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THE MUSIC OF THE PERIOD.
BY JOHN CHURCIIILL BRENAN.
When people talk about the decline of the Of course there is music and music. The drama they simply talk nonsense. Most of the music of thoughtsul educated men, which takes prose plays of the present day have more genuine a long time to get into popularity, but which, "stuff" in them than had the high-flown blank when once accepted,” lives for ever ; and mere verse productions of the last century. Again, tuneful prettiness, honoured by the patronage when would-be wiseacres hold forth on the decay of street boys and barrel organs-a butterfly of literature-especially light literature (why sort of music, the rage one day and forgotten light? surely there is nothing more noble than the next. to write the histories of huinan hearts, and the Let us begin with the opera : I think I may earthly experiences of immortal souls !)--they say that we have such a wine of wealth in exmerely show their ignorance of the subject. isting operatic music, that, supposing no fresh Modern novelists have written more, and, as a works were ever composed, we should find the class, have written better than any preceding old ones sufficient. Life being short and art race of romance writers. But the critics who being long; fresh generations continually recompare the music of the present unfavourably placing those which time has removed, it must with that of the past certainly have the truth take a whole operatic lifetime to thoroughly hear on their side; for the music of the period is a all the great operas which have bcen composed. long way behind its sister arts. We have first- Take, for instance, “Don Giovanni,” who could rate musicians, conductors, artists, and mu- ever be tired of that grand old masterpiece ? sically-educated audiences, but where are our Even if weary of the singing (scarcely possible), great composers ?
or of Zerlina (quite impossible), or of the comMozart, Beethoven, Mandelesobn, Weber, mander's statue, and the exciting business' Handel, Rossini, Bellini, Donizetti, and Meyer- of the ball-room scene, the wonderful orchesbeer were great masters who composed works tral accompaniments are so interesting that that "live," though they themselves have died each hearing only introduces us to fresh beauties, and left no successors. Auber, though alive and we come away with the idea that there is a and in the full possession of his wonderful facul- great deal in music besides sweet sounds. A ties, almost belongs to the past. Verdi, never musical amateur might study “Don Giovanni” accepted as a great composer, has given up and nothing else, and yet become a proficient in music for the more exciting pursuit of Italian his art. politics. Wagner writes for the future, and perhaps that is the reason he is not appreciated
The past season at Covent Garden has been by the present. Gounod has, after all, composed and certainly such prima donnas as Titiens,
truthfully called a season of prima donnas; but one really successful opera. Taking even “Faust” as a standard of excellence, his other Patti, Nilsson, and De Murska have never be operas are comparative failures; and Balfe, pos
fore been heard together at one house. Such sessing the gift of seemingly never-ending melody, a proceeding is certainly detrimental to the cause
owes his reputation more to two or three ballads of art. People go merely to hear Patti or Nilsthan to the operas in which they are sung. To son, and after a time care little about the artistes further explain my meaning, “The Bohemian who“ support” them-the chorus, the band, or Girl” without “Marble Halls” and You'll
even the opera itself, as long as they hear Remember Me” would be like “Hamlet” with their favourite Queens of Song. Such being out the Prince of Denmark, whilst “Don the case, what would managers do supposing a Giovanni” would be worth hearing even were
sudden dearth of youthful prima donnas, and " Batti Batti,” “Vedrai Carino,” and “La ci nothing left but good music and efficient darem" omitted altogether.
vocalists to attract? It seems strange that London, possessing two But two novelties were produced in 1869 Philharmonic Societies, the Monday Popular • Hamlet,” which should have been called Concerts, the Crystal Palace Band, and the Ophelia,” will “ draw" as long as Malle. grandest opera house in the world, should have Nilsson plays the principal part. Malle. Nilsto fall back upon the works of dead composers. son looks like Ophelia (which is something), and It is my intention in this article to place the acts and sings so well (which is better still) in music of the period - the music we hear at operas, the “dying scene,” that her performance beconcerts, and in drawing-rooms--on its trial, came the talk of the town. Otherwise the opera and I am afraid the verdict will be far from was rather "heavy." The other novelty, “Don favourable,
Buceffalo," might have had a run at a small
house like the Royalty, but was quite out of Beach at Brighton," to a taking melody, we are place at Covent Garden.
immediately reminded of actual events in our What has become of the novelties of past daily lives, and accept the somewhat silly song seasons ? “Faust”
alone is in existence. | for the sake of the pleasant memories it recalls. “Romeo e Giuletta” and “Mirella” we shall The music-hall melodies are nearly always made probably never hear again. Ricci's “Crispino e up of fragments of several once popular tunes. la Comare” was only listened to on account of The opening bars of “ Pretty Jemima” are the Adelina Pattı. Verdi's “Forza del Destino" same as Henry Russell's “ Tubal Cain;" a and “ Don Carlos” are already forgotten. Even part of “Jolly Dogs” was taken from the old “L'Africaine,” with its beautiful Morceau nigger song of “The Bungalow," and "The de l'Unison," is already becoming a thing of the Eel-pie Shop” is only our old friend "The past.
Carnival of Venice." To say that English opera is a failure is like Some of our composers who have been most repeating an oft told tale. Over and over again successful have been least prolific. Cherry, for has it been tried, over and over again instance, who composed “The Shells of the have managers been ruined in the attempt. Ocean," has done very little since, and nothing Miss Louisa Pyne and the late Mr. Harrison equal to the song which has almost the same courageously attempted to establish a national effect as “ Eight Hours by the Seaside;" and lyrical drama, but they only got hold of an the composer of “ Will You Love Me Then as operatical white elephant, which was very nearly Now?” (I believe still alive) has never given the ruin of its owners. Under tbis and previous us a companion melody of equal merit. Will managements, Balfe, Wallace, Macfarren, Loder, posterity sing our songs as we sing those of our Barnett, and many other talented musicians, did ancestors ? I am afraid “I would I were a all they could to make English opera popular; Bird" and "Meet Me in the Lane" will be but though several meritorious works were forgotten in twenty years' time, though “ Meet produced (Balfe's Puritan's Daughter" and Me by Moonlight Alone” and “Rise, Gentle Macfarren’s “Robin Hood” ought to have Moon," have been in existence for a much lived), two alone keep the stage, “Maritana” | longer period. and “The Bohemian Girl.” Now and then we Our dance-music leaves nothing to be desired. bear of “ Satanella” or “ Lurline,” but only on Jullien and D'Albert composed hundreds of special occasions, like the present shilling operas sparkling tunes which are still popular in our at Sydenham.
ball-rooms. Coote has been very successful in What music do we hear in drawing-rooms? his polkas and waltzes. A schottische by Showy fantasias by Brinley Richards, Kuhe, Swatton, called “Jenny Bell," might make a Ascher, or Madame Oury, generally operatic quaker wish to dance; Strauss raised danceairs with variations, which completely disguise music into an art ; and two waltzes by Gung'), the original melodies. One or two Nocturnes “ Venus Reigen” and “Soldaten Leider," are by Brinley Richards are full of dreamy_melody, like dancing sonatas. The latter composer is but such pieces are rare exceptions. The Girls not content with a striking melody for the first of the Period sing the ballads of Claribel or the part, but gives us a succession of pleasing tunes sentimentalities from the Christy's repertoire. throughout. And Dan Godfrey, who seems to Claribel, too harshly treatel by the critics, have hit upon a new form of melody, bas composed some very pleasing melodies, of which composed the "Guards” and “ Mabel” waltzes, “Janet's Choice” and “I Cannot Sing the Old which are in request everywhere, from the Songs" are favourable specimens. The Christy's “nobility's balls” down to Cremorne. ballads (chiefly about dead loves and mothers), I shall finish the Music of the Period by want the hushed choruses of the niggers to give writing of the Composer of the Period. That them proper effect and lose immensely by composer is certainly Offenbach. Somebody being transplanted from their native element. once said that Offenbach's music was “ so The Young Men of the Day sometimes sing the delightfully wicked,” and I am afraid that songs of Arthur Sullivan (a musician who has somebody was right. There is a sort of gaiety as yet promised more than he has performed, if and liveliness in the music of Offenbach's operas “ Doughty Deeds” and “Sea Birds” are that has never been equalled before. It is said genuine melodies); but more often prefer that Offenbach is not content with his world initiating their lady-friends into the mysteries of wide popularity as a composer of comic opera fast life through the songs of the Great Vance but intends bringing out an opera-seria, which or Jolly Nash. Now such songs, quite harm- will live when “La Grande Duchesse” is forless if somewhat vulgar, are all very well at the gotten? but whatever he may think of his -“music-halls,” but theshistories of the loves of productions the world has gone mad over them, costermongers and organ-grinders are quite out and they are drawing crowded houses in every of place in society.
civilized part of the world. In “La Grande Another word about the music-hall songs. Duchesse" the musical interest never flags, it is I think I know the secret of their success, and lively and sparkling from beginning to end. It that lies entirely in the choruses. We like to is melodious as well. Shut your eyes when hear about what we do ourselves, and when Schneider is singing “ Dites Lui,” try and forsomebody sings about “Walking in the Zoo,” get the words, and you will find yourself dream"Up the Thames to Richmond,” or “On the ling of childhood. Offenbach's masterpiece is
certainly " La Belle Hélène” in a musical point , In conclusion, the operas of Ofenbach must be of view. There is one air which occurs over judged separately from the libretti. “La and over again, and yet the audience are never Grande Duchesse,” “ La Belle Hélène," weary of it, but unconsciously sing it when the “Orphée aux Enfers," "Barbe Bleu,”!
66," opera is over.
Offenbach is not original. A “ La Vie Parisienne," " Vert Vert,” “ L'isle de part of the finale to the first act of "La Belle Tulipitan," "Ching Chow Hi,” and “La Hélène" is very like the galop in Auber's Perichole,” are all worth hearing; and it is a "Gustavus ;" something in “Orphée aux pity that stories suggested by Mabelle and the Enfers” reminds us of one of Jullien's polkas; lowest sort of Parisian life should have spoilt and even the great sabre song seems to have some of the best Music of the Period. been suggested by “Charlie is My Darling."
OUR PARIS CORRESPONDENT.
MY DEAR C
studies, and who have nothing to do with the
quarrel. However, it is thought that out of We are not yet recovered from our surprise evil good will ensue. The students immediately and indignation at the conclusion of the trial of convened a meeting, where it was agreed that Prince Pierre - a man dead, and his mur- application should be made to the non-official derer acquitted, and exultingly showing professors of medicine, in order to organize a himself on the Champs Elysees ! The cry of non-official Faculty of Medicine to teach and indignation was general when the verdict was confer degrees-a rival beside the existing ofknown; for those who did not anticipate a se- ficial school. Several eminent physicians an. vere punishment, expected at least some penalty, swered the appeal, and all seems to promise a it not being the law of the land that a citizen has speedy realization of this new and free instithe right to answer a blow-admitting that a tution. blow was given-with a shot from a revolver. The new Ministry begins to totter in spite But the whole affair, from beginning to end, of M. Ollivier's activity and efforts to keep it was conducted with the greatest partiality, both together. Already two ministers have by judge and jury, and the trial was a perfect signed, and every day may bring us the resigcomedy. Several papers affirmed that the nation of others. The Emperor insists on his Emperor had ordered his dear cousin famous Plebiscite, that is to submit his new to quit
his empire - that Prime Constitution to his faithful subjects, and ask Minister intended a severe reprimand to the them by "yes"and“no” whether they approve, or two magistrates who conducted the trial-that do not approve—a question that but few of they were to be disgraced, and public opinion them understand. Some think that it is a cunaccepted that small satisfaction as a protesta- ning way of his Majesty to seize his absolute tion on the part of Government. But nothing power again. They say that the "préfets”. of the kind has been done. It is true that we have promised the Emperor six millions of have, in compensation, the honour of his paying
" which is very possible, as the peathe costs, which the Prince very generously santry sell their products so well, that they are increased with twenty thousand francs for the perfectly satisfied with the Emperor, and will poor at Tours-in his name! It is easy to be vote just as the prefets tell them. M. Gambella generous when one is a Prince Bonaparte. The made a most splendid speech on the subject, students were very much exasperated at the and has revealed in his person a first-rate oramanner in which Dr. Jardien--the physician tor. All this agitation in the Ministry causes a who examined the corpse of Victoir Noir-gave vast deal of dining together, for the most zeahis evidence at the trial-evidence that was, as lous-not even M. Ollivier himself-can much as it could be, in favour of the occasion. live on politics alone. A propos of M. Ollivier, Dr. Jardien is Professor of Medicine at the he was certainly born with silver spoon in his Medical School, so, at his first lesson after the mouth, for every honour befals him. The trial, the students refused to listen to him, and Academie Française has by electing him memsummoned him to send in his resignation. The ber, conferred on him immortality. M. Thiers doctor tried to justify his testimony, and to proposed his candidature, and was the first to shake off all responsibility in the affair; but the announce to him bis success. The former Miyoung men told him that he was sold to Go- nister of Louis Philippe has quite taken the vernment, and many other disagreeable truths, young Premier under his protection. Even bis and insisted on his resignation. "The doctor re- rival, M. Rouhiers, begins to smile on him fused, but left the school. At three or four complacently, and it is said has intimated his lessons afterwards he was met with the same willingness to form a new Ministry under the hostility, so, to quell the excitement, the Minis- condition that M. Ollivier remains in it. ter ordered the school to be closed for a month The Prince Imperial spends his Easter holi-a measure that has enraged the students, and days at Fontainebleau, where he hunts in the is unjust to those who are at the end of their forest for the first time. He was at the Exhi
bition given at the Palais de l'Industriethe other bride to the altar the other day in a blue tail day—a rat-slaughter, by some famous English coat with gold buttons, white waistcoat and pale dogs-dressed in a grey suit, blue cravat, and a lilac trousers, quite a revival of old fashions in cane in his hand, quite a man, and applauded male attire, so that the lords of the creation can with great glee a dog that in three no longer criticize the grandmother-apparel of minutes had killed twenty rats! The Em- their charming spouses, and insinuate that the peror also went, and of course all the fashion- ladies of the present day look as if they had esables followed the Imperial example, several caped from Bedlam. grand ladies the foremost. This exhibition Apropos of Bedlam, the poor man that has furnished a subject for the French journalists been unjustly confined at Charenton-our Bedto expatiate on the “taste of the English lam here-Monsieur Puyparlier, has just played for all these revolting spectacles, such as bis persecutors a nice trick. In vain bis family cock-lighting, and rat-fighting; bull-fight- begged for bim to be restored to liberty, and ing ought to have been invented by the protested against his accusation of madness. English, but, however, it was not.” "Such | All the newspapers joined their voices to the sights," say these public writers, "are too gross family. Without being able to allege one act to please a Parisian public”-the place was of real madness, the Director of Cherenton recrowded with all that Paris considers most fused to deliver him up because the wise bad elegant-"we are too refined to take pleasure in placed her husband there under bis charge, seeing a dog pull his victims to pieces and cover having satisfied the law in such cases by prothe place with blood-good for those barbarians, curing a letter signed by a doctor, affirming the English! Those ratcatchers are not trained for that M. Puyparlier was mad. The family and the extermination of a ferocious animal, but friends commenced a law suit, which was first wholly and solely for the most popular decided against them. They appealed to opother pastime of the English nation, the daily diver-court. The judges requested M. Payparlier sion of the Londonian public, just as cock-fight- to appear before them, which he did the other ing is the elegant sport in the noble halls of fair day, escorted by two guardians from ChaAlbion."
renton, who remained on either side of him Our bishops are gradually re-entering their during the sitting. Near the close he apdioceses after their long absence at Rome. proached his counsellor and whispered a few Many returned for the benediction of the Holy words; at the same moment, there being a slight Oil on Good Friday-oil that serves all the year confusion at the door near him, where the for anointing people that are supposed to be on advocates went in and out, his counsellor the eve of dying, which reminds me of a Nor- arose and went out. M. Puyparlier negligently man peasant I met last year in a village in La followed him, his guardians calmly looking at him, Manche, and that I knew to have been never dreaming that he was escaping, and when despaired of in a recentillness. “Why,my good they a minute after went in quest of their madfriend,” said I, “I did not expect ever to have man, he was nowhere to be found-nor bas he seen you again!" “Oh no, nor I either,” given the signs of life since in any other way answered he, "for Monsieur le Curé had than by writing to the Director to inform him greased me well for the journey, but I deceived that he is safe and well. them all and put it off until another time !" The King and Queen of Spain are definitively
All our fair Parisians have, as usual, passed separated. It is sad to see that fallen royalty a most edifying Lent, more so perhaps than should give such a spectacle to their enemies ; usual, as more severity was enjoined them by methinks it would be far better to support in their confessors on account of the Council at exile each other's infirmities,' and try to console Rome, and the infallibility of the Pope in discus. each other, than to embitter their not too happy sion. Their dressmakers were therefore ordered destiny by such quarrels. The King and Queen to spare nothing in the magnificence of the of Naples set the example, but they were young toilets of the fair penitents, particularly for those and foolish, whilst the King and Queen of Spain whom Monsieur le Curé had honoured by de- are already grandfather and grandmother. The siring them to beg for the poor at the doors of King is to have 200,000 francs-£8000 a year the churches. Nothing could exceed their interest of money deposited in a sure place. humility as they stood charming the eyes of Money is also placed in the same manner for gentlemen and exciting the envy of ladies less the children. The Prince des Asturies has worthy in the eyes of Monsieur le Curé for so four millions. The King has hired a small eminent a post of self-denial and penitence. In apartment, and is now living in it, far from the former days Monsieur l'Abbé Voisenau made his splendid palace of his royal spouse, who imavalet read his breviary for him, and the Duchess gines that the Spaniards will relent and recall de la Herté, to do penance, made all her servants her to her throne, before she can possibly get fast for her; but, let it be said to the honour of through her millions. The King has not the civilization and the ladies of Paris, they would same faith in her destiny. never think of such a thing as making their Before leaving royalty I must mention the servants do penance for them in rose and blue restoration of the King of Araucany, ex-solicitor at the church-doors.
of a little town in France. M. de Tonneins But talking of fashions, our Minister of Public some years ago was chosen by the high and Instruction, M. Maurice Richard, led bis fair mighty kingilom of Araucany to preside at its
destiny, but was soon dethroned by a neighbouring power, jealous no doubt, of so great a sovereign. He in vain returned to his native country to apply for aid. Napoleon turned a deaf ear to his entreaties ; so his Majesty asked for a position in his own country as tae-gatherer, which being refused him, he turned his eyes again toward his lost kingdom, and a little while ago a letter to his Imperial cousin announced bis restoration. It is not known whether an ambassador is to rep esent him in Paris.
Another disease is added to the list that is given to the Emperor. He is said to have had the gout the other day, when the review of the “Ceot Gardes” was postponed. It is rumoured that his Majesty intends presenting his son, now of age, to the people in a tour they are to undertake this coming summer.
The sun has at last consented to sbine on us in all his glory of April, but, in spite of this, mortality continues in an anomalous state, and vaccination as much the rage as ever. Many have fled to the country, particularly those who bave children, and who can withstand the fêtes, which the aristocracy continue to give much later this year than in others -so inuch so, that our season will soon be in the spring instead of winter, exactly as it is in London. Since the taste for races has taken root in the Parisians, the country has become less attactive during the season for that sport, at least, for those whose country residences are far from the Capital.
We have just welcomed Madaine Patti after her absence of several months. She had never played “La Figlia del Regimento” in Paris until the other night, so you who have so often applauded her in that character in London can imagine the enthusiasm she excited. We are about losing Malle. Nilsson, who starts very soon for America, where she is to be paid an immense sum; therefore one may suppose that her marriage is not so sure as has been said. We have a whole legion of Swedish nightingales that are preparing to dethrone the fair Ophelia next winter, but it is easier to say than to do.
A lady asked her confessor the other day whether painting one's face was not just the same as telling a falsehood. “It is at least equivalent to altering the truth," answered the witty priest.
Au revoir, S. A.
Beyond, upon the hill-side,
Blooms a little flower, Rain, nor dew, nor sunshine,
Hath for a single hour Reached the dim recesses
Of its turfy bower.
All winter, 'neath the snow-bank,
The tiny bud lay hid, But with the first mild breath of spring
The petals soft undid, And to my wandering vision
Lifted its snowy lid.
Its home is bleak and sterile,
Its beauties rich and rare, Yet gratefully its incense
Is flung upon the air, Nor pines for broarder meadows,
Or sunnier gardens fair.
My dear, be like this violet,
Contented in its zone,
Your grace a gentle tone.
Akin to Heaven's own.
ALL'S FOR THE BEST.
THE TRUE LIFE.—The mere lapse of years is not life. To eat, and drink, and sleep; to be exposed to darkness and the light; to pace round in the mill of habit, and turn the wheel of wealth ; to make reason our bookkeeper, and turn thought into an implement of trade-this is not life. In all this but a poor fraction of consciousness of humanity is awakened, and the sanctities still slumber which make it most worth while to be. Knowledge, truth, love, beauty, goodness, faith, alone can give vitality to the mechanism of existence; the laugh of mirth that vibrates through the heart, the tears that freshen the dry wastes within, the music that brings childhood back, the prayer that calls the future near, the doubt which makes us meditate, the death which startles us with mystery, the hardship that forces us to struggle, the anxiety that ends in trust--are the true nourishment of our natural being.–Martineau,
All's for the best! Be sanguine and cheerful;
Trouble and sorrow are friends in diguise; Nothing but folly goes faithless and fearful —
Courage for ever is happy and wise. All's for the best, if a man would but know it,
Providence wishes us all to be blest. This is no dream of the pundit or poet ;
Heaven is gracious and all's for the best.