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1837.]
The Violin.

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was the friend of this great performer, ed for a too liberal patronage of the
who led the “ Academia,” or concert, fine arts, but he was a German, which
held weekly at the Cardinal's palace, is equivalent to his being a lover of
and established the reputation which music. The Baron of Kilmansegge,
his countrymen held, by the title, a Hanoverian, and one of the royal
“Virtuosissimo di violino, e vero Orfeo chamberlains, was the protector of the
di nostro tempo.". About the year young Italian violinist. Geminiani
1700, he produced his celebrated Solos. was introduced to the royal chamber ;
In 1713 he died, and was interred in where he played before the monarch,
the Pantheon, close to Raffaele. with Handel accompanying him on the

Corelli's performance was eminent harpsichord. The King was delightfor grace, tenderness, and touching ed ; acknowledged the violin, in such simplicity. It wanted the dazzling hands, to be the master of all instruexecution of later times, but its tone ments; and Geminiani was instantly was exquisite. Geminiani, his pupil, in fashion. His reign was unusually said, long after, that it always remind- long for a sitter on the capricious ed him of a sweet trumpet. For many throne of taste, he reigned fifteen subsequent years, his scholars per years. During that time, no one was formed an anniversary selection from allowed to stand in competition with his works over his tomb. At length him in the qualities of finished executhe scholars themselves followed their tion, elegance of conception, and vimaster, and the honour sank with vidness of performance. After this them into the grave.

period, he began to write books of inThe next celebrated violinist was struction, and treatises on harmony. Francesco Geminiani, born at Lucca He seems to have been the original in 1680. After acquiring the rudi- inventor of those pieces of imitative ments of music from Scarlatti, he music, which attained their height in completed his studies under Corelli. that most popular and most tiresome He now began the usual life of the of all battles, the “ Battle of Prague.” profession. His fame in Rome, as the Geminiani conceived the extravagant first scholar of the renowned Corelli, idea of representing the chief part of spread through Italy, and he com- the 13th Book of Tasso's Jerusalem by menced his career at Naples as the music. The ingenuity of the comhead of the orchestra. There his poser must be tasked in vain, where brilliancy, taste, and tone were unri- he has to represent things wholly unvalled ; yet, like many a concerto connected with musical sound. He player, he was found but ill suited for may represent the march of armies or the conduct of the orchestra. His im- the roar of tempests, the heaving of petuosity and animation ran away with the forest or the swell of ocean ; but him ; he rose into ecstasies, and left in what tones can he give the delibethe band wandering behind. He has rations of council or the wiles of conbeen charged with deficiency as a spiracy? timeist; but this, though the most fre- After a residence of thirty-six years quent failure of the amateur, seems so in England, where he ought to have incompatible with the professor, and died, Geminiani went to Paris, where is so easily avoided by the practical he was forgotten, and where he found musician, that we can scarcely believe it difficult to live. He returned only it to have been among the errors of to pass through England on his way so perfect a performer. He was still to Ireland, where, in a land singularly scarcely above boyhood—he was am- attached to music, the great master's bitious of display-he was full of old age was honoured. Some faint fancy, feeling, and power ; and in this recollection of him survives there still. fulness he rioted, until the orchestra, His scholar Dubourg was leader of the unable to follow, were thrown into King's band ; and he delighted to do confusion.

honour to the powers which had formEngland is, after all, the great en- ed his own. Geminiani was frequently courager of talent. It may be imi-' heard at the houses of his friends, and tated in Italy, or praised in France, preserved, though in extreme old age, but it is in England alone that it is his early elegance. But his career rewarded. In 1714 Geminiani arrived was now near its close.

A treatise on in this country. George I. was then harmony, to which he confided his on the throne. He has not been fam- fame with posterity, was stolen or de

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stroyed by a domestic. The loss to Islamism. But times are changed, and the world was probably slight; but to Austria, if she has not much improved the old man was irreparable. It cer- its Christianity, has at least checked tainly hastened his death ; he sank its Mahometanism. Tartini's birthperceptibly, and, after a year's resi- place was Pisano (April 1692). His dence in Ireland, died in 1762, in his family had been lately ennobled ; and eighty-third year.

as commerce was felt to be too humble Carbonelli, a powerful performer, for his descent, he was destined for and scholar of Corelli, who came to the law. He was fantastic from the this country about the year 1720, and beginning. He first exhibited a forwas leader of the opera, is worth re- bidden passion for music. The pasmembering chiefly as the ancestor of sion lulled, or was superseded by that still more famous master of the passion for fencing ; he became the art of pleasing English taste, of whom most expert of swordsmen, at a time it was dexterously said, that “ he never when all the gladiators of Europe brought a good hogshead of claret into were furnished from Italy. It may be his cellars, nor ever sent out a bad presumed, that law made but tardy one."

His talent for composition progress the rivalry of those active must have been acknowledged. But competitors. Perhaps, to obviate this the same tendency to prefer the service state of things, he was sent, in 1710, of Bacchus to that of Apollo was ex- to Padua, once the great school of the hibited by the violinist. He became civilians. There he committed the a wine-merchant, and one of the natural, but still more irreparable,

purveyors to the King.” On this fault of falling desperately in love. change were hung the following cou- The object of his passion was inferior plets :

to the hopes of his parvenu family, and Let Rubinelli charm the ear,

he was soon cast off without mercy.

The world was now before him ; but And steal the heart with voice divine,

it was a desert, and the future delight To Carbonelli I adhere, Instead of music, give me wine.

and pride of Italy was near dying of

hunger. At length, like many an" Yet give me both ; with wine combined,

other son of misfortune, he fled to Sweet music shall our joys improve ;

the cloister, where a relative, a Around the lyre be myrtle twined,

monk, gave him protection. There And wine attune the song to love." he adopted the violin, as a solace to

an uneasy mind; and rapidly acBut a phenomenon was now to ap- quired skill sufficient to take a place pear—the famous Guiseppe Tartini. in the cathedral band. During this In all arts there is a strong similitude. period his existence was unknown to They all make their progress by his family. But on a grand festival, bounds. A long period passes in each, a gust of wind blowing aside the which is a period of imitation. The curtain which hid the orchestra, Tarprogress is slight, is nothing ; then tini was seen by an acquaintance. comes suddenly some man of singular The discovery was communicated to powers, some human accident, who his family, a partial reconciliation folpushes the art beyond all its former lowed, and as the triumphs of the law limits, and heads a new era. This were now fairly given up, the wayhas been the history of invention from ward son of genius was suffered to fol. its slightest efforts to its noblest vic- low his own will, and be a violinist to tories, from pin-making to the “ Prin- the end of his days. cipia.” Tartini developed new powers But there was to be another stage in in the violin, an instrument which his ardent career. Veracini, a most seems to contain within its four simple powerful performer, happened to come strings all the mysteries of music, and to Venice. Tartini was struck with which may be still far from exhausted.

a new sense of the capacity of the vioTartini was, what in Italy would lin. He determined to imitate, if not be called a barbarian, for he was a to excel, this brilliant virtuoso. He native of Istria; a territory from which instantly left Venice, then a scene of Venice recruited her wildest merce- tumultuous and showy life, retired to naries, and which, mingling Greek, Ancona to devote himself to labour, Turk, and Italian, once lay like a bor- and gave night and day to his instruder land between Christendom and ment. There he made the curious discovery of the “ Third Sound. ceived during his life. So great was the resonance of a third note when the his surprise, and so exquisite his delight, two upper notes of a chord are sound- that it almost deprived him of the ed.

power of breathing. With the wildHe now rose into fame, and was ap- ness of his emotions he awoke ; and pointed to one of the highest distinc- instantly seized his instrument, in the tions of the art, the place of first vio- hope of executing what he had just lin to St Anthony of Padua himself. heard. But in vain. He was in desThe artist was duly grateful; for, with pair. However, he wrote down such a superstition which can now only portions of the solo as he could remake us smile, but which was a proof cover in his memory ; still it was so of the lofty enthusiasm of his heart, as inferior to what his sleep had produced, it was then accepted for the most strik- that he declared he would have broken ing evidence of his piety, he dedicated his instrument, and abandoned music himself and his violin to the service of for ever, if he could have subsisted by the saint for ever. His pupils had al- any other means.” The solo still exready spread his fame through the ists, under the name of the “ Devil's European capitals, and he received the Sonata." A performance of great inmost tempting offers from the chief tricacy, but to which the imagination courts. But his virtue was proof of the composer must have lent the against all temptation. St Antony beauty ; the charm is now undiscoverwas his sovereign still. His violin able. would stoop to no more earthly supre- The late Dr Burney, an ingenious macy, and the great master lived and writer and a good musician, thus died in Padua.

sketches the character of Tartini's It is remarkable that all the chief style. But Burney was a harpsichord virtuosi of the violin, if they live be- player, and his instrument was the anyond youth, palpably change their con- tipodes of the grace, delicacy, and exception of excellence. Whether it is pression of the violin. The effect prothat their taste improves, or their fire duced on Tartini's contemporaries is diminishes, their latter style is almost the true standard of his powers. His always marked by a study of elegance, compositions want the hand that gave a fondness for cantabile, and a pathe- them vitality. Burney's estimate seems tic tenderness. Difficulty, force, and much below the great artist's fame, surprise, are their ambition no more. yet still it is almost the only one left Tartini's performance scarcely assumed superiority till mature manhood. “ Tartini, though he made Corelli He said " that till he was thirty he had his model in the purity of his harmony done little or nothing." Yet the well- and the simplicity of his modulation, known story of his dream shows with greatly surpassed him in the fertility what ardour he studied. Lalande re- and originality of his invention--not lates it from his own lips. The story only in the subjects of his melodies, has all the vividness of a man of ima- but in the truly cantabile manner of gination, that man an Italian, and treating them. Many of his adagios that Italian a devotee-for though want nothing but words to be excellent Tartini was an Istrian, he had the true pathetic opera songs. His allegros rerve of the Ausonian; and though he are sometimes difficult ; but the paswas not a monk, he was the sworn sages fairly belong to the instrument slave of St Anthony.

for which they were composed, and “ He dreamed one night, in the year were suggested by his consummate 1713, that he had made a compact knowledge of the finger-board and the with Satan, who promised to be at his powers of the bow. Yet I must, in service on all occasions. And during justice to others, own, that though the his vision the compact was strictly adagio and solo playing in general of kept-every wish was anticipated, and his scholars are exquisitely polished his desires were even surpassed. At and expressive, yet it seems to us as if length he presented the fiend with his that energy, fire, and freedom of bow, violin, in order to discover what kind which modern symphonies and orchesof musician he was. To his infinite tra playing require, were wanting." astonishment, he heard him play a solo Tartini's compositions are by no means so singularly beautiful, that it éclipsed a test of his talents as a violinist. One all the music he had ever heard or con- of the habitual follies of all the leading

to us.

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violinists is, to turn composers. They location, went down to the lowest seldom condescend to play any concer

bench of the orchestra. When the tos but their own. This is a frequent time for his solo was come, he was failure in their popularity ; for the called on by Laurenti, who appears to faculties required for composition, and have acted as the director, to ascend for mastery of performance, are of a into a more conspicuous place. “No," different order, and each may exist said Veracini, “ I shall play where I where there is almost a total deficiency am, or no where.” He began—the of the other. Nine-tenths of the finest tones of his violin, for which he was performers on any instrument are in long celebrated, astonished every one capable of musical conception. One their clearness, purity, and passion great cause of the vast quantity of were unrivalled; all was rapture in the feeble, rambling, and extravagant com- audience, even the decorum of the position that overwhelms us at the church could not restrain their cheers. present day, is the idle ambition in And at the end of each passage, while every pianist, harpist, or violinist to the vivas were echoing round him, he exhibit as an original genius, and, in- turned to the hoary director in triumph, stead of giving to our ears the ideas of saying, “ That is the the way to play true composers, weary us with the the first violin.”—(“Cosi si suona per vanity of their own. Yet Tartini's fare il primo violino.") compositions still have a practical Veracini's prompt and powerful value, and some of them have been style must have made his fortune, if lately republished for the use of the he had taken pupils. But he refused Conservatoire at Paris.

to give lessons to any one except a The homage paid to those early nephew; he himself had but one artists seems frequently to have turned master, an uncle. His style was their heads ; even now, there is no wholly his own. Strange, wild, and one class of mankind which furnishes redundant. Violin in hand, he conso many eccentrics as musicians. Vera- tinually travelled over_Europe. A. cini's name has been already mention- bout 1745 he was in England. He ed, as awaking Tartini into rivalry and had two Steiner violins, which he excellence. He was the most daring, pronounced to be the finest in existbrilliant, and wild of violinists. His ence, and with the mixture of supernatural temperament had some share stition and frivolity so common to his in this ; for he was singularly ambic countrymen, he named one of them tious, ostentatious, and vain. His own St Peter and the other St Paul ! countrymen pronounced him “ Capo Violinists will feel an interest in knowpozzo,

the Crackbrained. At the ing that his peculiar excellencies con16 Festa della Croce" at Lucca, an oc- sisted in his shake, his rich and procasion on which the chief Italian in- found arpeggios, and a vividness of strumentalists were in the habit of tone that made itself heard through assembling from all quarters, Veracini, the loudest orchestra. who, from long absence, was unknown The school of Tartini was still the to the Lucchese, put down his name classic “ academeof Italy. Nardini for a solo. On entering the choir, he brings it nearer our own era. He found that his offer was treated with was the most exquisite pupil of the neglect, and that the Padre Laurenti, great master. Of all instruments the a friar from Bologna—for ecclesiastics violin has the closest connexion with were often employed as musicians in the mind. Its matchless power of the cathedrals-was at the desk of the expression naturally takes the mould solo-player. Veracini walked up at of the feelings; and where the peronce to the spot where the padre stood former has attained that complete in possession. “Where are you go- mastery which gives the instrument a ing ?" was the friar's question—“ To language, it is grave, gay, touching, take the place of first violin," was the or romantic, according to the temper impetuous answer. But Laurenti was of the man, and almost of the hour. tenacious of his right, and told the ap- Nardini's tenderness of mind gave plicant that if he wished to display his pathos to his performance. He left powers, either at vespers or high mass, the dazzling and the bold to others; he should have a proper place assigned he reigned unequalled in the soft, to him. Veracini indignantly turned sweet, and elegant. “ His violin, on his heel, and scorning the padre's says the President Dupaty, who hearu

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him in Italy in 1783, " is a voice, or himself in that speculation, he was has one. It has made the fibres of ruined. He then fell back upon his my ear vibrate as they never did be- profession, and obtained a handsome fore. To what a degree of tenuity livelihood by pupils, and his still undoes Nardini divide the air! How rivalled performance. Still he was exquisitely he touches the strings of wayward, capricious, and querulous, his instrument! With what art he and old age was coming on him withmodulates and purifies their tones!” out a provision. He had now been

England was never visited by this nearly thirty years in England, and fine virtuoso; but her musical tastes his musical rank and the recollection were more than compensated by the of his powers would doubtless have arrival of Felice Giardini, who pro- secured for him the public liberality duced effects here unrivalled till the in his decline. But he then committed appearance of Paganini. Giardini the second capital error of the foreign Fas born at Turin in 1716, and re- artists, that of restlessness, and breakceived his chief musical education ing off their connexion with the coununder Somis, a scholar of Corelli. try in which they have been long At the age of seventeen he went, as settled. Giardini went to recomwas the custom of the time, to seek mence life in Italy with Sir William his fortune in the great capitals. Hamilton. But Italy now knew noFrom Rome he went to Naples, and thing of him, and was engrossed by after a short residence in the chief younger men. After lingering there musical cities of his own country, just long enough to discover his folly passing through Germany with still in cne shape, he returned to England increasing reputation, came to Eng. to discover it in another. Five years' land in 1750. His first display was a absence from London had broken off concert for the benefit of Čuzzoni, all his old connexions, dissolved all who, once the great favourite of the his old patronage, and left him a Italian opera, was now old, and en- stranger in all but name. His health, feebled in all her powers.

In her de- too, was sinking. He was enfeebled caying voice the violinist had all the by dropsy ; his sight was failing ; and unwilling advantage of a foil. The he was glad to find employment as a audience were even on the point of supernumerary or tenor in the orchesforgetting their gallantry, and throw- tra, where his talent had once reigned ing the theatre into an uproar, when supreme. He attempted a burletta the young Italian came forward. His opera at the little Haymarket theatre, first tones were so exquisite, and so failed ; took his company to St Petersunlike any thing that the living gene- burg, failed at that extremity of Euration had heard, that they instantly rope ; took them to Moscow, failed put all ill-humour to flight. As he there ; and then could fail no more. proceeded, the rapture grew. At In Moscow, at the age of eighty, he length all was a tumult, but a tumult died. of applause, and applause so loud, In music, as in poetry, there have long, and overwhelming, as to be ex- always been tou schools. The classic ceeded by none ever given to Garrick and the romantic.

The former reguhimself. His fortune was now made, lar, graceful, elegant ; the latter wild, if he would but condescend to take it often rude, often ungraceful, but often up as it lay before him. But this powerful, and postponing all things to condescension has seldom formed a power. The classic gaining its object part of the wisdom of genius ; and by addressing itself to the sense of Giardini was to follow the fate of so pleasure, the romantic by exciting the many of his showy predecessors. sense of admiration. The triumphs

His first error was that avarice of the two schools have alternated in which so curiously and so often com- music as in poetry. The weariness bines with the profusion of the foreign of excessive elegance has lowered the artist.

In 1754 he was placed at the popularity of the one, the exhaustion head of the Opera orchestra. In of strong sensations has extinguished 1756 he adopted the disastrous idea, the honours of the other.

Thus runs in connexion with the celebrated Sig- the circle. A performer was now nora Mingotti, of making rapid opu- to appear whose consummate elegance lence by taking the theatre. Like gave the palm to the classic school for every man who has ever involved the time. The name of Giornovichi

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VOL, XLI, NO, CCLV.

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