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studies, rendered the wild legend of the Freischütz perhaps the most suitable subject on which he could have employed his talents. In depicting, or rather in aggravating, the horrors of the Wolf's Glen, with its fearful omens, and all its unearthly sights and sounds, -in painting the grief and despair of his hero, and the gloomy, demoniacal spirit of the lost and abandoned Caspar, he found full scope for his peculiar talent. Were we to compare him with any of our romance writers, we should say that he possessed, though mingled with and controlled by a finer taste and far greater discretion, a congeniality of soul with Monk Lewis and Mrs. Radcliffe; and, rich as the dramatic literature of his country is in tales of superstition and diablerie, we think it to be regretted that he did not, at least, furnish us with another romantic opera from that prolific source.' Some of the most powerful passages in Oberon afford striking manifestations of this peculiar turn of the author's genius. Among these are the incantation scene,-"Spirits of air,” and the fiendlike chorus, mingled with shouts of laughter, of the evoked demons; the chorus which forms the finale to the second act; and the scene in which the hero is tempted by evil spirits. In all these, we recognise in every note the author of the Freischütz.

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Weber's instrumental accompaniments are stronger than those of Mozart. Whether this species of colouring has reached its height, or whether it will continue to increase in strength, it seems hardly possible to conjecture. Every succeeding generation of dramatic composers has added variety, richness, and force, to the effects of the orchestra; and accompaniments, at first

thought too predominant and overpowering, have come, in course of time, to be considered thin and feeble. It is grievous to think that the divine harmonies of Mozart himself may share this fate; yet, when once the accompaniments of Weber and Spohr shall be on a level with the generally-established standard of taste, those of Mozart must necessarily be below it. This, indeed, is in some measure the case already; and the time may come when the present style of orchestral writing shall give way to new forms of instrumentation, as yet undreamed of. There may, indeed, be a point beyond which the tide of innovation cannot reach, and at which it must remain, or begin to ebb. But the history of music affords no indication of any such point; and the tide still flows on as fast and as steadily as ever. One thing, however, may be said. However endless may be the changes caused by the enlargement of the bounds of harmony, and by discoveries in the use and combination of instruments, those innovations which consist in a mere accession of noise, have already reached their limit. The human tympanum can bear nothing beyond the beating of drums, and braying of trumpets and trombones, introduced by the followers of the Rossini school; and the temporary vogue of a fashion of composing which is a mere cloak for ignorance and incapacity, appears to be passing away.

187

MUSIC IN

CHAPTER XIX.

GERMANY IN THE PRESENT CENTURY, CONTINUED.
MOSCHELES.-NEUKOMM. MEYER-
SCHNEIDER. THE MODERN GERMAN

SPOHR. HUMMEL.-RIES.

BEER.
SCHOOL.

MENDELSSOHN.

THERE are many German musicians of the present century, whose names have acquired an European celebrity. Among these, the following are the most distinguished.

LOUIS SPOHR has acquired great fame, both as a performer on the violin, and as a composer. In 1820, on the invitation of the Philharmonic Society, he visited London, and justified, by his performances, the reputation he had gained, of being the first violinist of the age. He was peculiarly distinguished for his pure and delicate tone, the smoothness and facility of his execution, his expression, and the vocal character of his style. As a composer, he was first distinguished by his concertos, quartets, and other instrumental pieces; but he afterwards turned his attention to dramatic, and, more recently, to sacred music. By his operas of Faust, Jessonda, and Zemire and Azor, he has raised himself to the highest rank among the composers for the theatre; and his oratorios of The Last Judgment and The Crucifixion are not surpassed, in the sublimity of many of their parts, by anything that has appeared since the days of Handel. Though the music of these pieces never descends from the solemnity which belongs

to the subjects, yet it possesses great variety of expression,-passing from the most awful and terrible effects to strains of the deepest pathos and melancholy. The words of both of these oratorios have been translated and adapted to the music, in a most judicious and masterly manner, by Mr. Edward Taylor; and their performance, in whole or in part, is now indispensable at our greatest music meetings. Spohr has resided for many years at Cassel.

JOHANN NEPOMUK HUMMEL, maestro di capella to the grand duke of Saxe Weimar, has composed several masses, and other pieces of sacred music, which are much esteemed. He has also written several operas, among which his Mathilde von Guise is the most distinguished. His fame, however, rests chiefly upon his compositions for the piano-forte, and his talents as a performer on that instrument. He is not remarkable for the originality of his ideas; but his works are marked by such clearness of design, symmetrical disposition of parts, expressive melody, and ingenious combination, that, though their details often suggest passing reminiscences of other composers, the beautiful whole is his own. Those among the public performers on the piano-forte who are not in the habit of playing their own music, appear to resort more frequently to the concertos and other concert-pieces of Hummel, than to those of any other composer; and his trios, for the piano-forte, violin, and violoncello, are within the reach of able amateurs, among whom they are in very general use. As a performer, he bore a considerable resemblance to John Cramer. The style of both was formed from that of Mozart ;-in Hummel, by education under

that great master; in Cramer, by predilection for, and study of, his works. In each we recognised the same rapid and brilliant, yet delicate and finished, execution; the same smoothness and equality of touch, and the same grace and expression in singing (as it may be termed,) a melodious passage: while neither of them carried us away with that impetuous force which belongs to the style of Beethoven. A few years ago, Hummel published a great work of studies for the piano-forte, which must have cost him years of labour, and must be of infinite value to those who have resolution enough to get through it. But its ponderous bulk, and mass of contents, afford a prospect somewhat similar to that of a journey through the Arabian desert, and are sufficient to terrify any one who has not the dogged perseverance of a German student.

Hummel died on the 17th of October, 1837, in the 59th year of his age. For the last twenty years he had resided at Weimar, in the capacity of maestro di capella to the grand duke of Saxe Weimar, but was personally well known to the musical world, from his frequent visits to different countries. He was several times in England—the last time in 1833—when his performance excited the delight and admiration of all who were able to appreciate the beauties of his pure and classical style. He was a man of plain but agreeable manners, and an amiable disposition; and his uniform prudence and correctness of conduct have enabled him to leave his family in a state of independence.

When great composers or performers are spoken of as belonging to a certain school, it is not meant that they are imitators of any particular master, but that,

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