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is still remembered by some of our a spell. His concertos have now living amateurs. He was a Palermi. gone out of fashion. Intricacy, eccentan, born in the year 1745, a year tricity, and novelty are the choice of which has left its mark strongly, for instrumentalists in our day. The other reasons, on British recollection. startling, strange, and difficult are the His life was spent in roving through modern triumph of the artist. But the capitals of Europe. Acquiring in these feats of the finger he abanhis exquisite and touching style under dons the nobler triumph of the soul. the celebrated Lolli, he went to Paris. The concertos of Giornovichi remain After extinguishing all competitor- before us as evidence of the elegance, ship, even in jealous France, for two tenderness, and sensibility of his geyears, he went to Prussia as first violin nius. They are, of course, neglected in the royal chapel at Potsdam. He by the modern solo player, who must then went, preceded by his fame, to astonish, or be nothing ; but they St Petersburg. From 1792 he re- form the limit of all that is delicious mained four years in England, visiting in the violin ; and the first artist who the provinces and Ireland, to the great will have the courage to try how far delight of the public taste. Then, they may be felt by an audience, even with that love of rambling which cha- in our day, will find that they possess íracterises musicians and foreign artists at least rudiments of success, which of every description, he returned to are not to be found in the abruptness Germany, from Germany went to and extravagancies of the later mounRussia, and in St Petersburg died in tebanks of the finger-board. 1804. The late Michael Kelly, in his By a strange contrast with the playpleasant nightgown-and-slipper style, ful grace of his style, Giornovichi's gives, perhaps, as true a conception temper was more than irritable. His of this admirable violinist as could be life seems to have been a long quarrel given by the most formal character. with men and countries. He was al. He heard him at Vienna on his way most a professed duellist. His caprices from Russia. 66 He was a man of a alienated the public ; and his patrons certain age, but in the full vigour of generally found his petulance more talent. His tone was very powerful, than equivalent to their pleasure in his his execution most rapid, and his ability. He left England in anger, taste, above all, alluring. No per- and appears to have transported this former in my remembrance played luckless spirit wherever he went. But such pleasing music. He generally he was a matchless musician, and his closed his concertos with a rondo, the concertos must be long the study of subject of which was some popular every artist who desires to discover Russian air, to which he composed the true secret of captivation. variations with enchanting taste.” The classic school was now to give Another authority has observed, that way to the romantic. Viotti, a name
slightly educated, and shallow as a still familiar, appeared in London in musician, his native talent, and the 1790, at Salomon's concerts. He was facility with which he was enabled to instantly recognised as the creator of conquer mechanical difficulties, ren- a new era of the violin. Bold, madered him so brilliant and powerful a jestic, and magnificent, his style of player, that, for a time, he was quite composition was admirably seconded the rage in both France and Eng- by the brilliancy and vividness of his land." We are inclined to prefer execution. Unlike the majority of Michael Kelly's verdict. Giornovi. great violinists, he had also the talent chi's style was neither powerful nor of a great composer. No man of brilliant. It was, what is better than modern times approached so near to either, delightful. Possessing great the sublime. His master had been the mastery of execution, it was always well-known Pugnani, whose breadth subservient to a native beauty of con- of performance and force of tone were ception, which made his performance long unequalled. But to these his perhaps the most charming that was pupil added the fire of genius. ever known. Delicacy, refinement, Viotti was born in 1755, at Fonpolish of the highest order, were taneto in Piedmont. His musical there ; but no violinist within memory education was early and rapid. At had so fine a faculty of concealing his twenty he was first violinist in the art, and subduing the audience as with Royal Chapel of Turin. After a few
years' study there, 'he commenced memoration of the death of “ Louis the usual tour of artists, and passing le Tyran,” the least of a tyrant of through Germany, came to Paris. any king since Pharamond.' These There he was the universal wonder; things seem only monstrous folly now but his petulance at a concert in the they were public perils then ; and palace at Versailles drove him from the sooner the clubbists were sent public representation.
back to their proper place, Paris and It happened unfortunately for his her massacres, the better. peaceable career that he was a good Viotti, with all his Republican symdeal infected with the revolutionary pathies, and we do not charge his absurdities of the time, and the angry memory with any direct attempt to musician notoriously avenged himself put them in practice here, knew Paris by becoming the peevish republican. too well to return there while the On the increasing tumults in 1790, fever of Directories and Democracies which threatened to put an end to the raged. He quietly withdrew to Gerarts along with the artists, Viotti left many, and there, in a villa near HamParis, and came to England. His burgh, he devoted himself to a much reception was rapturous ; delighting more suitable occupation than the rise England and eclipsing all competi- or fall of dynasties, the production of tion. But the Revolution in France some of those works, including his had already made terrible progress. duets, which will make him rememThe French church and nobility had bered long after his political follies been destroyed, the unhappy King and are forgotten. But it is difficult for a (Queen had been murdered ; and yet foreigner to avoid a sentimental disthis terrible catastrophe, which has play. The words cost him nothing, stained the name of France for ever, and the feeling seldom much more. and which should have shut the lips “ Cet ouvrage," says Viotti, in the of all men against the very name of preface to his · Six Duos ConcertanRepublicanism, actually inflamed the tes,' “ est le fruit du loisir que le language of Revolution every where malheur me procure. Quelques morinto absolute treason. Viotti's tem- ceaux ont été dictés par la peine, perament had the Italian excitability. d'autres par l'espoir.” He was at His knowledge of government proba- this time living in a little palace, with bly amounted to no more than the every enjoyment that man could denonsense of the Parisian declaimers, sire, and with every spot of the world and his gratitude to the country which open to him except Paris, where he paid and protected him was said to would probably have been hanged for have been wholly effaced by the ridi- too little democracy, and London, culous ambition of flourishing as a where he had already exhibited too politician. Whether he went the full much. length of acting as a revolutionary His career was still capable of prosagent for France, or was merely fool perity; but his rashness rendered him enough to talk insolently of England, unlucky. After a few years, in which those were not times to suffer inso- his fame as violin
composer continulence, however excellently a man ally rose, he returned to England; might fiddle. The example, too, but instead of relying on his own asmight have encouraged more of those tonishing powers as a performer, he extra-orchestral performances ; for plunged into trade, became a wineFrance was at that time absolutely merchant, and shortly suffered the narabid, and England full of adventurers, tural consequences of exchanging a who, however without a name, were pursuit which he understood better certainly not without purpose. than any other man alive, for a purThere were said to be conspiracies suit of which he knew nothing. He among the French and Italian cooks lost all that he was worth in the world. and valets, whom our noblemen had He then returned to Paris as Director been weak enough to bring into their of the Conservatoire ; but there he service. Instances were mentioned found himself all but forgotten. With where those ruffians had club dinners, the usual fate of musicians and actors, in which nothing but treason was long absent, and returning into the talked against the country that gave midst of a new generation, he found them bread, and where they dipped national jealousy combining with the their handkerchiefs in claret, in com- love of something new ; and between
both, he felt himself in what is termed those French violinists who have via false position. He now gave up his sited England within these few years. employment, and on a pension return- He is probably also the best of the ed to England, a country, of which, native performers. All the violinists notwithstanding his republican “ ex- of France, who have figured since altation," he was fond. Here, min- Rode, are growing old, and we have gling occasionally with society, still heard of no showy and novel succesadmired for his private performance sor.
The school of Rode is still the on the violin — for he had entirely prevailing taste of the Conservatoire, abandoned public exhibition—and liv- and it is of the nature of every school ing much at the house of Chinnery, to degenerate. an officer in the Treasury, fond of The French mind has little of orimusic, and who gave showy fêtes at ginality. In all things the Frenchhis villa near London-fêtes which man is clever at imitation. There are finally ruined the giver, not only in a greater number of tolerable musifortune but in character-Viotti sunk cians, painters, architects, and actors into calm decay, and died March 3, in France than in the whole Continent 1824, aged 69. Viotti's appearance besides. But the brilliancy, force, was striking-he was tall, of an im- and daring of genius must be sought posing figure, and with a countenance for in other lands. Italy has taught of strong expression-his forehead France all that she knows. The lofty, and his eye animated. As a painting, the architecture, the comcomposer for the violin he is unques. position, the military art, even the tionably at the head of all his school, swordsmanship of France are the loan and his school at the head. Its ex- of Italy. The loan has always decellencies are so solid, that his violin generated in less than half a century, concertos may be transferred to any and the art sank until it was revived other instrument, without a change of by some fresh infusion from the their character, and scarcely a dimi- fountain-head. Some son of genius nution of their effect. Some of the crossed the Alps, and astonished the most powerful concertos for the piano Frenchman, clever as he is, by arts are Viotti's, originally composed for unknown before. the violin. The character of his style De Beriot is essentially of the school is nobleness. Pure melodies and rich of Rode, though he is understood to harmonies had been attained by others; be ambitious of referring his skill to but it was reserved for him to unite Viotti. But his style, dexterous rather both with grandeur. This was, in than dazzling, intricate rather than some degree, the result of his having profound, and sparkling rather than been the scholar of Pugnani, the first splendid, is altogether inferior to the man who taught the Italians the effect majestic beauty of the master violinist of combined breadth and brilliancy. of the last age. It must be acknowBut it was for the celebrated Pied- ledged that De Beriot's conduct on montoise to be at once supremely ele- the death of the unhappy Malibran gant and forcible, and to unite the must raise more than doubts of his most touching taste with the most sensibility. And the musician, like dazzling command of all the powers the poet, who is destitute of feeling, of the instrument. Another style is deprived of the first source of exhas followed, and eccentricity forms cellence. He may be ingenious, but the spell of the day — eccentricity he never can be great. He is ignodoubtless sustained by extraordinary rant of the secret which supremely spirit of execution, but still destined sways the mind. It is probable that to pass away, after the brief period of he will never return to this country. surprise, and to leave public taste free The impression which he has left to return to the “ sublime and beau- behind is fatal to all popularity. tiful" of Viotti.
In Germany, Spohr is still the cele. It might be interesting to examine brated name. Louis Spohr was the state of the French, German, and born in the Brunswick territory, in English schools in detail ; but we can 1784. His distinctions were rapid ; now advert only to the living per- for at twenty-one, after making a former, who in each occupies the tour of the German cities, and vi. principal place. De Beriot appears siting Russia with increasing fame, to hold the highest estimation among he was appointed first violin and
composer to the Duke of Saxe Go
any spirit of invidiousness against an tha. In 1817, he made a tour of institution, graceful in its nature, inthe Italian cities, and in 1820 came genious in its direction, and almost to England, where he performed at essential in its results to national rethe Philharmonic concerts. He had finement. Under the superintendence already been known to violinists by of Lord Burghersh, himself a distinthe science of his compositions, and guished amateur, and the approval of his knowledge of the capacities of the Royalty, the institution has already violin. His performance in this coun- considerably improved the performtry exhibited all the command which ances of our theatrical orchestras, and was to be expected from German vi- has supplied our music meetings and gour. But it must be confessed that public concerts with a race of wellthe want of conception was apparent. taught musicians. So far it has “ done His style was heavy. With remarkable the state some service.” purity of tone, and perfect skill in the But the great point remains. How management of the bow, he was never is England to make or find those tabrilliant. Sweet melodies, graceful lents which render Germany and Italy modulations, and polished cadenzas the source of such perennial musical were all ; and in these are not con- excellence, or rather which at brief tained the spells of music. Even his intervals render them so habitually large and heavy figure had some effect productive of minds which give a fresh in prejudicing the ear against his style. impulse to the powerful and lovely All seemed ponderous alike. The art of harmony? To answer this weather, too, during his visit, hap- question, it must be remembered, that pened to be unusually close for the in Germany and Italy alone the lower season, and the rather corpulent Ger- orders are musically educated: in man too palpably suffered under a Germany, in the peasant schools ; in perpetual thaw. His performance in Italy, in the schools attached to the this state was the reverse of elegant; churches and monasteries. In both and the intricacy of his composition, these countries, out of this multitude the perpetual toil of science, and the new talents are constantly arising. general absence of expression-quali- While even in France, where immense ties so visible in all his written works, patronage is extended to music, and without the exception of his best opera, where music is a national boast, but Faust-oppressed his violin.
where it is not a part of national eduThe most popular violin composer cation, a new name in music is among now in Germany, or in Europe, is the rarest of all possible things. Her Mayseder. His style is singularly, Conservatoire produces elegant peryet sometimes showily toilsome. As formers; but those may be made by Spohr's is the labour of science, May- practice under any sky. But all her seder's is the labour of brilliancy. ranks of performers are shaped acHis works are strictly for the fashion cording to the last style of Germany of the time—popular airs with showy or Italy
-a Kreutzer, a Spohr, or a variations, some feeble and affected, Paganini. Of composers, with many but some unquestionably of remark- elegant, she has not one original. able richness, variety, and subtlety. Even Auber, though among the most His air, with variations, dedicated to pleasing dramatic composers of EuPaganini, the “pons asinorum” of our rope, and greatly superior to the whole amateurs, is a well-known specimen heavy school which at present overof all those qualities, and is even a loads taste in Germany, is impressed happier specimen of Paganini's style with Rossini in every line. Auber is than any published composition of the a Parisian Rossini. great violinist himself.
It is probable that the first step to The English school of the present discover the original power of the day is but a name. What the “ Royal English mind in music, must be to Academy of Music” may yet pro- extend the musical education to the duce, is, of course, in the clouds of multitude. The task might not be difall things future. But forming many ficult. The system of collecting the very dexterous performers, and some children of the people into large masses tolerable composers, it has exhibited in our national schools would seem to no hope of giving England a musical afford the easiest means imaginable genius. However, this is not said in for giving them a certain degree of
general instruction in the rudiments Music could spread its influence in of music. Those whose natures were the direction of the people, by either adverse would soon exhibit their unfit- fixing teachers of popular music in the néss, and might be left to themselves; smaller towns and villages at small but those who had a natural faculty salaries, or encouraging the leading for this delightful employment of the inhabitants of those places to have idle hour, and solace of the unhappy little public competitions, give little one, would rapidly imbibe the know- prizes to the best performers, and from ledge necessary; and where genius time to time forward to the Academy existed, its discovery would be inevit. in London those who exhibited the able. Other results of still higher most marked ability, and who intended value would be felt at no distant pe- to make music their profession, there riod. A musical faculty among the can be no doubt whatever that civilipeople would save them from the sation and innocent pleasure among temptation, almost the necessity, of the humbler ranks would receive an having recourse to those gross ex- important impulse. The music of our cesses, which are much oftener the churches, too, would derive a still refuge from total want of occupation, more powerful improvement from this than even the indulgence of vitiated cultivation. In its present state, the tastes. Those wretched haunts into church service in our cities, thouglı which our workmen and peasantry are often admirably sustained in its other inveigled by the mere restlessness of departments, almost universally falls the idle mind and hand, would lose a short in all that belongs to musie. large part of their attractions, when The organ may be of the first order, the better tastes of the people found and its performer a master of his art, so much simpler, safer, and cheaper but the hymn, left to a few miserable employment for their leisure. We are trebles among the charity children, fully aware that this cannot be done must always be repulsive. The true at once. With our habits, the very effect of church music is to be known mention of the English peasant with only where the congregation join ; and a guitar in his hand, or throwing that they can join effectively only where hand across the strings of a harp, may there is some knowledge of music difseem ludierous. Yet the Spanish pea- fused among the people. No cathesant, as active, industrious, and manly dral choir, however scientific, can supa labourer of the ground as any in ply the deficiency: The cathedral Europe, is seen with a guitar in his music is, in general, the very reverse hand, whenever that hand has not the of devotional ; and a long anthem, spade. The German peasant is fre- with its solos, duetts, artificial, abquently a clever harpist, violinist, and struse, and often dreary labour of pianist ; and in neither instance is science, is a trial which, offending there the slightest diminution of in- the whole nature of the service, of. dustry or manliness in the national fends the ear of many, and the taste character ; while a great deal is con- of all. Once more, we say to the fessedly added to its temperance, so- royal and noble patrons of that Acacial intelligence, and personal enjoy- edmy, that if they desire to be of ment. The cultivation of vocal mu- national benefit, they must make the sic is known to be extremely common effort on a national scale. They may among the German soldiery ; but it answer, that the narrowness of their has never enfeebled their prowess in funds prohibits this. We answer, that the field ; on the contrary, it has often the narrowness of their funds results inflamed their natural intrepidity into solely from the narrowness of their heroism. In those minor details of design. What have they done, even service, which yet are so essential to within their own limits ? To speak the general superiority of troops, in in the gentlest terms, they have done regularity of marching, in orderly just so much as to point out the error cantonment, in bearing the fatigue of of their principle. The Academy, the field and the weariness of the gar- during the more than half-dozen years rison, and in a hundred other matters of its existence, has done what might of this kind, the fondness of the Ger- have been done by any private school, man for music renders him a remark- and little more. It has made some ably contented, obedient, and correct respectable performers, certainly not soldier. If the Royal Academy of one remarkable. It has not sent into