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CHAPTER XVII.

MUSIC IN GERMANY IN THE PRESENT CENTURY.

WINTER.

HIMMEL.-WEIGL.-ANDREAS AND BERNARD ROMBERG.-FESCA.

-BEETHOVEN.

AMONG the great composers of Germany who flourished at the beginning of the present century, the oldest appears to be PETER WINTER, who was born at Manheim in 1755. In 1775 he was appointed director of the orchestra of the theatre at Manheim, and afterwards held the same situation at Munich, where he resided during his life. His compositions for the church, the theatre, and the chamber, are very numerous. Of his ecclesiastical works, his Requiem is the most celebrated. Many of his German operas were received with the greatest favour, and several of them are still performed in Germany. The operas which he composed for the King's Theatre, during his residence in London, in 1803 and 1804, were among the most successful of his works. These were Zaira, Proserpina, and Calypso. In these, the airs, which he composed to suit the limited but fine contralto voice of Madame Grassini, are beautifully simple, and were long seen on the piano-forte of every lady who had any pretensions as a singer of Italian music. One of his German operas, The Interrupted Sacrifice, was brought out in an English dress a few years ago, at the English Operahouse, and obtained considerable success. His last composition for the stage was a comic piece entitled

Der Sanger und der Schneider (The Singer and the Tailor), founded on a well-known anecdote of Farinelli: it is a great favourite in the German theatres. He died at Munich, in October, 1825, at the age of seventy.

FREDERICK HIMMEL was born in Brandenburgh, in 1765. At an early age he obtained the situation of maestro di capella, at Berlin, which he retained during his life. He died in 1814. His works are very numerous, and in various styles. His most celebrated opera is Fanchon, which is still performed in all parts of Germany. His music for the piano-forte is of a very high class; in particular, his two sets of trios for the piano-forte, violin, and violoncello, are among the finest compositions of this kind, and ought to stand in the library of every amateur, beside the similar works of Mozart, Beethoven, and Hummel. He produced an immense number of detached songs and ballads, many of which are very original and beautiful.

JOSEPH WEIGL, born at Vienna in 1765, was director of the orchestra of the imperial theatre in that city. In his dramatic music, he is remarkable for the pastoral freshness and simplicity of his style; for which his opera of the Swiss Family is particularly distinguished. Few operas have enjoyed greater popularity in Germany than this, which was produced at Vienna in 1809. It is certainly very pleasing, and contains much elegant melody; but it wants vigour and depth, and soon palls upon repetition. An early work of this composer, L'Amor Marinaro, was brought out at the English Opera-house, in 1828, under the title of The Pirate of Genoa, with little success.

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ANDREAS and BERNARD ROMBERG were the children of two brothers, both of whom were eminent musicians. Anthony Romberg, the father of Andreas, was an excellent performer on the bassoon, resident at Bonn; and Henry, the father of Bernard, was music-director to the bishop of Munster. They brought up their children to their own profession; and, in 1799, gave a concert at Hamburgh, in which the whole performers were members of their families. Andreas and Bernard soon distinguished themselves as performers,-the one on the violin, and the other on the violoncello; and both by their genius for composition. About the year 1790 they held situations in the chapel of the elector of Cologne, at Bonn, and afterwards obtained engagements in the orchestra of the German theatre at Hamburgh. After travelling over various parts of Europe, and acquiring high reputation as performers on their respective instruments, they returned to Hamburgh, where Andreas settled; and Bernard afterwards obtained a situation in the royal chapel at Berlin. Andreas died twelve or thirteen years ago. Bernard, we believe, still resides at Berlin.

Andreas Romberg is the author of many pieces for the church, several operas which were favourably received in Germany, and some cantatas, the most remarkable of which is Schiller's Song of the Bell. Bernard is also the author of several theatrical and other vocal works. But both of them are chiefly distinguished as instrumental composers. The symphonies of Andreas, in particular, are masterly productions, and well known and frequently performed in this country; and Bernard has furnished the lovers of the violoncello

with a great variety of the most beautiful music that has ever been written for that instrument. He has long enjoyed the reputation of being (except, perhaps, our own Lindley,) the greatest violoncellist in Europe.

FREIDRICH ERNST FESCA, maestro di capella to the duke of Baden, was a voluminous and distinguished composer both of vocal and instrumental music. He is known in this country chiefly by his violin quartets, of which are admirable. He died in 1826.

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The illustrious name of LUDWIG VAN BEETHOVEN began to be heard in Germany a short time before the beginning of the present century. He was born in 1770, at Bonn, where his father was a tenor singer in the elector's chapel. He made great progress in music at a very early age, notwithstanding his being attacked by a disease which affected his hearing, and at last terminated in total deafness.

Some of his vocal and instrumental pieces were published at Manheim when he was only thirteen years of age. In 1792, the elector of Cologne, whose attention had been attracted to his youthful genius, sent him to Vienna to study composition, which he did, first, for a short time, under Haydn, and afterwards under the celebrated teacher, Albrechtsberger.

His first publications were treated with great severity by the German journalists, by whom he was accused of harsh modulations, melodies more singular than pleasing, and a constant straining after originality. It is always the fate of genius, such as Beethoven's, to be censured before it is understood. Those productions, so roughly treated by the Aristarchs of the time, probably contained crudities to which youthful inexperience is

liable; but they must have been much akin, in style and character, to those compositions which follow them very closely in point of date, and which form the commencement of the regular series of his published works. Now the very earliest of these,-his three trios for the pianoforte, violin, and violoncello; his sonatas, dedicated to Haydn, and his first trio for a violin, tenor, and violoncello, are at present looked upon as correct, clear, and smooth compositions; yet, within our remembrance, these pieces were considered, in England, as wild, crabbed, and unintelligible. When his symphony in C minor was first tried by the band of the Philharmonic Society, an assemblage of musical ability not surpassed in the world, they were so astounded at its odd and abrupt outset, and so bewildered by the novelty of its harmonies and transitions, that it was not till after several repetitions, that its amazing grandeur and beauty began to unfold themselves even to their enlightened vision. When Mozart's quartets, those models of pure and delicate harmony, were originally published, a number of copies, sent to Italy, were returned on the hands of the publishers, as being full of errors of the engraver. The severity, therefore, with which Beethoven's early compositions were treated by the Allgemeine Musikalische Zeitung, and other German journals, is by no means surprising.

By the death of the elector of Cologne, in 1801, Beethoven lost a zealous patron; and this event seems to have induced him to leave his native place and take up his abode at Vienna, in which city he constantly resided for the rest of his life. Being of an independent spirit, and utterly incapable of practising the arts of a

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