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once the best lover, and the most refined, various, and intellectual composer that the world has produced."
A passage respecting Weber is striking. It is preceded with a good portrait of a quaint old singing-master.
"There was plenty of amusement at rehearsal (at Prague), for the music-director and some women who were trying over songs for a new opera, seasoned their morning's work with a world of pleasantries.-The -present maestro is a little wizened old man, remarkable for the quaint singularity of his dress, and his long hair, parted and streaming over his shoulders. Having found that his compositions will not do for the people of Prague, he ensconceth himself in his strong-hold as singing-master, in which capacity he is really excellent. With a counterfeit surliness in his voice and look, he sometimes sits in the orchestra eyeing a poor girl on the stage, and as she sings doubtingly, points to some particular inch of the throat from which the sound proceeds; but he does not quit his remarks nor renewed beginnings until the tone comes forth from the proper quarter.-C. M. von Weber was formerly director of the opera in Prague, but quitted the place on his marriage, to reside at Dresden. At the time of his employment here, he had composed no work of importance, merely cantatas and songs, with full accompaniments; and the good fortune of this musician is worthy observation, as a circumstance I believe altogether unprecedented in the history of the art. That a man should live on to within a few years of forty in obscurity, not distinguished in Germany from a host of the same stamp; that he should be as little endowed by nature as any composer that ever lived with a store of melody such as the populace might troll about to gladden themselves; yet by one work just suited to the cast of his genius, to leap at once into the most extraordinary favour throughout Europe, not only gaining credit for that he had done, but a certain passport for what he might do; to be invited to foreign countries, wreathed with laurel in concert-rooms, deafened with applause, and made a show of everywhere, is a wonderful concatenation of events in the life of a middle-aged gentleman."
The picture of the interior of a Catholic chapel is like an oil painting, and reminds a traveller of Italy. It is composed of “dark mahogany, polished and variegated marble, pictures, gold and silver on the altar and organ, make up the colours. The effect of an excellent orchestra is heightened by the structure of this edifice, which admits of a fine echo and reverberation, and the deep bass pipes of Silbermann's organ roll their heavy notes into the square, arresting every passenger in the name of the high mass."
We were present at the following scene of enjoyment, though the author did not see us. He has made us so.
"The chief places of summer evenings' resort in Dresden are the great garden, the garden of the Linkischen Bud, and the terrace overlooking the Elbe. At the first of these places the music was generally excellent, and
it was my practice on a fine warm afternoon, having dined and duly discussed my glass of Würtzburger, to jump into a fiacre and drive there through pleasant avenues of trees and country houses; and the agreeableness of the ride was not lessened by seeing from time to time groups of handsome girls seated in the green trellised bowers of their gardens, bareheaded, reading or working together-then to leap out of the coach to the first finale in Figaro,' or something as good, and to take coffee seated under the fine old arm of a tree, looking upon the evening sun or the golden clouds about it, surrounded by a throng of happy faces."
"Great cheerfulness results from this open air existence in Germany; life runs good to the last here, for in no place have I seen so many happy old men, or met with more innocent or stedfast politicians, especially if England was the theme of discourse. One of these used to single me out every day with a fresh eulogium on Herr Canning, until the relation of his virtues became rather tedious."
Is it not a mistake to say, that Gluck "lived only for one little capital in the north of Europe?" or does our author mean, that his admirers at Paris, during the celebrated dispute, did not understand him.
"The amateurs in Berlin are all little maestri; they dabble in compo-. sition, and have most of them the score of a mass, sinfonia, or overture locked up in their desks, the consciousness of which helps to sweeten their lives, and gives them the smiling self-satisfaction which Mr Bickerstaff discovered in the girl who wore embroidered garters. The question is not answered in Berlin as it used to be with us Is Mr
sical?' 'Yes, he plays a little on the flute:' after which the wary inquirer would be sure to avoid a demonstration of the fact. But the answer might run thus: Yes, he plays Sebastian Bach, sings at sight, and has written a set of quintetts.'
WEIMAR AND HUMMEL.-" Weimar is a spot where the muses love to 'haunt clear spring and shady grove and sunny hill:' it is redolent of music and poetry, for here Hummel and Göthe reside, and the Grand Duke is well known as a Mæcenas, who draws around him the highest genius of his country. Here an affable and unostentatious court is kept up without its endless formalities; it seems a place of gardens and retired leisure, where among the wood nymphs, the turmoil of worldly ambition may give way to the calm of contemplation, and the enjoyment of poetic ease. The arrangement of the royal grounds and plantations, the design of bridges and fountains, announce the elegant and tasteful mind of the proprietor. The library, leading at once into sylvan glades; the pavilion in the interior of the grounds, which cheats the wanderer with the appearance of a Gothic chapel; the monuments and baths, all replete with classical association, either by means of sculpture or inscription, make this the spot for 'youthful poet's dream.' For the luxurious idler who chooses to throw away part of a sunny morning in watching the golden mouths and bellies of the perch, which here, unharmed by Isaak Waltons and impaling hooks, reveal themselves in sporting on the surface of a stream, the garden is Elysian; not to mention the delights of a wilderness of peacocks, besides many kinds of strange exotic fowl, that hop in his walks and gambol in his eyes.'
"But to leave rhapsodies on garden pleasures, and to speak of the still more attractive union of amiability and genius in the person of a human
being, I must turn to Hummel, the Apollo of this sacred spot. This musician, who might be surnamed the good, with as much justice as any person who ever earned that appellation, shows how much unaffected simplicity and friendly and caressing manners become one who is the musical idol of his countrymen; and upon whom blushing honours' sit as easily, and are worn as carelessly, as his morning robe. It is delightful to meet a great musician in his mental undress, when he sits down to his pianoforte, and is liberal of what comes uppermost, lavishing thoughts and beauties with a noble prodigality.”
Mozart's extempore playing, we are told, was so exquisitely regular and symmetrical in design, that it was impossible for judges who heard him not to imagine that the whole had been written before."
We must give a specimen or two of our author's love of humour. In ascending the tower of Antwerp cathedral, he was accompanied by a great heavy woman, whose gallant ascent of the staircase he envied; but at a part of it, he says, " in which we were groping our way in utter darkness, my companion discovered amazing sensibility, and began to shriek like one possessed, vociferating a a jargon of Flemish, in which, sounds like 'Ach! Ach! meun Gott! meun Gott!' were easily distinguishable. The woman was soon completely overcome with fright and exertion, and stood gasping for breath, and a hoarse deprecating voice, which now mingled in with her little ejaculations, did not tend to diminish my surprise; but after a due administration of snuff and apologies, my guide became calm, and the crowd of horrible imaginings which had rushed into my mind at first, now vanished, and gave place to fancies of a more agreeable kind. The cause of the sudden ebullition was this a sailor lay up the stairs on his back fast asleep, his legs as usual apart; the woman had entered the cavity, and had also walked a considerable distance on his stomach before she was aware of the peculiar nature of the soil; and her outcries were raised, as she afterwards told me, not from remorse at travelling over his epigastric region without a passport, but from the horror that she was trespassing on the carcase of a huge dog, with whose notions of retributive justice she soon expected to be made acquainted. Since this adventure, my desires have been less aspiring; a first-floor window contents me, and I have abjured the society of those who live by the disbursement of the oil of their
knee-joints, and no longer countenance by example an extravagant expenditure of that secretion."
"The young Napoleon frequents the opera-house in Vienna; I have seen him there, but his face does not appear very intelligent; he may sometimes be found in grounds. The palace and gardens of Schönbrun are now a splendid solitude; in an hour's ramble I met only a student strolling along the broad garden walks, with a book for his companion. Here are also to be seen a melancholy, half-civilized old lion, a pensive elephant, and a bear or so, whose little intercourse with mankind renders them surly and unattractive after the elegant society and agreeable hyenas of Exeter 'Change.”
We conclude with the following piece of information respecting the German musicians, which does honour to the writer's liberality and genuine sense of his art. It might do as much good to music in England, if we commenced with teaching the rudiments of the art at our schools, as a matter of course; which we take after all to be the great secret for getting the best musicians possible, and sinking pretenders to their proper level.
"No artists can be less mercenary in the exercise of their profession, none more ready to play for the pleasure of their friends, than the great musicians of Germany; but they have no skill in flattering the great, and no appetite for worthless praise. Most of them enjoy that enviable competency which enables them to pursue fame at their leisure; the little duties of their employment, such as directing an orchestra, or composing a few pieces for the entertainment of the noblemen of whose establishment they are part, are so easily discharged, as to leave them plenty of time for idleness if it was their taste to indulge in it. But this is not the case; they have "that last infirmity of noble minds," an appetite for fame, and labour as hard for the mere pleasure of inventing and combining as others do for the vulgar acquisition of wealth.
"The ennobling power of the divine art of music is best felt where among a number of professors each strives to penetrate the deepest into its mysteries without envy and without sordid interest; and I believe it is the advantageous equality upon which they all start in pursuit of their favourite science, which makes them liberal and ingenuous in the appreciation of contemporary talent. Until men of genius in other countries are placed out of the reach of vulgar wants or the fear of poverty, there can be no competition in any part of Europe with the musicians of Germany."
POETRY OF BRITISH LADIES.
We now come to one of the numerous loves we possess among our grandmothers of old,-or rather not numerous, but select, and
such as keep fresh with us for ever, like the miniature of his ancestress, whom the Sultan looked for. This is Anne, Countess of Winchelsea, daughter of Sir William Kingsmill, of Sidmonton, in the county of Southampton. "It is remarkable," says Mr Wordsworth, as quoted by Mr Dyce, "that excepting a passage or two in the Windsor Forest of Pope, and some delightful pictures in the Poems of Lady Winchelsea, the poetry of the period intervening between the publication of the Paradise Lost' and the 'Seasons' does not contain a single new image of external nature."-Essay in his Miscellaneous Poems.
Some of these "delightful pictures" are furnished us by Mr Dyce. They are very fresh and natural. In the poem entitled A Nocturnal Reverie, she speaks of the summer's hour at night
"When freshen'd grass now bears itself upright,
And makes cool banks to pleasing rest invite,
When thro' the gloom more venerable shows
While sun-burnt hills their swarthy looks conceal,
Joys in th' inferior world, and shinks it like her own: