- By Alexander K. McClure
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II rient himself sang the part allotted to " Christ," and Mendelssohn conducted.
By Alexander K. McClure
It is needless to say that the performance given in was a success. A repetition was demanded ; and not Berlin alone, but the whole musical world began to realize that in Sebastian Bach's great works there was a mine of wealth that would be unexhausted for ages. And it was to these young men, Mendelssohn especially, that we owe our knowledge and appreciation of the Leipzig cantor's masterwork of sacred music. But Mendelssohn did not stop with this. Through his efforts there was erected a fine monument to Bach's memory, which perpetuates the face and figure of this fountain head of modern music.
It was erected in , in front of the " Thomas Schule " in which Bach taught, and facing the windows of his study. It is generally admitted that there is a beneficial phy- siological side to the matter of singing as well as that of entertainment and musical pleasure. Long and learned articles on this subject come from erudite pens ; but we venture that it would be hard to find anything more unique in this line than the " Reasons briefely set downe by th' auctor, to perswade euery one to learne to sing," given in William Byrd's " Psalmes, Sonets, and songs of Sadnes and Pietie," published in England in These reasons that are " briefely set downe " are as follows : First, It is a knowledge easily taught, and quickly learned, when there is a good Master and an apt Scoller.
The exercise of singing is delightfull to nature, and good to preserue the health of Man. It doth strengthen all parts of the brest, and doth open the pipes. It is a singuler good remedie for a stutting and stamering in the speech. It is the best means to procure a perfect pronuncia- tion, and to make a good Orator. It is the only way to know when Nature hath be- stowed the benefit of a good Voyce which guift is so rare, as there is not one among a thousand, that hath it ; and in many, that excellent guift is lost, because they want Art to expresse Nature.
There is not any Musicke of Instruments whatso- euer, comparable to that which is made of the Voyces of Men, where the voyces are good, and the same well sorted and ordered. The better the voyce is, the meeter it is to honor and serue God therewith ; and the voyce of man is chiefly to be employed to that ende. Since singing is so good a thing I wish all men would learae to singe. Cherubini was a gruff old fellow, but occasionally a bit of kindness or humor came to the surface, and then he showed the better side of his nature.
He was one day met, at the Paris Conservatoire, of which he was the head, by a father who came bringing his talented son to gain admission to the institution. Cherubini exclaimed, when the man had told his errand, " What do you want? I do not take infants to nurse! Soon the Director came in. Hearing the boy play, he was astonished at the talent and youth of the performer, and proceeded to question him on the principles of music. The result was that he at once admitted the boy to the Conservatoire. Once, on examination day, Cherubini was running over a piece which Berlioz had submitted, when he came upon a complete rest of two measures.
Director," said the pupil, " I wish to produce an effect which I thought could best be produced by silence. Suppress the rest; the effect will be better still!
After looking it over he exclaimed : " It is not MehuPs ; it is too bad to be his. It is too good to be yours. Many years ago, in , there lived in an almshouse in the old city of Stockholm a little six-year-old girl, who had been put in charge of an old woman who, by the way, was none too kind to the orphan in her care. When her guardian went out to earn her daily pittance, this little maid was locked in the house to prevent her wandering about ; and so the lonesome little Johanne was deprived of the bright sunshine and the sight of the beautiful trees and flowers so beloved by every Swedish heart.
One day she had worked over the little tasks assigned her until she was tired, and oh!
But no, the door was locked. No wonder she poured out her childish grief in tears. Soon her sole companion caught her eye, and, taking up her half-starved pussy, she rocked her pet until they both fell asleep. When she awoke the sun had gone well down. Fearing the scolding she was sure to get when the old dame came home, the child caught up her work and began to sing in a sweet voice that seemed far too old for a girl of her age. While she went on with her singing it happened that a lady of high rank was passing the house; and so struck was she by the clear, sweet tones, that she stopped her carriage to listen.
On caroled the little songstress, perfectly unconscious of her audience, till she was startled by a knock at the door. She could not open it, but some kind neighbor told the fair visitor about the little prisoner. The kind-hearted lady came back afterward and secured the child admission to a school and later to the Royal Theater classes. As the girl grew older her talent developed, until as the " Swed- ish Nightingale " she was known the world over. Do you recognize in her Jenny Lind? The composer of the popular " Bohemian Girl " once had an experience that he did not care to duplicate.
Landladies are not supposed to be very sentimental beings, at least toward their lodgers, but have the repu- tation of being business-like and matter-of-fact; but the one who caused this peculiar occurrence, in which Balfe was an interested party, certainly stood at the head of the procession in her delight in silver rather than sentiment.
But apartments were scarce, and the genial Irishman was compelled to take what offered at a house :iot any too prepossessing in its external appearance. It was quite late. The landlady was uncertain whether there were any spare rooms or not, but left him stand- ing in the hall-way while she went to see if she could arrange a room for him. Finally she returned and told him in a confused way that his apartment was ready. Tired by the day's labor, he soon fell asleep without examining the room, but early the next morning pro- ceeded to make a tour of his apartment.
He had not one far before he discovered in a closet opening from his room a corpse, which had evidently been put in its cramped quarters in great haste.
Balfe stopped not on the order of his going, but took his departure, thankful, however, that he had not made the discovery in the moonlight of the night before. The old lady had evidently been unable to withstand the temptation to make a little ready cash, and summarily deprived the body of her deceased relative of its tempo- rary resting place, and Balfe had calmly stepped in and taken its place. He used to joke over the landlady's eye to business, but that experience so impressed him that he never occupied a strange room without making an examination prior to sleeping in it.
Berlioz was no exception to the majority of com- posers in the matter of finances. In fact, it was a con- tinual struggle for him to keep the pot boiling, and he could only do so by his literary work.
Boredom is Anti-Life: 250 Anecdotes and Stories - eBook
But his genius and need were recognized in other quarters. Harold " Symphony and achieved much success. After the concert, when the composer had sat down to rest, there came to him a tall, dark man, thin as a skeleton, and, kneeling down before the whole orchestra, he kissed Berlioz's hand. It was Paganini! The next morning Paganini's son brought to Berlioz a letter, saying, " Papa wants you not to read this letter until you are alone," and then the little fellow vanished.
When Berlioz opened the letter he found it to be from Paganini, saying that, Beethoven being dead, Berlioz alone could revive him, and asked Berlioz to accept the enclosure as Paganini's homage to his greatness. The enclosure was an order on the firm of Rothschild for 20, francs. Berlioz was delighted with this princely gift, and wrote and tore up four letters before he could get one that would sufficiently express his thanks. The eight hundred pounds served him a good turn, even if he never found out that it was not out of Paganini's pocket-book.
He had the money and the violinist the credit of giving it. This old saying is particularly true of musical anec- dote and story. Of course, it must be that history really does repeat itself, for certainly no one could be so heart- less as to charge the enterprising manager or the penny- a-liner, sadly in need of copy, with hunting among old tales for one to apply to modern favorites.
Munsey's Magazine for December '93 gives the following inci- dent : " A touching incident is recorded among the experi- ences of Madame Melba now singing in New York last year at Palermo. It was during a performance of 'Lucia.
paycontphamako.ga | The Most Interesting People in Religion: Anecdotes (ebook), David Bruce |
The receipt from London of a musical work edited many years ago by Dr. William Crotch calls to mind the fact that nowhere do we find record of a more remark- able exhibition of musical genius in a mere baby than in the case of this same person in his early years. He played before the King, royal family, and other titled personages of England, and was greeted with ad- miring wonder wherever his talents were displayed by his proud parents.
At the age of four years he had frequently appeared in public. He could name any tone heard by him, and took great delight in pleasant har- monies, though he could not hear a discord without expressing disgust. Mozart was, in his youth, a great prodigy, but his genius was not of so early develop- ment as that of little William Crotch. Mozart became one of the greatest composers ; but Crotch, though he was granted the degree of Doctor of Music in by Oxford University, and though regarded as a great mu- sician in his day, is now almost unknown to the musical world.
His musical life was a continual growth. Great stories were told of his marvelous abili- ties, and some of them were doubtless exaggerated. But every claim that was put forth by himself or by the parents of this wonder-child he could fulfill. The Archbishop of Salzburg had it in his power to benefit the art of all succeeding time by granting proper patronage to Mozart, but this the churlish old fellow de- clined to do. He even declared that the boy Mozart was a fraud, and in the interests of art and religion he would unmask him.
The Mozarts, father and son, consented to the trial, knowing it was entirely within the boy's powers. For more than a week did he stay in that room, seeing no one save the servant who brought his meals: At the end of this time he sent to the bishop his composition, which, after trial by the court band, the bishop ordered to be placed in the repertoire of the cathedral choir. But even after this display of genius the prelate was lacking in that appre- ciation of art which would have led him to become a beneficent patron.
On the last night of her series of performances at Dublin, in , Mdlle. Titiens was the recipient of such r. At the close of the aria, " Ocean, Thou Mighty Mon- ster," in Weber's " Oberon," the audience rose en masse, some calling for a repetition and others for favorite Irish songs. The uproar continued for ten or fifteen minutes before quiet could be restored, and then the diva decided to sing the favorite, " Last Rose of Summer.
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