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graces of modern melody and the richness and variety of modern instrumentation. As an organist and performer on the piano-forte, Mendelssohn ranks among the greatest masters of the day.

Among the most eminent German masters of the present age must also be mentioned F. SCHNEIDER, whose oratorio of The Deluge, clothed in an English dress by Mr. Edward Taylor with his usual skill and judgment, has formed a prominent feature at several of our recent festivals. It is a great and beautiful work, more in the style of Haydn than of the more modern school.

The German school of the present day, though superior to any other, is by no means faultless. No other country can boast of such a constellation of great names as those which have been mentioned; but, among the numerous and able composers by whom the churches, theatres, and concert-rooms are supplied with a large portion of their music, we still find a predilection for loaded and complicated harmony, a deficiency of flowing and simple melody, and that love of the obscure and mystical which seems to characterize German genius in literature as well as art. Weber, in the satirical work already noticed, The Life of a Composer, ironically points out the beauties of the modern German school. "Do you imagine," he says, "that, in these enlightened times, when all rules are set at nought, and all difficulties cleared at a bound, a composer will, out of compliment to you, cramp his divine, gigantic, and high-soaring fancies? Thank heaven, we have nothing to do now with regularity, clearness, keeping, and truth of expression; all these things are

left to such old-fashioned masters as Gluck, Handel, and Mozart. No!-Attend to the materials of the newest symphony which I have received from Vienna, and which may serve as a recipe for this kind of composition. First, a slow movement, full of short, broken ideas, no one of which has the slightest connexion with another; every ten minutes or so, a few striking chords; then a muffled rumbling on the kettledrums, and a mysterious passage or two for the violas, all worked up with a due proportion of stops and. pauses. Then comes a raging movement, in managing which, the principal consideration is, to avoid following up any particular idea, thus leaving the more for the hearer to make out himself. Sudden transitions, too, from one key to another, should by no means be omitted; nor need this put you out of the way. To run once through the semitones, and drop into that key which is most convenient, is sufficient, and you have a modulation off-hand. The great point is to avoid everything that looks like a conformity to rule-rules are made for every-day people, and only cramp the freedom of genius." If a stream, however shallow, is made turbid, it is impossible to see its bottom; and it is thus that these German composers render themselves incomprehensible in order to appear profound. The faults of a school are more easily copied than its beauties. There is plenty of this sort of profundity among our own youthful aspirants to fame; and an overture to a melo-drama, in one of our theatres, is often as full of mystery as Weber's pattern symphony from Vienna.

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CHAPTER XX.

MUSIC IN ITALY DURING THE PRESENT CENTURY.-ZINGARELLI.MAYER.-PAER.-SPONTINI,-FIORAVANTI,-MOSCA.-ROSSINI.

PRESENT ITALIAN SCHOOL.

THE reputation of the Italian school, at the beginning of this century, was supported by several excellent composers, who filled up the interval between Cimarosa and Rossini.

The oldest of these is NICOLO ZINGARELLI, whose numerous works were produced between the years 1780 and 1810. None of his operas are now heard in Italy, where indeed, all dramatic music is forgotten, except the ephemeral productions of the day. His most celebrated opera, Romeo e Giulietta, is still performed in Germany and France, and was rendered very popular in this country by Madame Pasta's beautiful personation of the part of Romeo, and her singing of the air “ Ombra adorata." Zingarelli is the last of the Italian composers for the church. His oratorio La Distruzione di Gierusalemme, composed in 1809, is a noble work, written in the classical style of the old ecclesiastical school.

SIMON MAYER, though a German by birth, may be classed among the Italian composers of this period, as he has resided chiefly in Italy, and composed for the theatres of that country. He has been, for more than thirty years, maestro di capella at Bergamo. His dramatic pieces are very numerous. Those which have

obtained the most extensive popularity, are Il Fanatico per la Musica, Lodoiska, La Ginevra di Scozia, La Rosa bianca e la Rosa rossa, and Medea in Corinto. In the last of these pieces, Madame Pasta has achieved her greatest triumph as a tragic actress.

FERDINAND PAER is a native of Parma. Among his numerous Italian operas, the most celebrated are Agnese, La Griselda, Camilla, Sargino, and I Fuorusciti. All of these have been performed in England. Agnese, in particular, which is founded on Mrs. Opie's tale of The Father and Daughter, was rendered very popular by the powerful and affecting performance of Ambrogetti in the character of the Father. The part has since been performed by Tamburini, with equal beauty, but in a different style; his picture of madness being less appalling than that of Ambrogetti, but more melancholy and touching.

There is much resemblance between Paer's style and that of Mayer. Their melody is Italian, strengthened by German modulation and accompaniment. In the music of both there is much grace and elegance; it is always judiciously adapted to the character of the scene and the expression of the words; and it shows a consummate knowledge of orchestral effect. It has few traits, however, of that divine simplicity by which Mozart and Cimarosa work such miracles; and the success of their most popular pieces has been owing more to the tragic powers of certain performers, than to anything very striking in the music. They have great talent, but not high genius.

GASPARO SPONTINI, after acquiring considerable reputation in Italy, went to Paris in 1804, and composed

for the French stage his celebrated operas of La Vestale, Fernand Cortez, and Olimpia. He now resides at Berlin, in the situation of maestro di capella to the King of Prussia.

FIORAVANTI and MOSCA are the composers of several lively comic operas, once very popular, and still resorted to by Italian buffo singers, for the purpose of enlivening our concerts. The most remarkable of these are, I Virtuosi ambulanti and Le Cantatrici villane of Fioravanti, and I Pretendenti delusi of Mosca. Besides these, there were a number of composers,-SARTI, GENERALI, PAVESI, GUGLIELMI, PORTOGALLO, and others,-whose works were popular between the beginning of the century and the appearance of Rossini. Though this distinguished composer is still alive, and, indeed, has not passed

Il mezzo del cammin di nostra vita,

yet his name already belongs to musical history. His brilliant career seems to have long since closed; a new generation of musicians has succeeded him in his own country; and his works are now looked back to as belonging to a period that is past. It is more than ten years since his biography was made the subject of a considerable volume *, which contains almost all that can be said about him; his musical history since that time being almost a blank.

GIOACCHINO ROSSINI was born in 1792, at Pesaro, a small town in the Papal territory, situated on the Gulf of Venice. His father was a third-rate horn-player, and his mother, a woman of great beauty, was a tolerable actress and singer. This couple gained their

* Vie de Rossini, par M. de Stendhal. Paris, 1824.

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