown impatient, worked in desperation, and at last it went right. "It was not caprice," he said afterwards to some musical friends, whom he had lectured only a short time before on the subject of too rapid tempo, "but I saw at once that most of the players were men advanced in years; there would have been no end to the dragging if I had not worked them up into a rage, so that they did their best out of pure spite." The rest of the symphony he took in moderate time, and after the song had been rehearsed he praised the accompaniment of the orchestra, and said that it would be unnecessary to rehearse his concerto: "The parts are correctly written out, you play accurately, and so do I"; and the result showed that his confidence was not misplaced. 30

The concert 31 was poorly attended, and scarcely paid the expenses of Mozart's journey to Leipzig. Almost half the audience had free tickets, which, with his usual liberality, Mozart gave away to every one he knew. He required no chorus, and the fairly numerous chorus-singers were therefore excluded from their usual free admission. Some of them inquired at the ticket-office whether this was really to be the case; and as soon as Mozart heard of the inquiry he gave orders that the good folks should all be admitted: "Who would think of enforcing such a rule?" The poor audience had not the effect of damping his musical enthusiasm or good humour. His own compositions only were performed; he conducted two symphonies, as yet unpublished, and then Madame Duschek sang the air composed for Storace with obbligato pianoforte (505 K.); he himself played two concertos, one of them the great C major (467 K.), as usual without notes. He complied with ready goodwill to the request for an improvisation at the close of the concert; and after it was over, as though he were then just warming to A PROFESSIONAL TOUR. [234] his work, he took his friend Berger into his room and played far into the night. 32

Mozart returned to Berlin 33 on May 19, and his "Entführung" was performed the same evening "by general desire." 34 He went to the theatre, seated himself close to the orchestra, and attracted the attention of his immediate neighbours by his sotto voce remarks on the performance. In Pedrillo's air at the words "nur ein feiger Tropf verzaget," the second violins played D sharp instead of D, whereupon Mozart angrily exclaimed, "Damn it, play D, will you!" Every one looked round astonished, and the orchestra recognised him. Madame Baranius, who was playing Blondchen, refused to make her exit until Mozart went on to the stage, complimented her, and promised to study the part with her himself. 35 This promise, according to old tradition in Berlin, 36 involved him in a questionable adventure. Henriette Baranius (née Husen) made her appearance at a very early age in Berlin in 1784, and became the darling of the public, more from her remarkable beauty and grace than from her talents as an actress and a singer, although these were by no means inconsiderable. 37 She was much talked of, and the theatrical critics of the time were never tired of admiring her costly and tasteful dresses, which in defiance of all precedent she insisted upon wearing in parts to which they were unsuited. 38 She was accused of making the most of her attractions in private as well as in public, and Mozart, it was said, became so deeply involved with her that it cost his friends much trouble to extricate him. His letters to his wife during this period make the story almost incredible.

Another and more innocent encounter took place in the LUDWIG TIECK AND MOZART. [235] theatre. Ludwig Tieck, as a youth, was frequently at the house of Reichardt, and there first began "to divine the mysteries of music in classical works":—

Led by his own inclination, and in opposition to the prevailing taste, he addicted himself to Mozart's great compositions, uninfluenced by contemporary critics, or even by so powerful an opinion as that of Reichardt. Mozart's victorious rival was Dittersdorf, whose comic operas were played in Berlin to crowded audiences. The "Doctor und Apotheker" was preferred to "Figaro" or "Don Juan," and "Die Liebe im Narrenhause" was in the public estimation the greatest of musical works. Ludwig's veneration for Mozart was destined to receive an unexpected reward. One evening during the year 1789, entering the theatre, as his custom was, long before the performance began, and while it was still empty and half-lighted, he perceived a strange man in the orchestra. He was short, quick, restless, and weak-eyed—an insignificant figure in a grey overcoat. He went from one desk to another, and appeared to be hastily looking through the music placed on them. Ludwig at once entered into conversation with him. They spoke of the orchestra, the theatre, the opera, the public taste. He expressed his opinions without reserve, and declared his enthusiastic admiration of Mozart's operas. "Do you really hear Mozart's works often, and love them?" asked the stranger—"that is very good of you, young sir." The conversation continued for some time longer; the theatre began to fill, and at last the stranger was called away from the stage. His talk had produced a singular effect upon Ludwig, who made inquiries concerning him, and learnt that it was Mozart himself, the great master, who had conversed with him, and expressed his obligation to him. 39

Hummel, who, as Mozart's pupil, had played in Dresden on March 10 with great success, 40 was giving a concert in Berlin, without being aware of Mozart's presence. When the boy descried him among the audience, he could scarcely contain himself, and as soon as his piece was ended, he pushed his way through the audience and embraced him with the tenderest expressions of joy at seeing him. 41 During this A PROFESSIONAL TOUR. [236] second visit to Berlin, on May 26, Mozart played before the Queen, which was considered a politic step, without any expectation of a handsome present in return. Following the advice of his friends, he did not attempt a public concert, seeing that there was no chance of a large profit, and the King was averse to it. The latter, however, sent him a present of 100 friedrichsdor, and expressed a wish that Mozart would write some quartets for him. This was the whole result of the tour, diminished by a loan of 100 florins which Mozart thought it incumbent on him to make to a friend; he might well write to his wife that she must be glad to see him, not the money he was bringing.

Very different was the career of Dittersdorf, who came to Berlin in July of the same year. He had chosen the time when the visit of the Governess of the Netherlands occasioned festivities of every kind, and he refreshed the memory of the King, who had seen and invited him at Breslau, by the presentation of six new symphonies. Immediately upon his arrival he managed to ingratiate himself with Reichardt, was by him presented to Madame Rietz, afterwards Countess Lichtenau, and was very soon commanded by the King to put his "Doctor und Apotheker" in rehearsal, and to conduct it at a court festival at Charlottenburg; he also received permission to produce his oratorio of "Job" in the opera-house (hitherto only used by the court), with the resources of the royal Kapelle at his disposal. This, with additions from other sources, increased his personnel to 200, and the performance was highly successful, Dittersdorf quitting Berlin rich in money and honours. 42

On May 28 Mozart set out on his homeward journey by way of Dresden and Prague, where he made a stay of a few days.



UPON his arrival in Vienna on June 4, Mozart at once set to work upon a quartet for Frederick William II.; the Quartet in D major (575 K.) was completed in the same month, and in return for it, according to the Berlin Veteran, he received a valuable gold snuff-box with 100 friedrichsdor, and a complimentary letter. 1 But this did not materially affect his embarrassed circumstances; the precarious state of his wife's health kept him in a state of perpetual anxiety, and the expenses it involved brought him into serious difficulties: "I am most unhappy!" he wrote on July 17 to his friend Puchberg. The confident expectation of a permanent improvement in his outward position, which he expressed in his letters to this constant friend, were grounded, as it seems, upon the overtures which had been made to him in Berlin; he had informed the Emperor of them, and thought himself entitled to look for a compensation for his refusal. But circumstances were not then favourable, and Mozart was not the man to push a claim of the kind. The effect of his depression is clearly visible in the want of musical productivity during this period. His own catalogue contains only the following compositions belonging to this year:—

1789. June. A quartet for his majesty the King of Prussia, in D major

July. Sonata for pianoforte alone, D major (576 K.). Rondo in my opera of "Figaro" for Madame Ferraresi del Bene, "Al desio (577 K.).

August. Aria in the opera "I Due Baroni," for Mdlle. Louise Villeneuve, "Alma grande e nobil core" (578 K.).

September 17. Aria in the opera "Der Barbier von Seviglien," for Madame Hofer, "Schon lachtder holde Frühling" (580 K.). (575 K.).


September 29. Quintet for clarinet, two violins, viola, and violoncello, in A major (581 K.); first played in public at the concert for the funds of the Pension, December 22, 1789. 2

October. Aria in the opera "ü Burbero," for Mdlle. Villeneuve, "Chi sà, chi sà quai sia" (582 K.).

Ditto, "Vado! ma dove?" (583 K.).

December, An air which was intended for Benucci in the opera "Cosi fan Tutte," "Rivolgete à me lo sguardo" (584 K.). Twelve minuets (585 K.) and twelve waltzes (586 K.).

The prospect which was known to have been opened to him in Berlin may have had some effect in causing "Figaro" to be again placed on the stage in August. At the request of the prima donna, Madame Adriana Ferraresi del Bene, who had made her first appearance on October 13, 1788, Mozart wrote the grand air (577 K.). 3 For Louise Villeneuve he composed, during the following month, three airs for insertion in different operas (578, 582, 583, K.), perhaps with some view to his own new opera, in which Mdlle. Villeneuve was to appear. The approbation with which the revival of "Figaro" was received 4 no doubt suggested to the Emperor to commission Mozart to write a new opera. "It was not in his power," says Niemetschek (p. 43), "to decline the commission, and the libretto was provided him without consultation of his wishes." 5 It was "Cosi fan Tutte, osia la Scuola degli Amanti," by Da Ponte. 6 Mozart was busily engaged on it in December, 1789; and in January, 1790, it is entered in his catalogue as completed; it was first performed on January 26, with the following cast: 7


It appears to have been successful, 8 although it did not remain long on the repertory. 9 Unfortunately, we have no detailed information as to the preparation and performance of this opera. Da Ponte's achievement as the writer of an original libretto 10 serves to show more clearly than ever how much he had hitherto owed to his predecessors. Neither invention nor characterisation are anywhere visible, only a certain amount of dexterity in the handling of his subject.

The plot in its main points is as follows:—

Two young Neapolitan 11 officers—Ferrando (tenor) and Guillelmo (bass)—who are betrothed to the sisters Dorabella and Fiordiligi, are discovered seated in a café in lively dispute with their friend Don Alfonso, an old cynic, who maintains that their two fiancées would fail under any trial of their constancy. Upon their challenge to make good his words at the point of the sword he retorts with the old proverb, that woman's faith is like the phoenix—never seen. 12 Each of the lovers COSÌ FAN TUTTE. [240] declares his bride to be the phoenix. At last they agree to a wager. The two lovers promise on their word as officers to do nothing during the next four-and-twenty hours but what they are directed by Don Alfonso, who thereupon undertakes within that time to prove the fickleness of the two maidens. The young men, confident beforehand of victory, determine on celebrating it by a grand banquet in honour of their mistresses.

Fiordiligi and Dorabella are discovered in their garden by the seashore, awaiting the arrival of their lovers and lovingly contemplating their portraits; each declares her lover to be the handsomest and best. Alfonso entering, brings the direful news that Ferrando and Guillelmo have been ordered to proceed at once to the field with their regiment. The lovers enter with melancholy mien to bid adieu, and the two ladies give vent to heartrending expressions of grief and love. The lovers express satisfaction thereat to Don Alfonso, who bids them wait for the end. A military march with a lively chorus is heard in the distance; 13 the lovers yield themselves to a last fond embrace with sobs and tears, at which Don Alfonso can hardly keep his countenance. The march again summons the officers to depart, and the two ladies join with Don Alfonso in waving their adieux to the retreating bark.

Despina, the waiting-maid of the two ladies, waits for them impatiently with their chocolate. 14 She is amazed at their entrance in a condition of violent sorrow, which is expressed by Dorabella more especially in high tragic style. Her astonishment increases on hearing the cause, and she advises her mistresses to take the matter easily, and do all they can to divert their thoughts. The serious reproof with which this advice is met is answered by her in a tirade on the fickleness of men in general, and soldiers in particular, whom she declares to deserve no better treatment.

Don Alfonso, in pursuance of his design, now seeks to gain over Despina. A few gold pieces and the prospect of a rich reward speedily gain her promise to admit two friends whom he declares to be madly in love with her mistresses. He at once introduces Ferrando and Guillelmo in the garb of wealthy Albanians, and so disguised by great beards as to be unrecognisable by Despina, who regards them as veritable "antidoto d' amor." While they are ingratiating themselves with the waiting-maid the two ladies enter. Their consternation at the presence of strangers turns to violent indignation when the pretended Albanians proceed without preface to fall on their knees and make declarations of LIBRETTO. [241] love. Don Alfonso, entering to prevent actual scandal, feigns to recognise old friends in the Albanians, and endeavours to act as mediator. The strangers continue their bold suit, but Fiordiligi proudly declares her faith as firm as a rock, and is immovable. The consequence is that upon Guillelmo renewing his entreaties the two ladies decline to hear him out, and make their exit. No sooner are they gone than the two break into loud laughter, which Don Alfonso with difficulty induces them to moderate. The first attack, which was to carry all by storm, has failed, and Don Alfonso retires to concoct a new plot with Despina.

Fiordiligi and Dorabella are again discovered in the garden lamenting bygone happy hours, when the two Albanians rush in. They declare their resolution to take poison, spite of Don Alfonso's earnest dissuasions. Before the eyes of the cruel fair ones they swallow the contents of two vials, and sink in convulsions upon a bank of turf. The two horrified ladies call for Despina, who hurries off with Don Alfonso in search of a doctor, enjoining the ladies to support the sufferers during their absence. This, however, they dare not do, but contemplate the men from a distance in great agitation, which causes intense amusement to the disguised lovers. They gradually come nearer, and begin to express an interest which turns the amusement into disquiet. Don Alfonso returns with Despina, disguised as a doctor, a charlatan of the latest fashion, à la Mesmer, who promises to work miracles by means of magnetism. The terrified maidens are forced to submit to his behests, and to hold the heads of the sufferers, while he magnetises them back to life. Finding themselves in the arms of the fair ones, they begin to rave ecstatically; the ladies, regarding this as the commencement of the cure, allow it to continue, though not without uneasiness, until the patients demand a kiss from them. This rouses the pride of the ladies, and they break into a rage so violent in its demonstrations that the others begin to be doubtful of their sincerity; the first finale closes amid general confusion.

At the beginning of the second act, Despina seeks to reason her ladies out of their exaggerated ideas of constancy and their dread of a love-adventure such as offers itself; she places before them the image of a maiden who treats men lightly for her amusement, and remarks with satisfaction that her words have made some impression. In fact, when the sisters are left alone, Dorabella first declares her inclination to hearken to Guillelmo's suit, and Fiordiligi pronounces herself ready to put the new ideas into practice with Ferrando. In this favourable mood Don Alfonso invites them to a garden-party, where the lovers receive them with a serenade. They now show themselves as bashful and modest as they were formerly urgent and bold; Don Alfonso has to speak for them, Despina answers for the ladies, and reconciliation is sealed by a pressure of the hand. After some general conversation Ferrando and Fiordiligi go off together. Guillelmo expresses himself COSÌ FAN TUTTE. [242] more tenderly to Dorabella, and offers her a valuable gold heart as a gift; she takes it without more ado, declares that she cannot offer him her heart in exchange, since he already possesses it, allows him to loosen Ferrando's portrait from her bosom, and gives way to the tenderest endearments. Ferrando returns with Fiordiligi, who rejects him with apparent severity, but lets it be felt that she is not altogether indifferent to his suit; he ventures upon a tender declaration of love, and, finding it still unheeded, goes out in despair. Left alone, she declares her heart to be affected, but adheres to her resolve to resist the temptation and keep faith with her lover.

Ferrando joyfully communicates Fiordiligi's steadfastness to Guillelmo, but is consternated to hear from him how easily Dorabella has been won, and has to submit to some triumph on the part of his friend. He feels all the acuter pain that his love to the faithless one is not yet stifled. Guillelmo now regards the wager as lost, but Don Alfonso demands that one more attack shall be made on Fiordiligi.

Fiordiligi reproaches her sister in unmeasured terms for her thoughtlessness, whereupon the latter with extreme frankness declares that she neither can nor will control her inclinations. Horrified at this, Fiordiligi determines upon escaping from her own weakness by donning man's attire and following her lover to the wars. She has a uniform brought in, puts on the helmet, takes the sword in her hand, when Ferrando rushes in and conjures her to slay him rather than desert him. This is too much; she cannot withstand his anguish, and sinks upon his breast overcome. It is now Guillelmo's turn to be beside himself. The two are bent upon forsaking their faithless mistresses, until Don Alfonso gradually succeeds in making them regard the affair from his own philosophical point of view: "Cosi fan tutte!" They decide therefore on espousing their brides, but not before they have punished them for their want of faith. Despina enters with the news that the two ladies have determined to wed their new lovers the same evening, and have sent her to fetch the notary. The two couples enter the gaily decorated room, and are received by Despina and Don Alfonso and the congratulatory chorus of friends and servants. Amid cheerful converse they place themselves at table. Despina enters as a notary, and reads the marriage contract. It is scarcely subscribed when the chorus and march of the first act are heard in the distance. Don Alfonso enters terrified with the news that the regiment has been suddenly recalled, and the old lovers are approaching the house. The Albanians and the notary are hastily concealed, and the ladies, in mortal fear and embarrassment, receive their lovers returning full of joy. Don Alfonso, acting as mediator, causes the notary to be discovered; but Despina declares herself, and asserts that she is returning from a masked ball. But the marriage contract falling into the hands of Guillelmo, the ladies are obliged to confess their guilt to their enraged lovers, whereupon the latter discover themselves as the Albanians, while Guillelmo returns the PERFORMANCES OF THE OPERA. [243] portrait to Dorabella, mockingly repeating the melody of the duet. Confessions ended, Don Alfonso exhorts them to make peace, and brings the couples together; finally, they all unite in the moral:—

     "Fortunato l' uom, che prende
     Ogni cosa pel buon verso,
     E tra i casi e le vicende
     Da ragion guidar si fà.
     Quel che suole altrui far piangere
     Fia per lui cagion di riso,
     E del mondo in mezzo i turbini
     Bella calma troverà."

The opera was not again performed in Vienna in Italian until 1858, but it was produced at the Theater an der Wien in a German translation by Gieseke, in 1794, with the title of "Die Schule der Liebe"; in 1804 it was played at the Imperial Hoftheater as "Màdchentreue"; again at the Theater an der Wien in 1814, in Treitschke's adaptation, "Die Zauberprobe"; in 1819 and 1840 at the Hoftheater in the earlier translation, and in 1863 in Schneider's adaptation. In Berlin also, where it was first given on August 6, 1792, with the title "Eine machts wie die Andere," 15 it was again attempted in 1805 in the translation by Bretzner, "Weibertreue, oder die Mädchen sind von Flandem" (Leipzig, 1794), 16 followed in 1820 by Herklot's adaptation "Die verfängliche Wette." Nevertheless the older adaptation was preferred for the revival of the opera in 1826 at the Königstadt theatre; 17 this gave way to one by an anonymous author in 1831, 18 which was employed for the representations of 1832 and 1835, but abandoned for L. Schneider's adaptation in 1846. 19 At Prague, Guardasoni at once placed "Cosi fan Tutte" on his repertory; and in 1808 20 it was performed there in German as "Màdchentreue," in 1823 as "Zauberprobe," 21 in 1831 in Bohemian, 22 and in 1838 in Italian by the COS! FAN TUTTE. [244] pupils of the Conservätorium. 23 Guardasoni also introduced the opera at Leipzig, where it was several times performed in German during 1805, 24 and by the Dresden Italian opera company in 1830. 25 Curiously enough "Cosi fan Tutte" was the first opera by Mozart performed in Dresden, in 1791, and kept its place in the repertory, although in 1812 it was still the only one. 26 In Italy it took no firmer hold than the others, and was only given on single occasions at Milan in 1808 and 1814, 27 and at Turin in 1816. 28 In Paris "Cosi fan Tutte" was given by the Italian opera company at the Odéon in 1811, 1817, and 1820; 29 and in London it was first played in an English translation by Arnold in 1811, 30 and again in 1828; in 1842 it was included among the Italian operas, and received with great applause. 31

The wide-spread reputation of "Figaro" and "Don Giovanni" had prepared the public mind to receive Mozart's music to this opera (588 K.) 32 with the favour which it deserved; 33 but the libretto was universally pronounced to be one of the worst of its kind; 34 nor has the judgment of ALTERATIONS IN THE LIBRETTO. [245] posterity reversed the verdict passed upon it. 35 Two reproaches were more especially brought forward. One was the extreme improbability that neither the lovers nor Despina in their disguises would have been recognised by the two ladies, and the other the outrage committed on the moral sense by the frivolity of the test imposed, and if possible still more by the ease with which, after the unfortunate issue of the trial, the lovers all adopt a philosophic toleration towards each other. These two blemishes, however, will scarcely account for the fact that, even where attempts have been made to remove them by adaptation, the opera has never maintained its place on the stage. 36 Unquestionably, the device of the disguise is trivial, and in itself not at all entertaining, but the number of popular comedies the main point of which consists in disguise prove that the public in this respect is not hard to please. It makes no undue call on the imagination of the spectators to proceed on this supposition, although in every drama deviations more or less important must thereby be made from reality. But the imagination refuses to accept these improbabilities unless they are made to serve as external manifestations of events and actions which seem thus to be taking their regular course. If they are made the foundation for events which are manifestly false to nature, the revulsion in the spectator's mind is extended to the improbable representation itself. Treitschke hit upon the most unfortunate device for obviating the difficulty, by turning Alfonso into a magician and Despina into a sprite, and thereby not only producing glaring inconsistencies, but completely nullifying the musical characterisation. Another attempt was made by Krebel in an adaptation called "Màdchen sind Màdchen," performed in Stuttgart in 1816, where the lovers return home after a lengthened absence and COSÏ FAN TUTTE. [246] before appearing to their brides undertake and carry out the trial of their constancy; Despina undertakes the cure in her own person, and in the last finale a real notary is brought on, whom she afterwards declares to be her lover. The progress of the plot is completely changed, almost all the songs are transformed and taken from their proper connection. Herklot's alterations in "Die verhangnissvolle Wette" went still deeper. 37 The ladies are not put to the test by their own lovers, but, with the connivance of the latter, by two of their friends, whose servant Pedrillo takes part in the intrigue as the doctor and the notary. Not to mention the injury which the musical characterisation suffers thereby, the clumsiness of the test imposed is made still more apparent, and the final reconciliation becomes more unreal and revolting.

Da Ponte has made no effort to soften the awkwardness of the situation; it is indeed very much increased by the exchange of lovers made during the trial, as if the right choice was that which is then made. G. Bernhard (Gugler), who has done honour both to words and music by his excellent edition of the opera, 38 removed this obstacle in his adaptation, "Sind sie treu?" (Stuttgart, 1858). Here each lover proves his own mistress, and the plot and its development are modified accordingly. 39 Da Ponte sacrificed the excuse this would have afforded to the two ladies—who might be supposed unconsciously drawn towards the true object of their affections—to the dramatic effect of the embarrassing position of the men on either side. Attempts to remedy this defect led to other and greater ones. 40 In an old adaptation, "Die Wette, oder Màdchen-List und -Liebe," the author CRITICISM OF THE LIBRETTO. [247] (whose name is unknown to me) has hit upon the device of making the waiting-maid betray Don Alfonso's plot to the sisters before the entrance of the pretended friends, so that they are supposed to be hoaxing their lovers all the time, and the latter have to sue for pardon at the end. Despina's disguise as the doctor is retained, but a real notary is brought in for the last finale. Arnold proceeded similarly in his English version, "Tit for Tat." 41 L. Schneider, too, has made the same alteration, with the difference that Despina does not betray to her mistresses the plot against them until the second act, from which time they feign the weakness with which they mean to chastise their lovers. But this alteration implies a coarseness of conduct in the two sisters which is scarcely less reprehensible than their fickleness. The musical characterisation also is destroyed, since they are now supposed to feign the sentiments which they were originally intended to express in all seriousness; the inconsistency is sometimes unendurable. Added to this, the second finale is nullified by the altered catastrophe, and the charming part omitted where the men recall the characters assumed by them. 42

It would have been necessary to bring the psychological interest of the drama into the foreground in order to conceal what was objectionable in the situations. Ingenuity and delicacy of invention might have turned the subject into an interesting drama, with the guilt and mishaps so evenly balanced that the whole might naturally come to a cheerful and pacifying conclusion. Da Ponte's text in no way fulfils these requirements; he takes his stand on the level of the ordinary opera buffa, and demands to be measured by that standard. He makes some attempt at more delicate characterisation in his Fiordiligi, in which Ferrando partakes, but the remaining characters are all of the usual opera buffa type, and only receive their individual stamp by virtue of the music. Nor do the situations COSÌ FAN TUTTE. [248] display much more of original invention. The only animation afforded to the play, consisting of the pretended poisoning and the entrance of Despina as doctor, is neither new nor refined, and the plot proceeds without exciting either interest or suspense. But it gives occasion for a succession of musical situations which, considered apart, have been skilfully treated by Da Ponte. The parting scene, the sestet, and especially the first finale, are thoroughly musical in design, and Da Ponte's verses are easy and flowing, often not devoid of wit. Unfortunately his energies are almost all exhausted in the first act. While this contains a wealth of ensemble movements and contrasting situations scarcely to be found in any other opera, the monotony of the second act is strikingly apparent. It does not seem to have occurred to Da Ponte to develop his plot by means of an artistic arrangement of ensemble pieces. His sole care has evidently been to apportion the airs and duets indispensable to the chief characters in opera buffa with a due regard to dramatic contrast. 43

Mozart therefore found himself once more engaged upon an opera buffa in the strict sense of the term. The plot is without meaning, the characters without individuality, deriving what effect they have by means of the ordinary resources of low comedy and exaggeration. Passion and feeling rarely assert themselves without the disturbing elements of hypocrisy and deceit; and thus the source of Mozart's own peculiar conception of musical representation is virtually closed to him. Then, in addition, the demands of the artists had to be taken into consideration. We can only wonder, under the circumstances, at Mozart's power of seizing every point which could be turned to the service of his artistic conceptions; the work reveals a side of his nature which has not hitherto appeared. 44

The unreserved expression of emotions throughout the THE MUSIC—ENSEMBLES. [249] opera affords a not ungrateful field for musical representation. The awkwardness of having three terzets for male voices following each other disappears under Mozart's treatment, since he makes each the natural outcome of the situation, and they serve as joint members of one organism to produce a natural climax. The first terzet takes its tone from the excited mood of the young officers, which Don Alfonso seeks with easy playfulness to moderate. In the second, Don Alfonso comes to the foreground with his old song about the phoenix and woman's faith, which he sings in a tone of good-humoured irony, exceedingly well supported by the orchestra, while the other two try mainly to interpose and stop him; it is a most original piece of music, full of excellent humour. The third terzet displays the high spirits of the lovers, raised to a pitch of great excitement, and the music brings the merry feast to which they are already looking forward vividly before the mind. The light and cheerful, somewhat superficial tone which here prevails, fixes the ground-tone of the opera. The young men are characterised generally, without accentuating their individualities; they stand opposed to Don Alfonso, whose contrasting character comes out all the more sharply. The duet for the two sisters (4) is more elevated in tone, to accord with the situation. They are melting in tender emotion as they gaze on the images of their lovers, and the expression of the music is full of life and sensuality, but more animated than warm, with no echo of those gentle accents in which Mozart elsewhere so inimitably characterises the hidden longings of the soul. The unanimity of sentiment here again obscures individual character, and the modifications are more musical than dramatic in their nature. Don Alfonso's COSI FAN TUTTE. [250] short air (5), where he appears to urge composure, characterises not his true nature, for he is feigning all the time, but the situation, and that with a degree of exaggeration which comes out in striking relief to his otherwise calm and equable nature. The tone and delivery of the air are correctly indicated by Don Alfonso's words: "non son cattivo comico"; the deceit is conscious and evident throughout, and it is rendered easy for the performer to let an ironical tone occasionally peep through. The following quintet (6) carries us to a height hitherto unsuspected. The grief of the sisters at the prospect of separation from their lovers is expressed with ever-increasing passion, while conscious dissimulation imposes a certain restraint on the men, though the emotion they express is in itself genuine enough; the softer nature of Ferrando betrays itself in his gradually increasing sympathy with the sorrowing women. The ironical element introduced by Don Alfonso, just at the point when the passionate lamentation of the sisters is making the greatest impression on their lovers, prevents the situation from passing altogether into the pathetic vein. This quintet undoubtedly belongs in every respect to Mozart's highest achievements. The short duet (7) on the other hand, in which Ferrando and Guillelmo seek to console their trembling fair, ones is poor both in musical substance and characterisation, being an easily constructed piece of the kind which the general public loved. The march with chorus (8), which comes next, is simple, but very fresh and pretty, well suited both to the situation and the character of the opera. The farewell scene (9) takes place at the same time—indicated in the autograph score as "Recitativo coi stromenti"—and is a perfect masterpiece of beauty and delicate characterisation. The broken sobs of the afflicted women have something of the same comic effect as the infinite sorrow of childhood, and the men seem, half involuntarily, to imitate them; but when the last adieux have been exchanged they give vent to such a sweet and touching sound of lamentation that even the lovers are touched by it, and Don Alfonso is silenced. The repetition of the chörus interrupts the tender leave-taking just at the right time, and endows the scene with fresh life and animation. It finds an appropriate conclusion in the TERZET. [251] tones and gestures of the two maidens as they wave their adieux from the shore, while Don Alfonso appears to share their feelings with a sort of ostentation of sympathy. This terzettino (10) shows Mozart's power of displaying endless shades of one and the same feeling. The farewells wafted from the shore are more composed than the lamentations called forth by the idea of separation, or even by the separation itself; they are more pure also, more intense, and transfigure all that has gone before with the light of a tender and harmonious grace finding its expression in separate sharp suspensions, and especially in the unexpected dissonance which occurs upon "desir—[See Page Image]

The murmuring accompaniment of the muted violins, combined with the soft full chords of the wind instruments, suggesting the idea of the sea-voyage, contribute to the colouring of this gem of musical expression. The instrumentation throughout this first division of the opera is carefully and admirably managed. The first terzet is simple, the lively figures for the stringed instruments denoting its character, while the oboes, bassoons, and horns strengthen the lights and shades; it is quite otherwise in the second, where the stringed instruments have a gentle accompanying passage, while a flute and a bassoon carry on the melody of the song; the third is brilliant with trumpets and drums, shrill oboes and rapid violin passages. During the whole of the love scene the clarinets are kept in the foreground, the combined orchestra is full and soft, but milder and more sparkling in the last terzet, where flutes come in; the contrasting clang of the lively and vigorous march is highly effective. Thus far all has taken a natural course, and we COSÌ FAN TUTTE. [252] have met with no unusual characters, no startling situations; the emotions represented have been true and simple, and have been the necessary consequences of the events composing the easily comprehended plot. The musical depicting of such emotions is a grateful task; if it is true in itself and a faithful rendering of the given situation it cannot fail of its effect. And Mozart has here combined truth of characterisation with a beauty of form and a charm of sweet sound which almost overpower the ear, and are scarcely to be found in such fulness in any other of his operas. The further development of the plot leads to a sharper characterisation of individuals. Dorabella first unfolds her grief in a grand air (n) introduced by an accompanied recitative. It consists of one movement (allegro agitato) which receives its distinctive character from the sextole passage for the violins—[See Page Image] which does not cease for one bar until just before the end; an unsteady trembling movement is imparted to it by varied harmonic transitions, and an occasional sharper accentuation by the full chords of the wind instruments. The simple sustained voice-part moves above this accompaniment in short expressive phrases, rising now and then to a tone of passionate appeal, and at the close to an unexpected pathos. Both in musical treatment and emotional expression the air takes a high rank; but none the less is it in striking contradiction to the character of Dorabella as it is afterwards developed. It is she who proposes to her sister to coquet with the new lovers, and in the duet (20) in which they agree to do so it is she who takes the initiative. In the duet with Guillelmo (23) 45 she shows herself so easily persuaded and so full of amorous passion that it appears the revelation of her true nature. It renders superfluous her subsequent expression of opinion in an air (28) that love rules over all hearts, and it is but folly to resist his sway. This air has a certain resemblance to the first in the simplicity of the DORABELLA. [253] voice-part and the moderation of the expression, although the feelings inspiring it are of such a different nature. The accompaniment again bestows upon the song its peculiar colouring; and the great prominence given to the wind instruments adds an insinuating and specious tone to the whole. But a closer examination reveals the evident contrast of the two songs. Dorabella is a woman of lively but not deep feeling; excitement is necessary to her, even though it may be of a painful nature—she cannot live without it. Her expressions of sorrow increase in intensity, and the orchestra is markedly toned down to allow her to display her true, somewhat shallow nature. Besides this, the exaggerated tone of her grief, displaying its want of perfect sincerity, is strongly marked by the words, e.g.—

     Esempio misero d' amor funesto
     Darö all' Eumenidi, se viva resto,
     Col suono orribile de' miei sospir—

and the music takes the cue therefrom. While borrowing the pathetic tone and form of the opera seria, she turns them into a parody like that of the text, invoking the furies with all the rhetorical apparatus of tragedy; this is especially noticeable towards the close:—[See Page Image]


The parody facilitates the difficult task of carrying the musical expression of emotion to an exaggerated degree without making it ugly and unnatural. The refined delivery of the vocalist, and the ready apprehension of the audience, must always be presupposed. In the character of Fiordiligi Da Ponte has unquestionably kept Ferraresi del Bene in view; he was said to stand in tender relations towards her. 46 According to him she had a fine voice and an original and affecting delivery, and this opinion was confirmed by the London critics, although she was never considered there as a true prima donna; 47 and Mozart himself remarked that it was not saying much to pronounce Allegrandi far superior to Ferraresi. She had not a good figure, and was but an indifferent actress; but she had beautiful eyes and a charming mouth, and was in great favour with the public. It is not surprising, therefore, that Fiordiligi should have been placed on a higher level than her sister, both musically and dramatically. 48 Her very first air (14) places her in a far more favourable light. The disguised lovers, after a decided repulse, renew their shameless attack. Fiordiligi's condescending to answer them and to assert her inflexible constancy may not, indeed, be a proof of fine feeling on her part, but it demands an energetic and emphatic tone and strong and appropriate colouring. We therefore have a bravura air in two movements, an andante and allegro, closed by a long coda in accelerated tempo. The comic effect again rests on the element of parody, which is even more strongly marked than in Dorabella's air; the bravura passages, intervals of octaves, tenths and twelfths, the roulades which she flings at her opponents, the bass-like passages in the deeper register of the voice, all characterise Fiordiligi's Amazon-like haughtiness in an exaggerated manner. Afterwards, it is true, she FERRANDO. [255] is induced by her more thoughtless sister to coquet with the new lover, but Dorabella's lover presents himself after a fashion calculated to make a strong impression upon her. Guillelmo is always light-hearted and cheerful; while, even in the parting scene, Ferrando has shown himself to be a man of softer mould. His air (17), after the first repulse of his suit, leaves no doubt as to his nature. It renders the vapid sentimentality of the words with remarkable tenderness and delicacy, but this kind of sentimentality being quite foreign to the southern nature, the portrayal of it would rouse more ridicule than sympathy. Such a character cuts a comic figure upon the 'stage—a circumstance which must be borne in mind in considering this opera. Even in his feigned wooing he expresses his feelings with warmth and animation, his eccentricities being indeed heightened by the difficulties of the situation. This is just the demeanour calculated to make an impression on Fiordiligi, and she soon begins to waver. Perceiving this, he expresses his delight with an extravagance which a man of calmer temperament would have been incapable of dissembling; 49 it is evident that his fancy gets the better of his excited feelings. So apprehended, this air (24) not only entrances our minds by its continuous flow of lovely melody, but gives us a sense of natural fitness for the situation and characters. It would have been an impossible task for music to represent Ferrando as singing this song with coolly calculated dissimulation; for the exaggeration of caricature is only appropriate when no conviction is required to be brought home to us, whereas here the impression experienced by Fiordiligi must be shared by the audience before it can become intelligible. The music must therefore express a feeling by which a man of excitable nature would be likely to be carried away.

In this way only can we justify the deep impression made upon the equally excitable Fiordiligi, when, left alone, she reproaches herself doubly for having coquetted with Ferrando, and been false at heart to her lover. The feeling COSÌ FAN TUTTE. [256] of remorse, and of newly strengthened fidelity which the memory of her absent lover inspires, is charmingly expressed in the lovely air (25), "Per pietà, ben mio, perdona." This is genuine emotion, springing from the heart, and the music expresses it with all the charm of pure melody. This important air, in two elaborate movements—adagio and allegro—gives ample opportunity for display to the singer and an independent part to the wind instruments, especially the horns, without doing injury to truth of expression. It is undeniably akin to the great air in "Figaro" (p. 92) composed for the same Ferraresi, although they differ both in tone and colouring. Probably the individuality of the singer, distinctly recognisable in the three songs, exerted considerable influence over their composition; and it may also be remarked that too vivid a representation of such a mood as this would have exceeded the limits of opera buffa; even as it is it suggests almost too serious a complication and solution of the situation. Ferrando, on learning the faithlessness of his Dorabella, breaks at first into violent indignation; but this soon gives way to softer feelings, which he cannot overcome. In his lovely cavatina (27)—so Mozart has entitled it—his anger is only faintly suggested, while the memory of his still-loved Dorabella shines forth from the darkness of the soul. 50 While he is yet in this sentimental mood he is urged by Don Alfonso to make one more attack upon Fiordiligi's heart. With this intent, he surprises her in the act of putting into effect her romantic determination to escape from her own weakness by donning man's attire and following her lover to the wars. The duet which ensues (29) is of singular design and unusually rich elaboration. In contrast with Fiordiligi's grandiloquent sentiments, as she fancies herself again by the side of her lover, comes the melancholy plaint, the urgent petition of Ferrando; her resistance grows weaker as his entreaties grow more earnest—until at last she sinks into FERRANDO—GUILLELMO. [257] his arms. This scene consists of a regularly worked-out duet in two movements, but the long suspense requires a corresponding length of reaction from it, and we have to all intents and purposes a second duet, with two movements expressive of the happiness of the lovers. Here again the expression of feeling is so direct and true that we cannot but imagine Ferrando carried away by the impulse of the moment. In fact, these two characters and their relations to each other are somewhat out of keeping with the rest of the opera. Da Ponte failed in giving due effect to the deeper psychological interest of the characters; Mozart has clothed them in flesh and blood, but even he has failed to endow them with the distinct and vivid personality which is to be found in "Figaro" and "Don Giovanni."

No doubt the idiosyncrasies of the performers, who were for the most part more of singers than actors, and had apparently not much talent for comedy, had considerable influence on the plan of the piece; 51 the part of Guillelmo was written for the excellent buffo Benucci (Vol. III., pp. 51, SS). 52 He first comes forward independently, when, in his disguise as an Albanian, his first attack has been repulsed and, Fiordiligi having expressed her haughty indignation, he boldly ventures on a fresh declaration of love. Here he had originally an air (584 K.) of the most decided buffo type, which opposed to the exaggerated pathos of Fiordiligi an extravagance of a different kind, and expressed in strong caricature the confidence of the new wooers in the ultimate success of their

     (To Fiordiligi.)

     Rivolgete à lui lo sguardo
     E vedete come stà;
     Tutto dice, io gelo, io ardo,
     Idol mio, pietà, pietà.


     (To Dorabella.)

     E voi, cara, un sol momento
     Il bel ciglio à me volgete,
     E nel mio ritroverete
     Quel che il labbro dir non sà.
     Un Orlando innamorato
     Non è niente in mio confronto,
     Un Medoro il sen piagato
     Verso lui per nullo io conto.
     Son di foco i miei sospiri,
     Son di bronzo i suoi desiri.
     Se si parla poi di merto,
     Certo io son ed egli è certo,
     Che gli uguali non si trovano
     Da Vienna al Canadà.
     Siam due Cresi per richezza;
     Due Narcissi per bellezza;
     In amori i Marcantoni
     Verso noi sarian buffoni;
     Siam più forti d'un Ciclopo,
     Letterati al par di Esopo;
     Se balliam, il
     Pick ne cede,
     Si gentil e snello è il piede,
     Se cantiam, col trillo solo
     Facciam torto al uscignolo,
     E qualche altro capitale
     Abbiam poi, che alcun non sà.

Mozart has turned this into a comic air in the grand style, worthy to rank with those of Leporello, although the delicate malice which characterises the latter would be out of place here. The various points, not only where the mention of dancing and singing suggest musical freaks, but throughout, are made effective in the happiest musical contrasts, without disturbing the flow and consistency of the whole song. Towards the close especially, the climax is inimitable. After the transition into D minor on "trillo" and "uscignolo"—[See Page Image] GUILLELMO'S AIR. [259] the wind instruments sound a mocking fanfare to the violin quavers on "qualch' altro capitale"—[See Page Image] COSÌ FAN TUTTE. [260] whereupon Guillelmo, after the exit of the sisters, breaks out with the whole strength of his voice into a triumphant allegro molto—[See Page Image]

but stops suddenly, as if afraid of being overheard, and sings his joy sotto voce to Don Alfonso. This air, which afforded abundant opportunity for the display of voice and art to the happiest advantage, was laid on one side, no doubt with the conviction that so evident a caricature could not be maintained throughout the love-test without wedding internal to external improbabilities, and displaying Guillelmo in two distinct characters. Another air (15) was therefore substituted, expressing Guillelmo's character as a cheerful man of the world who takes serious matters lightly, and comports himself with ease and freedom. He turns half confidently, half jokingly to the ladies, the secret pleasure which their rejection of his suit affords him increasing his cheerfulness, and even giving it a tinge of irony. The music is quite simple, tuneful, light and pleasing, in direct contrast to the previous grand air. His second air (26) in which, after his adventure with Dorabella, his good opinion of women is considerably modified, is in perfect harmony with the first. The feeling that he has the advantage over Ferrando, the GUILLELMO. [261] assurance of Fiordiligi's unalterable faith, give him an air of overweening security, and cause him to express himself with a lightness which he would certainly have refrained from had he known how nearly the matter affected himself. This is a truly comic situation, and Mozart has given effect to it mainly by the tone of easy merriment which he has caught so admirably, and which never passes the bounds of friendly good-humour. The air is long, singer and orchestra vying with each other in rapid animation, and the jovial, easy character of the man is fully and pleasantly expressed. 53 His intercourse with Dorabella corresponds with this view. The easy, half-jesting gallantry with which he approaches her in the duet (23) belongs to his nature, and the part he is playing is no effort to him. It is more than once made plain that Dorabella is more strongly affected than he; after she has once met his advances with favour he merely seconds her, as being pledged to do so; but he does it with the same ease and confidence that he has displayed throughout.

Mozart has shown correct judgment in making Guillelmo' a natural, good-humoured character, instead of a caricatured buffo figure. But a motive seems to have been at work here which appears throughout the whole of "Cosi fan Tutte." It is evident that Mozart has sought to clear himself from the reproach that his music was too heavy, too serious for a comic opera, and to satisfy the taste of the public for what was light and entertaining. This demand was met in the two male duets, the first (7) being light and superficial, and the second a serenade (21), which (accompanied, according to custom, only by wind instruments) follows a striking chorus with a melodious and pleasing effect, but without individual character. The same motive is even more evidently at work in the character of Despina. She never betrays a particle of true feeling. She has no sympathy COSÌ FAN TUTTE. [262] either for her mistresses, or for their lovers, or for Don Alfonso, and she has no love affair of her own. The only visible motive of action with her is selfishness, which triumphs even over her love of intrigue; every expression of hers shows giddy thoughtlessness, not always of the most refined kind. Her two songs are both addressed to her ladies. The first (12) is in answer to Dorabella's pathetic burst of sorrow, and scoffs at her belief in the constancy of men, while urging her to reward inconstancy with inconstancy. The second (19) exhorts the still undecided fair ones to adopt coquetry as the true rule of life for the female sex. In the first air the gaiety, lightly tinged with humour in the short introductory allegretto, is light and easy, and has a forwardness about it not quite maidenly, but so pretty and winning that the whole person is invested with a certain interest and attractiveness. In the second air Despina appears as the temptress; therefore the action is more careful, the expression more delicate; insinuating persuasion takes the place of her former pertness, and the comic element only asserts itself once in the strongly accented:—

    E qual regina
    Dali' alto soglio
    Coll posso e voglio
    Farsi ubbidir.

This air reminds us in many points of Zerlina, but it serves also to prove how many touches of detail and delicate shades of musical expression are wanting when true feeling is not at the root of the conception. Spite of its commonplace tone, its lively gaiety gives it a certain charm, just as in everyday life we often meet with people commonplace in their nature, but attractive from their youthful freshness and cheerfulness. But Despina is in her element when she herself is playing some extravagant prank, and she adopts her various disguises with much boldness and gay humour. The scene where she enters as a doctor in the first finale belongs indisputably to the wittiest performances of comic music. After the long suspense, the animation caused by the entrance of the doctor has an excellent effect, and the DESPINA. [263] boastful loquacity and solemn conceit of the charlatan stand out from the surroundings without the need of any special medium for their expression. Every phrase is pronounced simply but with telling effect; exaggeration, which at this point of the situation would only do harm, is carefully avoided, and the general impression of unclouded gaiety is heightened by the intensity with which the other characters express their feelings. 54 The notary in the second finale is quite as humorously depicted. After an elaborate greeting, the polite elegance of which is mockingly expressed by the figure in the accompaniment, given to the second violins, the notary begins to read the marriage contract in a monotone (pel naso, Mozart directs), which is the most comic imitation of reality in its five times repeated phrase—[See Page Image] twice with additional emphasis:—

The accompaniment of the violins is different for each clause (the basses remaining the same), and increases in speed, thus producing a climax provoked by the impatient exclamations of the bridal party. The whole conception of the part of Despina may be referred to the individuality of its first performer, Signora Bussani, whose reputation was COSÌ FAN TUTTE. [264] rather for spirit and audacity than for delicacy of expression (Vol. III., p. 97). Another example of perfect gaiety is the terzet for the three male voices (16). After the angry exit of the sisters, Guillelmo and Ferrando begin to laugh, 55 thereby increasing the discomfiture of Don Alfonso, who with difficulty persuades them to desist. The merriment of the young men, the annoyance of the old one, the laughter which they vainly endeavour to suppress, are so admirably expressed, and the triplet passage of the accompaniment adds so strikingly to the effect, that we feel the same irresistible inclination to merriment that is inspired by the countenance of an antique laughing satyr.

The counterpart to Despina is Don Alfonso, 56 who displays throughout the plot no single impulse of sympathy or good-nature, and at the same time fails to inspire interest as a purely comic character. Paltry scepticism without humour or good-temper, cold rationalism without any tinge of geniality, are not attractive in themselves, and are essentially unmusical; they can only be effective by virtue of contrast, and Don Alfonso therefore appears principally in ensembles. In the first male terzet his cool demeanour stands in excellent relief against the excitement of the young men, and Mozart has given an irresistibly droll expression to the little ballad which he mockingly sings to them (2). His sympathy in the parting scene has more delicacy of characterisation; here he keeps in the background, but the quiet remarks which he interposes add just the ingredient to the melting sentiment of the ladies which is required for the production of the right effect on the audience. As a rule, however, Don Alfonso does not express his true sentiments, and his dissimulation induces an exaggeration which is not without comic effect, but requires great refinement of delivery. It belongs to the conception of such a character that he should abstain from asserting himself independently, and therefore DON ALFONSO. [265] no grand air is assigned to him; this may be partly owing, however, to the deficiencies of the first performer, for Bus-sani does not appear to have been much of a singer.

His two most important solo pieces are purposely so arranged as to admit of an amount of sentiment which is foreign to his true character. In the first he expresses with evident exaggeration the consternation which fills him at the afflicting intelligence which he is bringing to the sisters; it is as characteristic of the person as of the situation, and expresses at once the state of excitement which prevails throughout the following scene. Of more original design is the short ensemble movement (22) in which Don Alfonso and Despina bring the two couples together. 57 By undertaking to be the mouthpiece of the bashful lovers, Don Alfonso gains an opportunity of expressing himself with more feeling, and yet his position does not admit of any very deep or serious expression on his part. The device of making the two lovers strike in like an echo is a happy one; but Da Ponte has not turned it to the advantage of which it was capable. It is quite right that Fiordiligi and Dorabella should not join in in the same way when Despina answers for them; but to leave them quite out of the question, and to make the interest of the situation centre in the by-play of Don Alfonso and Despina, destroys the significance which this scene might have had. A teasing, jesting tone predominates throughout the movement, and is indeed in keeping with the whole opera; but we long for a little more energy and fulness of expression at the more important points. In order to place Don Alfonso in the right light, he should be shown in real perplexity, and brought thereby into the COSÌ FAN TUTTE. [266] foreground. The laughing terzet passes too quickly to make this motive effective. Besides the terzet, he has only two short movements wherein to express his views on the inconstancy of women, and these in a sort of accompanied recitative suggest very vividly his exalted and pedantic turn of mind. In the latter of the two he proceeds through a very simple but suggestive climax to point his closing moral—[See Page Image] and the converted but appeased lovers join in at his desire:—

As has already been remarked, Mozart took this phrase as the motto for his overture. It is introduced by a short andante, which, after two quick chords, begins with a tender motif for the oboe; this is interrupted by repeated chords, but starts again, whereupon first the bass, and then the full orchestra, give out the "Cosi fan tutte" as above, 58 and immediately lead into the presto which is to demonstrate the significance of the phrase. A short cursory phrase—rises in rapid crescendo for the violins through two octaves; and then all the parts, in syncopated rhythm—[See Page Image] THE OVERTURE—ENSEMBLES. [267] seem to stop the way for some moments, only to give place to a light running passage—[See Page Image]

which the wind instruments take up by turns. These are the elements which in rapid and incessant alternation chase each other through the overture like feather balls tossed from hand to hand, until the merry game is interrupted by the phrase which gave birth to it: "Cosi fan tutte!" Again the crescendo rises to its highest pitch, and closes with a few powerful chords. The gay and wanton tone of the opera could scarcely be better suggested, the overture being in very truth the most perfect expression of careless gaiety. In the clear flow of its lively frolic we see some resemblance to the overture to "Figaro," but the deep, fine feeling which shines through the tumult of the earlier work would be out of place, and may be sought for in vain in the overture before us.

The characters presented to us in this opera lend themselves best to musical treatment when they join in ensemble pieces. 59 The definite situations give strength to the characterisation, which is further aided by the contrast of the persons concerned; and the dramatic motive adds variety and energy of expression. The sestet in the first act (13) is very simple in design, but effective from its well-placed contrasts and judicious climax. The introduction of the friends has a marchlike character. Don Alfonso recommends them to Despina's favour, and they add more lively entreaties, in accordance with their assumed characters; Despina's mirth COSÌ FAN TUTTE. [268] is excited by the extraordinary figures before her, while they are delighted to find that she does not recognise them.

The action begins with the entrance of the two ladies. The urgent suit of the lovers is now opposed to the strong displeasure of the sisters, Despina making common cause with the former. The declaration of love is emphasised in an unusual fashion by the transition of the harmony into a minor key, 60 by the chromatic movement of the parts, and by the clarinet, bassoon, and violoncello accompaniment. The astonishment of the two ladies at first gives a painful tone to the expression, but as soon as they have recovered sufficiently to give vent to their indignation the situation changes. The lovers rejoice in silence over this proof of fidelity, while Despina and Don Alfonso affect to find some grounds for suspicion in the very violence of the resentment displayed by the sisters. The grouping of the characters is also changed. Fiordiligi and Dorabella, divided between anger at the intruders and the remembrance of their absent lovers, stand together; on the other side the lovers join issue, and Despina and Don Alfonso observe the course of affairs together; it is with right judgment that the two latter are put prominently forward, especially at the passage—[See Page Image] for they command the situation, and this passage throws a light upon the tumult and confusion which prevail. Mozart's temperate discrimination in the use of means has here again enabled him to mould all this into a musical whole of perfect unity. The situation of the first finale is nearly allied to this, but more vividly characterised in the details, and more elaborately worked out. It begins with a very amorous THE FIRST FINALE. [269] duet for the forsaken fair ones, introduced by a long ritornello and worked out in independent style; a counterpart to the first duet, only that here the expression is naturally more fond and languishing. The sensual, dreamy mood thus represented is broken in upon by the harsh dissonances and disjointed rhythm of the poisoning scene, and ends with a pathetic ensemble and the swooning of the lovers. During the absence of Don Alfonso and Despina in quest of aid, a calmer tone is adopted, which grows gradually more animated as the sisters express their terror and anxiety, and the lovers their satisfaction at the state of affairs, and enjoyment of the comic scene in which they are playing the chief parts. But when the sympathy displayed by the ladies at the sight of their apparent sufferings gradually becomes so demonstrative that there seems some danger of pity being transformed to love, the tables are turned, the lovers begin to be anxious, and a state of painful suspense overmasters them all. At this point there occurs one of those deeper and more delicate psychological manifestations which Mozart so well knew how to render, and in which, as usual, the orchestra co-operates. At first, two characteristic motifs which go through the whole movement, a triplet figure—[See Page Image] and an interrupted one of quite a different character— combine together, but then there enter two others— to express the painful sensations of the poisoned lovers. The orchestra carries this idea out in manifold combinations, and thus affords a characteristic groundwork for the expressions of gradually augmenting compassion. The lovers, become suspicious, now express their anxiety, and they finally all concur in a distrustful uncertainty, plaintively COSÌ FAN TUTTE. [270] rendered by imitative chromatic passages. The entertaining and truly comic element of the situation consists in the fact that the merry trick which Ferrando and Guillelmo hoped to play takes so doubtful a turn, and that the emotions, on both sides genuine, spring from quite other sources, and take quite different directions from those which are outwardly indicated. Mozart has seized the situation with ready humour, and, as usual, the right apprehension of the dramatic part of the work has improved the conception and treatment of the musical element; this movement is in every respect a masterpiece, and belongs to Mozart's most exquisite compositions. The scene changes completely with the entrance of the disguised physician, and the key of the dominant G major, following the close in C minor, makes the same impression of freshness as the introduction of an entirely new element. 61 All is now animation and life—question and answer are rapidly exchanged, help is asked for and given, and in the midst stands the charlatan playing out the farce with due solemnity, and infusing the whole scene with wit and humour.

After the completion of the pretended cure, the lovers again come to the foreground and express their passion in extravagant ravings; the reluctance of the ladies, in spite of Despina's and Don Alfonso's persuasions, again gives a comic tone to the situation, contributing to the production of an ensemble singularly rich in contrasting sentiments. The orchestra again serves as a groundwork, and an original and persistent violin figure gives the andante a strange, somewhat solemn character, with which the voices frequently contrast in a manner highly suggestive of the situation. The instrumentation also lends its aid. Not only are the stringed instruments here employed so differently to the preceding movement that they scarcely seem the same instruments; but, whereas oboes with flutes and bassoons THE SECOND FINALE. [271] predominated in the former case, here clarinets and bassoons are reinforced by trumpets with highly original effect. The tone-colouring alters completely at the commencement of the allegro. The flutes in unison with the violins, and the tremolo quaver accompaniment, express a decree of sensual excitement which contrasts strikingly with the calm, exalted tone of the andante. The lovers awaking from their trance and demanding a kiss, the sisters are transported with an indignation far more intense than that excited by the first encounter. Don Alfonso and Despina seek to pacify them, and an unwilling suspicion that the very violence of the resentment argues against its absolute sincerity modifies in the minds of the lovers the comic impression of the whole scene. The dramatic characterisation of all these opposing elements, the well-defined grouping of the characters, the force and fire with which the climax is worked up, and the tumult of excited emotions with which the finale ends, give it a place above the corresponding first finale in "Figaro," and on a level with that in "Don Giovanni."

The second finale begins with the wedding ceremony, which is charmingly and graphically depicted. Despina, who is joined by Don Alfonso, gives directions to the servants for the reception of the bridal party, and the whole of the first movement sparkles with life and gaiety, preparing the way for the festive chorus in which the two couples are presently welcomed. Then follows the endearing talk of the lovers, who seat themselves at table, drink to each other, and finally join in an amorous canon. This is a trait taken from the social manners of the time (Vol. II., p. 362), just as the independent treatment of the wind instruments during the whole scene represents the customary table music. 62 A startling enharmonic transition (from A flat major to E major) transports us out of this lovesick mood, and the scene which follows with the notary is as full of humour as that with the physician, although the context COSÎ FAN TUTTE. [272] necessitates greater moderation of tone; it is effectively interrupted by the distant chorus proclaiming the return of the warriors. The consternation and confusion which ensue have no real interest for the audience, who are aware of what the issue must be; the plot is therefore hurried rapidly to an end, and does not admit of any connected musical treatment. The composer has been forced to content himself with bringing out certain points, such as the feigned terror of Don Alfonso, the real alarm of the ladies, and the joyful greetings of the returning lovers. The situation becomes more piquant when Despina unmasks, and when the lovers discover themselves as the pretended Albanians; and Mozart has rendered both these points with true musical humour. But the purely musical interest does not reassert its sway until the reconciliation has taken place, and a feeling of peace and happiness is diffused around. The last movement more especially is full of such calm and melodious beauty that we feel lifted above the vanity and triviality of so much that has gone before, and left with an impression of heartfelt gaiety and satisfaction.

A nearer examination of the opera shows that the libretto, never rising above the ordinary opera buffa, has not seldom dragged the music down to its own level. The caricature and exaggeration indispensable to this species of comic drama have indeed been made by Mozart, as far as possible, the natural outcomes of the situations and characters, and are thus justified as an artistic element of the work, but he has not been able altogether to avoid the substitution of external stage devices for psychological truth. The attempt is more visible in this work than in any other to render the meaning of the words through the senses; the accompaniment is especially rich in detail-painting, instead of being, as in Mozart's other works, called upon to add the more delicate shades of emotional characterisation. In the duet between Guillelmo and Dorabella (23) the orchestra gives the heart-beats which are made the chief point of the words; in the lovely terzet (10) the raging of wind and waves, and in the preceding quintet (9) the sobs, are distinctly expressed. Even subordinate ideas are represented GENERAL CRITIQUE. [273] after the same realistic manner, as, among others, the drawing of the swords in the first terzet, the flourish of trumpets and clinking of glasses in the third, the piping and cannon reports in the war chorus (8), the beating of the heart in Dorabella's air (28) suggested by the quavers on the oboe, and the general clinking of glasses in the last finale by the pizzicato of the violins. 63 These are all pleasing touches, introduced without injury to more important features, but they do not reach to the same height of psychological characterisation which we are wont to admire in Mozart's operas. Other devices of opera buffa are more constantly employed here than elsewhere, especially rapidity of speech; but, on the other hand, there is no trace of any attempt at imitating national peculiarities, even when the disguises assumed might have given rise to it; Mozart could not but feel that a musical disguise of the kind would very soon, fatigue the audience. The effort to cater to the taste of the public goes hand in hand with submission to the dictates of the singers, and we find their influence far more visible in "Cosi fan Tutte" than in "Figaro" or "Don Giovanni." There is an evident effort to please individual taste in the concerted airs, and in the unusually light and pleasing melodies; such concessions cause this opera, more than any other, to resemble the best works of Italian masters.

The peculiar qualities of Mozart's nature, his refinement and nobility of thought, his wealth of productivity, and his marvellous technical knowledge, are as distinctly marked in this opera as elsewhere. The planning, the construction, the grouping of parts, are so firm, so transparently clear, that we follow even the most complicated movements with ease. The freedom and pliancy of the disposition of parts, where there occurs a combination of different characteristic melodies, the easy dexterity displayed in the employment of contrapuntal forms, co-operate to excite and rivet the attention of the hearer, without causing him any sense of effort.

The quality, however, which delights us more than any other in this opera is its delicate sense of beautiful sound, [274] and the ease with which this sense is made evident throughout. It is a quality, no doubt, inseparable from inventive power and a talent for construction, but it is not universally effective in the same degree, and it is rare to find such a union of the forces which regulate the impression made by musical beauty upon the senses. Even the orchestra, although deficient in the delicate detail of "Figaro" and "Don Giovanni," is in other respects fuller, more brilliant, and richer in separate instrumental effects. The wind instruments are brought more forward, in more varied combinations and finer shades of tone-colouring. The clarinets are made effective, and a characteristic distinction made between their employment and that of the oboes. An original use is made of the trumpets: apart from drums they are not trumpet-like in the ordinary sense, but are used in place of the horns (not in combination with them), and mostly in the lower registers, in order to give freshness and force to the tone-colouring. Similar observations might be extended to show in detail with what refined penetration and correct judgment of effect the forces of the orchestra are made to conduce to the euphonious charm of the opera. That "Cosi fan Tutte," considered as a whole, and in respect of importance and detail of characterisation, is inferior to "Figaro" and "Don Giovanni," no competent critic will deny. Nevertheless many separate portions of the work, and the large majority of the characters, display Mozart's genius and mastery of his art in full measure of originality and brilliancy, and in many respects this opera may be held to indicate an important step in advance of all that has gone before it.



THE accession of Leopold II. to the Imperial throne (March 13, 1790) was not an event of good omen for music and the opera. Up to the month of July he had not entered the theatre, nor had any private concerts, nor MOZART'S POSITION AT COURT, 1790. [275] displayed any sort of partiality for music; his consort, the Empress Louise, visited the opera and laid claim to some musical knowledge, although she expressed herself dissatisfied with the state of music in Vienna; the young princes, too, were instructed in music. 1 The difference between Joseph and his successor in point of taste was very soon manifested by the reintroduction of ballets, and by the favour bestowed on opera seria as well as opera buffa. It was rumoured that a new court theatre was to be built, in which the boxes were to be arranged for card-playing, and that Salieri had determined in consequence to resign his post, which was to be filled by Cimarosa. 2 Those individuals who had enjoyed the esteem of Joseph had little favour to hope for from Leopold; a fact which soon became evident in matters theatrical. Count Rosenberg was removed from the management, which was intrusted to Count Ugarte; 3 Da Ponte and Madame Ferraresi fell into disfavour; 4 Salieri thought it advisable to retire from the conductorship of the opera, and his place was filled by Jos. Weigl, "that the master might be reverenced in the pupil." 5 Mozart had stood too high in the favour of Joseph to be able to expect much from Leopold II.; his candidature for the post of second kapellmeister was as little successful as his request to be honoured with the musical instruction of the princes. Proof positive of the low esteem in which he was held by the court was afforded to him on the occasion of the visit of King Ferdinand of Naples, who came to Vienna (September 14) with his Queen, Caroline, to celebrate the marriages of his daughters, Maria Theresa and Louise, with the Archdukes Francis and Ferdinand. Ferdinand's LABOUR AND POVERTY. [276] two passions were music and the chase; 6 and the instrument which he most affected was the lute. In his honour a new opera by Weigl ("La Cafetiera Bizarra") was performed (September 15); 7 the Emperor made his first appearance at the opera with King Ferdinand, when Salieri's "Axur" was played (September 21); in honour of the weddings, open table was held in the great Redoutensaal, and a concert performed in the gallery under Salieri's direction, in which Cavalieri and Calvesi and the brothers Stadler took part, and a symphony by Haydn was performed which the King knew by heart, and sang out loud as it was played; Haydn was introduced to him, invited to Naples, and honoured with commands for compositions; 8 and all this time Mozart remained unnoticed, and was not even summoned to play before the King of Naples, a neglect which wounded him deeply. His condition was painful in the extreme; his wife's delicate health showed no signs of improving; and as his expenses increased his income gradually diminished. In May he had only two pupils, and was obliged to appeal to his friends to assist him in raising the number to eight. His continual and pressing embarrassments exhausted even the resources of his ever-generous friend Puchberg, and he was obliged to apply to money-lenders, and to embark in speculations which did but hasten his financial ruin (Vol. II., p. 301). The weight of these cares crippled his energies for work, as he himself complains, and no period of his life is so poor in artistic production as this year. His own catalogue contains, after the completion of "Cosi fan Tutte" in January, 1790, only:—

May. Quartet for two violins, viola and violoncello in B flat major (589 K.).

June. Quartet in F major (590 K.).

July. Handel's "Cecilia" and "Alexander's Feast," arranged (591, 592 K.).


In the hope of improving his circumstances, Mozart resumed his plan of taking a professional tour; the coronation of Leopold II. in Frankfort, on October 9, attracted a large number of strangers to that city, and seemed to render it a favourable place for the experiment. Salieri, as court kapellmeister, 9 Ign. Umlauf as his deputy, and fifteen chamber musicians, were sent to Frankfort among the retinue of the Emperor. 10 Mozart was not included among the number, and thus was deprived of the advantage of the imperial patronage. On September 23 he set off, after pawning his silver plate to defray the expenses of his journey (Vol. II., p. 301) in company with his brother-in-law, the violinist Hofer, whom he took with him out of compassion, and with the intention of sharing the expected profits together; they travelled in their own carriage, and, arriving in Frankfort on the 23rd, had considerable difficulty in finding a lodging, owing to the overflow of strangers into the town. On October 14, at noon, Mozart gave a concert in the Stadt-theater. 11 The contrabassist Ludwig, long since dead, who took part in the concert, used to tell how the piano stood upon the stage, and how during the rehearsal the restless, agile little man was continually leaping over the prompter's box into the orchestra to chat in a friendly way with the various performers, and then climb back again on to the stage. Mozart's own compositions were exclusively performed at this concert; he played the concertos in F major (459 K.) and D major (537 K.). Margarethe Hamel, afterwards Frau Schick, was the vocalist, and so charmed Mozart by her voice and delivery that he is said to have exclaimed repeatedly: "I never wish to hear any other singing LABOUR AND POVERTY. [278] than this." 12 It is also said that he played a pianoforte concerto as a duet with old "Papa Beecké" (Vol. I., pp. 151,368), whom he met again here. 13 He acquaints his wife with the friendly reception accorded him, and tradition has it that he struck up a friendship with the concertmeister Hoffmann, and generally spent the evening with him at Gran's tavern in the Bleidenstrasse. Hesse became acquainted in Frankfort, as he tells us, 14 with an old superannuated organist of the Katharinenkirche, who in 1790 had been the pupil of his predecessor; the old man said:—

One Sunday, after service, Mozart came into the choir at St Katharine's, and begged the old organist to allow him to play something. He seated himself on the stool and gave the reins to his fancy, when the organist suddenly pushed him off the stool in the rudest manner, and said to the pupil standing by: "Mark that last modulation which Herr Mozart made; how can he profess to be a musician and commit such grave offences against correct composition?"

The pupil had remembered the modulation, and Hesse thought it a fine one, and not even unusual.

From Frankfort Mozart proceeded to Mayence. Here rumour assigned him a touching love intrigue, which was supposed to have suggested the song "Io ti lascio," the said song having been in reality composed by Gottfried von Jacquin in Vienna, and not by Mozart at all (Vol. II., p. 361). On his way back to Frankfort, Mozart stayed at Mannheim, and renewed the memory of former days with as many of the old friends as still survived. He arrived just in time for the first performance of his "Figaro," which took place on October 24. The actor Backhaus notes in his Tagebuch der Mann-heimer Schaubühne: "I got into great disgrace with Mozart. I was standing at the door while our rehearsal was going on. He came and asked me about it, and whether he might hear it. I took him for a little journeyman tailor, and refused to let him in. 'You will surely allow Kapellmeister Mozart to hear the rehearsal?' So I was in a scrape most decidedly." 15


The late organist of the Trinitatiskirche, Schultz, delighted as an octogenarian to recall how Mozart, who visited his father and played the organ with him, censured the slow tempi of the Kapellmeister Fränzel at the rehearsal in the theatre, and gave it himself with more animation. Otherwise, Mozart pronounced himself highly satisfied with the cast and the performance. 16

At Munich, where Mozart arrived on October 29, and took up his quarters with his old friend Albert, 17 he found still more of the old set, and his letters to his wife show the pleasure he took in their society. Here at last he had the gratification of being requested by the Elector to play at the concert which was given at court to the King of Naples, who was staying at Munich for two days 18 on his return journey from Frankfort. "Highly creditable to the Vienna court," he writes, "that the King should hear me in a foreign country." Shortly after Mozart's return to Vienna Salomon arrived from London, and made what might at that time be considered brilliant proposals to Haydn to accompany him to England, and produce that series of compositions for the Philharmonic Society which were destined to lay the foundation of Haydn's fame and prosperity. Salomon made repeated propositions to Mozart also to undertake the journey to London under similar conditions, as soon as Haydn should return. It was with a heavy heart that Mozart bade adieu to his dear "Papa Haydn," the only artist in Vienna who really understood him and wished him well.

It may safely be asserted that Mozart did not return to Vienna with a full purse, nor did his other financial operations secure for him that for which he so touchingly expresses to his wife his ardent longing: a mind free from anxiety, and permission to work—only to work. He did work, though, LABOUR AND POVERTY. [280] after his return, and the last year of his life displays an activity which passes belief. His own list contains:—

1790. December. A quintet for two violins, two violas, and violoncello D major (593 K.).

1791. January 5. A pianoforte concerto, B flat major (595 K.).

January 14. Three German songs (596 K.).

January 23, 29; February 5, 12, 28; March 6. Dances (599-607, 609-611 K.).

March 3. A piece for clockwork, in F minor (608 K.).

March 8. A bass air with obbligato double-bass, for Hrn. Görl and Pischlberger, "Per questa bella mano" (612 K.). Variations for the piano on the song "Ein Weib ist das herrlichste Ding" (613 K.).

April 12. A quintet for two violins, two violas, and violoncello, in E flat major (614 K.).

April 20. Final chorus in the opera "Le Gelosie Villane," by Sarti, for amateurs, "Viviamo felici in dolce contento" (615 K., unknown).

May 4. Andante for a waltz on a small barrel-organ, in F major (616 K.).

May 23. Adagio and Rondo for harmonica, flute, oboe, viola and violoncello in C minor (617 K.).

June 18. In Baden "Aveverum corpus" (618 K.).

July. A short German cantata for solo voice and pianoforte, "Die ihr des unermesslichen Weltalls Schopfer" (619 K.).

A glance at this catalogue is sufficient to prove that he wrote whatever he was requested, either by commission or to please his friends.

For his own playing, no doubt at a concert, he wrote the pianoforte concerto in B flat major, which like most of the compositions of this period, is distinguished by its mild and earnest tone and charming euphony. The two fine quintets for stringed instruments were written "at the earnest solicitation of a musical friend" (Vol. III., p. 18) who was no doubt acquainted with Mozart's poor circumstances, and wished to afford him a worthy opportunity of turning his art to account. The spirit in which Mozart undertook commissions which were often of a very subordinate nature may be best seen in his composition for a mechanical timepiece which was ordered by Count Deym for Müller's art-collection, then attracting great attention. The serious temper which it displays, and BADEN, 1791—STOLL. [281] the thoroughly technical treatment of the composition, betray no evidence of a work merely done to order. Another occasional composition is the beautiful chorus with stringed quartet accompaniment, "Ave verum corpus." Mozart's wife was staying at Baden for the waters in the summer of 1790, and again in 1791, in company with her sister Sophie. There Mozart became acquainted with the schoolmaster and choirmaster Stoll, an ardent admirer, who took pleasure in making himself useful to Mozart and his wife. That Stoll could appreciate the fun of Mozart, in his unrestrained moods, is shown by the superscription of a note (July 12, 1791)—

     Liebster Stoll!
     Bester Knoll!
     Grösster Schroll!
     Bist Stemvoll!
     Gelt das Moll!
     Thut dir wohl!

or by his assurance in another letter: "This is the stupidest letter which I ever wrote in my life; but it is just fitted for you." On the other hand, Mozart was of use to him with his compositions, and lent him, among others, his Masses in B flat major (275 K.) and C major (317 K.) for performance. On one of these occasions the soprano singer turned obstinate, and would not obey Mozart's directions. He sent her away, and gave the part to his little favourite, Antonia Huber, a child of ten or eleven years old, who was often with her brother-in-law Stoll and met Mozart at his house. He practised with the child for a week, and her industry and attention were so great that she performed her part to admiration, and was rewarded by Mozart with "Brav, Tonerl, recht brav!" together with a kiss and a ducat. He used to say to her, "Tonerl, make haste and grow big, and I will take you with me to Vienna." 19 The "Ave verum corpus" was no doubt composed at Stoll's suggestion during one of these visits to Baden. It bears tokens of haste, but is so full of childlike piety, winning simplicity, and entrancing harmony, LABOUR AND POVERTY. [282] that one seems for the moment transported from all earthly doubts and cares into a region of heavenly calm and peace.

A very different impression is made by the bass air with obbligato double-bass, composed by Mozart for two professional friends. The celebrated double-bass player, Pischlberger, was in Schikaneder's orchestra, and Gerl and his wife (formerly Mdlle. Reisinger) sang at the same theatre. Contemporaries affirmed that the very pretty and attractive woman had completely entangled Mozart in her coils. Be that as it may, this composition was the cause of a connection between Mozart and Schikaneder which was fertile in results to the former.

Emanuel Schikaneder was born in poor circumstances at Regensburg in 1751. He was obliged as a boy to earn his living as a wandering musician, and in 1773 was so inspired by the performances of a wandering troupe of actors at Augsburg that he joined them. He afterwards married Eleonore Artim, the adopted daughter of his manager, and undertook the management. He had considerable skill and audacity, not only as an actor and singer, but also as a dramatic poet. His company visited by turns Inspruck, Laibach, Gratz, 20 Pressburg, Pesth, and Salzburg, where he had become acquainted with the Mozarts in 1780, and had suggested some compositions to Wolfgang (Vol. II., p. 102). His want of refinement in the choice of means of attraction is sufficiently proved by his having on one occasion at Salzburg, when "Agnes Bernauer" was performed, made the public announcement: "The Vidame will this day be thrown over the bridge "—which concession to the moral feelings of his audience was duly made the same evening. 21 He acquired a considerable competence, but an unlucky speculation in Pressburg ruined him. He had written a piece in which a goose played the principal part, and all the others were cocks and hens. The expenses for scenery and costumes were very great, and, as it was a complete failure, his finances were SCHIKANEDER. [283] irretrievably injured. In November, 1784, he gained access for his company to the stage of the Karnthnerthortheater in Vienna, where he gave German operas and plays, at which the Emperor was occasionally present. 22 He appeared on April 1, 1785, in the part of Schwindel in Gluck's "Pil-grimmen von Mecca"; but attempting greater parts in serious drama, he was hissed off the stage, and in February, 1786, was forced to leave Vienna. 23 He then took the town theatre in Regensburg, and endeavoured to satisfy the taste of the populace for low comedy; but this did not last long, and in the summer of 1787 he threw up the undertaking 24 and returned to Vienna. His wife had in the meantime remained at the theatre in the "Freihause auf der Wieden," 25 and had taken the management of it from Friedel. This now passed into Schikaneder's hands, and in these confined premises—little better than a barn—he succeeded in delighting the Viennese public with performances expressly designed to attract them, especially comic operas, of which many were highly successful. 26 What he wanted in cultivation (he could barely write or reckon) he made up for in sound mother-wit, practical experience, and knowledge of stage routine. His audacity was equal to his frivolity, and he found a way out of every dilemma. He was addicted to sensual gratification, a parasite and a spendthrift; and in spite of his large income was often hard pressed by his creditors. 27

During one of these periods of embarrassment, in the spring of 1791 28 (May 7 is given as the date), he had recourse LABOUR AND POVERTY. [284] to Mozart, with whom he had renewed the old acquaintance, and representing to him that he was lost unless he could produce an opera of great attractive power, he assured him that he had discovered an excellent magic subject for an opera, which Mozart was just the man to compose. Mozart's irresistible inclination for operatic composition, his natural good-nature and regard for a brother Freemason, and, as it was said, the influence of Madame Gerl, all combined to induce him to make the attempt: "If we make a fiasco, I cannot help it, for I never wrote a magic opera in my life." Schikaneder gave him the first sketch of the "Zauberflöte," and, knowing how difficult it was to bring Mozart to the point of writing, he arranged a little garden-house in the courtyard of the Freihaus for his use, so as to keep him under his own eye. Here, and in Josephsdorf, on the Kahlenberg (where his room in the casino is still shown), 29 Mozart wrote the greater part of the "Zauberflöte"; Schikaneder was at hand to discuss points of detail, to make necessary alterations, and above all to have his own part written to his mind. He had a poor bass voice, was uncultivated, but not unmusical, and could execute his songs in a dashing and effective manner. He knew perfectly in what consisted his best effects, and insisted on having simple, popular melodies, which Mozart was compliant enough to go on altering until Schikaneder was satisfied. The song "Ein Mädchen oder Weibchen," after many attempts, was, it is said, suggested by a melody hummed by Schikaneder himself. It has been remarked that the beginning is identical with the seventh and eighth lines of Scandelli's (d. 1580) chorale, "Nun lob mein Seel den Herren"—[See Page Image] is sung to the same melody 30 —a sure proof of its popularity. The duets "Bei Männern welche Liebe fühlen," and COMPOSITION OF THE "ZAUBERFLOTE." [285] "Papageno" were repeatedly rearranged in deference to Schika-neder's wish. His want of any hesitation in the matter is proved by the following note from him, preserved by Al. Fuchs in his collection:—

Dear Wolfgang,—Herewith I return your "Pa-Pa-Pa-," which I like fairly well. It will do, at any rate. We shall meet this evening at the usual place.—Yours, E. Schikaneder.

But Schikaneder took care to keep his composer in good humour by frequent invitations to his table; where both eating and drinking were of the best, and by introductions to the jovial and free-living society in which he himself moved, and which also included A. Stadler, the man who so shamefully abused Mozart's good nature (Vol. II., p. 309). The pressure of external circumstances, of growing domestic troubles, and the bitter feeling of failure and disappointed hope, combined with his own excitable nature to cause Mozart to seek for distraction and forgetfulness in the whirl of a pleasure-loving life. His wife was at Baden, where his youngest son Wolfgang was born on July 26; her absence deprived his home life of any comfort, and drove him to take refuge among his theatrical friends. Folly and dissipation were the inevitable accompaniments of such an existence, and these soon reached the public ear, combining with the exaggerated accounts current of the loose life led by Schikaneder and his associates to cover Mozart's name for several months with an amount of obloquy beyond what he deserved (Vol. II., p. 270). While the "Zauberflöte" was in course of composition, Da Ponte, who was obliged to leave Vienna, tried to persuade Mozart to accompany him to London, and there take an active part in the production of Italian opera. Mozart turned a favourable ear to the project, but demanded a delay of six months for the completion and performance of his opera, to which Da Ponte could not agree. 31 In July, 1791, the work was so far advanced that he was able to insert the opera in his catalogue as virtually complete; the rehearsals had begun as LABOUR AND POVERTY. [286] soon as the voices and bass parts were ready, the working-out of the instrumentation being left, as usual, to the last.

It was at this juncture that Mozart received an unexpected commission in a very singular manner. 32 A stranger, a tall, thin grave-looking man, dressed from head to foot in grey, and calculated from his very appearance to make a striking and weird impression, presented him one day with an anonymous letter begging him with many flattering allusions to his accomplishments as an artist to name his price for composing a Requiem, and the shortest time in which he could undertake to complete it. Mozart acquainted his wife with the circumstance, and assured her that it gave him great satisfaction, since he had long wished to try his powers once more on this species of composition, and to produce a work that both friends and foes might admire and study after his death. The innovations in church music introduced by the Emperor Joseph had been swept away by his successor, and the services of the Church were once more performed after the old fashion. Mozart was anxious therefore to impress upon the Emperor Leopold II., as the supreme arbiter, his familiarity with the orthodox church style, and the present seemed a favourable opportunity for the purpose. After consultation with his wife he announced his readiness to undertake the commission, but without fixing a term for its completion, and naming as his price 50 (some say 100) ducats; whereupon the messenger again appeared, paid the stipulated sum, and promised an addition on the delivery of the finished work. Mozart was enjoined to compose the Requiem according to his own will and pleasure, and to make COMMISSION FOR THE REQUIEM. [287] no endeavour to discover his mysterious patron, an endeavour which would certainly prove in vain.

It is now proved beyond doubt that Count Franz von Wal-segg of Stuppach was the patron in question, and that he ordered the Requiem in memory of his late wife, Anna Edlen von Flammberg; the mysterious messenger was his steward Leutgeb, whose personal appearance has been described to me by Grillparzer. Count Walsegg was a zealous lover of music, a good flautist, and a moderately good violoncello-player; he had quartet parties every Tuesday and Thursday, and theatrical performances every Sunday, in which his family and retainers took active part. But he was also ambitious to figure as a composer. He used to order quartets from different composers, always anonymously and with the offer of handsome payment; 33 these he would then copy with his own hand, and have the parts written out from this score. After performance he would set the players to guess the composer; they, fully aware of the mystification, invariably flattered his weakness by guessing himself, and he with a deprecating smile would tacitly admit the imputation. This explains the mysterious origin of the Requiem. He rewrote Mozart's score, gave the parts to be copied from his duplicate (with the title of "Requiem composto del Conte Walsegg"), and himself directed the performance of it on December 14, 1793.

Before Mozart had set himself in earnest to this task, he received in the middle of August a fresh commission which brooked of no delay. A festival opera was to be performed at the approaching coronation of Leopold II. as King of Bohemia in Prague. The subject chosen was Metastasio's "Clemenza di Tito," and again it was the people of Prague who made good the deficiencies of the Viennese: the States called upon Mozart to compose the opera. For reasons which do not appear their decision was so long delayed that there remained only a few weeks for the composition and rehearsal LABOUR AND POVERTY. [288] of the opera. After making all preliminary arrangements, Mozart set out for Prague. As he was in the act of stepping into the travelling-carriage with his wife, the mysterious messenger appeared, and touching his wife on the arm, asked how it would fare with the Requiem now. Mozart excused himself by alleging the necessity of his present journey, and the impossibility of acquainting his unknown patron with it, and promised that it should be his first work on his return if the delay were granted him; with this the messenger declared himself satisfied.

Mozart worked at his opera during the journey, making sketches in the carriage, and working them out at the inn where they stopped for the night. He must have intended the part of Sextus to be taken by a tenor, for in two sketches of the duets with Vitellia (i) and Annius (3) Sextus is a tenor, which of course necessitated a plan and treatment altogether different. He cannot have received definite instructions as to the cast of the opera until he was in Prague; but then he set to work with so much ardour that in the course of eighteen days the opera was finished and in rehearsal. 34 He called in the assistance of a young composer named Franz Süssmayr, one of his pupils, who is said to have written the secco recitatives; what makes this the more probable is the fact that in the original score there is no secco recitative at all. But the further assertion that Süssmayr composed the airs for Servilia, Annius, and Publius, and arranged the instrumentation of some other pieces, 35 is disproved by the existence of almost all the numbers in Mozart's handwriting. 36


The opera was performed with great magnificence 37 on September 6, the coronation day, after the banquet, before the royal family and an invited audience, in the National Theatre. 38 The cast was as follows:—[See Page Image]

The Empress is said to have expressed herself very disdainfully concerning the "porcheria" of German music; and it is certain that the first performance of "Titus" was far from being a success. 39 Niemetschek is of opinion (p. 112) that the public were too excited by the gorgeous coronation festivities to be disposed to listen to the calmer beauties of Mozart's music. Mozart, accustomed to find consolation for so much slighting indifference in the enthusiastic applause of the Prague audiences, was thoroughly cast down by his failure; the more so as he was unwell when he arrived, and his indisposition had been increased by his extraordinary exertions. He was continually taking medicine and looked pale and depressed, although, as Niemetschek says, his gaiety shone forth bright as ever in the congenial society of his Prague friends; at his parting from the familiar circle he was so overcome as to shed tears. 40


If it be true that "Cosi fan Tutte" is in all essential points an opera buffa, it is no less certain that "Titus" may take its stand as a veritable opera seria. Metastasio wrote "La Clemenza di Tito" in 1734, and it was performed with Caldara's music on the name-day of Charles VI.; it was subsequently set to music by several distinguished composers. 41 It is true that the public taste had so far altered that it was scarcely feasible to present it in its original form; but the improvements in the libretto, made by Caterino Mazzola, the Saxon court poet, 42 did not affect the character of the opera in any important degree. The principal change was the compression of the original three acts into two, and the omission of a not very happy episode, in which Annius, by a change of mantle, is taken for the guilty person. The course of the plot is thereby simplified; but it would be impossible by means of alterations to endow it with any lively dramatic interest. Nor is it rich in good musical situations; of all the characters Vitellia is the only one who displays the least passion; and the excessive amount of virtue and generosity depicted affords no field either for musical or dramatic interest. Further condensations were made of the numerous and, for the most part, rhetorically sententious solo airs, and ensemble movements were introduced at suitable points. This was accomplished with all possible deference to the original design and to Metastasio's verses, so that the character and colouring proper to a court festival piece was well preserved. 43 The following is a brief abstract of the plot:—(23); the duets (1, 3, 7), terzets (10, 14,18), the quintet (12), sestet (26), and the chorus (15); they retain for the most part Metastasio's ideas, and often his verses and turns of expression.

PLOT OF "TITUS." [291]

Vitellia, daughter of Vitellius, who has been deposed by Vespasian, has nourished the hope of a union with Titus, but finding herself disappointed, she wishes young Sextus, who is passionately in love with her, to form a conspiracy against his friend Titus, and by his overthrow to gain her hand. At the beginning of the opera she is urging her wavering lover to action, when Annius brings the unexpected tidings that Titus has banished his mistress Berenice from Rome. He entreats Sextus to obtain the consent of Titus to his union with Servilia, the sister of Sextus, who willingly promises his aid. After a magnificent assembly of the people, in which the generosity of Titus is publicly displayed, the Emperor himself demands from Sextus the hand of his sister Servilia; Sextus is confused and silent, but Annius, by his generous praise of the virtues and beauty of Servilia, strengthens the Emperor in his decision. Servilia, however, informed by Annius of the honour in store for her, assures him of her unalterable love, and, hastening to Titus, confesses to him the whole truth, whereupon he generously resigns her, and unites her to Annius. Vitellia, incensed to the highest degree by the proposed elevation of Servilia, directs Sextus and his coconspirators to proceed at once to action. He obeys, but has scarcely left her presence, when Publius, leader of her body-guard, enters, and summons her to the palace to bestow her hand upon Titus; she hastens to the palace in the utmost dismay and consternation. There is a general encounter in front of the capitol, which has been set on fire by the conspirators; great excitement prevails, and turns to grief and horror at the tidings brought by Sextus of the death of the Emperor, whom he believes himself to have slain.

In the second act, Sextus, a prey to remorse, confesses his guilt to Annius, who counsels flight, and is supported by Vitellia with an eye to her own safety; Publius enters and arrests Sextus on the testimony of some imprisoned conspirators. At a meeting of the senators, who bewail the death of Titus, the latter steps forth from among the people, throws off the disguise in which he had saved himself, and is recognised amid general rejoicings. 44 He knows that Sextus intended to assassinate him, and has been condemned to death by the senate, but summoning him to his presence, he offers him a free pardon in return for a full confession. Sextus, unwilling to inculpate Vitellia, maintains an obstinate silence, and Titus finally ratifies the sentence of death. Vitellia yields to the entreaties of Servilia to intercede with the Emperor for Sextus, renounces her hopes, and resolves to save him by confessing her own guilt. All being prepared in the amphitheatre for the execution of Sextus, it is about to take place, when Vitellia rushes in, and denounces herself as the originator of the revolt; Titus pardons her a well as Sextus and the conspirators; all present extol his clemency.


Both the plot and the characters are absolutely devoid of dramatic interest. The abstract goodness of Titus, who is ready on every occasion to pardon and to yield, rouses no sympathy, 45 and is dramatically mischievous in its effects, since it destroys any sort of suspense. Publius, Annius and Servilia are mere props in the plot, characters without any individuality. Sextus is a purely passive instrument, wavering between love and remorse, without force or decision. We should sympathise with him if his love for Vitellia were returned, and if a healthy passion gave an impulse to his crime; but his weakness, which prevents his being aware that he is only the instrument of her selfish passion, deprives him of all sympathy, while Vitellia repels us by her barefaced ambition, to which she is ready to sacrifice every sentiment and every duty; her remorse comes too late to appear anything but a dissonance leading to the inevitable conclusion of the plot. This internal weakness in the characters is emphasised by Metastasio's poetical treatment of the plot. His dainty style was specially suited for court poetry and its corresponding musical expression, and his dexterity in the handling of the accepted forms of composition made his task a comparatively easy one. But even without taking into account the revolution which had taken place in the drama, we may judge from "Figaro" and "Don Giovanni" that what in Metastasio's time was of advantage to the composer had now become fetters binding him to forms and dogmas which were virtually obsolete. We find traces throughout of the opera seria, which Mozart had abandoned long ago, but which he was constrained here to resume. Metastasio's graceful daintiness of style, too, was even more injurious in the taste it encouraged for mere amusement of the trifling kind that was looked for at the opera at that time, giving an unseemly effeminacy of tone to the opera seria, and running an equal risk of degenerating into mere trifling or empty pomp and show. If, in addition to this, it be remembered that Mozart's express directions were to compose an occasional, a festival opera, for which two singers had TITUS OVERTURE—ENSEMBLES. [293] been summoned from Italy, and would demand to be shown at their best, and that he composed the opera against time, and struggling with illness, it will scarcely be expected that an unqualified success should follow such a combination of untoward circumstances. The character of a brilliant festal piece is at once suggested by the overture, which begins appropriately by a solemn intrada, with a long-drawn climax. The first bars recall the overture to "Idomeneo," which, however, in earnestness and dignity of tone, and originality of invention, far surpasses that to "Titus." The second theme so announced falls short of expectation, being weak and trifling, 46 and even the subject selected for harmonic contrapuntal treatment—[See Page Image] skilful and brilliant as the treatment is, has in itself no special interest, so that when the prelude recurs to form an effective conclusion, the principal impression remaining is one of brilliant display.

The march (4) and the choruses (5, 24) as well as the finale (26) Sestetto con coro, in which short solo passages alternate with the chorus, maintain this festive character. They are brilliant and flowing, pleasing and melodious, and answer for their purpose and the situation without laying claim to original invention or characterisation. Only the chorus with which Titus is received before he pronounces judgment upon Sextus (24) has a fine expression of solemn dignity, suggested not so much by the words, which are trivial enough, as by the character of the situation. It was a happy touch to make the chorus, after the unexpected deliverance of Titus (15), express delight, not with jubilant outcries, but with the suppressed joy of bewildered amazement. Nevertheless this chorus is too light and fugitive for the situation.


The tenor part of Titus displays most clearly the influence of the old opera seria, Metastasio's words, consisting of general axioms, being retained for all his three airs (6, 8, 20). The two first are short and melodious, but not deeply suggestive; 47 the last retains the old aria form with a long middle movement and return to the first allegro, together with bravura passages quite in the old style. The report that the tenor Baglione found that Mozart and not an Italian composer had been engaged to write the opera, and that they quarrelled in consequence, 48 is the more improbable since Baglione was the same singer for whom Mozart had written Don Ottavio.

Servilia's air (2) indicated, after the old style, with tempo di menuetto, the two airs for Annius (13, 17) 49 and that for Publius (16), are all both in design and treatment proper to secondary parts, without musical significance or individual characterisation. The main weight, therefore, fell according to custom upon the two prime donne, who played Sextus and Vitellia. The fact that the parts of the lovers, Sextus and Annius, were soprano, was an objectionable relic of the old opera seria, and that Sextus should have been played by a female and not a male soprano was a progress indeed for humanity, but not for the drama. True characterisation is impossible when a woman in man's clothes plays the lover, and the case is not improved by the weak, womanish character of Sextus. His passion for Vitellia becomes a thing contrary to nature, and the deeper the dramatic conception of the part the more repulsively does this appear. Of necessity, therefore, vocal execution comes to the foreground. The first air of Sextus, "Parto I" (9), fails at once in dramatic interest from his having already repeatedly assured Vitellia of his blind obedience, if she will only bestow upon TITUS—SEXTUS. [295] him one glance of love. The musical design and working-out are those of a grand bravura air. Tenderness, tinged with only an occasional dash of heroism, prevails throughout the two movements (adagio 3-4 and allegro 4-4). An obbligato clarinet goes with the voice, and the strictly concertante treatment of this instrument gives its chief interest to the musical working-out of the song. Considered as a concert air which treats the given situation only as a general foundation for the development of musical forces, it is of extraordinary beauty, the melodies being noble and expressive, the sound-effects of the voice and clarinet admirable, and the only concessions to brilliancy of effect the triplet passages and the long-drawn-out conclusion.

The second air (19) is more definitely characterised by the situation. Sextus, having with difficulty withstood Titus's friendly entreaties, is overpowered by his feelings when the Emperor turns coldly away, and leaves him to be led to death. This air is also in two movements; Sextus expresses his grief for the loss of Titus's confidence in an adagio, and his despair at the death awaiting him in an allegro. Metastasio's text expressed only the latter feeling, and Mazzola formed the first part of the air out of the words of the dialogue. 50 The expression of the first movement is fervent and true, and the softness characterising it belongs to the character and the situation; the second movement expresses a certain amount of passion in some parts, but is as a whole wanting in energy, and its chief motif, even for a female Sextus, is too soft and tender. Schaul adduces as a proof of Mozart's frequent sins against good sense that Sextus, tortured by remorse, should express his agony to Titus in a rondo. 51 "If it were a rondo by Pleyel or Clementi," remarks C. M. von Weber in answer, 52 "it might indeed produce a ludicrous effect; but let the critic only note the heartfelt fervour of the song, the depth and beauty of expression in such places as 'pur saresti men LABOUR AND POVERTY. [296] severo, se vedesti questo cor, and all such petty fault-finding will cease to be heard." Mozart had originally sketched another allegro, the first bars of which, still existing in autograph, are rather more decided in character:—[See Page Image]

The page ends here, and the present allegro is begun on a fresh one; it cannot be determined whether the first allegro was finished or only commenced, but in any case the instrumentation was not worked out.

Vitellia is the only character in the opera displaying anything like passion or strength of feeling. The singer Maria Marchetti (b. 1767), married to the tenor Fantozzi in 1788, had acquired great renown in Italy and Milan, whence she was summoned to Prague; she possessed a fine, full voice, and excellent execution and action, enhanced by a pleasing exterior and dignified bearing. 53 In her first air (2) there is indeed no passion, Metastasio's words, consisting of frigid moral observations, scarcely allowing of any characteristic musical expression. The air is divided into the traditional two movements, neither of them distinguished by originality, TITUS—VITELLIA. [297] and even the bravura part is insignificant; the whole effect is so dry and commonplace as involuntarily to suggest Süssmayr. Vitellia's second air, on the contrary (22, 23), is the gem of the opera, and incontestably one of the most beautiful songs ever written. At the decisive moment Vitellia rises to the resolution of renouncing her dearest hopes, of sacrificing her very life to the nobler instincts of her soul, which have too long been made to yield to her ambitious striving after false greatness.

The musical characterisation grasps this situation, and develops from it a psychological picture complete in itself, and only loosely connected with the earlier conception of Vitellia's character in the opera. The song seems thus to be detached from the framework of the opera, and to belong rather to the province of concert music. This idea is strengthened by the design, treatment, and compass of the two movements, as well as by the introduction of the obbligato basset-horn, which is treated so as to accord with the voice part, without any brilliant bravura. 54 Every element of the song is blended into such perfect unity, such charm of melody, such beauty of musical form; the sharp contrasts of the different motifs are so admirably expressive of the general character of which they form the details, and the whole work is so permeated by the breath of poetic genius, that our satisfaction in contemplating a perfect work of art leads us to forget how it stands forth as something foreign to the context.

Even the introductory recitative is a masterpiece of telling expression, and in the air itself the noble beauty of the different motifs is tinged with a sadness amounting to gloom, but so sublime as to inspire the same emotions with which we gaze at the Niobe. The ensembles with which the opera is provided are only in part of any dramatic significance, and where this is wanting the musical interest also suffers; the duets especially are not important either in length or LABOUR AND POVERTY. [298] substance. Passing over the duettino (3) between Sextus and Annius, which became popular owing to its easy and pleasing tone, but which in no way corresponds to the character of an heroic opera, we may notice the first duet between Sextus and Vitellia as better defined, especially in the first movement; although even here the wish to attract is very apparent, and gains quite the upper hand in the triplet passages and easy imitations of the allegro. An expression of tender feeling is more appropriate to the short duet between Annius and Servilia, and the loveliness of the music makes up for the absence of tragic seriousness.

The three terzets are better placed, and more suitable to their dramatic situations, but even they fail to elicit dramatic contrasts by giving to each character an equal and characteristic share in the piece. Thus, in the first terzet, Vitellia alone is inspired with lively emotion, Annius and Publius being mere passive spectators. It is at the moment When she has dispatched Sextus to the murder of Titus that she is informed of the Emperor's choice of her as his consort; in vain she strives to recall Sextus, she feels that she herself is the destroyer of her happiness. An agitated violin passage, with rapid changes of harmony intensified by suspensions, expresses the excitement and consternation to which she gives vent in detached and broken exclamations; but the calm observation of the two others—

     Ah, come un gran contento,
     Come confonde un cor!—

chills the expression of Vitellia's emotion, so that the combination of the voices, instead of producing a climax as it ought, weakens the passion of the movement and prevents its rising to more than a momentary prominence. The second terzet (14) was suggested by an air of Metastasio, "Se mai senti spirarti sul volto," which was a favourite subject with the old composers. 55 It begins with the tender TITUS—ENSEMBLES. [299] farewell of Sextus to Vitellia, stricken with shame and dismay. This contrast would have made an excellent opportunity for musical effect if Publius had supplied the connecting link by the addition of a new and important element in the situation; instead of this, he remains a mere passive spectator, and does not increase the pathos of the situation at all. Sextus gives the tone here, as Vitellia in the previous terzet, and the tender softness of his farewell scarcely allows expression to the true significance of the situation; otherwise, however, this terzet is superior to the first in the freer development of the voice parts.'" The third terzet (18) has a beautiful and expressive first movement, but its second movement is too slight in design and too little worked out for its situation.

The opera contains one movement, however, altogether worthy of Mozart, and this is the first finale. It is true that even this is far from possessing the greatness of design or the wealth of elaboration of the finales of the earlier operas; it does not pretend to be more than a representation of the situation; but it is earnest and weighty in tone, and possesses features of unsurpassed loveliness. The finale is introduced by a soliloquy for Sextus, in which he pours out the doubt and self-reproach which torture his mind; an unaccompanied recitative expresses this condition with an amount of truth and energy elsewhere entirely wanting to the part of Sextus. When he sees the capitol in flames, and is convinced that his repentance comes too late, he becomes more collected, and the quintet begins with his finely expressed wish to save Titus or to die with him; then he has to evade the questions of Annius, who hurries in full of sympathy—Servilia, Publius, and Vitellia enter in quick succession, full of anxiety and horror; a characteristic orchestral motif gives the clue to the development of the movement, and the separate exclamations of the invisible chorus interposed in rising, dissonant chords, form the pivots on which the progressive harmonies turn; the re-entry of Sextus brings the symmetrically constructed movement to a close. A short recitative, in which Sextus announces the assassination of Titus, leads into the andante, which ends LABOUR AND POVERTY. [300] the finale. All present are united in one feeling of sorrow and horror at the crime which has been committed, and the chorus has approached near enough to join in lamentation with the solo voices; the impression thus produced is dignified and beautiful in the extreme. Here we may perceive to what a height opera seria was capable of rising by a liberal development of its original elements; but unfortunately this movement is the only one of the kind in "Titus." A backward glance of comparison upon "Idomeneo" 56 results to the advantage of the earlier opera in many and important points. It is true that the conventional forms of the opera seria are there more strictly preserved, but a fresh vigorous effort is at the same time made to give them meaning and substance, and pass their narrow bounds wherever possible,. while in "Titus" the composer has been content to compromise the matter by preserving the semblance of form, but no more. Thus forms intended to be largely treated, such as the division into two movements, are often so lightly and vaguely treated as to lose all dramatic interest, and still more marked is the tendency of the tragic and serious conception of the opera to degenerate into mere pleasing gracefulness. The advantages of the later work in a freer and easier flow of melody, in a more mature and cultivated taste, were more than counterbalanced by the loss of depth and force of musical construction, a loss which is all the more perceptible from the grandeur of the background afforded by a subject taken from the Roman imperial age, which even in Metas-tasio's adaptation was not wholly obscured, and under happier circumstances would have sufficed to inspire Mozart to a nobler creation. The treatment of the orchestra is indicative of the whole tone of the opera, displaying occasionally the full splendour with which Mozart has endowed it, and raising and supporting the musical representation wherever it attains to dramatic significance, but for the most part not going beyond an easy accompaniment of the voices.


In brilliancy and delicacy of orchestral treatment "Titus" can sustain no comparison with "Idomeneo," or even with "Cosi fan Tutte."

Opinions on this opera were widely diverse. According to Niemetschek (p. 111) "Titus" ranks from an aesthetic and artistic point of view as Mozart's most perfect work:—

Mozart mentally grasped the simplicity, the quiet dignity of the character of Titus and of the whole plot, and embodied them in his composition. Every part, even the very moderate instrumental parts, bear this stamp, and combine into perfect unity.

He is of opinion that full maturity of taste is nowhere more finely displayed than in this opera (p. 105), which is also the best example of Mozart's admirable dramatic characterisation (p. 72). An article showing the shortcomings of Metastasio's libretto praises the excellence of the musical characterisation which endows Titus with the character of gentle amiability, Vitellia with force and dignified purity, and the friendship between Sextus and Annius with quite an ideal tenderness. 57 Schaul, on the contrary (Brief üb. d. Gesch-mack, p. 59), maintains that with the exception of a few pieces the opera is so dry and tiresome that it might rather be taken for the first attempt of budding talent than for the product of a mature mind. He quotes the criticism of an Italian, considered one of the best judges in Naples, that flashes of genius shone out here and there in the more serious airs, which showed what Mozart would have been capable of under happier guidance. "Titus" was criticised in Berlin, in 1796, with the greatest harshness and severity in two articles which excited indignation on account of their disrespectful tone, although the blame bestowed was not without foundation. 58 With a juster regard to circumstances Rochlitz says: 59


Being only human, he was constrained either to produce an altogether mediocre work, or one of which the principal movements were very good, and the minor ones light and easy, and suited to the taste of the multitude; with right judgment he chose the latter.

It was perhaps this accommodation of the music to the taste of the public, and the concessions made to the popular love of gorgeous scenery and spectacular effects, which gained for "Titus" an enduring place on the German stage, although it was never received with the same favour as "Don Giovanni," "Figaro," and the "Zauberflöte." The opera was produced for the first time in London in 1806 for the benefit of Madame Billington, being the first of Mozart's operas performed in England; 60 it was given successfully in Paris in 1816, 61 and in Milan at the Teatro Rè in the following year. 62



DISAPPOINTED and suffering, Mozart returned to Vienna in the middle of September. While his wife again repaired to Baden, he divided his time between the labours involved in the completion and scenic arrangements of the "Zauberflöte" (620 K.) and the Requiem. The chorus "O Isis und Osiris," Papageno's song, which Schikaneder had stipulated for, and the second finale, must have been written after September 12; 1 on September 28 he completed the overture and the march which formed the introduction to the second act. After many rehearsals under the conductorship of the Kapellmeister Henneberg, then still a very DRAMATIS PERSONÆ. [303] young man, the first performance took place on September 30. Mozart conducted at the piano, and Süssmayr turned over for him. The playbill ran as follows: 2 —[See Page Image]

This day, Friday, September 30, 1791, the Company of the Imperial Theatre auf der Wieden have the honour of performing for the first time Die Zauberflöte.

Grand Opera in Two Acts, by Emanuel Schikaneder.

The music is by Herr Wolfgang Amade Mozart, Capellmeister and Imperial Chamber Composer. Esteem for an appreciative public and friendship for the author of the work have induced Herr Mozart to consent on this occasion to conduct the orchestra in person. 3

Books of the opera, with two copper-plate engravings, representing Herr Schikaneder in his actual costume as Papageno, may be had at the box-office, price thirty kreutzers.

The scenery and stage accessories have been intrusted to Herr Gayl and Herr Nessthaler, who flatter themselves that they have performed their task with all due regard to the artistic requirements of the piece. DIE ZAUBERFLÖTE. [304] The success was not at first so great as had been expected, and after the first act Mozart rushed, pale and excited, behind the scenes to Schikaneder, who endeavoured to console him. In the course of the second act the audience recovered from the first shock of surprise, and at the close of the opera Mozart was recalled. He had hidden himself, and when he was found could with difficulty be persuaded to appear before the audience, not certainly from bashfulness, for he was used by this time to brilliant successes, but because he was not satisfied with the way in which his music had been received. The story that Haydn consoled Mozart by his approbation is untrue, 4 for he was in London at the time. But Schenck relates in his manuscript autobiography that he had a place in the orchestra at the first performance, and that after the overture, unable to contain his delight, he crept along to the conductor's stool, seized Mozart's hand and kissed it; Mozart, still beating time with his right hand, looked at him with a smile, and stroked his cheek. At the second performance on the following day he again conducted, but afterwards resigned the conductorship to Henneberg. On October 9 notice was sent to Berlin:—

The new spectacular drama, "Die Zauberflöte," with music by our kapellmeister, Mozart, has been performed at great expense and with much magnificence of scenery, &c.; but it has not attained the success hoped for, owing to the inferiority of the subject and diction of the piece. 5

Schikaneder, however, persevered, and with every repetition the applause increased; Mozart's pleasure thereat, and more especially at the approbation expressed by Salieri and Cavalieri, may be gathered from his letters to his wife. The "Zauberflöte" soon became the most popular of operas. It was performed twenty-four times in October; on November 23, 1792, Schikaneder announced the hundredth, and on October 22,1795, the two hundredth performance of the opera. 6


Schikaneder 7 had long varied his favourite farcical pieces by the production of operas, either adaptations of earlier ones or works expressly composed for him, 8 and in 1791 he had achieved a great success with the romantic-comic opera "Oberon, König der Elfen," adapted by Gieseke from Wieland, and composed by Wranitzky (1756-1808). 9 The brilliant appointments of scenery, costume, and machinery, and the satisfaction with which the dramatisation of Wie-land's universally popular poem was viewed by the public, heightened the interest in the opera to a degree far beyond the deserts of the light and popular music. It was first performed in Frankfort during the coronation festivities in 1790, and, rapidly spreading over the whole German stage, shared, and for a short time rivalled, the popularity of the "Zauberflöte." 10 In order to assure himself of a repetition of this success, Schikaneder selected as a subject for his new opera the tale of Lulu, oder die Zauberflöte, from Wieland's Dschinnistan. 11 The story is briefly as follows:—

In the kingdom of Chorassan there dwelt in an old magician's castle the good fairy Perifirime, called the "radiant fairy." Hunting in the neighbourhood, Prince Lulu, son of the King of Chorassan, enters the usually avoided castle, and the fairy, appearing to him in her full radiance, promises him rich reward if he will obey her behests. She discloses to him that the wicked magician Dilsenghuin, with the help of her faithless DIE ZAUBERFLÖTE. [306] attendant Barsine, has deprived her of her precious talisman, a golden fire-steel, which is obeyed by the spirits of the elements and of all earthly regions, every spark struck from it becoming a powerful spirit, subject to the possessor; none but a youth whose heart is as yet untouched by love can regain the talisman for her by stratagem. She designates Lulu as her deliverer, and promises him the best gift that she has if he will undertake the task. This is none other than the beautiful Sidi, daughter of Perifirime and Sabalem, King of Cashmere, whom the magician keeps in his power, making tender advances to her which she is only able to resist owing to her magic power of repelling attacks so long as her heart is untouched by love. The fairy dispatches Lulu with two magic gifts—a flute which has the power of winning all hearts, and of exciting and appeasing every passion at will; and a ring, by turning which the wearer can assume any form, and by throwing it away can summon the fairy herself to his aid.

Thus provided, Lulu approaches the magician's stronghold in the form of an old man, and by his flute-playing entices first the forest beasts, and then the magician, who takes him into the fortress to try his art upon the obdurate beauty. Lulu gains the confidence of the magician and his son, with Barsine and the dwarf Barka; the love of the beautiful Sidi is also soon his. He succeeds in throwing the magician and his companions into a deep sleep during a banquet, and possesses himself of the talisman. By the aid of the genü now subject to him, and finally by the appearance of the fairy, he overcomes all the dangers and obstacles prepared for him by the magician, who is finally changed into an owi, and flies away with his son, similarly transformed. The fairy destroys the fortress and carries the lovers to her castle upon her cloud-chariot; there the Kings of Chorassan and Cashmere bless their union. 12

This story was treated as follows in Schikaneder's opera:—

The "Japanese" Prince, Tamino, while hunting, is pursued by a great serpent, and falls in a swoon; three ladies of the Queen of Night slay the monster.. On the awaking of the Prince there enters the bird-catcher Papageno, the comic character of the opera, contrasting in the traditional manner with the grave heroic lover (who does not, however, display any great daring here). Papageno is a good-tempered, pleasure-loving, loquacious poltroon, whose feather costume is a sort of reminiscence of Schikaneder's bird comedies. He gives himself out to Tamino as the slayer of the dragon, but is punished for his boasting by the veiled ladies, who reappear and fasten up his mouth with a padlock, at the same time presenting the Prince with the portrait of a beautiful damsel, of whom he instantly becomes deeply enamoured. Hearing that the original of the portrait is Pamina, daughter of the Queen of THE LIBRETTO-RIVAL THEATRES. [307] Night, and that she has been carried away by a wicked demon, he swears to free her from the power of the enemy, whereupon the Queen herself appears and promises him the hand of her daughter as the reward of his success. The ladies then command Papageno, from whose mouth they remove the padlock, to accompany Tamino to the castle of the magician Sarastro, which he is reluctantly obliged to do. They provide Tamino with a magic flute, Papageno with a chime of bells, and promise that "three boys, young, beautiful, pure, and wise," shall hover round them as guides. 13

In Sarastro's castle Pamina, who has endeavoured by flight to escape the hated advances of her jailer and tormentor, the Moor Monostatos, has been recaptured and is kept in bondage. Papageno makes good his entry; he and the Moor are mutually alarmed at each other's appearance, and run away in opposite directions. Papageno, venturing in again, finds Pamina alone, and acquainting her with Prince Tamino's commission from her mother to liberate her, they hasten to seek for him together.

So far the original story has been followed in its essential parts. The modifications which have been made in the characters and situations to enhance the dramatic interest are such as would occur naturally in the development of the story. But when Schikaneder had proceeded thus far in his adaptation he learnt that an opera founded on the same story was finished and about to be produced at the Leopold-stàdter Theatre, which often placed itself in competition with his.

It was in 1781 that Marinelli opened his newly erected theatre in the Leopoldstadt. 14 He produced operas, among which the "Sonnenfest der Braminen" had a great run, and after the brief span of popularity which German opera had enjoyed at the National Theatre, the suburban theatre became a formidable and finally a successful rival. But the proper element of this theatre was in popular farces. The comic actor Laroche had created the part of Kasperl, the direct descendant of Hanswurst, and the people were never tired of seeing him play his coarse tricks and antics in the most widely different situations. It had been the custom to bring Hanswurst into contact with witches and magicians, DIE ZAUBERFLÖTE. [308] and Kasperl was consequently introduced to the same society, with some differences in colouring, due to French taste and to the Eastern fairy tales disseminated mainly by Wieland. Popular songs played their part in these "Kasperliads," and out of modest vaudevilles, such as "Kasperl's Ehrentag," a fairy tale by Hensler (1789), in which the music was confined to some short choruses and an accompaniment to the supernatural apparitions, arose gradually comic magic operas. The Leopoldstàdter Theatre had possessed since 1786 a fruitful composer in Wenzel Müller, 15 whose place as a comic popular musician was somewhat similar to that of Laroche as an actor. On May 3, 1791, "Kasper der Vogelkràmer," by Hensler, was performed with his music, followed on June 8 by "Kasper der Fagottist, oder die Zauberzither," a vaudeville in three acts, the words adapted from "Lulu" by Joach. Permet. 16 The piece follows the plot of the original pretty closely, and the dialogue is as far as possible verbally transcribed; nevertheless the whole effect is that of a travesty, and the text of the "Zauberflöte" displays a decided superiority in comparison with it:—

Prince Armidoro, attended by Kaspar Bita, loses himself in the chase, and comes upon the fairy Perifirime, who despatches them to the magician Bosphoro, bestowing on the prince a guitar with the same virtues as the magic flute, and on Kaspar (through the little sprite Pizichi, who frequently reappears in time of need) a magic bassoon, which gives occasion to some very questionable pleasantry. The magic power of the ring, which enables the Prince to assume at will the form of an old man or of a youth, is very naively employed, the fancy of the audience being alone called in to represent the metamorphosis. The magician has a swaggering boon companion, Zumio, who guards the damsels and is in love with Palmire, playmate of the beautiful Sidi, afterwards in a similar relation with Kaspar. Having conciliated Bosphoro and Zumio by means of their magic instruments, and gained entrance into the castle, they win the love of the damsels, but not without exciting the mistrust and jealousy of the magician and his companion, who seek to possess themselves of the instruments. They are saved by Perifirime from a storm raised by the spirits subject to Bosphoro; an attempt to poison them fails through Pizichi's warning; finally they are all put to sleep at KASPAR DER FAGOTTIST. [309] supper by the magic instruments, and Armidoro possesses himself of the talisman which makes the spirits subject to him. Perifirime appears, punishes Bosphoro, and carries the lovers back to her palace.

Apart from Kaspar's broad jokes, the opera is not wanting in effective situations, both dramatic and comic, and now and then the music takes a more ambitious flight. Thus, the opera opens with a grand hunting chorus, and the first act closes with the sprites tormenting the followers of the Prince, who are in search of him; the spinning song, the boat scene with the storm, and the sprites playing at ball with Zumio, all form good musical situations. The composer rises above the level of the librettist. In some of the songs and dances he has caught the popular tone very well, but has failed in the fresh humour which he elsewhere displays. In spite of all defects, or rather in great measure because of them, the opera, the music, and the mise en scène completely hit the popular taste, and 125 representations took place in the course of a very few years. As a consequence of this success there appeared in 1792 "Pizichi," or the continuation of "Kaspar der Fagottist," by Perinet and Wenzel Müller, which had an equally brilliant reception, and was dedicated by the author "To the illustrious public, as a token of gratitude." Schikaneder could not hope to rival such a success as this with an opera on the same subject. He resolved therefore to transform the piece as much as possible, while utilising what had already been done on it, and to turn the wicked magician into a noble philosopher who wins Tamino to be his disciple, guides him to higher wisdom and virtue, and rewards him with the hand of Pamina. The idea was capable also of being turned to account in the interests of Freemasonry. The change in the political views of the government under Leopold II. had been unfavourable to Freemasonry, which began to be regarded with much distrust as the organ of political and religious liberalism. A glorification of the order upon the stage, by a performance which would place its symbolical ceremonies in a favourable light and justify its moral tendency, would be sure to be well received as a liberal party demonstration compromising neither the order as a body nor DIE ZAUBERFLÖTE. [310] its individual members. The effect was heightened by the consciousness of a secret understanding among the initiated, while the uninitiated could not fail to suspect a deeper meaning behind the brilliant display of spectacular effects. 17 Whether Schikaneder, himself a Freemason, 18 was the author of this idea, or whether it was suggested by the order, we have no means of ascertaining; the execution of it was principally due to Joh. Georg Karl Ludw. Gieseke. He was born in Braunschweig, studied at the university of Halle, and joined Schikaneder's troupe to earn his living as an actor and a chorus-singer. He had tried his hand already as an author, having prepared the text for Wranitzky's "Oberon," and enriched Schikaneder's repertory with a number of pieces in part translated and in part original. Schikaneder, never averse to accepting foreign aid, 19 made use of Gieseke's labours as a groundwork, which he altered to suit his purpose, inserting, for instance, the characters of Papageno and Papagena, and giving himself out as the sole author of the piece. 20 We have no means of ascertaining how far this alteration in the plan of the opera affected the first part; points here and there may have been retouched, but no important corrections were made, or some very striking contradictions would certainly have been removed. With the first finale we find ourselves in an altogether new new world:—

The three boys lead Tamino into a thicket, where stands the temple of wisdom, knowledge, and nature, exhort him to be steadfast, enduring, and silent, and leave him alone. He learns from a priest that Sarastro reigns in the temple of wisdom, and that Pamina has been taken from THE LIBRETTO. [311] her mother for certain good reasons, which must remain concealed from him until all shall be revealed—

     "Sobald dich fuhrt der
     Freundschaft Hand
     Ins Heilightum zum ew' gen Band."

After being encouraged by invisible voices, and assured that Pamina still lives, he joyfully seizes his magic flute, whose tones have power to draw all living beings to him. At Papageno's signal he hastens in search of him. Papageno enters with Pamina; they are surprised by Monostatos and his slaves; Papageno has recourse to his bells, which set all who hear them singing and dancing. Scarcely are they free from the intruders when Sarastro is heard returning from the chase in his chariot drawn by six lions, and accompanied by a solemn march and chorus. Pamina, kneeling, informs him that she seeks to escape the love advances of the Moor, and implores him to allow her to return to her mother; this Sarastro refuses, but pardons her with the aphorism:—

     "Ein Mann muss eure Herzen leiten,
     Denn ohne ihn pflegt jedes
     Weib Aus ihrem Wirkungskreis zu schreiten."

In the meantime Monostatos enters, having captured Tamino; as soon as the latter perceives Pamina, he rushes to her, and they embrace tenderly. The Moor, to his consternation, is rewarded by Sarastro with "seventy-seven strokes of the bastinado," and the strangers are conducted into the temple of expiation, that their heads may be covered and they may be purified.

Here we may still trace the original design, for the magic instruments, the wicked Moor, and the chariot drawn by lions, have little affinity with the temple of wisdom; but with the second act we set forth on altogether fresh ground:—

In the assembly of the eighteen (3x6) attendants dedicated to the great gods Isis and Osiris, 21 Sarastro announces that the virtuous Prince Tamino stands at the gate of the temple, seeking permission to gaze on the "great lights" of the sanctuary; questioned by the devotees, he assures them of the Prince's virtue, discretion, and benevolence; and, on the assembly giving their consent with a thrice-repeated blast of trumpets, he thanks them with emotion in the name of humanity. For, DIE ZAUBERFLÖTE. [312] when Tamino, united with Pamina, shall become one of the devotees of wisdom, he will destroy the empire of the Queen of Night, 22 who by superstition and imposture seeks to undermine their power; and virtue shall triumph at the overthrow of vice. The Orator warns him of the severity of the probation that he must pass through—but he is a prince, "nay more, he is a man"; he is able to endure all, "and once devoted to Osiris and Isis, he will feel the joys of the gods sooner than we." Tamino and Papageno are to be led into the antechamber of the temple, and there the Orator, in virtue of his "holy office" as "dispenser of wisdom," shall acquaint them both with the duty of man and the power of the gods. A solemn appeal to Isis and Osiris to endow the pair with wisdom, and to strengthen and protect them in the hour of trial closes this scene, which bears the impress of Freemasonry throughout.

The tests begin, after Tamino has declared that, impelled by love, he is ready for any trial to acquire wisdom and gain Pamina, and Papageno has agreed to make the attempt to win the love of Papagena, a pretty little woman, just suited to him. The impression here intended to be conveyed is evidently that of the higher nature and strivings of man in Tamino and of the limited and purely sensual side of his nature in Papageno. The first trial is that of silence. They are scarcely left alone in the darkness when the three Jadies of the Queen of Night enter and strive to excite their terrors, which is easily accomplished as far as Papageno is concerned, the steadfast Tamino with difficulty restraining his cries. The ladies disappear upon the summons of the priest; the Orator praises Tamino, and again covers his head that he may continue his "pilgrimage." Monostatos finds Pamina asleep in the garden, and is on the point of kissing her, when the Queen of Night appears, gives Pamina a dagger, and commands her to avenge her wrongs on Sarastro, to whom Pamina's father had bequeathed the omnipotent talisman which she had hoped to possess; by Sarastro's death Pamina will gain her freedom, Tamino's life, and her mother's love. Monostatos, who has overheard, takes the dagger from Pamina, and threatens to betray her unless she will grant him her love; on her refusal, he tries to kill her, when Sarastro enters, liberates Pamina, and promises to wreak a noble vengeance on her mother by securing her daughter's happiness.

Tamino and Papageno are conducted into a hall, to remain there in THE LIBRETTO. [313] silence until they hear a trumpet sound. Papageno cannot refrain from chattering to an old woman who brings him a glass of water and, to his horror, claims him as her lover; a fearful thunder-clap terrifies him, and he only recovers when the three boys bring him a richly furnished table, and, reiterating the warning to silence, restore the magic instruments. While they are eating, Pamina enters, and construes Tamino's silence into a proof of his want of love for her; not even her lamentations, however, can tempt him to speak. After this proof of steadfastness, he is conducted to the assembly, and informed by Sarastro that two paths of danger still remain to be trodden; Pamina is brought in to bid him farewell, and, to her despair, he still refuses to utter a word to her.

Papageno is informed by the Orator that he shall be excused the punishment for his loquacity, but that he is never to feel "the divine joys of the initiated." He declares himself quite content, and only wishes for a cup of wine and "ein Mädchen oder Weibchen"; the old woman appears, and is changed into the youthful Papagena, but only to vanish again the same instant.

Pamina, plunged in deep melancholy by Tamino's apparent aversion, is on the point of stabbing herself, but is restrained by the three boys, who promise to restore Tamino to her. Tamino is just then conducted to the gates of horror by two men in armour, with the injunction—

     "Der welcher wandelt diese Strasse voll Beschwerden,
     Wird rein durch Wasser, Feuer, Luft und Erden;
     Wenn er des Todes Schrecken überwinden kann,
     Schwingt er sich aus der Erde himmelan.
     Erleuchtet wird er dann im Stande sein,
     Sich den Mysterien der Isis ganz zu weihn"—

and left to tread the path of danger through fire and water, when Pamina rushes in, resolved to endure this trial in company with him. They sustain it happily to the sound of the magic flute, and are received with solemn rejoicings by the assembly in the temple. Papageno, in despair at the loss of his Papagena, whom he calls in vain to return, is about to hang himself, when the three boys appear, and remind him of his bells: at the sound of them Papagena returns, and his happiness is complete. In the meantime the Queen of Night, with her ladies, has gained admittance into the sanctuary by the help of Monostatos, and promises him her daughter's hand, if he aids her to victory; but a fearful storm drives them back, and Tamino and Pamina are united with priestly pomp by Sarastro in the circle of the temple votaries:—

     "Die Strahlen der Sonne vertreiben die Nacht,
     Zernichten der Heuchler erschlichene Macht."

It would be superfluous to criticise this libretto. The small interest of the plot, the contradictions and improbabilities in the characters and in the situations, are clear DIE ZAUBERFLÖTE. [314] to all; the dialogue is trivial, and the versified portions wretched doggerel, incapable of improvement by mere alteration. Nevertheless, a certain amount of stage dexterity is not to be denied to it. Schikaneder knew how to excite and sustain the interest of his audience by theatrical effects of combination and alteration. On this point the testimony of Goethe 23 is added to the lasting and wide-spread approval of the public; he declares that the "Zauberflöte" is "full of improbabilities and of jokes that it is not easy to appreciate or to enjoy; but it must be allowed that the author has thoroughly grasped the idea of contrast and of producing grand theatrical effects"; he undertook a translation of the piece, and was for some time seriously occupied with it. 24 Undeniable as it is that the opera owes to Mozart's music the charm that it exercises over young and old, cultivated and uncultivated, it must be acknowledged that the piece, 25 poor from a dramatic point of view, affords many and good opportunities for the production of musical effects. 26 Whether THE OVERTURE. [315] we think much or little of the Masonic views which are here seen embodied in the mysteries of Isis, 27 Mozart at any rate was inspired by the zeal of a partisan in giving them utterance.

The dignity and grandeur with which the music reveals the symbolism of these mysteries certainly have their root in his intense devotion to the Masonic idea.

A clear indication of this devotion was given to the initiated in the overture, 28 but in a way that showed how well he distinguished Masonic symbolism from artistic impulse. It opens with a short adagio, whose solemn accents raise the expectation of an apparition of grave importance, The trumpets, which are added to the full choir of wind instruments, give a fulness and brilliancy to the chords which had not at that time been heard before. The allegro; begins with a regular fugue on the theme—[See Page Image] the first bars reminding us of dementi's sonata, played before the Emperor Joseph (Vol. II., p. 199):—

The reminiscence may have been conscious or unconscious.


But the first glance at the subject of an overture to J. H. Collo's cantata, "Lazarus Auferstehung" (Leipzig, 1779)—[See Page Image] shows a considerable similarity to the motif of the overture before us, 29 with which it cannot have had anything to do, since Mozart in all probability never knew the cantata.

After the regular fourth entry of the whole motif, a free fantasia begins with the separate parts of it and the counter motif, in the most varied shades of expression, with an ease and elegance which lets nothing appear of the technicalities of counterpoint, and displays an animation and liveliness of truly sparkling brilliancy. After the close of the movement on the dominant with a marvellous crescendo, there follow three chords three times repeated, with pauses between, given out by the wind instruments alone, with powerful effect of climax: 30 —[See Page Image]

They are the same that occur in the temple assembly as a sign that Tamino is accepted and appointed to undergo the itests, and were suggested by the knocking or other rhythmical sounds to which members were admitted to be initiated in the mysteries of the Masonic lodge. This does away with the frequent suggestion that the second and third chords are THE OVERTURE. [317] intended to baboimd, 31 indeed André declares in the preface! to his edition that this solemn introduction, "uncomprehended of a profane public," to the mystic work which follows would be quite spoilt by the binding of these chords! Winter has accentuated the rhythm still more sharply in the "Labyrinth," the second part of the "Zauberflöte," the overture of which begins with the chords—[See Page Image] which are repeated several times. The chords suggest to the musical mind only the solemn warning sound calling attention to what is to follow, but to the initiated they recall the probation which must be undergone by those who engage in the search for a higher light. In the allegro which follows the first theme is taken up again, not in regular fugal form, but working out the different motifs with unusually elaborate contrapuntal treatment, for the most part in the stretto. The very form of thematic treatment gives an impression of force, but of force opposed by many obstacles and hard to overcome; this is strengthened by the use of the minor key and by the startling harmonic progressions which intensify the character of gloom, until it amounts to horror. Serenity returns only with the recurrence of the principal key, and gradually rises to a glorious radiance, troubled only towards the close by a few startling chords, and shining out again with all the purer beauty, till one seems to float in a very sea of light. 32 Let the contrapuntist admire in this inimitable masterpiece of German instrumental music the science and intellectual mastery which it displays; let the Freemason delight in the refinement with which his mystical ideas are clothed in a musical dress; the true triumph of genius consists in having created a work which, quite apart from DIE ZAUBERFLÖTE. [318] scholarship or hidden meaning, produces by its perfection an effect on the musical mind which is quite irresistible, animating it to more active endeavour, and lifting it to an atmosphere of purest serenity. 33

The belief that Mozart selected the severer musical forms for his overture in order to prefigure the serious mood in which he approached the opera, obtains confirmation from his employment of them again at the solemn moment of trial. The entrance of the men in armour, who fortify Tamino with the words quoted above, before he proceeds on his dangerous voyage through the elements, is announced by an imitative passage for the strings—[See Page Imge] following a few solemn introductory bars, and retained in the subsequent working-out as a figured accompaniment to the song of the two men. The Cantus firmus, however, which they sing in unison, in octave, supported by flutes, oboes, bassoons, and trombones, is the old chorale "Ach Gott vom Himmel sieh darein," 34 unaltered except in the division of the crotchets into quavers, where the words ACH GOTT VOM HIMMEL. [319] require it, and in the closing line added by Mozart. 35 He learnt the melody no doubt from Kirnberger, who often made use of it as an example, and twice worked it into a Cantus firmus. 36 This may be gathered from the fact that Kirnberger as well as Mozart raised the second line by a third, and that a motif interwoven with it by Mozart is an evident reminiscence 37 of one employed by Kirnberger in the working out of the chorale "Es woll uns Gott genàdig sein":—[See Page Image]

The attraction which the melody had for him as a Cantus firmus for contrapuntal elaboration is proved by a sketch preserved in the Imperial Library at Vienna, which contains the beginning of another four-part elaboration of the theme, adhering still more closely to Kirnberger. According to Al. Fuchs, 38 this was the first of Mozart's drafts for the opera, to which it can only be said that in that case he made use of an earlier contrapuntal study. In the autograph score the movement is written continuously in connection with the whole finale, but the handwriting, at first neat, afterwards more and more hasty, shows clearly that it was copied from an earlier sketch. 39 Even those who are incapable of appreciating the contrapuntal art with which this movement is worked DIE ZAUBERFLÖTE. [320] out, 40 and who have no suspicion that they are listening to an old church melody, 41 will receive an impression of mystery and solemnity admirably expressive of the dramatic situation to which Mozart strove to give effect.

Mozart has throughout the opera given to the music which touched on the mysteries and the initiation into them a peculiarly solemn character, and this is consistently maintained through every shade of feeling, from mild gravity to inspired ecstasy. To this sphere belong the three boys, who, although emissaries of the Queen of Night, are represented in the course of the plot as the visible genü of the secret bond. In the quintet (6) the announcement of the guidance they offer to Tamino and Papageno is accompanied by a peculiar fexpression in the music, produced by a change in the harmonic and rhythmic construction 42 and in the instrumentation. The marchlike movement to which they lead Tamino to the gates of the sanctuary fulfils to admiration the expectation which has been raised. The sound-effects also are very uncommon. The clear boys' voices, supported by the stringed instruments without the double-bass, are sustained by the full, lightly touched chords of the trombones and muted trumpets and drums; and a long-sustained G for the flutes and clarinets sheds a mild radiance like a nimbus over the whole. The thrice-repeated warning "Sei standhaft, duldsam und verschwiegen," taken up by the firm tones of the wind instruments, raises the march whose solemn course it interrupts to a higher dignity and force; the few bars sung by Tamino throw into greater prominence the unusual character of the apparition, and the repetition of the boys' song strengthens the impression which has been given of the higher world to which we now have access. Such an introduction as this was essential to give the right tone and TAMINO. [321] groundwork for the long recitative which follows, in which Tamino, prejudiced against Sarastro's wisdom and virtue, is gradually confounded and half-convinced by one of the priests of the temple. In liveliness of dramatic expression and successful rendering of the contrasts of animated conversation, combined with the seriousness proper to the surroundings and to the dignity of the priest, this recitative stands alone. The climax of the scene is reached in the consolatory assurance of the priest that all shall be made plain—[See Page Image] which is twice repeated by invisible male voices, accompanied by trumpet chords. A solemn expression, in which emotion and exaltation are united, betokens the announcement of an oracle. The requirements of musical climax, of dramatic effect, and of mystic symbolism are here again at one.

Meanwhile we are conducted to the temple portals; Tamino is consoled and reanimated by the intelligence that Pamina still lives, and, still far from having attained the philosophic calm of the votaries, he has no thought but for his love. As soon as he begins to express this purely personal and human emotion, the music becomes freer and lighter, and solemn seriousness gives place to cheerful geniality. The part taken at this juncture by the magic flute in assembling the listening animals round Tamino has no connection with the situation nor with the symbolism of the piece; it is a relic of the old fable. It was probably owing to Mozart's aversion to the flute (Vol. I., p. 385), as well as to the moderate proficiency of the tenor Schack, who played it himself, that the flute is brought so little forward as a solo instrument; another reason being that, as Tamino played it himself, it could only be inserted in the pauses of his songs. In this place it is a ballad-like cantilene to which the flute supplies the prelude and interlude; afterwards, during the visit to the dark cave, Mozart has left the flute part to the fancy of the flautist. During the fire and water ordeal, the flute has the melody of a slow march, and the peculiar accompaniment of low chords for the trombones, DIE ZAUBERFLÖTE. [322] horns, trumpets and drums give it a curious, weirdlike character. 43

The three boys, or genü, in accordance with the numerical symbolism pervading the whole, appear three times. After acting as guides to Tamino, they appear to him and Papageno as they wait in silence within the gloomy cavern, and bring them for their consolation meat and drink, as well as the magic flute and bells. The musical characterisation is therefore lighter and more cheerful. Mozart, hopeless of making anything out of the nonsensical words, has kept to the delineation of an attractive ethereal apparition, and has created a short movement of marvellous grace and charm (17) endowed, as it were, with wings by the lovely violin passage which accompanies it.

The third appearance is again of a solemn character. The boys announce that soon "superstition shall disappear and wisdom shall triumph." The character of the melody and rhythm approaches that of the first movement, the instrumentation, as befits the situation, being less brilliant, although the tone-colouring of the combined clarinets, horns, and bassoons has a significance all its own. 44 The object here is to restrain Pamina from suicide and to offer her consolation; thus, while the boys are interwoven in the plot, they stand necessarily outside of the narrow circle of allegorical personages, and become, as it were, human; besides this, the exigences of the music require that they should be subordinate to Pamina. In the course of this scene, therefore, they lay aside their proper character to some extent, and become more pliant and less reserved. Mozart has rightly avoided too close an adherence to any external characterisation of the boys, and has adopted such means of expression as were best suited to each situation, not forgetting, however, to assert their individualities at every appropriate point. Pamina, on her side, is brought CHORUSES. [323] into closer contact with the boys from the moment when she yields to their persuasions, and thus the ensemble with which the scene closes is endowed with a nobler, more exalted expression than that of the purely subjective emotion of Pamina's longing for her lost lover. A solemnity of a more exalted order belongs to those scenes in which Sarastro and the temple priests take part. This is at once manifest in the first finale, which has an altogether exoteric character. The march and chorus with which Sarastro is received, the closing chorus which celebrates his virtue and justice, combine force and dignity with a perfect radiance of beauty; they correspond to the choruses at the end of the opera when Tamino and Pamina, having withstood every ordeal, are welcomed within the temple and crowned with glory and wisdom. They are distinguished above the ordinary operatic choruses of the day as much by their dignity of expression as by their construction and mode of treatment; and the wealth of the instrumentation, more especially the introduction of the trumpets, gives a character of solemnity and magnificence then unknown in operatic music. Nevertheless they do not obtrude beyond the natural framework of the opera, and the limits of a work of art are never exceeded in the effort to express a higher meaning in the music. The analogy of the choruses with those in "König Thamos" has already been pointed out (Vol. II., p. 111). There they are treated very elaborately as independent pieces of music, while here the greater concentration of musical forces and the maturer, more elevated forms of beauty, display the mastery of a finished artist.

The esoteric character of the mysteries is brought to view in the second act. A solemn, slow march (10) introduces. the assembly of the priests in the most appropriate manner. It is said that in answer to the accusation of a friend that he had stolen this march from Gluck's "Alceste" (Act I., sc. 3), Mozart laughingly replied that that was impossible, as it still stood there. It was perhaps the best answer to such an impertinence. The similarity to Gluck's march, as well as to the last march in "Idomeneo" (25), consists entirely in the fitting expression of closely related moods.


But the special points in the conception are altogether new and original. A presageful mood, tinged with a gentle melancholy, rising to greater energy towards the close, transfuses this wonderful movement, the very tone-colouring of which is affecting. The soft muted tones of the basset-horn and bassoons are made clearer and purer by the addition of a flute, while the full chords of horns and trombones and the stringed instruments bind these elements into unity. The same tone-colouring, only several shades deeper (the flute being omitted, and of the strings only violas and violoncelli retained), is continued in the prayer (11) which follows, addressed to Isis and Osiris in a mysterious twilight, from which the simple impressive melody for the bass voice sounds forth with majestic and soothing effect. The repetition of the closing passage by the male chorus is of quite indescribable effect, when Sarastro's characteristic passage—[See Page Image] is given an octave higher. The earnest religious conception which underlies this prayer shows the spirit in which the symbols and rites of Freemasonry were approached by Mozart, who once thanked God that through Freemasonry he had learnt to look upon death as the gate of true happiness (Vol. II., p. 323).

The duet for the two priests (12)—a warning against feminine malice—does not come up to the same high standard, and only becomes at all imposing at the closing bars, "Tod und Verzweiflung war sein Lohn." The words could not be delivered with gravity without producing too comic an effect; Mozart has therefore treated them as a piece of friendly counsel, not as a priestly admonition, The second chorus of priests (19), which greets Tamino at the successful issue of his first trial, has, on the other hand, quite the dignity and solemnity of the first; although doubt and anxiety are for the present at an end, there is as yet none of the jubilant delight with which the victor is hailed at the final victory. A character of purity and elevation is expressed with a manly confidence differing from the SARASTRO—AIR—TERZET. [325] intense sympathy of the first chorus, and the instrumentation is modified accordingly. Trombones and horns give an imposing tone, lightened by trumpets, flutes and oboes, instead of basset-horns, while the prevailing low position of the stringed instruments supplies force and gravity to the movement. The moderate length of this chorus, as of all the movements which have the same solemn and mystic tone, is a fresh proof of Mozart's sure insight. The powerful impression is made, the excited mood is appeased, without fatiguing the mind or dulling the charm of the unusual characterisation.

Sarastro never descends altogether from his high priestly eminence, but he shows a genial side to his character, and sometimes, as on his first appearance in the finale, a fatherly one. This more genial nature is expressed in the air (16),

"In diesen heiligen Hallen," which, as with so many other pieces from the "Zauberflöte," we have first to forget having so often heard maltreated before we can realise the original impression made by it. The simple instrumentation and the easy treatment of the cavatina shows at once that the priestly character is not meant to be maintained here: it is the paternal friend speaking words of comfort to the maiden who confides in him. 45 Mozart, convinced that Freemasonry is the key to true philanthropy and friendship, has not contented himself with merely setting the trivial words before him to music, but has given expression with all the warmth and intensity of his nature to the highest and noblest feelings of the human heart. The beautiful terzet (20) gives a peculiarly elevated calm to Sarastro's sympathy in a situation which is more dramatic and musical than almost any other in the opera. Pamina is led in to bid farewell to Tamino before he sets forth for his final ordeal. This in itself is a test of his fortitude, for he is constrained to oppose reserve to her excitement, and to endure her reproaches for his apparent want of tenderness in silence. Between them stands Sarastro, consoling and DIE ZAUBERFLöTE. [326] exhorting them, like a higher power holding the fate of them both in his hand. 46

It was Mozart's task to blend into one these conflicting elements of passionate grief, of deep emotion restrained by an inflexible will, and of unyielding earnest exhortation. It was comparatively easy to accentuate the contrasts. Pamina and Sarastro are in absolute opposition, and Tamino, joining issue now with one, now with the other, forms a natural middle point. It is fortunate, from a musical point of view, that the arrangement of the parts falls in with these conditions, land that the natural course of the emotions depicted lends itself to a musical climax. The simplicity of the orchestral means here made use of by Mozart shows how much he was able to accomplish with very little, especially in the accompaniment passage, which renders so marvellously the agitation of the situation. 47 It may at first sight appear fcommonplace; but the unusually low position of the violas, violoncelli, and bassoons gives it a striking expression of power and of breathless urgency. 48

The part of Sarastro taxed all the resources of a deep bass voice, such as that for which Franz Gerl, the original supporter of the part, was celebrated. 49 It was in another way as original a conception as that of Osmin. The latter may be said to have had a predecessor in the buffo of the Italian opera, but Sarastro is the first of his kind, and can as little be compared to the regulation bass parts of Italian opera as Almaviva and Don Giovanni to the baritones. The dignity and calm of the philosopher to whom passion is unknown would have afforded little opportunity for musical characterisation had not Mozart's genuinely German nature gone down to the intellectual depths of the character. For TAMINO. [327] Sarastro's good temper and amiability, which might so easily do violence to the idealism of the conception, show their German origin unaffected by the symbolism around them. Mozart sought and found in the powerful sonorous tones of the bass voice the musical organ for the expression of a nature passionless indeed, but open to all that is good and noble, and possessing the benevolence and truthfulness of a mind matured in the graver experiences of humanity.

The intrusion of Masonic mysteries into the plot has had a bad effect upon the treatment of the characters, Tamino especially being injured by it. At first he scarcely presents an heroic appearance—rather that of a susceptible and generous youth longing to meet danger and strife that the right and his love may prevail. The original course of the plot leads him into dangers which he has to overcome by strength and courage; here, for some incomprehensible reason, he is to be converted to a belief in Sarastro. The fact of his probation taking place for the most part in silence is of disadvantage to him, both as a tenor and a lover; the dark cave and the wandering through fire and water are not particularly terrifying to the spectators, and his praiseworthy endeavours after virtue are too abstract to be interesting. And yet Mozart has filled in this colourless outline with the warm tints of youthful enthusiasm for all that is noble in life and in love. The first air (4) strikes the tone which is to prevail throughout. We may trust the word of the poet, that the sight of a lovely woman is sufficient to inspire the heart with a love that is irresistible, and to rouse it to a new and blissful life; but the musician alone has the power of so realising the miracle to the mind of the hearer that he feels it working in himself; and such a musician is Mozart. After a twice-repeated sort of sigh from the orchestra, there streams forth from an overflowing heart:—[See Page Image]

More agitated feelings follow this first glad expression of love, and the development of strong emotion is expressed by the form of the musical representation which follows every DIE ZAUBERFLöTE. [328] turn of thought, breaking off the threads and joining them again without any connected flow of melody. The whole piece is a well-constructed cantilene, formed from separate symmetrical phrases, and recurring at the close with the words, "und ewig ware sie dann mein," to the same melody which followed the first exclamation with "mein Herz mit neuer Regung füllt."

Stormy passion and fierce longing are the proper accompaniments to all youthful love, and the moderation with which Tamino keeps them in check gives at once the keynote to his character. His enthusiasm for an ideal, and his noble and intelligent mind, are opened to us in the fine recitative, and the calmer expression of love which follows completes the picture of character.

Benedict Schack, the original Tamino (b. 1758) was both musically and intellectually a cultivated man. He was a good flautist, and composed several operas for Schikaneder's company, which he joined as a vocalist in 1784. He had become very intimate with Mozart in Vienna. When the latter called for him, as he often did, to take a walk, he used, while Schack was dressing, to seat himself at his writing-table and compose little bits of the opera which lay there. Schack was equally famed for his flexible and metallically pure tenor voice and his artistic and refined execution, but he.was a very inferior actor. 50

As the piece proceeds the love intrigue takes a peculiar tone from its association with the mysteries and with the ordeals belonging to them. Many allusions are made to the dignity of marriage as the consummation of righteous love, and this is apparently the sense intended to be conveyed by the oft-quoted ludicrous doggerel:—

     Ihr (der Liebe) Zweck zeigt deutlich an,
     Nichts edlers sei als Weib und Mann;
     Mann und Weib, und Weib und Mann,
     Reichen an die Gotter an.

The main points, how Tamino is to win Pamina by his PAMINA. [329] initiation into the mysteries, and how Pamina comes to share his ordeals with him, are not made clear, since the love intrigue has originally nothing to do with them. Pamina, 51 at first contrasting with Papagena only as a gay, lively young girl whose higher nature has had no opportunity for development, shows herself in her true proportions when she approaches Sarastro with the pride and self-possession which denote her as his equal in dignity and sentiment. It is but for one short moment that the lovers first see each other, and by an irresistible impulse rush into each other's arms. This outbreak of passion falls so naturally into the rest of the movement, essentially different as it is in tone, that one is amazed that such simple notes can give so powerful an impression of jubilant emotion. Tamino and Pamina are separated at once, and are not reunited until near the end of the opera.

If Tamino may be said to be the expression of the enthusiasm of love as it awakes in the bosom of youth, Pamina may, on the other hand, be considered as the embodiment of the torment excited in a loving heart by doubt of the loved one's constancy. The spark which is kindled in her bosom by the sight of Tamino rises into an inextinguishable flame, and when his obstinate silence causes her to doubt his love, every hope of joy vanishes from her breast. It is not a difficult task for music to render the anguish of a broken heart, and the keener the pangs to be conveyed the easier it becomes. But to express with the utmost truth and intensity the deep grief of a maiden who has learnt to know her own heart by the first mighty pulsation of love, at the very moment when her hope is to be rudely dashed to the ground—this is the work of such a master only as the composer of the air (18) "Ach ich fühls." 52 Bitter pain DIE ZAUBERFLÖTE. [330] speaks here—pain without hope of solace; the memory of a vanished happiness has not yet softened into regretful melancholy, nor is it sharpened by the lingering pangs of conflict and torment overcome; it is a pain as yet unconscious of its own force and intensity. All feelings are swallowed up in the one: "He loves me not, and happiness is flown!" When to this open and truthful expression of the anguish endured by an innocent heart is united the charm of budding maidenhood, we feel ourselves in the presence of a beauty which moves our inmost being, and which Mozart alone of all musicians is capable of rendering in song. The form and means of effect employed are of the simplest kind. The music follows the course of the emotions in a continuous flow, without allowing any definite motif to predominate. It is a very delicate touch which makes the same expressive phrase occurring in the major to the words, "nimmer kehrt ihr Wonnestunden meinem Herzen mehr zurück," recur in the minor at the close to the words, "so wird Ruh im Tode sein." The voice part is put very prominently forward, the stringed instruments maintaining the harmonies and the rhythm in the simplest manner, while different wind instruments (flutes, oboes, bassoons) give a sharper accent here and there. The orchestra becomes independent only in the closing symphony, expressing deep sorrow very effectively by means of its syncopated rhythm and chromatic passages. This air forms a decided contrast to the garden air in "Figaro" (Vol. III., p. 91), and yet there is a deep-seated relationship apparent in them. In "Figaro" we have the purest expression of happy love, flowing from a human heart without a disturbing thought. Here it is the unmingled expression of sorrow for departed love. The one has the soft warm glow of a fragrant summer night; the other is like moonlight shining on rippling waters; but in truth, purity, and beauty of musical rendering, the two songs unmistakably betray the mind and hand of one and the same musician.

Before the painful impression has had time to die away there follows the brief interview of the lovers in presence of Sarastro and the Initiated, as represented in the terzet (20).


Pamina, in her anxiety and doubt as to whether Tamino's love will stand the test imposed upon it, gives the tone to the whole piece. Her concern is not appeased by Sarastro and Tamino's consoling assurances, and not until the time for farewell has really arrived do the two lovers' parts unite and contrast with that of Sarastro. Then the expression of emotion is raised and purified, and indicated by touches of extraordinary delicacy and depth, as when Pamina's passionate outbreak—[See Page Image]

deprives Tamino of self-control, and he too gives vent to the anguish of parting, while she appeals to him in mingled joy and sorrow, and Sarastro remains inexorable; or when at the inimitably beautiful passage at the close the hearts as well as the voices of the lovers seem to mingle and flow into one. Here again we may admire the skill with which the ordinary resources of musical representation are employed to produce extraordinary effects. 53 Instead of feeling her anxiety set at rest by this interview, Pamina is more violently agitated than before. She now no longer doubts that Tamino has ceased to love her, and, deprived of all hope, she seizes the dagger which her mother has given to her to murder Sarastro, and prepares to plunge it in her own bosom. Thus, at the beginning of the second finale, we find her "half-frantic" under the protection of the three boys. Their presence has a moderating effect on her passion of despair, and Mozart has carefully refrained from giving to the thoughts of suicide excited in a maiden's breast by her first disappointment in love the same kind of expression as would belong to one who, exhausted by long strife with the world, had resolved to rid himself of life and his sorrows DIE ZAUBERFLÖTE. [332] together. Thus, bold and energetic as the musical expression is, it never causes any distortion in the picture of a charming innocent girl, and this has a more tranquillising effect on the minds of the audience than the support of the three boys. In accordance with the situation the movement of the voices is quite free, generally declamatory, the interjections of the three boys holding the whole movement firmly in its groove. Pamina gives ready ear to the reassurance of the three boys, but, instead of breaking into loud exultation, her mind recurs lovingly to Tamino, and the music gains that soft pathetic tone which belongs to modern music. The supernatural element of the scene idealises it, and prepares the way for the solemn ordeal which is immediately to follow. Tamino, who has determined to tread the path of danger, but has believed he was to tread it alone, is agreeably surprised to find Pamina at his side. The reunion of the lovers is deprived, in face of the dangers which they are to overcome together, of every trace of sensual passion. Not until they are initiated into the mysteries for which they are undergoing probation can their love be justified or its enjoyment assured. The tone of the scene therefore is a serious one, rendered even solemn by the participation of the grave guardians of the sanctuary, who have just enunciated its ordinances. But the human emotion which irresistibly breaks forth adds a pathos to the solemnity and a charm to the youthful pair, filling us with renewed admiration for the genius which blends all these diverse elements into a living and harmonious whole.

Such a pair of lovers as this, so ideal, so sentimental (schwarmerisch) in their feelings and mode of expression, betray at once their German origin and character; there is nothing analogous in Mozart's Italian operas; even Belmont and Constanze, though of the same type, display more human passion. To the representatives of noble humanity, Sarastro, Tamino, and Pamina, stands opposed the antagonistic and vindictive principle, in the person of the Queen of Night. The manner of her representation leaves distinct traces visible of the different part she was originally intended to fill. At the beginning, when she appears as the THE QUEEN OF NIGHT. [333] deeply injured mother, with all the magnificence of her regal state, there is nothing in the musical characterisation to indicate her gloomy and vindictive nature, which is thus proved to have been an afterthought. A solemn introduction, rising into a powerful crescendo, announces the coming of the Queen, while "the mountains are cleft asunder." It has been pointed out 54 that this ritornello has considerable resemblance to the passage in Benda's "Ariadne," which accompanies the setting of the sun:—[See Page Image]

Mozart knew and admired Benda's "Ariadne," and this passage may have been in his mind; but it is scarcely to be imagined that he consciously imitated it, and in any case he has rendered it far more effectively. A short recitative is followed by an air in two movements (5), the only one so DIE ZAUBERFLÖTE. [334] elaborate in form of the whole opera, the result doubtless of the traditional conception of the character of the Queen. The first movement expresses a mother's grief simply and pathetically, but without any tinge of the supernatural to characterise her either as the good fairy or as the Queen of Night. The allegro is far weaker, going off after a few energetic bars into long runs and passages quite instrumental in character, with nothing striking in them but the presupposition of an extraordinary soprano voice in the high—[See Page Image] to which they rise. This is apparently another concession made by Mozart to the "voluble throat" of his eldest sister-in-law, Madame Hofer (Vol. II., p. 330). There can be no difficulty in accrediting a sister of Aloysia Weber with the possession of a fabulously high voice; but it is remarkable that Schroder, who saw her in the same year (1791) as Oberon, should have said of her (Meyer, L. Schroder, II., 1, p. 85): "A very unpleasing singer; her voice is not high enough for the part, and she squeaks it, besides which she opens her mouth with a gape like the elder Stephanie." Nevertheless, she set no small store on herself, and must have been admired by a portion of the public; Mozart has made a still greater sacrifice to her in the second air, in which the Queen of Night commands her daughter to wreak vengeance on Sarastro. In design it is free and bold, in passionate expression of resentment very powerful; the two chief parts are both musically and dramatically striking, the close is genuinely pathetic, and the uniformly high position of the voice in conjunction with the forcible and somewhat shrilly toned instrumentation, is of very singular effect. All this notwithstanding, Mozart has allowed himself to be persuaded to ruin an aria which might have been a model of pathetic declamation by two long ornamental passages inserted between the parts of the air, which are not only destructive of proper effect, but also unnatural, and wanting in taste themselves. The Queen is attended by three ladies, who, however, have none of the vindictive qualities which distinguish her. Not THE THREE LADIES. [335] only do we find unmistakable proofs of their original conception as good fairies, but the way in which they are treated in the opera has a spice of the drollery of Musäus or Wieland, although without their grace and refinement; the merit which they possess is entirely due to Mozart. They show themselves in their true colours from the first introduction. Tamino enters in terrified flight from a serpent, 55 which is well-expressed by the orchestra; at the moment when he is falling into a swoon, the three ladies appear and slay the monster. As they gaze on the beautiful youth, tender promptings fill their breasts; each wishes to remain with him and to send her companions with tidings to the Queen; a dispute arises which ends by their all three going, after a tender farewell to the insensible Tamino. The situation is represented with vivacity and humour in three well worked-out and varying movements, and although the ladies never display any lofty emotions, they move with so much natural grace that the not very refined situation makes an impression of unclouded cheerfulness. A long cadenza for the three voices, with which the movement originally closed, was judiciously struck out by Mozart himself. 56

The ladies express themselves in similar fashion, though not quite so openly, seeing that they are not alone, in the quintet (6) when they deliver Papageno from his padlock, present him and Tamino with the flute and bells, and promise the companionship of the three boys. Here too, they are benevolent beings, bringing miraculous gifts, but not displaying any higher nature except when they mention the three boys, and even then the mysterious tone adopted belongs rather to the latter and the mysteries connected with them. Indeed, the teasing familiarity of the ladies to Papageno, and their coquettish politeness to Tamino, DIE ZAUBERFLÖTE. [336] give them quite a bourgeois character, supported by the genial, jovial tone of the music, which is fresh, natural, and full of euphonious charm.

In the second quintet (13) the same ladies appear as opponents of the initiated, but their character has been already so clearly indicated that they cannot consistently turn into vindictive furies. They have the appropriate feminine task of inveigling Tamino and Papageno into breaking the silence which has been imposed on them, and, while easily accomplishing this, as far as Papageno is concerned, they find that Tamino is inflexible himself, and recalls Papageno to his duty. The object of the music, therefore, is not to bring a dismal or gloomy image before the mind, but to emphasise, without exaggerating, the comic element of the situation. The central point of interest is of course Papageno, who displays all the cowardice and loquacity of his nature to the ladies, and is only kept within bounds by his respect for Tamino; the ladies treat the interview almost as a joke, and even Tamino's steadfast determination acquires from its surroundings an involuntarily comic tone. The whole quintet is light and pleasing, destitute of any higher feeling, such as that of the first quartet; all the more striking is the effect of the powerful closing chords, to which the ladies, pursued by the initiated, depart with a cry of terror, while Papageno falls to the ground. The peculiar musical effect of this piece depends mainly upon the skill with which the female voices are employed; 57 where the male voices come in they are made to add to the combinations partly in contrast and partly in union with the female voices. The instrumentation is for the most part easy; in order to afford a firm foundation the two violins frequently go with the third voice instead of the bass, while wind instruments support the upper voices, which produces a clear, light, and yet powerful tone-colouring. The allegretto (6-8) in the introduction, in comparison with the two other movements of the THE MOOR—PAPAGENO. [337] same, or the passages in the first quintet, "bekamen doch die Lügner allé," "O so eine Flöte," "Silberglöckchen," and finally the announcement of the three boys may serve as examples of the union of orchestra and voices to produce a climax of novel and melodious effect.

The Moor Monostatos may also be considered as a follower of the Queen of Night, only left in attendance on Sarastro through the inconsistency of the adaptation, and made a renegade in order that the figure of a traitor to the order might not be omitted. He is never brought to the front, neither in the terzet, where he threatens Pamina and then runs away from Papageno, nor in the first finale, where he is made to dance by Papageno, and then bastinadoed by order of Sarastro. But in the second act, when he surprises Pamina asleep, he has a little song to sing (14) which is a miniature masterpiece of psychological dramatic characterisation. 58

The kingdom of Night is most strikingly characterised when the Queen and her ladies are introduced into the sanctuary by Monostatos to plot their revenge. The motif on which the movement rests—[See Page Image]

is graphically descriptive of the stealthy entry; the summons to the Queen of Night takes an expression of gloomy solemnity which stands in characteristic contrast to the dignified gravity of the priests.

Papageno adds a third element to the temple priests and the kingdom of Night. Even the inevitable character of the comic servant received a novel colouring from the introduction of Masonic relations. The qualities of sensuality, cowardice, and loquacity, on which the comic effect depends, are here made typical of the natural man, who, destitute of the nobler and more refined impulses of the initiated, aspires to nothing beyond mere sensual gratification. This it maybe which causes Papageno to appear far less vulgar and offensive DIE ZAUBERFLöTE [338] than most of his fellows. It is true that his wit is destitute of refinement or humour, but his jokes, though silly, are healthy and natural to one side of the German character, which explains the fact of Papageno having become the favourite of a large part of the public. Although Schikaneder had doubtless a share in this popularity (he made the part to his own liking, and when he built his new theatre with the proceeds of the "Zauberflöte," he had himself painted on the drop-scene as Papageno), all the essential merit of it is Mozart's own. To whatever extent Schikaneder may have helped him to the melodies, that he came to the aid of Mozart's inventive powers will be imagined by none, least of all by those who know that the simplest song requires science for its perfection, and that truth and beauty are made popular, not by debasing, but by simplifying them.

Papageno's songs are genuine specimens of German national music—gay and good-humoured, full of enjoyment of life and its pleasures. The first song (3), "Der Vogel-fänger bin ich ja," is unusually simple, with an extremely happy, sympathetic melody; the addition of horns, with the tones and passages natural to them, gives a freshness to the accompaniment; and the by-play on the reed-pipe (ever since called Papageno's flute)—[See Page Image]

with the answer of the orchestra, has a really funny effect. The second song (21) is in two parts, differing in time and measure, but resembles the first in the tone of merry content which lies at the root of its popularity. Schikaneder may have given just the suggestion to the musical conception (Vol. III., p. 284), but the precise and well-rounded working-out is due to Mozart alone. Papageno's bells give a peculiar tone to the accompaniment, "eine Maschine wie ein holzemes Gelàchter," they are called in the libretto, and "istromento d' acciajo" by Mozart in the score; they were brought in for the ritornellos and interludes with easy variations in the different verses. The celebrated double-bass player Pischl-berger or, according to Treitschke, Kapellmeister PAPAGENO. [339] Henneberg "hammered" the instrument behind the scenes. Mozart wrote to his wife at Baden how he had once played the bells himself behind the scenes:—

I amused myself by playing an arpeggio when Schikaneder came to a pause. He was startled, looked round, and saw me. The second time the pause occurred I did the same; then he stopped and would not go on; I guessed what he was after, and made another chord, upon which he tapped the bells and said: "Hold your tongue!" ("Halts Maul!"), whereupon everybody laughed. I fancy this was the first intimation to many people that he did not play the instrument himself.

The instrument occurs first in the first finale, when Papageno makes the slaves of Monostatos dance and sing to it.

Here it is brought prominently forward, supporting the melody alone, accompanied only pizzicato by the stringed instruments, and in a measure by the chorus; the whole is most innocently simple, and of charming effect. 59 The bells exercise their power a third time (the magic flute is also; played three times) in the last finale, where the magic instrument aids the despairing Papageno to recall his Papagena, and is treated simply as befits its nature. 60

Papageno's chief scene is in the last finale, when he resolves to die for the love of his lost Papagena, and it forms a counterpart to the pathetic scene of Pamina's despair. An expression of good-humour and of true, if not very elevated, feeling prevents the comic situation from becoming farcical.


Papageno's grief is like that of a child, expressed in genuine earnest, yet of a nature to raise a smile on the lips of grownup people. This double nature is well expressed, for example, in the violin passage—[See Page Image]nwhich has something comic in its very accents of grief. The form of this lengthy scene is altogether free. Without alteration of time or measure the music follows the various points of the scene, declamatory passages interrupting the long-drawn threads of melody sometimes with great effect, and descriptive phrases repeated at suitable places to keep the whole together. Thus the characteristic passage—occurs three times to the words: "Drum geschieht es mir schon recht!" "Sterben macht der Lieb' ein End," and "Papageno frisch hinauf, deinen Lebenslauf!" At the close, when he seems really on the point of hanging himself, the time becomes slower, and a minor key serves to express the gloom of despair. But the three boys appear and remind him of his bells; at once his courage rises, and as he tinkles the bells he calls upon his sweetheart to appear with all the confidence and joy of a child. At the command of the boys he looks round, sees her, and the two feather-clothed beings contemplate each other with amazement and delight, approaching nearer and nearer, until at last they fall into each other's arms. The comic point of the stammering "Pa-pa-pa-," uttered by them both, slowly at first, then with increasing rapidity until they embrace with the exclamation, Papageno!" and "Papagena!" was due to Schickaneder's LOVE OF MAN AND WIFE. [341] suggestion. 61 That the happiness they feel at their reunion should find expression in anticipating the advent of numerous little Papagenos and Papagenas is not only intended as a trait of human nature unrestrained and unrefined in thought and word, but serves to point to the parental joys springing from wedlock as "the highest of all emotions." The duet originally ended with the words (which Mozart did not set to music):—

     Wenn dann die Kleinen um sie spielen
     Die Eltern gleiche Freude fühlen,
     Sich ihres Ebenbildes freun
     O, welch ein Gluck kann grosser sein?

The words with which the boys lead Papagena to Papageno—

     Komm her, du holdes, liebes Weibchen!
     Dem Mann sollst du dein Herzchen weihn.
     Er wird dich lieben, süsses Weibchen,
     Dein Vater, Freund und Brader sein
     Sie dieses Mannes Eigenthum!

were also omitted by Mozart, because serious exhortations and moral reflections would have been out of place here. He has instead succeeded in producing so lively and natural an expression of childlike delight, untouched by any taint of sensual desire, that the hearer feels his own heart full of happiness for very sympathy. The companion piece to this duet is that which Papageno sings with Pamina, after informing her that Tamino, fired with love, is hastening to her release (8). There can be no doubt that Mozart's wish has been to express the loftiest conception of the love of man and wife as an image, however faint and imperfect, of heavenly love; but here again Schikaneder has interposed, and insisted on something popular. We cannot blame him, for Papageno's sphere is that of natural, simple sentiment, not of enlightened morality, and Pamina is an inexperienced girl, who follows her own feelings, and is ready enough to fall into Papageno's vein.


Mozart did not find it easy to satisfy Schikaneder, who called each fresh attempt fine, but too learned; not until the third, or as some say, the fifth version, 62 did Mozart hit on the simple tone of warm feeling which Schikaneder believed would win every ear and every heart. His judgment proved correct; at the first performance this was the first piece applauded, and an angry critic complained in 1793 that the "Mozartites" were passing all bounds, and that "at every concert the ladies' heads went nodding like poppies in the field when the senseless stuff was sung: 'Mann und Weib, und Weib und Mann (which makes four, by the way), reichen an die Gottheit an.'" 63 According to Kapellmeister Trüben-see, of Prague, who was engaged as oboist in Schikaneder's opera, a rejected composition of this duet in the grand style was afterwards made use of alternately with that now known, and indicated on the playbill, "with the old duet" or "with the new duet." 64 At the first performance of the "Zauberflöte" in the new Theater an der Wien in 1802, Schikaneder' made the following announcement on the bill:—

Having been so fortunate as myself to possess the friendship of Mozart, whose affection for me led him to set my work to music, I am in a position to offer the audience on this occasion a gratifying surprise in the form of two pieces of Mozart's composition, of which I am sole possessor. 65

One of them may have been the duet in question; what the other was we cannot even conjecture. 66 An individuality such as Papageno's is sure to impart some of its naïve good humour and joviality to the other characters with whom he comes in contact, and the impression thus made cannot ENSEMBLES. [343] fail to appear in the music; whenever Papageno enters, whether he is merry or whether he is sad, an irresistible tone of good humour takes possession of the stage. Next to him in want of reserve and self-control stands Pamina, who only gradually attains a consciousness of her higher and nobler nature. Neither in the duet nor in the flight does her expression of the feelings they are both experiencing differ in tone from Papageno's; any marked distinction here would have marred the total impression without assisting psychological truth. But on the approach of Sarastro they draw apart; Pamina entrenches herself in proud reserve, while Papageno gives vent to his terror with the same energy as in the first quintet (6) when he is ordered to accompany Tamino to the castle. In the second quintet (13) his fright is kept in check by Tamino's presence, and his disgust at not daring to speak, and not being able to keep silence, gains the upper hand and gives the tone to the whole piece.

Such a consideration as we have given to the principal characters of the "Zauberflöte," to its intellectual and musical conception, and to the prevailing freedom of its form, serves to stamp its character as a genuinely German opera. What was begun in the "Entführung," which undertook to raise German vaudeville to the level of opera proper, is carried further in the "Zauberflöte," which succeeds in gaining recognition for the simplest expression of feeling, and for full freedom of form of dramatic characterisation. The opera contains no airs of the traditional stamp, except the two airs of the Queen of Night; and a comparison of the way in which the aria form is treated in "Cosi fan Tutte" and "Titus" will show an organic change in the airs, now that they are developed from the simple Lied. This freedom of construction is still more apparent in the ensembles, in the beautiful terzet (20), and more especially in the first quintet (6). The second quintet (13) is more precise in form, the ladies tempting Tamino and Papageno to break silence forming the natural middle point of the musical construction. But the freedom of movement strikes us most of all in the finales, which are admirable examples of DIE ZAUBERFLÖTE. [344] the art, so praised by Goethe, of producing effect by means of contrast. In dramatic design they are inferior to the finales of "Figaro," "Don Giovanni," or "Cosi fan Tutte." Instead of a plot proceeding from one point, and developing as it proceeds, we have a succession of varied scenes, lightly held together by the thread of events, and interesting us more from their variety than their consistent development. In order to follow this rapid movement great freedom of musical construction was necessary; opportunities of carrying out a definite motif till it forms a self-contained movement, which are so frequent in Italian finales, occur here but seldom, one instance being the allegro of the first finale, when Monostatos brings in Tamino, and the movement of the second finale to which the Queen of Night enters. This essential difference of treatment fills us with renewed admiration of Mozart's fertility in the production of new suggestive and characteristic melodies, which seem ready at command for every possible situation. Those who descend to details will be amazed to find how seldom Mozart is satisfied with a mere turn of expression, how lavish he is of original fully formed musical subjects, and how all the details of his work are cemented into a whole by his marvellous union of artistic qualities.

This leads us to the consideration of a second point in which the "Zauberflöte" surpasses the "Entführung." The latter is confined to a narrow circle of characters, situations, and moods, while the former has a large and varied series of phenomena. The story from which the plot is derived opens the realm of fairies and genü, personified in the Queen of the Night and her ladies, and, as regards his outward appearance, in Papageno. In addition to this there is the mystical element which takes the first place both in the dramatic conception and the musical characterisation of the opera. Mozart had no intention of representing a fantastic fairy land, such as was called into existence by Weber and Mendelssohn. The fabulous was not then identified with the fantastic, but was often consciously made a mirror for the reflection of real life, with its actual sentiments and views. Therefore the Queen of Night is depicted as a queen, FANTASTIC AND MYSTIC ELEMENTS. [345] as a sorrowing mother, as a revengeful woman; her ladies have their share of coquetry and gossip, and these feminine qualities predominate over the supernatural. The musical task of combining three soprano voices into a connected whole, while preserving their individuality, calls for great peculiarity of treatment, entailing further a special turning to account of the orchestral forces at command, at the same time that no special forms of expression are made to serve as typical of the fairy element of the piece.

On the other hand the apparition of the three boys is accompanied by every means of musical characterisation. They form the link with the region of mysticism indicated awkwardly enough in the libretto. We recognise something more than individual taste and inclination in Mozart's efforts to invest them with a character of grave solemnity. A universal and deep-rooted sympathy with Freemasonry was a characteristic sign of the times, and the German mind and disposition are well expressed in the efforts that were made to find in Freemasonry that unity which intellectual cultivation and moral enlightenment alone could bestow. Mozart was therefore at one in intention and aim with all that was highest and noblest in the nation, and the more deeply his own feelings were stirred the more sure he was to stamp his music with all that was truly German in character. It was not without design that he selected an old choral melody to mark a point of most solemn gravity, or that he treated it in the way with which his fellow-countrymen were most familiar. This passage is also significant as showing the marvellous element in a symbolic light, and bringing the supernatural within the domain of the human sphere. In this respect the representation of the marvellous in the "Zauberflöte" differs widely from that in "Don Giovanni." There the appearance of the ghost is a veritable miracle, a fact which must be believed to be such, and rendered to the minds of the spectators by means of the musical representation of terror in the actors. In the "Zauberflöte," on the contrary, the marvellous element is suggested only by the mystery hidden beneath it, and the mind is attuned to a mood of awe-struck wonder.


It cannot be denied that the deeply rooted symbolism of the opera has dulled the edge of individual characterisation. Actions lose their reality and become mere tests of virtue; the choruses of the priests express generalities; neither the three ladies nor the three boys are independent characters, but each group forms an individual, which again represents an idea; even the principal characters, owing to the concentration of all upon one idea, have more of a typical character than is desirable in the interests of dramatic characterisation. 67 In spite of these drawbacks Mozart has depicted both his situations and characters naturally and vividly. No one will attempt to deny that both the subjects and treatment of "Figaro" and "Don Giovanni," and in some degree also of "Cosi fan Tutte," present far more occasions for the expression of passion, for delicate detail, and for the emphasising of special features, than is the case with the "Zauberflöte," where the effect depends mainly on the general impression left by the whole work; but that this is the case affords only another proof of Mozart's power of grasping the strong points of every problem that was set before him. "In Lessing's 'Nathan,'" says Strauss, 68 "we are as little disposed to complain of the want of that powerful impression produced by his more pungent pieces, as we are to wish the peaceful echoes of Mozart's 'Zauberflöte' exchanged for the varied characterisation and foaming passion of the music of 'Don Juan.' In the last work of the musician, as in that of the poet, wide apart as they stand in other respects, there is revealed a perfected spirit at peace with itself, which having fought and overcome all opposition from within, has no longer to dread that which comes from without."

The fact that the words of the opera were in German had doubtless an important influence on the musical expression. Wretched as the verses are, so much so that it is difficult sometimes to find the sense necessary for the proper understanding of Mozart's rendering of them, they nevertheless THE ORCHESTRA. [347] form the basis of the musical construction. Italian operatic poetry, long since stereotyped in form, fettered the composer's fancy, while the German verses, from their very want of finish, left him freer scope for independent action. It is worthy of note that instrumental tone-painting, so frequently employed in Italian opera as a means of giving musical expression to the poetry, is but little resorted to in the "Zauberflöte." Apart from the difference of poetical expression in Italian and German, the sensuous sound of the Italian language was far more provocative of musical expression; and the declamatory element of correct accentuation and phrasing was at the root of the correct musical expression of German words. In this respect also the "Zauberflöte" is far superior to the "Entführung." A comparison of the text with the music will show what pains Mozart has taken to declaim expressively and forcibly. Sometimes the effort is too apparent, as in Sarastro's well-known "Doch"; but as a rule Mozart's musical instinct prevents the declamatory element from intruding itself to the detriment of the melodious.

In the treatment of the orchestra also the "Zauberflöte" stands alone among Mozart's operas. It is not, as in "Figaro" and "Don Giovanni," employed for delicate details of characterisation, nor is it, as in "Cosi fan Tutte" replete with euphonious charm. It has here a double part: in that portion of the opera which represents purely human emotion the orchestra is free and independent in movement, but easy and simple in construction; while for the mystic element of the story it has quite another character: Unusual means, such as trombones and basset-horns, are employed for the production of unusual and weird effects, while through all the delicate gradations of light and shade, from melancholy gravity to brilliant pomp, the impression of dignity and solemnity is. maintained, and the hearer is transported to a sphere beyond all earthly passion. Not only are the hitherto unsuspected forces of the orchestra here brought into play, but its power of characterisation is for the first time made fully manifest, and the "Zauberflöte" is the point of departure for all that modern music has achieved in this DIE ZAUBERFLÖTE. [348] direction. It must not, however, be forgotten that instrumental colouring is always to Mozart one means among many of interpreting his artistic idea, and never aspires to be its sole exponent, or to overshadow it altogether.

That which gives the "Zauberflöte" its peculiar position and importance among Mozart's operas is the fact that in it for the first time all the resources of cultivated art were brought to bear with the freedom of genius upon a genuinely German opera. 69 In his Italian operas he had adopted the traditions of a long period of development, and by virtue of his original genius had, as it were, brought them to a climax and a conclusion; in the "Zauberflöte" he stepped across the threshold of the future, and unlocked the sanctuary of national art for his countrymen. And they understood him; the "Zauberflöte" sank directly and deeply into the hearts of the German people, and to this day it holds its place there. The influence which it has exerted in the formation of German music can be disregarded by no one who has an eye for the development of art.

Evidence of the rapid popularity of the "Zauberflöte" is afforded by the imitations of it which were produced at the theatres Auf der Wieden and Leopoldstadt:—

Everything is turned to magic at these theatres; we have the magic flute, the magic ring, the magic arrow, the magic mirror, the magic crown, and many other wretched magic affairs. Words and music are equally contemptible (except the "Zauberflöte"), so that one knows not whether to award the palm of silliness to the poet or the composer. Added to this, these miserable productions are still more miserably performed. 70

Schikaneder's opera, "Babylons Pyramiden," the first act composed by Gallus, the second by Winter, first produced October 23, 1797, bore a striking resemblance to the PERFORMANCES AND IMITATIONS. [349] "Zauberflöte." 71 In the following year appeared "Das Labyrinth, oder der Kampf der Elemente," announced as a continuation of the "Zauberflöte," by Schikaneder and Winter; 72 it was performed in Berlin with great magnificence in 1806. 73 Goethe's design of continuing the "Zauberflöte" has been already mentioned (Vol. III., p. 314, note). It would be superfluous to enumerate the performances of the "Zauberflöte" in Germany. It soon took possession of every stage in Vienna. In 1801 it was given at the Karnthnerthortheater with new scenery by Sacchetti. 74 Schikaneder was not mentioned, which gave rise to some coarse pamphlets in doggerel verse. 75 Schikaneder's answer was a brilliantly appointed performance of the "Zauberflöte" in his new theatre An der Wien, which he recommended to the public in some doggerel lines as Papageno, not failing also to parody the defective machinery of the other theatre. 76 The run was extraordinary, 77 but he had taken so many liberties with the work—omitting the quintet, for instance, and inserting an air for Mdlle. Wittmann—that he did not escape criticism in more doggerel verses. 78

From Vienna the opera spread rapidly to every theatre in Germany, great and small. 79 In Berlin it was first given on May 12,1794, with a success 80 that testified to the preference for German rather than Italian opera there; 81 the jubilee of this performance was celebrated on May 12, 1844. 82


At Hamburg "the long-expected 'Zauberflöte'" was first put on the stage on November 12,1794, and soon usurped the popularity of "Oberon" and "Sonnenfest der Braminen." 83 It may be mentioned as a curiosity that the "Zauberflöte" was played in a French translation 84 at Braunschweig* and in Italian at Dresden, 85 until the year 1818, 86 when C. M. von Weber first produced it in German with great care, and quite to his own satisfaction. 87

The "Zauberflöte" rapidly gained popularity for Mozart's name, especially in North Germany. How universal was the favour with which it soon came to be regarded may be testified by Goethe, who makes his Hermann, describing a visit to his neighbour in their little country town, say:—

     Minchen sass am Klavier; es war der Vater zugegen,
     Hörte die Tochterchen singen, und war entzückt und in Laune.
     Manches verstand ich nicht, was in den Liedern gesagt war;
     Aber ich hörte viel von Pamina, viel von Tamino,
     Und ich wollte doch auch nicht stumm sein! Sobald sie geendet,
     Fragt' ich dem Texte nach, und nach den beiden Personen.
     Aile schwiegen darauf und lächelten; aber der Vater
     Sagte: nicht wahr, mein Freund, er kennt nur Adam und Eva?!!!

Even to this day Sarastro and Tamino are regular starring and trial parts; unhappily, so is the Queen of Night for singers who possess the high F; and though the novelty and splendour of the scenery and stage accessories have been long since surpassed, and the interest in Freemasonry has died away, yet the "Zauberflöte" is still popular in the best sense of the word. It has been successfully performed in Dutch, 88 Swedish, 89 Danish, 90 and Polish; 91 but, as might have been expected, the "musica scelerata without any melody" was even less to the taste of the Italians than Mozart's PERFORMANCES AND IMITATIONS. [351] other operas. 92 It is not surprising either that it was only moderately successful in London, where it was first performed in Italian 93 in 1811, then in English in 1837, 94 and in German by a German company in 1840; 95 but the songs and other pieces of the opera have always been well known and popular. 96

The "Zauberflöte" was given in Paris in 1791 curiously transformed by Lachnith under the title of "Jes Mystères d'Isis." 97 The piece was irrecognisable; everything miraculous, including the magic flute itself, and everything comic was omitted, Papageno being turned into the wise shepherd Bochoris; this, of course, involved the parodying of a great part of the music, and much was omitted even without this excuse. The omissions were made good by the insertion of pieces out of other operas by Mozart, e.g., the drinking-song from "Don Giovanni" arranged as a duet, an air from "Titus," also as a duet, and more of the same kind. Great liberties were taken with the music itself. The closing chorus, with Sarastro's recitative, formed the beginning of the opera; then followed the terzet "Seid uns zum zweiten-mal willkommen," sung by six priestesses; then a chorus from "Titus" (15); and then the original introduction. Monostatos' song was given to Papagena (Mona), the first air of the Queen of Night to Pamina, and the duet "Bei Mannern" was turned into a terzet. It can easily be imagined how distorted Mozart's music was by all these additions, erasures, and alterations. The performance called forth lively protests from the critics and connoisseurs, 98 French as well as German; 99 its defence was undertaken, curiously [352] enough, by Cramer. 100 The opera was nicknamed "Les Misères d'Ici," and "l'opération" of the "dérangeur" Lachnith was discussed. 101 But all were agreed as to the excellence of the scenery and ballet, of the arrangement of particular scenes, and of the admirable performance of the orchestra and chorus, which may account for the fact that this deformity was one hundred and thirty times performed in Paris up to 1827. 102 On February 23, 1865, the unmutilated "Zauberflöte" was, for the first time, placed on the stage of the Théätre-Lyrique, translated by Nuitter and Beaumont, and had a brilliant success. 103



NO sooner was the "Zauberflöte" completed and performed than Mozart set to work with restless eagerness upon his still unfinished Requiem. 1 His friend, Jos. von Jacquin, calling upon him one day to request him to give pianoforte lessons to a lady who was already an admirable performer on the instrument, found him at his writing-table, hard at work on the Requiem. Mozart readily acceeded to the request, provided he might postpone the lessons for a time; "for," said he, "I have a work on hand which lies very near my heart, and until that is finished I can think of nothing else." 2 Other friends remembered SAD FOREBODINGS. [353] afterwards how engrossed he had been in his task up to a very short time before his death. 3 The feverish excitement with which he laboured at it increased the indisposition which had attacked him at Prague. Even before the completion of the "Zauberflöte" he had become subject to fainting fits which exhausted his strength and increased his depression. The state of Mozart's mind at this time may be gathered from a curious note in Italian, written by him in September, 1791, to an unknown friend (Da Ponte? cf.,

Affmo Signore,—Vorrei seguire il vostro consiglio, ma come riuscirvi? ho il capo frastemato, conto a forza e non posso levarmi dagli occhi 1' immagine di questo incognito. Lo vedo di continuo, esso mi prega, mi sollecita, ed impaziente mi chiede il lavoro. Continuo perché il comporre mi stanca meno del riposo. Altronde non ho più da tremere. Lo sento a quel che provo, che l' ora suona; sono in procinto di spirare; ho finito prima di aver goduto del mio talento. La vita era pur si bella, la camera s' apriva sotto auspici tanto fortunati, ma non si puö cangiar il proprio destino. Nessuno micura [assicura] i propri giomi, bisogna rassenarsi, sarà quel che piacerà alla providenza, termino ecco il mio canto funebre, non devo lasciarlo imperfetto.

It was in vain that his wife, who had returned from Baden, sought to withdraw him from his work, and to induce him to seek relief from gloomy thoughts in the society of his friends. 5 One beautiful day, when they had driven to the Prater, and were sitting there quite alone, Mozart began to speak of death, and told his wife, with tears in his eyes, that he was writing his Requiem for himself. "I feel it too well," he continued; "my end is drawing near. I must have taken poison; I cannot get this idea out of my mind." 6 Horrified at this disclosure, Frau Mozart sought, ILLNESS AND DEATH. [354] by every possible argument, to reason him out of such imaginations. 7 Fully persuaded that the assiduity with which he was working at the Requiem was increasing his illness, she took the score away from him and called in a medical adviser, Dr. Closset.

Some improvement in Mozart's state of health followed, and he was able to compose a cantata written by Schikaneder for a Masonic festival (623 K.), which was finished November 15, and the first performance conducted by himself. He was so pleased with the execution of this work, and with the applause it received, that his courage and pleasure in his art revived, and he was ready to believe that his idea of having taken poison was a result of his diseased imagination. He demanded the score of the Requiem from his wife, who gave it to him without any misgiving. The improvement, however, was of short duration, and Mozart soon relapsed into his former state of melancholy, talked much of having been poisoned, and grew weaker and weaker. His hands and feet began to swell, and partial paralysis set in, accompanied by violent vomiting. Good old Joseph Deiner (Vol. II., p. 300) used to tell how Mozart had come to him in November, 1791, looking wretched, and complaining of illness. He directed him to come to his house next morning to receive his wife's orders for their SERIOUS ILLNESS. [355] winter supply of fuel. Deiner kept the appointment, but was informed by the maid-servant that her master had become so ill during the night that she had been obliged to fetch the doctor. The wife called him into the bedroom where Mozart was in bed. When he heard Deiner he opened his eyes and said, almost inaudibly, "Not to-day, Joseph; we have to do with doctors and apothecaries to-day." 8 On November 28 his condition was so critical that Dr. Closset called into consultation Dr. Sallaba, chief physician at the hospital. During the fortnight that he was confined to bed consciousness never left him. The idea of death was ever before his eyes, and he looked forward to it with composure, albeit loth to part with life. The success of the "Zauberflöte" seemed likely at last to open the door to fame and fortune; and during his last days of life he was assured of an annual subscription of one thousand florins from some of the Hungarian nobility, and of a still larger yearly sum from Amsterdam, in return for the periodical production of some few compositions exclusively for the subscribers. 9 It was hard to leave his art just when he was put in a position to devote himself to it, unharassed by the daily pressure of poverty; hard, too, to leave his wife and his two little children to an anxious and uncertain future. 10 Sometimes these ideas overpowered him, but generally he was tranquil and resigned, and never betrayed the slightest impatience. He unwillingly allowed his canary, of which he was very fond, to be removed to the next room, that he might not be disturbed by its noise. It was afterwards carried still farther out of hearing. Sophie Haibl says:—

When he was taken ill we made him night-shirts which could be put on without giving him the pain of turning round; and, not realising how ill he was, we made him a wadded dressing-gown against the time that he should be able to sit up; it amused him very much to follow our work as it proceeded. I came to him daily. Once he said to me,


"Tell the mother that I am going on very well, and that I shall be able to come and offer my congratulations on her fête-day (November 22) within the week."

He heard with intense interest of the repetition of the "Zauberflote," and when evening came he used to lay his watch beside him, and follow the performance in imagination: "Now the first act is over—now comes the mighty Queen of Night." 11 The day before his death he said to his wife: "I should like to have heard my 'Zauberflote' once more," and began to hum the birdcatcher's song in a scarcely audible voice. Kapellmeister Roser, who was sitting at his bedside, went to the piano and sang the song, to Mozart's evident delight. 12 The Requiem, too, was constantly in his mind. While he had been at work upon it he used to sing every number as it was finished, playing the orchestral part on the piano. The afternoon before his death he had the score brought to his bed, and himself sang the alto part. 13 Schack, as usual, took the soprano, Hofer, Mozart's brother-in-law, the tenor, and Gerl the bass. They got as far as the first bars of the Lacrimosa when Mozart, with the feeling that it would never be finished, burst into a violent fit of weeping, and laid the score aside. 14

When Frau Haibl came towards evening her sister, who was not usually wanting in self-control, met her in a state of agitation at the door, exclaiming: "Thank God you are here! He was so ill last night, I thought he could not live through the day; if it comes on again, he must die in the night." Seeing her at his bedside, Mozart said: "I am glad you are here; stay with me to-night, and see me die." Controlling her emotion, she strove to reason him out of such thoughts, but he answered: "I have the flavour of death on my THE END. [357] tongue—I taste death; and who will support my dearest Constanze if you do not stay with her?" She left him for a moment to carry the tidings to her mother, who was looking anxiously for them. At her sister's wish she went to the priests of St. Peter's, and begged that one might be sent to Mozart as if by chance; they refused for a long time, and it was with difficulty she persuaded "these clerical barbarians" to grant her request. When she returned she found Süssmayr at Mozart's bedside in earnest conversation over the Requiem. "Did I not say that I was writing the Requiem for myself?" said he, looking at it through his tears. And he was so convinced of his approaching death that he enjoined his wife to inform Albrechtsberger of it before it became generally known, in order that he might secure Mozart's place at the Stephanskirche, which belonged to him by every right (Vol. II., p. 277, note). Late in the evening the physician arrived, having been long sought, and found in the theatre, which he could not persuade himself to leave before the conclusion of the piece. He told Süssmayr in confidence that there was no hope, but ordered cold bandages round the head, which caused such violent shuddering that delirium and unconsciousness came on, from which Mozart never recovered. Even in his latest fancies he was busy with the Requiem, blowing out his cheeks to imitate the trumpets and drums. Towards midnight he raised himself, opened his eyes wide, then lay down with his face to the wall, and seemed to fall asleep. At one o'clock (December 5) he expired. 15

At early morning the faithful Deiner was roused by the maid-servant "to come and dress" her master; he went at once and performed the last friendly offices for Mozart. The body was clothed in a black robe and laid on a bier, which was carried into the sitting-room and deposited near the piano. A constant flow of visitors mourned and wept as they gazed on him; those who had known him intimately loved him; his fame as an artist had become universal, and his sudden death brought home to all men the extent of their ILLNESS AND DEATH. [358] loss. The "Wiener Zeitung" (1791, No. 98) made the following announcement:—

We have to announce with regret the death of the Imperial Court Composer, Wolfgang Mozart, which took place between four and five o'clock this morning. Famous throughout Europe from earliest childhood for his singular musical genius, he had developed his natural gifts, and by dint of study had raised himself to an equality with the greatest masters; his universally favourite and admired compositions testify to this fact, and enable us to estimate the irreparable loss which the musical world has sustained in his death.

A letter from Prague, of December 12, 1791, announced: 16

Mozart is—dead. He returned from Prague in a state of suffering, which gradually increased; dropsy set in, and he died in Vienna at the end of last week. The swelling of his body after death led to the suspicion of his having been poisoned. His last work was a funeral Mass, which was performed at his obsequies. His death will cause the Viennese to realise for the first time what they have lost in him. 17 His life was troubled by the constant machination of cabals, whose enmity was doubtless sometimes provoked by his sans souci manner. Neither his "Figaro" nor his "Don Juan" were as enthusiastically received in Vienna as they were in Prague. Peace be to his ashes!

Mozart's wife, who had been so unwell the day before his death that the physician had prescribed for her, was rendered completely prostrate in mind and body by his death. In her despair she lay down upon his bed, desiring to be seized with the same illness, and to die with him. Van Swieten, who had hastened to bring her what consolation and assistance he could, persuaded her to leave the house of death, and to take up her abode for the present with some friends living near. He undertook the care of the funeral, and having regard to the needy circumstances of the widow, he made the necessary arrangements as simply and cheaply as possible. The funeral expenses (on the scale of the third class) amounted to 8 fl. 36 kr., and there was an additional charge of 3 fl. for the hearse. Rich man and distinguished patron INTERMENT AND GRAVE. [359] as he was, it seems never to have occurred to Van Swieten that it would have been becoming in him to undertake the cost as well as the care of a fitting burial for the greatest genius of his age. At three o'clock in the afternoon of December 6 the corpse of Mozart received the benediction in the transept chapel on the north side of St. Stephen's Church. A violent storm of snow and rain was raging, and the few friends who were assembled—among them Van Swieten, Salieri, Süssmayr, Kapellm. Roser, and the violoncellist Orsler 18 —stood under umbrellas round the bier, which, was then carried through the Schulerstrasse to the churchyard of St. Mark's. The storm continued to rage so fiercely that the mourners decided upon turning back before they reached their destination, 19 and not a friend stood by when the body of Mozart was lowered into the grave. For reasons of economy no grave had been bought, and the corpse was consigned to a common vault, made to contain from fifteen to twenty coffins, which was dug up about every ten years and filled anew: no stone marked the resting-place of Mozart. Good old Deiner, who had been present at the benediction, asked the widow if she did not intend to erect a cross to the departed; she answered that there was to be one. She no doubt imagined that the priest who had performed the ceremony would see to the erection of the cross. When she was sufficiently recovered from her first grief to visit the churchyard, she found a fresh gravedigger, who was unable to point out Mozart's grave; and all her inquiries after it were fruitless. Thus it is that, in spite of repeated attempts to discover it, the resting-place of Mozart remains unknown. 20


Poor Constanze and her two children were now placed in the saddest possible position. Not more than sixty florins of ready money were available at Mozart's death; to this might be added 133 fl. 20 kr. of outstanding accounts, the furniture, wardrobe, and scanty library, which were valued at less than 400 florins. But there were debts to be paid, not only to generous creditors like Puchberg, who rendered every assistance in settling the affairs of his deceased friend without any thought of his own claim, but to workmen and tradesmen, who must be paid at all costs; the doctor's bill alone amounted to 250 florins. 21 In this emergency, Constanze appealed first to the generosity of the Emperor. One of Mozart's attached pupils informed her that the Emperor had been very unfavourably disposed towards her, in consequence of the calumnies spread abroad by Mozart's enemies to the effect that his dissipation and extravagance had involved him in debts amounting to more than 30,000 florins; and she was advised to make her application in person, so as to persuade the Emperor of the falsehood of such reports. 22 At the audience which was granted to her, she boldly declared that Mozart's great genius had raised up enemies against him, who had embittered his existence by their intrigues and calumnies. These slanderers had multiplied tenfold the amount of his debts, and she was prepared to satisfy all claims with a sum of 3,000 florins. Even this amount of liability was not the result of thoughtless extravagance, but had been inevitably incurred by the uncertainty of their income, by frequent illnesses and unforeseen calls on their resources. Appeased by Frau Mozart's representations, the Emperor encouraged her to give a concert, in which he took so generous an interest that the proceeds enabled her to pay all her husband's debts. [361]



ONE of the first cares of Mozart's widow was the Requiem (626 K.). 1 Mozart having left it unfinished, she could not but fear that the Unknown would not only refuse to complete the stipulated payment, but would demand the return of what had been already paid. In this dilemma, she called various friends into counsel, and hit upon the idea of continuing such portions of the work as Mozart had left, and of presenting it entire to the Unknown. The completion was first intrusted to Joh. Eybler; 2 witness the following certificate from him:—

The undersigned hereby acknowledges that the widow Frau Konstanze Mozart has intrusted to him, for completion, the Requiem begun by her late husband. He undertakes to finish it by the middle of the ensuing Lent; and also gives his assurance that it shall neither be copied nor given into other hands than those of the widow.

Joseph Eybler.

Vienna, December 21, 1791.

He began his task by filling in the instrumentation in Mozart's manuscript as far as the Confutatis, THE REQUIEM. [362] and writing two bars of a continuation of the Lacrimosa, 3 but he then abandoned the work in despair. Other musicians seem to have declined it after him until it finally fell to the lot of Süssmayr. He had been Mozart's pupil in composition, had lent a hand in "Titus" (p. 288), and had often gone over the parts of the Requiem already composed with Mozart, who had consulted him as to the working-out of the composition and the principal points of the instrumentation. The widow, at a later time, said to Stadler:

As Mozart grew weaker Süssmayr had often to sing through with him and me what had been written, and thus received regular instruction from Mozart. I seem to hear Mozart saying, as he often did: "Ah, the oxen are on the hill again! You have not, mastered that yet, by a long way." 4

This expression was also well remembered by her sister Sophie, and we can enter into it, remembering the manner in which Mozart himself wrote and developed his compositions (Vol. II., p. 423).

The first two movements, Requiem and Kyrie, were finished and written out in full score by Mozart; there can be no question about them. 5 The Dies iræ was sketched out in his usual way, the voice parts completely written out, together with the fundamental bass—sometimes figured—and the instrumental parts where they had to go without the voices; where the accompaniment was at all independent the subject was indicated sufficiently clearly to be carried on and filled in subsequently. The score was left in this state as far as the last verse of the Dies iræ; Mozart stopped at the words:—

     Qua resurget ex favilla
     Iudicandus homo reus.


He had not set himself, however, to compose the Requiem straight through, but had thrown off different parts of it according to the mood he happened to be in. Thus before the Dies iræ was finished he had composed the Offertorium, of which the two movements, Domine Jesu Christe and Hostias, were left virtually complete in the same state as those mentioned above.

It will now be understood how Mozart, going through the score, either at the piano or the desk with his pupil Süssmayr, would discuss the various points of the instrumentation, would encourage him to make suggestions, and explain his own ideas and intentions, so that Süssmayr would in many respects have formed a lively image in his mind of what the completed score would be, and would often be able faithfully to reproduce Mozart's own intentions. Of the remaining movements, Sanctus, Benedictus, and Agnus Dei, there were no such sketches in existence.

Süssmayer's first care was to copy out all that Mozart had left imperfect, "that there might not be two handwritings together," as the widow wrote to André (Càcilia, VI., p. 202)—she must have had Eybler's promised completion in her mind—and then to fill in the instrumentation according to Mozart's apparent design. Pages 11-32 of Mozart's original manuscript, containing the Dies iræ as far as the Confutatis, fell into the hands of the Abbé Stadler, and were by him bequeathed to the Imperial Library in Vienna. The remaining sheets (33-45) containing the Lacrimosa, Domine, and Hostias, belonged to Eybler, who presented them to the same library. That Mozart had contemplated carrying them out, and uniting them into one score with the Requiem and Kyrie is proved by the continuous numbering of the pages in his own handwriting; there is no instance to be found of his having recopied a score so sketched out when filling it in. 6


Süssmayr's appointed task, therefore, was the composition "from his own head" (ganz neu) of the concluding part of the Lacrimosa, the Sanctus, Benedictus, and Agnus Dei; only "in order to give the work more unity" he repeated the fugue of the Kyrie with the words "cum sanctis." The Requiem thus completed—the two first movements in Mozart's handwriting, the remainder in Süssmayr's—was delivered over to the owner. 7 If it was intended that the latter should accept the whole composition as by Mozart, appearances were certainly not calculated to undeceive him. The score in question passed in 1838 into the possession of the Imperial Library. 8 The first impression of every one who sees it, and who is familiar with Mozart's handwriting, must be that the whole of it was written by him, and that the autograph of Mozart's Requiem in its entirety is before him. 9 Closer examination and comparison raise suspicion, many discrepancies are discovered, although perhaps only trifling ones, and the fact must be borne in mind that, to a question addressed to her on the subject, Mozart's widow answered (February 10, 1839) that a full score of the Requiem in Mozart's handwriting could not exist, since it was finished not by him but by Süssmayr.

A comparison of the manuscript with several scores undoubtedly written by Süssmayr—a terzet and bass air, composed by him in 1793 for insertion in the "Serva Padrona"—solved the riddle. It was the same handwriting, closely resembling that of Mozart, with the same deviations from it which had been pointed out in the Requiem. There could SÜSSMAYR'S WORK. [365] no longer be any doubt that Süssmayr had written the score from the Dies iræ—the paging begins afresh, starting with page 1 at the Sanctus. In one place the transcriber betrays himself by a mistake. The closing bars of the Tuba mirum are noted for the stringed instruments by Mozart, as follows:—[See Page Image]

In his copy Süssmayr has omitted the octave passage for the violins, and the characteristic instrumentation for the violas, and has filled up the omission in a way which is certainly no improvement on the original. 10

Süssmayr, it is clear, had so modelled his handwriting on that of Mozart that the two could only be distinguished by trifling idiosyncrasies. There are other instances of the same kind—Joh. Seb. Bach's second wife, for instance, writing a hand which only an expert could distinguish from her husband's, and Joachim's manuscript being, at one time at least, almost identical with Mendelssohn's. As far as the score of the Requiem was concerned, the wish to persuade the owner of the Requiem that he was possessed of a composition exclusively by Mozart may have come to the aid of THE REQUIEM. [366] custom and natural aptitude. There is no doubt that Count Walsegg accepted the score as having been completed and written by Mozart at least as far as the Sanctus. 11 Whether this was expressly stated, or merely taken for granted by him, does not appear, and the fact that the composition had been ordered by him with a view to a deception of another kind is a curious coincidence, but does not make the case any the better.

Under these circumstances it was to the interest of the widow to maintain that the Requiem had been completed by Mozart. This explains the assertion of Rochlitz 12 (who according to his own account had questioned Mozart's widow at Leipzig in 1796 concerning the whole story of the Requiem) that Mozart had completed the Requiem before his death. 13 But a secret known to so many could hardly be long kept. The widow had retained a copy of the work, and a performance of it took place soon after in Jahn's Hall at Vienna, the hall being densely crowded. It was pretty well known to the performers what portions were by Mozart and what by Süssmayr, 14 and the knowledge was not slow to spread. It reached Munich 15 and Prague, where at the first performance of the Requiem no secret was made of the fact that the Sanctus was composed by Süssmayr. 16 The widow sold manuscript copies of the Requiem to various noblemen, 17 and allowed others to make copies of it; 18 Hiller copied the PUBLICATION. [367] score note for note with his own hand, and wrote on the title-page "Opus,summum viri summi," expressing no doubt whatever as to the whole work being that of Mozart. 19 Not content with the profits thus accruing from the Requiem, the widow turned her attention towards its publication. The idea occurred to her that a public appeal to the Unknown might induce him to forego his claim on the composition. 20 The appeal, however, was not made, for the publishers, Breitkopf and Hàrtel, not conceiving themselves to be bound by the agreement made with Mozart, resolved on bringing out the work from the several transcripts of it which had fallen into their hands. Desirous, however, that the work should be produced with all possible correctness, they applied to the widow for her copy, with which, having no power to stop the publication, she saw no objection to furnishing them. To their question (prompted by the reports current as to the authorship of the work) whether the Requiem was wholly and solely composed by Mozart, she answered explicitly as follows (March 27, 1799):—

As to the Requiem, it is true that I possess the celebrated one, written shortly before his death. I know of no Requiem but this, and declare all others to be spurious. 21 How far it is his own composition—it is so to near the end—I will inform you when you receive it from me. The circumstances were as follows: Seeing his end approaching, he spoke with Herr Süssmayr, the present Imperial Kapellmeister, and requested him, if he should die without completing it, to repeat the first fugue in THE REQUIEM. [368] the last part, as is customary; and told him also how he should develop the conclusion, of which the principal subjects were here and there already carried out in some of the parts. And this Herr Süssmayr actually did.

On being pressed for further information she referred the publishers to Süssmayr himself, who answered in the letter already mentioned (February 8, 1800). He nowhere asserts having received a decided commission from Mozart, nor does he mention the concluding fugue, so that it is plain that the widow turned her not very clear recollection of the transaction as far as possible in favour of the integrity of the Requiem. Count Walsegg, who had already given himself out as the composer of the Requiem, must have felt considerable annoyance at its wide dissemination as Mozart's work; but as yet he had made no sign. When however, in 1799, Breitkopf and Hàrtel announced the publication of the Requiem from the manuscript in the possession of Mozart's widow, he thought it time to put forward his claim. He sent his own copy of the score to his advocate, Dr. Sortschan, at Vienna, and through him demanded explanation and compensation from the widow. Stadler and Nissen negotiated with the advocate in her name. Stadler pointed out which parts had Mozart and which Süssmayr for their author, and the advocate wrote down all that he said for the information of the Count, to whom he returned his score. 23 As to compensation, the widow wrote to Hàrtel (January 30, 1800) that the Count had demanded the restitution of fifty ducats, but that he would perhaps be satisfied with receiving a number of copies of the work. Nissen at length induced the Count "with much difficulty and after many threats" to accept as payment transcripts of several unpublished compositions by Mozart, 24 and even to allow the widow to revise the printed score by a comparison of it with his own. 25


As the result of this unsatisfactory transaction to all concerned in it, we may conclude that the Requiem and Kyrie are the work of Mozart as we have them, that the movements from the Dies iræ to the first eight bars of the Lacrimosa, also the Domine Jesu and Hostias, were finished by Mozart in the voice part and the bass, and that the principal points of the instrumentation were also indicated by him, leaving only the details to be elaborated. This, however, is not by any means so easy and purely mechanical an undertaking as has been supposed, and Mozart's verbal suggestions must not be underrated. As regards the last three numbers, Süssmayr's statement that they had been "composed (verfertigt) entirely afresh" by him offers no decided testimony on the point. Stadler's account 26 ("the widow told me that after Mozart's death a few scraps of paper with music on them had been found on his writing-desk, and had been handed over to Herr Süssmayr; what they contained, or what use Süssmayr made of them, I do not know") admits the possibility, but only the possibility, that these scraps were sketches for the last movements. 27 The repeatedly expressed doubt as to whether "these flowers really grew in Süssmayr's garden" can only be supported upon internal evidence.

The serious spirit in which Mozart undertook the composition of his Requiem, the intensity of his absorption in it, and the artistic labour which he bestowed upon it, are best evidenced by the work itself. 28 It is remarkable that towards the close of his life, when increasing illness disposed his mind to serious reflection, his musical labours should have been calculated to turn his thoughts upon death and the grave. On the one hand his views as a Freemason, which were both earnest and sincere, found their expression in the "Zauberflote"; and, on the other, his religious convictions THE REQUIEM. [370] asserted for the last time in the Requiem the sway over his mind and conscience which they had never lost. 29 The two sets of mental activities thus roused found their common centre in Mozart's mind, and impelled him to the production of his most powerful and most important works. The similarity of thought and tendency displayed in the Requiem and the "Zauberflöte" is observable even in the combinations of external means in corresponding parts of the two works. The combination of basset-horns, bassoons, and trombones, and here and there of trumpets and drums, with the stringed instruments, which gave so singular an expression of earnest solemnity to the tone-colouring of the "Zauberflöte," is made use of again in the Requiem.

But the tone-blending of the latter work is nevertheless limited, the clearer wind instruments—flutes, oboes, clarinets and the softer horns—being left out altogether, and the frequent orchestral characterisation depending altogether upon the varied combinations of the instruments named above.

The view upheld in the opera that serious ideas must be expressed in corresponding severity of form is even more decided in the Requiem, in so far as Mozart must have regarded as natural and inevitable the identification of certain fixed forms with the musical expression of religious emotion in an act of worship. The praiseworthy feeling which leads an artist, who believes himself to be offering his work for the service of the Most High, to bestow his best thoughts and his best workmanship upon it, cannot fail also to have influenced him. The pleasure which, after his study of Handel's oratorios and the strong impression made on him by Bach's motetts, Mozart took in the severely contrapuntal style of composition is evinced both in the "Zauberflöte" and in the two organ pieces composed in December, 1790, and March, 1791. But the main inducement to this form was doubtless the facility with which it expressed a serious, controlled and concentrated frame of mind, allowing at the same KYRIE—INTROITUS. [371] time much freedom of characteristic and individual expression. The chief significance of the Requiem rests herein, that it proves these forms, with their fixed laws and strongly marked features, to have more than a merely abstract or historical value; it proves them to be in fact, when artistically conceived and scientifically handled, capable of giving appropriate expression to the deepest emotion in which the human heart finds vent. 30

In considering the Requiem, a distinction must be made between the different parts of this kind of Mass and the different degrees of importance which they receive in relation to the act of worship with which they are associated.

The Kyrie is preceded by the Introitus, beginning with a prayer for the departed. The bassoons and basset-horns, in successive imitation, give utterance to the soft, sustained melody of the prayer, supported by a simple accompaniment on the stringed instruments; it is interrupted by four clashing trumpet chords announcing the approach of judgment, and not again recurring until the day of doom is there. Thereupon the voices immediately enter, falling in from the bass upwards; but a syncopated figure for the violins gives the petition for repose an expression of painful unrest, called forth by the contemplation of death and the coming judgment; soon, however, the clouds are pierced by the divine light which is finally to disperse them, and the movement comes to a peaceful end after an outburst of confidence and strength rendered by the orchestra. After a short transition passage come the words of the psalm, "Lord, we will magnify Thee upon Zion, and pay our vows unto the Most High." In order to emphasise these as the words of Scripture, Mozart has set them to an old chorale melody and given them to a soprano voice, which utters them in clear, pure tones, like consolation from above. The chorale, as has been already remarked (Vol. I., p. 200), is the two-part tropus of the ninth church mode to the psalm "In exitu Israel de Ægypto," and had previously been made use of by Mozart as a Cantus firmus THE REQUIEM. [372] in his "Betulia Liberata"; but what a difference between the work of the youth and that of the matured master! 31 While the soprano chorus takes up the same melody firmly and forcibly with the words "Thou that hearest prayer, unto Thee shall all flesh come!" the other voices fall in in animated movement, and an energetic figure for the violins increases the force of the expression. Then the petition for eternal rest is renewed with a stronger expression of confidence, but still with the ground-tone of painful agitation, rendered, by the union with the first motif of a second, more animated and more forcible. This second subject has already been hinted at in the transition passage to the psalm texts, from which also the passage accompanying the texts is taken, and here first fully asserts itself, the psychological development thus coinciding with the musical climax. The climax reaches its highest point in the petition for eternal light, which the divided voices utter alternately and repeat in concert with tender, pleading supplication.

The ejaculations "Kyrie eleison!" and "Christe eleison!" are bound together as the two themes of a double fugue (the first strong and firm, the second agitated and impulsive), which are carried out together in inextricable entanglement—their expression heightened by the chromatic construction towards the close, until in constantly increasing climax they come to a pause on a harshly dissonant chord, and then, as it were, collect themselves and unite in quiet composure. This fugue 32 has given rise to the extremes of criticism, laudatory and the reverse; 33 G. Weber could not bear to believe that Mozart KYRIE. [373] could have written such "Gurgeleien" as the chromatic passages of the Christe eleison, 34 and others have looked in vain for the pious humility of expression proper to such a solemn appeal to the mercy of the Redeemer. 35 Whether the treatment of the keys adopted in this movement is in accordance with the requirements of a strict fugue, must be decided by the masters of the school; it is undeniable that on it depends the character and effect of the movement, and that the essential laws of counterpoint are here apprehended and turned to account with deep insight into their true nature. 36

The execution of the chromatic passages is difficult certainly; but, apart from the fact that both older and contemporary masters, who wrote for trained choirs—Bach, for instance, or Handel, or Haydn—made similar demands on the skill of their performers, they are perfectly possible if taken in the right time, and the effect produced by them is probably that which Mozart intended. The conception of the movement is clearly expressed, and requires neither explanation nor apology. 37 The exclamation, "Lord, have mercy upon us!" is capable of very varied expression; in the mouth of one in the agony of death, burdened with sin and about to appear before the Judge of all men, it becomes an agonising appeal for mercy. This state of mind has already been expressed, and rises at the close of the Requiem into such an intensity of longing after eternal light, that the anguished yet not despairing cry of the Kyrie is perfectly naturally led up to. The two feelings are expressed in the two themes of the fugue, although, in accordance with the character of the THE REQUIEM. [374] Mass, even the confidence is penetrated with a feeling of grief. In such a mood the element of agitation naturally rises higher and higher, until at length the anguish of suspense finds vent in the heartrending cry for mercy which leads to composure and resignation. The two movements of the Requiem and the Kyrie are thus formed into a whole of perfect harmonic unity, and lead the way to the Dies iræ.

In view of this unmistakable unity of conception and construction it appears strange that decided traces of Handel's influence should appear in the principal subjects. Stadler remarks that Mozart has borrowed the motif of the Requiem from the first motif of Handel's "Dirge on the death of Queen Caroline"—"as some loose sheets among his retrains show"—and has worked it out after his own manner. 38 This can only allude to the preliminary sketches of this portion of the Requiem such as Mozart was accustomed to make for contrapuntal work before writing the score (Vol. II., p. 433), and of such there must have been a great number during the composition of his Requiem. Stadler's conjecture that they were vestiges of Mozart's youthful studies is unfounded; he was not acquainted with Handel's works in his youth, nor until they were introduced to him by Van Swieten (Vol. II., p. 386), under whose direction he rearranged Handel's oratorios between 1788-1790 (p. 218). Before this, the anthem in question cannot have been known to him. In this beautiful work, composed in December, 1737, 39 Handel has taken the Chorale, "Herr Jesu Christ, du wahres Gut," or, "Wenn mein Stündlein vorhanden ist', 40 as Cantus firmus to the first chorus, and has made further use of the same theme in the fugued concluding chorus. It is very unlikely that Mozart deliberately chose out the subject in order to work it out in a different way to Handel; it was more probably so stamped on his memory as to have suggested itself naturally as suited to the words before him, and to have then HANDEL'S INFLUENCE. [375] been quite independently worked out by him. Stadler also points out that Mozart has taken the motif to the Kyrie from one of Handel's oratorios. The chorus "Halleluja! we will rejoice in Thy salvation." from Handel's "Joseph," contains both the themes of Mozart's Kyrie, but in the major key; again, the principal subject of the Kyrie eleison has been carried out as a fugue in the minor in the well-known and beautiful chorus of the Messiah, "By His stripes." A comparison of this fugue with that of the Requiem, shows that the adaptation has not merely consisted in the change from a major to a minor key, and that the actual motif, a very favourable one for treatment in counterpoint—[See Page Image]

and one constantly occurring in the fugal movements of every age, here serves only as a nucleus from which the master proceeds to develop his own independent creation. The essential principle in the construction of a double fugue is the combination of two themes, each bearing a necessary relation to the other. In the chorus in "Joseph" are two motifs exactly answering to each other; and it can scarcely be doubted that Mozart was struck with the combination and adopted it, although, as the examples adduced will show, his working-out of the motifs is essentially his own. Handel only really worked out the second motif—one, by the way, which often recurs in others of his works—and this in very free treatment; the first only occasionally emerges from the passages which play around it, like a huge rock almost overwhelmed by the billows. Mozart has undertaken such a fugal elaboration of both motifs as presupposes a radically different treatment impossible without a new intellectual conception of the task before him. Still more essential does this reconception appear when it is remembered that the supplication of a sinner for mercy was to take the place of a joyful offering of praise and thanksgiving. The transposition to a minor key involves at the outset so complete a reconstruction of the harmonic treatment as to point to a new creation THE REQUIEM. [376] rather than an adaptation. We here stand in the presence of one of the mysteries of music; how it is that one and the same musical idea, embodied in one definite form, should be capable by means of artistic arrangement of expressing different and even totally opposite emotions. It is true, doubtless, that invention is the characteristic gift of genius, but absolute novelty is not to be considered as altogether indispensable to invention. In music, as in every other art, the creation of an individual becomes common property for his successors, whose task it is so to develop and carry it on as in their turn to create and construct an original and undying work. Richly endowed natures, in the consciousness of their power of producing what is perfectly original from?any given point, often undisguisedly follow the impulse given by a predecessor to their imagination. A striking proof of this is given by Haydn, who has written a double fugue as the last movement of his Quartet in F minor, which might appear a deliberate attempt at rivalry, but which has in reality every claim to independence. To what extent Handel himself has employed, retouched, and re-elaborated melodies, not only of previous occurrence in his own works, but borrowed from other musicians, has lately been pointed out by Chrysander; and one of the most striking examples of such musical plagiarism is Gluck's expressive air from "Iphigenie in Tauris," "Je t'implore, et je tremble," which was unmistakably suggested by the beautiful Gigue in Seb. Bach's Clavier Studies (I., part I.). 41 Neither of these two great masters could be suspected of borrowing ideas for lack of invention. 42

A curious part of the Requiem, of special prominence in the musical construction of the Mass, is the old Latin hymn, DIES IRÆ. [377] Dies iræ, which is generally not quite accurately described as a Sequence. 43 It had grown into a custom in the service of the Mass that at the Alleluja of the Gradual in High Mass, which was repeated by the congregation, and then again by the choir, the last syllable "ja" should be extended into a jubilus, upon which long-drawn-out florid progressions (sequentæ) were sung, of different forms for different festivals. Gradually these became so elaborate as to offer great difficulties in execution and to require special practice, and the idea arose of providing these merely vocalised melodies (neumæ, or divisions) with words which were called prosæ, because they were confined to no particular metre or rhythm, but followed the melody, a syllable to every note. The greatest development of these prosæ, which were now called sequentiæ, was made in the ninth century by Notker the Stammerer for his scholars and successors in the musical school of St. Gall. 44 If he did not actually invent them, he gave them their essential form. Proceeding from the old alleluja jubilation, he founded upon it a fixed form, consisting partly in regularly recurring cadences, partly in the twofold repetition of each melodic progression, with the frequent employment of a kind of refrain. This gave to the words a certain amount of regularity, still however far from any strictness of rhythm or metre. These Sequences introduced a fresh element of animated movement into the rigid uniformity of the ritual, and, coming in the place of the responses, gave the congregation an effective share in the service. They had therefore a reciprocal effect on the national poetry, and were developed side by side with it. In process of time rhyme, at first only occasionally appearing, became general. The two lines set to the corresponding melodic choral progressions were connected by rhyme, as well as the lines of the refrain. Then they were united into THE REQUIEM. [378] verses, and gradually the number of syllables in each line was made equal. The Sequences, which allowed of very great variety of form, were extremely popular in Germany, France, and England—less so in Italy; and so many were written, often set to well-known melodies, that they seemed to imperil the strictly conventional character of the Mass. The Church therefore forbade the use of all but three—"Victimæ Paschali," "Veni, sancte Spiritus," and "Lauda Sion salvatorem"—which alone are included in the revised Breviary after the Council of Trent in 1568.

There can be no Sequence properly so-called in a Requiem, because there is no Alleluja to which it can serve as the supplement; but, following the analogy of the Sequence, a hymn on the last judgment was added to the Tractus, which follows the Gradual, as a preparation for the reading of the Gospel. The date of the introduction of this hymn is uncertain, but it is mentioned as an integral portion of the Requiem by Barthol. Albizzi in 1385, and was acknowledged and retained as such, together with the three Sequences named above. The author of the hymn is not certainly identified, but it was most probably the Franciscan Thomas, of Celano, who was living in 1255. 45

The importance of the Dies iræ from a musical point of view is determined by the fact that it takes the place of the Gloria and the Credo, which are not sung in the Requiem. Instead of the joyful confidence of these movements, the reflections of sinful man in the presence of judgment here find their expression, and this obviously determines the tone of the whole. The euphonious force and beauty of the hymn, which have not been attained in any of the numerous translations made of it, distinguish it as made for music, 46 the subject being also very favourable to composition. With graphic force the terrors of judgment are painted with all ecclesiastical severity, and with constant reference to the actual words of Scripture, while the mercy and DIES IRÆ. [379] loving-kindness of the Redeemer are dwelt on with equal emphasis. The fear of damnation is tempered by the hope of salvation, and from the waitings of remorse rises the prayer of the trusting believer. Intense and varied emotions are thrown into relief by strong contrast. Brief but pregnant suggestions give occasion for powerful musical characterisation, favoured also by the isolated position of the hymn in the service. Just as the preacher addresses his solemn warning to the congregation with more of individual emphasis than the priest who offers the sacrifice of the Mass, so the composer who depicts the terrors of the last judgment, so as to bring them home to the imagination of his hearers, has freer individual scope than if he were merely following the different acts of worship. In the Dies iræ, therefore, we have a freer style, a more vivid expression than elsewhere. Nor is it so bound by the usages of tradition as the other parts of the Mass, although a division of the hymn into particular sections is indicated by the arrangement of the subject, and necessitated by the conditions of musical construction.

The hymn begins by representing the destruction of the world, which is to precede the coming of the Lord, and the expression must therefore be forcible and animated even to excess. Here, then, for the first time the chorus enters as a compact mass, only dividing once, when the basses exclaim: "Quantus tremor est futurus!" the only attempt at tone-painting, while the other voices wail: "Dies iræ! dies illa!" until they all unite to express the fearful majesty in which the Judge shall appear. The effect of this chorus in contrast to what has gone before rests in great measure on the high position of the voices; their shrill, clear tone, heightened by the string accompaniment of semiquavers or syncopated notes, is expressive of strong agitation. Without having recourse to any new devices—trombones are omitted here that the shrill effect may not be impaired—an altered tone-colouring transports the hearer to an altogether new region of ideas. The harmonising adds to the effect by the occurrence of harsh, rugged chords—especially by the transition from E major to C minor at the repetition of the "Quantus THE REQUIEM. [380] tremor" and the return to A major; not to mention other striking features, such as the imitative passage for the tenor at the first "Quantus tremor," which expresses amazement in the most vivid manner.

After bringing before the mind of the hearers the tumult and horror of the destruction of the world, the judgment begins—the trumpets call all created beings before the throne of the Judge. A tenor trumpet makes the announcement in a simple passage, which is taken up by a bass voice, and the two unite with a solemn and dignified effect. 47 Then one after another a tenor, alto, and soprano voice describe the judgment and its unmitigated severity, and at last combine in trembling supplication at the words, "Cum vix iustus sit securus." Mozart has here, apparently, intentionally refrained from emphasising the terrors of judgment, wishing to heighten the contrast of the destruction of the world with the appearance of the Judge, and its effect on the conscience as well as the senses of mankind; he aimed at expressing this effect by means of a soul-elevating calm; but he has fallen short of his endeavours. The movement is in itself expressive, dignified, and full of euphonious beauty, especially towards the close, but it fails to rouse in us a sense of the grandeur and elevation which belong to the subject. 48

The idea that no created being is justified before God recalls the conception of the Judge throned in His awful glory, which is expressed with terrible force in the chorus that follows. The plan of it shows clearly the influence of the words on the musical conception. The thrice-repeated exclamation "Rex!" and then "Rex tremendæ majestatis," makes, even when spoken, a strong impression, but when sung by the whole strength of the chorus in simple, powerful chords, supported by the wind instruments, the effect is almost overpowering, and is heightened by the strongly DIES IRÆ. [381] punctuated passage for the strings, sinking, as it were; into terrified silence at each recurrence of the exclamation. The idea of the mercy of the Redeemer is at first subordinate to this impression: while sopranos and altos in strict imitation repeat the "Rex tremendae majestatis," and the stringed instruments elaborate their figure in two-part imitation, the tenors and basses announce "Qui salvandos salvas gratis" with a characteristic motif, also in strict imitation; and this is repeated, with alternations of the upper and lower parts, until they all four unite in the whole sentence, forming a movement of concisest strength and severity. The declaration of mercy calls forth the prayer, beginning with the single appeal, "Salva me!" repeated to the gradually dying passage for the stringed instruments, and finally concentrating all its strength and intensity of emotion in the prayer: 49 "Salva me, Fons pietatis!" 50

And now the idea gains ground of the merciful Saviour and His work in reconciling mankind with God; Him we beseech to intercede for souls conscious of their sinfulness. The verses which are devoted to this division of the subject are given to a quartet of solo voices, as appropriate to the gentler and more individual tone of the emotions depicted. The quartet in question is one of the longest and most elaborate movements of the Requiem, and in its plan and arrangement, in the wealth and importance of its different motifs, in the delicacy of its detail, and the spirit which breathes from it throughout, it is perhaps the finest of them all; nor is it too much to say that no more beautiful and noble piece of music of the kind has ever been written. Mozart himself recognised the fact, telling his wife, after writing down the Recorders, that if he were to die before finishing the Requiem it was of the greatest importance that THE REQUIEM. [382] this movement should have been completed. 51 The chief part of the movement, after its introduction by the ritornello, is formed by a motif given by two voices in imitation at the beginning, the middle, and again towards the close, the fervent expression of which is tinged with severity by means of suspensions of the second. It is supported by a figured bass, the first bar of which—[See Page Image]

contains the germ from which most of the motifs of the accompaniment and the interludes are developed, and finally winds up the ritornello in two-part canonic imitation on the violins, with a figure for the violas in counter-movement to an organ point on the bass. This two-part movement having been executed first by the alto and bass, then by the soprano and tenor, the four unite in free movement to bring the whole to an expressive close with the supplicating appeal, "Ne me perdas illa die!" In the first episode the parts are at first divided into short responding phrases, held together by the figured bass, and coming to a close together, whereupon the first movement, abbreviated, is repeated. Then there occurs a new motif of essentially harmonic character, the effect of which depends upon the thrice-heightened climax of the chords, intensified by the contrast of the high and low voices. Then the parts divide again and lead the way for the last entry of the first movement, which is repeated with a short parenthesis inserted; the final close is brought about in a very interesting and satisfying manner by the fine successive or parallel motion of the different parts. But we despair of reproducing in words anything but a mere skeleton of the beauty of this wonderful quartet—a beauty whose peculiar charm consists in the union of loveliest grace with chaste severity and earnest depth of thought. This charm it owes to the simplicity and truth of feeling which led the master to seek and to find the best expression DIES IRÆ. [383] for what was in his mind; and never in any art, be it what it may, has the comforting feeling of pious trust in the mercy of God, arising from the consciousness of human weakness, been more truly and beautifully expressed than in this Recordare.

The verse which follows contrasts the torments of the damned with the hopes of believers, and could not therefore be suitably rendered with the same composure of tone. It had become customary to emphasise the contrast very strongly, depicting the torments of hell as graphically as the joys of Paradise. In this movement, therefore, the men's voices are opposed to the women's, and describe the torments in short, imitative phrases, emphasised when repeated by rapid changes from major to minor and sharp suspensions and rendered still more forcible by a frequent pregnant rhythmical figure borne by the stringed instruments in unison. The women's voices, supported only by a quiet violin passage, express a low and fervent appeal for redemption, intensified upon repetition by some suspensions. 52 All the emotions and reflections represented so far have tended to turn the thoughts inwards, with such feelings of remorse and repentance as alone can lead to the trust in divine mercy, and it is with the feeling of deep self-abasement that the supremest point of the hymn is approached. The voices unite soft and low in a succession of harmonies such as no mortal ear had ever heard:—[See Page Image]


Involuntarily we bow before the declaration of a mystery which no mouth may utter; irresistibly impelled by the stream of harmony, we feel our spirits loosed from the bondage which has held them, and born again to life and light; we feel a breath of the immortality which had already touched the brow of the master as he wrote. To the contrite and broken spirit the Day of Wrath becomes a day of mourning, and so the "Lacrimosa dies illa" begins with a gentle plaint hushed by the terrifying representation of the rising of the dead from their graves, which is grandly expressed in a powerful crescendo, brought about by the rising climax of the melody and the onward motion of the harmonies. With the anguished cry of "Homo reus!" the pen dropped from the hand of the master; the emotion which shook his whole being was too strong for expression: "Huic ergo parce Deus, pie Jesu Domine!"

How far Süssmayr's continuation has fulfilled Mozart's intentions cannot of course be absolutely decided; he has rightly taken up and carried out the suggestion of the first few bars, and his conclusion has an imposing solemnity. It is worthy of note that henceforward the trombones are much more frequently employed than heretofore. When we compare the scanty and peculiar use made of them in the Requiem and the Tuba mirum, with their characteristic occurrence in the "Zauberflote," it appears doubtful whether Mozart himself would so often have introduced them as supports to the voices; although this was no doubt the custom in contemporary church music.

The Offertorium belongs again to the service, and requires on that account another and a more conventional character in the music than the Dies iræ. It falls into two sections, of which the first (Domine Jesu Christe) prefers the petition that the soul of the departed may not go down into hell, but OFFERTORIUM. [385] may be carried into light by the Archangel Michael. The earnest and affecting character of the music is tinged with a certain amount of harshness and unrest, arising from the constant recurrence of the mention of hell and its torments, which distinguishes the movement from the otherwise similar one of the Requiem. The vivid contrasts of the words are accentuated by the music, and the result is a succession of short phrases, combining into larger groups, which correspond with each other. The words "ne absorbeat eas Tartarus" are worked out into a short fugue, which has an unusually harsh effect owing to the characteristic sevenths of the theme and the powerful semiquaver passage carried out by the stringed instruments in unison. The gentle melody, supported by the solo voices in canonic imitation, "sed sanctus signifer Michael," has, on the contrary, a soothing effect, and is the only ray of light which is allowed to shine through the surrounding gloom. The whole movement closes with the words "Quam (lucem sanctam) olim Abrahæ promisisti" in an elaborate fugue, the effect of which is heightened by the accompaniment which carries out a motif of its own in close imitation. G. Weber found fault with this fugue, with its aimless elaboration of a subordinate idea and superfluous repetition of the same unimportant words; 53 and Seyfried defended it on the ground that a fugue was considered indispensable at this point, 54 and indeed was not unsuited to it. The idea is, in truth, not a subordinate one, it is the ground of the confidence with which the prayer is offered, and so becomes the basis of the whole movement. The fugue is the form best fitted for short, pithy sentences, and the one in question has the same singular mixture of trust in the divine mercy and tortured anxiety at the thought of death which was expressed in the first movement of the Requiem, although it there assumed a milder form. Separate passages are of great, though somewhat rugged beauty, as befitted the movement; more especially the closing passage, "de profundo lacu, in obscurum, et semini eius."


The second part (Hostias et preces) has a much more composed character, as becomes the offering by the spirit of its sacrifice to the Almighty. The idea, therefore, of still lingering disquiet is left to be expressed by the syncopated passage for the violins, the voices going together almost throughout the movement, and declaiming the words with strikingly appropriate expression. The very simplicity of this movement reveals the hand of the master, and gives it an individuality especially noticeable at the words "tu suscipe pro animabus illis, quarum hodie memoriam facimus." Thus far a reference to Mozart's own manuscript suffices to determine how much was left to Süssmayr's carrying out. Although sufficient indications were given even of the more elaborate and independent instrumental parts to serve as a guide to a well-educated musician, yet the example adduced above shows how much freedom in matters of detail was left for the further elaboration; and, not to mention various oversights, it is probable that had Mozart completed the composition many delicate touches would have been added to the accompanying parts which cannot now be even conjectured. Very few indications are given for the wind instruments, and even if Mozart gave verbal instructions concerning them, much must still remain in doubt. It must be allowed, however, that Süssmayr's share in the work has been on the whole successfully performed; it is quite in keeping with the rest, and he has plainly refrained from making any alterations or surreptitious interpolations. With the last three movements we enter the domain of conjecture, if we are to reject the positive testimony of Süssmayr, supported by Mozart's widow, as to the share of the former in the work. Rochlitz, reviewing Süssmayr's letter on the subject, remarks that "the works already known to be by Herr Süssmayr subject his claim to an important share in this great composition to considerable doubt"; 55 and he expressed his suspicions more decidedly at a later time. 56 G. Weber, who failed to recognise Mozart in many SÜSSMAYR'S SHARE IN THE WORK. [387] parts of the first movements, has, on the contrary, assigned to him a distinct share in the last movements. 57 Marx emphatically expressed his conviction that the principal subjects throughout showed traces of Mozart's handiwork. 58 This view is founded on the assumption that the movements are worthy of Mozart, and are such as Süssmayr himself could not have produced; but the critic must be careful not to bring forward on aesthetic grounds alone accusations which involve so much of grave moral delinquency.

Seyfried's assertion that, 59 according to the generally accepted opinion in Vienna, Süssmayr found note-books containing sketches of these movements, and showing Mozart's intention of elaborating the Osanna fugue after the Benedictus, as well as the new theme for the concluding fugue, Cum sanctis, has scarcely been investigated with the care which it demands. One circumstance has, as far as I know, been left altogether out of account. If the last three movements had been altogether wanting at Mozart's death, it would have appeared, one would think, both easier and simpler to supply them from one of his manuscript Masses, which were entirely unknown, than to commission Süssmayr to write them afresh; and such a proceeding would doubtless have been far more capable of justification to the owner of the work. But the confusion and embarrassment in which Mozart's death threw his widow and her affairs may have occasioned many things to be done which would not otherwise have taken place.

Frz. Xav. Süssmayr, who, as a young man of twenty-seven, enjoyed the friendship of Salieri 60 and Mozart, became so intimate with the latter 61 that he was, as Seyfried THE REQUIEM. [388] expresses it, "the inseparable companion of the immortal Amphion." He adopted Mozart's style of writing with such success that, although his ideas often fell far short of his master's, many of his works in the serious style might, Seyfred maintains, be taken for Mozart's, did we not know that they were Süssmayr's; 62 Hauptmann has informed me of instrumental works by him which show quite Mozart's manner of work, and might pass for lighter compositions by the latter.

Sievers, who warmly espoused Süssmayr's cause, speaks of his "Spiegel von Arkadien," which he ranks with the "Zauberflote,"

and of various pieces which may serve as models of the graceful and characteristic as well as of the tragico-serio styles of composition. 63 I have carefully examined his operas, "Der Spiegel von Arkadien" (1794) and "Soliman II." (1800), as well as some of his lighter church compositions, and find nothing in them beyond an easy but superficial inventive power, a smooth practised workmanship, and almost throughout an obvious imitation of Mozart's manner.

The Sanctus and Osanna are scarcely of a kind to admit of a decided opinion as to their authorship. The brevity and conciseness of the Sanctus do not by any means prove it not to have been by Mozart, for all the movements of the Requiem, when not lengthened by a fugal treatment, are similarly compressed. Nor must an unpleasing progression for the violins be taken as decisive against his authorship, for the working-out is in any case not his. On the other hand, it must not be concluded that because the movement has a general character of dignified grandeur, and the commencement of the Pleni sunt is truly majestic, that therefore Süssmayr could not have written it. It is not on the whole equal to the best of the preceding movements. The short fugue of the Osanna is animated, vigorous, and faultlessly concise; there is nothing against the supposition that Mozart might have written it; but, on the other hand, it would be difficult to prove with certainty that it might not have been SÜSSMAYR'S SHARE IN THE WORK. [389] the work of a musician with the amount of talent and cultivation unquestionably possessed by Süssmayr.

The case is somewhat different with the Benedictus, where, according to custom, solo voices are introduced in a long and elaborate quartet of pleasing character. Zelter says of it: "The Benedictus is as excellent as it can be, but the school decides against it being by Mozart. Süssmayr knew Mozart's school of music, but had not been trained in it from early youth, and indications of this may be found here and there in the beautiful Benedictus." 64 He is doubtless right. The first motif for the alto, and the idea of making the several voices reply to each other, might very well be Mozart's; but certainly not the working-out. The motion is obviously interrupted when the soprano, after the alto, again enters in the tonic; and the passage into the dominant is very lame. Still lamer, after the conclusion of the first part, are the laborious continuance in F major, and (instead of the development naturally expected here) the immediate return by the chord of the seventh to the first part, which is then repeated in its entirety. Neither the design nor the execution is worthy of Mozart; nor is it credible that in the interlude he would have copied the "et lux perpetua" from the Requiem in such a strange fashion as it has here been done, without any reason for an allusion to that place.

The abnormally thick and full instrumentation must also be taken into consideration. The instrumentation has, it is true, not been worked out by Mozart in the other movements, but here it can scarcely be separated from the general design, and it is distinguished from that of all the other movements by the use of two trombones, which Mozart never employed elsewhere, and which here supply the place of horns. Finally, the character of the movement is in many passages soft and effeminate, contrasting in this respect with the earnestness of the other movements, even of the Tuba mirum. 65 The


Osanna is, according to custom, an exact repetition of the previous one, only that the voices are transposed on account of the altered key.

The Agnus Dei transports us to quite a different region. Here we find the depth and intensity of feeling, the noble beauty and the originality of invention, which we admire in the first movements of the Requiem. The fine expressive violin figure of the first period—[See Page Image] is full of vigour, and is admirably enhanced by its harmonic treatment, and the gentle counter-phrase in its peaceful motion brings about a soothing conclusion. The twofold repetition is effectively varied, and the close is emphasised by a novel and beautiful turn. The whole displays the perfect mastery of a musician. "If Mozart did not write this," says Marx, 66 "well, then he who wrote it is another Mozart!"

I have seen nothing in Süssmayr's works which can justify me in ascribing to him the conception of this movement; much, on the contrary, to convince me that the chief ideas at least are Mozart's, and that Süssmayr can hardly have had a more important share in this movement than in the earlier ones. His whole statement loses, no doubt, its full credibility if a well-grounded doubt can be thrown on any one point; but I should not like to assert with confidence that in the Sanctus and Benedictus Süssmayr must have availed himself of sketches by Mozart.

The repetition of the first movement at the conclusion of the Mass was not unusual at the time. Hasse in his Requiem intones the Lux æterna to the same chorale as the Te decet, and then repeats the Requiem; Zelenka does the same; Jomelli repeats the Requiem, but adds a fresh conclusion to it. Contemplating that portion of the Requiem which Mozart completed, or which he left in such a state that to the initiated it is easy to distinguish his handiwork, GENERAL REVIEW OF THE WORK. [391] we have no hesitation in placing this work on the pinnacle of that artistic perfection to which the great works of Mozart's later years had attained. 67 We see revealed the depth of feeling, the nobility of beauty, the mastery of form, the complete spiritual and mental absorption in the task before him which have combined to produce this marvellous creation. A comparison of the Requiem with other similar compositions, both by Mozart himself and his contemporaries, serves to emphasise the vast superiority of the former; 68 for Mozart even here does not absolutely reject the forms hallowed by long tradition; he shows his individual genius all the more strongly by keeping within them. Still less does he run counter to the views which the Requiem, by virtue of its position in the Catholic ritual, is meant to express, by any endeavour of his own to go further or to introduce something peculiar to himself; that full, unfettered devotion which is the indispensable condition of genuine artistic production is never disturbed, but human emotion, religious belief, and artistic conception go hand in hand in fullest harmony. On this unity rests the significance of the Requiem, for on this ground alone could Mozart's individuality arrive at full expression, and—working freely and boldly, yet never without consciousness of the limits within which it moved—produce the masterpiece which reveals at every point the innermost spirit of its author. In this sense we may indorse his own expression, that he wrote the Requiem for himself; it is the truest and most genuine THE REQUIEM. [392] expression of his nature as an artist; it is his imperishable monument. 69

The Requiem met with immediate recognition and approval. "If Mozart had written nothing except his violin quintets and his Requiem," Haydn used to say, "they would have rendered his name immortal." 70 It was more especially received with enthusiasm in North Germany, where church music, unmindful of J. S. Bach, had degenerated into all the triviality and insipidity which a slavish adherence to form could produce. It was with delight and astonishment that men recognised the union of classical severity of form with depth of poetic feeling—an oasis in the desert to those who had long wandered in a waste of sand. The old organist, Kittel, at Erfurt, a pupil of Sebastian Bach, received one day the organ part of a Requiem which he did not know; the further he proceeded in it, the more entranced he became, and on inquiring the composer's name, and hearing that it was Mozart, he could scarcely believe his ears, having been accustomed to regard Mozart only as the composer of popular operas which he knew nothing about. He procured the operas however, and was unprejudiced enough to recognise and admire in them the composer of the Requiem. So I was told by my music-master, Apel, Kittel's pupil.

Hiller, grown grey in reverence for Hasse and Graun, lifted his hands in amazement on first hearing the Requiem, and soon brought it to performance at Leipzig. 71 At Berlin the Singakademie produced the Requiem at their first public performance, October 8; 1800, 72 in memory of their founder, Fasch, who had lately died; it has ever since been chosen, both there 73 and elsewhere, when it is sought to honour the memory of great men, especially of musicians, 74 and Zelter SYMPATHY FOR THE FAMILY. [393] expressed his opinion that the Requiem would never be brought into disfavour either by adverse criticism or mediocre performance. 75 Cherubini 76 produced the Requiem in Paris in the year 1804, 77 and it has comforted and sustained innumerable mourners, 78 not only throughout Europe, but in the New World. 79



MOZART'S early and unexpected death, removing him from the eyes of the world at the moment when he might seem to have attained the height of his artistic greatness, had the effect of silencing the detractions and the envy of the few who were blinded by jealousy to his merits, and of exalting his works in the minds of those who felt his loss to be an irreparable one. Public feeling took the form of sympathy for his bereaved family, who were left in pressing need; and they found generous support, not in Vienna and Prague alone, but in many other places to which the widow made professional visits. When she was in Berlin, in 1796, Frederick William II. allowed her the use of the opera-house and the royal musicians for a benefit concert, at which she AT THE GRAVE. [394] appeared as a vocalist (February 28). The King, as was stated in the programme (Niemetschek, p. 63), "took great pleasure in thus proving to the widow how highly he esteemed the talent of her late husband, and how much he regretted the unfortunate circumstances which had prevented his reaping the due reward of his labours." But such efforts as these could not assure her a livelihood for any length of time; nor would the manuscripts left by Mozart realise, as matters then stood, anything like a sum sufficient for her future needs. His compositions might be spread abroad, either in MS. or in print, without her consent or authorisation. Indeed, when reference was made to her, she considered it as a favour, 1 and was well pleased when, in 1799, André purchased from her all the manuscripts in her possession for a sum of one thousand ducats.

Some of Mozart's manuscripts had been lost before his death, others have been made over to other people by André himself, and the remainder are included in the "Thematic Catalogue of Mozart's Original Manuscripts in the Possession of Hofrath André of Offenbach" (Offenbach, 1841). Unhappily, no public library has been able to obtain this most important collection, and its dispersion, owing to testamentary dispositions, must be a source of regret to all musicians.

Mozart's widow found a means of secure and untroubled existence in her second marriage. Georg Nic. Nissen (b. 1765) made her acquaintance, in 1797, at Vienna, where he was attached to the diplomatic service of Denmark, and rendered her great service in the arrangement of her affairs, as the numerous letters written by him in her name sufficiently show. He appears to have been a tiresome, but an upright and honourable man, and to have acted well towards Constanze and her children from the time of their marriage in 1809. After resigning his state service, in 1820, he lived with her in Salzburg, where also Mozart's sister resided (App. I.). He died in 1826, and was followed by his widow on COMMEMORATIONS. [395] March 6, 1842, a few hours after the arrival of the model for Mozart's statue; after Nissen's death she had lived with her widowed sister, Sophie Haibl. 2

Karl, the elder of Mozart's two surviving sons, began life as a merchant, then tried music, 3 and finally embraced an official career. He was a good pianist, and conducted musical performances, first at the house of Colonel Casella, afterwards at his own; 4 he died in a subordinate official post at Milan in 1859. The younger son, Wolfgang, became a musician. He first appeared in public in 1805, 5 made repeated professional tours, and after 1814 lived as musical director, first at Lemberg, afterwards in Vienna; he died at Carlsbad in 1844. He was esteemed both as a pianist and composer, but the greatness of his name prevented his attaining to more. 6

Appreciation and honour had not been wanting to Mozart in his lifetime, but they had been far from unalloyed; after his death they were showered in fullest measure on his memory. 7 His loss was commemorated in many places by the performance of his own works or of specially composed funeral cantatas, 8 and the anniversaries of his birth and of his death are still kept, both in private musical circles 9 and publicly, by concerts. The hundredth anniversary of his birth, which in 1856 caused all Germany to ring with Mozart's name and Mozart's music, united every voice into a chorus of praise and honour, and gave a new impulse to the study of his works. 10

Mozart's personal appearance has become so familiar by means of well-known portraits that he may in this respect AT THE GRAVE. [396] be compared to Frederick the Great or Luther; his music and his countenance have alike become common property (App. III.).

In the year 1799 the Duchess Amalie of Weimar placed a memorial of Mozart in the park of Siefurt; it is in terra cotta: a lyre on a pedestal, and leaning on it a tragic and a comic mask. 11 Bridi (Vol. II., p. 359), in the "Temple to Harmony" which he erected in his garden, has given to Mozart the first place among the seven musicians there represented, and has placed a monument dedicated to him in a melancholy grotto, with the inscription, "Herrscher der Seele durch melodische Denkkraft." 12 The same inscription is on the reverse of a medal by Guillemard together with a muse playing a lyre and a Cupid with a flute; the other side has a portrait of Mozart. A medallion by Bàrend has also a portrait in front, the reverse representing Orpheus and a captive lion, with the inscription, "Auditus saxis intellectusque ferarum sensibus." The design for a medallion by Böhm, which was never struck, was shown to me by my friend Karajan. It consists of a refined and intellectual representation of Mozart's profile.

In 1835 the idea took shape of erecting a statue to Mozart in Salzburg. An appeal for subscriptions was made in September, 1836, 13 and the cast of the statue was completed on May 22, 1841. The ceremony of unveiling the figure took place on the Michaelsplatz, September 4, 1842. 14 Unhappily it cannot be said that Schwanthaler has succeeded in investing the accepted idea of Mozart as an artist and a man with any ideal force and dignity. He is represented clothed in the traditional toga, standing with his head turned sidewards and upwards, and in his hand a scroll with the inscription, "Tuba mirum." In bas-relief on the pedestal are allegorical representations of church, concert, and dramatic music, and an eagle flying heavenwards with MEMORIALS OP MOZART. [397] a lyre. The simple inscription is "Mozart." 15 In 1856 the city of Vienna determined upon erecting a monument to Mozart in the churchyard of St. Mark's. It was designed by Hans Gasser, and solemnly unveiled December 5, 1859. A mourning muse reposes on a granite pillar, holding in her right hand the score of the Requiem, and resting her left, with a laurel wreath, on a pile of Mozart's works. On the pedestal are Mozart's portrait and the Vienna arms, with a short inscription. 16

Mozart's name has been more worthily honoured by the foundation of various institutions. The Salzburg Mozarteum, founded in 1842, not only preserves the most important family documents and interesting relics which were in the possession of Mozart's sons; it has the further aim of fostering and advancing music, and more especially church music, in Mozart's native town. 17 The Mozart Institution at Frankfort, founded in 1838, encourages talent by means of prizes and scholarships; 18 and a Mozart Society, founded in 1855, undertakes to assist needy musicians. 19

But after all that may be accomplished in honour of Mozart by the most enthusiastic of his admirers, his true and imperishable fame rests upon his works. A history of modern music will be concerned to show how his influence has worked upon his successors, displaying itself sometimes in conscious or slavish imitation, sometimes in the freer impulse it has given to closely allied natures; and it may truly be said that of all the composers who have lived and worked since Mozart there is not one who has not felt his inspiration, not one who has not learnt from him, not one who at some time or another has not encroached upon his domain. Like all great and original geniuses, he belongs to two ages which it was his mission to bring together; while quickening and transforming all that his own age can offer him as the AT THE GRAVE. [398] inheritance of the past, he leaves to posterity the offspring of his individual mind to serve as a germ for new and more perfect life.

It would be presumptuous to attempt to summarise in a few phrases the result of a life of ceaseless mental activity, and of strongly marked individuality. In view of this difficulty many biographers take refuge in a comparison of the subject of their work with other great men, and thus emphasise the points of resemblance or divergence which exist in their natures. No such parallel appears to me more justifiable than one between Mozart and Raphael. 20 The majestic beauty which appears to absorb all the other conditions of art production, and to blend them into purest harmony, is so overpoweringly present in the works of both masters that there is no need to enforce the comparison by dwelling on the many points of resemblance in their career both as men and artists, and in their moral and intellectual natures. Such a comparison, however, is not profitable unless it can be shown how and under what conditions this beauty, so varied in its manifestations, so similar in its effects, is produced. 21 Although it will readily be acknowledged that Mozart is closely related to Shakespeare 22 in fertility, force, and reality of dramatic invention and in breadth of humour, and to Goethe 23 in simplicity and naturalness of human sentiment and in plastic clearness of idea, yet here again we are confronted with the distinguishing qualities of great artists in different provinces of art, and Mozart's individuality in his own art is as far as ever from explanation. The frequently attempted parallels with great CONCLUSION. [399] musicians, with Haydn 24 or Beethoven, 25 bring out still more clearly the characteristics which distinguish him from all others; and it is to be feared that the more ingeniously these comparisons are carried out in detail the more the images are distorted and the judgment biassed.

With whatever feelings, and from whatever point of view, we regard Mozart, we are invariably met by the genuine purity of an artist's nature, with its irrepressible impulses, its inexhaustible power of production, its overflowing love; it is a nature which rejoices in nothing but in the manifestation of beauty which is inspired by the spirit of truth; it infuses all that it approaches with the breath of its own life, and, while conscientious in serious work, it never ceases to rejoice in the freedom of genius. All human emotions took a musical form for him, and were by him embodied in music; his quick mind grasped at once all that could fittingly be expressed in music, and made it his own according to the laws of his art. This universality, which is rightly prized as Mozart's distinguishing quality, is not confined to the external phenomena which he has successfully portrayed in every region of his art—in vocal and instrumental, in chamber and orchestral, in sacred and secular music. His fertility and many-sidedness, even from this outward point of view, can scarcely indeed be too highly extolled; but there is something higher to be sought in Mozart: that which makes music to him not a conquered territory but a native home, that which renders every form of musical expression the necessary outcome of his inner experience, that by means of which he touches every one of his conceptions with the torch of genius whose undying flame is visible to all who approach his works with the eyes AT THE GRAVE. [400] of their imagination unbound. His universality has its limits only in the limits of human nature, and consequently of his own individual nature. It cannot be considered apart from the harmony of his artistic nature, which never allowed his will and his power, his intentions and his resources, to come into conflict with each other; the centre of his being was the point from which his compositions proceeded as by natural necessity. All that his mind perceived, or that his spirit felt, every experience of his inner life, was turned by him into music; from his inner life proceeded those works of imperishable truth and beauty, clothed in the forms and obedient to the laws of his art, just as the works of the Divine Spirit are manifested in the forms and the laws of nature and history. 26

And, while our gaze is lifted in reverence and admiration to the great musician, it may rest with equal sympathy and love upon the pure-hearted man. We can trace in his career, lying clear and open before us, the dispensation which led him to the goal of his desires; and, hard as he was pressed by life's needs and sorrows, the highest joy which is granted to mortals, the joy of successful attainment, was his in fullest measure.

"And he was one of us!" his countrymen may exclaim with just pride. 27 For, wherever the highest and best names of every art and every age are called for, there, among the first, will be the name of Wolfgang Amade Mozart.



OLFGANG MOZART'S sister, Maria Anna Walburga Ignatia, known to her family and friends as Nannerl, was born July 30, 1751, and was thus five years older than her brother. She early showed a decided talent for music, and made extraordinary progress under her father's tuition. She made her appearance as a clavier-player during the early professional tours of the Mozart family in 1762, 1763-1766, and 1767, competing successfully with the first performers of the day, and overshadowed only by the accomplishments of her younger brother. Her father writes (London, June 8, 1764): "It suffices to say that my little lass at twelve years old is one of the most accomplished players in Europe"; and independent accounts which have come down to us coincide in this expression of opinion. During their stay at the Hague in October, 1765, she was seized with a serious illness and brought to the brink of the grave; her recovery, which had been despaired of by her parents, was hailed by them with delight. In November, 1767, she and Wolfgang were both struck down by smallpox at Olmütz; this also she happily recovered.

She did not accompany her father and brother in their subsequent journeys to Italy, but remained at home with her mother. Nevertheless she continued her studies as a clavier-player, and made good her claim to be considered a virtuoso; as such she was recognised by Burney's informant in 1772 (Burney, Reise, III., p. 262). She owed much, as she was the first to acknowledge, to the example and instruction of her brother, who threw himself eagerly into her studies whenever he was in Salzburg. Leopold writes to his son (January 26, 1778) that the violinist Janitsch and the violoncellist Reicha of the Wallerstein Capelle, who were giving a concert in Salzburg, "absolutely insisted upon hearing Nannerl play. They let out by their great anxiety to hear your compositions that their object was to judge from her gusto of your way of playing. She played your Mannheim sonata excellently well, with charming expression. They were delighted both with her playing and with the composition. They accompanied Nannerl in your trio in B flat (254 K.) exceedingly well." He goes on to tell Wolfgang of the high opinions formed by these musicians both of his compositions and of Nannerl's style of playing; and how she always repeated: "I am but the pupil of my brother." Wolfgang used in after years, when they were separated, to send her his pianoforte compositions, and set great store on her APPENDIX I. [402] judgment, frequently also giving her his own opinions and criticisms on music and musicians—as, for instance, on Clementi.

Marianne made some few attempts at composition; a song which she sent to her brother in Rome excited Wolfgang's astonishment at its excellence, and she wrote exercises in thorough-bass which were quite free from mistakes, and gave him great satisfaction. Her father remarks at a later date (February 25, 1778) that she had learnt to play thoroughbass and to prelude exceedingly well, feeling that she would have to support herself and her mother after his death. Once (July 20, 1779) when Wolfgang sent her from Paris a prelude—"a sort of capriccio to try the piano with"—as a birthday greeting, she jokingly put her father to the test. She received it at four o'clock in the afternoon, and at once set to work to practise it till she knew it by heart. When her father came in at five she told him that she had an idea, and that if he liked she would write it down, and thereupon began the prelude. "I rubbed my eyes," says Leopold Mozart, "and said, 'Where the deuce did you get that idea?' She laughed and drew the letter from her pocket."

She early began to give lessons on the clavier, her father writing from Milan (December 12, 1772): "Tell Nannerl that I wish her to teach little Zezi carefully and patiently; it will be to her own advantage to instruct another person thoroughly and with patience; I know what I am saying." These lessons afterwards became a source of income which could hardly have been dispensed with in the needy circumstances of the Mozart family; they enabled her to support herself as long as she lived at home, and thus lightened her father's pecuniary anxieties. She was considered even by her own family as somewhat parsimonious, and her father was agreeably surprised at hearing her exclaim, when told of Wolfgang's difficulties on his Parisian journey: "Thank God that it is no worse!" although she well knew that her own interests would have to be sacrificed to help her brother out of his scrape. But there is in fact every reason to believe that her heart was a tender one, and easily touched; she felt the loss of her mother very deeply, and had the warmest sympathy for her brother; sometimes indeed this took a livelier form than he cared for, and we find him once writing with ill-humour (Mannheim, February 19, 1778): "My best love to my sister, and pray tell her not to cry over every trifle, or I shall take good care never to come back"—an expression which did not fail to call down a reproof from his father. The relation of the brother and sister to each other was from childhood of the tenderest and closest description. The severe discipline to which they were both subjected, the journeys they took together, and above all the concentration of all the thoughts and energies of both upon music, increased their natural affection, in which there was not a trace of envy or jealousy on either side. Wolfgang vented his love of joking and teasing upon his "Schwester Canaglie"; and the letters which he wrote to her while on his Italian tour give abundant proofs of their unrestrained and innocent intercourse. The joking tone of MARIANNE MOZART. [403] Wolfgang's correspondence with his sister was not entirely dropped even when they had passed their childhood, but they also shared the more serious concerns of life together in fullest sympathy. We have seen how unendurable life at Salzburg became to Wolfgang as he grew up, and his sister's position was in no way a more enviable one. When her mother and brother left home for their journey to Paris, she remained to keep house for her father, who praised her for her attention, economy, and industry, and for her good management of the maid-servant, who was both dirty and untruthful. After her mother's death she continued her care of the household, which was occasionally increased by their receiving boarders. Pianoforte practice, generally with her father for some hours in the evening, and lessons to various young ladies, filled up her time. She was much liked as a teacher, and her pupils were distinguished for precision and accuracy of playing. When Wolfgang was at home, the house was full of life, her father was cheerful, and she had a companion with whom to share her joys and sorrows; but if he was away, the father, who could scarcely live without him, was often gloomy and preoccupied, and not even her tender ministrations could compensate him for the absence of his son. Marianne had but few distractions from her quiet domestic life in the form of gaiety or company; she took a lively interest in the persons and concerns of her few acquaintances, an interest which was shared by Wolfgang even when he had left Salzburg. "Write to me often—that is, of course, when you have nothing better to do," he writes from Vienna (July 4, 1781) "for a bit of news is a great treat to me, and you are the veritable Salzburg Intelligencer, for you write about everything that ever happens, and sometimes, no doubt to please me, you write the same thing twice over." Their father had impressed upon them the importance of keeping a regular diary, and this Wolfgang did in his earlier years; Marianne continued the habit much longer. Fragments of her diary still exist, and among her letters to her brother are two which contain very detailed accounts of the performances of Schikaneder's theatrical company at Salzburg.

Towards the end of 1780, while Wolfgang was at Munich busy with his "Idomeneo," Marianne was seized with an illness which for a time threatened to turn into consumption; it was long before she completely recovered. It appears probable that an attachment which did not turn out happily had something to do with this illness. Marianne, who had been a pretty and attractive child, became, as the family picture in the Mozarteum shows, a handsome woman, to whom suitors would not be wanting. Wolfgang's jokes about Herr von Mölk, an unfavoured admirer of Marianne's, as well as other mysterious allusions in his letters, prove that the brother and sister shared with each other their tenderest feelings. When Mozart was finally settled in Vienna, he lost no opportunity of being useful to his sister: "Ma très chère soeur," he writes (Vienna, July 4, 1781)—"I am very glad that you liked the ribbons, and will inquire as to the price of them; at APPENDIX I. [404] present I do not know it, since Fr. von Auerhammer, who was so kind as to get them for me, would accept no payment, but begged me to say all that was nice to you from her as a stranger, and to assure you that it gives her very great pleasure to be of any service to you; I have already expressed your acknowledgments to her for her kindness. Dearest sister! I have already told our father that if you would like anything from Vienna, whatever it may be, I will get it for you with the utmost pleasure; this I now repeat to you, with the addition that I shall be extremely vexed if I hear that you have intrusted your commissions to any one else in Vienna." Constanze was always ready at a later time to perform the same sort of service for her sister-in-law. But Wolfgang's sympathy with his sister was displayed in more serious matters. On July 4, 1781, he writes: "And now I should like to know how it stands with you and our very good friend? Write and tell me about it. Or have I lost your confidence in this affair?" This good friend was Franz D'Yppold, captain in the imperial army, who came to Salzburg as Governor to the Pages, and was made Councillor of War in 1777. He conceived an attachment to Marianne, which she returned, but his circumstances did not allow him to marry. Mozart, seeing that his sister's health and happiness were at stake, represented to her that there was nothing to hope for in Salzburg, and begged her to induce D'Yppold to try his fortune in Vienna, where he, Wolfgang, would do his utmost to advance his prospects. She would be able to earn far more by giving lessons in Vienna than in Salzburg, and there could be no doubt they would soon be able to marry; then the father would be obliged to give up his service at Salzburg, and join his children in Vienna. Unfortunately these promising plans remained unfulfilled; and as there appeared to the lovers no prospect of a possible union, the connection between them ceased. D'Yppold never ceased to be on friendly terms with L. Mozart, and always testified great sympathy and esteem for Marianne herself. He was very fond of her little son, who lived with his grandfather; and, during an absence from home of L. Mozart, he came to the house every day to see how the child was getting on.

Marianne returned in kind her brother's interest and sympathy in her love affairs. To her he poured out his complaints of the hard fate of himself and his Constanze, and the latter began a correspondence with her long before her father had reconciled himself to the connection. Correspondence between the brother and sister naturally flagged somewhat when Wolfgang became engrossed in his life and occupation at Vienna. He justifies himself against her reproaches (February 13, 1782): "You must not think because I do not answer your letters that I do not like to have them. I shall always accept the favour of a letter from you, my dear sister, with the utmost pleasure; and if my necessary occupations (for my livelihood) allow of it, I will most certainly answer it. You do not mean that I never answer your letters? You cannot suppose that MARIANNE MOZART. [405] I forget, or that I am careless—therefore they must be real hindrances, real impossibilities that come in the way. Bad enough, you will say! But, good heavens I do I write any oftener to my father? You both know Vienna t How can a man without a penny of income do anything here but work day and night to earn a living? My father, when his church service is over, and you, when you have given a couple of music lessons, can sit down and write letters all day if you choose; but not I.... Dearest sister, if you could imagine that I should ever forget my best and dearest father or yourself, then—but no! God knows, and that is enough for me—He will punish me if it should ever happen."

In 1784 Marianne married Johann Baptist, Baron von Berchthold, of Sonnenburg, councillor of Salzburg and steward of St. Gilgen. Wolfgang wrote on her marriage (August 18, 1784): "Ma très chère soeur,—Potz Sapperment! it is time that I write to you if my letter is to find you still a virgin! In a couple of days it will be all over! My wife and I wish you all manner of happiness and good fortune in your new life, and are full of regret that we cannot be present at your wedding; but we are in hopes of meeting you and your husband next spring at Salzburg, and perhaps also at St. Gilgen. We regret nothing now but the solitude in which our father will be left. True, you will be near him, and he can often walk over to see you, but he is so tied to that confounded Kapelle! If I were in my father's place, this is what I should do: I should ask the Archbishop in consideration of my long service to set me free—and I should take my pension and go and live quietly with my daughter at St. Gilgen; if the Archbishop refused, I should hand in my resignation and join my son in Vienna. And to this I wish you would try every means of persuading him. I have written the same thing in my letter to him to-day. And now I send you a thousand good wishes from Vienna to Salzburg, summed up in the hope that you two may live as happily together as we two. Your loving brother, W. A. Mozart."

A long list of letters from L. Mozart to his daughter testify to his care for her welfare. He is indefatigable in his attention to household matters, and occasionally receives from her presents of game or fish; he also keeps her constantly informed of what is going on in town. He is, as may be supposed, always ready with advice or remonstrance, both to his daughter and her husband, whom he considers "too absorbed in the spirit of economy"; he makes plenty of sarcastic remarks, but is, on the whole, under more restraint with them than with Wolfgang. His keen glance and shrewd sense never fail him. His son-in-law's hasty application for the stewardship of Neumark drew from him serious advice to weigh everything well beforehand, and then to be resigned to what should happen. "I write all this," he adds (November 20, 1786), "because I can easily imagine how many useless and vexatious ideas and remarks will be let fall upon the subject; whereas, if it is to be, the course of Providence cannot be withstood." Report said that Marianne APPENDIX I. [406] had not always an easy time of it with her husband; and five stepchildren cannot have left her much leisure for repining. L. Mozart describes them as naughty, ill brought up, and ignorant; one of the boys, Wolfgang, was heard to boast that "he had got the better of his second mamma, and, when he was naughty, papa always laid the blame on her and the servants, and blew them up."

In June, 1785, she came to Salzburg to be confined in her father's house. As her health long remained delicate, L. Mozart kept his little grandson, bestowing upon it the tenderest care, and informing his daughter of the child's well-being in every letter. "I can never look at the child's right hand without emotion," he writes (November 11,1785); "the cleverest pianist could not place his hand upon the keys more charmingly than he holds his little hand; whenever he is not moving his fingers they are all in position for playing, and when he is asleep the tiny fingers are bent or stretched exactly in the right proportion, as if they were resting on the keys; in short, it is the most charming sight in the world. It often makes me sad to see it, and I wish he were three years old, so that he might begin to play at once." He could not persuade himself to part with the child, and although he often abused the father for never coming to see it, he declared himself: "I tell you I mean to keep little Leopold as long as I live."

After their father's death Wolfgang wrote to Marianne (June 16, 1787): "Dearest Sister,—I am not at all surprised at your not writing to me yourself the sad and totally unexpected news of our dear father's death; I can readily imagine the cause of your silence. May God receive him to Himself! Be assured, my darling, that if you are in need of a faithful, loving brother, you will find one in me. My dearest sister, if you were still unprovided for, there would be no need of all this. I would, as I have intended and said over and over again, have left all to you with the greatest pleasure; but as it is, one may almost say, useless to you, while to me, on the contrary, it would be of the greatest advantage, I think it my duty to consider my wife and child."

This letter affords no clue to the share of his father's inheritance claimed by Mozart, and it is not known how the matter was arranged. It was doubtless not without some reference to this that a letter written soon after by Mozart to his sister (August, 1787) treated of his pecuniary position. "In answer to your question as to my service," he says, "the Emperor has taken me into the household, and I am formally appointed, but have only 800 florins—this is more, however, than any other member of the household. The announcement of my Prague opera 'Don Giovanni' (which is to be given again to-day) ran: 'The music is by Herr Mozart, Kapellmeister in the actual service of his Imperial Majesty.'"

I do not know of any later letters. Marianne kept up no correspondence with her brother's widow; from a letter to Sonnleithner (July 2, 1819), we gather that she had not heard from her sister-in-law since 1801, that she knew nothing of the children, and had only heard of her second marriage by chance.

In 1801 the Baron von Sonnenburg died, and his widow retired with her children to Salzburg, where she lived in comfort, if not in wealth. She returned to her old occupation, and gave music lessons—for money certainly, but not from need, since her simple and frugal way of life enabled her even to lay by a portion of her income. She was always much respected and liked in Salzburg. In 1820 she became blind, a misfortune which she bore with equanimity, and even cheerfulness, as the following anecdote will show: Receiving a visit from a lady whom she disliked—people who were fond of her paid her frequent visits to afford her amusement in her misfortune—she exclaimed, when at last the visitor had departed, "What an infliction to be obliged to converse with that person! I am glad that I cannot see her!"

She died at an advanced age in her native town, October 29, 1829.



EVEN cantatas which appeared under Mozart's name (Leipzig: Breitkopf and Hartel, and elsewhere) are perhaps, after his operas, the most widely known of his works, and upon them in a great measure rests his fame as a composer of church music. Of these cantatas, however, only one, the second (and that with altered words), was left in its present state by Mozart; the others were all put together after his death from separate portions of various church compositions, often widely differing in the time, the object and the style of their composition, and having undergone arbitrary alterations and additions. Nothing but the newly adopted words holds them together, and these are generally trivial, often in direct contradiction to the spirit of the original words.

The parody of Goethe's song "Der du Leid und Sehnsucht stillest," which in Cantata III. replaces the original "Alma redemptoris," may serve as an example. This double injustice done to the composer may be explained as arising from the tendency of an age which turned to its own immediate convenience any music which came to hand, with little feeling for the work of art as a whole and little respect for the right of the author to the integrity of his work or for the claims of historical accuracy.

The following is the result of a survey of the cantatas and their component parts (Anh., 124-130 K.):—[See Page Image]


Cantata I. consists of the Kyrie (p. i), Panis omnipotent!ae (p. 10), Viaticum (p. 15), and Pignus futurz gloriae (p. 16) of the Litany 125 K-

Cantata II. is the Litany 109 K.

Cantata III. is pot together from the Sanctus of the Mass 259 K. (p. 3); the Benedictus of the Mass 220 K.; the Gloria of the Mass 259 K. (p. 9); the Offertorium 72 K. (p. 15); and the Credo of the Mass 259 K. (p. 25).

Cantata IV. consists of the Kyrie and Gloria of the Mass 220 K. (p. 3); Motetto 277 K. (p. 12); Gratias (p. 19); and Domine (p. 21) of the Mass in C minor 427 K. [employed in the "Davidde Penitente" 469 K. as Chorus 4» "Si pur sempre," and Duet 5, "Sorgi o Signore **]; Magnificat of the Vesper 193 K. (p. 26).

Cantata V. is formed of the Kyrie (p. 1), Et incarnatus, to the close of the Credo (p. 6), Benedictus (p. 12), Agnus Dei (p. 20), and Gloria (p. 25) of the Mass 258 K.

Cantata VI. contains the Dixit of the Vesper 193 K. (p. 1); Laudate Dominum (p. 13) and Magnificat (p. 20) of the Vesper 321 K. Cantata VII. is put together from the Kyrie (p. 1) and Benedictus (p. 5) of the Mass 259 K.; an air from "Davidde Penitente" (469 IL, 3) "Lungi le cure ingrate" (p. 14); the Agnus Dei (p. 26) and Dona nobis (p. 29) of the Mass 259 K.; and the Dixit of the Vesper 321 K. (p. 33).

After this, it was not surprising that the choruses from "Konig Tham os" should have been used as sacred music, or that the "Frei-maurercantaten" (429,471 K.) should have been treated in the same way (Vol. II., p. 407). Nor was it unusual to find an altered text (church-like in character) supplied to sacred compositions. But secular music was also appropriated by the Church. The beautiful adagio of the grand serenata for wind instruments (361 K.) has been turned into an offertory, "Quis te comprehendat" (Anh., 110 K.). The air for Nancy Storace (405 K.),"Ch' io mi scordi di te," has been fitted to the words "In te domine speravi," and the obbligato piano part transferred to the organ (Anh., 120 K.). The air from "Titus" (19),"Deh per questo istante," with the words "O Deus, ego te amo" (Anh., 112 K.), and Adamberger's air, "Per pietà non ricercate" (420), with the words "Omni die die Mariae" (Anh., hi K.), are both used as offertories. V. Novello published the wonderful ensemble from the second finale in "Figaro" "Più docile io sono e dico di si," with the words "O Jesu mi, miserere nobis!" as a motett with organ accompaniment, and has appended the remark: "This motett may be used at Benediction." It is to be hoped that there is no truth in the report that Leparello's "Notte e giorno faticar" and Don Giovanni's "Fin che dal vino," have been travestied as a "Docti sacris" and a "Lauda Sion."


Further than this, however, whole Masses have been arranged from Mozart's operas; and at the beginning of this century a "Missa di Figaro. Don Giovanni" was not unknown to church choirs. One example of the kind may be described as evidence of the fact. In the collection of K. Zulehner of Mayence there was preserved a "Coronation Mass" in C major, with Mozart's name as composer, of which a copy was sent to me by Herr Schott of Mayence. All the movements, with the exception of the Credo, are identical with whole movements or smaller portions of "Cosî fan Tutte," with alterations of key and instrumentation, and here and there the addition or omission of a part, as follows:—

The Kyrie is the terzet (10) "Soave sio il vento," transposed into C major and turned into a four-part chorus by the addition of a tenor part, and with two flutes to fill in the harmonies. Christe eleison is the first movement of the duet (4), "Ah guarda sorella," transposed into G major, for soprano and tenor, with two oboes and two horns, shortened here and there, and the ritomello placed at the end. At the beginning of the Gloria, after a few unimportant bars by the adapter, the motif of the first chorus of the second finale is made use of (p. 230); then follow for the Gratias agimus the first seventy bars of the air (11) "Smanie implacabile" as a soprano solo in F major. The Qui tollis consists of seven bars not borrowed, but at the Miserere occur four bars from the first finale (p. 115), "Ed il polso," and after the repetition of the original Qui tollis at the word "suscipe," the first finale (p. 115), "Ah se tardo," is continued to the end of the movement. "Quoniam tu solus" to the end of the Gloria is the terzet (3) "Una bella serenata," unaltered up to the addition of the fourth part in the tutti passages; the closing ritornello is omitted. In the Gloria, flutes, oboes, horns, and drums and trumpets are employed in the customary alternations. Sanctus and Osanna are the andante of the first finale shortened by six bars, transposed into C major, and the parts rather differently arranged to suit the words. Benedictus is the duet and chorus (21) "Secondate," transposed into F major, and accompanied by stringed instruments flutes, and oboes; the chorus enters at "Osanna." Agnus Dei begins with eleven original bars, then follows "Idol mio" from the second finale, with the part of Despina omitted. Dona nobis is the closing ensemble of the opera. I gather from a letter addressed to G. Weber that Zulehner was of opinion that Mozart wrote the Mass before the opera; that, on the contrary, the Mass was pieced together from the opera by some church musician, no external evidence is required to prove.


HE earliest portrait of Mozart, a half-length in oils, now in the


Mozarteum, lithographed in Nissen, represents him as a boy of seven years old, standing near the clavier, clad in the violet gold-laced court dress of the Archduke Maximilian, which had been presented to him in 1762 (Vol. I., p. 28). His hair is frizzed and powdered, his hat under his arm, his sword by his side; his left hand is thrust into his vest; his right on his side. The round good-humoured boyish face, with its candid eyes, looks out as if from a disguise. During the stay of the Mozart family in Paris in 1763, an accomplished admirer, L. C. de Carmontelle, painted them in a group; the picture was engraved by Delafosse in small folio, with the title under:—

"LEOPOLD MOZART, Père de MARIANNE MOZART, Virtuose ägée de onze ans, et de J. G. WOLFGANG, Compositeur et Maître de Musique ägé de sept ans."

Wolfgang, finely dressed and frizzed, is sitting at the harpsichord in a pillared hall, apparently open to the air, and playing from some open music. The little head is evidently a good likeness, and there is a charming expression of earnest attention. His father stands close behind him, and accompanies on the violin; the sister is standing on the other side of the harpsichord, turning towards her brother and singing from some music. In the same year a small oil picture, containing many figures, was painted; it was formerly in the gallery of the Duke of Rohan-Chabot at Schloss-Rurik, and is now in the Museum at Versailles. Mozart is seated at the clavier, on which a "basse de viole" is lying, and playing or singing; he is accompanied on the guitar by the opera-singer Veliotte. The Prince de Beauveau, in a cherry-coloured coat decorated with the blue Grand Cross, is seated behind the young musician, glancing absently at a paper which he holds in his left hand. The Chevalier de la Laurency, gentilhomme to the Prince de Conti, is standing in a black velvet coat behind Mozart's chair; the Prince de Conti is talking to M. de Trudaine; Mdlle. Bagaroty is standing before a group of ladies, viz.: Madame la Maréchale de Mirepoix, Madame de Viervelle, Madame la Maréchale de Luxembourg, and Mdlle. de Boufflers, afterwards Duchesse de Lauzun. The Prince d'Henin is preparing tea, while listening attentively to Mozart's music. In another group are Dupont de Velse, brother to M. d'Argentai; the Countesses Egmont, mother and daughter, and President Henaut at the fireplace.


The last group shows us the Comtesse de Boufflers standing before a well-spread table; by her side is the Comte de Chabot (Duc de Rohan) in conversation with the Comte de Jarnac. The Maréchal de Beauveau is pouring out a glass of wine for Bailli de Chabrillant; Meyrand, the famous geometrician, stands sidewards. The picture is full of life and expression. All the company are listening in amazement and delight to Mozart's bewitching tones. He is in an apple-green silk coat with knee breeches, and his feet do not touch the floor. His countenance is fresh, his look full of expression, and the little powdered perruque gives him a somewhat pedantic look, at which the spectators are evidently amused.

Wolfgang was painted several times during his Italian tour. At Verona Lugiati made a life-size portrait of him in oils, in two sittings, as his father writes home. "La dolce sua effigie mi è di conforto ed altresi di eccitamento a riprendere qualche fiata la musica," he writes to the mother (April 22, 1770). Sonnleithner, who discovered the picture by the aid of the Imperial Sectionsrath W. Booking, gives a detailed account of it. Mozart is seated playing the clavier, somewhat to the left of the spectator, in a carved arm-chair; his youthful and intellectual countenance is turned towards the spectator. He wears a red court dress embroidered in gold, and has a diamond ring on the little finger of his left hand. Upon the clavier, above the keyboard, is written: "Joanni Celestini Veneti, MDLXXXIII." Upon the open music-book can be distinctly read:—[See Page Image]


This piece, therefore, must have possessed some peculiar interest for the Veronese. Below, in the centre of the narrow, beautifully carved gold frame, there is a white plate with the following inscription:—

Amadeo Wolfgango Mozarto Salisburgensi puero duodenni

In arte musica laudem omnem fidemque prætergresso eoque nomine Gallorum Anglorumque regi caro Petrus Lujatus hospiti suavissimo effigiem in domestico odeo pingi curavit anno MDCCLXX.

In the same year the celebrated artist Pompeo Battoni of Rome painted a life-size head of Mozart, which came into the possession of Mr. Haydon of London; it is now the property of J. Ella, who has placed it in the South Kensington Museum, and rendered it familiar in an engraving by H. Adlard. The head is turned almost full-face towards the spectator, the right-hand holding a roll of music-paper. The animated countenance has an évident resemblance to the Verona portrait, but with more of a view to PORTRAITS OF MOZART. [413] effect, being in fact what is called idealised. After his return from Italy in 1772, a portrait of Wolfgang was painted which his sister possessed; it is the one of which she wrote to Sonnleithner (July 2, 1819) that he looked yellow and sickly in it, having only lately recovered from a severe illness. Before Mozart left Salzburg in 1777, a portrait was painted which, according to his father (November 27, 1777), was highly successful. Padre Martini, having begged for a likeness of Wolfgang for his collection, the father had a copy of this one made and sent it to him in the beginning of December, 1777, "in a black frame, with a handsomely gilt edge." "I delayed complying with your request until now," he writes to the Padre (December 22,1777), "for want of a skilful artist. There is, in fact, none such residing in our town; and I have always been in hopes that, as does sometimes happen, a clever artist might visit Salzburg—I therefore postponed it from time to time. At last, however, I was forced to commission a local artist to undertake the portrait. As a painting it is of little worth, but, as regards the likeness,

I assure you that it resembles him exactly. I have written his name and age behind the picture." In the library of the Liceo Filarmonico at Bologna there is an oil picture from Padre Martini's collection, of which Dr. Zangemeister sent me a photograph and a minute description. At the top of the frame, in white letters, stands:—



On the back is written (probably by an Italian, not by L. Mozart):—Joannes Crisostomus Wolfgangus Amadeus Mozart Salisburgensis Teuto, auratæ Militiæ Eques

Bonnoniensis Veronensisque Accademicus Natus 27 Ianuarü 1756: Ætatis suæ 21.

The portrait represents a man in a brown coat, with the gold cross on a red ribbon round his neck; to the right is a stool, to the left a clavier with black under notes and white over notes; on the desk is a piece of music. But it is impossible to recognise Wolfgang in the portrait; it is that of a man of middle age, stiff in demeanour, and with no resemblance to Mozart. It might be meant for his father, who had promised (August 21, 1778) to send Padre Mardini his own portrait; but this is contradicted by the cross of the order. Probably some confusion has taken place in the arrangement of the collection. Wolfgang took with him on his journey a little medallion as a present to his cousin, among whose remains it was pointed out to me. He is in a red coat, his hair simply arranged, and the very youthful face with its APPENDIX III. [414] intelligent eyes has an open light-hearted expression. Before Mozart went to Munich in 1780 the painter Della Croce at Salzburg began a large family group, and Wolfgang's portrait was fortunately finished before his departure. This large oil-painting, now in the Mozarteum at Salzburg, represents the brother and sister seated at the harpsichord playing a duet. Wolfgang is in a red coat with a white vest and neckcloth, Marianne in a dark rose-coloured dress trimmed with lace, and a red ribbon in her high coiffure; the father, in black, with a white vest and neckcloth, is seated behind the harpsichord, his left hand holding a violin, his right with the bow resting on the harpsichord. On the wall hangs an oval portrait of the mother, with a blue neckhandkerchief, and a blue ribbon in her hair. Wolfgang's sister considered this portrait very like him; and it does in fact give one an impression of individuality. The face is young for his age, but not so gay and animated as in earlier pictures; it has rather a depressed expression, corresponding very well to his mood at the time. After his marriage he had himself painted with Constanze, and sent the two miniatures to Salzburg. "I only hope," he writes (April 3, 1783), "that you may be pleased with them; they seem to me to be both good, and all who have seen them are of the same opinion." Mozart's brother-in-law, the actor Lange, who was an enthusiastic artist, began a portrait of him, seated at the piano, in a light brown coat and white neckcloth, and strove to render the expression of the artist absorbed in his reveries. The picture was only finished as far as the bust, and is now in the Mozarteum at Salzburg; Carl Mozart considered it very like. Mozart's short stay in Dresden in April, 1789, was utilised by Dora Stock, Korner's talented sister-in-law, in taking his portrait in crayons with much delicacy and animation; it was engraved in Berlin by E. H. Schroder, and published by Ed. Mandel. The conception of Mozart's appearance, which afterwards became typical, was formed from a small medallion carved in boxwood in relief by Posch, and now preserved in the Salzburg Mozarteum. This was engraved in octavo by J. G. Mans-feld, 1789 (Viennæ apud Art aria Societ.) with the inscription: "Dignum laude virum Musa vetat mori." On the lower edge of the medallion, among instruments and laurel branches, is a sheet of music with "An Chloe" written on it. This engraving is the foundation of most of the later ones; it was engraved afresh from the medallion by Thäter (Leipzig: Breitkopf und Hartel).

The last portrait of Mozart is a bust, life size, painted by Tischbein during his stay in Mayence in October, 1790. C. A. André discovered and obtained possession of it at Mayence in 1849; it was among the remains of the Electoral court violinist Stutzl. Two men who had themselves seen Mozart—Professor Arentz, of Mayence, and the former court organist, Schulz, of Mannheim, on being shown the picture, and asked whom it represented, recognised their beloved Mozart without a moment's hesitation. At the same time this likeness differs PORTRAITS OF MOZART. [415] considerably from the others current, and it can scarcely be doubted that Tischbein has idealised the features, especially the nose; but the expression of the eyes and mouth has a mixture of sensuousness, roguery, and gentle melancholy, which testify to the artist's intellectual apprehension; while Posch is probably more accurate in outline, but more Philistine in conception. It has been engraved by Sichling in the "Bildnissen berühmter Deutschen" (Leipzig: Breitkopf und Hàrtel), and afterwards diminished for this book.

I consider as apocryphal a small medallion in the possession of Karajan, representing a slender well-dressed youth, inscribed as "Mozart's Portrait;" also a round miniature, belonging to Frz. Henser, of Cologne, of a full-grown man in a grey coat, his hand in his vest, which seems to me to have no resemblance to Mozart. It is signed "Jac. Dorn, pinx., 1780."

APPENDIX IV. (To the English Edition.)





APPENDIX IV. ——[418]

APPENDIX IV. ——[419]

APPENDIX IV. ——[420]


APPENDIX IV. ——[422]

APPENDIX IV. ——[423]

APPENDIX IV. ——[424]

APPENDIX IV. ——[425]

APPENDIX IV. ——[426]


APPENDIX IV. ——[428]

INDEX. [ ABRAAMO ——[429]


INDEX. [ CACCINI ——[431]

INDEX. [ DALBERG ——[432]


INDEX. [ GOLDINI ——[434]

INDEX. [ IL RICO ——[435]

INDEX. [ L'ARBORE ——[436]

INDEX. [ MARTINI ——[437]

INDEX. [ MOZART ——[438]

INDEX. [ MOZART ——[439]



INDEX. [SEEAU ——[442]


   Volume I.       Volume II.   



1 (return)
[ The Greiners had quartet parties every Tuesday during Advent and Lent (Car. Pichler, Denkw., I., p. 127. Jahrb. d. Tonk., 1796, p. 71).]

2 (return)
[ Luigi Boccherini (1740-1805), who was almost a contemporary, followed his own bent in numerous quartets, quintets, and trios, uninfluenced by the works of others, and not himself exerting any lasting influence (Piquot, Notice sur la Vie et les Ouvrages de L. Boccherini. Paris, 1851).]

3 (return)
[ The advertisement (Wien. Ztg., 1785, No. 75, p. 2191) ran: "Mozart's works require no praise, and to quote any would be superfluous; we can only assure the public that we are offering them a masterpiece. This is confirmed by the fact that the quartets are dedicated to his friend Joseph Haydn, Kapellmeister to Prince Estcrhazy, who honoured them with all the approbation which one man of genius can bestow upon another."]

4 (return)
[ Dittersdorf, Selbstbiogr., p. 238.]

5 (return)
[ Nissen, Nachtrag, p. 62.]

6 (return)
[ Cramer, Magazin der Musik, II., p. 1273.]

7 (return)
[ Gyrowetz, Selbstbiogr., p. xx. Jahrb. d. Tonkunst, 1796, p. 77.]

8 (return)
[ A. M. Z., I., p. 855.]

9 (return)
[ Fétis attacked this introduction in the Revue Musicale, V., p. 601, and maintained his opinion against Pernes (Ibid., VI., pp. 25, 32). An equally lively onslaught upon Fétis was made in a detailed analysis by C. A. Leduc (A. M. Z., XXXII., p. 117), and renewed (A. M. Z., XXXIII., pp. 81, 101) after an answer by Fétis (Rev. Mus., VIII., p. 821), and also by C. M. Balthasar (A. M. ZM XXXIII., p. 493). Thereupon G. Weber subjected the passage to a searching examination, and acknowledged finally that the combinations of sound were unpleasing to his own ear.]

10 (return)
[ Càcilia, XIV., p. 2.]

11 (return)
[ Ulibicheff, II., p. 254.]

12 (return)
[ The conjecture of Fétis that the first violin follows the second at the second instead of the third crotchet of the second bar, by reason of a printer's error, is disproved by Mozart's own manuscript (also by his Thematic Catalogue).]

13 (return)
[ Lenz, Beethoven, II., p. 78.]

14 (return)
[ The same object is entirely fulfilled by Beethoven in the introduction to the Symphony in B flat major, to say nothing of the Quartet in C major. The cheerful serenity pervading the symphony, and the occasional stronger accents of passionate feeling, are, as it were, prefigured in the introduction, where we hear the rolling of the storm which is to clear and freshen the atmosphere.]

15 (return)
[ A. M.Z., III., p. 350.]

16 (return)
[ Joh. Bapt. Schaul, Briefe über den Geschmack in der Musik, p. 8.]

17 (return)
[ Cf. Musik. Briefe von einem Wohlbekannten, II., p. 40.]

18 (return)
[ Two bars are added as an extension of the conclusion as in the minuet of the Quintet in C major (515 K.).]

19 (return)
[ There are groups of seven bars in the minuet of the later Quartet in F major (590 K.), and of five bars in the trio.]

20 (return)
[ This movement has been scored by Beethoven; the original is in Artaria's possession.]

21 (return)
[ A siciliana occurs among the variations in a sonata for pianoforte and violin (377 K., 3), simpler and shorter than the one under consideration, and altogether omitting the transition to the major key. The same form is the basis of the rondo to the pianoforte Trio in G major (496 K.), but freely carried out. The siliciana is employed, according to old usage, for the slow middle movements of an early Sonata in F major (280 K.), and of the pianoforte Concerto in A major (414 K.).]

22 (return)
[ The Hadyn quartets, written in 1787 for the King of Prussia, are well known.]

23 (return)
[ From 1787 to 1797 Boccherini drew a considerable pension from Frederick William II., for which he had to furnish annually some quartets and quintets, compositions much loved and often played by the King (Reichardt, Musik. Monatsschr., p. 17. Mus. Ztg., 1805, p. 232. Picquot, Not. sur L. Boccherini, pp. 16, 112).]

24 (return)
[ In March, 1788, Mozart announced (Wien. Ztg., 1788, No. 27 Anh.) three new quintets—these two, and the one arranged in C minor—at four ducats a copy.]

25 (return)
[ Wien. Ztg., May 18, 1793, p. 1462.]

26 (return)
[ So also in the unfinished sketches of a number of qointet movements (79.84 Anh., K.).]

27 (return)
[ Picquot, Not. sur L. Boccherini, pp. 19, 28, 123]

28 (return)
[ Prince Grassalcovicz reduced his full band to a "Harmoniemusik" (Jahrb. d. Tonk., 1796, p. 77).]

29 (return)
[ Trûbensee and Wendt as oboists, the brothers Stadler as clarinetists, Rub and Eisen hornists, Kautzner and Druben bassoonists (Cramer, Magaz. Mus., I., p. 1400. Musik. Korresp., 1790, p. 31).]

30 (return)
[ Mozart arranged the "Entfuhrung" for wind instruments (Vol. II., p. 210).]

31 (return)
[ A. M. Z., XV., p. 668 (Schletterer, Reichardt, I., p. 327).]

32 (return)
[ Mozart praised Albert's good "Harmoniemusik" to his father from Munich (October 3, 1777). A special wind band was engaged for the table music at the Augarten (Jahrb. d. Tonk., 1796, p. 78).]

33 (return)
[ Nicolai speaks highly of the "Harmoniemusik," which was performed every evening before the main guard at the court (Reise, IV., p. 558).]

34 (return)
[ Carpani, Le Haydine, p. 81. Gyrowetz, Biogr., p. 5.]

35 (return)
[ Musik. Korr., 1791, p. 366.]

36 (return)
[ The serenata has two minuets, the second of which is especially Haydnlike in character. Perhaps they were intended to be omitted in the rearrangement, for in Mozart's autograph score they are only copied and inserted.]

37 (return)
[ The beginning of an eight-part allegro is among the sketches.]

38 (return)
[ The first bars of an adagio for clarinets and three basset-horns were written out (93 Anh., K.), and an allegro for two clarinets and three basset-horns (95 Anh., K.) was somewhat further advanced.]

39 (return)
[ So it is given by Meyer (L. Schröder, I., p. 357) for the year 1781 (cf. A. M. Z., XXIV., p. 268), and the tables in the Jahrb. d. Tonkunst, 1796, p. 92, agree with his statement.]

40 (return)
[ K. R[isbeck], Briefe ûb. Deutschld., I., p. 279.]

41 (return)
[ Nicolai, Reise, IV., p. 542.]

42 (return)
[ Nicolai, Reise, VI., p. 702.]

43 (return)
[ So Kalkbrenner told me in Paris, in 1837.]

44 (return)
[ Niemetschek, Biogr., p. 41. (Note: Misnumbered in the print edition—DW)]

45 (return)
[ Rich. Wagner, Kunstwerk der Zukunft, p. 85. It was just this "Cantabilität" with which Nàgeli reproached Mozart, who according to him "cannot be termed a correct composer of instrumental music, for he mingled and confounded 'cantabilität' with a free instrumental play of ideas, and his very wealth of fancy and emotional gifts led to a sort of fermentation in the whole province of art, causing it rather to retrograde than to advance, and exercising a very powerful influence over it" (Vorlesungen, p. 157). It certainly appears strange in our times to see Mozart considered as the disturbing and exciting element in the development of art; and Nägeli was thoroughly sincere and in earnest in his musical judgments.]

46 (return)
[ E. T. A. Hoffmann says of this symphony (called the "swan song"): "Love and melancholy breathe forth in purest spirit tones; we feel ourselves drawn with inexpressible longing towards the forms which beckon us to join them in their flight through the clouds to another sphere." A. Apel attempted to turn the symphony into a poem, which was to imitate in words the character of the different movements (A. M. Z., VIII., p. 453). Cf. Ludw. Bauer's Schriften, p. 471.]

47 (return)
[ It is characteristic that in the first and last movements the second theme is only fully expressed when it enters for the second time in the minor; in the major key it is far less expressive.]

48 (return)
[ A mistake long perpetrated in the andante has been pointed out by Schumann (N. Ztschr., XV., p. 150. Ges. Schr., IV., p. 62). In both parts four bars (I., 29-32; II., 48-51) are repeated twice, with altered instrumentation; this is altogether inexcusable, for it causes the same transition from D flat major to minor (G flat major, A flat minor) to occur twice in succession. A glance at the original score makes the matter clear. Mozart originally wrote the four bars 33-36 (II., 52-55), and then added the other version on a separate page, probably as being easier; they were copied one after the other by mistake. That he intended the demisemiquaver passage for the wind instruments may be inferred from the arrangement with clarinets to be presently noted, where it is given to those instruments.]

49 (return)
[ Palmer (Evangel. Hymnologie, p. 246) finds no pain in this symphony, only pure life and gaiety.]

50 (return)
[ H. Hirschbach says, apparently quite seriously (N. Zeitschr. Mus., VIII., p. 190): "There are many people who fight shy of Beethoven's music, finding his earlier symphonies tolerable, but the later bizarre, obscure, and so on; but Mozart's G minor symphony is acknowledged to be a masterpiece, though here and there may be one who thinks this so-called symphony really does not deserve the name, for it is distinguished neither by originality nor workmanship, and is a commonplace mild piece of music, requiring no great effort for its production (even if we set aside the greater demands of the present day), and it was apparently not considered as a great work by Beethoven."]

51 (return)
[ It has been called, I do not know when or by whom, the "Jupiter" symphony, more, doubtless, to indicate its majesty and splendour than with a view to any deeper symbolism.]

52 (return)
[ Sechtcr gave a technical analysis in the appendix to Marpurg's Kunst der Fuge (Wien: Diabelli) II., p. 161. Lobe, Compositionslehre, III., p. 393.]

53 (return)
[ Nägeli (Vorlesungen, p. 162) subjects this symphony to a searching criticism, in order to prove that Mozart (to whom he allows great originality and power of combination, extolling him as the first to form the orchestra into a perfect organic whole) was wanting in repose, and often shallow and confused.]

54 (return)
[ Ad. Kullak (Das Musikalisch Schöne, p. 80) remarks that numerous calculations undertaken by him serve to show that Hadyn and Mozart, in the majority of their works, keep pretty close to the law of proportion laid down by Zeising (according to which a whole divided into unequal parts will not give the effect of symmetry unless the smaller parts bear the same ratio to the larger as the larger to the whole), and that in some cases they follow it exactly.]

55 (return)
[ Mendelssohn's Briefe, II., p. 337.]

56 (return)
[ Marx, Musik. des Neunzehnten Jahrh., p. 68.]

57 (return)
[ Ad. Kullak, Das Musikalisch Schöne, p. 149.]

58 (return)
[ Ambros, Gränzen der Musik und Poesie, pp. 64,123, 141.]


1 (return)
[ For the history of opera in Vienna I am much indebted to an article written with full knowledge of the subject (A. M. Z., XXIV., p. 2651) and still more so to the careful and accurate communications which I owe to the courtesy of my friend Dr. Leop. von Sonnleithner; these two accounts form the groundwork of the present chapter, even where I have not expressly referred to them.]

2 (return)
[ Müller (Abschied, p. 263) does not indeed mention the younger Stephanie by name, but other accounts explain his allusions. Schroder wrote to Dalberg (January 19, 1782): "I'm insisting upon the removal of young Stephanie from all concern in the affair, but there is no one bold enough to propose to the Emperor to dismiss a man whom he has appointed, and who will certainly be the ruin of the theatre."]

3 (return)
[ Meyer, L. Schroder, I., p. 358. A. M. Z., XXIV., p. 265. Nicolai heard a performance of Gluck's "Orpheus" there in 1781 (Reise, IV., p. 537).]

4 (return)
[ Kelly, Reminisc., I., p. 194.]

5 (return)
[ A. M. Z., XXIV., p. 269. Schroder wrote to Dalberg (October 21, 1782): "German opera is abolished here, and comedy has been strengthened by Reineke and Opiz."]

6 (return)
[ The new operas were: January 10&mdas