To whom it was promised before It was begun, and to

the many other beloved pupils of the past and present,

I dedicate this book.


This book has been written and planned for young
students and music-lovers, in the hope that it may
prove a help to them in gaining a more intelligent ap-
preciation of music.

The author has endeavored to give a clear and con-
secutive account of the evolution of the art and at the
same time to avoid confusion to beginners by not bur-
dening their memories with too much material. To
preserve this simplicity, certain foreign titles have been
translated into English, and musicians have been
grouped under the chapter headings most descriptive
of their genius.

The seventeen short lives comprise a number of rep-
resentative early masters, and several modern ones
who have been chosen as types of the music of their
native land.

In accordance also with the plan on which the book
is written, the names of many musicians have been
omitted whose talents entitle them to a place in a
larger history of music.

To my sister Lucy Morse and my friend Wesley
Weyman I give my deepest thanks for their generous
help and scholarly criticism, as well as their sustained
encouragement throughout the writing of this book.




True art is the expression of beauty, whether it be
in the sculptures of Phidias, the paintings of Raphael,
the dramas of Shakespeare or the symphonies of Bee-
thoven, In all its forms, art is governed by certain
underlying laws which must be followed by the artist
through whatever medium used to express the cre-
ations of his imagination.

The study of these principles is indispensable, not
only to the creative and interpretative artist, but to
anyone wishing to understand and enjoy that which
art can reveal. Beauty is an essential in this world
of material things, and each soul craves it, finding
pleasure in its expression in one form or another. In
nature are found rhythm, color, design and harmony,
the same principles underlying all the arts. Music,
the most spiritual and ethereal of these, is a universal
language, and, when understood, is capable of reveal-
ing new worlds to all who reverently accept its mes-

Although the music-lover should seize every oppor-
tunity to hear good music, it will mean little unless he
learns to listen to it intelligently. He must feel the
rhythms, recognize the melodies and follow the under-
lying harmonies in the compositions of those masters
who have given to mankind the great music of the
















TWO 113




PIANO, PART TWO – , – v – – 136







XVII. BACH, 1685-1750 CLASSIC PERIOD . . . 173

xvin. HANDEL, 1685-1759 183

XIX. HAYDN, 1732-1809 … * 192

XX. MOZART, I756-I79I 202



XXIII. MENDELSSOHN, 1809-1849 237

XXIV. CHOPIN, 1809-1849 246

XXV.pCHUMANJJ, l8lO-l856 259

XXVL* * LISZT, l8ll-l886 267

XXVII. WAGNER, 1813-1883 278

xxviii. ^FRANCE:, 1820-1890 291

XXIX. BRAHMS, 1833-1897

XXX. TSCHAIKOWSKY, 1840-1893 ….

XXXI. GRIEG, 1843-1907














1610 130



LUDWIG VAN BEETHOVEN . . . . . . . 21 6





The music of primitive nations differs from modern
music in its lack of tonality or the dependence of tones
on one principal tone called the keynote, and, again,
there is an absence of harmony or the use of combined

In Egypt, one of the oldest nations in the world, are
tomb pictures, made four thousand years before Christ
was born, of musicians playing on harps. The strange
old frescoes and bas-reliefs of ancient Thebes also
show that music was used at many ceremonies, espe-
cially at banquets and religious festivals. The harp
was the favorite instrument and was sometimes seven
feet in height and beautifully carved and decorated.

Another instrument used in the temples was called
the sistrum, and is represented in their sculptures. In
shape it resembled a rattle or a bar covered with metal
rings, and its use was to drive away the god of evil.
There were also flutes, pipes and lyres or little

In the Royal Museum at Berlin is the oldest musical
instrument in the world of which there is any knowl-
edge, a lyre about four thousand years old.

The music of Egypt was preeminently a sacred art
which was in the keeping of the priests, who guarded
it jealously. The only real music waj heard in the
temples, although certain so-called melodies were
played by the slaves, to accompany the dancing girls
and the singing at the feasts. The rhythm was marked
by clapping the hands. The temple musicians were hon-
ored with the title of “sacred musicians 1 ‘ and they re-
cited certain psalms which were collected in two books,
the first book in praise of the gods, the second in
praise of the king. Today there is in existence one


cild psalm written by a scribe in the Temple of Abydos.
Many Egyptian melodies were doubtless composed on
the inspiration of the moment and afterwards handed
down orally from father to son, rather than recorded
in writing.

The instruments of these mysterious and wonderful
people indicate that they may have known both the
present diatonic scale and the old pentatonic scale,
^jss^ich has been used for centuries by ancient tribes
ancPhations. The latter consists of five tones, and if
one plays the five descending black keys of a piano be-
ginning on ff he will gain an idea of its nature. Up
to the prfesent time, no papyrus has been discovered
that gives an example of Egyptian musical nota-
tion, but there are several that contain copies of the
text of the hymns, and directions as to the musical
instruments to be used during the singing or recitation.

One reason for thinking the Egyptians understood
simple harmony is that they had large groups of per-
formers, sometimes as many as six hundred, playing
on their harps and lyres. They had also a double pipe
on which could be sounded at the same time both a
treble and a bass note. In 1890 an interesting discov-
ery was made by an Englishman in the Fayum. This
was the finding of a rock cellar that had been used as
a sepulcher, and in it were two long flutes made of
thin cane or water reeds, and four double flutes. They
were all well preserved and of about the thickness of an
ordinary lead pencil, and were blown across the top,
the breath striking the edge of the tube and passing
down it. These were the first perfect instruments of
their kind that had been unearthed in the land of the
Nile, and are thought to have been invented before
1700 B.C. in the reign of the Shepherd Kings,


Near to Egypt lay the ancient country of Assyria,
of which Nineveh was the great city. Its people were
fond of music and so deserve mention in musical his-
tory*! .

They were fighters, these Assyrians, and ^ enjoyed
nothing better than a good battle, and their music
was more often of a warlike kind, loud and shrill in
quality. They introduced strong rhythmic effects, and
the time was kept by stamping the feet. Many of the
harps were small and portable, so that they could be
carried into battle together with the trumpets, flutes
and drums. There was also the dulcimer that^ re-
sembled a little the modern zither, and some musicians
assert that the bagpipe has come down from the days
of Assyria and of ancient Rome.

In reading the Old Testament, one learns that the
Jewish tribes had primitive instruments on which to
play their simple melodies. They thought of music
as a direct link between God and man, and their songs
were not sung in praise of a king, but to the Supreme

Miriam, the sister of Moses, sang and played on the
timbrel or tambourine, and it was the music of David’s
harp, years later, that brought comfort to Saul’s sick

The Shofar was a huge horn used in the Jewish tem-
ple service, and its descendant is even now heard on
some occasions, such as the Jewish New Year. Many
musicians were employed in the great Temple at Je-
rusalem in King Solomon’s splendid reign. One reads
of two hundred thousand trumpeters and harpers who
played for the singing of the Psalms, but unfortunately
none of their music has come down the ages, unless it


Is a few of the chants that were sung again by the early
Christians. The most interesting part of the Jewish
service was the manner of chanting the psalms, one-
half of the choir singing one stanza, and the rest re-
sponding in turn with the next verse. This was called
antiphonal singing and was copied when the Gregorian
chants were written and sung, centuries later, in Rome.
Bells were also used as part of the church service, small
golden ones being attached to the robes of the high
priest, and others fastened to the sacred rolls contain-
ing the Law.

Music in India was cultivated as early as 1500 B.C.,
and it was believed that the gods had given it to men;
therefore, all musical ceremonies opened with an ode
in praise of Indra, the god of music. Krishna, a fa-
vorite divinity, was supposed to have visited the earth
as a shepherd and invented the flute, while the drum
was sacred to Shiva. In one old Indian painting, mu-
sicians are seen blowing on huge horns and beating
kettledrums. Gongs and cymbals were also used, the
latter to accompany the dance.

The people had a curious number of scales, some-
times as many as seventy-two, with twenty-two tones
inside the octave. Some of these scales are still in
existence in India, which makes the music difficult to
understand, particularly as the melodies contain in-
tervals foreign to Western ears.

Music jomed to dancing was used in the temples
and places of worship, and still plays an important part
in their religion. The sacred songs of the Vedas, the
early religious books of India, were sometimes com-
posed on particular groups of tones and could only
be sung at certain seasons and places. For any person


violating this rule, the penalty was death, which was
supposed to follow from the wrath of the gods.

Among the many instruments of India the favorite
one was called the Vina, invented many thousand years
ago. It was the instrument most used by the high
caste Brahmins, and was made of a long strip of hol-
low bamboo, strung with seven wire strings and having
a gourd fastened at one end to increase the tone.

Today in India one hears everywhere the songs of
the people at work or play. The Hindoos are a deeply
poetical race and often the beggars, of whom there are
many, are fine poets and musicians and hold a place
resembling, in some ways, the minstrels of the Middle
Ages in Europte7 The coolie sings at his labor of fill-
iag the water buckets, the boatman as he steers his
boat, and the mother as she hushes her baby to sleep.

The French author Pierre Loti has described a con-
cert given in India by musicians belonging to the court
of a cultivated Maharajah. The instruments used
were mandolins and guitars that differed from each
other in size. Some were played with the bow, and
others with the ivory plectrum or the fingers. There
were also drums struck with different qualities of tone
color, from the softest pianissimo to a deep muffled
roar. The songs of these musicians were full of minor
cadences, and the effect of the high pianissimo accom-
paniment is described by the listener as resembling
“the delicate flutter of a moth’s wing against the win-

The greater part of the ancient music of China, as
well as that written today, is composed on the penta-
tonic scale, although at one time the Chinese used
many scales like the people of India.


Following a singular custom, the five tones of the
pentatonic scale were given important names such as
the Emperor, the Minister, the People, the State and
Material Objects. This nation divides the sounds of
nature into eight different parts, the sound of skin,
stone, wood, bamboo, silk, metal, baked earth and
gourd. Each of these sounds possesses a well-marked
character of its own, and so, out of these substances,
they have made their musical instruments. One of the
most curious is of wood in the shape of a crouching
tiger with a number of metal pegs on his back. It is
played by striking the pegs with a wooden stick, and
this effect is generally introduced at the end of one of
their concerts. A very important Chinese instrument
is called the King and is made of sixteen different-
sized stones hung from bamboo sticks and struck with
a mallet. The “King” is said to date back 2200 years
before Christ, and was sacred to the gods, being played
each morning before the Emperor when he awoke.
Other instruments are drums and flutes, little portable
reed organs and combinations of huge bells. The Chi-
nese seldom use the chromatic scale, or the half-tone
progressions, as they do not care for these sounds. In-
stead they choose successions of fourths and fifths as
their principal harmony, and prefer a piece written in
slow monotonous tempo to European music, which they
consider is played too fast. They believe that tones
should follow one another slowly, thus passing u from
the ear to the heart and thence to the soul.” In their
music for instruments, they have been restrained by
no laws, but give free vent to their imagination.

Their wise teacher Confucius, who died in 478 B.C.,
had a great influence on Chinese music. He loved it
and taught that it was holy and uplifting, and one of


his sayings was that “a nation, to be well governed,
must possess good music.” He himself played on the
lute, and a special hymn is still sung in China which
was written in his honor.

One of the most celebrated as well as extraordinary
pieces of Chinese music in, existence dates from the
year 640 A.D., when it was played to the Emperor, on
the stone organ or King, by two court musicians. It
is called the eighty-four Variations, one for each of
their scales, each variation consisting of two notes.

These people have always been fond of repetition in
their music, often repeating a phrase many times,
and the quality of the tone, to them, is of more impor-
tance than the notes themselves.

Modern Chinese music partakes strongly of these
same characteristics. Even now, in China, music can
hardly be said to be cultivated as an art by itself. It
is used in religious services and to accompany plays,
but the principal songs are folk songs sung by the
sailors and mountaineers, and by the laborers who
chant as they go about their daily tasks.

The American Indians used music as a part of their
eve^day life. From earliest times the Indian sang to
his gods, his friends and his enemies, as well as to the
forest, the lake and the fire in his tepee.

His sense of tonality was primitive, for his songs
often started in one key and ended in another. Many,
were built on the five tones of the pentatomc scale.
With the Indian, song and dancing go together, and
for centuries these were his ways of expressing his
deepest feelings. The drum was his most important
instrument, as upon it the rhythm of the dance de-
pended, and often it would be struck in different meter
or time from that of the song which it accompanied.


Besides the drum, the Indian had his rattle, made of
gourds filled with pebbles shaken in time with the
dance. There was also the flute on which the lover
played to his sweetheart when she went at dawn to
the spring for water.

The Indian “medicine men” taught their people that
music had a supernatural power, and it was regarded
with awe as part of the worship of the Great Spirit*
In South America there existed a wooden trumpet
called the “juruparis,” which the Indians had conse-
crated to a powerful demon. This trumpet was used
only at great feasts, and the rest of the time was
hidden in the bed of a sacred stream from which no
one was allowed to drink. Before looking on it, the
men, with much ceremony, had first to scourge them-
selves and fast, and if a woman caught sight of it, she
was put to death.

The songs of the Indians were not harmonized, but
were sung in unison, as is much of their music today,
and they also used hand-clapping, as do the Negroes
in their songs and dances.

Much Negro music is written on the pentatonic
scale and on the old minor modes, the unusual intervals
giving to their melodies a strange, plaintive quality.
This is shown in the old plantation airs and the so-
called ^spirituals” or devout songs of the race, which
originated at Jth~,l”camp meetings,” and express in-
tense religious fervor.

Little is known of the true history of ancient music.
Most of it lies buried in the dim past, and its songs,
like the people who sang them, have vanished forever.
It was the Greeks who first began in a crude way to
record their melodies, thus preserving them for later

Chapter II


“Musical training is a more potent instrument than any
other, -because rhythm and harmony find their way into the
secret places of the soul, on which they mightily fasten, im-
parting grace, and making the soul graceful, of him who is
rightly educated.” Plato.

IT was in Greece more than two thousand years ago
that music began to be recorded, although in a very
primitive way.

Music, the universal language, is as old as the world
itself, and yet one realizes that it was only in its child-
hood in 500 B.C., when sculpture and drama in Greece
were so perfect that they were destined to serve as in-
spiration for all coming generations. It was still in its
youth during the Renaissance, when the fine arts in
Italy reached such perfection.

One of the earliest myths found in Egyptian mythol-
ogy is the story of the invention of the first musical
instrument by Thoth, known also as the Greek god
Hermes. During his wanderings, his foot struck the
empty shell of a tortoise, and the iSried muscles re-
sounded under the shock. The god was pleased with
the sound and carried the shell to his grotto, making
from it the first lyre. In the Greek myth, Hermes gave
the lyre to Apollo the sun god, whose beautiful playing
won for him the title of the god of music.

Apollo was the leader of the Muses, those nine



lovely sisters who lived on Mount Parnassus and pre-
sided over the arts and sciences, and it is from them
that music received its name.

One old legend is of Amphion, who became king
of Thebes. He was a favorite of the sun god, who
taught him to play on his lyre in a magical way. When
the king built a huge wall with which to fortify his
city, he had only to play on this instrument to cause the
stones to move of their own accord, piling themselves
in the proper places.

The story of Orpheus is well known. Orpheus was
a mortal, not a god, but endowed with the gift of
music by Apollo. His playing charmed the birds and
beasts, and even the trees and brooks were silent with
delight when they listened to his songs. When his
lovely wife Eurydice died and was carried to the un-
derworld, he sought for her, sorrowing, throughout
the dark realm of Pluto. There he played to the
dread god on his lyre, and Pluto, pleased with his
music, allowed Orpheus to lead Eurydice back to the
world of the living, on condition that he should not
turn to look at her on the journey. Overjoyed, he
started ahead, but just as the goal was reached, doubt
made him glance back to see if his beloved was follow-
ing him. Instantly, she was transported again to the
realm of shadows, there to wait until death should
bring Orpheus a second time to her.

Another well-known legend is that of the forest god
Pan, the son of Hermes. He loved a charming nymph
of Arcadia called Syrinx, but she feared his goat’s
hoofs and horns, and when he tried to follow her, fled
swiftly through the forest, calling on the river spirits
for protection. Her prayer was answered, she was
changed into a cluster of reeds, and Pan, in his sorrow


at losing her, bound some of the reeds together, mak-
ing of them a musical instrument on which he ever
after played his haunting melodies.

These “pipes of Pan” have come down to us under
various forms, for in a modern orchestra there are a
number of “reed” instruments. Their music is often
used to suggest nature sounds, and it carries one in
thought to the forests, fields and streams.

The early music of Greece was undoubtedly influ-
enced by Egypt, but after the blind Homer began
chanting his immortal Iliad and Odyssey, Greek music
soon outdistanced the melodies of that priestly nation.

The Greeks loved beauty in all forms, and their
heroes are frequently represented as musicians. In
the Odyssey, Ulysses is described as playing the lyre
and singing of his adventures, and later Solon, one of
the wisest of the Greeks, composed a rhapsody which
he chanted before his countrymen.

As early as 900 B.C. the heroic poems of Homer
began to be sung by traveling minstrels called Rhapso-
dists. These Rhapsodists passed through Greece from
isle to isle, teaching the people the verses of their great-
est poet. They sang at feasts and religious festivals,
and the songs existed through centuries, until they were
finally written down and preserved In Athens, a pre-
cious relic for future generations.

In 750 B.C. there was dissension among the people
of Sparta; and the oracle of Delphi decreed that
Terpander, a famous rhapsodist, be summoned to the
city. On his arrival he tuned his lyre and sang songs
of courage and patriotism. So exalted was his music,
it touched the hearts of the unruly Spartans and they


gave up all idea of rebelling against the authorities,
thus saving Sparta from the horrors of civil war.

Terpander was called the father of Greek music.
He invented a new way of writing it and taught his
followers to sing and play. In his youth he spent some
years with the priests at Delphi and composed hymns
to be sung in honor of the god.

The Greek stories tell of a musician named Arion
who played the lute in 650 B.C. He was sent to Italy
by the ruler of Corinth and there won the prize In a
musical contest, receiving many rich gifts as his re-
ward. On the homeward voyage the sailors plotted
to kill him and so gain his wealth; but warned by
Apollo in a dream, he begged to be allowed to play
his lute for the last time, to which they agreed. So
sweetly did he play, that dolphins gathered around the
ship, and throwing himself into the sea, he was carried
by them to the shores of Corinth. The sailors, re-
turning, announced Arion’s death but were confronted
with their intended victim in person and met the re-
ward of their treachery.

v^The Greeks sang choruses to their divinities, one of
their earliest dramas or miracle plays being in honor
of Demeter (the goddess of the Earth), and these
religious services were accompanied by chanted music
and by dancing, thus giving to the people a vivid pic-
ture which satisfied their imaginations and stimulated
their devotion.

v- At the famous games in 776 B.C. they began to hold
contests of song for the honor of their native town.
In this way the lyric drama of Greece developed and
took form. These dramas were given in the huge
open-air theaters. The acting was simple, but a chorus


of musicians, chanting to lyres, helped to explain the
story, the music being used only as a background or

About 600 B.C. on the Island of Lesbos lived the
poetess Sappho, a pupil of Terpander. She was one
of the most cultured women of her day, having ad-
vanced ideas on the education of her own sex; and her
home was a center for poets and musicians, as well as
a school where noble maidens were taught to sing and
dance, play on the lyre and compose poetry.

A celebrated musician was Pythagoras, born in
Samos in 582 B.C. He succeeded in bringing order
into Greek music, although his influence did not ad-
vance it greatly as an art. The son of a wealthy mer-
chant, he was able to travel and gain a knowledge of
the arts and sciences, both in his own land and in Egypt,
where he spent twenty years studying with the priests
hi the Temples.

One of his experiments was with a primitive instru-
ment called the monochord. This consisted at first of
a single string stretched over a sounding board and
supported by several bridges or small pieces of wood
which could be moved up and down to change the
pitch. Later, in the Middle Ages, more strings were
added for the different tones. With its help Pythag-
oras worked out the divisions of the octave into
smaller intervals. He had a large class of students
and insisted that all the youth of Greece should study
what werji called the “musical arts,” or religion,
poetry and music.

He taught that music has great influence on the
character and emotions and should be used for delight-
ing and calming mankind. His theory was that it
could cure the body of ills, as well as inspire the mind,


being a guide to virtue and a means of education to
the soul.

Pythagoras founded an order whose three hundred
members were pledged to strict obedience like the
monks of a later period. One of their rules was that
each should play on the lyre before going to sleep at
night, that his soul might be strengthened and purified
for the next day’s work; while on arising each brother
sang a hymn, to free his spirit from weariness and

% While in Egypt, Pythagoras busied himself with in-
vestigating a theory which sounds very like a fairy tale.
It was called the “Music of the Spheres.” He believed
that the seven planets (then the only ones known),
the sun, moon, Jupiter, Saturn, Venus, Mars and Mer-
cury, each gave forth a musical sound in its passage
through the heavens, the combined sounds constituting
the tones of the octave. Thus all melody and harmony
were derived from God, who made the planets circle
in their eternal round. This mystic number seven led
to the lyre being strung with seven strings, the fore-
runner of our seven-tone scale.

^ The earliest Greek music was founded on a tetra-
chord, or four consecutive tones, represented by the
four strings of the ancient lyre. The Greeks played
their four-tone scales or modes descending, and
thought of them in this curious way, one explanation
being that an ascending scale is contrary to the idea
of a cadence or ending of a musical phrase. In speak-
ing, it is not natural to raise the voice at the end of a
sentence, for when this is done it expresses astonish-
ment or asks a question, instead of conveying a feeling
of repose and rest. The Diatonic mode was consid-


ered the most important and contained two whole tones
and one half-tone (as e, d, c, b). Another mode, the
Chromatic, contained a tone and a half, combined with
two half-tones (as e, c#, c, b). m m

About the time of Pythagoras, a system of joining
two tetrachords together was adopted, which was
called the Heptonic. This was based on seven dif-
ferent tones, with the first tone repeated in the octave.
Each tone of the scale was taken in turn as the basis
of a new scale, and these various scales or modes were
called the Dorian, Phrygian, Lydian, etc. Each of
these was thought to possess certain distinctive char-
acteristics. In Sparta the boys were urged to sing and
play in the Dorian mode (e, d, c, b, a, g, f, e), as its
tones expressed strength and manliness.
*^The Greeks laid greater stress on the power of
melodic expression than on harmony, and therefore
melodies were varied and interesting while harmony
remained undeveloped.

Their music cannot be separated from poetry, for
the beauty and form of the melody depended on the
rhythm of the verses and was of secondary importance
rather than an independent art.

* For writing down their melodies the Greeks took at
first fifteen letters of their alphabet. These were
placed over the words of the song and were meant to
show the pitch, but did not indicate whether the melodic
steps ascended or descended, nor did they at first give
a rhythm, beyond that of the words to which they were
set. The number of these letters was gradually in-
creased until the many signs used made the reading of
them a most difficult process. It is thought their
music covered only a compass of three octaves, while
on the modern piano there are over seven.


One piece of old Greek music still in existence and
of great interest is a Hymn to Apollo, written twenty-
two centuries ago, in 287 B.C. It was discovered
carved on a stone at Delphi, where the god had his
oracle, and is a valuable example of the musical art of

^ The Greeks had many different kinds of stringed
instruments. Some of them were made, with double
strings, tuned in groups of two, as the mandolin is

The lyre was the favorite instrument, although pipes
and flutes were also used, the latter (the Aulos) re-
sembling the modern oboe.

* Another form of the lyre was the six-stringed
kithara which was used as a solo instrument as early
as 700 B.C. Its shape has been exactly reproduced in
modern times by the pedal piece of the old square

As the years went on, the number of strings of the
lyre increased until it became a little portable harp.
Of a similar type were the instruments used by the
first minstrels during the Middle Ages, in Europe.

So devoted to beauty were these wonderful people,
the Greeks, that stories are told of musicians playing
the lyre to workmen as they labored on the splendid
temples that are still our models of classic beauty.

In the history of Greece, one sees music in its in-
fancy, and it was not until the fourth century A.D. had
evolved a system of notation for the writing down of
musical sounds, that music developed into an art based
on definite rules and theories.

Chapter III


“Art is discipline, and there is no real liberty, except under
the law.” Thomas Whitney Surette.

WHEN the early church rose triumphant from the
midst of the splendor and wickedness of Rome, the
music of the first Christians was as different from the
music of the Romans as was their sober and devout
manner of living from that of the gay dwellers in
that luxurious city. During the centuries, there were
long periods when the Roman Emperors cruelly perse-
cuted all followers of Christ, and the few who were
brave enough to declare themselves Christians were
forced to worship in secret places, usually the cata-
combs, those underground passageways where the
Romans buried their dead. Their music consisted only
of parts of the Holy Scriptures chanted by the wor-
shipers. No instruments were used to accompany the
voices, this not being considered reverential or fitting,
as the Romans had instrumental music at feasts and
at celebrations of their heathen gods.

Some of the earliest church legends cluster around
the Christian martyr St. Cecilia, called* the patron
saint of music, who lived in Rome about the third
century. The organ is her instrument and she is said
to have consecrated it to the glory of Gpd. Her
father, a rich senator, and his wife had accepted the
Christian religion and educated their little daughter



in that faith. She grew to be a sweet and pious maiden
and loved to set the words of the gospels to music,
singing them so beautifully that it was said angels de-
scended from Heaven to listen to her voice.

When Cecilia was sixteen, she was married to a
young nobleman named Valerian. He was a pagan,
but owing to the influence of his young wife, soon be-
came a convert to Christianity. Entering Cecilia’s
room on the day of his baptism, he heard angelic music
and saw an angel holding two crowns made of the
roses of Paradise. These he placed on the heads of
the devout pair, and the heavenly vision strengthened
their faith and led to the conversion of many others.

The Prefect of Rome, learning they were Christians,
ordered them to renounce their God, and on their re-
fusal to comply with his command, executed Valerian.
Cecilia was thrown into a bath of scalding water, but,
remaining unharmed through miraculous intervention,
she was then beheaded.

In after years her house became the church of St.
Cecilia, and the little bathroom, now a chapel, can still
be seen. In the sixteenth century, a beautiful recum-
bent statue was made of the saint, which is now in a
shrine near the high altar. Although her connection
with music is legendary, many painters and sculptors
have immortalized her and her organ.

/ About 312 a great event for the whole world befell.
The Emperor Constantine made Christianity the re-
ligion of the Roman World, and from that time on,
composers wrote music to the Glory of God. Music
schools were established and a system for the writing
down of music was evolved, although it was not until
the tenth century that real notation developed.


The old Greek and Roman letters were still used,
but about the sixth century a different system of nota-
tion appeared, called neumes, from the Greek word
meaning “breath.”

A remnant of this notation, which resembled, a lit-
tle, the marks of modern shorthand, can be found in
the “mordent” and “trill” of music today. Certain
signs stood for a group of notes and thus gave an idea
of the melody to be sung and the rise and fall of the


The accents of the tones could also be indicated, but
as neither the pitch nor the kind of interval used could
be more than suggested, one had to be a very good
musician to attempt to read a written melody at sight.
There was no clef to show where the notes were
written, but about the year 900 a single red line was
drawn across the parchment and at the beginning of
this line a letter (generally /) was placed.

All lower sounds or those called “grave” were
placed below the line, those higher in pitch or^acute”
were placed above. Soon after this red line was
adopted, a yellow line was added representing a tone
a fifth above, and at its beginning was placed a letter
(generally c). With these two fixed tones it was not
so difficult to find the others. Later still, two more
lines appeared, one placed between the two original
lines, and the other either above or below them as the
composer desired. The next step was drawing all the
four lines in red or in black, and about the year 1500
a fifth black line was added and the five became the
staff of today, although the old four-line staff is still
in use in the Roman Catholic Church.
^ Early in the history of music a system called the
Alphabet Notation was sometimes employed. In it


the letters were used as far as P 9 a letter standing for
each note of the scale, and by this method the most
exact records of the Gregorian chants have been pre-

About the year 900 a Benedictine monk of Flanders
named Hucbaldus wrote a book on music that was in-
tended to teach the rules of theory and singing. Huc-
baldus divided the scales into regular tetrachords (or
groups of four tones) and did not confine his theories
to single melodies, but introduced for the first time
music in parts, or simple harmony. For writing, he
used a staff of six lines, although letters not notes were
written in the spaces.

Sometimes one group of singers sang a few sus-
tained notes while a second group chanted an accom-
paniment, though with no fixed beat or rhythm, the
effect resembling very much a pedal or organ tone
when one note is held and sounds through several
measures of harmony. The chanted part, sung In
fourths, fifths or an octave below the melody, was
called “organum” and sounds harsh and monotonous
to modern ears. This crude harmony led to using
thirds and sixths in the same way, and about the thir-
teenth century developed into real counterpoint. Coun-
terpoint is polyphonic (many-voiced) and is the art
of combining different independent melodies or voices
so that they produce harmony. In this form some of
the greatest musical works have been written. At first
the notes were called points and it was literally “note
against note” or u point against point” (punctus contra
punctum) in this kind of music.

We can think of it as “horizontal” music, the prin-
cipal melody moving along with other independent
ones. In contrast to this polyphonic music is music


of the homophonic order, or “vertical” music, a mel-
ody with a harmonious accompaniment built up on a
succession of chords.

At one time, in writing the old music, a staff of
eleven lines was used, called the Grand Stave. It is
especially notable as being the foundation of the mod-
ern piano staff. If the “leger” line of “middle or one-
line c” lying between the treble and bass clefs was
extended to match them in length, the union of the
two clefs and this line would be the eleven-line stave.

A form of singing called dlscant originated as early
as the tenth century, and was the simultaneous sound-
ing of two or more different melodies written accord-
ing to measured time. Sometimes the words used for
the various parts were the same, and again they were
different. Discant, one of the early forms of counter-
point, is found in church music and in the music of the
troubadours, and the singers often embroidered their
melodies with florid improvisation.

About the year 1000, in one of the old Benedictine
monasteries of Italy, there lived a quiet monk named
Guido of Arezzo. This monk loved music so dearly
that he objected to the monotonous chants that were
everywhere sung, and their crude intervals of fourths
and fifths were harsh to his ears. While he trained
his own choirs or journeyed to Rome to teach singing
in the churches there, he pondered over the best way
in which to simplify and improve the writing down of
musical sounds. Finally he placed the neumes on both
the lines and spaces of a four-line staff, making the
singing of the church chants a much easier task than
before. When pauses were desired in the music, the
rests were made as straight lines of different lengths
and looked very like the bar that divides modern


music into measures. This bar came into use about
the sixteenth century, and before its appearance a
mark like a hook was used to divide the groups of

Guido’s chief merit is to have given the first six
scale degrees permanent and easily memorized names,
which he derived from the syllables of the first six
lines of a hymn. This hymn, which was sung by the
choristers each day, was a Latin invocation to Saint
John the Baptist, and in this six-toned chant each line
began with a syllable that was one note above that of
the line before it, arranged exactly like our major
scale with a half tone lying between the third and
fourth degrees. The syllables were ut, re y mi, fa,
sol, la. Later, do was used in place of ut, and si
added after la, and these are the seven names in use
today in singing the tones of a modern scale.

Guido originated a series of these six-tone scales,
which he named hexachords. In them he tried to sim-
plify the placing of the half tones, putting one between
every third and fourth degree, the rest being whole
tones. The hexachords were used for several cen-
turies but finally were abandoned for the seven-tone
scale. Before Guido’s time no one had succeeded in
singing new melodies at sight, and his fellow monks
were so jealous of his abilities and the results he
achieved that they worked to have him expelled from
the convent. Bishop Theodal of Arezzo, however,
was his friend, and brought him and his system to the
notice of the Pope, who was greatly interested in what
he heard of the new music. He sent for the monk,
took lessons of him himself, and afterwards gave him
all the assistance in his power.

Guido finally found refuge behind the walls of a


convent at Ferrara and there continued his studies
and worked out his methods and ideas. The training
in pitch and in sight reading that he had given his
pupils was a great step, and after his death the im-
provements and changes still went on. First, the
neume and alphabet notations were discarded and the
tones marked by black points on the lines ; then, in the
thirteenth century, real notes were invented square
or oblong signs called large, long, breve and semi-
breve,* round notes coming into use at a later period.
For a while the notes were all black, then red, then
they changed to big, open ones, and it was a short step
from these to the open and closed notes of today.

After the adoption of this staff, the letters / and c
were still placed at the beginning of the lines and so
the f and c clef signatures originated. These, together
with the g clef which came into use later, are merely
modifications of the old Gothic letters.

The g became the sign of the upper or treble clef,
the f of the lower or bass clef. While the g and f
clefs were stationary, the c clef was placed on either
the first, third or fourth line. It is therefore called
the soprano, alto or tenor clef, according to its loca-
tion, and used today in writing for some of the instru-
ments of the orchestra, such as the viola. For the
violin, the g clef is always used.

The meter used in the first church music was the
triple or 94 meter and its sign was the circle, O.

The sign C (% or “common time,” as it is often
called) originated in an interesting way. The circle
was the symbol of the Trinity, a sign of completeness,
therefore the triple meter for which it stood was also
considered perfect, the 3 again standing for the Trin-
ity. From about 1150 to 1250 this triple meter was



used entirely and called tempus perfectum. When %
meter was introduced, it was necessarily imperfect,
and the circle was cut, making a broken one, or a C,
which is the sign for % time today.

Again, when duple meter, %, was used, a line was
drawn through the broken circle, (, showing that the

Manuscript copy of the i2th century. From Music How It Came
to Be What It Isj by Hannah Smith, published by Charles Scrib-
ner’s Sons.

count consisted of two half beats in a measure, the
piece being played a trifle faster than if % meter had
been marked.

It was another monk, born in 1190, named Franco
of Cologne, who wrote a book in which, for the first


time, “measured music” (or music written according
to meter) was treated as independent of Its text,
rather than a mere accompaniment

He was probably the inventor also of the oblong
notes used the Large, Long, Breve and Semibreve.

Until about the year 1200 almost the only written
music had been the music of the church, but after this
period the music of the troubadours and the folk songs
of the people began to be recorded.

Definite note symbols were now invented, and the
signs in use made it easier for musicians to write down
their compositions. Bars were lengthened and used to
separate the music into measures such as are used to-
day. Finally came symbols for the sharps and flats,
necessary guides to the singer who, before that time,
was expected to introduce them whenever they seemed
needed. The early musicians greatly disliked the
sound of the interval of the augmented fourth which
lay between f and b, and to avoid its harshness singers
were allowed to chant the b one-half tone lower, or
flatted, wherever this interval occurred in their music.
Then, finding that the same interval lay between bk
and e, another flat on e was introduced.

The development of new harmonies made musicians
tire of the constant use of intervals such as the minor
third (from a to c). It did not satisfy their ears as
a final ending to a song or chant, and about the thir-
teenth century a sharp was added to the c, making an
interval of a major third (a to cjf) and giving an up-
ward feeling to the note as well as a different tone
color. This idea of using sharps was at first opposed
by the writers of church music but it steadily grew in
popularity. At first the sharps were used only as ac-
cidentals, that is, placed before the notes themselves,


but later both sharps and flats were written as they now
appear in the signature.

The natural (jj) was not introduced until about
1650, while the double sharp ( X ) and double flat
are of still more recent origin.

Tonality is a succession of tones either melodic or
harmonic, used for a given length of time, in order to
clearly establish a certain key. Although this was
lacking in the music of the ancients, it is easy to see
that one of the first requirements of music must be a
series of notes that stand in some recognized relation
to each other as regards definite pitch. This is fpund
in the present scale system, and of these tones there
is always one principal one which forms a point of
repose called the tonic or keynote. It becomes the
first degree of the scale, and from it the other key
tones ascend.

Another important note is the fifth, called the
dominant. It is second only to the tonic or keynote
in its power to mark or dominate the key. The next
in importance is the fourth, lying just below the domi-
nant and named the subdominant.

As musicians studied the vibrations of the strings
of the little monochord, they found that every musical
tone was a mixed sound consisting of a fundamental
tone, and higher and fainter tones caused by the vibra-
tions of sections of the fundamental. These last they
called overtones, and from them they worked out the
intervals that make up the scale.

The distance of the octave is a true interval and is
the first overtone heard, next above it the interval of
the fifth, and above that the interval of the fourth.
These intervals show why the tonic, dominant (or


fifth) and subdominant (or fourth) are the three
most important tones of every rudimentary scale, as
they were the first intervals discovered when music
was only sound.

By the seventeenth century the old ecclesiastical
scales had been so altered by the use of accidentals
that their real characters had changed. Finally two
of the Greek modes, the Ionian, from c to c (also
called the Hypo-Lydian) and the ^Eolian, from a to a
(also called the Hypo-Dorian), were taken as models
and became our major and minor scales. These were
the two modes used by the troubadours in their secu-
lar music and had become familiar to the ears of those
who listened to their songs; but the people were ac-
customed to the half tone lying between the seventh
and eighth degrees of the scale called the major, and
they missed it when listening to the whole tone be-
tween the same degrees of the pure Greek mode or
minor scale.

Finally, a sharp used only as an accidental was
placed before the seventh tone of the minor, making
the distance to the eighth the same as in the major.
This second form was called the harmonic minor
scale, and the raising of the seventh tone left an in-
terval of a tone and a half between the sixth and
seventh degrees of the scale.

Then a third form was evolved, called the melodic
minor. This came into being when church singers
found the interval from the sixth to the seventh de-
gree of the harmonic minor scale difficult to sing.
They then raised the sixth tone also, one-half step
for the ascending scale of the melodic minor, but pre-
ferred to descend in the form of the old Greek mode,


with half tones between the fifth and sixth, and sec-
ond and third degrees.

All three minor scales are used in music today.

The chromatic scale, progressing entirely by half
tones and containing twelve half degrees within the
octave, is of very ancient origin, and its name, from
the Greek word meaning “color,” is explained in an
interesting way by Jean Jacques Rousseau, the French
philosopher, in his “Dictionary of Music” written in
1768. He states the theory that before flat and sharp
symbols were used, notes to be raised or lowered were
written in colors. Still another explanation he gave is
that the chromatic “varies and embellishes the diatonic
by its semitones which in music produces the same
effect as the colors in painting.”

In the East another scale form is said to have been
used, called the whole-tone scale. In it the octave is
divided into six equal intervals, as c d e f* g* a# c; and
Debussy and other modern composers have made use
of this six-tone scale in their music.

About the sixteenth century a need was felt for a
tempered scale, or one that made it possible to modu-
late freely into different keys, using all the tonalities
or signatures, both of sharps and flats.

According to the laws of acoustics the spacing be-
tween intervals of presumably the same measurement
is not the same, and in the Middle Ages many musi-
cians worked to discover a way of tuning keyboard
instruments so that this discrepancy should not inter-
fere with composers writing their music for either the
sharp or flat key signatures. Before this time a piece
written in flats could not be played on a clavichord
tuned in sharps, as the result would sound discordant,


and the same was true of a sharp piece played on an
instrument tuned in flats. In Bach’s time, and due
largely to his efforts, a system of equal temperament
was arranged and the space inside the octave was di-
vided equally between the twelve half tones included
in the scale. The chromatic tones lying closest to-
gather, such as C# and D^, were turned alike, although
still differently notated or written on the music. Tones
thus changed were called enharmonic tones. Although
by this process every interval but the octave was
slightly mistuned, great freedom resulted from this
practical scale of even half tones. To prove its use,
Bach wrote his Well-tempered Clavichord, the collec-
tion consisting of forty-eight Preludes and Fugues, in
all the different major and minor keys. The name, as
one writer has said, “did not apply to the instrument’s
disposition but expressed what could be achieved by
the new system of tuning.”

After music began to be taught by the monks, its
influence spread ever farther, until it reached the
homes of both rich and poor and entered more fully
into the lives of the people.

Chapter IV


“The effect of music is not merely to invigorate, but also
to illuminate, to flood all life with a consciousness of beauty
and order, to reaffirm eternal verities, and to quicken the life
of the soul.” Arthur Pollitt.

WHEN persecution of the Christians ceased and the
Emperor Constantino permitted them to worship God
in their own way, music developed and played an im-
portant part in all religious services. Thus a new era
in musical history began. k / The best musicians in those
days were the priests and monks. Naturally they
wrote music for their own choirs to sing, and some of
them were fond of introducing new ideas into their
compositions. The good Bishop Ambrose of Milan
in about the year 385 was greatly distressed at the
want of seriousness in church music, feeling that it
had lost much of its early simplicity and dignity.
Ambrose, who was canonized as a saint, was of noble
Roman birth. He first became governor of a large
portion of Northern Italy, and later was made Bishop
of Milan. In his day the church was filled with dis-
sension but he strove always for the triumph of good-
ness. He rebuked the great Emperor Theodosius for
cruelty towards the people of Thessalonica, and dared
close the doors of the cathedral against him until the
monarch appeared as a penitent and made public con-
fession of his fault.



None of the music sung by the Christiahs of the first
three centuries after Christ has come down the ages,
but tradition tells that Ambrose collected many old
melodies both of the East and West and selected four
of the Greek modes, which he directed should be used
by all composers of church music. They were called
the Authentic Modes, and the melodies written on
them were named the “Ambrosian Chants” in honor of
the Bishop. These chants are still used in the church
service of the Milan Cathedral, once the Church of
St. Ambrose. Historians declare the Bishop was him-
self a poet and the author of many hymns, two of them
thought to be the “Veni, Redemptor Gentium” (Come,
Redeemer of the World) and the “Te Deum Lau-
damus” (We Praise Thee, O God).

About the year 575, Gregory the Great, who also
loved music, is said to have followed the example of
Ambrose. He collected more old melodies, some dat-
ing back to the ancient temple service of the Hebrews,
and arrahged them in a reverent manner for the choirs
to sing. The subject of these chants was the life of
Christ and His saints, and they made a musical story
that included all the church festivals of the year.

This remarkable Pope was born In the year 540
and came of an ancient Roman family which for gen-
erations had held important positions under the Em-
pire. The young man was educated after the manner
of Roman nobles of his time and, on the death of his
father, found himself at the age of thirty possessed
of large fortune and estates. Although a senator, he
used his possessions to establish several monasteries
and to reform the service of the church, and was soon
an ecclesiastic of note. When still a young man, he
was sent \s papal legate to Constantinople, then a


Christian city and the center of the wealth and cul-
ture of the world. During the four years of his
sojourn at the Greek court, Gregory made a study of
the music used in the gorgeous churches there, but its
gay and frivolous character displeased him. When
fifty years old, he was made Pope, and although the
ancient records give us few facts in regard to his share
of developing the music of the church, it is certain
that his influence helped to bring about many impor-
tant reforms.

A notable institution thought to have been started
by him was^ the “Schola Cantorum” or “School of
Church Singing,” and he insisted that all choristers be
given a musical education. Many children of noble
families studied in Pope Gregory’s school and received
a liberal education as well as musical training. The
course of study was usually nine years, as the chants
were sung without a book and had to be learned by
heart. The pupils were taught by the director, who
possessed the only copy of the music, and often the
little monochord was used to assist at the lesson. The
choirs were small, composed of about twenty-five
voices, and the important parts of the service were
sung by trained vocalists, the responses being given
by the choir, clergy and congregation. Gregory never
admired the brilliant florid singing that was used in
the church service of the East, and he is said to have
insisted on a perfect legato and the .ability to sing
smoothly and gracefully.

Several Popes in their day studied at this Schola
Cantorum and it had great influence on the develop-
ment of an advanced method of church singing. To
Pope Gregory is due also the honor of establishing
the church in England.


Once, when passing through the Roman slave mar-
ket, he saw two fair-haired boy captives whose ap-
pearance interested him. He asked from what coun-
try they came and was told that they were “Angles”
from Britain. “By the grace of God they will one
day be angels,” he said, and from that time the mis-
sion to England was his most ardent desire. This was
accomplished when he became Pope, a monk named
Augustine and forty others being sent by him as mis-
sionaries to Britain, while copies of the Gregorian
chants were later carried over to the new church from

In Gregory’s day, and probably with his help, four
more scales were added to the four already in use.
These were called the Plagal Modes, and each was
built a fourth below one of the Authentic Modes of
St. Ambrose.

The form on which the old ecclesiastical chants
are written, distinguishes them from the compositions
of more modern times. In direct contrast to the
major scale and its relative minor, with their fixed
intervals, these ancient modes were each unique in
form, with their half tones grouped in different places
within the octave. This made them lacking in what
we call tonality, where one note, by its power, pre-
dominates over a group of others following it. The
rhythm was varied in the Plain Song, as the music
of the chants was called, and it was sometimes sung
according to regular meter, or again as a recitative,
when the words were chanted and the meter changed,
according to the meaning of the text. – No chants were
allowed to be written on the chromatic scale, as that
form was considered lacking in religious dignity, and
although some writers tell that St. Ambrose occasion-


ally allowed its use in his hymns, it was generally for-
bidden in the service of the church and kept for lighter

It is stated that in the ninth century the Gregorian
melodies were copied and bound in a large book called
the Antiphonary, as it contained the antiphons sung
in church. These were chanted alternately by two
choirs or divisions of singers, after the manner of the
old Hebrew service. The story goes that for many
years this precious book was chained to the altar of
St. Peter’s in Rome, but after the death of Pope
Gregory it was enclosed in a casket and buried in a
secret recess under the tomb of the Apostle Peter.

In the Middle Ages, Rome became the center of
music for the civilized world, and musicians from dif-
ferent countries gathered there to study, while trained
leaders were sent out to teach the people the Roman
way of writing and singing the chants, as Pope Greg-
ory had ordained.

In 789, two trusted Roman monks, Romanus and
Petrus, were summoned to Metz to train the teachers
already there. Each monk carried a copy of the
famous Antiphonary that he had made himself, and
valued as his most priceless possession. On the jour-
ney, the severe cold of the region around Lake Con-
stance prevented Romanus from going further, and
his companion finally left him and traveled to Metz
alone. With great difficulty Romanus struggled on
with his precious book, until he reached the shelter of
the monastery of St. Gall. There the monks restored
him to health, and in gratitude for their aid he spent
the rest of his life in their midst, teaching the many
scholars who came to him, the true way of singing
the Gregorian chants. His book, one of the oldest


manuscripts in the world, is preserved in the monas-
tery to this day, having for centuries been guarded
with jealous care.

After the death of Pope Gregory the additions
made to good plain song were extremely rare. Many
people preferred the Ambrosian chants, as being more
melodious, while others thought the Gregorian hymns
more dignified, and therefore better suited to the
service. A story tells that the monks prayed God to
grant them a sign, and the chants of Ambrose and of
Gregory were placed side by side on the altar of St.
Peter’s at Rome and left through the night. In the
morning the Ambrosian chants were still in their place,
but the hymns of Gregory were torn into thousands
of pieces and scattered over the sanctuary. This was
taken as a sign that their influence would spread over
the world, and they were henceforth used in all the
churches. The Emperor Charlemagne, who reigned
in 800, loved music, and as a result of his personal
interest and supervision, the use of these chants was
accepted throughout Europe.

Charlemagne never cared for the chants originated
by St. Ambrose and even burned them whenever they
were found within his domain. However, a few copies
were hidden away in the churches and, in spite of his
orders, continued to be sung privately by the monks.

During his reign, four more modes were added to
the eight already in use, and many of his priests were
sent to Rome to consult with the Pope and study in
the papal school the true Gregorian song. Much was
made of singing at his court. No one but the most
expert singers were allowed to enter the Emperor’s
choir, and to make the choristers careful and alert, he
would point with his stick at the next who was to sing,


and cough when he wished him to stop, and none
dared finish even a measure when this signal was
heard. Thanks to him, the people learned to love a
purer form of church music, and due also to his pow-
erful aid, music schools were everywhere founded.
There is still in existence an old melody written in
the last year of Charlemagne’s reign that laments his
death and praises his virtues.

This musical emperor became much interested in an
organ which the Byzantine Ambassador brought with
him to the French court, as it was a great improve-
ment on the primitive organs then made in Charle-
magne’s own domain. This new organ was pumped
by twenty-six sets of bellows, and had huge keys struck
with the fists. The Emperor instructed his workmen
to study its mechanism carefully, in order that they
might build him one after the same model.

King Robert the Pious of France, who ruled with
his Queen Constance in the year 1000, was a fine
musician for his time. He studied in Rheims where
there, was a famous “church school,* 1 and an old
chronicle states that he often used his scepter for a
baton with which to conduct his choristers as they
sang his hymns. Queen Constance objected to her
husband composing so much music in honor of the
holy saints, while forgetting to make her the subject
of any of his songs, although he had often prom-
ised to write something for her alone.

One day the King planned to visit his cathedral of
St. Denis, and as a new work of his was to be sung,
he begged the Queen to accompany him. During the
service, one of the choristers turned towards the royal
pair and with great expression intoned “O Con-
stantia,” following it with other Latin words. The


Queen was convinced that the new chant was ad-
dressed to her and listened delightedly, but again it
was not the Queen of whom Robert had written, but
the constancy of the martyr, St. Denis, for whom the
cathedral was named. It is said that having made a
pilgrimage to Rome, King Robert placed a packet on
the high altar of St. Peter’s. The monks opened it
expecting to find a rich gift, but instead of jewels or
gold, it was a scroll of music written by the pious
King and presented by him to God.

Little by little, new musical forms appeared, re-
placing the ancient ones, and again there began to be
dissension as to the kind of music that should be used
in the churches. Many composers were fond of tak-
ing some well-known melody to weave into a chorale
or mass, and this practice began to corrupt the true
church music, until the Pope himself, in the sixteenth
century, became alarmed and felt that an end should
be made to such abuse. Just when he was most
needed, a great musician appeared in Italy who did
much to restore the purity of the old plain-song. He
was called the Savior of Music, or the Angelic Com-
poser. This was Giovanni Pierluigi Palestrina.

About twenty miles from Rome lies the small town
called Palestrina, which gave its name to its most
illustrious son. Perched on the edge of a cliff, at that
time it was renowned for its beautiful chestnut trees
and the roses that bloomed on every side. The boy
Giovanni was born in the year 1526 and lived with his
parents in their tiny cottage. As a child he often
gazed wistfully into the blue distance which meant
Rome, and at last in his thirteenth year he was taken
by his father to the Eternal City. As they neared


their journey’s end, Giovanni heard music coming from
a wayside chapel and began singing a response with his
fresh, young voice. The music ceased, and the chapel-
master came running out to see who sang so sweetly.
He told the astonished lad that his voice was beau-
tiful, and offered to become his teacher, if he would
stay in Rome. This good fortune could not be dis-
regarded; so for several years the boy remained. On
his return home he became organist in the cathedral
and the protege of the Cardinal, who was also a lover
of music. When this Cardinal at a later date became
Pope Julius III, he took Palestrina with him to Rome
to be one of the singers in the papal choir, an advan-
tage as well as an honor, for thus his own composi-
tions could be sung by the finest choristers in the
world, who still preserved the tradition of the Grego-
rian chants. Palestrina’s own masses were so pure
and lovely that many who listened to them were
moved to tears, and people would journey from great
distances and crowd the churches to hear them sung.
The master longed to have church music raised to
its proper place and strove to unite the words of the
Scripture with music that was capable of expressing
its meaning, taking for his own motto the words
“Lord, illumine mine eyes.” At the order of a later
Pontiff, he composed three masses for six voices to
be sung in the Sistine Chapel. The third, the Mass
of Pope Marcellus, so named in memory of one of
his first patrons, was considered so beautiful that the
Pope declared he could imagine such music being sung
by the Angelic Host. It ranks as perhaps the greatest
musical composition of the sixteenth century, and it is
said that the evening before it was given was passed
by Palestrina in prayer, as the knights of old kept


vigil before winning their spurs. Soon his composi-
tions became the model for all religious music, and
his masses and hymns are still sung wherever sacred
music is loved.

The master lived to a good old age and composed
with unflagging zeal up to the year of his death. He
worked under the rule of seven different Popes, and
wrote ninety-three masses, besides other forms of
church music. When death finally claimed him, he
was buried with high honors in St. Peter’s, and on
his tomb was inscribed: “The Prince of Musicians.”
After St. Ambrose and Pope Gregory, his name is as-
sociated most closely with the development of church

The composer left one pupil who helped to continue
his work. This was the Italian Gregorio Allegri,
whose famous Miserere was a treasure guarded for
many years in the Sistine Chapel, to be sung only by
the Pope’s own choir, until the boy Mozart heard it
and wrote it down from memory, so that others could
sing it also.

In Germany, in the early part of the sixteenth cen-
tury, Martin Luther was arranging hymns and cho-
rales for the Protestant church service, as well as
writing them himself. He believed in music as a
powerful aid to religion, and substituted the chorale
for the old plain song. These chorales were for the
people themselves to sing in the churches, as a sub-
stitute for the chants sung by the trained ecclesiastical
choirs of men and boys. Gradually harmony devel-
oped in this form of church music, and the Reforma-
tion chorale came to be a single soprano melody sup-
ported by three other parts, so simply arranged that


they could be sung by a congregation as well as by
a choir.

One of Luther’s sayings was: “I am not ashamed
to acknowledge that next to the study of Divinity, I
prize the study of music.” He elevated the music of
the people by having their popular songs set in a fit-
ting manner, and once said: “I wish that the Word of
God dwell among the people by means also of song.”

One little corner of Western Europe had a distinct
place in the development of music. While fierce wars
swept around them during the Middle Ages, there was
peace in the Netherlands and an ‘opportunity to de-
velop the Arts. Some very fine composers were born
there between noo and 1600, and one of the most
celebrated was a Belgian named Orlando Lasso. He,
like Palestrina, is a landmark in the history of the
music of his time.

From a child, Lasso studied music and sang as choir
boy in the church of St. Nicholas, from which he was
kidnapped three times on account of his wonderful
voice. This seems to have been a common practice
in those days, if a coveted singer was needed for the
choir of a nobleman or prince. The boy was found
by his parents and twice taken home, but the third
time was allowed to remain with his patron, who took
him to Rome and gave him a thorough musical edu-

Lasso became chapelmaster of the old church of St.
John Lateran when only twenty-one years old. Fif-
teen years later he went to Munich, which was his
home until he died, and there he founded a school of
music that was celebrated for centuries. For the choir
of his patron, the Duke of Bavaria, he wrote many


fine chorales. It is he who is said to have been com-
missioned by the unhappy Charles IX of France to
write a set of seven Penitential Psalms in order that
the soul of the wretched king might obtain rest, after
having permitted the terrible massacre of St. Bar-
tholomew. Lasso composed as many as twelve hun-
dred different works, and his music has a harmonic
value and beauty of expression that much of the old
music did not possess.

About 1500 a musician named Josquin des Pres was
living in Belgium. Luther wrote of him that he was
u master of notes while others were mastered by
them.” At one time he sang in the Pope’s choir and
later went to Paris as court musician to Louis XII.
There he studied to develop a definite system of
tonality, or an arrangement of the form of the scale,
and his work along those lines has been of value.

At the same time another leader of the Netherland
School, Adrian Willaert, settled in Venice and became
organist of St. Mark’s. He too worked to develop
a scale of balanced and equal tones and is said to have
been the first musician to try dividing the scale into
twelve equal parts.

In the century after Palestrina’s death, changes
again occurred in Europe, and in many of the churches
both the text and melodies of the hymns were altered
or replaced by others of more secular style. In 1840
the old order of the Benedictine monks, previously
banished, was restored in France, and the fathers
longed to introduce again the Gregorian plain song in
its original purity.

A young monk named Joseph Pothier collected the
old chants that seemed most characteristic, and wrote
a book on the “Gregorian Melodies.” Later, in


1903, when Pope Pius X came to the papal throne,
he announced his desire to reform the music of the
Roman Catholic service, and requested Father Haberl
to prepare a Vatican Edition of the Gregorian chants.
A special commission helped to achieve this, and the
valuable collection has revived the use of the old
music in most of the cathedrals of Europe. These
church chants of the Middle Ages were the prelude to
the dramatic music of a later date. Even the folk
songs of the troubadours and minstrels showed that
they were touched by the spirit of the old plain song,
and in the modern music of today we find many of
the old rhythms and tonalities.

‘Chapter V


“Architecture has been termed frozen music. If you know
what the pointed Gothic arch is, you know what a fugue is,
for the pointed arch is the frozen fugue.” Ehlert.

As the art of notation developed and musicians slowly
evolved a system of writing down their music, a num-
ber of different forms came into being, these forms
being the plan and order in which the composer pre-
sented his ideas and worked out his composition.

Rhythm, melody and harmony are the three funda-
mental parts of music. Rhythm, from the Greek
word meaning “to flow,” is felt in all life and is old
as the world itself. In music it represents the meas-
ured grouping of beats, and controls the progression
of melody to which it gives movement.

One thinks of melody as a succession of tones
grouped into a motive or theme to express the thought
of the composer, while harmony is the building up of
tones into chords, to support and enrich the theme and
give substance to the music.

In the fifteenth century the people sang part songs,
dancing to their music, and one of the most popular
forms was the Madrigal. This was often sung to the
accompaniment of the lute, a slender instrument a lit-
tle like the guitar. At the same time there was the
Motet, a religious part song, used in the church serv-
ices. Although the words of the motet were generally



sacred, the melody was often taken from a folk song
or dance.

At the beginning of the sixteenth century, in the
time of Palestrina and his followers, church music
was designed to impress the listener with the spiritual
quality of religious devotion. All startling dissonances
were avoided in the harmony, and the melodies were
calm and free from all stress of emotion.

As the years went by, there were again changes ; a
need was felt for music that would depict more closely
the joys and griefs of humanity, and a little group of
musicians in Florence, called the “Camerata,” turned
with enthusiasm to study a more spontaneous expres-
sion of melody which came from the songs and dances
of the people.

It was then, in the seventeenth century, that an im-
portant step in musical history was made and instru-
mental music, as independent of vocal, developed into
an art.

Rhythm began to play a vital part in the freer forms
of melody, fresh harmonies were developed, and later
these changes led to the dawn of a new era. One im-
portant group of pieces was the Suite, the forerunner
of the Sonata and Symphony.

The Suite consisted of a set of dance movements of
different origin usually ushered in by a Prelude. They
were all written in the same key, but to afford a con-
trast, different tempos were used. The four most in-
dispensable dances were the German Allemande, the
French Courante, the Spanish Sarabande, and the
Glgue (originally a peasant dance). The stately Sara-
bande was of Spanish origin, and danced with casta-
nets by the altar boys on Holy Thursday. Between
the Sarabande and the Gigue it was customary to in-


sert such old court dances as the Minuet or Gavotte.
It is interesting to know that the Minuet is the only
dance that still forms a part of the modern sonata, its
place being sometimes taken by the Scherzo (the Ital-
ian word for “joke”), a movement written in a more
brilliant and fanciful style. Gradually these dances
began to be arranged in definite form; the slower
and more majestic placed in the middle (as is the
adagio in the Sonata ) , and the more lively ones used
at the beginning and end of the Suite.

The Sonata grew out of the old Suites, and the name
comes from the Italian word suonare, “to sound,” and
was used to designate a piece played on an instrument
rather than one that was sung. It was originally a
short composition in lively tempo. Two more move-
ments, generally in rondo form, the first in slow tempo,
were added by the composers following Bach. This
rondo form was used by the early classic composers
and originated in an old French dance which was sung
by the dancers. It consisted of two or three themes,
the first one repeated several times during the move-

The Minuet was added to the Sonata by Haydn
and Mozart, and placed between the two Rondos.
Beethoven elaborated the Minuet into the Scherzo, and
thus the present form of the Sonata was evolved. Of
the four movements, the first is the most important,
and is built according to “sonata form.” It consists of
three sections, the Exposition, Development and Re-
capitulation, the first stating the thematic material, the
second developing it in various rhythms and keys, and
the last restating the first section with a strong ac-
centuation of the tonic key.

The Symphony (from two Greek words meaning


“sounding together 5 ‘) is built on the same lines as the
Sonata, but it is a composition for orchestra while the
Sonata is for one or two instruments only. It may be
called the highest form of music, for even in a great
opera the attention is divided between what is heard
and what is seen, while in the symphony all is pure

The u sonata form” is used in composing for small
groups of instruments used in Chamber Music. This
can be defined as music not designed for a large church
or theater, but suited for a small hall. It consists of
compositions, such as trios and quartets, of a more
intimate nature than the music written for orchestra.
In the early centuries when royalty first patronized
musicians, concerts were given in the king’s private
rooms. Many of the nobility too had music in their
own homes, and the term “chamber music” grew out
of the Italian “musica di camera.” It was finally used
to describe pieces written in the classic style for a few
instruments to play, each having its own independent
part. With three instruments, the piece is called a
trio, four instruments a quartet, five a quintet, and
there are also the sextet, septet and octet. With more
than eight instruments, the composition becomes a
piece for small orchestra.

Still another form resembling the sonata is the
Concerto, written for solo instrument with orchestral

One of the greatest forms of contrapuntal writing
is the Fugue, the intellectual development of a musical

As Beethoven perfected the sonata form, so Bach’s
Fugues and other contrapuntal pieces were finished
products and no one has ever surpassed the perfection


these two masters achieved, each in his own line. The
name fugue comes from the Latin word fuga, or
“flight,” for the repetitions of the theme in the various
parts seem to pursue each other.

The subject is first given out by one voice, in the
tonic key, and is repeated in another voice, in the
dominant key, called the Answer. While this second
voice gives the answer, the first goes on its way with a
contrasting melody called the Counter subject which yet
harmonizes with the answer. Other voices (if there
are more than two) enter in turn, and repeat the sub-
ject and answer alternately. This repetition by each
voice is called the Exposition, and generally ends in a
cadence (or close) on the tonic or dominant chord.

The main part of the fugue is the middle section or
Development, in which the subject and count ersubject
are repeated in various keys. These repetitions are
frequently connected by Episodes in the form of Se-
quences, or repetitions on different degrees of the scale,
based on parts of the subject or countersubject. Some-
times the statements of the subject overlap or interrupt
each other, and this sort of writing is called Stretto.
At the end of the development a strong return to the
tonic key announces the Conclusion of the fugue, which
is frequently followed by a Coda, or final ending, on a
tonic pedal-point in the bass.

A shorter and less elaborate form of contrapuntal
writing was employed by Bach in his Inventions, some
of which contained two independent voices and others

Still another form was the Canon, in which a second
voice, beginning slightly later, repeated note for note
the melody of the first voice, from beginning to end.

The musicians of the Netherland School brought


the different forms of counterpoint to a high state of
perfection, and laid a solid foundation on which their
successors have built.
Thy voice^ O bar – mo ny, is di – vine.
shalt have none other gods * . kut mit,

I J ^i.” IJJ ‘J\ ‘\ Jl’r.-


*9Q|A tp” fit *Xu *otn * itnj

^i .1 jr.iU i n i Ji ii


Forward, backward, upward, downward, always a melody
and always an accompaniment. The adroit and amusing “exer-
cise” with which the composer proved his powers when Oxford
University, in 1792, made him a doctor of music.

By courtesy of the Brown Music Library in the Boston Public Library.

In general classification, music can be placed under
three groups or headings. The first and oldest group
are the folk songs and dances built on the melodies
sung by the people in all countries and ages. Many
were sung before there were instruments on which to
play them, and their character was both religious and
secular. Folk songs have been handed on from one
country and generation to another, and their influ-
ence in music is vital and far-reaching.

The second group, called Absolute music,” includes
the classic forms used by the great masters, such im-


portant forms as the fugue, suite, sonata and sym-
phony, as well as some of the larger forms of church
music. This music as a rule is given no title but leaves
the listener free to interpret its message.

The third group is romantic or “program” music.
This music is picturesque and describes in tones the
story suggested by the title, whether a poem or legend
or even a mood, as does the music of Debussy. The
early French writers composed under descriptive titles,
and Beethoven’s Pastorale Symphony is a fine example
of program music. Schumann is a master of descrip-
tive music, Liszt and Saint-Saens have written sym-
phonic poems, and one hears much program music
from musicians of today.

After composers were able to record their musical
thoughts in lasting form, there came the development
of instruments on which the music could be adequately
played and interpreted.

Chapter VI


* ‘Through nothing can we exercise a greater influence upon
the people than through noble music.” Thibaut.

WHILE the music of the Christian church had a tend-
ency to adhere strictly to the old and inflexible meth-
ods used in the Gregorian chants, another and more
worldly influence began to make itself felt.

This came from the wandering harpers, minstrels
and troubadours, who from the tenth to the fourteenth
centuries held an important place in musical history.
It was through them that secular music, as well as the
instruments on which it was played, grew and de-

It is believed that the first bards or harpers were
the Celts of Brittany, living before the Christian era,
and their successors were the minstrels and trouba-
dours found in almost every country of mediaeval Eu-
rope. As early as the eighth century, bands of gypsies,
coming from the East and playing on their strange
instruments, wandered singing over the land. The
peasants listened and sang too, for folk song is an
unconscious, natural music, uninfluenced by rules,
growing out of the emotions and life of the people.
Although these early melodies were not written down,
they were handed on orally from one generation to
another, a universal inheritance. They naturally un-
derwent many changes and embellishments, but the



final result did not fail to express still more perfectly
the national characteristics, as is shown m the fact
that the music of Northern nations is cast in a sterner,
sadder mold than the music of the nations of the
kindlier South.

Dancing goes hand in hand with song, the rhythm
and motion of the body following closely the feeling
and pulse of the melody. England, Ireland and Scot-
land at this time were primitive countries, but the
people loved musical sounds and played on their harps
and crwths, the latter, a small stringed instrument,
one of the ancestors of the violin. In Wales, only
men of rank were permitted to play the harp, and its
use marked the difference between the freeman and
the bondslave.

In the Middle Ages, every castle had its bard or
minstrel who sang songs in praise of his patron, the
lord of the manor, and accompanied himself on his
instrument. There was much beauty in some of this
early music, and the young men were often inspired to
noble deeds by the songs of chivalry to which they
listened. The singers were everywhere welcome,
whether in the castles of the wealthy or in the cottages
of the poor. It was in this way that the popular folk
songs were born, stories that the people could under-
stand and enjoy.

The ambition of many a young noble was to become
a poet or singer, and as far back as the year 900 the
Saxon king, Alfred the Great, once dressed himself
as a minstrel and in this disguise penetrated the camp
of his enemies the Danes. There his music made him
a welcome guest and enabled him to learn the secret
plans of these warriors, so that later he defeated them
in battle.


The minstrels were divided into three classes.
First the poet bards, who were the historians and
prophets, then the private bards, attached to families;
lastly, there were heraldic bards who wrote the laws
of etiquette used by the knights in their tourneys and
courts of song. As Italy was the first country to de-
velop the music of the church, so its people were
among the first to make music purely for the love of

In France the minstrels were called troubadours
and jongleurs. The first troubadours lived in Provence
about the year 1000, and for three centuries they and
their musical descendants traveled in different lands,
singing to all classes of people.

In 1096, the time of the first crusade, the rough
Norman and Saxon warriors going to battle, as they
supposed, with savages who had usurped the Holy
Sepulchre, found in their Saracen enemies a nation as
cultivated, chivalrous and romantic as any that existed
on the earth. During the different crusades, there
came to be much intercourse between them, the Sara-
cens proving to be a race almost as highly civilized as
the Greeks had been.

At the beginning of the eighth century, these fol-
lowers of Mahomet had extended their conquests from
Persia and Syria to Spain, and had made this land as
beautiful and luxurious as was their vast Empire in
the East. At the courts of the different caliphs, the
Saracen minstrels, called Raouis, were always wel-
come. Unlike the bards of the colder, more northern
nations, their themes were not of war, but of love.
One Raoui named Zobeir lived at the court of the
famous caliph Haroun-al-Raschid, in Bagdad. This
caliph, having recently purchased a new wife, proposed


that his minstrels hold a competition in order to praise
her beauty. Zobeir, proving the lucky bard, was given
two villages by his lord, as well as a purse of gold.

The development of music as an art in these Eastern
lands had been arrested by the Prophet Mahomet, who
forbade its use for religious rites and told^his follow-
ers that “music and singing caused hypocrisy to^grow
in the heart, as water makes the corn to grow.” No
bells could ring in the mosques to call the faithful to
prayer, and it was only in the reign of the later caliphs
that music could be used in public places or otherwise
than in secrecy. Thus, for a long time it remained
merely a pastime to these Arabs who had developed
such skill and luxury in the other arts and sciences.
When the Raouis were finally permitted to sing and
play on their lutes and lyres, they found a ready wel-
come in the houses of the merchants as well as in the
palaces of the caliphs. Here too they sang of love and
the beauty of their fair listeners. It is said that the
lute, their favorite instrument, was made in thirty dif-
ferent forms, all of which a Raoui would feel he must
be trained to play. There were fully thirty more varie-
ties among the other instruments used, but the most im-
portant thing in their music was not the melody or the
tone of the instrument on which it was played, but the
words of the song and the intonation of the voice, for
a “clear pronunciation” was considered by them one
of the qualities of a “good musician.”

In the twelfth century, Spain was united to the
Kingdom of Provence by the marriage of its heiress
with the Count of Barcelona, and very soon the Ara-
bian minstrels found their way into this new and beau-
tiful land of Southern France. Provence was a peace-
ful, sunny country, and from the influence of these


singers it soon became the true home of song, and is
considered the cradle of minstrelsy.

Provengal musicians were called troubadours from
their word trobar, “to invent,” and many of their song
forms were copied from their Arabian teachers, as
for instance the Serenade. These musicians often
sang an evening song outside some fair lady’s window,
and the troubadours did the same, calling their song a
serenade from their word for “evening’ 1 (sera). In
the north of France singers were named trouveres, but,
as time went on, the title did not stand for as high a
type of composer as that of troubadour.

Almost the first troubadour celebrated in history
was the great Duke of Aquitaine, whose court was a
center of the wealth, learning and luxury of the time.
Duke William was a poet and sang of his adventures
in the Holy Land. His granddaughter, the beautiful
Eleanor, inherited his tastes. She was first the wife
of Louis VII of France and then of Henry II of
England, as well as mother of the renowned Richard I,
“the Lion-Hearted,” who inherited his grandfather’s
fondness for music and poetry.

At the court of Eleanor about 1 150 lived the trouba-
dour Bernart de Ventadour, the child of humble par-
ents, and an illustrious Provengal poet. He loved his
royal lady and has celebrated her beauty in his songs.
One custom that prevailed in Provence as well as in
England was the holding of courts of love, where the
most beautiful and accomplished dames of the country
formed themselves into a court of justice and examined
and passed judgment on any question of the affections
that arose between the knights and their ladies. The
most famous of these courts was presided over by
Eleanor herself after she became Queen of England.


King Richard was trained from his childhood in all
the duties of the troubadours’ art, and two of his own
songs have survived through the centuries.

About the year 1200, at the end of the third cru-
sade, this king was returning to his island home when
he was captured by his enemy, the Archduke of Aus-
tria, and held prisoner in a lonely fortress. For two
long years Richard’s subjects sought him and ^ finally
mourned him as dead, but one faithful soul still con-
tinued the search. This was Blondel,^ the favorite
jongleur of the King, who had trained his master and
taught him to sing the songs he loved. For many
weary months Blondel wandered, seeking vainly and
loath to abandon his quest, but at last, in a little corner
of Austria, he heard the story of a captive who spent
his life in a grim fortress from whose tower he could
see the Danube flowing far below. That very night
Blondel crept softly under this tower and began sing-
ing a little melody that Richard himself in happier
days had written. As he sang, a voice answered him
from above. With tears of gratitude, Blondel recog-
nized the voice of his King and started joyfully on his
homeward journey to tell the Queen Mother of his
success. She speedily collected a ransom for her be-
loved son, and Richard was at last free.

One song of his, written while a captive, begins :

“Ah, woe betide the wight in prison bound
Naught can he ponder but his woe profound
Yet but for comfort’s sake, let song resound.”

Another celebrated troubadour, born in 1201, was
Thibaut de Navarre. As a child he was educated at
the Court of France, and there met and loved the


young Queen Blanche, for whose sake he composed his
loveliest songs and verses. He was a crusader, like
many of the knights, and later, on the death of his
uncle, became King of Navarre.

The troubadours were almost always recruited from
the ranks of the educated classes, courtly gentlemen of
high degree who had been trained by the monks in the
abbeys. One of their mottoes was “My soul to God,
my life for the King, my heart for my Lady, my honor
for myself.”

These knights of song had squires to assist them,
called jongleurs men of simple birth, who accom-
panied their masters on their quests, and played for
them to sing, for a jongleur had to be trained in each
art. They would go from town to castle, to gain a
hearing for the songs of the troubadours, and they
learned their calling in schools of minstrelsy which ex-
isted until the thirteenth century.

A troubadour would have several jongleurs to sing
his songs and to wait on him, and his own accomplish-
ments included writing verses, composing songs and
singing them. He was not paid for his services as
were the jongleurs, who were the so-called professional
musicians, and the real developers of instrumental
music, for the monks in their convents occupied them-
selves only with church music, the nobles seldom
deigned to play themselves, and the common people
had not the necessary skill.

To please their patrons, the jongleurs sought
throughout Europe for strange new instruments of all
kinds, and practised on them indefatigably, for it was
a jongleur’s ambition to play as many of them as

They also cultivated other talents, such as feats of


dexterity, and it was to these juggler tricks that they
owed their name. In England as early as the seventh
century they were found under the title of gleemen.

Besides the guitar, which developed from the lute
of the Saracens, the jongleurs used the tabor, a sort
of tambourine, and the rote, which resembled a square


Like the knight errant in days of chivalry, the trou-
badour wandered through the land from castle to
court. His quest was a peaceful one, and his lance
was rarely used except at a tournament, a fete often
held when a favorite troubadour and his jongleurs
appeared as guests. On arriving at a castle, the
jongleurs would often sing a preface to their songs,
such as the following verse :

“We are bringing a precious balsam which cures
all sorts of ills and heals the troubles both of body and
mind: the balsam is the music of our Master.”

On great occasions the troubadour himself took the
lute or guitar and sang a refrain, and if his song pleased
his host it was afterwards written down in a large book,
the property of the seignior of the castle.

When a tournament was in progress, the minstrel
would mount his horse and exchange his lute for a
sword, while his jongleurs stationed themselves out-
side the lists, singing and playing to cheer him to the
fray. Sometimes a knight would enter a tournament
to uphold the supremacy of his liege lady. A fair one
would be chosen Queen of Beauty and, after the con-
test, would crown the victor with a wreath of laurel.
The troubadours also had musical contests in which
they called themselves Doctors of the Gay Science, re-
ceiving as a prize for their songs a golden violet.

As French was the spoken language of England


until about 1350, the English troubadours composed
their verses in the old French of Provence. Their
songs were not always of love but on other themes as
well, the best being partly lyric and partly epic poems.
The lyric poems were almost always sung, while the
epics were chanted with only occasional music. One
very lovely epic poem that has come down to us is
that of Aucassin and Nicolette, supposed to have been
written by an unknown troubadour about 1130 in the
time of Louis VII of France. The story is told in
alternate verse and prose, and when first produced in
France, had musical notes interspersed at intervals with
the text, and directions for reciting or singing, very
much as stage directions are given to an actor today.

The hero, Aucassin, is a young Christian knight
living in Provence who loves a Saracen maid. She is
a captive among the Christians, whose religion she
has adopted. Aucassin’s father refuses to favor the
lovers, and Nicolette, realizing that her life Is in dan-
ger, hides herself in a wood. There she is found by
Aucassin, and together they escape to distant lands,
where after many adventures they are again separated.
In despair, Nicolette disguises herself as a jongleur
and returns to France, seeking for her lord, who by
the death of his father has become Count of Biancarre.
Her quest is finally successful, and after singing her
story she reveals her identity to the enraptured Au-
cassin, and the lovers are at last united.

These troubadour musicians were the first to sing
“chansons de geste,” or songs of action, with some-
times as many as three thousand lines. One famous
chanson, called the Iliad of France, is the Song of
Roland, composed about the year noo in honor of
Roland, Count of Mans, the nephew of the Emperor


Charlemagne. He was a stalwart warrior, nearly
eight feet in height, and was slain in battle by the
. Saracens in the Valley of Roncevalles, as he was lead-
ing his army from Spain to France. This epic was
chanted by the troops of William the Conqueror, and
parts of it are still in existence, but its music has van-
ished into the past.

In England the songs of the troubadours came as a
welcome relief to young and old after the more re-
stricted forms of church music. Soon the societies
and trade guilds had each their special songs, while
ballads were sung by all, from the milkmaid to the

In 1500, with Elizabeth on the throne, a popular
form of song was the madrigal. It was a light, pretty,
unaccompanied piece of music with words of simple
character, written for different voices, and was the
highest type of secular music of the period.

There is still in existence an interesting old song for
six voices, composed by an English monk, John of
Fornsete, and written in strict imitation, the different
voices repeating the melody in the form of a round.
This was composed about the year 1250 and is called
Sumer is Icumen in (Summer is coming in). It is
written on a staff of six lines with the old square
neumes, and is a most elaborate and finished piece of
mediaeval music.

The songs of the troubadours were composed under
many different forms. There were the chanson, the
couplet and the pastoral, all of which are in more or
less use today. There was the tenson, a dialogue be-
tween two singers where each tried to convince the
other of his view of the question. The planh was a
dirge, sung to the memory of a dear departed one, and


the sirvente was a war song in which such warriors as
Bertrand de Born celebrated the delights of battle.
This Bertrand was a friend of King Richard the Lion-
hearted, a gallant knight who loved to sing of the
delights of war even more than of the charms of his
lovely lady, Maenz of Martagnac, whose dazzling
beauty captured the hearts of all the troubadours of
her day.

One popular troubadour at the court of Henry II
was Arnaud Darnel, called by the poet Petrarch “the
great master of love.” This singer invented a curious
form of verse called the Sixtine, in which only six dif-
ferent words were used for the endings of the lines,
and these six words had to appear in every verse in
inverted order. Once, at the court of King Henry,
Arnaud met a jongleur whose rhythms had been
heralded as being as excellent as his own. A contest
between them was arranged by the King and they were
locked into different apartments and given fifteen days
in which to prepare for their poetical duel. To
Arnaud’s annoyance, he found himself incapable on
this particular occasion of summoning his Muse, and
at length the fifteen days were over. On the last eve-
ning, while sitting disconsolately at his window, he
heard his rival’s voice from the adjoining chamber,
practising aloud the verses he had composed. Arnaud
listened attentively and, by the aid of a quick memory,
committed the poem to heart. The next day it fell to
Arnaud’s lot to sing the first song, and to the utter
confusion of his opponent he sang the verses which he
had heard and memorized the night before. In spite
of the protestations of the astonished jongleur, the
King would not admit his claim. Then Arnaud con-
fessed his stratagem, and Henry, greatly amused at


his story, divided the prize between the two musicians.

A romantic tale is that of the troubadour Geoffrey
Rudel, who was prince of a town near Bordeaux. Hav-
ing heard of the charms of the Countess of Tripoli,
he elected this unknown beauty as his ladylove, and
finally sailed for Africa to throw himself at her feet.
On arriving in Tripoli his agitation was so great that
he became ill, and as his condition became alarming,
his friends told the Countess his story and summoned
her to his side. The troubadour’s delight at seeing his
chosen lady proved too great an excitement in his
weakened state and he soon expired in her arms, where-
upon she, in sorrow for the loss of her chevalier, re-
tired to a convent to end her days.

Perhaps the most celebrated of all the English trou-
badours was Adam de Ros. He possessed a vivid
imagination and composed a marvelous epic on St.
Paul’s visit to Hades, in which he anticipated the Di-
vine Comedy of Dante. In the poem of de Ros, the
Archangel Michael is the heavenly guide of the apostle
in his journey through the land of shades.

A popular poern often recited at the courts of the
early English kings was Brutus of England, and told
the story of the Round Table and its knights. Its
author is also celebrated for his romance of Rollo,
which pictures vividly the entrance of the Normans
into England.

One of the last of the famous troubadours was
Adam de la Halle, called the hunchback of Arras, in
which city he lived. He was court musician to the
King of Naples and, to amuse his sovereign, com-
posed the charming little opera of Robin and Marion.

In Germany in the twelfth century, under Friedrich
Barbarossa, or Frederick of the Red Beard, lived the


Minnesingers, who were the troubadours of that land,
but instead of singing wholly of love, they sang of the
beauties of nature and of chivalry. These Minne-
singers used the Gregorian modes and wrote in simple
style, singing their own songs and accompanying them-
selves on the viol. Two of their great epics were the
Nibelungenlied and the song of Tristan and Isolde,
both of them proving inspirations to Richard Wagner
when writing his music dramas. Another old epic
poem which the composer used was Parzifal, and its
author, Wolfram von Eschenbach, holds a place
among the great song-writers of history.

In the Middle Ages, the Landgrave of Thuringia
owned a famous old castle called the Wartburg. He
was a lover of music, and one reads of a contest of
song which was given in his castle. Among the poets
who competed for the prize was the crusader Tann-
hauser, who has also been immortalized by Wagner
in his opera of that name. Tannhauser was a minstrel
knight at the court of Duke Frederick II of Austria,
and is thought to have gone to the Holy Wars in 1228.

Among the Minnesingers was a celebrated musician
called Walther von der Vogelweide, or Walter of the
Bird Meadow, because as a boy he spent his days in
the woods, whistling and listening to the songs of his
companions the birds. So sweet were his own songs
that everyone loved them and he was invited to make
his home at the court of a rich noble, in return for his
music. He became the greatest lyric poet of mediaeval
Germany and was one of the singers at the contest
in the Wartburg. In his old age, the Emperor re-
warded him with house and lands, and when he died,
about the year 1230, he was buried in his own woods,


so that his friends, the birds, could be near him and
sing to him always.

After the German Minnesingers came the Master-
singers, drawn from the ranks of the tradespeople.
They formed themselves into guilds, or graded socie-
ties, and flourished around the year 1500. There
were five grades of membership, that of Mastersinger,
or poet, being the highest rank.

The most celebrated of the Mastersingers was
Hans Sachs, born in Nuremberg in 1494. He was a
famous poet and, while pursuing his trade of cobbler,
composed innumerable dramas and songs, both sacred
and secular. Wagner has added to his fame by making
him one of the leading characters in his opera Die

Early in the thirteenth century the gay reign of the
troubadours came to an end. They had dared to asso-
ciate themselves with the heretical sect of the Albi-
genses, and suffered in the “Holy War” that was
waged against them by the Pope. Terrible massacres
took place, and many towns were razed to the ground.
In the castle of Carcassonne the defenders fought to
the music of the violins and guitars of the troubadours,
but their help was unavailing, and soon the old order
was known no more.

The jongleurs, losing their masters, were forced to
seek other employment, which they found in acting
small dramas for the amusement of the common peo-
ple at fairs and merrymakings, thus using their art as
a source of entertainment for the peasants, as the
troubadours had contributed towards the pleasure of
the nobility.

The dress of the jongleurs became fantastic, a pea-


cock feather in the hat, a jacket of bright colors, and
rosettes on the shoes. Their whole stock in trade con-
sisted of a wallet at the side, and a lute strung by a
ribbon around the neck, but the latter never failed to
win for them a welcome. The title ” wandering min-
strels” was given these traveling jongleurs, and to
protect their interests they had a king chosen from
among them, who each year held a mimic court and
judged the different members of the guild.

St. Julien was their patron saint, as he is claimed
to have admitted to his house all strollers who pre-
sented themselves for shelter. In many cities a part of
the town was named St. Julien’s Quarter, and when
music was desired for entertainments a summons was
sent to the musicians congregated there. It is stated
that in the reign of Edward I of England, his daugh-
ter Margaret had four hundred and twenty-six min-
strels to sing at her wedding.

One interesting group of songs composed by the
jongleurs were the ballads telling the deeds of the
outlaw Robin Hood, who, thanks to these singers, soon
became a national hero.

Some of the jongleurs were regularly employed by
the towns and were the original u waits,” the title com-
ing from their chief instrument, a hautboy or oboe,
the old English name of which was the wait. For
generations in England at Christmas time the waits
grouped themselves under the lighted windows, sing-
ing carols to the accompaniment of oboes, flutes and
violins. The custom still remains, and one likes to re-
member that these singers are the musical descendants
of the troubadours and jongleurs.

While the troubadours were composing their songs


and the jongleurs were singing them, the principles of
musical theory were being steadily developed. The
troubadours were among the first musicians to arrange
their music so that it could be sung in parts, and many
of the jongleurs were fond of extemporizing variations
to be played on their instruments or sung with the
original song, so that while one jongleur would be sing-
ing the song as It was written, another would be
improvising a new melody on higher tones, that har-
monized with the original and yet did not always fol-
low the old rules of musical composition. This new
melody was called discant, and was finally written down
and learned by the singers, so that there would be
fewer errors when the piece was performed. In this
way, many new harmonies were discovered and de-

Sometimes a third jongleur sang a second harmony
above the first, and the name given to the upper voice
or “treble” of a song comes from this triple or “treble”
part The lower voice of the melody was called the
tenor or “leading” part, and for centuries constituted
the real melody, the treble being of less importance.

The troubadours used the seven Greek modes in
their composing, and these modes had each its own
peculiar character, some mournful, others gay. Owing
to the rapid development of instrumental music and
the construction of the different instruments, the use
of the modes gradually narrowed down to two the
Ionian, which became our modern major scale, as it
proved the most useful in a harmonic way, and the
sEolian, which is now called the Pure Greek or Minor

By the fourteenth century it began to be customary
to read romances aloud instead of singing them. Thus


many jongleurs were forced to seek other employment
and found it in taking part in the mystery plays, those
little sacred dramas originated by the monks to in-
struct the people.

The gay music of the troubadours and the develop-
ment of these mystery plays naturally led the way to
another step in musical history, the growth of the
music dramas called Opera and Oratorio.

Chapter VII


“Music is the only spiritual entrance to a higher world of
knowledge. So use the lofty significance of thine art that thou
shalt follow it from a pure and holy love to ennoble thyself and
others, and to kindle in the hearts of all an enthusiasm for what
is eternally great and beautiful.” Beethoven.

SINGING as an art originated in the early Christian
church, where choirs were trained to sing the chants
of St. Ambrose and Pope Gregory. For many cen-
turies the most popular instrument was the human
voice, as the people loved to listen to chanting of a
high, melodious quality. Passionate or dramatic sing-
ing was practically unknown. Many early singers
cultivated the falsetto (or singing In a high register),
but this method was condemned by the more severe

The Schola Cantorum in Rome, founded by Pope
Gregory, continued to be an important aid to singing.
Its choirs were carefully trained and the voices of the
men and boys possessed both power and flexibility.
One can gain some idea of their methods by listening
to the choir of the Sistine Chapel, for they still sing
in the true Gregorian manner. In the Schola Can-
torum, the chants were sung according to strict rules
which were faithfully studied, but some of the best
singers were allowed to “embroider” certain words of



the sacred text with the ornaments of the Eastern
church service. On the Alleluia and Amen, there would
often be an elaborate florid passage, sometimes longer
than the chant itself, and as this custom afforded much
liberty to the singer it became more and more popular.

In the fourteenth century, owing to the influence of
the Netherland composers, secular music held a defi-
nite place in art, while from the time of Palestrina
the elaborations in sacred music were largely abolished.

Although the reign of the troubadours ended by the
middle of the thirteenth century, their influence lived
on. They had taught their listeners to sing romantic
songs, and this led to the joining of melodies and sim-
ple harmonies, which were sung as part songs by the
people, with more and more elaboration as time
went on.

The courtly Italians loved the sound of a solo voice
accompanied by the lute or viol, and Lorenzo the
Magnificent and his courtiers delighted in parading the
streets of Florence in carnival time, singing to the
music of his band.

Women now joined in the choral societies, and even
before the year 1600 there were several who became
famous as singers. In Italy, in the sixteenth century,
singing was regarded as one of the noblest of the arts
and an important part of the education of a gentleman.

As in the church music, the songs were not dramatic
in style but smooth and flowing, with a tender, plain-
tive quality as their nearest approach to color. There
was a tendency to give to the highest voice the most
important part of the song with the sustained melody,
while the lower voices carried the more florid parts.
Even before 1300 the scale was divided into “registers”
to gauge the compass of the voice.


In the sixteenth century, princes and cardinals vied
with each other for the monopoly of the great singers.
The latter were attached to the household of some
magnificent patron and loaded with gold and honors,
singing only to delight his ears and those of his favored

Such a one was Loreto 7ittori, born in 1588, whose
patron was the Roman Cardinal Ludovlsi. The latter
would permit his favorite to sing only in a society of
aristocrats, declaring “his was no art for plebeian


Vittori was the greatest singer of his times, and it
is said the thrilling quality of his voice was so beautiful
that his listeners were sometimes “almost suffocated
with emotion/ 5 While he was singing to a noble com-
pany in the Palace of the Jesuits, the common people
once crowded under the windows to listen and, not
being satisfied with the few echoes that reached their
ears, broke into the hall and literally drove out the
aristocrats, compelling Vittori to sing again to them.

Beauty of tone and diction was never sacrificed by
these singers of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries,
and one musician wrote that he “placed no value upon
music which made it impossible to understand the
words.” Pupils were taught to sing without accom-
paniment, in order that they should acquire certainty
of intonation and independence. The vowels were di-
vided into groups of open and closed sounds, and the
former (the Italian a and o) were first used in exer-
cising the voice. Later the closed vowels (the i and )
were added as exercises. The singer was expected to
render perfectly a few scales and intervals before at-
tempting a larger compass. Every theme was sung
slowly with no loud tones, for all vocalists were early


trained to sing softly. Perfect intonation and smooth-
flowing legato were the result, and the volume of tone
developed naturally, with no strain to the performer.
The early masters advised their pupils to refrain from
using much tone at the beginning of a song, to eat
lightly of certain foods that were drying to the throat,
and to avoid bending over a desk for a prolonged
period as harmful for the breathing.

These early singers were fond of “syncopated” time
and used it freely in their practice, but always with ease
and elegance. Studies for the voice were used, called
Accenti, sequences of three or four tones, usually
ascending the scale.

Exercises in both crescendo and diminuendo, called
Esclamazio, were also practised for a perfect command
of the breath. Here again, however, the crescendo
would only reach mezzo forte, while the diminuendo
would require the softest pianissimo.

These were some of the principles of the famous
Italian singing method of the sixteenth and seventeenth
centuries, called the “Golden Age of bel canto.”

When wars in Italy retarded the advance of the
art, it was carried to France, where it developed along
still more elastic lines. With the growth of instru-
mental music, the music for the voice became more
dramatic in quality and the singers in opera were ex-
pected to include in their expression and style a wider
range of emotion.

While Handel was staging his operas in London in
the year 1725, two Italian prima donnas were com-
peting for the favor of the English public. Francesca
Cuzzoni and Faustina Bordoni both had fine voices.
Bitter rivalry existed between them, however, until
one day the two literally came to blows and were


separated with difficulty by their friends. Cuzzoni
was forced to leave London and went to Vienna, where
her extravagance soon brought her into debt. Even-
tually she was reduced to earning her living as a button-
maker, dying after several years in great poverty.
Bordoni was more prosperous, and married Adolf
Hasse, the director of the Dresden Opera House, who
did much to increase her success as a singer.

Carlo Farinelli, born in Italy in 1705, was perhaps
the greatest singer of his century. On the Continent
and in England he carried all before him, and amassed
a fortune in London alone. By his art he helped in
restoring to health the melancholy Philip V of Spain,
and spent twenty-four years in that country.

In spite of prosperity and the universal homage paid
to his voice, Farinelli was not spoiled, but was loved
and respected by all who knew him. While in England,
he and another famous singer, named Senesino, sang
together in opera. Farinelli took the part of the un-
fortunate hero persecuted by a tyrant, who was Sene-
sino, but after the captive had sung a beautiful and
plaintive air, his jailer was so overcome that, forget-
ting his own part, he ran to Farinelli and embraced
him as a proof of his admiration.

Another Italian was Caterina Gabrielli, the daugh-
ter of a cook. Her voice was of unusual extent, and
perfectly smooth throughout the range. She was a
most self-willed person and was once sent to prison
for refusing to sing for the Viceroy of Sicily. While
there, she gave costly parties for the inmates and
treated them to her finest songs, those songs she had
denied to the Viceroy.

In 1744 the celebrated Sophie Arnould was born
in Paris. Her career was a wild and brilliant one.


Her beauty and wit, added to her voice, made her
debut in grand opera, when only fourteen, an event
of importance, and whenever she afterwards sang, the
house was besieged by all the gay gallants of the city.
For years her salon was the fashion, and Benjamin
Franklin, when visiting Paris, was one of her guests
and commented on its splendor. When the Revolution
overwhelmed France, all was changed. Many of her
friends ascended the scaffold and she herself died in

A fine English singer was Elizabeth Billington, born
in the same year as Beethoven. She was a beautiful
woman with a pure soprano voice of great range and
sweetness. When Haydn was in England he heard
her sing and said to Sir Joshua Reynolds, who had just
finished painting her portrait: “You have made a
mistake. You have represented Mrs. Billington listen-
ing to the angels; you should have made the angels
listening to her.”

At the Italian convent of Santa Lucia, in the year
1790, there was much excitement over the marvelous
singing of the little eleven-year-old Angelica Catalani,
who was being educated by the nuns. Her voice at-
tracted wondering crowds to the convent, and the peo-
ple were moved to tears at its beauty. When sixteen,
the young singer made her debut in opera, and the
combination of her pure soprano voice and lovely face
won all hearts.

In Germany lived the prima donna Henriette Son-
tag, born in 1806, whose voice is said to have possessed
3. rare and delicate quality. From the time she was
eight years old she sang in public with the ease and
grace of a bird. Her lovers were legion, but she re-
fused them all in favor of Count Rossi, an ambassador


of the Dutch court. Owing to political troubles their
fortune was lost, and after twenty years she returned
to the stage and was again greeted with enthusiasm.

A noted quartet of singers was Manuel Garcia, born
in 1775 ; his son of the same name, and his two daugh-
ters, Pauline and Maria. The father was the most
famous singing teacher in Europe, and it was his train-
ing that made artists of his daughters. In speak-
ing of them, he said: “Pauline can be guided by
a thread of silk, but Maria needs a hand of iron.”
By severe and heroic methods, however, he ac-
complished wonderful things with the latter’s fine
contralto voice, extending its range to three octaves,
while her Spanish blood gave her an appealing beauty
and she charmed wherever she appeared. Once,
when her father was to sing Othello in opera,
he requested that the seventeen-year-old Maria be
given the part of Desdemona. The time was short
for her to prepare the part, and she was unwilling to
try, but he insisted, and threatened that if she did not
sing her best, he would use his dagger In the last act.
In the death scene he sang with so much dramatic
intensity that his terrified daughter, remembering his
words to her, cried out: “For God’s sake, do not kill
me.” This was considered true realistic art by the
unconscious audience, who applauded her violently and
voted her a fine actress.

Pauline Fiardot-Garda was as remarkable as her
older sister, and her voice resembled Maria’s in qual-
ity. She married Viardot, an opera director, shortly
after their meeting, and later became one of the best
teachers at the Paris Conservatoire.

After the family had made a successful American
tour, Maria married M. Malibran, a Frenchman, but


his brutality soon forced her to leave him, and after
his death she became the wife of the violin virtuoso
Charles de Beriot.

Manuel Garcia the younger, born in 1805, was a
remarkable personality. He lived to be one hundred
and one years old, and was active physically and men-
tally all through his life, teaching up to his ninety-
seventh year. He was painted by John Sargent when
one hundred years old. While teaching he made a
scientific study of the throat and the way in which tones
should be produced, and he and his father together
trained practically all the great European singers of
their day and generation.

In 1836 a young Italian officer was living in Paris
whose good looks, fine voice and artistic ability made
him welcome in the highest circles. This was the
“Cavaliere di Candia,” or Mario, to use his operatic
name. While in Paris he was persuaded to go on the
stage, and his looks and acting made his singing of
romantic parts unequaled. His life was a picturesque
one, for he was incapable of keeping the wealth he
gained, and after living like a prince, would suddenly
be plunged into poverty. Once while sleeping in a
cheap lodging house, he awoke to find a man kneeling
beside him. “What do you want?” he asked, and was
answered: “Your money.” “Take all you can find,
friend,” said Mario, “but leave me to sleep.” When
an old man, he settled down in Rome, where many
admirers flocked to see him and listen to reminiscences
of his eventful life.

Giulia Grisi was a famous Italian soprano whose
beautiful voice showed itself at a very early age.
She sang in opera with Mario, Tamburini and La-
blache, and the four artists formed a quartet celebrated


throughout Europe. For her second husband Grisi
married Mario, sang with him in many cities, and be-
came a great favorite at the Russian court

Antonio Tamburini’s voice was a barytone of over
two octaves in extent. Once, at the opera in carnival
season, he was unable to make his voice heard above
the toy trumpets and drums with which the audience
were celebrating. Nothing daunted, he began singing
falsetto to their accompaniment, which so delighted
the revelers that they stopped and applauded. The
prima donna was frightened by the noise, and to the
manager’s despair she fled from the theater, but Tam-
burini donned her satin bonnet and gown and, appear*
ing on the stage, sang the soprano part, imitating her
acting perfectly. Even the duets did not discourage
him, for he sang both his part and her own, falsetto,
which completed the joy of the audience.

Luigi Lablache, the last of this famous quartet, was
the greatest bass singer who ever appeared in opera.
His stature was as enormous as were the tones of his
voice, and it is said that one of his boots would have
made a good portmanteau. One story tells that he
started his career as a double-bass player and that his
first appearance as singer in grand opera was due to
the sudden illness of the bass, whose part Lablache
learned and rendered with overwhelming success.
When the composer Weber heard Lablache sing, he
remembered seeing his huge figure in the orchestra,
and as he listened to the magnificent voice, he ex-
claimed: “Mein Gott, he is still a double bass.” La-
blache was noble and generous in character, and his
fame extended to England, where he was chosen by
Queen Victoria to be her singing teacher.

A noted English tenor was John Sims Reeves, born


in 1822. He first played the organ in London, but,
when his voice developed, he went on the stage and be-
came a star of the first magnitude. He was extremely
careful never to strain his throat, preferring to cancel
an engagement rather than endanger his voice, but
those who once heard him sing forgave all delays,
particularly if he sang them ballads, of which his
rendering was exquisite.

Jenny Lmd was born in 1820 in Sweden. This
great prima donna shone like a star on the musical
horizon during her brief career on the operatic stage,
and she is considered one of the few perfect singers
the world has ever known. From a child she could
sing any song once heard, and a brilliant future was
predicted, but it was only after years of hard work and
many disappointments that the prophecy came true.
Besides her great talent, she was deeply religious and
of a nature that sympathized with the sorrows of hu-
manity, and much of her immense fortune was used
by her in endowing the charities of her native land.

At the beginning of her career, she studied in Paris
with Manuel Garcia the younger, who ordered her
not to sing a note for three months, as her voice had
almost entirely disappeared from having been strained
in concert. She obeyed him and, after finishing her
Paris training, sang in Vienna, where her carriage was
escorted home by thousands of people. One critic
wrote of her concert in London: “It was a curious
experience to wait for what should come next and
wonder if it was really the case that music had never
been heard until the year 1847.” Her American tour
was still more remarkable, having been extensively
advertised by her enterprising manager, P. T. Barnum.
It opened in New York with a midnight serenade, by


a band of one hundred and thirty musicians, escorted
by seven hundred firemen, and was watched by thirty
thousand people.

Tickets for her concerts were sold at auction, one
man named Dodge paying six hundred and twenty-five
dollars for the first seat sold in Boston.

When thirty-one, Jenny Lind married her accom-
panist, Otto Goldschmidt. She lived to be sixty-seven
and will always be remembered as one of the sweetest
singers and finest women of her time.

Very soon after Jenny Lind had left the stage, two
younger stars appeared. These were Pauline Lucca
and Adelina Patti.

Lucca was born in Vienna of Italian parents, and
her voice was so beautiful that when only eighteen
she was chosen by the composer Meyerbeer to sing the
leading role in all his operas. She was made court
singer for life in Berlin, and when the Czar of Russia
wished to hear the favorite, he was forced to write to
the King of Prussia, pleading for her services at a
huge salary. In St. Petersburg she was loaded with
gifts by the Empress, and presented with a gold laurel
wreath by the members of the orchestra. Before her
departure from Russia, she organized a concert the
proceeds of which, 10,000 rubles (almost eight thou-
sand dollars), went for the benefit of poor artists, and
the grateful students harnessed themselves to her car-
riage, seizing in their enthusiasm her lace shawl, which
they tore into fragments, as mementos of their bene-

Adellna Patti as an actress could not be compared
with Lucca, but her voice in its flexibility and range
is considered one of the most marvelous of the nine-
teenth century.


She was an artist who was also blessed with a capac-
ity for business, and the prices she charged for her
services were enormous, ranging from $5000 to $7000
a night. She was rigid as to the payment of her salary,
and an amusing story is told of one of her early Ameri-
can tours, when under the management of Colonel
Mapleson. Early one evening, during a Boston en-
gagement, it was found that the box office could yield
only $4000 in cash. When Patti was informed of the
state of affairs, she sent word that she would dress
for her part in Traviata, with the exception of her
shoes, and as soon as $1000 more had been gathered
in, she would put on her shoes and appear on the stage.
With difficulty the sum of $800 was collected on her
arrival, so one shoe was donned, and at last after an-
other delay the final $200 was secured, and the prima
donna, arrayed in both shoes, made her smiling en-
trance before her audience.

Patti lived in great luxury and purchased a castle
in Wales, where she finally retired, later reappearing
at more or less frequent intervals for another “last
appearance” in opera. As she was extremely careful
of her voice, its sweetness was preserved for many
years, and when fifty-five years old she was still sing-
ing in concert.

A famous dramatic soprano was Lilli Lehmann,
born in Wiirzburg in 1848. She made her debut in
Berlin when only seventeen years of age, studied under
Wagner at Bayreuth and sang in various roles through-
out Europe and America. For many years she was a
great favorite at the New York Metropolitan Opera
House and became celebrated as concert singer in
Europe, her repertoire comprising over one hundred
different stage roles, as well as six hundred songs.


Her gifts were many, for she possessed a fine stage
presence, as well as qualities of voice and temperament
that combine to make an artist. T

The Polish brothers Jean and Edouard de Reszke
were among the greatest singers in opera at the close
of the nineteenth century. The elder, Jean, possessed
a rare voice and great personal beauty, and became the
leading romantic tenor ohis day.

The younger brother, Edouard, studied at the Agri-
cultural College in Poland in preparation for manag-
ing the estates of the family, but, upon the advice of
Jean, gave this up, and adopted the career of the
stage. He was a blond, blue-eyed giant with a most
attractive stage presence, and his voice was a rich
resonant bass.

One of the most versatile musicians of this century
was Marcella Sembrich. At the age of eleven she ap-
peared in concert, playing both the violin and piano.
She also studied singing with the well-known Lamperti,
and the loveliness of her voice astonished her audiences
when she made her debut as a singer.

Emma Calve’s parents were Spanish, and their
daughter was educated in a convent A Frenchman
who attended one of the chapel services, and heard
her singing with the nuns, persuaded her mother to
send her to Paris for a musical education, and when
sixteen she became a pupil of Madame Marchesi, one
of the greatest singing teachers of her day.

While studying the part of Carmen, Calve returned
to Spain to perfect herself in the dances of the people,
and her success was marvelous, for after her first ap-
pearance in Paris, she was acknowledged to be the
greatest Carmen of the lyric stage.


Nellie Melba, a contemporary of Calve, was born
in Australia of Scottish parents, to whom the life of
the stage was most objectionable. She was neverthe-
less able to study in Paris and London, and, owing to
the beauty and flexibility of her voice, was said to be
a second Patti.

Two celebrated Italian artists of modern times are
Enrico Caruso and Antonio Scotti. The former, born
in 1873, was the greatest dramatic tenor of his day,
creating many new roles in all the musical centers of
Europe and America. In his perfect voice control,
his style resembled the old Italian method and his
range of expression was great.

Antonio Scotti is a dramatic bass, and both his sing-
ing and acting are of an artistic quality that have won
him great popularity on the operatic stage.

In the same generation are the two dramatic con-
traltos, Ernestine Schumann-Heink, born in Austria,
and Louise Homer, the American. They are both fine
artists with voices of extraordinary range and feeling.

Feodor Chaliapin, the Russian bass singer, has
gained fame and distinction by the beauty and power
of his voice in concert, as well as by his masterly por-
trayal in Russian operas of different types of his coun-

From America came the prima donnas Lillian Nor-
dica and Emma Eames, each possessed of a voice and
dramatic talent that gained for them success in Europe
and in their own land.

Three younger celebrities are Mary Garden, born
in Scotland and brought as a child to America;
Geraldine Farrar, whose birthplace is Massachusetts,
and Amelita Galli-Curci, the Italian. The latter has


trained herself in a unique way, by studying records
of her own voice and correcting the faults her fine ear

Many other great singers have illuminated the path
of music and sung the operas which their genius and
personality have helped to render immortal.

Chapter VIII


“Simplicity, truth and nature are the great fundamental
principles of the beautiful in all artistic creation.” Gluck.

IT is strange to think of opera as dating back to the
days of ancient Greece, but it is known that the dramas
given in the huge open-air theater in Athens were
musically declaimed to the accompaniment of lyres
and flutes. During the Middle Ages, while the monks
were teaching the people to love serious music, min-
strels and jongleurs were bringing merriment, not only
to those in court and castle, but to the common people

They sang at weddings and fairs, and the people
clustered around, listening to the ballads and songs
which they improvised. It was the love of a story
that lies deep in the heart of a child and stays forever
with all who keep the spirit of youth and its imagi-

Some of these ballads were turned into little plays,
and as far back as the year 1280 a French troubadour
named Adam de la Halle composed the first little
comic opera. This he named the Play of Robin and
Marion, and some of its gay, charming songs are still
in existence.

Before the Renaissance most of the nations of Eu-



rope were bound together by uniformity of religion
and obedience to the rule of the church. The monks
were leaders with the people, and when they realized
the power that stories and music had over all classes,
both rich and poor, they thought of a way of amusing
and at the same time instructing them.

Thus -the Mysteries and Miracle Plays developed.
The Mysteries were, first of all, short scenes from a
gospel story with text taken directly from the ^ Bible,
chanted in Latin by the priests and acted in the
churches almost as part of the regular service. Then
more scenes were added, until the whole story of the
life of Christ would be pictured during the church year.
Often these little plays were given in the oratory of
some village church, and it is interesting to note that
from this custom the oratorio (the religious drama of
more modern times) derived its origin and name.
Meanwhile in the Middle Ages the Mystery Plays
proved so popular that they were finally given in the
public squares, where larger audiences could be accom-

In the market place of some old town or city, the
bells of the churches would ring for a festal day. Then
a stage would be erected in the open air and the people
assemble to watch the actors, who were often laymen
and members of trade-guilds, speaking the language
of the people instead of the Latin of the churches.
Some simple music was used to make the text more
impressive, but as the plays were given primarily for
religious instruction, there was little scenery. Some-
times, however, the stage was divided into three tiers,
representing Heaven, Earth and Hell, and the actors
dressed as the inhabitants of these three spheres.

An interesting survival of the old Mysteries of the


Middle Ages is the Passion Play given every ten years
at Oberammergau, a little village in the Bavarian
Alps. Over five hundred people take part in the
drama, which is a picture of the Redemption of Man-
kind represented in a deeply religious spirit. The
open-air theater holds forty-five hundred spectators
who reverently watch the tableaux and the acting while
the chorus sing words from the Holy Scriptures, set
to simple music.

The origin of the play is interesting. During a
terrible pestilence at the time of the Thirty Years’
War in 1633, the distracted villagers made a vow that
if God would aid them, they would ever after enact a
sacred drama every tenth year. The plague ceased
and the Passion Play has grown into its present form.

Closely connected with the mysteries were the Mira-
cle Plays, which spoke of the simple faith of the people
of those times, and in them were episodes taken from
the books of the Bible or the life of some wonder-
working saint.

Then came the Morality Plays that were frankly
fiction, but depicted character, or the contest between
the powers of good and evil. They eventually intro-
duced a gayer and more human element than did the
mysteries and miracle plays. Such, a play was Every-
man, written in the fifteenth century, a dramatic treat-
ment of an old Buddhist parable and one of the many
steps leading up to the great Elizabethan dramas.

In the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries the peo-
ple delighted in certain secular plays called Masques,
which contained dialogues and acting as well as music
and dancing. In them the actors frequently imper-
sonated gods and heroes and wore masks that repre-
sented these personages. In France these dances were


called ballets, and the first one, the “Ballet de la
Reine,” was written in 1581 by several musicians at
the court of Catherine de Medicis and danced at the
Louvre to celebrate the wedding of the Due de Joyeuse.

From these Masques and church plays grew the
two great forms of music drama the Opera and the
Oratorio. The Opera employed secular words and
music with costumes and scenery, soloists, chorus anc}
orchestra, while the Oratorio used religious words and
music with soloists, chorus and orchestra, but no stage

At the end of the sixteenth century there lived in
Florence an Italian nobleman named Count Bardi.
He was an ardent lover of music as well as of poetry,
and among his friends were five Florentines, all tal-
ented artists and musicians. This group of young
men, “La Camerata,” as they were called, met often
at the home of Count Bardi, to discuss the beauties of
the drama and poetry of ancient Greece. Finally,
they formed a society for the purpose of copying the
Greek ideals and composing music that should be both
descriptive and beautiful. Rebelling against the strict
church music of Palestrina with its many repetitions
as too precise and coldly religious, they turned to the
peasant songs and dances as more dramatic and ex-
pressive of human emotion.

They invented a form of music called homophonic,
as contrasted with the polyphonic or contrapuntal
style. In the new form, one melodic idea was ren-
dered important by an accompaniment of subordinate
harmonies, a style of writing which was carried to
great heights in after years, in the Sonatas and Sym-
phonies of Beethoven. They also maintained that
while the voice sang one melody, another independent


melody could be played on instruments. These ideas
sound simple today, but they were new at the time and
proved of great value to the musical world.

These young Florentines called themselves “the
Thirsters,” as seeking after the wine of inspiration,
and the symbol of their society was a basket of grapes.
At first they composed little songs, or Monodies, a
recitative in which the words were chanted with small
attention to form or rhythm, the music following the
cadence of the spoken words.

This they did in imitation of the old Greek writers.
Then they composed short dramas, their compositions
leading to a larger field of musical expression and
making of it a more independent art.

One of the company, Jacopo Peri, composed an
opera called Daphne, the music of which has been
lost. Their great triumph came in 1600, when Henry
IV of France married Marie de Medici for his second
wife. To celebrate this royal wedding, Peri and Ja-
copo Corsi, another member of the society, wrote the
first real opera of which we have any record. It was
founded on the legend of Orpheus and Eurydice, and
was given in the Pitti Palace, which was gayly decorated
for the occasion. In his preface, Peri wrote that he
had modeled his style on the music used by the Greeks
in their classic dramas. He explained: “They made
use of music which, while surpassing the sounds of
ordinary speech, yet fell short of the melody of sing-
ing.” The opera is almost entirely recitative, or words
chanted to a musical accompaniment with a few short
choruses and dances.

The little orchestra consisted of a harpsichord,
flutes and viols, the last instruments resembling the
mandolin of today.


Orpheus and Eurydice was given again in Rome,
and the story is told that a great artist painted such
perfect scenery for it that the audience refused to be-
lieve that the landscape was only canvas.

Operas were also produced in other parts of Eu-
rope, and each country contributed its share towards
their development. At first they were given only in
the palaces of the nobility, and it was twenty years
later before an opera house was erected which enabled
the people to enjoy the performances. Women were
not allowed to appear on the stage in these first operas,
and their parts were taken by men.

In England, during the Middle Ages, music de-
veloped slowly, owing to the wars that laid waste the
land. Again in the seventeenth century it suffered
from the hostile influence of the Puritanism of Crom-
well and his followers, who discouraged anything in
the way of music, and even destroyed the organs in the

The Italians for more than two centuries were lead-
ers in everything pertaining to the art.

A work of smaller form than the opera, and often of
an allegorical character, was the Cantata. This name
came from the Italian cantare, “to sing,” the little
pieces being musical stories with words that were sung
to the music of one or two instruments. Our modern
cantata is much more elaborate and sometimes em-
ploys a whole orchestra, as well as a chorus, but the
little cantatas of the seventeenth century were impor-
tant in their effect on the taste of the people and were
the forerunners of some of the works of the great
masters of later date.

One of the most significant song forms was called


the Aria, and was largely developed about 1700 by
an Italian named Alessandro Scarlatti, who composed
nearly one hundred operas and masses.

Scarlatti felt that opera called for expressive and
sustained singing, and he made his artists sing their
solos with feeling and color, instead of having all the
music rendered by a chorus. Songful passages he
elaborated into arias, as distinct from the shorter and
more speechlike “recitative.”

His son Domenico, besides being a talented com-
poser, was one of the finest harpsichord players of his
time and did much to develop finger technic as well as
a freer style of playing. One amusing piece he com-
posed is named the Cat’s Fugue, its theme being the
notes his pet cat had pressed while walking one day
across the keyboard.

As the father, Alessandro, was a pioneer of modern
opera, the son, Domenico, helped in creating the origi-
nal form of the Sonata which later was perfected by

In 1632 a boy named Jean-Baptiste Lully was
born in Florence. A Franciscan monk taught him the
violin, and he was taken to France in the train of the
Due de Guise, who had promised Mademoiselle de
Montpensier, “La Grande Mademoiselle,” to bring
her “a pretty little Italian boy.” On arriving in
Paris, Lully was presented to his mistress, who re-
ceived ‘him coldly, declaring she had asked for a
“pretty boy.” She banished her new page to the
kitchen, where he washed dishes and played on his
violin, his music making him many friends among the
servants. After a while he was allowed to play be-
fore Mademoiselle, but having wounded her dignity
by writing a facetious song about her, he was dis-


missed on the spot. Although thrown on his own re-
sources, it was not long before his talents were recog-
nized and he was given a place in the king’s orchestra.
Louis XIV was fond of music, and Lully’s talents
stood him in good stead. As he was also gifted with
quick wit, he finally rose to the position of the king’s
chief musician.

At this time the Ballet was very popular, and even
the king condescended to dance to the music written
by his favorite. Lully was a master of stage effects
as well as a fine composer, and the king gave him all
the help he desired and let him reorganize his special
band of musicians, the famous “twenty-four,” soon
considered the finest orchestra in all Europe.

Although a schemer, Lully was a conscientious mu-
sician. Fearing once that he was about to die, he sent
for his confessor, who refused to absolve him from
his many sins, until as penance he had burned the score
of his new opera, Armide. After many protestations
on Lully’s part and firmness on the part of the priest,
the former reluctantly agreed, and the score was
burned while its composer received absolution. The
next day a friend called on Lully in great excitement,
and exclaimed : “What do I hear, Baptiste 1 You have
burned your beautiful work?” “Peace, friend,” Lully
calmly replied, “I knew what I was doing. I have a

His compositions were so good that the first school
of French opera can be said to have been founded by
this Lully who was once a little scullion. He enlarged
the chorus and introduced an Overture and a ballet,
and most musicians have followed his example, using
the overture as the opening piece in their music dramas.
It usually contains several melodies that occur in the


opera itself, and is an introduction to the composition,
as well as a preparation musically for what is to follow.
In Lully’s time the overture often consisted of two
movements, a slow introduction and a lively minuet.

A very important composer of the eighteenth cen-
tury was Christoph Willibald von Gluck } born in a
Bavarian village in 1714, and called the father of
Opera. He endeavored to form a more classic style,
and his own operas were a distinct advance over the
light frivolous music of the Italian school. Gluck was
the son of simple people, but, through the generosity
of a nobleman, was sent when a young man to Italy,
there to study music with ‘Sammartini, a famous or-
ganist and authority on musical theory. To his train-
ing Gluck owed much, and after working for many
years to achieve his ideal, success at last was his.

The beauty and dignity of his compositions raised
the standard of operatic music as Palestrina’s works
elevated the music of the church. He was teacher and
court musician to the lovely and unfortunate Queen
Marie Antoinette. She was fond of her old master
and gave him a pension that made him free to devote
his time to composing. Gluck had a musical opponent
named Niccolo Piccinni, and the city was long divided
into two camps, each with its favorite composer, the
rivalry lasting until the death of Gluck. It was in
Paris that his opera Iphigenla in Aulis was produced.
Alcestis was another masterpiece, and French musi-
cians declared the composer had discovered the music
of the ancient Greeks. The plots of these works were
based on the Greek tragedies of Euripides, and their
composer was felt to have revolutionized Italian

In 1760 was born the Florentine composer Luigi


Cherubini, who spent many years of his life in Paris
and had great influence on French music. His operas,
too, were dignified and classical, and he was spoken
of as “the Italian who composed German music in
France.” In later life, when Director of the Con-
servatoire, he wrote sacred music, and his noble masses
and requiems prove him one of the great masters of

Chapter IX


“He who creates beauty is immortal. To eliminate it from
education is to destroy its very soul.”

Thomas Whitney Surette.

FOR many years Italian opera proved most popular
in England, and it was not until 1727, in Handel’s
time, that an English opera was equally successful with
all classes of society. This was The Beggar’s Opera,
the music being a collection of light songs of the pe-
riod, many of them charming English and Scotch bal-
lads. The text was written by John Gay as a satire
on the follies of the day, and was so amusing as to
be hailed with joy by the delighted public. This opera
ran hundreds of nights in London and proved a for-
midable rival to the more serious operas of Handel.
The manager who produced it was named John Rich,
and the London wits remarked that “the opera .made
Gay rich, and Rich gay.” It has been revived at in-
tervals ever since, and in spite of its disreputable
heroes and heroines, who are all highwaymen and
thieves, it has always met with success.

In 1786 the father of modern romantic opera was
born. Carl Maria von Weber was one of the greatest
of German musicians. His father was an actor, and
the whole family traveled with him, most of them



being members of his troupe, so that young Carl had
the advantage of a practical knowledge of stagecraft.
In Vienna he studied music with the celebrated Abbe
Vogler, the hero of one of Browning’s musical poems,
and later became chapelmaster to the King of Saxony.
The first good operas ever written in German were his,
and Der Freischutz (The Hunter) created a distinct
change in the history of the stage and won success
by its weird story and brilliant music. Another fa-
vorite was the opera Euryanthe. His piano piece The
Invitation to the Dance helped to make the new waltz
in his day more popular than the old minuet and

Weber’s last work was his fairy opera Oberon,
written at the request of the English. Shortly after
its first performance, the master died in London.
Though he lived only forty-six years, his works have
served as inspiration to those who followed him, and
his romantic operas Vere the direct forerunners of
those of Richard Wagner.

Another brilliant composer was the Italian Antonio
Rossini, born in 1792. His parents were poor and
the child received little education, but the originality
of his mind made him learn from whatever experience
life threw in his way. He had a keen wit which once
brought down on him the hostility of the Venetians.
To revenge himself on the manager of the opera
house, who had given him a poor libretto to set to
music, Rossini made his songs match the text in ab-
surdity, causing the basses to sing tenor, the sopranos
alto, and the violinists to rap out an accompaniment
on the candlesticks of their music stands. At the
time, he was forced to leave Venice, but the Venetians
forgave him when his next operas appeared The


Barber of Seville and the equally celebrated William

Rossini’s reforms in romantic operatic music were
of value, for he introduced songs in place of endless
recitatives. He also gave the chorus and orchestra
more importance than had been allowed them by other
composers. His greatest religious work was the
Stabat Mater, in which he set to music a Latin poem
written about the thirteenth century which describes
the sorrow of Mary as she stands by the cross of

In 1813 near the Italian town of Busetto there lived
an innkeeper with his little son Giuseppe Verdi, a name
destined to become notable in the history of music as
that of the most popular operatic composer of the
nineteenth century. From childhood he had a passion-
ate devotion to music, and when seven years old was
given lessons by the village organist, who soon declared
he could teach him nothing more.

An influential merchant named Barezzi arranged
for the lad to go to Milan for study, and in time he
was engaged to write three operas for the conductor
of La Scala, the Milan opera house.

When twenty-four years old, Verdi married Mar-
gherita, the daughter of his patron, but after a few
happy years, a sudden illness carried off his young wife
and two children, and he found himself alone, over-
whelmed by sorrow.

For two years, in the blackness of his despair, he
gave up composing, and then tried his powers on an
opera. Soon prosperity smiled on him, and when
thirty-six he married again, and found renewed hap-
piness. Years later, Ismail Pasha, Khedive of Egypt,
requested him to write an Eastern opera. Verdi was


interested, and A’ida was completed and produced in
Cairo with overwhelming success. // Trovatore (The
Troubadour) is one of his most popular operas, and
its gypsy music is sung everywhere by the people of
Italy. He reached the summit of his work in Othello
and Falstaf, and before his death at the age of eighty-
eight had composed thirty operas. Both as man and
musician his memory is held in great honor.

One of the most popular operas ever written is
Faust. It is the work of a Frenchman named Charles
Frangois Gounod, born in 1818. He holds high place
as a genius of lyric opera among the composers of
modern times, and it has been said that he “restored
melody to France/’

The boy’s parents were musical and on his sixth
birthday took him to hear his first opera. This event
excited him to such a degree that a few years later he
determined to become a musician. His mother begged
his instructor to get the idea out of her child’s head,
and Charles was questioned as to his plans. He an-
nounced that he wished to compose, as the boy Mo-
zart had done. “But,” said the professor, “he was a
genius. Show me what you can do.” Writing down
the words of a well-known song, he added: “Now put
that to music and bring it to me.” In an hour his
pupil returned and said: “My song is done. I will
sing it to you.” When he had finished, the professor
kissed him, saying: “It is beautiful music. Be a musi-
cian then, for you will succeed.”

On the strength of this experience, his mother took
him to the Conservatoire, where he easily gained first
rank. When forty years old, his opera Faust was
produced in Paris for the first time, and he lived to
see the five-hundredth performance in that city. No


idt i& day, ka&

As a young man, Gounod
3 priest. Qne of his religious songs is the Awe Mafia
(or Hymn to the Virgin Mary), the accompaniment
being the first prelude of Bach’s Well-tempered, Clam-
chord, while the melody is his own. His greatest
sacred work is the oratorio of the Redemption.

Jacques Offenbach, a contemporary of Gounod, and
son of a Jewish cantor, was the creator of light opera
in France. He is the composer of the fantastic Tales
of Hoffmann, and its inexhaustible melodies have
placed it in the class of Grand Opera.

Under the touch of the great dramatic composer
Richard Wagner, opera reached new heights. Before
his time three forms had been developed: Grand
Opera, with a serious and dramatic story for its text;
Romantic Opera, with a plot which dealt with folk-
lore and mystery; and Comic Opera, with a light and
amusing story. Each began with an overture and was
divided into several acts, with arias, recitatives and
choruses, all written according to certain forms devel-
oped during the past centuries. Wagner’s ideas
changed and enlarged these forms so that his operas
are real music dramas, the text being accompanied by
descriptive music in the orchestra. Gradually he
evolved a style of so-called endless melody, carried
from instrument to instrument in the richest orchestral
blending. Against this symphonic background the
voices of the singers stand out like beautiful embroid-
ered figures on a tapestry. One of his changes was to
use themes or melodies composed of a few notes to il-
lustrate and label, as it were, his characters, as well as
different objects and ideas the Ring of the Hammer


on the Anvil, the Song of the Bird, the Rainbow in
the Sky, the Fire, the Flow of the Waters, the Curse,
the Redemption ; all are graphically represented in his
music. He also grouped the instruments of the or-
chestra in a novel and effective manner, giving new
effects of coloring never before used.

Carmen, a fascinating opera with Spanish music
and setting, is the work of a young genius named
Georges Bizet, born in France in 1838. Bizet was a
master of orchestral effects, and his Influence on French
music has been lasting. Carmen, a new departure in
opera, was at first unappreciated, and the coldness of
the public had much to do with the death of the com-
poser, who lived only three months after his master-
piece was produced at the Opera Comique. Its suc-
cess today is perennial.

Jules Massenet, a Frenchman who was contempo-
rary with Bizet, composed popular operas in which
the melodies were charming and the instrumentation
masterly. His fame rests principally on the operas
Manon, Thais and the Jongleur de Notre Dame (The
Juggler of Notre Dame).

One of the greatest of the Italian dramatic com-
posers was Giacomo Puccini, born in 1858, the de-
scendant of a long line of musical ancestors. At first,
he showed no talent either for his studies or for music,
but his mother longed to have him become a musician
and it was her faith in him and her care in saving money
for his education that carried him forward to success.
He studied at the Milan Conservatory and when
twenty-eight became famous through his charming
opera La Boheme. Another, equally lovely and ap-
pealing, is the Japanese opera Madame Butterfly,


which many consider his masterpiece. Two other
favorites are Tosca and Manon Lescaut.

Two short operas by Italian composers, both of
which have become famous, are / Pagliacd (The
Players), by Ruggiero Leoncavallo, and Cavalleria
Rusticana (Rustic Chivalry), by Pietro Mascagni.

In 1902 Claude Debussy produced his masterpiece,
Pelleas et Melisande. It was a triumph of impres-
sionistic art, and its new mysterious harmonies made
it a landmark in the history of opera.

With the growth of opera came that of Oratorio.
This is perhaps the highest form in which music is
used to convey a religious thought, and has been com-
pared to a cathedral; the foundation, the orchestra;
the pillars and roof, the soaring chorus, while the
beauties of the nave are represented by the solo num-
bers. England and Germany were the countries in
which oratorio developed, as Italy was the home of
opera. The name, however, came from the first little
“oratory” plays of Italy.

In the year 1540 a young Florentine priest named
Filippo Neri (a close friend of Palestrina and later
canonized as a saint) founded the Congregation of
the Oratory at Rome. This was an attempt to make
the church services more attractive to young people
by giving them little sacred plays. These were illus-
trated by music and performed in the oratory of his
church, the music consisting of a four-part chorus with
occasional solo passages.

Later, in 1600, a Roman nobteman named Emilio
del Cavalieri, one of the famous “Camerata,” wrote
the first real oratorio, called La Rappresentazione di
Anima e di Corpo (The Representation of the Spirit


and the Body) . It was given in the same church in
which Neri’s religious plays were produced, and was a
curious combination of scenery, chorus and dances.
Directions for the dances read: “Grave steps and
figures of a solemn kind,” and the instruments used
were the harpsichord, lute and double lyre- Thus the
first example of real opera and of real oratorio were
each given in Italy in the same year.

Neri was followed by Giovanni Carissimi, born
about 1604, an Italian whose genius made him a
leader among the composers of his day.

His works were elevated and refined and he pre-
pared the way for those who came after him and for
the compositions of his most famous pupil, Alles-
sandro Scarlatti.

Another name in the development of oratorio Is
that of Giovanni Petgolesi, who was born in Italy in
1710 and lived only twenty-six years. He felt that
Buisiclans too often sacrificed the expressive quality of
music to the involved rules of harmony and coun-
and In his own work he showed unaffected
od simplicity. His one opera was coldly re-
y the Italians, but the beautiful Stabat Mater,
just before his death, was appreciated and is


Mlndel, Haydn and Mendelssohn were masters of
this form of composition, and their oratorios have
proved models for all latei: composers.

‘Chapter X


“Ring out, ye Crystal Spheres,
Once bless our human ears,
If ye have power to touch our senses so;
And let your silver chime
Move in melodious time;
And let the bass of Heaven’s deep organ blow;
And, with your ninefold harmony,
Make up full consort to the Angelic Symphony.”
“Hymn on the Morning of Christ’s Nativity”
by Johw Milton.

As a magician in a fairy tale waves his wand, sum-
moning a legion of genii to do his bidding, so the
conductor of the huge musical instrument called an
orchestra raises his baton and straightway evokes all
the myriad forms of beauty and color that dwell in
musical sound. It is indeed one instrument that he
plays, capable of wonderful shades of expression.
Many different voices can be introduced to interpret
the phases and emotions of life, yet, guided by that
baton, the melodies rise and fall from the many in-
struments of wood and brass in perfect accord, one
volume of harmonious sound. The effect is marvelous
when we consider that a modern orchestra is com-
posed of from seventy-five to one hundred musicians
and twenty or more different kinds of instruments,
each having individual range and tone color.



Together these instruments can be grouped under
four heads or families first, the strings; second, the
wood-wind instruments; third, the brass; and fourth,
the instruments of percussion, or those struck to pro-
duce sound.

In the family of strings, played with a bow, we
find the violins, the violas, the violoncellos and
their huge cousins, the double or contra-basses.
The strings are the most important part of the or-
chestra, for they play almost continuously and -are
capable of many shades of expression. They are
really divided into five groups, as the violins are
separated into first and second violins in order that
the soprano and alto parts may each be played, while
the tenor and bass parts are taken by the violas and
cellos. The double basses play an octave lower than
the cellos and supply* the lowest tones of the chords.

In a typical orchestra there are sixteen first violins,
fourteen second violins, eight violas, ten cellos and
ten double basses, whose players stand at the back or
side of the orchestra.

u Violin” means “little viol,” and its music is written
on the G clef, the four strings of the instrument being
tuned to g, d, a, e.

The viola is the tenor singer of the string choir. It
is slightly larger than the violin and is tuned a fifth
lower (c, g, d, a). Its clef is the old alto clef with
c placed on the third line of the staff.

The name of the violoncello comes from two Italian
words meaning small double bass, and the instrument
is so large and heavy that it rests on the P.oor between
the player’s knees as he sits. Its strings are tuned one
octave below those of the viola (c, g, d, a), and the
music is usually written on the F or bass clef.


The double-bass or bass viol is tuned in fourths, not
fifths (e, a, d, g), and is generally taller than its per-
former, who stands as he plays. The music is in the
bass clef and, unlike the music for the other strings, is
written an octave higher than it is actually played. The
bass viol is seldom used for solo work, and it is said
that when Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony was played for
the first time in Vienna the audience were horrified to
hear the solo in the Scherzo played by these unwieldy
instruments. In more modern times, the French com-
poser Saint-Saens has used them very effectively to rep-
resent the dancing of elephants in his ” Carnival of

Next comes the wood-wind group, placed in the
center of the orchestra, and composed of tubes of
various sizes and shapes with metal keys.

They are flutes, oboes, English horns, clarinets and
bassoons; many of them descendants of the ancient
instruments of the East.

The flute, the soprano of the wood wind, is a slender
piece of wood or metal about thirteen inches long, with
a large opening, across which the player blows. There
are also keys and holes which can be “stopped” by the

Like the violin, the voice of the flute is seldom
hushed in the orchestra, and is alternately clear, gay
and flowing. It is the most agile of all the wind in-
struments, and runs can be played on it at great speed.

The piccolo flute, its little brother, is only half its
size and has a still higher compass. Its tone is clear
and it can be made to scream shrilly, to produce certain

The oboe is a pastoral instrument, its notes resem-
bling a shepherd’s pipe, and it is used when music of a


tender melancholy quality is desired. The shape is
long and slender with one extremity enlarged, and a
pointed mouthpiece at the other end, within which
are two vibrating reeds or pieces of cane which soften

the tone. . .

The English horn is not of brass as its name might
imply, but is a larger or alto oboe with deeper tones
and pitched a fifth lower. It has been called “the
oboe in mourning. 5 ‘

The clarinet possesses a beautiful liquid quality and
is quite modern in comparison with many other ^ in-
struments, dating from about 1700. The mouthpiece
differs from that of the oboe, as it contains only one
of the vibrating reeds, and the instrument itself is of
a slightly different form, having a flaring, bell-shaped
end. The register of clarinets is a wide one, thus
making them an important part of the orchestra.

The bass clarinet is, as its name implies, of deeper
tone quality. In shape it resembles a Dutchman’s pipe,
having a curling mouthpiece which extends at right
angles from the top and a curved open bowl at the
other end. Its organ-like tones are used for legato
bass passages.

The bassoon is a long, unwieldy instrument of an-
cient origin. It was first made eight or ten feet in
length and had to be carried by an assistant who
walked before the performer. For convenience it
was then doubled up, resembling a bundle of sticks,
and was therefore called faggotti, or “fagots.” From
the shorter part protrudes a slender, curved metal
mouthpiece in which is a double reed or cane. The
bassoon is the bass of the wood wind family, and a
very versatile instrument. Some of its high notes are
of singular beauty, while others are resonant and sus-


tained. When used in staccato passages, its dry tones
are humorous and effective, and it is often called the
clown of the orchestra.

The brass instruments, placed back of the wood
wind, are divided into French horns, trumpets, trom-
bones and tuba, and their tones are produced by the
vibration of the player’s lips against a mouthpiece.

The horn is of very ancient origin and can be traced
to the time when men first fitted a mouthpiece into the
hollow tusk of an animal and then blew into it. In
later years, it was made in brass or bronze and de-
veloped into the war trumpets of the Romans.

The French horn has grown from the old hunting
horn of the Middle Ages and with its mellow, expres-
sive tone is a valuable part of the modern symphony
orchestra. It consists of about twelve feet of coiled
brass tubing with a funnel-shaped mouthpiece and a
large hollow opening into which the player can insert
his hand. In this way he softens or changes the qual-
ity of tone, very much as a violinist uses the sordino
or little wooden bridge to mute his strings. Horns
and trumpets have always played a part in the reli-
gious rites of the people. Trumpets are sounded in
many churches to welcome in the New Year, and the
Chinese had once a custom of blowing enormous trum-
pets from the housetops to frighten away the demons
who might otherwise creep in and work evil.

The trumpet is the soprano of the brass family. Its
tones resemble the army bugle and are of a military
character, clear and brilliant. The mouthpiece is tiny
and cup-shaped, and the open end smaller than that
of the French horn.

The mechanism of the trombone differs from the


other brass instruments, as it has a “slide” that
.shortens or lengthens it at the player’s will, thus
changing and adjusting the pitch. The tone is less
brilliant than the trumpet but richer and more ma-
jestic in quality. It can be made to dominate the
whole orchestra and is used to impart a solemn up-
lifting effect.

The tuba is the double bass of the brass family and
consists of a large coil of brass tubing with a huge horn
at one end and a mouthpiece on the side. Its deep
tones add a somber color to the music.

The instruments of percussion (sometimes called
the battery) are the drums, cymbals, triangle,^ bells,
etc. The drum is probably the oldest musical instru-
ment, for with its help the primeval savage expressed
his sense of rhythmic emotion.

Three types of drums are used in an orchestra
the kettledrums or timpani, the bass drum, and the
snare drum. Each is played differently and is of a
different shape.

The kettledrums are so called as they resemble a
brass kettle with the top covered with a calfskin head.
They originated in the East and are the only drums
that can be tuned to a definite pitch. In an orchestra
there are generally two, tuned a fifth apart. The
drummer uses drumsticks with heads of solid felt, and
with these an unlimited range of dramatic color effects
can be produced from the softest pianissimo to the
thunders of a storm. The drummer of an orchestra
is an important figure and must be a musician with
a perfect sense of pitch and rhythm, as many musical
effects depend on his aid.

The bass drum is the ordinary large drum of a mili-
tary band. It has no definite pitch, but gives forth


a booming sound when struck with its soft-headed
stick. It is invaluable in the accentuation of rhythm.

The snare drum is a small drum r also used in mili-
tary bands and played with two sticks of hard wood.
Like the bass drum, it has no definite pitch. The
lower head is partially covered with thin strings of
gut called snares, which vibrate when the upper head
is struck.

The cymbals are round metal plates which are
played by striking their edges together with a sliding
motion, giving a brilliant bell-like sound.

The triangle is made of a bar of steel bent to form
a triangle, the ends of the bar not quite meeting. It is
struck with a steel rod and its delicate sparkling tone
is very effective in fairy music.

The tambourine is two thousand years old and was
used by the gypsies in Italy and Spain. It appears
when oriental effects are desired, as do the castanets,
a Spanish instrument consisting of two pieces of
wood struck together while held in the palm of the

The gong is of Chinese extraction, a round plate
of bronze struck with a soft drumstick.

Two little instruments, the glockenspiel (or bells)
and the xylophone, resemble each other in looks. The
former consists of about twenty-seven bars of steel,
the latter of the same number of wooden blocks. Both
steel bars and wooden blocks are accurately tuned and
played by striking them with sticks whose heads are
of wood or leather.

The celesta, another percussion instrument, was in-
vented by a Frenchman in 1886, and resembles a tiny
upright piano. Its mechanism consists of steel plates


which are struck by hammers, giving out a pure, tin-
kling sound, somewhat like a chime of bells.

The harp traces its origin back to Egypt, and the
belief exists that the first one grew out of the tensely
drawn string of a warrior’s bow. The primitive
harp was held and played in a horizontal posi-
tion, but later, in the time of Rameses III, harps were
made in the well-known triangular form.

It has always been a favorite instrument with all
classes of people, and in shape and mechanism has
changed much since the days of the Minstrels. In
1729 it was given pedals which could raise each open
string a half tone, and was called the single action

In 1810 it was perfected by Erard, the celebrated
French instrument-maker, who evolved the double
action harp of today. It now has forty-six strings and
seven pedals, by means of which the string pressure
can be instantly altered, thus changing the pitch to
another key.

Like the piano, harp music is written on two staves,
and its brilliant arpeggios and delicate harmonies are
an addition to the music of the modern orchestra. It
is interesting to study the harp in conjunction with a
grand piano, as the inside of the latter is very like a
harp laid on its back, with keyboard attachment.

The bells or chimes in an orchestra consist of about
eight steel tubes graded in size like the pipes of an
organ, and are struck with a wooden mallet Very
early in history the bell had its place in the ritual of
the church, and in the Middle Ages its tolling was
supposed to shed a blessing on the populace.

Many ancient bells had mottoes engraved on them,
and one in Flanders is inscribed: “I who summon thee


am the Rose of the World and am called Ave Maria.”
Sets of small chimes were used in the Netherlands
and in England, and guilds of bell-ringers flourished
in many places ; but it was not until the fifteenth cen-
tury that groups of bells called carillons were hung in
the churches. There is little resemblance between a
set of swinging chimes and the carillon, for the former
is limited to about a dozen bells while the stationary
bells of the carillon sometimes number over fifty, and
contain infinite possibilities that the chimes do not
possess. The carillon may be played in two ways:
either by a hammer striking the outside of the bell-^-
a mechanism very like a child’s music box on a large
scale; or, in a more interesting fashion, by a player
seated at a keyboard, the keys of which are attached
to the bell clappers by wires. The old keyboards had
broad wooden keys like the early organs, and the
player struck them with his fist, protected by heavy
gloves. In the present day, handles are used that cor-
respond to the black and white piano keys.

The greatest maker of carillons, and a famous bell-
ringer of the eighteenth century, was Matthias van der
Gheyn, born in Belgium in 1721. After his day, bell-
ringing as an art declined; but about 1885 a Belgian
musician named Jef Denyn revived the playing of
carillons, and the concerts he gave in Cardinal
Mercier’s church in Malines attracted huge audiences,
fifty thousand people sometimes gathering in the city

Turning from the instruments, one sees in front
of the conductor the printed book or score of the
composition to be performed, on which each variety of
instrument used has a separate staff for its part.


An orchestral score is a difficult thing for an
amateur to study. It is read across the page like an
ordinary piece of piano music, but while the latter
has two staves, one for the treble and one for the
bass, the orchestral score has sometimes as many as
twenty-four, one for every kind or group of instru-
ments used in the composition.

The first conductors were merely beaters of time,
but the modern conductor is a virtuoso who plays on
his orchestra as a pianist on his instrument. His
power holds the players together and his knowledge
of the score enables him to drill his men to interpret
it in a musicianly way. They look to him particularly
for the rhythm and for the climaxes of color and ex-
pression that occur. A good conductor will control
his forces and never allow a group of instruments to
obtrude unduly and mar the effect of the whole.

Next in importance to the conductor is the leader
of the first violins, called the concert master. It is
his duty to play any short violin solo that the music
calls for, as well as to guide the other musicians by his
playing, thus producing a smooth volume of sound.

Chapter XI


“Music is an unfathomable speech which leads us up to the
edge of the infinite and lets us for a moment gaze into it.”

Thomas Carlyle.

THE development of the orchestra and its instruments
was a slow growth in the history of music. For years
the whole labor of composers was towards the pro-
duction of unaccompanied church music where the
voice was the principal means of musical expression.

When it was found that certain melodic ideas were
better suited to instruments and that these joined to
voices could enhance the beauty of the latter, the or-
chestra, as an artistic whole, developed, and instru-
mental music, independent of vocal, came into being.

In the thirteenth century the ancestors of many of
the instruments used in our modern orchestras already
existed. There were little lutes and viols, hunting
horns and trumpets, pipes and drums, but it was sev-
eral centuries before they were grouped together into
anything resembling an orchestra.

It was owing largely to the genius of Claudio Mon-
teverde, a pioneer in musical history, that this event
finally took place. He was born in Cremona in 1568
and, like many others in that musical town, imbibed a
passionate love for the violin. Later, while playing
in the service of the Duke of Modena, he dreamed of


more dramatic possibilities for his beloved instrument.
From 1613 until his death, he was choirmaster of St.
Mark’s in Venice, and he exerted a powerful influence
on the development of music. The famous Gasparo da
Salo was his friend, and many violin-makers through-
out Italy worked hard to satisfy his demands for in-
struments more suited to brilliant orchestral music.
Monteverde was the best dramatic composer of his
day, and his genius showed in his operas.

One of these, “The Coronation of Poppea,” is con-
sidered one of the greatest compositions of the seven-
teenth century.

In his orchestra of forty pieces were small organs,
clavichords and lutes, in addition to many of the in-
struments now employed.

To the astonishment of his band, he insisted on
effects never used before. One was the tremolo, or
rapid shake on the violin strings, another the pizzicato,
where the player, instead of using the bow, plucks with
his fingers the strings of his instrument, and so amaz*
ing were these new effects to the men that they at first
refused to adopt them.

Alessandro Scarlatti, the old Italian composer born
in 1659, was the first to separate the violins in his
orchestra, giving them first and second parts to play
and making the wind instruments of much more im-
portance by using them in pairs.

Sixty years after Scarlatti was born, there lived a
famous Bohemian violinist named Johann Steinitz, one
of the first creators of the Sonata form. He con-
ducted the concerts in Mannheim, making his men
play with unusual effects of phrasing and color, and
his orchestra became known as the finest in Europe.


Bach was fond of using ancient instruments such as
the oboe d’amore and the viola da gamba, now out
of date, but his custom of giving each instrument an
independent voice in the orchestra was a step in the
growth of instrumental music.

With the exception of the clarinet, Handel employed
most of the instruments now in use, as well as the
organ and harpsichord, and would sit at the latter
while conducting his band.

Haydn’s help was very great in forming an or-
chestra where the strings, wood wind and brass were
well balanced. In his time, also, the use of the harpsi-
chord as an indispensable part of the orchestra was

After him the charm and greatness of Mozart’s
genius gave still more warmth and variety to the tone
colors of the orchestra. He was the first to realize
the possibilities of the clarinet and to use it for solo

Under Beethoven the orchestra reached a perfection
of detail and a massive grandeur that had never be-
fore been known. This master treated the different
instruments in a dramatic way and brought out new
powers in the cellos and horns.

Weber’s original genius was of great help to all the
romantic composers who followed him, and in the
music of his colorful operas he greatly increased the
eloquence of the orchestra.

Composers are not always good conductors, but in
Mendelssohn the two gifts were combined and he
grouped his instruments and trained his men to achieve
a delicate finish of detail and perfect balance of tone.

Meanwhile orchestral compositions developed in


beauty as their composers understood more and more
the tone color and relation of the different instruments
to each other. .

The development of music of a romantic kind also
brought about a change from the ^ formal symphony,
and soon descriptive program music was heard.

A unique personality in the history of music, and
the founder of the modern orchestra, was Hector
Berlioz, one of the greatest masters of orchestration.
Born in France in 1803, at nineteen he was sent by
his parents to Paris to study medicine but chose in-
stead to attend the Conservatoire. In consequence his
incensed father stopped his allowance so that he was
forced to sing in the chorus of the opera to pay for
food and lodging. He vindicated his choice, however,
and, after hard work, won the Prix de Rome and went
to study and compose in Italy. His subjects were
often drawn from the works of Shakespeare, Goethe,
Byron and other great poets, and the beautiful Romeo
and Juliet Symphony is one of his most popular com-

In his Fantastic Symphony, or An Episode in the
Life of an Artist, he portrays his feeling for his first
love, a famous actress whom he had married. Her
theme constantly appears and is presented in novel and
weird forms all through the different movements,
which represent a dream. This Symphony carried all
before it when it was produced in Paris in 1832, and
after hearing Berlioz conduct it, the great violinist
Paganini dragged the composer back to the concert
platform during the final applause and, kneeling, kissed
his hand, sending him the next day a check for two
thousand francs.

Paganini, who owned a wonderful Stradivarius


viola, inspired another of Berlioz’ works by asking
him to compose a solo that he could play on that in-
strument. The composer agreed, and wrote his Sym-
phony called Harold in Italy, in which a solo viola
enters from time to time, picturing the hero’s person-
ality as he wanders through the land.

To Berlioz, color in music was as important as
form, and he increased the range of the strings, intro-
duced the harp, brought new pianissimo effects out of
the brass, and developed an orchestra of many play-
ers. As Paganini ruled the violin and Liszt the piano,
so Berlioz had a unique mastery of his instrument, the

One of his dramatic works, an oratorio, The Dam-
nation of Faust, and his overture the Carnaval
Romain are fine examples of descriptive program
music. Berlioz had an independent spirit and at the
beginning of his career was cordially disliked on ac-
count of his new ideas and unhesitating criticisms of
all who differed from him. His works, too, were con-
demned by the Paris critics, for his love of freedom
was at the root of all his musical creations. Once he
told them of his discovery of an old musical score by
an unknown composer, Pere Ducre, and all Paris be-
came eager to hear this Cantata, The Infancy of
Christ. When it was given, the critics praised it to
the skies and were entirely nonplused when Berlioz
calmly explained that there was no Pere Ducre and
no mediaeval score, but that he had composed the
whole thing himself, and was much obliged to the re-
viewers who had given him so much encouragement.

Following closely in his footsteps and profiting by
his example came Wagner > the greatest master of
orchestration the world has known. Like Beethoven,


he used the brass still more daringly than any musi-
cians before him, and made the orchestra portray
every expression of which music seems capable. He
was one of the first to conduct without notes, and his
memory of orchestral scores was phenomenal.

Franz Liszt introduced the Symphonic Poem,^ a
form less classic than the Symphony, and Camille
Saint-Saens used it with notable success, showing him-
self a master of rich and varied orchestration.

This brilliant Frenchman was born in Paris in 1835,
and it is difficult to say in which branch of music
he excelled most. He was a composer, organist,
pianist and conductor, and one of the founders of the
National Society of Music, which brought out the
works of the younger French composers,

Saint-Saens, at the age of five, composed little
dances, as did the child Mozart, and, as a man, once
played to an audience a large portion of Wagner’s
music drama Parsifal entirely from the orchestral
score, and on first sight, at a time when this music
was unknown. Another extraordinary achievement
was the completion of an operetta he had agreed to
write and afterwards forgotten. When reminded of
his promise, he pledged himself to fulfill it, and in two
hours had composed and written down twenty-one
pages of full score. For years he was organist at the
Church of the Madeleine, and his playing there soon
made him famous throughout France.

His Symphonic Poems are picturesque and interest-
ing, particularly the Spinning-Wheel of Omphale and
the Dance of Death. This latter work is unique in
its originality, from the opening bars, when Death
raps on the tombstones with his bow and tunes his
violin to a diminished fifth, to the final measures, when


the crowing of the cock heralds the dawn and scares
the specters into flight.

Saint-Saens composed several piano concertos and a
successful opera founded on the story of Samson and

Antonin Dvorak, the world-famous Bohemian com-
poser born in 1841, was the son of an innkeeper who
wished him to become a butcher. Instead, he worked
at music, although too poor for many years to own
a piano. When thirty-four years old, his genius was
recognized by the government and he received a sum
of money that enabled him to devote his time to com-
posing. Dvorak’s orchestration is interesting, and his
music is full of rhythmic life and glowing color, char-
acteristic of the folk songs of his nation. One of his
symphonies written in America is called the New
World Symphony, and some of its lovely themes are
drawn from plantation melodies. His Stabat Mater
and a cantata, The Specter’s Bride, are two of his
best-known works. In some of his compositions he
introduced the folk songs of his nation.

Richard Strauss is the greatest German composer
of modern orchestral music, and his work forms a link
between the Romantic School and the Impressionistic
composers of the twentieth century. The son of a
talented horn-player in the Munich court orchestra,
Richard, like other prodigies, played and composed at
the age of five. When older, he studied the charac-
teristics of each individual instrument and developed
a talent for orchestral effects that has rarely been
surpassed by those who have followed him. He uses
tone colors like an artist and believes that music can
represent any feature of life. The beautiful songs
and symphonic poems are the works of a master, and


among the latter are Don Quixote, Death and Trans-
figuration, Thus Spake Zarathustra, Don Juan and the
clever and humorous Till EulenspiegeL His later
works, particularly his operas, are not so inspired.


In the early days of the orchestra, the conductor
was also one of the players and led his men with his
own instrument, generally the harpsichord, for it is
said that not until 1800 was the baton first used in

Monteverde played the violin as he conducted his
men, and a more modern conductor used his instru-
ment in the same way. This was the Viennese com-
poser Johann Strauss (1825), called “The Waltz
King.” He composed the famous Blue Danube waltz
and about five hundred other dances and light operas,
the most popular of the latter being Die Fledermaus
(The Bat). Wagner himself once said: “One of the
Strauss waltzes as far surpasses, in charm, finish and
real musical worth, hundreds of the artificial compo-
sitions of his contemporaries, as the tower of St.
Stephen surpasses the advertising columns on the Paris

Johann Strauss, his father of the same name, and
his brother Eduard were the three most celebrated
conductors of dance music that have ever lived.

A distinguished conductor of the new world was
Theodore Thomas, born in Germany in 1835. He
organized several orchestras in America and raised
the standard of musical culture, from the East to the
Pacific Coast.

Another famous musician of German ancestry who


made his home in America was Leopold Damrosch
(1832). He was one of the first to introduce Ger-
man opera to Americans in New York and conducted
at the Metropolitan Opera House, where he was suc-
ceeded by his gifted son Walter, who is also known
as a composer. Another son, Frank, has done much
for the art of music in America.

Two very fine musicians, especially celebrated for
their interpretation of Wagner’s operas, were Hans
Richter and Anton SeidL Richter was chosen by
Wagner to conduct his operas in Bayreuth and Lon-
don. SeidFs name is connected with the Metropolitan
Opera House, where he conducted German opera for
ten memorable seasons.

The name of Arthur Nikisch, the brilliant Hun-
garian, is famous as that of a musician of unusual
gifts. When only a student, he played first violin
under Wagner at the laying of the corner stone of
the Bayreuth Theater, and, before his death, achieved
world-wide reputation as a conductor in Europe and

Karl Muck, born in Germany, is a well-known con-
ductor especially noted for his interpretation of the
music of Beethoven and Wagner.

Gustav Mahler, of Austrian descent, was born in
1860. Whether leading orchestras in Europe or
America, he was equally successful, and as conductor
and composer will always be remembered as an origi-
nal and creative genius.

Felix Weingartner, born in Dalmatia, ranks as one
of the world’s leading conductors. His interpreta-
tions of Wagner’s operas are celebrated, and he has
Ton fame in Europe and America as a pianist as well.

The greatest of all living conductors is the Italian,


Arturo Toscanini. He commenced his musical career
as cellist in an opera orchestra in South America. On
the second night of his engagement the conductor was
hissed by the audience, and as he left the desk, Tos-
canini stepped forward and took up the baton. His
success was instantaneous, and since then he has
thrilled countless audiences by his magnetic power
and the beauty of his interpretations. One of his
remarkable feats is the memorizing of all the scores
which he uses, conducting without notes every piece
on his numberless programs.

Sergei Kussewitzky, born In Russia, is conductor of
the Boston Symphony Orchestra, and is an original
and interesting musician. He is also distinguished as
a double-bass player, and has composed a concerto for
his chosen instrument. Kussewitzky has been influen-
tial in bringing good music to the people of his native
land, and, at various times before the Great War,
chartered one of the steamers on the Volga and trans-
ported his orchestra of eighty-five musicians to the
central provinces of Russia.

A distinguished Dutch leader is Wlllem Mengel-
berg, who was born in Utrecht. He has conducted
with success in England and on the Continent, and is
now one of the conductors of the New York Philhar-
monic Orchestra.

Leopold Anton Stokowski is of Polish descent, al-
though born in London. After studying at Oxford,
he played the organ for several years, and in 1912
became conductor of the Philadelphia Symphony Or-
chestra, which he has made one of the best in the
world. He possesses a magnetic personality and, like
Toscanini, frequently conducts without notes.


Many other composers and conductors have fol-
lowed in the footsteps of their illustrious predeces-
sors, land by their power have helped to awaken the
love of music in all lands.

Chapter XII



“Technic is in the musician what character is in the man. It
is’ the power to stamp matter with spirit.” Daniel Gregory

As music became an art and was made a part both
of the worship and the home life of the people of all
lands, the instruments gradually changed and grew
into forms more worthy of the new music that in every
country came into being.

The Organ

The great organ of modern times can be traced
back to a handful of river reeds bound together,
those reeds or “Panpipes” which the legends have
attributed to the god Pan, as we see them pictured in
early frescoes or paintings. Later, it is supposed the
reeds were enclosed in a box in which air was pumped
by bellows and a little keyboard added, although
nothing very definite is known of these early organs.
It is certain, however, that their most important fea-
tures were invented fully two hundred years before
the Christian era.

As far back as that time there are Greek records



describing an instrument called the water organ. In
this hydraulic organ, water pressure was used to force
the wind into pipes which were so arranged that the
tones produced sounded in the order of a musical

One of the first organs ever made was sent by
Constantino V } in 742, to the Emperor of France. It
had brass pipes blown by bellows of bull’s hide, and
keys which were “struck with the fist,” a fact that
sounds far from musical to modern ears. The organ
from an early date proved itself well suited for reli-
gious services, and as church music developed, the ca-
pacity and usefulness of this instrument under the
hands of inventors from all countries steadily in-

From the beginning of the ninth century, it was
used in churches to accompany the singing, while the
old monochord of Pythagoras was still in existence
among the monks, who employed it for teaching pur-

For their own services they had little organs which
could be carried about from place to place. These
were called “portatives,” and although small, the tone
was generally sweet and mellow, resembling a flute In
sound. Others of larger build, called “positives,”
were stationary, or so constructed that they could be
wheeled about.

Then came the great organs that were built into
the churches. The earliest organs had no keyboards,
but a series of slides which were pushed in and out,
bringing wind to the pipes, which were very few at
first. In the tenth century, they were made with per-
haps a dozen pipes, and with keyboards of huge white
keys, the black ones being introduced at a* later date.


The keys until nearly the fifteenth century were often
a yard long and five or six inches wide, and, as a
consequence, could only be operated with the fists like
the organ of Constantine. Of course, under these cir-
cumstances, real playing was impossible, but at this
time church music consisted largely of melodies of
single tones, used only as accompaniment to the voices.
Pedals were invented about the time that the key-
board was improved, and the keys became less clumsy.

In direct contrast to these organs there was one
that was so tiny it could be held in the palm of the
hand. It had only six keys and a pair of bellows at
the back. This little instrument was called a “regal”
and one sees it played by some of the Fra Angelico

A very important invention for the organ was the
pedal keyboard played with the feet. This was en-
larged and embellished in the fifteenth century, and
in 1700 the famous Silbermann brothers, Andreas and
Gottfried, were building fine organs in Germany.

The great organ of today is a marvelous instru-
ment with its pipes of wood and metal, the different
manuals or keyboards a pedal keyboard for the feet
and innumerable “stop knobs” for producing dif-
ferent qualities of tone.

Many early churchmen were organists. A famous
one was St. Dunstan, Archbishop of Canterbury, who
lived in the tenth century. He was clever at improv-
ing the church organs of his day, and was even accused
of sorcery from having invented an ^Eolian harp,
which was fastened in a tree and played by the wind.
^ In England T in the reign of Elizabeth, music was
highly esteemed by all classes of people. Many noble-


men employed musicians in their own households to
give daily concerts and teach their children to play and
sing. Musical instruments were provided at such
places as barber shops and in public rooms, so that
the waiting guests might be amused, but in spite of
much enthusiasm, music did not become the serious art
in England that it became on the Continent.

Three famous English musicians of the sixteenth
century were Thomas Tallis, William Byrd and Or-
lando Gibbons. Each of these men in turn held the
position of court organist, writing for both organ and
clavier, and some of their quaint compositions have
come down to us,

Henry Purcell, born in 1658, is the most gifted of
the early English composers. When only twenty-two,
he was appointed organist at Westminster Abbey, and
his music reveals him as a master of form as well as a
composer of true melody. He was chorister and then
organist in the Royal Chapel at Windsor and com-
posed the first real English opera, Dido and Mneas.
In Westminster Abbey can be seen his tomb, inscribed
with the words “Here lies Henry Purcell, Esq., who
left this life and is gone to that blessed place where
alone his harmony can be exceeded.”

The greatest organist of his time was Jan Pieters
Sweelinck, who lived in Amsterdam in 1590. His
fame spread through musical Europe, for he was a
master of counterpoint and the first to compose fugues
for the organ with an independent part for the pedal
keyboard. Later this form of writing was perfected
by Johann Sebastian Bach.

‘ About the year 1600 there lived in Rome an Italian
organist named Girolamo Frescobaldi. After being
educated in the Netherlands, he returned to his


land and became organist of the church of St Peter.
His playing was considered so wonderful that at one
of his concerts three thousand people assembled, and
it is said that no organist who did not play after his
fashion, was respected by his countrymen. Frescobaldi
freed instrumental music from many of its ancient fet-
ters, for he was an original and cultured musician; and
Bach, when a boy, copied his compositions and care-
fully studied them. On the tombstone of Frescobaldi
is carved: “Organist of the Senate and people of

Many of the great composers, such as Bach, Handel
and Mendelssohn, have been equally great organists,
and the list of names from Cesar Franck down to the
present day is a long and distinguished one.

Alexandre Felix Guilmant, born In France in 1837,
was a virtuoso of the first rank, and his fine playing
and masterly improvisations made him famous in the
musical world. He was also gifted as a composer, and
his influence among the younger organists of his time
was important and far-reaching. Guilmant was one
of the three musicians who founded the Schola Can-
torum y or school of church singing, in Paris.

Another famous French organist was ‘Charles
Widor, who was professor of organ-playing at the
Conservatoire. He composed for orchestra and in
smaller instrumental forms, and wrote a book on
Greek music.

The Piano

In ancient times, two little stringed instruments, the
dulcimer and the psaltery, were used in the East by
both Arabs and Assyrians. Although primitive, they


possessed certain characteristics which were found in
the later instruments which led up to the perfected

The dulcimer was a direct ancestor of the piano
and is still found in gypsy bands under the name of
cembalo. It was made in different shapes and played
with little hammers which struck the strings and caused
them to vibrate as in the modern piano.

The psaltery, like the dulcimer, was made in a va-
riety of shapes and was sometimes said to resemble a
pig’s head. When small, it could be fastened to a
ribbon and worn around the player’s neck. Its strings
were plucked either with the fingers or by a plectrum
or quill.

By the end of the fifteenth century there existed
two forerunners of the piano. They were the clavi-
chord and harpsichord.

The clavichord, named from the word clavis, or
u key,” is thought to have been invented about 1400
and developed from the ancient monochord. It re-
sembled an oblong box with a short keyboard, and at
first was placed upon a table ; later it was fitted with
its own stand. The strings were supported by^ a
wooden bridge, and at the end of eafch was a thin,
upright piece of brass called a tangent. When the
keys were pressed, the tangents, coming into contact
with the strings, caused them to vibrate.

The first little instruments were made with more
keys than strings, a system called gebunden, or
“fretted,” as the tangents divided or fretted the strings
they struck, thus producing tones of different pitch.
Their quality was delicate and hesitating, but more
sympathetic than the tones of the harpsichord or
spinet On most of these early instruments the lower


keys were black and the upper keys white the reverse
of the modern piano.

A desire was felt for an instrument of deeper tone,
which was found in the harpsichord. It was shaped
like the modern grand piano, only of smaller size, and
in mechanism it was a descendant of the ancient psal-
tery, for the strings were held in place by upright pieces
of wood called “jacks” and were plucked by quills. It
had generally several “stop knobs” such as those used
on organs to produce different changes of tone color,
and the larger instruments had two keyboards, one for
soft effects, the other for loud. The tones could not
be sustained, as on the clavichord, and the touch re-
quired was crisper and heavier.

In France, the harpsichord was called the clavecin
and was played by Couperin, Rameau and other old
French composers.

In England they were fond of the spinet, a smaller
instrument, invented about the fourteenth century and
probably named from its Italian inventor Spinetti.
Like the harpsichord, its strings were plucked by quills.

Another old instrument modeled on the harpsichord,
and considered especially suitable for young girls to
play, was the virginal. In England it was some-
times made with pieces of cloth drawn between the
wires to deaden the sound, and the tone was soft and
sweet. Some of these instruments were beautifully
carved and painted, as well as ornamented with inlays
of gold and mother of pearl. Queen Elizabeth, who
was fond of music, played on a virginal which is now
in the South Kensington Museum, and some historians
declare that the instrument was named after the Virgin
Queen; but it is more probable that the name came


through its use by the nuns in accompanying the hymns
they sang addressed to the Virgin.

In 1711, while Bach was still living, an Italian
named Crist ofori invented what he called a pianoforte,
which contained some of the characteristics of the an-
cient dulcimer. These two words (piano forte) had
been used for centuries to describe a soft or loud tone
in music, and the Italian inventor claimed that his in-
strument could be played in either of these two ways.
This was the first real piano, for it had hammers to
strike the strings, with power to free them as soon as
the blow was given, while at the same time the key
remained pressed in order to allow the tone to vibrate
and sound. Today, the action of the grand piano is
fundamentally the same as that invented by Cristofori.

This hammer-struck instrument was called in Ger-
many the Hammer klavier, and Gottfried Silbermann,
the organ-builder, soon became celebrated for the
pianos he manufactured. Following the advice of
the composer Bach, he worked hard for many years
to improve them, and his instruments were considered
so perfect that King Frederick the Great purchased
fifteen of them for his palace.

In France, at the same time, a Frenchman named
Marius made pianos that were on the same lines as
those of Cristofori and Silbermann.

Later, the German family of Stein improved the
action of Cristofori and made fine instruments, one of
which was used by Beethoven.

About 1750 the square piano came into being and,
the new form being more compact and inexpensive, be-
came popular, especially in private homes. This primi-
tive square is now out of date, and its substitute, the
upright piano (first made by an Englishman), ap-


peared about 1865. In the modern upright, the
mechanism differs somewhat from that of the grand,
and pianissimo effects are more difficult to produce.

Before the “damper” and “una corda” pedals were
invented by the firm of Broadwood, the tones were in-
creased by the knee pressing against levers on the right
or left of the keyboard.

For many years it was found difficult to make the
mechanism of the piano keys respond to the modern
ways of touching them, so that they would repeat
quickly with no hesitation or blur. It was the French-
man Erard, the celebrated harp-maker, who in 1809
invented the device, called the “repetition action,” that
achieved this result.

The early pianos had wooden frames to support
the tension of the strings, which then was not so great,
but the playing of such virtuosi as Franz Liszt
called for a piano with a stronger action and more
resonant tone, and from his time on, each firm en-
deavored to add some improvement of value.

In Boston in 1837 *^ e Chickerings perfected the
idea of an iron frame to which the strings were at-
tached. Without this frame the modern piano would
have been an impossibility, for the tension on the
strings is now so great that their united pull is equal
to about twenty tons.

In 1872 the Steinways of New York, among other
inventions, added the Duplex scale which controlled
the strings, producing a richer tone quality.

There are about fifty different materials used in the
making of the present piano, and with its key mecha-
nism, its compass of over seven octaves, well-balanced
treble and bass, and pedals that help to grade the tones


from piano to forte, it is a triumph of mechanical art
and a miniature orchestra in its dramatic resources.

The mechanism is interesting when we consider that
it is an instrument of percussion. When a key is
pressed, the hammer produces the tone, and then, by
an ingenious contrivance called the “escapement,” im-
mediately springs back from the strings, leaving them
free to vibrate. If the damper (or right) pedal is
used, it lifts all the felt-covered dampers which ordi-
narily rest on the strings, and the tone is sustained,
thus making it possible for the vibrations to maintain
their volume. The strings on the upper part of the
piano have no dampers and therefore vibrate softly in
sympathy with any strings that sound below.

When the una corda (or left) pedal is used, some-
thing different occurs. Like the mandolin, which has
two strings tuned in unison for each of its tones, the
piano has three strings for each note of its upper key-
board. When a key is pressed, the felt-covered ham-
mer is broad enough to strike all three strings at once,
but with the pressure of this pedal, the action is moved
a little to one side, and the hammers strike two strings
instead of three and thus produce less tone. The third
string, however, is not silent, for it vibrates in sympathy
with the other two, and gives a vague and mysterious
quality to the tone. The effect of the una corda pedal
is less dynamic than suggestive, and if used correctly
it can produce beautiful shades of tone color.

The middle or sustaining pedal must be used with
discrimination, as its office is to hold over any note
which the player wishes sustained like an organ tone,
through a series of harmonies that may last for sev-
eral measures.


The touch needed for clavichord-playing was an ex-
ceedingly light finger pressure; the modern piano, on
the other hand, requires two and one-half ounces of
weight to press its key.

Sometimes as many as a dozen well-seasoned woods
are used in the construction of a piano. These are
ash, of which the case of a grand piano is generally
made, and spruce, maple and pine for other parts, the
same woods used in the making of violins. The sound-
ing board, the soul of the instrument, must be care-
fully constructed to ensure beauty of tone. It is gen-
erally of spruce and is held fast in the desired position
by strips of wood called ribs, that are placed at right
angles on its lower side. The best wood is cut from
trees grown in cool, high places while the sap is still
in them, for this gives greater elasticity. After the
wood is cut it should be left exposed to the air for
many months, and it is often still more seasoned by
being subjected to the high temperature of a hot room.

The keyboard contains eighty-eight keys, and the
sixty-two upper ones have each three steel wires or
strings. The next eighteen (below the treble and
therefore lower in pitch) have two strings, wound
with copper wire, which deepens the tone. Finally,
the eight lowest bass notes have each one string covered
with a thicker coil of copper wire that gives added
depth and sonority.

With the advent of the piano came a more special-
ized study of touch, and as the powers of the instru-
ment developed, it began to be used more and more for
concert purposes.

In time a number of famous pianists appeared, who


each developed a system of finger technic and created
a school which led to the marvelous performances of
virtuosi such as Franz Liszt and those who have fol-
lowed him.

Chapter XIII



“But God has a few of us whom he whispers in the ear ;
The rest may reason and welcome; ’tis we musicians know.”
ff Abt Vogler” by Robert Browning.

ONE of the first musicians to write entirely for the
clavecin was Frangois Couperin, born in Paris in 1668.
Both his father and uncle were composers, and he him-
self was called Le grand, to distinguish him from his

As a boy he studied music with the organist of Saint
Jacques and later became court clavecin player. His
compositions were light and graceful, yet full of mu-
sicianly style, and exactly suited to the dainty tones of
his instrument. A genial and courtly man, he had
many pupils, for whom he wrote the first exercise book
for the clavecin ever published. He composed also a
number of “concertos” to play at the musical evenings
of the court of Louis XIV, as well as minuets for the
court ladies to dance.

Another Frenchman, Jean Philippe Rameau, born
in 1683, was called the creator of the modern science
of harmony. He composed operas and pieces for the
harpsichord, and so talented was he that he could
improvise a fugue on any theme when only fourteen



years old. His father wished him to be a lawyer, but
he chose music, and went to Italy to study, returning
later to France.

Domenico (the son of Alessandro) Scarlatti lived
and played the harpsichord in Italy at the same time
that Rameau was composing in France. The younger
Scarlatti was taught by his father and developed into
a player of renown, doing much towards laying the
foundations of modern piano technic. Scarlatti,
Frangois Couperin and Bach were the three greatest
players of the early eighteenth century.

One of the first of the famous teachers for the
piano was the Italian, Muzio dementi, born in 1752.
When eighteen years old, he composed a sonata that
Bach said “only the Devil and Clementi could play.”
He lived to be eighty and to see most of the younger
musicians of Europe grouped around him as pupils.
His greatest work is his collection of etudes, which
have been extensively used by piano students, and
these earned for him the title of the “father of piano

Still another celebrated piano teacher was a pupil
of Beethoven’s named Carl Czerny, who taught in
Vienna from the time he was sixteen years old to the
year of his death at the age of sixty-six.

The number of etudes he composed is appalling,
and he understood so perfectly the defects of technic
that he would write a study on the spot to correct the
shortcomings of the student in hand. The boy Liszt
was one of his pupils, who were almost as many as the
exercises he composed for them.

A pupil of Czerny who ranked as the finest
piano teacher of his day was Theodor Leschetizky,
born in Austrian Poland in 1830. He lived to be


eighty-five years of age and taught almost to the day
of his death. In his youth, he toured Europe as a
virtuoso, but finally retired from public life and settled
in Vienna, whither pupils from all over the world
flocked to study under his direction, many becoming
famous as pianists and composers. Among them was
his Russian-born wife, Annette Essipof, who became a
remarkable pianist.

In 1840 there lived in Moscow a young Russian
named Anton Rubinstein, who, although only eleven
years old, had already played before Chopin and Liszt
and been assured by them that a great future lay before
him. His playing was full of fire and originality, and
as he grew into manhood he was everywhere heard in
concert. He once went to America on a concert tour
with the violinist Wieniawski, but in Boston the two
artists were forced to play to a very small audience.
On being requested to return later for another con-
cert, Wieniawski replied: “We fear if we did so, we
should get out of the habit of playing in public!”
Nevertheless, they ventured to try it once more, with
better results.

When thirty-three years old, Rubinstein founded
the Conservatory at St. Petersburg and was its di-
rector for many years. It was his cherished ambition
to be recognized as a composer, but though his com-
positions are many, his principal fame rests on his won-
derful powers as a pianist.

An eminent German pianist and conductor born
about the same year as Rubinstein, was Hans von
Bulow, and the playing of the two men formed a great
contrast. Rubinstein was the fiery virtuoso, while von
Billow’s playing was essentially that of the classical
musician interpreting the works of a master.


Before the age of nine, von Biilow was an un-
musical child, but an accident, resulting in a severe
blow on the head, had the effect of making him sensi-
tive to vibrations, and from that time his love of music
developed. It might be unwise to apply this method to
the ordinary child, but in his case it is said to have
been successful.

Von Billow’s playing of the Beethoven Sonatas was
famous, and his conducting was equally so. His mem-
ory was marvelous, and he could give a piano recital
each day for weeks and repeat nothing. Once while
playing at a concert he was disturbed by an over-en-
thusiastic audience who insisted on endlessly recalling
him. Stepping to the front of the platform, he finally
exclaimed: “If you do not cease applauding, I will
play Bach’s forty-eight Preludes and Fugues from be-
ginning to end.” His listeners, knowing him capable
of accomplishing this feat, were at length silenced.

The Russian pianist Fladimir de Pachmann has
achieved great success in concerts both in Europe and
America, ranking among pianists as perhaps the most
intimate interpreter of Chopin. Though an eccentric
personality, his playing is full of delicacy and charm,
and his poetic touch weaves spells for his listeners.

A remarkable pianist who lost his right arm on a
hunting expedition when a mere boy, was the Hun-
garian count, Ceza Zichy. With a passionate love of
music and a spirit unconquered by fate, he became a
left-hand virtuoso, and his playing was so unique that
Liszt himself accepted him for a pupil and played an
arrangement of the Rakoczy March for three hands
with him in public. Zichy was a composer of opera,
a member of the legal profession and president of the
Hungarian Academy of Music.


The most celebrated woman pianist of her day was
Teresa Carreno, born in South America in 1853.
From childhood she played in public in all the musical
centers of the world, and her brilliant touch and fine
interpretations won for her a world- wide fame.

One of the greatest virtuosos of the century is
Ignace Jan Paderevuski, born in Russian Poland. In
magnetic charm and perfection of tone, as well as in
his execution, he is thought to resemble Liszt more
closely than any other pianist. Paderewski began his
study at the age of three and, when eighteen, taught
music in the Conservatory at Warsaw. When twenty-
six, he went to Leschetizky for piano instruction, and
in speaking of his gifted pupil, Leschetizky declared
he had never taught anyone who thought out the
smallest details with such care. The freedom of his
interpretations and their rare poetic quality soon made
him the idol of the musical world. Besides being a
pianist and composer, he is a patriot of the highest
order, and was premier of his unhappy country at the
time of the Great War.

Morl% Rosenthal, born in Galicia, is one of the
world’s best-known pianists. He studied with Liszt
in Weimar, and from his youth possessed a marvelous
technic and a power of expression that made him
shortly an artist of renown.

Helen Hopekirk, a Scottish composer, pianist and
teacher, has played with great success in Europe and
America. She studied with Leschetizky and was de-
scribed by him as the finest woman musician he had
ever known. She is one of the few women who have
written a piano concerto, which she played with the
Boston Symphony Orchestra.

Fannie Bloomfield Zeisler, an Austrian-born pianist,


has made America her home. As a girl she studied
with Leschetizky, and since then has played in almost
every musical center of the world, achieving brilliant
success, being considered one of the greatest pianists
of her day.

Ferruccio Busoni, born in Italy in 1866, ranked high
as a piano virtuoso. He was also famous as a com-
poser, his work including operas, chamber music and
orchestral suites.

Another noted virtuoso and composer is the Polish
pianist Leopold Godowsky, his fame resting also on
his work as a teacher in Europe and America.

An original pianist and composer of the modern
Russian school of music is Sergei Rachmaninoff, whose
playing has everywhere won him a distinctive place
among musicians. One of the finest of his orchestral
works is the symphonic poem, The hie of the Dead,
inspired by a picture by the German painter Bocklin.

Harold Bauer, the child of an English mother and
German father, is a famous and successful teacher, as
well as a virtuoso and master of interpretation. His
ensemble playing is particularly remarkable for its
perfection and beauty.

Josef Hofmann, born in Austria-Hungary, was a
child prodigy and played in public at the age of seven.
Later he studied with Rubinstein, who prophesied a
remarkable future for him, and the prophecy has been
fulfilled. He is an artist who has thought deeply on
the subject of his art, and he plays with power and
beauty of expression.

A fine Polish pianist is Antoinette Szumowska,
whose playing is full of charm and distinction. As a
girl her musical gifts attracted the interest of Paderew-
ski, who ofiered to teach her. She has played with


orchestras in Europe and America and is a member
of the celebrated Adamowski Trio, the other two
performers being her husband, the Polish cellist Joseph
Adamowski, and his brother, the violinist Timothee
Adamowski, both well-known artists.

A famous musician of the highest standing is the
pianist and conductor Alfred Cortot, born in Switzer-
land, but living in France. He has done much as con-
ductor to educate the French public to appreciate the
operas of Wagner, and both as pianist and teacher is
justly famed in Europe and America. His interpreta-
tion of the works of the great composers is always
that of a great artist.

Another notable Russian pianist is Ossip Gabrilo-
witsch. While in St. Petersburg he was a pupil of
Rubinstein, and later studied in Vienna with Lesche-
tizky. He has toured with success both the old world
and the new, and has finally settled in America as con-
ductor of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra.

A famous teacher of the piano is Tobias Matthay,
the Englishman, who has made London a Mecca for
pianists, as was Vienna in the days of Leschetizky.
Matthay is a thorough and enlightened musician, and
his books on piano touch and interpretation are justly

One of his most gifted pupils is Myra Hess, born
in London and considered by many to be the finest
woman pianist of her day. She combines a perfect
command of technic with dramatic power and poetic
beauty of tone, as well as an understanding of the
composers of both classic and modern schools.

Ethel Leginska, another English musician, has a
most interesting personality. She is a pianist of broad


and virile style and a composer of the modern school.
Recently she has become conductor of the new Boston
Philharmonic Orchestra.

Many women, as well as men, have achieved fame
as musicians, and the record of their work helps to
show the extraordinary progress piano-playing has
made as an art during the last three hundred years.

Chapter XIV


“To love, to leave self behind in order to rise above it this
is life and art.” Cesar Franck.

THE violin, that most perfect of all instruments
what musician is there who can help loving it? Its
tones can imitate and equal every quality of which the
human voice itself is capable. Age only sweetens and
enriches its powers, and one wishes it could tell of
those who in the past have spoken through it, and of
the thousands who have listened to its voice. *

It possesses a quality not found in the piano a
tone that can he sustained and modified, and colored
in various ways by the drawing of the bow and the
pressure of the finger tips upon the strings. Withal,
the violin is a thing of beauty, with its subtle curves
and the glow of its shining varnish. Its charm for
the beholder is intimate and compelling, and it shares
the player’s moods and voices his emotion as speech
itself cannot do.

The violin in its present form was not perfected
until about 1500. One reads of no instruments played
with a bow in Egypt, Assyria or Greece, but in India
there is the legend of a king named Ravana who lived
five thousand years ago and was such a good musician

that the gods themselves listened to his songs. He



invented an instrument called the ravanstrom, con-
sisting simply of a little hollow cylinder of wood.
The two strings stretched across were played with a
bow, and one finds an instrument very like it in India
today, used by the wandering monks of Buddha. From
the monochord, the violin acquired its bridge, support-
ing the strain of the strings, and its finger board, which
helps to mark the places of the tones.

When the Arabs and Moors overran Spain, they
brought their musical instruments with them, and one
of the oldest, called the rebec, resembled a three-
stringed lute, and was played with a primitive bow.

In Wales was a little three-stringed fiddle called the
crowd, or crwth, supposed to have developed from the
old Greek lyre.

The use of the bow distinguishes the violin from all
other instruments known to the ancients, and this also
went through many centuries of evolution before it
was perfected. The earliest instruments were played
with the fingers. Then came the plectrum, a little
hard, pointed object such as is used today to pluck the
strings of the mandolin.

The ancient bows were inflexible pieces of wood,
held curved and taut by means of a cord. Later the
cord was replaced by horsehair, and one end of the
stick was pointed. After many primitive forms, the
bow was finally perfected in Paris, about the year
1775, by Frangois Tourte, and no one has ever im-
proved on his invention. His bows were as finished
in their way as were the violins designed by the makers
of Cremona, and they helped to bring in a new school
of violin-playing. Tourte made his bows elastic, and
worked on them until he died an old man of eighty-


The bow is a sensitive implement and responds
quickly to the touch. Many changes of tone color can
be gained by using it in different ways. One effect,
called saltatOj causes it to jump on the strings. An-
other is marked col legno (“with the wood”) , and
consists in tapping the strings with the wooden part of
the bow. The soft, flute-like tones called harmonics are
produced by lightly touching the strings at certain in-
tervals with the fingers of the left hand. In pizzicato
the strings are plucked by the fingers of the right hand.
If a soft, veiled note is desired, a small piece of wood
or metal called a mute is placed on the bridge which
supports the strings, to deaden their vibration.

In the eleventh century, another bowed instrument
called the fiedel appeared. The troubadours suc-
ceeded in awakening the love of music in all classes of
people, the poor as well as the rich, and as composers
were inspired to attempt new and larger musical forms,
the instruments changed to meet the demand.

About 1250 the old fiedel had turned into the viol,
used in all countries of southern Europe. It had many
forms, sometimes that of a large guitar, played by turn-
ing an inner wheel. This type was known as the
vielle, and we see it pictured by early Italian painters.

About 1400, choral singing was often accompanied
by the doubling of the voice parts on the viol, for mu-
sicians had not yet learned to play an independent
musical accompaniment. Viols were made in all sizes,
large and small, to correspond to the voice compass of
the four groups of singers, soprano, alto, tenor and
bass, and thus developed the four different-sized in-
struments in the string choir of the orchestra. One
form of the viol, called the viola d’amore, was most


popular in England, and is still played occasionally at
concerts where old music is heard.

There was now felt a need for an instrument whose
tones approximated more nearly those of the human
voice. This was found in the violin, or ‘little viol, 1 ‘
as fashioned by the great masters who made it into the
wonderful instrument it is. No one who has come
after them has ever been able to improve upon or even
equal their perfect models those violins made from
1500 to 1700 by a few illustrious artists. Their names
are well known to the musical world, and are words to
conjure with when one thinks of the wealth of beauty
their genius has given to men.

The two Gasparos, Giovanni Paolo” Maggini, the
Amati family, Ruggieri and his two sons, the Guar-
nerius family, Jacob Stainer the Tyrolese, Carlo
Bergonzi and, greatest of all, Antonio Stradivarius
all these have made Cremona, the little town of Lom-
bardy, a pliace of pilgrimage to musicians for all time.

Over the story of the two Gasparos hangs a veil
of mystery, and owing to a confusion of dates it is not
known to which one belongs the honor of changing the
form of the old viol into its illustrious descendant, the
violin. This was done by giving the instrument broad
instead of sloping shoulders, curving in the sides and
changing the form of the scroll head and the “f” holes
which are cut out of the wood. The first Gasparo lived
and worked at Lyons about the year 1500, and there
are some fine violins that bear his name. About fifty
years later, in Brescia, lived the second Gasparo, called
da Solo. He is considered to be the founder of the
Italian school of violin-making. His instruments are
exceedingly rare, but where one is found it bears testi-


mony to a master’s art. His most famous violin was
owned by the Norwegian violinist Ole Bull, and is
now in the Museum in Bergen, It was said to have
been carved for its maker by his friend Benvenuto
Cellini, and the beautiful scroll head is in the shape of
an angel. Gasparo’ s most famous pupil was Giovanni
Paolo Maggini, who was born in Brescia about 1581
and made violins that were even more perfect than
those of his teacher.

While Gasparo da Salo was only a boy, a young man
of noble family named Andrea Amati was living in
Cremona, near the Piazza San Domenico. It is not
known whether he knew Gasparo, but he may have
profited by his work, although himself an older man.
His violins were of smaller size, with beautiful lines
and wonderful varnish, the secret of which, like that
of Stradavarius’, has vanished forever.

Amati had two sons who worked with him, but it
was his grandson Nicolb, born in 1596, who was the
most celebrated of the family. He was the best
teacher of the art of violin-making of his day, and his
fame spread rapidly over Europe. Nicolo’s violins are
perfect in finish and were never equaled by those of
his own son, who was the last of this famous line of
makers. A well-known pupil of his was Ruggieri,
called Giovanni the Good, who worked with his
father and brother and made beautiful instruments.

In the Guarnerius family several generations were
also represented. The first, Andrea Guarnerius, was
a pupil of Nicolo Amati. He had sons and grandsons
who helped to carry on his life work with even more
successful results. But the greatest of the family was
a cousin named Giuseppe, born in 1683, of whose life
very little is known. When young, he joined for a


time a religious order, and his violins are curiously
signed with the cross and the letters I. H. S. For this
reason he is known as Giuseppe Guarnerlus del Gesu
( u of Jesus”). He was of an ardent, artistic tempera-
ment, moody and impulsive by turns, and there is a
great difference in his violins. Some are perfect in
tone and workmanship, but others bearing his name are
of inferior quality as compared with those of his best
period, in which was made his masterpiece, called “The
King.” Although the following is undoubtedly a leg-
end and an invention of dealers wishing to sell poor
violins, it is interesting as explaining the origin of the
so-called “Prison Josephs,” some of which are said to
be still in existence. The story tells that owing to his<
careless life, he one day found himself in a debtors’
prison. At his entreaty the jailer’s daughter brought
him wood and tools and he worked with the inferior
materials, making violins which were sold by his friend,
until the day when his tired spirit was released from
earth’s bondage. After Stradivarius he was perhaps
the greatest master of violin-making, and virtuosos
seek eagerly for his instruments. Paganini’s favorite
violin was a Guarnerius “del Gesu.”

A great maker of violins was Jacob Stainer, born in
the Austrian Tyrol in the year 1621. He was appren-
ticed to an organ-builder in Innsbruck, but the huge
instruments were not congenial to his soul, and he began
secretly to take lessons of a lute-maker and finally ran
away to Cremona to study with Nicolo Amati. On
his return he married and settled down as a violin-
maker, a life he loved. His instruments are beautiful,
each finished with exquisite care. He used to go into
the deep forests to choose the wood for them, and it is
said he would tap with his hammer on the tree trunk


before cutting it, to listen for the vibrations of its
“music soul.”

Except for an occasional trip to Innsbruck, where
the archduke had appointed him court violin-maker, he
rarely left his village. Times were bad in Europe,
for Austria was recovering from the Thirty Years’
War, and money was scarce. Stainer had a family of
nine children, and in spite of ceaseless toil he fell into
debt. A pathetic appeal to his Emperor for help was
of no avail, and he was thrown into prison. Some
say that in the cruel ignorance of the times he was also
accused of witchcraft, and when at last he was free
his spirit was broken and his health destroyed. He is
said to have made twelve perfect violins, beautifully
inlaid, which he sent to the twelve electors of the Em-
pire, but even this delicate and touching tribute did
not bring the help from them that would have pro-
longed his life and given the world more of his mas-
terpieces. And so he died, an insane, melancholy re-
cluse, at the age of sixty-two.

While poor Jacob Stainer was battling with an un-
grateful world, a boy twenty years his junior was
sitting in the workrooms of old Amati of Cremona,
who later was to make violins such as the world may
never see again. This was Antonio ^tradvvarms, born
in 1644, a descendant of an old patrician family. At
first he carefully adhered to the models of his teacher,
and it was only after years of experiment that he de-
veloped his own independent style. His art was in-
comparable, and each violin that he finished showed
painstaking study of all the minute details that go to
make a perfect whole. The Stradivarius violins are
of a flatter model than the earlier ones, and yet pro-
duce an increased volume of sound. It is difficult to


describe the beauty of these instruments if played by
an artist, for their tone is of a rare sweetness and
power. The varnish that this master used was of a
deep, rich reddish color, the secret of which no one has
succeeded in recovering.

He chose his wood with great care pine, ash and
maple, some parts close-grained, others hard or soft,
but all to suit a particular purpose. When twenty-
three years of age he married, and on the top of his
modest house in the Piazza San Domenico that noted
square he built a workshop which was open to the
four winds. There in his leather apron, which he is
said to have worn both winter and summer, one can
imagine him seated among the creations of his heart
and brain. Even when an old man, he still worked
for the joy of creating, and until a year before his
death, at the age of ninety-four, continued to train the
pupils who gathered around him. One of these pupils
was Carlo Bergonzi, who lived next door and copied
carefully in his own violins the models of his teacher.
History says that Stradivarius made about a thou-
sand violins during his lifetime, as well as hundreds
of other musical instruments, such as cellos and bas&
viols. When one realizes that every violin is com-
posed of from sixty to seventy pieces of wood, deli-
cately fitted and glued together, one can grasp a little
of what this means. He sold them for the modest
sum of one hundred lire, or twenty dollars. Today
they bring nearer twenty thousand dollars, and one
famous one (the Rode) is valued at twelve thousand
pounds. All the crowned heads of Europe sent to
Stradivarius, demanding violins, but each had to await
his turn, for he never allowed an instrument to leave
his workshop that was not perfect of its kind.


When the master died, he was buried in the Chapel
of the Rosary in the Church of San Domenico, which
has now been destroyed. Today only a tablet to his
memory remains in the town hall, but his name can
never be forgotten.

Chapter XV


“Broad paths are open to every endeavor, and a sympathetic
recognition is assured to everyone who consecrates his art.”


THE violin had now been perfected, and it waited
for the men who were to charm the world with its
music. These soon appeared. The first great one,
called the father of violin-playing, was an Italian
named Arcangelo Corelli. He is said to have raised
“fiddling to the dignity of an art, and by his accom-
plishments as player and composer he set new standards
for violin music. He was a fine conductor and helped
in the development of the orchestra by being the first
to insist that his men be uniform in their bowing.

Corelli was born in 1653 and studied the violin in
his native town until his twentieth year, when he went
to Paris. The music at the court of Louis XIV was
ruled by Lully, and the latter’s jealousy drove the
younger musician to seek other fields. After working
for ten years in ‘Germany, he returned to Italy and
settled in Rome, where he lived beloved by his coun-
trymen. He ranked high as a teacher, and his com-
positions are still classics for the violin.

Corelli was modest and unspoiled, although called
by his admirers the “master of masters” and the
“Orpheus of his time.” He lies buried in the Pantheon,


and the tablet to his memory is not far from that
which marks the grave of Raphael.

The love of the violin spread rapidly through Eu-
rope, and even the monks learned to play, introducing
its music into the church services. One famous priest,
violinist and composer, called il prete rosso on account
of his red hair, was Antonio Vivaldi of Venice, born
about 1675. Another virtuoso lived in Italy whose
life was a romantic one. This was Giuseppe Tartini,
the greatest violinist and theorist of his time. He
loved music better than the study of law, which his
family desired should be his profession. To dis-
courage his musical aspirations he was sent to college,
but having fallen in love with the pretty niece of the
Bishop, he secretly married her, thus ending his col-
lege career. He was then sent for a time to a mon-
astery in Assisi with his violin as his only consolation.
One night he dreamed that he bargained with the
Devil for his soul, and commanded the Evil One to
play to him. Immediately, Satan seized the violin
and drew from it such marvelous music that the lis-
tener was spellbound, and when he awoke did his best
to write down what he had heard. His own piece he
considered inferior to the magic harmonies of his
dream, but he named it “The Devil’s Trill,” and it is
still played in concert.

Tartini believed so fully in the reality of his dream
that he hung the manuscript over his study door as
protection against further visits from the Evil One.
With his vivid imagination, he was a forerunner of
the romantic school and often wrote the words of a
poem over his music for inspiration. One of his inno-
vations was the improvement of the shape of the violin
bow whereby he increased its usefulness.


The next master was another Italian, Giovanni
Viotli, born two years after Corelli. Viotti’s father
was a blacksmith who played the horn, and his love of
music inspired in his little son an eagerness to learn.
To their village came a wandering lute-player, and
young Viotti, having received a toy fiddle, begged to
have lessons from the stranger. Afterwards he worked
away by himself until his thirteenth year, when a pa-
tron appeared who had him taught and educated.

When twenty-five, his playing was felt to be beyond
criticism, and he toured in concerts with overwhelming

His compositions were also unusual, as before his
time composers wrote their violin solos with only the
accompaniment of a few instruments, but Viotti used
a small orchestra. Later, he went to Paris as di-
rector of grand opera, but the outbreak of the Revo-
lution ended his career and he landed in London with
wrecked fortunes. His old age was filled with strug-
gles and disappointments, and he finally resigned his
art to become a wine merchant, and ended his days in

He, Corelli and Tartini are the three great names
in the early history of violin-playing.

On a narrow street in Genoa stands the house where
in 1784 the wonder of all violin-players was born.
Nicolo Paganlnl was a man of such genius that in his
day he seemed to stand apart from other men, from
musicians whose despair as well as inspiration he was,
and from the curious and enraptured audiences who
made his weird personality the center of all the mys-
terious tales their fancy could evolve. One story af-
firmed that he had given his soul to the Devil in ex-
change for the latter’s constant help and attendance


at his concerts, where he might be seen guiding his
favorite’s hand. *

Paganini’s iron will caused him to work without rest
until he achieved a perfect command of technic. For
years he practised constantly ten hours a day, often
until completely exhausted. As a child he was driven
to it by a stern father who, after finding the boy pos-
sessed talent, persisted in working him nearly to death.
While other children were playing in the street, poor
little Nicolo was shut into his room, his small fingers
bent on finding a way in which to conquer every musi-
cal difficulty. He was really his own teacher and
always a law unto himself.

When eleven years old, his father took him to Pavia,
to play before a famous violinist named Alessandro
Rolla and secure his services as a teacher. While they
waited in the anteroom for him to appear, the boy
picked up a concerto on the music stand and, to amuse
himself, played it at sight. Rolla, entering, in blank
amazement saw the child who played his own difficult
composition and declared he could teach him nothing.
Soon Nicolo’s father started him on a series of concert
tours, but when the boy was seventeen years old he
became his own master. He was soon the idol of the
Italian people. Wherever he appeared, in Paris,
Berlin, Vienna or London, it was the same the whole
world seemed “Paganini-mad.” In appearance he was
tall and haggard, with long locks of black hair, glow-
ing eyes and deep sunken cheeks. He appeared on the
stage like a specter, the wonder of his touch carrying
all before him.

While playing, he could turn the pegs of his violin,
raising or lowering a string from its ordinary pitch
and thus achieving strange intervals. Sometimes


strings broke, as they frequently did under his iron
fingers, which plucked them in imitation of a guitar or
swept the bow over them in waves of sound, but this
caused him no uneasiness. He would finish his con-
certo, playing it all on three strings or, if necessary,
on two. Violin harmonics are difficult effects, but
nothing like Paganini’s had ever been imagined by the
musicians of his day. His compositions were of sur-
passing difficulty. He even wrote several that were
so nearly impossible he could hardly execute them him-
self. It is said that the Bach Sonatas and the Paganini
Caprices contain everything that the violin is capable
of expressing.

The composer suffered much from bad health, the
result of his years of overwork as a boy, but nothing
affected or lowered the standard of his playing. After
his thirtieth year he hardly practised at all, and a story
is told of an Englishman who followed him from place
to place hoping to learn his secret. At last he suc-
ceeded in engaging a room next door to his idol, and
watched through the keyhole on a day when Paganini
was booked to appear in concert. He saw him open
his shabby old violin case and lift out the instrument,
but while the listener was holding his breath, Paganini
only measured a few silent intervals on the finger board
with his long fingers and returned the violin to its

Wealth and honors were his, but after his fiftieth
year his health failed and he returned to Nice, dying
there a few years later.

His favorite violin was the superb Guarnerms made
by that master who signed himself “del Gesu.” It
was given to Paganini by an enthusiastic amateur who,
after hearing him play on it, declared he himself could


never again profane its strings. The violinist left^the
instrument to his native Genoa, where the precious
relic can be seen enshrined in its glass case.

Ludwig Spohr, born in Germany in the same year
as Paganini, had a far-reaching influence on the his-
tory of the violin. He was also a creative artist and
one of the first conductors to guide his men by standing
in their midst. Spohr was the talented child of a doc-
tor who loved music and encouraged him to study, and
with the exception of Paganini was the best violinist
of his day. The two men were totally dissimilar in
their art. The former lacked the magnetic brilliancy
of his rival, but his playing was noble and scholarly
and his tone full of tenderness and beauty. He wrote
well for his instrument, and his School for the Violin
has been used by students of all countries. One of
the virtuosi who studied under him was Ferdinand
David, a fine German violinist, and in the latter’s own
large class of pupils was August Wilhelmj, whom Liszt
described as a second Paganini.

Another great violinist was the Hungarian, Joseph
Joachim, born in 1835. He founded the well-known
Joachim String Quartet, which interpreted in a fault-
less manner for many years the works of the classic
masters. Joachim was a friend of Mendelssohn, and
finally settled in Berlin, which he made a center for
violin students of all lands.

Wilma Neruda (Lady Halle), born in Germany in
1839, was one of the greatest violinists of her day.
She married Sir Charles Halle, and with him toured
the world in many successful concerts. While in Eng-
land she was given the title of “Violinist to the Queen.”

Pablo de Sarasate, the Spanish virtuoso, was born
in 1844, and from the age of ten, when presented with


a Stradivarius by Queen Isabella of Spain, to the year
of his death, his career was a series of brilliant tri-
umphs in many lands.

In 1850 two French artists were playing the violin,
Charles de Beriot and his pupil Henri Fieuxtemps,
while from Poland came Henri Wieniawski, and from
Norway the blond giant, Ole Bull, who won all hearts
in America by his playing of the melodies of his native

The Belgian, Eugene Ysaye, has been called the
greatest violinist of modern times. Both as soloist
and ensemble artist he plays with grandeur of expres-
sion and beauty of tone.

Maud Powell, born in 1868, was considered the
representative American violinist. She studied in Ger-
many with Schradieck, and with Joachim at his own
request, and toured Europe and America for years
with extraordinary success, being an artist of rare

Fritz Kreisler, born in Vienna, is a versatile genius
and one of the world’s greatest violinists. He is the
possessor of a famous Stradivarius violin, and the
beautiful tone he draws from its strings enchants his
audiences in whatever land he chooses to play.

Mischa Elman, a Russian, was the first of the bril-
liant Auer pupils to appear in America and from his
childhood has played with sensational success.

The Frenchman, Jacques Thibaud, is gifted with
great musical insight and emotional feeling. He is a
master of tone and a distinguished virtuoso as well as
a remarkably fine ensemble player.

Albert Spalding is one of the most talented violinists
of American birth, and has written for both his own
instrument and for the piano.


Many of the younger violinists of the present day
are of the Russian school. One of the best-known is
Jascha Heifetz, who is recognized as a great master
of the violin. A concert player at the age of four, his
remarkable powers as a child remind one of the early
career of Mozart. When only six years old, he played
the Mendelssohn Concerto with orchestra before an
enthusiastic audience of over one thousand people,
and success has followed his triumphant tours through
Europe and America.

Efrem Zimbalist ranks high as a virtuoso, and
all of these Russian-born violinists have been pupils
of the celebrated Hungarian teacher, Leopold Auer,
who has trained most of the noted violinists of the
present day, and is himself a player of distinction.

A famous violoncellist is the Spaniard, Pablo Casals,
whose father was organist in a village near Barcelona.
There the boy heard much music, although he was thir-
teen before he took up the study of the cello. After
studying in Madrid, his progress was so extraordinary
that friends collected a fund with which to send him
to Paris, where he achieved a triumph. Since then
he has everywhere had sensational success on concert
tours. He is unique among violoncellists and has few
equals as a soloist, for his technic and manner of in-
terpreting the works of the classic masters are those
of a great artist.

It is impossible to name all those who have gained
fame by their playing or their contributions to violin
literature, but the sacred torch is always lighted and
the world ever eager for the gift of beauty, since the
days of the Indian king and his little ravanstrom,
played when the world was young.

Chapter XVI


“An artist should practise hope, for he can expect nothing
from the present; he knows that his mission is to serve, and to
give his work for the life and teaching of the generations that
shall come after him.” Vincent d’Indy.

THE early history of Russian music is the history of
song, and for many centuries the songs of the people
and the music of the church were the two forms used.

Instrumental music was a later growth, and it was
not until the last century that music of this character
became a serious art rather than a copy of the Italian
and French schools.

The first Russian to break away from the traditions
of the West and to write music founded on the national
folk songs was Mikhail Glinka, born in 1804. He
studied the characteristics of the melodies of the peo-
ple, and among his compositions is a typically Russian
opera, A Life for the Tsar, which gained him the title
of the father of Russian music.

In 1867 five young Russians were living in St.
Petersburg who strongly influenced the music of their
native land. Mily Balakiref became their leader,
gathering the others around him and inspiring them
with his own enthusiasm. In order to preserve the old
Russian folk songs, Balakireff made a valuable collec-
tion of them, and was himself an eminent composer



and a noted conductor. The other names of “the
Five” were Cesar Cui, Alexander Borodin, Modest
Moussorgsky and Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakoff, and to-
gether they founded a new free school of Russian

The two whose operas have proved the most popu-
lar are Moussorgsky and Rimsky-Korsakoff.

Moussorgsky, when a young man, met Balakireff,
who became interested in his genius, and persuaded
him to adopt music as a profession. His best compo-
^sitions are his songs and his opera, Boris Godunof,
with its oriental charm, which established him among
the foremost Russian composers.

Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakof, born in 1844, graduated
as a young man from the Naval School, had charge of
the marine bands and later was made an admiral. His
musical tendency proving the stronger call, he became
a professor at the St. Petersburg Conservatory, and,
as training for his work, composed in one summer
sixty-four fugues. Like Wagner, he wrote the text
for most of his operas, such as the Coq d’Or (Golden
Cock) and the Snow Maiden, finding his subjects in
the fairy tales and legends of Russia. He possessed
a rare gift for melody and a genius for blending the
tone colors of the instruments in the orchestra. One
of his best-known works is Scheherazade, a symphonic
poem, drawn from the Arabian Nights, and filled with
the poetry and glamour of the East Throughout its
four movements is heard a haunting arpeggio theme
on a solo violin, which conveys to the listener a picture
of the fair wife of the Sultan as she relates her mar-
velous tales. Rimsky-Korsakoff also composed can-
tatas and string quartets and used folk-song melodies
as a basis for some of his themes.


“The Five,” besides developing the music of their
native Russia, have had a lasting effect on the music
of French composers and the younger musicians of
other lands.

French music shows important changes during the
last century, and, together with the Russian school, it
has influenced in a marked degree the music of other
nations. Before the Franco-Prussian War, French
composers wrote chiefly for opera, but by the year
1871 the inspiring personality of Cesar Franck and his
devotion to the highest ideals of art had made itself
felt, and his pupils learned from him to achieve a more
classic style of writing and to reverence the music of
the old composers.

Other musicians helped in this movement and
worked to create what finally became a distinctive
school of French music.

In 1871 several leading composers, among them
Saint-Saens and Cesar Franck, formed a National So-
ciety of Music to introduce to the ;world the works
of French writers.

Another member of this society who held a high
place as a talented and progressive musician was
Gabriel-Urbain Faure, a pioneer in French music, and
a refined and poetical composer. He replaced Saint-
Saens as organist at the church of the Madeleine and
later became director of the Conservatoire. Faure’s
songs are his masterpieces, and his subtle, original
harmonies were forerunners of the music of Debussy
and of those who followed him.

Vincent d’Indy is one of the most important figures
in French music. He is celebrated as composer, con-


ductor and teacher, and as the author of numerous
scholarly works.

As a young man, he became a devoted pupil and
follower of Cesar Franck. With him he helped to
found the National Society of Music, and as a lasting
memorial to this master, he and Charles Bordes (an-
other Franck pupil) and Alexandre Guilmant founded
the famous “Schola Cantorum” to teach the correct
singing of the Gregorian chants and revive the old
church music.

D’Indy has composed many works for solo instru-
ments and for orchestra. His descriptive symphony
A Summer Day on the Mountain is poetical and lovely,
from the first mysterious harmonies that usher in the
dawn to the final chords that bring the day to a close
and tell that twilight is near.

An original personality in French music was Erik
Satie, born in 1869, the child of a French father and
Scottish mother. It may have been from his mother
that he inherited the humor, so characteristic of his

As Debussy was influenced by the poetry of Mal-
larme and the paintings of Whistler, so Satie too was
inspired by certain mystic artists of the French school
and broke away from established traditions. In Paris
he has been called the godfather of the group of
younger musicians who are named “The Six.”

One of the most brilliant Impressionists is the
French composer Maurice Ravel. He studied coun-
terpoint at the Conservatoire and, like Debussy, found
his original harmonies were not always appreciated
by his teachers or by the public who first listened to his

In 1912 the Russian Ballet brought out his master-


piece, Daphnis and Chloe, and his reputation as a com-
poser was assured. Besides writing delightfully for
orchestra, he has composed piano pieces that are full
of charm, many with a classic flavor of the eighteenth
century. One fantastic piece, written for children, is
his Mother Goose duet, whose charming themes are
taken from the old French fairy tales.

An interesting composer of French birth who has
lived in America from about his twentieth year is
Charles Martin Tornov Loeffler. He is a master in
his use of modern harmonies and has written songs,
chamber music and symphonic poems for orchestra.
Among the latter are A Pagan Poem and The Death
of Tintagiles, in which is introduced the old viola
d’amore. Loeffler is also a violinist of note.

The music of England, like the music of France, re-
ceived a fresh impetus about the year 1870, and this
was further developed by the composers who appeared
at the beginning of the new century who wrote in a
less academic style. One of tae leaders of this school
is Sir Edward Elgar, who practically taught himself,
and as a boy played the violin in a small orchestra.
He is famous for his oratorio The Dream of Geron-
tiuSy written on the text of a poem by Cardinal New-
man, and has composed for voices and solo instruments
as well as for orchestra. Elgar is a fine organist and
conductor and was knighted by the king in 1904, in
recognition of his work.

A very talented English musician is Dante Ethel
Smythe, who has written several well-known operas,
among them The Wreckers and The Boatswain’s Mate.
Other works are symphonies and chamber music. Like
Elgar, she was honored in 1920 and received the title
of Dame.


In England, an interesting musician named Arnold
Dolmetsch can be said to have discovered the technic
of a lost art. Dolmetsch is the son of a piano-maker,
and coming into possession of an old viola d’amore,
he repaired it and mastered its possibilities. He also
learned to play on other old instruments such as the
lute, clavichord and spinet, and has become a fine per-
former and world-wide authority on old music and the
instruments of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries.

Frederick Delius is a modernist and a unique and
poetic composer* He writes in the impressionistic
style, and some of his works are very striking. Among
them are chorales, orchestral pieces, songs, and an
opera, A Village Romeo and Juliet.

A distinguished musician who has been an influence
in the lives of the younger English composers is Ralph
Faughan Williams. He is considered one of the great
symphonic writers of today, and his interesting Lon-
don Symphony introduces the old street cries and songs
of the city. There is also a Pastoral Symphony, and
one called The Sea, inspired by the poetry of Walt

The twentieth century has witnessed a novel depar-
ture in musical traditions, and brilliant young pioneers
have appeared who are composing music containing
new harmonies and rhythms quite undreamed of in the
music of an earlier century.

Besides the use of the old pentatonic scale, the
church modes and the ancient whole-tone scale that
Debussy was one of the first to revive, there is also a
system called atonality, resembling the music of the
Greeks, in its lack of dependence on one principal tone
or keynote dominating the key. Instead of this, it


groups together chords built on any one of the twelve
half tones lying inside the octave, and thus new effects
of color are produced.

Another form of composition used largely by the
younger writers of today is polyharmony or polyto-
nality. In it there is absolute freedom in the simul-
taneous use of dissonances and chords belonging to
several different keys. Instead of changing har-
monies, as in the old music, changing keys are used.
Thus a composition may have a treble melody written
in two sharps, supported by a bass part in the key of
five flats.

Modern composers of whatever land are making a
particular study of the “wood-wind” and “brass” in-
struments of the orchestra, discovering new effects with
them and introducing these into their music, as the
composers of an earlier century experimented and
wrote for the “strings.”

As Debussy was the great apostle of impressionism,
so Schonberg and Stravinsky are two typical leaders
of the free forms of composition found in the atonal
and polyharmonic forms.

Arnold Schonberg was born in Vienna, and from
his youth cast aside the laws of harmony and com-
posed unhampered by rules. His system is atonality,
and he uses strange intervals and rhythms that are
daring innovations in music.

Alexander Scriabin is one of the well-known com-
posers of the twentieth century. He was born in
Russia in 1871, and his music is full of originality and
mysticism. He invented harmonies he termed “mystic
chords,” and believed in joining color with music.
Besides ten sonatas, he composed several orchestral
“poems,” one of which was given with colors thrown


on a screen to accompany the music. This composition,
Prometheus, a Poem of Fire, the composer declared,
must be heard five times before it could be understood.
A number of years ago it was played twice through
at a concert in London, but most of the audience re-
fused to be educated, and fled from the hall before
the repetition.

Igor Stravinsky is felt by many musicians to be the
hope of the new music of Russia, for owing to the
revolution and its effects, Russian music has suffered
under the Soviet, the latter’s influence being opposed
to the freer Russian style developed before the war,
which had been enriched by the music of western

Stravinsky was born in Russia and studied with
Rirnsky-Korsakoff. His two ballets, given in Paris,
The Fire Bird and Petrouchka, are delightful compo-
sitions. A later work, his famous Rites of Spring,
represents pagan Russia and the dances of its peas-
ants. It is a remarkable work, brutal and pagan in
its feeling and with new and startling orchestral effects.

After the Great War, several young French musi-
cians were grouped together into a society called
“The Six.” To them impressionism was dead, and
like the Camerata in Italy in the seventeenth century,
they rebelled against the forms in use and developed
a new movement The names of the Six are Ger-
maine Tailleferre, Louis Durey, George Auric, Fran-
cis Poulenc, Darius Milhaud and Arthur Honegger,
the last two being the most talented.

Milhaud is a pianist, lecturer, conductor and com-
poser. Honegger is the author of a successful ora-
torio, Le Roi David. Another of his much talked-of
compositions is Pacific 231, an orchestral tone picture


of an American locomotive as it races under full
steam through the night. Honegger is the independ-
ent member of the group and a composer of promise.

The school of modern English music is now an im-
portant one, thanks to the support of certain societies,
and to the Cobbett Chamber Music competitions which
have endeavored to stimulate the creative talent of
the younger composers. Another inspiration comes
from Glasgow, and is the Orpheus Choir of mixed
voices which gives concerts throughout Great Britain.
After hearing them, one celebrated critic remarked:
“The soul of England comes out in her choral sing-

Among the younger English composers is Cyril
Scott, a true impressionist and follower of Debussy.
He has written symphonies, overtures and chamber
music, and he lectures on the relation of tones and color.

John Ireland is an original and poetic composer,
and his compositions include orchestral works and
chamber music, besides many piano pieces and songs.
Arnold Eax } more conservative than many of his con-
temporaries, is a lover of Celtic lore, and In the
Faery Hill and The Garden of Fand are imaginative
and interesting creations for orchestra.

Eugene Goossens is of Flemish descent, though born
in England, and is already a well-known conductor as
well as composer. He is a believer in the new music
and uses modern dissonances in his works, which in-
clude pieces for orchestra, as well as for strings and

The new tonal systems now in use, and the spirit
of the century, have revolutionized modern music, and
its future is impossible to foretell.


Chapter XVII


ONE of the greatest names in the history of music is
that of the master, Johann Sebastian Bach. His
genius was universal and he stands, a grand old figure,
at the parting of the ways between the early com-
posers and their works, and the freer forms of writ-
ing that developed with Haydn and Mozart./

One cannot imagine what the history of music
would have been had Bach never lived, for his in-
fluence was immeasurable. An unknown writer has
said: “Music revolved around his image as the
waves of the sea flow around the great rock of Gi-
braltar which divides their passage and stands sentinel
over their pathway.” Most musicians who have fol-
lowed him have reyerently studied his compositions
and learned much from this masterfwho lived all his
life in Germany and was often criticized and mis-
understood. *

(He was born in the town of Eisenach, on the
edge of the Thuringian forest. From his home he
could see the castle of the Wartburg, where Martin
Luther, two centuries before, had worked to translate
the Bible for the enlightenment of the German people,
and where the Minnesingers in the Middle Ages had
held their contests of song.

The name of Bach was already celebrated, for in



1575 there were good musicians belonging to the fam-
ily, ancestors of this Johann Sebastian who became
the most famous of them all.) They were simple, vir-
tuous people with a pronounced musical inheritance,
and for many years an annual Bach festival was held
in Germany, where sometimes one hundred Bachs gath-
ered together to sing and play.

/When the boy was only eight, he was left an orphan
and went to live with an elder brother who had a
home of his own and who offered to provide for the
little Johann Sebastian.

Here he stayed for six years, in one of the wooded
valleys of Thuringia, studying the clavier and going
to school. He also sang in church and played on the
violin that had belonged to his musical father, whose
pupil he had been. ”

His brother was a stern man and, not realizing the
child’s genius, was often unnecessarily severe. He
owned a book containing music written by the German
composers of the day, and it was little Johann’s am-
bition to study it. The child begged hard for the privi-
lege, but was told such music was beyond his powers.
Not satisfied, he crept softly downstairs one night
when all were asleep, and, drawing the precious manu-
script through the wire lattice on the bookshelf, began
copying its contents by the light of the moon. Night
after night he continued his labor of love, until at the
end of six months he had made its melodies his own.
But a bitter disappointment awaited him, for his copy
was discovered and taken from him, and he saw it no
more until after his brother’s death.

/When Bach was fifteen, he left home to sing in the
choir of the Benedictine monks at Liineburr*, and there
with indomitable energy he studied to perfect his skill


on the violin, organ and clavichord, and often com-
posed and wrote far into the night.

One day he heard of a famous Dutch organist, Jan
Reinken, who played in the cathedral at Hamburg.
This town, called u the Paradise of German music,”
was many miles away, and having no money for the
journey, Bach started on foot with his fiddle under
his arm v ) A story tells that after walking many hours
he rested near an inn, where supper was being pre-
pared. Suddenly a window opened, and a parcel was
thrown to the hungry boy in which were two dried
herrings, each containing a piece of silver. This un-
expected gift from an unknown friend cheered his
journey, and on reaching Hamburg he was still further
rewarded by the playing of Reinken. The visit to
Hamburg was several times repeated, and years after,
when Reinken was an old man and Bach himself a
great organist, he played to the aged musician, who
said to him with tears in his eyes: “I did think that
the art would die with me, but you will keep it alive.”
/When he was eighteen, an opportunity came to
fulfill the dearest wish of his heart, which was to be
town organist. His great-uncle had played the organ
in Arnstadt, and since his time the authorities had
sought vainly for a musician worthy to take his place.
Finally young Bach was allowed to try his powers, and
no sooner had he finished playing than he was installed
as the rightful heir of his uncle.,)
/After two years he was given a month’s holiday,
which he spent in Ltibeck, going there to listen to the
fine playing of Dietrich Buxtehude, a Danish organist
of note. This musician gave the younger man many
valuable ideas on fugue-writing and the use of the
organ pedals, and Bach became so interested that he


extended his one month to three. On his return he
was coldly received by the authorities, and soon after
accepted a new position in Muhlhausen, where he was
given the same modest salary as in Arnstadt, with^the
addition of a cart in which to convey his possessions
to his new abode*/

| When twenty-two years old, he married his cousin
Maria Barbara, who proved a devoted wife and a
help to him in all practical ways.

The following year saw the young musician court-
organist to the Duke of Weimar. The Duke was of
a grave and religious character, and for him Bach
composed many church cantatas.

When twenty-nine years old, he journeyed to Cas-
sel and played an astonishing pedal solo on the organ,
so difficult that few could have achieved with their
hands what he played with his feet. His audience
was enchanted, and the Prince, who was present, took
a ring from his finger and gave it to him~>

He once had an amusing experience with Marchand,
court organist of Louis XIV. On Marchand’s arrival
in Germany, Bach’s many admirers arranged a musical
contest in which the two musicians were to play, the
people to decide which was the greater. The contest
was to be held at the house of the Prime Minister in
Dresden, and on the night chosen, his gorgeous mansion
was illuminated and many guests assembled. Bach
arrived and waited for the Frenchman, but he never
appeared, for, dreading the result of the contest, he
had left Germany post-haste for his native land.
/*When Bach was thirty-two, he became Kapell-
meister to the young Prince of Anhalt-Kothen, an
enthusiastic music-lover who played and sang with his
new friend. He insisted that Bach accoftipany him


on his travels, and on a journey to Karlsbad the mas-
ter, to console himself for having no musical instru-
ments at hand, composed a large portion of the Well-
tempered Clavichord.

.Later this prince married a gay young wife who
cared nothing for music, and soon his interest too
began to wane, so the next year found Bach the cantor
of the Thomas-Schule in Leipzig, an office he held
until his death, twenty-seven years later J

The Thomas-Schule, an ancient institution dating
from the fifth century, was both grammar and choir
school for the pupils who attended it. Bach’s posi-
tion made him practically director of all the music in
Leipzig, for he supervised the singing in the four most
important churches and trained a choir which com-
bined the best voices in the town. Unfortunately, be-
fore his time, music in Leipzig had declined, and
owing to mismanagement in the school, many of the
best singers had been lured away. All through his
work of reconstruction he was hampered by the jeal-
ousy and ignorance of many of the other directors,
and at times he was tempted to give up the position,
but he possessed many friends and admirers and the
number of his pupils increased from year to year.
Several of these became musicians of note, his two
eldest sons, Wilhelm Friedemann and Philipp Eman-
uel, being the most famous of all.

fBach’s wife had died before he went to Leipzig,
and her loss was a deep grief to him. Two years
later he married for a second time a singer named
Anna Magdalena Wiilken, a charming person who, al-
though fifteen years his junior, proved a most con-
genial companion. It was one of his pleasures to
arrange songs for her to sing and he also taught her to


play the clavier, many of the pieces in his French Suites
having been written for her to study.

With a family of twenty children and his modest
salary amounting to hardly more than seven hundred
thaler s (one hundred dollars) a year and his rent,
Bach had no time in which to be idle. He used
to say in later years: “I was obliged to be industrious;
whoever will be equally industrious will succeed welLJ

Meanwhile the Leipzig council continued to harass
him with their criticisms and arbitrary rules, and al-
though to the musical public he had become a celeb-
rity, he was without honor in his own town and was
not even consulted when a plan for developing better
concerts was started there.

At the time of Bach’s accession to the cantorship,
Leipzig, although filled with Protestant churches, re-
tained many of the Catholic customs in its church
service, such as the use of the Magnificat and other
parts of the mass, and in his great Mass in B Minor he
shows his reverence for this form of church music.

A deeply religious and beautiful composition, The
Passion according to St. Matthew, was brought out
after his arrival in Leipzig. This is as near perfec-
tion as any sacred music ever composed, and a noble
monument to its creator. To it are set parts of the
Gospel, and it was written to be sung in Holy Week,
for it portrays the grief of those who contemplate
Christ’s sufferings on the Cross.

Bach composed several secular cantatas, but he
valued these very little and when he found in them
anything of worth, he used it again in a church com-
position, for before all things he was a composer of
sacred music. The Christmas Oratorio was written
when he was fifty years old, and is unsurpassed in its


purity and loveliness. There is great variety and
beauty of expression in his chorales. He collected as
many as two hundred of these old German hymns for
his own use, and delighted to weave them into the tex-
ture of his organ works and his church cantatas. As
an organ composer his genius has never been equaled,
and one thinks of him as the greatest the world has

The master was happy in his home life, for he was
a man of simple domestic tastes. He delighted in
developing the talents of his two most promising sons,
whom he trained carefully from their earliest years,
for he felt that no one should learn to play an instru-
ment who could not think musically as well. With
his own children and his pupils he could always make
up a small orchestra, and some of his finest works
were written to be played at the musical gatherings
given in his home. At these “evenings,” no matter
how gay or exalted the company present, the concert
always commenced with one of the old German

One of his definitions of the purpose of music is
noteworthy. “Its final cause,” he says, “is none other
than this, that it minister solely to the honor of God
and refreshment of the spirit, whereof, if one take
not heed, it is not proper music, but devilish din and
discord.” It would be interesting to learn which of
these definitions he would have applied to some of
the music of today.

Technical difficulties did not exist for him, and his
improvisations on the clavier and organ were still
more wonderful than his written compositions. He
can be called the founder of the art of piano-playing,
for he taught that the fingers should be equally de-


veloped, the lower joints held curved and the wrist
and arm kept flexible. Before his time, organists had
played with only the four fingers of the hand, but
Bach used the thumb as well, and the results were
such that other musicians soon followed his example.

He made the clavier a means of expression such as
no other player or composer before him haH achieved,
and his Well-tempered Clavichord (a clavichord tuned
in equal semitones), consisting of forty-eight Preludes
and Fugues, has been commended to all young musi-
cians by Robert Schumann as the daily bread of the

Among Bach’s works for the clavier are the charm-
ing Suites and Partitas, each a collection of pieces in
different dance rhythms. Another well-known compo-
sition is the Italian Concerto. This has no orchestral
accompaniment as the name would imply, but is really
a form of sonata in three movements, written for his
favorite clavichord.

He once composed a set of Thirty Variations on a
single theme for one of his pupils to play to the Baron
von Keyserling, who suffered from sleeplessness, and
the delighted invalid rewarded the composer with a
gold cup filled with coins amounting in value to four
hundred dollars.

Although Bach never composed an opera, he was
fond of attending the opera at Dresden and of visiting
his friend Hasse, the conductor. “Let us go again
and hear the pretty Dresden songs,” he would say to
his son, and he carefully studied this form of dramatic
art and introduced its principles into his cantatas.
( When Bach was sixty-two, he made his famous visit
to Frederick the Great. Philipp Emanuel had become
court musician and persuaded his father to accept a


long-standing invitation from the King to play to
Frederick was a great lover of music, as well as an
enthusiastic flute-player, and when he heard of the
master’s arrival he postponed the evening concert,
saying eagerly to those assembled, “Gentlemen, old
Bacji has come.”

/The master was welcomed by the King, and the
musicians present followed him from room to room
as Frederick exhibited his fifteen pianos and begged
him to improvise on one of them. Bach selected as
the theme for his fugue a melody that the King him-
self had written, using it in a masterly way, and
the gratified Frederick turned to the courtiers, ex-
claiming: “Truly, gentlemen, there is but one Bach.”^
j^Two years after this visit, the composer’s eyesigKt
weakened and before many months he was totally
blind, a tragic event that may have been hastened by
those moonlight nights of copying when a child. Soon,
too, his health failed, and in another year he had
passed away.

Ten days before the end, his eyesight marvelously
returned. He was once more able to see the faces of
his wife and children, and calling his son-in-law to
him, he bade him write at his dictation a last cho-
rale, using the words, “Herewith I come before Thy

When death came to the Master, it caused little
stir in the city of Leipzig, and even the churchyard
where he j was buried was later torn up to make way
for a public road.

His wife and daughters were allowed to end their
days in poverty, and it was not until the year 1842
that, thanks to the influence of Mendelssohn, a statue
of Bach was placed near his old home. J


Schumann was also a devout admirer of the great
composer, helping to form a Bach Society to collect
and preserve the relics and compositions that the mas-
ter had left to the world, which in his own day had
failed to appreciate his sublime genius.

A celebrated English writer has compared Bach
and Milton: “Each blind in his old age, each deeply
learned in his art, and each possessed of dramatic
power and deep religious fervor.”

Chapter XVIII


THE father of George Frederick Handel was a learned
doctor of medicine to whom music was a frivolous lux-
ury, rather than a necessity of life. (The child was born
in 1685 and had a passion for beauty in all its forms,
and most of all in music. But when he pleaded with
his father to let him become a musician, he was told
that “music was an occupation of little dignity, and
only to be used as an entertainment/’ for from his
earliest years it was decided that he should become
a lawyer.) Like other children, he had a fondness for
toys that made a noise, and with the help of small
drums and whistles and a jew’s-harp, he and his play-
mates formed a toy orchestra until his father became
alarmed and forbade any more such “jingling.”

(One day a devoted aunt fulfilled his heart’s desire
by presenting him secretly with a small clavichord,
and the boy carried his treasure to the garret, where
it could be safely hidden. At night when all the
family slept he would steal out of bed and climb the
attic stairs to play softly on the little tinkling instru-
ment, with an occasional mouse for his only listener.^
Each night in one of the churches in Halle the
choristers sang the old German chorales from the high
tower for all the town to hear, and little George would
listen spellbound to the melodies floating down to



earth, and the next night would pick them out on his

, Dr. Handel, being a clever surgeon, was frequently
summoned to the Duke of Saxe-Weissenfels, a ruler
celebrated as a patron of all the arts. One ^ day as
the doctor was starting for the ducal court, his small
son, who had heard much about the music given there,
begged hard to go with him. This the father refused,
and the boy was left disconsolately watching the car-
riage as it receded in the distance. Suddenly he re-
belled and ran at full speed after his father, lurking
behind until too far from home to be ordered back.
He then came forward, dutifully received his^ scolding,
and afterwards was given a seat in the carriage. ‘ x

On reaching the castle, the boy soon found his way
to the Duke’s private chapel, where the musicians were
rehearsing for the Sunday service. Noticing his eager
attention to the music, they became interested in him
and arranged a plot for his benefit. After service on
Sunday, as the Duke stood talking to his gentlemen,
the choirmaster lifted the seven-year-old child to the
organ bench and bade him play. Then, as the great
organ responded to the touch of *his small, masterly
hands, the chapel was filled with music and the Duke
turned to ask the name of the player. When told it
was little George Handel, the doctor’s son, he ordered
him into his presence and handed him more gold coins
than the boy had ever seen. He also persuaded his
father to let him study music, and a teacher jvas found
in Friedrich Zachau, the organist in Hallej He grew
to love his pupil and taught him everything he him-
self knew to write counterpoint and fugue, and to
play the violin, organ and harpsichord. J In a few
years he could compose for all these instruments, and


his instructor finally declared he could teach ‘him noth-
ing more.

Papa Handel, now proud of his musical son, agreed
to send him to Berlin for more instruction, and he
studied music there with Padre Ariosti, a noted Italian
musician, the favorite of the Electress Sophie.

The Padre was both noble and generous and de-
lighted in the boy’s genius, but another court musician,
named Giovanni Battista Bononcini, was not so broad-
minded, and did everything in his power to ruin the
diances of the young prodigy. On one occasion, he
composed a piece for the harpsichord, containing dif-
ficulties almost impossible to perform, and arranged
that his small rival be asked to play it at sight, as a test
of his ability. To his chagrin and utter confusion, how-
ever, the fifteen-year-old lad glanced over the music
arid played it to perfection. After this, Bononcini
was content to leave him alone.

\A year later, Handel’s father died, bequeathing to
him the care of his mother. He returned home, but
when nineteen years old sought his fortune in Ham-

One day while playing the organ in one of the
churches there, a young man approached and asked
his name. The stranger was Johann Mattheson, a
talented composer, well known to all the artists and
music-lovers of the city. He and Handel were soon
the best of comrades, playing and composing together.

Once only did their friendship wane. This was
after Mattheson had written an opera in which he
sang the leading part, while Handel conducted. After
the death of the hero in the play, and just before the
last act, Mattheson joined Handel and requested the
baton, as he wished himself to conduct the opera to


its finish. ‘/ This Handel told him was ridiculous, and
he was promptly challenged by his friend to a duel,
which was fought directly after the performance. Mat-
theson lunged with his rapier at Handel’s heart, but
to his amazement the weapon fell broken to the
ground, while Handel remained unharmed. His life
had been saved by one of the large brass buttons that
ornamented his coat, and Mattheson, his anger gone,
thanked God that his friend was safe.

l^oon Handel went to Italy, where the people loved
him, and where he was known as il caro Sassone (the
dear Saxon). 1 One evening in Venice during the Car-
nival, a gay crowd of glittering masks were dancing
through the halls of a palace. Finally, one of them
seated himself at a harpsichord and began playing in
a masterly way. He was soon surrounded by the
dancers, and one of them, advancing eagerly, ex-
claimed: “It is either the Devil or the Saxon.” The
speaker was Domenico Scarlatti, himself a fine harpsi-
chord-player, and he welcomed his brother artist to

Handel soon felt a desire to try his luck in England,
where foreign musicians were held in great esteem,
but just at this time the Elector of Hanover decided
he wanted Handel for himself, and appointed him
court musician. This was not at all to the composer’s
taste, and he escaped for a visit to England, finally
settling down there, with rather a guilty conscience,
but quite content to forget the court of Hanover
and its pompous Elector.

Fate, however, revenged itself upon him, for his
patroness, Queen Anne of England, died, and her suc-
cessor, George I, was no other than that same Elector
whom Handel had deserted. Being provoked at Han-


deFs previous neglect, the King refused to see him or
permit him to appear at court, and the composer was
perplexed as to how to conciliate his angry sovereign.
At length he thought of a plan, and proceeded to com-
pose a piece called the Water Music, to be played at
a festival on the Thames in honor of the royal birth-

On that evening, the river was alive with gaily
illuminated boats, and following the King’s barge came
another, filled with musicians playing such lovely music
that the King was delighted. Hearing that Handel
had written it and dedicated it to his sovereign, he
was mollified, and ordered the composer into his pres-
ence, giving him, together with his pardon, the office
of court musician.

(A story probably having little foundation is told of
his piano piece, The Harmonious Blacksmith, the
theme of which was an old song admired by Handel.
It is said that while walking one day, the composer
was overtaken by a shower and sought shelter in a
blacksmith’s shop, where he listened to the smith sing-
ing a song to the accompaniment of the ringing of
his hammer on the anvil. Handel was pleased with
the rhythm and wrote down the melody, afterwards
repeating it in many interesting variations and dedi-
cating it to his young pupils, the daughters of the
Prince of Wales.”*

In the London of his day lived a magnificent noble-
man known as the Duke of Chandos, who had built
himself a palace named Cannons. He offered to make
Handel the organist of his private chapel, and as mu-
sicians were not well paid in those days, Handel ac-
cepted the post with alacrity, giving such fine concerts


that It became the fashion for the gay world of Lon-
don to drive there on Sundays.

The English were fond of musical dramas given in
the Italian style, and Handel formed a society to pro-
duce English operas, writing many himself and spend-
ing much of his own fortune in order to have them
properly staged with fine singers. At first the venture
was successful, but the composer had made many
enemies, and these opposed all his endeavors.
^When fifty-five years of age he gave up the struggle
and, fortunately for the world, turned his attention
to the writing of oratorios, which brought him endur-
ing fame.J

His genius as a composer is rivaled only by his
knowledge and mastery of the different instruments in
the orchestra, which he grouped so as to produce mas-
sive efiects of color. Before his day, trumpets, flutes,
oboes and bass viols were very little used. Instead,
there were lutes and viols and a harpsichord, at which
the conductor himself sat /Handel used this instru-
ment in his own conducting ‘and led his men by waving
his hand or nodding his head to enforce the rhythm)

Once, on his way to Ireland, he was detained in the
old town of Chester, and wishing to utilize the day in
trying over some of his latest compositions, he sought
for a singer who could read music at sight. The best
musician the town afforded was a house-painter named
Jansen, so Handel secured his services for a rehearsal,
but the poor fellow could do nothing with the music.
Finally, Handel in a rage cried out: “You scoundrel!
Did you not tell me you could sing at sight ?” “Yes,
sir,” replied the astonished painter, “but not at -first
sight.” Handel’s answer was a burst of laughter, and
the rehearsal ended as suddenly as it had begun.


He was a very autocratic person where music was
concerned, and had no hesitation in showing his dis-
pleasure to those who lacked reverence for the art.

At that period everyone wore enormous wigs, and
his audience could tell from the angle at which Han-
del’s wig was worn, whether he was pleased or angry.
Even after the death of George I, the Queen remained
his patron, and, with her eyes on her musician’s wig,
would reprove her frivolous court ladies when they
whispered during the performance.

The master had a commanding presence and a
quick temper, as well as an original way of dealing
with people who opposed him. Once Cuzzoni, the
spoiled prima donna, refused to sing an aria he had
written for his new opera. He said to her with more
force than politeness: “I well know, madam, that you
are a true devil, but I would have you know that I
am Beelzebub, the chief of devils,” and with that he
picked her up in his arms, held her out of the open
window, and threatened to drop her unless she con-
sented to sing. It is needless to say she promptly
agreed to do so and ever afterwards sang at his bid-

A friend of Handel’s was once asked what sort of
musician he considered him to be, and he replied:
” Conceive the highest that you can of his abilities,
and they are much beyond anything you can conceive.”
Handel’s greatest work, the beautiful oratorio The
Messiah, was written at the request of the Irish peo-
ple and composed In twenty-two days. It took the
musical world by storm and has thrilled thousands
since it was written in 1742. .

The first performance was in Dublin, and the crown-
ing triumph of his career. Afterwards, his carriage was


drawn through the streets by enthusiastic students and
he was presented with a gold box containing the free-
dom of the city. These triumphs were repeated in
London, where the King, and after him the whole
audience, rose to their feet at the singing of the
Hallelujah Chorus, of which Handel himself said on
first hearing it sung: “I did think I did see all Heaven
before me and the great God Himself.” This custom
continues in our day, everyone reverently rising and
standing, while the organ and the trumpets of the
orchestra peal forth, and the voices declaim: “The
Lord God Omnipotent reigneth.” When Haydn first
heard the Hallelujah Chorus on his visit to England,
he burst into tears and exclaimed: “He is the master
of us all.” The closing chorus of The Messiah is
worthy of the whole inspired masterpiece, a dig-
nified and majestic Amen, repeated by all the voices
and leaving behind a feeling of hope and serenity.

Saul, another oratorio, contains the well-known
Dead March.

To Handel, music was both noble and inspired.
The King once said to him: “You have pleased us
very much,” and the composer replied simply: “Your
Majesty, I did not wish to please, but to make you

Such was the man who had no patience with the
fashionable society of London when it treated good
music with indifference and contempt. He had many
warm friends, however, and used to enjoy meeting
them informally and exchanging music and stories.

{When sixty-seven years old, Handel, like Bach, be-
came blind. He bore this terrible cross with courage
and still sat at his organ and conducted his oratorios,
..undaunted by adversity.^


(When his oratorio Samson was performed, many
or the audience were moved to tears to see the blind
composer listening to the words he had given Samson
to sing, so expressive of his own sorrow: “Total
eclipse, no sun, no moon, all dark amid the blaze of
noon.” J

(“He expressed the wish that he might breathe his
last on Good Friday, “in hopes,” he said, “of meeting
my sweet Lord and Savior on the day of His resur-
rection,’* and strangely enough, after a short illness,
death came to him on Easter Eve.

The great master now rests, after a life of struggle
and achievement, in the dim grandeur of Westminster
Abbey, where his statue, cut in marble, stands serenely
above his tomb and seems to listen to the sacred har-
monies evoked by his spirit while on this earth./

‘Chapter XIX


(GENIUS often enters the door of a cottage, rather
than that of a palace, and this was the case when
Franz Joseph Haydn was born, for his parents were
simple peasants living in a small town in Austria.>

tThe father, besides being the village wheelwright,
was sexton and organist as well, and both he and his
wife had a true love of music. After work was _ over,
he would play the harp while the whole family sang
hymns to his accompaniment, and “Baby Joseph,” as
he was called, before his sixth birthday would stand
in the choir of the village church and lead the singing
in his clear, childish voice./

Near by lay the town of Hamburg, and its school-
master, Johann Frankh, was a relative of the Haydn
family. (Little Joseph won his interest when he was
seen trying to take part in the family concerts, using
a piece of wood as a violin and drawing a stick across
it in perfect time to his father’s playing. Frankh told
his friends he would take the child to his own home
and train him in music, to which they eagerly assented.
It had long been the father’s dream that one of his
children should become a musician, though his pious
mother would have rejoiced if her son had been des-
tined for the priesthood!

Life in Hamburg was not always easy, for the wife



of Herr Frankh was a lazy woman, who neglected the
six-year-old boy, so that he became a ragged little
urchin, but his sunny disposition and love of music
made him cheerfully endure this neglect.

/One day a church festival was held in the town and,
the drummer being ill, no one could be found to take
his place. Finally, little Joseph was selected, and as
he was so small, his instrument was carried for him
by a hunchback. When the procession started, the
townspeople were amused at the size of the drummer,
but his playing proved that they had chosen wisely,
and it is said that the drum he used is still to be seen
in Hamburg/

/About two years later, Kapellmeister Johann Reuter
or the Cathedral of Vienna, a great man in the musical
world of that day, went to Hamburg in search of boy
singers for his choir. Hearing of the beauty of Jo-
seph’s voice, he called on his guardian and had supper
with him. Then he sent for the boy and asked him
to sing. On hearing his voice, Reuter was charmed.
He seized a plate of cherries from the table and
emptied it into his cap ; then, taking him on his knee,
began teaching him to sing a trill for the first time.
This his pupil accomplished so successfully that Reuter
decided to take the young musician to Vienna to study
music in the Imperial Choir and sing before the Em-
press, Maria Theresa.^

( During the ten years spent in Vienna, Joseph sang
In the choir school, besides learning the violin and
harpsichord. With much self-denial he scraped to-
gether sufficient pennies to buy two books on harmony
and, with these, taught himself the rules of composi-

After several years his younger brother joined the


choir. His voice was considered even finer than that
of Joseph, which had begun to lose the clear high tones
of childhood. jThis fact, and a joke he played on one
of the choir toys, cost him his church position and
cast him adrift on the world. In those days men
wore their hair braided into “queues,” and in a spirit
of mischief, at rehearsal, young Haydn cut off the hair
of the boy who sat in front of him. This was an un-
pardonable offense and he was promptly whipped and
dismissed from the choir.

I On a dark November night, he made a bundle of
hrs wardrobe, consisting of little more than three old
shirts and a tattered coat, and wandered through the
streets of Vienna, where he found nothing better than
a bench in the park on which to sleep. After several
miserable days spent in this way he met a friend who,
touched by his forlorn condition, took him home to
his own poor attic until he could find another shelter.
In order to gain his livelihood, the lad played the
violin in a street band, and copied music for the pub-
lishers until at last he was able to rent a small garret
for himself. Often he was hungry, and on winter
mornings the snow would drift into his room and the
ice form in his pitcher. But he possessed one treasure,
a harpsichord so old that it shook in all its joints, and
with this he was happy.

In the same house with Haydn lived the poet
Metastasio, who engaged the young man to give les-
sons to some wealthy Spanish friends. Through them,
young Haydn met the professor of singing, Niccolb
Porpora, who at first snubbed the lowly youth. The
latter, however, was not to be daunted, for he knew
that old Porpora could teach him the things he
wanted. He ran his errands, brushed his clothes and


made himself so useful that the master was finally won
over and accepted him as a disciple.

In Vienna, the leader of the opera was a crusty old
musician named Kurtz, and Haydn, resolving to at-
tract his attention, composed a serenade, collected his
friends, and one evening played it under the master’s
window. The old man was charmed with the music
and called from above to inquire the name of the com-
poser. When he saw Haydn he was greatly surprised,
and before many weeks had passed, told the young
man that he had written the text of an opera for
which Haydn must compose the music.

This libretto contained, among other excitements, a
storm at sea, which brought despair to Haydn, who
had never witnessed one. At last, after trying different
effects at the piano, he dropped his fists distractedly
on the two extremities of the keyboard, drawing them
rapidly together until they met. “Bravo, that is rt,
the tempest,” cried Kurtz in delight, and threw his
arms around Haydn, afterwards paying him well for
his music.

Through his wealthy pupil, the Countess of Thun,
the young man was able to move to better lodgings
and buy some of Bach’s music, which he greatly longed
to possess.

In Vienna lived a wigmaker with his two daughters,
who resembled the heroines of a fairy tale, for the
elder was plain and disagreeable while the younger
was pretty and sweet, and very religious, preferring
rather to go to church than to dance at merrymakings.
The wigmaker often invited young Haydn to the house
for a good dinner, and he soon fell in love with the
younger daughter and was assiduous in his wooing.
But she always gently refused him, and finally the day


came when he heard that she had entered a convent.
In despair, he offered himself to the elder sister, who
promptly accepted him, and for many years did her
best to make his life miserable.

She scolded him constantly for not earning more
money, and one day possessed herself of one of
his most valuable manuscripts, which she cut into curl
papers. In spite of her trying ways, Haydn was pa-
tient and courteous, and though in later years they
lived apart, he was always loyal when speaking of his
absent wife.

In the year of his unfortunate marriage, his finan-
cial prospects took a turn for the better. At this
time, the reigning Hungarian Prince, Paul Anton
Esterhazy, was in Vienna, and a mutual friend, wish-
ing to bring the young musician to his notice, had
Haydn compose a symphony to be played before the
Prince. The latter was delighted and said to Haydn,
who was dark-complexioned: “Little Moor, from
henceforth you remain in my service. Get a new
coat, wig, and red heels of good height to your shoes,
so that your stature may correspond to your intelli-

Thus the young man was made Kapellmeister and
carried off to the Prince’s castle at Eisenstadt, a mag-
nificent estate where the Prince dispensed lavish hos-
pitality. There Haydn trained the private orchestra
of sixteen musicians in which the Prince delighted.
There too he worked for many happy summers, spend-
ing the early morning hours in wandering through
the gardens and forests and in fishing in the streams.
One feels in his music the freshness and beauty of
nature, and in his compositions many old folk melodies
reappear, clothed in new and enduring charm. While


with the Prince, Haydn composed innumerable sonatas
and string quartets, as well as symphonies, masses and
other works. He may be called the inventor of the
string quartet, and he was the first composer to de-
velop the larger forms for orchestra. For many years
he is said to have worked sixteen hours a day, and it
was always work carefully thought out. His melodies
are spontaneous and charming, and he used to declare
that the invention of a fine theme was a work of genius
and most difficult to produce. One of his most popular
symphonies is called The Clock; another is named The
Surprise Symphony. In it, after a slow interlude, he
introduced a sudden loud stroke of the tympani (or
drums) and said to a friend with a twinkle in his eye:
“There the women will jump.”

A story is connected with his Farewell Symphony.
It was written one summer for Prince Esterhazy, who
had contemplated disbanding his costly little orchestra.
The men appealed to Haydn to intercede for them,
and he proceeded to compose a symphony which was
played before their patron.

The music was original, and the Prince was enjoy-
ing it, when suddenly one musician stopped playing,
blew out his desk light and walked quietly away.
With little pauses, one after another followed his
example, and finally the conductor and first violin
alone were left. Then the latter stopped playing, ex-
tinguished his light and vanished after the others,
leaving the stage in darkness. Haydn laid down his
baton and turned to the Prince, who asked the mean-
ing of the music. “It is our sorrowful farewell to
you,” returned the composer. The Prince, overcome,
replied : “I must reconsider my decision. At any rate,


we will not say farewell now” ; and the orchestra was
not disbanded.

Prince Esterhazy was in the habit of making an
annual pilgrimage to a famous church in Bremen, and
was fond of discussing the music given there with his
chapelmaster. Thinking Haydn’s own masses too
severe in style, he told him that they were composed
of “too much counterpoint and too little melody.”
Haydn said nothing, but wrote another mass on
slightly more popular lines, sending it to this church
and asking them to give it. The next season, after
his patron had started on his yearly pilgrimage Haydn
secured a holiday and followed him. On the Prince’s
return > he said to his musician : “I have heard a church
service composed and played in a style you will never
equal” “Your Highness,” answered Haydn, “the
composition was mine, and I was the organist.’^

For twenty-eight years the master remained in the
employ of the Esterhazy family, under four different
patrons, the last one leaving his favorite musician a
generous pension that made it possible for him to re-
turn to Vienna and live in comfort for the rest of
his days.

The composer was now famous throughout Europe.
The boy Mozart came to study with him, and a close
friendship speedily grew up between them. Mozart,
like many others, always called his old master “Papa
Haydn,” and Haydn’s love for Mozart and his admi-
ration of his genius were deep and profound. He and
Mozart dined together the night before Haydn’s de-
parture for England, where he went when fifty-nine
years of age, to give a series of concerts. “Oh,
papa,” said Mozart, “you have no education for
the wide world and you speak too few languages,”


“My language, n Haydn replied with a smile, “is
understood everywhere/ 3 On that last evening
Mozart, who was in bad health, seemed to realize
what proved to be the fact, that they were never to
meet again in this life. His early death was a bitter
grief to the elder musician, and fifteen years later, in
speaking of the young composer, Haydn burst into
tears, saying sadly: “Forgive me, I must ever weep at
the name of my Mozart.”

The master’s success in England brought him new
laurels, as well as the degree of Doctor of Music from
the University of Oxford, but in spite of the honors
heaped upon him, his soul remained simple and child-
like as ever.

Like many other artists, he was fond of a joke, and
while in England wrote a violin piece which he named
Jacob’s Ladder. It began very simply, but rapidly
developed so many difficulties that it was impossible
for anyone to play it. This he gave to an unsuspect-
ing violinist of his acquaintance who was apt to be
over-confident as to his own attainments, and the lat-
ter, after struggling to read it, had to confess that
this ladder was too steep for him to climb.

After hearing Handel’s Messiah, Haydn was in-
spired to compose an oratorio, using a libretto com-
piled from Milton’s poem, Paradise Lost. This was
The Creation, and of it he said: “I have taken a long
while about it, because I mean it to last a long

Later he composed another oratorio, The Seasons,
using as the text a poem by the poet Thomson.

When he was old and the idol of the Viennese
people, a festal performance of The Creation was
given on his seventy-sixth birthday, and all Vienna


attended to do him honor. The concert was held in
the Lobkowitz Palace. Just before it began, there
was an expectant hush and several noblemen appeared
carrying an armchair, in which was seated the old
master, who was too feeble to walk. As he entered,
everyone stood to do him honor. Beethoven, who
was present, bent and kissed his hands and forehead,
and beautiful women threw flowers before him, as if
he were a king. He was much affected by this recep-
tion, and when the great chorus sang the words “Let
there be Light,” he rose to his feet, lifting his hand
to Heaven and saying reverently: “That comes not
from me, but from above.” He once said: “I knew
that God appointed me a task. I acknowledge it with
thanks, and hope and believe I have done my duty
and been useful to the world.”

One touching event occurred a few years before his
death, when the widow and son of Mozart gave a
concert on Haydn’s birthday. The cantata performed
was written by the son in honor of his father’s old

When over seventy, Haydn still loved -to welcome
musicians to his home, though his activities in the
musical world had largely ceased. Once, wishing to
remind one of them of his existence, he sent him a
card on which he had written a passage from his last
quartet, to which he had added the words: “All my
strength is gone, old and weak am I.”

Just before his death in 1809, at the age of seventy-
seven, the French besieged the city. As the enemy
advanced, a shell would sometimes fall near the house
of the aged composer, and at last the day came when
the French entered the city as conquerors. Shortly
after this event, the old master made an effort and


eded in reaching the piano. There he played
sadly the song he had written for his Emperor, which
was afterwards made the Austrian National Hymn.
He sang it softly to himself before his hands dropped
from the keys forever.

All Vienna mourned for the dear old man who had
won their hearts, as much by his sweetness and sim-
plicity as by the power of his music.

As the city was in the hands of the French, the
funeral was a simple one, but it was made public and
attended by all classes of people, and even the French
officers paid homage to his greatness.

Haydn’s gift to art was large, and he has been
called the first great master of secular music.

Before his time, composers wrote almost entirely
for the organ, clavichord and violin, but Haydn rec-
ognized the possibilities of solo work for other instru-
ments as well, and used this idea in his symphonies.
Without the foundations laid by him in the principles
of rhythm and harmony, the composers who followed
in his footsteps would have missed many valuable
aids to their own development.

Chapter XX


THE life of Mozart is the record of a gifted and high-
souled personality, whose genius was manifest from
his earliest years, making him one of the most re-
markable musical prodigies of any age or time.

His sister Marianne, five years older than he, was
also an exceptionally talented child, and the proud
parents spoke of the two children as their “Wonders
of God.” Herr Mozart was Kapellmeister to the
ruling Archbishop of Salzburg, and devoted himself
to the education of the children, giving constant sup-
port and encouragement to his son throughout his
musical career. The two were the best of friends,
and the boy would exclaim: “Next to God comes

Wolfgang and his sister were united in their enthu-
siasm for music, even begging their father’s aid in
introducing it into their games. During the music les-
sons given by Herr Mozart to Marianne, the three-
year-old boy would stand beside the clavichord, watch-
ing the movements of his sister’s fingers on the keys,
and when the lesson was over, would climb on the seat
and repeat what had been played. When only four,
he was composing little minuets, perfect in form, and
these, in his father’s writing, are still preserved in the
Museum of Salzburg.



Even as a child, Wolfgang’s ear was extremely sen-
sitive to harsh and loud tones, and he once fainted on
being forced to listen to the strident blast of a trum-
pet. His keen perception of beauty, and the earnest-
ness with which he worked to conquer difficulties, soon
made his playing remarkable. On returning home one
day, Herr Mozart found his five-year-old son at the
clavichord busily covering a sheet of music paper with
blotted notes. He laughed at the inky little composer,
who showed him the “concerto” he was writing. On
examining the music, the father, to his surprise, found
it correctly written in every way, but so difficult as to
be impossible for anyone to play. When this was told
to Wolfgang, he replied: “That is just why it is called
a concerto, people must practise till they can play it

When the boy was six, his father decided to exhibit
the musical gifts of the children, and took them on a
tour through Europe. Their fame had preceded them,
and they found a ready welcome at the Viennese court,
where Wolfgang was called “the little magician” by
the Emperor. The Empress Maria Theresa delighted
in the brilliant boy, permitting him to climb into her
lap and kiss her unrebuked. Once, at the palace,
Wolfgang slipped and fell on the polished floor, and
the little Princess Marie Antoinette ran to help him
to his feet. He smiled at her gratefully, saying: “You
are good. When I am grown up, I will marry you.”
Poor little Princess, it would have been a happier fate
than that of becoming the wife of a King of France
only to die on the scaffold. Rich gifts were showered
on the two children by all who heard them, and the
next year they were taken to Paris, where at the court
of Versailles their triumphs were repeated. Again,


in London, when they played before George III and
his court, the English were amazed at their genius.
Wolfgang could play anything of Bach’s that was set
before him. He accompanied the Queen when she
sang, and extemporized a melody into which he wove
a theme of Handel’s. Marianne was also remark-
able, and at twelve was one of the cleverest clavichord-
players in Europe.

During their stay in England the father was ill for
a period of several weeks. No concerts could be given
and the boy used his leisure in composing his first
symphony for orchestra. Herr Mozart wrote at this
time to a friend: “Our high and mighty Wolfgang
knows everything in his eighth year that one can re-
quire of a man of forty.”

The travels of the children lasted over three years,
after which, on their return to Salzburg, the father
continued their education. While in Vienna, Wolfgang
had been given a little violin, and he now began practis-
ing it, while his father was fulfilling his duties as or-
ganist in the chapeL

One evening the latter invited two friends to join
him in playing some new trios that he had just secured.
Wolfgang begged to be allowed to play second violin
but was laughingly refused. On seeing his disappoint-
ment, however, his father permitted him to take part
on condition that he did so very softly.

The music began and soon the second-violin player
stopped in amazement at hearing his part played
clearly and faultlessly on the tiny violin. As they
listened the three men realized that the child would
one day be a marvelous musician.

In a few years Herr Mozart took his son to Italy,
In Naples his audiences were so amazed at the agility


of his left-hand playing that they declared there was
witchcraft in a ring which he wore, and when he drew
it off and continued in the same way, they were rap-
turous in their applause. Everywhere the leading
musicians would test his gifts, only to be overcome
with astonishment at his powers, and the music-loving
Italians went mad over the attractive, gifted lad.
The highest honors were accorded him. The Pope
gave him an audience and the title of “Cavaliere,”
investing him with the cross of the Order of the
Golden Spur. This delighted his father; to Mozart
himself, his art was the badge of honor he most

While in Rome he did a wonderful thing. It was
Holy Week and father and son went to hear the spe-
cial service sung by the Pope’s choir in the Sistine
Chapel. It was the famous Miserere, or Prayer of
Repentance, which had been written a hundred years
before by Allegri, the talented pupil of Palestrina.
This sacred masterpiece was jealously guarded and
none of the singers, on pain of excommunication, were
allowed to copy a single part.

The solemn service began with the chapel in dark-
ness, only one candle burning faintly at the back of
the altar. At first a single voice was heard, then the
chorus softly chanted the pleading measures of the
hymn, which grew in intensity until the listener’s soul
was thrilled. Young Mozart was overcome by the
beauty of the music and a few nights later his father
awoke to find the lad asleep at his desk, and beside
him the entire score of the Miserere, which he had
correctly written down from memory. The music
was no longer a secret, for his wonderful musician’s
brain had recorded each note.


Once in Bologna he was given an examination to
prove his ability, before becoming a member of the
Philharmonic Academy. The membership test was
most severe, and the candidates were required to write
an elaborate six-part fugue on a given melody, ^in the
space of four hours. The boy was locked into a
room with his paper, and in thirty minutes knocked
at the door, asking to be released. The doorkeeper
urged him not to be discouraged as he still had time
in which to work, but to the amazement of the judges,
he presented them with his finished manuscript and
they found it musically correct in every particular.

In his fourteenth year he composed a three-act
opera, in the Italian style, called Mitridate. While
working on it, he wrote to his mother and sister ask-
ing them “to pray for him that it might go well and that
they might be happy together on his return.” The
opera was given during the Christmas festival at
Milan and the small composer ‘stood on a chair to
conduct his men, while the audience rained praise and
flowers upon his head.

Two years later, the old Archbishop of Salzburg
died. He had been a true friend to the family, but
his successor was as vain as he was selfish, and cared
nothing for music or for the genius of Mozart. He
made him his concertmaster at a pitiful salary of less
than five dollars a month, and besides keeping him
waiting for hours, before being summoned by a foot-
man to play to his master’s guests, he was expected
to eat with the servants. Mozart wrote to a friend :
“The valet, two cooks and my littleness dine together.”
The years that followed were not very happy ones,
but he had friends who acknowledged his worth as a
composer, and finally his father presented a petition


to the Archbishop, praying for an increase of salary
for himself, as well as his son. This was refused and
young Mozart decided to try other fields in which to
obtain a position less galling to his spirit. He wrote
to his ungrateful patron: “With your Grace’s leave I
most humbly pray your Grace to dismiss me from
your service. You will not take unfavorably this
prayer, since three years ago when I begged permis-
sion to travel to Vienna your Grace was pleased to
declare that I had nothing to hope for and should
do better to seek my fortune elsewhere.”

It was arranged that Mozart’s mother should ac-
company him, and to cover the expense of the jour-
ney the father was obliged again to give lessons, as
his scanty salary was not enough for them all. Mo-
zart’s beauty of soul is shown in a letter to his father
in which he says : “I have God always before my eyes.
I fear His wrath but I also acknowledge His love
and pity. He will never forsake His servant.” On
this trip he and his mother visited Mannheim and
Paris, but the journey was destined to be an unfor-
tunate one, for the latter city, which in the past had
gone wild over the child prodigy, now refused to ex-
tend a helping hand to him. Then a terrible grief
came to him, for his mother died, and her sorrowing
son had to break the news to the father and sister in

This loss made a desolation in the home, for a close
affection had bound the family together. Poor Mo-
zart wrote from Paris: “Remember that you have a
son and brother who will use all his powers to make
you happy.”

The elder Mozart felt that the young man should
return to Salzburg, arid after the sad homecoming, the


Archbishop offered the composer the position of court
organist. To please his father he accepted it, and
again put himself under the hated yoke of the master
who was never his friend.

He composed another opera, named Idomeneo, and
when his father urged him not to forget to add some
simple airs to please the unmusical public Mozart an-
swered: “Do not trouble about it, for it will contain
music for people with all sorts of ears those with
long ears not excepted.” This opera was a success,
and when the composer was twenty-five he left Salz-
burg and settled in Vienna, which was hereafter his
home. On the journey he stopped for a second time
in Mannheim, for a strong attraction drew him to
that town.

During his first visit with his mother, he had met
the Weber family and two young sisters, Aloysia and
Constance, the cousins of the famous composer Carl
Maria von Weber. The eldest sister, Aloysia, sang
delightfully and Mozart had been captivated by her.

He wrote new songs for her to sing, and their
friendship seemed destined to develop into love, but
on his second visit to Mannheim he found her a well-
known opera singer with other loves and interests.
She received the young man coldly, and before very
long became the bride of an actor named Lange. In
the meantime Mozart had found his own life’s hap-
piness through his growing love for the younger sister,
Constance, who returned his devotion and whom he
married in his twenty-sixth year.

Mozart’s income was of the smallest, and his wife’s
ingenuity was taxed to make it cover their daily ex-
penses, but they were both young and cheerful and
these qualities kept them happy in spite of financial


worries. One day a visitor called and found the young
pair busily waltzing through their little apartment in
order to keep warm.

Much of the time they were seriously poor, and the
uncertainty resulting from his having no fixed appoint-
ment in Vienna, caused Mozart to work to his utter-
most limit, composing symphonies, sonatas, songs and
quartets, all worthy of the highest praise.

He played frequently at many of the rich houses
in Vienna but was never too busy to help a fellow
artist. He once promised a new sonata to a violinist
for her recital, but owing to his many duties, she ob-
tained the violin part only the day before the concert.
She practised it all that day and played it successfully
the next evening with the composer. The Emperor
himself was in the audience and, looking through his
opera glasses, discovered to his amazement that the
sheet of music paper in front of Mozart was blank.
After the concert he sent for him, asking to see the
manuscript, and learned that the composer had played
the piano part entirely from his memory of the violin
score he had written the day before.

A few years later, Mozart wrote his opera, The
Marriage of Figaro, which has a Spanish setting.
The public loved this most exquisite of musical come-
dies, but in spite of its success in Vienna and Prague,
it brought the composer little money and he continued
to give lessons as before. While in Prague, he started
to compose his greatest dramatic work, Don Giovanni,
and, while finishing this opera, stayed with his friend
Herr Duschek, whose garden was his favorite retreat.
It is said that the stone table on which he wrote the
music of Don Giovanni may still be seen.

On the evening before the first performance, the


overture was not touched, but after supper, Mo-
zart calmly seated himself and began his task. He
begged Constance to tell him fairy tales to amuse him,
while he worked through the night, and at seven the
next morning the copyist received the different parts,
on some of which the ink was hardly dry. There was
no time for a rehearsal, and the orchestra of trained
musicians played it at sight. Mozart, who conducted,
laughed over it afterwards, saying: “A good many
notes fell under the desks, but it went very well.”
These two works of Mozart had made the director
of the opera house a rich man, but to the modest
composer only a few hundred dollars were awarded.

The enthusiastic reception of Don Giovanni, how-
ever, gave Mozart genuine happiness, and the many
who listened to his music realized at length what a
master they had in their midst. Haydn, his devoted
friend, whose advice Mozart had often sought in his
work, said to Mozart’s father: “I declare before God,
as a man of honor, that your son is the greatest com-
poser I know, either personally or by reputation.”

At last the Emperor offered Mozart the position
of court musician with a small salary and little to do.
On returning a receipt for the first payment, he wrote :
“Too much for what I do too little for what I
could do.”

In spite of this added help, Mozart with his deli-
cate wife and three children was still a poor man.
His great friend Prince Lichnowsky urged him to go
to Berlin to improve his fortune, and when thirty-one
years of age he visited most of the important German
cities, playing for King Frederick William II, who
loved music and offered his brilliant guest an honored
place at court, and a salary of three thousand thalers


(a little over two thousand dollars), which would
have given him relief from his financial embarrass-
ments. But Mozart loyally declined the offer, say-
ing only: “I cannot forsake my good Emperor.”

This unselfish decision caused no improvement in
his prospects at home. Instead, on his return iie
found a peremptory order from the Emperor with
a request for a new opera Co si fan tutte (“So they
all do”). Unfortunately the libretto given Mozart
for this work was a poor one, and although he did
wonders with the commonplace text, his lovely music
seemed to make little impression upon the public.
To add to his difficulties, his wife became ill.

Worn out with his struggle against poverty, as well
as saddened by the neglect that had rewarded his
genius, Mozart’s health too began to fail. It is said
that, in his generosity, he wrote his fast opera, The
Magic Flute, at the request of his so-called friend the
director of the Leopold Theater in Vienna, who at
the time was in need of money. He was the author
of the light fairy libretto on which Mozart created
his melodies.

The composed asked nothing for himself from the
proceeds of the crowded houses, although the opera
immediately became popular with the public. Though
always forgetful of his own needs, he made one stipu-
lation, reserving the right to sell the manuscript to
other cities. He learned too late that the director
had lost no time in selling the rights wherever the
opera was given, and Mozart, whose health was fail-
ing rapidly, was left with little to show for all his
hard work.

While composing this music, he one day received
a visit from a tall stranger dressed in black. The


mysterious one refused to tell his name, but requested
the composer to write for him a Requiem or mass for
the dead. The sick man commenced the work but he
felt in his soul that it was a sign from Heaven that
his own end was near. “I am writing the Requiem
for myself, dear wife,” he said to Constance, and this
masterpiece proved indeed to be his swan song.

He learned later the identity of his strange visitor,
and worked unceasingly on the Reqtfiem until it was
practically finished, but he himself unable to rise from
his bed. Soon fever developed and the doctors told
Constance that the end was near. As he lay dying,
letters reached him from the directors of two impor-
tant musical organizations, with offers of positions,
whose salaries would have given him the security he
never possessed. As he looked at these letters his
eyes filled with tears and he murmured: “Too late.”

On the day before the master’s death, a few of his
best friends gathered at his bedside and he begged
them to sing his Requiem, he himself singing softly
the alto part With heavy hearts they consented,
while his favorite student, Franz Siissmayer, played
the music on Mozart’s little piano.

The end came shortly after, and on the day of the
funeral a violent storm was raging and only a few
friends assembled to follow the composer to his last

The poor wife was prostrated by grief and unable
to attend, and as the storm increased, the mourners
turned back at the cemetery gate so that the plain
coffin, containing the body of one of the greatest mu-
sicians the world has ever known, was left in the
charge of a few paid attendants, and hastily thrust
into an unmarked trench devoted to the very poor.


The news of the master’s death caused no stir in
the city of Vienna, and when his sorrowing widow
was able to visit St. Mark’s churchyard, she found it
impossible to identify her husband’s last resting-place.

No tablet marks the unknown grave where this
sympathetic and lovable composer lies buried, but his
name is written on the hearts of countless thousands
who have been inspired by the legacy of priceless
melody given by him to mankind. It has been said
that “the world had waited centuries for Mozart and
he was only to remain here a moment,” but in his
brief thirty-six years he created more beauty than the
ordinary genius achieves in a lifetime.

Chapter, XXI


THE life of Beethoven is the life of a great artist
who was equally great as a man. His genius enlarged
the language of music, for his compositions speak to
the world of the struggles, aspirations and triumphs
of the soul. They are deeply emotional, yet full of
intellectual power and grandeur, expressing in their
beauty the feelings of all humanity. His character
was a noble one, and one bows in reverence before
his mighty genius and loves him for his goodness and
the purity of his soul. He once wrote: “I will strive
to do all the good I can, to love liberty above every-
thing, and even if it be for a kingdom, never to be-
tray the truth.” Through continued grief and mis-
fortune he fought valiantly a lifelong battle with fate
in order to be worthy of his high ideals, doing all in
his power to elevate his fellow men, for he recognized
no sign of superiority other than goodness.

The boy Ludwig was born in 1770 in Bonn, a small
university town in the lovely Rhine valley, near Co-
logne. The Flemish grandfather, a man of marked
personality and a fine musician, had moved from Ant-
werp to Bonn and his many talents and sterling char-
acter had made him a favorite with the reigning
Elector. Unfortunately, his son, Beethoven’s father,
did not resemble him, for although a good musician,



his fondness for drinking soon cost him his place in
the town orchestra, and as most of his earnings were
wasted at the tavern, his wife and children often
lacked the necessities of life.

Little Ludwig was the pride and joy of his grand-
father, whose talents and good qualities he inherited,
but when the child was four, the old man died, and
without his help the family were soon suffering from

At this crisis, the father discovered that his eldest
son was unusually gifted in music, and decided that
these gifts should be developed to fill his own pockets.
He therefore gave him no education beyond what the
public school afforded, abandoning all other studies in
favor of music. Out of school the boy was made to
practise long hours on both harpsichord and violin,
and this severe training lasted for years. Often, on
the return of his father from the tavern, the child
would be awakened, commanded to dress himself ,and
made to practise far into the night, while in the day-
time he would be told that no dinner would be forth-
coming until his weary work was over.

The mother was a gentle and devoted friend but in
her own unhappiness was powerless to lighten his bur-
den. She was adored by her son, who as he grew
older did his best to console her for the privations
and neglect she endured.

Meanwhile, in spite of the rough forcing process
to which his musical talents were subjected, Ludwig’s
powers developed. At the age of eleven he had mas-
tered Bach’s Well-tempered Clavichord and was play-
ing the violin in a theater orchestra, and two years
later was considered a sufficiently good organist to
assist in the services at court. From his childhood he


loved the organ, seizing any opportunity for studying
it. One of his teachers was Christian Neefe, who was
greatly interested in his pupil.

The boy often composed pieces that were too diffi-
cult for his small hands to reach. “You cannot play
that, Ludwig,” his teacher would say, and he would
reply: “I will when I am bigger.”

Young Beethoven longed with all his heart to meet
and play for Mozart, who was then living in Vienna,
and when sixteen years old, he had saved from his
scanty earnings enough to pay for the journey. The
shy, silent lad found Mozart in his home, surrounded
by several musical friends. After playing a little he
asked him for a theme, on which he improvised so
wonderfully that Mozart listened with interest and
said, turning to the other musicians present: u Mark
that youth. He will give the world something worth
listening to, some day.”

While still in Vienna the sad news of his mother’s
death reached Beethoven, and he hurried back to the
desolate home, mourning the loss of his best friend.
In his diary he wrote the words, “There was once
someone to hear me when I said ‘Mother,’ but to whom
can I now address that name?”

At this time he was practically the head of the
family, and besides educating his two younger brothers
and supporting himself by teaching, he was obliged to
secure a pension for his father, whose habits had made
him incapable of earning anything for himself.

Beethoven had one refuge from his home and his
many perplexities, in the friendship of a family named
Briining. They were charming people, and their af-
fection and sympathy blessed his boyhood days. Frau
von Briining, the widow of the Court Councillor,


was like a second mother to the lonely lad, and the
children, Stephen and Eleanore, were always his true

For several years after his mother’s death he stayed
in Bonn, giving lessons and caring faithfully for his
good-for-nothing father, and brothers, and it was only
on reaching his twenty-second year that he felt free to
go to Vienna.

The Elector Maximilian Francis and Count Wald-
stein were both greatly interested in him, and through
their help and influence this plan was made possible.
The young composer’s reception by the musical world
of Vienna was gracious but his nature was a lonely one
and there were only a few friends to whom he could
open his heart and with whom he shared his thoughts
and aspirations. He again played to Mozart, and
studied counterpoint for a time with Johann Albrechts-
berger, who does not seem to have recognized the
genius of his pupil. Haydn was also his teacher and
friend, and gave him some valuable hints in regard to
the use of instruments when writing for orchestra.

Gradually his fame spread, and the Viennese public
became curious to hear him play, so it was arranged
that he should make his first public appearance with
orchestra, playing his new piano concerto in C Major.

His friends were much disturbed, as Beethoven neg-
lected working on this composition, and two days be-
fore the date set for the concert it was still unfinished,
but in spite of the fact that he was ill at the time, it
was finally completed. Then a new difficulty arose at
rehearsal, for the piano was found to be a half tone
lower than the instruments of the orchestra, but to save
retuning them, Beethoven played the concerto through


in the key of C# Major, an astonishing feat that
showed his perfect mastery of the instrument.

A dear friend of Beethoven’s in Vienna was old von
Swieten, once physician to the Empress. In his old
age he loved to gather musicians around him, and
Beethoven went often to his little house to play to
him, always ending with a half dozen Bach fugues,
“by way of a blessing,” as his listener would declare.

Among the noble patrons of music and art in Vienna
were the Prince and Princess Lichnowsky, who became
very fond of Beethoven and treated him like an adopted
son. He had his own suite of rooms in their palace
where he could be alone whenever he wished, and he
once laughingly said that the Princess would have
liked to put him under a glass case so that no harm
could befall him. It was at the musical parties in the
Lichnowsky palace that his string quartets were first
given under his own direction.

The young man rapidly became the fashion among
the aristocracy of Vienna and gave lessons to many
of its nobility. Among his pupils was the fascinating
young Countess Giulietta Guicciardi, who for a time
was the object of his passionate devotion. She was
flattered by his love but ended by making him suffer
cruelly when she married Count Gallenberg. To
Giulietta, Beethoven dedicated the sonata which was
later called the “Moonlight,” and it was doubtless his
love for her that inspired the romantic beauty of the
first movement as well as the passionate sweep of the

In later years the Countess wearied of her husband,
and Beethoven, who had occasion to help the latter,
wrote of him to a friend: “He was my enemy, that is
the very reason why I should do all possible for him.”


Beethoven was always happiest when in the coun-
try, for its peace rested and consoled him. He loved
to escape from the city and be among trees and flowers
with the open sky above. He would compose while
walking in the woods, for his notebooks were always
in his pocket, and he once wrote in one of them : “In
the woods I am happy, where every tree speaks to me.”

In his music he has expressed his sympathy with the
sounds of nature the bird songs, the ripple of the
brook and the raging of the storm ; one hears them all
repeated in his compositions.

When about twenty-five, a lasting misfortune befell
him, for, having thoughtlessly neglected a cold, his
hearing was affected, and in spite of all remedies con-
tinued to fail, until at the age of twenty-nine he found
it difficult to hear either music or the voices of his
friends. One day, while walking in the fields with his
pupil Ferdinand Ries, a shepherd began playing on his
pipe. Ries stopped to listen and looked at Beethoven,
feeling sure that he was equally appreciative, but the
latter could hear nothing and sadly shook his head. To
this pupil he said: “I am deaf. Had my profession
been any other, things might still be bearable, but as it
is, my situation is terrible.” The specter of his deaf-
less gradually forced him to avoid society, and he wrote
to a friend: “You cannot conceive how empty, how
sad my existence has been for these last two years.”
The wonderful world of sound gradually closed its
doors to him, and he wrote again: “As autumn leaves
fall and wither, so are my hopes blighted. O Provi-
dence, grant that but a single day of real happiness
be mine once again. I have been a stranger to the
thrill of joy for so long.” In the midst of his own
suffering he learned how to understand the suffering


of others, and his tender and delicate sympathy was
given to all who needed his help. In figure he was
short and broad-shouldered, with a look of grandeur,
his wonderful eyes tragic, fierce, yet tender, reflecting
all of his thoughts.

^”He wrote once to a friend: “My art shall be de-
voted to no other object than the relief of the poor.”
At a concert given for the wounded soldiers, he both
composed and conducted the music played, and when
payment was offered, he wrote: “Say Beethoven never
accepts anything where humanity is concerned.”

His friend and pupil the Baroness von Ertmann
had lost her only son under tragic circumstances, and
Beethoven was one of the few people whom the sor-
rowing mother would see. When he entered her room
he said simply: “Today we will talk to each other in
tones,” and, sitting down at the piano, began to play.
Soon, for the first time since her son’s death, the mother
was weeping, and she said later to a friend: “He
told me everything in his music and at last brought
me comfort.”

Hindered from expressing in words the love that he
felt for mankind, he put it into his compositions, his
art and his religion being closely allied. More and
more he lived in an inner world of heavenly sounds,
where commonplace things could not penetrate.

Owing to his absorption in music, he was indifferent
to his material wants and lived a life of discomfort
and perpetual change from lodging to lodging, at
the mercy of careless and dishonest servants. He was
impatient of all pettiness, pretense and falsehood wher-
ever found, and he once informed a cook who had told
him a lie, that her heart was not pure, therefore she
could not make good soup.


Once he entered an inn and sat for a long time deep
in thought at one of the tables. Finally he arose and
called for his bill, though he had ordered nothing dur-
ing his stay, his thoughts being filled only with music.

His love of Nature continued to be one of his
strongest characteristics, and on seeing for the first
time an apartment chosen for him by a friend, he said
to the landlord: “Where are the trees?” The latter
told him there were none in sight, and Beethoven re-
fused to take the rooms, assuring the owner that he
preferred trees to men.

Among his friends was the young Bettina Brentano,
whom Goethe also admired. She corresponded with
both of these great men and wrote enthusiastically of
each to the other, finally bringing about a meeting be-
tween the two.

When the master was thirty-six, a ray of happiness
brightened his life for a time. This was the affection
of Therese von Brunswick, who had studied the piano
with him as a young girl and whose family were all
his devoted friends. Possibly it was owing to his deaf-
ness and to the superior social position of his betrothed
that the marriage never took place, but he and Therese
seem to have always remembered each other. Besides
the ever-present sorrow of his deafness, his two broth-
ers Karl and Johann had repaid his affection and
generosity by neglect and envy. Their influence over
him was an unhappy one, for in his nobleness and sin-
cerity it was hard for him to understand qualities of
an opposite kind. He describes a little of this in the
noble and pathetic letter written to them, called Bee-
thoven’s will. In it he says: “O ye men who con-
sider me hostile and obstinate, what injustice ye do
me. Ye know not the secret causes of that which so


appears to you. Born with a lively, ardent disposition,
susceptible to the diversions of society, I was forced at
an early age to renounce them and to pass my life in
seclusion. Forgive me, then, if ye see me draw back
when I would gladly mingle among you. O God, Thou
lookest down into my inmost being, Thou seest, Thou
knowest that love of mankind and a disposition to do
good dwell therein. O Man, when ye shall read this,
think that ye have wronged me, and let the child of
affliction take comfort in finding one like himself who,
in spite of all the impediments of nature, yet did all
that lay in his power to obtain admittance into the
rank of worthy artists and men.”

Beethoven believed in liberty both for individuals
and nations, and he composed his third symphony,
the Eroica, “Dedicated to a Hero/ 5 as a tribute to the
genius of Napoleon Bonaparte, thinking he stood for
“liberty, equality and fraternity.” After hearing,
however, of Napoleon’s coronation as Emperor of the
French, he cried out that he was nothing after all but
an ordinary man working for his own self-interest, and
tore off the dedication of the title page. It is still
called the “Heroic” Symphony, but it is of Beethoven
himself we think when we hear it played.

His nine great symphonies, like the plays of Shake-
speare, are all masterpieces. In them he developed in
a wonderful way the orchestral forms introduced by
Haydn and Mozart. He once said: “When an idea
comes to me, I hear it for an instrument, never for a
voice.” His thirty-two sonatas for the piano and the
ten sonatas for piano and violin are also models of the
highest form of music, whose varied beauties it would
take long to describe.
“One early sonata, termed the Pathetique, possesses


a dramatic introduction before the allegro, and an
andante that is calm and beautiful.

Another was dedicated by him to his devoted friend
the Archduke Rudolph, and called “The Parting, the
Absence and the Return,” and its leading motive con-
sists of three notes which clearly express the word
Lebewohl (“Farewell”).

The great Appassionato, (named by its first pub-
lisher) is a masterpiece. Beethoven himself told a
friend to read Shakespeare’s Tempest if he wished to
understand it.

One writer has described it as “a volcanic eruption,
rending the earth and shutting out the sky.” He left
many other works behind him: songs and chamber
music, as well as the Mass in D and other sacred com-
positions. The Mount of Olives was his contribution
to oratorio, and one is conscious of a pathetic signifi-
cance in the fact that here the master endeavored to
portray in music the soul struggle and sufferings of
Christ, at a time when approaching deafness made his
own future one of profound sadness. His only opera,
originally called Leonore after its heroine and after-
wards named Fidelio, was not entirely successful when
first given, but after he had twice withdrawn it from
the stage and made changes in the score, it was re-
ceived with enthusiasm. It is interesting to know that
Beethoven wrote three different overtures for this
opera, all of which are still played in concert.

When forty-five years of age, the master was almost
totally deaf. His intimate friend Anton Schindler,
who was Kapellmeister at the Vienna Opera House,
tells of a sad event occurring at this time. Fidelio was
being rehearsed, and wishing himself to conduct the
rehearsal, Beethoven took the baton, but could hear


nothing of the music, and although the men followed
his beat, the singers hurried the time and utter con-
fusion followed. It was soon evident that nothing
could be accomplished under his direction. No one
had the heart to tell him and there was an uneasy
silence. The deaf composer turned anxiously, trying
to read the expression of the faces around him and so
understand the difficulty* Then he called to Schindler,
handing him his notebook. In it the latter wrote:
“I beg you not to continue, I will explain why at your
home,” and after reading it, Beethoven hastily left the
platform, saying only: “Let us go quickly.” On
reaching home, he threw himself on a sofa, covering
his face with his hands and remaining so until evening,
for he had been smitten to the heart by the experience*
Six years later his Choral Symphony, the last of the
nine, was given in Vienna. It contains his setting of
Schiller’s Hymn to Joy which had long been in his
mind and which, in spite of his own sorrow, he had
wished for years to write, for his dauntless soul was
able to imagine the happiness that was not his. It was
a musical event in Vienna, and the concert hall was
crowded to its utmost capacity. Owing to his deafness,
Beethoven could not conduct it himself, but stood by
the side of Umlauf the conductor to mark the time of
the various movements. The audience was carried
away by the greatness of this work and it seemed as
if the applause would never end. Again and again it
was repeated, but Beethoven could hear no sound and
knew nothing of the frenzied enthusiasm, until one of
the singers gently turned him around, and he saw the
people clapping frantically, many weeping from sym-
pathy as they realized that the master could hear only


in imagination the beauty of these sounds to which his
earthly ears were closed.

Beethoven was profoundly moved by the success of
his work, but the triumph brought him little material
gain. By this time many of his rich and influential
friends were dead, and anxiety over the future had
begun to weigh upon him. In his younger days he had
had no difficulty in disposing of his compositions, in
fact the publishers had vied with each other for the
honor of securing them, but in later years this was not
always the case.

His sorrows served only to draw him closer to his
beloved art, for to him it was something infinitely
sacred, and as high priest of the temple, he felt the
call to create music more and more worthy.

Still another burden was placed on his shoulders
when, in 1815, his brother Karl died, leaving as a
legacy the care and support of his only son, a boy of
ten. Beethoven, who adored the child, straightway ob-
tained the guardianship of this nephew. On young
Karl he poured out all his wealth of affection, but the
boy’s nature was not one to respond to the nobility of
his uncle’s soul. As a child he had been spoiled by
over-indulgence, and as he grew older his nature be-
came weaker and more selfish. Instead of being in-
spired by the example of his uncle, he was exasperated
by his goodness, and grew still more dissolute and
careless. He gambled and drank, wasting each oppor-
tunity as it appeared, and soon became a disgrace to
the family. Beethoven denied himself many of the
necessities of life to save money for his unworthy
nephew, and his letters to him were filled with loneli-
ness and grief.


One of these was written when Beethoven’s hair was
turning gray and he had begun to realize that though
he had sacrificed so much for him, he would receive
neither affection nor duty in return. In this letter he
says: “I know now that you have no pleasure in
coming to see me, but God has never yet forsaken me
and He will find someone to close my eyes.” His gen-
erous love persisted to the end, for in his will he wrote :
“I appoint my nephew Karl my sole heir.”

By this time his notebooks were his only means of
conversing with his friends or with the outside world.
These books have fortunately been preserved and
bound together, and now form one of the rarest treas-
ures in the Imperial Library in Berlin.

As the master became more of a recluse, he seemed
forgotten by the Viennese who had adored him, and
owing to his constant worry over his nephew, his health
began to fail. He grew steadily weaker and found
himself at times unable to write down his musical

In order to secure Karl’s future, he made a trip in
winter to the house of his remaining brother, whom
he had helped by his own generosity to become a pros-
perous man. On the journey home, Beethoven caught
a severe cold. He asked his nephew to go for a doctor,
but this request was neglected, and hours later, Beet-
hoven was found by his friend Schindler in a state of
utter collapse. Help was then quickly secured, but his
sorrowing friends soon realized that this was his last

As he lay dying, one ray of joy came to him in the
shape of a letter from the Philharmonic Society of
London, whose members had heard of his illness, and
sent him a present of 100 and a magnificent edition


of Handel’s works, as a testimonial of their sympathy
and admiration. This gift brought him the greatest
pleasure, and their thought of him cheered and com-
forted his last days.

One stormy March night the wind arose, and a
raging thunderstorm broke over the city. It was a
fitting setting for the departure of such a majestic and
stormy soul, and when the raging of the elements had
ceased, Ludwig van Beethoven was at rest for ever-

Twenty-five thousand persons lined the streets
through which was carried the bier of one of the great-
est composers the world has ever known. There were
thirty torchbearers, among them Franz Schubert, with
other eminent musicians, artists, authors and poets.

In the old cemetery in Vienna can be seen the mas-
ter’s last resting-place, which contains a simple monu-
ment on which is engraved the one solitary but glorious
word “Beethoven.”

Chapter XXII


SOME lives, such as Franz Liszt’s, are like a brilliant
comet that flashes through the sky, leaving a trail of
radiance behind it; while others resemble a fir tree,
hidden in the forest, that nevertheless gives freely of
its cooling shade and balmy fragrance to all who pause
to rest and enjoy its sweetness. One thinks of the fir
tree in reading of the short and fruitful career of
Franz Schubert, the greatest of song-writers and one
of the first of the romantic composers. Although
he was almost entirely self-taught, the enchanting
melodies he has given us have added a wealth of beauty
to the world of music, for he used musical tones as a
painter uses his colors, grouping them with a delicacy
of feeling that was unsurpassed.

Before his time the Lied, or German song, though
much loved by the people, was not a form of compo-
sition used largely by the greatest composers, but
Schubert sought to give his text a dignified setting and
make his music a fitting background for the poem.

The Schuberts lived on the outskirts of the gay city
of Vienna. The father was a schoolmaster of limited
means and could give his children little besides a good
education. On Sundays he would play quartets with
his sons, so that Franz heard good music and studied
the piano and violin from the time he was a child.



His voice was good and he sang as naturally as a
bird in the forest ; in fact, music was always his mode
of expression far more than words. His teacher,
Michael Holzer, the organist and choirmaster of the
town, was amazed at his progress. He told the father
that whenever he started to teach his pupil anything,
the latter knew it already.

When eleven years old, Franz was sent to the
Imperial School of Vienna, where Joseph Haydn
had once sung. Like the other boys, he was dressed
in the gold-laced uniform of the court, but in spite of
this grandeur, the small pupils of the Emperor’s choir
were often cold and hungry. The growing boys were
given only two meals a day, and Schubert wrote sev-
eral times to his elder brother begging for some kreut-
zers with which to buy apples. Antonio Salieri, the
director, recognized the boy’s genius and had an im-
portant influence over his musical studies. He con-
sidered him his most promising pupil and although
the two were very different in their ideas of art, they
always remained good friends.

Schubert played the violin in the school orchestra
among boys much older than himself, and so well did
he play that on his first appearance, the young leader
of the band, glancing around to see who it was who
played like an artist, was surprised to find only a small
boy in spectacles. The older boy greatly admired the
genius of his young companion, and after the latter
had confided to him -that he loved to write music, but
could not afford to buy music paper, his friend supplied
him with enough to satisfy his desires.

When thirteen, Schubert began to compose. His
vivid imagination made him delight in all kinds of dra-
matic subjects, and after reading some verses by


Schiller he proceeded to write a Corpse Fantasia which
had sixteen movements, each in a different key.

When he was seventeen, his education was consid-
ered finished and he returned home to assist his father
in teaching. Although many of his ancestors had been
schoolmasters, it was evident that Fate intended him
to have a different profession. He found teaching
most irksome and, after three years of conscientious
endeavor, was relieved by an offer from a prosperous
young poet, named Franz von Schober, who invited
him to live in Vienna with his mother and himself.
Thus Schubert was left free to study and compose and
he accepted the change with delight, living in a modest
way on his tiny income. He had the habit of rising at
five in the morning, and after a light breakfast of rolls
and coffee, he would write steadily for seven or more
hours. He scarcely ever erased or altered his first
work, and nothing interfered with his ceaseless labors.
Holzer had taught him theory and organ, and his
compositions are in every style, from songs and piano
pieces to church music and symphonies.

Often after finishing a manuscript he would put it
away and forget it. On one occasion he gave a song to
a friend who kept it for a while and finally sang it to
the composer, who exclaimed: “That’s not a bad song.
Who wrote it?”

Schubert’s friends were mostly artists and musicians,
and, like other young Bohemians, shared their posses-
sions, and whoever had money played the host. Once
the young composer sold a group of songs, and with the
proceeds, took his companions to hear Paganini play.

On another occasion he missed his wooden spectacle-
case and after a vain search discovered that one of
the number, too poor to buy a pipe, had taken it, filled


it with tobacco, inserted a stem, and was contentedly

With his acquaintances of the fashionable world,
Schubert was reserved and shy, shunning their compli-
ments, but among his intimates he was easily made
happy by praise, and his genial manners and great gifts
made him much beloved.

When with a party of friends,” he would often seat
himself at the piano and extemporize for hours, play-
ing the most fascinating dance music for their enter-

His creative genius was amazing and it asserted
itself wherever he was.

It was as if a good fairy were ever beside him and
he had only to command, to have her wave her wand
and bring his melodies into being.

!Liszt has called Schubert the most poetic musician
who ever lived, and yet he was one of the most cruelly
neglected geniuses the world has seen.,

One evening, in search of amusement, he strolled
with his companions into a cafe and, while there,
opened a book which one of the party had placed on
the table. In It he read Shakespeare’s sonnet begin-
ning: “Hark, hark, the lark at Heaven’s gate sings,”
and, turning to a friend, said: “Such a lovely melody
has come into my head, if I had but a sheet of music
paper with me!” His companion seized the bill of
fare lying on the table and, drawing lines on the back
of it, handed it to Schubert, who, forgetful of all
.about him, wrote down the music of one of the most
beautiful fcongs ever sung.

The works of the poets were always a source of
inspiration to him, and one marvels at the perfection


with which he has fitted his melodies and accompani-
ments to the words of the poem.

A friend once showed him a book of German
poetry by Miiller, and glancing through it, he became
absorbed and carried the book home with him. The
next day the owner sought for it in vain and, going
to Schubert’s lodging, found his book on the table.
“Do not be angry with me, dear friend,” said Schu-
bert. “The poems have so inspired me that I had
to compose music to them. I have hardly slept all
night and have already seven poems set to music.”

On reading Goethe’s ballad of the Erlkonig, he was
carried in imagination to the enchanted forest which
he has pictured in song.

In the music one hears the galloping of the horse,
as the father and his little son ride swiftly through
the gloomy wood, the frightened cries of the child as
he listens to the soft whispers of the specter, the
father’s calm reassurance, and the weird, unearthly
music of the Erlkonig as he tries to beguile the boy,
until in the end, failing, he seizes him by force.

Johann Vogl, a favorite opera singer in Vienna, was
his intimate friend and did much to introduce his songs.
The Viennese aristocracy, though at first indifferent-‘
to the music of the modest young composer living
in their midst, were finally aroused by his Erlkanig.
Two years before the aged Goethe died, he -asked –
to have this composition sung to him and. was
deeply affected by such a setting to his words. It is
interesting to know that the original manuscript was
for many years owned by Frau Schumann, whose hus-
band did much to introduce to the world the works
of Schubert.

Two of his best-loved songs are the Serenade, with


its guitar-like accompaniment, and the Ave Maria,
squally popular for voice or violin. l

When the young composer was twenty-one, Count
Esterhazy, a Hungarian nobleman, became interested
in him. Having heard some of Schubert’s composi-
tions, he invited the young man to his country seat in
Hungary. There his duties were to compose music
for his patron and teach the Count’s young daugh-
ters, Marie and Caroline, to sing and play.l Schubert
was happy in this congenial atmosphere. He soon be-
came a favorite with the Esterhazy family, who were
all devoted to music, and it is difficult to count the
many beautiful songs he composed in the two summers
spent with them in the Hungarian forests. Like Liszt,
he has woven many folk melodies into his music.

fTears passed, and Schubert’s pupil, the Countess
Caroline, grew Into a charming girl of seventeen. It
is said that Schubert loved her and longed to make
her his wife. In any case, he never married^ and when
she once gently reproached him for never having dedi-
cated any of his music to her, he replied: “Why
should I, when everything I ever wrote is dedicated to

. It is pathetic that so few of his compositions were
given in his lifetime. A few songs and some of his
quartets were brought to the notice of the public, but
his greatest works he never heard and for many years
they were totally ignored. The neglected composer
saw other men’s music preferred to his, his songs criti-
cized by public singers, and his symphonies thrown
aside as too long and difficult for performance. With
it all, he was absolutely without envy and was never
embittered or backward in his praise of those rivals
whom he honestly considered great.


When nineteen, he had applied to the government
for a small musical appointment of which the salary
was one hundred dollars a year, but this had been re-
fused him. Again, ten years later, he humbly asked
for the position of assistant organist in the Imperial
Chapel and was told that he was unknown.

It saddens the heart when one compares the happi-
ness that Schubert’s music has brought to thousands,
with his own lifelong struggle against poverty and
anxiety. He was forced to do without the comforts
as well as many of the common necessities of life, and
it was undoubtedly these hardships that hastened his
early death.

He once called on an intimate friend to ask for the
loan of fifteen florins with which to pay his landlord.
The friend immediately gave him the money, and as
they walked towards his lodgings they passed a music
shop in the window of which were displayed the songs
of Schubert. The composer turned to his companion
and said sadly: “Dear friend, I would repay you at
once if this publisher would pay me for my songs, but
every time I ask for money he says they have
had too much outlay and too little income from them,
and I have not yet received one penny.” Schubert
had sold these publishers the copyright of twelve vol-
umes of his songs for 70 (or about 340 dollars),
while on one single song this firm is said to_have real-
ized later a profit of no less than five thousand dollars.

One of his symphonies is called the Unfinished, as
he lived only long enough to complete two movements,
both very perfect examples of his genius. Another of
his works is the Overture and Ballet Music to Rosa-
munde, written to accompany a play, whose heroine
was a rrincess of Cyprus. The Viennese have always


been famous for their irresistible dance rhythms, and
in Schubert’s Viennese waltzes one realizes the truth
of this fact. His piano Impromptus and little Moments
Musicaux are really “songs without words,” and, as
Robert Schumann has said, his music has in it “the
quality of everlasting youth.”

As he grew older, life became harder each year for
the young composer. When twenty-seven, he wrote to
a friend: “I feel myself the most wretched and un-
happy being in the world/ Imagine a man whose
health can never come right again, a man whose bril-
liant hopes have all come to naught, to whom the
happiness of love and friendship offers nothing but
sorrow and bitterness, and whom the inspiring feeling
of the beautiful threatens to abandon forever, and ask
yourself whether such a one must not be miserable.”

Beethoven was always his idol and he used to follow
him through the streets of Vienna to a little cafe where
he often dined. “Who could hope to do anything
after Beethoven I” he once exclaimed. Schubert longed
to know him well, but only twice had the courage to
approach him. A friend once took him to call on the
master, who was then quite deaf. Beethoven requested
him to write his answers to the questions he put to him
about his composing, but the young man was overcome
with nervousness and his hand shook so he could write
nothing intelligible, and finally left the room in much
disappointment. It was only when Beethoven was in
his last illness that they met again. The master had
seen some of Schubert’s songs, and expressed regret
that he had not sooner known of the composer’s worth.

Speaking of him, he said: u Truly Schubert has the
divine fire in him.” Schubert begged a friend to take
him to the bedside of the dying composer, and when


he heard of his death he wept bitterly and, filling a
glass with wine, drank to the departing soul and to
the next to follow. Strangely enough, this proved to
be Schubert himself, for in little more than a year he
too had passed away.

Schubert was thirty-one when he gave his first and
last concert, which consisted entirely of his own com-
positions and was a success, thanks to several devoted
friends. The receipts for this concert were over one
hundred and fifty dollars, a large sum for him to re-
ceive, and it seemed at last as if fame and fortune were
to be his, but poverty, hard work and lack of encour-
agement had clouded his spirit and worn out his bodily
frame. The following summer his health failed and
he longed to go to the hills, but there was no money.
In the autumn his friends the Esterhazys urged him
to visit them, but by that time he was too ill, a slow
fever had attacked him, and before the new year he
had followed Beethoven to another world.

After death had come to this King of Song, his en-
tire property was sold at auction for the sum of twelve

It seems strange that his friends did not realize his
great privations and come to his rescue, but it was
years before his admirers succeeded in convincing the”
public that Franz Schubert was one of the most sur-
prising musical geniuses the world has ever seen.

The last wish of the composer was that he be per-
mitted to lie near his. idol Beethoven, and this was
granted by his devoted brother Ferdinand, who scraped
together, out of his own scanty savings, the money
necessary to purchase the little plot of ground. On the
monument which was erected later are the words,
“Music has here entombed a rich treasure but still
fairer hopes.”

Chapter XXIII

1 , 1809-1847

IN the old fairy tales the good fairies brought gifts to
the little princes and princesses ; and it would seem as
if they had also attended the christening of Felix Men-
delssohn, for into his tiny hands was poured a wealth
of happiness that lasted through the thirty-eight years
of his life.

His gifts were a kind and loving nature, devoted
friends, brilliant talents, good health and freedom
from financial stress that ever present dread which
has saddened the existence of so many musicians.

Fame came to him unsought, and from boyhood he
was admired and feted, but the purity and joyousness
of his nature kept him unspoiled, and it was said that
in his short career there was “nothing to tell that was
not honorable to his memory and profitable to all


His father and grandfather were famous scholars,
the latter having made a name for himself throughout
Germany. Felix’s father would remark laughingly:
“Formerly I was the son of my father. Now I am
the father of my son.”

The mother, a beautiful Jewess, possessed a cul-
tured and well-stored mind. All her life she had great
influence over her children, whose education she care-
fully supervised. Notwithstanding the fact that the



parents held to the Jewish faith, the children of the
Mendelssohn family were brought up in the Christian

Felix’s sister Fanny, four years older than he, was
almost as talented as her brother, and the bond be-
tween them was very strong.

When the boy was a tiny child, the Mendelssohns
moved from Hamburg to Berlin and purchased an
estate outside the city which included a spacious house
surrounded by gardens, and a deer park that had once
belonged to Frederick the Great. The place was
called “the house of many gardens” and there was a
summer room which could be used for concerts, with
glass doors opening on to the green lawn.

All this beauty helped to inspire the music that
seemed a natural expression of the boy’s soul, and it
became the custom on Sundays for their friends to
gather in this lovely spot and listen to the playing of
the two young artists. Felix read music before he
could decipher printed words, and, when eleven, played
most of the Bach fugues from memory, and had com-
posed a little operetta, while his improvising was re-

With it all he was a real boy and would leap hedges
in the garden or climb trees with the agility of a

He and Fanny were made to rise at five o’clock each
morning to work with their tutor and practise the
piano and violin. When older, they studied with Karl
Zelter, a well-known musician in Berlin.

Fanny’s playing was remarkable and resembled her
brother’s in, its vivacity and finish. Her mother de-
clared she possessed the “real Bach fingers,” and when
only thirteen years old, she gave her father a birthday


surprise by playing twenty-four of the Bach preludes
to him from memory.

Zelter, who taught them, was an intimate friend of
Goethe, and often wrote to the latter describing with
pride the talents and industry of Felix, saying: “He
plays the clavichord like a young devil.” When the
boy was eleven, the professor took him to Weimar to
visit the poet, and the admiration of the latter for the
child’s genius was unbounded. Soon the two were
firm friends and for years after, whenever Felix went
to Weimar, Goethe’s house was his hom’e.

The poet loved music and delighted to test the boy’s
powers. One day, after he had been playing Bach
and Mozart, Goethe smiled and said: “Ah, you have
played only pieces you know. Now let me see if you
can play something you do not know” ; and he placed
a blotted manuscript before him. Zelter, who was
there, examined it, saying reverently: “It is the writ-
ing of Beethoven.” In it many notes were illegible
and others designated only by faint dots. To play it
required a quickness of eye that few have attained,
but Felix looked it through carefully, and then, turn-
ing to Goethe, said: “Now I will play it to you”
and not a note was missing.

Soon the young composer entered the University
of Berlin and, when sixteen, was taken by his father
to Paris to play to Cherubini, the head of the Con-
servatoire. After the latter had seen the boy’s compo-
sitions and heard him play, he told the elder Mendels-
sohn that his son was destined to be a great musician,
and proposed that he be left to study with him. This
his father would not allow, as he wished the boy edu-
cated at home.

The training of Felix and Fanny was as thorough in


literature as in music, and they read Shakespeare and
the English poets as easily as their own German ones,
and were especially charmed by the Midsummer
Night’s Dream. Its dainty and fanciful imagery ap-
pealed to Mendelssohn’s imagination and, when eight-
een, he composed for it his fairy overture which is
one of the most exquisite things in music. When
played in London, it took the audience by storm, one
critic declaring that “it brought the fairies into the
orchestra and fixed them there.”

After the first performance, the manuscript score,
having been entrusted to a friend, was carelessly left
by him in a hackney coach and was never again found.
u Do not mind,” said Mendelssohn, “I will write an-
other,” which he proceeded to do, entirely from

Fifteen years later, at the request of the King, he
composed more music for the fairy play, which was
given in Berlin with its musical setting. To the over-
ture were added a Lullaby for Titania, a Nocturne,
and the brilliant Wedding March which, ever since its
appearance, has been constantly used for other wed-
dings than those of the fairies.

He may be said to have invented an original form
of short piano piece, the Songs without Words, many
of them little musical poems sent home while on his
travels, their melodies reflecting his happiness. Men-
delssohn’s life was lived in the sunshine, and its joy-
ousness and tranquillity reappear in his music, which
possesses beauty and grace, his sacred music being
exalted and full of religious fervor.

If Mendelssohn had never written anything himself,
the world would still remember him with gratitude for


the many works of Bach and other great masters that
he brought to light and saved from oblivion.

When a young man, he and his friend Devrient
studied the music of Bach’s Passion According to St.
Matthew, and being impressed by its nobility, they
called on Zelter and persuaded him to lend them the
choir of voices of which he was conductor, Mendels-
sohn himself organizing the orchestra. He trained his
choir with endless patience, spending much time on the
chorales, which he insisted should be sung with great
delicacy of expression. He then gave two perform-
ances of the work, to large and enthusiastic audiences.
The great music had lain forgotten for eighty years
and its performance marked the beginning of a Bach
revival in Europe. Fifteen years later, Mendelssohn
conducted it again in Leipzig, to raise money for a
Bach monument to be placed near the Thomas School,
where the old master had labored for so many years
of his life.

Some of the composer’s happiest days were spent in
London, for the English people delighted in his music,
and fell captive to his universal charm. Queen Vic-
toria was one of his admirers and he spent several
afternoons playing to her at the palace, while in return
she sang to him, apologizing for not being herself a
professional musician.

In appearance he was slender and refined, with a
noble head, compelling eyes and a mouth that pos-
sessed purity and sweetness in its curves.

With his friend Karl Klingemann, Mendelssohn
made a tour of Scotland, sketching, composing and
reveling in the romantic scenery. On a visit to a friend
who had a garden of trumpet flowers, he wrote a fairy


scherzo in which one hears the tiny trumpets of elfland,
summoning the elves to their moonlight revels.

His Scottish Symphony shows the influence of the
moors and glens, and letters to his family were filled
with musical themes that best illustrated the impres-
sions of his travels.

When on his return he was asked by Fanny to de-
scribe FingaPs Cave, he replied: “It cannot be told,
only played,” and, sitting down at the piano, impro-
vised the music that afterwards made up his Hebrides
Overture. Another trip was to France, Switzerland
and Italy, where he composed an Italian Symphony
and a Concerto for piano and orchestra.

Mendelssohn was talented as composer, conductor
and pianist. Even as a lad his sense of hearing was
marvelously fine, and in the midst of a powerful or-
chestra or chorus, he could detect the slightest error
of a single instrument or voice. He was a fine con-
ductor, handling his orchestra as if it were a single
instrument, inspiring his men by his patience and en-
thusiasm, and by his courtesy and wit rousing the
dullest to achieve the best results. He seemed to exert
a magic influence, and the performers declared that
the electric force of his nature streamed out through
his baton. As a pianist his technical skill was only a
means towards an end, for his touch had a unique and
beautiful quality.

His organ-playing was a revelation, and it was said
that he could do everything that was possible on this
instrument except one thing “play his congregation
out of church,” for whenever it was known in London
that Mendelssohn was to be the organist, vast crowds
filled St. Paul’s, and the more he played, the more they
settled themselves to listen. Finally, on one occasion*


the verger, who had not a musical soul, and wished to
go home to tea, forcibly removed the blower from the
bellows of the organ, and the Bach chorale came to an
untimely end.

When twenty-four years old, Mendelssohn was
given the position of musical director in Diisseldorf
and, while there, wrote his oratorio of St. Paul. This
work immediately became a success with the public
and, before eighteen months had passed, had been
given fifty times in almost as many different cities.

Two years later the composer accepted the position
of conductor in Leipzig, a city he helped to make one
of the most famous musical centers in Europe. His
days were filled with varied activities, and after years
of work his pet dream became a reality, and he founded
the Leipzig Conservatory of Music. It opened with
a distinguished list of musicians as teachers, Men-
delssohn himself, Robert Schumann, the pianist Ignaz
Moscheles, and the violinist Ferdinand Davi3.

In Mendelssohn’s twenty-eighth year his marriage
to Cecile Jeanrenaud, the daughter of a Protestant
clergyman, took place. She had a mind as cultivated
and refined as her appearance, and their marriage
proved one of sincere devotion.

The young couple made frequent trips to Berlin,
where Felix’s sister Fanny was living. She had mar-
ried the court painter Hensel and her talents as a
musician made her home an artistic center, as attrac-
tive as her father’s house had been.

While on another visit to London, Mendelssohn
conducted the fi-rst performance of his masterpiece,
Elijah, the oratorio that is considered worthy to rank
with Handel’s great Messiah. Most dramatic is Eli-
jah’s summons to the five hundred prophets of ‘Baal


as he tells them to call on their false god and bid him
light their altar fires.

In sharp, wild minor cadences the priests obey, and
as the silence continues, they are taunted by the
Prophet with the words, “Call louder! perchance thy
god sleepeth or has gone hunting.” As no answer is
returned to their frenzied appeals, there follows a
solemn invocation by Elijah to the one true God, ex-
pressive of the deepest faith, and then a bewildering
dramatic burst of feeling from the chorus as in answer
to his prayer the fire leaps down from Heaven, con-
suming the sacrifice on the altar.

After Prince Albert and the Queen had heard this
performance, the Prince Consort sent the composer
his book of the oratorio in which he had written: “To
the noble artist who, surrounded by the Baal worship
of corrupted art, has been able by his genius to pre-
serve faithfully, like another Elijah, the worship of
true Art. Written in token of grateful remembrance
by Albert.”

When thirty-two, Mendelssohn was made court
Kapellmeister by the King of Prussia and worked
continually, composing, playing and conducting. One
writer has said that he u lived years where others lived
weeks.’* His wealth, although freeing him from the
stimulus that necessity gives, was valued only as af-
fording leisure for the development of his powers.
He gave generously to those in need, and was prompt
to recognize the worth of other artists who came to
Leipzig, where he himself reigned as king.

When about thirty-seven years old, he began to feel
the effects of his years of activity, and physicians for-
bade any more playing in public. His friends begged
him to give up his composing, but he declared that he


must labor until he was forty and then would rest, and
as if with a presentiment of his early death, he said to
his wife: “Let me work a little longer the time for
me to rest will shortly be here.”

Soon an inexpressible sorrow came into his life, for
while on a business trip to Frankfort, he heard of the
sudden death of Fanny, who had been quite well when
they parted. He read the news and cried out in agony,
falling unconscious to the ground, the grief hastening
his own death, for he and his sister had been united by
unusual ties of sympathy and love.

After this loss he went with his family to Switzer-
land, and there, in the lovely country air, seemed
calmer and more cheerful, but on his return an illness
developed and he sank quietly into his eternal sleep.
Deep gloom settled on the city of Leipzig, his death
being considered a national calamity, and an immense
throng followed the coffin to the church, while the
combined bands of the city played his E Minor “Song
without Words.” Later he was carried to Berlin to
lie beside Fanny in the family vault, that they might
be together in death as they had been in life.

‘Chapter XXIF,


1809-1849 ^

Music and poetry sometimes go hand in hand, and
in the life of this composer it is impossible to separate
them. He is a true lyric poet though his poems are
not verses but music-*-music composed almost entirely
for the piano and so lovely that no one else has ever
written anything with exactly the same originality and
charm. He is essentially the composer and poet of
the piano, for whenever asked to write an opera or
an orchestral composition, he replied that the piano
was his chosen instrument.

I Chopin’s melodies have the singing quality of the
voice or violin, and his harmonies are never common-
place, but varied and beautiful. I

t Every emotion of joy or sorrow is represented in
his music. One sees vistas in the woods, still pools in
the moonlight, groups of gay lords and ladies, or a
mother singing her child to sleep. Again, there are
vivid tints of tapestried walls, the clamor of war or
the tolling of distant bells.

The father of the little Frederic was a Frenchman
who had emigrated to Poland. He was professor at
the University of Warsaw and had a boarding school
for boys in his own home, to which the most cultivated
of the Polish nobility were glad to send their chil-
dren. His own son had therefore many aristocratic



playmates in his youth, who later proved influential

Chopin’s mother was always his ideal of what a
woman should be. She belonged to one of the first
families of Poland and, like her husband, was refined
and charming. There were three daughters in the
family, all very fond of their younger brother.

| He was a delicate child, very sensitive to impres-
sions and to the people around him, and from an early
age showed great musical ability.’ All his life he
had the habit of waking in the night and going to
the piano to picture the dreams, whether joyful or
sad, that had come to him in his sleep. His family
and the servants, all of whom loved him, were used
to his ways, although the latter could not always un-
derstand, and would say to each other compassion-
ately: “The poor young gentleman’s mind is affected.”

\ At the age of nine he was considered a prodigy by
all who heard him play, and, a public concert being
given in Warsaw, the boy was invited to be one of the
soloists. He was dressed in a new suit with a large
lace collar that filled him with pride, and on returning
from a most successful evening, and being asked by
his mother: “What did the public like best?” he re-
plied: “Oh, mamma, everybody looked only at my
collar” his playing appearing to him of quite sec-
ondary importance.?

The Grand Duke Constantine and his wife were
fond of the little musician and he was often asked to
the palace, where all delighted in his music. For them
he improvised many lovely melodies and, when ten
years old, dedicated a march to the Grand Duke, who
was pleased with it and ordered it played by all his
military bands.


The boy was fond of composing and his father en-
gaged Joseph Eisner to teach him counterpoint. It
was a happy choice, for Eisner trained his genius to
develop freely, without checking his individuality.

Among other gifts, he was a great mimic, and
stories are told of the boyish tricks he loved to play.
He could imitate any sound on the piano, or with his
voice, and his music had a strange, hypnotic power
when he chose to exert it.

Once a party of Polish Jews came to see him and
young Chopin offered to play them some Jewish music.
As they listened, they became more and more moved,
and finally sprang to their feet, dancing slowly an old
Jewish dance and exclaiming: “He plays like a Jew
he plays like a Jew.” Another story describes Jan
.evening when his father’s pupils were gathered at the
house, romping and making such a noise that the
boy at length seated himself at the piano and an-
nounced that he would improvise a story, if they would
be quiet. As he preferred improvising in the dark,
the lights were lowered and he began telling a tale of
robbers who, after many exciting adventures, rested in
safety under the forest trees. Gradually the music
changed, the harmonies became slower and softer and
at last died away in faint chords. There was silence,
and when the lights were turned on, his audience were
found to be fast asleep. |

The elder Chopin had friends who owned a large
country estate near Warsaw and the boy would fre-
quently be asked there for several weeks at a time.
Although he stood well in his school work, it was a
delight to escape from his books and wander freely
in the woods and fields. Often he would lie for hours
under a tree, dreaming daydreams in which the fairies


and elves played their part. While on these visits, he
published a little journal modeled on the leading War-
saw paper and in it described all his doings, speaking
of himself as “Monsieur Pichon” and sending it to
the family to keep them informed of his affairs.

When nineteen, he and a friend, Professor Jarocki,
took a holiday in Germany, and in Berlin the young
Pole met the composer Mendelssohn, as well as other
noted men of the city.

On their homeward way the stage stopped at a little
roadside inn, and while waiting for the horses to be
changed, Chopin discovered an old piano in a corner.
He tried it, exclaiming, delightedly: “Santa Cecilia,
the piano is in tune I” Then, sitting in the twilight,
he began to play some of his own exquisite music.
Soon the room filled with other travelers and towns-
people passing by, many of whom wept as they listened
to music such as they had never heard before. When
the postilion announced that all was ready, the inn-
keeper offered Chopin a special courier and horses if
he would continue playing, while the whole company
crowded around him with words of admiration. One
listener, the town cantor, said in a voice trembling
with emotion : “Sir, I am an old and trained musician
and so can appreciate your masterly performance. If
Mozart had heard it, he would have grasped your
hand and cried: ‘Bravo P ” At the end, the innkeeper
lifted the composer in his arms, like a child, and car-
ried him in triumph to his carriage.

One Sunday in Warsaw, he played the organ for the
service at the Wizytek church and began dreamily im-
provising in his usual manner on a part of the mass
which the priest had just intoned. The music was so
beautiful that the choristers were spellbound and left


their places to gather around him, while the priest
waited patiently at the altar. Finally, the sacristan
rushed into the choir to tell Chopin that he was re-
tarding the service ; the latter awoke from his reverie,
and the music ceased.

fThe next year, before leaving for a trip to Vienna,
a banquet was given him by his musical friends, who
presented the young composer with a silver goblet
filled with the earth of Poland, so that, wherever he
wandered, he could never forget his comrades or his
native land. ‘

In the free artistic life of Vienna his genius devel-
oped and he met tfie leading musicians of the city and
was persuaded to give a concert, where his improvising
was received with enthusiasm. At this time he was
full of humor and good spirits and wrote to a friend :
“It goes crescendo with my popularity here, and this
gives me much pleasure. May I be permitted to sign
myself as belonging to the circle of your friends?
F. Chopin penniless.”

?The young artist had a noble ideal of friendship
and, although of a reserved nature and very much of
an aristocrat, he loved his chosen friends devotedly
and was loved in return. One of them in after years
wrote of him: “He was supreme as an artist and
lovable as a man.”f

Before he was twenty he lost his heart to a charm-
ing young singer named Constantia Gladowska. She
sang at one of his Warsaw concerts where he played
his first piano concerto, in the slow movement of which,
as he told a friend, he had musically idealized her
whom he loved.

JThe next year he said a final good-bye to Warsaw
and started for Paris, writing from there: “I am


passing through Paris, ” but for eighteen years until
his death, it was his home. It was a grief to him
to be separated from his family, particularly after
hearing of the revolution in Poland, for he was always
an ardent patriot, and reproduced in his music his
sorrow at the sufferings of his beloved country/

By the time he was twenty-five he had composed
twenty-seven etudes for the piano which have ever
since been of untold value to pianists. It has been de-
clared that these studies stand for nineteenth-century
piano works, as Beethoven’s for the eighteenth and
Bach’s for the seventeenth century.

The tragic Revolutionary Etude in C Minor, with
its stormy passages in the left hand, expressed his
grief and excitement on hearing of the taking of War-
saw by the Russians.

Of the study in Ab Major, it is said that Chopin
himself wrote: “Imagine a little shepherd who takes
refuge in a peaceful grotto from an approaching
storm. In the distance rushes the wind and rain, while
the shepherd plays gently on his flute.”

Another etude, in CJ Minor, is sometimes called a
duet between the voice and the violoncello. It is sad,
but of a sadness that is yearning and sweet.

Paris in Chopin’s day was filled with a brilliant
crowd of artists and musicians Berlioz and Liszt,
and such writers as Victor Hugo, Dumas, and Balzac,
with many other celebrities.

^Although the musicians welcomed Chopin and ac-
claimed him a master, the critics were slower in their
understanding. He was practically unknown and the
audience at his first concert consisted mostly of his
Polish friends, while the expenses proved greater than
the receipts. As he had very little money and did not


wish to ask his father to support him indefinitely, he
decided to leave Paris, t

The next evening, meeting his friend Prince Radzi-
will, whom he had known in Warsaw, he told him of
his plan to return home. The Prince regretted his
decision and invited Chopin to accompany him to a
party given by Baron Rothschild, whose salon was
one of the most brilliant in Paris. The young man
accepted and there met the wealthy and fashionable
society of the gay city, and played them some of his
own music. When the evening was over, he had been
asked to give lessons in several prominent families,
and from this time his prospects brightened and he
gave up the idea of going back to Poland. Soon he
became the fashion and was made much of by great
ladies, as well as by artists. He was extremely refined
and courteous of manner, and had a slender figure, pale
complexion and silky chestnut hair.

When at the piano, he played as his moods
prompted, putting all of himself into his music, and
his touch was a revelation to his audiences. “A gossa-
mer touch that swept the keys,” it was called, and like
his composing, it was unique. It was surprising, the
power that lay in his seemingly small hands, for no
technical difficulties hampered him, his runs resembled
pearls, and his tone was singing and beautiful.

Before giving a concert, he would shut himself up
and play, not his own music, but Bach’s, for he told
his pupils that independence of the fingers and a cor-
rect touch were to be gained only by studying that
master. He taught for many years in Paris and
seemed to enjoy this branch of his art, all of his
pupils acknowledging his unfailing kindness and for-


bearance. He would never willingly hurt their feel-
ings, although often good-naturedly making jokes at
their imperfections, as when he once inquired of a
pupil who had played with a rough tone if he had
heard “the barking of the dog.” He demanded that
they play in strict rhythm, and if anyone exaggerated
or hurried the time, he would say with gentle sarcasm:
“I pray you, seat yourself.”

Liszt became his friend but, unlike him, Chopin
chose to live a secluded life, and did not enjoy being
before the public. He was easily affected by the atmos-
phere of his audiences, and his wit was apt to be turned
against those who ruffled or depressed his spirit. A
story told of him by Liszt illustrates this trait. They
were dining one night with a host who was not tactful
enough to resist the impulse to urge his distinguished
guest to play, and Chopin said plaintively in response
to the demand: “Ah, sir, but I have eaten so little.”

Another story illustrates the friendship of the two
artists. Once, at an evening party, Chopin was asked
to perform, but as he seated himself at the piano his
hostess suddenly remembered that the pedals had been
removed and sent away for repairs. Liszt laughingly
said he would take their place, and kneeling under
the instrument, he worked the wires while Chopin
played to the company assembled.

The beautiful Polish Countess Delphine Potocka,
who lived in Paris, gave to Chopin a friendship that
was unfailing. She herself sang delightfully and her
house was a popular rendezvous of Parisian society,
where Chopin’s genius received due homage. It was
there that he sometimes amused himself and his lis-
teners by illustrating the characteristics of his friends


in a series of musical portraits. Without naming his
subject, he would play an illustration that would enable
his hearers to name correctly the person represented.

He once gave a musical portrait of the Countess
herself, by first throwing her shawl over the keyboard
and then playing a lovely melody through it, showing
that her soul was draped and hidden beneath the sym-
bols of fashionable life and yet was always beautiful.

In Paris Chopin met the leaders of art and letters.
Among them he singled out the most brilliant, the most
magnetic of all, the richly endowed Aurore Dudevant,
who wrote under the signature of George Sand. She
in turn was captivated by his genius. They became close
friends and for years she, thanks partly to her being
older than he, exercised a strong influence on his music.
Under this tender sway he did some of his finest work.
When he became gravely ill, it was George Sand who
carefully nursed him back to health. In after years
the loss of her friendship was a lasting sorrow to him.

As his health failed he was often forced to be
inaccessible to his friends, to give fewer lessons and
play less in public, though he still composed. For
years he spent his summers in the lovely Frenchr^own
of Nohant, forty miles from Paris. There, in the soft
country air, surrounded by trees and water, he would
rest and gain strength for the winter’s work.

In the garden of the chateau was an elevation which
commanded a view of the valley and was noted for its
remarkable echo, which repeated everything very
clearly. One evening a gay party assembled in the
garden and one of their number proposed that the
grand piano be carried out, letting the echo repeat the
music. This was done, and first Liszt and then Chopin
played in the moonlight, so thrilling their listeners by


the duet between art and nature that it was nearly
morning before the company dispersed.

‘ Among Chopin’s works are his twenty-four Preludes,
for he copied Bach in writing a prelude for each of
the major and minor keys. These pieces have been
described as “musical cameos,” for although some are
only a few lines in length, doubtless unfinished sketches
for larger works, yet all are filled with the charm of his
own peculiar genius. *

In the Ab Major Prelude the composer seems to
stand on a bridge, watching the flow of the moonlit
water wKile his thoughts wander far away. Suddenly,
a clock sounds in the church tower near by and the
strokes mingle with his reflections and the spell of the

The sad Prelude in B Minor is said to recall the
raindrops falling on the roof of an old Spanish cloister
on the island of Majorca, where Chopin composed it.

Of the middle movement of the Dk Major Prelude,
which was also written on this island, George Sand
wrote: “In it the shades of the dead monks seem to
rise and pass before the hearer in solemn and gloomy

The rhythmic quality of the dance music of Poland
is distinctive, and Chopin has composed mazurkas such
as no one but a native of Poland could achieve. They
can be called classics, for in them he has immortalized
the songs and dances of his native land.

His waltzes are essentially sophisticated and one
cannot imagine them danced by peasants. Some are
very dainty in their conception, as the little one in
D^ Major, which is called the valse du petit chien y
said to have been written to amuse George Sand and
immortalize her pet.


The Polonaise was another national dance and
closely associated with the life of the Polish people.
Chopin described the one in A^ Major as the outcome
of a vision. In it he saw a long train of Polish noble-
men and ladies who moved slowly across his room.
He knew them for the ghosts of the past glory of
Poland and wept as he realized her downfall. This
idea he also strikingly illustrated in the Funeral March
which forms a movement of one of his three Sonatas.

Again he dreamed while composing his Fantasie in
F Minor, which, although less popular with pianists,
has great dramatic splendor. Liszt tells the story of
the music which Chopin told to him.

At the time, he was ill and unhappy over the cold-
ness of those whom he had loved, who had disap-
pointed him. While sitting at the piano, he heard
a knocking on his door. It was repeated and there
entered the friends who were once dear to him but
who had now gone out of his life. They had become
only visions, and the sad minor cadence of the music
is unchanged to the end.

One other tone poem is the Berceuse. The bass
consists of two broken chords played with a change-
less, rocking movement, while the right hand plays a
lovely singing melody elaborated and embellished until
it resembles the daintiest lacework of runs and trills.
Then comes the Amen of the two closing chords, which
picture the prayer said over the cradle of the French

Chopin founded no method, though he has had many
followers, but without his influence, modern music could
never have reached its present heights. He was the
great experimenter with the pedal, producing new and
wonderful color effects, and, as Saint-Saens has said,


“He revolutionized the divine art and paved the way
for all modern music.”

rln spite of his fame and the lessons and concerts
he gave, he was never rich, and when seriously ill,
he would have suffered had not some of his closest
friends come to his assistance and made it possible for
him to live without anxiety for the future. l

I When thirty-nine, he made a final effort and went to
England to give concerts, but the combined coldness of
the atmosphere and of the English critics had an un-
fortunate effect on him, and on his return to Paris he
was forced to give up all work. *

His devoted sister Louise and his faithful pupil
Adolf Gutmann were his constant attendants, as was
the Abbe Jelowicki, a friend of his youth.

After days of suffering they realized the end was
near, and to the Abbe, Chopin made his last confes-
sion, thanking him for his help and saying: “Now I
am at the Source of Blessedness.” His friend the
Countess Potocka was also beside him and he begged
her to sing to him for the last time, which she did with
a sorrowing heart. Night came and his friends knelt
by his bed, praying and weeping. While Gutmann was
supporting him, the master suddenly bent his head to
kiss his pupil’s hand his last act on earth.

In Pere Lachaise, *the old cemetery outside of
Paris, where so many other musicians lie buried, one
can find Chopin’s resting-place. His heart was taken
back to his native land, and is preserved in the Church
of the Sacred Cross in Warsaw, while in his tomb was
placed the silver goblet containing the earth of Poland,
which had accompanied him on all his travels. ‘

In a quiet spot in Paris, the Pare Monceau, there
is a marble monument with a relief representing


Chopin seated at his piano. Over his head hovers the
spirit of Harmony, and beside him bends the drooping
figure of Night, her hand veiling her eyes as she listens
to his music.



THE Romantic School in music owes much to Robert
Schumann. Born in Zwickau, the son of the proprietor
of a small bookshop, he early became acquainted with
much that is beautiful and romantic in poetry and
prose, a knowledge that later flowered in his musical

His birthplace possessed but two musicians, the
church organist and the town trumpeter. As the boy’s
ambition did not follow the line taken by the latter
artist, he began his training under the care of the
organist, who soon recognized the great gifts of his

When only seven, he was composing and playing
little melodies, and a few years later was chosen for
the piano part in a cantata given before a large audi-
ence in Zwickau. In order to watch the conductor,
the small performer had to stand at his instrument,
and in consequence reached the pedals with great dif-
ficulty, but he nevertheless scored a success, with both
the audience and the musicians.

His was a sensitive and fanciful nature and, like
Chopin, he would dream strange harmonies and
awaken to find himself in the dark, trying to repro-
duce this dream music on the piano. Again, like
Chopin, he enjoyed making “musical portraits” of
his friends pictures easily recognized,



When twelve, he once explored the corners of his
father’s bookshop, finding the orchestral score of an
old Italian overture, which he resolved to play. He
sought out his musical boy friends, and a little orches-
tra was formed, consisting of two violins, two flutes,
two horns and a clarinet, Robert as conductor agreeing
to fill in all deficiencies on the piano.

His amused parent presented the performers with
eight music racks and was allowed to be the only lis-
tener at their concerts, but after Robert had composed
a chorus on the i^oth Psalm, which he gave with his
orchestra, his father awoke to the realization of his
son’s talent.

Several years later the father died, and Schumann’s
mother, although devoted to her son, failed to under-
stand his passion for music, and urged him to study
law as a profession.

To please her, he entered the University of Leip-
zig^ but while there made few friends, and did little
studying along legal lines. Music was always first in
his affections and he seized every opportunity to be
with those who loved it.

In Leipzig at this time lived a musician called “Papa
Wieck.” He was considered the best piano teacher in
the city and would say to his friends: “It is my busi-
ness to raise musicians.” His own daughters Clara
and Marie showed the fine results of his teaching, and
from childhood they sang and played like artists.

Young Schumann was once taken by a friend to play
to Herr Wieck, who praised his talents and encour-
aged him in his dream of becoming a pianist.

The next year saw him at the University of Heidel-
berg beginning his legal studies, but his heart was not
in them and when twenty years old, through the help


of Friedrich Wieck, his mother at last gave her con-
sent to his making music his profession.

He hastened joyfully back to Leipzig to begin work
with his friend, and although he had always disliked
the study of harmony, he now wrote joyfully to this
teacher: “Whole pailfuls of cold theory can do me
no harm and I will work at it without a murmur.”

To make up for lost time, Schumann practised
strenuously for seven hours a day, but made one fatal
mistake. This was in inventing a mechanical con-
trivance to support his fourth finger, while working
to strengthen the others, and it resulted in the perma-
nent weakening of the muscles of this finger.

Thus ended forever his dream of becoming a vir-
tuoso, but he faced the disappointment manfully, re-
solving that if he could not play music he would
create it, turning his whole attention from this time
to the study of harmony and counterpoint which at
first had not attracted him.

While living with his teacher Herr Wieck, Schu-
mann became much interested in his daughter Clara, a
rarely gifted personality, who had played in concert
when she was only twelve years of age. She was a
lovely child as well as a talented one, and the two
soon became friends.

There was in Leipzig a quaint little restaurant called
xThe Coffee Tree,” a favorite resort for young artists
of the city where in the evenings they met to discuss
the growth of music as an art, and combat the ideas
of some of the older and more conservative Leipzig

Young Schumann’s imagination delighted in expres-
sive imagery and he created a fanciful society called
the “Band of Young Davids,” while all who did not


agree with their ideas on art were named the Philis-
tines, the latter representing those musicians who were
old-fashioned and reactionary in their ideas.

Most of his intimates belonged to the society, and
he has immortalized them in his Carnival, a collection
of twenty-two short pieces, some only three lines in
length. In them “Chiarina” is Clara Wieck, “Es-
trella” (another friend) is Ernestine von Fricken,
and both “Florestan” and “Eusebius” are the com-
poser himself in varying moods of dreaminess and
power. The last piece of the collection is the March
of the Young Davids against the Philistines.

The society published a musical journal of which
Schumann, in his twenty-fifth year, became editor.
For it, he delighted to write articles on the new com-
posers and their works, and in this way brought to
the public notice many younger men, as well as the
works of older masters such as Bach and Beethoven.

He wrote glowing praises of Mendelssohn, Chopin
and Brahms, and did much to introduce to the public
the music of Schubert. These compositions greatly
impressed him, and he had been sincerely moved by
the early death of that neglected genius.

For a while Schumann was attracted by the young
baroness Ernestine von Fricken, who appears in his
Carnival music. She was of Bohemian descent and
had come to Leipzig to study with Papa Wieck. The
young man imagined that he was in love with her, and
under her inspiration composed his Etudes Symphon-
iques, but meanwhile Clara Wieck was changing from a
child to a woman, and by the time she was seventeen
he realized that it was she who had really captured his

The young girl was already famous as a pianist,


and had been honored by the Emperor with the title
of Imperial Chamber Virtuoso.

Papa Wieck strongly opposed an engagement be-
tween his daughter and Schumann, on the ground that
marriage would hamper her brilliant future, and de-
clared the young man himself was only at the begin-
ning of his career and had still his fortune to make.

He continued firm in this decision and it was a long,
patient struggle on Schumann’s part before he suc-
ceeded in winning Clara for his’ wife. He worked
hard to make a name for himself and, when twenty-
eight years old, wrote to a friend: “Truly, from the
struggle Clara has cost me, much music has been
caused and created.”

Hoping to better his fortune, he went to Vienna,
and while there composed his Faschingsschwank aus
Wien (“Vienna Carnival Scenes”), where, among
other pictures, a military band marches by, playing
the French Marseillaise, which at that time was for-
bidden in Austria.

Schumann skillfully wove this melody into the mar-
tial music of his band, and was much entertained at
his success in evading the authorities, for he was al-
lowed to play the piece unchallenged.

While in Vienna, he visited the last resting-place of
Beethoven in the old cemetery, and on the grave of
the great master chanced to find a rusty steel pen that
he loved to think had been dropped by Schubert, who
often visited the grave in the few months that elapsed
before his own death.

Schumann carried away the pen as a precious relic,
using it afterward in writing his Symphony in Bb, one
of the most beautiful of his works.

When the composer was thirty years old, he ob-


tained a degree from the University of Jena *as doctor
of philosophy, and the same year, on Clara’s twenty-
first birthday, her father was forced to give his con-
sent and the lovers were at last united in a marriage
that proved an ideal one.

Schumann was very proud of his wife and, in the
first years of his married life, composed over one hun-
dred songs, beautiful examples of his lyric genius and
dedicated to her, who was the inspiration of all his
best work.

A poem by Adolph Bottges gave him the idea of
writing his Bb Symphony, which was begun and finished
in four days. The husband and wife kept a diary
together, and in it Clara Schumann wrote: “For
some days Robert has been very cold towards me,
and yet the reason for it is a delightful one. He has
been composing a Spring Symphony. If there were
only an orchestra for it right away!”

The poem contains this line: “In the valley blooms
the spring,” and his thought was that each movement
should represent a mood of the eternal awakening of
all nature to the joy of summer.

Poetry and romance abound in his compositions,
causing him to be called the founder of the Romantic
School in music.

When he was seeking to reach a goal, his energy was
unbounded, and when resolved to compose chamber
music, he shut himself up with the scores of Bee-
thoven’s String Quartets and studied them carefully
before writing his own.

His pieces for the piano show his varied genius,
from the Sonatas and brilliant Etudes Symphoniques
to the tiny musical gems in the Album for the Young,


composed for his little daughters to play. Another
collection is Scenes from Childhood, exquisite little
pictures too complex and full of musical feeling to be
within the grasp of the average beginner. Like Liszt,
he developed new possibilities for the piano, his con-
certo for piano and orchestra being one of the finest
ever written.

For one winter Schumann was associated with the
New Conservatory in Leipzig, founded by Mendels-
sohn, but the next year, the fourth of their mar-
riage, Clara Schumann persuaded her husband to take
a rest from his musical labors and travel with her to
Russia. While there, she gave concerts in St. Peters-
burg and Moscow, and the trip was a brilliant success.
Madame Schumann was entertained at court by the
Empress and on one occasion was complimented on
her talents by one of the Russian royalties, who then
turned to Robert Schumann, asking politely: “Are
you, too, musical?”

On their return to Germany the Schunianns lived
for a while in Dresden, but later Robert was made
town music-director in Diisseldorf, and their home
became a musical center for their artist friends.

When the master was forty-three years old, the
shadow of ill health that for several years had dark-
ened his life assumed greater proportions and he was
forced to resign his position.

His nature had always been a sensitive one, and
he began to suffer deep depression, and at times could
remember nothing, while at others would hear one
persistent tone sounding in his ears.

One night the sick man dreamed that he was visited
by the spirits of Schubert and Mendelssohn who


brought him a melody from the other world. It rang
in his brain and on awakening he jotted it down, but
was too ill at the time to do more.

After his death his friend Brahms wove the theme
into a composition which he dedicated to the daugh-
ters of Schumann.

For a while it was hoped that the master might
recover his health and clear intellect again, but it was
not to be, and one day, leaving the room where some
of his friends had assembled, he gained the open
country, and threw himself into the Rhine.

A boatman saved him from drowning and he was
taken to a quiet asylum in Endenreich. Here he lived
in a dream world until death came in his forty-sixth
year, but just before the end he regained conscious-
ness, and recognized and embraced for the last time
the brave wife who knelt beside him.

Schumann lies in the churchyard at Bonn, and over
his grave is a monument not erected until twenty-four
years after his death, for during his life his music did
not obtain the widespread popularity that was given
the compositions of some of the other great masters.
With true musicians, however, his worth was recog-
nized, and Liszt has testified to his genius by calling
him “the greatest music thinker since Beethoven.”

‘Chapter XXVI


IN the year 1811 there appeared in the heavens a
strange comet, more brilliant than any that had been
seen before, and at the same time a boy was born in
Raiding, Hungary, whose life was to be as unusual as
was this sign in the sky.

Adam Liszt, father of the child, was of noble
family but, like many others belonging to the Hun-
garian nobility, was far from rich, and held the posi-
tion of superintendent of the estates of Count Ester-
hazy. He loved music, and although he could not af-
ford to devote his own life to it, he was his son’s first
teacher, and instructed him with great care, hoping
that thus his own ambitions might be fulfilled. “Thou
wilt realize that art ideal which fascinated my youth
in vain,” he would say to the boy.

Franz was a beautiful and winning child and,
though delicate, he was endowed with surprising energy
which nothing seemed to daunt. Often his father
talked to him of Beethoven, and it was Franz’s most
cherished wish to be like him in all ways. He would
gaze at the portrait of the master in the music room,
and one day, being asked by his father what he wished
to become, he pointed with earnestness to the picture
and said: “Such an one as he.” He read music easily
before he had mastered the alphabet or learned to



write, and was soon sent to study with the village
priest. When only nine years old, he gave a public
concert in which his talents seemed remarkable to the
large audience that gathered to hear him. It was
after this concert that six Polish noblemen agreed to
contribute a sum sufficient to educate the gifted boy
until his fifteenth yean This offer was a great help
to Adam Liszt, but he was still puzzled as to the best
course to pursue, for if he traveled with the young
pianist it meant that his own fixed income from
Count Esterhazy must be given up.

The mother hesitated, but the child had no fears.
“Mother,” he said, “God will help me to repay you
for all your anxieties and for what you do for me.
I will be a musician and nothing else.”

Realizing the importance of a good teacher for
him, the parents finally sold their household effects
and took him to Vienna to study with Carl Czerny,
the celebrated pupil of Beethoven. This conscientious
teacher made him play studies by the score and gave
him a foundation of correct technical knowledge that
he later thankfully acknowledged, although at the
time he was not so grateful. He also studied theory
and harmony and was soon able to play Beethoven’s
symphonies from the scores.

Stories of the boy wonder had preceded him, and
the musical society of Vienna welcomed him and
flocked to hear him play. He was called the “little
Hercules” and, when only twelve, took part in a con-
cert attended by many of the leading musicians. To
his great joy he learned that his idol, Beethoven,
would be present; and the inspiration was such that
he surpassed himself.

When he had finished his solos, the audience, in


their eagerness to applaud him, rose to their feet.
In the midst of the enthusiasm a noble-looking man
stepped forward, ascended the platform and, ap-
proaching the boy, whose face glowed with excite-
ment, he bent and kissed him, calling him “my son,”
It was the master himself, and in after years, when
Liszt was an old man, he still proudly told the story
of having received “the kiss of Beethoven.”.

In the forests of Hungary wandered the Magyars
or Gypsies with the blood of the East in their veins,
simple joyous people who loved the freedom of the
woods better than towns or cities, and had a
music of their own which was both strange and beau-
tiful. The minor melodies and fitful rhythms of these
Hungarian musicians attracted the sensitive lad, and
he was often found by their camp fires in the twi-
light. Every village delighted in its gypsy band and,
like the minstrels of the Middle Ages, they were wel-
come at every festivity. Their songs had a lifelong
influence on Liszt’s own music, and he has reproduced
them in his Hungarian Rhapsodies.

In 1823 his father took him to Paris, hoping to
enter him at the Conservatoire, but the Italian di-
rector, Luigi Cherubini, curtly refused the boy, on the
ground that no foreigners were admitted. In spite of
this repulse, which was a sad disappointment to both
father and son, the Parisians were enthusiastic over
the genius of the twelve-year-old boy, and the “little
Liszt” soon became the fashion.

Once, while playing a concerto at the opera house,
he scored an unusual triumph, for after finishing a bril-
liant solo cadenza which should have been followed by
full orchestra, there was silence, the musicians them-


selves having forgotten to resume their own parts after
listening to the playing of the young artist.

Later came a trip through the Continent and to
England, where he was called the greatest pianist of
his age. On returning to Paris an operetta written
by him was given at the Royal Opera House, and all
Paris attended with interest.

About this time the boy confessed to his father that
in spite of his love for music his secret yearning was
to enter the Catholic Church and take holy orders,
but to this the elder Liszt would not consent. “You
belong to music, not religion,” he said. “Love God
and be good and honest, and you will reach the high-

est summits In art.”

Not many months after this decision, the father
succumbed to an attack of fever, and Liszt’s grief
was profound, for in a few days this devoted friend
had left him forever. The young man speedily sent
for his mother to join him in Paris, where he began
giving piano lessons in order to provide for her sup-
port. Such a brilliant pianist had no difficulty in se-
curing pupils when it was known that he intended to
teach. One who came was the young Countess Caro-
lina Saint-Crieq, a beautiful and interesting girrwith
whom he became deeply in love. His love was re-
turned and her mother favored the match, but after
the latter’s sudden death the Count informed the
young musician that for his daughter’s sake the les-
sons must cease, and Liszt, bitterly wounded, with-
drew and devoted himself still more closely to his art*

For days he shunned the outside world, absorbed
in religious meditations and reconsidering his old re-
solve of joining the priesthood. Only his mother’s
grief and the advice of his confessor kept him from


renouncing his art. The struggle finally brought on
an illness so severe that the Paris papers announced
his death, but his good constitution eventually saved

Later, a love which lasted many years came into
Liszt’s life. This was for the Countess d’Agoult, a
brilliant leader in both the social and intellectual world
of Paris, who wrote under the masculine name of
Daniel Stern, whose home was a center where gathered
many distinguished men and women of her day.

Nicolo Paganini, the king of all violin-players, had
appeared in Paris, and his concerts became an impor-
tant turning point in Liszt’s musical career. It was
hard for Paganini’s audiences to realize that he was
an ordinary human being, so uncanny was his music
and so wonderful the effects he produced on his violin.
The great Italian’s dazzling exhibition of technic led
the young pianist to resolve to improve his own
powers of execution. He arranged some of the violin
works of Paganini for the piano, and withdrew into
seclusion to practise until he had himself evolved a
marvelous style for his own instrument; in fact, he
can be said to have created the modern pianoforte
school of playing, as Paganini did the school for the

When he reappeared in public, his playing seemed
transformed and more extraordinary than it had been
before. His rendering of cadenzas was astonishing
and his genius for reproducing on the piano the color
tones of an orchestra was unique. It was not an un-
common thing for him to have two pianos on the
platform during a concert, so that when the strings
of one were broken, the other could be moved for-
ward for the next piece on the program.


It was owing to Liszt that new demands were made
on the mechanism of the piano, and famous firms
were forced to reconstruct their instruments on more
advanced lines.

A story is told of an experience that befell him
while on a walking tour with friends in Switzerland.
A sudden storm drove them into a little church, and
Liszt, finding his way to the organ, opened it arid
played, until the old village priest ran and called to
the people to come, as the Angel Gabriel himself had
descended to earth. The awe-struck peasants entered
and knelt, as the celestial music echoed through the
church, and afterwards Liszt had great difficulty in
convincing them that he was not the heavenly visitor
they believed him to be.

He had no rivals in his art, but was king of his
instrument, the magician whose magic touch could
conquer all men.

Frederic Chopin was in Paris at this time, and
when Liszt heard him play he was overjoyed at the
poetic genius of the Polish musician whose touch was
so different from his own and yet so beautiful.

One evening, they were together at an entertain-
ment where Chopin had agreed to play. As he pre-
ferred playing in the dark, the lights were lowered
and Liszt, slipping onto the piano stool, began im-
provising with such a perfect imitation of Chopin’s
technic and style that the audience were deceived. At
the close of the concert the lights were turned on and
Liszt said, turning to Chopin with a smile: “Liszt
has imitated Chopin. Can Chopin imitate Liszt?”

Besides being the most marvelous pianist of his
time, Liszt was also a fine composer. He was a pio-
neer of the Romantic School and believed an artist


should be allowed to choose the forms that were best
suited to express his ideas. Before his day many com-
posers used monotonously the four-bar phrase in their
writing, but Liszt departed from this rule, using the
five- or seven-bar phrase at will. He has also immor-
talized himself in his piano pieces, but above all in
his symphonic po.ems for orchestra. Liszt may be
called the inventor of this form of composition, al-
though it was used also by the French composer Ber-
lioz, who was his close friend. In it, the subject,
whether taken from poem, prose or picture, is mu-
sically illustrated by characteristic themes and orches-
tral coloring. Les Preludes is one of these poems of
Liszt’s, in which life is depicted as a series of prel-
udes youth with its love and gayety, manhood with
its battle against sorrow and fate, and lastly old age
with its resignation and triumph of the soul.

Another of his works is the Faust Symphony, the
three movements of which graphically represent in
music the personalities of Faust, Margherita and
Mephistopheles as they appear in the great drama of
Goethe. His concert etudes are extraordinary in
their brilliancy and advanced technical difficulties,
which are suited only to the virtuoso. When the day
at last came that he ceased to play in public, he
turned his attention to the resources of the orchestra,
and his grouping of instruments was of value in de-
veloping modern orchestration.

Never was there a more unselfish soul than Franz
Liszt, both to his friends and to those less fortunate
than himself. He never withheld his help from any
good cause, and his character endeared him to all who
were fortunate enough to know him. His motto was
Genie oblige, and he realized this ideal. Sometimes


his generosity was abused, but it never made him less
eager to help his fellow men. A story is told of a win-
ter’s day in Paris when, seeing a poor crossing-sweeper
in the muddy street, Liszt opened his purse and, finding
only a twenty-franc piece, gave it to the man, telling
him to run and get it changed while he himself took
charge of his broom. The sweeper accepted the gift
with alacrity and disappeared, but although Liszt
waited patiently for his return, he never again saw
his gold piece.

Another instance of his unfailing kindness was
shown when it was planned to erect a monument to
Beethoven in the city of Bonn. The committee in
charge could not raise the necessary funds, so Liszt
pledged himself to make up the whole amount and
gave them ten thousand dollars which he earned by
his concerts. He also wrote a cantata to be played
at the festival. Most of the musicians of Europe
were present on the day of the unveiling of the statue,
and Liszt was greeted with thunderous applause by
the audience, while the players themselves rose in
their seats and sounded a blast on the trumpets to
honor him, as well as the great Beethoven.

The master was unique in his appearance, his tall,
slender figure, burning eyes and long, silky hair mak-
ing him a marked figure wherever seen. But it was
the nobility of his nature and his kind heart, as much
as his great genius, that made him universally beloved.
He was welcomed everywhere, and no king could have
received greater homage, for he was followed and
adored by both men and women. The former would
even treasure his cigar stubs, while the latter often
bribed his housekeeper to bestow on them the long
hairs from his brushes.


At the age of fifty-four, Liszt had grown tired of
his wanderings and the praise and excitement of the
brilliant world in which he had lived so long, and
journeyed to Rome to see the head of the Catholic
Church, Pope Pius IX. To him he confided his yearn-
ing for the solace and calm of the religious life, and
the old Pontiff greeted him with affection and urged
his “beloved son,” as he called him, to follow the dic-
tates of his heart. The next year he was robed in
the simple black gown worn by the priests and became
the Abbe Liszt.

From this time on, he abandoned his career as
virtuoso, although he occasionally played in aid of
charity. He also composed sacred music Masses,
Chorales and Psalms, as well as an Oratorio, the
Legend of Saint Elizabeth.

When sixty-four, he became director of music in
Budapest, which position he accepted because of his
love for his native Hungary, although he still spent
much time in Weimar or Rome. In Weimar, he com-
posed his greatest works. There he was the cherished
friend of the Grand Duke, who made him Grand-ducal
Kapellmeister, while honors descended upon him from
all the societies of Europe.

Like a magnet he drew all other musicians around
him, and all were met with cordial understanding and

While in Weimar, he did much to cheer and encour-
age Richard Wagner, whose compositions had not yet
been recognized by the musical world. He became
Wagner’s closest friend and worked unceasingly until
he succeeded in having the latter’s operas produced at
the Weimar Opera House, a feat that Wagner him-
self, unless assisted by the prestige of Liszt, might


never have achieved. “Here is one,” wrote Wagner,
“who first gave me faith in my work, when no one knew
anything of me.” In the same way, Liszt brought
to the notice of the public* the music of many of his
younger contemporaries.

One great interest was his large class of piano
pupils. These were accomplished musicians who came
from all over the world to play to him and receive
the benefit of his criticism, for which he never would
take any pecuniary reward.

The Norwegian composer Grieg, when a young
man, was invited by Liszt to play to him, and carried
to one of the “classes” his newly finished piano con-
certo. He and several others present were excitedly
discussing whether Liszt would play the new concerto
at sight, orchestral part and all, a feat they consid-
ered impossible, when Liszt entered and Grieg showed
him the manuscript.

The master was always delighted to hear new com-
positions and asked him to play it, but Grieg, fearing
to attempt it before such a gathering of musicians,
hastily declined, saying: “No, I cannot.” Liszt took
the manuscript and, seating himself at the piano, said
to his guests with a twinkle in his eye: “Very well,
then, I will show you that I also cannot,” and straight-
way played it through in a superb manner, adding the
orchestral part and even embellishing it.

When an old man of seventy-five, death came to
him at Bayreuth, where h^e had gone to see his daugh-
ter Cosima and attend tKe music festival of her hus-
band, Richard Wagner. There, in Bayreuth, he was
buried, and the entire musical world mourned his loss,
for he was great as pianist, composer, conductor and
friend, a noted figure in musical history.


One critic has written: “Liszt was the only com-
poser of the nineteenth century who would have un-
derstood the music of the twentieth, because among
all the musicians of his time he had the farthest vision
and the least conceit.”

Chapter XXVII


THE career of this master is a wonderful one, for he
was remarkable not only as a musician, but as a poet
and dramatist. At first misunderstood and ridiculed,
in his later years he was placed on the highest pin-
nacle of art by his adoring followers as well as by
most of the musical world. He triumphed where a
less courageous man would have failed, for he was
filled with a faith in his own powers that carried him
through the stormy years of his early life.

Richard Wagner’s father was chief of the Leipzig
police and died very shortly after his son’s birth. The
stepfather, Ludwig Geyer, and young Wagner were
always the best of friends, although this second father
lived only until the boy’s seventh year.

Ludwig Geyer was an interesting man, an actor, a
portrait-painter and author of several plays. He also
sang in opera, and possessed much dramatic power. In
his lifetime the family moved to Dresden and the
boy Richard’s earliest recollections were of the stage
and of the artists who came to their house. He ap-
peared occasionally himself in private performances
and, when a tiny child, once played the part of an
angel before the King of Saxony and was rewarded
with a large sugar cookie.

Wagner’s mother was an intellectual woman, with



a true appreciation of the artistic temperament. In
describing her ninth child, she once said: ” Richard
will be able to succeed in anything on which he con-
centrates his mind.” The stepfather also felt that
the boy was talented, but it was his desire that he be-
come a writer. One day, however, hearing his step-
son improvising on the piano, he said to his wife:
“Perhaps, after all, the boy will have the gift of

When Richard was six, he lived for several years
in the family of a clergyman who gave him his pre-
liminary school training. At first the child did not
love study, but he was devoted to his mother and for
her sake began to work seriously and was soon entered
at the Kreuzschule in Dresden. There he became
enthusiastic over his classical studies and an apt
scholar in Latin and Greek, even translating parts of
the Odyssey into German, and devouring all legends
of the gods and heroes of mythology.

He also reveled in poetry and drama, learning Eng-
lish so that he might read Shakespeare. Being deeply
impressed by Hamlet and King Lear, he wrote a play
at the age of twelve with a magnificent plot in which
forty-two characters were introduced and died tragic
deaths in the first act, thus forcing him to have them
reappear again in the last act as ghosts. His half
sister Cecilia was his greatest friend and confidante
and it was to her that the young author read his pro-
ductions. She played the piano well and her music
helped to awaken in the boy’s heart a love of the
works of Beethoven. Later, when he heard the sym-
phonies by that master, he recognized them as his
true source of inspiration.

When Richard was fifteen, the family were living


in Leipzig, and at the Thomas School, where Bach
had once taught, the lad was thoroughly grounded in
harmony and counterpoint. He refused, however, to
write according to rule, and exasperated his teacher
by trying new effects in the ambitious overtures and
sonatas he delighted to compose.

One of his orchestral compositions was played at
this time at the Leipzig Theater and was received
with much hilarity by the audience, owing to the per-
sistence of the kettledrum part which was played
fortissimo at regular intervals all through the piece.

Later, Richard studied at the University of Leipzig,
and even at the early age of sixteen developed a great
interest in political affairs, resulting from the con-
fused state of the times. His first professional en-
gagement was in Wiirzburg, where he conducted some
choruses, while writing constantly on a little opera,
The Fairies. This was a romantic piece which, al-
though greatly inferior to his real dramas, had a cer-
tain success when produced, so that at twenty he felt
himself a man and a composer.

The next year he went for a summer’s outing to
Bohemia and was appointed musical director of the
Magdeburg Theater. Unfortunately, the company at
this time were on the verge of bankruptcy and shortly
had to disband. Young Wagner, having written an-
other opera, called The Novice of Palermo, longed
to stage it’ in the last week of the season, and with
great difficulty this was accomplished, but the perform-
ance was a failure, for the music was unique and diffi-
cult, and though, to please him, the singers labored
day and night, none of them had time to learn their

About this period, the youthful composer fell in



love and married an actress named Wilhelmina Planer,
and the young couple started to seek their fortune
first in Russia and next in Paris, the goal of Wagner’s
dreams and ambitions. Here success seemed very far
away and for three years he and his wife endured bitter
poverty. There seemed no recognition for the un-
known German composer and he was forced to accept
many uncongenial tasks, such as arranging the scores
of popular operas for the piano or adapting their melo-
dies to be played on the trombone. He composed an-
other opera, naming it Rienzi after its hero, the Roman
tribune, and wrote articles for the music reviews,
for, as he said of himself, he had determined to be “a
revolutionist in the domains of musical and theatrical
art.” One of these articles was suggestively named
“The End of a Musician in Paris,” and the last words
uttered by the latter were: “I believe in God, Mozart
and Beethoven.”

Wagner felt that all art must “suggest something,”
and declared that the music and words of an opera
should be created together, the melody expressing the
soul of the words.

On the journey from Russia to Paris, Wagner and
his wife were for three weeks in a sailing vessel and,
owing to a raging storm, were forced to take shelter
in a small Norwegian port. Here Wagner amused
himself by talking with the sailors, and gaining all the
information they possessed regarding the legend of the
Flying Dutchman, which he shortly made the theme of
still another opera. His hero was the mythical sailor
who, like the “Wandering Jew” on earth, was con-
demned to voyage eternally, until saved by an unselfish
love. Wagner opened the opera with a great storm


at sea, immortalizing his own experience when nearly
shipwrecked on the trip from Russia.

Discouraged with Paris, the young man longed for
his native land and was cheered by the acceptance of
Rienzi in Dresden and The Flying Dutchman in Ber-
lin. He left Paris, the city where he had suffered so
keenly, and went to Dresden, where Rienzi proved a
success; and the composer, finding himself famous,
was appointed Kapellmeister to the court of Saxony.

In 1848 a short revolution broke out in Dresden.
Wagner was republican in his ideas and indiscreet in
his remarks, and after the few days of rioting were
over, he found himself compromised and banished
from Germany.

Zurich was therefore his home for twelve years, and
in the quiet days of his exile, many of his great master-
pieces were written. At one period, he was disturbed,
while composing, by a tinker who lived close by
and made a fearful noise hammering on his anvil.
These sounds proving too much for the ears of the
sensitive artist, he tried to come to terms with his ener-
getic neighbor, but the tinker refused, saying: “Each
one to his own trade, Herr Kapellmeister. I beat my
anvil and you beat time. / have no wish to stop you”
At this crisis, a friend offered him a small villa where
he could have absolute quiet, with a view from his
study windows of the Lake and distant Alps. In this
peaceful retreat he began Tristan and Isolda and
dreamed his great trilogy, The Ring of the Nibelungen,
the text of which he compiled himself from the old,
Norse myths.

When finally pardoned by the German government,
Wagner decided to challenge fate again in Paris and
win recognition for his opera Tannhduser, which had


already been given in Germany. In this opera, he
broke away from old-established forms and created a
new and freer type, which he developed more fully
with each of his succeeding dramas. He has written
that Tannhauser was composed in a “mood of painful
and exuberant excitement and exaltation 7 * during the
days of his first weary waiting in Paris.

Its hero is the Minnesinger Tannhauser, who in the
opera is loved by the Landgrave’s daughter Elizabeth,
but proves himself unworthy of her love and wanders
to the abode of Venus in the enchanted Hartz moun-
tains. He returns home and sings in a musical contest
given in the Castle of the Wartburg, but his wild songs
meet with great disfavor. Finally he repents and
joins a holy band of pilgrims who journey to Rome.

In the opera one hears two principal themes, the
religious element entering with the song of the pilgrims
and expressed in consonant harmonies, and the Venus
motif of luxury and riot, composed of dissonant chords
and chromatic embellishments. After much opposi-
tion, the Princess Metternich induced the Emperor
Napoleon to order Tannhauser given at the Grand
Opera House in Paris, and after nearly one hundred
and sixty-five rehearsals the opera was produced in
1 86 1 and staged in a magnificent manner.

Unfortunately, Wagner had aroused hostility by his
indiscreet remarks on many of the French composers,
and his criticisms brought down wrath upon his head.
He also refused to introduce a ballet into the second
act at the request of the manager of the opera house,
who wished to please certain members of his audience
who always arrived late. In revenge, the Jockey Club,
composed of Frenchmen of the highest society, decided
to spoil the success of the work, and, during the three


opening performances, created such an uproar, with
whistles and hisses, that it was impossible for the
singers or orchestra to be heard. Wagner himself
escaped personal violence only by hurriedly leaving the
theater, and his friends advised him to withdraw the
opera. For a long time afterwards the indignant com-
poser signed himself “The hissed author of Tann-
hauser” and shaking the dust of Paris from his feet,
he started again on his travels.

By this failure of Tannhauser, he had lost all of his
hard-earned savings, and to a weaker will than his, the
experience might have proved disastrous, but the mas-
ter had still undaunted courage and a belief in the
guidance of his soul’s star, and this faith led him at
last to the summit of fame. He had no doubts as to
the value of his own work, but like all creative souls,
he longed to hear an encouraging word from one who
understood. This encouragement he received from
Franz Liszt, great of soul and firm in his loyalty to his
friends. Without his sympathetic help, the best of
Wagner’s music might never have been produced.
During his exile in Zurich he was frequently too poor
to possess a piano, but when Liszt came to visit him,
an instrument would be hired and the two friends,
would revel in the new scores which Wagner produced.
When Liszt saw the manuscript of a new opera, Lo-
hengrin, he carried it with him to Weimar and had it
given in an artistic way. The legend of Lohengrin tells
of the mystic Knight of the Swan, the holy champion
who aids Elsa, the young heiress of Brabant, to defeat
her enemies. They love and are married, but her faith
is not great enough for her to trust him implicitly, and
their happiness is finally wrecked.

At this time, Franz Liszt’s reputation was world-


wide, both as a pianist and composer, but several years
later, at a banquet given in honor of Wagner, Liszt
arose and said: “I ask no remembrance for myself or
my work beyond this tribute. Franz Liszt was the
loved and loving friend of Wagner, and knew the
heaven-born quality of the man, when all the world
seemed filled with doubt.” Thus Wagner with truth
called Liszt’s friendship the greatest event of his life.

Meanwhile, his financial affairs became more and
more involved and he went again to Switzerland, in
despair over his inability to obtain recognition. With
an oversensitive nature and depressed by his long fight
against the indifference of the musical public, Wagner
succeeded in estranging many of his lifelong friends
and even his own wife. He and Minna had never been
congenial, even in their early married life. She had
no understanding of his work, and after battling for
years with insistent creditors and feeling more and
more bewildered and out of sympathy with her hus-
band’s ideals, she left him, and returned to her own
people, dying three years later.

In Switzerland, Wagner lived with some old friends
who were cultivated and artistic. His hostess, Frau
Wille, devoted herself to cheering her unhappy guest,
and would prophesy the splendid future that awaited
him, but her consolations were at times of little avail.
Zurich being a university town, the master soon found
himself the center of a group of writers and musicians,
one of whom, Hans von Biilow, became his pupil and

Finally, the authorities in Vienna were induced to
stage his opera Tristan and Isolda. In this drama, the
plot is taken from an old legend telling of the unhappy
love of the knight Tristan for Isolda, a princess of


Ireland, who sails to Cornwall as the destined bride of
King Mark. After fifty-seven rehearsals the singers
declared the music too difficult to sing and the whole
idea was abandoned, to Wagner’s great disappoint-
ment. For consolation, he worked on his musical tril-
ogy, “The Ring,” and began writing Die Meister singer,
the only one of his works in which comedy occurs. It
is largely the record of his own struggles and suc-
cesses in the world of music, disguised in the form of a
story of mediaeval times.

The scene is laid in the city of Nuremberg, and one
of the characters is the master poet Hans Sachs, -who
was also a master cobbler.

At this time, the most wretched period of Wagner’s
life, hope at last smiled on him and sent him a power-
ful friend. This was King Ludwig of Bavaria, himself
a dreamer and an ardent lover of music. He had long
admired Wagner’s genius, and by his practical finan-
cial aid, he made it possible for the composer’s dreams
to be fulfilled.

Wagner wrote to his friend Frau Wille of his good
fortune. “The King,” lie said, “wants me to remain
permanently with him, to work and rest and produce
my dramas. He is willing to give me everything I
need, and the sole condition is that I stay with him.”
Ludwig promised also to build a special theater at
Bayreuth, where Wagner could produce his operas,
and he became the devoted friend and sympathetic
champion of the weary musician.

^This king owned many castles in the Bavarian moun-
tains, and these he filled with paintings from the Wag-
ner dramas. One famous one named the “Castle of
the Swan” was decorated with scenes from Lohengrin,
while on the lake in the castle grounds was a fairy boat


drawn by swans, in which Ludwig, arrayed in silver
armor, enjoyed posing as the knight hero.

The King’s Bavarian subjects became discontented
at the immense sums spent by him on the staging of
these operas, and Wagner, finding life in Munich im-
possible, withdrew in solitude to Geneva, there to
finish Parsifal, his last and greatest masterpiece. This
can be called a true mystery play, and in it the Chris-
tian ideal of sacrifice is developed.

Meanwhile, the plans for the Bayreuth opera house
were slowly progressing, and when the master was
fifty-nine years old, the corner stone was laid. Wag-
ner had chosen this picturesque little Bavarian town as
the place where his theater should be built, and the au-
thorities donated the site. They also urged him to
settle there, and presented him with the land where
he built his house, Wahnfried, or “Peace from De-
lusion,” which was to prove a haven of rest.

A few years before, he had married for his second
wife Cosima von Billow, the former wife of his friend
Hans von Bfilow, and daughter of Franz Liszt.
She proved an ideal wife, her intelligence and
love of poetry and music rendering her capable of
following his flights of genius. After the birth of
their little son Siegfried, the master celebrated the
christening of the baby by giving his wife a birthday
surprise. Behind the trees in the garden he hid a
small orchestra, and when Madame Wagner appeared,
a lovely cradle song was played, called “The Siegfried
Idyl.” This contained the melody of an old German
folk song, as well as the Siegfried motive from his
opera of that name (the third in the series of “The

The playhouse in Bayreuth is built in the form of a


Grecian amphitheater and holds nearly fifteen hundred
persons. There are no boxes, and the rows of seats
are formed in a long curve, while the orchestra is hid-
den from view beneath the stage. The few lights
shine faintly near the ceiling, and before each act they
are lowered, while outside, the trumpets announce the
principal motifs of the scene to follow.

When Wagner was sixty-three years of age, The
Ring of the Nibelungen was at last produced as he
had dreamed of having it given. Its heroes were the
gods of the old Norse mythology, and it told of the
love of Siegfried and Briinnhilde, the Warrior Maiden,
the curse of the Rhinegold and the downfall of the
gods. This drama took four nights for the perform-
ance of its four parts the prologue, Das Rheingold
(“The Rhinegold”), and, following, Die Walkure,
Siegfried, and Die Gotterddmmerung (“Dusk of the
Gods”). Wagner had been writing these music-
dramas for twenty-five years, and although the scenery
and music were so .elaborate that it seemed impossible
they could ever be given, they were finally staged, and
the finest musicians everywhere offered their services
to sing and play under the composer’s direction.

Here also Parsifal, his religious drama, was given,
the purity and ideal beauty of the music of which has
rarely been equaled. For many years after the mas-
ter’s death it was not allowed to be sung on any other
stage, and music-lovers from all over the world made
a pilgrimage to Bayreuth.

As success brings success in its train, friends and
admirers flocked around Wagner in the latter days
of his life. His fame spread throughout Europe, and
a story is told of a call made upon him by a party of
enthusiastic musicians whose leader bowed gravely


and said: “My ‘dear sir, you are a great man.”
The master looked at him with an amused smile and
replied, dryly: “My dear sir, I could have told you
that ten years ago.”

In figure, Wagner was slender, with a massive brow,
and eyes that were ardent and piercing, while his prom-
inent chin gave energy and character to his expression.

After his sixty-seventh birthday, the composer spent
his winters in Italy, where he lived in the Vendramini
Palace in Venice until his death. He is buried in the
grounds of the Villa Wahnfried, and near him is
the grave of his faithful dog Russ, for the master
had always a great love for animals. Wreaths were
sent from all over the world to honor his memory,
and one huge wreath of laurel and palms, from his
king, was inscribed: “King Ludwig of Bavaria, to the
great poet of word and music, Richard Wagner.”

By his genius Wagner transformed and developed
opera to heights never reached by the earlier com-
posers. He felt the relation of new combinations of
sounds that before his time were considered so remote
as to be called discords. Wagner thought in music,
and his motives are these ideas embodied in sound.
In his last music dramas he achieved what he
had worked all his life to attain, a more natural, less
conventional school of opera, doing away with the
stilted aria, and using poetry and music, each worthy of
the other. He wrote his own librettos and made sure
that text and music harmonized and flowed freely in
a series ,of definite pictures, both in the orchestra and
on the stage. His musical themes express in a few
measures an idea, short and easy to remember, and
form a clear musical thought. In each drama are


many of these Leitmotivs, or leading motives, changed
by variations to suit the development of the drama.
In Wagner’s creed, Art was Religion, and the two
could not be separated. As one writer has said of him :
“He responded to all the moods of Nature, and gives
us a vision of Humanity uplifted and transformed.”



THIS gentle genius has been called “the Visionary of
the Golden Age of Music.”

His compositions remind us of fche beauty of some
old Italian painting, for he was a Primitive at heart
and loved the music of the early composers, putting
ijito his own creations some of their mystic purity and
simple truth $nd seeking always to create his ideal.

In Cesar Franck’s day the music of France was
largely that of the opera, and he did much to develop
a more serious form of instrumental music and trained
the young musicians who gathered around him to ap-
preciate the geniu^of Bach and Beethoven, showing
them that it <was possible to enlar’ge the old classic
fo^ms without bringing about their destruction, thus
restoring the sonata and symphony to’ an honored place
in, music.

In’ Cesar Franck’s classes were many distinguished
musicians who believed in him and helped to carry out
his ideas and perpetuate his work.

This great and gooH man whose character was re-
flected in his music was born in Liege but educated in
France, and became a naturalized French citizen.
When a boy of fourteen, he moved with his family to
Paris, which was practically his home>for the rest of
his life.



The father was a stern man, and when his two music-
loving s’ons were still very young he decided, as Bee-
thoven’s father had done, that one of them at least
should become a virtuoso.

Cesar was given a severe course of musical training
and, on reaching Paris, was entered at the Conserva-
toire, where he studied with Zimmerman and shortly
made a- place for himself as a talented pupil.

At the close of’ thfc year he won several prizes, and
in the musical sight-reading test did a remarkable thing,
deliberately transposing the given*piece a third lower
than it was written, and playing it with alacrity. For
this feat a new prize was bestowed on him by thfe as-
tonished directors, the Grand Prix d’Hpnneur.

When the young man was twenty, his father insisted
that he leave the Conservatoire and utilize his ‘talents
as ^pianist, and in consequence he was taken. to Bel-
gium on a* concert tour that lasted for “two years.

While In Brussels, he met Franz Liszt, to whom he
showed a set of his first compositions, three trios for
piano and strings.

s Liszt, with his usual kindness fro his brother mu-
sicians, was much interested, particularly in the last
movement of the fhird work, which he declared worthy
of being published by itself.

Franck followed the advice of this friend and made
the movement into a fourth trio, which he dedicated to
Liszt, and the latter afterwards played it in Weimar
to show his appreciation of its young composer.

While at the Conservatoire, he had won the annual
Grand Prix de Rome, but his father refused to let
him accept the reward which went with it (three years’
sojourn in Italy), and the young man dutifully gave
up this plan and settled down in Paris to play the organ


and teach his classes, until the end of his useful and
industrious life.

When twenty-six years old, he married a young
actress named Desmousseaux. The engagement was
not smiled upon by his parents, who held rigid ideas
in regard to the stage, but the marriage was a happy
one. It took place in the year 1848 in the midst of the
Revolution in Paris, and to reach the church the wed-
ding party was forced to climb a street barricade,
which they gaily accomplished, the bride being assisted
over by the insurgents who were massed behind.

Owing to the disturbed state of the times, many of
Cesar Franck’s pupils fled from the city, and the young
husband had a serious struggle to provide for himself
and his wife. He was forced to work harder than
ever but, in spite of this necessity, felt his art demanded
that he keep each day an hour or two free for his own
composing, and this wise resolution he adhered to
during his long career.

When thirty-five, he was given a position after his
own heart, and became organist at the church of Sainte
Clotilde, where for several years he had been choir-

This church possessed an unusually fine instrument,
and there, in the dusky organ loft, the master spent a
large part of the remaining years of his life.

There too were created some of his beautiful com-
positions, filled with deep religious fervor, and a ten-
derness that distinguish them from much of the music
of his day.

Cesar Franck’s nature was a spiritual one. He be-
lieved deeply in the goodness of God, and each Sunday
he would leave the organ bench and reverently kneel
during the consecration of the Host. He was undoubt-


edly the greatest organist of his day, and his improv-
isations were most beautiful and never forgotten by
those who listened to them.

His pupil D’Indy described his experience “sitting
silent in the dark organ loft and watching the rapt
profile of the master while inspired melodies and subtle
exquisite harmonies lingered among the pillars of the
nave before ascending and dying away in the vaulted
heights above.”

When Franck was fifty years old, he was made Pro-
fessor of Organ at the Conservatoire and entered on a
period of still greater activity. He worked hard, aris-
ing at half-past five both winter and summer, studying
and composing for two hours before his simple break-

This he called working for himself, and in these
short intervals before his day’s program and in the
few weeks of vacation from the Conservatoire, he
composed the music that has made his name famous.

After breakfast he would start on a round of duties
which carried him all over Paris, for he was obliged
to devote much time to teaching the piano, as well as
holding classes in schools and colleges, on many days
returning home only in time for the evening meal.
Then, tired in mind and body, but with unchanged
ardor of spirit, he would copy some of his scores or
help a pupil who sought his advice.

Like Franz Liszt, he delighted in giving freely of his
time to the young musicians around him, and once &
week they gathered for an evening at his house in the
Boulevard Saint Michel-
Like Liszt, too, his tenderness to the poor and suf-
fering was unbounded. It was said of him that he was
never known consciously to give anyone a moment’s



pain, and his face showed the goodness that was the
keynote of his character.

In figure he was short, with a fine forehead, firm
mouth and chin, bushy side whiskers, and kindly honest
eyes under heavy eyebrows.

He knew how to touch the hearts of his pupils and
attach them to him once and for all. This was proved
by their universal affection as well as the loving title
“Father Franck” which they bestowed upon him.

One of his greatest gifts as a teacher was his skill
in developing their original powers. “Do not write
much, but let it be very good,” he would say.

He was a philosopher as well, and had the art of
understanding the different requirements of his many
pupils, giving to each that which was best suited to his

Cesar Franck was a dreamer, and his devotion to
his work made him careless of the criticism of the out-
side world. His modest nature never insisted on recog-
nition, but among the younger generation of French
composers, which included many of his own pupils, he
was known and honored as a great creative artist.

In the summer time he rented a little house not far
from Paris, and it was his pleasure to read many hours
in the garden, but his composing was never neglected
and he would smilingly say to his class in the fall : “I
have been working well these holidays. I hope you
will all be pleased,” and grouping them about the
piano, he would play his new compositions.

It was not often that he had the satisfaction of
hearing his works performed in public, but his Violin
and Piano Sonata, dedicated to his friend the Belgian
virtuoso Ysaye, brought him recognition and was
played by the violinist in many cities.


His two symphonies are models of beauty. The
first bears the name Psyche and has a chorus intro-
duced into the music. The second, in D minor, is
classic in form, and yet modern in its use of themes.

When first played in Paris, the critics could make
nothing of it and the applause was feeble, but “Father
Franck” was not disturbed, and thought more of the
production of the work than of his audience.

On his return home, his family asked eagerly if the
public seemed to appreciate it, and he contentedly re-
plied: “Oh, it sounded well, just as I thought it would/’

His two oratorios Redemption and The Beatitudes
are among his noblest works. He was ten years In
writing the latter, which is his masterpiece a musical
poem written to express his creed: the love of God
working always in the world.

For a long time Cesar Franck had longed to write
this work, and to aid him the wife of his friend Pro-
fessor Colomb made an arrangement in blank verse
of the Sermon on the Mount.

When it was completed, the composer carefully or-
ganized a chorus and orchestra, giving a performance
of it at his own house, but to the disappointment of
his pupils and friends, most of the musicians and critics
invited neglected to come, and the, performance itself
was not a success.

“Father Franck” with his usual gentleness and mod-
esty tried to act as consoler to his pupils, and told
them they must not mind, and that for his part he was
quite satisfied with the result of the concert.

This inspired work was neglected for many years,
and it was not until fourteen years later that the
French conductor Colonne finally gave an artistic per-
formance of it in Paris, thus disclosing to the French


public the genius of its composer. The latter was not
there to hear his music given, as he had longed to hear
it, for he had passed away three years before.

During the Franco-Prussian War the pupils of
Cesar Franck were again scattered, many never re-
turning home, or else finding themselves unable to
study after the hardships they had suffered.

The master patiently worked on, creating beautiful
forms in his music, which, like his life, is filled with
calm serenity.

Two piano works, Prelude, Aria and Finale and
Prelude, Chorale and Fugue, rank among the finest
compositions of modern music.

One of his later works was a Quartet for strings,
full of lovely harmonies, and after its performance in
Paris, the whole audience rose to their feet to applaud

It was difficult to make the unassuming composer
realize that this ovation was meant for him, rather
than for the musicians, but he was finally induced to
appear, and afterwards said proudly to his pupils :
“There, you see the public is beginning to understand


When sixty-two, he helped to found the Schola Can-
torum in Paris, and, the next year, awoke to find him-
self famous, for the French government gave him the
decoration of Chevalier of the Legion of Honor.

One day, while crossing a crowded street, on his
way to give a lesson, he was struck by the pole of an
omnibus and badly hurt. On reaching his pupil’s house
he fainted from pain, but, on recovering, insisted on
giving the lesson as usual, even playing the second
piano part of a concerto with his pupil. After this


accident, however, he suffered almost constantly,
though still continuing his work.

Thinking a change might benefit him, he was in-
duced to take a holiday, but returned no better; and
as a serious illness developed, he was soon unable to
leave his room.

The three Organ Chorales, his last creations, he
worked on nearly to the end, and they lay on his bed
when the priest from Sainte Clotilde came to administer
the last rites of the church. It had been the master’s
delight to sit at his organ and improvise new music
for the Magnificat, the words of which had never
failed to thrill his devout nature. When dying, he
turned to the priest who for twenty years had been his
friend, and said to him with a smile on his worn face ;
“Ah, that Magnificat! How I love it! What a num-
ber of versicles I have improvised to those beautiful
words ! I have written down sixty-three of them, but
I do want to get up to a hundred. I shall go on with
them as soon as I get better, or else,” he added in a
lower tone, “perhaps God will let me finish them in
His Eternity to come.” His last words were, “It is

The funeral was a modest one with few official hon-
ors, but many loving friends were there who had been
won by his genius and by his beautiful and kindly

At the grave, his pupil Emmanuel Chabrier, a noted
musician, spoke a few sorrowing words, saying: “Fare-
well, Master, and take our thanks, for you have done
well. In you we salute one of the greatest artists of
the century, the incomparable teacher, the upright and
just man, whose counsel was sure, as his words were


Fourteen years later, a monument was raised to him
by his admirers, in the square opposite the church
where he had spent so many hours of his life, and the
celebration was attended by leading musicians of Paris,
for the name of Cesar Franck had at last become

In looking at this monument, one sees the form of
the composer seated with folded arms and reverently
bent head before his beloved organ ; above him hovers
a graceful female figure, the symbol of that art he
loved and served so well.

He seems to be listening to her with a rapt expres-
sion on his face, very beautiful in its spirituality, and
one understands the love given him by his friends, one
of whom has written : “We remember that he was one
of the great among the greatest, who, calm, brave and
Unwearied, passed here below on the way to his great*
predecessors. The dear regretted master, his family,
his pupils, his immortal art these were his whole lif e.”

Chapter XXIX


IN Hamburg, in the spring of the year 1833, was born
the classic composer, Johannes Brahms.

The child was named for both father and mother,
the father being Johann and “fhe mother Johanna.
They were simple people of humble means and very
devoted to their sons, Johannes and Fritz;, and their
daughter, Elizabeth.

The father played the bass viol in the theater or-
chestra, and Johannes, from his earliest years, studied
music with his mother. He was always her pride and
delight, and the Brahms home was a happy one, in
spite of the serious lack of funds in the family ex-
chequer, which caused little Johannes to say one day:
“Sister, please do not put so much water into the

It was always felt that he would be a musician, and
he quickly imbibed everything his father and mother
could teach him, and when a very young child, actually
invented a system of notation for himself, discovering
with joy that he could write down a melody by the
use of round dots and dashes.

A young pianist named Cossel lived in Hamburg,
and one day a big man and a six-year-old boy came to
his rooms. The child had blue eyes and a mass of
flaxen hair and was a quaint little figure in his wooden



shoes and hand-knitted socks. His face lighted up
when his father said: “I have brought you a new
pupil, Herr Cossel,” and then and there his teacher’s
heart was won. His only criticism thereafter of
Johannes was that he “wasted so much time over his
everlasting composing.”

The child advanced rapidly, and in a few years
Cossel took him to play to his own teacher, Edward
Marxsen, Music Director at Altona, and begged him
to teach the talented boy. Marxsen was a man of lib-
eral culture and a true musician, and taught his new
pupil thoroughly and well, so that when the boy was
eleven he composed and played a piano sonata of his
own. He had an astonishing memory for written
music. Bach and Beethoven he adopted as his models,
and all his life he studied the structure of their works.
When a man, one of his daily exercises was to’ play
a Bach fugue, transposing it for his own pleasure into
different keys. In all his concert tours he never car-
ried any music with him, but could play literally almost
all the works of Bach and Beethoven without notes,
as well as many modern compositions.

A friend of the elder Brahms had a farm near Ham-
burg, and when Johannes was thirteen he was invited
there for the summer months. It was spring, and the
boy, who had spent all his short life in the city, was
wild with delight over the country sights and sounds.
There, too, he found a playmate and friend In Lieschen,
the small daughter of the house, and a second mother
in his hostess Frau Giesemann.

Little Brahms was pale and thin and in need of
fresh air, so each morning he was sent into the fields
with his books, his lunch and a small dumb keyboard
on which to exercise his fingers. He had also his note-


book, without which he never stirred, and on the leaves
of which he would write any melody that came into his

When joined by Lieschen, the two would visit the
animals on the farm, pick wild flowers, or wade in the
brooks. Johannes was not very popular with the
boys of the neighborhood, who laughed at his girlish
face, but his musical talents began to be appreciated by
the community when it was found that he could not only
play for their dances, but improvise beautiful music
as well. Finally he was asked to conduct the men’s
choral society, and this honor he gravely accepted,
standing before them in his short jacket with his fair
hair falling over his large collar, making him look even
younger than his years.

Besides adoring music, he was an ardent book-lover,
and would read and reread the New Testament stories
while eating his dinner. His spare pennies were spent
at the second-hand bookstalls on the bridges of Ham-

The great event of his childhood was a treat given
to him and Lieschen by the latter’s father, who pur-
chased for them two seats in the gallery of the opera
house on a night when a great tenor was to appear in
Mozart’s Marriage of Figaro. The two children
were supplied with a picnic supper and waited two
hours in the street before the doors opened admitting
them to the fairyland of which they had dreamed.

At the age of sixteen, childhood seemed far behind
the boy, for he was definitely launched as a pianist, and
was expected to look after himself as well as to con-
tribute toward the support of his younger brother. He
gave lessons for which he was paid very little, and -on
Sundays played at a well-known restaurant outside


the city. This was drudgery his soul loathed, and he
went through it with a volume of poems on the rack in
front of him which occupied his thoughts, while his
fingers were mechanically flying over the keys. In after
years he would say to his pupils : “Whoever wishes to
play well must not only practise a great deal, but read
many books.”

When twenty years old, he was ready to start on a
concert tour through Germany, and having made the
acquaintance of a talented violinist named Eduard
Remenyi, the two young men traveled and gave con-
terts together.

In one small town an interesting thing occurred.
The only piano available was found to be half a tone
below pitch, and no other could be secured. As
Remenyi objected to altering the pitch of the violin,
Brahms agreed to play the piano part of the Bee-
thoven Kreutzer Sonata a half tone higher than it was
written, and he performed this extraordinary feat from
memory, with no rehearsal before the concert.

In the audience was the Hungarian violinist Joseph
Joachim, who, but a young man himself, was already
famous. He was so impressed by the performance
that he became an admirer of Brahms and his lifelong
friend. Writing of him, he said: “His mere ap-
pearance assured us that he was one of the elect.
Seated at the piano, he disclosed wondrous regions
and transformed it into an orchestra of wailing and
jubilant voices.”

One of the first proofs of Joachim’s friendship was
a letter of introduction to Robert Schumann and his
wife at Diisseldorf, who were both strongly attracted
to Brahms. The meeting was a memorable one, and


the beginning of an ardent friendship that lasted
through their lives.

The Schumanns asked their visitor to play them
one of his own compositions, and after hearing his
C Major Sonata, they were filled with astonishment
and delight. Schumann wrote to a friend: “Someone
is come, of whom we shall one day hear all sorts of
wonderful things. His name is Johannes Brahms.”

With Joachim, Brahms discussed art and made
music, and it was owing to the prestige of the former
that he also met Liszt and was praised by him. The
obscure young composer who started on the trip re-
turned to his parents in Hamburg a genius whose fame
was assured.

. The next year, Brahms went to Hanover to be near
Joachim, and there heard of the hopeless mental dp-
rangement of Schumann, followed soon after by his
death. The two young men immediately hastened to
the assistance of his wife, and by their affection and
the bond of their common grief did much to comfort
her. Brahms was always like a younger brother to
her, and later lived for a while In Diisseldorf, finding
in her house a second home.

It had been Schumann’s desire that Brahms develop
his talent along the line of orchestral composition, in-
stead of becoming a virtuoso, and this thought re-
mained with him always, for although a marvelous
pianist, his real passion was for the creative side of art.

When twenty-one, he accepted the post of conductor
to one of the German princes, the ruler of Lippe-
Detmold, and there he met other musicians and
found himself one of a distinguished circle. The
Princess, who- was a good pianist, was his pupil, and
it became the fashion to study with him, but like Bee-


thoven, the rigid etiquette of a little court chafed his
spirit and he later resigned his position and went to
Switzerland to study.

When twenty-six, he played his own piano concerto
in Leipzig, which met at first with no success, and he
^wrote to his friend Joachim: u The concert was a
brilliant and decided failure.” Nevertheless, many
of the most intellectual musicians recognized the young
man’s genius.

On returning to his native city, a concert was ar-
ranged for him by two friends, Joachim and a singer
named Julius Stockhausen. Thanks to their well-
known names, the hall was crowded, and when Brahms
appeared to play his concerto, he received an ovation.

When thirty-two years old, he chose Vienna as his
home, for from the first the Viennese attracted him. In
this city, made memorable by so many great musicians,
he was always happy, although the critics were slow
in accepting his music. He was an admirer of the
Viennese composer Johann Strauss, who was called
the “Waltz King.” Once, at a social gathering, the
musical friends of Frau Strauss were asked to
write a line of original music on her fan, and when
Brahms’ turn came, he wrote the opening measures of
the Blue Danube Waltz, composed by her husband,
and beneath added : “Not, I regret to say, by your de-
voted friend Johannes Brahms.”

Like Beethoven, he was a lover of nature, and
would rise in summer at four o’clock and go into the
woods. If visiting, his hosts would see that he had
the means of making coffee in his own room, and he
generally returned from his early walk at the hour
when the family were first stirring.

One summer afternoon, while walking with his


friend George Henschel, he showed him a tiny pond
where in the dusky shades the bullfrogs called to each
other, as he said, u in diminished thirds.” “Here,”
said Brahms, u we can realize how the enchantments
in fairy tales originated. Listen to the poor king’s
son with his yearning, mournful cry on cb.”

His sincerity and self-reliance made him succeed in
spite of the indifference that for years was accorded
him by the public, and there was a simple, childlike
quality in his nature that caused him to say: “Let us,
so far as we may, retain a happy interest in the life
which we have, at any rate, to live.”

Before many years, Brahms was one with the musi-
cal life of Vienna, and at last he found a public ready
to appreciate his work.

He was generous of his time and money in helping
others, and a story is told of an appeal made to him
for a charity that touched his heart. Going quietly
to his desk, he handed his visitor the whole amount of
the sum towards which he had been asked to contrib-
ute, saying: “Take this from me. I do not need it.”

At Christmas time he would often decline invitations
for the festival, preferring to sjgpnd the evening in the
Christmas market, purchasing^ gifts for the poor chil-
dren who gathered to look at the tempting wares.
This love of children was a very marked trait in his
character and he always enjoyed being surrounded by

When the composer was thirty-five, he was made
happy by a performance of his Requiem Mass, con-
sidered by many his masterpiece.

By Brahms’ personal friends, the Requiem was felt
to be a memorial to his mother, who had died several
years before. It was given in the Cathedral of


Bremen, and his friends traveled from all over Ger-
many to hear it, while honors from many societies
were afterwards bestowed on him.

At one time he gave a concert in Wiesbaden, and
later attended a supper at the house of the Princess
of Hesse-Barchfeld. She presented the guest of honor
with an ebony box decorated with a silver laurel
wreath, and on each leaf of the wreath was engraved
the title of one of his compositions.

Disliking public demonstrations, he was always de-
lighted when unexpected and spontaneous homage was
paid him. His tastes were simple but he occasionally
indulged in the pleasure of a holiday in Italy with some
congenial friend, and these journeys proved a source
of unfailing delight and refreshment to both body
and mind.

One day, in Rome, having paused to listen to the
music of the gypsy band, the leader recognized him
and whispered to his men, who immediately played one
of Brahms’ own Hungarian dances, much to the de-
light of the composer.

Strangers who flattered him were his great horror,
and a friend tells of an adventure in Baden-Baden,
where he went to find quiet for composing. As he
rested in the garden, he was approached by a deter-
mined admirer and, unable to escape, listened to his
remarks for a few moments in silence. Then, rising
hastily, he said: “Stop, my dear sir, there must be
some mistake. You are doubtless looking for my
brother, the composer. I am sorry, he has just gone
out for a walk, but if you make haste and run through
the wood and up yonder hill, you will probably catch

He frequently visited his dear friend Frau Schu-


mann, whose death, when it occurred in 1890, was a
sorrow from which he never recovered. Later he con-
ducted the memorial concert given in Bonn for Robert
Schumann and assisted at the unveiling of his monu-

Brahms passed many of his summers at Thun, but
when fifty-six he discovered the lovely little village of
Ischl in the Austrian Tyrol, and afterwards spent the
summer months in that picturesque spot.

There, in his villa, he would entertain his friends,
and his memory was the admiration of his fellow
artists. Often, after playing their compositions to
him for the first time, he would sit at the piano and
repeat most of the piece from memory.

About work he said: (“One ought never to forget
that by actually perfecting one piece, one gains and
learns more than by commencing or half finishing a
dozen. ^ There is no real creating without study and
effort; a thought, an inspiration from above, is a gift
and has no merit unless one has made it one’s own by
right of hard work.”

In teaching, he would tell his pupils that clearness
of touch in piano-playing was only a means towards an
end, leading to varying expression and sustained

Nature, Literature and Art these were his in-

He modeled his style on the works of Bach and
Beethoven, and he is often called the last great com-
poser of the Classical School. Others have named
him the modern Bach, owing to his great mastery of
the resources of counterpoint.

Brahms’ piano pieces have sometimes been criticized
as lacking in clearness and in romantic feeling, for he


made no appeal to the popular mind in his works.
There is, however, a spiritual quality in his compo-
sitions that is worthy of the greatest genius, and his
orchestral works and songs are a source of inspiration
to other artists.

T He waited many years before writing his great sym-
phonies, so that his powers were at their fullest and
he himself a master of this form of music.

When forty-three years old, his first symphony, the
C minor, was produced, and its beauty warranted
the praise showered upon it It is Brahms at his high-
est and best. One critic has called it the Tenth Sym-
phony, as worthy to rank after the nine of Beethoven.

Three years later he composed a violin concerto
which he dedicated to his friend Joachim. It was
played in public by the latter, winning fresh laurels for
each musician.

One of the loveliest of Brahms’ works is the set of
variations which he composed on a thenje or chorale
by Haydn. His choral works, as well as his chamber
music, rank with those of any composer, and his songs,
of which he wrote a surprising number, are full of

As the master grew older, he became interested in
the music of younger musicians and, by his help and
criticism, gave the composer Dvorak much needed

Although a friend of Richard Wagner, Brahms
never cared for the latter’ s music, which was not sur-
prising, as the style of the two artists was absolutely
different. He once said: u When I look at the score
of Tristan and holda in the morning, I am cross for
the rest of the day.”

When fifty-six, he was presented with the freedom


of his native city. A few years later, owing to his fail-
ing health, his friends persuaded him to go to Karlsbad
for ‘treatment. This did not help him and he rapidly
grew weaker, although for the next six months he re-
tained his interest in his work.

After he had passed to his rest, he was buried in
the cemetery where Beethoven and Schubert, lie, and
all Vienna did him honor. Wreaths from the different
countries of Europe were heaped upon his grave, not
alone as a tribute to the composer, but as a sincere
appreciation of the man, who possessed a high char-
acter and sterling qualities.

Chapter XXX


THE music of Russia, with its rich, barbaric harmonies,
is typical of that strange and rugged country, and the
folk songs of the people play an important part in it.
In Russia the people have always found an outlet for
their emotions in song. There are songs for all
the seasons, for work, games and dances, for marriages
and deaths, and like the folk songs of most northern
nations, they are tinged with many minor cadences.

One popular Russian composer whose music mirrors
the deep, emotional character of his people is Peter
Ilyitch Tschaikowsky.

As a child he was keenly emotional and his mother
watched carefully to guard him against any strain that
would enhance this tendency. She was his chief confi-
dante and the person he most loved, and when old
enough to be sent to boarding school, he found the
parting with her very hard to bear.

His love of Russia was always intense. As children,
he and his brother were educated at home, and he
once shocked his instructress by kissing the map of
Russia, and spitting on the rest of the world with the
exception of France, to which he always felt drawn.
At seven years of age, the boy began the study of the
piano, but at this time had no particular enthusiasm
for mufeic. The school he and his brother attended



was a select one which trained the sons of government
officials, and when nineteen he was given an appoint-
ment in the ministry of Justice. To please his father,
he had decided to study law, but did not neglect his
music, which had begun to fascinate him. His talents
made him popular in society. He could improvise the
most fascinating waltzes, and his playing, added to his
good looks and refinement, made him sought after in
the social world of St. Petersburg.

Hearing his cousin remark, one evening, that it was
possible to modulate into any key, using only three
chords, Tschaikowsky, fired with enthusiasm, imme-
diately began the study of harmony. Soon he met Anton
Rubinstein, who urged him to adopt music as a pro-
fession. Under the latter’s influence he gave up his
official position and wrote to his father: “I do not
dream of being a great artist, but I must do the work
for which I feel I have a vocation; whether I become
a celebrated composer or a struggling teacher, it is all
the same.” He entered as student the New Conserva-
tory in St. Petersburg, recently founded by Rubinstein,
and the young dandy now became the plainly dressed
teacher who was glad of the pupils the director sent

Through Rubinstein’s help, Tschaikowsky was made
Professor of Harmony at the Conservatory in Mos-
cow, the director of which was Rubinstein’s brother
Nicholas. While at the Conservatory, where he taught
for twelve years, Tschaikowsky composed the first of
his six great symphonies. This was originally a sym-
phonic poem called Winter Daydreams and had been
played in Moscow under this title, but later was re-
modeled. His beautiful B!> minor Concerto was com-


posed and dedicated to Nicholas Rubinstein, who
agreed to play it in concert.

Tschaikowsky worked hard and enthusiastically over
this masterpiece, confident that it would meet with
Rubinstein’s approval, but the latter was dissatisfied
that he had not been consulted in regard to the piano
part, and from the first declared its difficulties unplay-
able. This harsh criticism irritated the disappointed
composer, and instead of altering any notes, he erased
the dedication and substituted the name of Hans von
Biilow, sending it to the latter to play on his concert
tour in America.

Von Biilow was charmed with the originality and
beauty of the piece and played it in Boston, sending
Tschaikowsky an enthusiastic cablegram announcing its
success. It reached the composer when he was ex-
tremely short of funds, and although immensely grati-
fied by the news, it was with reluctance that he spent
his last rubles in answering it to thank his friend.

Mozart’s operas were always Tschaikowsky’s ideal
of what opera should be, and in his composing he
studied their orchestration and form. When thirty-
four years old, prizes were offered in St. Petersburg
for the best opera to be written by a Russian. Tschai-
kowsky won, and his work Vakoula the Smith was
given both the first and second prize.

Later he rewrote it, calling it Two Little Shoes, and
conducted it himself in St. Petersburg, with many mis-
givings, but as it turned out, with great success. He
liked to use some peasant legend or fanciful tale for
his plots, such as the text of his opera The Snow Queen,
and in his Nutcracker Ballet he tells the story of the
toys that come to life at Christmas.

While in Russia, he was often awakened by a la-


borer who sang at his work near by. The haunting
rhythm so touched Tschaikowsky’ s fancy that he used
it as the andante of his first string quartet. When
the quartet was played for the first time, the famous
author t Count Leo Tolstoi sat with the composer, and
wept as he listened to this movement, saying: “I have
heard the soul of my patient and suffering people.”

In spite of the success of certain of his compositions,
and the admiration of friends, who called him “the
future star of Russian music,” Tschaikowsky needed
all his patience to meet the continued disappointments
that for many years greeted his work.

Anton Rubinstein admired him as a man, but took
a hostile view of his compositions, ignoring them when-
ever they were given in public. One word of encour-
agement from this musician would have meant much
to him, but although he never received it he did not
swerve from his devotion to his former master.

About this time an Italian opera troupe appeared in
Moscow, and among the singers was a young prima
donna named Desiree Artot. Tschaikowsky, on meet-
ing her, was attracted by her charm, and the following
year on the return of the opera company the two artists
became engaged. He begged his fiancee to abandon
her stage career, but this she refused to do, and as
neither would give way, she finally married the bary-
tone of the company, leaving Tschaikowsky to mourn
her loss.

From this unhappiness was born his overture Romeo
and Juliet, one of the most interesting of his works.
It was his desire to compose an opera on Shakespeare’s
tragedy, and in this overture one hears the sinister
harmonies of the feud of the Capulets and Montagues,
and the beautiful love motive, which is repeated first


in glorified and lastly in tragic cadences by the different
instruments of the orchestra.

Another sorrow in Tschaikowsky’s life was his un-
fortunate marriage. Very little is known of his wife
Antonina Milyukova, but it was only when too late
that he realized the mistake he had made. In despair,
he felt that his life was ruined. His health broke
down, a separation from his wife was arranged, and
his brother carried him off to Switzerland to recover
from the combined effects of overwork and matrimony.

At this crisis, a wealthy music-lover named Nadejda
von Meek appeared, to play the part of good fairy to
the harassed musician. She was a widow living on her
vast estates in Russia, and had been stirred and in-
spired by hearing the music of Tschaikowsky. She
realized what it would mean to him to be free to com-
pose, with no financial worries to distract and haunt
his mind, and wrote saying that it would make her
happy to award him a pension for the rest of his days.
At first the composer hesitated, but finally accepted
her generous offer, which amounted to about three
thousand dollars a year, and thus his independence
was assured. When he wrote to thank his bene-
factress, she sent word that his music had brought hap-
piness into her life, but that a condition of their
friendship was that they should never meet; and al-
though they corresponded they never spoke together.

It was to her that the composer poured out his in-
most thoughts and ambitions. In one letter he writes:
“It is delightful to talk to you about my own methods
of composition. So few would know how to respond
properly to these hidden utterances of my inner life.
In you I have found one who has a fine feeling and can
understand my music.”


The journey to Switzerland was extended to Italy.
There the melodious quality of the Italian music ap-
pealed directly to Tschaikowsky, and its influence is
shown in his work. On his return home he re-
sumed his duties for a while in Moscow and composed
a new opera, Eugen Qnegin, which proved successful
with the Russian people.

Thanks to the generosity of Madame von Meek,
Tschaikowsky, on reaching his forty-fifth year, was
able to give up teaching and purchase a small country
house near the little town of Klin. Here he lived a
quiet, simple life, called by his neighbors “the hermit.”

When forty-eight, he visited Leipzig on a concert
tour, meeting the Norwegian composer Edvard Grieg,
and, while there, was given an early serenade on a
cold frosty morning in February by the Leipzig regi-
mental band. It honored him with a concert of his
own compositions, and for one hour Tschaikowsky
stood bareheaded at his open window, very cold, and
amazed at the energy with which the players completed
their program in spite of frostbitten fingers.

He was one of the first Russian composers who
traveled and met the musicians of his time, and whose
music was heard outside of his native land. All this
helped to make his work more cosmopolitan, and he
became the most popular Russian composer of his day.

Like the Polish Chopin, the fate of his unhappy
country sank deep into his consciousness and is ex-
pressed in his music. It is music tinged with both
splendor and sadness, and in it one feels the soul of
Russia aspiring towards an ideal still hidden in the
mists of the future.

His famous overture of 1812 was written for the
consecration of the Moscow Cathedral which was built


to commemorate the burning of the city. This over-
ture was played by a huge orchestra gathered in the
church square, and bells were rung and cannon fired
as part of the performance. In it are heard also the
impressive chords of the Russian National Hymn.

When fifty, Tschaikowsky’s physical condition began
to show the effects of the hard mental work he had
accomplished. His eyesight weakened and he suffered
from melancholy and depression of spirits, the latter
state due to a misunderstanding that marred the
friendship existing between himself and Madame von
Meek. The cessation of their intimate correspondence
was a bitter grief to him, making his loneliness hard
to bear.

Five other symphonies had followed the one com-
posed while he was professor at the Conservatory. The
sixth and last, in B minor, is his best-loved work and
is full of deep emotion that rises at times into a pas-
sion of despair. He named this symphony “The Pa-
thetic/’ for it was written in the evening of his life,
and its sad, beautiful harmonies seem prophetic of his
own death, which occurred a few months later. In
one of its movements he has used the unusual %
rhythm peculiar to Russian folk music.

Shortly after the completion of this symphony,
Tschaikowsky went to St. Petersburg, where he con-
tracted cholera, and in spite of good care, he weakened
rapidly and in a few days had passed away.

One feels that his music possesses many Russian
characteristics, and it has been described as “fiery ex-
altation on a basis of languid melancholy.”

Chapter XXXI


f NORWAY, the land of the midnight sun, is a land of
mystery and romance. Great crags tower proudly
above the swift-flowing rivers that lie at their feet in
the valleys below. For days the sun hides himself,
and when he appears, although it is still cold, the sides
of the mountains are clothed in green, and flowers
venture out to catch the warm rays.

The Norse people possess the characteristics of their
country. They are vigorous in mind and body, and
imbued with the poetry of their native land.

The mother of Edvard Grieg was of ancient Norse
blood and possessed an enthusiasm for the blue
fjords and snow-capped mountains of her Northern
home. She was a fine pianist, having given con-
certs in various Norwegian cities, and was delighted
when her youngest boy showed distinct musical
talent. When only five, he discovered that he could
combine two tones, and so make real harmonies with
his small fingers. When, however, his mother began
to teach him, he found it difficult, as he later wrote of
himself, “to pass from dreams to deeds.^)

Once a week his mother invited her friends to an
“evening,” and the music he then heard formed his
taste of later years. All that was imaginative and



beautiful appealed to him, whether in music or litera-
ture, and his passion for poetry was such that he would
recite long pieces to his father, who did not always
share his enthusiasm, as the time selected was generally
the hour of his after-dinner nap.
{At the age of twelve he resolved to be a composer,
and proudly carried his first work to school to show to
a classmate. It was intercepted by the professor, and
when the latter caught sight of “Variations on a Ger-
man Melody, for the Piano, by Edvard Grieg,” he
gave the composer a good shaking and requested him
to “leave all such rubbish at home.”/

^A few years later, the famous violinist Ole Bull
returned to his native town of Bergen. He was older
than Edvard and had long been the boy’s idol. The
violinist was a friend of the Grieg family, and the
musical boy always interested him. On one occasion,
after he had insisted that Edvard play him his own
compositions, he placed a hand on his shoulder, saying:
“I shall talk with your parents and you shall go to
Leipzig and become a musician.” The father and
mother offered no opposition to this plan, and, when
there, their son wrote them that he felt “like a parcel
stuffed with dreams.”

One of his fellow students was Arthur Sullivan,
who later composed the most popular light operas
ever written. Together they once went to hear an
oratorio by Mendelssohn, following the music with
the composer’s own $core, an experience Grieg never

Inspired by his ideals, the young man worked with
such energy that his health broke down and, after an
illness, he was left with the use of but one lung, a con-
dition which lasted throughout his life.


On graduating, he went to Copenhagen and there
met Niels Gade, the founder of the Scandinavian
school of music.

Young Grieg had always admired him and while
in Leipzig had composed a fugue on the letters of
Gade’s name.

Another valued comrade was the composer Rikard
Nordraak, who, like Grieg, was a lover of Northern
folk music. He encouraged his friend to develop his
originality, and the two young men worked together
until the death of Nordraak at the early age of twenty-
four. /

Grieg was of a retiring, modest disposition,
and sensitive to adverse criticism from his friends.
While in Leipzig, he had studied composition with
Karl Reinecke, who, although a fine pianist, was a
conservative musician. The young man sent him the
manuscript of his piano concerto and asked for
his opinion of its worth. After many weeks, hear-
ing nothing from Reinecke, he went to see him and was
received in a friendly manner by the elder man. On
his requesting his score, it was returned to him, but
although his host talked entertainingly on many sub-
jects, the concerto itself was never mentioned, and the
composer went home with the score in his pocket and
disappointment in his heart

In Ole Bull he found a congenial soul. Each de-
lighted in the picturesque grandeur of Norway, and
together they would wander over the mountain slopes
or sit silent, listening to the heart of Nature. Ole Bull
declared that he “heard Nature sing,” and would re-
produce the sounds on his violin to the delight of his
audience. He and Grieg loved the playing of the
peasant fiddlers who used no notes and who would


often alter the tuning of their violins while playing on
them, to give new color to their music. The two mu-
sicians longed to have the folk music of the North
given true artistic expression, and this Grieg success-
fully achieved in his compositions.
/In 1867 Grieg and his cousin Nina, who was a singer
or Danish family, were married. They resembled
each other in looks, each being small and delicate,
with blue eyes, light hair and a gentle manner
which was very winning. The two young people gave
a concert together in Christiania, the program consist-
ing entirely of Norwegian music; one exquisite song,
Ich Hebe dich (“I love you”), having been written
for her by her husband^) His Concerto in A minor for
pianoforte and orchestra was composed in the first
years of their marriage. He was but twenty-five years
of age, and the Concerto is full of the freshness and
vigor of youth.

Grieg directed concerts in Christiania, striving al-
ways to reach a high standard in the music played, but
he suffered from the lack of interest exhibited by the
public, and he was further saddened by the death of
his only child.

The clouds darkening this period of his life were
lifted a little by a letter which reached him from
Franz Liszt, inviting him to come to Rome and show
him his work. Liszt delighted in hearing the com-
positions of younger musicians, and on Grieg’s arrival
immediately requested that he play him his second
Piano and Violin Sonata.

After the first movement was ended, Grieg took his
courage in both hands and asked Liszt if he would do
him the honor of playingttTTiifnl To make such a re-
quest of the greatest living virtuoso was something not


even Liszt’s friends dared do, and at first the latter
shrugged his shoulders and was silent, but when Grieg
added that he could not bear to leave Rome without
hearing him, the master muttered: u Very well, I’ll
play whatever you like,” and began one of his own
symphonic poems. Grieg afterwards wrote: “One
forgets he is a musician, he becomes a prophet pro-
claiming the Last Judgment till all the spirits of the
universe vibrate under his fingers.” After Liszt had
finished, he asked Grieg to continue with the sonata,
but this the latter declared he could not do after listen-
ing to such superb playing, and Liszt volunteered to
play the sonata himself. He read it from the manu-
script, adding and embellishing the violin part in a
marvelous way, while its author stood by the piano
in fascinated silence, listening to the interpretation of
his work. He said afterwards to his wife: “I think I
laughed like an idiot, and when I finally stammered
a few complimentary words, Liszt smiled and said:
‘Surely you must expect me to be able to play a thing
at sight, for I am an old and experienced musician.’ ”

He then handed the manuscript to Grieg, saying
cordially: u Keep steadily on, I tell you. You have
the capability, and do not let them intimidate you.”
In after years these words recurred often to the
younger man, and helped him through many difficulties.

The Griegs loved the country, and in 1885 settled
in Bergen, Their villa was situated high above one of
the inner fjords and was named by the composer
“Troldhaugen,” or Troll’s Hill. Down below, on the
rocks by the water, Grieg built a little studio, and it
was there that he composed much of his lovely mujp.
A story is told of him by a friend who went fishing
one day with the composer. Suddenly a new motif


came into Grieg’s mind, and he dropped his line to
write it in his notebook. Then, placing the paper by
his side, he resumed his fishing, not noticing that a
gust of wind had blown it overboard. His friend res-
cued it unobserved and, after reading it, began to
whistle the melody. On hearing his own rnotif, Grieg
turned instantly and asked: “What was that?”
“Only an idea that has just come to me,” returned his
friend. “The devil you say,” retorted Grieg; “that
sajpne idea just came to me.”

\JjOL 1894 the Norwegian government awarded him
an annuity, so that by living in a simple way he was
able to give up teaching and devote his talents to com-
posing. J

Grieg was a true republican at heart, in spite of his
liking for King Christian and his family. Once while
giving concerts in Germany he was invited by a reign-
ing Duke to visit him. While talking with the Duchess
after dinner, he was approached by the Duke, who pre-
sented his guest with the ribbon of one of the German
orders. The composer received it with a simple
“Thank you” and, dropping the decoration into his
pocket, quietly continued the conversation. His hostess
tactfully saved the situation by exclaiming: “My dear
Mr. Grieg, let me show you how such a badge should
be worn,” and rising, she pinned the order to the lapel
of his coat

; In 1876 he went to Bayreuth for the Wagner fes-
tival, and wrote describing himself as “a worshiper
of the mighty genius.” The Wagner operas thrilled
him to such an extent that after hearing the perform-
ance of Tannhauser, he went again fourteen times in

One of Grieg’s best-known works is the Peer Gynt


music, i He was thirty-one when the Norwegian dram-
atist Henrik Ibsen asked him to compose music for
his play of that name. He accepted the offer and soon
the piece was given in all the cities of Norway and

In 1889 Madame Grieg went with her husband to
England, where she sang his songs, and he accom-
panied them on the piano. These concerts were so
popular, particularly when he gave his Peer Gynt Suite,
that before noon of the day, the street was blocked
with people waiting for the doors of the hall to open
for the evening’s entertainment.J

In Paris, Grieg was also popular, though one
visit bordered on disaster. He was once invited by
Colonne, the French conductor, to give a concert there,
but hearing of the condemnation of the French officer
Dreyfus, he became indignant and wrote an emphatic
refusal, giving his reasons for the act. This letter
brought down on his head the anger of the French
Nationalists, and he received many threatening com-
munications. In 1903 Colonne renewed his invitation,
and this time Grieg accepted. His opponents, desiring
to ruin his concert, insisted in the papers that “the
enemy of France be shown the door/’ but in spite of
their endeavors, the theater was filled to overflowing,
and when the composer appeared, he was greeted with
applause. He walked to the conductor’s stand, when
suddenly from the gallery came hisses and stamping,
while voices added to the uproar, shouting: “Apolo-
gize, you insulter of France.” Grieg calmly waited
until quiet was restored, and then commenced the con-
cert, his music achieving the usual success. At the
end, a man in the gallery arose and exclaimed: “We


applaud only the artist and great musician.” In a
letter to his wife Grieg wrote he had felt as important
as Cromwell, for on entering his carriage he found
a guard of policemen three deep surrounding it

The composer’s poor health, and the emotion he
experienced while playing and conducting, made it im-
possible for him to give many concerts. He would
return to the artists’ room completely exhausted, and
once said to a friend who whistled as he dressed for
his own performance: “How can one be so calm at
such a time ! I would give anything to have such a

Grieg has written an amusing account of a Christ-
mas eve spent by him with his friend Bjornson, the
Norwegian poet. Before removing the gifts from the
Christmas tree, Bjornson said: “Now we must all
sing the chorale, Will you play it, Grieg?” As this
particular Christmas hymn consisted of thirty-two
stanzas, the latter was reluctant to assume the role
of organist, but, finding there was no help for it, re-
signed himself to his fate and played the endless
repetitions over and over. “At last,” he went on to
state, “when we had lumbered through all the stanzas,
Bjornson exclaimed: ‘Is it not wonderfully beautiful?
I shall now read it to you,’ and once more the thirty-
two stanzas were inflicted on us. I was entirely over-


This same Christmas he presented his host with a
copy of his Lyrical Piano Pieces. A patriotic song in
the collection delighting Bjornson, he declared he
must write a poem for it and, the next day, started
on his task, telling Grieg that one stanza still baffled
him but that he was sure he could “find his idea.” A


few mornings later the composer was giving an early
lesson when, to quote him again, “there was a clat-
tering on the stairs as if a wild horde were breaking
in, and a voice shouted : ‘Forward, hurrah, I have it P
My pupil trembled like a leaf, and my wife appeared
in wonder. Then the door opened and Bjornson
stood on the threshold, waving his completed poem
in great glee.”

Grieg was always a devoted lover of Mozart’s
music from the days when as a small boy he listened
to his mother’s playing. He has composed a second
piano part for several of the Mozart sonatas, to give
them, as he said, “a tonal effect that would make them
still more appealing to modern ears and awaken re-
newed interest in these immortal works.”

The music of this great Scandinavian is filled with
originality and beauty, from the quartet for strings,
and three violin and pianoforte sonatas, to his songs,
many of which are considered worthy to rank with
those of Schubert. There are also over one hundred
short pieces for the piano in which, like Chopin and
Schumann, he proves that real masterpieces may be
written in small form.

ln the winter of 1907, when sixty-four, his strength
began to fail and the villagers assembled and carried
his little studio up to Troldhaugen so that he should
be spared the fatigue of climbing down the steep slope
to the water’s edge. Grieg was touched by their
thoughtfulness and, opening his windows, played Nor-
wegian folk melodies, to which the peasants danced
on the hillside. The next summer he passed quietly
away, and his sorrowing friends arranged that only
his own lovely music should be played, as the simple


coffin hidden under masses of purple heather was
borne through the city street.

Near his home is a steep cliff in which is a natural
grotto, and there, in accordance with his last wish, was
placed the urn containing his ashes. A stone slab
closes the grotto, and on it is carved the name “Edvard

Grieg O

Chapter XXXII


LITTLE is known of the personal history of this gifted
composer, who was one of the great pioneers of mod-
ern art and the founder of the Impressionistic School
of music.

He was a wizard in his mastery of tones, and in-
vented combinations that astonished the musicians
who first listened to his compositions, for his system
of harmony can be said to be based on the natural
overtones found in analyzing the laws of musical
sound. In his composing he used many of the old
church modes, and their intervals have given to his
music a peculiar charm. It is music refined and indi-
vidual, filled with old-world harmonies, which have
lovely shadowy melodies woven into them.

The child was born in 1862 in St. Germain-en-Laye,
a little town near Paris. His parents were not wealthy,
although people of culture and refinement, and as he
showed no particular talent when young, he heard lit-
tle music in his early years.

It was the father’s wish that his son adopt the sea
as his profession, but this idea was not destined to
be fulfilled. When still a child, he was taken to visit
an aunt living in Nice. There as an experiment it was
decided that he study music, and an Italian named
Cerutti began teaching him the piano.



One day a friend of the family, Madame de Sivry,
who had herself studied with Chopin, discovered the
child sitting at the instrument picking out strange har-
monies. She recognized his ability and offered to
teach him herself, finding him so interesting that she
continued the lessons until, in his eleventh year, he
was prepared to enter the Conservatoire. There he
studied with the best musicians, winning prize after
prize for playing, as well as for proficiency in composi-

He was dreamy and poetic by nature and often
preferred improvising melodies to digesting the rules
of counterpoint and fugue; but he nevertheless worked
diligently, studying the compositions of the great com-
posers, particularly those of Bach and Beethoven, who
were the two he most reverenced. At the age of
fifteen he played a Schumann sonata at a Conserva-
toire concert, winning second prize for his perform-
ance, and, the next year, he chose composing as his
chief work.

In his day, the teaching of harmony and counter-
point at the Conservatoire was strict and pedantic.
Certain teachers gave their pupils a short melody,
expecting them to supply the other voices, according
to rule. The answer was called the “Author’s Har-
mony,” and no other combination was considered cor-
rect, although the student himself might wish to ex-
press something quite different, evolved from his own
musical consciousness.

Young Debussy’s exercises were the despair of his
teachers, for instead of writing the required har-
monies, he substituted new combinations, which were
always condemned. One day the professor inquired
why he did not better understand his work, and De-


bussy replied: “But, sir, I do not hear your harmony
I hear #nly thpfc which I have written.”

His ear was exceptionally sensitive to musical
sounds, and after he had graduated from the Con-
servatoire r and was serving with his regiment at the
town of Evreux, he loved to listen to the bells which
rang from a neighboring convent, and to the army
bugles sounding reveille. Their vibrations and over-
tones were studied by him and used later in his

In the beginning of his musical career, he met
the wife of a Russian banker, Madame Metch, who,
after hearing him play, engaged his services and took
him to Russia as her private pianist. During his so-
journ there, he became interested in Russian music,
meeting personally many composers, such as Balakireff
and his disciples. The oriental color of their works
charmed him, as did the playing of the gypsy bands.
It may have been the effect of their rhythms that first
suggested to him a music without apparent rules, in-
fluencing his work in the same way that the Hungarian
gypsy music had colored the compositions of Franz

On his return to France, Debussy continued his
study of Russian music and, when twenty-two years
of age, won the Prix de Rome, offered annually by the
French government as a reward for the best cantata
composed by a pupil of the Conservatoire. Besides
the honor it carried with it, this meant several year^
study in Rome, and the winning of it was coveted by
the competing pupils. Debussy’s piece was founded
on the Bible story of the Prodigal Son, and was con-
sidered one of the most remarkable compositions ever
submitted by a student.


The young composer found it difficult to persuade
the publishers to accept his works, bA in George
Hartman he found an intelligent critic and generous
supporter, who did much to help him through the
early stages of a musical career.

At one time, he possessed an unbounded admiration
for the operas of Richard Wagner, but as he grew
older their music did not satisfy him, and his style
shows little trace of the influence of the German

After meeting several progressive artists, such as
the painter Whistler and the French poet Stephane
Mallarme, he was led to adopt their impressionistic
and symbolic methods in his own work. The mystical
had always appealed to him, and on reading the plays
of Maurice Maeterlinck, he instantly felt that he had
found a fitting text for an opera. For ten years he
worked at his Pelleas et Melisande and in 1902,
when forty years of age, his labors were rewarded
and his work staged at the Opera Comique in Paris,

The first performances were not received with en-
thusiasm, but soon the tide of public opinion turned
and the permanent success of the work was assured.

This opera may be regarded as one of the most im-
portant dramatic works since Wagner, and the music,
with its delicate instrumentation, its harmonies built
on the whole-tone scale and “chanted” rhythms in
place of melodies, shows the composer’s unique genius.

Musicians declare that if it had been possible, De-
bussy would have produced quarter tones on the piano
and used them in his music, and he often told his
friends that coming generations would hear tones and
see colors that this age cannot discern.

Like Beethoven, he adored nature in all her moods


and has represented his impressions in a novel man-
ner. He once said to a student who had consulted
him: “Go not to others for advice, but take counsel
of the passing breezes which relate the history of the
world to those who can listen.” One of his favorite
maxims for young musicians was to “assist at a sun-
rise” rather than spend all their time listening to
music written to remind one of the country.

Debussy’s works often conjure up an impression
that is full of suggestion, for he realized that music
must come from within, as an expression of something
in one’s own consciousness.

As his genius matured, he produced orchestral
works, songs and piano pieces, containing harmonies
suggesting moonlight, clouds and perfume, in subdued
tone colors. One orchestral work consists, of a group
of Three Nocturnes. The second of these Nocturnes
is named Sirenes and has a small chorus of women’s
voices. The music recalls the never ceasing rhythm of
the waters, and at intervals far away and faintly
heard above the surge of the waves comes the song
of the Sirens as they sang to Ulysses in the days of
old. One can distinguish no words to the elusive strain,
but the call has a haunting sweetness that cannot be

When Debussy was thirty years old he composed
the piece that first made him famous, the symphonic
poem intended as a, Prelude to The Afternoon of a
Faun, a fanciful set of verses written by his friend
Stephane Mallarme. The scene is a wooded glade and
there enters a faun, a follower of the god Pan. He
throws himself carelessly down on the moss and half
dreams in the sunlight that flickers through the shad-
ing boughs of the forest trees. The violins and wood


wind of the orchestra add a fitting musical accompani-
ment to the picture, and few can escape its singular
beauty and charm.

Ten years later the piece was reproduced in an in-
teresting way. At this time, Paris had become fas-
cinated by the Russian dancers from the Imperial
Opera House in St. Petersburg. Debussy’s work, with
the addition of scenery and costumes which beautifully
carried out the story, was presented by these artists
as a pantomime and excited much enthusiasm.

Many of the composer’s piano pieces bear fanciful
names. Gardens in the Rain, Goldfishes and Re-
flections in the Water are some of them. Other
pieces depict the sweetness of the Flute of Pan and
the delicate gloom of The Tomb of the Water Fairies.
Like all his works, they present to the mind the subtle
impression of a mood, rather than a direct picture.

One charming set of piano pieces, written for his
own little daughter, is called The Children’s Corner,
and one of these, The Golliwog* s Cakewalk, is a clever
take-off on American ragtime.

Debussy was reserved by nature and considered
unsociable by the world at large. He was silent in
company but could defend his ideals with quick irony
from those who misunderstood them. In appearance
he was rather oriental, his friends declaring that he
resembled an Assyrian prince, with his curly black
hair and beard, and deep-set serious eyes.

When forty-six, his fame had spread throughout
the musical world, and he was acknowledged to be
one of the greatest composers of the Impressionistic

Being invited to London to conduct a concert of
his own pieces, including The Sea and the After-


noon of a Faun, he enraptured his audience and was
given an ovation.

He also conducted concerts in Russia, but during
the period of the Great War, the end of which he did
not live to see, Debussy remained deeply affected by
its horror and tragedy and did little in his art. One
day in Paris a friend urged him to play some of his
own compositions. Just then a regiment marched by
and, in the street below, the war bugles sounded their
note of command. Debussy turned to his friend.
“That,” said he, “is the only music that I hear

A few months before the victory of the Allies, in
his fifty-sixth year, he sank under an illness that had
been hastened by sorrow, and he rests now in the old
cemetery of Pere Lachaise, where so many great mu-
sicians lie buried.

” Debussy was instrumental in enlarging the world
of musical tones, as was Wagner in the use of new
orchestral effects, and his gift to music is great, for
he gave it a new soul and helped to throw open the
doors to the music of today.

Chapter XXXIII


Music in America was naturally an undeveloped art
until about the year 1800, but after this time clioral
societies were formed and certain progressive musi-
cians introduced to the American people the music of
the great European masters.

Two foreign-born musicians who helped in this
work were Karl Zerrahn and Otto Dresel, both born
in 1826.

Zerrahn was conductor of the first important choral
society in America, the Handel and Haydn, and
taught for many years at the New England Conserva-
tory of Music in Boston.

Dresel, a cultivated musician, pianist and teacher,
did much to raise the standard o music in America.*

Two early American musicians were William Mason
(1829) and John Knowles Paine (1839).

Lowell Mason, the father of William Mason, was
an important musical pioneer, and his son William
studied in Europe and played in the classes of Franz
Liszt. On returning home, he introduced the music
of Schumann into America, and was one of the first to
give chamber music concerts.

A worthy relative of his is his nephew Daniel

*For Theodore Thomas and the Dararosch family, see Conductors
in Chapter XL



Gregory Mason, professor of music at Columbia
University and composer and author of valuable
works on music.

Paine, the first professor of music at Harvard Uni-
versity, was a serious and classical musician. He is
best known by his music to the CEdipus of Sophocles,
and he also wrote an oratorio, St.. Peter, and an opera,
Azara. }

Benjamin Johnson Lang, a distinguished Boston
musician, born in 1837, ranked high as a pianist, or-
ganist, and as conductor of the Cecilia, Apollo, and
Handel and Haydn Societies. He brought to first per-
formance in Boston many notable works, such as
Berlioz’ Damnation of Faust, and Parsifal in concert
form, and by his broad interests and inspiring person-
ality blazed a new trail for music in that city.

The musicianly compositions of his daughter, Mar-
garet Ruthven Lang, are well known. Her Dramatic
Overture, played by the Boston Symphony Orchestra
under Nikisch, was the first orchestral work by a
woman to be given at those concerts, and her many
choruses, notably The Heavenly Noel, possess a lyric
beauty and dignity.

Arthur Foote and George Chadwick are two of the
best-known American composers.

Foote received all his training in America and is
noted for his chamber music and suites for orchestra,
as well as for his beautiful songs. He is a successful
teacher and has helped and influenced many of the
younger musicians of his day.

Chadwick, an outstanding figure in the group of
American composers, is director of the New England
Conservatory of Music and has composed fine sym-
phonies, quartets, choral works and songs.


Horatio Parker } born In Massachusetts in 1863,
was a pupil of Chadwick and later professor of music
at Yale University. His masterpiece is his oratorio
Hora Novissima “The last hour.” It was written
on the text of an old Latin poem, and it made him
famous in the musical world. He was also an or-
ganist and composed valuable pieces for the organ.

A dramatic and versatile composer is Henry Had-
ley, who has written artistic songs as well as operas,
symphonies and chamber music. As a conductor he
has had great success in the different cities of America.

Frederick Converse is one of the few American
composers to have an opera (The Pipe of Desire)
produced by the Metropolitan Company in New
York.. His other works are interesting symphonic
poems and chamber music.

An important American pianist and composer is
Mrs. H. H. A. Beach. When only two, she could
sing a surprising number of tunes, and, by the time
she was fourteen, was playing and transposing Bach
fugues. When seventeen, she played with several sym-
phony orchestras, and since then has composed a num-
ber of works, including a Gaelic Symphony that has
been played both in America and abroad.

Edward Burlingame Hill is a talented American
composer whose work shows the influence of the im-
pressionistic movement. He is professor of music at
Harvard University and, besides songs, has written
two “poems” for orchestra, Lancelot and Guinevere
and Stevensoniana, the latter reminiscent of the
“Child’s Garden of Verse.”

Mabel Wheeler Daniels is a progressive American
composer and possesses poetic imagination and the
gift of melody. Two of her’ best-known compositions


are Songs of Elftand and Peace with a Sword, the latter
written for chorus and orchestra.

John Alden Carpenter is one of the leading younger
composers and writes with originality, humor and ro-
mantic charm. His suite for orchestra, Adventures
in a Perambulator, is a tone poem in which a baby’s
day is musically depicted. Carpenter is a business
man but finds time for music, and has also written a
ballet-pantomime, The Birthday of the Infanta. His
latest work is Skyscrapers, a ballet written as an in-
terpretation of the rush of modern life in America.

John Powell, born in Virginia, is a gifted composer
and pianist. He is a lover of the folk music of the
South and has composed a Negro Rhapsody for piano
and orchestra, as well as other works. As a pianist he
is well known in Europe and America.

Emerson Whithorne is an interesting composer who
has used the music of the Orient as a model for many
of his compositions. His piano sketches, New York
Days and Nights, are unusual and attractive.

The greatest musician the New World has yet pro-
duced is the poet-composer Edward MacDowell, who
has been called “a belated Romantic.” His was a
personality of rare charm, and so versatile was his
genius, he could have excelled both as painter and
poet, as well as musician* From his Celtic ancestors
he inherited a poetical visionary strain which adds
originality to his work, giving it a quality all his own.

He was born in 1861, and had his first piano
lesson from a musical friend of the family, Juan
Buitrago, who recognized his ability and asked to
teach him. When about thirteen, he began to study


with the brilliant pianist, Teresa Carreno. He was
fond of experimenting with new harmonies and would
sit at the piano for hours trying to express his thoughts
in tones. At other times he would draw pictures and
make them into stories, Carreno understood him,
however, and would say to his mother: “Do not worry
over his pictures and his fancies. Some day he will
put them all into his music.” And her prophecy came

, In spite of his daydreams, his progress was so rapid
that, when fifteen, his mother took him to Paris to
study at the Conservatoire. There the young Ameri-
can found difficulty in following the lectures filled
with technical terms expressed in a foreign tongue,
and a French teacher was found to help him with the

One day during a dull period, Edward secretly drew
a portrait of his teacher, who was blessed with a nose
of generous proportions. At the end of the lesson,
to the artist’s confusion, the professor politely asked
to see the sketch, and was impressed by the really
good likeness the boy had made. He carried the pic-
ture home and showed it to Carolus Duran, one ^of
the best instructors in the Etole des Beaux Arts, with
the result that the artist made him the bearer of a
message to Mrs. MacDowelL

He announced that the drawing showed extraordi-
nary talent, that the boy should be an artist, and of-
fered to give him a three years’ course in his own
class, free of charge, and provide the cost of his
living expenses as well This was an unusual offer,
and the perplexed mother, unable to decide, said to
her son: “I cannot choose for you. You must make


up your mind where your true path lies.” Marmontel
of the Conservatoire was consulted, and strongly ad-
vised his pupil to develop his musical gifts and con-
tinue in the career he had chosen; so it was arranged
that he remain at the Conservatoire.

When seventeen years old, he received much inspi-
ration from a concert given by Nicholas Rubinstein,
who, like his brother Anton, was a famous pianist.
This virtuoso played a Russian concerto which, at the
time, was practically unknown: the now famous Bb
Minor by Tschaikowsky.

Rubinstein’s playing seemed to the young American
to contain all the tempestuous power and colorful
effect that he himself desired, and he straightway de-
cided to go to Germany. There, he and his mother
settled in Frankfort, where fate was kind and gave
him an inspiring teacher in the Jewish pianist Karl
Heyman, who took a personal interest in his work,
recommending him at a later date as his successor,
when he himself was forced to resign from the Frank-
fort Conservatory. Young MacDowell also studied
counterpoint with Joachim Raff and became one of
his favorite pupils.

Once, while busily engaged in composing, a knock
sounded at his door and Raff himself appeared. This
was an unexpected honor, and MacDowell was still
more excited when Raff told him to complete his first
piano concerto and bring it to him in ten days. After
working as he had never worked before, he carried the
completed score to his master, who examined it with
interest, saying generously: “My boy, your music will
be played when mine is forgotten.”

At Raff’s request he went to Weimar to play the
concerto to Liszt, and was praised by the latter, both


for the originality of the music and for his interpre-
tation of it. He gratefully dedicated the concerto to
Liszt, who encouraged him further by inviting him
to play in Zurich. There he appeared as both com-
poser and pianist, and his music met with instant suc-
cess. That same year his friend and teacher, Joachim
Raff, passed away, and to his memory, in later years,
MacDowell dedicated his Sonata Tragica, the first of
four works in that form. He composed constantly
during his stay in Germany. For his songs he had
difficulty in securing the kind of poems he desired,
and therefore wrote many of his own words. His
Verses, though slight, are very poetical and charm-
ing, and are placed at the head of his piano pieces,
thus helping to interpret the picture or mood ex-
pressed by the music.

In Germany, MacDowell and a fellow student once
wagered they could compose a new piece of music
every day for a week. The inspiration of his friend
flagged, but MacDowell was equal to his self-imposed
task and won. The pieces thus written were his
Idyls, and each has a few lines from a poem by Goethe
as its title.

While teaching in Frankfort, MacDowell met a
young American girl named Marian Nevins, who
was destined to be first his pupil and then his wife.
She was a sympathetic and understanding musician,
and to her MacDowell confided many of his ideals
for his musical future. After their marriage they
lived for a while in Wiesbaden; then, returning to
America, they settled in Boston, where MacDowell
discovered that his fame had preceded him. He was
soon asked to play with the best orchestras in the coun-
try, and his gifts brought him many friends. One of


his characteristics was an inexhaustible sense of humor,
and a joke would bring a twinkle into his blue eyes,
followed by a low laugh that was irresistible to all who
heard it.

He once gave a pupil an exercise in harmony to
write, which she completed by filling in the remaining
spaces on the staff with rests, ending all with a double
bar. When her paper was returned, the exercise itself
was covered with corrections, and the bars of rests
were enclosed by a red line under which MacDowell
had written: “This is the only correct passage in the


His renown as an instructor increased, while he was
constantly in demand as concert pianist and, each
winter for ten years, he toured the West, giving a series
of recitals, his programs consisting mainly of his
own compositions.

It was easy for him to create the effect he needed
to illustrate his fancies. His tones, though large,
often possessed a dreamlike beauty; and at will his
scales and arpeggios were torrents of rushing sound
or floated through the air like mist. Always inter-
ested in the work done by fellow artists, he particu-
larly enjoyed listening to the playing of Paderewski
and once, after hearing the great pianist In concert, he
ran all the way across Boston Common to his own
home so that no one should stop him to converse and
thus spoil the impressions of the afternoon.

Paderewski once told a friend that MacDowell
wasted his valuable time in teaching, when he was just
the man to compose an opera. At this friend’s wish,
Paderewski gave a dinner to bring the two men to-
gether, and the friend proposed to MacDowell that
he give up teaching and write an opera, accepting


from him whatever sum was needed for the years
spent in composition. MacDowell was touched by the
offer but did not accept it, as his love of independ-
ence made it impossible for him to be bound in such
a way.

Above all social gaieties, he cherished the leisure
necessary for his creative work and to it gave earnest
thought and attention. ^While deeply appreciative of
the good opinion of those for whom he cared, he was
at the same time modest and skeptical of compliments,
particularly the ardent praises sometimes bestowed on
him by strangers. “Do you know the way to the back
door?” he once whispered to a friend after one of
his concerts, while surrounded by groups of enthusi-
astic feminine admirers.

As a teacher he was both painstaking and inspiring,
He never spared himself, and would work persistently
with the dullest pupils, while with the gifted ones he
lost all thought of time and gave unsparingly of his
best, trying always to develop their own individuality.
“Don’t try to echo my playing of this, 1 ‘ he would say;
“you may find a better way than mine”; or, again, in
a few words he would give them an idea, as when he
once said to a pupil: “Let those opening chords just
drift from far away, to the world of sound.”

When thirty-five years of age, he was made the
head of the new music department at Columbia Col-
lege, having been chosen by the trustees as “the great-
est musical genius America had produced.” For the
next eight years he gave up his career as a virtuoso
and devoted himself to the needs of his students and
to his own composing. Glimpses of his scholarly mind
are shown in his book, Critical and Historical Essays,
lectures written for his classes at Columbia.


A friend of the composer once said: “MacDowell
is temperate in all things except work,” and this was
shown by his unstinted labor at Columbia. But even
such abundant energy as his could not stand the strain,
and owing to failing health, he was forced in 1904 to
resign his position.

During the first year there, his Indian Suite for
orchestra was played and was described by a critic as
“one of the noblest compositions of modern times.”
For his themes he used the melodies of the North
American Indians, one a Love Song, another In War
Time, and a third a Village Festival. All five move-
ments contain music filled with sadness, as of a peo-
ple who mourn for the vanished glory of their race.
MacDowell wrote four noble sonatas, the Keltic
being considered his masterpiece.

After the passionate Tragica, which was dedicated
to Raff, came the Sonata Eroica, which he himself de-
scribed as having been inspired by Tennyson’s Idylls of
the King. The first movement typifies the coming of
Arthur, and the fourth has a suggestion of Queen
Guinevere and of the passing of the King.

The third and fourth sonatas (the Norse and the
Keltic) were both dedicated to Grieg, for whom Mac-
Dowell had great admiration, and they are full of
barbaric splendor, imagination and poetic charm.

The Keltic is superbly orchestral in its conception
and is worthy of the grandeur of the old legends which
were its inspiration. MacDowell wished to dedicate
this sonata to Fiona Macleod, the supposed authoress
of beautiful versions of the Keltic tales, whose iden-
tity was later disclosed to be that of William Sharp,
the English writer. He wrote to the lady, through


her publishers, for permission, but receiving no answer,
was forced to give up his plan.

His songs and piano pieces show the composer’s
genius for the smaller forms of composition. In the
latter group are some that are descriptive of the peace
and mystery of the woods, while in the Sea Pieces
one hears the surf booming against rocks, or catches
glimpses of misty clouds, and starlight shining on
quiet waters.

Like Debussy, MacDowell was a devoted nature-
lover. “The city is only a place in which to make
money enough to get out into the country,” he once
said to a friend.

After several European summers, he purchased a
farm in the little town of Peterborough, New Hamp-
shire, naming the new home “Hillcrest.” In the heart
of the pines a studio was built and in this little log
cabin the composer loved to work and dream. Al-
though surrounded by trees, it stands on an elevation
that offers a wide view of the distant mountains, and
over the cabin door he wrote:

“A house of dreams untold,
It looks out over the whispering treetops
And faces the setting sun,”

In 1904 MacDowell’s health began to fail, and he
was forced to give up all work. At first it was thought
that a complete rest would prove beneficial, but a de-
pression settled on his spirit when he could no longer
work. Like Schumann, he lived in a dream world of
his own, his condition finally becoming hopeless, and
in 1908, at the early age of forty-six, his valiant spirit
passed on to a wider sphere of service.


His influence on the music of America has been
great, and it is the more tragic that his useful-
ness should have ended so prematurely. Once, early
in his career, he had said: “The only thing in life is
to be as useful as we can,” and this was always his
attitude towards life and art.

He rests on his own hilltop at Peterborough, and
inscribed on the bronze tablet that marks the place,
is the verse that the poet-composer once wrote above
his studio door.

The spirit of Edward MacDowell lives on in the
MacDowell Colony, which is a successful fulfilment
of the cherished dream of the composer and his de-
voted wife.

The woodland of “Hillcrest,” now comprising abtfut
five hundred acres, has been made into a summer home
for creative artists, and each year many gather there,
musicians, poets, painters and sculptors. Mrs. Mac-
Dowell, who lives in the original house, is the guid-
ing spirit of the place, and the workers are each given
a little rustic studio in the woods, where in solitude
they too can work, dream untold dreams, and watch
the sunset over those mountains which were the de-
light of Edward MacDowell.


ABELL AND ALWYN, The Violin and Its Story
APTHORP, W. F., The Opera, Past and Present
AUBREY, PIERRE, Trouveres et Troubadours

BACH, ALBERT, The Art ‘Ballad
BAKER, Biographical Dictionary of Musicians
BARTHOLOMEW, E. F., Relation of Psychology to Music
BEETHOVEN, LUDWIG VAN, Letters (Edited by Nohl)
BELLAIGNE, CAMELLE, Portraits and Silhouettes of Musicians
BIE, OSCAR, A History of the Pianoforte and Pianoforte Players
” ” ” The Great Singers

” The Great Virtuosi

BROWER, HARRIETTE, Story Lives of Master Musicians
BROWN, ABBIE FARWELL, The Boyhood of Edward MacDowell
BRUGEOT, A. R., Debussy
BURTON, FREDERICK, American Primitive Music


CHAPIN, ANNA ALICE, Masters of Music

The Heart of Music
” Makers of Song

” ” A Manual of Orchestration

CLERGYMAN, A, The Passion Play

COERNE, Louis ADOLPHE, The Evolution of Modern Orchestration
CROWEST, FREDERICK, The Story of the Art of Music

DAVIDSON, GLADYS, Stories from the Russian Operas


DEITERS, HERMANN, Johannes Brahms

DEVRIENT, PHILIP EDWARD, My Recollections of Felix Mendelssohn

DICKINSON, EDWARD, The History of Church Music

” ” Music in the History of the Western Church

” H. AND C., Excursions in Musical History




” ” CSsar Franck

” C0z/r.r de Composition Musical e (Vol. i)

DOWNES, OLIN, r#* #r<? of Music

ELSON, ARTHUR, Modern Composers of Europe

” ” A Critical History of Opera

” ” r^<? 0o& o/ Musical Knowledge

” ” Woman’s Work in Music

” Louis C., The Realm of Music

” ” 7^* TAi?or^ o/ MI/JZC

” ” ” Curiosities of Music

” ” ” The History of American Music

<{ ” Gr^a/ Composers and Their Work

ELTERLEIN, ERNST VON, Beethoven’s Pianoforte Sonatas
ENGEL, CARL, Musical Myths and Facts (2 vols.)

” ” Music of the Most Ancient Nations

” ” Researches into the Early History of the Violin Family

‘ (J*.)> Alia Breve

FACE, ADRIEN L. DE LA, Histoire Generate de la Musique
FAULKNER, ANNE SHAW, What We Hear in Music
FERRIS, GEORGE, The Great German Composers

” ” The Great Italian and French Composers

” ” Great Singers

FINCK, HENRY T., Wagner and His Works

” ” ” Edward Grieg and His Music

” ” ” Chopin, and Other Musical Essays

” ” ” Songs and Song Writers

” ” ” Success in Music

FLEMING, JAMES M., Old Violins and Their Makers
FORSYTH, CECIL, Orchestration
FROST, HENRY F., Schubert

GARDNER, CARL, Essentials of Music Theory

GASTONi, AMEDEE, UArt Gregorien

GATES, W. F., Anecdotes of Great Musicians

GEHRING, F., Mozart

GEHRKENS, KARL W., The Fundamentals of Music

GERARD, FRANCES, Wagner, Bayreuth and the Festival Plays

GILMAN, LAWRENCE, Edward MacDowell


GOODRICH, A. J., Complete Musical Analysis
GOUNOD, CHARLES F., Memoirs of an Artist
GRAEME, ELLIOTT, Beethoven: A Memoir
GREW, SIDNEY, Our Favorite Musicians
GREY, CECIL, A Survey of Contemporary Music
GROVE, SIR GEORGE, Beethoven’s Nine Symphonies

” ” ” Dictionary of Music and Musicians
GUERBER, H. A., Stories of Popular Operas

HADDEN, J. CUTHBERT, Modern Musicians

HADON, WILLIAM H., A Croatian Composer, Joseph Haydn

HALE, PHILIP, Program Notes of the Boston Symphony Orchestra


Great Composers and Their Works
HALL, GERTRUDE, The Wagnerian Romances
HAMILTON, CLARENCE G., Outlines of Musical History

” ” ” Music Appreciation

” ” ” Sound and Its Relation to Music

HART, GEORGE, The Violin, Its Famous Makers and Their Imitators

” ” The Violin and Its Music

HAWEIS, H. R., Old Violins

” My Musical Life
” ” Music and Morals
HELLBORN, HEINRICH K. VON, Life of Franz Schubert

” ” ” The Orchestra and Orchestral Music

” ” ” The Story of Music

” ” ” How Music Developed

” ” ” Early History of Singing

” ” ” Some Forerunners of Italian Opera

HENSCHEL, SIR GEORGE, Personal Recollections of Johannes Brahms
HENSEL, SEBASTIAN, The Mendelssohn Family
HOGARTH, GEORGE, Memoirs of the Musical Drama
HOPE, ROBERT, Mediaeval Studies
HUEFFER, FRANCIS, Musical Studies

” ” Richard Wagner and the Music of the Future

HULLAH, ANNETTE, Theodor Leschetizky

” ” A Little History of Music

HUMPHREYS, F. L., The Evolution of Church Music
HUNEKER, JAMES, Mezzotints in Modern Music

” ” Franz Liszt

” Chopin: The Man and His Music


JOHNSTONS, ALFRED, The Art of Expression in Piano Playing

” ARTHUR, Instruments of the Modern Symphony Orchestra

JousSE, J., A Catechism of Music

KARASOWSKI, MORITZ, Frederic Chopin: His Life and Letters
KEETON, Debussy

KOBBB, GUSTAV, Wagner” s Life and Works
” ” Wagner’s Music Dramas

” Complete Opera Book

KREHBIEL, HENRY E., How to Listen to Music

” ” ” Studies in the Wagnerian Drama

” ” ” Chapters of Opera (2 vols.)

” ” A Book of Operas (2 vols.)

KIEBURN, N., The Story of Chamber Music
KELLEY, EDGAR S., Musical Instruments

LAHEE, HENRY C., Famous Singers of To-day and Yesterday
” ” ” Famous Violinists of To-day and Yesterday

” ” The Organ and Its Masters

LALOY, L., Debussy

LAMPADIUS, WILHITMA, Life of Felix Mendelssohn-Bartholdy
LAVIGNAC, ALBERT, Musical Education

” ” Music and Musicians

” ” The Music Dramas of Richard Wagner

LEAGUE OF COMPOSERS, Publishers, Modern Music
LEE, MARKHAM, The Story of Symphony
LISZT, FRANZ, Life of Chopin
LYON AND HEALY, Publishers, The Hawlcy Collection of Violins, with

a History of Their Makers

MACDOWELL, EDWARD, Critical and Historical Essays

MACPHERSON, STEWART, Music and Its Appreciation

MACKINLAY, M. STERLING, Garcia: The Centenarian and His Times

MACT, J., Young People’s History of Music


MASON, DANIEL GREGORY, The Orchestral Instruments and What

They Do

” ” The Romantic Composers

” ” From Grieg to Brahms

” ” Great Modern Composers

” ” A Guide to Music

” ” Contemporary Composers

” ” From Song to Symphony



of Music

MASON, WILLIAM, Memoirs of a Musical Life
MATTHAY, TOBIAS, The First Principles of Pianoforte Playing

” ” Musical Interpretation

MATTHEWS, W. S. B,, The Great in Music

” ” ” A Popular History of Music

MATTHEWS AND LIEBLING, Dictionary of Music
MAY, FLORENCE, Life of Johannes Brahms
MONTAGU, NATHAN, A History of Russian Music

” ” The Orchestra and How to Listen to It

MOYER, DOROTHY, Introduction to Music Appreciation and History

NAUMANN, EMIL, The History of Music
NEWMARCH, ROSA, The Russian Opera

rt ” Tschaikowsky: His Life and Works

NIECKS, FRIEDRICH, Chopin as a Man and Musician
NOHL, Louis, Haydn

” ” Life of Wagner

NORRIS, HOMER, Practical Harmony

PARRY, CHARLES H., Studies of Great Composers

” ” ” The Evolution of the Art of Music

PATTERSON, ANNIE, The Story of Oratorio

” ” Schumann

PAUER, ERNST, Musical Forms

PHIPSON, T. L., Famous Violinists and Fine Violins
POLE, WILLIAM, The Philosophy of Music

POLLARD, ALFRED W., English Miracle Plays, Moralities and Interludes
POLLETT, ARTHUR, The Enjoyment of Music
POTOCKA, COMTESSE ANGEtE, Theodor Leschetizky
POUGIN, ARTHUR, Verdi: History of His Life and Works
PRATT, WALDO S., The History of Music

” ” ” The New Encyclopedia of Music and Musicians


” ” The Orchestra

Musical Form

” <s Applied Form

RAU, HERIBERT, Beethoven and Mozart

REISSMANN, The Life and Works of Robert Schumann



ROCKSTRO, W. S., Life of George Frederick Handel

” ” Musicians of To-day

ROWBOTHAM, JOHN F., The Troubadours and Courts of Love

” ” ” A History of Music, to the Tune of the Trouba-

RUDALL, H. A., Beethoven

SCHINDLER, ANTON, Life of Beethoven


SCHUMANN, ROBERT, Music and Musicians

SHARP, R. FARQUHARSON, Makers of Music

SINGLETON, ESTHER, The Orchestra and Its Instruments

SMITH, HANNAH, Founders of Music

” ” Music: How It Came to Be What It Is

SMITH, USELMA C, Keyboard Harmony

SPALDING, WALTER, Music: An Art and a Language

SPITTA, PHILIPP, The Life of Bach



STOEVING, PAUL, The Story of the Violin

STRANGEWAYS, Fox, The Music of Hindostan

STRATTON, STEPHEN, Nicolo Paganini: His Life and Work

STEINERT, MORRIS, The Steinert Collection of Keyed and Stringed


” The Opera
” ” Masters of Italian Music


” ” ” The Development of Symphonic Music


preciation of Music

TAPPER, THOMAS, First Studies in Music Biography

THAYER, ALEXANDER W., The Life of Ludwig van Beethoven


TSCHAIKOWSKY, MODESTE, Life and Letters of Peter Ilich Tschaikowsky

UNTERSTEINER, ALFREDO, A Short History of Music
UPTON, GEORGE P., In Music Land

” ” ” Standard Musical Biographies

” ” ” Woman in Music

” ” ” Standard Cantatas

” ” ” Standard Symphonies


UPTON, GEORGE P., Standard Oratorios
” ” ” Standard Operas

VAN VECHTEN, CARL, The Music of Spain

WASIELEWSKI, JOSEPH W. VON, Life of Robert Schumann

WEED, CHARLES, Contributions to the History of Musical Scales
WEISSMANN, ADOLF, Problems of Modern Music
WHITCOMB, IDA PRENTICE, “Young People’s Story of Music

” ” ” ” The Story of the Organ

” ” ” The Story of Notation
WINWORTH, FREDA, The Epic of Sounds



Absolute music, 51

Accent!, 73

Accidentals, 28

Adamowski, J., 142

Adamowski, T., 143

Adventures in a Perambulator,

Carpenter’s, 338
^Eolian harp, 126
Afternoon of a Faun- Debussy’s,


A’ida, Verdi’s, 98
Albrechtsberger, Johann, 217
Alcestis, Gluick’s, 93
Alfred the Great, 54
Allegri, Gregorio, 42, 205
Alleluia, 71
Allemande, 47
Amati, Andrea, 148
Amati, NicoI6, 148
Ambrose, St., 33
American composers, 335
Amphion, 13
Antiphonal singing, 7
Antiphonary, 37
Apollo, 12

Arabian minstrels, 56, 145
Aria, 91
Arion, 15
Ariosti, Padre, 185
Armide, Lully’s, 92
Arnould, Sophie, 74
Artot, Desired, 314
Assyrian music, 6
Atonality, 166
Aucassin and Nicolette, 61
Auer, Leopold, 160
Aulos of the Greeks, 19
Auric, George, 168
Austrian national hymn, 201
Authentic modes, 36
Ave Maria, Gounod’s, 99
Atara, Paine’s, 336

Bach, Johann Sebastian, 115, 173-

Bach [Karl], Philipp Emanuel,
177, 180

Bach, Wilhelm Friedemann, 177

Bagpipes, 6

Balakireff, Mily, 161, 330

Ballet, 88, 92

Barber of Seville, Rossini’s, 97

Bardi, Count, 88

Bards, 54

Bars, 28

Bass clarinet, 106

Bass drum, 108

Bass viol, 105

Bassoon, 106

Baton, 120

Bauer, Harold, 141

Bax, Arnold, 169

Bayreuth, 286

Beach, Mrs. H. H. A., 337

Beatitudes, The, Franck’s, 296

Beethoven, 115, 214-227, 268, 274

Beggar’s Opera, Gay’s, 95

Bel canto, 73

Bells, 7, 9, no

Benedictine monks, 44

Bergonzi, Carlo, 151

Beriot, Charles de, 159

Berlioz, Hector, 116

Bernart de Ventadouor, 57

Bible music and plays, 6, 86

Birthday of the Infanta, Carpen-
ter’s, 338

Bizet, Georges, 100

Bjornson, 325

Bloomfield Zeisler, Fanny. See
Zeisler, Fanny Bloomfield

Blondel, 58

Blue Danube waltz, Strauss’s,
120, 305

Boatswain’s Mate, Smythe’s, 165




Boheme, La, Puccini’s, 100

Bononcini, Giovanni, 185

Bordoni, Faustina, 73

Bordes, Charles, 164

Boris Godunoff, Moussorgsk/s,


Born, Bertrand de, 63
Borodin, Alexander, 162
Bow, 145

Brahms, Johannes, 266, 300-310
Brass, 104, 107
Brentano, Bettina, 221
Brescia, 147
Broadwood, 132
Bruning family, 216
Briinnhilde, 288
Brunswick, Therese von, 221
Brutus of England, 64
Buitrago, Juan, 338
Bull, Ole, 159, 319
Biilow, Hans von, 138, 285, 313
Busoni, Ferruccio, 141
Buxtehude, Dietrich, 175
Byrd, William, 127

Calve, Emma, 82

Camerata, 47, 88

Canon, 51

Cantata, 90

Carillon, in

Carissimi, Giovanni, 102

Carpenter, John, 338

Carmen, Bizet’s, 100

Carnaval Romain, Berlioz’, 117

Carnival of Animals, Saint-

Saens’, 105

Carreno, Teresa, 140, 339
Caruso, Enrico, 83
Casals, Pablo, 160
Castanets, 109
Cat’s Fugue, Scarlatti’s, 91
Catalani, Angelica, 75
Cavaliere di Candia, 77
Cavalieri, Emilio del, 101
Cavalleria Rusticana, Mascagni’s,


Cecilia, St., 20
Celesta, 109
Cembalo, 129
Chabrier, Emmanuel, 298
Chadwick, George, 336

Chaliapin, Fepdor, 83

Chamber music, 49

Chansons de geste, 61

Chant to St. John, 25

Chants, 20-38

Charlemagne, Emperor, 38

Cherubini, Luigi, 94, 239, 269

Chickering, 132

Chimes, no

Chinese music, 8

Choirs, 70

Chopin, Frederic, 246-258, 272

Choral Symphony, Beethoven’s,


Chorales, 42, 179
Christmas Oratorio, Bach’s, 178
Cristofori, 131
Chromatic scales or modes, 18,

3i> 36

Clarinet, 106
Clavecin, 130
Clavichord, 129
Clefs, 26

dementi, Muzio, 137
Clock Symphony, Haydn’s, 197
C Minor Symphony, Brahms’, 309
Cobbett Music Competition, 169
Col legno M i46
Colonne, Edouard, 296, 324
Concert master, 112
Concerto, 49
Conductors, 112, 113-123
Confuciuis, 9

Congregation of the Oratory, 101
Constantine, Emperor, 21, 33
Converse, Frederick, 337
Cog d’Or, Rimsky-Korsakoff’s, 162
Corelli, Arcangelo, 153
Coronation of Poppea, Monte-

verde’s, 114
Corsi, Jacopo, 89
Cortot, Alfred, 142
Couperin, Francois, 136
Couplet, 62
Counterpoint, 23
Courante, 47

CoH Fan Tutte, Mozart’s, 211
Creation, The, Haydn’s, 199
Crusaders, 55
Crwth, 54, 145
Cui, Ce”sar, 162



Cuzzoni, Francesca, 73, 189
Cymbals, 7, 109
Czerny, Carl, 137, 268

Damnation of Faust, Berlioz*, 117

Damrosch family, 121

Dance of Death, Saint-Saens’, 118

Darnel, Arnaud, 63

Daniels, Mabel Wheeler, 337

Daphne, Peri’s, 89

Daphnis and Chloe, Ravel’s, 165

David, Ferdinand, 158, 243

David, King, 6

Death and Transfiguration,

Strauss’ s, 120
Death of Tintagiles, Loeffler’s,


Debussy, Claude, 101, 328-334
Delius, Frederick, 166
Demeter, 15
Denyn, Jef, r m
DeReszke, Edouard, 82
DeReszke, Jean, 82
Descriptive music, 52
Devil’s Trill, Tartini’s, 154
Diatonic scale or mode, 5, 17
Dido and Mneas, Purcell’s, 127
Discant, 24, 68
Dolmetsch, Arnold, 166
Dominant, 29

Don Giovanni, Mozart’s, 209
Don Juan, Strauss’s, 120
Don Quixote, Strauss’s, 120
Dorian Mode, 18
Dramatic Overture, Lang’s, 336
Dream of Gerontius 3 Elgar’s, 165
Dresel, Otto, 335
Drums, 10
Dulcimer, 6, 128

Dunstan, St., of Canterbury, 126
Duplex scale, 132
Durey, Louis, 168
Dvorak, Anton, 119, 309

Eames, Emma, 83

Early Christian music, 20, 70

Egyptian music, 4

Escapement, 133

Esclamazio, 73

Eschenbach, Wolfram von, 65

Essipoff, Annette, 138

Esterhazy, Count, 233

Esterhazy, Prince, 196

Eleanor of England, 57

Elijah, Mendelssohn’s, 243

Elizabeth of England, 130

Elgar, Sir Edward, 165

Elman, Mischa, 159

English horn, 106

English music, 165, 169

Enharmonic tones, 32

Epic poems, 61

Equal temperament, 32

Erard, no, 132

Erlkonig, Schubert’s, 232

Eroica Symphony, Beethoven’s,


Eugen One gin, Tschaikow sky’s,


Euryanthe, Weber’s, 96
Everyman, 87

Fairies, The, Wagner’s, 280

Falstaff, Verdi’s, 98

Fantastic Symphony, Berlioz’, 116

Farewell Symphony, Haydn’s, 197

Farinelli, Carlo, 74

Farrar, Geraldine, 83

Faure, Gabriel-Urbain, 163

Faust, Gounod’s, 98

Faust Symphony, Liszt’s, 273

Fidelio, Beethoven’s, 223

Fiedel, 146

Fire Bird, Stravinsky’s, 168

Flats and sharps, 28

Fledermaus, Die, Strauss’s, 120

Flute, 4, ii, 105

Flying Dutchman, Wagner’s, 281

Folk songs, 51

Foote, Arthur, 336

Forms of opera, 99

Franck, Cesar, 291-297

Franco of Cologne, 27

Frankh, Johann, 192

Frederick the Great, 180

Freischutz, Der, Weber’s, 96

French horn, 107

French music, 163, 291

French Suites, Bach’s, 178

Frescobaldi, Girolamo, 127

Fricken, Ernestine von, 262

Fugue, 49



Gabrielli, Caterina, 74

Gabrilowitsch, Ossip, 143

Gade, Niels, 320

Gaelic Symphony, Beach’s, 337

Galli-Curci, Amelita, 83

Garcia, Maria (Mme. Malibran),


Garcia, Manuel, Sr., 76
Garcia, Manuel, Jr., 77
Garcia, Pauline Viardot-, 76
Garden, Mary, 83
Garden of Fand, The, Bax’s, 169
Gasparo da Salo, 147
Gasparo of Lyons, 147
Gavotte, 48
Geyer, Ludwig, 278
Gheyn, Matthias van der, ui
Gibbons, Orlando, 127
Gigue, 47
Glockenspiel, 109
Gluck, Christoph Willibald von,


Godowsky, Leopold, 141
Goethe, 221, 239
Gong, 7, 109
Goossens, Eugene, 169
G otter damme rung, Die, Wag-
ner’s, 288

Gounod, Charles Frangois, 98
Grand stave, 24
Greek modes, 17, 30, 68
Greek music, 12-19
Gregory the Great, 34
Grieg, Edvard, 276, 318-327
Grieg, Nina, 321
Grisi, Giulia, 77
Guarnerius, Andrea, 148
Guarnerius, Giuseppe, 148
Guicciardi, Countess, 218
Guido of Arezzo, 24
Guilmant, Alexandre, 128, 164
Guitar, 60
Gypsy music, 53, 269, 330

Hadley, Henry, 337

Halle, Adam de la, 64, 85

Hallelujah Chorus, Handel’s, 190

Hand-clapping, n

Handel, George Frederick, 115,

Harold Symphony, Berlioz*, 117

Hammerklavier, 131

Harmonics, 146

Harmonious Blacksmith, Handel’s,


Harmony, 4* *8 4$, 3*9
Harp, 4, 54> IIQ
Harpers, 53
Harpsichord, 130
Hautboy, 67
Haydn, Franz Joseph, 115, *9 2 –


Heavenly Noel, Lang’s, 336
Heifetz, Jascha, 160
Henschel, Sir George, 306
Heptonic scale, 18
Hermes, 12
Hess, Myra, 142
Hexachords, 25
Hill, Edward B. ? 337
Hofmann, Josef, 141
Holzer, Michael, 229
Homer, 14
Homer, Louise, 83
Homophonic music, 24, 88
Honegger, Arthur, 168
Hopekirk, Helen, 140
Hora Novissima, Parker’s, 337
Horn, origin of, 107
Hucbaldus, 23

Hungarian gypsy music, 53, 269
Hungarian Rhapsodies, Liszt’s,

Hymn to Apollo, 19

Idomeneo, Mozart’s, 208

In the Faery Hill, Bax’s, 169

India, music of, 7

Indian Suite, MacDowell’s, 344

Indians, American, 10

Indra, god of music, 7

Indy, Vincent D’, 163, 294

Infancy of Christ, Berlioz’, 117

Instrumental music, development

of, 47

Instruments, 104
Intervals, 28
Inventions, Bach’s, 50
Invitation to the Dance, Weber’s,


Iphlgema in Aulis, Gluck’ s, 93
Ireland, John, 169



Isle of the Dead, Rachmaninoff’s,


Italian Concerto, Bach’s, 180
Italian Symphony, Mendelssohn’s,


Jewish music, 6
Joachim, Joseph, 158, 303
John of Fornsete, 62
Jongleur de Notre Dame, Mas-
senet’s, 100
Jongleurs, 55, 59, 66
Julius III, Pope, 41
Juruparis, n

Kettledrums, 108
King, 9
Kithara, 19
Kreisler, Fritz, 159
Krishna, 7
Kussewitzky, Sergei, 122

Lablache, Luigi, 7?

Lancelot and Guinevere, Hill s,

337 . . _ ,

Lang, Benjamin Johnson, 336
Lang, Margaret Ruthven, 336
Lasso, Orlando, 43
Legend of St. Elizabeth, Liszfs,


Leginska, Ethel, 142
Lehmann, Lilli, 81 ^
Leoncavallo, Ruggiero, 101
Leschetizky, Theodor, 137
Lichnowsky, Prince, 218
Lind, Jenny, 79
Liszt, Adam, 267, 270
Liszt, Franz, 118, 253, 267-277,

284, 292, 321, 340
Loeffler, Charles Martin, 165
Lohengrin, Wagner’s, 284, 286
Lorenzo the Magnificent, 71
Louis XIV, 92
Lucca, Pauline, 8p
Ludwig of Bavaria, 286, 289
Lully, Jean-Baptiste, 91
Lute, 56

Luther, Martin, 42
Lydian mode, 18
Lyre, 4
Lyric poems, 61

MacDowell, Edward, 338-346
MacDowell, Marion Nevins, 34 1 *


MacDowell Colony, 346
Madame Butterfly, Puccini’s, 100
Madrigal, 46, 62
Magic Flute, Mozart’s, 211
Maggini, Giovanni Paolo, 148
Mahler, Gustav, 121
Malibran, 76
Manon, Massenet’s, 100
Manon Lescaut^ Puccini’s, 101
Marchand, Louis, 176
Maria Theresa, Empress, 203
Marie Antoinette, 93
Mario, Giuseppe, 76
Marius, 131

Marmontel, Antoine, 340
Marriage of Figaro, Mozart’s, 209
Marxsen, Edward, 301
Mascagni, Pietro, 101

Mason, Daniel Gregory, 335

Mason, Lowell, 335

Mason, William, Dr., 335

Masques, 87

Mass in B Minor, Bach’s, 178

Mass in D, Beethoven’s, 223

Mass of Pope Marcellus, 41

Massenet, Jules, 100

Mastersingers, 66

Matthay, Tobias, 142

Mattheson, Johann, 185

Meek, Nadejda von, 315

Meistersinger, Die, Wagner’s, 66,

Melba, Nellie, 83

Melody, 1 8, 46

Mendelssohn, Abraham, 237

Mendelssohn-Bartholdy, Felix,

115, 237-245

Mengelberg, Willexn, 122
Messiah, The, Handel’s, 189
Metch, Madame, 330
Midsummer Night’s Dream music,

Mendelssohn’s, 240
Milhaud, Darius, 168
Minnesingers, 65, 173
Minstrels, 53
Minuet, 48
Miracle plays, 86
Miriam, 6


Miserere, Allegrl’s, 42, 205

Mithridate, Mozart’s, 206

Modes, Greek, 17, 30, 68

Monochord, 16

Monodies, 89

Monteverde, Claudio, 113

Montpensier, Mile, de, 91

Morality plays, 87

Mordent, 22

Moscheles, Ignaz, 243

Motet, 46

Mother Goose duet, Ravel’s, 165

Motives, 289

Moussorgsky, Modest, 162

Mount of Olives, Beethoven’s, 223

Mozart, Leopold, 202

Mozart, Marianne, 202

Mozart, Wolfgang Amadeus, 42,

115, 198, 202-213, 326
Muck, Karl, 121
Muses, The, 12
Music of the Spheres, 17
Musical arts of Greece, 16
Musical instruments, 103
Mute, 146
Mysteries, 86

National Society of Music, 163

Naturals, 29

Neefe, Christian, 216

Negro music, n

Negro Rhapsody, Powell’s, 338

Neri, Filippo, 101

Neruda, Wilma, 158

Netherlands, music of, 43

Neumes, 22

New World Symphony, DvoYdk’s,


Nibelungenlied, 65

Nikisch, Arthur, 121

Nordica, Lillian, 83

Nordraak, Rikard, 320

Notation, musical, 22, 26

Notes, 26, 28

Novice of Palermo, The, Wag-
ner’s, 280

Nutcracker Ballet, Tschaikow-
sky’s, 313

Oleron, Weber’s, 96
Oboe, 67, 105

Oboe d’amore, 115

Octet, 49

CEdipus, Paine’ s, 336

Offenbach, Jacques, 99

Olympic games, 15

Opera, 85-102

Oratorio, 101

Orchestra, 103-123

Organs, 9, 39, 124

Organum, 23

Orpheus, 13

Orpheus and Eurydice, Peri’s and

Corsi’s, 89
Orpheus Choir, 169
Othello, Verdi’s, 98
Overtones, 29, 32$
Overture, 92
Overture, 1812, Tschaikowsky’s,


Pachmann, Vladimir de, 139

Pacific 231, Honegger’s, 168

Paderewski, Ignace Jan, 140,

Pagan Poem,^ Loeffier’s, 165

Paganini, Nicolo, 155, 271

Pagliacci, I, Leoncavallo’s, 101

Paine, John K., 336

Palestrina, Giovanni Pierluigi, 40

Pan, 13

Parker, Horatio, 337

Parsifal, Wagner’s, 287

Part singing, 68

Partitas, 180

Parzifal, 65

Passion according to St. Matthew,
Bach’s, 178, 241

Passion Play of Oberammergau,

Pastoral, 62

Pastoral Symphony, Williams’,

Pathetic Symphony, Tschaikow-
sky’s, 317

Patti, Adelina, 80

Peace with a Sword, Daniels’, 338

Pedal keyboard, 126

Peer Gynt music, Grieg’s, 323

PelUas et Melisande, Debussy’s,
101, 331

Pentatonic scale, 5, 9



Percussion instruments, 104, 108
Pergolese, Giovanni Bartista,


Peri, Jacopo, 89
Petrouchka, Stravinsky’s, 168
Petrus, 37
Phrygian mode, 18
Piano mechanism, 133; pedals,


Pianoforte, 131
Pianists, 136
Piccinni, Niccolo, 93
Pipe, 4
Pipe of Desire, The, Converse’s,


Pipes of Pan, 14, 124
Pius IX, Pope, 275
Pius X, Pope, 45
Pizzicato, 114, 146
Plagal modes, 36
Plain song, 36
Planh, 62

Planer, Wilhelmina, 281, 285
Plectrum, 145
Polyphonic music, 23
Poly tonality, 167
Porpora, Niccold, 194
Portatives, 125
Positives, 125
Pothier, Joseph, 44
Potocka, Countess, 253
Poulenc, Francis, 168
Powell, John, 338
Powell, Maud, 159
Prelude, 47

Prtludes, Les, Liszt’s, 273
Pres, Josquin des, 44
Primitive music, 3
“Prison Josephs,” 149
Prodigal Son, Debussy’s, 330
Program music, 52
Prometheus, Scriabin’s, 168
Provensal musicians, 57
Psalms, 4
Psaltery, 128

Psyche Symphony, Franck’s, 296
Puccini, Giacomo, too
Purcell, Henry, 127
Pure Greek scale, 68
Puritanism, 90
Pythagoras, 16

Quartet, 49
Quintet, 49

Rachmaninoff, Sergei, 141

Raff, Joachim, 340

Rameau, Jean Philippe, 136

Raouis, 55

Rappresentazione di Anima e di

Corpo, Cavalieri’s, 101
Rattle, ii

Ravana, King, 144
Rayanstrom, 145
Ravel, Maurice, 164
Rebec, 145
Recitative, 36, 89
Redemption, Franck’s, 296
Redemption, Gounod’s, 99
Reeves, John Sims, 78
Regal, 126
Reinecke, Carl, 320
Reinken, Jan, 175
Repetition action, 132
Requiem, Brahms’, 306
Requiem, Mozart’s, 212
Rests, 24

Renter, Johann, 193
Rhapsodists, 14

Rheingold, Das, Wagner’s, 288
Rhythm, 3, 46
Richard I of England, 58
Richter, Hans, 121
Rienzi, Wagner’s, 281
Ries, Ferdinand, 219
Rimsky-Korsakoff, Nicolai, 162
Ring of the Nibelungen, The,

Wagner’s, 282

Rites of Spring, Stravinsky’s, 168
Robert the Pious of France, 39
Robin and Marion, 64, 85
Robin Hood, 67
Rot David, Le, Honegger’s, 168
Rolla, Alessandro, 156
Rollo, 64
Romanus, 37

Romeo and Juliet, Gounod’s, 99
Romeo and Juliet, Tschaikowsky’s,


Romeo and Juliet Symphony, Ber-
lioz’, 116

Rondo, 48

Rosamunde Ballet, Schubert’s, 234


Ros, Adam de, 64
Rosenthal, Moriz, 140
Rossini, Antonio, 96
Rote, 60

Rothschild, Baron, 252
Round, 62

Rousseau, Jean Jacques, 31
Rubinstein, Anton, 138, 312-
Rubinstein, Nicholas, 312, 34
Rudel, Geoffrey, 64
Ruggieri, Giovanni, 148
Russian music, 161, 168, 311

Sachs, Hans, 66, 286

Saint Peter, Paine’s, ,336

Saint-Saens, Canaille, 118

Salieri, Antonio, 229

Saltato, 146

Samson, Handel’s, 191

Samson and Delilah, Saint-Saens’,

I3[ 9 . .
Sammartim, 93
Sand, George, 254
Sappho, 1 6
Sarabande, 47
Saracens, 55
Sarasate, Pablo de, 158
Satie, Erik, 164
Saul, Handel’s, 190
Scales, 5, 7 3<>
Scarlatti, Alessandro, 91, 114
Scarlatti, Domenico, 91, 137, o
Scheherazade, Rimsky-Korsakoff s,


Scherzo, 48

Schola Cantorum, 35, ?o> l6 4> 297
Schonberg, Arnold, 167
Schubert, Franz Peter, 228-236
Schumann, Clara, 260, 303, 307
Schumann, Robert, 259-266, 303,


Schumann-Heink, Ernestine, 83
Score, in
Scott, Cyril, 169
Scotti, Antonio, 83
Scottish Symphony, Mendelssohn’s,


Scriabin, Alexander, 167
Sea, The, Debussy’s, 333
Sea Symphony, Williams’, 166
Seasons, The, Haydn’s, 199

Seidl, Anton, 121

Sembrich, Marcella, 82

Senesino, 74

Septet, 49

Serenade, 57

Sextet, 49

Sharps and flats, 28

Shofar, 6

Siegfried, Wagner’s, 288

Signatures, 26

Silbermann brothers, 126, 131

Singing, 70

Sirvente, 63

Sistrum, 4

Six-line staff, 23

Skyscrapers, Carpenter’s, 338

Smythe, Dame Ethel, 165

Snare drum, 109

Snow Maiden, Rimsky-Korsa-

koff’s, 162

Snow Queen, Tschaikowsk/s, 313
Solomon, King, 6
Sonata, 48
Sonata form, 48
Sontag, Henriette, 75
Song of Roland, 61
Songs of Elf land, Daniels’, 338
Spalding, Albert, 159
Specter’s Bride, The, Dvorak, 119
Spinet, 130
Spinning-Wheel of Omphale,

Saint-Saens’, 118
Spirituals, Negro, n
Spohr, Ludwig, 158
Spring Symphony, Schumann’s,


Square piano, 131
Stab at Mater, Dvorak’s, 119
Stabat Mater, Pergolese’s, 102
Stabat Mater, Rossini’s, 97
Staff, 22

Stainer, Jacob, 149
Stein family, 131
Steinitz, Johann, 114
Stein way, 132
Stevens oniana, Hill’s, 337
Stokowski, Leopold, 122
Stradivarius, Antonio, 150
Strauss family, 120, 305
Strauss, Richard, 119
Stravinsky, Igor, 168



Stringed instruments, 104

Subdominant, 29

Suites, 47, 180

Sullivan, Sir Arthur, 319

Sumer is icumen in, 62

Summer Day on the Mountain, A,

D’Indy’s, 164
Surprise Symphony, Haydn’s,


Sweehnck, Jan Pieters, 127
Symphonic poem, 118
Symphony, 48
Syrinx, 13
Szumowska, Antoinette, 141

Tabor, 60

Tailleferre, Germaine, 168

Tales of Hoffmann, Offenbach’s,


Tallis, Thomas, 127
Tambourine, 6, 109
Tamburini, Antonio, 78
Tannhauser, 65

Tannhauser, Wagner’s, 282, 323
Tartini, Giuseppe, 154
Tempered scale, 31
Tempus perfectum, 27
Tenson, 62
Terpander, 14
Tetrachord, 17
Thais, Massenet’s, 100
“The Five,” 162
“The Six,” 164
Theodal, Bishop, 25
Thibaud, Jacques, 159
Thibaut de Navarre, 58
Thirty Variations, Bach’s, 180
Thomas, Theodore, 120
Three Nocturnes, Debussy’s, 332
Thus SpakeZarathustra, Strauss’ s,

1 20

Till Eulenspiegel, Strauss’s, 120
Timbrel, 6
Time values, 27
Tonality, 4, 29, 36
Tonic, 29

Tosca, La, Puccini’s, 101
Toscanini, Arturo, 122
Touch, 134
Tourte, Francois, 145
Treble, 68

Tremolo, 114

Triangle, 109

Trill, 22

Trio, 49

Tristan and Isolda, 65

Tristan and Isolda, Wagner’s,

282, 285
Trombone, 107
Troubadours, 53, 55, 59
Trouveres, 57
Trovatore, 11, Verdi’s, 98
Trumpet, 107

Tschaikowsky, Peter, 311-317
Tuba, 1 08
Two Little Shoes, Tschaikowsky’s,

Upright piano, 132
Unfinished Symphony, Schubert’s,

Vakoula the Smith, Tschaikow-

sky’s, 313
Variations on a Theme of Haydn,

Brahms’, 309
Vedas, 7

Ventadour, Bernart de, 57
Verdi, Giuseppe, 97
Viardot-Garcia, Pauline, 76
Vielle, 146

Vieuxtemps, Henri, 159
Village Romeo and Juliet, A,

Delius’, 166
Vina, 8
Viol, 89, 146
Viola, 104, 147
Viola d’amore, 146
Violin, 104, 144-160
Violoncello, 104
Viotti, Giovanni, 155
Virginal, 130
Vittori, Loreto, 72
Vivaldi, Antonio, 154
Voice training, 71

Wagner, Cosima (von Biilow),

276, 287

Wagner, Richard, 99, 275, 278-290
Waits, 67

Waldstein, Count, 217
Walkiire, Die, Wagner’s, 288



Walther von der Vogelweide,


Wandering minstrels, 66
Wartburg, castle of, 65
Water Music, Handel’s, 187
Water organ, 125
Weber, Carl Maria von, 95, 115
Weingartner, Felix, 121
Well-tempered Clavichord, 32,

177, 180

Whithorne, Emerson, 338
Whole-tone scale, 31, 331
Widor, Charles [Marie], 128
Wieck, Friedrich, 260, 263
Wieniawski, Henri, 138, 159
Wilhelmj, August, 158

Willaert, Adrian, 44
William Tell, Rossini’s, 97
Williams, Ralph Vaughan, 166
Winter Daydreams, Tschaikow-

sky, 312
Woodwind, 104.
Wreckers, The, Smythe’s, 165

Xylophone, 109
Ysaye, Eugene, 159

Zeisler, Fanny Bloomfield, 140
Zerrahn, Karl, 335
Zichy, Ceza, 139
Zimbalist, Efrem, 160

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