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less acid on this point. The Mozarts were evidently in the position of a clever family living among stupid people, and, as often happens in such cases, kept a good deal to themselves and criticised their neighbours pretty sharply ; quite a sufficient reason for their apparent unpopularity in the town, perhaps also for the development of that turn for satirical comment which characterized Mozart through life, though it seldom took a really unkind form with him. Both phases of Mozart's early life, however-his exhibition through Europe and his temporary obscuration at Salzburg-are of interest in reference to his character, chiefly because they had so little effect upon it. Neither does the childhood of premature exhibition, and of petting and coaxing by princesses, seem to have injured in the least his natural simplicity and modesty of character, nor his want of recognition in the Salzburg Court to have in the least impaired his independence and confidence in his own powers; nor did he ever learn the lesson of time-serving and cringing to patrons inculcated by his father, who has been the object of much ill-bestowed admiration by Mozart biographers. Leopold Mozart, valet and musician in the court of the Archbishop in Salzburg, was a highly respectable, prudent, and pious musical lackey. He seems to have had an instinct for bettering himself, and finding himself blessed with a child of exceptionally precocious genius, he did his best to ruin the boy as man and artist by making a show of him at courts, allowing him to please titled idiots by showing how he could play just as well with the keyboard covered with a cloth, &c., and advertising his feats in a style anticipatory of Farini, not forgetting to ascribe all to "the glory of God,” who had thus performed a miracle at Salzburg which, as he endeavoured to persuade the Archbishop in one letter, would, if properly worked, tend to the suppression of Grimm, Voltaire, and other profane persons who denied the possibility of miracles. When young Mozart was grossly insulted by another lackey who happened to have a title (Count Arco), it was his father who persuaded him to submit to the insult rather than resent it with the spirit of a gentleman, as the son seemed dangerously disposed to do; when Mozart became engaged to a girl he loved, but who was poor, it was his father who urged him to jilt her, and snubbed her after her marriage. In short, Leopold was a model man, and naturally excited the enthusiasm of some of the doubtless equally respectable men who have biographised Mozart. Jahn contents himself with pulling the strings and exhibiting the motions of the model, with little comment; he at all events does not attribute Mozart's greatness to the fostering care and educational efforts of the father. On the contrary, whether intentionally or not, he renders it more than ever apparent that Mozart's early exhibition as a prodigy had no connection with or influence on his subsequent career. The one thing Mozart does
seem either to have learned or inherited from his father was, the artist's feeling for finish of execution. Leopold Mozart, though no composer, was a thoroughly sound and accomplished craftsman in his art; he could tolerate no slovenly execution, and no doubt instructed his son and daughter thoroughly in the mechanism of the art; and the importance which Mozart attached to sound and finished execution throughout his life, as well as his impatience of clumsy and defective manipulation, is constantly apparent in his correspondence and talk; in his satirical descriptions of the defects of various players; his delight in a brilliant bit of vocal bravura successfully executed; his objection to Clementi's show passages in thirds and sixths, as at variance with true delicacy of touch and phrasing on the pianoforte; his reply to a clarionet player who complained of the difficulty of a passage written for him, "The notes are in your instrument, are they not? Well then, it is your business to bring them out." These and other traits, besides what is recorded of the beautiful finish of his own playing, are deserving of note, not only as characteristic of Mozart's view of the art, but also as affording a curious and not uninstructive contrast to the comparative carelessness about executive finish, provided there be feeling and comprehension of the music, which has pervaded recent criticism.
But while we have abundant evidence of Mozart's views as to musical execution, that intermediate art whereby the conception of the composer is brought within range of the sensuous perception of the hearer, the far more interesting question as to his views about the art of music in itself, the ideal which should form the basis of it, and the method of composition, receives no illustrations from his writings or recorded remarks, save in some vague hints, few and far between. One single remark recorded of Haydn, if it be true (I cannot recall the authority for it), that in composing his quartets he was accustomed to diversify their design by imagining to himself the various incidents of an excursion or some such proceeding in real life, gives more insight into the process of intellectual formation of a composition than Mozart ever vouchsafed. Such a remark indicates intelligibly enough the manner in which variety and contrast of real incident may find its reflection, in the mind of the composer, in variety and contrast of tonal incident; a phenomenon of which there are several acknowledged instances, and probably many more unacknowledged, in the works of Beethoven, whose frequent use, besides, of what is now called "poetic basis," in a larger and more important sense, is incontestable. But in regard to Mozart's music, considered apart from words, we are not furnished with even any such general hint as would be implied in Haydn's remark above referred to. In one allegro for the pianoforte, in sonata form, there is an episode in the middle portion quite unconnected with the general design of the
movement, in which (in the original manuscript) two opposing phrases are labelled with the names of the two daughters of the house in which he was writing. Probably the girls disturbed him while composing, and he symbolised the incident in the music; but this is a unique instance, and merely renders the composition, as one of his, an exceptional curiosity. It is vexatious to have to note that the very characteristic letter from Mozart to a nameless "Count," who had asked for a description of his system of composing, which was given in Holmes's Life of Mozart, is pronounced by Jahn to be unquestionably apocryphal as it stands," though some portions of it are so like what one could imagine Mozart writing that one can hardly believe there is not something of him in it. The statements in it about his composition merely amount to saying that melodies came to him he knew not whence, and that he soon perceived in his mind which of them would work together into a composition, and could mentally hear the combined effects; but that he could give no more reason why his compositions took the particular form which characterized them than why his features had the special expression which made them Mozart's and no other man's. If Mozart did not write this part of the letter, it is a very happy hit; it is precisely in accordance with the reticence of his whole artistic life. Nowhere in his correspondence about his own compositions, and his playing, and the effects produced, is there a hint about the raison d'être of any composition or of the form which it assumed. True, as Jahn observes, abstract reflections on art and its relation to individual artists were not at that time the fashion; yet it is strange to find such a total ignoring of any theory of his art, not only in ordinary family correspondence about his musical doings, but even on such an occasion as his sending to Haydn the six quartets dedicated to the latter, which he describes as having arisen out of his study of Haydn's quartets, and which were a great advance in that most beautiful and abstract form of instrumental music; but not a word from Mozart as to his aims, his treatment of the instruments, or even as to the special character of any of the compositions. What, then, was Mozart's object in instrumental composition ? We get a hint of one side of it from some of the stories which are related about his tours de force of musical memory and power of combination. To a musician to whom it was an easy matter to play his own part in a new concerted composition without having ever written it down (a feat performed more than once with perfect naïveté and absence of pretence), or while he was writing out a fugue previously conceived, to compose simultaneously in his mind a prelude in perfectly different form-to one who handled his art thus it is evident that musical form, for its own sake, must have been a paramount interest; composition was a form of
design, in which successions and proportions of sounds took the place of successions and proportions of lines and spaces. Not less was he engrossed by the pure joy of constructive power. The combination of sounds as music is more or less conditioned by physical laws; how far the conditions are rigorous is matter for an essay in itself; there was tacit conviction on the subject in the time of Mozart, who as to detail bowed indeed nominally to no dicta of musical theorists, but did not "deny their major;" sunt certi denique fines. How to move with ease and a sense of controlling power, then, within these limits? To handle the most complicated combinations of melodies (melody being in itself an organized succession of sounds in mutual relation of tone and rhythm), as if the weaving of such a tonal structure were the most natural effort of the will? There was some pleasure in that, for the sense of power means pleasure.
"On one occasion, at the house of Madame Vidas, he was asked to improvise something. Readily, as his custom was, he complied, and seated himself at the piano, having just been provided with two themes by the musicians who were present. Madame Vidas stood near his chair to watch him playing. Mozart, who loved a joke with her, looked up and said, 'Come, have not you a theme on your mind for me too?' She sang him one, and he began a 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."
When we compare with this account what is said on other testimony as to the "inexhaustible wit" of Mozart's extempore playing, we can imagine what an exciting kind of performance this was; but we are as far as ever from learning the secret of the exquisite charm of expression, the emotional power in many of his compositions. It was his favourite occupation to sit at the piano extemporising fantasias, either alone or with one or two chosen hearers; and if the well-known (now unfortunately rather hackneyed) fantasia in C Minor be, as it probably is, a type of the kind of thing he produced on these occasions, we can imagine what passionate outpourings of emotional expression some of these extempore effusions may have been. But of the feelings which should be the fountain of such musical expressions we hardly find a trace in Mozart's outward life and character. The gaiety and wit were in his life; the sadness, and longing, and tenderness came out only in his music. Almost the one trait in Jahn's pages which hints at a deep emotional element in his character is the interesting story of his extemporising, when quite a child, a song on the word perfido, "which excited him so much that he struck the clavier like one possessed, and several times sprung up from his seat." There is nothing in the calm, equable development of his mature genius corresponding at all to this trait. His emotions, as expressed in music, were always under the shaping and controlling influence of artistic power. Haydn, indeed, has
testified that he could never forget Mozart's playing-it came
In his operas, in which the poetic basis of the music is furnished by the words and situations, there is, of course, less difficulty in estimating Mozart's feeling and interest as expressed in the music. Their main characteristic, besides the pure emotional beauty of melody, of which they are full, lies in the presence of very marked and delicate character-painting, which is nevertheless subordinated for the most part to the demands of a perfectly consistent and coherent musical form. No one can doubt, in reading so full a biography as the one before us, that the dramatic interest was exceedingly strong in Mozart from an early age. His quick sense of humour, his appreciation of special foibles of character in individuals, and his power of lively satire thereupon, come out in his correspondence continually, and we have glimpses of his figure as an accomplished actor in the personation of characters in drawing-room comedy. But the realisation of this power in his principal operas goes far beyond all which the suggestions of it in his every-day life would have led us to expect. For the plot and situations he was mainly indebted to the "poet," but for everything beyond them we are indebted entirely to Mozart. The skeleton characters of the conventional librettist are clothed, by Mozart's musical treatment of them, with the full outline and endowed with the warm pulsations of living and breathing human beings, men and women of like passions with ourselves; nor does any mood seem to be beyond the range of the composer's appreciation. He can give expression to the love or the grief of the high-born lady, the coquetry of the waitingmaid, the artlessness of the country girl. The polished sensuality of the libertine gentleman, the humours of his good-for-nothing valet, the ill-temper of a sulky old court official, each receive from Mozart their appropriate and entirely individual musical expression. In this respect it is not too much to say that there is what may be called a certain Shakespearean power in Mozart. It is, in effect, as if he said "This is how these characters would express themselves if music were their natural language ;" and the more we hear and compare their various utterances, the more we must feel convinced of the composer's clear and vivid perception of the varieties of human character. This is exhibited notably in his musical colouring of the