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brought out at Drury-lane theatre in an English dress. In one respect, it surpasses any opera that we are acquainted with,—its deep dramatic interest, and its effect on the feelings. The character of Leonora, the tender, faithful, heroic wife, is even more than beautiful it is sublime; and, at the conclusion, the tears and exclamations of the audience never fail to mark their sympathy with the rapturous joy of the re-united pair, as well as the delight they receive from the enchanting accents in which this joy is expressed. As a musical whole, Fidelio is not equal to the still unrivalled Don Giovanni; though, in many of its parts, it does not yield, either in the beauty and expression of the melodies, the richness and ingenuity of the choral and concerted pieces, or the power of the orchestral effects, even to that immortal production.

Beethoven died in his fifty-seventh year, at an age when the physical strength is generally little impaired, and the mental faculties are in their full maturity and vigour; and, during a considerable part of this comparatively short life, he suffered under the total deprivation of that sense which, above all others, is necessary to the musician. When this is remembered, and contrasted with the immense magnitude of what he has achieved in his art, Beethoven cannot be looked upon as inferior in genius to any musician who has ever lived, -not even to Handel himself.





CARL MARIA VON WEBER was born in 1786, at Eutin, a small town in Holstein. His father, who was a violinist of some note, gave him a liberal education, and enabled him to cultivate his talents for music and painting, between which his inclinations seem, in his early years, to have been divided. His ardour in the study of painting, however, abated as his mind became more and more engrossed by his love of music. After he had acquired great skill as a piano-forte player, his father placed him under the care of Michael Haydn, brother of the illustrious Joseph Haydn, and himself a celebrated composer in the ecclesiastical style. Under him, Weber laboured earnestly; but, according to his own account, without much success. The master was then far advanced in years, and of an austere disposition. "There was too awful a distance,” Weber himself says, "between the old man and the child."

At this time, in 1798, his first work was published, consisting of six Fughetti, or short fugues, which were favourably noticed by the Leipsic Musical Gazette. In the same year he went to Munich, where he received instructions from M. Kalcher, the organist of the Royal Chapel, to whom he ascribes his knowledge of the laws of counterpoint, and their ready application to practice. Under the of this master he composed an opera, a


grand mass, and many instrumental pieces; all which were afterwards committed to the flames. The art of lithography, recently invented, now attracted his attention; and his attempts to improve upon the invention for a time entirely occupied his mind. But his ardour in this pursuit soon subsided, and he returned to his musical labours.


At the age of fourteen he composed the opera Das Waldmädchen (the Wood Girl,) which was performed for the first time in November, 1800, and received with applause at Vienna, Prague, and Petersburgh. The whole of the second act was composed in ten days,one of the unfortunate consequences," he himself says, and the remark is worthy of being attended to, "of those marvellous anecdotes of celebrated men which act so strongly on the youthful mind, and incite to emulation." After this he was induced, by reading an article in a musical journal, to think of composing in an ancient style, and of reviving the use of forgotten instruments. According to this plan, he composed an opera called Peter Schmoll und seine Nachbarn (Peter Schmoll and his neighbours), which had little success, but received the warm approbation of his old master, Michael Haydn.

Soon afterwards he visited Vienna, and mingled in the musical society of that city. He became acquainted with the Abbé Vogler, a learned and profound musician, who generously undertook to give him the benefit of his own knowledge and experience. Aided by the advice and assistance of Vogler, Weber, for two years, devoted himself to a severe study of the works of the great masters; and, during this period, published

only one or two trifles. After having finished this course of education, he received the situation of maestro di capella at Breslau. During his residence there he composed an opera called Rübezahl, or Number-Nip, the celebrated spirit, or fiend, of the Hartz mountains.

In 1806 he entered into the employment of the Duke Eugene, of Würtemberg. Here he composed several symphonies and other pieces of instrumental music. He also remodelled his opera of The Wood Girl, and reproduced it under the title of Sylvana. In 1810 he composed the opera of Abu Hassan, at Darmstadt. This piece, which is founded on a well known and amusing story in the "Arabian Nights," had considerable success. The tale is well dramatized, and the music light and comic. It was brought out in London some years ago, and frequently performed.

In 1813 he was employed to re-organize and direct the opera at Prague, and relinquished the management in 1816, after having accomplished the object for which he undertook it. He then received an invitation to Dresden, for the purpose of establishing a German opera in that city. He had previously declined many handsome offers from various quarters; but this invitation he accepted with alacrity, as it promised to gratify the wish he had long entertained, of placing on a proper footing the national opera of his own country. He continued to hold this situation till his death.

At Dresden he composed his far-famed Freischütz. He did not, however, bring it out there, but, by permission of his sovereign, at Berlin, where it was first performed in the beginning of 1822. It was received with

an enthusiasm which rapidly spread over Germany, and at once raised its author's name to the summit of popularity. His well-regulated mind bore with calmness this sudden celebrity. "I am delighted," he says, in a letter to a friend, "that my Freischütz has given you pleasure. I need the approbation of men of merit to stimulate me to activity. Carried to my present height by the storm of applause, I am ever in fear of a fall. How much better it is to pursue one's way in peace and quiet!" Nothing but Der Freischütz was performed in any theatre in Germany, and nothing but the airs from it were heard even in the streets of the smallest villages. In July, 1824, an English version of it was produced in London, at the English Operahouse, and fully gratified the highly-raised expectations of the public. On the opening of the great winter theatres, it was brought out at both of them. Each theatre had a different version of it, and in each version it was injured by wanton changes, mutilations, and interpolations, according to the prevailing usage in English adaptations of foreign operas. The great features of the piece, however, remained: it was got up with much splendour and magnificence; and, generally speaking, was well performed. It was received with an enthusiasm not inferior to that which it had excited in Germany; it made the round of all the provincial theatres; and, wherever it appeared, was played night after night to overflowing houses.

In the winter of 1822, Weber produced the musical drama of Preciosa, founded on a tale of Cervantes. This piece was very successful, not only at Dresden, where it was originally produced, but all over Germany. The

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